The first time I felt “morning” sickness was at three in the afternoon. I was kind of excited because apart from missing my period, it was the first physical pregnancy sign I had.
That excitement soon faded as I found myself hovering over a trash can on my bedroom floor, trying to be grateful I was pregnant but hating the way it made me feel.
I threw up at work. At home. In the car. In a hotel room before speaking in front of 250 college-age students. On the grass at a friend’s birthday party. All over the dirty dishes in my kitchen sink.
One night I fell asleep in the hallway next to the trash can because I didn’t want to wake Justin up with my vomiting. There were days I couldn’t go to work because I couldn’t stop throwing up – I was worried I would have to quit my job or get fired because of it. Justin and I seriously considered canceling our first anniversary trip to Europe. I couldn’t imagine getting out of bed (or off the floor), let alone on a plane across the Atlantic.
I was miserable. I couldn’t keep food down no matter what I tried – jello, dry toast, ginger, saltines, “preggy pops” – I even tried sniffing lemon because I read that was supposed to help. All my guilty pleasures became my biggest aversions – Starbucks, Chick-Fil-A, ice cream (gasp!)
I was 6 weeks pregnant (but had only known about it for 2 weeks) when Justin called my OBGYN office and asked if there was ANYTHING that could be done to help.
They prescribed something and on the way to pick it up I threw up an entire bowl of chicken and stars. It was still warm.
I found myself yelling at small children through the car window, “Do you even KNOW what your mother went through for you???” and texting my mom friends for sympathy (special shoutout to Katie, Erin, Talia, and Grace ❤️)
I decided I didn’t want three kids anyone – this one was enough!
Thankfully, I got some pills that stopped the vomiting (for the most part), but I was still on the verge of almost throwing up for a maddening amount of time. I learned to carry a plastic bag with me wherever I went.
I’ll never forget the time Justin was at our kitchen counter, cutting my pills in half so I could swallow them without gagging. I don’t know if I’ve ever been more in love with him.
Justin and I ended up going to Europe. We had some good moments, but the trip was mostly tainted by my pregnancy symptoms. I was so exhausted I could barely get out of bed (one day I didn’t get up until 1pm and was back in bed by 7pm.) Walking around left me winded. I was constantly looking for places to throw up. I could barely eat anything – I watched Justin eat our anniversary dinner. I couldn’t stop burping (…yes, a pregnancy symptom. talk about romantic!)
I bawled during our last night in Paris because I didn’t get to eat a macaroon and because I couldn’t imagine being this sick for the rest of our trip, let alone the next two months.
Europe wasn’t what I hoped it would be, but I’ll always have fond memories of Justin taking care of me – carrying my luggage, walking as slow as a grandma with me, sprinting to get me fresh orange juice when we learned that helped, and never once complaining or getting annoyed with me (even though I was annoyed with me…)
I had my first baby appointment a few days after getting back from Europe. Justin was traveling for work, so I took my friend Betty with me. When I checked in I was told this wasn’t technically a maternity appointment because my pregnancy hadn’t been confirmed yet. I was slightly offended – what about everything I had just been through???
As soon as I saw my gummy-bear sized baby on the ultrasound screen I started crying (just thinking about it now makes me tear up!) Apart from a pink line and missed period four weeks earlier, this was the first happy pregnancy sign I had. There was a baby inside me. I could see it. In that moment, the fear I had about miscarrying was gone and all physical pain I had suffered was worth it. The technician handed me a Kleenex.
Then, unexpected to me, the heartbeat was played. My own heart stopped in my chest as I heard the thumping noises of another heartbeat inside me.
I will never forget the moment I heard my child’s heartbeat for the first time.
A few days later, I took off for San Diego for a reunion, followed by Thailand for work and a weekend getaway with Justin (all planned before we knew I was pregnant and almost canceled a couple of times due to my pregnancy symptoms.)
There were many times I gagged over a barf bag while flying. One time the guy next to me was like, “are you okay?” I told him I was pregnant and he offered me a piece of Big Red gum, which I thought was sweet. There was the time I nearly threw up in front of hundreds of Taiwanese people before boarding our plane. (Thankfully, I ended up belching over a trashcan instead.)
Miraculously, during Justin and my weekend getaway in Thailand, I felt almost normal. I could eat. I wasn’t completely zonked. I don’t think I’ve ever been happier.
The day we left, I was sick again. I truly think God gave me those two days as a gift and I am forever grateful.
Toward the end of my first trimester, I kept crossing my fingers that my nausea/vomiting was done with, only to be hit with it once again. It was so discouraging and would leave me in tears.
It wasn’t until a few weeks into my second trimester (the beginning/middle of November) that I started feeling like myself again. Not only could I eat, I WANTED TO. I stopped burping as much (!!) and had more energy. I finally reached the ‘honeymoon stage’ of pregnancy I heard about, but always seemed so far away. I don’t know what the third trimester will bring, but right now I’m soaking up all the second trimester has to offer.
If there’s one thing I learned during my first trimester, it’s that women are even stronger and more amazing than I thought (and I’m a feminist!)
I have a whole new respect for my sex…
Women are HEROES.