Monday, March 23, 2015

The Here and Now

I would have been 24 weeks pregnant now.  What a great stage that is in pregnancy... feeling the baby move often, but not feeling exhaustedly huge yet.  Some days are a breeze, others are difficult.  I hope and pray for another baby, yet I also realize that I will always have the knowledge of the fear of losing any others.  Some days I see everything continuing around me and wonder if I am the only one who ever thinks about it, that my baby died.  If, since I am functioning well, then everyone else has forgotten about it. 

I have been reading a book I got recently called After Miscarriage by Karen Edmisten.  I have enjoyed her blog and was glad to see a book specifically for Catholic mothers regarding to miscarriage.  As it says in the book, mothers who are open to life are also open to death.  The more open to life we are, the more opportunity for being open to the possibility of death as well.  But also the greater the understanding of that child's eternal life in heaven.  The knowledge that your family has its own saint in heaven... I still haven't wrapped my brain around that yet, but I have prayed for Mary Karol's intercession, that she will beg God for us to give us peace and patience and another sibling for her if He wills it.  Our visiting priest who just did a mission at our parish, Fr. Luke, encouraged me to pray for our baby's intecession.  I am learning slowly how to do that and have considered starting a journal as well, where I can write "to" my baby.  If writing to dead people makes one crazy, then send me to the asylum!

I cannot bear to take the dead blooms off my hydrangea.  Maybe I should; it is probably better for the plant.  This hydrangea is for Mary Karol, and I am thrilled that I have kept it alive so that I can plant it in the yard once it stays warm enough.  Seeing it in my windowsill, watering it each time the leaves begin to droop, reminds me that she existed and the new little leaves springing up at the base and on the top are a hope in the knowledge that life goes on and that new life can exist, that I can hope in that.  It also helps me to remember that others have supported us and acknowledged her life, as I think back to getting this plant, to the friends who helped us out during the miscarriage, to my mother's help when she came when I was hospitalized, to the few cards we got that acknowledged the life of this baby.  The thing is, nobody can talk about it because nobody has any memories of this child.  It isn't like a child who was able to be seen and touched - nobody can say, "Remember that time when she..." because nobody remembers things that didn't happen.  Even me - I can remember how I craved broccoli and how I was exhausted, but I can't remember feeling movement, seeing a heartbeat, seeing my belly begin to bulge... none of that.  I still need to call the radiology department at the hospital and ask for an ultrasound image from before the miscarriage began, when they measured the baby and saw no heartbeat.  One more item that I can add to my very small collection.

I had planned for a homebirth with this baby.  Started considering a water birth.  Entertained the thought of pregnancy and birth photos and where I could find a photographer who was good but also who I would want at my birth.  After the miscarriage, I remembered seeing mention of a place that does belly casting - they make a mold of your pregnant belly, somewhere around 30 weeks or so, and then they turn it into a piece of pottery.  A belly bowl.  Then you can curl your newborn up in it and take a photo.  I love that idea and want it for the baby I lost, which I can never have, so I hope for the future.

My midwife referred me to a OBGYN that they use - who I would have seen about four weeks ago for bloodwork and ultrasound midway through the pregnancy - so I can get a (hopefully) compassionate and respectful response in my questions about my progesterone levels.  I have one symptom that can be a sign of low progesterone, and even though the other signs all look normal, I want somebody to take this seriously, because low progesterone levels can lead to miscarriages, and why would I wait to lose another baby before getting it looked into seriously if I am having a symptom?  My local OBGYN brushed off my concern - bye bye, $40 copay down the toilet.  So I am going tomorrow morning to the midwife-recommended doctor in Atlanta.  He fortunately could see me while I will already be there tomorrow.  Please pray that he will be receptive to my concerns.  If low progesterone is an issue, this is actually one thing they can address - most early miscarriages cannot be prevented in any way, but a woman whose progesterone is out of whack can be helped to get that normalized.  I have already been taking supplements since the beginning of the year that have vitamins that are specifically useful in helping the body to have normal progesterone levels.  If I can get a doctor who can listen and not scoff, then I will feel much better as a mother whose baby has died and wants to make sure all the bases are covered for when and if I get another chance.

After my appointment and a lunch date at Jason's Deli with my girls, and dance shoe shopping, and photo-picking-upping, and Trader Joe's shopping, I get to go on a dinner date with this sexy guy:
That is printer toner all over his hands and shirt because he hacked the printer.  Guy who can fix your technology problems = swoon.  Dinner should be fun; it is free and at Maggianno's!  A company who is a vendor for his company is doing a presentation over dinner.  I will listen to techie talk for an open bar and free Italian food, absolutely!!

And so with that busy schedule in mind, I need to get off to bed now.  Just needed to write a bit first.  Nut granola for breakfast, yum, and then we are off early for our all-day trip.

$11 of cashews, soaked and dehydrated, baby.  They became granola tonight with their friends the walnuts and pecans.  High protein breakfast for our busy day.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Happy Laetare Sunday!

It's Laetare Sunday, the fourth Sunday of Lent - meaning we are a little more than halfway to Easter!  This is one of the days that the priest wears rose-colored vestments - there are only two days per year on the liturgical calendar when rose is the color.  Lucy and Cecilia have been counting the days using the Lent calendar on the wall in the background of the photo above, and today Lucy wanted to change our little wooden priest's vestments to rose.  So we had a little celebration by making "Laetare Sundaes" with pink (strawberry) ice cream!  And I do mean a very little celebration...

...because these two are the only ones who could participate, unfortunately.  Chris and Caroline both came down with a stomach bug this afternoon.  Oddly, Cecilia and Lucy both had it on Wednesday... just for maybe 6-8 hours each, and they were done throwing up by mid-afternoon (Cecilia by mid-morning, actually)... so how do two more of us get it four days later??  I didn't know anything could incubate that long, but apparently it can.  Blah (literally)!  at least they are all getting it over with before Caroline's birthday this coming weekend (unless I get it in four more days, on Thursday?!?).  She will be having friends over for her birthday this year instead of a family party, and she is extremely excited!

Lucy, who ate her ice cream out from under her toppings and said she needed more ice cream to go with the rest of her whipped cream... ha, nice try!
So, here I sit, praying I don't get it as well.  I was sharing a water bottle with Chris earlier when we went on a little hike this morning.  I have not thrown up since high school - truly!  I mean like 18 years ago.  The last time I threw up was before I met Chris, so I am not about to start now if I can help it!  He must always know me as having a stomach of steel, ha ha!  Because if you knew me when I was 16... I had the weakest stomach ever.  I figure I have earned my puke-free streak because of how much I puked as a kid, ha ha.  I used to get sick to my stomach when I slept away from home... starting with sleepovers when I was maybe a 2nd or 3rd grader.  Then in high school, I'd get sick to my stomach in social situations, especially things like going out with my boyfriend.  I spent the entire prom my junior year in the bathroom, ha!  I would go sleep over at my friends' house and feel sick, then go to Six Flags the next day with my thermos of lentil soup which for some reason was my recovery meal the next day.  My mom and I retroactively diagnosed me with social anxiety disorder, in a half-joking way, because I didn't feel anxious in any other way except by my digestive tract's response... Zoloft came out a few years later, and we'd see those commercials with the depressed egg that bounced around and sat off to the side looking sad while the other eggs were partying (anyone else remember those??), and my mom would say, "You needed Zoloft, Erin!"  Ha, funny, Mom!  Maybe it would have helped, who knows?  But I randomly outgrew it somehow, at the end of high school.  By then I didn't feel sick at all with sleepovers at friends' houses, just sometimes in dating situations.  I guess maybe college cured me of it completely, where I had to sleep in a different place all of a sudden, with tons of my peers in the same building... I remember feeling a twinge of queasiness once in college, and never again.  I was done, cured, and so I'll be darned if I am going to break my streak now, you hear that, stomach virus??  I have been sick to my stomach enough to last a lifetime just in those few years!  I was even anemic from throwing up back then.  Way too much information about my problems of my past, yes?  But see, this is why I am trying to talk myself out of getting this bug too.  Can you convince yourself not to get a stomach bug?  Because I feel it in my system - either that, or I am paranoid because of everyone else having it - and it is not making me throw up yet, just feeling kinda blah in the digestive system.  Surely I can talk myself out of letting it make me sick, right???

Okay, so I better close and get some sleep soon, just in case it is coming to get me too.  I am so hoping we didn't pass it on to Father Luke, the priest we took out for dinner last night - I would hate that if we did!  He did a mission at our church this past week and was driving home to Missouri today, his sixth time doing a mission at our parish!  We love him; he is so friendly and engaging and gives solid, encouraging talks at his missions.  The mission week is always a great thing to have during Lent!  So say a prayer for me, and for Father Luke who is 75 years old, that we are spared!!

So I'll close with this bird, a new one to us!  We think it is a pine siskin, which is one we have never noticed in our yard before this past week.  There are a few hanging around our feeders - this one must be a female, because she doesn't have any noticeable yellow on her, and then yesterday the girls took a walk with Chris around the block and found a dead one on the street that had the yellow identifying marks... otherwise, it looked like this one.  So we are thinking we have IDed it correctly.  Any bird nerds out there who can verify it for us?  We also saw Northern Flickers for the first time a few weeks ago in our yard!

Off to bed I go now... not going to be getting myself a Laetare Sundae tonight, as much as I'd like to... just in case!

[Updated to add: My streak has officially been broken, boo!  All the words in the world couldn't talk my body out of it, unfortunately.]

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Some Good Reads

Came across a few articles lately that are very good reads... and since I'm not sharing stuff on my Facebook page, I thought I would link them here.

In Praise of Catholic Homesteading
I so want to do this.
"God speaks through things He has made, and it seems that the more we are surrounded by things we have made the harder it is to hear Him."

Quality Education is not Rocket Science
This speaks to why memorization of information is not a bad thing for young children - that it is a natural ability of theirs.  We employ this in our homeschooling by memorizing prayers, beautiful poetry, nursery rhymes, Bible passages, Shakespeare passages, hymns, and math facts/skip counting patterns.  It is not drill-and-kill, it is simply done as part of our natural rhythm each day.
"One of my favorite professors in graduate school grew up on his grandfather’s farm in Saskatchewan, back in the days when a wheat farmer would spend long hours behind the plow.  He told us that his grandfather’s neighbor spent those hazy hours sometimes reciting Milton’s Paradise Lost.  He had gotten it by heart.  Notice what great difference there is between the phrases “learning by rote” and “getting something by heart”?  You cannot do such a thing without considerable intelligence and love."

Legacy of Motherhood
I love this one because it starts with my favorite Chesterton quote of all time: "“How can it be a large career to tell other people's children about the Rule of Three, and a small career to tell one's own children about the universe?  How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone, and narrow to be everything to someone? No. A woman's function is laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute. I will pity Mrs. Jones for the hugeness of her task; I will never pity her for its smallness.” A short read, check it out!

The Work of a Child
And finally, this one on letting children learn at their own pace - that providing them with large quantities of great literature is enough.
"One thing I knew and often reflected on is this: The salvation of his soul did not depend on his reading ability."