Tuesday, April 24, 2012

11 Things

The brilliant and lovely Jessica over at Housewifespice (go check her out! Among other delights, she gives a weekly book review of books for all ages!) tagged me in an "11 Things" post over the weekend. I could pretend to be upset, but who am I kidding? I love these things!! So, without further ado...

1.  Post these rules.

2.  Post a photo of yourself and then write 11 things about your life. 

3.  Answer the questions for you set in the original post.

4.  Create 11 new questions and tag people to answer them.

5.  Go to their blog/twitter and tell them you have tagged them.

This was my 1st attempt at figuring out Instagram. For some reason, that makes me sorrowful.
11 Things about my life...

1) Second to Jesus, coffee is, once again, my savior.
2) I'm back at Weight Watchers.
3) I want to eat an entire Portillo's chocolate cake every day
4) I want to wear "normal" clothes again. No more maternity clothes or huge sizes.
5) In late March, I was hospitalized for 1 night because I have some serious blood clots in my right arm. They were probably caused by a combination of pregnancy bed rest, my c-section, and the eleventy-hundred IVs that were placed in that arm (and infiltrated a vein).
6) I am self-injecting blood thinners daily for three months because the fun of child-bearing is never-ending.
7) I just discovered that the blood thinner I inject is derived from "porcine intestinal mucosa".
8) I just decided I will stop reading inserts from medications.
9) I repaired the lace on the 170 year old family heirloom christening gown all by myself!
10) I don't have any real hobbies.
11) I am not ashamed of or worried by #10.

Now, to answer Jessica's questions...

1.  If you were a saint, what would you be the patron of?

Oooo! Good one! I'm assuming the Catholic Church would never let me be the patron saint of cussing, right? So, that leaves impatience or humor. And, since the impatience thing would probably be on the "no-no" list, too, I'm going to with humor. St. Mary Kate of the Giggles.

2.  If you weren't Catholic, what religion would you be? Me likey this one, too! Kyle and I have had this discussion and I really think I'd be an Orthodox Jew. Love the beautiful traditions, the strength of belief, and the latkes.

3.  If you could only eat one kind of animal for the rest of your life, what would it be: beef, pork, or poultry? Easy. Beef. Medium rare.

5.  If you could only eat one cuisine for the rest of your life, what would it be? Well, that would be a nightmare, as variety of cuisines is the spice of my life (pun intended). I would probably choose "Italian", but in the broadest sense (all the different cuisines of Italy) of the word.

6.  What is the one movie that you are embarrassed to admit you've never seen? Well, there are certainly many movies that I am embarrassed to admit that I have seen. But, everyone seems to have seen "Citizen Kane" and I have never seen anything more than a clip of that movie. Spoiler alert: I do know, however, that Rosebud is a sled --- whatever that means.

7.  What is your dream vacation? Ha ha!! Well, as I get older and have more kids it becomes less of a "where" and more of a "what type". I would love to go with Kyle to some private island with warm (not hot!) temps, a full-time bartender and chef, and lots and lots of books (both favorite and new-to-me titles). Must stay for at least 2 weeks.

8.  Who is your fantasy dinner guest?  Must be a living person. I'm a "party person", so choosing just one person is difficult for me. So, I'll imagine it's a dinner party of my "usual suspects" PLUS someone with whom I'd love to have a long, one-on-one conversation: Pope Benedict XVI. Not surprising, I know, but I have a lot of questions I'd like to ask, and I'd love to hear how he would handle some situations that I've been in/am currently in. So, totally selfish, yeah. But, it's my party, and I'll use it to my advantage if I want to (totally doesn't go with the tune).

9.  Who is your fantasy dinner guest living or dead?  Can't pick Jesus or Mary, and can't pick the same person you picked for #8. Cary Grant. There. I said it. And, I'm not explaining.

10.   What was the best book you read or were read as a child? Toss up between the "Anne of Green Gables" series and "The Betsy-Tacy" series. The way that Hanna Montana and iCarly have (sadly) influenced many tween girls these days, is the way that Anne Shirley and Betsy Ray influenced me.

11.  If you had to emigrate to another country, I don't know, you're a fugitive from the law or something,  what country do you go to? Ireland. Sorry not to pull any surprises on this answer, either. I feel like I could easily blend in and I wouldn't have to learn a language. Plus, Guinness, Waterford, and the beat of the bodhran? Yes, please!

OK, now here are my 11 questions:
1) Favorite "guilty splurge" food and why?
2) Are Bucket Lists a good idea or not (must defend your position)?
3) Orange Sherbet or Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough?
4)  If you had to give up one secular Christmas tradition, what would it be?
5) If you could choose to play any professional sport (you have been bitten by a radioactive spider thereby giving you super-powers), which one would it be?
6) What one phobia (diagnosed or undiagnosed) do you have that no one knows about?
7) Favorite childhood song?
8) What kitchen utensil/gadget/small appliance could you NEVER do without?
9) Obituaries: enjoy reading them or not?
10) You inherit 2 million dollars and decide to keep this fact a secret. Do you spend it slowly & judiciously or do you save it, planning on leaving it all to your family upon your death?
11) If there was one book you could go back and un-read, which one would you choose?

And, I choose Marie from Joy Beyond The Cross, because I'd love to get to know more about my prayer buddy, Christina from It Was The Best of Times, and the Worst of Times... because I always love hearing her perspective, Karen from Karen Edmisten because she is one of my favorite non-fiction authors, and my darling husband Kyle from kylepdempseyonlineinformationdotcom because I really am interested in how he'll answer #3 and #10.

Have fun!!!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Lenten Buddies!

This past Lent, I was privileged and humbled to be a part of the Lenten Prayer Buddy program, wherein you are assigned a person for whom you are to pray throughout Lent. That person does not know who is praying for her and her intentions, but knows that all will be revealed after Easter (sounds so mystical, doesn't it?). AND, that's not all! Some other mysterious person is assigned to pray for YOU during Lent, too!

Today, I received a most awesome email from the wonderful Marie at Joy Beyond the Cross: she had been assigned to pray for me throughout this Lent! And, she had a HUGE job, what with this being the "Lent of William Luke and His Adventures in NICU". I "got the chills" when I realized that she had been praying for Will and our family during that entire time. Do you know that there were days where I knew it was solely the prayers of others that were permitting me to put one foot in front of the other? Now I have a name for one of those indomitable prayer warriors: MARIE! Marie brought me JOY and I didn't even know she existed until today!

We all have the ability, through Christ, to affect the lives of others for the better through the simple act of praying for them. Prayer is a beautiful and powerful thing!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

He's Here!!

William Luke arrived just 2 days after my last post -- yes, folks, he's a Leap Day Baby! People assure me that his unusual birth date will be "just a fun quirk!", but my OCD tells me differently. ;-)

While he was scheduled to be born early at 34 weeks (due to his sister's exciting birth!), Will decided that he didn't want to be "scheduled" and arrived at 32 weeks -- 8 weeks early! Our sweet preemie boy weighed in at 5 pounds, 1 ounce and was 17 inches long. He was as healthy as a horse and only needed a little help with breathing during the first 36 hours.

Will did spend 2 weeks in the hospital's NICU because they wanted to make sure he "knew how to feed and was gaining properly". The major problem with this was that there was no way for him to learn how to breastfeed when they would only allow him to take 2-3 feedings by breast (don't want to tire him out!) for a maximum of 30 minutes. Throw in some nipple confusion from bottle feeds, irritation from a naso-gastric tube, and an exhausted mama (c-sections aren't minor surgery, despite what some people may lead you to believe!) who can't pump enough breastmilk and, VOILA! You have just created a scenario that is ripe for failure-to-thrive in an otherwise-healthy baby and some nasty postpartum depression in a mother who, in 7 previous births (including a full-term stillbirth), has NEVER previously exhibited any symptoms.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: NICUs (and hospitals, in general) are great for helping people SURVIVE, but are absolutely lousy at helping them THRIVE.

And, for those of you who care to disagree with me, you certainly have that right. But, please spare me your stories of  "I have a friend who is a NICU nurse, and she says that...." or "My baby would have never learned how to eat if it weren't for the genius staff at our NICU.", That's nice. I have had plenty of  personal experience with several "top-notch" NICUs over my 17 years of "childbirthin'" and they all have 3 things in common:
  1. They truly believe they possess more knowledge than any parent or "regular" physician out there.
  2. This knowledge (even when proven to be incorrect) is 100% infallible.
  3. They will hold onto babies MUCH longer than is necessary and use fear to undermine parents' belief in their own abilities to care for their children.
While I believe that there are some truly dedicated doctors and nurses out there (my family and I have benefited  from their fantastic care), their numbers are dwindling. Over the last 10 years, I have personally witnessed an dramatic increase in the use of technology in the medical field. And, while the intention may be to streamline and improve care, that does not seem to be the major effect that it is actually having in medicine. What I am seeing is a complete absence of hands-on, look-'em-in-the-eye care being replaced by look-at-the-machines-and-computer-print-outs "care". I'm not exaggerating in the least. It's disturbing.

But, I will save that all for a later post. ::grumble, grumble::

This post is about Will and the increase in love and joy he brings to our family! With every baby, we marvel at how we didn't seem to be "missing" anything in our family, yet with each blessed addition our family now feels "whole" and we can't imagine life without this new person. Once again, through Will, God has given us this great gift and we feel so humbled and privileged. Despite what some people say or think, this never gets old or boring. How could it? Each person, each new life is 100% different from any that have come before or will come after him. We are adding a new chapter to our family's book and I can't wait to see what happens!

Welcome, welcome William Luke! You bless us every day with your sweet and gentle presence! How we love you so!

My 7 beautiful babies together for the first time 10 days after Will's birth!