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Another side of the story - Just a little bit longer

Friday, May 30

I'm starting to forget things I swore I'd never forget... the pain, emotions, experiences and hurt that crippled me for a long time. But it's happening... I'm slowly forgetting.  I suppose that's a sign of true healing.  I am, however, grateful for the hours spent bent over this keyboard pouring out my heart into words for all the world to see, because, as I go back and read - I'm able to feel it again, and see where God has brought us from.  And I've learned that there are so. many. other. people. out there who have felt it too.

BUT, there's another side to this story you may not have heard... YET.  
You see, through every loss, each and every one, 
every moment spent in that cold dark room staring at a lifeless screen, 
every moment curled up in the bathroom waiting for death to pass, 
every day spent waiting for my body to complete a miscarriage, 
every ugly faithless moment where I swore God had forgotten me, 
every test, 
every year that passed and every single moment contained within...

There was a man.  who WAS there.  

A man who never left my side, 
who never cringed at the blood, 
who held me through every loss, 
who had faith when I had none, 
who wouldn't let me give up, 
who pretended to be strong even when he himself was falling apart, 
who laid down his joys to serve me and be my rock when so many other things seemed more enticing.

And that man... right there, in the thick of it - when we had been told it was time to move on, that 6 times lost was enough - when we should have given up - he bowed down, and prayed, opened his heart and said Yes to whatever God had for us, and before we even knew what that would be - he put a pen to paper and told his version of the story... in song.

As the songs were written, chains fell and freedom broke through.  As more melodies came, we were strengthened, re-born, and HEALED.

His songs spoke life, brought us freedom, gave us sons, and... an album was created.  A worship album that proclaims God's power and delivers a message of hope and healing.  The song and album title are truly THE anthem to our story - our family.

"If we wait just a little bit longer, we will find out who You are."

I tell you all that to say...  The album is being released tomorrow!  And we felt so strongly about its message, that we wanted the album to be available to anyone, anywhere for free.  So, if you need some hope, a message of life to be breathed back into you, go to:

anytime after tomorrow and you will be able to download your copy.  And I promise you, if you'll hear the words, the message, the worship, and allow the truth to sink in - it can and will be life changing. God is good.

And to that man... Amick Cutler... my husband, thank you.  Thank you for being obedient.  Thank you for being my rock, for believing in me, for believing in us, for believing that God was able to heal - thank you for waiting 'just a little bit longer' with me.  Had we not - I fear - there would have never been a Jude or Brooks.  And I just can't imagine a life without them.  Thank you for allowing God to move in you so these songs could be born.  Thank you for being so passionate about getting this message of hope to others.  Thank you for believing in our story.  I pray that this - is just the beginning.  I love you.

This hope does not disappoint, because God's love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit... Romans 5:5

Be blessed.

A 20 minute blog post

Thursday, May 15

20 minutes. 
Right now that's about all I get.
No, not sleep, I'm actually sleeping pretty well these days. 

Time to myself. 
In one day. 
Yep about 20 minutes. (on average) 

You see, I still have not mastered the art of getting my children to sleep at the same time.  It's humorous actually.  If I lay Jude down, Brooks immediately wants to eat.  If Brooks is snoozing away, Jude will automatically know it's time to wake up.  And Isaak, well he's running around here like a crazy man all day every day.  He wouldn't nap if I paid him.  And it's all ok, but there is this short, very short little window when I can sit, hear silence if I want to, take a bath if I want to, or watch an episode of How I Met Your Mother.  It's usually around 9:30pm. It's happening right now actually.  So I decided to blog.  

Adventures in my world as a momma of three.

1.  You see more when you look more.  I know, I'm a genius.  It sounds like an obvious statement, but it's taken me three kids to get it.  See, when I had Isaak, he was my first, and with your first there's this problem you have where you love them at each stage, but you're so excited to see what's next that you try to rush them to it.  It's not until they are two and talking back at you that you wish wish wish you could go back and freeze frame those fleeting baby moments. ::Insert intense need to have another::

Then there was Jude, my absolute miracle baby, the baby that I swore I'd film his every move so I'd never forget.  Hahaha, but then he was born, scaring the crap out of me from his first 34 week breath.  His teeny 4 pound self had to learn to breathe, eat, stay warm, stay awake, gain weight, not throw up etc.  

And I had to battle fear and nauseating anxiety every day to ensure that he would live to the next day.  That fear coupled with exhaustion that I'll probably never know again clouded my eyes to see the sheer joy of what was in my home.  With each day that passed, I was just happy that he was ok, and I forgot to soak it in.  And, well, not to mention that we found out we were pregnant when he was 6 months old.  Pile exhaustion on top of exhaustion, and put a nauseous cherry on top and you have what I would like to describe as the entire second half of Jude's first year. :(  Now I look at this almost 18 month old and wonder AGAIN, what in the heck happened?!?!?!

But, third time's a charm right?  Sometimes. 
In this case, yes.  Enter baby number three... Brooks Arrow Cutler. 

An absolute dream of a boy, wrapped up in the sweetest chub, with his daddy's eyes, my nose, and hints of his big brother Isaak with each passing day.  His arrival was joyous, his temperament is to be bottled and sold, and well - I am finally stopping to soak it all in.   I hold him so much more because I know this will be over in an instant.  I wear him constantly because I can.  I just look at him, and keep looking and he makes me laugh and smile because really, how do these children really manage to be the best of both of us?  God is so good. 
I love his almond eyes, how they are perfectly shaped and still blue.  I love his eyelashes which did not come from me because they are long and full and naturally curled.  He knows when I'm looking at him because he has this perfect half smile, almost bashful.  I love his round chin and all of the extra chins he has.  I love his chubbiness and that he's filling out 3-6 month clothes.  

 He still has cradle cap but his hair covers it well, and I think he may have a touch of eczema, but that's okay too, that's what mommas and prayers are for.  He has sweaty hands and sweaty feet and always has milk in his neck creases.  Jude thinks his head is a ball, Isaak loves to lay almost on top of him, and he just doesn't even know what's ahead having two older brothers.  But for now, he's my 11 week old chunk who has grown so fast already, but I have to write this all out so I don't forget.  I forget so much.  He snores, he still sleeps next to me and has made me break all my parenting rules.  But by number three I've decided to make my own rules.  And as I said before, I WILL LOOK FOR MORE, so I can see more.  I have to.

Practice makes nothing perfect, but it makes me more confident.  Just a short month ago I would melt down at the sheer thought of leaving the house with all three boys by myself.  The bravest I'd gotten was a drive thru, and we didn't even get out of the car.  But a lot has changed in the last month. 

I started practicing. 
My favorite place to practice? Target!!

Anytime Amick has to be somewhere else, I use it as an opportunity.  I plan it as best I can.  We go after Jude's nap, I feed Brooks before we leave, and I load the diaper bag with snacks and drinks and 2 sizes of diapers and my nursing cover, and my wrap, and a ball, and more snacks, and Isaak's dollar for popcorn, and my phone complete with white noise app, and wallet and keys, and even when I think I have it all I still forget something...

I load Jude up first, because he has to be contained at all times or he's gone.  Followed by Brooks who may or may not cry the entire way there.  Thank God Isaak is 5 and can buckle himself in and make Jude laugh and start his DVD player, because that's how we avoid meltdowns in the car, oh judge judge away. 

Fast forward to the Target parking lot.  I break out my beast of a double stroller and thank you God for that thing or I'd never go anywhere.  But we head inside, and most times we can make it around the outer perimeter of the store without huge issues, but someone eventually fusses.  

Insert popcorn and juice box.  
Isaak is happy.  
Insert yogurt melts.  
Jude is now happy.  
Insert baby K'tan wrap or white noise or both.  
Brooks is happy.  

Then we leisurely stroll the store again and I pretend that - while only for a minute - that I do have it all together.  

"See look at me, I'm strolling around and all three of my kids are quiet."  

...Oops minute's over.  

But you know what keeps me going?  I get these comments...  From people.  And it makes me smile usually.  I get comments from people about how they love my stroller, they don't know how I do it, they are proud of me for getting out because if it was them they'd never do it, and it looks like I've got it down, and how all those boys have me outnumbered, or where'd the blondie come from, and do I have twins, and almost always without fail I get the infamous: "LOOKS LIKE YOU HAVE YOUR HANDS FULL" comment.  

Yes, world, my hands are indeed full. 

And instead of a typical eye roll and shoulder shrug of agreement - I'm learning to take that as a compliment - because as my arms get stronger from loading and unloading that blasted heavy stroller, and my back aches from wearing a baby all the time, and as I am almost always sweating, and always wiping something, and what is make-up, and glory to God we checked out without a meltdown, and I like the Target with the starbucks, and yes my toddler ate an entire bag of yogurt melts in one sitting, and I lost my five year old once, and he spilled an entire bag of popcorn, and I bought work out shorts (hahahahhahaha), and at one point they were all three crying at the same time... You know what?!?!

I'm doing it,
practicing it,
failing it,
nailing it,
but doing it. 

Each day that passes, with or without a Target trip I'm getting more confident. BAM.

And there you go, my twenty minutes are up, because a certain little chub needs one more feeding before turning in for the night.

Goodnight blog, I miss you so.

Be blessed.

Brooks Arrow Cutler - A birth story

Monday, March 31

I've been waiting and waiting for a quiet solemn moment to come my way so that I could sit down and give you a beautifully articulated birth story, but as the last 4 weeks have shown me... those moments are a thing of the past - so as I embrace my new title as a "mom of three" - I will give you the most concise and hopefully coherent account as possible - even though as I type Jude is relentless in trying to attack my space bar. :)

There are some things you need to know first, so that you can understand the miracle of the whole thing.  There was a lot I didn't share publicly the last couple months of my pregnancy - because I didn't want to hear all of the negative feedback... but I worried a lot about how Brooks' birth would happen.

I had planned early on in the pregnancy to attempt a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean).  My Dr. said I was a great candidate - and after having a terrible C section with Jude - I really REALLY wanted to avoid that again if at all possible.  I was really content with that decision until about 2/3 way through the pregnancy when fear and worry and risks took over my mind, and all I could think about were the 'what ifs'.  What if I was the 1% who would have a uterine rupture.  What if I was the one who couldn't do it.  Anyway, I prayed and prayed and researched so much - just wanting peace to come - and for me to move forward in confidence.  Finally the peace came. :)

The only stipulation to attempting a VBAC was that I had to go into labor on my own.  Induction/use of pitocin increases risks of rupture, so if I didn't go into labor by 41 weeks, I'd automatically have a C-section.  Well 36 weeks, 37, 38, 39 all came and went with no progress in dilation, so I'd convinced myself that my body couldn't do it and I almost scheduled a C-section to just be done with it.

But around lunch time on my due date (Feb 27), my body decided to come to the rescue.  The contractions started and they were fierce, and things happened so quickly.  We left for the hospital around 2:30pm, and by 5:00 I was in labor and delivery, 6 cm dilated and begging for an epidural.  Things went quickly and beautifully.  By 9:30pm I was fully dilated. I did 3 rounds of pushes and out came a beautifully perfect baby boy weighing exactly 8 pounds.  He had a head full of dark hair and came out screaming at the top of his lungs.  They laid that amazing boy right on my chest and we both fell in love.  He nursed right away, and we've been inseparable since.  From start to finish the entire thing was perfect, and I was able to fully experience a delivery that I'd prayed for.  A delivery that my body was able to do on it's own.  Our bodies are beautiful things, created in God's image, and it was so amazing to see it do it's thing!!!!

Born on his due date
February 27, 2014 at 10:08pm
8 pounds
20.75 inches long

We named him Brooks Arrow Cutler.  Brooks meaning peaceful, life-giving, and from a story in 1 Kings, a sign of God's provision and care for his children.  Arrow, meaning straight, and taken from a scripture in Psalms that says:

"Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth
Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them."

This baby boy is the culmination of so much joy, so many miracles in our lives, and a huge part of the redemptive and restorative thread that has woven so beautifully through our story.

I would love to sit here and write and write and write in detail every small thing that happened as God gave us this third baby boy, but for now time won't allow.

I just needed to at least get it out, so that my readers, who have been along for the ups and downs of this journey could rejoice too!

We are so blessed. 


39 weeks and some other things

Thursday, February 20

1.  Let's start out with the obvious, I am very pregnant indeed.  39 weeks.  My countdown says I have 7 days to go.  Will I make it the full 7 days? Will it be longer? Will it be tomorrow?  Eeeeks I don't know.  But it's a fascinating wait nonetheless.  A wait I haven't done before.  With Isaak I was induced so we packed our bags and had a time we knew to check in and be ready.  With Jude, well you all know how that went down, way too early and way too unprepared.  I will not dare say how I think this one will happen - because I have learned by now that things rarely go as I plan.  So... I'm doing the best I can with what I know and praying that God will handle the rest.  I am extremely uncomfortable at this point.  Swollen, congested, constantly sore and not sleeping a wink, but as long as it's helping this little guy fatten up and be ready - I'll endure for just a little bit longer. :)

2.  I had such an incredible day on Tuesday.  A day that reminded me that I am still thought of, cared about and worth being checked on - even as chaotic as the world can be.  See, I have tried my very hardest to keep my complaints to myself - because i know very well that things can be harder.  But the last several days have been very hard on me.  I don't know if it's the position of this little guy, my c-section scar, or just the what the last days of pregnancy are like, but I've been in a lot of pain.  Some moments of the day I can hardly move, and the world doesn't stop because of it.  Isaak has been sick, and Jude - well - he's Jude and needs to be held constantly, and so there are some moments I just rock him and cry at the same time because it hurts so bad and I just pray that my legs won't buckle.  Anyway, I say all that to say - I've just kept telling myself to suck it up...  I was made for this - I can do this - and I need to just push through. 
Well - I get a message on Monday from a friend - who, long story short - told me that she felt like God told her to offer to clean my house.  And as I read the message - my independent-don't-need-no-one-self started to immediately think of a kind way to tell her thanks for offering but that I was really ok.  But the tears just started to fall as I finished reading the message, because the message read my mail - and so I let my pride fall and accepted her offer with all the gratitude I could muster up.  And so, first thing Tuesday morning - love put into action showed up at my front door step - and when I say my house was cleaned, it was cleaned.. top to bottom, things that haven't been touched in so long.  Things that my belly won't allow me to do right now.  It was the most amazing gift. 
Well that's not even all.  Before my friend showed up at my house - another friend called me out of nowhere with a similar offer.  She said that she wanted to help in any way possible, and felt like she needed to offer.  So as my house is being cleaned - and my heart was being blessed - my cup started running over even more.  Another friend came over and helped with my kids, spent the afternoon telling me to sit down and brought us an amazing dinner.  When the day was all said and done, I just sat back and cried again because I felt like God was showing me as clear as possible that I am loved - I am worthy of receiving a blessing - and open hands aren't always as scary as life tells us they are.  Amazing things can be received when we open our hands and allow others in.

3.  Marriage is such a roller coaster.  If you know our family at all - you know very well that we are indeed far from perfect - and even farther from being an ideal model married couple.  It's always been that way.  I will still gag a little when I hear of married couples who have gone decades without letting the sun go down on their anger or have never experienced a night on the couch.  But I will say this... With all its imperfections, ugly moments, selfish moments, and crazy worn out moments - I am still 110% confident in the decision of who I chose to spend my life with.  I know that I don't owe this explanation to anyone - but I wanted to write it out for me.  Because sometimes, I forget to be thankful.  But I am thankful for the man who chose me, who chose to put up with me, who chose to fight for our family, for the completion of our family.  I am so incredibly thankful for his sense of humor, for his energy, for his smile, his desire to protect me and provide for our family.  I am so so grateful that he doesn't back down from what he believes in, and that he does things with his whole heart, that he will admit when he's wrong and for his heart for worship.  And while he has his moments, our jokes of his crazy 10 o clock ways, and his over honest opinions, and his visionary spirit - the fact is WE are a team.  And it's a package deal.  Our family comes all packaged together.  You don't get me without him and vice versa.  AND I DON'T WANT IT ANY OTHER WAY.  I wouldn't ever want to do this life without him. 

4.  I've always said if I ever had the genie and the three wishes deal handed to me, one of my wishes would be to experience life not caring what other people think about me.  I know, random.  But it's true.  I wish I could experience a little of life without that constant need to please running through me.  Imagine a world where I don't wonder if I've offended yet again, if I've disappointed yet again, a world where the number of facebook likes were useless and hurtful comments didn't exist.  A world where I measured up without over thinking it - and confidence came naturally - without all the comparison, back biting and one upping. I know that world doesn't exist, but I wish it did.  Perhaps I need a good pep talk haha, or just some balanced hormones - but if a box of self-confidence showed up on my door step topped with a bow - i'd grab it in a heart beat.  I guess until then - I'm ok with just being a work in progress. :) 

5.  Speaking of being a work in progress - I've been practicing by truly enjoying the last trimester of my pregnancy.  I've spent many weeks shying away from truly enjoying these miraculous moments out of fear of it hurting someone else.  See - I was on the other side of that fence for a while as we dealt with our miscarriages.  I lived in that world where every announcement broke my heart again, every belly picture reminded me that my body didn't work, every baby delivered was a new wound for me.  And even though I wish I could go back and not have allowed other peoples joys to pierce me in that way - the fact is - it was just my own pain, my hurt - and I can't change it - I can only be thankful that God saw me through and out of it.  So as I strive for my own bout of self-confidence, I am working on clinging to my own joy - because these miracles - I fought for.  I bled for, I saw and passed and pushed out death 6 times - 6 HORRIFIC TIMES to experience the life moving in me right now.  And I AM NOT SORRY FOR IT NOW.  I will not discount the healing I have experienced - because the truth is - those that want to celebrate with me WILL, and they have - and they have been my lifeline - but I also need to be able to confidently celebrate in my own way too.  There is a way to celebrate and still have compassion in regards to the road I walked and the fact that the road is walked by others too.  God show me the way.

Well - this post could have perhaps been very hormone driven - but oh well - my life is hormone driven right now, so thank God it's my blog and I can say what I want.  :)

I look forward to my next post being an announcement to you all of the arrival of a beautiful baby boy.  I can't wait to meet him.  I can't wait for you all to meet him too.

Be blessed.

31 weeks and such

Saturday, December 28

I know you're in shock that I'm blogging twice in one week.  I am too.  Definitely a rarity these days.  But a pregnancy update is due.


I have gained about 15 pounds so far.  I'm expecting to gain a total of 25-30 lbs when it's all said and done.  I actually maintained my weight all the way through the 18th week of this pregnancy.  I'm guessing that's due to the fact that I was still nursing Jude and chasing him and Isaak around all the time.  But the last 10 weeks or so I've caught back up.  I'm happy with where I'm at, and actually don't really care too much this time around.  Funny how a good dose of perspective can change so much.

I feel a ton better at this point in my pregnancy than I did with Jude's.  Just take a look at my 31 week post with Jude, and look at my feet!!!!!!!!  OMG, I can happily HAPPILY say my feet do not look anything like that this time around.  I'm hoping that means that all the complications I had last time are passing me by.

I have, however, battled A LOT of anxiety during this pregnancy.  A lot of it is attributed to my fear of the same things happening again... i.e. flu, pre-eclampsia, early delivery, c-section, preemie, NICU etc.  Every little twinge, every time something just feels off, every time I get a cold, I immediately want to freak out thinking I'm headed in that direction again.  So, I've really had to pray for a lot of peace, and DAILY release those fears because the reality is it's out of my control.  I've done everything I know to do to take care of myself and prevent complications, so the rest is out of my hands.  I'm just praying and hoping for a full term pregnancy, and trying to stay calm in the mean time.

We are working on the nursery.  We painted the walls a blue color.  It's like a blueish-gray, but turned out more blue than gray, if that makes sense.  We don't really have a theme, but it will be blue, gray and white.  Hoping it comes together soon.  It will also have a day bed in there, so can double as a guest bedroom if needed.  We have officially filled every room in our house.  What a lovely feeling. :)

I've had a couple pet peeves this time around too.  I'll share since this is my blog and I can say whatever I want. :)
1.  People thinking that because I'm having my third boy that it somehow decreases my excitement or love or anticipation for this baby.  OH MY GOODNESS.  Would I have liked to had a girl, sure.  After two boys, who wouldn't?!?  But do I get to control that, nope!  And honestly, I don't want to.  I don't really owe an explanation to anyone on why I'm happy to have a third boy.  I had probably 349 people tell me it was a girl, oh a couple dozen prophecies, and even a dream or two that it was a girl, but guess what - It's a boy, my son, with a wee-wee, and from head to stinkin' toe I'm in love with him 110%.  So the comments like "awww bummer, well at least you already know what to do" "don't worry, there's always next time" "be happy because boys are cheaper anyway" can be kept to yourself, because I'm over that junk.

2.  People sharing their 'you're life will be hell' comments openly with me because I am having 2 kids year apart.  Wow.  I mean, isn't it common sense already that I'm going to be tired?  Isn't it common sense to assume I'm not going to be having spa days and loads of free time to paint my nails and do pinterest projects?  Obviously, having a 14 month old and a newborn won't be the easiest task in the world, but wouldn't it be nice to hear positive things spoken over me?  I had a friend just lay her hand on my shoulder and pray, out of nowhere that this baby would be an easy baby, who slept well and enjoyed riding in the car.  What a blessing.  I had another friend with tears in her eyes tell me how excited she was to see these two boys grow up together because she just knew they'd be best friends. SEE!!! Those are the things I need to hear, those are the things that I can be reassured of.  The negativity, Oh my, I need no help there.
Names, oh the name.  I'm sure you were wondering when I'd bring that up. :) We don't have a for sure name yet.  There are a few things floating out there - and I'm sure it'll be solidified in the weeks to come, but for now we are okay with waiting a little longer.  So, just be patient.

"Every baby deserves to be celebrated"... is what a friend said to me the other day.  That was shortly after another friend had texted me asking me if I was having a shower.  And the answer, I suppose, is yes.  I am thankful for the people who have cared, and who have genuinely celebrated this pregnancy and this baby with us from the early weeks until now, even though I just went through the same thing a year ago.  I'm thankful for the people who realize that this baby is just as big of a deal as Jude was, as Isaak was, and I'm thankful for the people who helped convince me that yes, this baby too, deserves to be celebrated.   And even if all he gets is diapers, it's a blessing nonetheless.

I am getting to the point in pregnancy where it's getting harder to breathe, and it's magnified because Jude still likes to be held a lot of the time.  And I still rock him to sleep for naps and bedtime.  So I've really been relying on Amick a lot to help me.  I honestly don't leave the house much anymore.  Not because I'm depressed or anything, but because it's SO MUCH EASIER to be at home and let Jude roam around and play or sit on the couch with me, than to fight the mall crowds or restaurants or errand running while having to carry him on my hip with a bulging belly. I'm becoming more and more okay with that.  Being a homebody can be fun.  (I never thought I'd say that)

I wanted to end this post with a more emotional side to this pregnancy.  I've had my ups and downs, my feelings of pure joy followed by complete incapability.  I have moments where I feel him move all around and see a knee bulge from my side or feel a booty in my ribs and I just want to lose it.  Because I go back to this time about 2 years ago.  When I had just about convinced myself - that I would NEVER ever get to experience this again.  And I just say thank you.  for this baby.  And while I don't get to fully know yet how he will come, when he will come or what he will be like - I can only be thankful for what i know and have right now.  I am pretty certain that this boy completes our family, and while I can't say it with 100% certainty,  I do have an immense peace that this baby boy born will be a chapter closed in my life.  A pregnancy chapter closed.  And I look forward to the days, years ahead watching my family grow up and move into a season where I am nurturing my children outside of the womb.  I look forward to being the very best mom to these three boys that I can be. But, it just makes me a little more emotional to see these last pregnancy weeks go by, to think that these hiccups, and kicks and ultrasounds - will soon be a thing of the past.  What a bittersweet feeling it is.

Pregnancy - a word that has absolutely consumed my life for the past 6 years.  Over the last 6 years I've been pregnant 9 times.  Many many many weeks of hormonal ups and downs, and joys and losses, and pain and love, and miracles and heartbreak and crazy crazy life.  It's hard to think of my life without being defined by that word.  I have a feeling there is more healing to come - but I look forward to it.  I welcome it.

So here's to 8.5 more weeks of pregnancy.  8.5 more weeks of a beautiful, awesome baby boy growing INSIDE my tummy.  I can't wait to meet you, I pray for you, you will have a great name, I am so glad you are a boy, I can't imagine anything else - and you will be so so loved.

Be blessed!

Utterly and joyfully exhuasted...

Thursday, December 26

I had two diet cokes tonight at dinner.  The caffeine from those beverages is probably the only reason why I'm able to coherently write a blog post tonight.  So I'm seizing the opportunity, regardless. 

What a whirlwind life has been over the last 6 weeks.  Two major holidays just passed me by and I feel like I didn't even have a chance to catch my breath.  I really really try (for the most part) not to complain when we hit the hard stuff, but sometimes I just gotta call it real.  So I will.  It will be jumbled, and most likely not well thought out - but the overall message being that I am tired, life is hard, but I'm doing it, and will learn to do it with joy!

Judester has just been through the ringer.  And in turn, as his momma, I get the immediate 'aftershock' effects if that makes sense.  We have been to the doctor every 10 days for the last 6 weeks.  Viral infection followed by a lovely dose of hand foot & mouth disease.  We got a week to breathe and catch up on sleep when he got RSV followed by a double ear infection.  Just as he seemed to start turning the corner 3 teeth decided to make their appearance - and let me just tell you that this kiddo does not take to teething well. Whew.  And you'd think that'd be enough right? Nope.  The worst was yet to come.  Another virus hit right as we were making huge preparations to spend our Christmas in Tulsa with Amick's family.  Except this virus caused him to get croup which his teeny little airways couldn't handle - and that landed us smack in the hospital for 2 days where he spent his first birthday.  I am just now coming out of the fog of that week from you know where, and I am pleading and praying with everything in me that he can get a break from all the illness.  We had to postpone his first birthday party and cancel our Christmas trip to Tulsa.  Needless to say, we've been a little down the past week or so.

All this is going on with Jude, and wouldn't you know it - life doesn't stop just because a kid gets sick.  Isaak still runs at full speed every day complete with school, class parties, church and the every day life of a 5 year old.  I try so desperately to keep up and stay awake enough to be for him what he needs.

Amick is slammed with work (which is a good thing), so I find myself taking on even more to give him a break so he can focus on what he needs to during the day.

ALL THE WHILE, the weeks of this pregnancy are zooming by.  I look down today at a belly measuring 31 weeks, and I can't believe I'm already at this point.  This growing baby boy has taken a toll on me - as far as physical exhaustion goes - but health wise I'm doing much better than I was at this point with Jude.

But, can I just tell you that I am so very tired!  And even as I type that it doesn't accurately describe just how tired I really am.  Jude DOES NOT sleep when he's sick, and so neither do I, not to mention he's one of those kids who doesn't have a desire to ever sleep through the night.  And, like I said before, I usually try to keep the complaining to myself, but tonight I'm stating facts.  FACT:  I'M FREAKING TIRED.

Things that would normally consume my time are non-existent, and it is a flat out gift from God that I'm able to be home right now instead of pulling 40 hour work weeks in addition to all this.  So thank you, thank you, thank you God.  I have all these desires to be so much more right now...  To be a better wife, a perfect mom, a good friend, a cute pregnant lady, a social butterfly, an event planner, a more present blogger,  etc etc etc.   But here's another fact for you.  I CAN'T DO IT ALL.  I JUST CAN'T.  And it took a good huge awful cry and somewhat of a breakdown a week or so ago for me to let it go and be okay with who I am able to be right now.  Some good friends spent time encouraging us the other night and the word 'freedom' kept coming back to the surface.  A word that I need to let overtake me right now. 

Freedom to enjoy things just as they are:  messy house, sick kids, no makeup days, and lots of fast food.
Freedom to say 'no' the burdens I am not supposed to carry.
Freedom to say 'yes' to those who want to help us when our burdens get too heavy.
Freedom to own my roles in the home as a wife and a mom and let them have the priority they deserve.
Freedom to be the best friend I can be, but to be okay with saying goodbye to the expectation trap.
Freedom to let things go.
Freedom to let people go.
Just freedom to be me.

I have such a tendency to people-please, that I often forget to take care of myself as well.  I need to love myself.  I need to rest myself.  I need to BE myself.  How easy it is to lose sight of that.  I'm 31 years old.  I work in my home to raise my children, and I do the best I can.  No I can't keep up with everyone else, but I'm proud of the job I'm doing.  I'm pregnant, 31 weeks to be exact, and I love it.  I went through a hell of a lot to get to this point, and I'm enjoying it.  all of it. every day of it.  the miracle of it.  I have two beautiful boys, they make life complete and hard all at the same time, but they are my life - and I fail them - but I love them - and it's all good.  I have a wonderful husband, who is sometimes crazy, but he's crazy in love with me and it makes it all worth it.  He works from home, and it's amazing - and stressful - and I wouldn't trade it for anything.  We have tremendous friends and family, who give of themselves for us, who cook for us, intercede for us, do life with us - forgive us, accept us, accept me - love me, get me - don't judge me, and genuinely want the best for me. 

See how the list goes on - we have our eyes so fixed on this prize of being 'selfless' that we lose our'self' in the process.  Jesus, don't let me lose sight of myself.  And I don't mean that in a self-centered way, I mean it in a healthy way - that I have to recognize the physical, emotional and spiritual needs that must be met in order for me to be who I am called to be.

I am headed into a year that will most likely go down in history as the most rewarding yet EXHAUSTING of my life.  And in and of myself I will fail, miserably and will end up depressed again.  So I am - with everything in me - desperately seeking another road to this journey.  A road of self-acceptance, of God-dependence, and full reliance on His strength, so that - when these days come and go, the stinking hard ones and the good ones - that I can look back and see footprints marked with JOY.  That, my friends is the desire of my heart. 

...and as my eyes want to close right now - I will close with that thought and gladly take in some rest that this very very very tired girl needs.

Be blessed.

21 weeks and a recap

Thursday, October 17

I am so thankful that during my pregnancy with Jude, I committed to document the experience week by week.  It is so neat to look back and reminisce - remember - recall... because a year isn't that long, but it is so long if you're wanting to to remember the little things.

And those little things gave way to a four-pound-life-changing thing that absolutely consumes my days.  In the best-overwhelmed-way possible.  But it's the reason I am just now sitting down to give you a pregnancy update.  A 21 week update.  A holy-cow-I'm-over-half-way-through update.

I feel like the little dentist youtube kid in saying: "Is this real life?!?"

Oh it's real alright.  Twenty-one-weeks real! :)  I still can't believe this most days, but a round tummy, a kicking boy and a ticking clock are making the reality sink in.

Here's where I'm at, and where I've been:

1.  I dealt with 6 weeks of constant nausea/exhaustion.  Six weeks that I thought truly would be the end of me.  Seriously.  The intensity was magnified because I was still nursing Jude at the same time.  Exclusively.  He hadn't even started solid foods yet.  So 24/7 my body was going hormone crazy trying to sustain a pregnancy, grow a baby, a placenta and everything else, while at the same time trying to provide enough milk to sustain a growing 6 month old.  Add never-ending morning sickness to it all and you have a recipe for disaster.  I really don't have the words to tell you the sheer exhaustion I experienced.  There were days that I couldn't even lift my head off the couch and it took all I had to just feed Jude.  I'm not sure the grand canyon could have held all the grace Amick gave me during that time.  It was bad.  But it's in the past. :)

2.  Well as the nausea started to fade, around week 14, I thought surely that I'd start feeling better and regaining my energy.  Well the exact opposite happened.  Around my birthday, I hit a wall.  I felt like a 78 year old in a 30 year old body.  I would stand at the changing table to change Jude and nearly pass out.  I felt like I'd just ran a marathon.  Simple every day tasks seemed impossible, and I had terrible headaches, no energy and just felt miserable.  Called my doctor, did some research and a lot of praying trying to figure out what was going on in my body, and I felt like God spoke over me through the answers.  It was as if He said: "Christy, my desire is to take care of you, and heal you, but YOU HAVE TO DO YOUR PART."  It all boiled down to the fact that my body was nutritionally depleted, big time.  Everything I had was going to the pregnancy first, and then to Jude from breastfeeding, and because I hadn't been taking care of myself - there was NOTHING left for me.  My body was letting me know that.  It was shutting down.  So I finally had a peace that it was time to wean Jude.  As much as I treasured the nursing relationship we had, the one I'd worked SO hard for while he was a preemie - I knew it was time.  I had a ton of bloodwork done that revealed I was extremely vitamin D deficient, and so I started a heavy supplement along with my prenatal.  I started some protein supplements as well as upping my water intake.  All of those things combined have been in place for about a month now, and let me tell you - I feel like a whole new person.  I feel better now - then I have in months.  And I'm relieved - because it was truly awful.  I am just so happy to be feeling somewhat normal again.

3.  This pregnancy has been complication free so far.  The baby is healthy, physically and genetically and growing right on track.  My doctor sees no increased risks, and doesn't think that preeclampsia will reoccur.  I am praying that it doesn't and doing everything in my power to prevent it.  I am praying for a full term baby with no complications.  Join me will you?

4.  I have gained about 3 pounds so far, pretty good for being over half way through, but I suspect that will increase dramatically in the weeks to come.

5.  It is most definitely a boy, and we most definitely do not have a name yet.  Kinda scary actually - because we have none to even choose from.  The perfect name will have to fall out of the sky, I suppose. :)

6.  I'm scared. A lot of the time.  I feel completely inadequate in my ability to care for a 5 year old, a 14 month old and a newborn.  Oh my goodness.  I just pray so hard that God will affirm the ability and meet me where I fall short.  I need a lot of things.  Patience, rest, peace, and an understanding that goes beyond head knowledge.  Oh Lord, please provide those things.

I have a couple belly pics and ultrasound photos that I will post with my next update, and hopefully that will be sooner than later.  But I hear a crying baby - so I guess that's it for now....

Be blessed

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