Pregnant Vegetarian 1: Pregnancy Test
Youngest Savvy Vegetarian Shocked to Be Pregnant
Pt 1 of a vegetarian pregnancy series written by Zoë Keeland, pregnant vegetarian, and youngest daughter of Savvy Vegetarian.
Zoë has a positive pregnancy test and starts to realize what it means to have a vegetarian diet during pregnancy.
Zoë has agreed to write hormonally driven pregnancy posts more or less regularly until her brain completely dissolves into mush – or she has a baby, whichever comes first.
Vegetarian and Pregnant in the Kitchen
Having been married for almost six years, and casually trying to get pregnant for most of the time, I had mostly given up pining for a baby. I wasn’t even tracking my cycle, aside from the vague: it oughtta show up pretty soon, I think. So when my boobs got tender, and stayed that way for two weeks, I thought I had a heckuva bleed coming on, probably soon.
My husband Bryan, who obviously pays way more attention to my boobs than I do, gave them a critical eye. “Go get a pregnancy test,” he said. I humored him, and picked one up at the grocery store. I got the box that has three in it. “That way I won’t have to run out for one next time Bryan gets paranoid,” I thought.
Anyone need a pregnancy test? I have two I won’t be needing….unless they stay good for a couple years.
Screw this pink line stuff, I thought, and bought the digital one that would either say: Pregnant, or Not Pregnant. I didn’t want to be squinting at the thing trying to decide about colors.
When it came up Pregnant, I nearly fell off the toilet. “Really?” I choked, squinting at it anyway. “Pregnant,” it said – no NOT anywhere in sight. I was stunned. I was thrilled. I wondered how the heck we were going to pay for this!
I sat on the steps and called Bryan with the news. Then I sat on the steps some more, my brain firing with all the things I would now have to do and worry about.
You would think, after years of going wistful over other people’s babies, having the odd cry over my non-pregnant state, that I would be dancing and singing and posting it on Facebook. Nope. I went straight to worrying.
“Crap,” I thought. “I’ll have to give up coffee.”
If I had realized that I was still allowed to take Tylenol before I quit coffee abruptly, it could have been a less awful experience. As it was, I staggered through my work day, pale and headachey, worrying my coworker. I felt wretched. I went home from work and went straight to bed. Bryan kindly did some research and went out to fetch some Tylenol for me. My hero!
Having jumped that hurdle, I dreaded the prospect of facing the medical establishment. I worried that they would freak out over my vegetarian diet and try to convince me I had to eat meat to survive.
Preparing myself to combat hidebound institutional veg-skepticism, I did what any angsty pregnant woman does – I called my mommy .
“Just cite the American Dietetic Association position paper on vegetarian diets,” she said. Aha! Now I was armed with medical clout! If anyone gave me trouble, I could just sneer and imply that their medical knowledge was sadly out of date.
“Don’t you people even read your own literature?” I would say, raising an eyebrow in disbelief. The doctor would be cowed, and never bring up meat again – to anyone.
It was disappointing, after all that build-up, to get only one ignorant comment, from a nurse. All she said, on hearing about my vegetarian diet, was: “Oh, well, you want to be sure and get all your protein.”
All my protein? Really? That’s all she could think of? Hadn’t she heard of B12, or Omega 3’s? Wasn’t there a nutrition class in her curriculum? There were too many scathing comments to pick from, and the moment passed before I could settle on one. Probably just as well. It’s not a good idea to flame the people who will be taking care of you.
The ObGyn was a total let down. She didn’t even blink about my diet. I suspect that since she had my lab results, she could already see I wasn’t anemic or otherwise malnourished. All she wanted to talk about was breastfeeding being the best option and not needing to supplement it with formula, no matter what some pediatricians say. I rather liked her.
So there. I guess the medical establishment does read its own nutritional studies – eventually. Or at least has learned that it’s not PC to ask a vegetarian to eat dead animals. They do still make you wear hospital gowns, though. And put your feet in stirrups.