Wednesday, February 8, 2017

A Birth Story

I never knew building a new house and moving into it were so much like birthing a baby. Saturday night, as I laid in bed at The House On The Hill, trying to relax and fall asleep, it came to me suddenly - I feel like I do after a baby is born!

Not the best pic. This was right after
 the lane got concreted.

Months and months ago we got the "positive pregnancy test" - the deed to a little piece of land. We were going to build a house, and oh! Was it ever exciting to dream. We discussed house plans and got someone to draw up a blueprint. We tweaked it and fine tuned it until, there it was in our hand - the plan for our new house. Reminds me of the day, so many years ago, when we had an ultrasound done and found out our firstborn would be a boy. We practically waltzed out of the doctor's office in wonder and excitement!

Snowmen at The Shack By The Road

Pregnancy is very exciting and thrilling but it is also very long and uncomfortable and trying. So is building a house. I wish there were some way to calculate all the hours we spent working on this house. Hours and hours and more hours. There were tines when it felt like that was all we did and then there were stretches where the house sat waiting patiently for long periods of time.

I remember when we felt those first little wiggles - This was actually happening! First there was a hole in the ground, then the block walls went up and you could actually tell the size and shape.

End of May, 2015

When the walls went up, we really thought we were getting somewhere.

Then came the roof and the shingles and then porches and siding. It was looking good from the outside and some of our neighbors thought we were probably about ready to move in.

They say once the sheetrock is done, you're half way. I believe them.

First piece of sheetrock going up!

As exciting as it was to see sheetrock going up and then getting finished, the amount of work to still be done seemed never ending. Kind of like hitting that point in pregnancy when you're big and uncomfortable and just done. And you still have two more months stretching ahead of you like years.

Finishing a house seems to never end. For the past six months it feels like I have been telling people the same thing over and over, "Yeah, it's getting close!" And three months later, "We're getting there!" Since all but one of my babies have been overdue (one of them by three, unbearable weeks), the comparison is very similar - "Maybe it will be this day!" No. "It could be this day!" No. "I think it's going to be this day!" No. Until you don't even allow yourself to get excited anymore because it's better to expect nothing than to have your hopes dashed yet again.

The trim crew at work

Drop ceiling going in.
One of the coolest things about building and doing it yourself is the skills your children learn. When you're standing at the nursing home singing on a Sunday evening and your child points at the drop ceiling and wonders how long that would have taken, that's just kind of neat! 

And then the day finally, actually, almost unbelievably, comes.


Four and a half years without closets 
will make this picture really special

We "went into labor" about a month ago when Chris looked at the calendar and said, "We are going to move into the house for your birthday on February 4th." I confess that I quietly timed contractions and didn't get my hopes up.

Cleaning the kitchen

But then it got serious, and there was no looking back. We worked ourselves ragged these last couple of weeks! I shouldn't even say we, because Chris and Isaac put in far more hours than any of the rest of us. When I picked the children up from school Monday, I told them, "Guess what? WE DON'T HAVE TO GO WORK ON THE HOUSE THIS EVENING!!!" They all cheered.

How many, many times did we clean up?? Before...

The past two weeks were excruciating. You know those last hours/minutes of labor? Yeah, like that.


We spent every spare minute finishing the house. Home was just a landing place to dump off our stuff and fall into bed. I'd throw laundry in the washer in the evening and set it to come on at 5:30 in the morning. Then we'd rush everyone off to school and repeat the cycle. Not a very good way to live but it didn't kill any of us, quite.

Packing up the kitchen

Saturday was the crowning moment of all that hard work. What a chaotic, crazy day. In all of my busyness, I nearly forgot that we had to actually - you know - move all this stuff! I was horribly unorganized but we made it. By Saturday night everyone had a bed to sleep in and things were getting reasonably in order.

Laying in bed that night I couldn't go to sleep for the longest time. I'm the same way after a baby. The euphoria and the glow and the overwhelming thankfulness just washed over me in waves and I wanted to sob loudly but my hardworking husband was already snoring and I tried to lay still and not disturb him, so the tears just trickled quietly down my cheeks.

The story wouldn't be complete without adding that the days after moving are also comparable to a birth. The euphoria gives way quickly to reality and adjustments. The overwhelming thankfulness snaps into irritation and tears when you discover you don't have several ingredients you needed for your special, first supper because not everything is moved and you just spoiled the potatoes by using the water that isn't fit to drink yet... I think maybe you should give yourself some time to rest with your feet up even if you don't have a baby to hold as a good excuse. There is still a lot to be moved and even more to get situated and put away. But we are here and it is lovely and I am oh, so very thankful and happy!

My "tree house view" from my dining room

And now I should quit and go take care of my new


Betsy said...

Congratulations! That was very descriptive of the process and I also believe quite accurate. Your new home looks lovely.
Blessings, Betsy

Bethany Eicher said...

Thank you, Betsy. We are enjoying it!

Marsena Weaver said...

Yes please, prop up your feet and breathe deeply! This was a joy to read! So happy for you and your family!

Bethany Eicher said...

Aww, thanks! ☺

Miller scribe said...

Know the feeling! Looking forward to seeing it.

Bethany Eicher said...

Come over sometime! 😉

Anonymous said...

Wow so glad you are past this part of the "birth"
Now unpacking settling in and finding a home for all those treasures!:)
I have been watching your project, as we did the same thing last winter! Only we had to live in the mess so to speak, we remodled the 2 story part of our house!:( was very character building for the children!

Bethany Eicher said...

Yes, we will be working on settling for quite a while yet! ☺

Mark Cooper said...

Bethany, I love seeing these pictures. Ever since I first read that you were building a new house, I've been excited for all of you.

So... when are you going to write a book? :-)

Bethany Eicher said...

Oh mercy. About what?? ☺

Mark Cooper said...

what kind of book for you to write.... hmm, not for me to say. BUT, you find the 'life story' in the everyday events of life. I think people respond to that kind of writing. It is relate-able.

Bethany Eicher said...


Anonymous said...

After you're totally moved and have found a place for your things...
You could compile a book based on your blog posts, perhaps starting a series at a time (that is, the month-long posts on one subject). And you could compile a collection of blog posts like Dorcas Smucker does. You wouldn't have to start from scratch. LRM