Tuesday, October 29, 2013

big day

Today was big.
I attempted to prepare as much as possible for the happenings,  but bear still arrived at little hawks without his backpack. I sort of panicked thinking possibly max had grabbed Weston's by mistake but couldn't find maxers remaining in the van and really recalled being intentional about watching max march into school with his own backpack strapped to his back.  though I was a few minutes early,  there was no possibility of returning home and driving back before little hawks started.  Besides, I am the only one who carries that thing. I found some passable indoor shoes in the van, and prayed that the rain would hold off till after the hike so wes wouldn't need his rain suit.

Wes was reluctant to leave the van. By reluctant,  I mean he mumbled/whined about  not wanting to go to school.  The backpack situation didn't help his morale.  I bravely forced enough enthusiasm for the both of us in my voice and dragged bear to school . Once I signed my son in, he skipped joyfully to miss lonna and giggled while he guessed what he needed to write on miss lonna's whiteboard.  relieved and confused,  I waddled quickly back to the veen.

Ayla and I were off to moms in prayer,  a group of committed women who come together twice a month to pray for sandyview, and our children specifically.  In a word, awesome.  blue calls this her school, so anticipation was high for both of us. During drop off at the nursery,  cupcake suddenly got terrified and I left yelling I love you over her shrieks. Confused and concerned,  I met the other mama's and prayed. Well, that's just beautiful. Hearing my sons and their school leaders,  fellow students, school employees,  and upcoming events covered and claimed aloud in prayers of women all around me just lifts my heart and spirit.

When the hour was up, I approached the nursery with trepidation only to find my daughter happily snacking and playing with a pony. So shes a bit dramatic.  Not news for us. Aylaroo and I then  headed to dollar general for a quick stop for some items we would need later and then headed to little hawks to retrieve bear. He had also worked himself out of his grumpies and was proud to show me his collection of colorful nature items discovered on today's hike.

Thankful for this turn of attitudes,  I fed the littlest adorables and soon packed them up again to visit baby's dr.

7 months pregnant!

Woot woot and panic happening inside.  Since I brought our tablet,  im not even certain bear knew what we were doing or where we were.  the little girl seemed to be delighted to be at a drs appt that was not for her. She willfully and enthusiastically told drs and nurses alike that she did not have a fever and was going to be a big sister. Prinpress must have brought up Kawasaki syndrome at some point with my nurse because by the time dr olsen entered the room, she had already heard all about it.

When we were able to focus our attention on the littlest meiste for a heartbeat check.  Well as soon as dr olsen placed that little thing to my tummy, baby trigg's (just trying out a potential name, not a for sure )  little heart filled the room with its gallop. Ayla looked at us with wide eyes and yelled,  "the baby's coming right now!" Aw. we assured sister that was  not the case and dr olsen somehow ended her time with us by telling me to eat more pizza and ice cream before reaching out to hold ayla jo just for a minute because ayla is so sweet.

Well. Who can argue that?!

We were back on the road to pick up the oldest. Another sweet reunion and then another quick drop off at home so I could turn around and head to conferences for max. Brad stayed with the babes because we both feel I am the most excited about anything school related.  Mrs valz was waiting for me as I stepped into her classroom.  She was having a glass of soda and I have literally been craving coke ever since. Believe it or not, this meeting was about max and not me. And max is doing so great.  Right on schedule with his academics, and an excellent boy in terms of behavior.  Mrs valz only recommended working on penmanship,  and speed with his math facts and reading.  Super minor, but good suggestions.  I am so proud of my first grader. The principal,  mrs geukes, mentioned that she overheard a student saying he wanted to be just like max because Maxwell makes good choices.

Maxer requested that I purchase some chocolates for mrs valz and give them to her during conferences. He made a little card and I was honored to pass that along to Maxwell's teacher. She was very grateful.  In fact,  max received a thank you note from mrs valz a coulle days later that is still haning prominent on our fridge. That recognition was so appreciated.

Max, I thank the lord that we get to be your parents. You make us so proud with your dedicated work, positive attitude,  and awesome choices. I pray you continue to walk  with the lord, being a strong leader.

Weston,  we thank jesus for blessing us with such a passionate and fun son. I pray you continue to learn to process and communicate your emotions and use them for God's glory. I know the lord has big plans for you son!

Ayla jo, we praise the Lord for our little prinpress.  We rejoice that god faithfully redeemed your health and pray that he continues to bless you with healing.  May you rely on Him for as he is our rock, the only fortress in this world.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


we have been home for a couple days  now and our gratefulness has only escalated. we are so thankful for the lords faithfulness throughout this ordeal.  grateful that Jesus opened dr lunds eyes to this rare syndrome.  Grateful to live so close to such phenomenal pediatric care. Grateful for aylas returned health, sass and all.

We are living these days with a newfound awareness. Today's blessings of health and relative simple existence are not guaranteed for tomorrow. and instead of recognizing this truth and being frozen in fear, god grants us a spirit of love and grace and promises to be enough for the circumstances we find ourself in today.  For even though that drs visit completely took us by surprise by resulting in an almost week long hospitalization,  he was not surprised.

And even during those frightening days  filled with questions and pain for the prinpress,  god graced us with his beauty. there he was, gathered with us as brad and I sat on our baby's bed and prayed boldly over her. He was there in the quiet afternoons when I managed to untangle cupcake from the wires and hold her on my lap in the rocking chair as I sang praises over my daughter.  He was present in the nighttime struggles with aspirin and in the pretty sunrises we viewed from the huge windows in Aylaroos room.

When the brothers came to visit and heightened sisters spirits likenothing else could, jesus was there in that security and comfort of family.  when daddy and the boys left, and the girls couldn't stop their tears at being stuck in the hospital another night, it was jesus who stilled our troubled hearts.

Everything seems so much more manageable and enjoyable at home. I feel so privileged to get to bring my boys to school and pick them up again. Packing maxers lunch, while annoying,  is an opportunity I missed when at helen devos. Listening to my little girl use her own voice rather than the perpetual whiney whimper she employed at the children's hospital is so precious.

So things are back to normal.  Nights are sometimes filled with harvest , leaving me with the adorables alone. there is much wild rumpusing happening,  currently in the form of tag. Wood pellets are spread from one end of the house to another since we are utilizing the cozy heat of the corn stove and the babes take that as an invitation to work as wood pellet farmers, hauling toy tractor and wagon loads from living room to my room and all the rooms in between. A large assortment of stuffed animals now proudly display all of aylas hair pretties and jewelry.  Normal is nice.

Sunday, October 13, 2013


we are home. so tired,  so happy, and so thankful. update coming in a few days, once we are a bit more settled.  thank you for your continued prayers.

Friday, October 11, 2013

for reals

Good news. Bear's little puking incident at school seems to be directly related to a carrot  rather than the stomach flu. When brad skidded to a stop in front of little hawks,   bear strolled outside without a care in the world. My presence surprised him, and he was a bit annoyed we had changed his afternoon social plans. Finally we were able to focus Weston's attention on the fact that he threw up at school. To my concerned questioning,  wes replied with a detailed account: he received 4 carrots for snack. He ate the first one and it tasted good. He ate the second one and it tasted good. He ate the third one and it was so gross, so he took a drink of milk and the next thing you know, puke on the table. His tummy did not hurt at all. Except he does want a fruit roll up. Why is mom crying again?  Does she think no one likes her?

Ok. Glad you are back to your adorable spitfire self bear.

That afternoon,  bear rode in the combine with brad, rammed around the house, and otherwise resumed normal activities.  Hallelujah.  Because while Weston was demonstrating his health,  ayla sorta went downhill.

She immediately fell asleep upon arrival at home. Baby  blue attempted a little lunch, and played minimally with her big bro. When we picked maxer up from school, I dropped the boys off to farm and ran into meijer for cupcakes prescription and some lunch/farming necessites. during that trip, aylas head felt a bit warm and she was cuddling in my arms while we were trying to check out. Trying to ignore the scariness of such an occurrence,  I returned home and warmed up sup and proceeded through the night with low expectations for the daughters activity level.

Eventually,  I got all the adorables settled. Aylaroo in our bed and the brothers on a big nest on our floor. I think we all needed the comfort of closeness after that beginning to the week. Babes were exhausted and sleep came quick for them all. Bradley came in from the fiels and after a quick supper, we both joined the cuties asleep in our room. I shared my concerns about aylas potential fever that afternoon and asked brad to feel her forehead.  It was warm. Our discharge instructions included the order to head to the nearest er if the little darlings fever went above 101. Not really thinking I could withstand another sleepless night visiting hospitals , I just untucked the little girl a little and passed out.

Around 3:30 I awoke a little anxiously to note aylas warm forehead. I woke brad and we had a conference in the kitchen.  Since little lovie ws sleeping so soundly,  we decided to allow her some uninterrupted sleep. In the morning, ayla was such a big girl and took her yucky aspirin all on her own.  we got Maxwell off to school and returned home.

Sister spent the morning coloring pics and playing ponies. Her fever seemed very very minimal.  Around lunchtime I took her temp to find the thermometer reading in the 99's. about every hour and a half I checked it again to find it climbing. Just before we got max from school she reached 101.8. Shoot. I called upon fellow soccer mom and neighbor kerri to keep the boys while I whisked the prinpress to yet another hospital.

We were met by dr Altman,  the dad of one of Maxwell's classmats. Felt so good to have an advocate wanting to get ayla jo better without being unnecessarily invasive.  we awaited the results of dr altmans conversation with devos anxiously.  2 hours after  we were admitted to zeelands er, we were discharged for devos again.

Ayla cried. I cried.

Wanting my baby girl to just get better no matter what it took, I frantically repacked, tried to assemble some school stuff for my boys and give grandma some instructions. Knowing what lay ahead of us was very disheartening.  Another night of pokes and panic sounded so gross.

We checked in. Again.  We got our badges. Again.  We changed the scared cupcake into tiger jams. Again.

The dr was super nice about explaining the need for another dosage of the ivig. The nurses were very kind about starting an iv, but it still was so painful for my daughter and for me and brad as she writhed in pain and fear screaming mommy. Two tries later, an iv was ready. Then another nurse drew blood from another hole in Aylaroo's arm.  She kept telling us she wanted to go home. Please. So thankful brad was working his superhero status by being strong and gentle,  comforting his pregnant and hormonal wife as well as his frightened and sick daughter.

By the time ayla jo was hooked to her iv, back in bed and hooked up to all sorts of things it was about time for her aspirin dosage of 3.25 aspirin.  These are just a tiny bit bitter, but of course baby was opposed to having anything forced into her mouth at that point. She was exhausted and beyond reasoning. That really makes me upset to see her so disoriented and agitated.   having brad beside me helped with perspective.  Our concerns are way less severe than most of the other families here.

This time around, cupcake slept through lots of her vitals. There are definite advantages for having an darling beyond tired. Brad was similarly spent. I was pretty worked up and concerned and woke at every beep when her blood pressure got to high, and creack of the door handle when the nurses came in to check on Aylaroo.

Her 6am aspirin dosage was brads and my alarm.  There was no falling asleep again for the parents,  but the little girl slept quite soundly til almost 9. Sweet girl. she was much more sociable to the drs, many of them had seen her earlier in the week and commented on her marked improvement.  Little girl showed them one of her ponies even, but was unwilling to to dig anymore from her purse. So the plan was made to repeat the earlier observation period of 24 hrs since the completion of her ivig. That brings us to tomorrow morn.sigh.

In the meantime,  we have had some new adventures since lovey is feeling a dash better. We actually just returned from a long wagon rid all over the the hospital.  The weather is gorgeous,  so we even explored the courtyard.  next we ventured to the 11th floor playroom to get our paint on. Ayla found a beautiful dress up gown and was extremely reluctant to remove her frock and leave. Prinpress cried and carried on and stopped onky to ask if we were going home. We managed to get out of there without stealing any dress up gear and snuggle in our room again for a diego viewing while we await the brother's arrival.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Kawasaki syndrome

There we were, me and Aylaroo, trying to help dr lund get to the bottom of what was causing my precious girl to feel so miserable.  dr lunds brow was furrowed as she asked about ayla's chapped lips.  the little lovey had been licking them frequently yesterday,  but she didnt seem dehydrated. And her red eyes? I thought a result of the ongoing whiny cry of a sick prinpress.

Well, dr lund says, I am concerned she may have Kawasaki syndrome.

We dont own a motorcycle,  I replied.

Kawasaki presents with 5 symptoms : strawberry mouth and tongue, red eyes, high fever for a minimum of 5 days, swollen hands and feet, and swollen lymph nodes. Ayla for sures had 3. Dr lund ordered a strep test to rule out that. Negative. A urine sample to rule out a bladder infection,  I got to take those tools home as sweet ayla was not super cooperative.  And some bloodwork testing for Kawasaki syndrome indicators.

Baby blue and I headed to the lab for the longest wait I have ever experienced at zeeland hospital. Still it was not bad, just anxiety filled knowing the poke will be awful and the results unknown.  two lab techs were on hand to assist in the blood draw, making the experience as smooth as possible.  First try and they got the blood they needed to read Kawasaki syndrome charcteristics.

We went home and baby blue went to sleep while I processed and halfheartedly prepared for a possible hospital stay.  After a quick Google search, I really felt quite confident that we were not dealing with this rare disease most common in korean children under the age of 2. I kept checking aylas temp by hand and thought maybe it was improving.

The waiting is so hard.

 three hours later, after conferring with a specialist at the center for disease control, reading the urine sample and conferring with a cardiologist at helen devos children's hospital,  dr lund called with the results. Kawasaki syndrome. I quickly called brad and reported the findings. He was also in a state of shock, but wrapped things up at work and heqded for home where I met him and began throwing things together for a hospital overnight.  Cupcakes things, my things, activities,  clothes, toiletries.  In the meantime, devos called, they were expecting us at 6.

We made arrangements with grandparents and I tried to explain what I really didnt understand to the boys. Bear was excited about the adventure and max was concerned.  Saying goodbye was sad and scary, but the boys remembered to tell me that they knew I loved them and Jesus was in their hearts.

We arrived to the devos complex completely overwhelmed and were directed to our room. Already the room had a welcome ayla sign and nurses began a tour and rundown until two residents arrived. They checked over a very anxious ayla and promised to discuss all her results and symptoms with a hospitaist. He arrived shortly  to confirm the diagnosis and try to explain the condition better.

Basically,  baby got a virus and for random reasons her immune system got confused and began attacking the lining of her own blood vessels rather than the virus itself. The main concern is that her coronary arteries will develop aneurysms.  obviously something real bad. Most children,  when they catch the syndrome within the first 10 days have no long-term affects. Ayla was on day 4. A very good thing. Kawasaki syndrome is not contagious,  just a random disease  they do  not know from where. there is a part of the blood that drs use to measure body ache, like when your whole body hurts from a bad case of influenza.  A healthy persons is at around 10. A person battling influenza is at 100. Ayla's was at 340. Cupcake was miserable.

The treatment, which is relatively new, consists of administering ivig intravenously.  this is a component of blood that somehow corrects the attack of the wrong thing inside a body. This procedure must be carefully monitored to ensure the patient does not reject the meds.  an intense aspirin therapy accompanies the ivig. An echocardiogram is performed to ensure no damage has occured to the coronary arteries.  The echo is repeated in 2 weeks, 8 weeks and a year later just to validate the hearts health.

During this informative lecture,  ayla whimpered and slept off and on. Her temp at that point was 103.8. brad and I were desperate to get some treatment underway.  while mixing the ivig, the nurses started prepping baby blue. Hooking her up to a pulse monitor on her toe, three stickers on her chest, a blood pressure cuff and the iv. Even with the use of some numbing cream, the iv was torturous.  Two tries, and lots of cries later, the nurse found a vein. Brad and I were astounded as those teeny tiny cupcake veins were so hard to see. The staff surely was experienced and caring with our daughter,  but the process was still excruciating for Aylaroo and her parents.

Around 10 pm, she was starting the dosage.  Her vitals were taken every 15 minutes to monitor how her body was dealing with the drugs. Translation: every 15 minutes the little girl freaked the freak out. She would yell, no more hugs! Thats how they referred to the blood pressue cuff.  Awful to witness her pain and fear,  especially when she would look up at me and scream mommy! I stayed right in bed with her, trying  make my pregnant body accommodating for all the nurses and the  little lovey. At one point, her fever spiked and we had to reduce the flow of the iv. Soon her body adjusted and she got the full allotment through the night and morning.

Taking her potty was such an ordeal.  Disconnecting some things, carrying the prinpress and pulling the iv behind me. Brad stayed with his girls until we were confident her body would accept the ivig, then took off for the boys. We decided it sucks to be the parent at home, and it sucks to be the parent in the hospital.  It just sucks.

Every 6 hours, sister needed 3.25 baby aspirin.  These are chewable and bitter and ayla jo was not a fan. At the 6am dosing, after sleeping since only midnight,  and getting woken every hour for vitals  baby blue put up a fight. She yelled at me, she squirmed as much as she could while connected to so many wires. She cried and cried a pathetic cry. So finally my resolve and strength crumbled. I also had the same sleep schedule as cupcake,  resulting in exhaustion.  Not sure who was crying harder at that point.

I checked in with Bradley.  All was well at home. And truly all was well in the hospital.  Things could not have been going more smoothly. It just still was super bad to endure. The morning flee by with visits from nurses, residents,  hospitalists and echocardiogram techs. Ayla did as well as could be expected.  So thankful for the on deand disney movies.

Grandma visited around lunch, and auntie debbie stopped in to witness the correction of darlings jarred iv. So sore and so scary. Ayla sweated and screamed and pleaded mommy and stop and your hurtling me! Aylaroo fell asleep for a couple hours on my lap on the couch. Uncle alex and auntie coki dropped in. When grandma and debbie left, my dad came. Alex and coco made a food run for mama since the hospital only provided the patient with food and not the pregnant mommy. Auntie beans and uncle austin stopped by. And finally daddy came with the brothers.  That was the most animated and excited.  Using her real voice insteax of the whiny whimper to tell the boys about all the treasures she had been receiving.  Aw.

dog therapy. Not so enthused

bear was disappointed he could not go to the play room because there was neither time nor opportunity.  I took the boys for dinner while brad cuddled with the darling.  I cherished those moments alone though the boys were wild. Too soon, the fam left for home and ayla and  I grieved for ourselves that we had to stay. Auntie amber and briella popped in with a beautiful distraction.  Aylaroo began to fade and I tried to soothe her asleep. Around 9 she dozed off. Around 9 :15 the nurses were back to check her vitals. Boo. Back to sleep finally,  I snuck off to shower. Aspirin again at midnight.  This time she threw it at me. More vitals and tears and aspirin at 6. Well, I flagged down a nurse and discussed the plan. We were on target to be discharged that day. Echocardiogram looked normal and no fever since 10 pm Monday.  Hallelujah.  I packed everything up and waited impatiently for the residents.  They confirmed the discharge order at 9 ish. I called brad with the good news and helped the little girl while they disconnected her. Her first words that morning when she awoke were, are we done? Almost there prinpress.

Daddy came to our rescue and we hightailed it out of there as fast as possible, dodging elevator and going for stairs as brad tried to recall where he parked.

Finally loaded up, little hawks called. Wes threw up at school. Awesome.  Here we come.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

this day

Whenever I use the phrase"one of those days" I will forever and always refer to this day.

Things started at the usual frantic Monday morn pace. Does max have his homework?  Is it finished?  What about lunch, baggie books and a water bottle?  Is bear packed for school?  Does he have enough layers to keep him warm but not to hot at little hawks?  Is his rain suit packed?  then what about ayla jo? She had been running a temp since Thursday afternoon, and it had been high. Like 102 to 103 range.  She was miserable,  and my mommy anxiety was in high gear. So while assembling the troops and the gear I was also talking to drs and scheduling an appointment.

We quickly neared our time of departure,  so I started relocating the adorables from the house to the veen. That's when the chaos intensified.  After 2 out of the 3 babes were locked and loaded, I attempted to start the veen. Fail. Several tries later the veen still would not start.  I pregnant waddled/ran to the barn where old faithful stood at the ready.

The venture. 226 thousand miles of sorta dependability. buried deep inside the bowels of the barn, I made little effort to clear an exit path and hopped in. Brad has been building a new barn door with dan nyhof and the evidence was everywhere,  so its possible I may have hit a few discarded boards on my way to save the day and get my boys to school on time and take my daughter to the dr. But that's the best part about the venture,  not a problem if its wounded in battle.

So we reloaded all the babes and they giggled all the way to school about how stinky the van is and how smooth of a ride it is and how funny it is to have a vhs instead of dvd. At bear's stop, the neighbors exclaimed how silly it was for us to be driving that old van. I turned the venture off while dropping off wes as the venture tends to overheat while idling. Then I started it up, which took a little convincing.. Baby blue and I were back on the road , heading home to hook the new van to the charger and then run to zeeland for the dr.

All was well until m40. At the stop sign, the van died. Battery lights and check engine lights blinked and then faded til there was no power anywhere.  I called brad fast and furiously,  like 8 times in 3 minutes to no avail.  Then a random pulled in behind me, waiting to turn. So I hopped out and sauntered to her car in a spastic fashion.  She fearfully rolled her window down and I told her about the veen trouble and suggesed she just go around. Being the good Samaritan that she was, she asked if I was able to get ahold of someone for help. I answered honestly,  that nope I could not but that someone works just down the road so i plan to stroll over there. Nice lady offered me a ride, so I quickly grabbed my purse, the keys, my daughter,  her carseat and my pregnant self and shoved us all in her backseat for a quick trip to zoet poultry.

When we arrived I thanked kind stranger profusely and threw most everything except for cupcake into the tahoe, vehicle 3 for the morn. Then I began my search for my hubs. I wanted to give him his cell phome currently being charged in the Tahoe and let hime know about the abandoned vehicle waiting for his attention on the road before I commandeered his mode of transportation.

Launching myself into the egg room I bobbed and weaved and uttered the name brad as if it were a plea. Sensing my urgency,  one of the Spanish workers sprinted to house 7 and I lumbered behind awkwardly.  Brad took one look at this parade and rushed to my aide. He got us settled in the Tahoe and assured us he would handle the rest.

I sped off for zeeland physicians and prayed we would find some answers to help Aylaroo feel better. What we discovered next continues to confound us.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

6 months preggo

Well hello baby
Here we are, 24 weeks pregnant.

since the adorable ruffles tended to hide that beautiful baby bump, i took a bare belly shot

thats a lot of baby in there. Wowsa. 

Last week i had my 6 month dr visit with dr olsen.  this is my first pregnancy with her as my other children were delivered by dr taylor and he is  no longer practicing at zeeland. Thus far, dr olsen has totally impressed me with her prompt and personal calls whenever i have some sort of testing done. last month we had  our ultrasound appointment performed by a tech. so we did not receive any info at the actual afternoon appointment.  Well, before 8am the next morn, dr olsen called to celebrate the fact that baby Ralph looked amazing,  no abnormalities whatsoever.  Hallelujah!  this month was the glucose test for gestational diabetes. My blood was drawn at 2:30 and dr olsen called with my passing results before 5 that evening.  

Perhaps she is sensitive to my pregnancy hormoned anxieties, perhaps we r just buds, regardless, i am so thankful for her fast result response.  so thankful as well for all the good results. Pregnancies are amazing and miraculous and hard. My  body and mind seem to have plenty going on with a normal/healthy pregnany, and I know that kinda pregnancy is a huge blessing.

Weight gain is steady and slowish. I consider my current weight to be at the high end of pre pregnancy normal for me. My baby bump and cheecks seem to have absorbed all the weight gain.

Food cravings have been minimal. I am still at the point of quick eating anything that sounds good before i lose my apetite. Mostly i have food aversions: still hating coffee, not such a fan of mcdonalds right now (difficult adjustment to make when i am so typically adoring their fried goodness),  and most foods I make sound delish and I end up hating moments later. I just threw away some pumpkin muffins and chocolate chip cookies because they got stale from waiting to be consumed. Shame! We got to experience cranes apple orchard twice this year and those honeycrisps have been tasting amazing. Also, i serve some sort of chicken and potatoes and gravy about once a week because of the yum.

Being preggo w/ baby 4 is such a different experience. Most of the time, my thoughts are continued amazement that this is happening. Now that i am further along than i have to go i am getting super anxious and super excited about whats coming next. The babe is the best part,  but there are so many teeny blessings along the way. Feeling baby ralph roll and kick and watching my tummy move with his/her life is miraculous and wondrous and beautiful. Listening to my current adorables exclaim at the size of my bump and at the future with  new baby is so precious. Hearing people's exclamations when they see me at work and ask if this is my first baby, and I reply actually this is my fourth always leaves me entertained.

People tend not use a filter when conversing with pregnant  me. A man once told me "you know, they figured out whats caused that now".

Lots of peeps wish me luck.  One lady asked what number baby this was and then told me she was going to tell me to keep going but it looks like i already did.

One man asked if i swallowed a watermelon seed, and a young girl will forever be traumatized since she asked if i had a big lunch and i replied, no, there is a baby in there. in horror she screamed, you ate a baby?!

mostly though, i have been encouraged and supported.  already mothering three small adorables leaves me weary when growing a fourth, especially when harvest is under way.
 So i am forever grateful for the love shown me by friends and fam and public alike.

One conclusion i have recently come to is my need to refer to the baby as something other than baby ralph, the usual moniker given by the brothers. i can only picture a tiny 40 year old man complete with beard and mustache, red in color. Not a comforting image wnen referring to my sure to be cute .little sweet baby. My sister in, law told me that while praying for me and babe, she referred to the newby as precious little morsel. Love that! Ralph also makes it difficult to even consider giving birth to a beautiful baby girl! I adore the name rafe, and its similarities to ralph are super so i tried that for a few days. The brothers were not accepting of that idea. For a girl baby i tried willow out, but hate the nickname will...reya is so sweet, but very simlar to ayla... brad has 2 names and he is stuck on those. I keep working him though, providing more cute options daily. Thankful we have some time yet to decide.

Living as an incubator is a special time that i am cherishing. Especially since i did not predict getting this opportunity again. i delight in every whirl and twirl, guessing if those will be soccer kicks or gymnastics moves when the adorable is born. As we enter into the remaining 15 weeks, my prayer is that baby continues to develop beautifully and that the lord uses this time to prepare us for this blessed bundle.