I Hate Dinner

I am currently living under a big dark cloud. I am easily frustrated, mostly disengaged and always tired. I’m nauseous from the moment I lift my head in the morning until after I fall asleep each night. I have spent much of the past four weeks in my pajamas, canceling everything on my calendar and apologizing to my family for being a drag. And this is great news-
I am pregnant.

I am no stranger to nausea. With my first child I was sick all day everyday from 6 weeks pregnant until the day he was born (1% of women get that short end of the stick). With my second, the nausea was even more severe, but thankfully subsided around 16 weeks. I have tried every remedy. Yes, I am even using essential oils this time and although they take the edge off a little, they have not changed my life. I wish they had.

I don’t like food when I’m pregnant and I especially hate dinner. I don’t want to plan for it, shop for it, cook it, eat it or clean it up. If there are dirty dishes in the sink, I can’t even go in the kitchen. The only reason anyone is eating around here is because my husband is taking care of it. I am barely functional in any of my daily tasks so we dig through mountains of laundry to find things to wear and the “to-do” list keeps growing. Princess Kate and I have so much in common, except I’m pretty sure she has a housekeeper.

And so why are we doing this again? Because after the nausea lifts and I can think straight, we decide that 4-9 months of misery is so worth the life that comes forth. So here we are again.

babypumpkin

We are so thankful for this pregnancy. This past year we had two miscarriages and the fear of losing another baby can be consuming. The sickness I’m feeling now is a daily reminder that our little pumpkin is doing well in there. It’s been healing in a strange way. And while the nausea is hard, there are very obvious golden threads in this situation. 

It’s temporary. We have friends who battle chronic pain and terminal illness. It’s for a great reason. It’s often really hard to find purpose in suffering. It’s what we wanted. We hoped and prayed for this child.

And yet, I am still miserable. I am living on the verge of tears and vomit and I’m trying to maintain perspective. I remind myself that it could be worse. I remember those who cannot conceive, who have lost children, who are suffering in real and hard ways. I get frustrated at myself when I complain and feel like a baby who has no idea what real suffering is like.

But just because others are suffering worse, doesn’t mean my pain is invalid. We tend to either wallow in our hardships or put on a strong face and pretend we’re fine. Neither extreme is going to be much help for the journey.

We handled the first couple weeks on our own; my husband took days off work, he dropped his seminary class, the kids watched too much TV. But as time went by when friends and family checked in on me, I responded with more reality. More truth. Probably sounding more desperate. And then the question, “Is there anything I can do to help?” starts coming and it’s easiest to say “not that I can think of.” Mostly because when you’re going through something, it’s hard to know what you need.

I remember that when my mom was nearing the end of her fight with cancer, lots of people asked that question and I never knew what to say. I couldn’t see past my grief long enough to think through what we needed or how people could help. But even though I said, “I don’t know,” people payed attention and figured it out. The church I worked at let me work from home and then asked if they could hire a weekly housecleaner for us. I could write pages about what that did for us. My mom’s friend kept showing up with (the best) groceries and another worry was taken care of.

I learned that when someone doesn’t give you ways you can help, if you just try some things you will inevitably meet a need. Maybe even a need they didn’t know they had. Send a note, call to check in, bring some flowers. Rather than say, “Let me know if there’s anything I can do,” be the one to suggest and ask “would this specific thing be helpful?”

“Can I bring dinner this week and help with the kids?” “Can I come over Friday and help you with a project around the house?” “Can I set up a schedule for people to bring meals?” “Can I run some errands for you, or pick up the kids for a while?” These are the messages I’ve been getting and the help has been cold water for my thirsty soul.

If I weren’t honest that this was hard, I would miss these golden threads. Being needy is uncomfortable. It hurts a little to have people show up to this mess, but I get over it real quick when I see the beauty of people helping carry each other’s burdens. It inspires me to be that for others when I am well.

BRIGHT SPOT

If you’re in the same boat as me, here are my top 10 tips for nausea survival.

1. Never get too hungry or too full. Eat little meals every 2-3 hours, even if you don’t want to.

2. Use ginger in whatever form you can handle. I have ginger essential oil, ginger chews, gingerale, and sometimes I hit the juice bar in town that makes really gingery cold-pressed juice. It doesn’t take the nausea away (for me) but if I’m on the verge of throwing up, smelling and tasting the ginger can help me keep my food down.

3. Peppermint. Using peppermint essential oil, chewing minty gum or sucking on Altoids can help take the edge off when, like I said above, I’m on the verge of throwing up.

4. I drink ice water with loads of lemon slices in it all day long. It helps somehow.

 5. Doing whatever you can to free up your mornings. Although I am nauseous all day, the mornings are usually the worst and when I can take my time getting up and move slow, it seems to make the day a little better.

6. Eating protein. Most people say to eat Saltines and Goldfish, but the best food for pregnancy nausea is lean protein. My go-to things are string cheese, cottage cheese, eggs, rotisserie chicken and almonds.

7. If you hate food like I do, then if something sounds good to you…eat it. Obviously nutrient rich foods are best when eating is a chore, but sometimes you’ve just got to eat what sounds good.

8. High fat or fried foods will almost always make me feel worse.

9. I have started taking Diclegis which is a prescription that is basically the active ingredient in Unisom + Vitamin B6. It is FDA approved safe for mother and baby. It has not taken my nausea away, but has made it a little less severe. It makes me sleepy, but that’s better than super sick.

10. Tell friends and family how you are really doing and let them help you!

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13 thoughts on “I Hate Dinner

  1. Congratulations Steph! I am so excited there will be another little Day! Hope you start to feel better soon and that your kids are doing a good job of letting Mama rest.

  2. What great news! I am so happy for you … but I also know how sick you get … so I’m cringing for you too. (Remember that time my old chemo barf bags came in handy?) πŸ™‚ Will be praying the nausea subsides quickly this time. You two make great kids. Can’t wait to hold this one.

  3. Stephanie!! I’m so excited for you guys πŸ™‚ You make the cutest babies! πŸ™‚

    I’ve never been pregnant, but I have read that a Magnesium Deficiency can cause Nausea in pregnant women. I know you’ve likely looked at everything, but I’m offering that up just in case.

    Praying for you! Love, Brittan

  4. First congrats on the new growing life!! Second, simply love the lovely balanced perspective… it is SO hard – MOST hard in my opinion – to not sit in the extremes, and you gave really practical ways to find the balance. I wish i’d known about all the ‘remedies’ you’re using when I was awfully sick with my babes too, well done! {As a side, in case you’re wondering why the lemon water is helping you – especially if taken first thing in the am, it’s in part because the lemon – wait for this craziness – helps stimulate bile production in your gall bladder so that your tummy has sufficient and appropriate digestive enzymes to keep your tummy feeling ‘settled/not upset’ …. crazy cool!). Hugs from one mama to another. Love your blog!

  5. I would like to bring food for your family but will be out of town Oct. 25 to Nov 1. Any dates after Nov 2 ? Didn’t see you on Mealbaby yet.

  6. First of all, I am SO excited about the newest Day!!!! I haven’t seen you since I found out (through a loud mouthed jr higher), but I was so happy to hear this. Then I IMMEDIATELY thought “oh no. Steph must be so sick!” I’ll text you the rest of my thoughts… but YAY BABY!!!! Love you!

  7. This pregnancy, Josh put a reminder in my phone to “eat something” every 2 hours… it’s now a running joke with anyone who sees the reminder pop up… they ask if I need a reminder to “breathe” too, and I say yeah probably! hahaha It IS temporary, but these babies are eternal, How exciting!!! We LOVE you guys!

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