Monday, June 8, 2009

a time to be sick...

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven." -
Ecclesiastes 3:1

Having two close friends who are currently pregnant and having had a baby myself only seven months ago, pregnancy is something that is never far from my mind. To be with child is to be a walking, breathing miracle... walking for two, breathing for two, and of course, eating for two!! You have this constant awareness that you are never alone. Everytime you look down, you may not be able to see your feet, but you are definitely never without a view of that belly... and what's (or who's) inside. Strangers offer to carry your groceries, let you skip in line, bend down and pick things up for you, even feed you, but these gestures don't even come close to the miracle that is taking place in the darkness of your womb on a daily basis for 9+ months.
Carrying my first miracle was, unfortunately, like a walking nightmare for 3 and a half months (from about week 6 until week 22) of my pregnancy. I was blessed with a condition known as hyperemesis gravidarum, let me translate into English, lots of vomiting! I will spare you the gruesome details, but nothing would stay in my stomach at times, and I had to be hospitalized twice before I was set up with home health care so that I could have an IV at home and also a mobile pump that would slowly release anti-nausea medication into the tissue of my thigh 24 hours a day. It was a glorious time to say the least. My diet consisted of banana popsicles, gatorade, crackers, cheese puffs, and tic tacs. While being a great way to lose weight (I lost about 18 pounds), it was no way to celebrate my first child being created inside my womb. And I was not very celebratory. I spent weeks and weeks asking G-d why....why did I have to be so sick, why couldn't I have an easy pregnancy like so-and-so, etc. Then I stopped asking Him anything. I was angry and sick and there was no end in sight... the days seemed eternities in and of themselves, and every morning I wished it would be different that day, but it continued.
I recall a bit of a turning point at around week 12. I was viewing an ultrasound of my little miracle, and it hit me that perhaps G-d wasn't punishing me. Perhaps He was teaching me something .... that there is a time for everything. There's a time to be sick and a time to be well. Countless other people were sick, and they did not have the joyous blessing that I had to look forward to. They were sick because they were sick. I was sick because I had a baby growing inside of me, and in a matter of months, I would be holding that baby in my arms and I would feel much better. I needed to look outside myself and think about what I could do with this suffering in the future. The author, Chinua Archebe, wrote, "Suffering should be creative, should give birth to something good and lovely." I was going to give birth to a baby, but what was my suffering going to give birth to? At the time, I did not know of anyone who was as sick as I was during pregnancy, although my mother came close. Therefore, no one's words could console me. However, now that I've been there and survived (and have a gorgeous baby girl to show for it), how can my words console another woman's suffering?
A song also had something to do with my healing. During my sickness, I watched many movies, and my dear husband made many trips to Blockbuster or Publix to make sure I had something to watch! After watching (and crying through) Charlotte's Web, I left it on during the closing credits, and heard the song that I had been needing to hear. You've probably heard it on CVS/pharmacy commercials: "Ordinary Miracle." I needed to stop thinking about how I felt and start thinking about what was going on in secret, the knitting together of my daughter, Elisheva (Hebrew, "G-d's solemn promise) Ruth (friend, companion). "Isn't it remarkable that things just work out after's just another ordinary miracle today...


  1. This is a really good post, and just what I needed to read. I'm almost 20 weeks pregnant, and I told a friend in an email the other day that the constantly feeling sick just makes me want to cry. Every time I start to feel better, I get a new symptom that makes me feel worse. Anyway, this post was very encouraging.

  2. good to hear that it encouraged you, robyn! this will always be one of my favorites! it's a rough time, but considering the big picture, doesn't last that long.... and the rewards of having that precious child make it all worth it! (i'm saying this because i'm also trying to talk myself into having another one despite the probability that I will be that sick once again! ;) anyway, congratulations and G-d's blessings on the rest of your preganancy!