Please accept my apologies for this month-long novel that is about to unfurl before your very eyes. I am waiting on a casserole cooking in the oven and a daughter to return from a day long field trip in Waco. I got nothin' but time (and two other kids using their underwear for light saber holsters running the dining room-kitchen-breakfast room-family room circuit for the 9000th time today. Don't worry, I have a large supply of Clorox Anywhere Hard Surface Daily Sanitizing Spray. And, trust me, I have tried out that "anywhere" claim. All perfectly normal stuff in a mom's day, right?)
At any rate, I love a good math fact, and for those of my friends who are elementary school teachers... you people get this. Some of you know this about me and others will be learning for the first time that I have a background in statistics. Yes, me, your goofy friend who can barely string two words together without using "ummm" or "like" or "really?" between them. I ran the statistics lab when I was a graduate assistant at Middle Tennessee State University and taught many an undergrad how to run a regression analysis and interpret the data correctly.
Just for the record, I would have to bone up on this considerably if any of you were to ask me or bring me a data set hoping I could figure out if the relationship between your variables was spurious or not. Mommy brain has erased much of the experience and knowledge from my memory. And just to be crystal clear, I completely believe you can manipulate numbers to make them say whatever you want anyway. Just like we can manipulate or twist someone else's words or God's words to make them convenient for our problem or situation. Be careful when you hear statistics on tv or read them in the paper. The numbers have probably been crafted...
Descending from it now.
Back in the chair in front of the ole PC now. Sorry to you Apple purists. I hope we can still be friends. My pockets, literally and figuratively, are not deep enough for an i-Pad. And, good night, their marketing department deserves to be fired for that name. I am reminded of Aunt Flo everytime I see one. It's sorta like "have a happy period." You've gotta be kidding me, right?
Chasing the rabbit back through the hole... and back to the real topic, which is that my children provide an awesome math fact in my life, and THAT my little pretties, is SO CONVENIENT. As I have three precious gifts, and all of their birthdays are in MARCH (okay, I can see the wheels in your brains starting to turn and count back... to late May or early June.. Memorial Day weekend or beginning of summer is very hot time and we must like to stay inside... it's the only thing I can come up with... shutting up now.), I can at times get a little flustered when someone asks me when so-and-so's birthday is.
I do the math in my head like this:
And then I can say,
"Miss Proper's birthday is the 8th."
"Rock-N-Roll Princess was born on the 12th."
"Bonus Baby turned four on the 20th."
See, isn't that the most super cool thing an absent-minded girl could ask for? As long as I can remember two of the dates, I can always produce the third, and if I can manage to put them in ascending numerical order, it's the order in which they were born. Okay, you might not think this is as super cool as I do, but I am quite possibly the BIGGEST DORK God ever put on the planet. I'm fine with being a dork after 39 years of dorkdom. Really, being a dork is an art. I'll gladly show you what I mean as I trip up the stairs.
But, as cool as that constant math fact is, 2010 has produced an even awesomer one (good grammar from an English major, I know, but I frequently call poetic license. Rebekah, please let it ride ;) !).
In 2010, and only in 2010 (as far as I have had time to calculate or contemplate, please feel free to correct), my childrens' ages also produce a math fact! It looks like this:
Miss Proper is 11, Rock-N-Roll Princess is 7, and Bonus Baby is 4. I dig this. Dorky with an enormous capital D.
Which reminds me... in this month of busy-ness, my Bonus Baby had a birthday and turned four on March 20, and I am just now getting around to writing the thank yous and downloading the pictures and telling the three people (ok, maybe two is a more honest estimate) who look at this blog about it. I often fear that I lose out on the amazing moments of Bonus Baby's life because he is along for the ride of whatever his big sisters have going on. His milestones are glossed over. Gotta work on that. He might want to look at that baby book sometime. Does anyone remember when that kid starting walking?
Now, as I inroduced you to the other two, I must tell you about Number 3 (speak that with a hint of Dr. Evil in your voice and laugh maniacally), my Bonus Baby. Bonus Baby is the gift that I didn't know I wanted. We had two adorable little girls. We were the definition of a perfect
American family with two (point 1--statistically impossible to actually achieve in the real world, but I digress... ) kids. What did we want with ANOTHER BABY?
We knew that if I got pregnant again that there was a good chance I could die. Not just be terribly sick, but die. I had watched my OB and my perinatalogist breathe a collective sigh of relief six weeks after Rock-N-Roll Princess was born. When your doctors say, "Let's not do that again" you would think that permanent birth control would be our top priority. I could give you the long drawn out story and the many excuses, but let's just say it didn't happen.
So, I turn up pregnant in 2005 because I am prolifically fertile. And, we should have seen it coming because there were other "bc" malfunctions. I tell my husband this tiny bit of new news, and he asks, "How could this happen?" I'm like, "Uh, it was not an immaculate conception. I'm pretty sure you were there." Just trying to create a little levity for us in that TERRIFYING moment when the plus sign appeared. My husband didn't think my little joke was funny. I'm still chuckling a little. I get tickled easily. I'll tell you more about me getting tickled later.
On Miss Proper's first day of first grade, I stand in the kitchen of a friend's home and give this news to a couple of select friends. There is crying because they know that I'm not supposed to get pregnant again. They ask me what this means, and I have to tell them that I'm a little scared because this is serious grown-up business. I also tell them a short time later that I believe that God is going to honor the fact I have a wonderful husband and two precious girls who all need me to stick around for a little longer. And I rest in that for a while.
Back at home, Hubs and I have to have the same hard discussions we had when we found out I was pregnant with Number 2 (mwahaha! I know; I'm completely annoying you.). We have the talks about where he should move if things don't go like we want, talks about letting my parents help him, talks about removing me from life support should I stroke out in an irreversible way, talks about how I hope he would remarry because it would reflect that he loved me and enjoyed our marriage. Hubs doesn't want to talk about those things, and, honestly, neither do I, but it has to be said.
Hubs (I'll give him another name soon) and I talk about him stepping off the fast track of corporate America, where he traveled at least three nights a week, in order to be closer to home everyday, just in case. He takes the job and drops the important words of regional and technical from his title and replaces them with the word branch. It's a little deflating. His territory shrinks from Texas and Oklahoma to the zipcodes of beautiful Mesquite and Le South Hood of the Metroplex. We tell each other that it's better for the family--better for him to be an hour away rather than 900+ miles away in El Paso. He settles into the position he had once entirely bypassed because he was "the best and brightest" of the young movers and shakers in his company. Career-wise, we were going backward.
And my belly was growing. Quickly. This was at least my sixth pregnancy, and my uterus wasted no time. It screamed "Who do you think you are kidding here?" and fell out in one fell swoop. I stuffed it back into my pants and told it to pipe down for a bit longer because I was not ready to be preggers yet. Puking all day long was one thing, but showing was entirely another.
I took my baby aspirin everyday because it was all I could do. During my pregnancy with RNR Princess we realized I had a "systemic allergy" to heparin and lovenox (translation: slow, painful death with systems shutting down one at a time rather than the quick suffocation of anaphylactic shock). Allergies to the drugs of choice are not good things for those of us who inherited the latent Protein S deficient gene and find ourselves pregnant against the advice of those who did residencies and have many letters after their names. I could take a baby aspirin, I could pray, and I could trust that God's plan was better than mine, whatever that plan was. Some days that was enough, other days I would have speaks with our friend Steve, who was dying of cancer. Steve would ask how I lived with the possibility that each day could be the last because he was living that same way, and I would tell him that I couldn't live that way. I had to focus on the living; I had to make sure the living was happening.
Then, Steve died in his chair at home with his driver license right next to him, preparing, as always, for whomever found him. He knew he was going. His funeral was a celebration of a special man who taught us much. We hugged his parents. We started a scholarship fund. We went home and cried. The day was a little too close to home.
Hubs told people that I was carrying our third daughter because we couldn't begin to imagine that there might be a son in there. We knew nothing of the snakes, snails or puppy dog tails. We only knew sugar, and spice, and everything nice. Or in other words, we only knew of the drama that is estrogen. We loved being the parents of girls, and boys were evil, loud creatures who couldn't sit still and who peed on you everytime you changed their diapers. No way. No boys for us. A boy might be too much like Hubs, and we really thought we had plenty of testosterone in our home already, thank you ever so much.
When you are considered a high risk pregnancy, you do get a couple of special perks in the form of frequent high level ultrasounds. At fourteen weeks I looked at the ultrasound screen and announced to the perinatalogist, "That's a turtle, not a hamburger." I was stupefied. We had ordered a hamburger. We did not want a turtle. (If the turtle/hamburger thing mystifies you, think about it.). People congratulated us and said, "You finally got your boy." Buzz off, stinkin' people. A third child who had a "third leg". We wondered how we would parent someone who fell into the baby blue category.
We couldn't agree on a name. We were looking for a name that started with "C" to keep with the family tradition. I was liking Caston, Cash, and some other embarrassing choices. Hubs was liking nada in the realm of "C". We switched the letter of the day from "C" to "J" and my choices were again shot down. We were avoiding going the "Junior" route because my dad had been a Jr. and never thought it was all that. We decided to give this boy his father's first name and a different middle name. The middle name could wait.
My dad called and told me my grandfather had fallen and was now in the hospital with a broken hip. Instead of getting slowly better, he got slowly worse. A staph infection was too much for his nearly 86 year old heart, and he died the Sunday after Thanksgiving. I couldn't go to the funeral because it was too dangerous for me to fly. I called my grandmother, cried on the phone with her, and told her that our baby boy would be using my grandfather's first name as his middle name. He would be named after three great men: his father, his great-grandfather, and his grandfather "Jr." I still miss my grandfather daily and haven't changed my cell phone number because he used to call me on it. Yeah, I've been told I'm way too sentimental. Sue me.
Slowly but surely, over the course of this unexpected pregnancy God worked on my heart and created a fierce love for this little turtle growing inside of me. We grew excited for his arrival, except that as his arrival drew near, my risk for clots and stroke doubled and tripled. I spent my days at my OB or the lab or the hematologist's office. I wore my belly hugging Japanese Weekend maternity clothes or my below-the-belly-blingy jeans and sat in the Lake Vista Cancer Center with bruises covering my arms and a mischievous blonde toddler on my knee. People looked at me with pity. They whispered to their friends and spouses when I sat down. I didn't want to be there. I didn't want them to look at me like that.
Now, in many high risk pregnancies a C-section is a given. However, in my case it is about the worst-case scenario. As my "fully cooked" date approached, my little medical team and I began discussing the options. The OB thought I was on my way to cooking a turkey rather than a baby boy; Bonus was getting chubbier than we hoped. Usually a great thing but not so much for me. We had figured out when I delivered RNR Princess that eight pounds was about all my pelvis could take. If Bonus got much bigger, I might risk not being able to push him out on my own, and then, an emergency C-section would be the only remedy. Not a super great option. We decided March 20 was a great day for me "to be seduced." "Seduction" is a hilarious story; ask me in person.
Induction began at 9:00 am. Everyone was sure we would have a baby by noon. Yeah, these people really didn't understand that my body likes to hold on to those little darlings until the very last second. Much pitocin and a few screams for an epidural later (I'm opposed to needles in my spine, so I went sans epidural on all three cuties.), Bonus Baby emerged at 5:33 pm weighing a perfect seven pounds eight ounces and measuring 20 inches. He peed everywhere. It was a beautiful thing.
Aside from needing to cook under the blue lights for a few days, he was healthy. We said thank you for our newest blessing. We couldn't believe we had ever said we didn't want more than two children and had not wanted a son. We asked forgiveness for our stupidity and our stubbornness and rejoiced in our son.
And, after five days of sitting or sleeping or whatever in the hopsital bed with Intermittent Pneumatic Compression Devices from my ankles to my upper thighs (think noisy boa constrictors gripping your ankles then wrapping and tightening themselves from your ankles to your thighs and then loosening in the opposite direction, then starting all over again for 24 hours a day) and six weeks of twice daily self-injections in the stomach and multiple bottles of blood thinners, I got to live to enjoy my crazy little Bonus Baby.
Who wouldn't love this kid? Complete BONUS!
Love me some little squeezy Bonus. Hubs and I know when to say we were wrong, and we were wrong. He is the best gift I didn't know I wanted. Look into those gorgeous little blue eyes and tell me what sales plan I killed to qualify for that kind of Bonus. I'm thinking someone crafted those numbers on a wooden cross.
Bonus Baby, you are a delight to your mama. I love how you tell me that you love me all through the day and kiss me smack on the lips with tiny, wet lips. You warn me that you are going to give me "one more kiss" like you think I'm going to mind. It's much different than your sisters. You love like a boy. Your love is hard and rough and tumble and soft and tender and sweet all at the same time. You had me wrapped at that first pee.
That Bonus Baby and I made it through those 37.5 weeks is a miracle. Plus, this kid gave me wicked ninja math skills. I'm still trying to teach him not to pee everywhere. If you have to use my bathroom, look before you sit.