Oct 16, 200912:00 AM
Joie d'Eve

Living, loving, laughing, and learning in the new New Orleans

Almost Lost

I did not have an easy pregnancy with my daughter. I became pregnant on the heels of a miscarriage at 14 weeks, and the pregnancy was high-risk from the start. I bled every day for the entire first trimester. I threw up so much that I went to the hospital. I was diagnosed with a gene mutation that made me much more likely to have a late-term loss. I injected blood thinner into my stomach twice a day. My thyroid got out of whack. My daughter had markers for Down syndrome. She was breech. I had pre-term labor.

“Let’s just take this one day at a time,” said my perinatologist.

So every day, I expected to lose the pregnancy, and when they finally put my daughter in my arms, safe and sound, I just sort of thought, “Huh. I made that. In my body. How about that?”

I was strangely detached for quite a while. I fed her, changed her, bathed her: I wasn’t neglectful or depressed … just, as I said, detached.

And then one day, I picked Ruby up, and I thought, suddenly and with a sense of deep panic, “Oh, my God, I almost lost you.”

I buried my face in her hair, breathing in the smell of baby shampoo and Dreft and sour milk that was crusting in her neck folds. “I almost lost you,” I said, struggling to breathe. “I almost lost you. Oh, my God, I almost lost you.”

It sounds overwrought and maudlin, it sounds like so much romantic bullshit, but the truth is that this same scenario played out for me pretty frequently when I first moved back to New Orleans.

I’d be sitting on the patio at Russell’s in the slightly chilly air of spring, feeling the air off the lake, drinking a Big Al’s Bloody Mary and eating the hash browns I dreamed about in Missouri when suddenly I’d feel so damn grateful for where I was that I literally got weak in the knees. “We almost lost you,” I’d think, as my eyes filled up and my breath came quickly. I wanted to just hug New Orleans tight, fill my lungs with the thick air, the smell of deep-fried food and sweet olive and the river. “We almost lost you. Oh, my God, we almost lost you.”

Those moments come less often for me now, both with Ruby and the city, but sometimes, they coincide, and that still gets me, just a little bit.

Taking Ruby to Angelo Brocato’s, the same shop where I went for treats after school as a child, the same shop where I had my first date as a teenager, is great. That kind of continuity, her going where I used to go as a child, would make me happy no matter what. But noting that every time we come back she’s a little bit taller, a little bit closer to the plaque on the door depicting the waterline from Katrina –– that never fails to make me a bit misty-eyed. There’s the beloved child I almost lost, Zuppa Inglese gelato smeared in a sticky yellow glaze on her perfect little face, standing in the beloved ice cream shop I almost lost, clapping her hands and demanding more amaretti cookies.

Just then, damn the crime and the mosquitoes and the heat and potholes, it’s hard not to feel blessed, amazed, thankful that things are the way they are.

What makes you thankful you live in New Orleans? What moments still take your breath away? What are you glad you didn't lose?



 

Reader Comments:
Oct 19, 2009 12:55 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

The crisp clean air on a beautiful fall day and the sun shining and the Quarter just packed with tourists and locals alike enjoying the wonderful weather -- and the mules, even with their trails of poop, clipclopping along, so happy that it is finally not muggy and they can enjoy driving the tourists around! The smells of the night jasmine in the evening and opening your gate into your patio and smelling the night aromas and seeing tulip plans and gardenias blooming everywhere - smelling the beignets cooking and hearing the calliope player going at it like she's on crack and in the wee hours of the morning, hearing the train whistles as they make their way down the track between Decatur Street and the River and the riverboat sounds! What a wonderful place to live! Even with its plethera of crimes, lack of a mayor, etc., I am soo glad to call it home and GEAUX SAINTS!

Oct 19, 2009 06:53 pm
 Posted by  Jimmy

Darn those murderers, and the bugs....darn them.

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Joie d'Eve

Living, loving, laughing, and learning in the new New Orleans

about

Eve is further proof, if any is needed, that New Orleans girls can never escape the city. After living here since the age of 3 and graduating from Ben Franklin High School, Eve moved to Columbia, Mo., where she received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Missouri School of Journalism and became truly, unhealthily obsessed with grammar.

She had originally intended to strike out to New York City and work in the cutthroat magazine industry there, but after Katrina, Eve felt a strong pull to return home, to her roots, her family, her waterlogged and struggling city – and a much more forgiving work atmosphere that would allow her to skip a routine of everyday makeup and size 0 designer label business suits and enjoy the occasional cocktail or three with an absurdly fattening lunch. She moved back home in January 2008 and lives in Mid-City with her two daughters, Ruby and Georgia; her stepson, Elliot; and her husband, Robert Peyton.

Eve blogs about the joys and struggles of living in post-Katrina New Orleans, the unique problems and delights of raising a child in such a diverse and challenging city – including her experiences with the public education system – and her always entertaining and extremely colorful family.

Eve has won numerous writing awards, including the Pirates Alley Faulkner Society Gold Medal, the Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence award for column-writing and Press Club of New Orleans awards for her Editor’s Note in New Orleans Homes & Lifestyles and for this blog, most recently winning the award for "Best Feature Affiliated Blog."

She welcomes comments, advice, empty flattery, recipes, drink invitations and – most especially – grammatical or linguistic debates.

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