New Routines

As someone who loves routines, I realized this morning that I’ve been feeling a little calmer now that I’ve established some new routines. Since I hear I may soon get too tired or nauseated to cook, I’ve been trying to cook a lot this week. I’ve also decided that since I’m not having wine, I get to have dessert every night. I’ve been going to bed really early (probably imagined fatigue, but trying to bank sleep while I can) and getting up early. I haven’t been writing at all in the morning because I’m so distracted by questions I’ve come up with about how I should be feeling. Although I’m feeling guilty about the lack of “progress” I’m making on my writing, I have also been trying to tell myself that this is a special time (not in a cheesy “you’re a special person, Amanda” way, but just because it’s not every day a person gets pregnant for the first time), and it’s okay to enjoy my quiet morning time thinking and reading and writing about pregnancy if that’s where my heart and mind are.

It’s really hard not to get worried that I’m not feeling “bad enough” or “pregnant enough.” A lot of times, I forget that I’m pregnant–when I’m in the middle of teaching, when a student comes to me with a tough problem, when I’m running with the girls and trying to make sure we’re at the right pace, far enough from traffic, no one’s being cliquey, and none of the other groups have made a wrong turn all at the same time.

When I met with my doctor on Monday, I was expecting her (she’s sort of hippyish and usually helping me calm down about whatever my latest hypochondriac fear is) to tell me that a cup of coffee a day is okay, and that an occasional glass of wine after the first trimester is no problem, either. I didn’t feel brave enough to ask about the wine, but I did ask about the coffee, and she gently sympathized with my love of coffee, and even began saying, “I drank coffee through both of my pregnancies…” and then finished that sentence with, “but I switched to decaf”!? Decaf is not coffee! She did say that a cup of coffee a day over the next few days wouldn’t be harmful, but that I should start to wean myself off by switching to half-cat and then to decaf. I thought this was a little silly and was all prepared to ignore this advice, until yesterday my heart rate seemed to stay high for hours after I had a cup of coffee before work. I’m not sure if it was anxiety and guilt over the coffee or my body’s reaction to caffeine having changed since pregnancy, but either way, this morning I did brew my first cup of half-caf. And, yes, honestly, I’m still feeling fine and awake and not headachy and I’m sure this will (obviously) be fine.

In terms of advice I hoped I’d get, she did tell me that running is absolutely fine, didn’t even mention (what I’ve heard is mostly out of date) advice about heart rates, and just reminded me not to engage in sports where I might fall or really hot activities. I hate raw fish, pork and cold cuts, and as coffee has already become less appealing, running would really have been the only thing that would have been hard to give up. Both because it makes me feel like myself and because it’s so much a part of my job that it would have been logistically difficult to stop running without sharing news we’re nowhere near ready to share.

In a few weeks I go to meet with the midwife group I’ve decided to use for prenatal care. The group has a birthing center at Yale, so I feel safe and supported by all advances of modern medicine, but I’ve heard great things about the personal relationships friends have been able to establish with the small group of nurse-midwives. I’m excited to go to my first appointment, where I imagine I’ll meet a calming, maternal, spiritual guide and feel at peace with all anxieties. Ha!

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