my knight in shining Zofran

My one and only pregnancy started out like many others—with crippling exhaustion, inexplicable cravings for meatballs, the purchase of about ten pregnancy tests (“Is that a line? I can’t tell. Should we call the help number? Get a magnifying glass”), and copious amounts of drool on my pillowcase. Other than those fairly standard symptoms, however, I honestly felt like being pregnant wasn’t too different than being not pregnant.

For the first six weeks.

Around my sixth week, I made the healthful decision to eat a sub from Quizno’s.

First_Quizno's_Subs_restaurant
Just in case you’re an off-the-grid mountain man that hasn’t driven by 700 billion of these in your lifetime, here is a Quizno’s Subs. Behold.

I ordered the sub with beaucoup onions, because I like it when my mouth smells like a grody armpit. I began eating the sub with gusto, but about three chews in, I realized that someone had played a terrible joke on me and poured the contents of an ashtray all over the inside of my sandwich.

That’s right. I WAS EATING CIGARETTE BUTTS.

I tore off the top bun in horror, only to find what you might already suspect: there were no cigarette butts anywhere on the sandwich.

Huh.

I replaced the top bun and began to eat again, only to have my mouth fill once more with the taste of tobacco and ash. I couldn’t figure out what the hell was going on. Was there something wrong with the meat? Had the mayonnaise gone off? Had the Quizno’s guy smoked 3 packs of unfiltered Winstons while making my sandwich? I sure as hell wasn’t going to finish off the rest of it in order to find out. I threw the Rotten Butt-Tastin’ Sub in the garbage and went my “merry” way.

I felt a little queasy that day, but I chalked it up to the fact that my sandwich had tasted like a gas station toilet bowl. It never crossed my mind that this experience might be an indication of what the pregnancy books call a Food Aversion™, and that my beloved onions would taste like cigarette butts for the next eight months. That particular day, all I knew was that Quizno’s was beyond disgusting (it isn’t) and I would never eat there again (also untrue.)

Mmmm. Onions.

Besides, I felt much better the next day. And the day after that. And the day after that. And the day after . . .

Wait a minute.

What’s that smell?

Is my husband cooking? Why is he cooking? WHAT is he cooking?

It smells like fried butthole.

That . . . erp. That is . . . nauseating. I must get to the bottom of this.

“HUSBAND! WHAT ON EARTH ARE YOU COOKING?! IT SMELLS LIKE HOT PEPPERONI AND FRIED BUTTHOLE. NO ONE IS GOING TO WANT TO EAT THA—“

*erp*

“NO ONE IS GOING TO WA—“

*blerp*

“NO ONE IS G—”

Oh shit.

*BLERGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh*

With that, the morning sickness had begun.

And it didn’t end. At least, not when it was supposed to. Believe me, I tried waiting it out. But it just kept coming. My daily existence consisted solely of sleeping, barfing, and peeing my pants while barfing. My doctor suggested an anti-emetic, but because I am old enough to have learned in high school about Thalidomide and its ensuing wave of flipper babies, I decided to tough my way through it until I was about 16 weeks along.

At that point, I was losing weight and severely dehydrated, so my OB/GYN forced the issue and wrote me a prescription for the anti-emetic called Zofran. I was hesitant (flipper babies), but after I started taking the blessed Zofran, I could actually keep some food down, and went from throwing up multiple times a day to multiple times a week.

The little yellow pills that saved me from becoming a malnourished skeleton during my pregnancy. All Hail the Mighty Zofran!
The little yellow pills that saved me from becoming a malnourished skeleton during my pregnancy. All Hail the Mighty Zofran!

But the morning sickness NEVER fully went away. Even on the delivery table, with copious amounts of Zofran running through my IV drip, I still managed to puke twice. (The upside, however, was that I didn’t poop. With nothing in my stomach, my bum stayed as clean as two Georgia peaches. Relatively speaking.)

Not until my son was pulled from my vagina red-faced and covered with vernix, did my morning sickness finally leave me. And I know this is hard to believe, but I swear I actually *felt* it happen. That moment was possibly the best experience of my entire life—well, second to the whole “bringing a human life into the world” thing—and I still remember it like it was yesterday. It was resplendent. After nine months of Blerg Stomach I finally felt normal again.

So I ate EVERYTHING.

Hospital food never tasted so good. I inhaled every shit they put in front of my ravenous face. The gross grilled chicken. The gross mashed potatoes. The gross limp vegetables. The gross pudding. I didn’t even ask for my family to bring in food from the outside world, I just ate whatever the hospital served me. Didn’t care. Didn’t mind. I just ate and ate and ate. I was delighted. I was overjoyed.

The grossest picture of hospital food I could find. And I would have still GLADLY slurped this shit down.
This is by far the grossest picture of hospital food I could find. And yet? I would have GLADLY slurped this shit down after giving birth. And I do mean slurp, because I’m pretty sure that none of this is actually solid food.

I was unwittingly establishing a pattern that would last for years.

I still eat to make myself feel better. I revel in it. Don’t get me wrong—I’d had my binge-y moments before my son was born. But after the fact? Eating became my regular, day-to-day comfort. And as with the hospital food, what I was eating didn’t even need to be particularly tasty. It just made me happy to be chewing and swallowing, swallowing and chewing, until my belly was full.

Now, that pattern is taking its toll. I am overweight, out of shape, and other health problems are also cropping up as a result. As much as I hate to leave behind what made me so happy for so many years, my self-medicating in this way needs to stop. I can’t do it all at once. I can’t do it overnight. But I need to do it.

Right after this cookie.

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An earlier version of this piece was published in 2014 on BLUNTmoms.

If you haven’t already done so, consider following est. 1975 on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Pinterest! I add fresh, hilarious material every single day.

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Photo credits:
“Portrait of a Woman in Red” — Author: Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger (1561–1636); Title: Portrait of a Woman in Red; Date 1620; Source/Photographer Tate.org.uk — Modified
“Hospital Food” — Date 6 April 2005, 18:06; Hospital food; Author Siobhan from Upstate New York; Licensing: Creative Commons; Attribution share alike; This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.
“Zofran” —  Drug Name: Zofran 8 MG Oral Tablet; Drug Label Author: GlaxoSmithKline LLC; Date 2010/2011; Source NLM, http://pillbox.nlm.nih.gov/assets/large/000817lg.jpg; Author NLM; Public domain: This image is a work of the National Institutes of Health, part of the United States Department of Health and Human Services. As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image is in the public domain.
“Cigarette butts” — “Filled with butts”; Author: Stefan-Xp – Own work; A “well” filled Ashtray; Permission details: GNU-FDL
“Quizno’s” — Description English: The first Quizno’s Subs restaurant, located in Capitol Hill, Denver, Colorado; Date 4-17-09; Source Own work; Author Xnatedawgx

26 Replies to “my knight in shining Zofran”

  1. I eat for comfort as well..sigh.

    For me, it was the smell of the city bus. I puked in many a garbage can on the sidewalk when I worked downtown Cincinnati while pregnant

  2. Blerg! I’m not gonna tall about my pregnancies, because all of them were miserable. I don’t do pregnant well.

    But. I gained a bunch of weight this year which turned out to be the result of a bitchass thyroid. So one would think I’d take my medicine, eat like a normal human, and lose the wweight. Wrong. I will eat 6 poptarts at one time. Six. And funk this phone and its goddamn auticorrect!

  3. I have the same problem with food, also starting for the most part after I had my first baby. As soon as I stopped taking the pain meds and they cleared from my breast milk, she woke right up and stayed up all day everyday–this newborn baby took little cat naps, but only if she was on me and I was walking her around. And usually she’d cry if I wasn’t holding her in one form or another. She kept adult hours–sleeping 11:00 pm – 7:00 am (plus up 2 or 3 times a night to nurse)–and then she was up for the day. She’d sleep in my lap after nursing, but if I got up and tried to put her in her crib she’d wake right back up. It was soooo exhausting! And then I had another baby 18 months later and he arrived on the scene with extreme anxiety. He had to be in my arms all of the time–he wouldn’t even let his dad hold him until he was 6 months old. There were a lot more difficulties with both of them that I won’t go into now, but I often headed straight into the pantry the minute my husband got home got home and scarfed down whatever I could. It was the only thing that made me feel better since I was so overwhelmed so much of the time. Now they’re both in high school, but I’m still doing the comfort eating and it’s definitely had its consequences.

    Good for you for making the decision to stop. Let us know how it goes. I could use any pointers you learn along the way–share all your secrets to success with us! I’m afraid I won’t be able to stop after all these years. But you go, Girl! Right after that cookie, that is.

  4. I’m currently engaged in a daily tussle with MyFitnessPal and its unwelcome accounting of calories and intake. THAT FUCKER. I eat three cucumbers and am supposed to be done for the day. There is no end to the suck.

    So, while I had a different kind of pregnancy experience, I can totally feel you on this business of eating and loving eating and wanting to eat. And the shit of trying not to be that way any more.

    1. There is an article out there about calorie counting and not taking hunger/feelings of starvation into the equation. I think it’s in the NYT but not positive. Anyway, the researcher basically said it’s not sustainable. Yeah, you’ll lose, but the mental and emotional burden of being hungry all the time will a) cause you distress and b) lead you to “cheat” because that’s what your body needs. He basically says that the whole “nothing tastes as good as being thin” thing is BS.

  5. I know not of this morning sickness or pregnancy nonsense. But I do understand eating as comfort. I’ve even trained my boyfriend to cheer me up with snacks. Something that makes me a little sad inside…for about 6 seconds before I accept his sugar coated condolences over my bad day.

  6. 1st pregnancy only…. bacon. If I smelled it I passes out/threw up.
    The other two I had horrible cravings.
    All 3 it ended abruptly at exactly 14 weeks. But it started at 3 weeks.

  7. You poor thing. I had awful morning sickness with both my pregnancies (perhaps why there were 8 years between them), but not quite that bad. I still can’t tolerate the smell of Dial soap (and my youngest is 12).

    I also eat too much just because I’m bored or stressed (or both). Or had a bad day. Or had a really good day. Keep telling myself I need to do better and exercise more, but so far no dice.

  8. I’ve been trying to talk myself into getting back on the healthy wagon once again. I’ve been eating too much and drinking too much oh and not exercising. I do believe I’m the heaviest I’ve ever been and something needs to change, and fast. You know you’ve hit your tipping point when you no longer can fit in any clothes (unless they are stretchy and forgiving. All hail the elastic waistband skirt).

  9. Everyone has been nauseous at some point in their life. Pregnancy nausea takes things to a whole new level. It’s the kind of horrible feeling that you would only wish on your worst enemies. Foget morning sickness– for me the worst was night sickness. About an hour or two after I went to sleep, I would suddenly wake up and have to hurl. I was like, “WTF is going on? I thought sleep was supposed to be my only reprieve from barfing?”. I also barfed almost every afternoon at work; that was fun. Ugh, I hadn’t really thought about these things until reading your post (which was hilarious BTW). Now I may need to see a therapist to deal with the PTSD memories of my morning sickness. I’m gonna need to get your address so I know where to send the bill. 🙂

  10. While I had morning sickness with my kids, I never had a food aversion. In fact, it was the opposite, I suddenly had cravings for stuff I wouldn’t have considered eating previously (like salt and vinegar potato chips and those ). It’s probably no wonder I gained 60 pounds with my first pregnancy – and additional weight with all the others. I have an incredible problem with comfort eating, and happy eating, and celebratory eating, and angry eating – if there is an emotion, I’ll stuff it down with food. I think about food all the time – when I am eating breakfast, I’m planning what I’m going to have for lunch and dinner. It’s exhausting. Apparently my problem with food is no secret — my ex-husband once brought me Oreos as a bribe to have sex with him – like I was a food whore or something. That’s the only time in my life I’ve been upset to see an Oreo.

  11. I couldn’t even look at meat when I was pregnant with my son. Never had a problem with the girls but I’d just look at a steak or burger when I carried my son and I’d hurl. Sadly, I didn’t find this out until I was sitting in a steak house with my husband and a couple of his friends competing in a six pound challenge. I still cringe when I think about it. Thankfully, the aversion left me because I love me a good steak!

  12. Ugh, sounds like you had a nasty case! Sometimes I think I might have a second kid, then I remember the nausea: I am lucky that I never actually blew chunks, I just felt like I was going to do so during most of my waking hours, it pretty much just roiled and boiled right inside my throat. Good times.

  13. Ugh, sounds like you had a nasty case! Sometimes I think I might want to have a second kid then I remember the nausea: I am lucky that I never actually blew chunks but I felt like I was going to, during pretty much all waking hours. It just roiled in boiled somewhere in my throat. Good times.

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