Monday, November 12, 2012


For all of those who might question the reason why I want or have a big family. Look at the smiles of the 6 most beautiful kiddos on earth. This is why!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

8 Years

Anabelle Eileen Martin Rodrigues blessed us on this cold November morning 8 years ago. Weighing in at 4lbs 6oz and 17 inches long. She was born during the snow falling at 6:19am.

Its been 8 years since our littlest bean was born. 8 years since I have kissed her sweet forehead and loved on her sweet toes. 8 years since my friends stood by me to comfort and hold hands in prayer. 8 years since i spoke to most of them about the joy and love as I shared my most precious gift. 8 years since I held her in my arms and heard the words come from the doctors mouth as they deliver the news of your diagnosis. 8 years since I have been able to joyfully bring you into the world and show you the wonders around us. 8 years since we put up the Christmas tree while you and your big sister Olivia huddle underneath it and whisper in each others ear. 8 years since my family was "complete" before you left us too soon. 8 years ago today I welcomed my second little girl into the family. 8 years ago today I would learn the heartache of having a child, while anticipating the heartache of loosing a child.
8 years...........

Saturday, November 3, 2012

First Week Home!

The first few days have a breeze. Everly wakes up every 4 hours to eat and is nursing like a champ. She is the most laid back, easy going, content baby. She dropped her weight down to 5 lbs 5 oz. So we are closely watching her in the hopes she will catch up quickly. The kids are really adoring her. I spend so much of my pregnancy worrying about the what if's that I robbed myself of all the wonderful things to look forward too. So I am enjoying every moment I can. She has really molded herself well into our family and at only 3 days old. I couldn't ask for more!! Below is a picture of Emma holding Everly for the first time. The smile catches it all. She is 100% the mother hen.
First night sleep in the crib
Owen getting in a quick snuggle!
Happy Everly!
Loves her carseat!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Everly Quinn Martin Rodrigues
October 31, 2012
5 lbs 9 oz 18 inches 1:58am
Everly and Mommy minutes old!
Owen and Everly!! He is was the happiest of all the kiddos that she was here.
Ezme and Everly. Such a big smile!
Everly 2 Days Old. Getting ready to go home.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

E Day or should I say BIRTHDAY!!

10:15pm and I am finally in Labor and Delivery. I looked up and saw the two nurses who not only delivered Ezme but Oliver as well. How lucky was I too have them be there for this little ones birth as well?!!

They get me hooked up. Check me again to see I am still 6cm. My doctor told me that there wasn't any rush to really get things going. She asked me if I wanted to have her quickly and come on the 30th. Or wait a little while and have her join us on Halloween. After much thought, I decided that since I was there, why not Halloween. I mean. Its the first time I really had the option to choose between the two days. We both knew that once she started the pitocin drip it would jump start my contractions and I would be in heavy labor within 30 minutes. My Doctor said that after my epidural she would break my water and see how things progressed on their own without the medication.

We discussed having my epidural right away or if I wanted to wait. After much decision (with tears as this part scares me the most)  I decided to just get it done while the pain was still manageable in the hopes they would be able to get it in the first try.

At 11:30pm the anesthesiologist came in to start my epidural. I told myself I wasn't going to cry or shed a tear. They took my vitals. Another vial of blood. Asked me about 50,000 questions and told me to wait just a few minutes while they set up everything. Of course, the longer they take, the more anxiety I get about having it done.  He kept telling jokes. Trying to break a smile from my very large and unflattering frown I had on my face. He had asked me something and as I was about to answer he said "Done" DONE? How are you done?  The guy is a genius. First try. Little to no pain. Done in one shot in less then 3 minutes. I told Jason from now on. Epidural first before anything else and only he is able to do it!!

11:45pm and my Doctor walks in and says I look comfortable. Of course I did. That stuff is fantastic. I watch some tv. and watch a few movies on my ipad. She said she was going to come in and break my water around midnight. Still no major change from when I first started. 5-6cm and head is still high. But we both knew that really meant nothing. We were only just holding off what will happen in a matter of seconds.

Midnight HALLOWEEN!! My Doctor breaks my water. No major changes right away. Will start pitocin at 12:30am.

12:30am-1am. Pitocin started. Not feeling any major contractions. Jason was dosing off in the chair next to me. I was searching the T.V. for something interesting but ended up on the food network channel. Nothing else on and channels were limited.

1am-My doctor walks in and checks on me. A good 7-8cm. She then tells me "I have a C-Section to do, but I can put it off and deliver you now, or go and deliver this mom. She has been in labor for 2 days and pushing for 5 hours. But I know that we can get you out of the way faster." I asked her about how long she would be and she said between 30-45 minutes. I told her not a problem. I wouldn't want that person to wait any longer. She patted my feet and said I was a sweetie. And then as she left the room said "Don't do anything while I am gone." The nurses shut the pitocin off at my Doctors request. And the minute everyone left the room, little Miss moved down and I was ready to push. I called Jason over and asked him to cross my legs for me and sang in my head for the next 45 minutes while my Doctor was gone. Nurses would come in and out asking me how I was doing and I would say "great" Oh the lies.

1:48am my Doctor walks in, puts my pitocin back on. Asks me how I am doing and thanks me for waiting and then checks me to find I was complete and ready. She then got this stern look on her face and asked m how long I have been "ready" and I told her since she walked out the door. Impressed I held it in that long she had everyone move quickly.

1:57am My Doctor was ready to let me push but I had to cough first. This gave her a moment (or so she thought) to get her head protection on. And then it happened. I coughed and Miss E came down full force head out and almost completely delivered. From one single cough!! Jason, the nurse my Doctor were all screamed STOP, STOP, STOP!! Apparently she was so fast that one more cough or push she would have flown across the room. Hehe.

1:58am Everly Quinn Martin Rodrigues arrives perfect in every way. Along with my uterus! But we will save that story for another time. *smiles*

39 Weeks and 1 Day

No pictures today of me pregnant. Sorry. However, good news. I went to my weekly appointment today and I am germ free. Just a mild cough but other then that. I am feeling 100% better. My Doctor checked me and I am already 5-6cm dilated. She said that she wouldn't be surprised to see me at the hospital later on that day. I told her that I wasn't holding my breath. Out of 6 kiddos, only one broke my water. So I wasn't banking on anything happening on its own this time around. She said that now that the hospital has a policy on non-emergency inductions before 41 weeks, that she is praying that something happens. She and I both feel the same way about waiting past 40 weeks. She told me to start calling those I needed to and make sure my sitter for the other kiddos was here in the area. Luckily our friend Jenn offered to come down and stay the night just in case.

I came home with lots of cramping and a general yucky feeling all around. I thought that I would try to get in a quick nap. Luckily the boys mom I sit for had called earlier that morning to tell me she was picking up the boys early (though it didn't happen) so I told Jason after the kids left I would go lay down for an hour or two.

By 1pm in the afternoon I was cramping even more to the point I needed to either walk through them or keep busy. The boys mom still hadn't shown up, and I didn't feel comfortable napping with them still here. So I did the dishes and a few loads of laundry. Made the kids beds and folded the clean laundry so I could put it away. I cleaned out my car and did a few other odds and ends.

By 3pm the boys were just leaving (they were suppose to leave at noon) and as I was heading upstairs to take a quick nap. My friend Jenn walks in the house. I guess a nap wasn't going to happen. The girls needed to be picked up, homework done. Supper made. Jason and Jenn kept trying to convince me to just slow down and rest. But I needed to move. Really for two reasons. 1) to keep busy. 2) to keep my mind off of everything.

6pm came and contractions and cramping were getting worse. I decided to take a shower, get the things packed in the car and called my doctor to let her know that I was headed to triage. I was feeling really lucky she was already on duty at the hospital. It was nice to know that 3 out of 6 kiddos would now have the same doctor delivering them.

By 7pm I was in the car heading to Woman and Infants. Not knowing of Miss E was going to gracious with her presence today or for Halloween. Either way, I just prayed that the on call doctor didn't decide to send me home.

My doctor called down to triage when she found out I was there and told them to send me right up. I am a quick delivery and she didn't want me to go home and have something happen. I was checked again at 8:30pm and was told that at 6cm I wasn't making enough "change" within the hour and the Doctor on call was getting ready to send me home. ARE YOU KIDDING ME!! I can't go home. I told her to call my doctor up in labor and delivery and she would tell her that going home wasn't an option.

9:45pm and after 3 1/2 hours at the Woman and Infants triage center. I finally had my blood drawn for labs. My I.V. in and I was on my way. I turned around the corner to see my Doctor and her and the nurse immediately asked "WHERE THE HELL YOU BEEN??" Long story is all I could say......

Its now 10:10pm

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

38 Weeks 1 Day

Still Sick!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Went to my appointment this morning hoping I will be all set for Miss. E's arrival. Unfortunately, I now have bronchitis. Another round of antibiotics, fluids and lots of rest. Hopefully next week I will get a clean bill of health. 4-5cm Dilated so it could happen at any moment. My Doctor told me to take it extra easy for the next 48 hours so I can give the antibiotics a good chance of working. She doesn't want me to be sick when the baby comes. I definitely do not want her to end up in the NICU. Though its a wonderful place. The thought of having her their will really just bring back too many memories of Anabelle.

Everything is just about in place. Kids are all set with everything they need while I am gone. We have our sitter in place for them too. The boys I nanny for are all taken care of and will be staying with our sitter while I am in the hospital. Appointments for everyone are out of the way until middle of November. So far so good.

Now my only job is just to rest as much as I can. Which is a pretty impossible feat. But I am going to do the best I can for sure!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

37 Weeks 2 days and Sick

Post says it all. 37 weeks and sick with what I thought was a simple cold/cough. Add in throwing up, I just assumed it was a slight stomach bug. I felt tired and yucky all over but didn't think anything of it. However, a trip to see my Doctor for my weekly appointment told a different story. Phonomnia. Yuck! I started a course of antibiotics and after a full 24 hours and two double doses. I am feeling so much better. Of course all the junk has moved into my face and nose area. But at least its working its way out of my lungs and I am able to breath a lot better. The wheezing is still there and sometimes its hurts to take in a deep breath. But my energy level is almost back to normal and I am able to finally get things done around the house.

I have been told bed rest, lots of fluids and to take it easy. I am already 3cm dilated and she does not want little lady to arrive at all this week. So I am to try as hard as I can to refrain from any heavy mobility. Though with 7 kids in my house during the week. That keeps me busy almost all day long. With the exception of 3 hours during nap time. I don't see how that will be physically possible. With myself being sick, her weight issues and the fact I have little kiddos in the house. She doesn't want to see the baby end up in the NICU because we are all sick right now. So we will wait. Continue to bleach and Lysol the house and keep up with keeping the germs at bay. Oh, and work on making this mommy happy, healthy and sick free. 

I am thankful for the extra week too. I have a list a mile long of things I would really like to try to accomplish this week as I slowly get better. Car needs to be vacuumed. House could use one last good scrub down. At least the downstairs portion. I wouldn't mind doing a good long days worth of grocery shopping and stock up on things we need for a good solid 2 weeks. Though a lot of this will really depend on how I am feeling. I really want to get better as quick as possible, and pushing myself to my limits is probably not a wise idea. 

Now we wait and see what happens. Diaper bag is finally made (and came out great) and packed so all I have left is my hospital bag. Clothes are ready to go. Need to acquire a box of diapers but just waiting to see how big this little girl is going to be before we  go purchase anything more. Its an easy enough job Jason can do after we have come home. So now we wait.............Oh and get healthy too!

Monday, September 24, 2012

34 weeks! 5 weeks left

First let me say, sorry about the picture being so "shinny" We are still trying to figure out the new camera and are back and forth on the idea of keeping it or finding something else that fits our family better. It takes fantastic pictures most of the time. Great ones outside. Inside though is a different story. Some days I get great shots. While others seem over exposed, "shinny" and very bright. Ideas welcome if you know how we can remedy this issue.

So today marks 34 weeks!! Two more weeks and I am officially 9 months. I officially have just 5 weeks (39 weeks) or 42 days (40 weeks) left of this pregnancy. And I am not really struggling this time around with all the things I need to do. Or in some cases, want to do. Which honestly feels great. I cannot guarantee that at the last hour I wont be hounding my husband to scrub the floors and wash the molding and paint all the rooms and take the car to get washed and vacuumed. And everything that in the past has been on my to do list. Right now though, its just been nice to "enjoy" rather then take charge just to have the house look perfect. For those who know me. Lets see how long that lasts for.

We have very little left to do around the house before little girl arrives. We want to get the backyard cleaned up and ready for the fall and all the leaves that will be dropping pretty soon. I am also hoping to get some fall plants in the ground around the front of the house and maybe decorate for Halloween. Something I don't normally do because the kids in our neighborhood tend to destroy and steal stuff. But I wanted something cheery and pleasing to the eye for any potential buyers. Especially since I didn't plant a single thing this year. I am itching to plant something.

We also have a few things to do around the house. Nothing major. Hang some pictures. Finish packing away summer clothes. Fix a few things here and there that have been piling up on Jason's *Hunny-Do List*. Another solid weekend should give us enough time to accomplish everything. Hoping that in another week or two Jason can take a Friday off so we can have a long weekend to get things checked off the list.

I am feeling great. Honestly. I have moments when I am feeling "pregnant" and days like yesterday where I have contractions non stop for hours on end. But other then that. I really have been feeling great. Energy is great. I haven't really slowed down and usually right around the end of 28-30 weeks I am starting to really feel everything. So I am blessed that its been a smooth and uneventful pregnancy for the most part.

Tomorrow is my Growth and Weight check for baby girl. I am excited to see how much she has gained in the last 21 days. I still believe she is tiny, but who knows. She might have gained 2 pounds in the last 21 days and just really good at hiding it. Until then, I am hoping today and most of tomorrow will go by fast. I cannot wait to see her.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Off to a Great Start!

As you can see, the girls are off to a great start to the school year!! I couldn't be more prouder of how hard they work and study during the week. They are certainly *SUPER* in my book. Love you girls. Mommy and Daddy are so proud of how hard you work each and everyday. Keep it up. Your shining stars for sure.
Hugs and Kisses.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Bit of Good News

Had my doctors appointment today. 33 weeks 1 day and I measured in at a whooping 30/31 weeks. It was too close to tell either way. Especially with baby moving so much. So I am no longer 4 weeks behind. Give or take, I am about 2 weeks behind. Which is much better. Though she is still thinking baby will be on the small side. I will need to wait another week before we can figure out how much she has grown and gained from my last visit. The wait is killing me.

I did some calculations and if she gains steady everyday over the course of the last 22 days. Then by next Tuesday she should be in the 4lb 3oz range. It will be neat to see if my calculations are spot on or completely off. I wished for the week to fly by. But based on the last two days already. I don't think we will be having that kind of luck.

Blood pressure was in the normal range. 130/80. So I am unsure of where the headaches and dizzy feeling is coming from. She is thinking it might be caused by silent migraines. She gave me a prescription to take before bed in the hopes it wipes this headache out for good.

All in all things look good. Starting October 2nd I will see her every week until delivery. Its zipping by quickly. Just hanging in there. This weekend consists of birthday parties and yard cleaning.


33 weeks. I should be grateful I have made it this far without complications, sickness, flat on my back irritable. 33 weeks and I am still feeling terrific (for the most part) still able to get things done around the house, working, running errands. 33 weeks and baby is doing great. Despite her weight being behind. She is doing pretty wonderful right now.

Except, I am not. 33 weeks and all of a sudden the emotions I felt at the beginning of the pregnancy are now full force at the end. I. AM. SCARED.

For those of you who do not know. Back in November a friend of mine had a beautiful baby. She was so blessed after trying for so many years to welcome a new addition to her family. She was completely in love and all she talked about was her excitement and anticipation for the newest arrival. I remember when she told me. It was late in the evening and I got a text from her. IT'S A BOY. I was so happy for her and the family.

Sadly though, what should have been the happiest time of her life slowly turned into the worse time. She grew increasingly sick day after day. It happened almost days after the baby was born. Doctors suspected everything from A to Z but could never pinpoint what she really had. She saw multiple of doctors and by the time Christmas came. She had lost so much weight (more then a new mom really should) she became increasingly pale and all in all she looked extremely tired and run down. I kept encouraging her to see her doctor. But she said that everything was fine and that it was just this and that. I didn't believe her. But didn't push the issue either.

Then one Sunday evening in January I got the call that she had been admitted to the hospital after a series of what was believed to be heart attacks. All I could ask myself was how did this vibrant, young, wonderful person go from being happy and joyful over the birth of her new baby to in the hospital?? I didn't understand. She had undergone numerous surgeries to help her recover from whatever was killing her.

January turned into February. The email I was dreading came in at 5:25 am. She had passed away earlier that morning. The words I read on the screen could not be put into words I was feeling that afternoon. I walked around in a fog. I couldn't understand. I didn't want to understand. How does GOD take away a beautiful, wonderful, vibrant, God loving mom, sister, Aunt, wife away from everyone and everything that loved her? How?

I struggled at her funeral. I missed her. I missed the person she was. The person I wanted and strive still to this day to be like. I wanted her here with us. To watch her children grow. It wasn't fair.

A week after her passing, I found out I was pregnant. The joy was completely over shadowed by the pain and hurt I was feeling loosing my friend. I was in denial. I didn't want to realize that this was happening to me. I barely wanted to tell friends. (and didn't for a very long time) I gained enough courage and life to tell my husband. He saw the pain and hurt in my eyes. The worry. The wondering. The questions that circled. What if? What if? What if? At 33 weeks I am still partially in denial. With a small belly and barely looking pregnant, I tend to forget until someone asks. The guilt alone from feeling that way makes it worse.

I finally managed to make an appointment to see my OB/GYN. I thought as I walked into the office I was together. Joyful. Ready to prove everyone wrong. I was strong, excited, ready to start a new chapter with our family. The girls at the reception desk were happy to see me. Greeting me with a smile. Asking about the other kids. I was ready to go. Until that is, I walked into the office and saw my doctors face. I lost it. Completely. Emotions were spilling on the floor left and right. She looked at me with utter shock. I was always so calm, so happy, so closed off to my emotions. Even with Anabelle. She was stunned to see me so vulnerable. Hell, I was stunned to see myself acting this way. I never cried. Or at least not in front of people other then my husband. Then I laid it all out. How I lost my best friend. And by this time 3 other friends to Cancer. All within weeks of each other. How I was afraid that the loss of my friend meant that it was going to happen to me. The worry for my family, my kids, my husband the new baby. I was a basket case.

She was wonderful. And after a long discussion she told me that my friends death was not me and my pregnancy. Her pregnancy and delivery would not be my pregnancy and delivery. That I needed to think about the bigger picture and even though her passing was hard and sad and not fair. I needed to concentrate on my health and the health of my baby.

We talked so more. She gave me some information in regards to my friend. I learned a lot that afternoon. Which only make my heart hurt more. But I understood things so much better. I walked away trying to sort through my feelings and work through my loss while trying to accept the new journey I was to take part in. It was a tough thing for me to work through.

Fast forward 7 months. I have done pretty well. Worrying less and enjoying being pregnant more. But suddenly, the other day, it just hit me like a ton of bricks. I have been in true panic mode. I am worrying constantly. What if something happens to me during delivery? What if something happens to the baby? What if she passes away in utero? Will the doctors deliver her early if she stops growing? Will they make the mistake of waiting too long and something happens? What about myself? What if I bleed out? What if I end up dying?.....Dying? Maybe my entire pregnancy being so great and uncomplicated was to get my family ready for me not to be here anymore? I don't know. It sounds crazy. But its how I feel. I have literally been feeling extreme emotions lately. I don't know how to work through it without feeling guilty then sad then happy, then the feeling of nothing. The dead feeling one gets when the emotions of life are just so high that you cannot feel anything more then "dead"

I see my doctor today. I am hoping she will REALLY listen vs. just telling me things will be ok and not to worry.  I have been given a lot of advice and though I know everyone means well. Its just not helping. I get angry when no one listens. I get angry when people thing "they know best" I get angry when others take what I feel for granted. Saying things like "this isn't your first. Why are you worrying so much." Just bothers me.

If you talk to me (or for a lot of my friends and family who have all but even called me since finding out) then realize that I am going through a lot more then most of you probably realize right now. This pregnancy comes with a heavy cost of worry and anxiety.

If you think about me today. Say a prayer. Say a prayer that I can stop worrying and enjoy the last few weeks I have being pregnant. There isn't anything more I would love to do then enjoy my last pregnancy moments with baby worry free.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Waiting, Waiting............On *The House*

Here is a picture of the *THE HOUSE* that we are looking at. This photo doesn't really do it much justice. Once you see it in person the first words exclaimed usually is "this house is huge" And huge it is. With almost 4,000 square feet of current usable space. And another 1,000 sq. feet in the attic which will be re-done right away. This house is *HUGE* It has 5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms. Included is a formal dining room, space for an eat in kitchen. Formal living room and family room. Hook-ups for laundry to be on either the main floor or 2nd floor. And space to grow in the attic. Which we intend to use as an office space/sewing and craft room and family room. The house is amazing. Its close to Jason's job. Which he could walk or bike too. Close to the girls school. Full time kindergarten for Owen next year. Plenty of growing room down the line when we have our children's families visit with there kids. Its the perfect "old school" house you want to celebrate Christmas in. And best of all, it has a fantastic yard and fenced in backyard. We even had the pleasure of meeting the neighbors and they are really nice. One of them even has kids Ezme and Oliver's age.

Its been 2 months since we put the offer in and still no word. We have decided that because of the amount of work and length it will take for us to accomplish everything. That its better we stay here until after the holidays are over. Which means we are looking at a January 1st move in date. This is if we find out about the house in the next month or so. It will give us the time we need to work on the new house, while still having a place to live during renovations. Its going to be a big under-taking. Especially if Jason and I are doing a lot of the work alone. We want to try to accomplish as much as we can together without having to hire outside help and blowing our budget out of the water.

We sure could use some prayers. If you can, please say a quick prayer that we will hear about this house in a more timely manner. The waiting is killing the both of us and we were both really hoping to celebrate Christmas in our new house. New baby, new house, family and friends around us. Couldn't ask for a more special time gift.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Apple Picking

The kids favorite thing to do when fall comes is go Apple Picking. This year was no exception. The kids had a great time and picked out some pretty terrific apples to take home with us. The best part, it gave me the opportunity to play with my new camera. We are still deciding if its exactly the right one for us. But so far it seems pretty great.  I just have to get use to all the new buttons what nots. That will take some time for sure. It helps though that Jason enjoys playing with everything and figuring it all out. So he in the end just shows me how to use it. Beats trying to read the directions and not really understand anything. Here are a few pictures from our fun afternoon.
Emma and Owen

Emma getting a ride from Daddy's Shoulders. Only the high apples would do for her

The gang!! Cannot be at an apple farm and not try out the product 

One of my favorites! Wish they all had looked at the camera. But they were too distracted.
Olivia (9 1/2) Emma-James (6 1/2) Owen (4 1/2) Ezme (3) Oliver (2)

Friday, September 14, 2012


What do you think? Not much has really changed in the last 6 weeks. I only wish I had taken more pictures to see how much little girl was growing and how much my belly changed. Cannot turn back time. But at least I have a few more pictures to take of her inside before she makes her grand entrance outside.

Both my doctor and myself think that they change in "belly" represents her either being sideways or head down. Hence the bit more pregnant look in weeks 26 and 30. Lets just hope she stays head down. It might means mommy is a bit more uncomfortable. But in the end, it saves me from a c-section I really want to avoid.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Favorite Car Seat!

Lets face it. With 6 kids I have had my fair share of car seats. Everything from the $20 dollar hand-me-down to the expensive (to us) Nautilus. While I have loved each and every one of them. I have finally found something I truly love, appreciate and thank heavens it was invented. As a parent of more then 2 children and a van that holds up to 6 kids. I needed car seats that could easily fit together without the hassle of space provided. All the other car seats I have looked at are too bulky at the end leaving very little room for another car seat or even booster seat to sit next too.


We we went for our 18 week ultrasound and found a car seat that we really loved in a magazine at the doctors office. It was perfect for our family. And even showed a picture of 3 seats fitting in the back row of a Toyota Sienna comfortably. I WAS SOLD IMMEDIATELY!!

I was even lucky to see a friend using one for her daughter and she told me that she was in love as well. And wish they had them out when her first child was born. I knew immediately with a new baby on the way, this car seat was the way to go. So I did my research. Found that a good portion of the seat is made of steal. So its HEAVY!!! But that it was good for babies 5 llbs - 120 lbs. Even better. The only down fall. They were running well over $300 per seat. Times that by 3 kids who needed them. Well you can do the math. It just wasn't going to work.

One afternoon in July though I started looking around for the cheapest seats I could find. Bargain I was hoping for. And just my luck. They had the car seat on a website for 200 dollars. I was in love. I immediately ordered 2. One for Ezme and one for Oliver. In fact, I loved it so much that I just ordered my last one for Owen which he will use for the next year or so until he is tall enough to go to a booster. And then the new baby will be able to use it once she is old enough. I am so excited. So if you are crunched for space like myself, looking for something that really fits a van like the one I have and want something safe and compact. I would say look into these.


Diono RadianR100 Convertible Car Seat

My New Purchases!

Jason and I have been doing so well with our fiances not to mention long hours at work for Jason resulting in extra hours and more money. And my continuing job nannying. That we decided to get a few things. A few were needed but some were wanted. Jason was sweet and worked the extra hours just to purchase two of the items just for me. I have had my eye on them for awhile now, but never would have bought them myself. It was really thoughtful of him. LOVE YOU SWEETIE.  So here are the items that we have purchased that should be arriving in the mail TOMORROW!

The first is my NEW CAMERA! Jason's old camera that was part his he purchased and part his mom she gave him. Just had its final days in February after taking a nasty but accidental spill off the shoe shelf. It basically left it useless to take pictures or to focus leaving us camera-less since. The only way we could capture important life events was through Jason's cell phone. And it really wasn't working for me. This camera though will not only take fantastic pictures. But allow me to video record the kids being silly and post it for all of you lovely folks to see. Its the Fujifilm FinePix HS30EXR Digital Camera. We did a lot of research on this and found that for what I want it should end up being a pretty good camera for us to use. We were also looking at a Cannon as well. But decided that will be a purchase later down the line. For now though, I am excited to see what my new camera will do for me tomorrow. And it will give me must enough time to figure it out before its intended use.....Taking pictures of the new baby.
Next is my new stroller. In purple!! Isn't it beautiful. Its the new CITY SELECT double stroller with infant bassinet. I am really excited about this because it also will come with a boogy board for Ezme to use as well. And its the first stroller I have found that allows us to use the bassinet and a regular seat for the older child all in one. We plan on using the bassinet too for when we are around the house or on vacation as its a portable crib for the first 6 months as well. I really love the versatility of this stroller and the fact that unlike my countors, it is more compact and easier to push. Not to mention I wont feel like I am pushing a limo around the stores anymore. My only regret was I didn't know about this stroller sooner!! It would have been great to use when Ezme and Oliver were little. I highly recommend anyone looking for a new stroller to think about this one. All the reviews I have read have given it 5 stars.

 The last item is my much needed and much wanted IPAD!!! I have been trying to save for this since I started working last year. But I always prioritize kids clothes, books, bills, husbands clothes, etc. Before indulging into anything "extra." This time though hubby worked some extra hours and bills and everything were finally caught up that he said it was much needed and much deserved. This is a 32g new generation Ipad which should be arriving in the mail sometime next week. I have wanted one for two big reason. To read. As I am a big reader and two, so I can have something to use in bed after the baby arrives. I plan on being downstairs a lot too. But this will come in handy at night when she is awake for feedings and I just want to snuggle in bed instead of going downstairs. I am also planning on purchasing a new ipod in the next few weeks for everyday outdoor use as my other one is about to loose its life. It will also be for the kids too when we are driving long distances to watch movies via our tv's in the car.
Thank you hubby for these!! I cannot wait to use them in the next day/week. LOVE YOU!!

8 MONTHS!!!!!

32 weeks and 3 days
32 weeks and not slowing down. I have reached the 8th month! I am just about ready! The ergo carrier came in today, which BTW is SO ADORABLE!! Its brown with pink tulips on it. Couldn't have asked for anything more "girly" then that. Best part, I managed to score it brand new in the box with tags still on it for only $79 dollars. Including shipping!! Way to go me!

I am still going strong around the house. Though now that little miss "E" has positioned herself squarely head down and nestled into my bladder, its a bit harder to breath and even more harder to bend over and pick things up off the floor. So I am relaying more on the kids and hubby to do the low ends while I concentrate on everything else. I have pretty much left the bathroom cleaning to Jason. Its too hard to bend over and smell the cleaning products and not want to gag. So its officially his job now. I am willing to still do everything else while I am feeling good. Including laundry. Though he has been a pretty huge help in that department. Making sure a load goes in before work and before bed. I just have to find the motivation to start folding everything again and putting it away. I have said it once, and million times after that. I cannot WAIT until we get our family closet. Wash, fold, iron, put away. All in the same room. Heaven I tell you! Heaven.

I am feeling really great about the things I am accomplishing these days. Though the weekends are never long enough, I am still getting things done here and there during the week. Even with work, the kids end up playing together in the mornings before lunch. Leaving me a large chunk of time to get phone calls and any important items out of the way. I wouldn't say I am in "nesting" mode this time around. I would call it more like "SURVIVAL MODE." Making sure that Jason is still able to work even after baby comes is vital. Especially with 2 kids in school full time and myself now working full time. It puts a lot more strain on him as he has to leave work early everyday to pick up the girls from school. Giving me enough time to pick up "J" from the bus stop 6 houses away down the street. Its crazy. But I keep telling myself its only temporary. And the extra money every week is a HUGE HELP.

I have scheduled all appointments for everyone from now until I hit the 35 week mark. Making the biggest bulk of appointments the first week of October. I just finished making a master plan for anyone who takes the kiddos while I am in the hospital. Including the schedules for the extra boys. I am now just working on last minute details around the house. I have decided to keep my job until either we move, or it becomes to much for me to handle. I am saddened that I wont get to have the extra special one-on-one time bonding with this new little one as I have had in the past. But weighing the PRO's and CON's of working vs. not working. I decided that right now, the income was a great incentive. Plus the hours couldn't be beat. And best of all, I probably wouldn't get another chance of finding a job that would give me the opportunity of being with MY KIDS all day every day and still earning a paycheck. It was really the best option for us and our family. At least for now.

I have ordered the last few items on my check list. Owen's new car seat should arrive sometime next week. We loved the ones we ordered so much for the "twins" that we decided it was a good investment to order the same one for Owen and then use it for the new baby when she is old enough. I ordered my new camera (Finally) which I am so excited for. It was due time as we haven't had a working camera in the house since February. With the new little one arriving in a few weeks. It will give me some time to get use to it before we really will need it. Then hubby surprised me by ordering my new stroller which should arrive by Friday!!! It will be perfect for all 3 kiddos to use as it has a boogy board for the older one to stand on. Its especially handy since Ezme is in between wanting to sit or walk. Hubby also ordered a new Ipad for me too! Something I have needed and wanted for a few years now. He told me it was a late Christmas/Birthday/Anniversary present. It should arrive sometime next week. I am so very excited. The last two big ticket items are a new Ipod for me. My new (old) one is just about to kick the bucket. It isn't taking a charge anymore and because I use this for everyday use it really is vital that I don't spend a huge amount of time without one. We are also planning on purchasing a new dishwasher in the next few weeks as well. We have just about had it with the one we currently own. And have decided that its more important to have one after the baby comes, then it is to wait until we move. Jason was also lucky to find some information in regards to our current GE dishwasher that might allow us to get it replaced for free, and if not, then at least a nice rebate will be offered. So either way, its a good deal.

For now I am enjoying watching and feeling the summer slowly turn into fall. Things are starting to come into place and I am feeling great still. I cannot complain about life these days. I am very blessed!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Whats Left?

Since we are planning on a possible early delivery I am trying to get everything out of the way and ready before I hit 35 weeks. My goal is to leave the last 2 weeks before I hit the 37 week mark to do odds and ends around the house and just focus on work. So help me figure out what I might be missing or needing to do. Stars represent things I have done.

* Put crib together
* Make dust ruffle for crib
   Make bumper pad for crib
* Organize baby clothes and put away newborn, 0-3, 3-6 months
   Purchase diapers and wipes
* Purchase new car seat
* Organize Ezme's winter clothes
   Organize Owen's winter clothes
* Organize Oliver's winter clothes
   Finish making and packing Diaper Bag
   Pack Hospital Bag
* Purchase or Order Ergo
* Make appointments for Grace to get fixed
* Make vet appointment for Chloe
* Make eye appointments for *Jason, , Owen, Ezme and Oliver
   Clean and sterilize bottles and nipples
   Make sure bills are paid
   Make sure fridge and pantry are stocked for the first 2 weeks home

I know I have gone through this at least 6 other times. But for some reason. I just cannot remember if I have forgotten anything important or not. So help me out. What am I forgetting?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

31 weeks 1 day and Ultrasound

No pictures today. I was hoping to get one this morning before I left for my day of appointments. But time didn't work in my favor and I ended up just forgetting by the time the kids came home from school. This is why we need a camera. It will free up having to worry about relaying on Jason's cell phone. Otherwise I completely forget to ask him. Next week though, promise.

Today I had a growth scan for Miss "E" I knew for sure she had moved head down as I have been more uncomfortable and "heavy" in the front. I was almost positive that she had a major growth spurt as well as I just seemed "bigger"though when I measured myself at home, I still showed being about 4 weeks behind. I went into the office with big dreams only to have the technician (who also is a nurse practitioner) tell me after taking measurements twice that she had fallen behind even further since my last visit at 26 weeks 2 days. Here are the stats:

26 weeks 2 days Wednesday August 1st: Baby measured 2.2 pounds and was in the 49% a bit below average but well within reason and we weren't too concerned. Enough to get another ultrasound at 3 weeks. Outside measurement was 24 weeks.

31 weeks 1 day Tuesday September 4th: Baby measured 3.1 pounds and was in the 25% and my fluid level was 9. Though this is an ok fluid level at this time. They really wanted to see an 11 or better. Outside measurement was 27 weeks. At this time baby should be weighing in the 3.8-4 lbs range.

When speaking to the nurse practitioner who did my ultrasound I told her that I just had a feeling that this baby was going to be making a entrance much earlier. I mentioned that I had made no plans, doctors appointments for the kids, husband or animals, etc. after 36 weeks and that I was starting to get things together and finished before then too. She said it was probably a very good idea.

I had the opportunity to have a doctors appointment with my doctor afterwards and we spoke at length about what could be an issue as far as her growth goes. I will have another repeat ultrasound in 3 weeks. If she is still below average, falls off the charts or just doesn't gain a good amount of weight by then. Then we will do an induction around 37-38 weeks. My biggest concern is my placenta is not functioning properly therefore isn't giving the proper nutrients baby needs to grow. We know unlike Anabelle who stopped growing because of her genetic issues, we are not really 100% sure why this one isn't. Though secretly I am happy to have a little baby. I have heard that it makes nursing a bit harder, but because I will actually be able to have the supply for the demand, I think it will help us both with not only bonding, but being able to successfully nurse.

For the time being, nothing has been asked of me as far as changing my diet or best rest. She told me to just go on with my normal activities. There isn't much I can do now. We have calculated though that baby could weigh between 5.7 pounds - 6.8 pounds by delivery. This is taking into account that she gains about .5 ounces everyday for the next 53 days (I have 60 days to go, but take 7 off because my doctor will not let me go past 39 weeks. period.)

For the time being though. We wait. In 3 weeks I will be 34 weeks. I will have one more ultrasound at 37 weeks and then we will possibly have an induction during that time. I could be holding this little girl in as few as 5 weeks!! EEK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

My Baby Boy is 2!!

I can hardly believe its been 2 years!!! Oliver has grown into such a sweet but devilish little boy. He hams it up to anyone who will pay attention. He also knows how to use his sweet brown eyes with the long baby doll eyelashes to get whatever he wants!!

Oliver really struggled with language in the beginning. We worried that even at 20 months he still wasn't saying simple words such as Dada or Mama. I started getting concerned and we spoke to our doctor that if he still wasn't talking by the time June rolled around we would look into why he was delayed in his speech.

Thankfully just before June hit, he started picking up words like crazy. I was so happy to hear him speak. Though he still isn't out of the woods completely. I think he will catch up pretty quickly in the next 6 months now that I can really spend some one-on-one time with him. Plus he is learning a lot from Ezme who has found that she has a little "puppet" to teach words too. Its funny to watch her and listen to her say "Oliver, say "hotdog" Oliver say "banana" and so on and so forth.

Here is some things that Oliver can do at Age 2:

* Can point and name all of his body parts on himself or someone else
* Can look at pictures of the family and name everyone
* Can count from 1-13
* Can say his ABC's from A to G
* Has a vocabulary of 70-90 words
* Is starting to use 2-3 word sentences "What is wrong" "Want more cereal" "Milk please, thank you"
* Can now easily take the safety off the sliding class door (by climbing the back of the couch)
* Is almost able to pump on the swings by himself
* Sleeps in a big boy bed (his new bunk bed he shares with Ezme)
* Shows compassion and love for someone who is sad, hurt, or upset
* Loves babies. Any babies. And talks to them in this cute little voice
* Loves pretty woman. I should be afraid of this one. He will walk up to a beautiful girl and talk their ear off
* Has a favorite blanket his best friend Liz made for the new baby but he took and made his own
* Loves to sing and dance
* Prefers to walk on his tiptoes rather then flat feet (we are working on this)
* Sleeps from 7:30pm to 6am (working on this too. Would like at least 7am)
* Still takes a nap 3-4 times a week for 3 hours
* Love to color
* Gave up his sippy cup
* Gave up his pacie during the day, only using it at night for bedtime

We will be heading to the pediatrician on September 11th to see how much Ezme and Oliver have grown in the last year. I am really excited to see how much they have changed!! Look for those stats coming in the next few weeks. I can tell you right now though, Oliver is about a pound behind Ezme and about inch and a half shorter. They are starting to look more and more like 'twins' instead of looking like they are 11 months apart. Wait until next year when they start per-school together. Oh boy!

First Day Of School Before and After


Through the powers that be and at the near end of the day before school started I was blessed to find out that both girls finally got into the same school TOGETHER!! It took a lot of phone calls but it worked out in the end. And for that, I am very blessed.

Our original plan was to home-school both girls this school year.  Olivia struggled in 3rd grade. The kids really laid in on her and were getting to the point where they were just being very cruel. She also struggled with wanting to do MORE and being really bored with the homework that was being handed out. She asked if she could stay home in February and I told her she could.  I had it all figured out by the time June rolled around. I hadn't been working since April. I didn't see myself getting my job back anytime soon either. Olivia was getting more anxious about staying home with me by then and already had it planned out what she wanted to start off with as far as learning. Emma-James didn't have a spot as of June for Barnes. So we made plans and thought for sure that we would actually be moved before the new school year started and would only be home-schooling until we got them into the new school together.

Over the summer a lot of things changed though. I got my job back full time. I went from working 40 hours a week to 52 hours a week. We put the offer on the house in Lincoln. A house I might add that needs a lot of work before its move in ready. On top of that, I decided to extend my job until we move rather then leaving the beginning of October. In the end, I just knew that this year I needed to concentrate on the bigger picture and wanted my kids to have the very best. Even if it meant the very best wasn't from me. I hated to make such a decision, but in the end. It really has been the best thing for them and me. I know that when can change our decision at anytime things just don't seem to be working out. Teaching my children myself has always been extremely important to me. But then again, I have to know my limits. I have to look at the big picture for our entire family and right now that is working to help support us. Becoming debt free, and making sure I and new baby are healthy.  And for knowing that I have the opportunity again some day makes me grateful for this chance now. Until then though, I am working on home-schooling the two 4 year old and the soon to be 3 year old. It should be a fun half of the year for sure!! So without further anticipation here are my two girls on their first day at Barnes Elementary!!

Emma-James 1st Grade (notice the dinosaur back-pack. We walked into Target and she said "Mom, its like they made this just for me for the first day of school. I just smiled and thanked God that she was so excited for her first day after not knowing how things would turn out for her)

Olivia 4th Grade (She is an old pro at this now. Though she was super nervous about meeting her new teacher and wondering who would be in her class)

Hard to believe I now have a 4th and 1st grader. The time is flying by so fast

Well the girls are officially home from school. I am so happy to report that Olivia has a fantastic teacher. She is young and pretty (Olivia's words) and she said the class has all her favorite friends. She was so happy to work on her times tables starting at 12 on the first day. She said that she loves school and is so happy. I was able to meet with the teacher and she seems motivated and challenging. Just what Olivia wants and needs. Homework is going to be a little tougher this year and more challenging for Olivia. Writing will be an everyday thing (something Olivia really dreads) and I think that she is willing to keep Olivia's mind always thinking. I am very exciting for a good first half of the year for her. And I think this is exactly what Olivia needs.

Emma-James has a great teacher as well. The best part that makes my heart just smile ear to ear is she is in class with 4 of her favorite friends!!! GOD BLESS YOU!!! She came home telling me that all of her friends from Cherry Hill are in her class and she is so happy. My heart just melted. All the struggles she had in kindergarten and over the summer not seeing any of her friends. Watching the tears when her big sister went and did fun things just broke my mommy heart. But I am smiling now. Because I love seeing her happy and excited and tear free. What mommy wants to see there babies cry.

*Day 6*
The girls are still loving school. Olivia started homework the first day. She is trying to get back into a groove and seems to be liking it. Though some of the work is challenging and not coming easy to her. I think that this is perfect. Its good to see her "sweat" a little.

Emma-James is on cloud 9. I haven't heard her say anything negative yet. She will be starting homework herself for her teacher on the 10th. Though she has started stuff for me last week. She must read every night before she goes to bed for 15 minutes. And write at least one sentence. I want to get her into a good groove as she is a little tougher after school to calm down. The long days are hard for her. But I think after a good month of getting into a good routine we will find our groove.

My heart was really torn with not home-schooling this half of the school year. I really felt like a bad mom and that I let my kids down. But to see them happy, thriving, with there friends, making new friends. I just cannot say thank you to God enough for this. It sure makes my mommy heart grow bigger and bigger everyday.

Monday, August 27, 2012

30 WEEKS!!!

Today officially marks 30 weeks!!! And sporting a new hair cut. What do you think? This means that Miss "E" is just about 9 weeks shy of making her presence known as we welcome her into this very large crazy family. I am excited!

This time around I find that my emotions are all over the place. It seems everything that we thought was set in stone in June is now up in the air now that we are nearing the end of August. I have shed so many tears, worry, fears, about what is going on. Or should I say "NOT" going on. I am struggling.

Miss "E" is doing good so far. Moving around at very precise moments of the day. I can almost pin point it by a clock.  Usually first thing when I wake up in the morning. Then again around 2pm in the afternoon and then usually sometimes around 9pm when I go to bed. She isn't a "social squirmier" like her big sisters were. But she does make her presence known.

I am feeling better then I ever have in any of my other pregnancies. Still have plenty of energy to get things done. Still moving around and sleeping (including the tossing and turning) as if I was still in my 20th week. I haven't had to deal with back issues or painful sleepless nights.  I feel like this pregnancy is almost too good to be true. Which is why I am cautiously optimistic. If you look at my pattern of the last pregnancies. I had horrible pregnancies themselves. Sick as a dog, headaches, stomach aches, dizzy all the time. My back was always sore. My body just didn't want to move. I loved being pregnant. Just hated how it made me feel. So this time around, with a perfect pregnancy. One that I even forget is actually happening sometimes. I have to wonder, "when is the calm before the storm going to happen."

Right now I am preparing for a possible early delivery. Making all the necessary last minute appointments. My car is going in this Wednesday for an oil change and tire rotation. Grace (our cat) has an appointment to get fixed as well as Chloe (our dog) has a well visit and shots and add to it, I have a 35 week appointment with my doctor the first week of October and I just happened to get lucky and make them ALL ON THE SAME DAY!!  I want to make sure everything and everyone is covered so I have less to worry about when she does arrive. Especially if we might be looking at a possible NICU stay. I know I am probably getting AHEAD of myself my leaps and bounds. But I just feel better knowing that everything that is in my control, is actually taken care of. I cannot predict when she is going to come. But I can at least be as prepared as possible. The good part though is because everything is getting done and out of the way as soon as possible. It frees almost the entire month of October up to just work, sew and spend the days getting prepared.

Next week is my next ultrasound. I am excited and nervous. I guess it will be a wait and see. Until then. 9 more weeks!!

Monday, August 20, 2012

29 Weeks 1 day

29 weeks
I have officially hit the 29 week mark. I was originally going to wait and post at the big 3-0! Then decided why not do both. I wish I had kept better records and pictures of all my pregnancies. It would have come in handy some days to compare. This time around though, without a camera available every moment. I have to rely on catching Jason to take a few quick pics with his cell phone. Which then requires me to wait until he downloads them to my desk top. Some days he is really good. Other days. Well.....lets just say a large chunk of time can pass. I am hoping to fix this issue and purchase a new camera for the family very shortly. Still doing some research into the exact one that is right for us and our needs.

Anyways, back onto my post. I had my 29 week Appointment today. We were trying to figure out if baby was "head down." We think we felt her bum closer to my belly button which means that more then likely her head was down. But one can never know with this squirmy girl *smiles*

My blood pressure is excellent and in the last 3 weeks from my last weight check  I have gained nothing. Even loosing 2 pounds. The doctor isn't concerned weight wise. (this was the same day August 1st. That I spend in Triage with Contractions. You know the kind that kicks you in the pants. Every 2-3 minutes apart. Lasting for a solid minute. Yup. Fun times for sure. The good news though was a good friend of mine had her little girl the same day. I guess I just took over the pain for her *smiles*)

I had a level 2 ultrasound at my 26 week 2 day appointment to check for growth and the position of the placenta. I was contracting so badly still at that point that you could see it clearly on the monitor. It took about an hour and a half to do the ultrasound which normally takes about 30 minutes. Thankfully my cervix stayed the same and I wasn't in need of staying at the hospital. At my appointment though I was measuring about 2 weeks behind. Baby looked great but was measuring on the lower side of normal. Nothing concerning at the time and said that I was all set to go home.

Then at my appointment today she measuring me and realized that in 3 weeks I had slipped another week. So now I am measuring 3 weeks behind. Blood pressure looks great though I am starting to swell in my legs and feet. Something I have never had to deal with before. I asked my doctor flat out if she was concerned and she said "yes." Honestly, I wasn't expecting her to say that. With that she has scheduled me for another growth scan in a week. I have told Jason many times that I just feel something isn't right. Even looking at my previous pictures I haven't really gained much baby weight so to speak. Still look about the same.

We have started to discuss dates for delivery and how I am hoping with just a bit of "modern" help that maybe I can go on my own. My doctor has agreed to strip my membranes at my 37 week 1 day appointment to see if she can get things started. Though she has tried with both Ezme and Oliver and it didn't work for either. So who knows.

For now I am just enjoying being almost 30 weeks and still feeling great. I can remember days with the others that this time would be the worse for me. Tired, irritable, cranky. Unable to find a good sleep position or move around with ease. Blessing in disguise. Or something to worry about. This mommy instinct says for me to stay on my toes and be prepared. So that is what I am going to do. Until then......

Sunday, August 19, 2012

To Nest or not To Nest

That is the Question.

Sorry for the lack of updates everyone!

To say the last three weeks have been a crazy one would be an understatement. The state of my mind currently is "driven by madness" right now. I find myself looking at the proverbial clock and realizing that I have very few weeks left before this new little one joins our family. Time wise I have anywhere from 7-9 weeks give or take. It seems once the 30 week mark starts rolling around I look at all my list of "to do's" and realize that time really isn't on my side anymore. I know, I know. I have said this before. Many, many, many times. But this time around, more things are up in the air then they were with the others. We weren't trying to sell our house. We didn't have to worry about a house we put an offer on and wait and wonder if we were going to get it. The kids were settled for school. I knew we were here at our current home location and that I could go to town painting, cleaning, scrubbing. The fun word of "nesting" comes to mind. This time though. Its just been really hard to really find a sense of balance and want. I want to paint and clean and organize. But its rough when I say "well if I bring up the clothes for the new baby. Where will I put them?" Or, if I spend money to paint the kids bedroom walls, then what if we move?" I don't want to put more effort and money into a house that could in all essence not be ours come November.

For example. The crib currently is in our shed. Packed in the box it came in. Jason has offered numerous times to put it together. But I feel horrible for him to have to lug it upstairs, put it together and then find out he only will be taking it down and setting it up again at the new house. So it sits. The dresser for the new baby is currently residing in our dining room. That's right folks. We got a fantastic deal on a beautiful and "just what I wanted" dresser for only $20 bucks. My goal is to strip, sand and paint it. Eventually. Sadly though, like the crib. It sits and waits. At least indoors I guess. The baby clothes though have been brought upstairs. Sorted. Washed. Organized. Re-Folded. They now have a wonderful home. Back in the box they came in. Sitting in my bedroom. Yup, I am working hard *smiles*

Currently I am in the process of making the bedding for the crib and matching quilts for each of the girls. Regardless if we move or not. Its been decided that they will all share a room. The girls and I have all agreed on colors, patterns and the look of the room. With the oldest being almost 10 and the youngest only weeks old. I wanted to make something that worked for everyone that didn't have a "baby" or "toddler" tone too it. I can honestly say without a doubt that this room is going to ROCK and the girls and I are excited to get working on it. They will be moving into our master bedroom and the boys will be staying in what is affectionately called the "nursery." We will be working on that room too making it a big boy room for both boys. They are pretty excited. I will be working on there quilts after I finish up the girls. Jason will tell you that he had his doubts that it was going to come out the way I envisioned and really didn't think the money or the effort was going to be worth it. I proved him wrong in the two I have already made. He said to me "I should just trust you." Agreed. I have a few friends who have inquired about pictures and I promise. As soon as most of them are finished I will be taking TONS of pictures. I am really loving how they are coming out and cannot wait, weather it be this house or the new house. To see them in there finished rooms.

If I keep steady at the pace I am going. Then I shouldn't have any problems finishing up all of the quilts by October 1st. Which will give me most of October to paint bedrooms and move furniture around if need be. Until then, its one step at a time.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

My Story: Trisomy 18 (Re-Post)

My Story: Trisomy 18
*editors note* I am re-posting this as it seems to be very popular site that many followers or newcomers go too. If you are someone that is going through a possible or definite diagnosis of Trisomy 18 or have a friend or family member going through this. Please, I encourage you to talk about it with your community, family, friends, and if not. I am happy to help.

Christmas Photo 2004 (This was taken the day before she passed away)

Her story began like all new pregnancies do. With the announcement of "I am pregnant". I was excited, shocked, nervous. This pregnancy was nothing like finding out about my first. I knew in my gut the moment I took that test that something wasn't right. The severity of how badly things were to become were to unfold in ways you only see on soaps.

The first ultrasound appointment would marked the roller coaster ride of our journey. A missed heartbeat at my 8 week appointment would only show a tiny little thing measuring 5 weeks gestation. I knew how far along I was. I fought with the doctors, waited 3 hours to be see. The whole situation was a nightmare. Only to get worse.

I had horrible care from the Doctors. Many who just didn't seem to care that I was carrying a living, breathing baby. They would not let my husband in with me at any of the appointments. At my 19 week growth scan I was excited to confirm my suspicions that we were indeed having another little girl. A little girl we would name Anabelle. After loosing my mother-in-law only a few short months before, Anabelle would be the start of something happy to finally look forward too. A happy welcome to the dreaded start of the new year. She was to be named after Ana, her Vovo.

I went into the appointment alone. Scared. Worried. The ultrasound tech was cruel, cold, and had no heart. She would scream at me to move a certain way, to stop talking. I asked to see the monitor and she refused. Another doctor came in, and I knew that moment something wasn't right. I saw a glimpse on the screen. She didn't look like a healthy 19 week little one. Her face was shaped differently and her belly just seemed small to me. I left the appointment feeling confused, worried and needing answers. My husband chalked it up to the office staff and their unwillingness to have a heart.

The following day after my appointment I left to visit family in Maine. Its then I got that call that would change my life FOREVER. I can still recall the words of the nurse on the other line, calling from the Rhode Island prenatal diagnosis center. "Miss. Martin, I am calling to let you know that we received your blood work and your daughter's (congratulations by the way on your little girl) recent ultrasound pictures and your blood AFP test. I just want to let you know that we have noticed that she has some chorid plexis cysts on her brain. This could possibly be the result of a chromosomal defect, but in 90% of the cases, they go away on their own and its nothing to worry about." This is when I asked her what kind of defects could it be. and she told me "Trisomy 18 is one of them, but please don't put yourself in a panic and by all means, don't go on the internet to look it up, it will only worry you more." The rest of the conversation was a blur. I remember making a new appointment with her for the end of the week. Jason wasn't with me visiting family, so I called him on the phone and told him the news. Immediately I went searching on the internet. What I found was devastating. Death and "Failure to Thrive" were pretty much the theme of any articles I read. I told myself I would wait until further testing, but still continued to find out all I could on this subject. Calling, researching, talking with anyone who would listen.

I finally returned back from Maine and barely had anytime to really grasp what was going on. We were immediately seen by a high risk doctor and prenatal genetic counselor. Both whom I immediately disliked. I found myself growing a *VERY* thick skin and immediately spoke up and said that I wanted someone different. Thankfully, they were accommodating and I had very little issue getting both a new doctor and new counselor. To this day, I am so grateful I made that switch. Our genetic counselor Caroline was amazing. We fell right in love and she really listened to everything I had to say. She never once made me feel like I was crazy for trying so hard. She did everything she could to look into all the current information I had for Trisomy 18 and was always available anytime I called. I just loved her.
She of course went over the statistics, let us know what "COULD" be the outcome, but because of my age and testing numbers, it just didn't all add up. Many of the Doctors begged us for an amnio but I refused. I knew that if the outcome wasn't good, and she was born alive, they would not do any life saving measures even if we requested it. I did NOT want this for my daughter. So we said no. The risk of the amino far outweighed our options to find out her genetic makeup.

We went through our pregnancy as "normal" as possible. Normal for us was now coupled with NST's (Non Stress Tests) Ultrasounds, and growth checks three times a week. Depending on how Anabelle was feeling on a particular day, we could be anywhere from 20 minutes in the office to 3 hours. So it made the last 12 weeks very long. Babies with Trisomy 18 typically don't move around a lot in utero, and if they do, because of their small size would make it harder for you to feel them moving. I spend many evenings worrying and wondering if she would still be alive. I think it was the hardest time for me. I just couldn't come to terms if she was to pass away before she even had a moment to live. I accepted the fact that there was a 99.9% chance she was not going to be with us, I just wasn't willing to accept the fact that she could pass away before being born. And I didn't.

Her arrival was a stressful one. Not even a happy joyful one. I spend a good 2 hours in the Delivery Triage of the hospital. My first time at Woman and Infants (as I had my first child in Boston) I was expecting a warm atmosphere, with nurses and doctors their to help you anyway they can. That didn't happen. Instead, I found myself arguing with a doctor that wanted me to have an amnio. I was only 37 weeks at the time, and he felt that it was just too early to deliver her, not knowing if her lungs were mature. I flat out told him, under no circumstances would I have an amnio. She had stopped growing 2 weeks ago, and it was time to deliver her that day. I told him if he wanted an amnio done so badly, go do it on himself. I was angry, livid and tired of doctors thinking that they always new best because they had the piece of paper hanging on some dingy wall saying they did. He wasn't happy with me and spoke to my husband saying "Are you going to let her speak to me like that." My husband, looked him right in the eye and said, YES I AM. Your on your own buddy. He left the room and didn't return. About 30 minutes later, a nurse came in the room, in a very rude tone and said I got my wish. Looked right at me and said that my husband and then 22 month old daughter had to leave, that they weren't allowed upstairs. I was livid by then. Jason quickly made arrangements for our daughter to stay with a friend until my mom and sister arrived later that night/early morning. They brought me upstairs at 8pm and things began pretty quickly.

I told them that if she came out breathing, I wanted to see her before they whisked her away, that they were to help her based on her being a child, not a child with possibly having Trisomy 18, and that my husband was to go with her after delivery to the NICU.

From the moment I was hooked up to the monitors and settled in with the nurse, its the last thing I remember before Anabelle was born. After she was delivered I remember them working on her, bringing her downstairs, and Jason going with them. That's all. I struggle everyday with this, because I don't have the memories I want to have. Only the ones people tell me, or I see in small video segments that Jason was able to capture.

Anabelle Eileen Martin Rodrigues was born on November 11, 2004 at 6:19am. Weighing in at 4lbs 6 oz and was 17 inches long. She was beautiful, she was tiny, she was ALIVE!

The next few days were an emotional roller coaster. From hearing doctors and nurses tell you she would not survive the night to others telling you that I had to just let her go and stop dreaming a life that she would never have. I knew the outcome, and I knew the statistics. The difference between myself and all those people around me, was that I had hope. Hope for her, hope for myself. Hope for other parents dealing with this now and in the future. I didn't want Anabelle to be just a number in a book. I wanted her to do as well as SHE could do. And that was the most important to me. I would fight for her and with her as much as she needed me too. She was my child, my daughter. I didn't see her disability, I saw her as a beautiful baby who just needed the extra love and support to get through each day.

Yes Anabelle had Trisomy 18, later confirmed by blood work two days after her birth. Yes she showed all the signs of a baby with Trisomy 18. Small weight, strawberry shaped head, fingers that were crossed and wouldn't open up, small eyes, nose and mouth. Ears that were shaped as if she were a little elf. I loved her just the same.

We spend the first 19 days of her life in the NICU at WOMAN AND INFANTS HOSPITAL. I loved her nurses. They were caring, warm and friendly. They took their job very seriously and loved the babies as if they were there own. We found out one of Anabelle's nurses had gone to school with two of my classmates from high school. Which was very comforting. She called all the time, took pictures when she could and kept up with Anabelle's day to day health. She truly did fantastic. She was on a breathing machine, but was only on room air, she was being fed by a tube through her nose and overall was very healthy.

When the day arrived for her to come home. My heart must have been beating out of my chest. I was worried she wouldn't make it off the machine. That she would pass away minutes or hours after they took the tubes out. I was a wreck, but didn't show it. I wanted her to prove to the doctors that Trisomy 18 isn't a text book case. Its something you have to handle based upon your understanding of that particular child. Not as a whole, but individually. I remember her doctor from the NICU wanting to be there. A mean souled man who I truly found myself hating more and more with each passing day. After she came off the machine, he wanted to hold her before we left. I reluctantly gave him the ok. The minute he picked her up, she not only threw up all over him, but had a very large accident as well. I told him it served him right speaking ill about her next to her bed. Putting her in the grave before she was even there. I didn't know how long she would have with us. But that moment made me feel like my choice of carrying her to term and helping her live was truly the best one.

Anabelle left the hospital on November 29th 2004 weighing in at 3 lbs 15 oz.

When we took her home, we wanted it to just be the family. Myself, Jason and Olivia. A family of four. We spend that day enjoying each other. Watching movies, eating lots of take out. Making memories. The next two weeks before her passing was a whirlwind. We took trips to the mall, saw Santa, visited family. Tried to make as many memories as possible.

The last day of her life was hard but beautiful. She passed away peacefully in my arms at exactly one month of age on December 11, 2004. She was the sweetest little girl. She taught me to fight for what I believe in, that no one person knows all the answers, and that I can do anything that I put my mind too. I learned so much that year carrying her, giving birth to her, watching her here on earth and then loosing her. It's never easy to loose a child, but I don't look at it as loosing her, I look at it as though I gained much more then her passing.

Anabelle Eileen Martin Rodrigues

If you or someone you know has had or is currently going through a diagnosis of Trisomy 18 please feel free to contact me at or visit my blog at I am happy to help anyway possible. Any and all questions can be asked and nothing is too personal.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


With our newest addition set to make a debut in the next 15 weeks or less. I thought it would be fun to change things up a bit here on my website. Seeing how we can no longer be the "Courageous Seven" I need to come up with a new name that fits us yet sparks appeal. So what are your ideas? Be as creative as you want. You never know....I might just keep it. So bring on the ideas everyone. What could be the newest name for our blog.

So far the suggestions are:

*The Crazy Eights
*Eight IS Enough

Keep Them Coming!!!

My take on Breastfeeding

The picture above represents what I am sure every new mom or even an experienced mom dreams about. Breastfeeding your child without any cares in the world. No one screaming or crying. No one in tears. This picture says it all. However, this post is about my struggles with breastfeeding and what I hope will be a solution for me. And maybe help another mom out there as well.

This is my feelings on breastfeeding.

 After going through every twist and turn. Reading every book and magazine article about this subject I could get my hands on. Talking with nurses and lactation consultants in the hospital or on the phone. Doing everything humanly possible. Breastfeeding is not always for every woman. Its not "natural" or "easy."  Its frustrating and hurtful and completely debilitates you as a mom. The guilt that people give you makes you feel like a failure. It puts you in a deep depression. It makes you ask "WHY ME." You beat yourself up. Question your parenting skills after only 2 days. The nurses tell you your not relaxed enough. Your not trying enough. Your not doing it enough. The say "don't worry, your supply will come in. Eat this, drink that. Do this. Do that." Its enough to make you insane.  Its everywhere. The constant reminder of how inadequate you are as a mom. You stop and think, "If I cannot do this one simple thing that millions of moms have done for millions of years. How in the world am I going to be a good parent for the rest of my life." The guilt makes you feel that useless.

At least. It did for me.

I had my first daughter 9 1/2 years ago. I was excited and ready to start nursing. I took every birthing class I could get my hands on. I was lucky enough to still be taking college courses so I was able to get my hands on some of the latest breastfeeding material. I read everything. I was prepared. When Olivia was born. She was a natural nurser. Latched on with ease. Never had issues. The first week was so promising. I was excited. We were doing it. It was really working. SUCCESS!! Then the ball dropped. At her first week appointment I was giving the bad news. She hadn't gained a single ounce. In fact, she had lost almost 9 oz. I started crying. I was a failure. I sat in the office after hours with her doctor. She watched as Olivia nursed. She was doing great. Nursing like a champ. But my milk just was not coming in. She suggested drinking more. Eating more. Eliminating all the stress around me. So I did. At her one month check up. Nothing. She barely made back her birth weight. It was time to move onto formula. I was devastated. I felt like a horrible mom at that very moment.I tried for a few more weeks but she was so frustrated by my lack of supply, that she just wanted to use the bottle. So there it was. One month, and we already had to stop.

I can say that the above really sums up the rest for babies 2-6. Though with Anabelle it was slightly different. During her stay in the NICU I was pumping. Sadly though, because of her continuous feed 24/7 my supply clearly was not meeting her demand and I dried up within a week after delivery. Though I can say that with one of my kiddos, I believe it was Ezme. I managed to manually express almost 4 oz. in one sitting. I was so proud of myself. I couldn't believe it. I think it was the most I had ever had in one sitting.

I found a great doctor after the birth of Owen. She was fantastic. She gave me every idea in the book to try. Beer, blessed thistle, fenagreek, teas. I tried them all.  I was hoping that one of them would be a miracle drug. That by taking just one of these things my milk supply would be overflowing so much that I could be one of those moms that had to donate breast milk. I knew it was possible. I have seen friends that had so much milk they actually had to stop storing it and ended up pumping and dumping. I wanted to die. The heartbreak of hearing those stories just about put me over the edge.

Here I am once again though. Back in the same boat. This time with baby #7. At 25 weeks I am already feeling that the failure is there, and I am just fooling myself that its going to work this time around. I have discussed with my doctor my desire to give it one last "college try." We have discussed what to do and what medications she can put me on. So starting at 35 weeks (10 weeks from now) I will be working on building up my milk supply before baby arrives. This way I can get things going earlier and hopefully the extra few weeks will give me an advantage. Couldn't hurt right?

I also have been thinking back and forth since Oliver to try this:

Yes the contraption looks a bit funny, and its not always ideal to be carrying this around while your nursing. But I think its genius!!! I have seen it a few times here and there and always thought about the idea. This time around though I am seriously thinking of going for it. Its a bit pricey. But its totally worth it in my opinion. If you can't figure out what it is. Its a container that holds infant formula. You can wear it around your neck while nursing baby. Just as long as its elevated so the milk can flow out. At the end is small tubes that carry baby formula from the bottle to babies mouth. You attach this to your breast so while baby sucks during breastfeeding they are getting both the nutrition they need from the breast milk, but also to supplement there need for food with the formula. The idea around this is for parents who are adoptive breastfeeding to help establish a bond between mother and child. But to also help in lactation in mom's who have not had a child. The constant sucking on the breast helps establish a good breastfeeding schedule but also is to help bring on more milk. The supply of milk will happen the more baby nurses. Therefore is there to help with the demand. Some woman have great success that they are off this completely within a few weeks. Others use it continuously for the entire first 1-2 years. Sometimes even longer. In that aspect, I am all for it. And the best part, since I am having a winter baby, I can probably make this hidden a bit better with clothes or jackets. That will allow me to still nurse outside the house.