Good news that Kate Middleton has been discharged from hospital after suffering from acute morning sickness. She could very likely be expecting twins. I can relate to all the terrible symptoms described and empathise with poor Kate as I know exactly how awful and debilitating it feels.
At the beginning stages of my pregnancy, before I knew I was expecting twins, I was also vomiting violently, up to 10 times a day. I couldn’t keep anything down, I couldn’t even look at food or smell food. I was permanently nauseous. I could barely drink, I couldn’t stand the taste of tap water and anything else felt too acidic. I couldn’t even enter the kitchen or pass a restaurant. Routine tasks became a nightmare; the very thought of doing the laundry (smell of washing powder) or emptying the rubbish made my stomach churn. The slightest smell made me throw up and I couldn’t even put a toothbrush in my mouth without retching. I was up 3-4 times in the night throwing up and then most of the morning, about 5-6 times. I lost more and more fluid, was losing weight drastically, suffered agonising migraines and eventually, it got so bad, I could barely move.
Hyperemesis gravidarum, I later learned, is most common in: young mothers, first time pregnancies and multiple pregnancies, all of which applied to me.
It’s lovely to see how caring and compassionate Prince William has been to Kate, constantly by his wife’s bedside. When I was crying and begging for help after 3-4 weeks of this acute morning sickness, I was told, ‘Thousands of women go through pregnancy without any fuss! Why do you have to be different? What gives you the right to complain?’
As I was vomiting, I was ridiculed for ‘being disgusting.’
Eventually, I was admitted into hospital by my gynaecologist who was horrified that I had suffered silently for so long and like Kate, was put on a drip for about a week, given infusions and anti-sickness tablets. I was severely dehydrated.
The pregnancy, thank G-d, was much better after that and I gave birth at 35 weeks, 4 days by caesarean section to 2 beautiful healthy babies, each over 2 kilos.
If Kate does have twins, breast-feeding is a real struggle! I was determined to breastfeed my babies for as long as I possibly could. I refused to listen to everyone’s advice to just give up and switch to bottles. I spent hours and hours painfully pumping my milk, lining up bottles, meticulously measuring and timetabling feeds like a dairy farm! All because I wanted to ensure my babies got the very best start in life.
It brings me to tears to think back on that time now; all the love, excitement, anticipation that has ended so tragically. The incredible miracle of bearing life reduced to an inanimate object: a legal piece of paper on a desk, dictated by a total stranger, an outsider for whom emotions play no role.
It is my body that bears the physical scars today. I endured the morning sickness, the labour pains. Only a mother can know what a kicking foetus feels like. It was my stomach that ballooned as the babies grew, my nutrients and my milk that sustained and nourished my baby boys. After all a mother goes through to bring life into the world, how can anyone possibly claim that that life is separable from its life-giver?
Whether Kate is expecting twins or a single child, I only hope she is given the love and support that every new mother and newborn deserves.