“This won’t affect your fertility” I was still groggy from the anaesthetic and doped from morphine but these were very welcome words from Dr Martin, our consultant gynaecologist.
He had just removed a gangrenous ovary and fallopian tube from my left side.
Rachel, our only child at the time, was 18 months old.
By the time Rachel was 2 years old there was still no sign of a brother or sister for her.
I was in my thirties and every month that I didn’t get pregnant felt like a bereavement.
My mother sent money to the Poor Clare nuns in Cork to light a candle and pray for me to get pregnant.
Horace’s sister Evelyn, a Presbyterian deaconess and his other sister Audrey, also laid hands on me and prayed over me.
Horace & I just adored Rachel and knew what a blessing children were & are and we wanted more of this blessing – we were desperate for more children.
For us, having one child didn’t make the longing for a second child any less – if anything it strengthened that longing.
We read books about secondary infertility, talked to trusted friends and went to our GP.
Thankfully and without medical intervention I eventually became pregnant.
Rachel was three and a half years old when Leah was born on New Year’s Eve 1997.
When Rachel was a baby I tried too hard to do everything right – and probably did lots of things wrong – and she seemed to be grown up before I knew it.
This time round was going to be different – I was going to relax and savour every minute of Leah’s babyhood.
In the evening when Rachel had gone to bed & the housework was done, I used to lift my sleeping little baby out of her pram/cot and cuddle her, drinking in her babyness.
Later on when Horace was coming to bed he again lifted Leah from her cot, still sound asleep, and walked around with this placid little baby in his arms, just appreciating her babyhood.
He continued to do this until Leah was a toddler and became too heavy for him to lift and cradle in his arms.
Maybe deep down inside we somehow knew that this little one would only be with us for a season and that we needed to treasure every moment……..