three pregnant chicks walk into a bar

I needed a break.  I slipped into 40 Carrots, a bustling restaurant in the basement of Bloomingdale’s, coveted for its plain frozen yogurt and half-sandwich-soup deals, just beyond the plus-size section.  I didn’t exactly slip, actually.  I assumed a sawhorse stance on a line of lady lunchers, and when it was my turn, I was offered a seat at the counter.

“Actually, I’ll wait for a table.”  Sometimes I’m in the mood for the counter, but I was tired.  And when you’re tired, a table seems more suitable for slouching and leaning on your elbows.  I was ushered to a table with another single—a woman in her fifties with bifocals, stacked wedding bands, and a caramel sweater twin set.  She was halfway through a large glass bowl of chocolate frozen yogurt, with side dishes of sliced bananas and granola.  Mostly, she was pushing her spoon over the top, as if she were icing a cupcake, creating smooth even lines of sugary bakery. 

I ordered my plain yogurt with a mix of strawberries and bananas, as the woman across from me paid her check.  Once my treat arrived so did a new restaurant patron, lead to the unoccupied seat beside mine.  She was one of those women who wore a size zero and always asked the sales associate if it came in extra-small.  Sometimes I forget that petite people age.  When I was young, I used to associate height with age, so I was surprised that she looked forty-four even in a four ft. something frame.  She ordered a bowl of chili and creased open a new paperback book.  I couldn’t help but glare at her pear-shaped ten-carat ring while I tried to get a glimpse of her chosen book title.  She’d stacked platinum and yellow gold bands up to her knuckle surrounding her engagement ring.  I’d be getting married the next day.

A blond energetic woman in black athletic clothes plopped into the seat across from mine.  “I’m pregnant,” she said, “I can’t help myself.”  She meant she was waiting for another table, but needed to wait at ours while it was being set.  She was tired.  She didn’t look it. 
“How far along are you?” I asked.  And then I came to learn that we were actually three strangers, sharing a table, each of us pregnant.  I love this about strangers: the fact that so many of them can become important to us.  Our first kiss, lover, friend.  I love the idea that the stranger beside us can change our lives, can become the person with whom we grow old, on a porch somewhere down south, sipping sweet tea.  Although I wouldn’t exchange numbers with these women, or most likely, ever see them again, I still take pleasure in the idea.  People write predictable fiction that begins this way. 

The woman beside me was on her third child and insisted Old Navy and Gap maternity clothes ran way too big.  I’d go online that night and order some.  They discussed pre-schools and tutoring.  Waitlists.  I was thankful, in that moment, that I no longer lived in Manhattan.  While I loved being seated with strangers and learning our commonalities, I became afraid I’d be caught up in a whirl of panic and hype if I remained in New York, convinced my babes wouldn’t be the brightest if they weren’t learning French at “the” school.  I suppose it’s no different here in Texas, or any city, really.  We all want brilliant, well-adjusted children; I just hope I continue to realize I can do my part, from anywhere, as long as I’m involved in their lives and learning.  If only I could find plain, tart, frozen yogurt here. I’m going out today to meet some strangers in search of some.

*And, as a total aside, but I still feel the need to document it for when I look back at these archives, I’ve been stressing lately about the babies.  Fetal movement.  I go to the doctor this Wednesday for a regular check up, and then soon after for a triple screen (I think that’s what it’s called).  So I’ll know then if everything is okay.  I read in books how sometimes during your second trimester you stop feeling signs of being pregnant and panic.  That’s me, but not full on panic, but panic enough that last night I was searching "fetal movement at five months," finding myself reading message boards.  I’m sure it’s normal.  Bubbles, I should feel.  Flutters.  Popcorn popping.  But a muscle spasm after an orgasm is not the same as feeling the babies.  I will just have to be patient.  At least until Wednesday when I get to see them again via ultrasound.  Woo hoo!



  1. >

    Bravo! No school, no lessons, no team sports – nothing substitutes for the presence of a loving family. You have the makings of a wonderful parent, and I am proud of you.

    Each of our children are different and unique. Those destined to be brilliant will be brilliant regardless of their circumstances. My youngest is deafblind and medically fragile. She would not be considered brilliant, or even smart, by most people. But, the day she finally uttered the word 'momma' after years and years of holding her small hand to my mouth to 'hear' it, was the day she became the most brilliant child in the world!

  2. Aren't moments like that amazing? They confirm you are doing the right thing and are in the right place. I have similar moments everytime I go to New York. I really appreciate what I have, including a normal sized apartment and average priced groceries. Obviously NY has a ton to offer, shopping and culture included. Isn't that what airplanes and high speed internet are for?

  3. We begin our best relationships as strangers.

    I think any woman who makes it through pregnancy without having a nervous breakdown is made of steel. I don't know how you ladies do it.

  4. Oooooooo, Deborah….you just made my cynical 40-year-old heart give such a squeeze!

    Even when you feel the babies move, Steph, you won't be sure. What the hell was that?Was that it? Was that normal? OMG…off to Dr. Sears' website to see if that was it! Or Urbanbaby (but don't let the bitches get you down on that site – they're horrible!).

    Enjoy every moment of this pregnancy, Stephanie. It really is magical – even through the hemmies, acne, weight gain, water retention, heartburn, insomnia and the ever-present need-to-pee.

  5. I too like the idea that a stranger can become the most important person in your life. Maybe that's why so many single people spend time in bars searching the face of strangers. It seems to work well in the movies.

    I know nothing about pregnancy, so I'll just say that I hope the ultrasound goes well. Maybe it's a good thing they aren't really kicking right now. I hear in the final trimester they beat the crap out of your uterus.

  6. I'm sure everyone's going to tell you this, but everyone is different in terms of when they feel the baby. And at first, which is at about five months, you don't even know that's what you're feeling. I would imagine things are a little different with twins, too. They might not move as much due to lack of room.

  7. Stephanie, I love the way you describe food-like I'm flipping through Bon Appetit. I completely understand your worries over feeling the babies move. With my first pregnancy I bought a monitor that was supposed to let me hear the heartbeat. I could never get it and was in a constant state of worry. I would go days without feeling movement and would call my OB and they would tell me to drink a coke or orange juice and lay down and try to count kicks (which never worked for me either). Hell, I still wasn't even sure that I was in labor for either one of my two babies. On both delivery days I had appointments and the doctors told me that nothing was going on -both times I had babies in arms in less than 24 hrs after the appointments. Pregnancy is a crazy thing and even with all the technology out there, there is still so much uncertainty. Try not to stress too much and don't read too much about all that can happen. The triple screen test has a high percentage of false positives-it happened with my sister and we were all scared to death that something really bad was wrong. Her baby was as perfect as can be. Sorry to go on and on, just know that all your worries are normal and real and sometimes it helps to put them out there.

  8. I love the idea that a stranger can become the single most important person in your life.
    But ever thought about the problem that lots and lots of people don't want anyone new in their lives? They have their friends and they're enough "work", I don't need anybody else. I can't help it but in my mind this happens to damn often these days.

    And I'm sure the babies are alright, but even though my best wishes and if anybody can get through this, it's you! I'm not sure, I know it.

  9. i totally feel your anxiety…i am just 7 weeks, and they are afraid i have nothing growing in the "sac", go back in wednesday for another sono…..but reading your post reminds me that if i get past this hurdle there are plenty more sleepless nights of anxiety ahead. i hope.
    btw was just introduced to frogurt last month and am now addicted, there is nothing so good as that tangy sweetness. hope you can get in in TX!

  10. I had twins and I think I felt them move like once. It is pretty tight in there from what my doc said. Everything you read about a single pregnancy, disregard with multiples.

  11. Stephanie,
    I was the same as you. I worried about my peanut day in and day out. I stressed over his growth and movement.
    It didnt help that I was a single pregnant woman and going at it alone but one thing DID help-

    You can rent a doppler to listen to the peanuts' heartbeats.

    I sent mine back when I was in my second trimester but up to that point I used it daily just to reassure myself that he was fine. :)

  12. if you are enamored w/ the stranger-meets-stranger concept, I really do believe you'd enjoy the French film, Happenstance.


  13. Hi Stephanie,
    I've been away for a few days & am just getting caught up on the last 3 entries. I enjoyed the Yiddish words thrown in by you & some of the readers, like a 'bisel' and the entry by 'Miss Shugeneh' 'meshugeneh' is one of my favorite terms for someone kinda crazy. I hear alot of good ones from my father -in- law. You used 'fah' in your book, another fav. Off on another tangent,- when Gabe said you were nothing without your long red hair, I thought 'what a prick', I hate Gabe!
    Take care,

  14. I am currently pregnant with my first (28 weeks along) and I didn't feel any fetal movement until almost my 23rd week. I was worried that something was wrong, but at my ultrasound they showed me that the placenta was absorbing all the movement. It wasn't until after a second ultrasound that I swear the technician pushed so hard she moved things around and I could finally feel my baby. So don't worry. You will feel it soon.

  15. I love that you ended up sitting with other pregnant women. Little things happen during a pregnancy that have lasting effects …
    With each pregnancy I had the same worries. The same insecurities, the same panic. Each time the fear that I might have done them some unknown harm was overwhelming. You would think that by the 4th time I would have just *known* how things were, but I didn't … the worries remained the same … as they do with each child. I now worry about their futures, their hurts, their happiness and how I might be damaging them in some way.
    Worry .. I guess it is just what we do.

  16. This was very interesting until I had to hear about your orgasms..again. Sometimes I think I know more about your orgasms than I do my own.

  17. "We all want brilliant, well-adjusted children;"

    I'd take healthy, well-adjusted over brilliance any day. I never, ever think I want my children to be straight A students and try to tell myself I will be happy if they are good, kind, friendly nice kids with a C average.

    Right now, they only get Ss or S-plusses so I'll have to wait and see when the Cs, Bs, and possibly As start coming in. Would not be happy with a D though.

    But brilliance, I don't care so much about that.

  18. I was pregnant with my first son on 9/11 and the anthrax scare after that left me fretting public places, the mail and airplanes. I was so worried about my baby that I could not yet feel. I remember telling my mother I just couldn't wait for him to be born so he would be safe and my mom replied, "Baby, he is in the safest place he'll ever be."

  19. "I want my children to be straight A students and try to tell myself I will be happy if they are good, kind, friendly nice kids with a C average."

    I agree to some extent. But, OTOH, kids need to be challenged, both mentally and physically. Think of it like a job. Do you really want a average job that is so-so if you have an elite education and elite intelligent? You will grow resentful seeing other co-workers advance at your expense. Kids are not so different. It might not happen for 30 years, but if your kid is gifted, but he was never challenged, he will resent the fact that he never went to an elite school and landed an elite job. Certainly learning calculus at the age of 5 is beyond silly, but even at an early age, kids should be encouraged to perform to 'their' abilities.

  20. Sounds like you have some serious ring envy going on, noticing other womens' rings and comparing them to yours.

    That's understable given you just got married, but really, in a few years you won't really notice anymore, and you will be very content with what you have.

    Look at it this way: At least your husband has the good sense to not blow the bank on a ring, and is taking care of your financial future together by being financially responsible.

    At least I hope that's the case for you all, it's no fun starting out life together in debt.

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