Last year, I shared with you all my worries about being pregnant again so long after my first two boys and at such “advanced maternal age” in my blog, Pregnancy Worries. I’m happy to finally announce that Perry Jacob Paulk made his appearance on June 12, 2018! I know it’s a bit late to make it an announcement, but we’ve had our hands full ever since he arrived!
I had been having contractions off and on since April, so my midwife really started encouraging me to back off at work. With my first two pregnancies, I actually went into labor prematurely, which meant my doctor’s office was keeping a close watch on me. By the end of May, my contractions were getting stronger and more regular. When I made it to June (which was my goal!) my Fourth and Cherry family allowed me to stay home on unofficial bedrest, until Perry was born. Nobody wanted me to go into labor in the kitchen making sandwiches and salads!
Let me just tell you, there is a big difference in having a baby when you're almost 40 compared to having them in your twenties! My delivery went as smoothly as possible, with lots of personal attention at our small local hospital. My nurse was quite in tune to me and noticed Perry’s heart rate dropping during my contractions. She notified my doctor, who quickly delivered Perry and discovered that he had his umbilical cord wrapped around his neck. It’s a common occurrence, but scary when it’s your baby! I’m so grateful for experienced medical professionals like those who took care of me and my baby!
We came home the next day, excited to get to know this little bundle! I have to say, adding a newborn’s schedule to our already busy and set routine was more difficult than I thought it would be. Fortunately, my Mama spent the better part of the next couple of weeks helping us all get acclimated to our new life. I’m so grateful for her, and honestly don’t know what I’d do without her! I’m also thankful it was summer break for our older boys, which meant we didn’t have to immediately start getting up early to get ready for school every day.
I stayed home with Perry, Caleb, and Seth throughout the summer, returning to work when the big boys went back to school. When Seth and Caleb were little, I was a stay-at-home mom, and even though I’m grateful to have had all that time with my boys, I didn’t feel like God was calling me to do the same this time. My Mama is retired now, so she keeps him three days a week for me to work at The Shoppes, and Perry just goes to the office at the farm with me on Thursdays when I work there. Again, I don’t know what I’d do without my Mama!
Perry is 11 months old now, crawling, pulling up on everything, and getting into every cabinet and drawer that doesn’t have a lock on it! He’s learning when he's not supposed to do or have something, so when he does, he just looks up and grins! I think my age and experience has helped me to be more patient, and I’m hoping that will continue as he grows. Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely moments (maybe even days?) that I’m not sure I can handle another baby! That’s when I’m so, so grateful for my family and friends to be my support network. And, then he shoots me one of those adorable smiles that just melts my heart and makes me think that maybe I can.
The sweetest thing has been seeing my older boys learn to love and take care of their little brother. Watching them, I know that one day, some girl is going to look at Seth and another at Caleb, and think to herself, “He’s going to be an incredible Daddy one day!” because that’s what I think about each of them now, just like I did with their Daddy.
Perry has been such a blessing that none of us expected or even knew we needed! When I was pregnant and even after he was born, Chris and I would look at each other every so often and say, “We’re too old for this!” Lately, though, we just look at him and look at each other and say, “Isn’t he precious?” or “Look at that sweet baby!” I have always tried to enjoy each phase of my older boys’ lives, but there’s something about having a baby at my age that just makes each moment sweeter, knowing how fast time flies. Perry is a constant reminder that God’s plan is always better than my own.