Sarah Spooner

Sarah's fundraiser for Pregnancy Sickness Support

Fundraising for Pregnancy Sickness Support
raised of £200 target
by 12 supporters
Event: Brecon Carreg Cardiff Bay 10K 2024, on 19 May 2024 Start fundraising for this event


I’m running the Run4Wales 10K series - 4 10¥\ throughout 2024, plus I’ll chuck a few bonus 10Ks in for good measure.

I’m raising money for Pregnancy Sickness Support - a charity that I didn’t even know existed until some time after my own pregnancy - in the hope of raising awareness and support for other people with hyperemesis gravidarum.

Warning - the next bit is detail heavy but I think it’s important people know how horrible HG is - and I had it easy compared to most!

My morning sickness began at 4W+5 and it seemed like a novelty at first but by 6 weeks it kicked in with a vengeance and I was throwing up upwards of 8 times a day, it progressively got worse throughout the first trimester and the thought that kept me going was ‘it will get better after the first trimester’. People kept telling me it got better at 12 weeks, 14 weeks, 16 weeks but milestone after milestone passed and it just didn’t stop. On bad days I was being sick upwards of 10 to 15 times a day and could keep no fluid down. I lived off plain pasta in my first trimester as it was the only food that I could manage as the smell of anything made me feel sick. This changed to soup and yoghurt as time went on as it was the only thing that didn’t hurt to vomit. I was given medication by the doctor which didn’t do anything other than make me sleepy. I kept being told that yes it was bad sickness but it wasn’t hyperemesis as I want in hospital with it, eventually I just stopped mentioning it at midwife appointments or to the doctor as I felt like I was just making a fuss. In the end it was classed as hyperemesis as four days after I gave birth my weight was 3.5kg less than before I was pregnant, over 5% of my bodyweight. By 20 weeks I had accepted my fate that it would not be getting better. By 20 weeks although I was vomiting less each day (a good day was 3 times a day) I was vomiting blood most days as my oesophagus had taken a beating, I also developed gum disease because of the repeat assault on my teeth. In the later half of pregnancy it also causes incontinence as your pelvic floor is affected every time you vomit.

The day I found out I was pregnant I ran a 9K cross country run, that was the last run I did for a year as I was simply too sick to do any exercise. I tentatively tried swimming at 14 weeks and spent all night throwing up as it was worse when I was tired. I love fell walking but all of a sudden I had to plan my life around being close to somewhere I could vomit. From 5 weeks pregnant (and bear in mind you start off at 2 weeks pregnant) there was a grand total of about 10 days where I didn’t vomit. That’s almost 230 consecutive days of being sick. I was so tired that I went to work, came home and slept. I had no hobbies for 9 months. The only activity I had energy to do and could manage was pregnancy yoga which was my absolute godsend throughout. I had to find excuses to leave the room when seeing patients at work so I could go and be sick. I was repeatedly late to work (ask anyone who knows me and they’ll tell you how much I hate being late) as I kept missing the train as I was sick, I would be sick on car journeys to work, I was sick on Cheltenham train station platform once in a memory I desperately try not to think about. It was the most degrading, humiliating, lonely 8 months of my life.

I had a complicated labour over 3 days during which I couldn’t keep anything down, by the time I gave birth I hadn’t eaten or drunk anything in 50 hours. I was given anti sickness injections which did absolutely nothin and it took 6 attempts to get a cannula in my veins because I was so dehydrated they kept collapsing. By the time I had an emergency C-section my blood pressure was 80/50.

I had quite a few setbacks postpartum and it took 4 months to be given the all clear to run again - mainly because my pelvic floor took so long to recover - the physio explained that this was because of my sickness.

I have since been diagnosed with PTSD regarding my pregnancy and birth, a large portion of which is related to the hyperemesis. I received little to no support throughout my pregnancy and I was told repeatedly ‘everyone vomits in pregnancy’ and ‘it’s just a bit of sickness’. We always thought we wanted a second child but now it’s much more complicated - I don’t know if I’ll be well enough to look after my daughter during a second pregnancy - and I am conscious that my experience is no where near as bad as most HG sufferers and if it is any worse then I will end up in hospital next time.

I wish I’d been told about Pregnancy Sickness Support at the time. Just knowing you’re not alone is a huge help. Being able to talk about your experiences with other people who also went through it helps. I could have done with knowing what to say to my GP or midwife to get the support I needed.

I currently have a lot of anger at my entire pregnancy and postpartum experience. I know that I have a healthy, living child and I will never stop being grateful for that, but I am still upset over the pregnancy experience that I had and the lack of understanding from society. HG shouldn’t just be ‘one of those things’ and it certainly isn’t ‘just a bit of sickness’. I’ve decided to run the Run4Wales 10K series and I’ll probably throw a few other 10Ks into the mix, as a way of channeling my frustration and raising money for a worthwhile cause. Any support would be really appreciated.

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