A Bump, and a Beat, equal a Baby

12 weeks.

When pregnant, it's always interesting to me, to watch your belly grow...daily.  You start this journey by seeing the lines or the plus sign on the pregnancy stick, or in my case with this one being told by an ER doctor that did you know you are pregnant?    Looking normal, yet totally changed from knowing there is a little one growing inside of you.  You may begin to take prenatals and progesterone, while also increasing your intake of food and forcing down gallons of water.   Nothing really changes, especially when you feel good and experience mild morning sickness. Then one day, it happens, it's there, and you are reassured that there is a someone growing inside of you. 

You notice....the bump.

Then comes the beat...the heartbeat that is.  The twelve week initial doctor appointment has always been exciting for me.  Laying there waiting in anticipation, as the doctor puts the cold jelly substance on your stomach and starts moving around the microphone device on top of you.  Hearing the loud swishing of sounds, straining your ears to hear something that resembles a heart beat, looking at the the doctors face for confirmation that the sound he's picked up is indeed the baby's heart beat and not your own.  Good.  Very good.  Were his words this time.  He found the baby's heartbeat right away.  Whew.  Deep breath.

And just like that, he or she has made their first appearance.  The first milestone of many has been reached.

Hello little one.


An Unusual Morning

I woke up at 4:30 this morning to a violent thunderstorm hammering rain at my bedroom window.  Bouts of lighting and thunder echoed through the house, while everyone remained fast asleep.  My first thoughts were no running this morning....so back to sleep I quickly and gladly went.  Before I knew it it was 6:30 and while all were still sleeping,  I quietly slipped out of bed.  The house was still completely dark and the rain was continuing to rhythmically drum on the roof.  I opened the blinds, started coffee, and sat in the chair with only the very minimal light from outside.  Expecting tiny people to make their way down the stairs at any moment, I went ahead and began praying the rosary.   It was very soothing, sitting there in the dark, listening to the rain and distant thunder while reciting each Hail Mary.  To my surprise not a single person came down by the time I had finished the rosary.  Odd....I thought, since the invisible rooster at the Casady household sends his wake up call around 6:30 these days.  Suddenly I became excited at the thought of going downstairs by myself to the computer, coffee in hand, to read some blogs.  I was meant to read this one this morning.
http://www.elizabethfoss.com/reallearning/   Beautiful.  Just beautiful, and such a good reminder of how I should treat people.  I finished reading it with a renewed sense of just how much I love my husband when I heard the door open and in he comes with newspaper and coffee in hand.  We sit on the bed together, drinking coffee and reading the paper together.  We felt like we were on vacation and staying in a hotel....just the two of us!

At about 8:30, we are greeted by our first visitor. 


Two hours later than a normal day.  It was so fun to share this dark, rainy morning with TJ!   But now we were glad to see them trickle downstairs! 
We cuddled together on the couch all wrapped up in blankets.  It felt like a winter morning, not the end of June, but it was nice to just snuggle with them.
And to top off this unusual morning, we had a little treat for breakfast.  Left over chocolate fudge cake.

Why not?
While we were shoveling in the thick fudge cake, TJ was doing this...

way to go honey!  This morning I'd rather be eating chocolate fudge cake for breakfast with my children than out running.  It's good to change things up!


Sweet Anticipation

Tonight TJ and I were given a gift.

My mom came over to watch the kids while we went out....alone.  It's a gift because it rarely happens around these parts, TJ and I spending time alone.  We need to find ourselves a young girl who has all the time in the world to come and watch our children...still working on it.  But for tonight, my mom was graciously willing to come and be with our four, while we were just two.  Me and him, him and me.  And where do you think we went of course....the Oven.  I was a bit bummed before going out because out of all the nights I've been feeling good lately, tonight wasn't one of them.  I started feeling ucky before TJ got home, but willed it to go away.  Even broke out the smelling a lemon trick which Evelyn thought was pretty fun to take the lemon away from me and lick it,then proceed to spit all over me, again and again.  And while I had no ambition in me to move away from her, I sat there and allowed myself to be showered with lemon spit.

But once we were in the car and off, I started to feel better!  I bet you think we are crazy, how much we eat the Oven (Indian food) for dinner.  We can't help ourselves, we love it that much.  Always getting the same EXACT meal, every single time.  The night's where it's just the two of us, we like to travel to the downtown location so we can reminisce about our very first date, almost twelve years ago.  It's a bonus when we get seated in the very same spot we sat in that first night.  Tonight was a bonus!  I always sit on the same side, it wouldn't feel right if we switched seats, you know.  
After we had ordered, I sat listening to TJ talk about all his going ons at work and then we moved into the children and then started talking about the new baby.  I'm only 11 weeks along, but am already so very excited for this child.  TJ asked me if I ever worry about it being hard after we have the baby.  I do.  I know that after the initial excitement of the new person is over, and TJ is back at work, and the routine of daily life settles back in, and the fact that it will be winter, I will realize the weight of five children.  But I told him, I still am more excited to have five children than worry about if we can do it or not.  We can, and we will, I'm sure of it.  There will be much joy.  Watching Thomas and Annie carry the little bambino around, and how they smell the baby...that is joy.  Watching Evelyn metamorph into a big girl, that is joy.  Taking couch pictures of them all lined up...five of them....that is joy. 

As we were leaving dinner, I thought of my friend Erin who just had her fourth child this afternoon.  We were heading over to the mall to pick up a suit for TJ which just happens to be right over by the hospital....before we knew it, we were walking the long walk down the hallway into the hospital.  For those of you who know what I mean, the long hallway is very significant.  Whenever I walk that way into the hospital I think of the four times I have waddled down the never ending hallway as we are heading into have our newest member of the family.  I thought about that tonight as we were going in to see Erin.  Talk about joy.  Seeing, smelling and holding a newborn.

I have delivered my four children at the same hospital.  I loved being at the hospital each time.  I cried when we were discharged with Thomas because I didn't want to leave.  Months after having Thomas I couldn't even drive by the hospital without feeling a pang of sadness that it was over.  My life forever changed at that beautiful place.  Even today, when I go and visit friends who have just had babies and I wash my hands, I am brought instantly back to being there to deliver my babies.  Just the smell of the hospital soap can still bring a tear to my eye.  When I came home tonight, I sat there and just smelled and smelled my hands.
Erin looked so beautiful tonight.  I truly think that is when a woman is her best, right after having a baby.  It doesn't matter how difficult or long the labor is, she always has the glow of new mother about her.  I love to watch new mothers hold their little burrito baby and stare into their face, because that is exactly what I spend my hospital stay doing.  Staring, holding, unwrapping, wrapping up this sweet tiny person.  I left the hospital tonight with sweet anticipation.  Hoping for January to come and wondering how our birthing experience of number five will be. 

 I used to stop myself from thinking too far ahead about this child out of fear that we could lose this baby too.  But now, I've pretty much gotten over the negative thoughts about what if....what if we miscarry this baby....what if he/she is still born....what if something goes wrong....what if I start bleeding....I'm trusting in God's plan.  Trusting.  We have grown and learned so much after losing Joseph. 

God's will be done.


Poor Bev

The girl is not having luck with being outdoors.  Poor thing, now has a terrible reaction to a bug bite.  Her whole chubby cheek has now doubled in size.  Back to the doctor we go....
But we still love being outside, especially when it involves swimming at the pool!


A New Thank You

Thank you.

These two words have a new meaning for me today.  I've used them in a completely different way, than before.  I've said them in response to situations that I never before would have.

Last night I had a wonderful, mind boggling, ground breaking talk with some good friends.  We got on the topic of suffering and crosses, from cancer to crying children and everything in between.  Lindsay shared with us the revelation her mom came across last week.

Hold on.  This will change how you think.

After much contemplation on why some people seem to be given a heavy cross from the moment they enter into this world, while others seem to glide through life with relatively nothing, she came to the realization that we ALL have to suffer.  We have to.  God doesn't play favorites or only allow some to suffer.  We all must suffer.  But sometimes it doesn't seem fair why, for example, some women who desperately want children can't conceive.  Why a mother may lose her two year old child to drowning.  Why a child is born with such birth defects that he is confined to a wheel chair his whole life. Unfair.

But it all works out even in the end.  We all must get from A to B carrying our cross if we want to merit eternal life.  What's interesting is that some of us are blessed to suffer here on this earth, while those who don't suffer now, will spend their suffering in purgatory.  Do you notice how every single saint that you read about was grateful to suffer and die?  They got it.  They understood that their sickness, or stigmata was their ticket to heaven.  As Lindsay put it, those who are mentally handicapped or have been wheelchair stricken their whole life are on lap 5,000 of our path to heaven while I think I am still on lap one. 

I read in the paper a while back about a man who had lost his wife to cancer, a few years later his daughter died from cancer, and now just after his son graduated from high school, he died from cancer.  WHAT?  I was so perplexed and sad after reading that article.  How can that be fair God?  Now, I see better.  His suffering is now. 

If we truly understood the meaning of suffering and to look at it as a GIFT, as our fast track to heaven, then we would be thanking God for our struggles, sickness, and suffering and not running from them.  I am a runner.  I am scared to suffer.  I'm scared to be uncomfortable.  I'm scared of sickness.  My first reaction is to look at people who are mentally handicapped and feel sorry for them.  To say a quick prayer that none of my children will be like that.  Oh, how wrong I have been.  Don't you get it, THEY are the blessed ones.  THEY are closer to God than I.

I went on a day retreat this past weekend at our church and read this from the Diary of St. Faustina:

"Jesus, I thank you for the little daily crosses, for opposition to my endeavors, for the hardships of communal life, for the misinterpretation of my intentions, for humiliations at the hands of others, for the harsh way in which we are treated, for false suspicions, for poor health and loss of strength, for self-denial, for dying to myself, for lack of recognition in everything, for the upsetting of all my plans."
Diary #343

St. Faustina got it.  She rejoiced in her suffering here on earth.  Father said that she was ridiculed by most people and even the other nuns in her convent.  They thought she was crazy to think this way.  It's no different today.  We will be considered crazy to thank God for our poor health, death of loved ones, fussy babies, financial troubles, loss of sleep, disobedient children and morning sickness.  But if we CAN thank him for the opportunity to accept the suffering now, instead of later, we will reap the rewards of eternal life.

Today, I looked at every whine, every "NO MOM", every poopy diaper (that was all over the pants) every nauseous feeling, as an opportunity to suffer.  They may be small compared to others, but I don't want to waste a single suffering.  To help me remember to offer it up, I said THANK YOU to it all.  The kicker today was when I went to the doctors office this morning to get my blood drawn.  I had noticed Evelyn's neck which had a perfect red circle on it with white in the middle.  I thought, "how did she get ringworm?"  Now, let me just preface here how terrified I am of sickness, which I think most of you know.  I had just visited my aunt who was telling me all about Lyme Disease and the terrible effects it has caused her son's fiance.  To make it worse, we were going camping the weekend after talking with her and I was a little neurotic about the kids getting ticks = lyme disease.  So, when I asked the lab tech if she thought Evelyn had ringworm, she said, "ohhhhh...I think that looks like Lyme disease....I panicked.  But not after first offering a quick breath of thanks to God for this terror I was feeling.

It is so incredibly easy to sit here, all comfortable, and say how I am going to offer up every discomfort, illness, worry, frustration, and give God thanks.  I'm still going to pray for a healthy child and quick labor and delivery.  For our children's protection and holiness.  For our health and protection from illness.  For George and Evie to be good at Mass for heavens sake!  BUT, I hope to take whatever it is that God gives me and use it.  To look at suffering and hardships as being blessed, instead of asking "why me?"


Nine Years Old

My oldest is nine.  Thomas celebrated his ninth birthday on May 23rd.  I love their birthdays as much as I dread them.  I love to watch their excitement with breakfast in bed, opening gifts first thing in the morning, planning what to have for dinner that night.  I love talking about what they want for their cake for months.  Birthdays are fun.
But at the same time, birthdays are sad.  I think in every mothers heart there is a bit of sadness as she celebrates her child's big day.  Birthdays mean they are another year older, another year closer to leaving childhood.  On his birthday, my mind always wanders back to the day when we drove him home from the hospital.  We lived only three minutes from where I delivered him, but those were the most treasured three minutes!  I vividly remember how I sat in the backseat next to his big backwards car seat that contained a tiny 7lb. wrinkly little thing.  I felt like I needed to protect him.  I love that memory I have.
And now, here he is, nine years old.  I am so proud of him and love that he is my son.  He possesses so many gifts and talents that make him who he is.  He is very into bird watching and field guides these days, so he received a pair of binoculars! He is so cute!
But the best was that he requested a Blessed Pope John Paul II birthday cake.  Oh Thomas, I love you!



We return to evenings spent outside playing after dinner.  No more jumping into the tub right from the dinner table and then into bed so as to be ready for school the next day.  Water balloons return, bringing the familiar shrieks of little ones chasing a loose balloon down the driveway.  Flowers, a garden, eating outside, a daily lathering of sunblock, picking strawberries, walking around our boulevard, wandering around outside from the garage to the backyard to the front yard to the blvd, and mornings spent on our comfy chair on the porch watching the sun come up. 


The familiar sights, smells, and activities, that summer bring are so comforting to me.  And this summer gets an extra bonus....I'm pregnant.  What a surprise and gift this baby is to us.  A day doesn't go by that I am not aware of what a gift another child is.  I get to do it all over again!  A new little person growing inside of me.  Who will he/she be?  I must admit I truly thought I was having twins this time.  I was so certain that I asked Lindsay if she wanted to come to our ultrasound so she could see "them".  Just once I'd love to hear the ultrasound technician say, "guess what, your having twins."  Sadly, I was wrong, but thrilled to see the teeny tiny heart beating at just six weeks. 
I am ten weeks tomorrow.  Joseph's little heart stopped beating at 10 and a half weeks.  Deep breath.
Right after finding out I was pregnant, I was scared of course since we lost our last baby.  I stopped running, drinking coffee, and basically sat around waiting for the morning sickness to begin.  I was scared to do anything or thought that if I breathed wrong it would cause us to lose the baby.  After a couple of days I realized that this was silly, waiting around and expecting something bad to happen.  I started running again, drinking one cup of coffee in the morning, and even started a kickboxing class with some good friends three mornings a week. I vowed to trust in God instead of be afraid that  
something I would do would cause this child to die.  Joseph has helped me realize that it is out of my control.  God's will be done, whatever that may be.  Once I grasped that concept it was..... freedom.  I'm taking it one day at a time. 
And while I'm way more tired, a bit more grumpy, and way hungrier, I'm still finding joy in summer.  In watching my children play and swim and explore outside.  I had to make a few adjustments in my attitude though.  After the first two weeks of them being home, instead of being content and happy, I was grumpy, and irritated.  I had to let go of some expectations I put on my children.  Like reading.  Thinking that they would sit down and read for hours, while I slept for hours, was just not working.  I was getting mad at them for not doing what I thought they should do....  like read all afternoon on the couch.  I also had made a list of all these activities they could do to earn tickets, like last year.  I expected them to be more into doing flashcards, reading and writing letters.....  

And then I heard some wonderful advice about the whole comparing game we all play with our children.   A friend of mine said "after trying everything else to change our children, have we ever just accepted them the way God gave them to us?"  The way they came to us.  My Thomas may not be a reader, but it's because that's the way God made him.  That changed my summer.

Now I'm really just trying to watch them, enjoy them, and not really expect anything from them.  I want to be joyful and relax this summer, because it will be gone before we know it.
One more thing, is it possible that the computer can make me nauseous?  I'm not kidding.  When I sit down in front of it, I seriously start to feel icky.  Hence, my absence from blogging for a month and a half.  Weird.

Hope you all are having a wonderful summer!