When I found out that I was expecting my second baby, I promptly logged on to Amazon and bought a bulk order of barf bags.
I wish I could go back in time to tell my First Time Mama self that the books could wait. That the more pressing issue is any attempt possible to save the interior of your car. Or to avoid stooping to vomit in a disgusting public toilet. But, experience builds knowledge. And if I hadn’t ended up half naked, on all fours, throwing up in a ditch on the side of the highway, I might never have known that barf bags are an essential part of pregnancy.
Let me back up for a minute. I’m one of those unfortunate women that experiences “morning sickness.” Or, more accurately named, “24 hours a day, 7 days a week projectile vomiting for the first 5 months of pregnancy.” I am exhausted. I’m capable of sleeping 15 hours a day (if the opportunity presents itself, which it rarely does), and I will still wake up feeling literal pain all over my body caused by the effort of trying to function. I have heart burn, food aversions and a heightened sense of smell. I puke at the drop of a hat. Constant nausea and dry heaving. I’ve been known to eat half a sandwich, throw it up, and then return to eat the other half – because the irony of feeling nauseated all of the time is that I also feel ravenously hungry all of the time. I spend hours curled up in front of the toilet, wishing that my tired body was in bed, but puking every time I try to relocate there.
I skipped the medicine with my first baby. My job was pretty low key – I spent most of my time in an office, researching and writing. I went home at night and went to bed by 7 p.m. With my second pregnancy, I made it to 10 weeks without medicine. My current job is incredibly high energy, and my toddler is a personified Energizer bunny. When I visited my midwife for my second appointment, she was not happy to see that I’d lost 8 pounds in the four weeks since she’d seen me last. “You have to function!” she said, when I told her I didn’t feel right taking the medicine.
The good news is that I no longer puke 24 hours a day. The bad news is that I still feel like I might puke 24 hours a day, with only one or two vom-sessions. So, that’s an improvement!
And, because this is my second pregnancy, I know that I need barf bags on hand. At. All. Times. There is one in my purse. One in my work bag. Several in my car. Because I’m not in a hurry to become a spectacle for the lake travelers on Highway 71.
Which brings us back to the story I teased you with earlier. How I ended up half naked, on all fours, throwing up in a ditch on the side of the highway.
During my first pregnancy, I thought I was feeling well enough at 12 weeks to travel to Table Rock Lake with my family for Memorial Day. Armed with my sea-bands, a stash of crackers, and plenty of ginger ale, I was able to enjoy two full days on the water without incident. Monday morning, I woke up with the taste of bile rising in my throat. I booked it to the toilet and made it just in time! A piece of toast, another trip to the bathroom. An hour laying in bed. Another trip to the bathroom. You can probably see where this was headed.
My husband finally managed to peel me off of the coach and get me into the car. And, thankfully, he was able to quickly pull over the first time that I needed him to stop so that I could puke on the side of the road. We made it another 30 miles before he asked if I’d like to stop to try to eat something. I ate a hamburger, and sat, feeling happily full, for about 5 minutes. Then, I traumatized a mother and her small child, who were using the stall next to mine when my burger decided to reappear.
Before we left, I filled a cup of water and grabbed a huge handful of napkins. Thank goodness!
We were another 40 miles down the road when I suddenly grabbed the handle of the door and muttered “pull over!” We were in heavy holiday traffic, nearing the transition ramp between 44 and 71. There was no safe place for us to stop. “I can’t!” my husband cringed as I involuntarily puked all over myself. I instantly started to cry. Which made me puke again. My husband flew down the transition ramp and then up the first exit ramp that he could. The car had barely come to a stop when I threw the door open and launched myself, while puking, out of the car. There, on all fours, I continued to violently vomit. Meanwhile, my poor husband used that water and those napkins I’d grabbed to try desperately to clean up the front seat of the car. “Its mostly water and pickles! Its fine! See! All clean!” he called to me over my heaves and sobs.
It was about this time that I realized I was covered in vomit. So, naturally, I took my puke-covered shirt off. “Oh, God! You’re getting naked!” my husband yelled when he turned around and saw me. He opened the trunk and managed to find a beach towel that he used to cover me while I finished emptying the contents of my body. I think I threw up my toe nails.
At some point, we made it home. But, I don’t remember much of the car ride. I do remember the relief I felt when I crashed onto my bed and fell asleep for the next 4 hours. I also remember crying again as I stripped the sheets off of my bed, which smelled of vomit since I hadn’t managed a shower before crashing.
So, yes, those are barf bags in my purse.