Monday, January 7, 2008

The magic sandwich

Life has changed for me dramatically since my Christmas flu. The gentle, nagging nausea of the weeks before Christmas changed to a harsh, debilitating bitterness in my stomach that was only relieved by lying down and sleeping. Constant nausea. A third child on the way. And I'm quite decided that this is the last. As far as it is up to me. I used to say four, but I have since come to realize that I'm not the personality that would enjoy the bigger numbers...more chaos, more messes, more responsibility. And My Hero has never wanted lots of kids. He's always said three, at the most. Now we're in agreement. I'm not sure why the nausea has been so much worse this time than the last two pregnancies, but the "morning sickness" has seemed to get progressively worse with each. It feels as though my body is telling me, "Enough, already!" I'm happy about this pregnancy in that we wanted it, it was planned, and I know a third child will bring us untold joy. I know in my mind. My emotions at this point in the pregnancy keep griping to me that this is a ridiculous hardship I could've chosen to avoid. It's hard to imagine a soft, sweet, warm darling child in my arms when I'm doubled over the toilet.

We have found something that brings temporary relief from the nausea, however, in a most unexpected place. I told my grandparents the news a few days ago, and my sweet grammie called me that evening offering to take the two boys while My Hero and I went out to supper. She even offered a McDonald's coupon, buy one sandwich, get one free. I was so touched by her thoughtfulness that I accepted her offer, though I felt terrible and couldn't imagine being able to keep down a MacDonald's burger. My Hero suggested Subway instead, and that sounded more appealing to me, though I wasn't overly hopeful that any food would stay put in my stomach and digest as it should. I ordered my favorite, a six-inch Italian BMT on Parmesan oregano bread with provolone cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, salt, pepper, oil, and vinegar. My Hero and I chatted quietly about his job, what had happened in his day, future goals and plans. As we talked I nibbled. It was oh, so tasty. When I had eaten the whole sandwich, my stomach felt warm and satisfied. The nausea was gone. We went home, picked up the kids, put them to bed, and watched a movie together before going to bed fairly early ourselves. The whole evening I felt normal, which, after weeks of misery, is such a delightful way to feel.

I hoped maybe the change would last indefinitely, but the next morning I awoke feeling dreadful again.

So yesterday after church we stopped at Subway on my way home from church. I drilled My Hero several times to make sure he knew exactly what to order. I was feeling sick, and exhausted after a morning getting ready for church, practicing with our worship team before church, then helping lead worship during the service. By the time church was over I felt like I had nothing left for energy to get me through the rest of the day. My Hero came out with my sandwich and the strong, spicy, vinegary smell filled the car, sending me into transports of delight. We put the boys down for their naps, sat down to watch Prisonbreak, Season 2 that a friend from church lent us, and I munched away. The same warm, satisfied feeling replaced the bitterness and nausea of the morning. I don't know what it is about that particular sandwich, but it works magic. All afternoon I felt amazing. By evening it began to wear off, but My Hero and I both decided it was worth shelling out $4 a day for that feeling of health to keep my going for hours at a time. He'll be stopping by a Subway on his way home from work tonight.

As an aside: Prisonbreak? Incredibly good. Addictive. So, so good. I'm on the edge of my seat all the time. I love watching how Michael Scofield works out his plans and finds solutions for the situations he faces. Unexpected twists, and realistic foils to the best laid plans. I can't say enough good things about this series. And I didn't think I'd like it.

The nausea is also why my blogging has ground to a halt. Mornings are no longer my favorite time of day. I tried to keep dragging myself out of bed for that sacred hour, but would end up falling asleep on the floor, without energy or desire to drag myself to the computer and post about my life. I hate regressing back to life before my routine, and hopefully as time goes by the sickness will lessen and I can reform a workable routine for the next nine months of my life. I want to get back to working out as soon as possible, because while you're not advised to begin a new workout routine while you're pregnant, you are encouraged to keep going with your current work-out as long as it's comfortable, which, with Peanut Butter, was up to the last few weeks. Ha ha. I remember how light and free I felt when I resumed the workout a few weeks after delivery. I felt like I was floating through the exercises, light as a balloon.

Most naptimes have been spent napping. Today has been a better day than most, and I'm using the time to blog, but most days by the time the boys go down, I'm collapsing into my soft sheets for an hour of rest.

I've found the severity of the nausea shocking and depressing. How can I drag myself through three months of this? IF it ends in three months like it did with the first two. A friend of mine is 5 or 6 months along and still feeling miserable. I keep picturing the boy in a story I read long ago who was given a ball with a string in it, and every time he wanted to hurry up a part of his life that was slow or boring or unpleasant, he could just pull the string and he'd be on to the next phase of life. At the end of his life he realized he'd skipped a good portion and missed out on over half of his life, making it very very short. I don't want to count these next few months as worthless, just days to be endured, hopeful for better ones ahead. But that's where I'm struggling. I wake up and think about what things I can do to make the day pass more quickly. By afternoon I'm relieved that I have just a few more hours to endure before My Hero is home, and then a few more hours until the little ones are in bed and I can go to bed. How do I learn to value these days? To make them worthwhile? To be grateful for them? True, these days will pass and be a distant memory, but they won't pass quickly, and I'm in them for a purpose. I think I will focus on being thankful. I still have so much to be thankful for, and if I don't feel much gratitude about the new life inside of me yet, I can be grateful for naptime, the peace and quiet and rest, for soft sheets to crawl into, for a fridge and freezer and cupboards full of convenience foods that save me from endless hours cooking supper. For two little boys that fill my days with joy, even when I'm so tired. For a husband that is compassionate and understanding and willing to buy me a magic sandwich on his way home from work. For the magic sandwich.