Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Roe vs. Wade Anniversary: Pro-Life in Suffering

Our pro-life angle is the suffering angle. The angle of parents faced with a prenatal diagnosis and the quality of life question. As Catholics, we believe that the proper end of marriage is to welcome the children that marriage creates. For six pregnancies now, after our firstborn was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, we've been viewed askance for having our babies instead of aborting them. Why would you bring a child into the world only to suffer and die? Here are some of my answers:

*Every single person is born to a life of joys and sufferings. And then death. There have been a few examples of saintly folks who did not technically die, but don't plan on that.

*Life is difficult and messy and complicated.

*I don't have all the answers and guarantees, but I do know that killing children in the womb is not the answer.

*If my child dies, it will not be by my hand.

*Everyone suffers, not only those with health problems. Here I would like to add a bit about another one of my children. One with a defiant streak that would curl your toenails. And a touch of laziness.  And who will not work on school lessons. Tough life. No CF. I believe I may beg God for help more for that one than my CFer...

*People today have demands: COMFORT. ENTITLEMENTS. PAINLESS. GUARANTEES. PERFECTION. A little one that requires extra work or forces social embarrassment or causes constricted hearts will not do.

*Mother Teresa's famous words : "It is a poverty to decide that a child may die so that you may live as you wish."

*Our Catholic belief of redemptive suffering does not wipe away the pain and tears, but it does soften the sharp edges and allow glimmers of goodness. From the Catechism :

"Moved by so much suffering, Christ not only allows Himself to be touched by the sick, but He makes their miseries His own : "He took our infirmities and bore our diseases." (Isaiah 53:4). But He did not heal all the sick. His healings were signs of the coming of the Kingdom of God. . .By His passion and death on the cross, Christ has given a new meaning to suffering. It was henceforth to configure us to Him and unite us with His redemptive Passion." (Section 1505)

"But even the most intense prayers do not always obtain the healing of an illness. Thus St. Paul must learn from the Lord that "My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness" (II Corinthians 12:9) and that "in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of His body, that is, the Church." (Colossians 1:24). (Section 1508)

"His compassion toward all who suffer goes so far that He identifies Himself with them : "I was sick and you visited me." (Matthew 25:36). His preferential love for the sick has not ceased through the centuries." (Section 1503)

So what would I say to a lady who has received a scary prenatal diagnosis? Choose life. Visit Be Not Afraid and Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep for beauty and dignity and love and to share your tears, for we are greater than the sum of our parts ~

"We are a soul ; we have a body." ~ C.S. Lewis
"Luminous beings we are, not just this crude matter." ~ Return of the Jedi book

What a blessing and a gift it is for Ken and me to be able to point our suffering children to these words of truth. And ourselves.

So many lives lost. How can I help? How can I love?

For more anniversary posts, see Jill Stanek.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

I Nurse

If it's played just right, a Stay At Home Nursing Mother can confidently and humorously answer the age-old polite/uncomfortable question, So what do you do? with complete truthfulness.

Here's how it works (My answers in red.):

So what do you do?


Oh, a  nurse (Pay no attention to that extra article.). What's your specialty?

Newborn to toddler.

Where do you work?

Anyplace I'm needed; I'm always on call.

Like home health?


Hospitals as well?

Done it there.


Yup, there too.

Must be exhausting.

It is (Make sure to smile here.).

You must really love it to be so flexible and dedicated.

I do (Smile bigger.).

Well, it's nice to know there are people like you around.

Thank you for your kind words.

At this point, you could 'fess up and enjoy the shock or walk away while raising a glass of Guinness to yourself (good for breastfeeding, right?), knowing that the almighty grapevine will do its work and get the story correct eventually.

Happy Weekend,

P.S. I have a new shake recipe that Rees loves, since he's tired of chocolate milk shakes (How can this be my child?).  Tropical Shake ~

Blend 1C canned coconut milk, 1C orange juice, and 1C frozen mixed tropical fruit.  Nice change, and coconut milk is full of wonderfulness.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Baby Bronch

"I'd like to get in there and see what's going on," the doctor stated with a tap of his pen. 

Sounds simple enough, but "there" is Addie's lungs and "getting in" requires general anesthesia, a winding catheter, and a miniature light and camera.  Bronchoscopy.  On my ten-month old little girl.  Chest Xrays and labwork return normal results, but he hears inconsistent breath sounds between her lungs and she coughs a bit.  I gritted my teeth, met his gaze, and calmly answered, "All right."

Of course, it's not all right, but I  have neither the time nor the propensity for a meltdown as I picture her limp, monitored, invaded body.  I've been here before with another (not quite so) small child, and it's got to be done.  My feeding, pulmonary percussions, cleaning, and medicating have not been enough.  Enter our wise pulmonologist who, though gruff, is deeply vested in my children's health and desires information that simpler diagnostic tests will not yield.  So in he'll go.

And I'll set my jaw, march through the doors, and hand my baby over to be "bronched" because I love her and because the doctor wants to peer through this window to her lungs to better care for her.

God help us.
God help him.
God thank you for amazing technology.
God thank you for my sweet, bright girl.
And dear Saint Therese, you with your lung problems down here, know.  Please pray with me for Adah Marie.

6 AM Friday morning, here we come,