As many of you know, I have had very severe hyperemesis gravidarum with my current pregnancy. In case you haven’t heard of it, hyperemesis or HG, is severe nausea and vomiting during pregnancy that leads to significant weight loss, dehydration and general misery. (If you would like to read more about it, please click here.)
Unfortunately, I am quite familiar with HG, as I had it for the entire 41 weeks of my pregnancy with my 2 year old son. So, you might say that I am a bit of an HG pro now. My HG prevents me from doing a lot of ordinary things, like cooking, going to stores and even opening my fridge, which makes my life is a bit more complicated. Since my symptoms show no signs of going away any time soon, I found that I had to figure out a way to deal with these every day hurdles. (Without hurling in the process.) This has lead to some rather strange new habits.
First, the hardest part of HG for me is that the food smells are overpowering. The smell of cooking is the worst, but just walking in front of a restaurant or opening a spice cupboard is enough to make me gag. In order to counteract the smells I have taken to using all kinds of tricks to block the smells. In my last pregnancy I used scarves often. Not only fashionable, but also good for holding up to my nose when I walk by an A&W on the way to my Obstetrician.
In the summer I have used the following: a handful of clean bibs, kleenex stuffed up my nose, odour reducing masks from Home Depot, swimmers nose plugs and my hairbands wrapped around my nose like a bandit. Don’t have any of this stuff? No problem! Just take off your sweater, roll it up a bit and wrap it around your nose. Ta-da! Instant smell blocker. (And don’t I look cool too?)
You will also notice that I now stop to take a deep breath before entering a new building or room. This makes me look lost and somewhat frightened all the time, but really I am just adjusting to the smells. You’d be surprised how many smells change between even adjoining rooms. Before I would just walk confidently from room to room, but now I have to stop, breathe deeply, push on my motion sickness bands, and give myself a pep-talk. It takes forever. I’m always late.
Finally, I have always enjoyed food and have never considered myself to be very picky. I love trying new things…normally. My HG does NOT like new things. Actually, it does not like most things. My HG has taken my culinary tastes back several decades. I am now that annoying person who has to know exactly what is in the food, the spice level and whether it contains any of my current food triggers. (Spoiler: Everything is a trigger. I basically survive on peaches and muffins.)
Normally, if I had a craving I could just make it myself. Now, I need to describe it in great detail to my poor husband, who then takes a crack at making it, while cursing me under his breath. How do I repay this work? Most of the time, I immediately barf. Without saying anything, he just picks up my plate, and retreats to the kitchen. If that isn’t true love, I don’t know what is.
Luckily I am on several strong anti-nauseants, which make me much more functional than the first few months. Now, only 6 months to go. Bring on scarf season!