Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Conversations with Amanda

"Mama, you're white."

"And I'm brown."

"And Nana (Ana) is black."

"But I don't want her to be black. I want her to be..."

(Waiting for a profound answer.)

"Purple!" Giggle, giggle.

"And Tony should be orange and Tyler should be green and Daddy should be blue. Tali should be, um, pink!" More giggles.

Everyone should get to live in a family as colorful as ours, don't you think?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Yes, I do have a garden...

But have been too embarrassed to show pictures of it. :) Deer and sandy soil have been the bane of my gardening career at this house but finally last fall I had a load of black dirt delivered. When we started our pet sitting business, we bought a kennel, but haven't used it much for the dogs. I thought it would make a great starter-size garden for me.

As the ground thawed, I came out and raked the black dirt a little at a time. When it finally was spread to a reasonable depth, I covered it with the black plastic and had the guys move the kennel on top. I had hopes for nice neat planter boxes or something, but my men are busy and I couldn't do it.

All my visions for gardening come from children's math games. Neat, single rows of plants. So, I planted onions, spinach, snow peas and squash in that manner. I started some squash and spinach in the house with dismal results. Out of 20 squash seeds, I have four or five plants. The spinach did fine and I had some great salads. The snow peas have been excellent and the onions are okay. I keep pulling them when they are little and adding them to salads.

Enter baby #6 and all gardening ground mostly to a halt. My neighbor shared a great gardening book, Garden Way's Joy of Gardening, and I was dying to stick more stuff in my garden. By this time I thought it was too late to put more stuff in the ground.

When my computer died and was in the shop for over a week, I had time to read the entire book. Wow! I learned a ton! I finally ventured out with all the girls to the garden shop. You know the great thing about garden shops in July? Everything is half price and the tomato plants come fully loaded!

I had put the black plastic down to avoid weeds and I hate walking on black dirt, but I ended up tearing it all up so I could cram more stuff into the garden. I dug in the spinach once it had gone to seed. I planted kale and beans. I soaked the bean seeds over night. I also started a homemade seed tape of carrots in the house. The beans and kale sprouted within four days and the carrots began to sprout in the wet paper towels which I then rolled out and covered with dirt. After two weeks I still haven't seen much from the carrots, but I know they take a long time. It's so fun to have more stuff growing in the garden.

I knew buying the fully, loaded, greenhouse-loving tomato plants was going to be either brilliant or a disaster. It's been both. I have picked enough tomatoes to cover the cost, but they've had a pretty rough go. This is the healthier looking of the two plants. It's mostly red tomatoes but there are some yellow ones in there.

I underestimated just how often hanging tomatoes would need to be watered. And this plant shows it. It has and keeps giving me delicious little yellow tomatoes, despite its sad appearance.

The snow peas should be done soon and then I will train the squash to grow up the sides of the kennel. In theory, I could wrap the kennel with clear poly and make hot house to extend the season a bit but we'll see if that happens. :)

I do love my garden. Going out there makes me happy! And I can't wait to do more next year.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Good News!

I had my ultrasound this morning and everything looks just fine! Yeah! Thank goodness because that whole bed rest thing just wasn't happening. I've been able to lay around enough to manage the uterus/bladder issues but the obscure idea of bedrest for low fluid escaped me. And my husband. And especially the little girls.

I will be following up with my doctor on Thursday but I'm glad to have that question answered!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

TMI-Considered Yourself Warned

I think it's funny or odd or whatever that I consider the following too much information but have no problem posting pictures of me breastfeeding with a supplementor or writing my birth story. But I know many of you care about me and I couldn't just write, "I'm having issues," not disclose what they are and not have many of you worried. So...

At about this point in my pregnancy with Tali, 14-16 weeks, my uterus prolapsed. That means it dropped very, uncomfortably and alarmingly low. Like, "could it fall out?" low. I panicked and got to the doctor as quick as posssible after reading alarming information on the internet, of course. My doctor was so great and relaxed about it. She said it was common and would get better as my pregnancy progressed. Laying down in a position that would use gravity to move things back into place was the only treatment. It got better sometime before nineteen weeks, right after my aunt who was a nun prayed over my belly. Seriously, the next day it was fine.

So when it started happening again, I wasn't too concerned. I didn't do as much laying around because I thought it was just annoying and not really a problem. Until I woke up Wednesday morning and was not able to urinate. Yeah, not cool.

With great difficulty, I was able to finally get some relief but was pretty freaked out. Thankfullly it was a day when Mike was working nearby and our house helper was due to come at 8 am. Tyler didn't have to work until later so Mike woke him up to drive me while he stayed with the little girls. Amanda was also scheduled for a dental appointment at 10 am.

I even felt awkward explaining to Tyler the problem. He was so great!

I had him take me right to the ER. It was 7:30 am so I didn't think the clinic would be open, plus not being able to pee is a pretty big emergency to me.

Good grief! Do they work slow as molasses in the ER! Sheesh! Hello! Woman with a full bladder here! Finally after much dawdling and inspecting, the nurse taught me how to self-catheter so that when I have issues at home, I could take care of it myself. Her expectations were that I would need use a catheter everytime I needed to urinate. After the fact, no after being left in the room another hour waiting, I was thankful, things were better and I could go on my own. How in the world would I have time to use a cath. each time I needed to pee?

They had trouble finding the heart beat again so they went to go find the ultrasound machine. I'm left in the room for at least fifteen minutes as they go get each item them need. Unable to eat, nauseous, and miserable. When she did the ultrasound she was concerned about the fluid being low and wanted to send me over to the clinic for a better ultrasound to check. And then she left the room again...

By this time my blood sugar is really low, which means my nausea is cranking up and my anxiety is through the roof. I started worry about Tyler sitting in the waiting room and hadn't had any breakfast and didn't know what was going on. I worried about the little girls at home, having to be left with our help when Mike needed to leave to take Amanda to her appointment, I worried about how difficult it was going to be to recover from this blood sugar dive. It easily spirals out of control if I don't eat regularily. I was not worried about the little baby in my belly. Well, not too much. But I knew that no matter what, the littlest member of my family was in the safest place possible at that moment.

Finally, I got some information that the only treatment for low fluid is bedrest which I needed to do for the prolapse anyways. They brought me coffee and Zolfran and sent Tyler some food from the cafeteria. They were still waiting for calls back from the doctor and radiology. They had worked through a list of doctors who could help and no one was around. I told them to have them call me at home to make the appointments. I was just anxious to get home at this point and get the nausea under control.

Then they told me a Code Green was coming in. Everyone started moving fast at this point. I don't know what a Code Green is but I thought it was a good time to get out of there fast. Too late. At this point, I began to feel like a hostage. I "couldn't" leave until the doctor, then nurse signed off. I did get dressed and go out into the waiting room with Tyler to eat the salads I had brought and share some of his breakfast. Most of his breakfast we brought home to the little girls.

Well, the Code Green was a man who was knocks off his friend's roof by a falling chimney which then landed on him. Not good! I prayed for him and his friends and family while we waited. They were very distressed. Obviously!

Another 1/2 hour later and we were on our way home with supplies and instructions and appointments scheduled.

So, nothing to do but lay around at home. Ha, ha! I email my doctor and she told me not to be concerned about the fluid, but it was good to get it checked. The ER doctor had already spoken to her and shared the story. Thankfully, I haven't had any more urinary issues and have help scheduled to come. The little girls did fine. Amanda did great at her appointment. The nausea is managed...for the most part.

On the way home, I remembered how during our infertility, when pregnant women would complain about there pregnancy problems, I used to think, "Gee, sounds like a nice problem to have."

There's nothing nice about any problems during pregnancy. Forgive me for ever thinking such a thing.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

All good things...

Must come to an end.

Here's my sweet little baby early in the morning clutching her bedtime bunny and blanket. This was Sunday. The last day she nursed. :( I figured the end was close. My milk has been dwindling and sometimes I wouldn't even feel a let down. She did her best to keep nursing as long as possible but it's been a little frustrating for her lately. It's too bad. Nursing was such a great way to cheer her up or keep her busy. I would have loved to nurse her through my pregnancy and tandem nursed the two babes. It was not meant to be.

Even though she received the most breastmilk overall, she was "breastfed" the shortest of my girls. Amanda nursed with the supplementor until 18 months and Ana was getting pumped milk right up until 21 months. Tali is 17 months.

Tali has really been growing up these last few months. She has become a very spunky little toddler, no longer complacently accepting all of her sisters advances and infringements on toys and space. She has also become very verbal and repeats so many words, sounds and gestures. I wish I remembered to sign more because she copies them very easily. All the girls do. It's so much fun...most of the time. ;)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Hi Kristen!

Kristen left me this message on my last post and I wanted to offer some words here:

"I've been visiting your blog for awhile for inspiration because my husband and I are beginning the domestic adoption journey. We both feel strongly about adoption, however, doubts have started to creep in recently. Will the child be hurt or maladjusted when they are older? Should we be trying harder for another biological child through ivf, as we clearly were able to conceive our 8 year old with no problem? I could drive myself crazy with all the questioning, so I'm trying to keep my eyes on the path. Wondering if you have any perspective on all this?"

I had so many doubts and concerns going into the adoption process. I wondered many of the same questions. Thankfully I had straight words and wonderful encouragment for those around me.

One friend told us straight up, "Adoption is a ministry. It is not the same as building a family." Adopted children will struggle with their adoptions. It is a loss and it needs to be grieved and processed by a child. If they are a different race than you, they will face challenges that will be new to you. They may have disabilities and exposures that are not disclosed by the birth mom but will affect their lives significantly. The rules are different. Relationships are different. Parenting will look different. You will be different.

I am different. I wouldn't trade our adoption experience for anything. It has stretched and grown our hearts and families (and church and neighborhood) in unique ways. We are more tender, sensitive and aware of so many hard and beautiful aspects of life that were not even on our radar five years ago. I'd love to adopt again.

I think the biggest tradgedy is a child being separated from its mother. I cry every time I watch the Land Before Time. So the thought of being the one who separates a child from her mother was breaking my heart. But my cousin reminded me that God chooses our children. I was meant to be my girls' mother. They were separated from their mother until the day we met. :)

The reality is there are women who are making adoption plans for their children. There is need for families willing to give these children homes. Sometimes it can feel like a competition or like you're trying to "sell yourself" but you are putting your family out there to be available and give these women a choice. Plus the dollars you spent on adoption puts advertising in front of women facing unexpected pregnancies. They may decide to parent their child in the end but a life has been saved. That's worth every penny!

Our children are a gift from God. We never know how much time we have with each one. We hold each one tenderly for the time we have them and prepare to release them when the time comes. Whether it be through tragedy, marriage, military, or going to build a relationship with their birth families. We will treasure the time we have.

I hope this helps. I have receive so much inspiration, encouragment and reality checks from Urban Servant, His Hands and Feet Today, Days of Wonder and Grace and from John Piper's sermon about adoption and one more from John Piper.

Monday, July 11, 2011

State Shutdown

Here in Minnesota the state goverment has been shut down since July 1st. There was a budget stalemate or something. I really don't pay a lot of attention to those kinds of things. I'm a little busy, you know.

It hasn't affected us directly but two years agp, it would have impacted our lives significantly. We would have been stuck in Florida, indefinitely, waiting for our paperwork to be accepted and cleared by the Minnesota agency responsible for adoptions.

I know there are many families affected by this shutdown- dad's that are out of work, support services for special needs children, etc.- But when I heard the story of this family stuck in Cedar Rapids, IA, the impact of this shutdown really hit home.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


Last year we had quite a bit of drama because Amanda was terrified of anything that buzzed near her head. This year it's Tali who's afraid of things that fly. That extends to things that look like things that fly. On the way to church this morning, Tali was fussing and crying. I looked over and saw her looking terrified while staring at the ceiling of the van. Tony's MP3 player was reflecting a butterfly-shaped light onto the ceiling of the van. It was pretty funny but I had him flip it over so she wasn't fussing.

She's also been concerned about the pool water reflecting on the garage ceiling made even more alarming when she walks in front of it and causes a shadow.

But the funniest Tali fear happened when she discovered her shadow. She was trying to come sit by me but her shadow was between me and her. She finally climbed up on my lawn chair and thought she was safe. After a while she got back down and wandered back to the pool. Then she turned around to see me again and there was her shadow. This happened repeatedly. It made me laugh but was really concerned. Love this age!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Happy Birthday Christiana!!!

Today we celebrated Christiana second birthday. The party wagon showed up around 10 am with cousins. grandmas, cake, lunch and fruit. I'm so glad I can count on my mom to make birthdays special around here. :)

The kids spent most of the time playing in the new pool on our deck which is really funny because Tristen and Elizabeth have a much bigger pool at our house. Still they couldn't wait to hop in our tiny little baby pool.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

12 Weeks

Yesterday was my first OB visit. I waited until the last minute (week 11) to call to get in for an appointment. At which time they informed me that I was expected to come in and take a pregnancy test and have a visit with an intake nurse before they would even schedule a visit with my doctor. I said, "Yeah, that's not going to happen. There's no way I'm driving all the way over there, paying for a pregnancy test, and not even getting to see my doctor." Then I left a message for my doctor and started trying to find a midwife again.

I was already pretty stressed about getting any OB appointments because Mike's really the only one I'm comfortable with leaving the girls with and since he's gone twice a week to his other store, I hate to ask him to take more time off from his store here. Plus with driving and waiting around it ends up being at least a three hour adventure- for a 15 minute visit. Ugh!

The next day some one called me back and schedule my nurse's visit and first OB on the same day without doing the test. Yeah! And since my doctor had decided to work on a day that she had previously scheduled off, I was able to get in on week 12.

So yesterday was the day. I took Tali with me because Mike's still a little nervous to be in charge of all three little girls. She was so sweet. The nurses visit was a total waste of time. It could really have been done over the phone. More waiting and we finally saw the doctor.

I love my doctor. She's so great! We discussed my care and what things were imperative and what things I could opt out of. We talked about how coffee has really been helping with the morning sickness. When I researched it, I found that the caffeine in coffee stimulates (in a round about way) the liver to release stored glycogen. Which means sugar gets right into my blood stream and I can function. Where as, when I eat something sweat, my pancreas is stimulated to produce insulin which cause my overall blood sugar to drop making things worse. She said that made sense and that she thought a couple of cups of coffee a day were fine.

Then it was time to hear the heart beat. I was so thrilled. Tali was worried. She didn't like me laying on the table or the sound of the doppler machine. She was sitting up on my chest. My doctor was moving the doppler around on my very full bladder. I kept waiting to hear that loud, fast, little beating heart. But instead we just kept hearing the deeper, slower beat that I knew was my own. She asked if my uterus was tipped back. I couldn't remember. She asked if we had trouble hearing Tali's heart beat. The first time I saw her with Tali was to find out how far along I was so we had done an ultrasound. She just wasn't finding it.


Then she asked it I wanted to do an ultrasound. My first thought was, "Ugh! That's $200 dollars!" I wasn't going to do any ultrasounds because they were so expensive. But, yeah, can imagine me coming home and telling, well anybody who cares about me, "The doctor couldn't find the heartbeat but I'm sure it's fine." So I told her, "Yes."

My mind is racing as I'm laying there on the table with Tali on my chest. "What if I'm not really pregnant? And I threw that big stink about refusing to take the test. Is that why they make you take it? So then the doctor doesn't have to be the one to break the news to you? What happens if there is no heartbeat? Maybe that coffee wasn't such a great idea."

I laid there for what seemed like a really long time, with about 25 lbs of Tali on my chest and a very full bladder.

Finally the doctor came back and she could see the baby and it's heart beat but it wasn't moving. She said she usually likes to see movement too. More rolling around on my bladder. Finally Tali started crying because she had just had enough. That little baby jumped and flipped and turned and kicked. What a relief! Mike said that the poor thing was just napping. It finally had some peace and quiet. :) Mike also said he was glad common sense prevailed and I agreed to the ultra sound.