Tuesday, October 4

10 Days Past My Due Date

I am sitting here at my desk, doing hip circles on my birth ball.  Although I’m not feeling particularly inspired to write, it’s probably the one thing I haven’t tried yet to induce labor (a sort of emotional release, if you will).  Things I have tried include all the obvious,  acupuncture and induction massage, mowing the lawn on our tractor, lots of crying, and Spinning Babies techniques.  The logical part of me knows there’s probably nothing I can do to make him or her come.  But part of me feels broken.

Having gone 13 days past my due date last time hasn’t made this time much easier.  My body or my babies need more time to gestate; someone has to be at the bottom of the bell curve at 42 weeks.  It’s not abnormal.  So why is it so hard?

I have a few theories for me.  The first is that I was hopeful that baby just might come early!  Not  too hopeful, but hopeful enough that I ordered my home birth kit on time and started assembling supplies at 38 weeks.  I installed the car seat a couple of weeks ago.  And I’ve been slowly checking things off my list… But most were checked off by 39 weeks.  
That was over two weeks ago.

So what have I been doing?  Waiting.  At home.  I’ve been feeling very vulnerable and anti-social, so the idea of visiting friends hasn’t sounded appealing, so we’ve mostly stayed home.  But what happens at home?  I feel like I need to have the house ready to go, so we spend a lot of time cleaning- and that’s driving me crazy.  I haven’t felt like reading or otherwise engaging in anything too crafty (I did recover the cushions on the glider and finish crocheting baby’s blanket though).  So I’m just in this perpetual state of waiting.
I’ve done it to myself, I realize, since I don’t want to go out.  But, my main problem with going out right now is the endless commentary from strangers on me and my family.  It sounds horrible but frankly I don’t want to hear anything from anyone about my pregnancy or my family- even compliments.  I just want to talk about normal things.  Everyone stares at me with giant eyes, comments on my basketball belly, asks how many kids I have and stares at me even more when I tell them this is my fifth.  Or, if the kids are with me, they’ll count them up and ask if this baby is a boy or girl, then I have to explain I don’t know because we chose not to find out, then they say, “Oh I could never do that!” and we laugh cordially.  I’ve had that exact conversation 100 times.  While I am very thankful that I haven’t received any rude comments (apparently those have been reserved for Ryan), I am just tired of the small talk.  

Spiritually I feel very dry, because I haven’t been able to engage in any stimulating conversations due to my self-inflicted confinement, and I haven’t been able to force myself to read anything spiritual.  Or anything at all, really.  I feel like my brain doesn’t have the capacity to think or feel right now.

I’m in a tunnel.  It’s pitch black and I can’t see the light.  I know the light is ahead because, well, no one is pregnant forever, right?  Right now I feel like I’ve been in this tunnel for a lifetime, and this particular tunnel has been more challenging to navigate than the other four I’ve already been through.  This tunnel held apathy, depression, vulnerability, and feelings of abandonment.  When I finally had to give up the one thing at 32 weeks that made me feel like ME (which was working out and lifting weights), my body actually started to feel better physically, which frustrated me that I couldn’t even do the one thing anymore that made me feel normal.  

I’m happy with our decision to labor and deliver at home, but I’m not looking forward to having to actually labor again.  Having been through it several times already, and having witnessed nearly 50 births as a doula, I am very aware of what I’m about to go through.  I made a (probably heretical) comparison to feeling like Jesus in the garden before His passion.  He knew what was going to happen to Him; He didn’t want to do it.  He sweat blood!  I haven’t sweat blood before but I know pretty well what to expect.  The tightening, the stretching, the pain that my body will endure.  It’s the only way to bring this baby into my arms, and I wholly accept that this is the way it has to happen.  And we’ve chosen to do it at home (under the care of a midwife) because I don’t feel there are any better options for me.  Jesus knew His Father’s will, yet He still asked for another way.  I don’t feel guilty about asking for the beginning of the end of this pregnancy… I just have to remember His words: “Not my will, but your will be done.”

I see the opportunities for grace, for growing in patience and endurance, for humility, for redemptive suffering.   I see that perhaps God has a great plan that I don’t know about yet, or a plan better than the one I’ve made.  But… I just don’t want to do it anymore.  I’m ready to have this baby, ready to accept and embrace the pains of labor, ready to move on with life.  Yet I must wait.

And so…  we wait.

Thursday, June 30

June, in photos

Caeli has such beautiful skin.

We woke up one Saturday and Ryan said, "What do you want to do today?" I said, "Build headboards for the boys?" So he did it.

I cut 8 inches or so for a summery-do.

Luke loves his doggy.

She has a wonderful imagination.  She reminds me so much of Beth as a baby.
We went to a free symphony concert with friends, with music by John Williams.

Caeli picked her free book from the library as a reward for the summer reading program.  Winnie the Pooh... in Spanish!  And she insisted I read it!

We had fun playing with friends, chasing their chickens, and collecting eggs.

I spent many hours of creative time designing and printing my own planner for life and school.  It's my favorite!

We scored some new patio furniture on clearance.

Luke helped PawPaw recover our dining room chairs.

Sunday, May 15

Beth's Confirmation

May 15, 2016

Dear Beth,
My sweet girl.  There are no fitting words to express how proud I am of you today- truly, how proud of you I am always.  You have always been intelligent and mature, thoughtful and insightful.  You stump me with questions about how our world works and how God is a part of our lives, and you humble me with your loving and forgiving heart.  Your longing to find God's place for you in this world has always impressed me.  I didn't make you that way, your Heavenly Father did.  He called you at a young age to be a witness, to be His.  And you said yes.

You are blessed to be in a faith community that not only supports but encourages you to receive the Sacraments, and as you prepared your mind, heart, and soul for the sacrament of Confirmation, I knew that the Holy Spirit really had called you to this.  You were already His, and now that you've received the gifts of the Spirit, I know He will continue to call you to great things. 

At 9.5 years old, you are the youngest member of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter to be confirmed.  I believe your enthusiasm for the graces this sacrament will no doubt pave the way for other young girls and boys to be confirmed in their faith!  We believe that you've received the Gifts of the Holy Spirit- piety, wisdom, knowledge, understanding, fear of the Lord, counsel, and fortitude- and what else does our world need more right now?  You understand what it means to be a soldier for Christ as we spoke at length about this during your preparations.  You know the world needs Christ, though thankfully your innocence prevents you from knowing just how badly our world needs Him.  Your understanding will grow and change as you get older, but those holy gifts, this indelible mark, will remain with you always.

Daddy and I are filled with joy, our hearts overflow with gratitude to God for giving you to us. We know the Holy Spirit will guide you as you leave childhood behind and enter into adolescence, and for that we are also so very thankful!  We pray that you will seek His guidance and wisdom all the days of your life.

I love you, my precious girl!  
Love, Mommy

Sunday, April 24

Luke's First Holy Communion

Our dearest Luke,
On the day that you received the most precious Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord, we prayed intensely for you.  We begged God to bless you through your faithfulness to Him, to increase your strength as a growing virtuous boy, and to grant you grace to always follow Him, no matter where that takes you in life.
We are so proud of you, of the preparations that you've made, and the excitement you've demonstrated in being able to participate more fully in the church through the sacraments of Penance and Holy Communion.  Your special day was witnessed by your godparents, grandparents, and friends, and we celebrated afterward with a fun little party with your sweet friend!  You had a great day, and kept telling me how happy you were that you finally were able to receive Jesus.  You filled my heart with joy!

Thursday, April 21


Math patterns. 

This is why I don't enjoy reading aloud.  Everyone want to next to me.  Not on me, but next to me, and they don't understand that I have only two sides.  So they argue and kick, someone pouts, and someone is unhappy.  Guess who that one is in this photo...

Waiting for Luke to finish up his ukulele lesson.  Beth usually has her piano lesson at the same time but today her teacher was out of town.  We walked around the parking lot checking puddles for interesting things.  Jack rescued a lady bug from drowning and nearly caught a lizard.  Beth squashed some crawfish chimneys and found the "back door" to a couple of them.  Caeli mostly held my hand and copied what everyone else was doing.

Tonight we went for a walk after dinner.  Beth has a new-to-her bike and Ryan and I discovered that walks are much more pleasant now that we can trust the three big kids to not ride away, fall in a ditch, or get hit by a car!  It's been raining so much that plenty of ditches were full of running water, so of course we let them climb down and check it out.

We also foraged for wild blackberries, brought them home, washed, and ate.  They were tart!


I rocked Caeli to sleep last night and noticed the shrinking size of my lap.  In order to lean up against me, she has to arch her back a little over my baby bump and wrap her tan little legs around mine to keep from slipping off.  This doesn't seem to bother her, but I notice.

And just like that, 17 weeks in, this pregnancy is flying by.  Life carries on as usual but I notice those little things, things probably no one else notices or understands. But I notice.

I notice the change in my gait.  My hips have widened and there's a small waddle that's been added to my walk.

I notice the placement of the firm part of my belly.  It's not all firm, but where it is keeps me from bending over or even kickboxing the way I used to.

I notice the additional pangs of hunger from not eating enough of the "right" foods.  Because when I eat, everyone wants to eat.  And the idea of dirtying up multiple pots and pans in the morning just doesn't seem to be worth the extra work of cleaning it all up.

I notice the lightheadedness from the additional blood flowing through my body.  The shortness of breath from one flight of stairs.  The tiredness.

And the veins in my left leg.  Oh boy do I notice them.

I've also started noticing something new.  Little gentle kicks, pokes and jabs from a little person inside letting me know he* is there.  He hasn't wasted any time with gentle flutters; this baby already know he's destined for the soccer field like his brothers and sisters.

The ebbs and flows of our day allow me time to sit and concentrate on waiting for those kicks.  I place my hand on my lower abdomen and give a gentle but firm push, to let him know he has my full attention.  More often than not, I think he knows I'm waiting for him and he responds with a push.  Our two worlds meet through layers of skin and muscle and I'm reassured that he's still there, waiting for me too.

***I say "he" for the sake of ease, but we won't be finding out the gender of this baby before birth!  It was too much fun last time not knowing that Caeli was a girl!

Tuesday, April 19

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