With the Duchess of Cambridge announcing her pregnancy Sept. 4 at Kensington Palace, it is confirmed that she is once again suffering from the debilitating disease Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG). HG is a horrific disease that affects approximately 1 in every 100 women and will leave her most likely bed-ridden and experiencing nausea and vomiting around the clock.
While nausea and vomiting during pregnancy (NVP) can be quite common during the first trimester and mostly experienced in the morning, it is important to distinguish that HG is not the same thing. It must be emphasized that this is NOT just “severe morning sickness.” This is an around-the-clock severe illness that can leave you dehydrated and in a dangerous state of ketosis.
How do I know? This ugly disease has showed up for all three of my pregnancies to date and is the main deciding factor in me delaying having another child. The thought of being bed-ridden, emotionally and mentally run through hell, vomiting until my insides hurt, breaking blood vessels and having no end in sight for 40+ weeks has me wondering if I could actually do it again. I would love to have another baby and expand our family by one more sweet beating heart, but after doing it three times in five years, I think HG may have broken me.
I tried all the tricks I could think of, ranging from acupuncture to $100+ dollar pills that are given to chemo patients for nausea, and still nothing would take away the pain. I struggled with wanting an abortion the first 20 weeks of pregnancy and then just wanting the baby to finally be here the last 20 weeks. Working with so many clients who struggle with infertility, it absolutely pained me to think this way, but I was in survival mode. Survival to continue to live.
When does HG start? For many of us it starts from the moment we find out we are pregnant or before. Each of my three pregnancies, I knew I was pregnant before it even was detected on a pregnancy test. How? The nausea would sneak in to my life, and everything would start to trigger it to be worse.
So as the news reports continue to circle with the announcement of the Duchess of Cambridge’s pregnancy, let’s just pause for a moment and remember that with each news report that says “severe morning sickness,” they aren’t even beginning to touch the surface with what she is actually experiencing. There is no “morning” sickness. This is an all-day, 24/7, won’t even give me a break for a few moments extreme illness.
My heart goes out to the duchess, and on behalf of many HG sufferers we hope that she can find some relief and that the next 40 weeks go by as quickly as possible.
When will she start feeling better? Most likely once she gives birth. That moment when it all finally comes to an end and your sweet baby is in your arms does make it all worth it and you are so thankful that it is over. When does HG end? For me it was right after I delivered my placenta. That feeling of relief. Absolutely full of relief.
Let’s give Kate Middleton some privacy and hope this horrible disease doesn’t take her down as badly as it did with her first two pregnancies.
Kate, you are not alone. Even though it can feel that way, please know that all of us HG mamas are here holding space for you.