May 15th 2017 | Hyperemesis Gravidarum Awareness Day.

Wednesday 19 April 2017

I was recently sent a link about HG and how more units across the UK need to be available for expecting mums. The idea is for women to be able to pop into a clinic and get the medication and dehydration drips they need without staying overnight, this is a great thing because it will stop women (like me) waiting longer for the help we need and having to stay in the hospital for treatment. It's not fun or nice being around women who are pregnant and are on the same ward as you waiting to have their baby, or being stuck on a gynaecology ward that has a mixture of women with all different things wrong with them, it's scary and lonely, I felt like I had no one to talk to about what my body was going through, I was in a very dark place and became resentful of a lot of things. The wards I have been on were very busy and at times I would just be laying there with an empty bag waiting for my next lot of fluids only to find that 4 hours on I still hadn't been given one and my body was screaming for some kind of fluid but I wasn't able to sip water because it just came right back up. I know not everyone had a bad experience when it came to being hospitalized but there are some out there like me that end up talking to health professionals who chose not to listen or understand what we are going through.

I was under the impression (from doctors) that there wasn't any help out there for me in terms of the HG but I contacted the charity who didn't take long to get back to me, they asked me my postcode and told me my nearest facility to help with my HG was actually right near me. I'm actually conflicted about this because no one told me that this place existed until recently and I could have gone there to help my sickness before it got as bad as it did. But at the same time in happy because it gives me a chance to maybe be able to have a baby in the future, I'm not saying it will happen because I have other complications but I'm saying there is a bigger chance for me to be able to become a mother whereas I was told I different before. I recently had an appointment to see my GP about my health in general but I also wanted to talk to him about my options for the future and if he felt I could have a baby, he told me he doesn't see why not especially now I've found help, he also told me if I can get hold of some leaflets from the Pregnancy sickness support charity he would be happy to give them out and arrange for the website for the charity to be put on the doctors surgery website, the fact that he is willing to help me as well as help more women be more aware that there is help out there shows me just how good of a doctor he really is. I'm also going to get some information on another HG charity called helpHER, they also specialise in helping women find the closest help to them and also offer online support for those who reach out to them. There are also Facebook groups out there that you can join for HG but I personally didn't find any comfort in them, in fact, I felt very judged at times and as if a lot of people made out that because they could cope whilst be a functioning mum, I was being ridiculous. Some people aren't as strong as that, I wish I was as strong as them women, I wish my chronic illness hadn't caused complications and I wish other women wouldn't tear others down when their one last choice was having to terminate.

When speaking to few HG mum's I asked them to give  me a little insight into how HG affected them, Brittany one of my followers said:

"I had severe intractable HG! It was the worst. I lost 30+ pounds despite treatment from four weeks forward and it affected my metabolism after pregnancy too. Mine started before I missed my period. They were so sure I was going to have twins because no one without twins gets that sick that fast!"

This was Claire's insight into what HG was like for her:

" I've had 4 children and had bad morning sickness with 3 of them (1st/2nd/4th) my third, however, was Hyperemesis Gravidarum much much worse than Morning sickness as everyone insisted on calling it. I was hospitalised for 5 days and barely got out of bed until I was about 18 weeks gone...despite my employer being female she didn't understand and the Ketones that were in my system when I was hospitalised came back to bite me later in pregnancy as my baby wasn't growing as much as they'd like and after 5 weeks of daily hospital visits for monitoring and scans, I was pretty much begging for an early delivery at 36 healthy 5lb 12oz little girl was born at 37 weeks and has continued to thrive grow and generally be a proper cheeky monkey since!!! I think one of my lowest points was shortly after being discharged from the hospital, being stood in the shower, still feeling like death, and just thinking my body is fighting this pregnancy, it's rejecting it, this baby is poisoning me... thankfully it was short lived...I gave myself a good talking too and with the help of my super supportive husband and family who all rallied round and cared for my eldest two whilst I recovered, I got through it! It's something that will stay with me for life...although it didn't stop me having number 4!! "

Seeing how HG has affected us all differently but at the same time we have all faced it, it makes me feel like more of us women need to come together to raise awareness for HG. I have been left with lasting effects from it and as you can see so has Brittney, so my plea to my followers is to help me raise awareness for this condition, the only way others seem to understand what HG is, is when I tell them it's the same sickness Kate Middleton had, I don't want to have to explain it that way. Not only have people said that she coped and got help so I don't see why the doctors aren't helping you or listening but they also tell me that it can't be that bad. The ignorance people have towards women with this condition outstands me, it makes me so angry that I've had to beg people to listen to me and understand that it's not just morning sickness and ginger biscuits aren't going to cut it! Now here is how you can help, you can donate to either PSS or helpHER, you can print out the information leaflets from helpHER to give to your local doctor's surgery and you can request PSS send you out some leaflets to give to your local doctor's surgery. helpHER is holding a fundraiser (in America) that you can all get involved with, they will be holding a 5k run (or a walk) you can donate towards it or even take part. Pregnancy sickness support is holding a number of fundraising events this year so be sure to check them out by searching for Pregnancy sickness support.

I've also put together a little guide on surviving HG, I may not have got past the 12-week mark before but these tips can help a lot:

  • First of all what I learned is you need to see a doctor right away, don't wait! Don't take no for an answer when it comes to this, I did and the HG affected me so badly by the time I saw my doctor.
  • Make sure you have a bowl or a sick bucket ready as well, I also made sure that I had snacks and certain fizzy drinks that my body could handle. I found water to be revolting and so I found myself sipping on fizzy drinks. Please be aware though, drinking fizzy drinks isn't recommended they're just something that worked for me. Keeping hydrated is something us HG sufferers find harder than anything, when you're not hydrated it also makes your veins disappear making it harder for them to get fluids into you via IV.
  • Sleep as much as you can, sleeping for me was a God send for me, I felt like it was my escape and that I could instantly be in another mindset whilst sleeping. Being sick and dehydrated is exhausting so letting your body rest is one of the best things you can do for yourself.
  • Take each day as it comes, what helped me was knowing that once each day was over I was another day closer to the next month being over, I may not have ended up with my babies but I felt a lot better knowing that by taking one day at a time I could stop myself thinking that the HG was taking over my life (even though it was).
  • Don't be afraid to ask for help, by isolating yourself you're going to go down hill faster than you thought you would, I know it's hard to ask for help sometimes that it's the best thing for you. I had other people helping me bath, sit up, drink, walk you name it, I had to give in to help or I would just be in bed covered in puke!
  • Don't avoid the hospital, the longer you leave it the longer you will have to stay in hospital, it's an awful place to be surrounded by other people who are pregnant I know but it's the best place for you and the one place that can get fluids into you as fast as you can depending how downhill you have gone.
  • Talk to someone, believe me, this was hard I could barely even look at my phone but when people came round to see me I perked up because I was able to express how I was feeling and get all my emotions out. The charities I mentioned have people you can talk to online or over the phone so please don't suffer in silence.

For those who have a loved one who suffers from HG please don't try to be insensitive and disregard how they're feeling, it's tough enough without others trying to judge us.
Elle May


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