Busy day, welcome arrival

Baby: The call of duty kept the governor from being present for his second son's birth, but the expanded first family is `doing great.'

March 08, 2004|By Athima Chansanchai | Athima Chansanchai,SUN STAFF

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. waited 10 hours Saturday for the newest member of his family to arrive, only to miss the birth of his second son when he went to check on the boat accident at Inner Harbor.

"We're obviously extremely happy," Ehrlich said yesterday of the birth of Joshua Taylor Ehrlich. "This is one of the greatest days of my life."

It was unfortunate, he said, that the birth of his son coincided with the "horrific incident" that unfolded Saturday afternoon. A water taxi capsized not far from Fort McHenry in the frigid waters of the Patapsco River, resulting in one death and sending 21 passengers and crew to local hospitals. Authorities were still searching yesterday for three missing passengers.

At Greater Baltimore Medical Center yesterday, the governor celebrated new life even as he mourned their loss.

Eager to meet his new brother, Drew Ehrlich came through a crowd of well-wishers at the hospital - where he was born more than four years ago - with a hand-painted "Welcome Baby" sign.

Wearing a blue "Big Brother" cap, Drew climbed onto a chair alongside his dad, who took his place at a podium to talk about his second child, born at 6:22 p.m.

Joshua Taylor - weighing in at 7 pounds, 3 ounces - was one of six babies delivered Saturday at the hospital. Ehrlich said Joshua was named after one of Drew's best friends.

Ehrlich said that he and his wife, Kendel, arrived at the hospital at 8 a.m., expecting the birth to happen soon - but the wait was much longer.

"As all fathers know, I basically hung out," he said.

Ehrlich said he watched television as his wife slept most of the afternoon. He was informed of the boat accident about 4 p.m., and monitored the situation closely. At 6 p.m., physicians told him that the birth probably would occur closer to 8 p.m. or 9 p.m., so he drove downtown to assess the situation.

But as soon as he arrived at the Inner Harbor, he got the phone call: Baby makes four. Escorted by state police, he quickly returned to the hospital. He left at 9:30 p.m. to rejoin his son at home in Annapolis.

He said his wife was "doing great. She's relieved and extremely happy."

The governor described the couple's decision to have another child as "one of our last shots, and it worked."

"We started late and there was a little trepidation ... but Drew has been a joy," said Ehrlich, 46. "This makes our life even more complete."

Kendel Ehrlich, 42, and Joshua are expected to leave the hospital today, said her spokeswoman, Meghann Siwinski. She added that the first lady would be scaling back her schedule for a few months.

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