Monday, December 17, 2012
Saturday, December 1, 2012
This is my Advent Letter. Advent is a time of “expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus” (Wikipedia.com). In the past Advent has been of little importance to me; some years I have failed to even acknowledge it’s occurrence and the most attention I have ever paid it is recognizing the advent candles if they have been specially lit during church service. Sure there have been times when I have tried to focus on the true meaning of Christmas as it approaches so as to not be bombarded by the barrage of commercialism and busyness and stress that our secular Christmas has birthed. However, usually I fail quite miserably in this effort. This year though the idea of Advent has been presented to me through a “Life with God” class I have been participating in at my church. The class’s whole intent is to teach tools to help create spaces for God to speak and for us to listen. In this context Advent becomes so much more important to me as an opportunity for God to speak and for me to ask questions like ‘How may receiving Christ in this season impact my life?’ and ‘What is God’s invitation to me this season?’ and ‘How might I need Christ?’ and ‘How will I be different?’. In my initial Advent reflection the many things I’ve been learning over the last months came together into a coherent progression of teachings and “aha!” moments of God speaking to me that I want to share. And so is born my Advent Letter.
Thursday, October 18, 2012
Sunday, September 23, 2012
Thursday, August 23, 2012
Friday, June 15, 2012
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Monday, May 28, 2012
Friday, April 20, 2012
Friday, April 13, 2012
Prior to March 17th there were 2 living things I was responsible for: my house plant and my cat, Fritz.
Thank goodness I am better at taking care of a baby than I am of taking care of my house plant. You see, my friend who’s an interior designer recommended that a nice substantial plant in our window corner would be ideal. Of course, she said that it could be artificial, it didn’t have to be real. But, do you know the price of artificial plants? Why would you spend that much money on a plastic shrub? This thought intensified as I walked by this nice real plant in Walmart for something like $15. For $15 I figured if I killed it what was the loss and this one was even labeled low-maintenance!
My husband informed me just the other day that he thinks my plant is dead. And this dying process did not begin after the baby was born, so I cannot blame it on being tied up as a new mom. No, you see we were away for Christmas and so it didn’t get watered over those 4 days and then I forgot when I came home and I think I’ve remembered once since our return…..or was it our trip in November to Hawaii when we were gone for a week and I kept thinking I should really water the plant to catch it up on its moisture? Surely, I’ve watered it more than once in the last 5 months….maybe twice??? Apparently plants like to be watered and this one indeed must truly be low maintenance because really considering the amount I’ve cared for it, it does look pretty good! (Though I’m sure my friend Michaela would not agree that it is the look she was suggesting for our window corner.)
And then there’s my cat, the other living creature I am responsible for. And he, well, he has a problem of the other end of the spectrum. He is overweight. Well, he hasn’t been to the vet since he was neutered, so the vet would probably say he is obese. Indeed that cute pudge of a belly that sways when he runs and covers his back feet when he sits all proper is indicative of a substantial weight concern. The other day we were driving by the vet and there was a sign out front: “Obesity is a life shortening disease.” The health of our cat is also not an area where I can show that I’ve excelled at supporting the life of another living creation (though I do blame….is that a harsh word?....my husband for a large part of Fritz’ weighty issues, since he finds it so wonderful to have Fritz beg for food and love him for giving the cat his every tasty desire. The cat certainly has an insatiable appetite for most every food; however, I believe, though he disagrees, that it is Ryan who helps continue to fuel this appetite.)
So I am ever grateful that my cute little human in my care is thriving. Perhaps I would forget to feed her too, but her cries are ever-reminding me and it seems that the food I give is nourishing her well. Just 2 weeks ago I was frustrated that I could not find a dress that was small enough for her to wear on her first Sunday in church. Now at 3 weeks old, she is out-growing her newborn clothes and is moving into the 0-3 month clothes. My little girl is growing up already! Today her daddy told her, “That’s good Rayna, you grow nice and big and then we can move you out.” Oh the humour that’s going to drive our children nuts later in their lives! (As an aside he also told her after smothering her with kisses that he would give her enough kisses so that she didn’t need to get any from boys….awww the protective daddy already!)
At any rate, I think I’ve managed to keep my daughter in the healthy range such that she is certainly not withering, but I haven’t fattened her up too much yet either! Here’s to a good start in nourishing this little life. Cheers!
Monday, March 26, 2012
“More Fentanyl, please.” I asked the nurse. She had to check me again and at that point I was 8 cm dilated. Seriously 2 cms left to go??? I suppose those 2 cms were the worst; the pressure begins on the bowels and you’re not supposed to push and I kept saying through my contractions, I really want to push, hoping the nurse would just reply, Ok let’s get you pushing! Ryan says I was less vocal than he thought I would be, but I thought I had many grunts and painful moans and even found myself saying “ow”. Understatement. Finally, I informed Ryan who informed the nurse that I was ready to push. I’m not sure I felt that much different than for the previous amount of time, but I was through with just taking the pain and ready to do something. Thank goodness I was 10cm dilated.
Onto my back to assume the position of pushing. I didn’t realize the practice it took to get the hang of pushing, but then I got it and my labour became the athletic endeavor I had anticipated. I must say that pushing was the absolute best part of labour and I did not really find it painful; however, as soon as I started pushing my contractions slowed as did my progress. The drama began here. I was given some oxytocin at some point to bring on more contractions. Dr. Loch called in the obstetrician at the 2 hour mark. His assessment (and let me tell you it is not very fun having someone assess the baby’s position internally at this point!) was that things were not progressing fast enough and a c-section was warranted. He asked me if I wanted to keep pushing, I gave a big absolute ‘Yes’. I did not go through all that to end in a c-section! So he gave me 10 minutes to see how my progress would go. The nurse was fabulous and got me on the toilet for a few pushes to try and speed things up. Then at the 10 minute mark, the obstetrician called in the c-section team, Ryan and I signed off on the surgery and removed my jewelry in resigned preparation. Thank goodness for the wee hours of the morning. The obstetrician gave me the okay to keep pushing until the team got there and if I beat them then I would "win". Well I pushed with all my might and as she really engaged it became so awkward feeling that I just wanted to get her out. The team arrived and at this point the obstetrician noted that I had made enough progress, but would need an episiotomy to get her out promptly. He was ready to cut me with my next push and it was with that push that out came Rayna, no episiotomy required!
I can’t tell you the pride I felt at the end of all that! I was proud of my ability to have my daughter naturally, that I was able to bring her into the world with my might and determination. And here she was a beautiful baby girl on my chest! I could barely keep my eyes open (in fact I had almost been nodding off between contractions during pushing) but I was loving every moment! And there inside and just outside my room was a whole host of physicians. My family doctor, the family doctor resident, the obstetrician, the anesthesiologist, the pediatrician and the pediatrician’s resident! Rayna arrived with fanfare!
Rayna is a beautiful girl. She has taken a part of my heart. I cannot believe how much I just want her to stay tiny and precious. I usually shy away from holding infants and here I have my own and I don’t want her to grow. At times I cannot believe she is mine, she is ours; but, she is and what a precious gift. Thank you God for our Rayna, for our song of the Lord. We praise you for this incredible gift. Take her, protect her, grow her into a beautiful young woman.
Monday, March 5, 2012
This is my journal entry from a week ago that I wanted to blog to capture my thoughts of labour/delivery and parenthood, before they become realities. Really how can I know what to expect? So I wanted to write down my thoughts so I can reflect on them after the fact. I invite you to share in them with me and we can reflect together in a few weeks time (and maybe laugh at my naivety) with a little more experience to guide my thoughts.
Can I savour this moment? It’s been a grey winter. We haven’t left
Can I savour being here, by myself, empowered by the Holy Spirit living within me and having a quiet moment to let Him fortify me with calm and excitement all in one time of reflection. People tell me at work to enjoy these days, because “boy, life will change soon.” And the look in their faces give these words as cautions for what’s ahead. And I do not rush the future, but at the same I do not fear, nor do I dread some of the changes. However, in this moment I am thankful for my uninterrupted quiet and think that perhaps I could develop myself as a writer in these next months. That I could carve out time to escape the wild life of being mom, to sit in a moment and think and put those thoughts onto a page that will last. That I can be open in sharing my life in the way that makes me feel so real and so enriched. Can I mention it again, that I love to write and I love to love to write. What I mean is that when I have thoughts that I want to share and they formulate themselves into words that I can put on paper, well it makes me feel so satisfied. I can savor these words and I can reread and re-experience these words. So here I am in that place and I thank you for joining me here and for sharing in these moments and in these words. Isn’t life just too rich to not want to capture it somehow?
I am excited in these moments! While I look forward to being more limber and being able to walk briskly (never mind run) without clenching my pelvic floor so I don’t feel like I’ll pee myself at any moment, I am also savoring these last moments of pregnancy. I tell people I really feel quite great and it is true! My body is being good to me and that foot that presses out from my belly is so unreal; that foot belong to my child whom I’ll get to meet in a few brief weeks. Physically, pregnancy is a crazy phenomenon. Stop and think: there is a child growing inside of me! The human body is amazing. While I embrace my spiritual existence, I welcome being human, being a physical being. I thank God for the health He has given me that I am able to move my body and stretch it and in this pregnancy that I am able to be part of a physical miracle that is so commonplace we perhaps, fail to stop and think enough about how incredible it is.
In this last month of pregnancy, my feet are starting to swell, my hands go numb just sitting, my belly makes me less agile, my hips ache at times. But I am doubly alive! I love my walks and I love my prenatal yoga. Because it has grown so gradually, my belly doesn’t even seem that big to me. I look in the mirror and picture where my abs once lied and then I realize ‘my goodness look at me’! Now I know that part of how my pregnancy is progressing so well is simply luck, genetics, just the way this pregnancy is. But I am embracing being as healthy as possible in this pregnancy. It was good to keep running through the beginning half of the pregnancy, pushing through the incredible 1st trimester fatigue. It was good to go hiking, to explore
So here I am in these last weeks in a ‘funny’ state. I don’t mind being pregnant, I’m really not that uncomfortable. I have some moments of quiet which will soon require much more effort to obtain. Ryan and I can sleep in on days off. I can arrange my schedule. But I am ‘ready’ for this next challenge.
I cannot speak of this next challenge without discussing my current thoughts on impending parenthood. I suppose I have a similar philosophy to labor and delivery. Really you can only be so ready, and so I feel as ready as I will ever be and therefore, let’s just do this thing and see how we do! (Yesterday, I had a mini-epiphany. Well perhaps that’s too dramatic a statement. But, you see I’ve been really not wanting to deal with grumpy people at work lately. The irrational people. The people who have a mandate to make life miserable for everyone. I realized yesterday, that though I have only 2 weeks of work left, 2 weeks of potential encounters with ‘grumpies’ that I am responsible to deal with, there is life ahead of potential ‘grumpies’ living in my OWN home! So let me just consider that dealing with grumpy people is a life skill well worth having.)
After going through our prenatal class together, I think this little bundle growing inside of me is going to capture our hearts in a way we cannot predict. Neither of us are newborn fanatics, but I think we will think she is adorable whether she has a squishy head or baby acne etc. We love her already. We call her by name. We desire life’s best for her. Becoming a parent makes me think of what I want to teach our child. I love to teach and I am so thankful for all the formal and informal education I have been granted. I can only feel that through the differences in Ryan and me, our daughter will have a solid foundation to thrive in life and I cannot wait to start learning from her as well.
After all this writing, I just can’t wait to meet you baby girl and announce your arrival to this world!