Saturday, June 12, 2021

How Did We Get Here?

 Remember this post?

Well, it still holds true.  And we still weren't wanting more than 5 kids.  

Last spring, Paul and I had the sit-down discussion of "are we done?"  Elsa had just turned 4.  We would be starting school (preschool) with her in the fall, so all of our kids would be in school at home.  I felt like we had settled into knowing what to expect each day, and going out in public or for a vacation wasn't as overwhelming since the kids were old enough to manage themselves in and out of the car, and control their emotions (usually).

We still were convicted that it is not our right to take away God's right to manage our fertility, but we were careful to do what was in our power to manage, and felt happy in the size of family God had given us.

So we decided we were done.  Not that having another baby was outside the realm of possibility, but we thought there's no reason to hang onto baby equipment and clothes when someone else could be using it.  IF we ended up having another baby, we'd find what we needed at that time. 

So we packed it up, had a garage sale, and took stuff to LifeCare (local pregnancy resource center).

And the following week, I found out I was pregnant.

I should have started my period the Monday after the garage sale.  By Wednesday I had grown suspicious.  On Friday I bought a pregnancy test.  I took it on Sunday, and then by some miracle of God's design - all the kids were away at other houses, and I had a chance to tell Paul in an empty house.  

For the first time, I was able to surprise him with pregnancy news.  And I cried.

Not because I was disappointed - there is nothing bad about a baby coming to a couple who loves each other deeply - but because I remembered what it had been like last time I had a baby.  Debilitating lack of energy during pregnancy, and how a new baby disrupts absolutely every aspect of life, especially home schooling - and the previous year of homeschooling had been tenuous at best.  (Honestly, I had looked up how to enroll kids in public school in December.)  I was 5 years older (almost to turn 38 at that point), and 30 pounds heavier, and completely out of shape.  All these reasons pregnancy was going to be completely inconvenient and uncomfortable!

But I remembered that verse, 2 Corinthians 12:9 - But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.

Nothing happens outside of God's plan.  This was God's plan.  I would make it through.

And I did!

As it was, this pregnancy didn't seem to be as hard on me physically.  Partly because I'd had my veins fixed after Elsa, so I didn't have the throbbing heavy legs daily.  (I didn't wear the stockings this time, but I did wear knee high compression socks daily.)  We bought a Bowflex Max 6 (basically like an elliptical stairstepper) in June when it was massively on sale, and I did well about using it several times a week until late fall.  I only gained 20 lbs. total.  And homeschooling all 5 was less stress than 4 the previous year.  (Elsa's fantastic cheerful attitude about school every day made all the difference!)

We did have to get all new (new to us) baby stuff, but the awesome thing about that is we were able to evaluate every piece and ask if we really needed it.  Baby swing?  Hadn't done much for 5, so we could presume it wouldn't for a sixth.  Boppy pillow?  Absolutely essential!  

We debated finding out the gender, but decided to keep this surprise a surprise.  (Besides, it kept me from collecting those absolutely adorable outfits they had out at Christmas time!)

When January rolled around, I went to Carter's and bought one girl jammies, one boy jammies, and two neutral jammies.  I procrastinated, but finally packed a bag for the hospital the week I was due.  

The baby gave us a bit of a ..... not really scare, but concern?  confusion?.... three weeks before my due date.  I went in to my normal appointment, and the baby's heart beat was in the 190s.  (Normal is 120-150.)  After several minutes, the heart rate was still up, so my doctor sent me over to the hospital to do a fetal non-stress test (put monitors on my belly and record the baby's heartbeat, usually for 20 minutes).  This crazy baby!  It was rolling and flipping the entire time and its heartbeat never went below 160 for 4 hours!  The monitors showed I was having contractions (even though I couldn't feel them), so they gave me fluids and I ended up being in the hospital all day.  (Which was not a bad thing, since Paul was home.  Although two children started throwing up with a stomach bug that plagued us all week!)

All the monitoring was for nothing, because all returned to normal after the baby finally took a nap.  My doctor wanted me to be monitored twice weekly and have weekly sonograms until my due date, but we had no other problems after that one crazy day.  We just had to wait.......

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

"Mom, when are you going to write Opal's book?"


I've heard this several times in the last week. The books referred to are bound printed copies of all my blog that contain stories and tidbits of my kids' lives. 

Who's Opal, you ask? That's a long story, and it's a good one. 

Check back soon.