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.
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.
Unfortunately one was right in the way of the gate!
But this time we were armed with more people and therefore looked more menacing!
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 - www.virginmoneygiving.com/EEdwards
or find out more about Hyperemesis and the Pregnancy Sickness Support charity at www.pregnancysicknesssupport.org.uk