by Georgia (@_georgiamaud)
Georgia suffered with Hyperemesis Gravidarum. Here she writes honestly and relatably about her HG pregnancy experience and the physical and mental burden.
Have a baby they said, you’ll glow they said, but I didn’t…
My glow was more a shade of pond green algae. It’s amazing how early on you just know inside that everything’s about to change. For me, it was in a manic dash to open the toilet lid before I puked down myself. Little did I know, this was just the start. It wasn’t long before we had to replace the living room rug because I’d thrown up on that too.
On the 18th January 2021 we found out that I was pregnant. We were elated and our family and friends were so happy for us too. As I found myself glued to the bathroom floor, unable to even sip water, I thought “this is just how it must be.” I felt like I had the worst hangover (and I don’t even really drink) or chronic food poisoning. My ‘morning sickness’ lingered 24 hours a day. In the first 6 weeks of pregnancy I lost 5kg in weight and lost count of the number of times I visited the hospital.
Pregnancy is supposed to be a magical, glowy time but for the 1% of women unlucky enough to have Hyperemesis Gravidarum (yes, that thing Kate Middleton had) it quickly becomes simply about survival.
HG is classed as a ‘complication’ of pregnancy. Usually the hormone that causes classic nausea or morning sickness symptoms drops at the end of the first trimester. With HG, it continues well into the second and often the third trimesters and can be completely chronic and debilitating. I was often told not to worry about being sick because “it means you’re having a healthy pregnancy” but that didn’t settle my mind at all.
My sickness didn’t abate until at least week 38. In a single week I’d visit the hospital at least 4 times for IV fluids to treat dehydration and the cocktail of medication I was on did little to relieve brutal sickness. It seemed like other women were adoringly cradling their bumps whilst I was vomiting blood and struggling to keep water down. My only glow was made up of sweat and tears.
As well as the condition itself, I was exhausted from constant trips back and forth to the doctors, referrals and new medications. I was worried about whether it would have an impact on my growing baby but there didn’t seem to be any support to discuss this.
On one particularly bad night I cried on the bathroom floor and almost wished I wasn’t pregnant anymore. I felt like the worst mother in the world for even thinking that. I ended up in A&E that night – alone, thanks Covid restrictions – after vomiting blood. I lay across the plastic chairs in triage and felt like a wreck. This must be the bottom, I thought. I have nothing left to give.
When I came home I found SICK by Amy Schumer. It’s a documentary that follows her tour whilst she also battled HG. Watching this provided so much comfort. She was open and honest and witty too and I could relate to almost all of it. When I tried to tell people about my sickness they would suggest endless well-meaning but unhelpful lists: try ginger, wear travel bands, eat plain food, suck on mints…I didn’t know Amy personally but I finally felt like someone understood.
I spent the rest of my pregnancy on a countdown. Not like most women do, but rather a tally of how many more weeks I’d have to survive like this for. Amongst the sickness I also had an iron transfusion and many a growth scan; I was barely eating and constantly worried that I wasn’t growing the baby properly as a result. It was only of the most lonely times of my life; not once was my fiance allowed to come in with me due to the pandemic restrictions. He’d sit and wait outside the hospital into the early hours.
In the lead up to the birth, everyone kept telling me how I’d forget all about HG as soon as the baby arrived. How wrong they were! I fell in love with my daughter but my pregnancy trauma didn’t just vanish as she arrived and 5 months on, I’m still dealing with it. I’m overwhelmed by people already asking me how soon we’ll “have another”. It’s a question that haunts me and makes me feel as though I need to prove myself every time I say that I don’t think I could go through being that unwell again.
I wanted to share my story, however rough and raw, because you’re not a bad mum if you didn’t love your pregnancy. Oh, and please don’t ever tell a woman going through a HG pregnancy to try ginger.
Support for a HG Pregnancy
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