Monday, October 15, 2012

The Bomb

Robert and I have affectionately coined telling people about our situation “dropping the bomb”.

That is how it felt when the specialist first gave us the diagnosis. It left us reeling, we went to bed, I puked and I am certain the aftermath is going to last, well, forever. Not so unlike atomic fallout. We will spend the rest of our lives recovering from this.

(completely unrelated, but too cute not to share)

You never realize just how many people you know, be it co-workers, friends, family and casual acquaintances when you have to share such horrible news. It’s not something we can keep a secret either, because one day I will not have this huge ole belly and I will not have a snuggly newborn to show off either.

So when we run into folks who don’t know yet and innocently inquire about the baby, we just turn to each other, suck in a breath and “drop the bomb”. It doesn’t feel good, because we know we just pretty much ruined their day. And no one wants to be the messenger of death. It’s a loose, loose situation for all parties involved.  I feel like Debbie Downer all the time. I get tired of my own story, the broken record of having to share it, over and over and over. Some days it’s easier to hole up in the house, rather than leave and chance having to talk about it.

Then what do you do about all the people you don’t know who just love to love on a pregnant woman? The little old ladies in the grocery store, the other mothers in the coffee shop, the checkout gal at the Target. When you have a giant baby bump everyone wants to talk to you, share in the (what under normal circumstances would be) excitement and tell you about their own children.

We call that selective bomb dropping. Sometimes we just don’t even want to go there. It’s too hard. When asked about the due date or the sex we just cough up the generic answers, December 26th, pretty sure it’s a boy, yes we are excited. All the while shaking our head and thinking…if they only knew.

(It was all his idea and for the record no dogs were harmed in these events)

Sometimes there are people you just get the itch to share your story with. For some reason there is a little spark, a feeling they might understand, just might say the right thing at the right time that you so desperately need to hear. I told someone at the grocery store a few weeks ago. She hugged me and made me write down the baby’s name. She was taking it to church the next day to pray for us. In that instance it felt good to share.

I am leaving on Wednesday to channel my inner artist at Squam by the Sea in North Carolina with 80 other people whom I have never met. I planned this trip a year ago before this all happened. I am excited but TERRIFIED. What if they don’t like me? What if no one wants to paint with Debbie Downer? I will spend 4 nights under the same roof with a bunch of strangers. How will I drop this bomb? Certainly I can’t keep it all to myself, I just might explode. I guess if I can put my business out there for all of the world to read, 80 people is nothing, right?

They also have a blog and today’s post about the upcoming retreat is titled “this healing place”. Maybe its a sign? I can only hope the next few days will be just that. A time to get away, recharge, get lost in paint, awaken the muse, and just be. 

Wish me luck. I’m jumping in. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


After I had Lenora I struggled to find mom friends to connect with. Most everyone I knew didn’t have children and once you have one everything is different. I didn’t fit into their world and they could not relate to mine. So I reached out and joined a local moms group and the La Leche League. I went to the first couple of meetings terrified they wouldn’t like me, I would never make new friends and I would be a new mom alone covered in crap and drool. 

I could not have been more wrong. I was blessed to meet the most wonderful group of gals and their children. I have not known them long, a little over a year, but they just gave me the best gift ever.

A few weeks ago they threw me a Blessingway. It’s an alternative version of a baby shower based on Native American traditions of blessing an expectant mother.

There are lots of different activities you can do to send the mother good birth and baby juju.

We ate tons of yummy food. What else could a pregnant woman ask for?

They did reflexology and rubbed my feet. You know you have good friends if they are willing to get down and dirty on your footsies. They also rubbed Lenora’s feet which she fell in love with. Now at every bath time she grabs the soap, lifts her feet up and points to them. Little bugger is expecting a foot massage. I give in every time. They also painted my foot with henna in a pretty design.

Each of the women brought beads they thought symbolized me and this pregnancy. They went around the room saying why they picked the beads they did, then strung them into an amazing birth necklace. It’s like a magical talisman. I want to wear it and dance naked in the woods. Seriously, it makes me feel that good every time I look at it.

They braided my hair and put lots of fresh flowers in it. I felt like a goddess and looked like one too. I should have gone dancing that night. I would have looked fantastic in my mug shot photo for being arrested for naked dancing in the woods. 

They also left me with a handmade book filled with letters of support and encouragement. I was scared to read them. I thought I would cry like a baby but the words they wrote were inspiring and lifted me right through the roof.

It was an amazing day and the perfect balm for my wounded soul. They believed in me and they believed in this baby and acknowledged him (a post on that coming soon).

The juju was overwhelming.

Most people will never get to meet this baby and hold him and experience his life. The past few months there have been people that barely acknowledge the fact that I am carrying a child. I guess to them since he will not live long it doesn’t count. It’s a horrible feeling to know that some people think that way. This day was completely the opposite. It was a celebration of birth and mothers and life. 

It was perfect. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Thou Shall Not Compare

It has been really hard for me to relate to other mothers/parents/people lately. Heck, it’s hard for me to relate to anyone these days. I find myself comparing the events in their lives to my kidney-less baby.

When I hear someone talk about how terrible it is that their kids have hand foot and mouth disease or their dog crapped on their bed again or their husband is being an asshat (man I love that word), I want to scream “YOU THINK YOUR LIFE SUCKS, MY BABY IS GOING TO DIE. PUT THAT IN YOUR PITY PIPE AND SMOKE IT”. I would gladly take on all that you think is crappy in exchange for a working kidney. Just one, we only need one. Bring it on sister.

But I know that is not the answer and it would be a particularly nasty and insensitive thing for me to say.

Being in a situation like this really slaps you in the face with a dose of perspective. What I used to think was bad is nothing compared to this. Not even close.

Nevertheless, life isn’t about comparing. Comparing will make you bat shit crazy, be it my soon to be dead baby to your live one, or your parenting choices or even the way you comb your hair. Nothing will ever seem equal or fair. And it’s not supposed to. My path is not the same as your path, nor would I ever want it to be. 

Which brings me to the point of this post.

This is one of my mother’s favorite nuggets of wisdom.

“Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad.” Longfellow

If you saw Robert, Lenora and I walking down the street you might think what a nice, all American, 1.5 children family we are. You would have no idea the personal hell we are living. The same can be said about each and every one of you. Your bought of hand foot and mouth disease or asshat husband only scratches the surface. Who knows what secret sorrows lie just below, or what crap cards life has dealt you.

So I have to keep reminding myself every time I want to compare and scream and throw one holy mother of a temper tantrum that is not necessary. This is my path and my (not so) secret sorrow. And each of you has your own.


Trying to compare will only drive me crazy, bat shit crazy. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Presto Pesto Take 2

You are looking at the great basil harvest of 2012. Pathetic I tell you. Last year I had so much basil I was making pesto every week to freeze and had enough to last me until now. 

This year I had enough for one measly batch. Gardening like life is full of lessons. I have learned never to plant your basil next to mint, for the mint will choke the life out of anything it is near. Next year the mint gets its own pot, and the basil too for that matter. 

I guess I will save this one jar for something really good in the dead of winter, when I need just a taste summer. Goat cheese and crackers and pesto. Yummm. Or pesto pizza with mozzarella and grapes. Double Yummm. Or I could eat it straight out of the jar in my jammies, hiding in the bathroom so I don't have to share.