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

I've tried everything, well not quite everything, but anything within reason to evict this little squatter inside me, and nothing has worked. As I write this, it's Sunday night, April 22 and I've got a date with destiny -- an impending induction scheduled Monday night. If all goes as planned, sometime Tuesday morning, the baby should reluctantly make his appearance. I had a routine non-stress test on Saturday that revealed the baby was doing great with plenty of amniotic fluid to splash around in. Since my baby is such a spaz, a test that could take up to an hour was over in a matter of minutes. I was dilated to 2 cm, which was a reassuring improvement from absolutely zero cm at my previous appointment just three days prior. The only problem is that the baby is big. He's already 8.5 lbs and getting bigger by the day. Since I'm almost a week overdue, the doctor suggested an induction. I really wanted to avoid an induction, but I want to avoid a C-section even more. As I sat in the doctor's office, I imagined attempting to push out an enormous, Mongoloid freak-baby through my non-birthing hips and the carnage that would ensue. I decided to go with the lesser of two evils and agreed to the induction.

So with the clock ticking down to D-Day, I'm looking at all those old wives tales of do-it-yourself inductions with renewed interest. I am hoping against hope that the baby will save the day and magically arrive before the scheduled induction. The problem with most of these induction methods is that they resemble a form of medieval torture capable of making the toughest prisoner of war confess to just about anything. Maybe I'm just not a glutton for punishment or simply not motivated enough, but I think that I'm miserable enough without drinking castor oil and vodka shots and jumping into a hot shower. It's reputed to work wonders, but I have a feeling that the only thing coming out would be my intestines if I could bring myself to try that. Or how about taking a long, bumpy car ride, which supposedly helps the baby's head engage? No thanks. These past few days, my joints and pelvic region are so loose and painful, I feel like Maternity Barbie with the legs pulled off at the sockets. I curse and gnash my teeth at Teddy every time I go over a speed bump. I can't even begin to imagine the torture of off-roading.

And then there are the herbal remedies like Black Cohosh tinctures, Red Raspberry Leaf tea and Evening Primrose Oil caplets. I've heard that the Evening Primrose Caplets inserted into the vagina can soften the cervix. Since I'm not a contortionist, I didn't have a clue how I was going to insert anything anywhere near my cervix. So I tried the raspberry leaf tea. To my utter disappointment, it doesn't taste anything like raspberries. I guess, duh, that's because it's made out of raspberry leaves. So it just tastes like a bitter, green tea. But I dis manage to choke down several cups. Still nothing.

I've tried power walking for hours at a time, or rather power waddling. Waddling through the zoo, waddling through malls, waddling uphill both ways in the wind and rain and the only results are exhaustion, a killer backache and swollen Fred Flintstone feet. And despite the inherent physical challenges, I've taken full advantage of the natural prostaglandin that Teddy can supply and although the earth moved, the baby didn't. However, I did lose my mucus plug afterwards. The funny thing is that we learned about the disgusting mucus plug during our Lamaze class, and Teddy made me swear not to show it to him in the event that I should ever lose it. But the second I told him what happened, he practically broke down the bathroom door and pushed me off the toilet bowl to take a gander.

There's a restaurant in Los Angeles called Caioti Pizza Cafe that boasts a legendary salad that supposedly induces labor. Known simply as "The Salad" on the menu, pregnant women have driven as far as 200 miles just to eat this magical salad. This restaurant is only a few miles from my house and I've even eaten there prior to my pregnancy -- their garlic rolls are to die for. Yet I stubbornly resisted the temptation to buy into this ridiculous urban legend. How could a stupid salad possibly induce labor? Yet desperate times calls for desperate measures, so I finally broke down and Teddy and I had lunch there today. I ordered a gigantic portion of "The Salad." It's an innocuous blend of romaine, watercress, walnuts and gorgonzola cheese. For an extra $2.00 you can add some grilled or smoked chicken. But the secret to this salad's success is apparently in the top secret balsamic vinaigrette recipe that the salad is smothered in.

The waiter handed me five volumes of guest books signed by pregnant women filled with testimonials about The Salad from the past year alone. While we ate, we leafed through the books and couldn't help being impressed by all the testimonials from women who went into labor within 24 hours of scarfing down the salad. One woman even had her water break in the restaurant immediately after finishing the salad. Teddy and I spent an enjoyably voyeuristic hour reading about all these pregnant women whom we'll never meet. Most were overdue and facing the threat of induction like me. Others were a few weeks away from their due date, yet desperate to meet their babies and truly miserable. My favorite page was an unsigned entry that contained a single line, "Please God please." I signed the guest book as well and fervently hoped I could come back with a success story of my own and update my entry. I seriously doubt the salad will start my labor, but it's one of the best salads I've ever eaten. So at least I've had a tasty lunch out of the whole experience and I'm sure it beats the macaroni and cheese with A-1 sauce recipe that also supposedly induces labor.

So Baby Tenenbaum, this is your landlord serving your final eviction notice. Monday night, I will officially concede defeat and acknowledge that I got my ass kicked by an 8.5-pound unborn baby and you will be forcefully removed from the premises. But I hope and pray that you will vacate voluntarily before


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