For me, the first trimester was a surreal time. You find out you’re pregnant. You begin the routine of doctor appointments, blood testing, ultrasounds, and prenatals. You don’t quite believe it yet. At first you feel completely normal. You don’t believe that there is anything growing inside of you. You stop drinking. You stop eating sushi and sashimi. But nothing else has really changed. Until it suddenly does.
MORNING SICKNESS. This is my single most vivid memory of the first trimester – in fact, the first 4 months. Couple things. First of all, it is not simple “nausea.” Secondly, it does NOT only occur in the morning. This is a tidal wave of all-consuming illness that lasts all day, all night, 24/7 for (at least for me) the first four months of pregnancy. This is far worse than any stomach flu or hangover. IT DOESN’T END for weeks and weeks. Nothing helps it. The psychological aspect of knowing there is no end in sight is almost as bad as the sickness itself.
I tried everything. Everything. The wrist bands (nothing). Ginger (nothing). Belly Bars, Gummies, and Lollipops (nothing). Crackers. Which I was so sick of people telling me to eat – what, you think I haven’t tried this?? Let me save you the suspense. Nothing helps. If you’re one of the unlucky ones who has miserable morning sickness, there is simply nothing you can do. Vomiting DOES NOT HELP (at least if you have the stomach flu or are hungover, it provides you temporary relief). Certain smells will make it worse. Foods and even water will make it worse. Prenatals definitely make it worse. Heck, even toothpaste made it worse.
I have vomited or nearly vomited at home, at work, at the gym, in the car, and on the bus (commuter bus to work). In fact, workouts were stopped after the first month of pregnancy until after the 4th month of pregnancy when the sickness started to ease up. There is nothing worse than being in a public place, or sitting on a bus, and concentrating with all your might – do not throw up, do not throw up, do not throw up. I withdrew from my friends. I stopped walking the dog. I stopped eating. I basically spent those first few months in bed, on my couch, or in my office chair. I grew depressed. The ongoing sickness begins to take over and overshadow everything else, and depression during this phase of pregnancy is very real. I became ambivalent about the pregnancy. I told myself this was it, never again. I started to second-guess our decision. Hubby felt helpless, unable to relieve me, and took over the household chores, etc. Not a fun time for either of us.
A few things I did learn though:
- Prenatals: take them at night. Don’t get me wrong, you will still feel sick all day, but the urge to vomit immediately after taking the prenatal will occur right before bed, in the comfort of your own home, vs. when you are rushing to get ready for work, driving to work, or sitting in your office.
- If it doesn’t smell good, get the heck out of there. FAST.
- No big meals. In fact, no real meals at all. Small snacks all day long seemed to help me keep it down.
- Stop the workouts. Second only to feeling like you have to throw up on a moving bus is having to run off of a Treadmill or Stairmaster to make it to the gym restroom on time. A bit embarrassing to say the least.
- Sleep. And then sleep some more. Besides being simply exhausted, those hours will provide you a temporary reprieve.
And trust that it WILL end. Maybe not for 4 months, maybe not for 6 months. I’ve even heard stories of poor women who suffered all the way up until their babies were born. But there IS an end in sight. Just get through the next snack, the next meal, the next day. Take care of yourself.
And if you’re one of the lucky ones who has little to no nausea, ENJOY IT! Round Two you may not be so lucky.