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My last baby is about to lose a tooth —
Sigh. Smile.

Leigh-Mary Hoffmann“God doesn’t make mistakes.”  While I may have questioned this idea at one time or another, my youngest child Ryan is certainly proof of this sentiment.

I wouldn’t say the news of my third pregnancy was a total shocker.  I mean, I always knew that doing THAT activity, without THAT thing, could end up with THAT result. However, on that July afternoon, I took a test on a teeny weenie, teensy tiny hunch. Two lines. Boom!

This wasn’t my first rodeo. I was calm. I was happy. Third time is a charm, right?

Fast forward two months and the circumstances of our family changed. If you know me, you already know all the gory details. And if you don’t know me, those details aren’t important. Let’s just say, I moved back home with my parents, along with my 5-year old daughter, 3-year-old son and a baby in my belly.

This pregnancy was draining. Both physically and mentally.

And I grew. A lot. Both physically and emotionally.

And I cried. A lot. Both physically and on the inside.

As they say — it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Actually, it seemed like just the worst of times.

On March 13, 2008, I went to my OB/GYN for a check-up.  My feet were too swollen for shoes — I had to wear flip flops. My hands looked like someone inflated them with an air pump. Following my office visit, I did not pass go. I did not collect $200. I went directly to the hospital for a C-section that would take place later that evening. This baby was coming out. Emotionally and physically, my body was done.

It was all very surreal. My mother, godmother and one of my best friends stayed with me until it was time to go into the operating room. Then, it was just me, my mother and about four or five men and women dressed in scrubs. Following an epidural and lots of poking and probing, my son entered our lives. But he wasn’t crying like he should have been. I knew something wasn’t right but thankfully, after what seemed like forever, he started screaming once the nurses sucked all the goop (that’s a medical term, right?) out of his mouth, nose, etc. My third child — Ryan Michael — was here. Amen.

Ryan was in the NICU for several days due to some breathing issues. Honestly, it is all a bit of a blur, but I don’t think I was able to hold him until day three of my hospital stay. But when I finally waddled my way down to him in the NICU and was able to hold this sweet baby in my arms, I knew he was meant to be — meant to save and complete me. And he has. More than he will ever know. (Bonus: Ironically, Ryan looks just like me while my first two children look just like their father. I think someone “upstairs” was throwing me a bone with this one!)

Fast forward, again, to today. In less than a month, my little boy will turn 6 years old. Until now, I have been able to keep him my baby boy. We even still call him “the baby.” Yesterday, my “baby” told me he had his first loose tooth. I have been dreading this day. His little chicklet tooth is going to fall out soon, and an “adult” tooth with take its place. What’s more…this is the last time one of my children will lose a first tooth. It’s the last time I will be the mother of a baby.

Don’t get me wrong.  I look forward to every moment I will share with Ryan — with all of my children — as they grow into young adults. But along with all the tell-tale signs that I will never have another child (ummmm…I am 40. I have MS. I remarried and now have FIVE children — ages 6-14.  Need I go on?), Ryan losing his first tooth will be the end of the “having a baby in the house” road for me. Sigh. Tear.

From that “sort-of-a-surprise” positive pregnancy test result I got that July afternoon to figuring out how much the tooth fairy’s going rate is these days, it has been the best of times; it has been the worst of times. Actually, it has just been the best of times. Sigh. Smile.

—Leigh-Mary Hoffmann

Leigh-Mary Hoffmann is a mom, public relations specialist and humor blogger from Long Island, N.Y., juggling a family, a job and a busy, crazy life. She tells it like it is — the good, the bad and the ugly — and tries to keep a smile on her face and laughter in her life. Her life story “reads like a cross between the lyrics of a ‘feel-good’ country song and the script from an ‘I feel so bad for her’ Lifetime Movie of the Week.”  She invites you to visit her blog or stop by her Facebook page for all the gory (but not in a gross way, more like “funny”) details.

Reflections of Erma