My mom’s idea of supporting me through the pre and post labor phases has meant for the most part cooking and cooking some more… of course she went way overboard and I’m enjoying every bite of it, each bringing back unique childhood memories and a lot of comfort as it reminds me that I have the support I need to go forward…
I particularly want to focus on Meghleh, a traditional Middle Eastern pudding served as a treat to family and friends after the birth of a new baby.
Meghleh has been flowing in my house for the past couple of weeks and I have consumed industrial amounts of it! Not only is it smooth, delicious, festive and addictive but more importantly for breastfeeding mommies, it can give you a much needed and quick energy boost to cover those extra calories you’ll still need to insure your milk supply while benefiting from its healthy ingredients:
- Spices: caraway and cinnamon (Grandmas swear that those spices help stimulate the breast milk production)
- Rice flour
- Toppings: shredded coconut, raw walnuts, pine nuts, almonds and pistachios, each boosting your diet with filling protein, fiber, healthy unsaturated fats and important vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Easter Sunday had more in store for us than predicted and baby # 2 hatched out of her egg shortly after the beginning of the 39th week. My labor was quick, no complications and we were out of the hospital with our Easter baby shortly after the mandatory 24h waiting period.
It was now time to adjust to the delicate balance of taking care of the fragile newborn while making sure that my soon-to-be 3-year-old wasn’t feeling alienated. Of course it didn’t start very well, as my first daughter seemed to think we brought home a new doll toy for her to play with and got upset that we wouldn’t hand it to her. On the first day, she would follow me around the house with her toy milk bottle and didn’t seem to understand why I was so attached to this doll. It didn’t take too long however for her to figure out that this doll was different: it moved, made a lot of noise and was getting much more of my attention than any other doll… which prompted her telling me two memorable (and heartbreaking) things: “Maman arrête avec le bébé!” (ENG: “Mom stop it with the baby!”) and “Je ne veux plus acheter un bébé!” (ENG: “I don’t want to buy a baby anymore!”)
My first priority was to orchestrate a system whereby between my husband and I, we can still give our eldest the same degree of attention she had prior to her sister’s arrival while making sure that our newborn’s needs are attended to on time. It has been a challenge (despite both grandmas joining the effort), mainly because the newborn’s sleeping and eating hours are unpredictable at this stage and my eldest was acting out and trying to grab our attention in many creative manners (such as jumping on couches she would not have dreamt of stepping on before and screaming at new high pitches).
I had learned from my first post-pregnancy experience that it is better to have a plan and sway from it, as newborn demands, than not having one to start with. Today my eldest spontaneously hugged and kissed the baby and said “7ayeteh bébé!” (ENG: “My darling baby!”) It’s making me feel that maybe we are on the right track… As for baby, she just seems to be oblivious to the power struggle and anything else happening around her… she is exclusively interested in sleeping and breastfeeding, whenever it pleases her!
…which means I now have to debrief Manhattan pedestrians on every block (and in every elevator) on my pregnancy. Questions range from, “how far are you?” to “any minute now?” to “is it just one?” (with the best follow-up, “are you sure?”)… Too much for New Yorkers not caring, with a belly this size (see pic) the questions flow and they’re unavoidable (because they usually come with a huge smile and surprised eyes)! The best of course was the person who told me “Honey, I think you need to head to the hospital right now!”
You know labor is near when you’ve downloaded your contractions app to keep track of their length, intensity and frequency and your mom moves in and brings with her delicious delicacies to make the wait bearable!
Upper left: dried grapes (malban) with raw walnuts
Lower left: fresh-from-the-field green almonds
Right: Pickled mini eggplants stuffed with peanut & spices
Can I cab it to the finish line?
♫ Rain, rain, go away… ♫
After my manicure, I decided to get a massage to relieve some of the strain in my back haunting me since the beginning of the 3rd trimester.
3:00am: Woke up with sharp spasm pain in my back!
4:00am: Woke up doctor. Doc asks: Why aren’t you sleeping? I explain. Advice: don’t take any chances (maybe kidney stone?) and go to ER to see what’s happening.
5:00am: Yellow cab —> ER (argh this was really starting to feel like a labor drill).
6:00am: Resident sees a contraction on the monitor and makes a weird face. Here I’m panicking, i’m really not ready nor is the baby for this to happen. Resident doesn’t rule it out as a possibility. They monitor me and do some more tests to assess whether it is labor or even a kidney stone.
6:30am: Final diagnosis, probably muscular (thanks nail salon massage!) and they gave me some pain medication and some fluids.
6:50am: Feeling exhausted because of the physical and emotional ride.
7:00am: Back home to sleep…
2:00pm: Baby shopping therapy and since I was not in a state of mind to spend time picking my outfit before going out, it was LBD to the rescue.
This whole experience is making me feel like I’m definitely not going full term but hoping it will be more than just a couple of days and perhaps a bit over a couple more weeks. Each day the baby stays in (at least until 37 weeks) will prepare her more for the outside world.
No more nail salon massage + I need to finish some of the preparations I’ve been procrastinating on!