Charlotte and her husband Adam have just Zipped down the longest Zip wire in Europe to raise money for Pregnancy Sickness Support.
Their amazing challenge has raised £400 for the charity.
Here Charlotte talks more about the challenge and why she and Adam chose Pregnancy Sickness Support.
You had HG in pregnancy? How did it affect you and your family?
I found out I was pregnant the week before my husband Adam and I went on our honey moon. I started vomiting violently while were away , and it got progressively worse the first 3 months.
Violent is the right word because the vomiting took over my whole body.
At its worst every time i moved I would wretch. Even on good days i had consistent feeling of nausea. I tried to carry on as normally as I could . I am a social worker and had recently been made a team leader, I tried my best to get into work but would often have to go home after being sick on my way in. One particularity lovely morning I was sick all over myself on the train into work. I am so lucky I had a supportive manager and caring colleagues, especially my lovely friend Ruth who basically carried my work load as well as her own for my pregnancy.
During my pregnancy due to HG i missed work, a girls holiday, a family holiday a best friends hen do i had helped to plan , days out, nights out. I have never felt so lonely in my whole life, but at the same time didn't have the energy to care. HG vomiting isn't like normal vomiting. Its aggressive and exhausting, it comes from your toes ! My friend Jasmine was pregnant at the same time as me . She didn't suffer from HG and at times it was hard seeing her doing things we should have been able to do together. I am lucky i have good friends who are understanding , would bring me water and turned the TV up when I vommed ! They made allowances for me so I wasn't totally isolated, But still a vomiting friend is not the life and soul of any party!
We are sold a view of pregnancy that it is a wonderful time where the woman is glowing, the dad is happy and everyone is just wonderful. Mine was the opposite of this but i tired the whole time to pretend this is how i felt, living in the hope the vomiting would stop soon . Every health professional we would see told us, the sickness will stop by 12 weeks, 15 weeks then 20 weeks. I was told this was normal and a good sign. I remember being about 13 weeks pregnant and seeing my GP , he's a nice guy, but I will never forget him saying this may feel traumatic for you, but your body is coping well and your baby is fine, sickness in pregnancy is normal and healthy. This made me feel like a was being pathetic so from then I just pretended I was fine and tried to get on with it the best I could. I was hospitalised at 16 weeks and had a drip and IV anti sickness meds which made me feel a lot better for a while!
Adam has said to me the first 5 months of my pregnancy was the loneliest time of his life. He would come home from work to find me in the same place he had left me that lunch time. Some days he would have to try to get me to eat anything by offering a array of snacks! He would beg me to eat and was so worried. I would spend days in bed . Even on good days when I was tired the sickness got worse so I went to bed latest 8pm which meant all evenings he was on his own. He lived in a constant state of fear ! He was my rock, telling me all the time I could do this. He was also super practical ! He researched and bought super doper sick bags which where a god send . He would make sure I took my tablets, having spares on him at all times encase I forgot. I swear he stopped me getting dehydrated by having water near me all the time and counting how much i had drunk. It was hard on him , going from newly weds to him being my carer, cleaning up my sick. He was amazing through it all and I think it shows the kind of man and father he is.
Apart from Adam , I think the only people who saw the extent of my HG was my Mum and Dad. A few times during my pregnancy they brought me home to look after me for a few days . My Mum jumped up every time i was sick (which was soooo many times ) each time she held my hair. My Dad would get up each night when i was sick, one night he even had to give me a flannel wash ! My mum was a midwife, then a health visitor and is now a family nurse Supervisor. She knows a lot about pregnancy and babies. She would reassure me as much as needed that my baby would be OK, that he was cooking nicely :-). She advocated for me when i had to go to hospital and I feel between her dad and Adam they kept me out of hospital and at home as much as humanly possible. I know her and dad hated seeing me like that, that it was hard for them to be excited for their first grandchild but having to see what i was going through. HG has a impact on a couples whole family. It takes away from the enjoyment and excitement of it all, I know Adams family felt this too.
As my pregnancy progressed I had a bit of respite at 6-7 months, I was still sick most days but I could leave the house, eat certain foods fine and was even able to attend our best friends wedding, go for a few meals with the girls and celebrate my brothers 21st . I still had bad days though and when they come they would knock me on my bum! Adam would find me sometimes heavily pregnant passed out on the bathroom floor, just totally exhausted from vomiting or generally feeling ill. I developed other health problems as my pregnancy progressed which meant going on Mat Leave early and being induced at 37 weeks. My last vomit was in theatre as they did the emergency c section , I remember thinking that s my last VOM !!!
What has struck me since having my gorgeous , worth every vomit, little boy, is how HG was never really explained to me by most professionals. There was just one GP who told me what HG was called and insisted I took some time off work and an amazing midwife called Anne. Anne told me at about 26 weeks , you are doing so well but this is likely going to last you whole pregnancy and it may get worse. I was so grateful for her honesty, I needed information so I could process what was happening to me . HG is isolating all encompassing condition , and those suffering need help support and above all information!!!
How did you come across PSS and how did the charity help you?
I came across the charity on Facebook. My mum is a family nurser supervisor and had heard about PSS so we had a search for it. There was a post on FB that discussed life after HG , I cant remember all the detail but it talked about feeling unable to move on from a HG pregnancy and being mentally scarred by it. It was a light bulb moment for me, I realised I wasn't crazy and there are a lot of women out there feeling the same as me. I didn't feel alone anymore and the more I looked into the group the more empowered I felt.
Since then I have read posts on the page and messages from followers about life after HG. I now know its normal to be scared of being pregnant again when ever I feel a bit sick, that I need to talk about my pregnancy and I still feel shell shocked from it 2 years on. That's all OK- i'm not crazy or pathetic!!
No one can really understand how it feels to vomit up 20 times a day, to be in love your baby but hate being pregnant unless you have been through it. It's also helped me be hopeful for the future. That I can have another baby, there is a treatment plan I can speak to my doctors about. Knowledge is power and PSS has provided me with the knowledge I didn't have in my first pregnancy. It was the most lonely scary time of my life. Because of PSS if I have HG again i know i wont feel alone.
How is life now that your baby is here?
From the moment he was born Zach has been the most gorgeous funny cheeky little boy. He has brought so much fun and joy to all of us !!
Zach is now two, he is a mama's boy and the most loving little fella in the world. Having him is the best thing that has ever happened to us, he has the best daddy and is adored by his whole family.
Its been hard moving on from HG. I suppose i grieved for the loss of the " fairy tale pregnancy". I had a c section, couldn't breastfeed and as a result of all of that and HG felt like a total failure as a mum before id even begun.
I suffered with Postnatal depression and it's taken me a long time to admit I hated being pregnant- we are not supposed to say that as women are we!!
I've learnt its totally fine to have hated being pregnant but love your baby, that the two are separate. The being a good mum is nothing to do with how you carry, give birth, or feed your child. Its about overcoming what's thrown at you for the good of your family and i'm in a place now I can see I had to overcome a lot and I am a better mother for it.
For my husband it took a lot of adjustment to me not being ill. He had lived 9 months on pins, waiting for me to need to go to hospital again, arguing with me to eat or finding me asleep on the bathroom floor after a bad Vom sesh! Its fair to say he's had to deal with a whole lot of anxiety, and that anxiety doesn't just go away on its own! We have had to support each other get over our HG journey!
What made you want to do a zip wire, where will you do it, and how did you choose the location of the wire you wanted to fly?
After our wedding we went on a "mini moon " in Betws y coed North Wales. Its our favourite happy place. We were told that there was the longest Zip wire in Europe there. I have a bit of a fear of heights but when we looked into it thought we would love to give it a go! PSS has helped us both know we aren't alone or crazy for feeling how we have and has given us hope for if we decided to have another baby.
Your husband is going to do the zip wire with you? Who is more nervous about it – you or him?
Defo me ! Adam will only get nervous on the day i think hes really excited!
What target have you set for the money you would like to raise? Do you have plans for other fundraising ideas?
We have a target of £100. Adam is talking about doing a sky dive in the future !! I think i might stick to a cake and coffee morning !
If you have been inspired by Charlotte and Adam you can follow this link to information on how you can join #TEAMPSS and raise money for Pregnancy Sickness Support.