Pre-Birth Story ~ His Peace Propels Me

Please bear with me as I attempt to share my pre-birth story. I share my story as a journal entry to reflect upon with my family and to give a testimony to His love and mercy for me. I share the good, the bad, and everything in between. I recap some of our current trials, not for pity.  May it all be for His glory.

Preface

It is always my prayer that I embrace my labor and persevere through the delivery of my precious gift, with His grace and strength. I haven’t always held such a strong conviction that my labor must be completely surrendered to Him but I give Him thanks for leading me to this place.

I’ve been pregnant eleven times. Five of which I have been able to bring into this world, one that is due any day, and five children that did not make it to term. I am left with their imprint on my womb. I pray that each of my little ones, not with me today, will see the face of God.

I birthed in the hospital with the mainstream model of care for my first baby. Two home-water births followed. The next baby was a planned homebirth that turned into a scheduled c-section due to complete anterior placenta previa. That very dramatic pregnancy was followed by a VBAC in the hospital, which I coin, my home-birth in the hospital. I’m now waiting for Baby G to arrive any day via a homebirth.

Pre-Birth Story

My current delivery was planned to be a repeat of the last, a homebirth in the hospital. Things were going as planned up until my sixth month of pregnancy when I finally had to confront the fact that my Catholic Pro-Life physician and I did not share the same model of care for my current pregnancy. Prior to then I realized that we did not share the same overview of labor but something kept me with him. Surely, I did not fit into that mold and he would be willing to accommodate me as he assured me he would during my second visit with his practice. He confirmed otherwise at my six month visit and a decision had to be made.

I called the Catholic hospital that my insurance coverage uses to schedule a tour so that I could get a better feel for the type of care that would be extended to me if I did decide to go the traditional route of delivery. I was told that I would have to wait a month and half for the next scheduled tour. I then asked to speak with the charge nurse. The receptionist transferred me to the charge nurse on staff, Madonna. I briefed her on my situation and explained the urgency to take a hospital tour. Many OBGYN/Midwives will not take on a new patient if they are past the seventh month of pregnancy. Madonna reiterated that there was no other option for a tour but she offered her time for me to ask my questions. She confirmed in ten short minutes that I would most likely not get the birth I desired with the current doctor or in the hospital. I then contacted other midwifery practices within the area. I also contacted my previous midwife to explain the situation and see if she would be willing to take me on so late in my pregnancy. I gathered all my info and took it to prayer.  Homebirth wasn’t really an option due to our tight budget. I needed peace since my emotions were all over the place. In addition to peace, I needed the headship of my family. I needed my husband to pray over me and seek the direction that we were to move in.

I gave my husband a very tight time frame (due to the constraints of the physicians) to discern the best option for my delivery. I prayed for his discernment, God’s providence, and my humble submission to accept whatever way Dad was called to lead me.

During Dad’s discernment, I received a phone call from my previous midwife. She sensed some hesitation with my acceptance of a homebirth due to our financial situation. She extended me a significant discount in hopes that it would make things easier on Dad and I. The discount was God’s providence at work. The amount she quoted was the exact amount that Dad was scheduled to receive from his family as a gift. This helped Dad’s discernment since he felt that we were to pursue a homebirth but he could not get a handle on how were to pay for it. God led the way for us.

We committed to a homebirth with my previous midwife. I started care with her immediately and we signed to pay her the complete fee by the 36 week of pregnancy. Not a problem since Dad received his financial gift during my 28th week of pregnancy. We could pay the midwife and I could have a stress fee pregnancy, or so we thought.  Another trial was soon to come.

Dad and I had made a pact to pay for my midwifery care as soon as we had the money, regardless of how early the payment would be in relation to the due date. Yet, when Dad received the money, I was not called to pay it. I shared my hesitations with Dad and he took heed. He said, we could hold onto it until the mid of the month to allow my hesitations to play out.

That Saturday Dad had a traumatic accident that sent him to the hospital for several days. Praise God that he has insurance coverage and we didn’t have much out of pocket expense. However, Dad’s pay was drastically reduced over his time in the hospital and subsequent recovery time at home. We had to tap into the gifted money just to pay for our basic needs. Before we knew it, the midwifery payment was gone.

We prayerfully moved forward with a renewed perspective on our priorities. We told the midwife of our situation and she was willing to work with us if we were still opting for a homebirth. It was another difficult decision since we did not have the definite means to pay for services. Our discernment continued and ultimately, we were called to walk in faith.

My pregnancy continued to progress with no complications other than my battle with complete exhaustion. Dad and all the kids stepped up to serve me, take up the household duties, and joyfully learn at the foot of my bed. My weakness coupled with my inability to contribute around the home for basic tasks, topped with financial stress led me in and out of bouts of depression. I began to question my worthiness. Feelings of resentment towards my husband began to fester. Worst of all, I began to question my openness to life. I was definitely under spiritual attack. I knew from past experiences that I could not go this journey alone. I sought Jesus in prayer, in my husband, in Adoration, in the sacraments, and in spiritual direction (from a Priest). I ran to Him!

I was eventually able to cooperate with His grace but the surrendering has not been easy. Financial stress due to our tight budget, debt, uncertainty of pay, two broken down vehicles, college looming in the very near future, and our inability to meet some basic needs continues to infringe on my joy. My lack of energy has led to a series of other issues such as lack of physical exercise, bad eating, and poor self-image. My home remains out of my control and my children remain solely in His grace. It is not what I desired or had planned for this pregnancy but I know that it is exactly where He calls me to be.

I trust that He knows best and His plan is far better than any plan I could create. He so graciously leads me to this place of complete surrendering, where my only choice is to offer it up and move on with complete trust in Him and his wondrous ways, Our Blessed Mother is my guide. I must walk in faith.

He fills me with peace. The kind of peace that cannot be explained. The kind of peace that is mocked because it makes one look foolish to eyes of the secular world. The kind of peace that propels one to live for Christ at all costs, at all times, with only the goal of bringing glory to the Heavenly Father.

I realize that this peace is a consolation. Its presence or absence should not dictate my movement or heart. Yet, I am human and I dearly give thanks for His moments of consolation. He meets me right where I am to encourage me forward, to the depths of refinement that He wills for me.

This peace that comes at this moment in my pregnancies is a beautiful gift that I treasure. It removes all doubts, anxieties, stressors, and all other barriers that keep me from Him. It is my sign that the time is near. I will be taken further into the desert to experience an agony, stripping, great pain, a passion like experience – my labor and delivery of Baby G. I am not alone in this journey. He will be with me and Our Blessed mother will comfort me. My husband will be my physical rock to raise me up to Him when I am too weak to call His name.  May the Passion of Christ be my stength. 

I can birth my child for it is His plan for me. I will find peace and give thanks in whatever events occur. I only ask for His will to be done.

Refine me Lord through the delivery of Baby G.

Continued prayers for you and yours from a mother about to enter labor.

~~~

This post is included in my pregnancy reflections. You can find the other posts of my 31 Days here.

Lenten Wreath

Lenten Wreath close-up
My door was in need of a pick-me-up for Lent.  What does a 41 week pregnant mama on a twist-tie budget* do?  

For starters, let me explain what a twist-tie budget is.  It’s my newest favorite sentiment, copyrighted by Homemaker Ang.
Shoes strings cost money, twist ties are free in the produce dept.
I used what I had on hand and enlisted all able parties within arms reach.

My girls and I collected the necessary supplies from throughout the house, with Dad’s help, and the boy’s supervision.  Everything is a family affair these days since we limit all outside commitments for Lent.
We all should get together and work toward the restoration of the meaning of Lent. 
People nowadays see in it just a gloomy time full of "must nots." That is a great pity,
 because Lent is a solemn season rich in hidden mysteries. We must also keep in 
mind that Lent is only a part of the great Easter season, that it is  for Easter what 
Advent was for Christmas, and that Lent taken by itself would make no more sense
than Advent without Christmas at its end. Therefore, we should let Holy Mother 
Church take us by the hand and lead us-not each soul alone, but the whole family
as a group--away from the noise of the world into a forty-day retreat…If we keep 
the closed time as faithfully as our forefathers did--which means keeping away
from all noisy outside entertainment such as cocktail parties and dances--then we
shall find ample time for the imitation of Christ as it is outlined in every morning's Mass.
  ~Around the Year with the TRAPP FAMILY
~~~

Lenten Wreath

Supplies
Steps:IMG_69441.  gather/recycle  wreathIMG_69462.  cut burlap to desired width.  IMG_69483.  wrap the wreath tightly. secure as necessary.IMG_69514.  gather/recycle foam core board or poster board.  IMG_69505.  trace and cut a cross from the foam core board.IMG_69526.  adhere glue to cross cut-out.  i used elmer’s glue for the first coverage.  then I used hot glue gun for the second layer.IMG_69547.  adhere moss to the cross cut-out.IMG_69638. assemble and decorate the wreath as desired.

Lenten Wreath

~~~
Inspiration was found at Amanda Jane Brown and Family at the Foot of the Cross.

First Sunday in Lent ~ 2013

1st Sunday in Lent – February 17, 2013

Ist Sunday of Lent, I Class

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So I attended what will probably be my last High Mass without another baby in tote.

I was thankful for such a glorious Mass and Father L’s sermon.  He spoke about the necessity to be aware of the battle that is currently taking place, the need to live for Christ in everything we do, and practical ways to avoid hell.  DEO GRATIAS!

My family waited in Church after the Mass so I could receive a Blessing for Mothers Before Childbirth.  Fr. L blessed me with the traditional formula.  My heart leaped with joy and my eyes filled with tears.  It was beautiful.  It was powerful.  It was exactly what I needed.  Praise God!

Father also blessed my newest rosary.  It was a lovely gift from a fellow blogger, Lauren of Knit in My Womb.

We hit the road shortly after Sweetie’s chorister lesson.

Sparkles was certain to remind me that the day was a First Class feast.  I hadn’t realized that she was privy to the lecture direction I received from Father B in regards to fasting on Sunday. 

We had our regular family dinner at Papa’s & Nana’s.

Needless, to say we celebrated the glorious day – SUNDAY!

~~~

First Week in Lent Sunday ~ Meditations for Lent from St. Thomas Aquinas

IT WAS FITTING THAT CHRIST SHOULD BE TEMPTED Jesus was led by the spirit into the desert, to be tempted by the devil. Matt. iv. i.

Christ willed to be tempted :

1. That he might assist us against our own temptations. St. Gregory says, " That our Redeemer, who had come on earth to be killed, should will to be tempted was not unworthy of him. It was indeed but just that he should overcome our temptations by his own, in the same way that he had come to overcome our death by his death."

2. To warn us that no man, however holy he be, should think himself safe and free from temptation. Whence again His choosing to be tempted after His baptism, about which St. Hilary says,  

" The devil s wiles are especially directed to trap us at times when we have recently been made holy, because the devil desires no victory so much as a victory over the world of grace." Whence too, the scripture warns us, Son, when thou comestto the service of God, stand in justice and in fear, and prepare thy soul for temptation (Ecclus. ii. i).

3. To give us an example how we should over come the temptations of the devil, St. Augustine says, " Christ gave himself to the devil to be tempted, that in the matter of our overcoming those same temptations He might be of service not only by his help but by his example too."

4. To fill and saturate our minds with confidence in His mercy. For we have not a high-priest who cannot have compassion on our infirmities, but one tempted in all things, like as we are, without sin (Heb. iv. 15). (3 4i i.)

First Week of Lent - 2013

Shrove Tuesday – February 12, 2013

Seven Holy Servite Founders, Confessors, III Class

I had planned for a quite in-home celebration for Shrovetide since I was not fit to partake in our normal tradition of visiting the elderly.  I was plum out of energy from RMGS bake sale & meeting, 39 weeks pregnant, and a bit apprehensive to expose myself (or family) to any illnesses.  I was willing to offer it up and thought the rest of the family was on the same page.

Papi has a lovely internal liturgical radar and recalled this time of year – festivities before the desert.  He specifically remembered that we usually go bowling around this time.  He set the plans into action and we had an impromptu Shrovetide celebration.

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shrovetide bowl dragonflyshrovetide bowl papishrovetide bowl sweetieshrovetide bowl sparklesrose shrovetide bowlshrovetide bowl mama and pa

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It has to be experienced to be fully believed, but there is a great blessing on such a Carnival time, shared in a family. To have spent a good Carnival will finally prove to the greater honor and glory of God, in enabling us to spend a good Lent!

Ash Wednesday – February 13, 2013

Ash Wednesday, I Class

We attended a local parish for 7am Mass and distribution of Ashes.

The rest of the day was a bit somber.  School was done in the newest learning room, my bedroom.  The littles organized all of their Lenten supplements and enjoyed some quite learning at the foot of my bed.

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Dinner was as penitential as I could get, curried cream of broccoli soup.  I was actually craving it but I knew it wouldn’t be a favorite for some of the kids since they prefer our traditional cream of broccoli and cheese soup.

Now it is only right that, before we arrive at that glory of impassibility and immortality which began in Christ, and which was acquired for us through Christ, we should be shaped after the pattern of Christ s sufferings. It is then only right that Christ s liability to suffer should remain in us too for a time, as a means of our coming to the impassibility of glory in the way He himself came to it. ~ Meditations for Lent from St. Thomas Aquinas




St. Valentine’s Day – February 14, 2013



St. Valentine, Bishop & Martyr, III Class



Again, my plan was to keep our Lenten program since the day was only a 3rd class feast.  Each of the kids were able to have one treat in the morning in honor of St. Valentine.  Everything continued to go according to plan until the girls left for chorister lessons. 



The boys opted for a snack, strawberries.  The strawberry snack soon turned into chocolate dipped strawberries.



St. Valentine's chocolate dipped strawberries v1St. Valentine's chocolate dipped strawberries v3St. Valentine's chocolate dipped strawberries v2



I was exhausted (it doesn’t take much these days).  Plans for dinner were not looking good.  I got the boys ready to venture out of the house for a date night with dad.  We settled on In-N-Out.



We all enjoyed our special treat.  It was nice to dine with just the boys.  Papi had his usual, plain hamburger with fries.  Dragonfly’s appetite was slightly less than a grown man.  He had one and half servings of fries with pepper and salt.



We returned home to find that Nana (broke into the house) left a special treat for everyone.



St. Valentine's from Nana and Papa



We all had a night of relaxation.  The boys got ready for bed early and we prayed our rosary.  Then dad’s nesting bug kicked in, that’s what happens when mom lacks the energy to have her nesting kick in – GOD IS GOOD!



Dad rallied the troops.  The two boys vacuumed the stairs with the shop vac while dad deep cleaned my room.  Then the boys took turns vacuuming my room and hall way.  It was a wonderful St. Valentine treat for me.     



St. Valentine's gift for mama v2St. Valentine's gift for mama



Friday after As Wednesday – February 15, 2013



Friday after Ash Wednesday, III Class



The morning was spent prepping for my in-home midwife appointment. 



The kids worked on their Stations of the Cross projects.



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We ate our lunch in the park since the weather was absolutely beautiful and I needed the exercise.



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We ended the rather quite day with Stations of the Cross in my birthing suite.  We used our DVD, Way of the Cross for Children and our Stations of the Cross Candles



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The times self-indicated for fasting are then those in which men are especially bound to free themselves from sin and to raise their minds to God in devotion. ~ Meditations for Lent from St. Thomas Aquinas




Saturday after As Wednesday – February 16, 2013



Saturday after Ash Wednesday, III Class



The day was spent at home with no outside commitments.  Dad coordinated a Lenten clean-up around the house and allowed me to hibernate.  I seem to be coveting any quite time that I’m presented with, hoping that I’ll have enough reserve once Baby G arrives.




Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. ~ John 12:24

Labor & Delivery Readiness

Here are some misc. items that I like to complete prior to labor, in addition to the birth plan.

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JOYfilledfamily Homebirth Supplies

Homebirth Supplies – Checklist that I use to prep for my homebirths.  I like to list everything that I think I will want/need so that I can be certain that it is rounded up prior to labor.

Baby's Call List

Baby’s Call List – Template to use for contact info for those who should be notified at onset of labor/delivery.  This is a great task to delegate to your children.

Labor Door Sign

Door Sign - I printed several copies of this sign to post in my hospital room when I delivered baby #5, desiring for a home-like birth in the hospital.  Mission accomplished! 

Birthing Prayer Intentions – I create a list of all the prayer intentions of those who have requested prayers so that I can be certain to take them into labor.  I post the list in a prominent location so I (or Dad) can recall the intentions while in labor.

Labor Playlist – The playlist is a culmination of meditations, prayers, and music that I gather to have on hand in the event that I need help relaxing and/or setting my eyes on God.  I don’t always use this resource but I feel comfort in knowing it’s an option.

~~~

This post is included in my pregnancy reflections. You can find the other posts of my 31 Days here.

RMGS St. Valentine’s Bake Sale

Here is a picture recap of the RMGS St. Valentine’s Bake Sale.  It was held on Sunday. February 10, 2013 after each Mass.

Feb Bake Sale Flier

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The RMGS St. Valentine’s Bake Sale was huge success!

Praise God for the lovely hospitality of the members of RMGS, help of moms (especially one who offered to coordinate the meals at the last minute), and the generous support of our fellow parishioners.

~~~

Our Lady of the Mystical Rose, pray for us!

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