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The Earth Moved--Now Baby Makes 3 : This couple have taken pride in their long line of non-human 'babies.' But it took an act of God to bless them with a little girl.

October 30, 1994|STAN SELLERS | Stan Sellers of North Hills is an actor and comedian

Two days after the Jan. 17 earthquake, when phone service returned to normal, I called my mother in Washington. I told her that we had no utilities, no sleep and that aftershocks continued to roll.

My mother reminded me of a few prayers to add to the 50 I was already repeating, and she also said: "Something good will come out of this." At the time, I could not imagine what. But she was right. Say hello to Sabrina Shereen Sellers, born Oct. 21, 1994, at Northridge Hospital Medical Center.

During the week after the quake I remember listening to Michael Jackson on KABC radio. In between the geologist and seismologist talking about shifts, plates and probabilities, Jackson spoke with a "noted psychologist" who was doling out advice.

The psychologist said one way to relieve stress before a disaster, after a disaster and sometimes during a disaster is by making love. Sorry. Between cleaning up, insurance woes and other headaches we were not in the mood. Or so we thought. Guess that explains the aftershocks.

In February, my wife confirmed that she was pregnant. When the doctor said the due date was Oct. 17, we giggled like two teen-agers caught kissing.

Later we breathed a sigh of relief. We had been married for 12 years, and many of our friends and family thought we would never have children. My mother would ask, "Is it going to take an act of God for you to have kids?" Now we know.

Although Sabrina is our first child, she is not our first baby. My wife and I have had a total of 14 babies, none of them children.

Our first arrived in November, 1984, weighing in at approximately 2,000 pounds and costing $3,000. She was a blue 1980 Volkswagen Rabbit Diesel. I named her Bugsy. I knew nothing about diesels or how to drive a four-speed. I just knew that I needed a car and the rest I would learn. I learned that diesels got 45 to 50 miles to the gallon. I also learned that in 1984, a gallon cost $2.26. I leaned that diesels don't have to pass an emissions test. I also learned that if given the test, the car would fail. My car put out enough black smoke to make the entire Valley yell fire.

I sent snapshots of my Rabbit and me to my family. My mother showed the pictures to her friends. "This is my son's baby," she said. "Her name's Bugsy." I think she went too far when she told me, "That car favors your father's side of the family. It's wide in the rear like your Aunt Louise."

Friends took pity on my wife and me for not having children. Whenever people called us they would ask, "How is the car?" "Fine," I'd say, admiring Bugsy from the window.

Bugsy and I had a great relationship. I kept her washed and greased. Bugsy took me where I needed to be. Until December, 1989. That's when the Rabbit died.

I didn't miss Bugsy for long because by this time my wife and I had 12 new babies: rosebushes named No. 1 through 12. We took pictures of each other standing by our rosebushes in our best "American Gothic" pose. We babied the roses. We gave them the best food, the best pruning, the best training. OK, the best years of our lives. And when people called, they would now ask, "How are the rosebushes?" "Lovely!" I'd say like the proud parent.

In 1990 we took on more responsibility. We bought a dog. A yellow Labrador retriever that we named Sidney. Sidney ate all of our 12 other babies. Seven months later he failed obedience school. My wife and I thought to ourselves, what next? Will he start hanging out with the Rottweilers and the pit bulls? We wondered where we went wrong.

By this time most of our friends were having kids and sending us their pictures. Not to be outdone, my wife and I countered with pictures of Sidney. We put pictures of Sidney in our wallets. One night at a party, I actually argued with a woman over whose baby was better--her daughter versus my dog. "My Stephanie has a rash" she bragged. "My Sidney has fleas," I countered. "Stephanie learned her ABCs." "Sidney learned to heel." "Stephanie said her first word." "Sidney barks at disco." "Stephanie's potty-trained." "Oh, yeah? Well, Sidney poops in the yard. And he can take his hind legs and scratch behind his ears. Can your kid do that?" She could.

Of course my mother bragged about the dog's failures. "This is my son's dog, Sidney. He failed obedience school." And whenever people called, they would always ask, "How is Sidney? Is he still eating rosebushes?" My breaking point came when a neighbor called me Sidney's dad. Great. Have you met my son? He eats rosebushes.

Now we have Sabrina, and the dog takes a back seat to her needs. It's also pay-back time for all of our friends who sent us pictures of the one they thought was the most beautiful baby in the world. Of course the first person I'll be looking for is Stephanie's mother.

A few days after my wife realized she was pregnant, we went in to see her physician. During an ultrasound test, he pointed to something on the screen pulsating, and said: "That's the heartbeat." He had never been a man of much emotion, but on this day he smiled brightly and told my wife, "Sara, it's your time. Everybody has a time, and now it's yours." And a time to every purpose under heaven! Including earthquakes.

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