Weeks 10 to 12 of my pregnancy blurs into one as I have never been so sick in my life. I was hospitalised twice in this period…..
I’d been to the doctors a few times previously but it got to the point where I literally couldn’t keep down fluids – let alone food – and had lost well over a stone in weight. My ketones were high and my doctor immediately referred me to the hospital for hyperemesis gravidarum. So if you have read the rest of my pregnancy diary, this is the reason why I have been so sick since, well, pretty much the start: hyperemesis gravidarum.
I was put on an IV for rehydration and expected to leave that night but I was admitted to a ward. Now I won’t do a detailed account of my hospital stay but it did involve being discharged and then going back again due to a few complications.
What I do want to talk about is the anti sickness medication they use.
On my first day I was given Ondansetron through an IV drip and it worked. No side effects. Later that night I was given Prochlorperazine by injection in the bum – it helped but I felt a little dizzy. A few days later I was given Cyclizine via IV drip and my gosh, I can’t even explain the full extent of the reaction I experienced. Firstly, as it was going in I felt like I was being put to sleep, almost fainting with an extremely fast heartbeat. I meditate and I meditate quite well so I used deep breaths to keep conscious. The nurse couldn’t finish the dose and took it out, thankfully. By this time my body was shaking uncontrollably (seriously shaking for about 30 minutes to the point my husband put 4/5 blankets on top of me) and you could clearly see the pulse in my neck. I was also hooked up to an IV for fluids so I think this helped flush it out but for the next 3 hours I was spaced out and couldn’t stand properly. It was truly awful, an experience I never ever want to go through again. I read up online and actually so many women experienced the same reaction and are allergic to it – in fact, some women had much more serious reactions so I guess I’m lucky there.
While in hospital, my urine was continuously tested for ketones which fluctuated up and down. The IV fluid helped to rehydrate me and combined with the anti sickness medication (Ondansetron – it’s the only one my body can handle), meant that I could start drinking water and eating dry foods. This is something you can expect with HG, they’ll check you regularly for ketones!
While in hospital I was also treated for an infection that resulted in my liver not functioning right (yep, not normal) and this was monitored with endless blood tests. In 5 days I had 5 blood tests and 2 cannula’s for the IV drip. My veins were ruined, bruised and so sore – to the point that nurses failed to take blood from them, they would literally give up as they either couldn’t find a vein or the vein gave no blood…and a Doctor would have to try and do it. Apparently if you are dehydrated, you can get low blood pressure!
I also saw a dietician who provided useful tips for me to try and keep food and drink down going forward. I’ll try do a separate blog post on these as they can be so useful if you’re suffering with HG or general morning sickness.
So, there we are waiting to be discharged 5 days later and a very kind, softly-spoken Doctor comes in looking worried telling me mine is a ‘complex situation’ – yep. He was alarmed at my high prolactin levels. Oh there it is again, prolactin, I thought I had dealt with that old chestnut last year but it rears its ugly head again. The Doctor made a comment like ‘if your pregnancy progresses’ which obviously scared us a little and he later apologised for as he was initially very concerned – the thing is, he isn’t an Endocrinologist. So while he was nervous and frantically trying to reach the Endocrine clinic, we kind of felt a little more confident than him. Last year when I was diagnosed with a possible hyperprolactinaemia, I researched it quite a lot. I had been on pretty crap tablets to reduce my levels for a few months and they did reduce. The problem is, prolactin levels increase quite drastically when you’re pregnant, which mine have (I didn’t even consider it to be honest) and this maternity doctor was worried and told me he was going to research the relationship between high prolactin and pregnancy more. Bless him…Nonetheless, I have discussed it with my Endocrinologist and I’ll be monitored during the pregnancy but they are not concerned, it is normal with hyperprolactinaemia and it won’t harm the baby. It’s just another annoying thing we are dealing with. Prolactin is something that effects so many women!
After all of that, my liver function improved and I could go home. I have lost over a stone in weight due to hyperemesis gravidarum and while it is still there, I am managing it with Ondansetron tablets. Before IVF I weighed just under 9 stone, at my lightest now I weigh 7 stone 8. It’s scary but I am getting there with the tablets and trying to take them as little as possible! The whole idea of anti sickness medication during pregnancy is controversial – it took me a long time to actually take any but my condition became so severe, I had no choice. Unless you’ve had hyperemesis gravidarum, you really can’t appreciate how serious it can be.
At home I had to inject my leg with some sort of anticoagulation injection to reduce the risk of blood clots, but other than that, I am on the road to recovery. I’ve started putting on weight and our 12 week scan went very well – our baby is healthy and at a perfect weight. I couldn’t be happier!
So, if you’re reading this and have also had HG, how did you put on weight? I’d love to hear your tips! And if you have high prolactin in pregnancy, did you take medication? How was yours managed? Please do share!
What a journey this has been – thank you for reading my early pregnancy diary – I clearly have no filter. I don’t think I’ll continue them as it’s mainly the early pregnancy/first trimester that I found hard to find blog posts on and I just really wanted to give an honest account of what it can be like. It’s not all rosy! I’ll definitely post maternity style updates and that sort of frivolous stuff…so for now… see you soon! xx