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Encouragement Uncategorized

Ready or Not

I recently read an article about falling birth rates. The author cited many factors that keep modern people from wanting to have as many children as past generations, and one common reason is that prospective parents just don’t “feel ready.” In fact, the author went on to share a statistic that for a growing number of couples, the only reason they had a child was because of an unplanned pregnancy. 

While my husband and I are obviously not part of this modern trend towards having fewer children or having no children at all, we still wrestled with uncertainty and fears before starting to have children.

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Baby Joys Encouragement

My Fifth Birth Story, Part 4

Read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

Andrew at his lowest point, in an incubator bed with a total of 9 tubes and wires coming off his vulnerable body, including the bulky tube of high-flow heated oxygen in the upper-right corner of the picture.

That first day at the new hospital was physically exhausting. The most walking I had done since giving birth six days earlier was to go from our car in the hospital parking lot to the NICU after Andrew was transferred, and even that had felt like a stretch. But that was only the beginning.

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Baby Joys Encouragement

My Fifth Birth Story, Part 3

Read Part 1 and Part 2 first.

Andrew had a splint on one arm to stabilize the IV catheter, and he had all kinds of wires running to different monitors. Even though he was mostly unresponsive to stimuli, his infant reflexes caused him to grab a fistful of these wires.

Because Andrew was so weak and lethargic, the hospital set me up with an electric pump and had me express milk to feed him from a bottle. Sometime during that first day or night, one of the monitors in the room started beeping loudly, and within seconds, a nurse appeared in the doorway and said that the baby’s blood oxygen level had dropped too low and told me to rouse him.

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Baby Joys Encouragement Uncategorized

My Fifth Birth Story, Part 2

You can read Part 1 here.

Cousins born on consecutive days in adjacent hospital rooms

At some point the next day I finally reached full dilation and started having the urge to push. While the hospital did allow water births, I decided to try using the birthing stool. It was a lot higher than I expected, and it was uncomfortable. But other than mentioning that I wasn’t comfortable, I made no effort to change locations. At that point in labor, a mother is simultaneously too focused and too overwhelmed by the birthing process to advocate for herself, and no one connected my calm, quiet comment that the birthing stool was uncomfortable with a real desire to move to the bed, which is what I wanted. 

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Baby Joys Encouragement

My Fifth Birth Story, Part 1

This was taken less than a week before baby #5 joined our family.

It’s been over five years since the birth of my fifth child, the child I never thought we’d have. Before we married, my husband and I agreed that we would like to have at least four kids, and after that, we’d see if we wanted more or not. Once we started having kids, it seemed to make sense to have them as quickly as possible, since I was already 28 years old at the time. For us meant that we had 3 kids in 44 months.

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Baby Joys Encouragement

The Best is Yet to Come, part 3

If you haven’t yet, read part 1 and part 2 first.

I enjoyed Andrew more than I had enjoyed any previous baby, but it was a bittersweet enjoyment. I was constantly thinking in terms of lasts. This was the last time I would get to take a newborn home from the hospital, the last time I would get to nurse an infant, the last time I would snuggle a baby of my own, the last time I would applaud my child’s first steps and first words. It was difficult to say goodbye to this stage of my life. So I was delighted when I found out that we were expecting baby number six, even though we hadn’t been trying to get pregnant.

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Baby Joys Encouragement

The Best is Yet to Come, part 2

The Three Musketeers & James

If you haven’t yet, read part 1 first.

The infant stage with any baby has specific challenges, so my experience is that it usually takes about six months to adapt to having a new child in the family. However, the adjustment was much easier with James than it had been with Peter. The three older boys could all walk without help, I think they were all potty trained, and they probably even dressed themselves by that point. The 2-and-a-half-year-old probably still needed some help in the latter department, but I’ve always encouraged early independence among my kids, and I could enlist the older boys to help him. By the time that James was born, Samuel, our eldest, was already 5 years old and able to be really helpful. It was a completely different experience—and easier—than when I had only had three kids. 

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Encouragement

The Best is Yet to Come, part 1

Our eldest three—when they were our only three

I have six kids—to be precise, I have six boys, ages 3 to 14. Other moms often express amazement over how I’m able to manage with so many kids when they feel overwhelmed with just one (or two, or three). I always affirm their feelings of difficulty or overwhelm and then share the secret I’ve learned from having lots of kids: it’s hard at first, but it gets easier the more kids you have, and there are great blessings that more than make up for the challenges. 

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Encouragement

Quarantine Epiphany

I’m seeing things in a different light

During the COVID lockdown last spring, I had an epiphany. For the first year of pandemic restrictions, I saw things one way, and then another parent’s comment in the chat group for my 2nd grader’s class caused a shift in my focus, and suddenly, everything looks different. 

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Encouragement

Our 2020 Crisis, pt. 2

If you didn’t read part 1 yet, you can find it here.

Post-op x-ray showing the metal plate, 8 screws, and the complicated fracture—the dark lines running all through the open section of bone between the two sets of screws

Peter looked so pale and fragile lying in his hospital bed after surgery. I later learned that the fracture had been so complicated that repairing it had been something like piecing a puzzle together, resulting in the long surgery. Because of how much blood he lost, they almost gave him a blood transfusion, but his cautious surgeon, wanting to avoid the potential complications of that procedure, wanted to wait to see if Peter could pull through on his own. His blood test results weren’t in the danger zone, so it was possible that his body would be able to replace the lost blood by itself.