I miss food. I miss thinking about food, eating food, looking at food, photographing food, smelling food, reading about food, taking food, buying food, blogging about food.
You see, I am pregnant. News of pregnancy comes with ambivalence for me. I suffer from a condition called Hyperemesis Gravardium (HG). Sometimes referred to as severe morning sickness, basically imagine having food poisoning for 5 months coupled with an unsettling hyperacute sense of smell.
And, incidentally, this is not the sort of thing tackled by crackers, lemon drops, or ginger. It is the sort of thing where you loose 5 pounds in three days and you feel excellent that you didn’t loose more. (Remember pregnancy is the time that you are supposed to gain weight.) For me, medical intervention is the only way to make it to term.
With this pregnancy, I have begun considering ways to explain the situation to the non-suffered (men and women alike.) I imagine this disease is a bit like overcoming an addiction in that there are both physical and emotional ramifications to reckon with. From my made-for-TV understanding of addiction, your body and mind desire the drug. And, while the physical detox is skeleton shaking and internal organ shattering, it is the brain that keeps the addict from succeeding in recover. In the case of HG, the brain is the only reason I don’t die during pregnancy. My brain knows food is necessary for my body and my unborn child remembering the pale specter of a food-lover who had once resided in my body. But, for some damn reason, my body disagrees and attempts to vacate anything I eat in some misguided sense of self-protection. Many a late night when I lie away so nauseous that I fear that the movement of walking to the bathroom might make me sick enough to return to the hospital, I think about that well person, remember wandering the market with my daughter, remember cooking healthy (if sometimes bizarre) meals for my family.
Edibles that are innocuous become frightening. At my last hospital visit, many a well-meaning nurse suggested I drink a little water so I could feel better. Frankly, water is one of the most frightening things I could ever imagine consuming. Right now typing this, I have horrific visions of liquid droplets plunking down onto the fragile mess that is my stomach. One drop and a shudder…three drops my stomach cracks apart.
So many weeks ago, knowing that I might be incapacitated for months, I asked if it was the writing or the food that brought you here because I had really wanted to yell out that I will be living a physical hell for a few weeks, and I need to decide if I should endeavor to come back. I received so many kind comments, and I wanted thank all of you. The next few weeks will be like a health roller coaster, but hopefully, I will slowly come back.
If you have debilitating sickness with pregnancy, have lost 10 percent of your body weight, and/or have been unable to keep down water, insist that your health care provider check your ketones. Mishandled HG can result in death for the fetus and the mother.