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Dreams, Surprises, and Bifocals

November and December of 1994 was a whirlwind of celebration and juggling work schedules. My mother-in-law enjoyed Thanksgiving with us and returned home, apparently a little warmer toward the “older woman with a bunch of kids” who snared her adored son. A particularly memorable day among this busy time was Sunday, December 10. I woke from a dream that lazy morning to sun streaming through the window and an overall feeling of contentment. I began to feel a little unsettled as I remembered the details of the dream. “If I didn’t know better, I would think I was pregnant” I said to Jon. He asked why and I explained that only twice in my life had I dreamed of a baby and both times I was pregnant and both times the gender of the child in the dream was that of the child I carried. This time, I dreamed I was sitting at a party with a completely bald, blue-eyed, solemn-faced baby girl on my lap and that people kept coming up to me saying “She is so smart, just like her father” to which I would reply “But she is bald!” Sensing, my anxiety, Jon assured me that there was probably nothing to the dream, that it was probably the result of all the testing and talk about potential pregnancy. I had absolutely no symptoms of pregnancy so I agreed and dismissed the idea.

Later that morning, Jon was hanging Christmas lights and found that he needed something from the store. He returned with the necessary items along with something that I had never seen before, a home pregnancy test. I pulled it out of the bag and dropped it like it was hot. “Why did you buy that?” I asked. He said “Well, you know how you are with your discernment and you were pregnant the other times you dreamed of a baby.” I told him to get that thing out of my house that we were not going to go there. He left it on the table and went back to the house lights. A bit later, the package caught my eye as I passed through the kitchen and, out of curiosity, I picked it up. A little jealous that these were not available when I carried Susan and Stephen, I decided to see how it worked. The instructions said wait three minutes for results to show in a little window. I turned to pick up my watch to count the minutes. When I turned back around, I was stunned to see a pink line glaring at me from said window. It seemed that curiosity had definitely killed the cat as everything in the room seemed to drop away except the little stick with the pink line. I am sure that I sounded a primal scream. My mind searched frantically for a way out, an explanation, something other than the truth that I was 43 years old, a working mom dealing with the trials of a blended family, and… I was pregnant. It is not funny when you find out that you need bifocals and that you are pregnant all in the same year.

I was terrified of my high-risk status and what it could mean. Testing revealed that baby was perfectly healthy and, just as in the dream, a girl. Then, I was terrified that she would be born small and weak. I was fiercely protective of the baby, eating right, exercising, avoiding trampolines and horseback riding, but I could not see myself with a new baby and part of me was sure that I was still dreaming. I focused on work because work seemed real. I wrote training procedures and conducted training classes. I built and maintained inter-company web pages. Working while pregnant and 43 is very different than working while pregnant and 30-something. Working and juggling everything else in life took its toll. I went into labor at 30 weeks. Rest and medication returned things to normal but I was ordered to limit activity and work from home for the remainder of the pregnancy.

Katherine was born full term weighing 10 lbs. 8 oz. So much for the small weak baby. When I saw her, blue-eyed and completely bald, I realized she was exactly what I wanted. My heart grew yet another room. I cherished my four-month leave with my big wide-eyed baby girl. She lived in the car as we managed sporting and school events for Susan and Stephen and she traveled well. I always called her my surprise baby. Years later, five-year old Katherine said to me “Mommy, when you first learned I was in your tummy, before you saw me, were you happy about that surprise?” Surprised at her eavesdropping skills and a firm believer in being truthful with children, I admitted that I was not happy until I held her, saw how beautiful and special she was, and realized that God knew just what I needed when he sent my surprise. Then I told her to remember, when things happen in life that are scary, have faith in God that is for the best, it may be one of God’s surprise packages. That was the unbridled truth and she liked that answer.

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