Like everything else, having a baby in Hollywood can be quite an insane thing. Actually, the most insane thing about having a baby in Hollywood is not having one yourself. Not because you can’t but for the sake of your (very lucrative) career. See Zoe Saldana whose third baby just fell on her lap few weeks ago (It didn’t. She paid for it, surrogates cost around $40,000). And then there are lesser insanities such as V-steaming for fertility, services that will put your placenta into pills ($400) so you can eat it (yes, go and google). You can also have your umbilical cord dried in a shape of a heart and a print made of your placenta so you can frame it and put on your wall. (Maybe someone should also make an art piece out of all the puke from the 1st semester? Sorry.). Then there are Beverly Hills OB GYNs who create invisible c-section scars and whose waiting rooms include “mummy tuck” brochures. Crazy baby showers with things such as $300 garbage bins and $400 baby shoes on baby registries. Or Beverly Hills pediatricians who’ll charge $150 for you to to come and meet them before you chose them as your newborn’s doctor. (Can you imagine going to Maserati to see if you’d like to buy one and having to pay for your visit?)
But the core of my story (for the February issue of Gloria Glam) was the embarrassment of having consciously jumped into that rabbit hole. For once, I wrote a story pointing not only at the insanity of the world around me, but my own. And that part got cut out. So here you go:
I was about to give birth at Cedar Sinai, the celebrity birthing (and dying) hospital. Even for us mere mortals, Cedars (with its single rooms, good food and fantastic staff) is a wonderful place to give birth. But then there are Deluxe Birthing Suites which cost $4000 a day and include three luxurious rooms, huge flat screen TVs, couches, fresh flowers, giant birthing bathtub, two bathrooms, luxurious menu for two (3x a day), 24h doula and a fridge full of freshly pressed juices. Because – why not?!
Knowing I’m going to the place where Mila Kunis, Penelope Cruz, Pink, Jessica Simpson, Kate Hudson (and yes, Kim Kardashian) gave birth, I decided to make the best out of it. I read all the advice I could find on what to pack for the hospital and loved the idea of pampering yourself and doing everything to make yourself feel best during and after the torturous act of giving birth. So I bought a pretty red weekend bag and filled it with (yes, crazy) stuff like: a gorgeous kimono that came directly form Kyoto, a special pink nursing night gown (because according to my sources “there’s no more depressing things than hospital nightgowns), Vogue and Vanity Fair (because “when the baby is sleeping and you aren’t”), iPod (“for relaxation”), lavender spray, basic make-up (“to fell a bit prettier on the next day”), a ton of homeopathic tablets (which you have to take every 2h, good luck keeping track with this new mini person here who need to nurse be changed all the time), basic cosmetics such as shower gel and face cream, nursing bras, special underwear. The only thing they suggested and I thought was utterly ridiculous was a pillow (the nursing night gowns people make matching pillow cases so the new mommy can be utterly chic and coordinated).
So one morning, I arrive to Cedars with my bump, my hubby and my red bag full of stuff that will make me feel wonderful, picturing myself soon walking down the corridors in my kimono, baby in one hand, Vogue in the other, Chopin in my ear, and waiving hi to Kate and Mila. I think every woman who gave birth is laughing out loud now. Because wow, the reality is so much harsher, bloodier and brutal than I could have ever imagined! I ended up spending three days in the hospital nightgown - but tied around my waste so my bleeding nipples can air, disgusting hospital mashy underwear (holding my diapers) and barefoot. And crazy. When the nurses sent me for a walk on the second day, I was waddling down the hall crying (literally) in pain and exhaustion while trying to pull the knots out of my hair (idiots, instead of telling women to bring make up, tell them to braid their hair!). Picture Helena Bonham Carter portraying a very disturbed woman in a very scary asylum. I didn’t even open the bag. OK, that’s a lie - the only thing I took out was the lavender spray (and it was good). The first evening, Nic had to go home to get the one thing I didn’t pack – a pillow. Did you know hospital pillows are packed in plastic bags and will make your head sweat? I do now.
Yes, this was the one story where I have first hand proof that the reality looks very different from Instagram. Even in Hollywood.