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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Rosie's birth story

It's so weird having a scheduled C-section. I've always gone into spontaneous labor before. Having a date on the calendar and KNOWING when it was going to happen was a totally new experience.

My oldest child had been born via C-section in 1989. I had labored for 48 hours and tried pushing and when he wouldn't come out, the only tool in my OB's back of tricks was C-section. Later I learned that there were many other things that could have been tried for this posterior baby, and that many of the interventions I had probably caused me to need the Cesarean. Nonetheless, I had a scar on my uterus and entered my childbearing years somewhat of an obstetrical cripple in the eys of the medical establishment.

After 3 successful VBACs (Vaginal births after cesarean), my 6 year old daughter decided to send her umbilical cord down through the birth canal first and I had a truly emergency, life-or-death Cesarean. Scar two.

Rosie's birth was a scheduled C because I the medical community in my area wouldn't allow a trial of labor unless I went on or before my due date, but they wouldn't induce with two scars... oh and my baby had to be normal sized. As all of my babies came at least 10 days late, and weighed 9 pounds or more, the chances of all this happening were slim to none. If I were 36 instead of 46,and if I hadn't already lost a child, I probably would have bucked the system with another home birth. But I wanted this baby to have the best medical care available if it was needed, and I didn't feel I wanted to fight that fight outside the "norm" this time. So I gave up to just scheduling the C.

I did however go back to my original OB. He's a nice enough guy, very pleasant, but mostly I think he is a fine surgeon and if I was having surery, that's what I really wanted in my provider.

Peter and I got to the hospital around 5:30 a.m. as instructed. I had had nothing to eat or drink since midnight, although I did have a tiny bit of water when I brushed my teeth. I was really thirsty. My nurse, Ann, was very kind and started getting me ready for surgery.

This really was a dying to self. I wasn't walking around in my home, doing what I wanted to do between contractions. I put on the hospital gown and put my own clothes away. I allowed Ann to put in a catheter (which is always painful for me, I don't know why.) She took my arm and put in my IV. Pete was there too and he helped me to keep my sense of humor. Inside though I was thinking about the stations of the cross - trying to keep my eyes on the Lord's passion and remembering that mine was only a small teeny tiny portion of what He endured. The stripping of clothes, the nailing to the cross - all of it. But what I really related to this time was the thirst. "I thirst!" and to make a finer point, they give you a nasty cup full of something to dry up your secretions even more! My throat was really parched. I did cheat when Ann left the room and asked Pete to just get a paper towel wet and let me put it to my lips, and he did. I thought it would be too unbearable to not have just that tiny bit of moisture.

When the time came they wheeled my bed down to the OR. My doctor was standing there in his scrubs in the hallway and gave me a pleasant smile. He had another lady scheduled after me, so I knew he had a full morning. I still wanted to hop off and say I had changed my mind.

The nurse anesthetist was WONDERFUL. What a sweet, kind, funny woman! I had no qualms about her putting in the spinal anesthetic. She and I started talking about the national spelling bee that had just ended and how those words were sure stumpers for us! I noted that she had an angel pin on her uniform and I asked her if she had lost a baby. She smiled and said that she had. I asked her if she had named her baby, and she said she had but that only she knew the name. I didn't press her, but I told her that I had a baby named Raphael in heaven too. I think if I wasn't strapped down we would have given each other a big hug.

When Peter came in, my doctor had already started cutting me. I thought it was odd that he didn't tell me he was about to start. Maybe after the many years of practice he has discovered that it's best to just start and not say anything about it. He had a student with him and Peter said she did a lot of the surgery but that my doctor was supervising every cut, and every stitch meticulously. I did hear him too her to loosen one stich because a tight stitch doesn't heal any better than a loser one and it would give me more pain. I think the nurse anesthetist tried to distract me from listening, but I told her I was a medical transcriptionist so this stuff was intersting to me and not troublesome. She started telling me EVERYTHING then. She was so cute!!

It seemed to take forever for them to get to the birth part. My doctor said it wasn't a race and he wasn't in a big hurry. I couldn't believe how much Mr. Pete was paying attention this time. When your doctor starts pointing out anatomical details to your husband... it's just kind of strange. I said to Mr. Pete, "Hey, this isn't going to kill the mystique is it?" And everyone chuckled.

They finally got down to the baby, and someone mentioned how much hair she had! But because she was so big, my doctor couldn't get her head out with his hand. He put some kind of suction thing on her head. I hated to hear that and I wanted to ask him to stop. He told Peter that he could make the incision bigger but it would be better for me if he didn't. That was thoughtful. Somehow he did manage to get her head out which seemed like a long time to me, and she started to ball!! She wasn't born yet and she was letting everyone know what she thought about it! He got the rest of her out and she was brought to me right away so I could see her.

Oh God!! Thank you!! I don't know what I expected. I just couldn't believe that I had a perfect, healthy, gorgeous baby girl. I guess I epected to see Raphael again. I started to cry. They bundled her up and took her off. Apgars of 9 and 10. They don't get better than that.

I started to feel somewhat nauseous and I told the nurse anesthetist. She said, "I've got something for that!" And then I started noticing that I was feeling what I perceived as a lot of abdominal pain. Again she said, "I've got something for that." She was fast becoming my new best friend. I don't know what I would have done if I had puked as I absolutely had no where to move my head. Luckily I didn't.

Putting the parts back was a lot worse than getting them all out. My doctor looked at my uterus and said it was really in great shape. "You could have 3 or 4 more!" he said. Well, ya never know. I felt a lot of pulling, and tugging, and I felt as if they were doing something right under my ribs. Was that normal? The NA said that it was but she did give me something to help. It made me kind of sleepy. I just wanted it to be over. My arms were out, again like being on a cross, only the kind NA had one of them, and my husband was holding the other one. Other than these doctors doing whatever it was they were doing, I felt pretty good.

In my room, my doctor did come in to see me. I had my baby, kind of sort of, on my chest, trying to nurse. I don't remember what he said other than it went well, and I healed really well from the last surgery which meant less work for him this time. What I do remember is that he put his arm on my shoulder and arm in a very compassionate, almost fatherly way. If doctors only knew how much THOSE types of gestures mean to a patient. I could tell it was awkward for him to do that, so I appreciated his efforts all the more.

All the nurses lied and told me that Rosie was the most beautiful baby. That's OK, to me she was. What will make or break a birth experience is the kidness, or lack thereof, of the nusring staff. This hospital was very small (only 5 babies when I was there) and I thought they were superb. They couldn't wait to help you or to see if you needed anything. I would go back there in a heartbeat. And after 2 days we came home.


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