Written by Sarah Taylor for her blog, Mama And Jaiden.
I thought I would do a little post all about my HG (hyperemesis gravidarum) pregnancy as most people don’t even know what HG is, which I didn’t either until I was diagnosed with it at 7 weeks.
Around one thousand HG sufferers terminate their pregnancies every year due to not being able to cope and not having the support.
I was 6 weeks pregnant when I had my first ‘episode’ (not really sure what to call it!) it was the first time I had felt ‘morning sickness’ but I gradually got worse as the day progressed. We assumed I had food poisoning as the night before we had been out with friends for dinner, keeping our little bump a secret and being ‘the designated driver’ to stop anyone forcing alcohol down my throat.
By the next day I felt no better and I hadn’t kept water down for 12 hours, so we ended up calling 111 who immediately sent us a paramedic. He put me on anti-sickness tablets and gave me advice that followed me all through my pregnancy and means nothing to someone with HG – drink lots of water, ice cubes, ice lollies & keep eating; especially ginger! This got repeated to me almost daily by different doctors, nurses and midwives. Of course at first I followed their advice and threw up constantly. I lived in my bed day in day out, as moving too quickly or the slightest smell of food would set me off. We started to learn certain times and triggers that would make me sick – something as little as hearing someone walk up the stairs made me sick, a car driving up the driveway! Silly things that Ross noticed but he was right.
At 10 weeks I met with a midwife for our first booking appointment, she spent the first half of our appointment telling me that aborting our baby would be for the best as I was incredibly poorly already. Of course, I didn’t, and by the time we finished our second appointment a couple of weeks later I had changed midwives.
My biggest advice to any pregnant ladies is to change midwives if you’re unhappy with them, it’s meant to be such a special exciting time. And if you’re not gelling with one, just ask your hospital for contact details of another. It was definitely the best thing I did!
Everyone told me by 12 weeks I wouldn’t be sick anymore it would pass – it didn’t so the time frame extended to 18 weeks, then 20, 22. I ended up going through 8 different anti-sickness tablets by the time I was 20 weeks pregnant which wouldn’t ever stay down. The guilt of taking so many tablets really played on my mind, no one ever knew for sure if I was harming my baby. But not taking them meant I had no strength to carry on with the pregnancy let alone live a ‘normal’ life. I became depressed and anxious, I was bed bound and no one knew when it would stop, I had to live each day as it came, I couldn’t think ahead, I couldn’t picture our baby being in our arms because that felt too distant, I wasn’t sure when our next hospital trip would be or the next time I’d be laying next to the toilet crying for help because I was too weak to move and begging to be admitted to hospital.
The problem with going to the hospital was no one believed what I was going through, I was treated like the girl who couldn’t control ‘morning sickness’. I would throw up constantly and was used as a pin cushion, to get rid of my ketones, but still, I was just that girl with morning sickness that she couldn’t control. Even though I was diagnosed doctors/nurses/midwives didn’t know what to do with me and would just send me home the next day with a bag full of mixed medication in the hope something would work and they wouldn’t see me again.
I lived solely off angel delight and yoghurts for around 3 months and ended up losing 2 stone in my second trimester. Our baby was measuring small, and I was being scanned and monitored every fortnight.
By 26 weeks my sickness had completely gone, but I was addicted to my anti sickness tablets through anxiety, I was petrified of coming off them, petrified of being bedbound again. I had lost my confidence to go out because I was so terrified of throwing up in front of people. Even sitting in my kitchen at home built up my anxiety, I constantly thought I was going to be sick and would sit by the toilet just in case. I took my mind of it, by gradually thinking about our baby, a little baby boy that I struggled to be excited about. A baby we had longed for yet I couldn’t be excited about, another thing I felt incredibly guilty for and still do. I wasn’t able to enjoy pregnancy, but for around 5 weeks, I did, I was able to go shopping for him and actually get excited for our baby to join us in less than 3 months.
During the time my HG eased, I became obsessed with ice cubes and had insane headaches and fatigue. I had become anaemic, which meant I had to take iron tablets to build back up my red blood cells, but taking the tablets came with side effects: sickness being the main one. And of course I was sick. After 6 weeks of back and forth, different tablets, syrups and sent home with lists of food. I was eventually booked in for an iron transfusion. Which looks like Coca Cola syrup being pumped into your veins. Gross! Typically, the transfusion did nothing. We accepted nothing in my pregnancy was going to go well, which was probably for the best, we were then never shocked when things went wrong.
At 38 weeks I then ended up in the early stages of pre-eclampsia, with my placenta starting to fail. along with being anaemic, following that HG returned with a vengeance. I had my usual Friday midwife appointment where I was admitted to hospital once more, after spending the day being checked over and sent home with more tablets and an appointment to be induced on the Tuesday. Luckily I ended up in labour early hours of Saturday morning and welcomed our baby boy Jaiden Isaac Beaumont into the world early hours Sunday morning!
There is a 90% chance if you’ve had HG before you will have it with your next pregnancy.
One of the hardest things is thinking if we’re ever pregnant again, this is all so likely to happen again and I couldn’t bear to miss out on 9 months of Jaiden’s life.
A huge thank you to Ross and my mama for supporting me every step of the way. For taking it in turns to sit next to me whether in the toilet or my bedside.
Thank you for reading & I hope this has given a little insight to HG!