September 11

A day pregnant with emotion: pain, shock, fear, and conviction are only a few. As September rolls around the anniversary of the acts of terror bring about deep emotional memories for me that have nothing to do with terrorism. September 11, 2001 as images of the terrible crimes against humanity were played over and over, I felt numb to the chaos and guilty for feeling sorry for myself when so many were having their lives ripped apart. I too was losing a loved one.

A child had been growing in my womb and it was ending in miscarriage. This was my second loss. I had three living children. I was struggling to nurse the youngest while my body warred against itself. Pregnancy hormones surged through my body causing nausea without the promised reward of a new infant to hold. Morning sickness and depression caused a severe weight loss making it difficult to keep my milk supply up for my then almost seven month old son.

A few weeks earlier I had begun to bleed. Not the spotting I had experienced with the loss of my first child, but rather an abundance and I knew it was over. In the ER an ultrasound was done and there was no fetal pole (heart beat). The ultrasound technician wasn’t allowed to say anything, but she didn’t need to. All that blood spoke for itself. The ER doctor called the OB I had with my last birth. I was newly pregnant and hadn’t even been in for my first appointment with this pregnancy. I was told to rest, what to come back in for, and to see my OB.

An appointment for the next day was made and I was told not to eat after bed time. Upon arrival I asked why I couldn’t eat and was told a D and C was to be preformed. Surprised at the revelation I declined the procedure. It is the same procedure as an abortion and can cause complications for further pregnancies. Miscarrying naturally was preferred. The OB responded with an annoyed, “What ever you want, but many women emotionally want it over with”. His reaction was so different from my doctor’s with my first miscarriage who encouraged letting nature take its course.

Weeks passed, the bleeding stopped, but the miscarriage had not yet taken place. With my first baby the same thing happened. First there was bleeding then nothing until sudden labor pains and the delivery of the placenta. The waiting was difficult. I accepted the loss, but was struggling with the hormones, nausea and weight loss. I lay on the floor of my room holding my sleeping baby, praying the child in my womb would come out so I could properly care for my other children. Knowing the baby was still in me was making it difficult to move on.

The whole world seemed to be mourning. Despair was tempting. I knew I had to do something. I talked with my husband about going ahead and doing a D and C. Not comfortable with the OB I had seen and wanting a second opinion on how to proceed I took my sister’s offer to visit her OB. Sitting in Dr. Lubetkin’s office with my sister I told him my story and asked what I should do. In a very matter of fact voice he told me, “You’re still pregnant.” Confused for a moment, knowing the baby was dead I wanted to know how to let the miscarriage happen. It took sometime for me to realize he thought the baby was alive. I begged him not to give me hope after all this time, and there had been so much bleeding… He decided to prove it.

We went to an exam room and an ultrasound was done. My “dead” baby was moving and leaping in my womb. Life!

Depression is something that comes naturally to me. It is an old worn out sweat shirt put on when I want to feel comfortable. Elation is unnatural for me, yet elated I was. How could this be? Why us? Not only did my instincts fail me, but the incompetence of others almost killed my baby. If I had done the D and C, not till Heaven’s door would I have known that my child was negligently killed. Thousands of people were crying out in pain, hoping to wake from a nightmare, yet God mercifully protected our child.

I was blessed to deliver three children with Dr. Lubetkin’s practice before moving to North Florida. Every September I ponder God’s plan for us. We can’t understand nor even fathom from under the tapestry the beauty of the image above. When it seems that life is all a mess and horribly wrong I remember in His hands the chaos underneath is creating the glorious finished product above.
May the souls of the faithfully departed through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

May the souls of the faithfully departed through the mercy of God, rest in peace.


Laura and Joanna
Cute for a dead kid isn’t she?

Whispers II: An Old Man in a Plane

Whispers I
Whispers II: An Old Man in a Plane
Whispers III: Obedience
Whispers IV: A Yellow Butterfly

The summer after I miscarried I flew home alone to visit my family. I had taken some magazines belonging to my husband to pass the time. One of the magazines was about short wave radios. An older man sitting next to me noticed what I was reading and a conversation began. It was mostly the older man who talked. I was shy and he was hard of hearing so it worked out. He began to tell me how during WWII he had operated a short wave radio in the Vatican. His story was fascinating and I was very embarrassed at my lack of historical knowledge. Toward the end of his story he mentioned how I might have guessed he was a priest. Uhg… so much for history AND my catholic faith. I never put the two together. (Thank you post-Vatican II-feel-good-no-substance-religious education.) He then asked what faith I practiced. I gave my standard noncommitting answer, “I was raised catholic.” He was a seasoned priest and knew what I meant.

I don’t really remember the details, but our conversation continued and I had mentioned losing the baby and knowing I should go to church again. He started to talk about how sometimes when difficult things happen in life we tend to get mad at God. I blurted out loud without thinking, that I could never be mad at God! I was afraid my baby died because he was mad at me for the sins I chose to commit. Noticing how much this disturbed me, he turned to me and asked if I wanted him to hear my confession. I am pretty sure my eyes popped out of my head and my faced turned red. My heart began to race and my eyes watered. Until that moment the Sacrament of Penance hadn’t occurred to me. Please remember too we were crammed into a plane and the man required me to almost yell in ordered to be heard. I turned him down even though my heart was screaming to do it. I remember him saying that God didn’t punish me by taking away my baby, but most of what he said was lost to my own thoughts. They were thoughts of embarrassment that people could hear us, how part of me wanted to find a quiet spot and talk to him alone, and how I wished I could remember how to make a confession (sin of pride prevented me from asking).

We landed and I had to catch my connecting flight. Father promised to pray for me. Some how even without confession a part of me felt more at peace. God had sent this opportunity. Even though I did not fully appreciate it at the time, I still knew beyond any shadow of a doubt God wanted me back.

Okay, I guess that really is not a good example of a whisper. God actually sent a shepherd to find me. I was just to ashamed to be found.

(Douay-Rheims version) Apocalypse 3:20 “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If any man listens to my voice and opens the door to me, I will come in to him and will sup with him, and he with me.”

He is knocking at your door too.

Party Crashing Devil?

Today’s assignment for the little girls’ school was to make a birthday card for Mary (Our Savior’s Mother). Amelia and I were discussing where to set up the cards and a statue of Mary when Jane popped around the corner. In a very matter of fact voice she asked, “What if the devil comes steal the cards?” Amelia backed me up when I said we would have to invite Michael the Archangel to protect them.

Whispers

Whispers I
Whispers II: An Old Man in a Plane
Whispers III: Obedience
Whispers IV: A Yellow Butterfly

For many people there are dramatic events, life altering moments that propel them to change course or aid them to return to the right path. This has not been the case in my life. God instead sends me little whispers and I am ashamed to admit I am often not listening. There are times when I heard but misunderstood. I have called out to God in pain and often felt abandoned and alone. I prayed for help and seemed to have not been heard. As a teenager struggling with my family’s divorce I used it as an excuse to distance myself from the church and eventually God. When I lost my first baby the unbelievable need to feel God’s presence again was awakened in my heart. An encounter with an old man in a plane was an ignored whisper. The baptism of a Godchild was a start home out of obedience. A yellow butterfly was a gift of love allowing me to open my arms and embrace a God I had hurt and wanted to be close to again.

I started to spot while driving with Jason to his new duty station at the M.C.A.G.C.C. in Twentynine Palms, CA. We spent six weeks in a hotel room waiting for base housing, knowing I was going to miscarry and waiting for the inevitable to happen. I cried mostly and hoped that a miracle would happen and my baby would be alive. I didn’t want to leave the bed for fear that I would miscarry in public. At nineteen weeks I finally miscarried. I delivered the placenta alone in a very cold hotel room bathroom. The details of that delivery are the clearest I have of the nine (update: now ten) I have been through.

Later that week, knowing that it was over, I hopped on my bike with a map and rode around the small town for the first time. I needed to find the church. I had to sit with Jesus. I needed to know I would see my baby someday and that there was meaning to all this pain. I was drowning with the grief and guilt that this happened because I had turned from Him. I found the church. The front door was locked and I was too shy to ask around if there was an open chapel. It was enough to sit outside and know He was there present in the Tabernacle. Even as I questioned my catholic religion and couldn’t make sense of Jesus and how is death saved us, my heart still knew the Eucharist was Him! I would like to say that it was some divine moment and I instantly returned to the Sacraments, but I had a lot more baggage to deal with. God is ever patient and faithful even when I am not.

Differences between the first and the eighth birth.

1st Very afraid of the unknown, read lots of pregnancy books and go to birthing class.

8th Anxiety over the very known! I don’t mean to trivialize what our Lord went through during the Agony in the Garden, but when you are preparing to give birth after experience the pain of previous births you somewhat understand the fear of pain but still having the desire to suffer through it for the miracle. Labor is fun compared to Jesus’ suffering, so I don’t sweat blood; but do often wish the cup could be taken away!

1st Unsure of what to expect and don’t know how to best handle post birth complications.

8th Know what you want and find out that by politely, confidently, and not defensively speaking up you get what you want without any arguments.


1st
Even though a natural birth was wanted, panic and feel that labor pain needs to be avoided. (Had drugs with the first three, epidural with the next three and finally naturally with the last two)

8th Learn the that by offering up every contraction for a specific intention and focusing on that intention during the contraction will allow an incredible peace and spiritual strength to endure the pain to be received. (Notice it doesn’t take the pain away only helps to tolerate it) Of course having the kids come out really quickly helps. I must also admit that I have not mastered offering up “after pains” and enjoyed my purple pills post birth; maybe with the ninth….


1st
Expect husband to read your mind, be all comforting, take care of everything just the way you would.

8th  Learn to just ask for what you want, remember your commitment to care for his needs too, appreciate all the little things he does that you didn’t notice before because you were to busy expecting him to be you!


1st
Look at baby for hours and wish someone could see and appreciate every baby movement or noise with you.

8th Look at baby for hours and have many other little someones who love to see everything the baby does too.

Morning Fight

Scene: Mom in bed suffering from morning sickness (yes, even in my eighth month…uhg). Several children in the next room can be heard arguing.

Laura 6yrs: I don’t like you!

Jane 4.5 yrs: You don’t like Jesus then!

Laura (confused sounding): I like Jesus. I don’t like you and I am not playing with you anymore.

Jane (quietly and with cocky attitude): Then you don’t like Jesus.

Paul 7 yrs: Jane is right you don’t like Jesus.

Laura (upset and defensive): Yes I do! I love Jesus!