It is difficult to describe to anyone who has not experienced this little known condition, which affects between 0.2 and 2 percent of pregnant women, just how debilitating and unpleasant hyperemesis can be.
|The Porcelain Shrine
If HunterGatherer even as much as waved an unopened can of baked beans in my direction or allowed the smell of whatever delicacy he was eating (out of sight) to invade the room where I was skulking (as far from the kitchen as humanly possible), I had to make a mad dash for the loo, to worship on my knees at what was to rapidly become my porcelain shrine. It wasn’t long before I reached the milestone of throwing up an impressive 100 times in the space of one week – not bad going, eh?
|My best friend the bucket…
|My other best friend: the Mars Bar
During those Halcyon hyperemetic days, the only food that managed to stay put in my steadily shrinking stomach space was that healthiest and most nutricious of snacks, the Mars Bars. So my GP told me just to keep eating those as often as I could to at least keep some calories in my system. That was, without doubt, the one and only positive about the whole hyperemesis experience: guilt-free Mars Bar consumption! On the other hand, the weight was dropping off me, and I was becoming extremely weak, ketotic and dehydrated, despite consuming what felt like gallons of electrolyte drinks.
By about 11 weeks into my pregnancy, I was utterly ‘puggled’ (not a medical term, but very evocative of the way I felt). Seeing that I was metaphorically and literally on my knees, the local GP referred me to hospital where I was duly admitted and – as happened to Kate – promptly wired up to I.V. fluids. Ironically, after I’d been on the drip for a few days, my brother visited me and proclaimed that he reckoned my complexion was the clearest he’d ever seen. This was probably due to the fact that for once in my life – I don’t often feel thirsty and often forget to drink enough – I’d actually “ingested” (albeit intravenously!) the recommended amount of fluid each day for a normal human being.
The doctors offered me drugs to curtail the sickness, but well aware of the terrible and lasting side-effects that a previous notorious anti-emetic had on thousands of unborn babies in the early 60s – I was adamant that I wasn’t going to let any chemicals of any sort pass my lips while I was carrying my precious cargo.