Child #3, Lee

Prompt Me! Maiya Strouth:  Giving birth to your third child and what follows.

I was old to be having a third child, or that’s what the “experts” said. I was in my late 30’s, and the scare in those days was that old women had more complications or babies with issues. But I was healthy, had good daycare, good job and two kids that needed a little something extra.

I didn’t consider the three years’ lack of adequate sleep, the job stress, the home maintenance or my body being tired all over. Mentally I felt fit and ready to take on more.

The first thing that was different was that I blossomed much sooner. They thought I was carrying twins, I was big so fast. We did the ultrasound to determine one or two, and it was a one. I was just so stretched out; all those stomach and abdominal muscles gave up sooner than the previous two pregnancies. And I got this pain “down there” that I had never had before. The nurse knew right away what that was—pressure again from tired muscles and the added weight. An elastic belt around my belly to help hold everything up magically relieved the pressure and the pain.

Tom, my oldest, was the most beautiful baby I had ever seen when he was born, and a picture of my daughter, Maiya at 100 days about stopped my heart—she had such incredible big brown alert eyes. But when number three was born, Lee really was the most beautiful baby I had ever seen. His face was smooth, round, perfect. I couldn’t imagine how three of the most perfect little beings were wrenched out of my body, but they had been and I have the scars to prove it.

Lee was a C section, and later they said that’s probably why his head was so perfectly round and unscathed. On the other hand, the C section made me feel like someone had punched me in the gut—but it was easier than the “regular” birthing process. Had I known, all three would have been C sections, but then maybe everyone should go through the labor process to understand and be sympathetic to the burden women bear.

The third kid was exponentially more work. Suddenly the kids outnumbered the parents. The older kids became child psychologists: they began to give me parenting advice. They would say things like, “You better talk to Lee about XXX.” Or “I did XXX, and you are letting Lee do YYY.” For some reason, the older kids thought I did a better job with them, but I was not doing such a good job with Lee. And Lee would just sit back, observe and listen.

Lee's flight

Having three was a lesson in how unpredictable kids can be, and how sometimes things happened that were a result of, in my humble opinion, luck–good or bad. Our third kid completed the circle. He is reliable, dependable, a solid young man.

When I was going through the pregnancy years, I remember seeing a poster that said, “When you’re pregnant, you want a rocket scientist. When you’re delivering, all you want is a healthy baby.”

Life falls someplace in between.

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