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Morning Sickness can be a serious business…

The British royal family on Buckingham Palace ...

The British royal family on Buckingham Palace balcony after Prince William and Kate Middleton were married. Kate wears a wedding gown by Sarah Burton. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So William and Kate have announced her pregnancy – or rather they were forced to because poor Kate has been admitted to hospital with hyperemesis gravidarum (bloody awful morning sickness to the rest of us).  It may surprise you, as I am usually rather cynical about what might be construed as media hyperbole, that I am actually fully sympathetic to Kate’s current situation and I am not dismissing it as a tad of morning sickness which because she is now a member of the royal family must entail a hospital stay.  I too suffered from HG (Hyperemesis gravidarum) or BAMS (bloody awful morning sickness) in all three of my pregnancies and was also admitted to hospital. I can safely say that as a frequenter of hospitals on a regular basis for a multitude of bizarre medical conditions, HG/BAMS is not something I would wish on my worst enemy (with the odd exception). I spent so much of each pregnancy with my head down the loo that I seriously considered whether it would be possible to install a DVD player in the loo seat lid so that I could be entertained whilst I vomited!

I could have cheerfully throttled – if I could have summoned the energy to do so – all those people who would nod sympathetically and say “I know how you feel, I always felt a bit queasy in the mornings but found a ginger biscuit sorted it out.”.  A ginger biscuit – are you serious?  Not even 100 ginger biscuits ground down and fed through a drip would have made me feel even one iota better. No, until you’ve suffered from HG/BAMS, you have not understood the meaning of the word “sickness”.  Imagine having food poisoning for 4 straight months – morning, noon and night coupled with trying to continue in a job or with your family routine without anyone knowing you’re pregnant, and you begin to get the feel for it.  Hyperemesis gravidarum is often known as excessive morning sickness because of its tongue-twister latin name but unfortunately this doesn’t really cover it and most misleading of all is the word “morning” – if only it had been.

Morning sickness is often dismissed as just one of those small annoyances of pregnancy and for the vast majority it is just that.  However, for those suffering from HG, the reality is very different.  As it is not a common condition, you can feel very isolated and what is supposed to be one of the happiest times of your life can be turned into a living, seemingly never-ending nightmare.  As for considering another baby after one pregnancy blighted by HG, well, it takes a brave person and I can remember only too well those first weeks of my second and third pregnancies, waiting for the wall of non-stop sickness to start, not to mention the constant worry that this perpetual vomiting was harming my baby in some way and facing the very difficult decision whether to take medication to help with the sickness and all the implications of that.

My first pregnancy coincided with some particularly irritating press coverage about how morning sickness is all in the mind.  As you can imagine, this makes me snort with derision – does anyone honestly think that if I had such a fertile imagination, I would create a fantasy condition in which I threw up at approximately 1-2 hour intervals for the first four months of a pregnancy and then only slightly less often thereafter? I would hope that if I was blessed with such creativity, I might put it to some slightly better use or at least create a fantasy condition for myself that was marginally more pleasurable.

If nothing else, Kate being admitted to hospital with HG will raise awareness of what can be a truly horrendous condition to suffer from and one which has had very little media attention traditionally (considered all part of being a woman I suppose).  So next time you see a pregnant woman looking a little green around the gills, spare a thought for her – it just might be that she has something that neither a ginger biscuit nor those ridiculous sea-sickness wristbands could possibly help.

5 thoughts on “Morning Sickness can be a serious business…

  1. Absolutely, completely agree with you. Been there, done that. I was saying to my hubby last night that I feel especially bad for Wills and Kate in that they haven’t had much of that special “only we know” time and now she has to live the rest of her pregnancy in a media circus.

    • I know – not great for them at all although I suspect the daily grind is not too onerous for her! By number 3, I found looking after number 1 and 2 such a struggle with HG.

  2. I had HG and couldn’t even keep water down. I had this for 2 months and in the end I was peeing keytones which is very dangerous. Had to go into hospital for 4 days and was put on a drip. I endured it for 2 months, but Kate has only had it for 2 days!!!!

    • Sounds very similar to my experience – on a drip at 8 weeks with my third. I have to agree that she looked remarkably well in Friday’s newspaper, playing hockey at her old school! I am just so pleased that HG is getting some media attention.

  3. Sounds awful. But you know I found chewing on lifesavers really helped…Did you try that?
    Just kidding!!! 😉
    I had a stomach bug recently and spent about three hours throwing up. Not sure I could manage to do it for four months straight, three times! You’re amazing…

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