I first suspected I was pregnant when I ate an entire medium pizza during the space of a single viewing of the Hunger Games and hadn’t gained the two pounds, minimum, that I normally would have the day after such a stupendous display of appetite. There were only two explanations, pregnancy or tapeworm, and I only eat well-done meat and my cats don’t go outside anymore, so I don’t know how I would’ve gotten worms.
The doctor laughed at that one.
This was the first of the ongoing shifts in my relationship to food that have happened already just in the three short weeks I’ve been aware that I’m carrying a member of the next generation, the Post-enniels or whatever nickname their going to get stuck with. Being able to eat virtually whatever I wanted with little or no weight gain generated ambivalence in me. On the one hand, seriously, for whom is that not living the dream? It’s like that horrible movie about limbo after death (the internet says I mean Defending Your Life) where you can eat any and everything and never gain weight from it. On the other hand, it just doesn’t feel right. Not only do you have the sense of being debauched and unmoored from the central constraint that used to prevent your debauchery, but you also know that getting into that sort of habit can only lead to disaster, because it isn’t going to last forever. In a few weeks or a month you will start to gain weight, and if you keep eating at your present pace once you pass that point you are going to disgust the doctors, and those people deliver babies, for Pete’s sake. It takes a lot to gross them out.
I was in that state of mind when I went to my general practitioner to have my pregnancy confirmed. At the end of the appointment she gave me some general recommendations, get sleep, don’t take mixed meds, stay away from alcohol. She advised that I just eat healthy. I agreed enthusiastically, because I already had a plan. No more whole pizzas in a single sitting. No more frantic runs to Taco Bell because it sounded so good that I might die if I don’t get a freakin’ MexiMelt with rice in the next ten minutes. I was going to Eat Healthy. Vegetables. Water. Whole grains. Lean meats. All that stuff serene blonde women in yoga pants are always hawking by proxy on commercials for Lean Cuisine.
Fruit, for Pete’s sake.
To be honest, I actually like all that stuff anyway, as long as I can still get some of the crap food a few times a month. Pizza is, in my opinion, one of life’s great joys. So it wasn’t unreasonable to think that I could Do This Thing and Eat Healthy.
Enter morning sickness.
The other day I asked my husband if this baby didn’t like me, and I was only mostly kidding. I had heard tell of this phenomenon they call “morning sickness,” and had even been expecting it. I had episodic nausea the entire hellish year I was on the pill, and I’m pretty sure that those suckers are supposed to work by making your body think it’s pregnant. What I wasn’t expecting was for the nausea to last practically all day nearly every day for, so far, one and a half weeks, and to respond reliably to none of the remedies recommended to me. Sometimes it loves lemon water. Sometimes it wants tea. One day half a mini-bagel with cream cheese made it go away for almost a whole half hour, but the thought of that sounds disgusting now. Soda crackers and fizzy stuff worked one day. The next, they made it worse. The only consistent aid has been candied ginger, but it generates a mere brief reprieve and I’ve only been using it for a couple of days, so give it time.
It seems to be starting to get better. Yesterday was fairly mild, and today I got in nearly two whole good hours of work before it started to rear up, which is better than working through nausea for a whole eight hours. Last night I not only slept but woke up feeling like I’d slept, a definite improvement.
(I do, however, look like heck, kind of like I’ve felt sick for a couple of weeks. Good thing I want a baby, not that maternal “glow,” otherwise I’d be kicking myself for not just shelling out for skin toner.)
With the arrival of morning sickness, any ambition I’d harbored of Eating Healthy went out the window. Food choices are not based on what is good for me or the baby. Food choices are based solely on what will or will not make me feel like vomiting. If that means a cupcake and five tacos with extra hot sauce as soon as I can get my hands on them, then you want to know what? That’s what I’m eating. If that means you need to get that cucumber away from me before I regurgitate my cupcake and tacos onto your shoes, I’m going to go with that urge, too. Because otherwise, junior and I will either starve or I will go insane.
In other words, I am no longer me. The nausea is currently calling all the shots, and mostly it seems to want Noodles and Company, which at least has whole grain options and vegetables. Or rather, what it wants is Noodles and Company until about an hour after I’ve eaten it, when it suddenly decides to punish me for selfishly foisting Noodles and Company upon it. It’s unpredictable like that, with the result that in three weeks I’ve gone from enjoying any and all sustenance that comes my way to viewing all food with a combination of disgust, passionate desire, and abject fear. It’s kind of like being bulimic again, only with nausea instead of any actual vomiting.
They say that the morning sickness should go away or at least improve significantly in the near future. I certainly hope that that’s true. I await the next development with a combination of trepidation and hope. There’s really no where to go but up, but you always think that, don’t you?