Let’s rewind the tape about ten years, to late 2007. There was a heat wave in Kentucky, and it was around 100 degrees here for about 2 weeks. It was miserable and nobody was chipper.
I was tired, a bit cranky and maybe even a little nauseated. I was working full time at a large mental health facility (not the one I left in 2015) and chasing after Cameron (2) and Julian (13 months) at the time.
One problem: I had forgotten to put my Nuva Ring back in on time. If you have ever been told that you can and will get pregnant if you don’t put it in within the 7 days you are supposed to, it does happen. Lily is the poster child for this.
A Fateful OB/GYN Visit
At the end of August 2007, I went to see my OB/GYN for my yearly checkup. I had skipped two periods by this time.
Okay. Sometimes that happens with the Ring.
I still felt crappy. The heat wave was gone. Hmm. Matthew and I had made the decision that we were done having kids, but someone wasn’t ready to have himself cut, so guess who was going to have a tubal ligation surgery? Me. I was all ready to have this discussion and be done with it.
Lily had her own plans.
I talked to my OB/GYN about this idea, and she said, “Let’s do your exam and we’ll get the papers ready.” BAM. I’m minutes away from being done being pregnant forever, right? HAHAHAHAHA. Nope.
“I need you to take a pregnancy test. Either you’re pregnant or there’s a big fibroid.”
“I will take the fibroid please.” I’m really done, ladies and gentlemen.
I took the test and spent the next few minutes hoping like hell it was a fibroid or just maybe, she was wrong.
HAHAHAHAHAHA again. Nope. Not close.
Dr. Kernek shows up, grinning. “Congrats, Mrs. Sanders, looks like baby #3!”
WAIT, WHAT? Um, no. That’s got to be a wrong result. I literally fell off the table in shock. She helped me up and then walked with me over to the ultrasound room so we could confirm this by ultrasound and find out how far along I was.
According to ultrasound, I was between 11-13 weeks and was given a due date of March 22, 2008. This just happened to be my oldest sister’s birthday, but it would later be adjusted to March 8, 2008. I called Matthew, because I was still very shocked.
“Don’t worry, honey, we will figure it out.”
Typical Matthew. I rolled my eyes.
The Next Nine Months.. Kinda
Lily’s pregnancy went downhill from that day on. Morning sickness kicked in pretty much the next day. The fatigue was worse than my other two pregnancies combined, and I still had to work full time.
I bled constantly, because it turned out I had a prolapsed uterus. I had to wear a belly band to work. I also couldn’t tie my shoes by Halloween, which was about the time I started wearing maternity clothes.
I retained so much amniotic fluid my OB ordered a special ultrasound to check to make sure Lily was not coming with a friend. She wasn’t. (Nine years later, I am so freaking thrilled there aren’t two of her. I love her, but nope.)
I went into premature labor twice, once on Cameron’s third birthday in early January at 31 weeks, which landed me on light duty at work (yay, but it was boring as hell) and again 3 days before she was born on Valentine’s Day, so there went our plans, right?
I was done with pregnancy after this. I happily signed my tubal papers at my 32 week checkup. The best part of my pregnancy? Finding out I was finally having a girl.
After some debate, Matthew and I decided on her name- Lillian Evette Sanders. She hates being called Lillian. We have always called her Lily. Evette is for my grandmother, who died in 2002.
Lily was born at 37 weeks and 1 day on February 17, 2008. That’s full term by 2008 standards. She came on her own timetable, which she has done things on since. It’s become a pattern.
She weighed in at 5 lbs, 12 oz and was the smallest of my kids. I didn’t get my tubal ligation until she was five weeks old due to some issues with the anesthesiologist, but it got done and I was delighted.
The real fun began once Lily came home from the hospital. She was a great baby. She slept through the night before I even went back to work when she was 6 weeks old. She ate well, loved to cuddle. Her brothers fought over who got to play with her (this does not happen anymore, sadly) and put her bottles in the sink.
A Bit of A Bump in the Road
As she got older, it became evident that she wasn’t meeting her milestones like most babies.
Why? What wasn’t I doing with her? I was working full time and she stayed with her brothers and grandmother all day. She wasn’t born early enough to make much of a difference in her development, but I wouldn’t be told that until later.
I talked to her pediatrician, and the day before her first birthday, she was seen by a child development specialist to see if she qualified for services to catch her up.
I cried for the rest of the day and through the next.
She qualified for physical, speech and occupational therapy. Lily spent two years in therapies and aged out of the program on her third birthday. She has struggled to learn to read, with math and emotional issues that are currently being addressed with a therapist.
Meanwhile, we have had plenty of adventures.
Between all three kids, we have ended up with these injuries:
Lily- severely sprained wrist, scar on forehead from running into door
Julian- broken left arm, broken right foot, concussion, staples in head, stitches in finger, cut forehead and many other small injuries
Cameron- sprained ankles, many other small injuries, almost a broken thumb
Cameron has a heart condition which required a small procedure, Julian has special needs and… I probably forgot something.
We have gone many places and done many things, but getting these kids to get out of bed and dressed on weekends is a military operation. Packing them up as toddlers and babies almost required me waking at dawn. Now I just make sure they are somewhat presentable and that they took a shower at least a day ago.
How We Operate
Holidays? There’s a reason we don’t do cards. I can barely get Julian to wear anything besides a school uniform to dress up.
School vacations? Ha. They sleep in because otherwise.. would you want to wake up the curly-haired beast, otherwise known as Lily? Nope. I don’t. She is hard enough on a school day.
Anything after that is pretty much up for grabs.
What does it really take to raise three kids that are close in age?
Comedy. All of the comedy you can withstand. I watch or listen to something funny daily.
Animals. They learn some valuable lessons from pets that we can’t teach. See Tiger the Wanderer
Patience. Mine runs out after 8 PM so none of the kids are allowed in my room after unless Julian needs his night meds or has broken another bone. Each kid is their own person with a different personality, so you end up being a different parent to them. Weird, isn’t it?
Boundaries. Lots and lots of boundaries. See above. Don’t let your kids rule the house because things go really bad. We would end up eating Ramen noodles nightly if it was up to Cameron but… nope. I’m still cooking here.
Food and wifi. TV also helps.
HELP. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, other family and friends help a lot. If you are a family without this, my hat is off to you, because I would be entirely lost without mine. My mom and Matthew’s mom have been priceless to our kids.
Love and lots of hugs, unless you have a kid like Julian that hates hugs, then try something else.
Cuteness. These little people do grow into some really cute somewhat grown people.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids dearly. They have stressed me out a TON over the years, but the wild path we have been on is ours and I would not make a different one.
(Lily and I, she’s 4 in this pic)