I'm so sick
I usually struggle with nausea in the first trimester, but I've been lucky enough to not suffer with actual vomiting in my previous pregnancies.
Everything was fine this time... But something this weekend has changed!
I keep being sick and cannot even keep sips of water down, let alone nibbling food to try to keep my blood sugar levels stable. No one else in the house is poorly, but perhaps it's food poisoning?
I start vomiting on the Saturday, through Sunday and it seems to be worsening by Monday. I'm due at hospital on Monday for my repeat scan to date the pregnancy and I say to Gavin that I feel too poorly to go. Gavin makes me get ready and go as he's worried how much I've been sick and that I need to get checked out. I don't want to go as I know what's going to happen...they'll admit me, especially as my blood sugar levels are sky rocketing 🙁
I know no one likes being sick, but I'm terrible with it. I do anything and everything I can to stop myself from vomiting and I start worrying how on earth I am going to make it onto the third floor of the hospital to the assessment unit without being sick throughout the hospital.
I'm sick before my shower, during, after and then decide the washing up bowl is going to have to come with me if I have any chance going anywhere. I manage the journey to the hospital without vomiting, but just as Gavin tries to help me out the car I have to stop him. I can't say how awful, ashamed and embarrassed I was throwing up into a washing up bowl, sitting in the hospital car park with people everywhere. Gavin was brilliant at helping and reassuring me and dealing with the contents of said washing up bowl (I love you Patty).
Time to fess up and say I'm ill
I'm called through for my scan and it's the lovely midwife from the diabetes clinic I'd seen the other day. I explain how poorly I am and she calls a Doctor through to look at me.
I was due to have bloods taken to check my anti–factor Xa (it's to check my blood thinning injections are working correctly), but they decide to take numerous blood tests to try to find out what's wrong with me. They check for ketones in my urine and after looking at how dehydrated I am by looking at my tongue (I believe it was compared to the Sahara desert), they say they will be admitting me for IV fluids and possibly a sliding scale.
I've stopped drinking water since I was last sick, which seems to have helped stop the vomiting, I guess there's nothing left inside now. Which means I manage to lay down and have my scan to date the pregnancy. It ends up being another internal and I'm due date is confirmed as 24th September and little pickle is doing just fine. That makes me 13+1 weeks pregnant.
"We'll get some fluids in you and you'll feel like a new woman!"
I'm taken onto the ward and into a private room. Thank goodness, I wasn't sure how I'd cope if I was being sick in front of other ladies on an open ward. But I guess until they know what's causing the sickness, it's best I'm not next to other patients anyway.
The midwives and Doctor are lovely and try to reassure me that once I've had some IV fluids and anti sickness meds, I should feel like a new woman. I bloody hope so!
My blood sugar levels are still high, especially since I've not eaten for days and they also check my blood ketones which come out a bit too high, along with the urine ketones which are showing extremely high.
I have my IV line put into my arm (did I mention I HATE needles and this is the 3rd one today... 1 with the midwife trying to get bloods but not being successful, the doctor coming back to take the bloods, then now the IV). Not happy, but I feel so poorly I know it means dealing with it to get better. Big girl pants on.
They give me my first anti-sickness injection in my hip/bottom and OMG that's a nippy one!! The injection is fine, but the fluid stings like a bee. Up goes my first litre bag of IV fluids.
HG (hyperemesis gravidarum)
The doctor comes through and after examining me and looking at all my test results diagnoses me with hyperemesis gravidarum or HG for short. This is severe sickness in pregnancy and something I know a bit about from having members of my Facebook group suffering with it. I've researched the condition a bit and one of my old admin team who had suffered multiple HG and GD pregnancies helped me to write this page for the website on the subject.
I know from trying to support other ladies with HG and GD, how hard this condition can be, especially with the GD factored in and trying to eat the right diet to keep blood sugar levels lower and stabilised. Oh joy!
It's slightly strange that I have only just started suffering this and that I have not had it my previous pregnancies, but there we go. There is nothing else showing that could be the cause and so it looks like severe pregnancy sickness is the answer. As my old admin said to me, "Jo - The things you do for researching HG!" Trust me when I say, this was one subject I was happy to research from text books, articles and other Mums!
Looks like I'll be here for a while...
Here's me thinking that after the anti sickness injection and some fluids, I'd feel OK again. NOPE! The anti-sickness injections take the edge off the nausea and the IV fluids are making their way through (I start peeing for Britain!) and most importantly I haven't been sick since this morning with the car park/washing up bowl incident, but I'm still quite poorly and so I'm here for the night at least.
On the subject of being sick in hospital, I sit looking at the sick bowls thinking how on earth does anyone manage to get the sick in those?! They're tiny and made of cardboard.
It's at this point that my dear friend and HG expert explains on Facebook that I'm a novice as I should know to take my sick bowl into hospital with me.
Thanks for the tip Susan! I shall remember that for the future and gross as it is talking about all things vomit, I thought I'd add it on here for any HG novices like myself!
I start to eat again
I've started drinking water again and I start feeling slightly better and a little bit hungry and so try some cheese and crackers which I manage to keep down. My blood sugar levels are on the lower side now and my diabetes team advise reducing my insulin as I'm not eating properly and my levels have dipped slightly.
I try some porridge for breakfast. This was the best GD option on the breakfast list and until Gavin comes later in the day I don't have any GD friendly snacks as I haven't been eating. The porridge is absolutely horrid. Made with water and salt (which I believe is the traditional Scottish way), but it almost like wall paper paste and gloopy. I ordered cream with it as I knew that would help me tolerate it better, but I can only manage 2 spoonfuls and then feel awful again. Time for more anti sickness injections and more bags of fluids from my IV friend.
Hospital food is hard work, but you have to just try to make the best of what is available if you don't have anything else with you. One thing that did annoy me is that it stated that the bread for all sandwiches, toast etc. would be brown unless white is requested and I found this to be the opposite. I don't know why hospital breakfasts in most hospitals is so poor. The choice of numerous cereals, toast, fruit, fruit and yoghurt is fine for most, but anyone with diabetes is going to really struggle. Please offer some eggs at least!
Just when things start getting better, BOOM!
I start feeling a wee bit better again, manage to eat a roll for lunch and keep it down and my ketones are reducing. It looks like I'm starting to get better when my GD decides to through a curve ball and I hypo at 2.4 mmol/L and feel pretty shaky and awful.
I call one of the midwives and she runs to grab me some things to treat my hypo, but this results in them wanting to continue monitoring me for a bit longer and I'm told I'll be kept in for another night. So far I've managed to avoid needing a sliding scale, but I know if my blood sugar levels start spiking and crashing they will want to use one. Come on blood sugars, start playing ball for me, pleeeeeeeeeease!
Please can I go home soon?
I'm starting to feel much better, but still need regular anti-sickness meds to keep the nausea at bay. After another night in hospital and another hypo the next day, things start returning to normal and I'm able to eat a bit more and stabilise my blood sugar levels a bit better.
My blood ketones return to normal levels, my urinary ketones disappear and my blood sugars are OK too.
I get to have a good chat with another Doctor who wanted to come and chat about the website and Facebook group as word has gotten around about what I do and we have a really good chat about it all. It's great for a professional to take time out to discuss what I do and show such interest, so Thank you!
I'm discharged later that day with anti sickness meds to help me deal with the HG.
Thank you to Borders General Hospital
I'd just like to say thank you to all the staff that helped looked after me during my stay at BGH. Everyone is so friendly and lovely and it makes me feel reassured and look forward to having my baby there 🙂
Dealing with HG and GD
I've learned that HG is so different from one mother to another and although you should try to eat little and often with gestational diabetes to try to keep blood sugar levels lower and stable, sometimes this just isn't possible. If you struggle with severe sickness, whether it's due to HG, a sickness bug or any other reason and have GD then I urge you get checked out as the sickness alongside GD can get so complicated and IV fluids and a sliding scale (insulin and glucose IV) maybe the only way to keep you hydrated and make you better.
I can't advise what foods are better to eat with HG and sickness as the things I know are better for GD can be such a struggle with the HG (any food can be a struggle) and so I tried to use my knowledge of GD diet and find things that appeal to me personally, that I think will help with the sickness and will stay down. That's how I'm trying to live my HG and GD journey (along with more meds!)
Don't sit and suffer with sickness as there are medications that can be taken to help. They may not work for everyone, but there are a few different ones and are definitely worth trying.
If you need help and support with HG, then please take a look at the links on my HG page.
More About me, Jo, owner and author of Gestational Diabetes UK
To read more about me and Gestational Diabetes UK please read the About Us page