By Mollie Tracey
A mum-to-be who vomited 50 times a day was placed on cancer drugs to save her and baby’s life.
Alicia Savory, 27, from Surrey, was hospitalised after being diagnosed with hyperemesis gravidarum – excessive nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.
At her worst, Alicia was sick up to 50 times a day, and couldn’t eat, move, or look at food without vomiting.
Her body began to shut down and in a desperate attempt to save hers and her unborn baby’s life, Alicia was placed on Ondansetron – medication that is given to cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.
Despite not knowing what effects the medication could have on her baby’s life, she was left with no alternative, but thankfully her sickness slowly began to reduce.
Baby Dexter arrived healthy and safely on August 30, and soon as soon as he was delivered her nausea completely disappeared.
Alicia, a primary school teacher, said: “At my lowest during my pregnancy I weighed just over seven stone and I was vomiting around 50 times a day, I didn’t think it would ever end.
“I couldn’t move and I couldn’t even shower myself, Jamie and my family all had to take turns looking after me.
“I’m not ashamed to admit it, but on the fourth day in hospital I was begging the nurses to make it stop, the thought of carrying on was unthinkable and a termination did go through my mind.
“But as quickly as the thought came I realised I could never go through with it and hated myself for even considering it.
“I was eventually placed on medication that is given to cancer patients who are undergoing chemo to stop the sickness.
“Doctors aren’t sure what the long term effects are, especially for pregnant women, however I didn’t have a choice.
“My organs could start failing and I risked dying if I didn’t try the strong drugs.
“I had to agree to take it or else me and the baby could have died, it was our only option.
“For the rest of the pregnancy I suffered extreme anxiety, I was so worried that I wasn’t giving my baby the best possible start in life.
“But within seconds of Dexter being born that feeling of nausea I had become so accustomed to had completely vanished.
“And an hour later when they offered me food I was absolutely ravenous.”
Alicia and husband, Jamie, 27, found out they were expecting on New Year’s Day and were thrilled with the news.
However, at just five weeks, Alicia was being sick around 30 times a day.
She added: “I couldn’t keep anything down, not even water, and everything would trigger my sickness, especially fast movements.
“I had to unfollow every food blogger account on social media as the even the sight of food made me vomit, and I couldn’t smell my husbands after shave or even shampoo.
“Throughout the night I was sick 12 times in just one hour.
“I visited the doctors but I was dismissed and told that it was just morning sickness, but I knew it had to be something much worse.
“I ripped my oesophagus open and I was vomiting bright red blood and black tar, which burnt my throat, and every time I screamed in pain.
“I went into A&E four times before I was taken seriously, and that’s only because my husband pushed really hard for us to see someone and that’s when I was admitted into hospital at eight weeks.”
Over the next five days Alicia’s organs were monitored, her baby was drawing any nutrients that she had left and so her own body began to shut down and go into starvation mode.
Alicia said: “I couldn’t even take pregnancy vitamins because I couldn’t keep them down, I felt like a complete failure.
“The effects of the medication wasn’t instant, but over the next few days it did ease the sickness a little.
“For another eight weeks after that I was still vomiting quite a lot, but it was nowhere near as bad as it was before.
“At around 22 weeks the sickness reduced to a maximum of five times a day, but the nausea didn’t stop for the whole time, which was the worst part.
“I was petrified to leave the house and could only eat plain carbs and anything that didn’t smell.
“However at 24/26 weeks pregnant I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes, it was nothing to do with having HG, but it meant I could no longer eat carbs – and so I had to force feed myself a balanced diet.”
Alicia remained on the medication for the rest of her pregnancy and at 38 weeks she was induced.
Two days later Dexter arrived healthy and safely weighing 6lb 9 ounces.
She added: “An hour after he was born they offered me some food and I drank nine cartons of orange juice and ate four rounds of toast.
“For the next few days I was so hungry but I still couldn’t shake some of the anxiety attached to certain foods that I had previously thrown up.
“I always wanted three children but now I can’t ever see myself having another child, it wouldn’t be fair on Dexter as I couldn’t even look after myself let alone him.
“Jamie was incredible, he didn’t show any fear at all and gave up so much to look after me, I hated that I couldn’t be the wife that I wanted to be and because of that I am racked with guilt.
“Everyone told me ‘it’ll be worth it when he’s born’ and they were right, Dexter was worth losing eight months of my life over and hopefully by sharing my story I can help others who are in the same position as I was.”