You can’t manifest a robot in only one month.

Good morning my loves! Sarah here, with coffee and writing. (No cheese today. Just a medley of Life cereal mixed with Cheerios courtesy of the child. Mmm. A little sweet, a little oat.)

Mooooo. (c)mourning dove motherhood

I am proud to announce that last night, while watching Veep and eating my popcorn, I was so tempted to zone out to Selena Miller interspersed with Facebook scrolling. But then I was like, oh sh*t, I just told the dozens of lovelies who read my blog that I was going to do art at night time. This is good, you are holding me accountable. So I did some sketching…of COWS! Cows with cattle egrets. I am noodling around with the idea of a children’s book involving a cow and an egret who are friends. As part of my Wikipedia browsing  important literary research I discovered that cattle egrets are fierce little dudes. They apparently sometimes eat OTHER BIRDS. They think they are owls or something. Anyway, more to come on the cow and the egret.

What’s on my mind today is MANIFESTATION. I am talking about seeing something in your mind’s eye and making it a reality. I have always been pretty good at manifesting. I’m not a wizard* or anything. But I take leaps and follow my heart and probably most importantly, listen to my intuition. Now don’t get me wrong this quality in me isn’t always pretty. I once followed my intuition and dated a guy…who braided his beard. (And yes he worked at a food co-op. You guys, I can’t make this stuff up.)

So I have this manifestation thing down but what I struggle with is simply BEING. For a long time I thought the opposite of manifesting something was inaction. I am slowly realizing that no, it is important sometimes to simply be. I have had all sorts of random assorted messages that have made me aware that I am starting to tap into feminine energies more.  Feminine energy holds space for something and masculine energy is action. But that both are needed to manifest something. Or so I have deduced from others who are wiser about this stuff than I am.

Right now my heart (and a snail) are telling me that the flow for me right now is being. It isn’t time for action yet. This IS SO HARD FOR ME Y’ALL. I want action! Boom shacka lacka I want to get stuff done. I get antsy when I feel like I am not doing doing enough even when my heart tells me, slow down, poco a poco, you will get there.

Yesterday I was talking to my sister. I was lamenting about how hard it was for me to be patient in certain matters which I want to see results now damn it! I was talking about one personal thing that I will speak in code about. The conversation went something like this:

Her: Be patient with yourself. Think of all your body has been through over the last three years, and especially in the last several months. I have no doubt you will be holding a robot in your arms soon.

Me: I know. I want to build a robot now but I just need to be patient.

Her: You know, there are doctors that help people build robots. And sometimes medicines.

Me: Yes, I know, but I haven’t taken that step yet. I mean it is has only been one month since I started trying to build a robot again.

Her: *silence followed by laughter.* HOLD THE FRONT DOOR. You have only been trying to build a robot for one month?!

Me: Huh, now that I say that out loud, that is absurd that I am fretting about building a robot when I literally have only tried for ONE MONTH TO BUILD A ROBOT.

Yes, that is me in a nutshell. I decide I am ready to build robots and then see it in my mind’s eye and I am like, ok let’s do this. Let’s manifest some robots. And then when they don’t manifest in a month I am like, why is the universe broken??

Holding space. Simply being. All robots will be built in due time.  You know, perhaps in longer than one month. 

 

*Speaking of wizards, yesterday I saw a man in a long black cloak walking a dog. My first thought was, wow is that Professor Snape? Then I noticed the white collar. He was a priest. You can tell you have pretty much shaken your Catholic roots when your mind immediately goes to Harry Potter before thinking man of the cloth.

Do you want to be the first to hear when Sarah has built a robot? Follow the blog on Twitter or FacebookOr  follow on WordPress for you fellow nerdy wordpress-y folks. 

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Five Things Nobody Tells You About Miscarriage

I know what you are thinking: a listicle about miscarriage?  Yes. Because if you are going to write a dark humor piece on miscarriage, it pretty much demands a listicle format.

One in three pregnancies folks. And nobody talks about it. Ready for some truth-telling?

Quick disclaimer: I ended up not having a medical intervention so my experience might be a little different than those who do have a procedure.  You may now continue with the saddest post ever.

  1. You will suddenly be Chubby McChubbykins and have no clothes to wear and hell no you aren’t putting on those maternity pants.
  2. Whee, it is fun to shop at Target while having a miscarriage! Photo from Target.com

    You will literally be walking around Target while having a miscarriage. It turns out that if you don’t have a medical procedure you will instead experience the world’s longest, saddest period. Expelling the products of conception is process, not a single event. So, you will find yourself in Target, trying to determine the cheapest paper towels that retain that handy perforation feature, and it will hit you: Hello fellow shoppers, I am standing in Target while having a miscarriage. You might shed some tears. Let’s hope the lady next to you thinks you are just really torn-up over these paper towel prices. (See what I did there?)

  3. You have to take a freaking pregnancy test. To confirm that you are no longer pregnant. AS IF YOU DON’T ALREADY KNOW. This is officially the worst pregnancy test you have ever taken.
  4. You can’t have sex for a while because you have to make sure your cervix is freaking closed. Trust me, this won’t be a problem. You won’t be ready for a trip to funky town for a while. Your body physiologically is like, whoa, what just happened. I was pregnant, now I’m not pregnant. I can’t keep up. In the meantime, I’ll just sit over here and knit while watching some funny cat videos. (Note: I did not actually knit while watching cat videos. But now that I write this, it sounds rather pleasant to my non-sexy-time self.)
  5. Your spouse will be ready for a trip to funky town way before you are. This one wrote itself, didn’t it?

For you mother-warriors who have experienced miscarriage, anything else you would add to the list?

(And to answer my husband’s question, no, my next post will not be “The five things nobody tells you about Genocide!” I’m pretty sure Buzzfeed already published that one.)

How Two Dreams Helped Me Cope with Pregnancy Loss

The first dream was two weeks ago:

I am in a bus. We are nearing the place that is in the snowy hill; it is beautiful out. I look up and see these huge white cranes, morphing, dancing in the sky. I point and tell everyone but nobody seems to see them.

My watercolor I painted after the dream. Now in my etsy shop at https://www.etsy.com/listing/530542729/5-x-7-loss-support-crane-watercolor


The second dream quickly followed the first:

I am pregnant. My mom is with me. I start to have contractions and tell her I want to give birth at home….In the end I realize I am only three months along and I am not giving birth, and yet it is like I am, which confuses me. My mom was so willing to help and was ready to be a midwife and a doula for me. At the end dream I talk about making sure I have pads that are sanitary, whatever that means. 

The dreams initially confused me. On the one hand both felt joyful on some level. In particular, the dream with mom was so vivid that she seemed alive and fully present by my side. But the dreams also left me unsettled.

Now I know why.

The dreams foretold my miscarriage.

This pregnancy felt surreal from the beginning. After unsuccessfully trying to conceive for over a year I decided to begin acupuncture treatments for infertility. Within two months of treatments I suddenly found myself pregnant. I was elated but also a bit stunned. Could it be this easy?

The pregnancy came easily but physically didn’t feel right. The first few weeks were punctuated by spotting and occasional bleeding. Then, at seven weeks I ended up in the ER with bleeding. Late that night I found myself in a small dark room with an ultrasound tech. She found a heartbeat! But she also said the baby was measuring really small. Was I sure of the date of my last menstrual cycle? I was. Although I was skeptical that I had the dates wrong, I didn’t think much of it.

I was sent home with good news—good blood test results and a good ultrasound, albeit a due date that was later than I thought.

Not even a week later I had the two dreams. And then suddenly, no dreams. No dreams about baby. No dreams about motherhood. I felt uneasy. Why was I so full of energy? It shouldn’t be this easy, should it?  I mentioned this to my therapist when I saw her. I feel like I am waiting for the other shoe to drop. She tells me that the other shoe doesn’t always drop.

Except when it does.

Several days ago I sat in another dark ultrasound room. My husband chatted with the tech as I watched the screen, noting the tech pause and click, pause and click, silently enlarging images. And I knew. I saw the tiny, curled still image and I knew there was no heartbeat.

The technician clasped my hand.

“I’m so sorry honey. It looks like the baby stopped growing about two weeks ago.”

Two weeks ago, when I had my dreams.

The crane dream, so beautiful. Could it symbolize my child being released from my womb, entering the spirit realm? (Come to find out, in many traditions cranes symbolize travel between realms and are thought to be carriers of souls.)

And then the dream with my mother. Alive by my side as a midwife and doula. Supporting me and guiding me through the miscarriage. The need for “sanitation” now clear—sanitary pads as I began to lose the pregnancy.

Immediately after the dreams I felt a deep malaise that I now recognize as sadness from the pregnancy loss. This “knowing” before consciously knowing about the miscarriage has helped me cope. It feels like I have already processed the loss on some level, because I have.

I decided to experience the miscarriage naturally rather than undergo a procedure, but I suppose my dream already predicted that. As I lose tissue and blood, I feel my mom’s spirit by my side as midwife and doula and I find solace in the image of my tiny baby’s spirit dancing in the sky with the cranes. The dreams have healed me and made this dark passage a little less difficult than it could have been.

Artwork my own – inspired by the dream. Full image can be viewed here (since wordpress cuts it off!).

You might also enjoy: An Ocean of Tears Larger than the Four Oceans

 

The (Birth)day Lessons

Today my daughter turns three!  I have to admit, I’ve been a bit nostalgic.

Yesterday I wrote about how pregnancy taught me skills that have served me as a parent. Today I thought I’d write the same about my daughter’s birth.

Not the BIRTH STORY story. That would take a novel. My daughter’s birth was the equivalent of baptism by fire. A big ol’ metaphor for the wild ride to come. At times unexpected and intense, always driven by a curious and determined child, and scattered with tiny miracles.

For now I thought I’d share a few take-aways* that three years later still stand out.

Birth Lesson One: Listen to Your Gut

At 8pm on the night before my daughter was born I could be found dashing around a nearly-empty Target store in Des Moines, Iowa. I was like a mad woman, determined to pick up the final remaining odds and ends on my baby list. Loaded with infant nail trimmers, newborn diapers, a thermometer, and who knows what else, I then headed to the airport to pick up my husband, who was flying back from a job interview.  We went home and headed straight to bed.

At 4am I woke up, waddled to the bathroom and realized water was seeping out of me. But I wasn’t peeing. It was one of those moments when you think, THIS CANNOT BE HAPPENING. 

Oh it was happening. My water had most certainly broken, there was no doubt about that.

I was 35 weeks, 6 days pregnant.

The next hour was like something out of a cheesy sitcom: my husband and I were running around the house, throwing things into a duffle bag willy nilly.

I remember early in my pregnancy when I asked my higher self, what will my birth look like? The answer I got was “comical.”

I wasn’t laughing. I was, however, glad that I listened to my gut and made that final run to Target.

Birth Lesson Two: Trust Thyself

I come from a long line of women who have a high tolerance for pain. (Is that a good trait? I don’t know.) My mother would famously tell the story about how when she was in labor with me, she asked for an epidural and the nurse turned to her and said, “Honey, it’s too late! You are about to push out this baby!”

Like mother, like daughter, it turns out.

About seven hours into my labor I was DONE. I could not stand one more minute of it. I cornered my midwife and pleaded with her, please, just look and see how far dilated I am.  Because if I have a long road ahead of me I NEED AN EPIDURAL.

This entire time nobody had examined me to see how far dilated I was. The midwife didn’t want to risk infection since I hadn’t yet been screened for Group B strep (and they had to proceed on the assumption that I had it). Since I was a first time mom, and since apparently anyone who isn’t wailing and gnashing teeth is assumed to only be dilated to 3cm, the scene was very laid bad. Everyone was all, “Well, let’s wait on the tub, you don’t need it just yet!” and “Hey can I put an IV in your arm while you are in the middle of a contraction?”

When the midwife finally examined me, the look on her face said it all.

I was 9 cm. I was almost ready to push.

Turns out this rookie mom wasn’t taking her sweet ol’ time. Funny thing was, I knew my body and I suspected that I was progressing faster than expected. I had a feeling that everyone—the nurse, my midwife, even my doula— were all misreading my cues. Birth may have been new for me, but my body wasn’t.

Trust thyself.

*To be continued – I will follow my own advice and trust myself to know that I need to sleep off a particularly nasty cold I caught from said three-year-old. More to come once I’m feeling better!

Reflecting on Three Years (Plus Eight Months) of Parenthood

Part 1: The Pregnancy Lessons

My daughter turns three tomorrow. Which got me thinking: I will be celebrating three years of parenthood!

But then I realized, not quite.

birthday_cake

Happy three years! (And eight
months!) (Illustration source)

I count the months before my daughter’s birth because I think pregnancy is a form of parenting, too.  To be fair, I’m not sure I became a mother the day I saw the positive pregnancy test. I think that happened a week or two later.

There I was, maybe five weeks into my pregnancy and I noticed spotting. It was significant enough that I got worried. I called my midwife’s office in a panic. The nurse explained that it could just be bleeding from implantation. Or it could be something else. She explained how at this stage there wasn’t really anything they could do. She encouraged me to rest.

My heart dropped. I curled up on the couch and cried.

I learned the first lesson of parenthood: vulnerability. 

I remember thinking, wait a minute. This is really scary! The worry…the fear…so much was out of my control! How was it possible to become so attached to a being so small that its heart beat couldn’t even be detected yet?

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Baby poppyseed (Photo Source)

Which taught me the second lesson of parenthood: surrender. 

There was nothing else to do but surrender to what was. I didn’t like it, I didn’t want it, but I had to remain suspended in this in-between place. Where it felt like everything and nothing was possible.

Who knew parenthood was one big Zen practice?

My husband was surprisingly laid back about the whole thing. If it isn’t meant to be, it isn’t meant to be, he said. He didn’t get it, not yet. This embryo the size of a grain of rice (or was it a poppy-seed?) wasn’t real to him yet. Not like it was to me. If it—my baby!—stopped growing, if it wasn’t meant to be, I would still be devastated.

This taught me the third lesson of parenthood: gratitude. 

 

Three weeks later I was sitting on a cold vinyl examination table. The midwife asked a few questions and then stopped abruptly. Wait, we were moving out of state soon? (Yes, in a month!) Why on earth were we in her office? she asked. She explained that we could have waited to find a provider once we moved.

I remember being aghast. Was she joking? Wait?! There was no way I could have waited. The bleeding had stopped and I wanted confirmation that all was well.

She proceeded with the ultrasound but I am sure she thought we were a couple of overly-neurotic new parents. (OK: fair enough.) Suddenly there was a rapid sound, like a horse galloping, I remember her saying.

That was my baby’s heartbeat. It was more than well.

My heart swelled.

I understood gratitude that day. It was a gift, this live child growing inside me. It wasn’t something to be taken for granted. There were no guarantees in this journey.

All this and I was only eight weeks into parenthood. Six months later, while eight months pregnant, I learned these lessons all over again, magnified by 1,000.

[Tomorrow:  Part II, The NICU lessons]