06
Dec 12

My experiences of hyperemesis gravidarum

Reading the news that Kate Middleton is suffering with hyperemesis gravidarum made me feel for her, as a fellow HG sufferer I can relate more than others with her on this issue. A part of me is also happy that this terrifying and often life threatening illness will finally get the attention it deserves so that other women can detect it as early as possible and not just dismissed as ‘bad morning sickness’. Let me tell you, HG is not morning sickness. It’s a terrifying illness that seizes women in the early stages of pregnancy and doesn’t relent until you feel your body may simply just give up all together. I didn’t even know I was pregnant when I began dealing with the rapid and alarming symptoms of HG. At one point, unbeknownst to me, I was two months pregnant and vomiting up to 40 times a day and all through the night. This wasn’t just a day or two, it went on for weeks in a row and was unrelenting.

 

William and pregnant Kate leaving hospital

William and a pregnant Kate leaving hospital

Most days I just lay in bed with a plastic bucket next to me, throwing up clear bile as there was literally nothing in my stomach left to come up. I couldn’t eat at all, except for gnawing on a few cream crackers now and again, and water was a no no too, leaving me severely dehydrated. My whole body ached and I had terrible pain in my chest from the constant convulsions meaning that I couldn’t even move to get up without it being agony. I went to my doctor who, not thinking I could be pregnant due to my polycystic ovaries, told me it was an issue with my lungs and put me on antiemtic drugs to stop the vomiting. Thankfully, these turned out to be safe for pregnant women when a few weeks later I found out I was in fact pregnant, but they did nothing at all to stop the sickness.

At a time when I should have been relaxed and enjoying the pregnancy, looking forward to my new arrival, all I could do was lie in the dark wishing the pain would stop. It took my losing over two stone for the hospital to finally diagnose me with hyperemesis. I was painfully thin as I literally hadn’t eaten for three months, and the press, not knowing I was pregnant, were calling me anorexic and coming up with the usual bogus ‘sources’ claiming I was ‘picking at salads and surviving on milkshakes’. Quite ironic as the idea of actually being able to keep down even a milkshake seemed like a distant fantasy at that point! I was given painkillers,  i/v fluids and was told to rest, but I was furious with the diagnosis coming so late as, by then, the hyperemesis had started to wear off and I was eating again and getting my strength back.

The hospital had only considered that I may have it after I googled my symptoms myself and thankfully found the Pregnancy Sickness Support website, one of the few of its kind on the internet offering advice and war stories about HG. The hospital had, up until then, just dismissed my claims and obvious symptoms as mere morning sickness, a fact that enraged my husband and left me worried about my own survival and that of my unborn baby. In sheer desperation I printed out my internet research to show a nurse that the symptoms matched my severe weightloss, dehydration and debilitating nausea and I was finally diagnosed.

Baby Astala

One in every 50 pregnant women suffer from HG and it can lead to serious issues and even death if not treated early. Thankfully Kate seems to be getting all the help she needs at the right time. For me, the nightmare ended around month four, leaving me free to enjoy the remaining four months of my pregnancy but I was so sad that the early part of being pregnant was something I couldn’t enjoy like the other mothers at the NCT class. Once I started attending classes the other expectant mums shared their stories about all the fun they had  had stuffing themselves with various strange cravings and merrily shopping for push chairs and doing pregnancy yoga, when I had spent that time dangerously ill in a darkened room, vomiting into a bucket. It felt like I only had four months to come to terms with being a mother and to prepare for the baby’s arrival, his birth, everything. It was all rushed due to this horrendous illness taking over my whole life. Thankfully the rest of my pregnancy was blissful and Astala was born a healthy 7lb and is now a chubby, smiley, endlessly cuddly bundle of joy who has reached every milestone on time so far and has never been ill (bar a runny nose now and again).

 

Peaches Geldof and baby Astala

Now pregnant again with my second little boy, I have never been more thankful that I’m not one of the women who suffers HG with every pregnancy. I’m out of the danger zone of the early months, and at almost five months now I’ve been able to experience what a normal pregnancy is like without living in fear of the next throwing up episode. If I knew I would suffer from it again would I still have gone through with the pregnancy? Of course. And that’s the thing about HG, it tests your love and fierce determination to fight for your child before he’s even born. It showed me, in a strange way, what a mothers love feels like before I’d even felt him in my arms, because I was fighting for him every single day. And even though it was one of the worst things I’ve ever gone through, it was also the best as it gave me the most wonderful little boy in the world at the end of it.


07
Sep 12

My last-minute hen do

My wedding is so soon that the preparations have gone into overdrive. I’m beyond exhausted. No-one told me that  weddings were THIS stressful! I was so tired that last night I passed out at 7.30 pm when Astala fell asleep. I didn’t wake up until he did at 6am the next day – and I still feel like a zombie.

 Weddings are such an archaic institution – everything in our culture seems to be about movement and progression, yet weddings are still stuck in the past. It’s all so old-fashioned, the wedding dress, the cake cutting- these traditions are hundreds of years old. Perhaps that’s why there’s so much pressure on the bride, groom and their family to make the day perfect, and so much expectation from the guests for it to be the event of a lifetime. I’m glad the look of our wedding is pared down, vintage-y and relaxed, nothing too ‘overdone’. It’s always really awkward and forced when weddings are too over the top, and the ridiculous spectacle that is so unlike the couple is always massively embarrassing and forced.

One of my biggest pet hates is when you got to a wedding and there’s a seating plan. The hosts sit next to you people they assume you’ll get along with, like a weird matchmaking process. Inevitably, they’re always almost massively wrong, and you have to spend the next few hours sat next to the most annoying or boring person you’ve ever encountered. For this reason, for the wedding lunch Tom and I sat our friends with our friends. That way everyone is happy and gets a nice catch-up with the people they love and are comfortable with. I didn’t realise though, how political the seating process is. There’s the issue of not seating people near their exes, enemies… thus why the process of sorting it was such an arduous task!

My hen do was two nights ago. It was so last minute I genuinely didn’t think it was going to happen. However, the bridesmaids pulled it out of the bag last minute. I thought it was going to be a big night out, which I was totally dreading. I’d fallen asleep at 1am the previous night after having to go through the seating plan for four hours. THEN I was woken at 6am by an excited little Grublet wanting to play.

I turned up to the restaurant starving and exhausted, after being on my feet doing wedding stuff all day with baby Astala in tow. I was so excited for a great meal, but it turned out the restaurant was a sushi one. I absolutely HATE sushi! I ate so much sushi four years ago and now I can’t stand the sight of it. I ended up ordering something not on the menu, and the chef was kind enough to make me a lovely noodle dish. I was slightly annoyed with the bridesmaid who’d organised it for going down the surprise route (who has heard of a surprise hen do? So weird!) and not knowing what food I’d like.

I had to play several embarrassing games such as “pin the tail on the naked man poster” and a card game which involved me answering several… ahem… ‘intimate’ questions about Tom. My future sister-in-law was there, so I was left red faced and squirming!

It was so nice to catch up with my sister Pixie and my best friends though. I don’t really get to see everyone as much as I used to as I am so busy being a good mum to Astala.

I ended up leaving the hen at 11pm, which is pitiful really, but I was to exhausted to go onto the club like everyone else was suggesting. I just about managed to fall asleep in the car until I got home!

The next day I went to Chopard to pick up some absolutely beautiful pieces of jewellery to borrow for my wedding. They are perfect. Then I stopped off by tan maestro James Read at The Sanderson hotel’s spa to get a spray tan, he also does Lady Gaga and Rihanna’s tan so I felt very privileged to be donning those horrendous paper knickers in front of him! I then got my nails manicured by Jenny Longworth, another stylist to the stars, who has done nails for literally everyone.

I got lash extensions done at the famous Lash Bar off Carnaby street, and the beauticians working there looked after Astala during the process and didn’t want to let him go when I had to leave! He was with me all day and didn’t make one peep or cry once, he just smiled at everyone he met and was such a good, sweet little boy. He really is the perfect baby and I am so proud of him.

 

I had my final dress fittings too yesterday. When I saw it it was absolutely beautiful, I got a little teary eyed which is very unlike me.

Tom and I are beyond excited for the big day, and I have a feeling it’s going to be absolutely perfect.

See Peaches’ wedding exclusively in HELLO! magazine, on sale Tuesday September 11


30
Aug 12

Nightmares, throaty giggles and Celine Dion

I haven’t been up to much at the moment aside from planning my wedding as it’s very near now! I never imagined the insane amount of planning that goes into these dos, right down to trivialities like the colour of napkin holders or the right angles to place chairs at – it’s completely ridiculous! Thankfully my wedding planner Danielle Nay of Transformers Event Planning does it for a living so that’s taken a lot of the stress away, but not quite all of it!

 

The most exciting part of the whole wedding planning experience  has definitely been designing my wedding dresses (yes, plural!) with a few of my close designer friends. I’m not going to spill the beans on who they are now, as that would ruin the surprise, but the level of craftsmanship, love and dedication that has come from realising my dream dresses from some extremely shoddily drawn sketches (art is not my forte!) is amazing and I’m beyond excited to finally try them on.



I’m starting to panic a little as one of the dresses has only just begun being made, and the other still isn’t finished, meaning I’m yet to see either of the finished pieces. I have been having weird nightmares about them arriving half done; last night’s nightmare involved my dress falling apart at the altar and me ending up naked except for strategically placed bunches of grapes – I have no idea what that means?! Meanwhile Tom has been scouring shops for a vintage tie and shoes to add to his (also custom designed) black wedding suit.



The one thing non-wedding related that has been taking up nearly all of my time at the moment is Astala. He’s just turned 5 months old and is perhaps the cutest baby of all time. He’s definitely the smiliest one I’ve ever encountered with the cheekiest grin and funniest, throaty giggle. His favourite thing to do is for me to hold him in front of the mirror so that he can see himself and me, then laugh at the funny faces I pull at him so hard that he has a coughing fit and then, inevitably, proceeds to start bawling.

Astala is at that age when he will not tolerate being left on his own without you amusing him and giving him my undivided attention. If I even dare to break eye contact from his lordship he goes absolutely mental and shouts until I’m back to sing Celine Dion and Liza Minelli show tunes to him, and if I sing anything else he isn’t having any of it. (He also seems to have a very acquired taste in music at the moment!) Astala is also finding his own voice, and by that I mean he thinks talking is shrieking at an unholy decibel until you shriek back at him, in a sort of shrieking conversation. However, it’s very cute.

Astala has also been getting a bit naughty by trying to stay up much later than his 7pm bed time, which has resulted in Tom resorting to running around the kitchen table in circles with Astala in the sling, trying to get him to sleep that way. We realised that it was due to his napping too much during the day and we have now reached a happy nap-to-waking ratio, which means less night time partying for baby and more time sleeping for us, thank God. He loves to drift off in my arms watching his favourite show, Night Time Relax on Baby TV, and his little sleeping face looks like so angelic it’s almost too much to handle.

Last weekend Tom played Reading and Leeds festivals last weekend so I left Astala with his Grandma Sue (Tom’s mum) for the day to head down to Reading with his dad and sister to watch him play. Honestly, I felt like a 90 year old. Everyone there was about 15 and drunk out of their minds on illicitly snuck in booze (stolen from Daddy’s cabinet at home, I’m sure).

 

 

Everywhere you turned there was another denim micro-short-sporting tween throwing up whilst their equally wasted school friend held back her hair. Topless boys showing off pigeon chests with swearwords lipsticked on them strutted around totally disinterested in any bands, whilst their identikit Topshop-clad female counterparts set fire to unsuspecting revellers tents. Horrendous!

This week is a special one as I’ve got my maid of honour Lily’s wedding coming up on Saturday. It’s so nice that she’s getting married just before me as it makes our bond as friends even stronger with us both experiencing such life altering events and going through the same process with each other. Lily’s having her wedding in her hometown of Hastings, where I met her when I was around 8 years old, to a man she met whilst living in New York where she originally moved to live with me! The fact that she would never have met her fiancé Victor if I hadn’t convinced her to move there is really special for me as her friend. She’s wearing a vintage 1930s wedding dress and will look beautiful. It’s 9.30pm now which is way past my bed time these days (don’t judge me, I get up at 6 am everyday!) so it’s off to bed now, will be back soon…


08
Aug 12

Summer sunshine and wedding flowers

I’m currently on holiday in Spain and it’s lovely to get away from rainy old London. If there’s one thing I miss about not living in L.A anymore it’s the constant warm weather and sunshine. Being here in this boiling little village is making me nostalgic for the sun-baked Hollywood hills all over again.

But there’s one little person who isn’t really enjoying the heat, and that’s Astala. He’s four months old now and getting bigger by the minute! At 17lbs he’s a big, tall baby and making my arms ache carrying him down to the beach, but his chubby little legs are so cute and that I can’t stop cuddling him either way, so I guess its a win win situation for both of us!

It’s 40 degrees here and Astala just lies on a sun lounger in the shade with the funniest expression on his face, a sort of half-asleep zombie trance kind of look. I think it’s all a bit too much for him, though he occasionally breaks into random giggles if he sees Pixie’s tiny chihuahua puppy Buster Sniff running around insanely, soaking wet after falling into the pool for the ninetieth time that day.

It’s always great coming here each year, as my family have since I was a baby, and seeing the close friends who I grew up with here who also return every summer, and how their lives have changed. Coming here with a baby and fiancé this year, my life seems to have altered the most. I feel like an old granny when I fall asleep at 8pm, exhausted from the baby’s 6am daily wake up call. Or when I walk in on my 16-year-old sister Tiger still asleep in bed at 3pm, having partied with her friends here all night long.


Before flying out here, Tom and I went to the Dark Knight Rises premiere. It’s had mixed reviews but we both really enjoyed it, though maybe we liked it more because it meant a few hours out past 7pm! In all seriousness though, I thought it was a perfect climax to Christopher Nolan’s dark, ambitious trilogy. Nolan pretty much saved Batman from becoming associated forever with ludicrously terrible spin off movies, and turned a tired comic book franchise around into something that has now transcended the genre and turned it into something very special.

With its heavily political agenda, Dark Knight Rises was at risk of being boring and clunky, but is saved by a great script and an even better cast. As expected from a Nolan movie, the set pieces are suitably extravagant and used to great effect in some truly jaw dropping scenes of Gotham city’s destruction at the hands of mercenaries. There are some glaringly obvious problems with this movie that just weren’t there at all in the far superior second film – it’s overlong and by the end of the movie my bum was well and truly numb and I felt physically drained by it.

The most bizarre and annoying issue of all though is Tom Hardy, in my opinion one of the best actors around, who is so wasted in his role as Bane. The totally unnecessary mask he wears covers most of his face and renders any emotion completely indistinguishable, and anything he says sounds muffled to the point of inaudibility. Also, Christian Bale’s Batman voice is ludicrous, a sort of ‘trying and failing to be sexy’ half-whisper, and was unintentionally funny at key moments. Aside from that, it was a suitably epic ending to a brilliant set of films.

Wedding wise I recently chose the flowers. I wanted them to look like the sort of flowers that bloom randomly in fields or at the side of roads, wild and not overdone. I also chose some floral wreaths for the bridesmaids hair, and a collar adorned with flowers for my dog Parpy so he wasn’t left out! A reporter asked me recently if my dad was going to play my wedding. Of course he’s not going to! I don’t understand why people would assume that he would, though to be honest the reporter probably got forced to ask me by his boss. It’s the sort of inane question tabloids love to ask even if they already know the answer. If my dad played at my wedding I think everyone would find it massively uncomfortable, can you get more cheesy than your father serenading you and your husband with a medley of his greatest hits? I’d have nightmares forever!

Tom and I are enjoying the time we have before we become husband and wife, but both of us are so excited about how close the wedding is now. Tom told me he had a dream the other night that we got married on a boat that was attached to our dog’s collar and then flew us to Mars to live there. I wonder what that even means?!


19
Jul 12

No Big Fat Gypsy Wedding for me

Taking a quick glance in the mirror in between trying to clean the latest batch of baby milk reflux from Astala and running to the bedroom to pick him up where he’s shrieking angrily because I’ve not carried him for all of two minutes (in baby time this is more like two hours, I’ve come to know), I shudder at my reflection. Four days unwashed hair, dark circles under my eyes that tell the tale of night feeds and 6am starts and a t-shirt that may have once been blue but is now covered in so much spit up milk it resembles a sad, grey dish rag, I’m not exactly fresh as a daisy.

But as I pick up the red-faced, screaming little baby who seems so small in my huge new bed, he immediately stops crying. He snuggles his soft, downy head onto my chest and smiles up at me whilst emitting a soft, gurgly coo. I wouldn’t trade the situation for all the hours of sleep and fresh shirts in the world, I am officially in love.

Of course, it helps that I have the cutest baby in the world. Yes, I’m biased but I’ve never seen such a flawless, absolutely beautiful little face. And the smiles - don’t get me started. Anyone who’s seen my Instagram and Twitter feeds will already be very well acquainted with my son’s gummy grin, as I literally haven’t stopped posting photos of it since he started at two months. Now at a little over 12 weeks old, as he becomes more sure of himself, they’re just getting bigger and cuter.

Honestly, you’d think I was crazy if you saw the faces I pull to extract those delicious little giggles and heart melting ear-to-ear grins. Tom’s even worse than me, I can hear him babbling away in baby-speak to Astala in this weird high pitched voice from the basement of our house.

Motherhood is a gift, I knew it would be but at the same time I didn’t. I never knew my full potential as a woman until I saw the fruits of my womb in front of me, in all his bald, chubby glory. He’s the image of me as a baby, but sometimes he looks at me and looks exactly like Tom.

Yes, I’m more exhausted than I even knew was possible, and yes, I’m waging a never-ending war against dirty nappies, but to be honest, I couldn’t care less. When he falls asleep on my chest and holds on to me so tightly in his sleep, it’s as if I was a lifeboat carrying him to safety, so small and vulnerable - it is the purest kind of bliss I’ve ever known.

 

Another exciting event on the horizon aside from Astala’s next burp is my wedding to his dad, Tom.  I’m not going to give away too much but I had my dress fitting recently, along with my bridesmaids and their dresses, and it was sheer perfection. I have another fitting coming up soon as I’m going to have a change at the wedding. Why have one amazing dress when you can have two?! The more the merrier when it comes to amazingly beautiful wedding gowns I say, they’re all invited to wrap their gauzy whiteness all over me!

Thankfully I have refrained from the Big Fat Gypsy Weddings style nightmare I wanted as a little girl. I used to force a long-suffering Pixie to follow me around the house, holding the train of a white ball gown resembling a huge meringue. It was a dress my mother had kindly provided for my six-year-old self, in it I solemnly paraded the corridors for literally hours whilst Pixie, dressed in my dad’s suit, followed dutifully behind. Now as adult, I have instead opted for very romantic and delicate look, fitting in with the aesthetic of the wedding, which is old fashioned, pared down and vintage-y.

Tom’s suit is apparently going to be beautiful and I know the designer, who’s made suits for Tom before and totally gets his unique vision, will make it wonderful. I’m looking forward to my hen do too, which my bridesmaids (made up of my sisters and three best friends) have informed me will be a very traditional, L-plates and tacky pink cowboy hats affair.

However, at the moment I’m focusing on trying to escape from what seems to be THE WORST ENGLISH SUMMER EVER. I never thought I’d have the heating up full blast with four jumpers on and the baby braving the elements in a snow suit in July. Come on sun, do your job! Thank God for the annual family holiday to a little coastal village in Majorca. It’s a lovely place that we’ve gone to ever since I was a child and which actually has a real summer instead of being the wet and frozen tundra that London seems determined to become. I’ve already been packed and ready for two months now, even though we don’t leave until august!

I even went bikini shopping the other day, though to be honest someone should have warned me beforehand that trying to imagine what a bikini looks like whilst held against a body that’s covered by a baby in a front-facing sling is not the most accurate of images.

I’ve got to go run upstairs now as Astala is waking up from his nap and Tom’s washing a very stinky Parper, our faithful golden retriever who’s favourite activity is lying in mud. 

I can’t wait to snuggle with Tom and the little man in our new massive bed, it’s an eight feet wide by eight feet long monstrosity from an online store called The Big Bed Company. It’s heaven! Perfect for us to safely co-sleep with baby in as he tends to like to lie diagonally across and our double bed just wasn’t doing it’s job anymore. Now, back to the frontline of the never ending battle against the dirty nappy

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