It was Sunday November 7, the first day of daylight savings time, and I was fired up about the extra hour. In fact, I stretched it to two by sleeping in until 8 rather than waking up at my usual time of 7. True to form, Lovie did no such thing. By the time I stumbled into the kitchen, the tiny trio were already finished with their breakfast and out of their highchairs, roaming about like diminutive tyrants as Lovie cleaned their royal carnage. The sweet scent of syrup told me that it was a stack of pancakes which the mini-monarchs had decimated.
I felt like such a deadbeat for not being a part of the culinary efforts that I offered to assume full responsibility for two-thirds of our toddlers. With Pookie at her dad’s house, that would leave my wife with just one child with which to contend. And one child? That’s a flat-out layup.
Biggs wanted to stay with Mommy, so I corralled Monster and Peanut and took them upstairs to the playroom where, by complete coincidence, there happened to be a television tuned to ESPN, thereby allowing me to preview all the day’s upcoming football contests. In what can best be described as another remarkable coincidence, in front of said TV sits a blue couch—an extremely comfortable blue couch.
The table was set for some good ol’ fashioned multi-tasking. I exhibited my unique and effective brand of sleep-parenting—supervising our children while concurrently drifting into and out of fluffy little pockets of sleep, subliminally gobbling up various and sundry football-related facts in so doing. What I was experiencing was sheer bliss.
Until Biggs came into the room and interrupted said bliss. He was carrying the home phone.
“Hey, buddy,” I said. “Why don’t you go over there and play with Monster and Peanut?” I suggested. Which is what he eventually did. But not before handing me the phone and telling me something.
I quickly dialed her cell, somewhat concerned that my controversial and often misinterpreted sleep-parenting technique was about to be called under attack (yet again).
“Hello,” she said from the kitchen.
“What’s up, babe? You need something?” I asked, in my best wide-awake voice.
“I’ve been obsessing over something that I have to tell you about.”
“What’s that, honey?”
“I think I’m pregnant.”
“I think I’m pregnant.”
Holy, holy, holy shit. As in the very most holy of shits—I’m talking Mahatma-Gandhi-type fecal matter, here. Okay, stay cool. Obviously a false alarm.
“What? Why do you think that? Are you late or something?” I asked, suddenly no longer worried about my voice. I was confident that it was far from sleepy-sounding.
“No. I’m not supposed to start until next week.”
“Then stop worrying. I’m sure we’re good.”
“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 Lovie was be-bopping along the family-planning aisle. Only the three screaming toddlers in the backseat reminded me that we were planning no such thing. Neither one of us wanted to have another child.
“Sorry,” Lovie said as she got back in the car. “Couldn’t find it right away.”
“Did you take it?” I asked.
“Are you crazy?” she answered. “I’m not taking a pregnancy test inside of 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 at Dunkin’ Donuts?”
“What’s wrong with Dunkin Donuts? 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…
a fifth child.
Lovie and I have driven with the triplets a thousand times. And we’ve gotten used to their ear piercing 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 Lovie and me to do the crying. Which we did, while stealing quick glances at one another and holding hands above the center console, our soft sobs occasionally interrupting the sing-songy banter of 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 had suspected. It appeared as if Lovie was, indeed, pregnant. False negatives, she explained, happen from time to time, but false positives were exceedingly rare.
Three hours earlier I had walked into the kitchen feeling guilty for oversleeping. That moment, I was stumbling through a drugstore in a literal state of shock, watching silently as Lovie 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…
Holy shit. What if there’s more than one?
The first ultrasound’s next Tuesday. I’ll make sure to provide y’all with regular updates as this is sure to be a wild ride. But I can promise you one thing. Lovie, Pookie, Monster, Biggs, Peanut, Briggs (our dog), and me? We’re up for it.
We’re good like that.
—Photo Cara Photography/Flickr