I vomited so much in my pregnancy that I had to have all of my teeth removed

As I was being put under general anaesthetic to remove my damaged teeth and roots from my gums because of excessive vomiting, I was absolutely petrified.

The tooth enamel had been so badly damaged by acid from being sick through most of my first pregnancy that there was no other choice. I only had six teeth left before surgery to remove all of my roots.

When I woke up an hour and a half later, I felt extremely panicked and emotional. I was numb for about a day but then I was able to have a proper look at my mouth and it was just strange.

You could see that the bone in my gums was starting to shrink and my smile had changed straight away, but I knew it was the right thing to do to remove all of my teeth – and I still don’t have replacements (besides dentures that make me gag) today.

Such is the reality of Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) – a condition that affects around 1% of women and is on the extreme end of pregnancy sickness.

I was 19 years old when I first fell pregnant. I found out at three weeks while I was working abroad as a nanny for a ski resort in France. I started feeling sick and that’s when I decided to take a pregnancy test – I was shocked because I hadn’t planned to have a baby but I was happy.

Unfortunately, a week later, my sickness started to become full on so I decided to end my contract and fly back to the UK as soon as possible.

That’s when I was hospitalised for dehydration because I was throwing up so much. My second hospitalisation – within three weeks of being back home in the UK – was when I was diagnosed with HG.

When I got the diagnosis, I didn’t really feel anything other than extremely ill. All I cared about was stopping the vomiting.

I felt all alone and like I was trapped, as well as jealous that my friends and family were living life and mine had ground to a standstill.

By seven weeks, I was bed bound. I couldn’t eat, drink, walk, stand, move or even lift my head without vomiting. On top of that, I had debilitating nausea that never eased. It was mentally draining. 

I’d have fluids and blood work taken, then be given an antisickness injection and be discharged around six to eight hours later. The next night, I’d do it all over again.

By the 12-week mark, I was begging my consultant, midwife and nurse for a termination. I just wanted the vomiting and nausea to stop.

The only reason I did not follow through was because a consultant doctor started me on a steroid treatment, which I continued for the majority of my pregnancy and then was tapered down slowly. I was still on three anti-sickness medications alongside this.

My mum also found out about the charity Pregnancy Support Sickness and we got in contact. They gave me advice and some one-to-one support from a woman who previously had HG herself.

I probably went to hospital more than 25 times during my 37 week pregnancy. Some stays were for a few nights and my longest was a week, but this all depended on the care I was getting.

Some medical staff were good and knew the condition well, which meant treatment was fantastic. But then there were some that did not even know what HG was and told me to suck it up and have some ginger biscuits or that it would just go away at the 14-week mark.

These comments were draining and made me feel like I wasn’t listened to and was just being dramatic. I really felt like I was physically dying and nothing has ever compared to these moments.

I lost my first tooth around 16 weeks and it was just out of nowhere. I was on my lunch break at work and I was so upset that I cried. I went home as I felt unwell and was so gutted.

By my third trimester, I was losing a tooth a week on average and it started to affect my self-esteem. I started to feel self-conscious around other people and always wondered if they could see that my teeth were no longer there.

I was regularly seeing the dentist, who decided that they would need to refer me to the hospital to have surgery after my baby was delivered.

The birth at 37 weeks was a little scary because my son’s heartbeat had dropped completely so the resuscitation team was on standby. Thankfully, it all went well.

The vomiting stopped completely after the birth but I was still nauseous for about 12 hours. After that, I went back to feeling human again. 

At this point, I only had about six teeth remaining and they were damaged. Trying to eat with only six teeth was hard because I was scared that the remaining ones would just break off too. It was also really painful and I could only take paracetamol, which didn’t help, and antibiotics to prevent infection.

So I was five months postpartum when I had my surgery to extract the remainder of my teeth and roots.

After the operation, my diet consisted of soup, soft foods like mushy peas, smoothies and ice creams – which lasted about a month – and then I could move onto softer solids. It actually felt more comfortable because I wasn’t in pain but I was limited to what I could eat because of the healing.

At four weeks past my operation, I had moulds made and was given dentures but I don’t wear them because they’re extremely uncomfortable and cause me to gag continuously, which is a major trigger to the trauma I went through.

The long-term impact is that my appearance and detail to my face has changed – I can still smile but it’s not filled as if someone with teeth would.

I have times where I get really down about the fact I have no teeth but my child was so worth it.

My family and friends have been very supportive though. They have been a shoulder to cry on, supported me with my decisions and helped me through my surgery. 

Just over a year after having my first child, my new partner and I decided to have a baby together. I was hesitant about potentially having HG again but I didn’t know whether having my second child with a different father would mean I’d escape the same fate as my last pregnancy.

So I came off contraception and actually fell pregnant that same day. Within three weeks, I was vomiting constantly and, even though my partner and I were really happy to be having a child, I realised I’d be in for another pregnancy with HG.

So I immediately made an emergency appointment with my GP to start anti-sickness medications, which helped for a few weeks before the medication wasn’t as effective and had to try another.  

At 16 weeks, I developed a bladder infection caused by dehydration and at this point, I honestly thought I was going to die. The nausea had come full force and my body could not tolerate any anti-sickness medications. I was admitted into hospital and stayed for a week.

I was at a low point and I begged my partner to agree to terminate. He was really supportive of how I was feeling and of course he was sad that I felt like I couldn’t go through with it but he wanted me to do what I thought was best.

The only reason I didn’t have the termination was because I was given steroid treatments and also anti-sickness medication via injection to do at home. These two things managed to get me through the rest of my pregnancy.

I’m so glad I didn’t go through with the termination but I’ll never forget how desperate I felt.

I would say both my pregnancies while living with HG were the same but the second time I had more support from the hospital, my family and friends. This is because I’d been through it before so I knew what treatments and medication worked.

Around four months after the birth of my second child, I started having panic attacks weekly. They were very much around the idea of being scared to be ill and it still affects me to this day.

I’ve become a very nervous person to be around and struggle in public around other people because I often have panic attacks in social situations. I also struggle to go to places like the hospital because my HG was that traumatic and it brings back some unwanted memories.

As for my teeth, I’m waiting to go back to surgery again to have my last top wisdom teeth removed now. These two wisdom teeth couldn’t be removed in my first surgery because they hadn’t dropped into the gum at the top.

They dropped when I was pregnant with my second child but had broken by the end of the pregnancy because of the acid again. Surgery to remove these last two teeth will completely make me pain-free and I am super excited to get rid of them.

I may look into other false teeth treatment in the future but it does cost a lot of money.

I want other people that are pregnant to understand that HG is not just ‘morning sickness’ – it is extremely serious. People should not compare their pregnancy to others because no pregnancy is the same.

I also want pregnant women to know that their feelings are completely valid and if they are suffering, they should contact Pregnancy Support Sickness (PSS) for advice and support.

You can speak to professionals about the treatments, and they offer one-to-one support with peer mentors.

All medical professionals around pregnant women need to have the most up-to-date training in treating women and they should also not be left on a ward waiting for hours on end.

I now volunteer to help support other mums going through what I did because I know how much that support can mean in a time of need. It literally saved my babies’ lives.

For more information about the work Pregnancy Sickness Support does, visit their website here or call the information line on 024 7638 2020.

Do you have a story you’d like to share? Get in touch by emailing [email protected] 

Share your views in the comments below.

Source: Read Full Article