Thursday, April 29, 2010

A few more days...

The deadline for this little beauty to show her face is officially May 4th. Then... let the Pitocin commence!

While I'm thrilled to have an End In Sight, I've mostly received condolences from friends. The idea of an induction must be off-putting to most people--it's so unnatural! But it's all I've known with my other two children. Miriam was late and had dangerously low levels of amniotic fluid. Bella broke her little water sac, but my body didn't want to go into labor.

And needless to say, after the weeks of hyperemesis, the last day of pregnancy, full of needles and drugs and bedrest, is rather par for the course.

And then. It is finished.

The whole process of human reproduction is really the oddest thing to me. It's so earthy and awkward, full of all the extremes of physical, emotional, and spiritual pleasure and pain. Physical motherhood can only change us forever, whatever the circumstances or outcome of the pregnancy, because we are human. Body and soul. Such a traumatic (both good and difficult) physical experience can only also transform the inner person.

However many times.

It is an Easter sort of thing: If we have died with Christ, the body is dead (and, oh, does it feel dead!) because of sin. But the spirit lives because of Him. Alleluia.

I am so grateful to be human: that this body, so beaten and triumphant all at once, is truly a little "elevator" to salvation (as Therese would say). Here's to giving everything! Here's to doing it more graciously than before! Higher up and further in.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Getting there.

It's been a long time. Yes, I'm still pregnant. My response to every inquiry: "How are you doing?" "Oh, we're getting there."

The past few weeks have seen still more doctors' visits for all of us and more antibiotics for everything from strep throat to pneumonia. Pregnancy seems like a piece of cake after all that!

I wish I could say I've accepted every moment with grace and cheer. Like the great saints, "she never complained and always had a smile for everyone." But alas! It has not been so. My biggest hope at this point is that I make a good Confession before this baby appears!

Bella and Miriam are my little role models: It can't be easy to have two parents in and out of bed for three weeks. But they still smile and laugh to see us emerge--unshowered, grumpy, lacking in any energy. They still play and sing and even fetch diapers, their own snacks and crayons.

"Unless you become like little children..."

Miriam said the other day, "Well, when I grow up and sin against God someday, I will just lift up my face and smile at Him to show I am so sorry. He will forgive me and bring me to heaven then!"

Ah, yes. Lift up my face and smile. So simple, so true. Make me again like a child, Lord. I'm getting there.

Miriam's smile: Over Jesus' empty tomb!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Higher up and further in.

A blessed Easter Octave to everyone! Lent unintentionally turned into a blog fast for me--the bigger belly, various virii, puffy fingers, and a husband in the final throes of dissertating were all welcome contributors.

And Holy Week was... outside time.

The Scientist Dad defended his dissertation on Monday: He is now officially a PhD! It was a little Easter-before-Easter for the family. Then he whisked me off for three days at the beach--just the two of us (plus in utero child). And, just like our honeymoon, we pretty much just napped the whole time.

Then it was Triduum. I've been getting sick again at night--not hyper emesis, to be sure, but some extreme nausea--so we split Holy Thursday and Good Friday. I went to the Mass, and he hit the Good Friday liturgy. But we boldly (brashly?) took both girls to the Easter Vigil Saturday night. It was very good. Miriam got punch-drunk at about 9.30pm, and Bella spent most of the night in Daddy's arms in the back of the chapel. But both girls seem to deal with exhaustion by getting quieter, rather than fussing, which was a blessing! Miriam was captivated by the three adult, full-immersion baptisms as well as the nine confirmations. She's been chanting the saint names repeatedly for most of this morning.

It was a great grace to watch the children experience the Vigil Mass and the joy of Easter morning. The added weight and aches of late pregnancy have drained me of the usual emotional gifts of the Triduum--the highs and lows just weren't there.

But that in itself is a great gift: So many adults commented last week about which liturgies make them "feel right" or which songs they "simply have to sing at Easter." I know. I am the same way. Good Friday without "O Sacred Head" just seems wrong. And the butchered version of "Adoro Te" (why can't we just stick to Hopkins' masterful translation?) was a real let-down on Holy Thursday.

Things aren't going to be perfect this side of the Jordan. The hope and goal is to grow, not so that our feelings become more acute and not so that our emotions feel ever greater pleasures, but rather so that we grow into other Christs, alter Christus.

In the neuroscience world my husband inhabits, "religious people" are often dismissed as being "those whose brains activate the religious feeling more than usual." The world tells us it's all about the feelings.

The feelings are a gift and great pleasure, but they are always at the service of a greater good: Drawing closer to the person of Christ, who is alive. "Closer" means that our wills are more and more in conformity with the Father's. Our lives are becoming an ever more prevalent "YES" to every moment He gives us--with or without the feelings.

This was my Lenten lesson.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


A blessed and joyful Easter Pasch to all! May the risen Christ release us from death and fear, heal our wounds, and be our all.