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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

my brother left today

and my heart is breaking.
i got an email from a friend of his out in colorado. she told me that he cried over having to deploy at such a hard time for me. i've been trying to be strong and not let him worry about me so that his deployment wouldn't weigh heavier than it already does. i decided that maybe it would help a little if he knew i felt bad along with him.
i texted him and said:
i feel like you'll be closer over there than if you were over here-joining in my agony.

but i wish you could be closer to more deeply share the joy.

and the Holy Spirit worked some kind of magic last night. on his way out of the country he got split up from his group along with three other soldiers and ended up being rerouted through atlanta. so he spent the night at mom and dad's last night. i woke the kids up before dawn to trek down into atlanta. henry served the mass he said this morning and it couldn't have gone better. we hung out at mom and dad's house after mass.
it was so good to say goodbye again. so much will happen before i get to hug him again. would it be too big of a prayer to ask God to grant me the blessing of introducing jedi to his uncle father kevin?

Monday, September 27, 2010

good news!!!!!

he's head down!!!
now i'm going home to do squats and walk- keep him that way before he decides to change his mind.
thanks- as always- for all your prayers!!!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

building a bridge

i have been reading the time magazine dedicated to mother teresa's 100th year birthday. i think the next to last article was the best- for me anyway.
it was all about the letters of hers that were released a few years ago. they were published in a book called "come be my light". the letters were from her to her confessor and possibly some other priests. she expressed doubt. she felt like God wasn't with her. she felt alone, abandoned. the article talked about how Jesus must have felt this way in the garden of gethsemane the night before his passion.
so, it was soothing to hear that doubt happens. it's not a sign of spiritual weakness, distance from God, or abandonment. God was closer to Jesus in the garden, and mother teresa in the hovels of calcutta than he was at any other time. it's what i do with the doubt that is important. will i let it consume me? control me? become me? or will i calmly keep putting one foot in front of the other and answer with love?
this week will be all about building bridges and getting over my doubt and anxiety.
-i need to pack a bag for the hospital(not alone- but with a friend).
-i need to pick a spot where jedi will be laid to rest when he goes home(already got the cemetery, just need to figure out where within it).
-i need to get together with my doula, photographer, and doctor(not all at the same time), and start making solid plans(more like a flow chart/birthplan).

Thursday, September 23, 2010

if wishes were horses

we'd have an entire paddock full in our back yard.
a few mornings ago i lay in bed, palpating jedi. i like to see or guess at how he's lying. it seems he likes to be horizontal. so in the morning he's head/tail up/down. but during the day he's head/tail side/side.
chris was getting ready for work and i was struggling with thoughts.
"i don't want to go into labor", i finally said. would it be too much to ask to be pregnant through Christmas?
"you have to go into labor eventually."
"well, i don't want to. i'm not ready. i don't think i ever will be." i've never felt like this. by about 35 weeks i am usually groaning about how this pregnancy could last 5-7 more weeks. and with me, it's more like 7 more weeks.
well, i am groaning. but it's immediately checked when i imagine just how it could end. the complaining about how there is no seat comfortable enough, no item of clothing comfortable enough, no flipping over in bed easy enough- they kind of just get squelched in my mind and turn sour. i have him NOW. he's happy NOW. he's alive NOW. later, there are just a bunch of questions.
"if it makes you feel any better, i'm not ready for you to go into labor either."

Monday, September 20, 2010

quote from biography of blessed margaret of castello

i was reading the biography of blessed margaret of castello last night to the kids and came across this beautiful passage...
to give some background, margaret was born of royalty. she lived in a mountain fort with them and their serfs, lords, ladies, etc. she was very friendly and visited the soldiers wives almost daily. some of them became close to her- so when she was six and was put into a cell(much like rapunzel- but for different reasons) the wives reacted in different ways. here's a meeting between the serfdom's priest, a soldier(second in command), and his wife.

"isn't it strange how few of us Christians really put into practice what our Faith teaches us?"
"why, what do you mean- put into practice-?
"Well," replied the priest, "our Faith teaches that God created us to love Him, and in that love to find eternal and perfect happiness. My greatest aim then, in a life filled with all kinds of obstacles and distractions, should be to develop to the highest degree my love of God. To do this, I do not need eyesight, or a normal body, or the love and affection of my fellow man- agreeable and pleasant as all these things are."
The priest was staring at the burning logs of the hearth and seemed to be speaking to himself, rather than to his friends.
"now, little margaret understands this very clearly. and she also knows that one of the most efficacious ways in which love can be deepended, strengthened, purified, is by suffering. our savior taught us that the royal road to perfect love is the Cross. evereyone has noticed how contented and cheerful margaret has always been; the reason is that she regards her handicaps and deformities as being merely the means whereby she can more surely reach her God."

contemplating termination

the 40 days for life began yesterday. i find it a bit uncanny that it lines up closely with jedi's due date.
i remember as chris drove us home from the first diagnosis, i thought to myself, "i am sitting in a position where an abortion would be justified by most people." and yet, it was still not an option for me. i knew from witnessing the world around me- the experiences i've had, the people i have known- that terminating my child's life would only begin my problems, not end them.
a few things would happen. it would surely clean up, make more tidy and convenient, our situation from the outside. people wouldn't feel the need to worry for us, pray for us, help us out, be uncomfortable in our presence, etc. BUT, it would make it a whole lot more of a burden on just us two- chris and i. it would eat away at us from the inside like the most poisonous cancer. quiet, deadly, and swift. and i simply could not deal with that. i couldn't end a life that is the product of the love between chris and i.
another thing that would happen is that i would miss seeing and feeling just how many friends i have out there. when my sister regina's twins were struggling with pertusis at less than a month old i saw people coming out of the woodwork for her- doing things left and right and i thought- "wow, she has SO many friends! i hope nothing ever happens to our family, bc i'm not as extroverted as she is and i don't have nearly as many friends". but i was wrong. despite my introversion i have plenty! people i don't even know are exhibiting such care and compassion. i am deeply touched and i wouldn't ever know about how people care so much for us if i had "taken care" of jedi so many weeks ago.
one other thing that we would miss out on is that we wouldn't have this priceless chance to show just how unconditional our love is for our children. that no matter what- we will accept them and love them. they may not be perfect, and life may be uncertain at times and may cause us stress, but we will love them through the imperfection and the stress- because there is just not another alternative in this family.
the bottom line is this. God is the author of life. i am not going to presume to be his editor. i don't follow him with a red pen slashing through things i think shouldn't be there. every word he pens into existence is worthy of it's spot on the page. we can try to put human reasons to another's existence, but God's reasonings are so beyond the scope of our tiny brains and we cannot hope to understand them fully, at least not here and not now.

Friday, September 17, 2010

prayers needed for tomorrow's birth planning meeting

tomorrow we are meeting with a couple that had a trisomy baby a few years ago. they are going to help us walk through making a birth plan.
this is going to be like NO birth plan i have EVER made!
i am used to the "delayed cord cutting", "no episiotomy", "no bath for baby" type birth plan.
the birth plan we are going to make tomorrow is much like these. and i'm struggling to gather all the information that i need and am trying to think of all the possible situations that may arise- so i can have something written down for it.
for now i'm sure i want the following...
-a priest to be on hand for the baptism. we have three on call.
-pictures and video to be taken.
-lock of hair kept.
-footprints and handprints- bring plaster with us.
-depending on hospital protocol, i'd like to take jedi outside into the sun.
-the kids, i want the kids in there as soon as possible.
i have alot more thinking to do. if anyone reading this has ideas, email me or post a comment.
and whether you have ideas or not, please pray for the Holy Spirit to guide us tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

mary jane and mother teresa

mary jane made a little bed for jedidiah one night about a week ago. she announced that she was going to sleep next to him. she put it on the other side of the big bed and even moved her blanket and pillow over next to the little makeshift bed. i told her she should just stay in my bed, because she is pretty close to him already right there, since he sleeps in my tummy. she moved her blanket and pillow back and talked to him before she fell asleep.
mary jane has had a childlike devotion to mother teresa since all saints' day 2009 when she dressed as her for our homeschool group's all saints' day party. it was cemented further when we made a trip to visit the missionaries of charity at their AIDS hospice in virginia highlands. and during this pregnancy i've really felt a closeness with mother teresa. she loved the "poorest of the poor"- society's outcasts- those with physical disabilities. we made a recent trip down to visit them on august 26th 2010- mother teresa's 100th birthday. they gave me a relic of mother teresa that i carry in my wallet- a piece of her white sari. also a miraculous medal blessed by her back in 1995.

well, the next night I felt like my heart was going to break for mary jane. she’s SO very attached to him that i felt i had to remind her of what may happen with him. so, as she sat next to me on the couch i reminded her that we may have to say goodbye to jedidiah soon after he is born. we will get to hold him for a bit, then we have to let him go…but then, the greatest thing will happen. then he will fly to heaven and mother teresa can hold him.
she looked up and said, “me?”
“no, the REAL mother teresa, the one in the book we read at night. she lives in heaven with Jesus and she is really GOOD at holding babies. i think she will LOVE jedidiah. and jedidiah will like her too.”
“we should make a mother Teresa blanket for jedidiah!”
then she pulled up my shirt to look at my tummy. she squinted one eye, and brought the open eye really close to my now large belly button.
"hi jedidiah!" she said. and then pulled my shirt back down and went back to playing.

talking with the kids

we were saying a belly-rubbing rosary a couple of nights ago when, in the middle of the 4th and 5th mysteries, and after we said our special prayer for jedidiah, samantha asks “what does ‘thy will be done’ mean?”
“it means that we are voicing our desire for God’s desire to happen. we want what God wants. even if it is the hardest thing. God could ask jedidiah to come to Him tonight. He could work a miracle and allow him to live for ten years! we don’t know what God’s will is but whatever happens, God is looking out for us and it’s for the best.”
after this, the kids started flooding the room with wants and desires.
samantha-“i want him to be born alive. i want to hold him while he’s alive.”
me- from the very bottom of my heart, “i do too.”
samantha- with her eyes open wide “that means EVERY kick is a miracle.”
henry- “i wish this was all a fraud.”
george- “i wish God would work a meow-uh-cull and jedidiah would live LONGER than ten years.”
max remained silent but i knew his thoughts ran deep. i’ll have to have a one on one conversation with him if i ever want to know them. maybe a date with mommy is in order.

Friday, September 10, 2010

single artery umbilical cord

i just remembered something dr. tate mentioned as he went over my records. the perinatologist never told me that jedidiah has a SAU. so i just looked it up. it makes sense. it's associated with fetal growth retardation- check. trisomy13 or 18- check. miscarriage- please God no. early delivery <37 weeks- hmmm.
so that is something more for me to consider.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

i finally picked a doctor

yesterday i had my first appointment with dr. joseph tate. he's famous in the birth community for his skills as an obstetrician- doing old school tricks like delivering triplets vaginally. he's also a very devout jewish man whose staff is like family, because they are family. the office reminds me of my family get togethers- kids running around, a dog whining, someone chiding the dog, people bickering, older women giving sage advice, and nobody taking anybody too seriously.
when he sat down with me in his office one on one, it was about 3 hours after i first got there. as a one man practice, he takes time to personally handle each patient and my wait time was because another woman was facing a dire emergency. but once he was face to face with me, he was engaged. i felt more than just a chart to him. he looked over my records and asked several questions.
once he looked them all over he announced that he felt no need to advise me to get an amnio- that there was enough devastating evidence, an amnio would be pointless.
i have turned things over enough in my head and prayed alot about it, i believe, at this point, i don't want to have a c-section. i have had a c-section, and even with a healthy living baby to enjoy, i still had trouble with a little post partum depression. basically bc i couldn't take care of my family, let alone myself, for almost a month!
we are also creeping into the fall, and ultimately the winter- not months that i'm known for being cheery.
so i asked him, "if you wouldn't advise a c-section for me, if the baby was in distress, can i just not be on monitors?"
he wasn't comfortable with that. a baby being in distress could also indicate a uterine rupture. so he said he'd keep them on, but turn off the monitor in the room and only have it on at the desk out in the hall. that way if there was distress, he could assess other signposts for uterine rupture to rule that out.
then i asked him if we could just scrub the group b strep test. he agreed.
we talked about how far over he'd be comfortable letting me go. 42 weeks was thrown out there. we talked about how sometimes with brain matter absent, pregnancy has been known to last for 43+ weeks.
we then moved over to the belly check room and he hooked up his new ultrasound macihne. he likes to do heart tone checks with ultrasound because it gives off less radiation than a fetal doppler. he scanned for a bit- looked at jedidiah's brain, couldn't get close enough to look at his heart. he announced that jedidiah was breech.
this confirmed my choice in ob/gyn immediately. if i was in any other care provider's hands i'd have no choice but to have a c-section. doctor tate regularly delivers breech babies vaginally- a lost art in the ob/gyn and even midwife world.
jedidiah's head was measuring 28-ish weeks and his abdomen measured 26-ish.
dr. tate did a quick head circumfrence/abdomen circumfrence check. if the ratio was too high, and i delivered him breech, his abdomen wouldn't adequately open my cervix for his head. dr. tate said he was comfortable with a ratio of 1.1.
currently jedidiah has a hc/ac ratio of 1.18. at our ultrasound in july he had a hc/ac of 1.25, so it is coming down.
i would love to be able to turn jedidiah. i feel breech deliveries are more stressful on the baby than a vertex delivery. not by a big measure, but just enough that a baby who is already compromised doesn't need the added stress. i asked about the added stress- he said that if my pelvis could allow a 10+ pounder to pass- it shouldn't be a problem.
i still wasn't satisfied, so we discussed version(manually turning the baby). he felt that since i had had a bunch of kids and my utereus is pretty roomy, we should turn him at the next appointment. jedidiah has so much room in there that he would just float back up and not keep his head down. when he fills out a little more and takes up more space, then it's a better idea.
after the tummy check he said he was glad i was with him, but that he was very sorry that it was under these circumstances.
i feel so at peace with my decision. he's like a a very skilled and experienced dad more than a doctor.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

boring times

i can't sleep- again.
i keep thinking about job and his choices. he's my favorite old testament book to read when crap hits the fan. when my life feels like it's unraveling.
5 or 6 years ago january i decided to adopt job's attitude toward life. whenever inconvenient things happened i decided i would "praise God" for the moment. i figured in doing this, i would trick myself into actually believing on a deeper level that these moments were crafted by God to make me a better person.
it wasn't easy at first. my first reaction was more caustic, but after a while, "praise God" became a little easier and a little more second nature.
it must have been january because my first outside use of the practice was after the pro-life march. my big brother, fr. kevin got a flat tire while driving my family back from the pro-life march in down town atlanta. he was driving the blessed trinity high school van/bus and i decided i'd carpool with him. he took a corner too tight and busted one of the back right wheels(there were two of them). i blurted out, "praise God".
"WHAT?!?!" he exclaimed.
as he limped the van/bus to the nearest free place i thought that it would've been wiser, in this situation, to keep my new found practice to myself. and even as i said it, i felt like it didn't fit. i didn't believe my own words.
we found a parking lot and parked the van/bus. the kids got out as fr. kevin called for a tire company to come fix the flat. we all sat in the parking lot, coming up with games to entertain the kids. stacking rocks, tossing them, spotting helicopters, counting cars, whatever we could think of.
as fr. kevin begins his second and more dangerous deployment my mind goes back to that time.
it reminds me of the part in the pixar movie UP when russel tells karl that he enjoys the boring times with his dad. the times that aren't hyperscheduled, the times that just happen.
i know fr kevin's mind must have been frazzled, but the time we spent in that parking lot on the corner of spring and 17th is now a fond memory. i now believe my own words of praise for that moment. how's that for twisting a bad situation into a good one?
so, now, with jedidiah, i wonder how God is going to twist this. first it's my job(pun, heh heh). first i must "praise God", even though it may feel like a foreign language and i may only mouth it.
i wonder how the kids will look back on this. how will i? how will chris?
we have simplified our lives- no scouts, no homeschool co-op, no sports. will they look back on this "boring" family-centric time and love it?
i hope so. this thought helps me to unfrazzle my brain, so that i can make some room to store the memories of this time.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


today i am thirty-two years old. yesterday jedi turned thirty-two weeks old.
wednesdays have become a mini-celebration for me. it's nice that what used to be the "hump day" is now a milestone of sorts.
so here is me before mass this morning. i think i'll have to stop having the kids take my picture. it always looks like i'm concentrating for them. i guess it's because i am.:)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

whether we live or die, aslan is our lord

a comment elicited by my recent post on anger really has helped me in the last few days. it has really boiled the whole situation down and all that remains is the big picture.

laura said:
You don't know what your delivery will look like or is in store for Jedidiah BUT you do know that God loves you and will take care of you, Jedidiah, Chris and all of your beautiful children just as he does everyday

His love. that's all that matters. and any time over the past few days that i have experienced a feeling of doubt, of question, of anxiety, it all disintigrates with just a self reminder of His all encompassing love.
it reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from narnia. in the silver chair after jill pole and eustace scrubb free the prince from the enchanted silver chair, they are faced with taking on the army of an evil sorceress. as they peer out the window at their doom and worry aloud, the prince comforts them all with one line-
"whether we live or die, aslan is still our lord."
so that is the big picture. that is what matters most. not how much we have accomplished or what circles we run in. not the amount we have in the bank account or what luxury items we own. and not how long our lives are.

anatomy and physiology

i have lab tonight. in each of my last two labs we have touched on topics that come close to home. at lab last wednesday we talked about mitosis and DNA replication, chromosomes, etc. i kept thinking of jedidiah's first moments. how he was dealt a different hand than most of the rest of us. how he must have struggled during those first weeks. he desired life. he fought. he already has a will like his father.
i spoke with a friend this past weekend of an episode of braxton hicks contractions i had earlier in this pregnancy. it came during a weekend so i could afford to lay down and take it easy for a few days. i'm not accustomed to having braxton hicks contractions at 14-15 weeks so it worried me a bit.
but then...
everything about this pregnancy has been weird, from the very beginning.
i was more sick and more tired. i was swelling early on- like at 8 weeks- which is not normal for me. i didn't feel movement until after 19 weeks i think- which is really late for a seasoned mom such as myself.
so i sit here, schooling the kids, browsing over my lab book in the process. looking for anything that might require some strength on my part- just a heads up for my heart. but cell transport and permeability don't sound too hard to handle, so i think i'll be ok.

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