Pre-pregnancy I heard all the comments about pregnancy, how amazing it is, what a “magical time” pregnancy is, you hear about the the pregnant glow, the joy of pregnancy, but what happens when you suffer from debilitating HG (Hyperemesis gravidarum).
How do you reconcile your own feelings of pain, nausea and at times despair with the picture every one has been giving you of what pregnancy is like.
I have four beautiful children and unfortunately with all four children I suffered with severe HG, each pregnancy seemed to be worse than the last. It is not something you forget but somehow many of us HG survivors go back and have subsequent children but we do not go into this decision lightly.
HG is debilitating, it affects between 0.5 – 2% of pregnancies, it causes severe vomiting, severe nausea, and due to these dehydration. Unlike ‘normal morning sickness’ it doesn’t go away at the end of the first trimester, and can cause weight loss in pregnancy.
My HG lasted up until moments before my beautiful children where born.
I am a very positive person, and a very private person and when people would ask in pregnancy how I was going I would say Great, but I wasn’t, it wasn’t. The problem with not telling anyone how you are really feeling is then you also don’t get the right support that you need. If you suffer from HG you need support, you need help. Especially if you have other children that require your care. Thankfully I have a wonderful husband who saw that I wasn’t ok and not only helped me through it, but graciously picked up the slack with the housework, our other children even when working full time. He made sure I told our OB and our midwives exactly how I was so I could get the right care.
When I walked into hospital to give birth to my fourth child I weighed 8 kgs less than when I feel pregnant. This is definitely not a weight loss regime I recommend, especially as your body goes into starvation mode and I pilled on over 10-15 kgs very quickly within a few months of my beautiful boy being born as your metabolism is non existent.
There are other side effects after pregnancy you need to deal with, I went to the dentist for a check up before I feel pregnant with my first, my teeth where perfect, I had no need for fillings, no dramas however, after 9 months of constant vomiting when I went to my dentist check up I found I needed multiple fillings, the constant vomiting and the acid that it brings up had ruined my teeth.
People who have never suffered from HG can sometimes find it hard to understand how debilitating it is. With each of my pregnancies I would vomit at least 50 times a day, for the whole 9 months, that meant I lived with a “special bucket in my car”, had towels covering seats and floors in the car just in case.
Its bursting a blood vessel in your stomach from vomiting so much and then dealing with months of vomiting blood
There is the way you have to give up your pride, I have not forgotten the amount of times I had to vomit in public in a random bin, a gutter, a random garden, a friends bathroom. When you go anywhere your first step is to see where the toilet is as you know that at some stage you will be making a visit their.
It’s the hospital visits when you have done all you can yourself to stay hydrated, but nothing you do has worked. Its trying to explain to some ED doctors that it is not ‘just morning sickness”
It’s the shame you feel, when you resort to medicine to try (often unsuccessfully) to just keep one meal down.
It’s how you feel that you are failing your unborn child, like your body just isn’t good enough to keep your child safe.
Its how you feel like you are failing your other children, when you don’t have the energy to play with them, when you cant cook normal meals because the smell has you running to the bathroom.
The fact you have no choice but to tell people early, like the royal couple found, all our pregnancies we told people very early, very hard to explain why you are vomiting all the time without people being concerned about catching some nasty bug.
It’s the feeling of frustration when other people don’t understand and tell you “to enjoy this pregnancy” that you cant be upset, overwhelmed, sad as you should count your blessings that you are in fact pregnant.
Its the utter feeling of confusion, being so happy and amazed with this new life growing inside of you, but also wondering how you are ever going to make it to the end of the pregnancy.
Its trying to explain to your other children that whilst you are sick, you are not ill. My older children were often in tears during my pregnancy with my younger two as they would see me being sick, and not understand that I wasn’t ill.
HG is a debilitating part of pregnancy, but it is only a part of the pregnancy, if you are suffering from HG, don’t loose hope when you are sitting on the bathroom floor, try to focus on the other parts, the way in which you feel your baby move inside of you, The joy you get while planning your nursery, trying to choose a name for your baby. The fact that you know that there is an end to this, the HG will end and when it does you will have an amazing new baby to love, cherish.
It’s the knowledge that you are giving your other children a new sibling to love and cherish.