Monday, April 4, 2011

Worth a Repeat

It was lil b's birthday yesterday...she's 13 now (geesh) so of course as we enter this next phase in her life...the birth of who she will become on her own two feet...I thought about the first day I saw her little feet...


Bm's birth-day came to mind today
She IS going to be 12 soon and yet I still hold the events of her birth so vividly in my mind.
They were actually quite traumatic
But when I recount them, as I did this morning in the office as we chatted around the time clock waiting for the digits to flip to :00, they didn't sound 'bad'... there was actually inspiration there.

On Bm's birth-day... Sam pushed the reset button.

My original due date was March 17th
Later on in my pregnancy my due date was bumped to March 23rd
Bm (B minor...incase you're wondering) was born April 3rd so needless to say...I was TO TERM and then some when she was born. I remember my belly being squared off and being able to clearly distinguish her body parts as she attempted what looked like an 'alienesque' birth.

Honestly, at this point in time...all the way up to her actual birth, everyone thought SHE was a HE so the gender specificity in my story is colored.

My last visit with the doctor was Thursday, April 2nd. My induction had been scheduled for 7:30 Friday morning, but she wanted one last chance to have labor begin naturally and stripped my membrane.
At the time, my partner and I were wholesaling scented candles and I had an order of 350 to get lableled, dressed, and out the door by 3:30 that afternoon. I remember the client's 'awooga' eyes at the size of my belly AND the fact that I, not my partner, was making the delivery. (Such was life in 1998)

I'm sure I ate dinner at some point in time but my next memory is the decision to take a shower after ER (funny, a lot of major happenings in the first 8 months of my daughter's life have an ER connection...Thursday must be my day...but that's another posting) and try to get some sleep before heading to the hospital. I was pretty sure labor had started, but I had a 'false alarm' at 6 months, so I was reticent to say anything because everything up until then was bearable and I remember the constant reminder from my lamaze coach that it was "better to wait at home than in the hospital." (she obviously didn't live in my house)

I laid down to 'sleep' around 11:30.
Heh heh...yeah right
At 1:00am I rolled over and said "I think we should just go to the hospital"

I checked in around 2:30am
I was 5 cm along and progressing nicely
I didn't want any meds unless it was absolutely necessary and my breathing was helping me through my contractions just fine.

  • 3:30 am - smooth sailing
  • 4:30 am - I'm good at this...excited for baby
  • 5:30 am - our uber awesome nurse checks in and lets me know we're doing fine, asks if I need meds to which I give a hearty "No Thank You"
  • 6:30 am - feeling fine and uber nurse lets us know her shift is over but she'll be back at 5:30 that evening to meet the new baby ~smile~
  • 7:00 am - We meet the new nurse. Following doctors orders, she enters with a GIANT crochet needle and attempts to break my no avail. "Okay, we'll try again later."
  • 7:30 am - In comes the nurse, and a physician's assistant...crochet needle again, fail. "We'll be back in a few minutes to change your IV."
  • 7:45 am - they induce me

Did you read that? I've probably been in labor for over 12 hours and THEY INDUCED ME...didn't say anything, just looked at my chart, saw the orders and did it...

By 8:30am I definitely knew I was in labor.
Contractions coming faster now
Nurse says I'm making good progress...another push to the IV

holy cow
umm...remember that pain med I said I didn't want? I think I want some now
IV push...okay, that's a little better

contractions coming hard and fast now..."just breathe it out, they come in waves...make it throught the peak and it's smooth sailing down from there" lamaze coach didn't mention pitocin!
IV push...better now

When is this wave gonna end? Where is the down hill?
I need more pain meds please?
"I'm sorry you can only have them once every 1/2 hr"

It went along this way for another hour...
10:45 am
IV PUSH...better

"ma'am you need to roll over on your'am... MA'AAM!"
"Sir, you need to get your wife to roll over on her side!"
"She's not my wife"

at 11:02am my baby's heart rate stopped
I remember hearing the bells and whistles
I remember being pushed over on my side
I remember my partner saying "you have to wake her up to ask her"
and I remember someone saying "Call the NICU"

some time later, I'm not sure when
a kind face on a tall man told me I had nothing to worry about
"You'll have to start all over, but you and the baby are fine"

I didn't really know what he was talking about, I just knew I felt groggy and tired and my partner was passed out on the chair next to my I slept.

I woke up around 5:00 that night with the need to poop (hey it's my blog and I talk about poop when I want to)... "Can I use the bathroom"
"no, not right now, just go in the bed"

" thanks"

"I think I need to push"
"Oh no ma'am, don't push yet...we don't have the stirrups ready. And ma'am, please wait for us to TELL you to push. We'll have to be sure to suction the baby once the head has cleared the birth canal"

Whatever...I slid my legs back and 'adjusted' myself
I guess I pushed...oops (okay this is a hindsight observation too because I didn't mean to push, and I didn't realize I had)

Okay ma'am, you can push
And then there was a wriggling, squirming, slippery baby on my belly
I couldn't even hold her I was so doped up

My baby is whisked away for apgar testing and I'm getting "cleaned up" to move to my post delivery room
"gee ma'am, with as easily as you pushed that baby out I'm sure glad they didn't have to cut you"

"cut me," I thought, but I just smiled and nodded..."me too."

Then I heard her...UBER cool nurse... "What do you MEAN they almost DIED ?!?! She was FINE when I left!"

She came in the room, smiled at me, rubbed the hair off my face and told the other attending to leave, she would be taking care of me now...

There were lots of other little foibles along the way after that...
the partner who came back to the hospital fall down drunk with a football for the baby...
the scratches on my baby's head from the giant crochet needle...
the lactation specialist who told my kid "okay baby, swallow or choke" as she force fed her with a cup...
and the fact that I had to drive myself home...

But at the time, none of that mattered
I was able to stay in the hospital 3 whole days and I DID, because otherwise...I'd just pick up where I left off.

I drove myself home from the partner didn't have a valid license at the time so he sat in the back with the baby...even AFTER they told me not to drive for a few days...I drove a BEASTOFAVAN through spring break traffic first to piccadilly...cause I knew there'd be no good food at home...then home.

I eventually ended up taking the baby and stepping out to a new life
yeah, I made that decision after watching ER one night on the opposite side of the couch as my partner...(see I told you there was a connection)

I struggled with that decision for a long time
Somewhere in the midst of everything I found my faith again
finding your faith is not a fun thing when you're an unwed mother...and I 'should've known better"...after all I was 26 years old.
I read my bible and listened to Ron Hutchcraft pretty regularly those days...he taught me the verse in Malachai that said children need to grow up in the love they were created out of...
so I tried
and I tried
and tried and tried and tried
to find a way to save myself, and keep a relationship with him
Because my child needed it...

Quite a few years later I realized that she IS growing up in the love she was created from
she's growing up with me.
Her conception was anything but romatic
Her gestation was OUR time (hers and mine)
Her birth...was our salvation moment
and her life since then...has been void of him...he's a silent partner with no controlling assets.

I don't have her pictures from the hospital
I don't have her tiny feet prints or hand prints
that all got lost in the shuffle...

at 11:02am on Friday April 3, 1998
Sam pushed the Reset Button
She was too important
WE were too important to what the Universe has in store for human kind to not be a part of it
Our lives took a very drastic turn in that very moment
We died...and came back as something new, with a purpose.

See...maybe I really CAN be fairly certain that given a cape and a nice tiara I could save the World!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Blog's New Clothes - - and afternoon showers

A rainy afternoon called for an afternoon movie from the netflix queue
I picked a documentary of course, because we'd already watched a musical and because I was the only one watching.
I loved this one
I really did
There is a revolution rumbling and the conversation does start now (as the movie's final screen declares).
Anne Rice spoke out
Jim and Tammy Faye's offspring is revolutionizing
and I like what they're all saying
we should call ourselves Christ-likes instead of Christians...then we really can remember what (who) we're supposed to be like.<--that's a paraphrase of a Bill Maher quote from the movie.

The blog got new clothes yesterday
while I loved my former template it was a bit too emily the strange for spring time
and of course rained stormed all day long.
so spring must be springing soon :)

I've got two chapters of my book outlined and a third in my head
which is probably why this blog post is so disjointed
but that's okay
I only sat down to write
and write I did
whether or not it makes sense makes no matter at all

oh...and if you haven't seen the movie, you can instant stream it
watch it
it's good

I want a confession booth!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

God of the great BIG and the very little

Yesterday, my 12 year old daughter got in the car and said, "My phone had been accidentally or purposefully taken."

My daughter has a G2. Her phone is fancier and schmancier than mine because we got a buy one get one deal when my hub upgraded to a MyTouch 4G (yes, that's fancier and schmancier than mine as well but I digress...)

She wasn't in tears when she told me.
She factually recounted the events.
Explained the school's policy for reporting lost/stolen items.
...and quietly awaited my response.

I didn't grill her
I didn't yell
I didn't even sigh (even I was amazed at that)
I was rather 'matter-of-fact' in my tone but my kids have learned that's not a judgement, that's just the way it is.
I called our carrier and suspended her services...just in case... and inquired about replacement cost for the phone under our current insurance policy, "$130.00 ma'am."


me: "I'm not angry"
lil b: "I AM!"
me: "I mean I'm not angry with you, I'm not happy with the situation but not with you"
lil b: "I know"
me: "Replacing the phone will cost $130.00. We have 60 days to make the insurance claim. For now, we'll wait and see if someone turns it in or if someone inadvertantly picked it up with their gym clothes. If its not returned, we'll get a new sim card for your old phone and discuss options for replacing this one."
lil b: "ok"
me: "...and we definitely can pray...that it be returned, that the person who has it realizes their mistake, or that the person who winds up with it really needed it more than we do"

That was it
I didn't lecture
I didn't stew
I didn't remind her to be more responsible
or any other thing that parents do

Two months ago we had another scenario where I mentioned "talking to God" about it.
She very matter of factly said, "God doesn't answer me when I pray, not like He does you, Mom."
*lump in throat*
the God-doesn't-answer-prayers conversation.
and she cut me off
"yeah yeah I know...sometimes He answers in ways we don't recognize and sometimes he just says no"

We haven't had a home church in about a year.
Our kids weren't being fed as kids where we were most in synch spiritually...and so began the story of church hopping. Mom fits in anywhere...that's just me...but when you're a teenager, well not so easy...and when you're a watcher/quiet/reserved one like my hub...well not so easy there either.
Lil B mentioned that. My kids practially GREW UP in the church from ages 5 to 10.  I worked there, I ran several evening programs, everyone knew them it just seemed natural...and then
*cricket, cricket*

So we still don't have a home church
but even before lil b mentioned our lack of tangible spiritual practice I had decided it was time for me to start going again. Even if no one else went with me, even if it didn't synch with me spiritually, I needed the discipline of going.
And so I went
And so did she
And the hub came once two
(and it's only been 3 weeks)

Yesterday a $400+ phone went missing
I suggested we pray

We went on with our day
shared a family meal at Tijuana Flats for Taco Tuesdaze (which everyone should do)
and my hub's phone rang
"My husband works for insert-name-of-school-here and found a phone. I found your number in it and called to let you know we have it"
The blessing before the meal included praise and thanksgiving on all counts.
And dinner conversation revolved around how awesome it was that the people called to tell us and planned to return it. It didn't matter what happened to the phone between 10:30am and 7:30pm on 2/22, what mattered is that God answered a prayer.

More than one :)
Mine AND hers
and mine wasn't about the phone!

We sent a thank you note with a small token of our appreciation.
My thanks were for the action that allowed my daughter to see that God has her in his sights!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Go Ahead, Shake my Day

Merriam Webster Dictionary defines faith as a firm belief in something for which there is no proof; something that is believed especially with strong conviction; especially: a system of religious beliefs. I believe faith steps in where logic creates a chasm. By default I am a thinker and prefer things to be logical, or at least appear so. When I can find no further logical explanation I take that leap with faith. Admittedly, my struggles with the concept of faith started at a very young age; I recognized that my family practiced religion but was hard pressed to find examples of our faith in action. By the age of twelve I had come to the decision that religion, at least that of my family of origin, was not for me and began my quest for something deeper. This did not bode well with those around me at all. I was raised in a parochial school in a family that had close-knit ties to the congregation and my questioning was seen as the highest form of disrespect, a tough pill to swallow at the tender age of twelve.

My journey would eventually lead me through many -isms- religious and worldly, forge a deep and true relationship with the Creator, and have me settled in wholeheartedly in my relationship with Christ; it has also at times put me at odds with my family, my friends, and even my fellow Christians. These struggles have at time shaken me to the core but it is through these quakes that I am able to see which of my core beliefs are left standing, and take my next steps.
I believe in a Creator. I believe the universe and everything in it are created to work in harmony for the ultimate purpose of that Creator. I believe that humankind in its struggle to logically define creation in a way that satisfies the thirst for knowledge has posited a myriad of explanations for the universe and how it came to be. From a Bang to Seven Days, none of these explanations can comprehensively explain the universe and all its workings - a chasm that requires a leap of faith. For me, it is through my faith that I am able to come to a more intimate understanding of the world around me. I personally find that scientific reasoning and religious explanation are not mutually exclusive and see God telling us His story through both perspectives. People firmly planted on either side of the creation spectrum disagree with me vehemently, I suppose this makes me an equal opportunity offender, but this is a belief that has stood up to many mini-quakes and survived and one that my Creator continually validates.
The Creation conversation is not the only one that plants me firmly in the middle of heated debate. I wrestle with the Doctrine of Original Sin and the condition of man. The semantics surrounding my daughter’s ceremonial entrance into the church nearly tore my family apart and years later I learned that my mother had her “baptized” because she did not believe the Dedication ceremony was sufficient to guarantee my daughter’s entrance into Heaven if she passed. I know that as a mother, in dedicating my daughter Bryana to God I promised to raise her in the bosom of the church and its beliefs. Then when Bryana is old enough to make those assertions for herself personally, she will make that choice. I do not believe that had she died before she could profess her faith that she would be denied access to Heaven. My religion tells me we are born inherently bad, I believe we live in a world that is bad and that bad is a stronger influence than good. I believe that we have a glowing of the Divine Creator within us and that ember has the power to overcome the evil we are faced with but we have to choose to fan the flames of the Divine. The ember will never go out, but without our attention, it can never grow. Unfortunately, we humans have a short attention span and are easily caught up in the trappings of this world.

I believe the problems we face as a species stem from our need to have a logical explanation for every thing. I do not mean to say that questioning is a negative character trait as I also believe that blindly accepting information as fact is as detrimental as an incessant thirst for proof. Rather, I think we fall short and therefore fall from grace when we feel as though we can find no reconciliation for the conflict in our hearts and minds that we simply stop trying and follow the established routines of our population. While it is true that there are things that we simply do not know, it is also true that as we learn better we should do better -- that requires a choice. Making no choice at all is still in fact a choice and is a behavior that can hurt the believer and non-believer equally. By this I mean that no matter where we stand on the belief fence, we all need to continue growing. To me, the idea that God created the world in seven days, Monday through Sunday, period, is a rather naive view. Archaeological and scientific research has proven that the Earth is billions of years old and was formed over an equally expansive period of time. This is where I apply my leap of faith philosophy; The Bible says God created Heaven and Earth in seven days, science says it took eons, my faith imparts that my concept of a day may not be anything like God’s concept of a day and there is room for both ideas and my heart is at peace with that.

This philosophy, my finding peace over internal conflict through faith has allowed some what could be deemed radical ideas to settle in my bones. My ideas surrounding Creation and Salvation are merely the bookends to my belief system. At this point in my life I know that I have beliefs that do not fit in line with other Christian beliefs. I believe in the “sanctity of all life” which to me is defined as complete inclusivity. I struggle with religions that exclude subsets of humankind. But, as I’ve said, I believe that as we learn better, we can choose to do better and as a species, we are. In Jesus’ time he challenged the Jews to do the unthinkable, to welcome a Gentile, to be inclusive. In the 1960’s Dr. Martin Luther King followed that example and dared to suggest the unthinkable, that we could live harmonious as the human race, regardless of race, and be inclusive. My heart resonates with that teaching of Jesus, that we are called to elevate those we see as the lowest of society and that today that means including and accepting many of those we shun and exclude do to race, sexual orientation and belief system. I believe the solution to our problems is to evolve. Jesus’ teachings and the Word of God is deeper and wider than we will ever completely comprehend while on earth; If we think we have it mastered, we are missing an opportunity to fan the flames of the Divine ember entrusted to us. There are those in my life who call me naive, or accuse me of shaping my faith to match my personal desires; I will continue to press in, to rest in the bosom of my Creator during the quakes that shake up my life and consciously choose to do better as I learn better.