Try to get pregnant at 40, and everyone has a story. Recently a friend of a friend shouted the following at me across a table in a bar in Denver, about a friend of hers giving birth:
“SHE TORE TO HER ASSHOLE. SHE TORE INSIDE AND OUT.”
Another friend told me about a friend of hers who had so much damage done to her pelvis during childbirth it looked like she’d been hit by a car.
But as far as GETTING pregnant (my speed) and then STAYING pregnant (working ahead like the insufferable perfectionist I am), I have spent so much time on pregnancy forums lately (I KNOW I KNOW), gathering the particles of other women’s worry, grief, and despair, that it’s starting to seem as if NO ONE EVER GETS PREGNANT EVER and the survival of the species is a mirage. Looking at myself in the mirror doesn’t help because GRAY HAIR AND WRINKLES AND SUN SPOTS AND A NECK MOLE THE SIZE OF A MENTOS AND SO VARIED IN COLOR AND TOPOGRAPHY IT DOUBLES AS BIRTH CONTROL.
Still, I’ve been trying to do everything right. No wine (I’M FORTY, CHILDLESS, AND DATING A MAN WITH A MINIVAN WITH TWO BROKEN DOORS WINE IS ALL I HAVE). No sleeping pills to help me fade into unconsciousness amid a pleasant twinkling. And I don’t smoke cigarettes, and I don’t do drugs unless they’re free.
Also, no caffeine. I thought wine would be the hardest, but surprise, you fucking failed alcoholic! I LONG for a hot, steaming mug of PG Tips with whole milk and clover honey first thing in the morning. Why am I torturing myself? A fair amount of research shows that excess amounts of caffeine make the uterus an inhospitable environment, much like an office where one’s coworkers furiously IM one another when someone they don’t like walks through the room (this was at a media and technology company that shall remain nameless CNET IT WAS CNET). But the other day I found this bullshit on the internet:
We don’t know a lot about the effects of caffeine during pregnancy on you and your baby. So it’s best to limit the amount you get each day.
THAT IS NOT A LOGICAL ARGUMENT. I taught a fucking class on critical thinking! I happen to be personally aware, outside of this argument, that some studies show too much caffeine blah blah blah no baby. But this particular if/then argument makes NO FUCKING SENSE. It makes as much sense as the following:
We don’t know a lot about the effects of CARROTS during pregnancy on you and your baby. So it’s best to limit the amount you get each day.
We don’t know a lot about the effects of ESSAYS THAT END WITH “DEAR READER, I MARRIED HIM” during pregnancy on you and your baby. So it’s best to limit the amount you get each day.
We don’t know a lot about the effects of PENULTIMATE MOVIE SCENES THAT START WITH A SPEECH, GO INTO A SLOW CLAP, AND END WITH A STANDING OVATION during pregnancy on you and your baby. So it’s best to limit the amount you get each day.
So as usual when I start to spin, I called my parents for moral support.
Jenny: How’s [my cousin’s 4-month-old daughter]?
Dad: Remember those dolls you had when you were a kid? Help me out here. Potato Patch Kids.
Jenny: Cabbage Patch Dolls?
Dad: Right! She looks just like a Cabbage Patch Doll. You know, we went to a funeral the other day, and I was holding her. She’s only four months, and she’s so verbal. You talk to her and she talks back. Anyway at this funeral. What do you call it, the little nipple you stick in her mouth?
Jenny: A pacifier?
Dad: So she has that, and she’s as happy as a pig in a wallow.
Jenny: I’M SORRY I HAVEN’T GIVEN YOU A GRANDCHILD YET. IF YOU AND MOM COULD JUST GET A DOG FOR NOW THAT WOULD BE GREAT.
Then I talked to Mom, who has no truck with drama of any kind, unless she’s creating it.
Jenny: What was it like when you were pregnant with me?
Mom: Everything now seems like such a big deal! The internet wasn’t around so you read books. There was nothing to scare me. I hadn’t talked to anyone who had any issues.
Jenny: Maybe that’s because no one talked about it then.
Mom: No. No one had any problems.
Jenny: Did you have any symptoms?
Jenny: Morning sickness?
Jenny: Are you sure you’re just not remembering? It was 40 years ago.
Mom: It wasn’t that bad. My boobs got bigger. And I thought, I have to get some crazy clothes. That’s when you had these funny little smock blouses you would wear with elastic waists. What was kind of tough when you were born was David was not allowed to be in the room. With Jesse [my younger bother], a student nurse was attached to me. She wanted to do research on me. I said fine. They did things like they shaved your crotch. So you’re lying in bed in a V shape so they can shave your crotch. But they put a sheet over your legs so the person doing the shaving can’t see your face, so it’s some kind of privacy for them, I don’t know.
I had a pitocin drip, but the doctor failed to tell me it would give me these intense contractions. It was a big friggin’ machine on wheels, and at one point it stopped. And there was all this attention paid to the machine! And I was like, I can tell you when I’m having a contraction! The action is here!
With Jesse, David was allowed in the room. So here’s your father with the goddamn camera talking everybody up. Here I am giving CHILDBIRTH. Is he holding my hand? No! He’s socializing.
Jenny: Did you like being pregnant with me?
Mom: Not really. It was kind of like, all right, let’s get this thing over with! It was just like, so what! OK, let’s do it!
For avocado toast, you need:
- 1 piece of bread, preferably delicious
- 1/2 a ripe avocado, sliced
- 1 TB olive oil
- 1 tsp. maras chile (a wonderfully flavorful, mild red pepper from Turkey)
- Dash salt
- 1 TB chopped cilantro (optional)
You need to:
- Toast the bread.
- Scoop the sliced avocado onto the bread and mash so it covers everything. Perhaps the way one might one day mash avocado for a baby.
- Drizzle with olive oil and crumble chile and salt. Add cilantro (if you want).