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My First Official Craving…And It’s Drugs?

I’d sell my soul for Advil.  Really. I swear. I’d give anything for just one round, cherry coated tablet of ibuprofen. Generic drugstore brand would be fine. I’d even settle for half a pill. Help a sick, pregnant mama out. Please?

People ask me about cravings all the time. I feel like I’m letting them down when I admit I don’t really have any. Sure, there are things I’m tempted to eat that would normally be forbidden, like vanilla milkshakes and deep fried onion rings. But “wanting” and “needing” are two different things, and other than unusually high consumption of lemonade, my diet is pretty standard.

Since I don’t have any major pregnancy cravings of my own, I like to live vicariously through other women. I’ve heard them all: cookie dough ice cream, avocados, Fritos dipped in ranch dressing. The saddest stories are the longings that can’t be fulfilled—I have a diabetic friend who’s desperately craving Krispy Kreme doughnuts, a vegetarian cousin who dreams at night of bacon cheeseburgers. I never thought I’d end up with a forbidden craving of my own. Let alone one that involved over-the-counter pain relievers.

E came down with a runny nose last week, quite out of the blue. For her, it was 48 hours of restless sleep, and otherwise not much drama. But her rock solid immune system obviously didn’t come from my side. Two days later, I was sick. Seriously sick. Sore throat, body ache, stuffy head, don’t-talk-to-me-everything-hurts sick. And there was nothing I could take.

Of course this all happened on a Friday, and since having a cold doesn’t exactly qualify as a life-threatening emergency, I didn’t call my doctor. I grew up in a medical family, and the solution to every ailment—and I mean EVERY one—was always the same: Take two Advil every four hours, and you’ll be better in the morning. Other girls in my junior high toted around dainty blue tablets of Midol in their Espirit purses when they had their periods; I carried giant orange horse pills labeled ‘800mg IB.’ I have a surefire cure for any run-of-the-mill cold, and it involves homemade chicken soup (secret ingredients: garlic and parsley) and a whole lot of ibuprofen.

And Advil is really only a gateway drug to other things: medicated throat lozenges, Theraflu, the sweet numb bliss that comes with a shot of Nyquil. The chicken soup alone doesn’t cut it, as it turns out. I spent most of the weekend miserable on the couch, inventing games like “Let’s Stare At the Ceiling and Be Very Very Quiet” and sucking down mug after mug of decaffeinated tea. E was a good sport, mostly because I let her watch a whole month’s worth of Nick Jr. She was especially amused by our sudden switch to an all-liquid diet—smoothies for breakfast, milkshakes for lunch, soup for dinner. My poor, un-medicated sore throat just couldn’t handle anything that needed to be chewed.

Being pregnant means we have to watch every single thing that goes into our bodies. Which is easy enough to complain about as an abstract concept (poor me, no sushi) but not especially difficult to carry out in everyday life. But being sick—really, genuinely, wish-I-could-stay-in-bed sick—brought the situation to a whole new level. I wanted drugs. Really, really, really badly.

Monday morning finally came, and I swallowed my pride (what’s more embarrassing than calling a doctor to complain about a cold?) and called my OB. Some tears ensued. But the news was good—I could stop being a martyr. Tylenol was okay. So were throat lozenges and certain antibiotics in the event my cold turned into something really nasty. I even got the OK for a little Nyquil…ahhhhhhhh.

But my beloved Advil is still out of the question. So my number one craving, my only want-it-need-it-now-now-now item is off limits until after I give birth. Maybe I need to pick a new craving to distract myself from wanting drug—something really fun, like chocolate-covered pretzels or nachos with everything. I’m hoping that once this illness runs its course, I’ll have paid my dues and escape all other ailments, including headaches. Just to be on the safe side, I’ve gathered all the ibuprofen in the house and stashed it somewhere safe. Thanks to my pregnancy brain, I’ll never remember where it is.