"Mommy, when de baby is weady to be borned will it cwawl out of you?"

I'm tucking Little in for the night.

"No honey, I will need to push it out, and it will come out between my legs like this."

I gesture appropriately. Her eyes get bigger, if that's even possible.

"Oh! Why will it come out der?"

"Well, because the baby is growing in my uterus and the way out of my uterus is through my vagina."

"Oh. How will it come out?"

"The baby's head will be down, like this," I show her where, "And then my uterus will start squeezing like this and pushing the baby down farther."

My hand are now forming a pretend uterus, finger tips pointing downward to show where the cervix is.

"When it squeezes down the opening, called a cervix, starts to spread wider and wider until it's big enough for the baby's head to fit through. Then I will need to push and the baby's head will come down out of my vagina and in between my legs."

"Oh," she says, weighing this information while regarding me seriously.

"But do you know what?" I ask, smiling.

She grins in return. "What?"

"When you were born you did help me, did you know that?"

"No!" She laughs.

"You did. Every time my uterus squeezed down you pushed and kicked with your little feet against it and helped push your head down farther. I could feel your feet up here," I point at my ribs, "pushing hard against me so that your head could come out."

She smiles at me, delighted with this story.

"So you helped yourself to be born! You helped mommy push you out."

"Mommy!" she blurts out in excitement. "When, when, when de baby is borned I think we should name de baby Flower Jellybean, if it's a girl and I want it to be a girl."


Dear father of the very troubled 5 yo,

You come to the playground with a Bible in your hand and read it while your son plays. You told me once that you like to say hi to people and tell them Jesus loves them as a witness to them. I have a better idea.

How about you parent your child with a little bit of attention and compassion?

Because he's making you look bad.  And you, by associating yourself with me through the word Christian are therefore making me and others who wear that label look bad. Not to mention what the people watching you must think of Jesus by now.

No one wants their kids to play with yours. It has something to do with the way he daily yells at other children phrases such as, "You son of a b*tch." "You are a stupid f*cking b*tch." "Go to hell." "I hate you." "You don't matter, you aren't worth anything."

We're on to you. Kids only repeat what they hear. He had to learn it from someone now, didn't he?

And there's the part where he starts wrestling matches with other boys, gets upset as soon as he starts to lose, and then gets mean and starts biting and kicking.

Oh, and we don't like the way he runs around spitting on other kids.

But what we like even less is your total detachment from what is going on. You've never stopped him, never addressed it, never disciplined him. You yell at him for the most inane things and make him scream and cry, but you ignore it when he yells in your face and then yells to everyone else, "Don't listen to anything he says, he's a liar."

You don't correct him, don't show compassion when he's hurt, you yell at him, and seem to have no clue as to what to do with this child you are raising. He behaves like a wild animal. Then you tell him Jesus died on the cross for him and then, rather than teaching him to forgive or what to do with the anger the hurt that he feels you demand, exasperated, "Then why can't you even like anyone?"

I don't think you've ever told him of love, through words or actions. A child who felt loved wouldn't act like your child does.

So, I'm just asking, maybe someday I'll be brave enough to do this in person, if maybe you could spend a little less time reading your Bible, and a little more time paying attention to your son. Maybe you could read a parenting book or two as well. There's no way it could get worse, maybe it will even help. Oh and watch your mouth around your kid so he doesn't keep repeating your foul language at the playground in the hearing of preschoolers.

Every day I grieve for your boy, and what he will grow up thinking about himself, about others, and about God. I know he doesn't have to be like he is. When you aren't around and I talk to him I can see that he could learn and be helped if you would do it. He always calms down when I listen to him and help him to think things over. It's not too late for him, but I'm afraid that you will not change in time.


Asking for Help

Imagine kissing your kids goodbye, checking their backpacks and school uniforms, and sending them on their way to school. You watch and wave and they head off down the road.

Only, you have almost 40 kids, and the road they walk 3-4 miles on, there and back, is a more like a secondary highway, with no shoulder, and no sidewalks, and this is Thailand where people drive, well, let's just say they believe that they are coming back again if they die and aren't as cautious as we in the west might think appropriate.

Then imagine one of your kids gets sick in the middle of the night and needs to get to a hospital. Only, you have no car that can take them. Instead you have to hire a truck and a driver to take you there, and back again later. This eats into your already very limited resources for basic things like food and water, not to mention medical bills.

Now imagine that one day one of your kids, on that road walking to school, is hit by a person on a motorcycle and has a broken arm. Now you have to hire a truck to get your child to a hospital, pay the medical bills and worry that someone will show up on your door and accuse you of negligence, since a child was injured in your care, and take away all your kids.

Except, we're not imagining anymore. This is real. A child really was hurt and this is a problem. The kids in the Charis Home walk to school every day on this road, and every day they are in danger of being hurt.

We need a truck, something to use to drive the children safely to school, to haul rice, to get kids to the hospital. We can buy one for about $6000 US.

This has been a need for a long time, and we have been asking for help, but we haven't gotten very much response this time I'm afraid. So we're turning to you, dear internet, and all the people who are out there who care and can help spread the word.

It would be such an answer to prayer if when Aaron goes back to Thailand on June 15 he could take enough with him to purchase a truck, and end one of the biggest worries we have over the kids safety.

If you can give, please click the link.

If you can blog and tweet about it please do that. Please help us to keep these kids safe on the way to school everyday.

(I know, how could this be safer? But it is. It's how everyone in Thailand gets around.)



We had a routine once, and it's still there. At least, the bones remain. Things still get done but there are gaps where once there was more.

It was maybe too full then, definitely too full now given my energy level, and it's good to let somethings fall right now. They can be picked up again later.

But others I have lost and regret. As the fog of exhaustion clears for a moment I remember I used to pray more. I used to sing more. I didn't forget so often to do things that still need doing. I wrote more too.

I need a new routine. Not what we had, but more than the bare bones we have now.

I'm going to try this week to do that. I don't know how much I'll be here as a result.


We're not in Kansas Anymore

I met with a nurse-midwife this week. (No, the insurance debacle is not fully sorted, but it is smoothing out somewhat.) It was so strange for me as to border on surreal.

You see, every one of my prior pregnancies I have been in the care of a midwife, in the more traditional sense. Oh, we still had insurance to cover the unexpected, and there were unexpected things that called for it. But we were willing pay out of pocket to go above what our insurance would provide in order to see someone who really understood and had patience with what a woman's body does during childbirth.

Did you know that a woman can go her entire pregnancy and labor without a single pelvic exam and nothing bad would happen? I did. Several pregnancies in fact.

The first thing I was told upon entering the exam room this week was to remove all of my clothes in order to receive a complete physical, pelvic exam and pap smear. Um, no! I'm here for prenatal care and none of these things are necessary, or even especially useful.

See, the birth culture in which I have carried and delivered babies the past decade believes that it is the woman herself who give birth, not the doctors or nurses attending her. They believe that caring for the whole woman during her pregnancy, emotionally as well as physically, helps her to do the job of having a baby. Because it's she who does the work.

That was obviously not the assumption of the people I encountered this week. First they told me that they could not attend me after my 36th week. I would be immediately transferred to OB care due to the fact that I've had a C-section. Never mind that I've had two VBACs since then, at home nonetheless, and that the odds of a post Cesarian uterus rupturing are about 1 in 4000. Just to put that in context for you, the odds of dying in a plane crash are about 1 in 1500 and in a car about 1 in 500. Yet, the persistent obstetrical myth that VBACs are dangerous things continues to cloud the judgment of what are otherwise, we hope, rational human beings.

I'm sure my jaw dropped a little when she even mentioned that they check for a narrow pelvis still and make a note that such a woman might have trouble as a result.  I felt like I was stuck in a time warp that transported me back to the 1950s when people still believed such things. I didn't realize they still thought that way today, given all the evidence to the contrary.

Then they told me, repeatedly, how much the OB's would dislike my choice to decline pelvic exams. I asked what they would learn exactly from a pelvic exam. Well, what the cervix is doing, so they can tell better about when the baby is going to be born. Seriously, what? How is this in anyway useful or helpful? The baby will come when the baby is ready to come. Knowing the exact day is impossible anyway, unless you are used to, and intend to, induce or bring on labor artificially. It has everything to do with people wanting to schedule their own lives, rather than having the patience to allow birth to happen as it's meant to, when it's time to.

My husband was born a month premature and almost died because the doctor attending his mother stripped her membranes during what was supposed to be a routine pelvic exam, without her permission, in order to make sure she delivered early enough for him to go on vacation.

The nurse who admitted my sister ruptured her membranes without permission during the routine admitting exam.

Not to mention the countless numbers of women who had their perineum butchered by an impatient attendant without their knowledge or consent and lived in pain for months or years afterward.

No where in the western world is a woman's right to make choices about what happens to her own body and her right to informed consent as ignored and trodden upon as in the labor and delivery room.

Did you know that when left alone it's actually the baby who decides when labor starts?

The cascade of hormones that brings on labor begins with the baby when it's ready to be born, not the mother. Isn't that beautiful? I think so.

I'm willing to bet not one single person practicing obstetrics today has ever seen a truly natural childbirth, where the woman does it entirely by herself, and her body is allowed to do what it's made to do, and respond as it's meant to respond.

Frankly, the idea of a hospital birth frightens me. No where else have I encountered such blatant and entrenched disrespect for my ability as a woman to labor and give birth on my own than within the obstetrical community.

To hear them talk, they deliver babies, not women. And it's no wonder, between causing her to doubt entirely her ability to do it, messing with her body every chance they get, and interfering with the entire process, they end up rendering her not only incapable of birthing naturally, but even incapable of controlling her own body thanks to epidurals.

To them I am not a person, I am a vagina attached to a uterus, one that is most likely not able to do what I am biologically equipped to do without their "expert" assistance.

I've not spent years of my life observing medicalized births and worst case scenarios. So I couldn't possibly know more than them about what my body does, and how I labor.

Little was born in a tub of warm water at my in-laws house. The only person who touched me was my husband, who sat in the tub with me holding my head up so I could sleep between contractions without slipping in. When I started to push he, and my MIL and midwife, helped me to my knees, because I asked them to. The midwife shone a flashlight so she could see what was happening. She may have once or twice checked the baby's heart rate while I lay in the bath. I pushed, and my body labored, and Little slipped out of me and into my arms in the dark and quiet of our family circle, in the most peaceful way imaginable.

That's something the people I am dealing with this time around do not know or understand. But it's what I am committed to fighting them for nonetheless.

Thanks embejo for the link to this article. Honoring Body Wisdom


In Need of Mercy

She's screaming bloody murder because she wants a bowl of mush like the Boy has. She's already eaten spaghetti, and strawberries, and turned down the choice of chicken or more spaghetti. It is pure unadulterated covetousness. "I WANT WHAT HE'S HAVING!"

He's eating porridge because he got an expander mostly installed today, and it hurt, and he cried, and it's still not all the way in, but they are hoping it will go the rest of the way by itself because it was too much to take out now. She doesn't understand the whys, she just wants what she sees her brother having. "My teef hurt too Mommy, I need some."

She is tired. Past the place where correction is useful, or understood. It is time for mercy. So I gather her screaming body in my arms and take her to the bathroom where I brush her teeth, while she screams in outrage, and I carry her to bed.

I rub her back and sing. Her sobs gradually subside into little hiccups, then slumber, and I think, as I often do, of how childish I, we, all of us, still are in so many ways.


I don't care to know what he has suffered, he has it and I want it.

We rail at God, if we believe in Him. Or at the government, at injustice, at the unfairness of it all. Yet while we do He continues in mercy to give us what we need; to clean us up, to make us rest, to give us the food that nourishes us, even when it's not very appetizing.

We must learn, as a child must learn, to trust in the one who cares for us, and to stop our kicking and screaming and crying in order to receive at last the mercy we desperately need and often fight against.



Pregnant women need to sleep a lot.

I sort of forgot how much until a few weeks ago.

There isn't much time in the day after that, teaching my kids stuff, and getting work done for blogging, if I could get an idea out in a coherent fashion.

So in the interest of having at least one new post up here this week, here is the bullet point version of the last several.

I'm still working on IRS forms, but this is the very last stage, I hope.

It got warm, my kids are swimming.

The Boy gets his "robot face" today. Also known as an expander and head gear to his orthodontist. Perhaps his jaw will get bigger fast enough that we won't need to get braces alter to straighten all the teeth coming in.

We got to see Hannah perform again last weekend and had dinner with her. It was really good. It also made us wish for more time with her.

I am almost 26 weeks pregnant and have yet to have any kind prenatal care. I've been turned down by one subsidized insurance place because we make too much money, and then turned down by the next option, one we have used before, because we don't make enough. So then I talked to the first place that turned me down and they said, "OH! Your husband is self-employed. That changes everything. You should have told us that." (I did.)

So I resubmitted information waited a month when they told me it should be reviewed in 10 days and they still hadn't seen it when I called. Let's just say that cutbacks and the recent legislation have turned what was an already overworked and top heavy organization into a complete and total mess. An actual conversation I had.

"I've been trying to call the number I was given but no one has responded."

"Oh, that number doesn't work anymore."

"What do you mean, it's still taking messages."

"Well, your local office no longer gets those messages, it's been redirected here, only no one here checks them, so no one ever heard your message."

"Great. What' the new number?"

"Oh, there isn't one. I will call them for you and give them your contact information and they will contact you for an appointment within 3 working days."

That was 2 weeks ago. I am so full of optimism about this right now. Can't you tell?

If it weren't for the fact that I'm RH negative and in 2 weeks I need to have an antibody screen to make sure that I don't need a rogham shot to ensure my blood doesn't attack my baby's blood if there has been a cross over, I would be tempted to just say throw in the towel and abandon the entire system altogether.

I've pushed out babies by myself before. Sure, there were people there, but I did it. I could do it again, barring anything unforseen. I'm about ready to go completely unassisted here.

I could go see my old midwife, (whom we can't afford because we need to purchase a 6 passenger vehicle instead to fit all the kids, sob) she could order the tests, draw my blood and we could pay for that out of pocket. it's only a few hundred dollars. hah! Then I could pay her for the postpartum shot as well.

These are the things I am considering as options right now.

I have an appointment tomorrow with some other agency that is supposed to be able to figure out this mess a bit and get coverage started. We'll see if they can do anything.

We're also probably moving in 2 months when our lease expires to someplace bigger. So I am staring around at stuff thinking about packing it all. Aaron goes to Thailand for 2 weeks in June. I will be packing while he's gone I expect and then we move a few days after his return. I'll be 7 and a half months.

I've done that before too.

Really, in spite of it all, this has not been a hard pregnancy. I've been here before so I know what I need to do, with or without a doctor taking tests. Jelly bean is kicking a flip-flopping up a storm and I'm sure everything is fine.

Between the IRS and MediCal I am simply weary of paperwork, and bureaucracy.

My neighbor, who was due a month after me miscarried a week and a half ago. The baby had a heart defect. I cried when she told me. The only good thing really, about losing a baby, is that you have an idea of what the person in front of you is going through. There are no words of comfort, not really. But a hug while she cries will go a long way toward helping her feel loved, I think. My heart is aching for her, and realizing afresh how blessed I am with every little kick.
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