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 we...in 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."

~KN

Amen, sister.


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

I just ordered a dehydrator. For a plum explosion I just had in my house. My fridge is bursting.

There are new windows in my living room. The basement is nearing completion. As soon as the apartment is done, I'm renting that puppy. Money needs to flow in this direction, this way toward me instead of the outgoing tide. Y'know?

I despair of ever retiring. It will happen one day.

The heat was on in my living room this morning. Wha???? Fall approaches.

Monday, August 08, 2016

Pear sauce for days

I'm mostly a farm wife.

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Dearies,

There are horrid Blue Angels in the sky, Felix is wearing a 'thunder shirt' for anxiety and some nice men are installing new windows in my house. One of them grew up here but his mama was from Georgia so he has a southern accent. It is music to my ears, the slower syllables and the easy rhythms-reminds me of grits and sweet tea and key lime pie. And the languid noontime activities, sitting on the screened in porch doing nothing.

My counter is covered with unripe pears from my neighbor across the street. He doesn't use them or eat them and he told me to help myself. Pear sauce for all!!

Made four packets of pesto this morning, the basil was starting to bolt so I picked it all and spent the morning picking leaves and blessing my cuisinart. I swear, after the dishwasher, the cuisinart is the best invention in the world. I do have some lust in m heart for a kitchenaid that does everything. A yellow one to match my kitchen.

I watched the conventions. Well, I couldn't stand to watch the RNC so I listened to bits on the radio. I did watch the DNC and boy, that Obama is one beautiful man. And he has a beautiful wife. As for the rest of the ongoing shit show, I have no words except disbelief. And sorrow.

I am making an extra effort to be kind and generous to all folks I encounter. My neighborhood had their annual 'Night Out' where we pull out the barbecue and bring potato salad and a store bought cheesecake and we hang out. My hood is everyone; Black, white, asian, hispanic. And we find out who lives down the street and which one of us has the black puppy and who has a fig tree in their back yard.

It's time to hit the lake for a swim. I'm lucky enough to be getting a massage and adjustment this afternoon. My body is getting old, I'll tell you what. And my work is tough on me sometimes. Keep moving is the trick, I think. As long as nothing hurts too much. The lake is vast and wonderful and I'll be able to see Mt Rainier while I swim. And maybe an eagle.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Y'all, making blackberry jam and listening to Tina Turner. BTW, don't pick blackberries in your shorts.  My legs were BLEEDING.

Monday, July 11, 2016

While women were moving all of my ex's stuff out of my house (no, we never lived together, don't ask), I went for a very long hike to Annette Lake in the Cascades. Poor trail, overused by too many hikers, deep ruts and exposed roots. But beautiful. Many dogs.

Judith and I got caught up. We've known each other for 30 years. Sheesh.

Felix alternated between barking at ***anything*** and running back and forth to greet random hikers and their hiker dogs. Much mud on the trail so he came back bi-colored-white on top, black underneath.

Then read the horrible news in the NYT which I'd somehow managed to avoid during the week. I fear for us all. How to care for my tiny bit of the planet. How to hold the sadness and the despair.
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/10/opinion/sunday/what-white-america-fails-to-see.html?_r=0

Worked a 12 hour clinic day and now two women are in labor. I'm trashed from yesterday so I'm going to sleep and wait for a call.

Between the guns and the violence and the hatred and the presidential "campaign", I have nothing coherent to say. I bring in the babies. I try to be kind to their parents. I witness so much love and adoration in my job, I am humbled.

Life, somehow, goes on.