Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A Diary of Early Pregnancy.3

-- Eating restrictions and prescriptions. Well, first of all, there is the nausea and the cravings, which for me go hand in hand--I want gentle foods like fruit and soup. But secondly, there are a thousand a half things you shouldn't eat (such as deli meats and unpasteurized brie and feta and goat cheese). Then, there are the thousand and a half things you are supposed to eat--like twice as much protein (I barely eat protein normally, and now I'm supposed to have loads of it?!) and fish, but not mercury-heavy fish. Francisco and I want to eat more fish, but we're not exactly good about doing that. Plus, there's the fact that you need to eat basically constantly--from the time you wake up to the time you go to bed, you are eating small meals, for a couple of reasons: to ward of nausea (which results from low blood sugar), and in my strictly non-medical opinion, because your stomach doesn't have room to expand too much, so you have to eat in small chunks throughout the entire day. Now, I ate a lot before I got pregnant. I guess I'm not eating more now (since I haven't really gained any weight yet), but I am eating constantly. Like, there is always some snack sitting beside my bed. I buy and carry loads of snacks with me. Getting ready to go to school for the day involves making 18 meals. I don't like to think about food a lot; now it feels like it's the primary thing I'm thinking about. 

--I think about everything now in terms of babies--from the peanuts that I take out of the shell to the butternut squash with those pesky seeds, attached by long skinny strings, which now make me think of umbilical cords. I found the puppy/horse Superbowl commercial endlessly adorable:

Plus, I suspected strongly that we were expecting all through midnight mass on Christmas Eve, and we found out for sure on Christmas Day, all of which made me think about the theological importance of having children--with Mary, we wait expectantly and hopefully for our child's birth. Having children itself is an act of hope--if you despaired, you wouldn't bring another life into the world. 

“To someone who says, ‘I can’t deal with a risk of breast cancer,’ I would say: ‘Look, there are all kinds of risks. You and your children are going to be hostage to fortune and no amount of testing is going to change that,’ ” Mr. Wasserman said. (From "Ethics Questions Arise as Genetic Testing of Embryos Increases")

When the possibility of genetic testing came up, we were sort of thrown off--I had only known about amniocentesis, testing that carries its own risks, which I wasn't willing to accept. Now there are perfectly safe genetic tests that just analyze your blood. I have no moral problems with these genetic tests (because obviously we wouldn't choose not to have our child because of any genetic disorders we discovered). And it might be nice to have a head's up. However, Francisco was less interested, because, he says, having children will lead to tons of uncertainty and risk and problems that we can't predict and we can't try to figure out in advance--we have to get in the practice of having faith and accepting difficulties as they come. I think he's probably right. 

~ Right now I feel like a baby-growing machine that doesn't get to have dietary preferences, it just has to shove as much protein into its mouth as possible. Did you know that pregnant women are supposed to have 71 grams of protein per day?--That's significantly more than a non-pregnant person, and even far more than an adolescent male. The problem is, I'm just not that into meat (especially buying and cooking it--I hate touching raw chicken). So I'm trying to up the beans and lentils/dairy/nuts/fish part of my diet, too, as well as the meat. It just feels like a daunting task: before I just ate when I was hungry, whatever sounded good to me. Now I eat like a baby-growing machine, which is just not that fun. (And I haven't even started in on exercising, which I don't really like and now am trying to do regularly.)


Miss Self-Important said...

Congratulations! This is so exciting! (So much for NFP.)

I once came across a paper on morning sickness as an evolutionary adaptation that helps pregnant women protect against toxins dangerous to the fetus. I guess that also accords with your observations about suddenly craving healthy food? (Although it might also suggest that your prior diet was toxic!) In any case, you can probably find the paper somewhere via Google.

Emily Hale said...


Ha--interesting. Also, in the case of severe morning sickness, the fetus can be protected from almost everything:)

I'm pretty sure my prior diet was entirely toxic. It's funny how I don't mind those toxic things for myself (can't wait till I give birth and so I can have a glass of wine and a cigarette), but would do anything I could to avoid giving them to my baby. (I once sat in a room in which someone had smoked and you could still smell it, and I basically tried to barely breath for an hour so as to minimize the second-hand exposure.)

Miss Self-Important said...

Here is some version of the evolutionary vomiting thesis:

I prefer to think that civilized pleasures like wine and cigarettes are not simply toxic (ok, well, cigarettes might be), but that fetuses simply haven't reached the degree of moral and aesthetic cultivation necessary to appreciate them, and so must be protected from themselves by your better judgment. This makes the difference b/w a fetus and an average 16-year-old less stark, so maybe you'll feel better about it when it's been 16 years since you last experienced the pleasures of inebriation.

Emily Hale said...

Spices?! Uh-oh. I've been eating tons of Indian food!

Ha--hope I don't have to give up all the good things for 16 years!

Miss Self-Important said...

Oh no, don't freak out about the spices! If you don't throw them up, then they're probably fine.

Miss Self-Important said...

Besides, Indians successfully have babies all the time, judging by the population size.

Emily Hale said...

Ha. Good point. (Turns out everything's toxic:)