Sunday 15 September 2019

'I was so weak, I could barely function'

Jenny Diamond
Jenny Diamond

Jenny Diamond, 31, from Carlingford, Co Louth, was diagnosed with hyperemesis gravidarum seven weeks into her first pregnancy.

"As my husband put his signature chicken curry on the table, beaming with pride, my stomach flipped. It wasn't that I didn't love his cooking, but suddenly, I'd completely lost my appetite, and just the smell of the spices made me want to throw up. I was five-and-a-half weeks pregnant with my first baby and in the first throes of morning sickness. Friends had warned me to eat regularly to ward off queasiness, but I was completely unprepared for the wave of nausea that hit me suddenly that evening and stayed with me for the next 10 weeks.

"For the next few weeks, I felt sick all day. Foods that I used to love, like chicken, vegetables and eggs, turned my stomach. I couldn't bear to be around anything with strong flavours, and my appetite evaporated. I knew I had to eat, but the thought of swallowing anything felt like a mountain I had to climb. I was subsisting on crisps and rice crackers.

"At seven weeks, I spoke to my midwife, as I was worried the baby might not be getting enough nutrients, but she reassured me my baby would have everything it needed from my stores, as long as I kept taking my multivitamins and drinking plenty of water, and that my symptoms should ease by 12 weeks.

"I began to dread going to work. I remember a colleague bringing some salmon into the office for his lunch, and I thought I was going to throw up right there at my desk. I had to have the air-con blasting as my skin was so clammy.

"But when I hit the 12-week mark, instead of feeling better, my symptoms got worse. I went from feeling constantly nauseous to physically throwing up every other day.

"The next four weeks were hell. I was throwing up all the time and was permanently exhausted. I was still going to work, but was so weak, I could barely function. By Friday, I crawled home and climbed into bed and slept for two days straight. At 13 weeks, my doctor diagnosed me with hyperemesis gravidarum and signed me off work.

"I'm now at the 18-week point and, thankfully, my nausea has subsided for the most part, though I still get occasional bouts. But it will all be worth it when my baby is born."

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