Friday, August 16, 2013

7 Quick Takes in Which I Have Way Too Much to Say.

Ahhhh, how is it Friday already??  One good thing about not blogging much during the week is that I have plenty of material for this post!  Mwahahahahaha!

Joining up with Jen and away we gooooooooo...

1) The kids took tennis lessons this summer, despite their non-upper class preppiness.  Our town has a fabulous recreation department where the kids can do sports on the cheap and although they inherited their mother's lack of tennis skills, they still loved playing!  In the past 12 months, they have now played soccer, track, basketball, swimming, karate, and tennis.  Phew!

 Xander was just the cheerleader, suprisingly, they frown on 2 year olds taking lessons.

So Wednesday was the Feast Day of St. Maximillian Kolbe, and I realized I've never written my story about him.  In case you don't know who Fr. Kolbe was, here's a short video about his life:

The man he stepped in and took the place of was named Francis Gajowniczek, and when I was around 12 years old, he came to our church on Cape Cod, to speak about his story.  After he was saved by St. Maximillian Kolbe, he dedicated his life to sharing the story of the saint. He told a priest that "so long as he ... has breath in his lungs, he would consider it his duty to tell people about the heroic act of love by Maximilian Kolbe."

At the time, my mom was instrumental in getting him to come to our church to speak, and being the hostess with the mostess, also offered for him to stay at our house.  He accepted!  So "Mr. G" as we called him, came to stay at our house with his second wife (after he made it through Auschwitz alive, he found out his wife and children had not) who was a hoot, and his interpreter, Peter, who I fell madly in love with as any hormonal boy-crazy 12 year old would for a guy who spoke a foreign language and looked good doing it.  

My mom called up our friend who was 100% polish and owned a restaurant to make some authentic polish dishes to eat for dinner, and Mr. G was so touched.  My parents' bedroom was on the first floor of our house, and because Mr. G was elderly and frail, my parents gave him their bed and slept upstairs in the guest room.  And do you know what my mom did as soon as we had said goodbye to our dear guests?  She pulled those sheets off the bed and saved them as some sort of relic of St. Maximillian Kolbe!

And that's my story.

Today is officially my last day of summer.  I go back to full-time work next week.  I know, shed a tear for me.

I'm actually really blessed to only have to work part-time in the summer, and can stay home while Phil tutors so that our kids are always with one of us.  Then once we're both back to work full-time, the kids are in school (Xander will be in his final year with the nanny) and time will fly by until my vacation maternity leave in March!
Not totally untrue ;)

Speaking of babies (aren't I always?  So annoying.)  I am trying to decide if I want to continue to use my awesome midwife for the birth of this baby.  I've used her for the past two labors and she is incredible, but offers no pain medication.  Or I can choose a doctor who will not offer me the same wonderful prenatal care and support but will actually call the anesthesiologist when I lose my mind and yell out "GIVE ME SOMETHING OR I'M GOING TO DIE!!!!"  Because I always do.

I've made a list of pros and cons to try and help me decide, but it's still unclear:

Laid back approach to prenatal care
No drugs
Catholic and supportive of our NFP, pro-life values
Such a calm labor coach
Completely all-natural approach to pregnancy and birth
Can use jacuzzi during labor
It will be Lent and I can make natural birth my Lenten sacrifice

Doctor: Pros Cons
Gives drugs More intensive prenatal care
Does not have same values
Comes in only to "catch" the baby
More likely to use medical interventions
If getting epidural - no jacuzzi plus the dreaded catheter
I have FAST labors and might not get to hospital in time for epidural

Why is it still unclear? Because it basically it all comes down to the value placed on the goods.  And by goods I mean drugs.  And by drugs I mean sweet, sweet pain relief.  For the record, I've had three epidural deliveries (two good, one bad) and then two natural births (one awesome, one more traumatic). So you all decide for me, mkay?

Phil took the kids to Patriots Training Camp this week, and they got to see Tom Brady and Tim Tebow.  From afar.

From very afar.

Woosh, I'm running out of steam.  How about a video of Alexander saying part of his bedtime prayers?

Could you interpret?  That boy is thee sweetest!

We're headed to the local beach today for what will be one of the last times this summer.
Flashback to Xander's first beach trip ever.  I think he was about 2 weeks old, and camera-shy and hungry!

I hope you all have some fun weekend plans!  See you on the flip side!


  1. SO cool about "Mr. G." staying at your house. What a blessing!

    Anyway of COURSE I have something to say about birth ;) I love that list. I was just telling Brian last night that - wait for it - I don't know if I could give birth again. I know. I'm admitting that right out here to the world. It is so so hard and that whole "you don't remember" thing is not necessarily true (for me). Sometimes it gets fuzzy but I remember the pain and even a few cramps or related (ahem) and I'm brought right back. BUT. If I were to get pregnant, I don't think I could justify the switch. The risks of the epidural and consequential interventions (some of which are pretty darn serious) plus all the things you mentioned...I couldn't justify it. And some of the consequences could put you in different and much more prolonged pain anyway. But yeah, I get you.

    I think my current very weak plan is if we are blessed again is to down a glass of wine at the beginning to help me relax and get out of my head so much. (Only sort of not really joking.) But prayer. LOTS and LOTS of prayer for a good peaceful birth (and get Phil involved to pray with and for you). I didn't do that as much this past time around but we did pray lots of prayers for a happy baby which worked! I regret it not preparing more spiritually and mentally for this last birth. God really does care about this stuff and will answer. Love you!

  2. Tennis is such a fun sport...we have absolutely zero athletic skill or talent in our family, but my kids have all enjoyed taking tennis lessons (we have also been very lucky to get lessons super cheap as we are definitely not upper class preppy either).

  3. Ahh, that video is adorable. Great story about Mr. G. For the record, I had all my babies at the hospital simply for the 3 meals and late night snack of peanut butter, graham crackers and ginger ale delivered to me. Oh, and the good drugs.

  4. 1. I WILL shed a tear for you. Working Moms are super heros. You are amazing.

    2. For the birth thing...can you split the difference? Are there any Midwives in your area who deliver in hospitals and have access to drugs, etc...? I had 3 of my kids with Nurse Midwives in hospitals and they have access to everything the doctors do short of performing a c-section. It's a great balance. I don't know if that's an option but it's worth looking into!

    I hope you're feeling well, ESPECIALLY if your school year is starting. Praying for you!

  5. Enjoy your last day of summer vacay, dear friend! And you are right...the way these days fly by, it will be March before you know it, and you will be snuggling that new little soul!

    Can't help with the big decision there. I'm a member of the c section club. ; )

    Happy weekend, friend!

  6. Love the Mr. G./St. Maximilian Kolbe story! Totally something my mother would do...Oh, and I'm 100% Polish! :)

  7. Whoa. That is a lot to say! :)

    That is a great Kolbe story and I laughed hard at your mom taking the sheets off the bed. Btw, does she have them safely stored away in one of those space saver bags somewhere? That's what I'm picturing.

    Ah, summertime and schooltime. One's gotta end for another to begin, ya know? We start 'light' school midweek next week for my sanity. Well, actually so that we can take a few more days off during the school year, breathe a little and still be done by the end of May. The kids are ready and I most definitely am.

    Tough on the Dr/Midwife thing. Thankfully, I've had both and had a great experience with both. I am 4/4 on no drugs deliveries. I have to say though, totally not doable without great support from hubby and Dr or Midwife each time. I just get in a 'zone' and call on all the Saints and Mary through my labors. It's my way of working off purgatory time, so I do what I can to work through those contractions and give the impression I am Superwoman. So far, it's worked. Good luck deciding.

    Lastly, had a dream last night that I came to visit your family and Pope Francis was your neighbor. Not kidding. He was out working in the field by your house and he had his white on but wasn't getting dirty. lol. I got to talk to him and he was laughing and you were all like 'there's my neighbor, the Pope.' No big deal. I laughed when I woke up!

    Happy Weekend! Make the best of it!!

  8. Holy cow, that was a lot. I have alot to say too...maybe I should combine 7QT with my thankfuls....hmmmmm.....

    Or skip it and go to the pool, it closes Monday til next summer. (aaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh)

    Xander, cutest ever, I understood everything he said.

    I wondered how you did the summer thing with the kids, I knew you were both home somehow. So glad it works out for you, summers are special times and your kiddos will remember that!

    Gosh, midwife. With your fast deliveries....offer up that pain for the baby.

    (I'm so bossy)

    That is so cool about St Maximilian Kolbe, wow, what a story, how very special. I never knew what had happened to the man he saved. SO sad his wife and family died though, wow. Thank you so much for sharing that with us.

    Enjoy your last day of summer!!

  9. Hmm . . . okay so the doctor/midwife debate. I want the personal prenatal care of a midwife with the availability of drugs during labor if the need should arise. That's why I love having a Family Medicine doc do my deliveries. It's just that it's so hard to find a FM doc who still does deliveries. And I know it's not true for all FM docs, but in my experience I've gotten that supportive, personal prenatal care with my pregnancies. I love that I see the same doctor every time and that she doesn't just show up to catch the baby. I also love that if something crazy starts happening in labor, she can and will bring out the big drugs. I've had 3 epidurals, 3 natural and 1 extremely awful spinal block/c-section. Overall, if given the choice again, I'd have to say I would take the pain of natural childbirth over the side effects of the drugs. And my non-medicated labors were induced with pitocin, so those contractions were out of bounds. I'm just not that crazy about my blood pressure dropping to 60/20. It's too awful, and I think I remember you telling me you had a similar reaction to an epidural once? (or I could be totally confusing you with someone else)

    The not knowing is just so hard sometimes. If you go fast, then maybe it won't be so bad to have no drugs. But each labor is so different, so who knows?

    I realize now this doesn't help you make your decision . . . but when have I ever been helpful? ;)

  10. That Maximillian Kolbe story is amazing!

    I'm scared of epidurals.

  11. It's too bad you can't have both. My OBGYN, although not Catholic, totally respects my views and doesn't even broach topics that he knows the answer will be no. I don't care who catches my baby, but for me I want a Dr who has spent enough time with me throughout my past pregnancies and during my current one to know when something is wrong, so it can be fixed or addressed so I don't end up with a traumatic birth. My view is Dr. during pregnancy to make sure me and baby are staying health, and I would go with a doula/midwife during labor in a hospital to have the birth experience I want. But alas, I am sucker and always get induced with an epidural.

  12. Maximilian kolbe is one of our favorites too. Its my 2nd son's middle name. It was going to be the first but I knew about 5 moms giving birth as me in that same week and all of them picked Max as a name. So I thought it was a popular trend or something But turns out I never met another Maximilian Kolbe after that group of women....and you would think it WOULD be popular! Even in the bloggy world don't hear that many. Sound like a good boy name, right :-) ?
    Oh and I vote drugs

  13. Hope you smoothly transition back to school and work.

    Re #4: I always wanted the whole 'labor in the tub' thing but as my pregnancy always seemed to decided to go high risk at the end and require Pitocin ~ and therefore an epidural at least by me. So I'm no help but much sympathy.

    #6 ~ So cute!

  14. The sheets story, priceless!

  15. Get out of town with St. Maximilian story. Sk awesome.

    I'm a natural birther, but I totally get why some people aren't. I guess my only advice is to pray. :)

    Oh, and I'll be thinking of you next week. Transitions are no fun. My hubby went back to work this week, and therefore, so did I. (Wink wink)

  16. Um. You guys know that you are the epitome of upper class preppies, right? Or, at least as close as you can get and still be friends with folks like us. And I WOULD give you waaaay more guff about that, except that St. Maximillian Kolbe is one of my patron saints and OH MY GOSH YOU MET THE MAN HE TRADED HE LIFE FOR???? Are you FREAKING KIDDING ME? How am I just now learning this? You so need to hurry up with your first trimester so we can meet up again and I can smack you upside the head. With all my love, of course.

  17. Thanks for sharing the Mr. G/Maximillian Kolbe story! Wow...that 's all I can say--wow! What a unique honor to have had him as a houseguest!! I am in awe. (And I think that was a smart move by your mom, with the sheets!)

  18. I love your St Maximilian story. We have a Maximilian! Natural vs epidural is a tough one. I've had 3 without pain medication (#3, 4, 5) and 4 with an epidural (#1, 2, 6, 7) There are pros and cons as you pointed out. Although I wanted go without drugs w/#7, I knew I could not get ahead of the pain--I'm older and tireder, lol!
    3-2-1 Party

  19. Just so you know... if I ever get into nursing school and start working I'll be pestering you about all the working mom type stuff. I already feel guilty and I'm not even in school for it!

    The Mr. G story is BEYOND cool! You are so lucky!

    No opinion on the midwife/doctor since I'm a c-section gal! :-)

  20. Great post Colleen, the Mr G story was awesome. I might have done the same thing your Mom did! :)

    Enjoy your weekend at the beach!

    Can't offer anything on the pain relief situation....I had 3 c-secs and I can only say, you don't want that. :)

  21. Having a baby hurts so very badly and I was relieved when the Dr. wanted me to get on pitocin because I was absolutely petrified of going natural again. Pitocin and natural do not go together for me so it was a no brainer that an epidural was the answer. I cannot imagine not having that as an option which is why I have never used a midwife. But when I think back on my labors the no drug labor was my favorite.

  22. DRUGS!!! But that is me.

    Wow that Saint story is so amazing. Thanks for sharing it. Amaaaaaaaaaazing! Your mama is so cool!

    I played tennis in high school and now my two older boys also play. I love that sport. Your kids will too.

  23. What a privilege to have spent time with Mr. G. I will definitely tell my children this story. We are all a fan of Maximilian Kolbe.

    My first two were natural with drugs in a hospital and my last three had to be C-sections because of a breech birth. I really appreciated the professional care of the hospitals. I think that whirl pool thing is weird but I'm sure it relieves I guess it's helpful. If you have successful pregnancies all the time with a midwife, I don't see why you would switch over now. Unless maybe if because your older with this pregnancy and there is a higher potential for some complication. Or if your body just can't take the pain anymore.

    I love your little one's prayers. Thank you for sharing your weekly stories and bless you and your new baby!


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