It’s been quiet here on the blog. The title of this post gives you some clue as to where I have been. We’ve been blessed with a little one on the way! Now that the excruciatingly miserable nausea and vomiting are over I thought I’d share some ideas from my survival bag o’ tricks. I almost titled this post “Managing Morning Sickness.” Managing is not really an option. In my experience it’s the other way around. Morning sickness manages me! The key is survival. If you are facing a time of survival during your pregnancy I sincerely hope at least one thing I write will help you through!
I begin with a great big disclaimer: If you experience morning sickness when you are pregnant these things probably won’t work for you. Or if they do, they will only work for a few days. That’s just how it is. For me, a few days of one trick would get me through and then I’d have to move on to other strategies. Eating gluten free was troublesome for me because so many things that are gluten free require more prep and cooking time. I also craved a lot of things that had gluten. After many weeks of this constant moving target of what works and what doesn’t, it gets tiresome coming up with ideas so that’s why I’m listing mine. This might help me in the future or maybe, just maybe, it could help you too!
I get sick later in the day, not the morning. I wake up feeling like a half way normal person. By 10am I start to drag a little. By 2pm it’s all over and by 4pm, forget it. I’m either so neaseaus that I can’t see straight or I’m in the bathroom throwing up. From 4 to 10pm it’s just about all I can do to not beat my head against a wall and try to climb out of my own skin. Trying to go to sleep is a challenge all on its own. At some point in the middle of the night I wake up and the neausea is gone. Weird. Mysterious. Maddening. But the best part of it all is that NOW IT’S OVER!!! VICTORY! Someone please give me a gold star or something. Now, I feel great, no more seeing the world through sea-sickness-green-colored glasses! Now we’re on to the good part—a wiggly baby growing bigger each day and getting closer and closer to meeting this new little person! My appetite is still rather odd and unpredictable but at least I’m not swimming is sickness all day! I usually start feeling better by 16 weeks. For some reason that is my magic number!
My Bag O’ Tricks
Hydration is Key Whatever it takes. I. Must. Drink. Water made me gag so here’s what I tried: Lemon water, diluted cranberry juice, tea with lemon, iced tea…stay hydrated at all costs. I’m still on the lemon or lime in the water kick. Regular water just isn’t very appealing to me.
Not for the Faint of Heart Figure out what to do immediately after throwing up. I drank a cup of Pregnancy Tea to soothe my throat and rehydrate…this became a habit so that I could ensure I replaced fluids right away, even if I couldn’t keep down food. Plain water tastes atrocious after vomiting.
Get Enough Protein Most mornings I was able to tolerate Greek yogurt with berries and coconut oil in a smoothie…this had 20 grams of protein in it! Some people say that if you eat enough protein it will prevent the nausea. This was not the case with me. I just made sure to start my morning with a protein rich breakfast and then to keep my snacks very balanced with protein and carbs throughout the day.
All day snacking—almonds, dried fruit, potato chips (salty snacks were a must), veggies with cream cheese, apple with almond butter, a plain apple thinly sliced, fruit salad, fresh berries, cheese stick and crackers, “Kind” Almond Coconut Bar
All day snacking meant that I never left home without a stash of snacks and a bottle of lemon water. Even if it meant being gone just an hour or so to go to church, I had to plan ahead and have snacks ready to go. Otherwise I risked going too long without eating and that sent me into an even more terrible realm of sickness.
Meat was not very appetizing but I could handle a lot of eggs. My favorite meal was a fried egg on gluten free toast with cheddar cheese. My other stand by’s were egg salad with gluten free crackers and deviled eggs.
Go to Meals baked potato, rice cake with peanut butter, potato salad, roast beef in the crock pot with carrots and potatoes
Some Wacky Things to Try Using smells and the sensation of cold on my skin was really effective in getting me through some of the most difficult evenings. I could eat a few more bites of dinner if I held a cotton ball with peppermint oil up to my nose. The same thing worked with lemon slices. In the evenings or at bed time I would place a cold rag or ice pack on my head to somehow distract my brain from feeling so sick. I also ran cold water over my wrists, especially before bedtime.
Timing is everything! It took me several miserable nights of gagging while brushing my teeth to realize that I should just brush earlier in the day. As long as I was brushing 2 times per day I figured it didn’t matter when it happened. Really I needed to figure out the timing of everything to make it happen before the sickness hours began. This meant that a few key priorities took precedence over everything else first thing in the morning.
Have some mental distraction to make life more enjoyable. For me, if I had a good book to read that really helped me. I could sit outside and read while my husband made dinner or I could read while everyone finished dinner. Lately I’ve enjoyed the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency Series. It’s a charming, uplifting series of novels set in Botswana.
In previous pregnancies sucking on little ginger chews that I got at the health food store or sucking on wintergreen mints helped for a day or two. These are not pleasant to throw up so I avoided them this time around. Anything with mint or vinegar is absolutely awful to throw up. Sorry if that’s too much information. Just keepin’ it real!
Dinner Since I was most sick in the evening I tried to plan ahead and have the least offensive food available for me to eat at that time. If all else failed I just ate whatever my husband made and tried to get a few bites down even if that was not an appealing food. At least it was some nourishment. Since hunger and appetite are gone at this time I rely on conscious thought to tell myself what to eat. Rarely does anything sound appetizing yet I can’t get by eating nothing at all, that just makes it worse. So, I say to myself, “Eat this.” Sometimes it would work. Other times my gag reflex was so strong that mind over matter would not stand a chance. Most of the time if I had to cook it in the evening, I was throwing up before dinner was on the table. This really motivated me to get my kids helping in the kitchen and to let my husband have free reign over the evening meal. Now it feels so good to be back in the kitchen!
Eat outside if possible. Stay outside while someone else cooks. Avoid heating the oven at all costs. It has a smell, especially when heated over 350 degrees.
Feeding the Family Now is not the time for optimal nutrition and heroic cooking efforts. Survival is the key. Let them cook for themselves as much as possible. This was SO GOOD for my kids. Independence is a wonderful thing! I let them eat more boxed mac n cheese, breakfast cereal, and do it yourself meals like rice cakes with peanut butter, toast, quesadillas, and scrambled eggs. They ate more smoothies, raw veggies with cream cheese dip, and eggs just because that is what I was typically eating. My toddler ate many snacks of almonds or yogurt right alongside me. Because I don’t eat gluten we all really ate very well during this time. It was SO tempting to just buy boxed or frozen meals for them, but then I would have to eat something completely different and that was just too much work. My husband did ALL the shopping during this time. Honestly, I did not enter a grocery store for at least 9 weeks. He’s amazing! He is the biggest key to our survival!