Thursday, May 1, 2014

Navigating Nausea

Before I start on the main subject of my post today, I just wanted to say thank you to those who sent me well wishes after Sunday's "shocking" post. I actually moved up my OB appointment a few days to Monday just so I could get checked out. I got an extra sonogram and everything looks totally fine. Baby's heartbeat was completely normal, so the doctor isn't concerned. I am really relieved, albeit still slightly paranoid. But, I'm trying not to be.

Anyway, many of my friends and family have been asking me how I am doing, and I thought I would give a little update to the whole nausea situation. First of all, yes, I am still nauseous. Apparently, I am not going to get a respite from this until August. And as long as baby is happy and healthy, I'll get through it. It is what it is. I've (mostly) come to terms with it and I am trying my best to not complain too much. That being said, it's way better than it was weeks 5-18, when it was absolutely horrible and completely debilitating. Those weeks were really tough to go through, and I really hope I don't have to repeat that experience if we have another baby in the future.

But I thought I would write this post to maybe help other people who have to deal with this pregnancy-long morning sickness. First of all, it's frustrating. It's super hard to not get jealous when other people never have morning sickness or the October group of the online pregnancy board I frequent discusses how they are feeling better. Yup, insane jealousy over people feeling good.

And the worst part is, I know other people have it worse. I constantly remind myself of that. Some people get HG (Hyperemesis Gravidarum), which is far worse than what I have. It's characterized by vomiting to the point of dehydration, extreme weight loss, and hospitalization. One woman on my board had HG her entire pregnancy and nearly died. Some women have terrible pregnancies. They struggle to get pregnant, or stay pregnant, or keep the baby in long enough. Not to mention those that have a difficult or life-threatening childbirth. And I acknowledge that we have been extremely fortunate from this perspective (so far). 

So, in my 136 days of nausea (and 3 months of vomiting) and counting, here are some things I have learned along the way. My hope with this post is that I might help or encourage other people who have the non-stop pregnancy sickness. 

1. Feeling sick all the time for weeks on end can cause both loneliness and depression. It took me a while to realize that I wasn't alone and that I could, in fact, get through it. I get sad when I have to miss things because I am just way too sick to do them. Imagine having a stomach virus since December. 

2. The typical "morning sickness cures" did almost nothing for me. It took me a while to realize that no amount of crackers and ginger ale were going to help. In fact, I had aversions to both. 

3. Nausea medication can be a hit or miss. For me, Zofran was a huge miss. Everyone talks about how this is a lifesaver drug. For me, this was a non-starter. If I have this again, I will make sure to work with my doctor to get other medication because there is other medication that can help and I would have tried that earlier. As it turned out, I was doing okay enough by the time I realized this that I didn't bother with it. 

4. Unisom (OTC sleep aid) did actually help me quite a bit with the nausea. I have been taking one pill (the sleep tab kind) every evening. The nights where I don't take it, I have a horrible day the next day and usually throw up. The drug in this is an antihistamine. Others have suggested Benedryl for similar effects. A lot of people suggest Unisom with 25 mg of B6. The B6 never really did anything for me, and I sometimes wonder if it's more of a placebo than anything. 

5. Protein makes everything better. I have had to increase my protein intake quite considerably. For some reason, a high protein diet has kept my nausea in check more than anything else. I was never really into meat before, but I am now. Mmmm... steak! That being said, I have had zero aversion to meat this pregnancy. I hear that's a common food aversion. For me, I have only had an aversion to seafood. Everything else, bring it on!

6. Along with protein, dairy has become one of my nausea go-to foods. A glass of milk has an amazing ability to make everything better. This is only funny to me because plain milk kind of grossed me out pre-pregnancy. Cheese and ice cream have also been great. However, I had a super hard time with cheese while I was still puking all the time. (TMI - but the cheese in the vomit made me start choking, which led to more vomit and crying). Yogurt has been good, too. I am really into Klondikes at the moment. Know the saying, "what would you do for a klondike bar?" Yea, I don't even want to know the answer. 

7. Bananas!! It took me far too long to realize that bananas have nausea-reducing capabilities. I found this game-changer after spending the entire first trimester craving banana cream pie. Except I couldn't find any, and I did not have the energy to make it. So, one day at the grocery store, on a whim, I decided to try plain bananas. Pre-pregnancy, I hated bananas. I would never eat them because they grossed me out. Pregnant me loves bananas. They are like some miracle fruit that can get me through another hour or two of the nausea. Actually, a lot of fruit has been great. 

8. Limiting sugar. For me, anything with a high sugar content (with the exception of ice cream) has the tendency to make me nauseous or in some cases actually vomit. It's rough because I normally am all about the sugar. I will still indulge, but I pay for it soon after. Sugar paired with protein or a higher fat content (like ice cream or unfrosted donuts) seem to be okay, but I try to limit those for other (obvious) reasons. 

9. Frequent meals seem to help, but this is hit or miss. I have felt hungry maybe a handful of times this pregnancy. I am either okay or super nauseous. Super nauseous usually correlated to me needing to eat, which makes things better, mostly. I feel like I have gained more weight than I would like because of this, but the alternative is vomiting, so... whatever. My doctors aren't the least bit concerned with the amount I have gained, so I am trying to be okay with it. 

10. Bad weather makes everything worse. I have no idea the reason behind this, but snow and rain mean a pretty miserable stomach for me. Sunny days tend to be my best. This past Sunday, when we had great weather, I had almost zero nausea the entire day. It was great. Well, the rain started Monday and I was miserable until it ended (I actually didn't know it had started raining on Monday, I just started feeling terrible). If someone can explain this to me, I'd be very interested. Nevertheless, this very snowy winter was really not cool. 

That's all I can think of. Mostly, it's been okay. I work out every day and try to keep myself busy working on things. I am getting more excited about the baby. I wonder what he's going to look like and what type of person he'll grow up to be. I love getting ideas for the nursery and working on them. (I just finished making curtains, but I'll write another post on that). Time is going both fast and slow at the same time, if that makes any sense. 3 and a half more months to go! Happy May everyone!


  1. It's so great of you to post about this! I'm sure a lot of women feel isolated and lonely. You are a trooper, for sure!