In the beginning, approximately 9:26pm EST on November 19, 1984, I was born. My poor mother had lost her first child, Andrew, the year previous, and her midwives and doctors felt so bad for her (I know, I know, you're thinking "Doctor's have FEELINGS?") that they allowed her to labor with me for three days...THREE DAYS! I have yet to live this down. As I grew up, it was apparent that at some point during my prolonged entry into the world, I had been deprived of oxygen long enough to cause slight brain damage.* This was evident in my propensity to trot lithely about the yard on all fours and consume unseemly amounts of lawn grass in the hopes that by doing so, I might somehow morph into a majestic stallion. I spent my childhood in my imagination, for the most part.

The years eventually brought me two more sisters, three brothers, and a rather culturally shocking move from the Island of Rhodes to a sea of pines (Maine, for those who are unaware that it is also known as the Pine Tree State...among other things). Somewhere in the midst of all this change, my mother began homeschooling my younger siblings and I, a decision, I feel, played a significant role in who I am today. Drama and its resulting upheavals had the tendency to derail my siblings and I from our studies and caused us to fall behind (which is why I am inclined to dislike homeschooling programs that attempt to mimic the school system...but I digress). Eventually, in 2005, I went for my GED.

That same year, my sister had met someone via a Catholic message board, and was seriously thinking about arranging a face-to-face meeting to ascertain their compatibility. I was vehemently opposed. "He could be an axe murderer!" said I, "He's too old for you! What if he's a stalker?!" I don't really know why the age difference bothered me...he was only 8 years older than her, and my parents are 12 years apart. Anyway, I wasn't happy about it.

Until HE showed up.

I would say about a week after I expressed my disapproval for my sister's budding internet romance, I received a message on that same message board from someone calling himself phatcatholic. Much to my chagrin, he informed me that he had developed an interest in me via my (now defunct) personal website and wanted to "get to know me better." I learned later this was code for "I really like you and may want to marry you, but I don't want to freak you out." For reasons I still don't understand, I tentatively agreed, and we began chatting...which led to webcamming...which then led to an exchange of phone numbers...and eventually culminated in the purchase of a plane ticket from Kentucky to Maine for my 21st birthday. On day two of his visit, we expressed our love to each other and officially became a couple.

In 2006, after a year of keeping up a long-distance relationship, I finally joined Nick (his real name) at Franciscan University of Steubenville in Steubenville, OH. I managed to graduate magna cum laude in three years with a double major in Theology and Catechetics and get engaged in the process. We were married in Portland, ME on October 24, 2009. I then moved to Kentucky with him.

About four months after our wedding, we found out we were expecting our first child. My sister, who had ended up marrying the guy she met online as well, had just given birth to their son about two months before our wedding, and had attempted a home birth with a lay midwife. Unfortunately, circumstances beyond their control sent them to the local hospital where she was given a cesarean section. Still, I was inspired by her courage, and began researching home birth and natural childbirth like a madwoman. Much to my disappointment, home birth was virtually out of the question because we live in one of 11 states where the practice of midwifery is illegal outside the hospital. We were able to find Certified Nurse Midwives practicing in a hospital an hour away, and hoped our dream of a natural, intervention free childbirth would be realized.

On November 5, 2010 our son, Dominic Joseph, made his grand entrance into the world. I labored for 17 hours completely unmedicated, save for two rounds of antibiotics for Group Beta Strep, and was free to labor in any position I found most comfortable. When he was born he was placed on my chest immediately and his cord was allowed to deliver the last remaining ounces of blood to his little body before it was clamped and cut. He was breastfed within an hour of birth and has nursed like a champ ever since. Our midwife was so supportive and let us do our thing, for which I was extremely grateful.

As I have learned more about natural childbirth, I have also learned much about natural parenting and living, which I have been gradually integrating into our lifestyle. I am a stay-at-home mom on a Church salary, which is proving to be a challenge, but I think we're up for it.

So there you have it. My life in a nutshell. Whether I bored you to death or inspired you to go for your dreams (or somewhere in the middle) I hope you stick around. Things are sure to get even more interesting.

*This is meant to be a joke. There was no actual oxygen deprivation or brain damage (that I know of).


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