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Fed is Fed. My Journey With Pumping and Breastfeeding

29 Nov, 2018
JoAnne
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Hey everybody! Let me warn you: this post will be long. Sorry but a tis true! It’s been awhile since I posted real content and this content I hold dear to my heart so #sorrynotsorry

Let me preface this blog by giving y’all some backdrop. I am a mom to now TEN children ages TWELVE and under. My youngest is two months but we will get to him in more detail later. I have ALWAYS nursed my babies since day 1. I have never had latch issues. If I have supplemented with formula – which I have done with all of my other nine children – it is because either they were hungry after I nursed, they slept longer stretches at night with formula or I just needed a break (or all of the aforementioned!). I always weaned when I wanted to and mostly I have always done it around the time that either my supply is very low and/or they start discovering the world around them and no longer want to focus on the task at hand: feeding. Thanks be to God I have never felt guilt about weaning because my babies adapted fine to it. And thank God up until now I have never experienced the issues I have with my tenth kid…

With all of that said the joke is that this baby will be my last baby because he has given me such a run for my money! I don’t know if people believe that or they are just saying it so I will stop spawning already! Either way they could be on to something because, golly gee! – it has been an interesting two months for sure!

Our beloved Christian entered the world a week before his due date. You would think the kid would just pop out by now but no, not the case. My body can handle a lot of stress and so, as with my other seven children, I had to be induced (my twinkies I went naturally but I was gigantic so I went into labor naturally and they were a planned C-section anyways so…). After a very exhausting thirteen hours (which is not too bad at all in hindsight) the baby came and once again, thanks be to God, he was perfect. I was utterly exhausted and it was by far my worst and scariest labor and delivery but he was here and perfect! He latched to the breast right away and for a good amount of time. He did that about three times within the first 24 hours of life and then the dude freaking gave up on the boob!

I honestly have no clue what happened. What did I do? I did the same thing I always did…I sent the baby only at night to the nursey the two nights I stayed at the hospital and I allowed them to supplement. After the first night I nearly fainted when I saw that the night shift nurse gave baby 50 ccs of formula IN ONE SITTING! WTH?! For those of you who don’t know – normally when a baby is first born and formula is given to them they only require 10-20 ccs at a time
so you can imagine my HORROR! I called them out on it and the one nurse was shocked. So that did NOT happen again. I am not saying that is why baby did not latch but if I were a little guy given four times the amount of food I needed I don’t think I would wanna do anything but sleep. #justsayin

I went home hoping the kid would eventually re-latch. I was wrong. Dead wrong. I was not sure why and I was getting depressed the longer this went on. The only reason I do not think I got PPD (postpartum depression) again with this kid is because I proactively went on progesterone pills from the moment I delivered as that is what saved me with severe PPD with baby number nine. I kept waiting for my anxiety and depression to peak so bad that panic attacks and the black pit of depression starred at me in the face but it didn’t. Thank God it didn’t.

I never had to pump before unless it was because I was engorged or because I was away from baby for work or a night away with my husband so the relationship with my pump, so to speak, was totally new. I had known that insurance companies now pay for pumps. I was blessed in that my job paid for my first pump which I still have but because that beauty was almost thirteen years old I ordered a new pump through my insurance. It was the same brand but so tiny. I was spoiled – the one I had was a backpack with many areas for pumping “stuff”. However, I was happy to have this new pump because I could keep one upstairs and one downstairs or one in the car at all times.

And so…I became, much to my demise, a perpetual pumper or what many moms call exclusively pumping. I tried every day to get the baby to latch but he wouldn’t. Some days he would for a minute or less and that was it. One day he would for a couple minutes but only one side and only one time in the whole 24 hours. And then something crazy happened; I found out the poor lad had viral meningitis! He ended up being in the hospital for a few days and thank God he got over it but this explains why he slept so much and why maybe he didn’t latch since this was his first weeks of life. While at the hospital, by the grace of God I remembered about tongue tied kids so I was sure before he was discharged to have the pediatrician look at his tongue and sure enough he was tongue tied! She sent me a referral to a lactation consultant who was also a Doctor who specialized in tongue tied children. I went after a few days of being home and I am glad I did.

I sat there in the office first time in my life having someone else other than my OBGYN look at and fully examine my nipples and breasts! OH MY! They did not warn me of this! Thank God my modesty was thrown out the window A LONG TIME AGO and, let’s be real – it didn’t hurt that she told me breasts were, “amazing like they are saying TADA together in unison!” Ah, the things that make you happy when you are over 40! lol. Anyways, she clipped the little guy’s tie and then placed him on my breast. I sat there for a good thirty minutes. EUREKA! SHEER JOY! I finally felt like a mother! I know that sounds totally ridiculous but when you have nursed nine other babies (two at once with my twinnies) you feel like an utter failure for not nursing. At any rate, she gave me some tips and sent me on my merry way. At this point I thought for sure baby would latch on like a champ without issues but NOPE. I got home and he would not latch to save his life. I was back to square one and starring at my new arch enemy the pump with anger and yet appreciation. So I pumped and pumped and FREAKING PUMPED like Forest Gump ran and ran and ran and I did not give up. I would not give up. In my mind my new goal was to get that baby to eventually latch! And latch he eventually did!

Fast forward and baby is now ten weeks this week and when he is awake he is exclusively nursing! I have to say I am so thankful for Facebook forums for giving me new information and giving me HOPE that my baby would latch. For the first time in my life I joined a breastfeeding forum and read from other women there that miraculously there child started nursing after X amount of time. Some of them it was a month, others two or more but the kid came around and figured it out! I knew my baby slept a lot so I kept thinking that if he just REALLY wakes up to the world he will get it and around eight weeks that is just what he did – and the funny part is there were no issues – he just got it immediately just like he did the first time I met him!

It has been such a journey for me with him these first two months and I have to call out on all the mons who exclusively pump! I DO NOT know how you do it. I mean I NOW know how you do it but gosh I do not know how you do it! Pumping every 2-3 hours round the clock, all the bottles, all the sterilizing, freezing, freezer bags, sore nipples and etc. I just COMMEND YOU! I SALUTE YOU!

Now that I only pump when I need to or because baby sleeps I have to say that looking back I would have kept going. Pumping became a part of life for me. It was so routine to me like taking a shower or etc. You just did it. Every two effin hours in car, train, plane, bus, home YOU DID IT! And because I was so amazed at how much milk my body produced – even under the amount of stress I was under from not nursing – I would have kept going because it was a very rewarding feeling. To see my baby almost thirteen pounds and say to myself, “Wow, I DID THAT! Just me. No formula (except a bottle here and there when we were too lazy to defrost milk). Just wow!” And to look at my freezer so full with EXTRA milk – man that can make you feel like a boss fo sho! It’s as if all of my baby phat is now really baby fat! lol

One thing I am SO GRATEFUL for is how much I learned during this journey. I would like to share it with you. This is what I did NOT know about pumping:

1. I did not know that the size of your flange matters! I mean, this is a game changer! Size really does matter after all. LMAO! After weeks and weeks of pumping I upped my flange from a 27 to 31 and BOOM I was producing more milk!

2. I did not know what the little button the pump was for. It’s for let downs! And my lactation consultant told me to press it twice to get two let downs in one 20 minute sitting which again meant more milk production! Genius!

3. I did not know that the dial on the pump didn’t really matter. I thought I had to jack that baby up to full speed to get the most milk output but nope my lactation consultant said, “You don’t have to hurt JoAnne to produce!” REALLY? OMG! I’m just, like…so used to PAIN since I have started spawning!

4. I did not know that you have to remove and clean the faceplate of your pump. 13 years no cleaning…dang. #mybad

5. I did not know that you are supposed to leave your pump on a few minutes after you pump in order to get the condensation out of the tubes! Here I was just blowing on it. #duh

6. I did not know that there is such a thing that exists called nipple vasospasm when your nipples turn white (and consequently hurt like a mo fo!) because of the wrong flange size! #lessonlearnedthehardway (literally)

7. I did not know the tips and tricks of breast milk bags. For example, the reason most bags have a “u” shape on the ends is so that when you pour the milk into the bottle it acts like a spout so you don’t get milk everywhere! #nomorecryingoverspiltmilk

8. I did not know that they now have wireless pumps! Or that they have bags that attach to your pumps too so you do not have to use bottles! Have I been living under a rock for thirteen years?!

9. I totally did not know that the extra material in the amazon purchased nursing bras or tanks were to hold your flanges so you can pump hands-free. I just thought I got the crappy made in China version! #amirite

10. What the heck is a nipple shield and what is it for? Absolutely amazing how this little device can help moms get babies to latch even if for just a little while like it helped me with baby!

And there are a million other things I am still learning thanks to all of the women around the globe that share their stories. GO YOU MAMMAS!

There were nights were I would cry myself to sleep thinking I’ll never bond with baby. I’ll never be able to comfort nurse him when he cries. I remember being in the hospital with him when he had the meningitis thinking how I failed him because I could not just put him to the breast. I should have just  reminded myself that freaking FED IS FED and that I was giving him my milk. He has had my milk all along.

Now that we are over the hump I am just taking it all in. All the good hormones are in place now because, at least for me, there is NOTHING like nursing your baby. NOTHING LIKE IT IN THE WORLD. He’s bored I nurse him. He’s cranky I nurse him. He’s hungry I nurse him. He’s tired but fighting sleep I nurse him! The best part to me -and it is something that I was dying for- was just being able to not have to get up in the middle of the night and make bottles but instead just pick him up and lay next to him and nurse him. There are many days when the kids go to school and that’s all we do – just lay in bed, nurse and dream together…

I am so grateful for my dang pump. I always wanted to divorce it but now I find myself on my own pumping 2-4 times a day just because I was so used to it and because yes, baby sometimes sleeps through feedings.

If I could say one thing out there to the mom who wants to nurse but can’t I would only say that if you really really want it like I did DO NOT give up! These warrior moms are out there putting me to shame by re-lactating after months of not nursing so trust me YOU CAN DO IT. #youvegotthis

If someone could have told me that I would be sitting up at night watching other women nurse their babies, look at their latch positions, studying how to get back to the art of nursing I would have said hell to the no! I mean come on, nipple binge watching! #nope But I am – every night, even now because there is never a time to stop growing, to stop learning from each other, to stop improving that which you think you know about (but even after nine babies clearly you DON’T). It’s like training for a marathon but with your tatas instead of your legs. lol So…anyways a huge shout out, a VERY BIG thank you Moms for helping me, for teaching me and most importantly for inspiring me and telling me not to give up! It is amazing what you can achieve when you set your mind on something and when you have legit an entire mom tribe routing you on!

God bless you all and rock on with your bad pumping and/or nursing selves and just remember: FED IS FED!

JoAnne

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Comedy

What Happens When The Comic Doesn’t Want To Laugh?

30 Jun, 2018
JoAnne
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When I started this website/blog it was really to laugh and to share my comic life with my 9 kids and husband. I have always had a funny streak to me and well, my life is funny thanks to my kids. However, in the past couple of years due to my postpartum depression and anxiety and right now due to my Father’s sudden passing I have not posted here in awhile or even tweeted because well, I just don’t have anything really funny say. Of course I have my funny moments at home with the kids but it is no longer on the top of my mind to tweet that out to make someone chuckle or lighten their spirit. No, grieving is a really crappy process and it leaves little room for joy, happiness, laughter and especially in my case, comedy.

It got me thinking about all these Mom bloggers and YouTubers out there who mainly write, blog, and vlog about funny Mom things. I sit there and wonder…do they ever have bad moments? They must, right? And yet, you may not ever know it because they are always “on” and “up”. They have to be; that’s how they make money! I commend them so much because the past few years’ experiences I have learned that I just can’t be that way. When I am down I am down and I can’t fake being happy.

What I have also been thinking about is how on earth do comedians do it? What happens when the comic doesn’t want to laugh or doesn’t have a joke to tell? What do they do? Look at Robin Williams for example. It was clear that he struggled with mental illness and depression his whole life and yet look at him! He was always funny and always on or so he appeared to be. It must really take a special person to be a comedian and be able to still share that love, laughter and comedy with others even when they may be suffering so much in their own way.

So, as I have said before, I may have to change things up a bit here on this Mom site/blog. I may have to re-brand myself or something if I continue to Mom blog. I will be mulling that over but meanwhile I just wanted to let you know I see your messages, your tweets, and etc. and I am here – I just haven’t really been in the mood to write lately. I hope that will change very soon. After all, I am here now, right? So hopefully more Mom content will be coming to you here.

God bless,

JoAnne

Clipart Credit

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The Day My Daddy Passed Away…

1 May, 2018
JoAnne
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Sunday, April 14th, 2018

My parents had taken my two older sons, Peter and Anthony, over the weekend to stay with them. The plan was that they were going to attend 8:00 a.m. Mass on Sunday and then come to my house to pick up my two girls and then head to my brother’s house to be with him and his family before they attended my niece’s play. They were also going to drop off their car to lend to me for a few days since mine had broken down the day before.

Around 9:00 a.m. my sons walked in the door. I looked at the clock and said, “What happened? You were supposed to go to Mass!” They responded simply saying, “We missed it.” I had been alone with my seven other kids because my husband had a football game that morning. We had all already gone to Mass.  I went to open the front door so as to look for my parents since I assumed, as per the norm, that my Dad was not going to come in. My Dad, for many years had trouble walking and trouble with his knees so he really only walked to where he absolutely had to go to. When I open the door I see my Mom and asked her what happened. She said the same thing the boys said. I shout to my Dad asking him what he is going to do and he responded that he was just going to get the girls and go on to my brother’s house. Because I did not want my little kids running outside I kept going back and forth inside the house trying to reason with both my Mother and my Father about going to Mass. It literally became a screaming match; that would be me screaming at them. I told them that it was 9:00 and that there was a Mass at my Church at that time so they could just go and come back but no, my Dad refused to do that. My Mom agreed. My Dad actually said he would watch Mass on TV that night (insert eye roll).

For the next five or so minutes I could not reason with either parent but especially my Dad. I was livid and hormonal since I am pregnant. The weeks and days leading up to that point were extremely stressful for me for a few reasons so I was just not in the mood to have to deal with this. When I realized that no amount of screaming at my Dad would make him change his mind I ordered my children to all get in the car regardless of shoes or coats. I told my parents that I was taking my kids in their car to Mass and they could do what they wanted to. My children will not miss Sunday Mass for no good reason. My parents had more than enough time to go to Mass and still make it to my brother’s with ample amount of time to spend before the play. As I got in the car I asked them what they were going to do. My Mom said she would just stay there in the car with my Dad until I got back. Really?! REALLY?! Why not just go to Mass? So I continue to scream, kick and yell like a child and drive away in their car like a lunatic literally.

About a mile into the drive I noticed that they were following me, beeping at me and flashing their lights. I figured at this point my kids are going to be about 25 minutes late to Mass so they can yell at me when I get to the Church but I am not going to stop until I get there. I arrive at the Church and tell my sons that I do not know what is going to happen when Church is over but to make sure they do not leave until the very end. I park in front of the Church and my Dad parks on the side of the Church. My Mom walks over to my car and reams me out for both my psychotic attitude and crazy driving. She told me to put the girls in her car and I inform her that one of them doesn’t even have shoes and a coat on. She responds telling me that it is my fault and storms away to go inside of the Church. At this point I think she is going to get the boys from the Church but instead she was actually going into the Church to attend what was left of Mass. My Father then tries to rearrange his car so he can talk to me side-by-side so that, once again he does not actually have to get out of the car. He yells at me for the way I have driven his car and I yell back at him telling him if he just took my kids to Mass I would not have had to even take his car out nor my nine kids! I remove my knee high boots and my light sweater cover and I give it to my nine year old daughter and tell her to try it on and see if it is ok just for today. She agrees it is so I instruct her and my other daughter to go get into my Dad’s car. Once they are in the car and I pull alongside him and tell him to give me his dog. I was supposed to dogsit while they attended the play. He gives me the dog and I ask him his schedule and etc. He bites back at me as if he doesn’t know it. We are both clearly still annoyed. When he finally shares the key points of what I need to know about the dog I take off leaving him with my daughters and eventually my two sons.

I arrive at the home totally irritated and annoyed. I could not believe that this man, my Dad, a devout daily communicant of Mass would intentionally miss Mass on purpose just because he missed a turn to a Church (which is the reason they missed the first Mass). And then, to top it off the man is five feet from the Church and he still won’t get out of the car to attend Mass?! What kind of madness is this? LOL. I text my husband and tell him to call me ASAP when his game ends and so he does. I explain what happened and he chuckles and says, “Really?!” And I inform him that if my Dad does not call me that I am NOT going to be present when he drops the kids off at home. You see, for those of you who do not know, when my Dad and I fought- which is not a lot at all – it is like Russian Roulette; who will be the last man standing? And trust me, in my mind it is always ME and in his mind it is always HIM. So I was definitely most certainly NOT going to call him.

I get off the phone with my husband and within a half an hour of me driving away from my Dad I get a call from their cell phone. It was them on speakerphone with my Dad saying he just wanted to call me to see if I got home ok. I immediately burst out in tears. After all this man took the higher road than me and called me. I tell him he has to understand that I am very stressed out and immediately my oldest son age eleven chimes in and says, “I told them that, Mom!” Of course I laugh and tell them that that is correct and that I am very hormonal and that as my children know quite well they have to ignore 99% of what I say and do during this stressful hormonal time. We both apologize and then we laugh out loud because my Dad informed me that there was a 9:30 Mass on the way to my brother’s house! Had I just not been a pyscho and thought to google Mass Times I could have saved us a lot of anguish. We get off the phone after wishing each other well; them at the play and me a day of rest. You see, I was supposed to go with them but due to all of my stress I stayed home to rest. Of course now I really wish I would have gone… I normally can suck it up and deal with sleep deprivation and the like but as I said, it was a really stressful few weeks leading up to that point.

Around 5:30 or so my children enter the house. My Mom follow them in. I was really hoping that my parents would at least come in for a drink because they usually do although of late they had not because again, my Dad didn’t want to walk or move more than he had to. My Mom had said that they were both tired and it was late (they did not like to drive in the dark) so they were just going to drop the children, get the dog and go home. So as my Mom is in the house with the kids I open the door and see that my Dad is in the passenger seat. I thought that was odd because my Dad ALWAYS drove, always. It was raining that day so I pulled my socks off so as to walk out to him barefoot. As I walk to him we smile at each other. I ask him how the play and day went and he was just so happy! He said that it was wonderful and that they had a great time. He mentioned that he did have some chest pain and some shortness of breath but otherwise all was ok. I will be honest, I didn’t really pay much attention to it because my Dad always had at least minor health issues and since he did not seem too bothered by it I was not either. I told my Dad that in the morning he wanted to tell me something about his car-the car that he loaned to me-but I was so crazy I would not listen so I asked him to tell me what he wanted to tell me and he was quiet and simple about it; it was no big deal. At this point I giggle about how much I love their dog and how easy he is to take care of. Everyone who knows me knows that I do not want a dog despite the fact that my one son has been begging for one for a year now. After I mention the dog he looks at me very seriously but lovingly and says, “I want to tell you three things. 1. I am sorry. 2. I love you. and 3. Now give me my dog!” I laughed and told him I was sorry and that I loved him too. I kissed him on his right cheek and per his request, gave him his dog. My Mom got in the car and as they drove away I waved to them.

What the key takeaway for me from the whole day is that had my Dad and I NOT gotten into a screaming fight I do not know what my last memory or moment would have been with him. I talked to my Dad all the time but lately we did not see each other a lot. He always wanted to be home and he rarely wanted my Mom to come be with me. So had not our fight occurred I would not have that most beautiful last memory and moments with him. And how perfect were they? The way he looked at me and spoke to me, now looking back, I think he knew he was going to die. The fact that he called me was miraculous in and of itself. I think he most certainly knew…maybe not that it would be that day but he knew. And I thank God that I have that moment, that precious moment as my last moment with him. We were completely over the fight just like we always were once we hashed it out. It was like it did not happen. But him saying those three things in that order were just so important to me then and more so now. The way he exited my world was with a joke! If you want to know more about why his comment about the dog was so funny to me you may want to read the speech that I gave at my Dad’s viewing which you can find here. You know what the ironic thing is to0 about that day? Had he just listened to me he could have heard and attended Mass and communion on the day he passed away…

Less than four hours after that beautiful moment with my Dad he left this world. And that is another story for another day…

Rest in peace Daddy. I love you and miss you more than words could ever say or an image could ever capture…

If you would like to read the dream that I had about my Daddy ten days after he passed you can find it here.

Note: the picture featured here was taken on the day he passed away. This was him with my Mom, my four oldest children and my niece Colette after her play.

 

My Speech For My Daddy At His Viewing

1 May, 2018
JoAnne
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Let me preface this by saying that this is not the eulogy – My Father’s Brother Tino will be doing the eulogy at the Church.

For those of you that do not know me I am Beau-pa’s (aka William, Mike, Michael’s) last child and daughter JoAnne. It’s actually an interesting story because I am the child that was “not wanted” by him. You could say I was a “surprise child” a “miracle child”. My Father thought he was done after four kids so he took matters into his own hands (literally) to try to prevent me from entering the world but BOY (oh boy!) did God have other plans for him! I entered his world screaming bloody murder and I will likely exit this world the same exit way! In fact I would imagine I will greet my Dad that way in heaven too. So we always had this inside joke, my family and especially my Dad and I, that I am his penance for his sins… Luckily I eventually got over the fact that I was an unwanted child and I never struggled from any post-traumatic stress disorder. Lol!

Being the last child I was definitely a spoiled princess and one of Daddy’s three little girls. There was nothing that my Dad and my Mom would not do for me or for any of us. From a very young age my Dad always taught his children about good work ethics and responsibilities I mean gosh the man had me working for him at age 7 sorting binders and etc. for his beloved shared company HMA Inc. He raised children who loved and still love to work whether it is inside or outside the home. He also gave us such a good example of how to make, build and fix things. All of us in one way or another are somewhat handy or crafty thanks to him. He was the type of person who could cut himself with a chainsaw and try to treat the wound himself! Thanks to him we all have probably saved a lot of time, money and energy avoiding hospitals and medical bills by self-treatment! He was the financial guru; the ultimate robbing Peter to pay Paul expert but definitely without paying any interest or fees! People have always asked me how me and my husband can afford 9 now 10 children and I have always credited it to my Dad and the wise words he taught me from a very young age: it pays to discover (as in the best credit card with 0% apr and no, this is not an ad!).

When my Mother and siblings and I were writing the obituary and my sister Jeanne read it back to us for a test run she listed many things and then said and he was loved by all who knew him. I immediately screamed NO! We all broke out in huge laughter. I did not mean that Beaupa was not loved by all but it came off that way and I have to admit that it was pretty hysterical. I explained that the phrase was so generic for a man who touched so many people’s lives. Yes, he was loved by all but anyone who knew him even strangers were ENAMORED by Dad and CHARMED by Dad. He was the epic story teller and you literally could have heard the man’s same stories a million times but he never told it the same way and it was always exciting. So my point with the obituary was you have to add something else because he wasn’t just loved by all…no, he basically stole everyone’s heart.

The day that my Father passed away he and I got into a huge and I would say for my part valid screaming argument LOL. BY THE GRACE OF GOD not only did we make up but the last moment I had with him, the words he said probably would not have happened had we not fought. The day he passed he had a great day with my four older kids, my Mother, and my brother and his family. I had taken his dog, snickers, to dog-sit for him. A little backdrop on Snickers, when my parents got snickers for the first time he literally replaced me. I went from favorite last child to nothing. LOL. My dad’s last words to me were, “I have three things to say to you. 1. I am sorry. 2. I love you. 3. Now give me my dog!” Now, you have to know the order of his 3 things were actually perfect and I knew – in some weird way – that he was sorry for everything in his life not just for me and our argument that day… it was the way he said it and the look he had on his face. The hysterical part is that he ended it on a funny note. That was him! Of course he would exit MY world on a joke and laughter not to mention that I am actually semi-irritated that my dad’s very last words to me were about my arch-enemy snickers the dog! Joking aside I actually love the darn dog now…

The day after my Dad died I went to post one of my favorite passages on Facebook. The passage was, “The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” Now, I had never known where this passage was from before but I loved it and boy did The Lord do just that… after I posted it I tried to do my typical morning prayers but I could not pray. Typical side effect when you lose someone so close to you; it is hard to say or do anything unless it is for a purpose like funeral planning. Since, for obvious reason I had barely been speaking to the Lord, I decided to go old-skool and just open the Bible at random to see what the Lord had to say about all of this. I flipped it open and it was the book of Job. I was like, of course it was the book of Job. I do not know a lot about the Old Testament but I know that Job’s life, well, for lack of better words sucked royally. That was my take-away anyways. So I read the page and as per the norm with the Old Testament it was a lot of yadda yadda yadda (shout out to the yadda girls!). I did not understand what God was trying to tell me here… I marked the page and closed the bible and sighed. I grabbed my book light (because that’s what happens after you turn 40 you need book lights now) and used it for the other side of the page and there was one tiny section that talked about Job stripping his clothes (don’t worry this isn’t an X-rated part) and do you know what he said? He said, “The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” Well, as if I had not lost it enough already I completely crumbled and told God I got the message loud and clear and we were done talking for the day. Lol!

On the same evening after two days of funeral planning I went to pick up my car from the mechanic. I got in the car and realized… me, who called or talked to my Dad easily 3-5 times a day had not talked to my Dad since Sunday afternoon. I called him so much that he gave me the name “Old Faithful” and that is how he answered the phone when I called him. So at that moment in the car I immediately started talking to my Dad again and I began telling him all that we have been doing since he left us. I told him how much he would have loved to have seen his kids so united and laughing so much in the midst of so much sorrow. As I continued talking to him I thought about how he would have taught me about how in Corporate America we would have to look at these situations from a different perspective or as my Mom would always sing, “It’s all the way you look at things.” At that moment I smirked upwards and said, “Yeah, for example…I can talk to you now Dad and you can’t argue back at me… You can’t cut me off… You can’t cut my conversations with my Mom’s short. I am pretty sure selective hearing in Heaven does not exist so maybe you will actually hear AND listen to what I am telling you. And (as an inside joke) we the siblings won’t have to worry about anyone sending out any silver alerts on someone who may or may not be present in this room.” Yeah Dad, you are right…I didn’t look at this from that angle…

My Dad was and is my hero. I adored the man and he knew it. I just recently started staying overnight once a month or so at my parent’s house so as to spend more time with them. I am so glad I did. There is nothing that made him happier than being with his kids and sometimes, Grandkids (just kidding). He was not just a man from every title (son, husband, Father and etc.) he was a man of God. He had his own way of talking to Jesus and Mary just as we all do. His conversations with The Lord were most likely unconventional but hey, at least he was in dialogue with his God.

Dad, the day you passed away it down poured all day. Heaven was not crying the earth was. You have left a huge hole on earth. But we, your beloved wife and children, we will be sure to always keep your title alive for you truly were –as many also called you-, “Mike: the man, the myth, the legend. “ I hope that wherever you are right now that they are getting your drink right, “Dewar’s Scotch on the rocks, in a snifter, with a splash of water with a lemon twist.”

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The “Skinny” On Diaz #10 – ETA 9.18.18

5 Feb, 2018
JoAnne
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#GoBigOrGoHome #2outof10babiesplanned

Welp! It’s that time of year again…the most wonderful time of the year where I get pregnant! Hold up, #Don’tJudgeMeYet! I have actually gone about 20 plus months without getting pregnant! (waits for standing ovation) This is the longest I have ever gone and the longest any of my babies have ever gone without a buddy or a new sibling! Go Philip! Go me!

It is not like I have to explain myself but I will because I know a lot of people will think I, we, are crazy. Well, they thought that before so…no biggie! Let me start by saying that both my husband and my children have been asking me for a baby since our youngest, Philip, was about six months old. With that said I think I held off for a long time, no? But recently, right before Christmas my husband had this idea that, “We should really give God something very big for Christmas this year.” In his mind he was thinking something monetary but me, I was not thinking that at all. I thought about it for a day or so and it just came to me, clear as day, in my mind and heart. That is when I waited for him to come home and we sat down to chat alone and I told him of my idea, “What bigger gift could we give Him than that of a baby? Than that of being completely open to life again?” If an image is worth a thousand words you would have loved to have seen his face! Why? Because I have always been the one to say, “I’m done. I was retired at #4. I am good. I do not need more children.” Yes I have said it but alas we have always had more and I will tell you why and how: because that is what God wanted for us. God has put it in our hearts perpetually over 13 years.

Peter, our first was planned. After Peter children number 2 through 8 were not planned by any means. During this time, especially after number 4, we tried to doing Natural Family Planning and eventually Creighton. It did not work for me initially. I think I was overthinking it. Children 2 through 7 were surprises and number 8 I call him my Melatonin baby because I was taking it at the time to help me sleep and I did not realize until I was pregnant that it can mess with your cycles. Now, for number 9, it was not that he was planned because between 8 and 9 we finally “mastered” The Creighton Method but we knew that there was a very VERY SMALL chance we could get pregnant and we both agreed to take that chance. Sure enough, we then got pregnant. As they say, it only takes one time (sometimes!)! (Sidebar: how apropos it is that our wedding song is: It Only Takes A Moment! Lol) So with all of that said, God wanted us to have the amount of children we did. He is always the one in control. Even though the last post-partum period was the very worse for me I look at #9, Philip, and I am in awe of him. He has changed our lives so much and so much for the better and I, we, could not imagine life without him!

So after my husband Nick got over the initial shock of my gift offering I told him to think about, pray about it and let me know. It didn’t take long and he agreed it was the best thing to do, the best gift to give Jesus for His Birthday. For me personally this was a HUGE step. I had only felt “normal” (from my PPD/PPA) since August so this was not going to be easy. I had just found the lifestyle change (fasting) that I believe could help me finally lose all the baby weight once and for all. From a human standpoint it was a scary concept in that at the time we did not have a renter for our unit and I was losing my job. BUT, as I told Nick, what better gift to give Him than that of TOTAL TRUST. After all, “Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not more valuable.” For both of us and for our family it was also taking on a lot of stress: me being pregnant at an older age with 9 children, Nick having to do more, the kids having to do more, and then the added stress once baby comes home with or without my post-partum issues. So, this was no easy peasy decision.

I do understand that given all I have said that people will still think I am crazy or even crazier and that is ok. I don’t call myself a rebel for nutin! Thank God I do not mind about what people think! That is a grace from God. What is most important to me and to my family is that we do the will of God. I care what God thinks. I care what God wants.  What I have always said and I will always say is that God cannot be outdone in generosity. He can’t! If you give, He gives more. He always will. But we only have one life to give, one life to live. “What we do here and now echoes in eternity.” Maximus said it perfectly! God does not care about money; God does not need money. God wants our will united to His. And when we do that, openly and freely, He gives us the graces we need to get through it for, “God will not give us more than we can handle”, right? Right.

People have this big misconception that children cost a lot of money. They actually don’t if you do it the right way (as in a cost effective way) and if you are not extremely selfish. In our house do you want to know what costs the most amount of money? Dunkin donuts. Date nights. Sushi. Facials. Massages. That’s the truth! If you breastfeed you save money. If you can’t or don’t breastfeed Sam’s club/Costco sells formula at a fraction of the cost of brand name formula and yet they have the same exact ingredients. Diapers? Go to Sam’s club and get 220 diapers for $35. If you can’t afford it go to your local pregnancy center and they will help you out. Clothing? Shoes? There are two glorious things for this: hand-me-downs and thrift shops/consignment sales. Food? Go to Sam’s club and buy in bulk. Eat foods that can go a long way like rice and beans and etc. When they get older HAVE YOUR CHILDREN GET A JOB to help out with their needs or the family’s needs. Have THEM save for a car. Have THEM pay their insurance. College? No problem! There is a glorious thing called student loans or your children can just pay collage as they go. Marriage? No problem nowadays many groom’s families chip in on the bill. So, you see where I am going with this? Children do not cost a lot of money; WE DO. We as humans are or tend to be selfish. We want what we want when we want it. We don’t want to sacrifice. So we don’t have kids. We don’t have more kids. I get it (thus our 20 month break). Now, obviously there are people who cannot have children or cannot have more children and that is completely different. Even though we shouldn’t judge people – people do judge me because I am too open to life but maybe I also unfortunately judge people for NOT being open to life? So let’s just not judge each other! I can only speak for myself and I, we, are on a journey and our journey is eternity. I have to get my family to heaven and so I-in union with my husband-am doing what I firmly believe will get us there.

As many people know I have been blessed to have had pretty much perfect pregnancies, labors and deliveries. For those of you who do not know or recall I did have post-partum depression/anxiety (PPD/PPA) after the birth of our fourth child. However, I did not have it with children numbers 5-8. And now that I am more informed after my last bout of it I know how to try to prevent it and if I can’t then I know how to tackle it immediately following the birth of the baby. I am not the type of person to let something define me. PPD/PPA will not define me and it will not prevent me from having more children. The only thing that will prevent me from having more children is God. So God-willing this child will be born and will be an amazing Saint for God one day. That is my hope; that is my prayer. And maybe in the process this child will help me get a little closer to becoming a Saint.

While I may not let something like an illness define me I am always up for a challenge and my Uncle Tino did kinda challenge me. In his annual Christmas letter he did make mention of me being a slacker for not being pregnant yet! I chuckled to myself when I read it but then thought maybe that is a nudge from God for me? I already had nudges from my husband and children but maybe this was another one. Guess what the ironic part is? When I was diagnosed with post-partum depression and anxiety I got a test done to see if I was fertile or not. Up until that point I had never had one because clearly I was very fertile. However the test revealed that I was very infertile. This was so very sad for me. I know people may not understand it but it really was. I knew or thought in my heart it was a side effect of my PPD/PPA. I tested it a year later when I felt better and though the numbers went up I was still considered infertile. My Doctor told me very nicely, “I know what it is says on paper but look at history too JoAnne.” So when we went to try conceive Diaz #10 we really did not know if it would happen. I had no symptoms whatsoever and I was shocked when I found out I was pregnant. But, if you ask me, the bottom line is if God wants you to get pregnant, you will get pregnant! I tell my friends who cannot achieve pregnancy that it is for a reason and should it happen it will happen in God’s timing. The words are not easy but they are true and just because I chose to be open to life does not make my being pregnant any easier. It is still a major sacrifice but it is one that I chose to offer up.

I am so thankful for those people in our lives that support us, that love us even if they may not agree with us. I may not always agree with people but I still love them and out of charity I try to help them in any way that I can. We are all very excited about this pregnancy. I feel very very blessed and very truly humbled.

So there you have it; the “skinny” on the conception of Diaz #10! We found out right away but I wanted to keep it a secret (for the first time ever!) since I am older now and wanted to wait until my first Doctor’s appointment which was today. Thank God the baby is on target for weight/measurements, the heartbeat is nice and strong and everything with me is fine. I very am proud to say that our children actually kept this a secret for almost a month!

As I said in the beginning, I did not have to explain this but I wanted to. And trust me, I am okay with you thinking I am crazy. And I thank you in advance for loving us and supporting us in this, the next Chapter in our love story with God.

Sincerely Yours,

JoAnne & Co.

P.S. For those of you who may have been watching me on Facebook I have been using the hastag #GoBigOrGoHome since Christmas Eve. So that is this pregnancy’s hashtag! You may have also noticed that I have not posted any wine pics or etc. Did you know? :)