Anxiety & Pregnancy: How Do I Really Feel?

Guilty. The answer is, surprisingly: guilty. At least, that’s the answer I have for you at this moment.

Happy. That’s the answer most of the time. I am so happy. I am so happy that I could cry with gratitude. And I have.

Relieved. I am so relieved that this is a time of respite. No turmoil. Just calm and love.

I don’t know why. I don’t know how. But my anxiety baseline plummeted when I became pregnant. I’m not talking about zero. I’m not even talking about person-with-no-anxiety-disorder levels. After all, I’m still anxious about taking the baby I nanny for a walk. (I have no idea why. It’s not rational.) And I have no excuse for not showering even every other day. (Just be grateful I don’t have strong body odor and move on. It’s not rational.)

But I’m not afraid of laundry.

I’m not afraid of leaving the house on time for work or appointments.

I’m not afraid of doctors, not even my psychiatrist.

I’m not afraid of my meds.

I’m not afraid of cooking.

I’m not afraid of doing dishes.

I’m not afraid of cleaning.

I am excited about my upcoming project of putting my regular person clothing in Rubbermaid tubs and clearing out my fabulous Ikea wardrobe for just maternity wear.

I’m excited about organizing our things while we move.

I’m excited to move into the bigger, nicer apartment across the hall.

I’m not afraid of money. I can look at the bank accounts, the bills, the upcoming bills, and no matter what, my heart rate doesn’t even rise.

I’m not afraid to go to therapy or to cancel when I feel sick.

I’m not afraid to rest when I’m sick or just plain need to rest.

If you had given me this list just a year ago, maybe even just this January, I would have said, “That’s not me. It will never be me.” The doctors told me that there’s always a chance that hormones during pregnancy can help you feel happy, not make you anxious or cranky. My mother and sister were both pretty serene pregnant women. But then, they don’t deal with the kind of anxiety I’ve faced, so that always made sense to me. I couldn’t take their experience as a predictor of my own. I prepared for the worst. I braced myself. I warned my husband to brace himself. And then, the test turned positive…

Since then, the world has just settled into place. It has stopped spinning or tilting at random. I literally smell flowers and the rain more intensely (that’s a pregnancy symptom–a super sense of smell). I haven’t felt panic in, oh, about 14 weeks. I know that I still need the medication–if I forget a dose, the anxiety creeps back up. But I am serene in my knowledge that I have made the best choices I could make for me and for my family.

And now, I feel guilty. All that preparation, this entire blog, and I turn out to be the poster child for a happy pregnancy? Ok, not quite the poster child (there are those meds, after all). But seriously, I am happier pregnant than I was before. I am happy. What about all the women I’ve found through this blog who relate to me? Will you still relate to me if my moods remain even? Will you resent me for reacting so well to pregnancy, which has been such a scary experience for some of you? I resent me for reacting so well to something that, according to… who? that’s a good question… according to someone, was supposed to make me an emotional wreck and unpredictable hormonal nightmare.

I was afraid that I would run out of things to write about. I’m glad that I haven’t. I am so glad that I have been given this reprieve. I thank God every day. I do not take this drop in anxiety for granted, not even for a minute. Maybe it will give the book I want to write the kind of happy ending readers love. But who am I without my excuses? Without my disorders? It’s really pretty exciting to find out. Go ahead, strip them from me. I’ll find a new identity. Happily. I still have a strong voice. I am still me. And that is just… weird. It’s completely bizarre. I don’t understand it.

But that’s the thing about gifts from God: I don’t need to understand. I take them and say, “Thank You.”

Bug, at 14 weeks, you are apparently the size of a lemon. But you are sweet as pie! Thank you for all the sweetness you bring to my life, every day.

Shhh: The Quiet Fear of Miscarriage

I wrote this for my blog at Psychology Today. I wasn’t going to share it here, because I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. I still don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but I am now convinced by the response to the Psychology Today piece that this really does need to be talked about. 

“Don’t tell everyone just yet.”

“Wait.”

“You haven’t really announced, though, right?”

“It’s so early!”

I was never going to keep from getting my hopes up. I was never going to keep from falling in love with my “baby” even when it was a ball of thirty-odd cells. Something immediately bothered me about the admonitions other women repeated to keep my pregnancy to myself. I tried to consider it.

Several scenarios played out in my imagination. One: I tell everyone as soon as I feel like it & have a healthy, happy pregnancy. The end. Two: I tell everyone “too soon,” have a miscarriage, and friends and family rally around me in support as I grieve. Three: I don’t tell anyone, have a miscarriage, and… what? Suffer in silence?

I have tried to understand the reason behind continuing this tradition where we all keep quiet until after the first trimester ends–just in case. I understand that miscarriage is not a comfy subject to talk about. I understand the fear that, while trying to recover, emotionally, you will have to answer someone’s innocent “So how are you feeling?” (not a single person who knows I am pregnant asks me “How are you?” any more–I find this custom endearing, though) with such terrible news.

Here’s the thing, though: I am terrible at hiding emotions. There is no way I would be able to keep from showing my grief on my face, all the time. I do not see how I could pretend that the pregnancy had not happened. And wouldn’t somebody wonder? I would hope that someone would notice the change in me.

What bothers me most about this tradition, however, is that its roots lie in a long history of shame. Women have long pretended that sexuality, pregnancy, birth and, of course, miscarriage, simply do not exist. For many women, a miscarriage feels like a huge failure. If it remains a secret, if women feel like terrible wives, or if we see it as some sort of “sign” that we aren’t good enough, we can’t give each other the chance to share the burden of grief.

I’m not suggesting that everyone announce every pregnancy the minute the test turns positive. Not every woman who has suffered a loss is going to want to discuss a miscarriage publicly. I would simply like to leave it up to each family.

And yet, I could not escape this advice: don’t go around telling everyone. Wait. The miscarriage rate is still too high. Obviously, I have to have told you if you are giving me this advice. Why didn’t you want to know? Why wouldn’t you want to know that I had lost this dearly wished-for baby? Why couldn’t I turn to you in this joy and, if the worst happened, turn to you in my grief?

I felt shamed. I felt pressure to hide my joy, lest it turn to grief. We did wait–sort of. We told immediate family, and very close friends. But after we saw our little “Bug” at our eight-ish weeks ultrasound, we told everyone. Yes, it’s different for a blogger. My readers were waiting for the news, because I had devoted my entire blog to my preconception journey.

Everything has worked out wonderfully, and everyone is so excited to hear all the news, now that I have begun the second trimester of this healthy pregnancy. And yet, I have trouble forgiving the women (it was always women) who responded to my “I’m pregnant!” with “Don’t tell too many people” and an implied “You might have a miscarriage.” I just cannot believe that that is an appropriate or helpful response. If a woman announces a pregnancy at four weeks, eight weeks or twenty weeks, she is still pregnant. If she feels joy in sharing that fact, no amount of risk to her fetus ought to dampen that joy.

Sanity Sundays: ASOS Maternity Jeans

Ok, so I’m a day late. It’s Monday. Sue me. (Please don’t. I have no money.)

My sanity saver this week goes to another product–ASOS (a UK company that sells in the US online) makes maternity jeans that are cleverly disguised to look just like normal person jeans! When I started wearing maternity pants and skirts, I noticed something: wearing bottoms that pull on and off makes me feel rather… well… like a little kid. Look, my belly is not so big yet that I can’t zip and button a freaking pair of pants or skirt! I just need the waistband to be a little more flexible. Enter, ASOS and a fabulous sale that allowed me to justify my purchase.

Here’s what the “boyfriend” jeans I bought look like on the model:

the slouchy, comfy “boyfriend” maternity jean

And here is the genius behind these particular jeans:

the cleverly hidden stretch panels are behind the pockets!

 

Things I did not know until I opened the package include:

1) Pre-distressed “worn” spots. I normally do not buy jeans like this, I have accepted it and moved on. If I buy another pair of ASOS jeans, I’ll probably get a different style. These are super comfy and soft, though.

2) Inside the waistband, on both sides, you can tighten or loosen the amount of stretch in your waistband with a tuxedo-pant-like button/elastic system. It’s truly awesome. Awesome.

I am in love! (ASOS has no idea who I am. This just my sadly unpaid opinion.)

12 Weeks Pregnant (New Ultrasound Picture!)

How Far Along? Twelve weeks, three days.

Courtesy of www.thebump.com.

Maternity Clothes? We are there! The “regular” jeans do not work. I love stretchy-waist pants. I need maternity tops. Between my ridiculously huge bust expansion and my new bump, there is no regular summer tee that covers both top and bottom. Thank goodness for Gap sales–six more maternity shirts are on their way. My lovely sister-in-law is letting me borrow her maternity clothes, but I won’t get them until after she gives birth in July. Yeah, we’re going to need a few basics to get us from here to July! I am still pretty excited for all the cute, non-basics she sports. She has excellent taste, that lady.

Weight Gain? Still about 8-10 lbs. I ate a ton in the first couple weeks, then the nausea kicked in. To be perfectly honest, I was not eating enough before I got pregnant. Anxiety has a really great knack for killing my appetite. I am now hungry much more often, I am sure it’s because of the pregnancy in general, but it’s also because I am less anxious, now. Why would I become less anxious during pregnancy? There are many theories, but nobody knows. All I have to say is: thank you, God! (That’s a sincere thank you to the God I sincerely believe in.)

Stretch Marks? Oh, yes. All on the breasts. It makes me sad. There were already stretch marks from my A-D overnight expansion during middle school.

Sleep? I’m not sleeping as easily as I was sleeping during the first trimester. I keep dreaming that I’m chain smoking and realize just before I wake up that I’m pregnant. (I used to smoke–self-medicaiton for anxiety. Turned out to be ineffective but addictive. Yeah, I know. Duh!) I am still sleeping better than I was before, though!

Best Moment so Far? During the last ultrasound, about 10 days ago, Bug rubbed tiny, sealed-shut eyes with teeny tiny fists! Yes, I died of cute, a little. It’s one of the first reflexes they develop, by the way.

Movement? Yes, actually! There is sometimes a fluttering in my uterus when I lay down at night. It makes me think of butterflies. No, it’s not gas. Gas never makes me think of butterflies. And by this point in pregnancy, I know a lot about every possible kind of gas bubble. This is Bug. And it’s awesome, awe-inspiring, all-around extraordinary. I’m in love.

Gender/Sex? See here.

What I miss? I want my pretty, normal-sized bras back, and I want my chest to stop hurting. Seriously, there is so much pain some days. This H cup nonsense is for the birds. And I have no idea if my old figure will ever come back or when. Post coming soon on body issues.

Symptoms:

  • Cravings: potatoes (any variety, but especially chips and fried) but mostly cheese. Beans and rice and anything spicy are also on the list, but I eat lots of cheese every day.
  • Food aversions: I can drink coffee again. I found this out the hard way, when I woke up this morning with a migraine and a Double Shot left over in the fridge from the last migraine plus two tylenol were the most pregnancy-safe solutions I could find. (Did you know that a Starbucks Double Shot, supposedly containing two shots of espresso, has only 130 mg of caffeine in them? That’s a lot, but pregnant women are allowed up to 250/300 mg per day. Just FYI. And a little prod to never give a pregnant woman with a Starbucks or Dunkin cup in her hand a single dirty look. Ever. Even if there are three shots of espresso in that cup, she is not engaging in anything her doctor wouldn’t approve.)
  • Second Trimester signs: no more nausea! Baby bump!
  • I already mentioned the breast issue. It bears repeating. OUCH!

What I’m looking forward to: On Thursday, we will have a “fancy ultrasound” – my gyn’s words. It’s actually the somewhat-controversial NT scan. My pregnancy apps warned me to think about this in advance, but we weren’t even asked if we wanted what is known as “first-trimester screening.” It is optional, and I had already decided to do it.

The controversy comes from the fact that the blood work I had done on Saturday, plus the ultrasound on Thursday, done by an ultrasound tech (my doctor has done all of them thus far), will give us a number that is meant to indicate the risk of our baby having Down’s Syndrome. This is controversial for many couples because of the common (and in my experience mis-) conception that a “high risk” result will lead to the termination of the pregnancy. For everyone I’ve talked to, we want to know if the risk is high so that we can prepare ourselves for parenting a special needs child. In our case, I’d need to apply for a lot of government help, and I’d really rather start that learning curve the day I give birth. Honestly, though, our risk is so low–no family history, I’m under 30–that I am looking forward to Thursday because it means more time with Bug! My mother-in-law, soon to be known as “Gram,” is coming up from Long Island to “meet” Bug. Because the fetus has to be in a certain position for the tech to get the right measurement (they are apparently measuring the ‘translucency’ of the fat on the back of the little fetus’s neck–sounds difficult to me!), this scan could take awhile. There’s an alternate babysitter lined up for the baby I care for. We are all ready and waiting to see Bug for as long as they’ll let us!

What I’ve Learned about Pregnancy: I have felt and will continue to feel my uterus expand. Maybe this should have been obvious. It was not. I was quite shocked to feel myself being stretched from the inside. I know–totally weird and kind of creepy. Also? Ouch.

Milestones: The first trimester is done! (That means our risk of a miscarriage is really low, now.) And I’m showing! Did I mention that I’m showing?

I know, all of a sudden, a person! Albeit, a person with a head as big as his/her body... Also, those little round dots? Hands! We saw kicking legs and feet, too, but they're not visible in this photo.

Emotions: Mostly happy. Some of alllll the rest of them, too, including sad and mad, specially when I get dressed and see a body I don’t recognize. Looking at my bump? Happy! Looking at my newly doughy, giggly hips and thighs? Confused. Looking at my unrecognizable chest? Mad. Oh, hai, body issues! Not nice to see you again.
Oh, and ecstatic describes my feeling on opening easter packages from Nathan’s mom and step-mom containing tiny outfits with duckies, froggies and safari animals, and even a teething blankie with a freaking panda on it. Oh, the cute!

I Popped! Belly Photos: 12 Weeks

I’m totally exhausted, but I promised I’d post these. I’m 12 weeks, 1 day. And I swear, this belly you see happened overnight! I actually did feel this crazy cramping (scary!) pain on Saturday night that was like I was being stretched from the inside. I did some research: that’s exactly what I was feeling. My uterus is stretching itself from the inside to make room for Bug. Whoa. And ew. And ouch! So, anyway… I’m showing! Look!

Lots of pride in my bump, plus some pride in my home-made temporary tattoo...

I told you: I'm exhausted.

But also so very happy! Hi, bump! (Also--yes, my boobs really are that huge, now. I swear, they are trying to compete with my belly. That's a story for another day.)

Sanity Sundays: The Takeya Iced Tea Maker

I bought this because I’ve started making my own herbal tea out of a bunch of herbs I bought in bulk (nettles, red raspberry leaf, other things that are good for pregnancy). I LOVE it, and it is so easy to use. Note: this is purely my opinion. I wasn’t paid or given free stuff.

Put some tea (loose or in tea bags) in this thing, put it in the fridge overnight, and you have lovely iced tea when you wake up! The infuser screws out of the lid, so when it’s strong enough, you just take it out and have a lovely pitcher. The lid seals, and the pitcher is BPA-free. I chose this over the glass because it’s nice and light.

I know I already did one of these about tea, but as the weather gets warmer, there is nothing more relaxing than a lovely glass of iced tea. So pick your favorite, put a few bags in this awesome device, and enjoy iced tea for days! Seriously, I relax just pouring my tea, which smells heavenly.

Takeya Iced Tea Maker

Back to the Beginning: How I Told Him

A friend pointed out that I never posted the story of how I told Nathan that he was going to be a dad. It’s not much of a story, but I’m happy to tell it!

In case you weren’t following along three months back (oohhh goodness, am I almost 12 weeks already?!), I had somewhat of a testing problem. As in, well before “Aunt Flo” was due to arrive, I had an itch to test about four times a day. I ended up giving my pregnancy tests to my therapist for safe keeping. About a week before I said I would test in February, I began to feel symptoms. My morning coffee made me vomit, and after that, the smell of coffee gave me a headache and made me want to vomit. I developed a super-human sense of smell that allowed me to detect the coffee clinging to my husband’s clothes after he had spent the day studying in Starbucks–he doesn’t even drink coffee! The woman who had been in my therapist’s office right before me wore perfume; no one else said was strong at all. I had to ask her to open a window. I felt like I’d been trapped in a Sephora. The look on my face convinced her that this was a real reason to test. (She would have handed over the tests, regardless, I just answered her questions because that is therapy.)

I decided to take one test home. I decided to use it first thing in the morning. Supposedly, that’s when urine is most concentrated and the test is most accurate. First thing in the morning turned out to be 4:00 in the morning, when I woke up and had to pee. The line on the test was faint (this was early, remember) but, having taken about 10 negative tests in January, I knew that this was a line!

Naturally, I ran into the bedroom to wake up Nathan. What I didn’t know was that he had just gone to bed at 3:00 am. He may have had his eyes open, but he was not awake. So when I said “Look! Look! It’s positive!” He mumbled “I don’t see it.”

Yeah. I was not happy.

“Look! It’s right there! It’s a LINE! I’m pregnant!”

“I hope so.”

Ugh!

At that point, I gave up and told someone online. Thank goodness I have an inside-the-computer friend in Hawaii! After sufficient online celebration, I managed to go back to sleep somehow. But (after wiping it off), I put the test on the bathroom shelf, where Nathan would see it when he was finally awake. So, when we did get up for school/work, he did see the line. No more “hope so” – genuine excitement!

And, that’s the story. There was lots of mushy texting that day.

PS Nathan is awesome; he just really cannot wake up after 1 hour of sleep at 4 am. When I took a digital test a few days later, just to see the word “pregnant” pop up, he was totally excited.

I wanted him to see that faint pink line above the "T" at 4 am after 1 hour of sleep.

Language Matters: Stop Using The Word “Nazi” Lightly

Since I wrote my post on lactivism vs bullying and how they are not the same thing (a point a few readers missed, judging by their comments), I stumbled into a huge and volatile conversation–sometimes more of a screaming match. First of all, I just do not and will not understand why anyone object to breastfeeding activism as it most often works and is supposed to work. Here’s what it does: promote true facts about healthy breastfeeding, the health of breastmilk and offer support to women who have trouble with breastfeeding and promote more of what the AAP, in their latest report on breastfeeding, is not only calling a necessary good thing but also a public health crisis. There is a whole lot of detailed, solid science in support of babies consuming human milk, and it’s why I will turn to donor milk instead of formula in October (or November).

In case you missed it, the drugs that I find necessary to fight my anxiety and depression are probably dangerous to an infant; it might cause the baby to fall asleep and not wake up. This is not open for discussion. I don’t want your advice. I got about 5 “second opinions” and made my decision long ago. I’m just filling you in. Again, not asking for your advice on the topic.

Back to the topic at hand: breastfeeding activism aims at promoting true facts about infant nutrition. The point is most definitely not to make anyone who feeds a baby formula feel guilty. We are simply talking about supporting breastfeeding mothers, mothers who want to breastfeed, dads who are feeding expressed milk to babies and everything related to breastfeeding. It’s also about counteracting the manipulative message formula companies send with their ads and the free samples they push on families at hospitals and in doctors’ offices. It is not a true fact that formula is the same as breastmilk, nor is it true that formula is as healthy for babies. And here’s where we get into sticky territory. Understandably, there is often a clash between mothers who use formula and mothers who advocate for breastfeeding. Accusations fly in both directions. Breastfeeding activists who accuse mothers of being lazy or not trying hard enough? They have crossed a line from activism into just plain meanness and name-calling. Mothers who use formula exclusively or supplement with formula? Unless you have been the victim of meanness and name-calling, no one is trying to make you feel guilty.

I’d just like to point out that no one can make you feel anything. When I was bullied, I gave the bully the power to make me feel anger, sadness, grief, etc. Another woman might have just let it roll off her back. So if you feel guilty because of what someone says on the internet, especially if the writer is not addressing you personally, they are not making you feel guilty. You feel guilt, and that is valid. But breastfeeding activism is not about guilt. Guilt does no one any good. It leads to resentment and anger and more meanness and name-calling. And here is where I come to the point of this post:

The word “Nazi” does not apply to someone who is mean. It doesn’t apply to someone who calls you a name. Recently, in a comment, I read the word “Lazi” and got angry. Apparently, it’s ok now to combine “lactivist” and “Nazi” and make new words with which to continue the name-calling and hostility. The wonderful blog PhD in Parenting already covered why the term “Breastfeeding Nazi” is offensive and not ok:

First, lactivists have not killed millions of people like the Nazis did. …

Second, calling someone that is an enthusiastic advocate of something a Nazi trivializes and minimizes the suffering of the victims of the Holocaust. Even if you feel like you have been a “victim” of extreme lactivism, you cannot in good conscience compare that to the complete and utter horror that the Nazis carried out.

So stop. Please stop. It is not appropriate. Not funny.

Since the term “Breastfeeding Nazi” seems to have now evolved into “Lazi,” I feel that the point bears repeating: Stop. It is not ok. Under any circumstances that do not have to do with the genocide that took place during World War II.

What can you do instead? Talk about what you’re going through. Explain why you feel guilty, who called you a name and why it was wrong. Trust me. I did that–I talked about how hurt I felt when someone accused me of being a bad mother. And guess what happened? A whole slew of people came and rallied in support of me and my efforts to be the best mother I can be. Do not model name-calling for your children or your peers. Stop the cycle by talking about your feelings. I am not being patronizing; I am telling you that it works.

Traveling Red Dress Update

I know, it’s been way too long since I updated everyone on my progress! The beginning of this project seemed blessed by the gods themselves, as the exact amount of money I needed for the exact right fabric just seemed to appear exactly when I needed it. (See posts here, here and here for those stories.) And then, it seemed to have acquired a curse.

The pattern I chose took forever to arrive. Someone stole it the first time around (I think–I’m not actually positive she remembered to send the darn thing, but someone does steal stuff from our lobby regularly, we have now learned). She sent it again. It took a long time to arrive. Finally, it came! And it did not include instructions. I kid you not. It included only pattern pieces. And this dress is not the most intuitive pattern I’ve ever seen. It’s simple, but it definitely requires darn directions.

I emailed. And emailed. And received replies of “soon” and “tomorrow” and “later” and still, this seller insisted that she was working on it but couldn’t get the instructions to me. Why? This is her backwards system: use a giant scanner to scan a pattern’s instructions in color, so that buyers (who get traced pattern pieces, by the way, in order to preserve the vintage pattern–I love that, though, I always trace my patterns to preserve them in case I want another size later) can download an image of exactly what the original looks like. Ok, I get that. But what confused me was why this file was not readily available to the seller. She keeps them all on the scanner, which she couldn’t turn on because it was in her new brick and mortar retail space, which did not yet have power. I won’t go into all the reasons why it is incredibly stupid not to have all these files on a backup drive of some kind. What bugs me is that I ordered the darn pattern weeks before this big important move disrupted her life–why didn’t she email me the file?

Oh, yes, there was one other problem–the week I needed the instructions was the week she redesigned her website. Did she tell me this? No. The note that I got with the pattern pieces simply said that the instructions were downloadable from that site. I went there. It was basically blank. I emailed. And emailed. The scanner story finally came out as the reason. Still, did I get an email with the file attached? Maybe even an email letting me know it had been uploaded to the website? Nope. I had to refresh the page obsessively until it appeared. Yes, I am still angry. The whole debacle put me just enough behind schedule so that not only was I pregnant, but I was pregnant enough to be exhausted. All the time.

If you’ve never been pregnant, take it from me–the first trimester seems comparable to having a sleep disorder (as a friend so eloquently put it). I am pretty sure that I spend more time sleeping on any given day than I spend awake. Weekends, I pass out for 14 hours at a time and also take naps. I thought that being pregnant would mean I had to sew fast so that I could wear the dress before my waistline expanded. Turns out, the real challenge is getting off the couch. I have no idea if I’ll be able to zip the dress when I get the photos taken, but the photographer and I will work that out, even if I have to hold it together with huge safety pins.

Before the exhaustion took over my brain, I did manage to make the muslin version of this dress, with help from my wonderful mother-in-law. Here’s where I plug an Etsy shop I DO love. The lovely and generous Kim, whose muslin arrived well ahead of any other supplies, for free, runs the Busy Beehive, purveyor of all sorts of lovely surprises. You can find everything there from sewing supplies to costume jewelry. It’s a lot of fun! Go there now! Buy something!

I do have pictures for you of the muslin version of this dress. Notice the seams–I can’t wait to see how they look on the thicker, shinier red cotton sateen. The bodice is just gorgeous and ingeniously designed.

 

Sanity Sundays: Ginger Green Tea

Okay, this one seems completely unoriginal. But I have been mixing my own morning tea that fights nausea, wakes me up and is full of antioxidants. And it is delicious!

I’m not normally a green tea fan. There’s a bitterness there that I just do not like. But lately, I take one green tea bag and one ginger tea bag, let it steep for five minutes, and that for some reason I love.

Why did I start drinking the green tea in the first place? Well, my nutritionist made a brilliantly simple observation: antioxidants fight free radicals, which damage cells. During the embryonic phase/first trimester, the embryo/fetus is very vulnerable to anything that damages cells. So, flooding my body with antioxidants can only help, especially because antioxidant-rich foods are healthy in other ways. From Jan the Amazing Nutritionist:

At Tufts University scientists from the USDA have developed a rating scale that measures the antioxidant content of various natural plant foods. The scale is called ORAC, which stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity.
 
Foods highest on the ORAC scale:
 
Condiments: clove, cinnamon, cumin, curry, cardamom, garlic, onion, turmeric, oregano, thyme, basil, dill, rosemary, rosehip, sage, sumac and sorghum bran, vanilla bean, unsweetened cocoa, black and green tea.
 
Dried and deeply pigmented fruits: apples with skin, avocado, olives, blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, goji berries, plums, black currants, raspberries, strawberries, figs, cherries, oranges, papaya, pears, grape and pomegranate juice.
 
Vegetables: artichokes, asparagus,  broccoli, brussel sprouts, red leaf cabbage, asparagus, beetroot, eggplant, yellow squash, kale, spinach, sweet and russet potatoes.
 
Legumes: red, kidney, pinto beans, and lentils.
 
Nuts: peanuts, almonds, pecans, pistachios, walnuts.
 I love eating almost everything on that list, so eating lots more of these foods is not a problem! The ginger is for the nausea, by the way.
I have a friend who buys green tea in bulk, plus herbs that are good for her and makes loose tea. I am too lazy for this, so I bought inexpensive organic green tea bags and organic ginger tea bags. I am not too lazy to add fresh ginger, but they were out.