Hyperemesis Granvidarum - my own story...
Finally, the cat is out of the bag and you all know that I am 17 weeks pregnant. As you can see by our ‘Coming Soon’ film announcing the pregnancy, Ayden and I couldn’t be more thrilled, especially as we were told that because of complications with my C Section scar, it would be impossible to conceive naturally without a costly operation and I’ll touch more on this in another blog very soon.
Happily, though, Ayden has Olympic swimmers in his old nuts and we proved some of the top fertility doctors wrong by doing it ourselves. So, this really is our miracle baby although it is safe to say that all babies are a miracle.
Of course, after my first pregnancy ended in miscarriage back in 2014, I am always nervous when I’m pregnant, so announcing this baby even at 17 weeks, was a huge deal for us, but I wanted to share with you why I have been so absent on my blog.
I suppose until about week 6 of the of this pregnancy, we were just super nervous and I couldn’t concentrate on anything (certainly not a blog). We were just so anxious that this baby was healthy and ok.
After our first dating scan, at 7 weeks, I started to feel less anxious (for me anyway) but that is when I started to be sick..
At first it was just normal pregnancy morning sickness. It was in the morning and generally happened if I didn’t eat straight away. However, at 8 weeks pregnant, it dramatically stepped up a gear and I could not quite believe what the fuck was happening to me.
Of course, I heard about Kate Middleton having Hyperemisis Granvidarum in her pregnancy with Princess Charlotte and at the time I had thought, “Oh that’s shame to be sick”.
As I hadn’t been sick at all with Phoenix, I thought it meant you were just sick maybe after every meal.
Well more fool me. I found out first hand it doesn’t mean that all – it really is EXTREME pregnancy sickness. Here the word ‘extreme’ means what it says and as it’s not very nice for a royal to go in to detail, I thought I would write a blog explaining exactly what happened to me in my extremist of cases so far. Hopefully this will help everyone understand just how bad it really is.
It was Friday night and the following day I was due to teach drama (Saturday morning) for a dear friend of mine. I’d been on the computer all day sorting out a problem with a phone and I felt really dizzy and sick but mainly dizzy.
I thought perhaps I’d not eaten enough, so I had a pasta salad. It didn’t work, so I ate some more thinking, wow, this baby is really greedy.
About 3 hours later I threw up everything I’d had but thought no more of it but that it was normal pregnancy sickness. I was still really dizzy though, which seemed weird. My head was even spinning when I went to lie down.
I woke up the next morning to get ready to teach. I was sick as soon as I hit the bathroom. I then had a bath and had to get out to be sick again. I tried to get ready but my head was spinning and every 5 minutes I was sick (now nothing but clear bile coming of me).
I thought, I know I need some food, so I hurried some toast down and I felt momentarily better but it stayed down about 5 minutes and then came straight back up again. By now I couldn’t stand without being sick.
I was still trying to get ready to go to work, as us showbiz pros don’t ‘go off’ but Ayden would not let me go and made me get back in to bed while he called my friend to tell her I wouldn’t be in. I knew there was no way I could work but I kept on thinking, it will pass soon, it always does…
That whole day if a stood up, ate or drank even water I was sick. Ayden wanted me to go to the emergency doctors but I kept thinking, it will go and honestly, I couldn’t bear to go to a doctor, because I knew if I even tried to stand, I’d throw up.
That night I did sleep, so encouraged by that on Sunday morning I tried to get up but it was too much, I was sick immediately. By now, I didn’t care about the baby or my own health, I just wanted to die so it would stop. I couldn’t bear to have Phoenix anywhere near me in case any movements he made on the bed or even near me made me sick and I just wanted to sleep forever.
Ayden was so worried and he finally made the decision for me to go to a Sunday, out of hours, walk in doctors. He’d made an appointment and we were going. I hated him, I just didn’t want to move. The thought of getting in the car or moving filled me dread.
As I staggered out to the car in clothes I’d been in since Saturday morning and I probably sick in my hair, I didn’t care I just had to get to the back seat to lie down before I threw up again.
My dad drove us and my mum and Ayden had made a bed for me on the back seat. We got to the doctors and the minute I walked through the door, I threw up green bile in to a cardboard dish.
Ayden has NEVER seen me be sick before but I didn’t care anymore. I just handed him the bowl of stinking, bright green liquid and flopped on the doctor’s bed.
The doctor immediately confirmed I had hyperemesis granvidarum and said I needed to go straight to hospital (half an hour away) as I had a dangerous amount of ketones in my system.
The thought of getting in the car again for even a minute, let alone 30 minutes made me want to cry – but Ayden escorted me to the car again as by this time I was so dizzy I could barely walk or see.
We arrived at the hospital and I ran to the loo, where I sat on the floor throwing up more green bile. Children and mums tried to avoid me and I felt wretched sat there on the floor but I had no choice.
When I finally got out of the loo, Ayden had got me a wheel chair and he wheeled me up to the ward, taking sick bowls off me as we went.
The poor man, I can’t imagine what he was thinking but what a husband he was completely there for me and has been since. I am so lucky.
Thankfully on the ward they had a bed for me and I could flop straight onto it. They tried to put an IV in to my hand for the drip but my veins had collapsed so they had to put it in to my arm.
Finally, about an hour after getting to hospital they put the first of 7 bags of fluid in to my system.
I stayed overnight and most of the next day I was on a drip as they just couldn’t get rid of the ketones.
Ketones are substances that are made when the body breaks down fat for energy. Normally, your body gets the energy it needs from carbohydrate in your diet. Too many ketones in your body are potentially life threatening.
When I left the hospital, I still felt rough but I knew I really just needed to get real food in my now, as let’s face it, hospital food sucks and food was the only thing that would restore properly all that I had lost. Phoenix treated me like he didn’t trust me anymore because I’d hardly been there for him for 3 days and I still felt too awful to reassure him I was back, as I wasn’t entirely sure I was, which broke my heart.
The consultant gave me Cyclizine tablets to take and sent me on my way. No scan to check whether my baby was ok, as they assured me babies are like vampires and they take what they need no matter what you are going through. I felt pretty scared about the lack of scan though and was sure I must have hurt my baby. No one could be that ill and not harm their child surely.
The consultant said that hyperemesis granvidarum was generally common in very young mothers (not me, at 43 I’m an OAP mum) or in obese mums, again, not me, I weighed 6st 12 at the time. He said as I was none of the above, I could be having a girl or it had been caused by extreme stress and in which case it would probably return a few times throughout my pregnancy, unless stress was eliminated but that hopefully the pills would help me too.
Well I know now I’m having a boy, so I guess it’s down to stress and as in the past 5 years I’ve lost 400k to a court case, I guess stress wins out!
As soon as I could I went for a scan and the doc was right my little jumping bean was absolutely fine!
Ayden has been amazing this whole time, as I’ve found it hard to function. I’ve found it hard to clean the house, take care of Phoenix and even look after myself.
My hair is falling out, my skin was peeling off, the whole thing has left me an utter mess.
I don’t think anyone can truly comprehend the devastating effect it has on you unless you’ve been through it. Most people look at me and say, have some ginger and dry crackers but I think they have no idea just how hard it’s been.
The last few weeks have been so much better. I’m functioning. I don’t have to lie down all the time. I can think and most importantly for me, I can be there for Phoenix.
I do think it has made me slightly depressed. For a while I couldn’t bear to look at myself in the mirror. It was a struggle to get ready in a morning as I just hated how rough I looked. You’ll notice no pics online of me for a while, I just can’t bear myself.
I think I’ve only just started to feel a true connection with my baby too. With Phoenix, straight away I felt a bond to him as I carried him, with this little soldier, because I’ve been so ill, the pregnancy has hardly felt real. Although, I’m starting to connect with his little soul now.
Women have been the least sympathetic too. I had to cancel a job not long ago as I was just too damn ill. When I called the lady to explain she said, “Love, we’ve all been pregnant and sick, you can still work.” And that was that, no more chances with that company.
It has been tough, a roller coaster of a start to this pregnancy but it is truly a miracle I’m pregnant and I’ll be sick every single day if I have to get this little boy safely in to the world.
So please spare a thought for Kate and all women who suffer this fucking awful thing… It’s not quite your normal pregnancy sickness – it’s extreme but so worth it.