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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Becoming a Mom - Morning Sickness

I don't follow pop culture.  Not having TV will do that to you.  When I stand in line at the grocery store, I don't recognize any of the names on the covers of the magazines, unless it's Jennifer Aniston.  I didn't watch the royal wedding, nor did I want to.  Apparently (thanks to my royal-following friends on facebook), the princess is pregnant and suffering from morning sickness.  This required the Today Show to send a correspondent to London to cover this breaking news story.

Really?!  This is news??!!  If so, I was making news for about four years straight.

You see, there is this myth that is perpetrated by women and magazines and TV shows and talk show doctors.  And the myth is that pregnancy is this wonderful experience.  That you glow for nine months.  You have a beautifully rounded and cute baby belly.  That you and your husband giggle and swoon at each other.  That you will never feel better than when you are pregnant.

And that may be true for some women.  And those are the women who pontificate about the joy of pregnancy.

{Let me just say right here and now, that I know there are women who would go through anything to be pregnant.  Some of them are my best friends and I have shared their pain.}

But there are other experiences for some of us.  Those experiences aren't talked about as much.  Your experience may be different, I'll share mine and feel free to share yours.

I have three children:  14 and 18 months apart.  I was pregnant and/or nursing for almost 4 years.  While getting pregnant was not a problem, being pregnant was a challenge for me.  I threw up.  A lot.  And not just in the morning.  Any time of the day.

I would walk into a store and have to look where the nearest bathroom or garbage can was in case I needed it.  And I did need it, more than a few times.

Hubby asked during the first pregnancy, "Don't you feel better?  It's been like four days!"  I may or may not have snapped at him, "It's a baby, not the flu!"  And it isn't the flu.  You can feel perfectly fine and eat a great meal and 20 minutes later, without any warning, up it comes.  And then you want to eat again.  There were days I would 5 or 6 meals, and keep 2 of them down.  Any day I didn't throw up was a good day.

In my experience, most people are clueless and assume that everyone has the glowing, happy pregnancy.  People would kindly inquire as to how I was feeling, "Don't you just feel wonderful?"  No, I've never been sicker in my life!  Then they'd say, "Well, that ends after the first trimester."  Nope, I threw up all nine months and in the hospital...with all three kids!

Especially in my first pregnancy, I had a lot of doubt.  Why wasn't I feeling good?  Why wasn't this the best time of my life?  I was miserable.  And all I kept hearing was women telling me, "I never felt better than when I was pregnant."  I had never felt worse.  After throwing up in the middle of the night, I drug myself back to bed and Hubby said, "What's wrong?"  I may or may not have replied, "Your dumb baby."  And then of course, that was immediately followed by the guilt of even thinking that about the miracle growing inside of me.

When I was pregnant with Kiddo2, Kiddo1 was just a year old.  She would come into the bathroom when I was throwing up and pat the back of my leg.  She couldn't talk, but she knew that I needed comfort.  Kiddo2 would cry when I was pregnant with Kiddo3.  How do you explain to a 14 month old that mommy is OK?  It sure didn't sound like I was OK.

Don't misunderstand, I love my children and I loved giving birth to them.  But pregnancy isn't all sunshine and roses for some of us.  Some of us struggle.  Some of us can't get pregnant.  Some of us can't stay pregnant.  Know that you are NOT alone.  There has been someone who has been where you are.  And it's OK to talk about it.  Women like me need you to talk about it.  We need to hear that it was hard, scary, anxious...whatever.

So, Princess Kate, you are not alone.  And as you bend over your loo in your water closet, just know that I have been there.  All of this will be worth it, I absolutely promise!!


  1. I hear ya, sister! I have no idea why it's called morning sickness, because for me, with both kids, it was all day sickness. My husband still tells people that I was so sensitive to smells, that he could open the fridge surreptitiously, and three rooms away, I would yell - shut the darn fridge! before running to throw up.:). I always think "ordinary" circumstances that happen to famous people are only newsworthy when nothing sensational is going on - they ran covers for a few weeks back in the late spring, "is she or isn't she" expecting....there can't have been anything interesting going on in Hollywood at the time.

    1. Hubby got used to me just randomly leaving the table, the kitchen, the garage, etc. If I started to get hungry and didn't eat a little something right away, I could almost guarantee I would throw up. We were butchering chickens when I was pregnant with Kiddo3. The smell didn't bother me, but we had two chickens left and I was feeling hungry. I thought, "Suck it up, finish these two birds and then you're done." Nope, two minutes later I was puking in the bushes!!

  2. From what I understand, Kate is actually being treated for HG, Hyperemesis Gravidarum. It's not morning sickness, but rather a very rare and serious condition affecting 1-3 percent of pregnant women. The cause is unknown and there is no treatment that actually works. Women with HG throw up so often they lose weight, become very dehydrated and require serious medical intervention. HG prevents women from working, taking care of their families and even taking care of themselves. You can learn more about this condition at www.helpher.org.

    I suffered HG with both of my pregnancies, the second much worse than the first. Even with medication and fluids pumped into my body through a PIC line, I still threw up many times a day and couldn't leave my bed. It was a horrible experience made worse by a lack of understanding from others.

    Please keep Kate and other HG sufferers in your prayers. They need it.

    1. I certainly will! Pregnancy isn't easy for everyone, that's for sure.

  3. Kiddo1 gave you sympathy because she's a female. Kiddo 2 cried because, well, he's a male. And all females know that males do not handle sickness well.

  4. In the hospital too? As in, after giving birth? How awful!!!!! You will receive sainthood for sure.

    1. Not after. Parturition was the magical cure for my sickness. No heartburn, no throwing up immediately after delivery. But I did, however, throw up three times delivering Kiddo1 (hard to heave in stirrups). I through up on the operating table with Kiddo2 (while wearing an oxygen mask) and right after we got to the hospital with Kiddo3.

  5. Annie,

    While I feel badly for Kate's situation and understand what she is going through, I am glad that it is bringing the "Dark Side" of pregnancy to light! When did this "If we don't tell them what to expect, they won't be afraid" philosophy start?

    This was one of the best posts that I've ever read on any blog. Achille and I had 2 miscarriages before getting pregnant with Micah. Once I got pregnant with Micah, I experienced such horrible HG that I ended up in the ER for dehydration. Thankfully I had a wonderful OB who put me on a med that actually helped. I know that I am one of the lucky few that was able to make it through HG with IV fluids and meds and that once into the second trimester, I felt okay. (not glowing, but okay)

    What I found through this experience was that there isn't enough dialogue about HG, "all-day morning sickness", or all the other things you listed above. In addition, one aspect of this dialogue that I'd really like to add is that doctors need to be more open about what may or may not happen during an induction. Getting induced was one of the most horrific experiences of my life- and all I was told by many ladies was, "Bring a book." Maybe they didn't want me to be scared, but I wish someone had told me what it would be like for real. Let's just say that I've never had so many hands or sharp pointy objects shoved up my whoo-ha!

    New mom's need our support and they need to know that it's okay to not feel like they are glowing! Most importantly, they need to know that they shouldn't feel guilty about any of those crazy thoughts and doubts. Finally, they need to know that in case of an induction, yes the drs and nurses know what they are doing, but you do have the right to say "Enough, it's time to try a CS!" If I had done just that 4 hrs earlier, Micah would not have ended up in the NICU for three days.

    Thank you Annie for being so articulate about your experiences. Here's another pop culture item for you: Ever since Tyra Banks started her "America's Next Top Model" empire, she has been calling women who have curves and a butt (a.k.a "real women") "Fiercely Real". Us? We were "Fiercely Pregnant"!!!

    Love, Amanda :)

    1. I don't know about Fiercely Pregnant, I felt fiercely ill. I need to blog about my birth experiences and breastfeeding. Thank you for the wonderful encouragement and for sharing your story! We need to dialog about these things, that's for sure!

      I also ended up in the ER with dehydration and contractions with Kiddo2, on Mother's Day no less!


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