A Love Letter to My Surprise Third Baby

Dear little love,

Your mama is a planner with control issues, so finding out we were pregnant with you– our third, unplanned baby– felt like my whole world was flipped upside down. I spent almost my entire pregnancy in denial, even with feeling you kick. You were a difficult pregnancy and my longest and toughest labor.

Sweet little boy, you were the baby we never expected, were completely unprepared for, and didn’t know how to handle. You flipped our routines, house, budget, and sense of family life upside down.

I had heard over and over that you just “know” when you’re done having kids because your family feels complete. I felt that way after your brother. Being a family of four just felt right.

And then we learned we would be a family of five.

But now, a year since first holding my little caboose in my arms, we feel complete as a family in a different way. You did that, little boy. I don’t know how, but you did.

It wasn’t immediate, and it wasn’t easy. I was downright hysterical at the bottom of my postpartum hormone crash, absolutely convinced we were not capable of handling this unexpected addition. I held you and watched your brothers wrestling, thinking with increasing panic, I can’t do this.

We evacuated for Hurricane Ida when you were just 12 days old. For weeks, I thought about how much easier everything would be without a newborn in the mix. I fell into a terrible trap of comparison. But as you grew, I grew, too.

It still isn’t easy. There are days when I still think, I can’t do this for another eighteen years! And then one of you makes me laugh so unexpectedly, I think, I can’t believe I only get this for eighteen years.

Now we’re here, at your first birthday, and I can’t get enough of you. You have such a sweet and sunny disposition but with your fair share of thunderstorms. You trill “Ma ma ma ma ma ma” every time you see me, and it fills my heart with such joy. You and your brothers just fit together in one crazy rough and tumble group, and even though I feel like I’m constantly stretched in twenty different directions at once, the stretching is a sign I’m growing.

Being a family of four would have been easier, it’s true. But being a family of five is what we are, and who it seems we are supposed to be.

And it’s all because of you.

We love you. You’re an inseparable part of our family, and you have brought us so much more love and joy than we could have imagined. We aren’t just happy to have you; we are lucky and blessed.

What a crazy trip around the sun it’s been! We love you so much and are so excited to see how you grow and where life takes you. What a privilege it is for you to be ours, and for us to be yours.


Erica Tran
Erica lives in Kenner with her husband Michael and her three sons, Benjamin, Joshua, and Elijah. After graduating from UL Lafayette with a degree in advertising and landing her dream job, she left her chosen field and now works part time as an administrative assistant for a Catholic retreat movement. She spends the rest of her time at home with her boys, finding lost toys and actively ignoring various messes. In 2019, she self-published her first book, The Sister. There's not a lot of free time between working, reading and writing, and chasing her kids, but in those moments she's usually sprawled on the sofa in casual denial about just how messy her house is.


  1. SAME here! I had twin girls (IVF in fact!) and I only ever wanted 1-2 kids max. But then I went off birth control *seven* years later BAM, pregnant with #3 – conceived on my 40th birthday! So I have a caboose baby too, and she is also a girl, and my heart bursts with love for her just as much as it ever has with my twins. I cannot for a minute imagine our world without my sweet little caboose (who is 7 years old now 🙂

  2. I am going through this exact situation right now. Crying everyday, dreading getting uncomfortably large again and I had a traumatic childbirth with my second, terrified to do it again to the point where it’s all I think about. Obsessing how am I going to cook every night for 3 boys? I know once I meet him I will feel differently, but has been one dreadful pregnancy.


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