An upside down chair, smudged mirror, laundry basket full of misplaced stuff - this picture perfectly sums up our life these days. And oh yes, there's something else in this picture. 🙂
On Friday, I'll be 38 weeks pregnant with a sweet little girl, our 6th child. This pregnancy has been rough in many ways, but through it all, the joy has far outweighed the struggles.
I recently realized I hadn't shared our wonderful news here on my *actual blog*. We told our family and friends in person very early on this time around, and it was so nice to tell each person rather than make a big announcement. Also nice to avoid the "what?! 6 KIDS???? You don't look crazy?!" comments I knew were coming. 😉
I said something on my personal account and the @whitehouseblackshutters Instagram around 19 weeks. I planned to do a post like this one around that time and well, you know how life has been. It just didn't happen. Much like those comments I thought were coming - we have been surrounded by positivity and haven't gotten many. And if we did, I joked right back and let them know I was only partially crazy and this baby wasn't the cause of that. Haha!
I will jump right in and tell you (because being curious isn't a bad thing and I'm happy to share), yes, we knew about this before we moved.
For months before we conceived, I had been feeling like something was missing. Namely, someone.
It is hard to describe the feeling, but I would look around and think "WAIT ... (pauses, counts) ... Never mind, we've got everyone." This isn't just a one time thing, it happened often. I didn't feel as if there was a gap needing to be filled, life felt so calm and fulfilled. But I felt like an actual someone was missing. When we found out for sure yes, I felt overjoyed and at peace.
The first 16 weeks or so when we were preparing for the move, I was practically comatose. I took naps every day, couldn't live without coffee, and was so unbelievably tired and out of breath all the time. As the move approached, I felt a burst of energy. My good friend Melissa from Number 2 Pencil took these pictures when we were both in Utah for a brand sponsored trip with Cricut, a few days after we moved. At 19 weeks along, I felt amazing. Shortly after these were taken, we found out we were having a girl. I just couldn't believe it!
Then things started to go downhill. A rare autoimmune issue I struggled with in 2011, sometimes triggered by pregnancy, had returned. It had been in remission for six years and for our last two pregnancies.
When it happens, my skin forms hard, non-itchy bumps. If left untreated, my immune system goes in overdrive and attacks itself. In 2011 (with Adam - kid #3), my lower legs were fully covered in large, painful ulcerations by the time I found a doctor who knew what was going on. With treatment they healed; when he was born, they went away completely.
In addition to the bumps, I was out of breath constantly, felt heart palpitations, achy all through my joints, had intense mood swings and depression, and the tiredness was back. I started having gut issues and went in to see my doctor who suspected inflammation may be the root cause. She put me on the autoimmune protocol way of eating (or AIP paleo, which focuses on eating non-inflammatory foods) to see if it helped.
It did. After day 6, most of my symptoms were gone. And around this point, I broke my foot (non-related, just a wobbly shoe and an old stone step). More bumps would come, I would feel super achy/emotional/depressed for a few days, the feelings would fade, and with it the bump would start healing. This happened a few more times but being on the AIP diet seemed to help things. I felt so good on it, I didn't mind how annoying restricting my eating was. My foot healed. Then a few weeks ago I got a bump which would not. go. away. and put me in intense pain. I wanted to avoid going on large doses of steroids like before, but went into my original doctor and instead he's treating it local to the bump. Two weeks from the finish line, it's finally starting to heal.
Instead of praying for healing this whole time, I've been praying to feel gratitude, since I knew with gratitude would come acceptance. It has, and the other three have followed soon after. The joy I feel far outweighs the struggles.
I've gone through many strong emotions, then guilt from those emotions. And more guilt because Doug, our kids, and our extended family have picked up the slack I could not bear. I've learned to do only what I can, and take the rest my body needs to take care of itself and this baby. And if things slip through the cracks, its okay, I just need to accept it. With the renovations nearing completion, we're feeling settled and able to relax.
I would also appreciate any prayers you can send our way. For our family, our sweet little girl, that she continues to be okay and healthy, and for me, that we get through the upcoming weeks ahead and I can continue to heal. I will be offering up the struggles for you and your intentions. Thank you for your support of this blog, and just for being here to listen. I share my stories and projects not because I like to show them off, but to connect with you. To let you know you're not alone. Because you let me know I'm not alone either.
We've been so blessed and can't wait to embark on this new chapter in the story of our family. <3