Hyperemesis Gravidarum, a princess, and regular ol’ me- Kate Middleton and I have something in common

Kate Middleton Pregnant, pregnancy, HG, hyperemesis gravidarum

I am a terrible, rotten, no good person.  I just celebrated when I read that the Duchess of Cambridge is suffering from Hyperemesis Gravidarum in her pregnancy and was admitted to the hospital for IV fluids.

Then I sat in the local coffee shop and wiped away tears.

I’m not actually happy that Kate Middleton has HG, I feel for her a little too well.  A year ago I was in the thick of my 6th battle with HG, a PICC line in my arm and about 16 pounds below my prepregnant weight (much better than the close to 40 pounds I lost with my 1st).  I barely ate and a great day was throwing up only 12 times.  We were excited because it was my best pregnancy yet.  And it still sucked.  I wouldn’t wish HG on my worst enemy, it ruins pregnancies, wrecks families, trashes the mother’s body, and in the worst cases takes lives.

My experience with HG has been traumatic.  The end results have been beautiful babies and I’d go through it all over again for them but HG has changed me physically and emotionally.  I have struggled to put into words my experience with my first 3 pregnancies so painful are the memories.  We’ve come a long way in the 14 years since I had my first but even so I still hear doubt that maybe this whole thing is in my head.  Often from strangers, regularly from health care professionals, sometimes from people I know, and once in a while from myself.

Insertion of my last PICC

There may be one person I would wish HG on, the doctor that told me that if I really wanted my baby I would stop throwing up.  My will would be strong enough.  Throwing up was my subconscious trying to rid my life of this baby.  I would stop throwing up if I actually wanted her.  That if I didn’t then I should just terminate her because I wouldn’t love her anyway.  This doctor didn’t tell me there was a name for what I was experiencing and told me my IV line would be pulled after 2 bags of fluid and I’d have to prove that I wanted this baby.  At four months pregnant I was 83 pounds.  But I wanted my baby, I really did.  I couldn’t understand why I was so weak, why my body was betraying me.  What horrible thoughts and feelings about my baby was I hiding from myself?  How could I change them so I could stop throwing up and could keep my baby?  Why wasn’t I strong enough to stop throwing up?  Broken and my husband traveling, I agreed to the termination because I had 2 children already and I didn’t want them to be motherless.  I was so afraid of dying that I died on the inside.

Napkins don’t wipe up tears and snot so well.  I want to explain to the people shooting concerned looks my way but saying I’m crying because Princess Kate is sick just won’t come out right.

So why would I celebrate and then break down in tears upon hearing that the princess has HG?

Seeing that Kate Middleton has HG, is receiving media coverage, medical care, and the support of people all over the world has turned me into a blubbering fool sitting in a public space.  I’m not her and she’s not me, but a person, a celebrity, a REAL PERSON EVERYONE WOULD RECOGNIZE AS BEING A REAL PERSON (and not just me) has hyperemesis gravidarum!  It’s for real.  Everyone is going to hear about it.  I’m not crazy!

I’ve long known I’m not alone.  While HG isn’t common it does impact about 2% of pregnancies and is increasingly recognized by health care professionals.  In my 4th pregnancy I found information, support, resources, and most importantly, friendship with other women that have or were experiencing HG in their pregnancies through the Hyperemesis Education and Research Foundation HelpHer forums.  With them as my companions, we navigated the choppy waters of HG with more options in our boat.  We learned what questions to ask, The Piano Man became a more confident advocate for me, I admitted how bad I was, and I relaxed about taking medication.  My pregnancies got easier but I’ve never experienced normal morning sickness, just less severe HG.  My care has spanned no intervention except when I would collapse, to occasional IVs, to a PICC and daily hydration, and in one pregnancy a short bit with TPN until I developed sepsis and my line had to be pulled.  All of them required anti-emetics and either hospitalization or home health care.

Some say I was crazy to go through 6 HG pregnancies and maybe I was.  I answer why we continued having babies even with HG here if you’d like to read it but the short version is I didn’t want HG to win, I didn’t want my family planning determined by this condition.  We felt we were missing people in our family and adoption wasn’t an option.  And I’m really, really stubborn.

We have a long, long way to go in understanding Hyperemesis Gravidarum.  I hate that Kate is experiencing this, I hate that anybody would experience it.  The comments on the article about Kate’s pregnancy troubles are a mix of support and nasty.  Hopefully though, Kate’s suffering can do others a world of good by raising awareness and maybe even more research and education of health professionals will result.  I know that  many of my HG sisters in the UK have struggled for appropriate treatment protocols in managing their HG, specifically in needing prescriptions for Zofran.  I hope that an official diagnoses of HG for Kate would lead to a better standard of care for women in the UK suffering from this condition in the future.  In time I believe HG won’t be mocked by the general public and will be accepted as a real condition that deserves real respect and support.  We’ve already made progress.

Even with that progress I’ve heard people, many my own health care providers, say some incredibly hurtful and ignorant things about HG.  Here’s a sample, all of which came from my own health care providers along the way, some as recent as 9 months ago:

If you really wanted this baby you would will yourself to stop vomiting.

It doesn’t count as vomiting if nothing comes up any more. (My OB when I was in the hospital.)

You just need to make yourself eat.

You don’t need fluids yet, you still have tears.  (As I cried in my OB’s office.)

Every pregnancy is different. (This one was a big part of me trying for the “perfect pregnancy.”)

If you come in here and have lost more way I’m going to be so upset with you.

You just need to try harder.

I think there has to be a mental component, why else would you vomit so much?

I don’t understand why your food journal is blank.  (After saying I threw everything up.)

Oh no, we’re not admitting you to L&D, that’s for having babies, you’re going to psych. because there is obviously something going on there with you.

I’ve never met anyone that didn’t experience relief with ginger, it shouldn’t burn if you’re doing it right.

Just some tea and crackers before you get out of bed, you got up to pee first, that’s why you still got sick.

What message are you sending your children with throwing up so much?  I would be worried about that.

Are you sure you’re not anorexic?  I’m ordering a psych eval, you don’t need meds, just help with your head.

There must be some unconfessed sin in your life, confess it and be healed.

Really, you can’t complain, at least you won’t have any weight to lose after the baby.

How could you eat that?  What a terrible choice. (It was a milk shake and the only thing I kept down that day.)

Do you think you are suffering for the sins of your ancestors?  (A midwife, not mine, while I was on the floor vomiting.)

I’m not sure what you expect me to do, you just can’t handle the realities of pregnancy.

I don’t like using medications in pregnancy but I guess it’s better than you dying.  (I didn’t stay with this midwife.)

 

I couldn’t go through with that termination with my 3rd.  My heart wanted that baby even if my care provider didn’t believe me and my body fought it.  Today that baby is 9 years old and an incredible sister to her 5 sisters.  We survived.  Now, as I cry over the princess of England having HG, I feel a part of me healing that I had thought died.

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Comments

  1. How did you possibly stick with your OB(s) after those comments???? Im lucky enough to not only not have experienced this, but I was lucky enough to have twins with no illness whatsoever, and I still recognize that this is an illness and not in anyone’s head and I feel for all the people who do get this diagnosis – I cant imagine not enjoying every moment of your pregnancy the way I did.

    • Oh, I didn’t. I have had many care providers thanks to the issues with HG. I stuck with my first one but after that I wasn’t afraid to change. Actually, I was afraid not to. Some of these comments were from the nurses in the hospital too, I should tell the story of the one that had HG herself, she helped me so much. Unfortunately, many of the others treated me like I was crazy. Of course, so did several of my doctors. *sigh* ~ Jessica

  2. Jessica, your strength is amazing! To not only go through 6 pregnancies with HG but to share all your experiences with the world. While I did not suffer from HG one of my coworkers did and it was scary watching her lose more and more weight. How anyone, let alone health professionals, could say those things to a pregnant woman suffering from these symptoms is astounding. Here’s hoping Kate Middleton’s diagnosis is able to knock some sense into drs and midwives worldwide.

  3. Wow. I came close to HG with my first three. It was murderous. Thankfully, with my second, my doctor told me that his wife had six, and lost weight with every one of them. At least HE understood! And gave me the assurance that this was somewhat “normal”, and he would help me get through it. And it only lasted half the pregnancy. I knew a few who threw up from the hour they conceived till the hour they gave birth. Hugs to you! It’s hard to have everybody criticize you like that.

  4. Bernadette says:

    I threw up violently almost every time I ate for 9 months with my daughter. She is my first and I had to suffer for so long with everyone telling me it was morning sickness and to just rake zofran or to just drink some 7up or eat crackers. It was frustrating because I was losing weight and received many similar comments about not having to worry about taking off the baby weight later. I was so sad that I had such a bad experience my whole pregnancy that I couldn’t enjoy being pregnant with my daughter. Now, she is what made those 9 months worth it and I would do it all over again (as many people think I’m ridiculous for being so excited about it but if I have more babies like her, I could do it many more times). I never got diagnosed with anything. They just just looked into my gall bladder. How would you know if you had HG? Are there Other accompanying symptoms? I would like to know for my next pregnancy. Thank you for the information.

    • Please check out helpher.org for more info. There is a weight calculator, info about medicines, and forums to vent in. The forums, especially, saved my life with my son. I was sick with him every single day, and it took me until month 4 to finally wake up to the fact that my OB was incompetent. There are women, like Jessica, that have done this many times, and give you pointers about what to do to prepare for another baby.

  5. Wow. I am so so proud of you and how you have endured this terrible illness. I too have suffered twice and understand the desperation. I can’t believe the insensitivity of the comments you got. It is a strange and difficult illness to explain to those who have not experienced it, indeed. Well done on your six beautiful children: a true legacy of committed love. Only you will carry the full weight of what holding onto them really required, but I understand a sliver of it.

  6. Sitting at my hubby’s work parking lot after bringing him lunch with tears in my eyes. I was in the thick of hg this time last year, still stubbornly trying to not take meds. I ended up on meds and ivs after non-stop puking for 8-12hours. I was so weak I had to crawl from the toilet after vomiting. I had a dr who believed me this time( I received no treatment with my son).

    I spent the morning commenting on articles and pointing to HelpHer’s research. The awful comments are so sad. I’m all to familiar with many of them.

    And yet in weird way, I’m excited. Not that Kate has hg, but finally it is being talked about!

    • Editing to add I had been throwing up everything I put in my mouth…the episode right before I got treatment I had tried a spoonful of lemon ice and threw it up and then could not stop throwing up bile…

  7. I felt your post SO MUCH! I had HG and got so sick of my workplace accusing me of being a pushover in pregnancy. I was told to ‘sniff an orange – it worked with [colleague] and she was sick until birth” and when I couldn’t carry on being sick at work, I had to go home and sleep/vomit for 17 hours, I was made to feel like a slacker. I had no support and was asked to return to work after being taken to hospital after vomiting blood a couple of times.

    Strangely, while I was in the middle of HG, a headline story here in the UK was that a woman terminated her baby after suffering from HG. She felt like she couldn’t go on and she got massive media criticism for being so cruel. I could see it exactly from her perspective and had nothing but sympathy for her. At 26 weeks, my sister had flown in from Ireland to see me, we went to my cousin’s birthday party (she was 15 weeks gone and our friend was 19weeks, so it was a quiet do). I spent all night in my cousins bed vomiting and crying with exhaustion. My sister nursed me, held my hair and rubbed my back when I got sick and made my end-of-teather nightmare bearable. I wash she knew what a massive difference she made to me. She asked what she could get me and I half jokingly said ‘an abortion’. It’s been a secret ‘oh god, remember when I said…’ thing between us.

    Sorry, I’m wittering! I’m going to start trying for a second in January and I’m still nursing my 2 year old, I’m REALLY worried about it and how the sickness is going to affect our family. I’ve had two pregnancies, both had HG, so I’m sure ill get it again. I’m SO glad Catherine has HG, hopefully it will make things easier next time.

    Ps see also “It’s a sign of a really healthy pregnancy, so relax”
    “Eat more, it’ll stop you being sick”
    “Have you tried ginger/crackers/eating before/after/during yaddayadda”
    (Midwife): “I wouldn’t take the drugs, your baby will end up with a cleft pallet”
    “It’s not as bad as X Y or Z, they (insert own anecdote which doesn’t help when you’ve been sick for the twelfth time that day and can hardly stand up let alone carry on working)

    Rant over… For now!! :)

    • You heard some HORRIBLE things too. Just awful. The suggestions to try ginger and crackers would actually make me angry. I know people are trying to help but seriously, I vomit 20 times a day, don’t you think I’ve tried everything? I hope that Kate having to deal with HG will bring not only media attention to the condition but also real medical enlightenment to those care providers that would say some of these things. Thank you for sharing. ~Jessica

      • I threw up blood too!! I started taking pictures with my cell phone and showing my Ob. I felt like she wouldn’t believe me otherwise. (She did and added Prevacid to my medications)

        My OB was amazing and had me on a zophran pump immediately because zophran pills did not work well for me with my first. She also told me about a bracelet you wear with an electric current that is supposed to help, had me try acupuncture, put me on a special high b vitamin and than told me to stop taking vitamins :).

        I also had to weigh myself every day and call a phone number and report my weight and how many times I threw up.

  8. Wow, 6 times…I applaud you. I suffered 3 times and was told much the same as you, although because I was heavy to begin with the weight loss didn’t show as much and I got complimented by people even though I was starving to death and delirious from the dehydration. My OB said “Are you actually throwing up or do you just think you are?” Then he accused me of lying because I gained 5 pounds within 48 hours of being admitted. He didn’t seem to understand that I’d had a constant IV drip and had not urinated yet. Of course my tissues were replenishing and thus some water weight gain. Sigh…

    Anyways, the amazing thing about my story is that 8 years after my baby #3 (also currently an amazing 9 year old girl) and swearing I would never get pregnant again, I got divorced and remarried to the man of my dreams. As we tried for our first baby together I prepared him for how bad it would be, filled my freezer with meals, hired home help and…nada. No HG. Just regular ol’ morning sickness. Wow. I’m now 23 weeks with baby #5 and this pregnancy too is void of HG.

  9. I made it almost to the end of this post before breaking down. Then I read about your amazing 9 year old HG survivor, and I lost it completely. I remember asking my mom to take me to get an abortion when I was pregnant with my 2nd HG survivor, my beautiful Katie-bear. It was after my PICC line blew out. Yeah, you read that right. I managed to blow a PICC line because the doctor left it in my arm and didn’t put it up in the vena cava where he was supposed to. It was at that point where I was ready to give up. My mom made it clear that she would support me no matter what, but thankfully they got it under control through hard work on her park, ridiculous doses of zofran (39 mg/day – 32 is the max dose you’re supposed to take), and tiny cups of frozen cranberry juice.

    Thank you for writing this and thank you for voicing the terribly mixed emotions I have been feeling all day.

  10. i could have written this post myself. It is so hard for anyone to understand HG and hard for my family to understand why I kept reproducing. I tried to explain, I want the family I want!
    I had five pregnancies. i have four beautiful healthy children. I lost one poor angel. I dont know if I would have lost that baby without HG,but I can assure you that malnutrition contributed.
    My first baby, my weight was less at delivery than conception. My hair fell out in clumps. My nails stopped growing. I was too weak to walk. I had blown out veins and bruises everywhere. The enamel on my teeth is damaged from the vomiting. i still have to explain to each new dentist. :(
    I would wish HG on absolutely no one. However, seeing it in the news, makes my heart sing, just a little. Maybe another sufferer will hear fewer horrid statements. I can hope.

  11. Jessica,

    Is it still considered HG if it is mostly controlled with Zofran? I am asking because I was harassed by midwives & later my OB (switched because of harassment, only to find same at OB) for “not being able to handle pregnancy.” (Incidentally I was also asked if I had “planned on becoming pregnant so soon?” I guess because I look young & they thought I accidentally got knocked up & was now complaining about it. Meanwhile, I had to visit the RE & take Clomid to conceive my son. Needless to say, I was very upset.)

    Anyway, I had nausia all day, every day & vomitting most days. I lost 10 lbs my 1st trimester because I couldn’t eat anything at all & if I did it came back up, but since I was slightly overweight to begin with, the doc said it wasn’t a big deal. Eventually they VERY reluctantly gave me Zofran, but then at around 14 weeks pregnant almost refused to refill my Rx becasue “most women don’t need it beyond 12 weeks.” I went off of it & was immediately sick again until they agreed to refill it.

    I know you are not a doctor, but since you are in touch with many women who have had HG & I’m sure many differnt experiences, I am just wondering if this sounds like a mild form of HG? When on the Zofran, I was mostly fine.

    We are TTC at the moment, and I want another baby for sure, but am not looking forward to being harassed if I am sick again.

    Thanks for any insight you can provide!

    xo
    Kristen

    • It sounds like HG. The clinical definition talks about percent of body weight lost and so forth. If you plan an another pregnancy, start calling doctors NOW. Find one knowledgeable about HG. Get a relationship established before you even ttc. Then when you are pregnant, they will fill a script without an office visit, in many cases. Also discuss home health options, as sometimes HG can progress with subsequent pregnancies.
      Plan ahead. Have extra child care options, medical plans and as silly as it sounds, lots of frozen meals for you other house mates. Cooking or trying to care for a child while having HG make it even harder. You can do, but be proactive.

  12. My sis suffered and was hospitalized with all 3 of hers, my daughter with her two =- the sad thing was we ALL took a backseat to everything when she was ill, especially her own children who, not by any choice of their own spent much of their early years being raised by others so “their mom” could continue to try and win over HG

  13. Your post made me cry and want to hug you. I am going through this now and people just dont understand how horrible it is.

  14. Love you Jessica. So so so much.

  15. You wrote this so well. I feel drained from all of the emotions of today and don’t feel I can respond as well as I’d like. I just had to thank you for putting into words many of the feelings I am experiencing. I’m so sorry for your horrific experiences and am amazed by your strength. Two HG pregnancies is enough for me. Now I fear for my girls future pregnancies.

  16. I hated it when peoplease told me it was worth it for the baby. I suffered for months. The drugs didn’t work. I through up everything I ate and eventually was so disgusted by the site of food that I could longer eat. I lost my job. My girls started making the hacking noises they heard me making in the bathroom and I was told thatby doing what I was doing I was emotionally damaging my kids. I had to quit my job and eventually stopped leaving the bathroom. I woke up everyday wishing that I hadn’t. Then came the ultrasound were I found out my baby had passed away. I had to endure the baby is worth it comment for a whole week longer knowing there would be no baby before the doctor induced me so I didn’t have to stay in the hospital.

    • Robynn, I am so sorry for your experience and your loss. I understand what you mean about how hurtful the “well intentioned” comments can be.

  17. Wow, that must have taken a lot to share! But thank you. I don’t think my morning sickness qualified me for HG – I probably only lost about 10 pounds tops and by the final months of pregnancy only threw up once a week if even that. It still sucked but I cannot even bear to imagine it getting worse than that. You are so right that it takes a toll on you not only physically but emotionally. My husband and I would love to have more children but the few times since my last that I have felt nauseous due to food poisoning and the stomach flu it has taken me back to the hell that was morning sickness (again I had nothing nearly as severe as you and other women who’ve commented) and I think, “Oh God, can I really go through this again during pregnancy?” I will. I know I will but a part of me is like you thinking that perhaps the “next one” won’t be so bad. Anyways, thanks for sharing and hugs!!! I am appalled at the comments you received from people especially medical professionals.

  18. This is just so sad. I feel for you and what you suffered, which is really almost unimaginable to me. But it also makes me sad to see the institutional misogyny. It is glaringly apparent with HG. It’s not just HG though and that is beyond depressing to me that in 2012 we still have these deep seated, ugly ideas about women and their bodies. I mean seriously, IN YOUR HEAD? An issue of WILL POWER? Does anyone remember that menstrual cramps were also once believed to be a figment of the female imagination. Why are so many in women’s health so horribly chauvinistic and paternalistic towards women? I speak from my own experience as well and women are not excluded from being completely condescending care providers. We have to turn this around. This is 2012 for crying out loud. Women do not will themselves into extreme illness, they do not prevent conception if rape is “legitimate” come on people can we PLEASE get real about how uteri work?

  19. I have had HG with all three of my pregnancies. I was fortunate enough with my first two that it eventually subsided about 2/3 of the way through the pregnancies. I actually remember the relief/heartache while pregnant with my third that I found out that you were going through the same thing. I remember reading a post of yours and with telling my husband my heart ached for you as well. I was lucky that with my first pregnancy, I was diagnosed around 10 weeks by a caring ER doctor. On top of the HG, I suffered from the horrible “back up” side effects of the zofran….which made things even worse. With this last pregnancy, I was forced to switch doctor’s, but during my initial visit I had a sympathetic NP who dealt with it as well. She told me if I call and get pushed aside, start screaming from the roof tops essentially. I don’t know this time around what I would have done if it weren’t for my mother driving 70+ miles one way about four days a week to help me. My husband was great too. I honestly don’t remember much besides laying in bed crying, my blue bucket, and the fact that just the smell of my husband (he’s not stinky, but other suffers of HG will probably understand what I mean) would make me throw up. I ended up on a coctail of sorts of Reglan, Zofran and Unisom. I would have had in home IV’s, but my insurance (public aid at the time) wouldn’t cover it….so off to the ER I went. My OB was great though. He would call ahead so I wasn’t in the waiting room throwing up for hours. I lost over 15 lbs with this last one and was probably sick until I was about 32 weeks. Luckily, most of the ignorant comments came from people who had never heard of the condition. The “do this or that” comments infuriated me. I was even told that I was just going to have to “suck it up.” I heard so many of the comments that all the others above have. Any time I have the chance to inform people of the condition I do….still surprised though how many nurses have never heard of it. And yes, I still would like one more child…probably will just have to wait a little longer in between to make is easier on all of us.

  20. Not sure I really had HG but my first pregnancy I was in hospital on IVF after driving across the country moving from one state to another. It took us 9 days and I vomitting every 2 hours for the whole time, save one lovely snowy day in colrado, which I ate a whole lot of whatever I could. It took us so long to get to our new home, because I was so sick, I was almost late for my new job. I arrived, in time, but it was a nice shift, I lasted four hours before they sent me (nurses, I worked with nurses) to the ER.

    I got better by 16 weeks, and finally put on wt. The second pregnancy wasn’t bad, but my third was. I threw up so much, lost wt, was put on zofran, vomitted less. Then we had to move again. This time out of the country, we flew from DC to NYC for 3 days and then to Dhaka Bangladesh. I was sure I packed the zofran in the carry on, but i couldn’t find it. I was in a hotel room with 2 crazy kids, trying to keep them happy and fed, but I was so sick. Finally husband got in, from working, and I stumbled to pharmacy and begged them for zofran. They had my old prescription on file from the DC pharmacy but I had filled it already. I tried to explain the move to Dhaka and losing the medication in luggage. She gave me one pill. I was thankful, and she said to come back in a few hours after she had heard from my doctor.

    She never heard from the dr. but I had one dose. I managed to get to Dhaka, but I was so dehydrated from the flight and vomitting the whole way. I do not advise vomitting on a flight from Doha, to Dhaka, bathrooms are disgusting. I survived the pregnancies. My last baby, I managed to gave 10 lbs by delivery. It is not fun, and I didn’t have it very bad, like others do.

  21. I have an 8 month old son and I remember this time last year was excruciating for me. All of those damn holiday food commercials! I was throwing up about 15x a day (had HG for approx 30 weeks or 210 days) and was completely miserable 24/7. The HG is relentless…always there. I have never commented about my experience with HG before. After reading all of the other stories, I felt compelled to have my story heard. I remember dragging myself from the toilet to go to a walk in medical center. The doctor there asked me a series of questions about my pregnancy (I was 6 weeks) and I remember her asking, “So are you happy about this pregnancy? Do you want to keep it?” which shocked me. This condition is not about being fearful! We need more research so the assumptions and misinformation can cease. I also, was sickened by my husbands smell, sometimes the ONE thing that sounded okay to eat wasnt “healthy” enough, and if someone suggests ginger one more time I may scream. HG is difficult to explain to those who have not experienced it. To be honest, once my son was born and all of my symptoms went away, I was amazed at what I had gone through. It was like a distant memory. Sometimes its hard for me to remember just how awful it really was. I’m so glad I’m not alone and this is getting more attention. I Tweeted Kate Middleton’s pregnancy announcement this morning because I saw the words “Hyperemesis Gravidarum” and I felt a big relief! Makes me/us feel more validated. We shouldnt have to need to feel this way but until more is written in medical books about this, just have to raise the awareness!

    • OMG!! I totally remember all the holiday food commercials during my pregnancy with my daughter and it making me completely sick! I used to love the food network but during that time I absolutely could not watch it!

      • Oh food commercials could set me off! At my worst I couldn’t watch TV (the motion made me sick) and the upside of that was no food commercials. To this day I don’t think food looks good in commercials. ~Jessica

      • I am only now , almost 3 years later , able to sit through a KFC ad without changing the channel. I cant watch it, but I don’t have to turn it off.

  22. What a beautiful and heart wrenching post, Jessica. Having suffered morning sickness for the first 3 months I wouldn’t wish that on anyone–but dealing with HG so extreme as to need a PIC line and hospitalization–I can’t even imagine. And then to have to hear health care providers tell you it was in your head! You are one brave, strong mama!

  23. Thank you for sharing your story. I am one of nine babies my mother carried through pregnancies that were 7 months of ‘morning sickness.’ I remember her saying she would rather go through the labour of birth to a hundred babies than suffer one day of ‘morning sickness’ like she suffered – ‘morning’ actually referring to all day illness. She resisted a doctor’s suggestion to take thalidomide to relieve the morning sickness in 1950 when she was carrying her third baby – thank God for her courage and foresight in resisting any drugs and especially that one! I wonder now if she actually had something like you have described!
    I would like to pay my utmost respect to you and all others who carry those precious babies despite such physical distress – you truly are courageous, selfless and loving and no doubt your beautiful babies will inherit those qualities from you. Best wishes.

    • I’m going through this right now. I’m 13 weeks pregnant. I’ve been prescribed diclectin. For the most part it reduced the amount of times I vomit but that’s only when I can keep it down. I was so sick yesterday. I was actually seeing stars and spent about 8 hours just lying on my bathroom floor.

      I feel the same. Like people think I’m making this up or like I should be able to just shit it off. I felt so so so alone yesterday.

      The comments I get “atleast you’ll lose some weight!” Are so ignorant.

      The thought actually went through my mind yesterday “if I can’t help myself, how am I going to be able to have a baby”.

      Then my friend sent me your article. Friends and families are calling me and texting saying “you have the same thing as the princess”. People are finally understanding a bit more.

      Thanks for writing this. It helps to feel like I’m not alone!

  24. OK, wow. First things first, I CANNOT believe people said those things. How freakin’ awful Seriously. WHAT? Now, second, I have never ever heard of this before. I’m a mom, with an almost 6yo and know tons of pregnant people. And have never heard of this, so yeah, I get why you’re a smidge excited. Not that she has it, but the publicity and awareness it will hopefully bring and promote. And lastly? Good for you. For moving on to better doctors, taking good care of YOU and your babies. And having what I am sure is a beautiful family.

  25. My younger sister went through this with both of her pregnancies. I had never heard of morning sickness like that before, but it never occurred to me to blame her for having it or think she was crazy. Frankly, I was just glad it didn’t run in the family for me to experience. Knowing how hard it was on her, I would never wish it on anyone. But, like you, I am kind of glad someone with such a high profile has it, so it gets the coverage to help others out there.

  26. I did the SAME THING! I celebrated Kate’s misery and then sat down and wrote a blog post I called “Sorry Kate Middleton, but I am Happy About Your Hyperemesis Gravidarum.” For the very same reason you did. I am on my second HG pregnancy and I am not even as miserable as you were. But I vomit on zofran and I vomit blood and I can’t take care of my son. You are a warrior, I have no interest in any more kids or pregnancies after this one ;-) But I am so incredibly ridiculously happy that there is finally a celebrity that does not sing praises about how heavenly it feels to be pregnant. Did you try to google HG before and after Kate? Such a big difference. And I want EVERYONE to listen, and yes, people still have incredibly stupid comments, but maybe at least few will learn. My Mom was exactly like you and was also told she is throwing up 18 times a day just because she is prone to hysterics and needs to chill. I can’t even imagine. At least my doctors knew what to do and made me feel like I deserve attention, not criticizing. I will share your post ASAP and I would appreciate if you could share mine (if you like it, of course), so more information gets out there while people are paying attention. My link is: http://andreachmelik.blogspot.com/2012/12/sorry-kate-middleton-but-i-am-happy_3.html.

  27. Mary Coyle says:

    Thank you for sharing that-I suffered terribly with HG but now have an amazing 9 month old daughter,I would dearly love to have another child,but what I just don’t get is how do women take care of their children when so ill with HG in a subsequent pregnancy? We have very very little family around us for support…:/

    • I have no idea i wouldn’t have coped without my family taking care of my daughter. I have heard some people write letters before they get pregnant to send to other parents there childs school preschool or nursery explaining what hg is and asking for any help they can give be that giving them a lift home or providing a few hours childcare or some food for there family.

  28. Thanks for sharing your beautiful post. I am now 2 weeks from delivering my precious baby and I never thought I would make it. I had Hg so bad. I spent 3 weeks in the hospital and almost 4 months on an constant drip IV of zofran. I must say that I did have an amazing supportive OB and that helped so much. I have read how so many are not supportive and it really saddens me. My OB always said, the sicker you are the healthier the baby :) I lost 33 lbs and could not eat for my first 18 weeks. Once I got through it the rest of my pregnancy has been great. Thanks for sharing your heart and I really hope with Kate in the news it will bring more awarness

  29. Kirstin Stenberg says:

    I, too, had a PICC line with my second pregnancy – one I could have desperately used with my first, yet I just visited the ER at least once a week and just tried to push through it. Then, I had no children – my now 7 year old was parented largely from the bathroom floor, the bedroom floor, or some part of the house on the floor for most of my second pregnancy – and this was WITH lots of medical intervention.

    HG is no joke. We are in the process of adopting a third child, because though we desperately want to grow our family, I cannot be a mother to the two children I already have and be pregnant at the same time. My husband supports our family financially, and I stay at home and care for them – pregnancy and HG renders me completely unable to function as a human being, much less a mother. I am willing to forego the beauty of birth and the experience of delivering a biological child because HG pregnancy is absolutely INCOMPATIBLE WITH LIFE.

    When I have received less than compassionate comments in the past, I like to liken the experience to having the stomach flu or food poisoning for more than 9 months straight. I think I am fortunate in that I have NEVER received the brush off by any medical professional for my HG, apart from some off color comments by a few arrogant and largely FEMALE ER residents.

    My heart goes out to Kate Middleton, and while I would not wish HG on anyone (I mean that wholeheartedly), I am glad that this MUCH anticipated royal pregnancy will help to shed light on this horrific condition that many of us suffer with in complete silence and without the support of anyone.

    Fortunately for Kate, who has no other children, she can hole up in the hospital or at home in the countryside with a cadre of the best medical professionals the Windsors can find at her beck and call and rest assured that she will be cared for completely. Many of us HG sufferers are not afforded that sort of compassion or care.

  30. Humble Hands says:

    My naturopath recommends coffee enemas (very weak coffee, cooled) to stimulate the bike duct to release sludgy bile. In pregnancy our bodies change so drastically and our liver and digestive system gets bogged down. While Mill Thistle can assist the live if taken early enough I.e. before conception, sometimes the only way to get out liver and bile duct working properly is the stimulant of water and coffee. I was so sick with my last pregnancy. Sounds, lights, movement were just TOO much. When I was finally able to get out of bed and do a coffee enema I had almost instant relief. And the relief lasted for several days to a week. Might sound odd, but it physically helps the liver and bile to function properly. Clogged bile ducts and over toxic livers cause ceaseless vommiting.

  31. Oh my gosh, ALL of you mamas writing about your experiences with HG – you have me in tears! My heart goes out to all of you and I am in awe of your amazing strength! Thank you Jessica @ Leaky Boob for writing this post and being so honest about your heartwrenching, harrowing experience – I was a puddle by the end of it! (((Hugs))) to all of you! While I never had HG, I did puke 10 times in one day with my first, until I was about 6 months. I puked about 16 times total, into my 6th month, with my son, and this last pregnancy I was nauseous and vomiting right up until I gave birth. My heart is with you, mamas!

  32. I didn’t have HG, but I was sick enough that I felt like all I could do was lie around all day and be miserable. I’m lucky, though–the sickness starts passing around the midway point of pregnancy. I think you are so, so brave for enduring SIX pregnancies while suffering extreme HG…where I could barely deal with my two, and have professed myself DONE! I cannot believe the insensitive things that people said to you…including “if you want this baby you’ll stop throwing up.” How can people say that it’s all in our heads?! I’m so sorry.

  33. I was hospitalized for fluids 3 times before i was given a prescription for zofran. There was at least two more time I should have had fluids but was having issues blacking out so decided I shouldn’t drive. Hubby didn’t understand. I lost around 20 pounds in the first trimester but was a bit overweight to begin with so nobody was really concerned. I lost more then 30 pounds total. I chose the foods I would attempt to eat based on how gross it would be to vomit them back up since everthing that went in came back out the same way. My son was born at 28 weeks and I attribute it to HG. You had better believe hubby understands now! 87 days in the NICU. Now our son is a happy one year old.

    I do remember telling a girlfriends I was going to slap the next person that suggested ginger or crackers. I heard every one of those ignorant comments from one person or another during the short time I was pregnant. The most compassionate person was the guy who worked next to me and my boss. Since I was a machinist before having a preemie and forced into being a stay at home mom that says quite a bit. I do love staying home but am glad I didn’t have to make that choice.

    For the moms dealing with morning sickness on steroids… Please check out helpher.org and know that you did not do this to yourself no matter what you may be told by ignorant individuals.

  34. I’ve commented above already, but I had to comment again:

    I never, ever cry at blog posts. It’s just not me. But I read through the story and the comments and its welling me up! The memory of that feeling of complete desperation and inability to do anything except lift your head to be sick and the breaking down in tears because your whole body hurts and you’re beyond exhausted. I always had a fear of taking medication after the thalidomide scandal of the 1950s and taking the medication was just as hard for me as the sickness. I know full well that they’re safe, but when you’re full of hormones and scared to eat certain foods, let alone take medication, I found it tough. My heart goes out to anyone who is experiencing or has experienced HG. I hope that my second pregnancy doesn’t have a bad effect on my daughter, my unborn, my partner or me.

    • YES! That fear of the medications was so overwhelming. Often, when people would find out I was taking medications they would say such hurtful things to me like “I could never take medications for my comfort and risk hurting my baby.” As if I was taking it for a minor discomfort. My fabulous OB and midwife helped relax about it by pointing out that dehydration, organ failure, and ketoises was far more dangerous for a developing baby than the medications that could keep us both alive. I’m so sorry you experienced the suffering of HG, it is truly horrific. ~Jessica

  35. I lived off Zofram for all 5 of my pregnancies, without it…I am sure I would of had to live in the hospital and not have the homebirths I wanted (and had). HG is a scary scary thing. Thank you for this article, it’s vitally necessary for the world to understand.

  36. Why does it seem that pregnant equates crazy to some? If you don’t have the perfect pregnancy, something is wrong with you. You are doing something wrong. My acute morning sickness wasn’t as severe as yours, and I was never officially diagnosed with HG. But i through up everyday of the 40 wks with both kids. It was worse with my second. I couldn’t get through a day without my zofran. Which I had to figure out a special system in taking it, or i’d throw it up too. After I had my zofran I was usually ok until the next morning. If I didn’t get it in with my special routine by not waking up early enough and laying back down, keeping it next to my bed, i could forget consuming anything that day. Comments from my mom and grandmother consisted of “I don’t understand why you throw up so much.” Or “I wonder if something is wrong with the baby.”
    Thankfully I mostly had good treatment by my healthcare providers, not including one nurse when I went into labor. I assume she just thought I was being dramatic as the contractions made me writhe in pain. During a contraction I apparently yanked out my IV (i don’t remember this) and in a brief moment in between contractions as she still was trying to get my IV in, I mentioned that I was a hard stick. to which she replied, “yeah, don’t think you could of told me that before you ripped out the first one?” <- with snark. I remember wanting to reply but another contraction was hitting and I didn't care anymore. about 15 minutes later my son was laying on the end of the delivery bed as he had just… well… shot out of me with no one there to catch him, because no one knew how fast he was coming. After that she seemed very sweet. Like "oh I guess she was really in pain." Heh. So the moral of the story… pregnant women are not overly dramatic or crazy. emotional? sure. but not crazy. If something hurts, it really hurts dang it. Listen to us! ok. end rant. lol

  37. Matthew N. says:

    I am an HG dad. My wife went through HG with both our sons. I too was happy and sad to hear that Kate had HG so that finally people will know that what we went through wasn’t B.S. And let me just say that doctor is lucky that a whole army of HG mommies and daddies doesn’t march into his office and beat his rear end. “Don’t want the baby” Grrr!

  38. Heartbreaking and o so familiar, all your stories. For me, my 3 HG pregs are almost 2 years in the past but I’m not recovered, not physically, not mentally. It changed me. HG is basically being intolerant to your pregnancy hormones. This does not only affect you physically (pain, I rember pain, immense pain, from the burned oesophagus and stomach, from the cramped muscles caused by violent vomittin or dry retching, pain from all the toxins caused by the sudden weigth loss, headaches from being dehydrated, pain from the endless IVs, and the countless times they tried to get an IV in dehydrated veins) but also causes deep depression and you know that there is notting you can do about it. Afterwards I learned that I was in such a deep black hole that my family feared that I was going to kill myself (I was to weak fortunatly, and to busy battling) and since I’ve seen this black hole from the inside and since I know how deep one can fall, I’m so afraid of ever having to go to that place again. This pushes me relentlessly towards never giving in to being ill, never standing still to have a quit moment for myself. And that is what also stops me from getting completely healed I guess. So the battle continues ;). Before HG I lived the life of the invincible, after HG you know how vurnable you can be. But on the other hand, the positive thing to take away from this is that if you can climb this mountain, you know you have a big reservoir of inner strength.
    My OB immediatly recognised HG for what it was, and send me to a doctor specialised in metabolism problems as the underlying cause for HG migth be that the pregnancy hormones (which in HG cases you have in excess) take over the role of thyroid hormones. This drives the thyroid nuts, enhances the vomitting, speeds up your metabolism hence the extra weigthloss, causes the anxiety, the racing heart, trembling hands, depression). I was lucky that my HG was so clinicly proven that my family, friends, work never doubted and were very supportive. I had friends in other hospitals who were told all the horrible things that I’ve read above or whom’s partners really were not supportive at all. Here in Belgium, when you are admitted to the hospital, therapy is IV, anti-emetica, medicins to counter the stomach accid. They also completely stop the function of the stomach by not letting you eat, nor drink untill you haven’t vomitted at least 24 hours. They let you out of the hospital only after you have eaten and after you have not puked out what you then ate. Needless to say I lied a couple of times, and often I would vomit as soon as I was out of sigth of the ward.
    Just out of curiosity, are there women out there who still suffer from the consequences, after delivery? I have become so intolerant to hormones that I get nauseaus around ovulation or when I’m menstruating. I also suffer now from a thyroid that is now working to slow and for a long time I had to resist binge eating once I was able to take in food again. It was like my body was so starved for food that I couldn’t stop eating or snacking.
    Anyway, to all of you out there, thanks for letting me write this down, I need it once in a while.
    And go Kate! You’re not alone

  39. Holy hell! I would’ve slapped your OB over the head with a cast iron pan! How horrible. I did not suffer from HG but know many women who did. I just had mild morning sickness but even that I wouldn’t wish upon anyone. I’ve heard some people say the DUMBEST things with HG though. Like, “You should be thankful you didn’t gain any weight!” Uh, okay.

    OB’s can be so thoughtless. I was suffering from hidden preeclampsia at the end of my pregnancy and my OB told me to “lay off the McDonalds”. Really? Like really?

    Big hugs. ?

    Mia @ McCormick & Murphy, P.C.

    • Mia – I ended up with pre-e too, and my MIDWIFE told me to “lay off the fast food and soda, and stop drinking whole milk.” I never, ever eat fast food, don’t drink soda, and drank 1% milk at the time. Once I revealed this, she was like, “Oh. Well, you need to switch to drinking nonfat milk anyway.” So frustrating.

      I feel so bad for HG sufferers, and I’m glad Kate’s HG diagnosis is bringing more awareness to the condition.

      • That’s horrible! I mean, I’m not saying that I never indulged in a bit of Taco Bell or some chicken nuggets here or there but it wasn’t EVERY day. I was just appalled and curious as to why they didn’t notice my 20lb weight gain in the last few weeks.

        Sometimes I wonder if they forget they’re speaking to overly hormonal, pregnant women…

  40. Thanks for writing this! I am amazed at just how many women have spoken up about having hg since the Kate Middleton news cycle began. Of course I’m not happy that she has hg, but I am glad that the condition has finally come to light. If anyone knows of someone suffering right now, feel free to send her to my blog– http://www.hgsurvivor.com. In addition, http://www.helpher.org and http://www.aydenraefoundation.org are great resources.

  41. Thank you SO much for writing this! I found you through Rachel @ HGSurvivor and I am so happy I have! I too am an HG survivor and I am trying to compile a list of stories and resources for my readers to educate them about HG. I would love to include you if that is okay! Also if you know of any other great resources or stories that I could share I would be very grateful! Thanks so much for being such an inspiration to other HG Mommas!

    Amber

  42. Reading your post, I have been genuinely shocked by the way you were treated by medical professionals. It is absolutely shocking that some people can have that kind of ignorance towards a pregnant woman’s health, and still be allowed to practice medicine. I feel so deeply sorry for you, that you suffered so badly not only with your own health during pregnancy, but with the way you were treated. Though I haven’t yet experienced pregnancy at all (not through choice, believe me!) I do suffer with M.E. and so can at least empathise with having no control over what your body is doing, no matter how strong your will. I have also heard of some pretty shocking responses from medical professionals regarding M.E. as well (thankfully not my own). I do hope that Kate Middleton’s sickness does raise awareness of this awful condition, because so far most people seem to be under the impression she is just getting special treatment for a little bit of morning sickness – I live in London and most of the tabloid papers have just been saying severe morning sickness.

  43. I cried. I suffered from HG for only a few months but I know how awfully it is. By the time I was diagnosed I was diagnosed things were really bad. I lost my job, stopped eating, slept in the bathroom and my 6 year old was taking care of ny 3 year old. Right as I was supposed to be hospitalised the worst happened. We found out the baby had passed away the doctor told me to wait it out and then stopped taking my calls. I suffered through the worst part knowing there would be no happy ending. After ny husband and I considered termination and after wishing for death everyday my baby died. I feel so guilty

  44. I cried. I suffered from HG for only a few months but I know how awfully it is. By the time I was diagnosed I was diagnosed things were really bad. I lost my job, stopped eating, slept in the bathroom and my 6 year old was taking care of ny 3 year old. Right as I was supposed to be hospitalised the worst happened. We found out the baby had passed away the doctor told me to wait it out and then stopped taking my calls. I suffered through the worst part knowing there would be no happy ending. After ny husband and I considered termination and after wishing for death everyday my baby died. I feel so guilty

    • It’s not your fault. There is nothing anyone can say that makes anything feel better, but it is not your fault.

  45. Hello! I’m new here… A very thoughtful friend of mine suggested this page and all I can say is WOW! I spent most of today throwing up every 5-10 minutes and then in the ER for severe dehydration. It’s the third time I’ve been to the ER for this and it’s absolutely miserable. The nurses all get cheesed off when i can give them a urine sample right away and threaten to cath me and one was just hateful about it
    My poor husband doesn’t know what to do when I get like that (I’m not the nicest when I’m sick unfortunately), and we’re both stressed to the max. My hours at work are getting cut because I’m “not reliable” anymore and can’t predict the days when I can’t function. I know this isn’t like morning sickness (believe me–I’ve tried every ‘cure’ that’s out there), but is there anything others than medication that eases it? I’m 16 weeks prego with my first and have lost 12 pounds already. Some days are tolerable and some days just downright stink. Any advice is welcome because most of what I’m getting is crackers that stinks for you. Thanks!

    • Hi Kat,

      I am SO sorry you are experiencing HG. I highly recommend visiting helpher.org for information that would be helpful for you, your husband, and your health care providers. Most women with HG find that medications are required to help manage their symptoms. As my OB put it, medications may not be the best option for a developing baby but they are better than dehydration and starvation. There are some more natural methods you can try, usually in conjunction with pharmaceuticals you can find something that helps. What’s important is to advocate for yourself and not just wait it out hoping it gets better soon. Your husband can advocate for you as well, push for better care and report anyone that bullies you. I hop you find relief soon. Congratulations on your pregnancy I hope that at some point you’re really able to enjoy it. ~Jessica

  46. Oh my goodness, I can’t tell you how much I identify with this post. When the “news” came out about KMs HG struggles, I said a prayer for her, knowing how awful this disease is, but then everything inside of me starting hoping that because she was a public figure, that this would be what spurs the medical world to research the condition more intensely and find more answers, as well as informing THE WORLD (all those people who say, “oh just eat a few saltine crackers before you get out of bed and you be just fine… It’s just morning sickness!!”) that this is NOT “just morning sickness.” My second struggle with HG landed me on home health care and 24/7 ivs for a bulk of my pregnancy, then admittance to the hospital on TPN and an early csection to take my daughter before my body entirely shut down. I had the most supportive doctor I could imagine, and he was constantly researching ways to help me… Can’t even believe you doc would say those things to you. Anyhow, just wanted to say, I another mom who wouldn’t wish HG on anyone, but is rejoicing that the disease is FINALLY get some public attention and hopefully some answers!!

  47. I’m so sorry to hear that you have had HG so many times. And the comments from ‘medical professionals’ are staggering. I also had HG with my second baby. It was so scary, just how quick you lose the will to live.

    I only had a bit of nausea with my first, a couple of vomits through the whole pregnancy.

    With my second, I knew I was pregnant from implantation – I was sick straight away, at around 5 weeks. It got worse and worse. I ended up in hospital. Fortunately the staff were fantastic – I’m in Australia btw. I nearly passed out waiting in line at emergency, and was escorted to a wheelchair and admitted straight away. At first they thought it would be easy to solve, just nausea. A nurse tried rubbing a pressure point on my wrist. Just the sensation of bein touched, and I threw up on her and lost consciousness. They took it seriously after that. Unfortunately the meds either 1:did nothing or 2: made me delirious and have hallucinations.

    Eventually I just had to live in a vicious cycle. Stay home, sleep on the couch, my toddler would wake me when she was hungry. Make her sandwich I’ve handed as I threw up in the sink. Eat, vomit in her toy bucket (she was 14 months and so good at finding me buckets!) get dehydrated, go get iv fluids. Rinse and repeat.

    I wanted to die. I just didn’t think it would end. It actually eased up after I had my daughter, but I still couldn’t smell certain things, brush my teeth or shower without throwing up for about three months after having her.

    I was glad too wen Kate Middleton had HG. All of a sudden propel are talks g about it. And I’m jumping up and down saying ‘see! That’s what I had!’

    Hugs to you – and here’s hoping that some of those drs and midwives get first hand experience. Maybe they can then try their extremely helpful suggestions.

  48. Wow, I can’t believe medical professionals would say those things. I can’t imagine the misery that is HG. I don’t love being pregnant; I would probably be a crying mess on the floor for 9 months if I were to suffer like that. What strength you have to do it 6 times!

  49. I’ve only just read this post. I want to echo all of the others who have pointed out your strength and courage. I’m horrified by the things you posted that people have said to you in recent history, and I hope that you can let the support of us, your readers, help you heal and move past their misguided and cruel words.