Despite the many drawbacks of being pregnant — morning sickness, aching bones and muscles, swollen feet, weight gain, headaches … — I’ve had the lovely opportunity for a gluten vacation. Not a vacation from gluten, but a vacation on gluten.
I was diagnosed with Celiac a few months before JD and I got married. Despite being a completely life-changing transition, going gluten-free made a remarkable difference in how I felt on a daily basis, and I’ve stuck to the regime religiously. The deliciousness of bread or cupcakes or bagels wasn’t worth the three or more days of feeling miserable that followed. When I found out I was pregnant, I also found out that the symptoms of many auto-immune disease (which is what Celiac is) fade and even disappear during pregnancy. A good friend who was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease long before her pregnancy was mostly symptom-free for her pregnancy. After speaking to my midwife and a few other reliable sources I decided to dip my toes into the gluten-filled waters once again.
And, oh, it was glorious. I still remember that first taste of the warm, freshly-baked bread from the local Italian restaurant. The first real bread I’d eaten in over two years. (Because, let’s be real. No gluten-free bread can compete with the deliciousness of a hearty, warm, fluffy loaf of freshly baked restaurant bread.) It was the most delicious thing I had ever eaten! I ate two plates by myself and almost slapped my husband’s hand when he tried to snag a piece. I made a conscious effort to keep my new-found gluten tolerance under control by limiting how much I consumed in a given week, but I’ve probably eaten more bagels and PB&J sandwiches in the last four months than the last ten years combined. It’s been so nice to be able to only have to worry about the food and drink that could potentially harm Baby James instead of every little drop of gluten that I came into contact with.
But now, my gluten vacation is coming to an end. As I approach my last month of pregnancy, I’m swearing off gluten once again. According to everyone I’ve spoken to about autoimmune diseases and pregnancy, the symptoms of such diseases come back with a vengeance immediately after delivery. So I want to make sure that my system is completely clear of gluten before delivery happens. And, since one never really knows when that moment will happen, I figure a month in advance is a good plan for clearing out the ol’ GI system.
So, starting June 2nd, I’m officially kicking the gluten out of my life for the second time. But that gives me tomorrow – June 1st – to enjoy one onion last bagel with veggie cream cheese. And perhaps a slice of upside down Oreo cookie cake. You know, leave gluten behind with a bang and some very fond taste memories.