Well, I finally did it. I started a new blog. I am leaving this one active, because I think there are some fruitful and important posts here. But, I just, I needed a change.
I have written before on my tendencies to waste my life waiting. It seems I have fallen back into that pattern. Just waiting. I started reading Shauna Niequist’s book Cold Tangerines the other day and it really resonated with me. She talks about waiting. Waiting for the moment. I think I have been waiting for it, too. When I become who I am supposed to be. Like some Hollywood heroine, fulfilling some destiny of arbitrary accomplishments and success. As if my life has no meaning until I accomplish something.
But, following that mentality, I will always be waiting and my accomplishments will never be enough. I can always be better, do more. That is the pitfall of tying your worth to what you do and not your essence as a human being.
Along with Niequist’s book I have stumbled across many other articles over the last few days hinting at this same ideal. To simply my life. To take a step back from an accomplishment driven life, from the pursuit of title and the accumulation of worldly goods. In tying my worth and my happiness to these things, however accidentally, I have created idols of my material life.
I have been struggling to be sure I make the right career choices. I have been stuck in my head with endless plans for earning that title and that salary and buying that house and then, then, life will be perfect. What is about those things that would make a happy life? They hold no intrinsic value. I could argue, the higher the title and the more one earns monetarily, the more problems. We have been much worse off before. And, if you would have told me then that I will have this job and this house, I would have assumed that of course, life will be perfect then. But, instead of joyful, thankful, contentedness, I am grasping for more. For the next level.
I am not saying there is anything wrong with having plans, and wanting a home, and earning a good title and salary. Not inherently. But,not when it blinds you to the life you are living right now. The gifts you have been given already.
I have been asking God to lead me to my calling. And maybe he was answering me and I was too concerned with this world to hear him? I tried to be still and hear him in the quiet of my heart. But, I think my heart has been too hardened. And it came about in such innocuous ways. I have not been intentionally turning from him. But, sneaking in through cracks created by worry and envy and pride, that is how evil darkens a heart. Thankfully, He was able to reach me through reading. (PS, you can always reach me through that medium).
I feel a call to live life more simply. To stop worrying about checking those boxes that young families are supposed to be checking off. Because I have all I need already. Life isn’t going to be any more meaningful if I have a bigger house, or fill the space with nice things. Sure, it might be more comfortable. But, we aren’t called to be comfortable.
I don’t have any concrete takeaways yet. Just this humble realization. And the resolution to be happy. Nay, to be joyful. Joy is not tied to the things. I do not want nice things because they bring joy. I want nice things because I am supposed to have them, says our consumerist culture. But, I can chose to be content right here. Because my joy isn’t found on this earth. My joy is found in Jesus.
Life is finding joy in the moments. The simple. The ordinary. And we have plenty of simple and ordinary around these parts.
Celebrating the Liturgical Year is something I have been meaning to incorporate into our lives for sometime, and despite there being tons of resources, especially amongst the blogs I frequent, I always feel overwhelmed. Probably because I tend to overdo things because I want to do things the way other people do them. But, I am not other people. So, I took some advice from Kendra, sort of, and am starting with the solemnities and days that mean something to us as a family and culturally (incorporating Mexican and Native American saints for my husband’s heritage and Irish and Swedish for my heritage- truthfully I am also English, probably mostly English, but I latch on to the Irish and Swedish heritage more).
So, I decided to go low-key and not make too big of deal out of my plans, and I think this will work for us. Today is my first go at celebrating a feast day with something than more than simply attending Mass. Today, The Assumption of The Blessed Virgin Mary is special to us for reasons other than it is for most people. On this day one year ago, we learned we were having twins. That day changed our lives forever. And, in addition to be a Solemnity, today is also the babies 6 month birthday!
I poked around the interwebs and learned that in a lot of European traditions, The Assumption correlates with a First Fruits Harvest Festival. I happened to have some apple pie filling in the freezer and some apple cinnamon muffin mix in the cupboard. Apples seem harvesty. So, I decided to bake the muffins for breakfast- and muffins rise, just as Mary rose into heaven. And. then I read this article. Here is an excerpt
Children always put it so well. I asked them if they understood what Assumption — to be assumed into Heaven — meant.
“Yes. Her whole self went to Heaven. Not one crumb was left.”
Only someone who lives with children and knows their language would understand. They will say, “I love you so much I could eat you up.” That is why “not one crumb was left” has such eloquent meaning.
And I decided to make an apple crisp with the filing since it is kind of crumbly, serve with vanilla ice cream, because it is hot out and the white ice cream can represent the purity of Our Lady.
Also in the Catholic Culture article sited above is this blessing that I think I will add to our dinner prayers.
Let us pray. Almighty, everlasting God, by thy Word alone thou hast made heaven, earth, sea, all things visible and invisible, and hast adorned the earth with plants and trees for the use of men and animals. Thou appointest each species to bring forth fruit in its kind, not only to serve as food for living creatures, but also as medicine to sick bodies. With mind and word we earnestly appeal to thine ineffable goodness to bless these various herbs and fruits, and add to their natural powers the grace of thy new blessing. May they ward off disease and adversity from men and beasts who use them in thy name. Through our Lord, Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with thee in unity of the Holy Spirit, God, forever and ever. Amen.
And we’ll also light a candle and say a Memorare before dessert.
Simple. Easy. And, dessert is memorable for kids.
Happy Assumption Day!
Being back at work is exhausting. exhausting. Sleep is erratic. Some nights are decent, some are terrible. After a few terrible night in a row I am numbingly tired. Like out-of-body-experience tired. Like answering emails in my sleep tired. Like falling asleep in a sitting position on the couch while nursing two babies tired. Twice.
I feel my patience running thin from the start of my day. My reservoir is depleated. It is worth it, of course it is. But even the sweetest smiles don’t stop muscles from aching, or a head from throbbing from lack of sleep.
Sometimes I want to scream and cry. Heck, who am I kidding, sometimes I do scream and cry. Too often. I want to exclaim that it isn’t fair. I want to tell the whole world just how hard I have it. How I have gone 3 months on no more than 4 hours of sleep at a time, usually much less. How I am up everyday at dawn spending every waking moment meeting the needs of others at the expenses of any shred of leisure.
Instead I unite this suffering with the Cross. It is here I learn true love. It is here I learn to die to self. To live for others. It is in motherhood my soul may begin to be purified. I am not there yet. Lord knows the number of curse words and fits of anger I have each day are testament to that. But my feet are very are firmly on the path. And, regardless of the number of parenting fails I have each day, so long as I surrender my brokenness to Jesus each night I can be redeemed.
This is difticult, but having Felipe was, with out a doubt, much more so. Because, this time I am not alone. This time I am not trying to do it all of myself, this time I know I have The Lord, I have Jesus standing in the gap. When I know it’s too much for me to handle, I know I don’t have to. I rest in prayer, and Grace and Mercy do the work.
Lord, in my most trying hour, bring me back to you. Set my soul at ease. Give me the Grace to love as you love. Heal my brokenness.
I really want to be a SAHM. I have been trying to shake that guilt, but it’s easier said than done.
I have almost come to terms with the fact that, perhaps, I am called to work. Perhaps I am to bring Christ ‘s Light to the people I encounter at work, or on the commute, people I surely wouldn’t encounter if I were staying home. And, maybe not in obvious ways, maybe but just by being joyful, and showing love. And, sometimes in more obvious ways, too. Perhaps.
And, perhaps this is my cross to bear. I have definitely gotten comfortable the last two months at home. Maybe, too comfortable? I have enjoyed pretending I was a SAHM. I got to sleep a little later, shower once a week, and get dressed in the afternoon, if at all. All because I could. Because, taking care of the babies and keeping the house presentable was all I was expected to do. And, at first, it was all I could do. But, that got easier and manageable. But, I was comfortable.
I almost did a “Day in the Life” post last week, to document my brief time as a SAHM. But, by 10am I had realized that I wasted far too much time on Facebook and reading blogs and was too embarrassed to continue. Maybe I am being too hard on myself, maybe it is okay to have days and even weeks where you aren’t productive at all, especially when your babies are so little. Maybe it was sanity saving for me to “veg” a bit. Maybe that is all true for some people. But, I know me. I know my own heart. And, I know that it cannot be good to be trapped in social media all day, then lament the fact that nothing is organized and my house is never as clean as I would like.
Perhaps, if I could stay home forever, I would get out of this season of life soon and begin to be more of a homemaker? Because, perhaps, I am overly critical. And, maybe that is true for a lot of people. But, I am not sure it is for me. I need structure. And, not self imposed structure because it is far too easy to ignore it. Maybe, for the sake of my own soul, I need to work? Maybe God chose this cross for me because he knows I need it. I need it to stay focused.
But, there is another side to this coin. And, I seem to be unable to walk the line. I find myself either not busy enough, nay down right lazy, or too busy. Or, at least, pressured to be too busy. I find myself justifying being a working mother by adding qualifiers. It is acceptable to work full time away from home, but only if you also keep an immaculate house, and volunteer a ton at school and church, and teach the babies to read before they are two, and also find time to exercise and meal plan. Basically, if I am going to work, I had better be a robot. I need to be extremely well organized. I need to embody the cliché of the mom who “has it all” who “does it all”.
And this self imposed pressure doesn’t end with housework. I find myself wishing I was the perfect parent. I find myself creating a checklist of things to teach my kids. And, some of the checklist is good and holy: prayers they should know, and saints they should know. It is important to raise my kids to know the basics of our faith, that may be the most important thing I teach them. But, I cannot fall into the trap of putting so much pressure on myself to always be more that I am stressed to the point of being short with them, of losing my patience and my temper. Because, while those things are good and holy things, if I cannot do it in LOVE then I have failed.
Maybe someday I will get there. I hope I do. But, my worth isn’t measured by my productivity. My worth is measured by being a Daughter of God. And the most important job I have here on earth is to love my husband and my children and help them to get to heaven by being showing them the LOVE of God.
So, that means I can cut myself some slack for the dusty blinds and the unorganized coat closet. I can cut myself some slack for not teaching my son every prayer just yet, I have only been Catholic myself for a year, we will get there in time. But, it also means that I do not need to waste so much time on Facebook, either. Perhaps, that is the true balance. Not having and doing it all, but realizing what is truly important and investing time there, and letting the other things go. And, if someday I finally implement all the organization I have in my head, it will be done with love and not added imaginary pressure.
Ok so, if I am going to call myself a “mommy blogger” I have to talk fashion at least once in awhile, right?
So, overview: I have really no style. I am not super interested in clothes, other than I would most like to be comfortable. But, lately I have also really wanted to look like an adult woman. This means different things for different people I’m sure, so I am in the process of figuring out exactly what that means to me.
I think I touched on this in my capsule wardrobe post way back when the interwebs was obsessed with them, but here is how I came to be where I am in terms of fashion. I was a tomboy in high school. I wore exclusively jeans, hoodies, and skate or band tees. I never learned how to do hair or makeup and from the time I dressed myself into my last year of college I wore a dress exactly twice: junior and senior prom.
So this budding fashionista that I am grew up and went to college and actually downgraded my wardrobe when pajama pants and sweats became acceptable daily attire. Then I got pregnant and money and weight issues made my own n appearance still less of a priority. Hey, my husband still decided to stay with me and eventually marry me. At least I know he loves me for me, amirite?
When I graduated and got my first semi professional job I made do wroth a smattering of ill fitting hand-me-down and garage sale/Goodwill scores in the slacks and blouse department. A few years ago, my very kind and generous co-worker gifted me properly fitting, and nice quality, slacks and cardigans, which have kept me looking decent at work, but my casual clothes were still mostly things from college or high school, and mostly things a teenaged boy would wear.
Then, I got pregnant again. Now, usually pregnancy is a time of fashion crisis for a woman, but not so for me. I was lucky enough to borrow clothes from a friend with good taste that ended up being exactly what I want from my wardrobe all the time: skirts, cute but modest blouses, etc… And I purchased two pairs of skinny jeans, they are maternity, but you better believe I still rock them.
But, as it was all borrowed, I have had to give it all back. This had left me with some glaring holes in my current wardrobe, and a non-existent budget with which to fill them.
I have finally finished purging myself of tees and hoodies frommhigh school, and while I like the whole capsule wardrobe in theory, it doesn’t work well for me in practice, because I just don’t have enough pieces to necessitate separating and most of it gets worn in all seasons. But, with the help of Rosie’s fashion posts and me sort of getting to try out a whole new wardrobe, I have a really great idea of what I want my style to be and what I need to create my perfect wardrobe.
Whew. That was a huge intro. I need to work on not being so wordy. No wonder not many people read my blog.
What I Want My “Style” to be:
I would say I am not particularly trendy, and I like more of a classic look. My goal is to look like a grown-up, which to me means put together, and age appropriate. I am conservative and modest in my choices, for the most part, though I am not above leggings as pants, so long as I have a long enough top to still look modest and put together. Could I say “put together” more times in one paragraph?
I like layering with cardigans and scarves and would prefer my skirts and dresses to hit the knee as often as possible.
What I have to work with:
I have 5 pairs of slacks for work that luckily still fit me. I have a few tops that can be paired with cardigans scarves for work, or worn with jeans on the weekends. I have a few strictly casual, plain tees. I have some skinny jeans, one pair of jean shorts and one pair of jean capris. I also have many scarves cardigans, and two sweaters, and I kept a hoodie or two. Oh and a whopping three dresses.
What I need:
Let’s be honest. I need a lot. Ideally, I would almost onky wear dresses or skirts, but some I can’t really go out and acquire a whole new wardrobe at once, i will start by getting a few pieces each season, when possible. So, my immediate spring /
summer needs are:
- A black pencil skirt for work, or Mass.
- A denim skirt that can be dressed up or down.
- A maxi skirt or two.
- Another dress that is summer-y, but can be worn to Mass if layered properly.
- SHOES! All the shoes. We are talking flats for work, casual flats, sandals that are not flip flops, some wedges- possibly a nicer covered toe pair and a more casual sadal wedge. I need all of these like now, and am not opposed to shopping at payless because I can’t afford 4-5 quality pairs right now.
Let me know if you can think of any other basics that a fashion-challenged person might miss, but would be worlds better with!
The other day, I was sitting outside our parish school with the babies while my husband ran in to pick up our son. Our van was parked in the street between the school and the Parish Center. It was right there, right in that spot, three years ago this May, that we first felt it. The call. The call to come Home.
We were not yet Catholic, but beginning our journey toward the faith, when we decided to check out Grand Old Saint Mark’s Days, the annual Parish Festival, with our then almost three year old son. It was there, in the shade between those buildings, beneath the steeple of the Church of Saint Mark, with the towering images of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph looking down on us lovingly, that we truly felt the warmth of this Family.
How can you not feel at home at a place like this?
I watched our Deacon leave the Rectory, and cross the street toward the Parish Center. I smiled at a classmate of my son and her father as they left school. This place, this community feels more like home to me than my home town ever could. And my thoughts drifted back to Bonnie‘s post on the guilt moms sometimes feel over not homeschooling. This faith community is so important. It was a huge catalyst in our conversion. And to think, I’ve been feeling guilty over being part of it. I felt guilty about not being called to homeschool.
I don’t know where this sudden pressure to homeschool comes from. In my entire life I have personally known one person who was homeschooled. And, we all felt terrible for her because her family was just not suited for it. She hated it. She certainly would have been better off in a traditional, brick and mortar school. Until my very recent dive into the world of Catholic mom bloggers I wasn’t even aware there was such a strong trend toward homeschooling. And, maybe there isn’t? Maybe it is just in this bubble that it prevails.
And, to be clear, this is in no way a dig at homeschoolers. I completely agree with everything Bonnie has to say about why homeschooling is right for some families. But, I also agree with her points as to why brick and mortar is right for other families.
My son needed something that I alone was not equipped to give him. I am not a teacher. I am his first teacher, yes. My husband and I taught him the basics, and we continue to teach him everyday. About manners, and God, and love. About humility, and forgiveness. We are doing our part to teach him to be a Child of God. But, that doesn’t mean we should be his only teachers. We can certainly supplement is academic education at home, but he is far better off learning those things from people with the gift of teaching. School is the best choice for him developmentally. He has grown so much in his year at preschool and his year so far in kindergarten.
And, while his growth is of primary importance, it hasn’t been the only benefit. We have also grown, and gained so much as a family from this parish community. I know if my son didn’t go to school here I wouldn’t be as involved because I am so introverted. I wouldn’t have made so many friends. People that have been the Face of Christ for me and an invaluable blessing to us as we transitioned after the birth of our twins. I can only hope to be that friend to someone else someday.
But, that guilt I felt over not homeschooling is the same guilt I feel over not being a stay at home mom. I admit, this guilt is a little harder to shake. But, it mysteriously sprang up out of the same Catholic-mom-blog-o-sphere fountain. Not because anyone intentionally presents their life as the best, or the way to live a Holy life. But because of comparison. I know. “Comparison is the thief of joy”. But, in a world so heavily dominated by women worthy of great admiration, who all seem to be doing the same things, and on that same path, women who I look to as role models, it is so hard not to compare. And, that is unfair. It is unfair to them and unfair to me. It is unfair to the unique life and unique set of circumstances that God created me for.
Still, that voice isn’t as strongly represented. Maybe, someday, I could be a voice. Not THE VOICE, because that is ridiculous, but A voice. A perspective. Certainly, I am not the only Catholic mom who works full time outside the home and sends her kid to school. I am not even the only such mom with a blog. And, I would put money on the fact that those other moms have a much more polished blog, filled with real content. But, I am working on it. Because I love to write. And because I have a voice, and experiences, and something to say. And that may resonate with someone, somewhere, someday. And all of that matters.
I guess this really isn’t about homeschooling or staying home so much as it is about identity. And, that cringe-worthy cliché of “finding yourself”. It is about coming to terms with the circumstances of my life. I don’t homeschool, and I do work outside the home. And owning that it is OKAY. It truly is okay.
But, it does all come back to community. God created us all to be a part of a community. Namely, The Communion of Saints. But, naturally that community has to be made smaller to fit our human limitations. And my community is The Church of Saint Mark. It is One Strong Family, United in Christ. I do not know for sure what my exact role is in this Family, but I do know that it is important that I work and it is important that our children go to school here. Because we are all created to be unique examples of Christ’s love in the world, so we cannot all be exactly the same.
The babies have been home for three weeks now, and life is pretty routine these days. I mean, I am still pretty tired and usually can’t get anything done other than keep myself and the babies alive everyday, it is really starting to feel more manageable. I see the light. So long as we don’t have to leave the house for any reason, mainly doctor’s appointments, I can usually take on another task- the dishes, spot cleaning the kitchen, a load or two of laundry. I am possible setting myself up for failure, but today I plan to start cleaning out our closets. At the end of April our parish has a Rummage Sale that I would love to donate a lot of our things to, and our house is just SO cluttered. I can’t keep up with anything because there is stuff everywhere, including piles of babies clothes with no where to go because dressers are filled with clothes we don’t wear, and closets are filled with clothes we don’t wear, and toys we don’t play with, and belongings we haven’t looked at in years. It needs to go.
It may seem like an unnecessary task to undertake, but if I don’t I will never be organized enough to get myself out of survival mode. It needs to be completed before I return to work or I will be doomed. And, right now the babies are still little enough that they sleep a lot. We have a good routine going of nursing every 2-3 hours during the day, being awake for a little while in between nursing, and napping. And, they have both mostly been good at nursing every 3 hours at night and fall right back to sleep after they eat, which grants me three solid two hour chunks of sleep each night. And, I have adapted to only need that much, with the assistance of a lot of coffee. Now truly is the time to get things done, get my life as organized as possible with infants twins and hopefully leave me with a few weeks of maternity leave to mostly enjoy the babies and gear up for a life of working FT time outside the home and caring for three children at the same time.
Now, if you are a sane person, you will have read those first two paragraphs and thought something like, “Wow, she has her hands full”, or “I don’t think it is a good idea for one person to undertake so much, she should probably be taking it easy”. And, those things are accurate. Which is why what I am going to say next may be the single silliest thing I have ever contemplated.
My husband works for The University of Saint Thomas, which is a highly regarded, private, Catholic college in Minnesota. As an employee one perk is tuition remission. He has the option to take classes part time for free, and our children will be able to attend at a steep discount, and until recently spouses also had the option to take classes at the same steep discount. He is planning on taking classes soon, and years ago we talked about me getting my Master’s, too. But, lately I have been turned away from dreams of academia and professional achievement in favor of dreams of stay-at-home-mothering a brood of children. Both dreams had always been just dreams, wholly impossible to pursue. We couldn’t afford to lose my income nor my benefits, and we couldn’t afford the risk that is the cost of graduate school. Plus, I wasn’t sure I could mentally handle more work.
That changed yesterday when my husband called to tell me he had gotten a memo and it appears spousal tuition remission may now be 100% and he really thinks I should pursue my Master’s degree. The thought of academia got me giddy. And, if it truly is free, what is the harm in taking a class in the fall to see if I can handle it?
And, now I find myself at a crossroads. Would I be stretching myself too thin with three kids, two of which would still be babies, one with a busy school/activities/sports schedule, a full time job, part time classes, and a household to maintain- which I currently struggle to maintain? Pardon the stream-of-consciousness rambling I am about to engage in so that I might answer my own rhetorical questions.
Am I really struggling, or am I making excuses for myself to be lazy and continue scrolling mindlessly through my Facebook news feed or watching trash TV? Now, that is a convicting question. Parts of Kendra’s post from way back, where she says God gave her all her kids because He knew she needed them to keep her from being selfish and self-centered keep running through my head. Perhaps, God gave me twins because he knew I could easily handle one baby and go back to making my life all about me. I could manage one baby and still do things, still waste time and keep my priorities out of whack, while maintaining a façade a put-together life for all my Facebook friends to see in adorable mobile uploads. I cannot do that anymore. But, does that mean I have too much on my plate, or is it a wake up call that my life is not my own and that being present for my kids means putting the distractions away; and having a messy unorganized house is perfectly okay, so long as I am truly busy and not making excuses? I don’t think I am the only one leaning toward the latter.
Is it crazy to think it is entirely possible to keep a house together (not immaculate, but better than I have been doing for years), to shuffle my oldest to school and Cub Scouts, and soccer practice while caring for twins, working full time, and taking classes part time? I am not saying it will be easy. It will certainly be a sacrifice, but isn’t that the point of life? Maybe I need positive distractions in life to keep me from the mindless TV consumption and mindless Facebooking? Maybe I need kids, and a job, and school to keep me busy and force me to prioritize my life so that what I am doing is Holy. After all, in high school I always had better grades in the second and third quarters, which is when I was working part time and in Gymnastics. My grades were always better when I was forced to be busy.
But, here comes the biggest sticking point I am having. The thing I am most unsure of. The thing I am most embarrassed to admit to questioning. Can this possibly be my calling? Can this possibly be Holy, the Work of God? It is the complete opposite conclusion that Haley had, and many other Catholic women that I admire. And, of course no one has ever said that there is only one way to be Holy, not even all the wonderful, stay-at-home and homeschooling moms whose blogs I look to for advice and inspiration toward living the life God meant for me to live. But, why then does it seem that NO ONE is doing anything else?
Can God’s plan for me include obtaining a Master’s degree and working full time for the State of MN? It is not as if my career obviously serves a Holy mission. I am not teaching kids, nor am I a nurse, nor working to meet the spiritual or corporeal needs of anyone in any tangible way. Sure, you could say that my presence in the workplace as a Catholic woman could be spreading the Gospel by living out my faith in ordinary, everyday living, by shining the Light of Christ on those I met each day. People make that claim, right? But, always abstractly, never from personal experience, never with anecdotes or testimony of actually reaching out to a person.
Can God really have given me three children whose souls I am charged with getting to Heaven but also have meant for me to be in the workforce? Can God’s plan really not be for me to be a stay at home mom?
I have to be honest- the idea of returning to school makes me so happy. But, so does the idea of staying home with my kids. But, that isn’t possible. Did God open this door to show me this is part of His plan? Can something be part of God’s plan and make me happy? Isn’t is supposed to be a sacrifice to follow Christ? Aren’t we supposed to “take up our Crosses”? The idea of the working mom, balancing it all just seems too secular, too part of the ideal of the world to be part of God’s plan.
Am I wrong? Am I missing something crucial? I am praying for guidance, O Lord. I am praying for discernment. I can never tell if the voice in my heart and in my head is the Voice of God or my own desires.
Our beautiful babies were born on Sunday, February 15, 2015 at exactly 37 weeks. Isaac Richard was 18 in long and 5lb 9oz, Isabel Roberta was about 18.75 in long at 6lb 12oz. No, we didn’t intend on their first names starting with the same initial, nor did we intend on their whole initials being the same. Isaac was the only boy name we agreed upon, Isabel is Elizabeth in Spanish, for my husbands mom who has passed. Richard is after an uncle of my husband, Roberta is after my Gramma.
My water broke as we were getting ready for Mass Sunday morning (so thankful it didn’t happen at Mass) and we rushed to the hospital. Since Isabel was breech, we had the C-Section. Having time to process what was happening was kind of awful. I was so afraid. But, I prayed, and forgot the words to the Hail Mary under anesthesia, but eventually got a few out, and everything ended up fine. I did lose a lot of blood, but no transfusion. Recovery is much better than with the first.
But, life with tiny newborn twins is so much harder than I was ready for. One baby was a cakewalk for me compared to this. but, it is so worth it. Here are a few quick blurbs about the early days while I have a rare spare minute.
I am in super survival mode. Life is non-stop babies for me. Nursing, pumping, holding, diapering. I don’t shower daily. I don’t even change my clothes daily. But, I am eating and brushing my teeth and staying hydrated, and that is a win. And, sometimes I even sleep. Thankfully my husband is home until Monday, then my mom will be around so I haven’t had to get my son to school or help with much else yet. But, now that life is sort of routine, an exhausting one, but sort of routine, I think I can manage to do more when I have to. I have been an emotional crying mess some days, but mostly everyone is understanding and super sweet about my insane meltdowns. We are getting through it.
Life is a cycle of nursing, supplementing, pumping, repeat. I lost of lot of blood and had twins, so my milk took a long time to come in. I am not sure my supply is adequate and we have already had two doctor visits for lactation consulting since we have been home. At the first, both babies lost weight. At the second, Isaac is gaining, but Isabel remained the same. They are preemies and they are sleepy eaters. I have to agitate them the entire nursing session or they will fall asleep a minute or so in. So, right now they eat every 3 hours and every other feeding they are bottle fed an extra ounce breast milk. I am hoping beyond hope that this will work and we can tread water for a few weeks until they catch up, and then nursing should be enough. But, formula feeding is unfortunately looming in the background if they don’t gain. I cried a lot over that.
The medications. I had twins and major surgery last week. Every morning with breakfast I take an Oxycodone, an Ibuprofen 600, an iron supplement and stool softeners (iron and narcotics make you constipated, yay). Then, with lunch I take my Prenatal. Then, with dinner, more iron and stool softeners and another IB. I could take more pain meds, but this is enough to manage life. Anymore and I would feel sick, I think.
Lack of modesty. We love having visitors. It makes life feel normal. But, I spend a great amount of time with my breasts out. So, if you want to visit, I hope you aren’t offended by a possible peep show while I latch the babies on. I certainly am not concerned about it.🙂
I’ve had about a week to process, and aside from putting on a calm smile at the doctor’s office when she broke the news, those first few hours and days were tough. I was so close to tears each time I stopped busying myself and thought about what I was losing. Or, what I felt I was losing. Is that selfish? Of course. But, a pregnant woman should be allowed a moment of emotional selfishness.
I am not sure why, but the C-Section always makes me feel “less-than”. My head knows this is irrational, but you can’t always logic your way out of your feelings.
Women are built to birth babies. And, I have been feeling so proud of how well my body, the one I have looked on with disdain for as long as I can remember, has been doing growing and carrying two babies. I can finally see and appreciate the beauty of this body that I have lamented over for so many years. It is like I was created to grow twins. But, I can’t help but feel like the C-Section takes away from that. If I was made to grow them, and made to carry them, wasn’t I made to deliver them, also? Is there actually something wrong with my body? This body that I have just come to love and appreciate and recognize as beautiful?
But, it is not just that. Not just those doubts that creep in. Will I never get to have a birth story? An epic tale of being in tune with my body, of knowing what it was created to do, of being at the precipice of the impossible and finding the strength that only a woman has, deep within herself, and bringing another soul into this world?
I don’t know if we will have more children, but the consensus seems to be that we will not. Not right away, perhaps not ever. But, if we did, wouldn’t this second C-Section certainly rule out the possibility of ever attempting a natural delivery? In fact, doesn’t the very fact that I have had two C-Sections actually lend itself more to the argument that it would not be prudent to have more children at all?
Yet, at the same time, I am kind of relieved. I will not be risking trailing through labor only to fail, and have an emergency C-Section. I will not be risking one vaginal delivery and one C-Section. I will not be risking uterine rupture. I will not be risking the emotional trauma of an unplanned C-Section.
As hard as it is, I have to push past the lies that have crept in, the lies that tell me I am “less-than” because of the C-section. I am not less of a mother because of how my children came/will come into the world.