The first trimester + Christmas + 2 kids off school + work + Norovirus + finding natural remedies = this post.
I’m not gonna lie, since December 1st I’ve been feeling utterly revolting and pathetically useless. This was the day I found out I was pregnant with my third child. I was at Pizza Express with my two boys and another family about to take a sip of the prosecco that had arrived at the table… and I didn’t want it. If you know me, Prosecco and Pizza Express are like peas and carrots, always together and always necessary when dining with my children. Takes the edge off right?
Immediately after we settled the bill I dashed to the pharmacy and bought a pregnancy test. With my boys building Lego and occasionally screaming at each other (Lego related) and my husband at a football match, I was on the loo and locked the door (something I don’t usually do when it’s just us at home).
Why are those 3 minutes the longest ever? I managed to blitz the bathroom, fold all the towels perfectly and file my nails before I got the message from a plastic urine stained stick.
I was pregnant!
I did a little excited and silent dance around my bathtub constantly looking at the stick just to make sure I wasn’t imagining it.
The weeks that followed this were possibly the hardest I’ve ever endured. I’ve never felt like I’ve failed so much as a mother, as a woman, as a wife! My energy levels were the lowest of the low like my entire body felt like a dead weight that was dragging my limbs down. The school run routine felt like a marathon as did the pick up and bedtime routine. I didn’t have any energy to cook the evening meal for my husband and I reluctantly left all the laundry and used apps on my phone to help me. Delivero, Chop Chop, ZipJet thank you for being my technological assistants. God bless apps.
On top of this was sickness. A constant nausea shit storm that lasted from 8am to 10pm. Basically when I slept I felt ok. There was a constant smell lingering that I can only describe and called ‘the stables’. It was everywhere and sometimes stronger on certain people or places. This smell put me off food, coffee, tea, alcohol (a good thing) Christmas, my phone, my car, certain clothes, makeup … I mean EVERYTHING made me feel sick. And why on earth is it called ‘morning sickness’ when it’s lasts all sodding day and for me, I would throw up at the end of the day usually after putting the kids to bed.
I think it should be called ‘mourning sickness’ as I felt like I was mourning my former energetic, healthy self.
We hosted Christmas catering for 13 people at our house. I spent the day pretending I was drinking and then caved and had a glass of champagne as I felt the weight of my sisters stare on my movements. We’re extremely close and she’s really mystic and out right asked if I was pregnant. Somehow I managed to send her off the scent and proceeded to pour my champagne down the sink when she wasn’t looking and locking myself in the bathroom to have a motivational word with myself that I could get through the day.
My brother in law said he was really tired and could he lie down and have a nap. He’s childless, didn’t cook a feast (just ate it) and not pregnant but he needed a nap. I literally wanted to punch him in the face as I watched him snooze on my bed.
Christmas made me feel sick more than anything. And I love Christmas but this pregnancy was very much against it and as soon as Boxing day was over ALL the decorations came down. Cards, Christmas tree, fairy lights around the shelving in the kitchen were all taken down on the morning of the 27th. I felt like the Grinch around the kids but as mentioned – anything that didn’t make me feel sick was a bonus.
To add to this mix of tiredness, sickness, kids off school, I had to fit in work.
Being a model means looking good and having lots of energy when you shoot. The industry doesn’t tolerate sick days and yawning on set is a cardinal sin!
I was extremely concerned how I was going to manage the long days on my feet and showing that I’m full of energy when actually I wanted to curl up into a ball and spoon my sick bowl. I remember one day in particular, I was shooting stills and filming for the client’s social channel. They wanted me to dance around like Beyonce to show off a pair of stretchy jeans. After we wrapped, I ran to the loo and threw up.
But I got through it – because we have to.
At lunch I would pretend I was making a phone call but actually found a quiet spot in a studio and sleep. Sometimes it was in the small changing rooms with the curtain shut surrounded by shoes and hangers just so I could grab some energy. These power naps worked as did the other natural remedies listed below…
‘I’m hungover’ or ‘I’ve got a cold’ were my excuses which worked well in the month of December. I had to cancel our New Year’s Eve plans because of my ‘cold’ and didn’t show up to kids play dates because I was ‘hungover’.
Then of course I did get sick. Really sick with norovirus in the first week of January. Rotten luck! I was stuck in bed for 3 days feeling so sorry for myself. The kids were great and so kind to me. They bought me water and sang to me and one night the roles totally reversed when my eldest son Basil put me to bed! He read me a story, kissed my forehead, turned off my light and shut the door. This made me bury my head in my pillow and unabashedly sob. Gotta love those hormones!
I felt completely disgusting and miserable. The evening activities involved my head in the toilet throwing up and my pelvic floors totally giving way so I was also peeing myself through my pj’s onto the bathroom floor. My husband watching over me, telling me it’s ok and then wiping up the urine and vomit was a real low point but he was there for me the entire time.
One evening I mustered up some energy to take a quick walk around the garden for some fresh air. My husband came out to check on me and found me vomiting in our flower bed. He said it was good fertiliser, but I beg to differ!
In sickness and health really is a good vow to say on your wedding day just incase!
The following day I had a fitting for a tv commercial that was being shot in South Africa. It was a big deal and I had to be there. They fit the clothes according to my body so nobody could replace me in such a short amount of time. So I went with a Sainsburys bag always by my side just incase I needed to vom and survived the day nibbling Jacobs crackers and drinking Lucozade for energy. I wasn’t sure if I was feeling the norovirus, the pregnancy or both but gratefully I made it through the day!
Things started to get a little easier after this. The stables smell wasn’t so apparent anymore and I didn’t have to rest every hour. My impending trip to South Africa was looming and all thoughts of ‘can I do this?’ was all I could think about. The long haul flight, the long working hours, and of course now I was almost 11 weeks pregnant and was starting to show. Could I keep up the pregnancy secret for the week we were shooting?
I’m now in my second trimester and looking back on this seems like a distant memory. I am feeling on top of the world (most of the time) and I did manage to find some great remedies that helped me along the way. To confirm, I am not a doctor, I am not medically trained, but I am pregnant and just because they worked for me doesn’t necessarily mean they will work for you but I hope they do!
For nausea/morning sickness –
- A Weleda homeopathic remedy called Nux Vom. I took this every day and it did feel like it was making a difference.
- Drinking herbal tea from Myrtle & Maude.
- Wearing travel sickness bands around my wrists. This worked well but of course I can’t wear these when I’m at work!!
- Ginger! Eat or drink it – ginger is your friend.
- Take Vitamin B6.
- Mia & Dom Morning Sickness Balm
- Nibbling on plain crackers throughout the day does take the edge off a little. I found having an empty stomach made it worse. I carried crackers around with me everywhere I went!
- Bubbles. Drinking sparkling water, Coke, Lucozade, Ginger Beer really helped me.
- Chewing gum – I chewed a lot of gum when I was working on set shooting (much to the photographers annoyance). I think I did this to take my mind off feeling sick and the minty taste made me feel slightly better. Only downfall is, this made me hungry, which can trigger more nauseas so make sure those crackers are around!
- Laugher. On my really off days I would YouTube things that I knew would make me laugh, like funny cats for example. Laughter really is the best medicine!
If you’re in your first trimester and you’re feeling like a bag of spanners I hope this will bring you some light at the end of the tunnel. This too shall pass – just keep your eye on the prize!
See you next week