"18 June 2008 at 23:43
So, so many people have asked me why I haven't blogged my pregnancy. Aren't I excited? I write about so many other things - why not this?
Well the truth is, it hasn't been blooming marvellous at all.
I have a condition/illness called HYPEREMESIS GRAVIDARUM. Its a rare illness associated with pregnancy that causes constant severe nausea and vomiting. No, it isn't morning sickness so don't ask me that again. If you've had it - you know how debilitating it can me and you know I am not exaggerating or making up it.
It doesn't just happen in the morning. It doesn't just 'stop' after 12 weeks like 'normal' morning sickness. It isn't kept at bay by ginger or crackers or whatever home remedy or old wives tale you've heard works for morning sickness. You need DRUGS. Strong ones. Anti-emetics that stop you vomiting (but don't stop you feeling like you need to vomit)!
How bad is it? I spend most of my day knackered, exhausted from puking, my throat is sore... sometimes I have sharp pain behind my navel from where I've wrenched my stomach muscles from vomiting so much. I have headaches. I am constantly hungry - but I can't eat cos I feel so ill/I just vomit after I eat - what a waste.
It started at 5 weeks. I started vomiting on my trains to and from work. I thought I had gastro or an ear infection. Eventually pregnancy was confirmed: yay I thought - not knowing what torment was in store.
The train thing was just the beginning; I started having SEVERE motion sickness. I couldn't get to work; I couldn't go over speed humps or around roundabouts or turn corners in any car without puking or having the overwhelming urge to puke. 7 times out of 10 I'd have to swallow my vomit so I wouldn't soil my clothes and car - I'd dive into the house to chuck up. By week 7 I could no longer leave the house.
I lay in bed and vomited into what would become my closest friend. Mr Grey (the mop bucket) and when he was out of commission (being soaked in bleach by the faithful husband), there was Mrs Plastic Bag and Mrs Empty Container... and if I couldn't grab those in time - then Mr Carpet got it in the face.
How do I explain to you how bad it is? Movement is my enemy. At its peak, you cannot touch me or the bed, even the motion of my husband (HRH) getting in and out of bed or my daughter sitting down on the mattress next to me to wipe my forehead would set off a fit of vomiting. So many times I screamed and yelled at them to keep still/go away/ stop bouncing... I was/am a right dragon! God only knows how and why they still love me... sometimes I wonder if they'll bundle me up in my sleep and throw me over those famous white cliffs...
Before I got the drugs, I would wake up in the middle of the night to vomit. I slept propped up to avoid the bile rising back up into my throat. Actually - I still have to sleep with my head high...
I was (and often still am) soooooo miserable!
I can't eat. Or rather - I am severely limited in what I can eat and how much. These past 2 weeks I have been surviving on fruit. Small plums and nectarines. Maybe 2 or 3 a day or a handful of cherries. That's usually it. Oh and maybe later on I can have a small bowful of rice or 10 chips (I can never swallow more than 10 and keep it down). Anything more comes right back up. Half a cup of soup usually stays down... Did I mention I am usually hungry?
Happily I can drink water again. Before week 12, water was disgusting to me. However, soda water (which was disgusting to me before) stayed down one weekend when I was seriously dehydrated. I can't stand it now.
One week I survived on dialyte. Another time I could only nibble pieces of lettuce. I can no longer drink tea (any kind). Ginger DOES NOT WORK.
I was thinking about food the other (always hungry but cant keep food down) and I started listing all the things I could no longer eat: bran bread, malted bread; seeded bread; shredded wheat, weetabix; fruit n fibre; special K - okay most cereals except porridge; sugar! I can't eat anything with sugar in it - even half a teaspoon is too sweet and results in vomit; chicken korma, curry; pizza (although that's an odd one because one night I did have a craving for it and it stayed down - thanks babe); milk, fruit juice of any kind (too sweet), roti. lasagne... that's just SOME stuff, otherwise I'll be here all night.
Some days half a slice of toasted white bread stays down... other days you can forget it. Rice pudding stays down most days and porridge (sometimes) but you can get bored of eating/trying to eat the same bland food day after day but of course, I shouldn't moan cos if nothing stayed down ever - I'd be hospitalised.
Yes, I've had several trips to A&E to be rehydrated but I have been lucky, unlike other women with this condition, I haven't had to be hospitalised. And my employers have been patient and supportive, I was dead to them for 5 weeks with this illness and since then I've had to work from home since I still can't get the trains! I am grateful for the grace I've been given.
I think the hardest bit of all this is people not understanding what the hell I'm going through. I am not exaggerating how bad it is - in fact I've left loads out cos I can't sit here all night.
I'm fed up of people saying:'oh it'll be over soon. 12 weeks right?' ... HELLOOOOOOO - I am 4 months pregnant - that's 16 weeks, it aint over yet. And guess what? It could go on for as long as I am pregnant. I can totally understand why some women with this condition cannot carry their children to term - as I said before though, I thank God that I've had the grace and strength to continue - but I don't think I could do this again - so this is my last child.
I'm fed up of people saying: 'have you tried ginger?', 'eat crackers', 'try dry toast' - what do you think I've been doing? They don't work.
I really hate when people hear I'm at home and think I'm larking about or putting it on. Its not as simple as mind over matter. tell that to the gentleman whose shoes I barfed over on the train last time I tried that willpower thing.
On the bright side - aint nothing wrong wid the baby. Hyperemesis Gravidarum affects the mother not the child - the baby feeds off whatever mummy can keep down and whatever reserves she's had stored up before she got ill. Mummy's the one in misery.
So far I have dropped from just under 8.5 stone (pre- pregnancy) to 7.5 stone.
Thanks girls for understanding. Thanks to all my prayer partners for your support.
Hopefully this gives you all a bit more insight, for those of you who'd like to know more: try
There's also this NBC video report: http://www.youtube.com/wat
Thanks for listening.