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Sugar Baby

by Emily Fox
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emily_fox.jpgCongratulations, you’re pregnant – and for the first time since you were eight, you can eat whatever you want! Because you’re with child and therefore eating for two! And you are supposed to be a little insane from the hormones! So when you decide you must have half a jar of peanut butter for a snack, you only have to shrug helplessly and say, 

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  Juliet Maeve Scott,
December 28th, 2007
6 lbs 2 oz

“I can’t help it – the baby loves peanut butter!” as though the kid were tapping out some kind of Morse Code on the inside of your belly.

Everyone smiles indulgently at you and touches you kind of inappropriately on your belly area and tells you what a blessing the whole thing is and you agree because it is indeed nothing short of a blessing to be able to order rice pudding after lunch with no pangs of guilt whatsoever.

Sure, you can’t have sushi, but there are so many other perks: cookies and pizza and macaroni and cheese (for the calcium, of course) and real soda and cupcakes, glorious cupcakes, which you can even have for breakfast if you want and nobody bats an eyelash.

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I was thrilled for many reasons to learn I was pregnant, but I cannot deny that chief among them was the Get Out of Jail Free card that I’d been looking for my whole adult life.

After relishing a few months of this sweet taste of freedom, I was brought quite low when I hit week 24 of my pregnancy and flunked my glucose tolerance tests, resulting in a diagnosis of gestational diabetes. I soon learned that in 2 to 5% of pregnancies, the hormones produced by the baby’s placenta interfere with the mother’s pancreas, which is supposed to produce insulin to burn off all those cupcakes. The concern is that the fetus will get too big because mom has no way of processing sugars and the excess goes directly to the fetus, resulting (potentially, if the condition goes untreated) in a huge, sluggish baby. The treatment is to restrict the mother’s diet and make sure she exercises a lot. If this fails, she must start dosing herself with insulin, too, which one must self-administer via needle. The condition usually disappears as soon as the baby is delivered.

splenda.jpgThree things I do not like are restrictions, needles, and exercise, so you can imagine my dismay when my doctor told me my pancreas was staging a revolt and that there was a mug shot of me being faxed to every bakery in town with an advisory to refuse to serve me anything but bottled water and little packets of Splenda.

I met with a dietician who wore an awful lot of eyeliner for daytime and tried to make me feel better about the culinary prison sentence I was about to serve. If I could just cut out all refined sugars, white flour, honey, maple syrup, bread, pasta, rice, juice, bagels, pizza, soda, ice cream, cereal, most fruit, pancakes, pizza and starches from my diet, I could totally eat anything I wanted! Now, I’m no math whiz but I was pretty sure this left me with fish, chicken, and vegetables. Did this woman think I was an actress or something? Because that’s how actresses eat. I sit behind the camera. I eat craft service sandwiches between meals just because they’re there. I was pretty sure this dietician was plain out of her gourd.

It’s a funny thing, though, how easy it is to comply with instructions when you’re abstaining for the good of someone else – someone you’re ostensibly supposed to protect from harm and so forth. It was my very first lesson in the sacrifices we make as parents. That’s what my shrink said, anyway.

So as I count down the last few days before the blessed event of childbirth, do I daydream about my unborn baby and try to anticipate the unimaginable, overpowering love I will feel for him or her the moment we meet? Um, sure. Just as soon as I finish making my list of all the foods I am going to hoover as soon as I get my pancreas back.

The List:

0933477147a.jpg 1. Bagel with Lox and Tomato. Expectant moms aren’t supposed to have smoked fish. But smoked fish without a bagel underneath is just plain ridiculous. The double ban elevates this item to the #1 position.

2. About a dozen cupcakes from Sprinkles on Little Santa Monica Blvd. in Beverly Hills. The red velvet ones captured the local audience such that a line forms around the block now, but my secret favorite is the strawberry cupcake. It sounds like it would be impossibly cloying and pink, and it IS pink, but it is also divine.

08102006_martini.jpg 3. A martini. For the record, I do not see the need to clarify and say “gin martini” because there is no such thing as a “vodka martini.” You can put vodka into a martini glass and call it whatever you want, but it is not a martini. Tanqueray, a dash of vermouth, ice, three olives. Only my dear old dad knows how to mix these properly and I have been authorized to phone him at any hour of the day or night to report on the arrival of his first grandchild and request that he board the very next flight to LA with his cocktail kit in his carry-on luggage.

4. A whole baguette from Breadbar, a heavenly establishment that has been taunting me ever since I drove past it moments after flunking my glucose tolerance test. Oh, the irony! Life without bread has been bleak indeed.

5. One order of macaroni and cheese from Kate Mantilini.

6. A shipment of cookies from Snookie’s Cookies. (My husband often wonders aloud if Snookie considered another line of business before going into the cookie trade. “Maybe he could’ve been a bookie!” Peter hypothesizes.)

7. That super sticky gingerbread cake with cream cheese icing that you can get at Starbucks this time of year. Also, while you’re there, maybe pick me up a gingerbread latte too? Extra hot? Thanks.

8. A calzone with some absurd assortment of meats and cheese inside. I’m pretty sure a mere pizza won’t suffice – I need some double layer action at this point. Johnnie’s Pizza on Santa Monica Blvd. will deliver if you call them well in advance.

knish.gif 9. From Jerry’s Deli on Beverly Blvd, conveniently located mere feet from the maternity floor at Cedars-Sinai, I would like a potato knish. No, kasha. OK, one of each. Also some hamantaschen and a black and white cookie. Oh, heck, get some French fries too while you’re there since you already parked the car and everything.

And just to polish it all off, 10. Some rice pudding for dessert.

That’s breakfast. And then, dear reader, I will have lunch.

 

Emily Fox writes both feature films and television when she is not whipping up the same three recipes over and over again (chili, coq au vin, and Tollhouse chocolate chip cookies). She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and *baby girl*.
 

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