Thursday, April 21, 2011

You just don't do it again....

I read this article in the Daily Mail (I know... I know...) today and instantly I felt angry, and sad, and concerned and  I suppose bereaved a little bit.

This article is about a woman who has hyperemesis - not morning sickness - but hyperemesis. Surprisingly I would say the majority of people, even women, don't know what Hyperemesis (Also known as HG) is. It's not morning sickness - it's not cured with a ginger nut biscuit, or a Rich Tea (but thanks for offering). It's full on.It's vomiting multiple times a day. It's feeling nauseous. It's vomiting blood because your innards are in shreds. It's dehydration. It's weakness. It's feeling like you have a parasite inside you and not being able to fully appreciate the baby you are growing. It's horrendous. It makes you have horrible thoughts. It drove me to the brink... it's NOT MORNING SICKNESS

Readers of the blog will know I suffered from HG when I was pregnant with Cara. And I'll be the first to put my hand up and say my condition was pretty low end compared to some people. I had one three day hospitalisation. I took daily medication. I threw up every day. In one week I lost 11lbs through dehydration alone. And that was at the lower end of the HG spectrum.

While all that was going on I had to work, I had to care for my then four year old (who became so used to his mammy being sick he would rub my back for me). I had to try and keep my sanity. What I put my husband through in those nine months was horrendous and I'm amazed he didn't walk out. I cried. I suffered panic attacks. I prayed for an early delivery even though it would have been harder for my baby. When a msicarriage threatened earlier on I spent a good amount of time wondering if it would be a good thing because this was the most horrible physical and emotional experience of my life.

When my daughter was born, (five days early, mercifully) she was healthy as could be. I stopped being sick as soon as she was delivered (after throwing up violently throughout her delivery). I still feel physically sick whenever I'm anxious. It takes very little now to make me ill but we are both fine and happy and I'm a very contented mammy. She was worth it.

But would I do it again? Not a chance. My pregnancy and HG is the primary reasons I will never have any more children. Even if I won the Lotto and could afford to be at home and raise them all in a luxurious, yummy mummy fashion (my other stumbling blocks to motherhood) I wouldn't do it.
I could not put myself through it. I could not put my husband through it. Or my children. Or my family. I could not countenance ever willingly doing that it myself or any of us again - so I won't.

Do I grieve over that decision? Some times. Generally speaking I feel done. I feel lucky. I have two healthy children - one of each flavour -and they are a delight to me. Some times though I get that urge - that maternal feeling - that urge to hold my own baby. The biggest high I ever had in my life was when my daughter was put on my chest after a wonderful delivery. I'd love to relive that moment.
But I cannot relive the 9 months which preceded it. Still, I am grieving for the glowing pregnancy I never had. My first pregnancy was marred with antenatal depression and I was determined to enjoy the second... well, that never happened.

I could never risk it again. And I don't understand how the lady in the article can keep going, with two terminations under her belt, knowing what the risks are. Some times the best decision is to just stop - you don't do it again. I hope she finds the peace to make that decision herself.


Rebecca Brown said...

Excellent post. I am almost exactly the same boat - after HG with both of my children I've decided not to have any more although I originally wanted at least 3. I just can't put myself and more importantly my family through it. I remember my little boy (then 2) screaming every time mummy went to hospital again.

It is SO important that doctors are taught about HG. Its effects are profound, especially psychologically - as that woman in the article found, being driven to abort and later regretting it for example. And it is so easy to dismiss as "just morning sickness" - I was disgusted by some of the attitudes I found. But it is treatable - I tried three different medications last time to find the one that worked.

Well done for such a great post, I hope more people read it and realise what a serious issue it is.

Clodagh said...

Excellent post, Claire.

I had never heard of this conditiion until a good friend of mine had it. She was very sick, spent a large part of her pregnancy in hospital, and booked a termination at one stage. She didn't go through with the abortion, which, of course, she is very glad about now as she has a son whom she adores. But equally she would never risk having another.

I agree with you - sometimes you just have to stop and move on. There is something to be said for acceptance.

Sharon Owens said...

Hi Claire,

I had this with Alice 18 years ago and I nearly died of malnutrition. I began vomiting on day 3 of the pregnancy and didn't stop until they did an emergency C-section two weeks short of my due date, after a 6-hour transverse labour which left me unconscious with pain and fatigue. I lost 42 lbs and was anaemic for 3 years after - I could hardly stay awake, let alone work, and to cap it all every working mum I knew called me A LADY OF LEISURE. I did have HG - it was on my medical notes!!!

I understand - I couldn't face another pregnancy - especially with my Alice to care for.

Much love, Sharon xxx

Fionnuala said...

I had HG with my second pregnancy - needless to say it was my last.
I remember a real low when I snuck onto the first class bit of the train going to work one morning - only way I could get a seat - and promptly barfed onto the man's lap opposite me. Awful, just dreadful. I used to carry sick bags with me but often didn't have time to rummage for them.
Strangely, people DO forget the pain of childbirth, otherwise the human race could not continue BUT I will NEVER forget those months of constant puking. NEVER.
Besides, like others, I couldn't have changed my mind because I valued my marriage too much...

Fionnuala said...

One more point - I wonder is it anything to do with girls? All the women who posted here about having HG gave birth to girls!

Gillian McDade said...

Thank you Claire for highlighting this. I will retch and vomit up to 20 times a day. Mine has completely floored me and most days I am unable to sit up. If anyone mentions ginger biscuits I will start dry retching. A few weeks ago I injured my back vomiting and couldn't walk for a week. This is NOT MORNING SICKNESS. This is NOT 'a wee bit of nausea!' I find fizzy drinks help a lot as does Cyclizine. 109 days to go.... Thanks again Claire xx

Claire said...

Thanks all..
Ah, it's the pits. I'd give birth twenty times over with no pain relief than experience it again.

Yes, cyclizine eventually helped me - it made it bearable.

As for unfortunate boking incidents - the publishers dinner was my finest example. Or indeed the airplane incident.

Áine x said...

Great article Claire, I am a gynaecology nurse and OFTEN looked after ladies with 'proper' hyperemesis who were admitted time and time again. It is so not a nice thing to have (i was very lucky and didn't suffer with my 2 boys) It is mostly seen with ladies who are carrying girls and is, strangely, seen as a good sign that all is ok! It is also seen in multiple pregnancies (all to do with the increase of hormones) I completely sympathise with all ladies that have it and I have also known ladies have terminations because of it. It's a shame that it has put you all off of having more babies but 9 months is a long ling time!

laura said...

Well done for highlighting Hyperemesis Claire. I remember training as a nurse and I did my last placement on Gynae and I used to see mums coming in with it and how awful they felt and hoping that I would never, ever be in their shoes. Sister Doherty used to shout at us to starve them until they were really hungry and then give them dry toast, god love her. When I found out I was pregnant with my daughter it was a week before we went to Hong Kong and Bangkok and the sickness started just before we went. I used to call it morning, noon and night sickness as it was so debilitating. Three weeks in the far east, all that lovely food and me not able to eat it, living on plain rice and toast, with all the little old Thai ladies shouting at me about drinking too much whiskey, I wish! Trying to explain it was because of a baby was difficult without a bump to show for it! Thank God for the global availability of Sprite! The journey back was awful, at least someone had the forethought to put marble floors in Dubai airport where I lay trying to cool myself. Arriving back, I was taken by ambulance to the hospital with HG, the first of many admissions. The following 22 weeks saw me contemplate suicide, abortion and killing the next insensitive git who said that it was only morning sickness! Only someone who has been through it can understand how it makes you feel, it saps every last ounce of energy from your body and mind and I lost two stone in total. I swore I would never get pregnant again after it, as the pregnancy was spoiled, I felt cheated and robbed of the blooming pregnancy always dreamed of! That and having to suffer the indignity of boking over a rack of clothes in New Look and anytime I smelt food cooking. I became a support mum for other sufferers through a website and I have heard so many stories similar to all these here. People don't know what it is and they don't understand it, you never forget it if you've had it, but when you see them growing up, somehow it makes it all worthwhile x

Sharon Owens said...

Good point - I forgot to say that HG does not mean the baby is in distress. Hard to believe but after eating nothing but ice-cold pale-red strawberries (literally all I could stomach) and sugary tea, my Alice was a whopping 9 pounds, healthy as a trout, and had the longest legs on record at the RVH. I was honestly at death's door but Alice was fine. If it wasn't for my husband waiting on me hand-and-foot during the pregnancy and for 3 years afterwards I'd have died, I think.

I also have bad PMS - so bad I get panic attacks - and agony-pains in my KNEES of all places.

ROLL ON THE MENOPAUSE, I say!!! The hot flushes will be nothing to me.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...