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Posted on Jun 22, 2013 in Fertility, Parenting | 10 comments

Ten Things Not to Say to a Pregnant Woman with “Morning Sickness”

Ten Things Not to Say to a Pregnant Woman with “Morning Sickness”

DSC_0019 CROPPregnancy.  Ugh.  I’ve decided that the women who say they feel great and actually like being pregnant are lying.

Okay, so maybe they aren’t exactly lying, but they aren’t actually telling the truth.  Could they be?  Nah.  Pregnancy, as beautiful as the outcome may be, is not what I would ever call “fun.”

No, I’m not trying to announce that I’m pregnant. I just had a little trip down memory lane and thought that in my non-preggo, non-sicko state, I’d make a list to help you out when you encounter other women with that glow. And for the record, “morning sickness” is the most under-descriptive name for the all-encompassing, 24-hour, flu-like state of many pregnancies.

1. You should try ________ (fill in the blank – saltines, ginger, peppermint, etc.).
Do you want to know how bad those things taste coming back up?
Get me a trash can!

2. You just need a little fresh air. Go for a walk!
I puke when I walk to the bathroom and you expect me to make it outside and down the road?
Get me a trash can!

3. Everyone gets it. Suck it up.
Oh, that makes it so much better…
Get me a trash can!

4. I can’t believe you’re sleeping again.
I just grew a pinky finger in my womb. What did you do today?
Get me a trash can!

5. You think you’re sick now, just wait until labor and delivery! (Snort.) Let me tell you my horror story…
Thanks. Now I’m not just sick, I’m terrified.
Get me a trash can!

6. If you were busy enough, you wouldn’t have time to be sick.
Are you freaking kidding me?
Get me a trash can!

7. Do you want to have sex tonight?
Do you want to clean puke up off your face?
Get me a trash can!

8. I don’t smell anything. You’re imagining it.
How can you not smell that? It’s awful.
Oops! The trash can wasn’t close by enough. Sorry about the floor.

9. Why do you need a trash can? Just puke in the toilet.
Yes, because in my extremely nauseous, motion-sick, hyper-sensitive to smell state, I want to stick my face in the pot where we poo.
GET ME A TRASH CAN!

10. I don’t feel like going out to get the food you’re craving right now. You’ll just puke it up anyway.
If I can’t have [pickled bananas] right now, I’m going to claw your eyes out.
And yes, after eating the crazy food I requested, get me a trash can, please…

And now, for some encouragement on what you could say to a pregnant woman with “morning sickness” to help her through it.

• Tell me about what you’re looking forward to most when your baby is born. (Then remind her of that when she’s feeling the sickest.)

• Is there anything I can do for you? Clean? Cook? Get your groceries? Get you a cool cloth? Turn the heat/AC up or down?

• Your shoulders are probably aching from the constant strain of vomiting. Can I rub them for you?

• I see that it must be difficult to reach your feet these days. Would you like me to paint your toenails?

• How do you feel about epidurals? Isn’t it nice to think that after all this sickness, you won’t have to feel a thing when you deliver this baby?

• Here are some boxes of baking soda to absorb odors. Where all should I put them in your house?

To all of you who are going through this difficulty right now, my heart goes out to you.  Remember, there will come a day when you have a sweet reward.  What got me through some of the worst of it was imagining little baby toes, little baby fingers, a little baby nose, and the joy of it all sometimes helped me to smile through the nausea and exhaustion and discomfort.  It won’t last forever.  One day soon(ish), you’ll be rewarded with big smiles, adoring eyes, and chubby little arms wrapped around you tight.  Then, if you’re anything like me, you’ll wonder how quickly you can do it all again.

What dumb things did people say to you when you were pregnant?  And what brilliant things did they do to help?

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Posted on Oct 9, 2012 in Devotional, Fertility | 6 comments

Without Complaint

An old friend of mine from high school recently posted something on Facebook that stopped me cold in my tracks.  We are the same age and are both pregnant for the first time, both wanting so much to be mothers, both concerned that we had waited too long to be able to carry a child in our wombs.  She commented that even though she was experiencing some difficulties in the process, she was trying to do all things without complaint (Phil 2:14).  Um.  Uh.  Really????

Shoot.  Before I got pregnant, that was my solemn vow.  I was going to be the most cheerful pregnant woman you ever met, looking up from the barf bucket with a smile on my face, just so happy to be carrying a child in my womb.  I was going to make a joyful noise to the Lord every day, no matter what the day brought, so thankful to finally get to be a mother.  But then the terrible, awful sickness began; and with the sickness, my resolve to be cheerful and grateful disappeared.

I became someone entirely other than myself – a whiny, complaining, crying, screaming, lethargic, puddle of tears.  I didn’t want to see anyone, talk on the phone, read my Bible, or pray anything other than – “Help!  Please heal me God.”  When God didn’t answer that prayer, I didn’t want to talk to Him any more either.  And the worst of it is that according to C.S. Lewis, I wasn’t actually turning into someone other than myself.  Who I was during that time was the truest me that exists – the one that cannot hide behind good manners and social graces, but has been reduced to the rawest form of herself.  That was ME, even if it was me on serious pregnancy hormones.  Everything else is just a better presentation of ME to the world.  Ugh.  I can’t say that I’m a big fan of ME.

Thankfully, the constant vomiting is now under control.  There are other super-fun symptoms to deal with, but they are nothing compared to that misery.  In spite of feeling better, I got into a bad habit of complaining and I allowed it to continue.  I was experiencing very little joy in the pregnancy and a lot of fear and self-pity.

When I read my friend’s words, I was immediately convicted.  No, I don’t think she’s been through what I went through in those first five months, but the Bible doesn’t offer a side-bar to excuse those of us who experience extra suffering.  It just says to do ALL things without grumbling or complaining.  That particular Scripture is taken out of context for this point, but the whole of Scripture and the life of Christ point to this example of godliness.  We are to look to the cross, remember the pain our Lord suffered for us, and walk as examples of Him in this world.  We are to take up our cross and follow Him.  Just because I’ve committed my life to Christ, gone to seminary, become an ordained pastor, or made sacrifices to be obedient doesn’t exempt me from the troubles of this world.  Genetics are genetics (thanks, Mom).  And obviously God has something to teach me through this experience or else He would have healed me.  I have faith and believe that with Him all things are possible.  I believe that He could utter a single word and I would have no more illness or suffering.  I wish He would.  But that is not the path He is giving me to walk right now and I have a choice to make.  Will I continue to grumble and complain or will I do all things without grumbling or complaining?

I believe there’s a fine line there.  God doesn’t ask us to lie and say that everything’s fine when it isn’t.  When I was a nanny, I had a rule that I didn’t hear the children when they spoke to me in a whiny tone of voice.  They would whine and whine and receive none of my attention.  But when they stated the problem in a normal, matter-of-fact tone of voice, I immediately stopped what I was doing and helped them.  I didn’t ask the children to ignore a problem, but just to approach it without whining.  In the same way, I believe God allows us the freedom to state our difficulties matter-of-factly.  In that way, others can pray for us, help us along if needed, and understand why we aren’t full of energy or strength.  To do so without grumbling or complaining is the key.

For the last two days I’ve gone over and over what that means for me.  I talked to my husband about it.  I shared it with my Sunday school class.  And now I’m sharing it with you.  I want to spend the next eleven weeks or so, depending on when the baby comes, doing my best to refrain from grumbling or complaining.  I will answer cheerfully, find the humor in the situation, and thank God every day for the opportunity I’ve been given to be a mother.  It will probably be easier now than it was when I couldn’t keep anything down, so I’ll be thankful for that too.  And when the baby comes and I’m physically sore and sleep deprived, unsure of myself, afraid that we’ll do something wrong, and emotional, I will focus on the joy of that precious little face.  I will sing praise to God for the gift of a child.  And I will cling to Him, ask for His strength and wisdom, and beg for His grace to smile through it all.

Those are my plans.  If I fail, and I probably will, I will repent and start over.  I have been blessed beyond measure and when I keep my eyes on Jesus and ignore the wind and waves, He reaches out His hand to steady me every time.  Lord, help me to keep my eyes on You.

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Posted on May 29, 2012 in Fertility | 6 comments

The Test

The Test

Written April 18th, two days after I found out I was pregnant.

I spent this morning looking around on the internet at information on pregnancy.  Can I continue to take Zyrtec, the wonder-drug that I start to twitch without?  Is the feeling that there’s a small knot in my lower abdomen normal?  Is it related to pregnancy or is there something else going on?  When will I start to feel sick?  How big is a baby when it’s only 2 weeks old?  And I find myself tearing up, overwhelmed by emotion.  Is it possible that it’s really my turn?  Has this really happened?

I took a third pregnancy test yesterday morning.  The first one I’d taken this month – I should invest money in pregnancy test companies – was one of those plus/minus ones.  My sister warned me not to mess with those, to get the kind that say pregnant/not pregnant because the plus/minus ones always have some kind of issue.  But I’d already bought a 3-pack of plus/minus, and really how hard can they be to read?  So I stuck with what I had.  This was the last test in the pack and it immediately came up negative.  I sat there for a few minutes, allowing the disappointing news to sink in, accepting it, and trying to swallow down my fear that it would never happen.  Then I looked back at the test one more time.  While I was looking at it, the faintest blue line imaginable slowly began to appear, making the test look slightly like a plus sign.

I began to tremble and my hands and feet went numb.  I stared and stared at it, trying to decide if that was really a positive or not.  Depending on what angle you looked at it, you couldn’t even see the second line.  I called Rick in from the garage to examine it with me.  He was very reluctant to call it a positive test, even when I told him the second line appeared later as I was watching it.  We agreed that we needed to get one of those pregnant/not pregnant tests to know for sure.

The second test I took was one that leaves no question about the results.  Pregnant!  Rick and I said a prayer together, thanking God for answering our prayers and asking for a safe pregnancy.  I can’t even describe how I felt.  I thought I’d be jumping for joy, screaming and crying.  Instead, I felt this strange calmness inside.

The third test I took was the next morning, just to be sure, and to see that beautiful word flashing on the screen again.  It worked.  And alone in the house, staring at that stick, I had my moment.  Tears and joy and gratitude and overwhelming emotion…  Yes, I will be a mother.  I will finally be a mother.

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Posted on May 27, 2012 in Fertility, Marriage | 0 comments

Sing, O Barren…

Sing, O Barren…

Isaiah 54 commands the barren woman to sing, to praise the Lord.  It commands the barren woman to increase the size of her tent (home) to the fullest it can be and to prepare herself and her home for the children she is promised.

Singing a solo at Kelly’s wedding

Over the last several years of my life, this chapter has reverberated in the halls of my soul.  I’ve always loved to sing, but in recent years I’ve made a concerted effort to sing any chance I get.  I’ve done all I can to never turn down an invitation to sing a solo or sing in a choir.  I’ve thrown myself into singing my praise to God, around the house or wherever I’m given an opportunity.

As for increasing the size of my tent, that’s been a tricky one to figure out.  I buckled down and worked hard to get out of debt, making room in my finances for children.  I organized our home and lives in a way that can accommodate children, not seeking full-time employment after our marriage to devote myself to getting our house in order and to make myself available to be a mother.  I started taking pre-natal vitamins as soon as we got engaged.  I went to homeopathic and medical doctors to be sure that my health was as good as it could be to welcome a pregnancy.  I even painted our spare bedroom/office a color that would be good for a nursery – fighting back the fear that I would one day regret that decision.

And then I waited, praying for God to hear our prayers and send us the children we so desire.  On April 16th of this year, we were delighted to discover that God had answered our prayers.  The at-home pregnancy tests flashed joyfully “pregnant”!  As I looked at that single word, flashing repeatedly and boldly, I felt a sudden quietness come into my heart.  I expected to jump and leap and act crazy when I got this amazing news, and I was certainly happy, but I also trembled from within.

A child!  Finally, someone of our own to love and nurture and pour our hearts into.  I’m so thankful I have nine months to prepare for this child.  I’m so thankful God has given us this gift.  I’m also full of gratitude for the peace and joy I feel to be able to raise a child with Rick as his or her father.  I truly couldn’t think of a better man for the job.  Thank you to those of you who prayed with us.  We are so blessed.

Psalm 13 (Amplified Bible)

1HOW LONG will You forget me, O Lord? Forever? How long will You hide Your face from me?  2How long must I lay up cares within me and have sorrow in my heart day after day? How long shall my enemy exalt himself over me?

3Consider and answer me, O Lord my God; lighten the eyes [of my faith to behold Your face in the pitchlike darkness], lest I sleep the sleep of death, 4Lest my enemy say, I have prevailed over him, and those that trouble me rejoice when I am shaken.

5But I have trusted, leaned on, and been confident in Your mercy and loving-kindness; my heart shall rejoice and be in high spirits in Your salvation.

6I will sing to the Lord, because He has dealt bountifully with me.

I promise you, the singing will continue!

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Posted on May 26, 2012 in Fertility | 54 comments

Big Announcement

Big Announcement

To my subscribers: you’re getting this post a day before it will be advertised on Facebook.  You’re the first to know.  Thank you for subscribing! 

During our wedding, I chose Psalm 40:1-5 as one of the verses we wanted to be shared with the congregation.  To me, it is a song of praise to God who has worked out marvelous things in our lives.  Today, as I get ready to share even more exciting news with you, I want to quote it again.

I waited patiently for the LORD;
he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
and put their trust in the LORD.

Blessed is the man who makes
the LORD his trust,
who does not turn to the proud,
to those who go astray after a lie!
      You have multiplied, O LORD my God,
              your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us;
none can compare with you!
I will proclaim and tell of them,
yet they are more than can be told.

God has truly multiplied His wondrous deeds toward us. I am more aware of this fact than ever before in my life. Today Rick and I are ready to share with the world that God has granted us the desire of both of our hearts – a baby!
Our baby is due to be born right around Christmas.  I have had every pregnancy symptom the books mention, right on schedule.  Rick is as excited as I am, matching my own desire for children with his own.  We had to laugh when we realized our plans to celebrate our one year anniversary with a return trip to our honeymoon cabin in Gatlinburg will have to be scrapped – unless we want to bring a newborn with us!

I was afraid because it took us so long to find one another.  I feared pregnancy would be as elusive as marriage had been for us.  My heart swells with joy at the relief I experienced when we discovered in our fourth month of marriage that the miraculous had happened!

Bless the Lord, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
2 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:
3 Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,
4 Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
5 Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

8 The Lord is merciful and gracious,
Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.
9 He will not always strive with us,
Nor will He keep His anger forever.
10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor punished us according to our iniquities.

Psalm 103:1-5, 8-10

Here’s the first picture of our little peanut – at 8 weeks and 2 days old…

                       

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