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If only we could all cancel our engagements when we get HG

hyperemesis I’m slightly torn by the announcement by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge that they are expecting a second baby and that the Duchess is suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) again

On one side it is great that more people learn about this horrid, debilitating problem that hits a significant number of women in pregnancy

On the other side it doesn’t really help that the Duchess can just cancel everything she needs to

You see almost every other woman just has to struggle on and it is one thing coping with HG whilst being able to crawl into bed and stay close to a toilet to vomit into (I have fond memories of a week on holiday whilst pregnancy with Littlest where the highlight was that I could crawl to the toilet and then back to bed and sleep and that there was a lovely soft bath mat in the bathroom to lie on in between bouts of vomiting) and it is entirely another to try and carry on working, commuting, caring for small children whilst also keeping news of your pregnancy under wraps

I’ve had HG in all 3 of my pregnancies and it is vile

I had to carry plastic bags with me in case I couldn’t hold off vomiting whilst on the train or tube.  People cannot believe that a woman vomiting on the 7.31 train is anything other than hungover and your fellow commuters are not entirely supportive.  I’ve had to sit on the floor to try and avoid being sick and been lambasted for taking up more space than if I stood

I’ve had to find toilets on other floors to vomit in because co-workers have decided to chat on their phone in the loo and the cubicle walls are too thin to disguise even a very quiet throwing up

Yes, skills I have that I never thought I would need, I can throw up really quite quietly if I need to

I have lost around 15% of my bodyweight during each 1st trimester and struggled to eat more than the occasional slice of toast with the odd sip of water with cordial to try and stave off dehydration. I’ve failed to stay sufficiently hydrated and ended up in hospital on a drip

I have reached the point each time where if someone else suggests ginger or eating something before I get out of bed I’d have easily resorted to violence.  I tried every trick in the book and none of them really worked, the only solution was to take anti-emetic drugs and those only stopped me actually throwing up, they didn’t stop me feeling incredibly queasy

I have friends who have limited their family because they cannot face any more vomiting

For me one of the hardest things was reconciling a much wanted, deeply desired wonderful pregnancy with the relentless grim-ness of continually feeling sick and throwing up.  I wanted to enjoy and embrace my pregnancy but instead it made me feel horrible.  I never quite reached the point of wondering if not being pregnant might be better than facing another day but I came awfully close.  And that is hard, especially if you have struggled to get pregnant and have wanted nothing more than to be pregnant enough to be sick

So if you find out that a friend, relation, colleague or even just a green tinted lady on your commute has HG PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE be kind to her – avoid wearing strong smelling scents, smelly food or offering advice about eating ginger biscuits.  Please avoid saying that most people feel sick in early pregnancy or referring to it as morning sickness.  Please never say that you should be grateful because it is a good sign for the pregnancy (and it isn’t really I’ve miscarried after having my vomiting kicked in)

Instead offer sympathy, a sick bag and understanding.

Point them in the direction of the Pregnancy Sickness Support people  and people like me who have been there and survived


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