November Randoms

So, November’s random pictures are pretty much all with Tobin in them.  With a few exceptions.  Maybe I should call this one November Tobins.  Yes.  We’re all in love. Daddy cuddles are the best. This was our Tobin at 2 weeks.  No.  Joke.   The boys love to play in the volleyball pit when they have to wait on the girls at American Heritage Girls. It took Malachi over a week, but he finally agreed to hold Tobin.  He was very nervous about holding him this time.

Baby wearing…another M.I.T. (Mama In Training) Be still my heart.
He outgrew his co-sleeper after a couple of weeks. Napping is such hard work. Emmie and Ace enjoyed some special one on one time on our trip to Atlanta. Look!  Tobin finally got hair! Milk drunk.  After a good nursing, he is comatose for about five minutes.

Zoe, Ace, and Emmie were playing pretend and I caught them.  They refused a video though.

Tobin’s Birth Story

How about a birth story to celebrate Thanksgiving?

While Tobin’s birth story isn’t full of all of the uncertainty that our other births came with, it was still very special to us.  When we found out we would be having another c-section (our hospital does not allow for a vbac after two c-sections), I have to admit that I was more than upset about it.  I spent weeks praying and crying and generally frustrated.  My c-sections were not horrible by any means.  However, not only was I going to have to have another c-section but the hospital where I had delivered eight of our babies had been bought by one of the larger hospitals in our area and was no longer doing labor and delivery.  We had no choice in which hospital our insurance would pay to.  The hospital we were to go to is large and probably does the most deliveries in our area.  I just knew that it was going to be impersonal and sterile and by the book “baby factory.”

In the long run, I had to pray a lot.  I knew we were with the doctor we needed to be with.  I had to eventually admit that we were at the hospital God wanted us to be at for delivery and that God was fully in control of this delivery.  I still prayed that God would allow me to go in to labor and we would “sneak” in to the hospital without having to have a c-section (with my history a home birth would not be safe for me).

So, about a month out, we negotiated Tobin’s birth date.  Dr. J was willing to let me go to the week of my due date since I usually don’t go in to labor until after 40 weeks.  I worked hard to get a delivery date after the due date…because, ya’ll don’t laugh…my besties birthday was that week and we agreed to have our babies on each others birthday (as luck would have it, she didn’t deliver her baby on my birthday either).  He wasn’t convinced and was quite surprised that I wanted to actually go past my due date.  So,we set Tobin’s birthday for October 16th.

For us, we prefer our new babies stay with us at all times.  That means we don’t use the nursery for anything more than what is absolutely necessary for medical issues.  We are 100% behind family-centered childbirth and after-care.  From watching friends births, we had not seen this particular hospital be anything but that.

Getting ready to meet Tobin!

We arrived at the hospital bright and early and ready to meet our Tobin and praying for a beautiful positive experience.  Getting prepped for surgery, I was asked if I would be breastfeeding.  I responded, that I would be breastfeeding exclusively.  The nurse asked if we wanted “no separation.”  While I had no clue what that was, it sounded exactly what I wanted and she quickly made note of it.   Another nurse came in and told Mark that he would stay with Tobin the entire time and if they needed to go to PACU, he would not leave him.  She was adamant about that.  I felt like God was giving us a reassurance that we wouldn’t miss a minute of bonding with our little one.  I made sure to tell them that I wanted to see him as soon as I could and I wanted to do skin to skin as soon as possible.  Each time I mentioned it, their response was, “Absolutely!”  They were also very accommodating to my wish for very little narcotics (they make me feel absolutely horrible and I usually go to sleep with them…or throw up.).

After they got me prepped for surgery, Mark came in and sat with me.  When Dr. J was close to delivering Tobin, he told Mark to stand up to see his son be born.  Mark was thrilled to be able to watch! As soon as Tobin was delivered, the nurse brought him over for me to not only see but to touch and love on.  They kept my arms free to move so I could love on him (previous c-sections I had them strapped down and had to ask for them to be freed to reach him).  They took Tobin over to the incubator to do his vitals and make sure he didn’t need any suctioning and then brought him back over to me.  The nurse held him close so I could give him kisses and love and then nicely told me they needed to make sure his grunting was nothing more than that (it was fine..this kid sounds like a pterodactyl all the time!).

Tobin Asher

8 lbs 12 oz

21 inches long

Getting some good Tobin love!

After surgery, they wheeled me to recovery with Tobin and immediately got to hold him for skin to skin.  Ya’ll, if you have a baby, skin to skin is the biggest way to bond with baby and has been such a blessing to do with Emmie and now with Tobin (my only ones to do this with).  Tobin was placed on my chest but when he was placed, he did something I’ve never been able to experience.  He did the breast crawl to nurse!  It was such a beautiful and pretty neat experience!

We continued to have a great hospital stay as Tobin went to the nursery for probably about 30 minutes total (during our entire stay) for weight checks and a blood draw.  They were good with us bathing Tobin as needed or when we felt he needed it and even encourage babies to not be bathed for the first six hours to help keep their body temp up.

Recovery was great.  I didn’t really need any narcotic pain meds excpet for Toradol (which should really be oral instead of just through iv.  That pain med is wonderful).  I advise anyone who goes through a c-section to plan to be in bed for a week doing absolutely nothing but bathing, bathrooming, and feeding and loving on baby.  After a week and with a little bit of compression on my abdomen, I was able to get up and move relatively well.

Tobin means “God is Good” and Asher means “blessing.”  Our Tobin comes after a crazy three years of medical issues with Emmie and an adoption as well as two miscarriages.  One of which was our sweet twins.  Through all of the trials, the joys and the struggles…we have sought to praise God because He has been so good to us and for us.  Tobin is truly a blessing to our family and there is not a day that goes by that we don’t thank God for allowing us to be his parents.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.James 1: 17-18


Meet the Newest to the Bunch

Today we had our ultrasound for our little #10.  We were all pretty excited.  However, I have to admit I was little nervous.  We have been blessed with a great pregnancy, but I still get a little apprehensive.

Anyway, baby is doing wonderful.  Wiggles, kicks, punches and general busyness of being in the womb  is always so exciting to see.

At first, we didn’t think baby would cooperate because the arms went straight to the front as the tech tried to go to the most important part.  In the end, she was sneakier than baby!

Yep!  Our 7th boy is on the way!

Internet World meet Tobin Asher!

We had our girl’s name chosen for a long time but deciding on what name God had for a little boy proved to take us a little while.  Then we stumbled upon Tobin.  Tobin means “God is good.”  Asher means “Blessed.”  We pray our Tobin Asher grows to understand how good our God is and how blessed not only we are that he is a part of our family but how blessed he is by God’s love.

We’re all getting excited about seeing our little man and getting those sweet baby snuggles in!

A Blessing

We found out in February that the Lord has blessed our family with a baby!  We’re continuing to pray that this baby will be a sticky one.  So far, so good.  I had an ultrasound last week and we saw a baby with a strong heartbeat.  Nausea and exhaustion have been my friends for the past several weeks which we are taking as good signs.

I debated on whether to post at all.  We have gone through two miscarriages in the past two years and lost three babies.  Knowing we had a missed miscarriage in 2015 (where we saw the heartbeat and then the baby later passed) in the midst of all of Emmie’s stuff, we chose to keep silent with the babies in November and December until it was “safe.”  It was so very hard mourning in silence.  Especially when it was our two babies.  I still haven’t been able to put into words a memorial like I did with our baby Isaac.

Recently, I’ve read several articles about how we hide miscarriages.  Try not to share pregnancy too early for fear the baby won’t ever be held…I’m not sure why we hide.  Why do we need to mourn in silence?  In the past two years, we’ve have three babies who are gone forever.  But, before they were gone, they were here.  They were a blessing and they were our gifts.

Just like our babies we said good-bye to too soon, this baby, is a blessing.  All babies are.  Something I shared when we found out we were pregnant with Emmie after our hardest miscarriage was this exact fact.

We’re cautiously optimistic with this baby.  Anything can happen.  Experience has taught us that.  But today, we choose to celebrate in our blessing.  In all of the exhaustion and nausea.  This baby is a blessing.  This baby is loved.  This baby is wanted.  Oh is this baby wanted.


His Name Would Have Been Isaac

He was due between March 27th and April 1st.  But, because the early ultrasound showed the due date close to April 1st and I was likely going to be able to pick a due date since this was almost definitely going to be a repeat c-section, I told Mark we would go for April 1st.  I was excited about the name Isaac.  It means laughter.  How appropriate to deliver a baby boy on a fun day, April Fool’s Day and to rejoice in laughter at the gift of a baby.   We were ready for laughter.  It has been a hard year.

Things were going good.  Emmie was doing great and we were winding down and getting ready to say good-bye to Y the Brave (as much as we dreaded it).  Then Emmie fell.  And we were in the hospital for the most of August.  I thought things were going well for Baby Isaac as morning sickness had settled in and I had, virtually, a week of bed rest while taking care of Emmie.

On the day Emmie was discharged, I had a red flag that things weren’t going as great as we thought for the baby.  That was a Friday.  The red flags kept coming throughout the weekend.   The confirmation came on Monday at the doctor’s office.  The day before Y the Brave returned to Europe.  Baby Isaac was gone.  His beautiful little heart that was so strong at just under six weeks had stopped beating.

The day after we said goodbye to Y the Brave, Mark and I quietly said goodbye to another baby.  We had him at the same hospital I have had ten (almost eleven…the eleventh, of course born to a wonderful mama in another country) of my babies and his earthly body is resting with his brother’s in a beautiful garden that holds all the remains of precious lives that never got to walk this earth.

We didn’t tell the kids until recently.  Our pastor knew and our close friends and family knew.  But, we have held this secret for every one else until now.  My heart has been aching to share.  To let people know there was a beautiful child here and that he isn’t now.  October is Miscarriage and Stillborn Awareness Month and I have seen post after post that cried out to me and let me know that I was not alone.  I wanted to shout at the mamas who shared that they were not alone.  That the feelings were still raw and real here too.  Yet we have grieved ever so silently for this life that we feel is gone too soon.

And then come the gender reveals and announcements of pregnancies because mamas feel that the pregnancy is “out of the woods” for problems.  I have rejoiced over and over with my amazing sweet friends.  Especially those who have walked this all too familiar road and are now anticipating a beautiful little one.  But the tears still come for our little one who we won’t meet.  This first year after a loss is so hard.  Please forgive me dear friends if the comments are short and quick.  Please know we rejoice but know we also think about our little Isaac who is not here.

I know we have a lot to deal with with our children here on earth and our adoption and Super Ems.  But our Baby Isaac, although a surprise, was very much wanted and loved.

So, we rejoice over Isaac.  That we’ll see him again.  And that he is in a much better place than we could ever imagine.  I grieve over Isaac.  Never having been able to hold his beautiful body.  Kiss his sweet cheek.  Watch his brothers and sisters ooh and aah over him.  And we trust that God is the giver of Life and is with us through death too.