29 June 2010

meeting in the middle

Sometimes you meet someone and it feels as if they are already familiar to you, a missing piece, some sort of recognition, some easy meshing of gears, yours to theirs. Words just spill and silences feel like comfort or possibility not like awkwardness.

Last night I got to meet someone I've liked for a very long time--long ago in the strange place that is the internet, I had stumbled on her blog somehow and found the most remarkable, honest, amazing, beautiful writing.

As I told her, her writing almost always knocks me flat and leaves me breathless-- Maya Stein was in town and we shared a couch and an hour of truly wonderful conversation--

I am lucky in that I do not get star struck exactly, I get almost the opposite-- star avoidance?
But Maya invited me, and I said yes. And as I walked barefoot and brave into the house, I found she is real and present and just simply wonderful to spend time with. I feel really lucky.

She's going around the country starting in September, taking her 10 line tuesdays work/play on the road for readings and workshops. I encourage you to keep your eyes open for a workshop or reading near you--I promise you, I promise, it will be worth it.

Thank you Maya!

27 June 2010

22 weeks

22 weeks.
It was a day of contractions and wiggles and kicks and a nice long walk and a nice long lunch with a friend who is simply easy to be with... I laughed hard which was great, and it surprised me that it felt so unusual. I am a big loud laugher. And I guess the stresses of the past few weeks have made that a whole lot less likely, less easy- more of a surprise.

When things change, when I am in an uneasy transition like the one I have with work, I often lose touch with the parts of me that I like best. My big loud laugh, for example.
And I also lose touch with the things that help me feel grounded, help me stay present and centered, things that make me feel good. It's as if, in the melee, I simply forget what I know.

So today, time spent outside in the fresh air surrounded by trees, breathing, moving, talking.. and oh yes, laughing....
it feels so good to remember.

25 June 2010


So yesterday afternoon, the contractions slowed-- sure, I still had them, but not nearly as often, and had an almost ordinary evening. I went to the grocery, came home, did laundry, made myself dinner. As each contraction came, I noted the time, but the spacing was so far apart that I felt the knot inside my soul loosen.

Today, it was the same until about 2 hours ago, now they are more frequent again (every 15-20 minutes), but the break? By some miracle I felt myself heal in those spaces between contractions.

Today I got a call from the Dr's office, no urinary tract infection- so this is all about spasms.

This whole thing has made me wonder if folks who have colitis/IBS are more susceptible to irritable uterus. I wonder if the same sensitivity, the same predisposition to spasms makes it more likely.

I did add magnesium (slow mag) to my daily diet-- I do not get enough leafy greens. And my prenatal has only 1/3 the daily recommended dose, so I added just enough to be 100% of RDA-- two pills, just one in the morning one at night, that way at least I won't be making this worse by depletion.

So-- my soul feels better. Even with the return of the more frequent contractions, it's as if during that break, I got my feet under me somehow. I am not sure if this feeling will last, this improved calm, this feeling of almost-having-it-together-ness, but in this moment, I am grateful for the relief.

23 June 2010


First- thank you.
Thank you for your kindness- truly. Babysteps-- do you have a blog? if so please leave the address in a comment so we can offer you support --and Jamie, I am so sorry you had this for so long. It is truly exhausting emotionally. This means you were dealing with this when I met you and I am so sorry. I know I would not have understood but I would have been sympathetic. It is so darned hard.

I saw the doctor today and here's what I learned:
It is not the strength of these that counts, the back pain, etc, but the frequency-- the gating item, the trigger would be 5 or more per hour that persist after lying down and making sure I'm hydrated. Then I call, then they will see me.

Pre-term contractions (their term for this) are not the same thing as pre-term labor.

Pre-term contractions (or irritable uterus) are in no way related to incompetent cervix. (Mo, this is one of my biggest fears too after two D&Cs and an internet filled with scary stories).

These are incredibly common-- many women have them and don't even know it.

Today they swabbed me for fetal fibronectin -- which came back negative. (This awesome test indicates with high accuracy the probability of delivery in the next two weeks- negative means not much chance which is awesome).
They tested my urine for bacteria since apparently even a little can cause this to be worse--
results back in the next few days after culturing.
They looked at my cervix (yes, an internal peek even with my previa) and it is long and closed.

I told her I was worried about the internal because of my previa and had read that it was a terrible idea, and she said only if I am dilated. And I wasn't but she did not know that until she was in there... but it all turned out fine. No spotting even which surprised me.

My challenge is to manage my stress reaction, and to manage these contractions in a way that feels somewhat ordinary.

Baby steps-- if they don't see a change in the cervix, and in the absence of other bad things (bleeding, leaking fluid), they simply don't take action most of the time. For them it IS ordinary.

Online I read about folks with irritable uterus who are on bedrest, or on medications, on this and that-- and I do not think there is one universal truth-- but I do know this: they scare me, they wear me out and wear me down. I am so worried about losing this little one, having pre term labor so early would be unthinkably horrible. BUT she insisted that this is so normal as to be totally unalarming to them as doctors.

I agree with all of you-- I am trusting my guts and erring in the direction of caution- lying down when I need to to slow things down. Yes, even at work.
If lying down slows things, in some ways it is incredibly affirming of the fact that these are the irritation contractions, not the real thing.

Also, she said an active baby can cause more contractions- and my baby is active all right, so there's that.
And a full bladder can make it worse, so pee before you *have* to-- a totally obnoxious balance of massive hydration and a not-overfull bladder. Ha.

At the end of the exam, she did a nice thing: dopplered my little one and said the heartrate was "perfect"--- and when I asked about how to manage my anxiety, she told me that it was up to me to believe her or not about the ordinariness of the contractions. She has a point.

So I am reassured. I have a long closed cervix and a plan. I will try to learn to manage this with more objectivity than panic. I give myself a 50/50 chance of success with that, but this stress level sucks ass and I need to figure out how to manage it better and regain some semblance of my previous pseudo-zen.

Moonlight through the trees, and me? Off to bed.

22 June 2010


30 so far today
22 yesterday
they tire me out just by existing, make me stressed, worry me-- I am envisioning a long closed cervix, but really? I need to know.
So although I gave my OB office the day off today (called sunday and yesterday) tomorrow I will call again.
I am home and on the sofa and, in this moment, am not contracting. Delightful! It feels miraculous.

I had to lie down at work for a while yesterday and again today once I triggered the "if 5 an hour" criteria.... sucks to be on the ground this big but it helped both times. I am totally hydrated, nearly clear pee-- and peed every 15-20 minutes all day. So this is about horizontality. I also noticed I don't have them as often standing up.
I've read a lot about irritable uterus and I am the poster child-- wish I could say it is nice to be typical.
Anyway, I am in need of reassurance.
Impatient Kate, I know you dealt with this forever, I bow to your persistent sanity in spite of it-- anyone else out there with it now or who had it when...? How did you deal with it?
Anyone with irritable uterus plus previa? I am in want of good news not horror stories.

20 June 2010

solstice, 21 weeks today

Contractions today, enough to scare me. 4 in one hour this evening as I was driving home from a wondrous if brief festival of sisterLove. Enough to have me talk with the OB on call (who, I kid you not, called back in 2 minutes, huzzah!)-- and enough to have me lying on my side, typing awkwardly, but reveling in no contractions now for two hours plus....

I'd like to say this about contractions-- they are so incredibly bizarre- an interior hardening, pulling inward, a sudden impenetrable bowling ball sort of solidity, pulling in and up on all of that stuff that, at least on me, does NOT want to be pulled.

Back pain sometimes, kidney pain sometimes as a bonus... and it sucks to have to drink so much water since the contractions happen more often when I have to pee and my bladder is full.
Clearly, I need to learn to stop and lie down. Drinking more water does not do it alone-- water in some ways makes it worse (see previous point), but I need to give myself permission to stop. Lie down. Relax. Oh this is very very hard for me. Feels like slacking.

I've been having contractions sporadically since the big low-down down-low pressure event of 6/10, but I did not realize it. My stomach is, indeed, mammoth, but most of the outer layers are displaced guts, fat, organs...not baby, not uterus. Not yet. So this is quite an internal experience. Discomfort, sure-- but I have had such multifaceted discomfort of late it was impossible for me to know what was what.
But now? now I know.

The OB told me the sporadic contractions are normal and not alarming (I scoff and retain my right to defcon 3 and even possibly defcon 2 alarmedness), apparently the ones that cluster are the ones that are worrisome. So I will remember to use the tools at my disposal, PERMISSION TO LIE DOWN.
Gosh kate, you can do this.
Doctor's orders.

I told Sarah, my beloved sister, that I fight with every iota of my being the medicalization/disability mentality of pregnancy as a medical condition, rather than a natural process, blah blah blah (this, with every hint of major irony from a chick knocked up via no natural process whatsoever), and I want to show (who?) that I can still DO EVERYTHING NORMALLY. This, of course, is total bullshit. I, for example, can no longer bend at the waist. BUT I want to. I want to try. I want to do. I want to drive long distances, sit in labs all day, stay upright. I want to show (who?) that I am not even remotely disabled by this, and am perfectly capable of carrying on as if I am ready for anything. Enter reality, stage right. Reality: Tough shit katekate. Suck it up.

Lightning bug on my windowsill right now.
Pardon me while I go revel in the magic of baby movements and lightning bugs.
Oh, yeah, and suck it up.

16 June 2010

the slow reveal

So I think I've got the whole pelvic pain thing figured out-- parsed into 3 distinct categories:
  • tendons/ligaments/connective tissue that are all just pissed off royally
  • a sebaceous cyst - hurrah
  • and a very very low baby+previa = massive pressure low
Yes, I called the doc, and yes I asked to be seen and no they didn't because they are truly unalarmed. Due to the baby position, the pressure I am feeling is not worrisome to them since it is totally expected from their perspective- and as long as there are no contractions, bleeding, seeping, or other misbehaviors, all is well. The doc I spoke with is the one who saw my ultrasound last week and is confident.

Me? I am not so confident, still worried, but I feel as if I can stand down from the worry a little, but not the vigilance (constant vigilance!) as if somehow by paying attention I can save myself.

Speaking of saving myself, please note my nifty new button click through thingy upper right taking you to my heartwork site. It is under construction (and conceptualization) but in want of readers-- it is an offshoot of my usual stuff, you're sure to recognize my voice there, just not much talk of pregnancy, crotch tendons, or IF stuff. I am hoping to use that space to focus on the broader act of creativity, being in the world, and things that bring me joy or move me in a direction of positivity.
You may see some echoes of things I have posted here--
Please check it out.
I hate wordpress but a friend says he will help with customization. If the site moves, I'll change the link with the button.
I wanted to wait until there was *more*, have a big reveal, but really? Life is a slow reveal, a fan dance anyway, so there you go.

I have just two posts up, and one skeletal page for an e-workshop in the works. Feedback is more than welcome-- please please please.

I came apart at work today, cried hard, and took some time to put my pieces back in the same bag-- I do not feel together but I feel gathered. It is a fine start. See, the thing about grief, no matter what kind, is that it bubbles and seethes, it does not just leave cleanly. And while I am good at coping, great at denial and diversion and redirection, I am mortal. My professional facade cracked. Sadness flooded faster than I could staunch the flow. I left work, drove home, cried enough, and then met a friend for dinner. See? I say to myself, see? I'm ok. And with the lump in my throat down to the size of a onion set, I can believe it to be true.
No, actually, I know it to be true. I can feel like shit and be ok and have both be true. I have enough room.

15 June 2010


yes, singular, firefly.
One that flashed 4 times right outside my window, then rose, flashing in 4-flash dashes, repeating it once more as it crested the roof line, and was gone.
The first of the season and so early!
Pure magic.

13 June 2010

20 weeks

Today I am at 20 weeks.
I rediscover my pregnancy each morning. I wake up, and in my stillness, I am unaware. Even with the fluttery good mornings of elbows and feet, I am not aware of the immensity of it. Or, in fact, the immensity of me.
I am awed, and hopeful, and now, expectant. I moved into a realm where I expect things to be ok. And I need to believe that with all of my heart.

After so much time in hibernation, I finally decided to spend some time catching up with blogs and almost immediately found such sad things I could not continue. SciFibaby, Brooke who was just about where I am, lost her baby on May 17th.

I am horrified always at the thought of loss, anytime, to anyone-- but to have it happen to someone cycling exactly the schedule as I was, running a parallel course of wonder and awe? I am simply floored.

And then there is hope to be celebrated and supported, sweet Joannah is doing a hope-filled FET this month with the two embryos she created with her now deceased and always beloved husband.

I hate the fragility of all of this.
Yes, in the fragility there is beauty, but there is also such fear.
I don't like that part.
I don't like feeling so vulnerable and powerless and afraid that Bad Things Will Happen.
I have been sitting here since, hand on my belly, feeling movement inside and out, knowing (hoping) all is well in this moment.
Then a well-intentioned search on previa scared the shit out of me.


yeah. Wish I hadn't done that.
I need to get my feet back under me. So, katekate, step Away from the computer. Stop trying. Just be.
And breathe some more.
Happy 20 weeks little one. Here's to 20 more UNEVENTFUL NONSCARY ORDINARY weeks with lots of reassuring knocks and wiggles.

12 June 2010

new things

Thursday afternoon I left work when my hours were up, which felt so odd and off. I felt so sad leaving, not like WHOO HOO but dang.

I'd been feeling some odd low pressure all day. Finally called the doc who instructed me to drink lots of water and lie on my left side-- so I did, and I took it easy physically yesterday and tried to drink more, but I still feel off-- thankfully no contractions, no bleeding or increased discharge, just an odd low heaviness and a feeling like all of my low down muscles and tendons are vaguely to moderately pissed off. So I am basically forcing liquids, doing kegels (all this pressure down makes me want to do everything I can to pull everything back up)-- and just trying to take it easy. When I move, (stand/walk) everything feels more off.

Yesterday was my first work-for-myself friday and I headed "downtown" to revel in high speed wifi to get my Linkedin summary written and posted, and then to work on my new website. But after writing the summary, I realized I could not connect, so home again to upload (better slow than none) and then do website work. I hate wordpress. I'm just sayin'. I am pretty sure they could make it less user friendly by, say, requiring me to use unix (grep, I say, grep). So, anyway, in some ways it is good to go slowly since my brain has time to multitask-- what do I want of this new endeavor? how do I present it and to whom?
So after some thinking, I bought 3 months of sponsorship on BohoGirl's blog starting in July (see? must have something ready to share with the world by then!)-- and worked on my button:
And also worked on my much-less-fun header, and tried to understand what I can and cannot do with the site. I have a friend who will help me for real, but I wanted a placeholder... so...

so it was a very productive day in the directions of workwork and heart-work, and I feel good about that.
But it was so dang odd.

I drove up north today, up early early, to donate my left over medications to my old clinic. I met with my sweet nurse, Sharon, and we had a great visit. When last she and I were in touch I wanted to cycle just one more time and she was the one to tell me they wouldn't. And it took a long time for my wounds to heal enough to be in touch...time and the fine distraction that is success.

Today is all gentle rain and low raggedy clouds, the woods are so green and lush with new growth (every single tiny ending of every single branchlet on every hemlock is bright green with an inch or two of new needles)-- it is so lovely.

Feet up
Cat on my shins,
computer on my lap
the little one is wiggling and poking
Week 20 tomorrow, halfway-- a simply astonishing fact.

...time to get back to work.

09 June 2010


I am so tired of this work thing-- it's like a long, drawn-out breakup.
I am all emotionally fuddled, find myself feeling perpetually chemically altered (sorry baby!), and really really wish this were different. I am sad, grieving in a way, trying to figure out how to fix it. I find I am working hard at trying to help, trying trying trying, and what I really need to do is to give myself permission to stop.

Just stop.

I can still work hard and in the best interest of the company, but I can stop trying to fix something that it is not in my power to fix. This is not a mess of my making.

Honestly, this whole thing showcases my residual and ancient disfunction in the most embarrassing way-- the most codependent bullshit dance I dance is this one. I am so much bigger than this. And it is impossibly hard to see this old me doing this old dance one more time.

My sweet sister gave me a really helpful pep talk last night, encouraging me, and letting me know she thinks I am almost ready to let this feeling of co-responsibility go. And I know I will feel lighter. Last week was a preview- I felt detached, but not absent. I need to get there again.

NLP includes a technique where you imagine a frame around the person causing distress, imagine zooming out, imagine turning down the volume... making the immediate experience a little more distant like watching TV.

I need to remember the self protecting skills I have, and remember to use them. The most important thing here is not to FIX THIS but to hold myself apart-- yes, protect myself--including against my own impossible expectations and ancient habits and tapelooping brain.

I remember lying in bed many nights after Jeff's death, wishing I could just shut off my brain. I was harming myself with my brain tape loops, hurting myself over and over... I learned to say STOP, right out loud, and to see a big stop sign. And repeat that as often as I had to. Sometimes it took what felt like a million tries.

But the intention here is really important, and I need to reinstate that technique, albeit more quietly. I am harming myself by trying so hard to fix this, by thinking and thinking and thinking...

(shhhh, katekate, hush).
hear me, me: You have permission to let this go. You are bigger than this.

How about you? If you could let one thing go today, one thing that is weighing you down, gobbling or nibbling away at your lifeforce, what would it be?

*** updated message for us all to hear from a great comment from It is what it is:
Also, think about the abundant space that will be created in your heart, mind, and consciousness for other, more life affirming things, if you let this thing go...

Ohh my, THANK YOU. Yes, you are SO RIGHT.

07 June 2010

perfection and previa

The baby? measuring perfectly 19w1d, perfect in every way.
The sequential screening results? DREAMY. Dreamy dreamy for an older momma like me.
The placenta? Well, yeah, that... total previa. We talked c-section.
So, here's hoping it does the nice thing and migrate upwards. Here's hoping it does NONE OF THE SCARY THINGS. Here's hoping that if it does not move, we just have a textbook c section at term.
This from the hope-I-can-do-it-all-naturally gal. Yeah well. Universe wins. I control nothing. I get it.

The job conversation was as good as it could be, I went in hoping to keep it logistical rather than emotional. Fought for and won maintenance of my benefits thanks to my office manager who has my back. This week? Friday off with my new schedule. And heard one other person here was also asked for a time decrease as of this morning. He is neither female nor pregnant.

And with all of this emotional bruhaha, I am ready to nap. Yoga tonight though praise-the-gods.

06 June 2010


Yup, that's the logo I came up with for my new adventure, and I must say I am pretty psyched. Spent some time last night getting notes together, gathering the ideas that have been flying around inside my head, starting to think about a place-holder website-- this new project feels good. Feels like heart work. Stay tuned for more.

Week 19 starts today, can you believe it? We have the big ultrasound tomorrow (anatomy)-- again, I hope we do not find out the gender but I know it could happen. I am trying to be ok with knowing. So odd-- I am usually much better knowing than not, but in this case? I wanted to keep it mysterious for a while longer, until, say, late October.

Movements have been so much fun, so magical. By far the best part of this whole journey up until now (since the positive tests which still win).

I've gained 5 lbs, and am very happy to have no chance at all of holding in my stomach, and no way to worry about belly fat or whatever-- my body is doing what it needs to to accommodate for this amazing being, and I am humbled by the entire experience. I watch my body change with a mixture of awe and trepidation-- good lord, how big will I get? holy crap, I am already big. Big enough so people are surprised when I tell them I am due in October.And, like most women, I worry about stretch marks. But I also know that what will be will be.
I am both vain and zen. More vain, admittedly, but a wee bit zen.

Sleep is intermittent, so I am AWAKE at 4am and tired to the bone at 7...
My back aches sometimes, but nothing horrible.
I am stiff when I move after some time of stillness.
I just made plans to visit my dad in Denver for a brief weekend in early July- very very happy about this, and I planned a trip with stops so I can get up and walk.
No other complaints at all-I am so very lucky.
A lot of stuff is weird, unfamiliar, odd, but all very dealable.

Tomorrow too is The Conversation at work- boss+office manager (HR person)+me.
I dread it, and am trying to figure out how to go in with my emotional guard up and firmly in place.
Just found out we need a new roof. And the realtor today confirmed what I suspected- that the house, in this economic situation, is worth considerably less than I owe. I love the house and do not want to leave it, and now-- knowing that our only option is a short sale, well, we'll do all we can to keep it.

Rental would cover less than half of the mortgage so that is not an option either.

Looking ahead to all of the good things, and trying very hard not to get discouraged by the tough stuff right now. Sometimes, sometimes I succeed.

03 June 2010

Enoughness, contemplating success

I just wrote this to sweet Elizabeth and wanted to share with all of you-- I've been thinking a LOT about what success means, and how we define when what we do is good enough. My thinking has been Big, but also small- the everyday stuff, the things that make us feel we're doing well, that we're ok, that we're contributing...that we're doing our best.
I think that growing up with an "always do your best" mantra, kinda screwed me up, since it never gave room for context: A " do your best" considering today's energy, weather, emotional balance, life complexities, relationships, health, level of extroversion, sleep adequacy...

what a difference that would have made.
What if we gave ourselves permission to do the best we can with what we have at the moment? recognizing that what we have sometimes is not very much-- not much reserve, or emotional energy...


maybe, what if.. what if we give ourselves permission to do just what we need to (if we can)....

Jen Lee explored enoughness in a beautiful recent post (heck, all of her posts are beautiful), more specifically, an exploration of the bare minimum.

quiet and allergies

Woke to the sound of rain today, which is so beautiful.
I feel like the universe is saying, shhhh, be still, this is a day for quiet.
But while I can do neither on the outside
I can try/all both on the inside.

Today I will be using a technique that has been working pretty well this week-- looking at my day in pieces, 2 hours at a time.., instead of one long stretch.
And I will try to hold my emotional side apart- observe or let pass, not engage.
I found that day-dicing helps me feel less overwhelmed.

Linda, thank you for the website suggestion! I will definitely check it out.

Life wise, pollen has me knocked flat, so I got permission to use Claritin. Claritin helps but makes me tired and blue. At I know what is causing the blue so it is easier to manage, but the tradeoff sucks. I wish I could just not have the sneezing allergies, and nose running down my face snotstorm, and perpetual sniffles, red eyes and fuzzy head. But, this way, sneezing and running are lessened, and the blue/tired is known for what it is. Hope this is very temporary.

The little one spends time being still (or moving where I cannot feel it), then it is all a flutter. I felt an external push against my hand just once last night, so that is a very cool transition.

I have holyshitI'mPregnant realizations about 100 times a day, it is astonishing to me. Both that I am pregnant and that I can forget even for a moment. But I do. Then I remember.

In response to all of the work transition, I've pulled inward, I know it. I feel it. I am trying to gather my energy and ideas for what is next. I am working on an ecourse and am excited about that. And I am also trying to run my fingers through all of the wonderful things I've been collecting in my awareness these past few years of what makes me feel good, or what I enjoy.
Not sure when my friday's off will start, maybe next week? I will meet with my boss and office manager/HR person on monday to discuss the details. I want to throw up imagining it.

But, in This moment, the sun is pushing through the clouds and the birds are calling.
Even in the rain my thrush welcomed morning with it's beautiful haunting song.
I need to get going, so I will. There are horses to admire, and greenery, and sheep and cattle and the crazy long eared brown coated donkey, there is the stream to check for flow, and the bad traffic closer to work to navigate. All distractions.