Meet the Frugal Mom Of 8:
Hi I’m Heather, a busy, happy and very frugal mom of 8 amazing kids and wife to my best friend Roman! My journey to become a mom of 8 has been a bumpy one that has included infertility, being a foster parent, adoption, and special needs parenting. I now have a big family of 2 biological children and 6 adopted children and seven of my children are ages 11-18. My life is crazy at times but if my big family can do something, anyone can!
I always wanted to be a mom. Being a mom was the most important part of every dream I had for my future. And I didn’t just want children, I wanted a big family. I believed that choice was up to me – that all I had to do was decide to have a lot of kids and it would happen. That is how it worked for my sister and everyone I knew. That wasn’t how it happened for me.
I got pregnant within our first year of marriage and we were really excited. We painted the nursery, bought a crib, bought baby clothes and got ready. Then I lost the baby. It’s hard to even think about that time of my life without tears. We were devastated.
Just a few months later I was pregnant again. Oh the relief! It was all going to be ok. Sadly, 4 months into the second pregnancy, I lost that baby too. I lost 3 more babies over the next 3 years, and 2 of the pregnancies were ectopic pregnancies meaning that the baby was growing in my Fallopian tube. This is very dangerous and potentially life threatening and resulted in 2 emergency surgeries. In my 2nd eptopic pregnancy, my Fallopian tube ruptured and I was in very real danger.
By my 5th failed pregnancy I was broken. My self esteem was so low. I felt like I failed my husband and my babies. I felt like I must be unworthy of being a mom. I remember sitting in the hospital room with a sitter because I was on suicide watch. I wasn’t suicidal but I was deeply depressed. My doctors told me that I would never have children and it would be life threatening to get pregnant again. I heard them but I wanted to keep trying.
When I got pregnant for the 6th time, I was numb. I expected to lose the baby so I didn’t prepare. I just waited for the pain of the miscarriage o start. Without realizing it, I got to 4 months along and I felt a small movement. The baby was still alive but I couldn’t let myself hope. At 5 months, I saw my beautiful son moving in the ultrasound. He was healthy! I was a mix of happiness and guilt for the first few months that I hadn’t been excited. I continued to feel him kick and he was strong. I was cautiously optimistic and really bonded with this baby.
Then, at 28 weeks, I felt my first labor pains. We rushed to the hospital and that started my 2 1/2 month struggle to keep my son from coming too soon. I was on strict bed rest. I could only get up to use the bathroom and I couldn’t do that more than 3 times per day. I alternated between a medicine that made my heart race and made me feel panicked all the time, and a medicine that relaxed me so much that I couldn’t even focus my eyes for days. It was tense and scary, but my beautiful perfect son was born at 36 weeks! It was such a blessing! We were overjoyed! My doctor called my son a miracle and I couldn’t have agreed more!
I got pregnant again a year later and lost that baby. 4 months later we were approached and asked to foster a child with severe medical and developmental disabilities. We agreed. This boy was very hard at first. He would scream for hours, tear the wall paper off the walls, break windows, and punch me. I remember just praying that we could get to the point that we could go to the grocery store. Between a small baby and our son with disabilities, my life was full and sometimes overwhelming, but I loved my sons so much and I really wanted to have more children, so I got pregnant again. That pregnancy was another dangerous eptopic pregnancy which resulted in the loss of my last Falopian tube. My baby was becoming a toddler and my son with disabilities was beginning to feel secure and his behaviors were improving dramatically.
When my baby was 2 1/2 we decided to try invitro fertilization with the hope that we could have one more baby. We were only able to harvest 6 eggs and we were told that we only had one chance to get pregnant. We implanted all 6 fertilized eggs. By 3 months I had one live fetus and my pregnancy had become high risk. I was on bed rest for a month before my lab results were good and my baby was healthy enough to allow me to go back to light activity.
Then at 20 weeks along I went into active labor. I can not express enough how grateful we are to have a doctor who knew our story and was invested in our family enough to try to save my son. I believe he is the only doctor who would have done so, but he knew this was our last chance and how much it meant to us. I was admitted to the hospital and went back on even stronger doses of the 2 medications alternated every few days. I couldn’t leave my bed. Every week they would come into my room to tell me what my child would face if he was born that week and that he would die within seconds or days. It was so hard. I felt guilty for being there and not being with my other 2 sons who needed me. I felt guilty for making my husband have all the responsibility of working full time and caring for 2 young sons. Most of all, I felt guilty for putting my baby in a position where he could die and feel pain. I was in the hospital for 3 months and it was close at times but we got to 33 weeks. My doctor told me I could go home and my son was now at a gestational age that he would be able to be ok if he was born. I was home 4 days when my labor came roaring back. We rushed to the hospital and my doctor met us there. We got there at about 6:30 am and my doctor had to be on a plane by 9:30. He had been through so much with us he didn’t want to miss the birth. I really recommend that you go into labor when your doctor needs to catch a plane. He worked his magic and the labor was quick and virtually painless. Within 2 1/2 hours, I had my third beautiful healthy son. Miraculously he was healthy and strong enough that he was able to come home with us and didn’t need to be in the NICU.
We were so grateful for our 3 sons! We loved to go places and spend time with them. Our son with disabilities had improved his behavior so much that he was my helper and a buddy to his brothers. We did more special needs foster care with other special children. We were happy.
When our youngest son was 3, we made the decision to stop doing foster care and focus on our sons. My husband and I agreed that we would not accept any more foster children unless they called with a baby girl. The next day the phone rang and it was the social worker asking us to take a very fragile baby girl. Be careful what you ask for. Of course we said yes. When she came she was almost 11 months and only 10 pounds. She was so small we could hold her in our hands. She didn’t move or make a sound, but she had this magical smile that just melted you! She very quickly won all of our hearts. The doctors were not sure if she would live due to severe neglect. They told us if she did, she would be severely disabled. Boy did she prove them wrong. She didn’t roll over until she was 18 months old but once she did, she never stopped moving. Through intense therapy, she began to progress.
We got to know her family and found out she had 4 sisters including a younger baby sister. We kept in contact with her sisters and regularly spent time with them and quickly came to love them too. They were all unique, beautiful, amazing girls! We began to ask to have her sisters live with us. Her younger sister and her sister just a year older came first. It was fun having daughters but overwhelming at first having children ages 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, and our 12 year old with severe disabilities. Boy was the learning curve sharp and I made a lot of mistakes, but we all survived and within a year their 6 and 8 year old sisters came to stay with us too. The girl’s came up for adoption and we requested to adopt them. There were some very tense moments but we were eventually granted the right to do foster to adopt with our 5 daughters. We were their foster parents for another year before we adopted our 5 daughters.
This story is already long and I am leaving out so many details. The adoption went anything but smoothly and there were a lot of adjustments made by all of us. Being parents to 8 children when 7 of them were under 10 and 6 of them had varying special needs including PTSD, ADD, Traumatic Brain Injury, and Complex Epilepsy sometimes felt like drowning. There were days and even weeks at first when all I could do was make sure everyone was safe, fed, and knew they were loved. I will continue to post more about how we survived and even began to thrive in those first years.
I have seen The Lord’s hand in my life in the way my big wonderful family has come together and I see being a mother and wife as a sacred responsibility. I am by no means a perfect parent and I have made a lot of mistakes but I have learned a lot from my mistakes.
My family now includes 5 teenagers and 2 pre-teens. There are times I look back on those first days when they were so young with longing. The challenges of having 5 teenagers are very different and they do keep us on our toes but I could not be more proud of the amazing people they are becoming and we love our family so very much! Our family now loves to go camping, rafting, skiing, biking, jet skiing, back packing and really anything active almost every week. I’m blessed to be able to stay home with my children and I appreciate how hard my husband works and consider it my responsibility to be thoughtful with the way the money is spent. I created Frugalmomof8.com to share some of the things I have learned and to help my family and friends save money.
Before I started blogging, I used to call all of my friends and family to tell them about the great deals I found that I thought they would like. That got crazy, so I started sending group texts and finally my sister suggested I start a blog so it’s easy for everyone to see. Every deal I post is one I would recommend to my own family and friends and most are things I am buying or have bought myself!
With 8 kids at home, 5 of whom are teenagers, we go through everything really fast. So getting good prices on food, personal care items and clothes is really important to me. I want my kids to understand that saving money does not have to mean going without.
*Thank you so much to the super talented Fabiana Beatriz of ©Fabiana Beatriz Photography for taking our family photos!