My Spring Reading List!

After the heavier reading of Lent, I thought I'd like to continue some inspirational spiritual reading through the Easter season as well. 

Here's my book list!

Private and Pithy lessons from Scripture - Mother Angelica
Little Book of Life Lessons - Mother Angelica
Three to Get Married - Fulton Sheen
The Little Oratory
Diary Sister Faustina
Getting Past Perfect - Kate Wicker
The Words We Pray - Amy Welborn
Perfectly Yourself - Matthew Kelly 
Crossing the Threshold of Hope - Pope John Paul II

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Touched by Grace Part Two

After talking to the doctor for a little bit I realized that I had a few options. I could wait to deliver naturally which could take days, maybe even a week or so, or I could go for a D&C. Now, I had already had two C-sections and I hate surgical procedures with a passion. Plus, I had read some things about some of the side effects of having a D&C and I didn't want to blow my chances for having maybe another baby someday, so I was very reluctant to go that route. The doctor scheduled me for another ultrasound at another office the next day where I could sit down with yet another physician and make a plan.

On the way home from the doctor's office I felt that I needed to stop by the church and let one of the priests know what was going on. Father Jackson was just getting ready to say the 5:30 mass and I asked him if he had a minute. He immediately gave me a big hug and told me how sorry he was to hear the news. He told me he would call in the morning and we could talk over those kinds of arrangements.

The next stop was to go over to my mom's and tell her. Mom was a trooper. She didn't break down, and she didn't over react. I thought she took the news very bravely.

The kids were a different story. Calvin just sat there kind of numb. The two little ones started to cry, but at 3 and 4 I think they were crying more because I was crying. Gabe genuinely wept and gave me a hug. I found out later that he had hoped that nothing would be wrong with me and then he felt a little bad about not thinking the same for the baby. Sam's reaction was immediate and visceral. He developed a splitting headache and nausea, very much like his dad's reaction a few weeks earlier at the news of his mom's death. He had to go to bed right away.

Mr. Pete told Calvin and Sam to keep an eye on me when he was at work the next day. He was a little afraid that if I went into full blown labor I could bleed a lot before help came. I wasn't worried about that. It seemed as though my body was doing everything to hang on to this baby and was losing it in slow motion.

It was hard to go to the doctor's office the next day. I was still in maternity clothes, sitting with all these other ladies in maternity clothes, only I knew my outcome wasn't going to be a good one. There weren't any pregnancy magazines that dealt with miscarriage- at least not in the waiting room that day. I was holding it together, but I was miserable.

When the ultrasound tech called us, I could tell she was uncomfortable. I told he I knew we were there for fetal demise, and that our doctor had just sent us for the ultrasound to be sure. She was an angel. She gave me the choice of looking at the screen or looking away and I wanted to look. We could see our baby floating around. He looked a little odd, the eye sockets seemed hollow and the head a little funny. She couldn't see if he was a boy or a girl yet. But the longer we looked the more like a little person he seemed to us. She took a picture of his little foot with perfect toes, and we could see that he liked his hand up by his face, it didn't seem to move from there. The technician made that experience a very good and memorable one for us and I will never forget her kindness.

The doctor was new to us, but very personable. He said his recommendation was to go in over the weekend and have a D&C. When I told him I was very concerned about being induced, he said I could possibly go in the night before and have Lamineria inserted to start opening the cervix if I wanted. I also told him that since it was All Saints Day weekend and my kids had parties planned that I sort of wanted to wait until Saturday to do this and he was fine with that. There didn't seem to be any extra risk to me to wait.

It was weird walking around pregnant looking knowing that the baby was dead. I felt kind of like a walking casket. I found out later that the word "casket" means the holder of precious goods, and I kind of liked that. It was my special time, my last few days to spend with this precious child before he really was all gone.

My friends were phenomenal. One of my good friends put my name on an emergency prayer request. People came by with food and since we decided to name our baby Raphael, we received a few angel statues as well. Father Jackson called to talk to me as well and he was very supportive of arranging a funeral mass and burial after the delivery, whenever that was. I felt very loved and supported.

At our scheduled All Saints Day Mass, my kids dressed up in their costumes. Izzy and Noah were Our Lady of Guadalupe and Juan Diego, Gabe was St. John the Baptist complete with fuzzy hair, Sam was St. Francis of Assissi, and Calvin padded up to become Thomas Aquinas. They looked terrific. I was supposed to play my flute for that mass and I showed up. Everyone that knew was very kind, I got lots of kind words and hugs. Afterwards we lined our kids up and got their picture - just like all the other moms and dads a the celebration. I felt almost normal.

At the party several women came to tell me of their own miscarriage stories. One lady had carried her baby past his due date and at delivery he was stillborn... a 10 pound still born baby born that she had to delivery via C-section. It had devastated her. It's funny but I had always felt there was something sort of sad around her and maybe this was it even though it had been 12 years ago. Other moms came with other stories and soon I had a whole "Miscarried moms" support table! We laughed, we cried, it was really a great experience. One of the moms presented me with a receiving blanket and a nightgown from the Christ Child Society for my baby. I truly felt as though I too were being covered in a blanket of love. Many of the moms promised to call me at the hospital on Saturday so that I wouldn't be bored to tears waiting for my labor and delivery. I was kind of looking forward to that.

I was starting to feel a little funny towards the end of the evening, maybe even a little crampy. On the way home Mr. Pete stopped and got me some Extra Strength Tylenol - just in case. We got our kidlets home, out of their costumes - put their costumes away and went to bed.

I couldn't sleep right away. I stayed up for hours on the internet reading about miscarriage, stillbirth etc. I found a medical site that had thousands of pictures of miscarried babies, some of them with really gross anomalies. I looked at hundreds of pictures until I was really just numb to it Then I went to bed.

Now the rest of the story I really think God arranged for me. He took an experience that could have been heartbreakingly sad, and changed it for His own purposes. Here's what happened.

That night I woke up about 2:00 a.m. I felt crampy, and it was regular. Could I be in labor on my own? I told Mr Pete, "I think I'm in labor." and he said, "Well go back to sleep and we'll go to the hospital around 7:00."

Uh... no Mr. Pete. This was the real deal and we had to get up NOW!!! Although I had had home births before and felt like an old hand at it, I was a little nervous about something going on with a miscarriage. I was mainly worried about bleeding too much so I felt as if we had to get to the hospital right away. Mr. Pete however, felt that if he was going to the hospital to spend hours waiting for labor and delivery, he wanted to get a shower in first. Men!!!

So Mr. Pete hops in the shower and I go down to the basement to find a clean top to wear because heaven forbid that my clean clothes ever make it into the dresser first!! As I'm pawing through the laundry I had several big contractions and I was amazed at how well I was handling them. In fact I was kind of proud of myself!! I was really good at handling labor. I got back upstairs called the hospital and told them we were coming in and then I woke up my mom to ask her if she could come over to stay with the kids while we went to the hospital. She was on her way.

But what was keeping Mr. Pete so long! In true fashion, Mr. Pete had jumped into the shower as always, without making sure to have a clean towel for when he got out. He was standing their shivering waiting for me to show up to run and get him a clean towel... well no problem, I'm just in LABOR!!! I closed the door to bathroom to keep the steamy air in and ran to get the towel. I made it almost all the way back to the bathroom - literally within 5 feet of the door, when WHOOOSH!!! My water broke and everything in was coming out NOW!!

I SCREAMED for Pete. He flew out of the shower, practically picked me up and rushed me into the bathroom. I jumped into the bathtub. I could feel the baby sliding out of me and I kept saying, "Oh, don't drop him, don't drop him... be careful, be careful!" Not to worry, I still had my underwear on so Mr. Pete was able to gently slide them down and grab Raphael and tenderly lay him down in the bathtub.

We both just sat their dazed. I was sitting in the bathtub with my night gown still on, with my dead baby between my legs, and Mr. Pete was naked, wet and dripping by the tub just trying to catch up with what we had both just experienced. I was afraid to look at the baby. I didn't know what I was going to see or if I could stand to see it. Mr. Pete was my eyes. He told me the baby was very small, that he seemed to have all of his parts, that he was a boy, and that he was kind of cute. Eventually I opened my eyes and looked at him too. I was glad that I had looked at those pictures the night before. I think they really prepared me to look upon my own son. And he was kind of cute. His head was round, his mouth was slightly open and he indeed had his little arm bent under his head with his other arm over his belly. It looked like he had found a peaceful position to simply fall asleep in. I loved him immediately.

Mr. Peter was thinking about other things by then. The placenta came out, and some blood, but he was worried that if I would move or something there would be a gusher or something. He kept looking at me and asking me if I felt lightheaded or anything. Then all of the sudden it hit me.

"Pete, you're naked!"

"Oh, I don't care about that, I don't want you to bleed to death."

"But Pete, I called my mom - she's on the way!"

"Well I'll grab my robe when she gets to the door."

Wry look in Mr. Pete's general direction.

"She has a key Pete."

And then we both cracked up at the thought of my mom coming in to find her son-in-law buck naked! I loved it!

Peter grabbed some sweat pants and we both sat there a while looking at our son and then I realized, the baby came on his own time. He came on All Saints Day. God really was good!

To be continued.
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  1. Thank you for sharing this - it is very helpful.


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