Numbers Game

Tomorrow I'll be 34 weeks pregnant. This means I have about 6 weeks left until my due date, or 3-4 weeks until I'm full term, or 8 weeks until my doctor gets officially nervous. Our baby boy is due to be born in the seventh month of the year of the dragon, just like his mama was almost 36 years ago. To me that seems wonderous, almost spellbinding. I think about it often; months ago, back when I was sure I was having another little girl, the young man giving me a pedicure educated me on this particular year of the dragon and how 2012 was a tremendously lucky time to have a child - any child. In China, he said, IVF rates were up since everyone wanted this to be the year they gave birth. He and his wife were due to have a girl. "But it's especially lucky," he told me, "if you're having a boy."

We haven't settled on a name yet, and I have to admit that my spellbound mind drifts to variations on seven and dragon often to honor his emergence in a fortuitous time. This doesn't mix well with being married to a scientist, who believes in luck but not numbers luck. I kind of agree, but I also like the idea of cultural luck - the kind of luck that one hopes for simply because everyone seems to universally agree that it's a good thing. What can being born in the year of the dragon protect you from, or guide you to? I don't know, but for 36 years, it's worked for me very, very well. I have had cascades of luck and joy for years and years.

His due date, sonogram-adjusted five days back from my confidently assessed 7/18 date, lands on my grandmother's birthday. This is lucky for me, because we've never heard the end of how woeful it is that I was born on my grandfather's birthday, July 1. Far from being happy about my grandfather's joy at our connection, my grandma has actually cried on July 1 about the fact that she and I don't share a birthday, 2 weeks later.  When I told her that we expected her great-grandson on her birthday, she was overjoyed, and has trumpeted this fact throughout her small Missourian farming community. I doubt any member of her church does not know. At 88, she deserves a few gifts here and there, and I was grateful to give her one.

But when I looked up the actual day, I realized that it was a Friday the 13th. This was a little disarming. Technically, I'm not superstitious, but you can't think seven is good luck and not harbor some suspicion about thirteen.  Then again, only one in twenty babies is born on his or her due date.

Our beautiful three year old was due on Christmas day. "How terrible!" people exclaimed. She was born three days early in the middle of a huge snowstorm, a snowstorm I'll always vividly remember with intense love and the ultimate warmth. Bringing her home on Christmas Eve was the most joyful, overwhelming experience I could imagine.

Aside from the Chinese, the most frequent comment I get about being due in July is, "that's terrible!" I don't know exactly what to say, but I usually deflect it with a "Really? I think it's wonderful,"which is a conversation stopper, but at least leaves me feeling somewhat satisfied. I'm not sure when people need a child to be born - I apparently have not ever gotten it right - but in the end I don't care a lot about the due date. I care a lot about bringing children into our family as soon, as soon, as soon as we are truly ready for them to join us. And we're ready - despite the name, and some 2-kid trepidation, and some initial shock about not having two girls (OK, that was just me) - we're ready.