Monday, October 16, 2006

One year ago

One year ago yesterday I celebrated my 45th birthday. When I turned 40, I still had small children; by 45 it seemed I was definitely in that mid-life stage of children growing older and no little ones coming up behind. I had accepted that much as I would have loved a larger family, my two precious daughters were as big as it was going to get. A few months earlier we had got rid of assorted car seats and pushchairs. That stage of life was gone.

One year ago today I began to suspect I might be pregnant. Over the next few days it became much more than a suspicion - though I put off doing a test, partly out of disbelief, and partly out of fear of disappointment. Finally I plucked up the courage. Sure enough, the test was positive. I asked everyone I knew (and many I didn't) for prayers. I have reason to be very grateful to those friends, both known and unknown, who prayed for us. Pregnancy never comes with any guarantees, and at 45 there was a significantly higher risk of miscarriage and complications. I made it to 12 weeks and a scan showed a perfect, tiny baby. The miracle began to seem real. Morning, evening and night sickness (fortunately afternoons were better) was replaced with a nasty asthmatic cough and breathlessness. I don't normally suffer from asthma but it is triggered by pregnancy. I had it mildly with Star. This time it was a six month battle, trying to keep ahead with an ever increasing pile of inhalers. People continued to pray. Our Little Cherub grew despite my poor health.

Two weeks before my due date I had a routine appointment with my community midwife. My blood pressure had begun to rise. The midwife felt the breathlessness was taking too much of a toll. Worse still, she was not happy with Little Cherub's heart rate. She sent us to the hospital for monitoring. During a brief stop at home to collect my bag I sent out emails asking for prayers. And they were answered. Little Cherub's heart trace wasn't good. Worse, she wasn't moving. The obstetrician decided on an emergency c-section. Within 15 minutes, Little Cherub was out and being resuscitated by a team of paediatricians. I discovered later she was born with an Apgar score of 2. After a short but heart-stopping wait the doctors started to smile ... and Little Cherub cried. Within a few minutes we were able to hold our new daughter. She was tiny - only 5lbs 7lbs - but in perfect health. All those prayers had been answered. Our miracle baby was with us.

What can I say about mid-life motherhood? Simply, it is a joy. I am aware in a way I wasn't with Angel and Star that every day with this little miracle is precious
and I savour each one. Even after four months I have to pinch myself to believe this is real. My heart melts each time I look at my Little Cherub; I snuggle her and I'm warmed to my toes. Even looking at the baby paraphernalia scattered round the house is a thrill. I have learned gratitude. I thank God constantly for this precious, unexpected gift. Having a new baby after an eight year gap is in some ways like being a first time mother again - I have that same sense of wonder and excitement - but with the benefit of experience. For Angel and Star, their baby sister is a wish granted. Both had longed for a new sibling. To see them cuddling, comforting and playing with their sister is an added joy.

I try to say Evening Prayer daily (though I'm afraid I miss it too often) and each time Our Lady's great prayer of praise resonates in my soul and hones th
at spirit of gratitude.
My soul glorifies the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour
... the Almighty works marvels for me, Holy His name ...

Deo gratias! And if you were one of those friends who prayed for us, thank you more than I can say.


Mary G said...

and what a Cherub she is!

Congrats again on this lovely gift from God; and your other two are just as beautiful and precious!

Cay in La. said...

What beautiful girls you have and what a beautiful baby Cherub is. :)

Jennifer said...

Little Cherub reminds me so much of my little sister. She needed a haircut at 6 weeks, her bangs (do you call it fringe over there??? The hair on one's forehead) were in her eyes!

Your family of girls is loving and lovely!

The Bookworm said...

Jennifer - yes, a fringe. It took me until adulthood to work out what bangs were!

Karen E. said...

Oh, Kathryn,

This is so beautiful! I know just how you feel .... Ramona is four and I still have to pinch myself sometimes.
:-) All three of your girls are absolutely beautiful!

K said...

This is such a beautiful post and rings so true for me. It was only 4 years since my last baby, but it was the first one that my mother will never meet.

I must admit, I look at things so differently being a mom at 41 compared to the first time around at 21.

I thank God for all of His blessings, even the ones I seem to keep stumbling over and praying for the batteries to quit! LOL

Your family is beautiful!

Alice said...

I read this post the other day, but did not then have time to comment in any depth, so I am back now to tell you that I am amazed by the complete beauty and sweet expressions of your three daughters. The photos within this post and the one at the top of your blog show how incredibly blessed you and your husband are. Then, reading your reflection, I am so moved by your story and gratitude for all of them. (I remember Little Cherub's birth like it was yesterday.) How good God is!

By the way, my daughter Theresa was looking over my shoulder the day you first posted the picture of the three girls at the top of your blog. She exclaimed, "Oh! Those girls are so pretty! And for a minute I thought their baby was a little doll!"

My sentiments exactly!

Cheryl said...

I love the B & W picture of your sweet girls. Great post!

Elena said...

What a great story! I have to book mark you - I too an a 45+ mom with a 1 year old! It's so nice to read another mature mom's blog!

JennGM said...

I remember your announcement. And being close to 40, I was so happy for your news. It gave me such hope.

And your daughters are just gorgeous! The baby is especially cute in her bonnet. How can you ever stop kissing those cute little cheeks?

Krisann said...

She is a doll! and the other girls are lovely too!

Thanks for sharing.

Isla de Esperanza