How do I regain control when I feel like my body is failing me?
December 13, 2017 3:50 PM   Subscribe

I am 11 weeks pregnant and I feel like absolute shit. I need to deal with the nausea and exhaustion without loosing my fucking mind because I am close.

- I am sleeping a TON. The hours are wonky due to work schedule but I’m averaging 12 hours a day including naps, and if I add in time on the couch it’s more like... 20. I am a putterer by nature and it is driving me insane that after, like, grocery shopping I need a nap to recover. I feel so inadequate.
- My husband is picking up all my old chores with minimal complaint and is generally supportive, but I feel guilty because he is putting in 60 hour weeks at his job and then having to come home
and deal with the dogs and cleaning. Also I have thrown up on his penis while giving him a blow job, and on his face while having sex and he is just a saint while I feel like a leper.
- And I just feel like shit in general. I am constantly nauseous and I have tried fucking everything- phenergan, Reglan, Diclegis, compazine, zofran, IV Suppository sublingual oral blah blah blah. I’ve found a routine where I am not actively vomiting and I can hold down food and water BUT I feel on the verge of hurling 24/7. I was in the ER for dehydration a couple weeks ago and the nurse suggested preggo pops and I wanted to cry. I feel like people have no fucking clue that hyperemesis is not regular morning sickness. It’s really really wearing to be nauseous all the time but I didn’t realize how alienating it is too.

I feel like my body is betraying me. I’m so happy to have this little baby but I feel like my body is being held hostage, all of my energy and wellness is being sucked out of me and I am being driven to madness. I am on Zoloft and Wellbutrin and I kiss the ground every day for their existence.

Please I need some guiding words or something I can do to make me feel like I am in control of my life again.
posted by pintapicasso to Health & Fitness (30 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: From one pregnant lady to another, I'm sending you lots of good vibes! It sounds like you definitely have it worse than most, but I will say it should get better as your pregnancy goes along. My morning sickness AND fatigue got substantially better once I hit 13 weeks or so, and I think it is pretty common for the second trimester to be a big improvement over the first trimester. Although I did not have hyperemesis, a good friend of mine did -- and while she never felt 100% even later in pregnancy, things did improve and the nausea wasn't so bad for the entire pregnancy. During the worst, she got a pump with anti-nausea medication so she was getting it in her system 24-hours a day -- if things are really unbearable, you could see if your doctor might recommend that in your case.

I also feel you on guilt over your partner picking up a lot of the slack. It sounds like I was nowhere near as sick as you, and yet still was completely unable to accomplish anything around the house during the first trimester. And it does not feel good, even when logically you know that you are GROWING A PERSON and literally cannot physically do everything you used to! As much as possible, I would try to focus on that -- you are doing a really important job here that your husband literally (biologically!) cannot do, at substantial physical and emotional cost to yourself, and it's okay for your partner to do some extra stuff around the house. You're not just slacking and sitting around watching TV (even if it feels like that is all that gets done some days). I have a hard time getting this perspective sometimes but do try to remind myself of it when I get down on myself!

Finally, I just try to remind myself that pregnancy is not forever. Unless you plan on becoming Michelle Duggar (which most of us do not!), this is not going to drag out for the rest of your life. Maybe there are some people out there who just love being pregnant and it's a totally magical time, but for many of us pregnancy pretty much sucks with some cool moments mixed in (first kicks! hearing the heartbeat! etc.). But it's also time-limited and at the end you get a baby. For me, it can help to focus on the fact that this luckily is not a life-time condition that I'll be stuck with forever.
posted by rainbowbrite at 4:11 PM on December 13, 2017 [15 favorites]

Best answer: My husband is picking up all my old chores with minimal complaint and is generally supportive, but I feel guilty because he is putting in 60 hour weeks at his job and then having to come home
and deal with the dogs and cleaning.

What you are doing is work, too. Damn hard work, as your body is telling you. Keep reminding yourself of that. If you could switch off gestating and taking the garbage out, that'd be great!

This time next year, all the guests will be checked out of your body, and you'll have some more choices about division of labor. For now, "do what you gotta do" and "this, too, shall pass" can be helpful phrases.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 4:12 PM on December 13, 2017 [11 favorites]

Best answer: I was you 16 years ago. I think you are a saint for even trying a blowjob or other sex, if that helps.

The bad news is that you are doing everything right. And it might or might not get better during your pregnancy. And people are going to keep driving you nuts saying clueless things like, "You know what helped me when I was pregnant? If I ate a couple of saltines before I got out of bed in the morning," or "Have you tried ginger ale?" They really do not have any idea that what you're experiencing is a whole different thing from what they've experienced. The worst part of my pregnancy, psychologically, was the beginning of the second trimester, when it became clear that everyone's cheerful assurances that "things would get better after twelve weeks" didn't apply to me. Things didn't improve for me until the baby was born, but they improved the moment the baby was born. Still, they might well improve for you. It's unpredictable.

You might find an online community helpful. Back in my baby-having day, the boards at BabyCenter were really active, and the hyperemesis boards were sometimes useful to me, just to know that there actually were people who really got what it was like.

It was very hard for me to let go of the work around the house I had normally done, and to accept that it was going to get done to someone else's standards, if it got done at all (my partner was terrific, but, like yours, he was working full-time as well as taking care of me). I was a grad student and it distressed me to know I was doing work that was significantly weaker than I was normally capable of.

When I was distressed about the things I hadn't been able to do, or the food I hadn't been able to eat (or had eaten and the horked right up again), my partner would say to me, "You've been very busy growing our baby." It didn't help a ton, but it was the right thing to say, and it might help to remind yourself of that. You're doing this really intense thing that is seriously sucking up all your body's reserves, and it's a really important thing. Even if you're sleeping 20 hours a day, that's what your body and your baby are needing.

The thing I can tell you is that it ends. It sucks, it's miserable, you lose a lot, you reach the point where you are ready to commit a totally justifiable homicide against the next person who tells you how much seasickness wristbands helped when she was pregnant. But it will end, and as time passes, this crappy ten months will recede to being a smaller and smaller part of your life.
posted by Orlop at 4:21 PM on December 13, 2017 [13 favorites]

Best answer: Hyperemesis fucking sucks. I'm so sorry you're going through this! I had HG with my first pregnancy, and, yeah, there's just no way to describe the level of misery you feel physically, combined with the isolation from sitting, doing nothing, while the world passes you by. Also, fuck the people saying "have you tried ginger tea?".

Your guiding words are "This will not last forever. This has an end date, and it is [due date]. Things might get better sooner than that too."

I'm not going to lie, you may not feel much better in the second or third tri. I did, somewhat, but hey, we also went on a Hawaii babymoon in the middle of the second tri, when you're supposed to feel your best, and, well, I changed the location where I was throwing up (on the top of a volcano at dawn! how exotic!) and napping (on the beach! how warm!), and that was about it.

One day at a time. Just one day at a time, and you get an awesome baby prize at the end. Your job is to grow that baby, and that's a job you're working at (and suffering at) 24/7. Anything else you do on top of that is gravy. Think about what people say when you've got serious food poisoning or a really bad stomach bug - everyone says "YOU POOR THING!! STAY HOME AND REST AND DON'T DO ANYTHING ELSE!!!" That's you, except you've had that stomach bug (and fatigue) for, what 10 weeks now? Society really papers over how fucking horrible HG is, and that adds to the misery and isolation. I'm sorry.

I'm at the start of my second pregnancy (9 weeks), and it's not nearly as bad as it was the first go around (although it's still somewhat bad). So don't torture yourself with thoughts that you're in for 10 months of misery for every kid you want - it might happen, and it might not. Just take one day at a time and one pregnancy at a time. This is one period of your life, and it's going to be tough, but you can get through it. Day by day. You've got this.
posted by Jaclyn at 4:32 PM on December 13, 2017 [7 favorites]

You're almost through the worst part! The first 3 months can be hell, but after that things usually settle down. For real.

Fair warning: The first three months after the baby is born are usually hell, too - because you most likely won't be getting any sleep. But that, too, only lasts about 90 days or so.
posted by MexicanYenta at 5:35 PM on December 13, 2017

Best answer: Check out the Sick Kids site on 'morning sickness' (ha! what a terrible name for it.). It has some suggestions on progressive therapies. There are effective and safe treatments, but sometimes providers just don't get aggressive enough. It sucks deeply to be sick like that!

Motherisk algorithm for nausea in pregnancy

I hope you feel better soon!
posted by Northbysomewhatcrazy at 5:51 PM on December 13, 2017

Best answer: I also had hyperemesis with my pregnancy. And being told to try lemon candy made me angry. I spent a lot of time on the website, run by sick kids hospital in Toronto. It has nurses answering questions about nausea. For me, the maximum dosage of 4 diclectin per day had me throwing up no more than a few times per day, but it improved until I only needed one pill per day. I did get IV nausea meds while I was in labour, so might never go away. Good luck!
posted by Valancy Rachel at 5:54 PM on December 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: For some women being pregnant really sucks. I was nauseous for my entire pregnancy so I totally get how frustrating it is. The only way I stayed sane was embracing the mantra, “this is only temporary.” It will end and you will get a sweet prize at the end.

Are you able to get disability leave from work? I went on leave around 9 weeks, went back briefly at around 16 weeks and then was out until the end. Short term disability kicked in and covered 60% of my pay. Depending on your work situation you might consider something like that.

After I was in wave I was still sick and miserable but I at least didn’t feel like I was letting everyone down constantly. With the energy I did have I was able to at least do my typical home workload.

Depending on how bad your nausea gets and what you are able to keep down you might be a candidate for a PICC line. It’s an IV that you can leave in and give yourself fluids at home. With my second pregnancy I was sicker and more miserable and had a kid to take care of so I got a PICC line around 14 weeks and have myself a liter of fluid everyday. It’s not a decision to make lightly but it helped keep me from losing my sanity. Instead of spending 6-8 hours at the ER every 3-4 days I was able to stay hydrated at home. Took about an hour a day to run in the liter of fluid.

What type of provider are you seeing for ore-natal care? In my experience the doctors at a teaching facility were great and took me seriously. The midwives tended to be more into the woo and preggo pops.
posted by MadMadam at 5:56 PM on December 13, 2017 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I'm 31 weeks and had hyperemesis from week 5 - week 19, vomiting up to 30x per day at the height of it, which I think was around 13/14 weeks. I took all the meds too, nothing was really effective. It is the absolute worst thing that has ever happened to me. I prayed for death and I mean that in the most literal way possible. Sleep is now your only friend because it's the only time you aren't suffering. It is so demoralizing and depressing, I could have written your entire post.

I am here to tell you that even though you feel like you have a terminal illness, it does get better eventually. I won't lie and say you're going to feel great, because I'm still nauseated often (though have only vomited once in like a month) and have lots of other super fun symptoms now, but this time of feeling like your body is betraying you and like you have a murderous parasite will end.

Having a place I could freely bitch about everything was helpful in the times when I could lift my head out of the toilet - I recommend finding the subreddit for your due date month (which you can find through r/babybumps) and then joining the Facebook group someone will have inevitably made. I also out of necessity let EVERYTHING go except the most basic hygiene. I did not wear makeup or wash a dish or cook a meal or have sex with my husband for 3 months, because I just. fucking. couldn't. I modified my work schedule for about 6 weeks when I couldn't keep it together anymore, and if I worked for a company with medical leave I DEFINITELY would have taken it.

Another horrible thing, most people do not understand hyperemesis and want to either brag to you about how they were never sick during pregnancy OR they want to suggest stupid shit like sea bands and ginger candy (like you haven't read the entire internet searching for ANYTHING to make you feel better.) These people are evil and should be avoided. I was lucky because my mom also had hyperemesis and didn't act like I was somehow bad at pregnancy because I was so violently ill.

It sounds like your husband is really stepping up which is SO great - mine fell apart completely, so at least you have that going for you!

And finally, just because you hate being pregnant doesn't mean you hate your baby. You LOVE your baby, obviously, because you would NEVER suffer like this for anyone else. You get the best possible prize at the end of this, and every day you tick off is one more day you never have to experience pregnant again (if you so choose.) For me, counting the days I had been pregnant made me feel slightly better, because I could feel proud that I had survived 100 days of pregnancy or whatever. Now I only have 67 days left of pregnancy, and I NEVER HAVE TO DO THIS AGAIN. You will get there soon! Feel free to memail me whenever you need to vent.
posted by tatiana wishbone at 6:16 PM on December 13, 2017 [10 favorites]

Best answer: If you or anyone else reading would like, memail me to join us at the MeFite pregnancy / parenting Facebook group! We are a couple hundred strong now and a good number of us are pregnant and happy to be supportive of each other through this phase.
posted by sestaaak at 6:54 PM on December 13, 2017 [6 favorites]

Best answer: I am so pleased for you! Your question about loss moved me and I’m glad to see you posting this. I never had HG but I was on bedrest for nearly 4 months with my first - I was even prohibited from reclining exercise so that the baby would get all of the nutrients and oxygen in my blood. I was a blob on the couch, my soul purpose as an incubator. It bit. What helped me was an end date and keeping my eye on the prize. I kept counting down the weeks of how long she had stayed on the inside and how many more weeks I wanted her to stay on the inside.

I hope that the second trimester eases your symptoms. Again, so happy for you!
posted by PorcineWithMe at 7:40 PM on December 13, 2017

Best answer: I too understand your suffering - that was me 41 years ago. My doctor prescribed Bendectin, the pregnancy nausea drug of the time. When I took the bendectin I might not be horribly nauseous the moment I woke up. I never could have actually worked at a job.

No one ever mentioned "hyperemesis" and there was no such thing as the internet or cell phones and everybody was all, "it will get better soon". I was isolated at home alone, no one really to talk to. Even a phone call could be really expensive since my family mostly lived outside our "Local calling area". Not a single person I knew had ever had the kind of nausea and vomiting I went through.

There were times when I couldn't keep water down, or suck on ice chips much less ginger ale. I vomited so violently on several occasions that I burst blood vessels in my eyes. My OB/GYN told me not to let the vomiting go on for more than twelve hours because of dehydration. Easier said than done - I lived in Santa Rosa, the doctors' office was 40 miles away in San Rafael, and I had to go to San Francisco to have the baby. Calling the nurse help line or the doctor's office was frustrating because if my doctor wasn't available, it was difficult to convince the doctor on call that I really was that sick. Even then, the only thing they could prescribe was compazine, which gave only minimal relief. I didn't gain much weight until my seventh month. Finally I was able to eat eggnog and doughnuts, sometimes. I couldn't be in the same room with eggs or chicken cooking.

I did survive and had my wonderful daughter, who is another MeFite. My delivery was difficult and my doctor told me I probably ought not have another baby, that I wasn't cut out for being pregnant. And so I only ever had the one.

It will eventually get better. Maybe not until you have your baby. My daughter is far and away the best part of my life and I have often felt as if having her is my purpose in life. I've mostly been single since she was two and needing to take care of her was more than once the reason I put one foot in front of the other and kept going.

Be glad of having Metafilter and mefites. Imagine what it would have been like with no one else who could commiserate even if they can't help. I am sure you will get through this and have a little one you will love more than you can imagine.
posted by Altomentis at 9:15 PM on December 13, 2017 [7 favorites]

I worked at a hospital as a diet tech for quite a while. I ran across a patient who wentnl from having a tube feeding only, to a large fruit and cottage cheese. So I checked it out and the patient was allergic to pregnancy, and had a miller-fredrick tube put in for the entire pregnancy. She did the whole thing again, a few years later. The moment, and I mean the moment she was delivered, she could eat again. This is available if you have to have it. Make sure your iron levels are good. Best to you. Get better.
posted by Oyéah at 9:48 PM on December 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Oh I hated being pregnant so, so much. A new member of staff joined my team just as I stated getting really sick at 5 weeks and after I had the baby she said she didn't recognise me with a happy face! I feel like pregnancy stole 8 months of my life. Recently I had a stomach bug and was nauseous for 4 days and I actually started getting panic attacks about being pregnant because it brought it all back.

But let me reassure you that it does have an end date. I had the baby and after politely telling the midwife ask through labour that I couldn't drink water because it made me sick, I bounced out of bed, had a delightful shower and then I downed a pint of water and ate croissants. And I cried because I could eat again.
posted by kadia_a at 12:07 AM on December 14, 2017

Best answer: Pregnancy can be profoundly isolating. Real experiences of pregnancy are not very visible in our culture: think about how in movies and TV pregnancy is usually played for laughs. The lived experience of pregnancy is mostly invisible.

In the first trimester of pregnancy you increase your blood volume by 50%. The increased metabolic demand on your body - the amount of extra oxygen you need - is roughly equivalent to living at sea level and suddenly being transported to 12,000 feet. Physiologically it's a HUGE change. It kicks your ass and makes you exhausted. That's what is supposed to happen: your body is doing what it has to do to support your baby. I felt like my body was taken over by an alien, because IT WAS taken over by an alien. It's weird. It's unsettling.

And everything I've written so far is just for uncomplicated pregnancy. Hyperemesis is a major, major deal. Sadly, pregnant women are infantilized and not taken seriously, so even life-threatening complications like hyperemesis are treated like you're a three year old with a scraped knee. "Oh, do you have a boo boo? How about a lemon drop to make it all better?" Fuck that. You have my official permission to be honest with these assholes. "I have hyperemesis and I vomit 30 times a day. What makes you think lemon drops are a good treatment when my doctors can't find a way to treat this?"

What you're doing is hard and huge and heroic. Everyone acts like it's not a big deal because of misogyny. You need to be gentle with yourself because you are growing a person in your abdomen.
posted by medusa at 12:27 AM on December 14, 2017 [8 favorites]

Best answer: So, so many sympathies. This was my question four years ago and I still remember very vividly how bleak and miserable I felt.

When I reread that now the thing that surprises me most is just how much I was trying to do even though it felt like I was barely scraping by. What I would have done differently in that situation, what I will do if in that situation again in future, and what I would recommend to you: do less. Do less of everything. Even when you feel like "I am so useless, I'm barely scraping by with the bare minimum", rest and rest and delegate and defer and do even less than that. Husband does all the chores? Fine. Not up to sex, today or this week or for the duration of the pregnancy? Fine. Need a nap after grocery shopping? Take the nap. Take another nap. Consider dropping the grocery shopping altogether or doing it online. You are seriously ill. It won't last forever, but you need to cut yourself a break right now.

Also I got counselling from an organisation near me that specialises in perinatal depression. The psychological side of hyperemesis doesn't often get much attention, but it ended up pretty huge for me and I really needed some help getting past the immediate bleak despair and loneliness of it.

It didn't go away for me until after the baby was born, but it did go through waves of being more manageable, with a combination of routine/medication changes and counselling. (And in retrospect I would then feel a bit better and so try to do more and so it would get worse again, so: watch out for that.) I did not end up resenting my baby as I feared I would, and I didn't even punch anyone for suggesting ginger, close though it came at times. And weirdly I would say that the first newborn months that everyone fears were absolutely blissful for me compared to what a lot of my healthy-pregnancy friends went through, because my basis for comparison was hyperemesis so once the sickness went I was walking on air.

I can't say that yours will go tomorrow but it will go. There is an end point. Every second of this hell is getting you one second closer to that. And you are doing so supremely well. You should not be comparing yourself to other pregnant women you know or to your vision of what your pregnancy would be like (and I know this is hard and painful to give up, it's one of the things counselling helped me with). You are going through something that is physically and psychologically horrendous, and you are still dragging yourself through it. Your healthy future self is going to look back on this and be in awe of you.

(also, while I think you should toss most healthy-pregnancy "eat your vegetables, woman!" advice out of the window with glee, don't skip dental appointments if you possibly possibly can. Hyperemesis can really mess up your teeth and I wish I'd been on that one earlier.)
posted by Catseye at 3:29 AM on December 14, 2017 [6 favorites]

Best answer: Note: HG often improves after 20 weeks but may not, so telling the OP she is almost through the first trimester is not helpful.

I feel like my body is being held hostage, all of my energy and wellness is being sucked out of me and I am being driven to madness.

All of those things are true, except the last one, which is also the only one over which you have any control. You have a chronic illness and you need to accept that reality. Happily, it does have an end date but that's pretty distant, so to avoid going insane, you must make profound adjustments to your expectations for yourself.

I'm sorry your husband is working 60 hours a week. You are growing another human for 168 hours a week, at a tangle cost to yourself, paid for in vomit. Lifeboat the essentials. Can you get groceries delivered, can you hire a cleaner, can you send out the laundry, do you have friends who can give you time and help?
posted by DarlingBri at 4:17 AM on December 14, 2017 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I've never been pregnant, but I do want to address this point:

Also I have thrown up on his penis while giving him a blow job, and on his face while having sex and he is just a saint while I feel like a leper

Try not to feel like a leper! I know it feels totally unsexy and gross to vomit during sex, but try to remember that you aren't vomiting on him for, like, the sake of it. You're doing it because your body is making you feel like crap (because you're literally growing a human!) and even so, you're still trying to engage in intimate activity with your partner. That's not gross.
posted by schroedingersgirl at 7:32 AM on December 14, 2017

Best answer: I feel you so much on this. I don’t have it as extreme as you, but I’ve been feeling much worse than pretty much anyone else I know who is a) currently pregnant or, b) ever was pregnant. I’m sick and tired of being told to try preggo pops or ginger tea - that shit does not work. I’m 14 weeks, nearly 15 weeks, and still feel nauseous every second of every day, vomiting, exhausted, and have pretty bad brain fog. I feel like my body has been taken hostage by this fetus and every day I am angry and depressed about it. So I guess I’m saying, you are not alone, and you are going through something fucking terrible. And society never really talks about how pregnancy can be for a lot of us, which is fucking awful. I hate being pregnant. I fucking hate it so much. And everyone keeps telling me that “oh sweetie, it’ll be better soon! You’re in your second tri how exciting!” and it takes everything inside me to just not respond with something like shut the fuck up you assholes!!!! My husband is also picking up so much slack and he’s doing it without complaint and being generally awesome, but I also feel terribly guilty and useless.

The only thing that is getting me through the day to day is to keep telling myself that this is temporary. I also try to sleep a lot because when I’m sleeping I’m not suffering.

Feel free to memail me if you want to chat. Hugs.
posted by FireFountain at 8:15 AM on December 14, 2017 [2 favorites]

I don't know jack about pregnancy, but I'm with the folks who're saying to think of this like a chronic illness (which I do know jack about). Maybe look at resources intended for people to cope with the psych effects of chronic illness. Your body's been hijacked. For all that you chose pregnancy, you sure didn't choose THIS. You have every right to feel angry and depressed and hate everything. You can only do what you can do and that's fine. I hope it gets better for you soon!
posted by dust.wind.dude at 8:29 AM on December 14, 2017 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Oh my goodness thank you everyone. It was SO helpful to read your stories and it made me realize how hidden hyperemesis, and difficult pregnancies in general are from our narrative of pregnancy. THANK YOU thank you for helping me.
posted by pintapicasso at 10:03 AM on December 14, 2017 [6 favorites]

Best answer: My best friend had hyperemisis. Drugs helped slightly, but overall pregnancy wasn't a fun or productive time for her. But she said 10 minutes after the kid was out of her she was blissfully hungry and no longer nauseous. Now she's a high-functioning mom with a truly delightful toddler. It does get better.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 10:18 AM on December 14, 2017

Sleeping a lot and not being able to keep up with stuff you did pre-pregnancy are normal in the first trimester of pregnancy.

Is your husband enjoying sex if there’s vomit potentially involved? I’m presuming you’re not. Talk to him about it- if nobody’s enjoying it, don’t do it.

I didn’t have hyperemesis, but I did have a fair bit of nausea and vomiting in my pregnancies, especially my first one. I was puking in a stall in a public restroom once toward the end of my first trimester, and someone else came in, heard me, and asked if I was ok. I had to reassure her that I was okay and not contagious.

I got some 32 ounce disposable cups from a party/restaurant supply store, and kept one around me at all times. That way, at least I always had something handy to catch the vomit, and cleanup was minimized, since I could just chuck the cup in a trash can.

Oh, and if anyone (other than your doctor) says anything negative about taking medication for mental issues during pregnancy, throw up on them. And ignore that and anything else they have to say.
posted by Anne Neville at 10:46 AM on December 14, 2017 [1 favorite]

I once had to pull over and vomit in the bushes next to the parking lot of a car dealership. Fortunately, the dealership was closed and nobody was around. That dealership has since closed permanently, and now it’s a beer distributor. Husband and I say the smell from the bushes must have inspired this change.
posted by Anne Neville at 10:53 AM on December 14, 2017

Hey congrats on your pregnancy! I am 16 weeks pregnant and I may not be as sick as you but it's definitely been bad enough to make me completely miserable and to put all non-essential aspects of my life on hold.

I tried to cut back on the vitamin B6 and Unisom (OTC version of Diclegis which used to be called Bendectin) that I've been taking, now that I'm in the supposedly magical second trimester, but I immediately went back to puking a few times a day. The nausea is oppressive and it wears you down after awhile; to me, the physical act of puking is unpleasant but the feeling of constantly being on the edge of puking is ten times worse. I'm very lucky that Zofran works for me, and on the worst days it's a huge comfort that I can take one and be somewhat functional at work for a few hours.

Reddit has some subreddits specific to monthly due date groups, as well as I mostly lurk, but it's been a comfort to read all the different perspectives of people who are as sick and unhappy as I am.

It's OK to hate being pregnant. Cultural messages build it up as such a magical, joyful time, but in reality it's so miserable and isolating, it fucking sucks. You can give yourself permission to hate it. You'll still an amazing parent and your kid will be awesome. It's OK to live in "survival mode" for as long as you need to. This thing has an endpoint. There is a finish line ahead.

Hugs, memail me if you want to chat. I feel for you and I wish I had something helpful to offer besides solidarity.
posted by beandip at 11:26 AM on December 14, 2017 [3 favorites]

I never had HE, although I had a friend that did, but I sympathize with the feeling that every frickin' part of your body is in some way punishing you. I mean, it's amazing that we got this far with this much biology against us!

Anyway, if you need more distraction and/or small increments of other things to look forward to, I blogged my 9 months of grumps, which made me feel better:

Now What?!

I hope it gets better, but for sure it gets different! and the same holds for parenting, so you'll probably be prepared to handle the worst thrown at you for a long time!
posted by acm at 11:36 AM on December 14, 2017 [2 favorites]

I feel like this, from Catseye's excellent answer above, bears repeating:

Even when you feel like "I am so useless, I'm barely scraping by with the bare minimum", rest and rest and delegate and defer and do even less than that. Husband does all the chores? Fine. Not up to sex, today or this week or for the duration of the pregnancy? Fine. Need a nap after grocery shopping? Take the nap. Take another nap. Consider dropping the grocery shopping altogether or doing it online. You are seriously ill. It won't last forever, but you need to cut yourself a break right now.

You're a nurse, right? You know exactly what I mean by this: Don't be a nurse right now. Be a patient.

Also, one of the anesthesia docs at my current job told me something recently that I'd never heard before in eleven years of nursing: the smell of alcohol prep pads can improve nausea. I totally didn't believe her until I saw it work a bunch of times (though I grant you none of the reasons for the nausea were hyperemesis; it was stuff like hypotension or vagal stimulation). She ripped a few open and put them right under the pt's nose and had them breathe normally.
posted by jesourie at 5:25 PM on December 14, 2017 [2 favorites]

Would it *help* if you could change your perspective? Instead of thinking of an ideal day and then counting how many things you failed to do, could you think of the default day as *zero* and then celebrate everything you do accomplish? Got out of bed today? Yay!! Took a shower? Good job!!! Went to the grocery store? What a badass!! You rock! Don't count these or compare to yesterday or compare to your healthy self, just celebrate one thing at a time.

** of course it won't help you feel physically better, but maybe if you can remove some of the guilt it would lighten your burden.
posted by CathyG at 7:35 AM on December 15, 2017

Response by poster: I wanted to post an update. I have reread this thread SO MANY TIMES.

I started feeling better at around 20 weeks and stopped needing the nausea meds around 24 weeks. I’m 31 weeks now and I still throw up about once a week but am feeling so much better. I haven’t gained much weight but my doctor is okay with that.

Here are some things that helped:
- hiring a dog walker so that I could spend more time horizontal.
- just giving in and sleeping whenever I could, even if that meant ruining my night’s sleep later on. The commenter that said sleep was my only friend was 100% right.
- letting my husband fend for himself in terms of laundry, grocery shopping, etc.
- giving up all but basic hygiene. I showered a few times a week and washed my hands a lot. Used mouth wash when I could tolerate it. That’s it.

Thank you so much for your solidarity and advice.
posted by pintapicasso at 10:34 AM on May 5, 2018 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Glad to see this update! I commented above and now have an 11 week old. Every night when I lay down to sleep I thank the universe that IM NOT FUCKING PREGNANT ANYMORE. It is the best feeling in the world. Also, the baby is cool too.
posted by tatiana wishbone at 10:42 AM on May 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

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