When I was pregnant with my first baby, I actually believed he would arrive on or after his due date. All of my friends that had gone before me down the baby-making path had shared their tales of woe of being painfully, miserably overdue. I'd heard a hundred old wives tales all guaranteed to bring on labor... spicy foods, castor oil, walking, a bumpy car ride, raspberry ginger tea.... and finally: sex. That last one I suspect was invented by a frustrated spouse who was willing to spin any yarn to get a little nookie. Anyhoo, I was happily sitting in my office, a cute little baby bump between me and my flickering computer when I stood up to go pee for the 100th time that day and ... ta da .... my water broke. I was only 35 weeks pregnant. I hadn't even packed my bag (It was on my calendar to do on Week 36 - the RECOMMENDED WEEK YOU PACK YOUR BAG!) There was no plan, yet. I couldn't even say "Ricky it's time" using my best Lucy Ricardo voice because "Ricky" was 2 hours away. So, I did what any modern female does, I closed my laptop and drove myself to the hospital, waddled in and said "I think I might be having a baby". (If I could turn back time, I would have driven to McDonalds first because as it turns out I was on the ice-chip diet for the next 48 hours. Oh how I hate you, ice chips.)
All this to say, I spent the next three hours on a gurney making phone calls on my Blackberry and sewing up loose ends. One of calls I had to make was talking my husband through packing my bag. This, my friends, was a disaster of epic proportion. Maybe he was being nice, but the underwear he packed were the teeny tiny ones that landed me in this predicament in the first place. Seriously? So, I surreptitiously called my mom and had her bring a bag of rations. Without a word, she hung up and began packing. She needed no further direction. She packed ginormous underwear that came to work not play. She brought me fat, cozy socks. She packed some nice smelling lotion, a scrunchie and a hairbrush. She even threw in some Jean Nate in case I needed to splash myself with a little Wow! Lastly, she tucked in something she called a "house-dress". She said she had an extra one in her drawer that I could have. It was perfectly aged soft cotton, and snapped up the front. "Perfect for nursing!" my mother exclaimed. I'd never owned a house-dress. And frankly, I felt like I was a little, eh hem, young for such a frock. And since I was currently wearing a hospital gown, I tucked it back in my bag for later examination.
Well... 36 hours of labor and a c-section later my son was born. He was tiny, and severely jaundiced and struggled with some other issues requiring a rather lengthy newborn hospital stay of 8 days. The night we got home, I took a nice shower, grabbed some industrial underwear and a hideous nursing bra and dug around to find something, anything to wear. I was sore from top to bottom and I also had an unplanned incision in my abdomen. And, shockingly, I still looked kind of pregnant. And then I spied it.... With it's delicate pink floral pattern and flutter sleeves. The house-dress. I pulled it out of my bag and examined it. It was so soft and flowing, loose and easy. I pulled it around my shoulders and snapped it up. Ahhh.. it was pure Heaven. Nothing binding or tugging. I LOVED my house-dress! I'll never wear anything else ever again!!!!! ALLELUIA! Until. Until. I looked in the mirror. "Well hello there, Mildred, how's the sciatica?" Oh well, I thought, it's just around the house. Right? It's a house dress. So, I casually strolled out into the living room, acting like I'd worn a house-dress every day since my honeymoon. I wish I had a camera so I could show you the look on my husband's face. It was a combo platter of horror, disgust, and fear. He knew not to say a word in my fragile, hormonal, lactating state. But some conversations don't need words. I knew. I knew that if I ever wanted my husband to ever like me in a girl-way ever again I needed to take that house-dress off and pretend it never existed. And so I did (the next morning... Come on, I was too tired to change clothes).
And so I laid the house-dress to rest in my bottom right dresser drawer. From then on I donned the more age appropriate post baby uniform of sweats and t-shirts. My husband no longer looked at me with scared eyes and all was right with the world.
But. I have to tell you the truth. Whenever my Big Lug goes out of town for work, I get that bad boy out and put it on. I pull the drapes and spin and twirl around the house like some crazy old spinster in a wedding dress. I love that damn house-dress. I love it, you hear me. It makes me mad we have to hide our love. We're like the Romeo and Juliet of the garment world.
And folks, on my 70th birthday, I am putting that house-dress on. And I am going to wear it. Everywhere. I might even pick up an AmeriMark catalog and order a few more.
And I can't wait.