Archive for the ‘Pregnancy & Fertility’ Category
I’ve been struck by how much press has been devoted to Natalie Portman’s decision to give up being vegan during pregnancy. I guess the media loves a good story, but the hype on this does seem a little out of proportion.
We definitely live a world where everyone and everything is defined by sound bite adjectives. We’re all on information overload and in order to keep up we generalize, compartmentalize, and abbreviate. It’s easier to think of a “healthy lifestyle” as something defined by a set of rigid principles and apply the label to yourself (be it vegan, raw, 80/10, paleo, etc.). I realized awhile ago that I needed to get past this line of thinking, a difficult process in that it’s been my rationale for more than half my life. Is avoiding animal products better for the planet, YES! BUT, there are no gold stars awarded for living 100% vegan or raw. This is not my path to enlightenment.
But back to the Natalie Portman story… According to the articles, one reason she started eating eggs is that she craved baked goods from regular bakeries. I also went through the starchy-sweet phase for quite a long time. I had no idea how much the hormones would throw off my regular pattern of eating. The very sight of salad during my first trimester made me nauseous. To trick myself into eating veggies, I had to steam them until they were limp and then slather them in soy-free Earth Balance. For a week during our team cross country camp in Bend, my diet staple was gluten-free banana bread from Strictly Organic Coffee. I even stock-piled it to take back to Portland. I also craved whole milk yogurt, hormone-free rotisserie chicken from Zupan’s, the occassional scrambled egg and more sweet potatos than I ever thought possible to consume.
Whether it’s our bodies telling us we need iron, protein or some other nutrient combination, I think it’s best just to go with what sounds good… especially if it isn’t just fast-food and jello! Labels can wait, they will always be there in case we want to run back to them.
Last Wednesday I left for North Carolina to visit my good friend Judith (from college) for her baby shower. Since we never see each other I was going to come early so we’d have a few days to spend together. She took some time off from work (she’s an RN at the Duke medical center) and we were going to go to the coast where her parent’s have a house in the Outer Banks.
So, on Thursday morning we got up, made coffee (for me) and chatted for a bit before she rushed out to get to a doctor’s appointment at 9:30am. She told me she’d be back in an hour….. but she never came home! I went for a run, showered, made some breakfast and then still no word. I began to get concerned and decided to take the dog on a walk to keep myself busy and since he had been so devastated to see me leave to run without him. When I returned to the house there was message from Walter, her husband (and yes: they are named Judith & Walter, and no: they are not 75, they are in their late 20′s). Apparently they were running more tests. hmmm.
Well, the phone calls and messages went throughout the day… I slept with the dog in the warm sunshine on the porch and read the addicting novel that I bought in the Newark airport: (The Other Boleyn Girl). And then the call came that she was scheduled to have a C-section at 6:00pm. Judith’s wonderful mom and sister came to pick me up around 4 and we headed to get tiny diapers and other last minute supplies at Babies R’ Us… (wow, that was an overwhelming place). And then they took me, finally, to Whole Foods… I had eaten Judith out of pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries and was very hungry. Then we headed to the hospital.
I talked to Judith in her room right before they took her in. She was calm. She is always calm. This is perhaps one of her greatest strengths… and why we had been such great friends so quickly. She is so steady and grounding and the only person (besides Ian of course) who I think I could ever live with long term. She told me what they expected and how it would go and she was excited, in the way that Judith gets excited and she was, I could tell, under the cover of collection, a little nervous. Because this was all so new to me, it was quite surreal.
The surgery came and went very quickly and soon we were allowed to see baby Alister, all 4 lbs and 12 oz of him, through the glass of the baby area. He looked so tiny and helpless squirming in his little plastic bassinet. And how strange that just 45 minutes ago, he was inside my friend as I hugged her. It was a lot to take in and at once, I understood the commonly used phrased: “the miracle of birth.”
Though I hadn’t planned to be there and it meant less time with my friend, I was so happy to have been there for the occasion. When we left the hospital that night, her parents and sister and I celebrated at a nice dinner with a bottle of champagne and toasted the new baby boy.
I spent the next few days reading my novel, walking the dog, roaming Whole Foods, hanging out with Judith’s sister and brother and visiting the hospital. It was a long trip for 5 days. In a way it was totally exhausting and in other, it was remarkably enlightening. In any case, it was much to digest.