Monday, October 17, 2016

It's been a while. I'm ironing. My mother taught me to iron my father's shirts. With starch. Ug. I got pretty good.

I was on retreat all last week on Samish Island. Beautiful windy place with a heron roosting site, bald eagles, seals and deer, all of which I saw. I slept 12 hours a day and then sat in the meditation hall nodding out. Really pathetic. I brought 'natural' M & Ms to munch while trying to read by flashlight.

I met people who have been to the Burmese temple where I'm going in January. My right knee is giving me fits so I'm going to see a sports medicine doc on my dime to see if I can get injections to help it out while I'm gone traipsing around a foreign country with a backpack. I have fear and trembling to go by myself. I was supposed to do this sort of adventuring when I was young but I was busy with babies.

My sister is in a secure treatment center while they try to figure out the right cocktail of drugs to get her stabilized so her depression lessens. I talked with her today and she sounds ok.... The family illness scurries around our brains. Being across the country is so frustrating. Helpless. The subtext to this post. The worry that she won't be able to right herself. The guilt she feels that she can't be 'normal'. Our collective family curse. At least she told her AA sponsor to fuck off. Nope, this doesn't get fixed with prayer and giving it up to a higher power.


Michelle Obama is my personal guru. And a Saint for the people. Because she's beautiful and fierce and she tells the truth.

Monday, October 03, 2016

My MIL apartment is done. No more contractors or painters. It's weird. Now it's just cleaning the house, doing laundry and cooking (too much food) for myself and my friends.

Yes, I watched the debate. Gawd.

I've been spending time hiking in the fall mountains, very beautiful. Last week I worked out to the edge of expiring and then hiked for 8+ miles. I couldn't really walk. I got good at moaning.

Yesterday I went to a Men in Dance performance and watched two men draw hopscotch squares on the sidewalk and then dance within the squares. They were obviously having a blast, throwing chalk and chalk dust at each other.

I've hired a lawyer to help me transition my business. What will I do with my time if I retire? I think I'll stay involved in clinic but I won't do births anymore. The thought of sleeping all night sounds so delicious. Although I have such a problem with insomnia now because of disrupted sleep forever. There is my book to write.

The Burma retreat is getting closer. I still haven't paid for airfare yet. Just paid property taxes, ouch.

Doing the math endlessly. Social security, rent from the MIL, payments from the sale of the business. Then there's Medicare supplemental and what if the car breaks or the roof leaks? Gha... How do people figure this out?

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Greed, hatred, delusion: the three poisons

Part One

What kind of dog is that?
 A poodle.

He's got a fish hook in his scales.

Part Two

Why do you care?

Part Three

Well, it's nice to be home with the folks.

At least we get a free vacation.

(all overheard today in sunny Seattle)


Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Where I just was.

Say what you want but the NW is one fine and beautiful place. Yes it is. I slept for 12 hours straight in my tent under the stars. 

Sunday, August 21, 2016

We had a birth recently that brought me to a new place of surrender and humility. My partner was 'catching' and I was assisting but hanging back to be the scribe while the students were taking heart tones and being ready for the baby.

With some difficulty the baby was born (big child!) and wasn't breathing; floppy and blue. After drying him, and encouraging the parents to talk to him, I stepped in with the bag and mask to inflate his lungs so his respiratory center would kick in and he'd begin to breathe. But he didn't. He started up a bit and then stopped. One student was listening and told me there was air going in. It's a mess, resuscitating a baby, equipment flying and palpable tension in the room. I could feel the sweat running down my face. At some point I asked for 911 to be called. I suctioned him a few times and bagged him some more. He was struggling to breathe, eyes open but unseeing.

And then I had an experience of timelessness or transcendence, I'm not sure. He and I had an unspoken dialog while I mentally reviewed a case of a baby who was stillborn a few years earlier. I told the baby it was ok to go or stay, with great love in my heart. I told him we would grieve for him if his time was brief but I was standing in the place to help him if he was going to come and live. I wasn't attached to the outcome, not afraid of the consequences if he died. I was merely a servant to his process, applying what I knew to do when there is respiratory distress. But there was no fight in me, only acceptance.

I have learned so many things in the years I have been a midwife; about relationships and parenting and love and struggle. I have technical skills that feel second nature to me now. And still. This baby brought me such a profound teaching. When he began to breathe and cry, we knew we weren't out of the woods, not yet. The aid car arrived and the nice men in the big black shoes took him away to the hospital where he was deemed fine to return to his home with his anxious parents.

When I visited them the next day, I held him on my lap and we had another silent talk. I welcomed him to his new life. I wished him well.

I called a close midwife friend and asked her why do we continue to do this work when it asks so much of us. This is what she said:

"Why we do this work: I recently helped a woman who started her pregnancy at 340 pounds. Her friends and family said there was no way she could have an out of hospital birth. They said she wasn't in good enough health and she didn't have the stamina to pull it off. She ate a wonderful diet, walked every day and completed her pregnancy at 304 pounds. She had a 4 hour labor, a 12 minute pushing phase and no postpartum hemorrhage. At 2 weeks postpartum she weighs 285 pounds, is nursing beautifully and couldn't be happier.

Another thought to ponder... those of us who went to the school of 'Have one, see one, do one.' We owe a debt to the goddess that walked beside us while relative ignorance, but with strong passion decided to reclaim birth as the true initiatory process that it is. Can you remember the mixture of confidence and fear that we took to those very first totally hippie births? No running water, school buses, yurts, a little magic, and worn out copy of Hearts and Hands or Special Delivery as our only source of information. We were pioneers returning birth to the Sacred Circle of women. No way can I let go of that."


Amen, sister.