Aside

My Girl

When we sang Happy Birthday to Rosalie this morning, she looked behind herself to see who we were singing to. Which is exactly something a little 2 year old would do.
2 years old. My surprise girl is 2 years old. Sometimes I still look at her and marvel at how this all-boy mom is now raising a girl, too. My mother-in-law told me what kind of family we were going to have, 9 years ago when I was pregnant with our oldest. She told me that we’d have all boys, and then maybe a girl. If only she were here now to see how right she was!

We never set out to have boys or girls or any combination of them. We just set out to have a family. Boy or girl, we’ve never minded either way. The only thing that was disappointing when we announced our third baby would be another boy – was the way other people reacted. Not all people mind you, but some of them. As if we had somehow failed to produce a balanced family in the absence of a girl. As if our lives were doomed to chaos and noise and subsequent misery for having a house full of boys. As if they expected us to be disappointed, and tried to say nice things to console the sadness that wasn’t even there, at least on our end. I love being a boy mom. I’ve never been disappointed or felt like anything was missing by having a house filled with testosterone. I know there are other boy moms who kept on having babies to try to get their girl, or who have experienced real, legit grief over the daughters they didn’t or couldn’t or won’t have. It’s not because they don’t love or want or enjoy having boys. Some women just really want a girl too. I was happy either way. A girl or a boy, it was always okay no matter what.

And it continues to this day. When people see our little family or the topic comes up in conversation, it almost always ends with the question, “so did you keep trying till you got your girl?”

GAWD people. NO!

We love our girl to bits. Wouldn’t trade her for a thousand boys. But we feel the same way about our boys. We get the kids we get, and we don’t get upset. People often look at me sideways or laugh nervously when I reply to them with,
“Nope! To be honest when we knew we wanted a fourth, we just assumed we’d have another boy and be that crazy family with 4 boys. When the ultrasound tech told us we were having a girl, my reaction was more along the lines of, we’re having a what now?”
We were thrilled, and also a little terrified. Just as much as I had wondered with awe what on earth you do with boys, when I was pregnant with our first (after being raised in a house of all girls), I was now wondering the same thing about raising a girl. Wondered how it would be different and how a girl would change our family, as every child does. I also wondered if people would be able to just be happy without making it a gender thing, finally.

And you know, announcing that our fourth would be a little girl produced some even more disappointing reactions from a lot of people than announcing our third boy had. Many people were wonderful! But the worst thing that anybody said to us was that we’d now have a “rose among thorns.” To which I replied that my sons are not thorns. At least not to us. There are a lot of people who clearly believe that boys are a burden and the thing that people are stuck with when they don’t have girls. Maybe God gave me 3 of them because I am not one of those people.The person who made that gem of a comment, had no idea that we had decided to name our daughter Rosalie, and Glenn and I talked about changing her name to avoid our children ever being referred to as a rose and the thorns ever again. We knew though, that Rosalie was her name, whether people responded graciously to our family’s make-up or not.

Then she arrived. After a hellish third trimester that involved severe pelvic pain, to the point that mobility was just awful, and gestational diabetes, and being hospitalized for preterm labor at 33 weeks, and modified “you have 3 boys and we know you’re not going to be able to go on bedrest” bedrest – Rosalie arrived.

I’d been transferred from the care of midwives to an OB once the gestational diabetes and preterm labor kicked in. During my preterm labor stay, my sister and I shared a room in the hospital as she was in for preterm labor with her twins. Hers was a much more high risk situation and the babies, who were due a month after Rosalie, were born 6 weeks early. 2 weeks later at just before 38 weeks, my OB decided it was time for Rosalie to come too, and so we were called in to the hospital to go have a baby. That was a weird experience after going into labor all by my own self with my previous 3 babies. I was already having contractions though, and had dilated to a 4 by the time I was checked. The induction plan was to break my water and see what happened. With a 4th time mom, that was probably all it would take.

They broke my water around 10pm and at 11pm I was in labor. It was fast and intense. My midwife joined Glenn and I as a support person, and around 3:30am the nurse told me I was ready to go but baby was still high up. She had this great idea for me to just try a practice push because she figured it would take a while.

We told her my last baby came out with around 8 minutes of pushing after 3-4 hours of active labor. She did not listen. She was just awful – so bad in fact, that I ended up in therapy to work through some of the things that happened during L&D, I was so traumatized by it.

So I practice pushed and it was a half-assed push indeed if ever there was one. Out came the baby. High up, my uterus! As she was crowning, the nurse started yelling at me to stop pushing so they could get ready to deliver. Yeah lady, I told you so. My midwife was throwing on gloves in case the doctor couldn’t rush in fast enough and a whole bunch of people came running into the room. They let me push a tiny bit again and Rosalie was born.

She was perfect. She was ours. Rosalie Maia. 8 pounds 8 ounces. 3:40 in the morning on February 5, 2012. Born in 1.5 pushes to the delight of my midwife and shock of my terrible nurse.

Because of the gestational diabetes they wanted to check her out and make sure her sugars were okay and everything was in order. She never had an issue with her sugars, and mine returned to normal immediately after giving birth. We stayed an extra night because the midwife detected a little heart murmur and called in a consult. It turned out that she did have one, caused by a valve that had failed to close. They said it would likely resolve and it did.

When she was 2 days old, we brought her home and our family has never been the same. Little girls are different than little boys. Our sons have learned a softness that they don’t have with each other. I have learned how to be more sensitive. As a child, I had my face in a book or a pen in my hand. Dolls and girly things didn’t appeal to me. I’ve already played more with ponies and babies with Rosalie than I think I did in my entire childhood.

And you know, the gender comments have continued, but they’ve changed.

What a lucky girl she is to have 3 older brothers to watch out for her.
She’ll always be protected.
The boys don’t stand a chance against all those brothers when she’s a teenager.
She must have them wrapped around her finger.
Rosalie’s friends are going to hang around a lot to get to see those brothers of hers.

It’s true. It’s all true. Just as we feel completely blessed to call Rosalie our daughter, and the boys love having a sister – she is blessed to have them too. All those brothers. All that love. What a lucky girl to be included in their trio.

I loved being an all boy mom. I worried about whether I’d be as good of a mom to a girl. For all the people (including me!) who dote on how Rosalie must have all the boys wrapped around her finger, the thing that has surprised me most is that she’s got me there too. She is a mama’s girl. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. Now I say I just love being a mom. Boys or girls, they all fill your heart just the same.

And how I do love my little girl. Not because she is a girl though. I love her because she’s mine.

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copyright (c) 2014 Jenna Pelias // all rights reserved

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