Musings from the Threshold

Category Archives: pregnancy

100 Toes

I was amazed tonight by the realization that we are a family of one hundred toes. I’m feeling overwhelmedly thankful tonight for my wonderful husband and the eight lives God has entrusted to our care.

The Father has been steadily renewing my affection for my children lately. In the busy-ness and challenges of my pregnancy, I had gotten into a rut that found me not treasuring my Blessings. Or perhaps I wasn’t treasuring them before the pregnancy and had not realized it. But my heart is being drawn back into communion with these precious lives God has given us, and I’m thankful.

Last Monday (June 7), I began a new phase of life that is helping to facilitate my desire to draw closer in heart with my children. The internet is now considered to be “off” to me during the day while Jonathan is gone to work. And this decision is helping me to change my life.

The first couple of days of this new habit brought the head-bowing realization that I would have to go slowly as I worked my way back into my children’s daily lives. My pregnancy was quite debilatating physically, and I ended up spending most of my time in my room. My children became acustomed to me not being around very much. But we’re changing that for the better, and while I still have a long ways to go (and always will, because that’s the way growth works), I am thankful to find my relationships with my children growing and deepening.

The Father seems to be working on my heart in a lot of other areas right now, including toward my beloved man, but instead of typing more, I think I’ll get off the computer and get back to my family. Tonight is Davey’s birthday party and our traditional Friday night family late night. Fun times!

Progress Reports

Note: I’m planning on posting updates within this blog post, so that folks with readers are not overwhelmed in case I post lots of updates today. I’ll just add the latest at the top of the post with the time, so things will be nice and backwards. Sweet.

Sunday 5/2 – 7.45pm
I’m so sorry for the delay in updating. I’ve been busy with a precious bundle of boy who was born last night at 10.40! One of his names is Andrew… we’re still pondering names. More info in another post.

Saturday 5/1 – 8.20pm
The castor oil seems to be working (but with only one of *those* trips to the bathroom so far). I’m having contrax one on top of the other right now, which is typical for the beginnings of the CO effect. Need to stop to breathe through them. Just had a yummy supper of high protein waffles with blueberries and yogurt on top. SO glad to be at home.

Saturday 5/1 – 4pm
Stalled. Cervix is still in a good position, but contrax have slowed way down. We’re going to do something we normally wouldn’t and try castor oil. As far as our normal philosophical hesitation with pushing labor along, my body obviously tried to go into labor and my cervix made those efforts ineffective. So it isn’t as if we’re trying to jump start things from scratch. Logistically, there are many reasons to see if the castor oil will work, so we’re going to give it a shot. Our prayer is that if the time is right, it will work, and if the time is not right, it won’t work. We’d love it if you’d pray that with us.

Saturday 5/1 – 11am (anatomical details)
I’ve definitely never had a labor quite like this before. Last night around 10, MW checked me internally and found that I had dilated very little over the course of the day, and that my cervix was in an awkward, extremely far forward (almost tucked up under the pubic bone) position. That meant that Baby’s head was not able to apply pressure properly to the cervix, hence the lack of dilation. As we discussed this dilemma, B got a call that a mom was in labor, so she headed out for her house.

Our wonderful chiropractor (Dr. Mary) was here last night and she and MW came up with a belt-like contraption to try to get things in a better position. We decided that it would be best for everyone to try to get a decent night’s sleep. So Sue and Dr. Mary headed for home, I went to bed, and MW and sis Liz settled down for the night in the living room. When Jonathan came to bed shortly thereafter, I mentioned, “Well, we made it to May Day… we’ll see what happens.”

I had lots of contractions through the night and in my sleepiness, it seemed that they felt different somehow, so I was hopeful the belt was helping. My 7.30’ish potty break showed signs of progress, so after a while, MW checked and found that it seemed my cervix had moved enough that contrax were indeed able to be more productive and I had made some progress (all the way to 3cm… better, but not was I was hoping for).

Things are progressing and contrax are continuing, though I must admit I’m struggling with being patient and fighting frustration/discouragement. I just need to remember that the Lord will bring this little forth in His time and in His way. MW and Liz are out running some errands right now, so J and I are going to try to relax and hope we make some more progress.

Please pray for our friends Eric and Jen. Their precious daughter Elisabeth was born around midnight last night… with spina bifida. She’s in NICU and it sounds like she and they have a rough road ahead. May God give comfort and grace.

Friday 4/30 – 7.30pm
Still waiting for MW to arrive, but she’s getting close. Contrax getting more intense. Played scrabble with J and B, ate sandwhiches for supper. Dear Sue is on her way over as well. There’s a storm coming in, so we’ll likely lose connection soon.

Friday 4/30 – about 2.30pm
Last night as midnight approached, I was having pretty steady contractions. Still ~20 minutes apart, but feeling a bit more serious. So I had a snack and headed for bed to see if things stopped, if I could sleep, etc. I snoozed between contrx, but was starting to wonder about my primary MW’s 3+ hour drive. I finally called her around 2am and reached her on the way to another client’s house! I called again at 2.30 after 3 more contrx that were 10 minutes apart and feeling more demanding. This other precious mom was at 6cm, so there was no way MW was leaving her for a while. We decided I’d go ahead and call B, MW’s assistant and a dear friend of mine, who got on the road shortly after I called. Then we called Dad and Mom Smith, who came to pick up the Blessings.

B drove in about the time that the Blessings pulled out of the drive, and I felt relieved to have her here. She found I hadn’t really started to dilate yet, but that baby was very low and everything was soft and ready to go. We decided to get some sleep if possible, both for the sake of rest and to give MW an opportunity to finish up and make the drive over.

Today has been spent mostly relaxing, because things really intensify whenever I’m up and around and I’d really like to give MW plenty of time to get here. The “other” baby was born around 10.30 this morning, and we’re guessing MW is on her way.

Slugs and Bugs

We first watched these videos a couple weeks ago and hadn’t watched them or sung the songs since. Tonight, I heard Stephen singing Tractor, Tractor in the living room. He remembered the tune and everything. So I pulled them back up and he was thrilled to watch them again. And now you get to share in the fun! That Andrew Peterson is such a multi-talented fellow. Enjoy.

In Baby news, I had an encouraging prenatal today. Baby is nice and low, in a good position, with good heartones. I’m enjoying getting to wait at home in my own space, and am looking forward to whatever timing God has for this little one.

A Lovely Day

I have had a wonderful day today, enjoying my freedom to do whatever I feel like doing.

Josiah and I did some weeding in the garden.

The boys and I strung yarn on tomato cages to make trellises for our peas (which are doing much better than last year, yay!).

I swept my own room! And was amazed at how much dirt had accumulated since Saturday.

I watched my man add some supports to the door of the chicken tractor, and took some pictures of the chicks and turkeys.

I went on a walk with my man and visited the pond for the first time this spring. Wow, I’ve missed it! We checked on the strawberry patch on the way, were caught up to by Stephen and Kate, and were eventually joined by most of the Blessings.

It’s been a lovely day, and with contractions getting closer together, we’ll see what else it has in store!

Getting Closer

I almost called my midwife in the night last night because my contractions were getting closer together and I was having a hard time sleeping. I’ve been pretty much laying low the last few days, despite the fact that I’d reached the 37 week milestone, because there is a dear mama in sw Missouri who was expected to have her little one any day. Well, I talked with my midwife (MW from here on out) this morning and it looks like the other mama’s dates were a bit off. MW encouraged me to do whatever I feel like doing today and not worry about the other mama. So, I’m feeling a bit giddy with excitement at the moment.

Yesterday, while Jonathan was working and the Blessings were at Good News Club, I did some last minute cleaning of the areas in our room that have been neglected as we’ve gotten our “birth space” ready. Namely, the desk and the buffet.

Here are some before and after shots of the areas I tackled (sitting down) yesterday, as well as a couple other shots of our room as it waits for labor to begin in earnest.


Last night, I felt like Much Afraid when her cottage was invaded by her Fearing relatives. I was suddenly overwhelmed by a multitude of “What Ifs” and crazy possible scenarios about the arrival of this little one. I knew on the one hand that I was not being logical, but my thoughts just seemed to be running out of control. One verse that helped me start to reign them in was Psalm 4:8 “In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.” I then moved on to Philippians 4, but didn’t get very far before the Lord rocked me to sleep. Nonetheless, I’ll post those wonderful verses as well:

Do not be anxious [careful] about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
Phil. 4:6-8

This morning, we had a wonderful time of worship around the Lord’s table with the saints of Bible Truth Fellowship. The meeting was not in the usual place because there was a fellowship lunch planned, and let me tell you – the acoustics in a double car garage can be wonderful! Such focus on our Redeemer and His amazing love for us; my heart was stilled and filled with thankfulness.

One of the themes that emerged during the breaking of bread this morning was the “But God” statements in Scripture. Jonathan shared this passage from Ephesians:
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience– among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ–by grace you have been saved– and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

Eph. 2:1-7

We sang this hymn, which (among others) was a blessing to me (especially the bolded part).

A Mind at Perfect Peace with God
by Catesby Paget

A mind at “perfect peace” with God,
Oh, what a word is this!
A sinner reconciled through blood;
This, this, indeed is peace!

By nature and by practice far,
How very far from God!
Yet now by grace, brought nigh to Him,
Through faith in Jesus’ blood.

So near, so very near to God,
I cannot nearer be;
For in the person of His Son,
I am as near as He.

So dear, so very dear to God,
More dear I cannot be;
The love wherewith He loves the Son,
Such is His love to me.

Why should I ever careful be,
Since such a God is mine?

He watches o’er me night and day,
And tells me “Mine is thine.”

When I looked up the words to the hymn this evening, one of the websites mentioned this verse:
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.
Isaiah 26:3-4

What a faithful and loving Heavenly Father I have, Who is patient and gracious to me when I doubt Him. He provides abundant resources for re-focusing my mind on Him and reminds me of His love and care for me. I pray some of His reminders will be a blessing to you as well.

And a update

I seem to be in one of those seasons of life where there are so many thoughts and words in my head and heart that very few of them make it to the written word. I just checked and realized that I haven’t given a Mama/Baby update in almost a month. Yikes!

So… what’s been going on, pregnancy-wise?

Near the beginning of April, I started wearing my sacro-iliac support belt much less often, for three reasons. 1) Baby was not settling down like usual and I felt the belt was making things less than comfortable for Baby. 2) I was tired of feeling like an invalid and the belt was seriously restricting my movement ability. 3) I had gained enough strength in my SI joint and hips that my chiropractor was comfortable with me going without the belt more to see how things went.

The first week I just wore the belt less, but the past two weeks I haven’t worn it at all, haven’t missed it, and my appointments with my chiro have shown that I’m staying strong/gaining strength this way. The belt was extremely important and helpful in this pregnancy; I’m just beyond grateful that I don’t need it anymore.

I have been amazed at how much difference this change has made in my outlook and attitude. Not only am I more comfortable, I feel much more confident about labor and birth, about my health overall, and about my body’s ability to do what it needs to do. I once again really KNOW that my body was made for the task ahead, and that my Creator has equipped me and will walk with me through the journey.

Friday will mark the 37 week milestone. I am looking forward to passing that mark and being in the “comfort zone” as far as birthing at home is concerned. The last week or so has seen me restricting my activity level quite a bit, as I am feeling a good bit of pressure and tightness when I’m up and around very much. Once Friday arrives, I’ll feel more free to be up and around, taking care of things I’d like to have done before Baby arrives. I’d like to make it to 38 weeks, and think I will, but we’ll see.

Almost all of our “baby prep” is done. The birth pool is here (we still need to test for leaks), and all of the essential birth supplies are ready. I have about a dozen meals in the freezer; I would have liked to do more, but am happy with accomplishing what I have. There are several odds and ends that we need to take care of, but nothing that seems stressful or like things will fall apart without it.

And in non-pregnancy news…
We discovered last Friday that Davey has a very bad tooth. After several days of us researching options, he has a root canal scheduled for tomorrow morning at the dentistry school in St. Louis. We honestly don’t know how we’re going to pay for the whole process (the root canal is just the first step), but will take it one step at a time and watch to see how the Lord provides.

The garden is coming along. We’re a bit late on planting carrots and potatoes. Maybe we can get them in this week. Our seedlings are doing well and should be ready to plant next month when our planting guide says it’s time. We have peas, spinach, and onions coming up, and we need to replant the lettuce bed (my mulchers didn’t know that bed was already planted and didn’t need another layer of mulch).

We’re almost done with logging hours for this school year. We’ll stick with at least some math daily through the summer, and of course, reading. But it will be nice to have the hours recorded as required by our state.

Whew. That’s enough for today! Hope all is well with you!

Mama and Baby

I realized while looking through my blog posts from my pregnancy with Stephen that I haven’t done a very thorough job of blogging about this pregnancy. Some of you might be relieved, some might be disappointed. But as we approach the “finish line,” I’m going to be trying to do better.

We’re a few days past 32 weeks right now, and Baby seems to be doing very well. Lots of motion, good heartbeat whenever it’s checked, etc.

My “belly taping” seems to be helping to keep my abodominal wall from separating any further. The downside is that it is varying degrees of irritating to my skin. I actually had blisters last week and had to take several days to let my skin heal. We re-taped last night, which means I got to do my pilates. Amazingly enough, I truly mean that “got to.” I feel so much better when I can do my exercise, perhaps because I know how helpful it is.

I had my first ever midnight prenatal last week when my midwife spent the night at our house and arrived late at night. We were all still awake enough for a prenatal, so we did it that night instead of early in the morning. It was unusual, but fun. I so appreciate my dear midwife, both as a midwife and as a friend, and I’m thankful we seem to be balancing our roles well.

For the sake of keepin’ it real, I’ll admit that this pregnancy continues to be my most challenging ever. I see the chiropractor every Friday, yet continue to have significant pain in key areas. My chiro is the best; I know my discomfort is much much less than it would be without her help, and I am very thankful that Jonathan places a priority on me getting in each Friday. I don’t want to go into a list of my challenges or be a whiner; I just want to be honest enough to say that it is far from easy, and I treasure your prayers.

On the up side, we’ve passed 32 weeks, and 5 out of our 7 Blessings running around the house right this minute were born within a couple days of 38 weeks. I realize this could be the one pregnancy that goes to 40 weeks or beyond, but I can’t help but count down to that shining beacon of 38 weeks.

As my belly promise-swells, my heart floods with thankfulness for this gift of life growing inside me. Unexpected, challenging, yet God-given and received with open and grateful hearts.

This and That … and lots of it!

I haven’t been very good with blogging regularly about what’s going on around here, so it’s time for a This and That post…

Last month, Jonathan and I waited for a couple of hours in my backup OB’s office, then saw him for less than 10 minutes. We only got as much of his time as we did because I kept asking him questions. I couldn’t help but think, “and this is one of many reasons why we choose midwifery care.” On the bright side, we are in “the system” and don’t need to go back again. I will update my charts with the office by fax, and if there is a need for transport (which we don’t plan on, of course, but for which we want to be prepared), I should slide into things at the hospital without a bunch of hullabaloo about “not having prenatal care.”

Speaking of prenatal care, a couple days after the aforementioned 2 hour wait/<10 minute appt, my midwife's assistant arrived at our home for a prenatal visit. We spent a lovely and mutually respectful hour+ together. We talked about what I'm eating, how I'm feeling, my diastatis, how the baby is lying, and a myriad of other things related to baby and me. We walked around the house and talked about plans for birth, advantages/disadvantages of our house layout, etc. We drank tea together as we chatted. When she left, I felt thoroughly "cared for." THAT is what I call prenatal care. And yes, there are numbers and notes on my chart … probably in more categories than the Dr's office will know what to do with when I fax it to them.

In other news…

Stephen is definitely going through a stage where he is wanting to exert his will, so he’s keeping us on our toes. At the same time, he continues to be such a delight! His imagination is going full-steam, and while he adores playing with his siblings, he also plays happily by himself, totally engrossed in a world of his own making. He particularly enjoys playing with the tub of horses.

The Blessings received five seasons of Daniel Boone on DVD for Christmas. We’ve been watching it at lunchtime a few times a week and finished Season 1 yesterday. I had never seen it before, so it’s been an adventure for all of us.

Last night, Elanor mentioned that she had lost something and had looked all over for it. Stephen pipes up helpfully, “Did you look under the green couch?” “Yes.” “Did you look under the gray couch?” “Yes, Stephen.” 🙂

I’ve been looking across the table/room/yard/etc lately and realizing that Davey, our eldest Blessing, who will turn 14 in June, is looking more like a young man and less like a “boy.” This does funny things to my heart, but mostly makes me realize how much I like this young man.

Have I mentioned that we’ve finally figured out a laundry system that we can actually make work for us? It’s nothing fancy, just a three-bag laundry sorter in the laundry room where all the Blessings’ dirty clothes are deposited (two for darks, one for lights/whites), a white basket for light towels/sheets/blankets and a blue basket for dark towels/sheets/blankets. The four older Blessings have the responsibility of doing two loads of laundry from start to finish on “their” laundry day, picking whatever basket or bag is most in need of being done. Kate and Grace help fold and put away, and I need to start working with Kate on Fridays, working towards her having a laundry day as well. For some reason, this system seems to be one that we can make work, and the laundry room floor is no longer covered with dirty laundry 98% of the time.

Our guinea hens have started laying eggs! They actually lay them in the coop, which is wonderful for us. Hopefully as the weather warms they will continue to lay in the coop and not take to the fields as guineas are prone to do.

I finally finished getting our winter/Christmas decorations packed up and ready to go to the attic. They’ll go up and perhaps the baby tubs will come down…

The taping seems to be working well for keeping my abdominal separation from worsening. I finally started doing pilates again a couple night ago, and am thankful to be back to it. At the same time, I have to admit… it’s kickin’ my tail! But that’s a good thing.

We have our garden mostly planned out for this year and are eagerly awaiting the warming of the soil so that we can get started! We’re going to be using principles from the book Weedless Gardening by Lee Reich. No tilling, established beds/paths, and lots of mulch, for which we’ve found a good and cheap source. I’m sure you’ll be hearing more about it.

Speaking of the soil warming, I feel like I am blossoming as Spring moves in. I’ve enjoyed several days this week of sitting in the sunshine reading or working on a project. The warmer weather and the smell of spring is such a reminder of our Heavenly Father’s faithfulness! Last night, I fell asleep to the rumble of thunder, the patter of rain on the roof, the occasional distant flash of lightening… and woke to the sound of birds chirping while the sunshine streamed in my window. Spring Bliss!

See Yesterday, my photo blog, for some recent pictures. I’ll be updating it later today.

Something new

This pregnancy continues to be my most interesting pregnancy to date. Boring would be fine with me, but “interesting” give more opportunity for growth, doesn’t it?

I blogged about our midwifery Cookie Day at the capitol a couple weeks ago. I didn’t mention how thrilled I was at my energy level and the fact that I walked all the way around all four floors of the capitol building, taking the stairs between levels. That’s probably because the exhertion that I was initially so excited about had some not-so-great consequences. By the time we stopped for lunch, I was experiencing an irritating burning sensation under the surface of my skin to the left of my belly button. I asked my midwife about it, and her guess was that it was my diastasis. I have never had pain from the diastasis before, so this was a whole new sensation. The fact that that evening I could feel where the diastasis had “spread” from its previous gap of 1 1/2 fingers wide (the spreading was right around my belly button where I felt the burning), pretty much confirmed her assumption that the pain was from the diastasis.

On Saturday, I started having the same burning belly pain that I did at Cookie Day. I had a pretty active day around the house, and the burning started while I was on my feet for an extended period working on supper. Saturday night and yesterday, I was very careful about not doing much, in order to not put extra pressure on the area. I was standing for a while before supper while helping to dish up the kids’ plates at our buffet-style supper at Dad and Mom Smith’s. The burning started again and I sat down right away. I have remained a bit sore in that area, and feel the beginning of the burning sensation if I do much of anything active.

This development is very disconcerting to me. In a way, even more so than my various mystery pains. I think that’s because the mystery pains are “maybes.” I can’t do much about them, which somehow makes it simpler to put them in the Lord’s hands. But this… this isn’t a vague maybe. It’s a definite physical “event” that has palpable and lasting consequences that have the potential to be more than cosmetic. And at 28 weeks, I’m very aware that my belly is going to keep growing and putting more pressure on my abdominal wall.

I feel the need for a plan for how we’re going to deal with this and try to prevent the diastasis from spreading further. Jonathan has told me that he’ll put me on bedrest himself (actually, “tie you to the bed” were his words) if we can’t figure out a plan that works for preventing further separation.

Here are some of our ideas so far…
~ No lifting anything heavier than 5#
~ Limit standing/active work to 10 minutes at a time with a conscious and determined effort to prioritize/let things go.
~ Dr. Mary (my chiropractor) has some special tape that we have used before with great success for supporting weakened muscles. I don’t know how tape on the outside can have so much effect on the muscles inside, but it somehow does. I’m planning to have her apply this kinesio tape at my next appt. and see if it helps. Our hope is that it will help to keep the muscles from pulling further apart without the heat and possible negative effects of the maternity belt. The downside to the tape is that it usually falls off around Day 4 and my appts. are once a week.
~ We’re wondering about going ahead and using a maternity belt for the days in between the tape coming off and my next appt. I don’t really care for them, but if it keeps things from spreading more…
~ After the baby is born, I will be focusing on exercises that will strengthen my abdominal wall and hopefully pull those muscles back together. We’ve read that the first six months post-baby are the most critical time for this.
~ My current pilates exercise routine is up in the air right now. Once this flair-up has subsided, I’ll get back to the pilates and see how things go.

So, there’s my latest pregnancy news. Your prayers are treasured, and resources/input are always valued.

Psalm 131
A Song of Ascents, of David.

O LORD, my heart is not proud, nor my eyes haughty;
Nor do I involve myself in great matters,
Or in things too difficult for me.
Surely I have composed and quieted my soul;
Like a weaned child rests against his mother,
My soul is like a weaned child within me.
O Israel, hope in the LORD
From this time forth and forever.