My grandparents, God rest their souls, lived in East Millinocket, Maine and had a camp (or cottage) on Pemadumcook Lake, out in the deep woods of Piscataquis County. My grandparents' wishes were that camp stays in the family and shared by their five children. Any family member can use the camp; we just need to make arrangements with one of my aunts to reserve it. Ernie and I decided that the price was right, and that it would be the best option for two teenagers, a pre-schooler and two 16 month old babies. Best doesn't mean easiest.
Kassie, Brody, Reese, Reagan and I set out on a sunny Saturday morning at 5:40am. Ernie and Kristin were to take care of things at home and join us in a few days. Stop # 1 was a state rest area with outdoor amenities. I let the children run around and eat breakfast for about a half hour. Reese and Reagan screamed bloody murder when plunked back into their car seats. Brody just kept asking if we were there yet.
Stop #2 was my Aunt Laurie's house in Waterville, about two hours away from camp. This was a longer stop, and a lovely, albeit short, visit. The children explored the house, ate grapes, drank juice, used the facilities, got clean diapers and we were back on the road within an hour and a half.
We arrived at camp about 3pm on a beautiful sunny afternoon. I did not expect to baby proof the camp the moment I walked through the door. The first 24 hours were, well, harrowing. Reagan was in the camp no more than five minutes and found the toilet cleaner under the sink in the bathroom. The trash can, not a covered can like we have at home, proved to be challenging. I moved furniture, rearranged cabinets, drawers, book cases and the like.
I spent three days chasing the children around before Ernie and Kristin finally arrived. I was at my wit's end. Not only was I without my spouse, the only other reasonably responsible individual in my household, but since I work full time, I am entirely unaccustomed to being around my children 24/7. It was ultimately an unpleasant realization, but it's my harsh reality. I had difficulty managing the household in those two aspects.
Ernie and Kristin arrived after I had spent the morning cleaning out the pack & play and everything that had been in it during Reese and Reagan's nap time. Reese pooped sometime after I put her and Reagan down for their nap, and her poopy diaper came unhinged. Poop found its way into nearly every nook and cranny. No wonder they never slept! Admittedly, I was happy to see Ernie, for a whole slew of reasons, not just because I missed him.
As the week wore on, it became less difficult with extra hands to manage the little ones. We spent some family time playing cards with the older girls, family dinners together every night and swimming during the afternoons. It was a wild week, but we managed to get through it, and Ernie and I actually stole a few relaxing moments here and there. Too soon, it was all over, and we found ourselves trekking back to Connecticut, back to our cell phones and lap tops, the washer and dryer, the dog and the cat.
Now that I have had a change of pace, time to recharge, and do some very deep thinking, I have finally decided to share some news with you that I found greatly troubling when I first discovered it. Back in late May, my period arrived very late. Actually, I thought it was arriving late, but it never arrived. I thought I was, at nearly 39, going into peri-menopause, and that I was starting the big change. What I actually discovered is that I am expecting another baby. Unplanned, unexpected, unbelievable!!!
There have been a flood of emotions surrounding this discovery.
The selfish emotions: I am happy with my family, I don't want another baby. I am finally getting my body back, and I don't want to have to lose weight again.
The fearful emotions: How will this affect our family? How do we juggle yet another child? How do we pay for another mouth to feed? Another daycare expense? How will the other children react?
The guilty emotions: How could I not embrace one of God's blessings? How many women are trying to conceive that can't, and I have this beautiful gift? Shame on me!
After several weeks of a variety of emotions, I've moved away from any and all negative feelings. I am happy and proud to tell you that I am expecting my fourth and very last child, our seventh altogether. This child will be loved as much as each and every one of the others.
As of this writing, I am 14 weeks. The first trimester was relatively uneventful other than my uncharacteristic emotional outbursts, the ups and the downs. I am one of those very fortunate women who do not experience morning sickness. I didn't feel great, but fortunately have not felt nauseous. I continued to play softball in my co-ed league. I have to admit, my batting average skyrocketed, while my stamina plummeted.
I find that my belly is showing a bit earlier than it would have in my first pregnancy, but I am still able to wear larger size clothing, which is a good thing, since I have no maternity clothes whatsoever. I got rid of everything, never expecting that I would be expecting again! We will find out next month whether we are having a boy or a girl; I cannot endure any more surprises. I honestly don't care what "it" is, I just hope for the blessing of a healthy baby!