Our Five Ring Circus: How My Family Scared Off A Police Officer

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

How My Family Scared Off A Police Officer

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Every family has a funny story to tell. It's the kind of story that gets told over and over again. It's the kind of story that will never be forgotten. It is so good that it quickly becomes THE family story. Our family story involves a pregnant mama, a car full of kids, and one completely overwhelmed police officer. 

As I was going through the list of blog posts that I still have to publish (the list is SO long), I realized that I hadn't shared this story yet! Actually, in the midst of a tough pregnancy and the exhausting days with a newborn, we didn't even share it with many people. But those who heard it laughed right along with us!  It's certainly a moment Grant, Dylan, Lexie, Lily, Liam, and I will never forget!

Let me set the scene: picture an overwhelmed husband, a sick wife, a newly discovered surprise pregnancy, a car jam-packed full of kids and luggage, and 611 miles to drive home...

We were on our family vacation to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, when I found out I was pregnant with our fifth child. 24 hours after the realization that our lives were about to change - again - the debilitating morning sickness kicked in. We were shook (as Lexie would say), but once you have four, what's one more?!?

If you know me or followed along with some of my pregnancies through my blog or social media, you know that I get hyperemesis gravidarum with each of my pregnancies. It kicks in shortly after conception, and lasts until the day I deliver. Some people wondered how we missed it, so here's the scoop: When your very sick child passes his germs on to you, and you end up very sick leading up to vacation, you completely miss the fact that the nausea and vomiting you were experiencing was actually pregnancy. Liam and I had the exact same symptoms - sore throat, fever, cough, stuffy nose, chest congestion, upset stomach, and vomiting. He was in and out of the hospital, and I was sick for two full weeks, so I just assumed that's all it was. Nothing had changed, and it had been 5 years since we had our last child. We were DONE having kids! (Or so we thought...)

On our first day of vacation, I put my swimsuit on so we could go to the pool. I hadn't worn one in several weeks, and my belly looked suspiciously round. I just shrugged it off as bloating, but as the night went on, I realized I wasn't feeling my best, and I couldn't remember when my last period was. The excitement of being at the beach took over, but I couldn't get rid of the nagging feeling, so I mentioned it to Grant. He laughed, and said there was no way I could be pregnant!

The next day, we sat down for dinner, and it hit. The dreaded morning sickness. As I raced toward the bathroom, Grant called behind me, "Well, there's our answer!" Long story short - I was pregnant, and we didn't even need a pregnancy test to confirm because the morning sickness kicked in full force, and never went away. (I did confirm a week later, and it was positive in one second!)

The rest of our family vacation was a bit rough, because I was sick, so we had to tell Dylan and Lexie. They were beyond thrilled, which made it a wee bit exciting! (Lily was, as well, when we told her a week later.) The fact that they were all so excited made the news easier to handle, but it was still a shock for weeks to come. The biggest surprise, however, was the fact that I was already 10 weeks pregnant when we found out! As you all know, we didn't share the news until I was 20 weeks pregnant. It was kind of fun keeping it to ourselves, but definitely hard to hide.

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So...let's go back to that last day of vacation as we crammed ourselves into my SUV, and started the LONG trek home!

When we left Myrtle Beach, we had a 12 hour drive ahead of us. Let me just say that a long road trip + morning sickness is NOT a good combination. Our 12 hour drive became even longer, because we had to stop frequently for fresh air. I had barf bags piled on my lap, and had to hang my head out the window many times. I was nibbling crackers and sipping coca cola, but my nausea just kept getting worse the longer we were in the car. It. Was. Torture.

Thankfully, my kids are excellent travelers, and my husband is good in stressful situations. Darkness fell, and the realization that we still had hours to go hit us. Things quickly went from bad to worse. As we drove along a busy interstate in West Virginia, I told Grant I had to get out of the car. NOW. The nearest exit, however, was miles away. Grant picked up speed, and told me to hang in there. I lifted the barf bag to my mouth, and prepared for another violent sick spell.

That was the moment we both noticed the flashing lights behind us. Grant pulled over, and sure enough, the police car pulled over behind us. It had been over 15 years since my husband got a speeding ticket. I have never been pulled over. And my kids have never been in a car that got pulled over. Grant swore, I gagged and said I was going to be sick, Dylan, Lexie, and Lily were stunned into terrified silence, and Liam, who loves sirens, immediately started yelling, "wee-woo, wee-woo, wee-woo, wee-woo!" We were literally the definition of chaos.

The police officer walked up to the driver's side window, introduced himself, and said, "Sir, do you realize you were going 80? The speed limit is 65."  Meanwhile, Liam was still wee-wooing to his heart's content, and I was dry heaving into a barf bag. My husband quickly apologized. "Yes, officer. I'm so sorry. My wife just found out she is pregnant, and she gets really sick. We still have a 3 hour drive ahead of us, and I was trying to make it to the next rest stop so she didn't have to get out on the side of the road."

At that point, he officially took in the scene. Me dry heaving into a barf bag, three sets of terrified eyes staring back at him, a wee-wooing kid, and luggage piled from floor to ceiling. I officially couldn't control myself anymore. I told them, "I have to get out of the car! I have to get out right now! I'm going to be sick. Can I please get out?" 

Without pause, the police officer said yes, get out of the car. So I did. I opened my door, stepped out onto the dirty shoulder of a busy interstate in my bare feet, and got violently ill on the side of the road, as cars flew by. I turned around to see the bewildered cop glance at my husband, look back at our kids, no doubt counting how many and possibly realizing that Liam was differently abled, look in my direction, and look back at my husband. He met my husband's eyes with pity - I kid you not - and stumbled over his words, "I'm so sorry. I'm sorry. Just...just slow down and be careful, okay?" As Grant assured him that he would slow down, I started dry heaving again. The police officer looked completely overwhelmed, and he ran - literally RAN - back to his car, and sped off before I even turned back around!

I climbed back in the car, buckled my seat belt, and Grant carefully pulled back onto the interstate. A full minute of silence went by. I think we were all feeling shock and disbelief. Grant finally broke the silence with a bout of laughter. Soon, Dylan, Lexie, and I joined in. 

Grant could barely speak through his laughter. "I can't believe that just happened! I thought, for sure, I was going to get a ticket. That kind of stuff only happens in the movies. But it worked! The 'my wife is pregnant' excuse was legit and it worked. You actually scared him off, and he was TERRIFIED of us! That poor guy just wanted to get away from us as quickly as possible!" 

My response? "Honestly? I think he felt bad for YOU, and figured four kids, a sick wife, and another on the way was enough for you to handle!"

Whether it was sympathy, or just plain fear of a vomiting woman, we were very thankful that the police officer cut Grant a break. Grant did slow down - a little bit - and the rest of the drive home was rough, but we made it. And now we have a really funny story to tell about the overwhelmed cop who ran away from our family! Welcome to the circus!

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What is your funny family story?

How My Family Scared Off A Police Officer / Large Family Life / Down syndrome blog


  1. That's so funny. Dave got pulled over when I was pregnant too, I was in the hospital because I'd just broken my ankle and Dave was going to buy me the meds I needed. His lights weren't on so he got pulled over. But actually having the pregnant wife barfing in the car definitely proves that excuse is true!

  2. Oh gosh, this is a wonderful story! That poor copy. But really, poor you! What a trip home. Ugh.


  3. Oh my goodness, I just laughed out loud! This is sad - and hilarious! When I was in labor, I was terrified we were going to get pulled over because Ryan was speeding so much haha I kept telling it was fine, baby wasn't going to be born on the freeway! Oh, the memories you'll have!

  4. Oh my gosh, that's hilarious! Y'all will be telling this story for a long time to come, I'm sure!

  5. That's hilarious!! :D Love the pics of your kids on the grass!


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