Jo's 40 Day Challenge Diary - Days 1-20

Day 1 done. I'm going to bore you all with information about my experience or the brilliant work of this charity over the next 40 days. Might as well start with Pregnancy 1:
I called my midwife around 5 weeks pregnant, I hid on the back stairs at work and told her every gory detail of my sickness, my constant sick feeling, the taste in my mouth, my exhaustion. I cried during this call. At the end she said "Yes some people do suffer, have you tried fruit teas/ginger". That was it, no suggestion I go and see her or my GP, no guidance as to when I should really worry about dehydration etc. I went back to work thinking I'm crap at this pregnancy stuff and I battled on.....This is not good enough, this still happens 10 years later, Pregnancy Sickness Support is trying to change this - sponsor me and help many many vulnerable women have a better experience than me xxx thanks xxx

Day 2.....wore completely the wrong clothes it's gorgeous out there 🌞🌞. Remembering the sheer struggle of work, day after day, during pregnancy 1 feeling absolutely sh*t until I got home and crawled into bed kept me running today. Each working day I would get in my car, pray for a clear traffic-free run home. If I hit traffic it would reduce me to tears, not little ones either, big proper crying.... I've not told many people that but Pregnancy Sickness Support helps people to understand it's ok to cry and they are not alone. Sponsor me if you can and if you've got a sick friend drop them a message/check how they are.... thank you (only 38 days to go!) .

Day 3..... Pregnancy Sickness Support offers a range of support to suffering women in the form of peer supporters, a forum, training for NHS and other staff and promotes and takes part in various research projects. My personal frustration is the number of research projects into drinking alcohol whilst pregnant but comparably low research into severe sickness....how about we just say don't drink and spend that time and energy looking for something to support the many many women bed-bound by severe sickness?!

Day 4…Well that was an early start but probably preferable to how I spent my mornings when I was sick. Most mornings were spent leaning over the toilet until I felt able to get up/shower and get to work. Some days I never got up. 20 weeks I spent my mornings like this...twice...that's 40 weeks in total ...nearly a year of my life! Some sufferers spend all 40 weeks of pregnancy like this only feeling better when they give birth. Every day running is a challenge but is nothing compared to that - donate if you can thanks xx

Day 5…Phew getting heavy legs now....around week 5 was when I went to hospital for the first time with pregnancy 2. I visited a locum GP over Easter weekend, we had a 1 year old as well and my mum sat in the car with him. As the doc did my blood pressure/urine etc. He just looked at me and said "Are you on your own?" I've never seen a doctor look quite so worried, "no" I said "my mum's in the car"...he said "good she can drive you to A&E". Now to most people that sounds a good, quick decision but I'd already spent days not keeping fluid down but with basically uninterested midwives suggesting ginger biscuits I had just stayed in bed. It was my mum who made me see the doctor and my mum who made me a bed out of coats on A&E floor. You see the doctor doing those tests is not enough you then have to wait hours in a smelly A&E full of sickness triggers....throwing up in the most revolting toilet. Then when they finally saw me I had to stay in a sort of holding bay while they watched me be sick and every now and then came up and commented "Ah still being sick?"....ummm "yep". Eventually they admitted me to go on a drip but just before I arrived on my ward they stuck me in a lift just for good measure....bloody awful and an experience women still go through nearly 10 years later. I visited the hospital again later in the pregnancy and the experience was far better, same hospital, same resources etc. So it can be done in a better way....PSS campaigns to make it better for all. Thanks so much for the donations so far we're at over £450 bloody brilliant but I'm sure we can do a bit better??!! 😀🏃‍♀️👍

Day 6 dedicated to my mummy Sue. My virtual friend and fellow PPS Peer Supporter Becky Whitfield touched on the need for support during severe sickness and what PSS does to offer this. I touched on the support my mum gave me in my post yesterday - my mum is a worrier, in fact she's probably awake right now worrying about Brexit (If she's not panic buying food). But when I was sick I didn't know how worried she was, because she hid it to help me. She googled my symptoms, she bought me food/drinks/magazines, she told me about the case studies where women have eaten barely anything but the babies had been fine. She took me to hospital and the doctors. She looked after my toddler and she stopped me feeling guilty about work. Thanks mum, I know you've been through it on the worry-stakes, but I got through two pretty terrible pregnancies, thanks to you xxx If you don't have this support PSS will help you xxx

Run 7 done..... Happy Friday everyone 😀👍🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️

PSS Day 8...Sprint finish chuffed with that time especially after running every day this week!! Thanks Dad for joining me at my first ever ParkRun, and for all your support to me/mum when I was sick all those years ago.....I suspect you took the full force of mum's worry!!

Day 9….A little birthday run...I turned 30 when I had Hyperemisis, not exactly what I had planned for that 'special' birthday and to be honest that's what makes severe pregnancy sickness so horrible - you feel the whole time that you are missing out. I missed out on my eldest son's 1st birthday - I was physically there but it was such a struggle. Thank god for my hubby looking after said 1 year old and diligently returning to the shops over and over to get the specific card/gift/balloons I'd planned months before to get but now couldn't. And thanks to my sister in law Natalie who assisted her brother in the party organising. She did a wonderful job of keeping it all running smoothly and cooking those chicken nuggets!! Looking back it was crazy, he doesn't remember the party at all, but at the time it was important, because that is what I'd planned and I couldn't bear the sickness stopping it happening. If you have a wife suffering do as my hubby did - do what she wants/needs/asks and don't moan! If you have a friend or sibling just offer to help (and be a bit forceful if she says she's fine!).

PSS Day 10....the legs are a bit heavy now but still reminding myself that 20 minutes running with achy legs is so much easier than suffering with HG. I haven't really shared any 'tips' for survival because, in all honesty, there aren't any. There are things that make it slightly better , if that thing works for you, but they vary massively and the only true top tip has to be rest. That does make a difference and I know this first hand because with baby 1 I felt truly awful but I never got to hospital because I could just lie in bed. But with baby 2 we had the added complication of a toddler. It is near on impossible even with great support to truly rest with a toddler in the house...and to be honest you want to see them, you want to try to be normal and that usually finishes you off. So if you're suffering or a family member or friend is suffering tuck them up in bed and tell them to stay there...get Netflix/i-player/box sets and check on them every now and again to freshen their drinks....

Day 11 PSS Challenge...a run with my HG babies.

Week 11 when you have HG is quite a big one because you're probably resting all your hopes on reaching the magical week 12 when 'everyone' feels better....except, unfortunately, with HG it is highly unlikely it will stop at week 12. Mine both went to 20 weeks when, pretty suddenly actually, I would feel better. I never lost the horrible taste in my mouth and some smells remained huge triggers but I suddenly wanted to eat and had more energy. In fact with both around week 20 I was driving home from work when I realised I felt better and stopped at a local supermarket and bought bags of food....when I stepped in the front door Rob said "feeling better?", with the second one he smiled as he said it because I think he recognised this was a sign that the sickness was nearing its end. 
A quick glance at the PSS website will provide far worse stories of some women suffering far longer, some even the full 40 weeks and only feeling better when baby is born. This is, thankfully, something I can only imagine. I commend their strength and resilience and as always recommend PSS to support you if you need it xx  😀

PSS Day 12…. and my HG baby's 10th birthday. So I'm not going to focus on the horror of HG I'm going to focus on why you're doing this and why you can get through it. Meeting your baby at the end of this struggle will always be the best moment of your life, there is nothing like it and however utterly exhausted you are you'll spend the first night just staring at them. Plus when the midwives checked if I was ok after, I thought "Ok? I feel bloody brilliant, I've stopped feeling sick and that taste in my mouth has gone...when's breakfast?" . Focus on that end goal and take each day at at time, you've got this xxx

Day 13….. A reminder that Pregnancy Sickness Support offers support, guidance and advice to sufferers of severe pregnancy sickness. Suffering comes in many different forms but all sufferers are united in a sense of missing out on normal life, a sense of anger that they can't enjoy their pregnancy and confusion about the contrasting advice. This weekend looks to be a beautiful bank holiday weekend, great for most but potentially very difficult emotionally for someone suffering severe sickness, stuck in bed imagining the fun they should be having. If you know anyone suffering from any illness give them a thought and maybe drop them a line to let them know you're thinking of them xxx

Run 14….So it's good Friday and it is beautiful but 10 years ago I spent Easter weekend in hospital with HG. That was my first stay which was truly truly awful, I was admitted to a geriatric ward because that was the only bed and I was hooked up on a trip but also made to eat (if you eat that whole dinner you can go home). I did this because the ward was so awful all I wanted to do was go home. Admission 2 was a totally different story because I went to the maternity ward, I had a healthcare worker who just checked on me and talked to me, I was asked to eat little and often, whatever I fancied, and my little boy was able to visit. This was the SAME hospital with the same money/resources but 2nd time it had people that 'got' it....PSS trains staff to make hospital admissions more like my 2nd one for all. They have fantastic resources and information so if you work in a hospital check out their website and see if you can make your hospital HG Friendly. Getting it right in hospitals could make the difference to a woman contemplating not continuing with a much wanted pregnancy xxx

PSS Run 15 - anyone out there worrying that not eating properly due to severe sickness might be harming your baby in some way my HG baby (now 10) just ran 5k in 27 minutes....I don't think his development has suffered any ill effects!!

Friend Claire: Today I ran with Jo and our boys. Jo is a great friend and the reason I have taken on this challenge. Jo suffered dreadfully with severe sickness during her pregnancies and is now an ambassador for Pregnancy Sickness Awareness. PSS provide support and advice to sufferers as well as raising awareness of essential care and medical treatment which is sadly still poor in many areas of the country. Her eldest boy hasn't appeared to suffer for it though and left us for dust running a 5k in 27mins!!!!! Awesome 🏃

PSS 40 Day Challenge Day 16 and it is absolutely beautiful. I'm actually really enjoying this challenge and can't believe we are nearly half way, I've got my eldest into running and I'm trying out different shorter routes and planning my day around my run. It'll be harder from Tuesday because I'll be back at work but it will be worth it to raise awareness of this fantastic, small charity that relies on donations to help women across the country. Thank you to all who have supported us so far xx

PSS Day 17....what a beautiful day and pretty amazing bank holiday. Back to work tomo 😪 which will step this challenge up somewhat....there might be a few short ones during the week!! But thanks to my hubby who does the majority of the childcare I still have the freedom to dash out after work. Our childcare arrangements were an absolute god-send when I got sick second time - my hubby worked part-time whilst I worked full time and my mum/a childminder had our toddler while I was at work so I never had to worry about childcare - when I was signed off I was able to properly rest. Sadly, this is still quite rare and many women balance sickness with childcare....which is basically impossible without good support. Our arrangements still meant my hubby did the majority of care of a 1 year old for 20 weeks - he's a very laid back (lazy!) person who doesn't get worked up easily and just took this in his stride....although he did once murmur something about getting 'too used' to me throwing up all day. However, he never once complained, even when I moaned about the dinner he was cooking because the smell made me sicker! Practical support is key to surviving HG and I was lucky to have that, thanks Mr H.

Day 18 a quick whizz round the block after work. Now I've mentioned my HG babies a few times in these messages but today they joined me on their scooters because otherwise they were likely to kill each other....parenting can be tough and they were 'testing' Daddy by the time I got in.....but parenting with HG is a whole other level. Today I'm sparing a thought for those suffering HG with 1/2 or even more children to look after as well. They put themselves through absolute hell to give their children siblings or them and their partner the family they've also wanted. Hang in there, you've got this and even when they drive you crazy with arguments it is still worth it!! (Just....😉)

Day 19....Thank you to Ben and Yvonne Whitehouse for their kind donation (running total over £500. with gift aid now bloody amazing!). This seems an opportune time to share my story of attending their wedding....in Italy...whilst suffering with HG! Obviously I didn't know I'd have HG when I booked the flights but suffice to say I look back and wonder how the bloody hell I did it! Basically it involved Mr H walking me back home straight after dinner each evening, lying in when I could and putting on a brave face! I'd have hated to miss it but it wasn't quite the holiday we'd hoped and thank God for the Father of the Bride feeling sicker than me on the after wedding boat which cut that trip a little shorter than originally planned! Chucking up on the plane also proved useful in encouraging my neighbouring passenger to observe my personal space!! I survived it but it's another example of the impact of HG on plans you make and events you simply can't enjoy as much as you had planned xx

PSS 40 Day Run challenge....Run 20!! We are halfway!! And getting stronger/faster, which is how I felt when I reached week 20 of my pregnancies. Week 20 was a turning point for me but it isn't for all and it's tough not knowing when it will end. An amazing amount has been raised so far and today there was a shout out from Amy Schumer seeking better research and support for HG. That's what PSS seeks to do and why your support is so important xxx

Karen Lodge