Sunday, 31 December 2017

Happy New Year!

So here we are, on the cusp of another brand new year and, I wonder, what will it bring?

For me, 2017 was an incredible year, full of changes (and quite a lot of stress, to be fair!). I moved over three hundred miles from North Wales to Cornwall, into a brand-new house (which we're still working on!) and, within four days of arriving, I'd also found my brand-new job, here at Pregnancy Sickness Support.

It's hard to believe that 2018 could top that, but I have a feeling it's going to.

In 2018, I am planning to change my life, recover the old me, and raise money for PSS along the way. I'm going to face up to some new challenges (watch this space for more details) and some old ones (the Cardiff Half Marathon and two training races to boot), and there's a good chance that my hair will be a wacky colour for at least part of the year! I'm going to finish turning my new house into a happy home, and I'm hoping to achieve great things on the work front too.

It's a question that everyone will be asking at this time, but: what are your hopes for 2018? I tend not to think in terms of strict resolutions but rather in the sense of aims and hopes and targets. 

I won't, for example, be starting some mad diet the minute the clock strikes twelve, but I will be researching ways to live and eat better, and also trying to factor in body positivity, something that I know can be hard for HG sufferers, who often feel as if their body has somehow let them down.

Whatever your plans are for 2018, please do consider making them part of a fundraising effort, as I will be. Its easy to set up a fundraising page and there's more information on our website. I'd be delighted to help in any way I can, and I am looking forward to an exciting, chaotic, successful 2018 as all our plans, large and small, come to fruition.

Happy New Year!

Monday, 25 December 2017

Merry Christmas!

As you read this, I will be in Cardiff with my eldest daughter who, as a paediatric nurse, is having her first Christmas Day off in a while. As I write this, I am in no doubt that we will be having a wonderful time. 

But I can remember other Christmases - pregnant Christmases - and how awful they were. I didn't plan very well and every single one of my four pregnancies (in three of which I suffered Hyperemesis) included a Christmas.

It's a huge privilege to be working and fundraising for PSS and a cause that is very close to my heart. Even though my youngest child is fifteen, vivid memories of HG remain and none are more sorrowful than those of Christmases spent unable to join in any of the fun; eat any of the wonderful food; feel any interest in presents, given or received. And let's not dwell on those who told me to 'snap out of it' and that I was 'only pregnant'!

Whilst I hope that everyone who reads this is having a fabulous festive season, I know that for some, it will be a nightmare. To those I would say: hang in there.

I'm still thinking about the things I hope to achieve in my role for PSS, and the fundraising I hope to do for the charity alongside my work, so if anyone else is thinking along the same lines, the relevant page of our website provides all the information you might need. If you are determined to work off the Christmas excess somehow, why not get a bit of sponsorship along the way? It's easy to set up a page on Virgin Money Giving

All that remains is for me to wish everyone a fantastic time over the holiday season - I hope your Christmas is proving to be very merry and bright!

Friday, 22 December 2017

Christmas Plans...

Christmas has crept in quietly here in Cornwall. It seems like only yesterday that I was unpacking boxes to the sounds of fireworks resounding in the air, wondering if I would still be sleeping on the sofa bed by the time the festive season came around...

Yes. Yes I am. Moving house is tricky - at any time of the year!

But here we are - four weeks since I started my job here at Pregnancy Sickness Support, and just over seven weeks since I arrived in Cornwall - and Christmas is now imminent, with a brand new year not far behind it.

It's one thing to make personal plans for a New Year - like my stated intention to follow a nine months of recovery programme - but I also have some professional plans as well. Not only am I hoping to continue picking up the threads of all the current PSS fundraising activities, but I'm also intending to put my mind to developing new ones - and a fundraising strategy overall.

We've already got a year's worth of fundraising ideas to share so I've got my work cut out for me! I want to come up with new and ever-inventive ways to raise money for a cause that is very close to my heart. So if you have an idea for raising money, or have been inspired by our website but are not sure what you'd like to do, please do get in touch, via Facebook, phone or email, and let's see what we can cook up for 2018.

In the meantime, I wish everyone a wonderful Christmas and fabulous New Year. Have fun!

Friday, 15 December 2017

Icy Dip

So what are your plans for Boxing Day this year? Will you be eating up all the leftovers or heading out to score a bargain in the Boxing Day sales? (And am I the only one who remembers when these were actually New Year's Day sales?) Perhaps you will be snuggled in your onesie watching TV, or that DVD you got in your Christmas stocking?

I'm a little in awe of Amanda's plans, though. Whilst we're all enjoying Boxing Day in our favourite way, she will be heading out to Tynemouth for a freezing plunge into the North Sea, raising money for Pregnancy Sickness Support in possibly the coldest way ever devised! 

One of Amanda’s best friends, Jane, suffered from Hyperemesis Gravidarum in both her pregnancies. It was particularly bad in her first pregnancy, during which she was often hospitalised and/or bed-bound. Amanda wanted to do something to highlight the effect of HG on a woman's mental well-being, as well as her physical health, raising money at the same time to help PSS help support other women like Jane. You can see her fundraising page here if you'd like to support her in her daunting venture.

(Amanda (right) and Jane.)

Amanda and Jane are school friends who have known each other for over twenty years. Amanda wanted to something very daring to raise money and confesses to hating being cold. The icy dip will certainly present a challenge and, as it's part of a bigger cold water immersion event, it's a great way to raise funds in a high-profile way. She'll have support from Jane, and other family and friends, and let's hope that her freezing plunge is well-rewarded.

In the meantime, if you'd like to do something equally brave - or perhaps something a little less chilly - please let me know.

I wish Amanda the best of luck with her swim - watch this space for updates and check out our website for ways in which you can help raise money for PSS.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Raising money - and awareness.

As I settle in to my new role, I am starting to get to know our fantastic volunteers and I am so impressed with their dedication and resourcefulness. Today, I'm delighted to announce a huge success on the part of Claire in the Scottish Highlands, who raised money by doing a car boot sale.

She's raised over £1100!

At first, I assumed that Claire had collected up some goods and taken them to a local car boot sale to sell in aid of PSS. I was astonished at the amount raised. But I was wrong - she'd actually done much more than that:

"I held an indoor boot sale in our local hall," Claire wrote. "I sold 25 selling tables. Supported by my wonderful friends and family, we had a cafe for visitors selling filled rolls, home baking, teas and coffee. We had a raffle, a few games and face painting. There was something for everyone! Despite the snow we had a great turnout on the day."

It was a brilliant idea and it certainly paid off. But Claire isn't finished yet!

"I’m also doing a raffle, and selling teas and coffees at our local panto in a couple of weeks," she said. She's hoping to send further funds raised in this way at the end of December. 

Claire explained a little of her motivation in working so hard to raise money for PSS:

"My little girl Jess is now 6 months old and I suffered with HG from week 5 until birth," she told me. "Like so many women while suffering with this, I had to battle with doctors to get treatment. To this day, I still don’t understand how they are able to leave women in such an awful state." 

Claire hoped to raise both money and awareness of hyperemesis, and she's succeeded. "I hope when my wee girl is older that women won’t have to go through what we had/have to. And I truly believe that every little bit helps," she said.

I'd like to congratulate Claire on her brilliant and very successful idea and to thank her for the money she raised.

If you'd like more information about raising funds for PSS please see our website.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

So this is Christmas...

...and what am I doing?

Today has been busy with packaging up our Christmas cards for dispatch. If anyone is still interested in buying some, please hurry to the website to order!

If you don't use PayPal, let us know, and we can arrange to sell the cards by BACS transfer.

I've also been looking at the raffle prizes which are fabulous. You could win a sixty pounds M&S voucher - which has got be handy at this time of year! - even if you didn't get the first prize Glamping trip. And not to forget the West End Musical voucher, which is probably my favourite prize.

Other prizes include a family ticket to Big Fish Little Fish, a 'Maman' necklace from Mutha Hood and some lovely items like a set of 3 stone heart candle holders and candles, and a paper flower bouquet. I'm terrible for my beauty products so I also like the Rehydrating Rose Skincare Kit from Neal's Yard.

The raffle has been moderately popular so far this year but it would be wonderful to sell a few more tickets and match the £1250 we raised last year, Please spread the word - tickets can be emailed so anyone, anywhere can take a chance on a really lovely prize.
Do get in touch with any questions or queries - in the meantime, I'm hoping that everyone else has got further ahead with their shopping and wrapping than I have!

Friday, 1 December 2017

Tough Girls

My post as Fundraising Coordinator began on 27th November and one of the first emails needing my attention came from Lindsay, a PSS volunteer in Holywood, Northern Ireland:

"Coffee went well today," she wrote. "We raised £100 and I am going to do another fundraiser soon through my daughters school."

Lindsay organised a coffee morning on 26th November, with the congregation of Holywood Methodist Church, ably assisted by her three HG Hero daughters.

"My eldest daughter has just turned 7," Lindsay told me, "and this pregnancy she struggled as she really missed me." Lindsay and her daughter are involving themselves in doing  positive things to help her come to terms with what they've been through as a family. 

(And what a beautiful family they are!)

Lindsay's daughter has written to Blue Peter to explain about hyperemesis and tell the story of how she helped to look after her sister, even putting her to bed when Lindsay was too ill to do so. They are hoping that the programme will respond by sending out one of their coveted Blue Peter Badges and Lindsay feels that his would really change things for her daughter.

Lets hope that Blue Peter will oblige. But, even if they don't, all best wishes to Lindsay and her family, and huge thanks to them for their fundraising efforts.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu for PSS

We are very lucky to have some amazing adventurous fundraisers, and Hayley is most certainly one of them. We interviewed her about the why, the where and the WOW HOW MANY DAYS?   

What's your relation to HG? 

I’m the middle child of three girls, both my sisters have suffered from HG and my mum suffered with all three of us. There’s a running joke in the family that I should get pregnant to see if I get it too. – for some reason I’m not too keen!!

Why do you want to raise funds for PSS? 

Watching my sister’s go through it was awful, we’d all grown up with stories of how ill mum had been with us, but none of us really understood what that meant. When my younger sister Steph was pregnant with her first child we really had no idea what to expect. She was sick so many times a day I lost count, she dropped clothes sizes – instead of buying maternity clothes I was giving her my old clothes that were a size smaller. She was hospitalised multiple times for dehydration.

When my older sister got pregnant, I think we all prayed that she’d have a ‘normal’ pregnancy. But no such luck.

My sisters have this bond of support now with each other that they don’t have to suffer through HG alone. They have someone else that shares that experience. Steph is now a mentor for PSS to support other people with HG and Kerry is planing on becoming one soon and I’m so incredibly proud of them.

We’re all very close as sisters, watching the people you love and are closest to, go through this and having no idea how to help is awful. But I saw how much having the support of PSS helped my sisters and I wish that the support had been available to my mum when she was pregnant with us. So I might not have be able to give them the support they needed in their pregnancies, but I can raise money so that those that can provide the right support will always be there.

How are you fundraising? 

I am hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, this is a 4 day hike going up 13828ft (4214 metres) and across 26 miles

Have you done any training or planning for the hike? 

I joined a gym in January and I’ve been going around 3 times a week (which is a big shock to anyone who knows me!), so by the time I go I will have been training for 9 months! In these last couple of weeks I’m trying to get in some more outdoor walking but it’s difficult to fit around work.

Has this always been a dream or goal that you've wanted to achieve?

I have always wanted to hike the Inca Trail, I’ve been planning the trip for the last couple of years and I always knew when I did it I would be fundraising for something, the question was what.

How does fundraising make you feel? 

Fundraising makes me feel useful, throughout my sister’s pregnancies I felt pretty useless in helping so it’s nice to be able to do something that will support the people I love.

Thank you so much for raising much needed funds for Pregnancy Sickness Support Hayley and Best of Luck! If you'd like to show your support for this high feet along the Inca Trail, Donate here

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Tilly + Cub donate to PSS

5% of Sales from our Planter and Otto Homeware baskets will be donated to Pregnancy Sickness Support. 

"The work you do is invaluable and so I am so pleased to be able to offer something to raise funds." Said Jo the founder of the company.

The baskets are handwoven in Ghana by fairtrade artisans using natural fibres and traditional craftmanship. So they are far more than beautiful baskets, they support their makers, their communities and are sustainable produced, and each one is completely unique.

"I am a Mum of one with another on the way later this year, and set up Tilly + Cub a couple of months ago. I struggled with serve sickness at the start of this pregnancy, I was bedridden and unable to move without vomiting. It was not an easy time and the information on your site and the use of your forum really helped me through.Thankfully i have made a full recovery and so far all is progressing well."

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Interview with our Great North Run Fundraiser Amy - Lets talk running post HG

With The Great North Run just a few weeks away we've interviewed one of our  GNR Fundraisers to ask about her reasons behind raising funds for PSS and what its like running after having her baby girl. 

Why do you want to raise funds for PSS? 

I want to raise funds for PSS because they have helped me since I was first put in touch with them when I was about 11 weeks pregnant. I had never heard of Hyperemesis before and through them I managed to gain knowledge so that I could get the care that I needed. I was also allocated a peer supporter who was frequently in contact with me during my pregnancy, she was amazing and I honestly can't thank her enough. The online forum was also a massive help. It was great to have people to vent to who understood what you were going through, and we all seemed to help each other through it. There was 2 people on the forum who I particularly connected with, you know who you are, thank you.
It's because of all this help that I want to give something back, help other women who are suffering and create awareness of what is an incredible charity and more awareness of hyperemesis its self.

How are you fundraising? 

I am fundraising by running the Great North Run. It was a crazy idea I had while pregnant. I liked running before I was pregnant and had actually planned to continue running while I was pregnant, because of the HG though I couldn't run at all. I was feeling really low and suffering a lot with the HG so I thought I needed to do something, something for me and to help others. I put my name down and got a place. Having the place actually gave me something to focus on that wasn't pregnancy related that I needed to get too. I've never run a half marathon before so it's going to be a big challenge.

Whats it been like running again after pregnancy & HG? 

Running has not been easy after pregnancy and HG. My muscles all wasted when I had HG and I was unable to do nothing to keep fit as I was pretty much bedridden most of the time. Having a hungry baby who doesn't sleep through the night doesn't help either. Still though it's a lot easier than having HG. The first time I went for a run after being pregnant I cried happy tears because I thought "I did it, I survived that pregnancy."

How does fundraising make you feel? 

I just want to do something to help all the other women suffering. After suffering with HG you wouldn't wish it on anyone. I plan to get more involved with PSS and hopefully volunteer once I have recovered a bit more.

What was your HG Story and how do you feel now?

HG robbed me of any enjoyment of pregnancy. My pregnancy was planned and very much wanted, but due to not having great care and not knowing about hyperemesis in those early weeks I actually considered an abortion. When vomiting about 80 times a day I honestly didn't think I would even survive the pregnancy. Luckily I then heard about PSS and I was diagnosed with HG when I had to go to A&E because I was so dehydrated. I still feel guilty for considering an abortion now but that is something I am getting help with. 

I was unable to go to work much due to how ill I was, or the days I would drag myself in I often vomited at work and on the way there and back. My social life was pretty much none-existent. I would try my best to put on a brave face but that probably did more damage than good.
HG I think is hard because so many people just don't understand it, hearing people say over and over "oh the sickness normally goes by 12 weeks", "have you tried ginger", "eat little and often", "try eating crackers before you get out of bed on a morning" really wears you down because the truth is if somebody had told me that chopping my arm off would get rid of it I probably would have done it. Even the combination of the medication I was on didn't get rid of it, made it slightly better but then you have the side effects of the medication to deal with on top of that. If anybody else has been on high doses of ondansetron you will know what I'm getting at here. The nausea was crippling and unrelenting, I would have a couple of good days when I vomited 5-10 times a day then I would have the bad days, and then I would end up in hospital needing IV fluids and IV medication. Going to hospital just became part of the routine in the end, I knew all the staff there by name. The vomiting and retching with HG is on a whole other level. It's so violent, you vomit until you are vomiting blood, you often wet yourself which is humiliating but you can't help it, I also used to get scared that I was going to crush the baby.

Your other half also becomes your carer, emptying the sick bowls, washing your hair, doing all the housework and everything else. I don't think they get enough credit and often people don't realise that they could use some help too or a break. 

I was too sick to have a baby shower, and all baby stuff was bought online or by relatives.  We attempted to go to baby stuff shopping once on one of my good days, went on an evening thinking oh it will be nice and quiet. When we got there a parent to be event was on and we had to leave, the sight of so many people enjoying their pregnancies upset me too much.
I also suffered a severe allergic reaction to one of the anti-emetics which nearly killed me and the baby. I'm eternally grateful to the midwife and health care assistant who helped me that day. I've never been so terrified and I don't think my baby girl and I would be here today if it wasn't for them.
I was induced at 38 weeks because I was getting weaker and weaker and the thought of more weeks of HG was unbearable. The induction was started on a Wednesday and I finally gave birth on the Friday. I vomited throughout. As soon as the placenta was out, all the nausea and vomiting stopped. It was a surreal feeling.

I felt great for a couple of weeks after the birth and then it finally hit me just how ill I had been. I now no longer feel hungry or thirsty and have to set reminders to eat and drink. I guess when you haven't been able to eat or drink properly for so long you just get used to it and that becomes the norm. I have nightmares that I have HG again, I don't like being around anything that reminds me of pregnancy or my pregnancy. I had to go to the hospital and walking up that corridor again terrifies me.
I know all this should eventually improve with time. Lots of people ask me if I would have another baby. To be honest that question hurts as I still haven't got over the first pregnancy to consider doing it again, and it would be harder a second time round as my daughter would be pretty much without a mother for 9 months. 

I guess one positive to having HG is that I feel I probably cherish my daughter more because I fought so hard to get her here.

Thank you Amy, we wish you the best of luck on the day and for the rest of your pre-race training. 

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Top 20 Running Tracks

We thank all our lovely running friends especially the women from Run Mummy Run for their contribution for our list of current Top running tracks for the end of the Summer.

Anything by Calvin Harris
Anything by Moby
Anything by Prodigy
Mostly Anything by Green Day


Fight Song – Rachel Platten
Firework – Katy Perry
Born This Way- Lady Gaga
Gangham Style – PSY
Dog Days – Florence and The Machine
Stamina – Cia
The Rocky theme Tune
Lets go - Calvin Harris
Scream – Usher
Empire state of mind- Alicia Keys
Don’t you worry child – Swedish House Mafia
Try Anything - Shakira
Red Light Spells Danger- Billy Ocean
Mr Bright Side – Killers
Black Widow – Rita Ora
Work Bitch – Britany spears
The greatest – Cia
Girl on Fire – Alicia Keys
Reach – S Club 7
Do I wanna know – Artic Monkeys

We’d love for you to consider running on behalf of PSS, you even might be up for the challenge of ‘Nine months of RUNNING’ Here’s a current list of Runs in your area via

We hope this inspires our current runners in their training, if you’d like to sponsor one of our fundraisers please visit their pages below

Amy – Great North Run 

Sophie – Great North Run

Claire – Yorkshire Marathon

Good luck in your training Ladies 

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Busking for PSS

7 Year old Joseph is hard at work at his home in Dundee getting ready to perform on the streets of the city as a Busker to raise funds for Pregnancy Sickness Support

Joseph's mum Heather suffered with Hyperemesis Gravidarum in both her pregnancies, Joseph is looking to raise as much money as possible to support the charity.
You can read more about Heather's experience here

"I am so proud of Joseph - not only for his musical efforts, but much more so for the fact that he wants to raise money for charity." Said Heather.

"I am going to busk on my violin and keyboard during the summer holidays to raise money for a tiny but vital charity, desperately needing funds, called Pregnancy Sickness Support.  They helped to bring my little brother Theo into the world so I think that they are very important.
For those of you who can't come and see me perform in person I will try to share a video for you to enjoy." Joseph said.

You can watch Joseph perform this Saturday (15th July) in Brechin outside of the local CO-OP as part of the Brechin Harley Davidson In The City Festival

You can support Joseph by visiting his Virgin Money giving page and donating what you can

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

My doctor never used the phrase “hyperemesis gravidarum.”

During my first pregnancy, my doctor never used the phrase “hyperemesis gravidarum.” 
That first trimester I had pretty bad morning sickness, which was especially hard to manage at work. A key moment? Travelling to Manila, Philippines at around 10 weeks, I was pretty embarrassed to make the government van pull over to the side of the road as I had gotten very sick!
I tried all the usual remedies and just lost weight and got sick. Most days I kept nothing down but the ice cream in the evening. It became some sort of science and I knew all the places where I could duck out to get sick. My eyes grew bloodshot from being so ill so frequently with such force.
But not having a lot of support in the way of knowledgeable friends and family, I carried on until about week 19 when I was throwing up before going to my parents’ for Christmas, and the toilet seat smashed my nose, giving me a nose bleed, too. I called my doctor and demanded anything that would make it stop.
I don’t think I realized how bad it was until one day in January I forgot to take my ondansetron. By the time I got into work, I was throwing up all the water I had consumed and couldn’t even keep that down. Luckily, as I was in the US, my doctor’s office had a local clinic walking distance away. They stayed open through lunch to see me and gave me IV fluids, anti-emetics and a dark, quiet, soothing room to lie in.
At 7 months, I was moving to the UK and was petrified now of being without ondansetron. While I never was able to eat much, at least what I did eat was staying down. My doctor gave me enough prescription to get me through the 9 months and luckily my son was born just a day or two before I ran out. That’s the day the nausea lifted –I felt the difference the moment he was born. Hospital food never tasted so amazing.
When we decided to have a second child, I didn’t expect that my toddler would be nursing throughout my second pregnancy. I also didn’t expect to get so sick. As I never had a diagnosis, I didn’t know that I had an 80% chance of reoccurrence. And by 5 weeks, the old cycle started right up again.
I found it much more mentally straining. I had an unfortunate time battling with various NHS practices to get the drugs I needed. Ondansetron was no longer cutting it, once I finally got it. The consultants I saw didn’t believe I was so ill, and certainly didn’t understand why I was still nursing my son. While I never was admitted to the hospital, the mental strain of proving myself over and over, begging for drugs I knew I needed to keep me out of the hospital, asking for help from anyone who would actually talk with me and not just proscribe from a distance, was one of the most difficult things I ever had to do. Nothing has ever made me feel so invisible, so like a vessel, so unhuman.

If I am being honest with myself, I haven’t really let myself explore what happened to me mentally. Feeling guilty enough at being so sick and exhausted, my toddler needed what little I could give him. My heart broke when he would stroke my back as I threw up again and again, my solace being at least he wouldn’t remember being so young!

One of the few ways I could keep my strength through this time was by fully immersing myself in my hobby of motherhood – woven baby wraps, a type of baby carrier made from long cloth. I would lay next to my sleeping toddler, just so happy to have that stillness, and scroll through Facebook posts and bulletin boards reading about these woven wraps – old classics from 10 or more years ago, searching different language buy/sell/trade boards to find them, preparing to make memories with this new baby whose initial memories of pregnancy I so wanted to forget as quickly as possible. Instead I was focusing on all the new memories I would have of keeping her close in beautiful fabrics, made of cashmere and silk, and building up friendships with mums also in this hobby along the way.

Now I’m coming up on 10 months postpartum and my beautiful daughter is a delight. She and my son play together happily. I am still be recovering, physically and mentally, but I am also so grateful to have a chance to give back to PregnancySickness Support for the essential support they provided me while I was going through the worst of the worst, navigating a system that didn’t want to work with me. 

Next month, on 6 May, I am co-organising The Wrap Show  – an event focused on those beautiful woven wraps brought to London for the first time. Part of the proceeds from the show and our charity tombola and raffle will go to PSS and I couldn’t be more excited. We have guests coming from over 19 countries and brands from 4 continents.

I hope that other carers who are going through such difficult times can find their support, whether it’s through great charities like PSS or through support networks like that I found in woven wraps. 

For more information on The Wrap Show please visit the website and pop over to the Facebook page