The announcement was made a day later than expected, indicative of how difficult a decision it was.
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The couple met with doctors last night and following much thought and discussion decided Kate is still too unwell to make the two-day trip given the travelling and hectic schedule. Royal reporters stressed how important this was to the Duchess and how much she desperately wanted to go, however, her health needs to be the main priority and with hyperemesis gravidarum I personally never thought the visit really a viable option for Kate. No doubt William will do a wonderful job representing the Queen in his wife's stead. The itinerary for the visit remains unchanged.
Moving on to our fashion corner for the day. As you know fashion month has been underway, with a number of Kate's designers showcasing their Spring/Summer offerings. Canadian designer Erdem drew inspiration from Katherine Hepburn in The African Queen for his collection "a proper woman, unhinged by the jungle".
Erdem joined other designers in his use of botanical prints, lace and dramatic dresses. The collection has been largely applauded by fashion critics and hailed as a great success.
When glancing through the above pieces, the Duchess of Cambridge doesn't exactly spring to mind. Certainly we will not be seeing Her Royal Highness in crop tops and sheer gowns. When this collection hits stores the pieces will be much more wearable and functional. Let's take a look at the current collection available from Erdem beginning with the lace Cherise and Elizabeth dresses.
There are so many looks to choose from which one could easily envisage Kate wearing for an official engagement. Erdem's use of lace and floral prints is beautiful and his attention to detail is evident in each garment. Below we see the crystal embellished Rayna Dress, the Armel in floral print and black and the Merete metallic broderie anglaise dress.
The Lace Illusion Dress, Lace Yoke Crepe Dress, Silk Georgette Shirtdress and Print Ponte Dress are great versatile pieces all currently available at Nordstrom.
Finally, we take a look at the Kent floral-lace satin dress, the burgundy Aubrey, the embellished Brenton and the Valma lace and brocade gown.
There are so many elegant styles to choose from, we have no doubt Kate will continue to be a fan of Erdem :)
The news of Kate's illness prompted an enormous response from mothers who have endured hyperemesis gravidarum, Indeed, one of our readers, Shanon, was able to realise she was suffering HG because she's a fan of Kate and took the time to write her experience down in insightful detail and shared it on our Facebook Page. Those who have already read Shanon's story were moved, amazed and, for many, educated about the reality of the illness which is all too often misunderstood as 'merely morning sickness'.
I thought I would share it with you all, and I'm sure you'll find it to be as fascinating a read as I did.
'I owe Kate Middleton my life.
Those who know me are probably rolling their eyes because I’ve been a lifelong fan of all things royal. As a fan, when the Duchess of Cambridge’s first pregnancy was announced in December 2012, I was ecstatic! Of course, the announcement came as the Duchess was hospitalized with hyperemesis gravidarum. It was this – the royal family’s decision to reveal Kate Middleton’s illness – that saved my life.
My husband and I were overjoyed to find out in April 2013, that we were expecting our first child. We were thrilled to share the news with close family and friends and eagerly looked forward to this joyous new adventure. At about six weeks of pregnancy, things started to change. Nausea crept in and my appetite disappeared. Ah, morning sickness. Then afternoon. Then evening. Then morning again. At my first OB appointment, everything seemed normal. My doctor told me what she probably tells everyone “Drink ginger ale and eat crackers.” It didn’t work. I started spending hours sprawled on the bathroom floor wanting to die. I vomited up nothing, relentlessly. Even looking at a glass of water made me cry. I couldn’t eat or drink anything, but I needed to provide nutrition for the baby, and for me.
Phone calls to the doctor were always the same – “It will stop after a few weeks.” “Eat crackers.” “You have to drink water.” I couldn’t. It simply wasn’t possible. Finally, in late May, dehydration forced my first trip to the ER. Several hours of IV fluids and my first experience with Zofran later, I went back home. A couple days later I followed up with my OB. Diagnosis? Morning sickness. Treatment? Eat crackers. Drink water. I cried in the doctor’s office.
Then I remembered Kate. I learned everything I could about hyperemesis gravidarum (HG). HG is a debilitating and potentially life-threatening pregnancy disease marked by rapid weight loss, malnutrition, and dehydration due to unrelenting nausea and/or vomiting with potential adverse consequences for the mom-to-be and the newborn(s). I spent a great deal of time reading personal stories of HG moms on the HER Foundation Forum (www.helpher.org). One of the happiest moments of the whole pregnancy was discovering the term “crackered”. Apparently all HG moms have “crackered” stories – how someone tells them that “it’s just morning sickness” and they should “eat crackers”. I found my people.
I was absolutely convinced I had HG. The person I couldn’t convince was my doctor.
Meanwhile, I was mixing sick days with working from home because I could barely function. (I am so thankful for the flexibility to work from home, though I know the quality of my work suffered.) My husband had to do everything for me. There were days he would have to help me get dressed or take a shower or even just pick me up off the bathroom floor. At this point I was so sick I was beginning to hallucinate. I would lie in front of the toilet and see flames around me. There was also a silhouette of a man with a hat who would always stand there watching.
While all of this was happening, I had to start telling people I was pregnant because it was obvious something was wrong, and I was missing so much work. Of course everyone wants to share in the joy of a pregnancy. Are you excited? Have you gone shopping yet? Do you have a name? For me, there was no joy. Dante had forgotten a Circle of Hell.
Again, I turned to the HG forums because no one else understood and I was so scared. What was happening to me? Why wasn’t I happy? Was this normal? Was I killing my baby? Thankfully, these amazing women all experienced the same things I was going through and they were sympathetic, funny, and so very courageous.
At the beginning of July I had another doctor appointment. Again, I was unsuccessful at convincing my doctor that I had any problem other than typical morning sickness. Five days later I was in the ER again for more fluids. In those five days I had lost eight pounds. At my next doctor’s appointment, I put my foot down and said that I knew I had HG and I needed IV treatment. I got my HG diagnosis, and I started on IV fluids and nausea medicine the next day. (I’m still waiting to receive my honorary medical degree.)
A nurse came to my house to place a midline IV (just above the elbow) to be connected to a pump 24 hours a day. I would have to change the bag every 12 hours. I also became my own nurse! I learned how to do Zofran injections straight into my IV every 6 hours and Phenergan every 4 hours. Our dining table became a clinic – vials of medicine, gauze, bags of fluids, gloves, antiseptic, medical tape, syringes, and saline. In a matter of days, I could function again. I had learned one lesson though. On the HG forums I found a recommendation for a doctor that was familiar with HG, and I was thankfully accepted as a new patient. A doctor who listens changes everything.
A couple weeks into using the pump, the midline stopped working. My vein had collapsed, and I was in excruciating pain in my left shoulder. A nurse came to the house and put a temporary line in my right hand, so I couldn’t use my left arm or my right hand – and my husband was out of town. It was a great time. The next morning my friend took me to the hospital to get a PICC line inserted; this goes up through the arm and into a vein above the heart. The pump was hooked up just as before.
The pump and I had a love/hate relationship for two months. I loved it because I could function with the constant flow of medicine and fluids. After a couple weeks, I started to eat! I even started to gain weight. I hated when I forgot that I was tethered to something. I also hated the beeping in the middle of the night when the bag or battery needed to be changed.
After two months on the pump, I felt ready to transition from the IV to Zofran and Phenergan in pill form. I was terrified! What if I got worse? What if it was as bad as before? Often HGers will feel better in the 2nd trimester and relapse in the 3rd trimester. I still had the pills though, and coming off the pump was so freeing! However, the second I was off the pump, everyone’s reaction was “You’re better!” I was far from anything associated with “better”. I was still nauseous all the time. I hadn’t vomited in a while, but I wanted to. I could eat, but only certain things. And if you’ve ever taken nausea medication, you know that it will knock you out. Well imagine taking two different kinds of nausea medicine every four and every six hours respectively. Yeah, I had enough medicine in me to put down The Rock, and I still went to work every day. When you don’t have a choice, you just do what you have to do.
I was a walking zombie, but I could function and Baby was healthy.
Let me define “function”. By no means was I skipping down the halls happy as a clam when I was on the pump or after. I could perform the basic necessities of life independently. That was my measure of success. As Baby grew, I was thrilled at the idea of feeling him move. When that time came, I wanted to die. Every time he moved, I wanted to vomit. It was awful. And of course when a pregnant woman starts to show, she is officially public property. Every stranger touches you – which also made me want to vomit. Everyone also wants to know everything you’re doing to get ready for Baby. Shopping? Too sick. Baby’s room? Too sick. Baby showers? Too sick. Names? All those exciting things you think about as a young woman? HG stole that from me. I wanted to ignore that this pregnancy was even happening. I had to separate Pregnancy and Baby in my head. Eventually your coworkers, friends and family stop asking questions altogether because you're just not happy enough and no fun to be around. HG is very lonely.
What I found helpful was to take things not day by day, but hour by hour. At the worst of times, I would have to take things in just tiny segments – sit on couch, take nap, drink one sip of water. If you break things down, you can do it. If you try to think nine months of HG, you won’t get through it. You can’t. It’s too overwhelming.
At 37 weeks, I was done. Beyond done. I could not do it anymore. I had an amniocentesis and unfortunately Baby’s lungs were one point below mature. My lovely, wonderful, amazing doctor took pity upon me and my mental breakdown and went before the hospital’s council to petition to have a C-section at 38 weeks. The hospital said no. She did it anyway. I love her. Baby Boy was born 100% healthy. (I know there are probably many of you hating me for these decisions - more on that later.)
HG wasn’t done with me yet though. I was still taking my nausea medicine in the hospital and doing okay. When I got home though, I relapsed. I spent two full days in bed. Thank goodness for Mom! Finally, two weeks after Baby was born, HG let go and drifted away. Unfortunately, there are now foods I cannot eat because I would eat them when I was pregnant so it reminds me of HG. Sorry Snickers and hashbrown casserole! There are restaurants I can’t go to now. Poor Wendy’s and Arby's.
I am overly sensitive to smells; sometimes my husband has to eat in a different room. I pick up stomach viruses much easier than I ever did before HG.
People ask me “Wasn’t it all worth it?” I don’t like that question. Obviously, I love my son more than anything. He is my light and my world. But no woman should ever have to suffer through HG. Another question I hate is “When are you going to have another?” HG is not just this silly ol' thing you have to deal with to have a baby. It's a big freakin' deal.
The one bonus of having had HG is you would know what to expect. This is what I know: We would have to have enough money so I can either quit my job or take an extended leave of absence if I’m allowed. I cannot work through that again. It was torture. Second, since we already have a child, we would have to have someone who could live with us to take care of our current child because I would not be able to. On most days I wouldn’t be able to care for myself and would need my husband’s help. Those are major considerations. Not to mention the simple fact that I don’t know if I could physically do it again. And yes, 80% of HGers have HG again. (There is also the possibility that my experience with HG could be even worse the second time. My version of HG would be considered “mild to moderate”.
There are some cases so severe that there is no choice but to abort the baby. I honestly cannot imagine the pain of having to make such a decision, but I can absolutely say that my HG experience has completely changed my outlook on judging others’ decisions. Yes, I can hope for the best, but in a situation like this, you absolutely have to plan for the worst.)
So, you see, in a way, Kate Middleton saved my life. If she hadn’t revealed that she had HG, I don’t know that I would have figured out my own diagnosis and fought for treatment. Now the Duchess is pregnant with her second child and, bless her heart, she is fighting through HG again. I envy her resources, but that in no way mitigates the horror that is HG. The announcement of her second pregnancy has stirred up a lot of emotions for me, but it brings about an opportunity for more awareness. I have grown more and more furious watching every media outlet call HG “morning sickness”. HG IS NOT MORNING SICKNESS!
That’s the reason for sharing my story, finally. Partly it’s therapy for me, but mostly I want to bring awareness to HG and all its ugliness. Please, the next time you hear someone talk about Kate and her “morning sickness”, correct them. I would be eternally grateful if you would share my story on Facebook, your blog, or your website. Visit www.helpher.org and learn more! The more awareness we can raise, the likelier it is that those suffering from HG will get treatment in time to make a difference. The earlier HG is treated, the less severe it will get. Please help us Raise Awareness for HG!'
We cannot thank Shannon enough for sharing her story and helping to raise awareness. If you wish to find out more about it or donate please visit Help HER or Pregnancy Sickness Support.