Thursday, 18 September 2014

Kate Will Not Travel to Malta, Erdem Styles & An Insightful Account of HG

This morning, Kensington Palace announced the Duchess of Cambridge will not be travelling to Malta, for her first solo overseas trip. Instead Prince William will make the trip. The Palace said William is "honoured" to represent Her Majesty.


The announcement was made a day later than expected, indicative of how difficult a decision it was.

Sky News Royal

More from Richard Palmer:

Richard Palmer Twitter Feed

The couple met with doctors last night and following much thought and discussion decided Kate is still too unwell to make the two-day trip given the travelling and hectic schedule. Royal reporters stressed how important this was to the Duchess and how much she desperately wanted to go, however, her health needs to be the main priority and with hyperemesis gravidarum I personally never thought the visit really a viable option for Kate. No doubt William will do a wonderful job representing the Queen in his wife's stead. The itinerary for the visit remains unchanged.

************

Moving on to our fashion corner for the day. As you know fashion month has been underway, with a number of Kate's designers showcasing their Spring/Summer offerings. Canadian designer Erdem drew inspiration from Katherine Hepburn in The African Queen for his collection "a proper woman, unhinged by the jungle".

Erdem

Erdem joined other designers in his use of botanical prints, lace and dramatic dresses. The collection has been largely applauded by fashion critics and hailed as a great success.

Erdem

When glancing through the above pieces, the Duchess of Cambridge doesn't exactly spring to mind. Certainly we will not be seeing Her Royal Highness in crop tops and sheer gowns. When this collection hits stores the pieces will be much more wearable and functional. Let's take a look at the current collection available from Erdem beginning with the lace Cherise and Elizabeth dresses.

Erdem

There are so many looks to choose from which one could easily envisage Kate wearing for an official engagement. Erdem's use of lace and floral prints is beautiful and his attention to detail is evident in each garment. Below we see the crystal embellished Rayna Dress, the Armel in floral print and black and the Merete metallic broderie anglaise dress.

Erdem

The Lace Illusion Dress, Lace Yoke Crepe Dress, Silk Georgette Shirtdress and Print Ponte Dress are great versatile pieces all currently available at Nordstrom.

Erdem

Finally, we take a look at the Kent floral-lace satin dress, the burgundy Aubrey, the embellished Brenton and the Valma lace and brocade gown.

Erdem

There are so many elegant styles to choose from, we have no doubt Kate will continue to be a fan of Erdem :)

************

The news of Kate's illness prompted an enormous response from mothers who have endured hyperemesis gravidarum, Indeed, one of our readers, Shanon, was able to realise she was suffering HG because she's a fan of Kate and took the time to write her experience down in insightful detail and shared it on our Facebook Page. Those who have already read Shanon's story were moved, amazed and, for many, educated about the reality of the illness which is all too often misunderstood as 'merely morning sickness'.


 I thought I would share it with you all, and I'm sure you'll find it to be as fascinating a read as I did.

'I owe Kate Middleton my life.
 Those who know me are probably rolling their eyes because I’ve been a lifelong fan of all things royal. As a fan, when the Duchess of Cambridge’s first pregnancy was announced in December 2012, I was ecstatic! Of course, the announcement came as the Duchess was hospitalized with hyperemesis gravidarum. It was this – the royal family’s decision to reveal Kate Middleton’s illness – that saved my life.
 My husband and I were overjoyed to find out in April 2013, that we were expecting our first child. We were thrilled to share the news with close family and friends and eagerly looked forward to this joyous new adventure. At about six weeks of pregnancy, things started to change. Nausea crept in and my appetite disappeared. Ah, morning sickness. Then afternoon. Then evening. Then morning again. At my first OB appointment, everything seemed normal. My doctor told me what she probably tells everyone “Drink ginger ale and eat crackers.” It didn’t work. I started spending hours sprawled on the bathroom floor wanting to die. I vomited up nothing, relentlessly. Even looking at a glass of water made me cry. I couldn’t eat or drink anything, but I needed to provide nutrition for the baby, and for me.
Phone calls to the doctor were always the same – “It will stop after a few weeks.” “Eat crackers.” “You have to drink water.” I couldn’t. It simply wasn’t possible. Finally, in late May, dehydration forced my first trip to the ER. Several hours of IV fluids and my first experience with Zofran later, I went back home. A couple days later I followed up with my OB. Diagnosis? Morning sickness. Treatment? Eat crackers. Drink water. I cried in the doctor’s office.
 Then I remembered Kate. I learned everything I could about hyperemesis gravidarum (HG). HG is a debilitating and potentially life-threatening pregnancy disease marked by rapid weight loss, malnutrition, and dehydration due to unrelenting nausea and/or vomiting with potential adverse consequences for the mom-to-be and the newborn(s). I spent a great deal of time reading personal stories of HG moms on the HER Foundation Forum (www.helpher.org). One of the happiest moments of the whole pregnancy was discovering the term “crackered”. Apparently all HG moms have “crackered” stories – how someone tells them that “it’s just morning sickness” and they should “eat crackers”. I found my people.
I was absolutely convinced I had HG. The person I couldn’t convince was my doctor.
 Meanwhile, I was mixing sick days with working from home because I could barely function. (I am so thankful for the flexibility to work from home, though I know the quality of my work suffered.) My husband had to do everything for me. There were days he would have to help me get dressed or take a shower or even just pick me up off the bathroom floor. At this point I was so sick I was beginning to hallucinate. I would lie in front of the toilet and see flames around me. There was also a silhouette of a man with a hat who would always stand there watching.
While all of this was happening, I had to start telling people I was pregnant because it was obvious something was wrong, and I was missing so much work. Of course everyone wants to share in the joy of a pregnancy. Are you excited? Have you gone shopping yet? Do you have a name? For me, there was no joy. Dante had forgotten a Circle of Hell.
 Again, I turned to the HG forums because no one else understood and I was so scared. What was happening to me? Why wasn’t I happy? Was this normal? Was I killing my baby? Thankfully, these amazing women all experienced the same things I was going through and they were sympathetic, funny, and so very courageous.
At the beginning of July I had another doctor appointment. Again, I was unsuccessful at convincing my doctor that I had any problem other than typical morning sickness. Five days later I was in the ER again for more fluids. In those five days I had lost eight pounds. At my next doctor’s appointment, I put my foot down and said that I knew I had HG and I needed IV treatment. I got my HG diagnosis, and I started on IV fluids and nausea medicine the next day. (I’m still waiting to receive my honorary medical degree.)
 A nurse came to my house to place a midline IV (just above the elbow) to be connected to a pump 24 hours a day. I would have to change the bag every 12 hours. I also became my own nurse! I learned how to do Zofran injections straight into my IV every 6 hours and Phenergan every 4 hours. Our dining table became a clinic – vials of medicine, gauze, bags of fluids, gloves, antiseptic, medical tape, syringes, and saline. In a matter of days, I could function again. I had learned one lesson though. On the HG forums I found a recommendation for a doctor that was familiar with HG, and I was thankfully accepted as a new patient. A doctor who listens changes everything.
 A couple weeks into using the pump, the midline stopped working. My vein had collapsed, and I was in excruciating pain in my left shoulder. A nurse came to the house and put a temporary line in my right hand, so I couldn’t use my left arm or my right hand – and my husband was out of town. It was a great time. The next morning my friend took me to the hospital to get a PICC line inserted; this goes up through the arm and into a vein above the heart. The pump was hooked up just as before.
 The pump and I had a love/hate relationship for two months. I loved it because I could function with the constant flow of medicine and fluids. After a couple weeks, I started to eat! I even started to gain weight. I hated when I forgot that I was tethered to something. I also hated the beeping in the middle of the night when the bag or battery needed to be changed.
 After two months on the pump, I felt ready to transition from the IV to Zofran and Phenergan in pill form. I was terrified! What if I got worse? What if it was as bad as before? Often HGers will feel better in the 2nd trimester and relapse in the 3rd trimester. I still had the pills though, and coming off the pump was so freeing! However, the second I was off the pump, everyone’s reaction was “You’re better!” I was far from anything associated with “better”. I was still nauseous all the time. I hadn’t vomited in a while, but I wanted to. I could eat, but only certain things. And if you’ve ever taken nausea medication, you know that it will knock you out. Well imagine taking two different kinds of nausea medicine every four and every six hours respectively. Yeah, I had enough medicine in me to put down The Rock, and I still went to work every day. When you don’t have a choice, you just do what you have to do.
 I was a walking zombie, but I could function and Baby was healthy.
Let me define “function”. By no means was I skipping down the halls happy as a clam when I was on the pump or after. I could perform the basic necessities of life independently. That was my measure of success. As Baby grew, I was thrilled at the idea of feeling him move. When that time came, I wanted to die. Every time he moved, I wanted to vomit. It was awful. And of course when a pregnant woman starts to show, she is officially public property. Every stranger touches you – which also made me want to vomit. Everyone also wants to know everything you’re doing to get ready for Baby. Shopping? Too sick. Baby’s room? Too sick. Baby showers? Too sick. Names? All those exciting things you think about as a young woman? HG stole that from me. I wanted to ignore that this pregnancy was even happening. I had to separate Pregnancy and Baby in my head. Eventually your coworkers, friends and family stop asking questions altogether because you're just not happy enough and no fun to be around. HG is very lonely.
 What I found helpful was to take things not day by day, but hour by hour. At the worst of times, I would have to take things in just tiny segments – sit on couch, take nap, drink one sip of water. If you break things down, you can do it. If you try to think nine months of HG, you won’t get through it. You can’t. It’s too overwhelming.
 At 37 weeks, I was done. Beyond done. I could not do it anymore. I had an amniocentesis and unfortunately Baby’s lungs were one point below mature. My lovely, wonderful, amazing doctor took pity upon me and my mental breakdown and went before the hospital’s council to petition to have a C-section at 38 weeks. The hospital said no. She did it anyway. I love her. Baby Boy was born 100% healthy. (I know there are probably many of you hating me for these decisions - more on that later.)
 HG wasn’t done with me yet though. I was still taking my nausea medicine in the hospital and doing okay. When I got home though, I relapsed. I spent two full days in bed. Thank goodness for Mom! Finally, two weeks after Baby was born, HG let go and drifted away. Unfortunately, there are now foods I cannot eat because I would eat them when I was pregnant so it reminds me of HG. Sorry Snickers and hashbrown casserole! There are restaurants I can’t go to now. Poor Wendy’s and Arby's.
 I am overly sensitive to smells; sometimes my husband has to eat in a different room. I pick up stomach viruses much easier than I ever did before HG.
People ask me “Wasn’t it all worth it?” I don’t like that question. Obviously, I love my son more than anything. He is my light and my world. But no woman should ever have to suffer through HG. Another question I hate is “When are you going to have another?” HG is not just this silly ol' thing you have to deal with to have a baby. It's a big freakin' deal.
 The one bonus of having had HG is you would know what to expect. This is what I know: We would have to have enough money so I can either quit my job or take an extended leave of absence if I’m allowed. I cannot work through that again. It was torture. Second, since we already have a child, we would have to have someone who could live with us to take care of our current child because I would not be able to. On most days I wouldn’t be able to care for myself and would need my husband’s help. Those are major considerations. Not to mention the simple fact that I don’t know if I could physically do it again. And yes, 80% of HGers have HG again. (There is also the possibility that my experience with HG could be even worse the second time. My version of HG would be considered “mild to moderate”.
 There are some cases so severe that there is no choice but to abort the baby. I honestly cannot imagine the pain of having to make such a decision, but I can absolutely say that my HG experience has completely changed my outlook on judging others’ decisions. Yes, I can hope for the best, but in a situation like this, you absolutely have to plan for the worst.)
 So, you see, in a way, Kate Middleton saved my life. If she hadn’t revealed that she had HG, I don’t know that I would have figured out my own diagnosis and fought for treatment. Now the Duchess is pregnant with her second child and, bless her heart, she is fighting through HG again. I envy her resources, but that in no way mitigates the horror that is HG. The announcement of her second pregnancy has stirred up a lot of emotions for me, but it brings about an opportunity for more awareness. I have grown more and more furious watching every media outlet call HG “morning sickness”. HG IS NOT MORNING SICKNESS!
 That’s the reason for sharing my story, finally. Partly it’s therapy for me, but mostly I want to bring awareness to HG and all its ugliness. Please, the next time you hear someone talk about Kate and her “morning sickness”, correct them. I would be eternally grateful if you would share my story on Facebook, your blog, or your website. Visit www.helpher.org and learn more! The more awareness we can raise, the likelier it is that those suffering from HG will get treatment in time to make a difference. The earlier HG is treated, the less severe it will get. Please help us Raise Awareness for HG!'

We cannot thank Shannon enough for sharing her story and helping to raise awareness. If you wish to find out more about it or donate please visit Help HER or Pregnancy Sickness Support.

Monday, 15 September 2014

What to Expect now Kate's Expecting

Last week we heard the joyous news the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their second child. Many have estimated the baby will be due around April - more than estimated in fact. British odds-makers began making predictions about names and birth dates for William and Kate's second child. When Kate hits the twelve-week mark the Palace will confirm the month. Until then, how much will we see of Kate during this pregnancy?


At the moment the Duchess is with her parents in Bucklebury. William joined the Queen and Prince Philip at Balmoral last Thursday, went shooting on Saturday and was spotted at a church service yesterday. The imminent decision on Kate's mind is her much anticipated first solo trip to Malta, scheduled for this weekend. This was marked as an important milestone for the Duchess in her role as a member of the Royal family and it was seen as a special gesture by Her Majesty to send Kate to the country she spent some of the happiest times of her early marriage in.


The Palace confirmed Kate will make her decision by Wednesday, and while I believe she would like to go I think it very unlikely at this point. Even if she feels somewhat better by Wednesday, there are absolutely no guarantees she will not be very unwell by Saturday.

Meanwhile, Palace staff have been busy searching for a replacement to fill in for Kate. William is thought to be the frontrunner for a variety of reasons. As Kate's husband it would seem fitting, press and media have booked their accommodation and are expecting to have a senior member of the family there. However, if Kate is feeling very poorly she may well want William by her side leaving the role open to other royals, including Prince Harry. One imagines Princess Beatrice would be very eager to attend (she's incredibly willing to become more involved in royal duties) but she may be considered too junior a royal for such a visit.

As you can see, this is following a very similar pattern to Kate's first pregnancy, although it's important to note each pregnancy is different and a nurse I was speaking to informed me Hyperemesis gravidarum can be considerably worse with successive pregnancies.


Kensington Palace said engagements will be taken on "a case-by-case basis" meaning we may not see anything scheduled for some time and if we do they may be announced with very little notice. Just a couple of weeks after her first pregnancy was announced Kate made a surprise appearance at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards. The press were informed of the news Kate was feeling well that day and wanted to present an award just hours before the show. The Duchess wore a stunning green Alexander McQueen gown but looked quite tired and pale; she elected to stay for only 45 minutes.


A couple of months later Kate was feeling considerably better and began taking on a few engagements here and there and rounded up her official appearances with Trooping the Colour, before taking maternity leave five weeks before George's arrival.


Annual events attended by the Royal family, such as Remembrance Sunday in November, are ones I would pencil in for Kate's diary.


Where the Cambridges will spend Christmas this year has been another topic of conversation. Last year they enjoyed the festivities with the Royal family at Sandringham, and the previous year at Bucklebury with the Middletons. It is believed this is a pattern they mean to continue, ensuring neither family is left out.

PA

If the couple do plan to alternate family Christmases, this year they will celebrate with the Middletons. It would offer a more relaxed family setting than Sandringham which involves meeting well-wishers, the walk to Church, awaiting the press and several outfit changes.


In terms of fashion, the thrifty Duchess will almost certainly repeat her maternity wardrobe for official and private events. Which pieces from Kate's wardrobe would you like to see her wear again? Immediately the beautiful bespoke blue Emilia Wickstead dress Kate wore to an Art Room reception springs to mind. It was very Jackie O, just perfect and very stylish maternity wear.


The Tara Jarmon coat and matching bespoke dress would be lovely for Kate as she approaches the later stages of her pregnancy.


Kate's much-loved Topshop polka-dot maternity dress.


The Duchess selected Séraphine as her go-to maternity wear brand and ordered a number of dresses and other pieces from the label to wear throughout her pregnancy and in the weeks afterwards Séraphine founder Cecile Reinaud discussed her delight upon discovering Kate was a fan: "The Kate effect is huge and we have been enjoying a 400% growth in sales since it became public that Kate bought Séraphine dresses back in April 2013". Below we see HRH in the £46 fuchsia Jolene Dress for the first official portrait of Prince George taken by Michael Middleton.


Michael Middleton

Of course, the eyes of the world's media will be focused on the Lindo Wing once again as we await the first glimpse of the little prince or princess who will be introduced as his parents leave the hospital for the second time. After the birth of the baby, it is believed the couple plan to spend the first weeks at their country home, Anmer Hall.


Popular names being guessed for the little one already include Alexander, James, Louis, Arthur for a boy, and Alexandra, Victoria, Catherine, Elizabeth and Charlotte ;) for a girl. Do you have any name predictions? I expect the couple will stick with tradition but may surprise us by incorporating more Middleton family names this time round.

It's a very exciting time for the couple and indeed for royalists around the world. We'll keep you updated as news comes in and in the meantime we hope Kate feels better soon!

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

"All Bets off Regarding Royal Duties" as Kate's Illness Continues, Jenny Packham Spring 2015 & More

Hello dear readers,

We're back with updates on Kate's diary and her condition. The Duchess of Cambridge will not be attending the opening ceremony of the Invictus Games this evening or attending the athletics event tomorrow, Kensington Palace confirmed this morning. Doctors caring for her informed Palace aides she would not be well enough to join other members of the Royal family at Olympic Park for the event.


The statement from Kensington Palace also touches on the Malta visit:

'The Duchess of Cambridge will not attend the opening ceremony of the Invictus Games this evening or the athletics event tomorrow. The Duchess's attendance on the forthcoming visit to Malta will be kept under review and a decision taken closer to the time.'

More from royal reporter Rebecca English:

Rebecca English Twitter Feed

We're very sorry to hear Kate is feeling so poorly; it must be an incredibly difficult time for her. Regarding the Malta trip, I cannot see the Duchess making it at this point. With travelling, a hectic schedule and a speech it would be quite stressful for her, not to mention how ill she is feeling. No doubt the Palace is busy organising another member of the Royal family to make the trip. Perhaps Prince Harry who has a free schedule at that time. The Maltese government congratulated the couple and noted they are fully aware of the situation. It also looks more than likely the recently reported (officially unconfirmed) China tour for next year will not be going ahead.


Meanwhile, other members of the Royal family have been reacting to the joyous news. At a Prince's Trust event in London yesterday, a beaming Prince Charles said, "It's wonderful to be a grandfather again. I'm looking forward to it - but - I hope it will be a girl this time." Princess Diana once revealed Charles had always wanted a daughter.


At an Invictus event Prince Harry also revealed how pleased he is but noted Kate was quite poorly the last time he saw her. There's a video featuring Harry's words on the announcement here.


Many commented they thought William and Kate would wait for a while before having another baby. According to The Telegraph the Duchess plans to have three before her 35th birthday:

'The Duchess of Cambridge decided to have two children less than two years apart because she intends to have a third child before she is 35, friends have claimed. The Duchess has reportedly told friends she would like "at least" three children, to give Prince George and her second baby the chance of having the sort of family environment she had.
 The Duchess is just 20 months older than her sister Pippa and less than five years older than her brother James. They remain incredibly close and rarely go more than a month without meeting up at the family home in Bucklebury'.

Hyperemesis gravidarum is a serious condition, caused by elevated levels of 'pregnancy hormone' HCG, or human chorionic gonadotropin, which increases after inception. Sufferers experience extreme nausea and may vomit up to thirty times a day. If anything, it is said to be associated with a normal, healthy pregnancy. Doctors are monitoring Kate closely at Kensington Palace where she is expected to remain until she recovers.


It's been wonderful to see such an outpouring of good wishes for William and Kate following the announcement. It's splendid news for both families and no doubt little George will love having a little brother or sister around. In terms of royal engagements, I believe there will be very, very few for the remainder of the year and certainly none in the very near future.

************

Fashion fans will enjoy our next segment. Have you been following fashion week? If so, you may have noticed Jenny Packham's Spring 2015 Collection.

Jenny Packham

The British designer was very much inspired by the iconic Marilyn Monroe:

'It's blatantly Marilyn Monroe. She's been there all my life, but I've rediscovered her again. She's still so relevant. What she wore doesn't date.'

Ms. Packham took her research for the collection very seriously by visiting Monroe's bungalow in Hollywood and travelling to Jersey to get a glimpse of a private collection of the late star's dresses.

Jenny Packham

Ms. Monroe's influence is certainly evident in the collection, but in a pared-back sense. Calf-length dresses and soft pink numbers featured.

Jenny Packham

The designer's love of sequins and detailed embellishment was incorporated.

Jenny Packham

Beautiful ball gowns fit for a Duchess. I don't see Kate wearing gowns like these in the near future but if anyone could pull them off, it would be Her Royal Highness at a white-tie event, teamed with a tiara of course ;)

Jenny Packham
Elegant little black dresses.

Jenny Packham

Somewhat reminiscent of the black crepe dress which had been hand-stitched with silver beading to represent New Zealand's national emblem.


This stunning blue gown is my favourite piece from the collection and it would look stunning on Kate, but perhaps she will select a darker colour.

Jenny Packham

The very talented Jenny posed with models after the show.

Jenny Packham Facebook Page

Will we see Kate in one of these Marilyn inspired creations? I do think so. What about you?

************

Finally today, for those who enjoy following other royals The Royal Digest is back and will feature regular posts covering British and European royals along with weekly features covering iconic royals including Princess Diana and Princess Grace and of course plenty of tiaras and jewels. There's a link on the sidebar or you can find the blog here.




We'll keep you updated on any news regarding Kate :)