Tag Archives: food poisoning

Ten things that have surprised me about pregnancy (#5-10)

Here is the second installment of the post I started yesterday – things that have surprised me about pregnancy. After I started writing these posts on Sunday, Mike and I talked about this topic over dinner. We agreed that, overall, I’d had a pretty good second trimester and been lucky enough to stay fairly healthy.

“Huh,” I said, looking at the food on my plate as we were saying this, “I don’t feel so good all of a sudden. I don’t think I can eat that.”

To cut a long and yucky story short, that was the start of a night when I broke my own personal record for the number of times I can throw up in twelve hours. I dropped five pounds overnight and yesterday I couldn’t make it out of bed until 5pm. We suspect food poisoning – though we have no idea what could have caused it – and today I’m feeling much better. I am at least showered, sitting up, drinking water, and eating toast.

Ah, surprises. Some of them are great. Some, not so much.

So here are six more things that have so far surprised me about pregnancy.

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5. I expected that morning sickness would strike immediately if it were going to strike at all.

It took me quite some time to really grasp the fact that I was indeed pregnant, and it seems that my body is not the quickest off the mark, either. If I were going to suffer from it, I thought morning sickness would hit me much earlier than eight weeks and I thought it would go away earlier than eighteen weeks. Alas, wrong on both counts.

6. I expected that I’d continue to enjoy a cup of coffee a day all through pregnancy.

I know traditional wisdom is that you should avoid all caffeine when pregnant, but most doctors and research now suggests that you can safely ingest the caffeine equivalent of one or two cups of coffee a day all during pregnancy. I love coffee and had already decided that I wasn’t giving up my morning cup… except that my body had other ideas. The day I got morning sick, right on week eight, I went off it overnight. All of a sudden it tasted revolting. It still doesn’t taste the way it used to.

7. I expected that I’d be hungry all of my 2nd trimester.

Food was such a weird experience for most of the first trimester as I veered between the two extremes of not being at all hungry and being completely ravenous (often within the span of five minutes), that I expected I’d be a lot hungrier than normal in my second trimester. I haven’t been. Sometimes I even forget to eat a small snack mid-morning or mid-afternoon. This is not to say, however, that I did not disgrace myself when I was consistently put in front of all you can eat buffets in Bangkok last week. On more than one occasion the only thing that stopped me from returning to the buffet for three more scoops of ice cream after I’d polished off my first dessert sundae at lunch was shame. Who says that peer pressure can’t be good for you?

8. I expected that disrupted sleep was something that would begin only after the baby was born.

I expected that the whole waking up numerous times a night to pee would start in approximately month seven of pregnancy instead of week seven. I still have problems understanding how a baby the size of a lima bean can really put that much pressure on a bladder. I mean, come on! I have now been waking up between three and six times a night now practically since I found out I was pregnant. Not cool. Not cool at all.

9. I expected that my sex drive would surge in the second trimester.

Most of the books I’ve read paint a picture of the first and third trimesters of pregnancy as virtual sexual wastelands but hold out this oasis-like vision of the second trimester as a time of unparalleled sexual desire and enjoyment. I don’t know how many accounts I’ve read of women’s transformations into total sex kittens the minute they hit week thirteen of pregnancy, so perhaps it’s understandable that I feel particularly ripped off to have so far had this expectation disappointed. For not only did my sex drive vanish so completely the minute I got pregnant that it became difficult to remember I ever had one, it hasn’t really returned to pre-pregnancy levels yet much less been catapulted into “sex kitten” territory. I will be especially peeved if this, like morning sickness, is merely my biology lagging behind the curve and sex-kitten-energy kicks in four weeks from now, right when I head to Australia and Mike and I say goodbye for three months.

10. I expected that the quickening would be unmistakable.

The quickening, for those of you who haven’t read 5000 pregnancy books, is the name given to the first time you feel your baby move inside you. The books do warn that it can be hard to tell whether those early flutters are the baby or something else, so I don’t know why I expected to feel the baby move in one, singular, weirdandwonderful moment. Maybe because “the quickening” sounds like such a singular “moment”ous event. Nope. I spent about a week trying to decide whether it was the baby I was feeling or gas. Now the baby moves all the time – particularly at 10pm when I’m trying to go to sleep and at 6a.m. when I’m trying to stay asleep.

I’ve tried to explain to Mike what it feels like. I’ve described it before as feeling like a sackful of eels squirming around in there, but as I’ve never actually had a sackful of eels tucked in my belly I can’t really vouch for the accuracy of that description. The most accurate physical description I can come up with is the completely unromantic, “it feels like giant bubbles of gas slithering around intestinal corners, but without any gas pain.”

The most accurate psychological description I can come up with, for me, is that it feels like fishing. As a kid I used to love going over to the river across from my grandparents house, baiting a hook, and fishing off the wharf. I would wait patiently for ages for that first tug on the line – that sudden, promising, tightening of the nylon under my index finger signaling that something alive was definitely out there underneath all that water. When the baby taps me from the inside I get that same feeling. Of course, given what ended up happening to the fish I caught, that metaphor has its limits, so we’ll stop right there.

OK, that’s it for this edition of “expectations that have been turned on their head by pregnancy.” Catch you later this week, perhaps from the road as Mike and I are leaving on Thursday night for a road trip down south, and do chime in below and let me know what’s surprised you about pregnancy or parenting. I love learning from others’ stories. 

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Special places

I can think of worse places to suffer a bout of food poisoning than Bangkok airport. Then again, I can think of better, too.

I won’t bore you with a blow by blow of the whole icky story. Suffice to say it started with me feeling a bit weird shortly after I got off the plane from Laos and ended six hours later with me breaking my six and a half year “no-vomiting” streak and throwing up in the departure lounge bathroom while everyone else was busy boarding the plane. It must have been something I ate on the Bangkok Airways flight. Funny, in all these years of traveling I think this is the first time I’ve actually gotten sick because of plane food.

I was traveling alone (Mike won’t join me here for another ten days) so that sucked, but on the other hand I wasn’t toting a toddler around either. A six hour layover and a nine hour overnight flight is an awfully long to feel utterly wretched, but by some stroke of grace I also scored three seats to myself and was able to spend most of the flight flat on my back – which doubtless saved me (and everyone around me) from several lovely interludes with the airsickness bags. The whole trip took almost 24 hours, but I was very glad to see my father waiting for me at Brisbane airport so that I didn’t have to take the train for part of that last stint. As usual the whole thing was a mixed bag of things to sigh about and things to be thankful for.

And now I’m back in Ballina at my parent’s place – one of my favorite places in the world. It’s cloudy and cool here. The jacaranda trees are tossing purple in the breeze, the birds are flitting around, and there’s a lot of peace and quiet around. I woke up last night at midnight and came downstairs to get a glass of water and the moon was shining off the water in the river and way out to sea. This place soothes with a deep sort of calm. The sort that makes you remember that you’re breathing. The sort that only seems to come from being surrounded by extraordinary natural beauty.

The photo below is the view from the back porch of my parent’s place. Mike took it at dawn a year or two ago now. I have it set as the background on my computer, so I see it whenever I flip open the screen. There is so much for me to love about the image, not least is the fact that we got married right in front of that gazebo.

Mike and I sometimes joke about booting my parents off to do a year or more somewhere else (like Malawi, or Turkey – preferably somewhere we would also want to visit) while we housesit for them. Since we got married here I have also tried to explain to Mum and Dad that this place is now my sacred ground, that I therefore hold land rights, and that they should really sign it over to me and put the issue to rest. So far they haven’t bought it. Also, Dad has a bad habit of pointing out – while laughing – that I would not want to do even a fraction of the work it takes to keep this place running. In reply, I ask him why he thinks I married Mike.

As it doesn’t look like Mum and Dad will be handing over the deed to their house anytime soon, I guess I’ll just have to count myself lucky at being able to come home for the holidays now and then. And I do, believe me.

What about you? Where’s that special place? Can you still visit?