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Christina Dellar: 39 weeks with Baby #2 and Hyperemesis Gravidarum

Mamas to be, the incredible Christina Dellar will soon be a mother of two who has battled severe Hyperemesis Gravidarum throughout both her pregnancies. Her pregnancy stories are inspiring, and her first birth story helped me realise just how little control we have over our births – you really do have to just trust and ‘go with’ your body.
As this article was published, literally within two minutes, Christina gave birth to a beautiful baby boy.
Christina is a beautiful person inside and out already, but I know that post-baby, she’s not only going to continue sharing her parenting journey, but also the journey to get back in shape after babies. I know that you’ll all hugely benefit from following Christina, which you can do at @christinadellar

You’re just about to welcome another boy into your household of gorgeous men, how are you feeling?

To be honest, I wish I was feeling a little stronger.
Since I have experienced birth and those crazy newborn early days, I know how important it is to be as strong as you can be, but I am sitting here just days from giving birth, I still have nausea and now I have the flu too. However, mental strength is super important too so I have been doing lots of meditation and beautiful birth visualisation to prepare me for what’s coming.
I seriously can’t wait to have my little man in my arms and for our family to be complete!
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Speaking of gorgeous men, how is Tyge?

Tyge is amazing! He has been my rock through this pregnancy. I can tell he totally doesn’t quite get that a new little baby is coming though. Often men don’t fully realise until you actually hand them a baby. That’s why they often are a little more emotional than women at the time of birth, because it hits them all at once.

Honestly he is the best dad with our son Valor and I can’t wait to see him holding a newborn again!!!

With only a couple of years between Valor and this baby, did you and Tyge always find it easy to conceive?

To be honest, yes, thankfully fertility challenges haven’t been part of our journey. For both of our pregnancies, we fell pregnant within 6 weeks.

We planned a 3 year gap between them, and their birthdays with be just over a week apart. I always say that everyone has their own journeys to walk.

I know so many close friends that have had huge mountains to climb when it comes to conceiving and I always try my best to support and understand them and what they are going through.

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You’ve suffered Hyperemesis Gravidarum throughout both of your pregnancies, an illness many people won’t know a lot about, aside from perhaps knowing that Kate Middleton was hospitalised with the same. Can you describe the illness, and how it has affected your pregnancies?

Yes I love talking about Hyperemesis Gravidarum because like you said, not many people know about it. Pretty much it’s just a really high level of a certain hormone and it just makes you super sick. More women than you would think suffer from it and it is a really hard thing to go through.

With my firstborn I was vomiting and close to bedridden for 18 weeks.

I would throw up everything and I would be sick at least 10-15 times a day. If I got sick over that amount of time I would have to go to the hospital and get bags and bags of fluids. I started to get better around 25 weeks. However, with my current pregnancy it’s been different because after 20-ish weeks I got a little better, but it hasn’t gone away. I have good days, and I have really bad days. On a good day I just feel totally nauseous but I can plaster on a smile and try to make the most of the day. On a bad day it is constant vomiting – it’s just terrible.

Through sharing my journey on instagram I have had so many women reach out who also suffer from HG and the main advice I give is to try to stay mentally strong. It can be very easy to get to a dark place when you feel you can’t escape feeling sick and you start to feel you are losing your old self. Find things that make you feel good or happy and do those things as often as you can.

My advice for anyone who knows someone who is sick with Hyperemesis Gravidarum is simple… this is NOT “morning sickness”. This is not something that crackers and ginger can fix. I was offered medication usually meant for chemotherapy patients.

When you are this sick and you tell someone and they say “Oh yeah, I had really bad morning sickness too…have you tried dry crackers?” it makes you feel absolutely furious and also totally alone, cause people just don’t get it. Those close to me did their research and learned quickly that this is a real, serious illness, and that I need real support – that’s what got me through.

What has been different about this pregnancy to your first, or have you felt different?

It is totally different!

Firstly, I remember all these moms with more than one kid telling me “Oh, you will pop so much sooner with the second” and I was like “Okay sure….” but BAM I sure did! Like so much faster! I couldn’t hid my bump at all even in the early days!

Now, I’m very much more aware the second time when it comes to labour because they say “You forget” but I sure haven’t. I totally remember it all, so half of me gets scared cause I know what it’s like and the other half can’t wait, because I remember how beautiful that moment is when you hold your baby for the first time. Having a toddler and being pregnant is just a joke hahaha like so full on but you just do what ever other mom out there does…you just handle it!

Moms are actual superwomen!

You have been incredibly generous about sharing your journey with your followers. We have known how sick you’ve been and how you have dealt with nausea (coke and ice blended!) – have you got any other tips?

Yeah, I have just shared little things that have helped me along.

Frozen cokes (I know not healthy but damn if it helps, I will chug it down) have been amazing. I found that having something next to my bed helped.

If I got up in the night, the nausea would hit immediately sometimes, so eating something simple would help. For me, it was more about avoiding foods that hurt coming back up and rather having foods that were much better coming back up. It’s not a pretty thought to have, but if you know you are going to get sick, you have to think about it.

I also worked out a way to actually hold down at least half my dinner, by dividing it in two before I started. I would eat half and wait, because most of the time I would get sick straight away, and then eat the other half, which I could often hold down. It just about doing or eating whatever you can to feel better.

Your followers (and I) live in awe of your relationship, you guys really seem to have marriage nailed, and seem so genuinely obsessed with each other after almost 8 years, how important has it been to have a strong and solid relationship for you to be good parents together, and to help you through pregnancy?

Aww thank you. Yes I am very proud of my marriage because we have worked really hard on it over the years.

Marriage for me wasn’t something I just leave if it wasn’t working for me. Our early years were super tough and we totally could have split – but we just kept working on it and it has been so worth it. I don’t think a relationship can stay the same after kids, because so much changes, but that’s not a bad thing. For us, we found that we really had to come together even more as a team to be parents.

I think parenting is super hard if you feel like you are doing it alone all the time. We set little rules though, like whatever is said between the hours of 1-5am don’t count hahaha, because when you are totally exhausted and trying to comfort a sick or teething baby you just can’t be held accountable for your words! I think having a strong relationship is so important, and I can see even now our son lights up when he sees us cuddling or laughing together – it is well worth the fight to have a strong and loving relationship.

About choosing your lead maternity carer, you told me that the most important thing is the way you feel with them, that you are comfortable, and know that they are going to be your best support on the day. Can you tell me about your experience in finding a midwife?

When we feel pregnant, we were actually living in Tauranga. I had a meeting with a midwife and I had that initial apportionment where she talked a little about herself and honestly the whole time I was thinking Omg I can hardly hear what she is saying, she is so softly spoken and tad new-agey vibes and I just knew that wasn’t what I wanted during my birth.

Personally I didn’t want someone in the corner talking quietly, rubbing oils on me… I wanted someone to take control and tell me when to shut up and push. When we ended up moving to Auckland I was recommend by a friend my midwife and she is amazing. She was exactly what I needed during a very intense birth, and I am grateful I found her.

When finding a midwife, you need to think about what you need from her. Some women shut down if someone is a tad forceful, whereas others need that. It is important to find someone that matches your personal vibe.

Can you talk about your first birthing experience?

Yes so my birth story… ahaha. Oh man, so like I said above I had my amazing midwife and we did all the classes so my husband and I felt pretty prepared.

My birth plan was to have a baby… really I just wanted it to be as natural as possible, but just whatever needed to be done to get baby out safely was my plan. During all the classes they tell you that the average first labour is like 15-20 hours and you labour at home most of the time, so we had that in the back of our minds. I was 5 days overdue (the worst) and I just got SO over it I took castor oil (best thing) and around 7pmish I got what felt like some period cramps. The cramps stage last for a while usually, but mine instantly turned into proper contractions. You aren’t meant to even take any action until they are around 1 minute long and 5 minutes apart, but mine started at 30-60 second long, 30 seconds apart!

It was wild!

My husband kept telling me to relax, as he thought it was just starting, but I just kept telling him to call my midwife. He finally called her and as he was talking to her on the phone,  she heard me having a contraction in the background. I sounded like a cow giving birth. She immediately said go to the hospital, so we rushed out. My silly husband still didn’t think this was what we needed to do, because it had only been an hour or so. He took his time driving and parking all while I was telling him the baby was coming.

We arrived, I ran in, and hopped on the bed as fast as I could. The midwife checked me, I was 10cm dilated and she could feel the head. Safe to say, my husband changed his tune really quickly. I pushed for maybe 30 minutes and my son was born. No drugs or anything, because I had no time and he was actually born in the sac – which is super rare. All up, my labour was 3 hours 40 minutes, and all the pain disappeared the second he landed on my chest.

Nothing will ever beat that moment! My main advice for any pregnant woman is to forget everything else and just listen to your body!!

You also told me about the importance of very large knickers, and possibly nappies, as well as maternity pads, for after the birth. What can you tell me about the days or weeks after birth?

Life after baby is a bit of a mess. You are healing and bleeding, sore, and also having to now look after a very needy baby. Maternity pads are a muuuuust, but for sleeping I actually used those really sexy adult nappy things. They are best for night-time as they hold in place and are secure feeling. After labour you won’t really care about your dignity… it will come back – but not yet.

I know some woman wet their pads and apply aloe and freeze the pad so it’s like a lovely vagina popsicle hahaha.

Nipple cream is a must, and just wear super loose comfortable clothing. My personal advice is give yourself the first 5-6 weeks with zero pressure on heading out or looking glam or anything. If you want to, that’s great, but the last thing you need is pressure when it is totally normal to feel emotional about your body, the baby and just being really tired! My best advice however, is accept help! Newborn life is hard, so if someone says they want to make you dinner or watch the baby so you can shower and sleep…do it! It makes you a better mom for it! X

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