Saturday, 21 September 2013

Coffee afternoon 2013 - a big "thank you" by Susie

In March this year I held a coffee afternoon to raise money for Pregnancy Sickness Support.  It was the first time I had ever done this kind of thing and I had no idea what to expect. How many people would turn up? How much money I would raise?

Well, I didn't run out of cups ... or cake (which was my main concern!) and I made over £160.

I was struck by two things:  First, I was surprised to discover how many people who came had either suffered themselves, or knew a close friend or relative who had suffered, from bad pregnancy sickness or HG.  If only I had known when I was pregnant, particularly the first time round, that it was not just me then maybe I wouldn't have felt so desperately alone.

Second, I was overwhelmed by the support I received from friends and family.  Pregnancy Sickness Support is a charity that is very personal to me.  However, I also understand that there are many other worthy charities and that people may prefer to donate their money to other causes.  So I was touched to receive such a positive response.  Everyone was incredibly generous - even people who couldn’t come along were handing me money and cakes in the school playground. It meant a lot to me that others were so amazingly supportive of a cause that is very close to my own heart.

So, I would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who supported my coffee afternoon in any way, whether by coming along, baking cakes or donating money or raffle prizes – you all know who you are!

As part of my Nine Months of … challenge I will hold my second fundraising coffee afternoon to coincide with HG Awareness Day in May next year.  I hope that I can make it even more successful than the first.

Please support our 'nine months of…' campaign by donating here:

Friday, 20 September 2013

Week 5 & 6 - Camping and Birthdays! By Sophie

Base Camp!
Weeks 5 & 6 have felt very different from weeks 5 & 6 last year - although they've been spent in similar ways, with lots of travelling and social calls. During week 5 a year ago I established I was pregnant, 3 days before my exam - which in some ways helped as it took my mind of my nerves, but I was also anxious about how I was going to be able to sit through three 3 hour exams, or even manage the train ride from Cornwall to London without vomiting. I was lucky enough to have some anti sickness tablets from my migraines in the cupboard and felt confident in taking them as I had prescribed them to many women with HG before. So I set off to London with a bag of breadsticks (as this was all I could face eating) and my anti sickness tablets. I had such mixed emotions sat on the train that day: excitement, nerves and the dread that this might be how I would feel for the next 8 months!!!!

The exam day was gruelling: nibbling breadsticks between papers and trying to time when to take the anti sickness tablets - but we made it through! In the following days I had to deal with the side effects of the medication, increasing nausea - and trying to hide the pregnancy from work colleagues and friends that had come to visit!

Would not have been able to do this last year- happy days x 
Gradually, over the next 2 weeks, the sickness got worse. I began to really struggle at work, especially when standing for hours in the operating theatre. The vomiting was worse at night and I would be awake either feeling sick or vomiting throughout the night. Sadly, this has left me struggling with insomnia that I really have not been able to shift: even when Merryn sleeps through now I am often lying awake. The tiredness and nauseous feelings became unbearable and after fainting in theatre I called the GP and asked for some more anti sickness tablets. Given my job these were prescribed to me, but only after discussion that I had really tried everything else: "eating little and often, resting, ginger, etc!". I was not given the exact medication I wanted but was given a combination that I thought might just hold at bay the vomiting and nausea. During this time it was my birthday and we celebrated by seeing my cousin for dinner who still did not know: she worked it out pretty quickly and needless to say dinner did not last long in me! We also travelled to Oxford to celebrate my best friend's little boy's 1st birthday. At the party I survived by eating carrot sticks and avoiding the chocolate cake: I was rumbled again!!

Merryn baking in PJ's!
Cookie Dough
Definitely be making these again! 

This year life has been very different. We went camping with a large group of Cornish Mamas who support our nine months of challenge by buying our cookies, lemon cake and Nutella banana bites! Camping with a 4-month-old in torrential rain was a challenge, but I slept better in a billowing tent during a thunderstorm than I did this time last year! We've also visited friends in London who I had stayed with whilst doing the exam and went to the 2nd birthday party in Oxford - where I had seconds of chocolate cake! What a difference a year makes!
My sleeping baby-snug as a bug! 
Morning cuddles x

Please support our 'nine months of…' campaign by donating here:

Week 6 - putting my feet up by Marilisa

Not huge things to report this week. I have had one very good cycling session, one good swim, and done a bit of walking. But I've also tried to listen to myself and not push too far. I'm still a novice to this whole thing, and I'm still learning what the right balance of training and rest is.

HG taught me a lot - the hard way - about limits and respecting them. I learned what a precious and fragile thing health is. I learned there is no ability you can take for granted. I learned that pushing yourself too hard can backfire and you can end up several paces behind where you were in the first place. I try to keep that lesson in mind now, though I don't always manage to follow through.

So even though my instinct is to berate myself for not doing more, I am trying to listen to the aches and the tiredness that come from the training and to pace myself accordingly. Now I just need to transfer this wisdom and self-awareness to other areas of my health - like getting enough sleep by going to bed on time. So, in an effort to practise what I preach, I'm keeping this post short, and I'm off to bed.

This post is in grave danger of becoming overly serious. Here, have some Muppet socks.
The boring numbers

Week 6

Swim - 1 session, 625m, 30 min
Bike - 1 session, 4.5km, 30 min
Walk - 2 sessions, 3.7km total, 38 min

Please support our 'nine months of…' campaign by donating here:

Thursday, 19 September 2013

It's been a bad week for crochet! By Amanda

I have a confession to make.

I have barely picked up my crochet hook this past week. Sorry.

In my defence, I have been very ill with an infected cyst on my head (which is now an open wound on my head!) So as you can imagine I've had an awful headache for most of the week and it has not been the most conducive for figuring out the changes to my baby beanies pattern...

But I have actually finished it, surprisingly. I may have had to frog (undo) my work multiple times throughout the week because of silly errors but I finally managed to make a second hat which worked much better than the first. Do you want to see it?

The pattern has been sent off to my "crochet guru" who has since questioned my sizing, so we're still working out what age range the hats actually fit (I thought baby and toddler but we need to be more specific on the age of the baby!) Fingers crossed I shall soon be able to share the pattern with you all.

So maybe it wasn't the worst week ever in terms of crochet after all. And yet, I felt so lost without my hook in my hand and a project on the go. Several days went by when I just could not focus on anything at all and so I longingly looked at the baby blanket and wished so desperately I felt well enough to work on a row or two.

It was a horrid reminder of how truly awful I felt when pregnant. Sometimes it can be hard to imagine just how ill HG actually makes you. I mean the nausea and vomiting is horrific in and of itself, but the extreme exhaustion and lethargy that comes with it from the dehydration and inability to eat sufficient amounts of food cannot be underestimated. Over the weekend I was reminded of that as I lay pitifully on the sofa or in bed, barely able to function in any normal way. And I wasn't even burdened by the added nightmare that 24/7 nausea brings when you have HG. The one thing that got me through the weekend was reminding myself that if I survived nine months of that then I could survive a week or two of fighting this infection and healing.

With that in mind, my heart goes out to all those currently suffering from severe pregnancy sickness. Words cannot do justice to the trauma and pain that it brings day in and day out. And it's not just the expectant mother who suffers: her entire family can be deeply affected by it. My own husband suffered from depression thanks to the feelings of helplessness he had whilst I was pregnant and there was nothing he could do to ease my suffering. In fact he was the one who first commented that my pallor and mood this weekend was so akin to the way I was when pregnant. I think out of the two of us he was far more traumatised than I was.

And so that's why I'm working so hard on these patterns and little crochet projects. I updated my stats the other day and realised I have 7 completed items, a pattern I've created and a blanket currently growing day by day. And that makes me feel like this challenge is achievable, that at the end of nine months I shall have a contribution to make through the sale of the items and the stories behind them all. And that gives me hope that together we can make this a fantastic campaign and support PSS in the amazing work they do in supporting women and their families survive the nightmare of HG.

So please, do keep checking back to keep up with everyone's progress and consider leaving a comment or two to encourage the whole team to keep going! And, of course, donations are always welcome too.

Please support our 'nine months of…' campaign by donating here:

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Pavlova - by Muma Dean

This is probably the only desert dish you'll get from me... It's my signature pudding and the only one I'm actually much good at. Puddings aren't really my thing and there are so many great books on the market for sweet deserts that I won't bore you with more of them.

This however is a particularly good recipe for a popular pud which is easy and relatively quick and pretty fool-proof. It produces a pavlova which is crisp yet chewy on the outside and soft and spongy on the inside... perfect!


4 large egg whites (plenty of videos on you tube for how to separate the whites and ideas online for using up the yokes)
285g caster sugar
Pinch of salt
teaspoon of vinegar
2 teaspoons cornflour

For the topping:
280ish ml (a pot of) Double or whipping cream (or clotted if you're not bothered about having a heart attack)
Seasonal fruit - This time of year the raspberries and blackberries are great and there are still tasty strawberries and blueberries but in the depth of winter try satsuma segments and pomegranate and maybe a raspberry sauce from frozen raspberries.

To make:

Preheat the oven to 100deg or about gas mark ¾. In a dry bowl put the separated egg whites with a pinch of salt and whisk until firm and fluffy (an electric hand whisk helps significantly).

Add about half the sugar and beat again until shiny and firm then add the rest of the sugar, the cornflour and vinegar and beat again until thick, firm and shiny... like this:

Spoon out onto a baking tray lined with a layer of baking parchment. Spread out evenly and put in the oven for about an hour and a half. (you could make into a number of little round ones if you prefer)

Once cooked take it out and let it cool for a bit then carefully turn over onto a board or big plate ready to decorate when fully cooled. It's easy to put the board over the pavlova and then turn the whole lot over and lift the tray off after. It should look a bit like this like this:

Once cooled, whip the cream until firm and spread over the pavlova. Decorate with the seasonal fruit and enjoy.

It's particularly good as a left over for breakfast... eggs, dairy and fruit... it's fine, honest!!!

Don't forget, if you like this recipe and use it a small donation to PSS via my BTMyDonate page is greatly appreciated – Thanks :)

Please support our 'nine months of...' campaign by donating here.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Precious Family Time by Emma

I haven’t been blogging recently due to wanting to spend time with my family. Having Hyperemesis Gravidarum has made me appreciate my family to a whole new level. For the nine months I was suffering I disappeared. I missed out on birthdays, our first wedding anniversary, Christmas, family days out and other celebrations. I know that in the not too distant future I shall have to disappear once again when I am pregnant again. I therefore want lots of memories to keep me going during those long dark months.

Shortly after the nine months of launch I went on a family holiday to Mallorca. There were nine of us including my 6 year old nephew, 1 year old niece and my 15 month old son. This was my first holiday since HG - in fact my last holiday was a few weeks before HG kicked in.

A relaxing holiday with three children is impossible anyway yet in the back of my mind I knew I had to do some training for my Yorkshire 3 peaks challenge. So instead of taking advantage of a lie in or sleeping by the pool I decided to partake in some exercise!?!

This will come as a shock to those that know me. I am not a sporty person. Even when travelling around Australia and New Zealand I walked up a few hills, jumped out of planes and went kayaking etc but never actually went for a run! So on holiday I got up very early (in the hope of not seeing anyone) and started ‘warming up’ around the resort. However, due to the embarrassment of being spotted by my family (who would no doubt film me) I left the resort and decided to run along the main road. It had a designated cycle lane that I used. However, I was soon greeted by many runners and cyclists – who obviously all over took me.

The views were amazing and I had to resist the urge not to keep stopping to take photos. However – I wanted proof that I had managed to get up earlier than my son (an impossible task at the best of times) AND actually ran!

The plan had been to do three runs throughout the holiday. My next running morning was vetoed due to too much intake of Sangria the night before – two years of not drinking made up for in one night! The third time was over ruled because I had been for a bike ride instead. Yes you read correctly… I was on holiday and voluntarily (ish) went on a bike ride. Not just any bike ride either. I went with my energetic brother on the premise we were going to go to the next village, turn around and come back. I should have known that was not going to happen! Once at the next village he decided to take me to Formentor which was up hill. I say hill – it was a mountain in my eyes! This is where I discovered my brother is very much like my Mum. “Lets go to the next bend” he kept shouting. Amazingly he stayed with me and didn’t cycle into the distance. Luckily we were cycling along the mountain side and didn’t have any scary cliff edges to look down.

Cycling up the mountain reminded me of my HG struggle. People told me the sickness would stop at the next bend. First at 12 weeks. 12 weeks came and I was still in hospital. They told me 16 weeks. 16 weeks came and I was still vomiting 20+ times a day despite being on several anti-sickness tablets. Then they said 20 weeks…24 weeks. I gave up listening and believing from then onwards. It was an emotional roller coaster counting down to each week bench mark only to discover that HG didn’t leave me.

But my 39 weeks came (I was induced early due to Pre-eclampsia) and I gave birth to my wonderful son. HG stopped immediately. On the bike ride we went round the last bend and came to Formentor. The views were spectacular! 

Whilst at Formentor a storm cloud came over and in the distance we could see a thunderstorm in our hotel direction. It soon dawned on me that to get back to our hotel we would have to cycle down a very big hill. A few weeks previously I had gone on my first bike ride since I was 12. Part of the ride took us down a very, very small hill in our village. In fact it was so small it was the first time I realised it was a hill until I was screaming whilst cycling down it! So I had gone from screaming down a tiny hill to cycling down a mountain!

Coming down the mountain was just like my HG journey. Despite giving birth and the HG symptoms stopping, I still had a long way to go. After being couch bound for 9 months my muscles had weakened and I was still unable to walk up stairs. The swelling due to Pre-eclampsia meant I had a longer stay in hospital and my legs ballooned so walking was difficult. I had many food aversions and still couldn’t prepare food. After being ill for such a long period of time you would normally have a recuperation period. However, instead I had a newborn baby to care for. In a matter of hours I went from being dependent on my family to look after me to having a son dependent on me.

On the way down the mountain I don’t think I eased up on the brake once! I went extremely slowly. But I made it to the bottom in one piece. Here is a video of someone braver than be descending the mountain at an acceptable speed! 

According to my brothers phone we had travelled 13.45 miles and reached the great height of 904ft/275m. That seemed very high until I got home and discovered how tall the Yorkshire 3 Peaks are. The smallest is 2273ft/ 694m! Time for some serious training!

Please support our 'nine months of...' campaign by donating here.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Bunny Bumpkin launches second product by Crysta

Bunny Bumpkin is excited to launch our second product for the nine months of campaign where we will donate 10% of the sale price to Pregnancy Sickness Support. Here it is, an essential item for any new Mum and Baby. I found these invaluable when my babies were born and for a long time after.

Pipsy Koala 3 Pack 100% Cotton Muslins
A pack of 3 100% Cotton Muslin Cloths designed for a variety of uses for your baby. Muslin cloths get softer and softer everytime they are washed. Use as:
  • Soft comforting blanket for your baby 
  • Cloth to wipe up spills and dribbles 
  • Sheet protector if laying your baby down straight after feeding 
  • Nappy liner 
  • Shade for a pushchair or car seat 
  • The list of uses is endless - and when your baby no longer needs one, they're great for cleaning windows, straining fruit, dusters etc etc 
Pack contains 2 White and 1 x Blue or 1 x White Muslin Cloth Each cloth measures 68 x 70cms

At £7.49 per pack (with free postage in the UK), these are a good buy and their uses are endless! And £0.75 from each sale goes to Pregnancy Sickness Support!

Well the children are now back in school and 140 of them are using lunch bags where £1 from each sale has been donated to Pregnancy Sickness Support. Thank you very much to our customers who have purchased this item from us, your donations are going to such a good cause.

We are still stocking both bags and will continue to donate 10% from each sale, so if you need a lunch bag for your son or daughter, niece or nephew, friend or neighbour then please do have a look at these.
Butterfly swirl bag
Vintage football bag
We have just returned from a 10 day holiday in Northern France. The children had a fantastic time and thoroughly enjoyed themselves. It's a far cry from September 2009 and September 2011, where I spent these months in a hospital bed. The ferry crossing on the way back from France was quite choppy, but fortunately this September the nausea only lasted a few hours!

Bunny Bumpkin Maternity, Nursing & Baby

Please support our 'nine months of…' campaign by donating here:

Week 6 - Ton of Bricks, Sledgehammer, Truck, Roundhouse Kick... by Helen

Nine months of 9k Week 6 – Location: Postponed Due To Unforeseen Wallowing

I am far too pathetic and busy wallowing in misery with a nasty cold to do any form of exercise this week *cough, cough, sniffle*. We will just have to do two 9ks next week instead. Ick.

Nine months of HG Week 6 – Ton of Bricks, Sledgehammer, Truck, Roundhouse Kick... doesn't even come close!

Oh how the mighty fall! My smug face of week 5 rapidly fell into bitter disappointment followed by utter misery. Within mere days the great plan of healthy eating, exercise and shopping was swiftly discarded and replaced with retching on antiemetics, endless, mind-numbing bed rest and the desperate will just to survive each hour that passed. Despite my best efforts to eat and drink anything at all, healthy or not, the constant waves of intense, unrelenting nausea were overwhelming and by the end of the week 6 we were staggering into A&E begging for help.

Following a good few hours of being poked, prodded and scanned by A&E doctors (who hadn’t heard of HG) the Obstetrics team finally made an appearance, agreed a diagnosis of Hyperemesis Gravidarum, hooked me up to fluids and admitted me to the maternity ward where I festered overnight as the woman opposite me laboured and vomited and the woman beside me moaned to anyone who would listen about her failed induction. Truly a delight.

Anna's First Picture!

One terrible night of sleep later, the ward round got underway and those words were uttered for the first time. The Senior Consultant looked me straight in the eye and casually enquired “have you tried ginger?” On reflection, I probably should not have responded with “the next person to suggest ginger is going to get punched.” Still, surely a Senior Consultant should know better than to believe in the mystical powers of a root vegetable. However, when I was deemed rehydrated I was packed off home with some Metoclopramide to try alongside the Cyclizine.

To our relief, my Mum flew down from Aberdeen to help care for me. I had my Mummy, my pills, my picture, managed toast and had a cup of tea. Maybe I’d be alright…

Please support our 'nine months of…' campaign by donating here: