(Not my tummy)
I’ve recently been detailing the horrific horrificness of acute morning sickness (aka all day sickness) on my blog and over on my Facebook page (you may have been following…if not, welcome to this delightful world!)
I suffered awfully with my first pregnancy and ended up on medication and IV drips to try and counteract it. I had sincerely hoped for an easier pregnancy this time around, but to little avail. I have felt pretty much the same, except on a more positive note, I’ve been able to control it a little more because I’ve not had a 9-6 office job to get to every day (I’ve largely hidden in the apartment for the past three months if you really want to know the truth…)
Because I was so busy working and needing to function around other human beings with my first pregnancy, I relied heavily on medication – Zofran – to feel remotely human and keep the sporadic vomiting at bay. It was an awful awful period of my life, not in the least helped by the utter worry in taking a medication to which the leaflet officially states “not advised during pregnancy”.
I was assured it was safe, and my son was born perfectly healthy, but still, using medication to keep the sickness at bay with baby number two has given me the same anxieties. Because of this, I have definitely suffered through a lot more sickness, because the martyr in me says “you’re at home”. It’s true I suppose, but it’s still been incredibly hard, and I’ve basically hated my life since September this year until around the last week or so.
I’ve tried it all too – all the magical foods and drinks that are meant to “help”. Nothing so infuriates me as to when someone implies that I feel sick because I am not controlling the food that goes into my body. “Drink some Miso soup, it’ll really help” (please go die) “Try and nibble on nuts, it’ll keep your blood sugar up” (no, please, no, I literally can’t), or my favourite “Eat ginger! I’ve heard it really helps!” (It doesn’t, and it really burns my throat when it comes back up…) My personal favourite this time has been my MIL telling me to eat a boiled egg “before my feet touch the floor in the morning” – if my feet touch the floor, I’ll been f*cked for the rest of the day. She is so sweet though, it genuinely made me smile, which is worth its weight in gold when you feel so ill.
I’ve said this many times before, but my favourite thing about blogging is sharing experiences and connecting with other mothers living on a similar spectrum to me. Through this, I had many ladies who suffered from acute pregnancy sickness advise that I try a more holistic approach in the form of acupuncture.
Now, my sister is very much into hocus pocus therapies. They seem to really work for her! She is definitely the “spiritual one” in the family. And as much as I would love to believe in these things, I am a tad more skeptical. I therefore put the notion of acupuncture to the side for a few weeks, before one day desperately calling my Doctor to ask her opinion. “Yes, it can be known to help. Try it and see.” So I booked in!
I had a mix of anxiety, excitement and intrigue at my first appointment. I was feeling rather queasy as it was, despite having taken medication to enable me to drive and physically get to the clinic. However, the idea of needles being prodded into my skin was not helping at all! The practitioner was lovely though and explained what she would do, and how it would help. I don’t have the lingo down, but in short, acupuncture is an ancient Chinese practice that works by inserting tiny needles into energy channels in the body. This helps to disrupt and release the flow of any bad energy, and enhance the flow positive healing energy. She informed me that my pulse was rather weak, and at the very least the acupuncture should help increase my energy levels (yes, I thought…wouldn’t it be wonderful to get up the stairs without feeling out of breath!)
I laid down on the bed, and she explained that she would put three needles in my tummy, one just beneath each collarbone, and one in each ankle. She spent about 30 seconds in each location identifying the correct channel spot to insert the needles, and then “pop”, would place them in.
So how did it feel? Well, I felt the tiniest prick for some going in, but not in a painful sense (a cat clawing you with affection is much more painful!) and then some I did not feel at all. I’d say the tummy was the most sensitive area. I also did not dare look at the needles, so don’t ask me how big they were! After that she dimmed the lights and let me lay for about 30 minutes while the needles did their energy work.
So, honestly? Despite my best intentions to have an open mind about it, the skeptic in me got the better, and I lay there for about 20 of the 30 minutes thinking “what a load of utter crap”. Oops.
She recommended two more treatments however, so despite my feelings, my politeness overcame me and I booked them in. I drove home and the fell to sleep – I was completely wiped and felt like that for the rest of the day with on and off nausea.
The next day however – no sickness! No nausea! I was absolutely shocked. Yes my energy levels were down, and I could feel the nausea at the edges trying to sneak in. But honestly, it was the best I had felt in weeks! I even managed a trip to the pool with the little one. It was like having life breathed back into me! The following day, however, bleurgh, back to square one. I was sick sick sick. “Ah well, at least I got one day of relief” I thought to myself.
My next appointment was two days later, to which I related my experience. “That’s positive!” she said (“really?!” I thought…) She conducted the same treatment with the needles in the same locations. This time, I really paid attention to the sensation of the needles – one in my ankle and one in my tummy felt very, shall we say, “alive” during the session. I really wanted to believe that evil energy was being released.
The following day was busy for me – I had my lovely Mum and Nana visiting, which was really a godsend in terms of entertaining the tot. I felt bad though, and really felt I needed to be out and about showing them the city. We also had a trip to the doctors for an ear infection Zachy had been suffering, which resulted in us being out of the house the majority of the day. I had to take medication to get through the driving, but I definitely noticed an increase in my energy levels (patience, on the other hand, was still at zero!)
Three days later and I was back for another appointment. I explained that my energy levels were up, but the sickness was still there. She felt my pulse and confirmed that it was “much stronger” and that also the signs of dehydration on my tongue were decreased. The same insertion procedure was followed, and I actually really enjoyed just lying on the bed in silence letting the needles work their magic. We agreed to book another treatment a week later, and to see how I went over the 7 days.
And honestly? Much improved! I was 15 weeks by this point and was finding the days much more bearable. Yes, the nausea was there a little, and I had little energy, but that constant feeling of death had much diminished. Yes, you could say “Oh, 15 weeks, it was probably naturally coming to an end” – but I know in my heart that is not true. It would have gone on, as it did with my first pregnancy, up until week 20. I just know. I know too because I felt that masked feeling – as if the sickness was there, desperately trying to get out, but something was keeping it at bay.
A week later, I went for my fourth treatment. I explained how much more positive the week had been, and she in turn concurred this by the strength of my pulse, the colour in my cheeks and the colour of my tongue. The same procedure was again administered. By this point the insertion of the needles did not bother me at all – I even somewhat enjoyed it (though I still did not dare look at them in my body, urgh!) I felt one under my collarbone and one in my tummy be particularly active this time and I embraced the sensation.
We agreed to see how I went after this treatment, and if I felt a top-up session required, to book in when I liked. She popped in a couple of “pressure plasters” (basically little plasters with tiny tiny needles that sit in your skin for three days) and told me to press them if I felt any sickness at all. I pressed them a lot over the three days…just in case!
I am now 17 weeks and I feel like a completely different person. The urgent need to vomit each morning has gone. I have more energy, and I would say 90% of the day is spent without nausea. Unfortunately Zachy and I got taken down by the most awful flu bug last week. I was in bed for a good 4 days which really depressed me after just starting to feel better. I was violently sick about four times, but I cannot be sure if this was flu or pregnancy related – I honestly think they both exacerbated the other. I’m getting over it now and am just at the delightful snotty stage with a cough that makes me sound like I’ve been smoking since the day I was born. Sexy!
My husband kept promising “this is the last of it, once you feel better you’ll feel completely better!” I think he may be right. Since getting over the flu I’ve been out the house a lot with my husband and son, which is a massive step (my only desire last weekend being to “escape” so we headed off into the tranquility of the desert and had a morning picnic – fresh air, sunshine, silence, and my boys – it was perfection). I’ve also enjoyed a couple of mall trips to play areas with my boy (oh and an awful tantrum trip to a Mummy event with him yesterday, but I’m going to let that slide…)
I’ll be 18 weeks on Sunday and I feel happy and excited about life again. I know it sounds dramatic, but it honestly is the hardest thing to feel happy when you feel so nauseous. I never really got the “appetite” with my first pregnancy. I still don’t take much pleasure in eating yet and I don’t get excited about meals (a shame as I do usually love eating), but I am hoping as Christmas approaches, along with that magic 20 week mark, that simple pleasures such as this will come back to me. I really enjoyed the second half of my first pregnancy, and I really hope I can say the same for this one.
So, overall, what do I think to acupuncture for morning sickness?
Honestly, though skeptical at first, I do think it works. Something shifted in me. Be it a placebo effect, or something more, my body stepped up a gear and the nausea has been channeled elsewhere. Maybe it is a load of waffle, but then maybe it is not. I had so many ladies vouch for the positive effect it had on them when suffering. In my opinion, it’s definitely worth a try, especially if it can get you off the medication and get that peace of mind.
Did you try acupuncture or any other holistic therapies to help with a difficult pregnancy? What were your experiences?
P.s. I am based in Dubai. I have purposely not disclosed the clinic or the practitioner, but if you are based here and would like to know, I would be more than happy to share the details. Just hop over to my Facebook page and send me a private message.