“And when you ask me how I’m doing, I’m going to tell you that I’m better than I deserve. Because it’s true. I was a sinner destined for hell and God saw fit to save me. So anything and everything He gives me, including this, is already better than I deserve.”
Those were the words my husband used two weeks ago when he told our church family that he had been diagnosed with colorectal cancer.
The previous Thursday he’d had a colonoscopy because of some vague GI symptoms. We didn’t expect to find anything really, but rather checking off a box on the way to another diagnosis…but instead his doctor found a tumor. The biopsy showed the tumor was cancerous and that it hadn’t been completely removed.
The last two weeks have been a whirlwind of appointments, body scans, more appointments and more scans. And lots and lots of prayer.
We meet with an oncologist this week to help determine next steps. The tumor location and growth pattern makes just removing part of his bowel a little tricky. Surgery is tentatively scheduled for Monday February 18 depending what the oncologist recommends. We are hoping that radiation or chemo won’t be necessary, but we are aware that’s a possibility.
While there has been a roller coaster of emotions, thoughts and “what if” scenarios. We rest in God’s sovereignty and that He knows the future and will see us through. There are times that we have been scared about what lies ahead and what a cancer diagnosis means for our family and life as we know it. However, we are at peace knowing that God, in His infinite wisdom has allowed our family to walk through this trial together. We trust that this is being used to refine us and shape us to be more Christlike.
We know that God is good regardless of the outcome and we have been given better than we deserve.
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;
I’ve been pretty quiet in the blogging world the last few years. Life has been busy and I wasn’t always sure where I’d want to go or what I wanted to share. So I sat quiet…I keep renewing my domain name and hosting plan “just in case” I would ever find my voice again.
Honestly, I wasn’t sure I had much worth sharing anymore. I stopped blogging during a period of extreme hurt and difficulty because I didn’t want it to be my platform to vent. I posted some with brief updates and shared a few thoughts off and on, but it just never felt like things would come together. So, it’s been on the back burner.
This year, my renewal came up, I backed up my files and prepared to let it all expire. I even waited to renew my domain name until the very last day and then didn’t have a hosting site for a long time. But something about it…so much of what I shared…I just didn’t feel right letting it all go. So I found a new (cheaper) hosting plan and transferred my content over.
I’ve found in the process that my images didn’t always come with the content, so while the posts are the same…pictures may be missing. I am still trying to figure it all out, but for now…my posts are here, I am here and I hope to find my voice again enough to post more than twice a year.
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!
You know, I’ve started this post 100 times in my head. It’s been over a year since I’ve posted. Every year the renewal comes up and I debate about renewing my hosting plan or domain name. There’s something I can’t let go each year.
It’s not that I don’t want to write or that I don’t have tons of posts started in my head. Life has changed so much from when I was posting regularly and it’s been so much busier. We’ve moved, changed jobs and added 3 more children.
I miss writing for fun. I hope to do it a bit more often than I have been. I don’t know what my blog will look like now. 6 years ago I used it as an outlet to grieve after Knox and Lily were born and to process their loss. We still think of them often but much has changed in 6 years so I’m not sure where this will end up, but this is a start.
Here’s a brief update:
We have 7 boys. Our oldest will be 15 soon and the baby is close to 1. Our lives are busy and we love it.
We are still homeschooling. This year has brought our first adventures into high-school with Gabe and we started kindergarten with Zeb. That leaves us with 5 homeschooling this year and 2 littles tagging along for the ride.
We have 2 dairy goats (plus a visiting goat), 40(ish) chickens, our farm cats and dog Cash. Our beloved dog Jenny died about a month ago. She was a sweet dog whom we loved much. We got her when Otto was 6 months old and she was part of our family for the last 13 years.
We’re living close to family again which has been wonderful. 3 years ago we bought a place in the country near where we grew up. We love it.
I work full time from home. I am transitioning to a new position as strategic operations manager after being involved in staff development for the last year. I’m so thankful for the answer to prayer this job has been for our family. I love my work family and the work I do.
Perhaps another update will be coming again soon. For now, enjoy a picture of Titus with one of our baby goats early this summer.
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.
I was so close to a dream this week I could taste it. I’m a dreamer by nature so it’s not hard for me to get caught up in the planning and visioning of what could be if only…
I’m usually pretty guarded though. I’ve learned that dreamers sometimes get disappointed (okay a lot of times). I’ve learned to temper my dreaming. Keep it far off in the distance and not let it run too wild.
But this one…this one was so close. I imagined what if, I imagined our family there…growing up…growing old. It took off before I could reign it in. And I let it. I let it carry me over the possibilities.
And I crashed today. Hard.
It’s been tough for me to not throw a temper tantrum, and honestly I have. I’ve been near in tears numerous times. I’ve struggled against spewing dreadful things at my family so instead I’ve been quiet and sullen. Short with my words for fear anger and disappointment would spill over or worse yet…I’d end up in a puddle if years like a two year old.
Sometimes dreams are fun, sometimes they happen, and sometimes they don’t happen. For me, today it’s a bitter pill to swallow. And I am disappointed.