7 Quick Takes Friday - Feb 25, 2011

Thanks to Jen for hosting.

1. Three years ago today...

2. I just took a trip on the wayback machine and read his birth story. He was born at 10:46pm, and by the time all the excitement had died down and the newborn procedures were over, it was past 1:00am. Collin laid down in the "daddy bed" and fell asleep almost immediately. The L&D ward of the hospital he was born at was on the top floor, and our birthing room had a wonderful view of the city. I remember gazing out at the gorgeous night sky with my beautiful baby boy snuggled next to me and feeling like the luckiest and most blessed woman on the planet.

Every time I see his face, I feel the same way.

Happy 3rd birthday, William Joseph!

3. We'll have a small celebration for him tonight, but we're planning on having a combo birthday party for him and Violet on March 5 (the day she turns 1). I guess I should probably get the invitations out. Then I'll join the Procrastinator's Club of America (or maybe I'll do that later...)

4. Because I'm a glutton for punishment, his gift (other than our trip to Disneyland, which was partly his birthday gift) is a toy drum. He's always pretending to play the drum with my pots and pans and plastic utensils, so I figured he'd enjoy something resembling an actual drum instead.

5. My nephew, Mason, turns three on Saturday. My sister and I were actually due a month apart -- me on March 21 (Good Friday!) and she on February 22. As it turns out, I went into labor a month early at 36w3d, and she went several days overdue. Her water broke the afternoon after William was born, and she gave birth to Mason in the same hospital, actually just down the hall from my room, at around 11:30pm on February 26. It made it pretty convenient for relatives; they got to see two babies in one visit. :)

6. I booked my grandma's return flight home on March 6. She has a doctor appointment on March 15 with a specialist that she was unable to reschedule, so she's going home earlier than planned (usually she stays until April). I'm going to miss her so much -- her visits always seem way too short, and the kids just adore her.

7. Her plane leaves at 7:15am -- ugh! We'll have to leave the house at something like 4:30am to get there early enough. I'm going to a good friend's wedding shower in Tempe at noon that day, so after I drop her off I'll have to kill some time. Too bad I won't be able to go somewhere and take a nap! I'll probably just find a bookstore or somewhere to browse in; I never have a problem killing a few hours if I'm looking at books.

Happy Friday!

An Open Letter to Congresswoman Jackie Speier

Dear Congresswoman Speier:

First of all, I'm very sorry for your loss.

Your recent comments on the House floor and in this Huffington Post article inspired me to write the following. I wanted to send it to you directly, but your form on House.gov only allows your constituents to contact you, so this will have to do. I doubt you will ever see it, but I feel it's important to put this information out there anyway.

You said the following in the HuffPo article linked above:

You admit guilt, but for me there was no guilt, only the pain of a pregnancy that did not work. The fetus had slipped from my uterus into my vagina and could not survive. To stave off a life-threatening infection and to keep the possibility of a future birth alive, I had what’s called dilation and evacuation or “d & e.” But for people, particularly my colleagues who don’t want Planned Parenthood to be funded, I simply had an abortion.

I don't know the particulars of your pregnancy in question because you have not made them public, but let me share an experience I had in December of 2006.

When I had my first prenatal appointment in my second pregnancy, my midwife did an ultrasound because I was 12 weeks along and she couldn’t find the baby’s heartbeat via Doppler. The ultrasound revealed that the baby had stopped developing at around 8 weeks, and there was no heartbeat. My midwife and an OB recommended that I have a D&C, since it’d been nearly 4 weeks since the baby’s death and nothing had happened naturally. I agreed and had the D&C a few days later.

That was not an induced abortion. That was a missed miscarriage.

From the sounds of it, what you had was also not an abortion. It was a miscarriage.

An abortion kills a baby who is alive prior to the procedure (and dead after it). The procedure itself is what kills the baby. In fact, the intention of the procedure is to kill the baby. If the baby lives, the procedure failed. (If the aim of the procedure was to treat a disease or a condition, and not directly kill the baby, then that is also not an abortion; it is an example of the principle of double effect, even if the baby's death is an unintended [if forseen] side effect of the procedure.)

A D&E or D&C for a missed miscarriage removes the body of a baby who died PRIOR to the procedure. In other words, the procedure did not kill the baby; the baby died of natural causes.

If you baby was dead prior to the D&E, then you had a miscarriage and a subsequent surgical procedure to remove the baby’s body from your body. If your baby was alive and well prior to the D&E, then you had an induced abortion.

If the baby had actually left your uterus, it's extremely unlikely that s/he was still alive at the time of your D&E. If that's the case, you did not have an abortion. You had a D&E after a miscarriage.

I have never met, either online or in person, a pro-life individual who would claim that the D&E or D&C prodcedures in and of themselves are moral evils. Such surgical procedures are morally neutral. They have very legitimate uses, such as to remove the body of a baby who died of natural causes from the body of his or her mother, or to remove extraneous placental tissue after childbirth or miscarriage. The procedures are only immoral when they are used to kill a living unborn child.

I can understand your confusion, as a miscarriage is often called a "spontaneous abortion" in medical terminology. However, as the National Center for Biotechnology Information states, "A miscarriage may also be called a 'spontaneous abortion.' This refers to naturally occurring events, not medical abortions or surgical abortions." (emphasis mine)

You should figure out the difference between an abortion and a miscarriage before you speak on this issue again, because all you’re doing is confusing the issue and making false claims against the pro-life movement.

Edit: This post spawned several replies, many of which I devoted to entire posts of their own:

Abortion vs. Miscarriage: A Response to crowepps

Replies to "Mary" and "SallyStrange"

Another Reply to Mary

Oh, What the Heck, Why Not

I'm also late to the party, but I figured I might jump on the show your wedding dress train.

My husband and I paid for our wedding largely on our own, and as neither of us were independently wealthy, it meant we had to keep things small and frugal. I found this dress on the sale rack of a place that rented wedding dresses, and I thought it was perfect. I didn't want a dress with a train as I hated trains (I'm so clumsy I know I would've tripped over it or ripped it within the first five minutes). I wanted something simple and inexpensive, but bridal. This dress was perfect, and the best part was the price:

$250 for the dress, $50 for the alterations.

I borrowed my then-SIL's crinolines and veil (she'd married my brother just a few months before my wedding), bought a $15 headdress from Michael's, and my mother made my shoes:

I hate heels and had no desire to wear them, so I loved the above as they were cute and comfortable.

All told, I'm glad I didn't spend a mint on my dress. I think what I wore worked out pretty well. :)

7 Quick Takes Friday - Feb 18, 2011

Thanks to Jen for hosting.

1. A prayer request to start off: please pray for my friend D. and her husband M. They lost their baby girl (their first child) earlier this week; D. was in her second trimester of pregnancy. It's a heartbreaking loss and they could use some prayer support.

2. As you may have noticed, I've been messing with my blog template. I'm still dissatisfied with it so I may do more messing around in the weeks to come. If anything looks truly horrible, please don't hesitate to share your opinion; I want this blog to be easy on the eyes so far as design goes. :)

3. My painting plans for this weekend have been postponed because my uncle Jon and aunt Barb flew in from ND to visit. They took Grandma on a day trip to the Grand Canyon today. I would never be crazy enough to try that trip in a day, but they wanted to give it a shot. Kudos to them for bravery!

4. Elanor has been sick the past two days. Fever and vomiting, lots of fun. Thankfully, she seems to be on the mend. I just hope the other two don't catch it.

5. Have I mentioned how fantastic my FIL is? He came over today and mopped our floors, vacuumed the stairs and upstairs carpet, and did miscellaneous other tasks while Collin helped him with his computer. He should get a "greatest father-in-law" medal or something. The Father-in-Law Medal of Honor.

6. We decided to go with DirectTV for cable, and I LOVE having EWTN available. It's nice for other shows, too; we've never had DVR before so we're still getting used to being able to record our favorite shows. Now if we only had more time to watch them...

7. Time for a slightly embarrassing revelation: I write fanfiction. Back in the day I wrote a ton of Star Trek: Voyager stories. I started a Harry Potter fanfic a few years ago but never finished it (no point now, really). Currently, I'm working on a Monk story. I'm not that great at making up my own characters, but I love playing with other people's.

7 Quick Takes Friday - Feb 11, 2011

Thanks to Jen for hosting.

1. Our Nissan is back and our new TV is up and running. We're also getting cable, mostly for the benefit of my grandma (she gets tired easily so she doesn't do much during the day other than watch TV or read -- we wanted to give her more options of stuff to watch). Now we just need to get a new microwave and we'll be set.

2. I'm embarking on a rather ambitious project next weekend -- I want to paint our master bedroom and our kitchen/living room. They are both peach right now and I HATE peach. I wanted to paint before we moved in, but since our closing was delayed I didn't get the chance. My SIL is coming to help; I don't know if we'll get both rooms done, but I'll be happy with one. I want to do both rooms in a neutral sandy beige with dark green accents. I've never painted a room before (other than helping my mom with it when I was a teenager, and that was a LONG time ago), so I'm going to be doing a lot of reading this week. Any tips?

3. Violet is now pulling herself up to a standing position by herself and standing for long periods of time. At this rate she's going to be walking in no time flat. Good thing we never took down our baby gates!

4. I had a good performance review at work yesterday. It's nice to feel appreciated.

5. We are making a little bit of progress with William's potty training. Last weekend he peed in the potty twice, and last night he actually asked to go sit on the potty (he didn't do anything, but the fact that he asked is a HUGE improvement -- before he was adamant about not wanting anything to do with the potty).

6. Speaking of William, I think I'm going to need to buy him some longer pants. He's shooting up like a weed! I can't believe my baby boy is almost 3.

7. My wonderful husband has already given me an extra Valentine's Day gift (the TV was our joint one). He gave me an Apple TV, so now we can watch Netflix and iTunes movies on our bedroom TV. I love it!!

Have a great weekend!

Do Catholics "blindly follow" the Vatican?

This is one of the best rebuttals to the "Catholics blindly follow the Vatican" myth I've ever read. I use it often, so I thought I'd share. Thanks, Monica!

I think the sentiment you expressed is one held by many- that Catholics blindly follow the Vatican, and never use their brains.

Once a person accepts certain premises that then draws him or her to the Church, they do not cease to think for themselves. However, let's take human sexuality for an example, once I accept the premises that lead me to the Church, the Church's view of human sexuality is infinitely logical and well-reasoned. Even difficult teachings, such as those on sterilization for women who risk their lives during pregnancy, or the teaching that gays must remain celibate, fit perfectly with the tapestry of life that the Church teaches. It doesn't make them easy teachings, but their "ease" is totally unrelated to their "reasonableness" or "truthfulness".

And when those premises are accepted, and a person then hears another Catholic teaching, they don't think to themselves, "Well, that makes no sense, but I'll follow blindly." They hear it, and they think, "Yes, this fits. Another piece of the puzzle that fits perfectly." And if a member of the Catholic clergy starts spouting nonsense, well, then a thinking Catholic will call him on it. This happens regularly.

Because of the absolute consistency in Catholic teaching, it is nice to be able to look up the answers in the back of the book, so to speak. But as someone who has gone through (hopefully) a thorough catechism, a Catholic realizes they aren't answers pulled out of thin air, they are well-reasoned under the premises of Christianity. And so, when a question like the infamous "trolley car switch" comes up, we might do a quick google search on Catholic Answers and feel pretty confident with the answer and reasoning provided.

I am not a moralist or a theologian, and so I let the experts do what they are meant to do- look at situations like tubal pregnancies, euthanasia, etc, and reason it out. I am smart enough to then follow their logical explanation and agree that it's logical. In the same way, I agree to let oncologists treat a cancer, because they are the experts. But if a doc suddenly tells me I need to sleep with a quartz crystal under my pillow, I would sense a logical problem and do a bit more digging. I hope that comparison makes sense.

7 Quick Takes... Saturday?! Feb. 5, 2011

Thanks to Jen for hosting.

1. Yeah, I'm a day late with the quick takes. I have yet another bad cold and spent most of yesterday sleeping. It worked; I feel much better now.

2. We gave a presentation on "Intimacy and Sexuality" for our parish's marriage prep couples last night. I think it went pretty well despite the fact that I was recovering from a cold and Collin was coming down with one. I hope we planted some seeds, anyhow. It's always hard to tell if our story made any impact, and if couples really understand the teachings of the Church in this regard.

3. Our microwave imploded yesterday. My grandma was cooking an egg roll, and the next things he knew there were flames. Yes, flames. The darn thing is just over a year old (and thus out of warranty). Luckily, my FIL paid for it using his credit card, and his credit card has some kind of extended warranty protection, so we may get a new one free of charge. It might take a while, though, and in the meantime we have no microwave. Boo. :(

4. We've also been TV-less for a week, which is a saga all its own. Collin bought a flat-screen TV, set it up, decided he didn't like it, took it back, ordered another one, decided he didn't want that one after all, thought about getting a different one at Target, but then decided the other one would work. Are you confused yet? So am I. He's at Best Buy right now, getting the TV that we will hopefully keep. I just want him to pick one and stick with it.

5. In the continuing saga of "when it rains, it pours," Collin brought our new car in last week to get some sort of coating on it that protects the finish from the sun (it's covered under our warranty). The Nissan people noticed there was a panel in the back that kept popping out and had him bring the car back yesterday so they could fix it (still covered under warranty). After several hours they told him that there was something wrong with the frame of the car and it was going to take a week to fix, so I have to bring it in on Tuesday and get a rental car to use until they're done. Argh. Nice that we don't have to pay for any of this, but a hassle nonetheless.

6. Violet is 11 months old today! I should probably start planning her 1st birthday party. Can't believe how big she's getting.

7. So much to do, so little time. *sigh* Guess I should get off the computer and start doing it.

Have a good weekend!

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