Friday, June 27, 2014

Good But Challenging

   Life is good but challenging.

  Rose is, mostly, a very easy baby.  She is nursing well and she sleeps a lot.  She fills her diapers with encouraging regularity. I'm pretty obsessive about diapers in the early days, since "throughput" means that she's getting enough to eat.

  The biggest challenge is that she hasn't quite figured out the whole "days and nights" thing, so that she is often up very late.  This picture from last night was at around 12:30 p.m. and I didn't actually get her down 'til 2 a.m. That's...too late. But we're working on keeping her up during the day (more) and I hope she'll start sleeping better at night.  I don't mind getting up to feed her, that's no problem. I do mind it when she is awake and perky at 3 a.m.  My bed is calling at that point.

  The biggest challenge, though, is Daniel.  The kid is awesome and I adore him to the ends of the earth, but not surprisingly he is having a hard time with exhausted, weak Mommy. I can't pick him up.  I can't play with him a lot.  And as was true before Rose was born, he is INTO THINGS.  He just can't be left alone except in a safe room, because he climbs dangerously, dumps water on the floor, etc.

  I am grateful, again, for healthy, strong, big children who can play with Daniel, watch him, lift him, and change his diaper. 

 We'll get through this season. I was recounting to Kevin that 14 years ago, I told a friend that I didn't realize how much WORK an infant is.  This was, of course, when we had Naomi and I was stay at home mom to one small child.  This particular friend had 9 or 10 kids at the time (she finally had 12 total) and I wondered more than once if she thought I was a total wimp.

 Now that we have 9 children, I am guessing she didn't think I was wimpy.  The truth is, the first child is a challenge especially when Mom and Dad don't have much experience with babies. Neither Kevin nor I had spent much time with infants so everything with Naomi was stressful because it was all so new.  With Rose, I have tons of experience with infants.  While I am tired, I have confidence that in a few months things will be much easier -- she'll be sleeping much longer at night and I'll be recovered from the C-section. That makes it easier.  Plus of course at this point we DO have big children who can do a lot of work around here.'

  So all in all, we're doing well. But if you pray, we'd appreciate prayers for both Kevin and me, that we'd have stamina and wisdom and patience during this difficult season.  Kevin plans to return to work on Monday so he'll be working plus dealing with shortened nights.  I'll be taking the reins of the household back into my hands.  We'll manage, but it isn't exactly easy.

 But Rose, but all of them, are of course worth it 100 times over.



Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Meriam Ibrahim is free

I've been praying and praying and praying for Meriam Ibrahim, the Sudanese woman sentenced to flogging and death for refusing to renounce her Christian faith. She's been in prison for months, and last month gave birth to a baby girl.

Yesterday she was freed!  Praise God. Praise God.

I don't read the news all the time and am not "up" on many events, nor do I let myself get emotional about all the tragic things that happen in this world.  I know that I can't solve these things, and I ask the Lord to guide me to pray for those HE puts on my heart to pray for.  Certainly, I felt called to pray for Meriam, that God would give her strength and courage in the midst of an incredibly difficult situation.

I'm sure part of my feeling of connection is that she was expecting a child just a couple of weeks before our Rose was due.  I found the end of my pregnancy fairly difficult, and I was surrounded by loving family and friends.  Meriam was chained in a jail, caring for her toddler son while very pregnant with her daughter.  I just can't imagine, and I kept praying the Lord would give her courage and strength beyond her own abilities.

Now I'm praying that Meriam and her American husband and 2 kids can get out of the Sudan as soon as possible. She is still in danger from radical Islamists; it was, indeed, her own extended family that charged her with apostasy and adultery, resulting in her imprisonment and death sentence. I pray our government will open the door wide to get her to America, where she can be free from fear of revenge.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

We're Home...

Rose and I are home!  We came home on Thursday, as planned.

She is doing really well.  Kevin took her and me to the pediatrician on Friday and she was back up to 6 lb; her lowest weight was 5 lb 12 oz at the hospital.  So she's on her way up, which is delightful.

As for me...I'm doing as well as can be expected. I've thought this before --  a C-section has to be one of the rarer forms of surgery in that after it, the patient suddenly has a new, huge set of responsibilities and is sleep deprived for weeks on end :-).  It can't help with healing but then again, there is no better REASON to have surgery than to have a baby. Usually surgery is to fix a problem.  A C-section is a way (not the ideal way, but a way) to bring a precious baby out of the womb and into the world.

Kevin is taking off next week as well, and he has been running the household most of the day.  The big girls are heroically getting up at 7 a.m. to give breakfast to the younger children, plus they are changing diapers and doing their best to keep Daniel and Sarah moderately quiet. I am getting up, feeding Rose, and then coming downstairs around 8:30 a.m. or so and running things so Kevin can get some more sleep. He's been staying up very late and last night kept Rose with him from 11 to 2:30 a.m. so I could sleep. 

So, we're adjusting to the New Normal, a new normal with a newborn and 8 wonderful older kids.  It is not easy all the time, but it is blessed and wonderful.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


Rose Hosanna

Our little girl, Rose Hosanna, was born on June 16th.  She was 6 lb, 3 oz and 20 inches long. The C-section was my 6th and I was nervous, but it went really well!  The OB had to be creative to avoid complications, but she was successful and I am recovering well.

Rose is a BEAUTIFUL baby and I'll post a picture as soon as possible.  Of course, every mama thinks her baby is beautiful, right?  :-).

She is nursing well and all in all, we are doing great.  I am, of course, very sleep deprived.

The plan is for us to go home tomorrow.

Kevin is caring for the older 8 at home. They visited yesterday for a few minutes and we have some lovely pictures of the whole clan; I will post those when I can.

Thanks for the prayers.  We are so grateful for little Rose and grateful that her delivery went smoothly.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day to My Wonderful Husband

Tomorrow is the big day when we meet Baby #9 face to face. Today is Father's Day.  15 years ago, we were expecting Naomi so I think that counts as Kevin' first Father's Day.

Sweetheart, you are an amazing husband and father. I'm so thankful that the Lord brought us together and blessed us with many children.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Less Than a Week

Today was my last non stress test and my last OB appointment, barring something weird happening.

The Baby was very cooperative during the NST.  She bopped around and wiggled and the OB loved the heartbeat strip.

I am so ready to have this baby. I am so so so so so ready to have this baby :-).

I am sure part of it IS knowing that the end is in sight.  But I'm also just tired and very bulbous.  My feet and ankles are swelling, I have slight numbness in my feet ( possibly from the swelling), I have to use the bathroom all the time, hormones are raging...yes, I am ready.

My blood sugars and blood pressures are still great.  For an old mama, I'm doing very well.

Just for fun, I looked at some articles about fertility in the 40's.  The short truth is that very few 44 year old women carry a baby to term without intervention from fertility specialists.

I even found an article about an Amish population over the last 100 years.  The Amish usually don't use birth control methods and have large families; even in the Amish group, the average age for "last baby" was around age 40...not 44.

So yes, this kid is a remarkable gift.  One of our children commented that I've thought the last 4 kids would be "the last", and she is right -- I thought Angela (now age 6) would be the last baby after I had 3 miscarriages in a row in 2009.  Then Sarah seemed to be our surprise miracle.  Then Daniel was conceived and carried to term when I was 42. And now Little Miss.  People keep asking me if she is the last and I sure THINK so -- I am 44!  But maybe we'll be surprised again!  For now, I'm thankful for our 9.

And the name game continues.  I think we have a name, but it is a different name from the one I alluded to last week.  So we may change our minds again.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

June 6th

Yesterday turned out to be a somewhat emotional day for several reasons.

Kevin emailed me in the morning and said that yesterday was the 1 year anniversary of when Kevin and a coworker saved another coworker's life. I wrote about it extensively about a year ago; a coworker, D., dropped from a "widowmaker" heart attack, right in the lab.  K's coworker G. started CPR within seconds of D's heart stopping, and Kevin had an AED device on him within a couple of minutes.  The AED restarted D's heart, and he partially regained consciousness by the time paramedics arrived.  After extensive surgery and medical treatment, D. came back to work and is doing very well.

There was a small ceremony/celebration at work yesterday, rejoicing in D's survival.

June 6th, 2013,  was also the day when Paul H. died,

I've been following his widow's blog for close to a year now.  Paul was only 42 years old when he had a major epileptic seizure at night and suffocated before his wife could call for help.  Now Sarah walks a lonely road as a widow and mother of 6 children.

Yesterday was also a memorial service for little Nora Rose Yusko, who died on June 3rd.  Nora was born with Trisomy 18, which usually results in stillbirth or death within hours of birth.  Nora lit up the lives of her family and many blog readers for 2 years.

I am not trying to dwell on DEATH, but I am thinking how fragile life can be.  It isn't good to be moody and depressed, but it IS wise to rejoice in each day and to remember that life really can end suddenly.  It is good to rejoice in good health, in God's protection over us, while also realizing that realistically, unexpected and tragic things CAN happen.  It is good to not get too wound up with minutiae.  I tend to be guilty of that -- I get stressed about messy floors and grumpy kids, when in the grand scheme of things, messiness and grumpiness are relatively minor problems.

Thursday, June 5, 2014


we have a name for our Little Miss!

But we're not telling anyone until she is born.

And we're still working on a middle name.

But progress is being made :-).

Good-bye, Sweet Nora Rose Yusko

I've been following Nora's story for over 2 years.  She was diagnosed with Trisomy 18 in utero, which is "incompatible with life."  To everyone's amazement and joy, sweet Nora survived birth and 2 years of life.  But 2 days ago, in the wee hours of the morning, she passed on into Jesus' arms.

I don't know the family personally.  Her mother has written so tenderly through the last couple of years.  Nora's death was, at least to most of us following her on FB and on the blog, quite unexpected. She had been hospitalized for 2 weeks with a serious problem, but seemed to be doing better.

I really can't wrap my mind around how hard this has to be for the family, composed of her mother, father, and 2 older siblings.  But I am thankful, so thankful, that her family chose to give her a chance at life and Nora took that chance with both chubby hands.  She was and is a delightful person.  She taught so many things through her short life.

If you are a praying person, pray for Nora's family.  This is a very hard week for them as they celebrate her life and mourn her death.

Monday, June 2, 2014


Oh, I'm tired...oh so tired. 

I make a point of trying to nap most days now, but today I had an early afternoon OB appointment and it went on a LONG time.  First I waited in the waiting room for the non stress test machine to be available. Then the nurse hooked me up, Little Miss bounced around nicely for 10 minutes, and then apparently fell asleep. So I was on for a good hour until she woke up enough for the OB to be happy with the strip.

But everything is fine.  Blood pressure good, blood sugars good, I'm not dilating, all is good.  And we have less than 2 weeks to go before she is born. 

Kevin ran off to our little one's optometrist today and picked up their new glasses. I am so glad we have different colors from the old ones, so we can tell which glasses are new and which are old.

Here is a tiny housekeeping tip.  Buy a bunch of plastic plates and bowls, and put them in a lower cupboard. Then your young children can put them away for you.  AND your young children can set the table without you worrying about them having to climb chairs to get the dishes. Plus, plastic does not break when dropped.

Our wonderfully creative kids made this car with straws and connectors.

Kevin got badly sunburned a few days ago, unfortunately. He took the kids swimming, then went out to work on the garden and lost track of time.  He's had a hard time sleeping and me being up every 2 hours to use the bathroom probably doesn't help.  But we hope he's turned a corner and is improving.

I've been reading up on learning styles and learning disabilities.  Given our large family size, it is not surprising that our kids have different learning styles and we have a few glitches to deal with as well -- in particular, our older 2 boys have a handwriting glitch.  Our 9 year old son said firmly that he learns best by HEARING information whereas I am a very strong VISUAL learner, and there is no doubt I tend to teach visually. So I need to modify my teaching style to accommodate his learning style.

I've been reading some strange books lately :-).  One is a Christian book about a widower who walked the Appalachian Trail.  2 of the books are about deep water wreck diving, specifically associated with the identification of a German U-Boat discovered off the New Jersey shoreline 20 years ago, and the subsequent 6 year struggle to identify the U-Boat. Right now, I'm reading a book about a father and son team who died while diving that U-Boat.  I find "extreme sport" books fascinating. Mountain climbing, polar exploration, cave diving, deep water wreck diving -- what pushes people to risk their lives on such dangerous exploits?  I'm a very risk averse, so I find it interesting peering into the minds of people who are risk takers.

  As mother of many, I feel a tremendous obligation to be careful of my life.  I try to drive safely, I wear a seatbelt, I pray for protection, I eat carefully to avoid diabetic complications (I hope), I pray for protection (oh wait, I already said that...)

  I have to admit I just don't "get" people who do have dependents who are reckless with their lives, but again, I'm cautious by nature.  This last book, about the father and son divers who perished, talks extensively about the psychological issues behind such courage (or foolhardiness.)

And being courageous, of course, is good!  Firefighters and soldiers and police persons have to put their lives on the line at times. I am not sure what I WOULD do if faced with a death defying situation. I hope I'd be courageous, but I'm not a daredevil, for sure.  I hope the Lord would help me to do the brave and right thing.

  Like I said, randomness today.  I'm so tired :-).