Here's What It's Really Like To Have Hyperemesis Gravidarum

Yvette King shares her experience of acute, severe nausea during her pregnancy — and getting over it

By Yvette King 22 Jan, 2019 1:02 AMTags

You would think it would be all lollipops, sunshine and rainbows once you see those two lines on the pregnancy test. To be blessed with a pregnancy is nothing short of a miracle. Believe me. However, hyperemesis gravidarum is no joke as comedienne Amy Schumer recently found out. Not only was pregnant Schumer hospitalised, she had to cancel her forthcoming stand-up gigs. And if you didn't believe her, she just posted a video of her puking her guts up on Insta taking the whole "if it isn't on IG, did it ever really happen" line to a whole new level.

But she's not the only celeb who's had to deal with this debilitating pregnancy complication. Even royalty doesn't get a free pass. Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton suffered with hyperemesis in all three of her pregnancies, forcing Kensington Palace to announce her happy news prior to the so-called "safe-zone" twelve week mark. She also was hospitalised. As much as I wouldn't wish this condition on anyone, having women as public as Amy and Kate being open about it has brought much needed attention and awareness to this hideous experience.

Anyway, so what the hell is hyperemesis? The full official name is hyperemesis gravidarum (HG for short) and pretty much means acute, severe nausea. But don't you dare compare this to regular, run of the mill morning sickness — of which fifty percent of women will get. At the bottom of Amy Schumer's posts, there were comments like "every woman goes through this" and that "she should just toughen up and get over it" but y'all got it twisted. HG only affects one to two percent of pregnant women and is more common with multiples. Yep that's me. Thanks Baby A and Baby B! The old wives tale is that girls make you more sick. Well, try growing two of them!

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Symptoms include chronic nausea and vomiting, a loss of 5 percent or up of pre-pregnancy body weight, dehydration and more. I lost 10 percent of my body weight and puked up none stop all day. I ended up in hospital on an IV drip because I hadn't eaten or had any fluids in over 24 hours. My doctor's sympathetic face said it all. I needed an intervention!

Sometimes I couldn't even have a sip of water without running to the bathroom to hurl. In fact, not that I could even really peel myself off the couch as I was so weak, I did still get "leaving the house anxiety" because I was scared of leaving my lovely toilet behind — that suddenly, I would find myself in a cold sweat, ready to puke at any moment.

And to be fair that fear was valid. I puked on planes, in bushes, gutters on the street, during scans, in my front lawn (couldn't even make it inside), during makeup and even after red carpets! Crazy Rich Asians premiere I‘m talking about you. I hurled so hardcore after that one I even broke capillaries in my face! #filterSOneeded

For those peeps who suggested I try ginger tea and dry crackers to cure this, honestly I laugh in your face at your cute, naive ways. At about week six is when things started getting nasty. I actually thought I‘d gotten away with it - that I was one of the lucky few to escape the evil clutches of morning sickness.

Boy, was I wrong.

Food aversions soon turned into not being able to eat at all, or if I could swallow some tiny morsels of food, throwing it all up soon after. The extreme dehydration and surge of hormones then led to debilitating migraines on top of everything else. I couldn't see as my vision was blurred by what can only be described as a flashing lightning bolt in my retina, my left arm went numb (am I having a stroke?), there was more vomiting and worst part of it all? Pregnancy meant I couldn't take any migraine medication to help ease the thumping headache. It felt like a vicious cycle. My doctor prescribed me some medication which helped a lot in terms of keeping food and fluid down, but never got rid of the nausea.

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Finally, I got some respite after around the 18-week mark. Those other humans I would longingly stare at eating and drinking without a care in the world? That soon became me. I was able to get food down and stomach it. What a luxury! And thank goodness, to other HG mums out there, a light at the end of one dark-ass tunnel. So, the Duchess made it through HG three times (can't believe she went back for more after one stint). But to Amy Schumer, I wish her well with her pregnancy and maybe one day we can all look back on this experience and laugh about this. I doubt it.