“Kate is suffering from hypermesis gravidarum — an adverse reaction to hormonal changes in the body during pregnancy — and requires supplementary hydration and nutrients. It tends to occur in the first trimester (8-12 weeks) and affects less than 2% of women.” –Time.com
“As the pregnancy is in its very early stages, Her Royal Highness is expected to stay in hospital for several days and will require a period of rest thereafter.” –CelebrityBabies.People.com
“According to the Palace, Kate is suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum, characterized by severe and persistent nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. If untreated, the patient can suffer dehydration and dangerous weight loss” –People.com
Looks like I have a little more in common with the Duchess aside from really great hair and a love of pantyhose.
I am a two time survivor of hyperemesis gravidarum (which literally means ‘vomiting that defies gravity’ in Latin) and it looks like HG has knocked the world’s favorite princess into a place I too have been, in the hospital. Dozens of friends sent me links to articles today which makes me extremely happy that I am the poster child for sick pregnant ladies everywhere. This disease (YES DISEASE) needs a voice, and while I’ve done my best to give it one over the past nine years, there’s still charming, small-minded peabrains like Joe:
Rarely do I become overwhelmed with the desire to shout, scream and punch. But this kind of ignorance right here? Yep. That’ll do it.
Thankfully plenty of others jumped on him before I even lifted a finger to tweet back and he followed up with a sarcastic RT and what I hope was a genuine apology. I took a few deep breaths and figured I wouldn’t add any more fuel to the fire (Joe, sorry for calling you a charming, small minded peabrain, just don’t let me catch you undermining a serious medical condition ever again, okay?)
But how can ‘morning sickness’ be a serious medical condition? Glad you asked.
Imagine vomiting upwards of 8-10 times a day, every day for 3/4 of a year. Nothing helps, nothing makes you feel better and nothing can really be done about it. Add in the guilt that you’re unable to keep more than a teaspoon of water down in three hours let alone nutritious food to help grow the human your making and multiply that by ignorant comments like “Oh, I was so sick too, I even threw up once.” and perhaps you’ll understand why I overdosed when I was seven months pregnant with my first and came very close to being hospitalized again with my second.
My entire face, including my mouth and eyeballs erupted in ruptured capillaries from vomiting so much, I still bear them on a majority of my face to this day. At one point I began vomiting blood because my esophagus had nearly disintegrated from bile. From the day I got pregnant to the day I came home from the hospital I had lost nearly 60 pounds, I was put on bed rest for the last 8 weeks of my pregnancy so I wouldn’t use up any more precious resources or calories my body so desperately needed.
My teeth forever bear the marks of 18 straight months of vomit.
I was denied necessary and vital medication because my insurance didn’t see “morning sickness” as a legit ailment.
Morning sickness. Pfft. All damn day sickness is more like it. Complete, overwhelming, sob-inducing sickness. Like the worst hangover anyone has ever had, only it stays with you for nine solid months.
Not to mention the PTSD that comes with the slightest stomachache or wave of nausea.
Was it worth it? Completely. Would I do it again? Most likely if given the chance.
Why? Because nine months of sickness for the opportunity to spend a lifetime as a mother is a pretty fair trade off.
BUT. And this is a big but, there has to be understanding of this condition. There has to be compassion and an open mind that yes, pregnancy really can make someone, even a princess, this ill. There also has to be an understanding that HG can not only cause severe complications in pregnancy, it can also kill a pregnant woman and her unborn baby if left untreated. HG can and most likely will lead to severe depression while pregnant that can easily carry over into postpartum. HG is not to be treated lightly.
So keep your snarky comments about posh princess pregnancies to yourself; she is sick, a kind of sick I hope you or a loved one never experience because it is a kind of sick that changes you and those around you.
I wish Kate Middleton all the best, and I hope she can feel the support of the 2% of us who also fought a sickness worse than hell to get our precious babies here.