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A week before my one and only trip to Las Vegas, I found out I was pregnant. It was the most exciting and scary time in my life as a first time mother-to-be. But my dreams of happily gambling and lounging by the pools sipping cocktails ended right there. My cocktails turned into club sodas and all the sumptuous (but massively fattening) foods turned into salad bars (which, admittedly are fantastic in Vegas and I’m a saladaholic anyway). Like any newbie to being a mother, a nervous woman was I.
What I had not expected at all was the thick, blue layer of smoke in the casinos. There I was with my quarters, surrounded by crackle-voiced grandmas, sipping their 7& 7's and smoking like chimneys. They had their lucky charms and troll dolls all over the machines and were terrified to leave a slot in case the next person got lucky right after them. They put in dollar after dollar, and seemed to barely see the screens. They just kept dumping them in and pressing buttons. Of course, they knew exactly what they were doing but my gambling virgin self didn’t understand the Vegas process. And who knew slot machines had such power?
A former long time smoker myself, who had finally been able to quit three years before, I was shocked at how strong the smoke was. It was like a casino wide cloud and as fascinated as I was to play the slots and watch all the regulars do their thing (because as anyone who has been in Las Vegas knows – it’s like being on another planet) it occurred to me that I was actually chain smoking myself. I left and went to an empty area only to be joined a few minutes later by a gaggle of older ladies, drinks and ciggies in tow, who sat in my area, strategically placed their charms all over the machines (really, watching the whole ritual is quite fascinating!) and settled in for a session that could last a half dozen hours or more. Ultimately I gave up and headed to the pool because the smoke was too much to deal with.
We had a great time nonetheless, and my husband had a couple of hours of gambling at night while I went to bed exhausted and nauseous, as the pregnancy sickness and first trimester fatigue settled in.