Monday, October 26, 2015

I'm in the kitchen at the birth center listening to a momma in labor. She's been here all day and she's getting louder now as darkness falls over the city. Mammals have higher hormone levels at night so we birth when the predators are sleeping, or so they say. We're ancient, you know. In spite of soap and bath water and Glade plug-ins.

I've been here all day seeing clients in the prenatal clinic. Babies and moms and dads and toddlers. We've got a few babies who are struggling to gain weight, to nurse properly. Little babies don't have a lot of reserves so we stay on them til we figure out what is wrong. Low milk supply? Sucking disorder with a tight frenulum? Back when my kids were small, you shoved a boob in the baby's mouth and hoped for the best. I was so sore for a while. No instructions on proper latch or position. We know more now but still some babies need donor milk or some formula and some mothers just don't want to nurse, for a variety of reasons. Reminds me of the recent NYT article that talked about the disservice done to mothers who don't breastfeed. We make them bad or wrong. Honestly, you don't know, looking at a bottle fed baby. Perhaps the kid was adopted. Maybe the mom has to work.

Today I talked with my young colleague about buying the business from me (gulp). I need to find someone to 'value' the practice so I know what to ask for, price-wise. In the next five years, I need to stop being on call for births and 'retire' from that end of midwifery. I could still do some clinic and keep my hand in training students. But the night call is, shall we say, difficult. In five years I'll be 70, jeezus. How on earth did that happen. And I might want to spend more time with the ones I love, including my honey. She remains my honey, after almost three months!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Much time has gone by. I know.

Still here. Got sick again, so tired of being sick. I went on a 6 day retreat and spent much of it sleeping. It was so glorious to sleep and sleep and sleep some more. And have someone else do the cooking. My dear teacher, Adrianne was the dharma teacher and she gave me full permission to do whatever I needed to care for myself. Of course, on day two, I stepped out of bed and turned my knee just so so now I've been hobbling around with a elastic knee thang. Got a hitch in my giddiup.

The planet keeps turning. We've had about a billion babies. Yesterday about 3AM, Lynn called to tell me she had a 'situation'.  From a dead sleep, I snapped upright. Wha??? Apparently, a young lady who lives a mere three blocks from me was pushing and I would probably miss the birth but could I get over there NOW? Yeah, sure, ok. I threw on my scrubs and ran out the door. Stupid Mapquest sent me to the wrong house. I staggered up the stairs with my heavy gear to see someone peering at me through their blinds. I ask if it's 4010 Burn Street and they say no. I mean, a wild looking woman on their porch at 3AM. You'd say no too. So I go back to the street and start walking, looking for a likely house with lights on. There are no visible house numbers. Then I see someone opening the door a crack and I head for it.

I drag my stuff up another flight of stairs to find the momma lying on her (white) couch with a baby on her chest. The dad and the doula helped deliver the wee girl. Placenta is still in so I get to work, getting out gloves and scissors and meds and such. My student arrives with the other midwife and together we tidy up and finish the birth. The grandma had two hour labors too.


I saw them today for their 1 day home visit and the mother is radiant. Really. She's so happy to have her new girl and her family around her.

Last night I spent time with my dear Jude, who is in the midst of cancer treatment. We decided that cancer treatment is time spent in the hell realms. She said if they offer her more of the same, she would refuse. Dear sweet woman. She's on oxygen and a feeding tube. I read to her until she got tired.

From one world to another. Today my hot tub was installed. Tomorrow I hope to plug it in, fill it up and heat me some water so I can sit on my new deck in my new tub (with my new honey) and contemplate the night sky.

Pray for Peace

Pray to whomever you kneel down to:
Jesus nailed to his wooden or plastic cross,
his suffering face bent to kiss you,
Buddha still under the bo tree in scorching heat,
Adonai, Allah. Raise your arms to Mary
that she may lay her palm on our brows,
to Shekhina, Queen of Heaven and Earth,
to Inanna in her stripped descent.
Then pray to the bus driver who takes you to work.
On the bus, pray for everyone riding that bus,
for everyone riding buses all over the world.
Drop some silver and pray.
Waiting in line for the movies, for the ATM,
for your latte and croissant, offer your plea.
Make your eating and drinking a supplication.
Make your slicing of carrots a holy act,
each translucent layer of the onion, a deeper prayer.
To Hawk or Wolf, or the Great Whale, pray.
Bow down to terriers and shepherds and Siamese cats.
Fields of artichokes and elegant strawberries.
Make the brushing of your hair
a prayer, every strand its own voice,
singing in the choir on your head.
As you wash your face, the water slipping
through your fingers, a prayer: Water,
softest thing on earth, gentleness
that wears away rock.
Making love, of course, is already prayer.
Skin, and open mouths worshipping that skin,
the fragile cases we are poured into.
If you’re hungry, pray. If you’re tired.
Pray to Gandhi and Dorothy Day.
Shakespeare. Sappho. Sojourner Truth.
When you walk to your car, to the mailbox,
to the video store, let each step
be a prayer that we all keep our legs,
that we do not blow off anyone else’s legs.
Or crush their skulls.
And if you are riding on a bicycle
or a skateboard, in a wheelchair, each revolution
of the wheels a prayer as the earth revolves:
less harm, less harm, less harm.
And as you work, typing with a new manicure,
a tiny palm tree painted on one pearlescent nail
or delivering soda or drawing good blood
into rubber-capped vials, writing on a blackboard
with yellow chalk, twirling pizzas–
With each breath in, take in the faith of those
who have believed when belief seemed foolish,
who persevered. With each breath out, cherish.
Pull weeds for peace, turn over in your sleep for peace,
feed the birds, each shiny seed
that spills onto the earth, another second of peace.
Wash your dishes, call your mother, drink wine.
Shovel leaves or snow or trash from your sidewalk.
Make a path. Fold a photo of a dead child
around your VISA card. Scoop your holy water
from the gutter. Gnaw your crust.
Mumble along like a crazy person, stumbling
your prayer through the streets.
~Ellen Bass

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Another shooting at a school, this time in Oregon. Are we becoming inured to it?  We're helpless? Nothing will happen? Nothing will change? Gun laws won't change, can't change?

Reading Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates. He's coming to Town Hall here but already sold out. Astonishing book.

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Saturday, October 03, 2015

In bed (again) with a rotten cold. I just finished with a rotten cold only to get another one. And this time, I'm quite grumpy about it. I have things to do, places to go, babies to deliver! I think flying isn't good for me but it's the fastest way to get from place to place. Recycled air loaded with germs in planes.  What's up with my immune system anyway? Too many years of sleepless nights???

I sound like an old man who has smoked for 40 years. Felix is terribly bored with me so I'll take him for a walk in my sweats.

The hot tub is being delivered next week. Last night I got up and took a bath. Water, the great soother. With a hot tub, I'll be able to immerse myself without throwing water away every time.

Beautiful day outside. Time to take the Felix to the park and shop for food which will miraculously heal me.