Saturday, September 09, 2006

French Toast and Childbirth Ed

It's a great Saturday when you've had a good Childbirth Ed class *and* the best damn French toast ever. So I'm going to share with you the wonder and magic of Sunset magazine's French Toast Bites, with my own small alteration.


1 loaf (~1 lb.) Semifreddi's Cinnamon Twist Challah, or your own local Very Good Challah
6 eggs
1 c. milk
2 tsp. vanilla (or 1.5 tsp. ground vanilla bean)
1 tsp. cinnamon (or Pumpkin Pie Spice)
1/4 c. sugar (which I like to add for extra crisp carmelization)

- Cut the bread into 1" cubes. The cubes are KEY to the whole thing because, unlike thick slices, they crisp up beautifully and evenly.

- Beat all other ingredients together in a large bowl. Toss in the cubes.

- Lightly butter a large frying pan (we used cast iron with great success). Over medium high heat, toss in the cubes, shaking off excess liquid.

- Turn as needed; about five minutes to cook through.

This is The BEST French toast I've had, and I'm including the incredible pain perdu I've had the privilege to experience at La Note in Berkeley. Though their lavender honey is truly special and exceptional.

The CBE class was not too bad. I was skeptical when S., our instructor opened the class with people sharing their concerns/fears. I'm pretty tired of people asking me if I'm afraid and what my fears are. Because I'm really not afraid, and I also don't think that's so exceptional. (I didn't say that during introductions; I just said I didn't have a major concern to share.) S. pointed out that many people are afraid of the unknown. For me, if I don't know what's coming, I think--why should I be afraid?

I don't approach every situation like that, obviously-- for instance, I'm a defensive driver. But labor and delivery is special. It's been done by billions of women in the world over the course of human history. It's a natural process, the pain is purposeful, and it doesn't last forever-- normally it's less than a day. I can endure this for a day.

In fact, I've decided to be proud of my body. At first I didn't want to "take credit" for how normally and well my body has handled this pregnancy. But then I realized I'd probably feel guilty if it were difficult, which would be silly. There are certain things you can change and certain things you can't change. I've been conscious of those things in my control.

So, I'm proud that I was in pretty good shape pre-pregnancy and that I continue to be in pretty good shape; that I've been eating really well; that I've been avoiding stress as much as possible and trying to remember to take deep breaths, to do yoga, to have good posture, to relax. To be open to whatever happens and just to let it all go. To laugh a lot! To see friends and be social. And I remember in dance class, when our intense old school hardcore Debbie-Allen-in-Fame-esque teacher (Reginald Ray-Savage, if you're curious) would push us incredibly hard (people left crying), I'd think (as my muscles shook with fatigue) "I could do this for another week! Sure, no problem!" Mr. Savage taught me how much physical strength comes from mental strength.

After all that at the CBE class, we practiced some positions for labor, which was nice. I think it was useful to see how Derek would approach the positions and massage so I could tell him what felt good. Also, it's just really nice to come to the hospital so often for these various classes we've signed up for (CBE, newborn care, breastfeeding, meeting the practitioners, hospital tour). We've gotten really comfortable with our route, parking, and buildings, which is nice.

And my doula just attended a great birth at our hospital! I'm so excited; everything I've heard about it is very consistent that it's a fabulous, low-key, progressive place to give birth (but also with a great NICU if need be). YAY!