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.