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meet baylor.

I was sitting on the couch one afternoon when Dewy called me during his lunch.   We talked for a bit, and he casually suggested I should take a pregnancy test.  This was about as shocking as when Joey used the word "whom" that Friends episode.  We were not even trying to get pregnant.  In fact, we religiously employed two methods of birth control.  It took us forever to get Larsen; there was no way I was pregnant.  One symptom that has been universal for me when pregnant is complete and total rage.  When I was pregnant with Rhett--before we actually knew--I punched a door off the hinges.  I wish I were kidding.  And please don't tell my grandma, since we were living at her house.  Apparently, I may have been a little testy over the previous few days, and he had a hunch.  As a joke, I told him I would take one and call him back.  Turned out, the joke was on me.

I sat there in the bathroom staring at the double line in disbelief as Larsen screamed his head off on the other side of the door. It couldn't be right.  So I took another.  I'm no scientist, but I'd be willing to wager two false positives are pretty rare.  The tears set in about that point, and the nausea. And the anxiety.  Then the call back from Dewy saying I told you so.

  

During the course of my pregnancy with Baylor, the Lord and I had numerous conversations.  If I had to miraculously get pregnant right that very instant, I better be getting the best baby ever.  Heaven knows the last one he sent was a doozy.  I'm in a habit of negotiating with the powers that be throughout all my pregnancies.  Especially when I find out they are boys.  We were trying to figure out the gender of Baylor for weeks before he finally cooperated.  I was so sure he was a girl.  In fact, I placed some bets on it.  When we went in for our target ultrasound, the tech informed me that my third boy was on his way.  I looked Dewy right in the face, and he said,
"Don't cry! It's going to be fine! I promise!" I am embarrassed to admit that I really did want to cry.  I was so sure.  My amazon cart was full of girl things, never mind the totes upon totes of girl clothes I had collected over the years.   Again with the negotiating between myself and the Lord.  My sadness lasted about 5 hours, and then the comments started rolling in and completely changed my mindset.  Instead of being happy for me, people apologized.

"You're young! You can try for a girl later!"

"Another boy? I'm so sorry!"

"Wow... a houseful of boys? Good luck."

"Maybe once you master raising boys, you'll get a girl!"

I cannot make this stuff up, people.  Almost every comment was negative and apologetic.  I started responding with "Well, it's still a human being so we aren't too upset." Anyway... This pregnancy was painful.  Baylor was transverse the entire time, and my five foot frame struggled carrying that.  I knew he was huge.  I cried a lot, and I threw up even more.  I was crabby and cranky and ridiculously stressed out.  Every time Larsen had a meltdown, I imagined dealing with that AND a newborn.  They would be less than two years apart.  My first two babies were over four years apart.  And to make matters worse, the man who delivered my first two babies was retiring the month before I delivered my third.  It's like the Lord was doing some science experiment... just how uncomfortable can we make her right now? Apparently very.  I sifted through options, and finally found someone I felt comfortable with cutting me open. 
Dewy wanted to come to my first appointment with him, and upon meeting him Dewy requested the doctor prescribe something to make me be nicer.  Dr. Seale laughed, and Dewy and I just shrugged our shoulders.  So there's that.  We set a plan for induction of a C-section, and it started getting serious.

As that day approached, I got more and more nervous.  I had had one delivery that was traumatic, and one that was a breeze.  Which one was this going to be more like? The night before delivery, we had a bit of a hiccup with our building process of our home--because who doesn't try building a house when you are already a hot mess of stress?--and neither of us felt good about doing the priesthood blessing Dewy always gave me the night before delivery under that rage and stress.  The following morning, we got up and Dewy gave me a beautiful blessing.  In that blessing, he promised that I would be strong and courageous and able to endure what was coming.  And in that very moment I knew something was going to go wrong.  I didn't voice my concerns, but instead gave his had a few squeezes in the car.  The prep was pretty standard procedure, and then we got into the operating room.  I got up on the table and was greeted by a different anesthesiologist than I had had previously.  He administered the magic, and within a couple minutes I knew something was wrong.  My doctor had entered the room just prior to the epidural, and was prepping for surgery along with the rest of the room.  I looked at Dewy and told him something was wrong.  I didn't feel right, like, at all. 
He looked up in search of my doctor, and found him staring seriously at the screens monitoring mine and my baby's heart rate.  Then the beeping started, and the chaos ensued.  My heart rate had dropped rapidly, and the baby's had dropped even worse.  Without waiting for the second doctor to ready himself, my doctor looked at the nurse and told her we were getting that baby out right now.  She reminded him that Dr. Palmer wasn't there yet, and he said he didn't have time to wait.  A procedure that normally took 20-30 minutes to get the baby out, took less than three minutes.  I would pay for that later, but my baby was out and immediately rushed from my room.  I ordered Dewy to follow him, and I was left to wait and wonder.  My nurse was a dream, and kept me as up to date on what was happening as she deemed appropriate and needed.  My baby wasn't breathing, but they were working on it.  I laid on that table with silent tears pleading with the Lord that the baby I hadn't even wanted originally would be ok.  It was a harrowing 40 minutes.  When I was stitched back up and wheeled into recovery I gave myself a pep talk.

"Amber, it is going to be fine.  You are brave, and courageous, and the blessing promised you would be ok.  Now put on a brave face, because your family is about to come in."  My dad was the first one in the room.  I think he worries on those mornings, but I've never asked.  As he entered the room, I looked into his face and searched for some kind of assurance.  He immediately broke into a big grin and chuckled.

"Amber, he is so huge." He strode right to my bedside and showed me the picture he had taken through the window.  He still wasn't breathing well, or on his own, but he was ok.  We had brought two names with us to the hospital as options.  Dewy kept trying to tell me that a mom of three boys gets to name the third one whatever she wants.  I corrected him by saying a mom of three boys gets to name the third baby AND get a trip to Mexico.  The options were Baylor Jay or Tanner Jay.  After seeing a picture of him, I knew it was Baylor.  Tanner seemed a little too dainty for the nine pound child that just came out of me.  My hospital stay was fantastic--as any stay would be with on demand food, no laundry to do, and no one demanding a sippy cup of chocolate milk--and I had the greatest nurses.

Baylor is literally everyone's favorite.  He is squishy and delicious and pleasant all the time.  He sleeps from 6:00PM until 7:00AM, eats everything we put in front of him, laughs at everything in his fat, old, man laugh, and wants nothing more than to do whatever his brothers are doing.  He kisses his dad freely, but slaps his mom when she tries.  He is ticklish, and smart, and has some killer dance moves.  Baylor is the perfect book end to the Hodges' clan, although I would have 100 more if I were guaranteed they would be just like him, and we are overjoyed he came.  His presence proves that the Lord's timing is much better than ours, and that he knows exactly what we need.  This baby is a dream come true, and the perfect calm to our chaos.  Dewy says I can't keep saying he is my favorite, but the other two aren't trying very hard to dethrone him so...
 

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