4 Very-Serious-Things I am thankful for

A friend tagged me in a Facebook gratitude challenge whereby I was asked to post 3 thankful things for 5 days. Then tag 3 more people, do the hockey-pokey and turn myself around lest I desired to bring forth 7 years of locusts unto my descendants… or something. I gave thanks for 3 consecutive days, choosing family, faith and friends as my themes. I never met an alliteration I didn’t  love and thus running out of f-words I could share on Facebook, I decided to take the gratitude to my blog. And maybe, possibly because I take a stab at –oh — roughly 2/3 of my Facebook friends in today’s first item. By publishing it on my blog, I give them the courtesy of not having it show on their timeline. I’m nice like that.

Today, 4 Very-Serious-Things I am thankful for:

1. Perspective. Because my Facebook and Twitter friends love to share how hateful the leaders of Canada and the U.S. are. One for shutting down rural post offices, the other for trying to introduce health care insurance. And all I think about are the real people trapped on Mount Sinjar who had 4 hours to flee their homes of face barbaric extermination. “Hateful” is what’s happening in Iraq and Syria. “Democracy” is what’s happening in North America. Perspective is appreciating the difference.

2. Flexibility. Someone once told me “We have to be flexible because we can.” Flexibility, the ability to adapt, to roll with the punches, to accept changes without fear, is a gift.Blessed are the flexible for they shall not break.

3. Fertility, childbearing and breastfeeding. I made a commitment to Natural Family Planning 14 years ago and learning the ebb and flow of my whacky cycles has been a struggle. I was once told, in reference to an unplanned pregnancy, that I had a “fertility problem” and I have felt sorry for myself. But I have also seen many people close to my heart struggle with infertility and repeat miscarriages. As I enter my forties, I can see the pain and sadness that infertility wreaks all around me and I am thankful and deeply humbled by the gift of fertility. I have never lost a pregnancy, never had a caesarian birth or an epidural, I have given birth naturally 9 times, including a breech birth and a multiple birth. I have been able to feed my children from my breast and grow them into healthy, chubby wonders. I have experienced, without even asking for it, the natural and peaceful births that other women fight tooth and nail to have. My body is truly fearfully and wonderfully made. When people ask me if/when we will get “fixed”, I always answer “We’re not broken!”

4. Privilege. I received an inheritance I did nothing to earn when I was born white, healthy and loved in Canada. Every day I am reminded of the little things that are made easier for me just because I was born in a privileged situation. As I pass this inheritance down to my children, I try to remind them that to whom much has been given, much will be requested. We do not feel guilty for our privilege, but we honour it by recognizing it and spreading it around.





4 thoughts on “4 Very-Serious-Things I am thankful for

  1. For several months I had wanted to ask you privately whether of not you had a lot of interventions with your births. Thank you for blogging about this topic! I find it extremely interesting to hear you had 9 natural births! That is amazing (in this age of medicalized birth). I am in Ottawa, too, and had a section for a footling breech. Do you mind telling me which OB if any and if you were @ the Montfort (or home)? for births? Midwives for all? Amazing accomplishment! Did you find you had to fight against a medicalized system or were all your pregnancies absolutely complication free? Not even high blood pressure? Not once?! Amazing!

    1. Hi Lillie!

      Here’s a bit more of birth history in bullet points (because I’m nursing and typing!)

      – my first baby was a natural hospital birth at the Gatineau hospital in 1996. I had a family doctor attending.
      – my second baby was a frank breech birth at the Gatineau Hospital in 1997. I had a family doctor attending with a very, very rude OB called Catherine Attie. She did everything she could to discourage me but since she didn’t have any compelling medical argument, I was able to labour mostly in peace. Back then, vaginal breech births were still allowed although they were generally disliked. To learn more about what happened after, look-up “randomized breech trial” and read what was wrong with this study. Flaws and all, it still redefined breech births for 16 years. Now, skilled midwives in Ontario are allowed to catch breech babies in certain circumstances. A friend of mine just had a breech VBAC at the Montfort with midwife Betty Ann Daviss from East Ottawa Midwives.

      – my third baby was a homebirth with midwife Teresa Brandowska. No intervention.

      – my fourth baby was a homebirth with midwife Jan Teevan. No intervention.

      – my fifth baby was a homebirth with midwife Chantal Bourbonnais. I had a post partum hemorrhage and was transferred to the Montfort Hospital where I treated like crap for endangering my baby’s life by the ambulance driver, the nurses and the OB on call. Don’t care to remember their names. My baby’s life was never in danger, I was the one bleeding. But let’s not let details get in the way of a good anti-homebirth rant.

      – my 6th baby was a hospital birth with midwife Maxine Vigneault. I had ruptured membranes and I was induced. Birth was otherwise natural if very unpleasant. I had a placental abruption so my transition to pushing were hectic with a lot of people in attendance. Dr. McCoubrey was the attending OB and I highly, highly recommend him.

      – my 7-8th births were twins. They were born at the General with Dr. Doug Black attending. He was excellent and I highly recommend him. You can find my twin birth story by searching my blog. Both twins were head down (vertex) but Dr. Black was cool with letting me deliver anything but a transverse baby naturally. I was placed on bed rest at 24 weeks but didn’t have premature labour after that. The twins were born at 38 weeks.

      – baby number 9 was born at home with midwife Chantal Bourbonnais attending. It was a beautiful home birth. I had high blood pressure starting at 36 weeks and had obstetrical follow-up for the last month of my pregnancy. At 39 weeks, things went back to normal and I delivered at home with a midwife at 39+5 days.

      So as you can see, my births were not entirely complication or intervention free. But we always approached complications with a wait-and-see approach and everything was handled perfectly by the team. The only birth where I had to fight the medicalized system was my breech birth. After that, I resolved to never used OBs unless I needed them. Even for the twins, I started with a midwife and transferred when needed.

  2. Oh my goodness! We have some overlap with situations and midwives. Unfortunately, my breech baby was a footling, which is one of the contraventions to a vaginal delivery. 😦 Even with the guidelines changed, which happened one week before I was due back in 2009.

    I would love to talk to you off blog, especially about baby 6, which was almost the exact same situation as mine as I am dying to ask you a question re: PROM & abruption. Do you think they are linked?

    I am also intrigued by blood pressure rising then falling, for one pregnancy only (same thing happened to me) which apparently is unusual…

    I have been reading your blog since your Human Library last year and also read about you in the Citizen…

    I know you are incredibly busy and I respect that! I had my third baby at around the same time you had your ninth (!!), so I am in solidarity w/ the being busy and breastfeeding with typing. At your convenience, if possible: jahunt@connect.carleton.ca

    1. I’ll email you. Then I’ll delete your comment because it has your email address on it: you wouldn’t believe the spammers that come through here! Cheers, v

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