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ORTONS ARE EXPECTING A BABY

Make even more room in that infamous 1990 Karl Snow campaign ad for yet another member of Rep. Bill Orton's family.

Orton, D-Utah, and his wife, Jacquelyn, are expecting a baby - due around the first week of April.When they were married on July 2, Orton said, "I don't think we want to wait very long before having a family. We both love kids."

He wasn't kidding. "By the end of July, my wife said, `You know what - I might be pregnant.' We bought one of those home pregnancy tests, and it was positive."

The Ortons chose to announce the pregnancy only in recent days, first at a combined party and fund-raiser for Orton's 46th birthday.

He noted, "My wife (age 29) has been very sick - and even spent four days in the hospital. It hasn't been an easy pregnancy at all so far."

Orton said that has led him to do most of the cooking and cleaning "because she has been flat on her back." When he cooks, "I make something for her first. If she decides she really doesn't want that, I eat it and cook her something else."

Because of concern about his wife's health, her doctor has been taking regular sonograms. "We still don't know if it will be a boy or a girl. But the doctor said we might find out with the next one. That will give us plenty of time to work on names."

Orton was attacked in both of his congressional campaigns for being a bachelor who might not understand family needs. A Snow ad in 1990 pictured Snow and his large family next to a mug shot of Orton with the caption, "Bill Orton and his family." It backfired, and prompted many upset voters to cross party lines.

Orton said the baby is already changing his life - and even has him and his wife planning to sell their large five-to-six bedroom house at the Sundance resort.

"We're looking to move into a regular neighborhood somewhere in Utah or Heber valleys," he said. "I want a garage with tricycles and bicycles. We want to buy a van with a TV/VCR and all the other things you see families with in Utah County."

They have also bought a house in Washington and are currently gutting the upper floors and refurbishing it. "But I forgot to make plans for a nursery. But there's plenty of room for a baby."

Orton recalls that he once joked when he first met his wife-to-be - when he was then considering challenging Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, for the Senate - that to win he would first have to get married and have a wife who was about four months pregnant at election time.

"I joked that way she would just be showing and everyone would say how cute it was," he said. "Ironically, I did get married and my wife will be about four months pregnant."

Parenthetically, Orton says, he doesn't regret not challenging Hatch. "I've had too much go on in my life in the past year. I don't think I could have handled getting married, having a baby, refurbishing a house and everything else if I were running for the Senate."

He adds, "My life really couldn't be any better than it is right now. I really am blessed."