I’m officially on maternity leave THANK THE FUCKING LORD, and just in time: I’m having all the symptoms of end-stage pregnancy. Can’t get comfortable. Can’t sleep. Gotta pee. Gotta poo. And then I’ll get a BURST OF ENERGY and, for example, wash all the cushions on both couches and vacuum them both. Then wash all the bath towels and hand towels and kitchen cloths and pot holders.
Basically, being 39 1/2 weeks pregnant is nothing like 9 1/2 Weeks. LOOK IT UP MILLENNIALS LOOK IT ALL UP.
One recent afternoon I crawled into bed at 3:30 p.m. and didn’t get out again until 8. Still desperate to finish my to-do list, I sat there researching pediatricians. SJ came home and poked his head in the room, looking pleased with himself.
SJ: Guess what I did today?
Jenny: Did you research pediatricians, too? Did you set up the diaper sprayer on the toilet tank? Did you put together the stroller? Did you set up the Pack ‘n Play?
SJ (holding up something): I got us a pizza cutter!
I thought I would write a “real” essay this week, something serious about, you know, having a baby, but mostly I’ve been lurching around the house, drinking gallons of water, stealing all the pillows, and reading issue after issue of the New Yorker. Also printing out five separate to-do lists about going into labor, revising a short story and sending it out, finalizing the birth plan, and packing the trunk for the hospital.
SJ has been preparing in his own way (besides buying us a pizza cutter): After I had two nights in a row with intense cramping, he Googled pregnancy symptoms FOR THE FIRST TIME and has been anxiously asking whether I might be going into labor.
SJ: I didn’t know about the vomiting and diarrhea.
Jenny: I did.
SJ (anxiously): Do you have that?
SJ: OK, good.
Jenny: Good? You know he’s going to come out eventually, right?
SJ: Just not today!
Also, for the last three nights, I’ve slept on the couch so I can sleep sitting up (sleeping on my side gives me the cramps). Last night, blind without my contact lenses and looking sexy in an eye mask and earplugs and a bright pair of polyester underpants I bought in Mexico and that are so loud they almost make noise on their own, I got up to pee and tripped over the fan I’d set up on the floor. SJ, whom I thought was asleep in the next room, was up and beside me in the dark fixing the fan before I realized he’d leapt out of bed.
Jenny (sobbing): I stuck my fingers in the fan.
SJ: Don’t do that. Do you want me to tuck you in?
Jenny (sobbing): Yes!
So we’re on high alert around here. Because although we’re both “ready,” WE ARE NOT READY. Who thought this was a good idea? Why did I want to do this again? Sometimes I think about the moment of meeting my baby and cry with happiness. Maybe that’s why I’m doing this. But the rest of the time all I can think about is death: He could die in childbirth! He could die when he’s one! He could die when he’s forty! He could die AT ANY TIME. I could go through all this and he could just die! I cry and cry and cry. I crawl into bed with SJ in the middle of the night and cry about babies dying. A baby was kidnapped out of a car in San Francisco a few days ago; I cry. I’ve gotten something like four Amber Alerts in the past week; I cry. Somebody, anybody, of any age dies on a TV show; I cry. I am obviously unstable and not a good choice for keeping a baby alive until I die, which now seems to be my only job for the rest of my life.
Speaking of emotionally unstable, my mom called. I told her I’d started to believe what she told me months ago, that she had very few pregnancy symptoms, since (besides the anxiety) I’ve really had an event-free pregnancy, and this late in the game I haven’t had a single Braxton-Hicks contraction. (SJ says I’m forgetting a few things.) Mom has also always said her labor was short.
Rose: I was at a conference, and I had a doctor’s appointment, so David and I went. I had these cramps, and the doctor said, Go home and get your stuff.
Jenny: You went to a doctor’s appointment, drove home and got your bag, drove to the hospital, and gave birth? How long did the whole thing take?
Rose: It was four or five hours.
Jenny (ECSTATIC): From beginning to end?
Jenny: What was the birth like? How were the contractions?
Rose: They were like crampy stuff. And my water never burst beforehand. So I went in and I was there for, I can’t remember. It’s a blur. It was a while before anything was happening. And then it started. But it was, like, really sharp — sharp pains — and they would crest, and then it would go away and then it would start up all over again. They’re like short orgasms. They come and they go. They crest and then they go.
Jenny: They’re like what?
Rose: Short orgasms.
Jenny: But they’re not pleasant.
Jenny: So how are they like orgasms?
Rose: Well. They crest and then they go away.
My due date is in four days!
I grabbed a random recipe for crumble off the internet. I don’t think it was the best, but we had mangos and plums, and that combination was AMAZING, and in the end IT’S CRUMBLE so everyone wins. You need:
- 1 cup mango pieces
- 1 cup plum pieces
- 8 TB (1 stick) butter, cold, chopped
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. salt
You need to:
- Heat oven to 350 (although we probably could have had it on higher).
- Chop up the fruit. Please to note we did NOT add sugar or corn starch.
- In a bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
- Using two knives, chop the butter into the dry ingredients. I never get this step right — I always end up with a few clumps of cold butter and a bowl full of dry stuff — so I don’t know why I keep doing this, but in the end CRUMBLE so who cares.
- Butter/spray a pie dish, pour in fruit, and spread crumble on top.
- Bake until fruit filling is bubbling around the edges and crumble is browned.
- Rejoice! For ye have summer fruit crumble!