Birth Story #8 – Timothy – posterior hospital birth

For Timothy’s birth, we decided to go back to the hospital. That’s a whole story in itself, but suffice it to say that I surprised myself and decided that I didn’t want another birth center birth, and I also didn’t want the home birth I had long thought of. I was happiest in the hospital. We found a good midwife practice and decided to have him at the small community hospital just up the street from our house.

The birth – now, Timothy has always been a little unpredictable, and very spunky. He showed these qualities early – before he was even born.

The day before he was due, nothing exciting was happening as far as labor. As a grand multipara (I like that term better than “that lady with a boatload of kids”), I get a lot of pre-labor, which usually progresses very gradually into a couple weeks of prodromal labor, and then finally, mercifully, into the real thing. That night, I was still slogging through the prodromal phase.

Timothy, though – this kid wasn’t having it. The usual puttery, going-nowhere-much contractions had been going on for a while now, and I guess he was done. So, that night before the due date, right as I was getting ready for bed, he suddenly squirmed and gave one strong kick. I yelped in pain and surprise – even before I realized that he had gone and broken my water. I was startled, and a little panicked to get to the hospital – the only other time my water broke outside the hospital, the baby came so fast we didn’t make itI also couldn’t help being a little sad that he’d chosen bedtime to get the party started. My last full night of sleep whisked away, just like that.

Well, we didn’t hang around. Our teenagers were already home to babysit, so we just grabbed our stuff and left. I remember noticing the perfectly full moon in a clear spring sky as we pulled away from the house.

We were at the hospital about half an hour after The Kick, and grateful to be there before anything much was happening. Some vague contractions were starting up, but nothing strong. We got checked in, and with some difficulty convinced the nurses that I really was sure my membranes really had ruptured. Their skepticism confused me – this was not a slow leak, folks. This was not an easy event to misinterpret, even were this my first rodeo. On my eighth…haven’t I maybe earned the right to just be believed when I say I’m sure my water broke?

Anyway, the midwife soon arrived, and contractions picked up. And as they did, I developed a deep ache in my back which filled me with a sense of dread. I knew immediately what it meant – the baby was posterior. I had been through posterior birth once before, and it was by far the hardest, longest, and most painful birth I have experienced. He had not been in a posterior position earlier that week when the midwife had checked him, but he sure was now. I had to immediately adjust my expectations for this birth – as soon as the water broke, I had assumed he was coming fast. With his poor positioning, it wasn’t going to be that way.

But, thankfully, neither was it to be a repeat of Alex’s 24-hour labor. The next couple of hours were hard, trying any and every position and comfort measure in the book to encourage him to come down. I spent a lot of time on hands and knees. I do wish I had had a labor tub like I had at the birth center with Emily – I am sure it would have helped immensely. He finally arrived, strong and healthy, only 5 minutes before his due date and about 3 hours after he “kickstarted” his own labor. This was pretty short, for a posterior labor.KODAK Digital Still Camera

So, I learned that not every posterior birth has to be as long and difficult as mine had been; there are so many variables, you just never know. I am sure it helped that we discovered his position early on, and it also helped that I had told the midwife beforehand that I was really afraid of posterior birth because of a previous birth. She did a great job of taking a proactive role in positioning and encouragement, which makes all the difference.

That’s one reason I love midwives; she was there the whole time, using positioning, counterpressure, and doubtless things I never noticed, or have forgotten. Some births I have needed that, and some I haven’t – but you never know until you are in the middle of it.

Finally, if you find yourself facing a posterior birth, don’t despair! My midwife pointed me to Spinning Babies, which is a fabulous resource on fetal positioning. The best way to cope with posterior labor is to be prepared, and be sure your caregiver is prepared as well. Also, for this as well as any birth, if you don’t have a midwife, you should consider finding a good doula. A professional level of labor support really can make such a huge difference, especially if you are faced with difficulties. You can do it!

This post has been shared at Thank Goodness It’s Monday at Nourishing Joy.

Over the Moon Link Party

Sweet Little Ones

and Wonderful Wednesday.

{SQT} Homeschool changes, kid stuff, and general commotion

~1~

Whoa, it’s been busy around here. We had a good Christmas with lots of family, and we’ve been hard at work with school. This school year has easily been our toughest ever. We have had, all at once:

xmas
Merry belated Christmas!
  • The move in the summer, including buying a house, consuming 100% of my time that I needed for preparation.
  • Needed curriculum changes from our Catholic conversion.
  • The kiddos moving into a bit of a new phase where I now have 4 grade schoolers and 2 high schoolers.
  • The two littlest ones, ages 1 and 3, are both very high maintenance children, far more than most of my other ones were at those ages. The two of them are quite a team, and leave me feeling like a rookie as often as not.
  • Other significant life stressors cropped up in the past year, too, and my heart is tired. You know, because a major faith transition coupled with a midlife career change and moving a family of 10 to a completely new place within one year isn’t enough. I guess. Apparently.

It’s been the first year where I really thought we might just hang it up and send them to public school. It was definitely on the table, for a while, and that’s not something I’ve thought twice about since we decided to homeschool an adorable 5 year old Erin, 12 years ago. But, if all I can do is run around throwing worksheets at people with a shrieking toddler wrapped around my head, well, that’s not going to cut it.

~2~

But, before we quit, I wanted to try changing some things around. Sometimes that’s all you need, really, is just a new approach. Since I was getting worn out trying to keep up with all the separate coursework (plus two crazy monkeys), I decided to try some unit studies. I had done this once before when Erin and Anna were little, but neither of them enjoyed it much. They didn’t like the hands on, lapbooking type stuff, so I ditched it.

But, new times. New kids, and it turns out purchased unit studies have been a fabulous breath of fresh air. Less prep for me, since it’s all put together already, with good ideas for the projects and field trips that are so hard for me to think of when I can’t find time to visit the bathroom or throw in a load of laundry. This batch of grade-schoolers loves the lapbooking. So, we’re interspersing week-and month-long studies as a supplement to our foundational coursework.

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making pizzas

We’re getting a lot more done and enjoying it more. We even took a school tour of Pizza Hut and got two free pizzas out of it, so clearly it’s a win.

So now, I’m optimistic we can carry on. It’s a relief, because I was worried about laying still more life changes on all of us.

~3~

The running…oh. That. It’s cold out there, you know? So I do kettlebell. (Sometimes). I love me some kettlebell. 10 minutes, 200 calories. Done.

The kids even get into it, now. I happened on a 3lb bell at a thrift store a while back, and now my 3 year old is perfecting her swing.

 ~4~

The kids are settling in a bit. Rebecca is doing well at dance, and has been invited to be on the Oireachtas team for this year. It’s pronounced oh-ROCK-tus, and it’s a regional competition that will be in Florida this coming December. She’s super excited. Becca has a lot of goals, and one is to go to the World Championship in Ireland someday. Who knows? If Becca can give me an excuse to fund raise for a trip to Ireland, well, hmm. I’m good with that.scouts

We’ve also started the boys in Cub Scouts. They are adorable in their uniforms, but I know nothing about scouting, or about most of the things that scouts do (which is one reason I wanted them in scouts. Right?).  Their poor leader has to talk me through everything. My hand has almost healed from helping them make Pinewood Derby cars a couple weeks ago, though, so that’s something.

And, to my complete shock, my three year old has forgotten Utah. She no longer recognizes photos of our house there, or her old room. She remembers people, friends and neighbors, but not the place.

Also, Becca is going to be an altar server. I’m happy that she can do that, both for its own sake and also as a good place to find some friends her age in the church.

~5~

We got a dog! Memargo and beccaet Margo. She’s a Great Pyrenees/Labrador mix obtained from a rescue up in Virginia. She is our second try – the first dog we brought home from the shelter sadly had to go right back the next day, after it became clear that he had an incurable taste for cat. He was a sweetie otherwise, but I do like our cats an awful lot.

Margo is another story. She is so much fun and has fit right in, and after a chilly start with the cats has become best buddies with Rhys. Erin, who has wanted a dog pretty much forever, still can’t quite believe she’s here.

~6~

Tim me
“Mine.”

Timothy isn’t really a baby anymore. He’s a tempestuous, insanely lovable and lovably insane toddler, now. The whole house has been claimed by him – most especially anything I am eating. And the stove timer, which no one can figure out why it makes him so angry. When it goes off, he becomes enraged and yells “NO! My timer! Mine!!”

~7~

While Emily has forgotten Utah, I have not. We have moved to a good place, with good people and good opportunities, and I’m grateful. But leaving Utah behind left a deeper hole in my heart than I expected. I’m finding life to be that way, the last few years. We’ve left much behind, both physically and metaphorically, and life is different than it was in so many ways.

“It does not do to dwell on dreams, and forget to live,” said Albus Dumbledore. It seems strange now, but I never realized how much that can apply to dreams of the past as well as dreams of the future. It’s always been a priority for me not to waste what I have for want of what I lack. In the past, what I lacked was stability, prosperity, plans for the future beyond getting that much-needed job. But we lived there, and made a life there, and a darn good one.

my favorite view
View from our old dining room window.

I’m determined to do that here, too. To roll who I was into who I am, and be present, and live here. Utah and its breathtaking beauty and its kind, generous, and hardworking people are stamped on my heart, as is Pennsylvania where I grew up. Starting over is hard, but I won’t waste this stretch of my life gazing back at the last one. Even if I have been very busy framing old pictures to hang up around the house.

For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum.

The Homeschool Post

Catholic Conversion: Seven MORE Things I was Wrong About

I used to think the Catholic Church was creepy.

Truth, friends. As a Protestant, I was immersed in my own culture, and looking in, good grief. All this praying to dead people, and burning incense, and…the bones. I went to a cathedral in Guatemala City once, and bones. People bones. It creeped me out for days.

The thing is, we shouldn’t judge Truth on whether we’re used to it or not. The biggest barrier to my conversion to the Catholic Church was the layers and layers of confusion, misinformation, and misunderstanding that clouded my vision.

~1~

Catholics are obsessed with death.

Well, you know. The relics. The crucifixes. Good Friday. All Souls Day.

Giotto. the-crucifix- c.1317 Padua, Museo Civico

I never liked crucifixes even as a child raised outside of church. I refused to believe that Jesus had really had nails driven through His hands. It was too graphic for me, I guess.

As a convert coming in from a conservative Presbyterian background, where any pictures of Christ are considered to violate the 2nd Commandment, I had a hard time with the crucifix in church. I could hardly look at it, for months.

But I’ve found that it’s not that Catholics are obsessed with death and suffering. It’s that they don’t fear it. Not just in an esoteric, I’m going to heaven kind of way, but in an everyday mercy kind of way. They feel the call to be messengers of mercy, healing, and love in the very darkest places – including the deathbed. They know that our suffering has great value in the eyes of God, and that it is a critical part of our growth as His children.

~2~

Catholics think they have to get married to go to heaven.

I didn’t think this one myself, but friends have challenged me with it. This example highlights how otherwise highly informed Protestants have been seriously misinformed aboBS001 sut the Church. The splintering that goes on and on feeds on this kind of thing. (And it goes both ways, for sure.)

No. Of course not. Priests, nuns, etc., are celibate, for one thing, so that would be an extremely odd doctrine. Marriage is a sacrament, but so are Holy Orders, so most people don’t receive all seven sacraments in their lifetime – only a rare minority, such as perhaps a widower who then became a priest. Neither is required – it depends on one’s vocation and state of life.

~3~

Catholics live in a state of medieval superstition and fear.

This one I did think. In the sign of the cross, in the incense, in the candles, the holy water, the different gestures…I saw all these things as superstitious nonsense, silly things probably done to ward off evil spirits or something. MyFitzgeraldFairyBanquet more austere Reformed spirituality seemed more logical and more Biblical, free of outward tangible signs of spiritual realities, beyond the two sacraments I accepted at the time.

But as I mentioned in my previous list of misconceptions, we are beings who are both physical and spiritual. Catholic practice is not superstitious – these practices all express and point to spiritual realities which are, for the most part, also accepted by our Protestant brothers and sisters. But, they do so in a way that understands that people are more than just a brain, or more than just a heart. We are physical beings, and our minds and hearts are informed and strengthened by things we encounter in the physical world.

~4~

Catholicism teaches that the Pope is never wrong, which is silly, because everybody knows that popes have lived scandalously and contradicted each other.

This is one I took as a given. It was incomprehensible to me that anybody could be so gullible as to actually believe that the Pope was infallible. It was patently obvious that, throughout history, there have been immoral popes who certainly weren’t infallible. And those pesky contradictions! Catholics were, to be sure, mindless automatons who never bothered to crack open a history book.

Pope Francis in March 2013 (cropped)

It was a top objection for me, in the early days. The problems here come really from two major misconceptions, not one:

~5~

Papal infallibility means that the Pope is perfect in every way. He does not forget phone numbers, and he sure doesn’t sin.

Nope. No, no, no. Here is an excerpt from an excellent article on the subject put out by Catholic Answers:

“…Fundamentalists and other “Bible Christians” often confuse the charism of papal ‘infallibility’ with ‘impeccability.’ They imagine Catholics believe the pope cannot sin…Given these common misapprehensions regarding the basic tenets of papal infallibility, it is necessary to explain exactly what infallibility is not. Infallibility is not the absence of sin…Some ask how popes can be infallible if some of them lived scandalously. This objection of course, illustrates the common confusion between infallibility and impeccability. There is no guarantee that popes won’t sin or give bad example. (The truly remarkable thing is the great degree of sanctity found in the papacy throughout history; the “bad popes” stand out precisely because they are so rare.)”

Catholics aren’t blind to the scandalous popes. They just know that it doesn’t have anything to do with the doctrine of infallibility.

~6~

Popes can’t be infallible because they have contradicted each other.

The historical record of this really surprised me.  As a Protestant, it was a wPope Saint John Paul II Statueorking assumption that popes had contradicted each other, not once or twice, but so many times that the whole doctrine was ridiculous.

 More from the same article:

“Other people wonder how infallibility could exist if some popes disagreed with others. This, too, shows an inaccurate understanding of infallibility, which applies only to solemn, official teachings on faith and morals, not to disciplinary decisions or even to unofficial comments on faith and morals. A pope’s private theological opinions are not infallible, only what he solemnly defines is considered to be infallible teaching. 

Even Fundamentalists and Evangelicals who do not have these common misunderstandings often think infallibility means that popes are given some special grace that allows them to teach positively whatever truths need to be known, but that is not quite correct, either. Infallibility is not a substitute for theological study on the part of the pope.

What infallibility does do is prevent a pope from solemnly and formally teaching as “truth” something that is, in fact, error. It does not help him know what is true, nor does it “inspire” him to teach what is true. He has to learn the truth the way we all do—through study—though, to be sure, he has certain advantages because of his position…Turning to history, critics of the Church cite certain “errors of the popes.” Their argument is really reduced to three cases, those of Popes Liberius, Vigilius, and Honorius, the three cases to which all opponents of papal infallibility turn; because they are the only cases that do not collapse as soon as they are mentioned. There is no point in giving the details here—any good history of the Church will supply the facts—but it is enough to note that none of the cases meet the requirements outlined by the description of papal infallibility given at Vatican I (cf. Pastor Aeternus 4).”

For a meatier treatment of this, try The Christian Freethinker, the much-quoted Catholic Answers article, or the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia.

~7~

Catholics have gone liberal and don’t practice what they preach anymore.

I talked about this a little in my first misconceptions post, but this one keeps on surprising me. Sure, yes, there are plenty of “Catholics” who aren’t serious. There are also plenty of Evangelicals who aren’t serious, who don’t read their Bible or take their morality or faith seriously. It doesn’t mean that the Evangelicals aren’t serious.  It just means that the Evangelical churches have, well, people, in them. Those people are not all at the same place in their journey.

Worshippers pray with rosaries. Credit: User:leba12 (Wikimedia Commons).The un-serious Catholics that I met and, even more, Knew About (through hearsay) gave me an unrealistic view of the seriousness of Catholics in general. I keep meeting an endless stream of serious, sincere, practicing Catholics; I keep being surprised when I do. It’s a lovely, heart-cheering surprise, like so many facets of the Church, but I do hope my flawed, ingrained expectations begin to catch up to reality, one day.

For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum.

You might also like:

{SQT} 7 Things I was Wrong About

{SQT} 7 Things I Didn’t Lose When I Became Catholic

We made it!

Well hi from North Carolina! I had this idea that I would be super organized and have scheduled posts going up while I was moving…but that’s not really how I roll.

So here’s a quick catch-up. Ready? Good.

Our drive mostly went well, aside from the bit where the top blew completely off our top carrier out in the middle of Wyoming. That was more excitement than I hoped for, really, but it could have been much worse than it was.

We did buy a house. It all worked out somehow, and here we are:20160807_101127.jpg

We like it, a lot, and we’re happy to be here, though we miss Utah friends, family, and miscellaneous other familiar comforts. It’s an old house, which I both love and am a little intimidated by. This lifelong renter has more than a thing or two to learn (hence the new arrival on my bookshelf).

We did paint when we got here, and I am so very glad we did.  The walls were very, um, colorful. As you entered the from door, you were greeted by bright yellow walls and an orange ceiling. Up the stairs could be seen a Crayola sky blue hall (and CEILING). On the lower level, one could just make out the master bed in the back with its very, very intense turquoise walls and crazy patchwork white trim going every which way.

We got it calmed down a bit thanks to a 3 or 4 day paint fest with crazy helpful family members.

We’re in town, and an 8 minute walk to our parish in one direction and a very cute little downtown in the other. After 16 years in a major metro area, small town life is appealing – there is pretty much no traffic. At all. Of course, there are also the quirks – the only DMV around is drastically understaffed, so in spite of arriving precisely when they opened, I still had to wait 2 1/2 hours to get my driver’s license changed.

So here we are, in a blur of unpacking and finding things and paperwork and thinking we really, really need to be getting ready for school.

Linked up at This Ain’t The Lyceum.

The first goodbye

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Today, the chickens and ducks had to go.

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Lucy

They were supposed to go last week, but I couldn’t bring myself to make the call and set the time.

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Greta

I always wanted chickens, and a few years ago, we finally got them. The eggs are gorgeous, and the chicken noises coming from the backyard are homey. And, my kids do most of the work they bring, so what’s not to love?

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Molly.  Or Meg.  One of them.

I’m a pretty soft touch when it comes to animals. Erin – the oldest – has getting me to say “yes” to new animals or animal related projects down to a science. She puts on her “pretty please” face and we all know it’s over. Which is probably why we’re not just taking 10 people to North Carolina this summer.

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Lily, my fave, and the two reds, Molly and Meg

We’re also taking 7 animals. Seven!  I must be crazy. If I’m not, I will be. Two cats, two rats, two rabbits, and one parakeet.

(A mom has to draw the line somewhere.)

Even if dragging 8 poultry across the nation in high summer sounded like a good idea, we won’t be ready to house them when we get there. So the chickens, which we raised from itty bitty chicks and know by name, had to find a new home.

Bye gals.

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Welcome!

cropped-profile-attempt.jpgWelcome to my new blog!  If you happen to have followed me over from my old, neglected, dusty blog Diligence Without Fear, you’ll notice that there have been some big changes for our family lately, namely that we have converted to the Catholic Church, and also that we finally (finally!) have obtained that long-sought full time job and will soon be moving from Utah, our home of 16 years, to a brand new town in North Carolina!  You’ll also find that I will share some oldies from that blog occasionally, and that we have a new baby whose birth story I haven’t written yet.  He’s only a year old, guys.  Give me some time, here.

So, I’ll blog about all kinds of things, but especially about our Catholic transition and our relocation.  When the dust settles I’ll turn my attention to our new town, homeschooling, and my efforts to simplify and minimalize our crazy, chaotic life.