My mother’s family tree doesn’t show an overabundance of one sex of offspring over the other. However, when it came my grandma’s turn to have her family, she gave birth only to boys. After receiving four wonderful blessings of the male persuasion, she and Grandpa thought that was as large as their family would be. Grandma was disappointed she wouldn’t mother any girls, but was happy to have her family of tall, brawny boys. Harder to accept was another pregnancy at age 38—back in 1921, considered an advanced age for a woman to give birth. Grandma worried, not only about her age, but about the fact that this pregnancy seemed so different from the others, though she couldn’t quite put her finger on why. Her doctor didn’t find anything out of the ordinary to worry about.
Then came time for the actual birth. My mother came into the world, and Grandma was thrilled she had her girl at last. “Wait,” the doctor said after the girl was born. “Another baby is coming!” This was a surprise, but it explained why Grandma felt this pregnancy had been so different. And now, she thought, not only would she get the daughter she’d longed for, but she’d have two daughters! “Put a string to mark the second one so we don’t get the two confused,” Grandma told the doctor. “I want to know which one was born first.” “Don’t worry, this one already has a mark on him,” the doctor replied. Grandma always said she was thankful to have a daughter at last, even if she did have to take another son with her.