Friday, September 9, 2011

I love you a latte...

This really is one of my husbands new coffee mug.

Unpacking our suitcases from Florida was a rather interesting feat. I had brought an empty suitcase with us, knowing it would be filled with souvenirs. We bought two t-shirts (Swimming with Dolphins), presents for my nephew, a set of Mickey Ears and enough coffee mugs to outfit an entire diner.

If only I was exaggerating. It seems like my husband and I managed to find an awesome looking coffee mug at every stop. He has a “Grumpy” mug and I have a “Tinker Bell” mug (it says I often give myself good advice on one side and I seldom listen to it on the other.) We have an American Tradition coffee mug with an US flag on it and the Mickey characters. We have a giant coffee mug with a killer whale from Sea World, and a giraffe coffee mug from Busch Gardens. I am shocked that we got them all back to Colorado without breaking any of them. I wrapped each one in a towel. Silly, but it worked. You would think with all of these mugs that we like coffee or something.

Coffee and I have had a love/hate/indifferent relationship my entire life. When I was adopted my adopted grandfather would come over on Saturday mornings and have one cup of instant coffee with my adopted mother. They would microwave some water, dump in a spoon full and call it good. My adopted mother was single and I never saw her drink coffee outside of those days. When I was about sixteen I tried a glass and it was disgusting. Because my siblings were ADHD we never had caffeine in the house.

When I went off to college coffee was not a big thing on our campus, in fact although we had a Starbucks on campus, my friends and I were much more in love with their other drinks: my favorite was the carmel apple cider.

Upon moving to Washington D.C. my coffee experience grew. I was in charge of making my boss coffee in the morning. He had his own special coffee maker that had espresso and foamer attachments. He would bring in flavored coffees, creamers and sugars to go in the coffee and I could have as much as I wanted. This opened my eyes to a new type of coffee. As much as I liked the flavors I still only had about five glasses a week.

Then I got married. My husband is a coffee addict. Not only do we have a Keurig and a regular pot, we also have a press, an Italian brewer, and a percolator. That way, if for some reason we don’t have power, he can still make a pot of coffee on the grill.  This man loves his coffee and he loves it black. Like really black. No sugar, no cream. While in Afghanistan he fell in love with a drink called “The Mother of All Coffees.” This MOAC is made up of four shots of expresso and coffee in a 24 oz cup. Nothing else. Just that.

So, I started making him coffee. Every morning before we bought the Keurig I would pad downstairs before the universe was awake and turn on the coffee pot for him. For years he told me and everyone else around that I made him the best coffee. (I found out merely by him accidentally letting me know that in reality the coffee I was making him wasn’t strong enough but was the best because it was made with love. Hmph. The coffee was so strong I was half and halving my glasses. Half coffee half creamer). Anyway, the smell of coffee became the ritual. During his first deployment I found myself making an entire pot of coffee but only drinking my daily one glass (Gasp! I am so wasteful! *insert eye roll here*) The smell of that pot of coffee and the reminder of our routine helped with the deployment blues.

Each morning I get coffee smelling kisses, which are really, disgusting. But I love them because they are mine. I still will throw his cup under the Keurig and make it for him.

I went from never having coffee, to a cup every working day, to a cup everyday and two or three on the weekends.

Then, we moved to Washington State. This is when my addiction to coffee began. See, coffee is a staple in Washington. I believe that Washingtonians became addicted to caffeine to substitute for the warmth of the sun, and to chase away those dreary rainy day blues. We moved to WA from Florida during a very windy, rainy, fall season. It was months before we had a day where the sun was out for a few hours, let alone out at all. Outside of the gates of Fort Lewis were multiple coffee shops.

It was really sort of neat for a girl who hadn’t seen a lot of coffee places before. Imagine large looking wooden portapotties. There were wooden drive through structures all over the place that boosted of coffee. The structures were drive through or walk up, no room to stand inside. Most of them could only fit the employee and the coffee machines. Once I put “Starbucks” into our GPS and there popped up over twenty in a six mile radius, and I am not lying. For men who wanted their coffee served with a flare “Hot Chick a Latte” served morning coffee by a woman in a bikini or lingerie. My favorite was a place called Forza. The coffee drinks there were awesome and there was one of my way to work.

I worked at the State Psychiatric Hospital. I needed my daily coffee. In Washington I became a coffeeholic. I would drink two to three cups a day. I bought all sorts of creamers (sugar free mainly), flavored splendas and flavored coffees. Coffee was now as much of my routine as my husbands. In the summer iced coffees (I miss the pistachio iced drink I used to get in WA) replaced my hot coffees and instead of a morning treat it was my midafternoon snack.

We now live in Colorado and I brought my love of coffee with us. It is here that we purchased our Keurig coffee machine. I love our Keurig. I can make exactly one cup of coffee anytime I want. We have a bunch of different flavors, although my favorite is Hazelnut. I drink two cups of coffee in the morning. I really do enjoy the taste. Caffeine doent have much of an affect on me at all, I drink it for the warmth and the taste. I know to some people two cups isn’t much but to me it is. I make my hazelnut coffee with two packages of sweet n low and about 1/4th cup of sugar free hazelnut creamer. Sometimes I sprinkle pumpkin or apple pie spice, cinnamon, nutmeg etc in the cup before I brew the coffee for added flavor. It’s delicious. It’s my silly routine.

Six weeks ago that routine came to a screeching hault.

Your life changes when you find out you are pregnant. Your hopes and dreams for the future shift and for many women a euphoric joy settles onto you and your routine. Of course, those who us who are chronic repeat miscarriage survivors have that underlining fear and paranoid panic. For myself, one of the largest changes during pregnancy is caffeine.

The effects of caffeine on pregnancy have been debated for years. Does caffeine cause problems to the unborn baby? There are conflicting reports on the topic, but I am one to listen to my doctor. See, I don’t just get a doctor assigned to me and take their word for everything.

Nope, I’m one of those paranoid women who actually like to research doctors and hospitals before I settle. I interview doctors. I have a list of questions in a notebook that I like to ask. I want to make sure, especially with my history, that I am finding the best doctor for us. Experience, bedside manner, and similar beliefs is important to me. My family elected to use a standard medical insurance, which includes copays, so that I would have this freedom.

I found an OB I really like. She has a lot of experience, a lot of real practical experience from her experiences as a Navy Surgeon. She’s young enough to have a fresh perspective and not be bored with her specialty, but old enough to have experience to back her. Her bedside manner, encouraging attitude, and the fact that she lets me make all the major decisions, means a lot to me. She puts everything on the table, makes sure I’m informed and then lets me decide what to do.

“Rebekah, what does this have to do with coffee?”

When we found out we were pregnant I asked the doctor about food restrictions. My previous OB was pretty paranoid and had given me this long, three page list, of foods not to eat. On it was my favorite cheeses,  teas etc. This doctor in her wisdom, gave me a very short list. She told me that women around the world are having babies every day, women in third world countries, who cant be picky about their foods. She advised me to warm up any lunch meat before eating it (there was a major listeria outbreak here recently), avoid raw steak and sushi (we live in Colorado, not like they are pulling it out of the ocean to give it to us), not drink tea that has euchia in it and limit my caffeine to one a day, or less, if possible. My previous OB had cut all caffeine out of my diet.

Because I don’t drink coffee for the caffeine anyway, I figured I could go to decaff but I never got around to buyging decaf coffee. I would give my right arm to have a healthy child, giving up coffee was no big deal. I would grab a cup of decaf when we would go out to breakfast, but other than that I just didn’t drink it.

That’s why it frustrated me so much to see that the woman who is having children to trap her husband write in a mutual facebook group that she was craving coffee at ten pm, made and drank an entire pot by herself. When someone said something about it, she turned around and said that she wasn’t giving up caffeine just for a baby and she had too much to do to go through caffeine withdrawals.

I am willing to give up anything to be a mother. I will do whatever is possible to have a healthy baby and raise a healthy, well-loved, well adjusted child. I would stand on my head and drink from a straw if my doctor said it would make my child healthy.  What is giving up a cup or two of coffee? A small sacrifice. I would rather be safe than sorry and even if there were conflicting data on the outcome of caffeine in pregnancy why risk it?

Coffee was cut out of my morning routine for the past seven weeks. We found out I was pregnant two weeks after conception and it was a pretty quick decision to change a few of my eating habits. Since I had become extremely healthy in the past year and lost 75lbs, my general eating habits were good, small things like coffee and sushi were easy to say goodbye to.

But, I didn’t say goodbye to the stale smelling coffee breath and disgusting kisses from my sweetheart in the morning. One of those things that you miss while they are gone but wish theyd brush before kissing you while they are here. Yep, still got those daily. And I was content because I was loved by my husband and growing a precious extension of us inside of me.

So, that is why this morning when I padded downstairs and flipped on the Keurig, pulled out one of our new coffee mugs from vacation, brewed myself a cup of hazelnut coffee, I had tears streaming down my face.

I have my coffee routine back. The warm, wonderful, delicious cup of morning coffee to start my day.

But, I don’t want it back. Having it back means that the surgery was successful and that I no longer have limits on my diet… I don’t want a cup of coffee, I don’t want one until April 4th, 2012.  I can’t change what happened to us and there was nothing I could do to make this pregnancy work.

All I know is what I believe in my heart, and I believe humans have souls and that our souls are formed before we are physically formed. I believe that all of my dead babies had souls and that all of them knew that their mommy loved them. Because, I would have given up my life, not just a latte, for them to have life, if I had been given the option.

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