Friday, June 10, 2011

Party of EIGHT?!!!

17 1/2 years ago my husband and I began the most amazing journey. We promised before God, family and friends our blessed marriage vows and we set out toward California with everything we owned that could fit in our "new to us" Chevy Lumina.  The entire country awaited us. Our honeymoon was driving from Maine to California where my husband's newest duty station was in El Toro, California.

We've done some amazing things together, we've seen the Grand Canyon, hiked to the TOP of Yosemite Falls, been to Niagara Falls (twice now), and as we have been blessed with children we have toured the gator filled Everglades of Florida by airboat, hiked through the Diamond Caverns in Kentucky and many other amazing trips.

We didn't set out to have this many children. My husband wanted three, I kind of wanted four, because my mom had four.

God blessed us with two amazing little boys just as we were embarking on a huge adventure into home ownership! With the help of family and friends we built our own home where we currently reside.

We started out with just a two bedroom cape with an unfinished upstairs.

In the early fall of 1999 I was running a little daycare out of my home and I came down severally ill. It turned out I had a severally infected appendix and I had to have emergency surgery, which saved my life. I had a few complications with the recovery due to infection but I survived the ordeal and my hubby chalked that one up to our "in sickness and in health" vow. He stuck by me, changing my bandages and cleaning out a severally infected wound in the middle of the night that had burst open, while I hung my head out the bathroom window!

About a year after my surgery we began talking about wanting to "try" for a girl. We knew it would have to be okay either way if we had a boy too but we decided to try again to conceive. This time was much different. I didn't get pregnant right away like I did with my other pregnancies. We waited over a year before finally consulting with a fertility specialist who ran all kinds of tests and determined I just might need a little "boost" in my hormone levels so my doctor put me on clomid. After three failed cycles of clomid, we opted for one more cycle with a stronger medication that was injectable. This also failed. I left the fertility clinic devastated. Weren't they supposed to just "order me up a baby" because I had a problem needing fixing, like with my appendix?! But modern medicine could not "fix" me so right then and there I decided to lay it all out before the Lord and let Him lead our family. The next month I found I was pregnant...all on my OWN! Without the help of fertility drugs, I had conceived another blessing from God and I didn't care if it was a boy or girl, this was my gift from God!
One meaning of my son's name means, "much wanted" for he truly was. We found out we were having another boy, a third son, and my husband felt we were complete. No little girls would ever run around in little princess dresses or have tea parties in our house. We were raising boys and that's how it was going to be. After having two c-sections and an appendectomy the thought of a third c-section scared me so much that I reluctantly agreed to have my tubes tied during the delivery of my third son. It was final. It was complete. Three boys! Who could ask for more?! My husband was so proud and I remember he even high-fived the doctor, "tied, cut and burned!"

But as I looked over at my precious little son in the cradle in the hospital something inside me began to question. "Had I done the right thing?" I didn't have any Christian people in my life telling me it was WRONG to have a tubal ligation. I was pratically a martyr for having had THREE c-sections so I was kind of entitled, right?
Two weeks later at my infant son's check-up I had already regretted my decision to go ahead with a tubal ligation. I asked the doctor how to get it reversed. He informed me that what I had done was PERMANENT and that I needed to give it some time. I would heal and move on. Yes, the procedure IS reversable BUT with only about a 60% chance of success. I was heart broken.
Over the next two years I researched alternative methods of conception including IVF. Every thought about IVF lead me away from God's design for children and marriage. Making babies in petri dishes and then discarding or freezing the "left overs"? What kind of world was I walking into? That just didn't seem right!Ultimately, through much prayer and discussion my husband leaned over one night and said to me, "I think we should take our savings and get your tubes fixed." You could have knocked me over with a feather!
I wasn't looking forward to having the tubal reversal as it was not going to be just a laproscopic procedure. It entailed a full c-section scar, "hip-to-hip", hospital stay and then I got to come home with no baby.
The recovery was painful but I continued to pray that God would heal my brokeness and bless us with another child. But I soon realized that this journey we were on was less and less about us having another baby and more and more about learning about who GOD is and what HE had planned for our lives.

Nine months after my surgery my husband was involved in a head on collision while on patrol. A lady turned right in front of  him and my husband had to be life-flighted to the nearest hospital. As my husband clung to life I was on the phone calling all my prayer warriors and the Christian school where my children were attending asking for prayer. Anne Angell (that's her REAL name) prayed right there on the phone with me that my husband would be okay. The accident was horrible and so many things COULD have happened, but God truly spared my husband's life that day.
While my husband was out of work for the next 6 months we had quite a bit of time to reevaluate our lives and the direction we were headed. Three months after the accident I found out I was PREGNANT! The tubal reversal had worked and we were being blessed after such a horrible accident! We were so excited...we told EVERYBODY! Then about a week after finding out I was pregnant I miscarried. We were devastated! How could God take this precious life from us after having suffered so much? My husband was barely out of his wheel chair and now a miscarriage?! I wanted to just crawl into a hole and die!
Thr truth is God IS good all the time and He had the perfect timing in His hands. After my miscarriage I searched the web for anything on overcoming miscarriage, and I came to the web site "Above Rubies", They were advertising a book titled, "Be Fruitful and Multiply: What the Bible Says About Having Children".
This book transformed my thinking and really brought me back to God's Word and His truths about children. How did GOD feel about us having kids? Maybe the more important question was, "how did God feel about us trying to PREVENT children?" I learned all about birth control methods and what we have done to our bodies to prevent children. I had no idea that when I was using the birth control pill I was using an abortificient drug. In other words, if I DID become pregnant my body would not be able to support the fetus so I would abort it as though nothing had happened. I would never know how many children I may have lost due to using these drugs! When I explained all of these new truths God was showing me to my husband he slowly began to come around and agreed with me. We had never been walking in step with God and His design for our lives. We were just doing what every other family was doing around us.
But we are called to be so much more! God loves us so much and He wants so much for our lives! To be blessed by God may look different than what man sees as a blessing. We decided to take a leap of faith and stand on God's word and believe that God really would like to see us have more children, IF He was ready to move and heal and forgive us for our selfish ways. We would embrace the three beautiful boys God had already given us and mourn the loss of life we would never get to hold and know this side of heaven, but we would move on and heal and trust God in our lives.

A few months later, we had some close friends from our church who had already begun homeschooling invite us to go on their field trip to Plymouth Plantation. We thought that homeschooling was nice for them but hadn't really considered homeschooling for our family. 

It was an incredible day! We had so much fun seeing our homeschooling friends learning hands on and had the chance to really get to know one special friend, Tammy Gisel. She is my rock. :)

She is the one who cemented the idea of homeschooling into our hearts! I went home and bought about $100 worth of homeschooling books on I needed to educate myself as to what I was really getting not just myself but our entire family into! My two older boys begged me to homeschool them, but I was still reluctant. I was basically going to have to GIVE UP MY life for these kids. Was I really willing to do that? (It all sounds so silly to me now, but I really thought these things!) Because what I could never have realized that in my "giving up" my life for my kids to homeschool them and train them in the ways of the Lord, I was actually GAINING so much more. The scripture found in Matthew 10:39 spoke volumes to me, "whoever finds their life will lose it, whoever loses their life for my sake will find it."
So we began homeschooling after Christmas in 2006.  And just like the Pilgrims had set out and landed at Plymouth Rock to start a new life in unchartered territory we began the amazing journey of homeschooling!We were allowed to still keep the kids in their extra curricular activities at the Christian school. In doing so we also helped the school develop a homeschooling partnership with the school so other homeschooled children could come in and enjoy what our kids were already a part of. The program is going into it's 5th year now and the homeschoolers continue to be a blessing to the Christian school.
It was while we were on this new homeschooling journey, getting to know our kids more fully that I conceived once again.

 God blessed us with a precious little girl. All the desires of my heart were fullfilled! Here she is with her Daddy viewing the very helicopter that helped save my husband's life. We named her Madeline Elizabeth after Mary Magdeline and my mother-in-law whose name means "God is my oath". Only 18 months later we conceived AGAIN, another girl!

We were now doubly blessed! We named our second daughter Isabella (an Italian form of Elizabeth) and Gloria (after my grandmother which means glory-to give God the glory!) She was born around Christmas time which is extra special since "Gloria-in-excelsis Deo" is a favorite tune this time of year.

Which leads me to last week...
Our family is about to get bigger! We found out I am now pregnant with our 6th child. We are very excited and our praying for a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby! I am due January 27th!
So as you can see, this pregnancy isn't really about me, it's about God and what God has done and is doing and continues to do in and through our lives. We continue to look to our Heavenly Father to sustain us through the hurts and the blessings. We praise Him even when it hurts to pray, we praise Him in the good and the "bad", because we know He is working it all out for His higher purposes.
I wouldn't trade any of these precious faces for anything in the world. They are each so unique and wonderful.

God only knew these two hearts so young and in love nearly 20 years ago had so much adventure waiting for them!

We look forward to meeting our newest addition to the family to see what God has been "knitting together in my womb"! Praise God from whom all blessings flow!


  1. Jen, I was moved to tears while reading this post. I am so encouraged to read how your family is hearing from the Lord and obeying His call!

  2. I found your blog through the Above Rubies FB page. My husband had a Vasectomy two years ago and he has decided to get it reversed!! His surgery is for September 30! I am praying for a Christmas would be a wonderful present to give him! We haven't told my parents yet...they would disapprove. I always find encouragement reading other people's reversal stories (regardless if it is tubal or vasectomy) so thank you for sharing. Sometimes I let fear set in that we won't have any more children...but I know God will get me through whatever happens.

    God bless your family for speaking out!! I will be following your blog now to see you through your pregnancy! :-)

  3. I'm encouraged by your story. I'm appreciative that you stopped by my blog. I'm happy to have found you. Thank you so much!