Sunday, June 3, 2012

24 Hour Sickness

It's been said before: morning sickness is misnamed.  Those of us who have survived it know that it doesn't have to be just a morning thing, or just an evening thing, but can be an anytime sickness or, for me, and 24 hour sickness.

With both Bug and Monkey, I somehow managed to survive the entire 9 months of pregnancy feeling nauseous the entire time. With Bug, because I hadn't experienced it before, it took me off guard and frankly made me think that death was preferable to the puking 20 times a day, hating the sight of food, people talking about food.  I would spend ridiculous amounts of time constructing driving routes to and from school that would avoid driving past fast food joints, because the smell would send me into heaving fits.   I was sick enough both times that I required IV fluids due to dehydration and electrolyte imbalances.  I was started on strong, ridiculously expensive anti-nausea medication when all other remedies failed, and that medication only just managed to take the edge off.

This incapacitating sickness was one of the major reasons I was hesitant to become pregnant during residency.  I wasn't sure I'd be able to function in an operating room, maintaining the level of focus and vigilance requiring.  I had images of me throwing up into the garbage can by the anesthesia machine. 

A week after my positive pregnancy test, I was still feeling pretty good.  Tired, tender, but not sick.  I waffled between thinking that this pregnancy would be different and that something must be wrong if I was feeling okay.

And then, it happened.  The nausea, the vomiting, the bitter taste of puke and acid in the back of my throat at all times.  I tried all my old tricks: eating the foods I had tolerated the last time around, eating small frequent meals.  I wanted to stay away from medications as long as I could, to give my new, growing fetus the healthiest environment. 

I couldn't focus in the OR.  I had used to be able to care for the patient and get some studying done as well.  Now, every extra ounce of focus I had outside of watching the patient went to keeping the overwhelming sickness from taking over.  My routine of small constant snacking didn't work because food isn't allowing in the OR and I was lucky for two breaks a day, if that.

I started to lose weight.  I was weak and shaky.  And I wasn't nice.  I stopped talking to people.  I was short tempered at home and stopped playing with my boys, because the only thing I could think about was the nausea.  All my evenings and free moments were spent laying on the couch and crying. I contacted the OB office, and they said as long as I was still making urine, not to worry.

Less than two weeks of this, a friend at work said enough.  I was given a prescription for anti-nausea medication. 

I'm now almost 15 weeks along.  I am still taking the medication around the clock, every 8 hours.  I still throw up at least once every day.  I still can't eat chicken or Mexican food or toast or chocolate.  But I'm doing better.  I've stopped losing weight.  I lost 15 pounds.  Normally, I would be excited about a 15 pound weight loss.  But this is not how anyone should lose weight. 

I'm not back to normal.  The nausea is still there, always constantly on my mind and in my throat. But I'm starting to feel more like myself.  I'm starting to remember all the reasons we wanted this baby in the first place.


  1. Oh how I feel for you. I lost 10 with my first pregnancy, and the doctor yelled at me. Like I could do anything about it!

    I'm glad you're starting to feel somewhat better... it totally is worth it. Just wish there was some magic remedy to help you feel all the way better. Good luck!

  2. I find it interesting that God's reward to us for getting pregnant is the immediate sickness and the wondering, "Why did I do this again??" It's weird to me, and worth it, of course, but then to top it all off, we have to give birth... What an interesting process we go through. Bonds us forever to the little parasites though. ;) Gotta Love 'em!

  3. I'm glad the medicine is helping. You are now closer than before.