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The Rough Road of Motherhood

The Rough Road of Motherhood

~Recently, I was asked to share the devotional at a friend’s baby shower. After much prayer and advice from others, the Lord led me to share a few of the things I wish I had known as a brand-new mother. I hope it is encouraging.~

It’s 2am. Small cries inform you that your baby is awake again and needs you. You fumble in the dark so you won’t to turn on any lights and just manage to get your child fed. You may begin to doze off now, only to reawaken when you hear an explosion emanating from her posterior. Up again, lights on, new diaper. Back to bed. Almost asleep…oh my goodness! Again! This time up the back of her onesie. Repeat the last three steps. Rather than drifting back to sleep, you’re more awake now and so is your baby. In fact, she thinks now is a perfect time to tell you her list of demands. Loudly.

Now your husband is awake. You both take turns walking up and down the room, bouncing and singing to your precious progeny wondering helplessly what in the world she wants.

Eventually, she goes to sleep. Your husband drags himself to work. You’re tempted to get some housework done or take the opportunity to get some quiet time with the Lord. You fall asleep trying to decide.

It’s noon. You’re still in your pjs, rushing around trying to get a few things in order before you run out (now late) to your mom’s and baby group.

Baby spits up on you. Of course, you remembered a change of clothes for her but forgot to pack an extra shirt for yourself.

After group, where you felt like your baby was the only one not doing what everyone else’s babies were doing (sitting up, rolling over, saying “mama”, contentedly enjoying tummy-time or (GASP) sleeping through the night), you make a quick run to the store. Your baby coos through half the trip, then screams through the rest. You’re sure the whole store is staring at you. Flustered, you forget two of the items you needed.

On the way home, she falls asleep. You decide for the sake of your sanity to place the car seat in the bedroom so she can continue her nap.

Your mom calls. She wants to know what’s new with you and her grandchild. You tell her everything is fine but maybe let slip something that’s giving you a hard time with the baby. She means well, but all you hear is everything you’re doing wrong.

Evening approaches. You’ve made a stab at the housework and now you need to make dinner buuuuuuut you need those couple of ingredients you missed at the store. You call your husband to see if he’ll pick them up and you’ll eat late or if you should opt for take-out.

Take-out wins.

Your baby is an absolute delight until bedtime where she proceeds to fuss and cry until eventually exhaustion prevails and she falls asleep. At this point your husband, who has enjoyed several boosts of caffeine throughout the day, twinkles his eyes suggestively at you while inside you’re thinking “you’ve got to be kidding!” Ultimately, the evening ends with very little sleep and some frustration. The cycle begins again with the wake-up calls of your baby.

Congratulations! Welcome to motherhood! Anyone who is a mother can relate to parts or maybe all of this scenario. From the moment your baby is born, the task of motherhood is unending. It is highly demanding on you physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Physically, your body, already having spent nine months feeling stretched to the limit, is changing all over again. You can feel self-conscious of how you look post-baby; fearful you’ll never return to how you once were. Lack of sleep and constant production of nourishment for your baby is taxing. Maybe breastfeeding is far more challenging for you than you imagined.

Emotionally, it’s easy to feel very lonely as a new mother. Often, you think you’re the only one dealing with a baby as difficult as yours and that no one understands. You look around at the other mothers in your life and wonder how they can manage to make it look so easy; surely, there must be something wrong with you. You may even sense some distance between yourself and your husband as baby’s needs demand more time away from each other.

And spiritually, it can be so easy to slack from your regular study of the Word and time in prayer. Instead, you begin to rely on your own strength to get you through the day. When that happens, you can very quickly feel starved.

Philippians 4:4 tells us: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, rejoice.” God wants us to cultivate a joyful spirit. It may be easier to allow ourselves to feel down and even complain when we are exhausted. Earlier in motherhood, I remember feeling sorry for myself when I would be awakened by kids in the middle of the night; I resented that my “right” to sleep had been violated and I would allow it to affect the next day. God convicted me of this, and instead I began to remember scripture verses about joy when I had to get out of bed and I set a new habit: I chose to always greet my child with a smile whenever I saw them. Remember, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22.

Resist the temptation to compare yourself to those around you. Your story will always be different from someone else’s. The mothers around you who seem to have it all together have struggles of their own. Pray that God would protect you from feelings of inadequacy and thoughts that because this motherhood thing isn’t flowing the way you expected means you somehow “missed your calling” elsewhere in the world. Despite what the world or even well-intentioned family will tell you, your life is not “on hold” because you’re having a baby; this IS your life. Don’t grow to resent your baby because you believe she’s keeping you from doing something “more meaningful”. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Have joy in being where God has you right now at this moment. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

Remember that your husband still comes before your baby. It’s easy to give all your time and attention to your baby and forget to make time and attention for your man. Yes, your baby needs you very much especially in the beginning but keep in mind that she is a welcome addition to an already established family unit but not the center of it. (Genesis 2:24 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”) The new inclusion of one person does not exclude the other. Find a good balance together. Husbands and wives need each other. Your children need to have a mommy and daddy to need each other. They will grow best and derive a sense of security when they see their parents not only spending their own time together but enjoying each other.

Psalms 63:1 “O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” Above anything else, put God first. Back in my earlier days of motherhood, I told a friend how overwhelmed I felt with everything, that I didn’t know how to get it all done managing kids, a home, being a wife, and serving God. What she told me was so simple. Put God first. Set aside all that “other stuff” and go to Him first. He will give you your portion for that day. And when you seek Him diligently and increase in craving the Word each day, that “stuff” won’t matter because you will be obediently and joyfully pursuing what He has given you for that particular time.

Don’t try to do anything in your own strength. God wants us to realize just how desperately we need Him. For some of us, like me, it takes a lot of reminding. When I’m not feasting on the Word, I’m quick to tell myself “I’ll get to that later” and rely on my own strength to do things. How quickly I crash! God in His gracious mercy, has shown me repeatedly that there is no moment in motherhood where I can exclaim, “I have arrived!” And with each child He has awesomely blessed me with, I have been that much more driven to my knees in prayer for His help. And that’s where He wants us. “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’” 2 Corinthians 12:9

So, what about the wonderful fuzzy feelings that babies are supposed to bring with them? Oh, they’ll be there. As you faithfully pursue God, slow down and take the time to just enjoy your baby because she will grow so fast! You’ll hardly be able to get over marveling at her tiny fingers and toes. You will be beside yourself with delight at her first smile or when she locks eyes with you and recognition floods her little face. There will be wonderful snuggles and times when you’ll feel you could stare at her perfect form for hours. If I could go back to the early days with my first, I would have put down a lot of the housework and cuddled my baby more.

The road of motherhood is rough, but you don’t have to travel it alone. Don’t be afraid to seek out advice from godly women around you. They are there to encourage you and pray for you. Don’t be like me when I tried to figure it out on my own because I couldn’t bear to admit I was struggling. Be open in your communication with your husband and strive to be of one mind together in raising your daughter.

Being a mother is one of the most incredible tasks God gives. Just think! In His wisdom, He chose you to be the mother of this child, another human being created in the image of God, His most precious creation. He has charged you and your husband with the responsibility and privilege to raise her for His glory.

I love how God uses many things in this life to remind us of the relationship He desires to have with us. Motherhood is yet another beautiful picture of God’s perfect and boundless love. A mother sacrifices daily her needs and desires for her child; Christ came to serve and not be served. A mother would give her life for her child, and God sent His only Son.

“For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.”

Psalms 139:13-16

The Sunshine Beyond the Fog

The Sunshine Beyond the Fog

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How long it has been! The world has changed once again in our home. A healthy, beautiful little girl (we’ll call her Pumpkin) is now blessing all our lives in new and sometimes challenging ways. A birth story is coming…when time allows for me to complete it. 😉

With the cold weather beginning to set in, the darkness staying longer in the mornings, and coming earlier in the evenings, the children and I have tried to find more to do indoors including making a valiant stab at some semblance of school. Sometimes, it has caused us to be at each other’s throats what with the lack of routine and the exhaustion that comes with adding a new baby to the family. This mommy has certainly felt the struggle of trying to get a much needed quiet time with the Lord every day and getting everyone to accomplish at least ONE productive thing before resorting to the electronic baby-sitter devices…such is this season of life.

I feel like I’m in a perpetual fog most mornings. When the alarm goes off from across the room, I roll out of bed to hit snooze only to crawl back into bed, convincing myself that I’ll get up the next time it sounds. But the next time goes by and before I know it, everyone else is up and it’s now too late for a quiet Bible read with a cup of coffee. Well, I could probably get the coffee, but we all know that it will be re-heated a million times before I can actually sit and finish it.

You know that feeling you have when you’re trying to move quickly while wading in deep water? Your mind is moving fast to will your body to move quickly and you know where you need to go but it is impossible for your legs to cut through the water barrier. That’s how it feels during the day when trying to do something simple like make a meal or put a load of laundry in the washer. I…feel…like…a…snail…

Being social right now feels slightly foreign to me. Having been so focused on the affairs of home, it is sometimes hard to remember other people exist in my life. So if I zone out while we’re talking, it isn’t because I don’t enjoy visiting with you, it’s because I didn’t get enough sleep the night before (and possibly because on the millionth re-heat, I zapped all the caffeine out of my coffee). If I’m late getting somewhere, I have six reasons plus my un-showered, un-combed self as my excuse. And if I say “let’s put that off until next week”, it isn’t because I’m trying to avoid you, but because if I add one more thing to my plate right now, I might actually lose my mind.

All this isn’t to say I’m complaining. I’m actually not. All this is simply a statement of fact. This is life right now.

And yet, with all this exhaustion, all the ups and downs of my mommy hormones, and even the loneliness that comes from scant adult interaction during the week, I AM LOVING this time!!

This is where my God has put me. This is my portion; this is my cup. Again, I am floored by my own inadequacies and His sufficiency. And though it makes no sense in the commonsense world, the more I empty myself, the fuller I am. I am so tired some days as I stumble around in the fog of my own humanity, but He is the light that guides me safely through and is the sunshine that is always there beyond the fog.

We may have ordered out pizza a lot more these days and there are definitely more piles of stuff around the house lately, but again, I am loving this time! I am filled with joy knowing that this is where God has me and it is He who sustains me.

To all my friends and family, I love you! To anyone else who feels stuck in a fog season: life happens but God is there in the middle of it.

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Pregnancy update: Week 40

Pregnancy update: Week 40

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I’m sitting at my desktop sipping garlic-infused bone broth. We all came down with a nasty cough last week and I’m the last one to get it. While I would LOVE for baby girl to be born NOW, I am thankful for the blessing of added days to work on recovering. Blessing in disguise!

My sweetheart is having a harder time recovering but I’m hopeful that he can get some rest this weekend so that he is back on his feet once baby arrives. The kids have proven their resilience and appear to have bounced back much quicker but still have lingering coughs. During the last 7-8 days I have:

  • Put a ban on sugar!
  • Increased everyone’s water intake
  • Made some “red juice” (rooibos tea with a little honey; excellent immune-booster!) and put it in jars in the fridge for the kids to help themselves
  • Increased our intake of vitamins C and D3 and magnesium (drinking and rubbing on the feet before bedtime)
  • No schedule: sleeping in and going to bed early

We received the added blessing of a hot meal yesterday evening from a friend. I ended up feeling doubly thankful for it since, not only were we sick (cooking was one of the last things I felt like doing) but just before the end of the day, I went downstairs to check the laundry and discovered water all over the floor! The hot water heater had given up the ghost. No hot water! But since I didn’t have to think about making dinner and extra dishes, the evening was much easier than it could have been.

The little pregnancy app on my phone tells me I’m 40 weeks and 3 days now. Anyone who knows me understands that my babies generally come later. Still, I was surprised by several messages on my actual due date from folks wondering if there was a baby yet.

My husband and I call this the “watched pot” week. You know, because a “watched pot never boils”. A pregnant woman who is constantly asked “are things happening yet” won’t give birth, or at least it sure feels like it. I sometimes feel like a watched pot this week.

But everyone is excited. Everyone is anticipating that phone call or message to announce there’s a baby on the way. It’s quite normal. And I’m trying to be patient. I know 3 days past is nothing yet for me. But still…anytime now!!

Every night I go to bed praying that the wimpy contractions I’m having will build into something real. Every night, I mentally go through the process of starting labor, waiting through it, leaving the house, the hushed atmosphere of the Birth Center surrounded by diligent, caring midwives, finally catching that sweet little baby and holding her…

Waiting, waiting, waiting…

“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him…” Psalm 37:7

 

Pregnancy update: Week 39

Pregnancy update: Week 39

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Aside from having a slightly larger belly and needing to hike up my maternity jeans twice as many times a day, nothing else has changed from last week. Well, maybe baby is a tad less-active than before due to her growing size but otherwise, not much else.

And I don’t expect anything to happen until after her due date. So with that in mind, I’m keeping my expectations in check, loving each moment, and taking advantage of the last times I have with each of my five and of course with my sweetheart before our world drastically changes once again!

This last week, I’ve found myself hitting the snooze button on my alarm more often than usual. It feels very unconscious and I think my body is reminding me I really do need a bit more rest as it gears up for delivery. I’m trying to go with the flow and not mind the missing quiet time first thing in the morning as I know it is just for a season. I try making up for it later in the morning after the kids have been fed.

There have been some sweet moments during the mornings I’ve risen late, right as I’ve gotten my first cup of red raspberry brew tea in hand. I hear tiny footsteps in the hall. Usually it’s Little Joy, already beaming away, wanting to cuddle with her mama and asking to read her Bible while it’s just the two of us. Or it’s my second son, swathed in his fleece blanket, curling up into a lump on the carpet near my feet; still unfolding from sleep.

Moments like those won’t last long. Even if I’m feeling huge and tired, I remember I need to make the most of these times. I look at my two oldest and even though they are just eight and seven, they are rapidly becoming the “bigger” kids. Some days I wonder who swapped out my first-born son for the skinny, string-bean-limbed boy sticking out the ends of his cuffs who showed up at the dining room table. He is nearly the same height suddenly as his older sister. He just wants one-on-one time to talk, usually in detail about something he’s building with Lego, or have someone spend the time searching with him through mountains of bricks to find that one small piece he needs.

And last week, I said no to an afternoon nap for me, and went out to pick red huckleberries with my oldest girl. Always the kid wanting to be “doing something”, it was a good time to just be together, beating through the soggy brush, letting conversations come and go at her own speed.

My mind is completely blown away at times over the monumental task of parenting. I feel so inept; so inadequate especially with so many very different little human beings that have been put in my care. And for the changes each one goes through…often happening so much faster than I ever feel prepared! More lately than not, God has reminded me that not only do I need to daily seek Him for basic survival of motherhood, but I need to be asking for wisdom. It seems like a no-brainer to ask for wisdom in parenting, but I don’t think I’ve before been so aware of my need to simply…ask. With all humility, I want to come to Him acknowledging my needs. I may not have an entire people group to lead like King Solomon when he asked God for wisdom, but in a way, I do have a little kingdom that I desperately desire to raise with no missed opportunities to love, nurture, and show by example the ultimate love of God.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” James 1:5

 

Pregnancy update: Week 38

Pregnancy update: Week 38

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It is officially the beginning of the beginning of the end!

My remaining weeks of constant Braxton hicks throughout the day are in full-swing. The nesting urges feel stronger than ever. Every time I mention with a thrill of exhilaration what seemingly necessary task I’ve completed (‘cause, you know, I’m sure the baby needs to have the basement clean and the car vacuumed excessively), my dear husband shakes his head and sighs “oh great, baby is coming tonight…” While I could certainly hope that this baby might make an early appearance, I’ve yet to have a child show up before their estimated due date. Once we waited nearly two and a half extra weeks for one baby, an experience I don’t want to totally rule out!

For the time being, I’m praying for thankfulness in every extra moment I get to carry this little one: each little kick and wiggle that assures me she is there, even the frequent trips to the bathroom reminding me that she is probably getting closer to being on the outside!

She is growing well and, praise God, remaining head-down!

So how are those pre-baby goals coming along?? Here’s an update!

  • I’m still leisurely reading through the Psalms; I love all the praise and dependence on God!
  • My freezer list is complete and food is made (scroll down)
  • Biting my nails has ceased…but I do have to consciously stop myself in the middle of reading or a movie sometimes! And my nails grow slowly. And at different rates. So funny.
  • Baby’s sweet little pink dress is done (I had it in a photo for week 36) and while I can point out all the mistakes I made, I think it was still a success.
  • Her fleece blanket is finished (also featured in the last post with the dress).
  • I’m impressed I’ve been able to pin the kids all down at the same time long enough to read longer read-alouds at all but we have read “Capyboppy” and are almost finished reading “My Father’s Dragon”.
  • With the help of some of the kids, we’ve taken in over a gallon of blueberries!
  • Our homeschool plan is loose but more or less in place. We did a soft start to school this week mainly focusing on math and reading to refresh the kids mostly and get things off the ground before we break again.

And here are the meals in the freezer! I’m so thankful to have had the time and resources to do this much more extensively this time. I’m excited about eating some of these!!

For quick breakfasts, we have:

  • 2 bags of breakfast sandwiches (egg, Canadian bacon, and cheese on buttermilk biscuits)
  • 1 bag of blueberry muffins – (thanking one of my good friends for sharing the recipe with me!!)
  • 1 bag of banana chocolate chip muffins
  • 1 loaf of zucchini bread
  • 1 bag of breakfast burritos (egg, sausage, cheese, and spinach)

For dinner:

  • 2 chicken shepherd pies
  • 2 Swiss, cheddar, bacon, spinach quiche kits (just thaw, add eggs and milk and bake)
  • 2 bags of marinated Korean beef ready for the crockpot
  • 1 bag of red lentil curry masala with yams
  • 1 bag of chicken masala stew
  • 2 bags of chili con carne
  • 1 family size jar of chicken taco soup (recipe from my dear sister!)
  • 1 bag of meatballs
  • 3 bags of cream cheese chicken burritos

Other:

  • 1 bag of whole wheat buns
  • 1 loaf of sourdough bread
  • 1 loaf of whole wheat sandwich bread
  • 2 bags balls of dough for rolling out into naan for the Indian dishes

At the very least, I can feel relieved knowing that my family has options while we get through the first few weeks and we won’t have to resort to ordering pizza (although I’m sure it’s going to happen a few times anyway)!

Let the real wait begin!

 

 

 

 

Pregnancy update: Week 37

Pregnancy update: Week 37

IMG_9605I was able to get an appointment with the chiropractor the very next day. They told me later I had “said the magic word: breech” so they made it happen!

It occurred to me why I had been feeling so uncomfortable the last few weeks with this baby; she was completely side-ways in my belly!

That evening we had our weekly small group Bible study we host at our home. It was encouraging to share a bit of what was going on, especially with those who were moms in the group, and to know they were praying for us as well. Nonetheless, I felt like just going to bed and crying (mostly from the build-up of stress and exhaustion) by the end of the night.

The following morning, I went in for my chiropractor appointment. Physically, I felt a lot better by the end and was encouraged by the chiropractor from a practical standpoint that there was likely still enough time and room inside me for this little one to turn the right way.

At home, I spent my break time periodically propping my hips up while I lay head-down (an exercise that really makes you feel like you’re going to suffocate!). I listened to a few sermons, I read Scripture, I prayed. I talked a bit to my baby and felt the outline of her little body under my skin. I began to come to peace with the fact that, in the end regardless of the outcome, God was still good; His purposes might be unclear, but I would trust Him even when it was difficult.

Saturday arrived. I woke up that morning with the feeling that something was different. My husband proposed taking all the kids to Costco for our once a month major grocery run (on his own! Seriously! How many men can casually decide to just do that?!) while I stayed home and rested. While that sounded very appealing, I actually had to ask him to let me come along since my energy was up and I also felt the exercise of walking around would be good for baby.

Part way through that Costco trip, I decided to text my midwife. I had a suspicion that baby was head-down but wanted to know if I should continue with my exercises all the same. She texted right back and said to come on over to the Birth Center so she could verify baby’s position. We hurriedly wrapped up our shopping in record time and headed over.

We prayed together in the parking lot before I went inside.

The expression on the midwife’s face as she felt my belly was priceless! Baby was head-down again! Praise the Lord! I was beaming as I tripped back to the car to relay the happy news!

The week that followed was busy with more appointments for me and baby. How thankful I was to have my sister-in-law help me through the constant busyness at home and keeping everyone occupied when I had to run out. Friends and family both were thrilled and thankful and still eager to offer their help as we got near the end. How priceless is the fellowship and the sharing of each other’s burdens in the Body of Christ!

A special thanks to everyone who joined us in praying for our tiny one to turn and prayed for grace for our family during this last week!

All the way my Savior leads me;
What have I to ask beside?
Can I doubt His tender mercy,
Who through life has been my Guide?
Heav’nly peace, divinest comfort,
Here by faith in Him to dwell!
For I now, whate’er befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well;
For I now, whate’er befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well.

“All the Way My Savior Leads Me” – Fanny Crosby

Pregnancy update: Week 36

Pregnancy update: Week 36

IMG_9592This week has been VBS (vacation Bible school) for four of the five kids. The mornings have been early and only slightly panicky for me as I try to make sure everyone leaves the house with a well-filled tummy and matching shoes on both feet! What immediately follows is a noisy exodus to the family car, a quick drive around the corner to church, bailing out, signing-in, hugs and kisses goodbye while noting that half my offspring are over-the-moon to be there (my social bugs) and the other half are disdainfully standing in the middle of the room with their arms crossed determined to not engage with the cacophonous assemblage of youngsters. Convinced though that they’ll all survive for the next three hours, I head back to the car with my one Little Sprite, buckle her in, then relax a moment in my own seat while the “practice contractions” subside. Whew! None of this would be possible this week without the help of my sweet sister-in-law who is still with us. Thank you!!

Thursday morning, I made it to my 36-week appointment. Wondering still how my weight was and if baby had grown much, I was thankful to see that she was indeed growing (as evidenced by the measurement of my belly) but, surprise, surprise, she was now breech!

Having never yet had a baby sitting in a breech presentation so close to the end, I did begin to feel anxious, particularly when my midwife advised an immediate visit to the local medical clinic for a doctor evaluation with the intention of scheduling an external version (physically turning the baby around) at the hospital.

In the midst of the rest of my 36-week procedures (blood draws for iron and vitamin D3, and a group B strep culture), I was given instructions for exercises, a homeopathic remedy to take home, websites to check out for more advice, and a time to go to the clinic.

I felt quite worried as I climbed back into the car, held onto the steering wheel a moment and prayed for peace of mind. I was quite assured that even in this, God had a plan and a reason. I was thankful even while I felt concerned for baby and for me (as in this town, a stubborn breech baby means only one delivery outcome).

How thankful I was when my sister-in-law agreed to stay an additional week! I spent some significant time re-arranging the week’s schedule, cancelling some things and moving some off a week.

My visit to the clinic that afternoon felt quite long after going through a long morning. I interacted with the nurse, then the hospital’s midwife assistant and then finally the hospital midwife herself where most of the information given me was repeated for the third or fourth time. The ladies were quite friendly and genuinely concerned that baby get turned around soon. However, I felt it a little insensitive at the opening of the visit for the conversation to start like this: “so you have a breech presentation baby…we have a couple of options: one, we can try an external version where we would have a doctor turn the baby around or, two, we could schedule a C-section. What are you thinking?” Ha! Don’t even mention the “c” word to me yet, lady! That’s an “if all else fails” conversation!

For the time being, I was given the recommendation of going to my chiropractor right away hoping that it might help open things up and adjust for baby to be coaxed back to cephalic presentation, try the exercises I’d already been given and then first thing Monday see my midwife. If baby is still breech on Monday, I would then call to schedule the version at the hospital.

So close to the end and now something like this… It felt like such a big deal to me as, even after five babies already, nothing too complicate had yet happened. I was thankful, I really was; so many friends and family offered their prayers and help right away and even with a number of “what-ifs” and unknowns, I knew God was still in control, whatever might be the outcome of this adventure.

“In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith – more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire – may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
1 Peter 1:6-7

 

 

 

 

 

Pregnancy update: Week 35

Pregnancy update: Week 35

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Week 35! Already half of the last ten-week stretch is gone.

Currently, my sister-in-law is blessing us with her time for a few weeks! The kids are ecstatic to have their auntie here and the extra help has been HUGE for me during the day. I’ve been able to check off some more “to do before baby arrives” things like getting the kids in for doctor and dentist check-ups without having to take everyone out at once. I’ve also been ordered to “rest” several hours every day during Little Sprite’s naptime while she is here as well. I feel so spoiled.

The new baby has been such a wiggly lump lately! Just tucking herself up under my ribcage and kicking at all the wrong times for me. I’m sorry to say it has been very challenging to sleep at night. If I could make a comparison to any other pregnancy, I would say it feels like I’m in week 38 or 39 right now: out of room, sleepless, and not gaining weight.

The rest of the kids are keeping track of her weeks and continue to be excited for her arrival next month. Even Little Sprite, resting her arms across my belly the other night, felt her sister kick then proceeded to make coaxing motions with her hands and say “t’mon, baby…out, t’mon…” It thrills my heart to see how much they care for her already; whoever claimed children from large families don’t welcome new siblings either came from a dysfunctional family or was off their rocker!

My weight gain continues to hover between the difference of a few pounds this week. Up, down, up, down, up… I’m still not really concerned but I would like to see how baby herself measures at my 36 week appointment and see if the midwife can detect some growth even if I’m not showing the extra weight.

Trusting that God is in control even when the numbers don’t line up according to our own understanding. He has shown his goodness and faithfulness before in the births of all the other children He has given us in order to bring Himself glory. And as I remember that, I pray that He gives me the grace to love and trust Him in this one as well.

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?
Psalm 56:3-4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pregnancy update: Week 34

Pregnancy update: Week 34

We were blessed to have my mother stay with us a whole week! While there never feels like there is “enough time”, I felt so grateful for the time we did have. It was hard to say goodbye realizing that a week had flown by already!

And then, she took my two oldest children with her for a week at her’s and dad’s place. How fun! I remember fondly the precious times of “going to the grandparents’ house” when I was little. What good memories and now what good memories for my own kids. So thank you, mom and dad!

When my mom came up, she brought with her LOTS of fresh goat milk to share between our family and my sisters’ families. Such a treat. And I have to admit, I have indulged more often than not in a fresh cup here and there and of course making more goat kefir. I have noticed, as the midwives have too, that I haven’t been gaining much weight for a few weeks. While it isn’t strange for me to begin stalling at a certain point toward the end of every pregnancy, I still have six weeks to go until I’m due and I think it feels too early for me to be stopping already. I’m not worried yet, but I have started monitoring my weight at the same time every day in addition to making sure I’m eating lots of quality food throughout the day.

Baby is still constantly moving and pushing around for more room which I don’t feel I have. I’m very amused by the fruit/veggie size comparisons online that depict my growing baby as a cantaloupe, and then a watermelon. Sometimes it feels like I have a hard little melon in there. The other night, she hooked me right under the ribs with a strong kick. Ouch.

I have been having so much fun being able to clean the house more with two kids away. I just have to say it again: I LOVE nesting. I love going room by room, organizing and getting rid of extra stuff, and walking out with a fresh clean feeling. LOVE IT. Perhaps a bit too much. But I have successfully hauled away so much STUFF over the last week; it just feels good.

The week without the oldest two has also afforded more intimate time with my younger three urchins. It’s been hugely beneficial for my younger son and good for me too. With my always-busy personality, it can be too easy for me to forget my kids need me to stop and invest time in them. Some don’t need it quite as much as others, but he sure does. I’ve tried to be sensitive to that this week and am thankful for the opportunities to do so.

I have put away six meals this month! So far we have:

  • Chili
  • Red lentil curry
  • Chicken masala stew
  • Chicken cream cheese burritos (3X)

Plus:

  • 1 loaf of sourdough bread
  • 2 bags of dough-balls to be thawed and rolled out into naan for the curries

July has proven to be a hotter month here. One evening while finishing some work on the kitchen counter I just needed to cool down…just a little. I grabbed the large metal wash basin from the bathroom, filled it with cold, cold water and just stood in that while I finished working. Ahhhhh… As we have no air-conditioning here, the few months we actually have significant heat we just…endure. And use lots of fans. And then am more appreciative for an overcast day when it appears.

34 down and 6 to go!

I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul makes its boast in the Lord;
Let the humble hear and be glad.
Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
And let us exalt His name together!

Psalm 34:1-3

 

Pregnancy update: Week 33

Pregnancy update: Week 33

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Rather than a typical update, I felt like sharing the words from Scripture that speak of God’s amazing handiwork that takes place even before time as we know it! How good He is!

For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with you.

Psalm 139: 13-18