Wednesday, September 26, 2012

That Whole Mom Thing.

I feel like I need to take this moment to... just be honest:

Some women are really into the whole mom thing.

And some crazy women even love the whole newborn stage that goes along with it.

My daughter is 7 months and 2 days old, and I can NOW officially say that I love being a mother.

My pregnancy was hard, but not hard enough to damper my excitement of meeting my baby girl.

Even after the trauma of an emergency C-section, I was still elated that I had a tiny, warm, little baby to bring home. When the Social Worker came in to talk to me about post-partum depression and how to seek help, I was slightly offended, especially when she repeatedly insisted I was a young mother; is 27 really that young? I brushed her off and went back to paging my nurse for morphine.

Before the baby was here, Preston and I tried to prepare ourselves in every way for Emilia. We did a pretty good job on stocking up on diapers, parenting books, blankies, and onesies. But no matter how much advice we asked for and took, we just weren't prepared for the things that we found to be the hardest. Isn't that always the case?

Once home, and without the aide of a nurse, family, or friends, my husband gone at work, I'd look at my baby and cry, just a few tears. I was so filled to overflowing with love for her, but I was also filled with sadness, guilt, and grief.

In my first weeks as a new mom, I'd apologize to Emilia over and over. "I'm so sorry we didn't get you out quick enough." "I'm so sorry I didn't get to hold you for your first 4 hours." "I'm so sorry I suck at breastfeeding." "I'm so sorry I can't carry you down the steps so we can go outside." "I'm so sorry I am eating chocolate again." Guilt. Loads of it.

My husband would come home and find me in tears, kissing the baby and apologizing. "She doesn't know what you're talking about, Lauren. Go to bed." He'd remind me that she was ok, perfectly healthy and happy, and just glad to be with us.

The first month or two was the hardest. Months three and four were a bit better, but not much. I thank God that I have a patient husband, and that I moved to Cleveland - where my mom was waiting to help with Em so I could sleep.

Finally sleep. If I get jolted out of my sleep even a minute before I'm expecting to wake, I feel as though I've been morally wronged. I'm a fully grown adult woman with a master's degree and I still get cranky and cry when I'm robbed of precious dozing minutes.

After four months of wrestling with the fact that my baby just wasn't getting enough milk, I gave her a bottle. And she slept. She slept almost 4 or 5 hours, which was - to me- a luxury more fantastical than golden unicorns dancing on rainbows that lead to piles of whipped cream.

And then, one day when Emilia was about 5 1/2 months, I looked back at her baby book and realized I hadn't written much, and the things I did write didn't sound much like me at all. Maybe I shouldn't have gotten so upset at the social worker after all? However, I still don't consider myself a young mother, for real - that makes me sound 16 and pregnant. The thought finally crossed my mind, maybe these baby blues are the real deal.

My love for Emilia never wavered. From the moment I knew she was to be, I wanted her. I couldn't wait to see her face in the morning, I loved to hold her, and I would've done anything to protect her. But in all honesty, the first few months sucked real bad:

I had nightmares, had a minor tear in my surgery scar internally, a seriously bloated and hurting tummy, an entire apartment full of dirty laundry, and a Very. Gassy. Baby. I felt so alone. When my mom went back to Ohio, I cried for hours. I called and begged her to come back. Needless to say, the warm dinners brought over to us in those first weeks by people from church (some by other moms I didn't even know) are some of the deepest blessings I have ever received. I wanted to throw myself at the people on my doorstep and give them the biggest hug ever, except I couldn't really move.

When Emilia would go down for a nap, I'd pray "God help me please. I can't do this." I would sit there until the panic would pass over me, gritting my teeth and hoping for less pain and a better day tomorrow.

Now that we are about to move into our own home, I am beginning to feel the lightness of heart that I had forgotten. It's a feeling of peace coming over me that I have longed for for quite some time.

This morning, I went to get Emilia dresed for the day and it hit me. She is ok. I am ok. We are going to be ok. Also, this mother thing is really cool. Like, cooler than I thought it ever could be. And - in all sincerity, I am so so glad to have this baby.

What a relief.

Preston took us to the zoo, and every time we got to a new exhibit, I would exclaim "I've never seen an elephant before!" "I've never seen a lion before!" He let me go on for awhile until he turned to me kind of laughing and reminded me "Lauren. You are at the zoo. You aren't supposed to see these animals in every day life."

When we got to the flamingoes, I kept my confession a secret ("I've never seen a flamingo before"). I just smiled and took in the beauty, so happy to have a sticky little baby in a stroller with banana puffs stuck to her cheeks.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

New Things.

Lately I've been trying new things.

New things are usually good, usually.

I like it that this weather is new. Fall makes me want to roll up into a giant ball made out of every scarf I own and sleep for days; except  - I would want to get out to drink coffee, get diabetes from the coconut cake I just discovered at Corbo's Bakery, and chill out to Cat Power's new CD.

What else is new?

Preston and I ... just bought a house. How's that for trying new things? We've been looking since May, and just happened upon a sweet little cozy house with a great kitchen. Heaven on earth. Pictures to come. It was such a great deal. No more apartments without a yard! No more weird people next to us slamming the door and listening to bad music. No more people next door hating us because they think we are weird and listen to bad music.

Sarah Veak came to visit me in all of this newness, and we went to the Cleveland Art Museum. I confessed to her my secret distaste for most, NOT ALL, Contemporary Art. Do you hate me now? I'm sorry. I don't hate it all (Dali? So crazy good). I am into all of these new things, but not so much into the new art.

I mean, I just love how detailed, real, intimate, and relate-able not so Contemporary Art is. From the 3,000 BC chastity belt and 2,900 BC Woman-Bear Vase with a vagina, to the African Fertility Voodoo dolls, to some of the first copies of the (beautifully painted) leafs of Luke's Gospel, to the muses in their bright colors and perky breasts, to St. Jerome's tears and wrinkled forehead, to red-rimmed eyes and crucifixions, it's all so gripping. The canvases are huge, the paint strokes are mixed, minute, detailed, complicated, and just so beautiful.

Then, we walk out of all this beauty into this wide, white space, and a giant neon orange canvas (slightly varied) was before our eyes. It was the opposite of all that came before. Sarah said something about it being "void," and I think that is the perfect description. I can't have the same appreciation for the pink tissue paper sculpture (in what shape?! Are people making up new shapes!?), or the giant piece of graph paper, that I can for the Egyptian vases or the Head of Christ painted by Rouault. Though I found most modern art to be lacking in meaning, cold, or a bit silly, I do have to give major props to the dude that finally decided it was ok to paint women with pubic hair! That's what I call progress!

Art majors, you may now take aim at my head, but - I'm just being honest. Enlighten me, please.

My handsome husband, the second time we met. He was trying something new.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Victoria's Secret? Your Boobs are Deflating.

So, if you ever want to sneak clothes into the house without anyone asking "what you got there?"

... do not sneak in "clothes" from Victoria's Secret.

I've found the giant pink bag with 102384 sheets of hot pink and glittery tissue paper quite difficult to weasel on up the stairs.

It's even harder to get this giant pink mess into a closet before anyone notices when you are getting chased by the world's largest toad in the driveway.

All that to say, it's nice to shake things up a bit. In married life. You know.

My grandma told me never to feel bad for buying nice underwear, "... just so long as you actually like it, though. That is very important," she said. She is actually the one who bought me my honeymoon gear. It totally rocked. When my aunt told me the same thing, I knew this had to be truth. Grandma + Aunt = overtime payday trip to Victoria's Secret.

I say all of this to share an important lesson I learned about spicing up a marriage ... on my honeymoon.

The first night on our honeymoon in Hilton Head, SC, my husband and I went to a karaoke bar. While we were eating, I signed the two of us up to sing a little duet. When Preston and I stood to rock our own version of "Zombie" by the Cranberries, the crowd was pretty impressed. I think. Besides the fact that many patrons were laughing, I believe some were inspired. I'd like to think that an older, average looking white couple was inspired by our talents, but I think it was more along the lines of - no one could do worse than the people who just sang ZOMBIE - that they also got up.

The man was tall, thin, lanky - very Stretch Armstrong. His hair was a teensy bit gray, and he was wearing what looked to be like all khaki. His wife was wearing a black skort and white tennis shoes. She looked like she could be best friends with Mitt Romney's wife. They sang a song together as well, though I don't remember which one. All I do remember is that, as Preston and I boogied the night away, they danced right alongside us. At first, they were a bit rigid - the man's primary dance move looked like he was trying to shove a large dresser to the left. The woman just kind of shook her butt back and forth ever so slightly. The karaoke ended and the DJ was doing her thing. As the songs went on, and the floor filled up, they started to dance harder, laugh, sweat, and just bust some serious moves. When Preston and I left, they were still going strong under the strobe light. Now, this is just an assumption, but - provided they had enough energy after all of that dancing - they probably went back to their hotel room and had just as great a time. Before you think "gross," try thinking "well that's just great." I give props to the Romney-esque duo.

I know that being married just over a year does not give me a license to counsel others in any sort of way. However, I don't think there is anything wrong with sharing the good advice that's been given to me, whether it be the underwear lesson from Grandma and Auntie, or the 47 year old lady shaking her thing right there in her white tennies. Though the couple might not have been inspired by my rock star abilities I picked up by singing in the car in the late 90's, I was certainly inspired by their ability to shrug off any insecurities or cares and just... have... fun. Bravo (especially to the hubby).

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Set Your Hair Free

My niece, Burkelle, is very special. She also goes by the name of "Nug." She is the first niece I ever had, and I even lived across the hall from her for a year during college. We loved to have dance parties.

When Nug was very small, she discovered how to ask interesting questions, a talent she still puts on from time to time, like yesterday. She asked me what a period was. When I tried to shrug the question off by saying it was a way for a woman's body to prepare for a pregnancy, she asked - "Then Aunt Brittany is pregnant?" "No." "Will I have one?" "Actually, that is something only your mommy knows."

Back to the small Nug questions. I think she was about to be 5. She came back from Sunday School and asked me to "Explain Jesus." I tried. A few days later, I was sitting on the couch watching TV, and out of nowhere, the top to a long wooden basket flipped off onto the ground. Tiny Nug rose up, eyes closed, proclaiming "I'VE BEEN RISEN!!!"

Small children listen to what you say, and they watch what you do. They remember, especially if they are girls. Now that Nug is here in Cleveland for a visit, I'm reminded in a new way what an influence I had, or could've had in some respects, on her. Now that I have a daughter, this scares me.

These are some things I want to teach my daughter.

If she is ever watching me do my hair, and it is doing its African Fro-Jewish frizz-Random white person straight pieces, I will never curse it. I would rather go to the park with a greasy ponytail and a daughter without hair anxiety.

On a similar note, I will never angrily comb her hair, sweat dripping as we try to get it ready for church in time.

I randomly want to answer her questions with the most fantastical, imaginative, in no way real answers. And then maybe tell her someday. If she doesn't find me out first (she could probably beat me at Scrabble already. Em is very smart.)

I don't want her to think she has to keep friends who treat her badly, especially when she is down.

I will encourage her to always pick up the things I am scared of. Like worms.

I will teach her to ask daddy to buy mommy a Mastiff.

I wish, want, hope with all my might that she will hide beside her bed with a flashlight until 11:30 pm on a school night reading The Babysitter's Club, or other great works of Literature.

I want to teach her that she can grow tomatoes easily, and then cut up a load of them, put them on a cookie sheet and roast them with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and then throw them in a blender with some cream and make wicked soup. With grilled cheese croutons.

I hope she has a lady professor friend who wears great shoes and gives great advice, some of which she will understand, some of which she will pretend to get but won't really until she matures a bit more and then one day goes "ah..."

I will give her a Bible.

I will give her Journey, Creedence Clearwater, Johnny Cash, Feist,  Patty Griffin, and as many 80's punk rock or Dance Cds as I can.

I will give her pens, paper, crayons, toilet paper rolls, peanut butter, bird seeds, and a smock. And then I will sit with her instead of playing on my iPhone.

Like my mother, I will tell her she is beautiful as much as I can, and take her out of school sometimes just to go out for lunch.

I hope to teach her that it is totally ok to cry, even if you haven't figured out what's wrong yet.

And, like Caitlin Moran with her little girl, I will teach Emilia to say "Damn you, The Patriarchy!" every time she falls down.

God bless my lil' chunker. I hope I make it out of this mommy thing alive. I'm glad I had practice with the smartest, sweetest lil' Nug.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Garden Days

Sometimes, when I am taking care of Emilia, I get small glimpses of the way God must see me.

This also happens when I garden. Today I was weeding, and I had to be pretty ruthless. I will save my beautiful beans.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Goodbye Lynchburg!

So, as many of you know, the new little Lund family is moving to Cleveland Schmeveland. We are very excited about this, as it means we will have (tons of) help with the baby. We will also be very close to at least 9 Chipotles which is very good. We will miss Lynchburg very much (especially Blue Ridge Community Church).

Please keep Preston in your prayers as he continues the interview process with the Cleveland Clinic. Everything about this current job position he is applying for sort of "fell" into his lap at the perfect time. We were worried that he'd go the whole summer without a job, but now it looks as though he may have one before we even get there for good! Miracles!!!

Emilia continues to grow at an alarming rate. She is only 11 weeks old (almost 3 months) and she is already 14 pounds and 24 inches long!!! This morning I had her in a little rocker chair that has 3 rattle toys hanging over it, and she was literally pulling herself up  by grasping the toy bar. I have an Olympian Genius Baby. In 3 years she will be able to beat me up and beat me at Scrabble.

Here are some pics for you to enjoy, or not. Many of you have asked to keep in touch, so you can read an occasional post and keep up with us here too!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Not Beyonce's Blues

So last night I read an interview with new mom, Beyonce, in which the pop star admitted that having a baby has been rough on her body -- in particular -- her feet, which are no longer "as soft as they used to be." What!? Come on, really? What new mom who reads that comment will ever buy another album from you, Bey? It's not even like she said "I'm on my feet all day cooking, cleaning, changing diapers, destroying my boobs by feeding a baby, and staring at my poor abs in the mirror, all of which have made my feet hard and calloused. No. It's just that poor Beyonce's feet "aren't as soft" as they used to be. I can't get over it. Today I was walking down the diaper aisle at Target with my simultaneously saggy and calloused new mom body, and I had to hunch over a bit and laugh a little about that comment for the 89th time.

Some people warned me about this thing called "the baby blues." When it was mentioned, I would roll my eyes and say "yeah, yeah, yeah... if I can make it through high school, the basic standard eating disorder that any girl in America suffers between ages 12- 23, working at Quiznos for 5 years, publishing a thesis, and 10 months of pregnancy, I can deal with a baby." Wrong.

The baby blues are real, and I had them (past tense used cautiously). Here is a list of things that prove my feet are definitely not as soft as they used to be:

1. The first 3 days after I delivered my baby I was high on morphine because I had an emergency c-section (and I didn't even get special security glass window in my room).
2. I didn't sleep for 5 days after my delivery because every time I would drift off, I'd have a nightmare that I was still in surgery.
3. Less scary, all I can bring myself to eat is anything processed or dark chocolate.
4. My poor husband has walked into every room in our house, including the bathroom, to find me on the floor crying, babbling something like "I'm trying my best."
5. I threw a jug of cranberry juice at the wall.
6. I called my doctor 6 times asking for birth control before I finally got my RX fixxx.
7. The other day my daughter screamed her way through the line we stood in at the bank and when we finally got help, I was bending over trying to force sugary gas drops into her mouth and didn't realize that about half of my lacy nursing bra was hanging out (yeah I said lacy -- take that Beyonce).
8. I met my dear friend Amber for coffee the other day and she walked into starbucks to find me wearing my pajama top, acid-wash jeans, covered in spit up with sweaty hair and a screaming baby whose tank top was too small and whose chubby, sweaty little belly stuck out in public. I was also carrying a hot pink and zebra print diaper bag. She laughed at me for a little bit.

... All of that to say, I am moving to Cleveland next week. My parents and grandparents live there. I hope I can sneak off for a few hours to go scrub my feet.

This picture is proof that despite the new sounds and smells that have invaded our home, I freakin' LOVE my daughter. I mean love love love like I've never loved.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Time to nerd out

So the title of this blog is "Any Fruit Will Do."

A couple of years ago, I took an advanced grammar class in grad school. We basically had to spend the entire semester doing a research paper on a particular kind of grammar. Knowing that I'd be spending so much time with this project, I wanted to pick something I am interested in. Thus, I chose food. The grammar of food? Yes.

Recipes. I spent months studying the grammar of recipes from the 18th century up until Jamie Oliver. And it was awesome. The more I read recipes, the more I realized something fascinating: the grammar of recipes was distinctly feminine.

The recipes from the 18th century were short and skeletal. They were written by women who had little time and probably did not have those little recipe cards. The 18th century recipes were loose, in that they left room for the changing seasons and for the creativity of the cook. They were short enough to be carried along by a memory, and they assumed the reader had all of the knowledge she needed to complete the scarce recipe without too much detail. There were no measurements and, oftentimes, there were no exact ingredients. One of the recipes was for "Fruit Biscuits," and the first line was "Any fruit will do." It is a recipe for any season, a recipe that allows the cook to use her own creativity, to be resourceful, inventive, and economical... or not.

Modern day recipes are much different. They show great distance between the writer of the recipe and her audience. They are full of detail and exact measurements. They are to be written down (or printed) and come with all kinds of pictures, catering to their audience.

So that was my 25 page grammar research project in a nutshell. I could go on, but I think most of you probably (really) don't care. All that to say, that project is one of my most favorite papers I have ever created. I was inspired by the grammar of the 18th century recipe writers and the respect they had for food, the seasons, and each other. Papers like that inspired me to write and keep writing. Not all of it was fun, but I hope to continue to research that topic and to publish it in a journal one day. Nerd goal of my life.

Ok - so what do normal people talk about? Normal girl to normal girl? Summer and nail polish? I am ready for this rain to end and the warmth to begin!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

How God Shows Grace: What You Don't Know About My Daughter

A few weeks after I got pregnant, I came outside into the cool morning air and looked down at my feet. Just in front of my toes was a tiny pink moth. It's a girl. Something inside of me knew. I'm sure every mother thinks that her baby is going to be special. 

I don't think the sadness, the pain, the self-inflicted drama, the bad choices, and the bad places that Preston and I were both in when we met can ever be adequately put into words. Let's just say that while he was on his way out of a very dark hole, and I was tumbling my way on in, we ran into each other - hard - and God made it stick.

On Thursday, May 26th, Preston and I got married in a little wooden court room downtown Lynchburg. The man who officiated our legal marriage was a sweet old man with a yellow tie. He seemed genuinely happy for us, and he loved our crazy hair. We cried and then ate some good food, happy to be together. 

A few days later we got an unexpected offer for a free honeymoon time in South Carolina. We got tan, rode bikes on the beach, watched an alligator not eat a bird, ate great seafood, and sung some really bad karaoke together. Also, I got pregnant (though I didn't know it yet).

A few days after we got back from South Carolina, I had a terrible fever that lasted all day and deep into the night. As I fell in and out of sleep, I had intense dreams about angels coming to my apartment with flaming swords and killing thousands of shadows. I dreamt they flew around Preston and I as we slept, and they literally slew the darkness around us. I woke up hyperventilating, my fever reaching 106,  and was rushed to the emergency room. I barely remember anything about that night except for my dream, the angels were there, and then I woke up to the face of a paramedic in the back of an ambulance. "You're going to be ok," he told me. Preston sat at the foot of my hospital bed and read an emergency room copy of the Bible. Later, when my fever hadn't broken, he crawled into the bed next to me and cried. We prayed. My fever broke. The doctor came in and sent me home. They couldn't find anything wrong.

A few weeks later, I believe it was June 21st, I woke up at 5 am and knew that I was pregnant. 3 pregnancy tests made it official. Preston and I were going to have a ... baby.

Emilia was with me at our ceremonial wedding on July 2nd. People who didn't know we were already married judged me. People who knew I was married judged me. People said mean things, sad things, and I was terrified. People said nice, beautiful things (people like my Dad, whose opinion really matters), and I was terrified. A life, inside of me? I knew that I couldn't do it. I knew that I didn't deserve it. I had walked so many steps toward God, and then ran thousands of steps away. To watch people I love so dearly suffer -- it only pushed me farther to the edge. How can God be good? He doesn't love me. I am angry. I am unloved. This was my worldview, and I was wrong. On July 2nd, though, everything began to change.

A cardinal flew by. I began to pray. Happy to be married, to cook for two, I prayed. Preston and I fought. I prayed. I watched my belly begin to swell, ever so slightly. I prayed. Mostly this praying consisted of me, on the floor, crying my eyes out. Sometimes I would say "God help me," "Lead me in the paths you have set for me," "I'm sorry," or "Jesus." We went to a good church. We prayed. We took communion several times. My stomach continued to grow. And then, one day, I understood. 26 years of God chipping away at the scales over my eyes and the cement walls around my heart, it broke through:

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

I once was angry; now I'm loved.

I had dipped my toes into the very edge of the idea of getting re-baptized (I had been at the age of 9). But I knew what that meant, so I didn't. Then, in November of 2011, Preston and I both signed up to do it. It was very un-glamorous. Since I was 7 months pregnant, I basically wore a full black body suit. I climbed clumsily into the tub. Emilia and I together in the baptism pool, I will never forget the feel of the water rushing over my face as they lifted me up. 

A few months later Emilia was supposed to come. She didn't. I told the doctors that I thought my water broke, but they sent me home. Three times. The day before she was delivered, I only felt her move once. I didn't know what to do. Afraid to be sent home again, I decided to wait until the next morning, when I knew I had a scheduled ultrasound.

Preston and I stared at the ultrasound screen, watching our baby's heart beating. "Her heart rate is a little low." The ultrasound technician murmured too slowly to herself. She pulled up the screen to check my amniotic fluid. There was none. Without a word, she lept out of the room to get my doctor.

He came in, calm, and told me to go to the emergency room. "You will have your baby today," he said. I was crying. "Should I go home and get my bag?" "No," he answered too quickly.

At the hospital I was changed into a shapeless green gown. My arms were pricked with needles and IVs of antibiotics. I was strapped down with monitors and given an amnio-infusion. They induced labor and my contractions began. A nurse stayed constantly by my side, watching colored lines on a screen: red, blue, and green. That was my baby. I couldn't read it. "Is she ok?" I asked the nurse, tears pooling in the corners of my eyes. "She bears watching." "Is she ok?" I asked the nurse. "She doesn't seem to like this." "Is she ok?" I asked the nurse. "She bears watching." This happened all night. 

My family members were pacing and praying. My grandpa, who can barely walk, who is quickly becoming a shadow of his former self, sat at a kitchen table and prayed. We thought of Bronson, and how his birth had started this same way. My brother, un-willing to let himself go unheard demanded that my mother began throwing things around the room and tearing wires off the wall until the doctor gave me a c-section. "Don't let them make that baby wait too long," he demanded. His love still makes my eyes burn with tears of gratitude. In the hallway, my mom demanded the nurse call the (very) overly busy doctor back into the room. 

"Yea..." my young female doctor said slowly, "we are going to start your section, ok? I don't like the look of her decels." My body, which had been shaking violently from the epidural, continued to vibrate and shiver. "Ok," I said. My mother came and pressed her body on top of mine, holding back tears, she asked me "Are you cold?" She was trying to get me to stop shivering. I remember other family members coming over to me, my sister, my brother in law, their faces peered down at me. I was leaving the room in my mind. I closed my eyes and began to pray. I knew that something was very wrong inside of my stomach. At that moment, I knew.

The doctor came in and noticed a huge pool of meconium. She began to order the NICU down to my operating room and gave scrubs to my husband. She called the anesthesiologist back. I closed my eyes again and began to pray. I know that all kinds of medicines were in my body, but no one -- ever again -- can tell me that God is not there and that He is not good.

As I prayed, I saw 4 angels around my hospital bed. I didn't see see them with my eyes, which were closed, but they were there. I perceived them in a way that I had when I lay in a feverish sweat upon first getting pregnant. God was there too, and He told me "Do not be afraid." At that moment, my body, which had been shaking for hours, went completely still. I took deep breaths through the oxygen mask. They wheeled me into the operating room. 

With my arms strapped down, outstretched on either side, they put the fetal monitor back on -- Emilia was now in official distress. The operation was supposed to last an hour. I heard my doctor tell her nurses they had 15 minutes. The screen went up and they began to cut. 

"Get my damn husband," I yelled. 

After a few minutes he came in, saw my stomach, and his face went pale. He knelt beside me and we continued to pray. As I felt them tug and pull and push inside of me, cutting me open and re-arranging my insides, I remembered that it was Lent. I could think of nothing better to give up for Lent than what I was doing -- laying there cut open, with my arms outstretched. Ironically, I began to thank God for the opportunity to be in that position. 

Somehow, at that moment, Emilia got stuck and they couldn't get her out. My doctor, being a young female, was upset. Her voice and the words she spoke to her nurses gave away too much. If they didn't get Emilia out within seconds, she would be lost.

Preston began weeping, and I think I did too. We only said "Jesus" over and over. I don't know how long it was, but eventually - we heard her cry. One strong little chirp and then the NICU started to suck the meconium out of her lungs. That one little peep was all we needed. Thank you God.

Preston says they brought Emilia over to me, so I could see her, but I don't remember a thing. He went with her as she was to be cleaned. They stitched me up, for what seems now like it was hours, and then wheeled me somewhere, behind some curtain, and "monitored" me. The woman who was to check my uterus by pressing on my minutes-fresh stitches did not know there was a kink in my morphine line. All I remember is crying out the word "unbearable." My arms were still outstretched. 

Hours later I was able to hold Emilia. Weeping over her perfectly fine, perfectly beautiful body with my husband at my side, my whole being was overwhelmed with Grace. I got everything I asked for when I signed up for that Baptism, and God got my abs for lent.

Emilia Kelen Lund left the hospital at 7 pounds even. Within one month, she put on 4 pounds, and she has caused us many sleepless nights, and even more smiles. We thank God for our baby girl, who still has so much to teach us.

Friday, January 27, 2012

A lost note to self from a lost place

[Healing] Even though I had lost everything, the next morning still came, and there were eggs. Salted eggs and coffee. And later that day there were beautiful people in the chairs next to me. [Quiet]

You will find your place when you sit still enough to see, when you sit so still the moon can’t find you, when you notice the sweetness of the sidewalk and the stupid cat, when you see the people around you so closely you hear their hearts breaking and the words that they are saying, when you pause to hold their hands, to wash their feet, and pass one minute at a time. 

You will find your place when you let go just long enough to let the place you’re in hold you. Let it cultivate your heart. Even if it’s just one small plant.

For John, Who Begs Me Not To Enquire Further; By Anne Sexton

Not that it was beautiful,
but that, in the end, there was
a certain sense of order there;
something worth learning
in that narrow diary of my mind,
in the commonplaces of the asylum
where the cracked mirror
or my own selfish death
outstared me.
And if I tried
to give you something else,
something outside of myself,
you would not know
that the worst of anyone
can be, finally,
an accident of hope.
I tapped my own head;
it was a glass, an inverted bowl.
It is a small thing
to rage in your own bowl.
At first it was private.
Then it was more than myself;
it was you, or your house
or your kitchen.
And if you turn away
because there is no lesson here
I will hold my awkward bowl,
with all its cracked stars shining
like a complicated lie,
and fasten a new skin around it
as if I were dressing an orange
or a strange sun.
Not that it was beautiful,
but that I found some order there.
There ought to be something special
for someone
in this kind of hope.
This is something I would never find
in a lovelier place, my dear,
although your fear is anyone's fear,
like an invisible veil between us all…
and sometimes in private,
my kitchen, your kitchen,
my face, your face. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


"These are not the ways you would have chosen to become more than you were, but they worked."

-- B. Taylor