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My Cup Runneth Over, Also, I Need to Empty My Cup

August 8, 2011

or

Pregnancy Redux, Part 2: Ptaylism

I overheard my husband say to our son: “Look, Mommy’s like a pitcher for the Phillies!” I’m not even sure that baseball players dip anymore, but I am unfortunately keeping the tradition of spitting alive and well on this continent.

I’d like to preface this by saying that I know that pregnancy is a blessing. I am lucky and happy to be with child. But like many women, I find myself exhausted and even alienated by the attendant symptoms, and they are nothing if not top of mind, and I am going to write about them, because that is how I process things.

The latest is ptyalism, otherwise known as excessive salivation during pregnancy. It’s a strange condition that I got last time around, though this time it’s more extreme. I know this in part because in that piece I wrote back in ’08, I reference both taking a bath and riding a bike, and both of those are totally out of the question for me now.

In sum, I overproduce saliva and I need to spit it out every few seconds that I am awake. If I swallow it, I lose my lunch.

It’s quite uncomfortable, and it requires icky props and poor attempts at subterfuge, and it’s humiliating. It only goes away when I am sleeping or sometimes, if I am eating. But should I dare to eat sugar, the spitting escalates to an Olympic-level event.

So these days I carry around a bottle, or a cup, or I run into the bathroom to spit every few seconds. I also spit like a sailor onto the street, into the corners at the playground, into the plants skirting a building. Here, I will offer a brief and yet sincere blanket apology. I seriously cannot help this.

Sometimes I use a washcloth. The washcloth method of coping makes me feel like a mysterious lady with a clandestine ether-on-a-hanky addiction, rather than a rabid lady, powerless to her own salivary glands, who should be put down.

The problem with the washcloth method is that I end up carrying around washcloths soaking with my own spit. This is better than it sounds, and yet not great.

I’ve been severely limiting social interaction. This weekend I was scheduled to go to a party I was particularly looking forward to, and started to cry on the way out the door. Three weeks of spitting every 20 or so seconds really is getting to me. How was I going to manage, um, partying with others?

“Keep coffee grounds under your tongue,” a possibly deranged fellow-spitter on the Internet advised. However, if I’m retching up a storm as part of my daily life already, I do not see how sublingual anything, let alone grit I associate with trash, could help. Though I admit, the acids and tannins of coffee do seem to keep the spitting at bay better than anything else. Sipping a decaf iced coffee, and then another one, and then another one, actually seems to be the best state I can be in, other than sleep. Normally coffee is a no-no during pregnancy: hormones keeps your esophagus from closing properly so acid peeps up into your throat, but I’ve already shut down acid production with a wonderdrug called Prilosec.

My obstetrician said that all that she can suggest for the spitting, in fact, is Prilosec. Good God: what would this be like if I weren’t taking Prilosec? I upgraded to Prilosec after I started regularly throwing up the ice cream I needed to keep down my Mylanta.

Do you see what I am getting at? I am a damn mess: the Amy Winehouse of pregnant women, if you will. But I know that I am not alone.

First, I know that some other women are going through these other crazy weeks of spitting, though I primarily know this from the Internet.

But also, I felt some familiarly fluttery kicks over the last week. At first I dismissed them, knowing that it was too early. But then I read about it, and I was wrong: for the second time around, it is most certainly not too early to feeling kicking.

So when I get miserable, it helps to remember: I’m not alone, and I’m not doing this for nothing. My cup runneth over, in many many ways.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. Karen permalink
    August 8, 2011 11:49 am

    Oh Meredith, I am so sorry. I can imagine that a party would be tough. But… if you’d like to do ice cream at Qathra again, I bet no one there would notice. And I promise I won’t compare you to a baseball player.

    The fluttery kicks sound like a reasonable compensation…

  2. Heather permalink
    August 8, 2011 3:49 pm

    Nice. And you really are handling the spitting quite gracefully, I thought.

  3. secret admirer permalink
    August 8, 2011 8:16 pm

    I love the headline–and everything else!

  4. Chrissa permalink
    August 8, 2011 8:33 pm

    O, cruel and unusual punishment! If it’s an comfort at all, the last time I saw you I thought you were using a hanky to daintily dab a bead perspiration from your lady-like lip. And I extra-appreciate that you rallied to come out.

  5. Lilo permalink
    August 9, 2011 6:41 am

    What a bother! I can’t vouch for this myself, but I’ve heard that homeopathy is supposed to help many pregnancy complaints.

  6. Amy Daniewicz permalink
    August 12, 2011 6:50 pm

    Poor you. Seriously. That is horrible/hilarious/horrible. Keeping your eye on the prize sounds like all you can do–Haps II!

  7. Kelly permalink
    October 12, 2011 12:37 pm

    Ugh – awful. In the beginning of my pregnancy I was constantly stuffed up – like I had a bad cold. Then mercifully, it went away! I hope the saliva production reigns itself in soon!

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