butterfly in hand on grass

As I was up in the wee hours of the night, holding a feverish, coughing child, I felt it.

The first stirrings of movement within.

This baby has been real to me for many, many weeks. And yet, there’s something about that first fluttery feeling, the confirmation that goes beyond the heartbeat I hear at doctor’s appointments and the symptoms my body experiences.

This baby already has a unique personality in our family. During a breakfast conversation where our nine-year-old daughter asked what names we were considering, the baby was dubbed “Peanut Butter.” We have since been actually discussing the list of names out loud, which we didn’t do with any of the others.

It’s not a discussion for the world. It’s a discussion happening in my house. And the nine-year-old, in particular, is really enjoying it.

She’s the one who had this insight about the baby’s gender: “It really doesn’t matter whether it’s a boy or a girl. They’re both pains.” That, and they’re both babies, which is what she really wants.

We blame credit her, after all, for all of her siblings. Each pregnancy has come after her requests for a brother or sister and my response, “Talk to God, not to me.”

With this baby, I’m in the “over 35” club, which in some cases puts me “at risk,” and in others means that my doctor and I can hardy-har-har about the silliness of statistical misunderstandings.

It wasn’t until my third child, the last one, that I started to get a glimpse of what enjoying a baby, a toddler, a preschooler, was all about. With my first two, I was so…well, I was so new. So imperfect. So worried. With the now-three-year-old mancub, I finally caught myself stopping to glimpse and maybe even smile.

Maybe I just got over myself (sort of). I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing with this baby, but I know it’s made me a different mom than I was ten years ago, pregnant with my first.