I've sat down to write this post several times now but I've never been happy with how it's read. I don't want this to be a "Oh poor you" type post but I do want to do justice to fellow hyperemesis gravidarum suffers and give a true picture of what it's really like to have with this condition.
For those of you who aren't aware hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) is a serious, debilitating and can be life threatening condition that causes extreme nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. Having suffered badly with the condition throughout my first pregnancy I knew the chances where that I would suffer yet again with any future pregnancies. When I fell pregnant with Tommy I enjoyed 5 days of "normal" pregnancy before the vomiting started. I knew that this was the start of months of exhaustion, sickness and overwhelming nausea. I can only describe it as imagine the worst stomach bug you have ever experienced combined with one hell of a hangover that lasts for weeks or months on end.
I was signed of work by 6 weeks and was vomiting about 20 times a day. The linning of my stomach was damaged and so was my throat. I was vomiting up blood some days and barely able to stay awake for more an hour or so at a time. By the time I was 8 weeks pregnant I had been hospitalised twice with dehydration. I received bags and bags of IV fluids and was on a cocktail off anti sickness drugs. When it was obvious the more commonly used treatments where not working it was agreed that I should be given steroids to try and get the vomiting under control. This is still quite a controversial form of treatment for HG therefore not all doctors are willing to go down this route but at this stage I could not see any other option.
The steroids proved to be effective once the dose was adjusted. They reduced the amount of actual vomiting but did nothing for the nausea and made me even more exhausted than I already was. I constantly felt like was about to throw up but wasn't actually sick, which in a way was worse than physically being sick. I still spent all day in bed or snuggled on the sofa.
By far the hardest part of having HG this time round was not being able to care for my then 3 year old son. He couldn't understand why his Mummy couldn't play with him or put him to bed. My husband was my absolute rock, he took over all the care for our child. His work where very supportive and changed his working hours so he could be there for the nursery drop offs and pick ups. He was the one who got Oliver up in the morning, made him dinner and put him to bed at night. One of the hardest thing for me was when Oliver woke in the night he no longer called out for me but shouted for "Daddy" instead. I felt like HG was taking my son away from me.
HG can be an incredibly isolating condition, I spent months at home most days by myself. I was to ill to chat to friends on the phone, during the worse days I couldn't watch TV or read and by the time my husband came home in the evening I was too exhausted to try and hold any sort of conversation. Some women suffering with HG go on to have mental health issues partly due to how isolated they feel.
By the time I was 17 weeks pregnant I was able to return to work part time. Financially we were struggling and I was feeling lonely at home all day. Getting through the working day was a real struggle. I would work until 1pm then go home and sleep for a few hours before picking Oliver up about 5pm. I was able to come off the steroid medication at 27 weeks but still had the constant nauseated feeling. I started my maternity at 29 weeks as physically it was all to much. It was only the last maybe 4 weeks that I was able to experience a mostly "normal" pregnancy. I was able to get out and about more and enjoyed some quality time with my son.
It was agreed with my consultant that due to my HG my baby would be induced at 37 weeks. But it turned out because of other complications he was induced earlier at 36 weeks. It took a few days for the cloud off nausea to lift and then I was able to get back to feeling like my normal self again. I won't give you any of the my experience has made me stronger bull and I am proud to be an HG survivor.
If you are suffering with HG there is light at the end of the tunnel. There will be days when you think I physical can not do this anymore but you will get through this!
You are stronger than you think!
You are stronger than you think!
If you or someone you know is suffering from HG you can contact Pregnancy Sickness Support for advice and support. They were a lifeline for me. Alternatively you can contact me and I will offer support in any way that I can. You are not alone.