In early February of last year, an ultrasound showed that my then 18-week-old little baby had a rare and lethal condition that guaranteed he wouldn’t live past delivery. My husband and I decided to carry to term, and on June 22, our baby was delivered, blinked, then passed away. He was beautiful.
As hard as it was for me to understand knowing the severity of my baby’s condition, our doctors confirmed over and over that our baby was happy and comfortable in utero. In one ultrasound we even saw him yawn. Our doctors also assured us that the problem was not genetic, chromosomal, or caused by any issue with me or my body. In fact, several times my doctors commented that I was “remarkably healthy.”
I had been trying to stay healthy during the pregnancy up to that point. I tried to remind myself that everything I ate or drank went to my baby first, and I wanted my baby to eat well. Thankfully, I was blessed with very little nausea, so eating a variety of foods was no problem. After getting the diagnosis, I became even more committed to giving my baby as pleasant a life as possible. I couldn’t save him outside of the womb, but I could control much of what might cause him stress in the womb.
I had already limited caffeine, eliminated alcohol, and I never was a smoker, so I concentrated my attention on food. I kept notes of what I ate, counting protein intake, fiber, micronutrients, vitamins. I’d already spent a couple of years learning more about nutrition and was introduced through research to several foods with high nutritional value, some even considered “super foods,” like chia seeds, spirulina, quinoa, and goji berries. I still occasionally ate cheese dip or cookies or frozen yogurt, but I tried to make sure that I hit necessary nutritional marks every day.
For several weeks after our baby was born, friends and people from our church brought us meals. One woman who is close with my mom brought us a lovely meal made with many of the ingredients and foods I’d been trying to consume regularly during pregnancy. The main course was a quinoa, vegetable dish, and for dessert, she brought what she calls “Spunky Pie.” It’s a dairy-free, sugar-free, gluten-free, delicious (trust me) chocolate pie. The crust has almond flour, coconut flour, coconut oil, chia seeds, and flax meal. The filling is made with avocados, raw cocoa powder, and liquid stevia for sweetness. The recipe is available in the Recipes We Love page of this blog.
After saying good-bye to our baby, I fell away somewhat from the healthier approach to food I had taken during the pregnancy. Food became, instead, a source of comfort in the form of sugar and carbs rather than fuel. But I’m using the new year to recommit to eating healthily and for nutrition as well as taste. I’m planning on making a “Spunky Pie” soon to inaugurate this renewed approach to food, and also because the pie is so stinkin’ tasty. This pie is proof that a healthy, nutrition-dense recipe can be comfort food.
Food was a tool during my pregnancy, but my friends (particularly including the wonderful women on this blog) and family were lifelines. I thank them, not often or well enough, but I thank them for their continued support and love. As a token of gratitude, I offer them a pie, a weird, healthy, and chocolatey pie.