Saturday, February 28, 2015

Day 289: A Baby's Tale

Day 289 of captivity. 

I've given Mom so many contractions, hosted late night dance parties and continue the general messing with mom's body... And still, here I remain. 

Mom tried to evict me last night buuuut she was too dilated. So they sent her home. After contracting all night, she came in for the second attempt to find the OB wing completely full. She and Dad are camped in triage, watching my heartbeat and more contractions... But no real progression. Foiled again!

Even from my dark cozy lair, I continue to wreck havoc. 

The nursing staff is helping too- Mom ate this for lunch:

I know, right? Mwahahahaha. 

Uh-oh. What's pitocin?

Over and out,
Bebe Deux

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

#5Faves: Second Baby Buys

We do not need a lot for this baby - but a few things were in order for Bebe Deux:


(Her very own) Wubbanub

Before Grace's first Christmas, we drove from New Orleans to Lexington, KY and Toledo, OH for two residency interviews before arriving home. On the way up, we stopped at a family friend's house for the night. Will's best friend from medical school and his wife Whitney gave Grace her wubbanub. Whitney was in her intern year of pediatrics and said these were a big hit. Honestly, I was dubious. A stuffed animal attached to a binky? Really...interesting?

Then, we stopped by Will's aunt and uncle's house for his UK interview. His little cousin M "borrowed" Grace's little binky and we couldn't find it. Desperately, I gave her the wubbanub and life was wonderful again!

Over a year later, Grace is still enamored with her dino. Sure, it looks silly - but the animal is light enough to carry around, sits on the baby's chest, helps the baby learn to grab on, and becomes a fast friend in the middle of the night.

And for all those times when Grace just needs some time to relax, her wubbanub and her blanket are there.


Grace has this blanket in blue, and it is her most favorite possession (after her dino wubbanub). Satin on one side and velvety on the other - this blanket is super soft and cuddly. Machine washable to boot!


This just arrived in the mail - and with all the rave reviews, and I am very excited to try and use it! We do not have the sink space we did in New Orleans, so the babies have to be washed in the tub - but small babies are slippery and small. This is the perfect solution: mildew resistant, light, contorts to hold baby slightly upright.


This is the gift of all gifts. We are being given this beeeeeautiful stroller, and will be celebrating spring by walking in the Life Without Limits 5k in Philly this April (for cerebral palsy research!). It's also going to give me few excuses to get outside with the girls every day during the summer, and a nice outlet for exercise and freedom.

It'll also be a good reason to revive my postpartum Couch to 5k training!



Anything you splurged on for your baby? Any basics you're re-stocking?

Linking up with Jenna - hey-oh!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

How It Feels: 40 Weeks, 5 Days Pregnant

Well, it feels a bit larger, to start.

Then, it feels like a pain.

A pain here, and a pain there... I've had the lower back pains, the round ligament pains, the tightness across my abdomen, mini contractions (I dislike the term false labor, as if I am imagining all of this)... Plus, I am not breathing well at night, reflux, small appetite and bladder, and have a need to flip over like a pancake every few hours while sleeping when I can (+seriously loving on my body pillow)...

I do not want to rush this pregnancy (Bebe Deux, I get it! It's cold outside!), but today is my second day of maternity leave... and I am using it to work on more power points for my March classes, instead of caring for a newborn. Frankly, it is nice having this time off because I am so burned out and tired. But but but...

I really want to hold my baby.

Will was able to take four days off - today is his last day. He has a big EM test tomorrow, then back to work. I am trying to enjoy today and not sigh a lot. Or get more stressed - we already had our few days of me sulking and crying. Husband is, of course, the best (taking care of me and studying hard? Total rock star.).

Still, we have our good times:

My in-laws are here too!

But more on that later, because they are super awesome and deserve a whole post of praise.

So yes: radio silence, sadly, does not mean I am currently in labor. I am reminding myself that my baby is healthy, growing, and safe. I am cherishing this time with sweet baby Grace. I am (better) learning patience, contentment and perseverance. I am really loving the family time, and increased nap time.

How is your week going?

Friday, February 20, 2015

Learning the New, Building the Now

This past weekend, we went to Will's advising attending's house for lunch. Just Will and I - we were going to take Grace, but at the last minute, decided the windchill was too cold and time with Nana would be better spent.

Will's attending is a very interesting man - he did two residencies: one in internal medicine, then one in emergency medicine. His wife is from Japan, where she was a critical care nurse. They have one son, who is obviously very loved.
A woodpecker in the Poconos

They have two bird feeders outside their dining room window, and I was amazed at how they could identify those birds so quickly. Will can too - as part of homeschooling, they tracked birds for Cornell. I've always loved bird watching, but know very little about it. I've been on the Audubon website a lot recently, enjoying John Audubon's plates as well as trying to learn how to identify more birds in this region. Our neighbors have about 11 bird feeders, so we see a multitude of birds every day outside our windows.

I also liked learning that his attending has taken piano lessons for the past six years. It reminded me of the line from Robert Frost's "The Death of the Hired Man": "He studied Latin like the violin/ Because he liked it".

This Lent, my personal sacrifice is keeping a spiritual art journal each day, based on the day's mass readings. It sounds like fun: it's really hard for me. It's a sacrifice of time and pride. Just ten minutes. Seems harder than it should be.

My other Lenten sacrifice is daily rosary with Will, though I'm peetering on this commitment because he won't be home for most of Lent. I need to be stronger here - Lent is the devil's playground for spiritual attacks. I need more prayer.

I couldn't decide how to write this without sounding overdramatic, but I am really not looking forward to March -- which is a shame, because March is my favorite month. My mom will be here the first two weeks in March, my birthday and Will's birthday are in March, St. Patrick's feast day and St. Joseph's feast day (and more!), and it'll be the first month with our sweet second baby.

But Will won't be home. He'll be in the SICU 14-16 hours/ day, and just thinking about his January month in the MICU still ties my stomach up in knots, and I'm going through it all over again with two babies. Appropriate, perhaps, that most of my 40 days march through Lent will be giving up my dependence on my husband's help.

It makes me angry, and anger makes me sad. Residency makes me feel like a single parent whose significant other stops by for dinner. Maybe this is an unfair comparison.

I've been meditating on these lines, also from Frost's "The Death of the Hired Man" poem:
“Warren," she said, “he has come home to die:
You needn’t be afraid he’ll leave you this time.”          

“Home," he mocked gently.

“Yes, what else but home?
It all depends on what you mean by home.
Of course he’s nothing to us, any more
Than was the hound that came a stranger to us          
Out of the woods, worn out upon the trail.”

“Home is the place where, when you have to go there,
They have to take you in.”  
I am trying to learn this new life. I am trying. And in learning to love the skies I am under, I am reminded of the Trinity. I am not in this marriage alone, or even with only Will. When we got married, we were married before God, and asked for his blessing. We invited him to always be with us. And when I'm sinking, why don't I reach for God enough?

I am sitting quietly in our home, our domestic church. My protruding belly has me leaning forward a bit more, and my back aches accordingly. In my tiredness, I am broken. In my fear, I am alive. Through my tears, I am washed anew. As I watch the birds outside our dining room windows, I smile at God's goodness. There are so many different birds, so many types within the same species. Humans are made in the image of God, and his creations are made in the image of extended glory. We cannot fathom the diversity of his goodness. We'll never know the depth of his mercy. He's always welcoming us home, bidding us to be with him in every moment.

God, you teach me so much.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Lent: More Than Just a Season of Temptation

by Marianne Robison
{originally posted at UC's Newman Center blog}

I cannot remember a time when Girl Scout cookies did not arrive during Lent. Sitting smugly in their brightly colored cardboard boxes they seemed to mock my Lenten sacrifice, which, for many years, was invariably “no sweets.” In those moments I would begrudge the necessary self-denial of the Lenten season as well as all of the temptations which would inevitably ensue. It had seemed so easy to give something that I liked up on Ash Wednesday, but as the weeks progressed my resolve weakened. Growing up I wasn’t entirely certain how my sacrifice primed me for Easter besides the fact that I would be good and ready to stuff my face with chocolate when the holiday arrived.

Sometime in the last few years I realized that something was lacking in my understanding and in my approach to Lent. After all, this season is considered the pinnacle of the Catholic calendar year. It is during this time that we ought not to feel burdened (i.e. by our self-denial); rather, we ought to feel liberated as we strip ourselves of those vices which bind us more closely to the material things of the world than to a spiritual relationship with our Father in Heaven.

For, truly, that is the purpose of the Lenten season: to grow in love and appreciation of God.

We have marked 40 days of our calendar year as different from all the rest, and this is because this period of time is filled with spiritual opportunities. First and foremost, we have the opportunity to renew our appreciation of the ultimate sacrifice of love the world has ever seen. As we let the incredible significance of Jesus’ conquest over death sink in, we have the opportunity to find a new perspective on our lives and on our relationships and to remind ourselves once again that love conquers all.

Ideally, the period of Lent should be treated as a kind of extended retreat as we strip ourselves of those worldly things which may ensnare and enslave us. That being said, I know as well as any college student (or adult for that matter) that time stops for no man and that our responsibilities and obligations will not be reduced during this time period. Our to-do lists will not spontaneously shrink so as to accommodate time dedicated to prayer, since prayer is an activity which requires a definitive allotment of time to focus your energies towards God.

Or is it?

Certainly, focused contemplative prayer is extraordinarily useful in developing a deeper, more intimate bond with God, but the commitment and mental dedication for such an activity can often be so intimidating as to prevent us from engaging with God at all. We may shy away from the activity unless we are in the right mood or mindset. However, as Blessed John Henry Newman once said, “[Faith] is not a mere temporary strong act or impetuous feeling of the mind... but it is a habit, a state of mind, lasting and consistent.” (Magnificat, February 2015)

To build our relationship with God, the first step is to recognize that He exists beyond the prayer space. Once we realize that God’s spirit permeates every nook and cranny of this earth, we will also realize that every space is sacred. If every space is sacred that would mean that no matter where we are we are prompted to sanctify our actions.

So, this brings me to the meat and potatoes of my advice to my dear readers approaching this Lenten season, and which is stated most eloquently in the words of Saint Paul in the second reading on Sunday: “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31)

Life may be characterized by nonstop activity, and I say this both in the sense of working adults as well as in the sense of biology. Organisms constantly interact with one another and all of the little cells in our bodies are constantly influencing each other simply because they exist together. It is in this ebb and flow of interaction that we can recognize the glory of God’s spirit as it prompts relationship between all of the elements of our world. The tiniest element of our world—an atom—moves aimlessly around until it bumps into another atom and then voila! The two become one in an entirely new molecule!

We humans are not so different from the rest of God’s creation as it is in our constant activity that we bond with others and grow as a result of our union. Granted, spiritual bonds are different things entirely from the kind of molecular bonds which I was talking about earlier, but the illustration is still useful. The point is that God created us all to be active creatures and our activity may therefore be blessed if it is done with a sense of appreciation and love for our creator.

I am here drawing upon the spiritual practices of Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection who “resolved to make the love of God the end of all his actions.” I would try to paraphrase some of his beautiful ideas, but he speaks far more eloquently than I can in his novel published posthumously and titled, The Practice of the Presence of God:
“Men invent means and methods of coming at God’s love, they learn rules and set up devices to remind them of that love... Is it not quicker and easier just to do our common business wholly for love of him?” 
“The time of business does not with me differ from the time of prayer, and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God in as great tranquility as if I were upon my knees at the Blessed Sacrament.” (Magnificat, February 2015)
It is up for us this Lent to open ourselves to encountering God both in the quiet stillness of our hearts as well as in the business of everyday life.

Marianne is my hilarious, holy and helpful second sister (the fourth of us six kids); she is a double major in biology and English, with a minor in Spanish because we can't convince her to triple major.