THE PARENTS: Bronwyn Hinds, 30, and Nick Hinds, 31, of Manayunk
THE KIDS: Gabriel William, 2 1/2; Oliver Keith, born November 6, 2018
A RECENT GOLDEN MOMENT: Reading Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site, a book Gabe has memorized, while cuddling in bed with both boys. “I hope they’re best friends and we can have story nights all the time,” Bronwyn says.
It was serendipity. It was a second chance.
The first time Bronwyn and Nick met, both were out with friends at a brewery in Manhattan’s meatpacking district. They talked, they drank, they went separate ways.
But later that night, both happened into the same pizza place on the city’s Upper East Side. “It seemed like it was meant to be, that night — not that we were going to be together, but it’s crazy to run into the same person twice in Manhattan,” Bronwyn says.
That time, he got her number.
Shortly after their first date, Nick graduated from medical school and went home to Toms River, N.J., for the summer. When Bronwyn visited him, she saw another side of the driven, type-A medical student; with his family, Nick was easygoing, intimate, and relaxed. “I saw [her] really quirky side, that she had this goofy confidence that really attracted me,” Nick says.
When Nick landed a residency at Hahnemann University Hospital, Bronwyn decided to go along. “She was just going to live with me while she tried to find a job,” Nick says. “But living with her was like living with your best friend. It was very easy.”
Six months after the move to Philadelphia, Nick proposed: a low-key moment apt for a woman who doesn’t like surprises, the two of them on a veranda at a waterfront bar. He’d run out for the ring just that morning — literally, because FedEx wouldn’t deliver it without a signature. In 98-degree weather, he jogged from Pine Street to the courier company’s shipping center on Grays Ferry Avenue.
They wed in Wisconsin, with a reception in Bronwyn’s parents’ yard overlooking Green Bay (the water, not the town). With help from friends and family, they transformed the garage into a beer garden, with lights, signs, and barrels repurposed as tables. A bluegrass band rocked the cocktail hour.
Bronwyn may have been the only sober person there. About 10 days before the wedding — after a long run, a hot-tub soak, and two glasses of wine — she’d taken a pregnancy test. Then another. Then two more.
“At the time, it seemed really overwhelming,” Nick recalls. Not only because they would need to tell their Catholic families they were pregnant, but because Nick was working round-the-clock as a resident, and the two had just moved to a one-bedroom loft apartment. They’d figured on savoring some time as newlyweds, including a belated honeymoon trip to Hawaii; suddenly they were calculating the cost of day care and wondering whether they should buy a house.
Bronwyn called her parents, tearful as soon as she heard their voices. “They thought I was crying because maybe the wedding was going to be called off.” But when she shared the good news, they called it a blessing.
The next nine months were physically easy and emotionally draining. Except for some rib pain every time the baby stretched his feet, Bronwyn felt energetic and healthy. But Nick was still working 60-hour weeks and prepping for medical board exams. House-hunting gobbled more time than they’d planned.
As the due date drew closer, they made a significant decision: that Bronwyn would stop working after the baby was born. “I never saw myself as someone who would stay at home with their kids,” she says. But she and Nick remembered the nourishment of having at least one parent’s consistent presence as they were growing up.
“That was really important to me,” she says. “I didn’t want to stop working, but I knew I had to. It was a huge transition for me.”
As for the birth itself, Bronwyn was unequivocal. “I hate pain,” she says. So after an induction at 41 weeks, she labored with an epidural, even napping through the transition period and waking up to find she was fully dilated and ready to push.
Nick, who’d attended several deliveries during a med school rotation, found his anxiety amped up when it was his own child about to be born — especially when Gabriel emerged with the cord coiled around his neck and had to cough up amniotic fluid before he could breathe on his own. And despite his medical training, “I remember being scared out of my mind when we first took him home: Wait, they actually let us leave with a human being?”
With her parents in Wisconsin, most of her friends single and childless, and Nick unable to take even a day off, Bronwyn’s first weeks of parenthood were a depleting haze. Nick, meantime, felt tugs of guilt that he was missing infant milestones, or that Bronwyn handled all the nighttime wake-ups while he cadged a few desperate hours of sleep.
Still, they wanted another. Bronwyn became pregnant when Gabe was almost 2 but had a miscarriage at nine weeks. Nick recalls crying quietly by himself while Bronwyn sought comfort from relatives and friends who shared stories of their own pregnancy losses, and of the children they bore afterward.
Six weeks after the miscarriage, Bronwyn was pregnant again. Nick was prepping for another round of medical boards — they were set for two days after the due date and couldn’t be rescheduled — so they planned for an induction a few days early.
But Bronwyn went into labor on her own; at Hahnemann, she pushed for just 12 minutes. Oliver was a big baby — 8 pounds, 12 ounces — a surprise for everyone who noted how small Bronwyn seemed while pregnant — with bright blond hair.