Friday, April 26, 2013

Do not drink black tea in the evening if you want to go to sleep. Some lessons never stick.

the end of the affair

dark syrup on each stair
a trail into the conservatory
where a stuck knife balances

feel the busted ankle
the skin a swimming bruise
over the damage
the slippery pain

clues in the carpet
cinders  shards  shredded pages
each one the same message
no  no  no  no  no

a brackish odor
lilies past their sell-by date
blackened persimmon
a jar of shoes with split tongues

wreckage slumped
overturned velvet chairs
their plush sags   twisted
innards shiny with bloat

door frames cocked crooked
hinges gape
a slick sea of broken books

lavender gown half gone
gloves matted with plum sauce
antherium droop in their beds
snow falls  melts  sticks

Birth story, part II-

Our sweet homeless mom who delivered yesterday morning got some attention. The adoption agency got it together and notified the adoptive parents that they had a baby for them. The confluence: the adoptive parents are gay dads with an adopted 16 year old son, 15 year old twin girls and yesterday was their anniversary AND one of them dreamt about a baby boy the previous night. The birth mom's oldest child was born on the same date, ten years ago.

I got to the birth center in time to meet the dads and wach them put a baby-ful car seat in their car. They both looked like they were in shock. Extended family also showed up.

I hugged the birth mother and thanked her. We will care for her for the next six weeks.

What a day it was.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

This morning my midwifery partner called from the birth center to talk about one of our homeless moms who delivered a few hours ago. She and the adoption agency haven't notified the parents she's picked out yet so the agency person has said the mom and baby need to wait a few days for the prospective family to get their bearings. WTF. This is a homeless mother. That in itself is effed up. She's been living in a van.

She and her friend have saved money so she can go to a hotel for a few days to recover from the birth. This is a resourceful woman who has three other kids all with adoptive families. I won't go into the details but we have enormous respect for her and her choices. Dealing with CPS, the foster care system and the adoption agencies is horrible and frustrating. She takes good care of herself when she's pregnant and she has open adoptions so she can visit her children which she does weekly. So we'll get the name of the hotel, keep track of her with daily visits and hope the adoptive family gets it together to receive her child ASAP.

I hate this society that has scant support for poor women, disabled women, women like this mother who does the best she can. The best she can. At least she found her way to us so she can  be cared for  respectfully and with kindness.

She'll be back again with another pregnancy, I suspect.

There are so many stories. So many.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Ok, so last week we admitted FIVE women to the hospital for various things and my midwifery partner is ready to quit and yesterday we had three babies, all within hours of each other including the baby I 'delivered' over the phone because the baby was coming faster than the midwife.

On speaker phone:

Dad; (quavery voice) I can see the head!

Me: Where are you?

Dad: She's in the bathroom on her hands and knees.

Me: Grab some towels, ok? Now get down and support the head as it comes out. Have your wife push (much grunting in the background interspersed with little screams). Just hold the head.

Dad: Ok, the heads out (quaver quaver)

Me: Now check for a cord, everything's ok, Anne's on her way

Dad: There's a cord around the neck!

Me: That's ok, it's stretchy, like a bungee cord, just pull it off over the baby's head (more pushing sounds) go ahead and push.

Dad: Ok! now here comes the baby..........(sounds of welcome, ah baby, hi baby.......)

Me: Dry her off with the towels, dry her face.

Dad: We are, she's dry..... crying......................a little cry

Me: Welcome baby (stronger crying, parents laughing and crying). Just leave the cord alone. Anne can help with the placenta.

Me: Ok, I'll just hang on the phone til Anne arrives. Anne, are you there?

Anne: I'm here, everything's ok.

Me: Ok, congratulations you guys. Hey Dad, you're an honorary midwife now!

Afterwards, my receptionist and two clients who are waiting in the office are all wiping away tears.

Today, visits with many babies and their parents. Sometimes it be this way. We're so busy and hoping everyone is taken care of and we haven't missed anything and we're flying by the seats of our pants.

I occasionally have a wee bit of Scotch in the evening. To steady my nerves.

Friday, April 19, 2013

I can't help it. I'm watching the news obsessively. It's making my stomach hurt. The beautiful face of a 19 year old kid. Someone's son.

On another note. Felix found a crackly dog ball under the couch which he keeps pawing after so I'll go get it. As soon as I give it to him, he chews on it so it makes a horrible snapping cracking sound and then it's under the couch again. And I keep going to get it out. Why o why?

Felix has no idea about terrorists. He would never leave a backpack with a bomb in it in a crowd watching a marathon. It would never occur to him. Never.

I swear. I took him for a run. He swam and chased a ball and got completely muddy. His energy is boundless. As for me. I want to lie on the floor and listen to Beethoven. With hot chocolate.

Meanwhile. The grass is supernatural green from all the rain. The tulips are throbbing with color. The lilacs are about to break open.

Metta. Karuna. Muditta. Upekka.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

My little pisces heart is breaking and all I want to do today is cry. Because Deb and I had 'words' and I know she loves me but we're (duh) so different  and I hardly ever feel safe in this world, hardly ever. Then the Boston Marathon bombing happens and I'm hypnotized by the photos and videos and blood on the streets. More madmen thinking making and detonating bombs in a crowed place it a good idea, a righteous idea.

And some of my pregnant moms are making me cry because they are having such a hard time with money and safety and their partners and their other kids and not enough food and a safe place to live and there's only so much we can do for them.

Safety. I don't think it really exists.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Pure green flood, dug the lettuce and chard starts into the garden. The dog was all joy. We danced and twirled and sweated while the blue sky filled the windows of the Century Ballroom.

Perfect, just perfect.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris, so surprising. Kathy Bates as Gertrude Stein! Picasso and Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. Salvatore Dali.  In spite of myself I adore his films.

Wild, windy, rain. The kitchen perfumed with narcissus. Waiting for a baby or two.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I'm watching a yoga class in semi-darkness. As soon as it's over, I'll step in and lead a bit of meditation. What I do on Wednesday night.

I ate about a gallon of humus for dinner. It was all there was.

A woman is wandering around upstairs at the birth center. She's s surrogate for two dads. She has purple hair. Bless her and her work giving birth and giving the babe to two men who will no doubt love and cherish their new baby.

I hear stories, so many stories. And I fall in love with my clients. They're brave and foolish and scared and honest. And here come the babies right through them. Like this one:

Sunday, April 07, 2013

The Power of Bumper Stickers

Today I walked into Elliot Bay, my favorite bookstore and someone behind me kept saying, 'Hello, hello!" I turned around and a young woman was walking toward me. She asked if I was a midwife. Apparently my car bumper stickers led her and her husband on a quest to find me. They looked into my car and saw that my back seat was dogged out with tennis balls and a dog bed. They went across the street to the park looking for a woman with a dog. They actually found one and asked her if she was a midwife...nope, no luck. They saw me put my dance bag in my car and head for the bookstore.

So we have an appointment on Wednesday to meet formally. She's due in August.

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Before I ran off to a birth last night, I watched a Fran Lebowitz documentary called Public Speaking.

The woman can rock a pair of cufflinks.  And then there is this: 

Or this:

Friday, April 05, 2013

I learned today that a friend has just been diagnosed with breast cancer.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

I'm going to see her again. I can't stay away.

Monday, April 01, 2013

I hope everyone watched the first episode of the new season of Call the Midwife last night. It was, of course, excellent. You have no idea what watching a dramatization of out of hospital midwifery life does for me. And all of us crazy women who do this work. Especially in the US where midwives are delivering a tiny fraction of US babies.

As soon as the episode was over, I ran off to a birth. Perfect.

I interviewed the inimitable Penny Simkin on Friday. Gawd, the woman is a wonderhouse. She's 75 and she said she'd have to go til she's 80 because what would she do without the incredible work she's been engaged in for 50 years. Forget retirement.

I did my second interview today, a doula this time. A youngster who recently worked in Africa. Transcription won't kill me this time because we didn't talk for 2 hours. An L & D nurse we delivered has agreed to give me an interview too. Penny told me it took 12 years to write her last book, lordy. I hope I don't take forever.