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What I Ate During Severe Morning Sickness

When I had severe morning sickness, a.k.a hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), no one could cook in our kitchen because the smell made me vomit. Instead my family ate take-out or processed food. I was only able to eat food that was absolutely fresh and made for me (but not in my kitchen). I could not eat anything unless I craved it with every cell of my being and it had to be the exact thing I craved or else I would not be able to keep it down, let alone eat it.

The perfect steak

I remember when I hadn’t eaten in 3 days and suddenly all I could think about was steak with mashed potatoes. It had to be from a particular restaurant near our house; a fancy place. My husband at the time got me take-out and I can still remember waiting for him to walk in the door. Salivating, I opened the container and saw that it was garnished with scallions. I nearly puked, because this slivered green addition was not what I had so carefully envisioned and been craving and there was no way I could eat it. My husband went back for another steak take-out dinner without scallions.

The lobster roll…

Another time, I craved a lobster roll and it had to be from Faneuil Hall. I called my husband out of class at graduate school and together we drove there in rush-hour. I couldn’t wait another minute! If you know Boston, you know how bad traffic there is. I didn’t care and my husband was kind enough to drive me puking the whole there obsessing the entire ride about that lobster roll going into my mouth. By the time we got there I was drooling. This was my first craving in days so I had not eaten, or at least not kept anything down in close to 5 days. We pulled up to the place and I went in and got two lobster rolls. I ate the first one right there at the counter and ate the other in the car; kept them both down too 🙂

This is how it went, minute after minute, hour after hour, day after day. I was lucky if I craved something. When I didn’t, I would agonize about what I could eat and starved in the meantime. It was pure torture.

Food magazines

imagesI spent hours thinking about food, hoping a craving would hit me.  My mother-in-law gave me the idea of leafing through food magazines in hopes of finding something that would perk my interest. Healthy eating flew out the window. I just needed to eat. Which was ironic, for I was a trained personal therapeutic chef who had studied macrobiotic/traditional Japanese cooking for years prior to my pregnancies. I was completely interested in how certain foods can heal the body. I had planned to write a book about eating well during pregnancy, lol. That idea went out the window, just like most of the food I ate.

Fast food and take-out…

I ate double cheeseburgers from Burger King, fish sandwiches with tartar sauce from McDonald’s, chef salad with ranch dressing from Whole Foods, toasted cinnamon-raisin bagels with cream cheese from Bruegger’s Bagels, cheese curls dipped in peanut butter, eel sushi with tomato slices, hungry man t.v. dinners, spaghettiOs ‘n meatballs straight from the can, and french fries slurped down with a chocolate shake from Friendly’s.

I was not a pig…

This post makes me sound like a pig, but I wasn’t. On the contrary, I would wait for days on end to crave any of the above and sometimes another few hours for that craving to build up big enough so I could physically eat it. It was a mental thing and it’s hard to explain. Then I’d go hungry again – the curled up in a fetal position kind of hungry – to wait for another craving to hit.

Find your angel…

I spent a lot of time in the ER at Brigham & Women’s Hospital for re-hydration treatments. It was there that I met Miriam and I highly recommend you look her up to consult with or buy her books. She’s an angel with a big bag of tricks. Like, keeping a piece of fresh lemon in your pocket to smell. Or, sucking on ice cubes or crushed ice for water. To remind you that this sickness is not in your head and to make sure that you don’t fall into the trap of believing that’s true. Because it’s not. To tell you that it’s okay to stick your other kids in front of the t.v. for 12 hrs. a day while you’re laying on the bathroom floor growing them another baby brother or sister. That everyone will be okay.

Everything is okay, you just have a severe health condition. It’s called Hyperemesis gravidarum.

Hello cavities…

Not only did I lose my baby (graphic photo), but teeth too. I went from 1 cavity to 13 in the year after my 1st was born. With my 2nd, I had 2 teeth pulled. With my 3rd, I had another 4 pulled plus 15 more cavities. I had to get put under just to have my teeth cleaned because my teeth were that sensitive and I walked out each time with another cavity it seemed.

I’d lost so much enamel on my teeth from all the vomiting I did while pregnant. I threw up every few minutes and was lucky to make it an hour. Every time it was like battery acid in my mouth, more so if I had an empty stomach. This also caused my gums to recede and not to mention the state of malnutrition I’d been in WHILE growing a baby of skin and bones. 


After experiencing severe morning sickness 3 times I have lived and learned it and I’m devoted to helping others. Sometimes that’s by writing posts like this. Other times, I offer support by phone or email for women with morning sickness of any degree. Mild and temporary or severe and endless. Please share, share, share this post. There’s just not enough help for women with HG ?

Morning Sickness…10 foods for all shades of grey

Morning Sickness X 100…meet hyperemesis gravidarum

Severe Morning Sickness…been there, done that

If you know a mom in the throes of this HELP HER. Don’t wait for her to ask you for help as she probably won’t, she’s lost in a hole of survival. By helping her cope, you can stop a condition which, left to itself, can require hospitalization. Dehydration occurs after 1-2 days of persistent vomiting, so watch for this along with malnutrition and consult her doctor in case she needs hospitalization. Though there can be underlying physical causes for severe vomiting during pregnancy, please don’t think for a minute that her vomiting is psychically based.

May all bellies be happy!

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2 comments to What I Ate During Severe Morning Sickness

  • Tara

    Wow, I don’t think ‘No to Morning Tea’ was out when I was pregnant. I am happy to have this to add to the collection here! I wonder what makes it work? As it doesn’t seem so strong in herbs – mainly lemon. Though I’ll say that smelling lemons and sipping lemonade and lemon sorbet all helped me feel more clean and clear inside. Here’s a link for anyone who is interested

  • Bethel Madison

    I was prescribed with Zofran but didn’t work for me then tried an organic tea as told by a friend called No to morning sickness tea that worked wonder and my nausea vanished as it didn’t appear.

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