Mobilising an army
So much has happened over the last four weeks since my last blog... I have had offers of support literally flooding in from all around the country and I am overwhelmed by the fantastic things that are happening!
Firstly, we have come up with a structure for the national Support Network. We have allocated Team Leaders for geographical areas around the country and they will then co-ordinate and run local groups by recruiting supporters, raising awareness in their areas, liaising with local media, GP's etc. and fund raising locally and ultimately take referrals and match up supporters with sufferers. We have much of the UK covered but the Team Leaders have large geographical areas (i.e. one for the whole of London!!!) and it would be good to get more so as to reduce the work loads. We also have don't have team leaders in Scotland or Northern Ireland and the far north of England and could do with people coming forward for those areas. I am hoping to delegate the production of a 'Team Leader Pack' to one of the team leaders with which will provide all the info, structure and advice the team leaders will need to help them get going on it all.
I have also been working on the re-building of the website. The current Pregnancy Sickness Support website has been around a while and although the information it provides is very good the website is a little dated and un-user-friendly. The new site will have separate areas for Health Care Professionals (HCP's) and for sufferers and their supporters. It will have information about all the local groups with a map to help sufferers find their nearest network and to contact them. Information and research will be downloadable, as will useful documents such as fluid balance sheets and medication charts for at home (fluid balance is a useful way of measuring dehydration and many of the medications can cause drowsiness and confusion so a medication chart can be helpful for keeping track of what has been taken and when meds are due). Also there will be a training section online where we can run e-learning courses for volunteer supporters and team leaders to reduce time and cost requirements of attending training days. And long term we may be able to use that section to develop e-learning courses for Midwives and GP's. The NHS uses a lot of e-learning these days (most of my nursing Professional Development Training, such as smear taker updates, are completed on line now).
We are also updating our information leaflets which we will be able to launch in GP surgeries, maternity units and children’s centres at the same time as the website relaunch.
I met recently with Kerry Dungay in Plymouth and, utilising her pre-children skills, she is now developing a presentation which we can taking into Midwifery Schools for student midwives. Shockingly I heard first hand from a student midwife in Plymouth that when they did a session on HG in their first year (last year) that they were told there was not treatment available for HG and all that can be done is admission for IV Fluids... no mention of the various medications for which research and evidence abounds!!!
My wonderful friend Rupert Warwick (of Skyfields PR firm) who witnessed my hell during my second pregnancy very kindly offered to put together some PR ideas for the charity and my local support network. They have written a fantastic press release which we are finalising now and he got me a great article in the local paper last week.
There is lots of other things happening too, people fund raising and applying for grants, others writing to corporations to ask for sponsorship and much more, but I'll save some of that for my next blog.
On a personal note, I have been a bit sad this week as I would have been over the worst by now and would know I never had to go through it again. Instead I have it hanging over my future. The impact on my family and friends hit me the other day during a meeting at Skyfields... I was describing more about my experience to Ben, who has written the press releases, and next to me I saw Ruperts head drop in sadness... He is a great friend and I know he doesn't want me to go through it again; what I am asking from my friends and family, to support me through this, is a lot... But I can't let Hyperemesis Gravidarum be the reason I don't fulfil my dreams. However, the future is far less scary knowing I have such a lot of support from the dozens of new friends I have made through this work as well as the ongoing support from my family and friends.