Mobilising an Army!
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.
Raising Awareness and Co-ordinating Action!
We are aiming to set up local support networks for women suffering with Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) or Nausea and Vomiting in Pregnancy (NVP). But on a national scale this is easier said then done when the charity is absolutely tiny and has no money! So the challenge is to set up support groups and raise money... money makes things happen! Between us we came up with lots of ideas for fund raising including writing a children’s book to help explain the condition to older children of women suffering in subsequent pregnancies, clothes and cake sales, sponsored events such as runs (not my own cup of tea!) and 'awareness' wrist bands or badges to sell. Any suggestions from more experiences fund raisers out there are very welcome...
Publicity wise, I have jumped feet first onto the Facebook and Twitter bandwagon and will be doing my utmost to post regularly and keep them up to date. Click on the above words for the relevant links. There is also a general UK support page on Facebook separate to the one above which is affiliated with the charity and if you know of anyone suffering please refer them to these pages.
I am now about to set to work making posters for GP surgeries/maternity units to advertise the Support Network I have set up for Cornwall and make leaflets for doctors/midwives to give out with the same details and those of the Charity to women suffering in Cornwall and the South West.
Unfortunately our own HG pregnancy plans are further delayed by an infection following the miscarriage... hopefully the antibiotics will clear it up swiftly and in the meantime this work for the charity is keeping me motivated and focused.
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In conjunction with Pregnancy Sickness Support and Plymouth University I am looking for women who have been treated for HG in the last 2 years in the UK to take part in a research survey. Please click here to find out more.
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.
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