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Journey into the world of hyperemesis gravidarum...
15Feb 14

Meeting the man behind the books... Lyle Brooks


Caitlin Dean and Lyle Brooks


We exited the metro station at City Hall as instructed and looked around for the building I'd been sent a picture of the night before. It was easy to spot, the impressive court rooms, not because they are imposing, (they'd struggle to be imposing in New York City) but they are old for this part of the city, majestic, grand and a little intimidating because of their purpose... Law.


Court House New York City


Why was I meeting a man, known in my world as a hyperemesis hero, outside a law court? Well, because Lyle Brook is a lawyer with an impressive career of practice and teaching and he now works here as a senior court attorney. But that wasn't why I was meeting him.


I was meeting Lyle as a colleague, friend and comrade in the battle of Hyperemesis Gravidarum. Clearly as a man Lyle has not suffered hyperemesis himself, and unusually nor has his wife. But Lyle is close friends with Ashli Foshee McCall, author of Beyond Morning Sickness and Chronicles of Nausea. In addition to his demanding law career he has dedicated vast amounts of time, money, love and passion into getting copies of Ashli's book as far and wide as possible to any and every woman that needs it. Then he sets them up with local volunteers who have been through it themselves to support and advocate for her. He does this almost single handed on an International scale and at his own expense. That's why I was meeting him.


It's natural to be a little nervous meeting someone you've only had internet contact with and that's escalated when you're far from home and have your whole family in tow. But on meeting Lyle for the first time face to face we were instantly relieved. A classic New Yorker, Lyle doesn't look like a lawyer, he is quirky and the details draw me, such as the vase thick glasses held together with sticky-tape on both sides, I'm intrigued. And as you speak to him he doesn't sound like one either. His life has been a hotch potch of weird and wonderful stories of quirky and famous family members, too many cats and a history of unusual interests and blogs... the tales are enticing.


After a whirl wind tour of the Court Rooms with it's incredible dome ceiling and disorientating circular corridors we headed out into the crisp New York air for a walk over to China Town for some food. We swap stories over chi and chopsticks about cases we've come across and the struggles we've faced in our mutual missions to help every HG sufferer we can. Lyle and Ashli have been going far longer than I and have achieved far more that I probably ever will but the inspiration they provide is so valuable to me and my UK colleagues. It is thanks to Ashli's book that I had the courage to go through pregnancy again rather than opting for adoption. And yet despite having helped literally thousands of women over the years and maintaining hundreds of volunteers across the world, Lyle seems to remember every one of them and all of their stories.


After our lunch we head out for a personal tour of Downtown Manhattan to see the Statue of Liberty, Ground Zero and Wall Street. Lyle carries my son Alfie, with his soggy jeans and wet boots, on his shoulders for a fair old way along the snowy streets and over the deep sloshy puddles at every road crossing. Pretending to bump his head on the traffic lights and scaffolding then transforming into a horse with a cowboy in control. It's a magical afternoon.


But the wonder of wandering New York with this interesting, funny and frankly charming character isn't the only magical element of the day. It's the vision of the future that is created. The increasing ability for international co-operation and collaboration to ultimately help more women and make more changes for care and treatment of hyperemesis around the world. Ashli's book has been a major inspiration for mine and Amanda's book which is nearly finished now and I sincerely hope we can make her and Lyle proud with our work.


Lyle Brooks and Alfie Dean


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Two inspirational people meeting - HG better watch out! Such an exciting time ahead for international cooperation!
Emma Edwards , 15th February 2014

I am so, so glad you got to meet Lyle and had such an amazing time with him! He is a true inspiration as you say and the opportunity to work together means we can all help so many more women than we could alone! Isn't the HG community wonderful... So many friendships and so much passion to come out of such a horrific condition!! I, too, hope our book will make them proud.
Amanda, 15th February 2014

What a wonderful meeting of inspirational minds. Much love xxx
Jude, 15th February 2014

Cannot even begin to describe how amazing you two are, Lyle and Caitlin! Thank you for all you have done, and continue to do! XXX
Heather, 16th February 2014

As a former sufferer, previous recipient of support from Lyle and BMS volunteers and now as a volunteer myself, I am so pleased to find this site! What a powerful crew we have working to fight against HG and for awareness! Thank you all!!
Sabrina, 13th May 2014

As a former sufferer, previous recipient of support from Lyle and BMS volunteers and now as a volunteer myself, I am so pleased to find this site! What a powerful crew we have working to fight against HG and for awareness! Thank you all!!
Sabrina, 13th May 2014

Fund Hyperemesis Research

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