Tag Archives: pregnancy

Less Alcohol/Caffeine/Dairy/Flour/Sugar is More Fun (well, at least it’s not significantly less fun)

A few weeks or so ago, my acupuncturist gave me a packet about ways to boost my fertility through nutrition. I sat on it and eventually decided that the fee was worth some confirmation and clarification about my diet. There is a lot of stuff about diet and nutrition on the Internet, a lot of it written by people who might have just read other stuff on the Internet. I figured someone with some actual training, not to mention the recommendation of my acupuncturist and chiropractor would be more helpful.

Because I can be a little…overachieving about such things, I took a few naptimes to generate a meal plan. I  started it one week and two days before my appointment because I wanted something concrete to go over during our meeting to make sure I had a grip on how to do this absolutely perfectly. Then we had our meeting, which was kind of like meeting with a food doula, and she did an incredible job filling in the gaps and providing some much appreciated clarification and explanation. She gave me permission to let go of the obsession to do this absolutely perfectly. And now I’m basically eating how we usually eat, on our best days. No alcohol, caffeine, dairy, flour or sugar, a lot more veggies, fruit, beans, nuts, whole grains and “super foods” of all kinds in easy to swallow capsules.

I thought it was miserably restrictive and the antithesis of all things fun and good in life, but over the course of that meeting there was some reset, and now I’m two weeks + three days in, and I’m in the same food-place I was when I moved to Kigali. I know there are a hundred and one things I could miss if I took the time to think about them, but why waste the energy? I would miss out on what I do have, which includes brownies that I don’t mind my daughter eating for breakfast/lunch/dinner.

In case you’re curious, here are some recipes that are keeping things pretty tasty on this side.

–       Smoothies

–       Sav’s Chocolate Chip Pancakes, which I actually prefer with fresh blueberries

–       Banana Muffins with Chocolate Chip Streusel Topping 

–       Kale Brownies (rated a 5 by my husband) or Chocolate Zucchini Muffins (rated an 8 by my husband)

–       Sunshine Cookies

–       (Crust-less) No-Bake Peanut Butter Pie

And I always appreciate another good recommendation!

Not Pregnant.

I spent 349 months before I got pregnant with Leila and 15 months after Leila was born not pregnant. Unfortunately they were completely worthless in terms of preparing me for these past 11 months. Now not pregnant has something attached to it. The more I’m not pregnant, the less I get used to it, the more I think about it.

I think about it when I eat or drink or go to the grocery store or limit my search for recipes to grain-averse, sugar-eschewing, paleo-friendly corners of the blogosphere. When I turn down a cup of coffee or a glass of wine or a cold beer because I might just maybe be pregnant, and I even start to forgo them when I know for sure I’m not because I want to do everything in my power to boost our future chances. I think about it when I eat that piece of chocolate Easter candy after my acupuncturist gave me some nutritional information, and sugar was most definitely on the avoid list. When I peruse the internet for how to prepare calf liver and try to decide whether I have the courage to buy it and prepare it and then actually eat it.

I think about it when I take Leila to classes, where it seems as if she is the only one without an older sibling at school or a younger sibling in a sling or a mama with a growing bump. I think about it at story time at the library when the theme is siblings, and I feel my face turn hot when I can’t prompt Leila to raise her hand when the librarian asks who has a brother or a sister.

I think about it every Wednesday morning since January 15th when I go to my acupuncturist or the 1st two minutes of my morning when I’m taking my temperature. When I go ahead and book appointments with fertility specialists because 11 months means we’re teetering on that line between “trying” and “infertile,” and I want to make sure we’ve got a net if we fall on the other side. And I’m wondering how far away we are from financing an adoption.

I think about it when people ask how old Leila is because that is often followed by “Do you want more?” and although I do not mind that question, I wince when it is followed by “Well, don’t wait too long.” When I answer by telling people “We’re trying” (shorthand for, “Yes, we are diligently having unprotected…”), or I start to try to preempt the question and end up oversharing and doing things like telling my yoga instructor we’re having trouble getting pregnant and I spent the class breathing into my uterus when all we were doing was talking about Leila.

And then I think about how much time I’m spending thinking about it.

But I am not alone is all this thinking. That is probably my favorite thing about blogs. It is always comforting to read the exact thing you were thinking written by someone you do not know all.

Pursuing a child is an absolute lifestyle. Some people don’t realize how much time it takes. It affects everything—the food you eat, your daily routine, the phone calls, the red tape, the appointments—it holds you back from pursuing other things. (A CUP OF JO)


i am not pregnant. i wish i was pregnant. but i am not pregnant. (Love Taza)

A Year Ago Today: A Middle

“The deepest pains may linger through the night,

but joy greets the soul with the smile of morning.”

Tuesday was much better. Leila’s official due date. One of the chiropractors was out, so I had to keep my original appointment for the following Monday, which surprisingly didn’t make me anxious. I intended to do a lot of work, but I was so tired. The week before I decided to quit my weekly yoga classes until after the baby was born, and I was not in the least tempted to drag my swollen belly through an hour of Forrest yoga this particular morning. Instead I took a leisurely two hour nap in the afternoon and went on a nice long walk with Wrigley. Ben and I had a nice evening together, thus completing the short list of physical activities rumored to induce labor. I doubted that either would work for that particular purpose, but I was hopeful that all was well with our baby and things would progress like they should. Ben was just about to turn out the light when I felt some cramping. I knew I had no other signs of labor and this was probably just my body practicing, but I could not help but feel incredibly giddy. Ben told me to try to relax and get some rest (as he did many times that night), but I was excited and hopeful. I watched our usual episode of Seinfeld and felt my body continue to cramp. When I hadn’t fallen asleep by the end, I tried another episode knowing that was usually enough to lull me to sleep. I was still awake after my second attempt, and I think I might have turned on a third. I cannot remember if I even made it through that episode before I got restless and decided to get out of bed. I told Ben I was still feeling something, and he sleepily told me to try to get some rest. I could not sleep, and I did not particularly want to either. I finished watching the last two episodes of The Good Wife. I felt more comfortable sitting up, but I also felt increasingly alert and started to give up on the idea of ever falling asleep. Even as the contractions increased, I downplayed the possibility that I was in labor. I finally timed my first contraction at 2 am, which confirmed that they were as frequent as they felt, only about five minutes apart. I emailed my friend to cancel our plans for tea the next day, though I didn’t have the courage to admit the real reason.

Done with entertainment and email checking and faced with strengthening contractions I finally asked Ben to wake up and keep me company. Convinced the discomfort was nothing, I hated pulling him out of bed and wasting one of his vacation days. At some point I asked Ben to start timing the contractions. From the first one to the last, they were never more than five minutes apart, and some would only last as long as two minutes. Ben made me some peanut butter and jelly toast, but I couldn’t keep it down. At first I got on my hands and knees through the contractions. I dreaded the fifteen minutes I’d spend in that position during the last month, but somehow it was the most comfortable during the contractions. After awhile I worried that I defaulted to that position longer than the 45 minutes our birth class instructor recommended and transitioned to walking. At first I’d walk from the living room through the dining room into the kitchen and through the hallway back to the living room. Eventually I opened the doors and started doing laps in the same manner that our dog Wrigley used to sprint through the house. Ben offered to go on a walk with me once it got light outside, but by the time that came I was not feeling up for a walk through the neighborhood.

Eventually we decided it might help me relax if we put on a movie. I decided on When Harry Met Sally, my default when I’m not feeling well, but sitting still on the couch was too uncomfortable so I kept making the laps as the movie played. Thinking back on it, the first 12 hours of labor were so tame comparatively, I can hardly believe my struggle with them at the end of the night. Of course, at the time it was all I knew. At around 4 am, Ben started texting and calling. First it was his boss, to let her know he would not be in that day, then my brother, asking him to come by to get the keys just in case he needed to spend the night with our dog. My mom might have been next, warning her we might not be around for the cleaning she had generously scheduled. Thankfully he did not forget our doula Kristi. She suggested we contact the midwives. She also asked that I try switching up my contraction routine and try leaning against a wall while I swayed my hips. Maybe it was the actual move or the natural progression, but it made the contractions feel miserable. As much as our birth instructor had repeated it in class, it was hard to relax into the pain and trust that instigating it instead of relieving it was the right thing to do. Ben called the midwives and at first spoke with the one I saw on Monday. After assessing the situation with Ben she asked him to call back when the next midwife came in at the 7 am shift change. At some point Ben suggested I grab a shower. It brought such blessed relief. Instead of my usual quick ritual I took time to wash and condition my hair and even to shave my legs. I think the shower slowed down my contractions, but I was nowhere near comfortable enough to lie down and take a nap. My brother came by for the keys while Ben was in the shower. I could hardly summon the energy to get to the door. Most of the labor is a blur and I have a hard time remembering what exactly happened when, but I remember at one point early in the morning finally feeling like I could not walk through the contractions anymore and if I could physically talk through them I certainly did not want to make the effort. I’m not sure how much I actually did, but I just wanted to cry – out of excitement, out of pain and out of sheer fatigue.