My Hyperemesis Gravidarum Journey


As the sickness got worse and worse and my mental health hit rock bottom I was finding it so hard to cope. I was down, my mind was paying tricks on me, I was constantly miserable and isolating myself. It was so bad I just kept resenting the fact I was pregnant, not the fact I didn’t want the baby, but the there and now of just not wanting to be sick anymore. I was totally spiralling and it brought back all the memories of chemo and my loss of control. The more I talked to my friend the more she encouraged me to talk to my GP again, through both of her pregnancies she had had Hyperemesis Gravidarum and said that what I was going through reminded her of it.

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‘Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) is a condition at the extreme end of the pregnancy sickness spectrum. It affects 1% of women with pregnancy sickness and is very debilitating for sufferers.’

Source Pregnancy Sickness Support

The next day I was straight onto my GP. I was so anxious and worried he wouldn’t believe me and help me, but thankfully I was wrong! I told him about what I’d been experiencing and that I had researched and tried EVERY and I mean EVERY tip and trick for ‘morning sickness’ but nothing had worked. He recommended I tried Cyclizine three times a day and see how I got on…

Oh my word it was like a miracle, within the first couple of days I felt amazing! Looking back I wasn’t amazing at all, yes I wasn’t being sick as much and it took away the nausea for a few hours at a time; which in turn meant I could now stomach a little more food and I realised I wasn’t going mad as my mental health started to improve. But unfortunately this was just the short term.

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A few weeks later the nausea and sickness was back worse than ever with the vomiting happening multiple times a day, I struggled to eat and drink and ended up in agony with my back. I already have a bit of a weakness in my lower back, but I was vomiting that badly that I was having to sit on the toilet and vomit into a basin or the sink because I was wetting myself. All this movement and convulsions ended up with me getting a flare up of sciatica, the worse I’ve ever had as I literally couldn’t sit or stand and had to drag myself along the floor to the toilet. That alongside the sickness made for a horrific week and fear that I was doing something to the baby.

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After a full week of rest mixed with exercises, physio and massage (well as much as you can get at an early stage of pregnancy) I finally had movement again. It was then half term holidays and mum back in the summer of 2019 had booked her and I a few days away in Italy.

I’m not going to lie, I was worried about going; my back, the sickness and the baby, but I went and it was just what I needed. Flying on the Sunday night the sickness had thankfully eased, then the Monday was bright and sunny, mum even commented on the difference in my mood and appearance from the sunshine and change of scene. We managed to have a good couple of days and I walked and did more than I had in months and the tablets were working for the sickness and I even managed to eat and enjoy some Italian food.

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However as Tuesday night arrived my back was playing up again, I started to panic, panic that it would be as bad as before, that I’d not be able to walk, that I wouldn’t get home. I lay in the position I had been told to a week earlier and tried not to move, to just try and get to sleep. Thankfully that worked and the next morning with a broken night’s sleep I awoke with movement and no pain!

All was good, I felt fine and was ready for home, I couldn’t wait to get home to the hubby. I had woken earlier to take my cyclizine as I had been doing as a ritual and dozed until it was time to get up. Then oh of course then, my mum did the simple thing of spraying her deodorant in the same room as me and within seconds I was running to the toilet to vomit and that was me with severe nausea and vomiting at least once every half hour the whole way home. Getting through security at the airport was horrific, then trying to sit in departures. All I can say is thank god for sick bags on planes!

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Four days later I was sent to hospital, I’d spent a day being sick, unable to keep down liquid, never mind food. I scared the hubby so much that he called the Doctor on call who recommended I went to the hospital ASAP!  I had hoped that I could just sleep it off and get back to work the next day; I felt so bad that I had been off work the week before Half Term so I just had to be back, sick or not!

I remember sitting on the bed in floods of tears, nearly hyperventilating as Phil dressed me to go to the hospital (I was that weak and ill) as I begged him not to make me go, then shouting at him because he was making me.  I knew I had to go, not for me, but for the baby, but I have a total fear of hospitals because of previous experiences and I knew they’d end up putting a canular (the worst thing for me) in me and giving me fluids.  We arrived at the hospital at around 10pm, it was a little like the first time I had to give a blood and urine sample, but this time they wanted an ECG too.  At this point because I knew what would be coming and also because it was the same A&E nurse that had done my bloods the last time I was in for the scare, I asked her to just put the canular in there and then, rather than have to go through a getting it and my bloods taken.  

She was FANTASTIC, so understanding, let me lie as long as I needed (I always get very faint), reassured me and even went and got a bandage to cover my arm where the canular had went in, because I was so freaked out.  Then as we were asked to go back out and wait to be called the EXTREMELY long night began.  I couldn’t sit in the waiting area as it was packed and the smell of alcohol from the drunks sitting in there with the police and the smell of cigarettes made me retch.  So we sat out in the foyer of the hospital, it was absolutely freezing with the draft coming in through the revolving doors.  I was so weak I couldn’t physically sit up on the seats so spent most of my time lying on a low table/bench.  I still couldn’t keep any water down and spent the night vomiting every half hour.  At one point I was given more cyclizine, but within 45 minutes I had thrown it up!

At 7.30am the next morning I got a call from an unknown number on my phone, it was the A&E doctor, I remember his exact words “I’m guessing you had the right idea and went home?!”  No I told him, I’m sitting in the hospital as we speak, apparently they had been calling me over the tannoy, but it hadn’t been working.  I went in and he asked me for a urine sample again and literally got a trickle of orange pee, I was so dehydrated.  He then gave me a quick check over and gave me the news that I had been expecting that I was severely dehydrated and would need fluids through a drip, but the bad news that I was so bad I would have to be admitted until they could control the sickness.  I was absolutely devastated, it was the last thing I wanted to hear.

Straight away I was put onto a drip and given a tablet for the sickness that would melt on my tongue, so no need for me to try to drink (something they couldn’t believe I hadn’t been given as soon as I arrived at the hospital).  From there I was admitted to the maternity ward, which was so strange being around mothers who had just had their babies, it was so surreal.  However there was another woman in opposite me for the same reason.  I have to admit, being in hospital really wasn’t the bad experience I had expected and the midwives were so lovely and told me that what I was going through was really common and that it was

Hyperemesis Gravidarum

.

I felt so relieved to finally find out that I had it and that there was nothing I could have done to prevent it, it was also good for Phil to find out more about it too!  I was also told that I was severely dehydrated and starving.  This baffled me, yes I had lost around 2 stone, but I was hardly starving and besides I NEVER felt hungry and my stomach NEVER rumbled.  The midwife also explained that this was why everything to me, even my vomit was so sweet, my ketones where so high.

After a day and night in hospital I met my consultant (I have one due to my previous Hodgkin’s Lymphoma) who when I asked was happy to prescribe me Ondansetron anti sickness tablets.  I had suggested these to him as I knew they worked for me as they were the only ones to when I was going through chemo.  He was happy to do this as they had been approved to be safe on pregnant women.  So that was me after a full bag of vitamins through a drip and countless bags of fluids, alongside anti sickness medication I was finally able to keep down food and water.  This was the first time in 11 weeks that I had actually felt hungry and my stomach rumbled!  To be fair I was only eating the smallest amount, but at least I was eating.

At that point I thought that was me sorted, I’d be feeling amazing and back to work in a week or so, but 14 weeks later and I’m still not back to work.  I take 4-6 tablets a day depending on how I’m feeling just to be able to survive, a mix of the Ondansetron and Cyclizine.  I am pretty much exhausted, I used to sleep around 12-14 hours a day and I have learnt what my triggers are that can cause me to relapse (to the point where the medication makes no difference).  

MY TRIGGERS

  • Reading – either on paper or screens (I have to limit this to 10 mins max before I need a break)
  • Screens – the only screen I can focus on for any meaningful length of time is a TV screen.  At the start I couldn’t even look at my mobile
  • Music – I can’t listen to any fast pace music with a beat as it makes me sick
  • Showers – I can take a bath no problem, but a shower, even the thought of it makes me feel sick, the feeling of water bouncing on me
  • Exhaustion – if I do too much or push myself when I’m having a good day, this will set me back for at least 2 days.
  • Stress and Anxiety – well this one is fun, coming from someone who suffers with anxiety and isn’t allowed to up her medication (which is on the lowest it can be).  I’ve had heart palpitations and if I’ve had a stressful day or something coming up I will be just floored and as sick as a dog.  The photo below is me the day after receiving my 12 week COVID shielding letter.

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Everyone is so different though and what may be triggers for one person won’t be the same for another.  Take a look at a couple of templates I made for my Instagram stories:

Some reactions and advice surrounding

Hyperemesis Gravidarum

– as you can see from the right hand side, I’VE BEEN GIVEN THEM ALL!

How

Hyperemesis Gravidarum

 can make you feel – again I HAVE FELT AND FEEL THEM ALL!

6 of the most common ‘tips’ I’ve been given from people who have NEVER suffered from

Hyperemesis Gravidarum

 before!

5 triggers for my

Hyperemesis Gravidarum

.

My most embarrassing moments thanks to

Hyperemesis Gravidarum

.

THANK YOU

Well that’s me nearly at the end of this post, thank goodness I’m sure a lot of you are saying if you’ve stuck with it this far!  I just had to say a massive thank you to the charity  Pregnancy Sickness Support who I quoted from earlier, they have been an absolute life saver and wealth of knowledge in this strange new world I have found myself in! HG Mum on Instagram for having illustrations I’ve been able to relate to.  And last but not least my hubby who has helped me with getting these blogs up!

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Last but not least please remember not to judge someone who is going through something you haven’t, do your research to find out more about it, ask them questions.  You may feel like you are helping by giving advice, but if you haven’t been there before yourself, then you haven’t got a clue.

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And last but not least, like with many hidden illnesses (either those you can never see or those people care not to show you the negative side of) don’t think that because you see someone on a good day or they post a photo of themselves on a good day that suddenly they are better.  They simply might not want a photo reminder of the grey scaly skin, cracked, bleeding lips, bloodshot eyes and themselves hanging over a toilet or sink.

That being said, if you would like to ask me any questions about my experience please get in touch or if you too have

Hyperemesis Gravidarum

or think you may have it please get in touch with me, you honestly are NOT alone!

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