Pregnant with a Rainbow, Part V


A very big part of my PAL journey is wrapped up in that one little word.

I have been continuing to write weekly entries into a Word document where I am essentially journaling through this pregnancy, mostly for my own sake, but perhaps to share in snippets with others (now or in the future), and anxiety has been one of the most frequently recurring themes. In case you’re curious, joy seems to be giving it a run for its money; humility and thankfulness being runners-up.

It takes a big bite of courage paired with a gulp of honesty for me to publicly share how real anxiety is for me.
How big a part it has played in my life this year (and not just this year, but since that’s my current topic of conversation, it’s where I will stick for now).
Let me share, by picking & choosing, a few of the more notable times I have written about anxiety in this PAL journey with my Sweet Teen.


Four Weeks …~…~…
I invite you to share with me in the Lord’s work—to walk through the hope and rejoicing, to navigate the fear and the anxiety, to experience vicariously the psychoanalyzing of every twinge and the microscopic scrutinizing of every piece of toilet paper.

Five Weeks …~…~…
Anxiety is bubbling up around me in more noticeable, tangible ways than it has yet in this pregnancy. I feel naked, exposed, vulnerable.

Six Weeks …~…~…
I am so afraid to hope and so afraid to be joyful. Even though there is a sliver of me that wants to shout from the rooftops that the Lord has filled my womb—I want to plan and prepare and anticipate and expect an autumn baby—I want to let the kids kiss my tummy and pray aloud all day for the little baby without wincing in my heart of anxiety.

Nine Weeks …~…~…
Coping with the emotional aspects of very real and present anxiety can be the ugliest and most monstrous of challenges—it is the type of battle where my enemies are invisible, my battle lines are blurry, my armor is thin, my weaponry is inadequate. This is a challenge where understanding sympathy is harder to come by… the average joe can not grasp this mysteriously invisible war on anxiety…
Anxiety can be my worst enemy. I focus a lot on purposeful resting right now, on breathing and praying, on being still. Meanwhile, anxiety threatens to clench my chest and speed my heart until my palms are sweaty and my ears are ringing. I run to the bathroom neurotically, not because I have to go, but because I want to make sure I’m not bleeding—I just need to check that tissue once more. There is part of me that just assumes that one of these mornings, I will wake up in a pool of blood. And every day that it doesn’t happen, rather than revel in the unbelievable joy that is the Lord’s tender mercy made new yet again, I tend to resign myself to thinking, well, not today but maybe tomorrow.

Sixteen Weeks …~…~…
Of course, staying in prayer and in Scripture and reading good things to encourage my spirit in the Lord is good always but I won’t pretend that it is a magic fix for my anxiety and worries, or that suddenly when I seek to hold my thoughts captive by resting in the Lord that it all clicks and works 100%. It doesn’t, because I am still a sinner, and I still live in a fallen world.

Seventeen Weeks …~…~…
In those moments when the anxiety is particularly cutting—when there is a pink tinge on the toilet paper, when it has been two days since feeling movement, when I can not quickly find the heartbeat on the doppler, when I am feeling tender pressure “down there”—I want to focus less on the worry and anxiety, and more on trusting and committing my way to the Lord.

Twenty-Four Weeks …~…~…
This pregnancy has not been without its complications, and it has been full of abundant anxiety on my part. But it’s miraculous.

Twenty-Seven Weeks …~…~…
As I was thinking this evening about going to my OB appointment tomorrow morning, I started to panic rather fully and ended up in tears simply because of my vivid imagination running away with me and getting the better of me. I was imagining being there by myself—usually I don’t have to go alone, but I will be alone tomorrow which scares me so much—and them not being able to find the baby’s heartbeat, and having to be by myself at a terrible ultrasound or something. How just thinking about something like that could get me into a total panic and a total teary mess is ridiculous. It shows how absolutely vulnerable and anxiety-prone I truly am.
It is not only my duty but also my joy and privilege to trust in Him alone. If I give up of myself—including the inner turmoil of anxiety, worry, fear, doubt—my trust in Him will cause my roots to be deep, strong, and abiding to the point of producing good fruit.

Twenty-Eight Weeks …~…~…
In my moments of the most anxiety, the most doubt, the times when I am tearful and feeling sick… these are the times when I know I need to throw myself at the feet of my merciful Lord! Why is it so much easier to have that knowledge in my head than it is to actually follow through with it by faith?

Twenty-Nine Weeks …~…~…
The physical struggles that have come with this pregnancy coupled with the overwhelming anxiety that darkens my eyes and fills my heart now on an almost daily basis leave me feeling vulnerable and naked before my family, the friends who peer into my life right now, and even You. Lord, would You clothe me? Please cover me with Your pinions and outstretched hand. Put Your whole armor on me. So often these days I feel the schemes of the devil himself threatening to choke me—he taunts me in my pain and nausea, he plagues me with blinding anxiety that fills my days and my nights with terrors and fears. Wrestling the physical battles of flesh and blood is real enough in pregnancy: the pressure, the pain, the inability to sleep comfortably, the continued nausea—just to give a few common examples, but Lord, You know the deepest and hardest parts. Wrestling the invisible battles are even harder because keeping my feet up, putting ice packs on my neck, taking Tylenol or Zofran—they don’t do a thing. When I close my eyes and envision the nightmare of delivering my baby ten weeks too soon, it is spiritual forces of evil in their invisible cloaks that are grasping and twisting my nerves, slicing my heart to pieces, making my heart pound and my eyes overflow with tears. Oh God! Strike down these powers and these dark rulers and authorities—they have no power over me!
There is nothing like the anxiety I have been battling recently, especially this week. The internalized fears paired with the physical things that exacerbate my worries threatens to choke me every day, and has me in tears by the time evening arrives. Even in sleep, my dreams focus on the anxiety and inhibit my rest.


Please know that as I share these selected snippets with you, they are just that: selected snippets. The document I have been writing during this pregnancy is already 82 pages long, so very clearly this is just a small and very narrow glimpse into my experience. I wanted to share with you a view into the side of PAL that is anxiety… but it is only one facet. Please remember that. Please know that the Lord is my shepherd, and I am His joyful sheep. Please know that my husband, my parents, my children, and my medical team are all not only aware of the anxiety, but participating in both the struggles & the solutions with me.

That said, if you too find yourself overcome with anxiety, especially during a Pregnancy After Loss(es), I want you to know that you are not alone. I want you to be reassured that it is a normal part of this particular experience. I want you to know that your level of anxiety does not say anything about your walk with Christ, nor does it generally effect the child within your womb.
And as always, please remember that I am a comment or an email away. If you need someone to walk alongside you during a similar journey, I’m here ~ and I want you to know that I truly believe in living out Romans 1:3-4 in a tangibly empathetic way.

Pregnant with a Rainbow, Part IV

Let me preface this by saying with my physical, medical, immunological problems, we have learned that we have to be proactive about either pursuing or preventing pregnancy. (This is obviously a big can of worms to open up in such a public place as a blog on the worldwide web. But I guess I’m feeling no holds barred these days or something.) We have had to learn this the hard way, and there is a big part of me that has long wished I could just be one of those women who could “have a surprise” ~ I did have a surprise once, with my very first little darling, and it was truly magnificent. I will always be thankful that God gave me that gift.

Now that we know some of the intricacies and eccentricities of my body, and particularly how it connects to my womb, we know that part of what the Lord has entrusted to us is a responsibility to be particularly proactive about hedging our procreation with wisdom & diligence. My husband is called to be our protector, and God has given him some unique places where he needs to protect his wife and his children, and we continue to seek the Lord’s wisdom in how to follow Him in this.

But this all does actually tie back into where I was planning to go… which is to my freezer. Funny but true.

When I know there is pregnancy as a possibility on the horizon, I go out of my way to pack my freezer full of freezer meals. (I do like to have 6 to 12 freezer meals in there regardless, though, because it is always nice to have a buffer for myself or also in case someone I know suddenly needs a meal. But since this is a PAL post, I will leave my focus there.) I figure one way or the other, the Lord will be giving me an opportunity to stay away from the kitchen ~ either I will miscarry, and the heavy burden of grief and the physical ramifications of that will keep me from cooking for a few weeks, or I will be facing morning sickness, and the glories of that blessing will keep me from cooking well for a few weeks or months as well.

I can’t really explain what a gift it was to have filled my freezer last winter, and to drain its supply this year due to months of morning sickness. What a humbling gift and amazing blessing!

This time, my thick blanket of morning sickness lifted by about 17 weeks or so, and I was able to be back in the kitchen much of the time. But then restricted activity was prescribed at 19 weeks, and now well into my third trimester I have had to remain on partial bedrest. This has been quite the journey. A couple weeks ago we even stocked up on premade freezer meals from Costco! Which says a lot about how far God has brought me on the tough journey of letting go and lowering my usual standard of things that are so majorly tied into my line of work ~ cleaning, cooking, homeschooling, showing hospitality… wow, the Lord has given me some great challenges, and I have kicked at the goads of letting go, but He is so wise and tender and has really shown me just how sweet it is to actually do what He is asking of me.

But using fresh ingredients and making meals from scratch has long been a huge part of my career as well as my passion & love.
So a couple days ago, I found some recipes online geared specifically toward ziploc-to-freezer-to-crockpot meals, and just after I had chosen half a dozen or so recipes and was about to put together a grocery list to fill in some gaps (although I mostly did try to find recipes that would utilize things already in my pantry and freezer stashes of staple ingredients), I checked my email… and there was a note from a sweet friend of mine who wanted to know if she could stop by for a visit after work one day this week ~ including an offer to help with something practical around my home… and my heart swelled & my eyes filled with happy tears. It was the perfect timing, and an obvious gift from God.

Tuesday evening brought some additional ingredients which were piled onto the kitchen island, and Wednesday afternoon brought a delightful visit from a friend who shared in encouraging conversation and put her hands to diligent work to bless my family. I stayed mostly parked on a stool in the kitchen while she did the hard work on her feet of doing the chopping, the washing, the brunt of it all ~ I did the little piddly parts like labeling, measuring spices, etc.

And now my freezer has 14 new freezer meals packed onto a shelf!

What a gift that God works out details in such sweet ways. Food is one of the best ways we serve our families and love one another. Feeding my husband and my children well is a passion of mine. And feeding myself is one way that I am feeding Sweet Teen, and one of the best ways to help him grow. Having all the prep for these meals done without physically demanding anything of my body during a time where my feet need to be up for the majority of the days is such a blessing.

So let me share the seven recipes with you that my friend Laura and I put together yesterday in about 2 1/2 hours while we talked and laughed together. I just might have to rope her into coming and doing it again with me in another month, if my family goes through this shelf of freezer meals before the baby comes. Or maybe we’ll do it again after he’s born, because honestly I don’t plan on doing much of anything except snuggling my rainbow baby for two months after he is in my arms!!



Veggie Beef Stew

1lb cubed stew meat 1 diced onion, 1 cup sliced carrots, 1 can green beans, 1 cup frozen peas, 1 sliced parsnip, 1 cubed rutabaga, 1 cup red wine, 2 beef bouillon cubes.
Combine all ingredients in gallon ziploc freezer bag.
Label: “Thaw overnight in fridge. Dump bag contents into crockpot.
Cook on low 8-10 hours. Serve over mashed potatoes and/or with rolls.”


Asian Orange Beef

2 1/2lb chuck roast, zest & juice from one large orange, 2 Tblsp brown sugar, 3 Tblsp rice wine vinegar, 2 Tblsp soy sauce, 1 1/2 Tblsp minced garlic, 1 Tblsp grated ginger root, 1/4 cup chopped green onion.
Combine all ingredients in a gallon ziploc freezer bag.
Label: “Thaw overnight in fridge. Dump bag contents into crockpot.
Cook on low 10-12 hours. Shred, and serve over steamed rice with broccoli.”


Cranberry Mustard Pork

2 1/2lb pork butt, 2 cups cranberries, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 2 Tblsp dijon mustard 1 diced onion, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 tsp cloves, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground ginger, zest & juice from one large orange.
Combine all ingredients in a gallon ziploc freezer bag.
Label: “Thaw overnight in fridge. Dump bag contents into crockpot.
Cook on low 8-10 hours. Serve with roasted potatoes and veg.”


Ginger Peach Chicken

1lb chicken thighs, 1 cup peach jam, 2 Tblsp soy sauce, 1 inch ginger freshly grated, 1 1/2 tsps minced garlic.
Combine all ingredients in a gallon ziploc freezer bag.
Label: “Thaw overnight in fridge. Dump bag contents into crockpot.
Cook on low for 4-6 hours. Shred chicken, and serve over brown rice with salad or snow peas.”


Honey Sesame Chicken

1 1/2lb chicken thighs, 1 diced onion, 1 Tblsp minced garlic, 1/2 cup honey, 1/2 cup soy sauce, 1/4 cup ketchup, 2 Tblsp oil, 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper.
Combine all ingredients in a gallon ziploc freezer bag.
Label: “Thaw overnight in fridge. Dump bag contents into crockpot.
Cook on low for 4-6 hours. Shred, and serve over steamed rice & peas.
Top with chopped green onions, sesame seeds, and sliced almonds.”


BBQ Chicken

1lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, 1 cup ketchup, 2 Tblsp worcestershire sauce, 1 1/2 Tblsp brown sugar, 1 Tblsp chili powder, 1 tsp red pepper flakes, 1 tsp yellow mustard, 1 tsp apple cider vinegar, 1 1/2 tsp curry powder.
Combine all ingredients in a gallon ziploc freezer bag.
Label: “Thaw overnight in fridge. Dump bag contents into crockpot.
Cook on low 8 hours. Shred chicken, and serve over rolls or rice with green salad and fruit.”


Chicken Chili

1lb diced chicken, 1 chopped onion, 1 can black beans, 1 can white beans, 1 can Rotel, 1 can diced tomatoes, 1 cup sliced frozen peppers, 2 cups frozen corn, 1 Tblsp minced garlic, 1 Tblsp paprika, 2 Tblsp chili powder, 1 Tblsp cumin, 2 tsp oregano, 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes.
Combine all ingredients in a gallon ziploc freezer bag.
Label: “Thaw overnight in fridge. Dump bag contents into crockpot.
Cook on low 10-12 hours. Serve with sour cream, shredded cheese, and tortilla chips.”



Yesterday, we made two of each of the above recipes. I also have two dinners’ worth of beef chili, one pan of enchiladas, one gluten free cheese pizza, and a couple other “surprise” dishes (that apparently I forgot to label…) on my freezer meal shelf. My sister in law gave us a freezer meal of pulled pork sandwiches, half of which is still in there.

Never underestimate the power of food, and the blessing it is to a family in need to surprise them with something for their freezer for that “rainy day.” Sometimes even rainbow pregnancies have their own host of rainy days where nothing blesses quite like a meal ~ whether hot or in the freezer.

If you have recipes (or links to recipes) that would fit the easy-freezer-meal bill, please share them in the comments!

It’s about what works for your guests, your family,
the people you love and have welcomed around your table.
It’s not about what will look great on Pinterest or Instagram later.
It’s about loving the people in your life
by gathering them close into the private space of your home,
about giving them soft places to land in hard seasons,
about meeting their needs for food, for listening, for peace, for rest.

~Shauna Niequist, Bread & Wine, p278~

Pregnant with a Rainbow, Part III

As I look ahead toward the finish line of this pregnancy (cue the nesting season), I am also looking back.
One aspect I wanted to share with you about this specific PAL (Pregnancy After Loss) journey is how I shared the amazing & petrifying news with my family.
Here’s a peek into those sacred moments last winter, which I wrote about at the time:


I was waiting for just the right moment. I had a congratulations Daddy card and a hunting arrow stashed in an easily accessible place in case the moment presented itself. Dinner happened. House tidying happened. I turned on a video for our two younger children and began to fold laundry. They sat on the floor, propped on big decorative pillows, at the foot of our bed, watching the television with gleeful abandon. I had a mound of clean clothes and towels on top of our bed—I stood there making order from the chaos, folding piece by piece, sorting them into piles according to whom they belonged. I could hear my husband coming. I sneakily put the card and the arrow on his bedside table, and I stood on the opposite side of the bed to match socks and smooth shirts. He came in—he walked to his side of the bed to begin helping me fold the things which clothe our nakedness, warm our chill, and dry our damp. He stopped, seeing unusual items on his bedside table—he glanced at me quickly, then opened the card. His face! He saw the arrow, he read my words, and knowledge of our baby’s life seeped into his bones and changed his world in a nanosecond. He hurried to my side—kissed me, embraced me, touched my belly.

Such a real life family moment. The biggest boy at a sleepover for the very first time. Two year old sister and three year old brother, watching cartoons in the background, oblivious to the joy and the secrets and the conversation. Mound of laundry, half folded thus far, grounding us in reality. Our entire world taking a new shape while we stand here in the bedroom where we share this bed—the bed where thirteen children have been planted from seeds, in a love that only we know—and where there are memories of every child, the joys and the griefs, behind and beside us. Wedding photos—family photos—baby memorial photos—nine little wooden boxes where the bodies of babies rest. This is a sacred moment in our own sacred place. I did not plan it, but I waited for it. In this real life family moment, our family life is changing forever, one way or another. And all I can think of is how desperately I want this baby to live! And subsequently, how I never want to be pregnant again—how I want this moment to be the last time I share this sacred secret with the husband whose heart is knit into mine and whose body is my other home. I nuzzle my face into his shoulder, and I sigh—please Lord, save Lord, life Lord!

Telling our children has been a game-changer for me. Right from when I told Steven over a week ago about this little one in my womb, he was eager to tell our three munchkins, while I have been very reserved about the whole thing. Scorched into my memory as a burn whose scar will never completely heal is when I had to tell my oldest son that our baby girl had died. That was over a year ago. And then just a couple months later, I had to tell him again that God once again had said no. That was almost a year ago now. But the guttural, visceral pain I tangibly feel all over again when I relive the memory of telling my son that his beloved baby in his mother’s womb had died is indescribable, inconceivable, inexplicable. So telling our children about this new baby was not at the top of my to-do list.

My mother hen instinct is too strong—I want to cluck about, covering these precious chicks with my wings, distracting them with shiny bugs and grain on the ground, protecting them with every ounce of my being from the hawks that circle, no matter how far overhead. But my husband had a different perspective. He said, Our children pray frequently for us to have a baby—they deserve to know how the Lord answers when He hears their prayers. We should not try to protect them from what the Lord is doing here. These children are part of our family, and this baby is part of our family. The Lord put each of us together in this story for a reason, and the kids should know this chapter of the story too. We should give them the honor, the joy, and the privilege of rejoicing with us and continuing in prayer alongside us.

He got me there.

So I made a little notecard to give the kids, and right before we started our weekly tradition of a Sunday evening “family fun night,” we sat them down on the couch—the oldest, the only fluent reader, in the middle—and told them we had a gift to give them. With the three year old on one side and the two year old on the other, the 6 ½ year old read aloud the note that there was a baby in Mommy’s tummy, in answer to their prayers—and now we would get to pray together for God to care for this baby and to keep it healthy and safe. Two year old Evangeline remained pretty oblivious, slurping away on her sippy cup of cold milk—three year old Asher took a decidedly toddler response by scowling and repeatedly dropping his fist into the arm of the couch without actually saying anything—and biggest brother Gabriel’s eyes got big, his cheeks dimpled into a smile, and he said, “is it true? Is there really a baby in your tummy?” And less than a minute later, he wanted us to hold hands, bow heads, and pray for our Father in heaven to keep this baby alive, to let it live, to keep it healthy and safe.

And now I feel like anxiety is bubbling up around me in more noticeable, tangible ways than it has yet in this pregnancy. I feel naked, exposed, vulnerable. My children now know my secret. My son who can read me like a book and see through me like a piece of glass will interpret every attitude I have, every emotion I show, every comment or action—and he and I will now go through constant unspoken communication, where he will try to uncover every secret every day, and I will continue trying to hide his eyes and distract his gaze so that he will be as sheltered as I can keep him for right now.

Suddenly my weakness is plain and my strength is gone. My hope feels precarious and wavering. Even my praise and joy feel translucent, thin, wispy, fearful. There is no more hiding, no more pretending. I know what comes next: the children who pray at half a dozen intervals throughout the day for the baby in Mommy’s tummy, the kisses to my tummy, the spilling of the secret to everyone we see next.

Thus begins my time of needing to regularly preach the truth to myself. To cover myself with the armor that the Lord has prepared and given to me. To speak the truth to my family, to myself, to my God—regardless of what fears, feelings, anxieties, hopelessness tries to sneak in. I will bless the Lord with my words and my actions. I will do what He has called me to do, and I will follow Him in that wisdom. I will trust Him, even when that means giving up my entire set of spiritual and physical weakness to Him—because only He can give me the strength of soul and body that I need right now to accomplish the work He has set before me. So as I go to bed tonight, carrying a child within me that nobody can see or touch or help, I will recite His Word to myself and to Him, asking Him to renew my strength, to crown me with love and mercy, to satisfy me with His goodness.


Over seven months since I wrote that, I am still daily needing to preach the truth to myself, and asking the Lord to cover me with His armor. Just last week, I wrote a PAL prayer using Ephesians 6:10-20 as my skeleton. Looking back and looking forward are both good things, because they both remind me to throw myself on my King and trust Him for His mercy.

If you have lived through a loss, and have found yourself on the other side of that storm carrying a rainbow inside your womb, I would love to hear from you ~ what was it like for you to hear that news and to share that news?

The conversation will continue again soon…

image (5)

Pregnant with a Rainbow, Part II


I have set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember My covenant that is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.
Genesis 9:13-16

Last time I talked about how dressing my pregnant body walks a fine balancing line, and dances with a dichotomy. I know the pain, and I also know the joy. I embrace both.

Another way that I embrace both is another outward, visual thing. Not daily, but sometimes. You can see it in the picture above. Right over my heart is my necklace with all my babies’ names on it. Well, the first twelve. I haven’t added Sweet Teen’s nametag to it yet, because his name is still a secret. So he rests in my belly, and the names of the other twelve rest close to my heart.

Not that I ever forget… but sometimes I like having a tangible, visual reminder of all my children.
I like the conversation piece.
I appreciate the perspective.
And like our Lord’s seeing of His bow in the clouds, I like seeing this reminder & remembering.
And it’s something other people can see too, and maybe remember (or ask about for the first time).

The joy this little boy’s life gives me… this sweet baby who lives hidden underneath my skin… is indescribable. And the fact that I know what could have been makes me cherish him all the more, I think. I know how fragile life is. I know how undeserving I am. I know how miraculous it is that two cells met in my womb, that God spoke life into that union, that He gave us medications to control my body, that He enabled my physical self to nurture this tiny boy rather than attack it. I know. And that knowledge gives me a daily abundance of joy and dose of humility that I can not aptly put into words.

But if you look in my eyes, if you grasp my hand, if you see me fingering my necklace, if you notice me poking my belly because someone from the inside is poking me back… you might get a little glimpse of knowing too.

This necklace? Oh, it’s my mommy necklace.
Yes, each one of my children has a nametag.
Yep, there are a dozen.
Well… a dozen names there, and the thirteenth is on the way.
Yes, I am very blessed. You really have no idea.

Pregnant with a Rainbow, Part I

Recently, I have shared some thoughts about the grief of miscarriage, and I have also shared a couple little snippets about my current parenting & homeschooling endeavors with my living children. But what about the in-between? What about my current pregnancy with a rainbow? (“rainbow” being the term applied to a baby that follows a miscarriage or stillbirth)

I would love to share a few things about this season of my life, which is so varied and so full.

First… the outside.
This is from a month ago


& this is from a week or so ago.

On the outside, perhaps I look like any other pregnant woman.
When I am out & about with my three other children, perhaps I look like a whole host of other mamas.

In my heart, I feel somewhat unique, if not downright unusual.

There is a dichotomy that I face every day when I do something as simple as clothe my pregnant body. I walk a fine line between wanting to look pregnant and wanting to hide my belly. Everyone has a story, but not everyone knows the stories that belong to others. I know the pain that stairstep kids and pregnant bellies can cause to explode in the breast of a grieving, suffering, infertile woman. Thus, there is a part of me that wants to cover up the visual evidence of the child who grows and wiggles and hiccups and thrives beneath my skin. At the same time, I know more than a lot of people just how absolutely miraculous it is that there is a child growing, wiggling, hiccupping, and thriving inside of me!! I don’t take a day of this miracle for granted, and I want to embrace with faith and joy and hope every day that God gives me carrying this little baby inside (and, Lord willing, afterward in my arms). That includes not being ashamed of this gift. It also includes trying to clothe my ever-changing body with some semblance of skill, modesty, and beauty. Finding the balance between hiding and flaunting ~ this may be common to many pregnant women, but the nuances behind the need for this balance are fairly unique for those of us who have struggled to add a baby to our families.

When I see my reflection in a mirror or my shadow on the ground… any time my profile hits my eye… I am taken aback, and catch my breath. I never thought I would see my belly look this way again. The miraculous nature of this is not lost on me. It stuns me every day, it humbles my heart and covers my arms with goosebumps.

This is just the smallest glimpse into the “outside” of my pregnancy. I hope to give you little glimpses about the innerworkings, the things deeper inside my heart, and share a little bit about what it is like to be pregnant not only “with my fourth child” but “for the thirteenth time.”
I would love to let you peek into my windowpane, giving you a small view through the glass as I ride these last few weeks on the roller coaster of being pregnant with a rainbow.

And because you listen to these rules and keep and do them,
the Lord your God will keep with you the covenant
and the steadfast love that he swore to your fathers.
He will love you, bless you, and multiply you.
He will also bless the fruit of your womb
and the fruit of your ground, your grain and your wine and your oil
the increase of your herds and the young of your flock,
in the land that he swore to your fathers to give you.

Deuteronomy 7:12-13

[Extra]Ordinary Loves

I feel like a school girl sometimes because I just totally miss my hubby while he is away at work during the day. He’s gone from just a little after 6am until a little before 6pm, and most of the time it’s only M-F.

But seriously? I spend the mornings just eagerly waiting for him to call around noon. And then I spend the afternoons anticipating him coming home and wrapping me up in a big snuggly hug when he gets home for dinner. I send him little email snippets during the days sometimes just to let him know how much he’s on my mind and how much I love him, and often times it takes some serious self-control not to just flood his inbox with love notes all day (because I think he would not appreciate that, LOL). :wub:

It’s not like I pine away all day, unable to accomplish my own work from missing him, of course. :lol: Just a desperate love for him, and a feeling of incompleteness while he’s away. I’m SO proud of the work he does, and the success the Lord gives him while he works each day. But it’s that idea of “distance makes the heart grow fonder” because even just the day hours where he is gone, my heart can’t wait to have him back with me for the evening and night hours.

I love my man & can’t believe God blessed my life with him.


Three of the children who bear our image are frollicking around in the front yard at the moment. Bikes and Nerf and rubber boots. Sidewalk chalk covering the legs of my toddling daughter. Children who delight in everything from chasing wild turkeys off the grass to taking communion in faith at Sunday worship. Children with joy & love for one another ~ have I mentioned how the boys call their sister, “sweetie” more often than not?! Children who love their freedom yet long for responsibilities. Children who follow in our footsteps yet still pave their own ways. Children who are so alike yet so unique.
Children who I had thought, not so very long ago, would not have been mine to raise on this earth.
Children whose lives could so easily be taken for granted, but whose lives are positively miraculous in the sense that they survived my womb while nine of their siblings didn’t. These are children who should be on billboards for the pro-life movement. Not because they survived abortion, but because they simply survived.

I would have loved them with every thread of my being even if I did not scale mountains to have them. But because I did, I love and appreciate them just that much more.
They have siblings who I have held in the palm of my hand… and I can’t tell you the utter delight it gives me that God has given me at least these three whose hands are daily held & squeezed in that same palm.


And then there’s my littlest love, currently hiccuping underneath the stretchy skin of my belly. I am just sitting here, amazed that I am still pregnant. It’s beyond incredible.

My little Heritage would have been a year old this week… my Fidelis would have been eight months…
A year ago we thought the door to growing our family again had been closed forever due to my immune health problems.

But here I am. Over 24 weeks pregnant with a healthy, active little boy.

This pregnancy has not been without its complications, and it has been full of anxiety. It’s anything but ordinary: it’s miraculous.
The fact that I’m pregnant today just blows my mind… God’s mercy toward me with the life of this tiny son just overwhelms me with amazement. :happytears:
I love this little boy so much! A huge part of me just can’t wait to be done being pregnant so I can start looking at him, touching his hands, kissing his cheeks, nursing him, babywearing him, watching his siblings adore him, stare at him fall asleep on his daddy’s chest. But then there is this other part of me that knows this season will pass all too quickly, and it will be gone forever. Never again will I feel jabs and rolls and hiccups from the inside. Never again will this ball-like belly be my profile when I see my shadow on the pavement. Never again will my reflection fill out my maternity clothes. So I don’t wish it away. I drink it in. I love it to pieces.

It’s a Boy!

The Lord has heard our cries, and granted us a healthy little son. A third brave knight to protect our princess. 🙂
The mercy of our God just humbles & astounds me.



from Deuteronomy 26:7-11
Then we cried to the Lord, the God of our fathers, and the Lord heard our voice and saw our affliction, our toil, and our oppression. And the Lord brought us out… and He brought us into this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey. …and we shall rejoice in all the good that the Lord our God has given to us and to our house…

In Faith

Posting this kind of thing takes a lot of faith from me. So! In faith, I am sharing a recent belly bump picture, as well as a painting I did for Steven for Father’s Day which represents all 13 of our babies. The Lord is gracious, and that is enough.



…You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.
Psalm 86:15

Then & Now

May 2007 & May 2015~

DSC_0067  DSC_0286

P1210673  P1210716

May 2008 & May 2015~

IMG_3676  P1210623

…and after having numerous miscarriages and fertility struggles in May months in previous years (esp 2010 and 2014, but there were a couple other Mays right up there too…), this is marvelous for May 2015~


My Sweet Teen

Introducing my newest little covenantal creation, by the grace of the Holy Spirit & creative Word…


This is our thirteenth child, the little guy I lovingly call Sweet Teen.
The beloved baby I hold now in the depths of my own body…
whose heart beats beneath my own…
whose precious limbs flail without me even feeling them yet…
this is the person I ache to look upon with my own eyes this autumn…
and until then, we pray and we hope and we rejoice…
I take medications and shots and adhere to dietary restrictions…
I rest and I puke and I ache…
and I give unabashed thanks every single day to the Author of life…
and it brings me such joy to share this glimpse with you
into the secret places where the Lord is secretly & miraculously weaving microscopic threads
into a little itty bitty person in His image
and in ours.

And I weep for joy
because the Lord has heard our cries
for life.


Sex as an act of creation, of art, of life,
filled our thoughts and bed and intertwined the parts of us
we didn’t realize we’d still been living separate.
This righteous act of love that reminds human creatures
that there is a miracle wrapped in the gift of pleasure.
A miracle that points to a good Gift Giver outside ourselves,
outside our control, outside our timelines,
outside our attempts at  manipulation or desperate demands.
Galaxies must align and collide in the secret dark,
and all we can do is humble ourselves
to be available to something much bigger than our comprehension.
~Lisa-Jo Baker, Surprised By Motherhood, p184~


God knits babies together in the secret dark.
And we can plan all we like,
but we have no actual control over the outcomes.
We bear witness to the miracle, and we women—
we also bear it in our bodies.
But we certainly don’t dictate it.
~Lisa-Jo Baker, Surprised By Motherhood, p166~


God already knows
He already delights.
He has already been singing over them in the dark,
secret hours of spinning life out of strands of DNA—
an artist at work, creating and shaping another Adam-child in His image.
And the sonogram is desperate to catch up.
The black-and-white shifting dimensions on the screen only hint at His handiwork.
At the brilliance and the raw beauty beating
with the brand-new chambers of a heart there on the dim screen.
It is the shape the Father sculpted in the beginning
and the shape the Christ-Son took.
It is the ancient, familiar form
that is still somehow new every time we see it fitted over a new soul.
Upward and forward and deeper into the heart of God
with each new life He entrusts us with.
Parts of us crack wide open,
and we are vulnerable to a vast army of fears,
for to parent is to ache over the unknown.
~Lisa-Jo Baker, Surprised By Motherhood, p166~