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Best Laid Plans (Six Weeks)

Best Laid Plans (Six Weeks)

photo by Mr. Right-Click

I started the week staring down the barrel of two french fry empties from McDonald’s, obsessing over the unfathomable amount of weight I’ve already gained and the fact that by the time I’m actually showing I won’t even be able to fit into my maternity jeans from last time. My thought was to try really hard to avoid eating crap this time, and maybe somehow control the insane weight gain, but as usual the hormones get started and suddenly I’m eating McDonald’s again like it’s going out of style.

But as it turns out, this week came in like a lamb and is going out like a lion. Since last we spoke, I’ve sat on the floor of the shower five? six? more times, and I’ve finally determined the exact position that allows for the therapeutic effects while not compromising either drainage or my ability to breathe without swallowing a mouthful of water. The nausea has not yet reached the heights to which it soared during my pregnancy with Mini; however, I recall that it did not start with Mini until 6.5 weeks and so, therefore, we can assume that this little fetus is an overachiever already looking to usurp its big brother’s throne of vomit.

At present my nausea relief methods are many, though none of them foolproof. In case you are wondering — and if you have been in this position, you are wondering, believe me, because there isn’t all that much help out there for morning sickness (more on that later) — include the following:

  1. Exercise (if you can get through the first 30 minutes, you might be rewarded with an endorphin hit that will alleviate the nausea for approximately another 10-15 minutes. But be forewarned: during that time, you might find yourself contemplating more McDonalds french fry tallboys);
  2. Ice chips (water makes your body feel better, but drinking a lot of it is difficult, suck on some ice chips and you’ll hydrate yourself less painfully);
  3. Sour and/or “bold” hard candy, or anything else that is really, really sour (shocks your system temporarily, forces your brain to focus on the sourness of your mouth instead of the queasiness of your entire existence);
  4. The previously mentioned method of sitting on the shower floor for upwards of an hour; and
  5. Sea Bands (these will might take off the edge from the nausea, and might save you a few vomiting episodes, but you have to wear them constantly. Constantly. And you won’t feel the effects until after you’ve been wearing them for several days continuously.) I’ve only used the Sea Bands brand but I’ve ordered a pair of Psi Bands to try out (they are waterproof and so I won’t have to take them off every time I’m sulking on the floor of the shower), and I’m hoping they will be more effective.

Some people like saltine crackers and sipping water but I have had mixed results with these methods. Depending on how bad your morning sickness is, you might be able to control it with food, but experience has shown me that my brand of morning sickness is usually beyond that until about 12 weeks. With Mini, I had to take Zofran, a prescription anti-nausea medicine also given to people undergoing chemotherapy that costs about $100 a pill. I’m hoping to avoid that this time, because Zofran has some very unpleasant side effects that I won’t get into just yet, but things are looking bleak over here.

Last time I was pregnant I spent a lot of time on the floor of the shower trying to brainstorm ideas for products I could develop to make morning sickness less miserable. It’s usually only three months women have to deal with it, and once you’re through with it you pretty much just want to block it out like some kind of repressed ritualistic abuse incident from childhood that may or may not actually have happened. So, the thing is, people don’t study it that much or work on solutions.

I think the best idea I came up with last time was creating a set of cards, each one of which contained an elaborate task on which the hyperemetic was required to concentrate — a new one for each day — to attempt to distract one from the agony of the persistent nausea.Now that I have a child, I know that the child himself kind of serves the same purpose: you’re not really feeling any better, but you have less time to kick the dirt and obsess about how bad you feel, and that is better than nothing. Similarly, the more I am actually out in the world interacting with people, the less I can think about it, even if the nausea never goes away. So that has been my plan: continue to operate as if I am not sick and hope that makes the time go by faster.

I’ll let you know how that works out.

[Photo: Mr. Right Click took this of me when I was pregnant with Mini in 2006. I have heavily cropped the photo so as to make it suitable for internet publication.]

Comments (23)

  1. Feb 11, 2011

    That nausea sounds pretty bad. In my experience, for what minimal nausea and fatigue I had during the second pregnancy, the need to care for and focus on Child No. 1 did tend to alleviate symptoms, as you say. But then you go and write about the nausea and again focus on it, and maybe that cancels out the relief of NOT thinking about it? Or does writing about it provide some kind of comfort? Or should I not comment at all, since you want to only hear from others who have had it as bad, or worse? (In which case, sorry!)

  2. Feb 11, 2011

    I, too, spent a good portion of my first trimester (and a week-long portion of the second during a horrible back spasm episode) in the shower trying to alleviate that all-day seasick feeling. Hope the next six weeks go quickly. =(

  3. Feb 11, 2011

    I have not commented before, but do love your blog! I had the same situation with both my pregnancies, it is terrible. The second pregnancy was much worse, almost six months of almost constant nausea. I DID find out later that I was pretty seriously anemic, and that can contribute to morning sickness/nausea (I had no idea). Something that really, really helped me was going for shiatsu. You might also try acupuncture. But I spent many hours sitting in the shower, too. Hang in there, stay hydrated the best you can and ask for help when you need it!

  4. Feb 11, 2011

    For weeks with this one, the only thing I could eat were oranges. The more tart the better and the smell first thing in the morning helped. That and cherry Jolly Rancher candies. I tried the Preggie Pops but dear LORD in heaven it would kill me not to know which flavor was coming out of the bag. You’re expecting sour orange and you get peppermint, it just upped my gag reflex every time thinking about it.

  5. Elita
    Feb 11, 2011

    I am so with you on this, on all of it. The two large empty fry cartons from McDonald’s? Check. The incredible weight gain in only a few weeks? Check. The nausea that seems to last all fucking day? Chiggity check. I find real ginger ale helps as does chewing gum for some reason. Feel better soon, hopefully it will only be a few more weeks.

  6. Feb 11, 2011

    Sorry you’re feeling cruddy.

    I found peppermint tea amazing for battling morning sickness, though I abhor it when I’m not pregnant. Go figure.

  7. Feb 11, 2011

    Can you ask your doctor about phenergan? I did zofran but it had weird side effects and the sickly sweet taste killed me. I took phenergan once a week (I didn’t do more than that bc I was afraid of drugs while pregnant) and it let me sleep at least one night a week and then I was less fatigued and less sick. The fatigue can actually make you nauseous so getting sleep helps. It’s a vicious circle.

  8. Feb 11, 2011

    It sounds so awful. I had bad nausea and heartburn, but yours sounds like it’s truly hideous. Sending warm thoughts.

  9. Carla Hinkle
    Feb 11, 2011

    Gah. I had morning sickness with all 3 pregnancies until 20 weeks (though in slightly Exciting! Different! Flavors!). I spent much time wondering what evolutionary role morning sickness played … shouldn’t natural selection weed out the very sick? Or can those of us who felt so awful take comfort in the fact that the morning sickness was actually performing some important purpose? I never thought of a good answer. But at least it helped pass the time.

    Fried food and regular Coke helped during #1. Sea Bands were awesome for #2. Gum was my only savior with #3, as the awful taste in my mouth NEVER WENT AWAY. I even had to sleep with gum in my mouth.

    Hang in.

  10. drhoctor2
    Feb 11, 2011

    I’m a former champion any time of day first trimester puker…the dry heaving was always so bad for me ..what with the bile and the burning and the idea of throwing up making me throw up..etc. Then I get victorian fainty and make odd deals with the Lord….
    my only tip is carried over form my ” party on days”..I kept ice tea next to my bed every night so I had something to toss up in the morning..it has no side effects on the way back up if you know what I mean and I think that you may..
    I think a lot of stuff improves if all goes according to plan with 2nd pregnancy issues because you KNOW the stuff ends… you will spend more time berating yourself for doing this again when you know “better” to compensate..:)..oh the convos in our heads as we lay our fevered brows against that cool tile..
    I love pregnancy. Good thoughts to you…….

  11. Feb 11, 2011

    I threw up till the sixth month. I was working then too, and it wasn’t just morning it was ALLLLL day sickness. The ONLY thing that I could keep down was Zucchini, dry cereal, lemonade and regular potato chips. The combo of the salty/sour was what worked for me. I put on 17lbs with my son, I’m sure most of that was potato chips.

    I hope this passes soon.

  12. Feb 11, 2011

    Man, I took one look at that photo and it all came back to me.

    I have no advice, because the only thing that ended it for me, both times, was giving birth. But I’m very, very sympathetic.

  13. Feb 11, 2011

    I had hideous morning sickness like that, zofran helped a bit, but it didn’t stop the nausea. My first pregnancy I was sick for the entire thing, I was actually lighter when I gave birth than I was pre-pregnant. It was hideous.

    Luckily my second pregnancy wasn’t as bad and the morning sickness eased at 12 (ish) weeks.

    Hoping that it doesn’t get any worse for you. I had some luck with ginger tea, lemon tea (made with lemon peel and juice, not crappy bought stuff), frozen orange slices and orange juice blended with as much ice as I could fit into the cup, so it was more a slushie than anything. Of course, I still spend an awful lot of time nowadays puking (I have a stupid body) so I get to try out all kinds of nausea remedies. Ugh. Nausea truly is the worst thing to have to deal with.

  14. Feb 11, 2011

    When my uncle had leukemia he had these ginger hard candies he would suck on to help fight the nausea. I don’t know how well they worked–I was only about 10 at the time, I only remember because, hey! That’s my name! kid obsession–but I know he always had them around.

  15. Oh man. I have no advice. Just wanted to offer hugs.

  16. Feb 11, 2011

    I don’t come every day, so first off, congratulations! Second, if you find the sea bands help somewhat, you might want to try the Relief Band. It stimulates the same acupuncture site with electrical pulses. I found it to be the only thing that ever helped my motion sickness. I don’t think it helped my pregnancy nausea that much, but that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t help you. Maybe it would! Because it really really does work for me with motion sickness. It makes it go away, even, where most motion sickness remedies are prophylactic only.

  17. Feb 11, 2011

    Ok, while I was pregnant with the Fairy Princess, they sold ginger lollypops. I don’t know if they still do, but you could try them. I hate saltines, absolutely hate them and haven’t eaten them since the first pregnancy related throwing up episode (14 years ago!!) The lollypops were also 7 years ago, so they might be a thing of the past. Other than that I am of absolutely no help. Hope you feel better soon!!

  18. Feb 11, 2011

    My doc told me to take B6 & Unisom (both 25 mg tabs) – 1/2 tab each 2 x a day. It mostly helped, but does make you a bit sleepy (duh, sleeping pill!) so I only took it at night.

    I have also tried Emetrol, but when I’m pregnant I get diabetes and can’t take it because it’s pretty much pure glucose.

  19. Feb 12, 2011

    I was horribly, horribly sick from about the eighth or ninth week until around thirty-three weeks for each and every pregnancy. Woe. I just kept pep-talking myself: “All this nausea means a ton of hormones are whipping around; a ton of hormones whipping around means that I’m growing a healthy baby in there. GO TEAM.” It wasn’t perfect, but it helped.

    Tools and methods to abate nausea and vomiting were pregnancy-specific (and hit and miss) each time, with one consistent exception. Lemonade –heavy on the lemon and light on the sugar– worked more often than not, and helped to rehydrate me, to boot. Super icy beverages (mostly water and the aforementioned lemonade) helped as well.

    Good luck, Anna. This part is full of suck; hang in there.

  20. Feb 14, 2011

    Oh, man. I know how you feel! With my first pregnancy, I was sick the whole time – Zofran kept the vomiting down to just a few times in the day versus the 8+ times by noon. Second time around I was sick just through the 7th month and then things eased up considerably.

    I loved how my mother-in-law, as I was nearing the end of my first pregnancy, asked me if I’d tried crackers. HA! No, I never did try the first thing anyone recommends when you have nausea. THANK YOU. Later she told me cherries and milk helped her when she was pregnant and I should have horked on her shoes just for that. Blech.

    I hope you feel better soon.

  21. Feb 14, 2011

    The closest I’ve ever come to homicide:

    When people asked me if I’d tried crackers.

  22. Feb 14, 2011

    Someone asked me just this morning if I had tried crackers.

    I think that there must be some people who are actually helped by crackers, but I swear to god I’ve never met any of them. People want to be helpful but when you’re in this place it’s like, “ARE YOU KIDDING ME? If the Zofran crap is just barely taking the edge off, I’m a little hesitant to believe that the answer all along was just to eat crackers.”

  23. Feb 14, 2011

    I am guessing the people who are helped by crackers are not the same people who are taking drugs meant for chemotherapy patients.

    Which is why when someone tells you they have HG, have been back and forth to the hospital repeatedly for dehydration, and throw up 8-15 times a day, you should never, ever say to them, “Have you tried crackers?”

    This is my homicide-prevention tip for the day.

    (I haven’t even been pregnant since 2007 and I’m STILL pissed about the crackerheads)

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