This is a story about birth. And food.
This is not a story about eating your placenta. If you’re disappointed that I’m not going to discuss that in detail, I urge you to hop on over to this link. And by the way, does that make Kim Kardashian a cannibal? I love Hollywood trends. They make me feel so grounded.
I’ve never been good at giving birth. Pregnancy, no problem, but birth, not my forte. After 3 pregnancies and 3 healthy kids, I’ve thrown in the towel because I don’t think I could take another delivery.
Lauren was my first, her due date in early December. But the date soon passed, then a full week, then two. Finally, a few days before Christmas, my water broke in the most dramatic fashion. Think Niagara Falls but with slightly more water. 24 hours later, Lauren was delivered by C-section as I lay in bed, feverish, developing a case of pneumonia that would keep me in the hospital for 8 days. But we made the best of it. Rodney and my family hauled the whole Christmas setup into my hospital room – the lights, the gifts, the “Baby’s first Christmas” PJs, the holiday tunes. There was barbeque delivery and champagne in plastic glasses. Although not our finest Christmas, it was easily the most memorable.
Sam’s birth 22 months later was a little easier. A scheduled C-section, seamless, quick, except for the mounting anxiety that I’d be able to feel the surgery taking place.
“Do you feel this?” the doctor asked, poking around with a pointy instrument.
(Ten minutes went by as they continued to prep me)
“Do you feel this now?”
“OK, we’re going to give you a little more medicine.”
“Why haven’t you given me the MAXIMUM? I’m having some anxiety here.”
“What seems to be the problem?”
“I’m starting to swallow my tongue.”
Third birth, another 22 months later: a planned C-section for September 1. Why September 1? Because that’s the cutoff date for school, the day upon which Emma would have been swiftly categorized as the oldest kid in her class, not the youngest. Malcolm Gladwell seriously messed with my head when he wrote Outliers. I fought tooth and nail for that September birthday.
And then Emma decided throw caution to the wind and come early. She also decided to make her debut during Hurricane Irene, which lucky for me, meant no hospital. All of it avoidable if I’d just stuck with my original date. Lesson learned. Karma, payback, astrology – whatever force of nature that governs the Momzilla was clearly at work.
Finally, the hospital reopened the next morning and I was admitted.
Apparently during the multi-day hiatus, some (at least one) of the medical professionals forgot how to do simple things related to the job. Like walk. In the process of checking on a monitor, my nurse tripped over my IVs and ended up face down, on the floor. Ripped the whole contraption out of my arm, which left me with a purple bruise the size of Texas. I like nurses, honestly. Just not clumsy nurses. If you’re clumsy, you shouldn’t become a nurse. Or an oil refinery operator. Lasik eye surgeon. There are just certain fields you should stay away from.
But even with all of the drama, I got to experience the most wonderful tradition every time those babies were born: contraband foods sent to my hospital room faster than pizza delivery. Smoked salmon, raw milk cheeses, prosciutto, everything I wasn’t allowed to eat for the last 9 months.
My friends and family rule. That’s all I can say. They know that the gift of food makes everything better, makes the world a sunnier place, and is the fastest, most direct way to my heart.
So for all of my pregnant compadres, chin up, a plate of sushi, blue cheese or a goblet of Whiskey is right around the corner. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel and it shines bright. Just make sure to let your friends and family know what you’re expecting. And they’d better not skimp.