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CHAPTER FOUR

Third Baby

I was pregnant again and we picked out the name Michael David, after St. Michael the arch angel and David from King David in the Bible. We always put a lot of thought into the names we picked.

I was busy knitting a light green sweater/hood/mitt outfit, for the expected baby. It also had a zippered bunting and a blanket; it had a plain stockinette stitch and then a trim around all the edges with a "seed" stitch. It came out quite nice and was used for Mike, Mary, Peter, David, Andrew, and Lisa - it was still in very good condition when I gave it away.

Mike was born on November 14, 1959, (exactly one year after the miscarriage), (on a Wednesday) at 1:27 p.m. He weighed 7 lbs. 2 oz - was 19 1/2 inches long. The obstetrician, Dr. William B. Havey, had decided to induce labor while the baby was still headfirst - and it worked...boy did it ever! They ruptured the membrane with sterilized instruments, wheeled me into a room to wait for labor to start; handed me a book to read. Well, Dr. Havey went down to the coffee shop.

I began to read my book; I thought I was having labor pains, but thought it couldn't be so soon. I finally buzzed for a nurse. She was shocked - it had only been about 10 minutes and she could see his head. They pushed a button for a red light and siren that went on - Dr. Havey came running down the corridor. I was being wheeled into the delivery room; they said there probably wasn't time for the anaesthetic to take hold...thank God it did, I went out, and woke up in my room with a fine son.

Later, we learned that Mike's asphexiation time was 13 minutes. It took them 13 minutes to get him to breathe; probably because his birth was so quick - his lungs didn't have much time for exercise, that comes with contractions. We watched and prayed that he have no learning disabilities as a result of not breathing for so long.

Mike was born head first, looked exactly like my Dad (Grandpa Taylor). He had blond/red hair, lots of it. I had read something about eating a lot of protein from the 5th month on, and the baby would have a lot of hair. It worked...it was beautiful, long hair. His hips were checked by Dr. Simon Heimburg, as usual, and were okay.

Then, Dr. Heimburg came to my room; he comment how we had so many children, so fast - that, would we consider giving Mike up for adoption? (to him) He had no children and thought Mike was a fine boy;. he said Mike would have the best of everything, the best education, etc. I couldn't believe my ears. My children were my pride and joy, my reason for living, my ticket into heaven (for sure), and I loved to show them off, especially at Easter time, going to Sunday Mass - all dressed up in our Easter finery. I learned many years later that the Jews believe their Messiah will have red hair, when he comes; Mike sure must have fit the bill for Dr. Heimburg.

Mike's left foot turned in slightly and I was told to exercise it 4 or 5 times a day...which I did when I changed him. I had to put my right thumb up against his left big toe and in a semi-circle motion, push it around towards the right (the outside, for him); I prayed for him, whenever I did this. In a short amount of time it was alright.

We brought Mike home and kept his tiny crib in the pantry that was adjacent to the kitchen - where I could see him as I went about my work - it didn't have a door on it. Rose and Joey were both in cribs. The three of them were in diapers, so that was quite a few to wash and hang to dry every day. I had a wringer washing machine and rinsed in the bathtub. Rose was just over 2 years old, learning how to walk late because of the cast and Joey was just toddling around the house. It wasn't long before Rose was potty trained, and then there were only 2 in diapers.

There had been a lot in the news about rats getting after newborn babies. We started to notice a lot of noise under our kitchen sink - it was in the little pantry, next to the larger pantry where we had Mike's crib. We set a mousetrap under the sink. Shortly after, we heard a lot of thrashing around under the sink. Joe looked under the sink and there was a huge rat caught in the mousetrap - he was trying to drag the trap down a hole in the floorboards. Joe grabbed a hold of him, stuffed him in a bag and carried him outside. I don't know what he did with the rat, neither do I care. We told Mrs. Piano, our landlady, about it and she said she couldn't understand why it was there, as she had recently had the whole house exterminated. We started to look for another place to live - and took Mike out of the pantry and into a regular size crib. We now had three cribs in the house.

Mike wasn't baptized until he was about 3 weeks old. He got a cold and I didn't want to take him outside in the winter weather and have water poured over his head for the ceremony. When we did bring him into the church for the baptism, the priest was very upset with us for having waited that 3 weeks. Mike's godparents were Joe's old best friend Paul Blanchette and his wife Jane.

We found the top floor of a house to rent, in French Hill section of Leominster; this is the area where Joe was raised. We had two bedrooms; there was a nice porch and also a clothesline pulley (I was still using a wringer washing machine and rinsing in the bathtub). There was a nice big yard and we spent a lot of time in it. We got a small, plastic swimming pool for the children - they really enjoyed playing in it.

One time we were sitting outside and they were in the swimming pool. All of a sudden it began to rain and thunder. We were gathering them up, along with their clothes and toys. They liked the rain and tried to get away from us; they ran around the side of the garage and then there was a very loud clap of thunder, coming from the direction they had gone in. They came running and screaming, back to us and were very happy to go into the house.

The people who lived downstairs from us, were Mr. Lee and his family: the man who had been our landlord when we rented the small house, now he was renting himself. He was also renting a church about 20 miles away, for his meetings. Quite often he had people at his house in the evening - they made a lot of noise, I think it was a prayer meeting. He told us, once, that you can judge a man by his haircut and his car and he was always shining his car. Even in those days, we could see through that.

All the past years, we never had a babysitter. Joe would always take his two week vacation when I was to deliver the new baby and he helped out. My Mom worked full time, but she did babysit about once a year, so we got out to celebrate our wedding anniversary. We didn't have any extra money for babysitters - wouldn't find one who would watch that many children. Our neighbor, (and friend of my Mother-in-law) Noella Carpentier had a lot of grown children; one of them, Diane, was studying to be a nurse; she loved children and offered to babysit. We did get out a few times, just for a couple of hours, we couldn't afford more than that. Joe babysat a lot of evenings, for me, so I could get out - I always went shopping.

One day, I dressed Rose and Joey up and sent them outside to play; they always stayed near the house. Mike was a small baby and I was expecting Mary. Rose came back upstairs and said that Joey fell down. I said, "Okay, go back and play." Then she came back upstairs again and said the same thing. This time I thought I had better check. Joey had fallen down the stairs, from close to the top, according to Rose. He was just laying there - the wind knocked out of him. I carried him upstairs and called Dr. Cummings - he stopped his office calls and came to see him. Joey was okay.

One time, when I was expecting Mary, I was especially depressed, because she was due in February and I had a case of "cabin fever" with the three small ones. I cried a lot and one night I just couldn't seem to get on top of it all - I was on my knees, praying, and I saw the virgin Mary. This was the first time anything like this had ever happened to me. She stood there, in our bedroom and just smiled at me...I felt peace for the first time in many months; the crying stopped and everything improved - Mary was born about 2 months later. (Now, I know that God meets us where we are - and, I was a Roman Catholic and believed that way; I would have been frightened by anything else. I felt peace, through what happened to me; and, that is what He wanted to convey to me.)

One day in early winter, I dressed up Rose, Joey and Mike in their outdoor clothes; we were all going to play outdoors for awhile. I went out on the porch to see just what the weather was like; I was just out there a minute and one of the children locked the door behind me. They didn't know how to unlock the door, and they could hardly hear me as I described how to do it. I was expecting in about 4 months and there was no way I could get into the one, small window that was off the porch (into the bathroom), and it also had a combination window on it, so it was impossible.

I went to the next door neighbor's house and called the rescue team at the local fire station - I told them the exact nature of the problem, they said they would send someone. When I got back to the porch door, I looked inside the door window, and there were the three small children; they had pulled their three little rocking chairs up close to the door, climbed into the chairs and rocked themselves to sleep.

The rescue truck came; by this time I was freezing cold because I didn't have a coat on when I got locked out. They looked the situation over, and decided to take the combination window off the bathroom window and crawl in to unlock the door. There was a siren going off and a big, ladder truck pulled up to the house. I shouted down to them that there was no need for them; they said they were just out for a ride and decided to come over to see what was going on. I was so embarrassed...as all the neighbors now came out to see what was happening.


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Michael David - a whole lot of hair!


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