Thanksgiving in the South Part III

Below is me detailing my recent trip to Mobile, Alabama.

Conversation for Thanksgiving prep started on Saturday. Ms. Ella says Monday is the day to start. She wants to get the pies and cakes out the way. Sweet potato pies and pecan pies. She makes a mental note that she has one son in particular that likes, no loves apple pie. He will ensure everyone has had a piece and take the rest home. If anyone hasn’t gotten a piece than too bad!

I enter the kitchen and I see the pecans in a bowl. “Prep for the pecan pie??” I ask Doug. He lets me know that Ms. Ella purchased the pecans pre-cracked, this is to remove the bitterness. She’s now letting them dry out for a few days prior to roasting.

The Kitcheniesta informs her followers that if your turkey is currently frozen as of Saturday, it should be removed for a proper thaw. I confirmed this with Doug, and he agrees, that if you want to season your turkey with brine etc this is definitely necessary.

In the midst of this conversation we conjure up what we’re having for lunch. Foosackly’s or should Doug thaw out chicken to fry? I spent $20 USD on food alone yesterday so I wasn’t particularly inclined to buy food again on only day one here in Mobile. So Doug thaws the chicken and fries it. I’m bout to have southern fried chicken. Yes. String beans or corn? Doug asks, I’m not sure what this is for so I just say corn. Ms. Ella reminds Doug to not forget the love – the butter and sugar. Whatever it is, I can’t wait until lunch.

Back to Thanksgiving, so we’re having two turkeys. Yes two! One fried and one smoked. Welcome to Thanksgiving in the South.

On Sunday, Ms. Ella and her youngest son (Doug) argue over whether ribs is on the menu for Thursday. Ms. Ella with the quickness informs Doug: “ohh noo, we having fried turkey, a smoked turkey, sausages and fried chicken. Won’t be no ribs.” She complains of people helping themselves to all five meat portions until their plates are filled to the brim. During this conversation we can hear the high school alumni carrying on up the street. This week is alumni week for Mobile. Doug’s dad went to an alumni party the night earlier, he’s in his 70s.

Back to Thursday’s dinner – don’t forget about the greens. Collard greens to be exact. Cleaning them and cooking them, Ms. Ella is keen on doing her greens and no one else’s. I love collard greens because they remind me of callalloo, a similar green cooked in the West Indies.

On Monday evening Doug’s brother Wayne confirms that Thanksgiving dinner will start at 12:30. He alluded that we’ll all be full from picking at the food prior to. I can’t admit that he’s wrong.

After going to the Oakleigh Complex and purchasing my must have Foosackly’s, Nakita, Doug, CJ and I return home to find Ms. Ella prepping her sweet potatoes for the candied yams. She had already peeled the sweet potatoes and was slicing them. She soaked them in a bowl of water prior to boiling. I realized that Southerners, or Americans in general refer to sweet potatoes as yams, I don’t because in the West Indies, there’s another starch vegetable that is less sweet that we refer to as yam.

Sweet potatoes soaking prior to boiling for candied yams.

Later that evening I smelt the sweet smell of sweet potatoes and nutmeg… Ms. Ella had her pot of Heaven boiling and offered Nakita and I to try some, yes please!

Tuesday morning, I make my way to the kitchen with CJ for his morning cereal. To my surprise (and happiness) Ms. Ella had THREE sweet potato pies in the oven baking. “Getting a head start on your pies?” I ask Ms. Ella, “Oh yes m’am, you know it.” She answered.

By Tuesday evening Ms. Ella had the sweet potato pies done but was unsatisfied with the smoothness of her pies due to a bad batch of sweet potatoes. Nevertheless, they tasted delicious. I had piece for snack and for breakfast Wednesday morning.

Doug’s older brother Kevin finished making the ham and Ms. Ella prepared her chicken stalk for her famous dressing (which I love). The broth consisted of chicken quarters which she wanted boiled until the meat was falling off the bone. She then begins cutting up her celery and onions, the cornbread had already finished baking.

Cornbread for dressing, no sugar added.

Cornbread, celery, friend onions and chicken broth with a cream of chicken soup all mixed together. This sounds simple but I know there’s a secret touch that Ms. Ella has to this dressing recipe.

It’s the day before Thanksgiving, yes there’s lots of cooking but none of it can be touched until tomorrow. So what to eat? After having sweet potato pie for breakfast, my mind is set on Rodgers. Arguably the best barbecue in Mobile.

I got 6 wings with 2 sides: potato salad + peach cobbler. I forgot it also comes with 3 slices of bread.

Nakita wanted Foosackly’s and Ms. Ella and Doug wanted seafood from Love’s. Doug made a stop at all 3 restaurants. While in Rodger’s Doug changes his mind about getting Love’s and succumbs to the smoke barbecue smell inside Rodger’s – a Mobile legend.

Thursday finally came and we wait patiently. Wayne begins frying his turkey in the yard outside and it smells delicious. He brings 3 sweet potato pies with him as well.

A little piece of heaven.

At 1:14pm we had just about had it with the waiting. Unfortunately the power went out while Wayne was frying the turkey and this delayed the eating. Thankfully Doug’s father, Mr. James came to say grace at about 1:45 and Ms. Ella wanted everyone to say what they’re thankful for. The consensus was family, life and God.

My plate looked like:

Dressing, Mac n cheese, fried turkey, cranberry sauce, collard greens, candied yams, cornbread and fried chicken.

Whew. Welcome to Thanksgiving in the South.

Thanksgiving in the South Part II

Below is a recollection of my first experience of Thanksgiving in the South from 2 years ago.

I arrived to Mobile Regional Airport on the Wednesday evening. I had taken a connecting flight from Toronto to Chicago. It was late, after 11pm and I was waiting for my sister to arrive. She’s actually my best friend but we consider one another sisters.

She arrives and Doug (her now husband) arrives and picks us up. “Babe, did you get it?” Doug chuckled, “Nah babe I didn’t.” “But whyyyy?” Nakita asks. Doug chuckled again and handed Nakita a bag, it smelt like fried goods. “Vee, you’re going to love this.” She takes out a foam container and hands me the rest in the back. Whatever it was, it smelt delicious honestly. “Is this…?” I start asking if this is the famous food Nakita is always raving about upon her return from Mobile, I couldn’t remember the name of the restaurant. “Foosacklys? Yes!” Nakita answers.

Foosackly’s. A chain restaurant in Coastal Alabama and Northwest Florida. There’s no way to really describe Foosackly’s other than simply delicious – the best chicken tenders you will ever have, ever and a dipping sauce out of this world. So basically, in a typical order you get chicken tenders, crinkle cut fries (fried perfectly, nice and crispy) and a slice of buttered toast, sourdough toast, but not truly, a more milder taste. Me being from Canada (and one that tries to watch my waistline but always fails) was not used to all these carbs on one plate but did I love it? Yes! It was soo good. The dipping sauce – foo sauce, I asked Doug what flavors I should use to describe this sauce, he says it would be an insult to describe it in just flavors as opposed to how it plays a part in elevating the most basic of dishes – fried chicken strips, fries and the toast (DUH!!)

This picture doesn’t really it do it justice but you get the drift.

This is just night one in the South, the next day was Thanksgiving. I think this was my first time experiencing the American Thanksgiving. But to be in the South, with all the flavor and home cooking?! I was overjoyed, and my in laws did not disappoint!

We tried not to spoil our appetite on Thanksgiving, I believe we started at around 2 pm. Doug’s mother is Ms. Ella. She is the head chef in this Mobile home, and she really puts her heart in her cooking! I don’t eat pork so unfortunately there were some items I did not partake in. But, my first go round consisted of: dressing, macaroni + cheese, turkey, collard greens, and candied yams. Whew!

What I noticed in the South (or is this an American cuisine thing?) was, that a lot of things were made from scratch. For example, in Canada, many don’t follow traditional ‘North American’ style dinners for Holidays due to the fact that many of us (like myself) are from immigrant families. For example, my family is from Jamaica, we don’t even have a holiday for Thanksgiving. It would be out of the ordinary for us to cook a turkey. However, for special occasions, or a simple Sunday dinner, we will cook oxtail with rice + peas or curry goat.

So when my family celebrates Thanksgiving in Canada (or the US) these are the items we cook, and if we do cook a turkey, the dressing (we call it stuffing) will be from a box. I don’t want to generalize and say everyone does this, but if I cook oxtail (which takes forever) and a turkey, lasagna, macaroni salad, salmon etc., I’m not making dressing from scratch! That is coming from the box!

So, as I was saying, during my time in Mobile, at Thanksgiving dinner, I did notice a lot of items were handmade. So my plate consisted of Ms. Ella’s dressing. I fell in love with it. In fact I had a 2nd and 3rd helping of this dressing, I ate it the next day and the day after that! I loved Ms. Ella’s dressing! The turkey was juicy and delicious, with a side of cranberry of course. And the macaroni + cheese, perfection! This is something I have yet to master myself but honestly, the ratio of cheese to macaroni was spot on.

The candied yams. I believe Doug made those. Who thought of adding brown sugar and cinnamon to sweet potatoes? Genius. Melt in your mouth delicious! And I decided to balance this hearty meal with some greens of course! Collard greens, just simply delicious, cooked to perfection, not over cooked but a perfect side to your Thanksgiving meal. I had a roll as well, I fell in love with this also (I have a love hate relationship with bread). The roll was just buttery, melt in your mouth, soft, just perfectly good.

Ready for dessert? Home made pecan and sweet potato pie? Stay tuned for my Thanksgiving in the South Part III, where I recant my experience of this year’s Thanksgiving in Mobile, AL.

Thanksgiving in the South Part I

Two years ago I followed my best friend to Mobile, Alabama as she visited her then boyfriend Doug for the American Thanksgiving. I captured my experience Thanksgiving in the South Part II. But first, my now brother Doug, wrote a pretty profound piece on his view of Thanksgiving in the South. Doug is an upcoming rapper, you can listen to his music here. Doug is also part of a music collective, the newest release of music is by singer/songwriter Indyah Rashaud. You can listen to her latest single Multitude here.

The following was written by Douglas James:

The Thanksgiving tradition in the South is truly a family affair. There are regional, local, and family traditions all over the South specifically that make this one of the most interesting celebrations of the year… also, it can be a chore. I can only speak for my mom, “Mom-uh”, Mrs. Ella James. She was the granddaughter of a freed Slave, and that brings a certain wisdom when it comes to collecting, preparing, and serving Thanksgiving without it being an overwhelming path.

By October, she already has non perishables such as any dried beans she will prepare, macaroni for her legendary oven baked mac-n-cheese, any ham, or turkey she will be preparing she will have bought it before the month of November. She also ensures sugar for her pies, cakes, etc will be in the pantry in addition to stocking up on butter. Anything that can be caught on sale and stored via pantry or freezer (without degradation to quality) she normally has at least 2 weeks in advance.

About 2 weeks before Thanksgiving is when she gets her greens. Normally collards, with a small batch of turnips just for me… she picks them (when you remove the excess stem), washes them, cuts them, then washes them again. Greens are from the earth, sits just a few inches off the ground are gritty like your car after a beach day. Seems like a really easy process just reading this, but it’s not. A 40 gallon trash-bag filled with collards cooks down just enough to feed her 8 kids, the grandkids, the great grands, the cousins, the friends, and visitors who always make their way to our house.

Let’s say she buys the greens today, she will pick them tomorrow and wash them, cut them the day after that and wash them again. She finally cooks them down, bag them up, and throws them in the freezer.

The night before Thanksgiving, any meat will be cooking. We prefer smoked turkeys, because Alabama and BBQ are a thing. Even if you buy your turkey smoked, you can definitely just slide it in the oven beside the ham to just slowly cook and roast in those flavors. candied yams are a day or 2 before. Come to think of it the only things we cook on the day of thanksgiving is rice, gravy, macaroni and cheese, and we always fry some chicken for the picky kids, who ate too many sweets early in the day. My mom says a hungry child will always cause problems…

Stay tuned for Thanksgiving in the South Part II.

Snack Time!

What’s your favourite snack? I have too many to count and ever since Thanksgiving, I’ve just been into food lately. Why not blog about it?

I love cheese, so much so that I’m pretty sure I’ve developed a lactose problem! Anywho, remember the lunchables your mom packed you as a kid? How about those with a twist.

I’ve tried to give up bread in hopes of a snatched waist so I eat crackers from time to time (aren’t those high in carbs too?!). Lol I’ve tried to give up carbs and fail every time.

So, my snack is:

  • Take any slice of sandwich meat (I used turkey) tear it into 4 pieces
  • 4 crackers
  • 4 pieces of cheese
  • 4 extremely thin cut pieces of tomato
  • A dap of Dijon mustard on each cracker

So you get the drift, piece of meat on each cracker, add cheese, tomato and the mustard and voila! Simple and easy snack, tastes so good!

Snack time! Yum!

THANKFUL

I wanted to say Happy Thanksgiving! But, I’m not ignorant to the ties of Thanksgiving and the colonization of Indigenous peoples here in Canada and the US. However, every Thanksgiving weekend my family and I prepare a big feast normally on the Sunday (Monday is the actual holiday) and exchange with each other why we’re thankful. We should and do give thanks everyday but this one day in particular there’s a lot more food and my mom has decorative pumpkin and fall leaves over the house.

Each family member is responsible for a dish or two. This year I had the pleasure of making a vegetarian lasagna, the most moist cornbread and cheesecake. Yes, cheesecake. My first time, and it turned out delicious. I love cheesecake so now that I know I can make my own? Tuh!! It’s over. So this post will include recipes and photos of our delicious spread. Let’s begin with the healthy vegetarian lasagna.

I’m not vegetarian but I do like balance. We had a turkey, roast beef and shepherd’s pie, shrimp and salmon. So a meat lasagna? I thought it was too much. So, for this recipe you’ll need:

  • bunch of spinach
  • 1/4 cup of kale
  • 3 cups of mozza cheddar
  • 3 cups of Italiano
  • 1 tin of ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 box of lasagna
  • 2 jars of pasta sauce
  • 1 bell pepper diced
  • 1 red onion diced
  • 2 tbsp of vegetal oil
Fresh spinach that I chopped and froze about 3 days before making the actual lasagna.

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Boil water for lasagna and cook lasagna to your liking

In a medium sized pot, heat oil and fry red onion and and bell pepper *feel free to add or subtract ingredients*

Here I have my diced peppers, red onion and some seasoning.
  • Add seasoning and cook for about 10 minutes on a medium to low heat
  • Add 2 jars of pasta sauce and let simmer for 20 minutes
  • In a bowl mix 2 eggs and ricotta cheese and 2 cups of mozza cheddar cheese
  • In a greased pan, layer pasta sauce, lasagna, ricotta mix and 1 cup of mozza cheddar. End layering with pasta sauce and the 3 cups of Italiano
  • Bake for about an hour, let cool bon Appetit!

My finished product looked like:

For my cornbread, I follow this All Recipes recipe. It’s really moist and everyone in my family loves it.

Add on the carbs. I love bread.

And finally my most prized creation this Thanksgiving was this delicious New York style cheesecake. This recipe is also from All Recipes. This was my first time making cheesecake and I’m happy to say it was a success! I love cheesecake so I’m so happy I can make it now, it’s soo good.

Nice and fluffy, deli like cheesecake!

What are you and your family traditions for Thanksgiving?

The Good Bad Friend

So today I did something I don’t normally do. I met up with a friend who I thought was no longer my friend. Why did I think this? Well, following my marriage and birth of my son, I really didn’t hear from this person. And let me just clarify that we were friends friends. People have different groups of friends, your best friends, co-worker friends, friends who used to be close with but you no longer are, the friends you party with etc. This was a co-worker friend who turned into a friend friend. We would go out to events together, drinks and we talked a lot of our families and relationships etc. I had this friend at my house for Christmas!

Anyway, to be honest, I hadn’t heard from quite a few people, family members even. I just thought that as I was going through this transitional period (marriage + baby) in my life I would lose many friends.

But anyway, this one friend in particular, I thought we were done. I didn’t want anyone to badmind me or my family. Badmind – have negative thoughts or ill will towards you. So I literally blocked this friend on social media, like no you will not have access to me or my family via social media or any other means for that matter. So yup, block.

But then, I remembered that I am a Christian and I’m to be more like Christ. Christ came to save those who are lost and literally be a listening ear to those who needed to talk or help with things – little or big. So anywho, I reached out to this friend. Like yeah yeah, how are you, we should meet up etc. etc. Okay cool, we’re moving in the right direction.

Literally 4 weeks had passed and I don’t hear from this person. This person was supposed to let me know they’re schedule for us to meet as I had already told her mine. So now I’m like okay? What did I do wrong? Did she just blow me off?

At the age that I’m at, I’ve obviously seen friends’ come and go. So, I know who my friends are and TBH I’m not to keen on making new friends because I just feel like I have my circle and that’s all I need. So for me to be vulnerable enough and let this new friend into my bubble and them blow me off… It’s like see? This is why I don’t make new friends *sings DJ Khaled’s no new friends*

Okay so anyway, I’m in my feelings about this situation. One day, I’m doing my devotion. The scripture was: “Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men” –Titus 3:1. The devotion peace that really spoke to me was: “Is there unresolved conflict between me and someone else that is like a shade pulled over the light of Christ in me?” –Oswald Chambers. UMM HELLO? This devotion was speaking right to me, no, the Holy Spirit was. I had to make myself vulnerable and reach out to my friend again, had to put my pride aside.

So, I did just that. A response was received, we set up a date. The date came, we met up and we talked. So why did she ghost me?? So I learned that my friend was actually not okay (this is what I was afraid of) and she was literally going through a rough time at the same time that I was going through my happy times. She told me that she didn’t know how to be happy for me because of all that was happening in her world. And I felt that. Like okay this makes sense. And we continued to talk and the line of communication was opened.

What I learned from this conversation was that mentally, not everyone is where you are. Everyone is going through life at their own pace, and their own ups and downs. And they’re going through life the way they know how. But what I tried to convey here is that in any friendship, I feel like we just have to be honest with each other. I know this can be hard, but, keeping it real is the best way so we know where we’re at. If you’re going through something, and you’re my friend, I’m going through it too. I don’t know how to be genuine friends with someone and not be there for them when shit hits the fan. That’s just me. So, there’s no real bad friend here, just 2 people who got lost in the communication and life’s obstacles.

What I really learned was that as a Jesus follower, I really have to not take things so personal. Because honestly, I was hurt and I could have just held onto the hurt and not forgive the person and just be done with the whole friendship altogether because of the hurt and hold a grudge. But honestly, so many of the women in my family do this – hold grudges and I honestly believe it leads to sickness later on in life. I’m learning to forgive and let it go.

“Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”

Ephesians 4:32 NLT

Do you have someone you need to forgive? Let’s chat!

My Positive Labour and Delivery Story

Okay so how many of us have watched YouTube videos about women and their labour + delivery stories? They’ve honestly been my guilty pleasure. I always watched them and thought.. wow anything can happen and how I so do not want to experience that pain! Menstrual cramps are more than enough. Low and behold, on May 7th 2019 at 8:56pm, I gave birth to my handsome beautiful baby boy..

So let me just say that my pregnancy was 10 months, yes I went the full 40 weeks. I had no morning sickness, very little nausea, gained 30-40 lbs and it wasn’t until the very end that I started to break out with acne on my face, but I had horrible bacne throughout my pregnancy and got stretch marks at the end as well. Over all, my pregnancy was good, I was very tired at the beginning (towards the end too!). I experienced pelvic pain 4 weeks prior to giving birth, I honestly felt like I was going to be split in half, that was so painful. But I embraced this as I knew it needed to happen to get my baby boy in the right position for me to push him out.

Okay so I was literally about to embark on the curse – you know the curse that God gave Eve for eating the forbidden fruit??

“To the woman He said: “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and conception; In pain you shall bring forth children;…”

Genesis 3:16 NKJV

We ain’t even gonna talk about the rest of that verse – “Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you.” *eye roll* Can I roll my eyes at God? Not God, Eve? Honestly, while having contractions I told my best friend I can’t wait to meet Eve, but we’ll get to that.

Right, so I honestly prepared for this by doing research, praying and embracing the fact that although I had this curse on me, my body was created to do this and I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Phil. 4:13). I also should add that I did have painful periods so I was a little used to what was coming, emphasize on little.

Okay so I titled this my positive labour and delivery story because as a pregnant woman (S/O to you if you’re pregnant!) we read so many things – sometimes negative things about pregnancy. I remember being 18 weeks pregnant and typing this into YouTube to see if my progress was the same as other women and it was not.. Some women who had their pregnancy unfortunately end early literally posted these details online and it would just pop up in your face, on Instagram too. This was so horrible for me to see. Also, I would click on a YouTube video of a labour + delivery story and it be horrible! The woman is in labour forever, she’s induced, emergency c-section, the list goes on. My advice is, if you’re pregnant and preparing to give birth, know that everything may not go as planned and stay positive – read positive stories/videos and don’t let people’s horror stories scare you! With that said, my labour was positive, my delivery was positive so this is a good read.

They say to do a lot of walking to bring the baby down, I started maternity leave in the middle of April, weather was nice so I did a lot of walking. My best friend got married on May 4th – I was a bridesmaid. I was literally huge, of course it was a whole day event, walking, photos, longgg day to say the least.

It honestly took a lot to post this, my beautiful best friend on her wedding day and me literally about to POP.

The wedding was on a Saturday, Sunday was just restful I guess and Monday morning.. they started. What is they? THEY were my contractions! Felt like regular period cramps, sommin light, NBD. As nighttime came, I told my husband, “babe, I bet you, I won’t sleep tonight.” Ok, bet, I didn’t. All night I tossed and turned, in anguish, my stomach continued to cramp, contractions got longer and closer together. I got tired of guessing, I thought it’s 2019, there must be an app to time my contractions. There was, downloaded that. On Tuesday, before my husband left for work, I told him I think today’s the day, he shrugged, SMH.

As the day progressed, my contractions got more intense, my mom said if I could manage, I should drive myself to the hospital. (My husband works for public transportation and would not be accessible right away if I called, I also did not want him missing work for false labour as he is a new hire). So I got myself together, ordered my hot cakes from McDonalds via UberEats and had a bath. By the time I was ready to go, my contractions were far too painful to drive. I ordered an Uber, I got to the hospital (Humber River) at 2pm. (My Uber driver was really nice, helped me with my bags but was talking too much during the drive and took the long way to the hospital, smh.) I went straight to the maternity ward, signed in, had some nurses hook me up to the machines, baby’s heart rate was good.

So finally the OBGYN comes, (not mine, it was her day off BOO!) and it’s a man, double boo! Anyway, he checks me “OH MY GOODNESS.” Umm sir? Mi know sey mi good but dat ah fi mi husband, not you! Okok, jokes aside, this man is like, “You’re 6cm, you need to be admitted, you’re in labour” OKKKKKKK, so gyal dem are really giving birth? I called my husband, he’s like so there’s a chance you can have the baby while I’m at work? I kindly said yes, and requested his presence immediately. I tried to stay positive and light because I knew I’d need my strength for later.

I was sent to my labour room, a big fancy room, bed, couch for the fam, TV (Raptors played that day and won – 2019 WORLD CHAMPS!!). Contractions intensified, anesthesiologist came by, informing me that I can take my epidural. Here’s how my birth plan came into play – all natural, no epidural please! Side note: all my nurses were Jamaican, they told me di pain only ah go get woss. Okay? I can manage.

It’s 6 something, at this point all of my family arrives, my other best friend and of course my husband. I’m still allowed to drink water and ginger ale so I’m peeing frequently. My contractions have continuously gotten worse and the little bit of time I have in between them, I use the restroom. On 2 occasions I need my husband to help, after using the bathroom, I nearly fall to the ground from the pain of the contractions. Epidural time? Nope, not me. I was gonna champion through it. I could hear my grandmother and her stories of back pain from the epidural, my mother was also encouraging me not to do it. But my best friend was like “Vee, seriously? This pain, I couldn’t.” This is when I tell my best friend that I can’t wait to meet Eve, I was literally half dead going through my contractions. Mind you I’m still stuck at 6cm dilated.

I’m literally in agony, squirming and turning in the bed from the pain, I start to make loud noises, and my Jamaican nurse comes and basically tells me to: top di naise! (Stop the noise). Stop the noise? Am I not a woman in labour? If I can’t make noise now, when? Ok so I had enough now, nurse, what are my options for pain relief aside from the epidural? Morphine. “It naw go work” The nurse was telling the morphine shot that I would get in my ass wasn’t going to ease the pain. Did I care? No. Gimme the drugs. I got it at 6:30. I asked how long it takes to work. 15 minutes. I watched the clock. Felt every contraction. It’s now 6:45, I felt the exact same. WTF? Ok forget this. EPIDURAL NOW. There’s no way I’m going to go through all this pain and still have strength to push this baby out.

At some point they had to break my water (this is what triggered me to take the epidural as my contractions would intensify once this was done). I was also encouraged by my Jamaican nurse to take the epidural because every time my uterus contracted, I would tense up and the baby’s heart rate would drop – big no no.

I was terrified of this needle, but my best friend’s cousin told me that the pain I’d be enduring would be worse than the needle going in my back. Mind you the anesthesiologist had been by several times annoyingly inquiring as to when I would take the epidural because women allllways say they’re going natural and then cop out. Yes that was me! So I lean forward on the edge of the hospital bed and they prepare me to put the epidural in my back.

SIGH, about 20 minutes later, I feel the contractions but they’re not painful. It’s after 7pm, my Jamaican nurse has gone home and another younger Jamaican nurse comes in. This nurse is fresh, fresh as in she just immigrated here not too long ago, her accent is heavy but she is much more pleasant than my earlier nurse.

“Okay Venita, it’s time to push” What?? Already? I had honestly been in and out of sleep after the epidural. Thank God! This part went by fast. But was kind of difficult at first. Difficult because I had to re-learn how to push lol. I’ve seen too many movies about pushing and it’s nothing like that. You basically have to push as if you’re doing a bowel movement, but you’re on your back and you can’t get up, and you can’t feel anything waist down due to the epidural.

So yeah, I pushed for 30 minutes. My mom on my right, my husband on my left. My mom was coaching me, “you’re doing good Venita, come on use those muscles.” Okay, then there was: “I see his head Vee! He’s coming!” My husband said this with glee, there was talk of how my baby has so much hair. One final push, and he was out! My beautiful baby boy came into the world weighing 7lbs and 5 oz. The end! Lol nottt, life has clearly just begun, I’m a mommy now. Glory to God.

My handsome baby boy at just 2 days old. I’ll cherish this moment forevaaaa.

My First Blog Post

Be yourself; Everyone else is already taken.

— Oscar Wilde.

Hello! Welcome to my blog. I’ve been thinking about creating one for some time now and since I’m currently on maternity leave, I thought I would use the time to finally start! Of course my world has been turned upside down since becoming a new mama, so my first actual post will be about my son. Not juicy enough for you? Trust me, it is! Also, I’m of Jamaican descent so my posts will contain content with patois lingo in them, I will try my best to include translations. With that said, what does pourqoui pree mean? Well, I’m from Toronto, Canada – a bilingual nation (English and French). So I know a little French, pourquoi is why in English. Remember the part about me being Jamaican? So, pree is to be nosey in patois. In Jamaica, we’d say ‘ah pree yuh ah pree mi?’; this could mean so many things: stop watching what I’m doing, mind your business, etc. Anyway, in Toronto, we say why pree, as in, why watch one so closely via social media or in person etc., why pay attention to someone with negative intentions basically – WHY PREE?!! Lol, welcome to my crazy Jamaican/Toronto influences! Enjoy!