One More Thing I Have in Common With the Duchess of Cambridge
by Lauren Gallagher
Photograph by REX/Shutterstock
When I was a young girl, like many young girls of my age generation, I dreamed dreams of Prince William. We would meet randomly one day, perhaps after I had helped an elderly person cross the street and it would turn out that my madcap antics were the perfect anecdote for his stoicism.
Then he married Kate and my decadent dreams were dashed. I watched their beautiful wedding forlornly from my bed in the middle of the night, mourning the loss of what could have been a great and enduring love while my husband slept soundly by my side. But as the great thinker Kahlil Gibran once said, "If you love somebody let them go …" and so that is exactly what I did with my erstwhile prince.
But then Kate got pregnant. And then Kate got very sick. And suddenly the world was aware of this thing called hyperemesis gravidarum. Which was both helpful and extraordinarily unhelpful when I then got pregnant and I then got very sick and needed to explain it to people.
Now Kate, aka the Duchess of Cambridge, is pregnant with Baby No. 3, which Kensington Palace announced on Sept. 4, and I'm reminded of all the sickness and all the questions I've gotten about it.
"Isn't that the thing that Kate Middleton had?" people would inevitably ask. "Yessss, but …" I'd reply, anticipating their rejoinder. "How glamorous!" or once "I'll bet that's why Kate got back into such fab shape mere weeks after having George! You'll be baring your taut tummy at a sand volleyball game in no time!"
Spoiler alert: That part did not happen to me.
As much as I tried to explain the absolute awfulness that was hyperemesis, I could never quite get my point across. So I have created a timeline of just one day of my pregnancy.
6 a.m. My husband leaves for work. I clutch the toilet for a while. Not pearls, toilet.
7 a.m. I accidentally think about putting on pants. The thought of anything touching my skin right now … shudder … Hello, toilet, old friend.
7:55 a.m. THREE HUNDRED SECONDS UNTIL I CAN TAKE ZOFRAN OH THANK GOD. 300, 299, 298, 297 …
8 a.m. I take Zofran, wait for it to kick in and then use the next 30 minutes to brush my teeth and wash my hair and drink a large glass of milk, praying that it stays down this time.
9:30 a.m. Hello, milk, old friend. (I drank lots of milk during this time in my life. It was the only thing that actually tasted better on the way back up. It was like a backwards milkshake.)
10 a.m. My husband calls to check in, "I'm doing OK today," I say, "I think I finally got an idea for a new blog post: "Milkshakes and Backwards Milkshakes: Always doing the opposite of what you want them to with your weight." He says that's not very good. Abandon idea. Cry.
I accidentally think about putting on pants. The thought of anything touching my skin right now … shudder … Hello, toilet, old friend.
11 a.m. Five more hours until I can take Zofran again. Turn head the wrong way, get wretchedly sick.
12 p.m. Cry because someone said, "Lounging about the bathroom all day again? Well, aren't you a fancy princess" to my face. (It doesn't matter that the person that said that to me was myself in the mirror, it still happened.)
1 p.m. My husband comes home during lunch to play chauffeur to the doctor's office. I make him pull over halfway there so I can jump out of the car and get sick in the alley next to the post office. I see people staring so I panic and mumble, "And THAT is what I think of the price of stamps!" (Why did you just do that? What is wrong with you?)
2 p.m. The doctor weighs me (down 17 pounds so far) places an IV, renews the Zofran prescription and talks about considering a hospital stay.
3:30 p.m. I take a cab home, nervously clutching a plastic bag, but luckily make it without incident.
3:55 p.m. THREE HUNDRED SECONDS UNTIL I CAN TAKE ZOFRAN OH THANK GOD. 300, 299, 298, 297 …
5 p.m. My husband is home from work. I can tell he is opening the refrigerator one floor up because the smell of green peppers is everywhere. I get sick. Obviously.
5:30 p.m. He takes his dinner up to the fourth floor of our townhouse to grill and then eat on the balcony. It's 97 degrees outside. He's a pretty good husband.
6 p.m. Google "Does Kate make Prince William grill his meat on the balcony?"
Then I spend the rest of the evening drifting in and out of sleep on the couch, waking at 11:55 because …
11:55 p.m. THREE HUNDRED SECONDS UNTIL I CAN TAKE ZOFRAN OH THANK GOD. 300, 299, 298, 297 …
I finally fall into a deep sleep and dream dreams not of Prince William this time, but of his bride. We meet randomly one day. She's impeccable. I sidle up to her, "Kate?" I murmur. "Yes?" She demurs daintily. "When you're under the weather, where does Wills do his meats?" I wake up before security arrives.