With help from the rap star (and dad of 6!), one stiletto-wearing pregnant party girl learned to prioritize own little VIP.
I found out I was pregnant the week after I attended Grammy Awards Weekend in Los Angeles. As senior editor of a women's magazine, I may not have been a pop star myself, but I earned my living writing about them. Oh, the horror of discovering my condition after three days of Hennessy-drenched, sushi-filled, extremely-rare-steak-fueled debauchery! My doctor told me that whatever I drank or ate before I knew I was pregnant "didn't count." (This is why I love my doctor.) And thankfully, Baby has no medical issues to speak of. But while I steered clear of those nocturnal indulgences for the next nine months, I didn't ease up in the office. Why would I? As far as I was concerned, pregnant gals could certainly still work 10-hour days, take frequent business trips and carry their own luggage through airports. I saw no reason to alter my approach to my professional life just because I had a baby on board.
But even I had to admit that it was time to slow down when, during my eighth month, I found myself in a Chicago nightclub sometime around 2 a.m. with the rapper T.I. We'd met before, and he was in town filming his reality TV show and promoting new music. He stopped by the office for an interview, and since he has six (six! ) kids, our conversation turned into all things baby. He complimented my bump and my ability to prance around work in high heels. I responded by saying one child "don't stop no show," and before he left the office, he asked if I'd be his guest at the club that night. It was my job to maintain relationships with celebs. Plus, my hair was so luscious and—for the first time in my life—my boobs were so big; I actually felt like putting on a sexy outfit and flaunting my assets. Why not live a little? Put me in the VIP list plus-one, please!
I carefully selected my getup for the night: 4-inch suede Alexander Wang heels, bright blue Pea in the Pod skinnies and an orange fitted shirt. Admittedly, I looked a bit like a basketball. But I'd already learned that when you're pregnant at a crowded event, you have to stand out so that you don't get jostled, stepped on or worse by drunken attendees.
After working my way into the swanky venue, I was escorted to a roped-off VIP area. The music pumped and my little one kicked to the beat. I danced a bit, lounged on a banquette and scarfed down several skewers of chicken satay. Then, I got thirsty. You know, pregnant-girl thirsty.
Ever the gentleman, T.I. asked me if I needed anything. He gestured for pizza. He ordered drinks for his crew. For me? Spring water. He said he liked my shoes, too, and then suddenly, my feet began to swell...and swell. It was as if all of that tasty satay had gone straight to my toes. Another hour went by and I had to remove my precious Wangs (purchased prepregnancy) and prop up my lower half on the table, desperately trying to shrink my ballooning tootsies. The gentleman of the hour and other members of his entourage hovered. I shooed them away. Clearly I looked uncomfortable, and it concerned them. But I was so laser-focused on networking and note-taking that I ignored what my body was telling me.
The water wasn't quenching my thirst. My feet still hurt. My head was beginning to throb, the baby kept punching me and I suddenly felt super sleepy. The crowd had grown so thick that it was difficult to make space for my tummy, and some partygoers from way across the room reeked of cologne and tobacco. My stomach churned. I'd never been bothered by these smells before, but now, even minor aggravations became amplified. I was tired of dodging the elbows and purses of women who didn't realize I was pregnant. I was tired of wearing high heels. I was tired of getting up early, going to bed late and packing so much into each day. I was just tired.
It was definitely time to go. I returned my notebook to my bag, struggled to strap my heels back on and slowly hobbled with swollen feet to the valet line. I really should've worn flats.
That was when it finally clicked—I wasn't the same old Adrienne, a party-hopping writer who just happened to have a bun in the oven. I was about to be a mom. My love for my glitzy job wasn't going anywhere, but now, I had a new VIP in my life. And if this little guy wanted me to be chilling at home sipping juice on the couch, well, my little luminary would get what he wanted.
Before I left, T.I. offered me some simple assurance: He told me not to worry about becoming a mom and wished me a quick and painless birth of my baby boy. I reminded him that I didn't yet know Junior's sex. But before I could protest any more, he interrupted. "Trust me," he said, with a broad smile that could only belong to a father of six. "I know what I'm talking about."
And you know what? He was right.