Hosting a meal for the first time since pre-pandemic

Obviously, getting hospitalized unexpectedly threw a wrench into my weekend plans. I wasn’t able to see Ronny Chieng at the NY Comedy Festival as planned on Friday night, so I made Chris go without me. We were supposed to have my friend and her husband come over on Saturday for lunch, and they were also supposed to bring over hand-me-down baby items, so that got derailed. But luckily their schedule was flexible enough so that they came today instead. I had to shorten my menu of things I wanted to make and we supplemented with some takeout, but I still made the banh xeo I wanted with all its usual accompaniments, plus the alfajores (already made earlier in the week and just needed to be filled) and the passion fruit, raspberry, almond, and coconut cake I was eager to make.

Chris said that most people, after having been hospitalized unexpectedly, would likely return home from the hospital and lie down, lounge around the house and likely watch TV or do something mindless. Me, on the other hand? I went right into the kitchen and started cooking for several hours into the evening. Cooking and baking are therapeutic for me, and I wanted to make all these things anyway; I don’t really see it as “work” even if it can be perceived that way to most people. It’s what makes me happy. And I love feeding people and seeing their reactions to my food, especially when it’s either new to them or they just really like it. It felt so nice to have my next full day back home with my friends at our place. It actually felt like we weren’t in a pandemic during the afternoon we all spent together here. I miss hosting friends for meals. It’s sad to not have as many people to cook for and other people to have as my taste testing guinea pigs. Chris and I just can’t eat as much food.

I’d never been more grateful to be back in my own kitchen cooking or in my own bed sleeping as last night. And it’s almost as if Pookie Bear knew we were back home because she wasn’t squirming around quite as much as she was in the hospital. I just hope she’s okay. We went back to the hospital this morning for more fetal heart rate monitoring and an ultrasound, and the doctors said she still looks good. I want her to be a full-term baby so she can be as grown as possible. While premie babies will eventually be fine, it still kind of worries me because premies are more likely to have jaundice or to have difficulties latching and breast feeding. They’re also more likely to need assistance breathing, but luckily from what we can see on the ultrasound, Pookie Bear is doing a great job practicing breathing already.

When the resident doctor had mentioned the absolute worst case scenario of potentially having to get induced, I also felt saddened because that was like jabbing at my idealized birth story, where I’d go into labor and have a long early labor in the comfort of my own home, eventually make it to the hospital with Chris and my doula and have a vaginal birth. Instead, if I got induced, I’d be at the hospital the whole time, which would really annoy me. And being there, more interventions would likely be pressured upon me, including a c-section. While I cannot prevent what random circumstances arise during labor, I’ve been mentally very resistant to the idea of a c-section; the idea of surgery terrifies me, and the recovery is arguably even more terrifying from what friends and family have told me. I hate the idea of being dependent on other people for everything, which is likely what would happen if I had to have a c-section. A friend recently gave birth, and she could barely get out of bed without pain, so her husband literally had to do everything. For the first month, she wasn’t even able to change her baby’s diapers, and she felt guilty because of it. But I realize that I need to be a little bit more open minded to prevent myself from getting too traumatized. Birth is unpredictable, and I can’t be too rigid because that will just result in a lot of disappointment and resentment.

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