'The days went on and sips of fluid became harder' Hyperemesis Gravidarum by Abi Breeze @abi_breeze23
"Have you got a bit of morning sickness?" The dreaded words that any HG sufferer can hear. Some women get Morning sickness, sickness that comes on in the evenings, some have nausea all day and never get the relief from actually being sick and some really lucky people sail through without anything. These people in my head are skipping around with unicorns and flying pigs! I unfortunately was one of the 1% of pregnant ladies who suffered from Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG).
What is Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) I hear you ask. For me it was the constant feeling of being on a boat out at sea, the slightest movement made me want to be sick at any point. If the sick feeling wasn't bad enough I also had the displeasure of being sick up to 20 times a day.
Doctors and midwifes advise 8 glasses of water a day, to even look at a drink made me feel sick. Water would hit my throat and come straight back out. The days went on and sips of fluid became harder. Eating was a mission too, small dry foods like ready salted crisps and toast was all I could handle. I tried every type of drink possible yet nothing helped. The pounds started to drop off me, my face got more pale and gaunt each day. Climbing the stairs made me out of breathe. To deal with this whilst trying to hold down a job and still be mum to my 5 year old son was hard work.
I didn't want anything affecting my sons routine so even though school runs were my hardest point of the day I did it, even when it meant being sick in a bag in my car when I got to school or shedding a few tears before plucking up the courage to get out. Sainsbury’s carrier bags were my new best friend, they were in my car, handbag, coat pocket ... everywhere... just in case. At 7 weeks I started bleeding and had to go in for an early scan. I had a very large bleed near the baby and my pregnancy was now classed as vulnerable. I was told all they can do is monitor bleeds but they cant actually do anything about them. I was going to be scanned fortnightly to make sure the baby continued to grow. With my first son I was always just excited to go to the scans and nothing negative entered my head. Yet every scan from that day onwards made me tense up until I saw the flickering heart on the screen. The midwife who dealt with me was amazing and put my mind at rest as much as she could, she had such a calming effect and made everything easier for me to understand. Bleeds can occur from constant retching, lifting something heavy, various things. As my sickness got worse the bleed seemed bigger on the scans.
The doctors tried me on a few anti sickness tablets but nothing seemed help. At 11 weeks I hit the ultimate low point, every bite of food came straight back up and sips of drinks were no longer possible. My body felt like it was shutting down, my head hurt worse than a migraine, my eyes felt like I was drunk and kept trying to shut and my stomach felt bruised and painful. My husband ran me to the hospital, waiting for the doctor to come felt like longest wait of my life, my body felt like it had totally given up and I felt like I needed to say my goodbyes. The doctor said my water sample had lots of keotones in it which showed my body had started breaking down my stored fats and I was severely dehydrated. Between the long blinks I saw the doctor struggle with getting the cannula in my dehydrated hand. My drips started, the first one being pumped through within an hour, I could feel every droplet of fluid enter my hand and go up my arm. It took 7 drips to hydrate me again.
I felt so much better, I was eating my toast again and was dunking biscuits in a cup of tea. I was allowed home and thought I was on the road to recovery. The journey home was too much and was sick not long after I got in. This condition is soul destroying, it made me so miserable and weak. My husband was trying to juggle working full time, looking after our son, the food shopping and then having to make sure I was okay. I could see him getting more tired by the day even though he tried to make out it was fine whilst I was totally useless.
A few days passed and I was on my slippy slope back to how I was, my headache was back and the drunk dizzy feeling joined it again. I was admitted back to hospital where I came across the most caring, lovely young doctor who really listened to everything Id gone through, she prescribed me a new anti sickness called Omdansetron and had the major task of trying to get a cannula in my dehydrated veins, all the best spots had been used on my last visit and were all still badly bruised. She managed it in the end and got me to my ward where I had a night of more drips. When it was time to go home I was armed with my new medication and was determined not to be back anytime soon, mainly as I had no veins left, just 8 giant bruises on my hands and arms.
The tablets seemed to help no end, my 20 sick episodes a day slowly went down to 2-3 instead. Evenings were still my worst time yet in comparison to where I was it was a massive improvement. I was weighed at the hospital and I had lost a stone from my 4 week booking appointment to then. My clothes were baggy, my skin was awful& my hair was just disgusting. I didn’t feel pregnant I just felt like I had a really bad illness that I didn’t know when I'd ever be better again.
After a week of bedrest I started to attempt the school runs again, its the small things that mean the most. My sons face when he saw me waiting for him when he came out was enough to keep me going. The weeks went on and although I still felt very sicky and still had bad sick days I felt like I was improving. I was only take 1 of my anti sickness tablets when I really needed it as apposed to the 3 times a day dose.
I have now hit the half way point, 20 weeks! I have been off my anti sickness tablets for nearly 2 weeks. I still have a constant battle with nausea but I cant remember when I was last physically sick (touch wood!). The bleed that was originally bigger than the size of the baby sack was now measuring just 5cm and was slowly dispersing so was no longer a threat. Anyone given anti sickness tablets during pregnancy probably did what I did and googled them!! I read all about abnormalities and the baby not growing etc so the 20 week scan made me really anxious. Today I lay there as the sonographer scanned my stomach and showed us our babies heart, stomach, limbs and face. Our baby had fought its way past the bleed, the sickness, the lot. The constant worry will never leave me but today has given me a lot of peace of mind.
So there is the insight into a HG sufferer. My advice to anyone in the same boat, accept help from people who offer it, don't try to be superwoman. My family and friends were amazing throughout, the mums at school were lovely and offered to help with my son for me. my son was my little superhero and for a while seemed like role reversal, he rubbed my back when I was sick and never moaned once when I couldn't play with him like normal. He melted my heart every day and I couldn’t be more proud of the person he is or the fact I have the honour of being his mummy. My husband was my ultimate rock, he still somehow managed to make me smile each day even when I felt at my lowest. He made me feel beautiful still even with sick in my hair and my body being a bag of bones. I can't put into words just how amazing he was, without him I wouldn't have got through it. I'm just very lucky to have my best friend and husband rolled into one.
So if anyone is suffering with this too, accept the help offered to you, know your body and makeThe doctors take you seriously, don’t try to be superwoman, the washing can wait get the rest your body needs. Don't do the mistake I made a lot and that was doing too much the day you feel slightly better. And finally don't blame yourself or think you're useless, having a sip of water doesn't seem like a big challenge to everyday people but it is for HG sufferers. Find a drink that works, lots of ice and a straw helped me! And remember it's not forever, focus on the end result. 💙