Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Christopher

The following post includes a few details pertaining to a miscarriage. Please don't read further if it will disturb you. 

On January 10th, I came down with the flu.
On January 17th, I found out I was pregnant.
On January 18th, I tested positive for Strep. 
On January 22nd?, 25th and 28th, I had 3 increasingly severe gall bladder attacks. 
On January 29th, I began a very low/non fat diet. 
On January 30th, an ultrasound confirmed gallstones and the need to remove my gallbladder but not until the 2nd trimester. 
February 3rd I met with the surgeon and the surgery was scheduled for March 28th because it is safest to do surgery during the second trimester. 
My fat free Valentine's Day treat: Strawberry and Nesquik
February 14th, I was up for 2 hours with abdominal pain. 
February 15th, I saw the OB and had an upsetting appointment with a rough exam. 
February 18th, I was in abdominal pain and spotting but was told it was normal and from the exam, which was easy to believe given how rough she had been. I won't be going back to her. 
February 21st, I had a sonogram which showed that my baby, which should have been about 9 weeks, 5 days, was only measuring 5 weeks, 6 days. There was no no heartbeat, only a fetal pole about 3mm long. Blood tests on February 22nd and 24th confirmed the miscarriage. 
I've had this stuffed Kanga with baby Roo attached for 7 years and on February 22nd, Teresa decided she wanted to play only with Roo and tried to pull him off. The irony and the symbolism was not lost on me. 
February 23rd, I woke up with a sore throat and began spotting. 
February 24th, I couldn't breathe through my nose and woke up with a 2nd degree burn on my calf from a heating pad. And the bleeding began. 
February 26th was the most difficult day physically, but it was February 28th when I held my baby in the palm of my hand. 
I bled for total of 17 1/2 days. 
I cried just about every day for 2 weeks. And it is funny the things that can send me crying. I shared what happened on Facebook and the support and prayers were wonderful. But it is also amazing how every baby or pregnancy post, article, update or picture can hurt. I had one Facebook friend who was 9 months pregnant and complained in a status update that she was still pregnant. I wanted to hit her. I mean, I get it - I've been ready to get that baby out at 9 months, but it stung. And I'm sure it will go on stinging for a good while yet. Some days are getting better. Some are harder. It is a wound that can never completely heal and I don't always see it coming when something jabs at it. 

I read Karen Edmisten's After Miscarriage. There were two things that struck me the most. 
The first was a poem by a friend of mine. Melanie Bettinelli of The Wine Dark Sea wrote a beautiful poem after her miscarriage:

Little SparrowNo one scorns the haiku for being shorter than War and Peace
Nor scolds the daffodil for being briefer than a redwood
But this little life cut off so young
We mourn and cry “too soon too soon”. 
Surely the Author knows when to end each tale 
And yet
Jesus wept 
So should we all
For in the beginning death was not 
And though there is a plan perhaps for even this little sparrow’s fall
Still we cry
For we know that a sparrow was meant to fly. 
No mother was ever meant to lose their child to miscarriage. God never intended a world with miscarriage. It is only because of our fallen world that miscarriage is possible. Miscarriage, like all death, flies against everything God wanted for his children. God hates miscarriage even more than those who have experienced it can. And we will always look around and pine for the child who should have been with us because, deep inside, there is a part of us that knows, in a world without sin, without suffering and death, we would always be together. Our comfort is that God has made a way that we can yet be together again one day. 

The second was something Karen said when she conceived after having 5 miscarriages and was scared she might lose this new life as well:
What if I have this baby for only a very short time, and I allow that time to be consumed by fear rather than love? How terrible would it be - for me and for this baby - if I lose it without ever having said, "I love you"?
We can't know if we will have any more children, but if we do, I hope I can remember this.

When I was cramping on Valentine's Day and the fear that I might be miscarrying occurred to me, I began praying and I suddenly remembered a name I had always liked. I prayed for our baby's salvation in case I was miscarrying. Once it was confirmed, I shared the name with James and the kids and it was universally approved. So we named him Christopher Anselm. I bought a picture frame and added the sonogram picture to the ones of all our other children at their first birthday on my bureau and my mom bought me a Christmas stocking for him so his can hang with all of ours next Advent. 
Most of the stockings are red with white trim and Thomas' is green and red. Christopher's will be the only white one but since he is already in Heaven, it will represent him well. We have also added St. Christopher and St. Anselm to our family Litany of the Saints at bedtime. 

There simply is no way around a miscarriage. You must go through it. There is no way to undo it and no way a child can be replaced. We will always be missing one this side of Heaven and I will always wonder what our family might have been like if he had been able to stay, but when we do get there, I will still and always be his mother and I will look forward to meeting him and until then we have a saint praying for us and I can take comfort in the fact I have gotten 1 of my children to Heaven, with 6 more to go. :) 

St. Christopher Anselm, Pray for us.





Sunday, February 26, 2017

Learning Notes: February

After a rough January, we tried to get February off to a good start.
Cecilia said he was "a mad man in a box with two companions and his sonic iPod." He was quite grumpy that day, earning the title. lol.
By the end of the first week, we were all caught up, miraculously. We read St. Brendan and the Voyage Before Columbus, The Saint and His Bees, Magic in the Margins, and about Saints Brendan, Bede and Theodora in Saints: Lives and Illuminations. Then we read Augustine Came to Kent and Caedmon's Song. That pretty much completed our section on the building of monasteries, the spread of Christianity through the 400s, 500s, 600s and 700s, how monastics copied and made books, the Saints of that time and what life was like then. Our next section will focus on Medieval life and feasts, swords and knights, castles, kings and feudalism culminating in Charlemagne and the legend of King Arthur, which should take us to the end of March/beginning of April.

We also almost completed all of lesson 3 in Botany on pollination. We went over different pollinators from butterflies to bees to bats and wind. And then we pollinated 2 lilies taking the pollen from each and putting on the other's stamen. I bought a pot of tulips but they weren't open enough yet to pollinate them. I will say that while I really like the Apologia science books, I do get very annoyed when they interject into a subject to preach about how the earth can't be more than a few thousand years old and how evolution is a total load of crap. They do it a few times in each textbook and it always comes across as forced. It is, of course, completely not Catholic, so I always just skip past it, but it is really irritating that they felt they had to shove Protestant fundamentalism down your throat while you are trying to learn about pollination.

Felicity and Elizabeth did religion with me focusing on Jesus' two natures, being both fully human and fully divine but yet still one person. Cecilia is progressing through The Story of Christianity, which has been following chronologically with us along in history and read another chapter on St. John Chrysostom in Pope Benedict's Church Fathers. And all of the girls have kept up well in their math, spelling, english, vocabulary, typing, handwriting, geography and spanish.

The second week of February was a much-needed "catch up" week, which we worked hard to be already caught up for. After a month of illness and then fighting to catch up in school, a week off was much needed and very welcome. On Sunday though, for Christmas my parents had bought us 4 tickets to see The Phantom of the Opera. So, as an exciting addition to a study of music, drama, theater and the arts, I took Cecilia, Felicity and Elizabeth to see my all-time favorite musical.
We drove past the state capitol on the way and had good seats too!
 
No, not excited at all. lol
 We were first Mezzanine, 3rd row and Felicity and Elizabeth even had kids in front of them so we had no trouble seeing any of the show.
 During intermission we caught a new pokemon in the theater. lol.
 After the show we went to the bathroom and then came back to the theater on the way out and saw the chandelier lowered all the way down and the stage fully lit. The girls wished they could go backstage, but it was still neat to see them working afterwards.
 Monday I was determined to take it easy. It had been a long month of illnesses and catching up in school and we all needed a "catch up" week that helped us catch up not in school but in rest and leisure. So we began Monday with face painting in pajamas. Brigid asked to be Pikachu.
Catch up week was spent mostly resting while I read Dante's Divine Comedy with some cleaning but it was a much needed week. By Friday Grandpa was visiting and on Saturday we went snow-tubing.

By Valentine's Day we had read from The World's Story, The Story of the World, and Famous Men of the Middle Ages about Mohammed and the beginning of Islam. It isn't a subject I wanted to spend weeks on but it is a significant event in history so I wanted to do a decent job covering it. Then we read We're Riding on a Caravan and The Silk Road about the caravans and trading of Asia and Europe through the middle East. We also read A Medieval Feast, DK Medieval Life, and Swords: An Artist's Devotion.

February was not an easy month (another post), but by the last full week we had progressed to the time of knights and castles. In the same three texts, we read about Charles Martel and Pepin and the creation of the Frankish empire and Charlemagne. We also read Macaulay's Castle, DK Castle, and Castle Diary by Richard Platt. We did do the 5th Botany lesson on fruits but, short of eating some, we didn't do any experiments.

Happily, despite a difficult month, by the end all the kids were still caught up in all their subjects, we had made good progress in science, history and religion and the girls had been able to have several music lessons with their dad and even begin playing some piano pieces.







Saturday, February 11, 2017

Cecilia is a Tween!

In January, Cecilia officially became a tween turning 11. We initially planned on celebrating her birthday a couple weeks early but only got to celebrate it partially as we all came down with the flu. Despite the flu though, we were able to have her cookie cake and give her her presents.

We had to, however, postpone her birthday outing but today we finally got to go and they had a blast snow-tubing.





The hill had a nice view for the photographer too. :)
After over 3 hours there, everyone was pretty tuckered out....
 But a good time was had by all!