I got pregnant almost immediately after my husband and I spoke of starting our own family at the end of 2013. I knew I was pregnant when I took the test. We were so excited and decided not to tell family for a while because we were living with his parents and siblings.
At first it seemed nice to be pregnant, no real change. I had a small episode of nausea, and I thought, “oh that’s it?” and it passed. Then I started feeling unwell, weak, lethargic, and lost my appetite. I went for lunch with some work friends, one who was on maternity leave, and recall not eating much. Everything feeling like such an effort.
This is not normal
I got home that day and received a message from my friend who was on maternity leave asking if I was okay. I confided in her about how I really felt, and she admitted she could tell I was pregnant. She explained to me that I should go the hospital to be checked. Until we spoke, I had not even notice my urine was a different colour.
Our conversation that day saved my life. I went to the hospital, and they started an IV drip immediately, and the next day at 4 weeks pregnant I had my first scan to eliminate multiples. I thought I was going to have an easy and better pregnancy after this, but how wrong and naive I was.
I returned home and contacted work to say I needed time off. The next few days I was okay, but soon things started to get worse. The nausea quickly became full blown vomiting. What people, family or medical providers, do not realise is that HG vomiting is not as simple as vomiting and then you feel relief. In fact, it is vomiting with no stopping. I would start vomiting and then it would be non-stop until I would be admitted in hospital again to be given anti-sickness medications through an IV.
Lack of support
I didn’t receive the well-informed, educated care I should have for HG. My midwife was dismissive when I told her directly I have depression because every time I met her I ‘looked’ fine. My husband didn’t know how to help apart from forcing me to eat or crying with me every night when he got back from work. He didn’t understand that just opening my eyes was an achievement.
I would shower sitting down because I just didnt have the energy. I was so weak and frail that I couldn’t squeeze shampoo out of the bottle. Getting dressed and undressed was taxing. I wouldn’t leave my room or bed and didn’t want to talk to or see anyone. I eventually demanded an abortion from my husband. We went to see my GP who told me that it was just morning sickness and would pass by 5 months and to eat more. I left feeling so inadequate and selfish for not being able to do what others do so easily. I was referred to as the ‘weak one’ by family. I was so ashamed.
At 19 weeks, I had an episode of non-stop vomiting that was the worst of them all. I wasn’t eating or drinking and had lost over 2 stones. I started vomiting and continued all night until bile and acid were the only thing I could bring up. My husband took me to my GP, and I was put in a private room because I couldn’t sit up. My GP walked in and was shocked that this could happen in a space of a few days. I was sent to the hospital and admitted. The consultant at the hospital had treated me a few weeks earlier and was shocked at my drastic weight loss and instructed IV drip. I was given pain relief for the burning caused by the acid and bile.
I was originally prescribed anti-sickness tables, but my midwife had advised me not to use them as had women in the family. However, the day I left the hospital, I decided I couldn’t continue without treatment and started waking up 4 am to take my tablet. I was able to start eating food again and join pregnancy classes. I love food and not being able to eat or drink a drop of water was painful.
I was never diagnosed with HG because of the lack of education and knowledge regarding the illness, and I experienced prenatal and postnatal depression and delivered prematurely.
- Participate in HG research.
- Become an advocate.
- Make a gift to the HER Foundation.
- Share your story and support other HG moms.
- Become a HER Foundation volunteer.
- Blog about HG and show support for HER.
- Share resources with local health professionals and hospitals.
©2022 HER Foundation. All rights reserved.