That is not my story.
A few months ago, my body went crazy in all kinds of TMI ways. Pregnancy crossed my mind, but I was convinced there was no way. I know my own body! I think I would know if someone else was living in it. After a couple weeks of feeling progressively crazier, I took a test to definitively rule it out. I wasn't even nervous because in my mind, it was a guaranteed negative. Except it turned positive immediately. I shrieked, probably swore a little, and ran downstairs shaking and shoved it in James' face as he pulled enchiladas out of the oven. He ran to the store for more tests. Still positive. I experienced the full spectrum of human emotion and cried all night long, and here we are several months later. So if you're wondering the age old question, yes, it was a surprise. A very wonderful one we very much wanted, just one we thought would be a few more years down the road. Though now that it's happening we're so glad it's happening now.
I hadn't even begun to wrap my mind around this bombshell when the morning sickness hit not four days later. And it hit like an F-5 tornado in a trailer park and knocked me flat on my back. It turns out I am one of the SUPER LUCKY 2% of women with Hyperemesis Gravidarum. Yes, just like Kate Middleton. Pin a rose on my nose. It's an extreme form of morning sickness (ALL DAY 24/7 FOREVER AND EVER sickness) that basically means that I can't keep food or water down without prescription medicine. And even then it's still a fight. I've always known morning sickness would one day be hard on me since I'm very prone to nausea, but I almost never, EVER throw up. It just doesn't happen, except on horrendously turbulent plane rides, but that's another story. I'm terrified of throwing up. If I actually do throw up, it's a huge deal. Cancel my day and make me some soup while I go crawl in bed and cry about it, and then please hug me every hour to remind me how brave I am for throwing up and surviving it. And when should I expect my Purple Heart?
I immediately began throwing up every thing I swallowed. Nearly every bite of food and every sip of water came right back up. It was horrifying, and I deteriorated really fast. Within days I got so weak I couldn't stand up in the shower. I had to crawl up the stairs. I didn't even have the strength to speak above a whisper. My skin lost absolutely all color and I honestly felt like I was dying. I called my doctor's office in tears, and they said "get thyself to the hospital stat!" Several hours later, I was sitting on the floor of the ER in my pajamas with unwashed zombie hair, crying into a bouquet of Kroger grocery bags in case the demons in my stomach struck again. I've never actually seen The Walking Dead, but I can guarantee you I could've gotten a role and not needed to go into hair and makeup. It was truly a rock bottom moment. The nurse immediately wheeled me back to a room, and I spent the day there with an IV. God Bless the IV. I was so excited to not die that I didn't even flinch at the big@$$ needle they stuck in my arm. I left with a zofran prescription and a little hope that a human the size of a sesame seed wasn't going to kill me after all.
I've been on three different prescription nausea medicines. For the majority of the population, they wipe away the nausea and everything's wonderful. For me, they just help me keep some food down. And for that I am forever grateful. Instead of gaining the normal 4-5 pounds in the first trimester, I lost 8, but the baby is fine so no need for concern. I know there are people out there that are like omg, it's just nausea you pansy. And you'd be right. I am a nausea pansy. However! This isn't your mother's nausea. This is the kind that forces you to curl up on the floor in the fetal position and cry, except you can't cry because you're too nauseous so you cry on the inside instead. Just ask my coworkers; I've pulled a nausea-induced George Constanza under my desk more than once lately.
As truly grateful as I am that my hormones are doing their hormone thang and keeping things chugging along, these past few months have been some of the hardest, maybe THE hardest that I've experienced. I have become a professional puker. No really, a professional. I don't even cry for ten minutes afterwards anymore. If barfing were an Olympic sport, I would win based on my Pterodactyl noises alone. It's a gift, it really is. Sometimes I throw up so violently I am led to believe that Satan unleashed a legion of demons on my insides, as I can only imagine that my heaving is what an exorcism feels and sounds like. My bathroom has become an excellent demonstration of 17th century Catholicism. Come watch! The cost of admission is listening to me cry afterwards.
Do we dare even discuss all the many things in this world that led to exorcism puking? I shouldn't dare to mention, but I will. I've suffered in silence long enough! It's time to bring you all down with me. SOUNDS. Different sounds have actually made me nauseous. Remember how coffee is my most favorite thing in the world? I hate it now. HATE it. The smell sends me into a downward spiral. The mere THOUGHT of it, no really...just the thought, grossed me out so much a few weeks ago that I barfed on myself in the shower. The smell of my shampoo has also been responsible for a few of those episodes. As soon as the morning sickness hit, I had to throw out all my scented lotions. If you walk past me I can tell you what soap you used in the shower this morning and what you ate for lunch yesterday. My sense of smell horrifies me with its supernatural powers on a daily basis. If I even go near my pantry, I have to wear a gas mask or the smells of the seasonings will once again be my undoing. I can walk through my living room and smell every candle that has been burned in the last year. My nose has become my own worst enemy. James occasionally has to eat in a separate room from me so I can keep my food down. Pinterest and Instagram are minefields. The food pictures have killed me over and over. If you've instagrammed or blogged something food-related, I love you, but you're dead to me. You may have been the reason I puked in my neighbor's bushes like a drunken sorority girl.
I've had several (albeit ignorant) people comment that I don't seem as happy as I should be about being pregnant, or that I must not be as sick as I say because that's not possible. Let me address that now so I don't beat those people with a steel rod. I am thrilled. TRULY, thrilled. When I think about having an actual baby, I get so excited (and terrified) that I can hardly handle myself. Change is a scary thing for me. Even good change. It takes me awhile for me to make peace with a changing routine. I didn't have a moment to wrap my mind around the fact that one minute I was putting enchiladas in the oven and 5 minutes later I discovered I'm having a baby before I was in the hospital from vomiting myself into oblivion. And I've been extremely sick ever since, nonstop, for the past three months. It's REALLY hard to show happiness and joy when I can't get my head out of the toilet and I'm fighting to keep down one bite of food so this baby can grow. Think about the worst food poisoning you've even had. That is my life 24/7. That sounds dramatic, and yes, I'm a very extreme case, but it's the truth. And when you have food poisoning and can't think about anything other than severe nausea, it's hard to appear giddy about anything. It's why I've completely cut myself off from the outside world. Interacting with anyone in any form took too much energy away from trying to keep my lunch down. Around the time I got really sick, someone posted something online that basically said she's sick of hearing petty complaints from pregnant women. In a previous life, I wouldn't have given it a second thought. But instead I was like put a stamp on me, because I'm going postal. There is nothing petty about morning sickness. Nausea in any form becomes debilitating when it's 24/7 for weeks and months on end, especially when you can't stop throwing up.
Plus, preparing for a baby has to be worse than wedding planning. Have you guys seen the price of cribs these days? And rocking chairs and dressers? And why does everyone have a bassinet and a rocking sleeper thing too and a swing? Listen, I am not Beyonce. All I need is a rectangle of wood my kid can sleep in that doesn't cost as much as college. Remember when babies used to sleep in dresser drawers during the Great Depression? They grew up just fine without $900 strollers and video baby monitors. I can't even finish this paragraph because I need to go stick my head in a paper bag, because in the words of every white girl ever, "I literally can't even."
And now, some pregnancy symptoms I wasn't exactly expecting:
1. I hate food. I hate it so much I can't begin to tell you. I eat only because I have to, but I have no appetite. Fruit is the only thing I can eat without gagging. I have an aversion to every food. Every day is a battle just to find something I can swallow without wanting to spit out. One time I tried to eat a grape and was so grossed out I nearly projectile vomited on an intern. She hasn't come near me since.
2. Lack of dignity. WHERE DO I BEGIN. You guys, I haven't dried or straightened my hair or worn makeup in three months. Say it with me now: it takes too much effort away from trying not to throw up. Those women who gussy themselves up everyday and say they're having "bad" morning sickness? They're living a lie and I'm not afraid to say it. I will call you out so fast your head will spin. I have completely given up on my appearance, but it has been out of necessity. I have to wear the same jeans everyday because they're the only ones that fit and I've been too sick to look at maternity clothes. I no longer care. I officially don't. My coworkers either must've immediately guessed I was pregnasty or assumed I had contracted Ebola. I wouldn't blame them for guessing either.
3. Crumbs in my bra. Hear me out. I have to do all my eating in a reclined position to help with the nausea, which means 73% of my day is spent trying to discreetly (but not too discreetly, because lack of dignity and all) fish crumbs out of my bra. It's exhausting. And itchy.
4. Black eyes. Oh man. I went through a stage where I was throwing up so frequently and violently that the blood vessels around my eyes started to burst. One day it got so bad that my eyes were swollen, and I literally, truly looked like I had been punched in both eyes. It terrified my coworkers. I looked like a victim of domestic violence, except my black eyes weren't at the hands of a man; they were at the hands of my precious unborn child the size of my pinky.
5. Emotions. I knew this would be a thing, but I didn't know that I would bawl over more than one episode of Gossip Girl. I didn't know bursting into tears at work would become a normal thing. I didn't know I would want to plot the murder of the girl who dared to eat bratwurst and sauerkraut next to me. I didn't know I would have to physically hold my mouth closed from telling one of my bosses to can it when she bragged to me about her sickness-free pregnancy. I am so happy for everyone who didn't get sick and in a few months I will forgive you for not being sick and telling me about it, but right now I need to you turn around and walk away.
6. Aches and pains. Ligament pains. Shooting pains. zOMG, ouch. No one told me about this. No one told me sneezing would sometimes make my stomach feel as though it's ripping open. No one told me I would occasionally wake up in the middle of the night with my hips aching as though they're about to part like the Red Sea.
7. Sneezing. I got so desperate I finally googled "SNEEZING AND PREGNANCY?!?!?!" and much to my surprise and relief, it's a legit thing. I sneeze 10 times a day and I'm over it. It's like a vomit flashback every time, and I can hear my abdominal muscles start to cry because they don't know if I'm sneezing again or they're once again going to be ripped to shreds.
I had no intentions of disappearing for months and then dramatically reappearing with a human inside me. But as you've read, I think you can hopefully understand why I've needed to hide for awhile to get myself together. You're probably not even reading at this point and are instead refilling your birth control. I understand. But if you are reading, I have some promises to make.
1. I will not post weekly updates. No one cares about my food aversions except for me...and James when I make him eat in another room. But if you're hankering to know, I will be more than happy to tell you anything and everything.
2. I will never compare my child to the size of a fruit or vegetable.
3. Most importantly, I hereby solemnly swear that I will never, EVER, create a custom hashtag for my baby. Never.
Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go hide the Cheez-it box from myself because it's making me want to hurl.