Heartburn During Pregnancy–Life Goes On

mother gazing at pregnant bellyFor me, the heartburn didn’t begin until Week 36, but that week seemed to make up for all those before. Once we got to Week 37, it lightened up, for the most part, and then I had only minor bouts, here and there, throughout the last four weeks.

Thankfully, our midwife recommended papaya enzyme, early on, as a just-in-case suggestion. We got a small bottle of the chewable tablets, to have if we needed them, and we ended up getting more. It was really nice to have an option that was totally safe for both me and the unborn baby I was carrying…an option that worked, no less!

Besides munching the papya tablets, I discovered that constantly sipping water helped and drinking anything acidic (coffee, for instance) made life miserable. Only problem with the water was the obvious result of taking in large quantities of non-diuretic liquids. As a receptionist, there were limits on my being able to step away from the desk, so I had to plan ahead. Evenings and weekends were great, though, for keeping the heartburn at bay, unless I decided to lie down. It was rather a vicious cycle, as I was exhausted and desperate to lie down, completely horizontal. Gravity proved to be a nasty foe, making the heartburn worse if I got my upper body lower than a 45-degree angle, or so.

Plenty of sleep, as it could be gotten, seemed to help the heartburn, as it seemed to help pretty much everything. I don’t know–it may have been all in my head–but whether it was or not, sleep makes everything better, before pregnancy, during pregnancy, after pregnancy. I just had to do some creative propping when trying to nap or sleep through the night. We had an odd assortment of pillows on the bed during those last few months, trying to find the balance between actually being able to sleep and having my head elevated enough to keep the heartburn at bay.

It’s funny, too–one of the common pregnancy myths, as I was frequently reminded, is that if the expectant mother experiences heartburn, the baby will be born with hair. I assume that the frequency and intensity of the heartburn should indicate the quantity of hair. After our daughter was born with a full head of decent-length black hair, many people asked if I’d had heartburn. My answer, pretty much every time, was that I hadn’t had enough heartburn to warrant all that hair!

In the middle of an “attack,” heartburn can make life pretty uncomfortable…downright miserable, sometimes…but “this, too, shall pass.” It really is amazing how much of the discomfort fades in the memory, fading more as the memory becomes more distant. We have often wondered, over the past few months, how any mother can even consider doing all this again! As much joy as a baby brings, there’s also a whole lot of discomfort, sleeplessness, and expense involved. If it weren’t for a strange variety of amnesia, we figure that most families would stop with one child. The older our baby gets, the closer we get to joining all those other parents in that state of blissful forgetfulness….

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