Two Are Better Than One

Today is my wedding anniversary. As I reflect back on 42 years of marriage I am thankful for my husband and the way our relationship has refined us.

There have been seasons in our marriage. At first we had to learn to live with each other. Children came early in our marriage, and we helped each other parent. When our son developed leukemia we worked hard as a team to support him and get the medical care he needed.

That was followed by a season of grief. Our marriage had been drained of energy and we needed to begin again.

God has been faithful in guiding us and renewing our love.

We have been blessed to see each of our adult children marry. We are thankful for the son-in-laws and daughter-in-law that have increased our family joy.

Now we are grandparents, fully enjoying the blessing of family. Through the years we have learned about ourselves and each other. We know each other’s strength and weaknesses. We have helped our spouse to make changes.

My husband has helped me react to situations with greater patience and thought. I once wrote an angry letter and mailed it immediately. After discussing it with my husband I was ashamed. I went back to the mailbox and inserted a colorful note, requesting that postman send the letter back to my return address. To my amazement and relief the letter came back to me.

We have different ways of doing things—even the simple task of making coffee. While I will measure the coffee grounds after grinding the coffee beans (8 tablespoons for 11 cups of water), my husband puts a generous amount of beans in the grinder. Then he dumps all the ground coffee into the filter lined basket.

He is certain that he has the right amount. He adds a dash of salt (my suggestion) and some cardamon seeds (again, my suggestion) and turns the brew on. I am thankful to have fresh brewed coffee ready every morning. Sunday mornings he brings me a cup with cream and coconut oil when I am still in bed. 

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2:24

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. Ecclesiastes 4: 9-10a

If you are married, how has marriage refined you? If you are single, do you have a friend that challenges you and encourages you to develop new perspectives?

This post is part of #Write28Days.

The Scent of Water: Book Review

Perhaps there is a right time to read a book. I started The Scent of Water by Elizabeth Goudge some years ago, but I didn’t finish it. This time as I read the book I was thoroughly enjoying the writing. I lingered over the descriptions of setting, and the interesting choice of words, the unique phrases. I looked up some words in the dictionary.

The story follows the main character’s move to a village town in England. Mary, like the author, is single and has inherited a cottage from a cousin. She meets the endearing members of the village, each with their human quirks and flaws.  

Throughout the book there are glimpses into a diary of a woman who suffered from mental illness. Mental illness is portrayed with insight and compassion by this author.

There are children in the story also. They are portrayed in a lovely, understanding way. 

I would guess that Elizabeth Goudge understood and delighted in children. I enjoyed the special collection of “little things” that captures the imagination of the children.

The Scent of Water is a gentle story about people with flaws, the pursuit of faith, health and relationship. You have to read the book to catch the significance of the title.

A website about Elizabeth Goudge (1900 – 1984) provides a brief biography. 

This post is part of #Write28Days. To view all the posts in the series click here.

Sharing this post with Literary Musing Monday and Booknificent Thursday.

A Remarkable Woman Doctor

One of the women I admire provided care to childbearing women in their homes. For four years I worked in a home birth practice that followed the principles of care taught by Dr. Beatrice Tucker.

Dr. Beatrice Tucker was the remarkable woman who directed the Chicago Maternity Center from 1931 to 1973.  She had been the first woman resident doctor at the University of Chicago Lying-In Hospital in 1922.

She studied under Dr. J. DeLee who had opened the Chicago Maternity Center. It is ironic that Dr. Tucker once worked under Dr. DeLee.

 As Dr. DeLee’s career progressed he promoted the use of forceps for delivery, twilight sleep (an amnesiac type medication) and episiotomies.  He was highly influential in the developing field of obstetrics, and sadly he was outspoken in his disparagement of midwives.

Even though obstetricians were moving toward aggressive control of labor and birth, Dr. Tucker supported the natural progression of labor and birth.  In her management of the Chicago Maternity Center she set a standard for safe home birth.  

During the Maternity Center’s peak activity (between 1929 and 1941) an average of 360 births took place each month. During her tenure at the Chicago Maternity Center she participated in over 100,000 births.

The Tuscaloosa News (12/3/1975) ran a story about Dr. Tucker.  The article begins: “Shortly after her 78th birthday, Dr. Beatrice E. Tucker reluctantly came out of quasi-retirement to deliver a baby at the mother’s home.  It was a rather easy affair in a clean apartment . . .”

Later in the article she is quoted as saying “Most doctors have never seen a baby born at home and they don’t know how to do it.”  Dr. Tucker was a strong woman willing to go against the current of medical trends to provide safe and economical care to women.  

This post is part of Write28Days. To see the other posts in this series click here.

A Joyful Answer to Prayer

When I assisted at home births I became more aware of the spiritual nature of childbirth. When labor reached a peak intensity, when the woman felt she couldn’t get through one more contraction, she asked for prayer. Sometimes the husband prayed or one of the attendants. I was asked to pray.

Prayer gave the woman the confidence to release herself to the waves of contractions that were bringing the baby to birth. As I thought about it, it seemed right. In the moments before birth the mother was leaning in to God for assistance.

Prayers rarely took place in the hospital but I remember one. A young woman was in labor.  As I worked with her to alleviate her pain I noticed her anxiety.  She received an epidural for pain management and I hoped it would help her to relax. 

A short while later she grabbed my hand, her eyes wild.  “I am afraid,” she said.  “The pain is much less but I am afraid.” 

This young woman had a circle of friends that had come to the hospital with her. One friend offered to read scripture, but she replied, “No, no I can’t concentrate. I want to pray.” 

In a loud voice she confessed her inadequacy and asked God to help her.  A short while later she gave birth to a healthy boy.  With baby in arms, this new mother gazed at her infant with joy and wonder.

I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed. Psalm 34: 4-5

This post is part of #Write28Days and is linked to Five Minute Friday.

Verses About Love

In celebration of Valentine’s Day I have made a list of verses. The Bible has much to say about love.

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. Deuteronomy 6:5

For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you. Psalm 86:5

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

Jesus said, As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. Abide in my love. John 15:9

Paul wrote: For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with with Christ–by grace you have been saved. Ephesians 2: 4-5

In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. . . . Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 1 John 4: 9, 11

We long for love. The deepest and most fulfilling love comes from God. He offers it to us. We simply must receive it.

This post is part of #Write28Days. To see the other posts in the series click here.

This post is also linked to Lyli’s #FaithOnFire.

Birth in a Hotel Room?

Why would a woman decide to give birth in a hotel? Yesterday WGN News reported 0n a birth that took place in a hotel. The midwife called 911 because the mother needed additional treatment after the baby was born (the baby was healthy). The police were wondering why and how this could happen.

I have some thoughts about this. After working in hospital labor/delivery units for many years, I took weekend call for a home birth practice staffed by doctors and midwives. I learned about different approaches to birth care.

In the hospital I worked within the medical model of birth care. When I assisted the home birth practice, we worked with a physiological model of birth care. Certified nurse midwives or CNMs are trained in the medical model. Certified professional midwives or CPMs are trained to support physiological birth.

In the medical model of birth the doctor or midwife manages the birth process, sometimes aggressively. It includes electronic fetal monitoring, induced or stimulated labor, artificial rupture of membranes, pain control with narcotics and/or epidural anesthesia. All of these interventions have some risk and may lead to more interventions.

The physiological model of birth allows labor to progress without intervention. The baby’s heart rate is monitored intermittently by doppler. The mother’s blood pressure and temperature is monitored. The birth attendant makes sure that the laboring woman stays hydrated with water, juice, tea or broth. 

In the home setting I learned that pain was a signal that helped to direct both the mother and attendant. Simple measures to relieve pain were employed—compresses, massage, change of position, a warm shower, a birth tub. The type of pain could be a sign of the baby’s position or the stage of labor and helped with decisions.

In Illinois certified nurse midwives can attend home births if they have a doctor backing up their practice. But CNMs mainly practice in the hospital and CPMs are illegal in Illinois. It is difficult for a woman to find a midwife for home birth. Perhaps the hotel was a meeting place for midwife and client that lived a distance from each other.

Illinois does not license certified professional midwives, although neighboring states do. CPMs receive their certification through classes and apprentice training (different from nursing school).

Some women prefer to deliver in a home setting instead of the hospital—they prefer to avoid or limit interventions. The prefer the privacy and quiet of home. They want to respond to cues from their body with support and guidance. When I worked in home birth, many of the women had previously delivered in the hospital. Some had been traumatized by the experience.

For years the midwives in Illinois have lobbied for regulation and licensure for CPMs. Licensure would set standards for CPMs. It would insure that the midwife was qualified to attend births and set guidelines for hospital transfer.

Pediatricians in Illinois are against home birth. My observation was that infants had less blood sugar and temperature problems at home than what I saw in the hospital. In the home infants were placed immediately skin to skin with mother. The immediate contact with mother assisted the establishment of breastfeeding.

Hospital or home–each place has advantages and disadvantages. Some women prefer to give birth in the hospital. Others prefer to give birth at home with a midwife. I think women should have a choice. 

This post is part of #Write28Days. To view the other posts in this series click here.

Seasons of Life

There are season of the year and seasons of life. 

Being transformed from a young professional to a mother . . .

The wonder of motherhood and being stretched in mind and body.

So quickly the days scurry by with play groups, preschool and                       kindergarten. The joy and fatigue of running with young children.

Like a hurricane unexpected and unwanted illness blows into our life. A year plus of chemo . . . then all attention focused on bone marrow                      transplant and hope is on a roller coaster.

I enter a season of grief.

Pregnant again and almost 40.

Moving forward with new life. I treasure another season of nurture.This time neighbor children playing at our home and once again volunteering at the local elementary school.

 Now an older parent. The boyfriends and girlfriends have come to our        home.Late night discussions about friends, books, viewpoints . . .

Weddings and son-in-laws . . . and then a daughter-in-law. We are so blessed with our expanding family.

Grandchildren!!!

Every season of life is better with faith in God.

This post is part of #Write28Days. To see all of the posts for this series click here.

Evidence Not Seen: Book Review

My daughter gave me a copy of the book, Evidence Not Seen. The book is a memoir by Darlene Deibler Rose. She was a missionary to the Dutch East Indies, and was in a prisoner of war camp on Celebes Island during WWII.

I knew very little about what took place in the Pacific islands during WWII. Japan was expanding it control, and civilians were herded to internment camps to do hard labor in support of the Japanese War effort. The description of events was a history lesson.

But much more than that it was the testimony of a young woman about God’s care for her during her internment in a labor camp, and then in a prison camp. She was accused of being a spy with the threat of execution hanging over her.

Bible verses and hymns that she had learned over the years sustained during the darkest moments. She recalled the hymn, Only Believe, written by Paul Rader (Pastor of Moody Church 1915 to 1921). These are the words she remembered in her solitary cell:

Fear not, little flock, whatever your lot.

He enters all rooms, the doors being shut.

He never forsakes; he never is gone.

So count on his presence from darkness ’till dawn.

Only believe, only believe

All things are possible, only believe.

Darlene’s memoir was also a portrayal of a marriage that was built on the goal of serving the Lord. It is a beautiful story that inspires faith in God.

This post is part of the #Write28Days challenge. You can view all of the posts in this series by clicking here.

I am linking up with Booknificent Thursday and Literary Musing Monday.

First Aid for My Husband

Sometimes accidents happen, and that can lead to making an informed decision about a medical intervention.

My husband came into the living room holding a cup under his left hand. His little finger was bleeding profusely; he was making sure that he didn’t drip on the floor.

He said, “Can you help me? I smashed my finger.”

My husband is a wizard at fixing things and was getting tools from the trunk of the car.The driveway was slippery. As he tried to steady his balance and closed the trunk door at the same time his little finger got caught in the door. I went to get our supply of bandages while he held his hand under running cold water. The fingernail was gone and he was continuing to bleed. I put a pressure dressing on his finger.

As we evaluated the color of his pinky, we made the decision to go to an urgent care facility. A physician assistant took a look at his finger and ordered an x-ray. The tip of his finger was broken. 

The wound was cleansed and dressed with an ointment. The physician assistant gave a prescription for an antibiotic and then ordered a tetanus vaccine. 

Tetanus Vaccine

I was surprised. Tetanus is an anaerobic bacteria. It can grow in a deep wound—not a wound that is bleeding freely. Tetanus bacteria are found in soil and manure. My husband was wearing a glove when his hand was crushed in the door. I explained this to the nice young physician assistant. She said that his finger might have been exposed to some dust. 

The medical profession has policies and protocols. Sometimes we need wisdom to discern whether a procedure or intervention is necessary or in the best interest of a family member.

She left and said that we should talk about it. We found out that there is no single tetanus vaccine. The vaccine offered was the Tdap—a vaccine for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis. We said no.

Why not get a booster dose of a vaccine that you don’t need? If you read the vaccine insert you will see a list of risks and side effects. According to the CDC these are mild side effects: 

  • Pain where the shot was given (about 3 in 4 adolescents or 2 in 3 adults)
  • Redness or swelling where the shot was given (about 1 person in 5)
  • Mild fever of at least 100.4°F (up to about 1 in 25 adolescents or 1 in 100 adults)
  • Headache (about 3 or 4 people in 10)
  • Tiredness (about 1 person in 3 or 4)
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach ache (up to 1 in 4 adolescents or 1 in 10 adults)
  • Chills, sore joints (about 1 person in 10)
  • Body aches (about 1 person in 3 or 4)
  • Rash, swollen glands (uncommon)

Although it is rare some people have more severe reactions.

The Tdap contains aluminum as a adjuvant. An adjuvant increases the immune response to the vaccine. Recent research has shown that aluminum which is injected into the body crosses the blood brain barrier. Aluminum that is ingested in food is detoxified by the liver—not so with injected aluminum. The accumulation of aluminum in the brain can cause disorders over time. Click here for an article that discusses aluminum in vaccines and its transport through the body.

As we discussed whether or not to get the Tdap, we acknowledged that the risk out weighed any possible benefit.

This post is part of #Write28Days. You can find links to all of my posts in this series on my landing page. Click here.

Building a Home

It is day eight for #Write28Days.  I am joining the Five Minute Friday Community and will write with Kate’s prompt for today: BUILD.

One of the Songs of Ascents in the book of Psalms mentions building a house. The Hebrew word for house in the text is bayith. The definition, according to Strong’s concordance is: house (in the greatest variation of applications, especially family, etc.).

The Hebrew word for build is bânâh. The definition according to Strong’s Concordance is: to build, obtain children, repair, set.

Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. 

Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. 

It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Psalm 127: 1-3 ESV

Family - Bouquet

Here are these same verses from the Message. 

If Yahweh doesn’t build the house, the builders only build shacks. 

If Yahweh doesn’t guard the city, the night watchman might as well nap.

It is useless to rise early and go to bed late, and work your worried fingers to the bone. Don’t you know he enjoys giving rest to those he loves?

Don’t you see that children are Yahweh’s best gift? the fruit of the womb his generous legacy?

Children

Prayer: Lord God you are the Creator, our provider. Your love is amazing. You are merciful and have given us salvation through Jesus. We praise you and kneel before you. You give the gift of new life. We ask that you guide us and build our home.