Category: Baby Story

Rosalie’s Birth Story With Hypnobirthing

My labor and delivery nurse has encouraged me to write about and share my birthing experience with Rosalie since it was so calm and actually, quite nice. She mentioned that women often come into the hospital hoping for a natural birth, but haven’t prepared for it. So here is a little background on my previous birthing experience, information about how I prepared for my second birthing experience, and Rosalie’s birth story….which is long and boring (fortunately for me). I wrote this in random times between my girls’ naps, in the middle of the night, etc, so excuse the length and grammatical errors.

Seton’s birth (my first), while wonderful and miraculous, was somewhat of a doozy. I went into labor with the plan of getting an epidural and hopefully coasting through delivery. I knew that labor/delivery rarely went exactly according to plan, so I was fairly open to the idea that things might change. I was very fortunate that I progressed well and she was able to be born safely, but the epidural didn’t work. Well, it worked for about two glorious hours, then for some reason just stopped. The nurses had me turning on my sides, changing how much the bed was reclined, and even called in the anesthesiologist to alter the placement and dosage (when I was at 9 cm). It was miserable feeling stuck in the bed through transition. I remember telling them to let me sit up better in bed because I was going to push whether they liked it or not–the urge to push was so strong. I was wishing I didn’t even get the epidural because then at least they would let me get out of bed.

I decided I would prepare for a natural, unmedicated birth for my second child, and if I were to need an epidural I would get one. I knew that this time around, I needed a strategy for dealing with contractions. I kept thinking that birthing is the most natural and common thing in the world–every person in the world has experienced it–it shouldn’t be so traumatic.

Like I said, I want to emphasize the importance of preparation. Here are some key ways I prepared for birth:

1). Home study course with Hypnobabies.
2). Listening to the recommended tracks daily.
3). Eating healthy (eh, I should say MOSTLY eating healthy) and exercising.
4). Listening to Fear Free Childbirth podcast on my way to/from work. I LOVED hearing women’s birthing stories that WEREN’T all about pain, trauma, and drama.
5). This sounds SUPER weird of me, but I think it REALLY helped….watching youtube videos of hypnobirths. You know how athletes do mental imagery before big games/meets? Seeing calm births helped me envision myself having one. The only other births I’ve ever “witnessed” were from movies, and we all know those are completely unrealistic. But that’s what we imagine going into labor….so wrong!

My sister-in-law told me about hypnobirthing and sent me her home study guide. I read Marie Mongon’s book as well as Ina May Gaskin’s Guide to Childbirth. The more I read about healthy, natural, calm birthing experiences, I knew that it was possible for me as well. One thing I love about hypnobirthing is the emphasis on staying relaxed. With my background in physical therapy, I completely understand how tensing up can increase your pain and put you at greater risk for birth injuries.

I started around week 28 of my pregnancy going through the home study guide and listening to the recommended hypnosis tracks every day. I remember thinking at the beginning of the home study that there was no way I could be hypnotized. I was envisioning Davey having to dangle a watch in front of my eyes and tell me I was getting veeeery sleepy…., but that’s not how it works. It’s more like being hypnotized in the same way as when you are watching TV or reading an article on your phone and you somehow completely drown out your spouse (sorry, Davey). I was able to drown out everything while I was having pressure waves (pressure waves is the hypnobirthing term for contractions). My focus was entirely on staying relaxed. This took a lot of practice leading up to the birth. I think I was able to easily go into my relaxed state during Rosalie’s birth because I had practiced it so much (every day).

September 10, 2016 at the Wayzata James J Hill Days Fair; the day before my contractions started
September 10, 2016 at the Wayzata James J Hill Days Fair; the day before my contractions started

Okay, onto the boring birth story!

I woke up on Sunday, September 11 (6 days after the due date my doctor gave me but EXACTLY on the due date I gave myself based on Fertility Awareness Method/NFP I have to add-ha!) at 2am with some pressure under my belly. This was very different than the crampy contractions I had with Seton, so I wasn’t sure it was “it.” But they started coming every 7-8 minutes and were pretty intense, so I decided to put on a hypnobirthing track with my headphones. At some point between 2am and 7am I went to the bathroom and Davey woke up saying, “is this it?” I was pretty dumb and said, “Yes! They’re 7-8 minutes apart, so maybe the baby will be here by noon!” HA! I laugh at that so much now–

Seton woke up at 7am and contractions slowed to 30 minutes apart (or more) throughout the day. It was a fairly relaxing day–I watched ‘The Intern’ with my mom and sat on the porch as Seton played with Davey in the corner. Every time a pressure wave came on, I closed my eyes and breathed in for a count of 4 and out for a count of 8 and focused on staying relaxed. I was a little anxious and upset that contractions had slowed down and that extra time allowed some fear to creep back in–what if it’s too painful? What if it’s as bad as last time? I debated going for a walk to “speed things up,” but then wondered why there is always a push to “speed things up” with birthing? What’s the rush? The pressure waves were tolerable. I was home. I was eating and moving and feeling well. The baby was healthy–I felt her kicking. I decided it was best to relax since I knew I would need energy later. At some point I laid back down in my room and listened to a Fear Release track that was intended to help me let go of any fear I have with birthing–I think I fell asleep and had a nice nap. :) I also remember deciding wash and straighten my hair since I knew I wouldn’t be able to for a few days (priorities, ladies).

We went to bed around 10 that night and pressure waves started up again around 11pm. I started timing them–and again they were 7-8 minutes apart. I wanted to focus on staying relaxed, so I woke Davey up to time them. I regret this–at the time, I thought things would REALLY pick up quick and we would be leaving for the hospital soon. They were 7-8 minutes apart ALL NIGHT and poor Davey didn’t sleep a wink. I was able to sleep between pressure waves as I was listening to relaxing tracks. I kept waiting until the “under 5 minutes for an hour” rule to head to the hospital. I was afraid they would just slow down again during the day, and I didn’t want to be at the hospital for that. 7am rolled around again, and Seton was calling to us to get her out of her crib. I couldn’t believe I was still home!

We sent her to daycare–(I gave her one last hug as my one and only and was a little emotional knowing her life was about to change so much)– and by that point I was a little frustrated, tired, and slap happy. We don’t have a birthing ball, so I was jokingly bouncing on one of Seton’s blow up horses, and my mom and I had some good laughs. I decided to take a bath, then try to sleep a little. I laid in my room by myself, listened to some tracks, and fell asleep. Every time I felt a pressure wave, I hit the “lap” button on my iPhone’s stopwatch, barely opening my eyes. I laid like that for almost two hours. When I decided I should use the bathroom, I looked at the timer and saw that I had been having contractions just 3-4 minutes apart for 2 hours. I couldn’t believe it! I had been so relaxed, it felt like I was sleeping between pressure waves that were 20 minutes apart.

I told Davey about the timing and asked him to make me lunch (love him) while I called my doc and told her I was headed to the hospital.

As we were walking out the door, I felt fear creep back in a bit. I hugged my mom (who was staying with us to take care of Seton) and held back a few tears–hugging my mom before giving birth was really emotional because I knew she had gone through all this FOR ME before. I felt very appreciative of her and truly felt life coming full circle. :)

I got in the car and said to Davey, “I can’t believe Mary rode a DONKEY through this!” The pressure waves were definitely more intense, and I was nervous about going through transition on the way to the hospital. I turned on my Birthing Day hypnobirthing track and put my ear buds in and kept my eyes closed the whole way. (this was MUCH different from driving to the hospital with Seton when I was yelping in pain). We were at the hospital so fast—time seemed to be nonexistent that day. I think we arrived shortly after 12:00.

Davey quickly told the nursing staff that I was doing hypnobirthing, and I did NOT want to know how dilated I was. I didn’t want to be told I was 3 cm after laboring for a day and a half–I would have felt so defeated. I also didn’t want to know if I was really close because I didn’t want to become fearful or anxious. I just wanted to BE. From everything I have read about dilation, it doesn’t really matter. It doesn’t predict how close or how far you are from birthing your baby. Things can “speed up” or “slow down.” So I just wanted things to go as they should.

A few weeks before Rosalie’s birth, my doctor informed me the nurses at the hospital were on strike. I LOVED my nurses with Seton, so I panicked a bit and wondered if the replacement nurses would be as skilled. Davey and I decided to pray every night for our labor/delivery nurse. After I was checked and determined to be in true labor, a very sweet nurse came in and introduced herself–LeShanta. Davey again told her we were doing hypnobirthing, and she responded by telling us she is also a certified doula and has been present for many other hypnobirths. I literally got goosebumps—we had been praying for her. God was present, and I KNEW that everything would be ok. It was like God was saying, “I have planned this out for you. Just let go.”

Walking out of the triage room, I felt a strong pressure wave. I stopped to do my breathing, and LeShanta whispered in my ear, “spread your feet apart” as she put her hand on my shoulder–a hypnobirthing cue to relax and release. Such small things, but the gentle reminders helped me so much.

When we got the to labor/delivery room, I just wanted to lay on my side and listen to my tracks. I did. I kept my eyes closed. Davey would occasionally give me sips of water or Gatorade and remind me to get up and pee. I wanted him to keep his hand on my low back during pressure waves…for some reason it felt like some of the energy went to him, which was wonderful. I remember one pressure wave was so intense that I clenched my fists. LeShanta gently opened my fingers which was enough of a reminder to me to relax.

The doctor came in around 3:00 (I think? I just remember her saying, “I’ll be back at 3:00” after I initially got to the room). She asked me to lay on my back (my thoughts: NO! PLEASE NO!). I did. She checked my dilation and just as she was checking, the strongest and by far the most painful pressure wave came on. I said, “OUCH! THIS IS THE WORST YET! OUCH!” and I heard LeShanta whisper, “Release” with her hand on my shoulder which immediately relaxed me and brought me back to my breathing. It was like the contraction was instantly not painful anymore–just pressure. That’s when I realized my hypnobirthing was VERY SERIOUSLY WORKING if I just stay in the zone. I had gotten out of the zone when the doctor was checking me.

The doctor left the room after telling me, “don’t push yet. We aren’t ready.” I laid back on my side. LeShanta told me I should put my earbuds back in because she was going to be getting the room ready and didn’t want me to get distracted. A few contractions later, I felt my body push Rosalie down. I told LeShanta, and she whispered, “that’s okay. It’s doing what it’s supposed to.”

When the doctor came back in, I had a couple gentle pressure waves, then another where my body pushed Rosalie down (very neat feeling!). The doctor immediately yelled “she’s delivering!” and had me lay on my back. Being on my back was a little miserable and not my first choice. I do wish I had told the doctor to let me birth on my side. It was so much more comfortable. I got out of my “zone” when trying to get in the right position, but LeShanta calmly whispered things in my ears that helped me get back and birth my baby easily. (voice of an angel!) The doctor mentioned the baby was being born in the water bag and she was breaking it as Rosalie was on her way out.

A few minutes later at 3:35pm and Rosalie was in my arms.

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It turns out I was 7cm when I got to the hospital and 9cm when my doctor checked me around 3pm (and when I had that intense contraction). The whole time I was at the hospital I was anticipating the dreaded “transition” that everyone talks about. I didn’t realize until my body started pushing Rosalie out that I had already passed transition. I never once had the thought of “I can’t do this anymore” which is apparently the classic sign of transition. THANK YOU, HYPNOBIRTHING.

I felt so good after her birth. It felt so normal and natural; I loved that I wasn’t hooked up to monitors and could get up whenever I needed to use the bathroom. I had been snacking and eating, and laying on my side the whole time so I wasn’t completely drained. LeShanta was so calm. She kept the lights dim, spoke in soft tones, and never showed and sense of hurry. It was great.

I told LeShanta a few days ago that Rosalie is such a calm baby, and speaking of research, she said: “Mothers who have natural, relaxed labors, and who have practiced relaxation throughout pregnancy have more peaceful and laid-back babies.” I have SOOOOO witnessed that with Rosalie. Aside from a little fussiness since her 2 month shots, she has been such an easy baby. She’s very calm and happy.

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I highly recommend preparing for labor with hypnobirthing, even if you’re 100% set on pain meds or if you need a C-section. It will help so much to get you through pressure waves and to have a relaxing pregnancy.

Being a woman is the greatest–we have both the physical strength to grow a human within us and bring that human into the world as well as the emotional strength to selflessly give our bodies so that someone else can have life.

Giving birth to my children is my greatest accomplishment and my greatest joy.

Now onto raising them…

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Monday Musings | On Motherhood

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As we approach Seton’s first birthday, I find myself reflecting on how motherhood has changed me.

The instant Seton was born, I didn’t feel the overwhelming sense of love that I had expected. I felt physical relief that labor was over. The doctor handed her to me and as she lay on my chest, I thought, “I can’t hold her.” I was shaking, slightly terrified at the experience of labor and numb to any emotion that may be deemed maternal.

Davey recognized I {didn’t want} to hold her –I feel so weird writing that — and he willingly scooped her up and walked around the hospital room with her.

I remember watching him thinking, “how is he already this good? How does he already love her?” I had never seen him hold a baby before. It looked as if he had been holding her his whole life. She fit perfectly into his arms. I was jealous of my husband who seemed to be feeling everything I wanted to feel.

The one emotion I remember strongly was the new sense of responsibility. I knew I had to keep her alive. A nurse told me that Seton had some fluid in her lungs because she was coughing it up. It was really not a big deal, but I became paranoid about watching to make sure she was breathing. So I didn’t take my eyes off of her that first day. Looking back, I guess I was thinking that the least I could do (if I couldn’t love her) was make sure she kept breathing.

Exhaustion has a weird power over a human, and the more I watched Seton’s small chest rise and fall as she lay in her bassinet, the more I felt pulled toward sleep. She was born at 3:21am and as the next night approached I felt I couldn’t even watch her to make sure she stay alive.

I asked them to keep her in the nursery that night.

I felt so ashamed.

I am a rational and loving person, I kept telling myself. I will grow to love her.

And I did.

After the first week at home, I told Davey, “I can’t believe it, but I love her.”

He thought it sounded funny because he giggled and said, “of course you do.”

And now, almost a year later, I am completely shocked by how much I love her. I’m even more shocked that the love does not stop growing.

My life used to be my life. Every decision I made was based on what would make me the happiest.

What job makes me happy? Which friends make me happy? Which TV show make me happy? What book should I read to make me happy?

Now, each and every decision I make, I make for Seton. If I seek happiness for myself, it’s because I want to radiate joy to her.

In many ways, I have matured. I imagine other people reach this maturity sooner in life than I did. I used to care so much about what other people think.

I used to get upset that old ladies in the grocery store would criticize me for not having socks on Seton.

But, now? I don’t care what they think. I know she pulls her socks off.

I used to care about upsetting people in church because Seton is a distraction.

But, now? I don’t care what they think. I know it’s more important for me to bring Seton to church than it is to worry about other people being distracted.

I used to feel so guilty about leaving work in time to pick Seton up from daycare.

But, now? I don’t care what anyone thinks. I know it’s more important that I spend one more waking hour with my daughter than finish discharge summaries or return a phone call from a patient I’ve already spoken to twice about confirming his appointment.

It took becoming a mother for me to fully dissociate myself from others’ concerns and criticisms.

It’s only been one year, and I feel like the person I am and the direction my life is going has completely changed.

And I love it.

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Our daughter was born

Seton

Our beautiful daughter was born on Sunday, July 20, 2014 at 3:21am.

And just like that, our lives have changed.

Seton Grace Hiatt was named after St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first American-born saint. Our precious girl has already been blessed with so many graces. There were candles lit for her in Rome during our pregnancy, my sister was saying the rosary for her during her birth, and Davey and I were able to attend mass just before going to the hospital. I was surprisingly able to pay attention to the homily through nine contractions. :) I loved that I could share the last Eucharist with her before her birth.

I’ll spare the gory details of laboring, but I can’t type this post without advising you to go hug your mothers. Seriously.

Here is our precious baby’s first day in the world:

Life Lately

lake minnetonka, wayzata

Many times in my life I have said to myself “Two more weeks.” Two more weeks until graduation. Two more weeks until moving to a new state, starting college, starting a new job, going on an exciting trip. Two more weeks until getting married, leaving on a honeymoon. Two more weeks until moving in with my husband. Two more weeks…

But thinking “two more weeks until I get to see my baby face to face…”

There’s nothing quite like that feeling.

I am sitting on that feeling now.

I hope our baby knows how much Davey and I love each other.

I keep thinking that — I guess it’s because I feel like this life — this human — was created because of that love. I want the baby to know that s/he is living because of love.

Enough mushy-gushy I suppose.

Here come a A GAZILLION pictures of our life lately. I haven’t updated in a while so pictures have just been piling up! The pictures are all iPhone photos because I dare not unpack the nice cameras from the hospital bag and use the charges on various things happening in our life, thus missing the precious first moments of baby’s life. So here is a iPhone dump for you if you ever saw one.

Davey has been doing important things in life like hooking in the car seat and vacuuming. I have been doing even more important things like getting pedicures and taking naps.

carseat

husband vacuuming

I have also been LOVING on our little town (Hopkins, MN). There is so much to do here! Any my evening walks are absolutely gorgeous! It’s such a different town than it is in wintertime!

hopkins, MN

hopkins, mn

We even have free concerts every Thursday in a small park:

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And coming up in a couple weeks is a two weeks Raspberry Festival. When we moved here, we had no idea we chose to live in the cutest little American town that ever existed.

We have also ventured to nearby towns for art walks and festivals. Here are some pictures from the Wayzata Art Experience:

wayzata art experience

wayzata art experience

We took a break and enjoyed the view of Lake Minnetonka that day:

lake minnetonka, wayzata lake minnetonka, wayzata lake minnetonka, wayzata

Over the fourth of July, we went to Lake Calhoun and sat on the beach reading books all day. No pictures of that time though because we were so busy with our noses in our books and people watching.

Yesterday, we went to Lake Harriet for a free concert. On our way, we spotted $2 trolley rides. If you know my husband, then you know anything that appeals to a 10 year old child will appeal to him, so we signed up for the trolley. Since no one was in line with us, I kept thinking, “well, this will be kinda romantic. A trolley ride around the lakes with my husband…” but then I quickly realized Davey would spend most of the time with his arm out the window waving to passersby. This is a perfect example of our life in public: Davey does something that I think people may think is very strange for a 28 year old man….and then they don’t think it’s strange at all. Adults were waving back to Davey with almost more joy and excitement than if they were waving back to amuse a small child.

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Once the trolley ride was over, we continued on our way to the Lake Harriet Band Shell to listen to some live music.

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So that’s our life lately. Keeping busy exploring our new city while waiting anxiously to meet our baby face to face. Life is pretty good.

Timeline

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March 9, 2013:
will you marry me, we're engaged, proposal

September 27, 2013:

We're married, marriage, matrimony, love,
Photo Credit Honey and Salt

November 13, 2013:
we're pregnant, pregnancy announcement

Christmas, 2013:

Christmas Day 2013 (moving to Minneapolis):
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And in 3-4 weeks, we get to meet this little one face to face!
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Thoughts on Pregnancy

34weeks, pregnant, pregnancy, maternity

Things I won’t miss about pregnancy…

Not being able to sleep on my stomach

Drinking two 16oz glasses of orange juice within 30 seconds of each other every morning because I just have to have it, then regretting it immediately

Weird brown spots on my face? No one warned me about changes in skin pigmentation…

Strangers touching my stomach

Going to the bathroom at least 5 times each work day

Sore feet at the end of each day

Being out of breath climbing the two flights of stairs at work

Things I will miss about pregnancy…

“Expecting Mothers” parking spots

Not feeling guilty for taking the last open chair in work meetings, leaving everyone else standing

Davey requesting I stop doing the dishes because I’m pregnant…okay, if you insist

Having doors opened for me

Being offered a seat when standing at social events

The calm understanding smiles of other parents when they see I am pregnant

Having my baby with me all the time

34weeks, pregnant, pregnancy, maternity

10 Things You Should Never Say to a Pregnant Woman

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There is some strange thing about pregnancy that makes people feel like they can ask really personal questions. Although I love being pregnant, I kind of hate how I feel like everyone around me is thinking about how my body is changing. The best way to deal with it is to laugh it off so that I don’t go home every night and eat a pint of ice cream to repress the awkward conversations about my boobs with complete strangers. So, in the spirit of pregnancy humor to deal with my emotions, here are:

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{that have all been said to me}

We’re emotional for God’s sake!

1. Are you sure you aren’t having twins?

2. When’s your due date? In three months?! I thought you were going to say ‘next week’.

3. Wow! You have really grown over the past week. Especially your face.

4. Have you noticed how huge your boobs have gotten? I bet you can’t see your feet because your boobs are so big.

5. I think you’re having a girl because they say girls steal all your beauty.

6. I think you’re having a girl because you are carrying very wide in the abdomen.

7. They say your hair is supposed to get shinier with the prenatal vitamins…are you taking your vitamins?

8. Was this planned?

9. Let me see how swollen your feet are.

10. How often do you pee?

And to hear what it’s like in a pregnant hormonal mind, here were my reactions to the questions:

1. In my mind: Pretty sure they have technology to tell you if you’re having twins, Jack Ass.
Out loud: Well, the ultrasound only showed one!

2. In my mind: Thanks a lot for calling me fat.
Out loud: Yeah, well hopefully it goes quick.

3. In my mind: …(I was speechless)
Out loud: … (I was speechless)

4. In my mind: Sir, every woman wears a bra fitted to a certain size, so how would I even get dressed in the morning without realizing the size of my girls!? I don’t need you to point it out.
Out loud: I can still see my feet. And tie my shoes.

5. In my mind: You’re not pregnant, who stole your beauty?
Out loud: Yeah, maybe! A girl would be fun!

6. In my mind: Ouch.
Out loud: Yeah, maybe! A girl would be fun!

7. In my mind: Okay, I get it, people. I don’t have shiny hair and maybe a small fetus is somehow sucking out all my beauty.
Out loud: Don’t miss a day!

8. In my mind: You’re asking if my husband and I check “have baby” off a to-do list like it’s a chore?
Out loud: We are so happy to be pregnant.

9. In my mind: What kind of person wants to look at someone’s feet?
Out loud: I only show those at the circus!

10. In my mind: I feel like I’m peeing right now.
Out loud: I need to use the restroom.

With 12 weeks to go, I am sure there will be many more of these gems–I’ll keep you posted so I don’t cry myself to sleep after my nightly pint of ice cream and bra shopping.

Becoming a Selfless Prayer Giant

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As I have mentioned before, pregnancy has made me view the role of Mary, Jesus’ mother, differently than I ever have before. I never grasped the extent of her love for Jesus, and although I still don’t think I can completely grasp it, I am able to understand it from a new perspective. My reflection during our hour of adoration today was Stabat Mater (At the Cross Her Station Keeping):

At the cross her station keeping,
Stood the mournful Mother weeping,
Close to Jesus to the last.

Through her heart, His sorrow sharing,
All His bitter anguish bearing,
Now at length the sword had pass’d.

Oh, how sad and sore distress’d
Was that Mother highly blest
Of the sole-begotten One!

Christ above in torment hangs;
She beneath beholds the pangs
Of her dying glorious Son.

Is there one who would not weep,
Whelm’d in miseries so deep
Christ’s dear Mother to behold?

Can the human heart refrain
From partaking in her pain,
In that Mother’s pain untold?

Bruis’d, derided, curs’d, defil’d,
She beheld her tender child
All with bloody scourges rent.

For the sins of His own nation,
Saw Him hang in desolation,
Till His spirit forth He sent.

O thou Mother! fount of love!
Touch my spirit from above;
Make my heart with thine accord.

Make me feel as thou hast felt;
Make my soul to glow and melt
With the love of Christ our Lord.

Holy Mother! pierce me through;
In my heart each wound renew
Of my Saviour crucified.

Let me share with thee His pain,
Who for all my sins was slain,
Who for me in torments died.

Let me mingle tears with thee,
Mourning Him who mourn’d for me,
All the days that I may live.

By the cross with thee to stay,
There with thee to weep and pray,
Is all I ask of thee to give.

Virgin of all virgins best,
Listen to my fond request
Let me share thy grief divine.

Let me, to my latest breath,
In my body bear the death
Of that dying Son of thine.

Wounded with His every wound,
Steep my soul till it hath swoon’d
In His very blood away.

Be to me, O Virgin, nigh,
Lest in flames I burn and die,
In His awful Judgment day.

Christ, when Thou shalt call me hence,
Be Thy Mother my defence,
Be Thy cross my victory.

While my body here decays,
May my soul Thy goodness praise,
Safe in Paradise with Thee.

I can’t begin to imagine what it was like for Mary to see her son nailed to a cross.

I am getting to a point where I feel like I have been pregnant forever. Not in a sense of discomfort, swollen ankles, shortness of breath, etc. It’s more like I feel like the day we found out we were pregnant (November 13, 2013) was forever ago. I have been preparing so long for the arrival of this baby. But after reflecting the Stabat Mater, I began to think that 9 months of pregnancy is giving me the chance to fully become who I want to be as a mother. It’s not only a time for the baby to grow and develop, but a time for me (and Davey) to become parents. We are growing and developing, too.

When I think of what kind of mom I want to be, naturally, I want to be like my mom. The best word to describe my mom is selfless. I think she has been completely selfless since the day my oldest sibling was born and remains that way today. Just this weekend, she planned a baby shower for me, made cookies for Davey and I, showered us with gifts, and gave us her time.

I also want to be like my grandmother. I would describe my grandmother as a prayer giant, a term I just learned of today when reading The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic. Matthew Kelly describes a prayer giant:

Over the years, I have encountered many great families in my travels. A number of years ago, I tried to work out what made these families so steadfast and full of life. Tolstoy begins the epic novel Anna Karenina with these lines: “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” What I have discovered is that all the great families I have encountered have a giant of prayer. These prayerful giants pray constantly for their families, surrounding them with God’s protection. Somewhere in the not-too-distant past is a person who was a prayerful giant. A prayerful giant is a person who covers their family with prayer, anchoring the family in God’s grace. Sometimes it is the grandmother or grandfather, the mother or father, an uncle or aunt, and from time to time you have to go back two or three generations, sometimes more. But you always find a prayerful giant in their family tree. Every family needs a cornerstone of prayer to pray for the family, now and in the future.

I have told so many people that “my life is so good because my Grandma is constantly praying for it to be that way.” I truly know that the opportunities I have been given in life– and the grace I have been given to take the opportunities– is a result of my grandma’s prayers.

Every good thing that has happened to me can be traced back to my mom’s selflessness and my grandma’s prayers.

So, as I prepare for motherhood over the next 13 weeks, I will spend a lot of time praying to be more like my mom and grandma: a selfless prayer giant.

My grandma and  a few of her grandchildren :)
My grandma and a few of her grandchildren :)

{Life Lately} | Mom comes to Minnesota!

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This week brought the warmest temperatures we have felt since last fall and our first visitor to Minnesota! Mom made her way to Minnesota on Monday and was able to stay until Thursday. As usual, I am left wishing I took more photos to capture our time together. It was so much fun to show Mom around our new town!

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My mom is awesomely thoughtful! We came home from work to find Easter treats. :) We also found a new box of Kleenex in our Kleenex dispenser that had been empty since January, extra food in a our refrigerator, Easter cookies…etc!! Mom things. :)

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Davey and I have been getting outside every chance we get in this warm weather. We keep thinking it’s going to snow again, so we better get outside when we can. We took a long walk around one of Minneapolis’ many lakes!

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And Baby Hiatt has started to collect handmade baby blankets from my sweet, thoughtful patients!

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We have 14 more weeks until we get to meet Baby Hiatt…I can’t stop thinking about what the baby will be like!

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17 weeks pregnant

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I shared a room with my sister growing up. Our brothers’ rooms were right at the end of the hallway next to ours. At bedtime, my dad would stand outside our doors and say a “Hail Mary”. Our small voices would repeat each line after him.

After he walked away, I would always pray that I could be like Mary. I told God that I would be courageous enough to do whatever He wanted me to do, and I asked him to use me for something great, like he did with Mary.

As I grew up, life took some twists and turns, and I realized it’s not always very easy to know what God is asking of me. I spent more time doubting and questioning than I did saying, “I am the handmaid of the Lord.”

Through all the doubting and questioning, I still imagined that prayerful decisions I made in my life would fill me with an overwhelming sense of peace and allow me to reflect on how all my previous experiences have led me to fulfill the purpose God has for me.

Last Sunday in church was one of those occasions.

I have sang “Lord, prepare me to be a sanctuary” countless times in life, but that song takes on a different meaning at 17 weeks pregnant. This Sunday in church, I fully recognized that God has indeed prepared me to be a Sanctuary, pure and holy, tried and true. He is using me and my body to fully create another human.

With thanksgiving, I’ll be a living, sactuary, all for you.

Sometimes we don’t know where we are going…or what we are praying toward…but somehow it all comes together. And that’s when we get a glimpse into God’s plan.