Waiting, part two

I wrote an essay on the theme of “waiting” for the Mudroom blog back in December.  You can find it here.

I thought, once this baby was born, the waiting would be over.  No such luck.  We started our waiting game over:

First waiting to meet my baby – I had be strong enough to get from the ICU bed into a wheel chair to make the trip to NICU.

Then waiting to get out of the hospital.

The waiting for Jacob to be big enough and free of enough cords so I could actually hold him.

And we were patient, more or less, and got through all of these.  And waited for each set of tubes to come out of Jacob’s little body.

But then there are the two long waits: one for my milk to come in (apparently trauma and massive blood loss slows these things down…) and the other for Jacob to come home.  Not to mention for him to start eating on his own, wearing clothes, getting out of the isollete (the big clear baby warmer).

God clearly wanted me to learn some more patience.

It’s frustrating, four weeks after birth, to get milk drops at a time, if at all.  Not a problem I’ve had in the past.  But the thought of not nursing this baby – this last baby – is heartbreaking.

And so I’m waiting, again.  And praying.  And pumping.  And eating oatmeal (a galactagogue – add that to your vocabulary!) in every conceivable form.  And praying…while pumping.

I think of St. Zelie Martin (mother of St. Therese of Liseiux), who couldn’t nurse some of her children and had to send them to live with wet nurses until they were old enough to wean, and I am grateful that I don’t live 100 or 150 years ago.  Not only are there doctors and nurses and hospitals which have been able to keep Jacob and me alive, but there is formula.  I would not have to ship off my baby to feed him.

But somehow that’s small comfort.  And I want some big, fat comfort, the kind that comes from a tiny, warm baby falling asleep at my breast.

On the other hand, we’re both here.  Alive, when by rights we probably shouldn’t be.  So maybe I’m asking too much.  But I’m not giving up either.  Not until Jacob has tried for himself, and my body has simply refused.

In the meantime, I’m celebrating every 0.1 mL of milk, and waiting.

A Photo Update…I hope

Let’s see how far I get with this – we’ve been too busy living to spend time writing about living lately!  So here’s what I’ve got saved up…

According to my camera, this is from last June.  But I think the date is wrong, and it was actually October.  Either way, it’s been a while since I went through the pics on the camera!

Here is the little altar I put together for the Day of the Dead.  Mom’s only in the picture because it was the best/most easily accessible one I had of Dad.  The had and cookbook are my grandmothers (Eva Krivanek), gum drops were one of my other grandmother’s favorite treats (Margaret Courtney).  The box and frog puzzle my dad made, and the peanuts were one of his favorite snacks.  The rosary was also Grandma Krivanek’s, and the little pictures on the right are of me with my grandmothers.  That was all I could dig up at the last minute when I did this, but I’ll be a little more prepared this year (if the things aren’t still in storage!  More on that in a later post…)

This was in November.  One of them was confused about the weather forecast.  If I remember right, it was Samantha.

They take good care of each other…

…and Pooh Bear.

The nativity set the girls played with.  They’re taking a nap while they wait for baby Jesus.

The meltdowns have begun, so I’ll have to finish this later.

Counting down the minutes

I have to say I’ve been pretty overwhelmed by all the notes we’ve gotten saying that we are in people’s prayers.  Thank you all so much!!  No matter how things end up going, it has been a great blessing for me to know how many people care about me and our family.

The ultra sound appointment is set for 2:40 this afternoon, then it’s straight to the OB’s office to discuss where we stand, and then if there is time, we’re meeting with the midwife while we’re uptown.  And then I’m hoping for a celebratory dinner somewhere…  So I’ll update as soon as I can, but it probably won’t be until this evening.

The girls went with Taylor to visit her family in Bunkie (Tay has been here helping us out since Sunday – she’s better at getting the girls to sleep than I am!) so the house is quiet, maybe for one of the last times for a while.  Please pray for their safe journey, also, and that the Newtons survive our little bundles of energy!

December 7, 2010

Homeschooling Journal:

Visited the farmer’s market and grocery store.  Read Art and Max; Watch Out, Little Wallaby!; and Arbor Day Square before naps.  Craig read some other books in the afternoon.  Went to Adoration at AOL this evening, and then got a Christmas tree.

Finally, some news!

Yesterday I had the appointment with the OB who backs the midwife we’re looking at using, and I am offically certified “low-risk” for home birth!  Yay!

I spent 3 1/2 hours at the doctor’s office, and took a tongue lashing, because the OB has had some pretty bad experiences with the midwife we used for Samantha’s birth, but she said she trusts Emmy’s (the new midwife) judgement so much that she thinks we will be fine, even if something should go wrong.  So I have an appointment with Emmy in two weeks, and all I have to do now is keep from doing anything that would kick me out of the “low-risk” category between now and February.

I am so relieved!  No more trips to Baton Rouge (I think I was going to try to switch to Touro if the home birth fell through anyway – that drive is just not something I really wanted to contend with after the baby was born), and all the rest of the appointments, except one 36 week check-up with the OB, are at my house.  No more dragging the girls anywhere.  No more 1, 2, or 3 hour waits for appointments.  And no hospital (God willing)!  Thank you so much for all the prayers, they have paid off in a big way.

I hope all is well with those of you who still bother to check up on this poor, neglected blog.  I guess my creative energies have just been directed into several other areas lately.  I’m waiting to see if this new baby gives me the kick to want to write like Samantha did, or if this is just going to become a very occasional forum for me.  Or I could try to be disciplined.  But that rarely goes well. : )

At any rate, Samantha had a wonderful little birthday party about a month ago, and Lucy’s is this Sunday, and then we have Christmas, and babies, and such, so things are staying busy.  And that’s pretty much the news.

Pray with me!

Hello, again.  I know it’s been a long time between posts, and I have finally been motivated to write again because, of course, I could use a little help.

Everything is going well, by the way.  The girls are doing their thing (Samantha has decided to start her terrible twos a few weeks early) and Craig is busy raising ruckus at Shaw, as usual.  All signs indicate that baby Oscar is doing just fine.  He is quite wiggly quite often.

But I’d like a few prayers about our birth.  I met a midwife on Thursday night who is willing to take me as a home birth patient if her back-up doctor is willing to sign me off as “low risk”.  Usually all VBACs are automatically “high risk” because of the 1% chance that the uterus could rupture along the C-section scar, but my scar has already held up once.  No one has asked (to the midwife’s knowledge, at least) to do a 2nd VBAC at home…so there is a glimmer of hope that I will be able to escape the hospital yet.

Plus, this would mean not having to drag me to Baton Rouge in labor, or the baby home from Baton Rouge afterward.  The back-up hospital would be Uptown, about 20 minutes away.  (And if it were really an emergency, there is another hospital about 5 minutes away.)  And I get one midwife to work with, rather than the carousel of six that are at the place I’m going in Baton Rouge right now.

So I’m excited and nervous waiting for this phone call.  Which may come to nothing, and even if it works out is going to be a bit of a struggle to pay for (with the insurance being very unhelpful, as usual), but would be very good for my blood pressure. : )

So, I’ve started a novena to St. Rita, because that was the one that looked good in the prayer book I had at hand, and if you’d care to join me in that or some other way, I’d really appreciate it.

And I’ll let you know as soon as I find out anything.  And put up a decent update, which I know has been sorely lacking.

September 30, 2010

Homeschooling journal:

Our first trip with the girls to adoration.  Theresa’s school has a short one followed by pizza, and most of the prayer time was busy with music, so it went surprisingly well.  Samantha still needs to learn an inside voice, but Lucy sat still and looked at her picture Bible most of the time.  And they enjoyed the pizza.

I read Lucy a good chunk of the Rhyme Bible and the story of Daniel from one of the others today.

We played Cooties this evening, which Lucy followed very well, and then played the make-up-a-story-in-turns game, which she was way better at than I expected.  It’s past time for me to write more of her stories down.

Captain’s Prayer

When we were at Tulane, and I went to daily Mass at the Tulane Catholic Center, there was an elderly gentlemen who came sometimes whom I only knew as “Captain”.  I don’t know his name, or any part of his story.  His face looked like he had been injured during his service, or it could have been scars from surgery, or cancer, I don’t know because I never asked.  He walked with a cane, and when he finally stopped coming to Mass I think I remember hearing that it was because the steps to the upper room chapel had finally become too much for him.

The chapel, for those of you who haven’t been there, is very long and narrow, and the lecturn is set up at one end and the altar, tabranacle, and crucifix (if you could call it that!) were at the other end.  Chairs lined the walls, all facing center.  Captain always sat at the chair nearest the altar, on the window side.  This was carefully planned, so that when we all gathered around the altar for the Liturgy of the Eucharist, he was included in the circle.  We would all bend down, on our way around the circle, to share a sign of peace with him.  And at the Concecration, when the Host or the Cup was elevated, he would say, in a gruff but somehow gentle voice, loud enough for all to hear, “My Lord and my God.”

Why am I telling you all this?  Because you never know whose life you touch, and here is a proof for that statement.  Captain did not know my name, I don’t think.  Nor Craig’s.  But at every Mass we have attended for years now, his prayer has become our own.  There, in the priest’s hands, is My Lord and My God.  And “Captain’s prayer” is the clearest expression of faith in the Eucharist that I think I have ever heard.

And if two isn’t enough, I know of at least one more person who has taken up this prayer.  How many are there that I have no idea of?  And Captain didn’t set out to enrich our spiritual lives, he merely (although merely is unfair, because it was a struggle for him) showed up to daily Mass and spoke his faith.  And did so simply.

It left me wondering, am I doing things that have a positive impact like this?  Even little things.  And what little things I do could be having a negative impact, particularly on my girls?  I have to steal a line from Father R.B. here, I hope he doesn’t mind!  But “It’s something to think about!”

Merton and Day

So I finally did it.  I went out and got myself a spiritual director.  And as I was explaining to her what I’ve been doing recently in my prayer life (this was difficult and guilt inducing!) I mentioned that I had been reading a lot of Merton, and before that some Dorthy Day.  Which Sister thought was an odd combination.  And for half a second or so, I nearly began to correct her, and say that it wasn’t odd at all, actually, but I thought better of that and moved on.  But I have kept thinking about it, and I think I was right (though the ideas are rough and not backed by specific texts at the moment – my Tulane degree is cringing as I write this!), they are really not far removed when you get down to what they each preached.  Simply, love your neighbor.  And that means everyone.  Both felt senses of guilt for the state the world was in, based mostly on their pre-conversion lifestyles.  Both argued that love of God comes to fruition in caring for other people as well and as sacrificially as we can.  Merton did this with prayer behind closed doors, but there seem to be times in his writing where the thinks that if her were worth his salt, he would be out doing exactly what Dorthy Day was doing.  On the other hand, Day emphasizes the need for spiritual grounding to survive the sort of work she engaged in.  The two complement each other clearly.  The fact that both felt they had been forgiven so much stirred both of them to charity and forgiveness, though neither ever shied to name and denounce sin wherever they found it.  The honesty, often the bluntness of both of their writings shines of the desire to know and be known, to open themselves and to thereby lead their readers further down whatever their personal paths might be.  Merton felt he needed the cloister to keep him from the temptations of the world, and that that sort of solitude was necessary for his salvation.  But he repeats that it does not free him from the necessity of loving his neighbor, within the monastery walls or without them.  The two have different methods, because of their different gifts and struggles, but one message.  Love greatly, for you are greatly loved.