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The Hyperemesis Files
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The Hyperemesis Files

Author: Charlotte Howden

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A podcast all about the severe pregnancy condition Hyperemesis Gravidarum. Each week women who are currently suffering with, or who have survived Hyperemesis will tell their stories to HG Campaigner and Presenter Charlotte Howden. Some weeks we will also feature experts from the HG research community and charity sector.
27 Episodes
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This is the last episode of Series 3 and the last ever episode of the Hyperemesis Files Podcast (although I never say never). On today's show I am joined by Rowan. Rowan is 25 and lives in Lancashire with her husband Alex and her 18 month old daughter Olia Daisy.Rowan is an exceptional guest speaker and details her journey with such elegance and openness. Together we discuss her initial thoughts about her sickness, from "I am just too weak to do this," to "This is just normal though?" all the way through to finally being administered steroids the final medication on the HG ladder to stop her unbearable suffering.What is really very important about our conversation is the aftermath of HG as Rowan is still now experiencing un-diagnosed symptoms such as sickness, nausea and not being able to eat. Her story is here to inform not to scare as she acknowledges that she is "one in a million". But her journey has not ended after birth and she is now under the care of 5 professionals who are all trying to understand why these symptoms never went away.On a personal and emotional note I want to thank everyone for listening over the last 3 series and for supporting the podcast.The time has come for me to move on to other ways of raising awareness that enable to me to do more in less time and whilst I have enjoyed every second of bringing these episodes to you, they do take up a large amount of my time.Thanks for listening. Charlotte x
Series 3 - Episode 7

Series 3 - Episode 7

2021-03-1751:00

On this week's show I am joined by Jess who lives in Canberra in Australia. Jess has suffered from two Hyperemesis pregnancies with her sons. She left 5 years between the two as it took her that long to mentally prepare for another pregnancy.Her story is a great listen if you are thinking about having a second and want tips and advice on how to prepare.What isn't so great is how much she suffered with her first with ineffective and upsetting routes to treatment, being fed at one point by a tube and finding out that her first son would be born with a club foot.Because of this we touch on medications in pregnancy and what is amazing to hear is that Jess has been able to come to terms with her son's diagnosis without blaming herself. As she says in her own words "The Doctors will not give you something that is not safe!"So many of us worry about taking medication and yet when our children are born they are fit and healthy. Jess is really open about how she can't blame herself for anything because the reality is that we will never know if any problems were due to medication, complete lack of nutrients and fluids in the first trimester or just simple genetic or something that just happens.The benefits outweigh the risks.Jess was a joy to talk to and I hope you enjoy her story!
Series 3 - Episode 6

Series 3 - Episode 6

2021-03-0948:27

On this week's podcast I am joined by Danika. Danika is a mother of one from Somerset in the UK. Danika's story is really telling of just how bad the treatment of HG women in certain areas/hospitals/post codes in the UK can be!Her treatment ranged from being told they were going to check her for alcohol and drugs to make sure that is why she wasn't being sick to being left in A&E for hours to being admitted to the Frailty ward!In this episode we talk about termination, access to medication once available being suddenly taken away and thoughts of wanting to die.Danika also very bravely discusses her recent miscarriage and how despite this and everything she has been through with Hyperemesis in her first pregnancy, she is still positive for another child in the future.
Series 3 - Episode 5

Series 3 - Episode 5

2021-03-0339:51

On this week's podcast I am joined by Jeenie, a mother of three from Canada. Jeenie is the CEO and Head Trainer of KeepFit Women a fitness and health brand. In our chat we spoke predominantly about her third pregnancy (her first two being milder versions of the severe Hyperemesis she would go on to endure) and how she battled with her own identity.Whilst Jeenie's care was over all really very good, this didn't detract from some of the feelings and intrusive thoughts we all get with Hyperemesis. In other words, even with incredible care you can't escape the destruction of HG.We talked about her husband, who was essentially her carer, surviving an HG pregnancy during a global pandemic and how she managed to keep her company and brand going when she was unable to offer her usual fitness content and positive mental attitude.Thanks for listening and we hope you come back soon for more!For more information about Jeenie's fitness brand please visit https://keepfitwomen.com/
Series 3 - Episode 4

Series 3 - Episode 4

2021-02-2546:26

On this weeks podcast is Danea. A mother of two from California, USA. Her two Hyperemesis experiences were 11 years apart, and her second pregnancy was a complete surprise after failed IVF attempts with her new husband. Whilst they both had children from a previous relationship they were desperate to have a child together.Danea's second pregnancy took place right at the height of the Global Pandemic, and whilst she remembers being able to get through her first pregnancy with the help of medication, this second pregnancy was so so different.Finally fitted with a Zofran Pump and a PICC Line, Danea was hopeful that she would start to feel better, and yet her Hyperemesis plagued her right up until labour.Numerous problems, dismissals and the ordeal from the Zofran pump falling out several times, by the 32 week mark Danea was done. It was all too much. But she had to fight through until she went in to labour and of course now is enduring the problems of HG and the aftermath. NB: Danea speaks about a warning from her Doctor to minimise taking Zofran. This is common but please be assured that the studies the Doctor was referring to have shown a minimal increase in cleft palate and the benefits in the opinion of HG Charities and Campaigners like myself certainly outweigh the risks. For more information on Ondansetron/Zofran and this minimal risk please visit the HER Foundation or the Pregnancy Sickness Support website.
Series 3 - Episode 2

Series 3 - Episode 2

2021-02-1043:08

This week I am joined by Megan who is currently living in Australia and has suffered with Hyperemesis twice with both her pregnancies.  Originally from America Megan has experienced pregnancies in both countries,Megan's symptoms were horrendous and at one point went in to early kidney failure and was told at one point that if she went home from hospital she might suffer a cardiac arrest.Megan's pregnancies were very close together and of course one of them being recent meant that she was pregnant during the Global Pandemic.Megan's story is difficult to listen to but very powerful and emotional 
Series 2 - Episode 9

Series 2 - Episode 9

2020-12-0901:03:27

This week my guest is a mother of two daughters. She has had four Hyperemesis pregnancies two of which ended with a termination.As my final guest of 2020, I am honoured that she has decided to share her story with me and the rest of the Hyperemesis community, especially as we all know that termination is still a subject that is taboo.Please do listen to this episode to learn more about why Hyperemesis sufferers sometimes have to make this decision. My guest interestingly has had two termination experiences which really do capture the dilemma and the torment for sufferers. On the one hand we are forced to do something we wouldn't usually do but we have no choice and on the other hand wanting a pregnancy, having everything in place and being let down by medical professionals.As termination is discussed there is a trigger warning for this episode.If you have suffered loss from Hyperemesis please do visit the Pregnancy Sickness Support online forums specifically for loss and termination.
Series 2 - Episode 8

Series 2 - Episode 8

2020-12-0248:28

This week my guest is Lara, a mother of two who works as an art psychotherapist in a hospice. Lara's story is very complex and raises lots of important issues.Her first pregnancy was a typical "HG pregnancy", not being told about medication, being offered it but then being told not to take it and being dismissed by health professionals and maternity workers.We speak about how she managed to block out her first pregnancy as she longed so much for more children.Her second pregnancy was a nightmare. This time she did take medication but again felt like she wasn't given enough information about what she was taking and which drug was actually working.Her numerous experiences with A&E, horrendous and quite simply abusive comments from health care professionals and a traumatic experience where she was left in a wheelchair to fend for herself, Lara's husband made the decision to take advantage of his private health care and get his wife some help.Lara's time in private health care was a positive one and whilst she never felt "normal" she was able to go back to some kind of normality.Lara's career as an art psychotherapist in a palliative care hospice has given her a unique view of hyperemesis - seeing the similarities between the end of life and this horrendous illness.We also talk about mental health, anxiety during and after pregnancy and her primal instinct to want more children and how that has been taken away from her.
Series 2 - Episode 7

Series 2 - Episode 7

2020-11-2401:05:44

This week on the Hyperemesis Files Podcast I chat to Camilla, a mum of one from London. Camilla saw more GPs, Consultants and Obstetricians than she could remember, desperately searching for an answer to her pain and suffering.What is interesting about Camilla's story is that she sought help from Private Health Care professionals and hospitals but sadly the outcome was always the same "this was just morning sickness." In our chat we cover many different subjects and scenario, like the difference between NHS and Private care, the result being not much due to the simple reason that HG is just not part of the curriculum for Doctors and Nurses and Midwives.We also talked about the "I am just not enough" effect and how we perceive our suffering as something what we could "just do better at", but of course with Hyperemesis you can't out "try" the condition.We also focus on her inability to get access to fluids, being told to "bumble along" like other women do and talk very openly about the difference between other health professionals (mostly Oncology and Cancer patients) and how the treatment and compassion they receive is gold standard and perhaps the Gynecological world might learn a thing or two from them.As always we discuss medications, treatments, mental health and life after HG.
Series 2 - Episode 6

Series 2 - Episode 6

2020-11-1850:59

This week I talk to Kimberly, mom to a daughter who live in Dallas, Texas. Kimberly suffered with one of the worst Hyperemesis cases her doctors had ever seen. So much so, she has decided to not have anymore children, something her husband supports as he cannot see her suffer again.Kimberly lost a huge amount of weight over 25lbs and was in the terrible position of not wanting to be admitted into hospital, but if she lost just 1lb more she would have been.Torn between trying to keep out of hospital which would have damaged her mental health more than it already was, and having to eat she was in a difficult place but it gave her the motivation to try and find her safe foods and stay at home.We talk about her treatment, how she was initially ignored, pre-term labour, GERD and other traumatic experiences during her pregnancy.As always topics in this episode maybe triggering.
Series 2 - Episode 5

Series 2 - Episode 5

2020-11-1101:00:54

This week on the Hyperemesis Files podcast you are in for a treat. This weeks guest is Kay, a mum of 2 boys who made a change in her career from an Oncology Nurse to a Sister on an Early Pregnancy Unit after suffering with Hyperemesis in both her pregnancies. She now manages a day unit for Hyperemesis sufferers within that unit and is constantly looking at new ways to grow the unit and help more women.Kay talks us through both her pregnancies and we discuss everything from what it is like to have HG when you are a health professional, the struggles she had to get access to medication, being prescribed medication for depression when pregnant, the amazing support she had from her husband and so much more.She also gives some invaluable advice on what to do when you have been prescribed medication and how to access EPU's and Day Clinics across the country.
Series 2 - Episode 4

Series 2 - Episode 4

2020-11-0401:03:31

This week I speak with Alethiea, a mother of two from the UK. Alethiea suffered with 3 Hyperemesis pregnancies and has two children.In this episode we talk about her history with Hyperemesis (her mother wasn't diagnosed with HG, but we do this for her!) and the reason why she is an only child.We walk through each of her HG pregnancies and talk about her 2nd pregnancy which sadly ended when she suffered a miscarriage, and how cruel the experience was with the Hyperemesis not disappearing instantly and her having to continue on suffering from the symptoms whilst losing her baby. We also talk about the low bar that seems to be rife within the health profession when it comes to kindness and sympathy, and of course how she was dismissed as just having morning sickness and even when her own research lead her to believe that she might have HG, her Doctor scoffing at her.Other themes include, partners and HG, looking after children, trauma, medications, battling midwives for elective c-sections and the emotional trauma of HG. 
Series 2 - Episode 3

Series 2 - Episode 3

2020-10-2854:38

As series 2 continues, I want to explore deeper in to women's stories with hyperemesis. As a community we have to create a safe space for everyone to share. This week Victoria talks to me about her two hyperemesis pregnancies and how the result of not being informed about taking medication in pregnancy, she refused both times and continued her pregnancies without any.Victoria talks about alternatives to medication to help manage her hyperemesis as she didn't feel able to take what was being offered to her by her doctors. As this is a safe space I want everyone to be able to talk about medication and alternatives, but I must stress that there is no cure for Hyperemesis and that the majority of the alternatives that week speak about do not work for hyperemesis sufferers, as Victoria herself found out in her second pregnancy.However, it was interesting for me to learn about how she used to meditate herself to sleep and practiced breathing exercises to quieten her mind and to help her take one day at a time.Victoria is also a pilates and body control teacher and talks to me about how important the pelvic floor is during pregnancy and labour and how hyperemesis can't negatively affect it.  Pelvic floor exercises are just another thing that goes out of the window with HG!
Series 2 - Episode 2

Series 2 - Episode 2

2020-10-2145:18

On Episode 2 - Series 2 of the Hyperemesis Files podcast I am joined by Stefanie, a mum of one from London. Stefanie and I walk through her journey with Hyperemesis which began almost immediately. At 5 weeks pregnant she was already admitted to hospital and her journey continued with numerous hospital admissions, the longest being 8 days.We also talk about her mental health referral at 12 weeks pregnant, and how she had to join a University trial to get the mental health care she needed.Stefanie went through many different combinations or medication to find the best treatment for her, but ultimately at 35 weeks nothing else would work and she started to have side effects. This mean't that the last month of her pregnancy her sickness returned.She also suffered a traumatic birth AND went through all of this during COVID.Stefanie talks to us about the continued mental health care she is receiving and how it has worked for her. 
Series 2 - Episode 1

Series 2 - Episode 1

2020-10-1401:03:20

The Hyperemesis Files podcast is back for series 2. This week I am joined by Jyoti who is a mum of one from London and the co-host of her own podcast the Native Immigrants.Jyoti and I talk through her HG journey both physical and mental, with more emphasis in this episode on the mental health journey for an HG sufferer.Jyoti and I also speak very openly about our decision to not have any more children and the grief we have experienced from making that decision, but also how our decision will enable us to move forward and enjoy the child that we have.Other topics include medication, sterilisation, termination, cultural emphasis on having more children and the legacy of HG on our lives. 
This is a bonus episode of the Hyperemesis Files Podcast. I was lucky enough to interview for social media the wonderful Michelle Nicholson MBACP (Snr Accred) BACP Registered and Senior Accredited Counsellor. Michelle us the only HG Counsellor in the UK and offers specialist counselling support by telephone to anyone living with or recovering from pregnancy sickness. This episode is the audio file from the social media video interview I recorded with her. Michelle has suffered with Hyperemesis twice, hence her need to do something and to help women through the mental health challenges of this disease. Michelle and I talk openly about intrusive thoughts, why we do get so depressed and can go on to suffer with anxiety and post partum depression. She also speaks openly about the ways in which she addresses these struggles and give a run down on the current treatments available to HG sufferers and survivors. 
Episode 9

Episode 9

2020-09-3035:54

The final episode in Series 1 of the Hyperemesis Files Podcast (although there is a cheeky bonus one next week) A podcast presented by Hyperemesis Campaigner Charlotte Howden. Each episode Charlotte talks to HG survivors about their personal story with Hyperemesis. In this episode, Charlotte talks to Ashleigh, a mum of 2 from the US. Ashleigh has had a really tough time of it. Not only did she suffer with infertility problems, a cancer scare and a diagnosis of a rare for of endometriosis, she of course also suffered with Hyperemesis, twice! Ashleigh talks to me about her early struggles to get pregnant and how that went on to effect her experience with HG. We also talk about struggling to cope with a toddler, having the right support system in place, awful treatment from healthcare professionals, and some good! She also talks about her treatment and medications and what finally worked for her and a very scary moment with Valium. 
Episode 8

Episode 8

2020-09-2336:47

 This is the eighth episode of the Hyperemesis Files. A podcast presented by Hyperemesis Campaigner Charlotte Howden. Each episode Charlotte talks to HG survivors about their personal story with Hyperemesis. In this episode, Charlotte talks to Danielle, a mum of 2 from the UK. Danielle works as an employment solicitor and is part of the legal team for the Pregnant Then Screwed Charity. She has set up legal clinics along the North West to help women who find themselves discriminated against purely because they are employed and pregnant! Danielle has taken on cases for women who have suffered with Hyperemesis, and speaks openly about one. Danielle provides invaluable advice in this episode about our rights when pregnant and crucially for Hyperemesis sufferers, our rights when pregnant and suffering with a pregnancy related illness. Topics include redundancy, maternal leave and pay, sick pay, when to tell your employer you are pregnant and what to do if you think you have been discriminated against.  
Episode 7

Episode 7

2020-09-1648:15

This is the seventh episode of the Hyperemesis Files. A podcast presented by Hyperemesis Campaigner Charlotte Howden. Each episode Charlotte talks to HG survivors about their personal story with Hyperemesis. In this episode, Charlotte talks to Petra, a Swedish Londoner mother of 2 girls, who suffered with Hyperemesis in both her pregnancies. Her second daughter was born just 6 weeks ago so her experience is obviously still very raw. Petra is a freelance producer and writer and has spent the last 10 years of her career delivering live broadcasts, campaigns, and factual programming. Petra talks openly about her battle to get access to medication, intrusive thoughts about termination and also how a trip to Los Angeles is how she finally got a diagnosis of HG!!!!! Given her profession, Petra and Charlotte also take this opportunity to discuss how pregnant women are portrayed in Film & TV and how the back story of most pregnant characters is often misrepresenting the real experience of pregnancy. Petra also talks about how she managed to cope (or not) during a pandemic/lockdown and giving birth in her car!
Episode 6

Episode 6

2020-09-0922:29

In 2018 Charlotte interviewed Dr Marlena Fejzo for the Sick - The Battle Against HG Documentary. Marlena is a faculty researcher with joint appointments in the department of Medicine at UCLA and the department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at USC. Her primary focus is in improving women’s health. She has published papers on her genetic studies of many diseases of women including ovarian cancer, breast cancer, and multiple sclerosis and she discovered the first genes linked to nausea and vomiting of pregnancy and Hyperemesis Gravidarum. Here is her full interview. 
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