And Baby Makes Six

I distinctly remember being in the hospital after giving birth to our third son thinking, “I never want to do that again.”

Within six months of having our first and second sons, I desperately wanted another baby. Not right then, of course, because I could imagine the havoc of multiple children that close in age, but I knew with everything in me that I wanted more children. After my third, not so much. Not after he was born, not when he was six months old, not when he was 18 months old. Not to try for a girl, not to have an even number, not to feel the magic of a baby growing inside me again. We were having serious “are we done?” conversations.

There were so many things associated with having another baby that I wanted to avoid: the stress over whether the baby has IVA, making plans for the baby’s care just in case he does have IVA, the prenatal testing for IVA, oh, and let’s not forget the actual labor and delivery part of it all.

And yet, here I am celebrating the Christmas season of 2016, easing out of the first trimester and, Lord willing, going to do it all over again.

Saying Goodbye to a Doctor

I colored the pirate with a chunky blue crayon and rarely looked my friend in the face. I paid careful attention to the coloring sheet as if it mattered to the structure of my life, as if I weren’t sure that I could hold it together without the finished picture. I still ended up wiping away tears. 2016 has been the year that involved crying over a doctor at Toddler Time.

In January, we rolled off the ambulance after two and half hours and entered the children’s hospital through the back doors to the emergency room. It was not the way I planned to spend my weekend but nevertheless, at seven on a Friday night, I thanked the ambulance workers and took Micah down the hall to the bathroom. We rounded the corner and the ER doors burst open as Micah’s metabolic doctor came in. He took a long look at Micah and started asking questions, giving orders, and hunting down the nurse. That’s why we transferred to the children’s hospital.

As we were settling into our room the ER nurse commented how unusual that was: genetics never comes to the ER. I breathed a prayer of thanks for how, once again, Andrew had gone above anything I ever expected him to do.

I Didn’t Speak Dutch: 3 Ways to Creatively Love Our Neighbors

Today I’m thrilled to share Charissa Steyn and part of her story of living in the Netherlands. One thing I’ve been praying about in my own life is how I can love the people around me who might not seem like “my people.” Charissa provides some examples where she was on the receiving end.

I’m embarrassed to say this, but after two years of living in the Netherlands I never learned Dutch. At least not anything beyond “hoi, hoi” which is a typical greeting for hello or goodbye in the southern province.

Anytime someone would ask about how my Dutch was coming along I would mumble something about my lack of progress. I often wonder how our time here would have looked if I taught myself to carry on simple conversation in Dutch, put my kids in a Dutch preschool, or took language classes once a week. Would we have stayed longer or had stronger community? Perhaps.

But that didn’t stop my neighbors, Reen and Hannelie, from embracing us.  

No Cheese on Anything

If Facebook documented my relationship with food instead of my husband it would say “It’s Complicated.”

I used to like food. I grew up helping my mom cook, sitting on the counter while my Mamaw made biscuits, and perusing the aisles of the grocery store during our weekly visits.

Cooking dwindled during college except for the rare occasion in a dark dorm basement with rusty pots. But my love for feeding myself and the people I cared about revived when I got married and we moved into our first small apartment.

The kitchen and living room were just one open end of the apartment with the stove tucked next to the sink. There was no counter space beside the stove, that was on the other side of the table around a wall beside the refrigerator but that didn’t bother me. I told myself it had atmosphere.

We’re All Older Women

I’ve never been a good fangirl. When I was at Declare Conference in July I did go talk to Kat Lee because when else am I going to meet Kat Lee? At Influence Conference last year I had my picture taken with Ruth Simons and Erin Loechner. But as much as I admire these ladies and learn different things from them I know they are just women. They’ve wanted to pull their hair out in frustration at ten in the morning when the baby is crying and a toddler is clawing at their legs. They’ve had to apologize to their husband more than once (a day) because of a bad attitude or a snippy tone. They’ve also gone to bed at night discouraged with where they are in life and how much they have left to learn.
 
They are just like me and they are just like you. However, I’m thankful that they don’t allow that to stop them from sharing what they’ve learned. They don’t let the fact that they’re human keep them from using the talents God’s given them to help others. They keep writing, keep podcasting, keep painting because they have a story and they want to help people.
 
Phylicia and I receive quite a few emails from podcast listeners who lament that they don’t have advisers. There’s no one in their lives to ask their questions about sex, motherhood, and marriage. There’s no one willing to invest in their lives and get involved and see the mess and not run away.

Dear Woman Who’d Like to Change the Past

If I could go back to college I’d pick a different major.
 
I took an art class my freshman year and my teacher strongly encouraged me to at least pursue an art minor. Did I? No. I had an English teacher who invited me to several higher level classes she was teaching but I declined those opportunities as well.  (My biology teacher also wanted me to major in biology but I think everyone’s glad I turned that down.)
 
I had a major. I had a plan. That plan involved finishing school and getting married.
 
So I graduated a semester early with a double major in Public Health and Secondary Education. I had no intentions of teaching, although I did finish student teaching. I was considering a graduate degree like the one at I found at the Universitiy of Tennessee at the time combining Nutrition and Public Administration.

What You Don’t Tell Your Friends about Parenting

His little eyes stared straight ahead even though he knew I was looking at him. I nuzzled his face with my nose then kissed his cheek. In return, he giggled and licked the end of my nose. Bedtime is often the balm for my soul. Spending just a few minutes with each boy giggling on his bed about his own personal funny reminds me of all the good parts of motherhood. They’ve been easy to forget lately.
 
I called Micah’s doctor late Tuesday afternoon last week and told him sick day regime wasn’t going to cut it. Micah was ok right that moment, might be ok hours later at bedtime, but most certainly would not be ok in the morning. After a brief conversation about fluid intake, how often he peed (the glorious things you discuss as a parent), and how he was acting, we decided to take him to the ER for fluids.
 
One of the few good things about having done this before is that we’ve streamlined the process. His doctor called the ER. Justin came home to stay with the little boys. I packed a bag and changed my clothes. We hit the doors of the ER and they ushered us on back, no triage thankfully because no problem would have been registering yet.