Seven Quick Takes: Friday, May 9

1. Blogger’s Log (Stardate: today!): So, apparently I have to write quick takes every Friday, because my sister and brother so look forward to them. My sister, S, likes them as much as she likes my brother’s fun Star Trek like updates about studying:

I am not sure if they read anything else on my blog, or if anyone else likes my quick takes, but my sister and brother do, so these are for you two! (I bet my mom likes them, also.)

2. Let’s see… I guess we have hit storm season around here. How are things going down in St. Louis? We had sirens go off the other night at midnight for a thunderstorm warning, which was not really cool, because I don’t need sirens to tell me it is raining at night. G is pretty terrified of tornadoes, and any loud noise from outside or any clouds moving visibly in the sky are immediately under scrutiny. A few weeks ago on a clear, lovely morning, a white fluffy cloud moved through the sky in our direction. She flipped out and ran to the house yelling about it being a tornado. So, I was casually discussing this with our doctor yesterday morning (we have been going there a lot lately; this time it was a well visit), and she informed me that there was a tornado that touched about a mile from our current house. G stood there listening wide-eyed to the whole discussion. Now she is upping her prayers for safety from storms.

3. We have been so abundantly blessed by all our friends in the Twin Cities since our miscarriage. We have been showered in food, prayers, and friendship. While I do still do not feel fully recovered, it is nice to know that I don’t have to worry about several meals a week. Actually, most dinners this week have been covered by people bringing them over or the leftovers. Plus, we have a crazy amount of baked goods to consume. I just want to say thank you to all of my friends for all of your love and support. And to people who might be suffering in the same way we are, do not be afraid to share your sorrows with family and friends. Their love and support can help you through the difficult time.

4. M is off to Michigan for a conference this weekend. In fact, he is there now. I hope he enjoys his 48 hours in his home state. I was originally going to try to “go it alone” with the kids this weekend, but after last week, I feel pretty post-partum still and I am really grateful to my mother-in-law for flying in from Michigan to help me with the kids. She just did all the lunch dishes! What a great lady! M is home again Sunday morning, so he is not getting out of the Mother’s Day festivities…whatever we end up doing… Mass and food will definitely be involved.

5. We went to our last home school gym co-op of the year today. For some reason, I always find it exhausting. G is thrilled to be playing with other kids and doing her art class, but the L and F are just shy and clingy the whole time. I might be shy and clingy if I were them, also. We are in a huge gym full of scooters and mats and balls and really nice home schooled kids of all ages. When everyone is bigger than you, you just can’t handle things. Maybe we just need to do things with the home school crowd more than once a month to get the kids used to it. I don’t know, maybe it is just hard to be younger than school aged with a whole bunch of big kids. Plus, I am much more comfortable at home, and am not a huge fan of taking the kids places alone. Okay, I suppose I need to get over it and just take them places.

Blogger Susanna Spencer sporting
the no make up look.

6. I saw this article yesterday, saying that the “no-make up look is a new beauty standard”. My favorite part is the caption on the picture of a lady that says “Others who use the no make up look include blogger so and so.” I wrote about the morality of wearing make-up a couple of years ago, presenting a few arguments as to when using it could be immoral. What I finally concluded for me was that since my husband really does not like me in make up, I should honor him by not worrying about it. However, I do take the time to do things like groom my eyebrows and I use a nice face lotion to take care of my skin. Within the last year, M found another moral statement talking about using make up as okay when it is the “social custom.” Now, this NY times article says the movement is one inspired by feminism, which when I was first discussing make up with people who had real jobs, it seemed like a huge issue that women had to wear make up in the work force. I am not sure the feminists would agree with not wearing make up because my husband does not like it, plus I have never been a regular make up wearer.

7. I have 26 pages left of Something Other Than God, and it has been a book that I really enjoy reading. So much so, that when I was supposed to be napping on the couch after being up half the night with a sick child (allergic reaction to banana… woops), I could not stop reading. I have realized that as a cradle Catholic, my life will never be as cool as hip converts who have roof-top parties. But that is what it is…

Linking up with Jen and her Seven Quick Takes!

Our Hoped for Baby and My Trip to the ER

Last week I shared our very present grief over our unborn baby who had passed away inside me. Today I need to write about my experience of the baby passing on Tuesday.
I think the story starts on the Tuesday of Holy Week. I had a pregnancy evaluation with my Creighton instructor. I have been charting with her for 7 years, so it feel funny to always call her that. She is an incredible lady, who always answers my questions and phone calls. In fact we might not have even known of this baby if it had not been for her recommending I get on progesterone post peak so a baby would have a chance to implant. Anyway, so when you do a Creighton eval, there are a whole bunch of questions that they ask and you have to give a multiple choice answer. It is for their data or something. One of the questions was, “Was this baby planned?” I have a strong aversion to the word “planned” when it comes to having children. I think it is the root of a lot of problems society has in its view of children. So, I told her so. I said that I didn’t really like that question, but I did not really want to say that the baby was “unplanned”. I talked it out, thinking that the baby had been hoped for and that we had wanted to have another baby and hopefully that cycle. So, sure, our hoped for baby was “planned”. We knew what we were doing when we hoped for another baby.

An early ultrasound of F.

Then three days later, we found out that this baby was not growing. This baby was gone. I looked back at the dates, and discovered that the baby probably stopped growing on the feast of St. Gemma Galgani, who is my Confirmation saint. And if you know about the immense amount of suffering she experienced in her life, I realized that praying to her about this baby, was really just asking her to help me suffer gracefully, to offer my sufferings. This quotation of hers helped me through my labor with L, and now with the loss of this baby:

–> “It is true Jesus, if I think of what I have gone through as a child, and now as a grown up girl, I see that I have always had crosses to bear; But oh! how wrong are those who say that suffering is a misfortune!” 

“It is true Jesus, if I think of what I have gone through as a child, and now as a grown up girl, I see that I have always had crosses to bear; But oh! how wrong are those who say that suffering is a misfortune!” – See more at:
“It is true Jesus, if I think of what I have gone through as a child, and now as a grown up girl, I see that I have always had crosses to bear; But oh! how wrong are those who say that suffering is a misfortune!” – See more at:

Further, we found out about our loss on Good Friday. We prayed the first day of the Divine Mercy Novena on our way to Good Friday liturgy, and my doctor called me just before 3pm to leave a message, just before she went into her liturgy. So, we contemplated Jesus’ death for us, and knew that our suffering at the loss of our baby was for something greater than ourselves.

Friday night we discussed whether or not our baby would have increased intellectual abilities after being separated from his or her tiny body. The body limits the intellect, but if our baby was even in a place of natural happiness, he would be able to know God, and if our baby was attaining the beatific vision, then maybe our baby would know about us and his family on earth. And that was something we could hope for as we entrusted our baby to the mercy of God.

Easter week we waited for the baby to pass, knowing that it might be awhile. I was on extra progesterone until Monday morning, and my levels would have to drop for the baby to come out. We prayed our novena, shared our distress with our friends, and felt the great grace of everyone’s prayers. The wonderful Moms group at St. Agnes offered meals, and we almost refused. I did not think I would need the help of meals, but I am glad we accepted knowing now the exhaustion of passing the baby. I sit here now, so thankful for the dinner a friend is bringing today. I also went to a lovely birthday party with some lady friends, and spent an evening laughing.

Easter Friday, I was really thinking and praying about a name for the baby. It was hard to decide or to even think of options. We have agreed on many names for our hoped for children, but I never considered what to call one who was miscarried. Then I thought about the canonizations to take place on Divine Mercy/Low Sunday. M and I both grew up with Pope Saint John Paul II as the only pope we knew. We were already in college when he passed away, and had loved him dearly during his life. While in Europe for a semester in college we saw his birth place, home parish, and went to the Divine Mercy Shrine in Poland. I realized that we should name the baby John Paul. I suggested it to M and he wanted to think about it.

Divine Mercy Sunday at Mass, I started to have symptoms of the baby passing: cramping and bleeding. We decided that the baby would be called John Paul in honor of the first pope that we knew. It took a few more days for things to progress.

Warning: Things are a little birth storyish from here on…blood and things…

We finally made it to a morning Mass on Tuesday for the Feast of St. Catherine of Sienna. We had been finding it difficult to get up early enough to go at 7:30am. I had stronger cramping during Mass and was pretty exhausted. M went to campus, and I tried to do housework. The girls were playing nicely, so I decided to not worry about home school. I cleaned the bathroom walls. I know, kind of a weird chore. I really wanted to deep clean; maybe it was some weird hormonal nesting thing. I finished cleaning the walls and realized that something was passing. I ran to the downstairs bathroom (to be away from the kids) and realized it was happening. It was physically easiest delivery experience of my life, but emotionally the hardest. I needed M home. He was not teaching his class yet, so I called him, told him I was pretty sure I had passed the baby and the placenta, started to cry, and asked him to come home. Then I found the baby, cleaned up, and tried to go back up to the girls.

F was screaming for me, so I gave her food I knew she would eat, safe in her high chair. I gave the big girls play dough, which always keeps them happy, and then realized there was more coming. The bleeding was not slowing, but rapidly increasing. I watched the clock for M to come home. I realized I probably would need to go to the hospital if things did not slow. I tried to go into denial, not wanting to make a big deal, but ended up calling my doctor. I told them how much I was bleeding and they were like, “Go to the ER, NOW!”

M arranged childcare at a nearby friends house. I called my sister who had gone through the whole bleeding way to much during miscarriage scenario to mentally prepare myself for the ER experience. (I am mostly melancholic; mental preparation is everything.) I tried to figure out what would hold all the blood on the way to the hospital, and went with a size 5 baby diaper.

We dropped off the kids, and our friends looked really worried. We had never gone to that hospital from this part of town, so we had a little trouble finding the right exit, but we got there. After signing in and talking to the triage nurse, we were sent to the waiting room. I wondered if they minded blood getting on their chairs, unsure of how long the diaper would hold up. We sat chatting for a few minutes, thankful that we had had a week and a half to emotionally accept the loss of our baby, and I suddenly felt light headed and nauseated. I told M and he ran to tell the desk. They brought out a wheelchair and told me it would be 10-15 minutes before my room would be ready. All I could think about was how awful I felt, how I really did not want to vomit, and did not think I could possibly last 10-15 minutes. Then I was dreaming. I did not feel sick at all. M saw me pass out and panicked, but the nurse was walking up behind me as it happened. The nurse convinced M that he needed to pull it together. M later told me that he thought that I might have died there sitting in the chair; the way my eyes rolled back into my head and I limped over really frightened him. I do not recollect it at all, but M was holding my face when I woke up. Upon waking up, I felt so much better than I had before passing out. The recollection of where I was and what was going on hit me pretty quickly as the nurse told me that I had passed out and to rest my head in his hand. I followed his instructions.

They wheeled me in a hurry to a room as I became more conscious. They told us that the best way to get to a room quickly is to pass out. I guess we got ahead of the sweet looking old couple who was sitting in the waiting room. So, I ended up in a hospital gown, on an IV, with a doctor giving me an exam. M was still really worried. They decided to call my doctor, to see what they would recommend. We had brought the iPad and M posted a status asking for prayers, which a friend said this about: “M[…] scared me with his cryptic FB post! I’ve been praying for you throughout the day.”

The OB on staff at our awesome, Catholic clinic, showed up pretty quickly. He said we could wait to see if the bleeding slowed or go ahead and do a surgical D&C. I asked to wait, and M agreed. So, they gave me something to help the uterus clamp down, and M went home to give the kids a nap.

I am a huge fan of emergency prayers from friends and family, and love that social networking is a way to pass on the need for prayer. I continued to check Facebook, called my mom and sister, and dozed for two hours. While dozing I tried to pray a Divine Mercy Chaplet for healing. The bleeding slowed, and by the time M came back, they said I could go home. I was so relieved, and so thankful for the prayers.

We got home, and I felt like I do after delivering a baby. I was exhausted and cramping, but had no baby to hold. I did have a very clingly toddler, who decided nursing was just what she needed. They had told me to take it easy and rest for a few days. I am still feeling the wear of losing the blood. It is pretty incredible to me that while I was only 8 weeks along, the passing of the the baby and the recovery feels so similar to a full term labor. Thank you for all of your prayers for my health and for little John Paul.

We are going to bury him in a local cemetery sometime in the next couple of weeks, and I am sure I will need to write about it again then.

Seven Quick Takes: Friday, May 2

1. I spent most of Monday in a little panic about silverfish bugs in our basement. I found a couple in our basement school cupboard, and then discovered that they nest in and eat paper and cardboard. I imagined a whole colony of them just destroying everything in the cupboard and moving onto the rest of the basement. I really do not like bugs in my house. I really don’t. Especially creepy looking ones that destroy things. So, I called M and asked him to spray the whole basement for bugs, because who knows what else might have come out since it stopped being freezing cold in the world. Do they have brown recluse spiders in Minnesota? They have them in Missouri and I always was afraid of being bit by one of those. I also discovered that bugs don’t like the smell of cedar. We have a large cedar closet that came with the house in the basement, which I am super thankful for since I am storing things in there like my wedding dress.

2. The kids have their new swing set. M and our friend, T, built it all last Saturday, just in time for it to rain from Saturday night through Wednesday afternoon. I managed to get a picture of it finally this morning. The big girls have been going out and playing in the cold between rain showers. F has been begging to go outside all week, but I really did not feel up for going outside and standing in the cold while helping F slide down the slide. Maybe it will be sunny this weekend. We could all go for that around here.

3. F (18 months) is thinking about potty training already. The other day, G (5) announced that she had to use the bathroom. Whenever she does this, L (3) screams, “No, I have to go potty!” They then race to the bathroom. F, observing them, pulled up her shirt saying, “I po-yee. Pee.” And then waddles after them. Maybe we will go for it this summer. No pants in the backyard. Why not?

4. We decided to night wean F last week. It was a breeze. This kid is so chill most of the time. I kind of wish all babies could be just like her. I still nurse her before bed, but if she wakes up M goes to her with water and tells her to go back to sleep. The first night, he did this three times. The second night once, and now, for now, she is sleeping all night without waking. That is much better that her sisters who wake up multiple times to go to the bathroom, get a drink, fuss about whatever, monsters… How do you parent night wean 5 and 3 year olds?

5. I ended up making the thickest Greek yogurt the other day. You see, I did it overnight in the crockpot on Monday night. (8 cups whole milk for 2.5 hours on low, cool for 3 hours, add 6 oz plain yogurt starter and wrap in blankets overnight). I usually “strain” the yogurt by putting a bunch of paper towels on top to soak the excess liquid off for about an hour. Well, Tuesday, when we were hurrying to get me to the ER for my miscarriage “complications” I stuck it in the fridge with paper towels on top. Wednesday morning I remembered it and, voila, yogurt as thick as you could want!

6. I am guessing that wondering minds want to know about Tuesday. I would like to write a longer post devoted to my experience of miscarriage, but a few initial thoughts are that passing a 6 week old baby at 8 weeks is like a less strenuous labor. But I feel a lot now like I did after having each of the other babies. I lost a lot of blood, and wears one out. What makes it a little easier, but also sad, is that I can sleep all night, without infant care. It is not what I expected. And the baby had a sense of liturgical time, since he/she stopped growing on the Feast of St. Gemma (my confirmation saint), we found out about the death on Good Friday, I started bleeding on Divine Mercy Sunday, and the baby passed on the (new) Feast of St. Catherine of Sienna (who we have started a devotion to since F was born…her biography by Sigrid Undset is amazing).

7. And, I was not going to buy Jen’s new book, since I do not normally randomly buy books (a certain husband of mine would buy a new book everyday if he could).
I was thinking library. But as a treat, to help with recovery, I ordered it on Wednesday, plus a new Von Balthasar for M. It is scheduled to arrive next Tuesday. I previewed the first chapters on Amazon, which let me since I purchased the hardcover. I am eager to read the rest. Jen has a beautiful and interesting way of explaining her childhood in the first couple of chapters. Who knows, maybe I will have time to enter a contest.

Linking up with Jen at Conversion Diary!

Seven Quick Takes: Friday, April 25

1. First of all, thank you all for your prayers during our time of loss of our tiny baby. It was hard for me to share what was going on; it almost seemed easier to keep it private. But since I asked for prayers, I have felt an abundance of grace helping us through this time. I am even finding myself quite happy and hopeful a lot of the time, and remembering our loss is less painful.

2. Today, in addition to being Easter Friday, is also the Feast of St. Mark, which happens to be M’s name day. To celebrate, since we are having dinner with our parish home school community, I had the girls make cards for M. I gave them a quick example of a lion drawing, and realized my poor drawing skills:

The girls did a fairly good imitation of mine:

L (3) drew a mouse-like lion, drew M,  and traced capital letters.
G (5) did a lion, her father, lots of hearts, and her name, which is edited out… She also tried to write the date and gave up.

Drawing, check. Writing practice, check. Religion, check. Pre-school for the day, done.

3. When I picked out earrings today, G insisted on me wearing my lions. I think I last wore these to the zoo.

Earring selfie! (Sorry, M, I had to use that word; I know you hate it.)

I am pretty sure I got these from my awesome friend, C, in college, but I do not remember. I had a little thing about lions back before I knew M. Maybe it was a premonition? I am working up the gusto to wear them to evening Mass today. Maybe my veil will hide their ridiculousness.

4. I spent yesterday morning distracting myself by doing a little editing of my blog formatting. Do you see what I did? Any suggestions for other pages/tabs? I could collect things like recipes or posts in certain topics into other pages. Maybe I can delve into home organization next week, as opposed to virtual, while the weather is crummy and rainy. My intentions of organizing during the Winter months vanished with a busy schedule and visiting St. Louis a few times to see my dad.

5. Saturday, during our Easter preparations, M went out to the garden to plant a blueberry bush he bought on an impulse from Aldi. While digging, he found the den of Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail and Peter Rabbit. Flopsy and Peter got away immediately, but the other two sat cowering in corners of the garden until M placed them back in their den. The girls thought it was great fun and wanted to keep them, but everything we Googled recommended against it. F (17 months) could not get enough of them and stood by the garden fence saying, “Buh-ee! Buh-ee!” And when I made her bid them farewell her voice became mournful and sad, “Buh-ee… buh-ee…”

Cottontail scared and cold.

When we checked the den on Tuesday, they were gone. The thing is, we thought our garden was rabbit-proof, and now we find that a pregnant rabbit found a way in to give birth and has been returning twice a day to feed her babies. We might have to get the anti-rabbit spray after all to protect our garden from Peter and his cousin Benjamin.

6. If you are my friend on Facebook, you have already heard about F stealing L’s jelly beans. This toddler is quite into her candy. I was keeping the baskets on the table, and she was climbing right up, finding foil-wrapped candies, declaring them to be, “Choc!” and biting right through the foil with her sharp front teeth. She is a little obsessed with chocolate; I wonder where she gets that? I cannot reliably get her to eat foods besides scrambled eggs, meat, processed cheeses, and candy. I guess we have another picky one on our hands, which is too bad because she was really into fruit and vegetables back when they were her only foods. Well, M can get her to eat anything, so as long as he is at a meal, she eats.

7. Last of all, the gracious hostess of Seven Quick Takes, Jen is releasing her book Something Other Than God next week. It is about her conversion to Catholicism from atheism, and should be a good read. I was not cool enough to pre-order it, but I promise I will read it once I get a hold of a copy. 🙂

In the Midst of Losing the Baby

A sunrise from our backyard earlier this month.

We found out on Holy Thursday that our new little baby may have stopped growing. The ultrasound dates were slightly off from my charting, the baby measuring at 6 weeks when I should have been 7 weeks along. Good Friday brought us the news that my HCG levels were too low for the baby to still be growing. We had lost the baby. We were hoping to share our hopeful news with the world after Easter, but instead it is news of our loss.

I woke up several times Friday night, and all I could think about was the lack of life inside me. When I am pregnant I always think about myself in relation to the growing baby, and my way of thinking had to change. I had to stop thinking of Advent as the time of a new baby. I had been so looking forward to another Advent baby, preparing for Christmas early, and sitting back and loving my baby while the world rushed around us preparing for Christmas. But now at the end of Lent, we knew that Advent was not going to be about our new baby. Our new baby was passing on without us.

Saturday we immersed ourselves in Easter preparations, went to the Vigil Mass, and then Easter Sunday we spent with some family in Wisconsin. It was easy to not think too much about it. Though L (3) told me several times that she wished that we still had a new baby coming.

Monday morning I went back to the doctor for G’s (5) well visit and a blood draw for me. Another HCG level would confirm things for sure. As we went out to the car I saw a friend walking in who told me her news of just finding out she was expecting. I congratulated her, outwardly cheerful, but inside my heart ached. M had the day off on Monday, as he had had on Friday, and I was so thankful to be able to be close to each other during our immediate experience of loss. Though we have always been that way; every hardship since we have been together, we have experienced as a couple. It is only normal for us to be drawn together now.

Tuesday morning, I woke up sad again. I knew that today would bring the final news. I saw a picture of my sister’s sweet baby boy on Facebook, and I lost it. Her little boy is so cute, and I realized that I was also hoping for a little boy. (Though am pretty sure we are will only have girls.) I wondered all day if things would start passing soon. I moped about the house, relaxed with the kids, and could not find it in myself to take on house work. We managed about ten minutes of preschool activities, but that was about it. M came home mid-afternoon, and I took time to run. He then did yard work with the kids and I showered and we still waited for the final phone call. It came, and my HCG levels still showed no more living, growing baby. But also that things are not going to start to pass for a couple of weeks. I did not think I could bear it, waiting two weeks before things are resolved.

My sorrow is not worry about the fate of the baby, for I have entrusted the baby to the mercy of God, but it is the loss that hurts. It is M’s loss and the children’s loss. G and L know what has happened, they know that they will not know this baby, grow up with this baby. F (17 months) is happy not to know, and is a consolation in her cheerfulness and babyish ways. I have found night nursing times with her to be so sweet lately as I mourn our lost baby. And now I think I am going to make it two more weeks with this little baby inside me. It is my last chance to physically be with this child, even though the baby’s soul has passed on.

Please pray for us, that we find healing. Please pray for me, that the baby passes safely for me, and I know the chances are slim that we will find our smaller than 1 cm baby as he or she comes out, pray for that to. Thank you for your prayers.