Posts Tagged ‘body’

the sound

this morning at seven i left the house and ran 2.5 miles through the nearby woods and fields with castle james.

i had my iphone in my hand and i was using an application to time/distance the run but i left the headphones at home.  it has been several weeks since i last listened to music as i ran.  it turns out, i like the sound of real life happening around me more than sound tracking my run.

i was reminded of how much has changed in the world, in our towns, in our society since the invention of the walkman.  a small, portable, system for tuning out of relationship with the world around us.  pop on your headphones and disappear into your own new land with music of your choice.  now you are excused from hearing the birds sing, the frogs calling to each other in the wetlands, your dog panting beside you.  with headphones on you won’t stop to say hello to the woman you pass every wednesday morning on the sidewalk.  you’ll barely even notice those kids playing in front of the yellow house you jog past.

i’ve been running to the soundtrack of the woods and my suburban town.  i think i’ll stick with it.

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i stayed up too late last night reading a book on knitting and then the pea decided to wake up a million and a half times to whine and nurseandnurseandnurse. this morning i was a little done with it. when she asked me about 3.68 seconds after we got out of bed for, “milkies side milkies milkies mama side milkies,” i got snippy and then flash asked me if i got up on the wrong side of the bed.

i am not about to give up on my nursing relationship and i am most of the time a-okay with it but there are moments when she is obsessed with the nursing and i just want a few minutes to make my coffee, or fold some laundry, or check my email, without a small person attached to my breast.

two hours later i had finally gotten us all dressed and ready and our bags packed so we could leave the house. (us all = me, pea, bean, castle james — although i don’t have to dress him.)

we drove to my parents house and that is where my day started to change. i took castle james and one of my parents dogs out for a run. i ran for 25 minutes through fields and along paths in the forest. honestly, a few months ago when i started this couch to 5k running plan i could barely jog the 60 seconds it started with. now, about two months later, i can run for 25 minutes. holy crap. (pardon me.)

i actually enjoy it now. especially the running with our dog part. oh, and the running in the woods part. oh, and the part where i feel proud of myself for getting this far.

after my run i asked my mom if she would mind watching the kids for a few more minutes so i could shower. and she said, “sure go ahead.”

if you are a stay at home parent with two young kids then maybe you know what a treat this is. a run and then a real true shower. not a baby wipe rubbed around your arm pits and neck while you simultaneously pee and try to find a pair of cleanish jeans to pull on. a shower.

it was only one hour later than the time i had finally left our house. it has only been two months since i set out to learn how to run. i have only been thinking about why i eat (and drink) for two days. but, the truth is change happens. i think it happens constantly. at times i am directing it and setting intentions and holding awareness and reveling in the change. other times i am sucked along for the ride. life is totally impermanent.

if that doesn’t make all the should’s reveal themselves as a hoax then i am not sure what does.

i might have to go looking for the lecture a brilliant dog gave me once on the fact that time and space do not exist. now there is some life changing information.

happy friday people.
happy changing.
happy discovering the spot you believe you are in right this moment.
happy breathing.

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and god

yesterday evening i watched the oprah show on which she hosted geneen roth, the author of the new book “women food and god”. it made me think.

what kinds of things do i do when i am losing touch with my core self, my higher self, god, the universe?
when are my actions trying to fill a void that can only be filled by that connection?

i am not going to run around collecting answers to those questions right now. i think sometimes it is equally important to sit with the power of the question itself. that is my intention. my intention is attention.

yesterday i sat here writing about accepting myself as i am. loving myself right now. geneen roth said on the show that we cannot hate ourselves enough to get to a place where we are happy. oh yes, that resonated with me. belittling myself does not bring about change. it brings about hiding out in a frozen little corner of shame and doubt.

what makes me live in ways that feel good is, funnily enough, feeling good.

i don’t have a nice tidy package to wrap this post up in. i just feel like the universe is conspiring to show me, remind me, again and again how important it is for me to foster my love for my self. it might be the most important thing i can do for my children and my family. i don’t mean that i love myself when my house and clean, and the kids are eating carrots, and the laundry got folded and put away right after i finished my 3 mile run. i mean, i need to find the path to loving myself when play dough is smashed into the rug, the mornings oatmeal is still congealing on the counter, i haven’t showered since the weekend, and i just ate half of a chocolate chip muffin.

maybe i am talking about transcendence. maybe not. doesn’t really matter what we call it. i am trudging up my path on the mountain. i am thankful for any insight that shows me a nice trail to follow.

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today i was scheduled to begin week four of my couch – 5k.

i spent the morning trying to think of reasons why i couldn’t possible do it.

discussing with myself possible options and other plans.

wondering who would win the debate.

considering the possibility of giving up the whole thing.

yes, that is right.  two days after the sneaky forest healing i am ready to quit.  what can i say?

resistance is the strangest thing.  when i am helping other people i can sometimes see that the things they need the most to do, to try, to be – they fight the hardest against.

then suddenly the switch flips and we find our way to the path and we breathe again.

i did run.

the running voice won.

the other voices dedicated themselves to being sure their messages were heard throughout the run but hey, that’s ok.  i know they love me.

as i try to remember, relearn, rediscover some appreciation for my body i waffle a lot.  do i want to diet?  just exercise?  do i want to loose weight as fast as i can?  do i want to try to love myself at this weight?  do i want to give up wheat and dairy again?  do i need to detox?  eat less?  get some vitamins?

the unbaked bread in the fridge has been taunting me.

i gaze longingly at the container imagining what i could do.  bake it up plain and eat it with brie?  roll it out into a pizza dough?  make an artichoke and feta flatbread?  try out the carmel nut raisin sticky bun recipe?

i have been doing my running and trying to make healthier eating choices for three weeks and i have noticed no change in my weight.  zero.

flash told me not to be concerned, fat was turning into muscle and i was looking trimmer.  (bless him.)

wotw’s fingers told me to eat less calories.

i am like any person.  tell me to be without and i feel deeply depressed.  i sit thinking of all the things i should not eat.  i spend whole minutes wondering what i must deny myself in effort to lose some pounds off my middle.  i feel forlorn.

i know what i need to do is focus on what makes me feel good.  eat things that fill me with energy.  i know my body has the ability to steer me correctly if i take the time to listen.

when i break it down to the simplest version of understanding in my mind i think, do i want to put myself on a detox diet or do i want to be french skinny?

after the run i took a quick shower and put some jeans on and did the standard once over check in the mirror. i was shocked and pleased to find i did not hate my butt. i looked again just to be sure i wasn’t making this up — the belly still looks like a deflated floatie toy but the bum is shaping up nicely.

to celebrate i allowed an indulgence. home made from lovely fresh, organic ingredients a la french skinny – the sticky buns:

with the sticky buns resistance is not such a problem.

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food matters

recent flat breadish

the other day i was looking at the tag line here on my blog and wondering if i ought to remove the “sometimes food.” truthfully, i haven’t been writing much about food in the last months. i definitely have realized i do not have the makings to be a food blogger. i love food. i dream about food and cook food and focus on food throughout my day but i am not a food blogger. all the pictures and exact measurements elude me.

while i was in south carolina i put some weight back on. i think it was the weight i had lost frequenting the gym and it just happily piled back on. comfy cozy. when i returned and was talking about it with flash i mentioned my feeling that having two kids this young makes it hard for me to be consistent about working out. working out is what it would take for me to lose the weight at this point. i don’t want to always be upset with the extra pounds i am wearing. it feels bad to feel bad.

i would rather just feel good.

with that in mind i put some thought into how i could feel good. i wanted some clarity on what it made sense for me to be striving for. i have written some about my more recent efforts to connect more fully with physical body. i know this is a work in progress for me and i know that a part of it is finding ways to dedicate myself to using my body more and to moving joyfully more often.

suddenly though, i thought again about the connection between what i put in my body and how i feel about my body. i have been in and out of this many times in my life, and each time i cycle through it i end up sustaining a healthier version of eating. i feel myself cycling back in again though. somehow, as the winter months set in i thought less about what i was eating and how it was making me feel. i started thinking about food as what was making me fat instead of as what was nourishing me and creating the energy for my physical body to use.

it is a subtle and simple shift back to eating for better energy. i start the day with a green smoothie (or two). i focus on eating foods i have prepared myself with whole ingredients. i bake our bread. i have some simple salads ready and waiting in the fridge to be a base for an easy lunch. i thaw single portions of veggie soups i made this fall for another simple lunch option. i only eat meat from our local meat csa share. i snack on nuts, cheese and olives. i cook a meal that i think my husband will enjoy for dinner.

i am not denying myself anything. i am still drinking my coffee. i had a bite of chocolate after lunch today. i am not trying to lose weight here. i am trying to feel good. i am recognizing that the way my body feels has a dramatic affect on my spirit. i am recognizing that there is not such a huge chasm between the woowoo warrior work and my love of food.

so, i will keep baking. i will keep cooking. i will keep going to whole foods as a special birthday treat. i will keep my tagline as it is.


lunch – cabbage soup from the freezer (topped w olive oil parmesan cheese)

dinner – sweet potatoes with garlic and cumin, country style pork shoulder ribs with a sauce i made up , salad

tuesday :

lunch – chef salad

dinner – beef brisket (in the slow cooker with lime, cilantro, cumin, chili pepper, salsa), brown rice with black beans and corn, all topped with avocado and cilantro


lunch: salad topped with brisket and rice leftovers

dinner: take out for my bday!


lunch: same salad as wednesday!

dinner: two steamed artichokes with lemon butter (i was home alone it was a bday treat)


lunch: salad w lots of nuts and seeds and avocado/garlic/lemon dressing

dinner: left overs and spinach salad.

everyday breakfast is green smoothie and either a bowl of kashi cereal or a few slices of homemade bread.  this week the bread is a “five grain” i adapted from the healthy bread in 5 mins a day book.  it is super dense but lovely toasted with some butter.  i also have coffee each morning.

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the other day i wrote about some of the realizations i took away from a local yoga class. i mentioned the ease of allowing the goodness in that the teacher encouraged and how her message was so timely for me. the pace of the class moved slowly through each asana which allowed me the time and space to breathe and connect more fully with my present state and with my body.

connecting with my body has been a focus for me in the last six months or so and one i continue to struggle with. i have a tendency, personally, to live in my mind more than my body and even to flee my physical body more often then not – floating away into the space right above me. if you are someone who is closely tied to your body you might have no idea what i am talking about but i have a feeling that i cannot be alone in my struggle.

a part of my recent dedication to working out has been about having a way to reconnect with my body. at times in my life, i have had the time to dedicate myself to a regular yoga practice which was a pleasure and did me a world of good. for some reason, this spring, pure yoga is not what called to me. i found myself loving the act of pushing myself through a cardio class at the gym – kicking, jumping, sweating, pulse racing, getting strong.

some of the work i have done in recent therapy, talking with and moving towards healing some of the hurt parts of my self has left me feeling like it is more possible for me to live in my body. but it still does not come naturally to me. i spend time breathing and calling myself to be more aware of how i am physically located in my flesh. i pull my self down towards my feet and encourage awareness of the body as a part of being present in the now.

in the yoga class the other day, as we slowly stretched ourselves into simple asanas i took a moment to invite myself more fully into my physical body. i was feeling alive in my body as i thought about how to move and position and i encouraged my spirit to come on home into this. the words that arose for me were simple, it is safe to come into your body now.


i was surprised at my emotional reaction to this word. i felt overwhelming sadness as i repeated the phrase, it is safe here. you can come into your body. nothing in this space can hurt you.

why would i not feel safe in my body?

as soon as the question arose i was in a scene. seventh grade and i am about twelve or thirteen years old. i am tall and thin and angular with none of the roundness anywhere on my body that i wish i would develop. i am in a black skirt that fits snugly from my waist down until it ends above my knees. i am also in a blue sweater that used to belong to my mom. it is a bright lapis lazul blue with a high neck and buttons down the back. i am in the small space that we have to use for free time at my school. i attend a private school and there are only twenty five of us in my grade. our “hang out” room has a couch that fits about four of us and a window alcove area, a small desk and a book shelf. it is across the hall from some teachers offices and it has two entrance/exit doors. both of which are supposed to stay open.

but in this moment neither door is open. i am the only girl in the room with three boys and they have found a way to jokingly surround me and get a few of my buttons undone. i am hot and worried about what is happening and thrilled that i am worthy of attention. i am looking down and someone’s hands are slipping through the undone button space at my back and around to touch the tiniest sprouting of breasts that i have. my cheeks are burning hot with shame about how small my breasts are and i am wishing for this moment to end somehow without it being awkward and without me messing anything up. the hands are there and gone so quickly and then a teacher is pushing the door open and telling us sternly that it should be open at all times and i have slid down onto the couch so my undone buttons don’t show.

you are safe in your body now.

this all must have happened before my first friend was raped. at least before i knew about my friends being raped. this was just a glimpse of the beginning of what being a woman would mean, in part. being a woman in a body that can be violated. being a girl growing into a woman’s body and hearing of all her friends bodies that have been violated. not knowing where the line between pleasure and violation lies yet. not knowing where the line between wanting to be desired and not wanting to be touched lies.

later that sweater was missing a button and i used to continue to wear it with a safety pin holding it closed instead. i don’t know when i lost the button. i don’t know why we didn’t sew a new one on. i don’t know why i loved that sweater so much. i can’t remember who closed it back up that day.

i know that a part of my work right now is coming back into my body. truly living there. i know that when i asked my spirit why it didn’t feel safe it took me back that far. to my own flushed cheeks and tight skirt and sweaty confusion. a moment i never would have thought i would remember so perfectly. i guess, a piece of me is still standing there wondering how to feel. she is probably a part of the group i am inviting back in. she is probably one of the girls who i am aiming to convince that i have things under control now and they don’t have to worry. i know lines. i don’t let lines get crossed anymore. i am a grown up woman. i am strong. i have power. i can keep us safe.

you may come home here. i have my voice. i know my spirit. we deserve to enjoy this body.

it is safe.

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over a week ago when i first started having a rash on my body my friend jane (who lives really far away and couldn’t even see me) asked me if it might be pityriasis rosea? i looked at it online and thought…well, maybe but mine doesn’t look that bad.

well now over a week later guess what? i have been diagnosed (after a long morning seeing several different doctors) with pityriasis rosea! and guess what else, mine looks even worse then what you see on the internet! woot! in other good news, it is not usually itchy but mine is itchy! i feel so blessed.  and to top it all off i have been assured that pityriasis rosea doesn’t last longer then FOURTEEN WEEKS!  saweeeeet.  i have the itchy version of a fourteen week rash.

i tend to be a holistic, homeopathic, herbal remedy kind of gal. but at this point i am willing to give western medicine a chance so i let the dermatologist call in a prescription for a topical steroid that is safe while nursing.

seriously, my case is bad. my family practice doctor asked me if i minded if he took pictures. uh huh. yeah. he did. i am not shy though so i said, sure. anything to help medicine right?

i keep considering taking pictures myself. truly, it is a remarkable rash. i stare at in in awe until i remember it has taken the place of my skin and then i suddenly fall back into my dark rashy place. what do you think? would you chronicle such a awesome outbreak on your body with photographic evidence?

at the dermatologists office she suggested i also do light therapy treatment and oatmeal (or other soothing) baths. i joked, “oh yes, i will take long soaking baths in all my free time at home with my one and three year olds.”

dr: are you married?
me: yes.
dr: well then, you have a husband at home with you sometimes.
me: yes.
dr: give him those kids and take the baths. really.
me: yes ok, i will do that.
dr: you need to.
me: ok ok, i will make it happen.

(now the best part.)

dr: and for some of those soaks you might have to go somewhere else. like, say the bar.


now that is a prescription.


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this morning i went to the gym again and i let the all knowing eve work my body to the point of exhaustion and glee. i came home and downed a lot of water. i assembled a shoe rack for our new hallway “mudroom area” with the kids while flash went for his run, and then i took a quick shower before we left for brunch.

when i got out of the shower i stood in front of our full length mirror and took a good look at my body – covered in the most insane rash i have ever had. this is where the funk began.

well, maybe i need to rewind. after i finished my class at the gym i went into the ladies room to wash my hands. as i stood at the sink, a woman walked past me into the locker area and i could see her in the mirror as she stared long and hard at me. the look on her face read clearly “ick” and though i didn’t blame her for the response it did sting. so maybe that is where the funk started to take root.

i did hold it off though. i think, all in all, i have done a fairly decent job of staying positive and upbeat over the last week and a half as my arms, chest, stomach, back and now legs have slowly been taken over by red welts, bumps, and dry spots. so yes, i stared in the mirror after my shower. and i took in the terrain that my skin has become and i was totally amazed and horrified. i saw finally how it really had begun to spread down my legs and thus had taken over almost my entire body (my face, hands and feet are still clear). i realized that no, it is not any better and i need to call the doctor again tomorrow and see if maybe there isn’t something more we can do. and that dark cloudy mood just stormed right in on me.

i still enjoyed brunch and the crazy late nap kid wrangling. i put the pea down to sleep and the bean is having some down time and i decided, you know what? i am having some down time too. i will allow myself a little time in this funk before i reframe my attitude. maybe it is ok to just feel crappy about this stinkin’ rash for an hour or two. maybe it is just what i need to do.

funk it out.

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i will let you in on a little secret. most mornings the kids are up early and flash gathers them up into their joyous little bundles of wakefulness and takes them downstairs to sleep while i stay in bed, stretch out in whatever direction i want, and sleep alone for a bit. ahhhhhhhhh. (in my defense i have historically handled about 98.7% of the nighttime parenting so this morning lie in is just the way our system works here.)

now remember not to long ago i joined the gym? well, i have found this sunday morning cardio class that i have taken to attending. the class is at 8 in the morning and i am no good without some food, coffee and water before i attend so it means i need to be up early. handily, my kids tend to wake up at that time. so, a little routine has developed in which i am the one who bundles their wakefulness down stairs on sundays and flash has the option of sleeping late(r). i have my breakfast, coffee, and water and then i submit myself up to eve so she can find ways to demolish me.

seriously, this class kicks my – um, bum(?) hardcore. the first time i went i was fairly sure i was going to die about fifteen minutes into it but i keep going back. you know what is crazy? even though my working out is way less consistent than i would like this sunday morning class is getting slightly more manageable. i still want to die at some point but it tends to be a little later on than the fifteen minute mark and a new thing has started to happen — the endorphin rush that comes from a seriously good cardio workout.

i wait patiently for it to come. i know, during the “uh oh i am dying” moment that if i keep at it the next thing will be the calm lift into “i feel good. i am strong.” well you know, if you have felt this (also sometimes called runner’s high) that it is good stuff and words are not doing it justice.

so i get up early, i go the gym, i push myself to my limit, i survive and i come home to listen to flash tease me about my red face.

the strangest thing is happening. this little routine that started out for me as some kind of self induced torture is becoming my favorite day of the week. it is not getting easy by any stretch of my imagination but darn if i haven’t come to feel my best on sundays.

hold on a second, i think even on sunday i might be having fun. sneaky sneaky universe.

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a few minutes old chickpea

a few minutes old chickpea




in april i started a series of posts telling the story of the bean’s birth.  today i interrupt that story line and attempt to tell a short version of the story of chickpea’s birth.  i hope that hearing this story (and many others) will help a fellow blogger i truly admire to have the out of hospital birth that she desires.  here you go greenmamma!


chickpea is a relatively agreeable baby and she has been this way since she was in utero.  on saturday july 26th i started having some light squeezing sensations in my lower abdomen during dinner.  they were mild and not at all unpleasant and i hardly noticed them.  while i was nursing the bean to sleep they intensified some and when i came back downstairs after that i told flash they were still going on.  he encouraged me to call my midwife – we were having a planned homebirth this time around.  my mom was the one who was going to take care of bean while i gave birth to chickpea and she happened to be having dinner with us the night of the 26th as my father was out of town.  when i mentioned the mild contractions she said “tonight is not a good night chickpea!”  she had plans she really wanted to attend the next morning.  “how about tomorrow?” she inquired.  


i called my midwife around 10:30 that evening and told her the status, mild irregular cramping.  and also, i had noticed a little blood early that morning when using the toilet.  she asked me to lay down for a bit and see what happened.  i told her “tonight is just not a good night to have this baby?”  and explained my mom’s request.  she said she would be there if the baby came but she also had an engagement the following morning so she would also appreciate if chickpea could hold off.  we giggled, asking the baby not to be born yet seemed silly, and hung up.  i got in bed and within thirty minutes the light cramping had stopped and i fell asleep.  


so i was not entirely surprised when the same sensation started up again the next evening while i was nursing the bean to sleep.  i came down and told flash and i assured him that i would call the midwife again and also that i would wake him if i needed him and i sent him off to sleep with the bean (that was our current sleeping arrangement).  i called my midwife again and she asked me to lay down for a bit again and i figured it would be the same as the night before.  i did lay down and was able to doze on and off some but the cramping never really went away and slowly it intensified.  i tried timing them at some points and found them to be not all too regular or close together but all the same i had a feeling that chickpea was coming.  i want back and forth between sitting on my bed with my laptop listen to music and reading on the internet, and being down stairs walking around a bt and sitting on my big ball.


when i had the bean i had hated the ball so i was surprised to be liking it so much and also figured it was a sign i was still very early in labor.  eventually it reached the point where walking back up the stairs to bed was taking some concentration and i decided i would call my mom and ask her to come over.  she could help me get the bed ready if things continued to progress or she could go back home if they died down.  in retrospect, i was deeply in denial that i was having the baby soon at that point.  i was enjoying being alone and i was able to manage the surges quite nicely and i had just sort of started that birthing drift away from reality.  i called my mom around three in the morning and assured her that she didn’t need to hurry but that i would like her to come over just in case.  i had been touch with my midwife a few times already and so she knew there was a chance she needed to come soon and she lived about twenty minutes away so i was comfortable with not having her there yet.


after i called my mom i got off my ball (which i had brought upstairs at that point) to try to walk to the guest room and get the sheets we had set aside for the bed for the birth.  i was thinking i would get them and my mom and i would put them on together.  there was a slight hitch in my plan though, i couldn’t get to the guest room.  when i stood i felt significantly less comfortable and the surges felt a bit more overwhelming.  i liked the feeling of sitting on my ball and feel centered and confident and at ease.  walking to the guest room was out.  the up shot of this discovery was that one little piece of my awareness that was not entirely immersed in birthing was able to speak up and say, “now would be a good time to call the midwife and tell her to come.”


i found the phone again and called my midwife.  she told me she would leave her home within an hour and asked if that sounded good.  “no,” i informed her, “i am having this baby soon so you better come now.”  the beans birth had be a relatively quick one so i was anticipating that the pea would be too and i was suddenly aware that things were in fact progressing.  she told me she would be there soon and we hung up.  my mom arrived moments later and between surges i gave her instructions on where to find the birth kit and how to make the bed etc.  she was very relieved to hear that the midwife was coming – i think she was afraid that i was going to have the baby and she would have to catch her.


my midwife and her student midwife arrived at my home by four in the morning and began setting up the birthing pool.  i was still sitting on my ball, breathing deeply through surges, and feel calm and confident.  i was loving being in my room, surrounded by women who were here to support my birth, surrounded by my own familiar things and light and artwork.  i remember thinking that things were progressing quickly but that i probably still had plenty of time and i wondered if she was going to be born around the same time as her brother was (he was born at 7:23 am).  my midwife was very calm and quiet, she could see i was content doing my thing and she did her best not to interrupt me. she spoke to me softly between surges when she wanted information and mainly just kept asking me to drink fluids and asking if i wanted anything.  the back up midwife had arrived by this time and all three women plus my mom were in my room with me and in the ajoining bathroom trying to get the hose to work at filling the tub with hot water.  they were also boiling pots of water to hasten the process and lugging them up the stairs to dump in the tub.  god bless them.  i was watching all the goings on between surges, feeling a bit removed but also just loving that there was a bustle of women working quietly around me.


do you remember being in your teens and having slumber parties.  i used to love laying there in the dark listening to the others girls whispering while i fell asleep.  it was so comforting being surrounded by the quiet interaction.  that is the closest i can get to describing how i felt about that stage of my birthing.  there was nice quiet active energy and i was a part of it but not needing to interact.  i felt safe and attended too but not called upon to host.


around four thirty in the morning the bean woke up asking for me (this was a normal thing and i usually would then go join him to sleep until morning).  my mom went in and told them that i was having the baby and asked bean if he wanted to visit me.  he agreed and he came into the room for a bit.  he was groggy but seemed to understand what was going on and was surprisingly comfortable with major break in routine (i was glad we had read the homebirth book to him a million times).  i held him and hugged him a bit between surges and then he asked my mom if they could go downstairs and play and she agreed.  


about ten minutes after five my  midwife asked me if i had emptied my bladder recently and i admitted that it had been awhile.  i didn’t really want to get off my ball and walk to the toilet and i shared this with her.  she tempted me by telling me i could get into the birthing pool after i tried to pee.  hmm, i wavered, flash agreed to help me get there, and i finally agreed.  we went slowly into the bathroom with flash supporting me and when i got to our (very low) toilet i hovered over it and was able to pee.  then suddenly my whole calm, quiet birthing world exploded with a pop as my water broke and i felt like the pea moved down about thirty feet.  


when i had the bean i had a moment during which i turned to flash and begged him “help me, help me!” and he had no idea what i was talking about or what help i wanted.  it turned out i was in transition which lasted about ten minutes and then i was through the darkness and into pushing.  


when chickpea dropped thirty feet lower as my water broke and i was hovering over the toilet in the bathroom i had that moment where suddenly everything was happening way too fast and i couldn’t process it or handle the massive changes.  i clung to flash desperately asking him to hold me up, and i moaned like the best of them through several rapid surges.  the midwives joined us in the bathroom and asked me if i wanted to get in the pool and assured me that everything was ok but i was having one of those “in over my head” moments and i just couldn’t calm down.  i was partly so overwhelmed because i really wanted to be in my birthing pool and i knew i couldn’t get there.  when the water broke and pea dropped lower i suddenly lost the ability to walk at all.  even with help.  


flash quickly decided that holding me up was not going to work out for long and before i knew it i was on my hands and knees on my bathroom floor.  my back up midwife got down low on the floor and put her head near mine.  then she very quietly told me to slow down my breathing when i was between contractions.  i didn’t have a lot of time between contractions so it took me a few tries but eventually i managed to do it and just like that, with slowed breathing, i was able to get a grasp of where i was and what was happening and it was all ok again.  it was intense and inescapable but it was not frightening any more and i suddenly knew, with a burst of enthusiasm, that my baby was going to be born any minute.  my midwives continued to offer to find a way to get me into the birth pool but i was not moving.  it felt impossible to me and i just knew on some level that this birth had taken a turn and would not be going on much longer.


within moments my midwife called out, “you are doing great.  i can see almost a quarter inch of hair!”  i silently screamed with shock that she could only see a quarter inch because i truly felt like the pea was about to exit her old quarters and greet the world.  she was.  again my midwife spoke to me, “ok she is right here but you have stretched fully yet so i need to to hold off on pushing or you will tear.  just wait for me it is almost time.”  i listened to her advice and waited through about two more contractions and then she said “ok on the next contraction you can try pushing if you want to.”  two contractions and two pushed later chickpea’s head was out.  i waited until my next contraction (1 minute and 40 seconds later which felt like eternity) before pushing out her body and then i promptly put my head down on the cool bathroom floor and gave myself a minute.  chickpea was born at 5:43 in the morning on the bathroom floor.


a fast birth is wonderful in many ways but also difficult in some.  everything is simply happening so fast it is hard to keep up.  mixed in with wanting to celebrate that she was here and i had done it i just had this need to rest for a second and breathe and process.  so i did.  my midwife lovingly held our newborn, our literal new born, and i put my head down and took a few breaths.  and then i pushed up and asked for the chickpea.  they passed her to me between my legs and then slowly helped me up and to my bed where i sat propped up on pillows holding our new baby girl and feeling joyous.  i still had work to do, i had my placenta to birth, and it hung like a question mark in the air because it had been an issue with the bean’s birth, but the greatest gift of my homebirth was that those moments that could have been filled with tension and concern instead were filled with smiles, and hugs, and peace.  they were filled with faith in my body and my body’s ability to birth in the way it needed to and should.  i had the gift of time to figure out what that was for me.


my midwives kept an eye on the chord which pulsed for over 30 minutes (the norm is less than 10) and they encouraged me to try pushing when i had a contraction.  i latched chickpea on to see if nursing would help.  i took the homeopathic remedies that had been suggested, and also we waited.  we waited much longer than any hospital would ever have allowed.  i was fine, everything was ok, and we were patient.  finally we decided, as a group, that we would all be happier if we got the placenta birthed and we dedicated ourselves to the cause.  i got up in a squat on the bed again, my midwife prepared to apply traction to the chord, the student midwife held the baby, and i agree to one small dose of pitocin given intramuscularly by the back up midwife to help my body have a stronger contraction. 


that was all it took.  my placenta was born on the next contraction with some help from my midwife and then we all celebrated.  it was almost as joyous as birthing the baby!


i lay down in bed snuggled up with our new baby and my husband went downstairs and cooked up eggs for everyone.  we ate, drank tea and coffee, shared smiles and cooing time with the new baby, and relaxed.  i was not elated or over the moon or jacked up or anything like that i was something much much better, content.  i was comfortable beyond my wildest dreams, i felt better than i could have imagined, i was exhausted and i was content.  a mama in her nest.  and i couldn’t have agreed more with what flash told me in our first quiet moment alone together, “having a homebirth was the best decision you have ever made.”


before she left my midwife asked me, “so how was your birth?  how do you feel like it was for you?  did you love it?”  i was quiet for a minute and then, “well, i don’t want to do it again tomorrow or anything but it was everything i had hoped it would be.  thank you.”


now here i am not quite eleven months later and i have to tell you, remembering it all so i can share it with some one who will be on her own birth journey soon makes me take back my words.  i would do it again tomorrow.  if the universe so desired, i would.  


ok, how sad is it that i said i was writing a short version!  i am terrible.  sorry.  hope you waded through the entire thing jessica and you know you (or anyone else) can ask any questions you want!  meanwhile i’ll be wishing you the best and just knowing with all my heart that you are going to have exactly the birth that is right for you and your baby boy.  


beanie, mama, and bundled pea on her birth day

beanie, mama, and bundled pea on her birth day

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