Nope I'm not pregnant with a fourth baby. But after reading a post on the midwife to mum blog about sickness in pregnancy, it really struck a chord and got me thinking and re-living the extent of my own suffering when I was pregnant with all three of my children.
You may ask, and rightly so, how on earth did I come to have three little ones when my experiences were so horrendous? Well my last two babies were very unplanned, but very much wanted. You see there was a point in my life when I doubted I would ever become a mother. I have a complicated gestational history (several miscarriages and a lost ovary due to a cyst, during one very sad, unsuccessful pregnancy) so I felt nothing but blessed to be able to experience the joys of carrying to full term and giving birth to three healthy babies. But it was not easy.
Extreme sickness in pregnancy or Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) to give it is medical term is very real and very hideous. In my case it would commence from around 6-10 weeks, and the symptoms would start with a vengeance. I would feel nauseous ALL DAY long. You may say these symptoms are typical for most women and yes you'd be right - for the first three months at least but the whole nine months? I hoped and prayed that passing the magic 12/14 week mark would immediately make me feel better and see me with a spring in my step, but alas it was not meant to be. In ANY of my pregnancies.
NOTHING tasted good or would alleviate the horrible sicky feeling, the TASTE in my mouth was horrific, brushing my teeth would make me throw up, cooking would make me feel awful, my other half's deodrant, aftershave and anyone else's for that matter made me feel ill, the smell of washing powder or coffee was repulsive, I would throw up at regular intervals, I could only drink extremely sour beverages or water with tons of ice. Jalepeno peppers were my friend because they would temporarily strip my tastebuds of all feeling and taste. I would eat them straight out of the jar. FOR BREAKFAST. My work colleagues thought I was mad, but it was my way of coping.
I had absolutely no energy at all. I'm baffled how I managed to keep on working. In my second and third pregnancies it took every ounce of my being to be able to function in the most basic way so I was able to look after the children that I had. The house was always a mess, I was always a mess, I felt depressed, fed up, I lost weight, it was a desperate state of affairs.
I had to be on strong anti-sickness meds, which although would temporarily ease the sicky feeling would leave me completely knocked out, I was also worried about the effects on my unborn child but thankfully they are all perfect.
I was hospitalised on numerous ocassions for severe dehydration as well as some bleeding when pregnant with my daughters. With my son I was marginally better, but the immense ALL DAY nausea persisted throughout. My mum would gently urge me to chew on ginger or boil it and drink the water, but the thought alone turned my stomach inside out.
My other half would rather insist that it was my poor choice of food that was to blame for me feeling so ill all the time and I suppose if you don't experience this awful 'disease' for yourself then it's easy to give your tuppence worth. But in all honesty he was lucky I ate at all because food was the last thing on my mind. My appetite was non-existent and bread, pasta, potatoes and lemons was just about all I could stomach, so to have to listen to him harp on about how his sister in law ate avocado's and nuts daily and jogged and skipped and performed somersaults, did little to stop me wanting to rip his smug head from his smug shoulders.
The only thing I enjoyed about being pregnant was finding out the sex, knowing everything was OK and feeling my babies move. In a way knowing the sex of the baby I was carrying was the only thing that enabled me to bond with the little being growing inside of me.
If I'm really being honest, and it saddens me to admit it, but the best thing about being pregnant was not being pregnant. The only thing I truly loved was giving birth. It provided the one true relief from a long, bleak and lonely tunnel.
I got excited when my waters broke and the contractions crashed in back to back because it meant an end to the solitude of constant sickness and not being or feeling myself. Luckily the good Lord took pity on me and my suffering and made sure my children came early. My first born was 5 weeks early, this was terrifying and I believe it was due to an undiagnosed over active thyroid. She was and is completely fine and looking at how happy, healthy and strong she is makes it easy to forget she was a bit premature. My last two children were born two weeks early.
All my labours were super fast, lasting no more than 3 hours each, if that. They were so quick I was able to get by on gas and air alone. I absolutely love gas and air. I always see my quick labours as my reward for the awful 9 months I had to endure. LOL.
My family is complete now. I love babies but they are hard work and I don't think my mind or body could handle another pregnancy, it is so tough going. I look on in awe at women who are able to continue business as usual, unfortunately that wasn't to be for me. I was able to put on a front in public (just about), but behind closed doors I was a miserable mess.
Despite all this I am eternally thankful for my three beautiful and amazing children, the products of my pregnancy struggles. HG is awful and I hope the medical profession are able to pinpoint what causes it so it can be properly managed in the future. I dread to think of my own daughters having to go through what I did years down the line. I pray they never have to.
If you or anyone you know is suffering from HG this organisation could help;