I had this during my pregnancies with both my girls, a lot of people had "wise words of wisdom" to help with Hyperemesis, or my so called "morning sickness"! I still think most people were all too quick to assume that I just had normal run of the mill morning sickness; it didn't seem to matter how many times I told people that it was HG, they just didn't get it.
I felt like screaming at one particular friend who I have known for many, many years, as she has always been reluctant to acknowledge that it wasn't just morning sickness; to this day I still feel like screaming at her; I want her to take note of how badly I suffered during my pregnancy. Some people just don't get it and do not understand how horrendous Hyperemesis is. I think until your are either in the situation yourself, or are watching your loved one going through it, you really have no idea.
Suggestions as to what may improve my sickness came in thick and fast; one of the worst (and I will scream at anyone that dares to suggest it again) was Ginger, as it had worked for them when they had morning sickness. No one seemed to put two and two together; I couldn't eat anything without being sick, so how was flippin ginger going to help?
Other pointless and not thought out suggestions included:
- Travel sickness bands
- Try bland food like dry toast
- Eating little and often
- Eat cold food as it wont smell and make you sick
- Distract yourself
But don't just take my word for it; I have once again put the question out there to the HG Facebook community; here are some of the suggestions that have been given to fellow HG survivors:
"Think positive / get some fresh air / go for a walk (!) / eat digestives / you only feel sick because of the thought of something living inside you"
"Wash your hair and listen to radio 4 .....it will take your mind off it!! (I could not stand at the time), Think postively and get some fresh air, You should be doing the housework it will take your mind off it. to name a few..."
"My mum suggested I'd feel better if I stood up straight. I was permanently bent over you see - that was when I was able to get out of bed. I didn't know correct posture was a cure!"
"Digestive biscuits according to a midwife in hospital would've prevented me from needing any IV fluids...!! Sea bands, ginger anything, fresh air, doing something to take my mind off it, eating little & often. So frustrating as you try all these things in sheer desperation when first suggested too! X"
"OMG I could give you a whole years worth of reading. After having my hickman line fitted and my kidneys failed one nurse still said to me have i tried sea bands... You can only imagine my upset !"
"Ginger and sea bands too but also flat lemonade, ice lollies, fizzy water - but it's the psychological suggestions that really made me cross as if somehow we can magically 'think' our way out of it"
"Stop thinking about feeling sick... U will feel much better! Sea bands, ginger, fresh air! Make sure u eat and drink u will feel much better... Doh why didn't I think of that! Have a bath, get dress, do your make up/hair you will feel 100 times better!"
"It's not just the suggestions either sometimes it's the arrogant things people say. One woman said to me that she didn't have the choice to be sick with her second as she had to care for her son. Oh yeah I just decided to be sick cos I couldn't be bothered to care for my older child..."
"I was given into trouble by the nurses who bring round the food trays in hospital. I told them I couldn't even look at what was on the tray as that'd make me sick. Their response (while rolling their eyes at me) 'well, you're not going to get better if you don't eat, are you!'"
"Eat little and often I was told! Flat lemonade, try not to think about being sick (seems obvious right), ginger nut biscuits and a healthy diet...annoyed me so much - was told on a daily basis especially at work that everyone knew how I felt as they had a bit of morning sickness and it would pass...I was throwing up until I had my daughter, admitted to hospital twice with severe dehydration and starvation and have been out off having another child because of it. If rather give birth 10x then go through pregnancy again xx"
"Flat coke. A gynaecologist friend of my mum told her that a woman in hospital on a drip drank 2 litres of it and was up and about feeling fine and dancing a jig almost instantly. (at least that is how my mother told the story) Now she keeps pouring me glasses of coke and stirring the bubbles out. The smell makes me sick, no way could I drink it!"
"In my first pregnancy, returned to work after being off sick, realised it was too much, asked to work from home, was told I was totally selfish that everyone was sick of answering my phone while I sat at home and suggested I needed to go back to the doctor to find out what was really wrong with me cos it was not normal to be signed off when pregnant."
"I was a ' drama queen' putting it on, over the top, Act normal, I was not ill,.only pregnant which is the most normal thing for women, get up do some house work,.sort yourself out and stop being miserable! - It was not said directly to me but thats how people and family made me feel! --:-( AGAIN LACK OF AWARENESS ABOUT HG. the only person who was so sympathetic with me that time is my Manager, who signed me off.- very unusual. Well He used to be a psychiatric Nurse."
"Someone said to me "I have to cycle several miles every day for my work, you just have to work through the nausea" which made me feel awful as I could barely get out of bed!! People think you just choose to be lazy rather than realising that pushing through a bit of nausea is so very different to surviving HG and actually you are fighting much harder just to survive each day! I liken it to a gastro bug... the first few hrs are so bad you can't do anything but throw up and ride it out no matter how much willpower you have to carry on as normal... a day or two later you still feel rough but you CAN push through it... that to me is a helpful way of giving and example of how ignorant and unsympathetic these comments are (oh and point out you mean gastros like norovirus or ones which give you a fever, not the milder ones that just make you throw up a couple of times and then you're fine!)"
"I remember getting told when I was nearly 4 months into my first bout of hg that I should still go for Christmas dinner at mil house, "you"ll be ok just sit and play with your food" aaargh. No one seems to ever listen to you when you try to explain"
"A student midwife told me to try hot chocolate when I voiced my concern over weight loss due to being unable to eat anything!! That was a new one on me..."
"Also had spending 9 months pretty much in bed vomiting and not seeing many people likened to "I had the flu for 2 weeks and was in bed so I know how you feel" erm, no you don't! Couldnt even have a window open in the winter months as the cold frosty smell of the fresh air made me heave!"
"Oh just remembered. I was off work 4 months with first preg - lucky enough to improve by 3rd trimester and get back. When I got back people would tell me their morning sickness stories. Like "oh I know what it's like. I used to be driving to work wondering if I'd make it before vomitting" as if to make the cutting remark well I was sick but I still worked. I was thinking, but you could leave the house and attempt to drive to work...I couldn't leave bed!
"Mind over matter, let's get you outside for some fresh air, think positive, it'll all be worth it in the end (yes it definitely will, but i feel like cack now), have you tried ginger/travel sickness bands/accupuncture (yes to all, and I puked on the way home from accupuncture), little but often, have you tried X? (insert flat coke/fruit pastilles/dry crackers/standing on your head here)... my daughter had terrible morning sickness and X was her saving grace. Same old, the list goes on..!"
I would once again like to thank the Facebook community for their input. I think it is clear that very few people understand Hyperemesis, and the more we are able to promote awareness, the more understanding and support future HG sufferers will receive.
If you would like to talk to me about my experience in greater detail, please do not hesitate to Contact Me or leave a comment in this post; alternatively, for more information about Hyperemesis Gravidarum please visit the Pregnancy Sickness Support website -http://www.pregnancysicknesssupport.org.uk/help/