5 or 6 Children?

When I wrote my first post about the reasons I love Robert, I mentioned that he is the father of our six children. And in-real-life friends thought I had made a mistake. Because they all know we have five children – Pookie Bear, Miss Muffet, Baby Bear, Buddy Bear, and Little Bear.

The truth is that we have six children. And I am always conflicted about how to answer when people ask how many children we have.

Robert and Revka Stearns' wedding photo

one of my favorite wedding pics – click for a larger version

My whole life, I had dreamed of having children.

I wanted 12. Then decided that 5 or 6 would be plenty. And when Robert and I got married in 1999, I couldn’t wait to have kids. But Robert is nothing if not practical, and he thought we should wait 3 years or until we had $10k saved before thinking about having kids.

I chafed at the restrictions, but what could I do? So I (not so patiently) waited.

In April of 2001, not quite two years after we got married, I was thrilled to learn I was expecting our first child. Almost as soon as I saw the postive pregnancy test result, I called an OBGYN to set up an appointment.

The first appointment went great. I was only six weeks along so there wasn’t much to see in the ultrasound except a small blob, but I was thrilled with that blob. I excitedly shared the good news with friends and family.

model of 7 week baby

My baby was about this size at my first appointment.

A few days later, I started spotting. Worried, I called my doctor from work. He told me to come on in. My sister Shoshannah went with me for moral support, which I really appreciated. After an exam and a new ultrasound, my doctor came in to discuss the results. He said it didn’t look good, that my baby wasn’t developing the way it should. He said there was nothing he could do but that I could try taking it easy to see if that made any difference.

Devastated yet trying to remain optimistic, I went back to work and got permission to go home. I lay on the couch the rest of the day, desperately hoping that I’d be able to keep my precious baby.

I stayed home the next day, too. That evening, April 25, 2001, I lost my baby.

Since I didn’t know whether it was a boy or a girl, I gave it a name for both genders – Emily Joshua Stearns. I’ve always pictured my baby as a beautiful brown haired girl with bright blue laughing eyes, an upturned nose, and a sprinkling of freckles across her cheekbones.

It will be a while before I get to meet E.J., but I’m so glad to know that we will meet one day in Heaven. In the meantime, s/he is alive in my heart. And I don’t ever want to forget or discount that life, brief though it was. I’ve made sure that our children know that they have another sibling, and sometimes they talk about her. She’s a part of our family, even though she’s not here.

So if you ask how many children I have, I may say 5 because I don’t want to make you uncomfortable by explaining that our first was a miscarriage, but the complete answer is 6.

Stearns family April 2012

Stearns family, April 2012
Back: Robert and Revka; Middle: Little Bear and Buddy Bear; Front: Baby Bear, Pookie Bear, and Miss Muffet


  1. My first pregnancy was also a miscarriage, I was right near the end of the first trimester.
    The doctor that saw me afterward said I would never have children (HA, we showed him). Over the years answering the question of how many children we have has been difficult. We have four that are with us physically and unless it’s a medical situation four is generally the answer we give, but in our hearts we will always have five.

    • I’m sorry you had a miscarriage, too, Loretta. I’m so glad the doctor was wrong about your not having any more children.

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