A mum whose life was hanging in the balance because of a pregnancy illness is now using her experience to help other sufferers.
Katrina Wallbridge-Nichols developed hyperemesis gravidarum when she was pregnant with her son Griffin, now 15 months old.
The Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton also suffered from the condition when she was pregnant.
Katrina suffered kidney and liver failure, vomited up to 40 times a day, suffered whiplash from being sick so often and was regularly rushed to hospital for emergency treatment.
Now she wants to help others who are going through the same ordeal and is taking part in a fundraising campaign for Pregnancy Sickness Support (PSS) which helps sufferers, called Nine Months Of.
She plans to do a 9km walk once a month for nine months with her husband Scott and Griffin as well as provide counselling support for sufferers.
She said: “I found PSS after I had Griffin but wish I had found them sooner. I was diagnosed at six weeks pregnant, signed off work and it didn’t end until Griffin was born. We had never heard of it.
“I was regularly in hospital with dehydration for intravenous fluids, and my kidneys stopped functioning.
“Liquids were impossible to keep down. It was like being in a desert staring at a glass of water, but knowing if you drank it, it would come straight back up and it was so painful.
“I was so weak that if I stood up I had to be supported. I couldn’t go near the kitchen because the smell would make me sick. Sometimes even opening my mouth to speak would make me sick. I couldn’t go anywhere or buy anything for Griffin while I was pregnant so I forced myself, but it made me so ill I ended up in hospital. I needed full time care from Scott and my mum, who were amazing.
“On Christmas day I managed two Yorkshire puddings and it was like winning the lottery.”
Katrina said three weeks before the birth she was given anti sickness drugs designed for chemotherapy patients, which reduced her vomiting by half. And she said after the birth, the sickness had gone within an hour.
She said: “We said we would never have another baby because it’s likely I would suffer again, but finding the charity has turned us around and it’s something we would think about. The charity provides a support network for partners and families as well as pregnant women. It’s something we went through as a family so we are doing it together. Hopefully we can support them for years to come.
“Griffin was worth every minute of it and I would go through it again. Within days of him being here we couldn’t imagine life without him.”
l Katrina is writing a blog about her experiences and fundraising for PSS. Visit ninemonthsofkatrina.blogspot.co.uk. Sponsor the family at https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/wallbridgenicholsfamily.