Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Birth Stories

Tomorrow, my youngest child turns 21 -- an official adult.
There's a story that I can't share with Tucker, so I thought I'd tell you instead.
When Grace was 3 and Spencer was about 19 months old, we decided to try for another baby.
That May, Earl and I went away to Mackinac Island for a long weekend. Mackinac Island is a beautiful island in northern Michigan where cars aren't allowed so people travel by bicycle or by horse and carriage.
After we returned home, I said to Earl, "Let's wait to try for a baby. We'll just enjoy Grace and Spencer while they're young."
A beautiful neighbor who loved to spend time with the kids. 
And he agreed, so we went back to using my diaphragm, although, let's face it, having two toddlers is generally enough of a birth control option.
By father's day, we realized that the weekend away had succeeded in my third pregnancy, so our decision to wait came a week too late.
Since Earl's 40th birthday would arrive before the baby was born, it turned out for the best that we didn't delay having our third child.
With each of our children, we chose not to know the gender of the baby. We wanted the surprise when they arrived.
With a girl and a boy already in the family, the sex of this third baby didn't really matter -- we had one of each, but I always yearned for Grace to have a sister. I lost my sister when I was 14 and at every stage of my life, I wondered how life would be different if my sister was still alive. I jealously watched families with sisters, thinking they stayed closer as they grew older.
Before I ever had children, I had three names that I loved -- Alexandra, Brigid and Francesca.
For some reason, in the midst of my pregnancy hormones, I agree to name our daughter Grace Alexandra rather than any of the three names I had chosen.
So as we anticipated the birth of our third child, I decided we would name a girl Francesca.
Earl talked me out of the name Francesca earlier by threatening to call our daughter Frankie. But the day that Grace stood up to the family and insisted everyone call her Grace rather than Gracie, I realized that our children would let their father and everyone else know which names were acceptable. I'd deal with Earl calling our daughter a male name when the time came.
Because we knew that this would be our final child, we asked a friend to videotape it. She had no idea what she was in for, because Tucker was born at 4:20 a.m. She sat up all night waiting to videotape this final birth.
I've watched it a few times, and in the midst of the squeals of pain, the nurse midwife asked if I wanted to pull the baby out, and I did. I wanted nothing more than to get that baby out of there.
So I reached down and grasped his shoulders and ripped him out of there. Thank God!
As they checked that he was healthy, it took a few minutes for anyone to mention the gender of the baby. Finally, Earl said, "It's a boy."
My first words after the announcement: "You were supposed to be Francesca!"
I imagine how sad it might make Tucker to think that I wished he was a girl instead of a boy.
I didn't.
I'm delighted that Spencer and Tucker have grown up as friends and playmates, swords swinging plus bows and arrows twanging.
Tucker has been entertaining and so devoted to me. A mama's boy from the minute he was born.

And I wouldn't change a thing.

Happy birthday, Tucker.


Anonymous said...

This was just delightful. Happy birthday to Tucker!

our life in france said...

What a beautiful heartwrenching story, we tend to make the right decisions along the way for the most part and you wouldnt be without him now x

Paulita said...

Thanks to you. Francetaste and Roz. We had a lovely birthday dinner for Tucker.

Just Me said...

Oh my, your youngest is 21 years old! Hard to believe. What a nice post. I really enjoyed it.

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