Showing posts with label Babies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Babies. Show all posts

A Story Of Two Lines (For The 5th Time)



It's still a bit surreal, sitting down to write out the story of how we found out we were expecting our fifth baby! I never thought about having five kids until the last couple years, and even then I was mostly working on convincing my heart that we were done at four.  As I sit here typing, I'm just feeling so grateful that the Lord has better plans than our own.

I guess this story sort of starts when I was pregnant with Clarice.  I didn't write about it much, because I ended up being wrong, but when I first got pregnant with Clarice, I was convinced it was twins.  Her pregnancy and all my symptoms were so different than any of my other pregnancies, it seemed to make sense.  Of course I found out that there was indeed only one baby in there, but for that brief period of time I had five kids on the brain.  After I found out it would only be four, five would never quite let go.

A few months after Clarice was born, I remember sitting there, looking at my beautiful family, my four beautiful kids, and feeling a sense of contentment...but at the same time, I had this niggling little feeling somewhere inside.  It kept whispering that maybe someone was still missing.

The feeling persisted, and I mostly tried to dismiss it, because four had always been our number.  Five really hadn't been on the radar.  When I told Derek how I felt, we prayed about it for a few months, and went on with daily life.  I had heard from other moms that even after their last baby they never felt "done", so I tried to convince myself that this was all part of the normal adjustment after you pass your child-bearing phase.  

I cleaned out some of our baby items, and dropped them off at the pregnancy center and the thrift store.  When we gave away the activity "city" that we got when Wyatt was a baby, Derek turned to me and told me that it all made him a little sad.  He was feeling good about four, but seeing our baby things sitting on the pavement made him sad that it appeared to be all over.  I was a little sad too, but tried not to think about it, because the thought of being done was always sad.  And that was normal, right?

I had a couple months after I got my cycles back when I almost convinced myself I was pregnant, because my premenstrual symptoms were so different after Clarice - every month they were more like early pregnancy symptoms than PMS.  After a couple months of torturing myself, I decided to stop charting the second part of my cycle, and stop paying attention to my "symptoms" that kept turning out to not be pregnancy symptoms at all.  My thought was that if I wasn't having to record my temperature every morning during the second part of my cycle, I wouldn't be thinking about our methods and the probability of us getting a surprise, and I wouldn't have time to talk myself into the idea of being pregnant.

So in February I charted until I knew we were safe, marked when my next cycle would start on the calendar, and didn't think about it.

Technically, I knew I could start on Friday, but it could also be Saturday, so I packed a few feminine things in my purse on Saturday March 4th, and I went off on my antique store shopping trip with my mom and sister.  I got home later, helped Derek with the kids, and read a book the rest of the afternoon.  That evening I remembered that I hadn't started, and decided to take a test the next morning.  Just to rule it out.  Then I could take that information and predict my ovulation a little more accurately the next cycle.  It wouldn't be the first time I ovulated a day or two later than I thought.

So the next morning, when I pulled out that test, I wasn't particularly careful while taking it.  I didn't count to exactly five seconds.  I didn't really think it would be positive.

I popped in my contacts, and went back to look at the test sitting on the side of the tub.  One solid line, so I looked to the next window, and with a bit of a start, realized there was a very faint second line forming.  My heart picked up a little, and I sat there with my chin in my hand, completely bewildered as the line got darker and darker.

I figured out later that if I had taken a little more care to study the test before I took it, I would have known that I was squinting that whole time at the control line.  The test line was the dark line that I could see clearly before I even got the contact solution out of my eyes.

I was pregnant!



Looking back, I should have been a little suspicious.  I had been exhausted for an entire week, I was waking up twice every night to use the bathroom, and I had cried one night merely because Derek hadn't emptied the dishwasher.  But my PMS had been so weird for months, I really didn't suspect anything!  I never thought I would ever be truly surprised to be pregnant because I am usually so in tune with my body, but this one really did surprise me.

I called Derek downstairs and told him immediately.  He laughed, shook his head, and then I think we were both a bit in shock for the rest of the day.  It didn't even feel real until the next morning.  We were having a fifth baby!

We started to get more and more excited, and now I am honestly thrilled and super protective of my sweet baby bean!  

That first day I think we were most nervous by what people would say.  I read an article last year, "Honest Thoughts On Having A Fifth Baby", and I re-read it after we found out we were pregnant.  I feel like I could have written much of it.  Five babies are not common in our society today, and people can be so rude.  I had already received rude reactions when I couldn't 100% confirm over the previous year that we were done having babies, and I was worried because I so wanted this baby to be celebrated and welcomed as all my other kids have been.  I highly encourage you to go read that article, so you know the proper (and improper) response if you ever have a friend who has or wants an unusual number of kids.

Thankfully though, all of my people must have gotten the memo, because the reactions to our fifth little blessing have been mostly positive!  Our friends and family are all excited for us.  And if we get any negative reactions, I think our attitude is - who cares?  If someone is going to give us grief for joyfully accepting this God-ordained blessing, they don't count, and their opinion is the thing that is not welcome here.  We are celebrating and excited to welcome this precious new life!

In retrospect, I think that the niggling feeling that our family was missing someone wasn't just "normal", it was the Holy Spirit telling us to just hang on and wait a little longer because God wasn't done growing our family yet.  I wrote last year about how I was feeling convicted about the typical view of family size, as if this is the one area that we should control ourselves.  But God should have a say.  Neither Derek nor I was feeling complete peace about closing that door, and now we know why!  I am so thankful for God nudging us to wait, because that little niggly hole in my heart is filled up by this sweet baby.  I can't wait to hold him or her in November!

I'm six and a half weeks now (update coming soon), but here is my four week picture in the meantime!


 










A New Family Formula




Words are escaping me for the start of this post, so let's just cut to the bottom line!





We are expecting an addition to our family!  Baby #5 calculated to arrive in November!

Details coming next week!

Life With Four



Ever since Clarice was born, I've been wanting to do a day in the life post.  So many people have asked me what life is like with four kids - and I guess this is the chance to find out!  It's honestly not too different than three, except with one extra kid to dress and feed each day.  I love being a mama to four!

I recorded this day a few weeks ago, before we started school again after Christmas break.  I'll try to record a school day soon to give you an idea of how we manage that, but this day is probably more representative of most of the days during Clarice's first year of life.  Enjoy!

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2:30 AM - I stumble out of bed to grab Clarice, who has been alternating crying and talking to herself for two hours. I think cuddling her for a bit will settle her down.  It doesn't.  I put her back in her crib and try to sleep over her chattering (she rarely wakes up in the night anymore, but this time she did).

7:05 AM - I am awakened by a crash and rolling sound from upstairs.  I spring out of bed and find Gwen with a coloring book and markers, sneaking back to her room.  I confiscate the markers, tell her she can play in her room, and see if I can sleep a little longer.

7:25 AM - Gwen comes in my room to inform me that Clyde broke the light in his room.  What? I head upstairs and find that the overhead light cover is on the floor, cracked into pieces.  Thankfully it's only plastic.  I throw the pieces away, tell the kids to read quietly in their room for a few minutes until I come back upstairs.  I read my Bible quickly, because I can already tell this is a day I should really start by reading my Bible if possible.  I read quickly because I hear a squabble and crying form upstairs. 

7:35 AM - Clyde comes downstairs crying to say he's sorry.  I'm not sure what for.  The light?  I tell him I'll be upstairs in a minute.

7:40 AM - Go to the bathroom to brush my teeth.  Clyde comes down again to say sorry. I tell him it's okay and send him back upstairs.

7:45 AM - I wash my face. I hear another squabble about who gets the cool Hot Wheels car.  I ask the boys to please just read in their rooms for a minute.

7:51 AM - I hear crying and "I'm in trouble!" from upstairs.  I give up on trying to get ready for the day and head upstairs to prepare breakfast and reassure Clyde that he is not in trouble (it was an accident!).

7:54 AM - Instant apple cinnamon oatmeal made.  The kids pray in unison before they eat their breakfast (which makes me smile because it's so cute).  Gwen tells me about the good dream she had last night while she eats.  I empty the dishwasher.



8:03 AM - Get Clarice upstairs and settled with her breakfast.  I grab Clyde's clean sheets and go in to make his bed.  I usually have the big kids make their own beds, but I still straighten out their covers a little to help the process.  Nevermind, I decide to take Gwen's bedspread off for an overdue wash.

8:09 AM - I tell the kids to get dressed and make their beds when they are done eating breakfast.  Throw the bedspread in the laundry room on my way to fix my makeup.  I make the bed before heading back upstairs.



8:47 AM - We are in the middle of potty training, and Clyde is doing great!  Success, except for a potty chair spill on the way to the bathroom (just like on that commercial).  I get out the mop.



8:48 AM - The kids' rooms are still a mess.  I'm frustrated.  I get them started on fixing their beds and rooms again.

8:50 AM - I get some coffee brewing and sit down to write a quick book review.  Clyde climbs onto the bench next to me and says "You look pretty, Mommy".  I kiss his sweet little cheek! I'm interrupted three other times, but not so pleasantly.  Crying and squabbling abound.  I'm getting irritable and impatient, and I really don't want to spend the whole day breaking up disputes and telling the kids what to do.  I think that's where we are headed, but I want it to be a good day.

9:17 AM - I get the review published, and help Clyde and Clarice get dressed for the day.  I put away the kids' laundry that Derek and I folded last night.  Wyatt is mopping the floor again.  I change Clarice's diaper, and she says "diaper" as clearly as I've ever heard a baby say it.

9:31 AM - I decide that I think we all have cabin fever, and tell the kids to get in the car.  The big kids head downstairs and I tell them to buckle themselves in. I make the kids some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches while Clarice cries at my feet because I'm not hiding and/or feeding her.

9:48 AM - Sandwiches are finished.  I gather up the lunch bag, coats, a bag full of spare clothes for Clyde, and Clarice in my arms.  I stuff my feet in my shoes on the way to downstairs.  I go outside to find the car with all the windows rolled down in the dead of winter.  Certain children may have gotten in trouble for not being in their seats.

9:50 AM - Run back inside for socks and wipes.  Reheat the coffee that I totally forgot to drink while writing my book review earlier.  I turn it into holly jolly coffee and add whipped cream, but I've added too much, and it spills down the side of my to-go cup when I squish the lid on.

9:58 AM - We are ready!  Almost.  The kids brought some extra toys that I didn't catch earlier, and I run them back inside.  Cue the crying.

9:59 AM - Back in the car.  I buckle in, start my talk radio, and paint the nails on my right hand (I did my left hand nails the night before).  Driving is the only time that I can be sure I won't mess up my half-dried nails.  I realize I forgot to eat breakfast and grab one of the pop tarts I keep in the console.  The kids are upset that I don't have one for them until I remind them that they already had breakfast.

10:01 AM - We're off!

(Photo not taken while the car was actually moving.)

10:19 AM - A child who shall remain nameless confesses to getting a midnight snack out of the kitchen. Wyatt chimes in and says that when he grows up he'll have lots of money and let his kids eat lots of food.  I briefly feel like a horrible mother, and ask if I'm not feeding them enough.  Wyatt says I am (probably to spare my feelings).  It's a good thing I brought snacks.  (For the record, my kids do eat three full meals a day, plus snacks.  But I guess they are growing!  I remember always wanting more to eat at that age.)

10:33 AM - I crest the hill coming into town, and see that it's hazy out.  It's pretty with the winter colors, pale yellow, grey, and light blue.  It has me envisioning watercolor paintings.

10:55 AM - I decide the holly jolly coffee isn't doing it for me today, and head to Starbucks for a pink drink.  I pull up to pay, and the barista tells me the lady ahead of me bought my drink!! THAT HAS NEVER HAPPENED TO ME BEFORE!  It was such a nice surprise!


11:12 AM - We arrive at the Children's Museum.  The kids are so excited, but the parking lot is insane!  I drive around for ten minutes before finding a spot, and I decide we will eat lunch in the car first in the hopes that it will slow down by the time we head in.


11:49 AM - Lunch is eaten, I take an awkward photo on the sidewalk by propping my phone on top of a trash can, and we head in!




















1:23 PM - We emerge!  Successful visit.  No one has been hurt or lost, and the kids declare it a "fun day".




2:16 PM - We stop by the library before we head home.  I pick up a stack of books on US Presidents that I reserved to read with the kids when we start school back up next week.



3:22 PM - We arrive home.  There is a package at the bottom of the driveway.  I get Clyde and Wyatt out of the car, but Gwen is still sleeping from the drive and I know Clarice will want me to hold her, so I run the trash out to the shed first.  I notice a diaper on the ground that must have fallen out of the trash can.  I pick it up, and notice a plastic bag.  Pick it up, and I see another one.  I round the corner and see a bunch of trash strewn behind our shed! Ugh.  I quickly pick everything up.  By the time I get back to the car Gwen is awake, and both girls are crying.

3:33 PM - Everyone is inside, Gwen and Clyde are down for an attempt at a "nap".  I know it probably won't last.  I give Clarice some milk and settle down with her on the couch, kick off my boots.



3:46 PM - Put Clarice down in her crib for an attempt at a late and destined-to-be-short nap.  I hold up her favorite bear, and she grabs it around the neck, squeezes, and grins.

3:47 PM - I finally settle on the couch and fiddle with my phone for a while.  I edit a video and pictures for my Instagram story on our trip to the museum.

4:08 PM - The kids come tumbling out of their rooms, talking about dump trucks or gum drops, I'm not sure which.  If it was earlier in the day I might make them try to nap again, but I give up on nap time today.  The big three are up, and we read three of our Presidents books.  "George Washington: Farmer, Soldier, President";  "George Washington's Teeth"; and "Smart About The Presidents".  The kids are riveted (I'm serious, they were).  I think we need to add a couple of these to our "to-buy" list.





4:34 PM - I hear Clarice and go ahead and get her up too. She snuggles against me.  I sit down on the couch to hold her for a little while, but she wiggles out of my arms and on the floor to play!

4:39 PM - The play tents appear in the living room.  I poke around the kitchen to figure out what to make for dinner, and start boiling some water.  I take out the trash again (is it just my nose, or does the whole house smell like trash?).  The light outside is pretty.  I come inside and light my "Warm Woolen Mittens" candle to clear out the trash smell (or is it pot from the neighbors? Gross.).  I finally throw that bedspread I pulled off of Gwen's bed this morning into the washer.





4:50 PM - I open the Amazon package, another book on the Presidents inside.  I bought it because I thought it would be a good resource, but I flip through the pages and decide I don't like it.  Make a mental note to send it back.

5:02 PM - I come upstairs and goof off for a bit because it's too early to finish making dinner.  I show the kids the Instagram story video I made, and they laugh and laugh (they love seeing themselves on film).  Wyatt tells me about his plans for making a cave, like the one at the Children's Museum.  He thinks he'll need more wood though.



5:17 PM - I decide to start on dinner.  I'm making ravioli.  The raviolis are frozen, so I pull them out of the freezer and look for spaghetti sauce.  Realize I don't have any.  I make do by pureeing diced tomatoes with spices and parmesan cheese.



5:24 PM - The kids are rowdy and loud, and I have called out "be careful!" several times.  What are they doing?

5:25 PM - I'm a little scared to look around the kitchen corner, but they are just running in circles around the couch.

5:25 PM - I get a text from Derek, saying his bus is broken down.  I'm on my own.



5:33 PM - Clarice is crying at my feet, Clyde is crying "Mommy, I NEED you!" from his room.  Gwen starts crying from somewhere in the house.  Wyatt is still lapping the couch.  I wave the white flag, get the kids in their pajamas with promises of playing PJ Masks.  It's witching hour, after all.

5:38 PM - Clarice says "I love you, Mama" in her baby dialect while I'm getting her dressed.  (Yes, I asked her to say it to me.  So what?  It counts.)  She climbs into my lap, wraps her arms around me, and trys to rock me back and forth (which is her way of telling me she wants ME to rock HER back and forth).

6:01 PM - I start PJ Masks.  The kids all sing along to the theme song (even Clarice).  I finish making dinner, and I let them watch while they eat.



6:17 PM - Derek is home!  Sooner than expected!  I thought he'd be home way after bedtime.  Choruses of "Daddy!" from the kids.

6:31 PM - Derek lets me escape for a bit to write up part of this post.  He cleans the kitchen, does Bible time with the kids, and gets them in bed.

7:07 PM - I put the laptop away and give Clarice a kiss goodnight.  She presses her lips together and pushes her face against my cheek (her kisses).  I get my pajamas on and go upstairs to kiss each of my kiddos goodnight.  They give me sweet smiles and kisses on my cheek, and all three ask the same question as every other night, "What are we doing tomorrow?"

7:20 PM - I talk to Derek while I make some raviolis for myself (Derek opted for leftover soup for dinner).  I fill the dishwasher back up and get ready to start it.

7:27 PM - We watch an episode of Expedition Unknown, one of our current favorite shows.  This one is about the Minoans.  Did the volcano eruption really kill them?  Some geologist says no, but I don't trust their dating methods and still say it was the volcano, one way or the other.

8:24 PM - Derek came home without working out to help me with the kids, so now he heads off to get his workout in.  I sit down to type up the rest of this post, but I tell him not to workout too long, because maybe we can watch another Expedition Unknown if he doesn't get back too late (it is Friday night, after all!).

9:31 PM - Even though it's late when Derek gets back, we decide to sneak in one more Expedition Unknown anyway.  We learn about a lost Mayan city, but the show ends before they can find it (of course)!

10:43 PM - We finally get in bed and read a little before turning out the light.

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There you go, a full day in my life!  If you have any questions about having a "big" family (though really, four isn't that many), now is the time to ask! Other moms of 3+ kids, how do you manage everything?




Always My Baby




We are on the countdown to Clarice's first birthday, and I laid in bed last night thinking, How did this happen? Where did the last year go?  Clarice still seems so little to me, but she is growing so much!

Her little personality just keeps singing through more and more, and it cracks me up.  She's my little firecracker.  When she is unhappy, you know it, and when she is happy, you know it.  She screeches either way, and you have to look at her face to see whether she's happy or mad.  Most of the time it's happy though, and I love her little grin!  She has the sweetest smile, but when she is really amused by something she'll grin and scrunch her eyes - it almost looks like a grimace, but it's just her expression to show she's excited.



She is suddenly much more mobile, and she's been crawling and climbing on everything.  She's figured out how to crawl on her hands and knees, and she pulls up with furniture onto her feet now.  The first time I came in her room and found her standing, she scrunched her face and bounced up and down, so proud of herself.

Her hair has definitely started filling in, and she has little blond curls at the back of her head.  I love them so much, and hope they stick around for a while.  Her eyes are still bright blue, and I love seeing how different colors bring them out.



Clarice has four little teeth.  I have a feeling more will be popping through soon, but for now I love the four she has, the way they shine when she smiles.  She puts them to good use too, and she dug right into a full peach at the peach festival - I looked down and suddenly there was a two-tooth bite out of one of the peaches in our bag, so we let her have at it!



The other day I was swinging her at the park, and her little hands were white-knuckling the sides of the swing.  She looked up and gave me a face somewhere between afraid and excited, and it cracked me up.  Do you remember that movie, Chicken Run?  Her little afraid face made her face look just like that, barely smiling eyes and a little horizontal oval of a mouth with four little teeth in the middle.  It cracked me up and made me want to scoop her right up, but she decided the swing was fun and laughed then, so we continued on with it.  I do believe she's a fan now.



We stopped nursing last month.  I knew I would wean her sometime around one year, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized didn't need that kind of emotion to deal with when I would already be handling a bittersweet first birthday.  She had been nursing less and my supply was decreasing, and one day after church I was nursing her in her room and she fell asleep.  I was sitting there, praying about when to stop, and I just got this feeling like this would be a good time.  I didn't want to not remember her last time nursing; I didn't want it to peeter off without my noticing, until I was left wondering what happened.  So I memorized every little feature, her sweet little eyelashes and arms wrapped around me, and then I laid her down, closed the door to her room, and cried a little.  It was a good decision though.  I have the sweet memories to hold, and we are both enjoying a little more freedom.  She still falls asleep in my arms when I give her a bottle.



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My Sweet Clarice,

I know you are getting bigger, but you still just seems like this little thing to me.  Your feet are still tiny, and I just have this mental picture of you as my tiny baby - but you're really not.  You're almost one.  As with all of you kids, I'm hanging on to every little bit of babyness in you that I can.  I love it when you snuggle with me, or fall asleep in my arms, or reach up your hands for me to pick you up.  I love the way you sit on my hip, or rub your eyes when you're tired.  I love the way you still hesitate when you crawl on your hands and knees.  I love the way you bury your little face against my chest when you are scared or hurt.  I'm hanging on to all of these evidences that you are still my itty bitty baby, because someday soon I'll turn around and realize you've become a toddler.  And I'll be sad then, but not too sad because you'll give me joy in every season - and because you should know, darling, that you'll always be my baby.  I love you more than words.

-Mama
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