My husband and I got married young and couldn’t wait to become parents. We both come from families with two children, a boy and a girl. We assumed that we would have two children, and of course, we’d get one of each.
We were elated when our first son was born. He was the first grandchild on both sides. He hung the moon.
I was pretty surprised when we got pregnant two years later with, what turned out to be, another boy. He was born just before my older son’s 3rd birthday. We were all nuts about him.
We had discussed having a third, on and off, but the reality of having two boys (one of whom has special needs) was just about all we could handle. Our lives were rich and full, and we were very happy. When baby number two was 18 months old, I went back to work part-time, and was fulfilled in every way.
The next few years flew by. Whenever someone would ask if we were done having kids, I’d say “Oh yes, we are beyond diapers and naps–we can travel. We are done, done, done.” But every time I said that, I heard a little voice in the back of my head that disagreed. I muffled that voice for a long time. It didn’t make sense to have another baby. But secretly, I wanted one… and I really wanted it to be a girl.
Secretly, at night, when everyone was asleep, I started to think about having another baby. I read blogs on the topic. I Googled. In a desperate moment I even asked Siri. I couldn’t decide what to do. Having a baby would turn our world as we knew it upside down. Would the boys forgive us if we threw a baby into the mix? Every time I saw a friend announce a pregnancy, I was happy for them and jealous at the same time.
That year seemed to be a pivotal one for our family and friends. We watched several friends deal with fertility issues. We watched friends lose pregnancies and babies. My husband’s beloved father (AKA Grandpa Billy) passed away after a long battle with cancer. It was one of those years where you truly realize how precious life is, and you examine your own.
I realized that being a mother is exactly what I had been looking forward to doing my entire life. Before I knew it, the boys—then 5 and 8–would be out of the house and that chapter of our lives would be done. I wanted another baby for a different reason now. I wanted one because I wanted to extend this wonderful part of our journey. If we didn’t have another baby, we’d be empty nesters by the age of 46. That was way too young for me.
So I gently broached the subject with my husband. I told him exactly what I had been thinking.
“I know we’ve discussed this before, but I’ve been thinking a lot about it lately,” I told him. “Life is short, and I’m having so much fun right now. I don’t want this part of our lives to end in 10 years. What do you think about having one more?”
“I’ve been thinking the exact same thing,” he said.
Six weeks later, we found out we were pregnant.
Six weeks after that, through a series of really fantastic events, Taylor Swift helped me announce it.
Six weeks after that, we went for the ultrasound which would determine the gender. I was nervous. I didn’t sleep. Of course, I would be thrilled with a healthy baby boy, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t really want a girl.
“There’s no question about it,” the ultrasound tech said. “This baby is 100% a girl.”
My ears are still ringing from the screams on the phone when I called the Grandmas. I surprised the boys at pick-up with a car full of pink balloons. One of them was elated. One of them was not.
That baby girl is about to turn 1. She is the light of all of our lives. She has brought joy to our family that was grieving a loss. We named her after her Grandpa Billy. Her name is Billie.
Her brothers are turning 7 and 10. She has made them more caring and patient. They compete over who can sit next to her in the car, and who gets the most laughs. She squeals and kicks her legs when she sees them.
Now, I can’t leave the house without a diaper bag. The boys played a bit too much Minecraft (for my liking, not theirs) while I was nursing and rocking the baby. The vacations and road trips are on hold for a bit. My professional life is taking a hiatus. We can’t just run out to dinner when I forget to cook. I’m a slave to naps again. We are tired. But that is all OK. I know how temporary this phase is.
There isn’t a moment that I am not insanely grateful for her. I feel the need to pinch myself daily. It had been six years since I had a baby in this house. This time I know how quickly it’s going to go by. Now I’ll be 52 when she leaves for college. That’s more palatable to me. I feel complete. The tubes are tied. I know I’m done. I’m content. And I don’t even need to ask Siri this time.