30 January 2011

Dear belly: a love letter (of sorts)

Dear Belly,
I am sorry it has been so long since I have said nice things to you.
Please know, that even at our worst, even when we were fighting all the time, I would not change any choice I made to get us here.
But that does not mean it has not been hard.
Very hard.

It has been 11 weeks since Della came, and at first, I thought I would hate you forever.
You were still big and full and not very doughy, just 8 months or more pregnant looking even though the baby was out and beautiful and in our arms.

The first three weeks were the hardest, since you stayed late term maternity-huge without budging. I wore my maternity pants with no alternatives, and avoided my profile. I could not see my feet, and had to lift you out of the way to catch a glimpse of my new scar to check for healing.

Then, miraculously, you began to recede. I felt impatient, kept stepping on the scale even though my weight was nearly down to pre-pregnancy. Within a few more weeks, my maternity pants were beginning to be big. By week 5, I was hiking them up, but no other pants, not even my fat pants fit. My stretchy pants were too tight too. Awkward inbetween-ness, I just wanted to have you be gone. I would sit and grab you in my hands like bread dough (you'd gotten softer and softer), and feel my own revulsion. Gosh, what a waste of energy better spent nearly any other way.
At 6 weeks I looked the same as I did at around 5 or 6 months.
At 7 weeks I bought pants that fit me as I was, not as I wanted to be.

Now, at week 11, I fit normal pants, one size up from before. You slob over the top a little, and my profile is not at all what I would want, with belly sticking out farther than boobs. But, you have done this amazing thing. You were beyond big with Della on the inside- mammoth in fact. Laughably large. And now, you are down to a protruding doughy jiggle that I am aware of but probably no one else in the world would be when seeing me either again or for the first time. You have done more than I can ask for, at nearly 44 and remarkably inelastic, you have made an incredible journey from way out there to back to the neighborhood again.

Thank you Belly, thank you for not staying as big as you were, and for coming down to the size you are now without effort on my part except, perhaps, the nearly impossibly inhuman effort of patience (I am not known for self patience, I confess)...

If this is what I look like, then, this is what I look like.
Most of the time, I think I can be ok with this.

Love, mostly, and except for sometimes,

23 January 2011

Fairy dust

Snow on snow on ice on snow. The woods are full and branches heavy. There are frozen drops on the tips of all of the needles on the hemlock branches, and icicles as long as my arm hanging from all of the eaves. I am not sure there is much more beautiful than snow blown free with sunlight streaming in behind it, sparkling fairy dust.
But I am pretty much hating the new roof leaks, the bulging buckled paint, the orange edged stain that is creeping up and across the ceiling, and the feeling that the falling apart is outpacing our ability to keep it together.
It is the weather, I know. The confluence of snow and ice and melt and weight and the odd rules that water follows as it finds its way in. I spent today trying to focus on what is working, being warm and safe, being in the loving presence of my little one, being surrounded by such beauty.

The weekend whooshed by, and suddenly it is sunday night. I am facing monday with a knotted belly and a desire to stay up all night just to stretch the time between now and then. It feels a little night-before-exam-ish. I am looking forward to transforming this feeling into something else, something better, something life affirming, neutral even.

I have two meetings this week and hope to have another next week-- and two more to schedule. Babycare is hard to coordinate since we are not flush with options, but it is possible and I have to remember that and keep moving forward.

I keep having IDEAS and then, soon after, often soon upon sharing it, REASONS IT WILL NOT WORK come flooding in. Yes, I am guilty, I am the source of many of these self imposed smackdowns, but in all fairness, other folks are coming up with what seems to be effortless reasons why things won't work either. The economy is high on the list, as is the usual rule that organizations in trouble do not look outside for guidance or solutions. But, I will keep thinking. I have a new IDEA and am letting it marinate a bit. I'm hopeful that one of these will at least be the beginning, the priming of the pump, the thing that helps me move forward.

For now, hoping for time to slow.
Hoping this unbelievable cold stays outside and out of the pipes.
Hoping that a little epiphany will visit, perhaps not as a Shazam, but a slow unfolding. I sure would welcome either.

15 January 2011

some baby pictures and reflections

A year ago (how is this possible?), I was beginning the last-chance-no-really-this-time-I-mean-it IVF cycle that ended with Della. I drove the route to Waltham on thursday, bringing a friend to a Dr down that way... I waved as I passed the clinic, simply amazed at what a difference a year makes.

This year I find myself mired in gutwrenching workstress and transitions, when all I want is to just simply revel in this beautiful baby and this truly miraculous turn of events. I don't want to be struggling with anything, you know? It is just very hard to let go of such a big (enormous) piece of my life and source of identity.

Every chance I get, I take a deep breath, re-center, refocus, gather myself, look at this amazing person and KNOW where my priorities are. NO matter what else is happening right now, coming apart or in the midst of the messy act of creation, this is exactly where I want to be.

I might continue to be a bit sporadic here while some of my bedrock comes apart and I allow myself at last to truly create a life that supports my heartwork, so I wanted to leave you with some images to tide you over for a bit.

Yes, she really is this cute.

08 January 2011

My new blog

Hi folks, just in case it is of interest to your non IF lives, here's a link to my new blog. Please pass it on it if it feels pertinent. I hope to explore how leaders can be more effective with a very common sense approach. Bite size nuggets only for busy executives... no longwinded posts.
Intuitive Leadership: Talent retention and team optimization in the chan...: "As the economy beings to turn around, companies may find that many of their high quality employees will be looking for other opportunities...."

07 January 2011

dragon slaying

So I got this new software: Dragon dictate (for mac, it is dragon naturally speaking for the PC)- and it rocks. Truly. I cannot say enough good about it unless it were free. I've had one real session using it (training then playing) and was totally impressed. I promise to do a post using it soon so you can see how well it does with my babble.

But here's the story...I was playing with it after the initial training, as I mentioned, and the baby started crying. The super sensitive microphone on the headset (included, huzzah!) picked up her crying from all the way in the other room (granted, the place is small, ceilings are high, and doors are few).. and the sw started writing and and and every time she cried.

Totally cute.

On a sort of separate note, I've been thinking a little more about what it means to be a mom to a fussy baby, especially after spending time with Sprogblogger and her lovely Henry. I think we all just do what we need to, you know? This is my normal. Della is her own self, and emerged that way. And since I have no prior experience, this is it for me, this is what parenting is. I watch an easier baby like Henry with fascination, since he is more budda-like than my little one. Della has a 20 minute attention span when all is well, cries often when frustrated or bored or over stimulated... we have the shitty belly issues (literally and figuratively), but this just IS.

I am thinking of Sarah of Dreams and False Alarms, her two little tiny babies. Her time in NICU, that is what parenting is for her.

I am thinking about all of us with all of our realities, isn't this always true?
My mom said that having two babies (two years apart) was not much of a leg up either since my sister and I were so different. And I imagine that was true.

This week I thanked her for faking it-- for acting as if she knew what she was doing-- I told her I never knew until now that she was making it up every moment.

Della is asleep (!) and I need to get ready for bed.
But you know? this whole life thing, aren't we are just all making it up as best we can as we go along?

05 January 2011

Launch party!

My dear friend Kristin Noelle has a new website launching today! Here's her blurb:
The site is titled Trust Tending, and has the tagline, "Conversations, reflections, and art to nourish Life beyond fear." A sketch will accompany each post, and all of the content will explore the concept and nature of trust, and the power that trust has to help us live into the Lives we most want to live. Moving through blocks, making peace with our bodies and emotions, and pursuing dreams will all be topics that I orbit around. The address is www.kristinnoelle.com
So please go there and support her, she is wonderful, you'll love her, I promise. And you may just find that you'll love yourself just a little bit more too. If one of your resolutions for the new year was to be a little more gentle with yourself, a little more supportive, then please stop by. If you're feeling brave, let her know you came from here!

04 January 2011

Happy New Year!

Happy new year!

I'm glad you liked the last post's poem. I LOVE it and need to remember to go back to it again and again as my courage flags.

And thank you all for the advice on pumping and going back to work. You really helped with strategy and I feel like I can do it. I will pump one extra each non work day and will have plenty to top up the bottles for the days I am at work. I keep feeling like I need to have enough frozen for the apocalypse, but perhaps I should stop thinking like that! (no kidding katekate).

On new year's day I celebrated with a hike up my hill with Miss Della-- not all the way up the hill but close. I followed moose tracks up the trail, slipping and sliding (me), so it was important to go slowly and pay close attention to where I put each foot. Pine needles and tiny pieces of leaves and bark and other tree parts peppered the snow. The moose tracks went all the way down to dirt in many places, the thaw of the day widening the hoof prints to enormous proportions.
My heart was pounding, I was sweaty all the way through all of my clothes, and it felt GREAT.
I stopped when I realized that I was pushing on as a matter of pride,legs heavy, and a very special baby strapped to my body. Pushing onward was silly, I was done. So I stopped for a while, looking out through the trees at the mountains on the far side of the valley, enjoying the soft light (ohhh my) and the peace of being in the woods with nothing but the sound of my own breath, my own heart.

Today I met up with our lovely sprogblogger, got to gawk at her amazingly peaceful bountifully cheeked Henry (gorgeous baby) and just kick back and be my own self in the midst of her amazing library/barn. Honestly, what a great day. Della was fussy as she often is, and had a hard time nursing, so I danced around the room, checked out book titles, and jiggled myself into near oblivion. Then, a major blowout diaper (good lord) and all was better. (Thanks for the handmeovers!)
We're home now with a peaceful and probably overstimulated Della, and I, for one, cannot wait to go back again. Thank you SB! We had a wonderful time!

How fun to have her in the neighborhood. How lucky am I?

Della is 2 months old today, how is that possible? Eyelashes and beautiful smile, hands that reach for toys, and a very busy forehead as she takes it all in with wide gray eyes. I am so honored to be part of this, to be able to watch, to jiggle, to soothe when I can, to witness, and, when possible, to facilitate. She is truly miraculous.
2 months. Time has simply been woooshing by at an insane rate.

I go back to work on monday, down to two days a week now in my ever-shrinking job (better than zero which I feared), and I will simply do the best I can both there (as I always do and always will) AND I will do the best I can with my own future as I create it and as it unfolds. I want so much to create something GREAT and affirming. I'm working on some ideas and hope that they start to coalesce into something coherent. Instead of waiting, I am going to take some action and see what happens. I can always change course if I need to. I want so much to do something I am very good at and enjoy. So...

Tomorrow my mom comes for a few hours, and while she is here-- I will set up my new/old ebay computer in a more comfortable place, put some software on there, and begin.

I wish us all the bravery we need to move forward in the direction of filling our lives with things/experiences/people that we love. Even a small step is a step in the right direction. I think I'll go read that poem again. I could use it right now!