Tuesday, February 23, 2010

How to Eat

A few days after our first ultrasound, we decided to go back to the nutritionist and share the good news. At about the same time, I was beginning to feel nauseous and completely turned off by food. I was looking forward to the information he had to share with me about pregnancy and nutrition and ways to help quell the wretching.
Dr. Kale was thrilled to hear we were pregnant, though I was secretly happy that the reproductive endocrinologist was the one who helped us get pregnant. Don’t get me wrong, if Dr. Kale’s creams and non-stop steamed vegetable diet works for some people that’s great, but without a residency at Johns Hopkins and a lifetime of research on the subject of women’s fertility, I kinda wanted to rub his creams in his face and smoosh his vegetables between my toes. Western medicine got me pregnant. Take that, vegan doctor.

Anyway, he asked me what I’d been eating and I told him that eating was tough. I mostly enjoyed fruit, a few starchy vegetables, and whole grains (namely spaghetti). To most this would sound totally hippy dippy. No oreos? No pickles? But to Dr. Kale, it was a recipe for disaster.
“How many leafy green vegetables are you eating everyday?”
“Um, none.”
“Ok. That’s a problem. You need to start getting some leafy green vegetables in everyday. And probably try to get more protein in beans and other legumes.”
Yeah. I almost puked, too, when I heard “legumes”.  I mean, I understood that I probably wasn’t getting the most balanced diet. But come on, I felt like puking or falling asleep 90% of the day.
“If I were you, Erin, I would try juicing leafy green vegetables in with some fruit. That will help mask the taste and at least you can get some vitamins from them.”
By this point I started feeling guilty. What was I doing to my baby? Maybe it wouldn’t grow arms or legs because I wasn’t getting enough spinach and legumes?! I went home and promptly started juicing and getting out cans of beans. I drank my juice and ate my beans and sat proudly on the couch nourishing my baby. About 2 hours later I was pretty sure if I didn’t throw up I simply wanted to die. Swiftly.
I spent many days after that trying to figure out how I could eat properly so as not to permanently squelch any chance of my baby having limbs. While thinking about it, I ate apples, potatoes, and bread non-stop. Finally, after a lunch at my sister-in-law’s house, she encouraged me to eat anything I could keep down. I realize she doesn’t have a medical degree or even a Google doctorate, but she’s a mother of three. And damnit if I didn’t trust her more than Dr. Kale at this point, because those French fries she made went down like buttah.
I began resenting Dr. Kale, hating him even, every time I saw a green vegetable. They would stare at me and say things like, “You know, I could help you take care of your baby, but I guess you don’t want to take care of your baby. I guess you just want to be selfish and eat potatoes.” It took many weeks to get comfortable telling those vegetables to stick a cork in it. But once I finally convinced myself that I wasn’t being selfish and I wasn’t taking advantage of being pregnant (I was just doing what I could to keep food down), I drove to Chick-Fil-A, bought a large waffle fry and came home to eat it with my apples and pasta. 

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