By Susan Nelson

I watched an old Bill Cosby comedy monologue on TV this morning. For those of you that have seen it, it’s the one where he’s discussing his wife’s pregnancy. Got me to think about being pregnant, not that am I, want to be, or in the leaps of scientific advances could be, I remember what it was like to be.

I found out I was pregnant with my daughter when I was nineteen, a child myself, really, and at the time had a very mirky vision of what this involved. The only thing I had a pretty good grasp on was how it had come to be.

For some reason friends, strangers, loved ones who have already experienced the “miracle of birth” step up to the plate in large numbers to share their stories of women who had given birth to twenty pound moles with hair on them, and how they themselves were in labor for 46 hours straight and actually bit a redwood tree in half with their incisors. Somehow, I managed to get through the next nine months, three with my head directly inserted in toilet bowl, three watching my wardrobe shrink while my stomach got bigger, and the last three waddling like chubby duck in quicksand. By the ninth month, I found that while sitting down in a chair had become a challenge, rising up from it once you were seated became a near impossibility.

Being small with a fast metabolism, I only gained twenty pounds with this pregnancy. Grilled cheese sandwiches with four pounds of Velveta and a half of cube of butter were my poison, quite often administered at 3 a.m. With my son it was hot dogs, perhaps this was an early indication of whether to purchase pink or blue booties.

My first contraction came around 11:00 on a Sunday night. Not being sure that this was what it was, I chalked it off to indigestion. Soon, it’s friends were joining in and they were far more agressive in making their presence known, than the first arrival on the scene. At midnight we called the obstetrician and were told to head to the hospital.

On arrival, the admitting nurse at first didn’t believe I was full-term because I carried the baby very close to my body. Finally, after a rather loud scream that simultaneously created an involuntary clenching of my fingers around her neck, I was admitted and put in the labor room, which was semi-private with one bed occupied.

Starting to feel the full impact of what was going to happen, my nerves got the better of me. My husband was excused while they got me ready, sort of like oiling the sacrificial lamb. Tucked in bed, hospital gown in place, I awaited my fate. In the next bed was a young Spanish woman. Understand, there was not a lot of conversation at this point because you’re trying to keep your spine from severing itself from your internal organs and coming out your nasal passages. Suddenly, she stood up on the bed and screamed the most amazingingly piercing scream I have ever heard and began, what I believed to be, cursing in Spanish. The name Juan kept coming up in the verbal assault, which I came to find out afterwards was her husband, and I have a feeling she wasn’t saying she loved him. Finally, she was ready to deliver and retrieving her from the ceiling she was removed to the delivery room.

Somewhere shortly afterwards I followed. Originally I had wanted to have natural childbirth, but after some urging from those who had gone before me, had opted for a spinal. God bless those women, everywhere. Once administered my lower body was on it’s own. Apparently my mind had just divorced both legs, feet attached, and wished to have no further correspondence with them. Once my uncooperative legs were placed in the stirrups, the pain abating, I watched in awe in a mirror the birth process, sort of like a bystander. Truly amazing. They placed her messy little self on my stomach at around 2 a.m. and I was in awe. Love at first sight.

It’s worth it no matter what. Wouldn’t change a thing.

Please note not one redwood tree was damaged in the making of this baby. Hah.

Heuvos Rancheros

2 corn tortillas, slightly stale

oil for frying

2 jalapeno chillies

1 clove garlic, minced

4 green onions, chopped (red and green)

1 large tomato, seeded and diced

8 eggs, beaten

2/3 cup half and half

1 small bunch cilantro, finely chopped

salt and pepper to taste

Cut tortillas into strips. Fry in hot oil watching closely until they are crisp and golden, turning occasionally. Drain on paper towels.

Dry fry the jalapenos in a skillet until skins are scorched. Place in resealable bag and set aside for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile place tomato in a bowl and pour boiling water over it. After 3 minutes remove and plunge into a bowl of cold water. Leave for a few minutes to cool.

Remove the tomato from water. Peel off skin, seed and dice finely.

Remove chillies from bag (use gloves). Peel off skins. Cut off stalks, then slit and scrape out seeds. Chop very finely.

Put eggs in bowl. Salt and pepper to taste. Beat lightly.

Heat 1 T oil in large frying pan. Add garlic and onions. Fry on low for 2-3 minutes until sauce. Add tomatoes and cook 3-4 minutes more. Stir in chillies and cook for 1 min.

Pour eggs into the pan and stir until they start to set. When only a small amount of uncooked egg remains visible, stir in cream so that cooking process is slowed and mixture cooks to a creamy mixture.

Add coriander to the scrambled eggs. Arrange tortilla strips on four serving plates and spoon eggs over them.

About the Author: Susan Nelson is a former restaurant owner, published children’s book illustrator, current cookbook writer and humor columnist. No one can fill Erma Bombeck’s shoes but Susie is definitely following in her footsteps, virtually channeling Erma’s style and voice. We want to fill the void left after her untimely death.  For more information visit her blog at Susart is a Syndicated Column and WE Magazine is one of her first National Syndication Publications. We are honored to have her on board!