It’s a Girl! Surprise!

Our first picture as a family of four

Marlena Joy Stark was born at home on August 11. We decided to keep our pregnancy quiet, all the way up to birth, from everyone in our lives with the exception of people who actually saw us and could see my belly swelling. Marlena succeeded in surprising us as well, as I was sure she was a boy.

Her birth was wonderful and frightening in the last half hour, and she ended up being born with a broken arm. Through the uncertainty of the first couple of days, we have found ourselves into a scheduled routine. A schedule, by the hour, hangs on our refrigerator to help us manage ourselves and our kids easier. I forget less that I need to feed our delightful oldest daughter, when I am feeling lost and look at the schedule and it says “snack time….lunch….” etc.

For us I do believe that adding a second child in the mix is WAY more difficult to adjust to than having a first child…however, it could just feel that way when you’re in the middle of it.

Primrose is, naturally, the best big sister. We knew she would want to be more like a mother figure – she is always so ready to help! She caresses Marlena’s face, showers her with kisses, wants to change her diapers and always screams at me to give Marlena milk or a pacifier.


This coming Monday we take Marlena in to the doctor to see how her arm has healed. We are anticipating good news and I cannot wait to finally be able to let my baby hold my baby. Much of our stress with be greatly reduced when her arm is healed and we don’t feel the need to hover like hawks and the fragility of her arm.

The briefness of this blog post is due to Primrose’s nap time that I am using for skin-to-skin time with Marlena. Hopefully in the future, our schedule on the refrigerator will have a blocked out time for journaling.

For now, we are learning what it is like to be a family of four, thanks to Marlena.

Published by secretgardenalaska

Family of four living off-grid in Happy Valley, Alaska. We grow food, write stories, make jewelry, and live a sober life.

4 thoughts on “It’s a Girl! Surprise!

  1. Oh my god!!! Congratulations!!! Savanna look what you’ve manifested since Ecuador 2015! Bless your little family!

  2. heck yeah, what a beautiful family of four…i dig that you two make the time to write these inspiring blog posts even while the chaotic miracle of childbirth unfolds…in a world full of disconnection, confusion and madness y’all seem to be live’n the good life up north, proudly connecting as a family with patience, kindness and love…
    here’s some fun music…

  3. Congratulations Bob, she is so cute. I am reading your book and really enjoying it. It brings me so many memories of my time in the Army, the words you use, the Army terminology, the bond with other Soldiers. The Army has its own sub-culture IMO. Damn, you have a Mustard Stain, Nice! I hope you and your family are doing great.

    Talk soon,

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