Thursday, 24 October 2013

Mums in the Know Play Date

My latest Roadshow Event took me to a Play Date organised by Mums in the Know Sutton Coldfield. 
I have to admit that, in the days running up to the event, I was wondering whether I had made a mistake arranging something so soon after my knee op.  I knew that I would be on crutches but I thought it would still be manageable. All I would need to do would be to find a chair, Little Miss would play and my mum would be there to help if needed.  Easy?  Unfortunately, I had not bargained on the painkillers making me feel drained and a bit fuzzy-headed.  But I am not the sort of person who likes to let people down ...

I was a little late arriving at the Play Date as I had been invited to my son’s school assembly which ran on longer than expected.  This was a shame as it meant that when I arrived the baby/toddler music session was already in full swing and I didn’t have the opportunity to introduce myself or explain a little bit about the charity.  Nevertheless, I set out my leaflets, unrolled the PSS banner (actually my poor mum climbed on a chair to do that as I am still struggling on crutches!) and installed myself on a chair.  One or two people looked at the leaflets, but I wasn’t sure whether many people had even noticed the banner/leaflets or me in my lovely PSS t-shirt. They were all busy enjoying the Play Date. 

However, since the Play Date I have been very encouraged by the response.  Two of the mums who were at the event have since posted comments on the MITK Facebook page about their experiences of hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) and Pregnancy Sickness Support.

The first mum received support from PSS during her pregnancy and described it as a “fantastic charity” which supported her through her dark HG days.  She would like to become a volunteer for PSS in the future which is absolutely brilliant news! The second mum also suffered dreadfully from HG and really wished she had known about the charity at the time.  She described PSS as an “amazing charity” and said she would be happy to write an article or speak to other sufferers about the devastating effects of HG.  It just goes to show that HG is an issue that many mums know and care an awful lot about.

This is the third event of this type I have attended so far and it has been difficult to know how much of an impact I am making on behalf of Pregnancy Sickness Support and the nine months of campaign.  So it is really positive that this event was much more of a success than I had initially thought.  HG is a little-known and often misunderstood complication of pregnancy and the aim of my nine months of challenge is to raise awareness of HG as well as Pregnancy Sickness Support.  It seems that on this occasion I succeeded.  So, thank you to Mums in the Know Sutton Coldfield for giving me this opportunity.

If you have enjoyed reading this please sponsor me to ensure that the charity can continue to help sufferers and their families.  It would mean a lot to me. Thank you.


Friday, 18 October 2013

The importance of support

In some ways, this week has reminded me of being pregnant. It was the first time I have been in hospital since I was admitted with pre-eclampsia at the end of my second pregnancy. My knee surgery has also left me physically incapacitated and unable to look after myself or my children properly. Being utterly reliant on others is a concept that is alien to me, apart from the times when I was desperately ill with hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) during both my pregnancies.

My new best friends
However, it would be wrong of me and very misleading to equate my current situation with what I went through when I suffered from HG. Although the physio will be a lengthy process, I know that the inconvenience and discomfort I am experiencing at the moment will pass relatively quickly. In a week or so I should be off crutches and far more self-sufficient. In six weeks I should be able to drive again.
It's this one! 

With HG, on the other hand, the sickness and vomiting came out of nowhere and for months there was no sign of it letting up. I remember week nine well. It was a particularly low time in my life. I had already been very ill for weeks and had lost a lot of weight and yet I was not even a quarter of the way through my pregnancy. It felt as though I had a mountain to climb but I had no idea how high that mountain would be or how long it would take to reach the top. Each timescale I was given for my symptoms subsiding – 12 weeks, 16 weeks, 18 weeks, 20 weeks – came and went and still I was suffering. I, like 60% of women who have HG, experienced symptoms throughout the whole nine months of pregnancy. It was not just physically debilitating but also mentally tough.

Nevertheless, there is one issue that is common to my current circumstances and to when I had HG and that is support from others.

This week I have relied heavily on others for support. In fact I don’t know how I would have managed without my husband and my parents getting the children dressed; taking them to school/nursery; cooking their tea; bathing them and putting them to bed. The importance of support cannot be overstated for women suffering from HG.

I consider myself extremely lucky to have amazingly supportive family and friends: my parents who dropped everything and travelled from Lancashire to look after me this week and did so on innumerable occasions when I was pregnant; my husband who works long hours in a demanding job but will gladly, and without complaint, start the household chores when he gets home; and my friends who alleviated the isolation of hospital this week with numerous texts and messages and also supported me and helped with childcare during my second pregnancy. I know that others are not so fortunate.

As well as practical support, women suffering from HG also need emotional support and reassurance and this is why the work that Pregnancy Sickness Support does is so important. Pregnancy Sickness Support runs a network of volunteers who provide one-to-one support for women struggling to cope with HG/pregnancy sickness and an online forum where sufferers can seek support from others who are going through, or have previously experienced, HG or severe pregnancy sickness.

These vital resources would not be possible without donations as the charity receives no funding. So please, please sponsor me to ensure that the charity can continue to provide this support which has been, and will continue to be, crucial to so many women. Thank you.

Please support our 'nine months of…' campaign by donating here.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

PSS Roadshow continues

This week I managed to squeeze in another Pregnancy Sickness Support Roadshow event, so here I am with an update a little earlier than expected.

I was kindly invited to speak to the mums at Mere Green 0-5 Stay and Play in Sutton Coldfield.  I would like to say a few thank yous.  Firstly, thank you very much to Lindsay, Karen and all the mums at Mere Green 0-5 for welcoming me so warmly to your playgroup.  Thank you also to my friend, Katie, for coming along to give me some moral support.  Finally, thank you to all the little ones who waited very patiently for their story time while I said a few words about hyperemesis gravidarum, Pregnancy Sickness Support and the nine months of campaign.

Can't beat a bit of potato printing!
On a different note, this week I also received written confirmation from Birmingham City University that I will be lecturing their student midwives in February. So I am now officially a visiting lecturer! I will even get paid a modest fee which I will of course donate to the nine months of campaign.

My next event is a Play Date organised by Mums in the Know on 18 October. I will have the added complication of being just one week into my recovery following knee surgery.  Perhaps a little ambitious but, thankfully, my wonderfully supportive mum and dad will be on hand to chauffeur me door to door and to play with Little Miss while I find a chair to park myself on! Check back in a couple of weeks to see how I manage on my crutches!

Please support our 'nine months of…' campaign by donating here.