My job is important……

In the evenings when the kids go to bed, I load the dishwasher, put clothes from the washer to the dryer, fill up my water cup, and walk upstairs with the baby.  All day long I crave the coolness of my sheets and the warmth of my blankets as my head hits the pillow.  But I don’t go straight to sleep!  I change the baby’s diaper, sometimes her clothes, sometimes we take a bath together, and then I feed her.  Many nights I end up in bed at 7:30 pm but I don’t make it to sleep till 3:30am!  I spend a few hours watching T.V. with my husband, then when I finally lay down to go to sleep, everyone decides to get up for water, potty breaks, feedings, diapers, teething, or bad dreams- sometimes all of them!   Last night while everyone was sleeping, the room was dark, I laid there nursing my baby and watching her little eyes stare back at me.  I felt like the most blessed woman in the world!  Eleven years ago when I was standing in a court room, petitioning the Judge for a restraining order against my soon to be Ex- I thought I would never have my own family!  I thought my life was destroyed and there was no coming back!  Today I am the mother of seven beautiful girls, and wife of a loving Godly man who adores me.  I would have never thought this would be my life and I’m thankful for all of it; the hard parts, the easy parts, the days that end in me crying, the days that end in all of us crying, happy days, sad days, unbelievably crazy days- I’m thankful for all of them!

I think sometimes it’s hard to be thankful for such things when you’ve never experienced the feeling of loss.  I think that losing everything and everyone in my life at one point has given me the determination, strength and love for my family to get through the hard days.  Knowing that there was a time that my hope for having children was taken away, it really makes me appreciate and savor each day that I have with them.  After all we only have 18 summers together and then they will be off on their own!  It’s only a blink of an eye before they are adults!  While I may write about our crazy days together- I do it with love, and with the hope that it may encourage others in their parenting and never with a angry, or resentful heart!  At the end of the day when everyone is sleeping but me, and my newborn is looking into my eyes while I’m feeding her, there is nowhere else I’d rather be- sleep deprived or not!

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This past Friday, we finally were able to celebrate my husband’s birthday that I neglected a few weeks ago due to our newest addition.  I took the big girls to the dollar tree and they excitedly picked out Spiderman decorations for him (haha!), we ordered pizza (his favorite), made ice cream caked (Duggar style), and got him a few treats (candy- also his favorite).  I dropped by the RedBox and grabbed a few movies for us for when the kids were sleeping- The Amazing Spiderman II for him, and Mom’s Night Out, for me.   I probably should have known better than to get such a emotional movie right after having a baby while I’m still weepy because I probably cried through most of the movie!

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I felt like I was watching a movie about myself.  From the Pastor’s wife to the main character Allyson- mom of three- I could physically feel each characters emotion and identify with their struggles.  Two month ago  I painted our foyer,  I went to the hospital to have a baby and when I got back there was a beautiful scribbling mess all over the wall behind the door!  There was purple crayon everywhere!! Drawings on the girls bedroom walls, and even on the hall closet door upstairs in the hallway.  Across from the closet door, there was another crayon drawing on the wall in the hallway of a secret door- which is completely my husbands fault!!  When we first moved into this house he would go into our walk-in closet and knock on the wall, which connected to the hallway wall, and he would say, “HELLO, help me!”  The kids were flipping out and believed that there was a secret door in the wall.  Well- not long after that the drawing of a door appeared in our hallway!  After the time they drew a treasure map on the carpet in their room with a marker- I have fought long and hard to keep the crayons/markers put away from the kids so this doesn’t happen again- but when mom is away they have a little more freedom!  I’m still finding random crayons- three weeks later- in their beds, under the couch, in the cushions, and the crayon box in the playroom.  On days when I find a crayon in a room it isn’t supposed to be in and am able to put it back in its correct spot, I feel like I have conquered the world!!  You may actually hear me whisper, “take that you nasty monster” as I slide the misplaced crayon back into the box!

My kitchen counter is constantly cluttered!  I clean it off on Monday’s and by Friday it is piled high again!    It took me a few months to figure out why it gets that way!  Here I thought my husband had been putting things up there the last several months but I’ve since discovered that when the kids do their chores, instead of going all the way to the playroom to put their toys away, they stick them on the counter in the kitchen!  Piles of my little ponies, pencils, books, figurines- all over the counter, behind the coffee pot, on the sink, in the sink.  It makes me crazy, not necessarily the mess, but what unravels me the most is feeling like I have to repeatedly do something over and over again and there is no way to conquer it!  There is NEVER a different result!  It feels so great when I get the counters cleared off, wiped off and they look amazing- for a day!!

We are ALWAYS missing a shoe!  YES just one, and never the same one, and never for the same kid….but always JUST ONE- and sometimes its even MY shoe!!!  This is enough to make any mom insane!  I often find during times like these I become possessed by my mother.  She takes over my mind and body and she I hear her words flow from my mouth,  “how many times have I told you to put your shoes away!  If you would put them where they go we would not have to go through this every time we want to leave the house!”  I dread winter because not only are we always missing a shoe but we get to add in a coat too!  Just yesterday we were trying to get everyone in the van to run some errands.  It was pouring down rain!!  Normally I wouldn’t go anywhere in the rain but we had too!  We couldn’t find ONE shoe, and ONE jacket, and ONE of our 18 library books that we were taking back!  The Jacket was in the van and the one shoe eventually turned up and so did the book, but it took us at least an hour to find all items.  It’s even worse when we are on time for something, yet we have to take time to find that one shoe, then after our thirty-minute search we load into the van and discover – we are out of gas!

Like Allyson- I am hard on myself!  I never feel I am enough for me.  My house is not clean enough, I’m not gentle enough with my kids, I’m not consistent enough, I don’t discipline them the right way, they don’t have enough scripture memorized, I’m not teaching them good enough, I’m not smart enough, I’m not sweet enough to my husband, I yell, I constantly put things off, I don’t do detail cleaning, I get bossy and irritated when I’m stressed, and I am not spiritual enough, creative enough, fun enough.  I hold myself to such high standards that I can’t meet them and I constantly make myself feel like a failure of a wife and mother!  I play things out in my mind- I can’t ask for help because I hear them saying in my head, “can you believe she has the nerve to have that many kids and then ask someone to come over and help her!!  She asked for that many kids and she should have to deal with it herself!”  I can’t ask people to come visit because I hear them saying in my head, “wow you should have seen what a mess her house was!!  There was peanut butter on the bathroom sink and the light switch downstairs!  Can you believe she has all those kids and you can’t eat off her floor- no wonder they get sick!”   I am my OWN worse enemy!

I’ve learned that I have to pride myself in the small victories of my life like: finding a lost crayon, keeping the books on the book shelves, keeping the kids on a schedule with their school and chores, making dinner each night, keeping the laundry and dishes done.  Being able to have these small victories daily have made me feel like I’m on top of the world.  It’s amazing what being able to keep something clean for more than a day can do for you sanity!  It’s also amazing how having friends who say, “I don’t care about your mess- I’m here to visit with you” helps calm those annoying voices in my head!  It helps even more when those same friends invite me to their house and when I get there its a mess and they don’t care!  lol  Don’t ask me why that is comforting but it just is!!

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And then in the middle of a week of craziness we have ONE amazing day!  I can tell the kids are having fun, they are learning, getting along well, not fighting, no escaped crayons.  I actually take time out of cleaning, bills, planning, scheduling, and changing diapers to play with my kids and I feel like the best mom in the world!!  This day carries me over- through the lost shoes, the cluttered counters, the dirty floors to the next amazing day!  Then in between during the hard times- I try to savor the small things like seeing the joy on my Kindergartners face when she reads a word without anyone teaching her, watching my third grader read to her sisters, my first grader speak kindly to the babies and love on them, the small notes I find from my girls laying on my computer.  These are the things that make being a mother great!  Yes the ONE amazing day a week is amazing but knowing that each action, choice, and decision that your children make has come from something you taught them makes these tiny gestures they make worth all your sacrifice.  The best and most powerful line in the movie is when Allyson’s husband tells her that her job is important!  I think most of us forget that.  Everything we do from hugs, kisses, snuggles to diapers, meals, dishes, floors, and just spending the day playing is important!  We as mothers have the power to guide these little beings and mold them into amazing God fearing women and men!  We have the potential to train our children to be loving and compassionate and loyal to their future children and spouses.  What we do is not always noticed, valued, and it is a lot of work. Being a mom is HARD!!  It is also amazing, joyful, fulfilling and something most of us can not ever imagine NOT doing!  Our job is important and we need to make sure that we remember that!!

My Birth Story baby #7

 

From the very beginning of this pregnancy I have had extreme anxiety and fear.  I thought I was miscarrying in the beginning, I was told that I was “barely” pregnant at the ER, and felt like God had saved our little girl after we prayed and asked Him to!  When it was confirmed that our baby was growing and healthy, there was no doubt that God had saved her and had a huge plan for her life already!

I personally had a hard time with this pregnancy emotionally.  Before it was confirmed that it was possible I could be miscarrying, I was very against having another child so quickly!  While I want the Lord to decide when the right time for us to have children is, I tend to let my own desires come into play at times; I was really hoping to wait a while before being pregnant again.  So, when I thought we were losing her, I felt so guilty and ashamed that I didn’t want to be pregnant.  It’s funny how when there is potential to lose something or never have it, we want it more!

Throughout my pregnancy our lives were extremely busy!  I don’t think I ever really got to the point to where I even noticed the pregnancy until I was almost 35 weeks along!  At that point I was beginning to become uncomfortable ; in all that I did it became very apparent to me that I was pregnant!!  Unlike before, I also was not looking forward to the birth this time around.  With our last baby, we were very prepared!  We had a birth plan, we went through a birth class, we watched videos, and read books…we were ready for a natural birth!  This time around, we were so busy that the most we did before the birth was get her room ready, clothes washed, and her name picked out.  We even decided on the spelling of her name while I was lying in the hospital bed.  We were very unprepared this time around!

On Thursday August 28th I had my 39 week appointment.  I really wanted to make sure that I was able to have the same midwife this time around, and she was going on vacation after being on call Friday night, so I wanted to get the show on the road if we could!  At that appointment I was 2cm dilated, and she went ahead and swept my membranes.  The plan was that hopefully that would work to send me into labor, but if there was nothing happening by morning, I was going to take the birth cocktail and see if that would work for me again.  After I left that afternoon, on the way home I felt slight back cramping but nothing impressive.  I cleaned up around the house, made dinner and then went to lie down and rest for a while.  Around 10pm I began having painful contractions, and they continued all through the night.  They were very strong and painful while I was lying down, but when I would get up to walk around, they would stop.  Because of this, I decided that it couldn’t be real labor!

Friday August 29th after laboring all night, I got up at 7:30am and took the birth cocktail.  I was still having the same pattern with my contractions, hurting while lying down and then they subsiding while walking.  I went to the midwife’s office around 2:30pm to be checked.  We said goodbye to the kids, and loaded up the car just in case we needed to stay.  My husband dropped me off at the front door while he parked the car and I went up to the office.  They put me on the monitor to check the baby’s heart rate and contractions; when my midwife came in, we were surprised to find out I was dilated 4cm – almost 5!!  We decided not to go home at that point, but walked around the hospital a little, got some lunch, and then made our way up to labor and delivery.

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Once in L&D we unpacked a little, got comfortable, I changed into my own clothes, and we waited for my Doula and midwife to show up.  I was quickly hooked up to the IV in order to get the first dose of antibiotic in, we all thought there was no way I was going to make it to the second bag of antibiotics scheduled for 4 hours later, but we were all in for a big surprise!!  My labor was not very intense at all; It was very tolerable and mild.  I labored for at least 2-3 hours in the water, and I have to say that was the best part of my labor!  We turned out the lights and had praise and worship music playing.  It was very relaxing and helped me to calm down and not be so anxious.  Around 10:00pm, I finally got out of the tub and my midwife came in to check me.  I believe I was 6cm, so she went ahead and ruptured my water.  She intended to give me just a small leak to bring on contractions more intensely, but it ended up becoming a huge gush instead!

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Unfortunately, at this point, all the details of my labor are very fuzzy to me.  I don’t remember the order of things very well, but I know at some point I was at 8 cm for HOURS!!  I remember taking several walks down the hallway and stopping to hold the railing during contractions, or leaning on my husband.  I remember feeling like I wanted my husband to lay with me or stay close to me while I was lying in the bed resting for a time.  And I remember being on my knees over the top of the bed for a long time when things were getting intense, and then sitting on the birthing ball for a while as well.  I believe at this point I had been awake for 3 days, so I was beginning to forget things; everything started to run together, and I was becoming very confused with what people were saying to me and with what stage I was in during my labor.  I got to the point where I was pushing; I thought I was fully dilated and that she was sitting there ready to come out.  I remember them bringing in the squat bar and putting it on the bed, they had me in a sitting position and I tried to push with my next contraction.  I remember my midwife encouraging me and letting me know that everyone was there for me, and that I could do this!  I began crying at some point because I felt so exhausted, and I don’t remember when I stopped.

They were doing intermittent fetal monitoring, meaning that they would come in every 30 minutes, I believe, and check the baby’s heart rate; they would listen through one of my contractions.  At this point I was so tired that I do remember feeling upset when the nurse would come in to listen to the baby, because they always came in right after I just finished a contraction, and that would mean that they would have to stay there listening until I had another.  When they did that, all I could do was think about the fact that another contraction was on its way, instead of resting up for the next one!

I was told at some point that my cervix had a lip on it.  I don’t think at the time I understood what that meant.  I was given some options, one was that she could try and push the lip back and I could push at the same time and try to get the baby to come on through, which I think we tried, and the pain was unbelievable!  After this I was told the baby’s head had turned in a weird angle and that is why I couldn’t push her out.  I remember saying I couldn’t do it anymore.  I felt like I was half asleep and half awake and felt like the only time I was awake was to feel the contractions.  Then my midwife said that they could give me a tiny bit of Pitocin to help the contractions become more regular.  I think at this point my mind could only process “Pitocin” and I went straight to the epidural because of my previous experience with it!

With baby #4 (when I still used an OBGYN), I was told they were going to give me “a little Pitocin” to speed things up.  I told the nurse then that if they gave me Pitocin, I wanted the epidural- to which she said, “it was just a little and I wouldn’t really need the epidural with the amount they were going to give me.”  I believed her, and then for 4 hours I had the most painful, intense, unbelievable contractions I’ve ever experienced in my entire life!!  And to make it worse, I was laboring alone!  My husband thought the epidural was on the way, and I told him to get some rest, so he was sleeping on the couch; I didn’t have a midwife or a doula then.  I just remember crying and holding onto the bed railings for dear life and praying that God would please help me to not die!!

So, the minute Pitocin was mentioned, I believe I replied that I didn’t want it without an epidural!!  And immediately fear set in!  I became afraid that I would end up needing Pitocin without having an epidural; I became afraid that if I didn’t get the epidural (to relax) that I wouldn’t fully dilate and would need a C-section since there was a timeframe (so I thought, after having my water broken).  I think that, at this point, all I could say was that I wanted the epidural, and the rest of the time I was crying.  I really didn’t fully understand what was really going on until after the baby was born, and I was able to talk to my husband and one of the midwives about what everything meant.  I don’t remember many conversations around me during labor;  I remember my midwife asking me what I wanted to do and saying some other things; I can’t remember anything she was saying, but I remember saying that I wanted the epidural.  I kept thinking in my mind about the other times I had gotten the epidural and how it relaxed my body so the baby came easily.  I felt like, at that point, it was my only option for my body to dilate and the baby to come in a timely manner without a c-section.  I think my midwife tried to tell me what the risks of getting it would be, but I don’t remember what she said, and I don’t think I understood what she was saying.  It’s so strange to me that I had absolutely zero pain medication at this time, yet I felt like I was completely drugged up and can’t remember a lot of the timeline, or conversation.  It’s so crazy how laboring for three days can make you so out of it!

The next thing I knew, the anesthesiologist was setting up his cart and had me holding my husbands hands while he was scrubbing my back for the epidural.  My midwife switched off with another, since she was supposed to be on vacation that day, but had stayed to help me through my labor.  The new midwife came in after the epidural and checked me.  She said I was 8cm.  I was completely confused, because I remembered trying to push, and I knew I had to be 10cm in order to push.  It was confusing to me that I had UN-dilated!!

(I now know that I was able to push because my cervix was so flexible and when I would push I would dilate to 10cm but when I would stop it went back to 8cm.  During labor, I could not understand this!)

After this, I fell asleep and was in and out of consciousness.  I would hear people around me talking, would wake long enough to ask them questions, and then would fall back to sleep.  I heard someone say that my contractions had stopped, and I remember again getting scared that we would need a C-section.  I remember them saying that they were starting Pitocin which didn’t scare me because I had the epidural.  I hear the alarm go off because my blood pressure had gotten so low, and they had to give me medication for it to normalize.  At this point, I remember Praying, “please God, don’t let me die!”   I ended up going to sleep for 4 hours.  When I woke up, the anesthesiologist was in my room.  He looked at me and said that there was no progress, and at this point there was nothing more they could do for me.  It seemed to me that he was saying that if I didn’t start progressing once I ran out of medication, then I was out of medication and they would have to do something else.  I took this at the time to mean- they would not give me anymore medication in the epidural, and once it was gone I would have to either do a c-section, or labor naturally again- but because I was not progressing I thought he was saying I would have to have a c-section.  Right before he left my Doula knew I was confused and she told me what she thought he was trying to say, (which I don’t remember what she said), but it was way different than what I thought he was saying!!

I felt scared and asked my husband to pray for me that the baby would come!  It had been about 42 hours at this point and I was really feeling defeated!  He held my hand and prayed.  When he was finished I began feeling pressure that I needed to push with each contraction I began having!  The midwife came in and checked me and said “it’s time to have the baby!”  I began almost sobbing at that point because I felt like I had worked for so long and so hard to have this baby in my arms and I didn’t think it was ever going to happen.  I felt so thankful, not to mention grateful, for an answer to prayer- and so quickly afterwards!!

I believe I began pushing before my midwife was even turned around and ready to catch the baby.  She had to tell me to slow down because I was determined to get her out this time.  I believe I pushed maybe 3 times and I was holding my sweet baby!  Out of all my labors, I’ve never felt so relieved to have my baby in my arms like I did this time around.  I never had a labor over 12 hours prior to this one that totaled 42.5 hours!

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I felt so protective over my baby once she was here.  I didn’t want to put her down, and when they came to take her to the nursery later that evening for tests, I was panicked and couldn’t sleep the whole time she was gone.  I constantly watched the clock and would occasionally wake up my husband asking if he would walk down to the nursery and check on her.  When I first checked into natural birth with baby #6, one thing I had learned was that when you have a natural birth your body releases a chemical that causes the mother to feel an almost animal-like instinct/love to protect her baby.  I thought this was so interesting because I didn’t feel like I had experienced this with my previous labors since I had medication with them, and even with baby #6, I felt a strong bond with her, but it wasn’t like others had described in the books about it.  However, I knew that something happened with this one- I may have gotten the epidural at the end- but something was released to make me experience this feeling this time around.  Maybe it was how long the labor was, or how hard I worked to have this baby.  However, I realized I had this feeling  before we left the hospital when the nurse said, “awww she is SO cute, don’t you want to leave her with me?”  Normally I would smile and just laugh at the joke (which I did do), but this time I had the most overwhelming urge to push her down and tell her to STAY AWAY from my baby!! Haha!!  I did not labor this baby for 42.5 hours to have someone even joke about me giving her to them!  Do not mess with a tired, new mommy after a long labor!  Haha!!

I felt a little disappointed that I opted for the epidural, being so close to the end; however, looking back now and realizing how out-of-my-mind tired I was, not remembering or even understanding half of what was going on, I know it was the right decision at the time.

Now that we are home, the girls just adore her.  I am beyond grateful for my midwives, my doula, and my husband who encouraged me and was there for me through the ENTIRE labor without complaint!  I have an amazing husband who has gone through 7 labors right next to me and has never been anything but encouraging to me.  My doula and midwives have been through two labors with me; one that was pretty quick and went pretty nicely, and this one that was a little more unexpected.  Again, all they did was encourage me and cheer me on even after I had to get the epidural this time around!

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Our sweet girl is amazing; she is nursing well; she was a bit bruised up from the labor, but we are thankful she did not have to be under the lights for her jaundice.  She is sleeping well, and she is loved more than any baby could ever be loved!!  Even our littlest (1yr) loves to stare at her and watch her sleep.  We are so blessed that God had given her to us.  We are so thankful that He didn’t allow me to miscarry, but to carry her full term, and now she is laying in my arms as I type this.  I often have a conversation with the Lord that is like this, “Lord I don’t understand why you would allow me to have so many amazing girls to raise them up for you!  It is so humbling and exciting that you would allow me to raise them up for you!”  I just pray that I don’t disappoint Him!   We are so excited to see what God has in store.

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August 30, 2014;  4:36pm; 8lb 2oz; 19 3/4in.