Today the Canadian Family Physician medical journal released a commentary saying that it no longer recommends the popular medication Diclectin as a first-line treatment for pregnant women suffering from morning sickness.
I am devastated.
Because with both of my pregnancies I suffered through the horror that is hyperemesis gravidarum - years before Kate Middleton brought the condition to the public's attention. In case you are unaware, this is not your routine "morning sickness" that passes around 12-16 weeks. This is beyond exorcist-level vomiting. This is vomiting so much that you carry buckets around with you when you leave the house.
This is vomiting so much that you have DIY sickness bags in your purse (for when you run out of the air sickness bags you stole from you last flight).
This is vomiting so much that you start choosing your foods based on what they are like coming back up (stay FAR AWAY from raspberries).
This is vomiting so much that the first thing you do when you arrive somewhere is scope out the washrooms and garbage bins.
This is vomiting so much that eventually you stop going anywhere.
This is vomiting so much that you lose 30 lbs in 6 weeks.
This is vomiting so much that your legs shake with exertion after climbing a flight of stairs because you rarely move off the couch anymore.
This is vomiting until relief comes in the form of a magic little pill. Or 12 in my case. I was prescribed Diclectin by my midwives when I was vomiting 5-10 times a day and losing weight instead of gaining it. I still vividly remember my first day that I didn't throw up - when we finally got the dosage right (yes 12 pills a day, instead of the 4 typically prescribed).
I still vividly remember celebrating in my midwives office the first time I started gaining weight after a rapid 30 lbs loss ( a big deal for someone who NEVER celebrates weight gain)!
I still vividly remember deciding at 5 months pregnant that because I was no longer vomiting, I must be over the "morning sickness" by now and I stopped taking my Diclectin. The next day I threw up 20 times in a 12 hour period.
I still vividly remember running out of my prescription over the Christmas holidays, in the middle of a record breaking snowstorm. I threw up for 3 days straight at 9 months pregnant. I went into labour on that 3rd day, 4 days before my due date. I'm still convinced to this day that the labour started because of the non-stop vomiting.
It's a miracle I had a second child at all, after my first experience. Unfortunately, my second pregnancy was much like my first, but this time I knew what to do. I was in a new city, with new doctors providing my prenatal care, and I had to fight tooth and nail to get them to prescribe the 12 pills I knew I needed. No 4 wasn't going to cut it, and I really didn't want to be hospitalized for my entire pregnancy, nor did I want to starve myself and my unborn child. Eventually I got the relief I needed, and this time I was wise enough not to self-wean or let my prescription accidentally run out.
Both of my pregnancies would have looked very different had Diclectin not been available to me. I likely would not have had a second pregnancy at all. My husband would have been happy to stick with just one child as it was. I understand there is a lot of scandal surrounding the financial ties between the Sick Kids' Motherrisk program and the makers of Diclectin. Here is my unpopular opinion. I DON'T CARE. Yes, I paid through the nose for the drug - to the tune of about $500 per month, as it wasn't covered by our medical plan. But I would do it again, and pay even more if necessary for the relief it cost. They say that the studies that proved Diclectin's efficacy were flawed and biased. I say again - I DON'T CARE. My response to the medication wasn't a result of some study. It was a result of the medication actually working.
End of story.
Dr. Jennifer Blake, CEO of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada, said her group disagrees with the journal’s new recommendation “based on evidence and research to the contrary.”
“It would be a pity if women were made to be concerned about a medication that has been used by thousands of women over decades and is proven to be safe and effective,” she added.
This is the crux of my devastation. It is not hyperbole to say that my life would look very different today had Diclectin not been made available to me. My heart breaks for women who may now suffer needlessly, and make serious life choices based on these new guidelines. You may think this is an overreaction, but you can't truly understand the far reaching impact that this kind of illness has on your entire life until you live through it.
I hope this is just a blip on the news radar, and that prenatal care providers will continue to give women the treatment that they so desperately need.
RELATED: How To Cope With Morning Sickness