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 today; 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 Sarah, mama to three babies, all three pregnancies she suffered with HG. This is her story...
biglittlethings | firstly, tell us your name, a bit about yourself & who you’re a mama to.
Sarah | Hello, I’m Sarah I’m currently a stay at home Mum to a girl Aubrey 6 years old who is a dancing, cartwheeling Queen, a boy Arlo who is 4 years old and is my old soul ninja kick lover and my 2 year old son Manning, who lives on the wild side and keeps me on my toes.
My background is child protection but have been a stay at home Mum for the majority of the last 6 years. I have a small business that I run where I hand make Steiner inspired toys, celebration crowns and everything in between - all made from natural eco-friendly fibres.
B | when did you feel like that you weren’t just “first trimester sick” & when you were diagnosed with HG? (If you were at all)
At about 8 weeks pregnant with Aubrey I knew something wasn’t “right”. I was waking up in the middle of the night and vomiting and vomiting the whole day while working. I had bags and a bin wherever I went that I would just vomit into. I went and did a quick Dr Google search and read about HG. It was a lightbulb moment for me and solidified my feelings of this immense sickness being something other than “morning sickness”. I spoke with my OB he said that’s what I had, but there was nothing much I could apart from Maxolon and Zofran.
B | tell us about your HG Pregnancy/Pregnancies.
Aubrey’s pregnancy was our first (we had chosen to do IVF as my husband has a genetic condition that we didn’t want to pass onto our children), so it had already been quite a long ride to get to the point of being pregnant. Although I was so sick and could barely function, I was still able to make it to work, but as soon as I got home, I was done. I think the excitement of being pregnant covered the constant nausea, constant vomiting and horrendous lack of energy.
There were many times where I knew I should have gone to hospital, but I had a weird phobia of needles and knew I would be put straight on a drip so I never went when pregnant with her. I was on Zofran and Maxolon the whole of my pregnancy. The vomiting started to ease by about 25 weeks, although still a daily occurrence at least once (and not to mention the constant nausea) until the moment that placenta came out at 38.4 weeks.
My second pregnancy with Arlo was tarred with the same brush. Constant nausea, vomiting up to 25 times a day (my record!) and I was put on all the medication my OB was comfortable with by week 7 in the pregnancy.
This was a very different pregnancy in that I no longer had myself to look after, but a little one under 2 years old.
My mental health took a massive hit. I went to some very dark places in my thoughts and kept those to myself. It wasn’t until recently that I actually spoke about this with others. As I was vomiting up to 25 times a day there were a few times where I tore something in my throat and was just vomiting blood and stomach acid. As with Aubrey, by about 25 weeks the vomiting had definitely reduced (between 1-5 times a day), but the nausea was constant and the stress of finding “safe foods” continued until, beautiful Arlo was born, and my placenta was out.
Manning’s pregnancy was yet again different to all the others – his was one of dread as I knew what was coming. Week 7 hit and I was back to my usual; vomiting constantly, unable to move off the couch (our couch still has the sunken area in it where I lay for almost 15 weeks straight). I was back on Maxolon and Zofran, B12 and Restavit. Restavit made me feel like a walking zombie. I didn’t feel like I was on Earth.
In this pregnancy I had a ridiculous amount of excess salvia, so I had a towel and bag everyday as I could not swallow my saliva without vomiting. Finding “safe” foods was almost impossible.
I was in and out of hospital with this pregnancy, despite my phobia of needles. I just got over feeling like I was dying and gosh did hospital help. My first hospital admission was at 9 weeks. They placed me in the maternity ward. It felt like some sick joke as I was laying there with crazy dehydration, and crazy low blood pressure hearing these newborn babies cry. The day where I got to hold my baby seemed so far away. There were many more hospital visits, vomits, tears and nausea to come. During that first admission I said to my husband “why didn’t I do hospital with the other two pregnancies?!” It was so validating having my OB and midwives telling me this was yet another HG pregnancy and that they would support me in any way.
All of my pregnancies I wasn’t able to stand the smell of my oven, fridge or pantry. I couldn’t be near my husband without vomiting as I could “smell” him. I described it as the smell coming from his pores haha ... poor guy.
B | tell us about the support you had throughout your pregnancy with HG
Although my OB was conservative, I feel in his use of medication for HG, he was the most supportive, kind and funny medical professional. Humour is what I needed, and he gave me that each time I saw him.
My Mum and husband were my main supports. I feel like for the majority of the 9 months my Mum was the one who cooked for me and my family. My Mum would go to the supermarket almost daily and go off her instinct as to what may be a “safe food” for me that day.
I had beautiful friends dropping me little gifts and cards with encouraging words on the doorstep. I just didn’t want to see anyone, I couldn’t. One of my best friends made me loads of sandwiches for Aubrey and Arlo that I could freeze and give to them daily which was so incredibly helpful!
Friends and family drove the kids to preschool and the in-laws took the kids to playgroup.
I could not have done it without family and friends – my rocks!
B | what got you through those really dark HG days?
My belief in Jesus, my Mum always being the ear and shoulder to cry on, and my husband who cleaned up kilos of vomit throughout the 3 pregnancies. Knowing that there would be light at the end of it, which would be a beautiful baby, also made every vomit, every day of constant nausea, every saliva towel, worth it.
B | what is something you wish people knew about HG
It’s not morning sickness, and please don’t say morning sickness is the same thing. There is a HUGE difference. Ginger doesn’t help HG! HG never leaves you. There probably isn’t many days where I don’t get reminded of HG and the walk I walked through my 3 pregnancies. The effects of HG can continue after delivery of your baby too. I had no issues with my teeth prior to HG, now most of my teeth have fillings in them. I also have super sensitive teeth, barely any enamel left on them and receding gums all thanks to the vomiting from HG (sounds sexy doesn’t it!).
B |only answerif you had multiple pregnancies with HG:how did you manage to be a mama whilst being pregnant with HG at the same time? This is to help a mama who might be on their second pregnancy & stressed about being that sick whilst caring for another child - any words of wisdom or ways to plan/manage it that worked for you?
It’s hard – there’s no way of sugar coating that! Your children won’t suffer if they watch “too much tv” and they won’t suffer if they aren’t doing their usual activities. I struggled with this in my third pregnancy, feeling the guilt of not doing my “usual” things with my kids and my Dad said something so wise. He said “Sarah in the long run this isn’t going to affect them, and they won’t remember this once they have their baby brother in their arms”.
Take all the help you can get – don’t be afraid to ask for help either! If people offer to make a meal say yes. I learnt the hard way and wanted to be “brave” ... silly move Sarah! Silly move! Say thanks to your friend, take the meal, shut the front door and then vomit from the smell! At least your family have a meal to eat tonight!
Be kind on yourself! Don’t slip into feelings of guilt! Have an advocate if you don’t feel you can speak up for yourself during hospital/OB appointments.
Drink and eat all the safe foods you can – my babies lived on Coke Zero and they are healthy, bright and beautiful! A few teaspoons of fluid are better than none!
B | what is something you would like a fellow HG mama going through it right now to know?
Each vomit, each day of constant nausea, each day where you say you can’t go on any longer, gets you one day closer to holding that miracle that you created!