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911

 

Kids – who needed them?

They drained your bank account and destroyed your dreams.

Every time I saw an overzealous mommy delirious over her mewling poop machine, I knew it HAD to be an act.

Taking care of ME was a full-time job. Plants died in my care.

 

I was living in New York City – the epicenter of EVERYTHING. I milked that shiz like Bernie Madoff at a Ponzi scheme party.

I hobnobbed with pseudo celebrities. Life outside the velvet rope was not worth living.

 

I was a die-hard urbanite with the a full-throttle addiction to Broadway plays, ethnic restaurants and designer shoes, supported by a bullshit corporate job. If I combined them into The Sacrosanct Trifecta – went to see a play and ate Afghani food in a pair of Jimmy Choos – I spontaneously orgasmed.

I brunched (yes, I used it as a goddamn verb) at the Odeon in Tribeca. If a family came in, I’d move my table. I’m here for a cocktail and to maybe make a little eye contact with Robert DeNiro, and I don’t need to hear your squalling rug rats. Just because you had to go fuck up YOUR life doesn’t mean I don’t get to enjoy my warm goat cheese salad.

“Excuse me, hostess? I’m pretty sure I smell shit in that kid’s diaper, or maybe it’s just my friend’s penne gorgonzola, but, either way, just move us.”

 

My boss was a psychopath; a vulgarly successful multimillionaire with a God complex and a nasty temper. Do you know what it’s like to be paid six figures for a high-powered position and have Hitler’s brother throw a stapler at your head because his bagel had SEEDS on it?

When the corporate bourgeois aesthetic has you by the throat and you find yourself addicted to Jimmy Choo shoes, you do worse things than when you were addicted to smack.

 

A Crisp Fall Tuesday Morning.

8:50 am:  I had just dodged a paperweight when my phone rang. My brother was saying something I didn’t understand.

What was he talking about? He was recovering from lung cancer; those pain meds and the pot he smoked incessantly took him on verbal joyrides.Today, he was babbling about a plane.

“I have to go. Can I call you later?”

 

9:05 am:  My boss emerges from the inner sanctum. He always watched the news while he ate the breakfast that may or may not result in an inanimate object being hurled in my direction.

I was on hold with London. If I didn’t get these curricula vitae faxed over soon, I would surely have a desk accessory lobbed at me.

He yelled for all of us to get in his office, NOW. The TV screen showed…what was that? Was that a plane jutting out the side of a building? Engulfed in beautiful brilliant red and yellow flames, blazing wildly?

Above and below these violently beautiful hues was the blackest smoke I’d ever seen.

The dark of things and people gone forever.

 

9:21 am:  Port Authority closes all bridge and tunnels. My boyfriend was in New Jersey. No way to get to him. No way to get out of the city tonight.

 

9:31 am:  President Bush does nothing to reassure us. I want to hear that this is an accident; that an alcoholic air traffic controller got blackout boozed up when he walked in on his wife fucking the pool boy.

He tells us there is an “apparent” terrorist attack on New York City. Apparent? Whew. That means nothing; that’s like the “apparent” phone number I give men in clubs.

Breathe, Samara. Apparent, apparent…

 

9:37 am:  Hijackers aboard Flight 77 crash the plane into the western facade of the Pentagon in Washington DC. There is no more uncertainty.

 

New York City is under attack by terrorists.

 

9:59 am:  The South Tower of the World Trade Center collapses.

What are we supposed to do? Do we stay? Do we leave?

The rumors fly and claw at us like the crows in the “The Birds:”

The terrorists are now targeting Times Square – WHERE WE ARE.

The company’s human resource director voice comes through the speakers, giving us instructions on how to evacuate safely.

Too late for that. Full scale bedlam has broken loose. We’re all going to die, and we know it.

We just don’t want to die here, where we loathe each other so much.

Get. Me. Out. Of. Here.

 

For some reason, the elevators have been turned off. The staircase is jammed.

I can’t breathe. Too many people. Too hot. No air. Everyone is pushing. I fall. A man helps me up. We both fall. People step over us, on us. We use the wall and each other for support to get up. He’s my life line.

I lose sight of his face. He’s just a detached arm. A hand, clasping mine.

I try to help the people who are down. But if I stop to help them, I get knocked over by frantic people behind me.

I can’t breathe.

I’m going to suffocate and die in this staircase. I’m going to die in the staircase of a building of a job I hated.

I hear screaming.

It’s my own.

 

I see light – is that the street?  I push, push, PUSH. We’re bottlenecking at the edge. We’re crowning like the desperate head of an infant, one…last…PUSH.

I’m OUT.

 

All around me – chaos. The subway stations are shut down. The streets are pandemonium.

I begin the long walk home, on shaky legs, to my apartment downtown. As I walk, I pass people walking uptown. They are bloody. Torn. Disoriented. Covered in white dust and black soot.

I realize…these are the survivors.

The air in my neighborhood is black and filthy, like the inside of a chimney. Soot flecks fall from the sky and land on my hair. From the front of my building, I have a clear view of the wreckage.

And I know, in that moment, we’re all going to die, the people of New York City.

We’re all going to die today.

 

 

I don’t want to die. I’m only 32.

I still have shoes to buy.

 

No cell service. No land lines. No communication with the rest of the world.

I want to talk to my mom. I want her to know I love her.

 

I don’t particularly believe in God, but that moment – I decide to believe. And then, I do the oddest thing.

I fall to my knees. Right on the filthy, unyielding, abrasive, soot covered pavement. I was never religious before, but this moment feels like church to me.

“Dear God,

Please, please, don’t let me die. I know I haven’t always lived my life correctly. But if you let me live, I’ll be a better person. I’ll use hemp products. I’ll rescue a dog. I’ll drive a hybrid.”

I thought a moment.

“I know I might have pissed you off with those abortions. Since you made me so freakishly fertile that I got pregnant even on birth control, did you – WANT ME to have a baby? I promise, I won’t interfere with your plans again. Just please. Let me live. I’m not ready to die.” 

—-

I lived.

I got pregnant 16 months later. I kept my bargain with God.

Me and Him – we’re good.

 

In 2003, I gave birth to my son.

I had been given clarity, on September 11, 2001.

My son is the constant reminder of the good graces of God.

And I am grateful, not for the tragedy that day, that singular moment in history when searing images and heartbreaking stories changed the world forever,

but for the moment of clarity it afforded me. Which changed my world forever.

 

Dedicated to those who lost their lives - and gave me one.

We watched this happening – and still didn’t believe it was happening. .

 

This post is dedicated to the memory of those who gave their lives that day.

Where were you when it happened?
Talk to me. I’m listening. 

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baby_eviction_notice_luggage_handle_wrap

Everyone loves to hear the story of how I was almost born on the FDR Drive, which runs along the East side of Manhattan.

We lived in the Bronx, but the hospital was in Manhattan. I came out so fast,

I was crowning in a 1960’s woody on the FDR somewhere in Spanish Harlem.

I’m having have that printed on a tee shirt.

I just assumed my baby would arrive just as expeditiously.

By week 40, I had blown up like a ball park frank.

There was no sign that I was EVER going to deliver this baby.

samaraspeaks.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/massively-pregnant.jpg”> STOP asking me if I’m having twins. Just STOP.[/caption]
&nbs

I wasn’t dilated. the baby hadn’t dropped.

My cervix wasn’t effaced.

Look that up. I’m not providing a Wikipedia link to that shiz.

After 40 weeks – which is 10 months, people –

I WAS SO DONE WITH BEING PREGNANT.

fuck this

Everyone had advice for me.

Exercise more. Exercise less.

Do the labor-inducing “pregnancy dance” (this is a THING; you can watch the YouTube videos.)

I did not feel like dancing. I wanted to punch random people in the side of the head.

Hulk

Nipple stimulation (Three HOURS a DAY to release oxytocin. As lovely as it was that my now gargantuan breasts had eclipsed Playboy and gone to National Geographic status, I did not have all day to spend copping a feel on myself.)

Order labor inducing salad dressing from Caioti’s Pizza Cafe restaurant in LA. (I’m not ashamed; I did).

Eat spicy Indian food

Have sex.

At week 40? Sure, why not?

Amy Polen

A doula informed me that the most effective way to dilate a cervix was with sperm.

Doulas are midwives who try to brainwash you into giving birth at home. Without drugs.

They have hairy armpits and want you to crank that baby out in a candlelit bathtub while womyn hold hands around you, singing Kumbaya.

But I had done some research on the Internet regarding dilation of the cervix with sperm, and apparently, there was some truth to this.

So, we propped me up with pillows.

“Honey, just do this please. Jesus, it never took you this long before.

ow, ow, OWWW!!!

No, I’m fine, just make it snappy.

Talk dirty to you?”

Alex Baldwin and Mark Wahlberger

NO.”

This is why God invented porn.

My friend Destiny had gone into labor with both her daughters while walking through the mall.

She claimed it was the best way.

I HATE malls. But I was elephantine. And desperate.

I walked the mall leaving a sweaty trail of crumbs between Auntie Anne’s and Mrs. Fields.

I rehearsed my story:

“I was trying on shoes (as if any would fit around my disgusting bloated Shrek feet) at Nordstorms when my water broke.”

Said no man, EVER. Said no man, EVER.

Nothing. Nary a twinge.

My due date came and went. And went.

I stopped answering the phone.

“Hello, you’ve reached Samara. I’ve not had the baby

STOP CALLING ARRRGGHHH!!!”

Finally the doctors in my OBYGYN group decided to induce labor.

I arrived at the hospital at 7:30 am on a Tuesday morning, husband in tow, with books to kill the time while they pumped me with drugs.

I was hooked up to 75 machines. I’d been instructed not to eat, so I soon became curmudgeonly.

The doctors told us I was in for the long haul, so my husband escaped – purportedly to do some “errands” – and I started to read.

I never dilated.

They inserted pills,

gels,

a team of midgets.

I'M GOING IN! I’M GOING IN!

Nothing.

Then, they broke out the pitocin.

JUMPING JESUS ON A POGO STICK.

Pitocin is

LIQUID HELL

My contractions were instant and agonizing.

I refused pain meds – because the doctors said it would slow down labor.

So, like millions of women before me, I just endured it.

Keep in mind – I have a low threshold of pain and a high sense of drama.

My husband showed up.

Whose guts I MASSIVELY hated, now that ELECTRIC FIREBALLS OF DEATH were being lacerated into my uterus,

while he sat around and munched on Five Guys Hamburgers.

All those techniques you learn in Lamaze

I didn’t want to breathe, I didn’t want a backrub, I didn’t want new age-y music, or to sit in a tub, or to roll on a ball.

I managed to find a position that was semi-tolerable – on my side, half on the bed and half off,

with my tongue hanging out of my mouth.

Like a dog, who’d been locked in a car on a hot day.

And was now having heat stroke.

Not even this good. Not at all as pretty as this

This was nothing like anything I’d seen on on “The Baby Story” and I’d watched a TON of them.

I was PISSED.

Throughout this debacle, the various doctors in my OBGYN group couldn’t understand why I didn’t just wave a white flag and say, “CUT ME ALREADY!!”

I wanted the experience of pushing my baby out of my body. I wanted that centuries-old female rite of passage.

Looking back, I have no idea why I was so committed to the idea of having this thing literally tear me a new asshole. But, I was.

So, they just made little “tsking” sounds as I descended further into madness. Said I was “tenacious.” And that the baby was not in danger.

The only one suffering was me.

The whole next day was blur of pitocin, excruciating contractions, beeping monitors, nurses bustling around, my husband smelling of whatever he’d eaten.

I was exhausted, starving, and delirious with pain.

By dinnertime I’d listened to now a SECOND baby being born in the room next door. I officially went insane.

I started screaming.

“Put me next door!! That’s where all the babies are born!! I want to move next door!”

My husband tried to reason with me.

“Babe, I don’t think-”

“‘MOVE ME NEXT DOOR!! MOVE ME NEXT DOOR MOVE ME NEXT DOOORRRRR!!”

“Okay, but Sama-”

“MOVE ME MOVE ME MOVE ME MOVE ME MOTHERFUCKER OR I SWEAR I WILL CUT YOU!!!”

You wanna die

They rolled me and all my beeping monitors into the room next door.

I still never dilated past 2 centimeters.

At 9pm my doctor stopped in to see how I was doing. Chatted with my husband.

I had been given pitocin for 36 hours almost continuously. I no longer felt pain –

I WAS pain.

My husband had given up even trying to come near me.

Everytime he did, my head spun around 360 degrees

and I spewed obscenities and pea soup on him.

“YOUR MOTHER SUCKS COCKS IN HELL!”

(okay, I didn’t say that, but that is a great line from The Exorcist)

I looked up at my doctor through unfocused, bloodshot eyes.

He and my husband were watching The Victoria Secret Lingerie Special on TV.

YES. THEY WERE.

I DID NOT “IMAGINE” THIS.

He asked how I was.

“I’m just peachy. Other than having to figure out how to home school this child in my uterus.”

Dr. Norwich said, “You’ve officially broken the record for the longest labor in this hospital. Were you trying to set a new record?”

All of a sudden-

BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP

The machines went crazy. The nurses began rushing around. The doctor said the baby’s heartbeat was faltering.

Emergency C Section!

STAT!

NOW.

I got scared.

“DON’T LET MY BABY DIE.
DON’T LET HIM DIE!”

They unplugged me, wheeled me into surgery.

As they wheeled the bed out of the room the wheels got stuck on the door hinge and they struggled to coax it out of the room.

I went MAD.

I SCREAMED at the doctor, nurses, orderlies that they were trying to kill my baby.

I am absolutely terrified of surgery.

All I remember about that room was that it was the whitest, most unforgiving room I’d ever seen.

And that there seemed to be many more people in it than there should be.

At least a dozen. Why on earth were there so many?

I just kept chanting/praying

“please let my baby live”

“please let my baby live”

and holding my husband’s hand so tightly I left grooves in it that were still there the next day

I don’t remember any details of the surgery.

Except,

when my son was born

everyone in the room sang out,

“happy birthday, Little Dude,”

only they used his real name, which we had already picked out.

And tears streamed down my face. And my husband’s.

Our baby was gorgeous. Like C-section babies always are.

And my doctor exclaimed,

“IT’S A WEST WING BABY!!”

I panicked.

“Oh my God! I’ve given birth to a deformed child! He has a wing instead of an arm! Oh, no!”

“Relax,” he said.

“Your baby is perfect.

It’s 9:32 on a Wednesday night.

West Wing is on.”

And so it began…

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(Great TV show.)

Do you have a baby delivery tale to tell? Or your wife’s, mother’s, or sister’s?

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pregnant

“I loved being pregnant!”

Women who say this are lying.

I know couples stretch medical intervention as far as it can go just to have a child. I do not want to minimize this.

But my pregnancy offered me such state-of-the-art suckage that I think mothers all over the globe have made a pact to say they “loved being pregnant,” so women won’t be afraid to get dragged into this mess.

It’s a LIE, along with “size doesn’t matter” (sorry, but you can’t make butter with a toothpick) and “you’ll look back at this and laugh” (no, I’ll block this out with as much alcohol as I can).

First trimester of the parasite incubation: I threw up constantly.

What perverse human being named it “morning sickness,” when I horked constantly?

It’s like being savagely hung over all the time, minus the fun of having been stupid drunk enough to flirt inappropriately with your husband’s best friend all night.

The smell of anything made me ill. Particularly cooked food. If my husband tried to cook I would growl like Quasimodo “me sick no you smell up house blechhhhhhh grrrghhhh”

quasimodo

 

The only thing that made me feel better was bread. Fuck salad and grilled fish.

Pass me a loaf of Italian bread. That’s right, I said the whole loaf.

I wasn’t allowed to work out in my first trimester. I was a “high risk” pregnancy. Between that, and the carb orgy, I gained 20 pounds in a half hour. I was a beached whale, a nauseous, farting, beached whale.

And I had narcolepsy. It reminded me of the old days, when I was incredibly stoned, and I would just pass out in the middle of a  zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…

Second trimester. The morning sickness faded. The euphoria kicked in. Mother Nature’s little way of tricking you into thinking you’re not about to ruin your whole life, drain your bank account and give up your dreams.

My skin glowed, my hair looked A-MAZING. I started exercising again.

My boobs grew.

Can we just talk about this for a minute?

I’ve been on the low-end of the alphabet my whole life. And then all of a sudden, WOWZA! My tits got huge! Like, double D ginormous! And round and high to the point of looking fake.

Stripper quality breasts. Hot damn!

My libido went into overdrive. Nobody warned me about THIS.

I craved sex as much as I craved food. My second trimester was happy happy time.  Such irony. The sex drive of a nympho stuffed into the body of a manatee.

I was delirious enough to ask for a pregnancy photo shoot for my birthday. With nudes. Such is the power of the second trimester lunacy. You think you look HOT.

And my energy level – it rivaled that of a meth addict! I nested! I fixed the whole house up!  I cleaned out every closet. Reorganized every room. Fixed up the nursery.

It spiraled out of control. I removed the shower doors and took them out for a real scouring.

I scrubbed the inside of the washing machine, declaring it not clean enough for the baby’s clothes. I cleaned toilet bowls with a toothbrush.

Wait - is this my husband's toothbrush? oopsie

Wait – is this my husband’s toothbrush? oopsie

 

The nesting and euphoria was short-lived. By the third trimester, I was miserable.

It was August and I was ferociously hot all the time. Even with the air conditioning on full blast I sweated like a Miami hooker.

It was a hot, hot summer. I did not do my third trimester in style.

I waddled around in Naturalizer sandals, an oversized tee-shirt and my husband’s boxer shorts. I gained a LOT of weight. A lot. None of your business.

To this day, when women tell me “I only gained 18 pounds when I was pregnant” I hyperventilate. FUCK them. What were they carrying, crack babies?

 

Meanwhile, the Rockettes had taken up residence in my uterus.

We never got to the sweet little “feel it here, honey, he’s kicking” stage. No – Mondo the Donkey gave me kicks to the cervix that sent electric fireballs to my vagina.

We’d be watching television, and my stomach would suddenly distort. I felt like Ellen Ripley in “Alien 3.”

“WHAT was that?” my husband would ask, in horror.

“Ow, owwwww, that’s your son, roundhouse kicking me in the uterus, dumb ass!”

 

Then, there was the whole “he’s right next to my bladder” thing. Break out the Depends. And you thought they were just for old people. Nobody likes someone who smells like urine, unless they’ve hired you off of Craig’s list.

I couldn’t even see anything below my stomach. I was rocking the whole 70’s porn star look, I suppose. God only knows what my ungroomed hoo-ha must have looked like. And only God knew, because by my third trimester, no one was looking. Definitely not my husband.

He wasn’t one of those “you’re beautiful even in your 8th month” kind of dudes. He was more like, “umm, call me when you get your tight little pre-baby body back.” Asshole.

Then again, the only one who’d get a hard-on looking at me in my third trimester was Shamu at Sea World.

"Samara, baby, you are so effing hot 9 months pregnant"

“Samara, baby, you are so effing hot 9 months pregnant”

 

Sleep now became impossible. I was exhausted, but there was no way to get comfortable.

Now I was a narcoleptic meth amphetamine addict. Most nights, I ended up in the rocker recliner in the nursery.

Woke up 50 times a night wondering, why can’t I feel my legs? Was I having a stroke? I thought that only happened years later, when your kids are teenagers.

And as the countdown to lift-off draws closer, the absurdities of pregnancy come thick and fast.

My feet got a starring role in “Shrek’s Cankle’s,  the Sequel.”

except mine looked worse

except mine looked worse

 

I lost the ability to think. I would find myself in rooms of the house and not have a clue why I was there.

People gave me the weirdest name suggestions. No. “Apple ” is not a name for anything except a fruit.

You BITCH! You named me "#Hashtag?"

You BITCH! You named me “#Hashtag?”

 

People suggested I take videos of the birth.

When would I show that? Thanksgiving dinner? “Pass the pumpkin pie, here’s where I push something the size of a cat out of my punani?”

Little Dude is ten, and even though he’s a walking advertisement for birth control, I’m delighted I had him.

I’ve finally forgiven him the trauma of my pregnancy. Just last night he came in my room at 3 am – he had a bad dream.

“Mama, do you know that googol is a number?”

“Shh. I”m sleeping.”

“No, you were writing. You turned off the light when I came in. Which is bigger, googol or infinity?”

“it’s 3 am. Go to sleep.”

“Googol isn’t spelled like the website, you know.”

I did know.

And then, we talked about googol versus infinity.

Infinity goes on forever.

His childhood does not, which is why we cuddled and talked in the dark until 4:30 in the morning.

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