2013-11-29

Get me, I’m outside.

Almost normal day at work. Some office work in the morning, then a meeting in town.

Because I woke up, and I could, and I wanted to, so I did.

I simply cannot believe the turnaround. I feel… super tired, but normal in my head. Now I have hope that I might be able to manage this.

So so so much relief.

With such a fast turnaround it is easy to see the difference in me, and so frightening for me to consider in retrospect how terrible I’ve felt. I cannot even begin to adequately describe how dreadful.

And so alone with it. Because everyone has had morning sickness or knows people who have had morning sickness they all think they know what it is about and they impose their own experience onto you. They assume you are the same as them. They give you helpful advice and ginger biscuits. They don’t take you seriously. And you start to doubt yourself. You wonder why you can’t cope with something that everyone else can cope with.

Morning sickness usually kicks in around week 9. By week 9 I would estimate that I had already had 150 hours of nausea, despite being medicated. The mean number of hours of nausea in a whole pregnancy is 56. My natural state seems to be about nine hours of severe nausea per day, with much of the rest asleep. So if I let this progress naturally with no drugs, by week 12 I could expect to be in the many hundreds of hours of nausea (And I quote again in 36% of women who had NVP, the nausea lasted for up to 33 hours per pregnancy, but 21% had nausea which lasted for 100-300 hours and a further 10% from 300-700 hours, a thoroughly distressing and depressing experience.) My experience of nausea is easily into the worst 10% of those that experience it at all.

To further put my experience of morning sickness in perspective – and this is hard for me to admit – yesterday I thought that if I had a miscarriage I would not be able to face ever getting pregnant again. Yes, after more than four years of trying and three cycles of IVF I got nine weeks into my first pregnancy and was so traumatised by the nausea that I didn’t think I’d ever be able to willingly choose to have it. I’ve not been one to shirk away from taking the difficult path to get this baby, but how I felt was just too much. I just felt too sick. I thought I’d force myself to see this pregnancy through because I want this baby so much, but I couldn’t willingly do it again.

I’ll always feel guilty for thinking that, in fact I feel guilty for complaining about this at all. It is the lot of the infertile, because after years of longing for pregnancy and crying inside every time another woman bitches about morning sickness an infertile longs to have that to bitch about and vows that they will never complain if they are lucky enough to be in that position.

But nausea and vomiting in pregnancy is one of those conditions that happens along a spectrum. Some people get it quite mildly, and for some people it is debilitating or even life threatening. Like allergies, like asthma, like eczema, like burns. You cannot compare seasonal hayfever with anaphylactic shock. You don’t treat a stab would with a sticking plaster.

The absence of vomiting and the term ‘morning sickness’ are red herrings. I felt sick and dizzy and confused – like severe motion sickness – just about all the time for a month. With no hope of it relenting, in fact at best the promise of it getting worse for another month or so. That is physically and emotionally grueling, and not only is it seriously unpleasant but it wears you down, steals your personality, removes all control, and renders you completely helpless.

I have been life threateningly ill in hospital, and not felt so bad for so long as I have with morning sickness.

Nausea without vomiting in pregnancy might not be of clinical significance, but in no normal circumstances would the healthcare profession brush you off and knowingly allow you to suffer like that.

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