Sunday, October 17, 2010
The first three- or was it four?- months of this pregnancy I consumed no gluten and no caffeine. After losing our baby at thirteen weeks last year, I spent months researching what I could do to increase the chances that another pregnancy would not end this way. I found some small studies indicating that gluten intolerance might contribute to miscarriage. There is no way to prove gluten intolerance, but I have had, for years, all signs and indicators that I do have that particular problem, so it was a no brainer to take it out of my diet those first precarious months, when the risk is highest. I have found that for me, eating any substantial amount of gluten ends with swelling, headaches, IBS, body aches, mental fog and fatigue. I've been tested for Celiac and came back negative, but the imbalance is clear.
Caffeine was also an obvious substance to remove, as the studies come and go saying yes, it's a problem or no, it is not, or yes, but only in these amounts, etc. Different doctors will have different advice, although most experts these days seem to agree that a small daily amount after the first trimester is safe. I gave up my coffee, my Starbucks Doubleshots, my iced vanilla lattes from Coffee Bean, and began focusing on what I could eat that would increase the babies chance of health and full term delivery. In researching, I found that Vit. B was incredibly important in not only the first trimester, but the successful implantation of egg into wall. As was Vit. D and C, and fish oil. I made sure I was taking these things in supplementation form, as well as eating a diet high in dark colored vegetables and fruits, beans, hormone free milks and meats, almonds, yogurts, and low mercury fish a few times a week. We already eat about 70-80% organic, so I kept to the high end of that percentage, and we already eat very little processed foods, so that wasn't something had to adjust much either. I ate very little extra sugars to keep my blood sugars balanced, and slept a decent amount most nights. Once I became pregnant, I was so tired I slept ten or eleven hours a night at first! Tired takes on a new meaning in the first trimester.
Now that I am at the end of this pregnancy- 34 weeks this Tuesday!- I am finding it very hard to eat the way I want to. I am not someone who says things are 'hard' to do just because I don't want to do them, but save that expression for when goals are physically or mentally extremely taxing, when overcoming the obstacles my body and emotions are throwing up in front of me is a daily sludge. Most of this struggle comes from the stress of the last two months, the stress of the heartache and struggle with Dakota, and the stress that constant weight put on Mr. Curry and our marriage and our two other children. Things are a bit more balanced now, but it is teneous, the way any balance depending on another person's behavior is, and so the real challenge, the real job before me is to guide myself, to work on my emotions, my reactions, my responsibilities, and inch away from the scale being so heavily weighed on looking at this in my son and my husband. To balance myself is the only real balance. I am the only one I can truly change and control. ( And we all know even that is not %100 true, so the focus must be on doing the best you can )
This used to be very confusing for me: how do you focus on yourself and still have boundries and expectations of those close to you, which are important to have? And it still is confusing, I still don't do it perfectly, but I do catch myself, I do realize that all I can do is communicate in the best way I know how, apologize for mistakes, read and talk and learn to meet the challenges of any situation, and keep refocusing. Trying to do this while pregnant ... not so fun. My every instinct is crying out for stability and peace and to be taken care of, to be ready for this overwhelming responsibility of an entire new life coming into our family.
The stress has traveled from my head to my heart and now, into my stomach. The last two months there have been days when eating anything at all has been very hard. I feel like I will throw up if I eat, then I make myself eat but can only eat a very small amount before feeling sick, and the worst, worst part for me is that stress creates cravings for fat and sugar. Cravings mean that when I feel sick to my stomach, I can think of eating three things, and the only one that doesn't make me want to vomit is the unhealthy choice. Even taking my nightly vitamins has become difficult. I take prenatal and Fish Oil at the very least, in addition to my thyroid medication, and sometimes also take Vit D, B Complex or another.
The stress forms it's own defense mechanisms. For one thing, when I am highly stressed, I find that focusing my mind on what I need or want to do to accomplish goals is very hard. So when I'm stressed, thinking of healthy options for say, breakfast, becomes ridiculously hard. I can literally feel my mind veering and pawing around like a restless horse, refused to be easily reigned in or to stay on path. My heartbeat speeds up, I feel a bit breathless, I feel tired ( another way my body tries to trick me into avoiding things ) and irritable. Just because I"m trying to think of breakfast!
One powerful weapon against stress effects are lists. I am in the habit the last few months of writing the two or three most important Must Do's of the day on the back of my left hand. I also have a purple date book I carry in my purse where I keep all crucial phone numbers and information and it also is a planner, so I can keep track of what I am doing when and what is coming up. This has helped me with budgeting too, and it can help with my eating, if I use it right. I think I will plan ahead for tomorrow's eating as much as possible and see how that goes. I work full time so I usually just see what I can grab at lunch at home or if I"m out.
These last months are so important for Ever's brain development, SO important- especially to me because of the history of mental illness in our family on both sides. Her brain is forming and the healthier and stronger it is, the better chance she has. I am thinking I have to focus on putting as many bites of healthy food in my mouth all day as I can, one by one. Maybe looking at the mini-picture will help me to stay on track, instead of worrying about all day long. Any prayers for balance, strength and health are appreciated too :)