A day in the life of Ruth

7am I wake up. None of my sisters are up yet so I make some noise until Amelia climbs down and gets me out of my crib. I make sure to take my pillow, blanket and 2 baby dolls out of bed with me and drag them around. I find my way to Mommy’s bed, where I make sure to wiggle a lot and stick my elbows into all of her tender spots.

My mommy sleeps later than usual lately because she has this baby doll that she keeps in her room at night I think. I don’t know much about her or where they got her but I like to poke at her eyes and see if I can pull her arms off. My mommy doesn’t like this.

At breakfast I eat some of the cereal that Daddy gave me, but mostly I dump it all over the kitchen island, bench and floor. Then I try to get all the milk out and I dump that all over my shirt. Then I climb down and get myself a cheese stick. When Amelia and I brush our teeth, I decide to also wash my feet. I climb onto the counter and sit with my feet in the sink and run a lot of water. I like to do this alot. Mommy scolds me and pulls me off the counter.

When Mommy takes a shower, Amelia and I get to watch Daniel Tiger. I like this for awhile, but then get bored. I don’t like to do anything for too long. I discover a bottle of baby lotion on my Mommy’s nightstand. I spread it all over every part of my body. Mommy takes it away. When Mommy is changing that baby doll, I pull the nightstand over. That means that a cup of water spills all over the floor and things crash to the floor. Mommy is not happy. While she is cleaning that up, I busy myself with unscrewing the top corner bedpost.

That baby doll is sleeping in her bassinett again. I want to make sure it’s actually sleeping so I poke her in the face repeatedly. I know she’s awake now because she cries. I tell her ‘shhhhh, shhhh’ but she keeps crying. Mommy is not happy. While Mommy is rocking her in the bassinett, I find a tube of lanolin cream  with the diapers that I promptly unscrew and try to eat. Mommy takes it away again. She says this ‘no’ word alot.

While Mommy is brushing her hair, I find a new tube of deodorant under the sink. I take it into my room and put it under my arms and all over my belly. Mommy takes that away too.

Next we go on a walk. There are puddles everywhere and I make sure to hop and splash through every single one. I get to carry the mailbox key, but I choose to chew on it instead. At the bank I get a taffy, chew on it with the wrapper on, and the bank lady gives me a new one because she says that is ‘ucky’. I didn’t notice. When we get home I help myself to another cheese stick and make sure to leave the fridge door open. Mommy tells me no more cheese sticks. We play outside and somehow the hose is on! I spray it at my sister. Mommy takes it away. Now we all smell like old hose water. I ride my scooter, Mommy says I look like a Flinstone, whatever that is.

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When Mommy is making lunch, I dig around in the pantry. I figure out how to take the lids off 2 separate parmesan cheese containers. While Mommy is putting those back on, I remove the lid from the lemonade powder and dump some on the floor. Mommy doesn’t like that. I try to get myself another cheese stick.

I don’t eat much lunch. Then I have to take a nap. I make sure to take all my pillows, blankets and baby dolls back into my crib. I also make sure I have a pacifier. Mommy and Daddy only let me have it to sleep anymore, what a deal.

When I wake up I yell for Mommy. She comes and gets me and we watch a little bit of a movie. I cuddle with her but then decide I’d rather bounce on her feet. We go outside to play and I make sure to get completely soaked in the rainwater sitting in the wagon. We go on another walk and I take a baby doll, Mommy says only 1, not the 3 that I want to take. I make sure to get distracted by anything and everything so that the walk is not as long as it should be. I find a container of string my brother left on the table and I make sure to tangle it even more than it already was. Mommy takes that away too. I try to get another cheese stick but Mommy puts it back.

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Mommy feeds us dinner. She gives me a plate and fork but I don’t need that fork thing, I prefer to grab the food with my hand and shove it into my mouth while making sure it is smeared all over my face and hair. When I get out of my chair I make sure to touch all of the walls because I leave a mark with the lasagna all over my hands!

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Mommy says we all have to take baths. Amelia and I take one together and Lucy washes my hair. I scream because I don’t like water over my head. I brush my teeth for about 5 seconds, toss the toothbrush in the sink and take off in my towel. Mommy brushes my teeth sometimes and I scream like a banshee. For bedtime I pull 18 books of the shelf to find the one I want. I do go to sleep without a struggle but those other 2 older sisters of mine like to fight at bedtime.

Good night!

Meaning behind the names of the Costello kids

This is a post I should have written long ago, and I thank my dear husband for the idea. Naming any child is a big undertaking, and one that we have not taken lightly with any of our kids. All of our children are named after either a Catholic Saint or figure in the Bible, also with some family names that are also Biblical. Here’s the meaning and story behind each of our kid’s names.

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Gabriel Anthony

As many people know, St Gabriel is the angel who announced to Mary that she was to conceive from the Holy Ghost and deliver Jesus. St Gabriel is one of three archangels and is the saint of messengers. We heard a reading in Mass one week when I was pregnant with Gabriel and both instantly agreed on the name.

St Anthony is considered the finder of lost articles and is considered a Doctor of the Church. He spent much of his life preaching and sharing God’s message with anyone or thing that would listen. Anthony is also the name of a deceased family member on Jeremiah’s side that would have been very close in age to Jeremiah.

Gabriel has always loved knowing that he is named after an angel. He even played the Angel Gabriel in a preschool Christmas program once! He enjoys reading about the angels and proudly displays his many St Gabriel artifacts and statues in his room.

Prayer for the intercession of St Gabriel:

O Blessed Archangel Gabriel, we beseech thee, do thou intercede for us at the throne of divine Mercy in our present necessities, that as thou didst announce to Mary the mystery of the Incarnation, so through thy prayers and patronage in heaven we may obtain the benefits of the same, and sing the praise of God forever in the land of the living. Amen.

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Lucy Marie-Rose

St Lucy was persecuted for her faith and many legends have arisen to how and why. Lucy’s eyes were destroyed at her death, but upon burial they were intact. St Lucy is the patron saint of blindness and is often portrayed with her eyes displayed on a plate or cup and holding a palm branch, signifying victory over evil. Lucy means ‘light’. Lucy was a name that came to me when I was pregnant with her. Jeremiah and I both instantly loved it.

Blessed Marie-Rose was a Canadian Roman Catholic religious sister. She founded an order of religious sisters called the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary and was deeply concerned with the poor, despite her own poverty and unavoidable misunderstandings. She died at age 38 and was declared blessed in 1982.

Lucy’s name could not be a better fit for her. She has had her fair share of vision issues and it is quite coincidental that she’s named for the patron saint of vision/blindness. Lucy remains a light in our lives and she’s very proud of her namesake.

Saint Lucy’s Prayer:
Saint Lucy, you did not hide your light under a basket, but let it shine for the whole world, for all the centuries to see. We may not suffer torture in our lives the way you did, but we are still called to let the light of our Christianity illumine our daily lives. Please help us to have the courage to bring our Christianity into our work, our recreation, our relationships, our conversation — every corner of our day. Amen

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Amelia Clare

St Amelia is known for her sterling character and devotion to Christ. She became a nun and helped to build and run a church dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Many miracles are attributed to her, before and after her death in 772. She is often shown with a crucifix and fish. One legend tells of how she escaped a fight by riding on the back of a fish across a river. She is known as the patron saint of fishermen and farmers and healing of the arms and shoulders. Amelia is also the middle name of my mother’s mother, whom passed away before I was born.

St Clare devoted herself to prayer as a young girl and became a nun. She eventually became the leader of her religious order. She became sick for many years and suffered, but said that no pain could trouble her. She is the patron saint of eye disease, goldsmiths and laundry.

Amelia loves to hear about what her saints did and what they are the patron saints for. She has several St Amelia medals and loves reading books about Saints Amelia and Clare.

St Amelia Prayer:

St. Amelia, you are patron saint of people with broken arms–pray for us!

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Ruth Gianna

St Ruth is an Old Testament matriarch and the subject of the Biblical Book of Ruth. She was born to a pagan family. She was facing starvation when her mother-in-law, Naomi, urged her to return to her own people. But Ruth declared that the people of God were now her people, their God her God, and she returned to Israel.  Her great-grandson was King David, and further down the family tree was Jesus. Literally, Ruth means ‘the compassionate, beautiful friend’.

St Gianna was an Italian pediatrician born in 1922. During her 4th pregnancy, St Gianna refused the suggested abortion and/or hysterectomy, in favor of her child’s life. She had many complications, but continued to practice medicine and care for her own children during the remainder of her pregnancy. She died 1 week after the child’s birth due to septic peritonitis.  St. Gianna is the inspiration behind the first pro-life Catholic healthcare center for women in New York, the Gianna Center. St. Gianna is the patron saint of mothers, physicians, and unborn children.

Pope John Paul II described Gianna as, “a simple, but more than ever, significant messenger of divine love.”

Ruth 1:16 “But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.”

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Kateri Elizabeth Ann

St Kateri Tekakwitha is the first Native American to be recognized as a saint by the Catholic Church; she was born in 1656. At age 19, Kateri converted to Catholicism, taking a vow of chastity and pledging to marry only Jesus Christ. This was very unpopular and dangerous choice with her tribe and she fled to a neighboring community. She died only 5 years later. She often prayed for the conversion of her fellow Mohawks. Kateri is the Mohawk form of Catherine. She became a saint in 2012. She is the patron saint of ecology, the environment, orphans and those ridiculed for their faith.

St Elizabeth Ann’s deep concern for the spiritual welfare of her family and friends eventually led her into the Catholic Church. She helped to establish the first free Catholic school in America. Today, six groups of sisters can trace their origins to Mother Seton’s initial foundation. She became a saint in 1975. She is the patron saint of seafarers and widows.

St Kateri prayer:

Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, our elder sister in the Lord, discreetly, you watch over us;
May your love for Jesus and Mary inspire in us words and deeds of friendship, of forgiveness and of reconciliation.
Pray that God will give us the courage, the boldness and the strength to build a world of justice and peace among ourselves and among all nations.
Help us, as you did, to encounter the Creator God present in the very depths of nature, and so become witnesses of Life.
With you, we praise the Father, the Son and the Spirit. Amen.

Holy founders of the Church in North America. Pray for us.

The birth story of Kateri Elizabeth Ann Costello

The Birth of Kateri Elizabeth Ann Costello

August 1, 2018

7:47pm

8 lbs 1 oz

19 in long

39 weeks 4 days gestation

Wednesday, August 1 I woke at 4:30 am. This was becoming my norm and I had not been sleeping well for some time. I began noticing contractions and began timing them while laying in bed; 6 mins apart for about an hour. I got excited thinking that today was finally going to be the day!!! I got up around 6am and quietly crept to the couch. I started reading in a large family facebook group about funny birth stories that made me laugh. Contractions were still 6 mins apart, but nothing to write home about. Jeremiah got up around 7:30, along with Gabriel. I told him what was going on and he decided to cancel some plans he had for the day. He started doing a happy dance around the house. I was annoyed. Because when you’re 39.5 weeks pregnant, everything is annoying!

We got kids fed and dressed for the day and I threw a few more things into the van that I thought I’d need at the hospital. Meanwhile, my contractions STOPPED. Kyle and Alissa offered to take the older 2 girls to the fair, and Gabriel was at school. That just left us Ruth. We decided to go for a walk to try to bring on contractions. (We had been walking every night so I wasn’t sure this was going to do anything special!) We walked for over an hour. No contractions. I was seriously annoyed and disgusted.

By this time Gabriel was back from school and it was lunchtime. I was so disgusted with my lack of progress that I made myself a sandwich and sulked in the corner of the porch by myself. I then promptly left for my massage appointment at 1pm, without offering to help with lunch. With Ruth I had a ‘labor induction massage’ that worked wonders, so I had scheduled one for this day, hoping I would have already had a baby by now. About halfway to the appointment, the lady let me know that she would have to reschedule, she was heading to the hospital with a doula client. Ugh. I knew I shouldn’t be upset, and it sure wasn’t her fault, but of course, I was annoyed.

I headed home and limped upstairs for a nap, as mostly everyone in the house was doing the same. I slept for about 1.5 hours then came downstairs. We sat on the porch and visited with my parents who had stopped by and then I played Gabriel in a game of checkers. I was seriously uncomfortable, and not because my 9 year old was beating me. I had so much pelvic pressure, random contractions that had no rhyme or reason, pain everywhere and swelling everywhere. My pelvis hurt the most, especially just above my pubic bone. I was cranky. I went inside to use the restroom and upon walking back across the living room floor, I felt a gush of water. I thought there is no way my water just broke! It was 5pm.

I told Jeremiah that I thought my water just broke and he sat upright real quick. Gabriel launched into big brother mode and started putting on his and Ruth’s shoes. We had told the kids previously that when it was time to go to the hospital they needed to MOVE. With my last delivery things had went quickly and I wasn’t planning on delivering a baby on the side of the road! G got Ruth in the van and just as we were climbing in, Kyle and Alissa arrived to drop off the older girls from the fair. They offered to take all the kids and drop them off at my parents, so we could GO. I was thankful for that as I was already feeling the baby move lower and contractions were starting to feel more real.

We drove very quickly to the hospital, but of course there was a lot of traffic. I thought we were going to be in an accident more than once. I was timing contractions and they were 2-3 mins apart consistently and getting quite painful.I let our midwife, Kim, know we were on our way.

I was relieved when we got to the hospital. Kim called just as we were getting out of the car and let us know she was on her way. We walked all the way up to labor and delivery and checked in. I was hurting. Check in seemed to take forever. They got us in a triage room and Kim arrived. She checked me and said I was 5 cm and cervix was ‘paper thin’. I had been 3.5 cm a few days ago so I wasn’t impressed. She reassured me that it would not take long. Kim has been our midwife for almost 8 years and delivered all of our girls. She knows us well and has become a great friend and fellow Christian. She kept telling me that she’d be home my 9 pm, which meant I’d go quick. I wasn’t so sure. They started my IV and got it on the first stick, then capped it off.

They wheeled me in a wheelchair to the labor room. They offered me a gown and I declined, I’d rather birth in my own clothes, thank you very much. They double checked that I wanted no pain medication. They hooked me up to the monitor and I sat there in bed. Jeremiah kind of paced. At this point I was scared. My contractions had dwindled to almost nothing and were very spread out. I was thinking that this was probably going to be an 8am birth at this rate. Again, I was super annoyed with my body. This was supposed to go fast!!!!

After 20 or 30 mins on the monitor Kim told me she had saw 2 drops in baby’s heart rate that were a little concerning, enough to keep me on the monitor. I knew this was necessary but the LAST place I want to be in labor is in bed. Kim knows this about me and said I should sit on the birthing ball for awhile and I could still be monitored. I sat there and bounced, rolled and did pelvic rocks and talked to Kim about women’s health physical therapy, her kids, what I wanted to eat after labor, etc etc. My contractions had slowed to every 5 or 6 minutes. They hurt some, but between them I was bored. Why was this taking so LONG?! (Looking back, at this time I think we had been at the hospital a whole hour, so it wasn’t really that long). I told Kim my concerns but she said that contractions don’t always have to be right after another to deliver, and that I might be surprised. We joked that I hoped this would be a Quick Bix and not a marathon.

Kim said she was going to give me a ‘smell of pitocin’ which means she hooked me up to the lowest dose available. I’m a very naturalistic birther and really don’t like intervention, but at this point I knew this could help. I wanted a baby already!

Within a few minutes, contractions were stronger and a bit closer. I was still sitting on the ball. They let me up to go to the bathroom then Kim suggested I try hands and knees to see if this would put more pressure on my cervix and speed things along. Lucy and Ruth were both born in this position so I was all about it. Instantly I had stronger contractions. I was getting noisy at this point and a bunch of people showed up. I looked over my shoulder and saw that sterile blue cart that they bring in when you’re about to deliver. Jeremiah was at my side, letting me have the death grip that I needed on his hand and arm and he kept telling me what a great job I was doing. I think I had maybe 15-20 mins of contractions in this position then felt really pushy. I threw up and thought I was going to die, literally. The pain was so bad. Kim suggested I roll to a reclined position but I told them I was staying where I was. 2 nurses gave me counterpressure on my hips and Kim kept encouraging me and telling me ‘strong work Sarah!!’. She checked me again and said 8cm, almost complete and then tried a maneuver to slide a lip of cervix over the baby’s head. I started bawling between contractions but it didn’t last more than a few seconds and I was pushing……once….twice….and I felt the baby’s head slide out. I thought I was done but all these people who suddenly appeared told me to keep going! Keep pushing! I did as told and heard the baby cry! A nurse announced 7:47pm. 2.75 hours from start to finish. YES!!!!!! Jeremiah had disappeared so I knew he had caught the baby. (He’s caught all the kids except Amelia, which was my fault because I couldn’t release the death grip). I was SO RELIEVED at this point and started crying myself. I was still on my hands and knees, with all my clothes still on and my skirt hiked up. They handed the baby up to me between my knees and I announced she was a girl! We had all guessed this baby was a boy, so another girl was quite a surprise! I was elated with either one, and just completely relieved that labor and delivery was over. She had great color and was still crying. She looked perfect! Kim waited until the cord stopped pulsing then clamped it and Jeremiah cut it. Then I carefully and painfully turned over and sat on the high part of the bed while she checked me out. No tears, no stitches! I have never had stitches due to birth and was exceptionally happy that this was the case again. All those deep squats I did paid off!!!!

The nurses kept pushing on my belly and that was intense pain all over again. I realize the importance of this but it still hurts a LOT. I delivered the placenta and I told Kim I wanted to see it. That thing is absolutely AMAZING. We commented that the ‘tree of life’ image in the placenta would make a great art piece. I kind of wished I had a print of it!

We decided on Kateri for a name, which was our top choice, and because I didn’t think she looked like any of the other secondary options we had decided on. Kateri checked out great and weighed in at 8lbs 1 oz. We are completely in LOVE with our new baby girl!

I always feel incredibly blessed to have such an amazing husband and midwife to guide and support me through birth. They are nothing short of incredible and I am exceedingly blessed. A beautiful birth for a beautiful girl!!!

 

 

If you’re in the mood for more birth stories:

Ruth’s birth story

Amelia’s birth story

Lucy’s birth story

Gabriel’s birth story