What it's really like to have Hyperemesis Gravidarum (extreme morning sickness)
You’re lying in bed covered in sweat and you can’t move because if you do, you know you’ll be sick.
You can’t eat or drink because anything that enters your stomach won’t stay there for long. You can’t sleep, as any movement you might make will wake you and you’ll be sick. Again.
What would you do?
You would probably think it was a 24-hour bug. But what if this happened to you every day for weeks, months even? You‘d go to see a doctor, of course. They would advise some low dose medication and a short stay in hospital to be rehydrated. So they patch you up and send you home.
Imagine this repeating on a weekly basis, they change the drugs, or sometimes they don’t, as there is so little that is available. Your life stops, your body changes; you are thinner, greyer, worn down. Teary, depressed, angry - would you do absolutely anything to make it stop?
Of course, you would.
But there’s one problem, you’re pregnant and for it to stop you’d have to stop being pregnant.
That’s what having Hyperemesis Gravidarum is like.
Makes for pretty grim reading, doesn’t it? I haven’t even gone into the 30+ times you throw up in one day, or the crippling agony across your back, shoulders, stomach and chest from the pulled muscles from the dry retching. The kidney infections and constipation that are the accompanying side effects.
I should know, I’m a HG survivor.
I was fortunate that my vomiting only lasted about 14 weeks; I lost 2.5 stone in those 14 weeks. Some women are worse off; they deal with it for the duration of their pregnancy; they are superheroes in my eyes.
There are women who manage some semblance of a normal life whilst having HG. They carry plastic bags with them everywhere and try their best to carry on. I wasn’t one of those women. Even though I stopped vomiting at roughly 16 weeks pregnant, I was chronically nauseous the whole way through.
My weight at 39 weeks pregnant was less than before I become pregnant. I was depressed. So depressed that I didn’t want to be pregnant anymore. That is hard to admit.
I hated everyone, my husband included. HG is more than sickness, it’s a darkness that drags you down, you’re tired; emotional, hormonal and slowly starving.
I was fortunate, my hospital noticed I needed support (admittedly, not until my twelve-week scan) and I was put under the care of a mental health midwife who helped me with the psychological effect the HG had on me. I can fast forward two years now and I have a beautiful almost two-year-old daughter; I adore her, she was a planned pregnancy, but the HG was not planned or expected. I’m glad that she’s here and that my husband stopped me making a choice that would haunt me forever.
I didn’t think I’d ever write this post; it’s too raw, too emotional but then, on the 2nd of March, the BBC published an article about the lack of awareness of HG treatments and I was ANGRY!
Later that same day, a friend emailed me a link to an interview which highlighted the number of women considering an abortion due to HG. And I was ANGRY again. There are so many women out there that have HG and suffer because they think there is no alternative or live with the guilt of wanting or having an abortion.
HG is not only physically damaging it’s mentally damaging too.
There needs to be a change; more support, more knowledge, more treatment and more understanding.
HG, in layman’s terms, is described as extreme or acute vomiting - but I would describe it as hell on earth.
Here is more information, help and advice on this issue.