Just a few days ago Juliette became 13 months old, and I find myself still in disbelief that my little baby could be actually over 1 year now. Should we still be counting the months at this point? It seems like most people do when it comes to pregnancy and babies. Actually with pregnancy you count weeks, and unless you’ve been pregnant before, when most people ask, “how far along are you?” you tell them by the weeks, not months. However, I soon found out that you had to convert those weeks into the amount of months for the everyday person.
Looking back on the long road it took to get pregnant, and then how it finally happened, it seemed like such a dream to me. I was full of a fantastic bliss during those first few weeks that I found out I was pregnant. I was living on cloud nine for quite some time, just beaming with smiles. I was teaching at the time, and I found that the pregnancy even gave me a newfound patience with my trying and troublesome homeroom class at the time. I was about 6 weeks along when I found out, and I only told close friends and family members, before we decided to announce it to the world at that safe 12-week mark. It was December and all the lovely Christmas songs, décor, and shopping was in the air. Just in time for the holidays, I did, however, start to get some of those dreaded first trimester symptoms that pregnancy brings on.
First off, I had to switch from my comforting and awakening morning tea in my handy little to-go cup (for my hour long drive to work) to a can of coke…the only thing that seemed to help my unsettled stomach. Parts of my body, (and ladies you know which parts these are), were already bigger and swollen, which lead to no more button fly pants and more elastic ones until all maternity clothing started. Then there was the appetite and change in food. Since I was young I can remember, whether pregnant or not, most people relied on those every handy saltine crackers to be the cure for that nauseas stomach, especially that one you get during your first trimester (and not just in the morning, though that did seem to be the worst time of day for it). Of course, in my case, (because it never seems to be that easy for me), saltines were not the cure, they actually made me feel more nauseated.
I tried to eat whatever I could hold down for breakfast, usually some type of dry cereal and then I would head to work not feeling too hot, and still hiding my growing tummy from everyone at work (except my closest teacher friend my principal). Let me tell you…it was not easy hiding it from my other fellow coworkers or my 140 students or so, who began to ask why I always had coke now in the morning, and why started to chew gum from time to time. I had heard somewhere that gum could help with that sour stomach and for me, it did. Cinnamon flavored Trident was now my new best friend. But, when you teach at a catholic middle school (that doesn’t allow gum for its students) and one of the teachers suddenly starts to chew it, the students will notice, as they usually notice everything! My explanations? Well as for the coke, it gave me that extra caffeine I needed to get me through my early mornings. Explaining the gum was pretty funny, I told the students that it was a special prescription from my doctor for a dental gum condition I had, which also explained my late arrivals and/or early leaving some days for those many OBGYN appointments and blood work you need during that first trimester. They actually bought this idea, and even asked me how my mouth was and if I was going to need surgery, ha-ha…silly kids.
I was still having lots of trouble subsiding my churning stomach though, as I wasn’t a puker at all, but wished I were for once, just to have some relief…I just always felt like I was going to puke. Then on an absurd day, right around Christmastime, on one of our last days before our vacation we had our annual Christmas party with our sister elementary school. On this day, we had snack time with the student visitors. For this, we always passed out juice and animal crackers, which I hadn’t had much of since I was a kid myself, but now all of the sudden they looked better to me than any other food I could possibly think of! So, as we began passing out the snack, I grabbed myself a few of these sweet crackers, and even had some apple juice to boot….and wow!!! Who knew that a second graders snack would be my new cure for my rumbly tummy. I felt like a new person! That same weekend, my husband dashed off to BJ’s and bought me any economy-sized tub of animal crackers. I kept a stash of those crackers on my nightstand, in my purse, in the car, in my desk at work…it got so bad that I began to pop those lovely little crackers as much as my favorite TV doctor, Gregory House, popped his vicodin pills.
What’s even stranger, is that throughout my pregnancy I seemed to revert to the many simple foods I loved as a child. Grilled cheeses, anything with eggs (egg salad, eggs over easy…which I used to call “dippy eggs,”) an English muffin with peanut butter, mac’ and cheese, French fries, white grape juice, Jell-O, and many others…it was quite funny. I craved many carbs, veggies, and fruit in the beginning too…so dinner was quite challenging as I could not eat any meat or fish throughout my first four months of pregnancy. I also loved all things bitter…especially those with vinegar. Bigger meals were very hard, as just a salad of fruit or greens, or some pasta didn’t seem to fill me up very much. One night I even fell apart crying on the kitchen floor as I was so hungry, and couldn’t figure out what to eat, (besides an animal cracker or bread), that didn’t make me sick. I think my husband was getting tired of it too, because even though he would try to make his own dinner, but it was so bad that I couldn’t take the smell of any meat either, so I would either brave the cold outside to get away from the smell, but he wouldn’t have that as I was carrying his unborn child, so he stopped cooking the meat as well. Speaking or smells…oh good God the smells when I pregnant! I will have to save that for another entry, because it was very, very bad…so bad, I think I am still going through it.
Soon though, that 12-week mark came and I was able to announce it to my students and the whole school at the Monday morning assembly that I was preggers! It was very cute, they all clapped and cheered for me. As that week went on, many of 8th graders were like “I knew it,” and some of the girls tried to call me “Mama,” which I politely told them “please do not do that, I am not your Mama,” (seriously? NO!). A few teachers even said they had a hunch I was ‘with child,” as I came in many mornings looking quite green.
Then soon, after many food mishaps, my nausea eventually started wearing away by the 4th month, and I was able to slowly start eating more food again, like meat, especially hot dogs, I seemed to love hot dogs…so hot dog day every Wednesday at school was something to look forward to! Throughout my whole pregnancy though, I could not eat any beef or eggplant…and so I began to wonder, would I ever be able to eat those things again? All things considered though, I didn’t have it too bad with the food part of it, I have heard about woman who had it much worse…and the nausea did subside. After all, I did only actually vomit once, but always had the feeling like I was going to in that first trimester.
Luckily, after I gave birth I was able to eat beef again, and any and everything I used to eat after a few weeks I could even drink alcohol again (after all those breastfeeding mishaps and having to give that up, I needed a good stiff drink). I really thought too, that I would miss alcohol much during my pregnancy. I remember toward the end, I would occasionally miss a glass of wine, or a nice cold margarita in the summer. And oh gosh, how I could’ve used a nice strong mixed drink toward the end of the last trimester due to all those horrible aches and pains at the end…but more on that at another time too.
Now, I can proudly say that Juliette is officially over a year, or 13 months to be exact…and we are both very healthy eaters. She even started to spoon-feed herself yesterday, which is still very much a learning process, and very messy one at that. Plus, while Juliette has that cute little baby potbelly and oh-so squeezable thighs, while I am still trying getting rid of the last little bits that are left of mine. She is a very good eater, not at all picky and loves cheese (just like her Mama) and bananas too. The challenges of eating don’t change though, as once you are post-preggers, you will have to restrict yourself to not overindulge. You will once again feel bad about those McDonald Frappe runs and Baby Ruth bars that felt like a wonderful sweet indulgence and were “OK” while pregnant, but not so much post pregnancy. At least now though you can have that nice glass of wine or a margarita again (or whatever drink you so desire). And trust me, you will need that drink once those minutes of the day have worn you down and your baby is soundly asleep (if, hopefully, they do sleep well)…at that point you can put your feet up and have that nice relaxing drink, if you can still stay up by the end of the day.
In conclusion, whether you count months, years, days, minutes, etc…just know that while its hard to figure out what you can eat while that little one is growing inside you, it all goes back to normal. Your baby and you will be able to eat as much or as little as you need…even when you are still craving something unusual like a peanut butter cheesecake (thanks Lisa) on your daughter’s Lucky 13th month birthday.
Any funny cravings (pregnant or not) or weird pregnancy food choices you had? What about your baby? Please share on the comments below if you’d like…