Why you really should eat a good breakfast while you’re pregnant, part 3

My poor third child: where are all my newborn pictures of you?
My poor third child: where are all my newborn pictures of you?

So there you have it, my sob story. I blacked out at a funeral and had to be carried off stage from the piano because I hadn’t eaten enough that morning, or any of the previous mornings.

People began to ask me what I had for breakfast that morning. My reply of “cheerios and grape juice” was unsatisfactory.

Now before I say what I’m about to say, know this: the people in that church loved me dearly and everything they said to me was out of genuine care and concern. However, I was descended upon with advice, rebuke, and exhortation; and it stung. I clearly remember one lady telling me, “You shouldn’t go two hours without eating! Even if it’s a handful of peanuts, you’ve got to eat.” Her advice was spot on, but the way it was said still hurt.

It all was completely overwhelming and discouraging. I felt like they thought I was purposely neglecting the care of the baby; if only they could realize, I really didn’t know. I was the baby of the family, had no relatives that I lived near while they were expecting, grew up in a church where there weren’t too many people having babies, and basically had no idea about anything related to having a child develop inside of you.

I remember crying in the car next to my husband, trying to explain how I felt. He was so loving and patient.

****

This story will probably not relate to a large percentage of young mothers. But maybe, just maybe, someone who needs this will find their way to this post.

If you’re discouraged, confused, overwhelmed, I can totally relate.

You’ve got to change how you think about eating. A sweet friend told me (sweetly!) after “le deluge” that when she became pregnant she started eating three full meals a day.

This was helpful! I knew what three full meals were; hadn’t been in the practice of eating them for awhile… but it was a goal I could work towards. Think enough food to fill a dinner plate with the major food groups represented.

Also, I figured out that you really do have to snack between meals. Peanuts, trail mix, and granola bars were my go to.

****

It was awhile ago now, that this all happened. But I can still remember the fear and the embarrassment. Would I be able to care for this precious little thing inside me?

Little by little, I learned. But it all started here…

…when you are pregnant, you have to eat.

Why you really should eat a good breakfast when you’re pregnant, part 2

My sweet and wild second child
My sweet and wild second child

This morning (the morning of the day that I would be totally humiliated) had to be different.

There was a funeral scheduled for late morning and I was to play the piano. That meant I had to be up, showered, dressed, made-up, beautified, practiced, and fed. Yes, fed. I was so proud of myself when I sat down to eat my breakfast of Cheerios and grape juice. Wow, I was really taking care of myself. This morning I knew I had to have all of my energy and strength at top-notch.

Little did I know that in less than twenty-four hours people would be chastising me for eating this  meager breakfast that at the time I was so proud of.

Everything was going completely fine with the funeral. Maybe, maybe, I felt a little tired, hot, and thirsty; but seriously, I don’t think I thought of any of this until it was too late.

A soloist got up to sing “The Old Rugged Cross” before the message. Somewhere during the second or third verse, the darkness and stars started to invade my vision. That’s weird. I had passed out before in high school so at least I was familiar with that sensation. Oh well, I’ll be fine; I know how to play this song without looking. 

By this time all I could see was complete black, but I could still hear the man singing and my playing sounded okay… until it stopped sounding okay. Wait, that’s not right. I’m supposed to play a B flat chord here. I remember still not being worried; I know where that chord is; but I kept searching for it and couldn’t find it. Wow, this sounds bad; this sounds weird. 

At that point, I stopped having thoughts. I just knew that whatever I was playing was not right.

People in the crowded auditorium started to wonder what was wrong. The soloist began to wonder if he had made a mistake; he kept coming back in, trying to find where he was supposed to be. My mom, who was in attendance, told me later that she was thinking, “Someone better get up there and do something.”

Thankfully, my knight in shining armor realized I needed help. Paul came up to the piano and put his arms around me (which was good, first because I always love his arms around me, and second, because this particular time it kept me from collapsing on the ground)

“Hey Bud, are you okay?”

“No.”

“I’m going to help you walk off.”

“No, you don’t understand; I can’t see you. Everything’s black. You’re going to have to carry me.”

So there I went, off the stage, carried in my husband’s arms.

There went the little girl everyone had watched grow up. There went the girl who had played the piano for everything that had happened in that church for the last who knows how long. There went the person who had never needed anything. There went all that pride. Wait, actually, I think it stayed on the piano bench.

This would begin my realization that pregnancy is different from normal. Something wacko is happening with my body, and I better figure out what to do about it.

Seriously, Christie, why did it take blacking out at a FUNERAL?????

Why you really should eat a good breakfast while you’re pregnant, part 1

My first little monkey
My first little monkey

When I got married I knew how to part-write pretty well; I could analyze preludes and fugues; I could sightread about any piece of music that you could put in front of me. I could wash and wax a car until it gleamed; and that’s about all. (Notice I didn’t say anything about cooking, preparing food, knowing what a well-balanced meal was, etc.)

When I found out I was pregnant, I knew I would need some help. So I drove my husband’s little white truck to our little local library. There I checked out as many books as I could regarding pregnancy, went home, read them, and became extremely grossed out at the pictures.

At our first doctor’s appointment, the nurse went through a very specific list of foods and drugs that I could not eat and also a few items that I could take, just in moderation, or after so many weeks, and whatever.

Everyone I knew expressed their deep happiness over our coming baby. I got oohs and ahs and hugs and pats and well-wishes ’til I could not contain anymore.

But in all of this, I missed out on something very important. Either I failed to read it in the library books, or didn’t hear it in the doctor’s appointment. I definitely did not receive any advice from friends or family regarding it; perhaps they just didn’t understand how ignorant I was about it all.

But I learned. Oh, did I learn.

When you are pregnant, you have to eat

There’s another little person in there, and they’re hungry, too. Even if you’re as sick as a dying goldfish, you have to eat.

Because if you don’t, your body will take whatever sustenance it has stored and give it to that new, sweet, deserving little person.

And that will leave you with nothing. And when your body has to run on nothing, it isn’t pretty.

Case and point:

With my first pregnancy, I was sick at night. About seven o’clock I would begin to feel just awful. The thought of eating would make me groan. Even lying down felt awful, and it would be late before I could get to sleep.

For this reason, it was very hard to wake up in the morning. I would stay in bed ’til the last possible minute and then rush to get ready to go teach piano lessons. Most mornings, I went without eating. (Remember the whole not knowing anything about food part? Well, I didn’t know at all how to stock a pantry, or even buy groceries; so most of the time there wasn’t even anything to eat in the house.) If I grabbed a granola bar or an apple, I thought I was doing good.

But then it came. The morning of the day that I would be humiliated…

For first time moms

my first sweet little girl

Recently we were at a birthday party where I got to meet a friend of a friend who was there with her two week old son. I would say it brought back a lot of memories for me, but actually I have very few memories from what I fondly call “the black cloud.” The black cloud in it’s strictest definition ranges from the moment of coming home from the hospital to approximately six weeks, varying by person. The black cloud can also quite accurately describe the moment of coming home from the hospital to the first full week a baby sleeps through the night. All that to say, I don’t really have memories of it. Just memories of memories; which is kind of weird.

Anyways, I guess I got to thinking about what it’s like during that time. The girl kept saying, “It’s just so weird to be thinking about something else besides him for like thirty seconds.” And I totally understood that. I also totally understand what it’s like to be walking down a dark hallway really wondering if you just fed the baby or if you were on your way to feed her. And the list could go on.

It really is so weird because you feel like you’re functioning; everything seems “normal” as far as your perspective of yourself and time and conversation. But then afterwards it’s just completely blank.

Skipping to another new mom topic here: this advice is given frequently, but this is the way I say it: When someone offers to help you, the answer is yes. Yes, you can take my plate to the trash. Yes, I need some water. Yes, yes, yes. Believe me, you will have your chance to be helpful or strong or capable later on; just accept the help.

It was so fun for me to watch this girl and try to think of what she needed and how to be a help. I’ve waited and prayed for the time when I could be on the other end and in a small way, it came. As the evening progressed you could tell she got more comfortable with being the “babied” one. That’s so good! For all first time moms everywhere, you are so special. Don’t worry about not

savoring every moment or about getting it all right; it will all end up in the black cloud anyhow. That’s just how it goes and it’s okay.