Kids are a blessing from God!
My journey to becoming a mom of seven
I am blessed to be a 47 year old mother of seven children. There was a time when I thought I never wanted children. I wasn't sure that I knew how to be a good mother, or any kind of mother at all. I married at age 26 to a lovely man. I had a great job and made good money. I was pretty sure that children would get in the way of all that I wanted. Little did I know how wrong I was! When I turned 30, I re-evaluated. Maybe I did want children. At that point I had an excellent career, but realized that if I ever did have children, I would never see them. I'd be at work. Was this really what I wanted for my life? I didn't think so. Growing up, both of my parents were school teachers, so I decided that a teacher was a good job for a parent. My husband and I discussed it; the only way we could become parents was for me to get a teaching job. One problem, I didn't have a teaching degree; I had a business degree. And we weren't sure we could afford for me to go back to school unless we did something a bit drastic. Like move in with my in-laws for 2 years while I got certified. So that is what we did. We lived in my in-laws basement for 2 years so I could go to school.
The next step
I get certified to teach, I get a job, I get pregnant!
After 2 years living with my in-laws and going to school, I was ready to student teach. My husband and I decided to look for an apartment so we could have our own place once again. We found that we would pay the same amount in rent that we would for a mortgage. So we ended up buying a house. And I spent the next 6 month student teaching. I should say that teaching is in my blood; my father was a teacher, my mother was a teacher, my aunt was a teacher. I got my elementary education certification from West Chester University and began my job search. I spent a year substitute teaching in any and every school district that would have me. After one year of substitute teaching, I was hired at the school where my aunt had taught for 30 years. And what do you think? At the end of my first year teaching, I found myself pregnant! I was on my way to motherhood!
The first blessing
Our precious firstborn son Ellis
The first time wasn't so easy! I found myself bleeding at 7 weeks gestation and I was sure that I was losing the baby that I had not even told my parents about yet. I had to call them to tell them that I was pregnant with their first grandchild, but I was sure that the pregnancy was coming to an end. I called them on my way to the hospital where I was to have an ultrasound. They arrived at the hospital as I was in the middle of the ultrasound. Praise God, we saw a tiny, beating heart of a viable baby to be born the next early February! I finished out the school year and did not tell my fellow teachers I was expecting. By the time I returned in the fall, I was proud to be wearing maternity clothes and planned to teach as long as I could while waiting for our first baby. I was due February 8. December 20 was the final day before school let out for Christmas break. I planned to teach until January 30, so I figured I had another month to plan for my long-term substitute. Instead I found myself bleeding again that night and in preterm labor at just 30 weeks gestation. I ended up in the ER, they kept me for 12 hours and sent me home on bedrest and medication to stop the labor. In just 12 hours I was back in the hospital because the medication couldn't control the contractions and I was back in labor. I stayed hospitalized for 4 days and finally the doctors got it under control. I came home on strict bedrest and medication that made my heart race. After 7 weeks on bedrest, I made was considered full term and allowed to resume normal activities. After another week, our precious son Ellis made his entrance into the world perfectly healthy on January 28, 1997. What a gift God had given us.
"Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him."
The second blessing
Our sweet first daughter Anna
Once Ellis was born, I returned to teaching part-time. I taught Tuesdays, Thursdays, and every other Monday thanks to an all-day, alternate-day schedule our school had for kindergarten. I continued in graduate school while I was teaching, working on my Master's of Education degree. After another year teaching, I found myself again expecting. This time I was due in July. I could finish the year and have the baby in the summer. In December that year I finished my Master's program and earned my degree. In June I finished the school year and took a 2 year maternity leave. I never thought that I could afford to stay home with my children, but God was stretching us. A 2 year leave would give me time with my babies but allow me to return to my job if needed. On July 9, 1999, our sweet daughter Anna was born (right on her due date!) I was again blessed and in awe of a God who gave such good gifts to us. What more could I ask for? Of course now I had a son and a daughter and thought that this would be my family. Thankfully, I was wrong!
"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."
The third blessing
Just One more! Our wonderful second son Braeden
I found that I really enjoyed being a mother. I liked everything about it and I loved staying home with my kids. I decided we needed just one more baby. My husband came from a family of four, so he didn't think that having three kids was unreasonable. Soon we found ourselves expecting again. At the end of my 2 year maternity leave, I informed my school district that I wouldn't be coming back. Of course by the time I told them, I was already in my third trimester of another pregnancy. This time I was due in December 2001. At the 20 week ultrasound, we discovered I had a low-lying placenta. Not to worry, the doctors said, it still had time to resolve itself. Because at this point I was considered AMA (Advanced Maternal Age) and because I had a low-lying placenta, I had additional ultrasounds. The previa never did resolve, in fact it turned out I had complete placenta previa (where the placenta grows across the cervix and blocks it completely) and would have to deliver by cesarean section. That was a bit scary to me; I had never had a major surgery before. God had his hand upon me and my child. I never had any episodes of bleeding or trouble from the placenta previa. Our second son Braeden was born (4 weeks early to prevent labor) by c-section on November 21, 2001. He was a beautiful baby and I again thought our family was complete.
The fourth blessing
Three just wasn't enough! Our lively third son Kellen
My husband was a good father and a good provider. But since we were now a one-income family, he felt that three children was enough. Oh how I longed for another baby! I begged him, I reached the point where I nagged him about it. But he still felt 3 was enough. After some wise counsel from some older women, I decided to close my mouth and submit to my husband's desires. Funny how God honors us when we honor him; after submitting to my husband's desires, my husband turned around six months later to say that he thought we should try for another baby! He knew that was the desire of my heart, and he didn't want to deny me. We were again with child and due in March. This time things were easy, no bleeding, no previa, no bedrest. This baby was going to be my VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) baby. I had been having a nice pattern of contractions, and the doctors felt that if they broke my water, birth would be imminent. However, this baby had a different idea. He was sideways. So I ended up delivering our precious Kellen by another cesarean section on March 10, 2004--our 14th wedding anniversary. What an anniversary present that was!
"Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord."
The fifth blessing
Five? Our Feisty second daughter Maebrey
I was enjoying my four children and remember remarking to my husband that I was so going to enjoy Kellen since he was the last baby. My husband replied that he didn't have to be the last baby. God had been working in my husband's heart and he was feeling the desire to accept children that God gave us. So you know what happened next. Yes, without too much trouble we conceived again. I knew that this baby would be born by a scheduled c-section since my doctors did not allow any VBAC attempts after 2 cesareans. Somehow, with four children to make arrangements for, the scheduled birth was almost easier. On May 23, 2006, our second daughter Maebrey was born. My Anna finally had a sister to love.
A time of Sorrow
Things don't always go as planned
After five relatively easy pregnancies, I assumed that we would have no trouble conceiving another baby. When Maebrey was just 9 months old I found myself pregnant again. We were thrilled! I had no reason to believe that there was anything wrong, but something just didn't feel right. It took a week longer for the pregnancy test to come up positive, I felt better than I thought I should have. After 10 weeks of pregnancy, one night I dreamed of a miscarriage. The next morning I woke up to blood and cramping. An ultrasound confirmed that our precious baby was already gone from my womb and in the arms of Jesus. How hard that was for me. I can say there is no comfort like God's comfort in a time of loss and hurt such as miscarriage causes. At this point I was already 43 years old and did not know if I would ever have another child. But Praise God, that was not the end of the story!
"He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young."
The sixth blessing
The gift of our third daughter Eilley
It didn't happen overnight. In fact it took almost a year to conceive our next baby. I wondered if it would ever happen again. I turned 44 and still wasn't pregnant. Somehow I felt God's whisper that we would have another baby. My husband felt the same way. I did my best to trust God's plan for us and for our family. God is amazing. Exactly a year from the date I found I was pregnant with the child we lost, I found myself pregnant again. I would turn 45 before Eilley was born. She was such a blessing and a gift. Our Eilley was born December 30, 2008. What a wonderful new year's celebration we had that year. We had six precious children, six blessings!
The seventh blessing
God is so good, our fourth baby son Declan
I guess I should not have been surprised when I turned up pregnant at 46. I had just had a baby the year before. But I was surprised and felt truly amazed that God should entrust us with yet another precious child. My doctor wasn't surprised to see me. She knew that we allowed God to open and close the womb. Except for the fact that I was older and tired and already had 6 children to care for, this was a perfect pregnancy. The older children helped tremendously. Sweet baby Declan was born July 27, 2010. Declan is like the cherry on top of the ice cream sundae. We already had all we could have ever hoped for, and then we get another blessing. I am amazed and almost speechless at the family God had graciously given us. I am often tired and overwhelmed, but I wouldn't change a moment.
"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him."
1 Corinthians 2:9
(New Living Translation)
So here I am
My heart is so full I can barely contain it. And before you start to wonder, yes I am often overwhelmed, overmatched, overtired and I lose my patience. But God has entrusted these children to my husband and me and God's grace will get me through the day. Day after day. My oldest son is about to turn 14 and my newest one is about to turn 5 months old. I homeschool my children so that I can spend time with them and they can know each other. I want them to know the wonders of our precious Lord. I want them to know that each is a gift sent from heaven. But each is also an imperfect creature in need of a Savior. I appreciate you reading my story! Truly I am blessedmombygrace!
"But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me."
2 Corinthians 12:9
Here we all are with my parents
Here is my precious family, my sweet husband and my parents at our annual trip to ride the train at Shamrock Christmas Tree Farm.
I LOVE MY FAMILY!
For my mom
This lens was a gift from my daughter Anna
My daughter Anna has been writing on Squidoo. She saw that you could give a lens to someone as a gift. So she started this one for me. She says, "For you mom! I love you so much! Thanks for raising me so good and telling me about the Lord."
Mom, you are not alone! - Great devotionals for Moms by Sally Clarkson
I have found Sally Clarkson to be such an encouragement for me. The first one of her books that I read was Seasons of a Mother's Heart. I was convicted and encouraged to be a better, godly mom for my kids. I highly recommend all of her books!