You don’t realize how many TV shows and movies feature someone throwing up until you have a pregnancy-induced hair-trigger gag reflex. If I had to hazard a guess, I would say a solid 86 percent of them.
I’m really sorry if you’re reading this and in this position — and just the mention of it sent you running for the bathroom. Really sorry. You may want to stop reading here.
I remember once walking, green-faced, into my boss’s office, and being barely even able to open my mouth to say I needed to leave. He just pointed out his office door before I horked right then and there.
On the way home, I got stuck behind a garbage truck — and it was really hot out. I burst into tears as I gagged, because who allowed it to be legal to drive a garbage truck on a hot day?
More often than not, I came to the dinner table and cried because I found I could not eat the thing my husband made for dinner, even though I’d asked for it.
I was SO hungry, and yet I could not put food in my mouth — except for Laffy Taffy, Sour Patch Kids and nearly frozen Honeycrisp apples. I had no idea how I could grow a child from that kind of diet. Or really stay alive myself.
Brushing my teeth, eating a Reuben sandwich I had REALLY been craving, doing yoga, changing a diaper, catching the beachy smell of a bar of soap as I walked past the bathroom — you name it, I puked because of it. Right up until the end of all three pregnancies, the specter was always there, looming.
Then came the lightning-bolt sciatica pain, which literally hobbled me getting to the bathroom in time.
Super dignified stuff. Nothing like cleaning up a little puke off the floor while trying not to puke. (Sorry, again.)
It was like a nine-month stomach flu on steroids, and all the while I was expected to be fully operational.
And no, I didn’t suffer from hyperemesis gravidarum, though — believe me — I Googled! The nausea came and went through all three pregnancies — even if I didn’t always vomit.
I ended up taking the antihistamine/sleep aid Unisom (doxylamine succinate) and vitamin B6, a combination my midwife recommended for treating nausea. It took the edge off.
When Diclegis (a prescription, time- released form of doxylamine succinate and B6) came on the market, I took sample pills, but it was expensive and insurance didn’t cover it.
I also tried all the home remedies, plus acupuncture. But, to be honest, anything that worked didn’t work for long.
These days, every so often I get a little phantom flutter in my belly, or I see someone rocking a bump, and I get a pang in my heart, too.
There’s nothing like that sweet tension of not knowing whom you’re going to meet — or when. The pukes pass, even if it feels like it takes forever. But for me, missing that anticipation of total surprise, has not.
Katie Dohman is currently living in the midst of a full-house renovation with her three kids, two pets and one husband. Follow her adventures at instagram.com/dohmicile.