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16Aug 13

Double Hormones Double ‘Fun’!

LJ. The vomiting began very quickly. In fact, I knew I was pregnant because as soon as I missed a period, I felt queasy. And the sickness got worse as the pregnancy progressed. It was like being seasick, but you cannot get off the boat. The only time my partner ever had any sympathy for my relentless morning sickness – which I re-named All Day Sickness – was when he was reading a newspaper on the bus to the Sydney CBD. I’d told him it felt like being really, really car sick, all the time. And so, reading the sports section he began to feel ill. Then he told himself, ‘Oh, this is what she means.’ And so he stopped reading on the bus. Simple.

Luckily, or unluckily, I had been retrenched from my TV reporting job – you haven’t lived in the TV industry if you haven’t been retrenched at least once – because once the sickness set in, I could not work. I spent my days lying on the sofa in front of dreadful TV shows, The Young & the Restless, Days of our Lives, The Bold and the Beautiful (because Australian TV is totally saturated with American content which is why we are known as the 51st State.)Then, thank God, when the sun set, I could escape to Home & Away, the nation’s favourite soap. (Little did I know that my partner’s best friend was soon to score a full time gig on H & A and become a B-grade celebrity who could not walk 20 metres down the street without people whispering about him/wanting to touch him).

But, until then, every time I lifted my head from the pillow, I would throw up.  A Chinese friend, who was also pregnant with twins but, luckily for her, was not very ill, dropped in with some grated ginger. That did not work. I tried the wrist bands people use for air sickness. That did not work. I tried drinking copious amounts of hot water with ginger. That did not work. When my partner came home from work, he thought he was being kind by emptying my putrid bucket. He was only gone for 60 seconds as he emptied the contents into the nearby toilet, but I burst into tears and yelled, ‘Give me my bucket, NOW!!!” But by week 31, relief set in. I could sit up! I could walk outside! My sister held a baby shower for me! Bliss! But two weeks before my twins were born, All Day Sickness returned. At week 36, I was vomiting again. But I told myself, the joy of seeing my babies will be worth all this nausea, all this head-spinning, gut-churning splendour. And it was.

 

LJ's twins 'flying'

LJ’s twins ‘flying’

 

 

Kay: Too Hot to Handle

The UK is experiencing its longest spell of hot weather in seven years. I didn’t need the Met Office to tell me this, because the last time we had a decent summer was when I was pregnant with my twins, and they’re now six.

I knew I was pregnant, of course, but didn’t know I was expecting two. During my first pregnancy, I felt tip-top. In the first five months I ran, swam and did aerobics classes. But not this time. As the mercury hit 35 degrees in July I remember lying naked on top of the cotton duvet feeling extremely nauseous and not knowing what to do with myself. Everything made me feel sick. Walking. Talking. Moving. My sense of smell was so heightened that I swore I could detect every single ingredient in bread. I couldn’t go near the kitchen for fear I’d get a waft of cat food. If it wasn’t for my lovely husband, we would have all perished due to starvation.

And of course, the heat made everything worse. Aromas were condensed. Nausea compounded. We tried to go to the beach to make the heat more bearable, but everyone else had the same idea. After 90 minutes in a traffic jam on the motorway with jerky, lane-switching, stop-start driving in the heat with a bored toddler in the back, and I wanted to end it all. I made it to the coast by nibbling on muesli bars and sipping water.

I must have been unbearable to live with. I felt so miserable. No sleep. No food. No sense of humour. I thought I was being punished for even thinking about having another child in my late 30s. Week five of pregnancy number two and I was nearly a stone down (ironic that I’d gone on a diet and fitness drive just before conceiving, but lost more weight when pregnant than I did beforehand). The weight loss was just as well, really, as I was about to be carrying more weight than I could ever imagine…

Kay glammed up for a night out with twins 'inside'

Kay glammed up for a night out with twins ‘inside’

Tips to help with nausea:

Morning sickness is a complete misnomer. Not only can it strike any time of day or night, but you don’t actually have to puke to feel like death warmed up. Sometimes it’s just wave after wave of debilitating nausea. Tiredness, hunger, heat, thirst and motion all seem to make it worse. Here’s how we dealt with it:

 

*  Biscuits, crackers, toast. Carbs. The plainer the better. Keep them with you at all times. Just nibble a crumb, if you can’t manage anything else.

*  Water is your best friend. Stay hydrated. You can go days without eating, but not days without water.

*  Herbal teas. Especially mint or peppermint, really help settle a tummy that’s in turmoil.

*  Ginger. Some swear by it and drink gallons of ginger tea and get through cases of Ginger Nuts. I was once given it to help combat seasickness and couldn’t stomach even looking at the packet because of the connotations.

*  Boiled sweets, ice cubes, frozen grapes etc. Some people find having something to suck or crunch, really helps. A Fox’s Glacier Mint, did it for me.

*  Overcome the odours. Your sense of smell seems to become heightened during pregnancy, and even the most innocuous of aromas can send you running to the bathroom (nail varnish, fake tanning lotions, bread and cat food, for me). I carried a little bottle of Rescue Remedy and sprinkled it on to a cotton hankie and sniffed it regularly to help hide any noxious fumes.

*  Sleep. Get plenty of it. Sometimes, when you feel overwhelmingly pukey, there’s nothing for it, but to slip under the duvet, put your headphones in and try to imagine yourself somewhere blissful.

Finally, I found nausea sometimes came hand-in-hand with a headache. Loathe to take any pain relief, the combo of pain and nausea was sometimes hard to bear. Relief came from a little bottle: Origins Sensory Therapy (origins.co.uk) a little dab massaged on temples or rubbed into the back of the neck really helped. It has a light, spearminty fragrance, too – good for covering up an offending smells and warding off the urge to hurl.

 

 

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