Thursday, May 17, 2012


Just the thought of writing this post has brought me to tears a few times today.

May 17, 2012--My baby boy is 2,400 miles away and it will be the first time on this date that I can't feel his hug.
May 17, 2012--My baby boy has been gone for 366 days today--one half of his mission is complete.
May 17, 2012--My baby boy turns twenty today.

The story of my large family hinged on Tucker's safe and timely birth.  Heidi's birth had been so traumatic and dangerous that if the same complications happened a second time, then our family size would be limited to just two.

 April 1992 with Heidi
 After successfully scoring high on the LSAT, Brad began applying to  top-five law schools all over the country, and we recognized that our time in idyllic Orem, Utah, was winding to a close.  Leaving Orem would mean leaving our full-coverage health insurance provided by Brad's employer, WordPerfect (remember them?)--$25 copay required for an entire pregnancy, no matter the complications.  Once Baby was born, then we had to shell out an additional $25.  They certainly don't make health plans like they used to, do they?  Heidi's birth had been so traumatic and dangerous and expensive that we knew our next child had to be born under full health coverage. Heidi was only eight months old when we came to this conclusion--eight months old and ten pounds.
July 1992--six weeks old
We had only tried one month to get pregnant the first time, but our window for delivery was limited--May through August when we anticipated leaving for law school, depending on where Brad was accepted--so we decided it was time.
Less than two weeks later, I was pregnant--pregnant and nursing an eight-month-old daughter who refused to take a bottle.  This was an emotional time for me.  I was still very young (just turned 22), and I didn't know your body could support a fetus and a nursing baby at the same time.  I panicked.  I remember praying, "Please let Heidi learn to take a bottle so that I can devote all my energy to this new baby."  And the next day, Heidi remembered the joys of the artificial nipple.

Christmas 1993--eighteen months old
I want to save Heidi's story for her birthday, but let me just interject here that she was born by emergency C-section because I had pre-eclampsia.  That whole experience left me scared and paranoid for how my body would react to the new intruder over the next eight months.  I had switched from Heidi's doctor to a new one (just realized he delivered NieNie's Charlotte), and Dr. J was kind about my paranoia.  He let me come into the office as often as I wanted to check my blood pressure and urine, just to be sure everything was normal and safe.
Even though this was my second pregnancy, I had never been past 31 weeks or experienced a single labor pain, so this was all new territory for me.  I got bigger and bigger and more and more miserable.  The farther along I got, the more I realized that I hadn't missed out on anything the first time around.

Christmas 1995--Mesa, AZ
My due date was May 18, but starting around the first of the month I began counting and timing contractions.  Despite never being in agonizing pain, the contractions were less than five minutes apart for over two hours, and I knew this was the night--the middle of the night.

My maternal grandparents lived a few miles straight up 8th East, and Grandma had volunteered to keep her "Heidi Baby-Doll" when I went into labor.  Despite the late/early hour of 1 am, I picked up the phone and half-spoke, half-yelled to my nearly deaf grandpa that it was time for the baby.  I could hear the excitement in his 81-year-old voice as he hung up the phone, and I could see the joy on my grandma's 76-year-old face as she ushered mini little Heidi into the bedroom and showed her the little bed made up just for her on Grandma's floor--a place Heidi had slept many times as I was finishing up my degree at BYU.

Brad asked my grandpa to assist him in giving me a blessing, then Grandpa gave me one of his own--probably the only time in my life that he had done so--and we were off to the hospital.

1996--Kindergarten, in his Tigger shirt
I don't remember all the details, but after four-five hours in the hospital and not progressing at all, I was sent home, humiliated with the words, "This is her second baby?"  ringing in my ears.  We pulled up to my grandparents' house to take Heidi home.  To say I was discouraged doesn't describe it.

A week later, my grandparents received a second middle-of-the night phone call, and they were almost as excited this second time--greeted at the door, bed made on the floor.  A few hours later, we were back again--a second false alarm.  This was becoming a joke.  And I repeated this whole humiliating circumstance once more before the week was over.

1997--first grade
 May 16, 1992--I had an appointment with Dr. J and he stripped my membranes, promising me that this would surely do the job.  Later that night--really late that night--I called my sainted grandma and told her that this was it--my water had broken.  We carried Heidi into the dark house, and before I could see any life inside, I heard Grandpa say, "Mumma, is she EVER gonna have that baby?"  She replied, "Yes, Dad.  Her water broke this time."  This was the first inclination of how I had imposed upon them.

1998--toothless at his baptism, age 8
I was admitted to the hospital and labor progressed pretty well.  I had the epidural and I could rest some, but I was nervous to have a baby vaginally--the pain, the fear, and the epidural wasn't working right.  I could feel everything.  Why was this happening?

1999-third grade
The anesthesiologist entered the room per my request for the third or fourth time that night, and he told me that the medicine was working and he couldn't give me any more.  To prove his point, he asked me to move one of my "numb" legs.  He was standing even with the end of the bed, and he was lucky he had such good reflexes, because I aimed a strong kick right at his abdomen.  After that response, he left the room and came back with more medicine.  
2000-01--fourth grade
 It never did work right.  Delivering Baby #2 was akin to most women's first deliveries since no one had paved the path yet.  At 6 am I started pushing.  And pushing.  And pushing.  Nothing happened.  Nothing changed.  Not a thing.  After two hours of excruciating pain and no progress, the doctor on call (Dr. J was not on call that night) checked me and discovered Baby was posterior and couldn't descend far enough to deliver.  He inserted forceps one at a time and proceeded to turn.  After a quarter turn I felt Baby stubbornly fight back against the intrusion and then I watched the forceps return to their original position as the doctor muttered, "oh, oh, oh."  Offended by this stubborn baby, the doctor said, "You can't come out like that, Baby."  And he grabbed those tongs and yanked baby around to an anterior position.  I watched and felt Baby complete a flip--it was one of the weirdest things I've ever experienced. 

2002--karate in fifth grade
 Moments later, at 9:03 am on May 17, 1992, I delivered a healthy 8 lb. 1 oz. 20 1/2" baby boy with a head in the 95th percentile.  He was absolutely beautiful and perfect and breathing and . . . mine.  His successful birth with no complications brought with it the promise of more Denton babies to follow.

2003--sixth grade
 These were the days way before routine ultrasounds--even though I was a high-risk pregnancy, I hadn't had even one, so no one knew what we were getting.  I was thrilled to have a boy--now what to name him?  Brad liked Zane and Rex, neither of which I could say with a straight face.  Really?  The name I loved was Christian.  I had loved it for years and that's where my mind settled.  Brad came to his senses and migrated to Tucker, my maiden name.  Baby was born six days after my dad's birthday--what could be better?
2004--twelve  years old with Micah just minutes old
I had grown up with a name one letter from the most offensive word in the English language, and I had no desire to assign that weight to my beautiful new baby.  Kids are cruel.  Why would I purposely do this?  In the end, we compromised and named him Tucker Christian, but he would go by Christian.
2005--eighth grade
That sounds so weird now, but as I watch home movies from the first four months of his life and hear him called by his middle name, I wonder what I was thinking.  Law school sent us to Chicago in September, and at that time, not knowing a soul in our new city, we decided to make the break and call him Tucker.  It was a difficult transition, from Christian to Tucker C and then just Tucker by the time he was three.  Now he could never be anything else but our Tucker.  His name has always been a perfect fit for him.

2006--ninth grade
 T was born with a strong will that has taken many hours of strong parenting. He has always had a black and white outlook on life--he knows what is right and nothing, NOTHING will sway him from it.  He was doing frameless puzzles before he was two, and he has always let you know how smart he is. Around the time he turned five we began calling him Tigger for his boundless energy and lack of focus. I fought and fought with him to audition for his first play, then I basked in the joy of finding his love of performing.

2007--looking cool

2008--humanitarian trip to Mozambique with Brad
 2009--in Thoroughly Modern Millie
I love Tucker's firm commitment to the things he knows are right.  I love hearing his singing ring through the house, the door slam and his keys hit the drawer when he gets home.  I love his laugh and especially his hugs. Sending him out on a mission has been the best thing ever for him--it has tempered him in some ways and made him even stronger in others. I miss him more that I ever thought I could, but I wouldn't want him anywhere else. Even though he can't read my blog while he's serving a mission, I hope he can feel my birthday wishes from so far away.
 2010--eighteen years old


 2012--with his favorite mission companion, Elder Clement
His favorite elementary teacher once told me during a conference that "Tucker will change the world one day.  He just has to pick the day."

I have a feeling that that day is getting closer.

366 days down.  I'll pass one more May 17th with him gone.  And then I'll get another one of his rib-busting hugs.

You can bet I'm counting.


  1. When we prayed for Tucker this morning on his birthday I had sweet warm feelings of nostalgia that brought a smile to my face. When I read your blog about my Mom and Dad, the tears started and then the memories of our boy released the floods. How I love him!!

  2. How you must miss your Tucker - but your pride jumps off the page. Your son is setting an example for his younger siblings - teaching lessons that no educator could plan. It's been lovely to follow his progress and to learn a little about the purpose of his journey and the faith that inspires it.

  3. I really enjoyed learning more about you and your sweet boy.
    I hope the next year passes by leaps and bounds and he is back in your arms again.

  4. I loved reading all about Tucker's birth story, and I also loved reading this post in general because it brought back so many memories.

    I literally ached for my boys when they were gone, but that coming home hug is the BEST thing ever!!


  5. I seriously laughed out loud during your post! That Jenny personality sure shines through all your children! I had a great hug from your Benny Boy and it was almost as good as Tuc! We sure miss our boys but I will strongly second that we wouldn't want them anywhere else!

    I started my next countdown until we get to talk - 222 days!
    Love you!

  6. I was talking to someone who knows another missionary who left the same day as Tucker, and he already has his release date as May 9th with the end of the closest transfer, so who knows- maybe you'll get him back for his next birthday after all! And if not, then it'll just be a few more days later! ahh!

  7. This last year will go twice as fast as the first. I loved your one likes to be sent home three times!

  8. That was a sweet post. I know you feel like the days have been dragging but it really flies.

    He's changing the world right now!

  9. Ah, nice birthday post! He's a special boy, no doubt about it. I liked reading about how you chose his name. It's give and take, isn't it? With our oldest I was in love with names like Evan and Patrick. Daddy was campaigning for Trajon. (yuck...) We settled on Rexford - Rex for short. So you see, I liked Brad's choice too. And the name totally suits him, as I'm sure Tucker's does too. His homecoming will be sweet, won't it?

  10. May is such an amazing month! (2 of my Miracles were born this month) and it looks like I'm not the only one that thinks so highly of May :o)

    I remember him as he was in that picture holding Micah...

    He is a lucky boy to have such a loving mom - and what a lucky mom you are to have such a choice individual to raise. Happy Birthday to him - and I sure hope this next year flies by for you!

  11. Loved this post!! I hope he has a wonderful birthday. And yes, you wouldn't want him anywhere else. I bet you didn't have trouble knowing when you were in labor anymore. :)

  12. Man I love that kid!!!! Those pics just made me happy, especially him holding Micah, THAT is the Tuck tuck I remember. He truly is an awesome soul, and he turned out so darn handsome and good! Love that he was stubborn even "pre birth" hahaha. He was gonna do things HIS way, no matter what. Oh, and finally...I may have giggled at you in that enormous tent dress, all pregnanted out. You are so tiny and that dress was just so....roomy.

  13. I am always impressed with the details that you remember for each birth. I only have two children and sometimes I get their birth story details mixed up.

  14. What a great story. Isn't crazy how many details we can still remember. I too love the name story. I tell my patients all the time...they will make the name. Don't worry, you'll see. I love how it worked out for Tucker. I know you are so proud and we are all looking forward to reading about his homecoming!

  15. When I read that he was in Jamaica Queens I had to smile, we rode the AirTrain from JFK right through there, and transferred in that station to the Subway when we were in NYC. We even walked down to the McDonalds and ate, imagine if we had seen him?? How freaked out would he have been :) I hope he had a fabulous birthday/anniversary all rolled into one. I am sure this next year will fly by!

  16. This post was so beautiful, thank you for sharing Tucker with us. You must miss him something terrible.. He will be home soon just not soon enough right.. Blessings..

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