This is the fifth post following my Hyperemesis Gravidarum pregnancy. It covers weeks 26-32. I documented the entire pregnancy over on Instagram and these posts have been copied across. Previous posts covers weeks 0-8, 9-12, 13-18 and 19-25. During weeks 26-32 I suffer from further suicidal thoughts, am diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes and hospitalised with Sepsis.
Emma’s Hyperemesis Gravidarum Diary Week 26 – 32
Things seem to have deteriorated. I got bad last school holiday so I am hoping things will improve next week. Acid reflux is causing so many additional problems. It wakes me up at night, makes eating difficult and hurts all of the time. My nausea is through the roof again as a result. I am hoping the addition of Omeprazole will help as I can’t imagine feeling like this for another 13 weeks. As the nausea increases I can feel my mental health deteriorating. Counting down the days until my next consultant appointment to work out a plan of action.
The days are very slowly ticking by. It is hard to get across to people the unrelenting feel of HG. Never having a break from an illness is soul destroying. I keep trying to focus on that end goal but some days are much harder than others. I have forgotten what it is like to live without being dependent on medication, fixed on routines or simply doing something with the day.
Despite having been here before I still can’t get my head around the fact that there is a baby at the end of the illness. 85 days of hell to go!
I spent the day with my niece and nephew today. It reminded me just how my nausea is triggered by noise levels. However my niece is very excited about having her first girl cousin and talked a lot about baby today.
Just as I thought this pregnancy couldn’t throw anything else at me I found out today that I have Gestational Diabetes. The news hit me harder than I thought it would – mostly because the news came via letter. I also passed a GTT when I was 13 weeks so thought I would pass or be borderline this time round. I have a hospital appointment tomorrow to find out how to test my blood sugar and what foods I can eat – never a good thing to discuss with someone with HG. I will also need regular hospital appointments – along with my physio appointments for my pelvic pain, consultant appointments and midwife appointments. It would seem that my next 78 days will be spent in a waiting room. Any tips for Gestational Diabetes and HG combination?
I’ve been in two minds whether I should write this post or not. However I promised to share the reality of HG with you and this is the reality of my HG.
I’ve spoken in the past how my mental health has suffered a lot in this pregnancy. At week 9 I had suicidal thoughts and desperately wanted to terminate this much wanted baby. My mental health improved with steroids as I stopped vomiting and was no longer dehydrated. However with the news of my Gestational Diabetes diagnosis my mental health problems returned. Another issue with HG is the effect it can have on relationships. My marriage is still recovering from the first round of HG and this put additional stress on my mental health. Tuesday evening/Wednesday morning the suicidal thoughts returned and I couldn’t stop crying.
My Mum telephoned the mental health team and I got an emergency appointment to see them that day just before my Gestational Diabetes appointment. The staff have been wonderful. I was listened to and an action plan was put in place. They knew that my mental health deterioration is a reaction to my circumstances. I decided to finally go on antidepressants. There was some concern over side effects but I wouldn’t know until I tried it.
The next day my mood was feeling better after talking through some difficulties and I felt brighter about the Gestational Diabetes diagnosis. At 10am I took my first antidepressant tablet. By 11am I had to sleep because of the nausea. The rest of the afternoon I couldn’t sit up as the nausea was unbearable. By 7.30pm I started vomiting. I vomited throughout the night – just like in the early weeks of HG. I couldn’t keep fluids down or my antisickness medication. I also had diarrhoea – regular followers will know I haven’t had a natural poo since falling pregnant so that came as a shock! My heart wouldn’t stop racing and I was worried about being sick – something that doesn’t normally worry me because I am so used to it.
My blood sugar levels were extremely high this morning due to vomiting all night. I made the decision to not take any more of the antidepressant. I know that it would take several days for the positive benefits of the tablet to work but worsening my HG isn’t good for my mental health or for the health of my baby. I shall return to my consultant to look at alternatives.
I never expected my mental health to suffer as much as it has during this HG pregnancy. I have amazing support from my mum who looks after me most of the time. I also have the support from Pregnancy Sickness Support charity to help with any concerns I have and the support from the hospital has been amazing too yet I am still struggling with this debilitating condition. It was hard sharing my suicidal thoughts and admitting out loud that I was struggling. No one judged me or thought I was a bad mother for having those thoughts. Instead I was listened to and helped. If your mental health is suffering because of HG please tell someone. Utilise the Pregnancy Sickness Support telephone and forum, be honest with your midwife about your feelings/struggles and speak to your GP/consultant for help. You are not alone x
No guesses where I ended up last night. Spent the night on delivery suite (don’t worry no early baby) but monitored every hour. Will write more when I have the energy. Lots of tests planned for today.
Still on hospital but had the best medicine – cuddles and kisses from Adam. He will now doubt be telling everyone I’m allowed to wee in the bed (I have a catheter bag) and all hospital food comes in a white bag (through my cannula). Shall update when have more energy and not attached to so many wires.
Finally a chance to write up what happened last week. To be honest I am still in shock and it hasn’t sunk in the seriousness of it all.
Last Monday I had deteriorated badly. I thought I had started the third trimester downward spiral of HG. The nausea had reached new levels, I couldn’t sit up, couldn’t think straight, was very tearful and kept shaking. I vomited up a piece of fruit and whilst attempting to eat some tea I raised my concerns about how violently baby was moving inside me. Usually she isn’t a great mover and only until two weeks ago could my husband feel her kicks. However she was making my entire stomach move. Mum decided to telephone delivery suite (our triage) to get their advice. They asked me to come in to be checked out.
I was given a room straight away but had to wait for the midwife change over. As soon as my obs were taken the room filled with doctors. I was told I had an infection and immediately had a cannula fitted, given fluids and antibiotics. Babys heartbeat was monitored for some time and I was told I would remain on the delivery suite overnight and have hourly obs.
It was such a long night. At 1am I started vomiting again. I thought it was strange the midwife left whilst I was being sick but when she returned I had four doctors around me asking lots of questions. I had an internal examination, a catheter bag and an ECG. They were concerned over my Tachycardic pulse and I was not able to leave the bed.
I had assumed that I would feel better after a bag of fluid. However I had bags throughout the night yet still felt awful. At this point they didn’t know if I had the flu and was put into isolation.
Throughout the day I slowly improved. By 9pm that evening I was given the all clear with flu and was able to go to the main ward but was still observed throughout the night. On the Wednesday morning I had an ultrasound on my heart.
At 1.40pm I was discharged only to then attend an outpatient appointment in the same hospital for my Gestational Diabetes.
All I knew up until this point was that I had an infection and would require a weeks worth of two types of antibiotics.
They didn’t know if the infection was viral or had started as bacterial.
It wasn’t until the next day that I had the energy to look through my hospital notes – all 24 pages of handwritten notes. It turns out I was admitted due to sepsis. It appears that without antibiotic intervention I may not have survived the night. If it hadn’t been for baby violently moving then I probably would have waited until the next day until I got help. All my symptoms I just put down to Hg getting worse. I have learnt a serous lesson of not down playing my HG symptoms. Deterioration doesn’t necessarily mean that my HG has worsened but there can be other complications.
I’m still not great but much better than I was last week. I ended up back in hospital for the day yesterday for observations because I had sudden swelling and my heart was still racing. However baby and I have had a much better day to day and even managed to buy some baby things!
Slowly I am getting me head around having Gestational Diabetes on top of Hyperemesis. I spent a week on diet control but sadly this didn’t lower my overnight fasting blood sugar level. I was put insulatard insulin and have been increasing my units every day. I am yet to achieve the desired level. On Wednesday they added a NovoRapid FlexPen to the mix as a fast acting insulin before breakfast. With those two injections plus my daily Fragmin injection my legs hate me!
Following the diet hasn’t been as hard as I had expected. It helps having my mum prepare all my meals as I am still unable to go anywhere near my kitchen (due to smells). One more positive outcome is that my acid reflux has improved no end! My nausea is still dependent on me not being hungry which does raise a challenge. Most of my HG safe foods were carb heavy. Thankfully this pregnancy because of my steroids early on I do not have the food aversions like in my first pregnancy. Still counting down the days until life can begin again though!
I have been ill with HG for 180 days.
It has been 180 days since I last felt human. Since I could go through a single hour of the day without feeling sick. 180 days since I could go outside and do what I want. 180 days since being a proper Mummy to my son. 180 days since I could eat what I wanted and when I wanted. 180 days of being dependent on medication to get me through the day. 180 days of being dependent on my mum or husband to look after me. 180 days of sleeping downstairs, of not being able to go near my kitchen due to the smell and not being able to walk upstairs. 180 days of waiting until life can begin again. 56 days and counting until my HG hell is over.
1st Feb – social isolation
Have you seen the research paper out today on the impact of Hyperemesis Gravidarium on mental health conducted by Pregnancy SicknessSupport in the British Journal of Midwifery? The research identified four main themes encapsulating women’s experience of HG. Over the next four days I thought I would share my experiences of each of these themes. These are my own thoughts about how I have felt during my two HG pregnancies.
Due to my symptoms and trying to limit the severity of my symptoms I am left house bound. When noise, smells, visual stimuli and being upright sets of nausea and vomiting you find yourself confined to your house and usually your bed.
There were several points in both my pregnancies where talking triggered vomiting. Sometimes even breathing made me vomit. It is impossible to hold a conversation or concentrate on forming words whilst vomiting.
As a result I have had very limited interaction with the outside world. My last pregnancy was much harder in terms of isolating myself. No one understood why I could be so ill with “a bit of morning sickness”. Snide comments from friends and work colleagues made me isolate myself further. This time round I was prepared and educated people beforehand about how ill I could become once pregnant again. .
I have been lucky this time. I have a wonderfully supportive network of friends thanks to my son going to school. I also have a lovely friend who regularly visits. I also have the support of PSS and online friendships from people who understand my illness. .
However not being able to partake in every day life takes its toll on you mentally. A hospital appointment or a short get together with friends can take days to recover from. A short trip to the supermarket (in a wheelchair) is the extent of me leaving the house. .
I know it will take me some time once the baby is here to get used to crowds again. .
What have your experiences of social isolation been during an HG pregnancy? .
Sorry no update today. I’ve been in hospital yet again. I started vomiting in the early hours of the morning. During the day I kept getting period like pains and diarrhoea like pains. Unfortunately nothing was coming out as I was severely constipated. I felt unwell and my blood sugars were high so they wanted me in for observation.
Thankfully I didn’t have to stay in overnight. There was nitrate in my urine so they are suspecting a UTI. I also had an internal test to see if I was in early labour. Luckily that came back negative. I’m still only 31 weeks pregnant so I want baby inside a little longer!
Home now and ready to sleep all weekend! I am so thankful for the NHS and everything they are doing to keep me and my baby safe.
Continuing on from the research into the mental health impact of HG I am going to share my view on the second theme – Inability to care for self and others.
August 5th was the last time I was able to care for myself, my son and my husband. Ever since then I have been reliant on either my mum or my husband.
I need support 24/7 even at 31 weeks pregnant. Now this is mostly because I am unable to prepare any food be myself. At home I can’t even walk past the kitchen without gagging and I certainly wouldn’t be able to open the door without vomiting. I can’t even go to the fridge to get something ready made. Everything has to be to hand otherwise it doesn’t exist.
For the first few weeks (until I had steroids) I was unable to wash, shower, brush my teeth or even sit up to drink. I am now able to shower independently but it takes the rest of the morning to recover. My mum picks me up every day and I spend the day at her house in between hospital visits.
What is harder than not being able to look after yourself is not being able to look after your own son. It was this factor that made us delay trying for another child. Whenever I thought about not being there for my son I would cry. It was vital that Adam was at school during the day and that we kept a routine for him at home. Although it is hard when Adam needs something that I can not give due to my illness I would say Adam hasn’t been at any disadvantage with me not being there 100%. He has an amazing relationship with my mum which has developed further these past few months. He had become more independent with life skills and he fully understands that I still love him. He doesn’t blame his baby sister at all for me being ill. Instead he focuses on what we will be able to do once she is here. .
However, being unable to care for yourself or others does come at a cost. My husband is a teaching headteacher and then comes home and is full time dad/Mum/nurse/chef/cleaner. My mum has taken 9 months out of her life to focus solely on looking after me and baby. For me it isn’t just the first few weeks – it is the entire pregnancy and then the recovery time afterwards.
Being dependent on others for every single aspect of your life is difficult. I am counting down the days until I can have my independence back but I am eternally grateful for family and friends ensuring that I survive the pregnancy.
After a 3 1/2 hour hospital appointment and a growth scan we have a new date for babies arrival. They have brought my date forward by 6 days so she is now definitely coming on 22nd March when I will be 38 weeks.
This isn’t because of HG. This is because of Gestational Diabetes. The baby is measuring too big due to my blood sugar levels.
I wish I could say that 6 weeks will go really quickly but life seems to get harder each day. My nausea is on the increase, moving is harder and my insulin units keep increasing. A lot can happen in 6 weeks.
This is Adams drawing of the four of us – note baby in my belly!
This is what my day looks like. Constipation is still a severe symptom thanks to ondanstron and gestational diabetes diet. It was part of the reason I was in hospital last week.
Eight sachets in six hours. There is no way I would have been able to do this at the beginning but keeping fluids down is not too much of a problem now thanks to medication.
6 weeks and counting until I can pop again normally!
Continuing on from the research into mental health and Hyperemesis Gravidarium here are my thoughts on the 3rd theme – depression, anxiety, guilt and loss of self worth.
There is no beating around the bush – Hyperemesis Gravidarium is a depressing condition. Being ill, bed bound and unable to lead any type of life for 9 months is enough to make anyone depressed. What is hard is reminding yourself that just because the situation is depressing doesn’t necessarily mean you are depressed. There have been two points in this pregnancy where I have seriously questioned my state of mind. However take me out of Hyperemesis Gravidarium and I do not think I would have depression.
I felt more anxiety last pregnancy. What would happen if I vomited in public? What if I felt too sick to do something? Is the sickness having an effect on my baby? Being back in crowds after the pregnancy was difficult and it took me some time before I could do things by myself again. This time I probably feel more anxious about the things that could go wrong between now and delivery time.
Guilt is one emotion I told myself at the beginning of the pregnancy I wouldn’t allow myself to feel. This mostly surrounds guilt towards not being a proper mum to Adam. I was made to feel so guilty last pregnancy with not being able to work. Instead this time I feel more guilty how my mum has had to give up her life in order to look after me. .
Loss of self worth – basically I have none! I blame myself for not being able to cope with pregnancy like the majority of woman can. Women pop babies out all of the time and have big families whereas I feel like I am dying. I can’t seem to find the words at the moment to describe my self esteem. HG certainly makes you evaluate your life and what is important to you.
Craving oranges so badly on my Gestational Diabetes diet that I don’t actually mind the thought of my second attempt of constipation remedies. Sadly 16 sachets of Movicol didn’t get things moving. Again I wouldn’t have been able to try this for the first few weeks/months but thankfully medication means I can tolerate fluids ok now. I am concerned I am going to have long term damage thanks to constipation. Any one else suffered post pregnancy?
You can read the rest of my Hyperemesis Gravidarum diary by clicking on the images below: