Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Christmas 2023

I wanted a break this Christmas, but Brian got the flu. It is funny (in an annoying kind of way) when plans go awry especially since I really really need a break and was looking forward to co-parenting for a week instead of parenting alone while my husband works (or in this case, sleeps and coughs). I am exhausted. I am waking up 3-4 times a night to nurse Esther still! The kids are amazing but the amount of noise and questions in our house is at max capacity, and I am touched out. But my children are lovely, my home is clean and we have food. I made sourdough bread yesterday and we had it for lunch today with butter, an orange, fermented pickles and slices of cheese. 

Brian has been coughing all night. I finally got him to nebulize some colloidal silver and of course he has been taking all the over the counter cough stuff from the walmart drug store isle. Poor Brian. I know he didn't intend to be sick all of his break but its is. so. hard. for both of us! I am not sure who is having a harder time: Brian sick in bed with his new Playstation 5 or me downstairs nursing Esther and cooking and cleaning. This is a rhetorical question and perhaps I am a little bit jaded. HAH!


Christmas was great tho. In past years we have been very minimal for Christmas but I guess something broke this year because we bought way too much and now my house feels like a department store. Oh, well. We are rapidly outgrowing our house and I don't know what to do about it. I have been asking to move for about 6 years and...we are still here. 5 people in 1400 square feet. And no privacy. We will declutter and downsize some more, I guess! Really. We are all in on top of each other. I need to find a better organizational system. 

Oh, here I am complaining again! Anyway. My favorite Aunt came to visit and THAT was perfection! She came even though Brian was sick and I have been praying non-stop she does not get whatever nasty virus he has...

Life update: We start our second term of Year 3 with Reuben next week! I have everything organized and ready... we got a new roof the week before Christmas too! It was $9050.00 from Cenvar, a local company. So far it hasn't leaked again so YAY. (but woah what a price tag) They messed up our siding and fixed it (also YAY) but also little bit (I mean A LOT bit) of stressful. We only have siding on two sides of our house because...we are putting it on ourselves and also have three kids and no, I don't know what we are thinking. Do you? 

Life is busy and hard. I bought this book recently to try and help. But I think I actually need this one too

Here is to a new year!!!! new year resolution is "survival". Cheers! 

God is good. 

Monday, November 13, 2023

Life and Other Things

I have been off the keto diet for about a month now. I have been eating sourdough bread, homemade sprouted biscuits, rice, enchiladas, beans, cake, bagels and roasted potatoes...and all the chocolate. I am now trying to find a happy medium where I can enjoy food but not overindulge... and achieve happy blood sugar readings of course! I haven't been tracking nearly as well as I should this past month, and I need to start being consistant. But yes, I am not going back on the keto diet for the future and I am excited to eat mashed potatoes and pie for Thanksgiving.  

We have been slowly healing here. Grief was still fresh for my friend Mandy when another friend lost their 20 week pregnancy, a little boy they named Silōam. We have been all grieving afresh for their loss of life on top of hurting for Mandy and Andrew. This friend (who lost her baby) has not posted publicly about it so I will keep that news to anonymous as possible. 

I have been trying to keep going and doing and seeing and taking my kids here and there but I am very excited for an entire week of nothing. That will be our Thanksgiving. We will have no violin lessons, no piano and no dance that week. And I can stay home and clean my house and nest and hopefully make some freezer meals and fall into more regular cooking habits. Oh, and a week off school. We are on Year Three of Ambleside with Reuben and he is on Term one, Week 12. 

Knowing how things really go...we will all be sick the entire week of Thanksgiving. But I hope not!

A year of keto is behind me. Nine months of pregnancy and an adjustment to a family of three. So many changes and many blessings and so many memories! God sure is good.

I would write more but I have to go hold the baby and play a game with the kids! Busy happy stay at home mom life!

Saturday, November 11, 2023


Every fall I try to make my kids hats! Now I have three children! But I did it. I made each of them a hat!

I also need to make two stockings sometime. Reuben wants a new one (his was the first one I made and the colors were great for him as a toddler but he wants something different) and Esther of course needs one! 

We are doing well. And by well, I mean I am exhausted and overwhelmed and outnumbered and my house is a mess but we are a happy family and everyone is eating.

Friday, October 6, 2023


Right before Andrew died (my friend Mandy's husband) I went to a girls event where we made earrings. It was so much fun! We all made clay earrings together then I took my clay home and added some more bling to get these earrings. Mandy was glowing at this event and even made me a pair of stud earrings (not pictured) that I wore yesterday. 

Taking it slow and just sitting with our grief, loving my family and trying to stay off the internet. Love you all. 

Friday, September 22, 2023


September has been our month of sickness! Reuben has been sick three times, Brian once, Esther once, and Becky twice. I have escaped so far. 

Fall weather is here and it is glorious. Beautiful. Esther has moved into 3-6m clothing which now fit her so well. She is wearing some 6m clothing as well, but 6-9 month is too big.

One of my best friends husband passed away this week. His name was Andrew and he will be missed. His wife Mandy is a gem. They have two small children age 3 and 6. I am grieving for her this week. He died of a blood clot in his lung. So very very sad. Life is short. This has caused my husband and I to have some unique conversations about what we would want done for each other if in the awful case one of us passes away.

God is good!! God is so good, and he is with Mandy. Andrew was a believer in Christ and I know he is with God today.

September is turning out to be a hard month, with memories of Sep 11 (I can't believe that is only 'history' to my children) and now the death of Andrew. 

Pray for Mandy and Andrew, and their two sweet babies.

Monday, August 21, 2023

Musing over Hard Things

My husband has been working crazy hours at his job, which has been really stressful with deadlines, clients, programming issues...just to name a few things. He has been required to work some weekends straight though and as you can imagine this has not helped my marriage or home life situation or my husbands personal all. It is getting to the point where I have asked him several times to please find a new job, which he does not want to do because he dislikes change (and he says this is just how engineering jobs go)...

I have typed so much about my husband working late, I probably don't need to talk about it anymore. And since he is salary he doesn't make any extra money when he works overtime (though a few times they have provided dinner for the crew). I finally set down and told him that I loved him, but nothing was getting done at home and I need my husband just as much as his job does. Actually I need him more but that is besides the point. He can't give everything to his job to the point he has nothing left over for me. At least this can't be a continual way of existing. 

Navigating home verses work life is difficult. Obviously I am super grateful for my husbands job that he usually enjoys when it isn't imploding with programming errors that he and his coworkers have to fix by very abrupt deadlines... 

What I REALLY don't like, however, is when his work begins to infringe on what I consider my claim on my husband. That time belongs to me and I don't want to share, thank you very much! He works so we can have a life together and if we aren't having that life together what is even the point?!

I am still very much exhausted and postpartum. I need my husband to hold this baby. None of us are doing very well with this.

We are trying tho. I am attempting to cook easy foods and be okay with fact my house is falling apart. I endeavor to prioritize time with Rueben and Becky over cleaning, but I also have to find balance. And I need time with my husband and we all need each other.

Sigh. I hope this ends soon. We still have all the wasps (though they are dead) and bats and house things to  clean and I have no idea when my husband will be able to get to them and I am certainly not able too.

I am however, eating a lot of chocolate. 

Friday, August 18, 2023

Reuben and Becky's Nature Journals

 Reubens (year 2) and Becky (preschool) nature journals! 

Nature walks are so fun. Do you do nature walks in your homeschool?

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

I started Keto again and other problems

Well, I wasn't able to stay off the keto diet but a week break was just what I needed. My blood sugar wasn't good and being postpartum as I am I didn't have the headspace to figure it out. I will wait until the baby is a bit bigger and I have more time to do this. My blood sugar was around 160 a few times after eating and that isn't good enough for me. I require under 120 to quit keto and it wasn't happening. Yes, I was disappointed. But it is okay! 

We have started third grade with Reuben (8) and Kindergarten with Becky (5). Esther is just there in the middle of it all wanting milk and being cute. I am completely breastfeeding now, no more pumping. It is like the end of a long nightmare and I don't even want to remember the first 9 weeks of Esther's life. I love her, she's perfect, it's not anything to do with her. It is all the things that happened and being scared I wasn't making enough milk and trying to feed everyone and cope with my husband's sudden anxiety and health issues that cropped up right after she was born. That was a long sentence. 

I've started trying to knit again and pick up a few of my hobbies--mainly violin. 

Husband has been working like crazy and it has been really hard. Then we found out this week we have bats AND hornets living in our house. 

I'm not making that up. We have a lot to fix this weekend and I feel quite overwhelmed.

I love Ambleside online for our school. It's life giving and we all are nourished spirally, mentally and emotionally as we read together. 

I need to figure out how to cook with an infant. And communicate better with my husband. And exercise. It's impossible! My house is a mess. 

Thursday, July 20, 2023

11 Months Keto, today I QUIT

I have been dabbling with the idea of quitting keto since Ester was born. It is tiresome to be on intense diets for long periods of time; pregnancy is one thing but after she is here there is really no reason to continue. My diabetes is usually fine when I am not pregnant. And, I did it. I had a regular sized baby and near-perfect blood sugar throughout my entire pregnancy. It is a huge relief and such a blessing, I am so grateful for the keto diet. 

But I want to eat some bread. Please and thank you. Not to mention other things. I miss beans. I want a raw milk smoothie. I would like to expand my pallet. I will be making chicken enchilada casserole next week and I may even try rice again! Today I had sourdough bread, (2 slices with a lot of butter) chicken, a fermented pickle, cheese and bell peppers for lunch. It was delicious. Two hours after my blood sugar was 111, which is a little higher than I would like (I'm a perfectionist what can I say.) But, from past keto experiences I know the first week I transition back to a 'normal' diet my sugars can be quite crazy. They usually level out to 90-100 after the first week. 

I also have to start exercising again and I went on a very short walk this morning. Will need to move more daily. And I will be testing for a while with finger pokes to make sure my blood sugar stays out of the diabetic range. I am a little worried about weight gain but trying to love my postpartum body as it is and focus on homeschooling my kids.

It will be nice to have some easy meals again. There are easy keto meals but I am tired of all of them! Hah!

around 150 oz? 

I was able to donate my extra milk this week!

Pumping is finally over. Esther is growing okay! I haven't pumped in two weeks now and honestly my mental health needed that break. Yesterday I was able to donate about 150 oz of milk to Trillium House and it feels great. I hope it helps another little baby grow too. It's my blood sweat and tears in those two bags. Seriously it is weird the levels of emotion I feel about my breast milk! 

Well, Ester is crying. No more writing for now...Hugs!

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Reuben Turns 8

Reuben turned 8 on the same day Esther Rose turned 11 weeks. It has been a long 11 weeks and while some things are so much better, some things are worse. Such is life!

Esther is nursing exclusively now. However, she is still not gaining weight correctly so I may have to start pumping again. Since she isn't losing weight I am going to wait until her next doctors appointment to make a decision. Esther gained 4 oz in about a week and a half, which is a little under the 6oz that a baby, at minimum, is supposed to gain. But she isn't losing weight, she seems satisfied and happy with lots of wet diapers--so I am trying to trust the process. 

I am trying to brush my teeth every evening and shower at least every three days. Cooking is hit and miss. I am averaging two meals a day. Sometimes I crash on the weekends and I think my husband still isn't used to it: he seems confused to find himself cooking yet again. 

Also, in the last storm (Lynchburg had a bad thunderstorm that knocked out power and trees for a few days) our roof was damaged and we are suddenly hit with the need to...put on a new roof. I have known we needed one for a while now and we've been saving money and planning on doing it in 2-3 years, but now it needs to be done as soon as possible. I had to cancel my raw milk which made me really sad. As well as a lot of other things that we usually do as a family. We will need to compile somewhere from 10-20k for the work--at least, that was my husbands recommendation. We are going to try to do this in 6 months or less which is going to mean seriously cutting back on our budget. Our idea is to put up a metal roof, which is more expensive but lasts a lot longer. 

I had been also saving for some home improvements in our house (I want a new floor in our main area and a new kitchen) so maybe this will help with that. And I have been saving for a van since Esther was born. Putting three kids in the back seat of our car is a tight fit!

But I will miss my personal money most of all, and the occasional eating out is gone...I am not sure if the kids will get their music lessons this coming August either. It is only a season. And I definitely want our house to be fixed up! 

The books for Reuben's Year Three are arriving and he finishes up his end of the year testing (for the state) this week. I'm nervous to figure out how to homeschool with a baby but I am sure we will work something out, somehow! Becky starts Year One at Ambleside this January as well. We will be a living breathing moving homeschooling machine! 

I'm planning to start the first or second week of August. 

At 11 weeks, Esther is 10 pounds 11oz and fitting snuggly into newborn clothes and a little bit big in her 0-3 months. She is slightly bigger now than Reuben was at birth (he was 10.6 pounds) and is a dream baby  with her cute smiles and nightly cuddles. She is no where near close to sleeping through the night. And she likes to be held for naps! I'm going crazy but trying to find joy in the moments. 

Thursday, June 22, 2023

Esther Rose is 7 weeks

I would love to say I am still doing better, but the juxtaposition of good days and bad is like a badly hung pendulum that keeps smacking me in the head. I know it gets better. It is slow. 

I am trying to cling to God, advocate for myself, make crock pot meals, spend at least some time with my older two kids, shower at least once week and stay off my phone. 

It is hard. Esther is beautiful.

I'm down to pumping 3 times a day! The end is in sight. 

I thought with two kids I wouldn't go through the "Who even am I" part of postpartum where like a caterpillar in a cocoon I become something...else. But I am defiantly experience this phenomenon. It isn't fun. But I suppose it is normal. Every kid changes the family dynamic and also the mother. Change is hard. Maybe if I could sleep more I could figure out what kind of butterfly I am going to be.

How are you all?

Monday, June 5, 2023

5 Weeks Postpartum With Esther Rose

I feel better today. I learned two things: 1, the longer I spend on my phone the more unhappy I will be and 2, music helps everything. I am doing better. Maybe I am learning to cope with the chaos or perhaps I am adjusting to the new normal of three children. I don't know. I am choosing to extend myself grace and mercy instead of storing up guilt and anger. 

Esther is filling out into babyhood. She's losing the infant look, and I could not be more in love with her. The kids adore her, she's a great baby (besides the nursing troubles) and all of us are thrilled to have her in the Markey household. 

Things are better between me and my husband too. I felt so unsupported by him postpartum and I know he didn't mean it, but it took awhile to come to terms with my perceptions and experiences. We will be okay. I forgive him and we talked about it. My husband makes a bad wife and that is okay. I guess? I'm still hurt over some of the things that happened in those four weeks but God is good and I am trying to heal, physically and emotionally. Brian is back to work now, things are back to their expected patterns and I am trying to thrive. 

Esther is nursing 3-4 times a day! I am down to pumping from 10 times a day to 8 times. This small improvement boosts my spirits and gives me hope one day she will exclusively nurse. One day I can nurse her in bed and go back to sleep. One day I will only have to bring my boobs with me when I leave the house. One day!! But not today.

I am trying to have hope. Thank you all for the encouraging comments on my last post! I need to find time to go back and reply but I also need to go cook dinner. Esther is down for her second nap! (I have a baby that takes more than one nap a day?!) and I am going to make sausage and veggies for dinner. Easy keto meal.

In other news I am making lists of what we need next year for homeschool and purchasing books/materials is so much fun. 

Excited for what is to come!

Saturday, May 27, 2023

Disappointment and Postpartum

Pumping, a snack, and a baby that wanted to be near mama

This postpartum period with Esther has been really really hard. The added burden of pumping and SNS feeding and breastfeeding training is grueling. I have almost given up several times. I cry at least once a day. I am tired and my self care (showering, eating, brushing my teeth and changing clothes) is a laughable mess. I am trying to create some kind of normal for my two other children but everything is a hot mess. The one person I thought I could count on (my husband) has been extremely unhelpful and frustrating, because if that doesn't describe marriage I don't know what does. Expectations have been unmet and "disappointing" describes my life, marriage and daily mood.. Massive disappointment. I need help and there is no one to help most of the time. This is life. This is the fourth trimester. 

On top of it all my husband was sick last weekend and now my kids are sick. Luckily I and the baby are fine, I think I would fall apart if Esther caught a cold at four weeks old. She's so little. But God is so good.

I have been listening to the Bible in the middle of the night as I feed Esther pumped milk. It takes about 45 minutes to pump and feed her and then try to lay her down while I wash all the bottles/pump parts and set up things for the next 2-3 hours when she will wake up again. It feels dehumanizing not to be able to nourish my own baby with my own body. I have felt so much guilt and anger over it. Sometimes at myself. Sometimes I am frustrated at Esther. It isn't her fault. When that happens I pray earnestly. I pray for her to start nursing more (she's doing 3-4 feeds a day now for 15 minutes which is great! but definitely not enough to stop pumping). I am dealing with massive oversupply issues as she is both breastfeeding and I am pumping. I am trying to cut back tiny bits of pumping and my breasts are rocks and hurt even though I am taking it slow. I try to be grateful I have so much milk. 

Some good news. Esther, at 3 weeks and 5 days old is 8 pounds 2 oz!! She is still smaller than Becky was at birth and definitely tiny. She's wonderful and I love everything about her from her toes to her fuzzy hair and her cuddles. She is a delight to my soul and worth every tear and hard moment and sleepless hour. She's still wearing newborn clothes and newborn diapers. I bought mostly 0-3 month clothes and I can't wait for her to wear my favorites but she is not close to 'aging out' of the newborn stuff. 

I have friends and family that want to come over and help but with everyone isn't working. Hopefully when everyone gets better in a day or two I can get help. We got amazing two weeks of meals and they were delicious and even the kids enjoyed them. I have so many blessings to count. But in the hard moments I forget them all. I pray that God reminds me of the good when I am at my lowest. 

Health wise my health is...up and down. I just got over pica--that went away in my third week postpartum. I have a postpartum rash, I am still bleeding (but not much) and I am having some joint pain which has been difficult to deal with while trying to breastfeed, SNS feed, pump, cook and hold a baby. I am trying to remember to take some supplements and drink water and that is about all I can do right now.

My husband goes back to work Tuesday and perhaps this will help instigate a return to "normalcy" whatever that is going to look like...with Esther and our family. 

The kids have both a ballet performance and a piano recital next month AND I signed them up for a week of swim lessons (before I had Esther) because I definitely didn't understand how hard this was going to be. Would appreciate prayers that I can make these things happen with grace and peace and a joyful heart.  

Sunday, May 7, 2023

Esther Rose is One Week Old (and mini birth story)

Esther Rose was born at 38 weeks and 1 day weighing 7 pounds 6oz after four hours of labor. I am at peace with her birth! I had so much guilt with my first two births, first because I used an epidural with Reuben I struggled a long time with not feeling like I was 'good enough' because I couldn't 'handle the pain'. Then I had a natural birth with Becky but I felt so stressed and awkward about how much I freaked out and screamed and cried during transition and pushing. I still feel embarrassed and uncomfortable about how I 'wasn't able to stay in control'. 

I didn't fully realize how much trauma and guilt I actually carried from my first two births until I got pregnant again.

So, I had a lot of fears about birth going into Esther's... but God was there. I had another very quick labor (four hours) and I chose to get an epidural after my contractions were too close together and making me start to freak out again (I was at 8 cm so I was so close!!). I am allowing zero guilt into this birth story. Yes it is true I wanted to try for a natural birth but it is also okay to get an epidural. She is here and that is what matters. But boy was it fast!! My doula was amazing (though maybe shocked I got an epidural after I talked for months about how I didn't want one??) and I couldn't have done it without her SERIOUSLY. My mom was there and my husband and it was just everything I could have wanted. Literally the birth of my dreams where I finally learned to let go of what I expected and just roll with what was happening and make choices as it came. Ten out of ten stars! ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

a few hours after birth

Besides the horrible afterbirth contractions and having to wait awhile to walk due to the epidural, birth and recovery have been very smooth. We were able to take her home after 24 hours, and the only issue I could see is that she was having a lot of trouble latching and breastfeeding, but I didn't worry much about it because I have nursed two babies and they always figured it out. Two days later I could tell something was terribly wrong. She seemed like she was latching, but she wasn't pooping at all and barely making any pee. We saw a lactation consultant on the fourth day to find out she wasn't transferring milk (hardly at all) and was severely dehydrated and underweight. 

I cried. I felt like such a failure! It was so hard to hear she was basically slowly dying and I didn't know. I had a gut instinct that something was wrong but I couldn't tell what it was. At the lactation office I pumped and fed her about 3 oz and she sucked it up like a sponge and gained .4 oz of weight by the next day! She is doing well, but her poor sleep deprived mama feels a load of guilt over it. I knew I could make milk and it never occurred to me that breastfeeding really is a two way relationship. I was lucky that my first two (even if they had tongue/lip ties) took to it like champs. And I am glad Esther is okay but that was scary.

feeding Esther with a syringe

Pumping is no joke. It takes way longer to pump and feed her in the night! I miss the times with my others where I would literally just stick them to my chest and go back to sleep. Now it takes about an hour to warm her milk, feed her (we are using an SNS system on my finger now instead of syringes) and then pump to make sure I keep up my milk supply. I never knew! It is so worth it to see her happy and gaining. She has another weight check tomorrow and a bilirubin check. 

I love her so much! After having a 10 pound baby boy and an 8 pound baby girl two years later, a little 7 pounder (she's under 7 pounds now so not back at birth weight yet) feels so tiny. She's so little! I didn't buy many newborn clothes since I assumed I would have another big baby. Becky wore newborn clothes for two weeks and Reuben went straight into 0-3 months! She will be in newborn clothes for quite awhile I think.

So thats the story of Esther Rose for now. She's here, we are all tired, we love her, she's perfect, and I am so glad. God has been ever present throughout her birth and life so far and I see the glory, the mercy and the love of the Father every day as I parent her. 

Friday, April 28, 2023

Week 38

Tomorrow I will be 38 weeks pregnant! I'm so excited to get this baby out of me... I am resting. I am praying. I am planning for my natural birth. My bags and things are packed and the kids things are packed for their overnight stay with a friend. My husband is tired and keeps asking me when I am going to give birth. I really hope it will be this week but as I am still two weeks from my "due date" of May 14th, who knows?

Little girl is big, wiggly, kicking me, getting in the way and otherwise taking up all the room. 

My emotions are up and down and so is my energy. The end of pregnancy is just...blarhg. So ready! Bring on the contractions!! Each one will get me closer to baby.

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Week 36

Well, we made it! Only two weeks left until 38 weeks and hopefully I will have this baby sometime that week.  That is what I am hoping. I think she will have a May birthday but I am totally fine with her surprising me with April if she wants. 

I feel like my life is a legit roller coster ride. I am disciplined mom one day and the next riddled with anxiety while feeding my kids toast for lunch. I don't know why life while pregnant is so hard. Perhaps it is that my husband has been working most weekends. Perhaps it is all the hormones and issues I have been dealing with in this pregnancy (gestational diabetes, low blood pressure, fear, stress, autoimmune issues, sickness...pica...) It is probably all of the above. I keep getting stuck in negative thoughts and the downward spiral catches me unprepared. 

This weekend my husband has off and he even took an extra day off just for our family since he has been working so much and he had the audacity to come home sick! Poor husband. He does all he can and now he is sick. Sometimes he wakes up fine the next day so I am hoping that happens tonight so that both of us can get some much needed rest. We need it. 

There has been too much disconnect in our family lately and we all need some family bonding time. Less screen time, more outside time. Less stress. Just to relax together. 

I still have a few things to get ready before baby comes but the main big ones are done. Crib set up, clothes filed away in our new dresser from Amazon. Hospital bag packed. Plans made, name (almost) picked out! Prayers said for my fears and anxieties that circle around me daily as I think about birth and postpartum. School has been set aside for now as we prepare for our family of four to become five. God is so good, and I do wish I had a better attitude throughout this pregnancy but I can't go back and change it now. 

Becky was born at 38 weeks (I can't remember exactly when in the 38th week but towards the end I think) and Reuben the day after his due date at 40 weeks 1 day. When will this little one decide to come into the world? I'm defiantly ready and praying for a day labor this time instead of an overnight adventure! Both my other ones have come (or through) the night and that just adds to the exhaustion. Thus I have asked God for two things--a short labor, if he is willing, and for a labor that starts around 5 am or later so I can start with a good nights rest. I don't know if he will answer my prayers with a yes, but asking can't hurt. I also want him to be tangibly present with me throughout this ordeal. I am praying he will make his glory known to me as I walk this pain with my husband. 

My next OB appointment is Thursday and will include my GBS test and a quick ultrasound to confirm she's head down! Excited to see her one last time before I get to hold her in my arms.

Monday, April 10, 2023

Week 35

Five more weeks (or less) left. We ordered a dresser for the baby things. We still don't have a name. Half my brain is being taken up with remembering my supplements. This is our last week of homeschooling. Brian will have to work late all week! I am trying to make the best of it and care for my mental health, remember to read my bible (and pray every day) and just rest when I need too. The kids are doing great  and Easter was delightful. 

Everything is coming together and I still have to push a human out of my body. I am praying and preparing for birth as much as I can. 

I can't believe I am doing this again. I hope I can make it though the next three weeks...the end of pregnancy is a slow crawl, not a sprint. At least for me. This is our last busy week and then I am going to slow everything down. I need to nest, clean, prepare and plan. I'm out of breath all the time and rolling over is laughable. 

I am feeling a lot healthier which is great. We cooked each and every meal last week. I'm still not waking up early and thats okay. 

I'm almost there! Only a few weeks and one labor and delivery to go. Only a few more weeks. It is so close I can taste it but also...I am remembering contractions, transition, and recovery. Here is to trusting the Lord and leaning deeply into surrender.  

Sunday, March 26, 2023

Week 33

I feel like I am really slowing down. Also Braxton hicks were keeping me up at night, but this week they have decreased a lot (I started to take more magnesium per my doctors recommendation).

I have completed my birth plan and we are 75% prepared. We have the essentials. 

I pulled out my bags and started making plans to pack and also am working on a homeopathic remedy "bag" for labor and postpartum. I am hopeful that some of the suggestions and things I have will take the edge off labor. At least until transition. I mean, transition just sucks. I have my last doula meeting this coming week and...then I just need to wait until the baby is ready!

I have been having, for the past two days, what feels like period cramps. I don't know what is going on in my uterus but things are happening! They don't feel like Braxton hicks. I never had this with my other two pregnancies, or if I did I don't remember. Not sure why my uterus is irritable the last two days, but baby is moving fine and I am not bleeding so I am not worried. 

I am decluttering and organizing our house like crazy, homeschooling, meal prepping, preparing myself mentally and spiritually and trying to somehow wrap my brain around the fact that yes, I am indeed doing this again. We are doing this again. And the end is near. Soon I won't be pregnant and I can wear all the fun spring clothes! Wheee! 

Random picture of pregnant me taken by Becky. 

God is good. And I can do this.

Thursday, March 2, 2023

Week 30

I feel like my mental health has been swinging around like wild vines in a tropical storm. One second I am handing things well and the next I find myself at the bottom of the ocean. I don't think I am coping compentently with pregnancy in general but I am feeling a lot better. We are at the end stretch. Right? 

Two more months until my due month of May. My due date is May 14th and I really hope I am nursing a newborn at that point.

Updated "Need" List

  • Baby clothes (have newborn and 0-3m and swaddles, need 3-6month size)
  • Baby Wrap for mom and carrier for dad (Becky's old one for me, need Ergo for Brian)
  • Aquire crib from friend (picked up and assembled)
  • Sids alarm (got a clip on one but may get a more expensive one)
  • Baby play mat
  • Loads of non-cloth diapers and wipes
  • Dock-A-Tot 
  • Breast Pump
  • High Chair
  • Baby Swing
  • Postpartum/Birth Kit

A friend of mine is throwing me a baby shower sometime in the next 8 weeks and I am beyond excited to celebrate this baby and have companionship with my friends. I also need to prep some freezer meals and fill up our deep freezer that I just emptied out. I also want to paint Becky's dresser that I wanted to paint four months ago but have not done yet. And declutter/clean my house and just make sure I am mentally prepared for birth as much as I can be. 

Big deep breaths. Brian put in for his time off and though he wasn't able to get unpaid time off through FMLA he still has four weeks of paternity leave through his work which is a lot more than most American fathers get. He will take care of us for a week or two and then hopefully be able to install the siding on the house and tackle many other household issues that desperately need attention. 

I feel like I'm here, waiting, trying to finish up our homeschool before the baby comes and prepare for whatever life will look like with three lovely children. 

We still don't have a name for the baby but I am sure we will figure it out soon. Hopefully.

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Things I need help with

I'm 36 and today I met with a local service that councils mothers during pregnancy and postpartum. I was super nervous because I am very bad at admitting when I need help and I also feel like I shouldn't need help! I am an adult for goodness sakes!

Anyway, the service usually assists low income mothers and we are not low income which made me feel even worse, but a friend of mine had been telling me I needed to contact them for literal months now and I knew she was right. I have a chronic illness, a husband who works a lot, very little support from family due to their circumstances, depression over my rapidly declining health due to this pregnancy and a lot of anxiety and stress surrounding birth. I am not handling it well and I have known for awhile now but didn't know much I could do about it. I figured if I met with these ladies for the first time they could tell me if I wasn't a good fit but they didn't! The service meets with you once a week through your pregnancy and for a few months afterwards to help support you mentally and they also offer a lot of classes and other things as options you can "add on" to what you need. Like referrals to counselors, cooking classes, help finding apartments, breastfeeding's a great non profit and I am excited to see what they might be able to help me with. At the first meeting they asked me a lot of questions about what I might be needing and I tried to be honest with what I am struggling with but I couldn't put into words actual questions that I had. 

Well, after mulling over it (and other unrelated things) I thought of the actual issues I am dealing with in my mid-30s and how to turn them into questions. Which lead me down a rabbit hole of unrelated motherhood/postpartum questions and into the deep issues I am dealing with in all facets of my life. I clipped it down to the top 10 things I hope to work on (at least somehow) this year.

1) I need to figure out how to get what I need done around the house (and in the kitchen) without overwhelming myself and using up all the energy in my body. Is this possible? Do other mothers without chronic illnesses deal with this? I get halfway though tasks and run out of whatever energy my body is running on and it literally shuts down. And I shut down. Sometimes for the rest of the day. 

2) I need to find time to be myself. I need a break from the kids that isn't full of stress, screaming, meltdowns or interruptions...ideally this would happen once a week but I would be fine with every other week. If it happens less often usually I am so burnt out I can't take advantage of it.

3) I need to figure out what is wrong with my hormones or myself. I don't like to be touched, and I know my husband definitely isn't interested in an intimacy-free marriage. I know a lot of my trauma with my birth with Reuben plays into this (it's a long story that I did blog about but am having a hard time finding the actual make a long story short, for 18 months after I gave birth sex was horrifically painful. Then for 1 year after I had Becky the same thing happened! I don't know why. Sex doesn't hurt anymore but all those times that it did left a deep impression on me and I just am not interested. There are more reasons too, but that's the biggest one I can think of)

4) Actually start doing some things around our house to, you know, STOP LIVING IN A FIXER UPPER. It has been 10 years. I am ready for my house to not be falling apart, thank you very much. Which means I am about to learn a bunch of new skills. If my chronic illness lets me. But I am so over it. This is not the house I thought I would be living in at 36. I want walls that are only one color, thank you, and siding that is not falling off in places. Literal dreams!

5) How to have better and more understandable boundaries with my extended family. 

6) How to not be on my phone/internet for goodness knows how many number of hours when I am burnt out. It's not a good coping mechanism.

7) How to get enough sleep in the first year after having a baby. Is this a thing that is achievable? I don't know.  

8) How to ask for help when I need it without feeling inadequate and like I'm a horrible mother. 

9) Make space for regular time with friends? Also unachievable since my friends are all exhausted moms can be a goal right?

10) Once a month date night with husband. We need time together. Our communication and intimacy is surviving on threads.

Did I miss anything? 

Monday, February 20, 2023

Week 28

This pregnancy is dragging. But also I am over halfway! 

We have had a lot going on. Tough conversations in our marriage. Tough looks at my life. Reuben is sick with a cold since last week, luckily no one else has gotten it yet. Any new milestone/event is going to cause stress in a relationship, and with my husband working tons of hours coupled with my growing no exception.

Today when my husband woke up he was talking about how this is an easier time; that the first time (when I was pregnant with Reuben) was way scarier for him. But it is not the same for me. This time I know what I am facing; labor and the newborn phase which is mostly handled by me. I know how sleep deprived and stressed and depressed I am going to be. It is really hard, and most of the baby caring and work falls on me.

Frantically I have been trying to figure out how to 'set my self up for success' but I don't know if this is completely possible. I thought I would ask my husband to take off more time from work using the FLMA (unpaid family leave) program but there are two large issues we have discovered when he spoke to his HR. One, if he uses FLMA he looses his insurance. We kind of need that since I will be in the hospital having a baby. Two, he doesn't qualify for FLMA because he is not the one having a baby.

I cried. I need him, he is all I have. And to hear we couldn't take those weeks was such a let down. My mother works, my mother in law is not helpful. We don't have anyone else. I have great friends but all of them are exhausted moms just like me! 

But, the plus side is I have been saving money for the unpaid time off and maybe I can use that money to hire a postpartum doula? Or buy some large $$ items that we need in our house. I haven't decided yet. 

My husband does get four weeks paid leave for this baby. This is amazing and would be enough if he wasn't planning on doing the siding and putting a new roof on our house. He will be working and need me to handle everything else after the baby comes. We need new siding desperately in our home and that was why I wanted him to take extra time, so I would have time to rest when needed and he would have time to get his projects done. Literally parts of our house are falling apart, our roof leaks. It is not fun. I am stressed about our home almost as much as I am stressed about this baby. 

Somehow we have to make it work. I just don't want to sacrifice my mental and physical health for our house...again. I can't do it.

I feel stuck.

I hate feeling stuck. I like to solve my problems. 

Another thing I have been dealing with is a lot of anger with my husband. I have been talking to him about it and trying to work through it. I am angry at him for not letting me birth where I want to birth. I want a home birth. He is vehemently against it. I finally told him that I desperately need him to come to my OB appointments because I am having a really hard time going by myself. I need him. I have never needed him before like this, but I feel stressed whenever I walk into that place and I am having a hard time advocating for myself. I do like my OB (same one I gave birth to Reuben and Becky) I just sometimes don't feel safe there. I don't know what to do about it. I wanted a home birth for so many reasons and I am really struggling with coming to terms with another hospital birth with bright lights and loud machines and constant interruptions for interventions I don't want. I am stressed about potentially having to advocate for myself while in labor. Just because they were mostly great last time I gave birth over five years ago does not mean they will be this time. But with a home birth I would know what I was getting, and I could stay home. My children could stay home. I have been grieving the birth I thought I was going to have and feeling a lot of anger at my husband who I feel does not hear me. 

But I can't do anything about that either. Except pray and try to come to terms with it. My husband does not feel safe with me birthing at home and I can't keep fighting him. I am just miserable. 

Anyway. Today I woke up to a fasting blood sugar of 178. I stared at it in utter shock. Surly that was completely wrong. I have been testing my blood sugar one week a month since this pregnancy started and never had a fasting over 97. I tested my blood sugar a ton with Becky and it was never over 110. I reloaded my device and tested a different finger. It read 177. 

Well, I ate breakfast and two hours later my blood sugar was back down to 88. After lunch it was 87. Those are totally normal readings. I called my OB and she said she has seen high fastings before when people take too long of a break between meals. I did skip my snack last night and I did sleep in and test my fasting later than normal, so maybe that is all it is. I hope it is a number I never see again! I have to control my blood sugar or I will be labeled high risk and I will have a bunch of other issues to fend off. I don't want continual fetal monitoring or an IV when I give birth, and I know if I am technically high risk the hospital will push for these things. 

Please continue to pray for this pregnancy and for my motherhood, my emotional state and my labor. God is good and I will continue to try to trust in him even though these things I can't control...there is a lot of things you can't control about pregnancy. Perhaps that is a lesson God is actively trying to teach me; to trust him more and relinquish my control. 

Happy to be here in the third trimester (finally) with baby girl. Right now I really like the name Adelheid or Heidi for short. It could have something to do with the book I am currently reading by the same name.

12 more weeks until she's due!

Friday, February 3, 2023

Week 25

These past few weeks have been...what I would call a mental health roller coster! Pregnancy hormones and just a lot of adjusting. A lot of crying. 

I have come to realize that I am struggling with a lot of unhappiness over my pregnancy and all the life changes that are coming back to back, like a contraction that just never ends. I feel lonely; my husband is working long hours and I still have trouble going out with so much to do at home. After coming out of those long weeks of survival with morning sickness I feel ugly, washed up, behind, my house is a mess. I feel stuck. Not to mention extremely pregnant! 

As my due date looms closer I am wrestling with fear over labor. I will have to go through this alone. Yes, my husband will be there and I will have a doula, but the pain will be mine alone and the pushing the baby out of my uterus will be preformed Not to mention there are so many complications that can arise during labor and delivery and I am trying not to panic about each one. God will be with me, I have plans for managing the pain as best I can but more and more I come to realize that I really didn't want to do this again. I honestly didn't think I would ever have another baby after six miscarriages! I also really wanted a home-birth. I don't want to be a car while in labor, I don't want to go to a hospital, I don't want to have to try and navigate masks and covid in a hospital setting and all the requirements that come with birthing with Big Pharma. However my husband is not comfortable with a home birth and after 10 weeks of arguing and crying and begging I decided on a hospital birth and I thought that was the end of this dilemma. But now I am struggling with anger towards my husband for not letting me birth where I want. While he may be relaxed and happy with this turn of events, I need to acknowledge and somehow deal with the fact that I am not. And I don't know how to talk to him about it. 

Another thing we have been dealing with is all the inflation and finances and costs of having a baby. I am a minimalist so the cost should be low but we still need diapers, wipes, and many other necessities and inflation is making it no fun. Inflation makes grocery shopping and meal planning no fun! I am going to wait until after my baby shower to buy all the little things... there are so many cute little baby girl things I can't wait for her to wear. I am so thankful I have so many nice friends who, now out of the baby stage, have gifted me many necessities. 

I am in love with this baby. I am not in love with my body, the fatigue, the stress, or the fear surrounding this pregnancy. I am not in love with another hospital birth. I am not looking forward to sleepless nights, sore nipples, pain after labor, bleeding, hemorrhoids, and my postpartum body.

Maybe this baby will sleep.

With the added burden of growing a human I have also not been handling daily life well. I have been sleeping in--which I finally decided to stop feeling bad over and I switched my morning routine around to a night routine and it is working well. Maybe one day I will wake up before 8am again. We started putting the kids to bed later and now they don't wake up before us which is really nice. See, there are adjustments that can be made, but change is still hard! 

Though it all God has been my constant companion. Reuben's verse that he is memorizing right now in school is my pregnancy verse. I want it on the wall when I give birth. 

Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:7
I think and pray this verse at least once a day. I want to be strong and courageous instead of fearful and afraid. 

Another thing I have been meditating on is the prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi. I also want this on the wall when I give birth.

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is error, the truth;
Where there is doubt, the faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled, as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.

Even in the midst of hard things, God is there. And I can have peace. His will will be done and I can trust in him.

Saturday, January 21, 2023

Week 23

Well. I got the stomach bug. 

It was awful.

That was last week.

This week has been such a struggle to get back on the "wagon" of life. My husband has been working super long hours, we had my birthday and Becky's 5th birthday... By the end of this week I desperately needed a break. I went out with some friends to celebrate and it was much needed. I can't keep forgoing being in communion with others because life is hard. It is cathartic to gather together and spending those two hours over dinner chatting with other moms heaped healing waters on my thirsty soul! It is worth making time for even if I feel like a potato. 

Today is Becky's celebration day. We got her a fresh market cake (mom, please don't try to make a healthy cake the kids ask now HAH) and invited some of her little friends over to sculpt with clay and enjoy some playtime. 

We put the crib together. I added more things to my registry as a mental to-do list. We brainstormed some names.

I like Primrose. My husband hates it, so it is basically off the table. He likes Esther, which I think is pretty. Possible contender. I like Rose or Aleta or Alette for a middle name but we haven't talked much about middle names. I would love to call her Lettie for short (I love that name from Howls Moving Castle). He likes Gwendolyn, but I do not. It reminds me of the wicked witch? I have no idea why. But it is not on my list. So. I don't know what her name will be yet but as she is hardly ready to make a debut...we still have plenty of time to argue about it. We never agree on names. It always works itself out by birth time...somehow.

I need to figure out, somehow, a new normal for this pregnancy. And remember to have some discipline in my life.

Last week was hard. I wonder what next week will bring?

Sunday, January 8, 2023

Week 22 (too much vomit)

Last week was a blur. After a wonderful vacation, we had normal life resume and it was hard! I am still having trouble waking up early and then on Friday both kids were vomiting. They started after we drove back from an event! I hope we didn't get people sick, but literally there were no signs until, 10 seconds from home, both kids threw up. 

Vomit is my least favorite part of motherhood. I threw both kids in separate showers, threw everything I could find that had vomit on it in the wash and spent the next 30 minutes cleaning the car. I also called my husband because I needed help. As I was stripping the carseats, he pulled up and then he proceeded to spend 2 hours scrubbing, mopping, bleaching and vacuuming the car. That is how bad it was. It was AWFUL. 

Today our car still smells like vomit. It is disgusting and I have to drive an hour to Charlottesville for a dentist appointment tomorrow. I plan to cover my car in baking soda overnight and then apply EO to it before we leave bright and early in the morning. 

Becky seemed fine after her one throw up. Reuben however woke up at 11am and vomited all over his room. I put him to sleep on the floor on a camping mattress and we spent the next hour detail cleaning his room. Piles of laundry were surmounting at this point.

I think it was food poisoning? We recovered all day Saturday where there was blessedly NO MORE THROWING UP but Brian had a horrible stomach ache and low energy. I guess the three of them ate something that was bad? I can't think of what it was! I eat most things they do but have been perfectly fine, thank God! 

We skipped church on Sunday. I feel bad about it but one, I don't want to give germs (if we have any) and two we are exhausted and I'm still doing laundry. 

Anyway, on Saturday I found out I was having a girl! The kids made me a wonderful card. I thought it was a joke. I have felt so strongly that it was a boy. I even thought I saw a penis on the ultrasound at 14 weeks or whenever we had the first one. It took me all day to come to terms with it. Another girl?! We are having a girl!! I thought it was a boy. I knew it was a boy! I have never been so wrong LOL. I am still adjusting.

It's a girl! Four more months to go. 

Also this week: I completely smashed my phone. Need to figure something out because my phone is how I take pictures for my blog. Guess I'll pull out the DSLR?

Updated "Need" List

  • Baby clothes at least to 6m size in the home and swaddles
  • Baby Wrap for mom and carrier for dad
  • Aquire crib from friend (picked up but not assembled) [thanks Hilary] 
  • Sids alarm (I plan to not sleep with this baby you can laugh with me later)
  • Baby play mat
  • Loads of non-cloth diapers and wipes
  • Dock-A-Tot (Facebook marketplace?)
  • Breast Pump
  • High Chair
  • Baby Swing [thanks Heather]
  • Postpartum/Birth Kit
And I made a baby registry. So many cute things!