How hyperemesis kicked my pregnant butt

How hyperemesis kicked my pregnant butt

It’s 4am and I have my head down the toilet bowl thinking to myself;

“Is this what my life has become?”

“I didn’t even drink that much… or ANYTHING in fact!!”

Reset the exact same scenario up to fifteen or twenty times a day,


for seventeen weeks.


That, my friends, teamed with all day nausea, dehydration, headaches and low blood pressure, is hyperemesis.


It’s like morning sickness (which let’s face it, we all know isn’t primarily the mornings anyway) on drugs.

Every inch of horribleness with morning sickness is exemplified and personified with hyperesmeis. Read the clinical explanation here

I was in a rutt.

It’s essentially my fourth pregnancy (one of my pregnancies ended sooner than expected, explained in this post) so you think I would have bloody learned to save my body and my soul from the destruction that hyperesmeis causes.

But I just love the babas,

and although my art career is super exciting and important to me, my family and my faith are my life.


I see my ignorance at trying for a third child ( see our adoption journey here) a bit like the forgetfulness around the joy that is labour- our species are designed to forget the depths of the awfulness associated with labour after a period of time…and I forgot the extent of the hyperemesis. I did. I really flipping did.

“Have another rich tea biscuit” they said

“Try those sea bands you wear on your wrist, you can get them at the chemist” they said.

Unfortunately hyperemesis can’t be saved and it doesn’t lift by the things you wear or what you eat-

it is as if the very things you rely on to enjoy life-

taste buds, energy to move, a brain to function and tell yourself you can get up out of bed- all of these have been stripped from you and, you simply exist.

I promise you, as dramatic as this sounds, that is how it feels.

I have an incredible doctor this pregnancy who recognised the symptoms of my condition early on and prescribed strong anti sickness tablets (the same anti sickness tablets that are given to patients undergoing chemotherapy) yet the vomiting occurred as regular as before and the nausea never left me.

These tablets were still my saving grace.

The symptoms were certainly reduced and I continued for a while with normal activities.

I of all people am THRILLED to be pregnant and know that complaining is not helpful or useful to anyone out there who would trade my position for all the money in their bank account,

That is not why I am writing this- to annoy or upset

-it is merely a chance to make people aware of how hyperemesis works.

Being hospitalised for dehydration is pretty embarrassing.

You sit there like a lame donkey with your head in your hands dreading the waft of the hospital meals coming down the corridor. Yet knowing that the little drip plugged into your arm is the key to your happiness.

*If read out of context that last line wouldn’t bode too well for my future*

But I needed the hospital stints.

My body tried to function with exercise. Shockingly I managed to do some form of running or workout until 15 weeks before my pelvic arthropathy kicked in and the dehydration became uncontrollable .

Exercise was the only time in a day when nausea left me…

albeit for a short window!

My work somehow carried on regardless of my lameness and days on the sofa.

This is where self employment is good- I *tried* to work around it.

I feel for any of you in a mainstream 9-5job where you have to function and be present in classrooms or board meetings.

In the end though I had to cave and allow others to help me with my kids and keep me afloat.

And that’s ok.

Asking for help is not a sign of weakness but rather an acknowledgement of the mayhem and a way to keep above water.

All the while I was also bleeding so was in and out of hospital for tests and feared that

I would lose my baby that I had dreamed so hard about.

Really I was a walking wet rag and I cannot tell you how I praised the heavens the day that I allowed myself to think;

“Eh I haven’t been sick in two hours… six hours… twelve hours…”


The taste in my mouth gradually changed to something other than metal (saying that, it has now returned in my 27th week) and,

I began to grapple back at life again. Slowly.

I often told my husband how much I hated my life (most likely as I wiped my mouth after vomitting in our ensuite) and how I could “NEVER DO THIS EVER AGAIN!!!”.

Yet he said when he heard me confess to the midwife at the booking in appointment how I felt depressed at times, he didn’t appreciate the extent of the isolation and the sadness (juxtaposed with overwhelming happiness at the fortune of being allowed to grow another human in my belly) I was experiencing.

So if you are in a hyperemesis stint and sitting in a hospital reading this

nodding your head, adding to the list of woes, please talk to people.

Go easy on yourself

if you haven’t read the other kids in your family a bedtime story in three weeks, don’t sweat it if you can’t make it to the lunch room in work for fear of vomiting in your hand when the waft of coffee hits your nostrils.

Hyperemesis is HARD.

You are doing a great job allowing your body to be sucked dry of it’s best nutrients to keep that mini me thriving, remember that!

Rest in the knowledge that you are working on something INCREDIBLE and as my good friend often quotes

“This too shall pass”.

Keep joyous in your misery (easier said than done, but you are not alone) and hold tight to the hope that soon you will feel kicks in that belly and

the end result is EVERYTHING and more than you could wish for.

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