Thursday, 13 September 2012

Adam's tea party and reflections

Well finally 11 days after completing the last leg of the Wherryman's Way walk and Adam's tea party I have a chance to blog about it! We have had a busy few days with the Paralympics, medical appointments and baby massage to name a few activities.

I still can't believe we actually completed the Wherryman's Way route which ended up us walking to closer to 41 miles due to detours and walking to my parents house rather than getting lifts. Our last leg took us from Great Yarmouth to Halvergate (we did the route in reverse in order to finish at my parents house). We opened the walk to any friends or family who were up for the challenge and we were joined by Mary, Jane and my Uncle Michael.

Starting at Great Yarmouth we had the traditional starting photograph at the official 'end' of the route. Uncle Michael arrived by train hence he is not in the photo.

Along with the traditional flip flop photo (I have before and after photos of each day of the state of my feet).

 Check out the others sensible footwear!

 The route took us along Breydon Water - the UK's largest protected wetland.

 Soon into the walk we watched Uncle Michael arrive in style via the train and he quickly caught us up!

 It was fantastic being able to catch up with Jane (who I went to Uni with many years ago) and we walked at a quicker pace with others leading the way!

 The 5 miles to Berney Arms pub seemed very quick but we stopped for a well deserved beer, lunch ...

and traditional foot soak!

All this time we were in communication with my brother who madly decided to cycle the Wherrymans Way route in one day! Instead of following the 'easy' cycle route he decided to literally follow the exact route that we had walked. Some bits were hard enough to walk along let alone contend with a bike. He looked shattered as he cycled towards us! 

So then there were six of us! We followed the same route between Berney Arms and my parents house that we took the previous walk - this meant getting through the same animal obstacles. Luckily this time the swans were safely in the water.

This time the obstacle was how to get Bens bike through each gate - one of which Mum broke! (It was fixed very quickly!) By now my Step-Dad (Philip) and my Auntie Elsie had walked from my parents house to meet us.

 The bike also came in useful for the dreaded cow fields.Mum bravely went ahead to clear the path!

 Unfortunately one was right in the way of the gate! 

But this time we were armed with more people and therefore looked more menacing! 

However, we didnt take into consideration the fact that Philip was with us. Philip likes to antagonise others and he decided to pick on this black cow.

This is the photograph that Philip managed to take of the black cow - before it very very nearly went for him.

This is the photograph I took of Philip running away from the black cow after it very very nearly went for him!

After our eventful walk we all managed to get home alive for one final group picture! 

                                    Mum and I had completed our Wherrymans Way walk!!!!

We then celebrated the completion of the walk with family and friends with having a tea party on Adams four month birthday! Unfortunately I didnt actually take any photos of the tea party as I was enjoying the cakes and resting too much!


It is amazing how quickly the past four months have gone. The first four months of my pregnancy were physically the hardest and each day was painfully slow. Each day I would count down to my due date - I started at 215 days to go! Hyperemesis continues to leave its ugly mark on my life. My body continues to struggle to do some things due to being bed ridden for so long and psychologically it has left many scars - I am now being assessed for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Throughout the walk I had many opportunities to reflect on the past year.

I now truly understand how important my family is to me. My supportive family was just as vital as the drug intervention. Without them I would have been unable to survive a day let alone the nine months. There were times during the pregnancy that a million pounds could have been on the table next to the sofa and I would have been unable to reach to get it. Moving was impossible because it would trigger endless vomiting. I was unable to prepare food and everything had to be within arms reach otherwise it may just have been a mile away. I had to be looked after 24 hours a day - on top of every ones day jobs. I had to be taken to countless doctors, midwife and hospital appointments as I was unable to drive and my medication had to be kept in constant supply. I had to have help to shower myself on the days I could actually make it upright. They also had to contend with me crying in sheer desperation that the illness would end. They did all of this without questioning why I was doing this.

Having a support network is vital to get through any difficult life event. I have found helping other hypermesis sufferers by becoming a Support Worker through the Pregnancy Sickness Support charity has helped me tremendously in understanding the condition further. It is hard to describe the isolation I felt during my pregnancy despite having my loving family around me.

I've learnt how important having humour in your life is. Before I was pregnant Chris and I would regularly see comedians in Norwich and London. Back in June last year we booked tickets to see Dave Gorman (for the second time), Jack Whitehall, Adam Hills (for the second time), Russell Kane (for the third time), Any Parsons (for the second time), Shappi Khorsandi, Chris Addison (for the second time), Mark Watson (for the third time) and The Boy With Tape On His Face. I never got to see any of the shows. Even when the vomitting was more under control the nausea was over powering and I was left physically unable to do anything.

Hyperemesis is no laughing matter. However, it is part of human nature to use humour to get through the hardest times. On the Hyperemesis forum I started a thread called 'you know when you have or have had HG when...' I was surprised by how many responses there were. Here are just a few -

·  You visit a kitchenware shop, see a nice mixing bowl and straightaway think “that would made a great sick bowl!”
·    The mere mention of ginger can make you go from nought to 100 in 2 seconds flat
·   Your Mum no longer asks how you are but how many ketones you have in your urine
·  There is a ‘you’ shaped dent in the sofa
·  You have the GP, the midwife and gynae on speed dial
·    You get more use out of your maternity pyjamas than your maternity day clothes
·    You describe your days according to how much food/drink you are able to keep down
·   You get asked if you want ‘your’ bed when you get to hospital
· You classify all foods in terms of how bad they taste/feel on the way back up
·    You go through stages of being sick. Stage 1) you feel like death. Stage 2) you wish you were dead. Stage 3) you worry you will never die
·    The favourites on your online Tesco account is a document of all your previous safe foods
·   You still reach for the ketone sticks 10 weeks after giving birth
·    When you see other women’s pregnancy notes and are shocked how thin they are
·   The first job you want to do after the baby is born is to re-decorate the bathroom 
* Your midwife wants to retire/leave before you get pregnant again

I have also been amazed by the generosity of others. I have been amazed by how many people have sponsored me and the amount of money I have raised. Not only friends and family but people I have never met. To everyone who has sponsored me - a very big thank you in supporting me.

So what next? Well foremost I am going to enjoy being Adam's Mummy. I am amazed how much he changes each day and how already his personality is shining through. He is a determined thing - I suppose he had to be in order to survive what he went through to get here! I will certainly be treating myself and Mum to a  pamper day after walking all those miles. My feet still haven't forgiven me for making them walk in trainers on the third day of walking! I will also continue to support other hyperemesis sufferers through all stages of the illness.

In the long term I shall have to prepare myself physically and mentally to go through Hyperemesis again. The fear of doing it again is made worse because I know Adam wont have his Mummy in full action for 9 months.

Its not too late to sponsor my walk at -

or find out more about Hyperemesis and the Pregnancy Sickness Support charity at

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Sweaty mess!

Day four of our mammoth walk from Norwich to Great Yarmouth. It is mammoth because each walk seems to get harder and harder for me! Mum, on the other hand, feels as if it is getting easier!

The past few days have been extremely hot so I was very glad when I realised today would be cooler. It was overcast so realised I would not be able to wear my new hat with inbuilt solar panelled fan due to the lack of sun. We had our usual photograph at the start of the walk - back again at Reedham Ferry.

It was only 1 1/4 miles into Reedham village but by the time we got there I was a sweaty mess already. I am taking postpartum sweating to the extreme!!

At Reedham we met our third and final sculpture of a boat builder at work. If you look closely in the background you will spot the Cupcake Tearoom. We debated for some time whether 1 1/4 miles walking was long enough to warrant a cup of tea already but as it was 15 minutes to opening time we sadly walked past the cakes. 

I took some very uninteresting photos of Reedham despite it being a picturesque village along the river - the cloud didnt make a nice backdrop. The route took us up through the village and over to the Reedham Swing bridge. 

Reedham Swingbridge (not my photograph)

It carries the Wherry Railway Line between Norwich and Lowestoft, across the River Yare. In a typical year it is opened 1,300 times (good old google). 

 Our next sign post stated it was 3 1/2 miles to Berney Arms - our only chance of a drink on the walk!

Our view for most of todays walk consisted of reeds - for miles and miles all you could see were the reeds.

 However, every now and again the reeds were gone due to flood defence work. We were not very happy when we saw this...

but were relieved when we realised we just had to walk down the mound rather than turn around and walk back.

We stopped for a break in between Polkey's Drainage Mill and Cadge's Mill where we spotted a new mooring for boats. 

By now we had a clear view of Berney Arms - although we had several bends in the river to contend with before we got there. 

We also had our first sighting of my Mums house - our final destination of the day (look closely and its the white blob in the middle!)

After admitting defeat last walk and wearing trainers that caused blisters I was even more determined to wear my flip flops today - however my feet took a battering!

 We finally came to Berney Arms Drainage Mill (the tallest in Norfolk) ...

and then a little while later to the Berney Arms Pub. There is no road access to the pub and it can only be reached by foot, train or by boat. It is a good walk from mum's so as a result we have visited this pub several times over the years. 

After a coke (no cup of coffee for Mum today) we stopped for lunch a little way up the river. We would have made my Nanny proud as in true Dugdale style we dipped our feet whilst eating! 


We went back on ourselves to the mill again in order to walk to Mums house. We would pick up the last part of the Wherryman's Way route on our last day of walking. Instead we joined the Weavers Way route towards Halvergate. 

We passed Berney Arms train station - although only two trains stop each day! 

We have completed this walk several times in all weathers so we didn't need to use the map at all. However, we came across the obstacles in the form of animals. We also discovered I have a fear of some animals.

Animal obstacle number 1 - swans with three cygnets who decided to sit right in front of a gate! I discovered I hate hissing swans.

Animal obstacle number 2  - a field full of bullocks. I am convinced these bullocks were after us. Mum thinks there were only 30 in the field but to me it felt like 300. They were circling us at point with evil in their eyes. Ok slight exaggeration but I have discovered a fear of bullocks! 

I was so focused on the bullocks that had circled us and were trying to attack us from behind that I didn't even look for cow pats! Slimy cow pats at that! 


After finally composing myself of obstacle number 2 I had to contend with the next obstacle only two fields along! I was happy enough walking through fields of cows especially as Mums house was getting nearer...

 However we came across animal obstacle number 3 - some cows with their calves smack bang in the middle of the path. There were not moving. Mum told me to go to the left of her as we edged round. After the tension of the other field I must admit I even grabbed Mums hand - have no idea how that was going to help! Anyway, we get through the gate and Mum confesses as to why she got me to go to the left of her - so I wouldn't spot the massive bull in the field!

(admittedly it looks tiny on the picture but in real life it was huge)

So technically there were four animal obstacles if you include the bull that I didn't know about. 

We finally got to Mums house where my stepdad waved at us from the garden - look closely and you may spot him!

 After our long walk we had a well deserved foot soak! 

 We have two differing figures as to how far we walked today. According to Wherryman's Way sign posts we walked 8 miles. However, we tracked the walk using Mums phone which put the distance as 10.3 miles!

So only one more walk to go for us to have completed the Wherryman's Way route!

As requested - more photos of Adam. This week we discovered that although he was physically ready for a door bouncer (he has had control over his head from birth and can nearly sit) we isnt actally tall enough for one yet! The poor boy was just dangling from it and even when Chris pushed it down his feet still wouldnt touch the floor - hence Adams puzzled expression!

Adam continues his love affair with Pickle the Penguin 

and we continue to try to get Adam to smile (or even look at the camera) for family photos!

Remember you can sponsor my walk at -

and find out more about Hyperemesis and the Pregnancy Sickness Support charity at