Soap Opera Digest- October 13, 1998

Sarah Smiles

By Kristin Gallagher

It wasn't too hard to figure out where General Hospital's Sarah Brown was going about three months ago when they hauled her character off to yet another loony bin. Although diligent attempts were made, the fact that the actress was about six contractions away from giving birth to her first child were a tad hard to overlook. And on July 20, Brown welcomed into the world daughter Jordan Alexandra Judith. ("She's a little slice of heaven," the new mom gushes.) We caught up with Brown just one day after she returned to work on the GH set to find out how life's been going since her special delivery.

Digest: Okay, let's get down to the nitty-gritty---how was childbirth?

Brown: Nineteen hours of hard labor. I went to Cedars [-Sinai Hospital] at 10 o'clock at night and was induced at midnight. About 30 seconds after they gave me the Pitocin drip [which brings on labor], I started having really hard contractions. I went 17 hours with contractions that were one on top of the other and no dilation in my cervix. It was hideous. And I didn't have any painkillers for 11 hours.

Digest (making wincing noises): Uh, 11 hours? Can we say "epidural?"

Brown: I did wind up having an epidural, but I waited 11 hours, because alot of times, it slows down your labor. I just kept thinking, "Okay, I'm going to do this as long as I can and hopefully, the labor will come faster." Unfortunately, she was just not coming out. They actually broke my water at around 7 o'clock the next morning, but nothing was happening. The doctor told me they wanted to do a C-section because the baby's heart rate was going down, but I said, "Oh, no, please." So she agreed to give me two more hours. She came back in two hours and I was still only about two-and-a-half centimeters dilated. This was after 17 hours of labor. I was so depressed. The doctor said, "Okay, I'll give you one more hour, but that's it." And in that hour, things just went.

Digest: The baby must have heard you.

Brown (laughing): Yeah. All of a sudden, I was dilated eight centimeters. Then, the doctor says, "It'll probably be about another two hours before you deliver." She left the room and 10 minutes later, I'm screaming, "Nurse!" So the doctor comes in and says, "Okay, time to push!" My actual pushing time was about 20 minutes. It was great. I loved that part.

Digest: Excuse me?

Brown (laughing): It's so painful, but it felt so good. I don't know. I mean, it hurt like hell, don't get me wrong. But it was just a rush. An amazing experience.

Digest: Do you think being in great shape before you got pregnant helped?

Brown: Actually, I was really skinny when I got pregnant--skinny for me, at least. And I wasn't at the peak of my fitness, but I was in pretty good condition. I think having strong abs definitely helped. It's wonderful, because the places that I'm still holding weight are not around my stomach. I mean, it's still not real tight around there, but it's pretty flat. Unless I bend over, of course [laughs].

Digest: Did the weight gain bother you?

Brown: I gained a lot of weight. Put it this way, I've lost 35 pounds, and I still have a lot of weight to lose. I've learned that I'm a very vain individual. When I put on so much weight, I found that as happy as I was about what I was doing, it was really hard to come to terms with how much my body had changed in order to do it. I definitely want to extend my sympathies and understanding to anybody out there who is going through pregnancy and feels unattractive. A lot of women feel like goddesses. I did not. But it's all worth it now. I mean, I look at her and say, "I'd do it all over again."

Digest: Was it made worse by the fact that your on and off-screen pregnancies overlapped?

Brown: It was really frustrating. I felt like, "Wow, 18 months of pregnancy." I worked so much last year, that I was in my Carly clothes more than I was in my own. I was wearing these maternity clothes and this big, pregnant belly for nine months and then---bam!---while I was still pregnant as Carly, I got pregnant in real life. I am so sick of maternity clothes [laughs]!

Digest: Did playing a new mom on-screen help prepare you for real-life motherhood?

Brown: It did a lot for me. I really bonded with those little boys who play Michael. It taught me a lot. I found that [a maternal instinct] was just something that I naturally had. I can identify really strongly with things that are written in the script, like how Carly is in this institution and she hasn't seen her baby in months. At least, having a child now, I can fathom what a traumatic experience it must be.

Digest: Do you feel like your recent conversion to Judaism also played a part in preparing you for motherhood?

Brown: Oh, yeah. A huge part. I'm actually studying Kabbala right now, which is based on Jewish mysticism. I'm taking classes with the rabbi who teaches Madonna. It's really played a part in the way I look at Jordan and her birth.

Digest: How so?

Brown: It's really about life and about the light of God and how it affects your life every day. I don't have a huge base in Judaism; I've only studied it for a year. But, you learn a lot in a year and it's really about how you bring it into your life individually. I want her to grow up learning about Judaism and her heritage. She's now one with the people of Israel. I feel very close to it and hopefully, I can integrate that into her life.

Digest: What do you say to people who may not approve of you having a baby out of wedlock?

Brown: I'd tell them to mind their own business. I make my own choices in my life. I mean, it's 1998. We're about to hit the year 2000. If people still have a problem with it, then they should stay on their own side of the road and we don't have to be friends. I don't have a problem with other people's choices. If you're not harming anyone, live your life how you want to. Basically, when it comes to that, I don't care about anybody else's opinions. Otherwise, I would have said, "Oh, God! We better get married today!" It would have been nice, but it wasn't the right time. It just happened and we wanted to have the baby, so that's what we did.

Digest: Are you planning on bringing her to work with you?

Brown: Oh, yeah. I brought her to the set yesterday and it was great. I really enjoyed being back at work. It was nice to see everybody and see what had transpired since I left. Unfortunately, I was there from about 1 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. But she stayed in my room [with the nanny] and everyone just sort of poked in and looked at her.

Digest: In a 1997 Digest interview, you said the following: "I have a dark soul...My mother would give me Barbies and I would cut their heads off." Still apply?

Brown (laughing): I didn't cut their heads off. I cut their hair off. And I didn't mean dark in a bad way. I meant more like I was always a deep soul. You should see my baby room. It's not all pink and frilly; it looks like a little princess's room. Everything is in this burgundy-wine color and gold. She's got tons of stuffed animals, but it's not frilly and poo-foo. I don't think she's going to be that type of girl. If she is, I'll accept that and let her do her own thing. But I have a feeling she's going to be a tomboy, just like me.

Digest: Do you see more children in your future?

Brown: Oh, definitely. First words out of my mouth after labor? They held the baby up and said, "Here is your firstborn." And I said, "I want another one [laughs]." The first words out of my mouth.

****Thanks to Tara for sending this to me****

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