A podcast all about the severe pregnancy condition Hyperemesis Gravidarum. Each week women who are currently suffering with, or who have survived Hyperemesis will tell their stories to HG Campaigner and Presenter Charlotte Howden. Some weeks we will also feature experts from the HG research community and charity sector.
The final ever episode of the Hyperemesis Files Podcast
This is the last episode of Series 3 and the last ever episode of the Hyperemesis Files Podcast (although I never say never). On today's show I am joined by Rowan. Rowan is 25 and lives in Lancashire with her husband Alex and her 18 month old daughter Olia Daisy.
Rowan is an exceptional guest speaker and details her journey with such elegance and openness.
Together we discuss her initial thoughts about her sickness, from "I am just too weak to do this," to "This is just normal though?" all the way through to finally being administered steroids the final medication on the HG ladder to stop her unbearable suffering.
What is really very important about our conversation is the aftermath of HG as Rowan is still now experiencing un-diagnosed symptoms such as sickness, nausea and not being able to eat. Her story is here to inform not to scare as she acknowledges that she is "one in a million". But her journey has not ended after birth and she is now under the care of 5 professionals who are all trying to understand why these symptoms never went away.
On a personal and emotional note I want to thank everyone for listening over the last 3 series and for supporting the podcast.
The time has come for me to move on to other ways of raising awareness that enable to me to do more in less time and whilst I have enjoyed every second of bringing these episodes to you, they do take up a large amount of my time.
Thanks for listening. Charlotte x
Series 3 - Episode 7
On this week's show I am joined by Jess who lives in Canberra in Australia. Jess has suffered from two Hyperemesis pregnancies with her sons. She left 5 years between the two as it took her that long to mentally prepare for another pregnancy.
Her story is a great listen if you are thinking about having a second and want tips and advice on how to prepare.
What isn't so great is how much she suffered with her first with ineffective and upsetting routes to treatment, being fed at one point by a tube and finding out that her first son would be born with a club foot.
Because of this we touch on medications in pregnancy and what is amazing to hear is that Jess has been able to come to terms with her son's diagnosis without blaming herself. As she says in her own words "The Doctors will not give you something that is not safe!"
So many of us worry about taking medication and yet when our children are born they are fit and healthy. Jess is really open about how she can't blame herself for anything because the reality is that we will never know if any problems were due to medication, complete lack of nutrients and fluids in the first trimester or just simple genetic or something that just happens.
The benefits outweigh the risks.
Jess was a joy to talk to and I hope you enjoy her story!
Series 3 - Episode 6
On this week's podcast I am joined by Danika. Danika is a mother of one from Somerset in the UK. Danika's story is really telling of just how bad the treatment of HG women in certain areas/hospitals/post codes in the UK can be!
Her treatment ranged from being told they were going to check her for alcohol and drugs to make sure that is why she wasn't being sick to being left in A&E for hours to being admitted to the Frailty ward!
In this episode we talk about termination, access to medication once available being suddenly taken away and thoughts of wanting to die.
Danika also very bravely discusses her recent miscarriage and how despite this and everything she has been through with Hyperemesis in her first pregnancy, she is still positive for another child in the future.
Series 3 - Episode 5
On this week's podcast I am joined by Jeenie, a mother of three from Canada. Jeenie is the CEO and Head Trainer of KeepFit Women a fitness and health brand.
In our chat we spoke predominantly about her third pregnancy (her first two being milder versions of the severe Hyperemesis she would go on to endure) and how she battled with her own identity.
Whilst Jeenie's care was over all really very good, this didn't detract from some of the feelings and intrusive thoughts we all get with Hyperemesis. In other words, even with incredible care you can't escape the destruction of HG.
We talked about her husband, who was essentially her carer, surviving an HG pregnancy during a global pandemic and how she managed to keep her company and brand going when she was unable to offer her usual fitness content and positive mental attitude.
Thanks for listening and we hope you come back soon for more!
For more information about Jeenie's fitness brand please visit https://keepfitwomen.com/
Series 3 - Episode 4
On this weeks podcast is Danea. A mother of two from California, USA.
Her two Hyperemesis experiences were 11 years apart, and her second pregnancy was a complete surprise after failed IVF attempts with her new husband. Whilst they both had children from a previous relationship they were desperate to have a child together.
Danea's second pregnancy took place right at the height of the Global Pandemic, and whilst she remembers being able to get through her first pregnancy with the help of medication, this second pregnancy was so so different.
Finally fitted with a Zofran Pump and a PICC Line, Danea was hopeful that she would start to feel better, and yet her Hyperemesis plagued her right up until labour.
Numerous problems, dismissals and the ordeal from the Zofran pump falling out several times, by the 32 week mark Danea was done. It was all too much. But she had to fight through until she went in to labour and of course now is enduring the problems of HG and the aftermath.
NB: Danea speaks about a warning from her Doctor to minimise taking Zofran. This is common but please be assured that the studies the Doctor was referring to have shown a minimal increase in cleft palate and the benefits in the opinion of HG Charities and Campaigners like myself certainly outweigh the risks.
For more information on Ondansetron/Zofran and this minimal risk please visit the HER Foundation or the Pregnancy Sickness Support website.
Series 3 - Episode 3
This week I am joined by Sophie, a young mum of one from the North of England.
Sophie tells us about her first and possibly last experience with Hyperemesis in particular focusing on having HG during a global pandemic.
Possibly due to the COVID-19 restrictions, Sophie's HG journey to treatment and care was fraught with dismissals, being shipped off to A&E multiple times and being past pillar to post.
Sophie credits both her Mother and her boyfriend for their support at home, but talks about the added pressure of not being able to have the support in hospital, often having to be alone at appointments and of course when she was admitted overnight.
Her courage and strength though this time is admirable and she talks about not really knowing what was going on or what was happening to her.
Now her daughter is here she has taken the time with the help of her mother to look back at her treatment and is quite clear in the fact that she will be complaining to the relevant people about her care.
Her daughter was born at 35 weeks, again another traumatic experience for her and we talk together about the lost opportunities and missed experiences of our HG pregnancies.
It has been great & very insightful to hear other people’s stories and see what help they did or didn’t get to help me be able to advocate better for myself. Charlotte has worked incredibly hard in the HG community and continues to do so. I feel very lucky to of had the opportunity to speak to her. HG can be a lonely place but this is the most honest you will hear a sufferer and that’s exactly what we need. A space we feel confident talking in, a place we aren’t judged and a place not only we can listen but a place we are listened too.
This is such a thoughtful space to come and remember the trauma of my HG. I’m currently wondering whether to continue a new pregnancy after suffering with it for the full pregnancy with my first. A scary situation to be in but this feels like somewhere I can really think about the reality of what I might be facing and how I might get through it. Thank you!
Very insightful podcast for anyone to connect with. A particularly valuable resource for anyone suffering, directly or indirectly, due to this condition. Charlotte is contributing massively to the HG community and working tirelessly.