Saturday, July 25, 2009

Morning Sickness, Fatigue and Having 8 Kids at Home

(Caution: This post could contain more than you cared to know about my bowel function. You've been warned.)

This was the one part of having a tenth child I was not looking forward to. With a large new home to keep clean, 5 school-age kids with tons of activites, a 3-year-old and 17-month-old twins, how was I going to keep up with even the most basic of responsibilies?

For two weeks after I discovered I was pregnant, there was no sign of nausea or fatigue. I actually began to worry that I had miscarried because things were just too easy. However, I wasn't to be disappointed. About 4 days ago, I was immediately struck with intense nausea, even to the degree of being painful. It was almost a relief that it had finally arrived, but I began to become disheartened because of the severity of it. That night, at about 3:00 in the morning, the diarreah struck. This might seem like an inconvenience that is easily dealt with, except for the fact that I sleep with two babies on either side of me. Even though we've graduated to no more middle-of-the-night feedings, they often use me as comfort and love to cuddle up close. As the diarreah struck over and over again, I was constantly having to push off a twin, sometimes waking him up. At one point, I finally had to wake John up and say, "Could you let the baby lean on you? I'm having an emergency!"

This difficult situation lasted for about 24 hours, and was coupled by severe fatigue. I knew I had contracted a stomach flu, but I continued to have deep concerns that this was the beginning of the first-trimester morning sickness/fatigue that would last into the fourth or fifth month, as with the 8 pregnancies before. I couldn't function. I left the kitchen unswept in the evenings, I called on the kids to take turn after turn babysitting the little ones, and the 14-year-old girl had to do all the cooking. I began to wonder if I would be able to do this on my own or if I would have to cave and hire a full-time maid, something to which I was vehemently opposed.

Two days later, I woke up with more energy than I'd had in weeks. The morning sickness was still there, but as long as I ate something as soon as possible after waking up, I was fine. I swept the mess on the floor from the night before and performed all of the tasks I normally accomplish in the morning. The kids did their "jurisdictions" (see THIS post) and everything was back to normal. After about 2 and a half hours after breakfast, the nausea crept up again, but I ate something and immediately felt better.

So this was it, I thought. The severe fatigue and nausea of the previous days were only due to the stomach flu which I discovered was being spread throughout the community, and what I was experiencing now was the normal discomforts of early pregnancy, which for me, is nausea every two hours, cured by eating the right foods, and tiredness.

Even though I felt TONS better than I had with the stomach flu, I decided I needed to come up with a coping strategy. I've decided that in order to stave off morning sickness, I will make a pre-emptive strike. Every two hours, whether I'm nauseated or not, I will put something into my stomach. Otherwise, if I wait til the nausea strikes, I will have to frantically prepare my food in a hunched over position and have to force down the food into an unwilling stomach. This new plan has been working wonders. Today, I never felt more than a tinge of queasiness!

As for tiredness and fatigue, something I can't afford right now, here's how I've decided to conquer that. In the morning, when I have energy, I try to focus on what I need to accomplish for the day and try to finish it before lunch time. At about noon, one of the kids prepares lunch, we feed the babies, bathe them, then I put them and the 3-year-old down for their naps. It is usually close to 2:00 by the time this routine is finished, so it's time for me to eat again. I make lunch and enjoy it while spending some time at the computer, then head to bed with the babies. I usually am able to sleep close to 2 hours during this time, which gives me the energy I need to finish the day, which usually includes staying up until midnight (or in this case, until 1:26 AM) blogging! I hope these tips I've discovered after only 8 pregnancies has been of use to some of you! Thanks for listening!

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Jarlin Paul said...

This is my first visit here and I enjoyed reading your posts.

I'm following your blog now. Invite you to my page and leave your comments.

Manda Mae said...

I really enjoy reading your blog... You are an amazing women with so much strength... I struggle with my 3 and wonder... HOW DO YOU DO IT WITH 8?? You are doing a wonderful job and I enjoy stopping by often 8-). YOu are an inspiration... THANK YOU FOR YOUR EXAMPLE!

Luvmy9 said...

Hang in there, Jen. This, too, shall pass. :) You're doing a great job and your organizational skills, which have always been impressive, are skyrocketing!

Cambria, Greg, Alan and Molly said...

WOW! That is so rough. I miscarried a few weeks ago, but during those first few weeks I noticed that if I ate every two hours I felt better too! I also was taking naps with the kids and that helped. I was bottling beans like crazy and eating black bean quesadillas all the time! So easy and quick and a good protien for that growing little baby! You are awesome and I am glad you are over the flu, not fun!

Amanda B. said...

Sorry to hear you have been sick! Morning sickness is no fun- especially with other kids around. I have never really had issues with morning sickness. In fact, with my first son- I had none at all- and since everyone always talked about morning sickness, I worried I would miscarry, but I didn't. With the twins, I had a little, but it wasn't bad and stayed away most of the time as long as I ate- just as you said.

Also- one other thought on this long comment. I haven't told hardly anyone because most people don't understand (including our families....) but we are strongly considering baby number 5. People don't get why I would have 4 kids, including twins and consider another. But, I know you understand. :) I applaud you! :)

Melinda said...

During my four pregnancies I NEVER had morning sickness so I can't say I know how you feel. I can only magine. I sure hope it gets better after 1st trimester. Good for you trying to find ways to cope with it. I bet your house gets pretty busy-- GOOD LUCK.

Erin said...

Wow, that sounds difficult! I'm glad you are getting a routine figured out so you can get things accomplished each day.

Pineapple Princess said...

New follower to your blog! :)

The Farmer's Wife said...

Oh Jen! I hope you get feeling better soon! The good news is that you have great kids to help you. Hugs and I am thrilled for you and #10....hey maybe you should consider that as the name....Ten! haha love ya! Thanks for your fun comments on Victoria;) Shelley