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 as 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.
What would you do? 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 you would; they would advise low dose medication and a short stay in hospital to be rehydrated. So you go and they patch you up and send you home. Imagine this repeating sometimes 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; your thinner, greyer. Would you become 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 the constipation that are the accompanying side effects.
I should know, I’m a HG survivor. I was fortunate 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 super heroes 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 and I didn’t want to be pregnant anymore. I hated everyone, my husband included for making me have this baby. Not because he wanted to take my choice from me but because he knew I wasn’t in the right mind to make that choice, and I wasn’t. 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 a Victoria Derbyshire 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:
it’s not it’s hell on earth.
Here is more information or help and advice