Friday, August 30, 2013

Baby Dear and Houston Days

My 12 week appointment was this week, which started with a happy ultrasound! After those earlier scans where it's quite hard to find the tiny baby, this time we immediately saw this sweet figure moving around with hiccups and a beating heart.  It was such a relief, and baby looks well and healthy at this point. Thanks be to God! And thank you, friends, for your prayers.

I was also given orders to stop using the progesterone supplements, which I hope will help me to feel a little more myself! At this point, though, I feel like a mess of hormones, crying for no reason and sobbing through my first read of "Little Women!"  I think my body just needs a few more days to regulate and also to recover from a fun and busy 4 days in Houston and having the godparents over to stay last night before their beach weekend.

We got to see all the grandparents, a few cousins and aunts, some of my old friends from high school (one visiting from VA!), go to the pool, cheer on the brand new Dominican high school volleyball team, and even make a visit to see our dearly missed friends at the ballet school. Add in some favorite restaurants and time relaxing with family, and it made for a very nice trip. But it's no wonder my body is exhausted and emotional. I need some time to rest and relax before our biggest family vacation yet! 

Here are some Instagram pics...

Playing on the putting range after dinner with my parents at the club

Crazy boy cousins!

Sister encouraging the Falcon volleyball team after the game

A fun playground at the hosting school of the volleyball game

Killing time playing at a favorite toy store

And lunch out with these sweet high school friends

Thursday, August 22, 2013

What I would tell the young mom in the overalls...

...wearing her first baby girl in the "Over the Shoulder Baby Holder" sling in the grassy area around her apartment about 10 years ago...

Enjoy the little things.  Matching clothes, earrings from Daddy that hadn't gotten lost yet.  Days swimming with just one little baby in the apartment pool.  Reading little books.  Listening to lullabies.  Enjoy those fleeting moments!

Smile through.  I have always been known for my smile.  So many days I lose that smile in the monotony of the my my frustrations.  Just a smile brings peace to my heart and peace to these children.

Rely on grace.  Oh the journeys we'd go through over these next 10 years.  5 more homes, 5 more jobs, babies, and miscarriages, c-sections, and heart surgery.  My new mommy heart wouldn't be able to handle that knowledge, but just encouragement to rely on God's grace in the sacraments.  To visit Him in the Blessed Sacrament.  And with that...

Soak in daily mass.  One day I'll get back there again.  Those days with just one little nursling were so carefree.  I could go to different masses on different days.  Meet friends there, go out to lunch or breakfast.  Go to the park or walk around the mall.  Spend the afternoon at my parents' house.  Now an outing of any kind feels like an Olympic sport.

Pray and pray some more.  My prayer life has slowly disintegrated into not much other than random prayers with family, attempts at quiet prayer here and there, commitments to reflect on the daily readings where my mind flies away.  I always need a reminder to get back to where it all begins.  And to teach them from the littlest ages to talk to Jesus!

Slow down.  As the kids started to get older, I started to want to do every possible activity.  Instead of continuing to work on our family home life, I worked more on our social life.  Home relationships should be the priority.  Closeness with children, sibling love and respect, so many things are formed in those early years.

Ideals are personal.  We started our marriage quite judgmental and opinionated on all sorts of issues of parenthood.  As the years went by, slowly we started to understand the uniqueness of each family.  That even within our close circles of Catholic friends, we can have differences in family choices and traditions.  And that's okay.

Form good habits.  Meal planning, house cleaning, laundry, naptimes, bedtimes, daily routines.  I struggle so much with this kind of organization.  Habit training starts early, and I'm not sure I'll ever get to where I'd like to be.  But I'll keep trying. 

Unplug often.  When we got married, the internet was nothing like it is today.  It's amazing how far technology has come in just 12 years!  Now I have the internet on my phone at my fingertips, and it's often hard to take a break.  I got into an online forum when Mary Clare was a toddler, and unfortunately haven't recovered from that longing for online social interaction.  Every opportunity to take a break from technology is so good for us.


And so I'll end there.  I haven't been visiting this little space as much recently, but I'll be back!  Right now we're deep in the throws of back-to-homeschooling, co-op starting, other homeschool group activities, ballet studio 3 times a week, and soaking up these last weekdays of pool outings!  We're also preparing for a trip home, my 12 week OB visit, the godparents coming to visit, and then our big Florida vacation!  I'll surely have some good photos to share in the coming weeks!

But sometimes it's just nice to pause and reminisce a bit!  Thanks for visiting!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

7 Quick Takes, or 8 or 10 or 15

A little big iPhone photo dump!

Tommy in the garage checking out Daddy's new fishing rod rack on the ceiling.

Another evening for basketball at the park in 100 degree weather!  Why not?

Daddy went to evening mass and this kid sobbed for like an hour.  Did NOT want to go to the park.  But I think he had the most fun of anyone.

One of my goals for the week was to take the kids shoe shopping to get some shoes that fit and can be worn at Disney World.  First and last stop on Monday was Academy.  This virtual golf thing was not my idea of fun.  And $50 sandals for children is not my idea of a good deal.  Thanks but no thanks, Academy.

Daddy has always called Thomas "T-Bone."  He lived up to his name this week.

The kids have enjoyed riding bikes a few nights a week recently.  On this night, the boys were playing with pebbles in the street.  It's so hard for little boys to have to be inside most of the day!

Daddy has decided that wearing socks inside-out is much more comfortable.  Those in his family might laugh when I say that I told him he's turning into his father.  BopBop wears a shirt rightside-out one day, and then inside-out the next day!

I nearly missed a dentist appointment this week.  One had to get a sealant.  Somehow I was able to handle all 4 at the dentist office for an hour (you can tell my kids rarely play video games!), and then took all of them to the mall for more shoe shopping.  Because, why not?

Yay for a Stride Rite shoe sale and probably the first pairs of shoes particularly fitted to these boys!  With triplet boy cousins, we rarely buy clothes or shoes for either of them.  But boo for not having a stroller for the 2yr old while mall shopping.  He was CRAZY.  He ran away from every single store we went into.  The girls were like dog chasers!

One day I found about 50 photos on my phone taken by someone small.  Documenting big sis baking a cake.

Documenting the other big sis having a morning talk with NeNe.

 And this photo showed who the culprit was.  Chubby toddler feet gave him away!

Big sisters took this of SJ taking a nap on the arm of the couch!

Here's what our schoolroom/dining room often looks like.  Today we had the internet/phone guy come out because we had no service.  I waited all day for him, and he finally arrived after 7pm and did some things outdoors.  Then he wanted me to show him where the modem was.  We walked up to the playroom where the modem sits on the toy refrigerator.  A KID HAD UNPLUGGED THE MODEM.  I felt like a genius.  Yep.  Oh and he made a comment about how this crazy room looked when he first walked in the front door.  Thanks.  I'm sure he'll go tell someone about the crazy lady with kids running wild, one wearing only a diaper, throw pillows strewn all over the living room (from a pillow fight), who called for internet help without realizing the modem was unplugged.

So this week was a rough one.  I'm working on pulling this homeschool co-op together for next week, and it is a lot more emotional and physical work than I was expecting.  I also wasn't expecting to be "expecting" so soon (I mean we were hoping for a baby, but it didn't seem to be happening quickly), so coordinating it during my first trimester has been quite difficult.  I think I'm going to write a blog post about starting a co-op.  It has definitely been a learning process.  I've taught school, taught my kids, and coordinated dozens of homeschool activities, some of them academic.  But for some reason (hormones?) this one seems especially daunting.  I want the kids to learn and have fun, and I really, really don't want to overwhelm the other moms.  But I'm afraid I already have.  I mean, what homeschool mom isn't already overwhelmed in mid-August?  We had a long planning meeting this week and it was exhausting.  I'm trying to do what we can to be prepared, and then I think things will go smoothly once we get into a little groove.  But please pray for us?

Anyway, to reward myself for a rough week, and a daddy who has, and will be, traveling quite a bit, I finally bought the purse I've been wanting!  There is a big sale going on at the Vera Bradley website, but it didn't include the patterns I like, so I ended up buying this one off eBay.  I wanted one that could be worn cross-body and wouldn't be too heavy for Disney World.  I'm hoping to maybe snag a little wallet or something too.  They actually have some cute coolers that I think might work as a camera bag if I added some padding.  The pattern is called "Jazzy Blooms," and this purse is their "Hipster," so I hope it makes me feel a little jazzy and hip ;)  I could surely use some jazzy hipness right now!

I'm 10 weeks along, which seems crazy to me.  The days are horribly long, but the pregnancy seems to be flying by.  I am still having a hard time believing that I'm even pregnant.  Praise God that so very many friends are pregnant right now, too.  I mean probably 10 of them.  I keep getting top secret messages about new little babies.  So awesome!

And once again I have a toddler who is taking late naps and is wide awake at midnight.  Right now he's playing with a pop-up fireman book.  Excuse me while I "hold the ladder" so he can deal with a pwoblem on the roof...

Two nights ago he was talking and talking during his 2nd wind around 10 or 11pm about how he likes the baby and he wants the baby to be named "Rosie" like Caillou's sister.  Then last night he was just grabbing my face, telling me he loved me, and that "You and me are good, Mommy.  You and me are nice."

And now after editing, he has finally fallen asleep, standing with his body leaning forward onto the rocking chair.  Better put us both to beddie-bye.  Have a great weekend, friends!  And really, thank you so much for all the sweet words of encouragement about my c-section post.  It's neat to have so many friends who can relate to different aspects of motherhood.  I am truly blessed by each of you.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Choosing a doctor as a Catholic mom with multiple c-sections

 Steven Joseph's arrival, Dec 2007

I'm currently 9 weeks pregnant, so I was excited that the Team Whitaker blog was hosting a little series called "Choosing the Right Birth Plan" last week.  I'm definitely in the throws of decisions about doctors and hospitals, and typically spend hours during pregnancy thinking about my upcoming births, and working through emotions and experiences I went through during my previous 4 c-section deliveries. 

What I fail to realize each time I read a different birth story is that I tend to have strong emotions that come up whenever I read these stories.  I can appreciate each of them as unique and personal stories, but I also have a hard time with getting "advice" from other moms whose experience is in no way similar to my own.  Sometimes I put myself out there, commenting or asking advice on certain aspects of prenatal care, and other times I'm just given information freely from others who are certainly just trying to give some positive insights.  Still other times, I'm reading stories out of curiosity, only to find that in all these cases birth stories and advice has become a very personal issue for me to deal with.

I've written out Thomas' birth story, but each time I've tried to write out the others it has become a painful writing process that I couldn't complete.  Suffice it to say that I've had 4 c-sections, and with the first 3 of them I labored all the way to 10cm and then for various reasons ended up needing to deliver by cesarean.  This is still very hard for me to swallow, particularly when it comes to the different decisions that led to those complications.  I remember hearing that a similar experience of a friend who had a nearly-complete labor ending in a c-section, and I felt absolutely devastated for her (this was before I had given birth).  After going through it myself 3 times over, it's still sometimes hard for me to believe it is a part of our story.

Let me also explain that I know many people today don't see an issue with cesarean deliveries.  To the general public, they're seen as just one more valid means of birthing a baby.  Which they are.  But to most of the population, there isn't much concern about it affecting the future of a family because they only plan to have 2, or maybe 3, children.  As a Roman Catholic married couple who has vowed and hoped to welcome many children lovingly from God and accept Church teaching regarding birth control and sterilization (as I talked about here), this issue becomes a very important concern and consideration for our family.

And so, I obviously have some serious considerations when it comes to choosing a care provider for myself and my children.  Not only have I had some difficult deliveries, but I've also experienced two early miscarriages and have a son with a heart defect that required open heart surgery.  I want to be sure that we have very experienced and pro-active doctors who are some of the best in their fields.  Surely if someone is going to be stopping my son's heart and repairing it, or opening my abdomen to deliver my baby while I'm awake, I want to be sure I can trust that person with our lives.

Ellie's arrival, April 2005

And so, here are some of my own major considerations when it comes to choosing a doctor, in particular an OBGYN for maternity care and cesarean delivery.

1. Trust.  As I just mentioned above, I have to trust that doctor with my life.  I want to know that he will do everything in his power to be there when I am in labor and/or delivering my baby.  I need to trust that he will do everything he can to help maintain the pregnancy in the beginning when I have sometimes had hormone imbalances requiring supplementation.  I need to trust that he will do all in his power to help prevent me from going into pre-term labor, but that he will also recognize when it is the most prudent time for me to deliver the baby.  I also need to trust the doctor I choose to be one of the best in his field, and trust the maternity and post-partum care at the hospital where that doctor delivers.  

Finding the doctor through a person I trust has been important for me.  My first OBGYN was chosen through some advice from fellow Catholic school teachers, and looking up names on a list of pro-life OBGYNs.  My other trusted doctor came from the recommendation of a friend and mother of 6 whose husband is a physician.  She always had the most positive things to say about him, and I knew I could trust that she would probably choose the same type of doctor I was looking for.  He also happens to be on the Pro-Life OBGYN websiteOne More Soul is another website that offers a list of NFP-only doctors and practitioners.  Unfortunately, many areas don't have NFP doctors, but at least many have pro-life ones!

As I spent some time recently trying to find a local doctor to use, I quickly realized that I was going to have a hard time finding someone through the recommendations of friends in my homeschooling circles, because so many of them were looking for a different type of doctor.  Most moms with a normal birth history want a doctor who is more laid-back and open to things like natural births with little intervention.  On the other hand, I'm looking for a respected surgeon, an older and experienced doctor who I can trust as a fatherly figure (Yes, I prefer male obstetricians).  I want someone who I can trust would be able to handle a high-risk delivery if complications occur.  Unfortunately, I just don't feel that level of trust for newer doctors.  I want to know that they have decades of experience dealing with complications and have a track-record of positive outcomes!

The day after Mary Clare's birth, January 2003.  I was hugely swollen with fluids, but my hubby looks pretty awesome!

2.  Respect.  This is an issue that can be a definite source of contention between open-to-life Catholics and their doctors, regardless of delivery history.  Many medical professionals today discount the successful use of Natural Family Planning among patients.  The typical way that gynecological care works is that if there is a problem with your cycle, they put you on birth control pills.  If you want to avoid pregnancy, they prescribe birth control pills or an IUD.  After a woman has 2 or 3 c-sections, they tie her tubes.  It's just how most Americans today plan their families, and some doctors just cannot get past it.

So as a Catholic couple who uses Natural Family Planning or other natural means of baby-spacing like Ecological Breastfeeding, we have found it important to find a care provider who respects that aspect of our married life.  In most cases, pro-life Christian doctors usually fit the bill.  I don't want to continually be asked about birth control or sterilization, especially during early pregnancy!  I want my doctor to respect my hopes to have a large family and I want to know that he is fully confident in his ability to deliver my babies.  I also want to feel comfortable in his office if I have to bring my children, and feel respected by the staff when it comes to phone communication.  And of course I also have to be confident that I can respect my doctor's opinions and decisions relating to my care, especially his advice on how he thinks my body would handle future pregnancies.

3. Peace.  In the end, there will never be a "perfect" doctor, but we have to choose the one who we think best meets our needs, and ask God to send us that peace.  When I met my first OBGYN, Dr. M, when I was pregnant with Mary Clare, I instantly felt a feeling of peace and comfort when under his care.  He prayed with us, encouraged us, and spoke as a fatherly figure who would care for me.  I didn't have that deep feeling of peace with the doctors I chose for my 2nd and 3rd deliveries, and then Dr. M had to retire.  But when I found and met Dr. R before I was expecting Thomas, I had that same feeling of peace.  Even though I wasn't pregnant at the time, he gave me all the confidence I needed to be assured that he would take care of my baby and me.  In all the decisions relating to my prenatal care, I've felt that same peace and comfort in the recommendations he has made.  In fact, he often tells me what he would do if I were his daughter.

When we discovered we were expecting last month, I was instantly filled with anxieties about how I would choose a new doctor in our new city.  I'd already tried two practices in town, and had a true lack of peace when it came to thoughts about delivering in a different city and a new hospital.  After a lot of prayer and discernment, and even trying another local doctor (who was already recommending a tubal ligation and whining about how I was going to "kill" him making him do a 5th c-section), I happily went back to Dr. R, even though he is over 4 hours away.  When he walked into the exam room, his presence gave me an immediate feeling of peace.  As we discussed the issues of my pregnancies and the issues relating to being a long-distance patient, I still felt that peace deep within me and made the decision then and there that I would move forward under his care.  Thankfully, I also had the support of my husband to choose whatever doctor I would be most comfortable with.  I also have the support of our extended family and long-time friends in the area, because if all goes well, we will need to spend more time there for appointments and several weeks there awaiting baby's arrival around February.

Steven Joseph meeting his brother Thomas, Sept 2010

I know there are a lot of issues that go into choosing a doctor and birth plan.  Most women I know have deep-seated opinions about childbirth, as do I.  For many, it is not so much of a medical experience, but a peaceful welcoming of new life.  But for others like me, pregnancy and delivery are a true medical experience.  From the day I get a positive pregnancy test, the work begins with getting bloodwork, ultrasounds, medications, and doctor appointments.  The actual delivery is always a scary experience as I face that cold operating room once again and hope and pray that there will be no complications.  It truly is a small price to pay when it compared with the immense blessing of an eternal soul, and a new member of our family.  Thanks be to God that we have many choices for doctors and various options for delivering babies safely.  May He continue to give me the strength to make it through all the trials of pregnancy and delivery, and may I continually find peace and trust in His most Holy Will.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Five Favorites

My 5 current favorite ways to survive the first trimester of pregnancy. 

1. Baths. 
I've always been a fan of the bathtub and ever since moving to this house with a garden tub I've taken advantage of it several times a week! Now it's pretty much a daily, or twice daily spot for me to relax. This afternoon I took the kids to the pool, heated up dinner, cleaned the entire downstairs (with the kids' help), and did the mountain of dishes. I was almost shaking when I finally finished it all around 9pm, so I think I spent an hour and a half or more in the bathtub! I love glancing at this beautiful image of Our Lady and Our Lord above the tub. 

2. Sugar and ice. 
This means sno-cones, popsicles, and smoothies. Tonight I was feeling queasy but knew I had to do those dishes if we wanted to have eating utensils tomorrow. I did half of the dishes while happily eating a popsicle. As soon as it was gone, the nausea returned :(

3. Netflix. 
Sometimes I just need to rest in bed while they watch some shows. Oh curtains, it's time to find you!

4. Crafting supplies for the kids. 
I'd like to stock up on a few new items, but for now the kids are happily creating fairy drawings with crayons and Prismacolors on plain printer paper. Thomas loves his puzzles and I keep finding an open glue bottle and cut up paper everywhere. But it keeps them busy when I'm trying to keep them off the screens! Other favorite activities have been video-making, baking, dancing, and even picnic-creating today!

5. Words with Friends. Anyone play? I've been having fun playing Steven's mom and nephew who are Scrabble pros, and a few other friends too. It's nice to keep my brain fresh even when my body is exhausted. I've just realized that the Kindle works on my new iPhone, so hopefully I can start doing some reading too!

Thanks for hosting, beautiful Hallie!

Sunday, August 04, 2013

What I wore Sunday

Happy Sunday!  Hope you've all had a lovely weekend.  I am finally feeling like I can take a deep breath, and move forward with hope into the month of August.  July was a month totally focused on this new little baby and finding the right medical care for us.  Now I've decided on a doctor, and although he's located over four hours from here, I feel a great peace with the decision.  I've pretty much finished my homeschool book purchases (I did make it to the vendor hall at the convention on Thursday; thanks Mom and Dad for watching the kids!), and we have plans to start ballet and our homeschool group activities this month (play days, 4-H, and our new co-op).  Yay for August!

As for the outfit, I have two knee-length flowy skirts like this, and the cut of this one doesn't appear very flattering here.  Oh well, it was cool for a hot morning.  I think the skirt was from Dillard's or Macy's, and the shirt is a wrap-style from Target.  Jewelry from my mom as usual, and my fun Easter sandals that you can't see in the grass.  I wore biker shorts underneath in case of a wind gust, which was helpful, but also too tight for my liking! 

I think I'll be moving into maternity clothes in the next month or so.  Especially if I'm going to keep buying things like Blue Bell Krazy Kookie Dough ice cream like today!  Actually my favorite food is Hawaiian shaved ice from a little shack by our HEB grocery store.  It is so good.  So much for all my hard work with the MyFitnessPal app.  Guess I'll have to start that one again come next spring!  I hope to continue ballet classes though to at least have some kind of exercise.  At this point, I'm just trying to stay out of the bed during the day.  I am so utterly exhausted.  Only 4 more weeks until our big vacation and until I break from these progesterone supplements for awhile.  Maybe I'll perk up a bit for the 2nd trimester!

Hope you all have a wonderful week!  Thanks for visiting.

More Sunday finery at Fine Linen and Purple!
What I Wore Sunday linkup

Friday, August 02, 2013

7 Quick Takes!

Late night phone blogging, but here goes:

1. Saw the baby on ultrasound again today and heard the beautiful heartbeat. The relief I felt while talking with my doctor here back home was a true answer to prayer. My decision is made and now we just pray that all goes smoothly these next 30ish weeks, and my parents (and whoever else offers to house our crazy crew) can handle us here for a month or so in February while we wait for baby's arrival!

2. The other incredible news today is that the Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in Bryan, Texas closed today! This is the site where so many Aggies and other faithful pro-life warriors have stood on the sidewalk day and night, rain or shine, and prayed for all of those affected by abortion (parents, babies, family members, clinic workers, and abortionists). So many have dedicated their time, talent, and treasure to this important pro- life ministry. To know that they've closed their doors for good, and to watch a video of the actual driveway gate closing, was especially moving. They estimate that over 6400 babies were killed here. May they rest in Christ's peace and may God's merciful love be on those who played a part in ending their lives. 

3. So it's been awhile since I've road tripped with all four kids. On Tuesday, I took them all to see the dentist, to lunch at Chickfila, to fill out a form at a doctor office, and then decided we should just leave for Houston right then (well, less than an hour later), since Steven would be traveling that night anyway. We made one stop for Blue Bell cones and gas, and then a long pit stop to visit with friends and wait out the Houston traffic, before arriving to my parents' house around 8pm. I felt like Supermom that day!

4. The boys have been really, really difficult this trip. It's no secret that I'm scared of another boy baby! I love them to death, but these two have fussiness and whininess and sleep issues down to a science. If one is content, the other is throwing a mega-tantrum. And often it's both of them having issues at the same time. I'm hoping this is just a difficult phase and they will not be so high-maintenance forever. Aside from my sanity, they might just drive my parents to an early death if their behavior doesn't improve!

5. Tommy needs to move to size 6 diapers. That should be my cue to get him potty trained before age 3, right?  Not sure about that. Today he cumulatively cried a couple hours about wanting to go to the mall, wanting to go home, or wanting to watch a movie on my phone. It's madness. But then he told my friend and I an adorable story about going on a space shuttle to the mall, and he was an astronaut, and he is just so utterly adorable, how can I get mad at him?

6. Big brother's tears today all had to do with what car he rode in to our different outings. Some really mad fits with screaming and throwing things were involved. We had our first talk about the virtue of self-control, and I am quite sure it's going to take lots of prayer and sacrifices as we work on this virtue. Just a phase, right? Just a phase. 

7. Homeschooling. I'd like to get started back up very soon. But I'm doubtful that I'll be able to go shop at the convention here where I wanted to complete my curriculum purchases. It's going to be a big hassle to order them all from different places online. But taking 4 kids to a mega conference with huge vendor fair does not sound feasible. We'll see if somehow I can manage to convince someone to watch my crazy crew while I shop. I've also got all sorts of planning to do for the co-op we're starting. I'm afraid I'm going to start dropping balls. I've already let-down some people who were hoping I'd attend the Good Shepherd Catechesis training. I just can't do it all. Hopefully after the first few weeks of August, the activities will start smoothing out on their own and the commitment level won't seem so daunting. Hopefully. 

Must. Go. To. Sleep. 
More Quick Takes at:

But a few InstagramPics first!

Cute bath boy at my parents' house 

Tired boy at the yogurt place

Who perked up for the pic here! Late night frozen yogurt with friends is a fun part of our visits home!
Related Posts with Thumbnails
site design by designer blogs