Inspiration Journal Kids

5 Tips for Surviving Morning Sickness Purgatory

5 Tips for Surviving Morning Sickness Purgatory www.herviewfromhome.com
Written by Sarah Philpott

I knew my husband loved me the day he began wearing Secret deodorant. Yes, the “strong enough for a man, but made for a woman” powder fresh variety.  

Why exactly was my hard workin’ farmer, who wrestles bulls and MMA fights for fun, wearing women’s deodorant? Because the aroma of masculinity and the smell of him fresh out of the shower made me gag.

For real.

Like dry heave uncontrollably.

And end up at the porcelain throne.

That’s why.  

It’s called morning sickness. But the truth is this all-day nausea is far from “morning sickness.” It’s straight up the tenth circle of Dante’s Inferno. And if you are reading this thinking, “Oh, it’s not THAT bad.” then you clearly haven’t had the variety of morning sickness that many of us face. Some women even experience the most severe form: Hyperemesis gravidarum. This occurs in up to 3% of pregnancies. ACOG says, “This condition may be diagnosed when a woman has lost 5% of her pre pregnancy weight and has other problems related to dehydration.” And although it’s never harmful for the child, it can do great harm to the mother.  

(DISCLAIMER): Before I continue I need to say that I know some of you are reading this who have experienced pregnancy loss and would give your right arm for the opportunity to experience morning sickness. I understand, and I am so sorry for the loss of your precious child. I’m also a mom who has experienced loss. And I’ll address that later. So please don’t stop reading. I want to be sensitive to you as well.  

Now let’s continue. I’ve been to the morning sickness rodeo three times in my life. It held me hostage for 12 weeks each time and by the end I am confident I could have been diagnosed with clinical depression. The whole world seemed dark and bleak. That’s what happens when you feel like you are seasick on a rickety-boat for 24 hours a day while having the flu. You get depressed and if you are on meds all you can think of is your next “fix” that doesn’t really fix anything but just takes the edge off. Last year, after I ran to the toilet for the upteenth time, my son asked, “Mom do you feel like you have a rotten egg in your stomach?” My response, “Yes, son. I do.” And then I wanted to cry.  

So here are my five tips for dealing with it:  

1) Give into your cravings. I’m a healthy eater. My go-to snacks are carrots, cucumbers, and green peppers. But those items did little to squelch the beast. Instead I needed food. Real food. Like canned biscuits. French bread. And with my third pregnancy—Zaxby’s buffalo chicken. I have no idea why that last one helped me. But for a brief moment, while ingesting buffalo sauce or hot wings, I felt ok. We live thirty-minutes from the closest Zaxbys, but when the urge hit I loaded up my posse and we took off. The same went for Gatorade, Totinos’ pizza, and Golden Graham cereal. If you ever wonder why I gained 100 pounds with each pregnancy there is the evidence. The only food that made me remotely feel ok was bad food. Food I don’t even normally like.Try your best to eat healthy, but sometimes the only thing you might be able to keep down is a box of Wheat Thins. Just do it.  

2) Picture the end result. While lying in bed I would scroll through my social media feeds looking for infants. Weird and stalkerish? Perhaps. But looking at pictures of newborns and seeing the “end result” and constantly praising God that he’d given me a baby in my womb helped me to stop thinking of the little invader in my stomach as a fire-breathing dragon sent to poison me. So keep the end in mind.  

Plus, your child might end up smarter. One study found “the kiddos whose moms really struggled to keep things down, had a higher I.Q., a greater grasp of language, and were just better behaved over all.” I’m not even sure if this panned out to be true, but it is one nice possible pay-off, right?  

3).  Realize you can’t “remedy” it away. Ginger Ale, crackers, sea bands, small meals, pickle juice, peppermint essential oil, more crackers, ginger drops, ginger root, ginger tea. Sweet Jesus if I never see ginger again in my life I’ll be a happy woman. I tried every.single.remedy on the web. Nothing helped. Go ahead and try all the tricks, but don’t be disappointed if they do little to help. Sometimes the strangest things can help (see tip 1) and just rid your house of offenders that make you barf. Coffee suddenly became on my “hide it” list. I had to even move the coffee maker to the garage so I couldn’t see it. The vision of it made me gag. But since I couldn’t move my husband out of my house, he just had to start smelling a bit more feminine.  

4).  Get a perspective and find people with whom you can vent. 1 in 4 women experience miscarriage. 1 in 160 women will give birth to a stillborn child. Couples battle infertility. So please realize there is a large segment of the population that can’t stand to hear you rant about your problem. You shouldn’t lie and act like everything is fine (when it clearly is not) but you also shouldn’t publically go on a rampage (i.e. social media post). Find a few people with whom you can vent. A few of my poor friends were my go-to complaint boxes. I held nothing back. However, around people I didn’t really know I would say I was facing all-day nausea, but I didn’t become hysterical or talk about how I wished I was never even pregnant. Try to focus on the fact that you have a living child in your belly and this is a short-term inconvenience for a long-term joy.  

 

5) Give yourself grace. To take the darned meds. To let your toddler binge watch Sesame Street. To tell your family to fend for themselves on meals by throwing out a box of cereal on the counter. To eat the whole pile of biscuits at Cracker Barrel. To crawl in your bed at 5pm and binge watch a mindless show. To do all you are required at work and not overachieve.  

My first batch with morning sickness hit a month or so after I began working on my PhD and working at the same university. The hour-commute to and from Knoxville each day became a much-longer trip because I would have to stop at exits to throw-up and dispose of the paper bags I kept in my lap to barf in while driving. It was hard. I’m naturally a perfectionist, but all I could do at the time was merely survive. I did what I had to and nothing more. And I had to give myself grace to accept that fact. And know you’ll laugh about some of it later. Our legacy as a couple includes the romantic-fail of a night when my husband rolled over in bed and made a sassy (and inappropriately funny) pick-up line. Before the phrase got all the way out of his mouth I was throwing up. In bed. So yeah, I’ve actually vomited at my husband’s advances. Bless.  

So mama, if you are in the throes of this battle please know it will end. And at the end you’ll get a glorious gift. But right now I know you are in the middle of purgatory. All I can say is that this too shall pass (hopefully by the second-trimester, right?). Take care, mama.  

 

 

About the author

Sarah Philpott

Sarah Philpott Ph.D lives in the south east on a sprawling cattle farm where she raises her two mischievous children (with one on the way!) and is farm wife to her high school sweetheart. A former teacher, she now spends this season of her life cleaning peanut butter & jelly off the counter, dreaming of traveling the world, hosting “get-togethers” for her family & friends, and chasing her kids around the farm. Sarah is represented by The Blythe Daniel Literary Agency. You can visit with Sarah at her http://allamericanmom.net/ blog where she writes about cultivating a life of down-home simplicity. She also has a passion for helping women cope with pregnancy loss.

5 Comments

  • I liked this piece and agree with the points made, except the “get a perspective” one. Of course I would never say that I wish I wasn’t pregnant, (that can be insensitive to those dealing with loss and infertility) but I disagree with the “get a perspective” point because it’s very dismissive to those who are battling severe Hyperemesis. When I was pregnant I was deathly ill. I had SEVERE hyperemesis and was on bed rest for 6 months because I was so weak and lost so much weight and could barely even walk to the bathroom. I couldn’t swallow one bite of food for months and months, was hospitalized four times, given a Zofran pump and absolutely nothing helped. At one point it Was so bad I was just throwing up blood…there is no way that women who have it this bad, who are so gravely ill, could only “pick a few ppl and vent.” Family and friends would call and ask where I was and Why I had been missing (I had to leave My job and was trapped inside for months) and we had To be brutally honest so they knew what was really going on.. It was hell. For some women HG is so severe there is no hiding it or diminishing it, we should be talking about it, raising awareness so others with it don’t feel alone (MANY doctors still fail to diagnose this properly). Since many ppl still don’t understand HG and they think it’s “just” Morning sickness (I saw four Dr.’s till I was finally diagnosed) I will talk about it whenever I can if it helps just one women get the right diagnosis. Also, HG can harm the baby. If the mom gets severely malnourished and dehydrated, which regularly happens with severe HG, then it can cause all different issues that need to be monitored.

  • I liked this piece and agree with the points made, except the “get a perspective” one. Of course I would never say that I wish I wasn’t pregnant, (I underhand how that can be insensitive to those dealing with loss and infertility) but I disagree with that one because it’s dismissive to those who are battling severe Hyperemesis. When I was pregnant I was deathly ill. I had SEVERE hyperemesis and was on bed rest for 6 months because I was so weak and lost so much weight and could barely even walk to the bathroom. I couldn’t swallow one bite of food for months and months, was hospitalized four times, given a Zofran pump and absolutely nothing helped. At one point it Was so bad I was just throwing up blood…there was no way that women who have it this bad, who are so gravely ill could only “pick a few ppl and vent.” Family and friends would call and ask where I was and Why I had been missing (I had to leave My job and was trapped inside for months) and we had To be brutally honest so they knew what was really going on.. It was hell. For some women HG is so severe there is no hiding it or diminishing it, we should be talking about it, raising awareness so others with it don’t feel alone (MANY doctors still fail to diagnose this properly). Since many ppl still don’t understand HG they think it’s “just” Morning sickness (I saw four Dr.’s till I was finally diagnosed) I will talk about it whenever I can if it helps just one women get the right diagnosis. Also, HG can harm the baby. If the mom gets severely malnourished and dehydrated, which regularly happens with severe HG, then it can cause all different issues that need to be monitored.

  • I liked this article and agreed with some of the points made, but I found the “get a perspective” one very condescending to woman who have severe Hyperemesis. Do you know what some woman with severe HG go through? I had extreme HG and was on bed rest for over 4 months, could barely walk to the bathroom or even move, threw up over 30 times a day and couldn’t eat a piece of food for months on end, was hospitalized dozens of times, was so sick I was throwing up blood, lost way to much weight, and was deathly ill…(Of course my children were blessings and no I wouldn’t say to anyone trying to conceive that I didn’t want to be pregnant) but to say we should “not get hysterical” and basically minimize it if ppl ask about it is beyond insulting. We should be talking about it, raising awareness, and doing what we can to help each other… because so many woman still do NOT get properly diagnosed and are dismissed as “just” having morning sickness. I went to 4 doctors till I was properly diagnosed with HG and delayed treatment can cause serious complications. In that one area Your article reads like someone who has NO idea how serious HG really is. Also, HG can have an impact on the baby-if mom is severely dehydrated and malnourished (which happens with hyperemesis) then there are many health issues that need to be closely monitored.

  • I had severe HG, and I also miscarried twice before my two rainbow babies. During my first pregnancy, I took meds and had to be hospitalized. During my second, home health visited weekly on top of my meds. It was tough! I lost well over 20 pounds with both and threw up blood. However, I found a tight support network. Additionally, I knew that the sicker I was, the more likely my baby was still growing. Perspective was a big deal for me. I agree with the mindset presented wholeheartedly! Super helpful ideas to maintain a workable attitude through a hard situation. Great tips here-very balanced article! Loved it!

  • It’s good to see this issue being written about and Most of the advice is solid, but a few things in here are incorrect. Hyperemesis can absolutely impact the baby. If the mother is deathly ill and severely malnourished or dehydrated or their Ketone levels are dangerously low then the pregnancy can be impacted. I lost my baby due to EXTREME HG. I was so gravely ill that I was hospitalized for over three months, put on a feeding tube and was literally wasting away. I fought so hard, but the diseases was unstoppable. My doctor’s tried everything and nothing helped. The “don’t get hysterical comment” in this piece was honestly really insulting. We should be talking about it and not minimizing it, because there are many others who are suffering from
    This and need help, we need to reach out and raise awareness whenever possible. I went through dozens of doctors until I was finally properly diagnosed and sadly the delay in a correct diagnosis still happens to thousands of woman every year. The “get a perspective” comment is poorly worded and overlooks the severity of what extreme HG can do.