Thursday, October 24, 2013

In thanksgiving...

to God for our beautiful new daughter!!!

Teresa Elizabeth was named by her father after her birth...we still hadn't decided on a girl name, so I decided to let my husband choose once we knew the gender!

I'm glad that he picked Teresa because I was reading two books when I was in hospital waiting for them to start pitocin. One book was on Mother Teresa and the other extensively quoted St. Teresa of Avila! The name Teresa was on our short list, but we were considering the other names more. Now, it feels like the right choice...and I pray that all the special St. Teresa's (and St. Elizabeth) will watch over this little angel!

We are glad to be home...but, the reality of having SIX young children is upon me!! I'm so glad that my parents were here to help when I was away and that my husband is off for ten more days...hopefully by then I'll have my stamina back :).

Teresa was only 6lbs. 9 oz. when she was born...although she felt much bigger when she was inside :). I am very proud of my decision to have a natural childbirth without an epidural. This is easy for me to write now...not so much in the moment!!!

I took her to the doctor today and she is already back up to her birth weight at 3-1/2 days old. The pediatrician said this is almost unheard of for breastfed babies. She said that my milk must have come in immediately or that I still had reserves from Lucy...I think both are true...she started eating one minute after birth :). I am grateful that it's going well.

I'm going to stop blogging until my husband goes back to work. He's cutting the lawn now, so I had to get on and let my readers know the wonderful news :). But, I want to rest up and snuggle with Teresa as much as possible before life returns to "normal."

Thank you so much for all your thoughts and prayers. Mary's Magnificat kind of sums up how I feel..." The Almighty has done great things for me, And holy is His Name."

Teresa is welcomed home by her siblings!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Still learning...

So, I didn't sleep again last night. Well, I did get about an hour nap. It wasn't the kids, the contractions/cramps, or the bad cold...although, they are all excellent guesses!

Rather, it was (or so I thought...learning so much about my body lately!), a horrible toothache. The whole left side of my face was throbbing (still is), and I could barely chew any food last night or this morning. The pain was unbearable and tylenol did absolutely nothing! I heated up face cloths in the microwave as a warm compress and this helped very temporarily.

My dentist is a very kind soul and he made time for me this morning. I had checked with the OB/GYN ahead of time to make sure that x-rays, novacaine, antibiotics for infected tooth, etc. were okay. I was told that since baby is full-term, there were no limitations to my treatment. So, I left for the dentist feeling confident that he could help!

As I'm not even in labor yet (God help me!), all I can think is that I need drugs...some kind of pain relief. I never realized that my sinuses could compress the roots of my teeth (as is happening) due to the inflammation of pregnancy. I've had pregnancy rhinitis (major nasal congestion) since early pregnancy, but I've never had anything like this before.

This is not my dentist, this is St. Gerard as today is his feast day!
God, help me to lovingly and patiently deal with new ailments. I am going to the doctor in a little bit and hoping for some pain management. I appreciate my good health more than ever before in my life!!! I am weak (and whiny!), but I really do want to offer up this discomfort. Writing about it helps my resolution (and a little public accountability never hurt anyone!).

Here's to my baby's arrival...please baby, come out that my sinuses will go down with the rest of me...ha!!!

St. Gerard, on your feast day, please watch over me, my baby, and ALL mothers (and those longing for the gift of motherhood!).  And, God Bless and comfort all those who live with chronic pain of any kind.

By the way, although my face hurts, I'm really not that tired today despite the lack of sleep. I equate this to my prayers to the Blessed Mother in the middle of the night. She never fails me after sleepless nights. I wrote about this on recently if you'd like to read it! Under columns, go down to my name and my posts should show up! Thanks for reading :).

Monday, October 14, 2013

Horrifying Behavior...

I am 38-years-old and 38 weeks pregnant. Today, this means that I am feeling old, unattractive, and tired :).

Now, I don't really think that I'm old, I'm hoping that some feelings of attractiveness (or at least looking/feeling my best...I'm really not vain anymore!) will return when the scale starts to go the other way and I'm able to schedule a hair appointment (can't really imagine sitting in a chair for an hour or more right now!), and...I guess that I AM just plain tired!

Today is Columbus Day. This means that my husband is working and I have all the kids home. It's kind of just like a summer day...but, I wasn't 38 weeks pregnant this summer (thank goodness...fall weather is much friendlier for preggos!).

I knew very early this morning that we had to go somewhere. I had invited a number of friends over (easier to just stay put!), but most dads are off today, so it's a good family day.

At 9 a.m., I packed the van with the kids and lots of snacks/water, and we headed to a great local farm with a fall fun fort (think stacks of hay for climbing, slides everywhere, barn animals to feed, etc.). It's a kid's paradise on a beautiful fall day.

The title of this post is, "Horrifying Behavior." You'd probably think that my kids' behavior horrified me at this fall fun fort. Well, you'd be wrong.

The horrifying behavior was my OWN!!! As a Catholic, I would like to take these behaviors straight to a Confessional to get them off my mind and soul!!! But, it's Monday afternoon, my husband's working, and there is no Confession until Saturday afternoon (unless I make a point to get the times/days from another parish or set up a personal appointment...and, with the way I'm feeling, I really don't see that happening!).

Anyway, my first horrifying behavior was on the way to the farm. The kids were pretty happy, and we were chatting about Nana and Papa's upcoming visit (my parents are going to watch the kids when I have this baby). Gianna asked what day they were coming. I said, "Friday." She said, "Ok, so many days is that?" I told her to say the rest of the days of the week and count them on her fingers...and then she would know.

Well, to my horror, she said that she did not know the days of the week in order. "WHAT!?" I asked. How is this possible? She is 7-years-old and doing very well in 1st grade (I just got her progress report). She went to 3 years of preschool (good preschools!), a year of full-day kindergarten, and now she is in 1st grade...and she doesn't know the days of the week in order!?!?

My blood pressure starting rising (easy to do these days!), and I started asking myself who failed. Surely it wasn't me...I have vivid memories of singing, "There are 7 Days in a Week," when she was 2-years-old and I was trying to keep her up in the car. Surely it wasn't many circle times with calendar/weather can one child sit through!? I can't imagine that the K and 1st grade teachers weren't at least acknowledging what day it is (for example, Spanish is Monday, gym is Thursday, etc.).

So, I pulled over the car (safely!). I asked Gianna to please recite the days of the week. She couldn't...or wouldn't. I was getting very angry. To feel better, I asked Joseph (the kindergartener). He quickly rattled them off...correctly (ok, maybe the whole family was not doomed!). I had Joseph tell them to Gianna...slowly...and asked Gianna to repeat them.

At this point, almost everyone starts to cry. They are thinking that Mommy has lost her mind (probably). And, I know that this is not a productive way to teach...any child...anything! This much pressure is only going to make kids nervous...and to mess up...which she kept doing (it was like Thursday didn't exist!).

After several attempts (with me getting more disgusted every time she got it wrong), she did it. I slowly started driving toward our destination. I made the whole car sing the days of the week song over and over. Since we've been home, Gianna has practiced the days of the week by writing them down (her initiative...not mine!).

But, I am left feeling horrified. Who does this to a child!? I can think of at least 50 ways that I could've handled this better! And, since we've gotten home, she seems to remembering quite it probably was my pressure that made her forget it in the first place!!!!!! Horrified!

The second behavior came after the farm. We had gone through every single snack (and there were many!), and the kids were asking for lunch. I passed by a Burger King and thought that chicken nuggets and french fries would keep everyone sane and happy on the 1/2 hour ride home (plus, I reasoned, I had packed mostly fruit and other healthy snacks for the morning).

I ordered the food (speaking over the drama in the backseat) and proceeded to the pay window.  I got out $7 as it had come to $6.85. As I was waiting for the food, I was lecturing the kids that they should not be trying to order ice cream over my voice when I ordered because it is very confusing for me and the poor employee trying to hear me. I was also trying to stop Justin from unbuckling his car seat and calm Lucy who thought we should be moving again already!

I was handed my food and my change. "Here you go," said the lady, "$15.85." I said thank you, shoved the money into my purse, quickly checked my order, and pulled off as there were quite a few cars behind us.

As I pulled off, it registered that she had said that my change was $15.85...and I had definitely given her a five and two ones. Crap! I looked to see if backing up was an option (no). I saw that the line was much too long to go through again, and the option of bringing five kids into the store to explain the, NO.

So, I am up $8 for the day...and feeling rotten about it (but, driving back to deliver the money isn't happening...). I think I will $8 in the church basket on Sunday...does that make it better!?

As you can see by the pictures, the kids had a blast! So, all isn't lost. I'm going to get off the computer (thanks for listening to me vent...I thought I would feel better!) and say my Act of Contrition.

Luckily, I will have thousands of more chances to practice better behavior today...

And, hopefully tomorrow I will feel more moral, younger, more attractive, and less tired (one can hope....)!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Close Call...

"Record setting rainfall has hit Harrisburg area in past 24 hours, forecasters say"

This post has nothing to do with my baby. He or she is still safely inside of me, and I don't expect to be at the hospital today (although I really do feel like labor could start any second...but, I've had these feelings five times before and it hasn't happened!). 

Rather, this post is about historical rainfall in Harrisburg, PA. I can't even believe that just this past Monday was when I posted pictures of the kids with their umbrellas and saying that we really needed rain! Crazy to think that we just got over 9 inches on Thursday and Friday!

A year ago, this wouldn't have bothered me. Because, at the time, we were living in our old house which did not have a basement. So, while it was a bummer when our backyard flooded and the kids couldn't play outside for a week (and this happened pretty much every time it rained!), we didn't have to worry about potentially ruining a very valuable part of our house!

We actually know the people who lived in this house before us. I blogged about that last divine Providence put us together so we could both end up in the right houses for our families! They are a wonderful family. Currently, my daughter Cecilia is in class with their youngest. And, the mother has offered her support and help with carpooling and play dates when this new baby arrives! I will definitely take her up on it!

Anyway, the basement in this house flooded two years ago during another "historical rain fall"...kind of weird that history happened two years apart, no!? The repairs were made properly...a bigger, better sump pump and a gorgeous new wall-to-wall carpet! The whole beautifully finished basement is the playroom for our children...and, they literally live down there. I (we) would be so lost without this blessing!

So, when we heard yesterday morning that our next door neighbors got water in their basement, I started to panic! There are obviously much worse things that can happen and it was completely out of our hands, but I was praying that our basement would be saved. There's no way we could afford to replace the nice carpet...not to mention all the stuff that is on the floor that could be lost (my husband was at work and my pregnant body wasn't about to start rearranging the storage room, toy bins, etc...that probably would've ended me in the hospital!).

Long story short (usually too late!), our basement was spared (this time...that's not to say that a storm in the near future couldn't do harm because the water table is so high now!). Our trusty sump pump is still running constantly (even though it's a beautiful sunny fall day out there now!). 

I am very grateful to have been spared the hard work, drama, and cost of repairing our basement (many of my friends were not so lucky...sigh!). Ironically, Gianna's library book this week was about I could confidently tell my kids that the rain would stop...eventually...because of God's promise! This was all of us!

Enjoy your weekend! I am really hoping this baby stays put until my parents arrive on Friday (and then I will have childcare and I will be at peace to go into labor!). But, when it rains, it pours! So, God's will be done :).



Wednesday, October 9, 2013


No baby news yet! My levels are all rising slowly...and being watched very carefully.  I really am grateful that everything is happening very slowly so that the baby and I stay safe. Of course, being patient is hard...especially when I know my blood pressure must have been way off today because I felt SO jittery all day. It was like I had 10 cups of coffee. I normally have at least 2 a day (yes, even when pregnant!), but I didn't dare have any in fear that the caffeine would push me over the edge :).

I am concentrating on all my blessings as I know gratitude to be the answer to so many worrisome emotions! After we finished Joseph's homework tonight, he asked me for a blank piece of paper. He wanted to write a note to his teacher (above) telling her that he loves her. How sweet is that!? I'm sure it will make her day! I couldn't help but think ahead...perhaps some day (hopefully not too soon!), he'll be saying it to another special woman in his life. And, he'll probably have a lot more jitters than he did tonight (sorry, sticking with the jittery theme!).

This afternoon I decided to do some remodeling in my bedroom. I have a friend with a great blog, and she often shows how she is decorating her home and making the case for your home being a cozy, inviting space...especially for yourself and your family. I would absolutely love to go out and buy some nice artwork/matching accessories for my bedroom...but, on a tight budget, that just isn't happening!!

So, I decided to decorate with all of the artwork that is made for me daily (see a small sample above). At least 10 times a day, a child comes up to me and says, "Mommy, close your eyes!" Then I am presented with a masterpiece upon opening them. Even Justin (age 3) is creating special scribbles (and I have explained to the other kids that I make a big deal out of scribbles because I did the same for them when they were 3 and just learning to color!).

My husband is on board with putting up the kid's artwork (plus, he reasons that it is better upstairs in our room than all over the house!). What a special place our bedroom is becoming...the kids won't be young long so I'm trying to appreciate all the little things that make life with small children so worthwhile!

Have a good night, friends! I'm hoping for a peaceful end to this jittery day (although Lucy was up with a fever for a good portion of last night, so not quite sure what's in store for tonight!).

Monday, October 7, 2013

Making the most of it...

It's pouring today in Harrisburg, PA. We REALLY need the rain. It's been beautiful (although much too humid the past few days...we actually had the sprinkler on for the kids yesterday!) for weeks on end. 

Still, I was bummed as I tried to go about my morning routine. I stopped at Target to buy some birthday presents, and when I was trying to get my golf umbrella opened, I got completely drenched from head-to-toe. I quickly decided to leave the kids in the car...why have three miserable, soaked people in Target!? So, we headed home.

The weather was actually matching my mood. After feeling pretty awful all weekend (despite going to an awesome retreat and enjoying a nice Sunday with my family), I was sure that my OB appointment this morning would bring me closer to having this baby! 

Rather, I was told that everything is pretty much the same. Blood pressure is high, but holding steady. My labs show no progression (although I haven't heard about the blood work that I had done this morning yet). And, my cervix is exactly the same as two weeks ago. So, "collect your urine again for the next 24 hours and....hang in there!" ER!

Of course, I know that everything is GOOD!!! The non-stress test showed a happy baby; and of course, I am grateful that there is nothing seriously wrong!!! I am just extremely uncomfortable, anxious to know how this is all going to play out (not good at SO many things out of my control), and ready to start the next phase of my life! Patience has never been a strong attribute (although many people tell me that not finding out the gender requires way more patience that they maybe I'm alright!?!).

As usual (for better or worse!), the kids helped change my mood! All the way home from preschool, Cecilia was so excited to go home and use her princess umbrella (like I said, it hasn't rained in a long time!). And, I just happened to have two more for Justin and Lucy.

While Lucy never quite got the hang of the umbrella (see above!), the other two were absolutely delighted. I sat on the porch for a 1/2 hour as they marched up and down the driveway in the rain. And, they were SO happy! It was contagious.
I started feeling more positive about my situation and saying prayers of gratitude instead of "woe is me!"

My mood will change again ...but, hopefully the kids will do something else to remind me of my blessings.

Have a great day, friends! Thanks for keeping me in your thoughts and prayers. :)

Friday, October 4, 2013



I saw something so cool on my ultrasound this morning. I could see the baby breathing! Thank God, I have seen many heartbeats and movements over the years, but I've never had an ultrasound this late before (just about 37 weeks), so I've never seen the diaphragm go up and down! Miraculous. I'm so happy that my baby's lungs are developed and God willing, he/she will take his/her first breath of air soon!

I'm still hanging in there! My labs are holding steady, so it's kind of a wait-and-see what happens game! I go back for another non-stress test and more blood work on Monday.

I did have protein in my urine (but not enough to induce immediately), and my blood pressure is still high and I'm very sensitive to it...not a good feeling. I try to come up with words to explain it, but the feeling that "something is just not right," is probably the best descriptor. At times it feels like I've had 6 cups of coffee, other times like I'm very hungover, others like I'm in a "fog", and sometimes quite lightheaded or like I need to hold onto something for balance. Hopefully it'll all pass when baby comes. Luckily, there are moments when I feel completely fine too (and I've been told that some people don't even realize when their blood pressure is up...hard for me to believe!).

I've learned a ton about pre-eclampsia. It's quite fascinating, actually. For centuries women and babies died of this mysterious illness, so I feel very blessed to be watched so attentively!

Tomorrow I am getting my birthday present...yes, my birthday is in August! Johnette Benkovic of EWTN's Women of Grace is coming to my parish to give a day retreat for women. I am going with two good friends (and we're even going to go out to lunch....without kids!), and I'm so excited for an opportunity of renewal and grace.

If you haven't seen Johnette's show Women of Grace or attended one of her Women of Grace bible studies, I highly recommend empowering and supportive of women! I attended my first program when Gianna was just three-weeks-old, and it was perfect timing for a woman dealing with postpartum depression/the biggest changes of her life! I met one of my closest friends there (who just agreed to be this new baby's godmother...thanks, Andrea!), and I thank God for that experience (not a coincidence that I went...even though I very well remember standing in my garage that morning contemplating whether or not to go because I would afraid a baby would distract the women! She didn't...and, many women thanked me for giving them their weekly "baby fix!").

When I'm at my retreat tomorrow, my husband gets to take all five kids to Joseph's soccer game! I know this is no easy task!!! Part of me feels guilty (and worried for everyone's safety when there are parking lots, balls rolling, etc.). But, I know my husband is quite capable of taking care of our children (thank God!), and I really think this day will be beneficial for me in many ways.

My husband will need lots of deep breaths! I find myself taking lots of deep breaths when my children are all in the same room (my blood pressure shoots through the roof...pre-eclampsia or not...when they are all fighting and/or whining...ha!). And, after today's ultrasound, I am even more excited to meet our latest breather! Thank you God for all your many blessings.
Johnette Benkovic, Women of Grace                 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

You'd think...

That having only one adorable toddler to take care of on Tuesday and Thursday 
mornings would make my life easier, right!? 

In truth, Lucy and I were both missing Justin (he hasn't been too keen on preschool lately and he'd be happy with us) this morning. We did a few errands and then came home...and Lucy went from room-to-room looking for her siblings (I assume!). As the youngest of five, she doesn't seem to know what to do when it's just Mom (although she did plant tons of gooey, open-mouthed kisses on me...gotta love those toddler displays of affection!). 

That when I said, "Teething," that I'd be talking about my toddler, right!? 

Both Gianna (7) and Joseph (5-1/2) have woken me up for teeth issues in the past month. 

Gianna woke me up at 4:30 a.m. a few weeks ago because...her tooth was GONE, "but the tooth fairy didn't come"!!! I knew for a fact that the tooth fairy had left her last dollar bill under her pillow, so I was much more upset about being woken up out of a deep sleep (especially when sleep isn't coming very easy to me these days!). I was quite angry and sent Gianna back to bed.

She came down around 7 a.m. with a huge toothy grin...and her dollar. Instead of being happy for her, I snapped at her that she must never wake up Mommy again for something like that (I had an awful time falling back to sleep)...only emergencies!

About an hour later, Gianna came up to me to apologize...and offered me her dollar to buy some coffee since I would be tired that day. It was one of those moments that melts your heart and makes you realize that your young child is pure goodness...and you are...not!

Joseph woke me up two mornings ago at 5:30 (again, out of a deep sleep) to tell me that one of his front teeth was wiggly! I wasn't AS upset (my alarm goes off just after 6 anyway) because he was really excited (and he will look mighty cute without front teeth!).

That my body would be able to finish this pregnancy no problems 
(after doing it five times before!), right!?

I know that I have been incredibly blessed with relatively easy pregnancies. I am extremely grateful and I do not take this for granted. I am, however, thrown for a loop when I start having complications in the 36th week of this pregnancy!

I was at the hospital last night for monitoring. It started last Thursday at the cafe (yes...we have a real rocks!) at preschool. I was happily chatting with friends and pouring Lucy some juice...and out of nowhere I felt very dizzy and lightheaded. Luckily, my husband was able to come and pick us up and we went to the doctor so I could have my blood pressure checked.

Long story short, my blood pressure is quite high these days (140/90ish), and I am walking around feeling very strange (my blood pressure normally runs low)! My blood work was okay last week, but not as good when they repeated it yesterday. For peace of mind, I went to hospital last night to go on the monitor (I was told it was an option). 

Thank God, baby looks great! And, my blood pressure came down after resting for an hour (which is good!). I am currently doing a 24-hour urine collection (sorry for details). How fun when you have little ones who follow you in the bathroom all day!!! The above picture has nothing to do with this (except it is a picture of all my children entertained with Daddy in the I wish they would do every time that I had to go to the bathroom today...ha!).

I have been told that this test will give them much more information about how my body is doing...if they need to induce or just let me go until the 21st (when I am set to be induced...although I'm already 3 cm!). A little nerve-wracking, but God's will be done! I'm feeling pretty good hopefully my advanced maternal age (AMA) body will hold out!

I'm going to get off computer and try to rest (recommended) when I have the chance...ya think!? :)