Ashlee Price-Smith, 25, shares something in common with the Duchess of Cambridge…
Skimming over news headlines on her phone, Ashlee Price-Smith tapped on some photos of four-year-old Prince George appearing in school for the first time.
It was a modern family photo – a loving father dropping off his anxious kid. But as she skimmed further, Ashlee’s face turned red when she saw some particular comments.
"Where’s Kate?" one person inquired. Another furiously penned, "It’s only morning sickness! Why’s she at home?"
Ashlee dropped her cell phone in disgust. If anybody could comprehend what the Duchess of Cambridge was experiencing with her third pregnancy, it was her. Like her majesty, Ashlee has hurt from hyperemesis gravidarum – a severe, debilitating pregnancy sickness condition.
"I desired to scream at the individuals condemning Kate," Ashlee says. "They have no clue what it feels like to suffer hyperemesis. You can’t even get out of bed, let alone take your kid to school. It is a lot worse than severe morning sickness."
Watching the now hale and hearty, spirited new mum, it’s difficult to believe that on an awful day of Ashlee’s pregnancy she puked over 60 times.
"It was the most horrible occurrence of my life," she recalls. "The illness was endless – every few minutes I puked. I couldn’t drink fluid, and there was no avenue for food. Water, then just bile, kept coming up. I made a mental note of how frequently it occurred – it was unending. All I desired was for somebody to make me unconscious and make it halt. I couldn’t even lie down or close my eyes."
What made it more harrowing was the fact that Ashlee had no idea she was pregnant. After few hours of constant spewing, her mum took her to the GP, who instantly directed them to A&E. At the hospital, it was established that Ashlee was six weeks pregnant. She was shocked.
"It was a shock," she says, "but at least there was a finally a reason for such continuous puking. A doctor cited hyperemesis and elucidated it causes severe sickness and desiccation. I was hooked up to a drip and given fluids and anti-sickness drug, which aided me to feel a bit okay. I remained for the night and was given anti-sickness drugs for back home."
Ashlee was one of the small numbers of womenfolk who, like the Duchess of Cambridge, experience this severe hurdle of pregnancy. And, as Ashlee learned, though treatment exists in the form of a prescription, there’s no definite ‘cure’.
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"I lost track of the Individuals who Informed me to try ginger," she states. "In the early days, I continually ate ginger nut biscuit but I puked immediately. Then another person advised travel sickness bracelets, but they did not help
"Although folks meant well, no one really could comprehend what I was passing through. They’d tell their own stories of morning sickness, but they did not compare. At times, the situation made me feel like a drama queen.
"The anti-sickness drugs reduced my vomiting, but till I was 25 weeks I puked regularly every day. Nothing would stay in my guts eventoast. Licking ice lollies was the only thing that would stay down – but even that was hit and miss. It was pathetic because I was always famished. I recall attempting my mum’s delicious cottage pie and feeling sickly before I’d finish chewing my first mouthful."
A normal day for Ashlee during trimester period included waking at 4 am after about five hours sleep for the first round of sickness, then vomiting again, 20 minutes later.
"It was like a time piece ," she says. "I’d glance at my watch and wait for 20 minutes to pass, preparing myself for the sickness. Even if I dozed off, nausea would wake me up after 20 minutes on the dot, and I would be sickly again. It was heartbreaking Some nights, I just placed my head on the pillow trying not to sleep and wait for the next time to puke.
"The house was crammed up with sick bowls. I had about 15 sick bowls by the side of my bed. I couldn’t take a stroll out of the house at first. My fiancé Greg was caring, and so was my mum, who stuck with me while he was at work. Close friends stopped by bearing gift- ice lollies."
Ashlee’s condition necessitated a total of five different hospital stays. Whenever the vomiting and dryness became too critical to handle at home, she was taken for intravenous fluids and anti-sickness drugs before being discharged and mandated to continue with the tablets at home.
"Doctors Suggested eating little and constantly, but that was easy for them to say." Ashlee recalls. "It was difficult for sips of water to stay down and I was bothered constantly that our baby wasn’t getting enough nutrients. When I informed someone in a shop that I was pregnant, they said I appeared small and enquired if the baby was growing well. It really bothered me, because I was worried about the baby too.
"From the very day I found out I was expecting a child, I begun to loose weight and I never had to buy maternity clothes. I lost a stone and a half through the entire pregnancy. This means I turned out smaller compared to pre-pregnancy" exopounds Ashlee.
For peace of mind, Ashlee and Greg did extra private scans, which indicated that the baby was growing perfectly. Ashlee also signed up an online forum for hyperemesis sufferers, where she could read, research information and commuicate with medics, which helped relax her.
"A doctor clarified the baby would take the required nutrients from me," she says.
A nurse herself, Ashlee was on sick leave for most of her pregnancy, only coming to work for a total of 10 days. Earning less meant she could not save for maternity leave, which further damaged her state of mind.
"Mentally, it was debilitating ," she stated. "Some days I’d just cry because I felt like giving up. Above all, I wanted to savor being pregnant, but instead I feel cheated of that special moments. I see pregnant women on the street and think to myself it is unfair that they are happy and I feel so Pathetic. My life was stuck."
Smile finally appeared on Ashlee's face when she hit the 25-week mark and the frequent episode of sickness relented. Her wedding day was on the horizon. the timing was inch perfect.
"Our D day was scheduled for when I turned 30 weeks pregnant," Ashlee says. "In the preceding events, everyone wanted to know if I would postponed it, but I decided not to let hyperemesis Screw up my life. I began to feel better by the time it came round, but my Greatest apprehension was being sick at the ceremony."
Luckily, Ashlee’s adrenaline carried her through her wedding day without so much as a dry retch. And for the last few weeks of her pregnancy, she only felt sick occasionally.
Then when she was one week from her due date, the medical team advised Ashlee to have her labor induced, because her bump was measuring small on the average growth chart.
Ten weeks ago, followed by a 27-hour labor, Ashlee delivered baby Jacob, who weighed a perfectly healthy 5lb 9oz.
"I was so, so happy ," she says. "Despite everything I’d been through, Jacob had lived."
In the hospital the next day, Ashlee ate her first good meal in nine months – jacket potato with tuna.
"It was Freedom at last" she says. "For the first time in what looked like eternity, I didn’t need a sick bowl. And I was able to enjoy those special early days with Jacob. Holding my baby boy in my arms, I knew that every single second of my sickness had been worth it. If I had to experience this again, I would. Definitely worth it."
"It’s Unimaginable to think that she is experiencing this for the third time," she says. "But why should you let something as horrible as hyperemesis stops you enjoying life and doing what you want to do? I feel a great empathy for Kate.
‘I would definitely love to have another baby one day, but this time, I want to put means and structure in place If I suffer again. I am hoping opening up about this condition will make people realize it has nothing in common morning sickness."
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