her hg story | chanté

her hg story | chanté

7 min read

Here at biglittlethings we donate 5% of our profits to HG Australia, a charity that provides support & raises awareness surrounding Hyperemesis Gravidarum an illness suffered by 2% of pregnant women. 

To shine light on the mama's that are going through it & the one's who have survived it - we put out a call for HG mama's to contact us to tell their story.
The response was overwhelming. 
We chose 7 stories to count us down to 15th May for HG Awareness Day & we hope they bring some hope, love, awareness, & that you don't feel alone.

To all the HG mama's, we see you, we believe you & we are here for you.

Our next mama we spoke with is Chanté who is currently raising money for HG Australia & is a passionate advocate for HG awareness & support. 

biglittlethings. | firstly, tell us your name, a bit about yourself & who you’re a mama to.
Chanté | Well I’m Chanté and I live in Perth Western Australia. I’m a mama to my beautiful healthy almost 9month old baby girl, Feather Willow. When I’m not mama’ing I am a community nurse, smeller of flowers, lover of snail mail and recently added HG advocate.

B | when did you feel like that you weren’t just “first trimester sick” & when you were diagnosed with HG? (If you were at all)
C | Honestly, a few days after the relentless nausea started (Week 6). Having health professionals tell me week after week “its not HG”, “can’t say it's HG”, “Should go away by 12 weeks”, ’14 weeks” and the rest, I doubted myself and it left me feeling like I am over reacting and weak. I wanted a health professional to tell me how BAD it was to help me by validating the severity of how awful my nausea and vomiting really was. 
After weeks of the never-ending cycle of vomit, sleep, vomit, sleep I dragged myself to the ED for a second time.  The doctor I had FINALLY started me on a pharmacy’s worth of medication to help me get on top of the nausea rather than trying to play catch up. He finally said those magic words “You have HG”. He was amazing and validated my pain and suffering. Though if I’m honest I only believe he diagnosed and put me on the right treatment plan because he is a HG survivor too. His wife had HG in her pregnancy and he saw her suffer first hand! 

B | tell us about your HG Pregnancy/Pregnancies. 
C | It was Hell!! It’s honestly the hardest thing I have ever had to endure. It was physically and mentally debilitating, I hated it. 
I had that persistent nausea and vomiting starting at week 6 and continued up to 38 weeks. I saw my doctor multiple times for fluids, had to be admitted to hospital for dehydration and lost up to 8kg by week 11. I wasn’t the me people know and have come to love, I was dead to the world! Those first 14 weeks were my worst and the hardest - I didn’t talk, eat, I spent my days in a dark cool room. I couldn’t even look at the water fountain. I’d move to the bedroom if someone walked into the kitchen or even talked about preparing food. 
When I finally got on a decent treatment plan around week 12 and had a week of community nurses coming to my house to give me IV fluids twice a day. My nausea and vomiting was now ‘manageable’,  I could talk and sit in the lounge room around people, but I woke up one morning thinking I have lost my mind. I realised the amount of saliva in my mouth, previously I had never thought about needing to swallow or how much saliva there is to swallow. 
After struggling to swallow, what seemed a lot of saliva all of a sudden, my husband did some googling and he found out that a tiny percentage of HG suffers also suffer from hyper salivation (Ptyalism) - GREAT! 
That meant that not only am I dehydrated because I am unable to keep my fluids in, I am now literally loosing fluids by drooling like a baby. 
Being isolated and sick day in day out and now needing a spit rag to soak up extra saliva left me extremely anxious, emotional and unable to leaving the house and struggled being social. I couldn’t venture too far from the house fearing I’d be sick or that people would see me spitting into my towel. I would feel anxious and overwhelmed before I’d end up in tears and leave a plate of untouched food to get home. It was so physically and mentally draining and challenging to get by each day that I wanted it to end almost days. The thought of terminating the pregnancy was always at the front of my mind and I knew it was an option until it wasn’t. I was constantly struggling to stay positive throughout my pregnancy and if it wasn’t for my husband taking all of my calls when I broke down and cried, I don’t know how I would have gotten through it. 
The physical symptoms of nausea, vomiting lasted until week 38 and hyper salivation lasted all the way until I I gave birth and then it stopped, it was instant and abrupt, both nausea and hyper salivation gone, almost like I made it all up, just like a dream!
B | tell us about the support you had throughout your pregnancy with HG.
C | Support came in many forms. 
I had my trusty vomit bucket, toilet and spit rag. 
I had family and friends cheering me along. They checked in on me, keep me company, didn’t mind my spit rang or me not wanting to talk. They drove me around, suggested Netflix shows and avoided those ‘eat dry crackers' or 'have you tried ginger?' Comments. 
I also finally got referred to the psychology team under the hospital I was birthing at because I was having panic attacks and found it hard to accept my pregnancy and be positive. While I was lucky to be referred, I don’t feel like they helped me at all. I felt like I had to educate them on HG and Hypersalivation and stress just how difficult my pregnancy actually was. I never got any strategies to help me manage day to day anxieties, my husband was the one who did research and suggested different things to implement. 
My husband was my biggest support he helped me way beyond what I needed or asked for. 
B | what got you through those really dark HG days?
C | Honestly my husband! I literally won the lotto with him.
He has done so much for me during my pregnancy and now after. I appreciate him for every single thing from trying to find every single food/smoothy/snacky thing to help me eat or drink. He packed and moved our lives into my parents place so we could continue to survive and have a better financial situation for when our baby arrived. He rubbed my back, cleared my vomit bowls and held my hair, especially when I was violently woken up by vomiting non-stop. He was my advocate, support person and voice. 
To him I am so grateful for taking every phone call while I was crying and wanting it all to stop, finding those day’s long and hard, he would always listen and remind me how far I had come and how close I was to the end. 
B | what is something you wish people knew about HG
C | The surprising mental struggles during pregnancy but also after birth when baby is earth side. I can understand having to struggle mentally during pregnancy, there is the persistent physical symptoms: vomiting and nausea and for me constant drooling. Then  after you are given this tiny person to look after, while you are trying to process the trauma your pregnancy left you with, triggers that take you back to those hard dark feelings and trying to accept that was your pregnancy journey. It’s overwhelming, draining and difficult. 
I was diagnosed with anxiety during my pregnancy after having panic attacks being in and out of hospital so frequently. When I had panic attacks at home, I was generally about to leave the house and broke out in panic due to being isolated and withdrawn for so long. It was so completely overwhelming. I have since been diagnosed with PTSD from my HG Pregnancy. 

B | what is something you would like a fellow HG mama going through it right now to know? 
C | These are words I’m sure each and every HG mama heard or will hear in their pregnancies. I know it won’t feel like this at the moment and believe me I didn’t feel or see it to be true during my pregnancy. 
It does go away. 
There is an end. 
You are so so strong for getting through day by day. 
You are so much stronger when you come out the other end. 
You are already a mother. 
You are raising your baby through your pain and struggles and they will be so worth it. 
Your pain is real! 
Your sickness is real! 
You are not crazy or weak. 
You’re loved and supported, Supported by every HG mama who have been there before, and we will help carry you and your baby to the end line and beyond. 
I am sending so many positive, beautiful, lovely vibes your way mama. 
You are almost there.
Chanté feels so passionate about sharing her HG experience that she has decided she will be shaving her hair on Hyperemesis Gravidarum Awareness Day - 15 May 2020, to raise awareness for HG and much needed funds for Hyperemisis Gravidarum Australia (HGA). 
You can donate by going to;

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