Saturday, February 7, 2009


The Smell was everywhere. It was one of those putrid smells that seems to have wafted up from below in warm, thick blankets and completely wrapped you until it had become a defining layer of your skin. It was smothering me and I could not escape as it began to creep down my nose, my mouth, my throat...

I woke with a gasp and as gently as I could, flew out of Chris's sleeping arms and into the bathroom. Ahh, the bathroom. The toilet smugly awaited my return. It had, after all, been an entire half hour since I had last paid homage and the toilet is a zealous master; no one can escape it for long. My head was throbbing and the loud echoes of my empty heaves in the porcelain basin only augmented the pounds in my head.

The headache was supposed to be one of the many casualties of the pregnancy war raging in my body and theoretically so was the heaving and gagging. But it didn't make sense to me any more. I wasn't throwing up because my stomach was empty; I had tried to keep down saltines after my first toilet communion and those had come up swiftly enough. I then thought that perhaps it was sugar I needed. So I ate the precious peach I had guiltily bought the day before. It was simply divine, both going down and coming up... funny how after a while you start selecting food not on taste alone, but how comfortably it can be vomited back up. But that had been three or four vomits ago. Now I had resigned myself to emptily convulsing over the toilet every half hour more or less. Apparently nothing I could do about it. If this was, indeed a war, pregnancy was definitely winning.

I lay exhausted on the floor and would have tried to sleep my next few minutes of peace right there on the cool linoleum but I soon started to shiver in the early morning cold. I would have pulled on a towel but they were all still strewn across the bedroom floor where I had neglected to pick them up and wash them with the growing mound of laundry cluttering the space around the full laundry bin. "Common Sarah, off we go" I thought to myself as I picked up an aerosol can of air freshener. I took two deep breaths and heaved myself to my feet. Armed against the smell of last night's Jambalaya with the can of air freshener I braved the short span of hallway spraying with all my might. Ugh! I could still smell it. The onion, sausage and garlic smell that had delighted Chris and I for dinner was now the impenetrable smell that I could not expunge from the memory of the cells in my nose. I was through! I quickly shut the door behind me and sprayed the area around it before any of the lingering smell managed to seep its way into the walls. Chris stirred at the hiss of the spray and I used the opportunity to tuck myself back into his unsettled arms. Ahhhh... Safe for at least another 20 minutes.

Not every night is like this. Actually, it is rather rare. Thanks to the blessed wonders of modern medicine I usually escape this kind of scenario by taking a pill. Pregnancy has introduced me to a lot of pills. Right now I only have to deal with three. One to keep me from exploding (I am serious) with water as pregnancy devised a way of making my thyroids retain water in my stomach. Around the fourth week of pregnancy I started to retain water and in four days I had gained about ten pounds of it in my abdomen and I was still expanding before they actually got the drug to me. My fertility doctor still calls me to make sure that my new doctor knows and will consistency test me for it. Then there is the folic acid - pure - so that the kiddies bake right. And finally there is the vomit pill. That is the one that ran out a day ago. I am between doctors right now, as I graduated from the fertility clinic and the OB-GYN couldn't see me for what has turned out to be a month. Unfortunately the vomit pill had been renewed to the prescription max and now I was stuck. "Who would give me another vomit pill" I dreamed with a plea.

It was now light outside and Chris fully woke this time as I started to stir again. I must have looked like.. well, a dehydrated, exhausted, vomit champion because as I woke with bile already rising to my lips I could see his concerned face leaning over me. "Can I get you something to eat?" I would have said 'no' but I was already pushing past him on my way to the bathroom. "What can I do?" he asked after watching me kneel and spit and burp foamy stomach acid into the toilet. I shook my head and heaved airily again into the basin. "There must be something I can do. I heard you get up last night. Did you get up all those times because I think I may have dreamed some of those?" I again shook my head and started waving him away. He sat next to me and rubbed my back now talking to himself more than me; "this is awful, there must be something I can do." I continued to heave. My muscles were sore, I was sure that there was some vein in behind my nose that was going to burst and my stomach seemed discontent with the simple foam and bile that I was spitting. It was going to hurl itself out this time unless something more interesting rose soon. It was unbearable and I began to whimper piteously between the heaves. That was when Chris left to get my phone. "You need to all someone, Sarah. Someone will prescribe something." I continued to retch.

Chris was gone and I flushed, spitefully and leaned away from the nasty basin. My stomach was still contorting, but I knew there was nothing even to spit. My impetuously pregnant stomach wrenched, indignant that I was no longer following its orders to lean over the toilet. But nothing was going to come up, there was not a single thing in there and we both knew it. I was not going to lean over that stupid toilet, and being pregnant could not make me. Battle won by me. It heaved one more time, promising a rematch later, soon.

Chris had retrieved the phone from whatever corner I had left it in, it was my job to find something in it to make this less violent for me and less distressing for him. "Ok, well, I am not a patient at the fertility clinic any more and they probably won't get back to me for a while, but why not?" Chris made some encouraging remark as I dialed and left a long, exhausted message on the phone explaining what had happened and why they were my only hope for relief. Then I tried the Woman's health clinic. None of the options seemed to fit. I was not a patient yet, I did not want an appointment, I was not part of a study or renewing a prescription from them so I stuck with the "just hang on and someone will be with you" option.

I was directed to a nurse who patiently waited for me to finish my explanation. I was told that the only thing she could make available to me before my appointment with a doctor was a much milder drug. I was grateful for anything I could get and anxiously agreed to try it. "I am going to prescribe that as a suppository, will that be okey?" It was not really phrased as a question. Chris looked at me with disbelief and started mouthing "NO" at me, shaking his head and mildly blushing at the idea. What was I to do? Would the nurse believe me if I told her I could actually keep a regular pill down? Could I keep it down? "NO! NO! NO!" Chris was mouthing, briefly covering his bemused face with his hands. Who was going to have to take it any way, Chris? I shakily said "yes, that will be fine" and hung up. Chris just sat there, looking at me in horror. I thought of telling him that he would have to administer it if he looked at me that way one second longer. I didn't.

I stood up, walked into the stinky garlic, onion, sausage hall and into our bedroom that was beginning to smell faintly similar. I would have pulled out the spray again but I could see the drip marks around the door where my previous spraying enthusiasm had dried. If that hadn't done it, nothing would. I did not close the door because I did not want Chris to think I was shutting him out. We agreed that he would go get the medication when it was ready and I lay back in the bed, wondering how uncomfortable a suppository could be, really. I was constipated (a battle pregnancy had decidedly won despite the copious amounts of prune juice I had been drinking) and couldn't decide if that would have any sort of impact on reaction time. I sat there ideally wondering how large and hard a suppository barf-pill poo would be when my phone began to ring in my hand. It was the fertility clinic!

Glories be! They said they could provide a few more of my old vomit pills to last me till my doctor appointment. They were again reminding me to have the doctor check my thyroid when I told them I had to go, as I was going to go throw up. They continued to talk and I had to abruptly end the phone conversation as I, again, approached the toilet. The customary scene unfolded and as I am sure you are now familiar with how it went, I will not bother to tell you again. Chris came in near the end and I told him of the good news. “No suppository for me” I thought triumphantly. He looked relieved and helped tuck me back in bed promising to leave right then to go get the non-suppository and some juice. I slipped into a hopeful sleep before he was even out the door.

"Knock Knock knock" It was him! Chris! Medicine! I leapt from bed, this time with joy. One bound, then the seco--OPH* I collapsed in front of the door to our bedroom. What was wrong with me? I leaned against the dry drips on the door frame, considering the legs that had just failed me. Only then did it occur to me that I had slept on my back – a no no since the babies were getting big enough to put pressure on my spine and other nerve and blood lines, hence temporarily incapacitating my leg.

Chris entered with the medicine, proud and excited. I greeted him from the floor and he walked in like there was nothing wrong. He was telling me excitedly about the juice and Hot wings (my favorite... but perhaps not today) he had thoughtfully gotten me. I tried to explain to him, there was something wrong with my legs but he seemed unconcerned that his wife was parked on the floor in the bedroom doorway. He gestured me to the bed where I should take the pills and I looked at him helplessly as I tested the leg that had failed me and realized that there was still no feeling or strength in it. Without a pause he simply picked me up off the floor and placed me back in bed (sweet man). He left once more to get a glass for the juice and pill as I massaged my leg. It got better quick, and no sooner had it begun to return to normal than my mouth warned me that I was going to heave again. I stood on my shaky leg and hurriedly passed Chris in the hall. Back in the bathroom. Back in bed. Took the pill and a day of sleep and more pills later, I am reasonably well.

That, my dear friends, has been my battle with pregnancy this week. I would like to say that I won, but I still can't tell.

A special note must be made (and if you are still reading, obviously length isn’t a problem for you) for Chris. By the time he had strangled the medication out of the pharmacy and put me back to bed he had intentionally missed the first bit of his only class that day. Fortunately he could afford to miss that one as it was a guest speaker. Then, as I finally caught the sleep I had missed through the night, Chris went about first wiping the counters and any other practical surface free of the nasty garlic/onion/sausage smell with strong soap. He then gathered up the mound of laundry surrounding the laundry bin and started it through the wash but not before he folded the obviously still fresh two towels back in their place in the bathroom. When I woke he insisted I eat the toast he had prepared for me. The guy is amazing and I am so lucky.


  1. yuck, yuck, yuck! I tell ya pregnant women are the best birth control around :-). I hope things start getting better soon. Please please please let me know if there is anything I can do for you!

  2. Wow. I don't know what to say. I want to give some encouragement, because I actually do remember experiences like this with Tamie's pregnancies. I remember the feelings of helplessness and desperation, great sorrow and pity. I remember being jealous for those who had easy pregnancies, and almost angry that they would never really know or understand what it's like to go through this kind of suffering for pregnancy. Anyway, I know it's probably hard to believe, but looking back the memory really does fade. And this really will pass... eventually. Hang in there. We're praying for you.

  3. Sarah--I'm not sure how you got me to laugh at such a horrible story. I feel for you. I'm worried about you. I'm glad you have medicine and Chris and a sense of humor. Waiting for it to be over is so hard. We'll wait and pray with you.