Thirteen and Three (Episode Seven)
Beauregard having a drink of water. Just go with it.

Beauregard having a drink of water. Just go with it.

If you are tracking me like Norad tracks Santa Claus at Christmas time, I leave for Maine in 48 hours and I'm packing the sleigh like crazy. This blog post is brought to you by the movie Tangled, which Beatrix is watching while perched on my shoulders like a parrot.  She is also meowing loudly.  Some mornings she is a kitty cat and will only meow.  Other mornings she is a puppy named Beauregard and wants to drink water from a bowl on the floor.  I'm tired.  I try to just go with it.

We're done with that pesky time line, and I'm glad, because after a while I was like come ON, get back to the story, which makes me think you were probably feeling that way, too.  Story-wise, we left off with me wanting a dog, Charlotte adopting a baby and Rob getting a job.  And Rob and I, worn down by Charlotte and drunk with the excitement of health benefits and a regular paycheck, have one night of unprotected sex. Just one night.  One night only (cue song from Dreamgirls for you musical theater lovers out there.  Personally, I prefer the slow version that Jennifer Hudson sings in the movie.  Jennifer Hudson did not pay me to say that. )

I (as I explained) made an ob/gyn appointment to get checked out, and go see Dr. Marks a week later.

Dr. Marks has a nurse in her office named Dottie (I'm making up that name because I forget her name--just go with it.)  Dottie is probably 65 and from Russia (I think.  Okay, okay, I should know more about her if I am going to include her in this story, and maybe make her fake name something Russian like Svetlana, but just go with it--I'll get to the point.  Dottie, by the way, was my bus driver in Kindergarten.)  The very nice possibly-Russian-nurse-I-am-calling-Dottie came into the office to take my blood and all that pre-doctor jazz.  She was chatting and said, "So how is Charlotte?  Are you going to have another baby for her?"  Excuse me??  I wondered if

Charlotte practicing. In cahoots with Russian Nurse Dottie.

Charlotte practicing. In cahoots with Russian Nurse Dottie.

Charlotte had called Dottie and they were in cahoots.  This seemed too well timed.  I explained--in the amount of time it takes to draw blood--what was going on, including our one night stand and my subsequent cold feet.  I cried.  She, silencing me to take my blood pressure, put her hand on my knee and said, "Listen darling.  You are going to be 40 soon and it will be too late.  You make good babies.  That child needs a sibling, don't think about it too much.  If you think about it, you won't do it."  Sage advice coming from Nurse Dottie, mother of six and maker of borscht.

I meet with Dr. Marks, tell her what we are thinking and she says, "Everything seems fine.  Wait to start trying until I get your blood work back.  Keep in mind that you are older and it will take longer to get pregnant.  If you aren't pregnant in 6 months, we'll get you with my friend who is a great fertility doctor."  She writes a script for prenatal vitamins (the pills are the size of your fist) and I walk home thinking, Rob and I change our minds every three seconds.  If this takes 6 months, it might not happen at all.  I take comfort in the fact that I will have lovely hair and nails because of the bionic woman vitamins. 

I should also tell you that Charlotte has no idea any of this is happening.  She continues to carry the book around with her.  I can only assume that by this time the information has made its way to the recess crowd.

Recess crowd. Trouble.

Recess crowd. Trouble.

I wonder how Riley is taking it.  I wonder if I am going to get a phone call from the principal asking if Charlotte can either teach health class, or get transferred to another more "progressive" school.

A couple of days later I get a phone call from Dr. Marks.  "Sharon, I need you to come back in.  I want to run your bloods again, nothing scary, but something is going on."  I get a nervous stomach ache and forbid myself to diagnose via Google (we've all done it).  I race back over to the office and Nurse Dottie draws my blood.  She pats my knee and reassures me that the lab gets things wrong all the time.  She hands me a pregnancy test and tells me to sneak in the bathroom and take it, even though I tell her there is no way I am pregnant.  I take the test.  It's negative.  Continuing my Jekyll and Hyde reactions,  I'm a cross between extremely relieved and extremely disappointed.  Nurse Dottie tells me to keep trying and reminds me to take my vitamins.

The next day Dr. Marks calls.  "These numbers are the strangest thing.  I'm sure everything is fine, but when you are in the neighborhood, stop by and let me check them again."  I have a break down with Rob that night because I am now a freak with strange numbers, probably unable to conceive and both disappointed and relieved.  He holds my hand and nods, waiting for it to be over.  I blow my nose and go to bed.  The next morning I am freakishly chipper.  I am happy with our life!  I don't want or need another baby!  Charlotte will be fine!  Rob drinks his coffee and nods, waiting for it to be over.

I get a phone call from my mother.  She says, "I want to talk to you.  I just talked to your sister and she agreed that I should say this.  You know I don't like to get involved, but..."

Jesus gives my mother a sign via a baby. 

Jesus gives my mother a sign via a baby. 

When most mothers say, "I don't want to get involved, but..." the child is thinking Then don't!  I don't want your unsolicited advice!   My experience is different.  My mother very rarely gives me advice, so when she does, and especially when she says she's talked to my sister about it, I listen.

"Sharon, I was at church today, and there was a girl there just about Charlotte's age.  She was holding a baby, her sister, and she looked so happy.  It was like she had a little doll.  I've been thinking a lot about Charlotte, and I think you should have another baby.  Your sister does, too.  We know you have a hard life in New York and have to climb all those stairs all the time, but I think you will always regret not having another child."


A few days later Rob and Charlotte and I drive to my in-laws house in Greensburg, Pennsylvania for Memorial Day weekend.  I confess everything that is going on to my mother-in-law as we are doing the dishes.  My mother-in-law listens patiently and tries not to get involved, which I understand because, let's face it, it's a big decision.  Rob's new job offers great benefits, but it doesn't bring in buckets of cash.  If I get pregnant, I won't be able to work for a chunk of time, putting the entire financial burden on him.  After I cry and hiccup my way through our pros and cons list she smiles and simply says, "We like babies!"

According to my calendar, I am supposed to get my period on Sunday or Monday of Memorial Day weekend.  The fact that I am even tracking my period is a shocker, because somehow (and I will admit this for Rob, who is thinking it as he is reading) for the--what?--30 or so years I have been getting a period once a month, I have never tracked it.  Every month I come out of the bathroom shocked and say, "Rob, I just got my period.  Doesn't it seem like I just had it?"

For many years he would say, "Nope, it's right on schedule." and I would wonder how he knew.  Turns out, he was tracking it in his calendar so he could anticipate my PMS.  I blew a stack when I found out (displaying a little PMS moodiness) and forbid him from tracking it ever again.  Not that it is hard to track, it comes once a month.  It's just--I don't know--I just forget about it unless I have it.  And then I forget that I am going to get it again.

So anyway, back to Memorial Day weekend.  I'd packed tampons and a pregnancy test.  I wasn't sure which I'd need.

Speaking of packing, Tangled is over and I have to go pack our toiletries.  I'll be sure to pack tampons even though I don't know exactly when I will need them.