grilled cheese and tomato soup at Swedish

I think my senses are playing tricks on me.

What I heard on Monday was I think we’re going to admit you to the hospital. Then, on Tuesday, when I was actually admitted and asked the nurse what I should order for lunch, I thought I heard her recommend the fish and chips.

“Really?” I asked. Fried? Isn’t a hospital where one goes to get . . . you know . . .healthy? The menu reads like something from a college pub: Cheeseburgers. Pizza. French dip.

“The nachos are pretty good, too,” she said. Right.

I started with tomato soup and grilled cheese, a drape of orange cheddar wedged between two pieces of buttery toast that had been steamed to soggy under a plate cover for a few minutes, along with a fat slice of pickle, before landing in front of me. That’s what one gets for being food-obsessed, I suppose: warm pickles.

What I saw yesterday, on April Fool’s Day, was no joke either: snow, on April 1st in Seattle, flying sideways against all of downtown. And what I felt – my water breaking, at 7 a.m. – was certainly real. There are a lot of questions, and a lot of uncertainties, but at the very least, it’s clear that even at 33 weeks, this baby of ours has a sense of humor.

NST monitor

Since then, it’s been mostly unbelievable sounds: The local NPR station, graciously ending its pledge drive just in time. Our baby’s heart, ricocheting around inside my bedside monitor, thumpthumpthumping like a washing machine stuck with all the sheets on one side of the tumbler. My IV contraption, ticking and purring and clicking. Before last night, when I got to listen to it for hours on end, I didn’t realize machines can be reincarnated, too. I know this one was once one of those old ink plotters – I can hear the old-school computer paper spooling through on its little side holes, and the blotters jumping all around, individual spots of schizophrenia in an otherwise organized system.

There are unknowns, of course. We’re not sure why whatever language is being spoken next door sounds best to them, whoever they are, at maximum volume. We’re not sure why someone’s male partner seems to like singing the female leads to Mamma Mia songs. We’re not sure if the scrambled eggs will always be overcooked, or if the lattes will always be hot and surprisingly delicious. (This is Seattle, after all.)

Breakfast at Swedish

We’re also not sure how long our baby will stay snug inside (he’s been given a permission slip to stay in, if he feels like it), or how much extra snuggling will be required after birth. We are sure that for now, we’re all healthy, and that five pounds is already a lot of baby. On this floor, we’re the lucky ones.

So, no. No recipe for you today, or for weeks (or maybe months) to come. I probably won’t tell you about the pizza some friends brought the first night, or the homemade nutter butters someone else dropped off, because now, I need to be here. Plus, the IVs seem to work best in my hand, and typing with one hand is a handicap I don’t have the patience for.

Until soon. Be well, have fun cooking, and eat something for me, will you?


Filed under husband

34 responses to “April

  1. thinking of you and your little one! as one who survived an early delivery 30 years ago (3 months premature, to be exact)–with flying colors and no ill effects, i can empathize with you as you face uncertainty and hope for the future. sending light your way!

  2. My daughter was born 6 weeks early, and she’s always been just fine. I hope that it is the same for you, too. I’ll be thinking of all three of you.

  3. Oh! Good luck to you and the little guy. I think he’s trying to come early because he knows the culinary wonders awaiting for once he’s on solid foods, so he’s trying to get started on that march to Mommy’s home cooking ASAP.

  4. Sending good thoughts your way! It’s amazing how resilient babies can be, even with your water broken he could be fine and dandy for quite a while. Still, scary none the less. Sounds like the biggest complaint is the food, which if I had to choose, isn’t that bad in the bigger picture. Good luck! [oh, and get used to typing wtih one hand 😉 ]

  5. sarah

    indeed, good luck! and i second the comment about getting used to typing one-handed. we’ll miss you for a few weeks or months, however long you find yourself staying away. i just recently found your blog (via edibleseattle) and happily became addicted. luckily, i have a few years of backblog to catch up on during your sabbatical.
    i’ll toast you three tonight with wishes for an excellent birthing process, whenever it happens!

  6. j

    I’m glad to hear you and baby are doing well!! Yes…let’s keep him in as long as possible. I’m glad that everything looks fine otherwise. Hang in there with the hospital food and hanging out at the hospital.

  7. warm wishes to you. take care.

  8. Viv

    If there is anything you need or anything we can do for you, just say the word. All the best to you and yours.

  9. Tea

    Hang in there–and let us know if you need anything. Sending best!

  10. Meg Paynor

    at the hospital the nurses recommend I have the milkshakes. Best of luck and sending good vibes to your little one to be kind to momma.

  11. Kirsten Bell

    Thinking of you and your family and sending good thoughts your way. Hope to hear more soon!

  12. If you need food…….or fresh garden salad of arugula and cress………I’m a phone call away.

  13. Jay

    Joining in to wish you the best.

  14. ts

    The plate makes the food almost look good. My best advice, stay away from the jello. And get a panini from Arosa.
    We had a nice dinner at Spur tonight – I’ll pretend it was for you.
    Best wishes to all of you.

  15. Susan & Bob 7510

    Thanks for posting an update. You all are in our thoughts. Sending you warm wishes.

  16. Just found your blog! What a wonderful first post to read. Congratulations!

  17. Kathleen

    I stumbled on your blog a little over a year ago, and have enjoyed it ever since. There are a lot of people, like me, that you don’t even know who are wishing all the best for you and your little one.

  18. angela

    go jess! thinking of you–will eat chickpea salad today in support.

  19. Sending the best wishes to all three of you. Scott seconds the recommendation for milkshakes.

  20. Jeff

    This kid’s gonna eat well. All will be fine and you will soon enter into a world you have never known. It will be great, and it will be trying. Warmest regards (and I can’t believe you actually were able to type out a blog in this condition!).

  21. Sending love and hugs. How you can write so beautifully while in sort-of-labor-but-hopefully-not-really-in-labor-at-least-for-a-few-more-days-but-if-not-everything-will be fine-anyway is beyond me.

    I’ll drink a toast to you, Jim, and baby-to-be.

  22. I am so glad to hear you are both (all three!) well. Take care of yourself and baby. Sending good thoughts your way!

  23. radmama

    Hope baby keeps cooking a bit longer.
    Good luck, from a lurker.

  24. Anne McD

    Thinking about you, Jess and Jim, and sending lots of stay-in-there-as-long-as-you-can vibes to the little one.

  25. Pingback: 2009 IACP awards » Eat All About It

  26. allison

    All the best to you!

  27. Pat

    I will be thinking of you and the little one. Can’t wait to see you both the next time I’m back in Seattle.

  28. Noah

    Best of luck J&J!

  29. Congratulations(!) on being a finalist, and good luck with your baby-to-come.

  30. Leslie

    Hanging out in a hospital can have benfits – in this case the bebe when he is ready. In the interim – always feed your nurses!

  31. Dear Jess…. you will be missed. Take care, and we’re sending lots of good karma your way. If closer, I’d send whole grain scones, drizzled with agave syrup.

  32. Jess,

    Just checked in after a few weeks hiatus due to the surprise early birth of my own little guy (suspected IUGR, water broke spontaneously at 37 weeks and baby Henry was born 24 hours later). Henry was small, but completely healthy. I wish you the same for your little guy and I hope that the lack of an update means that he is still safely inside.

    They tried to serve me eggplant in the hospital. Eggplant is difficult for even the best cooks and something told me the hospital did not have the best of cooks. My husband tried some, made a face, and then had to go brush his teeth. Ugh.

  33. Tamara

    Love your blog.

    My babe came 1 month early, fast and furious. Two hours to get his body temp regulated, and he was out. And he hasn’t stopped moving since! He’s 2.5 now and a delight.

    Good luck. Oddly, I thought the food at the hospital was kinda tasty afterwards. I was starved. At least the bacon (not Canadian).
    But then, I live in Canada. Everything is perfectly good!

    good luck!

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