Friday, March 27, 2015

Cysts Suck...(don't tell my mom I cussed)

I have had issues with my fertility forever.  

I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome as a teen.  

When EJ and I wanted to start a family, two years past with no pregnancy.

I have miscarried twice. The first time I lost one baby.  The second time I lost twins.

God blessed us tremendously with 4 biological babies and 2 bonus (adopted) babies.

I am still in awe that I went from wondering if I would ever have a child to having six!

Through the years I have ruptured painful ovarian cysts but have never had to have surgery to remove one...

Until now.

My left ovary was growing a humdinger of a cyst.

I joked with my doctor that if I'm not growing a baby then I'll grow something else.

We had hopes that he could remove the large cyst and leave the ovary intact.

Here is a graphic I found that shows a good picture of a large ovarian cyst.

The surgery I had was done this way. My favorite Dr. K was the surgeon of course.

Here I am ready to go! I put on my brave face so the kids could see my picture. 

I prayed that the nurse would be able to put my iv in on the first try. I do not have easy veins and I've had some pretty awful experiences. Praise the Lord she got it right away!

I prayed that my fertility could be spared.

When Dr. K got in there he discovered that my cyst was larger than my uterus. My ovary could not be saved.  

That is the bad news.  The good news: my right ovary is still there and should happily take over.

To my left ovary,

Thank you for the good times. I forgive you for the bad times. I'm not sure which of my babies started as eggs on your side but I'm going to assume at least one or two.  For that I will always be grateful. Now take your massive cyst with you and leave. I prefer to live pain free.


(While no surgery recovery is fun, I would just like to state for the record...this is a picnic compared to the 4 c-sections I've had.)

Thursday, March 12, 2015

How do you do it?

As you know, we have 6 children ages 9, 7, 5, 2, 1 & 1.  Our babies are 5 months apart.  We adopted Baby D while I was pregnant with Baby E.

Little Ruthie was a big sister twice over BEFORE she was 2 years old.

This has been a crazy season for us to say the least.

When people find out about our family they often say...

"How do you do it?"

This is my answer...


I mean that. 

I have no idea how in the world we have managed having two babies 5 months apart.

I truly believe God has multiplied our time.

I can't explain it.

I felt like I was always spinning like a top.

Meeting one need and then the next.

If one of the babies was fussing while I was tending to the other baby, I would say to myself, "One baby at a time.  One baby at a time."

There were nights that I cried after we got everyone to bed.  The sheer exhaustion would overtake me.

There were days when I snapped at my big kids when I should have been patient.  I hate those moments.

I found the best predictor of how our day would go was always me. Am I living in the spirit?  Asking the Lord to serve my children through me?  Or...Am I living in the flesh?  Constantly thinking of my own needs and desires?  Putting myself before everyone else?

There have been instances where I have literally hollered out to the Lord, "Help me Jesus!  Help me calm down and not freak out right now!"  The kids have heard me do that.  I explain to them that I have to rely on the Lord to help me get through the day.  It is not okay for me to be ugly to them when the pressure is on.

I can remember one day when I was trying desperately to get baby E to take a nap.  I was singing to him,.. "Jesus loves me this I know, for the bible tells me so.  Little ones to him belong.  They are weak, but he is strong.  Yes, Jesus loves baby E.  Yes, Jesus loves baby E.  Yes, Jesus loves baby E.  The bible tells me so."  I often sing the song with the child's name I am singing it to.  I was just spent that day.  I was frustrated that baby E was not going to sleep and I had so many other needs to meet.  As I was singing the song I was overcome with emotion.  This time when I sang, "Yes, Jesus loves Mommies." came out of my mouth.  I wept and sang that over and over again.  He loves me.  He will meet my needs as I meet theirs.  As I cried and sang, I thought of all the mommies who have needed to hear that.  I am not alone.  Mothering takes all you've got and more.

Here are the pictures of the babies first year together...

While both the babies were small I called it the "Baby Cocoon."  It was just so much easier for me to stay home, so I did.  There were many weeks when Sunday would roll around and I would realize that I hadn't been out of the house since the last Sunday for church. The kids would go on outings with Daddy or Grandparents but I never left.  I consider the fact that I didn't go totally stir crazy to be a miracle.  I love to be out and about.  We were blessed to have friends and family come here often.  As the babies got bigger I began to venture out more.

Our routines changed as the babies developed.  Baby D was extremely predictable.  He loved his routine and he was a fantastic sleeper.  He made it very easy on me.  In this photo I am rocking Baby D with my foot while I nurse baby E.  You have to be creative when you have two babies at different stages.

I love this picture of the babies with their Daddy.  He was snuggled up feeding baby D and I put baby E on the bed with them.  I am so glad I have this sweet photo.

When baby E was born, I remember EJ saying to me, 
"We can do this." 

He was right. 

There were a lot of sleepless nights.

A lot.

Parenting our "twins" together has made me love him even more.

12 1/2 years of marriage and 6 kids.

He gets more handsome every day.

Want to know one of the sweetest things he does for me?  He makes me breakfast almost every day.  He brings coffee and scrambled eggs back to our bathroom while I am getting ready for the day.  He knows that once the children see me, I will be non-stop meeting their needs.  He serves me so I can serve them.  I cannot tell you how loved this makes me feel.  What a kind and loving thing to do.

We have been so blessed by the support of our family.  Do you know that we are only about 15 minutes from both sets of grandparents? All three of the Aunties are near by too.  There is no where else we would rather be.

Our family is just a phone call away.  We know that they will be there for us in any situation.  Do you know what?  My mother-in-law comes over every single week to spend one day with the kids. She allows me to run errands, take children to doctor's appointments, haircuts, etc.  I adore her for it.  She has blessed me and our children beyond belief.

Also, I have to say this...our older children have been AMAZING.  They have been so patient and understanding.  I love this photo of W with a sign about his plans for a cousin play date at the Farm.  He made sure to include instructions for the babies, "First, babies have to be fed."  That's right.

We are thankful to the Lord for blessing us with our children. We are so grateful that He has carried us through each day of this intense baby season.  His plan is better than anything we could have dreamed up.

Here is to the next adventure!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

12 months and 17 months

These two.

They are just too much.

My sweet baby boys.

Now they are both big one year olds!

This is my last monthly update.

I plan to put together a post with all 12 of their monthly photo shoots.

It has been a wild ride!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Baby E turns 1!

1 year ago, we finished packing our hospital bags and tucked into bed. We were scheduled to be at the hospital at 5:30am. Grandma was here (EJ's mom). She slept on the couch to be close to the kiddos. We said goodbye early that morning and headed to the hospital to meet our new baby boy. It is hard to describe how I felt that morning. I wrote about my feelings the day before he was born. What a sacred time.

Before we knew it he was here! Hello sweet baby E. Welcome to the world! He had a beautiful birth day.

I felt such joy as I held him. Another precious miracle gifted to us.

We were so glad to get home. It was exciting to introduce him to his big brothers and big sister. The Lord blessed me in many ways during E's first two weeks but I will never forget the way he healed me from the baby blues.

Snuggled up with our little super hero.

He was such a tiny little peanut.

He and Daddy spent a lot of quality time just like this.

Check out this smile!

All five of my boys have worn this outfit. I am a sucker for a baby in stripes.

I love wearing our babies in my wrap. Baby E loved it too. He was always happy to hitch a ride with Momma.

Before we knew it he was rolling over!

First time in the swing.

 This photo is just too much. His sweet smile and those eyes!

Trying solid food for the first time.

 Pulling up!

His first Christmas.

Borrowing Sissy's stroller to practice walking.

Uh Oh. He can climb on Mommy's step stool.

He adores riding with his big bubbas on this car.

1st Birthday Pictures and 1st Hair Cut

Check out this handsome boy!  He had a blast doing his one year photo shoot.  He is having an airplane birthday so I knew we had to find a bomber jacket and pilot hat.  Oh my stars.  What a cutie pie!

He was even a trooper for his first haircut!

 He is such a big boy now!

We are just thrilled to celebrate this day. 1st birthdays are my absolute favorite. Not only do we celebrate the milestones our little man accomplished, we also give each other a high five. We did it! Newborn babies take everything you've got. That first year is intense to say the least. It has gone by quickly. We are privileged to watch our precious baby boy take on his next year of life. 

Next up on his agenda...Walking. He will be taking off before we know it. Climbing seems to be a natural for him. Unfortunately, that means he has also fallen a few times. He is an adventurous little man so I know bumps and bruises come with the territory.  I don't have to like it though.  He narrowly escaped stitches just a few days ago.  Little stinker!

Thank you Lord for the precious blessing that is Baby E!

Happy Birthday Little Man!

We love you!