My last pregnancy was a physical nightmare. There’s no other way to describe it. Starting pretty early in the first trimester, I began feeling so nauseated and exhausted that it was like having a bad case of the flu 24/7. Even though it was my fifth pregnancy, I was completely unprepared for how this one would kick my ass. In previous pregnancies, I’d had nausea now and again, and I’d certainly been much sleepier than usual during the first trimester. But this was something completely different. My pregnancy symptoms this last time were completely debilitating, and they lasted for almost five months. Jon and I had to pretty much completely reorganize our lives around making sure I had enough strength to go to work and do my job each day. Everything else became his responsibility during those awful first months of pregnancy (with a lot of help from his mom and my sister).During the first 18 weeks or so of my last pregnancy, I would collapse into bed for the night as soon as I got home from work each da, lying in a dark room in misery, only getting up to go throw up again, before settling back in the bed. At work, I had to level with one or two coworkers who were also good friends about just how terrible I was feeling, asking them to help me make it through each day without completely screwing something up. Eventually, the horrible “morning” sickness (HA!) passed, and I felt physically fine most of the time for the second half of the pregnancy, but I will never, ever forget how awful it was to feel that bad around the clock for several months. It was a truly horrible experience.
When I found out I was pregnant again a few weeks ago, the first thing that entered my mind was, “please God, please don’t let me be sick like that again.” I found myself going back through old blog posts and emails, trying to figure out when the symptoms started last time, and I already told my OB at my first visit at 6 weeks that if the nausea starts up again, I want to go straight to the zofran (which didn’t completely solve the problem, but helped more than anything else we tried first, including compazine and reglan, both of which gave me a terrible sense of dread and anxiety, on top of the nausea. I will NEVER take reglan or compazine again, for any reason.) He agreed. I have a zofran prescription ready to deploy if the nausea begins.
But here’s the good news: I am now 8 weeks pregnant, and so far, so good. I have had a few isolated incidents where I felt sick for an hour at a time, but it wasn’t that bad and it passed quickly. I’ve only thrown up once so far. I am tired, but it’s a normal kind of early pregnancy tired, not the pathological exhaustion I had last time, where I would sometimes lock the door to my office and lie down on the floor for 20 minutes because I was honestly too tired to sit upright any longer. I know that I am not out of the woods yet, by any means, but the bad nausea had definitely set in by this time in my last pregnancy, so I consider that a good sign. And since I had never experienced pregnancy symptoms even CLOSE to that severe before my last pregnancy, I am hoping against hope that this current pregnancy will be relatively easy, like my others.
The only unpleasant symptom I have so far is one that’s pretty bizarre, but very familiar to me because I’ve had it every time. It’scalled ptyalism gravidarum, and basically, it means that I, well, umm, I drool while I am pregnant. I produce copious amounts of saliva, the likes of which my doctor says he’s never seen before. He told me last time that my pregnancy-related ptyalism is the most severe case of it that he’s ever seen. Last time, it was at its worst during the months that I was so sick, and it got a lot better after the nausea went away. In earlier pregnancies, it seemed to be totally unrelated to any nausea, and it stayed with me until the day after delivery, when it disappeared each time. In this pregnancy, the drooliness was the first hint I had that I might be pregnant. It started before I even took a pregnancy test, and it continues. Happily, however, it’s not too bad yet, and it doesn’t seem to really kick into high gear until evening. Let’s hope that this is how the situation continues, ’cause it’s a lot less embarrassing to be drooly at home than at work, you know?
So how about y’all? Did you have different experiences with nausea and exhaustion in different pregnancies? If you ever dealt with extreme symptoms, when did they start and when did they let up? Tell me in the comments below. (And please keep your fingers crossed for me!)