What Child is This?

Ever since the birth of my daughter Alice over three years ago my family has been waiting. There was someone we were expecting to meet, someone to round out the family table. Someday we would meet this little girl, our baby, our last child. Alice was only three weeks old when I was consumed by an overwhelming feeling that she was not our last, despite what I said only minutes after her birth. “SURGERY!” I told my husband. “You can get SURGERY. I am DONE.” But as I gazed at my sweet sleeping girl lying in the crib in the church nursery, I knew I was not. Our first two children were fine sons, born almost exactly two years apart. For most of their lives they have been best friends, walking hand in hand, crying if they were apart. It pleased me to know my sons had each other, and I longed to give my daughter a similar companion, and something I never had. A sister.

Every last one of us became convinced of the reality of this baby girl. She even had a name, one my husband and I conceived separately and simultaneously. Eva for his grandmother, Lucille just because we liked the name. When I told him of my stroke of genius he smugly replied that he had already thought of the name three days before. It was serendipity. It was fate. Our daughter was born in our hearts. Now we just had to wait until she was born into our lives.

When the 2 pink lines showed up on the stick, I whooped for joy. We weren’t trying but babies with us always seem to be the result of a happy accident. I only had to go through one pregnancy where I was filled with fear and then confronted by a child so incredibly precious to recognize the foolishness of ever doubting God’s hand on my womb. And finally, we would get to meet our second little princess. The timing on earth seemed rotten, with my husband in school, but the timing for our family seemed just right.

Everything screamed girl. The heartbeat was fast. Perhaps an old wive’s tale, but I was also sick, as sick as I had been with Alice, sicker than with my boys. And I had difficulty even looking at boy’s clothes, or thinking of boy names, because it seemed silly. I was carrying a girl. This I knew.

But when a friend of mine with a similar story, who was equally convinced of her child’s sex, had a surprise boy, I began to get nervous. I began to doubt. I scheduled an ultrasound. My child was shy at first, but after a while there could be no mistake. I was carrying a son.

I was dumbfounded. My dreams were tied up in a neat little package that I thought was based on something akin to prophecy. Were we not given a message? As a person whose whole life has seemed chaotic, I thirst for balance and order. Symmetry. 2 boys. 2 girls. Children close in age who share toys and hand me down clothes. And there came the monkey wrench in the well-oiled machine of my desires. A boy.

I was told to start loving this baby, to stop resenting him, by people who meant well but whose accusations hurt me deeply. Of course I loved him. I had known him for a long time. I had felt his kicks inside me and pressed my hands to my abdomen in communication. I just thought he was someone else, and it took me a few days to process this. I grieved, not because I was having another son, but because I felt I had lost a daughter. It was an honest feeling, born out of love, and I had to press through it. I was ashamed of my tears, but I knew that the place they came from was not resentment. It was loss.

For us, Eva Lucille was a real person. She had existed as a family member for almost three years. We all felt we knew her, and anticipated her arrival. So when we found out she wasn’t coming it was a bit of a shock to us all. The adjustment was quick, but it was an adjustment that had to be made through a few tears on my part.

Some people wait until their child is born to name them. They want to meet their baby and get to know them. But for me, I like for God to inspire us, and help us get to know our child beforehand. I was fretting because we did not have a boy name selected. I knew it would help me bond with my child if he had an identity. And my husband and I felt the boy name well was dry. We had never disagreed over names, but we no longer knew of any boy names that we both agreed on. I clung hopelessly to the name I selected when I was 14, a name my husband had told me he would *never* like.

But when the ultrasound showed lips that seemed parted with laughter...my husband said to give him the name I loved, the name that meant “Happy.” And when his identity was forged, there came peace. God had gifted me a son. A son I was allowed to name my favorite name, a name my husband has grown to love. Felix Sebastian is happy, and I know he will be worthy of praise, as his name proclaims. He was not who we expected, but he is who we need. And he has made us happy.