Thursday, July 31, 2014

Weight Check

Lydia has had an aching wrist for a week, so I took her into the doctor today. He thinks it is a soft tissue injury but just to be sure, she had an x-ray. No word on results, but I doubt it is a break. Still, I'd rather be safe than sorry so I'm glad we went in.

As long as we were at the doctor, I asked the nurse to pop Rose onto the scale. She had on a diaper and nothing else, and weighed in at a respectable 8 lb 3 oz!  So in 6 + weeks, she's 2 lbs over birthweight. You go, girl!

Now let me share about my OWN weight check.  I was about 170 lbs just before Rose was born.  I'm now hovering at around 152 lbs.

As I've shared before, I'm one of those annoying souls who is naturally thin, and I've always lost weight easily post partum. This time, I'm working hard to eat and drink enough in the hopes that I can maintain milk supply for Rose. So far so good.

I actually was a tad below 150 lbs a couple of weeks ago, and have since gained a couple of pounds.

And honestly, I'm struggling just a LITTLE bit with that weight gain. That is totally ridiculous and absurd.  I know from experience that when I'm done nursing, I'll easily lose weight. I'll probably lose weight before I'm done nursing.  And really, 150 lbs is a perfectly reasonable weight for a woman who is 5 ft. 8 lbs.

I have very rarely, maybe never, had serious worry about my weight.  It is one of my soapbox issues that as a culture, we are way obsessive about weight when we should be focused on HEALTH.

And yet, I guess I am affected just a bit by the cultural stupidity.  And I'm a little annoyed by my clothes not fitting.

So, I'm giving myself a talking to.  The best thing for Rose is that she can be nursed for at least 6 months (more would be great, but making it 6 months would be a huge blessing after Daniel only made it 3 months.) So I'm going to keep eating and eating and eating :-).

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Rose: 6 weeks old

  Our little sweetie is 6 weeks old.

Last night she almost slept through the night, which is incredible.  I put her to bed around 11:30 p.m. and I woke her up at 6:15 a.m. I had a 7 a.m. blood draw at the doctor so needed to feed her before I left.  She has been awake and fussy in the evenings and is apparently wearing herself out because the previous 3 nights she slept at least 5 hours straight.

Not surprisingly, I am feeling better rested, though I still fall over around 10 p.m. every night.  One minor wrinkle is that my after lunch nap is often interrupted by Sarah screaming loudly. She is in a PHASE. And unfortunately, Daniel is learning the high pitched shrieking from her, so he has been screeching too.

Which is loud.

Speaking of Daniel, we had a rather amusing/irritating experience a few days ago.  We put him in the "study" (really more of a play room) when I was nursing Rose, and he was mad. He screamed and screeched. And when he came out, his glasses were missing.  I hunted around later and couldn't find them, so I asked him where they were.  He promptly walked over to a little fire truck we have (big enough to sit on) and pulled up the seat. Underneath the seat is a little compartment, which was full of torn up paper. He took out the paper and at the bottom were his glasses, with both lenses missing.  The lenses were next to the frames, and he handed them all to me.  Obviously, he deliberately removed the lenses and then hid frames and lenses in the fire truck while he was angry. At least he told us where they were. I never would have thought of the fire truck so they might have been missing forever.

Saturday, July 26, 2014


I love to read.  It is my favorite hobby.  One nice thing about having a nursing baby is I have more built in time to read. Add a Kindle and a library card which allows me to check out e-books for free, and I'm a pretty happy mama (except for the persistent exhaustion, but that's the subject of another post).

Our older 5 children also like to read. But here is where things get interesting...they don't like the same kinds of books as each other!  They don't even like all the books I like.

That should not be a shock and indeed I'm used to the concept now, but I'll admit that many years ago, I fully expected the children to like the books I like and dislike the books I don't like.


Each one is a unique human being, and not surprisingly, they have different interests.

The boys have been especially challenging to me in that many of the children's books I like so much are aimed more at girls, with female main characters. Naomi and Lydia, our first 2 kids, were happy with many of the books I suggested. Isaac, who learned to read later than his older 2 siblings, was NOT interested in many of the books I enjoyed.

I discovered that Isaac really liked graphic novels and comics.  I purchased the entire Bentley Boyd Chester Comix series, and Isaac (and then Joseph after him) read those happily.  Boyd's Chester Comix are history/social studies graphic books.

I also checked out a bazillion graphic novels from our library. Some were goofy fiction, but many were about science and medicine and history.  I'm delighted our library has those books.

I even relaxed my distaste for Garfield comics.  I try to be careful about what our kids read -- I AM careful about what our kids read -- but Garfield was a good bridge book for early readers.  Garfield is a turkey at times (well, he's a cat, but you know what I mean!) and Jon (his owner) is hapless, but the comics are clean and not grim.  I found my boys made significant reading progress by reading Garfield comics and Baby Blues and even Calvin and Hobbes.  The latter is a struggle for me and I still feel ambivalent, because Calvin is often not obedient and his parents are moderately ineffectual.  Many of the strips are totally charming in that they celebrate the imagination of a vibrant and vigorous boy.  The strips about school and babysitters tend to be more focused on Calvin's disobedience. Actually, the poor kid (if he really existed) would no doubt benefit from being homeschooled :-).

Isaac is now 11 and I've been encouraging him to read chapter books in the last couple of years.  Mostly he has obediently read books I gave him, but hasn't been very enthused.

Then Lydia handed him book 1 of a series of Christian fantasy by an author named Bill Myer.  The book is "The Portal".

To my astonishment, Isaac DEVOURED the first book. He loved it.  It is a weird book (though good) and I was taken aback by his enthusiasm.  He loved it so much he asked me to get the rest in the series, and thankfully I was able to find them cheap on

Then I handed Isaac a "Jungle Doctor" book by Paul White, who was an Australian medical missionary to Africa.  White went back to Australia when his wife's health failed, and wrote a series of fictional missionary stories about a jungle doctor.  I bought 7 of them a few years ago (there are a couple dozen in the series) and neither of my girls was very excited about them though I loved them. I really enjoy missionary books.

Anyway, Isaac loved these too!  He has read almost all the ones we own and I bought a few more from (you guessed it) this week.

I realize not everyone enjoys reading for fun and that is fine, but I find reading to be a wonderful way to expand one's horizons.  Plus reading is fun.  And with Kindles, ooh ah, you can have hundreds of books with you all the time. It is fabulous.

And more and more, I'm seeing part of my "homeschooling mama" role to be finding good books for the kids.  They can learn so much from fictional and non-fictional books about history. They can expand their imagination by reading crazy books about dragons and portals.

Now I'll say again, I am cautious about what the kids are allowed to read.  I don't like books with disobedient kids and hapless or evil parents.  I don't like books where adults are totally ineffective and kids have to save the day.  I don't like books that are too intensely grim, at least not for the younger children. I don't like books which celebrate unhealthy romantic relationships.

But even with those caveats, there are so many glorious books out there.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Brains Are Amazing

I know, that is a fairly random blog title.

So in the last couple of weeks, I read 2 books about individuals who were injured and suffered brain damage.  The first is "Heaven Hears", written by Lindy Boone Michaelis.  Lindy is the daughter of Pat Boone, a famous singer.  Lindy's son, Ryan, fell through a skylight at age 24 and did serious damage to his body and brain. Ryan wasn't expected to live, but through the power of the Lord and his own hard work, plus the diligent toil by many medical professionals and family, he did survive and came back from a deep coma to a fairly functional lifestyle.  He sustained significant brain damage but is now able to talk and function moderately well...however, he will never be the person he was before the accident.  He can't work, likely will never marry, and does "odd" things sometimes.  The one that really stuck out to me is that when Ryan is frightened, he'll lash out by cursing people -- which doesn't go over too well obviously!

The second book is "Over My Head", written by a physician who was brain damaged when she was hit by a car while she was biking.  This was back in the 1980's when people usually didn't wear helmets while riding, and she landed on her head and had a closed  brain injury.  She was no longer able to practice medicine and while she IS able to talk and write a book (no mean feat!) she has significant short term memory loss.  As an example, she has to write down detailed instructions when going somewhere because, like Dory in "Finding Nemo", she'll forget where she is going every few minutes and has to refer to her instructions or she winds up in the wrong place.  She also can't follow complex conversations and gets exhausted easily when processing lots of visual data.

We have kids who don't think like Kevin and me.  None of them have been in serious accidents or sustained trauma at birth or had a  very difficult early childhood -- none are "brain damaged", praise God!  But reading about people who really have sustained serious head trauma made me realize that some things I "take for granted" aren't true of everyone. These 2 precious people in the books are not able to do things that most people can do easily.  They have significant deficits that prevent them from living "normally."

Well you know, there are things I can do, that Kevin can do, that maybe not everyone can do. Both Kevin and I are engineers who are able to think analytically and in an organized way. I'm able to keep many "balls in the air" at home with comparative ease -- though admittedly I'm not doing as well in that area now because I am so tired.  It may be some of our children have gifts I don't have (anything artistic is beyond me, for example!) but they may struggle with organization and will need some assistance to compensate for challenges in the area of organization.

Just made me think...brains are amazing.  A normal brain working normally is amazing.  But not all brains are the same and it may be that what seems "easy" to me is incredibly hard or impossible for someone who thinks differently.  I need to accept that, just like my kids need to accept that I'm not artistic.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


Ugh, I am so tired today. I hope I don't have a minor virus or something. I have an aching shoulder and like I said, feel ready to fall over. Today I have a follow up doctor appointment with my OB so may not get a nap, which is intimidating, but I'll survive.  Better yet, I can come home and plonk kids in front of a video and sleep...THAT sounds good :-).

Baby Rose is almost a month old and doing very well. She is so cute!  I find it amusing that some of her biggest accomplishments (from my perspective) have to do with digestion.  She is eating well. Check. She usually passes gas well, which is important to keep her comfortable.  She has a bowel movement many times a day.  That is also helpful in showing me she is eating well, plus she is happier when she "gets it out."  One funny thing is that most of my babies go from lots of BM's a day, to less than one a day, at a couple of months of age.  Some of my kids have gone 4 or 5 days without a BM and then...well, you can imagine the mess when finally it all lets loose.  It is perfectly healthy in a breastfed baby, and a sign of a maturing digestive system. I guess.

We had a death in my extended family this week.  My great-uncle Francis, who lived for 98 years, died a few days ago.  He was the last of his siblings to die.  He obviously lived a good, long life but it is still hard to say good-bye to a loved one. His wife is now a widow, and I am grieved for her.  Francis was a kind, gentle man and he will be greatly missed.

I was sad I couldn't go to his memorial service.  It was held about 7 hours drive from here and since I'm a month out from the C-section, I just couldn't make the drive.  My brother, my parents, and all my father's cousins were there.  So that was good.

I think that about updates our lives.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Our cute kids...

I finally managed to get pictures of the children in their outfits made by my mother.

Sarah was uncooperative so it was rather a struggle...but that's life with 9 kids, 3 of whom are quite small!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

He Really is a Nut!

  It isn't just me, Daniel really is a nut!

  I've never had a 2 year gap between children before.  Usually we've had about an 18 month gap, and between Angela and Sarah there were 3 + years.

  Coping with Daniel the last 4 weeks has not been easy.  Since I had a C-section, I can't lift him.  Naomi and Lydia and Isaac CAN, which is a huge help but still...there are times when it would be much easier if I could pick him up and put him somewhere.

  Until Rose was born, he was the "baby" of the family and he really looked like a baby -- chubby cheeks, chubby thighs, cute little baby expression. But now that I have a newborn, Daniel looks much bigger.

  And I'll be totally honest, I'm often frustrated with him.  People say things about the "terrible twos" and many make a point of saying it should be the "terrific twos."  I was telling my father how challenging Daniel is and my dad reminded me (wisely) that if Daniel was NOT busy and vigorous and challenging, it would be a bad sign.  Daniel's behavior is totally normal and healthy.

 But still, he is so much work!  A friend visited today with her son who is 6 months younger than Daniel and her son just seemed way calmer and cheerier than Daniel is because he hasn't got to the crazy 2 year old stage.

  So I am struggling with patience with Daniel. I need to remember that this is very hard for him too, welcoming a new baby sister and dealing with a busy and distracted mom.

 I am praying for patience and also that Daniel would be protected from his own foolishness.  And yes, he is totally precious.  May I never forget that even when I am exasperated.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Rose Hosanna Birth Story

I don't think I usually post birth stories of our children. They have all been very precious times but I guess I just haven't thought anyone would be amazingly interested.  But...this time I do have something specific to share.

Warning ahead of time...I will be discussing some "medical details" that may be more info than desired :-).

So, let me go back to the beginning of our childbearing years.  I was 29 when I got pregnant with Naomi, and 30 when I gave birth to her. 

Now I've said this before and I'll say it again, very few women who have a first child at 30 will have 9 children.  I never expected it, especially as it took us close to a year to conceive Naomi. 

But, obviously, we are a very "fertile" couple, and Lydia followed Naomi by 18 months, and Isaac followed Lydia by 18 months and then, wow, we had 20 months before we had Joseph!  (I haven't talked about our birth control stance and won't now -- suffice it to say that we weren't using birth control!)

Each child was and is totally precious and loved. 

The first 3 children had easy vaginal deliveries.  With Naomi, our first, I was in sluggish labor for a long time, but I only had to push 20 minutes.  Lydia and Isaac were easier still.

Joseph was a breech baby, with a placenta in the wrong place such that the OB couldn't try to turn him.  So my OB said he would be a C-section as she doesn't attempt breech vaginal deliveries.  I was nervous about that but we prayed and went ahead with the C-section, with the understanding that I would attempt a VBAC (vaginal birth after Caesarean) if we had another child.  I conceived Miriam when Joseph was just over 7 months old (our 2 closest kids) but in that short time, the hospital where I deliver our kids stopped allowing VBAC's!  So from Joseph onward, it has been C-sections.

There is no doubt that a vaginal delivery is preferable to a C-section, which is fairly major surgery. But a C-section is better, by far, than losing the life of mom or baby.  And actually, my first 4 C-sections went very well.  I never had problem with feeling nauseous from anesthetic, and I recovered fairly quickly.  It was also pretty mellow in terms of the delivery itself. Labor is definitely LABOR, it is hard work. But with a planned C-section, everyone else is doing the work :-).

Daniel was our 5th C-section, and it was the first time I had a real complication. During delivery, the OB discovered my bladder was adhered with scar tissue to my uterus.  She tried to separate them but the bladder opened up and had to be sewed shut, and I had to have a catheter for 8 days while the bladder healed up.

  Now in the grand scheme of things, a catheter for 8 days is nothing.  It is nothing like Joni Eareckson Tada, who became a quadriplegic at age 17. Nothing like the author of "After the Fall", who fell off a 100 foot cliff and was very badly hurt.  Nothing like cancer or a host of other things.

But I have to admit I HATED that catheter.  My first week post partum is pretty tough anyway, figuring out nursing, dealing with a big huge wound in my uterus, being exhausted, being hormonal. I've never had BAD baby blues but I have them, especially those first few days.  Adding the complication of a catheter (which was uncomfortable) and having to remember to empty the associated bag frequently was just another level of frustration. I really really really hated that catheter.

 So I'll  be honest, I was very nervous about getting pregnant again because I was fairly traumatized about the bladder problem.  Also, my OB said that my uterus had a lot of scar tissue and that things were kind of messy in there.  I have had friends who experienced long term pain from C-section scar tissue but I never have so I wasn't uncomfortable, but I was aware that I had had a lot of C-sections. 

  I was 42 when I had Daniel.  I have many friends who don't use birth control and rarely are they carrying babies to term past 42.  So...while I was afraid of pregnancy, I was also inclined to think I wouldn't likely carry a baby full term. I also kept sensing, once again, that this was an issue of trusting God.  I am not saying everyone has the same call from the Lord, but the Lord kept assuring me of His love and care for our family.  Given my age and the fact that few 44 year old women can even have a child, I handed over the question of pregnancy to the Lord.  I knew that in a way, another baby would be unlikely -- even given my history of getting pregnant easily.  And I also knew that every baby is a gift.

Obviously, I got pregnant with Rose.  I was 43 and 11 months when we conceived her.  I half expected a miscarriage but the pregnancy went very smoothly with no real scares.

  And during all that time, I struggled with anxiety about the delivery. Part of my anxiety was concern about her, since we chose not to do a bunch of "old mama" testing.  We weren't going to do an amniocentesis, nor would we abort, so we decided we didn't need the worry of testing which is often wrong. But there was still a chance she would be born and we'd discover she had a pretty big health issue.  Down Syndrome is 1 in 25 for a 44 year old woman, so that was a possibility. (We did do ultrasounds and everything looked great with Rose, so that was encouraging.)

  A big part of my anxiety was the delivery.  I prayed that the Lord would heal the scar tissue so my bladder wasn't adhered to anything.

  On June 16th, we went in for the C-section. Kevin reminded my OB about the bladder problem from Daniel's birth, and she said, "Well, it may happen again."  I said (bravely), "Well, if it does, it does."

  She opened me up, and as I lay there she said, "Oh wow, the bladder is totally STUCK to the uterus. I'm not even going to try to separate it. I'm just going to work to the side and get the baby out that way." And she did.  Rose wasn't a big baby and the surgeons just moved over and got her out without disturbing the adhered area.

  So everything was fine.  I didn't have a catheter (YEAH!) and Rose was healthy and beautiful and nursed well.  It is, as usual, not an easy time and yes, Kevin and I are very tired. But I'm healing well.  And Rose is such a blessing.

  So it is interesting...I really wanted God to heal the scar tissue but actually, there was so much scar tissue that it made sense to just leave things as they were.  And that was an answer to prayer, just not the answer I expected.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

17th Anniversary

Saturday, June 28th, was our 17th wedding anniversary!

And you know, we didn't do anything in particular.  We are very tired and very much in survival mode, so romantic dinners and going out weren't an option.

Kevin's mother kindly brought us our favorite Chinese food for dinner, though. That was awesome!

17 years is really quite a long time!  It seems like we've been married forever in some ways, but on the other hand, my "single years" of graduate school are very much part of my life.  I far prefer my life now though those years in college were a time of growth and maturing.  God has used all my years.

So 17 years, 9 kids, and we're very much in love.  That's good.