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Turning Tides

As told to Leah Gebber

There was no food in the house. And I couldn’t imagine going to the grocery store. But when I had found out I was pregnant, despite my two previous pregnancies being terribly difficult, I was determined not to let my life fall away. So I swallowed my feelings of nausea and picked up the car keys. I blindly filled the cart with products until I couldn’t anymore. I leaned on the cart, almost ready to collapse. I felt a blackout coming on. I was going to collapse.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Though I tried to cook and clean and play with my kids and run my business as usual, from the very start of this new pregnancy, I found myself weak and nauseous in the extreme. Well, doesn’t everyone suffer from morning sickness? But this was beyond. I couldn’t keep down any food at all — my body’s reaction to the least morsel was almost instant. I couldn’t venture out long enough to pick up my kids from preschool. I had to hire someone to do it for me. Not that I was capable of taking care of them when they were home either. I’d hear my kids in the other room, whining, bickering, and crying. I know my kids. I only had to go in there, hold out my hands and start a funny dance, sing a silly song, and the atmosphere would turn around. But I was unable to do so. I cried in my bed, feeling terrible and helpless that I couldn’t do my magic. There were no specific triggers to my nausea — it was endless, unceasing, and suffocating. I lay in bed, unable to run the air conditioner because the slightly processed smell and the air movement made me vomit. Any movement — from my left side to my right — made me retch. Brushing my teeth. Taking a shower. Talking. It all made me vomit uncontrollably, until I felt as if I might suffocate. I forced myself to drink water, dribbling it down my nightgown as I was unable to sit up. My esophagus burned, I had a terrible taste in my mouth, my internal thermometer was totally out of whack, so I burned with heat or shivered. The reaction was so violent that I phoned my doctor. “Can you throw up a baby?” I asked. Normal interactions vanished. My life consisted of eat, drink, feel sicker than sick. I knew I was putting my life and my baby’s life in danger by starving, so I forced myself to push some plain bread and one cup of water daily down my throat. There was no relief. Each night I went to sleep crying, wondering how I would be able to wake up and face the next day.

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