On… a bun in the oven

I’m totally knocked up.


I know! Yah. I had sex. Twice now, apparently, since I also have a baby boy named Errol who is nearly two and therefore must stop being referred to as ‘a baby’.

So far the pregnancy has been… well, I’m not going to lie to you, my friends, it’s been shitty. For months I’ve had a constant feeling of seasickness and threw up between four and 12 times a day – or night. I wake up at 3am and puke half-asleep, or wake starving and eat a huge lovely breakfast and feel happy and fine and then hiccup and puke, or I have a good vom-free afternoon then throw up so hard all evening that I burst a blood vessel in my eye. (It happened.)

Pregnancy sickness is not very well understood. People think you wake up, have a tiny retch, eat a pickle and some icecream and go about your day. No. It’s an unpredictable storm of nausea and vomit, and you stuff in food when you can and try to breathe when you can’t. It is like being in charge of a mean drunk called Your Body. You have no control over what it might do next, but you know it’s probably going to suck.

And the thing is, nothing helps. No, ginger doesn’t help. Ginger is bullshit. Stop with your ginger. Acupuncture, seasickness bands, sniffing lemons, chewing ice, extra vitamin B, all bullshit. My lovely doctor put me on some crazy pills, but they were bullshit too.

The other thing about about extreme pregnancy sickness is that no-one really believes you unless they had it too. Women who haven’t had babies blatantly think you’re making it up. Most women who have had babies also think you’re making it up, and say things like ‘I had like mild hangover-like nausea, but I just ate some crackers and it was fine!’ I always smile and say ‘I’ll try that!’, thinking, that’s not nausea, darling.  That’s low blood sugar. Nausea is being unable to walk without hanging onto the wall because you feel like you’re going to fall over. It’s vomiting in your mouth in a crowded hot elevator and swallowing it like soup (well, what else could I do?). It’s hiding behind trees in playgrounds so you can retch without scaring children, while Errol pats your legs comfortingly, and your friend Sarah shouts ‘she’s PREGNANT! Not DRUNK!’ in case someone sees and, you know, calls child services.

Worst of all are the women who say ‘Oh no, I didn’t have anything like that, I think it’s all in the mind, I barely even noticed I was pregnant, I was running 25 miles a day until week 39 and then I went into a field and coughed and out came a baby!’ and I inwardly narrow my eyes and thought-hiss wellfuuuuccckkyouuuuuuu. 

The only two good things about pregnancy are that 1. There’s a deadline, and 2. You get a baby afterwards.

Babies are good. Babies are worth it.

It’s good to know that this time. My excitement about a new baby (a new BABY!) is far outweighing my misery about the vomiting. The first time you’re pregnant, it’s impossible to fully comprehend there’s a real baby coming, someone you’re going to love for the rest of your life. The idea is too huge and surreal to process. (At least, it was for me. I’m very stupid like that.) And you don’t know how joyful and fun it’s going to be (it is, I promise). So I was pretty miserable with vomiting and various other issues later in the pregnancy. This time, I’m just so fucking excited. A whole new baby. A perfect little person. I can handle a bit of vom. So what if I need to carry a plastic bag on me at all times I case of spontaneous vomit? Shit happens. I mean puke. Puke happens.

Plus, it could be worse. I’m a writer. I can pretty much stay home all the time if I need to. As long as I have my laptop and a bucket next to me, it doesn’t make much difference. I can’t imagine how impossible life must be if you have this and have to get up everyday and go to an office or be a teacher or doctor or something important. In fact, I’ve probably gotten even more work done than usual, as writing is the perfect escape from feeling like shit. I can just slip into a world where I am not pregnant and almost forget… as long as I am not writing about food. (I wrote the first BROOKLYN GIRLS book when pregnant with Errol and just as sick, and had to write about food and food trucks. Oh my God, that made me throw up a lot. Even thinking about writing those chapters makes me feel sick now.)

We are currently in Ireland visiting Fox’s family, and on Thursday we head to France to meet up with my folks. So I’m hoping the sickness is nearly over. Because I plan on eating butter. Lots of butter. And when I get back to NYC in late August, I better be rocking the shit out of a sexy second trimester.

My favorite comment on pregnancy is from my friend Joanna, who at about six months pregnant,  apropos the fact that a tiny human in her body was probably growing teeth right that second, said thoughtfully: “it’s kind of gross, when you think about it.”



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