Yesterday, our middle kid turned 43. I remember my father warning me that it would go by really fast and indeed it has. Hannah Christine Barabasz was born just 19 months after her sister. I paced the halls of St. Joseph's Hospital in Denver, Colorado the night before she was born (in those days they let you check in the day before), wondering what tomorrow would bring, since the baby's sex was unknown. Hannah's sister Alison had decided to enter the world one foot first (a single footling breech), requiring an emergency C-section, so I would deliver that way again.
My wonderful obstetrician, Lloyd Shield, MD, had audiotaped the baby's heartbeat during my pregnancy and also taped the delivery, since I had been given a general anesthetic. I played that tape over and over again, trying to capture the moment she was born. The nurse can be heard saying, "This baby has red hair, doctor", announcing the Apgar score and her weight (8 lb. 3 oz.) Soon, I woke up and Hannah was placed in my arms. My mom had come from Toledo to care for Alison while I was in the hospital for an entire week and for a few days after.
Life was pretty hectic after that. Andy traveled a lot with his job, so I was often flying solo caring for these two little girls. Between baths, feedings, diapers and playtime, it was exhausting. The only thing that kept me from going insane was my volunteer work with the Junior League, when I could dress up a bit and talk to adults. We had also formed a gourmet group with neighbors that focused on a different cuisine each month, which was a lot of fun. There were so many kids on our block, we laughingly called it "Rabbit Row".
Time passed swiftly. We moved to a larger home on the Ken-Caryl Ranch southwest of Denver. Peter was born when Hannah was just over two years old, completing our family of five. Two years later, we moved to Berwyn, PA, where we would reside for the next 16 years. It was a great place to raise a family, with the kids staying in the same school district for grades K-12. We loved Philadelphia and were within a few hours drive from New York and DC.
I'll confess that those first few years with three kids under the age of four are a bit of a blur. Our family photos remind me of holidays, birthdays, family visits and trips to Clear Lake in the summer. As crazy as life was, I wouldn't have traded it for anything. Happy birthday, Hannah!
I'm Chris Barabasz, retired from a 35-year career managing communications for health care development (that's fundraising for you civilians). I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and freelance writer. My husband Andy and I moved from Delaware to Texas to be closer to our daughters and three adorable grandchildren.