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The Fire Drill

I wake up late on Saturday; no movement in the belly. I figure Baby Girl is just sleeping in, like her mama. Four hours later, Mr. Candy and I go shopping for a grill at Target — a GRAND idea on the Fourth of July, when the only BBQ that hasn’t already been snatched up is a flimsy little grill that you light with a hairdryer or something — and I realize, still no word from Baby Girl. Very unusual, considering she’s usually breakdancing non-stop in there like it’s 1982.

“I haven’t felt the baby kick all day,” I tell Mr. Candy, biting my lip.

My hubby responded as I’m sure any medical professional would have: “Let’s grab some tacos at Baja Fresh!”

Made perfect sense at the time. So we headed out to the food court, where Mr. Candy had his beloved fish tacos and I slurped down a Berry Fulfilling Jamba Juice, hoping the sugar would arouse Baby Girl from her slumber.

Major brain freeze for me: 1. Kicks from baby: 0.

Okay. Time to go home and do my doctor-recommended kick counts. Which, I must confess, I’ve never done before because the baby’s usually ridiculously active. I could tell even Mr. Candy was getting worried; so much so, that he didn’t eat all of his chips and salsa. Yes! He left chip crumbs! This was getting serious.

We return home, grill-less and kick-less. Not even the Black Eyed Peas blaring on the car radio had gotten a peep out of Baby Girl. I chug some orange juice and lay on my side to count kicks. As you Baby Mamas out there surely know, you’re supposed to feel 10 or more thumps in an hour. I feel a couple of faint movements, but not nearly as many as I’d like. Six weak kicks and one long conversation with Cousin Michelle (a labor and delivery nurse) later, I grudgingly decide to call my doctor. Ugh. I’m a fairly laid-back chick — or so I’d like to think — and calling my doctor on a holiday about what is probably nothing more than Baby Girl chillaxing in there with an appletini makes me feel a tad silly. But alas, I do and Doc suggests I go into the hospital for a non-stress test to monitor me and the baby for an hour. Just to make sure my fluid isn’t low or what-have-you. Ugh squared.

I immediately did what any concerned expectant mother would have done: washed my hair. Just in case, you know, I happened to go into labor and had to get my picture taken. (In my defense, I’d been having contractions for about a week.  And my hair was REALLY dirty. As in, it’s a good thing we didn’t get a grill because my hair likely would have caused a grease fire kinda dirty.)

You know what happened as soon as the nurse hooked me up to the monitors, right?


Baby Girl kicked the monitoring device so hard, it actually jumped through my hospital robe. It was as though she had been evilly rubbing her hands together, plotting ALL DAY for this very moment, to make her mom look like as much of a jackass as possible. In which case, I must say, well-played, young lady. Well-played, indeed.

As my monitoring device continued to hop up and down like a Mexican Jumping Bean, a resident — who had apparently just arrived from his high school’s debate team practice — came in wearing his best “thoughtful adult face” to assess the situation.

“Hi, I’m Dr. Peterson. But you can just call me Corey, because I’m not used to people calling me ‘doctor’ yet.”

Oh yes, I was in capable hands.

The good news is, Baby Girl looked terrific. Strong heartbeat, ample fluid and a kick that would make Chuck Norris proud. The bad news…? Because things looked good, there was no need for my own doctor to ruin her holiday to come into the hospital to examine me. Which left me in the dubious care of Dr., er… I mean, COREY. Corey did not know how to maneuver the ultrasound cart in my small room, and ended up sitting in MY BED with me as he performed the ultrasound. Corey was afraid to roll down my underpants to get a better view of Baby Girl. Corey did not properly unplug the other monitor, so he set off an alarm and earned himself a spot on the nurses’ Official Shit List. Corey squeezed — I kid you not — HALF of the tube of cold ultrasound gel on my stomach. Yes, yes, thanks to my little prankster of a daughter, I was spending Fourth of July with Mt. McJelly on my pregnant stomach and Corey in my bed.

When Corey finally determined that all was well and left to confer with his boss, Mr. Candy and I looked at each other and squeezed hands, relieved that Baby Girl was thriving. Then we reacted as any expectant parents who’d just experienced a somewhat disconcerting fire drill would have: we giggled hysterically at Corey.

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Candy Kirby is the founder of The Laughing Stork and a professional fun-maker who will never stop chasing her lifelong dream: to find the Pomeranian or porn star after whom her parents must have named her. A humor columnist for Disney, Nickelodeon, Scary Mommy, Reductress and Redbook, she also used to be a staff writer for the soap opera, The Bold and the Beautiful, where she penned many scripts featuring prolonged heated stares and countless “Who’s the Daddy?” story lines. Candy lives in Los Angeles with her husband, two young kids and three rescue Persian cats, the latter of whom are the real brains behind this operation (so send all complaints to them).

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