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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My first birth story.

On Sunday, I became the mom of a preschooler, tweens, teens and finally... a twenty!
Calvin turned 20 years old and I absolutely cannot believe it.

As most first births go, Calvin's was of course life changing. Mr. Pete and I went from being DINKS (double income, no kids) to being parents, and I became a SAHM (stay at home mom). But Calvin's birth was also the catalyst that lead me back into the Catholic Church with enthusiasm.

I had been the ideal prenatal patient. I read all of the trendy books on pregnancy, I went to the hospital based birthing class, and I put most of my faith in the hospital. I reasoned that since I had never had a baby, and they had delivered thousands of babies, that I should place my trust in them that they knew what they were doing.

We also made the typical first time parent mistakes. We went to the hospital way too soon and found out right away that being in the hospital confined to a bed for hours and hours is not a lot of fun. We also discovered that once you submit yourself to the hospital rigmarole there's no turning back. We couldn't roam the hallways or go to the cafeteria or any of that because I had to be hooked to a monitor with an IV started - for a regular, normal delivery.

First time labors are notoriously slow and mine was no different. They broke my bag of waters, which was one of the most traumatic experiences of my life.  Pitocin was started and of course the contractions became more difficult immediately and I needed an epidural, which slowed down labor even more. And when I was finally ready to start pushing I became discouraged as the head would come down the birth canal and then go back a little between contractions - with no knowledge of how normal birth should go and with no encouragement from the nurse I was very discouraged. When the baby's heart rate dropped and they put oxygen on my face and flipped me to my right side, I was more than agreeable to a Cesarean when it was suggested.

About an hour or so later (because surprisingly they didn't rush me down to the OR, in fact they allowed the epidural to become active again. I would describe the pace as almost leisurely) I had my baby with an APGAR score of 9, and was a new mom as well as a postop patient - something I couldn't quite believe. It turned out Calvin was sunny side up (face up) instead of face down and that is why his decent through the birth canal was more difficult. (I later learned that breaking the bag of water was the worst course of action to do with a posterior baby!)

The weeks after that I walked around convinced that everything that happened to me was absolutely necessary, and if I hadn't been in a hospital one of us might have died, blah blah blah. I had bought into the whole hospital/ modern medicine birth model. Then one day I was pushing my baby through the grocery store and I saw a book on the book rack called A Good Birth, A Safe Birth : Choosing and Having the Childbirth Experience You Want.

I started flipping through the book and just happened to find a paragraph on how  epidurals slow down labor! Suddenly I had a lot more questions. I bought the book, went home and read it cover to cover, and then  had a good cry. I felt betrayed and taken advantage of.

What I learned was that because I had not educated myself well about the birth process and how normal birth should work and because in retrospect the hospital classes really prepared me more to be a compliant patient than a birthing woman, when I got into tough situations, I had to defer the decision making process to others. Because I didn't really know my choices, I didn't have any. I also learned that informed consent was very subjective.

That experience made me start questioning everything in my life. It was those questions that made me switch from Democrat to Republican to just conservative in the early 1990s. Questioning lead me to homeschool my kids. And questioning the faith I was born into, really looking at it with a "prove it" kind of attitude, lead me back into my Catholic faith.

But women will be saved through childbearing--if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.  1 Timothy 2:15.

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