If you’ve been following me from the start, you’ll know I didn’t have an easy time with my pregnancies. You’ll know the second pregnancy was substantially worse than the first and I honestly felt like I was battling a demon. Today, 15th May, is World HG Awareness Day. The one day dedicated to creating awareness around this pregnancy disease, and educating others that this is far more than ‘just morning sickness’. If you haven’t been around from the start, here’s my story to catch up on.
What is HG?
“Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) is a rare disorder characterized by severe and persistent nausea and vomiting during pregnancy that may necessitate hospitalization. As a result of frequent nausea and vomiting, affected women experience dehydration, vitamin and mineral deficit, and the loss of greater than five percent of their original body weight.” – The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD)
My biggest wish by sharing my story was that I could reach just one person who is battling this, as throughout these pregnancies I felt no one here in South Africa understood the magnitude of it, and I had to look at overseas forums to find sanctuary. Help me spread the word and raise awareness about HG, so that women afflicted by this evil have a chance at getting the support and understanding they so desperately need. People Magazine published my story last year, which I hope may have brought a ray of light to at least one of its readers at the time who was battling this monster.
“At 12 weeks I was back for my 2nd hospitalisation. It was at this time I remember texting Dyl saying I didn’t think I could carry this baby any more. Even saying those words horrifies me to the core. I wasn’t by any means suggesting an abortion, but it was a cry for help – It felt like my body was giving up on me.” – My Story: Surviving Hyperemsis Gravidarum.
It’s a heavily debilitating and isolating disease, one you’ll feel all alone in, even though there are in fact two of you going through it. How ironic is it that a disease you battle only while pregnant should leave you feeling so alone. I still battle with the memories of my HG and I can honestly say I think I have some form of PTSD around it and its effects, the mere hint of nausea or feeling a bit off takes me straight back to those dark days. Less than 2% of pregnant women will experience it, and I pray you aren’t in this percentage!
Two blogger friends I’ve ‘met’ have shared similar stories to mine after battling HG – it’s amazing how united it feels having ‘met’ two other Momma’s that have been through what I have. A community of sorts. Here are their stories:
Simone from An Ordinary Gal – “There were days that I prayed for death. Days when I said to God: ‘if this pregnancy needs to end, I won’t be mad at You.’ What a horrific confession…one I obviously regret and never deep down in my heart meant, but that is the black hole of depression that HG caused in my life. I wanted nothing to do with friends, with people and their shit advice…and even my doctor…for making me feel like I deserved this somehow.” For her full story, read it here.
Gaelyn from Heart of Iron – “After years of infertility and loss, I had always dreamed of being the beautiful, glowing, happy pregnant woman. I couldn’t wait to be pregnant, even getting a little excited about the morning sickness that would help me lose weight. Little did I know how much I would regret that excitement. My morning sickness started 5 days before I even got a positive pregnancy test, and by 8 weeks I was diagnosed with HG and on medication to try slow down the vomiting. I vomited up to 20 times a day for almost 7 months. I spent my time at home in a dark room, with no TV and nothing to read, as both triggered my vomiting. I had no social life as I was too weak to leave the house and vomited too often to be safe in public. I wasn’t able to enjoy being pregnant, I was just miserable and felt like I was failing my precious miracle baby. Eventually, as I entered my third trimester, I started to feel better – just in time for the discomfort of being heavy and swollen to start! In some ways HG ruined my pregnancy, and I wished for it to be over every day. But I’m just so grateful for good doctors who were able to help keep my baby and I safe until she was born.” Go check out her blog here for the full story.
If you’re battling this, or know of someone battling this, reach out – we’re here, you are not alone. Momma battling HG – WE see you.