If you, like me, think “Morning Sickness” should be called “The 9 Month Flu” you might benefit from reading this post. I’m not promising any cures or remedies. As someone who has tried just about everything to alleviate my nausea and vomiting during pregnancy (special diets, mint, lemons, ginger, Zofran, other drugs, acupuncture, chiropractic adjustments, small frequent meals, liquid chlorophyll, sea bands, protein, bland foods, Unisom, exercise, relaxation, Vitamin B, and many more) I don’t see the need for another post along those lines. These are some mindsets and practical tips that have helped me cope with feeling like a moody, sleep-deprived adolescent with the perpetual flu. Don’t worry, I’m not going to tell you to put crackers by your bedside, we’ve all heard that joke too many times!
Disclaimer: I am not an expert; I am just speaking from my experience: one complete pregnancy with severe nausea and vomiting for the entire duration, one miscarriage with moderate nausea and vomiting, and one current pregnancy, 13.5 weeks along with ongoing constant nausea and occasional vomiting.
1. Keep an empty ice cream bucket in your car. This one was my mom’s idea, and the more I think about it, the more I realize its perfection. Just yesterday a strong wave of nausea hit me while I was driving home from work. I was on the interstate and there was nowhere to pull over. I grabbed the first thing I could find to use as a receptacle; a paper bag. While it was better than nothing, it was not ideal. Yes it leaked out on my pants… yes my husband thought I wet myself… yes I was grateful I was coming home from work and not going to work. An ice cream bucket would have been so much better because you don’t have to hold it open (safer while driving), it doesn’t leak, AND you can put a lid on it. The only problem is we don’t really eat ice cream in this family so we don’t actually have one. I will buy someone ice cream if you give me the container! Anyone?
2. Learn to interpret nausea as hunger. This is really difficult because it is unnatural to eat when you feel sick. During pregnancy I have not felt hungry. Instead I feel nauseous. Tricky little nausea is always trying to make food seem repulsive, but food is the only thing that calms the storm. There is a point of no return when the nausea is too strong and food will not stay down. Just try not to get to this point… I know it is hard.
3. Choose the least of evils: During my first pregnancy I got my vomiting under control with drugs but I still felt miserably nauseous. I ate frequently to get my nausea under control and gained too much weight. The drugs gave me headaches and slowed my digestion way down if you know what I mean. During my second pregnancy I threw up too much and ended up losing the baby… though we’re not sure why. So based on what you can tolerate today you must choose: vomiting or drug side effects, nausea or weight gain, healthy foods or pickles and gummy bears, being a semi-functional human or spending the day in the bathroom.
4. Don’t eat it if you are disgusted by it. I ate chicken the other day because I thought it would be a healthy choice. I turned off the lights because I was grossed out by the sight of it. I didn’t sleep for the first half of the night because I was so ill from it. When will I ever learn to listen to my aversions?
5. Enjoy the 1-5 minutes after you finish throwing up. This is the best you’ll feel for months. If you can, fall asleep during this time so that you can avoid experiencing the resurgence.
6. Take Gummy Prenatal Vitamins. Forget about choking down those horse pills. Mary Poppins was right a spoonful of sugar helping the medicine go down. My new gummy vitamins do contain sugar, and they do not have iron so they are easier on the tummy.
7. Lie to yourself. Despite my track record, it was imperative that I believed I would feel better during the second trimester this time. It gave me hope, it gave me something to count down to. It made me feel better just knowing there was an end date. That date was over a week ago, so now I’m changing my nausea end date. It’s just a little game I play to keep myself sane… if you call this sanity.
8. Keep your Eyes on the Prize: baby, baby, baby, baby, baby, baby, baby, baby, baby, baby, baby (it’s all worth it for you babe).
9. Accept that you feel how you feel. One definition of suffering is pain plus the non-acceptance of that pain. My first pregnancy I felt upset because it wasn’t fair, it wasn’t right, it wasn’t what I read about in the books, it wasn’t what my friends described, it lasted much longer, and it felt much worse than I ever expected. Now I am coming to terms with my situation, and it is still hard, but a little tiny bit better. I still have hope that by some miracle, I will have some relief from my nausea before this is all over, but I am doing better at accepting that at this moment, I feel sick and it’s not helpful to protest that fact.
My guess is that if you are reading a post with this title you have had similar or worse experiences than mine, or you know me and are reading out of boredom, empathy, curiosity, obligation, confusion, amusement. If you fit into the former category, how have you coped? Which of these things have been helpful/unhelpful for you? I’d love to know, and I’m sure others will benefit from your wisdom. Comment below!