Saturday, August 5, 2017

Calvin Gardner's Birth Story

We welcomed our fifth baby, Calvin Gardner Murch, on July 26 at 7:12pm. He weighed in at a shocking 10lbs., 15oz. and measured 22 3/4" long!

My contractions started Tuesday morning, the 25th, a little after 6am. All day Tuesday I had contractions every 20-30 minutes and they increased in intensity throughout the day, while staying pretty far apart. I was in touch with my midwife throughout the day and figured things would pick up in the evening and I'd have the baby overnight.

Around 8:00, I had one particularly strong contraction and things seemed to pick up from there. We started setting up the tub and got the kids ready for bed, planning for them to leave with my mother-in-law first thing in the morning if Baby hadn't made his appearance by then.

My sister-in-law who was coming for the birth got to our house around 9. We all hung out for a little bit and then Ben and I went to bed. I had strong contractions throughout the night, but they were all over the place. Some lasted almost 2 minutes, some were only 30 seconds. They were 8 minutes apart and they were 30 minutes apart and everywhere in between.

Finally at 3am, I got in touch with my midwife. I was frustrated because things weren't developing into any consistent pattern, which I knew I needed, but they were moving along enough that I couldn't get much sleep. She suggested doing the stairs for half an hour in case there was a positioning issue that was keeping labor from progressing. I did that and my contractions got closer together. They were 7-8 minutes apart, and just under a minute. I did have a couple contractions that came one on top of the other, so we decided Leslie (my midwife) should go ahead and come. She and Dorcas (the precious assistant who has come to all four of my home births!) and things pretty much stayed as they were for several hours.

When Josephine woke up, we decided to let her nurse and see if that would help with contractions. Nursing her brought on the most intensely painful and long contractions I'd had. The problem was, I couldn't handle holding her and working through them, so I couldn't keep it up. It hurt her feelings when I'd set her down for each contraction.

Some time around 8 or 9, things seemed to fizzle out completely. We decided to spend a couple of hours trying to stimulate contractions but first, Leslie wanted to check me. I was at 4cm and 75% effaced, but she was easily able to stretch me to 6. We discovered the reason for my stop and go labor (and also an explanation for the back labor I'd started experiencing)--Baby was posterior, something we hadn't realized before this point. His head wasn't putting direct pressure on my cervix; it was off center.

For an hour, I took tinctures, used the breast pump, and did the stairs. It accomplished almost nothing. I was feeling really discouraged! We decided the midwife and assistant would leave and I'd just go about my day. They did work on my belly with the rebozo for a little while before they left, hoping to encourage Baby into a good position. I had some stronger and closer contractions afterwords, but still nothing super consistent.

I spent the next couple hours walking around my house and resting. My contractions got really intense, but they were still quite far apart and I didn't feel like I was making much progress. My sister-in-law was in contact with my midwife and she suggested some different laboring positions to help with the back labor, which was becoming really difficult to manage. The change in positions (chest on my bed with my rear end sticking up, if you're curious) helped with the back labor and my contractions got closer together--about 10 minutes apart instead of 20.

She also suggested a chiropractic adjustment and even maybe some acupuncture to see if the baby would get into a better position. My chiropractor is just 2 minutes away from home, so I thought about going in. The thought of having contractions in his office was super unappealing, so I asked Ben to call and see if there was any chance Dr. J. would do a house call for me. He said yes and was here within a few minutes. This was about 4:15. I still can't believe he did that for me and am so, so thankful for his kindness!

He adjusted my lower back, did acupuncture to encourage contractions, and also worked with a couple ligaments on my belly to encourage the little man to turn out of his posterior position.

As soon as Dr. J. left, my contractions picked up. For an hour I walked around the house and up and down the stairs and I had contractions every four to five minutes. Much to my relief, the back labor was significantly better too! I was so encouraged!

And then they stopped.

I was so bummed. I sat down and as soon as I was sitting I realized how exhausted I was. Since I wasn't having contractions anyway, Ben encouraged me to lay down. I fell asleep for 20 minutes.

And I woke up to a contraction that lasted four whole minutes. It was uncomfortable but actually pretty manageable.

Shortly after that, I had another one.

And then another one. And this time I felt like I had to push!

Our midwife wasn't here. The tub wasn't the right temperature. I freaked out a little bit. Ben was totally calm about delivering the baby, and I just knew I desperately wanted to be in the water (which we weren't comfortable with until Leslie was here).

I got in the shower for a little while and then moved to the bed and then just sat in the bathroom. Finally Leslie was here, the tub was the right temperature, and I was able to climb in.

The water was so relaxing. I expected to start pushing right away, but I just wasn't ready so I waited. After several minutes and a few contractions, it was time. I don't remember how many times I pushed, but after a couple pushes, his [BIG] head was born. At this point, Leslie expressed surprise at how large he was and suggested I get into a squat to accommodate his body. I was able to reach down and feel his head while I waited for another contraction. The time in between was so calm and quiet. With the next contraction, I pushed but he didn't come out. Next contraction, I gave a long, hard push and my sweet boy was born into my arms.  Pushing took right about 5 minutes and gratefully I had no tearing even though Calvin was such a big baby.

All-in-all, Calvin's birth was a really good experience. The hardest part of labor didn't last that long and pushing wasn't bad. The most difficult part was being awake for nearly 40 hours straight. I think I needed that 20 minute nap at the end to have the strength to actually get my baby out!

We love our sweet boy and are adjusting pretty well to life as a family of seven. <3

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Josephine's First Birthday Letter (written at 20 months)

Dear Josephine,

I missed your first birthday by 8 months. I've gotten slack over the last couple of years with getting birthday letters written on time and I'm sorry. Even though we're now closer to your second birthday than your first, I wanted to write you a letter anyway.

My sweet girl, you were our long awaited baby. For about a year, I was too sick to conceive, and over time the Lord brought healing to my body and He gave you to us. I was so excited to find out you were on the way, and Daddy and I were both completely in love with you the moment you were born. We still are. In fact, we might spoil you a tiny bit too much. You almost always get a little taste of whatever we're eating because we can't resist your, "A bite? P'eas?!"

I think being a more experienced mama has helped me cherish and savor each stage of your babyhood a little extra. Seeing how fast my babies have grown up has reminded me to slow down. We've spent countless hours snuggling. I love to stop and look into your eyes and listen to the sweet things you say and the words you mispronounce. I love to follow you when you take me by the hand to show me something.

You are such a girl. You get excited about"I wor," ("I wor" = "I wear" = "my clothes") and, "woos. (shoes)" You carry three "beebees" around with you all day long and take such good care of them. You rock and shush them. I love finding them tucked in carefully with blankets around the house. You always tell them, "Nigh-nigh, bee-bee," and tuck them in with a kiss.

Really, you're still a baby yourself, but you get very excited over real babies too--especially your cousin, Gracie. You love holding her. "I wold, Mama?"

I'm hoping your fascination with and excitement over babies will help you with your transition into life as a big sister here in the next couple of weeks. You are so attached to me, I sometimes worry how you'll do with having to share me with someone who needs me even more than you do!

Even though you're so little, you've already become a good helper around the house. You throw away trash without being asked, and you're usually really good about picking up your toys and putting them away where they belong. This is a blessing for your mama!

You do have a stubborn side, for sure, and have started experimenting with telling mama and daddy, "Nnnnnnnnnnnnnno!" Hopefully you'll learn quickly that this approach doesn't work out well.

For the last few weeks, your older siblings have been out of town at Grandma and Grandpa's house. At first, you missed them horribly--especially Katie. Over time you've adjusted, and I think we've both really enjoyed the one-on-one time we've had together. You've been my little buddy. We've done everything together. And it's been sweet. Tonight you fell asleep snuggled up in bed with me, and I just laid there for a while taking you in before I moved you to your bed. I love your sweet baby cheeks and your pudgy little body in footie pajamas. When Calvin is born, I know you'll seem so grown up--and I'm not sure when you'll next fall asleep in mama's arms.

Sweet Josephine, I love you. I love your sweet little voice and the way you smile and giggle. I love how you always want to hold my hand going up and down the stairs ("Hannay?"). I love the way you love your baby dolls. I love how excited you get when Daddy comes home and how you always ask him for a kiss when he's leaving. I have so many moments I wish I could just bottle up and save, so many facial expressions and cute things I want to remember forever. Just like Katie, Benjamin, and Joshua, you're going to grow up on me too. Next thing I know you'll be losing teeth and learning how to read. And then someday you'll probably get married and have a baby of your own.

Even though part of me wishes you'd just stay little forever, I know you won't. And when it comes down to it, I wouldn't actually want you to. That's not why I have babies. I have babies so they'll grow into young men and women who love the Lord and work to advance His Kingdom. That's really what every moment we have together is about--loving you and pointing you to the God Who loves you infinitely more than I ever could. My prayer for you now is the same as it has been since I knew you were a speck in my belly. I pray that you will love the Lord faithfully, even as a child, even now, and serve Him all your days in whatever He calls you to.

Happy First Birthday 8 months late.


Saturday, October 15, 2016

Joshua's 4th Birthday Letter

Dear Joshua,

Happy 4th birthday, my sweet son. I say this every year, but I simply can't believe another year has gone by. If I close my eyes for a moment, I can go right back to the morning I met you after an easy, peaceful birth at our home in the country. I loved you from the moment I knew you were in my womb, I loved you when I held you in my arms, but my sweet boy, how I love you now that you've been part of our family for four whole years!

It is such a joy to watch you learn and grow. This year has brought so many changes for you!

I closed your last birthday letter with an expression of my desire that you start using the potty. Several months ago, I got you to start by calling you, "Baby Joshua," until you started going potty. It worked! And as soon as you did it you said, "Mommy, you can stop calling me Baby Joshua now!" I'm so glad to have that behind us!

You've also learned so much in your role as Big Brother. You are so sweet with Josephine. You take good care of her, you share well with her, and you love her so much. This year has also brought you much closer with Katie and Benjamin as you've matured enough to keep up with their antics. You three are buddies and that brings such joy to my heart!

You enjoy coloring and drawing, playing outside, and all things little boy. You love cars, trains, planes, tools, superheroes (Captain America is your favorite), sports (especially baseball, like Benjamin and Daddy), and playing rough.

A few weeks ago, you woke up from your nap feeling sad. When I asked you what was wrong, you told me you were sad you couldn't be a superhero and fly like Ironman. I explained to you that superheroes were really just pretend, but that you could grow up and be strong and take good care of other people, protecting them from bad guys. It didn't satisfy you perfectly, but it was enough to get you out of your funk.

You are the earliest riser of the four Murchlings, usually up before 7. From the moment you wake up in the morning, you start talking a mile a minute and mostly end your sentences with, "...right?" You are a man of many words. You're also a man who knows what you want. These two qualities are an interesting combination now. They bring us much amusement and some frustration as well. But I know one day the two qualities can be combined for much good--if you learn to harness them! You are a funny, funny boy and keep us laughing too.

Joshua, I can't believe you're four. You add so much sweetness and joy to our family. You tell me you love me a million times a day. The way your blue eyes squint when you smile big melts my heart. I can't imagine life without you and I'm SO glad the Lord gave you to me. You ask me all the time lately, "Mama, you're not ready for me to grow up, are you?" Son, I'm not. Part of me wants to keep you my smiley, sweet little boy forever. But I know I can't do that. So I work to raise you into a godly man and pray (and pray and pray) that the Lord will bless my feeble efforts.

My son, I wish for you all the good things life offers--good health, a successful career, a wife who loves you, children who honor you, but above all these things, I long for you to love the Lord with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength. I pray that you'll rise above the temptations of our day and by God's grace be a blameless man. May you live a life of faithfulness, generously loving your neighbor near and abroad, advancing the Kingdom of Christ with diligence, and may you always have joy and peace regardless of your circumstances.

I love you, sweet boy.

Happy birthday!


Thursday, December 3, 2015

Joshua's 3rd Birthday Letter

Dear Joshua,

How can it be that my baby boy is three? It doesn't seem like it's been that long since I first held you in my arms after a beautiful, peaceful, fast birth at home. 

My sweet boy, I don't know if it's your personality, the fact that you've been the baby of the family for over a year longer than anyone else, or a combination of both, but you are the snuggliest three year-old I've had so far. You love your mama--and your mama loves you too. And if you can't manage to situate yourself on my lap, daddy's lap will usually do.

You talk a mile and a half a minute, amazing family and strangers alike with your vocabulary. In fact, when we went to the pediatrician for your check-up this fall, they asked if you could speak in full sentences yet. As we pulled into the parking lot that morning, I counted an 18 word sentence. Ha!

You have really grown up a lot in recent months, between your speech and your growing ability to hold your own when you play with Katie and Benjamin. You've also begun learning how to be more helpful around the house. You mainly help with picking up your toys, and truthfully you are often reluctant to do so--but we're working on that. You have pretty strong opinions and are fairly hard to convince when you have your mind set, much like your older sister.

You also definitely think you have swag, as daddy would say. You act like you're 3 going on 19. This frequently cracks us all up--and every once in a while is just a wee bit annoying. But that's alright. We all have quirks, and this is one we love about you. You don't lack confidence despite being the youngest of the 'big kids.' 

You are all boy, my Joshua. You love planes, trains, cars, guns, and superheroes. If it has wheels or is otherwise manly, you are all into it. You're also pretty tough. I'm amazed at the tumbles and bumps you take without crying. Your daddy appreciates this about you!

Just over a week after your birthday, you met your new baby sister for the first time. It has been precious watching you become an older brother. You adore Josephine and are so sweet to her! Between you and Benjamin (and daddy!) she will be so well protected and taken care of. Despite how much you love your sister, adjusting to mommy having a new person to focus on has been challenging for you. You're coming along, though.

I am excited to see what providence has in store for you, my son. You're a smart, funny, strong, and sweet boy. More than anything else, I long for you to submit to Christ and honor Him with all your days. In the end, nothing else matters much.

I sure do love you, Joshua Gianavel. You make my world sweeter by being in it.

Happiest of birthdays to you!


PS: I hope when I write you a letter next year, I can say you've successfully potty trained. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Josephine Marian's Birth Story

Giving birth is such an amazing, incredible experience--even when it's hard. Josephine's birth was one of the most difficult of my four. It hurt a lot and took longer for me to mentally feel like I was "over" it. A month after the fact, though, I can look back at her birth with the same affection, awe, and fondness as my other three.

Josephine Marian Murch
Born October 25, 2015 at 2:49pm into her Daddy's arms
9lbs., 14 oz. and 21 3/4" long
The story starts on Friday, October 23. The previous night I had not slept well. Our children normally go to homeschool co-op classes at church on Fridays. This day my brother-in-law took them for me as I was feeling exhausted and knew labor could happen at any point since I was a few days past my due date. I had a quiet day at home to myself. I was able to take a good nap and get caught up on some things for work, something I really wanted to get done before giving birth.

That night after the children were in bed I started to have some signs of impending labor including some contractions. I texted with my midwife and fully expected to go into labor during the night. Saturday morning I woke up quite surprised that things still hadn't picked up. I had contractions during the night but they didn't get active. We did our normal Saturday morning stuff and I continued to have some contractions. We decided to go ahead and send the children to my in-laws' house because we were sure things would pick up that day.

Ben and I had a nice day together. We went out and walked around town. We also bought our first TV. We came home, had pizza, and relaxed together. I alternated between resting and bouncing on the exercise ball. I was still having contractions but they just weren't picking up enough. We finally decided to go to bed around 10:30 after both falling asleep on the couch watching a movie (on the new TV). I was pretty sure I'd wake up during the night in active labor.

Sure enough, I woke up around 1 having contractions every 5-8 minutes. After an hour of that, I called my midwife. I knew things needed to pick up a lot more, but she had a long drive and my last labor was pretty fast. The first midwife (Leslie) arrived about 2:30. She was the primary midwife for my second and third babies and assisted at this birth. The other midwife assistant (Dorcas) and my primary midwife (Degra) arrived by about 3.  I was happy to have them here and we visited between contractions. Leslie and Dorcas were at both of my other home births, and Degra was Leslie's midwife partner during my pregnancy with Joshua, so I have known all of them for 3 to 5 1/2 years.

Around 5, it became clear things were slowing down. We decided to have everyone lay down for a while until things picked up. I had a snack and then went to bed. Once I was in my room my contractions got stronger so I wasn't able to sleep. I got up and just bounced on the exercise ball and rested in between contractions. Contractions were still not very close together--about 10-15 minutes apart.

Finally around 8 or so, we decided to take some measures to get things going. Contractions were strong enough that I couldn't sleep, so we really just needed the baby to come. First Degra stripped my membranes. She found that I was only about 2-3cm. dilated, but Baby was in a great position and my cervix was soft, so she suspected things would go quickly once they picked up. Following the membrane sweep, Leslie rubbed a mixture of castor oil and essential oils on my belly. Dorcas massaged my feet with the same mixture as we used on my belly. We also hooked me up to a breast pump.

By 11, contractions were much closer together (6-8 minutes apart) and very strong. Based on what I was feeling, I was pretty sure at this point I'd have the baby by 12:30 or so. I spent some time on the ball and stood up and swayed through contractions. Things were getting pretty intense and I decided to get in the shower. We had the tub ready but didn't want things to slow down since they had just picked up.

I stayed in the shower until I ran out of hot water. Contractions were still intense and close together  so I decided to go ahead and get into the tub. The water was so soothing and I didn't want to go back to laboring without it! In the tub, contractions continued to pick up and eventually were coming one on top of the other. It definitely felt like transition and I was pretty confident delivery was imminent. With each contraction I kept telling myself, "Maybe next contraction I'll be pushing."

But contractions just kept coming. I had very intense pain in the center of my lower abdomen, stronger than I remember in my other labors. I also started having some back pain. After about an hour or so in the tub, it just wasn't doing it for me anymore and I got back in the shower. My contractions were intolerable. I started telling Ben I couldn't do it anymore and generally feeling really discouraged. 

I've given birth without drugs three other times and I had never had intense, transition contractions last this long. After a while in the shower, I got out and asked Degra to check me again for dilation. She said I was at 10 (which I expected based on what I felt) but that a part of my cervix was only dilated 5-6 and that's why I wasn't pushing yet.

At this point it was 2:20pm. I asked Degra how long she thought it would take, and of course she couldn't give a prediction, but she said she was confident I'd have the baby by dark. I was SO discouraged--but glad to have an answer so I didn't keep telling myself that I might be pushing next contraction.

The midwives had me lay on my side in the bed with pillows between my legs. During each contraction, they lifted the top leg onto one of their shoulders. I switched sides after a few contractions. They also gave me a couple doses of some herbs--a mixture of valerian, lobelia, and one other that I can't remember. This really helped me to relax which was good because I was starting to have a really difficult time coping with my contractions. In between contractions, I prayed for endurance and strength--and asking the Lord to help things move along because I was so exhausted and in a tremendous amount of pain.

During the time laboring on the bed, Ben was holding my hands, one midwife was pushing my hips together and another putting pressure on my lower back to ease the back pain, and the other was helping hold my legs up. I don't know how I would've managed without the whole team there! These women were amazing and I really do love each one of them.

Sometime after 2:40, I really felt like I needed to pee. I really didn't want to, though, because I knew it would bring on a contraction. At some point I suddenly felt the urge to push. I was surprised because it had only been 20 minutes and nervous because I was worried I'd hurt myself if that one part of my cervix hadn't dilated fully. I said I needed to push and Degra said to wait for a contraction and then we'd walk to the bathroom so I could empty my bladder before pushing. I thought to myself that I'd probably have the baby in the bathroom if we did that, but I didn't verbalize that thought.

After next contraction, a couple people helped me to the bathroom (Ben and maybe Dorcas? I don't think I was fully aware). When I sat down on the toilet my water broke right away and her head came out (with no pushing). I yelled, "Her head is out!" The birth team quickly had me stand up and in one push she was out. Ben caught her--a first for us!

I cried tears of joy and relief when I held my sweet girl. Labor was OVER and I had my long-awaited baby in my arms at last. Because of all my health issues prior to this pregnancy and the fact that it took me longer than usual to get pregnant, I was especially filled with gratitude.

Josephine felt BIG (and she was--my biggest baby, weighing in at 9lbs., 14oz.!) and I was very pleasantly surprised that I didn't have any tearing.

The midwives cleaned up, got us situated, and left by about 5.

It was a difficult but beautiful birth. We are so thankful for our sweet, healthy, big (!) girl and I am finally feeling like I'm adjusting to life as a mother of 4. The Lord has been so kind to our family and we are blessed indeed.

Josephine ready for her first Sunday at church at 3 weeks old,
exactly 40 weeks to the day from when we found out I was pregnant!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Katie's 6th Birthday Letter

At Chipotle for your birthday lunch
Dear Katie,

When Joshua's birthday rolled around, I realized that in the midst of first trimester haze, I neglected to write you a letter on your 6th birthday.

Now it's been over seven months since you turned six. I'm so sorry this letter is so late, sweet girl. I guess better late than never is still true.

It's crazy to me that it's been six entire years since I held you for the first time! I look at you and am daily amazed at how grown up you are. After mothering only very young children for so long, it's incredible to me that my daughter is old enough to have mature conversations. I love talking with you and hearing about what you have on your mind and what you think about the world.

You still have quite the strong will. It frequently gets you into trouble, but I believe that as the Lord continues to work in you, your strong will is a trait that will serve you and Christ's Kingdom well one day. Despite your strong will, you have such a soft and tender heart. You are quick to apologize sincerely when you've behaved poorly, and you're often very sweet and motherly with the boys (though you do your share of buggjng them too!).

It has been just precious to see you with your new baby sister. You are so excited to have another girl in the family and I can't wait to see the friendship between the two of you blossom as the years go by. Your reaction to the news at our gender ultrasound in May was just precious--you literally jumped up and down and cheered for joy as soon as you heard.

You are well on your way to completing first grade. Reading has really clicked for you and you've taken off! Truthfully, though, you'd much rather play outside than do school.

You've also become such a good helper around the house. You and your brothers clean up your room and the living room every day, and you have taken it upon yourself to clear and wash the dining room table as well. With a new baby in the house and Daddy working the hours he works, the extra help from y'all is such a blessing!

Since your birthday, you've lost three teeth and one more is about ready to fall out. You're concerned you look goofy, but I think you look adorable.

As most little girls your age, you are enthralled by all things princess-y. You still love playing with dolls. Despite being such a girly girl, you still love watching Superhero cartoons and playing cars, planes, and trains with your brothers. I think it's a good mix, personally!

Katie Lee, you are so precious to me. I love you more than you can fathom and I'm so blessed to be your mama, your teacher, and your friend. I hope the Lord will help me do better with all of those things as each year passes.

I pray that the Lord will see fit to grant you repentance and faith even now as a young child. May you serve Him faithfully all your days and teach many others to do the same!


Monday, February 16, 2015

Announcing Murch Baby #4!

We are expecting our fourth baby, due October 15, 2015! After battling with my health for many months and often wondering if I'd ever be healthy enough to carry another baby, I am truly overcome with joy and gratitude that the Lord has restored my health and opened my womb once again. Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!

My bump on Friday--at 5 weeks, 1 day

The Back Story (which contains some details probably only ladies would be interested in):

As I have mentioned previously, I started struggling with my health in a major way about a year and a half ago when I started having gallbladder attacks. I spent many months with no energy and frequently in severe pain. I had a hard time keeping up with basic household duties and caring for my husband and children. I was the recipient of much help, and by God's mercy, and with the help of a wonderful doctor, I am doing SO much better (and I do still have my gallbladder!).

Throughout the months of dealing with my gallbladder, I was still nursing Joshua (I realize I could have stopped, but I really didn't want to--a discussion for another day!). I was eating a diet of little to no saturated fat for many months and I lost a tremendous amount of weight. I also hadn't had a menstrual cycle since January of 2012 when I got pregnant with Joshua. 

Joshua weaned in September of last year and I went right into GAPS Intro. I had been doing the full GAPS diet for about 6 months and still had lingering issues with my digestion. Doing that made all the difference for me. I was able to eat animals fats liberally and tolerate them well for the first time in over a year--beef, eggs, chicken with skin, ghee. I also added nuts back into my diet. Finished with the intro, I was feeling really good. I was eating plenty of fat, carbs, and protein and not having any pain in my gallbladder! I gained some weight back and eventually had a cycle again about 4 months after Joshua stopped nursing.

During the months of feeling really bad, I had prayed that the Lord would close my womb until I was healthy enough to be pregnant, and for the first time I really felt like I was healthy enough. I was mentally prepared for it to take a while to conceive since my body had been through so much and since it had been so long since I had a cycle, but I truly wanted to be pregnant.

A few weeks after my period, I started to have some pregnancy symptoms, but I brushed them off as other hormonal stuff since I didn't want to get my hopes up. I was super hungry and drinking a lot more water, among other things. I tested at 28 days and it was negative. Same at 29 and 32. Then on the afternoon of Day 35 (at church, after the service--a little bit impatient!) I took another test and almost immediately there were two pink lines!

I am so thankful for this sweet babe. I'm tired and hungry and already feeling a bit round, but truly, I am SO thankful. With my other children, I never had to wonder whether I'd be able to conceive again. I think going through what I went through with my health and then praying that the Lord would restore my fertility and praying that He would bless us with another child has given me a whole new level of gratitude for the privilege of carrying new life in my womb.

"My soul doth magnify the Lord,And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden...
For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name.
And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation." ~Luke 1:46-50