A long time ago, when we first started trying to have a baby, I gave up coffee. It nearly killed me. I love coffee with a firey passion. I drink it black, and I savour every mouthful. I never drank more than 2, perhaps 2 and a half cups of black coffee a day, and I enjoyed every bit of it. I was quite fussy about what quality of coffee I drank. No instant coffee, no bad meeting-room coffee, no Americanos unless I was absolutely desparate. The only coffee chain in the UK which actually brews coffee rather than giving you an Americano is Starbucks, so that's where I went. At home we drank single-source coffee, from beans roasted the day you order them.
Initially I cut back a little by ordering a half-decaf, half-normal brewed coffee at Starbucks on weekdays. Then Starbucks stopped brewing decaf coffee in the UK so that was out. Around this time a study was published which showed that consuming levels of caffeine above 300mg a day was associated with an increased level of miscarriage. We'd been trying for about 6 months. I wasn't consuming that much coffee, but I figured that if 300mg caused a problem, why was I tempting fate by consuming any coffee at all? So I went cold turkey. I also gave up diet coke, mostly because of the aspartame, but I could not countenance giving up chocolate, so that stayed on the cards. So I was getting some caffeine but not much. I substituted funky teas for coffee, and I missed it, particularly at the weekend when H would brew up a pot of lovely smelling coffee and I'd be there with my cup of green tea.
And then I found out that green tea can reduce absorption of folic acid. Which I'm already prone to be deficient in, given my MTHFR homozygosity, so green tea was out. I switched to the Tazo tea, Calm, but clearly it wasn't the same. No jolt of energy, no lovely complex smell to inhale.
This went on for some time. Gradually I started to feel resentful. I'd had enough of deprivation. Two years of failed cycles and miscarriages made me feel I deserved to eat the things I liked. And given everyone around me seemed to get pregnant happily on a diet of coffee, wine, and rich food, I didn't see why I had to suffer. So the coffee started to sneak in. At first it was just off-IVF cycle, while I was on zoladex anyway, so no chance of conception. And it was half a (small) cup of coffee, at the weekends, at home. And then sometimes on weekdays too, if I wasn't rushing off to work. I still hadn't picked my Starbucks habit back up.
And then we went on holiday to Morocco for my birthday. And we know now that I was already pregnant. And I had wine every evening for dinner, and coffee, plenty of it, for breakfast. And somehow, not that miraculously, this embryo hung on despite me creating what Zita West would term a 'toxic uterus' for it. Given this, even once I knew I was pregnant, it was hard to justify being that abstemious again. Of course I stopped drinking alcohol again. To be honest, I can take or leave alcohol anyway, so that hasn't been too much of a hardship. I've allowed myself a few sips of H's wine at dinner, and that's been mostly ok. But the coffee? No, that's a different story. I stuck to the 'coffee at weekends' rule for a while. And then I had a less busy period at work so I was able to have a bit of coffee at home on weekdays. And that turned into most weekdays. The passenger was thriving anyway. I kept going, limiting myself to only drinking coffee from our home brewing, not buying it elsewhere.
Until last week. Last week was very very busy at work. I had to work til 10 a couple of nights (normal in my job, but not normal for me recently). By Thursday morning I felt really really rough. So I went to Starbucks. And I ordered a tall black coffee. Which I drank about 3/4 of. Oh baby, forgive me. But it was good. I haven't been back. But I worry I've now crossed the Rubicon and I'll find another day when I need that weekday cup of Starbucks. And there won't be an obvious reason to resist.
Anyone got any suggestions for how to wean babies off their caffeine addiction?