Dear God,

I feel somewhat overwhelmed, not quite drowning, but just treading water. I want to enjoy being a mom and wife. I do love it, but the laundry pile is massive, I’m not patient enough, my to-do list is only getting longer with no hope in sight of anything getting finished, all I want to do is sit down and read and play with the kids all day, but stuff is always getting in the way. I love schedules and order, but there seems to be nothing but chaos and disorder. How do I just let go of the “stuff” that doesn’t matter and focus on what does? How do I not let bad attitudes steal our joy? How do I keep a good perspective when everything seems to be going wrong? How do I spend time with You, exercise AND respond to my husband well when at the end of the day all I want to do is hide in my room with a book? I LOVE my family, we want more kids, but I simply don’t know how to do this, AND we are homeschooling – am I crazy??? I certainly feel crazy…

I feel so lame for not being able to handle this, I mean I’ve got it pretty good. I have a warm house, we are healthy, and have plenty of food, while there are people being killed for their faith all over the world, people struggling with depression, mental illness, and health issues, rampant poverty, and millions of orphans in deplorable conditions, and here I am gripping.

Forgive me, Lord. I so quickly loose sight of You and Your plan. Please give me the strength I need for each day, and Your grace for all my short comings. This is where You have me and what You have for me right now. Your plan is perfect and You will give me the strength not just to survive, but to overcome and bring You glory.

I know there are no easy solutions to my questions and that I’ll ask these questions again (most likely before this day is over), but I do know You aren’t leaving me to do this on my own.

Thank You for Your faithfulness. Thank you that your mercies are new each morning – what a blessing that is…

Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23 (NKJV)

Hemophilia

A week before baby was due, we found out Blondie has hemophilia.

I feel like that is a rather straight forward statement, and I am surprised I can say it so easily, but truth be told, it was a relief to find out what was going on.

He has always bruised easily and has had lots of bruises, but initially we weren’t that concerned about it. When he was 18 months old, he broke his leg, and because of his bruising they did some blood work, but it all came back normal. We had an appointment with a pediatrician to inquire about bleeding disorders, but in his opinion a bleeding disorder was unlikely.

Up unto this point, Blondie had had bruising, but no cuts of any sort. Since that appointment he had cut his finger, then cut his forehead in a fall, and bit his tongue twice, and all of these injuries took a long time to heal and required stitches to finally heal properly. We decided we needed to pursue this further when he had a mosquito bite that “dribbled” blood after we swatted the bug away. That most certainly wasn’t “normal”.

So we went back to the doctor’s and were referred to a hematologist. The first appointment was for blood work, with an appointment to discuss the results roughly a month later. My husband took Blondie into the city the day before for the blood work (we live 3 hours away from the hospital), and they were back the next day by noon. Just over an hour after they got back, I got a call from the doctors office saying that they wanted us back the next day to talk about results. At this point my heart was racing and I was jumping to worst-case-scenarios. I asked, “That’s not good, is it??” to which the nurse responded “Well, it’s not like you have to take him to the emergency room or anything, but the doctor wants to see you right away”. That’s all she said.

And did I mention that these appointments are all through the cancer department of the hospital? That does absolutely nothing to set ones heart and mind at ease…

Hanging up the phone, I fell on my knees. As I prayed through the sobs, I knew God was in control, and I fought against the fear that wanted to take over.

The next 24 hours were the longest, hardest, scariest hours I have yet lived.

I first called my husband at work and he cancelled his schedule for the next day and came home early. Then we waited. We prayed. We made it through a restless night. Driving to the city that morning my nerves were fried, and then getting to the office we had to wait some more.

When we were finally called in and thought the wait was over, we were stuck with the resident doctor and had to answer a million questions before we even saw the doctor. Once the doctor came in, he quickly got to the point and told us Blondie has hemophilia.

We were surprised.

I remember feeling very stunned.

Since the diagnosis, I have read the stories of other parents finding out their sons have hemophilia, and compared to their experiences ours wasn’t nearly as traumatic. This is for several reasons. One is that he does not have sever hemophilia, he is a moderate hemophiliac, therefore, his symptoms weren’t as bad as they could have been. Second, we knew something was wrong, we just didn’t know exactly what it was, so we were expecting a diagnosis, we just weren’t expecting this.

So what is hemophilia? Hemophilia is a rare bleeding disorder (only 3500 in Canada) in which ones blood does not clot properly. There are two types, A and B, with A being the more common of the two (Blondie has hemophilia A). It is caused by a defect in one of the genes that determines how the body makes clotting factor. This defect results in hemophiliacs having less or no clotting factor (factors are steps in the clotting process). Missing or having less factor (factor 8 for hemophilia A and factor 9 for hemophilia B) means that Blondie bleeds longer than usual because the clotting process cannot be completed properly. He doesn’t bleed more than someone without hemophilia, just longer. It is an inherited disease, but because we have no family history we will be getting some genetic testing done to see if I am a carrier (only women are carriers) or to determine if he has a new mutation (about one third of hemophiliacs are the result of new mutations also known as acquired hemophilia).

I could go on and on with the information we are learning, but I’ll save that for later…

So we are here, now knowing, and working through what that all means.

We most certainly would greatly appreciate your prayers for wisdom, health and discernment in dealing with this condition.

We know that above all, God is in control and knows Blondie has hemophilia and that He is in all things. We aren’t worried about that, but we truly desire our son to know Him and know that God doesn’t make mistakes. We have a long journey ahead of us, but have a peace that carries us.

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The Day Before

So the day before our littlest was born, I woke up and told my husband I couldn’t bear to spend another day sitting around the house waiting for the baby to come. So he disappeared for a bit and when he came back he announced we were going on an adventure.

But I think I ought to share what life was like around hear leading up to this point. On this particular day I was 8 days over due, ya I know, not a bit deal, but I was totally done with being pregnant. My doula had been out for a visit two weeks before and asked how I was doing. When I responded with, “Great!” she then said the baby would be a while yet. She was right.

Happy had been 11 days over and I felt like I had dealt with that wait a whole lot better. Maybe it was similar this time, I guess I don’t really remember, but what I do know is that I was grouchy, I wanted the baby to be born already, and my poor kids and husband had to put up with me. No one was having fun. Oh, and did I mention this was the beginning of 2 weeks my husband was taking off? Not that he was expecting a holiday or anything waiting around for the baby to be born, but I wasn’t making it that pleasant.

Each night I went to bed I thought, “Tonight the baby with come”. Each morning I woke up I was first disappointed that I hadn’t gone into labor, then I began to hope that today was the day. It was a depressing cycle. Guess I gotta work on that attitude for next time…

Anyway, on this day I so badly wanted to have a good day.

My hubby loaded the kids into the car and we were off. He wouldn’t tell me where we were going or what we were doing. It was kinda exciting.

We ended up taking all kinds of back country roads to places around here that either he or we had never been to.

It was great.

We saw a bunch of animals. Rescued a turtle off the road. Visited a buffalo jump. Found a place to have lunch. Went to a lake where the boys explored for a long time while Happy napped.

It was such a good day.

I needed that so badly.

That night as I was going to bed there was the joy of knowing I spent this day well. That hadn’t been happening often in the last few weeks, and I hate going to bed with regrets, wishing I had done better, resolving to do better tomorrow. While I love the days where things just go well and good days seem to just happen, that isn’t the norm and more often than not you have to make those good days happen. Lately, I had just been getting through each day, not putting in much of an effort, and it hasn’t been pretty. My bad attitude was not doing any of us any favors. So ending this day well was a huge blessing (thanks for helping out, hubby).

Imagine my surprise when I was up quite a bit that night with contractions and was having regular contractions by that morning. Yay! Today was the day.

After she was born, I was thinking about the days leading up to her birth, and was so grateful for a good day before. There was a measure of redemption in that day, and I thank God for forgiving me my cranky moments, and helping me have happier ones.

The Turtle

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The Buffalo Jump

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Thanks, Hubby!IMG_2621

September

Buddy. You and Blondie started violin this month. I’ve been very surprised by how much you remembered form last year seeing as we practiced very little during the summer. Good job! This month you also really enjoyed all the visitors we had this month who came to meet your baby sister. You are such a social little man, and love being around people, and I’d have to say, you are a really fun kid to be around :) It has also been a blessing to see how much you love your siblings, and how you express that. You play so well with them, help them when they need it and you do such a good job watching out for them.

Blondie. You turned 4! You also started violin and what has surprised me is that even though you didn’t take lessons last year, you sure learned a ton from watching and listening and now you are learning so fast. You have spent the entire month loving on your new baby sister. Every chance you get to hold her or be near her, you take and you are so sweet and gentle with her. It is so sweet to see because when Happy was born you were alot younger and weren’t necessarily the most gently little one, but now you are so interested and sweet with her. I love how you still love being a super hero. Just this morning, you looked at me with your sweet brown eyes filled with anticipation and asked if you could be a super hero. I couldn’t say no. This resulted in all three of you transforming into super heros, running around around the house like crazy, making more noise than I like, but happier than anything.

Happy. This month we had a birthday party for you and Blondie. Your excitement was contagious. You loved the balloons, and were very excited about your birthday cake.  You are such a busy little two year old, and you keep us all on our toes. There are days where I simply don’t know what to do with you, but you are such a joyful child, it is hard to stay frustrated with you. More often than not, your dad and I find ourselves laughing at the you because you are such a little clown (and I think you know it). You also love your new baby, and can’t get enough of her. Ever since we brought her home, you rub my stomach, shake your head and say, “Baby no in tummy, baby out”. So sweet.

Baby. You were born! I’m still working on coming up with a nickname for you. All of your siblings were older when they got their nicknames, so you might need to wait a bit. So for now I will call you Baby. We are so happy you are finally here.  I absolutely love holding you, and will take all the cuddles I can get. You are well loved, my dear…

She’s Here!!

On September 3rd, 2014 at 10 p.m. our baby girl was born.

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This was taken when she was less than a day old.

Birth Story

You, my dear, were 10 days over. I wasn’t quite as patient with this wait as I was with the 11 day wait for your sister. Clearly I need to keep working on being patient, and you and your siblings have been excellent teachers.

I had had very few signs of labour, and the night before you were born I had been up off and on with contractions. I got out of bed at 4:45 a.m. because I was having a hard time sleeping. By the time your dad got up at 7, the contractions were about 5 minutes apart. With all of you, my contractions were 5 minutes apart when we headed to the hospital, so we figured we should head in. Besides, that day I had a doctor’s appointment and an ultrasound because I was overdue so I figured we had to go in anyway…

We got to the hospital around 10 in the morning. I was 3 cm dilated and unfortunately the contractions had slowed right down. So we went for a walk to help speed things up. Our doula showed up just before noon. The contractions got to two minutes apart, but they weren’t very strong and weren’t getting stronger. Even though things were going slow, I had not had any back labor yet (which at this point with the other kids, I was having bad back labor) and I was very grateful for that.

At 5:30 the doctor broke my water and things started to happen. From this point on, besides not having back labor, the labor was pretty much just like the other three. Things started progressing and the contractions only got stronger and stronger. I lost track of time but around 9:20 p.m. I started feeling pressure. When checked, I was 7-8 cm, and by 9:45 p.m. I was fully dilated and started to push. The nurses knew I usually didn’t have to push too long and rushed to call the doctor. Fortunately she lives close by and she was here in time to catch our little one who arrived at 10 p.m. (although she did say she lucked out and didn’t get any red lights on the way in).

Oh the relief of finally being done labor and the sweet joy of holding you. I was so thrilled to finally have you in my arms, and I barley put you down throughout the night.

We were able to go home the next morning and were home by noon. We were welcomed back by my mom, my sister (who were watching our kids) and our kiddos.  It was so sweet to see Buddy, Blondie and Happy with their new baby sister. The wonder in their eyes was so precious.

Welcome here, little one. We love you, and we thank God for your life. Your dad and I have prayed for you before you were even conceived, and we will continue to pray for you. You are a sweet blessing from God…

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Birthday Party!

Happy and Blondie have birthdays pretty close together so this was their 2nd annual joint birthday party. Thanks to my hubby (party game coordinator), my mom (pinata designer and creator), my best friend (babysitter extraordinaire), and many other helpful hands we managed to keep some 15+ children busy, sending them home with enough cake in their stomachs and candy in their treat bags to guarantee a sugar high that might make their parents question their decision to accept our invitation :)

All in all, we are thankful to have had such a nice day to spend with family and friends, playing games and celebrating the gifts God gave us in Blondie and Happy.

Happy Birthday!

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Thank you to everyone for the gifts!

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Here comes the candy!IMG_2912IMG_3460