Wednesday, March 26, 2014

WWRW: The Highly Sensitive Person

I was introduced to the idea that some people are "highly sensitive" when I read the book, Quiet.  However, because "highly sensitive" is not synonymous with introverted, there was only brief mention of it.  At the time I thought, yes, that describes me, but didn't give it much more thought until a few weeks ago when one of my sorority sisters linked to this Huffington Post article on Facebook.  That started a whole discussion in which one person suggested reading  this Atlantic article and another suggested reading the book The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You.

So what is this highly sensitive thing?  Well, Dr. Aron says, "the Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) has a sensitive nervous system, is aware of subtleties in his/her surroundings, and is more easily overwhelmed when in a highly stimulating environment."  Her website has a self test that can quickly help you identify if this is describing you.  I checked off nearly everything on the list, so was pretty confident that this book was for me!  If you are not highly sensitive, I doubt you would get much out of this book unless you are reading it with the goal of better understanding a specific person in your life.  If you are highly sensitive, please read the book!

The book is divided into chapters that cover different aspects of life as an HSP and at the end of each chapter there are exercises.  The goal of the exercises is to help you see your past in a new way based on your new knowledge.  The exercises also aim to help you appreciate your HSP qualities and become the most whole version of yourself.  At the end there is a chapter about therapy, and the pros and cons of medication, for people who want to go beyond the book's exercises. 

I appreciated this book because it validated my feelings and way of seeing the world.  I got a lot out of it now, but I really wish I could have read this book 10+ years ago when I was starting college!  It was so helpful to me to understand why I reacted the way I did in so many scenarios, and allowed me to have some forgiveness for my former self.  It also made me very thankful for the way my mom loved me as a kid.  I think she was really attuned to my needs and that helped me to have a positive self-image.  (Maybe she's an HSP as well!) 

Last night my small group celebrated my birthday, and like last year, they honored me.  One of the things that was mentioned a couple times is how I have a good sense of who I am as a person and who I am in the Lord.  What a compliment!  And I think it's a reflection of those around me.  My mom, my husband, my friends, they all accept me and love me for who I am.  They are all willing to go out of their way to make sure I am taken care of.  And because of that, I am able to flourish with the unique gifts I have as an HSP, an ISFJ, and a beloved child of God.  They also honored me for a variety of qualities that make me a good mom and teacher, nearly all of which stem from being an HSP!

Oh, and as if there is any doubt that I am an HSP, while watching "Saving Mr. Banks" this weekend, I was so overcome by emotion that I could barely continue watching.  The pain of her suffering was just too much for me.  Even the next day I had trouble shaking that hopeless feeling!   

One last me story... One of the things Dr. Aron asks her patients is what their earliest memory is.  She believes that even if it is not an accurate memory, it still says something about you.  My earliest memory is of myself and my cousin at my Nana's house.  My cousin forgot his blanket.  I responded by ripping mine in half.  I guess even my toddler self couldn't bear the injustice and pain in the world!  And given the current state of my blanket, I think this memory has a high chance of being accurate!  It also illustrates nicely my intense inner world... I created lots of stories out of that tangle of strings and knots.  Can you believe that it was once white with little pink flowers?!


My blankie today
My blankie new, back in 1982

Oh, and last interesting point... often times in our culture, sensitivity is attributed to females, but there are an equal number of highly sensitive guys and gals, making up about 15 to 20 percent of people.  

OK, this post is really disjointed, but hopefully it made some sense!  (I blame the wine I was drinking while writing it, but we all know that essay writing is not one of my strongest points!)  Go over to Jessica's to read much more coherent book reviews!  And if you're an HSP, and especially one who is struggling with understanding your uniqueness, get this book!



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Friday, March 21, 2014

7 Things I Miss About Kansas City

We've been gone from Kansas now just shy of two years and there are still some things that we miss.  Enjoy these 7 quick takes of things that we just can't replace here in South Bend!


1. An empty mall.  Less than 5 minutes from our condo was a mall that had Sears, Macy's, a cat store and a whole bunch of empty space.  One of our favorite things to do as a family was to head to the mall after dinner to look at the cats (it's where we adopted Juliet) and then run the hallways!  

Finn wants another cat!

Blaise running!


2.  Deanna Rose Farmstead.  The kids loved seeing, petting, and feeding all the animals.  Although we do have a small zoo close by, it's not the same experience.

Blaise and Grandpa feeding the baby goats

Blaise loves the sheep the best!

Finn checking out a goat


3.  Our church.  It had both a strong liturgy and a strong kids program.  We've been looking, but haven't found anything that even comes close here.  

In the prayer/memorial garden in front of the church


4.  Thrift stores that actually have nice things.  Within walking distance of our condo was a thrift store that was clean, well organized, well lit, and the toys typically had all their pieces!  There are 4 thrift stores within 10 minutes of our house here and I have yet to find a toy with all its parts!


5.  The Chiefs.  Bad as they were, at least they were there, which meant that people actually talked about pro football.  Here it's all about Notre Dame.  I've just never understood the allure of college football!


6.  Good food.  It just doesn't exist here.  We've had to completely readjust our expectations when we go out to eat!  We especially miss Mi Ranchito, Mr. Gyro, and Oklahoma Joe's BBQ.


Dinner @ Mi Ranchito


7.  So many more things... just all the perks of being in a bigger city.  More and better museums, parks, libraries, events, etc.  I want my big city back!  

Playing with dinosaurs at one of the many libraries we frequented

Overland Park Halloween event

Very cool exhibit at the children's museum


All things considered, we do love our life here in South Bend.  Maybe next week I'll blog 7 things that are better here... hmmm, that might take some thinking ;-)

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Isn't it Ironic?

I grew up loving the Alanis Morrisette song Ironic.  And like most people, she and I totally overuse and misuse the word ironic.  (See this video for a cute remake that is actually ironic.)  My husband, who loves the English language and word choice and all that jazz, likes to give me a hard time about my misuses.

Today after watching Frozen for the second time, I was tempted to say something about how ironic it was that I ended up with "The Wizard and I" stuck in my head rather than "Let it Go".  But I could already hear my husband correcting me.  He'd probably say something about how that would only be ironic if I had watched Frozen with the goal of getting "Let it Go" stuck in my head.  Blah.  

But last week I did actually have something ironic happen to me!  John had a busy few days at work and so the kitchen trash had started to build up.  Taking it out is his responsibility because, you know, that's what men do.  But after three big bags pilled up, including one with some rather smelly kitty litter, I decided this was ridiculous.  Certainly I was capable of taking out the trash!  And so I did.  And the recycling, too.  And wouldn't you know it, just as I am congratulating myself for a job well done, I slip and fall and REALLY bruised my shoulder.  And that, says my husband is actually ironic.  In an attempt to prove I am capable, I fall and injure myself....  Ironic and embarrassing!

Blaise, however, has another word for it - silly.  When John was asking Blaise about the incident, Blaise acutely pointed out that I was wearing flip flips at the time.  Flip flops in the snow... silly mommy!  

So maybe not ironic after all... maybe just unfortunate, predictable, and preventable :-)

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

WWRW: All Joy and No Fun and Bringing Up Bébé

All Joy and No FunA while ago a few of my Facebook friends linked to an article about the new book All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood.  I was intrigued, so I requested the book from the library.  Well, it took me a while to finish the book.  It's mildly interesting, but there is just too much jammed in there!  It gives some history of parenting in America, it profiles some families and it discusses lots of research studies.  I suppose it would be more interesting if I was a middle class stay-at-home mom trying to shuffle kids to a million different activities and resting all my hopes and dreams on their successes.  But that's just not me. However, the redeeming part of the book for me was that it talked a little bit about the book, Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting.  I requested that one from the library and LOVED it!

It was fascinating to me to discover just how different things are in France.  They have different philosophies based on French doctors' research and books that have never been translated into English!  I just never thought about this before!  (Although recently John and I had been discussing how Catholicism looks very different in other countries, so it shouldn't have come as that much of a surprise).

One of the things that struck me was how the French talk about having balance, or equilibrium.  They don't want one aspect of their life to overrule the rest.  I though this was interesting contrasted with the American ideal of "having it all", or abandoning one thing in pursuit of another.  One of the blogs I regularly read recently posted about the book and what it has do say about work-life balance, so you can get a much more eloquent description by clicking over there!

Some interesting generalizations about French children versus American ones are that they sleep through the night at a much younger age, they are able to entertain themselves much more readily and they eat a huge diversity of food from a very young age.  French parents might be considered strict in certain aspects, but also give their children a great deal of freedom within the boundaries.

I would highly recommend reading Bringing Up Bébé because it presents an alternative to the prevailing culture of how we raise children in the U.S.  While I certainly don't wish I lived in France and haven't totally changed my parenting style, I did pick up some useful tidbits that are helping me be a bit more balanced :-)



Friday, March 14, 2014

Quick Takes #16

1. We had our first home study visit on Monday! Since initiating the process to adopt from foster care in October, we've been anxiously awaiting this visit. In the end, it was pretty boring. We just spent an hour and a half talking about the paperwork we need to fill out. We asked a few questions and that was that! She'll return on April 21st to do a more formal interview and the safety check of the house. We have quite a bit of paperwork to do before then and also a few purchases, cat vaccinations and a physical for me.


2. In preparation for our home study, John might have set the oven on fire!  Read the full story here.




3.  For Christmas, Great Grandma Alice gave us a gift card to IHOP, which we finally got around to using!  The kids had a great time!  Well, almost.  Blaise got upset near the end when he asked for something else to eat.  We explained that at a restaurant you only get to have the one thing you order.  He said no, at CiCi's you get as much as you want and you can keep getting more!  So true, buddy.  Unfortunately not all restaurants are buffets!  

     



4.  Lucy has become quite the musician lately.  She loves singing (really, yelling) the ABC's and playing the piano!




5.  The kids discovered a love of coloring books this week.  It keep them captivated for a full 45 minutes while I made dinner!  

       

Lucy mainly just colored her fingers ;-)




6.  My fabulous husband has been working for about a year putting together a conference at Notre Dame.  It started last night and runs through dinner tonight.  I'm super proud of him for getting all these big name academics in one place for What Darwin Didn't Change: Investigating the Enduring Interactions of Faith, Science, and Reason.  Here's a cute picture of Blaise with John right before he left!




7.  Although we got another 4 inches of snow this week, we did have some glimpses of spring thrown in, too!  While Blaise was at speech class, it was warm enough for me, Finn, and Lucy to take a little walk around the school.  The kids were obsessed with cracks in the sidewalk!





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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

WWRW: Radical Reinvention

After my "Why I'm not Catholic" post, John suggested that I might enjoy reading Radical Reinvention by Kaya Oakes where she shares her unlikely journey to finding God again within the Church.  Kaya is very liberal (much more so than me).  She grew up in the Catholic church, but fell away as an adult.  She describes how she was drawn back by the liturgy and ultimately found her place among other like-minded Catholic women, who she meets with regularly to share faith (and sometimes complaints about the Church!)

I certainly appreciated reading her story.  It's good for me to remember and see that the Church is a body of people who do not all share the "letter of the law" Catholicism that I dislike.   It was somewhat hard for me to relate because she grew up in the Church and did not really consider other denominations, except for one visit to a Episcopalian church where she found the people to be "cold".  I was also a bit skeptical of anything she stated as fact because at one point she talks about Catholic deacons and the roles they can fill in the Church and mentions that they cannot perform baptisms - all of my kids were baptized by Catholic deacons!  But really, the value of this book is that it is one woman's personal journey to finding God within Catholocism and I would certainly recommend it to those who find themselves a little more liberal than the USCCB :-)

I'd love to read more memoirs of people who have converted to Catholicism.  I also recently read Chris Haw's book,  From Willow Creek to Sacred Heart.  Like Kaya, he was drawn to the liturgy.   I'd love to get some other perspectives.  Ideally non-liturgy driven, liberal perspectives ;-)  Leave me some suggestions in the comments, please!



Monday, March 10, 2014

Preparing for the Homestudy!

After waiting and waiting and waiting some more, the day of our first homestudy visit has finally arrived!
 Before the social worker gets here, I figured I would share two quick stories about our preparation.

First, last night.  After the kids went down, John and I needed to clean the kitchen.  John was in the mood for some cookies and we figured that would be relaxing way to lead into the kitchen cleaning.  While John started making the cookies, I got on the phone with my mom.  At one point, John looks over at me and asks if the dough balls look like 1 inch.  I say no way, much too big.  John (presumably) makes them smaller and then pops them in the oven.  A little while later he goes to check on them... oops! a little too close together.  We laugh at the now giant sheet of cookie.  But they still need to cook longer.  A few minutes later, check again.  This time the cookie dough is dripping off the edge of the sheet.  We're still laughing and I'm still talking to my mom on the phone.  But then we realize the cookie dough that is falling to the bottom is catching on fire!  And there starts to be just tons and tons of smoke!  "Mom, I gotta go, fire in the oven!"  At least the cookies still tasted good :-)



And then today.  I'm cleaning up the kitchen after lunch and throwing away all the trash.  John gets home and I ask him to take the trash out.  A little while later I go to put away the milk.  No cap!  Oh no!  It's in the trash bag which is already outside in the trash can!  John suggests putting aluminum foil over the top, which does work.  I just hope the social worker doesn't want milk in her coffee!  



Alright, gotta run!  Need to get two kids settled in for naps before the social worker arrives at 2:30!  Here's hoping Lucy and Finn both sleep though the entire meeting :-)

Friday, March 7, 2014

Quick Takes #15

It's been a month since I've done some quick takes that are just about my adorable kiddos, so lets see what random pictures have accumulated on my phone!

1.  Lucy likes to wear things on her head.  I used to think it was because she liked to say the word "hat".  But on this particular day, I think it was because she could play peek-a-boo so easily!  Yes, that is underwear.  Finn was not appreciative of her humor!

     



2.  Blaise has homework for speech class each day and when he completes it, he gets to put a sticker on a reward chart.  When the reward chart is full, he gets a special trip to the thrift store to pick out a new toy.  This past time he selected a little people parking garage for 89 cents.  The real fun, he discovered, was in taking it apart!



3.  Lucy loves to eat apples.  Or rather, she loves to ask for apples, take bites, and then pull them back out of her mouth and hand them to you!  But if you try to take away the apple, she says "mine!".  



4.  A little blurry and dark, but I can't resist this display of sibling love :)

      


5. Blaise took some selfies... What's up with the napkin holder?  Seeing how he looks behind bars?!



6.  Finn and I got in on the selfie action, too!



7.  Finally, I found this gem from Grandpa and Grandma's last visit!  






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Thursday, March 6, 2014

Why I'm not Catholic


I'm not Catholic.  My husband is.  Sometimes this matters not at all and sometimes it matters a lot.  As our kids get older it becomes an increasingly more complex discussion because we want to give them a firm foundation of faith.  We recently started church hopping again because the Catholic one we were attending just didn't seem to be the right fit.  Why?  I don't know.  I just wasn't being filled.  And our kids weren't being filled.  Why?  I don't know.

Why am I not Catholic?  Here is a conversation that we had last night:

     Me:  I'll become Catholic as soon as they start accepting birth control and gay marriage.
     John:  What about women priests?
     Me:  Oh yeah, that, too.

But of course this is a just an easy, flippant answer.  I disagree with the doctrines (or dogma or some word like that - John, as a theologian, gives me a hard time about my lack of proper word choice in these matters) and thus I cannot join the denomination.  Easy.

But it's not really true.  I don't really scrutinize the doctrines of churches I attend.  I've quite happily belonged to other churches that were against gay marriage and I was content to "agree to disagree".  And I know quite a few practicing Catholics who disagree with major parts of the Church.  Heck, I'm even friends with a Roman Catholic Womanpriest!

So why, really why, am I not Catholic?  I don't know.  So I've been reflecting lately on what it has been that has drawn me into churches.

I grew up Presbyterian.  Obviously I didn't choose this church, but there were quite a few things that I liked about it, including the Sunday school classes that dove deep into the scriptures and really challenged me and the youth group trips to serve the poor in downtown Pittsburgh at soup kitchens and through rebuilding houses.

In college I didn't have a church home for a while.  Then a (Catholic) friend of mine took me to Park Street, a Congregational Church and I kept going there each week by myself.  I really liked the exegetical preaching there.  The 45 minute sermons that Dr. Hugenberger preached each Sunday were amazing.  Plus I loved how easy it was to get involved there.  I sang in the choir and was a high school youth leader.

After college I moved to Cleveland and after a bit of church shopping, landed at a Friends church.  I liked the music, but missed the bits of liturgy that were present at some of the other churches I had attended, so on the side I sometimes went to a Catholic parish that did a contemporary Life Teen service.

In Kansas City, John and I went to the Catholic church where he led worship and also to an Anglican church where we could receive the Eucharist together.  I still miss that Anglican church.  It was the only place where John and I have really felt comfortable together.  It was just enough of each of our traditions, plus great, prayerful contemporary music.  We had friends there and the kids had engaging, Bible teaching Sunday school classes.

It's hard to draw any patterns from my past churches.  There are different doctrines, different worship formats, different preaching styles and different music styles.

The only constant is that at each of these places I was able to connect with God.  Maybe I'm making it all about me.  Maybe I'm not Catholic because I can't appreciate the "mystery" in the mass because I'm just too self-centered and want it to be all about my experience.  No, I think that's too harsh a critique.  I don't think it's selfish to want to feel God and connect with Him within the Sunday service.  I know some Catholics who would say, "If you only understood... then you would...".  Maybe it's that I'm just not intellectual enough.  Maybe it's something about my ISFJ self or my sensitive, orchid self.  Or maybe?... I don't know.

I asked John, my Catholic theologian husband, why he's still Catholic, expecting to get some intellectual answer.  But he tells me it's simply because he still feels called to be Catholic.

Good answer.  I guess maybe I'm not Catholic because I still feel called to be Protestant.

Those ashes on my forehead in the picture above are from the Episcopalian church up the street.  I went by myself while John put the kids to bed.  I was hoping to be inspired in some way - to feel or hear God in some way.  And I did, though not in the way I expected.  In the priest's homily he talked about how although he loves the liturgical readings and how they are arranged to show us larger themes in the Bible, he thinks we miss something by not reading the books aloud, in their entirety as the story tellers intended when they first wrote them.  We miss some of the smaller themes that are evident if you take the books as a whole.  It was as if God was saying to me that there is value in different approaches and that he understands my struggle.

----

I'm linking up with Cari for Theme Thusday: Dirt, because she said ashes count ;-)

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

WWRW: Kisses from Katie

This past week, I read  Kisses from Katie: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption and absolutely loved it!  Such a heartwarming story of how one ordinary person can follow God's call and make such a difference.  I enjoyed this book because I could relate to Katie.  She grew up in an upper-middle class, Christian family.  Her parents taught her the same values and placed the same expectations upon her as mine did me.  But starting in her senior year of high school, Katie was able to step beyond her parents plan and begin to follow the call she felt from God.

During her senior year, she volunteered at an orphanage in Uganda.  After that, she went back for a year to teach kindergarten.  She had promised her parents that she would return after a year to go to college.  But during that year, things changed.  Katie began to adopt orphaned girls and she began to feed children and help sick people obtain the medical care they needed.

She did honor her parents' wishes to return for college, but only for a semester.  The time back in the states was so hard for her and she missed her daughters terribly.  But that time back did allow her to raise money for her non-profit organization, Amazima.   She returned even more committed to the work she was doing there and with a resolve that Uganda really was home now. 

I found it so inspiring to read about Katie's journey.  She is someone who overflows with the love of Christ and shows just how much one person is capable of, or rather, what God is capable of through one person.  I love how she describes adoption, because it resonates so well with the call we have been feeling:
"Adoption is a redemptive response to tragedy that happens in the broken world.  And every single day, it is worth it, because adoption is God's heart.   His Word says, 'In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will' (Ephesians 1:5).  He sets the lonely in families (see Psalm 68:6).  The first word that appears when I look up adoption in the dictionary is 'acceptance'.  God accepts me, adores me even, just as I am.  He wants me to accept those without families into my own.  Adoption is the reason I can come before God's throne and beg Him for mercy, because He predestined me to be adopted as His child through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will - to the praise of his glorious grace.
 My family, adopting these children, it is not optional.  It is not my good deed for the day; it is not what I am doing to 'help out these poor kids.'  I adopt because God commands me to care for the orphans and the widows in their distress.  I adopt because Jesus says that to whom much has been given, much will be demanded (see Luke 12:48) and because whoever finds his life will lose it but whoever loses his life for His sake will find it (see Matthew 10:39)."
I was also challenged by Katie.  At one point she talks about how we approach our own suffering, or that of our children, versus the suffering of others:
"When it is one of my children, there is a bit more urgency, a bit more panic....  I am not proud of this.  I have held several children as the died of inadequate medical care.  It was horrible and I grieved, but I promise you that I wasn't as devastated as I would have been had it been one of my own daughters.  It's ugly, but it's true.
It's just different when it's your child who's suffering.  But should it be?  This is what I have been struggling with.  I believe that this is a normal human reaction.  I also believe that it is wrong.  I believe that every human being on this planet is God's child, perfectly made and beloved and cherished by Him.  I believe that His heart hurts, even more than mine does when my baby is hurting, for each and every one of the hurting, dying, starving, crying children in our world.  So I have to believe that if my heart was truly seeking to be aligned with the heart of God, that I would hurt for each of these children as well." 
Although the tone of her book and her message is uplifting, she doesn't shy away from painting a very real picture of the grim conditions in Uganda.  It's heartbreaking and heartwarming all at once.  I'd encourage you to check out the book and consider supporting the work that Katie is doing.  You can find out more at the website of her non-profit, Amazima.  Also on that website is a store where you can buy handmade necklaces.  These necklaces are made from recycled paper by women in Amazima's vocation program where they learn how to support their family and save money.  I'd love to get one in blue for my birthday (hint, hint!).

And be sure to check out other good books @ Housewifespice!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

A Husband's Perspective - Three Birth Stories

Following my reflections on the births of Blaise, Finn, and Lucy, I invited my husband, John, to share his thoughts! 

Reflecting on our children's births is a strange whirlwind tour for me--each one is so powerful a memory, so distant yet so near, as I found myself utterly powerless in three of the most important moments of my life.  First, and most permanent in my memory, is Blaise.

I remember, quite distinctly, eating Chinese take-out while Kristen lay sleeping, barely, amid the induction process. That was the first night of two. We had arrived at the hospital for an appointment earlier in the day, had a discussion with the doctor as to whether or not to induce, and decided to go for it.  24 hours later, barely dilated and already exhausted, Kristen told the doctor to go ahead, break her water, and let's try to get Blaise moving.  He did not comply...and neither did Kristen's body!  So, finally, after hours of very painful but not helpful contractions, Kristen allowed the epidural.  Her body no longer in control, things began to move quickly at first....and then stopped again. That was the second night.

I remember standing next to Kristen, holding her hand, right after Blaise was born. The nurses placed him fairly quickly on her chest (though not immediately), and I took some pics on my cell phone.  His head was a bit conical from the double-suctioning to get him out, and my Kristen was beyond exhausted and starving.  Yet, there she was, full of grace, caressing her son.

This was the moment, taken with my cell phone, right after Blaise was born.
The doctor, on the other hand, I remember annoyingly yelling at one of the nurses..."I need you to hold that light steady!"  The main spotlight for the restitching kept shifting out of place on its own, and the nurse was feeling it a bit beneath her to stand there and hold the light.  "Just hold the light!" he said "I need to see what I'm doing here!"  So...that wasn't stressful at all!!  Thankfully, Kristen was with her baby, and Blaise and Mommy were going to be ok.

With Finn, as Kristen said, the heartbeat was scary for about a week before that.  I remember keeping my head on Kristen's belly for a long time that week, listening to his little heart through all the funny noises that a stomach makes, waiting for it to calm back down the 160 bpm range.  It wasn't overly surprising to me when the doctor heard him around 200, but it was surprising that he wasn't slowing down.

Daddy and Finn
So, just like that, a C-Section!  I remember being very nervous, holding Kristen's hand, looking at the all-too-calm anesthesiologist, who kept telling me that she was doing great.  I was like, "umm...is that amount of blood loss acceptable?!"  No, really, I asked him.  They have a vacuum tube that sucks out the extra blood (is this too much for a blog?)...anyhow, I could see the mL level rising as Kristen started getting really afraid of being there...and just overwhelmed by the whole process.  Finally they gave in and knocked her out completely for a bit...I can still remember her telling me, "I just want to go home!"

But Finn was born, healthy and happy, and Kristen's recovery was so much faster than after Blaise's birth.  I was so thankful for C-sections.

And Lucy, well, Lucy was completely different.  Scheduled from early on, Kristen's pregnancy with Lucy took place throughout a rather non-stop several months while we were packing and then moving and then unpacking across a time zone, a thousand miles away.  New doctors, crazy healthcare stresses, new hospital...it was a stressful time!  But the birth, thankfully, was not. As Kristen said, everyone was chatting it up in the OR, and there was actually much less blood this time (I KNEW I was onto something!).

But, boy, that Lucy, once she was born.  Those first six or eight hours after her birth were just painful. Crying, and crying, and crying. Lucy wouldn't nurse, and she wouldn't be held, and the nurses kept asking Kristen to try...ugh.  Her first 12 weeks were the toughest of the three kids in my opinion, but Blaise may have actually been more colicky--he was just the only one around at the time!  With Lucy, we had two other kids already, and I just started a PhD program not a week after she was born.  So, yeah, that was tough.

Obviously, this was taken AFTER the first six hours of Lucy's post-womb life!
But my wife is amazing.  Three births, none of them how we first envisioned, but she rocked it through thick and thin.  Nursing, working, pumping, at home watching all three, in school teaching, she is my inspiration, every day. (And yes, dear, I know that's incredibly cheesy, but it's true, and it's my guest blog, so I'm writing it!)