31 July 2012

catch and release

I had a reiki session yesterday-- and with it, spoke some of my truth to my practitioner, and there is something sometimes about speaking out loud that makes you hear yourself differently and whoa, yeah, there is STUFF going on for me right now.

Tomorrow is August.
For those of you who've been here for a while, you know August sucks rocks for me. No, not all of August, but the light, the sound of the birds, the crickets, the kadydids, all elicit instantaneous gut memories of some very difficult times.  August is beautiful and treacherous for me.

My beloved Della's sudden infatuation with all things tractory is bringing up that odd and intense connection to my past in a far-from-timely fashion (although, maybe in the bigger healing story, it is right on time. Oy. and WTF.)

My reiki practitioner said that Della is my biggest teacher right now (oh how I know this to be true) and boy howdy, on the way home from daycare yesterday, she dropped a clover she'd been holding, and when she does that she usually freaks out-- so I quickly said, don't worry, we'll find it when we get home. And instead of escalating into frenzy, she said with a shrug,
All gone.
A few minutes later, she dropped something else-- a sticker I think-- again, usual cause for freak out...
At her first whimper, I said, don't worry! We'll find it when we get home!
But instead of escalating, she calmed right down and said:
Momma, all gone.

She's never ever said this before, not once, not ever.
So that second time? I laughed hard. Ok, I hear you little one, I hear you.

There is a mythology of grief and of loss that is pretty intense and pretty compelling-- the idea that holding the memory fresh and true is some way of memory-keeping, as if, if that memory loses immediacy, loses intensity, the mere act of letting the acuteness fade is evidence of not having loved quite so much, or not having lost quite so much, or maybe it is also about compounding the loss with losing something else (the acute present-dayness of the pain and memories)....
if I were speaking to a beloved or dear friend, I would say:
Beloved, no amount of replaying will change what happened, and will only cause you re-injury (cue PTSD)...  the love was (and is) love, the loss was and truly always will be, loss.  The person was the person. The situation was the situation. Hear me: there will always be grief.  I know this to be true.
But holding onto acute grief as evidence of what was lost is like keeping a bone broken to prove the game happened.


So, I'm going to try to mindfully (radical idea) deal with my own tender self these next few weeks. 
Yes it is AUGUST. I will be tender. To think otherwise would be bullshit. But, maybe I can do this differently this time.
In my mindfulness, can I catch myself mid-stride, on the verge of habitual grief or triggered escalation, nearly compulsive re-injury through re-playing...
can I catch myself, even once, and mindfully envelop the whateveritis in lovingkindness and release it?

So this August, this day, beginning right now, I am going to try to do this differently. I will fail often, but every moment I succeed I am giving myself the gift of healing, even if just tiny bits, and every single tiny bit counts toward the wholeness I want to feel.  

I am inviting you-- all of you out there who are on your own healing journey-- to try this along with me for the month of August. 31 days of incremental healing, of mindful gentleness and self-compassion.

30 July 2012

nearly wordless monday

Thank you, truly, for all of your kind comments --there really is solace in hearing: "yes, I know how you feel".

I started this morning by painting over a painting I did not like. I began a new one that will undergo the same fate some other monday, but, regardless of the fits and starts, it felt like progress (frustrating progress still counts!)

25 July 2012


Strangely, or perhaps not so strangely, writing that last post made me feel worse rather than better. I am used to some relief upon truth telling, as if somehow by sharing the story, by sharing my truth, I am able to both express where I am, and possibly reveal something that makes someone out there feel less alone.

Today is different. Since I hit *post*, I have felt uneasy. Not as if I have not told my truth, but as if by telling it I was making it more solid, more sticky maybe.

I am not taking it down, but I wanted to say this part too-- sometimes the tender underbelly confessions are more tender than they first appear, or maybe they are bigger than expected since they are actually attached to other sticky things.

I'll be meditating on this, since it feels as if there are unexamined hooks in this for me, perhaps other untaken roads, or options that are no longer options, or simply (or not at all simply) facing some of the collateral damage that comes with aging.

Wisdom? BRING IT
Options falling away since I've literally run out of time? SUCKS ROCKS

Not sure what all the elements are, not sure I will ever know all of them, but there are more messages in this for me and it (and I) deserve some time to feel my way around this.

Tender reality

But, see, the fact is, I'm 45.

We are blessed and lucky to have Della. We have been struck by the very best type of lightning, won the very best type of lottery, bucked the very worst kind of odds...

I don't know how many IUIs we did, but I remember the feeling like the procedure should have been something *more*-- more what? Romantic? MOMENTOUS? Something that conveyed the immensity of the possibility that a BABY may result... yeah, well,  no.

When we began, I had a definite limit to the kind of intervention I would try-- I knew I would never inject myself with anything, so big was my hatred of needles, so innocently certain was I of my NEVERNESS.

Then, time passed, and things did not work.  What I knew shifted. Never turned to maybe turned to finding myself one fine day staring down the business end of a lupron needle.

I remember that first IVF cycle attempt, the one with the bad drug reaction that left big welts on my belly, reordering meds... and then the shock of empty follicles. No eggs retrieved, not one. None.

I remember the second IVF cycle, the single follicle, the cancellation before retrieval, the last minute conversion to IUI, the totally surprising pregnancy. The heartbeat, the hope written every day into a notebook, the loss. Oh the loss. I will never forget how it felt to learn that the pregnancy was over, that Sprout was gone. I thought I would die from it. I will never forget the morning of the D&C. How I felt when I went to sleep. Or how I felt when I woke up.
Then the wait for the HCG to get back down after the miscarriage.
The wait. The wait. The wait.
It was Spring.

Then a few more IUIs since nothing seemed to be playing out right to try another IVF... oh, those IUIs helped me feel I was doing something. After all, we did achieve a pregnancy that way once upon a time. Lightning could strike twice. Couldn't it?

then, finally, alignment in the universe: an IVF, perfectly played, 5 embryos, negative.

then another IVF, perfectly played, 2 embryos, negative.

then my clinic broke up with me, telling me that it was time to stop trying. and oh, the pain of that. the pain drove me to rebound with a new clinic, a new protocol, and
IVF attempt #5, 2 embryos
the lightest and slowest developing positive line that any pee stick has ever shown...
one miraculous heartbeat
one profound and profoundly stressful pregnancy, one long-ass, intense labor followed by urgent C section in the dark of the earliest part of morning.

And one perfect Della.

Many of the folks I cycled with in the beginning have already had another baby.
More and more people are asking when we'll have another.
Saying how great it would be to have a mini-Doug.
How great it would be if we had more kids.
And I think:
Yeah, see, but I'm 45. We spent 3 years.  At least 60K we are still paying.  And oh, the rollercoaster. The heartbreak. And this time it would be donor eggs, a totally different ball of wax emotionally for me. And with no big paying job. No way to really do this. Really, no way to do this that is even on the far side of reasonable.

But, in this moment, I also get why people want to have more babies when their first one is this age. I know, if we had embryos, I would be working toward an FET right now in spite of everything pragmatic and reasonable.
I know, I know, that I could not love anyone more than I love Della, and that this urge, this longing, this sort of sadness, this is about something else, some weird biological imperative maybe, some *something*. 
I know it comes from a place of love, thinking of More-- Della is so spicy, so smart and funny and beautiful, of course we would welcome more!

I look younger than I am, which is a blessing in many situations. But not when it comes to this question.
Doug works with folks in their 20s. They just don't know that time runs out. They ask with such innocence, such delight in Doug, such delight in imagining how cool it would be to have a little mini-Doug running around....
The lady at the farmer's market, holding her 5th, talking about how as each new one turns 1 she begins to plan, telling me that I won't regret it if I have another, and yes it is hard to do it while working, but it is * so worth it *...yeah, well....

It is strangely hard to know we are done.

Even though this is not a capital L LONGING, it is hard to hear folks ask without some visceral ache, knowing it is not an option for us.  It is hard to have it come up, and let it go without a really deep wistfulness. Without the possibility. Without the ability to just change our minds and go for it.
This is a grief of a different kind. A quieter kind. The boat has sailed kind. The not even possible enough to revel in regret kind.
This just is.
And these past days, thanks to the innocent delight and questions from an abundance of strangers, the thing that it is, is really tender.

18 July 2012

Perhaps strength...

This amazing quote came to me today, from a visit to the Road Less Traveled, (quote attribution Unknown, I tried to look it up-- if you know, leave it in the comments please!!)
I found the artist! Kristen Jongen

Oh my.

16 July 2012

Happy to you!

A weekend of sick baby and fever and no sleep and the weekend came and went and oy.
She is better but still not really eating (except nursing). On Saturday, she was hoarding spit in her mouth to avoid swallowing. That throat must have been sore sore sore.
But, to focus on the positive since there is so very much of it (now that the fever is gone)--

Della came home singing one day last week--
"Happy to you, happy to you!"

Could this be any more perfect?

Shouldn't we be wishing this on everyone??

So, I say to you, and encourage you to pass it along:

Happy to you!

11 July 2012


I sing this to Della in a tune I made up--

you are my baby
beautiful, smart, creative and kind
resourceful, resilient, self protective
and sleep through the night

(a bit of fantasy there at the end. I'm just sayin).

computer woes and a wee bit of flailing have kept me away for a bit-- so I'll add some photos my brother in law took this past weekend with his cell phone.
Note the pigtails.
and so it begins.