Morning Sickness — Don’t be a Hero!

For both of my pregnancies, I had mild morning sickness — not really worth even talking about, compared to many women’s experiences. The only thing was, in my first pregnancy, it didn’t strike most often in the morning; and in both pregnancies, it lasted until about the half-way point.

The first time I was pregnant, I thought I could just “muscle through” the nausea — you know, “be in control” — tell my body what to do, teach it who is boss. Ha-ha!

The big triggers for me in the first pregnancy were the smell of bread (walking down the bread aisle in the grocery store was torture; occasionally I would open up the fridge [where I kept my bread, so it wouldn’t go stale or get moldy so fast], catch a whiff, and barely be able to make it to the sink in time — and it was just behind me… fortunately it had a garbage disposal!), and the smell of leafy greens that were starting to go bad (I dry-heaved a lot when trying to pick out the few leaves that were gross so I could salvage the rest of the bunch of cilantro or head of lettuce). I could eat bread without a problem, but I couldn’t bear the overwhelming smell. And I still don’t like to go down the bread aisle at the grocery store, even not pregnant.

There were a few other instances in my first pregnancy that I remember, but none so bad as the time my dear, sweet husband made ravioli for me. Let me back up a bit for a little context — I was working the evening shift at a nice restaurant, so I had to eat my supper about 4:30, right before going to work. I was intending on grabbing something quick from the fridge after I got ready, but my husband made some ravioli with Classico spaghetti sauce for me while I was getting ready. That was really very sweet of him, of course! But my stomach said “NO!!! ABSOLUTELY NOT!!! WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?!?!?” Me, being the smart girl I am, told my stomach to shut up, because I wasn’t going to hurt my husband’s feelings or act like his act of kindness meant nothing to me. I was being polite. Stupid, stupid move! I quickly ate my supper, although my stomach was recoiling with almost every bite, and I was telling myself, “Just get it down, and everything will be all right.” Um, not so much. After I finished the meal, my stomach went into full revolt, I ran desperately for the toilet, and didn’t quite make it. I managed to throw up into the bathroom sink, rather than on the floor. Every bit. Then I felt better — but I had no time to fix anything else to eat, nor to clean up the mess. So, my wonderful husband cleaned it up after I had gone, and I went to work hungry. Fortunately, there were some french fries or some bread or something for me to eat right before shift started, so I wasn’t working at 4-5 months pregnant on a completely empty stomach, but it still wasn’t fun. At least the nausea didn’t linger — that’s one good thing about morning sickness (for me anyway) — once the nauseous thing was out of sight, mind, or smell, I was fine.

That experience taught me not to try to be a hero with morning sickness. After that, for the remainder of that pregnancy and the full nine months of my other pregnancy, if at any point I even thought, “Will this make me sick?” I refused to put it in my mouth, and put as much distance between that food and myself as possible. For one thing, I stopped trying to pick out the good lettuce from the bad, which for someone as frugal as I am says a lot. Of course, there were some “triggers” I couldn’t avoid (my toddler’s diapers spring to mind); but while I had some nausea with my second pregnancy, I did not throw up as much as with my first.

Towards the end of my first pregnancy, my husband’s brother visited — we were still living in the Chicago area at that point, and they wanted to get Italian beef sandwiches from Johnnie’s Beef (which is their favorite Italian beef place) for lunch, and I usually like them. My stomach said, “Um, I’m not so sure about this!” So I got a salad or something. While I can remember watching them savor their meal, and wishing I could partake, I also remember feeling a little nauseated from the smell, and very glad I got something else. There is not a doubt in my mind that had I tried to triumph over my stomach, that my stomach would have won.

I still don’t like to go down the bread aisles, but I think that’s just because of the strong negative association from morning sickness; ditto Classico — I can eat it now, many years later, but I would prefer not to (and I wouldn’t even try it when pregnant the second time).

Check out my other posts on morning sickness and hyperemesis gravidarum for more references and links.

Great minds must think alike, because this blog I keep up with just posted on the same subject!

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3 Responses

  1. Ooooh – the leafy greens going bad was the *worst* for me. I never threw up from morning sickness, and the nausea wasn’t too bad when I never let myself get too hungry; I know I was really lucky. But picking through leafy greens was torture for me too. And like you with the bread, it still affects me now!

  2. Cooking raw chicken, dog food…feeding the dog, peanut butter (and normally I love it), peas, and this time ravioli makes me sick. I’m past morning sickness most days, but ravioli bothers me if I eat it. Raw meat at the grocery store was very hard to handle until about 16 weeks as was the smell of fast food.

  3. A Quizno’s sub set off my very first bout with morning sickness (at six o’clock at night). More than seven years later, I still avoid Quizno’s! With my second pregnancy, it was the smell of my our lawn mower that made me sick. Isn’t that weird? I could sit on the sofa in our family room, far from the lawn mower which was behind a closed door in the garage, and be overwhelmed by the gassy smell of it. At first my husband seemed not to believe me, but eventually gave in and moved the lawn mower outside for the balance of the pregnancy. That made a huge difference!

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