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The sheer loathsomeness of nausea and vomiting does seem to serve a biological purpose.
December 3, 2012 7:40 PM   Subscribe

The news that Duchess Catherine is expecting a baby set off a storm of tabloid squee, speculation on her maternity wardrobe, and, of course, a joke Twitter account (@RoyalFoetus: RT IF YOU ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO SERVING ME). But the reason the royal family announced the pregnancy so early, reportedly shy of 12 weeks, is not very funny. A Royal Spotlight on a Rare Condition:
It used to be a major cause of death in women until the 1950s when they introduced IV fluids. ... there are a lot of misconceptions about it. A lot of women are treated really badly. They’re treated like they’re faking it or that they just don’t want their child. We have a lot of women who have lost pregnancy after pregnancy, or who had abortions because they just couldn’t tolerate it.

Hyperemesis gravidarum is a condition that causes constant nausea and vomiting in pregnant women, resulting a greater than 5 percent weight loss, electrolyte imbalances, hospitalization, and sometimes death. (It's thought that Charlotte Bronte died of it in 1855. There were 159 maternal deaths per million births in Great Britain from 1931–1940; that number dropped to 3 per million from 1951–1960.)

HG, which affects between .3 and 2 percent of pregnancies, is often described as severe morning sickness. The link between pregnancy and nausea was the subject of an early New Yorker article (link to abstract) by Atul Gawande:
The sheer loathsomeness of nausea and vomiting does seem to serve a biological purpose. The benefit of vomiting after eating something poisonous or tainted is obvious: the toxin is expelled. And the dreadfulness of the accompanying nausea deters you from ever wanting to eat anything like it again... In a famous 1992 paper, however, the evolutionary biologist Margie Profet made a compelling case that pregnancy sickness is actually protective. She pointed out that natural foods that are safe for adults commonly turn out to be unsafe for embryos. All plants produce toxins, and in order to be able to eat them we have evolved elaborate detoxification systems. But these systems don’t eliminate harmful chemicals completely, and embryos can be sensitive to even tiny amounts.
A weird sidenote: Margie Profet, a MacArthur Fellowship-winning biologist, also first proposed that allergic reactions were a defense against toxins (link to abstract) and that menstruation was a defense against pathogen-carrying sperm (link to abstract). She went missing for much of the '00s (previously). She has since reconnected with her family.
posted by purpleclover (70 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
I hadn't heard of this as a condition separate from extreme morning sickness, but I learned about it when I was working for someone who was hospitalized multiple times over the course of her pregnancy due to it. She said it was terribly traumatic, like her body was in full rebellion.
posted by PussKillian at 7:52 PM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


A sidenote worthy of its own fpp.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 7:55 PM on December 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


Another sidenote:

Extreme nausea and vomiting during pregnancy can happen if you are pregnant with twins (or more) or if you have a hydatidiform mole.

Of course, this is really none of our business either, but I couldn't help but consider it and was glad Slate had something to do with it.

If Kate Has Twins, Which One Would Top the Succession List To Become King or Queen?
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:59 PM on December 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


For the next year my Google searches will look something like this: DeWalt compound mitre saw -royal -baby
posted by jimmythefish at 8:01 PM on December 3, 2012 [18 favorites]


[Folks maybe respect the fact that someone went through a lot of trouble making this post and don't just early threadshit in it?]
posted by jessamyn at 8:03 PM on December 3, 2012 [14 favorites]


Great post, lots of interesting material, but I don't know whether to comment on the royal couple, pregnancy complications, or nausea :) Let's go with nausea...

One of the interesting things factoids to come out of the whole Pi Kappa Alpha "butt chugging" incident is exactly why alcohol ingested that way would be so damn dangerous. Among other things, you'll still have to puke. But since the alcohol your body is trying to purge isn't in your stomach, the puking isn't effective. The uncontrollable urge to vomit when wasted is just your body trying to save itself.
posted by sbutler at 8:06 PM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Jehan, I used to think the same thing of Labor/Labour politicians that went private, but then I saw the way our public hospitals bow and scrape when they have celebrities or politicians around. It's honestly far better to have these people go to private hospitals so that we don't end up having wards closed off or people turned away because somebody thinks that a quiet hospital will look better on TV.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:07 PM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I know, I know, but it sickens me that in a time when the NHS is suffering, the royal family can't even look Ward 6 in the face.
posted by Jehan at 8:09 PM on December 3, 2012


That sounds horrible. I'm glad she's getting good medical care. Poor girl. Nobody deserves unending vomiting.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 8:09 PM on December 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


What worries me is that the Duchess does not have 5 kilograms of weight to lose. Someone needs to give her a massive roast dinner, and make her eat it all.

I wonder if she was a bit more, um, rounded, would her morning sickness be less debilitating?
posted by malibustacey9999 at 8:09 PM on December 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'm an American who loves monarchy for its complicated rules, so I'm very excited for a possible royal twin c-section. That would be the perfect fulfillment of a rules lawyering dream I never knew I had.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:11 PM on December 3, 2012 [20 favorites]


Yeah, one of my work colleagues had uncontrolled HG for the entire pregnancy. She was hospitalized for a couple of months on and off. Kid was huge in the end; she lost about 20lb over the pregnancy and wasn't big to begin with. Horrible condition.
posted by gaspode at 8:11 PM on December 3, 2012


"Also, there are a lot of misconceptions about it. A lot of women are treated really badly. They’re treated like they’re faking it or that they just don’t want their child."

Wow, this was not my experience at all. Everybody was super-sympathetic and I felt like most people, medical and otherwise, took it MORE seriously than I did -- eventually I got used to it, while it remained very distressing to everyone else! I threw up about 30 times a day, every day, for 8 of the 9 months of pregnancy, both times. (Both times, it was month 8 I didn't throw up, and then I started again in month 9.) I threw up whether I ate anything or not ... it was generally better if I HAD eaten something because throwing up nothing is awful. I honestly did get used to just throwing up all the time after a while ... although I guess there wasn't really another choice.

I was admitted twice for IV rehydration during my second pregnancy, which is a miraculous thing, but also very boring once you start feeling better and just have to lie there being rehydrated. (But, I guess it's a really good thing when a medical emergency is boring.) I also had zofran during that pregnancy, which is ALSO a miraculous thing. It didn't completely stop the vomiting but it sort-of clustered it together in spells so that I could manage to keep some food down, and sometimes leave the house.

I lost quite a bit of weight in the first trimester, both times, though gained back later in the pregnancy. My doctor prescribed milkshakes. I am still so sick of milkshakes after months of daily milkshakes that I can't drink one.

Freud did say morning sickness was a woman's loathing of her husband and her subconscious attempt to purge her body of his child by vomiting it out. I enjoyed sharing that factoid with people.

malibustacey, on preview: "I wonder if she was a bit more, um, rounded, would her morning sickness be less debilitating?"

I am a bit more rounded, and it was TOTALLY debilitating. Every muscle in your body hurts from constant, uncontrollable vomiting. Think about the worst stomach flu you ever had and a fifteen-minute bout of vomiting where you have no control over your entire body retching and tensing to vomit ... then do that 30 times a day. That's pretty much what it was like. And my case was not that bad.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:13 PM on December 3, 2012 [75 favorites]


Coincidentally enough, a coworker of mine has had to leave her job for the time being due to H.G. It's pretty sad--she was so excited to be pregnant and now not only is it an awful experience, she can't even work.
posted by Baethan at 8:14 PM on December 3, 2012


Someone needs to give her a massive roast dinner, and make her eat it all.

Yeah...most pregnant 1st trimester women can't even stomach the smell of meat. My wife just went through a pretty bad pregnancy and didn't have anything remotely like this. I wouldn't want to be either of them for the next 6 months that's for sure.
posted by jimmythefish at 8:14 PM on December 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


Oh, Eyebrows! God bless you and your babies. I was wondering if HG lasted the whole pregnancy or if it generally stopped after three months. Kate gets to vomit for a global audience!
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 8:23 PM on December 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Someone needs to give her a massive roast dinner, and make her eat it all.

Sometimes I wonder when people will realize that saying this kind of stuff is actually just as damaging and rude as telling someone they need to stop eating so much.

Also, I'm genuinely excited about this whole royal baby business and it's kind of embarrassing. Those two are gonna have some really cute kids.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 8:24 PM on December 3, 2012 [49 favorites]


I vomited until the 5th month with my daughter. The usual 3 months with my son. It was bad, but not enough that I had to go to the hospital to be rehydrated.
I can't imagine how rough HG is.

I hope the Royals have a healthy baby. Glad she can get good care.
I wish everyone who suffers this unpleasant, miserable condition had the same blessing of good care.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 8:27 PM on December 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


Drugs to prevent morning sickness have a troubled past, thalidamide was prescribed for morning sickness in the late '50s, leading to 1000's of birth defects. William McBride was the doctor credited with discovering the teratogenic effects of thalidomide. He then claimed similar effects resulted from Doxylamine (the active ingredient in Unisom) which was also prescribed for morning sickness (in combination with B6). It was found that he had knowingly published manipulated data (I've heard that he has blamed his grad students). Even though the drug was cleared, it was removed from the market, leaving women to make do with cutting a Unisom in half.
posted by 445supermag at 8:27 PM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


My sister had this with all three pregnancies and could not take zofran (it made her vomit more, if that is at all possible). Her husband would have liked her to have 5 children.

She was admitted several times to hospital for IV rehydration. I'm not sure if it was as a result of the condition (which wasn't really widely known about at the time approx 15 - 20 years ago, us family bystanders didn't actually know it was a named condition) but her second child was 6 weeks premature.

She came to stay with my parents for part of one of the pregnancies, which I remember vividly because I was still living at home. We were not to cook in the house at all during this time. Cold food or barbeques. No making toast. All food smells made the vomiting worse, I don't know how she didn't burst all the blood vessels in her eyes. You know that 'cat has a hairball' sound? I heard it every 15 seconds for hours at a time for all the months she was home.

My brother's wife had his first child a little over a year ago. She told me he was really weird about her pregnancy and kept asking if she wanted him to eat outside. He couldn't understand how she was doing things, like standing and walking. I have only recently recalibrated my understanding of range of functionality during pregnancy, because if it was all like my sister's experience.... fuck that.
posted by Trivia Newton John at 8:27 PM on December 3, 2012 [7 favorites]


I think the press is making way too much of this. I get the "excited about a royal babe!!!" thing, but plenty of pg moms have to be admitted for HG and its not always a huge deal. When it's bad (eyebrows), it's very bad. Sometimes, it is just a precaution to keep mom and baby healthy, it doesn't always mean twins or a girl or a unicorn, etc. I wish they would leave them alone to get healthy and enjoy their pregnancy. Poor girl is under enough pressure.
posted by pearlybob at 8:37 PM on December 3, 2012


My wife had this disorder/illness with both of our children, and I honestly would not wish this on my worst enemy.

It is nightmarish - my wife practically spent day upon day unable to eat, unable to keep much in the way of fluids down, and constantly throwing up.

Could not bear food, smells of food, coffee ... anything. It was just awful.

With our first we just thought it was a severe bout of morning sickness, but when it wouldn't go we ended up around the hospital, where my wife went through 3 IV fluid containers/bags and spent all the time shaking uncontrollably because she was being re-hydrated.

Second time around we vowed it wouldn't happen ... but it did (like you have any choice in the matter). After days of horror we were around the hospital again.

Both times, once my wife was re-hydrated, things proceeded quite normally. We've got two happy healthy kids.

But this illness is awful.
posted by chris88 at 8:38 PM on December 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


" I was wondering if HG lasted the whole pregnancy or if it generally stopped after three months. Kate gets to vomit for a global audience!"

She just won't know until it stops ... or doesn't stop. Even after my first, really terrible, pregnancy, my doctor was hopeful my ridiculous first-trimester morning sickness during the second one would be stop at the end of the first trimester. No such luck. Actually, one of the worst things was that people kept saying, "As soon as you get to 12 weeks, it'll slow down ..." or "For a lot of women, it stops in the 5th month ..." and I'd get hopeful and then it wouldn't stop, which was really emotionally draining the first time. The second time, as soon as I started throwing up, I resigned myself that it would go on the entire pregnancy even though people kept telling me "maybe not!", and that was psychologically a lot easier.

Regarding the public nature of it, I threw up more than one time while buying groceries in my supermarket (which was about the only place I went other than short workdays), which was so humiliating that I cried, but people were honestly REALLY NICE ABOUT IT even though I'd just barfed on their floor. It's terrible for Kate to be in front of a global audience, especially with a first pregnancy, but really people were very sympathetic and understanding to me.

On the plus side, I hated being pregnant SO MUCH that round-the-clock infant care seemed like a vacation. (But not so much I didn't do it a second time.)

(Also, oh, yeah, both my kids were boys, singletons, full-term, and perfectly healthy. It all worked out fine, though it was pretty miserable at the time.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:44 PM on December 3, 2012 [9 favorites]


Eyebrows, I can't imagine... My sister in law had a mild case of HG, I never even felt queasy once during both of my pregnancies. It worried me at the time, nausea was SUPPOSED to mean a healthy pregnancy but reading these stories of extreme HG, I realize how lucky I was.
posted by pearlybob at 8:50 PM on December 3, 2012


The British (and to a slightly lesser extent) American press will go all bonkers with speculation. Bribes will be offered to learn the gender, or get a copy of the ultrasound, or especially pregnant picture angles (there's one of me from below, walking down the stairs on the way to the hospital, quite hilarious). The Canadian press, too, most likely. It's rotten to be so sick with pregnancy, and I don't wish it on anybody, and I hope she and her baby are okay. Could one of the major networks in the US agree to give the pregnancy minimal coverage? The weddings are good theater, but the rest of their lives are not that interesting to me, except maybe the clothes, and Michelle Obama has that pretty well covered. Babies are nice, though, so maybe a few pictures when it makes its entrance.
posted by theora55 at 8:50 PM on December 3, 2012


I remember reading DaMomma's blog (which has since gone dark; no idea what happened), which was where I first heard of this condition as she routinely wrote about her struggles with HG. She had three pregnancies, and I believe suffered through all three with it. Ugh.

My mom also vividly describes three months of nonstop puking with me. She was anemic and at one point hospitalized. Also, I wound up being breach. Did I mention I was also the last kid she had?

As for me, the one and only time I puked in the first trimester was when I was pregnant with what turned out to be a non-viable embryo. In fact, the nausea culminated into full scale puking the week the embryo stopped developing. Related? Who knows. Just glad I don't have HG, and feel true sympathy for anyone who does.
posted by offalark at 9:14 PM on December 3, 2012


Yes, this is likely what killed Charlotte Bronte, as can be read in the excellent biography by Elizabeth Gaskell of 1857 in Chapter XXVII (scroll nearly all the way down the page, there are no internal links).
Soon after her return [to Haworth, in Yorkshire], she was attacked by new sensations of perpetual nausea, and ever-recurring faintness. After this state of things had lasted for some time; she yielded to 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. A wren would have starved on what she ate during those last six weeks," says one. ... 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 some time," she would say; "but I am so ill - so weary - " Then she took to her bed, too weak to sit up. From that last couch she wrote two notes - in pencil. The first, which has no date, is addressed to her own "Dear Nell."

"I must write one line out of my weary bed. ... I am not going to talk of my sufferings - it would be useless and painful. I want to give you an assurance, which I know will comfort you - and that is, that I find in my husband the tenderest nurse, the kindest support, the best earthly comfort that ever woman had. His patience never fails, and it is tried by sad days and broken nights....
"C. B. NICHOLLS."

[...]

I do not think she ever wrote a line again. Long days and longer nights went by; still the same relentless nausea and faintness, and still borne on in patient trust. About the third week in March there was a change; a low wandering delirium came on; and in it she begged constantly for food and even for stimulants. 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."
posted by jokeefe at 9:19 PM on December 3, 2012 [18 favorites]


I used to babysit for the children of a woman who had this condition. It seemed pretty horrific.

Re being "more rounded" -- the woman I sat for was pretty normal sized. I don't know that a person's weight before pregnancy has anything to do with it.

Besides which, if Kate was big everyone would be all obsessing about weight gain, or worse, being all, "it's a good thing she's super nauseated all the time, maybe she'll lose some damn weight."

maybe a few pictures when it makes its entrance

I don't know about babyhood, because most babies are OK looking and both Wills and Harry were gorgeous kids, but man, that child stands to inherit some pretty awful chins and/or ears. It's a good thing it's going to be spoilt to death and unbelievably wealthy.
posted by Sara C. at 9:19 PM on December 3, 2012 [6 favorites]


I feel so sorry for her. I hope to god this is a condition she can get over soon and it doesn't go on for the entire pregnancy, or cause a miscarriage.* Because no matter how bad it is, she can't say "no, we're only having one kid" or "the next time, we adopt." She has no choice on the heir and spare and going through this twice** and knowing it's going to be like that... Poor girl.

* Yeah, all she needs is the media shitstorm that would come from THAT.
** from the anecdata I'm hearing today, it happens with every pregnancy, right?

posted by jenfullmoon at 9:26 PM on December 3, 2012


malibustacey9999: What worries me is that the Duchess does not have 5 kilograms of weight to lose. Someone needs to give her a massive roast dinner, and make her eat it all.

I wonder if she was a bit more, um, rounded, would her morning sickness be less debilitating?
She's not dangerously thin; she's healthy and fit. So many of us have gotten used to seeing obesity as commonplace, I think we're beginning to mistake fitness for anorexia.

Honestly, "make her eat it all" rings loudly of some ugly assumptions. Also, since her actual ailment is not being able to keep food down, it's worse-than-useless advice.
posted by IAmBroom at 9:29 PM on December 3, 2012 [27 favorites]


The child, even if a girl, has a fair to good chance of being a future monarch of the United Kingdom and head of the Commonwealth.
posted by Wordshore at 9:33 PM on December 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


This must have been what my BFF had, because she was totally miserable her whole pregnancy. She spent her whole baby shower (which was a surprise shower) wishing she could go home and go to bed.

There are a few reasons her daughter is an only child....
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:35 PM on December 3, 2012


She just won't know until it stops ... or doesn't stop. Even after my first, really terrible, pregnancy, my doctor was hopeful my ridiculous first-trimester morning sickness during the second one would be stop at the end of the first trimester. No such luck. Actually, one of the worst things was that people kept saying, "As soon as you get to 12 weeks, it'll slow down ..." or "For a lot of women, it stops in the 5th month ..." and I'd get hopeful and then it wouldn't stop, which was really emotionally draining the first time. The second time, as soon as I started throwing up, I resigned myself that it would go on the entire pregnancy even though people kept telling me "maybe not!", and that was psychologically a lot easier.

This was my experience, too. I felt better as soon as the baby was born, but not before. I actually got married during my first pregnancy in order to be able to get on my partner's health insurance and get Zofran. Zofran didn't help during my second pregnancy, alas, though I vomited a lot less during the second one and could usually at least eat. Our third child was adopted, and this is entirely why.
posted by not that girl at 9:35 PM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wow, Eyebrows, and others who suffered from this, you ladies have nerves of fucking steel. Vomiting thirty times a day for eight months, and then getting the sleep deprivation prize of a newborn? I think I would have been in a deep pit of despair, and I take my hat off to you. Seriously, nerves of fucking steel.
posted by onlyconnect at 9:57 PM on December 3, 2012 [20 favorites]


For the next year my Google searches will look something like this: DeWalt compound mitre saw -royal -baby

For the love of God, I hope so!
posted by CarlRossi at 10:06 PM on December 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


Speaking of the succession law, I'm a little disturbed that we've reached this point and all we've had since 2011 is vague assurances that the law needed to be changed in umpty-ump Commonwealth countries, yet here we are and as far as I've heard there haven't actually been any changes put into place. Clock's ticking, Cameron.
posted by dhartung at 10:15 PM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't know why there's all this fuss about whether this kid could inherit the throne, when everybody knows the rightful King of England is Franz, Duke of Bavaria.
posted by ubernostrum at 10:21 PM on December 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


An acquaintance is currently pregnant and has HG and she's had to have a zofran pump installed, much like an insulin pump. She's a stay at home mom, but had to send her 2.5 year old to full time daycare just because she is unable to properly care for him alone. She had it with the first pregnancy too and was totally fine as soon as he was born.

On the other hand, I had a few weeks of nausea where I only puked once because I accidentally stuck my toothbrush to far back in my mouth and it triggered my then-sensitive gag reflex. I wouldn't wish HG on anyone. Puking is miserable.
posted by chiababe at 11:24 PM on December 3, 2012


I think I worded my comment badly, with the throwaway comment about the roast dinner. I never meant that she's too thin... I meant that she has lost a lot of weight since they became engaged (no judgement there whatsoever), but according to one of the links, losing 5kg or more with HG is not unusual. If she loses 5kg, then I'm going to be worried about her health because she doesn't have an extra 5kg to lose.

That's all. I'm not judging her by her size at all. She does appear to be the epitome of a fit healthy happy woman, but take 5kg off her and she'll be just skin and bones, which is not healthy.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 12:48 AM on December 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Another foul Saxe-Coburg! When will the rightful Lancastrian monarch be restored?
posted by Justinian at 12:53 AM on December 4, 2012 [6 favorites]


jimmythefish: "Someone needs to give her a massive roast dinner, and make her eat it all.

Yeah...most pregnant 1st trimester women can't even stomach the smell of meat. My wife just went through a pretty bad pregnancy and didn't have anything remotely like this. I wouldn't want to be either of them for the next 6 months that's for sure.
"

Well, that's fine then. I'll finish what she doesn't eat.
posted by Samizdata at 3:44 AM on December 4, 2012


I had no morning sickness. Zero vomiting. Just felt run down. Thought I had teachers' general ick, and didn't know I was pregnant the entire first trimester.
posted by FunkyHelix at 4:07 AM on December 4, 2012


Another foul Saxe-Coburg! When will the rightful Lancastrian monarch be restored?

HOUSE OF YORK 4LYFE
posted by Pallas Athena at 4:15 AM on December 4, 2012 [6 favorites]


On the CBC this morning I learned that there is a magazine called "Majesty" that apparently does nothing but cover the royals. And that they have an editor in chief who sounds exactly like one would expect the editor in chief of a magazine called "Majesty" that does nothing but cover the royals would sound.

I honestly thought I was being knighted. Then I woke up.
posted by seanmpuckett at 4:35 AM on December 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Another foul Saxe-Coburg! When will the rightful Lancastrian monarch be restored?
posted by Justinian


I have a thousand horsemen ready to charge the Chunnel, if we can just find the right figurehead to lead them.
posted by COBRA! at 4:59 AM on December 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have a thousand horsemen ready to charge the Chunnel, if we can just find the right figurehead to lead them.

All sounds a bit cavalier to me.
posted by comealongpole at 5:11 AM on December 4, 2012 [9 favorites]


On the CBC this morning I learned that there is a magazine called "Majesty" that apparently does nothing but cover the royals.

I heard the Majesty lady on NPR this morning too. She's making the rounds and milking this for all it's worth apparently.
posted by chiababe at 5:15 AM on December 4, 2012


I wonder if The Onion had this prepped and ready to go before the news broke: Cut This Monster Out of Me, by Kate Middleton.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 5:17 AM on December 4, 2012 [10 favorites]


Another foul Saxe-Coburg! When will the rightful Lancastrian monarch be restored?

HOUSE OF YORK 4LYFE



Norman carpetbaggers! The true king of England is a direct male-line descendant of Harold Godwinson.

He's a guy named Dave from Barnsley.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 5:27 AM on December 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Another foul Saxe-Coburg! When will the rightful Lancastrian monarch be restored?

I know this wasn't serious, but the Lancastrians won the Wars of the Roses - or at least Henry VII claimed descent from John of Gaunt, making him a Lancastrian and just about the last Lancastrian claimant left standing. (That it was both illegitimate and matrilineal didn't matter much; he had the army). He had seven children; three died young, his oldest son married Catherine of Aragon before Henry VIII did, no surviving heirs. He had two daughters (Margaret and Mary) - we'll get back to them.

Henry's heir, Henry VIII (he of the six wives) succeeded him. So far, so Lancastrian. Each of Henry VIII's three (legitimate) children succeeded him in turn.

Edward VI was crowned at the age of 9 and died at the age of 16, unmarried. No heirs. He tried to pass the crown on to his cousin Lady Jane Grey (granddaughter of Henry VII's daughter Mary) to prevent it falling into the hands of Mary as she was Roman Catholic - who lasted all of nine days. Needless to say she didn't live much longer.

Mary Tudor ("Bloody Mary") ruled, married Philip 1 of Spain, and died without any children.

Which left the last surviving child of Henry VIII as Elizabeth 1, "The Virgin Queen". Although that claim is questionable it's certain she remained unmarried all her life and had no children. She passed the crown onto her cousin and descendent of Henry VII, James VI of Scotland (and I of England), descendent of Henry VII's elder daughter Margaret (and against Henry VII's will, not that people cared about that any more). So by that point James I/VI had as good a title to the Lancaster name as anyone. And now we're in the Stuart dynasty.

To summarise that (I'm rambling more than I expected), the Stuarts were generally (a) jerks, (b) Catholic rulers of Protestant Countries and (c) most importantly believers in The Divine Right of Kings (which in practice meant you couldn't trust them an inch because they believed they had the right to do whatever the hell they liked whatever they told you to your face). Which meant they were thrown out twice - the first time by the Civil War with Oliver Cromwell running the country. And the second by the Glorious Revolution in which we invited over William of Orange and Mary to take over. Which means the Lancastrians were thrown out in 1688.

And then there was a long and serious attempt to restore the Stuart (and hence Lancastrian) monarchy - the Jacobites - I'm told there are people who toast the "King over the water" to this very day, but there hasn't been a serious attempt to restore the Lancastrians (or rather the Stuarts) since 1745.

(Henry VII's other daughter, Mary, had a string of descendents who were involved in plots against the successful branch of the family (including the "Nine Days Queen" mentioned above). But if you want a Lancastrian, a good place to look is to try to find any descendents of Anne Stanley who according to Henry VII's will should have been Queen, but was passed over for James I/VI although her line according to Wiki appears to die out.)

And that's far more of a ramble than I intended...
posted by Francis at 5:37 AM on December 4, 2012 [15 favorites]


Drugs to prevent morning sickness have a troubled past, thalidamide was prescribed for morning sickness in the late '50s, leading to 1000's of birth defects. William McBride was the doctor credited with discovering the teratogenic effects of thalidomide. He then claimed similar effects resulted from Doxylamine (the active ingredient in Unisom) which was also prescribed for morning sickness (in combination with B6). It was found that he had knowingly published manipulated data (I've heard that he has blamed his grad students). Even though the drug was cleared, it was removed from the market, leaving women to make do with cutting a Unisom in half.

It's back on the market--it's the active ingredient in some formulations of Unisom (though Unisom is weird and brands two or three separate OTC drugs as the same product, meaning you have to read the little squidgy text on the back to see if you're getting doxylamine or Benadryl). It was pulled from the shelves in the U.S. in 1983, but was re-introduced a decade later after a couple of studies failed to show a significant uptick in birth defects in mothers who took it during the first trimester.

I have a hard time approaching this question objectively: my mother-in-law took Bendectin (doxylamine + vitamin B6) for morning sickness, and it was wildly teratogenic and caused some really horrifying birth defects in my wife. The ensuing lawsuit against Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals paid for the dozens of surgeries she had to undergo to correct all the problems it caused, and was part of the catalyst for getting it taken off the shelf. And yet, the literature says there's no significant risk associated with taking it. In fact, if you talk to an obstetrician about nausea in pregnancy, it's the first thing she'll tell you to take. I'm an evidence-based-medicine kind of guy in just about every other facet of my life, but this one of those times where that <1% risk factor is cold comfort.

For what it's worth, if you're pregnant and having trouble with morning sickness, please talk to your OBGYN about something that isn't doxylamine.
posted by Mayor West at 5:59 AM on December 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I wonder if she was a bit more, um, rounded, would her morning sickness be less debilitating?

I was extremely round prior to pregnancy and HG still kicked my ass. It stopped in my second trimester, not because it went away but because I lost the baby. There is a picture of me somewhere sleeping sitting upright on the couch, clutching the bottle of Zofran to my chest like a crazy pharmaceutical lovey because it was the first sleep of multiple hours I'd had in weeks.
posted by crankylex at 6:16 AM on December 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


SO THIS IS WHAT I HAD WITH THING2?!?!?!?! WHY DIDNT ANYBODY TELL ME!!!!!!

i spent 7 out of 9 months vomiting when pregnant with he whom I knicknamed "Beast of the Apocalypse". the minute i was around cooked food *BARF*. that was it.

so all i could eat was miso soup and maybe some sushi --that thing people tell you not to eat when pregnant. but miso and a bit of raw fish really would settle my stomach and wipe away my tears from the horrible vomiting debacle.

which is why SHARAKU, the Japanese restaurant on 9th Street close to 3rd Avenue here in NYC is our family restaurant. my Borirish kids have grown up loving their raw fish goodies. And the owner and staff of that restaurant have literally known them since they were foetii in my womb --cuz yes, i even showed them the sonogram pics :D

that said, even with all the vomiting and weight loss for me, i still looked like fucking Shamu. THING2 was almost 10lbs at birth.

am pretty sure Kate and her baby will be fine.
posted by liza at 6:35 AM on December 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Hyperemesis gravidarum is horrible. It's extra-horrible when you can't take the "good" anti-nausea medication. I had an anaphylactic reaction to Compazine a couple years before I got pregnant with kid #1 which meant that I could only have a certain anti-nausea medication...which didn't actually work for me. I threw up every hour or so for the entire pregnancy, and even during delivery. I was hospitalized several times and lost 15 pounds in my first trimester (I only weighed 112 when I got pregnant). Even after 24 hours of labor and a C-section later, having a newborn around was so much better than being pregnant. At least I could eat and sleep and not throw up every hour.

It wasn't as bad with the second pregnancy but I still lost about 10 pounds in the beginning and still had nausea and vomiting throughout the entire pregnancy. HG is mostly the reason we didn't have more than two children. My OB thought it unwise to continue with our original plan of four.
posted by cooker girl at 8:35 AM on December 4, 2012


Another foul Saxe-Coburg! When will the rightful Lancastrian monarch be restored?

I don't really care about the house, but the monarch should have the approval of the Lady of the Lake. A magic scabbard at least.
posted by ersatz at 8:43 AM on December 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


From NYMag:

"In a further indication of Kate's long-term pregnancy complications, all the parking spaces outside the hospital have been blocked off with a sign stating they'll be reserved through March 2013."

Oy.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:49 AM on December 4, 2012


malibustacey9999: I think I worded my comment badly, with the throwaway comment about the roast dinner. I never meant that she's too thin...
Glad to hear it!
posted by IAmBroom at 9:01 AM on December 4, 2012


Re the parking spaces -- is that an actual indicator of anything, or something they'd probably do for a royal pregnancy anyway?

I work in the entertainment industry, where people go parking space crazy. I can only imagine what it's like if you're dealing with royalty.
posted by Sara C. at 9:22 AM on December 4, 2012


I don't really care about the house, but the monarch should have the approval of the Lady of the Lake. A magic scabbard at least.

Listen, strange women lyin' in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.
posted by briank at 9:32 AM on December 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


the monarch should have the approval of the Lady of the Lake

Really, some moistened bint selecting the overlord, how quaint is that?
posted by e1c at 10:16 AM on December 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Good to know that Americans, rather than have sympathy for rarely talked about pregnancy illness, are focusing on what really matters:

Thousands of Twitter Idiots Agree that Will and Kate Won’t Name Their Baby ‘Shaniqua’, Max Read, Gawker, 3 December 2012
posted by ob1quixote at 11:10 AM on December 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Man, that Margie Profet story is really strange. I hope she found some help for her pain. It's neat that one journalist's passion to find her led to her being reunited with her family.
posted by bluefly at 11:44 AM on December 4, 2012


Wow, why didn't someone tell me this is an actual medical condition? I'd always wanted four children until this happened to me. I made it through one miscarriage and two pregnancies - like someone above, I imagined the troubles of the first rounds were about being very thin and having some other problems. Not so.
Alien is a series of very realistic films about pregnancy. Except the actual birth is nothing compared to those 8 months of vomiting. For this reason, my firstborn was nicknamed "snail" until she came out and was perfectly sweet.
posted by mumimor at 12:24 PM on December 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


My wife had this with her third child. Yes, most people thought she was exaggerating, maybe not so much "faking". The main thing that bugged her (aside from the puking of course) was when other pregnant women with standard morning sickness would try to sympathize with her. That drove her nuts. What bugged ME the most was people giving her strange looks when she would turn around to puke into a bag at my other sons' soccer games and such. Deal with it, assholes!
posted by Brocktoon at 12:26 PM on December 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hehe. One time at a party, this woman commented my vomiting in the courtyard by shrieking: "oh, I've never felt better than when I was pregnant". Her husband commented dryly: "think about it Mumimor, what would you prefer? 8 terrible months or 80 terrible years?"
posted by mumimor at 12:44 PM on December 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


Good to know that Americans...

We promise not to judge the UKers by what is printed in the Daily Mail and you can not judge us by what Gawker says, or what Gawker says Twitter says.
posted by jessamyn at 12:53 PM on December 4, 2012 [14 favorites]


Re the parking spaces -- is that an actual indicator of anything, or something they'd probably do for a royal pregnancy anyway?

It's probably an SO14^ thing.
posted by dhartung at 1:09 PM on December 4, 2012


Royalty Protection Squad?

I love that. It's just so... British.
posted by Sara C. at 1:13 PM on December 4, 2012


malibustacey9999: "What worries me is that the Duchess does not have 5 kilograms of weight to lose. Someone needs to give her a massive roast dinner, and make her eat it all.

I wonder if she was a bit more, um, rounded, would her morning sickness be less debilitating?
"

Just the sight of a massive roast dinner would likely have her hanging her head in a bucket. Or, she'd eat it (because she's probably desperately hungry) and immediately vomit the entire thing back up.

I am *quite* well-rounded (omgdeathfatz, even), and I went through this in all three pregnancies. I manged to avoid being hospitalized, but had IV fluids in the doctor's office, etc. In my first two pregnancies, it lasted from 6 weeks until delivery - constant, unrelenting nausea, and vomiting anywhere from one to eight times a day. With the second, I tried both Zofran and Reglan, had some horrific unusual side effects, and had to decide that being terribly ill was better than the side effects. After that, I just ... dealt. And it sucked. Every minute of every day.

I was lucky with the third - it let up around 35 weeks - and that's probably why he weighed almost 2 pounds more at birth than either of his siblings. A week after each delivery, I weighed about 40 pounds (around 18 kilos) LESS than I did when I got pregnant. I was also malnourished, and in my first two pregnancies, that all likely contributed to some most unpleasant PPD. Again, with my third, I had more help around the end of my pregnancy and for the month after he was born, so things were better.

I wish the Duchess well, and that her illness subsides or is at least manageable through the rest of her pregnancy. She has the benefit of a great deal of help, and clearly, physicians that believe in treating HG instead of passing it off as exaggerating or standard pregnancy sickness.
posted by Lulu's Pink Converse at 2:29 PM on December 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


OTOH, the Stuarts also had the "luck" of having to deal with a rather intolerant protestant elite.

Also, by that point, shouldn't we be calling our German friends Battenberg-Saxe-Coburg-und-Gotha?
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 7:35 PM on December 4, 2012


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