NEXT

I wasn’t going to do a word for the year this year, but then God just sort of dropped this in my lap and was like Yes you are.

The first way the word “Next” came to me was because I was wondering what this next chapter of our story would be. We have overcome many of the major life hurdles that we have encountered over the past 4 years. We found a house to rent. We had our 4th and final child. My husband completed school and got a job that is an actual career. I feel like we are entering a new season of life and are ready for the NEXT chapter.

Then the word came to me again in something that my Children’s pastor (from way back when) wrote in a comment that she left when I shared my birth story. She said how proud she was of my “determination to just do the next right thing”.

Just do the next right thing.

I had never heard of this quote before, but I have been mentally chewing on it ever since. It fits the scenario of my birth story so well because I had to focus on each thing, step by step. The baby was going to come so I acted on it. After that her head was out and I knew I needed to do one more push and get her body out. After that I knew I needed to wrap her up. After that put her on my chest. After that call the hospital and so on.

There was no planning it out. I was just doing the next right thing. It’s all I could do.

Since then baby Elle has been diagnosed with hearing loss and there is so much that we don’t know. Will she loose all her hearing? Will she have hearing aids? Will she need therapy? For how long? I can’t see the whole picture at all. No one can. It drives me crazy. What I can do is rely on God and just do the next right thing. So there is that word again. NEXT.

Lastly, I feel like the Lord has also prompted me to get help from those NEXT to me. When SJ was diagnosed we had just moved. All of my friends were far away in another state and it was tough. Here we are nearly four years later and I still have friends far away, but I have so many friends that are close by too. All of these women have been texting me, praying for me, and encouraging me. I need that more than anything! I need those neighbors, partners, allies to come along side me and walk NEXT to me as I go through this uncharted territory. 

The next season of life. The next right thing. The people next to me.

NEXT.

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I can’t wait to see what happensas I continue to unwrap the word and all that it holds for 2016.

By | January 4th, 2016|My Life, Pregnancy & Birth, Uncategorized|9 Comments

Awaiting the ABR… Again

Elle is now 5 weeks old. She had her one month check up this week and is now 10 pounds 22 inches. The Doctor has been extremely impressed by her growth. Here is a side by side from her first check up and her last which were taken exactly 4 weeks apart. Elle looks completely different.

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She is really filling out. No more newborn diapers or clothes for her. She has outgrown them!

There aren’t a lot of updates. She smiles now, but it’s not often.

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She still sleeps about 18 hours a day.

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I did a little impromptu photo shoot of her on her 1 month birthday.

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I love that she was born close to the holidays. I think about how our birth story was so unconventional and I wonder how Mary must have felt and what her birth story would be like (of course we know the story, but not from the perspective of Mary).

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We have an important appointment coming up and I would love it if you would be in prayer for us during this time. I previously mentioned that Elle failed the newborn hearing screening. The first time they came in with the equipment to test her the tech lady had a unique personality and was rowdy. I think she was trying to be nice. For most people this is just a routine test. No reason to get too serious, but all kinds of faculty were coming in and out and joking around and making a racket so Elle woke up and was fussy for the second half of the test (the left side). So she failed on the left, but the boisterous tech assured us it was because she woke up and that’s all it was.

The next day a younger new tech came in while it was still dark and quiet in our hospital room. I asked if she could shut the door and maybe hang a do not disturb note or something. She looked at my like I was crazy, but at least it was a much more subdued and calmer atmosphere. She even let me nurse Elle during the test. Again Elle passed on the right, but she couldn’t even get a reading on the left. It was like it wasn’t hooked up right so the tech tried to adjust it. She never was able to figure out what was wrong so she said that she failed and she would refer us to an audiologist. I was hormonal, and tired, and obviously stressed so I sternly proclaimed “We have an audiologist. This is a big concern for us and I’d like to know what is going on” Then J and I asked more questions about the test. None of which she could answer. She looked really intimidated. She had never even heard of Connexin 26 which is the genetic hearing loss that we have in our family. It is the NUMBER ONE CAUSE of sensorineural deafness so you would think someone that tests for hearing loss would have some familiarity with it. I then asked to speak with a supervisor and  did, but she mostly just had some paperwork for me.

I immediately called SJ’s school and talked to our audiologist. She made me feel much better about the whole thing and gave me advice on how to proceed.


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I know a lot about hearing loss and I think Elle can hear. I feel very confident in that. I guess you could say we know she can because the test confirmed it on the right side. With Connexin 26 it is highly unlikely that it would be unilateral (only on one side) so chances are she is fine.

However, this whole thing brings up a lot of tender memories for me. We have to go through all the same testing that we did with SJ and we have to keep her asleep for 90 minutes which should be easy considering what I said about her sleep, but it’s still completely unpredictable and out of our control so that stresses me out.

I cried when I called and scheduled the appointment. I have openly expressed to people how I know that she is fine and it’s just a machine error which happens all the time. And hearing children do fail this test A LOT.

However, lately there have been other thoughts popping into my head that make me wonder why it was the left ear BOTH times. Maybe just a coincidence? I mean if something is going to go wrong with the test you have a 50/50 chance that it will be on the left side. Still part of me wonders if she has another problem on that side that doesn’t even have to do with Connexin 26. Or what if her hearing gets progressively worse, which can happen. What if she is one of those rare cases?

Luckily, most of these frantic thoughts didn’t really come into my mind until this week so at least I haven’t spent the past 4 weeks panicking.

Please pray that we get some answers with this test. I do have a peace about it, and all in all I think everything is going to be okay, but I hate the idea that if she doesn’t sleep we have to drag this out for another month or so. That would be terrible. I just want this to be over with.

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The reason I titled this “Awaiting the ABR… Again” is because I wrote another post about 3 1/2 years ago when I was waiting for this same test for SJ. You can read “Awaiting the ABR” to find out what the test is and what the waiting period was like for me in that time when I didn’t know for sure whether or not SJ was deaf. It feels like a world away.

Thanks for all the prayers and support. Of course I will keep you posted.

By | December 16th, 2015|Babies, Hearing Loss, My Life, Pregnancy & Birth|4 Comments

My #1 Son

 

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There really isn’t anything significant about turning 8 and yet somehow Z is changing so much all of the sudden! It really snuck up on me, but I first noticed it when I did my run down of asking each of the kids to go potty before we let the house and Z requested that I NOT use the word potty with him. He says it’s embarrassing. Since then I have caught myself several times, but I am working on it.

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We were at Ikea recently. J and I have always waited with great anticipation for each one of our children to be tall enough to get into small land. This last time as Z stood in front of the height marker I noticed that he is closer to being TOO TALL to get in than he is to being to small. When did that happen?

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This photo is from last year when he turned 7.

Similarly, I asked him to pull up a stool to help with dishes the other night and he informed me he didn’t need a stool. I honestly did not believe him. I figured he’d be reaching on his tippy toes, but nope. He can stand at the sink and wash dishes perfectly fine without a stool.

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There are tons of little things like this. For example I am glad Carter’s offers size eight now but this is a recent extension of their children’s selection. There are lots of stores that lump the size 8 in with the preteen clothes. So even shopping has made me realize what a big boy he is.

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He’s still a young though and he is not afraid to hold hands, which melts my heart. Holding my child’s hand has got to be one of my favorite parts of being a mom. Physical touch isn’t my love language so I am a little surprised at how much warmth and connection I feel with this small gesture. Even just walking across the parking lot (when they aren’t trying to pry away and dart off) holding hands is the best feeling in the world. At the end of the last school year we were walking on the sidewalk holding hands and I asked him if he would still hold my hand in 2nd grade and he said “Yes. I will hold your hand in all the grades”. I know that’s not true, that would be weird. It was still sweet to hear along with seeing drawings like this

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or school papers like this

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or a Lite-Brite with these words.

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Or notes in my pocket like this

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He was the one that started me on this motherhood assignment. I call him my #1 son. He knows what I mean by that. It doesn’t mean he is above all the rest, but he was the first. I know he often feels slighted due to his siblings getting more attention at times and I remind him of the special place he has in my heart as my #1 son. I feel exceedingly blessed to have this precious boy in my life. 
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By | September 4th, 2015|Motherhood, My Life|5 Comments

Tooth Fairy Disappointment

I have another kiddo joining the adult tooth rank. It’s funny how different it has been though. 2 years ago when Z was in this position he barely made any mention of his tooth at all and on Christmas eve it fell out! We were wondering how he would ever get to sleep that night with all the excitement. The tooth fairy and Santa all in one night?

I figured my job was done when I sneakily grabbed the tooth in exchange for a dollar, but  in the middle of the night he lost a SECOND tooth and also slid it under the pillow. I panicked, but we were able to distract him while we did a snatch and grab of the 2nd tooth. We got it all on camera which was fun.

I was hoping to do the same thing with SJ and get her reaction too. She has been anticipating this moment for a couple weeks. I remember the day she noticed her tooth was loose. She was sitting on the couch and her eyes got really big as she exclaimed “My teeth is falling out!” then she panicked and got a paper towel and stared at her tooth in the mirror. She obsessed over that tooth everyday telling anyone in sight that her tooth was broken. We explained the whole baby teeth big teeth thing and how it would fall out and you would get money. The night she lost the tooth we put it in a ziplock under her pillow and she as beaming as she fell asleep awaiting the tooth fairies arrival.
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When I heard her wake up I rushed into her room so that I could record her reaction on my phone only what happened next was not at all what I was expecting.

At first I thought she was upset because she did not see the 4 shiny quarters in a bag, but that wasn’t it. She saw them. She just didn’t want them. She wanted her tooth back and she was very clear about it. She cried for a while and then began to desperately look all over her room because she just couldn’t believe the tooth was gone.

In the long run she got over it and spent her money on a small beach bucket and shovel. I should know by now to expecting the unexpected with kids, but I certainly wasn’t predicting the first lost tooth to be so eventful for either of my children! They have a way of keeping me on my toes.

By | August 4th, 2015|Laughter, My Life|4 Comments

How Do I Know I am Done Having Babies?

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J and I always wanted a big family. We were in agreement, but we never set a number. It seems for a lot of people they have always known exactly how many kids they wanted, but I never did.

Yet, here we are at baby number 4 and suddenly I know that I’m done.

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This is actually SJ. I don’t have a sono of baby #4 yet.

It’s not that frazzled hair, bug-eyed mom staring blankly into space whimpering, “No more. Pleeease make it stop!”. I mean, I might look like that mom at times, but that’s not how I feel about it.

I’m going to be extremely candid and uncensored with my personal thoughts and feelings here, so please keep in mind that they are just that- personal. Every couple needs to follow their own path when it comes to bearing children; when, if, and how many. And sometimes that path is determined for you for various reasons. I don’t want my words to be hurtful, I am just expressing how it’s worked out for me at this point. That’s all.

There are a lot of reasons I feel like I am done, but the biggest is that I don’t want to birth children when I am over 35. There I said it. I said it to someone the other day who gracefully mentioned that ALL of her children were born when she was over 35. I hope I did a decent enough job of pulling my foot out of my mouth when she told me that, because I really do think she and other women like her are awesome. I know lots of people that have gone that route and I am all for it.

For me though, I will be turning 33 this month and so as far as I’m concerned this is it. Given my fertility history, if we continued having children I would be at least 35 when the next one would be born. I know that pregnancies after 35 are considered “high risk”, but that’s not even why I decided this. I just had a peace about having closure at this time. My body has been either pregnant or nursing for 8 years. After this baby I will have committed a decade of my life to using my body as a beautiful and miraculous source of nourishment. I feel a little sad about moving on from that season, but I know I’m ready. It’s not just about pregnancy either, these children grow up and I am considering my age when they graduate, and potentially have my grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Only God knows the future. Children, health, and lives in general are all very unpredictable. So I realize my planning is somewhat futile, but I still like to dream about what lies ahead.

I look forward to soaking up every last bit of this pregnancy and turning the pages slowly as I close the chapter on this era.

I like that I know so many other moms that are at the same stage as me. I feel like there is a bond between us. If you know me, you know I never let conformity determine my choices AT ALL, but I have a lot of women I can turn to for support about this decision. And that’s a nice feeling.

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Me and one of my closest friends when we were pregnant with our oldest sons (8 years ago). She has had 6 pregnancies and I’ve had 4. We are both feeling  the same about the next step.

The thought of missing the tiny toddler voices makes my heart ache, but I get a burst of excitement thinking of being able to ride bikes as a family, or travel and minister together, and play board games on a level that is fun for everyone involved.

My mind continues to waltz through visions of each season; from enjoying regular date nights with my husband again when we are in our
40’s, to planning weddings and welcoming grandchildren in our 50’s, maybe seeing the world in our 60’s, and then perhaps great grandchildren?

Who knows what will happen. Plans change. Circumstances change. Feelings change. Proverbs 27:1 says “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.” As far as what J and I have discussed though (and there was a lot of prayer and discussion), this will be my final pregnancy. The million dollar question is always How do you know when you are done? The answer is simple for me.

I know I am done because the thought of it is comforting.

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By | June 2nd, 2015|Family, Motherhood, Pregnancy & Birth|15 Comments