Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

Okay, so now you know Cora’s textbook-perfect hospital birth story. And you have read my intellectual overview of why homebirths are not nearly as risky as doctors would have you believe. Which means it’s finally time for me to share all my personal motivations for this big decision.

Wonder woman pregnant1. Nathan (and Cora)

Nathan wants nothing to do with the birth (“I just want to be out of the house!”), which is ironic, because it was seeing him separated from Cora by a wall of glass that made me want to not do a hospital birth again. Just because he wasn’t 16, he wasn’t allowed to come and meet, see, and hold his brand new baby sister. Of all the stupid %##@! rules… How ridiculously arbitrary is that?

What I envision instead: Baby’s siblings allowed to be present (or not!) for the birth… Cora playing in the birthing pool with me, asking “What’doing?” and checking out the birthed placenta. Nathan going to see a movie with grandparents and coming home to hold and rock his littlest brother.

2. Michael.

Husbands seem to be second-hand citizens in a tight-on-space hospital. He was always present in the first birth, but actual involvement was pretty limited to hand-holding and verbal encouragement. Then, after the birth, he has to go home? Two nights in a row? Are you kidding me??

What I envision instead: Michael beside me in the pool, or me hugging him as I stand and sway through a contraction. Him catching the baby as it emerges and us cuddling in bed after: newborn snuggled between us and the older kids piled on top.

3. Comfort & Care

I’m  not going to dance around the point — giving at birth just sounds so much more enjoyable than in a hospital. I don’t have to scramble to put clothes into a bag and drive through the cold at any hour of the day so I can filled out reams of paperwork and sit uncomfortably in a chair  to wait among a crowd of strangers under fluorescent lights for the attention of an overworked staff member who only knows me by the marks on a chart.

Also, pre-natal care. The first time I went to see Dr. A, I sat in his waiting room for TWO HOURS before he saw me. At which point, he examined me for 10 minutes and left. The first time I went to see my midwife, I also sat for two hours — on her sofa, talking about me and my pregnancy and my concerns — and received plenty of personalized care. At the birth, I will have the undivided attention of three women (who have all had their own homebirths) attending to me and the baby.

What I envision: Experiencing my first contractions and taking a walk around the property with Michael, keeping track of duration and timing. Calling the midwife and letting her know how I’m progressing so she and her assistants can come to my home where I have an indoor jacuzzi (thanks to the Argenbrights!!) filled with warm water, jets, and soothing essential oils. My family and friends coming in to check on me and offer me encouragement in a casual way, maybe stopping to chat, or simply give me a hug. Playing my “Inspiration” playlist at full blast or listening to the soothing voice of my Hypnobabies tapes. Bouncing on my ball or climbing into the tub or squatting in a doorway or holding onto Michael for dear life as I scream or cry, or laugh or sing.

I envision doing this My Way.

4. Inter-Connectedness.

Several years ago, Michael’s great-grandmother was ill and we were considering taking her into our home for her final days. I had to be okay with the fact that Death would be present in our home. And you know what? I welcomed it. Somehow, our migration to urban-life and modernity disconnected us from the two points where our present lives intersect with Eternity — all of our births and deaths occur outside of the home, in a sterile hospital, surrounded by strangers, connected by wires instead of prayers.

What I envision: A home that has sheltered Life in the Raw. Children who have experienced that life can be messy, but have found beauty in the blood.

5. Empowerment.

Because a doctor has years of medical training, we trust him to know better than us how to get a baby out safely and efficiently. And I’m sure that he knows exactly everything that could possibly go wrong and what to do in those situations.  Unfortunately, what he does not have is a body that has been created to make humans, a body that has evolved with instinctual knowledge about how to bring life into the world. Don’t get me wrong — I love epidurals with the best of them, but I want to go head-to-head against the Curse of Eve… and WIN.

Any woman who has carried a child knows that it is a pivotal turning point in one’s concept of one’s self  as Woman. Suddenly, “goddesses” make sense — we achieve the Divine. We are Givers of Life. This is my way of embracing that.

What I envision: Me standing fully in my power, trusting in the grace of God, knowing exactly what to do. Me listening to my body and my baby; reason and instinct united, moving in rhythm with the wisdom of the ages.

…I’m sure there are more reasons and clearer visions, but that’s a good start.  🙂


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So, as you may have noticed, Becky’s solo venture has resulted in a serious paucity of entries on East of Mina. I plan on still using this site for all things personal (there may be an up-tick in posts after baby arrives) but I have also decided to try my literary wings in a new sector of the blogosphere as a guest political writer for R.J. Moeller’s blog.

I’ll be posting there once a week in 4-part series on various topics and I would love to have you check them out/subscribe. Here’s the introduction, explaining my project, and my first article on Immigration.

What I like about RJ is his desire to spark conversations by engaging different viewpoints, while remaining rooted in his faith. He just did a podcast with liberal comedian, Adam Carolla; feel free to check it out.


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A Blessing of Unicorns

Some people collect stamps. Coins. Elephants. Beanie Babies.

I collect the names of groups of creatures. Odd, yes. Useful, no. Entertaining, often.

There are the typical, well-known ones: a Pod of Whales, a Gaggle of Geese, a Pride of Lions.

Some are especially fitting: a Crash of Rhinos, a Prickle of Porcupines, and a Smack of Jellyfish.

Beware the Murder of Crows, Mobs of Kangaroos, and the Shrewdness of Apes. And don’t rain on the Elephants’ Parade.

Feel free to join the Convocation of Eagles, the Congress of Ravens, or the Parliament of Owls. Appropriately, Larks form Exultations, Hummingbirds Charm, and Jays Scold.

There are Musters of Peafowl, Coteries of Prairie Dogs, and Romps of Otters. Sharks swim in Shivers, and Gnats form Clouds;  Clowders of Cats, Sleuths of Bears, Cetes of Badgers.  Ferrets have Businesses but Martens get Richness.

My all time favorite is a Blessing of Unicorns. The verdict is out on Dragons, but I’m partial to “Doom.”

Any you care to add?

C.S. Doemner

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When I first became a wife and full-time step mom, I sailed onto the scene with the full force of an ambitious 24 year old woman, who had just spent four months working full time, taking graduate classes and planning a wedding.  My time management skills were at their peak and there was nothing I could not or would not accomplish.

And then I came to a screeching halt.

It seemed that motherhood did not consist of checking things off lists. There was no academic support system of continual feedback. No corporate ladder with clearly defined rewards for initiative and innovation. No paycheck, nor any hope of a raise.

I soon realized that in the role of Mother, Everything-You-Have-To-Give is simply par for the course. Your very best days are only what’s expected of you. You can definitely let people down, but there’s almost no way to impress anyone. It’s a rigged gig!

I digress.

The whole point of this post initially was not to bemoan the serious ego-slam one endures as Mom, but instead to say, I developed a few tricks of the trade and wanted to share them with other women struggling to imitate June Cleaver in an Arrested Development world.

The following two documents have saved me numerous hours, dollars, and headaches. When used correctly, they should make your life a little simpler too. (Don’t use them if they are a hassle)

The first document is a list of 54 meal ideas I’ve come up with that feature an entrée, starch, and veggie (or sometimes fruit). 54 is not a lot, but the beauty is that you can mix and match columns. It does not include recipes because I Google each item I want to make, look at four different recipes, write down the proportions of the main ingredients, and then make my own version.

Meal Ideas

I use the Meal Ideas document to fill in the second part: my Meal Plan.  I have laid it out Sunday – Saturday, with breakfast, lunch and two rows of dinners. This is because I find it easier to keep my son’s breakfasts and lunches the same each week (he can now make 75% of the items himself) and plan two weeks of dinners at a time. My husband has an erratic work schedule so I type in his hours in the purple bars. When I’m done, I print it out and tape it to the front of the fridge so everyone knows what to expect.  You will notice I have linked a few recipes; I found those while investigating other meal planning blogs. I really like Meal Planning 101.

Meal Plan

Bon appetite!

C.S. Doemner

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Why is it that we’ve made bunnies the object of our sympathies? In the story of Peter Rabbit,  he sneaks into Mr. McGregor’s garden and eats the produce and he is the protagonist, while poor Mr. McGregor is left running around with a rake, with nothing to show for his labor!

See also:  Elmer Fudd vs. Bugs Bunny–heartless buffoon bested by wily and witty wabbit.

I’m tired of it. From now on, I hereby declare my sympathies are For the Bunny-Killers. This afternoon, at least one member of the blankety-blank Leporidae family ATE MY GARDEN! I  had three bean sprouts with two leaves each — gone. I had a infantine cantaloupe — eaten to a nubbin. I had a beautiful row of gorgeous lettuce babies — ravished! I swear, if I knew how to use Michael’s 23 caliber rifle, I would be on my back porch hunting wabbits wight now!

Indignantly Yours,


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My favorite thoughts about spring cleaning are the opening paragraphs of The Wind in the Willows, which I will quote at length, because it is worth so doing:

The Mole had been working very hard all the morning, spring- cleaning his little home. First with brooms, then with dusters; then on ladders and steps and chairs, with a brush and a pail of whitewash; till he had dust in his throat and eyes, and splashes of whitewash all over his black fur, and an aching back and weary arms. Spring was moving in the air above and in the earth below and around him, penetrating even his dark and lowly little house with its spirit of divine discontent and longing. It was small wonder, then, that he suddenly flung down his brush on the floor, said `Bother!’ and `O blow!’ and also `Hang spring-cleaning!’ and bolted out of the house without even waiting to put on his coat. Something up above was calling him imperiously, and he made for the steep little tunnel which answered in his case to the gravelled carriage-drive owned by animals whose residences are nearer to the sun and air. So he scraped and scratched and scrabbled and scrooged and then he scrooged again and scrabbled and scratched and scraped, working busily with his little paws and muttering to himself, `Up we go! Up we go!’ till at last, pop! his snout came out into the sunlight, and he found himself rolling in the warm grass of a great meadow.
`This is fine!’ he said to himself. `This is better than whitewashing!’ The sunshine struck hot on his fur, soft breezes caressed his heated brow, and after the seclusion of the cellarage he had lived in so long the carol of happy birds fell on his dulled hearing almost like a shout. Jumping off all his four legs at once, in the joy of living and the delight of spring without its cleaning, he pursued his way across the meadow till he reached the hedge on the further side.

To help motivate myself to accomplish all the bother-and-blow of spring cleaning, I have proposed the following solution.  I will hire 4 boy teenagers and 4 girl teenagers to complete a series of listed tasks, in exchange for minimal amounts of money, and each task will be assigned points.  My minions will compete to complete the tasks as quickly as possible, because the person with the most points at the end wins the prize.  In order to aggravate Becky, I have separated the tasks according to stereotypical gender strengths and color-coded them pink and blue accordingly. Michael will be overseeing the gentlemen and I will be overseeing the ladies.  I am posting the two lists below so that you can tell me if I have missed anything! Also, if you think the points fail to correlate equitably, I am open to changing those too.


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Dream detective

I have been a vivid dreamer since childhood. My husband considers sleep wasted time, but for me, a 9 or 10 hour nap is better than a movie marathon: the action is intense, the dialogue is witty, and best of all, I am the world’s most attractive protagonist!

However, when discussing dreams with my mother-in-law the other day, I realized a pattern I had missed before. Most of my dreams feature conspiracy theories. For example, a few nights ago, I dreamt that I had had lasik surgery and returned for a check up. The doctor said almost everything looked good, except for one anomaly which he couldn’t explain. As he asked his fellow surgeons about the matter, we got the eerie feeling something was being covered up. Then we noticed the cameras hidden around the office. And then I woke up.

Now, I swear, in waking life, I am no conspiracy theorist. In fact, I am probably more trusting than I should be. But my subconscious seems to rival Mel Gibson. There is always an unseen reason motivating the action in my dreams; a puzzle I need to solve before I wake up (which rarely happens, I’m afraid).  What does this mean? What is my mind trying to tell me about myself? Any theories?


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