Read along as Minsun, a 29-year-old screenwriter and freelance writer living in Los Angeles, chronicles her first pregnancy.
Minsun Park

Teddy and I decided to host the second annual Turkey Day Extravaganza at our house this year. We considered last year's celebration a resounding success since nobody was rushed to the emergency room with salmonella poisoning. Emboldened by our culinary conquest, we decided to tempt fate once again this year. As you may have guessed, neither of us have really graduated from our collegiate cooking days of Top Ramen or Shake n' Bake. Most of our culinary experience consists of watching episodes of "Iron Chef" on the food network religiously. We eat out so much that we participated in this year's Zagat Guide for Los Angeles in rating the city's best restaurants.

But we're both pretty good at following directions and boiling water, so armed with a few good recipes downloaded from the internet, we entered the foreign territory known as our kitchen on Thursday morning. One of the recipes we dowloaded was for a "butter-injected turkey" which we thought would be the bomb. A great big greasy bomb. The recipe was simple - take a pound of melted butter and use a syringe to inject this butter into every crevice, orifice and cranny you could find or create. The recipe assured us that the result would be a phenomenally tender, juicy bird. I figured the more realistic results would be cardiac arrest, but it was worth a try.

As I took our 11-pound bird out of the fridge and unwrapped it, I felt disconcerted as I realized that I was beginning to bear an alarming resemblance to a butterball turkey. After all, we are both all breasts and belly, perched precariously atop feeble drumsticks. And as I applied butter to the skin to keep it moist, I couldn't help recalling all the cocoa butter I smeared on my own skin this morning. Yet this resemblance comes as a relief. After weeks of looking kind of fat, it's nice to finally look kind of pregnant. This change took place literally overnight, as if my belly was an unpopped kernel of corn that finally popped.

By the time I was finished basting, I felt so bonded to the turkey I wanted to take it out for coffee. But I had to stand aside for Teddy and his syringe. Let me tell you, as gross as it sounds, nothing compares to seeing and hearing this procedure being performed like a bad episode of "E.R." Using a bulb syringe, Dr. Teddy inserted the tip under the skin and injected a load of butter. The skin began to swell like a boil and when he pulled out, it made a squelching sound as butter exploded out of the hole like a popped zit. It was so cool! Only after much pleading, did he reluctantly relinquish the syringe and give his pregnant wife a turn. Like Beavis and Butthead, we snickered and giggled like two pre-pubescent kids over bodily functions.

Once we were finished injecting, we popped that turkey in the oven and waited for it to be done. And that's when I really began to appreciate just how much Thanksgiving and pregnancy have in common. First of all, they both require lots and lots of shopping in preparation for the big day. Secondly, they both bring your family and friends together. But most importantly, the main attraction is the butterball, whether it's a 13-pounder or a 123-pounder like me.

At 19 weeks along, I have fattened up by 13 pounds and I think that everyone is beginning to salivate. At this point, it's just a waiting game and all you can do is smear some butter on the skin periodically and keep your eye on the prize. From time to time, people peer at me and poke and prod, checking for doneness. Family and friends look at me hungrily and lick their lips in great anticipation as they reserve ahead for the best parts. Maybe it's sheer paranoia on my part, but I often wonder if there'll be anything left over for me in the end. And I'm so busy doing all the cooking that I haven't been able to enjoy the anticipation.

Finally, the butter-injected turkey was finished and as we carved it up, we found a packet of giblets that I neglected to take out. Now that I've turned into Retardo Montalban since being pregnant, I only looked in the cavity of the turkey and disregarded the neck. As a result, the neck area of the turkey was still under-cooked. Although the rest of the turkey was delicious, it was almost half-baked, just like me.PregnancyAndBaby.com


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