So the other night when it was time to go to bed, Annie climbed into her toddler bed. Thinking "we'll see how long this lasts" we let her go to sleep there.......and she slept there the whole night without getting up! Shocking! She actually fell out of bed at some time during the night and continued sleeping on the floor (we have guard rails up now.) She has continued sleeping there every night since without getting up......I guess when she makes up her mind to do something, she does it! I've said this a million times and I'll say it a million more: Annie is so different from Madelynn!
I've been asked this question a lot lately. I'm not sure how to answer. I usually say something like "we'll be excited with whatever God gives us." I've been thinking how God has given us an absolutely perfect, complete family.....very different from what I had originally 'planned'. I had 'planned' to have 2 boys first, then maybe a girl....or a third boy, then just one girl. Yet, now I can't even imagine life any different from 3 perfect girls. Would I one day like a boy? Yes....I think....I'm actually not even sure anymore. I could imagine life absolutely perfect with more girls too. You may be thinking "but, what about Jake?" That is actually another comment I get frequently, "your poor husband." I don't think Jake feels like he is missing anything. He feels as complete as I do. He rough-houses and plays sports with the girls just as much as he would with a boy. And the girls just absolutely adore him! Jake can't even go to the bathroom without them banging on the door asking if he's done yet. When he comes home they scream at the top of their lungs as they nearly kill themselves racing to hug him.
I don't think I'm going to 'try' for anything. I'm going to continue to have faith that God knows exactly what is perfect for our family.
Here is a great article I read about another family of 3 girls. While it's not exactly like our family (the first daughter is adopted, she had lost her son, and they are Jewish;) it still holds the same sentiments I feel about having a family of girls.
We did not find out ahead of time the gender of our new baby. It was fun to speculate with Katie and Annie Rose about whether they would end up with a little sister or a little brother.
Annie Rose expressed a preference for a brother. Halfway through my pregnancy, she declared, “If the baby is a girl, I will respect her, but I won’t love her.”
“Respect is a good place to start,” I told her.
Whenever I was out somewhere without the girls, strangers would notice my big belly and ask,
“Do you know what you are having?”
“We’re not finding out. Keeping it a surprise.”
“Is this your first?”
“No,” I would reply. “My third.”
“Oh, what do you have at home already?”
“I have two little girls.”
“Maybe this time you will get a boy!” was always the response.
The above conversation played out countless times over the past nine months. It astonished me how many people assumed I was hoping for a boy, expecting a boy, needing a boy for our family to feel complete.
The baby was born three weeks ago. She is most definitely not a boy. And we are delighted with her. In fact, when she was born and I saw that she was a girl, I realized that a girl was exactly what I wanted. (I think if the baby had been a boy, I probably would have felt that a boy was exactly what I wanted).
Quite simply, I want whatever I have. I once had a boy. My first pregnancy was a boy, a desperately sick little boy. I do not have him now.
Every time someone asks me if I want a boy, I think about my first baby. When people comment that our family only “makes girls”, I remember him and I know that in an alternate universe, we would have a 7-year-old son right now.
I have several other friends who also lost their first babies. Curiously, each of us has gone on to have single-gender families, with our surviving children being the opposite sex of our lost children.
And frankly, we all want what we have. We are grateful to be parents, and we would never trade the children we have for those we lost.
Cleo is the ninth girl in a row for my parents. My mom and dad have four daughters and five granddaughters. There are no sons or grandsons. Although my parents would have gone a little crazy buying blue things if Cleo had been a boy, they don’t love her any less because she is a girl.
I am actually relieved that Cleo doesn’t have a penis, because I didn’t have to deal with a bris (the Jewish circumcision ceremony on the eighth day of life). The postpartum hormone drop was formidable between days four and eight, and it would have been quite a feat to pull off a bris. I could barely make it through breakfast without crying.
For those few days that I had the baby blues, I wept at just about anything. I cried because I was in pain from the delivery and breastfeeding; I cried because my older girls were being difficult. I cried because Cleo was up all night (and still is). I cried because I couldn’t find time to write or paint or shower or clean my house. I cried because Cleo would be my last baby and as miserable as I felt, I was still sad that she was already starting the irreversible process of growing older.
But one thing I did not cry about is the fact that Cleo is a girl.
I look at my little trio and I see years ahead of ballet recitals, princess costumes, pink ribbons and braided pigtails. But I also see years of soccer games, Star Wars toys, softball tournaments and rough-housing. For the past two years I have coached Katie’s soccer team, amidst a sea of male coaches, and it has been great fun to watch my little girl learn to play the sport.
During the years that my parents were raising four daughters, they spent evenings and weekends at our basketball, soccer, softball and baseball games. They attended track and cross-country meets, and they watched tennis matches. In fact, they came to see us perform at far more sporting events than dance recitals.
It is too soon to say what my little girls will want to pursue for their serious extracurricular activities, so right now we dabble in everything. We cart the girls to piano and ballet lessons alongside swim, soccer and art classes. Yes, they do gravitate towards glittery, pink clothes, but we give them the opportunity to embrace so-called “boy clothes” too. Katie loves her White Sox shirt. Annie Rose prefers nudity.
When people say, “poor Andrew” about my husband who lives surrounded by females, I know that in reality Andrew loves being the king of the house. Katie idolizes him so completely that she won’t tell me what she wants for breakfast until she sees what Daddy is eating, so that she can eat the exact same thing.
Andrew and Katie attend White Sox games together and play catch outside. And I don’t think he ever laments the fact that it is a daughter and not a son who joins him in cheering on his favorite teams.
And now that Cleo is here, Annie Rose assured me that she does love her. She calls her the “sweet chicken” and smothers her with kisses every chance she gets. Ironically, Annie Rose loves Cleo but does not respect her personal space.
Once I was going to be a mother of a son. Now I am the mother of three daughters. If we had not lost Matthew, we would have never adopted Katie. Our lost boy’s legacy to us is that he set us on a course to bring our first daughter into our lives, and she was meant to be with us. Our second and third daughters are icing on the sweetest cake ever created, and our family is complete, even without a boy.
Carrie is an artist and a writer living in Evanston. According to her, ‘I was actually trained to exercise the other half of my brain and worked for years in the Financial Services sector after receiving an MBA in Finance from Kellogg. But I had a change of brain after going through the harrowing process of adopting our daughter Katie, and I could no longer think in columns of numbers. I thought instead in splashes of color and shades of light and dark.’ When Katie was nearly a year old, Carrie left banking and started her own oil painting business, Artwork By Carrie. Working as an artist has allowed her to create a flexible schedule to spend more time with Katie and her second daughter, Annie Rose. Read her blog, Portrait of an Adoption.
On Monday, October 18, 2010; at about 4pm I started having those “wow, who stabbed me with a knife” contractions.After about 20 mins, I had another. After about 5 of them I realized this is starting to form a pattern of coming every 15-20 mins, maybe I should warn Jake. I call Jake and let him know that he should probably go ahead and be prepared to take Tuesday off.
At about 8pm the contractions were becoming closer together at about 10mins apart. We go ahead and warn our parents that it looked like this was going to be the night.We put the kids to bed, and started watching episodes of Eureka (yes, we’re geeks.)Jake times the contractions for me.
At about 10:30pm the contractions start becoming very regular and hard at about 5-6mins apart. We go ahead and call our parents to come on in.We call the midwife at about 11:00pm when the contractions are about 4-5 mins apart (sometimes 3mins when I stood up to walk) and was getting chills at times.
The parents arrive at about 11:30pm. Jake’s mom and dad watch the kids for us, while my mom comes to the hospital with us. Only a few traffic laws were broken during the ride to the hospital (construction had blocked our usual path.)
We arrived to the hospital at about midnight, where after being flagged down in ER to provide insurance information (we firmly stated that they would have to wait…..in which they waited 30mins before calling to insist Jake come back down with the information) we arrived at the L&D floor to find me at “a solid 5cm and cervix very stretchy.”My midwife Jeanean Carter, CNM (very awesome) arrived shortly after and stayed with our team the entire time. Every 30mins or so they would need to move the continuous (still a VBAC) outer fetal monitor lower as the head quickly slipped lower -that was so gratifying!
After about 2 hours I started vomiting and feeling the urge to push. Jeanean stated I’m at about 9 and a half now (with just a small lip left) but I can go ahead and push and if I don’t want to use the stirrups I don’t have to- love that woman! I start pushing and use the stirrups just at the end when I needed stabilizing.While pushing I feel a pop, then hear a splash across the room. Apparently, my water broke and just missed the midwife’s head as amniotic fluid shot across the room. Quite the unexpected, though very comical twist (Jake says "now I have a story!")After pushing for about 20mins, the head and shoulders emerge and I get to pull Joy the rest of the way out. Jake cuts the umbilical cord again (he’s getting to be a pro at this) and Joy is born! We got to have some time alone with her before the RN team arrives (“She’s born? Why didn’t you call me? I just heard crying and came to see…”) It was a very wonderful experience- I got to have my home birth at the hospital!
Her official birth stats:
Born: Tuesday; October 19, 2010 at 2:27am
Weight: 8lbs 10oz
Length: 19.5 inches
The nursery RN’s say that with the cold front and rain coming in (weather pressure shift) a lot of women went into labor and had very quick labors that night.Out of 6 babies in the nursery they say Joy is by far the loudest. I guess she has to be with 2 sisters to talk over ;)
They also say she was born at just the perfect time.Her umbilical cord was starting to wear very thin at the belly button. They had to clamp low on the cord so that it wouldn’t rupture.
Joy is another cuddle bug, she loves to rock with me and is a wonderful breast feeder…..however, she takes very long feedings (I suspect she enjoys the alone time.)
Joy had bad baby acne right after birth, but after coming home it has cleared up quickly. While this could be from hormones, I suspect it’s more from very sensitive skin.
At the 2 week checkup, Joy is now 8lbs 13oz and 20 ¾ inches long. The pediatrician says “she is absolutely perfect!”