Nausea is the new normal

When the first tri queasies started making their presence known, I attacked them with vigor. It feels like a combination of a flu and a hangover, so I figured I had some tried and true strategies for dealing with a mushy brain, low energy, and that icky feeling in my stomach.

Hangovers, especially, I’ve had some practice with, and those are pretty reliable. You know they end before too long, as long as you can ply them with enough greasy carbs, hydration, iced coffee, and plain old time. So I attacked my queasies with vigor. Potato chips, pasta, toast, boxed mac’n’cheese. Bland carbs, generously salted, heaped upon bland carbs, and washed down with as much juice and water as I could stomach. I stayed away from caffeine and gatorade because even the smell of coffee makes me want to ralph, and gatorade is full of all sorts of weird shit, but otherwise, I stuck to my hangover game plan and eagerly waited for results.

I’ve eaten a criminal amount of pasta and potato chips over the last couple weeks, and the results haven’t come yet. The thing is, it doesn’t get better. Eating that bagel might distract you from how you feel for a few moments, but you go right back to feeling the same way afterward. The sight of hash browns might not make you run for the bathroom the way that chicken or tomatoes might, but eating them doesn’t soak up the nausea. It doesn’t even really mask the nausea, because you can only take a few bites before you get out of breath from lifting fork to mouth. Also, it’s nap time again.

At this point, I’m trying to convince myself to just proceed as normal. To accept that the way I feel is my normal right now, and nothing I do is going to make it better. Sure, I can avoid the sight and smell of animal flesh as much as possible, and do my best to not gag on the foods I ate yesterday, which are now associated with nausea, but that’s it. I have to adjust my standards, or I’m going to spend the next 6 weeks feeling increasingly ragey about how I’m not doing the things I love to.

So this is my normal. This lethargic, nap-prone, fuzzy brained, always-about-to-puke state of being is just how it’s going to be until (fingers crossed) second trimester. I’ve got to accept that walking my dog two blocks to the park is my exercise for now, and that taking a nap at 9:30am is just how I roll.

Here we go. Second trimester, please don’t let me down.

My favorite prenatal vitamins

When I first got pregnant, we suddenly had all this stuff to worry about. Unpasteurized cheese. Chemicals in our cleaning products. Sushi. Deli meat. How to make sure we were getting the nutrition we needed, especially during these early days when all I can eat are bland carbs.

Nathan, luckily, jumped right into the vitamin investigation fray to figure out what the best prenatal vitamins are. So many options out there, and so much information. I felt totally overwhelmed by all the (often contradictory) instructions about what I should or should not be taking. I tried a few different kinds, including some gummies that were just gross, some pills that made me want to retch, and a few others. Then SmartyPants reached out with an offer to try their gummy vitamins.. and at first, I had a little freakout. How did they know?! I wasn’t Facebook official yet. Only my parents and Jamie knew the news.

Luckily, my secret hadn’t really leaked; their PR team just had really good timing. Or some well-honed intuition. In either case, I got to try their vitamins (which fortunately arrived just hours before I left town for 12 days) —seriously, another case of impressive timing!—so I packed up that big old bottle and hit the road.

smartypants prenatal vitamins

Short verdict: they are DELICIOUS. So delicious, that my husband keeps stealing them. I’ve been trying to remind him they’re for ME and for Alien, and he shouldn’t be depriving us of our vitamins. Not least because I’m still subsisting on mostly bland carbs. But I can’t really blame him. They’re like candy, with just the right balance of sweet and sour, and a convincing, candy-like texture. Even on my most nauseous days, I’ve been able to take them without any additional queasiness.

I know, I know. I’m growing a human; the candy qualities shouldn’t be the most important ones for picking a vitamin. I had Nathan evaluate the nutritional content, since he’s been doing all the vitamin research. I fully expected he would take them away from me, because he (a) has impossibly high standards and (b) wanted to eat them all himself.

To my surprise, he and my sister-in-law (a midwife with similarly high standards) both gave SmartyPants a strong endorsement. The only consideration was that in combination with my other vitamins, I might overdo it on the Vitamin D. That’s an easy fix: we’re adjusting my other vitamins so I can keep taking the SmartyPants and not go into Vitamin D overdose. (Is that even possible? I don’t think so).

He’s now taking the SmartyPants Men’s Complete Vitamins so that he stops raiding my supply. And I’m more than happy to fulfill my daily dose of 6 gummies. I usually take them after lunch when I want something sweet – these hit the spot!

Disclaimer: I received complimentary product to try. All opinions are my own! I so appreciate you supporting the brands who help me grow the healthiest kiddo possible. 

Top 8 tips for dealing, when you can’t deal

When I first got pregnant, I read ALL the books and did all the googling. I wanted to know what was happening in my body, and how to save myself from the hard work involved in growing a human from scratch.

Once I started getting nauseous, those google searches leaned much more toward how to beat morning sickness (morning. HA. what a lie). Like millions of women before me, I learned that it couldn’t be done. No real way to deal, except to deal. Sure, there are old wives’ tales about home remedies, but most of the advice boils down to “You feel terrible! Give thanks for the miracle of life!”

Eight days into my journey with the sickness, I had this awful day. I spent it shuffling between my couch and the porcelain god. No hangover had prepared me for this level of incapacitation. All I could think was, I have 6 more weeks of this, before it’s *supposed* to stop. How am I going to get anything done?

Sitting on the couch for 6 more weeks begging the universe to release me from my body just wasn’t going to work. I have places to go and things to do—even if all I can manage once there is to nibble on some bland carbohydrates and try not to reveal my secret alien invader.

So, I resolved to find ways to deal even though I really couldn’t deal. Here’s what I’ve learned so far, and what I’m doing to get through this first trimester until this sickness is supposedly over.

  1. Buy foods in small packages. By the time you’ve eaten your third saltine, ginger chew, or wheat cracker, you’ve already associated that flavor and smell with the sickness, and you won’t be able to stomach it. 2015-05-30 08.32.09Just one week in and my pantry is full of open, mostly full bags of stale chips and crackers.
  2. Thou shalt distract thyself. I haven’t worked out in 5 weeks. I have been avoiding friends because my main hobbies are totally unavailable to me: exercising, eating, and boozing. I also can’t focus for shit on my work or any reading above Hunger Games level. (Sorry, if you happen to be waiting on an email from me. It’s coming. After this nap.) That leaves a whole lot of time to focus on how miserable you feel. I decided now is a good time to start Game of Thrones – a pursuit I had been putting off for some time now, knowing full well how thoroughly I’d get sucked in.
  3. Make yourself a motivational something. I live and die by gold stars and other tracking mechanisms. I love crossing things off lists, checking the boxes, and celebrating arbitrary milestones, so I made myself a paper chain.2015-05-27 17.33.06You know, the kind you make in elementary school to count down the days left before summer break. My husband came home in the middle of me working on this and had the good sense to celebrate my project instead of questioning my sanity. 2015-05-30 21.16.16The anticipation of violently ripping a link off at the end of every day might be the only thing keeping me from going completely insane.
  4. Just order the french fries. Vegetables—or whatever other healthy foods make you feel green—can wait. Bonus: potato chips have folate in them, so clearly we were meant to eat them, and only them, for 13 weeks.
  5. Order s’more french fries. This nausea is the party guest that just won’t leave. No matter how desperately you wish it would LEAVE already, it stays, and has another drink, and keeps babbling nonsense in your ear. Strangely enough, nibbling constantly throughout the day, even when the last thing I want to do is put food in my mouth, seems to have me slightly better off than taking breaks between meals. Here’s to eating for two.
  6. Give yourself a break, already. I spent the first two weeks beating myself up for not making it to the run group I’d just joined and paid good money for. Thankfully, I’m over that now. I’m getting good at dodging invitations and bowing out of obligations without feeling guilty about it.
  7. Feel free to adjust your standards. Never in my life have I counted regular old walking as exercise. (At least, not in the “give yourself a gold star” kind of way). Now, a few blocks on my feet totally, 100% counts, and I proudly tell my pregnancy tracker app that I exercised that day.
  8. Child’s pose. There are times when I want so desperately to just not be inside my body. When I start feeling the “this will never end” hysteria, I get into child’s pose and BREATHE. It does not make me feel better. But it helps to calm my panicky mind. yoga


Well, I’ve run out, and I need fall asleep with potato chip crumbs on my face. Do you have any tried and true tips? Please, please share.


Your friendly neighborhood crazy pregnant lady