Saturday, 19 July 2014

Hyperemesis Gravidarum - My Story

Hello Ladies

I've not written a blog post in quite a while but I thought that some of you may find my latest post useful.

I found out I was pregnant on 15th February this year, my husband and I were both over the moon. It's no secret that we have been trying for about 18 months and were starting to loose hope. So when the two little lines appeared on the pregnancy test stick we couldn't believe it!! In fact, we went out to Tesco straight away to buy 3 more tests - just to make sure the result was positive.

Fast forward to week 6, I started to be sick in the mornings, which was fine, morning sickness is all part of being pregnant and I was willing to embrace it all. Except it got worse.

From week 7 onwards I was struggling to keep anything down. The usual remedies such as ginger, peppermint tea and travel sickness bands did absolutely nothing. I went to the doctors and was prescribed Cyclazine tablets. The only problem was I couldn't keep them down long enough for them to work. A few days later I could barely get out of bed due to dehydration. My husband took me to the doctors and I was taken to hospital that night. My keytone levels were 1.9, they have to be at least 2 before they will agree to a intravenous drip to aid rehydration. They did however give me an injection of Cyclazine and after a few hours I was able to have a drink and something to eat and it stayed down!! It didn't last long though and I was back to being sick after every time I ate or drank anything.

Another trip to the hospital was needed, I could hardly walk I was so dehydrated!! This time they gave me the intravenous drip, a Cyclazine injection and I was admitted for the night. I started to feel much better after the first hour of being on a drip and was able to have something to eat.

This cycle of dehydration, Cyclazine injections/tablets and trips to the hospital continued until week 19 of my pregnancy. For most of this time I was stuck in bed, alone, with a bucket, trying to think positive. But it was hard. I felt as if I was ill not pregnant and I couldn't even bring myself to read the baby book I had bought months previously when we were trying to conceive. Getting through each day at a time was the only way I coped.

I have never felt so ill in my life, it's like having never ending food poisoning, I ached all over from retching so much, my stomach was constantly sore, I had horrendous constipation, my teeth hurt and I was getting nose bleeds. I was in bed for weeks and only left the house to visit the doctors or the hospital.  Even after I had stopped being sick I still found it hard to walk any long distances and climbing the stairs was a struggle, after spending so long in bed my muscles had reduced to nothing and I felt exhausted all the time.

When I had the strength I was desperately searching the HG forums trying to find out when it would end. Week 12 passed and I felt no better, then week 16 came and went with no sign of the sickness improving.  I kept thinking tomorrow I will feel better, tomorrow I will not be sick and one day, eventually, tomorrow came.

Around week 18 I started to notice a decrease in the number of times I was being sick a day, I was managing to keep some food down and I had stopped loosing weight. I then had a couple of sick free days until eventually I had gone a whole two weeks without being sick!! Finally it was over.

I'm still sick on the odd occasion now and I think this will probably continue throughout my pregnancy. But you know what? Being sick once every couple of weeks is a doddle compared to what it has been like.

I don't think anyone can really understand how horribly debilitating HG is without having gone through it themselves. Most people think it's just bad morning sickness and you should pull yourself together, if only it were that easy.

I couldn't have got through it without the support from my husband. He had to do everything, cook, clean, empty my sick bucket and even put me in the bath and wash and dry my hair. I know it was hard for him too and I can't thank him enough for supporting me.

For those of you who are suffering with HG now, I feel for you, it's absolutely awful.  There are a few things that helped me during those horrible dark weeks.

Medication
If you are prescribed anti sickness tablets make sure you take them at the same time everyday. If I was an hour late taking a tablet I would start to be sick straight away. I set my alarm for 4am each morning, took a tablet and then went back to sleep. When I woke up properly I had the medication in my system, this helped to reduce the need to be sick as soon I sat up in bed every morning.

Lucazade Sport with electrolytes
I literally lived of Lucazade, it's the only drink that I could sip and it would stay down. The electrolytes also help to keep me hydrated.  I think I would of had a lot more trips to the  hospital if I didn't have Lucazade.

Chew your food
When you can face eating a little something make sure you choose either really soft food or chew it really well. Chocking on your own vomit is no fun and it really hurts your throat.

Anti-acids 
Stock up on plenty on anti-acids. I really suffered with the amount of acid that came up when I was being sick. It felt like my throat was on fire. The only thing that would ease it a little was Gaviscone and Rennie anti-acids. 

Dental Hygiene 
I found it really hard to put anything in my mouth after I had been sick, let alone a tooth brush and as a result I have severely sensitive teeth. Try if you can to swill your mouth out with water. A mouthwash specially formulated for sensitive teeth would be better but if you can't manage that water will do. Stock up on toothpaste for sensitive teeth. My teeth were so painful that at one point I couldn't sleep with my mouth open.

What to eat?
When you can face a little something try high calorie foods such as milkshake, ice cream and cake.  I also used to have a little bit of banana. Jaffa cakes were good to eat too as they didn't taste too bad on the way back up!!

I hope that by sharing my story it has helped you feel a little bit more positive. I was very lucky that my HG ended when it did and I know from reading other blogs that my HG was not nearly as bad as what some women go through.

But remember you're not alone, there are thousands of women feeling exactly the same as you are right now.

There are some really good Facebook support groups that you could join.

Hyperemesis Survivor
HER Foundation
Pregnancy Sickness Support
Hyperemesis Gravidarum Sufferers and Survivors - this is a closed group so I couldn't find the link but just search for it once you're logged into Facebook

There is also the Pregnancy Sickness Support Group website that is full of useful information and has a helpline you can call. Mumsnet also have lots of good forums on HG.

Please feel free to ask me any questions in the comments section.

Take care,
Pippa

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