May has been pretty special here at biglittlethings - we interviewed ten beautiful women & mamas in the lead up to Mother's Day & then shared space with some incredible women who showed vulnerability, strength & so much raw inspiration; telling their story about Hyperemesis Gravidarum.
If you have already please read the words of Haddas, Chanté, Emily, Bianca, Carly, Sarah & Chloe. 7 stories out of almost 100 women that came forward to tell us about their experience with HG.
And finally to bookend our hg story series, a note from our curator & founder...
I read every story that came through to us, putting together this campaign has been raw & very emotional, the many many many stories I have read from women who have struggled through this illness was heartbreaking but also so inspiring.
This is not a pity party, every woman we spoke to wants to raise awareness & try to articulate just how horrible and scary HG is.
Some of these women had never spoken about their experience & this was their first time writing it down.
We wanted to give space to these stories because even if one woman right now is reading this & doesn't feel alone, or for the mama who has experienced loss because of how debilitating & deadly this illness is, you are not alone.
I have been inspired by so many of these women to write down my own experience.
To tell you the truth I don't even know where to begin...
I could tell you about the days of vomiting so much I just lay crying on the bathroom floor wondering how my little babe was getting any bigger without nutrients.
Or the times when I would wake up in the middle of the night to grab my 100th sick bag & then try to go back to sleep. The times that I would lie in bed not knowing if I could get up without feeling like I was going to faint & whether I'd make it to work.
The times Josh would drive me to work & I would cry because I was so scared to vomit in front of my team. Or when I would spend an hour on the shop floor with my team then have to lie on the floor of my office or back room & see all their worried faces checking on me.
The times that I could only drink frozen coke but water would make me vomit instantly. When I'd finally eat a meal but then an hour later vomit it up. To being pregnant & wanting to enjoy this precious time in my life but feeling guilty because I couldn't. The many times Josh would have to pull over & somehow I'd vomit over my 7month pregnant belly. Being scared to brush my teether because it would make me vomit.
To be told again & again that "oh, I've had morning sickness it goes away eventually"
Taking months off work because I could barely last an hour & feeling like I had let everyone down. Josh feeling helpless every single time I was vomiting because it just didn't stop. Or the many times I bailed on seeing friends & family because I couldn't bring myself emotionally & physically to see anyone & feeling so isolated.
Becoming so conditioned to be scared to eat food because 95% of the time it would just come back up again. To be given a letter from my doctor to always have on hand in case I needed to go to the ER so they believed me that I was sick with HG. Or when we finally had our scan to find out whether our little babe was a girl or boy & I could barely get through it because I fainted & vomited.
To be told the pharmacy wouldn't sell me Restavit (the only thing that helped me sleep through the night without vomiting) even though I had been taking it for 5 months already. So Josh would have to pretend it was for him. Or that the tiny little anti nausea meds I paid $2.50 per 10mg tablet, gave me muscle anxiety & I didn't realise until I asked my support group if others felt the same way after taking it.
Or the guilt of not being able to take prenatal vitamins because they'd just end up in the toilet bowl within seconds.
But all of that happened after I found out I had HG...
For 14 weeks I was violently sick at leat 10 times a day without knowing why, other than that I was pregnant. I went to the doctor every week & was told it was still the first trimester & it would pass. I finally had a breakdown at work when I realised I wasn't getting better & that I didn't know if it was hurting the baby & what this was doing to us. It wasn't till I started doing my own research that I posed the questions "I think I have Hyperemesis..." And after fainting in the doctors waiting room because I had vomited up all my food & water they finally took me seriously. And I was diagnosed with HG.
We are told that HG stops as soon as you give birth & in some ways it does. It's like a dark cloud lifting off you mentally & physically. My skin colour returned within hours of giving birth. But I have PTSD, vomiting or feeling faint makes me breakdown & I am still rebuilding my nutrition from the ground up. The emotional & mental toll it has taken is still something I struggle with.
But I have Alia. And she survived just as much as I did. We have a beautiful healthy baby. And we are so lucky. I think of all the women I spoke to through my support group. The ones who lost their babies due to failure to thrive because they were so depleted. Or the complications & struggles after the baby was born due to having to be induced early to help the baby & mum survive.
It is something that needs more research but also more support. Because a ginger biscuit does not help. My HG sisters; you are so incredibly strong & you will get through this even through those darkest of days.
This is why we support HG Australia & raising awareness by donating 5% of our profits. And we are forever grateful for our beautiful biglittlethings community for letting us do what we do.