The Longest Pregnancy in the History of the World

Every once in a while one of those astonishingly incredulous I-didn’t-know-I-was-pregnant-till-I-gave-birth stories hits the headlines. You know the kind of story I’m talking about. The kind, for example, in which some woman suffers with agonizing abdominal pain and everyone around her is convinced her appendix is on the verge of exploding so she rushes to the emergency room only to be discharged 48 hours later with a fully in-tact, healthy appendix and a two-day old infant. Call me a skeptic, but I find it humanly impossible for a person to be pregnant for three whole trimesters and not know it.

Anyway, today one of those stories hit the headlines and it is more bizarre than any other I’ve heard. Ever. It’s more bizarre than the one about the lady who gives birth on her front lawn while waiting for the school bus to drop her other two kids off (yes this means she’d been pregnant twice before and did not recognize the signs for nine months on the third go around). It’s even more bizarre than the one about the chick who only connected the dots when she discovered her full-term newborn as he slid down the leg of her sweat pants (apparently she did not notice him slide out her vagina). Anyway there’s no disputing the bizarreness of these sorts of stories, but what I read today is so bizarre it’s…well… I don’t even know how to describe it so I’ll just let you wallow in the hard facts.

A woman experiencing constant abdominal pain for two months sought medical help. Doctors found a mass on the lower right side of her abdomen and feared it was cancer. They were perplexed when a CT scan revealed the mass was made of hard, calcified matter – not the stuff of which tumors are made. It wasn’t cancer, but what was it? An MRI performed on the woman led doctors to discover the cause of her abdominal pain was… I  hope you’re sitting down… the skeleton of a baby that had been inside her body for 38 years.

Decades earlier the woman experienced abdominal pain so severe she required hospitalization. She was told by doctors she had an ectopic pregnancy. She knew the baby had died, but she was afraid to have surgery so she fled the hospital. That was 38 years ago. I can’t even imagine the physical pain and emotional duress this women suffered.

Screen Shot 2014-08-22 at 9.19.59 AM

This time around, however, she let the doctors perform the surgery and it is believed to be the longest ectopic pregnancy recorded in the history of the world. The next longest involved a woman who had the the stillborn baby’s remains removed after 18 years. Ectopic pregnancies are excruciatingly painful. I can’t even imagine… these ladies must be made of steel. And then there’s Sandra Fluke.

© 2014 Just Another Ordinary Day by Antoinette D. Datoc All Rights Reserved

 

 

 

In the Spirit of Beating a Dead Horse

In the spirit of beating a dead horse let’s revisit Hillary Rodham Clinton on marriage and motherhood:

I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas, but what I decided to do was to fulfill my profession which I entered before my husband was in public life.

But I know the truth. See, the real reason why liberal radical feminists like Hillary Rodham Clinton assault those of us who choose motherhood is because they’re simply not qualified for the job. Period.

Confessions of a Private School Parent – Getting into Kindergarten

If this sound familiar it’s because it’s a repost from 2011…rewritten for publication in Midtown Patch

Humor is the best medicine for what ails you.

I can’t speak for parents in other places, but parents in Atlanta go berserk during private school admissions season. Okay, so I confess I got a little swept up in the whole frenzied madness too. Who wouldn’t with so much at stake?

It was 1996. I was completing applications to Atlanta’s elite private schools on behalf of my brilliant child, for whom kindergarten hovered around life’s next corner. That’s when it struck me. OH MY GOSH…IF CHRISTIAN DOESN’T GET INTO THE RIGHT KINDERGARTEN HE MAY NEVER GET INTO COLLEGE… NEVER GET A JOB…AND IT WILL BE ALL MY FAULT.

With my husband fresh out of medical training, and me comitted to a vocation of boo-boo kissing and nose-wiping (a.k.a stay-at-home-motherhood) we lacked the fiscal resources to make a get-a-building-named-in-your-honor donation to our school of choice. Okay…so we flirted with the idea, but falling short we had to settle for dropping a tidy lump of cash on flash cards and computer software in an effort to level the playing field. (Looking back, the building may have been cheaper.)

Let’s face it. Brilliant and exceptional as he was, our tiny tyke was a bit of a dark horse in this race. We were new to Atlanta and had not established the sort of social “connections” that parents of all the other applicants had. Plus, there were somewhere in the neighborhood of a fillion-dillion applicants for three spots and two were earmarked for siblings.

Maybe things weren’t quite that dismal, but getting into private kindergarten was pretty darn competitive. In fact, in comparing sheer numbers, I figured it was harder for Christian to get into Pace Academy, Westminster, Lovett, or The Walker School in 1996 than it was for me to get into Yale in 1980 – yes, that Yale, as in Boola-boola and bright college years with pleasures rife and both Presidents George Bush – and no, I am not joking. Statistically it did not look good for our little cherub. 

To make matters worse, there was a question on every single application that went something like this: List and describe all honors and accomplishments. Now keep in mind we are talking about four years olds here. Four year olds. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Did I miss something?

The only thing my kid had accomplished to date (aside of course, from being adorable and exceptional in ways that did not seem paricularly pertinent to the process) was giving up his pacifier and potty training. I elected just to leave that section blank which made it a rough spring…waiting for that admissions letter, but apparently no answer was the right answer because in the end he got in anyway.

Fast-forward five years. There I was again, embroiled in the private school application process. This time, however, I was a seasoned private school parent.

In addition to IQ testing and submitting an application, candidates attend campus assessment days during which they work with school faculty. The best part is that parents get to observe this phase of the process.

As I observed Jared, I was much more at ease than I’d been on the first go-around. Jared was entitled to “sibling consideration” at our top choice, and I felt certain that big brother’s academic success coupled with my tireless school volunteerism (five consecutive years as room-mother.. that’s right, count ‘em…five), made Jared a shoe-in.

Ignorance is bliss. Whoever said that must have been somebody’s mother.

If only I’d known what was about to unfold, surely I would not have been so calm, so cool, and frankly so smug. As Jared’s session wound to a close, the teacher handed him a large blank sheet of paper and some crayons along with instructions to draw a self-portrait.

“Do you know what a self-portrait is, Jared?”

“Yes, ma’am. It’s a picture of me.” (So smart…)

“Very good! Now, I’m going to sit at that table across the room and talk to that little boy for a few minutes. While I’m gone, I’d like you to draw a self-portrait. Do you think you can do that?”

“Yes, ma’am.” (…and such good manners.)

I watched from afar as my little angel worked fervently (such a hard worker) on what I anticipated would emerge as a masterpiece. He finished quickly and shielding his artwork from my view, glanced over his shoulder, shooting a sly smile my way as if to say, You’re going to love this picture. I smiled back knowingly and gave him a special mommy wink and a nod. The teacher returned and sat beside him.

“Oh my, Jared.  Can you tell me about your picture?”

I waited, on the edge of my seat, for him to explain what inspired each careful and anatomically corret detail of his self-portrait. (Maybe we’ll stop for ice cream on the way home…)

“Yes, ” he announced rather matter-of-factly, “it’s a picture of my mommy dancing with a lampshade on her head.”

I knew full well my son understood the instructions given to him. As I live and breath, I cannot fathom what possessed him to draw a portrait of me, and of all things, dancing with a lampshade on my head. I had never danced with a lampshade on my head (that I remember). And if I had, I certainly would not have been doing it in the company of my children.

It was a rough spring…waiting for that admissions letter, but apparently a sense of humor is perceived as a sign of intelligence because in the end…he got in anyway.

What Would I Have Done Without You

In a few days, my oldest son will turn 20 years old.  Surely I am not old enough to have a 20 year old son…or perhaps I am.  These days, I barely can recall where I last set down my reading glasses or car keys.  How then, is it possible that my memory of Christian Damian Datoc’s grand entrance into the world is so crystal clear?  How is this possible?  I remember every detail like it was only yesterday.  Okay, maybe that’s not such a good comparison since these days I barely can remember what I ate for breakfast today, let alone what happened yesterday, but you know what I mean.  I remember every detail and every year around this time, I reminisce about it.  I recount the story of Christian’s birth and it never fails to cause the release of a wellspring of emotions in me.  I recall the awakening of my protective maternal instinct and the exact moment I came to know this Universal Mother Truth: IF YOU HURT MY BABY I WILL KILL YOU.  I must, however, confess that not all of my post-partum emotions were filled with the stuff of which Doris Day movies are made.  In fact, motherhood did not come particularly naturally to me.

When I went into labor, my husband’s reaction was one of joyful excitement.  “Aren’t you excited?  Oh my gosh!  We’re going to have a baby!”  He was the oldest of four siblings and as a recent medical school graduate, had a couple of labors and deliveries under his belt.  He was very much a “baby person.”  I, on the other hand, was not a “baby person.”  I was grossly inexperienced when it came to the handling of infants.  When I realized my water broke the, “Oh my gosh!  I really am going to have this baby,”  I blurted was prompted by something quite different from Pat’s eager excitement.  It was prompted by fear.  I was 29 years old and I had never changed a diaper, never fed a baby,  never burped a baby.  The first time I’d even held a baby was when, pursuant to slapping his bottom and proclaiming, “It’s a boy!” the doctor handed Christian to me fresh from the womb.  I never played house and pretended to be the “mommy,” like most little girls.  Of course, I had baby dolls, but I chose instead to dress up my slightly over-weight Chihuahua-Poodle mixed breed in doll clothes and push her around the neighborhood in my toy pram.  As you can imagine, squeezing a dog into a onesy was no easy task and as such, my childhood memories are filled more with pretending to be Gunther Gable than somebody’s mama.

It’s true… I nestled newborn Christian in my arms and made a silent, solemn promise to him, “If anyone, anyone tries to harm you, I will kill him.”  And when that brief mother-son moment was disturbed by the sound of my doctor’s voice, “Pat, would you like to cut the cord?” all I could think was, ‘WAIT!  Don’t do it… Can’t we put him  back for just a little while?  I AM NOT READY FOR THIS!”   After several lessons from the lactation consultant and 100 or so diaper changes later (translation:  one day), Christian and I found ourselves tucked safely into the backseat of Pat’s Honda.  We were on our way home from the hospital and as I gazed into my sleeping baby’s face, one question pervaded my thoughts. “What am I going to do with you all day long…what am I going to do with you?”  The answer, of course, was simple;  I would do whatever my baby needed me to do, and I would, quite matter of factly, do so forever.  There is an amazing gift that comes with being someone’s mama.  It is the gift of being needed.  I soon realized that no matter who was around, Christian’s eyes searched for me.  I was the one he wanted to sooth him when he felt cranky, to feed him when he felt hungry, to rock him when he felt tired.  There’s a glorious power in a baby’s need.  It is the power to turn just another ordinary woman into a mother.

On the day Christian was born, the question pervading my thoughts was, “What am I going to do with you?”  Twenty years later the question is, “What would I have done without you?”   Happy Birthday, Christian.  I love you.

Till tomorrow…  Good night.  Sleep tight.

© Antoinette D. Datoc 2011