It was approximately halfway through November when I noticed that something was, well, off about my coffee maker. Every morning, while Danny gave Forrest his last bottle, I would get the coffee maker ready and get it started as I pumped, washed bottles, and made bottles for the day. I'd make Danny a lunch, pour myself a cup of coffee, take Forrest off Danny's hands, and then watch Good Morning, America! as Danny got ready for work. It would be approximately 3 or 4 hours later when I realized the coffee maker was still brewing. No matter how much water we added, the coffee maker went from only making 8 cups or, somedays, even just 6.
We cleaned the water receptacle, scraped calcium build up wherever we could find it, ran vinegar through it... and nothing. It still continued to make coffee, but each day, it struggled just a little bit more to do that. And the endless steaming and boiling and noise making got a little annoying, especially after noon.
However, it was the days where it made barely enough coffee for Danny to fill his (admittedly way too big) travel mug, leaving with me maybe a teensy cup that really started to get to me.
I never realized the importance of coffee in my life until I couldn't have it. I'd never been much of a coffee drinker. Even in college, I would go weeks between Starbucks or Dutch Bros purchases. When I was working at a car dealership, I got Dutch Bros everyday, but it was more for the taste than the caffeine. It was only about a year and a half ago that I started drinking, and enjoying, coffee--but I always insisted I didn't need it the way some people did.
When I first got pregnant, I told myself I would avoid caffeine for nine months. I solemnly resolved to do this for the good of the baby, utterly convinced that without caffeine, I would be totally fine! The exact same person I've always been! This was a lie and I absolutely knew it, but I was in denial.
I went without caffeine for two weeks while I was pregnant. Two weeks. I was miserable. Because, not only was I having caffeine withdrawals and, thus, caffeine headaches, I started to get morning sickness. Combine with the horrible fatigue that plagued me my entire pregnancy and it was an absolute disaster. I had to admit it to myself: I needed caffeine. I needed it to survive.
Sorry, scratch that: other people needed me to consume caffeine for their own good. It's the way of the world.
So I continued to drink coffee throughout my pregnancy, mostly openly because I refuse to be held down by society's expectations of a healthy pregnancy.
After Forrest was born, I went a week without caffeine--hospital coffee is, after all, terrible.
Then, once we were home and there was no nurse to help me with every-two-hour feedings, I started to truly understand how much I needed caffeine. I needed my morning coffee, as much for the caffeine as for the ritual, the tie to a normalcy I'd given up in favor of warming bottles, rocking a baby, and changing diapers.
Coffee tied me to the rest of the world, helped me to stay functioning even when I was running on 2-3 hours of sleep.
So when the coffee maker decided to give up the ghost and start making less than 6 cups of coffee (after receiving 12+ cups of water), I knew it was time: we had to do something, or I was going to go crazy.
It took nearly a month but we finally got a new coffee maker. Danny and I are decidedly cheap. If I have to spend more than $40 on something, it better be totally worth it. So I was excited when we found a programmable coffee maker for $24 at Target. We brought it home, as excited as if we were bringing home a new baby or something, and got it ready.
I screamed with delight the first morning I went downstairs and found coffee, piping hot and ready, at 6am. I was also delighted to not have the coffee maker hissing and fizzing at me for the entire morning. Mostly, I was just excited to have enough coffee for both Danny and I so we could be humans, and not zombies, while taking care of Forrest. And most of all, I found myself astounded at just how happy and fulfilled it made me to have a working, functioning coffee machine.