“Calling HG ‘morning sickness’ is like calling a hurricane ‘a little rain.'”
Every year Pregnancy Sickness Support joins forces with its sister organisation, the HER Foundation in the USA for International Hyperemesis Awareness Day on 15th May. This is an opportunity to raise awareness of HG (Hyperemesis Gravidarum) across the world and to highlight the support and information both organisations can provide to sufferers, their families, friends, employers and even the healthcare professionals treating them.
For those who don’t know what it is, Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) is a debilitating and potentially life-threatening pregnancy disease. It is marked by rapid weight loss, malnutrition and dehydration due to unrelenting nausea and/or vomiting with potential adverse consequences for the mum-to-be and the newborn(s).
Ahhh, isn’t that the thing Princess Kate had when she was pregnant? I hear you cry.
Indeed. But it’s not just royalty who suffer from HG. Anyone can, including my mate Emma who’s been suffering through the course of her second pregnancy. I hope you’re feeling okay Emma and hope you enjoy your baby shower today. It’s for her, and people like her, that we at ZmG have decided to help raise awareness of HG. As the quote at the top suggests, it ain’t just morning sickness.
Anyhoo, enough of my yakking. If you’d like to get involved you can find both organisations on Facebook and Twitter, and use the hashtag #HGDay16 to help raise awareness. You can also share your stories or experiences of HG in the comments below, or visit any of the above sites to help them with the incredible work that they do. In the meantime, here’s Lucy’s story.
I suffered from HG with my pregnancies, although I had no idea at the time it was a medical condition, nor did I know the name of it. I thought I was just unlucky, like my sister had been with her first child.
I suffered the entire pregnancy, with vomiting starting at 6 weeks +5. I was sick about twenty to thirty times a day and burst blood vessels all over my face, brought up blood, rotted my teeth, damaged my stomach and oesophagus, and sometimes wet myself I heaved so hard. Delightful!
The smell of my husband was enough to make me heave and the poor man had to eat in the garden most nights as the smell of food, or even the oven being on, would make me vomit. Somehow I struggled through work until the earliest opportunity I could take my maternity leave (this meant a lot of puking in the office bin!). Luckily I was on my own in the office a lot. If not, I’m sure I would’ve been soon enough.
The sickness did ease after about 20 weeks (I vomited about 10 times a day from then on) but it was still severe and then, to add to the trauma, I also had terrible SPD (Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction or PGP, Pelvic Girdle Pain). I used to cry and scream out in pain it was so bad, especially when I turned in bed at night. It was very lonely and isolating being so poorly and disabled. My husband worked extremely long hours (up to 70hrs, 6 days a week) so it was very difficult. My mum also worked full time and my sister lived far away at the time. Without the help of a couple of my lovely friends, who would do my shopping and take me out, I don’t know where I’d be!
I lost two stone during the pregnancy. I had also developed gestational diabetes and was injecting insulin with every meal and at bedtime. After it was diagnosed there was a lot of focus on the baby’s unborn size and weight. Luckily his birth weight was not a consequence of my diabetes, as it was so well controlled. His size did cause birthing complications though. Unfortunately he had shoulder dystocia and it was extremely scary for a while in labour as he was stuck and not breathing. Thankfully it ended well. My first son was born weighing a whopping 10lb1oz.
I got pregnant again when my son was only 4 months old. Everybody told me I would not get sick again.
“Hopefully it would be a different sex”
“Perhaps I didn’t give the ginger a good enough chance”.
“Perhaps you didn’t give the Cyclizine a good enough chance”
At 6 weeks +5, BOOM! The sickness started again. The first time round I hoped it would pass but this time I knew it wouldn’t. The whole pregnancy mirrored the last; the undiagnosed HG, the diagnosed gestational diabetes and SPD. My second son was born just before Christmas weighing 8lb3oz.
As every HG sufferer knows, the relief is SO amazing! Not only is it lovely to have your baby but just to feel normal again and not being sick all the time is THE best feeling ever!
Unfortunately most people don’t understand the awful experience of HG. Most think it’s just like normal morning sickness, a slightly worse or prolonged morning sickness, or any type of normal sickness actually, BUT I wish, with all my heart and every bone in my body people would really get it. It’s SO, SO very different to both of the above.
Imagine having a severe stomach bug or “normal” morning sickness just double, triple, more…. I wish there was a way it could be explained properly. When I think back (as most HG sufferers do with horrible flashbacks) I can only say; it can’t be right, or even ok, to be THAT sick for THAT long!! A serious sickness bug makes most people go to the doctors, some end up in hospital. Most bugs (and I’m talking severe stomach bugs here, puking 24/7) last what? 2-3 days, maybe a little more? Well how on earth can 150 days of severe sickness not do some serious damage to your body? And that’s just half way through a pregnancy, many (unfortunately most) women have HG that goes on through the ENTIRE pregnancy. That’s almost 300 days of being so very, very poorly. 🙁
It simply cannot be right!!
Lucy’s story is similar, if not identical to those who suffer from HG. Many feel isolated because of their sickness and constant nausea, many get hospitalised and, without treatment, are in life threatening situations. Thankfully there are people out there who’ll help. People who’ve got your back. However alone you may feel, you’re not alone.
Pregnancy Sickness Support
Pregnancy Sickness Support is the national charity that provides support to HG sufferers and their families through a telephone helpline, an online forum and a national support network.
The support network includes peer support from trained volunteers. Support is 1-2-1 by phone, text and email and is offered to women and their carers. All of the charity’s volunteers have been through the condition, have been interviewed, referenced and have been comprehensively trained in peer support. HG sufferers and their families can also receive support via the online forum on their website.
If you need information about the treatments, coping strategies and how to access appropriate medical help you can call the Pregnancy Sickness Support helpline on 024 7638 2020 or visit www.pregnancysicknesssupport.org.uk
Thanks for reading and please share this post to help raise awareness of #HGDay16.