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My husband and I had a massive fight around the first week of February last year over something completely inconsequential. So, to make up for it, he decided that for the first time in our lives we’d celebrate Valentine’s Day. A sailing trip followed by dinner and wine was the perfect way to make up. However, it didn’t feel so wonderful because the first thought when I woke up was, “Oh my god! I’m going to puke.” I ran to the loo and gagged. I kept thinking about it the next day, how could I throw up after 2 glasses of wine. This was so strange! I let the thought be and went along with the usual work routine. Little did I know what was in store for me.
Next morning when I woke up with the same feeling, my first thought was very filmy, “Oh my god mai ma banne wali hoon!” I had missed my period by a week. While it wasn’t normal for me, I wasn’t completely panicking because I had a bit of spotting just a few days before the 14th. I had no idea that that had anything to do with pregnancy!
Of course, to confirm the same, I made my husband run to the store to get 5 pregnancy kits of different companies. For the next few days, I had a very happily stunned husband, while all I did was gag, and hardly got a chance to register that I was pregnant.
By the way, have you ever noticed that the term “morning sickness” is such a misnomer? I really thought it meant that you’d throw up only in the mornings. For me the worst was invariably the mornings, though I had a frequent bout or two in different parts of the day as well.
During this period, I also realised what it meant when people talked of dog’s heightened sense of smell. Walking down the congested roads of Lower Parel, trying to get to work, became a pain. I could suddenly smell a hundred things (some things I didn’t even know had any smell). While some were pleasant, most were not. Smell would reach me from the shops selling dal, achar, smells from the old woman selling dried prawns on the stairs of the local railway station, the dosa guys, the vada pao guys, the juice sellers, the Gujju delicacy shops, and occasionally the lovely whiff of kacha aam with spices would reach my nose from a mile off and sometimes I could smell people’s sweat. I’d already be nauseous by the time I’d reach work and if the whiff of coffee from the coffee machine got to my nose, I’d have to dash to the bathroom before reaching my work space.
My husband had to do all the cooking the entire time and while both he and I cooked together earlier (he being my sous chef), those three months I couldn’t even go near the kitchen. The only thing I could make was toast and rice.
Sometimes Nariyal Paani really helped to calm my tummy down, and my husband would wake up early to get me fresh coconut water every day. - though sometimes, it didn’t help at all. So I didn’t have a set routine on my food preferences. I had what smelled good to me on that day.
Thankfully, by the first week of my second trimester my body had started to calm down, my nose was more used to smelling new things and my morning sickness went away completely by the second week.
After almost three months of respite (though not quite, since smell and taste of chicken still made me throw up in my second trimester), morning sickness was back with a vengeance in my third trimester. The iron tablets also added to the nausea. Unlike the first trimester, where there was a certain routine in my throwing up, there was none in the last. I’d throw up anytime and the worst was that there was no build up to it. When I got the urge, I had to do it there and then. I have therefore ended up throwing up on the road right outside my house.
The thing about this is after a point you get used to it. Though don’t ignore it when you have to tell the doc ladies, if it gets serious; like when you can’t hold anything and throwing up whatever you’re having. Listen to your body. Once I ended up having chicken when I knew my body wasn’t favoring it, I had a massive acid reflux where I ended up puking blood. My doctor told me that if it happened again I was to be hospitalized immediately. That really freaked me out so much that I didn’t pull this kind of stunt again.
During my throwing-up sessions, I invariably ended up cursing my husband for making me go through this. Poor soul, I couldn’t have asked for a more supportive partner. Occasionally even God wasn’t spared for being so patriarchal and making us women go through this while men just had to sit and watch us helplessly. Today, I am a proud mother of a beautiful 8-month-old and I can only look back at this period with a smile, knowing that I’d willingly go through this again if the end result was something this precious.