Since I am still battling Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG), I thought I’d put up some posts to raise awareness of this disease/condition and the issues women with HG face. If you know someone suffering with HG, please do all that you can to support her and her family. It’s no exaggeration to say that a life may very well depend on it.
Many today believe that the symptoms Charlotte Brontë experienced before her death were those of HG. Here are some accounts of her final days:
English novelist Charlotte Bronte died an awful death in 1855. Faint, exhausted and a slave to incessant nausea and vomiting for months, the fragile writer was unable to stomach food and water despite wearily trying to summon strength.
Dehydrated and delirious, with no modern medicine to save her, Bronte died while four months’ pregnant from the effects of an illness still inflicting misery on pregnant women – hyperemesis gravidarum – excessive, persistent vomiting and nausea which can linger for an entire pregnancy. It drives some women to terminate.
“A wren would have starved on what she ate during those last six weeks,” a friend of Bronte’s is reported to have said.
“Let me speak the plain truth—my sufferings are very great—my nights indescribable —sickness with scarce a reprieve—I strain until what I vomit is mixed with blood.” ~Charlotte Brontë
Source and read more: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK6104/
From The Life of Charlotte Brontë, written by her friend Elizabeth Gaskell
”She was attacked by new sensations of perpetual nausea, and ever-recurring faintness. After this … had lasted for some time, she yielded to [her husband] Mr. Nicholls wish that a doctor should be sent for. He came, and assigned a natural cause for her miserable indisposition; a little patience, and all would go right. She who was ever patient in illness, tried hard to bear up and bear on. But the dreadful sickness increased and increased, till the very sight of food occasioned nausea …
Martha tenderly waited on her mistress, and from time to time tried to cheer her with the thought of the baby that was coming. “I dare say I shall be glad sometime,” she would say; “but I am so ill – so weary -” Then she took to her bed, too weak to sit up … Long days and longer nights went by; still the same relentless nausea and faintness … About the third week in March there was a change; a low wandering delirium came on; and in it she begged constantly for food … She swallowed eagerly now; but it was too late.”
Wakening for an instant from this stupor of intelligence, she saw her husband’s woe-worn face, and caught the sound of some murmured words of prayer that God would spare her. “Oh!” she whispered forth, “I am not going to die, am I? He will not separate us, we have been so happy.”
Early on Saturday morning, March 31st, the solemn tolling of Haworth church-bell spoke forth the fact of her death to the villagers who had known her from a child, and whose hearts shivered within them as they thought of the two sitting desolate and alone in the old grey house.
Charlotte Brontë is thought to have died of Hyperemesis Gravidarum on March 31st1855
Source and read more: http://bronteblog.blogspot.com/2012/03/charlottes-cause-of-death-157-years-ago.html