Keeping Sane with Morning Sickness

Around this time last year, I learned that I was pregnant. It was the most wonderful news coming during the most wonderful season! Looking back now, all I can think of was how dreadfully nauseated and sick I felt. Morning sickness was, by far, the worst part of my pregnancy, including labor and delivery.

I remember dragging myself to work every day and barely being able to tolerate just sitting at my desk. I remember turning the lights off in my office during my lunch break and crawling under the desk to see if I could sleep off a little of that ill feeling, only to have to leave for the day anyway. I was at the stage where I wasn’t throwing up (sweet relief!), but just had a constant, all day nauseated feeling. I remember thinking it was the worst I had ever felt and the end of the first trimester was many, many weeks away.

Halloween and my birthday were spent on the couch. I remember feeling absolutely turned off by the fantastic Thanksgiving dinner made by my husband. I could no longer stomach my daily salads. Showering was exhausting. I remember lying in bed, in tears, begging for a meatball sub, which was the most pregnant thing I ever did besides actually having a baby.

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I remember feeling so hopeless, crying on the phone to the OB office. The nurse basically said, “It’s tough, but there’s nothing we can do. It will get better with time.”

Add to that, no one knew I was pregnant besides close family, so I didn’t have many people on which to lean.

So what kind of joy is there in feeling such misery? Well, I’m not writing this while experiencing it because my answer would be this: None! None at all, now fetch me a sandwich! But here are some things to keep in mind when you can’t keep anything in your stomach:

  1. Congratulations, you are pregnant! And you have a healthy pregnancy at that, according to some studies.

2. This too shall pass. Ugh, I hated hearing this, even though it’s true. It’s the last thing you want to hear as you’re doubled over, puking in the neighbor’s yard during your early morning dog walk.

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3. Slow down. As if you had a choice, feeling all-day nausea for weeks on end forces you to take things a little slower. We had a trip to Austin planned last November and it ended up being one of our favorite vacations. Since I was 7 weeks pregnant, and in full first-trimester misery, we didn’t overdo it. We did a few things in the morning, then went back to the hotel for a nap, before doing some easy afternoon activities. We sat in coffee shops and even went to see a movie. It was great.

4. It’s not just you, it truly sucks! If you are suffering, take action. Talk to your doctor and see what options are out there. Yes, morning sickness comes with the pregnancy territory, but no one should minimize how you feel.

5. It’s worth it. Once you get through this, you will be stronger and more badass than ever before. And, as a reward, you get the most wonderful gift there is.

There are so many home remedies for morning sickness, but there was only one that actually brought me some relief: Unisom and Vitamin B6 (25mg). I was given this advice through my OB during a visit, so please speak with your care provider before trying it out. Unisom is a sleep aid, so you only take it at night, but you can take the B6 throughout the day. If you are experiencing severe nausea and unable to keep any food down, there are prescription medications out there, like Diclegis.

Other recommended remedies that I tried are:

Ginger | I tried ginger candy, ginger tea, and ginger pills to help my morning sickness. The result? An aversion to ginger for quite some time. I would say it very mildly helped, but mostly sucking on candy helped more than the actual ginger.

Preggie Pop Drops | I welcome any reason to eat candy. That’s basically what these fruit flavored supplements are. They have vitamin B6 but honestly only gave me relief while I was sucking on them (providing a distraction from the nausea). I had to stop using them because I thought I was getting a cavity.

Tea | Sounds like a good idea, but the thought of drinking tea made me feel even sicker. I did try ginger tea once or twice and it seemed to help marginally. Again, the warm beverage may have just provided a distraction). My sweet sister-in-law got me Yogi Mother to Be tea, which is a caffeine-free, herbal tea with peppermint. I’m enjoying it now post-partum as a nice warm beverage as the weather cools down.

Crackers before getting out of bed | I would have saltines, almonds, or pretzels before actually sitting upright. It didn’t make the nausea go away but usually prevented me from vomiting first thing in the morning.

There is, tragically, little relief from morning sickness. As long as you can keep a few crackers down, you’re probably not a candidate for prescription medication. Try everything until something works, and if you’re suffering, talk to your doctor. It’s not forever, but it’s for way longer than it should be. Mama, your feelings are legitimate.

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