We are overjoyed to announce baby #6 is here, due in January. We are so in love already!
How is it that I, without any merit, have come to the distinction of being a mother? Oh, how gladly will I continue to fulfill such a calling. It is a gift, a privilege, and an unspeakable blessing.
I have been writing this post about our sweet baby for months now, so grab a cup of coffee and settle in! 😉
I have always wanted 6 kids. This time we waited a little bit before trying to conceive because of a global pandemic and because I didn't want to have a baby in December! Then after I realized things weren't going to get back to normal any time soon, I figured what better time to grow a baby and be down an out (first trimester sickness) than when I can't go out and do anything? 😉
I don't know why I've always wanted a large family. I think it's because I only have one sister who is significantly younger than me. We were never in school together, never passed any big milestones together and have never been in the same phase of life ever (she doesn't have any kids currently, and I have six LOL - you know I love you so much Sandy)!
So I wanted my kids to grow up with siblings who they could share life with. I love watching my kids learn together, play together, and grow up and become their own little people - together. There's never a dull moment in our house and I love it. I also appreciate an even number of kids, so no one is left out!
I also adore babies. I live for the newborn snuggles, sleepless nursing nights and carrying my baby with me everywhere I go as long as they'll let me. Until now, I've never felt like I was ready to say "goodbye" to that phase!
I'm super excited, but I'd be lying if I haven't had a few "what did we do?!" moments during this pregnancy. Particularly when I was super sick and crabby, I would allow fear to creep in and think, "how can I be a good mom to six kids?!" "I have to give birth - again." etc. Thankfully such thoughts never lasted long, but even so they are real and something I had to express and emote to Ritch (lucky him LOL)!
BOY! I can't even believe it! I am still a little bit in shock weeks after finding out. We would've been ecstatic either way, however I had come to peace with the idea that Gabe would likely never have a brother. But here we are! And even though he will be 7 (almost 8) when his brother is born, I think it will be so great for him to have a little one who looks up to him.
We brought our kids with us to the ultrasound to find out, because we figured it would be the only ultrasound they would get to see this time around since it was not done at the doctor's office - but at the place where we found out with all our Utah-born babies. I loved having them there with us to watch their baby brother move around, kick, suck his thumb, etc. etc. The way they giggled and exclaimed every time he moved was just the best.
The only drawback to them finding out this way was that I didn't get to really see their faces when they learned the news. In pregnancies past we had them pop a balloon or eat cupcakes (with pink filling) or something like that to tell the kids the gender, so I got to experience their initial reactions. But since I was in a position where it was hard to see them, I had to rely on Ritch for the recounting mostly (we didn't take any videos or photos - just lived in the moment).
However Gabe's reaction totally surprised me. He started crying! A sweet cry that I could tell was his way of expressing emotions too sophisticated for his sweet 7 year old mind and heart to convey. When he felt like talking about it later on in the day he said that he just loves being the only boy because he loves all the special man things he gets to do with Ritch. My heart!!! He loves his daddy so much he doesn't want to share him with another son! 🙂
I think he'll come around. Plus I explained that by the time this baby was the age Gabe is now, Gabe would be a teenager (I can't even). So he will still get all his daddy-Gabe time without his brother, and then also get to be part of the boy time when his brother learns his man skills! So he'll get double daddy time!
We always talk about the babies and which of their sisters they look/act the most alike (even though they're all so incredibly unique). This time we'll get to talk about how the new baby is like Gabe, which I think will make him feel special. We also started calling the baby "Gabe Jr." which he thinks is pretty great.
You guys, I am so excited to get to experience having another son. Sometimes I just feel giddy and exclaim to Ritch, "We're having another boy!" While I would've been grateful and excited to meet another sweet baby girl (I adore my girls and being a girl mom), I am over-the-moon ecstatic to be having a boy. I've already went through all my boy clothes and ordered a bunch more. Gabe was born in the summer and this baby will be born in the winter, so I had to get a bunch of cute new clothes! 😉
Before we found out the gender I 100% felt peace knowing our family was complete. I knew that, no matter what, this was going to be our last baby. So I'm just very grateful that Gabe gets to experience having a brother!
I'm also grateful to not have to hear "poor Gabe" this entire pregnancy. It made me so upset when I was pregnant with Keilah how, when I told people she was a girl, they would respond by saying the most inappropriate things. I never, ever want Gabe to feel like he's missing anything because he has a pile of cute sisters. And even more than that, I don't want my girls to feel "less-than" for being girls. So honestly, to not have to say, "He's not poor, he's rich in sisters" 1000 times in the next 6 months is a welcome reality indeed.
Just like when I was pregnant with Mara, and again with Keilah (both pregnancies took place after I turned 30) literally the day my baby turned 6 weeks old I started throwing up. This time I was very sick in the mornings, and then usually again at night.
The difference this time was that the morning sickness subsided just after 12 weeks, instead of lasting up until about 20 weeks (hallelujah). That was my first indication that this baby could be a boy! The fact that my morning sickness subsided significantly earlier made me think it was definitely possible!
Just a reminder: feeling sick and uncomfortable is a blessing. Yes, I said it. Although throwing up is never fun, it means there is a sweet baby growing inside your body. It means everything is going the way it should be. Sickness, aches & pains are all part of the beautiful journey of bringing a new life into this world, and let me just tell you (and never stop telling you) it is so SO worth it.
Once the nausea subsided fatigue set in. Afternoon naps are a regular thing for me these days. But as long as I get a good amount of sleep at night I am usually OK!
All food. In the first two months I wished someone had invented a pill that I could take that would give me all the nutrients I needed without having to eat or drink anything. I couldn’t eat anything sweet (at all), chocolate repulsed me.
Now things have evened out a little bit and I feel a little more like myself. There are certain foods that I usually adore that I can’t eat right now. Eggs gross me out, I can't look at salmon, etc.
Some of my most notable cravings have been: ciabatta bread slathered with butter, hummus, large carrots, fresh fruit - especially peaches, watermelon and cherries, and bun-less hamburgers (hello shake shack). The past couple weeks I've also had an insatiable craving for ice cream. I want it every day, and probably actually go get some with the family once a week!
I still get up and workout every morning, but it's less intense than my usual workouts. In the beginning I would get sick then eat something and go out for a run/walk. Around 12 weeks (when I stopped throwing up) I started doing workout videos again and it felt so great.
I really believe that staying active throughout your pregnancies help make labor and delivery much easier! Plus it gets the blood flowing and helps level out your hormones in the morning so the nausea doesn't last as long. I just make sure to listen to my body. I've felt significantly more physically tired this time around, so my runs turned to walks very early on and I don't exercise for as long as I usually do.
MY OTHER KIDS
HELPFUL TIP! DO NOT tell your other children that you’re pregnant until you’re ready for the world to know you’re pregnant. Because of my history of miscarriage, I wait until I’ve made it to around 12 weeks and have had two healthy ultrasounds before we tell our younger kids.
They all were SO EXCITED! Bethany actually figured it out earlier. I told her before the other kids because I know she is old enough to keep a secret. She kept asking me why I was sick and grumpy (LOL)! I was nervous to tell her because this baby is due the day before her birthday. The past 3 years in a row one of the kids has gone to the hospital ON Bethany's birthday, so I had promised her this year I would do my very best to prevent that from happening (as much as one mom can).
Plus, this is going to be her first year having a real birthday party (double digits celebration) - and I reassured her that would still happen. Well, when I told her I said, "That means I might be in the hospital on your birthday this year..." she said, "I don't care a new baby is the BEST birthday present ever! I cried. She is the sweetest big sister.
Naomi and Mara were typical little girl excited. Mara said she thought the baby would be a boy, born with a beard, and we should name him "peanut butter!" LOL! Naomi thought it would be a boy but said she wanted a girl. Both of them keep asking if we're going to have the baby "tomorrow." It helps that I can say he won't be born until after Christmas. That's a timeframe they understand!
EARLY PREGNANCY PRODUCTS
Cocoa Butter Lotion: AS SOON as I get a positive test I run to the store and buy cocoa butter lotion. I grease up my belly every morning and every night throughout the pregnancy. So far it has worked and I’ve made it through 5 babies without any stretch marks (however there is nothing wrong with stretch marks, beautiful reminders of the journey of motherhood).
Prunes: Prunes and more prunes! Seriously people, although they can be difficult to get down (if you’re like me and can’t stand the taste of them) they are a LIFESAVER of the best kind. And I digress…
Other than that I just make sure to have a lot of food on hand that I can eat and LOTS of seltzer water!
IF YOU’RE ON YOUR JOURNEY TO MOTHERHOOD….
I would be remiss if I didn’t start by acknowledging the fact that reading pregnancy announcements can be incredibly painful to some. I know this all too well. This is my 8th pregnancy and my 6th baby. Between Bethany and Gabe I had two miscarriages, one of which was twins. I have three sweet babies that I never got to hold, five that I have the joy of playing will all day every day, and one that I’m eagerly anticipating meeting in January.
For me, having babies has been a rollercoaster of deep (deep) sorrow and sing-it-from-the-hilltops joy. I adore being a mommy. I adore my babies (all of them). And I adore encouraging other women who are on the journey of starting a family or in the throws of parenting.
All the photos of our family in this post were taken by my favorite photographer…Brooke Steinicke! Check out her website, Facebook page and Instagram account! And if you’re looking for an amazing family photographer she is your person! She has been taking our photos for FIVE YEARS and we adore her!