Morning Sickness Again? And At Night? Part Two, Second Trimester

Morning Sickness Again?  And At Night?  Part Two, Second Trimester

As I officially enter the 18th week of pregnancy morning sickness (otherwise known as ‘I’d pray for swift death to take me if it weren’t for the miracle waiting on the other side of 20ish more weeks’), I sadly report that the typical first trimester ills haven’t left me completely. I watched week 11 and 12 come and go as the end of the first trimester. Nothing. Then I read articles that led me to believe that week 14 was the miracle week where the baby’s placenta starts producing hormones that no longer would then be flooding my own blood stream. It got worse this week. Then my midwife reassured me that spikes happen -- from which I naively and self-servingly inferred that on the other side of the spike would be sweet relief. And then, I read on other mama blogs of women who reassured the prego-blogosphere (and to whom I am truly grateful for at least feeding me with a healthy dose of optimism) that week 16-17 would be the weeks during which all the hormonal activity of the first trimester would stabilize and I would feel ‘not pregnant’ again -- quite a feat considering I could no longer button my jeans, and required no fewer than 5 pillows to get comfortable at night.

Oh well. Optimism springs eternal, as they say, and I think it’s as good for our health and morning sickness as anything -- in other words, if you have a story about how your morning sickness went away in week 18, please write in. Still, in light of other women I know who have spent a near forty weeks in morning-sickness-induced bed rest or getting rehydrated in the hospital, the spate of infertility that breaks hearts in our culture, and the relatively paltry amount of research that exists around women’s health and in particular what even causes morning sickness to begin with -- short answer, nobody knows,-- I realize that I have been blessed by a healthy dose of luck, nausea, indigestion, regurgitation and all.

Thanks to some simple home remedies and again perhaps a healthy dose of luck thrown into the mix, things could be much worse. I have already shared some tried-and-true home remedies (check it out)... Here are some that are a bit more off the beaten path, but are working for me:

Has anyone else discovered root beer??? morning sicknessNow I’m not talking about the most common grocery varieties, which probably have very little resembling natural flavorings, but quite by chance, I allowed my son to order a Maine’s root beer the other night (full of sugar in the way of evaporated cane juice, but also it turns out, flavored with anise, wintergreen, and cloves), helped myself to his few remaining swigs, and had the best night I’d had in weeks. I couldn’t help myself, I had to dig deeper -- it turns out, all three of the natural spices Maine’s uses for its distinctive root beer flavor - the anise, cloves, and wintergreen -- have digestive properties, good for indigestion, vomiting, calming gas. For me, it works better than ginger ale. Who knew and didn’t tell me?

Peppermint gum.  Again, I cringe at the artificial colors and aspartame that goes into most gum, but Spry, among others, makes a version that is natural and sweetened with xylitol. There is something about the chewing and swallowing -- I’m suspecting it has something also to do with the digestive juices such as saliva that are constantly being stimulated -- that reminds my digestive tract which way is down, for as long as I’m chewing. Peppermint is also a great digestive remedy -- Harvard Medical School has studied its effects on Irritable Bowel Syndrome and how it may work to relax the smooth muscles of the intestines, and it has long been touted by herbalists for safely cooling and calming digestive upset.

Kindly Asserting my Limits. If you are already a mother, this may feel familiar (and I feel a little selfish saying it, even so, but here goes): at some point, asserting my right to be sick - and to care for my illness even to the extent of lifestyle and social modifications I otherwise would have labeled unthoughtful or rude, has helped me tremendously. For a while I wanted to prove I could do it all: get little one to school and to all activities, continue to work and exercise, and still not miss any evening social events -- which in our case tend to be mellow dinners with friends. I wanted to let everyone know (mainly myself?) that nothing was going to change, and I’ve been blessed or cursed with the ability to amiably fake my way through while feeling absolutely lousy. As soon as I sat down with my husband, embarrassingly recently, and agreed on some ground rules for our current life -- I can’t accept social invites after 5pm without a water-tight cancellation clause (I get sickest at night), I can act like the fussy eater my parents beautifully trained me not to be, and I can allow that quality time with my son may lamentably include sharing in too many movies, -- things actually began to improve. Sometimes the best solutions don’t involve home remedies, but begin with acceptance.

A fellow acupuncturist once theorized to me that morning sickness was but one of many ways we learn to surrender control as moms even before our babies our born. My midwife reminds me that each child will have its own birthing story. And a talented shiatsu practitioner recently told me that the morning sickness might just be because “this baby just wants to meditate.” These words may not work for everyone, but they really help me to view sickness in a different light -- with some reverence for it, some surrender, and perhaps, just perhaps, a hint of gratitude.

 

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