Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Birth Announcement

Katelyn Rachelle Harold is here! She was born August 20th at 11:14 am weighing 7 lbs 9 oz and with a length of 21.5 inches. We are happy she is here safe and sound. Today was my due date, but Katelyn came 8 days early and so she's 8 days old today.

For those interested in how it happened, here's the birth story. For those not interested in labor and delivery, you can skip this. No hard feelings. It's really not that interesting except to some of us moms.

Anyway, my water broke sometime on the 19th. I kept getting little trickles of fluid, but it wasn't nearly as obvious as what happened last time with Reagan. I knew when my water broke that time. But I finally convinced myself that it must be amniotic fluid that evening. So I called the doctor and, at their insistence, went to the hospital to be checked. It was an hour drive and I really didn't want to go, especially since I knew they wouldn't let me go home if my water was broken. I wanted to go to bed (it was after 10 pm) and see if my body would get going on its own. With Reagan, my water broke and I started labor a few hours later. But nothing was happening. So there I was on my way to the hospital with no contractions going on and hoping they weren't going to induce me.

Yep, my water was broken alright. I wasn't going home that night. So they gave me the option of just waiting to see what happened or to start things off with an oral prostaglandin, which was supposed to be gentler than inducing with pitocin. Considering that it had been hours since my water broke and I wasn't having any contractions yet, I decided to go ahead with the prostaglandin in hopes of avoiding pitocin.

It worked...sort of. I started having contractions, but they didn't get very strong or regular, even after 7 hours. So they recommended pitocin to get things moving and avoid the risk of infection from having my water broken for too long before delivery. It was a greater risk for me since I am Strep B positive and we weren't exactly sure when my water had broken. So I ended up taking pitocin and deciding on an epidural. Call me chicken, but pitocin with no pain relief is no joke. Unfortunately, it took awhile to get the anesthesiologist started and then the first time didn't work. So I ended up sitting there, back hunched (which is NOT a comfortable position for labor, by the way, since it puts a lot of pressure on the abdomen), for about an hour while they did and then re-did the epidural. And then it didn't completely relieve the pain. It made my legs completely numb, but rather inconveniently left certain other regions with pretty good sensation, although it did help some.

And just as I was starting to get some pain relief from the epidural and hoping to FINALLY get some sleep, or at least some rest...

I started getting a lot of pain and pressure. And it got worse. I thought my cervix was going to rip in two. Seriously.

They had just checked me before they did the epidural and I was at 5 centimeters. So I figured I had quite a ways to go yet. But no, in the space of about 3 minutes I went all the way to 10 centimeters. Maybe it was laboring in that uncomfortable position. Maybe it was being able to relax a bit after getting some measure of pain relief. But I went through transition in a big hurry. And all the sudden they are calling the doctor and telling me not to push yet (which is easier said than done, by the way).

The doctor came in and got ready pretty quickly and then it was just a few minutes of pushing later that Katelyn made her entrance. But she was blue and not responding very well. The cord had been wrapped around her neck twice, which I didn't find out until later. I was a little worried, but after some rubbing and suctioning, she finally started crying and turning pink. It's a good thing I didn't have to push any longer or she might have gone without oxygen for longer. But she is fine and we are so thankful. God is good.

We even got to go home just 24 hours after the birth. So here we are in the land of wakeful nights and round-the-clock feedings and learning to juggle a newborn and a toddler. But I wouldn't have it any other way.

Linked up with WLWW.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Abortion and the "Hard Cases"

I received the following comment on my post entitled "Demolishing Pro-Choice Arguments."

"If raped you feel the woman should be forced to carry to term? If an 11 year old is raped by her father or other relative, she should also carry to term? If prenatal testing identifies gross anomalies, the fetus should still be carried to term even if it will die shortly after birth? If the mother of that poor fetus is carrying her second or third child with gross anomalies and says she will kill herself if forced to watch another infant die, she should be forced to carry to term anyway?

Your world view doesn't work for all of us. I've been pro choice (not pro abortion) for decades. Judge not lest ye be judged."

I responded there, but I thought I would also respond (with a few modifications) in a separate post because these kinds of questions are often asked by the pro-abortion crowd.

First of all, I'll point out that her distinction between "pro-abortion" and pro-choice" doesn't really exist. I use the terms interchangeably because they mean the same thing. If I said that I thought a man should have a choice of whether or not to rape a woman, I would rightfully be charged with being pro-rape. In the same way, to be in favor of allowing a woman to choose whether or not to abort means being in favor of abortion.

In discussing the rest of her post, keep in mind that this type of question is often asked as a "gotcha" question. The pro-abortion advocates seem to think these cases "prove" that it is okay to kill an unborn child in at least some cases. The cases mentioned are all referred to as "hard cases." These are the troubling stories that make some people, who would otherwise be pro-life, start to waffle and sweat. They think of how difficult it would be in that situation and their emotions make them want to offer such woman a way out - to fix her situation with an abortion. However, when you apply logical principles to these cases, they aren't as hard to solve as you might think.

Before I talk about these cases specifically, it should be mentioned that even IF abortion should be allowed in these difficult cases, that does not mean that abortion should be allowed for all cases. The vast majority of abortions do not involve rape, incest, or deformities of the child. These cases do not provide any reason to think that a woman should be able to kill a perfectly healthy unborn child, who resulted from consensual sex, simply because she doesn't want him.

In addressing the hard cases, we should do so by applying the same facts and logic that we apply in all other cases of pregnancy. As I have written elsewhere, science tells us that the unborn child is a separate and unique human individual who must, logically, have the same rights that all other human beings have. Applying this knowledge and some additional logic to the hard cases clears up a lot of confusion.

In cases of rape or incest, any child produced is still just as human as any other unborn child. There is no difference between a child conceived in rape and one conceived through consensual sex. And, of course, the child is innocent of any wrong doing. It isn't the child forcing himself on the woman - it was the rapist who forced her. So killing the child isn't the right or fair thing to do. The child doesn't deserve to die for the crime of his father. We don't consider those born from rape to deserving of death, so why give a death sentence before birth for those same children? Nor does having an abortion un-rape the woman. Two wrongs don't make a right, so killing the child is not the answer.

Oddly enough, the incidence of abortion is actually low among women who have been raped. Many rape victims have testified that giving birth has helped them to see themselves as overcomers who found a way to make something good come from their terrible ordeal. They may not have had a choice over what happened to them, but they can choose to do what is right after the fact and give life. On the other hand, having an abortion has been described by some as being raped all over again. Of course, these experiences of women do not determine what is right in these cases, but they do show that an abortion isn't the easy fix for rape that it is thought to be.

As for children with terrible birth defects and other issues, that would be a very difficult situation to be in. But to cut the life of these unborn children even shorter than it already will be seems the opposite of compassion. We don't kill people because they are going to die anyway. We make their short lives as comfortable as possible until natural death. That's what we do for people who are born and it should also apply to those unborn, because they are human beings too.

In cases where the mother threatens suicide or other self-harm, the baby still doesn't deserve to die. A woman who is threatening to harm herself needs help. If someone threatens suicide if you don't kill someone else, you don't for that reason kill the person they want dead. That's insane. You treat the one threatening suicide.

While these hard cases are often fraught with emotion and tough situations, the right thing to do is not dependent on how difficult or emotional it is. Emotion is not a valid basis for making decisions, especially when talking about the life of an innocent human being. Applying logical principles shows that the right thing to do is always to protect the unborn child.

Linked up with WLWW.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Cheesy Baked Chicken

This recipe is one I saw on facebook and modified slightly. It's a really moist and tasty way to eat chicken and our family loves it. This recipe takes a little more time than some of my chicken recipes (like this, this, and this), but it's worth it and it's easy to make enough to have leftovers.

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup milk
2-1/2 cups finely shredded cheddar cheese (I actually use a fiesta cheese blend that contains cheddar and other cheeses)
About 20 Ritz crackers (I use the Walmart brand crackers instead of the name brand)
Salt and pepper to taste

1 10-oz. can Cream of Chicken soup
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons sour cream

Trim any remaining fat from the chicken breasts and cut into 3-4 strips each. You want all the strips to be approximately the same thickness for even cooking.

Crush the Ritz crackers into crumbs and add a little salt and pepper. Place the cracker crumbs, shredded cheese, and milk in separate bowls. Grease the bottom of one or two baking dishes. I like to use two because I want to leave enough space for the cheese to melt and get crispy in between the strips. The crispy cheese in the bottom of the pan is really good.

Dip each chicken breast strip into the milk, then the cheese (pressing the cheese into the chicken), then into the cracker crumbs. Place the strips in the baking dish. If you have leftover cheese, you can sprinkle it over the tops of the chicken strips.

Here's one pan of chicken all coated and ready to bake. Notice that I usually do sprinkle a little extra cheese on top. I had another pan about half this size as well.

Cover the baking dishes with aluminum foil. Bake at 400 degrees for 35 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking for another 10 minutes or until the tops are browned and crispy.

To make the sauce, combine the Cream of Chicken soup, butter, and sour cream in a small saucepan. Heat on low, stirring frequently, until heated through and bubbly. Serve over the chicken or on the side.

Note: This chicken works really well with mashed potatoes and steamed green beans, especially since the sauce tastes good on potatoes too.

Linked up with WLWW.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Are Embryos People?

Pro-aborts often claim that "Embryos are not people." They claim that the unborn are somehow different from those who are born, and that only the born are worth protecting.

However, that is merely a statement of opinion - an opinion which is contradicted by science, by the way. Scientifically, a new human individual comes into existence at fertilization. Embryos are just as much human beings as any other person. Embryos are smaller, weaker, less developed, and more dependent than other human beings, but we do not use these criteria to allow the killing of those who are smaller, weaker, less developed, or more dependent among those who are born. Thus, the distinction they are trying to make between the born and the unborn is not based on any objective criteria. They are just trying to arbitrarily create a division between the born and the unborn so they can feel it is okay to kill the unborn. They're assuming what they're trying to prove. They're making the choice of where to draw the line based only on what they want it to be, not on facts or logic.

The thing is, people have been trying to make arbitrary divisions between those who are "worth" protecting and those who aren't for centuries. In the past, for example, those who were white and male were considered worthwhile and those who were female or black were not considered "persons" under the law. But this distinction between who was and was not considered a "person" was totally arbitrary and was only there to allow discrimination against certain groups. In other words, there wasn’t any evidence that females or blacks were any different or had any lesser worth. The same thing happened in Nazi Germany where the Jews were not legal “persons” under the law simply because the rest of the society didn’t want to consider their rights. In all these cases, the distinction was simply made because the people who made it wanted it to be true. I think we can all agree that these false distinctions, which denied legal "personhood" to some human beings, was wrong. Females and blacks and Jews have always been persons because they are human beings. In fact, EVERY time in human history where one group has claimed that another group of human beings are not “persons,” they have been wrong and this false distinction has led to many injustices.

It is the same with the unborn. There is no evidence that the unborn are any different from all other human beings. The distinction is merely made through wishful thinking. Those who claim there is a difference, that born human beings are persons and the unborn aren’t, only do so because they want to discriminate against the unborn. They want it to be true so they can justify killing unwanted unborn children. But, as with every other time that this kind of claim has been made, this distinction is false and has led to many injustices. It must stop.

Note: I have discussed this issue elsewhere on my blog as well. I have made a secular case against abortion as well as demolished some of the most common arguments for abortion.

Linked up with Time-Warp Wife, WLWW, and WFMW.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Waiting on a Baby

As the title of this post indicates, I'm waiting on this baby to be born. I'm 38 weeks today and feeling pretty good...most of the time. But I am quite ready not to be pregnant any more. And quite ready to meet this little girl who has been wiggling and kicking inside me for so long.

Not only am I ready to meet this little one, but my husband and my daughter, Reagan, are too. Reagan, at almost 21 months, loves babies. Every time she sees a picture of any baby, she points and says "Baby" over and over. She usually notices baby pictures before I do. For instance, I can be scrolling through facebook and there will be an ad on the side with a tiny picture of a baby in it and she will notice it. Every time. If you ask her where her baby sister is, she will point to my belly and say "Kiki" (her name for Katelyn). If you ask her if she wants to hold the baby, she makes a motion like she's rocking a baby in her arms. It's so cute! I think she's going to be a good big sister.

I've got all the baby clothes washed and folded and put away in Katelyn's dresser, which is my old dresser. We realized a month or so ago that it would be a good idea to have another dresser for the new baby, but furniture can be expensive. Thankfully, we were able to find a nice dresser and headboard on Craig's List for $50 (for both of them). We put the new dresser in the master bedroom, and then moved my old dresser into the girls' room for Katelyn. So that concern was taken care of without breaking the bank. Just one of God's little blessings when we needed it.

Another blessing is the lack of pain. For awhile, a couple weeks ago, I was having some lower back pain and a splitting pain in my pelvis. I could barely walk for a day or two. Every step and every movement of my lower body caused a shooting pain. I don't know if it was the position of the baby or what, but it was not fun, and I was really hoping and praying it wasn't going to stick around for the rest of the pregnancy. And it didn't. Whatever caused it, it went away after just a couple days. That has made the last weeks much more pleasant. It really hasn't been too bad being pregnant, overall, although it obviously isn't exactly the most comfortable. I am thankful that I have been blessed with two healthy and uneventful pregnancies thus far. And all the discomforts are worth it to have another precious child to love.

Meanwhile, I'm showing signs that labor is on the way. But, unfortunately, those signs don't tell me exactly when it is coming. It could be any day now. Or it could be 2-3 weeks. I'm hoping for the former. But babies come when they're ready. So I'm just waiting, and reminding myself that no pregnancy lasts forever. The birth will come eventually, and I will finally be able to meet and hold this little gift from God that we have been entrusted with.

Linked up with Time-Warp Wife and To Love Honor and Vacuum.