Thursday, April 26, 2012

Dr. Chickie?

Chickie has, for years, been fascinated by biology, anatomy, and the medical field. (And when you say a six-year-old has done anything "for years," that pretty much means "forever.") When she sees someone in real life or on TV and they are bleeding, she wants to know every detail of what's happening to them.

But when she's the one who is hurt? All bets are off.

On the way to school this morning, Chickie was on her scooter; Zoodle was on his balance bike (more on that in a future post); and I was walking. There's a little downhill driveway that leads to a neighborhood pool, a few minutes from the school. They like to ride their wheeled vehicles down the driveway while they wait for their slow mama to catch up to them.

This morning, Chickie took a spill on the hill, and scraped her knee on the asphalt. Nothing requiring stitches or anything, but a pretty bad scrape that started bleeding immediately.

You know what's worse than a six-year-old screaming and limping as she watches her leg bleeding? Dealing with that for ten minutes while you finish walking to school so she can go to the nurse. That was a blast for all of us!

My girl loves to know how the body works, and is interested in injuries and medicine. I don't want to place lifelong expectations on her right now, but between you and me...I've wondered if she'll decide to be a doctor.

On the other hand, she can be incredibly dramatic (which she just might get from her mama, who has a theatre degree.)

Maybe she'll be a doctor.

Or maybe she'll just play one on TV.

Monday, April 23, 2012

It's time for Relay For Life again!

Last year, Ann and I did Relay For Life together. It's an annual event (held at many locations around the country) that raises money for the American Cancer Society. For 12 hours (overnight), each team is asked to have at least one team member walking around a track.


I was so proud last year to walk with Ann because she is a cancer survivor! Not only did she survive cancer itself; she's also survived all that came along with that--the difficulty of infertility, and the emotional toll of dealing with such a serious illness. To keep on going even when it's harder than anyone knows--That's survival.

This year I'm so proud to walk with Ann again, because I think that our "shared pregnancy" is an awesome sign of God's redemption. Cancer may have taken Ann's womb, but it didn't take away her dream to have more children. This isn't an easy path for Ann! Bearing her own children would have been whole lot simpler. Even giving up would at times have been easier. But she and her husband desired a larger family, and they have made the emotional and financial sacrifices to partner with God in seeing that dream fulfilled. That's pretty awesome. That's survival.

God made a way for them, so in the end...cancer didn't win! As we walk together this year, I want people to see that there is HOPE for those who suffer from cancer! Ann is living proof of it, and it's such a joy to walk alongside her (figuratively and literally!)

Before I ask you for a donation (you knew it was coming, right?), I'll give you full disclosure. At the Relay, I'll be six weeks away from our due date, and there is no way I'm staying up all night this year! So Ann and I will go to the event and spend a few hours there, and then we'll go home so we can get a good night's sleep while the rest of our team fulfills the commitment to keep someone walking around the track all night!

The purpose of Relay For Life is to raise money for the American Cancer Society. I'd prefer not to post the direct link to my donation page here, as it has too much personal information on it. But if I "know" you (even just through the Internet!), please leave me a comment here, or email me at, if you'd like to donate. I'll send you a link to my page. You can donate as little as $10, and every little bit helps!

The other option is to purchase a luminaria. This is a paper bag that has sand and a candle in it. The luminarias will be placed all around the track where we have the event, and when it gets dark, they'll all be lit. Each luminaria is labeled "In Honor of" or "In Memory of" someone you know or have known with cancer. It's a really beautiful way to make a donation--and the $6 for each luminaria goes toward my fundraising goal! Again, please comment here, or email me at, for luminaria information. There's a cool photo of the luminarias from last year's Relay on Ann's blog.

Join us in the dream of a world without cancer!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

"Mommy doesn't play with us."

The kids were having some conversation the other day which resulted in Zoodle saying, "Mommy doesn't play with us."


Here's the thing. I'm a stay-at-home mom, which means I see my kids a lot. Especially Zoodle. I spend a lot of time with them.

Or maybe it's more accurate to say I spend a lot of time around them. That's different than spending time with them, isn't it?

I don't want to give myself a huge guilt trip for not playing a lot with my kids. I really do think that kids need to play a lot without adults. It's amazing the ways their little creative brains start working when they aren't hampered by the preconceived notions that "big people" always have. So I think that it's okay for most of my kids' play time to be independent (loosely supervised by me, of course!)

I'd better be honest, though. I just think that the games four- and six-year-olds play are, well...


But when Zoodle said I don't play with them, it gave me some insight. Of course the truth isn't that harsh; sometimes I play with them. Just...not very often. (I'm embarrassed admitting that!) But I need for them to see that I value them, that I enjoy them. That what's important to them is important to me--important enough for me to occasionally join in.

So I'm trying to say "Yes" more often. Like when Zoodle is lonely because his sister is at school, and he asks me to play cards.

It's just a 15-minute game of Alphabet Go Fish to me, but to him, it's a sign that Mommy likes him enough to be his friend.

Independent play is so important, but you know what else is important? Feeling important. I'm recommitting to playing with my kids. Because they are important to me.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012's not just the HOW, it's the WHERE

I'll admit it...I'm a "birth junkie." I didn't even make up that term; there are many others like me!

Birth junkies love reading birth stories, especially those about natural childbirth. We're passionate about safe, meaningful birth. We believe that women's bodies are made to give birth, and that we can usually do it without a lot of medical interventions. (However, I join most other birth junkies in being very, very thankful to live in a time when one of the reasons birth is so safe, is because C-Sections and other interventions are available when they are necessary!)

Just because I believe most births can happen without lots of interventions, doesn't mean I think they must. I didn't want an unmedicated childbirth the first time around. Had I been forced into one, it could have been very scary for me. I believe women should be allowed to make choices about their births, as long as those choices are safe. But I've ended up with strong ideas about what the right choices are for me, and I love to share those thoughts with others!

I've had two very different--and very positive--birth experiences. Chickie's birth was an induction on her due date. I had an epidural, which I loved, and, after a short labor, gave birth in the hospital bed. I stayed there two days, and we all went home.


Zoodle's birth was in a birthing tub at a local birthing center. Again, it was a short labor--short and intense (i.e., painful!), without an epidural. I stayed there less than seven hours, and then we took our boy home.


I am blessed--I was prepared for natural childbirth (well, as prepared as one can be!) and absolutely loved the experience. But I'm not just passionate about having a med-free birth. One of the things that made Zoodle's birth so awesome was where it took place.

Hospitals are great places to be if you're sick or in need of medical attention! And I was treated very well at the hospital when I gave birth to Chickie!

But once I was committed to natural childbirth, I realized I wouldn't need the medical capabilities of a hospital. The birthing center (with certified midwives) offered a safe place to birth--where they could resuscitate a baby, stitch up a mama, give IV antibiotics, etc. (Thankfully, none of those was necessary in my case!) But because a birthing center is not a hospital, the available medical interventions aren't the focus. They're tucked away, to be used if needed.

So instead of being in a hospital bed, with monitors all around, I was in a room that looked and felt like a five-star hotel room; or like a guest room offered by an affluent, gracious host. Atmosphere affects relaxation! (And that relaxation isn't just important during labor--it's important afterward too, when the new family is bonding!)

The room where Zoodle was born has since been redecorated and is even prettier....
(I prefer not to link to the birthing center's website since it would give away my location, but feel free to email me if you're interested in this center.)

More important than the lovely atmosphere, however, is this fact: When a woman desiring to give birth naturally is assisted by a midwife in a birthing center or at home, the woman generally doesn't have to fight for what she wants.

When I was pregnant with Zoodle and we took Bradley birthing classes, one thing we talked about was how to defend your birth plan. Sometimes natural birth plans just don't line up with hospital protocol! But you know what? Defending my choices is one of the last things I'd want to do during an incredibly intense natural labor! Yes, I could have asked my husband and doula to advocate for me--but instead, they were able to use their energy supporting me, instead of fighting for me! The caregivers had the same priorities and desires for my birth that I had!

This particular pregnancy experience is so different than my others were, since this time I'm a gestational carrier. I'm sharing the pregnancy with my best friend. And Ann (the baby's mother) and I have been so thrilled with how we've been treated by the midwives at the birthing center! They "get it." They understand that I'm the patient, and Ann is the mother. They are committed to helping us achieve a birth experience that will be meaningful and beautiful for both of us.

One of the most important things that I learned from my wonderful, medicated birth (with Chickie) is that birth is more than just a means to an end. Birth is when we meet our children for the first time. Birth confirms that our bodies have done something amazing. (This includes medicated births and C-Sections!)

Birth is beautiful.

And when I realized that, I gradually realized something else: I wanted to fully experience birth--the joy and even the pain--and I wanted to do it in a place where I felt comfortable and honored. That place, for me, is a birthing center.