For any other woman, this might not have been a big deal. But I'm ME. And ME does not do VITAMINS. ME does not do any regular medication. At least I never did before. I always either forgot to take it, or just kind of decided I was probably fine without it anyway, and just quit. Not a good habit, I know. But very, again, ME.
The prenatal thing did not come easily to me back then. I knew it was important for two main reasons -- 1) for about as long as I can remember, I've been anemic. My low iron counts baffle my docs, but they do all agree that they're low, and that makes me easily tired. Pregnancy was sure to sap my energy even more, they all told me, so it was important that I take the vitamins, which were fortified with iron. 2) I also had read enough to know that I needed to be taking lots of folic acid to reduce the chance that the theoretical baby would have birth defects. And as many bags of Cool Ranch Doritos as I'd eaten as a teenager, with all the preservatives they must have contained, I knew I could take no chances.
So, clearly -- a big deal. And yet, I was awful about it. My husband had to resort to playing vitamin cop with me each night. "Honey, did you take your prenatal?" he'd ask sweetly. And gingerly. Because if I had, I'd probably answer in the affirmative through a surly sneer, and if I hadn't, I was bound to flounce and whine all the way downstairs to take the thing. Aside from my natural tendency to be flippant about regular medications, there were two major reasons why I hated taking this pill in particular.
1) It smelled like an old lady's purse. Seriously, I don't know what fragrance they used in manufacturing it, or what they were trying to cover up, but the mere scent of it was enough to make me want to gag.
2) It was about the size of Pittsburgh. I'm not kidding. It's the only vitamin I've ever seen that you could probably play softball with. What the hell, people? Why would you make a prenatal vitamin so freakishly ginormous? Think about it. The majority of women taking it are already pregnant and therefore PRONE TO GAGGING. Gack. I just retched remembering it.
So the first time around, I was not a fan of the vitamin, to say the least. "But you could have just taken a DIFFERENT one," you say, and reasonably so. "There must be more than one kind of prenatal vitamin to choose from."
And you're right. There are many. However (and none of you who know me will be surprised by what's about to follow) -- this is the only one that didn't make me nauseous. Even this one had to be ingested under the most stringently controlled circumstances to avoid making me feel sick: I had to take it halfway through a hearty dinner. Not with breakfast, nor with lunch. Not with just soup, or a grilled chicken salad. Halfway through a hearty, filling, stick-to-your-ribs dinner, or hello! I'd see it again floating in the powder room toilet.
Once I actually became pregnant, my inner vitamin-hating psychosis only grew. I had to pump myself up to take it every night, and as I worked on my vitamin-buffering dinner, I would eye the bottle of medication with open disgust, and more than a little trepidation. Would I succeed this time? Or would the pill hit the kitchen sink with a ping!, the way it did many nights when I just couldn't choke it down? (It really did look like some kind of horse tranquilizer, it was so big.)
And then boy was born, and he was healthy and sound, and I realized that the stupid honker purple pill had some small role in that fact. And of course, in retrospect, it didn't seem all that bad.
Lately, husband and I have been discussing our plans for expanding the clan once again. Not tomorrow, not next week, but maybe in this calendar year. And so in preparation, tonight was the third night in a row I took the stupid prenatal again.
Only this time, no one has to remind me. It still smells like someone's sweaty grandma, and it still seems to lodge itself sideways in my throat every time I take it, but somehow I don't mind so much anymore.
If the next time is anything like the last time, the payoff's totally worth it.