8 November

sweater 3

I've been knitting really sporadically lately, so in lieu of any kind of finished object made by me, I thought I'd share pictures of baby John in a sweater knitted by someone else. 

sweater 4

A very sweet blog reader of mine from the Netherlands sent along a whole stack of handknits for John, and this sweater is one of my favorite baby things ever. I know the pattern is this one, although I don't know what yarn she used. The orange is so suited to my brown-eyed baby.

sweater 5

I love that he can wear some handknits this autumn even though I'm a bit remiss in completing any knitting lately!

sweater 2

Baby John sure is happy about it, too. Thank you, Mirjam!

7 November


I was recently asked to review a copy of the magazine Mingle. Although I don't have the readership numbers that I once had, I'm always flattered when anyone asks me to review something, so I said why not. Mingle is a large, colorful, well laid-out magazine put out by Stampington, who also publishes Artful Blogging and a few other similar magazines. One of the things I like about their line of magazines is the quality. They are all large, on heavyweight paper, with beautiful photography and styling. I've always been a magazine connoisseur since I was a little girl, so I appreciate nice-quality magazines. (Someday I might write more about my magazine love.)

Mingle, summer

Mingle is full of creative ideas for parties and get-togethers. The Autumn 2013 issue has ideas for showers, New Year's and 4th of July Gatherings, a cute kids' gingerbread party, a funky Edgar Allan Poe themed wedding, and lots more. 

Disneyland party!

My very favorite, however, was this Disneyland-themed birthday party. Remember a couple years ago when I hesitantly admitted to being a Michael Jackson fan? I feel like I'm about to do another crazy revelation (that might also ruin my "image" -- haha -- in a similar manner), but I love Disneyland. Like, I crazy love it. I've only been twice ever, but I am kind of obsessed with it. I watch documentaries about it and have books about it and stuff. I'm not into Disney movies, characters, merchandise, or anything else, but oh, how I love a good theme park and there's nothing like Disneyland. 

Anyway, I might have squealed a little when I saw the Disneyland-themed birthday party. Or whatever. 


So, big Disneyland tangent aside, Mingle is a lot of fun. And.... one of you will get your own free copy! Leave a comment on this post and I'll choose a winner early next week. Your magazine will be mailed directly to you from Stampington so I will put them in touch with you. Good luck!

6 November


It's no secret around here that autumn is my favorite season. I mean, I love all the seasons for their own reasons, and winter, especially, is pretty beloved to me. But there is nothing else like autumn. I will probably write at least one more ode to autumn before this month is out. 

last of the tomatoes

One thing I love about autumn is the food. Tea is steaming hot, soups are in, hot chocolate and popcorn become the favored afternoon snack, and baking picks up a bit. Baking is a bit different for us now, as about 10 months ago, we transitioned James to a gluten-free diet. Our hope was that it would help with some behavior issues he had been struggling with. I was very skeptical about trying it, but it was really a last-ditch effort and we were encouraged by the success of many friends with a gluten-free diet. I was so weary of dealing with constant behavior battles, and I was even more weary of everyone we knew either throwing diagnoses at him or complaining about him to me, as though I was unaware of my own child's struggles. 


In reality, I knew that none of these "acronym" diagnoses that many of our well-meaning family and friends were suggesting fit the bill. But I knew that his meltdowns weren't helping him, and I could see it wearing on my other children, as well. So we were at a place of (almost) desperation when we decided to try gluten-free.


And it worked. Within a few weeks, he was like a different child. It's not perfect, and he can still work on impulse control, but suddenly he was happier, more relaxed, and healthier. I no longer saw the look of fear and confusion in his eyes as he struggled with meltdowns he didn't understand. People started remarking on how he seemed to be so much more calm and confident. A long-time friend (who'd known him since birth) remarked that he seemed more himself again. I do not know why this has worked for him. But it has.


I'm still trying to learn how to bake well with two handicaps (gluten-free and high altitude), and we've had successes and failures. But it's very worthwhile. I'm no longer finding myself crying at the end of the day about a child I don't know how to help. And that means everything.

GF popovers

In this post: gluten-free popovers from King Arthur flour, and some hot tea, apples (from the market), and the very last few tomatoes (from our one tomato plant), just because. 

5 November


...James had to get a filling (darn genetics -- my husband has had so many cavities and my own dad's teeth are even worse, despite conscientious oral hygiene). I love our pediatric dentist. He and his team are so good, and they're so sweet to our family.

...I voted.

...we went to the grocery store and John rode in the cart next to Fiona. I wouldn't have put him there except Fiona was tired and wanted to ride up top and I figured she'd give John something to lean against. 

...is Elisabeth's namesday/saint day/patronal feast day -- the feast of St. Elizabeth. She chose to have this salad for dinner and to go to candlelight mass later tonight with her daddy. So sweet.

* * *

One of these days soon, I will do a proper post on the computer. But phone posting is quick and handy!

5 November

5 November

4 November

Another phone post tonight after a day that was just one of those days. It wasn't bad, it wasn't good, it was just kind of indifferent. I was sore, John was cranky, the children spent time cleaning their rooms and playing independently of each other, my husband touched up some paint and worked on installing baseboards. The weather was cold but not particularly noteworthy. Later I taught lessons which wasn't fun considering cello is an instrument that is played seated and sitting is a "pain" for me right now.

Anyway, after all that, I went to make this post and was thinking, "What will I write about?" Four days into the month and I'm already a bit unprepared. Well, not totally, I just don't have photos ready to go. And then these words of Blessed John Paul II, in his Letter to Artists, came to my mind: "All men and women are entrusted with the task of crafting their own life: in a certain sense, they are to make of it a work of art, a masterpiece."

As a musician, decent amateur photographer, and dollmaker, I do consider myself an artist. But even when we are not artists, or just don't feel like it, or a particular day didn't seem to offer any inspiration at all, we are still crafting our lives. I know I've written about this some time ago, somewhere, but I can't find it right now and can't add links from the phone app anyway. But it's something I've thought about a lot over these last 11 years of spending most of my time raising my children. Crafting our home, making mindful decisions in my parenting, all of this is part if crafting this life. I'm not at all sure I've reached "masterpiece" level yet, but I'm certainly trying.

I firmly believe that being conscious of how we live, having the goal of a life lived as a masterpiece to strive for, is a very beautiful and worthy endeavor.

Here's to another day spent working on that masterpiece.

4 November

3 November

I'm posting from my phone in my bedroom, where I've been confined for most of today, laying flat on my back as required by what I'm now referring to as my "broken back" (really injured tailbone). I'm not generally a very high-energy individual, but I'm also not a good invalid, and find it exceedingly dull.

So for now, enjoy some baby dancing and flapping. This is the most "talkative" baby I've ever had, but he seems to get stage fright whenever I start recording him, so we have almost no evidence of his many (frequently loud) conversations. Still, what a blessing it is to be able to record some of his babyhood. Sometimes, technology really is a blessing.

(There should be a video embedded below, hoping you can view it. It looks fine from our desktop but now isn't showing up on my phone.)



1 November

And now....the annual Halloween costume reveal! 

halloween 14

halloween 17

halloween 10

This year, we enjoyed the company of a 1950's sock hopper, a fire figher, a black cat, and the fire fighter's dalmatian puppy.

We made all of these costumes except for the fire fighter, which was from our dress up bin and James had settled on being it for Halloween months ago. It was my first time not sewing anything at all for a costume and a little bittersweet, but he was excited, so that's all that matters. 

halloween 18

halloween 7

halloween 5

halloween 16

We made the skirt and a net petticoat for the sock hopper costume using Butterick 4113.

halloween 3

I'm not sure how Elisabeth thought of this costume, but it was fun for me because I once had a gray poodle skirt costume that my mom made for me. 

halloween 19

The black cat costume was made using Simplicity 9050, a 1970 pattern.

halloween 1

halloween 6

I love how Fiona is so certain about what she wants to be. Once she decided on black cat, it was settled, and she was so excited about it.

halloween 2

John's dalmatian costume was from Butterick 3050, and it was the one that Elisabeth did most of the sewing on. She even did the zipper! She has watched me sew every Halloween costume over the years (and we've made quite a few similar animal-style ones, including this year's black cat), and she did a great job. 

halloween 8

It was pretty chilly outside and although Elisabeth opted to suffer for the sake of the photoshoot before putting her sweater on, John was not that into it and we couldn't get him to smile! Shortly after this, he was asleep. 

halloween 13

We had a fun Halloween, visiting some neighbors from our old neighborhood and some long-time family friends (whose daughters used to babysit baby Elisabeth when they were teenagers -- they are now all over 21!) before coming back to our neighborhood for some trick-or-treating. It was super fun. Overall (despite my injury to my backside), this was the most relaxed Halloween I've enjoyed in at least 5 years, so that was nice, too. 

See you tomorrow!

31 October

near our church

Thanks for your patience, friends, as I've worked out my crazy technical issues. (After 3 appointments with the genius bar, it turned out to be our cable connection after all....)

First off, the winner of the giveaway was Monica, who said: 

"It looks like a lovely book! Thanks for being so open in this space."

Monica, please send me your address at the email address in my left sidebar.

Now, on to some other things.


Happy Halloween! I'm so excited! I'm happy to say that we finished our costumes earlier this year than usual. Yesterday I fell down the stairs and I think I cracked my tailbone, so that was crazy and I feared we might not be able to finish the costumes because sitting is really painful for me! Fortunately, I was already ahead of where I usually am the day before Halloween (bad procrastinator that I usually am), and Elisabeth did the rest of the sewing for me! She was awesome. 


This October has been so golden and all the leaves I pass seem to look like little coins on their trees, making me think of this favorite poem by Elsa Beskow:

Golden, you are,
Golden sovereigns on your trees.
Golden guineas on your floor,
golden coins of leaves
that fall
for us to scuffle through
and rustle
and rattle
and hustle
and scrabble
and dabble
and paddle
as they fall
into an October carpet
which hides
our shoes.

our neighborhood

I think I'm going to give daily blogging in November a try again this year. Last year I just couldn't get through it, with first trimester sickness. It was feeling like too much, and since I hadn't announced my pregnancy to anyone at that point, it was just too hard, and feeling too much like quantity over quality. But this year, I'm hoping that nothing unexpected will pop up. It's always been so much fun for me and such a good habit. I should do it more! Ha!

See you...tomorrow!

11 October

Just a quick post to let you know that I haven't forgotten I need to select a winner for the book giveaway. I'm posting from my phone tonight because our Internet was out for several days and now the hard drive of our Mac is corrupted and it won't run. We have an appointment tomorrow so hopefully that can be sorted out, and quickly. It's still covered under warranty, fortunately. At 2.5 years old, it's still outlived any other computer we've had, though. See you soon!

5 October



After my most recent post, one of my long-time readers commented that she sensed things were pretty "full-on" for me right now. She went on to say, "Whatever struggles you are feeling I'm always so moved that you are able to frame things through beauty's lens." This comment was so moving to me. Over the nearly seven years I've been writing here, that's been my goal. I have had a lot of struggles over these seven years, along with a lot of ordinary days, and plenty of joys, too. But my goal has always been to infuse things here, and in my real life, with some beauty and grace. (Sometimes easier said than done.)

In the last six months, things have been more stressful than they ever have been. First with my husband's (now ongoing) unemployment, and the events of baby John's birth. For the most part, I stay pretty upbeat. Only a very few people -- my sister, my husband, and actually my biblical school teacher (and now, you all, ha!) -- really get to know the full extent of my fear and worry and stress. (Note: if you know me in real life, I'm still not likely to open up a lot about this. Since you know me, you know I keep things pretty close.)

At my class this week, my teacher this year handed back our year-end exams from last year. I'm in my fourth and final year of my program, and my class had the pleasure of having the same teacher for second and third year. Over those two years, I became pretty comfortable with being honest in the reflections that were part of our weekly homework. Over that time, I was able to express some things in writing to my teacher that I wouldn't ordinarily express. When I looked at the comments my teacher had written on the back of my exam, this is what I saw:


So fitting, right? I've heard it said that what we are named is our vocation (this is one reason I name my children very carefully), and I guess I shouldn't be surprised that mine would be! Sometimes I can be too caught up in being sensible and reasonable, and can forget that everything -- hardships, ease, life itself -- is by the grace of God. So, all that to say, yes, I've been struggling, and yes, I have, and will continue to, try to infuse this time with beauty and grace as much or more than any other.

Fast forward to last week when I was asked to participate in the blog tour for Small Steps for Catholic Moms. Although this book was co-written by my friend Elizabeth, it's new to me. (It's just been re-released.) It's a wonderful book of simple devotions, organized by the days of the year. It's just what I needed.

small steps

The month of May has reflections on the theme of grace, and I was asked to use one of these as part of my post today (again, so fitting).

Think: "Think of what is above, not of what is on earth."
 - Colossians 3:2

Pray: I am weak, Lord. I am stubborn, impatient, selfish, and vain. Pour forth your grace to relieve me of my weaknesses. Help me grow strong in virtue.

Act: Think of at least one small flaw in your personality that you tend to make excuses for ("Oh, I've never been a patient person!"), and resolve to work on it with God's help. Decide on a consequence for weakness (doing some small job for each infraction, for example), and then follow through with it.


Sometimes I'm all too aware of my faults and do nothing about them. And often, something very small and very concrete like this is just what I need when things have been tough.

I've been so happy to have the chance to be a part of this blog tour and to discover a book that will be a source of blessing and grace for me. I'm also very happy to say that I have the opportunity to introduce this book to one of you, as well -- I have an extra copy from the publisher for one of you! Please leave a comment for an opportunity to win!


(If you'd like an opportunity to win a complete set of CatholicMom.com books, be sure to check out the "Five Minutes Alone" contest.)

30 September


It has been a month since I've been in this space! It seems to be a vicious cycle. The more time away, the easier it is to stay away, the harder it is to think of posts, and on and on. 

But I couldn't let September pass without a single post. 

suddenly so big

golden light


In the last few days, it's suddenly felt like autumn, and I'm so glad to be welcoming my favorite season, and my favorite month tomorrow. It's been a year since I started stitching my Winterwoods sampler. It's been almost a year since we found out we were expecting John. Almost six months since my husband found out his contract wouldn't be renewed. Just over three months since John's birth. 

So many ways of measuring time. It seems like that's what we do: measure time; count the days, weeks, months, years. I can be so impatient in the moment, but as my oldest child approaches 12, I realize in ever clearer ways that I don't really want time to move on. I so wish we could stay where we are now. But, no. They grow up, these babies of ours. Bittersweet.

some knitting

three months old


We've got a new "school" routine going that is actually working for us. We're doing some projects around the house. (Hello, baseboards!) I'm knitting again. So many things to share! And on Saturday, I'm participating in a blog tour and book giveaway, so I hope you'll stop by. 

27 August

so alert



like jewels

Our baby boy is now just past two months old. He has changed so much in these two months. We are getting lots of smiles and lots of little "chats" from him. He is our biggest two month old so far, at just over 13 pounds now. He is also a baby who has a high level of need for his mama. I've been spending my time just holding and nursing him most of the time, which is fine with me. He and I just need this.

Though the other day, after a long day of holding him, soothing his fussing, and feeling like nothing was helping, I told my husband I was taking a drive.

Driving can be as effective as therapy for me. I've known this about myself for a good 16 or 17 years. I can always clear my mind. Turning on the radio and hearing favorite songs by Dave Matthews Band, U2, and Radiohead back to back never hurts, either. And then there was a rainbow. Within an hour, I was home and feeling much more sane. I'm sure taking a walk could have a similar effect but we live in an older suburban neighborhood so it's not always the best place for clearing one's mind. Slipping out for a drive is just right for me.

Not much else is happening. These August days have been going by slowly. Hot, languid, just a bit too much. I'm so ready for autumn. My husband's classes start next week and he's nervous. I know he can do it. I just hope there's a job at the end of it!


august 7, 1999

14 years ago

14 years


What an amazing 14 years it's been!

4 children, 2 dogs, 2 cats, 7 homes, dozens of friends and family, a few arguments, and so much fun and joy and love. I wouldn't change a single thing!

6 August


I usually hate August. I mean, I didn't start out having such a strong opinion of it. Way back, almost 15 years ago, when my husband and I got engaged, we chose an August wedding date.

Last year I wrote a post about August that I never published due to the intense lethargy I was experiencing (I seem to do that often in August). I'm going to share most of it below, in italics. 

This August is starting out a little different. A little bit outside of time, with a newborn. And of course, there's no return to work after a summer off for my husband. He's here most of the time right now. I never knew I'd be saying that unemployment was a mixed blessing. 

He's going back to school in a few weeks, to learn new skills and start a new career. It's overwhelming and scary and exciting and sad all at the same time. (This is a man with a doctorate in a field that he can't find work in, afterall.) As I say below, this time will pass, and things will be new. There is always hope: hope that September will come, that new opportunities will present themselves, that there is goodness and kindness in this world. And by hope, I don't mean empty optimism. I mean real hope, confidence that despite bad days and hardship, the end of the story is a good one. 

{Photos in this post are all from this year, not last year.}




swimming lesson


The other day, I saw a comment somewhere that read, simply, "I love August." It was in reference to the garden harvest this time of year. But reading it made me realize something: I hate August. Seeing someone profess their love for the month gave me the permission to admit my hate for it. It was freeing.

It wasn't always the case. It used to just be one of those summer months. Summer not being my favorite season, but special and delightful in many ways. There didn't seem to be anything remarkable about August, one way or another. We chose to have our wedding in August almost as an afterthought. I wanted it to be in June but thought it might be cliche. So we sort of randomly picked another summer date. Now I kind of wish we'd gone with "cliche" June.

August for me now carries all kinds of weird feelings. The heat is sweltering, the landscape dry. School starts too soon. The transition of my husband being suddenly gone for 14 hours a day, usually six days a week, is harsh and callous. To say I make this transition poorly would be a laughable understatement.

Years ago, shortly after I'd begun blogging here, February rolled around and lots of people started complaining about how hard February was, how unjust that the shortest month should feel so long. At first, I tried to play along like I "got" this. But really, I didn't. I don't hate February. I never did. Actually, I love February. 

But, as it turns out, I do hate August. It comes roaring at me, like a crazy locomotive, each year at a faster and more intense pace. I find myself being short with my children, resentful of my poor husband (whose transition to back-to-school is already chaotic enough), grumpy, bitter, and listless. For years, when I used to keep this blog up more than I do now, I'd suddenly take weeks off during August, unannounced. I'd retreat from friends, fight with my sister, hurt my mom's feelings. 

What am I going to do about it? I don't know. It doesn't seem as simple as just coming up with a formula. I think it's something I need to reflect on, and gradually turn over, like soil. 

I will tell you that I've been trying this year. One day when my kids seemed to be possessed, and I seemed to be possessed (fights, scolding, fights, scolding), I decided to break the cycle by taking them to the movies. I have never taken my own children to the movies before. So we went to see "Brave". Another day, I surprised them with little Lego sets. 

I've been trying to keep fresh flowers in the house. I've been going easy on dinners. Salad has been popular, and hot dogs. I've been reading to them a lot. I've been trying to say "yes" whenever I can. 

James starts soccer next week. Elisabeth starts a new year-round swim team soon after. The heat of August will pass, September will come. I know this.

I still hate August. But these little things helped. They reminded me, it's not all bad.

5 August

The week before John was born, my friend Meghan came over and we made a little stack of diaper doublers for the baby. She had several lovely fabrics, including a beautiful, soft velour we used to go against baby's skin. It was such a nice gift, both in the usefulness of the doublers and in the time we spent together working on them.

Well, fast forward six weeks, and Mr. Heavy Wetter needs more doublers! We're still using the original cloth diapers we purchased many years ago, but doublers take more of a beating in the wash and we don't have many left. 

So yesterday I decided to make a few more, using just materials I had on hand. I made four in the span of about an hour, during one of John's (few) naps. (And I took a break to enjoy a Paloma, too.)

soaker making

Two of them are made using two layers of hemp fleece (I had about half a yard of it that I'd been given as a sample about 6 years ago), one layer of terry cloth from an old washcloth (stained with watercolor paints!), and one layer of cotton jersey from an old crib sheet. The other two are similar, but use a layer of wool interlock that was given to me when I had Fiona (for making diaper covers, which I still haven't made) instead of the terry cloth. (The wool has been machine washed and hasn't been treated with lanolin, so it should absorb rather than repell moisture.)

I layered them with hemp fleece on the bottom, followed by either terry or wool, then a second layer of hemp, and finally the cotton jersey on top. That jersey is so soft, it will be lovely against his skin. I serged them, but if you don't have a serger, a zig-zag stitch and then a close trim would do the trick. 

et voila!

And all finished! (Not pictured: my cocktail.)

I'm so excited to see how these perform!

In other diapering news, here are a ton of pictures of baby John modeling the wrap I knitted for him. These are from a couple of weeks ago. He can still wear it, but just barely. He's approaching 12 pounds already! (The blanket you see here was knitted for him by my mom.)








23 July





from our tree

sweater sleeves




before dusk

right foot

left foot



Some pictures from the last couple of weeks. 

I want to thank everyone who left such kind comments and sent loving and sweet notes about the arrival of baby John. We are slowly getting settled. Baby John (what we all seem to call him, like one word) likes to stay awake for long periods of time and just nurse. Right now, that means I'm not getting much else done but that's OK. My job right now is really caring for baby John: "keeping him alive," my husband jokes. He's a healthy babe and everyone is smitten, of course. 

Today he is a month old, which of course I can't believe -- but then, I can at the same time.

I'm doing better each day. My c-section recovery has been smooth, though of course I'm not back to "normal" yet. (But I have stopped googling things like "how long does c-section pain last?".) I've been thinking a lot about my experience. I think I had both an advantage and a disadvantage going into my c-section because of my other three unmedicated, midwife-attended births. Because of them, I don't have the feelings of failure or regret that I know some c-section moms experience, not knowing if things could have gone differently ("if only...."). I knew it was so necessary, and I really felt no fear or anxiety about it. 10 days ago I had an incision check with the OB who did my surgery and she said she really admired my composure and grace that morning, faced with a surgical birth that I hadn't expected to have.

On the other hand, because of my three previous births, I do know what I missed, and of course there's disappointment there. It's been hard to express that, and I haven't really wanted to discuss it too much with very many people. I'm pretty private, which may seem surprising since I write in so public a space, but I usually keep my most personal feelings pretty close to my heart and only feel comfortable discussing them with my husband, sister, and a couple of my closest friends. I think sometimes people think I'm distant because of this, but I have learned that I need space during times of stress or transition. Really, I'm pretty at peace with my experience, but I do have a little bit of sorrow, too -- I think just because things went a way I never expected, and thinking about my uterus being cut open kind of makes me sad, especially with my background of natural births. But overall, I do have a lot of acceptance and I think over time the sorrow will fade.

Those of you who have been with me for a long time know that I originally started writing here, almost seven years ago, when I had severe postpartum depression. I began writing and taking photos as an outlet, hoping that it would be useful to my recovery process (it was, I think). Several years later, when Fiona was born, I was acutely aware of the possibility of having PPD again. My dear friend Kyrie and I even started a blog specifically about our experiences as PPD survivors with new babies. Things were much better for me after Fiona's birth and despite some blue moments, it went pretty well. This time, because of all the disruption that we experienced, I know that I'm at a greater risk for PPD again, and I'm trying to be very aware of it. One thing you hear people say again and again about PPD is that no one talks about it. My observation is that people do talk about it, but unless you've experienced it, it's easy to sort of gloss over that ("Oh, that sounds tough," and then move on). When you are on the other side, facing emotions and even physical symptoms that you never could have imagined, you wonder, Am I the only one? 

Anyway, I'm once again trying to focus on good self care, and a lot of awareness. Though you probably can't always prevent PPD, I do think that self-care is vital, and being very aware can help you catch it much sooner. I'm optimistic, because of the amount of help I've had after this delivery -- particularly with my husband being home right now, and my sister having been very supportive and available, and because I have a number of close friends in the local birth and breastfeeding communities -- that the mostly steady place I'm in right now will continue.

Thank you to all of you who continue to visit me in this space. Your presence and support continues to be a gift!

John Peter

John Peter

Baby boy John Peter

Born June 23, 2013 at 9:33am

8 pounds, 6 ounces.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

So many of you have been patiently awaiting the news of our baby's birth. I thank you for your prayers, your good thoughts, and your love over these past weeks.

the whole crew, out of focus and all.

Our baby's birth was not what we expected. A few days before he was born, we learned that he had turned breech. I spent the next few days doing inversions, going to the chiropractor and acupuncturist, burning my toes with moxibustion, visualizing the baby turning, praying. My midwife contacted an OB who delivers breech babies vaginally in a hospital, and he agreed to take me on as a patient. (In our state, breech babies are not allowed to be born at home under the care of midwives, and even if they were, my midwife and I agreed that it wasn't something we'd want to do for a number of reasons.)

Early that Sunday morning, when my labor began, at first slowly, we called my midwife and she rushed to our house to check baby's position. When we realized that the baby was still breech -- and not just breech, but a footling presentation (the most dangerous breech presentation, one that no doctor or midwife with any common sense would deliver vaginally), we made a change of plans and hurriedly decided to head to a different hospital -- one closer to home, and where my midwife has good relationships with the OBs and nurses -- for a c-section. My mom had spent the night at our house the night before as a back-up because my husband had a late gig, so we were able to just leave for the hospital right away without worrying about our older children.

We brought nothing with us. We just left. (Later I texted my mom a list of things we needed at the hospital -- the first thing being my neti pot. Don't leave home without it!) My labor got pretty hard on the way there, and my water broke in a huge gush as we were walking into the hospital. I won't go into all the details of the c-section here, except to say that it was a surreal experience, one that I will no doubt need to process further over time, but I was very at peace with the decision from the moment we had to make it. I knew it was the best, and the only choice. I felt my care was good, and our reception from the labor and delivery team was amazing (and nothing like some of the homebirth transfer horror stories I've heard over the years).

When they lifted the baby up over the screen and my husband stood to see him, he turned and choked, "It's a boy!" and it was a beautiful moment, even laying on the table half numb. 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The next nine days. Those were the hardest days of my life. Our baby was born healthy. He perhaps needed a little extra help in the very beginning. This is all very hard to understand, harder to write. After going over it again and again with my mom, who is a neonatal nurse practitioner at another hospital, my midwives, the OBs who did my surgery, and our own pediatrician who has carefully read and reread John's hospital discharge summary, it seems that one intervention led to another, and over the course of those next nine days, our healthy baby became a sick baby. He had three IVs, hundreds of heel sticks and blood draws, oxygen, and more. 


Recovery from a c-section is one thing. Dealing with fear, horrific anxiety attacks, elevated blood pressure, depression, paranoia, and grief over a situation with my child that I perceived to be spiraling out of control was completely indescribable. I don't really want to say any more about this experience because it is over and we really want to put it behind us. I got through it with the help of my very supportive family, a tight circle of friends, my midwives (I've known my primary midwife for eight years and she's been with me for the births of three of my children -- I love and trust her deeply), and our priest. It was finally his visit on Sunday night that gave me the courage -- just hours after a particularly depressing moment of feeling that I wasn't courageous enough to deal with this situation -- to confront my child's caregivers and pin them down on what was really going on with my baby. 24 hours later, we were driving home from the hospital. 

This wasn't the way I envisioned beginning our life with this baby of ours. But it was the beginning that we got. Now that we're home, we're starting to get to know him a little more, this sweet, cuddly, blessed baby boy of ours. So much love and hope and healing are in store for our family. 


Welcome, precious baby John.