I’m so very sorry for not updating the blog.  But things have moved quickly this week and have been very chaotic around here.  Friday we went to the obstetrician (Dr. O) and ya’all know about that already.

Monday we had another appointment with Dr. O and we requested a referral to a University hospital here.   He not only gave us the referral, he said he was glad to do it, his only goal was healthy mama and healthy baby and he hoped they could do it.  He had them call IMMEDIATELY down there.  My appointment was at 1:00. By 4:00 that day, the phone consult had been done, the records had been faxed, and the appointment for an indepth ultrasound and a physician consult with the perinatologists had been scheduled… For THURSDAY!  We were thrilled.

I should go into more detail about Dr.  O.  For one, the man has zero ego.  When he says he only wants a healthy mama and a healthy baby, it’s true.  He cares very much about his patients.  I’ve heard from the grandmother of a baby born still through no fault of anyone and  I hear he cried with Mom and Dad after the delivery.  He is deeply invested in his patients and I can’t tell you how incredibly blessed we feel to have him as our obstetrician.  That said, a doctor is as good as his staff.  And honestly?  I can’t tell you how much I look forward to going into that office.  Every single person from receptionist, to the person who takes my blood, to the nurses and ultrasound tech are about the most cheerful, encouraging, lovely people I’ve ever had the joy to be around and I’m glad to be going back to a place that very OBVIOUSLY loves children.  They constantly ask about mine and we enjoy taking them in on occasion and getting them ooh’ed and aah’ed over.  What an amazing blessing.

Thursday was the consult.  With a LOT of people, sigh.  First we did a very (VERY) thorough ultrasound.  After all we had denied all of the prenatal testing and you’d not want to go to extraordinary lengths to keep a pregnancy of a less than perfect child, right?  Oh my.  I think I answered that one with grace, I think.  I explained to the doctor that knowing ahead of time that there was something wrong with the child and doing less than we would for a “perfect” baby and not try to keep the pregnancy would entail a very serious ethical dilemma for us and that we would do exactly the same for a less than “perfect” baby as we would for a so called perfect baby.  And he dropped it thankfully.  I don’t say this to say he’s a bad man.  Actually we QUITE liked this Dr. Y.  I feel a bit sorry for him.  I suppose seeing high risk patients with babies with serious issues probably does jade one quite a bit, don’t you suppose?  We had two ultrasound techs and two perinatologists consult on that.  Then we were sent over to the OB clinic for an internal exam, a history work-up of past pregnancies, and a consult.  Had the exam and was found to be a “good two” whatever that means…  I HAD been 4.1 on the previous Friday, so that was a little concerning but not surprising.   They wanted to fit my cerclage into the schedule by the following Wednesday but couldn’t do it with the two particular doctors they wanted to do it, and they didn’t feel it would be prudent to wait longer than that at this point as we would be past the 17 week mark….  So they fit me in on Friday,  the NEXT day.  LOL, it was such a relief but oh my what CHAOS.

Oh, and did I mention I developed some kind of infection/bite on my leg on Wednesday?  It showed up on Tuesday and we drew a marker circle around it.  It was hot and inflamed and obviously growing.  By Wednesday it was really unpleasant, having grown a full inch all the way around.  DH was concerned and so off to the doctor I went.  I’ll say nothing nice about the doctor, so I’ll just say nothing at all.  Suffice to say that was a clinic visit utterly wasted.  Do you ever feel you should get to deny a payment to the medical field if they don’t actually DO something?  Kind of like any other profession where they sit and hmmmm at something but don’t actually touch the car or whatever they’re supposed to fix?  Sigh.

At the appointments on Thursday and again on Friday they were quite interested in my infection.  It was general consensus among the doctors down there that it was cellulitis, a fairly non threatening infection of normal bacteria like staph or strep that would normally live on the skin.   At this point (Thursday afternoon) it was over the circumference of a softball.  I was on antibiotics at this point and they decided to do the surgery anyway, but gave me more antibiotics injected.  I can honestly say today it looks MUCH better.

Onto Friday.  We showed up at the hospital at noon.   The procedure began around 3:30.  It’s normally a 20 minute surgery.  It took a little longer due to a small issue with scar tissue from past cerclages.  They were able to deal with it beautifully though and instead of placing the normal 1-2 purse string stitches, they placed FOUR.  That made me smile a little.  I guess we can safely say we got our money’s worth?  There were three doctors, including the department head,  doing the surgery as apparently they found this pretty fascinating.  The popular discussion of the day seemed to be wondering how much scar tissue I’d have in there with this many cerclages.   We were later told by her that she’s glad they scheduled it for Friday and not the following week as I was very soft and already dilating.  Thank God.

Thanks to ansthesia and some nice drugs that helped me to not vomit violently 😉 it was by far the most pleasant cerclage experience I’ve ever had.  I can’t begin to express how grateful I am to God for what He has done.  Oh, and that pesky previa?  Yeah, it’s gone.  Not marginal, not low lying, but a very nice, healthy placenta exactly where it should be.  No signs of accreta, and no abruption.  I can’t begin to explain the miracle that has been done here.  I guess if you read the past excerpts you’ll begin to understand where I was, almost hopeless, to where we are now.

Oh, and they think she’s a girl.  Did I mention that?!  How blessed are we?

I looked at our two year old today and wondered if there was anything more beautiful than a child.  I think not.  Mamas, do you know how blessed you are?  You were CHOSEN.  Yes, YOU!  You were CHOSEN by God Himself with the remarkable task of being entrusted with His beloved children for their training, protection, and love.  What a shocking and mind boggling task.  Without dependence on Him I wonder how we should succeed at all???  And be so grateful.  You should SEE my house right now.  It is an absolute disaster.  Pictures would only begin to describe the smell of the dishes that have sat for about four days now.  It is more than a little chaotic and exhausting.  And we have my sister’s shower tomorrow to celebrate her daughter whom we will welcome to this family sometime in the next four weeks.   What a perfect end to an exhausting week – the celebration of a new life!

Don’t begrudge your tasks.  Don’t belittle your role.  You were chosen.  Your ministry personally given and assigned by God Himself.  What a beautiful thing to be given such an important, vital, life altering ministry.   And to something to precious to God as a child?!?!?!  Truly, mother, He must love you and think highly of your ability….  And remember not all children are given biologically.  Mother, if you haven’t children biologically please think not that I don’t include you.  He shall and perhaps has also laid out your ministry….  God bless each and every one of you in this amazing blessing we’ve been given.  Please be grateful each and every mess, er, I mean DAY, that we even have the chance to be a mom……  We are so blessed.

It’s a common enough theme.  I’ve been asked how we can afford it.  I’ve been told by others that they would have more, but children are too expensive.   It’s a common discussion on MOMYS, on Quiverfull, on any large family forum.  Bottom line, either people want to be assured it’s very affordable or that’s it’s completely unaffordable and therein they are not compelled to have another child.

Bah humbug.  The question never was, “Can you afford it?”  It never should be.

I’ve tried to address it in my various forums.  And, mostly because I’m lazy and I want to get onto the rest of my day, you’re just going to get a copy and pasted response.  Enjoy.

Okay, well, there’s never enough. Period. I know people who have their 2.1 children, who make $100+ K, and who don’t feel they make enough $$. I know another family that makes approximately $30K/year, they have four children, they have paid off all their debts (NOT that they never had them, but that they paid them all off!), and only owe about $30-$40K on their house. It’s new too, they built it about 5 years ago, and no, it’s not LAVISH, but it certainly is comfy and they love it, on an acreage to boot.

A lot of “comfort” depends on what area you’re in. You might make the big bucks on the east or west coast, but I’ll GUARANTEE you won’t be able to buy as much (housing, food, gas, etc.) as we can here in the Midwest. Here you can buy a NICE house in a NICE neighborhood for $125K. And a gorgeous house, newly built for less than $200K and you’d have a REAL yard, unless of course you’d like acres, and then you could do that too.

Having a large family is NOT affordable. I’ll say it again if you’d like. A lot of people want to know that it is easily affordable and you’ll be able to have all the toys and all the frills that a family would have if they only had one child. Well, you won’t. A long time ago, when I first started on Quiverfull digest, I latched onto this saying, “Children aren’t expensive, lifestyles are.” I think that’s an awesome saying and I think all young couples should latch onto it. Because by the time they find out it’s not true, lol, then they’ve figured out what’s really important.

Yeah, that’s right. It’s not true. Lifestyles are expensive. So are children. No, they really are. If you have seven children, I can almost guarantee at least 1-2 trips to the ER per year. Not to mention paying for a delivery every 18 months. It’s true. While little ones don’t eat much, let me tell you, by the time they start to hit pre-teen, teen years, you’re left thinking, “But I DOUBLED that recipe? Where’d it all go?” No matter what your lifestyle is like, six children eat for six children, not for one. That’s a fact.

Let’s go onto the “but” though – C’mon, you knew there would be one.
We won’t be paying for our childrens’ college. Evil aren’t we? But the Army paid back $64,000 in student loans of dh’s and then put him through over $35K in more school and we took on another $30+K in college loans while we were in. We found a way. And our parent’s didn’t pay for it. Let’s take our own children for example. When they’re little you have visions of doctors and lawyers dancing in their heads. But as you have a half dozen, you’ll see, hopefully, that they are VERY uniquely gifted. As a rule, U.S. couples have 1-2 children that they just KNOW are little geniuses and even if Little Junior doesn’t “apply” himself, they’re still willing to fork over $40K to send him to get the paper degree in Dances of the Northwest Cultures. As parents of a large family, we are in a unique position. We can see that some of our children are going to be very academic, some are very industrious, more than academic. I know in our culture we prize academia over every other thing, but it only leaves kids feeling short. Why would we do that? Is not a happy, hardworking child’s worth valued as much as a bitter, sour child who always fell short of their parents’ goals? Our oldest is VERY academic. She knows she is expected to get scholarships. She gets up in the AM and she is very devoted. She is going into the 8th grade is narrowing her focus already. We’ve geared her schooling towards her PSAT with the goal being a National Merit scholar. My goal isn’t to pay her way. It’s to EQUIP with her what she needs to succeed. That can’t be bought.
Our oldest son is not as  academically inclined as our daughter. But the child has a heart a mile wide and two miles deep. His love for his God and his country is pretty awesome in a 10 year old. He wants to serve. He has no academic goals, but of course our duty is STILL to equip him… both by building him up with strong character, his academic abilities still need to be strong, and he needs to be willing to serve.  Again, OUR job is to equip our children to use their unique GIFTS.  God wired them each in a different way.
Our third child only wants to act. It’s been that way since she was three. We really are at a loss what to do with it – It’s a gift, I have no doubt. I’m just a little clueless how we can use it for good instead of evil. Sigh.

And the rest, we’re waiting to see. But my point here is not only should you NOT pay for your child’s college, but that NOT every child SHOULD go to college. We, as a culture, consider it the end all be all, and it leaves an awful lot of kids, who could be hard working, happy, and strong and feeling good in their unique GIFTS, feel stupid, worthless, and short changed. And those children who have vision, know where they want to go, what they want to be, are driven, and are academic – well, they’ll get scholarships anyway.

As for house space, we’re working on stacking them. Our oldest shares a  bed with her “beloved” Abigail (2) and while there were some shortfalls (while we potty trained) they get along VERY well when Abby doesn’t pee on her blanket, lol. Truth is, Ana, if given her own room, would be hyper-protective, and rude about it to her sisters. This is a built in character builder for her. On the other side of the room is a set of bunk beds for Rebecca and Elizabeth. Underneath that is going the trundle for Miss Sarah who will be moving up there in approximately 5 months. Now, if we need to, we can switch the full bed AND the twin bunks to twin over fulls and put trundles under each of them. The girls room CAN hold at least eight, reasonably, lol. We hang and color code almost all of their clothing. And we don’t keep extra. Ana has learned that good clothes are for good and you take care of your things. If all girls had to share a room (AND BE NICE) with their little sisters we’d see girls who take care of their stuff and assign value to them. And it’s good for the little girls to learn that things are special and belong to someone else so they can’t treat them badly and can’t touch everything they’d like. The boys share twin bunks. There are two bedrooms upstairs, one is more like a glorified large hallway. The boys don’t care. I love boys. My goodness they’re easy.

DH & I share a cubby hole that was meant to be the computer room. There is enough room for our bed, for our dresser, and he can even walk on his side of the bed! Since it’s our bedroom and we SLEEP there, we’re not too stressed about it. Our living areas are huge. But see this all changed with the culture of America. This was an old farmhouse. The people congregated in the kitchen, which of course, was eat-in. This is where they lived essentially. The living room is modest sized. The bedrooms are small because children and parents didn’t retreat there… The family stayed together, worked together, and played together. And then SLEPT in their bedrooms.
DH mentioned to me the other day, I’ve been morning sick and the house isn’t exactly spotless. Well, that might be an understatement. But, he mentioned, with the chaos, that maybe this house WAS too small. It’s not. As a matter of fact, I feel we have more space here than we did in town. Because I can cook a huge meal and have elbow room. Because the kids go out and run and jump and scream and then come in and sit still. (I like that part of living in the country.) So, living space isn’t very relevant.

Yes, money is tight. It always is. Mostly because we’re not great with  money.   But, we’re listening to good ‘ole Dave and we’re getting there. This last year I really wondered if it would be responsible for us to get pregnant before the end of the year. Due to the year change, our surgery will be in 2009, but the baby won’t be born until 2010. Which means we’ll max out our deductible this year and then turn around in January and max it out all over again. Sigh. But you know what? I’ll bet you in 20, or 10, or 5, or EVEN 2 years from this January, I won’t look at that little face and see the hospital bill. I bet I just see the face of a child, a blessing, that I’m so grateful to have that I don’t even notice the cost.

So,  I’m pregnant. And it’s going to cost us a mint. Did I mention I HATE being pregnant? Hate it. I hate that I have to have surgery every single pregnancy. I hate that I throw up from the anesthesia. As a matter of fact, delivery is WONDERFUL compared to week 14.

Things that are precious have a cost, a high cost. If they didn’t cost a lot, monetarily, emotionally, or physically, they wouldn’t be considered precious. If you could walk out in your backyard and pick up a handful of diamonds, they would be worthless. Afterall, they’re just shiny rocks.
It is their COST that gives them value, that makes others consider them precious. The U.S. does not appreciate their children. The years gone by from disease and poor medical care has made children fairly easy to raise.
They are no longer precious. But ask an infertile couple what they would give to have a child.

In 2001 we gave birth to our daughter, Hannah Elizabeth. Unfortunately she was 26 weeks along and less than 2 lbs. She had decent chances, statistically speaking and did really well for a little while. On Day 12 we held her while she died. It wasn’t a short death. It wasn’t a painless death. It was long, and they gave her several morphine shots. You know your life has been changed forever when you stop praying for your child to live and instead pray for her relief through death. Life is precious. Her life was all of 12 days long. Sometimes it is not the length of time you live, but the impact of your life on those around you….. And if that is so, her life had true meaning.

Housing, space, money, college, it all means very little. If you have a house, it is enough. If you have space, it is enough. If you have food, the money is enough. If there is a will to get to college, it is enough. These things are very much not relevant compared to the preciousness of one life. And if you have the opportunity to give the world one precious life, it is a trick of the mind (and more as I know many Christians would believe and attest) that it should be denied because they might have to share a bedroom, or you can’t pay for four years of college.

 

 

So sorry I’m so late posting this morning!  Woke up to no internet!  Apparently it was just one of those flukey things.  So, it’s all fixed thanks to our very nice cable man and I am grateful.  Now, I have to go work on something very special.  But, I promise to show you what it is soon.  Have a great weekend!

Reprint Friday everyone!  This is a reprint from my old blog dated July 15, 2008… Enjoy and have a lovely weekend

Yesterday was a bit of a… hmmm?  What’s that word?  Revelation!  That’s it. That’s the word I’m looking for!

Yesterday was our first day of school.  July in Iowa is sticky, hot, and sticky… Did I mention sticky?  So, we started school and we’ll take a break in late fall when the weather is gorgeous again.  So, new curriculum, new schedule, and new kids.  Well, okay, same kids, but I was hoping for at least the magical transformation of my three year old into this lovely, obedient preschooler.  Didn’t quite happen….

So here I am on Day 2.  I’m behind, lol, and I wonder, “How can that be?  How can I be behind on the SECOND day of school?”

See this year we are taking a new approach.  I’ve always made our own lesson plans, pulling eclectically from a hodge podge of materials that I’ve chosen based on merit.  This year, in a state of utter exhaustion, and admitting I’m not SuperWoman (who knew?!) I went with Sonlight.  Whew boy!  Didn’t QUITE realize *I* would be reading aloud 2-3 hours a day at a bare minimum…. (Three cores, yeah, that was genius.)

Yesterday was absolutely filled with revelations… Just one after another.

I sat here today sorting books and we’ve just recently picked up several of Mrs. Piggle Wiggle’s books.  And I found myself a bit resentful to be honest.  When we started reading Mrs. Piggle Wiggle I was reading rather intently, with the wild idea that I’d get something useful out of it.  You know you must be over your head a bit when you have a child’s book in front of you with a funny little woman on the front and you’re hoping beyond hope that SHE will have the secret to heeling your three year old.  Wrong.  Just wrong.  So as I put away these books this morning I really thought she was mocking me a bit from the cover.  She should be grateful she didn’t find herself in the trash can as I couldn’t find much use for her…  powders and candy.  If only.

My second thought came as I RE-sorted all the math manipulatives.  Our three year old (Noticing a trend?) came up with the delightful idea of playing with the lacing beads, attribute blocks, dominoes, stamps, pencils, paint brushes, and lacing animals… all at one time, in one big pile. 

And the thought occurs to me that “Quiverfull” is kind of like buying a timeshare.  Oh, it looks good on the brochure.  The cuddly, big family, curled in front of the fire… I think they use the SAME brochure.  But about ten years down the line……..  It just takes on a bit of a different look and you’re thinking, “Hmmm… would I have bought into this if I had known what I know now?”

Ahhhh…  In all seriousness I adore my children, with the exception of above mentioned three year old.  But I will be the first to admit there are days, lately, of utter exhaustion.  Those lovely moms of many know just what I mean!   Apparently, simply based on the fact that I get pregnant easily, this does indeed qualify me for Mom of the Year.  We have two olders (planned) 12 and 9.  Then, with Quiverfull conviction securely in hand, we’ve had the last six in seven years. 🙂  So now, they are trained well enough that I can take all of them in public with me.  And people are fairly certain that because they are all dressed, wearing shoes, and I look reasonably sane, that I really must be this amazing, fantastical mama, with a heart of gold and unlimited patience.  As I am not terribly fond of hypocrisy, I try to explain to them that this is simply not so and that I am a mama just like everyone else who does indeed occasionally lose her marbles.  This is of course then hurrahed as humbleness and I’m even more wonderful than before.

Let it be said here and now…  I am not SuperMama.  My kids would laugh at the very idea!

So, now that I’ve set the situation up for you, here’s the rest of the background.  We have really great older kids.  They’re wonderful. We adore them.  They are the kind of kids you LIKE to spend time with.  To about age 4.  We love our resident four year old VERY much.  She’s an absolute delight.  But, age three NEVER fails to disappoint…  We pretty much hate age three.  Bring on the two year olds, but I don’t like three.  It is inevitably at age three they discover they have opinions.  Generally, contrary to my own.  And at about age three, I always have a new baby…  (When don’t I have a new baby, my mom would say.)   So, despite the fact that I’ve gone through this several times, I see my sweet, adorable two year olds and assume that THIS child will not go through this willfull, naughty stage, and we spoil them to death.  Only to pay for this six months later. 

We’re at that stage.  Add in one potty training 22 month old, and one needy infant and mama NEEDED to get out of the house last week.

So, we get dressed and we head to the park.  We’re all in high spirits, congratulating ourselves on being dressed and out of the house by about 9:00 when the weather is still cool.  And as we walk we bump into an older mom, pushing her three year old in a stroller.   Now, I’m in a great mood, but I’m wiped out and you know, you just know you’re having one of those days when….

Other Mom:  “How many of them are yours?”

Me: “All of them!”  Big smile

Other Mom: “Wow! I don’t know how you do it.”

Me: “Oh, it’s not so bad.  They’re good kids.”

Other Mom: “You must be Mom of the Year.”

Me: “Why?”  And realize this is said in genuine shock and a little horror mingled with true confusion.   There.  That was my genius answer. 

It never ceases to befuddle me why people think we just have it all figured out because we’ve had LOTS of kids.  Like because I’ve been bestowed with children, I’ve also been bestowed with endless wisdom… Don’t I wish it? !

Truth is, the more children I have, the more sure I am that I don’t know it all.  I always joke that when we had our first, I was pretty sure I knew it all about parenting.  After all, I had read all the books and we were doing everything right.   With the birth of number two, I just KNEW that I knew it all.  I had two, both of them keepers.  With the birth of our fourth, who was a very high needs baby, I began to suspect that we might not know as much as we thought we did.   Then came number five… a baby who had constant diahhrea until I stopped breastfeeding, a baby who turned into a toddler who was VERY behaviourally challenged until we stopped giving her soy.  (WHO KNEW?!)  It was then and there I admitted I didn’t know much at all.  As a matter of fact, there were days when I considered it a miracle that I hadn’t left any behind somewhere.

Okay, okay, so the quiverfull brochure has lost some of it’s charm.  I did about seven loads of laundry yesterday and I’m ALMOST caught up.  I am using THREE, count ’em, THREE Cores in Sonlight this year.  I have a 7th grader, a 4th grader, a 1st grader, a K, a Pre-K, a potty training almost two year old, and one seriously high needs newborn that lives in her Moby…  THIS was NEVER on the brochure. 

But, I also have one really neat daughter who is almost a teenager and I love her more than I ever did as a baby because she is absolutely fascinating to me.  I have a 9 yo boy who loves to take care of his Mama and loves God.  I have a 6yo who is a delight and makes me smile every single day.   I have a 4yo who is just never upset, always happy, and smiles the biggest smiles.  My three year old, while not well behaved lol, is very umm… creative.  The two year old makes me think every day, “Thank you God that we didn’t stop having children.  How would I live without her?”  (I still think this EVERY SINGLE DAY and she’s 2.5 now. )  She brings me joy every minute of the day… even cleaning up puddles.  And this high needs newborn…  Sometimes I think maybe she is an amazing blessing as well.  If she wasn’t so fussy how would I have an excuse to hold her all day in a family this size?  She’s in her Moby now, snuggled tight into me, snoring soft baby snores, and blissfully asleep.  She has soft woolly newborn hair, and soft, sweet smelling, newborn skin.   And while this may not be what I THOUGHT I was signing up for…  While it is SO much more work than I ever would have wanted…  While I go to bed every night wiped out and wake up in the morning with a long list of “To Do” options, it is so much better than I could have ever dreamed.

How does that quote go?

I’m not what I should be, but by the Grace of God, I’m not what I was.