Today is International Hyperemesis Awareness Day.
I am all too aware of that word. I have written about my hyperemesis story before and I thought that was all I had to say. All I could share. Yet I sit here tonight and I can’t stop thinking about it. I don’t want it to define me, to govern my every day and to be honest it has left things so raw I don’t think I could. Yet it has changed me immeasurably, changed my view on my family, my relationship with my first born child, her own outlook on pregnancy, the dynamics, my view of myself, pretty much every aspect of my life. We move on, and to the outsider who knows no different we are just like anyone else. I was a little bit sick in pregnancy but here I am the other side and that’s just a story now. But it never ever goes away, never leaves your mind and I still wouldn’t want any other women to have to go through it. I can’t forget it. If I forget it I am afraid that will mean I forget the life that never was, I can’t do that, I can’t fail them again.
Nobody wants it.
Nobody wants to hear that word.
Nobody wants to vomit 50 times a day, to burn their throat with bile and blood as it’s the only thing left in their stomach, to vomit with such force everyone can hear and the pelvic floor that doesn’t always hold up.
To sleep on the bathroom floor with zero energy to get up in case the sickness wave returns and the dizziness prevents them being able to make it back to the toilet in time.
To be told that a cracker before they get out of bed will help, or hear the G word (Ginger!).
Nobody wants to suffer multiple attempts to administer needles to try and rehydrate collapsed veins, a cannula in the wrist or ankle because it’s the only one left or to have their wedding rings stuck on their finger when their hand blew up like a balloon.
To be crippled with guilt for being in hospital, for starving their baby, having to justify and use any energy left to gain understanding and proper treatment.
To make the decision on drugs that may or may not harm your unborn child but keep you alive, to take drugs meant for cancer patients.
Nobody wants to fear talking, standing or going out in case they vomit, pass out or have to stop the car to throw up in the street before they have even got anywhere.
To have to choose between their life and the one of their unborn child, to see a baby on the screen they know they will never meet, lose a baby because their body simply could not cope and have that decision haunt them every single day for the rest of their life.
To dread any scan or examination as lying on their back makes them feel dizzy and sick and hope above anything that it is over quickly.
Nobody wants to be unable to look after their own child, for them to see them crying on the kitchen floor, to hold their hair back before they have even learnt to wipe their own bum.
To have to explain themselves, to ward off comments on their small bump, to lose jobs, to have to fight for their rights, and lose.
To miss 9 months of life, a child’s life, a partner’s life, to not enjoy anything anymore, to not feel like themselves.
Nobody wants to wish for the birth just for the sheer relief, to cry themselves to sleep and daydream about early labour.
The fear of choosing to go through it again, to lose friends, to feel so alone. To be an unwilling member of a club no-one would choose to be part of.
I’m lying on the bathroom floor yet again hugging the toilet wearily. The tender touch of a tiny hand on my back, a soft loving voice “are you ok Mummy, would you like me to sit with you a while?” and just there, I know why I am doing this. Why I have to do this and why I can do this.
All we want.
Is a baby, this baby.
A son, daughter, sibling, niece, nephew, grandchild.
The freedom to tell people when we feel ready, and plan the cute way we might do that.
To smile at the wonder of it, feel the kicks and marvel at the life growing inside of us.
The glow, the glossy hair, strong nails, blooming belly and admiring glances.
The baby shopping, the lists, the baby showers, the cake.
To relate to our friends, to moan about heartburn and nosebleeds.
The excuse to eat healthily, or indulge and eat for two.
The eagerness of labour just for the moment that baby arrives and you fall in love in an instant.
To plan our family how we always envisaged it, no holds barred.
Help, help to get through this and support when we can’t.
To be ok.
To be a mum.
To meet you.
I will move on, I will enjoy life, my family, my little ladies, all that we have, that we share and the preciousness of life itself. But I will never, ever forget.