Mum Louise Nutley, 31, no longer feels so outnumbered in her own house after she gave birth to a baby girl – after having seven boys.
Louise has always wanted a little girl and was twice told at scans that two of her boys were going to be girls. She had given up hope of having a fellow female to do ‘girly things’ and even joked at her last scan that they ‘didn’t need to be told the sex.’ But all of her dreams came true when her little Freyah May Grace was born, five weeks premature, weighing just 3lbs and 12oz.
She is a welcome little sister to brothers Benjamin, 12, Cameron, 11, Lewis, nine, Leighton, eight, Keiran, seven, and Ollie, three.
Louise and husband Dan, 36, also had a son Harrison who was sadly a stillborn.
Now Louise is enjoying finally dressing one of her babies in pink.
‘Dinner’s ready,’ I called, as my boys darted around the house, play fighting and knocking into everything in their path.
‘Buuuut mum,’ my son, Lewis, moaned. ‘We’re wrestling.’
‘That’s enough. Now wash your hands and sit down please,’ I instructed, as I dished up the lasagne I’d cooked for tea and tried to get them to the kitchen table.
With six sons under the age of 12, meal times usually resembled feeding time at the zoo.
My eldest, Ben, 12, and his brother, Cameron, 11, shared a bedroom and dragging them away from their Xbox and Minecraft game was a battle in itself.
‘Just five more minutes,’ they’d beg, but I’d have to switch the console off to get them to stop.
While Lewis, nine, Leighton, eight, and Keiran, seven, always had bundles of energy and trying to get them to keep still proved a real challenge.
A mummy’s boy, my youngest, Ollie, three, was my shadow and constantly glued to my hip. Holding him with one arm, I’d have to cook and clean with the other.
Every evening, by the time I’d managed to get the boys to clear their plates, I was exhausted.
But as soon as they’d eaten their meals, the lads were up and on the go again – playing chase this time.
‘Slow down,’ I called after them, sinking my hands into the washing up bowl.
Jumping up and down on the sofas, they weren’t listening.
It was chaos, but things were only about to get even more manic.
Drying off on a tea towel, I sighed as stroked my bulging bump.
Seven months gone, we’d soon have another little one to add to our brood and although it was non-stop I couldn’t wait.
My husband, Dan, 36, walked through the door as I settled down with a cup of tea.
‘Ah good, you can take over,’ I smiled, handing him parenting duties.
He loved the rough and tumble that came with having a house full of boys.
Diggers and racing cars spilled out of their toy boxes, while footballs and bikes littered the garden.
As the only female under the roof, I was well and truly outnumbered. If I fancied watching the soaps on TV I could forget about it. The lads dominated the remote.
I had always longed for a little girl to dress in pink. As she grew older I dreamed of plaiting her hair, painting her nails and taking her on shopping trips.
But after giving birth to a little boy, we named Harrison, who was sadly stillborn, I almost gave up hope.
Dan and I had first met and got talking in a nightclub, in February 2002, we swapped numbers and quickly became a couple.
At the time, I was a learning support assistant at a school and went to college one day a week, while Dan worked in a cheese factory. He would meet me when his shift finished.
Within eight weeks I had moved in with him and his mum, Eileen, 56.
Before long, I missed a period and suspected I might be pregnant. I bought a test and rang Dan at work to break the news to him.
‘You’re going to be a daddy,’ I blurted out, before I had the chance to chicken out.
‘Oh wow,’ he gasped, speechless.
Later one of his workmates rang me to say: ‘What have you said to Dan? He’s got a huge grin on his face.’
‘We’re having a baby,’ I told him.
We had only been together for a few months, but we were both thrilled and excitedly started planning for our new arrival.
At our 20-week scan we discovered we were having a little girl.
But the sonographer looked concerned and said: ‘There’s no fluid around your baby and she’s not growing as we’d hope.’
We were given two choices – either let nature run its course or terminate the pregnancy.
Dan and I wanted to give our unborn baby a fighting chance so decide to wait and see what happened.
The doctor wanted to monitor me closely and every week I had to go to the hospital for scans.
We tried not to get our hopes up too much, but couldn’t help but think about what she might look like and what we would call her.
We avoided buying the baby essentials, not knowing how the pregnancy would pan out.
‘What do you think of Lucy?’ I suggested, as we discussed names.
‘It’s perfect,’ Dan agreed.
But at 28 weeks, I panicked when I started bleeding.
After rushing to hospital I was admitted for a few weeks, before being allowed home and told to take it easy when there was no change.
When I was 34 weeks gone, I went into labour just as I finished making a spaghetti bolognaise for dinner in December 2002.
I dashed to hospital and was in for a huge surprise when our baby arrived.
‘It’s a boy,’ the surgeon announced.
Dan and I looked at each other, confused.
‘It can’t be,’ I whispered.
‘But we were told we were having a girl,’ Dan stuttered.
‘Well, he’s definitely a little boy,’ he smiled, holding him up to show us.
Weighing just 2lbs 8oz our son was whisked away to NICU.
He had a punctured lung, bleed on the brain and needed a chest drain, spending six in hospital before we were able to take him home with us to Frome, Somerset.
‘What are we going to call him? We hadn’t even though about names for boys,’ I panicked.
‘Ben?’ Dan suggested.
‘After your old dog?’ I laughed.
‘Why not?’ he grinned.
I had to admit the name did suit our little lad, so we agreed on it.
We quickly settled into parenthood.
A few months later, my friend remarked: ‘You keep needing to go for a wee. Are you pregnant again?’
Laughing it off, I snorted: ‘Definitely not!’
Just to be on the safe side, I took a test and almost fainted in shock when it came back positive.
When I went for a GP appointment, I was even more surprised to find I was already seven months gone.
‘But I haven’t got a bump!’ I cried.
At the scan, the sonographer said: ‘Do you want to know what you’re having?’
I nodded, nervously.
‘A boy,’ she cooed.
‘Are you certain?’ I said. After last time, I couldn’t be too sure.
‘Yes, look at that,’ she smiled, pointing to the monitor.
‘Ok, it’s definitely dingle dangling,’ I giggled, convinced.
I breathed a sigh of relief, knowing our next baby could have all of the old, blue babygrows and toys as Ben grew out of them.
In October 2003, our son Cameron arrived, weighing 4lbs 15oz after I was induced two days early.
In time, Dan and I decided to add to our family and I fell pregnant again.
We planned to find out the gender to make shopping easier.
Again, we were told to expect a little girl and we thought we’d call her Leah.
We bought pink romper suits, blankets, towels and teddies in preparation.
All of our family and friends showered us with girly gifts too.
Only when I gave birth, in February 2006, Leah turned out to be another little boy.
‘I don’t believe it!’ Dan gasped, when our son was born.
‘Wrong for a second time,’ I laughed.
Little Lewis weighed 5lbs 7oz and came out with a tuft of dark brown hair.
Soon little Leighton added to our brood in February 2007. He was born five weeks early and weighed 4lbs 12oz.
Then Kieran arrived in April 2008, just six days before his due date and weighing 6lbs 7oz.
In September 2010, we were heartbroken when another little boy was stillborn 21 weeks into my pregnancy.
We named him Harrison and made sure to tell his siblings all about him, although they cried when I came home from hospital empty-handed.
Dan and I thought our family was complete, but in April 2011 I discovered I was expecting again.
‘Would you like to find out the sex of the baby?’ the sonographer asked at the scan.
‘We don’t need to,’ I sighed. ‘We know he’ll be a boy.’
‘What makes you so sure?’ she asked.
‘I’ve already had six boys,’ I told her.
Sure enough, I was right and Ollie was born in December 2011, four weeks early, weighing 4lbs 10oz.
Although I desperately wanted to keep going until Dan and I finally had a little girl, I knew it might never happen.
Our three-bedroom house was bursting at the seams.
But in September 2014, I was delighted to find I was having another baby.
‘Does your pregnancy feel any different?’ the midwife asked.
‘It does,’ I realised, reflecting on it.
This time, I couldn’t keep any food down – surviving on a diet of ham sandwiches alone – even a cup of tea left me feeling queasy.
I’d become addicted to mint sweets Polos too.
‘Why do you ask anyway?’ I said to the sonographer.
‘Well, look at the monitor,’ she said.
‘We’ve nicknamed it a ‘burger’,’ she added.
‘Don’t you mean a sausage and peas?’ I snorted, adamant I was having another little boy.
‘No, definitely a burger this time,’ smiled. ‘It’s a little girl.’
Staring at the scan pictures, I couldn’t believe it was finally happening.
I popped to the shop on the hospital site and picked up a pair of pink booties.
‘So…’ Dan prompted as soon as I walked through the door.
‘It’s a burger,’ I laughed.
‘What are you on about?’ he said.
I chucked the baby shoes at him and said: ‘We’re having a girl.’
‘I don’t believe it,’ Dan gasped.
‘But we’ve been told this before,’ he said, cautiously.
Determined not to get our hopes up we didn’t buy anything just in case.
But in April this year, Freyah was born via c-section at Bath’s Royal United Hospital, five weeks premature and weighing just 3lbs 12oz.
Now back at home, the boys are very protective of their little sister. I dread to think what they’ll be like when she brings home her first boyfriend.
Ollie he tells us off for winding Freyah – he thinks we are hurting her – and Kieran adores her.
He used to be mouthy and boisterous, but she already has brought out his softer side.
Lewis loves his little sis and says ‘finally it’s a girl’ and Leighton isn’t too fussed – until it comes to her toys, then he wants to play.
Cameron always wants to give her a cuddle and Benjamin, he isn’t too worried unless she is going to be able to play Xbox any time soon.
As one of three sisters, I always wanted to have a daughter and now my prayers have been answered.
Dan and I had always wanted a big family, but we’re not having any more now our daughter has arrived. Seven children is quite enough.
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