Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Princess is Preggers

Big news from the U.K. Kate is great ... with child. Royal watchers everywhere are thrilled. 

But the poor Duchess of Cambridge has a rare condition called hyperemesis gravidarum. This is the formal medical term for acute morning sickness. In addition to what must be acute misery, Kate now has to be careful about dehydration and weight loss.

Let's face it, she didn't have a whole lot of weight to begin with. 

When I was pregnant, nearly sixteen years ago, I suffered from severe morning sickness myself. Except, in my case, the term "morning sickness" was really a misnomer. My nausea was not limited to any particular hour. It hit — and hit hard — pretty much all day, every day. And, while most expectant mothers feel some relief after about week twelve, mine lasted twenty-four weeks.

What can I say? I was always an overachiever.

My doctors were concerned. It was probably around the third month of my term when they called in one of their colleagues to have a serious heart-to-heart.

"You know," he told me, "It's not a good idea to diet while you're pregnant."

I explained that I wasn't dieting; it was just that nothing stayed down. He didn't seem convinced and prescribed a pint of ice cream each night for a week, followed by another visit.

"Sure," I agreed. "I love frozen yogurt."

"No," he corrected me. "Ice cream. The real stuff. Not light, not low-fat. A full pint of high test Ben & Jerry's each night and then we'll see."

I did eventually stop throwing up and I did gain weight. In fact, by the time my now teenage daughter was born, I had put on an absolutely respectable 29 pounds. Oh, but those first six months were horrible!

Kate is currently in hospital and under the finest of care, I have no doubt. But, if she were my BFF, here's some advice I would give her:

1. Figure out where the best public restrooms are on your way to and from work — just in case.

Please note: this first and fairly important suggestion is proof positive (as if proof were needed) that Kate Middleton is, in fact, not my BFF. She doesn't have to work, and I sincerely doubt she spends much time in public restrooms. But I digress ...

2. Try to find a McDonald's that turns its milkshake machine on at breakfast time. I don't know what's in it (chalk, maybe?), but a chocolate milkshake is a powerful early morning nausea prophylaxis.

3. Keep breath mints, a travel toothbrush and toothpaste in the glove compartment.

4. Crab rangoons. Really. Deep-fried cream cheese and crab. Not high on my hit parade until I was pregnant, but they did the trick thereafter. Today, my daughter is firmly convinced that this particular craving is responsible for her own predilection for pu pu platters.

5. Ginger. Yes, I know everyone recommends drinking ginger ale. (That's why my husband can't stand it as a healthy adult — because of all the times he had to drink it as a sick child.) But, there are other more sophisticated ways to imbibe. Kate should have one of the royal staff swing down to the nearest sushi bar and order a heaping side of pickled ginger. Then eat it delicately with bejeweled chopsticks. Hold the raw fish and seaweed, by all means.

They say there's a chemical released after a woman gives birth that makes her forget the excruciating pains of labor. (Otherwise, we would all be — and have — an only child.) So, while I certainly know how long I was grunting and groaning, I can't recall the physical sensation of those fourteen hours. But, I can absolutely remember the non-stop nausea. The times I dipped behind a dumpster, had to ask my in-laws to pull over on our way to a wake, and struggled through a lovely birthday dinner, knowing full well I was going to experience it twice. Ugh.

Was I miserable? Of course.

Was it worth it? Of course.

Did it give me something to hold over my daughter's head whenever she displeases me? You betcha.

Good luck, sweet Kate. And do try the crab rangoons. 

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