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10 Truths About Hyperemesis Gravidarum

morning sickness

Dear Kate,

Ok not really dear Kate as I don’t know you and you have no chance of actually reading this.However you have joined a very select group of women – less than 2% of pregnant women suffer this condition – what a privilege! Perhaps we need a badge or a secret handshake. I guess this post is really for anyone who is suffering. If you’ve been sick more than 6 times a day, can’t hold any food or liquids down at all and are losing weight rapidly then the chances are this is what you have.

I’ve been thinking a lot about that time in my life recently anyway and this being in the news has brought it all back. It was this time three years ago that I was feeling poorly, the Christmas lights remind me of it and the twins being the same age my eldest was then. It was, without doubt, the hardest months of my life. It’s so difficult having a little one and being so ill.

1. It is NOT morning sickness.

I had morning sickness with my first pregnancy – it was horrible. I was sick a couple of times a day and felt sick most of the rest of the time. Hyperemesis is constant sickness. I was sick if I ate, or drank or brushed my teeth, smelt a strong smell – it didn’t have to be food – cleaning products would trigger it too. The worse thing was I couldn’t look at food – even a picture – or think about it. Everything made me sick. I lost a stone in a week – felt incredibly weak, and could barely make it through the day. I looked like I was expecting a baby Vampire!

2. Traditional remedies DO NOT WORK!

I did try everything and it was pointless. Those remedies might work if you are a bit under the weather but not if you have hyperemesis. Nothing worked. In the end I was in hospital on a drip and  given anti sickness medication. My doctor’s were great and knew what it was straight away. I have heard of people getting sent away because they are told it’s just morning sickness.

3. Eating healthily is not always an option.

I was constantly told to eat healthy snacks – especially fruit. Well of course if I could have eaten fruit there wouldn’t have been an issue. I think the key is to eat anything. I tended to go for dry cereal if I could eat anything. really I survived for two months on boiled sweets and Werthers Originals. I’m not saying that is what you should but it’s incredibly annoying to be told to eat a nice banana when even the word makes you heave.

4. Keep trying to find the right dose of medication.

I was worried about taking drugs during pregnancy – very worried, but it was the right thing to do. I kept trying different doses until they found one which worked. in the end I was taking a combination of three different anti sickness pills. I still felt awful and had to eat small meals but it was more like normal morning sickness. It was controllable and I didn’t go into hospital again after that.

5. Hyperemesis can mean you are expecting multiples.

Yup I have twins. Yup that’s why I had extreme morning sickness. Yup it was a complete and utter shock! I knew something was different from my first pregnancy and when I looked up the symptoms on the computer the first thing it says was about twins. Of course not everyone suffering has twins – some people have it every pregnancy.

6. It often passes after about 20 weeks

I was lucky. After about twenty weeks I started to feel better and so gradually came of the medication. I felt so much better. I know people who are sick the whole way through their pregnancy, at least I had a couple of months of feeling alright.

7. It does not always affect your babies

Once my initial feelings for myself were over I started to worry for the babies. I was eating nothing and felt awful – it seemed impossible that they were getting any nutrition from me. However they were growing fine and I didn’t need to worry.  Sometimes hyperemesis can lead to small babies – but the twins were both over six pounds and healthy weights for single babies let alone twins.

8. Hyperemesis Causes Depression

You feel so very tired. so drained of all life. I just wanted to curl up in the corner and go to sleep. It is very hard to function when you haven’t eaten anything and it seems like it won’t end. The worst part is you are feeling like this at what is supposed to be the happiest moment of your life. Everyone was congratulating me yet I was feeling the worst I had ever felt in my life.

9. Get help

It is very hard especially if you have little ones as well. You need help as much as possible, especially when it comes to cooking – it’s nearly impossible to shop or cook when you have hyperemesis as the thought of food makes you sick.

10. It’s Worth It

For me it was worth it. I have two amazing daughters who were healthy and strong. Yes it was the worst, worst time in my life – but the end result is pretty amazing. I feel so lucky that I was in this country in this century with access to amazing medical care which meant I survived. In different circumstances I’m not sure I would have. Would I go through it again – hell no!

baby twins cuddling

So Kate, or anyone else reading this who has extreme morning sickness – I really feel for you. It’s such a horrible thing to have – but there are other people in the same situation. I suppose the really good thing about it is that there is an end date – I have heard of a few people who are still sick a few weeks after the birth – but that is rare – even then you will soon have a lovely bundle of joy who will suction off your energy in a whole different way – and how you are feeling now will just be a distant (though horrible) memory)

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Look here for more posts about twins 

Look here for a post about twin pregnancy  and hyperemesis gravidarum 

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