Friday, February 24, 2017

It Is Well

If you follow me on Facebook, you are well aware of our recent stay at Royal Oak Beaumont. I posted many times asking for prayers for Maggie while she was sick and I updated everyone as she healed. While most of my friends know the story of her hospital stay and how difficult it was on our entire family, there's a few things I haven't shared: I never shared about the anxiety and panic attacks that I started having the minute we got home. I didn't share how one little trigger would start me in a downward spiral with the most intense feelings of fear, dread and anxiety that we were going to end up back in the hospital (I'll blog more about this later). But most importantly I didn't share about how I had an intimate encounter with God while at the hospital.

If you've ever had a sick child, you understand how hard it is to just stand by and not be able to do anything to make them better. As parents we want to immediately take any pain and sickness from our children so they don't have to experience any discomfort in life. Watching Maggie, at a mere 3 weeks old, work so hard to breathe and show no signs of improvement for days was devastating to me. There was absolutely nothing I could do to make Maggie better. I sat for hours upon hours with Maggie in my arms, praying for her healing. She was hooked up to so many monitors, IVs and breathing tubes that I would get tangled in them. I watched the monitors constantly and held my breath every time her respiratory rate would increase and her oxygen saturation and heart rate decreased. Every time the alarms would sound that she was in distress, I lost hope. I've have never felt so alone and I didn't understand why God wasn't answering my prayers.

When I thought it couldn't get any worse, Maggie's nurse came in and told us that we could no longer hold her. She was on strict bed rest because her stats were better ( but still not good) when she was in bed rather than when we'd hold her. That was the biggest punch in the stomach for me. What did they mean that she was better off in bed? A baby needs her mommy and she should do nothing but thrive in my arms. Although I was upset, I knew that it was what was best for Maggie. I put her in her hospital grade crib which looked more like a prison than a bed. I sat beside her in utter despair. I prayed and prayed and prayed but felt like God was abandoning me. I kept reminding myself that even though I don't feel God, He is still there. I told myself over and over that God loves Maggie more than I can even imagine and that He hears my every prayer and knows every tear that I have cried. I knew these truths but I still felt so alone.

A few nights later, Maggie's favorite nurse, Kelly, came in to do her hourly checks. I expressed how sad I was that I haven't held my baby in days. Without hesitation, Kelly told me that just as much as a baby needs her mom, a mom needs her baby. She scooped Maggie up out of bed and placed her in my arms. Tears welled in my eyes because I had missed my sweet Magpie so badly. Kelly told me to keep an eye on the monitors and if her stats started to decline then I'd have to put Maggie back in bed. I began singing my favorite hymn "It Is Well With My Soul" as I rocked Maggie. The words to that hymn are:

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say
It is well, it is well, with my soul
It is well
With my soul
It is well, it is well with my soul
It is well (it is well)
With my soul (with my soul)
It is well, it is well with my soul
(Note: These arent all the lyrics but the only ones I could remember at the time)
As I sang these words over and over, I felt something I have never experienced before. Over my right shoulder was a feeling of warmth that I can't quite describe. It wasn't a temperature that I was feeling but the most calming peace. I felt this perfect presence lean over me and touch Maggie. I looked up at the monitors and watched as Maggie's oxygen saturation went up to 100% (it had never been even close to 100% before), her heart rate went to normal level and her respiratory rate slowed down to a pace that showed that she was no longer working to breathe. I began sobbing as I knew without a doubt that I was in the presence of God. He was standing behind me and was healing my baby. I sat there feeling His warmth, love and peace. I wish I could put into words exactly what I felt. To say it was amazing would be an understatement. After a few minutes, that supernatural feeling faded and I immediately called Remie over to me and told him what had happened. We immediately thanked God for hearing our prayers and knew that Maggie was going to be ok. 
The next morning Maggie's doctor was surprised at her progress and took her off the CPAP and on to the high flow cannula.

Then Maggie's nurse gave her a bath, found some clean clothes and gave Maggie a new blanket. She was improving rapidly and we were so thankful!

Before we knew it, Maggie was off oxygen and there was talk of us going home in 24 hours. Maggie did so well without oxygen that her doctor felt confident discharging Maggie later that evening rather than making us wait the entire 24 hours!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Story of Maggie's Birth

The past 3 weeks have flown by over here. I can't believe that my sweet Maggie is over 3 weeks old already! Although I'm extremely tired from the middle of the night feedings and taking care of the other 5 kids during the day, the past 3 weeks have been amazing. I absolutely love having a newborn in the house. Squishy babies just make everything so much better!

I've been asked numerous times to post Maggie's birth story. I can't believe it has taken me so long to sit down and write it out....but I guess that's life with 6 kids! So here it goes, the story of Margaret's arrival.

I have always dreamed of having a home birth. The thought of being able to labor at home, not have to endure contractions on a car ride to the hospital and being able to sleep in my own bed sounded like heaven to me. After Henry's exciting, unplanned home birth and the fact that we moved out into the middle of nowhere, with no hospital nearby, Remie and I decided that a home birth was the best option for us. People called us crazy, asked if I was trying to kill myself or my baby and even tried to talk me out of our plans to birth at home but it was the best decision we ever made.

We were in the middle of a huge construction project of finishing our basement and my contractor promised me that it would be complete before the baby arrived. I had plans of turning the basement into a beautiful birthing suite with a pool, soft music and candles flickering around me. I envisioned the most peaceful environment to birth my baby. But one thing led to another, there were hold ups due to inspections and other minor things that made the project go on longer than expected. Finally we were scheduled to get our basement carpeting installed on December 28th and I would be able to start putting together everything I needed for the birth. I really thought I had plenty of time before my due date of January 17th.

Right before Christmas my kids started dropping like flies from an awful stomach bug. It was barf central at our house! I was constantly washing my hands, taking elderberry syrup, lathering myself with essential oils and doing every other natural remedy to keep me from getting the dreaded stomach bug. I managed to hold it off until December 27th. I woke up that morning and just didn't feel right. My stomach hurt and I was desperately hoping that I wasn't sick. I was dead wrong. I'll leave out the gory details but it was bad. I was finally able to keep down fluids by mid afternoon right in time for my husband Remie to start upchucking right next to me. We both struggled together trying to take care of the kids while grossly sick. We finally got all the kids tucked in bed that night and collapsed in bed around 10:00 pm. No sooner did our heads hit the pillow and Isaac vomited all over his bed. It was the biggest mess I've seen. I collected all the dirty bedding and ran it to the laundry room. That's when my first contraction hit me! I remember thinking "Oh no, God wouldn't put me into labor in the middle of this barf fest!". The contraction was so intense that I had to bend over and hold onto the washing machine. I knew that it had to be labor but there was no way I had the nerve to tell my very sick husband that I thought the baby was coming!!!! On the way back to our bedroom I had another contraction that stopped me in my tracks.

This is when some of the details get a bit fuzzy for me so I'm hoping that my version is accurate! (I may have to have Remie tell his version too lol)

Remie and I got Isaac cleaned up and in bed and we headed back to bed. As I was laying in bed the contractions continued. Remie noticed that I was uncomfortable and asked what was going on. I told him that I was having contractions but I was hoping that they were just from being dehydrated. Remie insisted that I keep drinking water to see if they'd stop. They didn't. Remie then began timing the contractions and they were 1-3 minutes apart. After some discussion (because I'm always in denial that I'm actually in labor) we decided to contact my midwife, Heather. Remie texted Heather and told her what was going on. She told Remie to have me drink pedialyte rather than water to see if it was dehydration causing the contractions. I chugged the most awful punch flavored pedialyte and the contractions kept coming. Heather decided that she was going to come out and check on me. While she was driving to our house my contractions intensified and I knew it was the real thing. I remember laying in bed having to pee but I refused to get up because I knew that an empty bladder gives the baby more room to descend down the birth canal and I was NOT having another unassisted birth!
Laying in bed, refusing to get up
Heather finally arrived and agreed that I was in labor. She asked if I wanted to be checked and I said yes. I was 6cm dilated. By that time I had been in labor for one whole hour and I looked at Remie and said "What the hell is taking so long?!" (Henry was born in only 58 minutes so I assumed this baby was just going to fall out).
Lily always acts as my support "dog" during labor!
I decided to labor in the shower because my plans for a water birth in the basement were not going to happen. I sat in the shower and labored for what seemed like an eternity. I breathed (and cursed) through each contraction until the water ran cold. I finally shut off the shower and sat in there laboring a bit longer. Someone asked me if I wanted to get out of the shower to keep warm but I was in my groove and didn't want to move. My second midwife arrived and began asking me if I wanted to deliver in the shower or on the bed. I remember thinking that she was crazy for asking me because I wasn't even close to delivering. I was extremely tired and said that I wanted to take a nap between contractions. I got out of the shower and made my way to the bed. I laid down on the bed and immediately felt the urge to push! I gave one good push and my water broke. With the next push the baby's head was crowning and before I knew it, my baby girl was born at 1:24am on December 28, 2016! She struggled breathing at first so Heather got right to work and gave Maggie rescue breaths. Within a few moments, Maggie was breathing on her own and turning pink.

Meeting Margaret
Heather left Maggie and I alone for the most wonderful, peaceful hour of skin to skin contact as we bonded. Heather then weighed and measured Maggie. She is our smallest baby at only 7lbs 4oz and 19 1/2 inches long. She seems so teeny tiny!! Heather left after a few hours and we spent the rest of the night snuggling our new little blessing.

Getting Measured
Many people are asking where we got Maggie's name. Margaret is a family name on both Remie and my side of the family. Remie adored his maternal grandmother who he affectionately called "Little Grandma". Little Grandma's name was Mary Margaret so we knew that we wanted to somehow honor her by using part of her name for our baby.

When my mom was growing up her grandmother lived with her. Since birth I have been hearing wonderful stories about my mom's grandma who she called "Mimi". I recently found out that Mimi's middle name was Margaret. When I found this out, Remie and I both agreed that Margaret was the perfect name for our little one.

We struggled with a middle name for Maggie. We like using family names and we also love giving our children middle names that mean something special to us. We searched and searched for the perfect middle name. Finally when looking through our family tree I found that Mimi's mother's name was Isabelle. Remie and I have always loved the name Isabelle and have considered it as a name for all of our children. I decided to look up the meaning of Isabelle. The Hebrew meaning is "Devoted to God". As soon as we read that, we were sold!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Welcome to Almont!

We are finally all settled in our new home. The adjustment to country life hasn't been as hard as I expected. The most difficult thing for me to get used to is the well water. We had it tested before we moved in so I'm confident that it's safe to drink but I just can't get past the taste. I'm sure I look ridiculous when I buy gallons of spring water at the local store. My pregnancy turns my nose into a super sniffer and the smell of the well water is very strong to me. No one else seems to be able to smell the iron and minerals in the water like I can. However, I do have to say that the water has been amazing for my hair! It is so soft and shiny now instead of dry and a bit frizzy!

The community of Almont is incredible. It's hard to believe how different people live and act a mere 20 miles north of the city. Everyone I have met has been so welcoming and warm. During our first few days in our home, our mail lady stopped to introduce herself and offer us any help we might need. When my children began riding the bus to school, the bus driver took the time to learn their names and every day greets them with a "Good Morning ____(insert name)". Just last week we received a letter from the Chief of Police. I have to admit that when I saw that the return address was from the Police Department, I thought for sure it was a speeding ticket. To my amazement it wasn't a ticket but a letter welcoming us to the area and explaining the services that the Police Department provides. Remie and I keep pinching ourselves because we can't believe how wonderful the community is here.

We have been doing quite a bit of work on the house so far. Remie and his dad painted the entire house in one week. Remie is so sweet because he knew that the previous owner's odd paint color choices of pea green and brown would drive me crazy so he bit the bullet and painted everything to make the house feel more like our home. The guys were exhausted after it was all done but the house looks so beautiful now!

We also cleaned the carpets before we moved in which activated the awful smell of animal urine. We tried everything we could to get the smell out but nothing worked. The stench was so strong in Henry's room that it was nauseating! We finally decided to replace all of the carpet and padding. Boy am I glad we did! When the installers were tearing out the carpeting, the padding underneath was completely stained with animal pee. I had to walk outside so I didn't get sick.

The kids have adjusted amazingly to the new house. They love seeing the family of deer that visits our yard in the early morning and are having a blast simply running on the endless amounts of grass. They beg to go play outside as much as possible which is quite a change from their behavior at the old house. I used to have to force them to get out of the house to play. They are doing well in school and have made a few good friends. The kids have learned the Almont Raiders Fight Song and are already die hard Raiders fans!

I was very nervous about downsizing our home from 3100 sq feet to 2000 sq feet. I didn't know how we'd all fit and was concerned that we would be crammed in. I have found that I worried for nothing. Right now Henry has his own room (because he sleeps so much) while the other 4 kids share a room until our basement finishing project is complete. I actually think the kids are growing closer together by sharing a room and learning how to cooperate with one another. There is still a lot of fighting between them but they really are learning how to respect each other's belongings and live in such close proximity to one another.

That's it for the updates on our new life. I'm sure I will have more to write as we learn how to grow a garden and raise chickens:)

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

My First Taste of the Country

I knew moving to the country would come with some uncomfortable adjustments. I was prepared for deer grazing in my backyard, raccoons, mice and maybe some other wild life. I knew I'd learn about raising chickens, septic systems and well water. However, I absolutely was NOT prepared for what happened today!

We have not yet moved to the new house but are anxiously waiting for the sellers to GET OUT! The seller called me yesterday to let me know that my diabetic supplies were delivered to the new house. I told her I'd stop by after I dropped the kids off at school. She said she'd leave the box on the porch for me. Easy peasy, right?

Oh was I ever wrong.

Poor naive Vicki.

As I pulled up to the new house I envisioned all that I want to do to spruce it up and make it our forever home. Pull some weeds here, add some shutters, new siding and maybe even a white picket fence. I pranced to the front door and there was my package sitting on the porch as promised. As I snatched up the box my worst nightmare became a reality. Crawling out from under the box was the biggest black spider I have ever seen! It was easily the size of my palm. I screamed loudly and threw the box at the spider! Stupidest.move.ever!!!!! Now I needed to somehow gain enough nerve to pick up the package without upsetting or touching the growling spider. For a moment I considered saying "screw it" to the diabetic supplies and just be content growing an XL baby. Then I envisioned the seller coming home, seeing my box thrown against the wall and laughing at what a wuss I was. I took a few deep breaths and counted to three. 1...2....3! I grabbed box and shook it violently to make sure my spider didn't have family that took up residence inside my glucose monitor. I then ran to my van, holding the box as far away from me as possible. I threw the box in the far back of my van. I left the package in my van until Remie got home to open it for me!

Friday, August 26, 2016


Whew what a whirlwind the last 2 months have been!

We were able to sell our house relatively quickly. Selling the house was the easy part. Buying another one was a different story. We ended up putting offers on 4 separate houses in just a few short weeks! The housing market is crazy- tons of buyers and not enough sellers.

It was a difficult journey watching the clock tick away, knowing that we had to be out of our house soon but not yet having a place to live. I repeatedly prayed to God that He not let us be homeless. Living in a hotel or with family with 5 kids was not ideal. This experience was definitely one that forced Remie and I to grow in our faith together. We prayed and prayed and prayed for God to direct us to the perfect home for us. Each time we put an offer on a house and it was rejected felt like a punch in the gut. To say that our faith was growing weary is an understatement. We were scared and worried. We were worried about all of the unknown. Where would we live? Where would the kids go to school? Oh my gosh am I going to have our baby in a hotel? Our worry was consuming us.

Finally one night Remie and I had a heart to heart conversation about our house situation. We agreed to no longer worry about the unknown and instead focus on the truths that we do know. We knew that God had not forgotten us and that He loves us more than we can imagine. He loves our kids more than we do and cares more about their well being than we can imagine. We acknowledged the importance of trusting God with EVERY aspect of our life and letting go of the control and worry of finding a new house. We agreed that we wanted to allow God to use this situation to teach us how to trust Him and give our burdens to Him. God knew our situation and He was already handling it for us. We felt such peace after declaring all of this.

It seemed like the housing market was slowing down and houses with our criteria weren't popping up on the market. I kept reminding myself that it only takes one house. We weren't going to be homeless and it was going to be in the perfect timing.

A few weeks ago we found "the house". You know, the one that makes you want to cry because you love it so much? That's exactly what got! It's a cute little ranch on 3 acres in Almont. It's on a private road and in the school district we wanted to be in. Everything we prayed about came at the perfect timing. The best part is that the owners only need 10 days occupancy after closing which means that we will have time to clean it and move in before we have to be out of our current home.

God heard our prayers, answered them and carried us through this entire experience. We wouldn't have survived (or stayed sane) without Him. A special thank you to our friends that lifted our family up in prayer during this time! When we were weak, you remained strong and encouraging for us.

*blogger is acting up and wont let me put pictures in this post. Pictures to come :)

Monday, June 27, 2016

City Girl Meets Country Life

Remie and I decided to sell our home and move to the country. We've only been living in this home for 2 years but truthfully we aren't happy here. The house is beautiful and the neighborhood is well kept but our yard is too small to play baseball and we want space for the kids to be able to run and just be kids. We have dreamed of living in an old farmhouse on a few acres and after praying about it, we decided that now is a better time than any to start moving towards our dream.

We haven't found our new home yet but we know that its going to be an adjustment when we move. I've always lived in the city so I know that I'm going to have a lot to learn when it comes to country living. I'll be sure to blog about our adventures so you can laugh at all the mistakes I make along the way.

When we do move, I think I'll rename my blog to something more fitting to our lifestyle. If you have any suggestions for blog names, I'd love to hear them.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Brace Face

On Wednesday, Remie David had an appointment with the orthodontist to get braces. He seemed a little nervous about adding more metal to his mouth but was brave and didn't complain. I was hoping that the kids at school would be nice about his new appearance because I knew that one negative comment would crush him.

Immediately after Remie got his braces on he had a smile plastered on his face.

He smiled the entire car trip back to school.

After school, Remie got off the bus with the same big smile on his face! My heart was so happy! I was hoping that his friends at school thought his new look was cool!

Remie played at his buddy Carson's house after school and even Carson commented on Remie's continuous grin!

It wasn't until we were doing homework after dinner that I asked him what he thought about his new braces.

He responded with a glum "They're fine."

I was surprised that he didn't tell me how all the kids at school thought his colored rubber bands were so cool! So I asked him what his friends thought of his braces.

Again he responded without emotion and said "They didn't notice."

I was stumped so I asked Remie, "You've been smiling nonstop since you got your braces. Why aren't you more excited to talk about them?!

He replied, "I haven't been smiling. I've been holding my lip up because it hurts to put it down over my braces!"

Mystery solved.