The birth announcement

Infant cries floated to me as I folded laundry in the basement. I dropped a towel back into the basket and listened.

“Did you hear that?” I said to Husband.

He muted the TV. “Hear what?”

The cry drifted to me again. I pointed up, indicating the floor above us. “A baby crying.”


Three-year-old Flicka and almost two-year-old Ricka—our only children at the time—were asleep. I already knew their sounds, and neither mewled like a newborn anymore.

I shrugged. Husband resumed his TV show. The laundry again beckoned.

Throughout the early months of 2003, I heard the sound of a baby a few more times—always at night. What could it be? The Crying Baby Kidnap Lure flitted into my mind. As the story went, a serial killer meandered about, playing a recording of a fussing baby outside women’s windows in an attempt to draw them out of their homes. But the claim had been refuted, and the cries I heard came from inside our house. What else? The girls didn’t own any noise-making dolls. But I read online that cats could sound like babies. Likely cause, if we had any.

My days overflowed with the stuff of life: laundry and dishes, groceries and cooking, parks and story times, Flicka and Ricka. And I forgot about the mysterious crying in our house.

One night, when Husband was on an overnight trip for work and my little ones were fast asleep, the phantom baby cried again.

This time, I offered it up. I don’t know what this is, but it’s Yours now.

A month later, we learned some news: baby #3 was in the works. The cries in our house ceased—until Dicka emerged, and then the sounds belonged to her.

Ruling out insanity, I puzzled over the phenomenon I had lived. Some would call it a premonition, others a flash of the prophetic, still others a subconscious desire. I thought of Sarah, Mary, and Elizabeth—three mothers from ancient times—told in advance that babies would be born to them.

Maybe the gift of a birth announcement can come in any way at any time to anyone. And maybe it had come to me too.


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*Names in this blog have been changed to protect my family, neighbors, and friends in the neighborhood, and in a nod of appreciation to the beloved Swedish author Maj Lindman, I’ve renamed my three blondies Flicka, Ricka, and Dicka.