Laughing, Weeping, Living

Life happens. You laugh about it or cry about it, sometimes both.

What I Wore Sunday: September 15

Sunday 9-15-13 boot Sunday 9-15-13Today we had some positively Autumnal weather. It was nice and cool and crisp, perfect for the first time taking Agnes to church since coming home. Liturgy was earlier than normal because our priest is visiting family in Ukraine for a month, so we have a substitute priest who also takes care of his own parish in Solon. I bet he probably had to say Liturgy here, then scoot up to his own parish in time for Liturgy there. I am grateful he came; I like going to Liturgy, and he was a really good singer!

So, we had to get up and out the door in record time this morning, taking Agnes and all her gear, and Stephen, and we all had to look nice too! I took the opportunity to wear some more fall-appropriate clothes, including my new pair of boots!

The boots are Clarks, Ingalls Delaware style, in “grey” which is actually taupe. I purchased them through Amazon using a ton of change I found lying around the house. We took the change to a coinstar machine that has a feature where they don’t charge a service fee if you convert the coins to a gift card. So we used the coins to get an Amazon gift card, which I then used to subsidize the purchase of these super nice leather boots. They’re a real brand, and high quality, and I would not be able to justify their purchase if I didn’t have the “free” money to help! I wear boots almost exclusively in the winter with my skirts, so I needed to get a style that would be comfortable and attractive for everyday wear. I’m pleased with them so far! I think they will really hold up to my abuse!

The skirt is from a bag of clothes someone gifted to me when I was pregnant with Stephen. The shirt is Motherhood Maternity. I opted not to wear a veil today because I wasn’t sure what would shake down with Agnes and I didn’t want to worry about my veil getting in the way if I needed to emergently replace a trach tube or something. Plus, this week I got my hair cut for the first time in a year. I didn’t intend to go that long, but it was hard for me to find a time to do it! The stylist took five inches off the bottom, then used thinning shears to remove some the extreme thickness. I really like the look and feel of my new ‘do. I think I will always ask for thinning from now on!

Agnes did a great job at church. We got there a little early so we could set up her tube feeding before Liturgy started, and she pretty much snoozed through most of the liturgy. She did start fussing more towards the end, so I got her out of her seat to hold her and she calmed immediately. We lugged her travel bag, pulse-oximeter, oxygen tank, and feeding pump. We took up an entire pew! After Liturgy we went down to the basement for coffee and everyone was excited to see her back. They exclaimed over how big she is compared to the last time we took her to church a month ago. They said she is cute. We talked with a lady whose younger son was born with some issues similar to Agnes, and he is now a more or less healthy nine year old (I think he’s nine). He is an altar server and very sweet. He played with Stephen the whole time we were talking to his mom. We are so blessed by this church community. Everyone is so supportive, and no one seems freaked out by our special baby. A few of the ladies had the opportunity to hold Agnes, and she loved it.

Agnes has definitely learned that if she fusses and cries, someone will pick her up and snuggle. She adores being held, and pitches a royal hissy fit in her crib until someones comes to attend to her demands. It’s a good thing she is an adorable little miracle baby!

Linking up with Fine Linen and Purple. Go check it out!

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What I Wore Sunday: September 8

Linking up with Fine Linen and Purple.

We’ll do this “quick and dirty” as my Ear Training teacher in college used to say. Only she was referring to the sight-singing quizzes, and I’m referring to a blog post. Whatever, apples and oranges.

Stephen and me, in front of the iconostasis at Holy Ghost.

Stephen and me, in front of the iconostasis at Holy Ghost.

Liturgy was fine this morning, except the lady who leads the choir was out sick, so another lady started us on the troparion. But she sings alto so of course she started out with her own part, and all us sopranos were like “…..” so we sang the alto part too because we couldn’t find our way up to the soprano. For me, at first I didn’t realize we were all singing alto because I don’t know the music yet, and when I did realize it, I was stuck in the alto range with the alto notes in my ear and I couldn’t get out. Oh well. Now I know that when Anna leads, I should find my way up to the soprano part ASAP! Today was kind of interesting because in the Eastern Catholic calendar, we celebrate two events today: The Nativity of the Mother of God, and the pre-feast for the Exultation of the Cross which occurs on September 14. I don’t fully understand the pre-feast thing yet, but I’m getting there. Anyway, we sang double stuff today to cover all the feasts. There were even two Epistle readings instead of one! Only one Gospel reading, though.

I finally managed to snag a photo of the interior of Holy Ghost. In the picture you can see the iconostasis, which is the gold screen across the front of the sanctuary. There are icons of major saints on the screen. As you face the screen, Jesus is to the right of the main doors, and Mary is on the left. I believe it is St. Stephen on the little door on the right, and St. Gabriel the Archangel on the little door on the left. The rest of the saints pictured are church fathers such as St. John Chrysostom. Across the top of the screen are scenes from Gospels. The painting on the dome above the sanctuary is an icon of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit rested as a tongue of flame over each apostle and Mary the BVM. The altar is not in view; it is behind the doors of the screen. The little table directly behind me is called the tetrapod, and it holds an icon for the feast day or liturgical season, and a cross. So there’s a little about Eastern Catholicism for you!

After liturgy we went to the hospital to visit Agnes. My parents were there already, in the midst of their twelve-hours of care. So Jeremy, Stephen, and I just hung out for awhile before coming home. It was at that point that Stephen decided to turn on all his annoying. He did take a brief nap, but he was ornery before, and he was ornery after, and he’s in bed for the night right at this moment and he’s still ornery. I’m choosing to ignore. As soon as I’m done here I plan to grab me an adult beverage and a snacky-snack and chill with some “Storage Wars” or something of that ilk.

I do just want to point out one thing about my church outfit: I’m wearing shoes that are not black Minnetonka Moccasins.

The rest of my gear: Top from Old Navy. Green skirt from an Albuquerque thrift store. Veil I made myself!

Stephen picked out his own duds for church. I was flipping through his (four) nice shirts in his closet and he told me, “red shirt, red shirt.” Then I offered him blue jeans or navy slacks and he chose the navy slacks. Kid’s got style.

Finally before I sign off, the latest on Agnes is she continues to need a bit of oxygen. They did wean her off briefly a couple days ago, but when she gets made, her sats drop and she needs a bit of an oxygen boost. I don’t know if she will come off of oxygen before we bring her home this week. She needs less than she did at the beginning of the week, so it’s already an improvement from where she was. We’ll see. She will hopefully be coming home Tuesday; if not Tuesday, then certainly by the weekend. We’re just waiting on the home care nursing. Praying it all gets sorted out!

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What I Wore Sunday: September 1

Linking up with Fine Linen and Purple.

Happy New Year! Today in the Eastern Catholic Rite, we celebrate the beginning of the church year. I’m not sure why September 1 is the beginning of the new year; in the Roman Rite the first Sunday of Advent marks the beginning of the church year. It is handy that the date is always the same. Though I wonder what happens when September 1 is not on a Sunday? Is it a big deal? We did sing a special kontakion for the feast day, but everything else was for a regular Sunday. I sang in the choir again this week and it was fun. There was a visiting priest celebrating Divine Liturgy with Fr. Sal, and no offense to Fr. Sal, but the visiting priest was a really good singer! I enjoyed singing the responses even more than usual. I guess the visitor was the parish’s former pastor who had moved to a different parish in Cleveland. I really like Fr. Sal, but I wish I had known this other guy, too. His wife sang with the choir today as well, and she was just lovely. She is going to pray for Agnes!

Sunday 9-1-13For church, I decided to wear this dress I found in an Albuquerque thrift store. I really like the design and the colors, and the dress is cool without being too revealing. I wore my long Spanish mantilla with it. And I probably don’t even need to tell you what shoes I chose. Okay, fine, I will. My black Minnetonka Moccasins! Seriously, these shoes are the greatest. They conform to my feet, they don’t slip off my heels when I walk, they are nice enough to wear with dressy clothes, and casual to wear with jeans and t-shirts. I’ve worn them to church, to the hospital, to clean the bathroom. I actually wouldn’t recommend that, but in my defense, I hadn’t planned to scour the shower stall with Ajax when I went in there wearing my moccasins. I got carried away. But, good news: a damp towel was all I needed to wipe the Ajax spots off the moccasins and they’re good as new. And finally, I’ve owned these for just over a year, and they show no sign of wearing out, bursting a seam, splitting away from the sole, or discoloration. And my pictures week after week prove that I wear these shoes all the freakin’ time. Okay, I’m done raving. If you have the opportunity to purchase a pair, I recommend. That’s all.

Today my family’s fun event was visiting the hospital! Whoo! We completed some more parent education about caring for our trach baby, Agnes. I had my turn to change Agnes’ trach tube and do the care of her stoma (the hole in her neck) and change the ties. Jeremy and I also practiced listening to Agnes’ breath sounds and suctioning again. We rounded that out with some brief instruction regarding Agnes’ g-tube and the feeding pump. We are almost “checked off” on all the required pieces. We just need to check off on g-tube care, feeding pump, bagging with the bag (yes, nurses actually say this), and the CPR class. Then we can do our 12-hour stay. Then and only then can Agnes come home! She will probably come home in about 9 days. Maybe Tuesday September 10. Here’s hoping.

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What I Wore Sunday: August 25

If I wasn’t doing a fashion link up, I would definitely not include a picture of what I wore, but since that’s the whole point of this post…fine.

100_1750Here’s an outfit that is church-appropriate, even though the fit is not too great. Lately I’m having a hard time picking clothes that flatter my figure. I feel like nothing in my closet fits right now. Today I ended up wearing an Old Navy top, a thrift store skirt, and my beaded Minnetonka Moccasins. The veil is the one I made for myself! At least the veil fits pretty well, and flatters my ‘do!

This Sunday I did manage to sing with the choir and it was really fun! There was nothing surprising with the music since it was just a regular Sunday with no important feast days. I practiced a little last night and things went smoothly this morning. I really enjoyed singing with the group. All the music at Holy Ghost is done a cappella so it was stimulating to follow the leader and sing in harmony without any help from a piano or organ. Jeremy and I tried to sit as a family up in the choir loft, but for some reason Stephen was not happy with that solution. Jeremy ended up sitting with Stephen down in the church. Maybe next week we can convince Stephen it’s fun to sit up high.

Since Agnes has been in the hospital it’s been hard to hit the gym as much as I want to. I did go four mornings, but I wasn’t able to stay for long each time because we had to get to the hospital early in the mornings if we wanted to talk with the doctors. I ran on an elliptical and it did feel good to exercise, but really it just made me feel even more like an out-of-shape elephant. Hopefully this week will be more affirming, and a reasonable workout won’t feel so difficult! The whole reason I wanted to start an exercise routine was to feel better about myself, but so far I think I feel the same if not worse, because now I have actual proof that I’m terribly out of shape. I’m not even going to weigh myself this week because I’m sure the numbers will be discouraging. I do tend to stress-eat, and Agnes went to surgery on Wednesday, and I spent the night at the hospital a couple nights, so I’m pretty sure my diet was mostly crap even though I vowed to “turn over a new leaf” or whatever.

But I won’t get discouraged! It’s a new week and Agnes is recovering well. I can do it. I can do it.

The only problem is Stephen has picked this week to develop some obnoxiousness. He is flat refusing naps, and his new favorite noise to make is difficult to describe, but trust me, it would be less annoying if he had decided to cry at the top of his lungs. Also it looks like maybe he is suddenly afraid of the dark. He wakes up sobbing. I’m not sure what to do about this since he already has a bright night light on the white noise machine in his room. And he also a randomly picky eater. Like, he suddenly refuses foods that used to be his favorites. This afternoon he refused to eat cheese. Cheese. Who is this kid?

But really, I love children. I love my children. School of charity, yadda yadda.

Linking up with Fine Linen and Purple. Head over for some other Sunday posts!

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What I Wore Sunday: August 18

sunday 8-18-13

dark hospital room lighting.

Well, yesterday was Agnes’ two-month birthday, and today we had to go to church infant-less once again. It was kind of strange, people just asked us who was taking care of the baby, was she with Grandma? I guess that might be a normal question but I was just thinking that if we had Agnes in our care she would definitely be coming to church with us. Anyway, we had to tell folks that she is back in the hospital. It’s sad. Poor Helena, Fr. Sal’s wife. She weeps every time I tell her sad news about Agnes. I can’t wait until I have something good to tell her! We went to the hospital after liturgy and took the WIWS photos there. I’m wearing that mysterious dress from the thrift store in Albuquerque. The one with absolutely no labels anywhere in the garment. So far it hasn’t disintegrated in the wash, so I guess I’m laundering well enough. I also wore my cream colored veil that I made myself. I took it off in the parking lot of the hospital! And my black Minnetonka Moccasins. You may have noticed that I didn’t wear them last week–proof that I do own other shoes. I would also like to point out my hospital armband, a fine accessory for any look, any season.

sunday 8-18-13 with stephen

Reading a story about an alligator raised by birds.

Today we were a little late for church because we were ready to leave ten minutes early. Wait a sec, this will make sense in a minute, I promise. So we were ready to leave ten minutes early, and we decided to hang out a little before leaving because one time we got to the church twenty minutes before liturgy and the doors were still locked. So we hung out for a while, then left maybe five minutes later than we should have. Then about .2 miles from our house, the “low fuel” alarm on the car starts beeping. Curses. So we had to stop for gas. Then we were late to church. Because we were late, I didn’t go up and join the choir this week. Next week I will! It’s okay though, because I studied the worship book carefully last night and figured out which tone to use (tone 4) and placed my ribbons, and even practiced the troparion, kantakion, theotokion, and prokemion. However. Apparently we are still in the post-feast period for Dormition of Mary (Assumption) so the music was a little different. I figured it out pretty quickly during liturgy, but I wasn’t prepared for it ahead of time. Next week I will be a good choir member!

I did go over to Planet Fitness and sign up for a membership. They are running a promotion for $20 a month for 12 months, with no start up fee. Remember I said I was due for something good around here? Well, Planet Fitness bills the monthly dues on the 17th each month, and they don’t prorate the membership when you sign up, so my first payment won’t be until September 17th! One month of free gym time! I’m excited to start tomorrow. I also need to go buy some fresh athletic wear so I don’t look so frumpy at the gym. Oh darn, shopping. Poor me. Linking up with Fine Linen and Purple like y’do.

 

Agnes from a few days ago. It's been awhile since I posted a recent pic.

Agnes from a few days ago. It’s been awhile since I posted a recent pic.

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What I Wore Sunday: August 11

sunday 8-11-13I bought some new shoes on Thursday and I just love them! I designed my outfit to coordinate with the shoes. I don’t know that I was wholly successful, but at least nothing clashes! I’m wearing that skirt again despite myself, but I’m holding it up with a tight-fitting tank top that grabs the waist band of the skirt and prevents it from sliding. That doesn’t take care of the feet grabbing danger, but at least I know the skirt won’t fall off–even though I keep snagging my feet on it as I walk.

Shoes: Esprit

Skirt: Liz Lange Maternity at Target

Tanks: black tank underneath from Motherhood Maternity; blue tank from Old Navy

The outfit isn’t actually that flattering, but I wanted to not be sweaty for a change this week, so I wore tank tops. I don’t generally go sleeveless to church, but I was wearing my long mantilla so my shoulders were covered. That is, until my veil fell off halfway through the liturgy. I must have done a poor job pinning this morning. Plus Stephen kept demanding to be held at church and that didn’t help my veil remain secure either.

There was a baptism at church today, the first one I’ve seen in the Byzantine Rite. It was pretty neat. There is a strong emphasis on renouncing Satan and evil, and the sacraments being protection against evil. I kind of liked it. In the Eastern Catholic tradition, babies receive all three sacraments of initiation at once: baptism, chrismation (confirmation), and Eucharist. I didn’t get to watch when the infant received communion, though I wanted to see what it looks like because it doesn’t seem possible to feed a baby something strange-tasting. I also wanted to see how it’s done because I’m not totally sure Agnes could even do it right now, so I wanted to watch and see what’s involved. Alas, the baby stayed in the pew and Fr. Sal came down to the family so I couldn’t see around all the other bodies between them and me.

Jeremy and I want to set a date for Stephen and Agnes to complete the sacraments. They are both baptized, but we want them to receive chrismation and Eucharist as soon as is feasible. I’m sure there must be a way for that to happen in the Byzantine Rite; I’m sure we’re not the first family to come from Roman Rite to Eastern Rite and want the rest of the sacraments for our young children.

Just a quick Agnes update: she weighed 7 lbs 8 oz on Tuesday last week, and the home care nurse is visiting tomorrow so we’ll have an updated figure. Agnes has not be spitting up quite as much the past couple days, though her more recent spit was fairly dramatic. I’m hoping she continues to spit only once or twice a day, or less! I hope her medications aren’t causing the spit; yesterday and today the only time she spit was after the feeding that includes her two medications. I’ll see if she repeats again tomorrow and maybe call the doc if I notice a trend.

In other children news, Stephen is adorable about Agnes. Just a quick example: I sat down on the couch with Agnes, in the spot I usually sit to do her feeding. Stephen brought over the pillow I always use to help position Agnes and said, “bottle. Baby Agnes. Bottle.” He always calls her “Baby Agnes,” which is getting better pronunciation: now it sounds like “Baby Annis.” So that’s an improvement.

I’m linking up with Fine Linen and Purple as usual on a Sunday. Head over there for more posts!

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What I Wore Sunday: July 28 Baby Eve Redux

Six weeks ago I linked up with Fine Linen and Purple for my “baby eve” what I wore Sunday. That time six weeks ago, I was headed to the hospital for Agnes’ birth. Today I’m linking up again for my “baby eve” because tomorrow we are finally bringing Agnes home for the first time! Tomorrow will be her first time breathing fresh air, riding in her car seat, meeting the pets, and sleeping at home. I won’t lie: I’m really extremely very nervous. But also excited! Tomorrow will be a whirlwind of talking to all the hospital folks I have been trying to speak to ahead of time, getting last minute instructions, taking a baby CPR class, picking up medical equipment and verifying medication instructions. Hopefully we’ll get her home before Stephen goes to bed!

100_1700Anyway, in honor of today being “baby eve” again, we did the photo at the hospital in Agnes’ little room!

I was wearing my black mantilla for church, but I took it off after liturgy and didn’t put it back on in the hospital. Other clothes:

Dress from the Goodwill store in Billings, MT. I think it might be Coldwater Creek, but don’t quote me. Neato detail: the dress is reversible. The other side is yellow with large red flowers. You can kind of see the flowers peeking through if you look closely at the picture. Another neato detail: this dress is technically part of my “pre-pregnancy” wardrobe. It was a little tight; I almost thought I wanted to change clothes but it wasn’t bad enough for me to bother. I decided to wear a dress today to celebrate the fact that I am done with that infernal breast pump. I did one final pumping this morning and now it is packed away, hopefully for a very very long time.

Black sweater from Target many years ago. I like that it covers my shoulders and arms without being a warm sweater. I can wear it in July.

Minnetonka Moccasins. Did you even need to ask?

Agnes is wearing a cute sleeper by Carters. It has little zebra faces on the feet and a patch that says “mommy loves me.” It also features built-in mittens which is why you can’t see her hands in the photo. In the picture, Agnes is wearing heart rate and respiration rate monitors which are connected to the screen by that thick blue cable. I will be very happy when I don’t have to thread wires through the buttons and zippers of her clothes. Plus it will make diaper changing a lot easier when I don’t have to be careful of the wires when her diaper is open and she is frantically kicking her legs.

In other Agnes news, she ate an entire bottle for the first time ever this afternoon! I was worried she wouldn’t eat anything because she was super mad when we were getting started. It took about five or seven minutes for her to calm down enough to even think about sucking on the bottle. After a couple false starts she finally did take it and begin drinking. She dribbled a lot while sucking, but the couple times I tried to take away the bottle so she would have a chance to swallow the milk in her mouth, she didn’t let me remove the bottle! She really wanted to keep going. After she finished, she looked pretty worn out! I expect her progress will continue to be slow; I’m thinking she might drink one full bottle for every 24 hour period for a few days, maybe a week. After that, she might gradually start adding full bottles to the count until she can finally eat exclusively by mouth. That’ll be the day!

I asked the nurse to snap a photo of Agnes with her empty bottle. I’m totally giving one to Dr. Ahmann, he who doubted Agnes could do it.

Next week we can all go to church as a family! That will be really fun. All the nice folks at Holy Ghost have been praying for Agnes and asking me every week how she is doing. It will be fun to show her off to our parish!

100_1703

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What I Wore Sunday: July 21

It’s been awhile since I linked up with Fine Linen and Purple for the weekly What I Wore Sunday. It feels good to be back at it. Head over there to read the other linkers (we’ve been through this before…).

The prayers, hymns, and acclamations of the Byzantine liturgy are really beautiful. I notice a different thing every time we go to liturgy, and today I noticed a beautiful petition in one of the litanies that occur throughout the liturgy. The petition says, “For an angel of peace, a faithful guide, a guardian of our souls and bodies, let us ask the Lord.” And all respond, “Grant this, O Lord.” Angels have recently started to fascinate me, like in the past year or two. It is really neat to think about my guardian angel following me around and protecting me and leading me away from danger. A couple months ago I met a really neat young lady who has a special gift to see and communicate with angels. She told me that I have three angels! She says different people have varying sizes of angel entourages. Sometimes when I pray to my angel for intercession and help, I ask him/her (?) to bring all the available angels in to help as well. Every angel can’t be busy all the time, right? Then I imagine the room filling and filling, crammed full of angels, piling in up to the ceiling. It’s pretty cool, and it helps me remember that I am not alone and I don’t have to deal with my trials with only my own strength. 

I could have used some angelic intercession this morning because I was having the hardest time even getting out of bed! I got up to pump at 5:30am, then went back to sleep until my second alarm at 7:30am. That’s already pretty late for a Sunday morning, but on top of that, I couldn’t drag out of bed until almost 8:00! And we had to leave at 9:00 to get to church! And I still had to drink my coffee, eat breakfast, pump again, pick out my church clothes, get dressed, and do hair and makeup! “…Let us ask the Lord!”

sunday 7-21-13

On the steps of Holy Ghost.

Luckily I was able to do it all. Barely. I had to cram my veil in my purse and do it at church, though. Also luckily, I had already more or less decided on my outfit in my head. I picked this new top from Old Navy, a maternity skirt from Target, and my trusty Minnetonka Moccasins. The veil is my new beautiful Spanish mantilla.

I like this Old Navy top more than I expected to. Last week, I half-heartedly went shopping for some new clothes that actually fit me now that I’m not preggo anymore. I tried on a bunch of shirts that did. not. work. and finally passed the table full of henley tops on my way to register. The style looked like it might work for me, so grabbed one in the size I thought was best and bought it without trying it on. Good for me, it fit. The neckline is a little more revealing than I prefer, but it still qualifies as modest.

That skirt. I really need to stop wearing it because it was just a teensy-tiny bit too large when I was pregnant, and now I’m not pregnant. Plus there is something about it that table corners, furniture arms, staircase railings, and my walking feet find really attractive. One good tug and this thing will be long gone. I tempt fate every time I wear it. I know this, and yet I keep wearing it. “….Let us ask the Lord!”

My moccasins. O how I adore thee. Amen.

The veil. I’m still the only lady who wears a veil at church. I actually expected someone to ask me about it, but so far, no one has mentioned it. I guess no one really cares. Whatever. I really enjoy wearing a veil to church so I’m going to keep doing it!

After church we all trooped over to the hospital to visit Agnes. She was moved twice this week, first to the sub-intensive room, then to a semi-private room in the TLC section of the NICU. More and more, people are talking to us about when we take her home. No one has given us a specific date, but it will be soon. Possibly even this week!

Jeremy and I have to learn a few things before we can bring Agnes home. First, she is definitely coming home with an n/g tube. We have to learn how to put one in and how to care for it, keep it clean, and make sure it stays put in the right place. The nurse showed us how to put one in and we took turns listening to Agnes’ tummy with a stethoscope to verify that the tube was down in her stomach where it belongs.

Second, we have to learn how to administer feedings through the tube. This will involve a syringe with tubing that connects to the n/g, and possibly an electric syringe pump unless we can talk the doctor into letting us try gravity feeding.

Third, we have to learn how to draw oral medications into a syringe and administer them through the n/g. We will also have to learn how to crush a pill into small enough fragments that Agnes will either be able to suck them off a finger or the pieces have to fit through the n/g.

Fourth, the doc may send her home with caffeine as one of her medications. Caffeine helps little babies regulate their breathing and take deep breaths. If Agnes comes home on caffeine, she will also need continuous monitoring of her heart rate and respiration rate. We would get a little battery powered monitor that we would have to pack up and take along when we take Agnes out of the house.

Now that we’ve started getting information and training for going home, I really think we’ll be out of there in a week. Next Sunday I may be able to feature Agnes in What I Wore Sunday! Here’s hoping!

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Jeremy took this pic while he was holding Agnes. Them’s skilz.

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What I Wore Sunday: June 16 Baby Eve!

Linking up with Fine Linen and Purple as usual on a Sunday! Head over there to read the other linkers-up. Link-uppers. Linkers. Whatever.

100_1680Let’s talk about my clothes first, this week. This is the big billowy dress my mom bought for my birthday a couple weeks ago. It is really lightweight and comfortable. Today is also my last chance to wear a dress for awhile since I intend to nurse Agnes when she makes her debut tomorrow. My mom bought the dress from a catalogue, maybe Woman Within or Romans or something. I’m not really sure.

I’m also wearing my brand new authentic Spanish mantilla! My in-laws just returned from a whirlwind trip to Spain and Portugal, and they were kind enough to bring me a mantilla in black lace. I have the little white lace one that I made, and I wear woven scarves a lot too. I’m really excited to wear a real mantilla from Spain! The lace is super soft and drapes nicely around my face. I did pin it to my head with bobby pins to prevent slippage. I really like that it covers my shoulders and arms as well. The shape is not what I expected–it’s a long narrow rectangle rather than a square or semi-circle–but it is a really convenient shape for wearing on the head. Because it doesn’t hang down a lot in back, it slides off less easily than a wider piece of fabric would. It still slides a lot if I don’t pin it, but the shape does help in that department.

And I’m wearing my black Minnetonka Moccasins. I promise, I do own other pairs of shoes. But why mess with perfection?

Stephen was excited to stay outside for a few minutes when we got home from church. He adores blowing bubbles. He is wearing a thrift store shirt, thrift store pants, and his new sneakers with lights on the sides that flash when he walks. They’re size 9 toddler shoes. Holy moly.

 

Today Jeremy, Stephen and I were officially welcomed as new parishioners at Holy Ghost! Fr. Sal made an announcement at the end of the liturgy, and gave us our welcome present: a box of donation envelopes! It was cute. Then we all went downstairs for cake. No, the cake wasn’t for us; it was to celebrate Fathers’ Day, but everyone was allowed to enjoy it, even the mothers and the babies.

2013-05-21 19.56.46Today is also my last day without an infant. Tomorrow at 8 a.m. we go to the hospital for my induction. I’m really nervous about it, and I’m afraid that every decision I will want to make about my labor will be taken away from me for medical reasons I don’t know about, or because something comes up that makes what I want an impossible course of action. I’m nervous because the labor will be induced and my body will be forced to comply with the doctors’ wishes that labor begin at a specific time and progress at a certain rate, and nothing will be allowed to unfold naturally. I’m nervous because the neonatologist told me a team of specialists will descend as soon as Agnes pops out. I think he thought he was being reassuring, telling me a lot of doctors will be around to make sure Agnes thrives. But I’m not reassured. All I want to do is snuggle Agnes on my chest and let her try to nurse. I don’t want her to be whisked away to the NICU and stuck with an I.V. and tubes. I’m hoping and praying she defies all the expectations and arrives screaming and flailing her limbs and otherwise being a completely normal newborn. I’m also hoping and praying I can keep my head in the game and do what is necessary. I’m just scared that I will mentally “give up,” especially if the doctors take away all my choices and decision-making opportunities.

I’ll probably see y’all in a few days, after the excitement dies down. Unless labor goes really fast and Agnes debuts by lunchtime tomorrow! Then I might be able to post tomorrow, especially if the locust swarm specialists take her away for testing.

Mary, Mother of God, pray for us. Saint Agnes, pray for us. Saint Maria Goretti, pray for us.

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What I Wore Sunday: June 9

Linking up with Fine Linen and Purple today.

First of all, I’m sorry I didn’t post yesterday, even though I have come to realize that no one reads my blog on days when I don’t publish a new post. Weird, huh? Anyway, I do have a really good reason: there was a spider on the ceiling in the office directly over the desk chair, and I was not about to do any computing while that bad boy was hanging around. I finally screwed up the courage to deal with it today, and now I can go back online.

Jeremy and I have really been enjoying attending church at Holy Ghost Ukrainian Catholic Church. The Liturgy is really beautiful and I’m starting to make sense of the different elements that come together during the course of the celebration. I read a book about the Byzantine tradition which really helped outline the many parts of a Divine Liturgy celebration. Plus the nice folks at Holy Ghost put together a binder full of photocopies of all the music so newbies like myself can follow along and participate. One gentleman was explaining the ritual books to us today, and how difficult it is to find your way around, which is why they do the binders. I agree; ritual books from any tradition are notoriously not user-friendly. I’m convinced that’s the reason more Catholics don’t pray the Liturgy of the Hours on their own at home: the books are really hard to use what with all the ribbons, flipping pages back and forth, special sections for feast days and different seasons, etc. I’m really glad Holy Ghost prints out the music, because I really like to sing it! The tunes are so simple and melodic, and the texts are really rich with poetic images. I especially like the hymns about the BVM.

100_1668For my church outfit today, I’m wearing this black and white dress again, which I bought at Savers in Albuquerque. Since I’m doing prenatal testing and doctors visits three times a week–where they put on fetal heart monitors, glop on goo for ultrasounds, and palpitate my uterus–I tend to wear skirts/pants and shirts to make it easier at the appointment. So, on the off days I like to wear my dresses! After Agnes is born I’ll have to retire most of my dresses while I’m nursing, too, so I’m trying to enjoy them now while I have the chance.

I’m also wearing the black scarf again. Jeremy asked me today if I’ll ever wear my lace veil again, and I couldn’t answer yes or no. I really want to, but I don’t want to stick out too much. I want to talk to Fr. Sal first, even though I’m sure he will tell me to do what I want.

If you were to ask me, “Can you live without your black Minnetonka Moccasins?” I would have to answer, “No.” Truly.

In other churchy type news, Fr. Sal told us today that he checked around and learned that he can do chrismation and first communion for Stephen at the same time he baptizes Agnes! That is so exciting for us, since all our family will already be here. It will be exciting for the parish too, for our family to come into the church in this way. Overall, the community is older, though there are a few young families. It will be really special for the community to welcome two children sacramentally. There is another young lady at the church who is also about to have a baby, so the church will be full of the sounds of children! So beautiful!

One week until Agnes arrives. The countdown has already begun.

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