Ok. Let’s talk about all those wonderful digestive issues that accompany pregnancy. The first one that plagued me was nausea. I started getting nauseous at 4 weeks. And I thought, no big deal. This isn’t bad at all. I can do this. Well, by week 6, digestive issue #2 came to the forefront. I was violently vomiting all day. Now most people think, aww whatever. What’s a little morning sickness? Well, let me illuminate the experience.
This wasn’t just a little nausea and vomiting where once you get sick you feel better. Oh no. This is persistent, pervasive nausea without relief. I also had accompanying headaches, so I legitimately felt hung over for 5 months. Yes ladies, FIVE MONTHS. I didn’t get a single break ever, except when I was in the pool. There was something about the weightlessness of buoyancy that alleviated some of my nausea. As soon as I got out of the pool though, it all came back.
Now, let me give you a little perspective on what nausea, vomiting, and ensuing food aversions can feel like to a pregnant woman. And yes, my experience may have been worse because I carried two, but my doc said I could have been just as sick with one. So, like I said, my nausea was pretty much immediate, it ramped up from week 6-8, where I vomited so regularly, I lost 10 pounds, had to inform my work of my pregnancy, and had to alter my work schedule. I basically asked them, “Is it cool if I come to work once I’m pretty sure I won’t vomit in the car?” To which they graciously agreed.
During this time, I could only eat cold things because warm food disgusted me. I lived off of popsicles and Häagen-Dazs coffee ice cream (and surprisingly the taste of Häagen-Dazs makes me miss pregnancy. The brain is weird). I constantly had to have snacks on me because being hungry led to nausea and vomiting, but NOTHING sounded good. The thought of everything made me feel sicker.
It was a vicious cycle of needing food to not be nauseous, but the idea of food made me nauseous. I began to envy the days where I had CRAVINGS for food, and I believed eating food was a privilege taken for granted. I struggled most of my life with overconsumption of food, and this experience made me realize how lucky I was to ever have the opportunity to enjoy food.
At the end of those two weeks, even cold food didn’t work anymore. I couldn’t keep water down; I couldn’t shower without laying down, and I couldn’t vomit without peeing myself. I called my doc office to ask if this was normal, and they told me they could prescribe medicine, which I was vehemently against. Well, by the end of week 8, I was ready! I felt that dehydration was most likely worse for me than the medicine.
So Yev took me to urgent care on Saturday. I showed up with a small waste basket, lined with a trash bag (unscented is essential ladies!), and I looked haggard, to say the least. The nurses took one look at me and shuffled us back to a room immediately, despite there being a waiting room full of people.
I laid down on the exam table, hugging my waste basket, begging for a shot of that anti-nausea-miracle-medicine (I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep anything down I had to swallow). Let me offer you a little perspective on my relationship with needles at the time. I had a legitimate blood-injection-injury phobia where I would shake, wail, vomit, panic, pass out etc, when I was in the same ROOM with a needle or surgical tool. So for me to be BEGGING for a shot to take the nausea and vomiting away, you can only imagine how bad it was.
The doc gave me a shot, a prescription for anti nausea medicine, and I continued taking that medicine throughout my entire pregnancy. It took away a lot of the vomiting, but I was still continually nauseous for most of my pregnancy.
I did experience two golden weeks where the medicine not only prevented vomiting but also took away my nausea. This was from 5.5 months-6 months, and I thought, here it is, the glorious second trimester where the nausea abates and the beautiful baby bump pops. Well, mine lasted 2 weeks, and the beginning of the 6th month marked excruciating back pain.
With twins, I was as large as most women are towards the end of their third trimester, so my body was just arguing about all of the weight. And it’s a good thing the medicine prevented me from being sick because it became REALLY hard to vomit with a giant belly. And if I was to be totally honest, the bladder control issue became so bad at the end, I could only get sick while sitting on the toilet and holding a lined trashcan, or we (and I mean Yev) would have to clean up the floor every time. Motherhood took most of my modesty, shame, and dignity.
Continuing on with digestive issue #3: constipation. Most women experience some form of constipation in pregnancy, as it seems to slow that whole digestive process down. I’ve heard that some women, such as those who have Crohn’s disease, actually benefit from the slowing down process of digestion, but I was all sorts of messed up. And I found out that the anti-nausea medicine, my beloved Zofran that allowed me to function, exacerbated my constipation. It became so bad one morning, I called my doctor at 6am, hysterical, asking if I could take an enema because nothing was working.
Once I got the ok, then the really fun part started. I obviously couldn’t administer it myself, and Yev had to help me. I was horribly embarrassed, but I was in so much pain, it didn’t matter. Yev has seen parts of me I’ve never seen of myself, nor do I ever WANT to see. Anyways, let’s just say I got to work that day at noon with a little less of my dignity intact, and I told my boss, “I am happy to tell you what happened this morning, if you have to know, but I would prefer to leave it at ‘digestive issues.’ Does that work for you?” Once again, he graciously agreed.
I continued to have to take enemas every few days, and it continued to be brutal and horribly embarassing. I finally tried Miralax, which became my second miracle pregnancy drug. It ironically made me more nauseous, so I would have to take a Zofran, which made me more constipated. I had to find the right balance between the Zofran and Miralax, but they made my pregnancy bearable. (Even with a tenuous balance, these digestive issues didn’t make intimacy any easier either. Poor Yev.)
Despite all of this, YOU STILL HAVE TO CONTINUE TO FUNCTION. It’s brutal. But this preps you for motherhood. When mama is sick, she still takes care of everyone else.