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Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Hyperemesis Gravidarum Pregnancy One

Before my first pregnancy I had never even heard of hyperemesis gravidarum.  I had heard of morning sickness and knew that some people had it bad enough to need medication but I had absolutely no idea that pregnancy sickness could be so bad.

The first time I was sick was at three weeks pregnant.  The next week I hardly got anything done because I felt rotten and then when we went on holiday the next week we had to greatly reduce our planned walks as I just couldn't manage them without feeling very ill.  Little knowing how bad it would get, it was actually a great relief when I got a positive pregnancy test at five weeks as I'd been beginning to wonder if something was seriously wrong with me.

Around five and a half weeks I had to see the out of hours doctor because I was unable to keep anything down and was given an injection and some tablets to take.  Over the next week as they didn't work I was given various different tablets and the morning after being told by two different out of hours doctors that I did not need to be admitted to hospital I saw my GP who actually took notice of the fact that I'd lost a stone in weight and referred me to be assessed at the hospital.  The doctor who admitted me thought I was so bad that he actually set up the drip himself almost immediately and asked us why we'd waited so long.  Because I was so dehydrated he had to ask for a child sized cannula as my veins were so small.

After three days of IV fluids and medication, I was well enough to be discharged.  When I asked about being given medication to take at home I was told that they don't give you medication when you leave and you just had to be readmitted if you get bad enough.

Even after I'd been in hospital, people generally didn't seem to realise how ill I was.  One person asked how I'd managed to be admitted to hospital when she hadn't but then in the next breath said that she only took the anti emetics if she was sick three times in a day as it interfered with her life too much to not be able to drive.  At the time I would have loved to only be sick three times in a day and for anti emetics to actually make a difference.  And driving was a moot point since I was so ill I had no life for lack of driving to interfere with.

Although I was sick all the way through the pregnancy, it did decrease over time to the point that in the second half of my pregnancy I was occasionally able to manage the three minute walk to the doctor's surgery for my midwife appointments.  One day when visiting some friends we went for a walk but two minutes down the hill J had to go and get the car to drive me back.  In the early days when I was too ill to read or sit at the computer I watched daytime TV to relieve the boredom of sitting at home on my own all day doing nothing other than attempting to eat and drink and not be sick too much.  Unfortunately daytime TV is mind numbingly boring and I was very relieved when I felt well enough to read albeit only easy reading such as children's fiction.

My typical day in pregnancy looked something like this:
0800: Eat breakfast in bed, clean teeth in bed and go back to sleep.
1100: Get up. Watch TV or read a book.
1230: Get dressed with J's help (he came home for lunch almost every day while I was pregnant to look after me). Talk to J while he makes lunch then eat lunch.
1315: Watch the news/other TV.
1430: Do a few admin jobs on the computer if well enough.
1530: Watch TV/DVD/read a book.
1630: Sleep
1800: Get up and watch the news.
1900: Eat dinner then watch TV/read while J washes up and does a few other jobs.
2100: Go to bed.

I quite often had a long bath in the evening to break up the monotony but it was quite tiring and created even more work for J who was already working full time, doing everything essential that I usually did and looking after me.  I was constantly tired but at least sleeping 12-16 hours a day meant that I didn't have so many hours of feeling sick, tired, bored and lonely to endure.

The transformation when A was born was amazing.  Two weeks before she was born, I would hand J paper tissues to put in the bin because the bin was a meter away but two weeks after she was born I was easily going for two mile walks every day.  In the week after she was born I did more household jobs (not counting baby related tasks) than I'd done in the month before (possibly even more than the whole pregnancy - I only cooked one meal beyond four weeks pregnant).  Some friends thought it was strange that I was happy to stay at home all day and wasn't bothered about meeting up as they said they would get lonely staying at home "on their own" all day.  But for me the contrast with pregnancy was so huge that I was perfectly content.  I wasn't sitting at home on my own any more - I had A with me and I was no longer doing nothing so I was too busy to be lonely.  I actually felt quite baffled that suddenly people wanted to meet up/visit now that I didn't need it after I'd been stuck at home on my own for months on end without them ever offering to visit.

And that was my first pregnancy.

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