29 May 2012

Gut-truth, angels, waiting for the apocalypse

I know I've written here before, obliquely or directly about my lifelong battle with my guts.
I was 9 or 10, on my way to an ill-fated 3 days at camp when I had my first attack that I remember.
Diagnosed via old-school long barium x-ray series and inflexible scope/horrid biopsy as "healing ulcerative colitis" when I was about 10, and again in early adult hood as "IBS", and from one obnoxious Dr. it was due to me being an "emotional female"... *cough*biteme*cough*

I've been on a million medications, some relatively benign (Lomotil), some not (phenobarbital), tried therapy, hypnosis, food allergy testing, rotation diets, bio feedback, dropping out of school...
tried herbs and ozone and colonics...

I've made many life decisions based on this pretty intensely debilitating thing. Avoided mornings. Travel. Excitement. Anxiety. Avoided all known triggering foods (leading to a very limited diet).  Limited my choices, options, experiences, ideas.... I lived smaller than I would have, more fearfully, more carefully, more cautiously.

A few years before Della when I was doing acupuncture, my practitioner suggested sensitivity testing and I said yes... based on the results, this time I went completely gluten and dairy free, and within three days (THREE DAYS) was so much better it was as if I'd been visited by angels. Seriously, from three attacks a week to NONE.

I've been almost completely in remission since.  Occasional echoes, but mostly? Fine.  Fine enough to imagine things I would have done, if only I could have.  Fine enough to feel bad for my young self who had to be so careful.

Then this morning, 2 hours of badness.  A reminder with the only obvious cause an uptick in stress. And I remember everything I hate about it. The shaky intensity, the exhaustion, the depletion... the real mystery of whateveritis. But the rhythm of it, this I know. I know the waves. The rocking. The breathing. The waiting.
Blessed to have a bathroom and time, and access to both...

This afternoon, I am fine. And it almost feels like I imagined it.
I expect to be fine tomorrow.
I expect to be fine in general, which is why it surprises me so much when it happens.

After so long without actively having to deal with it, I can say this: I did not miss it.

I wanted to write this since IBS and the evil cousins are pretty common.  I know it is true for many in the IF community. To you I say-- try gluten free. It sucks. It is not easy. It takes planning and consciousness.  But for me, this combination of no dairy, no gluten has been a life saving change.  I forget to mention it because it is just the way I live now.  Try a week. For others in my family it was key not only to gut stuff but mood and energy stuff as well.

As for my own guts? Trying to be compassionate.  And not extrapolate to the apocalypse.  So far, so good.

22 May 2012

Join me in celebrating?

Just got some great news from an online friend that she and her partner are expecting--- after many many ART attempts, much shitty attendant IF-o-rama,  body uncertainty and complexity, but now.... now?  EXPECTING!   I wish she had a blog so I could send you there to celebrate with them-- so I ask you,  please feel free to do so here in the comments, I will compile anything supportive and congratulatory you write and send her a note. For the purposes of this celebration, let's call her S. And if you've ever wanted to delurk and comment, please do so!
I'm experimenting with taking off the catpcha  so you should be able to comment even from a smart phone...

I am so thrilled for them I could jump and clap, and truly feel deep joy about this success.

I love hearing happy news.

This past week has been filled with sadness on the internet-- I keep landing on blogs with news of loss and there is always such a horrid wash of grief...
I feel my heart drop when someone gets a negative, or a slow beta....and gasp aloud at the soul-deep horror of miscarriage. (god/goddess/all-that-is).

I groove on great news and feel stricken by bad.

I just want to say while I don't know your path...  I am not you... I have not had your specific struggles, or your specific successes.... I do not and cannot truly understand your unique context, your unique complexities, your hopes and dreams and history...
I can say this: wherever you are on your path-- to parenthood, or transitioning at midlife, or seeking your truth, I may not be able to Know or truly Understand, but oh! I hear you.

21 May 2012


Our first parade took place this weekend. Hot sun, high noon, wildly stimulating.
It was the kind of hot that was not fun, and felt a little dangerous.
Thank god for Doug, the backpack he was willing to wear, the stroller he was willing to push... and a short kick in the proverbial shin to anyone who planned this for noon, this CHILDREN AND THE ARTS parade, featuring tons of little kids from all of the area daycares and school programs.
Water water water, blessed shade in the park at the end of the walk.... then home to collapse on the couch.
Our daycare graciously provided the floral decorations. I'm just sayin'.

17 May 2012


I got what I wanted
low rolling thunder
wild lightning
real rain, hard rain, hear-it-on-the-roof-rain..
and today was gloriously clear with the bluest sky and a feeling like I could exhale

16 May 2012

healing power of oatmeal

I am in need of a good thunderstorm... something definitive.  Rolling thunder, dark dark, real rain...

Barring that, in the twilight of yet another pearly gray shadowless damp warmishsticky coolishclammy whattheheckdoIwear kind of day, I am eating a bowl of oatmeal with pumpkin pie spice, brown sugar and half a pint of organic blueberries that I know I should have washed but didn't.

Once upon a time I lived in Seattle for a year, and during that year, I prayed PRAYED for real rain. It was lovely, green, verdant, but perpetually misty. Moisture just was, it never actually fell. A bunch of months into it, I wished for thunder, for rain, for a downpour.

I've gotten wimpy: it's only been a few days of this gray, and even as a nature lover,  I find this flatlighted humidity more than somewhat oppressive.

14 May 2012

complexity: mother's day after loss

This is such a complex time of year.

In this incarnation, I find myself, quite miraculously, mother to Della (among many other things)-- awesome, humbling, knee-shaking, wondrous (among many other things...)

But three years ago, we found ourselves in the midst of a missed miscarriage. The week before mother's day held our discovery that we had lost Sprout, my D&C and a grief that was so large I wondered if I would ever be ok again.
I could not imagine I would ever be ok.
When I think of Sprout, and I do, often... when I think of Sprout my heart aches for what I now know is possible (and for all I was hoping for, and all that I was celebrating and anticipating, for all that I thought might happen)

but then, on the heels of very real grief,  there is this mindbender
this heart-wrench-er
this realization that if anything had been different, there would be no Della
blows my mind.

So I am sad, yes,
and complicated, yes
and happy with my life, YES
and clearly complikated
and very much many facets of kate as I think of this and feel my way through this,
this time of celebration and acknowledgement that I think should extend to all who are moms and who are waiting for their children
for me, a season of awe
and of wondering what might have been and the impossibility of what that might have meant.

10 May 2012

18 months yesterday

18 months and I cannot quite get my head around this miniature moody teenager living in our midst....this dazzling beauty, so smart and funny, so sure of what she wants, the way she wants it, so unable to adjust to our slow rate of understanding, or, worse, getting it wrong.  She is ferocious, wonderful, busy, with the biggest best smile, and wonderful snorty laugh (that's my girl).  Dimples, a love of Shrek (wree) and Elmo (ELMO!), curly hair that is 8" long when stretched out that she sometimes plays with and that I play with often...
last night we lay in bed and I looked at her amazing face, right there, Right There next to mine... Sometimes I am truly breathless with wonder.

She loves to look at the moo and tars
She loves to swee (swing) and go down the slide
She loves being in the backpack on daddy Doug (back)
She loves toast (TOAST! + happy wriggly dance)
She loves finding patterns that she knows, apples, frogs, dogs, cats, cows, stars...
She loves cake, she calls it, excitedly, dirt! (dellaspeak for dessert).

She hates baths, truly...
and is not fond of diaper changes
does not like being rushed into dressing if she is not ready
will not try new foods except the rare sometimes or when daddy sneaks it in 

She is not fond of the car, gets impatient with drives quickly, and sometimes fights a great big sad fight when we get in...

She runs and dances and climbs and seems fearless (oy!)
She loves being held until she doesn't.
She is tender and fierce.
She says a good firm unapologetic No, and a very happy Yes (yeah yeah yeah)

She asks about Dada when he is not home yet, or in the other room, or sleeping... and just about jumps out of her skin in happiness when he appears.
She runs toward me when I pick her up at daycare, and shows me everything. Gardens, sandbox, slide, big rock, big stumps, dirt...

Firmly into 2T clothes, size 6 shoes getting tight, and on the cusp of size 5 diapers...

Della. Wow. 18 months already. DELIGHT.

(crazy great photos by Susan Mullen www.susanmullenphotography.com/blog)

09 May 2012

07 May 2012


Friday I picked Della up from daycare, her last day in the baby room (although she had, truly, spent much of the week and all of friday in the toddler room), and I was all lumpthroated and verklemp... it is just happening so fast, this baby growing into a non-baby...
She was tired and moody (not surprising to us after the major uptick in ACTION and sensory input)--
then we changed her diaper.  Residual poop everywhere from a clearly insufficient clean-up, including poop lodged in her very pissed off tenderbits, and a Very Unhappy Della (and momma, and Doug)-- damn. It sucked.  SUCKED SUCKED SUCKED> She kept crying, and saying No No No, clamping her legs together and pushing me away while I cleaned, anointed, cuddled, soothed as best I could in every way possible...

Wrote a strong (but focused) note to daycare about the issue and spent the night shaking, angry, upset, and trying to get a grip. (Today we got a great response about the poop and the rash and all attendant ickiness, the kind of professional, thorough, appropriate response everyone would want... investigation, action, apology, plan, follow-up, request for ongoing feedback.. seriously, everything anyone would want.)
But friday and the weekend, while there was plenty there to work with given what happened, I admit, I was not really getting the all of what was getting me. Until today.

As a sexual abuse survivor (hate that term,  I don't know...someone who has walked that shitty road), I have to say, none of Della's significant unhappiness, her totally appropriate expression of her unhappiness (no, no, no) and my need to do things to her anyway was ok for me.  To say it resonated with my history is an understatement, although in fact, I did not even realize until today (consciously) that my jittery feeling of overwhelming shittiness is, at least in part, due to my sexual abuse history.

My own resonance, the one that got twanged, is not one I deal with well.  Much therapy, and much life since then.  I have grown out and around and away from it. I even forget about it (DENIAL is a very long river) for long stretches of time.  I have so much more life than that.  But. But. It is a fucked up thing that sits in there, quietly (yes, thankfully quietly) until rung like a bell.

Wish I knew a different language to use for this
resonance is something I am cultivating in positive ways these days, so I hate to use that word, but really, it is what the truth is.
then, an aftershock mood fug.

So today, chocolate cake for breakfast, and a strong desire to let this go as gently as I can without re-ringing it. Della is healing well thanks to the miracle of A&D ointment. Besides having this not happen, it is the best I can hope for.

image thanks to wikipedia

03 May 2012

BIGNESS, mercy, unicorns and babies

I'm sitting in the dark office with only the light of the computer. I need to be in bed now, but am having a hard time wrapping up the day.
It was a good day, really. A busy day. A mad rush intensity day at a client site. But it was good. So why am I off kilter wanting to procrastinate letting it go, letting tomorrow come?

Della is in transition from the baby room to the toddler room at daycare. Tuesday we had our formal transition meeting,  and next monday is her first official day in the toddler room. I did not truly realize that parenting would be so much about change and letting go whether or not I'm ready.
I'm feeling nostalgic? yes, nostalgic.  Loving where we are, but shocked at how quickly time is flying by. It has no mercy at all, time. Sort of like gravity. Merciless.

I hold my now big girl and sort of feel astonished, really. I have not even truly believed that she is here, and here she is, BIG and almost a year and a half old already.  I remember holding my hands over my belly while she somersaulted and wondering who this person would be, and here she is, wildly smiling joyful full of life ALIVE and growing in every moment.

We have moments where she looks me deeply in the eyes, or holds my face for a moment (stillness is so very fleeting in this one), and says momma, and I can barely breathe from it. I feel nearly crushed with the bigness of this, the BIG NESS of this.

I hold her and say, holy crap, look at me, holding a baby. Holding a real, whole person. Holding DELLA. It is just as surprising as holding a wild animal, or being in space. Astonishing.

I hear other parents talk about their kids, and they seem to be so at ease with the truth of it, of the fact that they are parents, that they have a kid or kids, that this just is what is. I confess to envy for those who seem so sure of the truth of their lives, effortless belief.

I know (with some sort of semi-sheepish self-compassion) that I am still in the infertility PTSD mode of worrying I will lose her. Of holding my hand on her back while she sleeps. I can't help it yet. I don't quite believe she is here, and feel, somehow, it is up to me, up to my quiet constant vigilance to stay in this dream.  As if I might wake up,  find myself without her.

This sounds SERIOUS and BIG but it isn't. It is more like a haze, a wash; not debilitating, but it is my truth. I wish I could say otherwise, I wish I could say I've relaxed into poopy diapers and baby-sized food and crumbs down my shirt and the wonder of folding pairs of tiny socks... but really, no. There are poopy diapers, and baby food, and crumbs and wonder, but there is also this ever-present tinge of disbelief, this veil of something that feels like a kind of distance, like in the old days when I held myself separate to keep myself safe.  It is a little like that but with a big big difference.  I am also much closer to my own heart than I've ever been. So to call it distance is not quite fair.  I've never been this rawboned, this opened up, this filled with an inexpressible love.

I'll go to bed now. Holding the dichotomy of such huge cracked-open openness and this persistent disbelief or whateveritis that feels somewhat unreal. 

how about you? Those of you who have made it into the land of unicorns and babies, does this feel real to you? if not, how do you feel about that?