Thursday, January 5, 2017

So I Had Another C-Section

Alternative Title :  How to Be Friends When I Had Another C-Section and You Think It's the Worst Thing That Could Have Happened to Me

I decided to go with the short version...

This summer was definitely exciting.  There was so much going on and I was really doing my best to prepare myself for the arrival of my little girl.  I had a pro-VBAC doctor, in a pro-VBAC clinic, in a pro-VBAC hospital, in a pro-VBAC community.  We were going to do this.  In fact we were going to do this so much and so well we really hadn't talked about the alternatives because we were Team VBAC.

Everyone in my mommy circles seem excited by this.  Now I would get the "real" experience of birth.  Now I would have this wonderful shared experience with woman-kind.  Now I would be complete and on equal footing with all the other mothers I knew.  My community was excited, they were supportive, they were the greatest bunch of cheerleaders I could ask for.  I had enough book, technique and method recommendations to last me through three births.  I was going to do this and it would complete me.

And then things changed.

My 37 week appointment came with the discovery that my little girl was breach.  My 38 week appointment came with the confirmation that we was definitely still breach.  My 39 week appointment confirmed that she had her head squarely stuck in the top of my ribs, under my sternum with her feet wedged in my right side ribs.

And it was somewhere in those few weeks that many of my cheerleaders turned into pall-bearers.  Oh they were still being optomistic with lists and lists of things to try, but as the clock ticked and the due date got closer the tone around me changed dramatically.

I don't think anyone other than me noticed it because so many people were still focused on being supportive, but instead of supporting my new reality - one carefully decided with medical staff I would be under and the OB who had guided my reproductive health for the last three years - the cheerleaders were focused on the old one.

"I'm so happy", became "I'm so sorry".

"You're going to do so well" became "Have you really done everything you can to avoid this?".

"This is going to be a beautiful moment" became "This is such a shame".

"You're making such a great choice" became "I can't imagine choosing to do what you're doing".

To be honest, I was more than a little shocked and more than a little hurt.

Let me be clear, I know intentions were good and I know people thought this was yet another huge tragedy in my tumultuous path to motherhood, but it wasn't a tragedy to me.

Now, I know some people fear hospitals and have legitimate horror at the thought of needles, surgery, wounds and scars and what I'm saying does not diminish the reality of your choices, but I feel I need to be clear on this...

After three years of struggle to get pregnant and stay pregnant, after three years of loosing child after child to miscarriage I was being told subtly and sometimes directly that the method I spent hours agonizing over to insure a safe birth for my child was the worst outcome someone could imagine.

Trust me when I say the method of my delivery was no where on my "worst outcomes list", I already had a taste for the worst outcome four times in a row.

I had just spent three years mourning four children I could do nothing to save and faced with a situation that had multiple outcomes I chose the path I felt would ensure me the best chance at finally saving one of my babies and I was being told this was a tragedy.

My second c-section was not a tragedy (and neither was my first), but the language and the tone around me was that of disappointment and mourning.  I was volunteering to be lead alone to sterile operating room alone, have a needle inserted into my spine, strapped to a table and be cut open while fully conscious, separated from my child and stitched back together alone all for the safety and well-being of my child.

If there was a time I needed my cheerleaders it was then.  Instead, I dealt with all my fears and concerns quietly and under the radar save for the closest of friends and family.  I could not share my concerns about my total fear of my spinal block or my phobia of never waking up from anesthesia if I needed to be put under.  I could not share my dread of having to look at another ugly, itching scar to look at or in my case avoid looking at at all costs.

I needed my coaches in my corner, water bottles at the ready, mopping my brow and psyching me up and I what I got was sad stream of mourners patting hand and avoiding eye contact.

So where do we go from here?  We move on.  What's done is done and it's in the past, but as we move forward I hope you remember this.  I hope you remember that your worst outcome might be no where near mine.  I hope you remember that it takes just as much strength and courage to walk yourself to the altar of the operating table as it does to face a contraction.  I hope you remember that I still need, and deserve, the support and strength we can encourage in one another.  I hope you remember that it was not a selfish choice, but a loving sacrifice.  I hope you remember to ask me first whether or not I'm saddened by the change in plan or need to talk about my concerns in my new plan.  I hope we both grow from this experience, I know I have.

Monday, January 2, 2017

New Year, New Books

(this post contains Amazon Affiliate Links)

It's that time again, I'll have to type out another post with my personal resolutions, but for now the important part of the new year.... books!

I'm woefully behind in reading (new babies do that to you) and honestly feeling a bit ashamed at the depth and breadth of my general reading lists.  While I do love a good challenging, well written piece of fiction or non-fiction a busy life often leads me to much more easily digested fare - I read a lot of embarrasing trite fantasy novels this last year.  We'll blame it on the pregnancy brain.

So this year I'm challenging myself to what feels like a good mix of easy and hard.  I'm sure the occasional trite fantasy read will find it's way in, and I'll probably reread some old favorites in the mix too.  But this is the goal for 2017.




How about you?

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Where Are You?

Apparently the answer to that questions is an emphatic:  Not Here.

I've been busy, two kids, a full time job and numerous side projects is a busy life.  I'm not gone from the blog completely, I've just been needing to be particular about my time and efforts right now.  For the last year or so I've been privately working on some personal improvements like housekeeping and time management which has resulted in a big spin on how I've been spending my time.  I've been slowly improving at prioritizing my home-care and family time and being more intentional in the time I'm spending on other work.

Of course, chronic over committer that I am it doesn't mean I've actually decreased my commitments.  I'm still over at Blessed is She, and working with the team on the devotionals, FB live and Insta Stories and now helping refocus and reenergize our blog.  I've also signed on to write for a Catholic news/opinon site, but I'll be back to share about that when I finally write something up.  There's nothing like saying "I can't wait to write for you!" to cause a big ol' case of writers block.

I'm also doing a lot that I don't have time to share here - focusing on this little domestic monastary of mine, becoming more involved in our new parish and getting ready for next year when my son is old enough to start participating in more activities (Cub Scouts and the like).  I told my husband the other night it feels like the calm before the storm here. My free is soon to be a thing of the past I'm afraid.

But I'm here, just not here here.  I'm hoping to get back to book posts and things of that nature soon though!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Truth of Star Wars

If you have the time to go see the new Star Wars movie "Rogue One" I highly recommend having an in depth discussion about morality and objective truth before you sit down with your tub of popcorn (extra butter) and Twizzlers.

Or at least that's apparently how I like to kick off my movie watching experiences.

Last Friday I was sitting across from my husband in the food court, splitting a basket of Garlic Blue Cheese Fries from Zombie Burger when I started off with.

"I bet Kendra is going to hate this movie."

Kendra, being of course my friend from Catholic All Year, whom I love dearly, but rarely see eye to eye on about movies.

My husband, sensing my deep need for adult conversation allowed me to continue.  I assumed Kendra was going to hate Rogue One, she likes movies where objective truth is clear and heroes are heroes and never bad guys, intentionally or otherwise.  the recent spate of superhero movies bother her with their flip flopping sides and questionable choice.  I on the other hand love a good antihero, or hero gone (pardon the phrase) rogue.  Because, I explained while trying to get the best blue cheese chunks from the bottom of the basket, objective truth isn't just for perfect characters.  Objective truth isn't only upheld in the plot lines of the lawfully good paladins (thank you Captain America, who my husband assures me is always right).  Sometimes you need to see how it plays in the story lines of the guys who are a little more chaotic, or at best neutral.  We need to see the story lines where the good guy goes astray (and is lead back in a moment of revelation) to show that objective truth is real; that good is good is good and bad is bad is bad.  That you cannot do bad for good reasons and still maintain a grip on your humanity.

Luckily my husband is used to my long narratives on subjects we're already in agreement about or it would have a been a long bucket of fries with lots of awkward silence.

So off we went to Rogue One.  I'll try not to reveal too many spoilers, but considered yourself warned.

For the last few months we've been waist deep in Star Wars at my house - introducing our son eagerly to the original trilogy and begrudgingly to the prequels.  Happily to move on we've been working our way through all 6 seasons of the Clone Wars T.V. show which goes a long way to redeem the questionable prequel storyline.  You get to see more of the cause and effect, you get to see the slow internal and external destruction of the Jedi and you get to see the multifaceted politics of a galaxy at war.  It's quite clever, and one day we'll share a beer and I'll give you my thesis about it being a political statement piece on the Iraq/Afghanistan conflicts of the last 10+ years (trust me, it's there).

Rogue One was just what I was hoping for.  A more realistic, serious take on the SW universe and an able vehicle for discussion the cost of war and rebellion.

Needless to say I left the movie positively pumping my fists in appreciation, and immediately jumping on phone to see what Kendra thought about it.  "Please tell me you liked it!  How could you not, it's was objective truth all over the place!"  And for one shining moment she and I found ourselves in total agreement over a movie (see something good did happen in 2016).

It was there, objective truth.  It  was so clear and yet, if you weren't looking for it you might not have realized it. It's so easy to write off Star Wars as just wizards in space, nut throughout the storyline was example after example of clear moral truth.  Example after example that doing bad for good intentions does not make good.   We saw that only with confession, repentance and personal, willing sacrifice does good truly triumph.  We saw great moments of faith, a faith outside of lightsabers and Force throwing might.  We saw amazing sacrifice of ordinary, unassuming and otherwise unimportant people.  In my eyes, we saw Truth as I see it in my faith and I hope others saw it too.
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