Your stories

Sharing your story is a really powerful way to help another sufferer so they don’t feel so alone and it can also help you to process what you have been through.

Tanya's Story

My son is 15 months old now and I still feel the experience hangs over me. I had two boys before this pregnancy and had what I would class as “normal” morning sickness with my first two pregnancies. With my “normal sickness” I was still sick, but I found it to be more predictable sickness. I also found I could ease the sickness (not stop it necessarily) and most importantly for me – I still managed to get to work. That sickness ended both times by 12 weeks.

I had only ever heard of Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) vaguely. I had no direct understanding of it. With my third pregnancy it was different from the very beginning. My experience of HG was not just of sickness. My first symptom was when I would have been only 3 weeks pregnant and I felt off colour, giddy and weak. I kept having to sit down as I felt faint. Within a couple of days this progressed to exhaustion and all day long light headedness. The actual sickness kicked in at week 5. I was half prepared for this as in my other two pregnancies it kicked in at week 6 and was still severe enough to be unable to hide the fact I was pregnant to the outside world, however, by week 6 in my HG pregnancy I was beyond sick I felt so ill I couldn’t leave my bed. I felt so weak and even moving my head from one side to the other was enough motion to set me off. I could not even keep a drink down and I had no less than four water infections during this pregnancy.

There was a point that I believed I was dying. This will sound so dramatic to some but I was so tired, so sick, the medications weren’t working very well as I couldn’t keep them in my stomach, I couldn’t eat and I could barely make the trip to my en-suite. I had incredibly painful headaches to boot.

One day all I did was focus on breathing and my partner offered to ring an ambulance. I felt a fraud and told him not to waste a resource as I was “Just pregnant” which is something you hear a lot. I think the most difficult part of it for me was how visual motion would trigger it. My middle son who was 9 at the time basically lost his Mum for a good 8 months. I can hand on my heart say I retired to my bed for 8 months. I felt an utter failure as I could not go anywhere or do anything. One day I attempted to take my son to the cinema. I do not even remember the film we watched I just remember puking in the ODEON toilets and leaving my son in the cinema alone. I had to get a lift there and back and we only live 2 miles from the cinema. That almost-year I lost I feel has cost me so greatly with my son. He really became very attached to his Dad during that time and he still now always gravitates to his Dad when before we had had such a close bond. I’ve tried so hard to get that back, but it’s totally robbed us of the inseparable connection we used to have.

I had a lot of questions asked of me at work. My supervisors visited me at home. For someone who really likes to keep a lid on my private life and is hard-wired to be presentable I found this an enormously difficult and tasking time. I had no choice but to take anti sickness tablets, but they made me feel hugely out of whack. One of the brands I took made me feel really sedated and spaced out. I do not drink as I hate to feel out of control, so this drug was a real last resort. My supervisor wanted me back at work and was telling me that they only work if you take them regularly. I found that anti-sickness tablets are a very individual thing and people respond differently to different tablets. I cannot say that I have found any cocktail of medication that rid me of the nausea completely. The nausea for me was the worst part. I would have a constant feeling of nausea overridden by engulfing waves of nausea. Being sick was not the worst part; it was hands down the nausea.

I was off work sick. I was feeling sick. I became very unhappy very quickly. HG ruined our holiday as I could not leave the bed and we drove home in the end with me vomiting into bags. HG became the third wheel between my son and me. It became a demon that kept me away from my job and I quickly became seen as an issue at work. There were other pregnant people at work-making it in every day!

It was not long before I felt depressed. I became lower and lower and lower and sadly this trickled into new motherhood. HG then robbed me of the special days with my new son. It affected my relationship as we could not do anything together anymore and we had previously enjoyed eating out together.

My son is now 15 months and I absolutely adore him but the HG shadow that was cast over me has not left me yet. I am surprised at the lack of understanding. It is not treated seriously by many Doctors. It is daunting, it can be scary, it’s lonely, it’s isolating, and it’s misunderstood. I know I could never go through another HG pregnancy because I feel it took every bit of strength, I had to make it to the end – and then some.

It’s a fight. It is like you’ve unwittingly entered a marathon when you’ve not even had any training.

HG infiltrates every aspect of your life.

I know this affected my kids, I know it affected my partner – he had to keep working full time, run the house, look after the kids we already had and I’m a horse owner. He isn’t a horse person and he did them every day for me as I couldn’t get out of bed. Sadly one of my horses died . I can’t say it’s as a result of this directly but I know if I’d been able to do the horses myself I would have noticed the health issues this horse was  harbouring sooner and maybe, just maybe, he could have been saved. That is not my partner’s fault in any way. He did so well to hold down our fort. It’s another layer to the endless layers of suffering from HG.

I feel bitter that it exists but my bitterness is futile as there’s nowhere to vent this bitterness. HG is a phenomenon. One thing that could have eased me angst or made the situation slightly more bearable would have been some understanding. I felt the only person who understood was my partner as he saw how desperately ill I was. 

Unfortunately, the understanding stopped at the threshold of our doorway. I didn’t know that Pregnancy Support sickness even existed then. I don’t plan to ever have another baby but I feel so strongly that other women don’t endure the circumstances, the loneliness and the lack of understanding I received. If I could give one bit of motivation as it is so easily lost when you’re in the midst of HG; it’s that I promise you it is worth it. 


    My Name Is Toni & I’m A HG Survivor! I recently became a volunteer with an amazing charity that helps raise money and awareness for an illness that sadly affects many pregnant women all around the world every single day – I was 1 of those woman.

    HG robbed me of so much I was only 20 when I first fell pregnant with my oldest daughter who is almost 5. I was young happy & most of all healthy. Id just finished hairdressing college and was enjoying building on my career working a 5 day week including late nights at my local salon where I’d been working since I was 15 – I enjoyed every minute especially the social side – meeting & talking to new people regularly – I love to talk!

    In those first few weeks of pregnancy everything was what I call now ‘perfect’ however at 7 weeks that quickly changed. I still remember the 1st time I was sick – morning sickness – as clear as day. I was actually excited – as apart from a positive pee stick and a missed period id no other signs I was expecting so this made me feel like a proper pregnant woman – sounds silly but I thought it at the time! However my morning sickness didn’t stop I was sick all day long I spent most of my day at work hiding out the back crying being sick feeling sick feeling scared and when I got home I spent all my time in bed only getting up to use the toilet and of course to be sick.

    Within 2 weeks I was so bad I was sent to A&E with a letter from my doctor. That’s when I 1st started to realise this was going to be a long road. I was pregnant being violently sick, so much so id ripped my insides  causing blood to pour out of my mouth every time – I was petrified – I was crying non-stop yet I was made to sit there for over 8 hours before I was seen, I could barely sit up in bed most days let alone sit in A&E for 8hours!

    I remember lying on the cold tile floors of the hospital toilets alone thinking I was going to die and that no1 even cared. When I finally got admitted over 11 hours after I first arrived I was diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum – WHAT? That’s what I thought to? I’ve never even heard those words let alone no what they mean – Did anyone explain – no!

    At the time I was too ill to care too sick to ask questions but when I think back now it makes me angry! Why did no-one give me any information on the illness & why did no-one tell me that it wasn’t my fault or if my baby was going to be ok!

    Next thing I knew I was being injected by an anti-sickness medicine called cyclizine within minutes I felt the room spin & my face swell yet after me voicing my concerns I was injected again only this time the reaction was much worse leaving me un able to see properly for 24 hours because my face had swollen so much! Turns out I’m allergic!

    With all this going on I didn’t realise that I had been isolated to a private room and that everyone coming in was wearing protective clothing & masks at first I thought It was just a normal part of being hospitalised with HG that was until my mum started to ask questions and it’s as well she did or I might have never found out that I had tested positive for swine flu – I didn’t even no id been tested – and was classed high risk for having it due to my pregnancy or that now I had an 80% chance of miscarriage!

    Again at the time I was too sick to care but again when I look back I feel angry! The hospital never wanted me to find out and if my mum hadn’t mentioned about going to the local papers I believe I would have never been told I had caught swine flu from my 11 hour wait in A&E!

    At that moment I felt broken, my life had turned upside down & I remember thinking I was somewhat weak and that I didn’t deserve to have a baby grow inside me because I couldn’t cope with pregnancy.

    The next lot of months went by in a blur filled with lots of sickness, hospital visits, scans, medications, sadness feeling alone and more sickness!

    I also found out pregnancy was causing so much strain on 1 of my kidneys that only 70% of it was now working, Not how pregnancy should be!

    I was signed of work and spent all my time alone in my apartment wishing i would just die already! I couldn’t stop being sick for long enough to think of anything like if I was growing a little baby girl or boy inside me or what names I liked I was living breathing sleeping HG there was no escape & I felt like it was never going to end. When I went into labour 2 weeks before my due date I didn’t feel scared I just wanted to in my words ‘get this baby out of me’ Scarlett was born by natural delivery on 29th July 2011 weighing 6 pound 1ounce and I vowed to never ever, ever to be pregnant again! That was until I began life as a mother!

    Scarlett became my light at the end of the tunnel. Here was this beautiful baby girl that had grown inside of me despite how ill I was & I made a promise to her and myself that I would be the best mummy I could be and I would give her a better life than the one she had started inside me.

    I knew I wanted more children but the thought of being pregnant again scared me more than I’ve ever been scared before. How could I willingly get pregnant knowing I could be setting myself up for another 9 months of HG HELL with little or no help from anyone even health professionals – at this point I didn’t know about PSS.

    It took a lot of thought before I finally decided to try for another baby and the main reason I did is because of the what if’s what if I don’t get HG this time what if I have a normal pregnancy.

    After only 2 months I found out I was pregnant with my youngest daughter who is now almost 1 – I was so excited but terrified!

    Like before the 1st few weeks were ‘perfect’ then boom just like before I was hit like a ton of bricks and my what ifs turned to as if’s. I remember speaking to a doctor in the hospital who was looking over my notes she was wearing glasses and sort of moved them down her nose then with a disapproving look said “so planned pregnancy then Toni” I felt like she’d just punched me in the face! Just because I’d planned to have a baby didn’t make the HG easier if anything it made it worse because I kept thinking what have I done!

    Having HG and looking after a hyper 4 year old was an actual living nightmare simple tasks like making her breakfast became a daily struggle and I still feel guilty that for 9 months she didn’t really have her mummy because I wasn’t me I was HG ME and that she would ask me questions like ‘mummy are you going to die’?

    I also still feel guilty that at one point it got too much for me so much so that I was set to abort the baby I’d once longed for because I felt I couldn’t go on!

    HG is a lot more than just sickness. It physically emotionally and mentally drains you – I even suffered from nose bleeds and migraines in my second pregnancy as a result of my HG. 

    It takes away all things good in life and makes you have thoughts you would never dream you would have.

    I’m very thankful my family supported me enough to continue my pregnancy and that I went on to give birth again naturally to another healthy baby girl Bonnie born 21st September 2015 weighing 6pounds 11ounces, it’s sad that because of HG the first feeling I felt when I set eyes on my gorgeous girl was guilt – then love – guilt because growing her made me so ill that at one point I was so sure I didn’t want a baby inside me anymore – sometimes I still look at her little face and feel that little bit of guilt!

    She is the light at the end of my tunnel together her and Scarlett are my absolute world I live breath and sleep for my girls not for HG!

    I still have side effects today when I feel nauseous I instantly feel anxious and scared and I feel nauseous a lot more than I use to.

    I’m having to have teeth removed due to damage from the acid from all the sickness and my damaged kidney is currently only working 30% now causing me lots of pain.

    HG is real
    HG is not just morning sickness
    HG is a daily struggle for woman suffering, for the woman who have suffered and also to the people closest to her family, friends & even work colleagues.

    That’s why I so desperately want to help! More needs to be done – more research – more awareness – more funding! Please help us


      HG turned me from a women who would never consider a termination at this stage in my life to a women that DID have a termination.

      A much wanted child who in the early days of my pregnancy i excitedly picked out nursery colours and purchased newborn clothes, dreams of a baby brother for my son to play in the dirt together or a little sister twirling around in her skirts. I can’t help but feel now though that I could have fought harder for my child – but loved ones remind me that i did fight and that being sane for my first born and letting go of my second was the only choice I really had. It was after all what is called a medical termination. One that saved me from the edge of darkness, that gave my firstborn his mummy back, one that meant I no longer felt I was
      quite literally starving to death. 

      My second pregnancy started with the misguided but positive notion that HG would not happen again. But it did, ten-fold. And In a way it was worse because this time I knew what was coming.

      I knew in my heart of hearts this time I wasn’t strong enough to fight it.

      Being forced through the A&E system when my muscles where wasting away and I quite literally felt like i needed an ambulance not a 5 hour wait in A&E, surrounded in a room by what would normally be just a room full of people but because of HG became a room full of my worst nightmares. Of people staring and watching me retch with nothing left.

      A room full of dirty ash tray smells, violently disgusting perfumes and washing powders, the stench of people’s bodies and the overwhelming smell of canteen food. Only to be left in a wheel chair all night tied up to an IV in a hallway, to then have that wheel chair taken for someone else when my partner held me whilst I slowly walked to the toilet.

      I looked around the A&E department and I saw people who were on deaths door and I felt who was I to complain, who was i to beg for a bed, to me my illness a low priority.

      Eventually shoved in a family room in the late hours, delirious, having a bad reaction to some anti sickness meds and hearing a man weep as his mother passed away. I was utterly terrified. I may not have been dying that night, but as a result of that experience i made that decision there and then that I couldn’t cope.

      That I had to end my pregnancy to save my sanity.

      I like to think family and friends understand what i went through in those weeks, the termination my saviour at the time. But now it’s all over and HG a distant memory I’m left with an empty space in my house and my heart where the child we so wanted would be.

      Last Christmas a norovirus struck in our house and my partner said to me that he understood now – he wasn’t sure how he would make it through those days and I knew that how awful he felt then – HG was that times a million with a never ending time frame where maybe there would be a light at the end of the tunnel but maybe there wouldn’t be. And I am utterly ashamed of my decision now; 

      Could I have tried harder?

      Could I have fought harder?

      And people ask me “will you have another? Will there be a brother or sister for your son?” And I lie, I say no, no more. But the truth is. There was another, and I failed, my body failed us. When my son asks for a sibling and my heart breaks a little, when i see a family of 4 and I have to look away. HG robbed me of that.

      Then I put it all away to the back of my mind, i put away the baby grows back into its little box of precious things. And I look for the joy my first born brings to my life and how utterly lucky I am & I know had I gone through with my second pregnancy he may not have the same mum he has now.

      The mummy who is now fighting everyday.

      Maybe one day I’ll be strong enough to try again but for now I hold my little boy that little bit longer and I saviour our days together and I thank the heavens I can make it through the weeks and months trying to make  peace with our past and looking to our future together.


        Morning sickness.. ‘it’s normal’

        I always dreamt of my first pregnancy and how amazing it was going to be. Always so interested and fascinated with the miracle of new life! One of the reasons I became a midwife!!

        Being a midwife I felt I was well aware of pregnancy symptoms and didn’t expect to feel completely wonderful but I was not prepared for what was in store for me…

        Happily married in December 2016 we quickly fell pregnant in the April 2017 and I was so shocked when the 2 lines appeared.. I had no symptoms! In fact my only symptom was feeling happy and didn’t have my usual premenstrual hormonal melt down a few days before my period!

        For the next few weeks I felt like I was walking on a cloud, no symptoms, no tiredness, and no sickness! This was great!

        Then week 6 hit, a few little dizzy and tired moments, it was exciting as now I felt like it was real! At 6+4 I was going to my grandad’s funeral and I made my husband pull over and get me plastic bags, polos and water. I felt really sick!

        For the next few weeks I was slightly alarmed that the nausea was all day and I didn’t even get an hour off, wasn’t this meant to be morning sickness?! Or just in the evening? Why literally all day?

        Anyway it’s normal isn’t it I told myself…. people keep saying it is.. Even my job as a midwife it was normalised… and I have got to get on with it haven’t I? I felt terrible 24/7 but carried on working and just getting thought the days … it became a cycle of working and come home and crashing on the couch trying to sleep – the only escape from the nausea. I always planned on eating super healthy in pregnancy and exercising … My diet now consisted of sandwiches, jacket potatoes and Ribena and I become a lot more inactive. In fact to make a sandwich I had to pull up the dining room chair to the worktop because I didn’t have enough energy to stand for long.

        8 weeks hit and so did the vomiting, all day nausea getting more intense. I will be ok by 12 weeks I told myself …I just knew it! Had to take a few days off from work as was vomiting too much but I went to the GPs and got anti sickness tablets. The GP advised to be off for a few weeks but I said no because I wanted to ‘be strong’ as I felt everyone normalised the sickness … I didn’t want to seem weak. I’ll just take the tablets and will power on I told myself, even if it meant I was been sick into a bag whilst driving to visits and been sick in between seeing women at clinic.

        The tablets didn’t really work. It was the constant nausea which took it out of me, vomiting was a bit more inconsistent, some days lots other days just a few times. My life cycle was work and sleep and on my days off couch ridden. I was also very dizzy and blacked out a lot when I stood up.

        Well 12 weeks hit, no sign of it letting up… ok well it did for my mum I told myself … so maybe soon for me! I tried to keep positive… 13, 14 weeks passed and no better. Ok maybe I’m one of those unlucky women who is sick till 16 weeks! I hardly see anyone as a community midwife who is still sick at the 16 week appointment. Surly I can make it till then, if not I’ll lose the plot I thought to myself!

        Ok 15 weeks and the ‘powering through’ took its toll. I got worse. Vomiting increased, couldn’t move without being sick. I looked terrible, I blacked out most times when I stood up. I was still vomiting in bags between women at clinic and between visits. I had a bag on my knee – vomiting into it whilst I was driving. I ended up off sick. Of course I thought I won’t be long, I’ll be ok in a week i told myself because I will be 16 weeks!

        No, I got worse. Then slightly better then at 17 weeks hit me hard and I couldn’t even keep fluids down. By 20 weeks the constant nausea had finally lifted. For the rest of my pregnancy it was on and off but I could deal with it better as it wasn’t constant.

        I cannot tell you how horrific it all was. I couldn’t have a shower as I was too faint, I’d black out if I stood up and have to hold the wall for 10 seconds. I had baths but cold baths because it was too hot. I didn’t want move even slightly because the nausea would intensify and I would be sick. I am usually a chatty person but speaking made me feel sick so I stopped talking. I would just sit on the couch and stare. I had no appetite but I had to eat to control the nausea but then after eating it actually it made it worse and then I was sick. I had to live off potatoes and bread because they were the nicest thing to be sick. I couldn’t stand the smell of anyone, including my husband. Didn’t want anyone in my personal space. I was sick all over myself, the carpet, dressing gown, I didn’t care. I would carry my sick bin around with me like it was my best friend. There were times I choked on sick and feel like I couldn’t breathe. I liked to lay on the cool bathroom floor for relief. I felt honestly like each day I was been slowly tortured with no let up. All this was happening in the height of summer – I hated the sun, I hated warmth and the light, It made me feel worse. I craved darkness, rain and coolness. The only time I felt relief was when I was asleep and I looked forward to bedtime every day because in my dreams I didn’t feel the torture of the nausea.

        Of course I was excited for the baby… but to be honest i didn’t feel pregnant, I felt ill. I couldn’t wait for it to be over. It had a massive effect on my mental health. I felt so numb, down, depressed, and hopeless. In fact I remember crying in desperation to my midwife and scoring a really high score on the depression questions and then getting referred to mental health for support. I had never even had symptoms of depression before but this is what HG did to me. I grieved the pregnancy I always dreamt of. I felt so guilty for been so useless, for being a rubbish wife, for not been able to work. I didn’t even want to be awake. I was frustrated and felt like I wanted to rip my oesophagus out for the nausea to go away. I was so desperate for relief I searched the internet for any ideas, other people’s stories. I was so desperate for relief I even had ‘dark’ thoughts such as wishing for a miscarriage or termination just for the relief – although I didn’t want that to happen I just wanted the relief – I couldn’t help these thoughts… they just popped into my head and then I felt guilty. I even
        thought I would rather be dead then endure another day of this. I had no plans to act upon these thoughts but they made me feel so guilty, made me feel such a bad, bad person. This baby was all I ever wanted! But I was dealing with desperation. I couldn’t help the way I was thinking.

        I have a new found respect for women who suffer with HG and severe all day sickness. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. It has opened my eyes to how horrific and relentless it can be. I was on four different medications, I never got admitted though I should have been and I lost over a stone in weight. The culture is that sickness is normal so many people don’t understand – including health professionals such as midwives and doctors…. and I know because I am one of them.

        My daughter is 4 months now and I haven’t been sick since she was born. I can enjoy her and enjoy summer… as the last one was so horrific. I wanted more children but I am not sure I could go through that again… I am blessed with my daughter and she was worth every moment. I couldn’t have got through it without the support from friends/family and of course Pregnancy Sickness Support … it took me 5 days to pluck up courage to ring them because I was scared I would be fobbed off like a lot of people did when I was so sick in pregnancy …I’m so glad I did because PSS listened, took me seriously, gave me up to date /evidence based advice and set me up with a peer supporter. I will always be grateful to PSS. When I go back to work as a community midwife my aim will be to raise awareness of HG and help other professionals understand more about it to enable women to get the best care and support.

        Thank you PSS – I will be forever grateful. What an amazing charity you are xxx


          I was going to wait until after the birth of my baby to write about my experience of Hyperemesis Gravidarum but I know as soon as this is over I will forget about how bad it actually is and how crappy I feel at the moment.

          I’d been broody for over two years, every time I saw a cute little chubby cheeked baby my ovaries would scream at me. Finally it was the right time for me and the hubs to start a family. Very quickly we got the news we were waiting for, I was pregnant! Little did I know what I was about to encounter. I expected some changes to occur of course, putting on weight, getting more tired, bigger boobs (the best part!). All of these are just part and parcel of being pregnant. Your body changes so much, it’s amazing what goes on really. I did not however expect to be vomiting for 7 or so months leaving my body feeling weak and bruised all over, my throat burnt from the acid, my stomach sore from the retching and at some points my life dangling by a thread. It has been a scary time not only for me but for my family too.

          I started feeling off when I was 5 weeks pregnant, this prompted me to take a pregnancy test. I knew it was going to be positive, I just felt different. My tummy was bloated, my boobs were bigger, I just knew.

          At 6 weeks we went on holiday to Milan. It was unbelievably hot and I felt queasy all the time but just put this down to the heat. On the way home the journey was hellish, train, bus, plane, coach, bus. The journey was so long! On the last part of the journey I was sat in front of a guy who had THE worst smelling breath ever, not even exaggerating. I have never smelt anything so bad and trust me I’ve smelt a lot of bad things through the work I do. Every single time this guy breathed I felt sick, to make matters worse he kept coughing, releasing his pungent fumes into the air. EEEEEEW. It was so bad and it made me really angry that someone could smell so bad. I dread to think what he had been eating!

          We finally got home and that is when it all began. For the next two weeks I was sick all the time. It’s just morning sickness I thought, I’d heard it was common and would disappear sometime at the end of the first trimester. Every time I was sick I would think of the guy with the bad breath, it was horrid. I felt so ill, this wasn’t right surely? ‘It’s just morning sickness’ everyone said. They looked at me like I was being a wimp. ‘We’ve all been through it’ blah blah blah. I felt like I was dying and little did I realise I actually was. I was in a lot of pain, my skin and lips were dry, I felt so weak. I couldn’t concentrate on anything at work, I looked at the writing on my computer screen over and over again, and goodness knows what I must have looked like. I felt awful. I’d told a few people at work I was pregnant. I told my friend I didn’t know if anyone else had guessed by how ill I was, my friend told me ‘no offence but you look like shit’ ha-ha!

          People must have known something was different about me. I lost nearly a stone in two weeks because I couldn’t keep any food or drink down. Normally I’d kill for this kind of weight loss but I felt so rough. I’d take a few sips of water and even that would come back up. I was miserable. According to everyone I spoke to, even my doctor, this was perfectly normal. I cried at home, I cried at my desk in work. I felt like such a fool, a wimp who couldn’t deal with a bit of morning sickness. I was told ‘pregnancy isn’t an illness’ but I’d never felt so ill in my entire life.

          Every day was the same, I’d go to work, be sick all day, even when my stomach was empty, go home, get straight in bed and do it all again the next day. My husband cooked my tea and woke me up to eat every night. I ate, desperately hoping to keep something down, nothing did. I felt like a failure. It was such a contrast to how I used to be. I used to go to the gym 4 times a week, meet up with my friends, cook dinner, fit as much into life as I could. I was always busy. Now I could barely function.

          After a particularly bad week the weekend arrived and I couldn’t wait to rest and hopefully feel a bit better. I lay on the sofa trying to sleep. I was in constant pain. My mum and dad came round to see how I was. I remember them being there, talking to me but I didn’t know what they were saying and I couldn’t respond. Actually writing this now I’m in tears, I didn’t realise how bad I was. I was dying.

          My mum took me to the hospital. The doctor did some tests and said ‘you need to go to hospital to be treated right away’. I burst into tears, I was scared but also relieved that someone believed that I was as ill as I’d been feeling.

          I remember the nurses looking at each other worriedly as they took my temperature which was sky high and I told them I felt cold. I was put on a drip and given fluids and anti-sickness medication. It felt bloody  brilliant! No pain! I don’t even remember my husband leaving the hospital that night, I was totally out of it. The next few days in hospital I ate and ate for the first time in weeks without being in pain, without feeling the waves of nausea creeping over me. I felt normal again. The doctors and nurses told me then that I have a condition called Hyperemesis Gravidarum, excess vomiting, thought to be caused by the increase in hormones in the body during pregnancy which only effects 1-2% of pregnant women. I felt better mentally and physically knowing that I wasn’t just being a wimp and there actually was something wrong. My kidneys had been failing, that’s why I was in so much pain. I had been going in and out of consciousness that’s why I hadn’t been responding to my husband or parents. Quite scary now I look back. This condition is serious and if left untreated can cause a woman to go into a coma and even die. I feel lucky to be alive.

          I was 8 weeks pregnant and looked at the little 2cm jelly bean shaped form busily spinning round on the monitor during my scan. How could something so small cause my body so much harm? I was in hospital for three days. They put me on anti-sickness medication which I continue to take now at 33 weeks. I’ve tried all sorts of different medication, none have really worked for me. The main tablet I’ve been prescribed works to a certain extent. If I don’t take it I’m far worse than when I do take it. When it’s working I’m still sick 2/3 times a day most days. It’s not just a case of being sick, which itself is bad enough. No matter how many times you’ve done it before being sick does not get any easier. Hyperemesis takes all of your energy and robs you of the enjoyment of being pregnant. Some days I do nothing but puke and sleep. On my ‘good’ days I like to make the most of my energy and see friends, try and make myself feel a bit more normal again.

          One of the most frustrating things I’ve found throughout all of this is that people just don’t understand how I feel, especially if they only see me when I’m having a ‘good’ day. Many a time I have not showered for 3/4 days, my only interaction being with the toilet and my bed but when I have midwife/Dr appointments I shower, get dressed and slap on some make up because I just can’t stand looking scruffy. This has been my downfall because sometimes they couldn’t see how rubbish I was feeling. I was so tempted a few times just to roll up un-showered in my pyjamas, tears and vomit strewn across my face. Take a selfie perhaps on one of the many occasions my head has been buried in that porcelain bowl and show it to them so they could see what I really felt like. People don’t get it.

          The amount of times I’ve explained to someone what I’m going through and they’ve said ‘try ginger biscuits’. If medication isn’t working I doubt a pack of ginger nuts is gonna work. It’s surprisingly a little bit beyond the magic healing power of biscuits. Grrrr I’d imagine stuffing a pack of ginger biscuits into their mouth just to shut them up whilst smiling sweetly and biting my tongue. Everyone has an opinion and what I’ve found is that you can’t really understand something until you’ve been through it. I wondered how many times I’ve given an opinion on something I had no idea about and caused annoyance to someone else.

          The past 7 or so months have been hell. Not only physically but mentally too. I still have a little way to go and I’m counting down the days till I get to hold my baby boy and feel human once more. When I feel him kicking and moving around I know it has all been worth it. This experience will have made me a stronger person, maybe not physically (my kidneys hate me!) but definitely mentally. Throughout this whole experience I have tried to be positive. After all I know there are people out there suffering things far worse than me. I still have my life and for that I am so grateful. I have learnt that you have to stay positive, make the most of what you have and never take anything for granted in this life. It’s also made me appreciate the family and friends that surround me. I would not be here without them.

          Thanks for reading. I hope that this explains a little bit about Hyperemesis Gravidarum to those that didn’t know about it and raises some awareness. I can only tell you about my own experience of this horrible condition. If you are suffering remember it will get better, you will be ok and it will not last forever. Just keep going!!


            Hyperemesis Gravidarum – I thought it would be a good idea to capture quite how bad I am at pregnancy before hormones do their thing, generally erasing past horrors from my mind, and make me crave a third baby.

            Before the Duchess of Cambridge suffered with Hyperemesis I didn’t know it was a thing. I think even when there were news reports about her having it I am ashamed to say I probably thought wow, she’s just having a bit of morning sickness but she’s really milking it. Fast forward twelve months and pregnancy taught me a lesson. Being so violently sick that you wee yourself a little? This was new. Being sick is never fun, but it usually brings with it a cathartic feeling that something bad is leaving your body and after a few bouts you’ll be on the road to recovery, treating yourself with whatever you fancy eating. Hyperemesis sickness is so different, when you’re being sick you know that it’s not a means to an end, it’s just a new state, and far from making you better, it can leave you dangerously dehydrated and worse.

            The D of C emerged from her Hyperemesis cocoon looking glossy and fragrant, so I harboured hope that the same would happen for me. Alas it never did. I was not the glowing healthy pregnant lady of my pre-pregnancy imagination, and the mere thought of sitting under a hairdryer was akin to torture. Most of my time was spent working from home, muting conference calls so that I could be sick. I found that element particularly difficult. I wanted to be cementing the image of corporate me on the brains’ of my employers so they didn’t forget me or write me off on maternity leave, but it’s hard to be impressive when getting dressed in a day becomes something you consider an achievement.

            It feels really self indulgent to wallow in this. Every single day during pregnancy I used to rationalise with myself – look, the absolute maximum this can happen for is 40 weeks, then you will hold your baby; people would kill to be in your shoes; some people endure worse suffering than this and they are looking at a bleak prognosis too; man the hell up. But Hyperemesis impact wasn’t limited to the physical symptoms – I had black, horrible, hopeless thoughts – perhaps partly because I felt so guilty that I should have been feeling happy, lucky and excited, but all I felt was dread until the middle of each pregnancy. While pregnant with
            my second I was consumed with guilt at what a rubbish mum I was being to my baby boy. I’ll admit while I’m at it that I felt guilty about being a fairly useless wife too, but most of all I still harbour a grudge against my husband. Don’t get me wrong, he was brilliant at keeping the washing basket empty, and – gasp – making his own dinner, but he couldn’t really support me with the emotional side of things. I’m not sure what I was expecting, maybe a medal ceremony at the end of each day for just surviving another one? A lot of others with Hyperemesis say similar things, it is difficult for people to support you over a prolonged period of time perhaps, when everyone knows you’re ‘just pregnant’. I’m sure it’s not true for everyone, but my relationships took one hell of a bashing.

            The lack of support from my GP staggered me. When I felt the tide of Hyperemesis rising in my second pregnancy I marched optimistically to the GP thinking that forewarned was forearmed and getting started on antisickness medication early might prevent some of the symptoms. I had lost over a stone in my first pregnancy, and had become something of a recluse. Wrong. Despite my tearful protestations, the GP prescribed a drug that had no affect in my first pregnancy with a cheery ‘let’s just see how we get on’. A week later I was admitted to hospital where they struggled to find a vein to rehydrate me through because I had been so
            spectacularly sick that week.

            Even after that sorry episode, when I went back to the GP clutching my post-it-note with what my hero hospital consultant (he has a glowing halo in my memory, part through hallucination, part through just how much better his actions made me) told me I needed to be prescribed, I got a sniffy, ‘it’s not for patients to recommend their own treatment’ response. I was sick on his floor. At that point the right drugs were prescribed on repeat, I guess to prevent me darkening their door again.

            I’ll never know if I would have found the time after birth sunnier had pregnancy been a doddle, but I can’t help feeling that I started on the road to motherhood depleted on energy both physically and mentally. I have seen lots anecdotally about Hyperemesis sufferers being particularly hard hit by postpartum depression and I think that’s fairly understandable; motherhood is a tough gig, and while a bit of discomfort and sleeplessness may be good preparation for what lies ahead, Hyperemesis strips you of your reserves. I struggled big time, and I wish I had sought help.

            Towards the end of pregnancy I stumbled across support groups run by the likes of Pregnancy Sickness Support (I think being pregnant and feeling appalling stopped me twigging that of course there are support groups, there’s a support group for everything). At a bare minimum if my GP had enough belief in Hyperemesis to point me in the direction of a charity like PSS, this would have helped, rather than making me feeling like I must just be particularly hysterical about a touch of morning sickness. I am going to drop their details into my surgery, because sometimes just knowing that someone else gets what you are going through is the chink of light you need.

            I’m going to make myself read this if I start looking misty-eyed at my beautiful babies (when they’re asleep naturally), because although ‘every pregnancy is different’, it just wouldn’t be would it? I’d have two of them hitting me with stuff and generally hanging off me while I was being sick, and I would be torn up with the guilt of being a shadow of myself in mothering them.

            If someone you know is being ‘dramatic’ about a touch of morning sickness, do consider that they may be tackling this darker beast and be a good friend to them – give them the details of Pregnancy Sickness Support, and don’t breathe a word about ginger nuts. 


              I found out I was pregnant when I’d just turned 20. It wasn’t a happy occasion, I’d gone to a family planning clinic due to severe pains around my side that had been happening for a few days. I sat down and they asked if I was pregnant, “no way” I said. I had to do a pregnancy test anyway but laughed it off. The lady walked into the room with the test and said ” your pregnant- no doubt about it”.

              With that I was sent to hospital with a suspected ectopic pregnancy. It took weeks to get my head around it. After 2 weeks of back and forth hospital appointments they confirmed my baby was in the right place and all was well.

              Just as I was starting to feel ok about being pregnant I started feeling sick, very sick. Not just a bit of nausea this was severe sickness.
              I went to my doctors and they told me it was morning sickness and told me to try ginger and acupressure bands.

              After 5 days of not eating or drinking and with my sickness getting worse I went back and told him that ginger was ridiculous and the bands were even worse. He prescribed me an anti-sickness medication called cyclizine. I left feeling like they had listened and I was on my way to never being sick again.

              How wrong I was.

              At 6 weeks pregnant I was so ill I could hardly move. The cyclizine didn’t work for me. I couldn’t eat at all and I only managed a few sips of water a day but that would usually come straight back up. I was so weak and loosing so much weight. I suffered incredible migraines, dizziness, and constant nausea and I would lay on the bathroom floor wishing my life away.

              I made it to 9 weeks, I don’t know how. I saw my midwife who told me again “it’s just morning sickness, it’ll be gone by the 12th week.”
              That didn’t happen.
              I’d never heard of Hyperemesis before but I read hundreds of forums and instantly knew it was what I had.

              There were days I thought I would die, it sounds extreme but I was being sick so many times a day I burst the capillaries in my face, and was vomiting blood.

              I had no help during my first pregnancy, it didn’t seem to be very important to doctors or midwives back then (2005). I’m lucky my family were so supportive.

              By 28 weeks my sickness had nearly gone, I was still sick but it wasn’t constant. I gave birth to a healthy baby girl at 40weeks+10days.

              I went on to have another HG pregnancy which was made worse by having another little person to care for. I had slightly more help but after trying every anti sickness medication possible I needed to be hospitalised and rehydrated with IV fluids. Again by 27 weeks I was starting to feel more human. I gave birth to my son in 2008.

              I found out I was pregnant with my third baby in 2012 and I’d researched Hyperemesis a lot, it stated again at 6 weeks and this time I was ready (ish). I’d read on some American forums about a drug called ondanseteron that could help and this time I walked into my doctors and demanded treatment. I was told it’s worth a try but it’s expensive, very expensive.

              I didn’t care, I was already in a bad way I just wanted to not be sick and be able to eat and drink normally. A few days later I was hospitalised and put on IV fluids again.
              This time I was really looked after, they corrected my medication and made sure I could come straight back in if I needed fluids.

              I managed well at home with ondanseteron. With this medication I could do everything again. There were occasions where I was sick but it was nothing compared to before.
              I took ondanseteron throughout the entire pregnancy and gave birth to my beautiful healthy son in 2013.

              I’m now a Volunteer Peer Supporter for Pregnancy Sickness Support and I support women going through the same ordeal. I think it’s great to have someone to talk to who’s been through the same experience. Hyperemesis is not just sickness, it’s an incredibly debilitating, isolating and exhausting illness and a huge amount of support is needed to get through it.

              I love being a volunteer I find it so rewarding that I can be of help and offer information and support to someone who really needs it.
              Unless you’ve suffered with Hyperemesis it’s very hard to understand exactly how that person feels.


                “I really had no idea how to help my partner – PSS were a compassionate lifeline when I needed it.”

                John Pyser | Harrogate