It feels like a mountain at the moment
For those of us working entirely immersed in the hyperemesis gravidarum world, (namely myself and Karen Lodge in the Pregnancy Sickness Support office working alongside each other, her answering the helpline and my engaging in research activity and education for healthcare professions) there can be periods of time where we really feel the impact of the work we are doing and we go home at the end of the day knowing that so many women in the UK are getting really great care and support for their HG, in part thanks to the work that we’re doing from our little office in Cornwall.
We are not in one of those periods at the moment.
It feels like we took a huge step forward with developments like the Greentop Guidelines and now we’re at least ten steps backwards.
The calls to the helpline recently have been increasingly frustrating. From most hospitals having a 3+ ketone criteria on their local guidelines to perinatal mental health teams being “anti anti-depressants” and doctors who don’t “believe” in using medication in pregnancy. We haven’t practiced “belief based medicine” in the UK for at least 100 years now… SHOW ME THE EVIDENCE!
We’ve had two women who were so dehydrated that they couldn’t produce a urine sample were sent home because the staff can’t test for ketones. That is insane and frankly, it’s a death waiting to happen!
We’ve had doctors tell a woman with an unplanned but wanted pregnancies tell them they should have been more careful not to get pregnant if they didn’t want HG.
We’ve had a women with an IVF pregnancy thinking she had no choice but to terminate because she’d been told there was no treatments for nausea and vomiting.
We’ve had staff in a day unit adamant that is a women doesn’t have 3+ ketones then her HG is in fact a totally normal part of pregnancy.
We’ve had a perinatal mental health crisis team debating that wanting to die and commit suicide isn’t suicidal ideation because she hadn’t come up with a way to do it yet (mainly because lifting her head off a pillow was too hard let alone getting to a train station or pharmacy!)
We’ve had a woman whose partner is “normally so sweet and caring but is just horrible about this.” He thinks she’s being weak and pathetic and needs to get a grip.
So you see, while we appreciate all the excellent care going on out there and increasing support and understanding for women with HG, right now it still feels like we have an almighty mountain in front of us yet to climb.
Couple that with yet another lottery rejection and BT screwing up our internet access and some days it can feel like we don’t have the resources to even aim for the top of that mountain.
So on this International Women's Day 2018 feel free to cheer us up by posting about your GOOD experiences of HG care and treatment in recent years to let us know our goals are still achievable…