Sunday, April 29, 2012

11 Weeks

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb.  I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.  My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.  Psalm 139: 13-15


This little one is about the size of a large lime.  Although, if you saw my belly, you'd say a cantaloupe.  The baby swallows and urinates amniotic fluid, and the fluid is continually replaced.  Tiny tooth buds are beginning to appear under the gums.  Baby is busy kicking and stretching....and I can't wait to feel it!


I am so glad to be nearing the end of the first trimester.  I am still dealing with all day nausea, but I'm still so thankful it's not as severe as all my previous pregnancies.  I'm praying that perhaps I'll begin to feel better around 12 or 13 weeks, as opposed to my usual 16-20 weeks.  It could happen!

I haven't been all that tired in the first trimester.  I've had some tired moments, of course, but overall, I feel fairly normal energy wise.  I am still nursing my sweet Amelia pretty often, so technically, I'm eating for three.  I have to really make sure I keep up with good nutrition so that everyone gets what they need.  I must be doing a good job of it since I am not experiencing fatigue.  Speaking of eating, I usually gain 10 pounds in the first trimester.  But so far, I've only gained 5.  And since I don't plan on gaining 5 more pounds in one week (though, for me it's quite possible), I should escape the first trimester with no more than a 5 to 6 pound gain.  Woohoo!

It's your turn!  Please share your pregnancy stats, or anything else that sounds good!

Join the linky fun over at My Joy-Filled Life.
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Monday, April 23, 2012

A Girl Got on a Plane...

Ethiopian B757
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Two Weeks in Africa.....

Tomorrow, my 16 year old daughter, Celeste, will embark on a journey of a lifetime.  She will travel half way around the world to serve and visit orphans in two incredible countries....Ethiopia and Uganda. 

She is traveling with an organization called Visiting Orphans.  They travel to thirteen different countries to fulfill the biblical mandate given in James 1:27 of "visiting orphans" in their distress. 

On this particular trip, Celeste will have the blessing of visiting several orphanages in both countries.  She can't wait to go and love on these children, knowing full well that she will be the one blessed by them!  She will also visit the Fistula Hospital in Addis.  This is pretty exciting because before we even knew about this trip, our family had watched A Walk to Beautiful, a documentary about women who suffer from the medical condition, Fistula.  This hospital was built specifically to treat the condition.  It's a beautiful story, one I highly recommend watching. 

Sisters (Celeste on left)

Celeste and the team will also go to Amazima, the ministry Katie Davis began at the age of 18.  Amazima feeds over 1,600 orphaned and vulnerable children of the Masese community a lunch meal Monday through Friday, and also operate a school for the local children to attend for free.  This is another exciting aspect of the trip.  Again, before we knew about this trip, a friend had recommended a book to us called Kisses from Katie.  We watched this YouTube video and were amazed by this young woman with so much love and compassion.  It was through our visit to the Amazima website that we learned of Visiting Orphans, which led to finding this trip, which included visiting some of the very places we had already been studying as a family.  God had clearly gone before us, and opened this door for Celeste!

The team will be very busy, serving in a different location nearly every day.  I will try to give regular updates on my Facebook page if you would like to keep up with her travels.

I found this video on YouTube of another team that went to Uganda.  I don't know if they were with Visiting Orphans or another organization, but Celeste will visit several of the places in this video.

If you wouldn't mind, please keep our daughter, the team, and the people they will encounter in your prayers.  For Celeste, this will be her first trip away from home by herself.  She's nervous, but even more excited about all they will do and see! 

If you would like to know more about any of these organizations, please visit their sites.  There, you also have the opportunity to sponsor a child and change a life.

Have you or any of your children gone on a mission trip?  Where?  Please share your experience.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Coping with Morning Sickness


There's nothing more exciting than the news of a pregnancy.  Such a blessing.  So much to look forward to.  A new child to love and nurture.

But as soon as morning sickness makes its grand entrance, that seems to be all I think about.  My whole day revolves around my level of sickness.  And then there's the food.  Eating constantly so that there is always something in my belly, even though nothing sounds particularly appetizing.  I call this "preventative eating".....though it doesn't so much prevent as it just helps from feeling worse!

I don't know about you, but I'm one of those who is willing to try just about anything to help with the nausea.  I'm one of those worst case scenario women who enjoys the blessing of morning sickness all day...and lasts upwards of six months.  Seven months is my record.  But I've also been one of those who don't find much relief in remedies and even a couple of prescriptions I've tried.

But this time, something is working.  No, morning sickness is not gone, but I am not nearly as sick as I usually am at this point.  So I'll share what I've been doing.  But first, I'll share all that I've tried in the past...'cause it might just help someone else.

In The Past

Phenergan-Ugh!  Made me super sleepy and didn't take any of the nausea away.

Crackers before getting out of bed-Really?  Does this help anyone?  I must know. 

Ginger- Mostly in tea form.  For me, helps with the saliva issue.  Anyone else deal with that too?

Zofran-Very expensive!  I was told it was a miracle for most women so of course I said, "sign me up!"  Unfortunately, wasn't my miracle.  It did take the edge off, but wasn't worth the high cost for me.

Unisom and B6-Out of all the remedies, this one helped the most.  While it didn't take away the nausea, it did take me from vomiting all day to just once or twice a day.  It helped me to get off the couch and function.  I would take one half of a Unisom (store generic version) and a 50mg B6 twice a day.  Usually at 7am and 7pm.

The Bean Cure-I tried this in my last two pregnancies.  It did help temporarily, but I got so tired of eating beans that I would give up on it fairly quickly.  You can read the fascinating article here.

If you're struggling with morning sickness, these things above do help many women, so give them a try.

As soon as I found out I was pregnant this time, I began scanning the Internet for anything new that I could try.  I read about every theory behind morning sickness and made a list of things that could help.  And basically, I've incorporated all of them into my day.


Cut waaay back on sugar and caffeine-Yeah, yeah, I know this isn't new.  It's just that I never put much stock in cutting back on them.  I don't do a whole lot of caffeine anyway, but sugar, you betcha...we're bakers around here!  I read that sugar and caffeine can exacerbate morning after years of ignoring it, I decided to give it a try.

The Bean Cure-Okay, I know I mentioned this above...but this time, as soon as I found out I was pregnant, I began eating beans twice a day!  Yes siree!  In theory, I should not be having any nausea, but I am. 

Alas!  There's a difference. 

I didn't start feeling icky until much later than normal...and at nine+ weeks, I am not nearly as sick as I usually get.  I am still eating beans twice a day and am determined to keep doing it as long as I need to.  Thanks to Pinterest, I found myriad new bean recipes that have made eating beans twice a day much easier.

Alkalizing-I read that keeping your pH at an alkaline level can reduce morning sickness.  So far, I have not had access to pH or alkaline water, but I did do a search on alkaline foods.  Celery, watermelon, cucumbers, almonds, tomatoes, garlic, onions, and avocado (to name a few) are on the list, so I've been eating those often.  The watermelon is great for thirst since it is packed with water.  And I've made sure to keep celery, cut up into sticks, on hand.  I make myself a little baggie of celery, carrots, and red bell pepper sticks to take with me wherever I go.  (Update: A friend gave me some pH water, and it seemed to help a LOT the first day.  She said it was time/light sensitive, so after 12 hours, it didn't help as much.  Must go get more!)

Unisom-I read recently that B6 can exacerbate the nausea and that some women were finding relief with the Unisom alone.  At about 8 1/2 weeks, I felt another rise in my level of sickness (but still not as severe), so I decide to begin taking a half of a Unisom just at night.  So far, it seems to be helping.  Almost like it shifted my level back down.  I should say here that I am getting plenty of B6.  I get it in my food, that I can now keep down, and in my SuperMom vitamin that I can also keep down!  If you suspect you are B6 deficient, you may want to take the B6.  Oh, and also, caffeine destroys B6, so yet another reason to cut back or eliminate it.

Lots of protein-I usually get plenty of protein in the meat and beans I eat, but I have also been eating LOTS of nuts and seeds.  In addition to my veggies, I eat handfuls of nuts (cashews, walnuts, almonds, and peanuts) and seeds (sunflower and pumpkin) throughout the day.  And Greek yogurt, which has twice the protein as traditional yogurt, has become my new dessert. 

Apple Cider Vinegar and Lemon water-I read that using about 2 teaspoons of ACV in warm water can relieve nausea.  I was very hesitant to try this since it doesn't sound appealing.  But to my amazement, it does help.  It settles my tummy pretty quickly and helps with the excessive saliva that  is a huge issue for me during morning sickness.  Since ACV was working, I also tried squeezing a half a lemon's worth of juice in hot water...and that works too.  I tend to feel great the first half of the day (which has never happened), and then begin feeling a bit more queasy as the evening goes on.  This is when I reach for my ACV or Lemon "tea"!

Peppermint Oil-My sweet friend, Kim, sent me a sample of Young Living Peppermint Essential Oil.  In addition to the hot lemon water for those sudden waves of nausea, I put a drop of Peppermint oil on my tongue.  Or even just smell it.  This also offers quick relief for those sudden waves of nausea.

I think it's important to add that I started doing all of these things (except the unisom) as soon as I found out I was pregnant...before morning sickness came.  I think it's important to mention because all this collectively may be what has helped.  For example, once I am in the throes of morning sickness, I usually cannot eat raw veggies...and most things good for me just don't sound good.  So I eat what I think I can tolerate, but probably make me worse in the end.  Maybe?  I also think because I made a habit of eating these things, they're what sound good now. 

Some Additional Coping Tips

Prepare if you can.  As soon as you find out you're pregnant, and before sickness sets in, do what you can to make things easier when it comes.  Stock your freezer with meals for your family.  Make individual portions of foods you can eat quickly when the need arises.  Have a variety of high protein go-to snacks like nuts and seeds in your pantry.

Accept help!  If you have a friend or church family willing to provide meals, care for little ones, or clean your house, accept it!  Allow them to be the hands and feet of Jesus!  It blesses you, and it blesses them as well.  Don't be stubborn!

Embrace it!  If you're like me, where nothing truly takes it away, you've got to come to the point where you can embrace it.  I've learned over all these pregnancies that God uses this time to draw me near.  I am in constant communion with Him.  Even if I am crying out in despair, begging for Him to have mercy on me, I am talking with my Lord.  He teaches me what it means to trust Him and to rely on him every second.  It also helps to keep in mind that this won't last forever and that a wonderful gift comes at the end.  It's not for nothing.  It's worth it!  God is faithful!

What are your favorite remedies?  Please add to this list the things that have helped you!

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Sunday, April 15, 2012

9 Weeks


I never grow tired of tracking a new baby's miraculous and rapid growth. At nine weeks, my baby's brain waves can be measured. The main construction of the heart is complete. The baby has begun movement and can flex at the joints. Fingerprints are evident, and the most fascinating fact is that the baby can even curve its tiny fingers around an object placed in its hand. My baby is about an inch long, and happily swimming around in the tiny bag of fluid.


I am hanging in there.  I am feeling pretty queasy, but I can't complain.  At nine weeks, I am not nearly as sick as I usually get.  I am so thankful...and hopeful that maybe this time it won't be so challenging.  In fact, I am finishing up a post detailing the things I've done differently this pregnancy, and new things I've tried that may be helping this time around.  I want to share them for other mommies who may be struggling with morning stay tuned. 

I am also still somewhat enjoying food.  I have a few aversions, but a lot of things actually still sound good.  I don't seem to be suffering from my usual super-human sense of smell that exacerbates the nausea.  So I think that's made a huge difference as well.  All considering, I am doing well and so thankful that this pregnancy has been more manageable.  I have my first OB appointment on Wednesday, so looking forward to seeing this sweet baby, knowing it will give me that extra boost of perseverance through the morning all day sickness!

Are you expecting?  Care to share your stats here?

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Thankful Thursday: Sacred's First Video Post

A couple of things before you watch.  One, I apologize in advance for my loudness....still getting used to filming on my Flip Share.  Two, pay NO attention to the kids who are misbehaving during prayer.  ; )

As you can see, the younger ones were very distracted by Mommy filming mealtime prayer, and felt the need to show off a bit.  I told them beforehand that I was testing the camera (which was true)...and for them to just listen to Daddy while he prayed.  HA!  Some of them didn't even catch on until after the prayer! lol

Anyway, we are very excited and SO thankful for the sweet life growing inside of me, and we're humbled by God's goodness.

I am almost 8 weeks along, and due Nov. 18th.  Of course, morning sickness has arrived, so I'm taking it one day at a time, and praying that it won't get as bad as it normally does.  So far, it's been manageable, so I'm thankful for that as well!  I would appreciate any extra prayers if you think of me.  : )

What are you thankful for today? 

This post is linked up with The Marathon Mom.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Amelia's Birth-Part 2

You can read Part 1 here.

Our baby was finally here.  We didn't know whether we were having a boy or girl, so the added excitement of meeting our baby girl was wonderful.  Greg went to wake up all the kids to meet their new sister.

I remained in the tub, snuggling this precious life while we waited for the cord to stop pulsing.  Once it did, Daddy cut the cord and I passed off baby Amelia so that I could get out of the tub.  Amelia had her newborn check up in the meantime.  All was going well and my bleeding was minimal.

I am a bleeder, so the midwives were prepared with Pitocin and Methergine just in case I needed it.  I was so relieved that everything was going well.

But as soon as I stood up to get out of the tub....GUSH!  Janet and I looked at each other with the look of "uh oh", and I quickly jumped out of the tub and ran for my bed.  After what had happened the last time, I did not want to be stuck in the tub.  I felt that as long as I made it to my bed, I would be fine.

I wasn't.

My uterus did not want to cooperate.  I was immediately given the first shot of Pitocin to help my uterus contract.  Janet worked diligently to massage my lower abdomen to help my uterus to stay firm.  It would firm up, and then get boggy.  Meanwhile, my blood pressure was dropping quickly and everyone was beginning to get nervous.  I was given a second shot of Pitocin, but it still wasn't helping.  This cycle continued on for some time.

I could feel myself slipping away.  I knew instinctively to lie as still as possible as to not exert any energy to allow my body all it needed to work.  I began praying.  I couldn't believe this was happening again!  I kept praying that I would not pass out like I did after Genevieve's birth.  I felt that as long as I stayed conscious, I would be okay. 

While Janet continued checking my blood pressure and massaging my belly, Robin tried to start an IV line.  I was already on oxygen by then, but needed fluids.  Robin could not get a vein.  Suddenly, she darted out of my room and I began to get scared.  I didn't know where she was going in such a hurry.

She came back quickly and gave me a shot of Methergine.  Methergine helps to coagulate the blood.  I've had it before in other births, and it's helped.

I could feel myself getting closer and closer to losing consciousness.  I kept praying.  I was thinking about my mom and older girls, and how scared they must be to see me go through this again!  Thankfully, my husband had a hunch that things were going to get bad, and had already ushered the little ones back to bed.

As I laid there, and things kept spiraling downward,  I heard Janet say my blood pressure was 50 over 30.  I looked at my friends and family, who all stood at the foot of my bed watching this unfold, gather in a circle to pray.  Let me just say here, that as much as I appreciated the prayer, this really scared me!  I felt that my life was on the line and that if I lost consciousness, I would not wake up.  I prayed that God would keep me awake!

Right at that moment, after the blood pressure reading, Janet very calmly told everyone that she was going to call 911 as a precaution.  My uterus would not stay firm and I was losing a lot of blood.  My husband's fingers were already on the buttons, and he called for an ambulance.

My mom stood at the foot of my bed and mouthed the words "I love you, Candace". 

Meanwhile, baby Amelia was being held by the people who surrounded me.  I was so thankful that she was safe and with the people I loved while all of this was happening. 

The ambulance arrived and they worked quickly to get me onto their gurney.  They asked if the baby was going too.  This is where it got really hard for me.  I wanted my baby to come.  I hadn't even been able to nurse her yet and I just wanted her near me.  But, if she went with me, she would have to be admitted as a patient along with me too.  A quick discussion ensued.  How would I leave my newborn?  But once I realized that I didn't want her to go through all the hospital checks, which would have been more involved coming from a home birth, I knew she had to stay home.

My heart was broken! 

I didn't know how long it would be before I would get to see her and nurse her.  I asked if someone would bring her to the hospital soon.  Janet said that as soon as she was finished with her full check up, someone would bring her.  The midwives spent at least an hour trying to stabilize me, that Amelia had not been weighed and measured yet.

I was comforted to know that she would be with me soon.  As the paramedics were wheeling me out, I heard friends discussing who could come and feed Amelia.  They mentioned my friend, Shannon, because she had just had a baby a couple of months before.  As much as I wanted to nurse my sweet baby, I was glad they were planning to call Shannon to bring some of her breast milk.  And she lived nearby.

Once in the ambulance, the paramedic tried to get an IV in me.  He had trouble, so I was stuck multiple times.  Janet remained with me, right by my side, still massaging my lower abdomen.  My husband followed behind the ambulance.  Finally, my uterus was staying firm and my blood pressure was rising.  Of course, the whole time I was thinking, "See, if we had just waited TEN more minutes, all would have been well!"  But I know Janet was doing what she needed to do and wasn't going to risk anything!  I love Janet! 

We arrived at the hospital about 4:30 am.  I had to endure a very uncomfortable exam in the ER, and then was sent up to L & D.  Thankfully, the paramedics were able to take me to my hospital, so I felt at home in a sense.  But I still worried about how I would be treated as a home birth transport.  The doctor in the ER was not nice....and even scolded me for delivering at home.  But the rest of the staff was wonderful.  Everyone treated me with kindness and respect!

As soon as I was taken upstairs, I immediately began asking when Amelia would get here.  I was told in the ambulance that she was a little cold, and couldn't leave the house until her temperature came up.  Robin, the assisting midwife who stayed with Amelia, gave her to my mom for skin to skin contact to regulate her temp.  Amelia had also had all of her newborn checks by then.

A bit later, after Janet called home to get another update, she informed me that my friend Shannon had just nursed my baby.  I guess the look on my face said it all because Janet asked if I was okay with that.  I told her that I didn't really have a choice at that point.

Honestly....I was crushed!  Another woman nursed my baby.  That was a hard one for me to grasp.  When I heard the discussion about calling Shannon to help, I had envisioned her bringing extra milk from her freezer and bottle feeding Amelia.  Not actually breastfeeding her.

But once I had a chance to process everything, I eventually saw it as a blessing.  I realized how sweet and precious it was for Shannon to come and nurse her friend's baby!  And in the middle of the night too!  Poor Amelia was hungry!

I think most moms can relate to how I felt.  I was physically exhausted.  And I was emotionally fragile since I had to leave my newborn.  I just needed some time to see the beauty and God's provision in all of it.  And when I heard that sweet Shannon saw it as a privilege, I was so grateful!  I will be forever thankful for Shannon's loving heart! 

At last!  Robin and Cheyenne (my oldest daughter) finally brought Amelia to me.  I was SO happy to hold her and to get a good look at her!  She was so beautiful!  From that point on, she was able to stay with me in the hospital.  The staff brought me a baby bed for her and she never left my side!  The staff was phenomenal.  They welcomed me and Amelia and took very good care of me!  Later that morning, I was able to see my own doctor.  He ordered a couple of tests just to make sure everything was okay.  All the test were good, so I was able to go home later that evening! 

It was so wonderful to be back home with my whole family.  My poor younger kids went to bed with me still in the tub.....but woke up to find me, and the new baby gone! 

I am so thankful for God's protection over me that night.  I'm thankful for the midwives knowledge, how prepared they were, and for their calm, sweet spirits!  Unfortunately, this means I will not be able to birth at home again.   Due to my bleeding history, it's best that I deliver at the hospital in the future.

Just in case anyone is asking either of these two questions, I'll just go ahead and answer them here. 

*If you had an emergency situation after your first home birth, why did you feel it was safe to have another home birth?

So glad you asked!  The cause of my bleeding after my first home birth was due to a tiny piece of placenta that did not fully detach.  So my body continued to feed a placenta that was not there.  Once the midwife did a manual D & C (lots of fun!) to remove the tissue, the bleeding stopped.  That had never happened before and it was something we wouldn't expect to happen again.  This time, it was a result of my uncooperative uterus!

*If you have a history of bleeding, why would you consider having more children?

Great question!  Well, I thought the same thing!  After what had happened, I really thought that I should not have more children...that I would be risking my life.  But when I spoke with my beloved doctor at my 6 week post-partum visit....I asked him this very question.  I was prepared to heed his warning about future children.  But he reminded me that I did NOT have to have a blood transfusion.  And that if we did decide to have another baby, that he would start pitocin immediately after the baby was born, instead of waiting to see how my bleeding does, like he's done in the past.  He would take every precautionary measure necessary.  Janet and Robin came prepared.  I just needed more than what they had on hand..

So that's my story....and why I've been reluctant to relive it through writing it.  I am still a huge advocate for home birth!  I feel that if a woman is a good candidate, home is the best place to be.  But I'm also thankful that I have a great doctor, and feel comfortable at the hospital where I've delivered five of my babies in the past!

God is good!
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