Friday, April 29, 2011

JP2 We Love You!!

On the morning of July 28th, 2002 and I had an encounter with the late Pope John Paul II that I will never forget.  Along with hundreds of thousands of young pilgrims from all over the world, I had come to Toronto, Canada for World Youth Day.  And the experience was one I will cherish my entire life.

It was the final day of the World Youth Day event.  We were tired... we were dirty... we were soaking wet.  As is the tradition for WYD's, we had hiked for miles to get to the place of the final Mass the day before and then camped there overnight after the vigil celebration.  But the weather was not friendly to us at all. 

For the majority of the night it misted very cold rain upon all of us.  The wind was howling and blowing the giant glow lights all about.  We had tarps and sleeping bags, but it seemed no matter how we covered up or adjusted, somehow the rain just kept getting in.  We awoke in the morning to the same weather... chilly, windy, gray.  Despite the dreariness, this was the last day we would be with our Holy Father, and we tried to remain cheery.  Pope John Paul II's helicopter flew in and he traveled in his Pope-mobile through the crowds all the way up to the stage.

Even though we were never very close (in proximity) to this man, his presence was so powerful and pervasive.  It felt like we were shaking his hand the entire week whenever he would come for an event.  And the final Mass would prove no different.  As the Pope approached the front of the stage and began Mass, we pilgrims bowed our heads and began Mass as well.  And then it happened, more suddenly than you could imagine, the clouds parted... and out came the warm and beautiful sun.  And what I'll never forget was what our dear Pope said to us.  "It looks as if the Son has come to join us."  The crowd erupted in cheers.  We were able to remove our jackets and sweatshirts.  Our clothes began drying...we were warming up... and by the end of Mass, you would have barely known that we had been drenched and miserable just an hour or two previously.  The Son had joined us... as he does for every Mass.  But on this special day, with 750,000 of my peers, we felt him exteriorly instead of just interiorly.  AMAZING.

Happy Beatification Weekend, John Paul II. I really do love you!

John Paul the Great, Pray for Us.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Doc like That

So the past year or two have been a major wakeup call for me when it comes to matters of health. When I was pregnant with Vince, I began experiencing some seriously disturbing symptoms. It began with panic attacks early in my pregnancy. I remember my first one... We were driving home late one night after a dinner party, and I suddenly became very tingly. I then started to shiver (like whole-body shivers) and it continued for almost 30 minutes.

Throughout my pregnancy with Vince, I just felt "weird". There was an entire day when my legs and hands were tingling, but I just chalked it up to being pregnant and tried to forget about it.

Then after I had Vince, it got WAY worse. Most of my family would tell you that I was just struggling with post partum anxiety that manifested itself as hypochondria. But I'm pretty sure it was more than that. One day I was sitting in my office at work eating an apple and I had this strange sensation that a knot in my throat shot up my spine and into my head. I was always googling things like "head pressure" and "face tingling". I couldn't fall asleep at night because I felt weird and I was always worried I'd wake up in a panic attack. I was exercising like crazy and losing lots of weight and still I felt terrible.

I started cutting all kinds of things out of my diet... Sugar and fake sugar, all sugar, breads, dairy, non organic anything... all kinds of stuff... but I never stuck with it long enough to be sure what was causing my problems. And, finally, by the grace of God, I started feeling better about nine months after Vince was born. Feeling better happened to coincide with me returning to work full time. It also coincided with post partum depression going away and me cutting soy out of my diet... So who knows why it went away.

But a little over a year ago the weirdness began to return. And I'd had quite enough of going to see my doc only for her to tell me it was anxiety and suggest anti-depressants for the bazillionth time, so I did something different.

I went to a chiropractor. Gasp! But you know what? She actually believed me when I told her my weird symptoms. And she recommended some diet changes and to start taking some supplements, because it was pretty obvious to her that my body was aching for nutrients. And why wouldn't it be? Since the first week of my marriage when I became pregnant with Mia, there has not been a day that I haven't been feeding another human being in addition to myself. I've been pregnant or nursing for 5 years straight people! That's bananas!

So I listened to her. And I feel about 400% better. No post partum depression. No panic attacks (except after days when I've poisoned my body with lots of fake sugar). No weird tingling feelings. There's still a few odd things happening, but we're working on them. My chiropractor, instead of making me believe I was crazy, actually realized that I had legitimate symptoms that were not all in my head.

And here's my beef. Being so predisposed to hypochondria as I have been my whole life, I'm just not able to forego modern medicine all together... But I REALLY REALLY wish there was an MD out there who would employ ALL kinds of techniques for healing rather than just drugs. Treat the problem, not the symptoms. Listen to me and my symptoms and don't automatically lump me into the "she's suffering from a mental disorder" group just because you can't figure out why I feel the way I do. Anyone know where I can find a doc like that?

Friday, April 15, 2011

It's different this time.

I just read an article on how the most difficult part of using Natural Family Planning is not learning the method or using it correctly, but rather is the decision made between a husband, wife and God about when it's okay to delay pregnancy. The article points out the Church doesn't give us a specific list of grave reasons... She barely even gives us guidelines. But the reason the Church is so vague is so that we are left to keep the discussion with each other and with our Lord an open one. But really, avoiding pregnancy has never been something that Andrew and I have even really needed to discuss.

Having three babies in 5 years has been an incredible experience for us. It's awesome to have our kids so close in age, and I really love that we're growing into what most people these days would consider a "big family."  And if my pregnancy with Will had gone as smoothly as the first two went, I'm quite sure we would have continued that pattern of family growth at least until we had the 5 kids that Andrew says will "fill up the station wagon".

But, it's different this time.

After everything that went down with baby Will (more about that here) I guess I'm just a little scared. I absolutely want more babies. I just don't want them right this minute. And I'm not super sure how my body is going to accept another pregnancy. After the placenta previa, emergency vertical c-section, and miraculously cured accreta, what am I to expect from pregnancy number four? And how long do we wait before my body will be ready to gestate again? And at what point after the standard "year to 18 months after a csection" do I have to admit that I cannot let fear control when we try again?

I guess it goes back to that conversation with God. He definitely taught me to trust him this past year, so I suppose that's what I've got to keep on doing. He's never let me down before. So whether its 1 year, 2 years, or 3 or more years, it's all really up to Him, and I've just got to trust that He'll let Andrew and I know when the time is right.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

What's in a name?

So I agonized over what to name my new project for months... Well at least days... Okay maybe hours, but it seemed like a long time. And how did I end up with "Chasing Cherubim"?

I wanted a name to sum up my life. And I wanted something catchy. But wouldn't you know that there about a billion other mommy bloggers out there, so everything I first came up with was "sorry, that blogname is already in use".

But then I decided that raising my three little beauties, especially on crazy days, can basically be equated to chasing angels. They may drive me bananas, but I love them so much and think they're the best kids around. I imagine this blog will be a lot about them, and thus it became "Chasing Cherubim".

Five years in... Let's begin again

I'm a slacker. I started a blog 8 years ago. I had great fun with it for 3 or 4 years... and then... life happened. After searching for my vocation (awesome blog topic), a whirlwind romance (great blogging fodder), getting married (happy blog city), and being pregnant with and having my first kiddo (super blogworthy), I slowly but surely stopped being a regular to my blog. And the excitement and fun that it was... Became the same old page over and over, day in and day out.

But now, nearly 5 years into my marriage, I'm ready to begin again. Life in our household isn't always fun... But it's usually pretty entertaining. And now that I'm back to being a mostly-stay-at-home-mommy again after nearly 2 years of full time work, I'm excited to have this creative outlet!

So welcome to the new and improved blogosphere of Kristi. I hope you've come to stay for awhile!