Stefanie’s story of pregnancy with severe sickness – Hyperemesis Gravidarum

My pregnancy was one of the hardest things I ever had to go through. I never thought I would ever say this because you only have to go online to see the cute bump pictures, glowing faces and adorable gender announcements but my pregnancy didn’t quite go that way. 

When I was 5 weeks pregnant I was diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum and I suffered from it all through pregnancy. For me, having hyperemesis meant vomiting 20-30 times a day which resulted in 6 hospital admissions in total where I had to stay once for 8 days. It was receiving countless bags of IV fluids, having blown veins and taking anti-sickness medication (I was on 17 pills a day). It was having very low blood pressure and a high heart rate and only gaining 5kg at the end of the pregnancy. I went through a rollercoaster of emotions, from feeling that I was going to die to feeling utterly depressed. By the time I was 12 weeks I was diagnosed with prenatal anxiety and depression and I was put under the mental health team for regular CBT sessions. 

I went into labour at 39+2 and I couldn’t have felt more excited. All I could think about was how good water would taste after they delivered my placenta. I went to the hospital at 1am believing it was time only to find out I was only at 1cm. I was so disappointed because I couldn’t believe the pain was already this bad. We were sent back home where I spent the next couple of hours lying in the shower until I couldn’t take it anymore. We went back at 5am where they told me I was 4cm so in established labour. 

After taking a COVID-test, they brought me to the midwife led unit as I wanted to try the birth ball and pool first. I actually didn’t try either of those as the pain was getting so bad by then. I tried gas and air but it really didn’t do anything for me so I finally asked for an epidural at 7cm. 

They transferred me to the hospital birth centre in the afternoon where I met my lovely midwife who kept reassuring me all through labour as my anxiety was still quite bad at that point. They checked me again when they noticed I had meconium in the womb and by then I was already at 9cm so they broke my waters. Unfortunately because of the epidural I went back from 9cm to 6cm which was really disappointing as we were already there for almost 24 hours and I was vomiting all through labour and I couldn’t take any anti-sickness medication anymore as I started getting side effects at 36 weeks. 

They decided to put me on a hormone drop and kept monitoring me for the next couple of hours. I developed an infection in the meantime and got a fever as well so they gave me antibiotics and put me on a drip. By 11.15pm I could finally start pushing and my beautiful boy Ezra was born at 11.42pm. I had a third degree tear which needed to be fixed in surgery so they brought me to theatre straight after and gave me a spinal. My blood pressure started dropping rapidly because of the spinal so they gave me medication to make it go back up again.

I spend the rest of the night and morning in a recovery room on my own as my wife couldn’t be with me because of COVID and was then brought to the postnatal ward for an additional day. My pregnancy and delivery wasn’t what I expected but I did get the best care available. Pregnancy Sickness Support was there to set me up with a peer supporter and signposting me to a HG consultant. It really made all the difference to have the best care available even though there were lots of complications.

Video of my journey:

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