Backstory: Managing Story Deadlines and Childbirth Requires 'the Most Careful Planning' | News | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Backstory: Managing Story Deadlines and Childbirth Requires ‘the Most Careful Planning’ 

Published December 27, 2023 at 10:00 a.m.

click to enlarge Jordan Barry and Oliver - COURTESY OF KEVIN BARRY
  • Courtesy Of Kevin Barry
  • Jordan Barry and Oliver

This "backstory" is a part of a collection of articles that describes some of the obstacles that Seven Days reporters faced while pursuing Vermont news, events and people in 2023.


I was eight months pregnant when stories were assigned for Seven Days' first Québec issue — and in the hospital, in labor, a month later when that issue hit newsstands on June 21. My son, Oliver, was born on June 22.

The culture team had been brainstorming north-of-the-border ideas for months in our editorial meetings, and a strong emphasis on Montréal's food scene had emerged. During a May meeting when stories were finalized, an editor asked: Did I want to write about the origins of the city's big-holed, wood-fired bagels? Boy, did I.

But glancing back and forth between my calendar and my ever-growing belly, I declined. The potential for a surprise delivery in Canada — free health care and dual citizenship for the baby notwithstanding — seemed too risky.

Instead, I agreed to write a short homage to a favorite little Montréal wine bar, where I'd had an incredible meal the previous fall. As it happened, that little spot, Mon Lapin, had just been named one of the best restaurants in Canada.

Instead of traveling internationally, I dug out menus I'd kept and scrolled through the photos of each dish saved on my phone, doing my best to conjure the restaurant's essence from afar. I called up Vermont-based chefs, winemakers and café owners — all Mon Lapin superfans — to ask what makes it special enough to top that prestigious "best of" list. Being exceedingly pregnant, the whole thing made me very hungry.

I filed the story on June 9 and finished edits by June 11. The design team had my photos, the web headline was written, and I was ready to sign off for maternity leave, feeling rather proud of my ability to plan. On June 20, I headed into the hospital at 7 a.m. for a scheduled induction.

That afternoon, with Pitocin coursing through my body, I read the online version of my story. The next day, still waiting for labor to progress and with no more episodes of "Ted Lasso" to watch, I read the print edition while bouncing on an exercise ball. I was made aware of the length of my hospital stay when one of my midwives came in that evening, holding the paper open to the food section.

"I know you've been here since yesterday," she said, looking rather confused. "When did you write this?"

Fifty-one hours later, my baby was finally in my arms. Some things aren't as easy to plan for as story deadlines.

The original print version of this article was headlined "Most Careful Planning"

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About The Author

Jordan Barry

Jordan Barry

Bio:
Jordan Barry is a food writer at Seven Days. She holds a master’s degree in food studies and previously produced podcasts about bread and beverages.

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