Here at biglittlethings we donate 5% of our profits to HG Australia, a charity that provides support & raises awareness surrounding Hyperemesis Gravidarum an illness suffered by 2% of pregnant women.
To shine light on the mama's that are going through it & the one's who have survived it - we put out a call for HG mama's to contact us to tell their story. The response was overwhelming. We chose 7 stories to count us down to 15th May for HG Awareness Day & we hope they bring some hope, love, awareness, & that you don't feel alone.
To all the HG mama's, we see you, we believe you & we are here for you.
Our next mama we spoke with is Bianca, this is her story...
Biglittlethings. | firstly, tell us your name, a bit about yourself & who you’re a mama to.
My name is Bianca, and I have a beautiful, funny and sassy 2 year old daughter named Penelope.
B | when did you feel like that you weren’t just “first trimester sick” & when you were diagnosed with HG?
My HG symptoms started at about week 6 of my pregnancy. I self-diagnosed myself with HG at about 11 weeks and was formally diagnosed at 14 weeks. I felt so hopeless and weak, I had many people telling me it was ‘normal’ to feel sick in the beginning, but I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t coping like others could.
B | tell us about your HG Pregnancy.
My journey with HG was single handily the toughest time of my entire life, 9 months felt like an eternity. My mental and physical health took the beating of a lifetime. We didn’t announce our pregnancy, its such a hard thing to verbalise without feeling inconsiderate but I just didn’t feel any joy being in pregnant.
I had my first admission to hospital for severe dehydration at 15 weeks, I hadn’t been able to keep anything (including water) down for 3 days. From that visit admissions to hospital became a regular occurrence with weekly admissions (some overnight stays) until birth. These regular visits resulted in me having collapsed veins and multiple failed attempts for an IV Insertion, but I have no doubt it is the only reason me or my daughter survived this beast.
Everything I ever imagined pregnancy to be I was robbed of. I chose to hide away and isolate myself instead of sharing with anybody outside of our immediate family how truly awful it was for us. When I was at my worst, I once kept track of my vomiting for that day, by 1pm I was at 27 and that’s when I stopped counting.
I spent endless hours on the toilet floor crying, sitting on the shower floor because I had no strength to stand. Vomiting had eventually become something that was natural to me, I could walk into the bathroom at work or anywhere for that matter, spew and get up and walk out like nothing had happened. HG had inhibited my body. I weighed 19kg less than my pre pregnancy weight on the morning of induction. I was mentally and physically defeated but a few days later we got to meet the little human causing all this chaos and while birth wasn’t the magical cure I thought it would be, having her as the prize made the chaos of HG slightly subside.
B | tell us about the support you had throughout your pregnancy with HG.
My husband – He was my rock through it all, HG doesn’t just affect us, but also our partners, they live it and breathe it by our side. Without his support I never would have made it through. He would do anything I needed and sacrificed a lot to help me through it all. Our parents – They would all do grocery shopping for us, cook for my husband, clean the house and so much more. My mum would come to most hospital admissions to keep me company and sister was incredible at distracting me from a dark day without being aware of it. My workplace – I have never felt that supported in my working life. I was able to do flexible hours, they always supported me, laughed with me when all I wanted to do was cry and worked around my planned and unplanned hospital admissions. Work was the only time I wasn’t thinking about how shit I felt. B | what got you through those really dark HG days?
I think the idea of knowing it would all be over when I gave birth, and we would be able to start the next journey of our lives helped. I had a quote saved in my phone and I would look at it every day when I was on the bathroom floor trying to find motivation to go on ‘So far you’ve survived 100 percent of your worst days. You’re doing great! I also am apart of a support group on Facebook and reading and chatting to other women who were or had gone through what I was helped to not feel so alone.
B | what is something you wish people knew about HG?
HG robs you of the joy your meant to feel when pregnant, it makes you want to terminate a child you’ve longed for. It makes you rethink you plans for any future children. It makes you withdraw from all of life’s activities and leaves you to feel completely worthless. Postpartum I wondered how I got away without being diagnosed with antenatal depression. My only guess was that I realised nobody ever really asked about me and how I was really feeling. They would ask if I was still sick, but not how I was coping. Because the reality was that I wasn’t coping, I was struggling, and ashamed that I was struggling. And that’s where our biggest problem lies. The shame we feel, the pressure we put on ourselves and the lack of understanding. If you know of someone suffering, please nurture them, help them and be a support. You don’t have to have experienced something yourself to feel empathy. Be the helping hand somebody needs. Research has found that nearly 20% of HG sufferers will have PTSD and over 80% have psychosocial and financial issues. So be aware that it doesn’t always end at birth. I personally have since been diagnosed and treated for PTSD, with numerous sensory and food aversions.
B |what is something you would like a fellow HG mama going through it right now to know?
I know right now it’s hard, I know that you can’t see the light in the dark tunnel you’re in but you can do this. Take it easy on yourself and listen to your body. Join a support group, find a doctor who will listen. But the most important thing I want you to know, from one HG survivor to another, is to remember that right now you’re doing your best and no matter what that looks like, just know that it is more than enough!