Pregnancy and Sickness – My Experience
Emma Cottam – Isabella and Us
Nausea during the first 3 months of pregnancy is expected. As your body begins to change, hormones surge, most women experience some form of sickness. I was definitely not prepared for the impact that sickness would have on me for the 9 months of my pregnancy. Everyone’s experiences of pregnancy and birth are different as every mum and baby are different but it is important to share our stories and for our voices to be heard, especially when knowing someone else’s experiences are similar to ours can help us feel not so alone.
During my pregnancy of my daughter Isabella, born last December, just before Christmas, I experienced nausea and sickness throughout the majority of the 9 months. The sickness first started at around 3 weeks after conception and lasted throughout my pregnancy, the first 6 months being the worst.
It started with me feeling sick, which progressed rather rapidly to me being sick two to three times a day. By 8 weeks pregnant we made the decision to tell everyone, keeping it a secret was no longer possible as I was barely leaving house other than to go to work. Every morning it would take me between 2-3 hours to get ready to leave. The majority of the first hour would be spent being sick, the second trying to get enough energy to get myself dressed and to work.
By week 11…
I’d had to go to the doctors as I had pulled a muscle from the force of being sick and at 25 weeks pregnant I was admitted to hospital with dehydration from being constantly sick. During my entire pregnancy I was exhausted, both physically and mentally and my face and neck was often bloodshot from how violently I was sick. I was struggling with the constant feeling of being sick, wondering whether or not I would be sick, along with barely eating as everything I tried either came back up or tasted or smelt horrible.
Looking back at my life for those 9 months I felt like I was robbed of what I thought pregnancy would be like. I didn’t have the pregnancy glow, I didn’t feel that amazing feeling you are meant to feel when your hormones start to settle in the second trimester and I definitely didn’t feel like I really got to enjoy being pregnant. A lot of people’s reaction to me feeling sick was that I just had to deal with it, people got pregnant every day, just deal with it and carry on. Only I struggled to even eat, let alone function as I had done before.
Whilst I did speak to doctors and my midwife regarding my sickness the answer was that I just had to deal with it and the lack of support or even sympathy left me feeling very alone. I tried so many different recommendations from friends, family and Google to try and reduce the sickness but nothing massively helped.
My experience of pregnancy has put me off ever wanting to be pregnant again. In those 9 months I struggled, I felt like I wasn’t ‘me’, I couldn’t do any of the things we had done before being pregnant, even going to the cinema was a risk in case I was sick. Having been diagnosed with PND 5 months after my daughter’s birth I am convinced that my feelings towards my pregnancy and the arrival of my baby started way before she was even born. I remember twice during those 9 months feeling like I made a bad decision in getting pregnant. Perhaps I should have spoken up sooner to the midwife about how I was feeling and about how much the sickness was affecting me but I didn’t.
Some of the things that I did find that did help a little with the sickness and the impact of the sickness where:
•Sparkling Water – I couldn’t drink tap water as it hurt my throat and although I don’t like the taste of Sparkling Water it did mean I was getting fluids.
•Eating little and often – I couldn’t face main meals throughout the majority of my pregnancy and I found eating little and often throughout the day with plenty of snacks helped.
•Focusing on the arrival of my baby – As much as possible I tried to focus on the end goal of the pregnancy, focusing on the arrival of my daughter and investing in Hypnobirthing, focusing on buying things for her nursery and baby clothes helped to keep me focused on why I was being sick.
Growing a human is tough and everyone’s experiences are different and it is important to talk about our experiences. Looking back I wish I had known where to look for extra support and what my options were when asking for medication to help the sickness.