My Prayer For This Pregnancy

I’ve always been hesitant to write about birth on the blog.  Not only is it such an emotionally charged topic for me, but it is also a hot-button topic for everyone.  Everybody has their opinions, anecdotes, experiences and articles backing up their opinions.  Frankly, I don’t want to participate in such discussions and I avoid them like the plague.

However, this topic weighs very heavily on my mind.  I went a week overdue with Sara so I was induced and 36 hours later (including 4 hours of pushing) she was born via c-section.  In the past two years I’ve run the gamut of emotions about everything.  I’ve been traumatized by how it all went down, I’ve been frustrated and angry with natural birth advocates who make me feel bad about what happened and the choices that my doctor and I made (they make me!! Ok, not quite.), and I’ve been grateful for modern medicine and the miracle of my daughter’s healthy and safe birth despite everything that happened.  I get chills when I think of women before the days hospitals and c-sections (or just women in other parts of the world who don’t have the luxury of a choice in the matter) who pushed and pushed and pushed like I did without the happy outcome.  It was traumatizing, I wish it had gone differently, but overall I am so grateful for how it turned out.

Like I said: emotions!  My Mom and sisters and close friends have all very patiently listened to me hash it out ad nauseum for the past two years.  And now, I’m gearing up for another birth.  I’m with my same doctor because she’s marvelous and I love her.  We’ve discussed my options of VBAC or repeat c-sections and what it all comes down to is basically out of my control.  If I go into labor, great!  If I don’t, then we do another c-section.  We won’t do another induction and I’m glad about that.  It was awful! It’s been hard to shut out all of the buzz about birth options and what’s better and worse, but I’ve finally come to the place where I know and accept that the decision lies with me and what I’m comfortable with.

But, I still have anxieties.  I like to think they’re normal pregnant woman anxieties.  We’re all worried about the delivery and the safety and health of our babies.  That’s all normal.  I take my anxieties to Our Lord in prayer but I struggle.  Do I ask God for a VBAC?  Do I beg Him to allow me to go into labor naturally? Do I pray for a breech baby so the decision of whether to do a c-section is made for me (I kid… kind of…)? I want these things to happen, but I feel weird asking for them specifically.  God knows what I desire, but He also knows what’s best in our situation and I should trust in Him, right? Finally, it came to me today, the prayer that I’ve been wanting to say but couldn’t quite put my finger on it:

Dear Lord, I pray for a safe and peaceful delivery.

Simple, short and sweet, I can repeat it like a litany throughout this pregnancy. I can recite this prayer to myself when I feel anxious about having a repeat c-section and it’s implications for future children and deliveries.  I can recite it when I feel pressure or judgement (real and perceived) to get a doula or midwife or pursue a VBAC. Dear Lord, I pray for a safe and peaceful delivery.

This is all that really matters, it’s all that’s ever mattered.  This is the prayer of every expectant mother no matter what her circumstances.  I don’t know what’s going to happen.  I never have and I never will, but I need to put my trust in Him and just let the anxiety go.

If you remember and care to, will you join me in this prayer?  More than advice or anecdotes or articles, this is what I really need.

Mary with Jesus and Angel by Margaret Tarrant

{Meanwhile, this picture is just so serene and peaceful, I had to share!}

7QT: Home Improvement Dreams & Big Bébés

Linking up today with Jen at Conversion Diary to share my (never) Quick Takes about our week.

1. This past week has been pretty exciting for us because our new tenants moved in!  It’s been weird hearing people next door because it’s been over a year since anyone has lived there.  The most alarming thing about it for me has been smelling their food! I would occasionally get a whiff of what was cooking next door when Mr. and Mrs. A lived there, but only when I was in the basement doing laundry.  This week, I could smell their dinner one night it in our house.  Dave said it was my crazy pregnancy smelling powers and he couldn’t smell anything. It didn’t smell bad, just a little onion heavy.  Ah well, I don’t care, they pay to live here and they could do more annoying things, right?

2. Now that we have tenants, we can finally tackle things on our side of the house.  We have daydreamed about home improvement projects forever and it’s so exciting that we can finally undertake some of them!  The first thing we have to do is get a new boiler for our side; necessary, expensive, and not very exciting.  But after that we are going to do little upgrades in the kitchen.  Nothing super dramatic or high end, just little improvements that will make a big difference in the quality of our  my life.  We’re going to put down new linoleum in the kitchen because the current linoleum has got to be at least 20 years old.  It’s nasty and it never looks clean and it’s basically the bane of my homemaking existence.  I can’t wait to have a floor that doesn’t look dingy and gross all the time!  We’re also going to paint all the dark paneling and molding in the kitchen and install wainscoting on the bottom half below the existing chair rail (using this method).  Our cabinets are outdated shiny oak, but we’re going to keep them wood and just change the hardware.  I think painted cabinets look nice but I’ve heard that long term they don’t really hold up that well, so we’ll keep them wood for the time being.  Finally, what I’m really looking forward to is installing a dish washer!  It’ll take up a good amount of our limited cabinet space, but I’m determined to figure out different ways to organize everything to make this happen. Wow, I don’t think I’ve adequately conveyed my excitement about these potential improvements so I’ll let Lucille Bluth help me out.

3. Oh, and one more little thing.  Young House Love inspired me this week when they put their microwave in the pantry.

We’re totally doing that too.  I’ve been following that blog ever since we got married and while I find most of  their posts to be helpful and inspiring, I’m not always on board with their design choices.  But lately I’ve been loving a lot of their improvements.  The nursery they’re setting up for their little boy who’s due this spring is really cute!

 4. Speaking of baby boys, I got to see mine again this week and I got a picture of his sweet face this time!  IMG_2220It’s a long story about why I had another ultrasound so soon after the last one but blessedly everything is fine and dandy.  He’s measuring right on time except he has a big barrel chest, just like SK did.  I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s a big baby just like his sister was (she was 9 pounds 8 ounces), and really, it’s freeing to just acknowledge this fact and not stress over it.  I think I just make big babies!

5. After the ultrasound, SK and I popped into a nearby mall and had some fun.  IMG_2211You can see in this picture how big Sara is!  That outfit is 2T and her arms and legs are way too long for it.  I’ve had to start transitioning her to 3T clothing and she’s not even two yet!

6. I’m almost done with that infamous book Bringing Up Bébé by Pamela Druckerman and I have to say I really liked it.  Sure, there’s the obligatory eye roll over the idea of French women doing everything better than us AND remaining skinny.  But, on a practical level, I thought there was a lot of good in the book.  Whether the author writes about French women being unapologetic about their epidurals or unflinchingly firm with their nons (saying no), I got the impression that French women are just a little bit more grown up in general than American women.  It made me think of that old post from Like Mother Like Daughter called Having a Baby and the Culture of Freaking Out.  Ironically, the LMLD post focuses a lot on not worrying about your weight after giving birth as well as the dangers of overmedicalized birth, while Bringing Up Bébé describes French women as being on the opposite side of that ideological fence.  But where they intersect is on the idea that mothers ought to be adults.  We American women have grown up in a culture where we easily “freak out” over everything and use shopping or binging on Oreos as self-medication for life’s ups and downs.  Movies, especially romantic comedies, capitalize on the charm of the frazzled neurotic female. Think Meg Ryan in, well, anything! But French women, according to this book, seem to have an innate sense of self-control and confidence that translates in motherhood to a natural authority and firm boundaries with their children. Again, it brings to mind the last line in that LMLD post: “Be the person with common sense. Become a mother.”

Anyway, it’s an interesting read, I definitely recommend it along with that post (or any post) at Like Mother Like Daughter!

7. Spring is coming!

IMG_2218

That is all!

Gender Reveal & Happy Birthday Mom!

Apparently, Kate and I are pregnancy twins because we both had our big ultrasounds yesterday, with similar but opposite results.  Her little guy is getting a little sister, and my little gal is getting a little brother!

Image drastically cropped to preserve my poor son's dignity.

Image drastically cropped to preserve my poor son’s dignity.

I wish I had a sweet little profile shot to share with you, but this is the only picture they sent me home with, can you believe it?  Usually I have a veritable CVS receipts worth of pictures after ultrasounds but for some reason they held out on me yesterday.  I guess they got wind that this is my second.  Here’s an exterior shot, just use your imagination: IMG_2170

It was a really long, crazy day yesterday and I ended up going to this ultrasound alone because Dave has been pretty sick, so I instructed the ultrasound tech not to tell me the news, but to seal it in an envelope to share with Dave when I got home.  We were both so surprised!  We didn’t really discuss gender before hand but I think we both assumed deep down that we had another girlie on the way.  I would note every difference in this pregnancy and think “Maybe this means boy…” and then talk myself out of it.  Really, it hasn’t been a drastically different pregnancy over all, except that I have an insane craving all the time for guacamole!

Sara, of course, is blissfully unaware of everything, but always reacts appropriately because she is a people pleaser like her mama.

IMG_2136

Little brother?!?

In other very happy news, it is my beautiful Mom’s birthday today!  We wouldn’t have a new McBoy to celebrate if not for my Mom and her openness to life.  Now that I know I’m having a boy, I’m sure some people (hopefully not too many!) will assume that we’re “done” because I have my boy and girl.  That makes me think of my mom who had 5 little girls underfoot before she had a boy.  I don’t know what kind of fun comments she got when we were little but I do remember at least one comment being made to her while we were grocery shopping and Jimmy was a baby.  Surely, she would “stop trying” now because she finally “got her boy”.  I’m glad she didn’t!

I'm reusing this picture from last year's Mimi Birthday post because I love it.

I’m reusing this picture from last year’s Mimi Birthday post because I love it.

Thank you for everything, Mom!  We love you!

Full Panel Pregnancy Talk

 I’m a full panel kinda girl.  I require the all-torso-encompassing support of the full panel, as I don’t grow a belly first, so much as I grow a second butt and insane handles of the not so lovely variety.  I’m beginning to think that my babies start growing in my tush and then migrate via my impressive muffin top to the belly and they settle and continue growing there around week 20.  It’s the only thing that explains how and why my body packs it on in such a way.  

Another more poetic way to think of it is that my body is like one of the great gothic cathedrals of Europe.  They have flying buttresses which help support the massiveness and beauty of the cathedrals by arching out and down, thus redistributing the weight.  

See?  That’s exactly what my rear end and love handles are doing.  They’re a support structure for the beauty and the majesty and the enormity of my growing baby and belly.  They’re just not as attractive.

Who am I fooling?  They’re not supporting the belly, they’re just biding their time until they can fuel my milk ducts.  Poetic thought indeed.

Back to panels.  I recently ordered a pair of full panel maternity skinny jeans. Biggest oxymoron of the century!

 

 

Little Dolls

The other day I was wasting time on pinterest and I saw this picture:

My first reaction was to think “I would wear that.”

My second reaction was to smack myself because that’s a little creepy.  Don’t you think?

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with this outfit in particular.  It’s not like there’s inappropriate writing on the rear or something.  If someone gave my daughter this entire outfit, I would definitely have her wear it.  Heck, like I said above, I would wear it!  But again, that’s a little weird.  I think there’s something wrong with carefully curating your little daughter’s image, especially if you’re trying to make her a mini-you.  They’re not little dolls that we can dress and accessorize for our pleasure.  Again, I wouldn’t put this outfit on the same level as toddler beauty pageants or Bratz dollz; it’s not inappropriate. It just seems like a little much.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have standards when it comes to how your family presents itself.  It’s a worthy goal to want to present motherhood and the Catholic family life as something attractive to outsiders. It’s also healthy as parents to have standards for your children in how to dress appropriately.

When I was a senior in highschool and getting ready for my homeschool prom, my mom took me dress shopping.  I found a dress I really liked in JCPenny but my mom nixed it.  Now, I knew I wouldn’t get away with anything immodest, but I thought this particular dress was pretty and flattering.  It was long and black with spaghetti straps and pink flowers embroidered on the side of the waist.  Well, my mom said no because she thought black was too mature a color for a young girl to wear.  I was disappointed, but that was her standard and it was her right to hold me to her standards.

Now I’m the mom and I have to have standards.  But part of having standards for my kids, I’ve found, is holding myself to some standards.  I can’t dress my daughter up just the way I want her to look.  She’s a kid.  She doesn’t care about what she wears (yet) and I want to her to be innocent and free of materialistic tendencies for as long as possible.  I’ll still have standards for what she wears to church and what she wears out of the house. And I still have preferences in style of clothes and things like that.  But I shouldn’t micromanage every little thing about her image.  More important than any image we might portray to the world is the message my daughter will receive from me about clothes, looks and self worth.  And I don’t think I would be sending a healthy message if I obsessively control how my daughter looks all the time.

 What do you think?

{phfr} A Visit & Some Happenings

SK and I took a trip to my parents home (and Claire and Rose’s neck of the woods) last week and while we were there, someone obligingly decided to join us!

{pretty & happy}

peter

Meet Master Peter Karol McAvoy, the newest McBaby in the family, and the first boy in 5 years!  We’re all smitten with this little guy.

rose & peterWe other McSisters continue to be amazed by Rose’s exceptional baby birthings, as well as her amazing ability to grow featherweight babies with wudgie-pudgie cheeks.  She has skillz!

………………..

Meanwhile, SK had lots of fun with the cousins, but I only got pictures of her and Ruthie.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

{not funny but real}

The reason why I don’t have more pictures and more to say about Peter is because right after he was born, I came down with a wicked cold and was very much out of commission for the last couple of days of our trip.  So I wasn’t able to hold or even see the little guy.  And now we’re back home.

It reminded me of the part at the end of the movie A Christmas Story when the Bumpus’ dogs break into the house and eat the Christmas turkey…

“Oh, life is like that. Sometimes, at the height of our revelries, when our joy is at its zenith, when all is most right with the world, the most unthinkable disasters descend upon us.”

Not to be dramatic or anything.

I guess we’ll just have to take another trip to New York soon!

Linking up with Like Mother Like Daughter

Prayer for Mothers

Today I thought I’d share a beautiful prayer I received in the mail.  It’s actually a Novena for Mother’s Day, but I’ve been praying it daily for our Rose and other friends who are expecting.  I’ve prayed it with one specific friend in mind, a friend from college whose first baby, born almost a year ago, was stillborn.  Today, in His goodness, God gave her and her husband another little boy.  He’s healthy and she’s doing well and everyone who knows and loves them are rejoicing with them.

Another friend of mine just had her third, who was diagnosed with Down Syndrome at birth.  She is healthy and beautiful, with an amazing head of red hair and r-e-a-l-l-y  l-o-n-g eyelashes.  She also sleeps 8 hours at a time — as a newborn!  I was on the phone with my friend today and heard her little girl cry for the first time — because she was pulling on her own hair and did NOT like the way it felt!  My friend and her family are taking such joy in their little gift.

A third friend just found out that her unborn baby boy has some birth defects that can, fortunately, be corrected after he’s born, but the waiting to meet her child and imagining what he’ll suffer in his first few months of life is weighing her down.

I’m sharing these stories to first, ask for prayers for these friends of mine, but also to ask for prayers for all mothers.  Life is a gift, and even under normal circumstances, I’m inclined to think often of something St. Gianna Molla wrote to her husband:  “Dear Pietro, I never could have imagined how much one suffers as a mother!”  I believe she wrote this after their little son was up frequently one night with a bellyache.  I was just there myself last night with our Lucky Duck.   Maybe one of you needs it today,  maybe you know of someone who needs it, but know that I remember all of you McSisters, and of course our dear Mimi, as I say this prayer:

Most Gracious Heavenly Father,  We thank you for our mothers to whom you have entrusted the care of every precious human life.  Grant that every woman my come to understand the full meaning of that blessing.  Watch over every mother who is with child.  Grant her love for her unborn baby.  Give her courage in times of fear, understanding in times of doubt, and hope in times of trouble.  Grant her joy in the birth of her child.  We beseech you to send Your Holy Spirit, the Comforter, to all mothers who sorrow for children that have died.  Help grieving mothers to rely on your tender mercy and fatherly love for all your children.  We ask your blessing on all those to whom you have entrusted motherhood.  May they ever follow the example of Mary, mother of Our Lord Jesus, and imitate her fidelity, her humility, and her self-giving love.  We ask this through your beloved son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Amen

 

 

{PFHR} Third trimester effort

PRETTY

Since I was supposed to do Five Faves yesterday and forgot, I’ll make this a combo post by using a “Fave” as my “Pretty.”

I’ve been lazily looking about for nursery ideas to introduce some bolder color into this baby boy’s room, and I liked this one I found on Pinterest that looks really easy to boot.

Seems like you could take this idea any direction you wanted for just a few bucks and not a lot of effort. Works for me right now! I have way too many craft projects sitting around in semi-completed stages at this point, since I lack the energy and enthusiasm to finish them.

HAPPY

happy

This was one happy four-year-old last week, with two different family parties full of cake and presents to enjoy. I am sad about my lame-o cake efforts: for her actual birthday I sent Paul out to get a grocery store bakery sheet cake, which I then did a very bad job decorating with Hello Kitty. Then on Saturday I rallied and baked Funfetti cupcakes, but when I tried to decorate those with number 4’s Paul said they looked like swastikas. Oops!

FUNNY

funny

After a hard week of partying, Margot got very tired on the way to Mimi and Baba’s on Sunday afternoon, and was exasperated by our efforts to keep her awake. It also occurred to me that she looks about how I feel by noon every day lately.

 

REAL

real

This child loves to get dirty. I’ve found it’s best to just strip her down and go with it, and then when she’s done she and Margot will happily spend 45 minutes in the bathtub together. It’s a good way to get through an afternoon!

Check out more PFHR with Like Mother, Like Daughter (and congratulations on Baby Evangeline!)

Womb Service: Rose’s Cravings

29 weeks

29 weeks

Little McBaby #3 is my first boy, and so far I’ve noticed fewer cravings (and hence gained a bit less weight, KNOCK ON WOOD 10 WEEKS TO GO!) than with my girls. This could also be because I have less time to indulge my food cravings and my general laziness because I have to chase said girls around and can’t nap twice a day and eat lots of donuts. That being said, my “cravings” every pregnancy are pretty lame and run along the same lines: cereal and frozen yogurt. Which is to say, carbs and sugar. Which is to say, sugar. But I prefer mine to take the form of about three bowls of cereal and one bowl of frozen yogurt daily. Lest you think the frozen yogurt is some stab at healthiness, please know that it’s only because I’m a tad lactose intolerant and have learned that it’s easier on my stomach than real ice cream. Otherwise, believe me, I’d go for the real stuff — there are SO many more fun flavors and extra goodies in ice cream than in frozen yogurt. In fact, one infamous maternity meltdown of mine had to do with frozen yogurt: When I was very pregnant with Ruthie I decided to take myself out to Stewarts for a dish one night, thinking they’d have just vanilla and chocolate, but no biggie, I’ll put some candy and caramel on it and it will be delish. I was really looking forward to this treat and planning my toppings, and so when I got there and looked up at the board to check my options I just about died. Here’s what they had for frozen yogurt flavors: Raspberry fudge torte. That’s it. ONE bloody kind of frozen yogurt, with FRUIT in it, and I don’t even know what the torte part meant. NO vanilla, NO chocolate.
I cried, people. I cried a lot, all the way home, cried to Paul about, felt like a fool but remain to this day really peeved about it. If you’re going to bother selling frozen yogurt at all, and you’re only planning on offering one or two flavors, give us a blank canvas, for Pete’s sake!
Joanie and I went to Stewarts just the other day with free ice cream passes and sure enough, still just the one flavor, so I told her my sad story and then got the raspberry anyway. It was actually pretty good.

Celebrations, Cravings, Carsick {7QT & Womb Service}

It’s Friiiiiiiday, Friiiiiiday.

1. I hope everyone had a great Fourth of July yesterday.  We enjoyed our double celebration of the Fourth and our anniversary.  We all went out for a nice lunch together and then later we went to our friend’s house for a delicious BBQ. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA You know, when we set July 4th as the date for our wedding, we weren’t absolutely thrilled with it because it seemed kind of kitschy, but in retrospect it was a really good decision.  Dave always has the day off from work and there’s always fun to be had.  Hence it’s always a really special day.

2. We were relieved to make it to our friend’s house (which is about 40 minutes away) yesterday in one piece because we’ve been experiencing some technical difficulties with car travel lately.  It all started last week when we decided SK was ready for a big girl forward facing car seat.  She seemed pretty excited about this transition too!  That is, until we took our first 10 minute car trip to Costo.  We barely made it to the parking lot before she ‘sploded her snack all over the beautiful new Graco Nautilus.  I was in a panic. Was she sick? We had a date that night!  Was this carsickness?  Couldn’t be! We were in the car for 10 minutes!  Well, we very cautiously took very short trips all weekend and watched her like a hawk.  She never got fully sick again, but most car trips, even the quickest ones, made her very upset and she would cough-gag by the time we got to our destination.  Since we stupidly got a seat that only faces forward, we decided we would get another car seat that had a rear-facing option in hopes that it would help her nausea.  So far so good! But I’m feeling mostly cautious, not so much optimistic though.  Especially since we have lots of car trips planned for this summer.

3. Well, it’s a terrible segue, but I figured since I was writing about nausea, I could join up with Katrina’s Womb Service link-up and reminisce about what foods kept my nausea at bay when I was in the “family way”.  In some ways, I was totally that pregnant woman.  I loved pickles!  I always love pickles, especially a good bread and butter pickle, but when I was pregnant, it was only dill pickles for me.  Dill pickles with slices of sharp cheddar.  Dave loved a smooch after I had that snack! Towards the end, I had a terrible horrible no good very bad eating habit.  I had some frosting left over from making St. Patrick Day cookies and I would eat the frosting with ritz crackers!  It was awful!  And I wonder why SK was 9 1/2 pounds!  That’s all I can remember specifically.  I wish I was one of those ladies who craved fruit.  I never crave fruit, pregnant or not.  And I wonder why I’m ____ pounds!

Pregnant women don't get free beer at the Sam Adams brewery :(

Pregnant women don’t get free beer at the Sam Adams brewery 🙁

Oh, and speaking of beer, I think Rose has her current cravings to share for Katrina’s link-up too!

rosebeer

Teehee. Don’t kill me, Rose.

4. Our garden is doing so well!  IMG_1521 IMG_1522We’ve had snap peas for the past 3 weeks or so, so of course I made this dinner with them.  So delicious!

5. I wish I had progress to report about our chair reupholstery project.  It’s kind of in limbo right now.  Dave still needs to finish stripping and re-staining the wood and I need to start cutting pieces, making new cording and sewing the cushion cover.  It’s just not on the top of our priorities and wants now that summer is here.  The last thing I want to do in the summer is spend hours inside sewing! It’s shameful though, I know.  I’m going to make weekly chair goals for myself so that we have a little progress soon, I promise!

6. You’re not going to believe this but we are far from being done celebrating birthdays and anniversaries this month!  Next up is Miss Ruthie’s birthday on July 7th, then Jack’s on July 8th. Our Grandma’s birthday is July 14th, Jane and Brandon’s 13th wedding anniversary is the 15th and Lucy’s birthday is the 16th!

7. And on top of all that, Coming up next weekend is the long-anticipated McFamily reunion.  My Mom and Grandma have been working non-stop on planning this shin-dig for at least a year and it’s finally almost here!  Along with descendants of our beloved late Grandpa McMahon, there will also be descendants of his siblings in attendance, making for a very merry McFamily get-together.  And get this.  We get tee shirts!  Jane and her brood are coming so almost all of the McSisters will be together; we’ll be missing our Sister-sister Mary though.  Maybe someone got around to making a Sr. Theresa cardboard cutout?

That’s all she wrote.  And it’s quite enough! Linking with the beautiful Katrina and Jen today because that’s a-what-I-do 😉