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Kay Burley

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Sick and Tired

Posted: 05/12/2012 23:00

Gentlemen, you may want to skip this article and instead turn to the sports blogs about now...

So ladies, if I can speak frankly, discovering you're pregnant by constantly throwing up your guts seems so unreasonable. It's an utter shock to both mind and body. Now I know that morning sickness is considered a common side effect to the early stages of pregnancy, but for some women it can be so much more debilitating than that. For a desperately unlucky few, it's potentially life threatening for the baby.

My pregnancy experience was somewhere in the middle of the multi-coloured sickness spectrum.

I well remember 20 years ago discovering I was newly pregnant by first experiencing a queasy tummy which quickly manifested itself into full on nausea, then constant, uncontrollable vomiting. By the time my husband called the doctor to make a house call I was very unwell.

He suggested fluids and an anti-sickness injection. Having already started pencilling out my birth plan, and being of the thalidomide generation, I was reluctant to allow even a paracetomol to enter my bloodstream and expressed my reluctance to the doc - between stomach churns.

The doctor told me that the concerns for the baby if I continued throwing up would be far outweighed by the risks of the injections. I had it straight away, followed by fluids and a wet flannel placed on my brow helpfully provided by my concerned mum. Not sure it helped me, but it helped her!

Thankfully, unlike Kate, I didn't need to spend time in hospital but regular fluids and anti-sickness medication became a daily routine - and still the nausea nagged away at me. The doc reassured me that it would pass by 14 weeks or the end of the first trimester. It seemed a lifetime away when I was only seven weeks pregnant and being sick a dozen times a day, but I managed my expectations by crossing off the hours on a specially drawn up chart.

Day after day I tried to comfort myself with the reassurance that sickness denoted lots of foetus hormones and equated, I was told, to a very strong baby. That was of little help though as time and again I hurtled towards the nearest bathroom. I began to plan my day and activities around the closest loo. I knew exactly how many fast paces it was from the Sky News studio to the nearest ladies lavatory and on occasion could have given Usain Bolt a run for his money during a three minute TV commercial break.

As the weeks passed and I reached the magical three months, I woke every morning expecting to be nausea free. For the first few moments, I would think it had gone. That was until I heaved myself out of bed and the waves of sickness would wash over me as I waddled to the bathroom.

I say heaved and waddled because I had piled on the pounds. I'd read everything I could about how to combat the effects of nausea. Ginger I was assured would help. Nope, not even a jot. Milk of Magnesia would settle my stomach. It didn't despite downing what seemed like gallons of the stuff.

I even had bottle secreted behind the driver's seat of my car, along with one stashed in the makeup room at work and another in the dressing room there. No, eating and eating and eating seemed to be the only option. A vicious circle given the inevitable consequences, but it was the only way to keep me upright.

Eating and one other secret formula - hot Ribena. Don't know why, but it helped. Can't even bear the smell of it now, though interestingly my son loves it.

Ribena and sucking boiled sweets, but as you can imagine that proved impossible while I was trying to read the news, so hot Ribena in a cup under the desk was the next best thing.

Still the pounds piled on. I well remember a nurse at the ante natal unit suggesting I should watch the calorie intake as I lumbered onto the scales with a flask of Ribena in one hand and a sick bag in the other. You would have thought working with hormone-crazed pregnant women on a daily basis, she would have known better...

By the time I was due to give birth I had gained four stone, 56 enormous pounds, however many umpteen kilos that is and yet was still dealing with nausea at 41 weeks. Trying to wear appropriate clothes to appear on TV had been a daily, tearful challenge. I looked like a galleon in full sail. I couldn't have fitted into a bin bag.

Eventually though the baby arrived, 11 excruciatingly overdue days late. Almost miraculously the sickness disappeared. The doctor was right, my son was healthy, happy and had a full head of hair.

And so my thoughts are very much with Kate and William today, along with every other couple dealing with the distress of pregnancy sickness on whatever level. My only advice, it eventually passes and when you hold your baby for the very first time, the challenges of the previous nine months will be an instant, distant memory.

 
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