Well it turns out it’s not that fun to blog when you’re sick. And I’ve debated how long to hold onto the news that I am expecting again, but I think I’m ready. So there it is. I am eight weeks pregnant with Baby #3!
This is, obviously, very happy news, but hard to enjoy at the moment due to my on-and-off nausea, extreme fatigue, occasional vomiting, and my battle with food, which my body is demanding a lot of but not really wanting to eat. (And I know that’s not good grammar; just bear with me, I don’t feel good!) I’ve been here before, with a pregnancy we lost with much sadness in the 2nd trimester. And I decided to make some survival notes from what I believe God has taught me about suffering through pregnancy since that time.
So, in no particular order, here are my thoughts on surviving morning sickness. Or all day sickness, or morning and evening sickness, or what have you. (And please note, while I do not feel well and am sort of in a panic about how I am ever going to honor my son on his birthday tomorrow because I have no stamina, I do not have it as bad as some. It is not as bad as having the stomach flu, which I know some pregnancies are. While I am not suffering to the degree that some of my friends have, I still believe God is faithful and will be the help of all who call on Him. Hopefully these truths will still encourage those who are struggling in a different form.) Anyway, here we go:
1) “I love You, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in Whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.” (Psalm 18:1-3)
Look at those words of strength. Sometimes, all I can do is recite them, and submit to the fact that I am utterly weak, and He alone is strong. I pray God’s word back to Him and ask Him to help me and strengthen me. He helps me do the next thing. He is my strength. By focusing on His strength instead of my weakness, I avoid the trap of self-pity.
2) “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)
Cheer yourself on. Tell yourself you CAN do this and get through this. Recite this verse back to God. Don’t look ahead to tomorrow or to how many weeks you have left to suffer. Imagine you are a runner in a race, and the end is not far off, and you may vomit along the way, but you WILL make it. You need to put one foot in front of the other and just take the next step. Don’t listen to the voices telling you that you are weak and you can’t do this. Speak back to them and tell yourself, “You can do this. You will get through this. You WILL survive!” There is a mental game we play when we run a race. We don’t focus on the cramp in our side or the labored breathing, or how big this hill is, but we focus on one moment at a time and we focus on getting there, and we listen to the cheers of our teammates telling us we are so close. But don’t do all this without relying on God for strength in the first place.
3) Take one day at a time. When you’re tempted to look ahead and worry about all the suffering you have left, remember the words of Jesus, “Do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Matthew 6:34) As hard as it is to KNOW you have suffering ahead and try to ignore it … well, we definitely need God’s grace for that. Jesus is LOVINGLY reminding us to rely on Him today and get the grace He has for us TODAY.
4) Don’t complain. It only makes things worse. Trust me, I know; I am a masterful complainer (recovering from this, by God’s grace!). Think about all the things you have to be grateful for. Your family, a roof over your head (even if the interior of the house is a wreck), your favorite tea, television, the ability to conceive a child, the blessing of children, etc., etc. There’s ALWAYS something. It could ALWAYS be worse. We have so much more than we deserve. Ask God for grace to be grateful.
5) Recount the Lord’s faithfulness. One problem we have as humans is that we are forgetful people. Just as Israel forgot how God delivered them from Egypt and they began to complain against the Lord in the desert, we, too, forget, how God has provided for us and sustained us, and if we have trusted in Christ, how He saved us from our sin. Trust in God and His faithfulness. Read His word, and ask Him to enlighten your heart. Ask Him to give you joy. Give thanks for the times He has gotten you through trials in the past, and tell Him you are grateful He will get you through this, too.
6) As yucky as this sounds, the truth is that, though it is disgusting and unpleasant, vomit is not going to be the end of the world. We will survive this. (Barring any major medical problems such as dehydration, for which, of course, we must be on the look-out!) But sometimes, when I know it’s gonna happen, I just tell myself, “I’m gonna survive this. It’s gonna be OK. It’s not the end of the world. It’s just vomit. Let’s just get this over with.” What can you do? You know it’s coming, but you also know that you’re not dying (even if it feels like it). It’s happening because you have a baby in your body. You aren’t sick with real germs. Kind of like they say motion sickness is the sickest you can be without having any real sickness (my dad was in the Navy; he told me they say that!)… pregnancy is kind of like that. Now these thoughts might not comfort anyone but me … and I wouldn’t say they make me feel physically better or anything, but these are just reminders to help me get through. They may not work for everyone, especially women who are vomiting all day! I am so sorry if that is you. I do have a Bible verse that helps me, too: “In due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9) I just keep going back to that. Don’t give up. In due season, Lord willing, I’ll be holding that baby instead of getting sick because of it.
7) TV is your friend. And if you have other children, it is, like, your BEST friend. It helps pass the day, it helps get your mind off your pain, and it allows you to lay on the couch. YAY, television! I simply refuse to feel guilty for the amount of TV we watch in my first trimester. No one’s brain is going to rot.
8) If at all possible, try to do some regular tasks. This sometimes works to trick me into not feeling so bad… until I get dizzy folding tiny pairs of socks and then that’s over. But for as long as I can do something, it makes me feel more normal, and avoid that self-pity trap again. However, usually all I can get done is feed and change the kids, and watch lots of Star Wars. Again, it just comes back to asking God for grace to “do the next thing.”
9) “It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” (Deuteronomy 31:8) No matter how awful you feel, or how much pain is in your body, or how tired you are, the Lord has promised to never leave you! He hasn’t forgotten you! In fact, He is nearer than we think. He has compassion on His children. (See Psalm 9:9-10) Keep turning to Him throughout the day, and He will build your faith. He will sustain you.
10) Ginger root, ginger ale, chamomile tea, peppermint tea, fresh fruits, saltines, and Thomas’ English muffins. I don’t know where I’d be without them.
That’s all I have on that for now. I know it’s not all-inclusive of every survival skill or anything, but this is what is working for me, and this is where I am seeing God’s care in this difficult time. Hopefully it can be a help to others, too.