Thursday, December 20, 2007


Last night, for the first time in weeks, Ravenna was able to sleep the night through, lying down, without needing me to be sitting up holding her. The cold, the sinus infection, the ear infection, the teething, all finally managable enough so that she and I could both get a night of real sleep.


Sleep is, like, the best thing ever.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Sickness, Hers and Mine

Ravenna's still sick. Three days now with this bug...if it doesn't break tonight, we're going in to her pediatrician tomorrow.

Nearly two weeks if you count all the stuff that was going on before, the teething fevers, the ear infections...

It's pretty brutal.

She's finally sleeping for a bit.

And me? I'm doing pretty well.

A little lonely.

I've been stuck lately. Too much time alone with a sick baby, I don't know, I've been stuck obsessing about the why's and wherefore's. Why did Jaimes emotionally check out so soon after Ravenna was born? Why did it seem to him, when we hit some rough times, that the best option was just to bail out on our life? To move on to someone else? I mean...yeah, we had our problems. But all relationships have problems. Show me one that doesn't. And you work through them, don't you? Isn't there something greater, companionship, love, friendship, that makes all of that worth it? Why wasn't it worth it?

When will I start letting go of all these questions? I don't want to carry them around with me indefinately. There aren't really any good answers. It's not helping me to have them on my mind. It's not helping anyone.

Ravenna will be better soon enough. And I'll be out and about in the world again.

Maybe that's all that I need, maybe this obsessing is my own sort of sickness, and when Ravenna breaks free from hers I'll break free from mine. Let's hope.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Ravenna has been pretty sick for about a week. First there was this cold that started around got better, but she just never totally cleared it.

Then there's teething; she's working on a couple molars and eye teeth all at once.

She's had this on and off high temperature, likely from the teething.

Then, maybe about this weekend, an ear infection kicked in on top of everything.

We went to the pediatrician yesterday and we're working on treating the runny nose and the ear infection. All good and well. But then she got worse again last night, with a temp of 104.1 °F all morning. I talked to the pediatrician again this morning and am giving her something else now to help bring down the fever, so now it's at 102.7 °F. Not as scary, but still worrisome.

She's been so groggy, not herself, wanting to be held all the time, nursed constantly...I'm worried for her. It's a heavy feeling.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


In a fit of stupidity, I managed to delete all the playlists that I have created over the last several years I've been DJing.

And by "delete", I don't mean they're sitting in the recycle bin...they're gone, gone, gone.

I meant to just clean up space.

And something went wrong while I was cleaning, so I wanted iTunes to resynchronize itself. So I deleted the files I thought would force that to happen.

Well, it does need to resynchronize.

Because it's entire library database is GONE.

So are all its library database backups.


On the bright side, I found a disc backup I made in June 2006.

On the dim side, that's still nearly a year and a half of playlists that I'll never get back again. Including every event I've ever DJed with Ravenna.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Long Overdue

I'm finally starting to come back into my own body.

I left Ravenna in the care of my housemates after I put her to bed tonight, then threw on some clothes that only just recently have started to fit well again, brushed out my hair, and went out dancing for a few hours.

It felt SO good.

So, amazingly good.

I'm still floating on air!

There must have been 8-10 people who came up to me tonight and commented on my appearance or my demeanor, who said that they hadn't recognized me from behind. Several of these people were folk who have only met me since my pregnancy, so they never knew me before I went through that great transformation.

I have missed my body.

I have missed dancing, really dancing, without worry, with some level of control over my trunk and limbs.

I've still got a ways to go before I'm completely back, but I'm on the road now, and it feels great.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

More of the Same (long and self-pitying, reader beware)

Jaimes says some of the most hurtful things imaginable.

I mean...I guess there are always worse, more hurtful things that could be said. But he says things to me that cause me a great deal of pain.

We got in a fight the other night. Really, about stupid things. I was tired, it was the end of a day that had been terribly stressful, I was not at my best, and he wasn't at his best either. He stormed off.

I called him a few minutes later, and he answered the phone, "It better be important," in a sharp tone of voice. I was stunned and didn't know quite how to respond, so I didn't speak right away...and then he hung up on me.

I messaged him a while later to say that I didn't want to see him for a while, that he doesn't have to live with me, he doesn't have to love me, he doesn't even have to like me...but at a bare minimum, he should be able to treat me with some courtesy and civility. I did say in the message that, while I don't care to spend time with him at the moment, I don't want to keep him from Ravenna, and if he wanted to see her he should let me know and we would arrange details.

Two days passed without a word from him.

Today, I called to ask if and when he wants to see Ravenna, and he took it as an opportunity to get into it about the other night. As he sees it, I am entirely in the wrong, and my message was totally unwarranted. It is perfectly civil for him to answer the phone however he chooses, and to hang up on me if he feels the conversation is not worth his time, and it's unreasonable of me to ask anything else of him. My problem is that I think he and I are equals - and we are not. I need to pay attention, I shouldn't have called, I shouldn't have tried to manipulate him with my silence, I shouldn't have been upset when he hung up and should have expected it, and I shouldn't have sent him such rude, manipulative messages. He hardly let me get a word in edgewise as he expounded on all of these things, and ignored repeated requests to drop the stuff between us and to focus on if and when he'd like to see Ravenna, and on arranging the visit.

Early on in the conversation, I tried to communicate to him that I don't want him to hang up on me when we speak...if he doesn't want to talk to me when I call, let it go to voicemail. I don't think it's an unreasonable request, but he was completely closed off to it, just continued talking over me, interrupting me, telling me how I need to pay attention, understand that he is right, listen, I don't went on and on, I had trouble even keeping track of everything.

Since he was not open to my request about refraining from hanging up on me when we speak, I eventually shifted to asking him to please understand that if he is unwilling alter his behavior in any way, he needs to understand that calling him will not feel safe to me, and I will be less inclined to call, especially when I am tired, stressed out, or already not at my best for some other reason. He didn't take this as well, accusing me of trying to manipulate him, telling me that I need to go to 4 years of counseling, I need to learn to pay attention, that nothing he did or does is unreasonable, that I need to learn the lessons he's trying to teach me, etc.

At some point, Ravenna was crying in the background, and I asked him, "Do you hear Ravenna crying? I can't continue this right now." He hung up on me.

I called back after I had resolved the situation with Ravenna, and he said, "It better be important," very curtly.

I said, "What, are you still trying to teach me some lesson?" We got back into it, the conversation (was it even that?) about the same as before. He told me several times that he was tired of repeating himself, I was boring him. And he finally said that he does want to see Ravenna, that he gets back from Pittsburg on Tuesday (I didn't even know until this moment that he was going out of town), and that he would call me then. Then more of the same. Why can't I just listen? I'm so stupid, boring, I need to learn to pay attention... he was so condescending. And apparently offended that I would presume to think that he didn't understand exactly how I felt. I told him that he is very smart, intelligent, and aware, and probably is aware of the effect that his actions have...perhaps he does not like that I am still so emotionally attached to him, and his actions were intended to sever some of those bonds. He flared up at that and said that I was trying to manipulate him by making him feel guilty. And then, at some point, he said that I have never loved him. That I don't even know what love is, I only want something from him, I only manipulate him...going on, and on...bitter, biting, accusing.

This really, really hurt. I couldn't help myself, I started crying. "I love you, I LOVE you," I said. "How can you say something like that? Do you really mean it?" He talked around my question, maybe said something like, "Would I say it if I didn't mean it?"

After a little bit more of that, I told him I just needed to ask him one more thing, and then I would let him go. He finally gave me a little space to speak, and I asked, "Do you honestly mean everything you have been saying to me, or are you letting anger and frustration color your words?" Again, he didn't answer my question, just talked around it...asked me if I thought he would say something he didn't mean, or something to that effect.

That was it. I kept to what I had said, told him I'd talk to him when he called on Tuesday, and said goodbye.

And then I carried Ravenna inside, told her I was very sad, we laid down on the bed together, and she let me hold her while I cried.

Why does he say things like that?

Even when you're fighting, why would you say something like that to someone you care about?

Does he really believe it? Or was he just saying it because he knew it would hurt me? If he believes it, does that mean that I've wasted these last several years of my life, putting my energy into loving him?

I don't like being hurt this way. I hate it. I hate fighting. I hate getting so emotional. And I hate that he says these things. Whether he means them or not, they are terrible things to say.

All this, and I hardly even see him any more. We don't live together. At most, I see him for an hour or two every day or every few days, so that he can spend time with Ravenna, and sometimes not even that. And still...he has so much power to hurt me. He oscillates from being very loving, sometimes for quite a long time, to suddenly being very hurtful. It's circular; I'm hurt, so I pull away, and then he's very sweet and loving, so I am drawn back in, only so that he can ultimately hurt me again.

I can pull myself further away again now, that's all fine and good, but when will I finally learn to stop letting myself be pulled back in?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Sticky Fingers

I seriously need a maid or something. I can hardly keep up with my house as it is...I'm not managing to get unpacked at all.

Now there's sugar stuck to everything.

I've got this little thing a friend loaned me. She called it a "sensory station". Basically, it's a little table with raised edges that comes a foot or so off the ground, perfect height for Ravenna, and you put stuff in for her to feel and mess around with.

Somehow I had the bright idea this morning to put sugar in it for her -- which was AWESOME -- until she dumped it everywhere, and got it stuck to her hands, and her clothes, and ran around touching everything.

Now the floor, everywhere, not just at the station, is sticky. And the bed is sticky. And...well...generally, everything, is sticky.

I'm cleaning the sugar out tonight while she sleeps. Tomorrow it will be wood shavings, or oats, or something.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Botched Rescue

I just rescued a spider.

I've recently moved, and much of my stuff is still in boxes. Part way through moving, I ran out of packing tape, so I started using duct tape for some of the boxes. It works just as well, although it doesn't always seem to hold to the cardboard quite as well, so sometimes you get corners of it peeling off and hanging down.

Anyways, I was working around some of the boxes tonight and noticed a spider stuck to some duct tape that had been coming off one of them. Further inspection revealed that he was still living, but was quite stuck and incapable of freeing himself.

My first instinct was to leave him. But after a short while I had a change of heart and set about trying to rescue him. I found myself a dull paring knife and talked him through what we were doing as I gently, gently worked his legs away from the tape. His first inclination upon having a leg freed was to grab onto whatever he could with it...which was often the same bit of tape I had just freed it from. After a time, I got him to start clinging to an envelope with the legs I freed, rather than sticking them back on the tape. And after a bit more, he was entirely on the envelope. But somewhere in that struggle something went wrong, and a single leg remained stuck to the tape. Sans spider. And spider, sans leg.

He limped around the envelope, seemingly glad to be freed, but confused and lame.

I apologized for the leg.

Then I took him outside near some bushes, overturned a shallow box to provide him some cover if needed, and released him. I don't know how he'll do, injured as he is.

Was he better off stuck to the tape, dying slowly of starvation?

Or freed in his mangled state?

I'm not really sure.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Detroit, MI...Almost a Foreign Country

I saw this on the FaceBook news feed today, and thought it was pretty funny:

Here are some of the largest regional networks on Facebook.
Detroit, MI

Detroit, MI??

How did that get up there with the likes of Mexico and India?

Friday, October 26, 2007

Look look look!

Look at what I made! It is a map! Showing where I live, and where to park when you come visit me!: Kat's Map

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Times, They are A-Changin'

Tonight is my first night in the new place. It feels...good. I lie in my bed and these large windows surround, and out the windows, trees, trees, nothing else. It's like my little retreat. Only, it is my home.

The energy is so fresh. Nobody has lived in these rooms for a long time. They do not resonate with anyone's energy strongly, they are open to me. To being mine.

Most importantly, for me, right now, there is nothing of Jaimes. I stopped today at the old place to pick some things up (my first time there since I've gotten back to Seattle), and Jaimes was not even there, he is out of town for the weekend, but his energy was resonating so strongly all around the place. Just being in and out, no more than half an hour there, affected me tremendously. It took several hours after I left for my emotions to come to equilibrium again.

I feel more and more strongly that it was right for me to leave, to let him stay, because now i can become more myself again. There is nothing containing me, holding me in.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Short Rant

I am using a PC running Windows XP at my parent's house right now, and I am surprised and disappointed at how poorly the pictures I put on this page display, both in Firefox and in Internet Explorer. So dark and difficult to see. They don't look anything like they do on my PowerBook! I wonder if it's the settings on this machine, or if they display so poorly on all PCs.

Quick Update

I am in the midwest right now, have been since September 13th, and will be until October 12th. Ravenna and I have been having a great time! We've been bouncing around from Minneapolis, MN, to Rochester, MN, to Madison, WI, to Ann Arbor, MI, to Holland, MI, and this weekend we hit Cedar Rapids, IA, and Burlington, IA. We've ridden planes, trains, and automobiles. (The train has been our best ride so far...I was pleasantly surprised at how comfortable it was. Next time I travel out here I'm going to consider taking the train all the way, instead of flying.) I've been catching up with all sorts of relatives and friends, some of whom I hadn't seen for a decade or more. It's been such a luxury, having so much time, and no weddings or funerals or other such events keeping me busy; I've been able to do so much more this trip than I've managed in years.

And yet, even with a full month, at the end of our time out here there will still be people I would like to have seen and things I would like to have done that there just won't be enough time for. There's not enough time in a day, not enough days in a week, not enough weeks in a month...not just on this trip, but generally. It all flies by so quickly. I keep lists in my head of things I'd like to do, projects I'd like to complete, people I'd like to catch up with, and I'm always doing something, working somehow toward checking one of the items off, but the lists get longer and more varied. I guess it's a good thing. I know some people who spend so much time idling, feeling bored, restless...I don't remember the last time I felt bored.

But I do wish I had 10 more hours in a day. Or maybe 5. At least 2. Couldn't we all use 2 more hours every day?

Even with these short days, though, it's been a great trip. So much quality time with so many great people! And then in my free time I've gotten my finances organized, and I've been expanding my knitting skills, working on a sweater, I've done a good bit of reading, and I've settled on a cooperative preschool in Seattle that Ravenna and I will try out when we get back. Productive days.

I wish the end of the trip weren't approaching so quickly, although I am looking forward to unpacking and settling into the new place when I get back.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

What's the Difference Between a Sheriff's Department and a Police Department, Anyway?

Someone from the Sheriff's Department in Austin, MN, called today and left a message. I was kinda confused about why they would be calling me.

I called back, but he was on a medical call somewhere.

Then he called me back again a bit later.

It was a short conversation, once we finally spoke. I guess there was some deal with a car being noted somewhere under suspicious circumstances, and the license plate the deputy took down was the MN license for my Taurus.

But...the Taurus has been here in Seattle for years, and it's not even registered in MN any more, it's registered in WA.

So, maybe someone got ahold of the old plates. Or the deputy took down the plate number incorrectly. Who knows.

What a strange mid-day diversion.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

My Tank is Leaking

I'm lonely.
But...I've been around people all day.

It's like being hungry, and you eat and eat, but you just get hungrier...

What's the deal? How do I heal this?

Will my loneliness resolve through being alone?
Through getting over this whole mess with Jaimes?
Through time?

I need...something. But I don't know what.

Ah ha!

At least I beat the baby out of bed this morning. Boxes, boxes, here I come.

Friday, September 07, 2007

There Just Ain't Time Enough

It's so hard to get anything done during the day, what with Ravenna demanding most of my attention. So I think to myself, "Hey, I'll just flow with her now, and I'll get my stuff done at night."

But here I am now, at night, she's just gone to sleep...and I'm so doggone tired that I can hardly type up this post.

So, I guess instead of getting my stuff done, I'll just go to bed now too. Again.

So much for tonight.


I used to feel sad, angry, hurt, betrayed, confused, desperate, enraged. I've cycled through all these emotions the last few weeks.

Today and yesterday, though, I just feel...empty. Limp. Like there isn't really any fight in me any more.

This feeling, it's different than acceptance. More like avoidance? But not that, either. Just, I don't know - absence.

An Apple a day...

My poor Mac, Werbaichi, has been quite ill. She is a G4 PowerBook, running 10.3.9...not totally current, but not that outdated, either.

A long time ago, I installed iSync beta. I stopped using it quite a while ago, because it turned out to be quite buggy; losing calendar items, duplicating items, doing funky things with its various devices. And then recently it's been acting up even more, all on its own; automatically starting, besotting me with error messages, eating up memory, again and again. Each time I shut it down it would start right up again. I couldn't find a way to turn it off, and every link I found to download the uninstaller has been broken.

I was nervous to just start deleting files, but today I bit the bullet and did it. Hopefully just trashing every iSync related file that I could find will keep it from terrorizing my sessions any longer, without compromising any other functionality.

iSync aside, my Mac has been losing gigabytes of memory at a time. I log on and there are 4 G free space, and within an hour she is complaining that there is no free space at all.

I've done numerous searches the last few months trying to figure out what was going on, but until today, all to no avail. I suspected either Firefox or iTunes as the culprits since I had installed updates for each at about the time the problem started, but hadn't narrowed that down with certainty, either.

Then, last week, I figured out that I was losing the space to gigantic console logs. And today, I finally hit gold with this search: "console log huge 10.3.9"! Finally! w00t! It seems that iTunes is the culprit, after all. I deleted all the iTunes plist files, deleted the console file, rebooted, reran the iTunes setup, good so far. Here's hoping the problem is resolved.

Today's Score: Kathryn 2, Werbaichi 0

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

DJ Kat

I just found out that I'm listed in the Seattle Weekly whenever I DJ at the Century Ballroom. How crazy is that? I'm famous.


If, by "famous", I meant "relatively unknown".

On Packing

I'm moving this week.

I keep meaning to pack.
I set aside time to pack.
I have boxes in which to pack.
But I keep on not packing.

Shoot me up

Pity is such a strange creature. Especially self-pity.

The other night, I was consumed by it. But then, tonight, Ravenna napped for the last 40 minutes of the evening, I got to dance my heart out for those 40 minutes, delighted in the music and in my partners, felt my body waking up and kicking into gear and figuring out how to move again, and now I'm feeling so, so happy.

It's like a drug. These good nights...they're so good. All the rest of the time, I'm just wanting my fix. I don't need liquor, or caffiene, or narcotics; I've got tango.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

I'm No Savior

I glimpsed a truth tonight. Driving home in the rain, having just woken from some intense dreams, struggling with the "Why? Why? Why?'s" that beset so often these days, late at night, when I am alone, my defenses down.

Jaimes is where I was some years ago.

Largely, he is who I was. Broken, scared to death, flailing around. Unable to commit to any one, yet unable to be alone. Destructive. Unable to appreciate the beauty of sharing the smallest things, the ins and outs of a life, with another person. Wanting to be with everyone, but not able to truly be with anyone.

I sabotaged some relationships that could have been truly beautiful. At the time, I felt unable to follow any other course.

This brings up a corollary truth...

Let's look at Jeremy. Jeremy was probably one of the most solid people I have ever been involved with. I loved him. I could see then and can see still that he is an amazing person to be involved with.


If he and I had stayed together, it might have lasted years and years, maybe a lifetime, but I believe I would have remained broken, flailing, scared and destructive all the while.

He couldn't save me.

I needed the time and events that have come in the years since to act as a catalyst. I couldn't change as I needed to when I was so supported by him...I needed to fall, fall some more, and shatter on the ground, all so that I might order myself back into some semblance of health and sanity.

This idea is elusive even to me, yet I feel it is a fundamental truth. I could have stayed with Jeremy, but it would have been broken and unhealthy, _I_ would have been broken and unhealthy, and I don't think I would have been able to heal properly all the while that I remained with him.

In the years since, time and circumstance shaped me so that I am in a place where I feel I am now ready for what he and I could have had.

But that time is past. Jeremy might have been a right person, but he was at the wrong time.

Thus it is with Jaimes.

I believe I am ready for a solid, healthy relationship. But Jaimes is where I was these years ago.

Maybe I am a right person for him, but it is not the right time. He needs to flail and destroy as he will. Supporting him will not heal him; it will only postpone whatever needs to happen for him.

For all the want in the world, I can't save him.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Maybe I Need to Comb My Hair More Often

Some guy mistook me for a beggar tonight and tried to offer me money.

He and his girlfriend ran after me, stopped me before I got in my car, asked me, "What do you need, money?" and I think they were trying to hand me a $20. I was really confused. I didn't understand what they were asking at first, why he was waving a fistful of dollar at me, had I dropped it and he was trying to return it or what? Then he asked me how old Ravenna was. "11 months," I said. He told me that she is a beautiful baby boy. Almost at the same time his girlfriend apologized to me and, apologizing profusely still, they slunk away. It wasn't until then that I realized what had been going on, that they had thought I was in need and were trying to be good samaritans, that they had been trying to give me the money he had been waving on.

Prior to this encounter I had been at a tango gathering at a friend's loft in Pioneer Square. If you're not in the know about Seattle, Pioneer Square is a hip corner downtown filled with bars and clubs and an active nightlife. Post gathering, maybe 12:30 in the morning, I was walking to my car with one bag over my shoulder, a backpack on my back, carrying Ravenna wrapped in her blanket.

I wasn't dressed to the nines like so many of the clubbing women out on the street, but I wasn't dresed poorly. Dressy top, flowing pants, flip-flops. My hair was groomed and I was wearing some jewelry I find aesthetically pleasing.

So what was it? Was it the baby?

Was it the way I was dressed?

My demeanor?

It was all so surreal.

Pointless Pithy Pity Party

Tango is such a source of frustration for me right now.

I just want to dance. I want to dance to music that moves me. I want to express myself through movement as best as I am able.


I don't have the resources to have Ravenna babysat too often. And I don't want to be away from her too much.

And when I bring her with me to a dance or a practica, she takes up almost all of my time. She's been going through a particularly clinging phase the last few weeks, and she doesn't want to let her mom dance with other people, no matter how much fun she herself is having. Often she'll fall asleep towards the end, but not until a good 3/4 of the evening is gone, at least.

Then, when she is finally asleep, and I'm free to dance...I still don't get to dance. People don't ask me. The few times that I do get to dance, I'm not dancing to the best of my ability; I'm not in shape for tango because I do it so rarely right now. My body isn't moving the right way, it's so out of practice. So, maybe because I'm not so much fun to dance with these days, or maybe because they're just used to me being unavailable and thus not in the habit of asking me, maybe both, or maybe something else entirely, the leads don't ask me.

So many nights the night is over and I didn't get to dance at all. Or maybe just a couple songs.

What's the deal? Do I need to just let go of tango?

I don't want to let go.

I want, so badly, to dance. I want to create beauty and art through movement to music that speaks to me. I want to connect with someone else to the music through the dance.

In the last month, since our Seattle tango festival drew to a close, I don't think I've danced more than 30 minutes total. If that. Just a song, or if I'm very lucky, maybe a whole set, here and there.

It makes me so sad. I'm filled with longing, I'm unfulfilled. I want. I want to dance. Move. Create. Express.

Many of the leads I would like to dance with, many of them my friends, seem uninterested in dancing with me in a way that leaves me feeling dejected and angry. They give the impression that they don't see me, don't want to see me, that I don't exist for them as long as the music is playing. They're busy pursuing dances with women who are much more practiced and able than myself.

Because I'm not dancing, I'm falling more out of practice. I want to be getting better, improving my dance, but it just keeps deteriorating.

So much frustration! And frustration is not attractive. It does not make people want to dance with me more. It keeps them away even moreso.


What is it? Do I need to just give tango up?

It seems like so much of my life right now is a lesson in giving things up. Jaimes. My notion of a family. Maybe it's fitting if I had to give tango up also, it's another chapter in the same lesson book.

But I don't want to give it up.

I want it.

For me. I want it so badly. It's the meat of my creative leaning.

And for Ravenna. She loves the music and the culture and the people so much. I don't want to take it away from her.

I want to dance, dance, dance, dance, dance.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Running in Circles

A while ago now, Jaimes had an affair with someone who, not so long before that, had been one of my closest friends.

I tried to respond with forgiveness and with love for both of them, attempted to take it in and then let it go without resentment. I say "tried" because I felt hurt, jealous, betrayed, and while I wanted with the best of intentions to just let it at go, I am sure some of it came through and colored interactions with each of them in some way.

In retrospect, I am not sure responding thusly was wise. I still had my hurt. They still had their guilt. Maybe coming at it this way just allowed all of these feelings to fester. Is this where my relationship with Jaimes suffered irreparable damage? I'm not sure. The relationship with the girl has never recovered, in spite of repeated attempts I've made to reach out to her.

All our poisoned feelings stayed, infectious and diseased, remaining beneath the surface all the while so that the wound could never close or heal. Perhaps if I had instead reacted in anger, pushed them both away from me, it would have been like slicing open the wound so that all the bile and puss could bleed away, so that it could then heal.

Jaimes feels that I smother him. Is it guilt that colors his perception? Does he feel that I should have been hurt, angry, and instead I keep trying to be loving, kind, healing...which, not being what he wants, what he needs, smothers him? Maybe.

Or maybe I'm just grasping at straws. Maybe the affair and my response did not doom our relationship, but he had the affair because it was already doomed.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


I feel like I have a scarlet letter emblazoned on my chest. "C" for complicated, too too complicated.

Coming Apart

Many people, when I tell them about the separation, say something to the effect of, "Well, that is a big decision. Being in a relationship takes work and effort, involves making concessions. You must have talked so much about what you could do to fix things, to get to this point. You must have exhausted all the alternatives."

When they say this to me, I murmur something that sounds vaguely affirmative. But it feels weird, the whole interaction.

Why does it feel weird?

We didn't exhaust anything.

Jaimes is checked out. He has no desire to fix things. He has no desire to talk things through.

Then today, my dad asked me if we've considered counseling. I responded honestly, "Jaimes isn't willing." My dad was silent. I was silent.

I can't presume to know what Jaimes is thinking. Sometimes it seems he really cares for and loves me. But right now, where it concerns me, he is unwilling to give, unwilling to make concessions, unwilling to put himself out. And he is indifferent to my giving.

I will be the first to say that we've been struggling for a while; being new parents involves a lot of stress, dropping our budget from 2 full salaries to 1 salary creates stress, creating from scratch and running a business is stressful, trying to pay off debt can be stressful, moving in with roommates can cause stress. Stress, stress, everywhere. We haven't handled it well, and rather than coming together to battle it, we've come apart. I am not happy where we are now. I have felt for some time that change is needed.

But if I had my choice, in all honesty, I think I would choose for us to change together.

Something Beautiful

On Not Posting for Some Time, and Now Posting Again

For a long time after Ravenna's birth I wasn't able to find the time to post or update. Or really, to log onto my computer at all. I still have backlogs of email dating from them until now that I haven't really touched.

More recently I've started having time here and there where I could post, but I've had a sort of ethical issue with it. Right now, a huge percentage of my world is family life. Most of the things that I find myself wanting to express have to do with Ravenna or with Jaimes. But I make no secret of who I am on this journal. Perhaps nobody reads it any longer, since I have gone so long without updating, but in the past people who knew me read it. People who knew me peripherally read it. I've had the experience, several times, of meeting someone for the first time, only for them to tell me that they read my journal.

Thus it becomes a privacy issue.

Not for myself, so much; I started blogging during a time in my life when I felt all muddled about who I was, when I felt that I was too often tailoring what I showed of myself to each individual I interacted with, showing them only what I thought they wanted to see. Also, I felt that I was starting to live my life in a way that I was ashamed of. I was making choices without integrity, and wanted to hide them from others. I wasn't okay with myself, and that is a nasty, poisonous feeling. If you don't care for yourself, if you disapprove of your own choices, if you are drowning in guilt, how is anyone else supposed to know you or care for you? You're not a whole person, you're just a shard.

In a low moment, at a turning point, I thought that, if I started to write about my life with complete frankness and honesty, if I forced myself to be open about everything I was thinking and doing, either I would start thinking and doing only that which I was able to write about, or in the course of exposing and examining myself and my actions, even if nothing about me changed, I would start to accept myself for who I was. Either way, giving up some level of privacy was essential to the spirit of this exercize, and I did so intentionally from the very beginning.


Yes, a "but".

But these days, it's not just about my privacy. If so much of what I would have written the last year or so would have been about Jaimes, then it is an issue of his privacy, too. If people who know me can find and read this blog, people who know him read it too, and what right have I to air our laundry out in the open when it affects him, and peoples' perceptions of him, as well? I don't want people to judge him based on my highly biased viewpoint.

I suppose it is about Ravenna's privacy, as well, although that doesn't give me the same sort of pause. Maybe because she's a baby, still, and I feel that whatever I post about her, people won't judge her for it. We aren't as quick to judge babies, somehow. Maybe we see them as still unformed. Pure. Full of potential. Whatever bias I have, I don't think anything I say, at least at this point in her life, will affect peoples' perceptions of her, or the relationships that she forms with others. She is still too new, and too insulated.

So, privacy is of import.

Jaimes's privacy, in particular.

Here I am posting, anyway. Why is that?

Here's why. I am sitting at a changing point in my life. We are sitting at changing points in our lives, our little family. Jaimes's privacy is going to be less and less an issue, because we are not so intimately entwined these days. Jaimes and I are separating.

So here I am, sitting on top of a ledge...behind me I see a life all entangled with his, and ahead of me I see a life all my own again. As such, I feel more comfortable owning it, writing about it, and airing it in this forum. Maybe journaling again will help me sort myself out.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

I Am Like the Vine

". . .When the Buddha taught his First Noble Truth, he elaborated the gnawing sense of incompleteness that underlies much of our experience. As if he were describing the Second Law of Thermodynamics (that every isolated thing is moving toward a more disorganized state) or Freud's reality principle (that pleasure cannot be maintained indefinitely but must always give way to unpleasure), the Buddha evoked the unrest, instability and uncertainty that color our lives. In the face of these qualities, which he called the three marks of existence, we all feel yearning or longing. In the psychodynamic world, this yearning or longing is sometimes described in the language of the psychoanalyst Melanie Klein, as the depressive position. In the curious reverse language of psychoanalysis, the depressive position is considered a developmental achievement because it acknowledges the feelings that come with an acceptance of separateness. The ability to see things the way they are, not to expect constant gratification but to understand that all things are limited, is what allows for personal growth. . ."

("Open to Desire" by Mark Epstein, M.D.)\

I have so much trouble with this, with accepting separateness. I want to be one with everything. With everyone. I don't want to be an individual connecting with other's scary. I know this is illogical, irrational. But still, I feel it.

This gets in the way of relationships. With friends, with lovers. With family. These rose colored glasses I wear, they keep me in a state of denial. And then I can't ever see anyone for who they really are, and in trying to pull them into myself, I keep them at bay.

Interestingly, this seems similar to the stage Ravenna is going through. She is beginning to understand that she and I are not one, that she is an individual separate from me. And she does not like it. It makes her anxious, and she clings to me.

I, in turn, cling to everyone around me.

I am like the vine.


I realized a short while ago that I do Jaimes, myself, and everyone who knows me a disfavor when I post on here as I have the last few months.

When I am frustrated and upset, it is all too easy to vent my feelings in this forum, forgetting that I am content a much greater portion of the time and not representing this contentment at all. There just doesn't seem so much to write in times of happiness, not so much a need to let my feelings out.

Added to that, I find sometimes it is almost more difficult for me to admit to happiness than to upset. To say it out loud, to display it...sometimes I am hindered by a sense of shame and guilt. What if you, who are witness to my happiness, are not happy right now yourself - am I rubbing salt in your wounds if I ungraciously show my current good fortune? This may be paranoid. It may be stupid. But whatever it is, it is, and it colors sometimes what I say. My shame leads me to speak softly about my contentment if I am not sure of my audience.

This leads directly to a distorted representation of my life. Bumps in the road are magnified. while the road itself, along with all accompanying scenery, is muted, if not entirely hidden from view.

I guess what I am trying to say is this - I am happy. I am happy in my life, I am happy with motherhood, I am happy with Jaimes.

And Jaimes - he is not a beast. He is not perfect, and he wounds me from time to time, but he also inspires me with a spirited soul, he loves me with a generous heart, and he treasures our child with his entire being. I cannot box him up and contain him as I sometimes am wont to do, but try as I may, I don't really want to.

I am blessed with more than my fair share of love, joy, and contentment. Not always, perhaps, but what is happiness if it does not have a background of occasional trouble to contrast against? I would not want perfection.

But the life I have...I want it.

Perhaps someday soon I will find a way to write about it and represent it in a more balanced fashion.

Monday, April 30, 2007

My Birth Story

Here it is, long overdue - this is the story of Ravenna's birth. For 7 months now I've thought to myself that I would write it at any moment. Unfortunately, I am more a planner than a doer. I hatch great plans, grand schemes, and all with good intentions, but I have trouble following through and transforming them into action. Now, finally, is the time for doing.

My Birth Story

I'd been planning to work right up until I went into labor, but the week before, on Tuesday, September 12th, I suddenly felt that it was time to tie things up and take leave. At this point, I was still two weeks away from my due date, September 26th. While everything from two weeks before to two weeks after is considered "in range", I had heard that first babies tended to be late, if anything. Nevertheless, I went with my instincts and gave notice for that Friday. I spent that week working to make a positive handoff of all my work to other members of my team, and on Friday, I cleared out my desk, tied off all loose ends, and went home.

Now, those of you who know me well know that organization does not come naturally to me. But this was very was the cleanest, most organized, most professional exit I've ever had from any job, I think.

I had occasional contractions starting a few weeks before I went into labor, but things really kicked into gear on Sunday night, September 17th. I don't remember what we had done earlier that evening, but we went lindy hopping that night. There was a live band playing, and although Jaimes mostly opts out on the rare occasions that I do make it out to a swing dance these days, he was there. It was only the second or third time I'd been out to a swing dance throughout my pregnancy, but each time I went, the baby in my stomach seemed to really enjoy it - moving around in time to the music, kicking and rolling and making himself/herself felt and known.

I had a great time at that dance, taking in the music, dancing some, sitting and watching...I remember it being a great evening. That evening I felt a strong connection to this mysterious being in my belly who I was so curious about and impatient to meet, both of us joyful and happy.

Already it was getting to be a strange some point, I'm not sure if it was before the dance or after, there was a fire at a Whole Foods near the neighborhood we lived in. The block was blocked off, there was smoke, fire engines, lots of commotion.

After the dance, we went home to bed. The night was a windy one...very windy for Seattle. At some point our power went out. It wasn't out long, but all the clocks got reset.

At about 3 am I woke up with what seemed to be my first contractions. I don't remember how I knew what time it was - I think the power was out at this point, and it was dark so I couldn't find my cellphone right away. This power-out, and the wind and storm, and the fire many strange happenings, all night long!

The contractions at this point weren't too strong. The power came back on, and I found the cellphone. After I found my phone, I used it to time contractions. I also text messaged our friend Ward, who was planning to film at least part of the birth. The contractions were fairly consistent, but not too strong, and I don't think they were ever much closer together than 20 minute intervals.

I don't remember if I slept more that night, but I think I did. Jaimes was up for a while with me. We were excited, exuberant. We made love. He slept, I lay awake and anticipated, let the contractions sweep over me, meditated and connected in my mind with my baby.

Early in the morning we called our friend Ariel, who was planning to act as a doula for us, and she came over. We must have spoken to the midwives at some point, too.

That morning, I felt an incredibly strong urge to take care of some registration work I'd been sitting on for Jaimes' upcoming class series. I also wanted to write up a skeletal outline for a birth announcement email and finalize a list of recipients so that I wouldn't have to worry about it later. I spent several hours and completed both tasks. Although I had been telling everyone for the last 2 months of my pregnancy that I thought I was carrying a boy, at the moment that I wrote my email I chose "Announcing the birth of our baby girl!" as the subject. I can't tell you why...maybe instinct, maybe chance.

Although my contractions had seemed to be getting closer together in the morning, they slowed down while I did my work on the computer. It was a significant slowing, with maybe an hour or even more than that between contractions. Jaimes noticed this, perhaps more than I did, and strongly encouraged me not to do anything else on the computer.

Unfortunately, at this point, I don't remember a lot more about the rest of that first day.

The contractions must have started getting closer together again sometime that afternoon or evening, because I was uncomfortable enough that night that I did not sleep well. I remember various things I did to cope, but I don't remember what I did when, or which days. It did seem that one coping mechanism would work really well at first, and then as several contractions passed, it would become less and less effective, until it seemed hardly to work at all. If I left it and then came back to it again later on, it often regained much or all of its effectiveness.

Early on, probably often that first day, but less and less in the following days, I would pull into a fetal position or push myself into a bridge, or other such positioning things on my own, that seemed to help. They weren't very intense positionings. They weren't effective at all towards the end, but at this point they still had a positive effect.

At this stage, it also often helped to have Jaimes put his hand on my sacrum, or on my back, solid downward pressure, throughout the contraction. I think it also worked to have Ariel do this at times, to give Jaimes a break. I would sit or lie down while they did this. I think I made noise, but was not to noisy...but Ariel or Jaimes might have more to say about it.

Christa had come over on Monday. While she is a very giving, nurturing person and wanted to help me in whatever way she could, at that point I was having trouble with her energy, so Jaimes chased her off. He kept she and several of our other friends (Malou, Shorey) at bay for the rest of the them updates, but advising them that they could best help me by giving me space if/until I explicitly asked for them. It seemed to me that he, also, was driven largely by instinct at this point, wanting to close off and protect the space that I was in.

Tim and Ward were in and out now and throughout the labor. They both did a wonderful job of staying back, out of the way, unless I asked for something or needed something which they could provide, at which point they would come forward, meet the need, and then fade away. I know they were around the house a large portion of the labor, and that they did a wonderful job of not only supporting me, but of supporting Jaimes and meeting his needs so that he could more fully support me, but I don't really know when they were around and when they weren't. That's how responsive they were, and how respectful of my space, my energy, and my needs (especially my need for space, particularly emotionally and energetically). Even now, looking back, I am very impressed with the both of them. They were amazing.

Jaimes and Ariel were both wonderful, as well. Jaimes had found subs to teach all his classes and cancelled all other engagements, so he was at my side 24/7. Ariel also was around most of the time...she had called into work and was with us all the time, with a few exceptions where we sent her off to get some sleep and meet her own needs.

During these days, there was pain, there was nervousness, but there was a lot of joy. We were excited. This process was strange and terrible and wonderful and beautiful, and we were taking it all in, eyes wide open, hearts open as well. It was all so amazing!

I don't think I got any sleep on Monday night. Contractions were regular again, 10-15 minutes apart. We had checked in with the midwives by phone, but I don't believe we had seen them. I was still able to eat and drink.

Tuesday, same thing...contractions were regular, but the midwives did not come over because it appeared my labor was still a pre-labor. My water had not broken, I was still fairly lucid, not much in the way of bloody show. I did see a mucous plug at some point, maybe by then, or maybe it was after...I can't remember now for sure.

By lunch time I was starved, and I really wanted to get out of the house...Jaimes showed some trepidation, but gave in to my pleas and took me for sushi. We first drove to Kisaku, our favorite sushi restaurant, but it was closed. Contractions on the way were terrible, getting much worse, but I so wanted sushi at this point that we carried on and went to a spot that Jaimes knew about, not too far away, in Wallingford. I remember that the lunch was wonderful. We had some particularly delicious yellowtail belly. The sushi chef was a woman - this is possibly the first and only time I had seen a woman in this role. She had several children of her own, and we chatted a little bit about labors. The waitress was a woman also, but completely oblivious to my labor pains. She had the poor timing to come over several times just as a contraction was starting...while I was not noisy during these contractions, I blanched white, gripped the counter, and was unable to communicate with anyone until the contraction passed. She would ask if I was alright, Jaimes would explain...but I'm not sure she ever really figured out what was going on.

When we left the restaurant, the contractions were 5-10 minutes apart, perhaps. There were one or two on the way back to the car where I had to just stop, hold on to Jaimes, couldn't move again until it passed. Jaimes played it cool, but I think he was getting pretty excitable by this point.

At home contractions continued with regularity.

At some point on either Monday or Tuesday I did a self examination while I was on the toilet, and realized that my cervix was at least somewhat open...I could feel in with two fingers, and could baby's head? My water bag? I wasn't quite sure. I think that might have been on Tuesday.

I think the midwife on call came over to check me on Tuesday, either that morning or that afternoon. I was a few centimeters dilated, but still had a ways to go before I was far enough along that she would stay, so she went over the signs we were to look for with us all again, answered all our questions, and told us to keep in touch.

Tuesday evening I spoke with one of them by phone, and they advised that maybe it would help to have a glass of wine, to help me relax and get a bid of sleep, so that the labor could progress. I had some thai soup broth with mushrooms for dinner - nothing else really appealed - and someone brought me a glass of wine. After I had finished the soup, I went to take a sip of the wine. The smell nauseated me, but I took a sip anyway...mistake! Such a terrible, terrible mistake. Just that small sip, barely a taste, made me so nauseous that I went running the bathroom and barely made it in time to vomit into the toilet. The vomiting made my contractions more intense, and the more intense contractions made me was a nasty cycle. I did not sleep that night, and I was not able to eat or drink anything else. The contractions remained intense, frequent, and the nausea remained as well.

At this point, the coping mechanisms that had worked early on were not very effective. I was moving more during contractions, writhing on the ground. At some point during the night my mindset shifted, and I wasn't really "coping with the pain" so much as I was "suffering from the pain". This may sound like a small distinction, but it's huge. My whole attitude shifted, and every moment was unbearable. I just wanted everything to be over.

In the morning, the midwife on call came to check me. I was sure that after two full days and nights of labor pains, and this last night so long and painful, I must be close. But no! I was only 3 centimeters dilated. I couldn't believe it. How long would this go on?

At this point someone, maybe Jaimes, maybe the midwife, had a chat with me and clued me in to the shift I had gone through. Somehow, with their support I was able to bring myself back and to begin coping again. Instead of spending every moment suffering and wanting it all to end, I connected with what was going on, let it wash over me, let myself feel it, and began, once again, coping.

Wednesday passed. Contractions were 5-10 minutes apart for most of the day. I was still nauseated and could not eat or drink, but I did alright. I walked around during some contractions. Sat by myself for some. Had Jaimes or Ariel stroke my back with a firm downward touch for some. For a while sometime in the afternoon, Jaimes and I danced through the contractions. We danced to The Beatles, music that the baby had responded positively to throughout much of the latter part of my pregnancy. It was painful and difficult and wonderful all at the same time.

Wednesday night the midwife came to check me again. Three full days now, two full nights - contractions 5-10 minutes apart and quite intense - surely things were progressing and the baby would be born soon! But no. After all this work, all this pain, after a night of suffering and a full attitude shift and a day of regular, intense contractions, after having been experiencing regular contractions for 60-some hours and only having had 6-8 hours of sleep in all that time, nights and naps combined, after not having been able to eat for the last 24 hours, I was STILL only 3 centimeters dilated.

I did not take this news well. Again, my attitude slipped, and there was a marked change in my contractions...again, instead of coping, I was suffering. I cried. Why, why, why? Why wasn't it going anywhere? How long would this last - could I be in labor forever? It would never end! These thoughts and questions were irrational, but I was not in a rational state of mind. I was hungry, nauseated, exhausted, and still beset by regular, intensely painful contractions, that didn't seem to go anywhere, with no sense of progress or forward motion.

We talked about options. The midwife told me that we could consider going into the hospital and getting me a shot of morphine. At this point, my uterus, which is, after all, a muscle, was exhausted - it was working hard, and regularly, but not effectively. The contractions were not working to pull my cervix open because the uterus was so exhausted. It wasn't able, any longer, to pull with uniformity, with intent. The morphine would slow the labor down a bit, allow me (and my uterus) a bit of rest, which would likely allow the uterus to start working more effectively again. We talked for a while during the downtimes - during the contractions, I was in my own world, in pain, unable to communicate - and decided to go with the morphine. So, we drove to the hospital.

The drive was unbearable...every bump along the way was extremely painful, would set off a new contraction.

At the hospital, the set me up on some monitors to observe some of my contractions and to check the baby's heart rate. After they were satisfied that everything was normal, they gave me the morphine.

Oh my, that morphine was such a godsend. The contractions didn't slow down that much...I think they were still every 20 minutes or slow...but they became bearable. The nausea subsided. My people brought me home, and they brought me dinner - I ate, rather, I devoured a full portion of butter chicken and garlic naan, I was so famished. And then I slept. For four hours! The contractions continued while I slept.

When I woke, early, early the morning of Thursday, September 21, I went to the bathroom and manually examined myself, and it seemed to me that my cervix was now open almost 5 centimeters. Progress! Forward momentum! Joyfully, I went back to bed. I was not able to sleep again, and the contractions started becoming more and more intense. Jaimes woke up and started helping me to cope with them. At this point in time my coping ritual became more and more elaborate, and more and more specific. Sometimes I would get onto my hands and knees and roll against my yoga ball. Most of the time I would squat, holding on to the bed in front of me for support, legs apart, and rhythmically move myself, in this low squat, side to side, forward, back, up and down. Jaimes would stand behind me and press downward on my sacrum, hard, just so, in a very specific way. This was physically demanding for both of us. I think it was especially hard on him, finding leverage to push in the way I needed, working with my movements, some of which were very unpredictable. It started when I woke up, at or around 4 am, and went on for hours, every few minutes, the interval between decreasing steadily.

At some point, after a number of hours had passed, when it was really intense, Jaimes needed a breather and Ariel stepped in to take his place. As the contraction ramped up, as I started my rituals, Ariel tried to push against me in the way I wanted, but she didn't do it just so, as I wanted, needed, had to have it, and I was in pain, so much pain, and her touch was too tentative, was wrong, was aggravating instead of soothing, I was like an animal and could not communicate, did not have the capacity for kindness or tact, the pain and the contraction were washing over me, and I must have screamed at her to stop, stop, it's wrong, it's not working, back off, where is Jaimes?!, he knows what to do, ooooooh, oh my, ooooooooh...............and then it passed.

This terrified Ariel, I think. Up to this point she had been present, helpful, a comfort and a crutch, so good to have around. But the extreme emotion, and perhaps a feeling that she didn't know what to do, or a frustration that she couldn't help, perhaps, along with the stress of 3 days of missed work, not enough sleep, not enough food, and constant stress, all got to her. There was a marked change in her, and from this point on, through and after the birth, and in the weeks after, she was much more removed, much more timid.

It's not so much that Jaimes was able to do something Ariel could not have done...I think it's more that he had been there as these more intense contractions were ramping up, learning with me what worked and what didn't, "practicing" this ritual that had evolved through the morning so that he could do exactly what I needed from him without any hesitation or error. At the start it took some communication and time for him to figure out the exact positioning, the pressure, the connection that helped the contraction to pass more bearably, but he was making his mistakes when the contractions were less intense, when I had more capacity for coping.

Thursday morning is when my awareness of the people around me starts to get really hazy. The pain was more and more intense, and I was more and more in my own world, apart from all else. Contractions were longer and longer, and now outlasted the gaps between contractions... not even a minute apart from the end of one to the start of the next. I know that Tim and Ward did a lot to take care of Jaimes and meet his needs, that they fed him bites of food between contractions, let him drink Emergen-C through a straw that they held up to his mouth, so that he could be with me every moment and help me through every contraction, frequent as they were...but I know this more because I was told about it afterwards than because I was at all aware of it at the time. I know that in the morning my water sack ruptured, and there was water all over, leaking out during and between contractions. It was not, however, a full break...the mebranse at the cervical opening were still intact. I know that sometimes Ariel would coax me to drink through a straw between contractions, and that once in a while I would take a sip, but that often I refused. I know that the midwife on call, Suzy, came at some point. That she checked me, and that I was fully 9 centimeters dialated, but that the membranes at the cervix were still intact. I believe she came that morning and was with us most of the the day, or all of the day.

At some point, they artificially ruptured the remaining membranes, in an effort to help things progress.

At another point, they left me alone with Jaimes with instructions for us to be loving, to kiss, for him to stimulate my nipples, all this over a prolonged period of time, 40 to 60 minutes, which would in turn cause my body to release oxytocin, a hormone that would stimulate longer and stronger contractions and progress the labor. I don't remember much about this except that there was so much pain, the contractions were even more intense, and they had been so intense to start, and it was so difficult to feel loving or turned on. Pain was everything. I was in another place.

Sometime in the morning, early on, I think, maybe 5? 6? 7?, in addition to the contractions, there started a pain in my hips, all down my legs. It was constant, but it escalated during the contractions. When it started it was bearable, but through the morning it became more and more intense, until eventually it surpased the contractions. At the time I thought it was muscle pain from the intense squatting ritual we had been doing for so many hours. It kept getting worse, and worse...eventually the pain between contractions was nearly unbearable, and the pain during was like a nova, a bright light overwhelming everything, radiating down my legs starting at my hips, hot and bright and terrible.

Hours of this, felt like an eternity, the midwife thought dehydration might be exaserbating my tired leg and hip muscles and causing or, at the very least, intensifying this newer pain, and they gave me an IV.

I tried other things to cope, standing in the shower with warm water pouring down on me; lying down with the midwive's apprentice, who was also a message therapist, trying to work with my body to release the pain in my hips and legs; sitting in a bath - I think maybe Ariel or someone else added water off the stove to the bath, since our water heater wouldn't fill the tub? - but all for naught. It was so unbearable, and it had been all day long. I had been at 9 cm for hours, and again, we were stuck. The midwives thought we were almost there, so close, but I was so overwhelmed with this pain, so frustrated, so hysterical, I didn't think I could do it. If it had been just the contractions, I could have. But this extra pain in my legs, in my hips, this radiating constant terrible pain that never subsided, just flared up into excruciating and then ebbed back into sharp and bright and one step past bearable, only to flare up again, over and over was too much. We were approaching nearly 90 hours of labor, and I couldn't do it any more, I was despairing and suffering, and I couldn't talk myself out of it again as I had before. I couldn't find it within myself to cope.

We talked through our being an understatement, my memory of this all is hazy but I am sure I begged, pleaded, was possibly incoherent. I was so angry and upset with myself for a perceived failing, for not being able to do this in the way I wanted, for even considering giving in, but at the same time feeling so overwhelmed, so despondent, submerged in pain and unable to surface. After a time, with Jaimes's unconditional support and encouragement, we made a decision to give up birthing at home, and to go in to the hospital for an epidural. I am not saying this lightly when I say that this may have been the most difficult decision I had made in my life up to this point.

Once the decision was made, we acted quickly. Ward drove me in my car, and drove as smoothly as he could so as not to aggrivate my contractions. Was Jaimes in that car with me? He must have been. Suzy, the midwife, followed in her own. She spoke with the hospital before she left so that they would be ready for us when we arrived.

When we got there, they brought us to a birthing room. Again, they hooked me up to a monitor and just observed for a set period of time before doing anything. This time was excruciating, but at least there was light at the end of the tunnel, I could see and understand that this pain, this blinding, white-hot pain would end, that it was finite.

I think it may have been at this time that they determined my baby was posterier-facing, and possibly pressing against my sciatic nerve in this position, thus causing the intense, constant, non-contraction pain I had been experiencing all day.

The anesthesiologist came in wearing some non-traditional cap, maybe it was patterned with an american flag?, and spoke with me, with the others in my crew who were in the room. I have no idea what was said, I was in such a different world. Eventually he positioned me so that he could administer the epidural, and in time my legs numbed. It was mostly effective, but not entirely...even after he had administered the anethesia and given it time to work, and even after he administered a second dose on my right side, some level of pain in my ride hip and leg persisited, and it would flare up with each contraction. It was, at this point, however, bearable.

Now I was advised to rest, if I could, to let the labor progress. I think they administered some other drugs to keep the labor going, progesterone?, since the epidural and the decrease in pain would have interrupted the natural hormonal cycle of my labor. The nurse adivised me to sleep in a specific position to encourage the baby to turn.

I slept for an hour. When I woke, although I could no longer feel my contractions, with the exception of the lingering pain in my right hip and leg, I strongly felt it was time. I asked a nurse to examine me, or maybe it was the midwife working at the hospital...they checked, and I was fully dialated, the baby's head beginning to crown. And, while I had slept, the baby had turned, and was now anterior facing - a position much more condusive to the movement through and out the birth canal!

It was time to push.

I don't know when they had all come, but around now, or almost now, or shortly after this point, those who had been at the house along with several other friends all arrived in the room. Ward, Tim, Christa, Malou, and of course both Jaimes and Ariel. The nurse was in and out. Our midwife, Suzy, after a break for her own personal care, had come back and was with us again. The hospital midwife, Sally, was presiding over the birthing.

Because my legs were now numb, they set me up with a bar over the bed for the pushing. For each contraction, I would reach up to the bar and pull myself into a squat, using my arms...they would stand on each side and help to pull me up, and then I would push for the duration of the contraction.

The pain that I still felt in my right leg turned out, actually, to be a blessing in disguise. Because it flared up with each contraction, I could still tell when a contraction was coming on, even before it registered on the machines (and once in a while, even when it did not register). Because of this, I always knew when to push, and it felt very natural. Also, I felt more connected to the baby, I think...she was feeling pain each contraction, and still, so was I. If my pain had been completely numbed, I am afraid I would have been more emotionally, spiritually, and energetically disconnected from the process and from my child.

They positioned a big mirror in front of the bed so that I could actually see my baby coming out as I pushed. This was amazing, feeling it, experiencing it, and being able to see it, to see my baby emerging with each push, with each contraction.

This phase actually went by very quickly...I think no more than 4o minutes passed from the moment that I started pushing to the moment of my baby's birth. The baby emerged, first just its head. With its head outside, but it body still inside me, my baby turned, opened its eyes, looked at us, and attempted an indignant yowl (although, due the fluid in her mouth, it was more an indignant gurgle). So amazing! Not even birthed all the way yet!

One more push, and the baby emerged completely. 9:31 on Thursday, September 21, 2006. Jaimes caught her, with Sally's assistance, and moved her straight away to my stomach. She helped him to cut the cord, and he and I gazed at our baby, amazed, awed, lost. I offered the baby my finger, and it grasped it with its tiny fist. So strong! Was it now that they wrapped the baby in recieving blankets to absorb the vernix and keep it warm? I do not know. Someone asked, "So is it a boy or a girl?" We didn't know! Nobody had checked! We were just so amazed, this was our baby, here, with us, where we could see and touch, connect tactilly. Jaimes, I think, checked, and announced that it was a girl. A girl! Here with us! I think I cried. I think he cried.

We asked that the hospital not clean or weigh her right away, that they leave her in my arms, and they honored this request. She remained physically in our arms and on our bodies every moment that night.

The nurse helped me to latch her, and this baby of ours ate for 45 minutes. 4 days of labor made her hungry! Jaimes and I ate her up, savored each and every moment with this new creature.

When did everyone leave? I don't know. I just know that eventually, all had gone, except for Jaimes, myself, and our new baby girl. We had wanted to go home right away, but as my legs were still numbed and I could not stand, we spent the night. We alternately stayed up and slept all that night, gazing at our baby, holding her, attending to every breath, every noise, every moment of quiet. Between the two of us, we never put her down. I slept more than Jaimes, perhaps. Throughout the night we were terrified of every noise she made, and then even more frightened when she became silent. We were learning her. Learning fear and worry and love.

We talked that night about the labor, about the birth, about the future. We talked about names. From the first moment Jaimes looked into our baby's eyes, he felt Claire come to mind. This name felt good to me as well. He also felt that Sara fit. Perhaps then, or perhaps later, for a time, when I looked at her, I wanted to call her Caroline. We talked also about Ravenna...we had talked about it as a name before the birth, but wanted to make sure that it felt right, that it fit, before we decided for certain.

Morning came, and we wanted just to leave. The hospital staff convinced us to stay long enough to let their pediatrician look at her, even though it was redundant to care we would get from our midwives later that day. The day nurse insisted on testing her sight, her hearing, and got terribly upset with us when we declined to let her do the foot prick-test, since we planned on having our midwife do it that fact, she made us sign a form declaring to the state that we were declining the test, when in fact our midwife would and did send in the test results later that same day. But finally, all said and done, they released us. Jaimes went down to get the car, and I packed up. Somehow, the first time putting my daughter into a sling, I managed to get her settled just right so that she could nurse while I walked, but hidden away from all prying eyes and from all the world.

We drove home, walked into the house - and it was perfect. Our friends had gone, after the birth, the night before, and cleaned up in anticipation of our arrival. What love! What wonderful friends!

Jaimes and I climbed into bed with our baby, and spent days on end loving each other, loving her, getting to know her and getting to know ourselves as new parents. We hardly emerged at all these first few days, except to eat, and even that was almost too much.

Our baby has a name now. She is Ravenna Claire Krueger. We are still on our journey, Ravenna and Jaimes and I, getting to know each other, learning and growing, but we have emerged now from the bedroom. Ravenna is an absolutely wonderful, amazing baby...she has the sweetest temperment, but is at the same time curious, inquisitive, and incredibly present and grounded. We had such a time bringing her into the world! Yet for all the length, for all the pain, for the disapointment and sense of failure when plans changed, I wouldn't change it in any way. There was also love, beauty, excitement and joy entertwined with every day and every moment of the birth. I love where we are now, and so love the path that brings us here.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Scariest Moment in My Life So Far

Ravenna had an accident last night. The good news is that she is okay.

She fell, 3-4 feet, from a baby chair on the kitchen table to the floor. Andrew and Ahuvah were in the kitchen but didn't see the fall, just the aftermath, and I was downstairs in the basement - I just heard the thump and their reaction and her crying. I don't think I've ever been as scared before in my life as I was at that moment, and in the moments after.

I ran upstairs and grabbed my baby, and was holding her, consoling her, crying myself, trying to assess her condition, didn't really know what to do...I started dialing the pager for my pediatrician, but then changed my mind and called 911 instead. They sent some firemen medics who came, looked at her, were glad to see that she was crying (good sign), and that she hadn't lost consciousness (good sign). I don't remember much of that time, it was all a blur, with the exception of one fireman who was trying to calm me down, and who gently reminded me that Ravenna takes her cues from me. They advised us to go to the ER at Children's, which we did. Ahuvah drove Ravenna and I. Jaimes wasn't home when she fell, but he met us at the ER right away. Both Ahuvah and Jaimes were amazingly solid and calm and supportive the entire evening.

At the ER, they looked her over. By that time (and since), Ravenna was acting well and in good spirits...laughing, playing, a little cranky that we weren't allowed to feed her until they finished assessing her and ruled out the need for any immediate surgery, but otherwise very much herself. It's we, the adults, who were the basket cases, although I think we all held it together pretty well.

Right off, Ravenna's vitals were good, but they could tell from a dent in her head that she had a depressed skull fracture, so they did a CAT scan and then had a neurosurgeon come talk to us. It turns out she has what is called a ping pong fracture - the bone, in one section of the skull on the left side of her head, is dented in. Miraculously, there is no break in the bone, n no internal bleeding, no swelling, and no other trauma. In fact, the neurosurgeon had trouble believing that the injury had happened at 6:30 that evening...he asked us several times if it was possible it had been injured during delivery, via forceps or something, because the injury, to him, looked healed.

Because of her age, the nature of her accident, and her fracture, (and in retrospect, possibly to assure themselves that we are not abusing Ravenna), they also did a full set of X-rays on her to make sure there were no other fractures or injuries, and those all looked fine. After a grueling 6 hours, they let us go home. With a traumatic head injury, it is important to maintain close observation for the first 24 hours. Under their instruction we woke Ravenna up every 3 hours to make sure that she was responsive, and she was fine.

Over the next few days, we need to make a decision about surgery. As far as I understand so far, we can safely opt out. The reasons they would do surgery to fix the fracture are partially due to concerns about long-term implications of the pressure on her brain from the bone - it's possible that it could be a root cause of chronic headaches or who knows what else later in life - and/or cosmetic concerns. The surgery could be done at any time, and it could be done months or years later, but it's much easier if done in the first week, before the bone has time to harden and set as it is now. I think at the moment Jaimes is leaning away from the surgery, and I am possibly leaning towards it, but we both want very much to educate ourselves further, before we decide either way.

Today we followed up with our pediatrician, and she thought Ravenna was doing well. We talked over our options, and decided to see an Infant Cranial Sacral Practitioner in the short term, to make sure Ravenna is in alignment and to see whether Cranial Sacral work might help with the fracture. We'll also schedule an appointment with the neurosurgeons to discuss the possible surgery, but we won't commit to it until we've tried the Cranial Sacral, checked back in with the pediatrician, and really, just had a little time to think it over.

So that's where everything's at now. Again, at this point, Ravenna is doing great. She's in good spirits, happy, chatty, laughing, interacting with everyone, doesn't seem any the worse for wear. Our pediatrician says nobody would be worried at all, except for this fracture.

Keep us in your thoughts, please, and wish us wisdom as we figure out what comes next.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Terrible, Angry Would-Be-Poetry

Yes, I know that I still need to post my birth story. And pictures of my baby, who is getting to be less of a baby and more and more of a little person. But I'm not going to just yet. Instead, I will leave you with bad poetry. Bad, but emotional. I'm pretty emotional right now, and it needs here it is.
you know what? it's fine.
it's all fine.

you care little enough about my art that you are willing to throw it
away, or to let your friends throw it away.
I thought it meant more to you than that
but now at least i know.

i believed you when you said yesterday morning that there would still
be a chance to look through everything once before it was gone
but i was naive.

cuts bleed
it's not pretty
in fact, sometimes it's really shitty
but most of the time the bleeding stops
and it all heals over
leaving a scar to replace what was once there.

naivety is sweet
but it's a sickly sweet
and it's sometimes better that it be lost.

instead of the art and mementos art to aid my memory
i'll have the bleeding
and the pain
and then the scarring
and i'll just cherish the scar instead.

i'm angry now
i can't be angry long

when it's gone
instead of loving you for what i thought you to be
i'll take you for what you are
and i'll just keep the things that don't matter to you
to myself, where they will be safe.