Last Woman Standing: A Very Pregnant New Year’s

new-years8:00pm:  Arrive at New Years party.  Greeted by 20 people who each, in turn, ask me how I’m feeling.

8:30 pm: Consume a brick of fudge that was meant to feed entirety of party.

8:32 pm: Regret said consumption of fudge as right leg begins to twitch.

9:00 pm: Begin obligatory designated driver duties by picking up people from train station.

9:20 pm: After 21st person asks me how I’m feeling, animatedly fill them in on my constipation issues.

9:40 pm: Notice people have stopped talking to me.

10:00 pm: Sing a horrible karaoke rendition of  “I’m So Excited” that I can’t blame on alcohol consumption.

10:30 pm: Have imaginary conversation with unborn child, where I remind her of all the sacrifices I made for her.

10:32 pm: Ask baby if she would mind if I had one teensy, tiny glass of wine.  She responds by kneeing me in the spleen.

11:20 pm: Drunk acquaintance puts her hands on my stomach and swears she can feel baby kicking.  I explain that, in fact, it is my foot kicking her, and not the fetus.  She does not take hint.

11:45 pm: Fill my champagne glass with sparkling cider for the New Year’s toast.

11:46 pm: Secretly fill as many glasses as possible with sparkling cider so others will feel my sober pain.

12:00 am: As people scream “Happy New Year!” and blow on noisemakers and trumpets, unborn child recoils from noise by kicking her way through my ribcage.

12:20 am: Drop off people at train station.  While waiting, notice a piece of fudge wedged in my cleavage, which I devour eagerly.

12:35 am: Fall asleep under a pile of coats.

2:20 am: Husband wakes me so I can drive us home.

Asked and Answered

momLike any newly-knocked-up woman on a rare night out, I find myself fielding the same questions over and over.

1.)   Do you know what you’re having?

The most common b.s. answer to this question is “We don’t care what gender, as long as the baby is healthy.” You always have a preference, even if you don’t know you do.  Maybe you think boys love their mothers more.  Or you really don’t want to explain menstruation down the road.  The next thing you know, you’re whipping out your sonogram pictures to strangers, proudly showing off your developing baby’s lady parts (which my husband begged me to stop calling the “money shot.”)

2.)   When are you due?

Sometimes your child will share a birthday with a special event, for instance: I was born on the same day as Malcolm X’s assassination.  My daughter, on the other hand, was born on the same day as a wedding I was planning on attending.

3.)   Do you have any cravings?

Why yes, I do.  I crave sailing lessons.  Sometimes, late at night, I’ll have a strong craving for political debate, so I’ll make my husband put on C-SPAN.  Edible cravings, you say?  Occasionally I’ll have a penchant for castor oil, right out of the bottle.  The other day I found myself gnawing on a charcoal briquette.  Pregnancy cravings are so difficult.

4.)   Are you excited/ scared / nervous?

I am all these things, at all times.  Sometimes, I am so excited,  I get scared that I’m not nervous enough.  Or I’m nervous that my excitement will scare me.

5.)   So, how are you feeling?

Where do I begin?  Do I start with the heartburn and digestive issues?  Or the fact my extremities are swollen like the villain at the end of “Big Trouble in Little China” (right before he exploded)?  Or the fact that I am hugging the toilet more than a frat boy during rush week?  Wait, where are you going?  I thought you wanted to know how I…ohhhh.  You were just making small talk with me at a holiday party.

In that case, I’m feeling great.

Dear Straphangers,

baby comic 4ADear Straphangers,

I apologize to all the people who are offended by my pregnancy.  You are happy to finally get a seat on the rush-hour train, and then I come waddling in with my Buick-sized uterus and my swollen feet of entitlement.  You shoot me resentful glances as I try to maneuver around the immovable passengers standing in front of the train doors.  You raise your newspapers to half-mast in order to block the sight of my unwieldiness.  You become fascinated with finding a song on your iPhone, finding something in your bag, or pretending to sleep.  After all, if you can’t see me, then you won’t feel any shame for staying put.

Now, why don’t I just ask someone for a seat, if I need one so badly.   I tried that, once.  A man beat me to an empty seat, and when I explained that I was 7 months pregnant and pretty tired, he raised up his pants leg to show me he had a prosthetic leg.  Before getting up and giving me his seat.  Which I took, because I am a jerk.

“I didn’t realize you’re pregnant,” explain a few genuinely sorry people who offer me their seats one stop before I need to get off the train.  I get it.  It’s hard to tell if my belly is filled with baby, or mini-muffins.  I will give you a hint: it’s both.

Thank you, sir, for placing your backpack on the seat I was about to sit in.  I know your backpack has had a rough day, what with having to snuggle on your sweaty back all day, and by night, in some dive bar stuffed under a beer-pong table.  But it is hard to watch your backpack sit like a king while I cling to and flop around the subway pole like a hippo moonlighting as an exotic dancer.

And to the few (usually older) women who offer me their seats, along with unsolicited advice and commentary, thank you for the seat.  No, I am not carrying twins, and yes, I am sure.  I am indeed aware of how much longer I need to gestate, and how big I am.  No, I have no other means of getting to work, what with my private chauffeur out on maternity leave, and my helipad on the fritz.  I love it when random acts of kindness come with heaping sides of awkwardness.

Dear, dear, fellow straphangers, we are in this together.  We all have to get to work; we all want a peaceful journey on that marvelous underground fairytale of a subway.  Let’s make a deal:  if, for the duration of my pregnancy, you offer me your seat on the train, I promise to make my children get up and offer you their seat on the inevitable day when you too are unable to stand.

Because you were kicked in the legs repeatedly for being a jerk.

Love, Ali

I Know Something You Don’t Know

blog4I have a whopping secret.  The motherload of juicy gossip.  It is single-handedly the most important thing to happen to me and will change my life in every way that is important.  It is all I think about, every moment of every day.  And I CAN’T…TELL…ANYONE.

People in my life have been waiting a while for me to share this news. After all, I have been married for more than 6 months, am under the age of 45, and have no outward loathing toward small children.  At meals, they listen intently to see what I order.  At parties, they stare at my hand to see if I am holding a drink.  They glance at my midsection looking for tell-tale bloat or alien-like movement.

Now, I understand the reasons behind waiting three months to disclose a pregnancy.  But as a result of my secrecy, I find myself creating horrible webs of lies to avoid detection.  “I’m not drinking…because…I am taking medication.  What for?  Oh, I hurt my back in a car accident.  I have no car?  Righhhht…I borrowed it from my friend.  She can’t drive because she is pregnant.  I’m totally not, though.”

My husband brings me decoy drinks: orange juice instead of screwdrivers.  A friend of mine, after mocking the fact that I have the same drink choice as a college freshman, insisted on taking a swig.  I was convinced my cover was blown.  Instead, she smacks her lips a few times, before shaking her head: “They really make weak-as-piss drinks here, huh.”

I use the excuse of having eaten “bad sushi” to explain away my perpetually queasy stomach. To avoid doing shots.  To get out of having to eat more sushi. [My dad asked “Didn’t you have this bad sushi two weeks ago?”]

Since the only person I can discuss this with is my husband, we find ourselves talking about it ad nauseum.

Me: “Did you know that our baby now has a pituitary gland?  And is the size of a poppy seed?  And has no nostrils yet?”

Husband: [volume on Giants game slowly getting louder] “Mmm.  You sure you don’t have any friends you want to share this with?”

And because I can’t disclose this most exciting of news to my closest friends and family, I find myself letting it slip to virtual strangers.  The security agent running the body scan at the airport.  The cashier ringing up my lunch consisting of four frozen pizzas.  Yesterday, the woman giving me a pedicure asked me to pick a color for my nails. I announced to her: “I chose ‘Baby Pink’,  for obvious reasons.”  And she smiles demurely and asks me if I want my cuticles cut.

Which I do.

Because I’m pregnant.

To Eat or Not to Eat

blog-comic-foodSo, other than not drinking weed killer or saline solution, I needed to know what other foods and beverages to stay away from while pregnant.  I decided to invite over my friend Lori*, who has had three kids and thusly considers herself a pre-natal nutritional expert.  She showed up with a Power Point.

*name changed to hide the fact that I don’t really have any friends.

Lori: So, I’m sure you already know:  no alcohol.

Me: My doctor says it’s okay to have a glass of wine a day.

Lori: A week.

Me: Ohhhhh.  Are you sure?  My doctor seems to think it’s good for calming my nerves, which is important to do while pregnant.

Lori:  Your doctor sounds insane.  Next up: types of fish to avoid.  Stay away from fish high in mercury, like king mackerel, shark, or tilefish.

Me:  Oh man!  I love tilefish!

Lori:  Really?

Me:  No.  What the hell is a tilefish? Who cares?  Next!

Lori:  No sushi.

Me: Sashimi?

Lori: ‘Fraid not.

Me:  Can I order the veggie rolls?

Lori:  Ugh, would you want to?

Me:  No.  What about ceviche?

Lori:  Oh, come on.

Me:  What’s wrong with ceviche?  It’s just raw seafood marinated in…[pause]. Okay, no ceviche.

Lori:  No deli meats, no hot dogs…

Me:  Not even street hot dogs?

Lori: They stew them all day in their own filth.  Absolutely not.

Me:  My doctor says I can have them in moderation.

Lori:  Your doctor sounds like a crackpot.  You’d get better pre-natal advice from Google MDs.  Oh, and no soft cheeses.  No brie, no Camembert, no goat cheese…

Me:  What about Cheese Whiz?

Lori:  I’m pretty sure that is not real cheese.

Me:  Whew.  At least I have something to spread on my tilefish sandwiches.

Lori:  [ignoring me] And no raw eggs.

Me:  Sigh…I have to cook my eggs now, like a savage?  And my fish.  And my red meat.  Pregnancy blows.

Lori:  You are a very lazy cook.

Me:  What kind of world is it where we’re encouraged to eat our own placentas, but can’t have ceviche?

Lori:  Ceviche is gross.  I have to go home now to make sure my husband doesn’t feed the kids Pop Tarts for dinner.  Good luck!