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Journey into the world of hyperemesis gravidarum...
16Jan 15

My Hyperemesis Day on a Plate

I spotting this hilarious buzzfeed post about "Day on a Plate" going viral on Facebook this morning as a backlash to the depressingly perfect and blatantly bullshit “My day on a plate” feature of the founder of a juice company - no happy person lives like this:

So I thought I would give you a giggle with an HG version of “my day on a plate”...


5.30am – Wake up with desperate urge to vomit... dash to toilet and just about make it so acid splutters bowl instead of bedroom carpet.

6am – crawl back to bed hoping to get a bit more sleep (my only relief from the relentless nausea)

7.30am – Husband wakes, creating minor movement in the bed, causes retching, then child comes in with morning breath that makes me retch again. They quickly evacuate the bedroom and get on with their days

8.30am – Try nibbling a ginger biscuit as instructed by every human I've ever met and some that I have never. Sticks in my mouth so attempt a sip of water... projectile vomit into bowl. Back to sleep

11am – Woohoo! I've passed most of the morning asleep! Take anti-sickness tablets with sip of water

11.02am – Throw up anti-sickness tablets. Fantasise about food and lie very still

11.30am – Attempt to go downstairs, throw up in bowl at bottom of the stairs for 20 minutes but hey, at least I'm downstairs now!

12.00am – Sooooooo hungry behind the nausea so consider making a slice of toast.

12.30pm – Toast successfully eaten! Now to sit very very still in the hope it stays down.

1.30pm – Well it stayed down for an hour! Go to change pants.

1.35pm – Up stairs now so may as well stay put – attempt to sleep

1.40pm – Thank fuck for my smart phone, engage with outside world via facebook and twitter. See that other people are at work, play groups, on holidays and other such normal things, feel more miserable and guilty. Message a school friend about pregnancy (trying to be positive!), mention sickness and haven't left the house in 6 weeks except for hospital admissions, secretly hoping she offers to visit. She comes back with congratulation and had I tried ginger? - click defriend.

2pm – Doctor phones, apparently I shouldn't still be sick because it ends at 12 weeks and I should try going for a walk. Wants me to stop medications soon – I reassure him they don't stay down anyway.

2.30pm - Midwife phones to book appointment, wants me to go to surgery for it, explain I can't due to HG, asks if I've tried ginger. Hang up, wondering if I can request a different midwife.

3pm – Boss phones to see if I know when I'll be back at work... says his wife had morning sickness but still managed to go to work. Suggests I could get up earlier to spew up before work? TWAT!

5pm – Husband and child home, cooking smells and noise from downstairs spell 1 hour of retching and spewing acid.

6pm – Take anti-sickness tablets and welcome the drowsiness. Mentally high five myself for surviving another day but sort of wonder if I'll actually wake up in the morning. Sleep.


Hmmm... doesn't seem very funny reading it back...

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i could laugh and cry reading this! Laugh cause it's so true and cry cause this is the reality of HG! Couldn't have put a day living with HG any better myself x
Lucy dyett, 16th January 2015

Spewing Mummy replies...

I suspected that would be the reaction... I'm glad I can help women see the funny side of it though :)

Oh, yes! Spot on! Very funny!
Tracy, 16th January 2015

Spewing Mummy replies...

Ha ha, glad you found it funny... I was nervous posting in case women found it distressing!

Sums it up perfectly... Only the people that have been through this really understand. Oh, and have you tried flat lemonade?! Grr...
Lisa, 16th January 2015

Spewing Mummy replies...

Yes that's another annoying one for sure!

Oh gosh you have to laugh don't you?! x x
ghostwritermummy, 29th January 2015

Spewing Mummy replies...

You'd cry otherwise!

So spot on, I know people are well meaning but stop asking me if I've tried.... believe me I've tried EVERYTHING! Pet hate at the moment is 'ooo you're just like Kate Middleton! ' Yes except she had a team of medical experts who take her seriously people!
Laura, 16th February 2015

12Jan 15

Lets talk about ginger

“Have you tried ginger” is a common suggestion received by sufferers of hyperemesis gravidarum from friends, colleagues, relatives and healthcare professionals, fact!

Now I'm going to be very careful here because I don't want to lead or skew responses, but... I want to explore how hearing the suggestion of ginger makes women feel and the mental impact it has, either positive or negative. I want to know if they find it helpful and comforting or if it has a negative impact and increases isolation.

If I get enough responses from this I will look to get it published in a healthcare journal but due to the self selected nature of my readership I will need a LOT of responses to make it credible. To take part you need to have been admitted to hospital at least once for hyperemesis gravidarum in the last ten years.

In the meantime I'll publish preliminary results on this blog so if you want to know when they are out then sign up using your email address in that little "subscribe" box on the right...

The survey will take around 5-10 mins depending on how much thinking you have to do and how much you have to say on the matter...


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HG survivor
Laura, 12th January 2015

Spewing Mummy replies...

Hi Laura, Glad to hear you survived! Hope you like my blog :)

I feel like people suggest it with good intentions more often than not. Occasionally, I get the vibe they think I'm not trying hard enough or faking it, but I think it is generally suggested out of ignorance. It feels very isolating to have things like ginger suggested when medications are barely pulling me through, and the isolation is depressing. Depression on top of being incredibly ill is just a terrible combination - one that I would not wish on anyone.
Elizabeth Griffith, 12th January 2015

Spewing Mummy replies...

Hi Elizabeth, you're absolutely right that people are just trying to be helpful and really don't mean harm by it. Personally I think that if they knew the harm it caused (especially healthcare professionals) they would definitely not suggest it... which I guess is the likely outcome of this survey. Thanks for taking part X

it didn't really phase me either way when people suggested it. I tried to eat a ginger biscuit a day but it made me sick so I made my own white chocolate muffins with ginger and because it was lighter it was the only thing I tended to eat for 26 weeks of my pregnancy. It didn't help the sickness and I still had over 6 hospital admissions but it was comforting to know that it was something I could eat without throwing it back up straight away.
Laura, 12th January 2015

Spewing Mummy replies...

Hi Laura, thanks for the comment and it's great to hear from the other point of view... You're certainly a rarity in terms of it not bothering you... you're a stronger person than me LOL!

I can't take part in the survey as thankfully I never needed to be admitted to hospital, but in case it's of interest... I had a food aversion to ginger, so every time someone mentioned it, it made me feel very sick. Well intentioned but not at all helpful!
Marga, 12th January 2015

Spewing Mummy replies...

Hi Marga, thanks for the comment and I'm sorry I had to make a cut off somewhere... I needed a measurable diagnosis for the results to be meaningful. I'll be doing more surveys in the coming year so please keep you eye out for ones you can take part in. x

At the beginning of my first HG pregnancy I would laugh about it when people suggested ginger as the ultimate cure all, but towards the end and into my second it started to bother me. I know it was always said with good intention but being asked after being admitted to the hospital AGAIN and seeing my body wasting away, it became a bit much to handle. If I meet other woman suffering I always tell them to try not to let the ginger comments bother them, but it’s hard. I do have to admit that towards the end of my first pregnancy I had cravings for gingerbread men (couldn’t be in any other shape) I think that it was subconscious healing… biting the head of a male to make me feel better. Probably could have been a sugar cookie in that shape and it would have helped just as much haha
Lorna, 12th January 2015

Spewing Mummy replies...

Hi Lorna, You're right that it's hard not to let the comments bother you... as innocently as it's meant it's ultimately loaded with notions of "you can help yourself" "it's not that bad" "you should stick with natural stuff" "it's all in your head" etc etc. It's easy enough to brush off once or twice but after dozens and dozens of times it drags you down so much!

Hhhhmm the old have you tried ginger remark thankfully I didn't have to say a lot to those ginger dogooders as the beyond evil look they got shot said it all! That comment is the single most scream inducing comment someone can make to a hg suffer.
Dan, 12th January 2015

Spewing Mummy replies...

Hi Dan, That's exactly what I'm hoping to prove... the problem is people who haven't suffered don't understand why the comment would be hurtful, they think they're just being nice and helpful!

If only people would begin to understand then when ur that sick with hg ur in hospital on iv and multiple anti sickness meds, its not only ginger u have tried but blooming everything! X
kathryn, 12th January 2015

Spewing Mummy replies...

Hi Kathryn, indeed, if only... hopefully getting surveys like this published will start to make people realise!

Taking ginger was suggested by every single person I know well that's how I felt at the time. I was just so ill I couldn't even keep a tiny amount of water down, why did people think magic ginger would be the cure. Looking back I'm sure they only suggested it to be helpful but I wanted to scream at about the 20th person that suggested it 'do you really think I'm stupid enough not to have tried that' I felt completely unsupported by my midwife and doctor and it took me attending my doctors at least on four occasions and me sobbing before they took me seriously, I was always fobbed off with its just normal morning sickness. How can any doctor consider being bed ridden and being sick at least 20 times a day normal. My last and only pregnancy was in 2008 and my daughter was born in 2009. I would love to add another child to my family but I am to petrified to go through it all again. I definitely feel since Kate Middleton has had it has helped normal people recognise that this is a real illness not a made up one as people made me feel.. If I ever see another ginger biscuit it will be too soon
kirsty martinson, 13th January 2015

Spewing Mummy replies...

Hi Kirsty, You're right of course that they are just trying to be helpful but kind intention isn't a great excuse for cruel ignorance. I'm sorry you don't feel you can go through it again, have you read my book Hyperemesis Gravidarum - The Definitive Guide? it might give you the confidence you need or help you make a more informed decision either way. 

I'm glad that people think that the Duchess of Cambridge suffering has raised awareness... if she had to suffer at lease some wider good has come from it. But personally I think that almost as much harm as good has come from the media attention as it "confirmed" for many that it's over at 12 weeks and other women are reporting experiencing increased prejudice along the lines of "oh you just want to be like Kate"! X

06Jan 15

New Year Plans 2015

Well last year finished off rather manically for me as I worked my little socks off bringing the Charity's amazing support network up to speed and matched dozens of desperate sufferers with volunteers to hold their cyber hands over the Christmas period while they endured non-sick relatives and bouncy excited children.

As a result I half wrote two blog posts which never got posted. The second of which was a proud reflection of the amazing achievements of the Hyperemesis Improvement Movement over the last year which I'll summarize more briefly now we're already heading to mid January... Not only has my own blog and work been shortlisted for the BIB Awards, MAD Blog Awards and, most amazingly, Tesco Mum of the Year Award, but the Hyperemesis Day Unit at Birmingham Women's Hospital was nominated for a prestigious HSJ Award for Value and Improvement in Acute Service Redesign and came second in category with special recognition. Even more spectacular than that the incredible IV nurses at Sirona Care and Health in Emma Moxham and Kim Bushnall IV at Home Nurse, Sirona Care and Health, winning Nursing Times Award for Hyperemesis Gravidarum IV at Home ServiceBath who have been pioneering the IV at Home service in their area and setting a gold standard national example of excellence in Hyperemesis care WON their category at the Nursing Times Award in October! You can watch a short film about their amazing service on the Pregnancy Sickness Support website here.

Of course a huge personal achievement and important development for the whole of the HG community was the publication of Hyperemesis Gravidarum - The Definitive Guide, which went on sale in October and has received some fantastic reviews so far.

Right at the end of the year came an exciting development which will take us on into the new year... I have successfully gain the position of Expert Advisor on Hyperemesis Gravidarum for the Care Quality Commission (CQC), which means that during reviews of maternity, gyne wards and potentially GP surgeries the needs of women with hyperemesis will be accurately represented. Poor care can be rooted out and corrected and excellent care can be highlighted and held up as what should be strived for. If you want to get hyperemesis care on the CQC's agenda then be sure to tell them about your experience of treatment, either good or bad, on their website.

So looking ahead to 2015, what is in store for the International Hyperemesis Improvement Movement?

Well, in addition to the CQC work, I and my colleagues at PSS will be focusing on research into the condition. We have already form a research subgroup within the Charity which has met and agreed various directions so expect more from that in the coming months. I will also be running small surveys on here to highlight certain issues and I hope to publish more articles this year.

A Healthcare Professional Conference is planned for May 11th this year and they'll be flyers available soon for posting in hospitals and letting your midwives, gyne units and GPs know about it. It's all about developing services in the UK, such as IV Day Units and IV at home services. These are increasing rapidly, with areas like, Bath, Birmingham and Nottingham leading the way in excellence.

I know I say it almost every time but I'm hoping to blog more... it's just easier said than done sometimes and when I'm faced with the choice of speaking to a sufferer and matching her with a volunteer or getting a blog post up, it's a no brainer... my priority is with the sufferer. Quiet times on the blog usually indicate busy times elsewhere so please bear with me while I learn to juggle more and more balls as new and exciting opportunities present themselves this year.

And, dear readers, there is something I want to ask of you this year... fundraise, donate and volunteer... please... I can't do this on my own.

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Hi Caitlin Just wanted to say that you do such a brilliant job, tirelessly helping people and giving up your own time. You're completely inspirational X
Hayley Livermore , 6th January 2015

Spewing Mummy replies...

Ah thanks Hayley, all our volunteers are amazing for supporting women and raising awareness. I guess I don't feel like I'm giving up my time though because I love it... it is my time. X

The Book

Hyperemesis Gravidarum - The Definitive Guide by Caitlin Dean

The Kids Book

Hoe to be an HG Hero by Caitlin Dean

About Me

I am mother of three beautiful children and wife to a fantastic and supportive husband. I am a nurse, a farmer and a trustee for Pregnancy Sickness Support. I love working hard and spending time with my kids.

About this blog

Information and support for pregnancy sickness and hyperemesis gravidarum. Views are my own and do not represent those of any other organisation. Information provided here should not be a substitute for medical advice. My aim is to raise awareness and encourage sufferers to know they are not alone.

Previous award nominations

MAD Blog Awards UK 2015