Hyperemesis – A survivor’s pregnancy diary

A personal account of how one mum-to-be got through severe morning sickness that lasted throughout her pregnancy

Note: Before you read this, I would like to say that everyone’s experience of hyperemesis is different, as is everyone’s pregnancy. I had some good and bad advice and I think the challenge is to pick out what works for you. For more about the condition go to Hyperemesis Gravida – The Low-down.

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Week 5
Monday
After feeling slightly queasy all morning I bought a pregnancy test on the way home, and guess what, I’m pregnant! The pregnancy test that promised accurate results even before my period didn’t work, and so without much hope two weeks later I tested again and much to my surprise it was positive – I thought they were all reliable…

Tuesday
The nausea has started to kick in already but not just in the morning, all through the day. It’s going to be tricky to hide it at work when I have to dedicate quite a lot of my working day to deep breathing and nibbling biscuits with an eye on the loo door!

The weekend
Thankfully the weekend has arrived. I can’t believe I feel so rough and am feeling quite wretched with the constant nausea. I took it easy all weekend though and am now dreading the coming week and having to get up for work, seeing as on Sunday I almost fainted on the way to the bathroom! 
People who know so far…

– The health shop assistant who I begged to give me something to help the nausea
– Two nurses at NHS Direct
– The supermarket checkout lady – had to explain my bizarre behaviour when I ripped open some jelly at the checkout 
– The shop assistant at a book shop where we bought a few pregnancy books

Week 6
I had to tell my boss this week that I might need some time off. I hated having to reveal that I was pregnant before the 12 week mark but I saw no alternative as I was feeling so ill and couldn’t get to work. He was very understanding though which was a big relief. My other colleagues think that I’ve picked up a strange bug during my recent trip to the Amazon! 

Started seeing an acupuncturist who is experienced with pregnancy-related issues and suffered from hyperemesis herself. Apart from the treatment, it’s great to chat about it to someone who has been there.

Week 7
I couldn’t write a diary for a few weeks as I felt so ill and was concentrating on deep breathing and dashes to the loo instead. 

My GP saw all this as ‘normal’ although he booked an appointment for me three days in a row to check my fluid intake each day. By this stage, I was drinking only half a glass of water a day although bizarrely I could nibble food. On the third appointment my partner drove me to the surgery and insisted that the doctor speak to the hospital to see if we could have some tests done to check I wasn’t dehydrated. 

It’s a shame that you have to push them on this but trust your instinct as you know your body better than they do. Once at hospital they admitted me straight away and told me that my ketone level had been very high (a sign of starvation) which didn’t surprise me as I had lost a stone already.

I was in hospital for 5 days on a drip and a course of anti-emetics (drugs to control the nausea) administered mainly through injections in the bum (actually quite painful) and orally (even worse as it involved swallowing water!). 

I started feeling so much better by the end of my stay and would definitely recommend this route to anyone. Although hospital doesn’t seem like a good alternative to being at home, it was such a relief to let the drip do the work and have effective drugs that could control some of the nausea.

Week 8 and 9
Recovery begins! My eating has improved and although I am on very bland foods and snack every hour, I’m almost eating as much as normal. The problem is still drinking and my top tip is hot chocolate (the hospital actually recommended this) as it’s the only thing I can drink without wanting to throw it back up. I am continuing to go to acupuncture and am having a few better days (one when the nausea went for a few hours – wow!) but still a few shockers too; when you feel instantly down that you’re not improving.

My top tips for keeping nausea at bay and keeping hydrated

Eat every hour – a biscuit, cracker, bit of fruit, whatever you find suits you 
Drink hot chocolate – make it with water so it contributes to your fluids
Have soup every day – I water it down as well
Hot food – it just seemed to be easier on my stomach than cold food
Eat watery fruit – grapefruit, melon, etc.
If you feel really sick have more than a snack if you can; a sandwich or something high in carbs (my favourite is a cheese toasty)
If you feel sick during the night or first thing in the morning – nibble a biscuit before you get out of bed and wait 20 mins before getting up
Try acupuncture – if you feel bad, you’ll try anything and I do think it has worked for me

Week 10
Ah, it’s so nice to be in double figures – I never thought I would get here alive! 

I’ve come to stay with my Mum for a change of scene and to get away from the smells in the house. My sense of smell is so sensitive that I couldn’t go upstairs without wanting to heave and the bathroom was seriously treacherous to enter!

Week 12
The golden 12th week has arrived and I am starting to feel a lot better. The extreme nausea occurs once a day and the better times are more frequent. The scan is amazing – we were surprised and overjoyed to see the activity on the scan. The baby is so active! 

Anyway, it is all such a relief, after having to take the anti-nausea drugs and the stress of natural anxiety. We are reassured and overjoyed by our amazing experience and keen to tell other friends and work colleagues who we’ve kept in the dark for a long while now. After seeing the baby I am determined to wean myself off the anti-nausea drugs now.

Week 13
Off to work after 7 weeks away from the office. Things weren’t too bad – had a few dodgy moments this week but survived.

Week 14
This week I look like I’ve eaten too many pies – my stomach seems to have popped at last! I ate my first curry in months as well which was a landmark food. 
I am still averse to cold things – salad being the number one, so it’s quite lucky that it’s winter!

Second trimester
The nausea disappeared around the 20 week mark just in time for Christmas. The baby is kicking and I feel great!

Third trimester
Around 30 weeks the nausea returns although nothing like before. From 30 weeks until the end of my pregnancy I feel nauseous when tired or when I have heartburn but with the end in sight it’s much more manageable and I now know the trigger foods.

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Week 42
Yes, he was late but I eventually gave birth to a lovely baby boy. The nausea disappeared within 10 mins of giving birth and I was demanding tea and water and all sorts of foods that I have avoided for months. And yes, it was all worth it!

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