My Family

My Family
-Cozumel 2014

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Grandma

I wrote this on the day that Grandma passed away, just a few hours before.

  Some of my fondest memories with Grandma was when I was grown, and living up here in the States.  Every other Sunday I would go and spend the afternoon with her, she would make beef stew or something else amazing like that and I would help her, I would be at her kitchen sink peeling potatoes or washing a pot and she would be in her chair not too far away and we would be talking. We talked about life, if I was going through something at a certain stage in my life she would reminisce that time long ago when she was going through it, too. When I was single and available, she would talk about when she was too. She dated a few men, they would go out on a coke date and have a good wholesome time, but nothing like when she went out on her first date with Grandpa. Around the time I started dating Nubun she told me how she met her love of her life. When I was in preparations for my wedding day, she told me about her simple in home wedding and how happy she was! When I was expecting my first baby she told me about her first baby, my Daddy. It was fun to talk to Grandma because you could talk to her about almost anything and have fun at it too. We would laugh, and sigh and relate and enjoy each others company.  We lived our youth in two different eras, but we still had a lot of the same life struggles. "Who does God have for me to marry?" "How should I fix my hair for our first date?" "What kind of wedding dress should I wear?" "Labor contractions REALY DO hurt!" "How do I lose this baby weight?" "Why doesn't my husband like green vegetables?" 
   Our lives were very different growing up, but that didn't stop us from relating to each other. She told me heart warming stories of her life long love affair with my Grandpa, she told me of her childhood adventures, and those of her two kids. She would talk for hours about her beautiful life, her hard life, her FULL life. 
  When I was about ready to give birth to my first baby she told me she was living for the day she could hold that baby in her arms. She did! And she lived to hold all three of my babies in her arms. She loved them and they loved her and it was a sweet joy that coated my heart to see. 
  And now, I sit here in my kitchen, getting ready to get myself and my kids dressed to go see our Grandma, the tears come and roll down my cheeks and off my chin cause I know it will probably be the last time I can hold her hand and kiss her cheek and tell her one last time I love her so much, how her life has made a difference in mine. How her love was felt by me, my husband and my kids. Sometimes I wish she could lift her old bony hand one more time and kiss my little girls and tell them to go get a sucker out of the bowl, I wish the phone would ring one more time and I hear her voice on the other line.
  But God is good, He knows what she needs, she needs to let this old body behind and she needs to go home with her Jesus,  her husband, her son....
   I once asked Grandma if she ever worried about her sons being so far away in a foreign country. She didn't even hesitate to answer.  "No. They are safe over there because they are in God's will. I do not worry." So simple. Her faith for her Lord was not complicated.
  But it's so hard for me to say good bye. It's her loved ones behind that will be left with a hole in the heart, an empty space, and eyes full of tears. She will be whole, complete, perfect, no more pain, no more sufferings. 
  I thank The Lord for my Grandma, her life, her testimony and the love she always showered on all those around her. 
  Life is but a vapor,  only there for a little while, and then eternal life. 
"Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints. Ps 116:15"

Although its hard to swallow, I must say goodbye for now, I have to let go and let her go see her Jesus, her husband, her son. They are waiting for her on the other side, beyond the pearly gates. 

Opal Evelyn Patterson
October 1, 1923 - July 6, 2014

This was the testimony I gave at her funeral.
While visiting with Grandma the rushing around and busy part of my life would just....stop. It was time for hugs and kisses and long peaceful conversations. When I was in her living room sitting across from her, time seemed to slow down, there was this warm and gentle atmosphere about those moments that I will always cherish. when we talked it was all about, well, .....everything! we would share fun stories with each other, and we would make these wonderful memories together  doing the simple things in life like sitting at the dinner table eating red beans and cornbread, or playing a game of shoot the moon. Some of my fondest memories was getting out her old hymn books and singing the Gospel hymns together. If Grandma was ever upset about anything, all anyone really had to do was ask her if she wanted to sing with us, she loved singing the old Gospel hymns, she would stop whatever she was doing, sit back, adjust her glasses and sing her worries away.
     Grandma was big on some traditions, for example, she didn't think a lady was well dressed unless she was wearing stockings, I grew up in Mexico, it was warm year round and I did not like wearing stockings.  Well, usually my visits with her was on Sunday afternoons after church I'd go directly to her house. As soon as I walked in, Grandma would do a sweep of me, compliment my outfit then ask where my stockings were. I always felt bad about that. Not bad enough to wear stockings to church or anywhere for that matter, but bad that I didn't meet her approval. So I kept a pair of knee highs in my car and as soon as I drove into grandmas drive way I'd park my car and reach over and put on my finishing touch of a properly and well dressed lady...my stockings. Then I'd walk in her house, give her a hug and kiss then sat across from her and after I passed her approval I would make a big show about how tired I was of wearing stockings, then I would take them off. I did that a few times then I started falling under conviction for being deceitful. One Sunday as I was walking in her house she looked at my legs and asked me why I was naked legged.
  I kneeled in front of her and I said.   "Grandma, I know you don't like for me to go out without stockings, but I really don't like them and I don't think I'll ever wear them again."
  She leaned forward in her chair and held my face in her hands. I didn't know what she was going to say about my confession but I was dreading it.  "Andrea" she said. "You don't need to wear stockings to be my beautiful granddaughter. I love you just the way you are."
  And that is how Grandma was, she loved you inspite of what you were, or did differently than her. She loved you anyways! 
   Grandma  loved her Savior, she was faithful to Him,  she read her Bible as long as she had the eye sight to do so, she went to church as long as she could physically get there, she prayed for her kids and grandkids daily, and she encouraged me to search for Gods will in my life.  She was proud of her two sons, not because they  had fame or great wealth, or because they drove a Cadilac and were good looking, (because as you all know, they really  were!), but because of this simple fact. 
    God had called them to the ministry, and they had obeyed. 
  Towards the end of her life when I would take me little girls over to go see her, I had never seen anyone love like she loved on my babies, it showed in her twinkle of her eyes, in the excitement of her voice and in the warm hugs and granny kisses she would give them, what a blessing! 
  She had the love of God in her and it overflowed and radiated out to others, and made me want to be a more caring, loving and gentle person myself. Grandma was a wonderful and amazing Mother, wife, grandmother great-grandmother, friend and person, and she will be missed by so so many! 
 But especially.... By me. 

To summarize my grandma in three words...it would be the last three words I heard her spoke, she was talking to me and my husband and my little girls. And I am gonna write it just like she said those three words to us.

I love you
I love you
I love you
I love you
I love you 
I love you 
I love you....

 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Home Birth the No-Brainer



Homebirth the No-Brainer Reasons.


I am writing a post about a home birth. I have never had a home birth but look forward to having one some day, and here are the reasons why. Not the important, technical, medical, or scholarly type of reasons, but the down to earth just for fun reasons.
  Let's start out with, the robe.
1.  At a hospital. I would like to know who wore the hospital robe before me? I mean. Did some germ infested person die in it the day before? Who wore it before me? 
   In my home.  I can birth wearing my own clothes, not somebody else's clothes. It may have germs, but they are familiar germs, not very scared of them. And if the need arises, I can birth without clothes on because I will know who exactly is in my home, I trust them and I won't be exposing my naked bum to a stranger coming in without knocking. there will be no strangers in my home! And the only male present will be my husband. 

2. People always say  that a hospital is a sterile environment... Or they'll say it's a germ infested environment.  It's both. It's filled with SICK PEOPLE, people that are being attacked by germs, and germs usually don't get the agenda that they are quarantined to just their host human, they like to move about. And so they do... Let's face it, all that hand sanitizer the health care providers coat themselves with only goes so far. So their hands are sterile for a while, yippee... And the room is filled with the AWESOME aroma of alcohol and peroxide, such lovely aroma therapy for a laboring Mama. I think that smells makes you get the illusion of a sterile environment. Yay. I feel safer already. 
    In my home.   I know who has been in my home, I'm familiar with the germs and so is my body. And I ain't inviting anybody over that is sick. And only those who I invite are allowed in.  I don't have to worry about that. Or the smell of Purell-ma-therapy.

3. Everybody's birth experience with an OB is different. Mine was the no-nonsense type health care provider. After 5 years of being her patient I knew nothing about her but her name and her title. I even asked a couple of times about her life and family but immediately got the vibe that I was crossing the line of the professional patient/doctor boundaries. Forget the personal questions, she did not like me asking her any questions at all. If I asked her questions about the birth she would literally tell me not to worry about that she was the doctor not me, or would flat out say "Why do you need to know?" and wouldn't answer me at all.  She acted like my questions were nothing but challenges to her doctor professionalism. She wanted me to trust her blindly and basically shut up. Woohoo! I had such a warm fuzzy feeling around her. Again, I will repeat. I'm sure I got the dud doctor and most OBs are not like this. Even if you have an awesome OB birthing in a hospital you are never guaranteed to get your doctor for your actual birth, you can be stuck with a complete stranger that you may, or may not like. 
      After 15 beautiful minutes of knowing my midwife (home borth and birth center birth midwife) I knew her name, title, name of her daughter, that she had many speeding tickets while driving to births, and the fact that she didn't like Thai food. By the end of the whole 45 minute visit, she knew my life, the name of my two older kids, how long I had been married, she had played with my kids, laughed at my husband's joke, and ended the appointment with a big bear hug and an invitation to go eat lunch with her.  I asked many professional questions regarding her  knowledge and experience in the birthing department, there was not a single question I couldn't ask her. What was the most awesome thing about having a midwife? She treated me like a friend, and in the process didn't lose an ounce of 'professionalism. I felt comfortable and VERY safe with her. 

  4. Driving to the hospital sucks. They say don't get there till you are almost pushing so that means riding in the car to the hospital in full blown labor. Yea. I laugh. So much fun! Um. Not. Riding anywhere while in labor must be one of the dumbest idea humans ever thought of!  Seriously. It hurts! It can slow labor! It hurts! And with every bump or turn in the road it makes you scream to the top of your lungs at your already-scared-out-of-his-mind  husband, like a stuck pig on Easter eve. Plus the worry of what will happen if the baby is born in the car.  Not exactly a comfortable way to give birth. Poor oxytocin can not be used to its fullest potential in a car. The end. 
  In my home. My labor never has to get interrupted, at all. All I need is time, my husband, my birth team and God's help. I don't have to worry about packing my hospital bag, having the baby's car seat ready. Wearing a giant diaper in case my water breaks. Nothing but working with my labor, in any room I feel comfortable in. The only traveling I will have to do is going to the bathroom and back, walking with labor when necessary, and resting when that is needed. No tire skidding, breaks screaming traffic horror fear of the THE hospital drive!! Aaaah... My Sphincters are relaxed already with just the thought.

    5. The arrival at the hospital. It's so lovely. You are making pooping faces while walking down the aisles. They are asking you to sign this paper, agree not to sue, acknowledge the risks of this or that, sign that paper, read all the 378 pages of the fine print please then sign here that you read them, and agree to their terms and conditions and patients privacy rights. After the lovely paper work is done then they want to weigh you. WEIGH ME??  Are you freaking kidding me?  Can you not just except the weight from last weeks visit? I mean I get weighed every time I come near a hospital or doctors office why do it when I'm in labor too? Then as you are breathing out each contraction and crossing your eyes with the intensity of them they ask you your family medical history. Do WAAAAAT?  
    In my home.   At home I'm not gonna fill out paper work, I've already done that ahead of time. I was already weighed last week and they accept that weight.  They don't ask me 101 questions I don't feel like answering and my family history has already been discussed over tea and cookies 7 months ago. 

   6.  Strangers strangers everywhere! In the hospital you have a sick person or laboring woman next door. You don't want to bother her. Your nurses are strangers to you, you have just met them and they only come in and leave after only a few short minutes of professional chatter with you. You may know your doctor, or he could be the on call doctor you've never met before. The janitor comes in 3 times a day, to empty your trash and gather dirty towels. Then more strangers come in to deliver food, or ice chips, or pain pills, or epidurals, or enemas  and then of course there is always the "Oops! I'm sorry I got the wrong room" stranger. 
  In my home? There will be no stranger danger. You know your family or friends present, you know your health providers and they are your friends as well. Anyone who serves you, or brings you food, or cleans your room, or gives you pain relief, or gentle massages, or kind words are your friends, your family, your team you trust, love and feel comfortable and relaxed  around. 

   7. And finally my pet-est peeve of all. Hospital policies and routine procedures.  Oh my, where do I begin? Policies rule hospitals, everybody should know that, if you don't know or believe that then come over here and step in the light. I'll illuminate you. There are  innumerable amounts of hospital policies out there that are made and enforced in the name of 'just in case'. Not for what's better for the Mama, or baby, but because the doctors and hospitals want to make sure they will be immune to law suits. It is true.  I'm sure each policy was started well intended but when they keep adding rules and policies on top of more rules and policies it just simply taking a woman's rights away. Many hospitals won't let you birth in water, eat food while laboring, drink liquids while laboring, wear your own clothes, take a video, take pictures, say no.... It's standard operating procedure to take your 10 minute old baby away, wash, poke and man handle it all in the name of policies, not what's best and gentlest for Baby and Mama.  They tell you when to get up, sit down, lay down, they make you walk even when you feel like that's the wrong thing to do at the moment. Sure! You can just say no, but that is a fight on your hands you don't want while having a baby. Nurses and doctors and hospitals in general don't like you to say no to their policies and procedures, so that causes awkwardness and/on animosity between you and them, which is the last thing you need or want at that time.  I don't have time to write down all that I want to add on here but I'll just say this, if you also are against most hospital policies as I am, but have to birth at a hospital anyway, hire a doula. She can make it a little smoother of a ride. 
   At home.  I listen to my midwife and do as she says, but do not worry that she will tell me to do anything that go against hospital policies, cause those are far away. What she tells me to do will be for my best interest and that of my baby. I wont be treated as a child, I'll have a water birth, and stay in that water till I turn old and wrinkly, or, just wrinkly. I'll have a video and camera rolling at my leisure, I'll eat all I want, drink all I want and poop when I need to without the help of an enema! Ill wear my own clothes, or...not. I'll  hog my baby as soon as its born, no poking, bathing, or man handling allowed. 
I am even thinking of making up my own home-birth policies.  Lights should be turned down low at all times, candles flickering, soothing music in back ground, everybody must smile at all times, and do not come in the room where I'm at unless you bare a gift of some sort, like cupcakes or avocados, or flowers. Yes, at my home birth the only policies present will be the ones my ingenious mind makes up. 
Yes. I like that.