Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Introducing Wild Women Anna & Amy



Name: Anna Davis 
Age: 32
HG Heroes: Elodie (3) Non Hg pregnancy & Saorise (8months)

My diagnosis of HG came late, I was 16 weeks pregnant and had been excessively suffering with nausea and sickness since week 3. Doctors were unsure what was wrong with me as I hadn't had it with my first pregnancy, so were reluctant to give me medication, I was told that over the counter travel sickness meds, ginger and pressure bands would fix it. It definitely didn't. I saw several different doctors through my constant and persistent turning up to the doctors surgery every other day, demanding to speak to someone about how ill I was feeling. They did urine test after urine test but there were never any ketones so clearly I wasn't dehydrated. Eventually a doctor said to me hyperemesis gravidarum, I had never heard of it and wasn't exactly sure what it meant. I went home relieved that my illness was a real thing and that finally someone had heard me. that was when I found PSS on a Google search. My sickness became manageable around week 20, I didn't completely stop being sick but it was down to about once a day, but the nausea never let up and didn't until I had given birth. The first 20 weeks of my pregnancy had already taken its toll both physically and mentally. My partner became my carer and I missed my daughter, my triggers were clean smells, water from the tap, clean clothes but by far my worse triggers were the smells of my daughter and my partner and of my own skin and hair. I lost weight, muscle tone and suffered severe hair loss, I looked in the mirror and didn't recognise myself. I flitted between anger and misery, it felt so unjustified, why had I got this condition? My family and friends disappeared, those that knew didn't understand the condition and many didn't even know I was pregnant, we had gone into survival mode and lived within the four walls of our house and never went out. I spent the best part of 12 weeks confined to my bedroom, apart from my hospital visits. Having suffered with anxiety and depression before, I saw the warning signs coming but that still didn't stop the darkness from entering our lives. The isolation was very hard for me, I thrive on social interaction and love being around people. I was also referred to consultant led care at the hospital at week 18, as me and the baby were below the 10th centile, I was told that HG shouldn't cause this and my baby was small because there was something else wrong, I then had growth scans every 14 days and was told that unless I started eating and gaining weight they would deliver my baby early. I was devastated. I slowly started to gain weight and finally at 39 weeks the consultant agreed to sign me off his care, I wanted to deliver at a midwife led unit that I was recommended in Lichfield -  in a different county to where I live. I was put in touch with the midwives there by my own midwife, as they had experience with HG pregnancies. This was the only place I felt understood and safe in my entire pregnancy, I managed to get in to see them three times during my pregnancy for assessment and treatment, but by that time the worst of my HG had passed. I'm 8 months post HG now and still feel the repercussions of the condition, I still struggle to verbalise my experience without crying, my mental health has vastly improved but I feel as though I now have scars that I will carry with me forever. Unfortunately irrevocable damage was done to some relationships with friends and family which is a tragic shame but one thing I learnt from suffering HG is who my people really are. 

Before mummy life I worked security in the VIP area at VFestival which meant I looked after the celebs & met the likes of Kings of Leon, Paul Weller, David Guetta & Jessie J


The biggest challenge for me will probably be the cold, I struggle to sleep if I'm cold and also suffer with poor circulation so cold weather is always hard. 

Name: Amy Armstrong
Age: 32
HG Hero: Luna (1)  

I first started vomiting from four weeks. By eight weeks, I was bed-ridden and vomiting about 80 times a day. It was isolating and really violent vomiting, I was throwing up blood. Finding out I was pregnant was the best news I ever received, but eight weeks down the line I was considering an abortion. My first visit to the doctor he said it was common morning sickness, words which felt like a death sentence. I felt there was no other way out, I felt like I was not going to survive. I thought if I didn’t have an abortion, the pregnancy could kill me. I didn't find out I had HG until I was taken to A&E. A family friend put me in touch with Pregnancy Sickness support and I saw a different doctor from then on. I got put on medication and then on my good days I would now vomit between five and 10 times, and those days would be two to three times a week. On my bad days it was absolutely horrific, and I would need to go to hospital. The HG went once she was born but the after effects haven't.
My daughter is now a year old but I am still suffering with PTSD and get help for this every week. I get anxious and panic about situations/things that used to trigger vomiting when I was pregnant. I am terrified of vomiting and of getting pregnant again. 

I have a pet pussy (cat), my pet sphynx Walt  



I will find the rappelling/abseiling most challenging as I don’t like heights.

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

3 stretches to include in your warm up before running...

This month at PSS it is 'choose your distance, raise money & run'. 

We all know  about the importance of warming up before running (well any physical exercise). Personally I am awful at warming up or cooling down properly, I just want to get on with it and maximise the time that I have. This puts me at a much higher risk of getting injured.



I thought I'm probably not alone on this one, so I have researched some stretches to do before you start running, these target specific muscles that will be used and will put you at a lower risk of injury and could even potentially make running a better experience. Hopefully this will inspire you to do a proper warm up, or if you already do some fresh ideas about what to include.


1. Walking lunges 


How to: Start with your feet together, take a long step forward bend your front leg to a 90 degree angle with your back knee almost touching the floor. Hold this for a few seconds, then push up with your back leg until both legs are straight, repeat on the other side moving forward, continue this for about 10 lunges. 

2. Side Stretch 


I'm sure we have all experienced stitch before, this stretch will help to avoid getting it. 

How to: Stand with your feet a shoulder widths apart, put your arms above your head, keep your abdominal tight and simply lean to the side bending at your waist and hold for a few seconds. Keep alternating sides and repeat about 10 times.

3. Calf Raises 

How to: Stand on a step facing in, with the balls of your feet on the edge of the step and your heels hanging over. Lift your heels up (like you are on your tip toes) then slowly lower them down until your heels are slightly below the edge of the step and you can feel the stretch in the back of your calves. Hold for a few seconds and repeat around 10 times. 


So there you have it, a few easy and simple stretches to include in your warm up routine. 

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Introducing the wild women Annie & Sadie

Name: Annie Nightingale 
Age: 35 
HG Heroes: Oliver (4) & Rohan (1)

My two HG pregnancies were by far the toughest 18 months of my life. In both pregnancies symptoms started around 4 weeks and lasted until 30 weeks in my first and all the way until birth in my second. I have never felt so poorly, alone and utterly broken. I was being sick around 40 times a day, I couldn’t swallow my own saliva without bringing it back up, I tore my oesophagus and regularly vomited blood, I was bed bound for months and in and out of hospital for rehydration. I was on medication throughout both pregnancies and although this reduced the vomiting, the nausea and headaches were always there... 24/7. Aside from all the physical symptoms, HG also impacts your mental wellbeing. I can recall points in both pregnancies were I hit my lowest and would have given absolutely anything for it all to stop. That’s one of the hardest things to feel when you know the what is making you feel like this is the thing you want the most. 


Until recently I thought flamingos were like unicorns... mythical creatures



The biggest challenge for me will be…all of it! Anyone who knows me will know how alien and far removed from me this kind of activity is. I don’t do camping, I barely do glamping. I hate getting wet, I love my home comforts and I am all about what I’m going to eat next. So surviving on expedition foods, sleeping in the elements with just a sleeping bag and tarp for comfort and getting up close and personal with a SheWee is going to be a HUGE challenge.



Name: Sadie Marie McClelland 
Age: 31
HG Heroes: Penelope Mae (4) Beatrix (2)

I suffered HG with both of my pregnancies. The first, like many I had never really heard of hyperemesis. I thought everyone was as sick as I was, they just happened to cope better, why couldn't I cope with vomiting every few minutes. I was sick nonstop the entire 9months, it did ease up around 24 weeks, still vomited daily however it was getting less and less, until around 26weeks when it came back until I gave birth to my first daughter. The care I received was extremely poor, it was only when I was vomiting blood in a paramedic’s bag at Heathrow was I taken to hospital and treated correctly by informed doctors. The whole experience still traumatises me today, and last year was the first time I felt able to go back to an airport. The whole HG experience gave me the worst social anxiety that crippled me for the two years after. Before our second girl, I went to the doctors to discuss my treatment, I was very worried i wouldn't be taken seriously again and left to 'survive'. This time the doctor reassured me I would. The sickness started at 6weeks, I thought I’d gotten away with not having HG. The sickness was so much worse, even though I had early medicated treatment it didn't stop me from having to have IV treatment in hospital throughout my second pregnancy. Both experiences will never leave my memory, the sheer lack of understanding from others is what pushes me to raise money for pregnancy Sickness support, to raise awareness and support those currently suffering with Hyperemesis. 


I can make a pair of boobs out of a napkin



The Biggest challenge for me won’t be the physical task at hand. It will be the social aspect of it all, although I have come a long way to overcoming my social anxiety, when my temperature is raised I find it hard to not feel sick, which creates an extreme panic and need to get away from social situations (Thanks HG). - It will be the hardest challenge for me.

Monday, 11 June 2018

Wild Women Survival Challenge 2018, Wales

A group of women who have survived a serious pregnancy complication, Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG), are out to show how tough they really are. 




It is very common for women with the condition to be told they’re “soft” or “just not coping” and “being a bit of a princess” when in fact they're tough women faced with a horrific medical condition. 

After long periods of illness (often having been bed-bound for months) they're getting fit and completing a challenging trek across Snowdonia in late October from Bethesda to Black Rock Sands using a direct route which will present various obstacles to traverse, so they will not only be hiking but rappelling, river crossing and kayaking also. 
Over the 48 hour challenge the women will also be wild camping en route. 




The expedition has parallels with HG in that there is simply no getting around the obstacles of the condition and no cure exists, but with the help of a support network the journey could be easier. 

Megan Hine expedition leader and survival expert said "I have huge respect for these women and what they have been through and continue to battle daily. They have resilience in abundance which puts them in a great position for completing this challenge. I am really looking forward to meeting them and hearing their stories."

Many women see HG as a survival challenge with similar obstacles such as malnutrition, dehydration and profound loneliness and isolation. 

Historically HG was the leading cause of death in early pregnancy and while mortality is rare now, women commonly feel like they are dying because without IV fluid and medication many would. 

Charity Chairperson Caitlin Dean who is organising the expedition says 
Approaching HG like a survival situation, with a realistic outlook and robust strategy can make surviving it more achievable. Additionally, having a strong team and emotional support is keys to surviving HG. I hope this challenge will help people understand the parallels between HG and situations people may find easier to comprehend, like a long hard a trek through treacherous conditions, climbing mountains and crossing lakes. I also hope to draw attention to the powerful impact of a support network, getting women through one of the most challenging times of their lives.”

Annie Nightingale one of the participants has said this about the challenge "The biggest challenge for me will be…all of it! Anyone who knows me will know how alien and far removed from me this kind of activity is. I don’t do camping, I barely do glamping. I hate getting wet, I love my home comforts and I am all about what I’m going to eat next. So surviving on expedition foods, sleeping in the elements with just a sleeping bag and tarp for comfort and getting up close and personal with a SheWee is going to be a HUGE challenge."

Jessica Atkinson is hoping that the team will support her to complete the challenge "I think I’ll struggle most with the mental aspects and the lack of sleep! I’m hoping my HG girls will get me through it just like they got me through those awful pregnancies!".

To find out more about the challenge, the 15 strong team and to show your support with sponsorship visit our website www.ninemonthsof.com/p/wild-women.html 

Monday, 21 May 2018

PSS HQ went on a roadtrip

This weekend PSS HQ went on a road trip to Nottingham for our volunteers conference (my 1st) and I had the pleasure of meeting those of you that were able to attend. It was incredible to sit in a room of brave, strong and motivated women that have been bought together by such an awful condition. 



It was also amazing to sit and listen to how far the charity has come in the last few years, how much it has grown and evolved, we have been able to do so much due to our volunteers and fundraisers! 

In the afternoon fundraising had a section and it was decided that the ladies would split into groups, chose a fundraising idea and feedback to the other groups once they had finished. 


3 points our volunteers came up with to maximise funds raised:

Friends
Do you have friends that are beauticians, bakers or business owners etc.? This could keep the cost down and draw more people to your events. So ask your friends nicely or call in that favour you are owed.

Groups 

Do you know of someone else that has suffered from HG in your area that might be willing to help you organise an event for PSS? Think of everything you can achieve by yourself, so just imagine what you could do in a group! 

Themes
Is there a theme that you could base your event on, for example a HG Hero Charity walk was an idea put out there at the conference. This could make it more entertaining for children and more appealing for families. It is all about the twists you can put on classic fundraising events to make yours stand out!

To those that I met on Saturday, it was lovely to meet you all! If you are thinking of attending the next one, I would really advise that you do. Not only do you get amazing information, but you meet great women, make new friends and overall just have a fantastic day.

Finally...


Thursday, 17 May 2018

Welcoming JB Baby

We would like to welcome JB Baby as a Corporate sponsor for Pregnancy Sickness Support. 




'My name is Maeve Beard and I live with my husband and two children in Ramsgate, Kent. 

JB Baby aims to make the most luxuriously soft baby bibs and teethers, extra kind against your little one's skin.

I suffered with HG in all of my pregnancies and am a very proud m,um of two HG Survivor babies, Jonah (2) and Bronwen (5). 

I hope that by donating to Pregnancy sickness Support through my business I can somehow help with the incredible work that the charity does to help support, not just pregnant women, but their families too. And of course, to encourage and fund vital research.'

Very Generously, Maeve donates 10% of the profit made from every purchase of her beautiful Bibs and Teethers.



Go and have a browse at her website, you will not be dissapointed
https://www.jbbaby.co.uk/


If you are interested in becoming a Corporate donor please email: fundraising@pregnancysicknesssupport.org.uk 

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

"If you can survive HG you can do anything"

Here at PSS HQ we would like to say a massive CONGRATULATIONS to Emma and her partner Jeremy for completing the London marathon after the birth of their HG hero! 

Read Emma's story below: 


"So this time last year I was struggling to get out of bed and was working with my GP to find the right Antiametics after being diagnosed with HG. I already had my place in the London marathon deferred due to pregnancy but had planned to run up until about 4 months... HG had other plans for me. A year later and 21 weeks after giving birth here I am with my HG hero and my amazing partner having just finished the London marathon. Ladies surviving HG makes us a very determined bunch of ladies that can achieve anything!"

Emma joined a running club 3 years ago and that is where her passion for running began. During these three years she met her partner, made some amazing friends and fell pregnant with handsome Jude.

Before finding out she was pregnant Emma had been accepted to run the London marathon and before finding out that she was suffering from HG Emma had planned to continue running and exercising for as long as she could.

 "I lost over a stone in my first trimester of pregnancy so had to stop running, I had no energy or fuel. My plan had been to keep running and exercising as long as I could, to keep my baseline fitness up. I couldn't do it which made the marathon even tougher."

This weekend Emma completed the London Marathon in 6hours 44 minutes only 21 weeks after giving birth. Running the London marathon is such an amazing achievement as it is, but with such little time to train and after suffering from such a debilitating condition, it is even more incredible.

I think this is an amazing story of determination and after speaking with Emma, she wanted the message to be clear "if you can survive HG you can survive anything". 

If you are thinking about taking up running head over to 'runmummyrun' there is lots of useful information on their page and you can even find local running groups specifically for Mums local to your area!

https://www.runmummyrun.co.uk/

Let me know what you have been up to, or if you would like any support or information please email me at fundraising@pregnancysicknesssupport.org.uk