October 19, 2010

One More Baby

There was a time when my husband and I believed three kids were enough for our family.  Our first three children were all born within three and a half years and I am the first to admit that the third child, often sick in her first six months of life with some kind of respitory illness or another, just about sent me over the edge a few times.  It is during those moments when decisions born of fatigue and frustration rear their ugly heads:  I will never have another baby. NEVER!

Time moved on, however, and life became easier.  My third child, Emma, finally slept through the night by age two and slowly, gradually, I awoke to a renewed version of myself, one with more energy and patience.  By that time I was twenty-eight and we had lived nearly a year at Strathcona Park Lodge on Vancouver Island.  The lodge was a tiny, fairly remote community and to combat cabin fever I had begun to jog a few miles out the highway as a means of escape.  In the warm months the community swelled with beautiful, young twenty-something employees and I revelled in evenings out with them to parties, movies, wing nights at the pub in town, etc.  I also took my children to visit friends in town and spent a lot of time driving to and from.  It was on one of these return trips that my kids and I were involved in a car accident.  A man driving a large pickup truck ran a stop sign when his brakes failed and made a left turn onto the highway in front of me.  I hadn't enough time to stop and slammed into his rear left wheel with the front of my car.  My children, all in the back seat, were fine, but I was injured and was taken by ambulance to the hospital.  It took ten months of physiotherapy, massage therapy, and a customized exercise program before I could even think about running again. 

During those ten months of pain and recovery, I began to look at life a little differently.  My car accident had a sobering affect on me.  Up until then I was so busy trying to reconcile being a young, vibrant woman of the world with being a mother to three small, needy children, that I was often making decisions that were convenient for me, rather than what was best for them.  I had good intentions, but my selfishness was continually getting in the way. I began to see life as being a precious gift, and because I had not died in the accident I was being given another chance to get it right.  I know it sounds trite, but that doesn't make it any less true.  Fortunately, I am married to a loving, faithful, patient man.  When I asked him later how he put up with me during that time before the accident he said, "I was just waiting for you to make your way through it, as I knew you would."   

It was so good to be running again, and I began piling on the mileage.  I looked forward to signing up for the Comox Valley half marathon and was invited to join a trail running group in Campbell River.  I was strong and a little too thin, but life was rich and I was happy with my children who were now seven, six, and four.  Everything was going smoothly, and manageably, but I began to secretly yearn for a baby.  I suppose I am a little like the mother in the Steve Martin film Parenthood:  "I LIKE the rollercoaster!"  When asked if I would ever have another baby, I would say with a laugh:  "In a heartbeat, if it could be a girl - a sister for Emma." My husband was not convinced we needed any more children, however.  "Isn't three enough?  Besides, we are finally starting to be able to do things with them like go for hikes, and they are getting more independent now."  He was busy with work, playing on a soccer team, and coaching our childrens' teams in town. Theoretically I agreed with him, but I still looked at other people's babies with longing in my heart.

One Sunday in March I joined the trail running group for a long run.  About half way into it I had to stop.  One of the women came back to me and asked me what was wrong.  "I'm just really hungry for some reason."  I had already consumed an energy packet, but was feeling overheated and ravenous.  She shared an energy bar with me and I finished the run strongly.  My next run was on a cold spring day and I had several layers of clothing on.  I had begun to suspect I was pregnant but was in stage two of  'Rebecca's Five Stages of Dealing with It':

Stage one:    suspicion
Stage two:    denial
Stage three:  conviction and slight panic
Stage four:   acceptance and plenty of throwing up of breakfast into the toilet
Stage five:   sense of well-being and glowing excitement

I soon became so overheated I had to stop and shed several layers.  Early the next morning, before the kids were awake, I knew it was time to tell my husband about the baby.  I went downstairs where he was making the fire and gave him the news. He took me in his arms and held me close while I smiled with something like joy through my tears. We both knew the challenges of having an infant, but we were in this together.

By Mother's Day in May I was over morningsickness (misery times ten), and when asked I said I knew my baby would be another girl.  Several people joked that I just said that because I wanted her to be a girl, but I just knew.  On October 17 at 7:50 p.m. Katherine was born after only 50 minutes of labour - hers was what they call a precipitous birth.  She exploded onto the scene of our family life and has never let up.  From almost her first days she has been trying to keep up to her older siblings.  To them, she was a the best present I could give them and they took to looking after her from the start.  They all helped so much that she became, in every sense, 'our' baby.  Katie began talking at nine months, and has always expressed herself in a manner beyond her years; ie. when she was two and a half and attending the second of her brothers' spring music recitals, Katie looked at me and said, "When is it going to be my turn to go up there?"  She is keenly interested in music and plays the piano, and loves performing in plays.  As the youngest, she has a deep, deep love for her family members.  It is like she has put us all in her pocket and carries us around with her.  Whenever any of us is sad, she is sad.  When we are happy, she is happy for us.  When her dad is tired after work, she climbs on his lap and strokes his cheek.  When I am busy cooking or working she says things like, "You take such good care of us, Mommy."  And I say back, "I'm so glad we still have a little one."

But she is not so little anymore.  Yesterday, Katie turned nine.  She had a small, manageable party ("I don't like big parties, Mom, because it's too hard to make sure everyone is having a good time.") at the swimming pool followed by a favourite supper of Fettucini Alfredo and Caesar salad.  Her birthday was a relaxed affair and when I asked her how she enjoyed it when I was kissing her goodnight, she said, "It was good, and I'm so glad Daddy didn't have to work and could come swimming."


  1. Lovely story, Becca, well told! Happy Birthday to your baby!

  2. What a beautiful post. I'm feeling really broody at the moment - I think I'd have another baby in a heartbeat if I could. Considering our ages and circumstances it's probably just as well that I can't. It just doesn't feel that way.

    I'm very happy for you that you had your fourth - she sounds just lovely.

  3. Happy Birthday Katherine!!!!

    My Cate is almost two and I am beginning to feel that baby desire again too. I am usually well on my way to another baby by now. My hormones don't know what to do with themselves. Certainly, I have my hands full, but my arms are empty.

    I am happy that you went for one more. She sounds like a real blessing.

  4. What a wonderful tribute to an amazing girl. Thanks for bringing joy to me this evening. As we approach our first child(ren) :-) it is people like you that make me that much more excited.

    Happy birthday Katie ("circles")! We love having you and learning from you at Kent School!

  5. One more baby,one more incredible blessing.

    You reflect well on those pivotal crossroads, including the traumatic moments.

  6. Knitika: great to hear from you, Val, and thanks!

    Vince: Glad you enjoyed the story :)

    Kate: I guess things happen for a reason, or don't happen, even though I wish for you, that they could. I'm really glad you have your three, though! Here's to many, many years of being there for them xo

    Tracey: You've read my reply to Kate? I suppose it could apply to you, too. Give your Cate a squeeze for us.

    Chris (squares): thanks for such a nice comment. Katie said to me yesterday, in firm tones, "I LIKE my school." So, well done, you!

    Paul: Thanks so much. It's great to see you back here again!

    Have a great day everyone!

  7. You do know the simplest way to cut a child's hair fringe. That oldie but goody of placing a saucepan or pudding bowl on the head and cutting around it. :-D

    Sorry about last time I was under pressure of time so couldn't read closely.

  8. Ha ha, Vince (or should I call you the hair police?). I'll have you know that at the time the photo was taken in the summer, Katie decided she was going to grow out her bangs. If you saw her today, you would see two clips holding back her long bangs.

  9. She is dead right, keep anyone that's such a dangerous driver of a pair of scissors well away. ;¬)

    Hmm, I had to look up Bangs in this context. Is such a term usual.

  10. Yes, we call them 'bangs' here. I'm not at all sure why.

  11. What a wonderful story Rebecca! Inspiring for sure and I can SO RELATE as we had our "perfect" four children (two boys/two girls) when we rather quickly and UNEXPECTEDLY added our FIFTH! What joy he is to us EVERY DAY!

    They grow up TOO fast!!!!

    Happy Birthday to your lovely 9 year old!

    Do you still run????

  12. Hello Jill! So nice to see you here.
    Thanks for your kind comments, and yes, I still run and will as long as my body allows it. It's a celebration of being healthy for me. Have a great day!

  13. The story of how each child comes into being is unique and special. Katie was waiting to come into your lives. Blessings to her and the rest of your family. :)

  14. Nice blog Becka. I walked up from work yesterday and ran into two moms with their six month olds. One mom has a chubby happy baby and is getting lots of sleep, the other hasn't slept much through the duration. It took me back. Monica

  15. Wow, your post has *almost* convinced me to have another! :) What a beautiful tribute to your baby.

  16. Great to hear from you, Holly! And thanks.


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