As a mother, you know you are going to love your child unconditionally from the moment you first find out he’s on the way. That instinct seems to click as soon as you see two lines on the pregnancy test. Most expectant moms don’t plan on anything going wrong though, and with my first pregnancy, I was no different.
A handful of pregnancy complications landed me on complete bedrest at 34 weeks. When I developed severe preeclampsia and it was discovered that my baby had stopped growing at 32 weeks, my doctor made the decision to deliver me 3 weeks early.
Still, I knew everything would be okay.
I didn’t quite have the delivery I had planned on. I was pumped full of anti-seizure meds that made my brain foggy and preeclampsia had made me so sick that it was days before I could stay awake for more than a few hours.
I felt like garbage, but that first night with my beautiful little 5 pound baby was precious, and I spent many hours trying to memorize every part of him once they allowed him out of the step-down NICU.
Once he’d been in our room for several hours, my husband said, “Hmm. That’s strange. I never noticed that he had an extra toe.”
“What do you mean he has an extra toe?” I asked, suddenly nervous that by not noticing something as obvious as that I had failed my first test as a new mom.
“His right foot. It has 6 toes.”
I could feel my breath coming faster and in my mind I kept telling myself, ‘It’s okay. I’ll love him no matter what’.
I pulled back the hospital blanket and carefully counted his toes. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 . . . . and 11.
I counted again. And again I counted 11 toes.
“We should tell the doctor.” I said, fighting back the urge to panic.
Meanwhile, my husband is laughing at me. Seriously. How could he laugh at a time like this!
“Do you want to count again?”
I thought that was a bit much so I counted again. And again I counted 11 toes.
Why in the world would he ask me to count again? Physically I felt miserable, which never does much for my emotional state. I tried to pull it together enough that I could have the conversation we needed to have with the doctor.
My husband, who was still laughing ridiculously, finally took my hand and counted our son’s toes with me one at a time . . . all 10 of them.
Apparently he had thought it would be funny to play a trick on me but he hadn’t expected me to loose my ability to count!
Once all the drugs were out of my system we had a good laugh about that one and I’ve never completely lived it down.
My now 9 year old son thinks it’s hilarious that for about 5 minutes he had 11 toes but I’m always quick to remind him, “but I would have loved you anyway.”