“Growing up I always believed I would have 3 or 4 boys. I was such a tomboy, never really into makeup or fashion. I believed my mindset would be much better suited to raising boys than girls. I had a handful of really good girlfriends growing up, but I loved playing soccer at recess with the boys and even hanging out with the guys in high school. My vision as a mom was that I would be the ‘boy mom’ and all of the boys would flock to my house for all the awesome snacks and food I would feed them. I was going to be the ‘team mom’ that had the football team over for huge dinners in the fall. This was my plan. This was what motherhood would be for me, so obviously it was going to happen just that way. But life has a funny way of giving you what you need, not what you want.
I gave birth to my first daughter when I was 21. I was in college and had barely known this little baby’s father before I got pregnant. But there we were, a couple of young 20-something-year-old’s moving into a basement apartment while trying to figure out this parenting thing together. This was definitely not the plan I had in my head growing up. I was supposed to finish my degree, marry someone I’d known for years, then have our 3 or 4 boys.
But there Tim and I were. We were getting to know each other just as much as we were getting to know our daughter. But we were in love. As crazy as that statement is to make, we just loved each other and eventually, somehow, all of the details fell into place. Sometimes that’s what it takes to make it through some really awkward and formative moments in life.
When our daughter was 9 months old, we became pregnant with our second. That was my first lesson in ‘breastfeeding isn’t birth control for some people.’ We quickly eloped to Hawaii when that happened, trying to make ourselves seem like a more legitimate couple and family to our own families. There I was as a mom of two girls and my mind couldn’t even imagine them being boys. I was made for this daughter thing, yet I still wanted to raise a son.
When our second daughter was 9 months old, we decided since we only wanted to have three kids, we might as well get on with it sooner rather than later. We did everything ‘right’ that you’re supposed to do to have a boy. We really wanted a son and tried our hardest to make that happen.
Well, God must have laughed at our requests and efforts to bring a boy into our family because shortly afterwards, we found out we were having identical twin girls. Talk about a total shock that gave us a good laugh! It was one of those moments when I realized, ‘okay, you can have all the plans you want in the world, but there’s always a bigger plan out there for you.’ I accepted my ‘girl mom’ role and sent a lot of virtual hugs back to my younger self. She sure had no idea what her life would be like!
Shortly after our twins were born, my father was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. While this news was absolutely devastating to me, I had no idea what was waiting for me just around the corner. Four months later, my father’s wife passed away. They had a 2-year-old son named Easton. Biologically, Easton is my brother. Easton’s future had to be determined quickly and my dad had to make that heart wrenching decision on who would be best fit to raise him.
My father held a family meeting where we all discussed the best option for Easton. Everyone gave their opinions and it was decided I would be able to raise him best. My father wanted Easton to be raised with siblings that he could grow up with. This meant he would now have four sisters, and they would finally get a brother. It was the missing puzzle piece to our family that we didn’t even realize we were missing. Easton flew home with us to Washington from Michigan shortly after our father passed away.
At home in Washington, Tim and I were knee deep in 7-month-old twins on top of 3 toddlers at this point. Our life in general was holding onto the fact that one day (not soon) our babies would actually sleep through the night and that they’d all eventually talk in full sentences, not just mumble jumble or extended cries. We were sleeping on the couch in the living room together, changing and feeding babies side by side every few hours. He would go to work during the day, we’d power through dinner and bed time routines with all 5 of them, and then drift off to sleep again on the couch, doing the long nights all over again. Basically our lives were sort of floating in time and we were living on the pure will power to survive. The slightest idea of even having another one was nonexistent. That would *never* happen.
Over the next 3 years, time eventually worked its magic to relax our family. Things were really chaotic there for a while and for the most part I think I’ve blocked most of it out. Our kids are now 6, 5 (almost!), 4, 3, 3, and while life is definitely crazy at times, we have a much better handle on everything than we did when they were all babies. It’s funny how much patience you can learn in that time, as well as the ability to not dwell on the little things.
Random signs started happening over the last year in particular that made me think maybe we were missing one. I would make dinner plates for all of the kids and instead of 5, I would make 6. Or when they’d come in from outside asking for glasses of water, I would make one extra too. One day I was at the grocery store and something inside kept telling me to take a pregnancy test. I did, and it was negative, but the thought was constantly there. Another baby? There’s no way we would ever have another baby. But the inklings kept coming. I found a baby bottle in a storage tote when I thought I got rid of them all. Tim’s mom called and left him a message congratulating us on having another baby. (She saw a post where Tim got cigars and just thought he was celebrating another pregnancy. Haha!) The baby names we never got to use started popping up everywhere! It was like this awareness of a missing child would not go away. It was like this unforeseen baby kept going, ‘I’m ready! When are you?’
Then one day this past summer my husband approached with a question: ‘What if we had just one more?’
What if? I always wondered what it would be like to have just one more. With my dad being sick and us getting Easton when the twins were just 7 months old, that whole first year with them as babies was so hard. I almost feel robbed of that amazing experience with them because I was dealing with so much other stuff. I didn’t have the emotional capacity to love them and be their mom like I did with my other 2 since my heart was needed in other places. The guilt from that went away recently when I realized I did the best I could. They were safe and loved. They might not have gotten the same amount of cuddles from mom and dad, but they shared a crib for their first 2 years of life, which gave them endless amounts of cuddles together.
We talked about it for a few weeks, going back and forth on it all. The idea to go back into diapers when we were finally out of them was a little intimidating! Plus, what if it’s twins again? We can’t control that! That idea alone was terrifying! Newborn twins would be really hard to relive. But what if it was just one? That seemed like a walk in the park after having our twins. One baby seemed so easy especially when our lives were now so ‘quiet’ and no longer so chaotic. Then I just said, ‘we’re given what we are meant to have. So let’s just see what we’re meant to have.’ And that was that.
We got a positive pregnancy test and I think we were both shocked it was actually happening. I worried about what my dad would think. But then he gave me signs in his own way from heaven that proved to me he was supportive. His hockey numbers growing up were always 6 and 16. We adopted Easton on 6/16 of 2017. I knew that was his way of showing support then. We tried for this baby on August 6th and got the positive on August 16th. While I know he can’t send me a card saying, ‘congrats! I’m fully supportive of this!’ I know he’s smiling and excited for this new little one. He always loved children and was the best grandpa. Maybe he will send Easton a brother finally! Or maybe Easton will get a fifth sister. While history tells us it’s a girl, I think I’ll be shocked either way with the gender of this little one.
I was terrified of it being twins again but went in for an early ultrasound that settled my fears. Then I went in for two more in the weeks following just to be certain, making the techs quadruple check every time. Just one. Just one baby. Just one final baby to love on and snuggle. A final chance to get to really enjoy this infant stage. A little baby for our 5 children to dote and love on. A chance for them to see mommy’s belly grow and a baby come out at the end. I think I’m most excited for how excited they are about this. That alone was very comforting and reassuring that they are so welcoming of one more. We never knew we were missing one. But sometimes your heart just knows even when your mind can’t make sense of it. So here we are, the couple that barely knew each other when we birthed our first…about to be parents to six. I’m glad my life didn’t pan out like I wanted. I was given what I needed, and what I needed was them.”
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