You may notice that no photographs accompany this post. Well, a picture is worth a thousand words, I know, but I’m going to paint you a word picture that will help you to understand why under no circumstances, a current photograph of me should be featured anywhere.
I’m pregnant, and my excuses for being delinquent in my posts all boil down to one main issue: so-called “morning” sickness has, once again, taken over my body. This happened when I was pregnant with Baby Guy, but I think it’s even worse this time. I have learned (for sure this time) that the first trimester is not my friend.
A couple of years ago when I first found out I was pregnant, I was pretty naive about the whole morning sickness thing. I knew there was a good chance I would have it, but I didn’t have a firm grasp on what it might entail. I honestly thought I’d wake up queasy, throw up a few times before lunch, and need to avoid strong odors for a couple of weeks. Well, on the first day of week 6 (ah, I remember it well) I discovered that 24 hours of nausea and extreme sensitivity to any odors was the real deal for me. Unfortunately I was teaching at the time, and by lunchtime I was so miserable that I placed a call to my midwife/OB team begging them for help. Yes, I lasted approximately 6 hours before resorting to professional assistance. My husband, being the good man that he is went out immediately and purchased all of the items they’d suggested might help me: Altoids, a B6 supplement and Unisom. He delivered the Altoids promptly to my classroom, where I downed them semi-continuously for as long as there were any left in the tin.
I went home that afternoon, took the Unisom and B6 (which you should not do unless your health provider advises you to do, by the way), and succumbed to blessed relief in the form of an almost comatose nap.
For the next two months I ate my food cold because the smell of anything was too much when it was hot. I took Unisom after work and during the night and went without it during the day because…you know…teaching stuff requires brain function. I avoided my computer screen as much as possible because it made me nauseous to read from it. I couldn’t watch my students walk across the room because it made me queasy to view that much movement. I banned hand sanitizer, chapstick, lotion, perfume, air freshener, cologne, and breath fresheners (Altoids excepted) first from my classroom, and then even from the hallways if students were planning to come to my classroom within the next period or two. I ate saltines and string cheese fairly steadily to keep my stomach from being too empty. I couldn’t drink water (it made me so nauseous), so I drank Ocean Spray white grapefruit juice exclusively for months.
I didn’t cook or clean because those chores just involve way too many smells. I couldn’t wear freshly laundered clothes until the detergent odor had faded, and I couldn’t be near my husband after he showered because his shampoo was too smelly. My own shampoo made me feel awful, too.
It was pretty bad.
Eventually it ended, the second trimester wasn’t bad; I became enormous, I redeveloped my love of mealtimes, and a few months later I had a happy, healthy little boy.
And then we thought, “Let’s have another!”
So the day after I found out I was pregnant with baby number two, baby numero uno came down with a stomach bug, followed by my husband, followed by two weeks of relatively good health, followed by Baby Guy coming down with the stomach bug AGAIN, but worse this time…while my mom and dad were here…and then I got it. My dad took it back home with him, and my mom extended her stay because she got taken out too. I didn’t get out of bed (and I use the term ‘bed’ loosely…it was really a sleeping pad on the floor of the family room) for 3 days. I was fairly certain I would never recover, and it turns out that I was kind of right because I’ve been nauseous ever since.
That was 2 months ago.
I’m off water still, so basically the only thing I drink is sparkling water with lime juice. White grapefruit juice just isn’t doing it for me this time, and nothing else sounds too good. The sparkling water with lime doesn’t feel awesome, but I can at least stave off dehydration with it, so it’s the beverage of choice this time around. I did about a month and a half of eating nachos almost exclusively. Right now I’m on a grilled cheese kick. It’s not that these foods make me feel especially good, it’s just that the idea of eating them makes me feel less like crying than any other foods. I can also handle soy empanadas, but those are a food truck commodity around here, and not available on a daily basis.
Let me just tell you that with my tendency to extensively read about issues that affect me, I have come across some truly terrible morning sickness remedies. There was one blog I read about a lady who swore by her trusty diet of liver to save her from this scourge of early pregnancy. I am not quite there. My vegetarianism has remained intact.
There are also reasonable remedies that are compatible with my vegetarian lifestyle, (like ginger tea) but I have rejected most of them this time because everything. sounds. awful.
Here’s what does (at least sort of) work for me this time around:
- Pineapple Outshine bars help me feel better, to a modest extent.
- Sleeping. Oh yes, sleep is sweet relief, and really the only thing that actually works.
- Minty chewing gum (not spearmint, because I think that’s gross even on a good day) helps me get through a tough spot, but only works for a few minutes
- Chimes ginger chews (they work while you’re chewing them…no more and no less)
- My hero husband, who cooks everything that gets cooked around here, because he can handle the odors of heated food, unlike his trophy wife. He also takes Baby Guy off my hands as frequently as he is able so I can take a nap and forget my misery for awhile.
I am using Unisom once a day (again, with my doctor’s recommendation), before I go to bed in the evening, which helps me get a good night’s sleep, but it really doesn’t seem to control the nausea this time around other than to help me be drowsy enough to sleep through it. I was prescribed another medication for nausea which I’ve tried a couple of times, but it also seems to only help as far as it puts me to sleep. Once I wake up, even if it’s still in my system, the nausea doesn’t seem any better, so I haven’t been using the prescription.
A couple of weeks ago Baby Guy and I were home alone when I felt the strong urge to heave. I ran to the bathroom and didn’t feel I had the luxury of time to close the door behind me. Before I knew it, Baby Guy was there, standing over the toilet with me, peering in to see what was so interesting to me in there. I heaved, which he found to be incredibly delightful. He laughed and smiled at me as I came up for air, and when I went for it again, he joined me, making the best disgusting sounds he could muster and beaming proudly when we both looked up again. This lasted for 2-3 minutes until I could recover enough to get us both out of there. It was probably the most fun he’s had with me in ages.
Since then, he has stayed outside the bathroom when I’m in there (for the most part), but often claps, laughs, and says, “More! More!” when I am in the throes of agony. I don’t know if it helps, exactly, but it does give me something to laugh about later. I mean, there’s nothing quite like the feeling that your toddler thinks you’re awesome because you can make gross vomit sounds on a regular basis.
It’s only a matter of days before the second trimester will officially begin, and I’m praying that relief will come with it. If not, you can expect to hear from me sometime next January when I expect I will emerge from the fourth trimester quite scathed but hopefully triumphant (or at least alive).