Surprise! A Vegan Pregnancy
September 26, 2012 § 4 Comments
Well I’ve hinted in my last few posts that there is good reason I’ve been MIA – there’s been no vegan food exploration or cooking experiments in the Dieguez house the past few months and I’m finally ready to share why. We are pregnant! Fourteen weeks pregnant to be exact. Little Baby Dieguez will be arriving on March 27 and we are so excited we can hardly contain ourselves. Thus, between the constant “morning” sickness (whoever dubbed this term “morning sickness” had no idea what they were talking about) and the unbelievable fatigue, I’ve not been able to find any time to blog – nor has there been any cooking, more on that below. Sarah was nice enough to ask me to participate in her gutsy girl series and just putting that post together nearly wore me out! I’m shocked at how exhausted I’ve been and how much my body is changing – but it is all for good as WE ARE HAVING A BABY!
I found out at 5 weeks. I should have known the week before when I dumped two bottles of wine down the sink exclaiming there was something wrong with them – or when I nearly gagged on my morning coffee – or when I was experiencing extreme fatigue and pregnancy brain! But alas, all these signs eluded me. Needless to say I was a little preoccupied with work and everything else that had been going on.
I was sure I wasn’t pregnant. So sure in fact that when my husband finally convinced me to go to the store to buy a pregnancy test, I wanted to buy the bulk package! They aren’t cheap, so I figured we should stock up. He was pretty confidant though and said, no, buy the two-pack. I swore up and down I wasn’t pregnant and argued how much more economical it was to buy the twenty pack! Hah, glad he was able to persuade me. All it took was one. 🙂 Immediately (not after waiting five seconds as it instructs) that little blue plus sign jumped off the stick. I was floored. I sat in disbelief and sheer joy. At that point it had only been about three months since my dad died. I guess what they say about death and birth is true. To think, we created a little person. There was (and is!) a little baby growing inside me. After all we’d been through, this was just amazing. I took another just to be sure and was delighted when I saw that instant blue plus sign appear again.
Since then it’s been pretty much a whirlwind. I had a rough first trimester. I was nauseous pretty much every minute of every day. Luckily I didn’t literally get sick – just once – ironically the day I turned 12 weeks. I was hopeful at first. I read that vegans don’t get as much morning sickness as the body doesn’t have to expel as many toxins as a non-vegan mom. But that didn’t seem to work in my favor. The nausea hit pretty quick and still lingers. However, perhaps that’s why I never got sick sick, and was just nauseous?
Regardless, the moment I learned I was pregnant, staying vegan wasn’t even up for discussion. We had already discussed that when the time came, we wanted to try our hardest to raise our children vegan. But I was a little nervous about the pregnancy, as I’d read how some vegans crave meat or don’t like veggies anymore. But I was determined to stay vegan – or as close to vegan as possible. Luckily, for the most part I’ve been able to do that. Unfortunately, with the nausea that set in immediately, food has quickly become my enemy. I developed a sense of smell as strong as our beagle/basset. I could smell food a mile away. The kitchen quickly became off limits. If it required cooking or heating – it wasn’t allowed. At 14 weeks, it hasn’t gotten much better. Thus, there has been no cooking at home. After two solid months of eating out – we are soooo tired of restaurant food. I’m anxious to be able to cook again and miss my once healthy meals.
In terms of being vegan while pregnant, so far it really hasn’t been difficult at all. As I’ve been so nauseous and mostly wanted carbs, there hasn’t been much of an issue. I can’t imagine being nauseous and wanting meat – even when I wasn’t vegan! In the beginning I was really worried about getting enough nutrition. But as my midwife told me, in the first trimester just eat what you can keep down. That eased my concerns. Now that I’m in the second trimester, I’m hoping some of the nausea will subside soon and I can get on a more regular eating plan with healthy choices.
For those of you who may be pregnant and vegan and wanting more details, below is a week by week what I was able to eat and what helped me. I hope it will be of help to you!
Weeks 5 and 6 were just brutal! I lived on nothing more than bagels. My husband would go pick up fresh bagels every single day and I literally had a bagel for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Anything else had me turning green. I leaned that getting hungry made the nausea worse so I snacked on saltines throughout the day. That first week, I did crave chicken noodle soup. I don’t know if it was psychological or what (my mom always made this for me when I was sick) but I did give in and order it out a few times when I couldn’t stand to eat anything else. I just ate the broth and it did help settle my stomach a bit. Strangely, I couldn’t stomach vegetable broth. Like I said, I only did this a handful of times and haven’t wanted it again. By week 6 I was able to add apples, pears and grapes to the mix. Pears were surprisingly appealing and comforting.
Weeks 7 and 8 weren’t a whole lot better but I was able to expand my food preferences slightly. I would get a veg out sandwich from Einstein’s nearly every day for lunch. Somehow I could eat the sandwich but the thought of any other vegetables was gross. I was able to eat a lot more fruit though and found it to be very comforting – particularly cantaloupe. Strangely, around this time I went through a week where all that sounded good was a cheese pizza. I literally thought I’d die if I didn’t eat it. All I could think about was cheese day and night. I was kind of turning delirious – telling my husband maybe we shouldn’t be vegan. He really didn’t know what to make of the situation. But having not eaten cheese in over a year, and feeling so very nauseous, I was scared to give in and try it. I’m glad I didn’t. The craving went away and I haven’t even thought about cheese again.
Weeks 8 and 9 I was traveling. I found that when I traveled, I felt better. Somehow being on the road helped. I don’t know if it is that you have so much going on you don’t pay as much attention to your stomach or what, but it worked. I’ve heard this from other women too. I was able to eat a little bit better – introducing salads back into my diet. I even managed to eat a few veggie burgers on the road. French fries were also appealing – and I have to admit I gave in! Again, whatever you can eat and keep it down, go for it!
Weeks 10-13 have been getting much better. I’ve been eating lots of salads. I go through phases where I eat one thing over and over. That Einstein’s veg out sandwich – can’t touch it. I think I overdid it. My new obsession is Panera’s Mediterranean Veggie sandwich – no cheese of course. I think I’ve had one almost every day the past three weeks! I also love going to Jason’s Deli and loading up on the salad bar. I’ve learned cold food is my friend. And cereal – cheerios have been amazing! I still can’t eat a cooked vegetable unfortunately. And up until today, haven’t been able to do my smoothies. Today it finally tasted good though and I know that will help me get some good vitamins and minerals. And my sweet tooth finally kicked in. I’d been wondering where it was! I particularly like my dark chocolate covered frozen bananas. I get them from the supermarket and they are a nice, not too indulgent, cold treat at night.
To all the nauseous mommies out there – I hope you find some foods to comfort your stomach and keep you full. And just remember, nausea can be a sign that all is well and working correctly. I reminded myself of that many times!