As of this week, I’m 18 weeks pregnant with Baby #3. Unlike with my first two pregnancies, where I had a bit of morning sickness for a few weeks, with this one my body has been VERY LOUD. I’ve been forced, often against my will, to listen.
Over the past long weekend, fifteen families from our church attended a local Christian camp.
Yet coming, as it did, on the heels of a women’s retreat I led the previous weekend and a week when Daryl was out of town at a conference, I was already toast.
“I think you should stay home and rest,” Daryl suggested, texting me the last afternoon of his conference.
“No,” I said.
“Court,” he said, gently, “if you could go straight to bed now, would you?” It was 1:30pm.
“Yes,” I admitted.
“And what did your doctor say?” he asked.
“That I should limit my activity.”
“Does going to family camp sound like limiting your activity?”
I sighed. “No, it does not.”
Raising the white flag does not come naturally to me. I’m a doer, a fighter, a push-through-it-er. I will accomplish allthethings or I will die trying.
But eighteen weeks of intense nausea, more vomiting then I would ever like to remember, and an extremely limited appetite had taken their toll. It was time to put a fork in me; I was done.
On Friday, Daryl and I compromised that I’d drive up for the day on Sunday if at all possible. I cried more than a little–tears of mom guilt, tears of church guilt, tears that I couldn’t power through enough to accomplish something we’d all looked forward to for months, tears of anger, tears of surrender.
Then I waved goodbye to the boys as they started up the car and I went to bed at 2:30pm.
You guys, I napped all that afternoon. I slept for thirteen hours that night. I slept nearly all of the next day, and then twelve hours the second night.
I drove up to join the boys for the day on Sunday and got some really sweet moments with Daryl and the kids and some of the dear friends from church, and drove home again Sunday night. It wasn’t what I had been looking forward to–four days in the California mountains with family and friends and Jesus–but it was far better than nothing.
Then yesterday, Monday, I woke up and felt… okay.
It took me a few moments to really register what that peculiar feeling of not wanting to vomit was. Usually I woke up with waves of nausea, often running to the bathroom before my morning brain fog had even begun to clear. Sometimes I woke up in the middle of the night for the same reason. No wonder I was tired.
Eating anything at all during these past four months has been excruciating. If I don’t eat, I feel worse, but the very act of putting food in my mouth is an exercise in mental fortitude because every single thing on this planet tasted terrible to me, and much of it would come back up again before long.
I didn’t have hypremesis gravidarium–the extreme morning sickness some women develop where they can’t keep anything down–but I was pretty stinking miserable.
Until Monday. Monday I felt… okay. I cautiously got out of bed and went to the kitchen. Eggs and toast sounded… edible. I cooked some and… didn’t gag.
When Daryl texted me in the early afternoon that he and the boys were on the way home, I texted back: “Don’t die of shock, but I might cook you dinner tonight.”
I hadn’t cooked dinner in four months. Often I’d had to sit in the backyard while Daryl prepared meals since food smells felt like punches in the stomach. We’d repeatedly cancelled dinner dates with friends; I’d spent our small group mealtime hiding out in the living room while everyone else sat at the table.
Last night? I cooked. I could practically hear the Hallelujah Chorus playing in the background.
Dinner wasn’t fancy–chicken, baked potatoes, sweet corn, watermelon–but to me it was the Mona Lisa.
Sometimes accepting limitations opens the door to a new way forward. My guess is that if I’d tried to push through this weekend, I’d still be feeling off-the-charts crummy.
Sometimes, when your body is loud, it pays to listen.
Sometimes the littlest miracles mean the most.
Here’s hoping my one-day streak continues and the nausea has finally said farewell for good.
Oh, and this baby? This is definitely Ellis the Last. Hoo boy.