alicia: January 2005 Archives
I will be in Washington DC in June for the ACNM annual meeting. Anyone who would like to try to meet up, let me know. WHile I am there, maybe I can visit this beautiful Eastern rite parish!
Any woman who has been pregnant has probably experienced at least a few moments like this. Even in the most uncomplicated and easy birth, there are moments where one realizes just how close she is to the divide between life and death. Men and women both live out the consequences of original sin with sorrow and toil in their daily lives. One is not superior to the other.
A few of my midwife friends have also done hospice work. They all tell me there is an amazing similarity between preparing someone to give birth and/or to die well. As Catholic Christians, we are called to pray for a 'good death' but what we mean by that is very different from euthanasia (which literally translates to 'good death'). The good death in Catholic tradition is one in which the Sacraments are present, the person has had time to prepare for the journey, and any suffering has been offered up in union with the suffering of Christ on the cross. Hopefully, the person dying will be surrounded by family and friends all saying the Prayers for the Dying.
Those of you who are cradle Catholics - are there any specific prayers for a women in childbirth? I know that there were prayers of thanksgiving after birth (the so-called 'Churching of Women"). I know that during some of my labors I simply clung to the verse of Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me".
St Gerard, St Gianna, pray for all pregnant women, especially those now laboring to give birth.
St Joseph, pray for us that we be given the grace of a happy death.
Eutychus Fell has several wonderfully insightful posts up the last few days. He still doesn't have comments up on his site but he does respons to emails. GO over and check out his comments about the Phoenix situation and his review of a movie he caught more or less by accident.
The Joys of Nazareth
On a slightly different note, I caught the tail end of the documentary film "Love is a Choice" about St. Gianna Molla. I am going to try to see all of it when it reruns on EWTN. I have fallen in love with the story of her life - even if she hadn't died in such a heroicly virtuous way, I think that she still would have been recognized as a saint for our times.
I wish that I had a relic of her. How does one go about getting a relic? Does anyone know? It wasn't covered in my education when becoming Catholic.
Just wanted to let every one know that Ina May Gaskin will be in Kansas
City, MO on Friday evening March 4 2005 and all day Saturday March 5th for
the 10th Annual Conference of "Midwife means...with woman". This is being
presented by the Greater Kansas City Chapter of the American College of
Nurse Midwives and sponsored by Saint Luke's hospital of Kansas City.
Conditions very difficult for those who survived
I wrote a big check and sent it to CRS - my heart breaks at what my sister midwives are up against. I wish that I could just go there and help, but I don't know the language or the culture and so I just continue to pray for them.
A few weeks ago, I got a phone call from one of our grown children. "Mom, if I need to, could I come home?" (It turned out not to be necessary, BTW.) You know what the answer to that had to be. I have heard it said that home is the place where, if you show up, they have to take you in. The interesting thing is that this particular child has never even seen the house we now call home.
Last year, I went to Milwaukee for a conference at Marquette. For some reasons that I have now forgotten, I flew into Chicago and rented a car and drove to Milwaukee. As I was making the long drive, I saw a sign for I-90, and realized that I could just get on that road headed West, and at that moment I felt a pang of homesickness that was visceral. I felt it so deep in my body and my soul - driving through the rain and the dark and wanting so much to go home to California - which of course isn't really home any more.
Home, home. Where is home?
When I was a child, home was my grandmother's house in San Diego. My dad was career Air Force. My childhood memories are categorized first by where we lived, and then by how old I was. I can remember back to age around 3. My first memories were of the old house where we lived in the basement apartment, in Aurora Colorado. We were there less than a year - after my dad was deployed to England my mom, my brother, and I moved back to San Diego and lived with Gram and Popo for 6 months and then moved to England to be with Dad. Three years in England, and when they told us we were going home I knew it had to be to Gram's house - and so it was. I lived with Gram for a year to go to school (long story, ask if you want the details) while my mom, dad, brother and sister moved to Los Angeles. Back with my family after finishing second grade, 3 years in Los Angeles in a house that I had trouble calling home, and then off to France for a year. Back from France and back to Gram's house for me, my mom and 2 brothers, two sisters lived a few miles away, dad was first in Riverside CA then Montgomery AL, and midyear we moved to Montgomery to be together as a family again. Six months in AL, back to Gram's house for the summer, then off to Massachussets for 2 years but with the summer between spent at Gram's house. Then an unexpected early retirement (medical) for my dad, and we moved for the final time of my childhood - back to Los Angeles. But Gram's house was always 'home' to me.
My husband and I married and settled down for a long time in Los Angeles (although we spent the first two years of our marriage in the SF Bay area). I adopted his parent's house as 'home' - my parents divorced about the time that we had returned to Los Angeles. We went there for Thanksgiving, were over there usually Christmas afternoon, even lived there for a few months.
But, as they grew older, they realized that they couldn't keep up the care of an older two story house. And so they moved, and eventually first my mother-in-law, and then my father-in-law both died. But Gram still was home and I had a piece of earth that connected my to my childhood and youth. Even though we had moved first to Oregon and then to New Hampshire, California and specifically Gram's house was still home.
Last year, Gram turned 90. Her health is such that she could no longer stay home, and so her house was sold and she is living close to her only surviving child, my father. Last year, when I was on that road between Chicago and Milwaukee, I realised that I have no longer an earthly place that I connect to as home. I have a house here in New Hampshire, it is a very nice house and I try to keep it a welcoming place, but my heart and my gut don't call it home. It is temporary, transient, and even if we live here the rest of our lives I don't think I will ever feel truly at home. I have no home now, except that I realise that we are all really homeless on this earth. Our true home is in Heaven, with the Lord. Is this detachment?
Well, I don't think I've gotten the real hang of healthy detachment yet. There are a lot of things that I just hang on to. I know that I am a packrat, and part of that is probably so that I can occupy a space and not feel like an intruder. If I can put part of my stuff around, I can create this temporary sense of belonging somewhere. I get fussy and particular about my stuff, too, and I know that it isn't healthy. But I think I am beginning to start to learn to let go, as well.
I hope and I pray that when the time comes for me to ask God "Can I come home?" that He will say, "But of course. Welcome to your eternal home!" When I imagine Hell, I imagine the sense of loneliness and homesickness that I often get, multiplied onehundredfold, and eternal. I think the emotional torment is more real to me than any physical torment could be.
via Mixolydian Mode (a blog I don't visit nearly often enough)
We’ve done authors. Now let’s do first lines of poems:
1. Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be
2. I never saw a Purple Cow
3. Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
4. Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
5. Do not go gentle into that good night,
6. Jenny kissed me when we met
7. How do I love thee, let me count the ways
8. That’s my last Duchess painted on the wall,
9. It was many and many a year ago, in a kingdom by the sea
10. ’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
If the line is familiar, leave it. Otherwise replace it with the first line of a poem you know and boldface your changes.
So You Call Yourself Catholic?
I won't embarass myself by posting my score!
Did you know that Cuba does better than the USA?
Here is an interesting editorial comment on this.
La Shawn asks
1) How long have you been blogging?
2 years and a few days (my first entry is dated 1/9/03)
2) Do you believe you’re addicted to blogging? Please explain, and be honest. It is habit-forming, I must confess. (If I decide to use your response, I may have follow-up questions.)
I can go a few days without blogging, and sometimes I get sick of it. But I don't see it is an addiciton, it is more that I have made a committment to my (few thought they may be) readers. As far as I know, I am the only midwife blogging (if there any others, please let me know!) and definitely the only Catholic midwife blogging in the USA. If I am addicted to anything, it is probably my community - but I don't honestly see that as an unhealthy addiction. My family and my local community take priority.
3) Have you ever taken a hiatus? If so, for what reason and how long?
I take time off whenever I feel like it, or if I am busy or just not in the mood. My hiatus may not involve doing no posting, it is more likely that I will take a hiatus from thoughtful and well-written content, and just post links, short comments, or quiz results. In a sense, I have been on hiatus for a few weeks now - I have some real content percolating in my brain but it isn't fully brewed yet.
4) Have you ever thought of giving up your blog? Why or why not?
Nope. I sometimes get frustrated with the technical stuff or disheartened by some reader/commentors, but I figure that this is worthwhile even if only 1 or 2 people find my writings of value.
... the miracle of birth for British women
Survey shows that mothers' dreams of holistic experience end in hospital shock
I grew up thinking of Britain as the haven of midwifery care and home birth, but I think that has been passed on to the Netherlands. However, the health care system in the Netherlands has its own negative issues, particularly in the care of the dying and of the handicapped.
If I ever have the time to delve deeply into it, I want to work on applying the Holy Father's Theology of the Body to pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting issues. Maybe after I retire I can pursue a doctorate in theology.......
Why be Catholic?
Yesterday I was driving my back from dropping my daughter off for her driving lesson, and happened to catch the tail end of an NPR show (I think it was Talk of the Nation) discussing the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)' s recent statement on same sex unions and ordination. Apparently the statement was very waffly - and the host read an email that was something to the effect of "What should a member of ELCA do if the local congregation was determined to ignore the obvious scriptural condemnation of same sex sexual relationships"?
Now, obviously, I missed the context here, and I haven't yet gone back to listen to the whole thing, but I find myself getting increasingly impatient on this and other issues of moral and biblical theology. I just wanted to say the that listener (and to like-minded, faithful Christians of all stripes who are baffled by how obviously their sola scriptura churches are ignoring scripture) COME HOME!
Surfing around the blogosphere, I found this entry from Philip Blosser - published last week - that is one of the best single entries I have read on why Anglicans should consider crossing the Tiber. I couldn't have said it better.
Quiz via Kiss me, I'm Catholic
(Click here to test yourself) Your Brain Usage Profile:
Auditory : 26%
Visual : 73%
Left : 42%
Right : 57%
(I would never have put myself at being that visual - but I am certainly not auditory so I guess they are right on that one. I would rather read than listen, that is for sure)
Alicia - Means: Of Noble Birth
Decade Popularity Rank
Find out how popular your first name has been over the past 100 years, just click and enter your first name.
I am planning to have a very quiet birthday celebration. I didn't sleep well last night, so I slept in this morning. I am glad that I put in for a vacation day for my birthday. I had thought about going out to daily Mass, but the snow keeps falling and so I have listened twice so far to today's Mass on EWTN. So far, I have had phone calls from 4 of my 5 out of the house children - not bad. We will probably head out to dineer later tonight if the weather co-operates.
In addition to being my 50th birthday today, it is also the 32nd anniversary of my reception into the Church. It recently struck me that I entered the church just before Roe V Wade passed.....
There has been a lot going on in the world. But there is always a lot going on in the world. One does not have to be a pundit to have an effect, for good or for ill. Those of us who fill and rock the cradles have an important work to do, and the Little Way will bring us to the gates of Heaven as surely as any big works of faith, hope, or love.
Thank you for all your prayers.
I want to share a birthday song from my adolescence:
Happy Birthday, o happy birthday. Sorrow sickness and despair, people dying everywhere, but happy birthday, o happy birthday.
And the prayer of my Anglican childhood:
Many happy returns on the day of your birth
May seasons of joy be given
May God in His mercy prepare you on earth
For a wonderful birthday in Heaven.
An articulate description of the purpose of education
from a home schooling father of many
by ATUL GAWANDE
What happens when patients find out how good their doctors really are?
Caveat emptor is ethically and morally unsupportable.
he blogs on here for now.
I suggest you go over and read the last few days for a not so brief description of what it is like to try to live without plastic money in our culture.
is up over at the blog with the really long latin name
I don't know how TSO manages to find and post all his tidbits. Delicious, as always.
There is also a program out there for Billings, and I have heard that one is under development for Creighton model.
Take the quiz:
"Which Spongebob Squarepants character are you???"
Meow. You are a pet and live to please your master.
Thanks to Ellyn for the link!
You are most like
Frodo Baggins, Son of Drogo
With many acquaitenances, Frodo is deeply attached to a few people, like Bilbo, Aragorn, Gandalf, and Sam. His high ethics come out in his treatment of Gollum and Saruman. Frodo has pity on Gollum and believes that change can occur.
You have a strong personal morality. You are committed to relationships and their growth. You tend to be an idealist, believing the best of the world around you. Time alone is important and solitary activities refresh you. You have a tendency to introspection. While providing compassion and being considerate, you may have the tendency of being soft-hearted or even "too emotional" You like keeping your options open. Closure is probably not one of your strong suits.
The Orcs display the evil side of this personality with their lengthy torture methods.
Traits: Empathic, benevolent, looking to the future. On the dark side you could be sadistic.
Want to take this quiz? From the home page select LOTR personality quiz. Warning: The page plays music even if you are already listening to something else!
Ben Stein's last e-column
I hope to be online a little later with more content.
(thanks to Dawn Eden)
A slap on the wrist for false and misleading advertising (PDF file, requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)
Mifepristone (RU-486) black box warnings
Depo-Provera black box warning
warnings on Strattera (a drug for ADHD)
and for further depressing reading - the current drug shortages list.
Besides godblogs and momblogs, I also like to read medblogs. For an assortment of these, try Grand Rounds.
Well, I guess my malaise of the last week of the year was just a prodrome to what laid me low yesterday. I don't want to go into the details, but let me say that my nurses made me go home early from work on Friday New Year's Eve - I think they were afriad that I was going to pass out on them. Repeated comment "You look soooo pale!". Got home yesterday and basically passed out - cold sweats and hot flashes - if this was a pretaste of menopause I don't want it! Oh, well, maybe this will help me get started on losing some of the weight that has found me over the last several years. I think I have managed to consume maybe 400 calories the last 24 hours, mostly in clear liquids.
I will try to have some content worth reading sometime in the next few days. Meanwhile, I suggest checking out some of the other worthwhile blogs lited on the blogroll - or you could check out the Christian Carnival and the Catholic Carnival. ANd,. of course, Dawn always has pithy comments to make.
Me - I'm heading down to the kitchen to check on the soup. Beef barley from the last of the Christmas roast beef - hope it tastes as good as it sounded when I started in on it.