Sunday, June 30, 2013

Toe-to-Toe With The Terrible Trivium

"Oh my goodness!" you shriek, "Who is the Terrible Trivium?"

I'm so glad you asked.

Here he is as described in Norton Juster's "The Phantom Tollbooth":

"What could be more important than doing unimportant things?  If you stop to do enough of them, you'll never get to where you're going."  He punctuated his last remark with a villainous laugh.
"The  you must"------gasped Milo.
"Quite correct!" he shrieked triumphantly.  "I am the Terrible Trivium, demon of petty tasks and worthless jobs, ogre of wasted effort and monster of habit."
The Humbug dropped his needle and stared in disbelief while Milo and Tock began to back away slowly.
"Don't try to leave," he ordered with a menacing sweep of his arm, "for there's so very much to do, and you still have over eight hundred years to go on the first job."
"But why only do unimportant things?" asked Milo, who suddenly remembered how much time he spent each day doing them.
"Think of the trouble it saves," the man explained..."If you only do the easy and useless jobs, you'll never have to worry about the important ones which are so difficult.  You just won't have the time.  For there's always something to do to keep you from what you really should be doing..."
As he spoke, he tiptoed slowly toward them with his arms outstretched and continued to whisper in a soft, deceitful voice, "Now do come and stay with me.  We'll have so much fun together.  There are things to fill and things to empty, things to take away and things to bring back, things to pick up and things to put down, and besides all that we have pencils to sharpen, holes to dig, nails to straighten, stamps to lick and ever so much more.  Why, if you stay here, you'll never have to think again-and with a little practice you can become a monster of habit too."

I have been grappling with the Terrible Trivium all week.  Or, with the creepy feeling that just such a demon is sitting on my shoulder, holding his aching sides, laughing at the futility of my endeavors.  It seems like I am running in place, never making the slightest headway and absolutely wearing myself out.  For every crayon I pick up there are 15 legos dropped.  For every meal I cook and clean up after, there are at least two more to begin. I scarcely sit down all day long.  And yet the garden is left untended, the meals unplanned, the laundry unfolded and the kids undisciplined

The incomparable G.K. Chesterton put it this way: " Anyone can do any amount of work, provided it isn't the work  he is supposed to be doing at that moment."

I'm an expert in this unproductive productivity.

I wish I had a pat answer of how to escape it.  But, maybe there is another way of looking at it.  Maybe things aren't as trivial as I might assume.  Maybe everything is getting done, in an order other than how my mother would have done it, but done just the same.  Maybe my children prefer spur of the moment popcorn to meticulously planned and decorated cupcakes.

God does not despise the "day of small things".  Why should I?  This week I want to take the time to open my eyes and evaluate my every day habits.  Are these habits that build my home?  Or is it just what I do without any good reason as to why?  Is there anything important being left undone?   Is there something I'm hiding from?  An issue that I would do anything to keep myself so busy that I'll never have "time" to do it?  There's about 50 things that just came to mind.  (Not the least of which is a diaper that needs to be changed.  Now!)

But I'm forgetting the most important tool, still: Gratitude.  Gratitude is what makes the difference between a life of drudgery and a life of purpose. 

 "And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful." Colossians 3:15

I need to take every moment, every task as from the hand of God and let the peace of God rule my heart.  Knowing that nothing is too small or unimportant to Him.  And be thankful.  (I hope to have a lot more to say about this verse later this week.)

So, take heart!  The first step to evading the Terrible Trivium is to know that he exists.  And, he is a coward.  We all have that one task that we would do anything (including scrubbing the grout with a toothbrush) to avoid.  But, God will give us the courage to face our fears head on and conquer our challenges with peace and gratitude.

Friday, June 28, 2013

The Piano Teacher's Dilema

It has recently occurred to me that piano teachers must be some of the most tortured creatures in the world.  I have found them to be, without exception, sensitive and delicate souls.  Urged on by a love of the sublime, they pursue their passion, their one desire, to bring beautiful music to the world.  To take in the hand the eager young minds and teach them the sacred craft, the immortal art of melody.

Then reality comes crashing in on the jammed keys of dissonance and dischord...  How tragic, to be doomed to a life of "Mary Had A Little Lamb" pecked out haltingly by three different people, three times a day, three days a week.

To all the piano teachers in my life, my sincerest apologies.  Thank you for your patience, your tireless instruction, your boundless faith in the human spirit that someday, somewhere, someone of your pupils will actually progress to "Row Row Your Boat".

I hope to be that pupil. 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Day by Day

I know my last post was pretty grim.  A downer.  Depressing, perhaps.  When I first wrote it (last year) I was in the grip of a major depression with some symptoms of PTSD.  I by no means want to trivialize what other people have gone through that resulted in "real" PTSD.  Wars and rapes and terrorist events and the like.  I know that I have been very protected and blessed my whole life.  I have two brothers who have been to war.  I'm sure they have been through much more than I have.  Nevertheless, this experience haunted me far longer than I would have dreamed it would.  I thought I had moved on and was ready for another stab at a new pregnancy.  I was wrong.  But it took me about a year to realize it...

Anyways,  as difficult as losing tiny Micah was there were amazing glimpses of Grace that held me up.  To begin with throughout that day God gave me the most incredible peace.  I was sad, shocked almost beyond feeling that this one had already left.  But God kept me calm.  I knew that it would hurt later, but at this time I had one thought.  "This is the path, walk ye in it."  What else can one do?  Events that are beyond your control call you to live them out, one moment at a time.

Day by day, and with each passing moment
Strength I find to meet my trials here.
Trusting in my Father's wise bestowment,
I've no cause to worry or to fear.
He whose heart is kind beyond all measure
Gives unto each day what He deems best
Lovingly, it's part of pain or pleasure,
Mingling toil with peace and rest.

I was blessed beyond measure by the friends that stood with me.  Lisa brought us the aforementioned blood pressure cuff that Robert used to monitor me in the ER which effected a security guard taking notice and calling for the administrator to see what was going on, which might have saved my life.

Thank you, Lisa!

Kristi and Lisa both came to the hospital to support and pray for me.  Initially, they were not allowed to visit me as I was still unstable.  I think (memory is a little fuzzy) that I did get to see Lisa eventually.  Her presence was a tangible reminder of all the people I love and that I felt were loving on me at that time.

My mom and Aunt Brenda dropped what they were doing in OKC to come.  When I came home the next day, they were there.  Loving me with a clean house and clean clothes.  Every drop of blood had been scrubbed away.

The doctors and nurses at Saint Francis South were, as always, very kind and professional.  I think it's the best hospital in the Tulsa area.

My church family brought meals and sent an ivy.  Brenda gave me a collection of I Love Lucy, season 1, which was a life saver!  I needed the laugh.

Sherry, always practical, gave me love and a listening ear and a book, "Choosing Gratitude" by Nancy Leigh DeMoss.  Not a book on Where Is God When There Are Terrible Tragedies?  Or a book on How To Feel Sorry For Yourself In Ten Simple Steps.  No, she knew.  I needed to look up and smile at the One who brought all this about for His Purpose.  I recall crisp September days laying in a sunny patch of grass, drinking Raspberry Leaf tea and reading.  Being reminded to give thanks for the tangy tea as it slipped down my throat.  To rejoice for the lemony slice of sun that warmed my leg.  To actually look at my children that I do have to love and hold and bathe and smile with.

I pondered the question, Why?  Why would God let me conceive four children that He knew would never make it?  It's a fair question, I believe.  And He gave me a fair answer.  These are souls that will never die.  They existed before only in the mind of God.  He used me to bring them into actual existence.  They live now with one purpose, to praise their Creator.  I am laying up treasure in heaven.  Living treasure that I will get to hug, some Day.  And I thank God for the opportunity to be their mother.  

One last blessing, a promise, hangs on my laundry room wall.  The Saturday before was the perfect day.  Brilliant, one of the last days of summer sparkled gold and topaz and emerald.  Robert and I took the family to the Egyptian exhibit at the Philbrook Museum.  The kids had so much fun seeing the artifacts and a real mummy!  They made Egyptian style headdresses and heiroglyphs.  We strolled through the garden, Robert finding his greatest delight in copying the dimensions of a classical gazebo, I contemplating the glories of the blossoming flowers and my growing family.  We headed to the basement to play with the watercolors.  I am no artist.  But I do enjoy writing scripture verses in a calligraph-esque sort of way.  The song that hummed through my mind, "He hath made everything beautiful in His time."  That is what I painted.  It wasn't very pretty.  And I really didn't care.  I stuffed it into my backpack and we went our merry way.  After everything fell through, I remembered my old tradition of having one small item to remember every child by.  Live or die, that item would always be theirs.  I have collected socks, house shoes, bibs, blankets.  If it is something that I can collect early in the pregnancy, while all is still well, so much the better.  I realized that I didn't have anything for Micah yet.  Until I cleaned out my backpack.  That promise had been there all along.  In my bag.  In the bathroom of  Hideaway Pizza.  Next to the paper towel that held my broken dreams.  I framed it and put it on my dresser.  And I held on .  "He hath made everything beautiful in His time."  Not 'will make', but already has made.  I might not see it.  But ignorance never negates truth.  He is.  He is here.  He is at work.  He is at work in me.  If He says that it's beautiful, it is.  If He says that it works together for good, it does.  2 and a half years later, I'm still holding on.  But better yet, 2 and a half years later, He is still holding me.


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Out of Order or The Homebirth That Wasn't-Pregnancy #7



Warning: this post is extremely graphic.  It may trigger flashbacks, if you have ever had a traumatic birth experience.  I first wrote this as therapy.  Then I showed it to my counselors in hopes that it would help them to understand me and why I was struggling.  And now I am sharing it with the world (or rather my 3 regular readers...) just in case it rings a bell with someone.  Shortly after this experience, I needed to find other people with similar experiences and reactions.  These were exactly the sort of blog posts I was looking for.  If anyone reads this and wants to talk about their own traumas, you are very welcome to leave a comment.  I hope to follow this post with one more positive, about the blessings that came alongside. 

Shortly after Alvin's birth, a close friend of mine had her 4th baby.  This was her first water birth.  She was so enthusiastic.  “I can’t wait to get pregnant again so I can have another water birth!” she gushed.  That settled it.  I now knew that I could have a natural birth in the hospital.  Now I wanted to have a home birth.  Maybe even a water birth!  I started studying in earnest.  We moved out to the country.  For the first time in years, I didn’t feel depressed.  I read everything I could about midwives, home birth, and  water birth.  I watched videos on You Tube.  I found a midwife I felt comfortable with.   

Ruth is a Certified Nurse Midwife.  She is a RN with many years experience working L&D in the hospital.  She has a reputation for being very cautious and transferring her clients to a Dr. at the first sign of diabetes or high blood pressure.  I felt that I was very well informed.  Home birth seemed to be a very reasonable thing to do.  I wasn’t out to take crazy risks.  I felt that home birth was perfectly safe.  I really wanted to deliver in a safe, cozy environment.  Without any IV’s irritating me or pesky monitors or wires to trip over.  I wanted a hot bath.  Long walks.  Candles and music.  This is beginning to sound like a romantic retreat!  Hey, some people even claim orgasmic birth possible in such a setting.  Although I remain skeptical…  Anyway, this seemed to be the time for me to step out and discover birth as it was meant to be.  Dr W. had moved to St John’s shortly after Alvin was born.  Dr S.II handled my 6 week  visit.  I liked him well enough.  But, again he seemed very conventional and I was beginning to wonder if maybe a midwife might give me more personalized care.  Maybe she could give me magic herbs that would be so much better for me than any nasty drugs.  So, as I embarked on my 7th pregnancy in 7 years I set up an appointment for CNM Ruth.

At 10 weeks we heard the baby’s heartbeat.  Ruth used a Doppler.  She doesn’t own an ultrasound machine.  The office in her home seemed otherwise well equipped.  I really enjoyed our hour long visit.  She asked very thorough questions and took my complete history.  I was surprised when she enquired into the state of my gums.  “They bleed “, I answered.  “Actually, they bleed a lot.  I floss and brush and rinse and still I spit out mouthfuls of blood.”  She suggested I take 1,000mg of vitamin C daily.  (That actually has worked very well for me.  My dentist is impressed.)  I left her office feeling very positive.  In my heart, I knew this child was a girl.    

Two and a half weeks later I woke up and found some very minor spotting.  Fighting panic, I called Ruth.  Since I had no cramping and it was a Saturday she suggested  I go to an ultrasound studio for reassurance.  Sounded like a plan, but first I had my 5 year old's soccer game to go to.  I might be 25 at this point, but I still had a lot of the blindly optimistic 18 year old girl in me.  After the game we dropped the kids off with a babysitter and moseyed on over to the studio.  These are not ultrasound professionals.  The purpose of this business is to take cute ultrasound pictures.  So, they were not allowed to remark on the tragically still outline of our baby.  There was no need.  I cried a little in the bathroom, noting the bleeding was still minimal.  I pulled myself together in order to attempt a graceful egress.  Since I was still just spotting, and we knew from experience that a miscarriage could take anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks, we decided to go to lunch and wait for Robert’s phone to be repaired.  Hideaway Pizza was nearby.  Robert put his arm around me and held me close.  We prayed, there in our booth.  We ate our free pizza we had won by spinning a wheel.  After an hour I was ready to go home.  I was beginning to feel some crampy pains...

I stopped writing at this point, about 6 months ago.  I had spent over 9 hours straight typing, with brief breaks to fix the kids lunch and change diapers.  It really didn’t help anything though, I still felt muddle headed, unable to concentrate on taking care of my family.  Summer was tough.  But in the last month, I had started to feel the cloud lift, some normalcy return.   Now (at the time when I first wrote this) it’s September, nearly 2 years since my last miscarriage.  I don’t know why I am feeling so sad once more.  I am anxious, my heart has started racing at odd times during the day, and I broke down into wrenching sobs the other day after a particularly vivid memory/flashback of when I held my 12 week gestation baby.  I guess I’m still not over that last loss.  The baby I call Micah.  The one I just know was a girl.  Maybe I can finish her story now…

…We walked through the door, to the parking lot.  Our car was right there at the entrance.  As I turned to open the door, I felt something break.   Warm fluid gushed right through my clothes.  I had no time for explanation.  I turned on my heel and rushed back inside, hoping to get to the bathroom before there were puddles on the floor.  Robert was right behind me.  Thankfully the bathroom was small, single occupant, with a lock.  Robert alerted management to our predicament and they taped an “Out of Order” sign to the door.  Everything was out of order…   I expected pain and blood, but nothing had prepared me for this.  I desperately tried to page the midwife, but she didn’t return our call.  In a near panic, I called my OB’s office.  Good thing his number was still in my cell phone.  Dr S.II was a little surprised to hear from me, since I hadn’t made an appearance in his office for some time.  But he advised that the bleeding shouldn’t be heavier than a pad an hour.  It didn’t occur to me to mention that blood was regularly gushing into the toilet and I could no longer see the bottom of the bowl. 

 After awhile it seemed that the pain and bleeding lessened.  I felt that maybe I could stand and try to get cleaned up enough to walk back through the restaurant without grossing anyone out too badly.  As I wiped, I was perplexed to feel something there, stuck.  It was velvety soft, so delicate, I could barely even touch it.  Yet is was solidly lodged, no amount of wiping, pushing or tugging could move it.  I thought it was a clot.  We tried once more to contact the midwife.  I didn’t think I could walk out with it just hanging there.  Bothering the doctor again never crossed my mind.  So I kept working to dislodge the clot so I could go home.  After about 15 minutes it finally came loose, and then I could see it was my baby.  It was about the size of the little white mouse I held about a week later.  It just laid across the palm of my hand, trailing a single ragged thread.  The whole thing seemed to deflate as fluid trickled from the cord.  I never noticed that there was no placenta on the other end. I carefully wrapped her in a paper towel and placed it in my diaper bag. (We later buried Micah underneath our oak tree in the front yard.) Shaky, shaken, I made my way back out towards the car.  I just wanted to go to bed.  My best friend, Sherry agreed to come pick up my 3 boys for the night and to bring me some pads.  I was at present wearing a size 4 diaper that happened to be in my bag.  

 The next hour was quiet.  I tried to rest, but couldn’t get quite comfortable, even though there wasn’t much pain.  Our pastor came over to see us.  As I lay on the couch, listening to his comforting speech and loving prayer, I felt a sudden enormous gush.  I rushed to the bathroom and noted that I had once again soaked  my jeans.  I only had one more clean pair.  After that, the pain and bleeding picked up exponentially.  I began to be concerned that maybe I was bleeding way too much.  I was bleeding at about the rate of a pad an hour, but that wasn’t counting all the minutes I spent on the toilet, and that each I time I flushed, the bowl of water was a dark burgundy that I couldn’t see through.  After about an hour or two of this, I started getting dizzy and blacking out whenever I stood.  Robert was initially reluctant to take me to the ER.  We had been through many miscarriages before.  Surely we could tough this one out.  A good friend brought a blood pressure cuff over, and Rob checked my pulse and pressure.  The blood pressure was a little low, and my pulse a little elevated, but not too bad.  He figured it wasn’t an emergency yet.  I asked him to talk to his sister, a nurse.  She informed him that by the time I presented with alarming vitals, it would be too late to get me to the hospital.  So, we went.

  A short, 15 minute ride later we were at St Francis South.  I was shivering, wrapped in a Finding Nemo quilt from home.  The triage nurse said that this was the busiest day of the year so far, and to expect a long wait.  I don’t think they even took my vitals.  By this time the pain was so bad I couldn’t sit in a chair.  I opted to lay on the quilt on the emergency room floor.  Truly alarmed by this time, Robert continued taking my blood pressure himself.  I guess that didn’t look very good.  A few minutes later I opened my eyes to a pair of boots in front of my face.  Squinting upward, a security guard came into focus.  “Ma’am, the emergency room floor is not a very clean place to lie down.”  “I’m sure it’s not,” I replied.  “But I’m bleeding heavily and really can’t sit up”  “Well, we can’t have you laying here, would you mind going to a room down the hall, at least it has carpet.”  “Sure, if you can get me there.  I can’t get up to walk.”  He disappeared. 

 Not long afterwards a lady with a stethoscope showed up.  She was the hospital administrator, doing triage.  She called for a wheel chair, that I kind of flopped into.  Then the lights started to dim, I couldn’t catch my breath or move.  I felt myself being pulled under and wondered if this was the day I was supposed to die.  I figured I was OK with that.  If that was what God had planned.  Around me I could hear people rushing, opening doors, calling my name.  I couldn’t see or respond other than a grunt.  They asked me if I could help them by standing up to get into the bed.  I guess I kind of lunged forward.  Next thing I know, I’m sprawled across the bed, feeling the weight of the world on my chest and struggling to make any sort of acknowledgement to my nurses questions.  My shirt was sort of pulled up, but I couldn’t make any movement to pull it down, nor did I really care.  They tilted the bed upside down and gradually the rushing in my ears  began to fade.  I heard Robert out in the hall, asking if I was alright.  Instead of a reply, they gave him papers to sign.  Someone else remarked that there was a 90 year old man in a wheel chair with chest pains waiting to be seen.  The administrator said he would just have to wait.  I was getting the last bed. 

   Eventually the world came  back into focus and I could breathe again.  Eventually the tissue that remained was cleaned out and the bleeding and pain gradually stopped.  Eventually I was able to stand without being dizzy or my pulse shooting to 180.  Eventually I was able get outside by myself with God and just cry.  Eventually I was able to go to my friend’s baby shower, the one that was due the week after I was.  But I was never the same.  All the fall and into the winter I struggled with depression and anger.  Not with God, necessarily.  Just in general.  I wanted to hurt someone.  I was afraid that maybe I would.  I felt like I was coming unglued, unhinged, unbalanced.  Maybe I was going crazy,  Maybe I was bipolar.  Maybe it was Satanic oppression.  Life was pretty much unbearable for me, probably for my family as well.  But outwardly, no one else ever knew.  I could pull myself together at church and other social gatherings.  Laugh, wear makeup, make jokes.  No one could have guessed I felt myself to be tottering on the brink of insanity.  PMS week was the worst.  It took all month to undo the damage of that one week.

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Odessey Continues... Alvin's Birth Story



  (To catch up on Previously, In The Life Of Mary you can read "The Story Of My Life, Part 1" etc)

I was a single mother for the next 18 months.  My husband went to school full time and worked part-time.  He spent the summer in New York on a scholarship.  I was still dealing with undiagnosed depression.  Because of my distrust of medicine I was wary of mentioning it to anyone.  I was afraid the doctor would whip out a prescription for Paxil or something and I would wind up worse than ever.  I didn’t want to go through life drugged.  I just tried my best to hang on and hope things would be better once Rob graduated.  Maybe getting pregnant again would help…  My sixth pregnancy began with healthy morning sickness.  I was relieved.  My experience has been the more sick I feel, the better.  When my nausea suddenly disappeared at 7 weeks, I was frantic.  I knew the doctor’s office probably wouldn’t see me before my scheduled 12 week visit.  All the doctors I have known have been very nice and professional.  But it’s frustrating.  No one seems to take my miscarriages seriously.  Everyone tells me the same thing.  “It happens.  Next time will probably be fine.”  I was not about to wait and wonder if my baby was dead or dying until I spontaneously aborted in a couple of weeks.  So, I called my friendly neighborhood crisis pregnancy center.  They have ultrasounds and they have time.  I was so relieved to hear the washing machine motor of my baby’s heart.  And, I was a week further than I thought!  Always good news.  Robert graduated OU’s Price College  when I was 4 months.  He accepted a job with American  Airlines and we moved to Tulsa.  Dr W. became my 6th OB.  This was also my 6th move and our 6th year of marriage.  Dr W. was a lot like Dr M.  Nice, but busy.  Very standard, nothing new or out of the box.  This pregnancy was uneventful.  Although I did experience worsening varicose veins and some pelvic separation.   At this time I had several friends who had experienced homebirths and had favorable reports.  I admired and envied them a bit.  I could see how much easier it would be to have the natural birth I wanted in a home setting.  I also knew there was a good midwife in the Tulsa area.  But I was too scared.  After all, I had wimped out twice now.  There was no reason to believe I would make a good homebirther.  In fact, I was pretty much planning on an epidural this time around.  About two weeks before I was due,  Dr W.'s nurse asked me if I had preregistered for my epidural.  No.  Was I supposed to?  I raced off to get that done, worried that I might go into labor in the car. (I was over 4 cm dilated at 38 weeks)  I signed all the papers and handed over my insurance card.  Then, the woman demanded $150.  Of all the nerve!  I had not expected this.  The lady reassured me they accepted Discover and if I didn’t use the epidural I could get a refund.  I stalked out, grimly determined to earn my money back…

I figured my best chance to escape the epidural trap was to not be induced.  For ANY reason!  So, I steadily dilated.  Two days before  my due date, I was nearly a six.  I was afraid if I sneezed he might come flying out.  And finally, some contractions!  But were they real?  Were they regular?  I thought I was having them every two minutes, but they weren’t very strong.  We went ahead and went to the hospital on my due date.  As soon as  I got there they evened out to one every 15 minutes.  But in an hour I was a 7, so they had to keep me overnight.  At this point I was still hoping to go into real labor on my own.  We walked.  We danced.  The next day my water was artificially ruptured.  Still, only one contraction every 15 minutes.  My cervix has a mind of it’s own!  I gave in to a little Pitocin and we were off!  The Bradley method served me very well.  I was able to relax and breathe deeply.  I could hear the nurse comment on how it looked like I was asleep.  Around 8 or 9 cm things were getting intense and my mom was asking me if I wanted the epidural.  I remember saying “No, I’m too far for that”  and thinking to myself “Way to go! Instead of begging for the epidural you refused it.  You are going to make it this time.”  And I did.  I wasn’t so sure if that was a good thing or not as the nurses were massaging my fundus and the Dr stitched me up.  But my husband was impressed.  And convinced that natural was the only way to go.  Within an hour I was pretty proud of myself and glad I had done it.  But at first, I wasn’t so sure.  We welcomed our little bowling ball, Alvin, into the world.  All 9lbs 5 oz of him!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Meals of Opportunity

We were blessed to get to go to Oklahoma City this weekend.  It was really great to see our families.  On the way home, we stopped by Pop's.  A really cool concept, this Route 66 gas station has every kind of soda pop imaginable.  And a great number that should have been left unimagined, such as Ranch Dressing Soda, and Peanut Butter Soda...  I got a spicy Ginger Beer to swig on the way home as I read my book du jour, "Atlas Shrugged".

Once we arrived home, about 2:30, I rested a bit.  Noodled around on the internet a bit.  Started a load of laundry.  Polled the family what we should eat for dinner.  Made a weekly meal plan.  Went to the store.  Pumped 16 gallons of gas for Robert's lawn mower.  Came home and unloaded groceries.  Proceeded to put away groceries.  As I did so, several opportunities presented themselves.  Since I had bought 2 5lb tubes of ground beef (at $2 per lb, I might add!)  I went ahead and started processing 1 of those tubes into meals.  (I shoved the other tube in the freezer)  First I measured out 3 lbs into my large kettle and added 3 lbs of turkey meat to brown. Turkey meat is a great way to stretch one's beef!  I mushed the other 2 lbs into Salisbury Steak patties and stuck them in the freezer to be used this next Friday.  After the meat was browned, I measured out 2 cups of beef  each into 5 ziplock bags to be frozen.  This will save me at least 20 minutes next time I need a pound of cooked ground beef.  I used the last 2 cups of meat in the pan to make tacos for tonight's dinner.  While the beef cooked, I took 3 eggs out of the carton that needed to be put away and boiled them for tomorrow's tuna salad.  I also took the warm, rotisserie chicken out of it's sack and deboned it for Tuesday's meal. (South of the Border Chicken Stew)  Then I made a large bowl of pico de gallo, which I intend to eat from most of the week.  I also mashed last weeks pinto beans into this weeks supply of refried beans for burritos.

It is now 10:26 pm.  I have bathed two toddlers.  I brought the dumpster up from the road.  I read The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and brushed two sets of teeth.  The kitchen awaits.  I blog. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Emergency Popcorn

"Mommy! You're the best!!"

Really?! Wow!  I guess I should make Paper Bag Popcorn more often, then

Paper Bag Popcorn

1/3 cup popcorn kernels
1 small paper lunch bag

Pour the popcorn into the bag, fold over twice and tape loosely in place.  Put folded side of bag facing up in the microwave and hit the "popcorn" button.  Heat until there is a lull between pops.  Season however you like!

Lose Some, Win Some-Dee's Birth Story



   One year later we were ready to add to our little family.  At Cy's 1 year birthday party we gave him a book entitled “I’m a Big Brother Now” to announce the news to the family.  We chose a doctor in Joplin MO and made an appointment for when I would be 12 weeks.  But I knew I’d never make it to that appointment.  There was something wrong and I knew it.  When I started to bleed around 6 or 7 weeks I took it in stride.  A neighbor lady took me to the Dr.  I don’t even remember his name.  He confirmed that I was indeed miscarrying.  I went home and spent the rest of the day nursing Cy on the couch.  It was the easiest miscarriage I have ever had.  But it compounded the growing depression that I had experienced with each pregnancy loss.  Robert lost his job rather unexpectedly a month later.  I had 3 days notice that we would be moving to Muskogee.  My dad was dying with cirrhosis.

Three months in Muskogee felt like three years.  But it was enough time to become pregnant again.  I don’t know why I was in such a hurry to get pregnant.  Maybe it was a way to deal with the increasing depression.  Some of it was due to my circumstances, I’m sure.  But I think some of it must be hormonal too.  I often feel my best when I’m expecting.  Maybe it’s because I don’t like to lose and so far the score was  losses:3  babies:1   

 My dad passed away when I was two months along.  It had been a long time in coming.  My dad was my hero.  A veteran of the Navy and volunteer firefighter, he had been strong and brave and handsome.  The revelation that he was majorly abusing prescriptions drugs blindsided the entire family.    I was angry with my dad.  Angry with prescription drugs and angry with the doctors that I felt had let him down.  The ones that had given him the back surgeries that he demanded and prescribed the drugs.  Without even realizing it,  I started mistrusting doctors and medicine in general.  My reading and internet perusing became even more focused on natural and alternative methods.

After my dad’s funeral, we decided to move back to Oklahoma City so Robert could go back to school.  He wanted to add a MBA to his JD.  I chose Dr. R.’s  partner, Dr M. to deliver this next baby.  I liked Dr R. fine, but I preferred younger doctors because they are more up-to-date on the modern way of doing things. (as I ponder this a bit more, I'm not so sure that is a good thing after all...OB of labor and deliverance is decidedly old fashioned, in a very hip way!)
  Dr. M. was nice, friendly, but very busy.  At 36 weeks he began talking about scheduled inductions.  I tried to explain why I did not want one.  Namely they hurt more, and I’m on monitors all the time. More monitors means less movement.  Less movement means slower progress.  Slower progress means more pitocin.  Which can lead to fetal distress and C section.  I’m sure he’d heard it all before and he was very polite and willing to wait a while. 

  Six days before my due date, I received a call from the hospital reminding me of my scheduled induction for the next day.  That was a little surprising.  But really, it was somewhat of a relief.  Robert was supposed to start school in a week.  I really needed wanted the baby to be born by then.  So we showed up at the hospital at the appropriate time.  Dr M. was more than a little surprised.  But he was very gracious and came over and broke my water and started the pit.  This little fella decided to come very quickly.  But not before I got my epidural.  I was afraid of having another 22 hour labor.  Turns out my fears were totally unfounded.  And my epidural was not totally effective.   If I could do it over again, I would have skipped it.  Oh well.  Within four hours I was holding my sweet little Dee.  Cy had weighed in at a husky 8lb 5 oz.  Dee was a wiry 7lb 14 oz.  I was so determined NOT to take three hours to push that he was born in just one contraction.  I broke his collarbone.  I still feel bad about that.  The anesthesiologist came in an hour later and asked how far I had dilated.  I just pointed to the bassinet.