Prepping for Baby K4

Six weeks ago I reached the halfway point of the pregnancy.

The only thing that I had done in preparation prior to this was to pull out my bin of maternity clothes. And can I just say I’m getting so sick of some of those shirts. Elastic stretch pants, however? I’ll never be sick of you!

The afternoon we found out the gender we celebrated with dinner at Longhorn, where we ate during our first date, and then took a trip to Carter’s for some baby clothes. I swear, everything is cuter when it’s smaller.

So I’ve got a couple bags of new baby clothes, tags on, sitting on top of my box of maternity clothes, shoved into the corner of the bedroom. And that’s really as far as I’ve gotten.

So a few nights ago, I was pondering what life would be like with three toddlers and a newborn, especially when my husband has to go back to school to finish the year (thanks a lot Mother Nature for those five make-up snow days he has). It was a scary image, indeed.

Anyone who has kids knows about the witching hour. They’re cranky, they’re hungry, and you have to make dinner. So I figured it was time to put my crock pot and basement freezer to good use. I spent naptime scouring Pinterest for freezer meals, crock pot and casserole style. Found some tasty new options too, like honey sesame chicken, cheddar sausage & pierogies and a chicken artichoke casserole. It took a couple hours but I wrote out all the recipes, highlighted the ingredients I needed to buy, and typed a detailed shopping list by department.

I don’t like giving my toddlers junk for dinner. When we have errands or playgroup, or go to the museum, they get a bagged lunch. It usually consists of a PB&J, yogurt (or a veggie applesauce pouch), milk and snacks. Not horrible, but not the most balanced. But it’s so hard some days to spend more than ten minutes in the kitchen at dinner time to prepare something a little more balanced. A decent meal takes time, and there’s screaming and throwing and the twins climbing the changing table. If I’m in the living room or playroom with them, everything is calmer.

A couple of nights ago, I had a doctor’s appointment so I wasn’t sure if I’d be home for their dinner. It was all laid out in the fridge for their Grandma – homemade chicken tenders (they had been stored in the freezer from a few weeks ago), pasta and sauce, salad with honey mustard dressing, banana and yogurt raisins. This is a meal I feel good about serving. Having all this ready for dinner meant that when the twins napped in the morning, instead of sitting with Evie and going over her letters or doing a craft, I was cutting up vegetables and making pasta. She did help, in her own toddler way, which she loves, but I still feel like she got the short end of the stick.

Their afternoon nap time is the time I do paperwork, laundry, read, blog, etc. The kitchen is just too close to the spare room where Evie sleeps (I have to separate her from her sisters at nap) so I can’t do dishes or cook. It’s too loud. And half the time, she won’t sleep anyway. I listen to her playing with her doll for about a half hour then I get her up.

So I guess this fervent need to accumulate food just stems from (a) feeling like I don’t have the time on a normal night to prepare something decent, and (b) wanting my girls to eat a better variety of foods. I’ve got one that’s my big bread eater, one that’s a HUGE meat eater and the third just picks at everything. Honestly, she’s too busy playing with her belly button to do much eating.

Luckily, my husband is working in a district that still believes in a February and an April school vacation. That’s means I can prepare my crockpot meals one vacation week, and the second I can make my freezer beef – that’s another day long project when I make a ton of meatballs, meatloaf, and lasagna.

The next step is probably pulling out all the baby furniture. Our house is tiny, and even setting up a bassinet in our bedroom is going to hamper our movement. It hasn’t been that long since everything was packed away, so I do still know where it all is. One bonus is that because of the twins we have two of a lot of the furniture pieces. That means a second bassinet can sit in the living room, so Baby is away from toddler hands when mommy has to pee. Two playpens means baby can nap in our spare room on the first floor, and when she outgrows the bassinet, can sleep in the other playpen in our room. That is, until we feel comfortable moving her in with her sisters. Two little bouncy seats means one can sit in the living room and one in the playroom. You probably wouldn’t even be able to walk through our house once all that stuff is set up. At least the summer has us outside more than in!

It’s a relief to still have all these items and to not have to worry about making too many new purchases. We know that we need a snap-and-go single (we have a double) for the infant car seat, and we are debating on purchasing a quad stroller. I was never a huge fan of baby wearing. My body shape seems ill-suited to it and it was always cumbersome. Plus, even carrying a tiny baby, my back hurt. Sure if I did it all the time I would probably get used to it. There were numerous outings when my husband and I each wore one of the twins when we went somewhere. But, and I’m being honest here, the only exercise that I’ve gotten since having kids is walking. The triple stroller that I have is incredibly difficult to push around corners and it’s heavy. I don’t see myself wearing an infant and pushing a triple. The price tag on the quads is quite steep, though, so we are still thinking. I just wish we could find them in stores and take them for a test drive before making a decision. I think I’ll still invest in a new baby carrier. We were gifted a couple of hand me downs from a relative but they never quite fit right. A little bulky and way too sweaty. I’m debating between a few mesh varieties currently.

I started this post a couple of weeks ago and am just now getting ready to finish. The good news is my husband and I were able to get our crockpot meals made and frozen during vacation last week! We even previewed the cheeseburger casserole (huge favorite with all of us – except Evie, because she wouldn’t try it). The bad news is our house suffered through a horrific stomach bug this past weekend that landed me in the ER. Everyone is good now, baby included. Now comes the countdown to ‘music’ season where my husband is super busy with musicals, concerts, DJ gigs and his own band concerts. My goal is to save the freezer meals (11 crockpot and 2 casseroles) for May, when I’m way too pregnant to do anything, and beyond, when the baby comes. Not sure that’s going to happen though; they look too good!


When no one else cares.

This has been a very trying week. There are always good days and bad days each week but me not feeling well has made the bad days that much worse.

Monday is always my good day. I always feel so energized and motivated on Mondays. Even if the weekend was spent running errands, I have my husband with me. The bad never feels as bad when he’s around. And we have the evenings together to just sit and watch tv or play a game. Tuesday is usually pretty good as well – we have play group. Even for an hour, it’s nice just to be able to talk with other moms while all the kids play. It’s a hike, about forty minutes each way, but we make it home in time for lunch and nap. Where the week goes from there is anyone’s guess.

Today has been especially tough. I’m congested, which is giving me a headache that I just can’t shake, and I’m sick to my eyeballs of my almost three year old refusing to poop in the toilet. Last week I gave up on underwear all together and stuck her in “baby diapers.” They’re actually just swim diapers that I got post season on clearance. Now, she only gets to wear underwear when she poops in the toilet. That was probably one day of the last two weeks.

The problem with this whole situation is that nothing I do (whether taking things away or giving her rewards for success) has any effect. She just does not care.

I’ve been over the forums, and the Facebook groups and I know that it takes awhile for some kids to get it. I also know that it’s not a question of fear, or positioning, and that she’s mature enough to understand what we are asking her to do. She’s been peeing in the toilet for almost a year now, with no problem.

When we started the process we started with a reward only system. We didn’t want to punish accidents. She gets two m&ms and a sticker for her chart when she is successful. When this wasn’t doing the trick we added nail polish (mommy would paint her nails) and she would get to wear her Elsa high heels. These are things she LOVES. But she just doesn’t care enough I guess. And we just can’t take it anymore. Making her stay in her underwear for an extra two minutes before cleaning her up doesn’t work. Time outs don’t work. Taking away her underwear doesn’t work. Taking away her favorite show, Spirit, doesn’t work.

Taking a moment to interrupt this post because the little turd just looked at me and said, “pooped in pants.” Did I mention that in addition to pooping her pants once this morning, she also peed while at the dining room table (I have no idea why – she’s never even peed herself overnight), so I stuck her in of her sisters’ actual diapers? Well, that’s how our day has been going. She’s currently locked between two baby gates at the bottom of the stairs with her pink chair and a bucket of plastic horses. In addition to the accidents, she was hitting one of her sisters while I was trying to make lunch.

They’re in bed, so now I can finish writing!

Honestly, the poop thing today isn’t what set me off. Yesterday we went the mall with a friend of mine that I hadn’t seen (in person) for awhile. We had such a great time watching the girls play and then having lunch in the food court. She said something to me at the end of our trip that really got me thinking. She expressed how much fun she had and asked if maybe she could come by our house sometime to play with the girls. I said of course.

But last night I kept going back to what she said trying to figure out why I felt so uneasy. I realized that it was the first time (since my girls were newborns, so going back almost three years), that anyone has ever asked to come over to see my children. This includes my father, my siblings, and my in-laws.

I do the inviting. I take it upon myself to invite people over. And last night I really started wondering why. If someone really wants to be a part of my childrens’ lives, don’t you think they would take the initiative?

The more I thought about this, the sadder I became. And then a lot of things started making more sense. I never had a baby shower. I expressly stated that I didn’t want one and there weren’t any arguments about it either. And I’ve always been anti-birthday party (with the exception of a first birthday). But after this revelation I started to understand why I am the way I am about these two things. Part of me, deep down, feels that no one cares enough about our family to want to be involved. We didn’t even announce this new pregnancy until we were halfway through it.

As a child, we were always visiting friends and relatives with my mom. And people always popped by our house. It made the saying, ‘it takes a village,’ so much more real. For us, we do all the visiting. And you know how inconvenient it is to pack up three toddlers to visit someone who has not child-proofed their house? It’s miserable. And when people do come over? It’s because they were expressly invited to.

Now I have to make a distinction here with my in-laws. I can almost guarantee that their not asking to see the girls has nothing to do with an indifference for our children, but more of their not wanting to inconvenience us. But having people over is not an inconvenience for us. It’s a welcome break. A chance for the girls to hang around with other people, for us to have some adult conversation, and to just be social.

Being here by myself all day with the girls is sometimes really hard. Especially this time of year when there aren’t a lot of opportunities to play outside. A visitor would be incredibly welcome. I run a lot of errands with the girls during the week just to get them out of the house and to be around other people. I post a lot on Facebook because some days it is the ONLY adult interaction I get. Some days I feel like I have more of a relationship with the moms I follow on Instagram than some of the members of my own family.

I’m tired of asking for people to be involved in my childrens’ lives. If someone wants to know them, then the ball is in their court.

And honestly, there’s nothing sadder than feeling like your children only matter to you and your husband.

And to Kim D., I say thank you. You are an amazing person and you have an open invitation to visit us whenever you like.



The time has come. In just a few short months, my oldest will be three.

Two, for the most part, has been pretty smooth sailing. Evelyn is a great helper. When we are heading up to bed she always goes first to shut my bedroom door. Saves me from chasing the twins in two different directions. When we are out at a museum, or anytime her sisters aren’t in the double, she will help wrangle if one strays too far. Most days she still takes an afternoon nap (or at least will be chill enough in her pop-up play yard with toddler cot) that I can get a few things done. She is still an excellent night sleeper, needing her solid 12 hours.

So that’s the good…

I’m beginning to see some changes in her as we approach three. I’ve come to expect some changes, especially after hearing about so many others’ kids going through this more difficult stage. So far it’s been… well somewhat frustrating to say the least. It’s not all bad, but most days it’s the bad that just lingers. Here are the most noticeable changes thus far.

1. She is definitely more set in her ways. Things have to be done a certain way (possibly my own OCD being partly to blame). Some days she wants to be fully independent (my do it!) and other days she will have a meltdown if I don’t wipe her after she pees. A task she is FULLY capable of herself. If someone sits in her chair at mealtimes she screams. Tries to take a toy she has, she screams.

2. She just can’t be bothered. Having to pee is now an all of a sudden, crotch-grabbing, rush to the bathroom. Because she just can’t be bothered while she is playing. She’s been good about going when we are out in public but any attempt to get her into the bathroom at home when she doesn’t want to go is akin to trying to cut a rock with a spoon.

3. She’s bossy. She is now disciplining her sisters. And not always nicely. She gets this nice angry voice and will tell them to ‘stop screaming’ or ‘don’t throw toys.’

4. She doesn’t like being kissed. We have a nightly ritual of hugs, kisses and noses. Some nights, she just doesn’t want to be kissed. Instead, she’ll kiss us on the cheek. On the other hand, she will also have moments when she just wants to hug and kiss her sisters. She was still a baby when they were born (11 months) so the affection has only come recently. It’s pretty cute, though.

5. She HAS to cook with Mommy. This last week, especially, this fun quirk has been at the forefront. She has always loved baking with me. She has a stool in the kitchen and will drag it out to see what I’m doing. We will bake mid-morning, while her sisters nap. But now when I leave the girls in the living room or playroom and say I have to ‘cook’ lunch or dinner, she has an absolute meltdown if she can’t help. While I’m happy she likes to cook with me, sometimes having a toddler on a stool in front of the stove just isn’t the best idea. Especially when her sisters start screaming in the other room. I can’t leave her to check on them and trying to get her to come with me causes instant tears.

6. She never wants to get dressed. She’ll have a freak out if I take off her shirt before a messy dinner because her boobies are showing and ‘boobies are private.’ And yet after bath, she runs around the living stark naked, refusing to put on her PJs and underwear and shaking her butt in everyone’s face. It’s also equally difficult to get her out of her PJs in the morning. And it’s always the worst when we have to leave right away.

7. “Evie School” is getting harder and harder. I’ll admit that I have let her daily school ritual slack a little bit. I can’t always get the twins down in the morning, which is when we would sit together, and sometimes the chores are just too multitudinous to ignore. When we do work together, we always start with flash cards. I’ve had to introduce a sticker book as an incentive for finishing each task. But the 30 or so flash cards that used to take us a few minutes now takes us fifteen. She just sits there and stares. I prompt her numerous times on each one. She knows them all. She is just losing all her focus. The same with pen control when she follows the lines in her wipe off book. She used to do the entire book (by choice) in one sitting and now one page is a struggle. I’ve been varying it up a bit, trying to keep her interested in what we do, but some days it’s just not worth the aggravation. It’s sad to me, because I’ve always loved having this time with her one-on-one. But now it seems like we just do 1-2 tasks each time when we used to do 4-5. I’m not going to push it, or let her see my annoyance. I don’t want to turn her off completely. I just wish I could have a solid ten minutes of her attention most days.

8. She is becoming more outgoing. When people stop us in a store she will now just blurt out, ‘my name Evie,’ or ‘my two years old.’ (We are still working on the I/my confusion) At the library a few weeks back we were in the children’s section with a couple other moms and their combined five daughters. Evelyn took it upon herself to talk to the older girls and (try to) play with them. When a little boy came in she told him her name and then they started chasing each other. And when we left, she went and said goodbye to everyone. It was all a pleasant shock to me. I’ve never told her to go and introduce herself, to say goodbye to people she doesn’t know, or to go play with kids she doesn’t know.

The best days are the days when we have a destination for the morning. Playgroup, a trip to Target or Walmart, or a play date. Just to be out helps the rest of the day go much smoother. I feel like part of the change in her behavior can be attributed to cabin fever. I feel it too. We used to spend a couple hours each day outside playing when the weather was nice. If we weren’t in our backyard we went to the park or went for a walk. But being stuck in the house most days is wearing on all of us.

We spend our time on our home days alternating between the playroom and living room. Sometimes we will go upstairs and they’ll play in their room while I put clothes away, separate their outfits, etc. There are times when I will take out a certain toy they haven’t used in awhile (like out giant box of Mr. Potato head pieces) and we will all sit together. Other times, I just sit back and see what they do. Usually Evelyn will take something out and her sisters will then alternate playing with what she has and doing their own thing. Sometimes they just chase each other back and forth. Sometimes, everything is chaos. The twins will run smack into each other and both start screaming. Someone is just too tired and everything makes them cry. Or I have to tell Evelyn she can’t have chocolate at 10am and she loses it. Then we have a TV break. I wish I could be that mom that never puts the TV on. I think Evelyn was almost 18-months before she started watching TV. But lordy, sometimes I just need them to calm their baby boobies and relax.

At one time, all these little nuggets were under a year old. And I have to say, those were the easy days. Now that they’re running in different directions, standing on top of the changing table, dropping to the floor in a fit of tears for some asinine reason, I can say that it’s a bit more challenging. I’m looking forward to enrolling Evelyn in preschool, even if it’s just part time. I think it will be good for her to have the structure and to be around adults that aren’t me. The new baby will just be a couple months old so I will be able to spend more time with the twins. They haven’t had the same exposure to fine motor skills or crafts that Evelyn has had. They haven’t yet begun work on sorting colors or holding writing implements correctly. It’s much harder when there’s two of them. They are on the same schedule so I’d have to work with both at the same time, having Evelyn elsewhere would definitely help.

Surviving the next four months is about the only thing on my radar at the moment. We’ve bypassed the halfway point of this pregnancy and I’ve finally started feeling pregnant. Yay heartburn! Getting through the winter, surviving this pregnancy, and doing my best to prevent toddler tantrums is what my focus will be on. At this point, the meltdowns of my almost threenager are short-lived and easily appeased with a hug and an alternate activity option. They generally happen at home, and in the afternoon/early evening. For my sanity, I hope it stays that way!

If not, this momma might need a mental health week.


Are you sure it’s not a boy?

Are you sure it’s not a boy?

That’s the question I’m going to ask the tech at the next ultrasound.

None of those old wive’s tales ever fit with my two previous pregnancies. So I never held much stock in them. Mine were pretty standard pregnancies. I had all that normal obnoxious stuff. You know, some nausea, the heartburn, intense spur of the moment pains, horrific back pain, plus all those other ‘unmentionable in a public forum’ fun pregnancy symptoms. I gained 32lbs during each, my singleton to 40+2, and my twins to 33-weeks. Despite being a plus size bootylicious lady, I was never diagnosed with gestational diabetes, I never had issues with hands or feet swelling, I had low blood pressure throughout and everything was just peachy.

This pregnancy, well it just can’t be another girl. It doesn’t make any sense. Everything is so different.

This time, I was sick for 12-weeks. So much so that I lost 17lbs. And now at 22.5 weeks, my pregnancy weight gain is -13.5lbs. I’m too insulated for anyone to really tell, but the doc’s scale doesn’t lie.

I’m glowing. By dinner time, my cheeks are pinked and rosy. That never happened before.

And, This. Baby. Does. Not. Stop. Kicking.

I felt my first baby moving at 17-weeks. I was sitting at my desk at school, grading essays during my prep period, when I felt her flutter. The twins, I felt at 14-weeks during an appointment. I didn’t know that I could feel them that early – it was my OB that pointed out the movement during the ultrasound. I thought it was intestinal.

This time, it was 13-weeks. Maybe my uterus is just that closer to my nerves since this is a third pregnancy. Who knows. But it does not stop. There are short periods of nothing, but this kid is awake seemingly most of the day. And it’s pressure, it’s kicks and it’s that going down a rollercoaster weird weightless feeling, like baby is doing flips.

Can you blame me for starting to give away the girls’ old clothes before I had my anatomy scan?

I’ve already started replenish the baby clothes supply. The seasons will be a little different so we would’ve needed some new things anyway. But I’ve kept all the tags just in case someone made a mistake.

Of course, this is just my brain in disbelief. I’m not disappointed that we are having a fourth girl. It’s just that I was totally blindsided. With everything feeling so different, the baby just had to be a boy.

I’m still going to ask the next tech to confirm. Just in case.


Boy, I just sounded like an a*hole…

I took this picture of my twins this morning after breakfast –

I had downloaded the ABC Go app for my oldest, who will be three in March, to supplement our ABC flash cards. She’s used it probably half a dozen times, for ten minutes at a time. I sit with her and we say the letters as she traces them with her finger. It doesn’t hold her attention that well, and I don’t force it on her. She was still sleeping when I was updating my apps this morning. The twins got ahold of the iPad and as luck would have it, got the app up. They got into a different part of it (match the letter by popping a balloon) and were messing with the screen. It was too adorable not to take a picture of.

I was just about to post the photo on Instagram with some cute #techsavvy hashtag when I stopped. I had this moment of dread – someone was going to mom shame me for letting my not-even-two-years old twins play on a tablet. So I cleared my original tags and instead wrote an explanation about how this was all happenstance. Basically that they don’t use my tablet, and they never have.

It wasn’t until later in the morning, when they were napping and I facebooking, that I came across that post. I reread it and instantly felt like a huge mom-shamer myself. In my rush to explain myself, my words came off us as if my way was the only right way. Like I was using this photo as my soapbox moment to say technology is bad, or I’m better than you because my kids don’t use it.

And I’m so sorry.

I will be the first to admit that my kids eat like crap and watch too much television. I know that neither one is good for them, but a mom has to do what a mom has to do.

Pre-kid, my inner voice, that sarcastic beotch that she is, would’ve had plenty to say about the mom pushing the carriage around Target while her toddler watched cartoons on the phone. My lots-of-kids inner voice now says, damn, bet that mom is finally enjoying that peace and quiet.

My kids find my phone, pretend to talk on it, and throw it all over the place. They don’t know how to use it; they don’t watch tv on it or play games.

Because it’s my damn phone.

They have more than enough to entertain them and I KNOW that if I started with videos or games, it would expected, and then they would fight over it, and it would cause HUGE screaming tantrums. Like the one beaded Mardi Gras necklace they keep finding and fighting over.

Kids get addicted the things very quickly. This was something that I knew going in. Just ask my pink blanket, Goggy. So my girls never had ONE special blanket or stuffy. When they were old enough, they had a bunch. I didn’t want to be the mom that had to take her child’s special blanket to the store to avoid a meltdown. So I made sure my girls never had one. We used a pacifier with our oldest and cut it up when she turned one. We also took away her bottles at one, and even made sure she was sleeping flat on her back, no swaddle, and in a crib at 6 months. I knew that the longer a child has something, the harder it is to take away. This same idea went into our decisions regarding technology. My husband and I are both teachers (well, I’m taking a break and being a stay-at-home mom for a bit) and we know how awful it is when a seven year old is addicted to technology. I had a student in an aftercare program, in second grade, that had her own Facebook account. I mean, seriously?

Just because my kids don’t use phones or tablets doesn’t mean I give a rat’s tooter about what another mom does with her kid. Who knows what she is going through that day. Maybe that’s the only time she has peace and quiet. Maybe her kid is overtired and just needs a distraction. Maybe I’m just lucky that my kids love Target and are super nosy.

No one child is the same, and no one family is either. So I don’t believe in everyone doing everything the same. I have many reasons for keeping my kids away from tech – avoiding fights, not letting them get addicted, not being able to afford one for each of them, and probably last on that list, (oops) is the actual recommendations by the AAP (no screen time under 18-months, 1 hour for ages 2-5, with screen time being TV and phone/tablet time). You can google it – I forgot where I read those recommendations.

You can bet your behind that there are days when my kids watch more than one hour of television. Many days, in fact. And yes, it makes me feel like a bad parent. Sometimes I need to do the laundry without chaos, or make dinner without someone screaming from the other room. Sometimes, I just need a damn break.

I can say in all honestly that I don’t watch television (for myself) with my children in the room. Even if I wanted to watch something that wasn’t violent or contained no graphic content, I would still wait until they are asleep. If the television is on, it is on for them. And most of the time, it’s on because they either just woke up and are cranky, or it’s the lull between bath and bedtime. Those excuses still don’t make me feel better, by the way.

I do wish I did things differently. I wish that my kids watched less tv. I also wish that I wasn’t so addicted to my own phone. One of my goals for this new year is to be better about that – to save posting and updates for when I’m not with them. It’s a work in progress. Today has been good – they’re napping, so I’m blogging and getting my FB fix for the afternoon. But some days I just crave that adult interaction and give in.

We do what we have to do, I believe, in order to stay sane. Sometimes, you find someone on the same page as you, sometimes you don’t. But no matter, just know I’m not trying to judge how another mom or dad does things, even if it sounds that way. We are all just treading water in the deep end, trying to get through the day. For you, it may be giving your kid a tablet, for me, it’s probably hiding in the bathroom with my phone and a bag of chips.



300 Quilts for Baby Leake

Facebook, that wonderful platform with strange algorithms, suggested a new page to me the other day. Intrigued by the name, I clicked on. It was titled, 300 Quilts for Baby Leake.

While there, I read the story of the Leakes, a couple that had been trying unsuccessfully for almost four years to conceive a child. They have now reached the point where they are beginning fertility treatment, something their insurance does not cover. Jamie and Daniel have a goal to make and sell 300 quilts to cover the cost of fertility treatment. If you search for their Facebook community page, titled like this post, you can see photos of the beautiful quilts that Jamie makes. They are gorgeous, one of a kind, and come in all sizes, patterns and colors. They are absolutely stunning. And her weekly progress is astounding – she’s been making FIVE of these a week.

Just as a sidebar here, according to NCSL, the National Council of State Legislatures (ncsl.org) only fifteen states in the US mandate that insurers cover or offer coverage for fertility treatment. They also approximate that 12% of women in the United States have had treatment for infertility. Now within these fifteen states, there are differing mandates and laws on the books, one of the most common being that private insurers are treated differently with regards to this particular clauses versus state insurers. For example, in my home state of Rhode Island, all private insurers must include coverage for diagnosis and treatment, for a married woman up through age 42, with copayments not exceeding 20%. Infertility, for the state of RI, is defined as a woman not being able to sustain a pregnancy after one year of trying to conceive. However, insurance coverage purchased through the state health exchange (such as a Medicaid program or other low-income insurance plans), do not include this mandate. By comparison, in Texas, while IVF coverage is mandatory, the couple trying to conceive must have a five year history of infertility. And, religious employers are excluded from this mandate. For more info on the other thirteen states, please visit the website above.

Anyway, Jamie released a Facebook video last Wednesday with her new quilts for the week and in this video she gave an update on where she her husband where in terms of their treatment. And one thing that she mentioned just completely broke my heart. Not only does her insurance not cover fertility treatments, she also just learned that should she get pregnant through the aid of treatments, she would be excluded from maternity coverage, including labor and delivery.

I’ll just let that sink in for a minute.

I don’t usually post about things outside of my immediate family, but this story just hit me so hard. Any woman that has struggled trying to conceive knows the statistic that 1 in every 4 women experience infertility. Growing up, there were two things I always wanted to be, a teacher, and a mom. And I’m lucky enough to have checked both off my list. From the outside, those who look at my family would probably imagine that my husband and I had no issues. After all, we’ve been married for four years and have three children, with another on the way. And while I am not at the point in my life where I am comfortable discussing the challenges we faced, rest assured, things were not a walk in the park for us. Just hearing Jamie and Daniel’s story is devastating to me. To have already faced nearly four years of trying to conceive and knowing that one of the biggest obstacles to starting a family is the financial burden of not only treatment but pregnancy care – words simply fail me.

Their story is so close to my heart, and my husband’s as well. And last night we both lamented that we weren’t better off financially because this endeavor is something that we would not hesitate to fully throw our support in for. At the very least, we will be buying a quilt, no doubt, as a gift for our bundle that is expected in June. And I wish with all my being that we could do more.

So here I am, to anyone that is reading this, to anyone that has experienced infertility, loss, or knows someone who has, I am asking you to please take a moment to follow the Leake family’s page and share it with your friends and family. You may not even realize that someone you know is the 1 in 4. And, if nothing else, you will LOVE the quilts that Jamie makes.

All the best to Jamie and Daniel. We hope that not only are you successful in you 300-quilt endeavor, but that you also will someday be able to hold your child in your arms.

All our love,

Amanda & Mike

P.S. I don’t know Jamie and Daniel. I came across their page through Facebook and just had to do my part to share their story. I have not spoken with them directly but hope that they don’t mind my little tiny blog helping to get the word out.


May the FOURTH be with… us!

Yup, baby number four is on its way!

With all our little bundles, we were always hesitant to announce early. This time was no different, but perhaps it was for a slightly different reason.

We waited until our anatomy ultrasound at 19.5 weeks before telling our parents/grandparents and another day before we shared with our friends and extended family.

There is always the uncertainty of what could happen. But this time, it was also the uncertainty of the reaction.

We are THRILLED to be expecting our fourth child. And just as thrilled that we are having ANOTHER girl. Total #girlmom and #girldad right here. Of course, this Momma was convinced it was a boy so some of the baby clothes we had packed away have already been sold or donated. Oops… guess I need to do some shopping!

I’ve always wanted a large family, four to be exact, and I guess you could say we got lucky with the 2 for 1 twins. My husband is an only child so our girls are the only grandchildren his parents will have. I have two older unmarried siblings who have both expressed (at least in the past) that they did not want children. So this may be all my father gets for grandchildren as well. The desires of our parents, even if they had been voiced, of course didn’t really effect our decision, but it didn’t hurt it either. I have 26 first cousins, many of whom I count as my first friends. I may not talk to them all regularly but should something happen, I know that quite a few would be there for me.

It saddens me that my girls will never have that. But they will have each other, and that is a lot of comfort to me. My siblings mean the world to me, especially since I have finally recovered from the childhood trauma of being the baby of the family. They would do anything for me, and I would do anything for them. There are times when I look at my husband and just wonder what life was like without siblings. He doesn’t know any different, but it still hurts my heart a little knowing that he grew up alone. Our girls will always have each other.

The few strangers that have found out (like the sales associate at Carter’s, for example) were just incredulous. We’ve already been asked how we are going to pay for four weddings and four college tuitions. After all, I’m JUST a stay-at-home mom.

I’m totally rolling my eyes here.

We do okay. It’s tough, living on one income, but we do it. And we know that we will always have to book the suite or two rooms at a hotel for our larger than average family, and that airfare anywhere will set us back thousands. We won’t be going to Disney every year, and our vacations may be more of the ‘road trip around New England’ variety, but we are okay with that. Dinners out will be for special occasions, and because of that, maybe all four of my girls will grow up helping me cook and learning to love it as I do. Evelyn already has a knack for it. Some of my best memories of being a kid involve learning to cook with my mom.

We could vacation more. We could eat out weekly. But we don’t. Our three toddlers already have enough in their college plans for a full year (plus books) of in-state college. With the new law going into effect (and possibly becoming better) our girls may end up with free state school and then their college fund can be used for grad school. Who knows? The point is, we aren’t just breeding crazily without an awareness of the consequences. I know a lot of parents of single children and wonder how many of them have college plans in place for their child. Or life insurance plans… or savings accounts for adult expenses like a house or a wedding? Am I proud of this? Damn right. After all, I ended up with $80,000 in college debt, and my husband and I got slapped in the face with reality when we tried to buy a home. Our girls WILL be prepared.

It comes at a sacrifice. Not having cable is a sacrifice. Buying only 100 gallons of heating oil at a time is a sacrifice. But it’s a sacrifice I will gladly make.

I also know that things won’t be this tough forever. They plan has always been that I will go back to teaching once the girls are in school. And knowing that we can survive on one income means I don’t have to leap at the first offer, and I can wait until a job close by, and one in a public school, opens up. This plan is also the reason why you don’t see us waiting five years between kids. Get them all out now, and then go back to work.

I’m pretty sure I was meant to be a mom, especially a mom of a whole bunch. This life feels so natural and it’s so fulfilling to be here while my girls grow up. And my husband is just an amazing father and I’m so proud and thrilled to share this amazing journey with him.

So to all those strangers, and even relatives, shaking their head at us, know this: this is what we wanted, we know what it means, and we are probably more prepared for their future than a lot of other parents are.

I hope you can be happy for us, because we certainly are.