Monday Morning: Marriage License & Let the Cat Outta the Bag

Tomorrow morning, I'll be truckin' myself down to the Clerk of Court to obtain a License for Marriage.  In 84 or so hours, I'll be Mrs. Miner Refiner.

What changes will this bring?

For one, I won't be white-lying anymore when I say " husband..." or when I sign Lola Refiner on certain documents.

I'll actually have a ring.

The kids will finally be able to say their parents are married.

I can join the local Christian homeschooling association if I want to (though I'm perfectly happy in the one I'm in).

We'll finally be a one-surname household.

I do regret we couldn't wait to plan a wedding as we would've liked before it became official.  That will take a little of the sanctity out of the "real" wedding when it finally does come around.  And I'll have to wait another year or so before I'm back down to my pre-pregnancy size, because there's no way I'm going to wear a bridal gown while I still have a baby pooch.

And tomorrow, we tell the kids about little #6 on the way.  More than anything, I'll be thankful they finally know the truth why I've been so out of it lately, and maybe they'll take it upon themselves to help out more around the house.  I already feel guilty enough, not having the energy to keep up with routine.

Lastly, I've got to give myself a pat on the back for passing on the evening cup of coffee for the past couple nights.  How many years has that been part of my bedtime ritual.  Instead, I opted for hot chocolate, which really isn't much better in the way of nutrition (if it's made with hot water, as mine was tonight), but at least it's not coffee.  I was able to say "No" again.  It's a start.

The Other Shocking Development & Birthing Baby at Home

Choosing the Right Thing

1:00 AM, yet instead of brewing another cup of coffee and launching into the usual three-hour writing session, I made myself a plate of tuna casserole leftovers and a large glass of Carnation (chocolate) Breakfast which I'll use to wash down this huge prenatal horse pill along with 400 mcg of folic acid and 65 mg of iron. Huge improvement for me to choose the RIGHT thing in lieu of coffee.  One must understand.

The Other Shocking Development

If all goes as planned, Miner and I will be a legally married couple on Thursday.  Surprise, surprise.  It's been coming since '96.

It would've been sooner if we'd had the money for the ceremony we REALLY wanted.

It would've been later if we hadn't gotten pregnant again -- this month, no less.  Tax return was earmarked for engagement expenses.  No more.

Home Birth & Getting What I Want

Had coffee with a Supermom who had her baby at home, and she dispelled the notion I'd have to dispose of the placenta myself in the backyard.  No, that won't be necessary.  The midwife collects all biohazardous material for proper disposal and whisks it away to her magical biohazardous disposal place.

Also, if I have my own way and all goes according to plan...
  • I won't need an IV.
  • I won't need to maintain one rigid position flat on my back; I'll be able to move around freely as I wish.
  • I won't be separated from my baby immediately after he/she's born.
  • I won't be dismissed if I say, "This is gonna be quick. You better get ready to catch now."
  • I'll be able to eat and/or drink what I want, when I want.
  • The kids will be able to come and go as they're comfortable without being sequestered to a waiting area down the hall or told they can only come in one at a time.
  • I'll be able to wear my own clothes (or none at all, if I so desire).
  • I'll be able to sleep in my own bed...WITH Miner.
  • I won't have to pay for stupid hospital incidentals that I have plenty of at home, simply because "it's policy."

Yes, I very much want to have this baby at home, and if we can work out the stinkin' insurance problem, I'll do just that.

Week 5, Day 1

New Symptoms:
  • exaggerated gag reflex
  • mood swings
  • crying spells
  • increased appetite
  • cravings for Vitamin C
  • muscle stitches

It's finally beginning to truly sink in. Symptoms are mounting and overcoming my denial.

Last night, I finished off the rest of the box of grape tomatoes, and I want another box.  This morning, I drank a tall glass of apple juice and wanted another.  Lemon water sounds divine right about now.  Good for general nourishment, but also great for my digestive system, which is historically unruly.

Climbing out of bed this morning, I felt that familiar stretch-and-tug in my abdomen.  My uterus is groaning in protest, "Nooo, I don't wanna!"

I have to be careful about moving too quickly.  Sometimes, the stretch-and-tug becomes a sharp stitch that takes my breath away.

And I have to be careful about not being too obvious about it.  We won't be telling the kids about the pregnancy until Monday, and if they notice me hobbling around like an old lady before they know what's going on, they'll immediately assume something is very, very wrong.  Then, they'll worry and worry, and they won't stop bugging me about going to see a doctor.

And speaking of doctors...

Home Birth

If it's at all financially possible, I definitely want to go the home birth route.  As it is, I know absolutely nothing about home birth.  Ideally, I'd just like to have a professional here with the family to get me through labor, do the delivery, clean up the kid, and make sure my pipes are in good working order.  Anything beyond that, we can handle just fine.

But whoever it is that we entrust with that job, we need to find them NOW.  I've got four weeks to make a commitment, and then it'll be time for my first exam.

Old Habits & New Curiosities

Some things I'll repeat with this baby:
  • co-sleeping
  • breastfeeding
  • homeschooling

Other things I'm interested in exploring for this baby:
  • Attachment parenting
  • "baby-wearing"
  • cloth diapers
  • homemade baby food


Having a very difficult time with initial reactions.  Or rather, one of the initial reactions.

I don't blame him. He has a lot on his shoulders.  It's tough being the single source of familial income for such a large family.  I know the responsibility weighs heavily on him, especially when we're not the best budgeters in the world.

But he and I aren't the same when it comes to problem solving.  Difficulties, to me, are challenges to overcome.  I gain a lot of comfort and strength in resourcefulness, research, Plans A - Z.  Nothing is too difficult to handle, even if the solution is less than ideal.  Contentment comes easy to me.  The only thing I need to be happy is this family.

For him, difficulties are shameful and overwhelming.  It's tough for him to appreciate the positive when the negative -- to him -- is a big 'F' for "Failure" stamped on his forehead.  I don't think he got very much encouragement growing up.

Compassion dictates I temper my excitement and enthusiasm in order to help him deal with the pressure.  That hurts me.  But it also robs me of my joy, and that makes it ever harder to maintain my optimism.

I figure the best way to battle his pessimism is with productivity, so I cleaned and decluttered a wall of the bedroom today.  Next, I'll probably go through my side of the closet to get rid of all the clothes and shoes I won't be needing for a while.

Before February's over, the big problem I'd like to solve is that gawd-awful wallpaper border around the top perimeter of the bedroom.  It's been here since we moved in, and it's been last priority, because we always put ourselves last.

Josie (best friend) taught me a fabulous way to "renew" a room.  Simply by rearranging furniture and adding a couple dollar-store touches, like candles or some new framed photos.

There's no way I can rearrange the furniture, but I'm determined to get that tacky border off of the walls.  I'll have to do some research to figure out the best way to remove it (and the glue residue), but that's yet another proactive task on my list: research.

In the meantime, I think I'll head over to and listen to "Don't Bring Me Down" (Electric Light Orchestra) five or twenty times.

The + in the Little Window

So the story begins like just about any other.

A week late was really no cause for concern.  Hypothyroidism wreaks havoc on ovulation.  Often, thyroid disease and infertility go hand-in-hand, so it's been no surprise to me when Aunty Flo visits a week early or a week late or only pops in for a day or two.  I finally accepted pregnancy was nothing short of an impossibility.  At least I treated it that way.  It was easier than hoping.

January really hasn't been much different than every other month.  Maybe a few symptoms here and there that gave me pause: tingling breasts, fatigue that laid me out in the middle of the day (once, at a table in the library, and I didn't even wake up when my friend and her children joined us), gagging over dirty dishes, headaches.

I chalked up to run-of-the-mill PMS, like the terrible lower back pain.  And the moodiness.  Nothing that would really jump up at me and wave a big, yellow flag.

But on the seventh day of checking the nether-regions and finding no trace, I caved and bought the cheapest, one-shot EPT I could get my hands on (in addition to groceries for the next two weeks).

When I got home, I didn't even wait to put the groceries away.  I went straight to the bathroom and peed on the damn stick.  I watched the off-white moisture soak through the cotton and across the little windows where the result would show, and I watched the little window on the left slowly reveal a deep violet vertical line.

Now that can't be right.

I checked the legend: + Pregnant... - Not Pregnant

Okay, well what are the chances of a false-positive?

I read the instructions:  "The +/- version of the EPT pregnancy test is 99% accurate from as soon as the first day of your missed period."

What are the chances I'm the unlucky 1%?

I checked the legend again.  I studied the photos on the box.  I reread the instructions.  I accepted the results.  At least for the moment.

I didn't cry or whoop or hyperventilate, though I'd feel justified had I done any or all of them.  I'm 35 years old, for crying out loud.  Squeak's just now getting to the age when she's just about 100% self-sufficient.  I haven't changed a diaper in years.  Sometimes, I wonder if I still know how.

So instead of crying or whooping or hyperventilating, I calmly returned to the kitchen to put the groceries away.  Then I cooked dinner.  Then I ate dinner.  In between each task, I returned to the bathroom to look at the little window again, and then the legend, and then the instructions.  The result hasn't changed.

The fact of the matter is...I'm pregnant -- 4 weeks, physically; 12 hours, psychologically.


Miner called me from offshore after I left him a poignant message after dinner.

"Well," he said, after a very protracted pause.  "That's...unexpected."

Well-no-schit, it's unexpected.  I would've liked to have said that, but instead, I said, "Yeah, I'll say."

It sounds awful that our first reactions and our combined first reactions weren't ecstatic and joyfully tearful, but one must understand...we're older parents coming off of almost eight years out of nursery mode.  We've grown accustomed to talking about things like college for the kids and retirement for us.  The last thing we thought 2010 would hold for us was a baby.

However...beneath the practicality of shock and denial, there flows a river of pure and unadulterated gratitude.  God knows how much I've longed for another child.  He's held the desire of my heart in His hands.  He's let me cry and He's comforted me when I thought another baby was a gift not meant for me.  He turned my attention elsewhere and assured me I'd be happy and fulfilled even if the door to maternity was closed forever.

And He's given me grace when I haven't handled our as-is household to the best of my ability.

I read somewhere that God blesses you with more when you learn to care for what you have.  He blesses frugality, humility, dedication, generosity.  I feel I've possessed these values at my core, but I know as well as He does that I haven't always been good for my word.  As a matter of fact, my word has been my weakness just about all my life.

So why has He seen fit to bless me so abundantly?

The only answer is grace.  I am in no wise deserving.  But I accept His grace and again acknowledge his unending, unconditional love for me.  Joyfully, whole-heartedly, open-armedly, I accept it.

It's been seven years since a little life unfolded inside me, but for the sheer wonder of it all, it feels like the very first time.
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