My well abused feet from a busy day are propped up and I have a bowl of lovely strawberries in front of me. Elena and I spent the second half of the day over at Sono’s. Elena played with her cousins and I helped around the house. (Sono has made a large leap forward since a week and a half ago, but still has a long way to go). We are enjoying everyday we have with her and are so thankful for your thoughts and prayers. In the quietness of the evening, with our new little baby in womb merrily kicking around, my thoughts have turned to some of your questions about eating well while suffering from morning sickness.
I wish I had an easy answer for you!
I have named this post “surviving morning sickness” for good reason. Sometimes you are just trying to survive. For those who have mild morning sickness, they wonder what we real sicko’s are complaining about. But there are some of you who know how debilitating and….well just plain terrible it can be. For me, at my worst point I was in bed almost 24/7, hungry all the time, but so sick it was hard to eat anything. Every waking moment was a form of torture and for the first time in a pregnancy I also dealt with insomnia. Nausea and insomnia is not a fun combination. I think I spent about a total of 3/4 of the last four months in bed. And for a lot of that time cooking was almost completely out of the question. Every once in a while I did the dishes (though even that usually made me throw up!).
So, did I eat super well during this time? I’ll give you one guess! *Smile*
However, I have the philosophy in life (and in cooking), that I will always try to do my best, even when my “best” is no where near the ideal. So I tried to always make the best choices I could. Morning sickness hit me early this time, within days of finding out I was pregnant, actually. For those first two weeks I was still cooking, just more tired, a bit yucky feeling, and starting to get aversions to some food. One day I made a big pot of Mexican Soup and it tasted great, two days later I turned the corner and thought it sounded absolutely disgusting. From then on it got pretty tricky finding out what I could eat. At first I was addicted to eggs. But they had to be fried on buttered toast. Scrambled eggs were absolutely a no-no. I tried once and it just didn’t work. One day I had fried eggs for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Grapefruit was soothing and so was OJ, water was not. I ended up drinking a lot of lemon water (really, really strong lemon water) during the first trimester as it was the only way I could keep liquids down. My husband started making some easy dinners, like pasta. Sometimes I could get that down too.
But every week found me more and more sick. Soon I couldn’t eat anything whole wheat, but I could eat this really good white sourdough bread. I couldn’t eat eggs anymore (what’s the use if you are just going to throw them up?). I found that cheese sandwiches could be kept down. So I had a cheese sandwich almost everyday. We got a nice organic raw cheese and I enjoyed them as much as I could while feeling like I had the worst flu of my life. I then found that while I couldn’t get my raw milk down by itself, I could handle it with lightly sweetened cereal. While we don’t normally eat any type of cold cereal, it was worth it just to be able to eat something. Then I started going in phases. I loved pickles so we bought Bubbies lacto-fermented pickles and I ate pickle after pickle. Then I loved refried beans, which my husband picked up at a nearby restaurant for me. Then I wanted a rice noodle dish at a Thai restaurant….for two whole days and then I moved on.
You can well imagine that my husband is a very patient and understanding man to put up with running around to buy me food when my likes and dislikes were constantly changing.
But as each week was bringing me sicker and sicker I started to despair at week ten. On Easter day I was so sick and weak I could hardly even sit up for an extended amount of time. I found myself in tears. My dad started making a pregnancy tea for me by Yogi Tea called Woman’s Mother to Be. I had had it laying around for a few weeks, but getting down hot tea just didn’t seem appealing. However, for whatever reason (maybe it was because he added a lot of honey!), I found it soothing and drank several cups of it. The next day I improved a little and I kept drinking the tea. I kept drinking the tea and improving just a little until I was being able to eat my cheese sandwiches and noodles once again without total despair. I noticed when I stopped drinking the tea I would start getting really sick again. So while this tea didn’t cure my morning sickness, it improved me enough that I was able to cope better.
You better believe I was grateful!
I think that every sick pregnant women has to find what helps her. Some find that eating protein often throughout the day helps, others find taking supplements like vitamin B6 or ginger helps dramatically. I’ve heard of some who eat beans everyday to keep morning sickness at bay. I’ve had friends who have done acupuncture with incredible results. Peppermint tea, cheese, pickles, lemons, beef, soup, whatever it is, once you’ve found something you can handle, use it. For me, eating very often and drinking that tea helped me survive.
I wasn’t able to always eat what I wish I could (fish roe and beef liver? I don’t think so!), but I did try to make the best choice I could. When I wanted Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, my husband found a natural brand without weird chemicals and colorings in it. When I could eat eggs, I ate the best quality eggs I could find. When I could have buttered toast, I used pastured buttered.
Because I have suffered from morning sickness before, I really tried to build up my body and nutrient base before I got pregnant. That way at least I knew I was starting well nourished even if I couldn’t eat well during the beginning of the pregnancy. Because I was concerned about it, I even had a comprehensive blood test work done before we got pregnant (and I was assured that I was “well nourished”).
I am still occasionally getting sick now if I don’t eat soon enough or get over tired from trying to do too much, but it’s much better. I am just starting to be able to eat meat again consistently (in fact, now I crave it! Especially beef). I am enjoying being in the kitchen again, when only a month or two ago I thought I would never want to shadow one again. Most of all, I am enjoying the wonder of this new life growing inside of me. I enjoy knowing that when I feed myself good food, it’s helping both of us. It’s nice to be able to feel like you can begin to nurture your children even before they are born.
In the end, my advice to you, if you have misfortune to be as sick as me, is to try to survive the morning sickness making the best choices you can under the circumstances. That’s all you can do. Oh, and watch movies to distract yourself when it’s really bad. That helps too.