Less Stuff, More Food: Why The Food Shower Is Where It’s At

This past weekend, my aunt threw me a small, intimate baby shower to celebrate my second little boy who is currently roundhouse-kicking his way across my uterus.

Now you may be wondering: but Becca, you don’t seem like the type of humble, agreeable human being who would enjoy such festivities, so what gives?

It’s true.

I don’t particularly like showers of any kind, including – but not limited to – ones that are thrown in my honour. However, due to the past and present generosity of both friends and family, my tiny black heart has managed to grow several sizes.

This weekend was no exception.

The theme of this shower – and by “shower”, I mean “a relaxing, casual afternoon surrounded by close friends and family sipping wine and eating gourmet sandwiches” – was food.

Food: literally the best part of life.

Food: get in my fat, disgusting pregnant belly.

Food: listen, I can’t stop eating … no seriously you guys, I have a problem.

The Food Shower

The Food Shower is hands down, the most brilliant way to help out second-time moms since rich people invented the nanny.

In lieu of gifts, tacky games, and similar standard baby shower fare, guests were instead asked to prepare and bring a meal that could be frozen, so my family wouldn’t have to worry about eating McDonald’s five nights a week cooking immediately after the baby arrives.

No cooking.

No grocery shopping.

No meal prep.

No dishes.

What new parent wouldn’t want that? Screw diaper cakes and games and registries – give me family, friends, and frozen meals any day.

So if you’re planning on throwing a mom-to-be – especially a second, third or fourth time one – a baby shower, consider this alternative to the standard nonsense.

Less stuff, more food.

You literally can’t go wrong.

Especially with a haul like this.

You’re In Hell

I’ve been wanting to write this blog for a long time.

Last year, it was too raw. Too new. It was still difficult for me to find the words, even after a full year had passed.

Today marks two years to the day since the worst day of my life.

Two years ago today, I almost lost my son.

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It started a week prior with enough to make any new parent concerned: a high fever, vomiting, diarrhea. But on February 19, 2015, it became dire. My three-month-old was emaciated, dehydrated and in obvious distress. A decision was made, and an invasive emergency procedure was done to save his life.

He was then immediately transported to the ICU, where the nightmare continued.

The next few days and hours are a blur, but there are few moments that stand out, and always will.

The Video

We alternated nights in the hospital – only one parent could stay overnight at a time. On this particular night, my partner was there and I was home. I wrote about what it was like being at home here.

That night, he took a video of our son minutes before everything changed. I didn’t receive it until the next morning, something I have yet to decide was a blessing or a curse. It showed my baby writhing in pain, eyes sunken and darting around wildly, tubes protruding.

I’ve only ever been able to watch it once.

The PICC Line

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Due to a completely destroyed gut due to a severe milk protein allergy, my son couldn’t receive anything orally. A regular IV wasn’t enough, so he had to be given something called a PICC (peripherally inserted central catheter) line – an extremely invasive intravenous line that enters the body midway up the arm and extends to the superior vena cava (a fun little vein above the diaphragm that has the important job of returning deoxygenated blood to the right atrium of the heart).

This was the only way he could receive the nutrients he needed to keep him alive while his body healed.

The Brain Ultrasound

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I’ve never spoken about this one because I’m still not quite sure it was real. A photo exists, so it must have been.

Later that day, a team of neurologists were brought in to perform an ultrasound on my little boy’s brain. The purpose of this, we were told casually, was to assess whether or not there was adequate blood flow to his brain after the crash that sent him to the ICU hours earlier.

In other words, they were checking to see if he’d had a stroke.

Not much more was said. Instead, watched as they huddled over a portable ultrasound machine, whispering quietly amongst themselves. I don’t think I blinked as I observed them move their tiny wand over his tiny head, for what truly seemed like hours. Maybe days. I don’t know.

They didn’t speak to us, or even acknowledge our presence. They were stoic and mechanical; pointing and writing, whispering and analyzing. They left as quickly as they appeared, and it wasn’t until several days later we were told everything was fine.

You’re in Hell

While everyone around us was sending their love and well-meaning but essentially empty platitudes, there was one person who was brave enough to tell me what this really was, and where we actually were.

“You’re in hell,” she said.

It was strange hearing that at the time, because I was so used to being placated by gentle words. I had grown so accustomed to hearing things like “we’re praying for you”, or “things will get better”, that when I was told that I was I hell, it shook me a little.

But through all the noise, her words spoke the loudest. She was a mom who had been through similar trauma, and she wasn’t afraid to cut through the bullshit. She allowed me to acknowledge that this was a place that no parent ever wanted to be, and it was okay to be angry. It was okay to be scared, and it was okay to admit that for the time being, the darkness wasn’t going anywhere.

But in that moment, I understood that one day, it eventually would. I will always be grateful to her for that.

Two years later

Two years later, you would never know that my truculent little fart machine overcame an almost inconceivable trauma. I often look at him and wonder what life would be like if he weren’t here anymore.

I don’t allow myself to push those thoughts away.

I force myself to think them, because I know what it’s like to teeter on the brink. I don’t speak about my gratitude, because I can’t find the words. I remember hell, because we made it through.

And you will too, if you’re there.

I promise.

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