6 years…in many ways it seems a life time ago and it is. So much has changed and yet this day is one I will always stop and reflect on the life and death of our first daughter Lily.
I think of how different our family might be if she had lived and how she never would have existed if Knox had lived. How we could be celebrating the 6th birthday of a son or the half birthday of a daughter who would be 6 in November.
I think about how much I have learned from that experience and the 6 years since. How it grew my faith and understanding of God’s sovereignty. It changed how I care for others.
Today as I turn 29 weeks, expecting our 2nd daughter in August, I think about the blessing of being a mother who has experienced tremendous grief at the loss of a child and who also knows the joy of welcoming a new baby to the family.
We’ve talked about names and how we will honor her memory in the birth of this child, just as we did for Knox when Zeb (Zebediah Knox) was born. We pray that God will lead us to choose the right way to do so without minimizing Lily’s life or her importance in our family.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little bit anxious as I prepare for her birth. Fear that maybe I won’t be able to hold a little girl at the end of all of this. You see, that’s the crazy thing about grief and losing a baby…you’re never quite sure when it’s “safe” to let your guard down.
I’ve never longed for a daughter like some mothers do, my boys are pretty amazing to be honest. But losing a baby changes your perspective…I don’t care whether I have a daughter or son…instead I long for a live baby. A baby who takes it’s first breath and cries beautiful cries. Who looks at the world with wide eyes and hears her brothers and parents celebrate her birth.
So I pray…I pray for her safety, her life and that whatever happens God will use me in the way He sees fit. I pray that I will surrender to what God has in store. That if He grants me the beautiful privilege of a daughter I will be the mother I need to be for her. That she will grow to love Him and others.
Six years ago, we said hello and goodbye on the same day. We held her for the first time and the last time. We didn’t forget, we won’t ever forget. But we are thankful for her and the way she touched our lives and taught us much about the treasure of life.
Psalm 139: 13-16
13 For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
Things have been quiet on the blogging front for the last few years. As I hope to ease back into posting regularly, I thought you might like a little update about what’s been going on with our family.
In a nutshell, life is busy. Life with 7 boys is busy. Life homeschooling 7 boys, raising goats and chickens, and working full time is busy. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Our boys are 15, 13, 9,7,4 (almost 5), 3, and 16 months. There is always something going on here! I recently had the opportunity for all of them to visit Grandma’s house for a day while I worked. It was harder than I expected to concentrate without the normal background noise I’m used to.
This last week we had our 20 week sonogram for baby #8. The boys were excited to find out the gender of this little one. A couple of the boys have been wishing for a sister and a couple of them were really hoping for another boy.
They wanted to do egg roulette as a gender reveal. If you’re not familiar with the concept, we boiled 17 eggs and left 1 raw. We dyed half the eggs blue and half pink. The color of the raw egg represented the gender of the baby. Then each boy took a turn smashing the egg on his head to see who got the ‘lucky’ egg.
Here’s the video we shot of the gender reveal…this is truly what’s it is like to live at our house. 🙂 Enjoy!
As a mom with a larger than normal family, we are used to having friends with fewer children than we have. We don’t mind and usually they don’t either (unless they have to feed us all and then sometimes I sense a slight bit of panic about all these boys to feed).
I’ve noticed a curious thing lately though. I’ve had several conversations with friends who have less than my 6 children and I’ve heard excuses. Excuses about why they don’t have more children. It usually goes something like this…
“Well, we’d like to have more children but it just isn’t physically possible”
or “We always wanted a big family, but due to circumstances we only have 2”.
You don’t have to make excuses. And honestly, I’m just really thankful you’re not telling me that my 6 is more than I can handle or “don’t you know what causes that?” I’m thankful you’re excited when we tell you that we are expecting again.
Sure, we have a larger than normal family and we welcome babies as they come into our family, but we also know that the more children we have has no bearing on our holiness or our standing before the Lord. We know that trusting God for family size means trusting God for both large and small families. We also know that trusting God for family size, includes using wisdom and discernment when it comes to health and childbearing.
The point about trusting God for babies, isn’t about having as many babies as possible to show we’re “super duper” favored. It’s not a contest. The point is to view children as the gift and blessing they are…whether you have none, one or 15.
We are delighted to be surrounded by people who rejoice with the announcement of a new life. We believe children are a blessing, regardless of how many are in your quiver. Seeing parents raising children to love and serve God, embracing the task of parenting and celebrating life…no excuses.
It’s been almost 4 years since I’ve posted to my blog on a regular basis. I keep renewing my domain name with the hopes that I would find my voice again and get back to writing. But the words never seem to come. The things that I want to say never seem to have enough importance to write…so it has been silent.
One of my resolutions this year was to write more. My goal was to publish to my blog regularly again. Here we are 3 months into the year and my first post…but it’s better than 4 years.
A lot has happened in the last 4 years so I thought a Rosfeld by the Numbers would be a great way to get started again. We’ve moved twice, bought a house, added two babies and bought some chickens. Here is the link to my last “Numbers” post 5 years ago.
Number of family members : 8 (so far) The next question that usually follows is “How many are you going to have” …As many as we’re blessed with. We believe in Jesus-full thinking. (Oh yeah…we’re still one of *those* families. I’ll share more about our personal convictions on another post).
Number of times we’ve moved since Kerry and I got married in 2001 : 12!
Number of pets : 2 dogs, 20 chickens, 1 turkey, 2 goats, 10 cats
Number of loads of laundry we do per day : at least 4
Loads of dishes : 2 per day
Vehicles owned : 3
Gallons of milk per week : 7-8 (thankful we get much of our milk from the goats)
Monthly grocery budget : $575.00
Meals eaten out : 3-4 per month always fast food, Sunday afternoons. 🙂
Legos : too numerous to count, but lots of sets and at least two rubbermaid tubs full.
Instruments played : 5 (flute, drums, trombone, piano, guitar — The 3 older boys are taking piano lessons from Grandma and Otto is teaching himself to play guitar.
Diapers changed : 12 per day depending on bowel habits. This number has gone down recently due to a certain almost 3 year old deciding to wear “big boy” undies (and pee on trees).
Outfits : 8 per day. We have at least two kids make one change of clothes each day which is why we do 4 loads of laundry each day. 🙂
Computers : 5. My work computer, Kerry’s computer and 2 for school. The last one is one sitting next to the piano ready for target practice.
Cookbooks : 40 at least. I like them for recreational reading.
Floors swept : 4 times per day. That’s our goal anyway…
Vacuuming : 4 times a week. If I can feel dirt on my feet when I walk I know it’s time to vacuum, I have 6 boys there is always dirt on the floor.
Pairs of shoes : 35-40. The range is because we can’t always find both shoes at the same time.
Hours of sleep : Kids : 11-12, those napping get 14, Grown ups 5-6. This time change is going to be miserable.
Hugs and Kisses : More than we can count, but never enough.
It wasn’t the meatiest post, but it’s good to be back.
Four years ago today I had one of the most amazing and rewarding experiences of my life. I had an awesome homebirth. It was what I needed to heal from some less than ideal birth experiences. It was my first VBAC after 3 c-sections. For those who haven’t heard or read the story, I’ve posted it below the pictures.
Titus has been such a blessing to our family. He is challenging some days with his strong opinions and preferences but he is oh so wonderful in our family. He has a stubborn streak a mile wide but he also loves and cares so deeply for those around him. I look back at the day he was born and am so thankful for the prayers God answered that day. We continually praise Him for the blessings He’s given us and His provision. We are thankful that God allowed Titus to be born at home (something we prayed for daily from the day we found out we were pregnant) and so thankful that we have been blessed with 5 happy healthy boys.
Below are a couple pictures from the day he was born and the days following and some more recent pictures too.
The 3 big boys on 8/26/2010
They were amazingly chipper and happy for being up so late the night before. Both Gabe and Otto stayed up until about 2am to watch Titus get checked over by our midwife. Otto couldn’t keep his hands off of his baby brother. We watched the video recently and could hear ourselves asking him to move because his head or his hand was in the way of trying to do the assessment. Zeke was the only one that night who got a good night sleep.
The next morning our birth photographer came to take pictures of our new little addition. He seems so little looking back. We loved getting to know all of his little features as a family. There is just something about a newborn baby that begs to be touched, held, kissed and loved.
He really enjoys waffles for breakfast.
BIRTH STORY (this is the story I posted a few days after Titus was born to Facebook)
We have been so blessed with the addition of Titus this past week! I’ve had several people send me messages asking if his homebirth was “on purpose” so I thought I’d write an abbreviated version of our birth story. In short…yes his homebirth was on purpose and it was awesome!
His birth story begins kind of with Gabe’s almost 8 years ago. I had a c-section with him after a failed induction at 37 weeks. With Otto I had a repeat c-section and when it was time for me to have Zeke, my doctor who had initially been VBAC (vaginal birth after a cesarean) friendly changed his mind and threatened to drop me from his practice. I felt very backed into a corner and consented to my 3rd c-section.
When I became pregnant with Titus, I wanted a different outcome and began researching my options and the current research regarding having a 4th c-section to having a VBAMC (VBAmultipleC). The research is limited, but what there is shows that even VBAMC are relatively safe and the risk of uterine rupture (which is the big fear with VBAC) is still less than 1-2%. The current culture in the hospital is not VBAC friendly even after 1 c/s and is definitely not friendly after 2 or more. So I began researching a homebirth with a midwife, discussing options and research with Kerry and covering each decision with lots of prayer. I would encourage any woman to do her research and pray before making her birth choices. There is a lot more support for VBAC there than some would have you believe.
We found a midwife , who was also a believer,willing to take me as a client and began our journey. My pregnancy, like all of them, was uneventful and pretty normal. As part of my care, I saw a chiropractor once a month to help align my pelvis and spine and help position baby correctly. One of the reasons I had a c/s with Gabe was because he was malpositioned, so I wanted to avoid that if at all possible.
We prayed regularly as a family for God to honor our desire to have more children (something that would be really frowned upon after having 4-5 c/s) and our desire for a homebirth. Every time fear would creep in, we’d pray and turn it over to God. He has answered so many prayers along the way!
Towards the end of my pregnancy, I started to get nervous that my body wouldn’t know what to do. It had never been asked to actually “get a baby out”. I was wondering if it would know how to go into labor, how to birth a baby, and would I be strong enough to do it?
The day after my due date I started having a few contractions, but they weren’t terribly uncomfortable or regular, although they felt different from the contractions I’d been having for weeks. We spent the day running errands, I made a quick visit to the chiropractor (just in case this was really it) and napped in the afternoon. My contractions kept coming, but were still irregular and relatively comfortable. I called our midwife a couple of times during the day to update her, but felt like it was going to be a long evening/night if this was the real thing.
That evening about 7pm or so we took a mile(ish) walk around our neighborhood. My contractions were still irregular, but I had to stop a couple of times to let them pass. I was still able to talk through them. Being a L&D nurse, I really wasn’t sure this was going to be it or that it would be any time soon, because nothing was textbook. 🙂
I decided to rest and just hang out that evening and talked to our doula and photographer about 10pm. I talked to her through a contraction and told her I wasn’t sure I’d need her yet, but she could come this way just so she’d be here when I did. Mom and I set up the air mattress in our spare room because I was sure they (the doula) would be sleeping here. I also called the midwife and told her I was still doing fine and I’d have Kerry call when we needed her, but not to worry I thought it was going to be a while still.
I laid down on the couch to get some rest, and had one really big contraction that was quite uncomfortable. But the next couple were manageable again. Mom suggested I put a towel under me “in case my water broke”, I was sure that wasn’t going to happen, but though I would humor her anyway. (I was glad for the suggestion, as with the next contraction that’s exactly what happened). My water broke about 10:30 and that’s when things got “fun”. Kerry called the midwife to let her know and she said she’d head down. Kerry and I came upstairs to fill the pool (we had set up a little pool in our bedroom for me to labor in) and my contractions started coming much much faster and stronger. Mom and the big boys (Zeke was asleep) were downstairs watching a movie and had no idea things had really picked up.
I spent about 30 minutes in the pool and then walked to the bathroom. Once I was there my contractions were so intense and my mind was racing. Kerry says I was really pretty calm, but in my mind I was going nuts. At one point I told Kerry “I’m hysterical….I can’t be hysterical”. He said later he didn’t know what I was talking about as I was barely saying anything and appeared really calm to him. He wasn’t (at least he didn’t act like it) scared or panicked at all. About 10:15 I felt my body pushing and I couldn’t stop. In my head I was sure I wasn’t ready to push and was worried I was going to do something that would make my labor go longer.
At that point, Kerry took the cell phone to mom and asked her to call our midwife to let her know I felt like pushing and to hurry. 🙂 The midwife told me to go ahead and push if I needed to and that she was about 15 minutes away. Mom and Kerry stayed in the bathroom with me and the boys kept watching their movie. Kerry suggested I move to the pool again, because he thought I would be more comfortable and it would be easier to birth there. I made it about two steps before I said “I can’t” and kneeled on the floor. (I found out later both mom and Kerry thought I was just having a contraction, not birthing a baby)
The next thing I really remember was telling mom and Kerry “there is his head” and to “check for a nuchal cord” (a cord around the neck). He had a loose one that we could easily slip over and the rest of him was born. I was able to put him right on my chest and we covered him with towels and dried him off, he was pink right away. I think I kept saying “I did it! I did it!” Kerry was so excited, but still very calm and had the presence of mind to grab the camera and take a few pictures.
He asked the big boys if they wanted to come see their brother and they both ran upstairs. Gabe (***note we later found out that Gabe handed the camera off to Otto) took the camera and took pictures, and he did such a good job! About 10 minutes after he was born our midwife came in. The apprentice midwife came about 10 minutes after that. Titus James was born at 11:32pm on 8/26/10. He was direct OP (which means facing up instead of down, the same position Gabe was in), but I truly think prayer, positioning and the care I received made all the difference. He weighed 7lbs 11oz (my second biggest baby) and was 19 3/4 inches long. The rest of the story is pretty “routine” for postpartum, but it just all happened at home which was awesome!
I didn’t really think I would go that quickly in labor, especially since I hadn’t done it before. I was completely surprised by the whole experience, but it was exactly what we needed.
I fully believe in birth choices. I think women should be able to choose when, where and how to give birth. By in large, those choices are being taken away for many reasons. If a woman wants to birth in a hospital, home or birthing center…let her. If she wants to VBAC or schedule a repeat c/s…let her. I often heard after my c/s that what really mattered was a “healthy mom and healthy baby” which is true…but that health also includes mental health. For some women it is mentally and physically the best choice to have another c/s, for others it is the option to have a VBAC.
For me, this time and every time from now on (Lord willing), homebirth will be my choice. I pass no judgement on whomever chooses something different for their birth. It is important that the risks vs benefits are considered for each option and in each case. And for each woman make the decision that is right for her, her family and her baby.
Each birth and each child is special and a blessing however they come. This birth for me though, has been incredibly healing, empowering and faith building. God is good and we are so thankful for His blessings and His faithfulness. I want to add too, how incredibly important it was for me to know that others were praying for me. My midwife, my doula, our families and friends. I believe God honored those prayers and they brought me so much peace and confidence throughout this whole process. He has blessed us many times over!
Two years ago, yesterday actually, our daughter Lily was born. I didn’t forget about her yesterday, I remembered her birth, but I didn’t write about it. I didn’t write about it because I couldn’t put it all in to words. How much she meant means to us, how much it still hurts sometimes to think of her death. I spent this weekend writing an article (out in December) about the hope I have in relation to the birth of a baby. It was a tough article to write. So I was spent.
It’s been interesting for me working again in L&D. My perspective has changed from when I was here before. I still enjoy it, but I’m even more in awe of the miracle birth is than I was years ago. The lives of Knox and Lily have made me so very thankful for every birth that happens. I was in a room last week and it was all I could do to keep from grinning like a big dumb idiot because I was just so happy for the parents that they were getting to welcome their baby. I mean seriously happy, elated, for two strangers that they were completely in love with their new little one. It’s caught me off guard.
I found myself working yesterday on her birthday. I thought about her a lot and what we were doing two years ago, waiting for her to be born. And when I came home, I snuggled my baby Zeb. As I breathed deep on the top of his head I thanked God for his safe birth just over a year ago. I thanked God for the perspective and the growth, as difficult and painful as it was, that He’s given me because of Lily’s birth. I’m thankful for the opportunity it’s given me to care for others.
Two years ago, we said hello and goodbye on the same day. We held her for the first time and the last time. We didn’t forget, we won’t ever forget. But we are thankful for her and the way she touched our lives and taught us much about the treasure of life.
If you’d have told me when we first got married I’d have 5 boys…I would have laughed in your face! When we got married we knew we wanted to have a big family but I though surely I’d have a girl in there some where!
So here I am…mom to 5 boys who are 11, 9, 5, 3 and 9 months. And I love it! *Almost* every single minute of it. (Remember that Finding Joy post?) I can’t tell you how many times people comment about our brood of boys…either they are completely shocked that anyone would intentionally have FIVE children! Or they’re shocked that I’m still sane after having 5 boys (and you should see the looks I get when I tell them I’m homeschool them!)
Honestly, I think it can be super overwhelming to be a parent whether you have girls, boys or a mix of both. I am so thankful for other parents who offer insights, share lessons learned and in general give parenting “hacks” we can all benefit from. I want to share a few resources we’ve found helpful along our way.
One of my favorite books is Raising Real Men: Surviving, Teaching and Appreciating Boys By Hal and Melanie Young.
Hal and Melanie are the parents of 7 children, 6 of those are boys! I’ve had the privilege of hearing them speak at several homeschool conferences and I’m always encouraged by them. The book is entertaining and full of practical tips from dealing with bickering and fighting to how they handle guns and playful wrestling.
Something I’m learning as my boys get older is that sometimes they can be a bit angry. Anger is something one of my boys really struggles with. He comes by it honestly. He’s a son of Adam so struggles with sin as we all do. And his mom and dad have both been known to lose their temper more often than we’d like to admit. The Heart of Anger by Lou Priolo has been our go-to book when it comes to this issue in our home. I’m only about half way through but it’s challenged me and given me practical wisdom for dealing with this issue.
Another great book by Lou Priolo is Teach them Diligently: How to Use the Scriptures in Child Training
I didn’t grow up in a home where scripture was woven into our daily conversations or lessons being taught so it’s been a challenge for me to figure out just how this looks in practice. This book helps formulate that picture for me and while it’s still a work in progress in my life, it’s helped me implement scripture in to daily lessons.
For some comedic relief I’ve really enjoyed Boys Will Be Joys by Dave Meurer. There are days when stuff happens here at home and I can only shake my head. Sometimes I don’t think anyone will believe the craziness that’s gone on here. Like the night we found gum in a belly button or the fact that one of my children often forgets to take off his pajamas before getting dressed in the morning. Boys will be Joys had me in stitches one minute and in tears the next. He gives a few pointers along the way but mostly it reminded me that even with all the craziness that goes on…boys are delightful and bring so much joy to our family.
Trust me, I by no means have this whole thing figured out but I’ve learned a few things and I’ll be sharing those in the coming weeks, but these books have been a good start when it comes to resources for just what to do with these creatures we call sons. Do you have some resources you’ve found helpful in your parenting journey? This post contains affiliate links. This means if you click on and purchase and item I describe on my post, I will be paid a small fee by the company. Rest assured that my participation in this program does not in any way influence my recommendations, comments or quality of my posts. Your information is never sold, shared or distributed to these companies by this blog.
When I was studying for my Master’s degree, we spent whole courses exploring how people learn and why we teach the way we do. We took quizzes about kinesthetic, auditory, and visual learners. We talked about how we often teach the way we best learn. So when it came time to teach my own children at home I started thinking about the ways they would best grasp concepts within difficult subjects. And while I’ve employed some of these strategies and theories to learning…the best tool I’ve found to teach my children is to ASK QUESTIONS. Lots of them.
I started thinking about what I want my end result to be. Do I want them to just be able to regurgitate information for a test or a room full of people like a trick pony? And the answer is no. I don’t want them to be vats of useless knowledge…full to the brim of facts and statistics, theories and formulas with no ability to apply them. I want my children to think for themselves…to know where to go to find information, how to put that information together and draw a conclusion that is right and real for them.
When I teach my nursing students, it is so tempting to just want to open their brains and dump information in. I do lecture a fair amount, but I try to ask questions, to get them to take the next step to a conclusion on their own. I can’t tell you how many times potential employers would say “Just give me someone who can critically think…I can teach them to do any skill.” I think the same goes for my children.
I ask questions to teach them…to let them think things through. I want them to process the information, consider the options, weigh the results and determine why, when and how. It’s not enough for them to spit it back at me, I want them to be able to tell me why they picked what they did.
It doesn’t just go for school, but more importantly for their faith. I want my children to own their faith…not mine. I want them to follow Christ, to seek after Him and to do His will. I want them to know the Bible is true and that is sufficient for EVERYTHING. But I don’t want them to know it because I said so…I want them to know it because God said so and He called them to follow Him. I want them to find the path God has for them, not the one I want. I want them to wrestle with the tough questions, the challenges they face and I want them to ask questions and find the answer God has. More importantly, I want their faith to be tangible to them, not some paper thin replication of mine, but the kind of faith that is sturdy, the kind they’ve built with God themselves and I want them to be able to defend it to a world that will tell them they’re wrong.
I ask my children questions to teach them, to guide them, so that they can ask the questions and find the answers for themselves. By asking questions, I hope to allow my children to make what they are learning their own. I hope they will be able to know what they believe and be able to defend and articulate it. Because that’s the important part…not just the “correct” answer, but why.
Today is Titus’s 3rd birthday. Three years ago today I had the most incredible homebirth after having 3 previous c-sections. It was such an awesome experience. I am so very thankful, still, that I had such a wonderful midwife, doula and several friends who supported me and believed in me and the Creator who made me. You can read my birth story here. And Today:
I have taken a bit of a break from writing while we find our new “normal” routine with Zeb here. We’ve been delighting in him and have just been treated to his first few giggles in the last two weeks. Here are a few pictures of our time…