Sunday, March 5, 2017

Our first teenager

His birthday present was complicated enough that it was not put together in one day. The details in this set are amazing!

Lamb 1 went over to Grandma's house and baked
and decorated his own triple layer cake. My mom was a home economics teacher and was glad to spend the time with her grandson doing what she did for a career with other students.

I am having blog difficulties so I'm not sure I will be able to post his photo on my sidebar, but I did want to share today's pictures.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Last day...

until 2028 without a teenager in our house!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

So sad behind the scenes

Recently this story about Iceland has been circulating. I have talked about my pregnancy with Lamb 2 on my blog before, but it is worth repeating again since this story is out.

When I was pregnant with Lamb 2 I went to a new midwife because my midwife for Lamb 1 thought 1 1/2 hours was too far away for another birth since Lamb 1 was born less than an hour after I arrived at the hospital. The midwife for Lamb 2 ordered what I considered regular blood tests as I was a new patient for her. These blood tests came back positive for birth defects such as Down Syndrome. We lived in rural MN so the midwife ordered a level 2 ultrasound in the Twin Cities to see if we could tell anything else.

While we waited for the ultrasound, Lamb 1 fractured his leg, but we didn't know it was fractured until about a month after he fractured it, the x-rays didn't show that it was broken until it was healing. So we traveled to the Twin Cities with a toddler with a broken leg that we didn't know was broken and due to an early morning appointment stayed in a hotel the night before. Ram drove and helped take care of Lamb 1 in the office during my appointment.

The oddest part for me was the first thing they did at this level 2 ultrasound was had us meet with a genetic counselor. She took down our whole history. She was kind of disgusted that I only have one sibling that was not married at the time (so no children) and Ram had no living siblings (and they never had children). She admitted without knowing about our nieces and nephews she didn't have much information to go on. I didn't understand that, because what if we had several siblings but we were the first ones to start our family? And neither Ram or I can help that we come from small families! Both Ram and I repeatedly asked why we couldn't have the ultrasound before speaking to the genetic counselor. That made it clear to me that they wanted us to decide on abortion with their "facts" of our genetics, before we even saw the baby on the screen. Because she had so little information about our family she recommended an amniocentesis. Because of our miscarriage between Lamb 1 and Lamb 2, I immediately declined an amniocentesis due to the risk of miscarriage after amniocentesis.

It was finally time for the level 2 ultrasound. I was really looking forward to seeing our baby in more detail than a normal ultrasound. I have had a lot of ultrasounds with all of my pregnancies and miscarriages and this level 2 ultrasound was the most silent ultrasound tech I have ever had for any of my ultrasounds. He only talked when necessary. Then another tech (doctor?) came in and was supposed to explain the results to us. But again, he said very little, we found out that Lamb 2 was a boy (the only pregnancy that we had a gender reveal-due to all this testing I wanted to know the sex to pray for him or her) and very little more. Again he recommended an amniocentesis. His reason-Lamb 2 was too active to really get good measurements. Both Ram and I left that ultrasound with the feeling that they did not suspect Down Syndrome, but they couldn't say that to us because they were afraid we would sue them if he was born with Down Syndrome. But they would not tell us one way or another, even what they suspected, just recommended an amniocentesis.

At the time we had good health insurance so our out of pocket cost was parking for the appointment; the hotel one night; gas to go 4 hours; and the time and mental stress of the appointment. Ram and I were quite disgusted that we received so little information for all that.

The rest of the story is that I didn't have any more ultrasounds during Lamb 2's pregnancy and we made clear that we were keeping the baby no matter what. But I would have really liked to have more information to be more mentally prepared and educate myself some more if he was born with Down Syndrome. He was born without Down Syndrome.

I left that appointment and started doing my research. At the time, (11 years ago) the best estimate that I could find then was that 75-90% of Americans with a positive blood test for Down Syndrome abort their babies. (The statistic in the story referenced above is higher, but I am not sure if that is a statistic for a positive blood test, ultrasound, or amniocentesis). It made me so sad. The way they do these appointments for level 2 ultrasounds is encouraging abortions.
1. We had to meet with the genetic counselor before they even looked at the baby on the level 2 ultrasound.
2. They wouldn't give us very much information no matter how many questions we asked.
3. They worked very hard to get me in for my level 2 ultrasound before it would be too late to have an abortion.
4. They encouraged amniocentesis, which causes miscarriages in some cases. (Even a small percentage of miscarriages due to amniocentesis is too much in my mind.)

Due to so many abortions after a positive blood test for Down Syndrome, there is no good estimate of how many of these were false positives like Lamb 2. So we have no idea how many of these babies were just fine like Lamb 2 but were aborted. I'm not even sure if they have any way to report that Lamb 2 was a false positive. It doesn't really matter if they have Down Syndrome or not, none of these children should be killed.

Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy. Lord have mercy.

When I was pregnant with Lamb 3 I refused any blood tests like this one that I had a false positive on when I was pregnant with Lamb 2. I refused to go through all that again when I knew we would keep the baby. For Lamb 3 I had a normal ultrasound at 20 weeks. Then as I got closer to delivery day I had several ultrasounds due to the fact that I only gained 10 lbs in that whole pregnancy. They never found anything abnormal in any of those ultrasounds, but due to the little weight gain they induced me a week early. Their ultrasound estimate was he was 4 1/2 lbs on induction day. But he was born healthy and 6 lbs 10 oz. I am thankful that he was born healthy and I don't regret the induction because the midwife was going on what information she had been given. I know that sometimes ultrasounds give life saving information. But I can see from Lamb 3's pregnancy, that even ultrasounds don't always give correct information.

Looking back, I am glad we had these experiences with Lamb 2 and Lamb 3 because it really opened my eyes to what the medical profession does during pregnancy. Please pray for pregnant women and their spouses to be able to navigate the information given to them during pregnancy and make wise decisions. Until Lamb 2's pregnancy, I had no idea the amount of decisions that need to be made during pregnancy. I already knew there were a lot of decisions to be made during birth. Continue praying for families blessed with a child with Down Syndrome. Continue praying for unborn babies.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Happy Birthday, Grandpa!

Apple pie for birthday dessert. New shirt from my sister. One candle instead of 77.

The Lambs read in their Botany book that God designed hummingbirds to be able to recognize and prefer the color red. They learned that a good way to get hummingbirds to notice your feeder is to direct them to the feeder with artificial red flowers. They immediately remembered that Grandpa gets excited when hummingbirds visit his feeder. So they thought he needed some artificial red flowers for his birthday present. I'm sure he didn't expect that for a present, but he will enjoy it when the hummingbirds come.

We are thankful to be in town with my parents to celebrate birthdays with them. This kicks off birthday boy season at our house!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Not my best moment of 2017!

A few weeks ago, right before we all got sick, I had a difficult time with one of Lamb 2's math lessons. I was upset with myself for not being able to handle 4th grade math. I thought I had bought his math book used and figured I could handle doing grade school  math and did not need to spend extra to buy a teacher's edition with answer key. I planned to set aside some time to look at it again without Lamb 2 and then sit down with Lamb 2 and redo the lesson. I wondered what my problem was since I didn't remember having trouble with this lesson when Lamb 1 did this book a few years ago. Then we got sick and after we were well I never found time to work on that lesson. My hope was that since it was before we got sick, maybe my brain just wasn't functioning well that day.

Lamb 2 is almost finished with this math book, so I went to get out his next math book today. What a surprise that right by his next math book was the answer key for his current math book! No wonder why I didn't have a problem with this lesson with Lamb 1, if I did, I checked my work in the answer key! When Lamb 2 did this book I forgot that we owned the answer key and I worked all the problems out in my head as he did each lesson. Instead of being upset with myself, I'll give myself a pat on the back that I did 118 4th grade math lessons by myself.

I could blame misplacing the answer key on moving, but unfortunately he began this book last spring and I didn't use the answer key then either. Hopefully I can remember that I own this answer key when Lamb 3 does this math book! Since I own several levels of math books, in the future I am always going to check if we own the answer key before one of the Lambs begins a new math book!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Quick Family Update

1. I think we are finally all healthy. We missed a week of homeschool while the Lambs and I were sick with a cold/cough/fever. It was a rough week where nothing got done. This week is very busy making up doctor checkups etc. It was so ridiculous that I was too sick to go to the doctor for a thyroid checkup and appointments like that. We are finally scheduled to make some of that up. I am so thankful that we never had stomach flu at our house, just the colds.
2. Our church had a wedding on Feb. 5 during the regular Sunday morning service. I do plan to blog more about the wedding soon. The wedding reminded me of our wedding with the same version of the Te Deum that we used. Ram was happy to have a copy of the music in front of him because he did not have a copy during our wedding and he did not have it memorized like I did!
3. Our church has a fish fry fundraiser for medical expenses for one of our members coming up on Friday. We are happy to be going to help on the fundraiser day. I am so impressed with all the behind the scenes work people from our congregation are doing to get ready for this fundraiser. We are praying for a very successful fundraiser to help this family.
4. The ladies at my mom's church are having an apron party this spring. I have dug out some of my books and aprons to help my mom with her planning. It has been fun to get all that out and look at it again.
5. I volunteered to present at a teacher's conference this fall. I don't know if I will be asked to speak or if they will have enough speakers, but I am hoping for a chance to do a little back in the teaching world again.
6. Ram is working hard on his schooling. Reading, writing papers, and doing interviews are all going well.
7. The Lambs are continuing with homeschooling and piano lessons and confirmation class at church. We just keep plugging along and when we finish one book we go on to the next.
8. Because I was sick I have not gotten everything together for our tax lady yet. Hopefully I can finish that by early next week.
9. The dishwasher is fixed. There was some food stuck in it and when that was removed it worked fine. It motivates me to scrape/rinse the dishes a little more. If I owned this house I would invest in a better dishwasher, but I don't so it means scraping and rinsing better.
10. We are studying what activities and day camps this area offers for this summer. So far Lamb 1 and 2 want to do several camps and Lamb 3 hasn't found any that he is interested in. I think it will be a very busy couple of months being chauffeur for what each Lamb is interested in. I am going to look into what the Science Museum offers because I think that is more what Lamb 3 would like to do instead of sports like his brothers. I am happy to let them do different activities in the summer for a week or two instead of committing to an entire fall or entire spring of chauffeuring. Plus I like that they can try out a wide variety of activities and see what interests they would like to pursue more.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

11 days

We are renting an old house. Since we moved in on Labor Day it has seemed something was always broken. I have been very thankful that the landlord is responsible for paying the repair bills, not us. I am also thankful that the landlord takes care of repairs, but it does take a little while because our landlord does not live in our city, so he asks his mom that does live locally to schedule the repairs.

We waited several months to get a pipe repaired in the basement that our kitchen sink was draining into. Everything in our house was working properly for 11 days after that was repaired. Then the dishwasher broke. We have been doing dishes by hand for two days. I will be thankful when the repair man gets here on Friday.

Frugal mom win today: We did not go out to eat tonight, we cooked at home and then I did all the dishes. My Aunt Agnes used to always say to do the dishes after every meal. She said if you don't get behind then it doesn't seem so bad to do one meal worth of dishes. That is so true! When we first moved to the house we bought in ID we had dishwasher problems but we continued to use it, we just had to mop up water afterwards until it was repaired. I have not been without a dishwasher since I was pregnant with Lamb 1 and he will turn 13 in a few weeks. I hope the repairman can fix it on Friday!

The Lambs have had some practice drying dishes, but our kitchen is small so I haven't asked them to do dishes yet. They will be glad when the dishwasher is fixed and they can get out of drying duty.