Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world. --John Milton

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Call the Midwife Review

Have any of you enjoyed Call the Midwife as much as I have? Since a second friend recommended the show, my husband and I have watched up to series three, episode two.

As much as I like the characters and the story, I'm most of all impressed by its interaction with birth. Every time, every circumstance - it handles new life with reverence. The theme of love weaves through each day for the busy nurse-midwifes.

I also appreciate the way the midwives and doctor work together. Plus the majority of births are delivered naturally.

More info? The Call the Midwife facebook page

Monday, April 20, 2015

The Unmarveled

A soul sparks unfanned.
How long will this go on?
A portal opens to heaven's glory
And angels herald as God bows low to kiss lips with first breath.

How long will our senses be dulled?

Fear and shame drum upon a mother's heart.
She opens her mouth,
But the notes she cannot hear;
She's forgotten the song to welcome her own.

How long will one go unreceived?

How long will circumstances determine worth?
How long will society look at productivity?
Tomorrow, will we awake to the silent scream?
What spell guards this slumber?

While we sleep, heaven's hands craft
A treasure awaiting reveal:
She has fingerprints like none other,
He has eyes never before seen;
Her heart pounds to love and be loved,
His mouth has a unique song to sing.
Will I wake up in time to meet her?
Will I dance when heaven hands him to me?

When will doctors all doctor
And nurses all nurse?
When will mothers all mother
And fathers hold their little ones close?

Where is she - I want to rescue her!
Where is he - I want him to be safe!
Show me. We've got to escape her danger;
He must live out his days knowing love.

What welcome is this - a knife.
What kind of crib - a bin of trash.

How could we have become so regardless
Of a treasure most valuable on earth?
Hospitals are built to save lives - why will no one feed her?
Why do nurses ignore his cry?

Where is her mother, charged to protect her?
Where is his father, made to provide?
Is it leprosy of the heart -
Why can any no longer feel?

Pain and confusion,
Mystery and disaster -
Grappling to control all,
To control something, anything.

The more we struggle,
The deeper we sink;
The tighter we grasp,
The worse we hurt.

And we miss the sunrise.

She's a hug in the pain,
He's a spark in the dark;
She's a gift in the ugly,
He's love in the hate.

The trusting is trampled,
The innocent is charged;
The gift is the scapegoat,
And the defenseless killed.

Heaven weeps and thunders,
Roses droop with the tears.
When will every life be celebrated?
When will love win over fear?

May she die in arms of love;
May he close his eyes in peace.

She is a marvel unmarveled.
He remains a gift unreceived.
How long til she's marveled?
How long until he's mourned?

More? Pregnancy Care Ministries; National Right to Life; Focus on the Family's Heartlink

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Enjoying Recovery - Yes to a nice, long, hot soak!

Water. It soothed my beautiful baby within and welcomed him without. Water then comforted my body too.

I enjoyed a hot soak about every other day - daily or twice a day would have been even better! I think the warm water does wonders and sitting, relaxed and unstressed is so good for healing.

The body was made to heal - I can let it focus on it's job.

I also added Sitz bath herbs, which eased discomfort.

But where is the time for long soaks, right, with newborn to feed and laundry to wash? I say, make it a must. Eat macaroni and cheese and then take a long bath.

Has anyone offered to help? Say, "Yes, thank you. My kitchen is your kitchen - and the pile of laundry is around the corner." And when the shirts are folded differently and the whisk is put away in the wrong drawer - say, "Thank you so much."

I was pampered to have the Cowboy's mom here for three weeks doing cooking and laundry and taking our toddler on walks and giving me hugs and mending and cleaning - did I mention that I was spoiled rotten? I simply got to focus on healing and caring for my newborn. Just writing that, I'm amazing all over again with gratitude.

If you are fortunate enough to have family or friends willing to help - ask, beg, let them! Don't worry how the housework is done if it's done at all - you'll be putting everything in it's proper place soon enough.

Savor those six or so weeks. Be lazy. Just say thank you and let others manage your castle for a couple of months.

First birth, I worried about too much. Second time, even though I felt amazing within days, I didn't shoo the help away.

Want more info? Try reading a midwife's opinion about taking a nice warm bath right away.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Why Me?

The crocus didn't check if I was ready. The robin didn't ask permission to sing.

Yet the breeze has cologned with forsythia and gone dancing with the willow dressed in green.

Soil turned beckons while the pond echoes alive.

And I nestle the most marvelous new life of all here in my arms.

Out of the gray of winter, from the black of my womb, forth from the despair of a tomb. Life parts hard earth, opens wide my body, cracks rock.

How do I get to hold the miracle of life - be the miracle?

How have you been in awe of life new?

Thursday, April 2, 2015

A Tale of Two Births PART 3

Julie shares the insight gained from her story. This is a wise lady. Catch up here. 

A few things I've learned through my two experiences:

On a practical level, don't invite "Murphy" to your birth (Murphy's law applied to labor and delivery is: whatever you didn't plan for will probably happen). 

Don't live in fear, but to the best of your ability, have a backup plan in mind if you choose a midwife or homebirth. Billions of people worldwide throughout the ages have not had health insurance, but the reality is that if you live in America today, you can very easily end up with thousands of dollars in medical bills. If insurance isn't an option, you might want to at least check into a medical bill sharing network. That has worked really well for us.

Don't assume natural means easy or pain free. There are many ways to make your labor and delivery smoother, but ever since Eve received the curse for eating the forbidden fruit, women have had pain in child bearing. I was also surprised that I had a more difficult recovery after my natural birth than my c-section. Having done it both ways though, I can say without a doubt that natural birth is worth it- both for mom and baby.

Another thing, there is definitely an allusion of safety in hospital births in the US. I had a lot of unnecessary fear with my VBAC because of the stories I heard from friends and also because VBACs were outlawed in our area at the time, for all practical purposes, by the malpractice insurance company. It made what I was doing sound extreme and on the fringe. 

Our midwife has attended thousands of successful births, but I still heard people say "Oh, but there was that one VBAC the midwife attended where the baby who came out with cerebral palsy." No one talks about the lady I know whose baby died in the hospital because everyone assumes that if they were at the hospital everything that could have been done was done.

Finally, I think it's important to remember that you can have a beautiful birth experience even if it doesn't turn out the way you planned. I love natural birth and letting your body do what it's meant to do. It's an under-appreciated miracle. But I have sweet memories of both my girls' births. 

No matter how your little one ends up coming into the world, the gift of their life is a beautiful thing and the details of their delivery will soon be eclipsed by the new little person in your life.