New mum shares the horrors of suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum – same as Duchess of Cambridge as she expects baby number three
Alicia Savory ‘lost eight months’ of her life to the condition but says it was all worth it now she has son Dexter
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge revealed this week they are expecting their third child, to the delight of many as they prepare to welcome a new royal next year.
However, with Kate’s history of hyperemesis gravidarum, known to many as extreme morning sickness, it is not set to be an easy pregnancy.
New mum and former Abbots Bromley School pupil Alicia Savory, from Outwoods, knows all too well the pain of the condition which is so much more than just morning sickness.
It left her with eight months of pain and thinking again about having more children. The 26-year-old and her husband Jamie are now proud parents to Dexter Davis Charles Savory, born on August 30 at 00.02am and weighing 6lb 9oz; they could not be happier.
As Alicia still recovers from the effects of hyperemesis gravidarum, she tells in her own words about the pain she endured during pregnancy and the stigmas that went with it.
“I was going to wait a little longer before sharing my final experiences of hyperemesis gravidarum. However, with it being in the news due to the third royal baby I thought I’d share it now.
“As you know from three-and-a-half weeks pregnant I struggled a lot with sickness and nausea. By eight weeks there had been numerous hospital visits and the final visit resulted in being fed intravenously in order to rehydrate and nourish me and the baby as my body was beginning to shut down. I had two blood clots in the womb due to dehydration and I was at risk of losing our precious little baby.
“When finally released from hospital with a cocktail of medications to try to reduce the sickness and to repair my torn and burnt oesophagus, I was so weak that I was unable to bath/shower myself, do basic everyday tasks and I was not able to venture out without someone pushing me in a wheelchair.
“I had lost my dignity from vomiting while simultaneously wetting myself and my poor husband or family member would have to clean me up. I had also lost months of my life to just sitting and staring at four walls.
“I returned to work at around 17 weeks pregnant and my super strong medication made it that I could just about function but still had extreme nausea. The outside world can be overwhelming to a hyperemesis gravidarum sufferer due to the smells that can easily trigger vomiting.
“We finally found out we were having a boy and my husband then allowed me to buy a couple of bits for the baby. And then week by week we got to various ‘viability’ points and we were so excited. I finally had the right medication too which meant I could get some normality in my life despite constant nausea.
“However in weeks 24 to 26 a curve ball arrived. I got diagnosed with gestational diabetes and had to change my diet immediately to keep baby safe and prevent any harm to him.
“What the problem then was that all of my ‘safe’ foods such as pasta, bread and plain carbs were no longer appropriate and I somehow had to eat a balance of protein and fats with minimal carbs.
“I had slight anxiety linked to the foods I had to eat as once vomited up that thought stays with you. However with many tears I battled with the diet and managed to stay diet controlled for many weeks.
“Unfortunately the combination of hyperemesis gravidarum and gestational diabetes made it really difficult to keep the sugar levels down while simultaneously keeping enough carbs to keep the ketones down (the malnourished indicators!).
“Therefore at around 34 weeks I ended up on metformin for the gestational diabetes. Another drug to add to the ever-growing cocktail. The last few weeks of pregnancy, my hormones were all over and I went from having very good days to bad days but we got through.
“At 38 plus one day I was induced and at 38 plus three days our beautiful baby boy arrived healthy and safely.
“Within seconds of him being born that feeling of nausea I had become so accustomed to completely vanished and an hour after he was born when they offered me food I was absolutely ravenous and ate like I was the Hungry Caterpillar.
“It truly was instantaneous and rather incredible. My gestational diabetes was also gone and I have been able to eat any foods I have desired. However, the hyperemesis gravidarum may be gone but the effects still remain.
“I still can’t eat certain foods without getting real anxiety and when I had a fever due to mastitis which made me feel nauseous it brought back a ton of emotions and panic related to that.
“I also need to have lots of treatment on my teeth due to acid damage and lots of holes and weakness. My metabolic system is adjusting to be able to cope with its job of nutrition absorption and I now feel like I gain energy from foods increasingly.
“Everyone told me ‘it’ll be worth it when he’s born’ and they were right. Dexter was worth losing eight months of my ‘normal’ life over and he was worth more than 600 finger pricks for blood sugars.
“However the thought of ever having to go through that again having now been shown what pregnancy is like for an hyperemesis gravidarum sufferer, I am absolutely petrified to ever knowingly put my body and my family through this again.
“Well boy, was I wrong, and never again will I judge or make assumptions. So I did understand when people would just tell me to “man up” or “eat ginger” or “it will pass at 12 weeks”.
“Hyperemesis gravidarum is not morning sickness, it is a medical condition which effects one to three per cent of pregnant women and can cause vomiting more than 50 times a day.
“I am grateful to hyperemesis gravidarum for reminding me how incredible my family, friends and husband are for supporting me through this. I have to say Jamie and I have grown closer than ever through this pregnancy and I am so grateful to be able to call this incredible man my husband and daddy to our son.
“Despite my worries over the medications, Dexter is happy, healthy and the most incredible little baby boy. So my hyperemesis gravidarum journey is over and my motherhood journey has begun.
“I hope that by sharing our story I have helped someone, educated someone or just given someone the strength to carry on if they are struggling in pregnancy too.”
What is hyperemesis gravidarum?
Hyperemesis gravidarum is a condition at the extreme end of the pregnancy sickness spectrum.
It affects only one per cent of women during pregnancy and those who suffer with extreme sickness are urged to get medical help as they can become very dehydrated very quickly.
It usually begins between four and seven weeks into the pregnancy and eases off at around 15 weeks.
However, for some women it stays with them all through the pregnancy and will only go away when the baby is born. The exact cause of hyperemesis gravidarum is unknown but it has been found that a few factors are likely to be involved, including hormonal changes.
The condition can leave woman feeling exhausted, stressed, depressed and unable to enjoy their pregnancy. It has been found that hyperemesis gravidarum can be so far removed from how women expected to feel during pregnancy that they may feel isolated and become withdrawn.
It can last for long periods of time and make it difficult for the woman to care for herself and her family and simple tasks such as taking a shower, driving or shopping may feel impossible.
Source: burtonmail co uk
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