Friday, June 14, 2013

Birthday Quilt

Rosemary turned one almost a month ago. I am still reliving her birth, especially with the blooming of the gardenias as those were the flowers my cousin brought which sat beside my hospital bed and filled the room with God's most perfect perfume. 

First Birthday!!! I can hardly believe it's come and gone. The difference between Rosemary at almost one, frightened to stand, still eating mostly baby food, and Rosemary at almost 13 months is pretty amazing to me. She is almost walking, babbling constantly, expressing a mind of her own in a myriad ways...which reminds me that my mother told me once that she was always trying to make suggestions during play time when I was an infant and I was simply not going to do what she wanted.  My nana also told me that I once told her "I need my pwivacy," when she asked if I needed help in the bathroom. Let's just say Rosemary did not fall far from the tree. In-de-pen-dent! 

What can a mom do to adequately commemorate for the first time the right of passage of a birthday for her daughter, but also, remember and acknowledge all the days of her and her husband's own growth, adjustment, life change, weeping and joy, sleeplessness, and love that occurred over the last year? There isn't really anything that can capture all of the upheaval and renewal and rejoicing, but making a quilt helped me feel I had communicated something in concrete and not just in words and thoughts. Sewing is a time honored, historically necessary skill. It's a way to remember thoughts and feelings during the time of the crafting, like having one's thoughts interwoven, stitched down. It's like that silly book Like Water for Chocolate, that my 11th grade teacher made me write my first "long" paper on. The poor protagonist is in love with a man who marries her sister. And she, being a cook, has the singular ability to put her emotions into her baking, literally as an ingredient, by experiencing those emotions in the presence of the food being prepared. With a quilt, I had time to think of Rosemary and all the changes in my life for months, beginning last fall, purchasing fabrics and browsing online for the perfect free pattern, which incidentally is here. Anna Maria Horner to the rescue, of course. My cousin, Jane (blog here), inspired and made possible any of my sewing. She swooped down from Atlanta like a mother hen while I was in labor with Rosemary. And in the coming days, she took care of all of us. Her parting gift was dragging out my sewing machine from the unopened box, teaching me to thread it (so daunting for some reason!) and then giving me a few pointers along with sending a box of fabric scraps for a present months later! My neighbor, Melissa also inspired me (see?). She gave me a few classes years ago and then made a quilt for her son, born a few weeks before Rosemary, for Christmas. With my cousin and my neighbor quilting away, I felt I had to have in on this club. 

Here are some pictures of the results: 

Some of the fabrics are actually from scraps around the house. There are bits from our bedroom curtain fabric and bits from her birthday dress fabric. Mostly, I am one of those new fangled quilters who buys the funky quilting fabric instead of making a quilt from used and loved clothing. But don't you just love the turquoise feather fabric and the letter fabric with the P for Peterson? And who can resist red poppies? 

 Back detail. I used a thick teal-colored thread to do the actual quilting and embroidering. 

Fun! Now, to get my daughter as she's waking from her nap and put her on it. It makes playtime outside much more enjoyable! And I can already tell she thinks it's great, too. :)

Monday, June 10, 2013

Pruning and Branches

I think I'm being pruned. By God. I have little desire to be pruned. But neither do I want to look like a nasty, mangle-y plant. 

Kort and I have planted two cherry blossom trees now since we've been married: one at the home we rented when we were first married and one at our current residence. It's not that cherry blossom trees are my favorite, but they are a Macon tradition. I love to see Macon looking like a bride's veil in the spring time with the delicate blossoms sprinkling the landscape. And I want my home to be a contribution to the beauty. So we planted the cherry trees. The tree at the rented place was doing so well when suddenly, the leaves turned brown and no amount of water revived it. We didn't worry about it since we weren't living there permanently. We just uprooted it. But I was really in love with the tree we planted at our current home. It had balanced, graceful limbs. It was a gift from Kort, as a surprise. It was flourishing and lasted much longer than the other tree. I was sure we were out of danger. It turns out that a peach tree borer got it. The leaves turned brown just as with the previous tree. I felt maybe I hadn't been watering it adequately. So we got out the sprinkler and tried with all our might to water that sapling back to health. It just continued to decay at a rapid rate. I went to inspect the bark after two days of its wilting. Surely enough, there was a huge hard blob of sap on the side where the borer had attacked it. Everything above that was completely dead. Just one limb at the bottom is still green and happy looking. 

I want to uproot the whole thing. Who wants a mostly dead cherry tree stump in one's front yard with one remaining good limb? We may still uproot it and start over. But it made me think about God's pruning in his children's lives. I really don't understand God or his ways. They are so much higher than our ways. When I face loss and hurt and disappointment, I don't want to understand his ways. I just want to criticize. It's amazing and a little frightening how upset with God I can get. I have to remind myself who he says he is. I reread Job. Who can compare their suffering to Job? I haven't met anyone yet. And I more hard-hearted than Job with much less provocation. So it makes me ashamed and awed to read the last chapters where God says Who are you to question me? Do you know who I am? Were you there at the beginning, at the laying of the foundations of the universe? Do you control the Leviathan and the waters of the deep? 

For some reason, the reason of revealing his glory to others, God created this world and created it with free will and the possibility of sin. To him, our sin looks worse than one dead cherry tree in a front yard. I really don't understand why he chooses to continue with the whole project of the universe and mankind in light of the fact that to him, our sin has marred things to such a disgusting degree but he does persevere and in fact, redeem. And the only reason this creation and plan of his doesn't seem like a cruel joke or cast him as a megalomaniac egotistical dictator is because of Jesus. Jesus is his special revelation, The Word, his son, his most precious perfect relationship, severed on the cross and restored in resurrection for us. God enters in to the suffering in Jesus. Every time suffering comes, and his pruning and maturing along with it, I feel like I'm a tree with GBTS at its trunk with a saw. I want to cry out that this plan of cutting off the entirety of my tree trunk rotted with sin, leaving only a little sprout of green that he enabled to grow, is unfair, cruel, and results in an ugly, mangled picture. But God sacrificed his son so that the pruning could be possible, so that the Holy Spirit could seal me for the day of redemption, for my future hope and perfection and union with Him and others. He has a vision for his garden and I'm in it. Even right now with one limb sticking out of a half dead trunk. I'm very glad he has a plan to renew and remake me, too, though so I'm not stuck in this state forever. 

Speaking of branches, we are grateful for our little branch, Rosemary. Our immediate family went to the beach with my dad over Memorial Day. We enjoyed being with the multiple generations of "branches" of the family. Here are some sweet pictures of Rosemary with my grandparents and enjoying the pool and beach generally.
Granddaddy taught Rosemary how to make dribble castles. I cried a little seeing Granddaddy getting down at her level, scooping the wet sand to drip it into form. It reminded me so much of my mother showing me how to do this when I was little. Look at how Rosemary is captivated by him. :)
And here is Rosemary playing with the sea shells we collected and placed by the pool. She had a blast pushing them off the edge of the wall onto the grass. 
Here is Daddy trying to prevent her from pushing them all off, making good use of his long arms. Don't you love the strawberry hat? And cute butt ruffles? Who can resist? 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Dogs and Neighbors

Dogs: man's best friend. The symbol of familial bliss and the pinnacle of family completion: a dog lying on the carpet at your feet by a crackling fire. If you're going to be picky and say children are the pinnacle of a complete family, not the dog, then insert your child in that picture wrestling with the dog by crackling fire. If you're still not convinced by my personal opinion, the magazine winning all the awards at the moment, Garden and Gun has a monthly article dedicated just to dogs because they're that essential to southern culture. Dogs reflect the tastes of a person. What does it say about you if you like poodles? High maintenance, smart. Great danes? Affable and unsubtle. Yorkshire terrier? Petite person, likes yapping, or wannabe celebrity. See? Did I offend you in my descriptions? Dogs are personal! 

And most importantly, of late, dogs have captivated my daughter.  She turned one yesterday! (Another blog post coming soon on birthday fun). We have a dog. His name is Jones (who is, by the way, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, the best dog, of course). Rosemary's first word was "Jones" our dog's name. Only, when she says it, it sounds like "Daaah." The first thing she does when she gets up from her nap is point to the door so she can see Jones. She loves to feed Jones her puffs at snack time. She is quite benevolent with them, to my chagrin and the slimming of my pocket book. And in turn, she thinks that Jones ought to share his food. She crawls by his bowl, separates all the pieces and then sticks her hand in his water to wash off the oil. Sound yummy? No. Neither is the fit she throws when I make an issue of it. More appealing is the cute toy dog I gave her a few months ago which has a little sound box inside. When you press it, it barks and pants. Whenever she hears neighborhood dogs barking now, she barks and pants. It sounds more like short, high pitched little bullets of, "ah ah ah ah." If you heard the intonations you couldn't miss the intended sound. When we went to the pediatrician's office recently, the doctor and I were talking about her love for Jones. On hearing Jones's name, she immediately pointed to the picture across the room of dogs and barked! I have to say I glowed with pride at her early accomplishment of recognition skills. :) Dogs? Yes, we love dogs. 

But this afternoon, dogs were not my friend. After church, we were exhausted. All I wanted to do was take a nap after throwing the birthday party. It was raining and thundering- exactly the type of weather in which to snuggle down and seriously sleep. Alas, the neighbor's dog. Our house is situated very closely to the neighbors' houses on either side. This dog is sometimes left outside on the neighbor's porch. Unfortunately, when he barks, he sounds like he is barking in my room. Could you sleep with a dog barking in your ear? Maybe. I happen to be the highly sensitive type who probably should have a poodle except that I can't stand how high-pitched poodle voices are. So, this afternoon, after over a year of trouble with this neighbor's dog, I did the mature thing and went out on both the front and back porch for good measure and yelled at the dog for its and the neighbors' benefit so that it would stop barking. Turns out the neighbors in question weren't at home, only my kind, sweet neighbors across the street were home and on their porch, and the dog wasn't phased by me.  So, after embarrassing myself and getting my blood pressure all elevated, I did the next sensible thing. I wrote a nice but pointed letter in which I appraised the neighbors of our continuing problem (this would be my second letter delivered) and then left the premises to run errands so I didn't have to hear the barking anymore.  

It is amazing how the Holy Spirit works, though. For the few hours after I left the letter, I kept feeling this sense of dread about the neighbors. When Kort and I took Rosemary on a walk later, I didn't even want to walk past their house. Don't go imagining it was a mean letter. It really wasn't. It's just that the letter would not have allowed mutual communication and I felt since I delivered my first letter that the neighbors kind of avoided me when walking the dog.

We did the amazingly difficult but truly mature thing and walked over as a family to talk to the neighbors after seeing their car return. We took the letter back before they had read it, and then knocked on the door. Gulp. The wife came out onto the porch. We politely introduced ourselves and asked if we could speak to her about her dog. She agreed, though not very warmly. We made the observation that the dog did not (ahum) do well during thunderstorms. She was demonstrably upset but explained that the dog is 16 years old (it looks like it's two), she has had it longer than her children, and that she had already gone twice to put it down (it had bitten one of her children, requiring stitches) and was simply unable to do it but that she would "just go tomorrow and do it." Of course, we immediately spent the next few minutes talking her down and explaining how we would really like to be friends and not feel awkward but would also very much like to work on a solution with the dog. Anyway, I'm not sure we came up with any solution other than an understanding of why they continue to leave it outside despite it being a really excitable, overly bark-y dog. But at least I now know that they aren't just insensitive people. They actually happen to love that dog (?)! 

Romans 8:28 says "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." In ALL things! He worked in a dog barking and annoying me hugely, preventing me from resting or sleeping FOR MY GOOD. It is so easy for me to be sensitive to my own perceptions but hard to be sensitive to others. It is also super easy to cling to our rights and to ungently use the truth but it is not easy to submit to one another in love. I actually have a legal right not to hear that dog barking, but do I care more about asserting that right or having a relationship with my neighbor whose heart is breaking over her old dog whom she loves? I want to care more about her and about what God thinks of me in how I relate to her. Does God see that I am reflecting him well? Is he pleased? I thank God he cares enough about me to let a dog bark, interrupting my much desired afternoon nap so I could work out these ongoing issues face-to-face with that neighbor. After all, in God's perspective, people, not dogs are the pinnacle of his family.  He made man a little lower than the angels and put him on earth to subdue it and everything in it. He calls us to love our neighbors. It is easy to captivate an infant with a dog, but I pray that as Rosemary grows, and God grows me, I can teach her the beauty, difficulty, and delight of loving other people because God loves us. How much more proud of her I will be when she begins learning that lesson than I am hearing her cute little bark-y "ah ah ah ah's". After all, barking isn't my favorite thing.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year from the Petersons to you! We enjoyed a fruitful, fun fall and made it through the holidays without too much of the Grinch about, though I will definitely say that I now understand why my mother always groaned around the time of the holiday season about decorating. Oh, how I used to make the Christmas tree my glory of artistic expression- the one moment in the year that I exercised my creative muscle. Perhaps all the sewing that my cousin has inspired me to undertake supplanted that need to hang bobbles from the branches. At any rate, Kort and I opted for a small slip of a tree in 2012, for white lights instead of the big, colorful ones, and for minimal house decorations. In the end, we enjoyed our twinkling, star-like lights and dainty tree much better than last year's which dominated our living room and insisted on being obtrusive with its heavy belly and weighty lights. Good riddance and welcome to our new diet Christmas! I must say (as I am sure Kort is thinking), too bad we didn't put the Christmas budget on a diet. Oh well. New year, new goals. 

Speaking of... what are your goals? I jotted a few down on my iphone notepad and have been surprised at how clarifying and helpful that was. Here are a few. Maybe if I list them, I will feel more accountable. :) (Actually, the older I get, the more I enjoy feeling reliable regardless of others' expectations- reliable for my sanity. In other words, I am tired of saying I'm going to do something and not doing it, then feeling disappointed in myself. I need to feel reliable for my own piece of mind. Anyone else?). 


  • Help my husband get out the door earlier in the morning. I love to sleep. Kort has been such a sweetheart in cooking breakfast since I was pregnant and had Rosemary. But it's long past time for me to buck up and help him in the mornings. We've been successful so far. He's left the house at least 30 minutes to an hour earlier each day than last year! 
  • Write more blog entries! I'd love to say I'm going to be an allstar blogger. But the last blog post was in September, so maybe it would be great to just have the goal of one blog entry a month. Small steps. I want my goals to be encouragements to myself rather than another reason to guilt trip!
  • Complete a few sewing/knitting/crafting projects. I'd like to make a quilt for Rosemary's first birthday. See the quilt ideas Here and Here. I'd like to learn to knit in the round by making Kort a hat (that he probably won't wear. But he sure ain't gonna wear it if I don't knit it, right?). 
  • Spend some time with God every day, including being in his Word, whatever time I can fit it. I definitely understand that it's important to prioritize this, and I understand the arguments for making this a first-thing-in-the-morning task. But Rosemary is still getting up at 6am so I'm just going to admit it will not happen that way. If I answer two of my BSF questions a day during one of Rosemary's nap times, I will be doing better than I have been.  
  • Save, save, save. I remember hearing somewhere that saving is like spending money on having money in the bank. Well, I can get behind spending. So, I'd better start thinking of it that way. I also better get mighty strategic about avoiding looking at the websites of fabric and baby clothes I habitually frequent. Suggestions for self-behavioral alterations? Kort and I had a lengthy discussion about getting rid of our smart phones, too (more for the reason that Rosemary is going to grow up thinking the iphone is the end-all because she sees me looking at it so much, which irks me and makes me a little sad about our culture and myself). But while Kort legitimately needs his for work, I am just addicted to instagram and facebook and the map app and the bank app and... See? I don't need an iphone. Am I brave enough to face life without it? What? Asking that question settles it. I am. 
There. Five goals. Doable. 

In other news, Rosemary is eight months old this week and Kort and I celebrate our two year anniversary on the 15th. I could not have imagined how sweet my blessings would be three and a half years ago, as I watched my mother dying of cancer. Even that experience was a blessing through trial. But oh, it is good that God also gives us comfort blessings, healing blessings, blessings of life and abundance. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Happy Housewife Post 1950's Style

When Kort and I got married, one of the cute gag gifts we got (got) was a book on the Happy Housewife with pictures, 1950's style, of a woman vacuuming the house with a huge smile, etc. Well, even though I'd like to laugh and pretend I am above the conflict about being a stay at home mother and "housewife," I am quite sensitive and frankly, struggling to find some meaning and purpose in my stage of life.  In fact, the reason I haven't posted anything for weeks is because I started a blog in response to articles in Slate and The Wall Street Journal about feminism and women's liberation. There is so much to say and I have so few concrete conclusions on the matter that I am temporarily hanging that one on a hook in the back of my mind to set. 

Whatever my opinions about the value of womanhood, work, and motherhood, I do need some talking-to as a stay at home mother. I need a regular doozy of a pep talk. Or I'm going to just sit in the doldrums of early motherhood, squalid in self-pity, making my poor husband miserable not to mention, myself. This is all probably sounding melodramatic. I'm sure one could say, "What does she have to be miserable about? She has a beautiful, healthy, sweet baby, a lovely marriage and home!" True, true. How thankful I am for this when I dwell on it! But I'm a sinner who struggles with contentment. Also, being at home with a baby is difficult because care giving is difficult and draining as anyone who has been a caregiver knows (need I explain? Loss of sleep, lack of freedom, etc.). On top of the normal associations with caregiving, our society does not value people who stay at home with children, thus it can be demoralizing.  I am assuming others must struggle in the same situation. Let's encourage one another as Paul says, "Addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." Ephesians 5:19-20.  

These are challenges to myself that are practical applications (ok, some of them just survival tricks) of my desire to refocus on God. May they help you. Customize them! And give me feedback and your tips, too!

The pep talk: 
  • PRAY: Even if you have to start with "Lord, I don't want to have a good attitude. I want to feel sorry for myself. I want to complain. Help me even want to act like your child!" it will be worth talking to your Creator who has a purpose for you and who is working all things for your good.
  • READ SCRIPTURE! Get at least one verse in your head each day. Because you are tired, for emphasis and repetition, write it down in your pretty little bird-y notebook you spent too much money on in Chattanooga all those years ago and which you have been saving for who knows what. 
  • Play music. Use Pandora. Dance! Take your baby's little hands and find a good oldie song. Go to it! 
  • Write a thank you note to someone. (There are probably plenty of people who might read this and say, "Why yes, I never did get a thank you note from that ungrateful Dorothy Peterson to whom I gave such a nice gift.") This will take your mind off yourself, aside from the guilt trip.
  • Quit self-denigrating as in the above bullet point. You are neither as worthless nor as wonderful as you would like to think. When the tape in your head begins to play "Dumb Dorothy," have a Bible verse ready. (Again, see above bullet point.) Only God has a right perspective of you so have that perspective handy. As your African Proverb calendar said, "You are what you think."
  • Do Something. When the blues hit, get up, walk outside, clean the kitchen, make the bed, etc. 
  • As you are doing the "Something" and are tempted to be discouraged about that "Something" being the task you have to do, a.k.a. mopping the floor, vacuuming, doing laundry, and you begin to say to yourself, "Did I get a degree for this? Did I really think I wanted to keep house for at least a decade while I have young children?" direct your thoughts two ways:
    • One: think like Christ who was the ultimate servant with no earthly benefits or recognition. For a fallible example, turn to Brother Lawrence. This requires that you read his book called Practicing the Presence of God. He was a cook in a monastery, I believe, and didn't think he was very important. But he came to some powerful conclusions about servanthood. This will also exercise your mind so you can say, "Yes, it is important to get a degree, because honed cognitive ability will come to my aid even in this time of life." 
    • Two: put yourself in your family members' shoes. Think of your dear husband. Would you want to work all day to come home to a wife who is grumpy and self-pitying and feeling worthless? Would you want to be the baby of a mother who thinks taking care of you feels unimportant?
  • When you feel a fit of cabin fever coming on, do NOT turn inward on yourself!! Get in the car and go SOMEWHERE. 
  • When all else fails and you feel inner combustion coming on, go to the "Back Up," "Trick Up The Sleeve," Last Resort. Go to a store that sells ritzy food. Get one of those really nice chocolate bars and a bottle of your favorite drink (Sweet Leaf Tea anyone?- note I am NOT advocating booze in the middle of the day with your infant in arms). :) Go home. Sit in a sunny, comfy spot. If necessary, ignore your crying child temporarily. Open the chocolate package, eat. Drink. While you read the back of the chocolate box with the maker's bio, you can even give a sarcastic sass-wag head shake and say, "I went to Vanderbilt, too. I could have travelled the world experiencing culinary delights and start a chocolate company selling the delights of Himalayan pink salt and caramel. I could have my hair perfectly coifed for the box picture-when was the last time I fixed my hair properly and put on makeup?" And then remember God has a plan for your life that is perfectly tailored for you! 
  • Plan something to anticipate. If you're feeling unloved by your husband who loves you, write a little letter saying, "Dear one, would you help me out of the doldrums by surprising me with ____________ fill in the blank."  Don't expect him to understand what you need without communication. 
  • As you started the pep-talk with prayer, end with prayer. Each night, with your husband, pray. Each day, think of several things for which to thank God. 
If my life now were printed as a "Happy Housewife" book, it wouldn't look like the false smiling pictures that are the stereotypical focus of denouncement in the 60's and 70's and beyond, fodder for the gag gift I received. But it would look like some smiles and a lot of genuine struggle. Praise God he is sanctifying us every day and that He promises us not necessarily happiness but ultimate fulfillment in Christ, which is even better. 

Friday, August 3, 2012

Myths about "Natural Birthing" from my experience

About two months before Kort and I found we were expecting sweet Rosemary, I stumbled upon The Business of Being Born on Netflix. I was hooked. I must have watched it three or four times, tearing up when the moms pushed their babies out, birthing in bathtubs and standing up. And I still think it must be one of the most amazing experiences! But there are plenty of things I've learned about pregnancy and birthing by my own experience that I wish I could have internalized before going through the process. 

I now have a library of books about birthing without pain medication or intervention filled with stories of women who birthed by midwife, at home or in the hospital, with no epidural or problem. Their titles include Birthing from Within, Ina May's Guide to Natural Child Birth, The Bradley Method Workbook, etc. These are great, but statistics are slippery things and can be easily skewed. For instance, the statistic that women who get epidurals are at a 700% likelihood to experience incontinence from the Cath- um, maybe for a week after! But not permanently. And the French Doc on the documentary telling you that you'll screw up the love cocktail of hormones that help you love your baby if you get an epidural or pitocin (and gives the example of how animals who didn't birth their babies vaginally abandoned them) is a little confused about the hierarchy of mammals- humans were created differently! God gave us the ability even to adopt and love love love those babies, too. Guess what? I (who had an emergency c-section) am delightedly in love with my little daughter, even on days like today when she won't eat and screams bloody murder just to hear her new vocal range skills after going through a growth spurt. And I have a temper! It amazes me how gentle I can be when she's yelling at me! Did I hear you say, "Yeah, so far," under your breath? :) 

There are things those books and the documentary portray that are true. For instance, growing and birthing a baby IS a woman's battle. Some cultures respect the mother as a warrior because she did just fight a battle physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. And medicine is often unnecessarily administered during pregnancy and birth. Also, physicians often can't spend time nurturing a pregnant woman the way she needs, talking to her about her fears and the process, insuring she is mentally and emotionally healthy on the journey as well as physically. They probably do see a woman as more of a patient and as one box to check off during their busy day and less as a midwife would see a woman relationally, see the pregnancy as a right of passage for the mother. 

BUT. All that talk about contractions being "waves" of muscle tightening that are empowering you and not something to villainize? Maybe. Like the waves off the coast of Hawaii that would drown you in a second if you aren't Michael Phelps. The talk about contractions not being pain but being signals to help you get into the right position to better prepare the baby to come out? Definitely.  Just like having a heap of wasp stings tells you not to stick your hand in the nest (but the debilitating pain at the point of being stung so many times probably will prohibit you from moving without help just as the woman in labor isn't logically thinking, oh, yes, this pain tells me to move this way, which is why we want other women around to help direct us). The talk about epidurals being for women who don't know what's best for the baby or worse, know, but don't care because they're selfish? Yes, much like women who are selfish and want morphine for a limb amputation. OR the talk about women who are duped into some western way of medicine that brain washes them into thinking they can't birth their baby without pain relief? Maybe and sometimes, just like you're worse off for not having to walk two miles to and from school uphill both ways in the snow (and I am saying "maybe" without sarcasm here, because some of us would probably be better if we had to walk everywhere and sometimes it would be good if we didn't have modern conveniences like processed foods).  The talk about c-sections being so negative, cold and unkind to the mother? Yes, much like having to get a shot is not a warm fuzzy experience but if you had to choose the pain of a shot or to contract tetanus, polio, or tuberculosis, the shot might suddenly look like a sweet, cuddly teddy bear, non? (Yes, some c-sections are elective and without good reason, just as sometimes people get a little hypochondriac-esque and get Rx's they don't need, but there is a backlash against c-sections to the point of defying logic. For instance, I'd rather have a c-section than 100 stitches down there and be out of commission for 9 months.)

My post-birth perspective is probably pretty obvious from the above statements. But just to be clear, I did have an emergency c-section after reading oodles of positive medicine free birth stories, writing a flexible but comprehensive no-intervention birth plan, taking birthing classes, hiring a doula, renting a birthing tub, and sitting on a birthing ball for hours on end before labor. Things just happen. And ten weeks later, (now that the birth and first horrible four weeks are a bit hazy), I can say that I'm ok with birthing by cesarian. I made it without intervention 'til basically 10 centimeters dilated. But I had horrid 'back labor" due to Rosemary's position. She wasn't dropping. And I really didn't want to push for three hours without relief, having been in labor for over 12 hours at that point already. Maybe she would have come out fast, maybe not. But I had been 10 centimeters dilated for good while and had no urge to push. Maybe there would have been complete relief from the pain during pushing but maybe not. Not all women experience that relief. I consider the anesthesiologist administering the epidural to me as an action of compassion to a suffering woman. Maybe I would have had to have the c-section regardless of epidural.  Maybe the epidural caused me to have to have the c-section. We'll never know. 

But I know I can be thankful I have a healthy baby and I am healthy. I know I can be thankful c-sections are possible and that Dr. Barnes was present, patiently watching me labor without intervention and stepping in when he saw Rosemary's vitals drop to a consistently low level, even during breaks from contractions. I know Rosemary must have been in distress because her APGAR score was a 2. And I now know having a c-section doesn't make me a weak sister or  a lazy sister or a sister who hasn't done her homework about the process. Having a c-section to me means I am one providentially fortunate sister who didn't die on the wagon road from exhaustion at trying to birth a nearly 9lb baby. 

If someone had shared this story on the Business of Being Born, I might have been a little more flexible and felt a little less like a failure for not birthing naturally. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Eight weeks ago, this Peterson family had a baby! Rosemary Ruth Jeanne Peterson was born May 18, 2012 at 8:02pm weighing 8lbs 14oz and measuring 20 1/5 inches long. 

I've been meaning to start a blog since my mother's death which was the last occasion for writing. I had a carepage for health updates as she struggled with lung cancer. After marrying my dear husband in 20011, I attempted another blog called "An Old Soul" that kind of fizzled out. So much has happened since then. It seems that there are periods in life when things are felt so intensely one either must write about them or can't at all. There are times when changes occur at such a rapid pace that there simply isn't time to write. 

Being the sort of person who usually shares everything and regrets it later, I'm surprised as I look at my diary to find that the last entry was in September of 2012 after we found out we were expecting Rosemary. I went an entire 9 1/2 months without writing! And that during one of the most emotional, physical trials a woman can endure. 

All this to say, it's time to get back in the saddle. Perhaps the problem is not having such an acute subject like my mother's battle with cancer on which to write. But here it is, a blog, like lots of others' blogs, about daily life in this family.