Birthday Boy

Two years ago tonight I shuffled down the hall  of my house into the bedroom with the newly assembled crib and dresser.  There were no sheets on the mattress. No curtains.  No bumper.  No letters spelling out a name hammered to the wall.  I remember standing in the doorway of the near empty room with my hands clasped over my very pregnant belly and feeling the flipping, kicking, bouncing baby inside me.  The baby that never stopped moving.  Never stopped jabbing at my ribs.  Never let me forget that It was in there.  I recall looking down at my strangely moving belly and saying, “After all this.  All this you put me through. I can’t wait to meet you.  Whatever YOU may be.”  I shut off the light to the room that soon would house my newborn and walked into Hannah’s room where she lay peacefully sleeping.  Ellie tucked under her chin.  Thumb still resting in her mouth.  I sat on the side of her bed and gently combed my fingers through her hair, tears running down my face.  This was the last night that she’d be my only child.  This had been the last day that she had me all to herself and I could give 100% of my heart to her.

Neither one of us knew how life would change.  She was only excited.  I was a mix of excited and petrified.  Probably more of the latter.

In my bedroom, my suitcase was packed.  I had a C-section scheduled for the next day.  I knew by 3:00 the tomorrow we would be a family of four.  Another girl or a new boy was still a question.  Not knowing was weighing on me.  I hoped for a girl only to make the transition to a family of four a little less daunting.  I knew how to Do girl.  Taking on a boy seemed scary to me.  Would I feel that same bond?  Would he want to hold my hand and lay his head on my shoulder the way Hannah did?  Would he snuggle in my arms and make my heart melt?  Would I be able to change a diaper with a penis inside it?  (Oh come on, it was a legitimate fear).  Would Hannah be sad to not have a sister to grow up with?  Could they be friends?

I was scared.

I lay on the operating table with the surgeon pulling and yanking at my insides until I felt the final release of a small body being removed from my abdomen.  I held my breath and waited for those three words.  It’s A Boy I heard and looked up at Tim’s glowing, ecstatic face.  I heard him say, “Wow. I have a boy. A son.”

I cried.  I tried to pass off my tears as tears of happiness.  Thrill that I had a healthy child.  Happiness that after 3 miscarriages, an ectopic pregnancy and 10 months of raging hormones, emotional breakdowns and a failed IVF cycle, my miracle had arrived.  But really, I cried because it was a boy.  And that scared me.  And boy did I feel guilty.  And unappreciative.  And undeserving.

I was in a fog as everyone came to greet my new son.  My parents.  My inlaws. And Hannah.  The new big sister ever so gentle and doting on her new little brother.  I watched in awe at how naturally she whispered in his ear.  Touched his huge precious ears. Felt so proud.  And happy.  I wondered if she may have even been happier than me in those moments.

That night as I lay finally alone in my hospital room, just me and my new little boy, his tiny head resting on my breast, his chest quickly raising up and down rhythmically, I kissed his forehead.  I stroked his teeny hands.  I rubbed my cheek on his silky soft hair. I told him I loved him.  I thanked him for the gift of his life.   I felt my heart grow as he lay with me that night. I realized that I would in fact have room in my heart for him.

And today?  Today I look at Luke and I wonder how I ever doubted feeling the love from a son as much as a daughter. I can’t believe I cried tears of sadness when I heard he was a boy.  This boy has not only found a place in my heart but has OVERTAKEN my heart.  I can’t get enough of his giggles.  His enormous, loving eyes.  His enthusiasm for music and silly jig he does to any beat.  The way he grabs onto my pointer finger when he’s feeling shy.  The way he works so hard to imitate my words and then claps even when the wrong sound comes out.  How he copies every move Hannah makes.  How he grabs her from behind wrapping his small arms around her waist in a loving hug.  How he examines his cars and trucks from every angle and then feeds them with a spoon.  I melt every time I hear him say Mommy.  I want for his happiness.  I yearn for the day we can have a conversation and he can tell me what’s been in that tiny head of his through these months of no words.

My feelings are indescribable.  Beyond words.  I love my guy.  My blonde little guy.  My crazy, whirlwind, monkey boy.

Happy Second Birthday Lukey.  Here’s to a happy and healthy year.



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32 responses to “Birthday Boy

  1. Becca,
    So many things came to mind when I read this. When my oldest was born, we found out he was a boy when he was born, via c-section. When I had my second son, my heart was heavy with worry, wondering how I could ever love another child. When I had my third, I worried how this new little boy would fit into this loud, opinionated family.

    Although I do not have a daughter, I understand how your son has overtaken your heart. How special it is when they confide in you.

    Happy birthday Luke! And Happy birthing day to you Becca, when you became a boy mom!

    • I think my worry would be less with a third since I see now so clearly how much room a mom can make in her heart for her children. I guess your heart just keeps growing! Thank you Maria!

  2. Wow. There is so much here to which I can rate. My older child is a daughter. My life. I have two sisters and the aforementioned daughter. A son was just intangible to me. And so, when I found out my second child wa a boy (at 20 weeks gestation — I am not patient or calm or zen enough not to find out) I was strangely, unsettlingly upset. Could I be a mother to a BOY? The real question was probably more like “Can I be mother to another child?” but I, irrationally, equated it with “boy”. Of course, now 10 weeks later, he, too, is my life. I hate his wife. I do.
    Also — my daughter has her “ellie”. Stuffed elephant I presume?!

    • You “hate his wife.” That’s hysterical. Yes, I think I can say the same. Poor girl. And yes, our Ellie is an elephant too! Hannah is five and hasn’t slept a night without her. Most people actually have no idea it’s an elephant anymore because of it’s sad sad state. I’m glad you can relate to my initial feeling of having a boy. It makes me feel less guilty. But boy do those boys grow on you! Thanks for coming by and commenting! I’m headed back your way now!

  3. Becca –
    What a beautiful post! You made me all misty-eyed. 🙂
    I think every mother has moments of doubt with the second child. “How can I possibly love another child as much as I love my first.” But we do. We love each child as much as the next but only in their own special way.
    Congrats! Happy B-day Luke! Happy Big Sister Day to Hannah!

    • I wrote this all misty eyed too! Mostly because I remember feeling like I could give so much of myself to Hannah when she was the only one and now, I often feel so divided. But my heart? It’s not divided… there’s plenty of it to go around to everyone!
      Thanks Erica!

  4. Happy birthday Luke!
    Like you, my second baby’s gender was a surprise. Same with grace, though with her I’d had a very strong feeling she was a girl. With whit, nothing. I kept joking about this lack of intuition, saying I hoped he wasn’t a hermaphrodite. Well, he wasn’t. When he was born I realized i had somehow assumed he was a girl. I was also stunned by the tears running down Matt’s face. He admitted he’d never let himself admit how much he wanted to have a boy. But, just as you describe, that day was full of complicated emotions for me.
    And now… Oh, my boy!! I worship him. Your words to Luke tug at my heart. It’s marvelous.
    Happy day – may there be frosting on faces and lots of laughter. xo

    • Yes, worship. That’s the perfect word. I think I knew in my gut that Luke was a boy. Just like I knew Hannah was a girl. But I didn’t want to accept it. I just couldn’t really imagine having a boy. But oh how glad I am that I did. I feel LUCKY.

      Thanks Lindsey. I’m hoping to make some memories tomorrow at his party!

  5. Nicki

    Happy Birthday, Luke!

    Happy Birth Day, Becca!

  6. Happy birthday to your little charmer! What a very honest and tender story.

    And you look remarkably slender for just giving birth, I might add!

    • That’s what happens when you’re so incredibly sick for the first 5 months of pregnancy! I didn’t end up gaining much weight… but thank you!

  7. LZ

    Oh, Happy Birthday to Luke! And I agree – why did you escape the dreaded pregnancy sausage arm curse? Look at those skinny things!
    I think it’s normal to worry about this…in fact, I would say it’s abnormal if you don’t worry. Every child you add to your family changes it unspeakably and it would be quite odd to not consider this…

    • I think you’re right that we all go through these feelings. It was the guilt because of the feelings that was so hard. I felt like I started off on the wrong foot!

  8. Such a beautiful boy! Happy birthday, Luke. (Enjoy the upcoming cupcakes!)

  9. Happy birthday to your big boy!

    I had to have ultrasounds with my second and third so that I could avoid that moment in the delivery room where I cried if I never got my girl. Instead, I got the tears over with early.

    Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my boys and I wouldn’t trade them for anything, but it was something I had to make peace with.

    • I thought about doing that, finding out early so that I wouldn’t be so upset but I figured that once I saw that little face, whether it be a boys or a girl’s, I’d fall in love so I decided to wait. But the tears came anyway…
      And I bet you can’t even imagine having a girl now that you have your wonderful boys… and some days, I wouldn’t wish a girl upon you for anything!

  10. Happy birthday to Luke! 🙂
    Boys are something else… that’s for sure! I felt a little nervous taking a baby boy home from the hospital… the not knowing is scary. But how soon they melt our hearts and make their hopes, dreams, and needs known.

  11. Dare I say that one or more parts of this post are so universal that I actually shed a tear? My oldest is a boy. Like you, I cried when I found out. Except that I have a thing for instant gratification and control issues that make it impossible for me to decorate without specific guidance as to the direction I should be headed. Yellow gingham and ducks just don’t do it for me. But I digress. I cried. Sobbed, until I had hiccups. And felt profound guilt for being a bad mother before I’d even really had a chance to get started. But little boys…they sneak up on you and tunnel right under your skin until they hit heart. Happy birthday to your little love. Two is a great age for boys — don’t believe anything you hear 🙂

  12. Ugh. Can you tell it’s fried Friday? I meant to say that I have instant gratification and control issues that resulted in me finding out the gender of aforementioned oldest child long before he was evicted from the womb. So sobbing commenced in the ultrasound room. Thank you for tolerating the interested but incoherent…

    • I totally got what you were saying! I wonder if most moms have a moment of sadness when they find out they aren’t having a girl? Luckily, the sadness is so short lived once we see how amazing the boys are! Truly wonderful, sweet, melt you amazing. Thank you so much Laura!

  13. Happy birthday to Luke.

    And thanks for being so honest here. I know I have my fears about having children, period, but yes, gender is another worry. I never had brothers, only younger sisters. So I feel like I can “do” girl. I have more hope that boys will work out fine after reading what you’ve shared.

    • Everyone had told me how much I’d love having a boy if I had one but I just couldn’t wrap my head around it. But it’s true. Really, really true. Something about a mom and her boy. Something so special.

  14. Happy birthday Luke! Isn’t it crazy how pregnancy is never the “ideal” you think it’ll be?

    I spent 9 months dreading the boy I knew I’d have (despite an ultrasound reading 97% girl). I felt love, tremendous love, but also sadness because I knew I would only carry one child and I also knew that my luck doesn’t pan out and that one child would invariably be a boy because I wanted a daughter so desperately.

    I wish I could re-do those 9 months and just immerse myself in the joy of carrying my child rather than the constant anxiety of “what if.”

  15. Becca: When I read your posts, I can’t believe there is someone out there so much like me.

    I remember the same feeling before my second was born. I remember feeling so melancholy. I wanted a second kid partially because I wanted Kyle to have a brother of a sister but I remember feeling like his life as an only child was over.

    As soon as Will was born, I never felt that way again. I couldn’t believe I had enough love in me for my boys.

    I also had an ectopic pregnancy. It was before Kyle was born and I had to have surgery.

    The kids give my life so much meaning. But now that I am getting ready for Kyle to leave, I can’t believe how fast it all went.

    I wish I didn’t spend so much time worrying. I wish I didn’t sweat the small stuff. I wish I held them more.

    I’m glad I told them “I love you” fifty times a day.

    In Holland they give flowers to the mother of the birthday boy or girl. To you, I send my love.

  16. This is funny because my boy–who turns three this week–was due on April 22nd. He took his good old time and came out 15 minutes into April 28th.

    As for your picture, I really can’t believe your arms are this skinny in your ninth month of pregnancy. Really.

  17. I, too, worried about my questionable ability to change a diaper with a penis in it (and All The Rest about being Mom of Boy). My son’s sheer boy-ness still makes me shake my head and laugh some days, but I wouldn’t trade him for all the X chromosomes in the world. (And the diaper thing’s not so tough after all, is it?) Happy Birthday to your sweet Luke!

  18. I love a good cry. Thanks, this was a good one indeed.

  19. Becca, oh Becca, I knew exactly how you felt. That feeling just before the new baby would come, how your life as three would be changing into four, and how scary that unknown would be. I cried so much in the weeks leading up to my second sons birthday because I was desperately afraid that my first would feel unloved, displaced. I suppose I was projecting all kinds of emotions on him and I don’t know why. But I was scared too, and for me too, it worked out better than I could have imagined. They love each other so much and I literally glow from watching their bond grow. It’s truly amazing.

    Happy belated birthday to your little guy. You are a special mom, you are luck to have each other. 🙂

    • Thank you christine. I actually feel really lucky. Lucky that he is my miracle baby. Lucky that he is a boy. Lucky that I have friends like you who totally hear how I feel. xo

  20. Sorry to be so late in commenting, but I couldn’t leave this remarkable, lovely post without wishing Luke a belated happy birthday and thanking you for your honest, heartfelt writing. xo

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