Besides Princess Kate (we go way back!), I have known four people who have suffered Hyperemesis Gravidarum during their pregnancy.
Yet, I still did not really know just how traumatic Hyperemesis Gravidarum can be for a woman to go through.
With permission, I am sharing one of my friend's experience of two pregnancies with Hyperemesis Gravidarum.
The following is her story in her own words:
I share my story, not for pity, but awareness and knowledge.
I have had two Hyperemesis Gravidarum pregnancies and as it, in most cases, worsens each time, we've taken steps to ensure I don't fall pregnant again as I can't bear to do it again!
With my first, I vomited multiple times a day, every day, for the whole pregnancy from week six. I needed rehydration three or four times and was on Ondansetron (an antiemetic generally reserved for Chemotherapy patients). I lost 14kg in those eight months. The constant dehydration lead to constipation and anal fissures.
I often sat most of the day in my hammock looking out the window, drained, talking to my baby belly.
I couldn't tolerate the sight or smell of many foods, including old favourites. I struggled to cook much at all and experienced motion sickness all the time.
Depression increased as I felt very alone in all of it and was unable to go to shops as couldn't tolerate the smell of meat, fragrances or food in general.
My daughter was born at 36 and 5 days for which I was partially grateful as I felt so exhausted and depleted! I even vomited during labour too!
It stopped a few days after she was born.
My first post pregnancy meal in hospital was roast turkey (something I previously disliked) but loved it and still do now.
I required outer fillings on many teeth as the acid from my vomits had eaten the enamel off my teeth too!
My second pregnancy was even worse.
I honestly didn't think it was going to come back.
I had forgotten how bad it was the first time, and so completely underrated the effect of having a young daughter (15 months old at the start) to keep up with while sick.
I vomited many times a day starting from week five. At its peak, I vomited 20 times a day.
This continued past 28 weeks, then decreasing until birth.
I was hospitalised for overnight drip and rehydrated in the Emergency Department 10 times.
My dehydration got so bad I constantly had ketones in my urine, my tongue swelled up so much I couldn't talk and they struggled to get canulas in my veins as they were so collapsed.
I had debilitating migraines, severe constipation and anal bleeding requiring constant laxatives and an enema (the pain from which I nearly passed out in hospital).
I had forced withdrawal from my antidepressants as I couldn't keep them down and I required early emergency dental work to again repair enamel erosion from all the acidic bile.
I couldn't stand most smells with even Facebook posts of food pictures made me vomit.
The motion sickness returned requiring me to lay down so often and causing me to very rarely go in my car. Sometimes it would be weeks on end without travelling in the car.
I lost 22kg.
At times, I lost my will to live and I cried pretty much every day.
At a point in my pregnancy I was tested for twins as doctors thought, from severity of vomiting, that maybe I had double the amount of pregnancy hormones.
I also had threatened preterm labor at 34 weeks requiring hospitalisation and medication to stop the contractions.
From that point on had eleven hour long uterine contractions more than four times a week until my son was born, spot on 40 weeks.
During this pregnancy I had such judgement from some midwives and nurses and was asked by a nurse in the Emergency Department if I really wanted my child, as it was probably a physical response to me psychologically wanting to abort it!!
They told me to reaffirm my bubba that I wanted it!!!
I was constantly told of the unknown effects the medications I needed to take could have on my unborn baby in a tone that suggested I had a choice in all of this.
I required those medications to be able to function at all.
I was pressured to take Ondansetron again (has a constipating side effect for me) and ended up so constipated it required medical intervention.
After the threatened preterm labor, I presented two more times for help at the antenatal assessment as my painful contractions were worsening and becoming prolonged.
My cervix wasn't involved anymore, just my uterus.
I was asked not to keep presenting and given a pre-booked appointment to see the psychiatric liaison nurse for anxiety!!!
Their treatment was so dismissive I then fought through the remaining two months of vomiting, regular painful contractions and abducting hips alone except for two prerequisite appointments, as I was too scared of what manner of treatment I'd receive from the nurses!
I recently required surgery to mend the damage from such severe constipation and the resulting fissures.
Looking back, it's no wonder I ended up postnatally in the Mother Baby Unit at hospital.
It was an awful experience and the daily guilt I felt at not being able to give my toddler the time and attention she needed was intense.
I will not repeat it!
It saddens me that the choice of having more children is dictated by Hyperemesis Gravidarum.
This is only just a part of my experience with Hyperemesis Gravidarum through two pregnancies.
It is NOT 'just' morning sickenss.
Have you experienced HG? Or know someone who has? What was your experience like?
Or maybe you have experienced other risks in pregnancy?
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