Sunday, November 7 started off like a normal day. A lazy day, even. Our oldest child was at her bio dad’s house which meant my wife and I only had three children with which to contend — our 3-year-old triplets. I was upstairs with two of them when the third, who had been downstairs with my wife, came traipsing along with the home phone in his hand.
“Call Mommy,” he said.
Little did I know that the in-house phone call I was about to place would set off such a surreal string of events.
“Hello,” answered Caroline from the kitchen.
“What’s up, babe? You need something?” I asked.
“I’ve been obsessing over something that I have to tell you about.”
“Fire away,” I replied.
“I think I’m pregnant.”
“What? Why do you think that? Are you late or something?”
“No. I’m not supposed to start until next week.”
“Then stop worrying. I’m sure we’re good,” I said.
“I don’t know,” she countered before continuing with my boobs, this and my body, that.
“Well what do you wanna do about it?” I asked.
“Take a pregnancy test,” she answered.
“HELL no,” I replied. “That’s WAY too much drama for a Sunday. I am NOT signing up for that.”
Twenty minutes later, my candy-ass was double parked in a blue handicapped zone outside of Walgreens while Caroline was rummaging through the family-planning aisle. Only the three screaming toddlers in the backseat reminded me that we were planning no such thing. Neither Caroline nor I wanted to have another child.
“Sorry,” Caroline said as she got back in the car. “It took longer than I thought to find it.”
“Did you take it yet?” I asked.
“Are you crazy?” she answered. “I’m not taking a pregnancy test inside a drug store. I’ll wait til we get home.”
“No you won’t,” I answered. “You’re taking it now!”
“What? You’re the one who didn’t even wanna do it today to begin with.”
“True,” I began. “But since you overruled me, I’m all about finding out as soon as possible. So, chop-chop, Pooh Bear. Where do you wanna take your test?”
“You’re getting coffee, right?” she said.
“You’re gonna rock a pregnancy test in Dunkin’ Donuts?” I asked.
“What’s wrong with Dunkin Donuts?” she replied. “There’s usually a line for the drive-through. I can take care of business while you’re waiting.”
Which is exactly what my beautiful wife did. And it timed out perfectly. Just as we were pulling away from the pick-up window, she was walking out the door. And by the time the dust settled, I wound up with a large coffee with cream and sugar, a bagful of glazed donut holes, and…
and a fifth child.
Caroline and I have driven with the triplets a thousand times. And we’ve gotten used to their ear-pearcing cries, even when they’re executed in unison. But as I drove around town on that perfect autumn morning, our little guys were silent as church mice, leaving it, for once, to Caroline and me to do the crying. Which we did, while stealing quick glances at one another and holding hands above the center consul, our soft sobs occasionally interrupting the sing-songy banter belonging to Dora and Diego.
Onesies. Baby gates. Johnny Jump-Ups. Bodreaux’s Butt Paste. Those velcro things that attach to and dangle from the car seat handle.
Boppy pillows. Blankets. Diapers. Bottles. Burp cloths.
Gliders. Bouncy seats. Vaseline. Baby Bjorns. Rattles. Exersaucers. Those plastic, squeezy bugger-extracting dealies I’ve never seen anyone use.
Eventually we pulled it together and went to a different Walgreens, one where we had understood we could get an actual blood test. But the pharmacist said we were misinformed. They had no such test there. She did, however, look at our pregnancy test and confirmed what we already knew. It appeared as if Caroline was, indeed, pregnant. False negatives, she explained, happen from time to time, but false positives were exceedingly rare.
Three hours earlier I was feeling guilty for oversleeping. That moment, I was stumbling through a drugstore in a literal state of shock, watching silently as Caroline compared two different brands of prenatal vitamins.
Unplanned child number five. The one we thought was impossible to have. The one we thought could have only come about with the assistance of fertility treatments. The one our calendars say will arrive just in time for our 42nd birthdays. The one that…
Wait. What if there’s more than one?
Our first ultrasound is next Tuesday. We should know by then. Regardless of what’s ahead of us, I can promise you one thing. Caroline and I are up for it. We’re good like that.
OH, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the following. After careful thought, we’ve decided not to pursue legal action against Babble. After all, we highly suspect this whole thing could be their fault. Mere days after I start writing for one of (if not the) most preeminent parenting publications in the entire country my wife and I conceive? Hmmm.
Kinda fishy, don’t you think?
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