Alive

Last night was a rather uneventful evening. We put the kids to bed. We watched Thor on Netflix. We went to bed.

Almost as soon as we got into bed, K had a sharp shooting pain in her abdomen.

We called the midwife. We called a neighbor to watch the children. We called my mother, who lives nearby. The we rushed to the ER at about 11:30.

Shortly after arriving, K fainted. She was taken to ultrasound after she came to. The ultrasound showed an ectopic pregnancy with significant internal bleeding. They called the doctor, prepped her for surgery and operated a 4 am.

The surgery was a success. K is currently resting, recovering, and doing well.

We have mixed emotions about all of this. Although this pregnancy was a surprise, we had gotten past the initial shock and we were really looking forward to growing our family. Our older daughters were especially excited about being big sisters. (I had a post written about all of this that is still in draft.)

We are sad that we lost the baby. We are sad that we will never get to meet our “baby Bean” as our daughters called him.

But our grief will have to wait for another day. Today we are thankful. The doctor showed us the pics of the surgery. Several nurses said it was one of the worst ruptured ectopic pregnancies they had ever seen.

We are thankful for family and friends.

We are thankful we had good medical help available.

We are thankful that K is alive.

And we are thankful for all the prayers that were offered for K, both in this world and the next. I was a nervous wreck and I don’t think I could have gotten through this all without prayer.

I’m exhausted and will be very busy over the next few weeks, so I probably won’t be posting. Prayers are appreciated, as always.

Originally posted at realcatholicloveandsex.com

 

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What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?

Ten years ago, on this day, Baghdad fell to coalition forces.

As U.S. troops were closing in on the city, Iraqi Information Minister Muhammed Saeed al-Saha (M.S.S.) had the job of keeping the Iraqi people “informed” of how the war was going. M.S.S.’s boss, Saddam Hussein, didn’t want the Iraqi people to know just how badly the war was going for the regime, so M.S.S.’s press conferences consisted of half-truths, distortions, and blatant lies.

As the war continued to go badly for the regime, the press conferences became more laughable, earning M.S.S. the nicknames of “Baghdad Bob” and “Comical Ali”. He was captured after the war and now lives in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

We haven’t heard much from Baghdad Bob in the past ten years, but studies have shown own supposedly “free” press was little better in the lead up to the Iraq War. The media largely followed a pro-war storyline, even when the facts didn’t match what the Bush Administration was saying.

In the leadup to the Iraq War, the press was more interested in telling a story than in reporting facts. But this isn’t journalism, this is propaganda.

Today, we are seeing the same “selective reporting” in stories about abortion. Members of the media largely support legalized abortion, and this is reflected in the stories they chose to cover and those they choose to ignore. Stories that make people more sympathetic to liberal abortion laws are promoted, such as the unfortunate death of Savita Halappanavar, while stories that make people more supportive of abortion restrictions, such as the trial of Kermit Gosnell for the death of multiple newborn babies and a woman, Karnamay Mongar.

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Important

Not Important

Not Important

Some of the coverage would make Baghdad Bob proud. This from the Huffington Post:

In court Monday, Gosnell defied that crude image, appearing poised, elegantly dressed and oddly relaxed. He warmly greeted a local TV reporter by name, as he has done in the past.

Gosnell, the only child of a gas station operator and government clerk, had been a top student at the city’s prestigious Central High School. He became an early proponent of abortion rights in the 1960s and `70s, and returned from a stint in New York City to open up a clinic in the impoverished Mantua neighborhood, near the working-class black neighborhood where he grew up.

His Women’s Medical Center treated the poor, immigrants, teens and others without regard for their ability to pay, Gosnell has said.

I’ll spare you the gruesome details of the trial, but Google is your friend. Tip: Don’t read while eating.

Blogger Ace of Spades has an insightful take on all of this.

Unlike in Iraq, the government isn’t forcing the media to cover the story a certain way. Nor do we have, like in Britain, an unashamedly partisan press. (Everyone in the UK knows The Guardian is left-leaning and The Daily Telegraph is right-leaning.)

Instead, Ace hypothesizes that the media manipulates its coverage for what they believe is the greater good. They see themselves as educated and enlightened, and the rest of us, especially in the Deep South or the Central Time Zone, as a bunch of dangerously uneducated savages.

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Kind of Like This.

You see, we can’t know about the Gosnell trial, because that might make us think abortion is bad, and such thinking Is Not Allowed. On the other hand, we must know about Savita and we must know that the Catholic Church is to blame (even though neither Irish Law nor Catholic teaching would have prevented her from getting the care she needed) so that we will know that abortion is necessary and good and that those crazy Catholics have no business in medicine or politics in a “civilized” society.

Or as Ace of Spades put it:

By deliberately misleading the public, you see, they’re protecting the world.

From us.

They have taken the exact opposite side of the proposition this nation was founded upon. Far from a well-informed citizenry being necessary for a free democracy, they’ve decided a well-informed citizenry is a deadly threat to it.

Don’t worry, though. They’re working their level-best to end that threat.

Truth does not control information. Truth is liberating. Truth is unbiased. Truth answers the questions instead of silencing the debate.

But those only concerned with their own power find truth a threat or an inconvenience. In a world without truth, all that is left is power.

Or as one famous politician put it: “Truth. What is the truth?”

Sharp Dressed Man (What I Wore Sunday)

My favorite response to the What I Wore Sunday linkup was from a Priest:

He said he wore Purple over White over Black: Same as last Sunday.

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What I Wore Sunday: Clergy Edition

Although my Sunday wardrobe is not quite as predictable as that of the clergy, it’s not much more interesting.

What I Wore Sunday doesn’t make a lot of sense for guys. Guys usually wear very similar things each week: Coat and tie, polo shirt and khakis, Or at the more casual parishes, jeans and a t-shirt.

What I Wore Sunday is all about celebrating the feminine genius by posting pictures of all the many different ways that women attire themselves for attending mass.

So why am I posting?

The reason why I am posting is that there have been a couple of things that have made me rethink what I wear to Church on Sunday.

The first was in adult Sunday School, when our instructor mentioned that she felt it was important to dress well. It was a part of worship to bring her best before God. At mass, we take part in the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, and should dress accordingly.

The second was Jennifer Fulwiler’s post about chapel veils. Basically, Jennifer feels called to veil, but doesn’t want to stick out as THE WOMAN IN THE CHAPEL VEIL. To her relief, she didn’t feel like she stuck out when she veiled, so she is going to keep on doing it.

So, what does this have to do with me?

I go to Sunday morning mass at a “polo shirt and khaki” parish. A couple of women veil, but they are very much the exception. A few men wear coats and ties, but they are more unusual. A few men wear jeans.

I usually dress up when I lector. I have the clothes and they don’t get much use now that I have gone from a job requiring business clothes to a more casual office. But this week, I wasn’t lectoring, but I did wear a coat and tie.

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What I wore this Sunday

I have to admit that I liked dressing up. I did take mass more seriously. But I can’t say I did it out of humility. In fact, the spirit is somewhat contrary to humility: I am dressing my best out of respect for the Body and Blood of Christ. Which, for me, makes it difficult not to reason that others are not.

Should I keep wearing a coat and tie as a sign of respect, or go back to the polo shirt and khaki’s to be less noticeable and more humble?

To complicate matters, the Sunday night student mass is come-as-you-are-casual. The Saturday night vigil mass is almost as casual. Should I ever attend these masses dressed in coat and tie I would stick out. So, I may not do the same for these masses.

This isn’t a fashion question as much as it is a spiritual one. How do you determine what is and is not appropriate attire for mass. Or am I overthinking the whole thing?

Note: This is strictly about my spiritual attitudes about what I wear to Church on Sunday. If you feel called to wear a coat and tie or shorts and flip-flops or anything in-between, that is between you and God.

Date Night

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With Valentine’s Day approaching, Kate at Real Catholic Love and Sex asks “How do you get ready for “Date Night?

Choosing the Date

The most important thing is choosing what kind of date you are going to have:

  • Something fun in the daytime?
  • Dinner and a movie?
  • Going out on the town?
  • A concert, play, or other specific event?
  • A nice romantic dinner followed by an early night in? 😉

Any of these can be a fun experience depending on what you want.

I think it’s a good idea to balance “romantic” dates with “fun” dates. “Intimate” dates with “activity” dates. It’s good to do different activities and keep things fresh.

Also, since we use NFP, we check the chart.  We all know what hot romantic dates in Phase II can lead to. 🙂

Getting Ready

For guys, getting ourselves ready is pretty easy. Basic hygiene, appropriate dress, perhaps a shave?

So, for me, preparation for the date means preparing the kids for the date.

If we have a babysitter, this means picking up the sitter. If we are taking the kids to Mimi’s/Grandma’s, this means getting the kids ready to go. This means making sure they have everything ready to go and the bags are loaded in the car. It also means keeping them out of trouble while K gets ready.

K always dresses up for date night. She looks stunning. Always. I make sure that I am well dressed too. It’s not for me, it’s for her. I don’t want her to be the beautiful woman with the complete slob of a husband.

The Date Begins

We leave the children with big hugs and kisses and tell them good night. Then the date can begin.

The drive is our chance to transition. To go out of parent mode into date mode. We like to take my car on date nights because it’s nicer, it’s not a minivan, and we can hold hands while I’m driving.

The Big Red Boat - Not a Minivan

The Big Red Boat (Not a minivan)

I put something romantic on the iPod and off we go.

The Perfect Date

There is no such thing as a perfect date. Sometimes it’s easy to feel like there is a lot of pressure to have a fantastic date, especially if you don’t get a date night very often. But the key to date night is to just relax and enjoy yourselves. Enjoy each other and reconnect.

Chasing Waterfalls

One blogger writes about how she is thankful for winter walks with her husband:

It is possible that my level of happiness in life is directly correlated to the number of minutes we spend walking together each week.

I can relate.

K and I love walking together. Our neighborhood is quiet, wooded, and somewhat mountainous, so we can get a good walk in the mornings after we have taken the children to school. It is our way of reconnecting, if even for a few minutes. No phone. No internet. No distractions. Just me and her.

When we were dating and when we were first married, we walked a lot. We walked in the mountains.

K on the Appalachian Trail.

K on the Appalachian Trail.

But our favorite destinations were waterfalls. We went to college in an area where hundreds of waterfalls are in a short drive. We bought a series of books with directions and topographical maps to the waterfalls in the area. Some were just off the road.

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One was in the middle of a city, making for a convenient date night.

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A waterfall, dinner, and a show.

Others were off the beaten path, requiring long drives down gravel roads and long hikes down mountain paths.

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We liked waterfalls because they were the reward for a long hike. You drive, you walk, you scramble. You do all this so that you can see something beautiful at the end. A living work of art.

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I now realize that the beauty wasn’t the waterfall at the end. It was the process of getting there. It was working together. It was spending time with the woman I love, talking about everything and nothing.

We don’t chase waterfalls often anymore. It’s harder to do that with a family. Our children don’t exactly share our fondness for miles of hiking.

But whether we are chasing waterfalls or taking a quick stroll around the familiar hills of our neighborhood, I, too, am pretty sure that my level of happiness in life is directly correlated to the number of minutes K and I spend walking together each week.

Gamble Everything For Love

I often get ideas of blog posts from twitter. Like this tweet from Lauren Dubinsky.

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It has been said that the opposite of love isn’t hate, it’s fear.

Yet how many people avoid love out of fear? How many people don’t look for something more because they are afraid of “ruining the friendship”?

This is because there is no such thing as risk-free love. Love is always a gamble. Love is always a risk. Because love involves giving yourself fully to another person. It involves being vulnerable. It involves being open.

Vulnerability always carries risks.

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But we are made to love. We are made to give ourselves to others. We are made to receive love. And when we close ourselves off out of fear, we can starve ourselves from the intimacy we need.

Love is risky, but it is often riskier not to love.

Or as writer Anais Nin once wrote: “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

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My relationship with K started with a gamble. We met took a class together in college. Our professor was late the first day, so we had a chance to talk with each other. We talked again after class—for nearly an hour.

We became good friends, but she was still with her high-school boyfriend, who was going to another college. But we kept spending time together. Lots of time together.

But this was no way to live. I was crazy about a girl who had a boyfriend. She was crazy about this boy she had just met.

So we gambled. We took a chance. I gambled that she would choose me. She gambled that what I was offering was better than what she had.

We went “all in”. We risked everything. And we won.

And we made out lots.

And it worked out pretty well.

“If you gamble everything for love, you’re going to be alright.”

Daysleeper

In the FOCCUS pre-marital inventory, there is no section on sleep. Perhaps there should be.

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Sleeping is probably the biggest point of contention in our marriage:

K needs 8-9 hours. I need about 6-7.

She can sleep anywhere, any time, any place. I toss and turn until I eventually pass out from sheer exhaustion. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and toss and turn. Which, of course, keeps her awake and annoyed.

She loves to nap, if she gets the chance. I am rarely able to nap.

She likes a nice soft bed. I like a firm supportive mattress.

Having children has only made the situation worse. Our daughters, A and B, are complete opposites and their sleep schedules are no different. When they were babies they slept in shifts. A could stay up until the wee hours of the night, while B was up at the crack of dawn. They also had an amazing ability to wake each other up from naps. Usually perfectly timed to occur just when K was falling asleep herself.

Just like our house. Except for the saxophone.

Just like our house. Except for the saxophone.

This is a big reason why we have only two children. Seriously. We are certain a child “C” would take the final shift.

This morning shows how we all work together to keep K awake. K had planned to take the children to a concert in the morning, so she didn’t have to get up quite so early to take them to school. This was going to be her day to sleep in. B came in at 5:00 because she was cold.  This woke me up. Because I had been sleeping for 7 hours, I couldn’t go back to sleep. So, I got up at 6:15, expecting to surprise K with coffee when her alarm went off, forgetting that she was supposed to be sleeping in. K tried to go back to sleep. But by now A was up (which she NEVER does—we have to D-R-A-G her out of bed every other morning) and decided to turn on the TV L-O-U-D and laugh even LOUDER, which woke K up for good.

So much for sleeping in.

What this means is that K will be irritable for most of the day unless she is fortunate enough to be able to get a nap. And the phrase “If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy” very much applies at our house.

So, has anybody else had this problem? How were you able to solve it?

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We’ve tried separate bedrooms. Neither one of us slept well. Should we go the route of the 50’s TV show couple?

Anyone have any ideas?