Hyperemesis Gravidarum


The faces that made it all worth it! (Also,the subject matter for this post is not pretty so you don't want a picture of that!)

Hyperemesis Gravidarum
Have you tried a ginger biscuit, Hun?

Before you read on, here is a warning: I am going to write about my experience of HG and things that triggered it. When I was suffering with this I found that hearing or reading about other people's triggers made me feel sick and I’d often find new things that triggered my sickness. 

I had HG during both of my pregnancies. I know, lucky me, right? Not everyone gets it for every pregnancy though, and some get it worse during one pregnancy than others. Mine was slightly less severe the second time.

My first experience of it was when I was defrosting the freezer around 10 weeks pregnant. It had been left slightly open and the food needed to be thrown away. I remember piling all of this meat up in the bin and it not quite fitting in. I’m a veggie so the smell of meat is not up they're in my favourite aromas anyway. So, as I was trying to get it all to fit in I squashed the rubbish down and got a face full of the most foul smell I've ever known. I was immediately sick and that was the floodgates open. I was sick every day for the next several months.

My sense of smell was so strong, almost like a really horrible super power. Food was one of the worst smells. I used to hold my breath when I opened the fridge and cleaned it so many times, but the smell wouldn't go. At work, we had a big walk in food store which was awful to go inside. I tried to avoid it whenever I could. 

But HG starts quite early on in pregnancy, not everyone at work knew yet and so coming up with excuses not to do smelly jobs without looking like I was just being lazy was hard. In my second pregnancy the sickness wasn’t as severe but it started around 8 weeks. I was in a different job, working with students who were not allowed to eat or drink in classrooms. I was sat there with my boiled sweets, dry crackers and orange squash getting strange looks from annoyed students. I couldn't drink plain water though. I constantly had a bad taste in my mouth and water seemed to take on that flavour. Imagine drinking bad breath. Yuk.

The only smell I liked was vapour rub.  It’s quite a strong smell so it cancelled out a lot of the other things. I had a little tub of Vicks that I sat and sniffed or rubbed on my wrists whenever there was a smell I couldn’t avoid. I remember late night googling “can you overdose on Vicks?” 

It want just me who was affected by HG, my whole household had to revolve around me. Cat food was another of my triggers so my poor cats had to put up with having their feeding schedule changed until I was in bed. This was usually about 8pm, but still. 

Although, to say I had a bedtime in the early months of my first pregnancy is not quite truthful as I was very rarely out of bed. I stayed in my room with the door shut avoiding anything and anyone that smelt. I had to run to the toilet every time I needed to be sick, then shut myself back inside my little bubble. 

One of the most annoying things about HG is other people’s opinions. A lot of people seem to think you are just being over dramatic and that it’s just a bit of morning sickness. I had my babies after Kate Middleton had hers, and was admitted to hospital for HG. Apparently, that makes it fashionable. Please don’t tell any pregnant woman you meet that their HG is fashionable, or that it’s just one of those things that this generation get that others didn’t. All very unhelpful. 

There is no miracle cure for HG. You may or may not get prescribed medicine, that may or may not work! When I was admitted for it I was given anti sickness injections and put on a drip and it was the best I felt during those early months. Lots of people will tell you that eating ginger biscuits will help, but it won’t.

Some things that may be useful if you suffer:
Eat what tastes best coming back up. Sounds disgusting, but if you know that you are going to be sick don't eat acidic or tomato-ey foods
Drink as much as you can. You've got to try and stay hydrated. Easier said than done I know. I drank lemonade or orange squash, until the heartburn set in and I switched to milk.

The foods that you would usually avoid with an upset stomach, like milk and dairy, might not make you sick with HG. I found that these were the foods that didn't burn when I was sick afterwards. I also ate plain jacket potato a lot.

Rest if you can. Find someone who will wait on you and not get offended if you throw up the dinner they just cooked. 

Get some proper, medical help if you need it. You can get seriously dehydrated and unwell so don’t just accept that this is a part of pregnancy. I was admitted to hospital and put on a drip twice and it gave me such relief. I was not sick once with that drip in my arm, if they would have let me take it home and be permanently attached to it I would have dragged that magical liquid around with me everywhere. 

Remember that you’re not alone. There's some great support available from people who understand from specialist forums, or just chatting to other mums who have been there. And if you're stuck for someone to talk to you can always try me!