We were finally able to get our 20 weeks ultrasound done! The doctor was wonderful, as usual. We told him we wanted to know the sex, so within a few minutes into the ultrasound, he still-framed it. Brian caught on immediately. I, of course, had no clue what I was supposed to be looking at. Woops. He told us that it is very clear, extremely obvious, that our little one is…


There is no doubt about it. She’s all girl. I have spent since January convinced we were having a boy, so it actually took a bit to process. Brian has been calling the baby “she” since I got pregnant, so I’m pretty sure he jynxed our hopes of ever having a boy! 😉 I have to admit, I cried in the car. I was just so happy. Brian wanted a girl so badly – he’s talked about having a baby girl since we were engaged. I wanted to give him his daughter. And here she is!

That was our big excitement this weekend. Now the planning has begun. We wanted to pick up her first dress, but the one store we were in had no dresses and the few baby clothes they had were so expensive and not cute enough for Brian’s newly acquired taste in baby clothes, so we got nothing. He promised an outing some day to an actual baby store so we could find her first dress.

We also began talking about her room. Granted, we can’t paint and buying a rug is just unreasonable (too dusty, vacuum uses too much electricity), so ultimately, we’re just putting up some wall decorations and picking out crib sheets. I had NOT been planning on doing all pink. My best friend in South Dakota and I both decided years ago that doing all pink for a girl is just not something we were excited about. But, to my shock, when I asked Brian what he wanted for the room, he said, “Well, pink, obviously.” What?? We’ve compromised over the past few days and decided that pink can be the accent, but it won’t be the primary color. He also informed me that she will be dressed mostly in pink, including the work clothes she uses to help him work on cars. I thought I knew my husband. I guess I was wrong.

We’ve also picked out the name. Okay, honestly, I picked out the name back in high school. I’ve dreamed about being a mom since I was a little, little girl and have come up with all sorts of names over the years. For the longest time, I was going to have twin girls – Esther and Vashti. Praise the Lord, I grew out of that phase. But I digress. The name I picked out I’ve loved since high school. I picked out the middle name when I was in college. So, for those of you who are curious, our baby girl will be named…

Elena Ruth.

The first name I always thought worked in any language since for quite awhile, I thought I’d be living in Montreal, but I loved Spanish. Ruth, however, has a little more meaning to it.

Ruth was my grandmother – my dad’s mom. She was a phenomenal woman. Basically, she raised six boys, gave up on the hopes of giving birth to a girl, so she adopted two sisters from Bolivia. She managed to raise all of her children in such a way that there are three pastors and three deacons. Every single one of her boys has been involved in churches/church planting/church leadership at some point or another. I would say 95% of my cousins are believers. Even my cousins’ children are believers. One of my uncles is running for Congress. Two of my cousins are in the Christian music industry. The vast majority of my cousins have been on missions trips or worked in Christian camps or programs in church. Whatever my grandmother did, she did it well.

She wasn’t the mushy grandma who spoiled her grandchildren crazy. But, my grandparents made every effort to be at every special event for every single one of their many grandchildren. We lived the farthest away, and yet they made every effort to see us every year. We’d watch for their giant RV and about freak out when they pulled in. I don’t remember them ever bringing presents, but it didn’t matter. They were there. The year I graduated from high school, so did one of my cousins. They came to my graduation and not hers because they said they didn’t see my family often enough. The year I graduated from eighth grade, my sister graduated from high school. I had an eighth grade graduation in school, but nothing was even mentioned at home. Until I found a card from Grandma on the table. She remembered my eighth grade graduation even when nobody else recognized it.

She passed away unexpectedly just after I’d turned 18. She had had a heart attack earlier in the week. She was supposed to be released on Friday, so my cousin went to go see her in the hospital. He was passed by doctors and nurses running through the halls… to her room. She’d had another heart attack, unexpectedly, and passed away right there. We were preparing to send me off to college and my parents to move to Montreal. We were in the middle of a yard sale when my uncle called my dad. That night was my going away party from my friends. I went anyway, but I was a mess. Such a mess my friends told me to smoke a cigarette and calm down. Thankfully, I declined.

I remember each member of my family handled her death differently. Tanya, my sister, had just barely moved to Harrisburg, PA, to teach and had just started her first year of school there, so she couldn’t leave for the funeral. To this day, I’m not sure what she did. Shawn, my brother, went into silent work mode. He worked on my dad’s car (which, looking back, I believe was fine) for hours on end. He refused to go to Wisconsin for the funeral. I honestly think he thought he couldn’t handle it. My dad holed up in his room, making phone calls, taking over as “big brother” and organizing the funeral, flights, burial, and who knows what else. My mom was just quiet. Crying a lot. Grandma was the best example of mother-in-law there ever could’ve been because every single daughter-in-law mourned her as if she was their mom.

That first Sunday in Wisconsin, the day after grandma’s funeral, in their home church, without Grandma… was torture. My aunt could hardly enter the sanctuary. I saw Grandma’s pink flowered dress everywhere I looked. Nothing was the same. Still, when we go to that church, I expect to see her and Grandpa walking down the hall to greet us.

I miss my Grandma. She didn’t get to meet Brian. She wasn’t at my wedding. She won’t get to meet my first daughter. I miss her so much. I feel like I lost her too soon. There’s still so much I want to ask her and talk to her about. I look up to her as one of my heroes. It gives me great honor to name my firstborn after her.

Elena Ruth. You have big shoes to fill, little one.