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Learning From Liam

Waiting for Liam

Usually when I think about our family it's in terms of shopping lists, schedules, or financial planning. But when we canceled the test and went public, person after person told us how great our family is, how lucky the baby would be. It made me stop and think -- and realize that they were right.

The reactions of people who knew me less well were pretty funny; jaws dropped routinely when I told them it was number six. Several mothers in my practice, whose bound aries were a bit different, suggested quite firmly that I get my tubes tied, which made me laugh.

Being pregnant, overall, wasn't that bad. After so much practice, I'd gotten pretty good at it. I knew what to expect at each stage, which kept me calm; I knew what to eat to stave off nausea and what to wear. Not that it was entirely easy. Being pregnant at 41 is different from being pregnant at 27, when I'd started this pregnancy thing, or even at 37, when I thought I was finishing it. I got tired quickly. The nausea, for some reason, lasted well into the sixth month. The varicose veins that were a medium problem with Natasha got huge. "They look like snakes," Natasha would say, and Elsa would point them out to her friends ("Look at those things on my mom's legs!").

Mark and I went into the ultrasound holding hands, ready to take on whatever we were being given. We'd even managed to agree on a name, Zoe; we figured it would be another girl, given our track record, although in our hearts we were hoping for a boy. It wasn't about replacing Aidan, it was about having a chance back: a chance to have a son and brother who could grow up, something Aidan's disability made impossible.

The ultrasonographer went over the baby from top to bottom -- everything was completely fine. We were almost giddy with relief. She asked if we wanted to know the gender, then showed us the area between the baby's legs: It was clearly and obviously a boy. I was stunned with gratitude. Any doubt about meant-to-be-ness was gone.

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