Sunday, November 8, 2009

Newborn Joy

I love having a newborn in the house. I don't mind the occasional fussiness, the middle of the night feedings, or the dozens of diaper changes each day. This is still my favorite time. This child was, just a matter of weeks ago, in the presence of my Father in Heaven. There is a feeling that comes into my home when a new baby comes to our family that is like no other feeling on earth....because it is a heavenly feeling. Something celestial, or at least what I think "celestial" will feel like. I have always loved these lines from the William Wordsworth poem "Ode":

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home:
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!

The only thing I don't like about this newborn feeling is that it always fades with time. The world rubs off on us, and we get back to the day to day routine and forget this time. Maybe this blog post will help me remember. I hope so, because it is one of the dearest gifts Heavenly Father has given me as a mom- this time to remember what it feels like to be near Him.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Makayla's Birth Story

I went to see Dr. Rost on Thursday. He checked my progress and found me to be dilated to a 3. I figured that would put me on track to be about 5 cm dilated by my induction date the following Weds, which is what I was with Julia. I had lost most of my mucous plug the week before, but I noticed some blood tinged mucous when I was collecting my urine sample, so I thought maybe I still might have a chance of having her before my induction date. Friday was a busy day. I made a few casseroles to freeze, cleaned quite a bit and did some laundry. Saturday Mike took the kids to their soccer games, and I took Emily to a birthday party. I wasn't feeling all that great. I felt uncomfortable, but I chalked it up to being dilated and walking around a lot. Mike and I went out to dinner at Chili's with a gift card my friend Amy Murdock gave me for my baby shower. By the time we got home I was exhausted and I laid down for a nap and ended up sleeping for an hour. I had a few hard contractions- but they were totally random. Sometimes one an hour, sometimes 2 in 15 minutes. It was confusing. Sunday when I woke up I didn't think I was going to be able to get to church. Walking had become difficult- it felt like I had a volleyball between my legs. But within an hour of waking up I felt a little better and got ready to go to church. I was fine for Sacrament meeting- I even sang with the choir for ward conference- but after Sunday school my back was really hurting so I went home. I got the lasagna on the table, made garlic bread and salad and set the table. By the time we were done with dinner, I was exhausted and took a 2 hour nap. I woke up at 7:45, got up and had ice cream with the kids. I sorted socks and went to back to bed at 9. The only way to describe how I felt is "not good". I woke up at 1:30 am to a very uncomfortable feeling in my abdomen and back. It wasn't a contraction- more like cramping/indigestion. I felt that way pretty solidly for about 20 minutes. I finally sat up and woke up Mike and told him that we probably needed to head to the hospital. I knew something was going on, even though it wasn't presenting like typical labor. I went to the bathroom, and took a five minute shower. During my shower, I had my first "traditional" feeling contraction, and it was hard and very much a real labor contraction without a doubt. They came about 3 minutes apart from then on, and I knew we were on a pretty tight time clock now to get me to the hospital. I toyed with the thought of calling an ambulance, but I really didn't want some random paramedic delivering my baby- I'd rather Mike and I handle it if we got to that point. We got in the car and when I sat down I felt her move down into the birth canal and I knew we had to go fast. I told Mike not to stop at any red lights! He was in a bit of shock about the whole thing I think. I called Dr. Rost's answering service and left a message that we were on our way to the hospital with contractions 3 minutes apart. We pulled into the Baylor emergency room parking lot at about 2:45, and Mike ran in got a wheelchair for me, because I wasn't sure I could walk anywhere. I told the people at the front desk that I was having a baby and that I might deliver right there on the ER floor if we didn't get to labor and delivery pretty quick. I'm sure they took that with a grain of salt, until I mentioned it was my 8th baby and then people started moving a little faster. I had the chattiest guy pushing my wheelchair so I got to go through transition while making small talk about his three year old. It felt a little surreal. By the time we got to the L&D floor I knew I was really close. I had one super contraction holding onto the edge of the bed, and then got into bed so the nurse could check me. I was a NINE! My first two thoughts were- "Great! I'm almost done!" and then "Dang it! I have to finish this without an epidural!" So I went through about 5-10 minutes of that "out of control/can't imagine how you are going to finish this/can't someone just shoot me" phase between that comes between 9-10 centimeters and then Dr. Rost said to give a little push, which broke my water. One big push and there was her head, and then one more for the rest of her and we were done! I was shaking so badly- I really think I was a little bit in shock of how fast this had gone. She was born at 3:07, nineteen minutes after we got there. This was the labor I had actually prayed for- a quick, fast one like Rebekah's. I just got a little more than I bargained for! This is the labor I would chose every time if I was brave enough, but I don't think I could be that brave every time. You do what you have to do when the circumstances call for it, but I don't know if I would volunteer for a natural delivery ever again!

Monday, August 10, 2009

A prayer for healing

I remembered this experience today, and realized that I have never written it in a journal. I thought I would include it in this blog as another reminder of our many blessings!

A few months ago, Emily (9) came into my room in the middle of the night with a very high fever. Mike was out of town, so I was on my own to take care of her. I very rarely take my children's temperatures, as I can usually tell if I am dealing with a low grade fever or something more. This was clearly something more. I took her temperature and within seconds it read 104.4. She was just burning up. Emily has always been my "fever girl" as she was only three days old when she was admitted to the hospital for a high fever. This is her body's was of responding to sickness. And it makes me nervous every time! This fever also presented with a horrible headache, which had me concerned about the possibility of meningitis. As a sat by the bed, putting cool clothes on her forehead to cool her down, the thought occurred to me that Christ had specifically healed those with fevers during his ministry. I pulled my scriptures off the night stand and read through the stories of the centurion's servant and Peter's mother in law. I knew that Christ had the power to heal my Emily, just as He had those he touched thousands of years ago. So I prayed that she would be healed. And then the wrestling began in my mind. The thought came " Do you believe Christ can do this?" Of course I did! But then the thought came, "Then go to sleep." Now I had been up for over an hour cooling her down with washclothes that felt like I had microwaved them when I took them off her forehead. I was concerned about leaving her on her own. My faith was too much on what I was doing, rather than focused on the fact that Christ was very capable of taking care of the situation without my help. But I knew what I had to do, and I took the leap of faith and laid down and closed my eyes. Thankfully, my physical exhaustion helped sleep come easily. When I woke up to Julia crying an hour later, I quickly felt Emily's forehead, only to find it cool as a cucumber. Remarkable. I should no longer be amazed at the tender mercies the Lord provides in these situations, but I still am. I am grateful for yet another experience that has taught me of the Savior's power, of His love, and of His desire to teach us through the experiences we have in our daily lives how better to come to Him and find our rest.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Camp Grandma

The kids had another great week at Camp Grandma! Each summer, we bring the kids to Rhode Island for a fun filled week with my mom serving as camp director. it's official- they have t-shirts to prove it!

She provides crafts like necklace making, hat decorating and decoupaging vases.

She also fills the days with activities like Native American Dancing, kickball games, scavenger hunts, makeovers etc. Add a few field trips to the penny candy store, fire station, the beach, a PawSox game, my sister's pool and the local ice cream shop and my kids are in heaven.

This year they even added a service project and did a car wash to raise money for Hasbro Children's Hospital. It is wonderful for my kids to have this time with their cousins and grandparents, and Mike and I took advantage of it and slipped away to New York City for the weekend to see "Wicked" on Broadway. It is such a great production, and one that I will see over and over again if given the chance! We had a beautiful hotel room on Times Square and we had a wonderful few days of sightseeing.

I drove home to Rhode Island Sunday night because Mike was staying another week in NYC for a sales conference. The kids and I spent a few more days having fun with Grandma and flew home Weds. night. The kids were great on the flight and I even got a little nap when Julia fell asleep. Great friends picked us up at the airport at midnight, and we were happy to be in our own beds by 1 am. It was another successful Camp Grandma- thanks Mom!


We had a great week at the Boy Scouts LDS Leadership Conference. It was held at the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico, just southwest of Raton. We spent a week living in a tent city with the kids, and I never thought I would love it as much as I did!

This conference is so well organized. Every day we would eat breakfast with the kids, and then drop them off at their morning activities. Mike attended BSA leadership classes with some of the members of the General Young Men's presidency and other BSA leaders, and I was able to go on tours, take classes, do handicrafts etc. We picked up our children up for lunch and spent an hour of family time together before returning them to their groups for afternoon activities. They loved their activities, which included things like pony rides, archery, rifle shooting, tomahawk throwing, making homemade ice cream, hiking and outdoor games.

We'd pick them up in time for dinner, spend the evening at one of the wonderful family events they had going on (western dancing, movie night, skits etc) and tuck in some worn out kiddos each evening.

It was just a blessing for our family to have this kind of week. Being outdoors brings out such a feeling of gratitude for the wonders of nature and for our Father in Heaven who provided us with such a beautiful earth! It brought out these feelings in our kids too, and led to wonderful spiritual discussions that I will cherish. While we were having these experiences at base camp, Autumn was having a mini-adventure of her own, taking part in a 6 day mountain trek through the backwoods. She hiked 30 miles with a 30 pound pack, without showering or having any conveniences from home. She weathered pretty severe electrical storms that would blow through the mountains each afternoon. They also took "Leave No Trace" to a whole new level- recquiring the kids to drink the juice out of a can of chicken after they opened it, and to eat any food that was dropped on the ground. Autumn proved that she can do hard things, and we are so proud of her for going with such a great attitude, and coming home with an even better one.

I hope that our boys will have similiar experiences at some point in their life! All in all, we are just grateful to have been able to participate in this training conference. It was one of the best vacations we have ever had!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Okay, I'm blogging. It will not be fancy. It will not be pretty. But it will be a written record of the activities that are so much a part of who we are today, but that will be forgotten tomorrow if not recorded. I've been waiting until I have all the right equipment, the amount of time and the creative juices flowing to make my blog eye catching and amusing. But I'm pushing those dreams aside for now with the hopes that once I start blogging regularly, that will all fall into place!

So, here we are, two weeks into summer break. The kids had a marvelous adventure with their Dad last week in Colorado. They camped, hiked, got lost and scared their mother to death, and had a terrific time with their cousins. On the way home they stopped at Royal Gorge and Mike, Sean and Kyle rode the World's Largest SkyCoaster. We got a kick out of the fact that Rebekah had to sign a waiver to go on a burro ride, but they didn't have a waiver for the SkyCoaster!

This week we have Sean and Kyle at Scout camp, although we got a call last night that Kyle is running a fever so he might be home today. Autumn is in Portland, OR for EFY (Especially for Youth, a church program for youth ages 14-18) We have my brother in law Brad, his wife Shanna and Adam, Andrew and Sam, the three youngest of their nine kids here for the next few weeks while Brad does some remodeling work on the house. He is putting in a second bathroom upstairs, between the girls bedrooms. We took out Autumn's closet and a linen closet to make space for it. We are hoping to have time to get new countertops in the kitchen as well, but we'll see how that goes.

Today we are heading to storytime at Barnes and Noble, then to a dollar movie and then to Kids Kastle park to let the kids play. It has been great having the kids play with their cousins all day. Having seven kids under 10 isn't all that hard- they really do keep each other entertained!

Now see, that wasn't that hard. I can do this more often. I think I can.....I think I can......I think I can.....