“Honey. HON. Wake up.”
My husband rolls over and peers at me. He is the epitome of groggy, rumpled, and “I just woke up 2 seconds ago and have breath like a possum died in my mouth.”
“What?” he croaks. “What’s wrong? Is it time?”
I look down at myself and stroke The Big Uncomfortable Belly of the Almost 36 Weeks Pregnant Woman. “No.”
“Is something else wrong?” he asks, propping himself up on one elbow. There is concern in his voice. Husbandly concern. Fatherly concern. Tender, loving, genuine concern.
“When does McDonald’s open?” I ask.
“When. Does. McDonald’s. Open?”
My husband gapes. He gawps. He stares. He blinks. He can find no words.
So I help him out. “You know, McDonald’s? The Golden Arches? A million billion gazillion served? They do burgers and fries and stuff. Do you know when they open?”
My husband finds his words. “You’ve got to be fucking kidding me.”
“No. I want a Sausage Biscuit. With Cheese. When do they open?”
He looks over at my alarm clock, which is blaring THREE THIRTY! IN THE MOTHER FUCKING! MORNING! He closes his eyes. He purses his lips and inhales deeply through his nostrils. He stretches his fingers wide in the universal gesture of “Lord, let me please have patience to deal with this unreasonable knocked-up woman.”
Then he rolls back over and goes back to sleep instantly.
I make a loud bitchy sound of annoyance, throw back the blanket as far as is necessary to expose the maximum amount of my husband’s naked skin to the night elements, and then starfish out of bed with as much awkward, disruptive movement and noise as I possibly can. Then I stomp into the living room like a herd of hangry Godzillas in maternity sleepwear.
(Well – first I visit the little girls’ room. As one does when one is 35 weeks pregnant, a LOT. *Then* I stomp into the living room like a herd of hangry Godzillas in maternity sleepwear.)
The Internet helps me to determine that our local McDonald’s will open for breakfast at five A.M., which does nothing to improve my mood. I am already a very pregnant woman awake at butt o’clock in the morning – having to wait an hour and a half for my food is not exactly helping. Every minute that passes by makes me crave my Sausage Biscuit with Cheese exponentially more. Soon I am also thinking about Hash Browns (multiple) and maybe even a Breakfast Burrito or two. (What? Don’t judge a preggo.)
4:45 A.M. *finally* rolls around and I can’t wait a single second longer. I have to start driving over to McDonald’s. What to wear is the question, and the answer is “the dirty pajamas I already have on, of course.” (Also: bra? What bra? It’s November 13th and very chilly, so I just throw a jacket over myself and call it good.)
Our two-story walk-up only has two garage spots. One of them is occupied by my husband’s car, and one of them is occupied by the truck belonging to our downstairs neighbor. My car, however, is unsheltered. It sits *next* to the unattached garage, the front bumper crammed up against a chain-link fence, and the driver’s side door flanked by a humongous army-green dumpster. I manage to squeeze my belly past the dumpster in order to get into the car, but just barely. It’s definitely a close shave.
I pull into the drive-through right on the dot of five A.M., and McDonald’s, bless its reliable heart, is indeed open for breakfast. I order my much-anticipated Sausage Biscuit with Cheese as well as two Hash Browns. (I decide to pass on the Breakfast Burritos.) The drive-through employee hands me the bag of food, and the greasy smell of pork and cheese and potatoes and biscuit-y goodness assails my nostrils. I practically salivate. There is NO WAY I’m making it back home before I eat this stuff.
(At this point I should probably mention that during my entire pregnancy I have been afflicted with persistent, chronic hyperemesis gravidarum – for those of you who’ve never heard that term before, it’s what them fancy doctors call “you ain’t never gonna stop throwin’ up until this baby comes out.” Even at eight months pregnant, I considered a day without barfing to be a very good day indeed.)
Forewarned is forearmed, right? I could put the knowledge about my treacherous stomach to good use and not shovel my entire McDonald’s breakfast down my gullet within a time frame of .00001 seconds, right? Wrong. No, I hork that stuff back like I haven’t eaten a single molecule of food in over a week, all while driving back to my little apartment and sleeping husband.
Seriously, I barely even chew.
I pull into my tiny, cramped parking space and ease The Big Uncomfortable Belly of the Almost 36 Weeks Pregnant Woman out of the driver’s seat. And for the first time ever, I am glad of the proximity of the humongous army-green dumpster, because I immediately lose my much-coveted McDonald’s breakfast Right. The. Fuck. Into. It.
Tears prickle at the corners of my eyes. I clutch the side of the dumpster and gasp for breath. I ponder the many injustices of pregnancy, and I grieve silently for the loss of my Sausage Biscuit with Cheese. The tears cut loose and course down my cheeks as I stand there, alone, in a back alley in the early morning darkness. The smell of steaming puke permeates the winter air.
Epilogue: You may be wondering how I could possibly remember the exact date of this incident: November 13, 2007. Well, I’ll tell you. Later that morning I collapsed into bed for a short nap, only to wake up at about four in the afternoon, feeling grosser than I ever have in my entire life, and laying in… wetness. The “not pee” kind of wetness. A little more than twelve hours later, on November 14th, we welcomed my only son into the world.
The delivery went great, but the best part — the one that strikes such jealousy in the hearts of my friends who are also mothers — was that I didn’t poop on the delivery table. After all, I had no food in my stomach.
It was all at the bottom of the humongous army-green dumpster.