"Are they all yours?"This is, by far, the question I get the most when people learn I have eight kids. One day I will respond, "Okay, you got me. I threw in the neighbor kids just to inflate the numbers."
What they really want to know, I think, is if I gave birth to all of them. Why, I'm not really sure. Does it make me more of a super woman if I did? Does it make me less invested as a mother if I didn't? Regardless of how we got them, of course they're all mine, but I still hesitate when I answer affirmatively, like maybe I'm being slightly dishonest or something.
The truth is we have adopted one of them.
We took that child for outpatient surgery this morning. As she measured, the nurse told him, "Boy, you're a tall one." I smiled as I bit back the response that almost automatically flew from my lips, "He gets it from his daddy," referring to my six foot, four inch husband with whom he shares zero DNA.
I forgot. I find myself doing that more and more as he's becoming one of us.
The idea that he is ours was made perfectly clear a few hours later, when he had been in surgery just twenty minutes. The nurse liaison came and told us that surgery would last approximately two and half hours and now would be an excellent time to get something to eat. We were given a pager and gathered our things to head to the cafeteria for soggy bacon and powdered eggs.
The procedures being done this morning were relatively minor but there were a lot of them and anesthesia always comes with risk. It was with great apprehension that I had handed over my crying boy to the surgical nurse and watched them walk away.
I had just put the lid on my oatmeal and was waiting for my husband to get in line to pay when all of the sounds in the busy cafeteria fell away and my full attention was captivated by the beeping, flashing, and vibrating disc in my hand. Confused, I couldn't make sense of it and just stared at it for what seemed like minutes as I held my breath.
In a quick exhale, I grabbed my husband's arm, "Honey. Honey! It's beeping," as I thrust the offending pager at him. The fear in his eyes masked my own. "It's too soon," we communicated without words. Hearts in our throats, he asserted that he would go and slid his tray to me as I grabbed for the back pack of our son's belongings.
My brain felt as if it were simultaneously racing through all the possibilities: Did he aspirate? On what? Could he have somehow found and consumed a lost Cheerio from the lining of the car seat without our knowing? - And slogging through molasses the tasks at hand: What am I supposed to do with this food? Pay for it? Why? I don't want to eat if my son didn't survive. I can't just leave it here. I already put raisins on this oatmeal.
Valuable time was ticking by as I shakily handed the cashier my credit card while she counted pieces of bacon. I shoved the containers in a plastic bag and raced up the stairs. Forgetting that I have no sense of direction, I charged ahead and became hopelessly turned around. Nothing made sense or looked familiar. In a full blown panic, I whirled around in a circle until I caught sight of the familiar looking couple we were seated across from earlier in the waiting room. I reoriented myself, approached the desk and was led to a small room. The doctor took one look at me and hastily said, "It's okay. He's fine. I just needed another consent signed."
As the relief washed over me, I signed that consent through tears. I barely heard what she said and when she walked back into surgery, I ate my raisin-filled oatmeal with gusto as the adrenaline drained from my system.
So, yeah, given my reaction, I think I will now respond with confidence,
"Yes, they're all mine!"
|Waiting for the drama to begin.|