July 9, 2007

I occasionally do some freelance writing for a Large Producer of Consumer Goods, typically short articles that get published on one of their websites or sent out in newsletters. The topics are always parenting related, and I often find myself producing all sorts of expert advice on subjects I know almost nothing about. Once I wrote a whole chirpy piece on how to curtail the mess caused by small children—as though my own house doesn’t look as though a Toys R Us exploded in the living room, as though my kitchen floor doesn’t show the remnants of a thousand dropped banana slices, as though we don’t rely on the bottom of Riley’s shirt to keep his nose clean. Please.

My latest assignments have all been pregnancy-related, appropriately enough, and the article I was working on over the weekend had to do with pregnancy weight gain. So, I ask you to imagine a women dealing with her own personal blend of first-trimester discomfort, which features a constant overwhelming desire to eat anything and everything remotely foodlike that might contain 1) sugar, 2) salt, or 3) fat in vast quantities, possibly by upending an entire bag of salt n’ vinegar chips into her gaping maw and following it with a massive glug of banana milkshake, mm-MM, and maybe throwing some “tropical” flavored Jelly Bellies in there too, what the hell, and oooh, how about a peanut butter sandwich, oh yes, yes, yes, YES! . . . uh, and anyway, in the midst of all that, writing an article that includes the ugly little factoid that it’s not necessary to gain any weight in the first trimester, and in fact even later in pregnancy you only need an additional 300 calories a day, which you can easily obtain by having an extra glass of milk and some lowfat yogurt. It’s like being ON FIRE and having to write a helpful piece on how it might seem like dousing yourself in water is the best solution, but have you tried prenatal yoga and eating more greens, because that’s really more healthy in the long run.

In related news, my diet is out the goddamned window. Oh, I had good intentions a few weeks back, I had grand plans to continue to eat a restricted—but totally healthful—diet throughout this pregnancy, and I would remain exactly the same size everywhere except my belly.

Ha ha ha ha HAAAAAA! Seriously. You’d think they gave me a lobotomy along with that C-section.

I forgot how the combination of all-day nausea and food cravings results in an absolutely unstoppable desire to eat certain kinds of foods, and sometimes those foods are Cheetos. Certain other foods—the Spicy Shrink-Yer-Butt Salad I loved for so long, for instance—are unacceptable to the point of triggering a tiny little cat-hork gag in the back of my throat. White beans and lettuce, together? Huurgh.

I’m fearful of instantly gaining back the weight I lost before I can even start blaming it on the baby (I’ve already put on a few pounds), but I guess I’m nowhere near concerned enough to actually limit what I’m eating in any significant way. Pregnancy is the only time I’ve ever experienced this sort of crazy lustful relationship with food, where the right thing—and yes, sometimes the right thing is motherfucking Cheetos— can actually elevate me to a higher plane of existence, a place where angels are singing and my tastebuds are doing a happy little hoedown and sparkly unicorns are blowing heart-shaped balloons from their lifted, rainbow-y tails.

Once, many years ago, I got really baked with a friend and we sat for hours ecstatically eating Hershey bars dipped into a jar of peanut butter. It was so delicious I was sure I could actually see the joyful food-appreciation molecules bouncing around us (singing “Yellow Submarine”, no doubt). I don’t want to say pregnancy is like being stoned (except maybe for the long-lasting brain damage), but there must be some kind of chemical trickery going on to make certain foods taste so freaking good.

Food cravings, headaches, low-grade nausea—like being carsick—gas, and a belly that’s vigorously straining the confines of those new size 6’s (solution: elastic hairband looped through the buttonhole. I am a knocked-up MacGyver over here!). Despite all the symptoms, I keep having this sensation of disbelief: am I really going to have another baby? Too early to say for sure, maybe, but I had my first prenatal appointment today, complete with ultrasound—and holy shit, there he or she was, in grainy black and white. My kidney-bean-shaped baby-to-be, with the tiniest heartbeat, beat beat beating away.

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Shannon
14 years ago

Coming out of lurking to say congrats and express my utter jealous for having a valid reason to eat Cheetos!

Jessamyn
14 years ago

If the only time you feel that urge is when you’re pregnant, well, then, by God, I say give yourself a break and have the cheetos guilt free! Hope that first ultrasound was as awesome as it sounds.

Mary O
Mary O
14 years ago

Happy day! The first ultrasound is so exciting and really makes the pregnancy seem more, well, real. I’m about 5 1/2 months pregnant right now and getting into some major food cravings. It’s not my fault that I ate all that junk… the baby NEEDED it!!!

Pete
Pete
14 years ago

Mmmmm, Cheetos. Being a guy, I have no useful advise on being pregnant. I think you have shown that you can lose what you have gained before.

Nancy
Nancy
14 years ago

MMMmmmmmm! Now I’m hungry. LOL I had an off topic question… since your first birth was via c/s, are you going to go for a planned c/s this time or try a VBAC? Absolutely possible with the right minded doctor. Just wondering. :)

hello insomnia
14 years ago

I love that last line. I was so amazed at my first ultrasound, at the whoosh-whoosh-whooshing heart. I hope it’s as magical the next time around.

Janet Powell
Janet Powell
14 years ago

My first was a C-section.
The second one, 6 years later, was a VBAC.
Then, 13 years after that – Surprise!!! She was a C-Section
Then, so #3 wouldn’t be lonely, #4 22 months later, another VBAC.

Not all doctors have that ‘once a C-section, always a C-section’ mantra, and there are more now that will go with the flow.

Janet in Miami

velocibadgergirl
14 years ago

Hooray for the secondtopus, and bring on the Cheetos…you’re earning them :D

(Also, “shrink-yer-butt salad”? BWAAHAHA! Love it.)

rebecca
14 years ago

Hey! I’m about a week ahead of you, pregnancy-wise (although am slacking and have not yet said anything on my blog), and I FEEL YOUR PAIN with the food thing. Oh man. Just now, I’m chasing a bag of Cheetos with some sour Spree candies. Why? Because it sounds good. It’s all about survival in these early weeks.

So, congrats to you and I’m really looking forward to following it since our dates are so close. :)

Swistle
14 years ago

Oh oh oh, the tiny little Sundry Bean! So cute!

I had just started a diet when I found out I was unexpectedly pregnant (I had attributed my tightening jeans to other causes), and I DITCHED that bastard. My lifelong philosophy is that if I am ONE kind of miserable (divorcing, pregnant, postpartum), I am not going to combine that with the DIET kind of miserable.

My first delivery was unscheduled c-section, and it revealed a medical reason for me to have c-sections from then on. And MY! didn’t I get tired of people asking me if I had “considered” a VBAC, as if perhaps it would slip my mind as an option! With my fourth c-section, as the anesthesiologist was inserting the pre-surgery epidural, he asked if I’d “ever considered trying” a VBAC.

Naomi
Naomi
14 years ago

What!!! No uploaded photo of the little jelly bean?
Mmmmmm…….Chocolate and peanut butter………Have you tried melting the 2 together, tossing in some dried noodles or rice crispies and letting them set? drool……

ShannonJ
ShannonJ
14 years ago

First pregnancy breakfast items: Boiled eggs, peanut butter toast, grapefruit with half a teaspoon of sugar. Milk and orange juice.
Second pregnancy breakfast items: Krispy Kreme doughnut(s), Pop-Tarts.

First pregnancy lunch items: Salad, watermelon, grapes. Milk or water.
Second pregnancy lunch items: Krispy Kreme doughnut(s), Pop-Tarts. McDonalds. Wendys. 20-oz root beer. Sometimes a salad. With a doughnut.

First pregnancy dinner items: Meat, vegetable, milk or water. Absolutely nothing microwaved.
Second pregnancy dinner items: Frozen dinners, fried chicken and mac n cheese, huge bowl of ice cream.

Mmmmm….doughnuts. I miss pregnancy.

Sarah
14 years ago

I laughed, because I TOTALLY get it.

Although I hid my pregnancy at work through the first trimester, I’m sure they caught on when they caught me cursing at the vending machine, “DAMNIT.. why are there NO peanut-butter covered Oreos in there?!”

jonniker
14 years ago

Never had a passion for food like this unless pregnant? Ever? Seriously? oh man. PMS is like that for me. Vanilla wafers can be an experience in unbridled ecstasy the likes of which most people have never seen.

Joanne
14 years ago

I had an ultrasound today too, my second of my 13 week pregnancy! But we had a little scare when we couldn’t find the heartbeat (that is to say, my doctor couldn’t find my heartbeat) with the Doppler, so they did an ultrasound. And there it was, 159 beats per minute, I was never so happy to hear that whooshing in my life. So I know what you mean, is my point.

With regard to your weight, eat up and try and keep walking or running or whatever you’re comfortable with. You were in great shape to begin with, which was one of your goals right? You are far ahead of many, many preggos that I know so congratulations!

Shana
Shana
14 years ago

I’m sitting here at 39 weeks pregnant, and I’m so ready to have this kid. This will be my 3rd birth in 3 years, and I have to say I think any brain cells that were left in my head have offically gone by the wayside. My hips have spread, my ass is so much bigger, and I have a double chin. So much for radiant, glowing skin. Ha!

I’m also having my 3rd VBAC, at home with midwives.

Doctors will cover their own asses in the end, and it’s all about liability for them. They will scare you into believing a repeat c-section is probably the way to go and it’s a major operation that’s only necessary in about 5-10% of c-sections performed. Remember that OBs are surgeons, first and foremost. I forget why you had a c-section to begin with, but every pregnancy is different. I hope you get the pregnacy and birth you desire, either way. :) Congratulations!

andrea
14 years ago

You just made me want to rush to the kitchen and mix up some chocolate chips and peanut butter and I am neither stoned or pregnant (we hope).

I had the best intentions of continuing to eat a healthy diet while pregnant, but three hospitalizations for extreme all day sickness later I would eat anything that I thought I could possibly keep down. The hardest part has been to go back to healthy eating plan now that I am no longer pregnant. Apparently it is not acceptable for the non pregnant to eat pop tarts and potato chips for breakfast.

Congratulations on hearing the heart beat. That swoosh is the most beautiful sound in the world.

Carolyn J.
14 years ago

I feel that way about food every damn day. I’m doomed, I tells ya! Altho that hair-elastic-waistband thing is looking pretty good about now.

Alyson
Alyson
14 years ago

With Babe #1, I couldn’t stand the sight of beef – nearly lost it in a restaurant when hubby ordered prime rib!

With Babe #2, it was chicken….ICK!!!

With the last one, I could not look at fruits or vegetables, and then when I got better, I could only eat raw vegetables……..cooked green beans! Ack!

I never got cravings, but I did have aversions. Thank God they were not permanent. One thing, every time I am pregnant, I get an overwhelming to smoke (I don’t normally), AND I crave tuna melts for the first trimester (I HATE canned tuna!)

Look for the one thing that eases the nausea, and keep little bags of it handy (I lived on dried apricots with #3). If all else fails, nice doctor man has nice little pills to keep the urpies away!

wilddreemer
14 years ago

imagine all that plus bed rest. that means you don’t even get to work off all the crap you eat. yeah i’ve gained 20 lbs in 20 weeks. just great. i don’t feel like a fat lard ass at all.

Kristi
Kristi
14 years ago

Congrats again! With my first pregnancy I ate anything I could keep down (which was almost always something with little nutritional value – yum, Chicken in a Biskit crackers) and did little to no exercise because I felt so crappy. Gained 40 pounds. Second pregnancy I ate healthfully (under extreme duress) and walked almost every day – I was trying for a VBAC. Still gained 40 pounds and had another c-section. I swear your body has a set weight gain level that is tailored just for you and pretty much no matter what you do, you’ll gain that amount of weight!

Also, the only craving I ever had during both pregnancies was listenting to Bob Marley – is that weird?!

Melanie
14 years ago

Hell, look at Britney Spears – she thinks Cheetos are a food group, and she got bigger with each pregnancy, and now she’s all thin and hot-bodied again. You can do it, too, you’re at least not totally batshit crazy.

Jennie
14 years ago

Me = not pregnant.

Therefore, I have no excuse for the intense cravings I have for Chipotle burrito bowls or for the gallon of sour cream I insist on slathering on top of said bowl.

JennB
14 years ago

That is just great!!!
We pulled the goalie and I’ve been having feelings of cramping for a couple of weeks, could eat until I explode, and feel “different” down there. I can’t remember if this is how it was when I was pregnant with Parker or not, but I guess I’ll know next week when the redecorating of my uterine wall should commence.

I would like to eat cake for about ever, if I am pregnant. We’ll see!

Christina
14 years ago

I loved being pregnant because I ate like a cow or pig or some sort of barn yard animal…

I gained a boat load of weight and I am still trying to lose about 10-15 of that to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight two years later! I had the excuse of nursing for 20 months and now I am just chubby. I loved pregnancy and post partum nursing. I ate like mad and I loved every moment of that.

I was “thin” when I got pregnant and supposedly underweight though I managed to gain the first 10 lbs in 12 weeks so whatever… I also had major eating issues that I think I have overcome since being pregnant. It changed my mind set. I am happy being who I am today and I figure that my son will appreciate that I like myself versus berating myself constantly for being fat. I also know that it is okay to gain weight as long as I do not put on 100s of lbs.

I exercised dutifully until almost the end of my pregnancy but I ate like a horse (another farm animal, of course…) – I figured it was a good trade off of sorts. I certainly did not look like those movie stars do or even some of my friends who last the weight so quickly they could not breast feed at all or well. My son was born healthy, he is bright and happy and strong, and I was able to nurse for 20 months so I figure if we have another I would enjoy food as much the second time as the first – damn those 10-15 lbs!!

gabby
gabby
14 years ago

Mine was apple jacks. 24 hours a day. ALL I COULD EAT. Ick.

Congrats again!

Penny
Penny
14 years ago

Personally, I’m sick and tired of those chirpy pregnancy newsletters that talk about how little food you need to consume in order to gain the small amount of weight those doctors allow us all to have.

If I read another salad/milk/cottage cheese recipe combined with the unhelpful advice that I can just walk it all off! I will explode. And certainly not subscribe to whatever media center is churning out that bullshit.

Sundry, you should tell it like it is. Cheetos and hormones and lots of pounds.

Deanna
Deanna
14 years ago

My 1 month old is happily sleeping right now so I can wolf down a jumbo size bowl of cereal with milk and and a banana and be online for about 15 minutes before she awakens.

I go through phases with my food when preggers- pretels dipped in peanut butter for weeks, then I could not get enough grapes, then ChickFilA sweet tea or Sonice Lemon Berry Slush.
How is JB doing, by the way? Is he stopping off on the way home to get you another bag of cheetos? My hubby would show up with all kinds of goodies when he got home from work. Better than roses!

As for the tight jeans- get ye to your local Goodwill! Yoga pants and elastic waist shorts can be your best friends. Shoot the finger at overpriced pregnancy clothes until at least the 3rd trimester.

Deanna

kendra!
14 years ago

This made me feel 12 whole weeks of better. I’m nearing the end of first trimester and maybe once has my Extra Chunk of Requisite Calories involved spinach. The rest of the time, I’m quaking in my cubicle for some Cheez-Its, a small pyramid of caramels, and a side of chocolate cake drizzled in Ranch dressing. I don’t know how the health experts, especially those writers of alarmist preg manuals expect a woman who’s experiencing mad hormotional rage to deal in any other way. I really don’t. Thanks, gurl.

Gena
14 years ago

I gained approximately 396,775,159 pounds with each of my four children. I was so hungry I could have eaten wallpaper paste. Cheetos would just have started me down a LONG road of eating everything else that was available in the neighborhood.

Don’t worry. You will be thin again. Just make sure you stay healthy and feed yourself and that little life. I’m thin now and I’m not even young anymore. It is much easier to eat healthy and stay away from the junk when you’re not pregnant. Who knew?