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#31 of 67 Old 04-06-2005, 02:06 PM
 
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Okay, I’ll admit it. I have an addiction. I can’t stop doing pregnancy tests. They’re like a drug to me, a glorious high. Seeing those two lines pop up – over and over and over again. Celebration, confirmation, definitive, scientific proof of news that I just can’t ever seem to let myself trust.

They carry them at the dollar store now, I can stock pile the tests without spending a hideous amount of money. Is it healthy to encourage this addiction? Shouldn’t I focus on having faith?

For me, faith comes later, in the second half of pregnancy. When the baby comes alive, and kicks and rolls and waves remind me that yes, indeed, there is someone growing in there. Until then, I am wracked with doubt, worry, insecurity. I feel compelled to reach for one of those test sticks, peel back the foil wrapper and head for the toilet. Even with all my practice, I’ve not yet mastered the art of performing the test without getting urine on my hands. I’ve learned not to care.

And then, I wait. Even if I’ve spent the last week puking with horrid morning sickness I am breathless, anxious, fatalistic. I stare at the test, not giving much credence to the whole ‘watched pot never boils’ cliché. I can attest; a pregnancy test watched with hawk-like intensity works just as quickly as one ignored and left to stand on the bathroom counter while you tend to other tasks.

I don’t throw my tests away, not until after the birth. I hold many superstitions, but this one is sacred. Wouldn’t it be the worst kind of fate tempting to throw away proof of life before that life makes it to the world?

My husband thinks it is disgusting – this pile of used, urine covered pregnancy tests littering my drawer in the bathroom.

I think it is beautiful.
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#32 of 67 Old 04-06-2005, 03:22 PM
 
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Cravings...

My first pregnancy brought cravings of potatoes. I loved them baked with lots of melted butter. I would eat them for breakfast, lunches, snacks and dinner. I have always loved potatoes but not to this excess.

My second pregnancy brought forth a craving of strawberries. I ate flats and flats of strawberries when I was pregnant with my second child. I had never been much of a strawberry eater before this pregnancy. I just could not get enough of these berries. It seemed like every couple of days I would be going out to the market to buy more. My husband just shook his head in disbelief at the sheer amount of strawberries I could consume!

You know that old wives tale that if you eat too many strawberries your baby will born with a strawberry birthmark? Well that old tale rang true for my little girl. I couldn’t believe it when I saw the birthmark on her body and had to laugh at the absurdity of it. Her strawberry birthmark was on the left side of her body under her arm. Did those strawberries really leave a mark on her tiny little body? My eldest was not born with any strawberry birthmarks and I really don’t know of anyone else in my family that had or has one either?

Perhaps if my oldest had been born with a potato birthmark no doubt would linger in my mind about the truth of this old wives tale. It would somehow seem logical to me then that what you ate could leave a physical mark on an infant. But I question why only strawberries could do this?

Somewhere inside of me I knew that the tales and wisdoms passed down among women held many truths that we as modern women feel compelled to disbelieve. Perhaps it is because of lack of scientific evidence or the fear women have to be once again thought of as the superstitious uneducated women of the past.

Perhaps my daughters birthmark has nothing to do with all of those berries I loved eating while pregnant but even if it is just a coincidence a part of me will always hold some belief in this old tale.
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#33 of 67 Old 04-06-2005, 10:07 PM
 
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Leaving…

I began to dream of leaving. I daydreamed of running away from my life and being somewhere else. I was still taking dance classes and choreographing my own pieces. There were no children or husband or in fact any family included in this fantasy. Just myself , my clean home and tons of time to do what I wanted. I am thin and beautiful once again but then reality hits me hard. I open my eyes and see the dishes that need washing, the floor that needs mopping and the children that need caring and my mothering instincts snap to attention. I am an awesome multi tasker and can be homeshcooling with one daughter, playing polly pockets with another and have bread baking in the oven while a load of laundry is washing.

Just recently I have come to the realization that I am not always present in my life. Really, really present in what I am doing at the moment. Constant thoughts run through my head, my to do lists that are never written down but always remembered.

I needed to do something. I have begun to meditate. I now know I must breathe and be present or else my life will pass before me and I will have missed it! And missing it is inexcusable and absolutely unforgivable because I have been blessed many times over in this lifetime.

Sometimes when I feel so tired from trying to get everything done I feel weepy and resentful. Then my daydreams begin to creep up on me again. I must look hard then at my world around me and really open my eyes to see the good around me. Life can be hard at times but I marvel how many of us continue to only see what they don’t have instead of what they do.

Meditation does not come easy to me. I find it difficult to sit and not “do” anything for long periods of time. This last sentence just goes to show how much I need to meditate and how I must learn that it is not doing "nothing". It is nurturing and replenishing my soul. It is taking care of me, which is just as important as all the tasks that life sets before me.

I don’t believe that I would ever leave and I really do love my life. It is just those bad life moments, like when my 3 year old wont stop crying and the dryer breaks down and I have ten dollars in the bank until the next pay day that overwhelm me. I must learn to be in that moment and know it will pass because most of my life consists of the good moments that some can only dream of having.
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#34 of 67 Old 04-06-2005, 10:33 PM
 
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It doesn't matter anymore...that our baby is a mere eight months and does a new trick of clamping her gums together and snorting. She smiles at me as she does this, over and over on the floor of the room we all share. Family of five but one is...
not yet.
But it doesn't matter anymore...that our smallish daughter is only four, and she has the cutest little bob and a mischievous smile. Her brown eyes are yet so innocent and so..old for her few years.
And it doesn't matter anymore that our son, oldest child birthed into water into the strongest pair of hands I've known, is outside poised over a butterfly bush, net in hand, to catch a painted lady.
Or a monarch.
It doesn't matter.
It doesn't matter that I wore white and my knees shook when I looked into his eyes and we kissed to seal our commitment. It doesn't matter that his hair flew into his eyes and he cocked his head to one side to push it back, long and curly as it was. It doesn't matter that little things like that melted my heart.

All that matters now has been reduced to the scope of one reckless night. I feel the weight of fatigue on my eyes. I didn't sleep last night, the clock was my only companion, and the tidal rhythm of my childrens' breath in that room. The room we all share. Except for one of us who is leaving.
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#35 of 67 Old 04-06-2005, 10:44 PM
 
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I wanted to add something about "anticipation." While I anticipated that having a baby would bring joy and beauty into my life I could never have imagined the immense LOVE I have for this sweet daughter of mine. I love her throughly, with the essence of my being. She lived in the innermost part of my body (inside an organ...how much more in can one go?), and now the love I feel for her permeates every inch of my being, and somehow continues to grow as she and I spend each day together. There is no way to anticipate this magical mama/baby love.
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#36 of 67 Old 04-07-2005, 01:45 AM
 
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All I see when I think of this word is Frankenfurter's big lips holding the syllables in silence as the audience in the theater, where I saw this movie so long ago, called out their lines: Wait for it! Wait for it!

Wait for it. Such has been my life, it seems. I once read a quote that still resonates and informs my days: The way you spend your days is the way you'll spend your life. I take stock of what that means for me and see a string of days, like paper doll cutouts silhouetted against a bright sky. Days filled with meeting needs, relentlessly, endlessly. Needs whined through deeply lipsticked four-year-old lips. Needs shouted in my direction by a vocal ten-month-old with duck fuzz hair. Questions with higher brain answers--what's the capitol of Pennsylvania, mom?--interjected with pleas of go with me to the potty pleeeeeaaaaaaase.

My anticipation is sleeping silently within me. It wants to awaken, shake the dust off and feel the breeze again. My anticipation comes to life for small stretches of time here, in the dark, in the quiet of a sleeping house. All I hear are my fingers on these keys, not stopping but for a breath now and then. My shoulder hurts, my back aches. I have been so long bent into a position that maligns my hips and back. 23 pound baby on my hip for hours...days...weeks....until I feel the impression of his tiny body even when we are apart.

Anticipation is wondering when I will arise and finally step into what means real to me. What is real to me. Creation--I did that with my children but I long to do it with my eyes, my hands, my heart, intentionally, aligning imagery across a canvas or in the small square of my viewfinder. Creation--the design of words across a screen or page. Creation--the time and space to read a book from beginning....to end.
Perhaps to write one. Yes, to write one.

I am full, awaiting my moment. Anticipating my potential, my realization.
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#37 of 67 Old 04-07-2005, 11:58 AM
 
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Inside the jewelry box in my bedroom lies a stack of used, yellowed pregnancy tests. Each time I have been pregnant, I have taken several tests. I took them before I even missed my periods so that I could watch the little pink lines get darker and darker as the days went by. I took them to reassure myself of each new life quietly growing inside of me. I took them because somehow in my heart I knew that those would be the last easy answers I would ever get when it came to questions about my kids. Looking at those pink lines was a concrete answer to one of life’s questions. I have never received a concrete answer to a parenting question since. There are no pink lines to look at when your child is hurting and you are looking for the answer to cure her hurt. You can’t pee on a stick for an answer when your child is seriously ill and you don’t know what to do to make him better. When Daddy leaves and you can’t explain it to your children because you can’t explain it to yourself, you can’t just go to the drugstore and buy a test in a box to give you a fast and reliable answer in just three minutes. Parenting is one of the biggest risks that any person can ever take. It is hard, it is painful, and it will completely change every aspect of your life. Nothing will ever be normal again; nothing will ever be easy again. Every day I put myself out there for my kids, and every day I learn how to be more and more thankful that I have the opportunity to do so. Every day I ask questions and re-ask them and ask them again. And every day I find that no matter how long I’ve been a parent, answering the questions never gets any easier. So, I keep those plastic sticks hidden away in my jewelry box. I keep them so that I can remember how it felt to hear those little pink lines shout “yes” to me. I keep them as a reminder that even though life may start with a concrete answer, that nothing else in life will ever be that black and white again. And I keep them because I am thankful; thankful for the easy answers, the hard answers, and all the ones in between.
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#38 of 67 Old 04-07-2005, 01:35 PM
 
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Leaving was always the hardest thing, but not for myself. I longed to run screaming down the road some days. “Anybody! Take him! Just for an hour!” It was hard for Jeremy, who clung to me so tightly, as if I were his only connection to this world.

The two of us were bonded so tightly, there were times I didn't know where I left off and he began. He was a part of me for so long. We'd been together constantly since he was conceived, the only break being during surgical procedures. It was if we were connected on a biological and a psychological level. When the doctor gave me a painful examination three days after the birth I winced and gasped but it was Jeremy who let out a shout of pain, the earsplitting cry that caused my newly filled breasts to tingle and leak. I was sure he could feel it.

During the colicky days, I felt crampy and weak and I paced with the crying boy. We would take on one another's feelings. I would look at his little baby arm and (what a horrible thought) knew that if someone pinched it, I would shriek with the pain.

When he was two and we'd almost never been separated and I was growing heavier by the day with his little brother (“Look at the surprise you're in for now, sweetie. If this doesn't rock your world, what will?”), I needed to escape now and then, for my health and sanity. I couldn't do the 24-hour togetherness anymore; I needed to breathe. Wednesday nights became my coffee night. I would grab a novel and drive the few country blocks over to Rick's Cafe and get a decaf mocha while I sat and read for an hour or two, knowing or at least suspecting what was going on at home.

The second I made any move towards the door, the instant Jeremy could detect my intention to leave, he would make a beeline for my kneecaps and attach himself with a grip whose strength could only be compared to the that of a spiderweb on an insect about to get sucked dry. So I would have to put space between us, or worse, sneak out—which I never felt good about, well, not until I reached an especially riveting chapter in whatever book I was reading down at the cafe.

If he saw me actually exit through the door, walk past the front window and drive off in the car, I would hear his screams until I started the engine and they would echo in my ears till I returned.

I felt the weight of his sadness and desperation the whole time I was gone, and thought several times about coming home early and had to remind myself that he had to connect with his father sometime, that everything would be okay. It's not like he's alone or something. When I'd come home to help put him to bed, I'd come in and the furniture would be rearranged, the piano bench pushed up to one edge of the futon sofa, and the easy chair pushed up against the other side.

When I asked about it, it was explained to me. “It was to block him from getting to you as you went out the door,” he said. “I didn't want to be the bad guy, physically restraining him from getting to you.” I sunk to the chair and cried. To have someone love you and depend on you so much that his world shatters when you leave, that is a scary and beautiful thing.
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#39 of 67 Old 04-07-2005, 09:17 PM
 
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#40 of 67 Old 04-08-2005, 12:03 AM
 
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OOOO I crave attention, the kind I use to get before I became a SAHM and some how found myself only in conversations about my daughter or my husband. No one asks me what I am reading or writing or studying or doing; they ask about my daughter's dress, her hair or my husband's career. I crave interaction on an intellectual level about world news and gnostic writings and poetry and music that doesn't have a repeating rhyming chorus or blue dogs singing. I crave my size 6 body and my six pack ads; my 6 minute mile and my 12 mile runs into solitude into prayer into zen. The zen art of cleaning the same mess 7 times a day has yet to inspire me so. I crave a full night's sleep and a really good facial. I crave the perfect martini and chocolate cream pie. But here is the catch if I had all those things I would crave the soft breath of my child on my neck and her smile of joy when she wakes up next to me (at 3 AM). I would crave her happy dance and her curly locks and her gentle touch and her rare and wonderful kisses. I would crave her blue, blue eyes somberly gazing at mine as she points to my nose, my ears, my eyes and my mouth as though this were a most sacred religious ritual. So maybe what it is I really crave is the intigration of my former self with my mommy self and the space and place to express and explore both without having to compromise either.
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#41 of 67 Old 04-08-2005, 12:14 PM
 
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ok, i've already crossed out two beginnings, which i know isn't allowed in freewriting, so here goes, again, without editing so it may be crap

i crave the company of other mothers now, but not just other mothers, other mothers who feel and think and worry and care in the same ways or similar ways that i do. i remember sending c out for pickles and ice-cream and honestly not realizing, until he pointed it out, that it was such a pregnancy cliche, and then i just laughed and laughed and thought how absolutely wonderful it is to live out a cliche and discover its original roots, like coming to a myth backwards by experiencing it firsthand as if it never happened to anyone anywhere before. the connection, of course, between this and my opening sentence, which i've just seen, is that i want to be with others and feel connected and share with them, and i also want to be unique and special, but mostly i want to have support in the form of another mother who nods approvingly at every little new thing i discover and acts terribly excited by my discovery, because that's how i feel. like i've just discovered a new moon or somethng. which i have. because my daughter is a new moon. her curves and smells and kisses that slobber and fingers that scrape and eyes that go on and on remind me of my best view of myself but are also so amazingly separate and new that i want to get lost in all of it. and share it. learning her is self-indulgent, like learning myself. like learning a new language, one that you get to help create. i crave her, and i crave that craving. beause, of course, it's not always there in clear or obvious ways. so when it's gone, i miss it and call it back with all that i do, even if it's resistance. i craved her when i was pregnant and i craved affirmation that she was really there, really going to be, with all the worry that that entailed. my cravings for salt and sweet were like twin sides of worry and anticipation--wanting the perfect birth, baby, being, and fearing the worst--loss, sadness, desperation. that fear can act on you like a craving too, sucking out your energy, becoming your focus, creating itself in weaving, spinning coils of wasted tension.
my mother helped relieve that tension. she was and is that perfect support i described. she is selfless enough, and old enough, to not need anything in return. or perhaps, being my mother, seeing me in the role of mother-discoverer continues her own journey of discovery as my mother. at any rate, i am relishing living in the selfishness of celebrating my child and my cravings for her.
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#42 of 67 Old 04-08-2005, 12:24 PM
 
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I had so many fantasies about how I would tell him we were pregnant. Fantasies that gave me the power of telling, of inviting him in, of sharing or withholding that news until the time was right. when the time came, i felt a strange panic about being the only one who knew--i ran down the hall, pee-stick in hand, shoving it awkwardly into his while studying his face earnestly, carefully, while he looked down. "Oh my God" and we were off, a new world of shock and awe and reality set in against the fantasies, created by them, led by them, but diverging from them already in significant ways. he went to study the stick, opening it and exposing the urine-stained tip. ugh--i reached out quickly to stop him, embarrassed and helpful--not there, it's my pee. so silly considering where that stick would bring us, what new levels of intimacy and knowing. i couldn't hold out very long with others either...the word spread from me even as i held my terror close, terror of losing this thing i couldn't yet feel or see or touch. i felt like a pro with p-tests, even though i had only tried for three months. i shopped for the lowest price, compared accuracy levels and convenience features, proudly and matter of factly deposited the tests at the checkout counter, not caring and caring what others thought. who knew it was actually difficult and precise and complicated to get pregnant? all this time i'd been scaring everyone i knew on the dangers of slipping up just one time. of course, after she was born, i had that scare. vomiting after a meal out, after nursing her to sleep. too young, too soon, too much, too tired, too scary. he tried to calm me, but i needed the test to make sure. didn't want to go around worrying about every little thing. negative. relief. a flood of it. full circle of knowing how those sticks can rorshach our deepest desires and fears.
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#43 of 67 Old 04-08-2005, 02:58 PM
 
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Anticipating birth is like anticipating the hottest summer day in the middle of a snowstorm--you can't do it with any real knowledge of what the experience will be if it's never happened, and after it's happened, you lose that sort of visceral experiential knowledge--memory has a way of softening and obscuring some edges, heightening others. My pregnancy was filled with anticipations of things going horribly wrong--losing the baby, something being wrong with the baby, something happening to me, losing touch with my husband, losing control, changes in me and marriage and the world. Scary stuff, like someone bopping you on the head out of nowhere and you losing vital functions because of it. in fact, anticipating birth is like trying to anticipate a toddler's bumping, chaotic way of striking out around him as he learns to navigate the world--you know there will be great, bubbling joys and discoveries but there is also the potential for deep pools of pain, hurt, trauma.

When I was pregnant, I didn't think about labor and delivery until about 6 or 7 months in. I think this was an instinctual way of deferring what I wasn't ready to deal with. The fears and worries were so great for me, that resisting and working against them was a daily battle. It took until my belly was large and I had regular, kicking reminders of the strength of my child's life energy until I could relax enough to move on to the next stage of anxiety. Now, I feel like I can finally relax and enjoy my daughter, but it's probably another bubble instinctually created to get me through her first years, after which the worries morph again (infinitely, I suppose) into a new set of problems, concerns, fears for her and me and us.

So does anticipation serve any practical purpose? I know it's often thought of in fantasy terms, as an escape, as a longing exploration of desires and wishes. That's all there for me too, but its twin of anticipation of the worst, as a sort of self-protection and rehearsal, is also there. I know it won't help me really prepare for bad things should they actually happen. But the myth I tell myself is that they might, so I go on worrying, go on anticipating the bad, right along with the good. The way an infant may learn to cry before she bumps or gets splashed with water, because of a memory--but also an anticipation--of what might come.
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#44 of 67 Old 04-09-2005, 04:22 PM
 
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I don’t remember my first bicycle. I suppose I should, right? Isn’t that one of those things that people remember?

I don’t remember much. In fact, my memory problems are the main reason I have developed a writing style that makes recording the shortest of life events a process much like writing an epic novel. My birth story is 19 pages, typed, single-spaced – for goodness sake. Mind numbingly detailed does not begin to describe my journaling.

But….if I don’t write like that, the memories disappear. Gone. Vanished. I don’t have short or long-term memory loss – I think I just have a complete memory void.

Why is that? I do have childhood memories, brief flashes of specific, random events – but not like other people. Even for my older years, in high school, things are patchy. A few years back, ten years after high school graduation I went home for the first time and sat around reminiscing with friends as they told story after story of parties and camping trips and school events – which I sat their blankly wondering what part of my brain was missing that I didn’t have the same recollections, although they all swear I was there.

It scares me now, being a mother, that I will forget the millions of magical, incredible, wonderful moments with my daughter. The times I want to remember forever, hold on to so tightly, bring back later when times are not so good. I know what a tenuous grasp I have on those memories – how quickly I’ll forget what she said, and did, and how she looked and the way she made my heart leap with a joy so full it defies description.

That, more than forgetting my first bicycle, or my tenth birthday, or the zillions of other moments that went into my life, breaks my heart.
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#45 of 67 Old 04-09-2005, 04:31 PM
 
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AN-TI-CI-PA-TION

Each syllable of that word is heavy with expectation. So weighted down by hopes and dreams and wishes that it seems to fill up the page when I focus on it. I like to say it now, over and over; feeling how merely repeating the word seems to heighten my awareness of all that is coming up in the next few months of my life.

I realize – I have been focusing so much on the present – figuring out birthing plans and mothering realities and how to make my life work RIGHT NOW, that I have not been blessing this baby growing within me with some period of anticipation and wonder and mystery. I’m nearing my third trimester; this seems like the right time to begin looking inward and looking ahead at the same time.

Who is this child I am carrying? What will life be like as a mother of two? Do I have man-child, or another little girl? What will it feel like to birth my baby, to hold my baby, to mother my baby through life?

AN-TI-CI-PA-TION

I think I’ll go now and spend some time on that.
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#46 of 67 Old 04-10-2005, 08:43 AM
 
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i'm empty. that gnawing kind of empty that digs at your insides, the kind that can never really be satisfied. pasta? no. tea and toast? no. soup? no. Breyer's Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream? no.

so i eat. something. anything to fill me up, to keep my stomach from embarassing me with its gurgling or waking me up at 3am. But what do i *want*? homemade pizza? no. Vegetable lasagna? no. Those chocolates with the hazelnut filling? no I *want* to want something, not just to eat, mindlessly, while standing in front of the refrigerator, waiting to be full. I want to crave something, anything. Even steak or fast food french fries, or macaroni and cheese.

it's a strange feeling, really, to be hungry all the time but never want to eat. But i do it--keep eating, hoping the next thing will be it, the magic food i can say, years later, i craved. it'll become a story to tell--the cravings.
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#47 of 67 Old 04-10-2005, 08:48 AM
 
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i wonder what it will be like, leaving. this place, where i created an identity a role, a niche for myself. i want to leave. move on. focus on my new self, my baby, my family. i tell myself all this. "because it's best." "it's what i want." i wonder what it will mean, though, really. will i miss it? will i want back all those things i complain about now? will i come to realize what i love about working? all of the sudden, in a moment of clarity? i try to anticipate it all. to figure it out. leaving. not leaving. if i do--take it all apart and put it together in a million different combinations, maybe whatever leaving means, really, will make its self known.
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#48 of 67 Old 04-11-2005, 02:51 PM
 
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When my daughter was born I never took a home pregnancy test. I didn't suspect I was pregnant, and in a way I almost thought I couldn't have children. I was late with my period but having always had very sporatic periods I wasn't worried about it and told my husband Chris who wasn't actually my husband or even fiancee , as much when he asked. Then I woke up one morning throwing up. I thought I had a stomache flu. I called Chris and let him know I was sick. His mind started formulating opinions. He didn't tell me until days later, but that night he had dreamed we had twin boys, so the news was almost expected. When I went to visit him at the job site he told me I looked especially beautiful. I told him that was good, but Ifelt like shit.
The next morning I again woke up and puked, and the following mroning. I was nauseus through out the days as well. I still honestly did not think i was pregnant. We had an appointment the following day to get on birth control, and as we arrived at the clinic Chris told me about his dream. I brushed it off.
Before getting birth control you of course have to take a pregnancy test.So of course I peed in the little cup, and sat back down to wait. We briefly saw a nurse who gave us informatin on the diffrent forms of birth control. I told Chris at this point " See Hon, we're not pregnant or they wouldn't have given us these" So we sat and waited and read and disccussed diffrent options and what we wanted to do. Clinics take forever so we were waitng for about an hour before we finally got called back there again. They sat us in the weighing and blood pressure room. it was actually just a section of hallway partially blocked off by partitions that are normally used to make cubicle's in the corprate world. We sat there and the nurse looked at us. i was getting ready to tell her what we had chosen when ashe began to talk

"your pregnacy test came up positive. You are going to have a baby. Do you have any type of insurance?'
and I sat there stunned hte only part of me that moved was my jaw as it dropped open. I could not believe it. It was like she had just told me I had a disease. For the briefest of moments I, who does not beleive in abortion( for myself I believe in the women's right to choose), contemplated having an abortion. The nurse seeing how shocked I was paused for a moment before continuing
" we can arrange for you te meet with a representative form medacaid to see if you qualify. You are having the baby right? there are other options of course. here's some information I will let you two discuss this for a moment"
and like that we were back in the waiting room with more packetts, and I sat there still in mild shock and asked Chris what he thought. He pissed me off some because he wouldn't make a decsion, just said that whatever I decided was fine with him. He was being gentelmanly I suppose but i wanted his opinoin. Not getting it I just thought how momentous this all was. I thought about us not being in the position to have a baby. Financially, emotionally, in terms of the relatinship, we had only been dating for 6 months. Finally thought I turned to him, scared of what he would say and told him "let's have it". There was relief in his face as he told me he had been thinking about this since I woke up one mroining throwing up, and that he also wanted to have the baby.





ok I really like this topic and am planning on reworking it, as I was sort of nervous my boss might walk in well i was typing it out.

Courtney

Courtney and Cree, baby made 3, added one more then there were 4, sakes alive, then we had 5, another in the mix now we have 6!

A Momma in love with her Little Women-Jewel Face, Jo Jo Bean, June Bug, and Sweet Coraline.

 

 

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#49 of 67 Old 04-12-2005, 11:00 PM
 
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I started this as a short writing, but soon realized brevity was not becoming to the emotions stirred up.

I was assaulted, right in the bread aisle at Raley's. As I reached for my bread-of-choice, I looked up to see her. I stared for a moment, my kids unsettling in the cart. Was it her I wondered? It kind of looked like her, but I couldn't tell. It had been over 5 years, after all. She was scanning the bread, making a hasty decision before reaching for a loaf. As she approached my end of the aisle, her pager went off. She opened her coat to pull it from her waist and made a passing glance. It was her, right here in the grocery store.

I wonder if a nurse was paging her with information about a laboring mom. Maybe the nurse would say, "She's ready for you," raising the mother's hope. Maybe upon the doctor's arrival and inspection, she would scold both nurse and patient and chide, "Why did you call me? She's not ready." Maybe she would retreat to the sleeping lounge, not giving any help, praise, or encouragement to this struggling woman, only to return a few hours later and pull the baby from its mother by vacuum, forcing something that could have, with time, skill, and patience, left the mother's body, soul, and confidence intact.

So I follow her to the dairy section, where I am tempted to reintroduce myself, but what would I say? You were a horrible doctor, you stripped me of the opportunity to birth my baby, and now I help empower women to have the births they want? You wretched, wretched woman? You, who said at my six-week check-up, while buring something off my nether regions with silver nitrate, "The miracle of birth is epidurals," while I replied, "I did not get an epidural, remember?" Would it have killed you to say "Way to go, Mom, for delivering a 9 1/2 pound baby!"

I imagine saying simply, "You were my OB with my first baby. I forgive you." Perhaps I could share that through my midwives' love, care, and presence, I finally overcame those fears which grew like a twin alongside my second baby. I could share how her comment, "Do you want to get this overwith? Because I think he's getting kind of big," made me turn to thoughts of starvation with my next pregnancy to avoid what she termed "a monster-sized baby." Would I also tell her of the relief I felt when one of my midwives assured me, "His head is not getting any bigger -- he is just chubbing up, putting fat on his arms and legs," when I expressed my dark fear of going over my due date? If I told her all that, would I also accuse her of witholding information to make her side seem more favorable? To the extent that my baby's health suffered in the long run?

Could I do all of this, right in the middle of the grocery store? Tell her I had a hard but healing second birth? Tell her how by her hands I was not only scarred physically, but emotionally as well? Tell her how selfish of a practitioner she was? Thinking only about her own gain and getting home to her family while prematurely forcing the creation of mine? Pulling out a baby who was unready, unwilling to face the world, not allowed to emerge in his own time? Tell her how I attributed his shy disposition and insecurity, anxiety to new situations to the simple fact he was made to face his first situation on her time, not his, and that simply could not be a coincidence?

As I watched her move from yogurt to the checkstand, I let it all go. I learned from this woman, I learned a lot. Invaluable lessons were gleaned by her hand, as dangerous as that hand was. I look to my own hands -- hands that nurture laboring woman -- hands that touch, love, heal. In the end I could not trust my tongue, so with those hands in mind, I held it.
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#50 of 67 Old 04-13-2005, 03:47 AM
 
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I have cradled you in the crook of my arm since you were 11 months old; a gift from your birthmother, and from your country India. Breathing in deeply as I take in the essence of your hair, I remember every milestone, and every precious moment you have shared with me. Oh how I feel blessed, to have experienced motherhood first by you. Each hug on my leg, each kiss on my cheek, and all the times that you fell down and scraped your chubby knee...oh how can you be taking all of this from me?

And now you are leaving. Your ticket is purchased. Adventures and excitement lie ahead of you as you reach out and embrace life and experience it out of the reach of my arms. I will put up a brave face. I will wish you well and send you off with a dozen kisses. But when you turn your back to me, I will weep, softly at first, and then with the roar of the ocean I will wail and beat my chest. I will lay my body on the ground, and not get up until the tide has ebbed.

How can I let you go now?

Vegetarian Hindu, mother to L,P and R. 
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#51 of 67 Old 04-14-2005, 01:36 AM
 
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Tenth Birthday, your tenth birthday. The year 2015. I'll turn 38 seventeen days after your tenth birthday. Whoa!
Will your Pa be around? Will the cancer have taken him by then? Either way, I hope you will still cherish your times with him by the time you reach your tenth birthday.
I hope to be strong as your mother on your tenth birthday. I hope I can still play soccer then! And maybe you'll think that is cool. I hope you still think I'm cool on your tenth birthday!
I know that love increases as time goes on, and because of that it's hard for me to imagine how much I will love you on your tenth birthday, because right now I already love you so much I think I could explode.
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#52 of 67 Old 04-14-2005, 01:44 PM
 
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A beautiful little pink, worn onesie. Packed and repacked in my hospital bag. As other things are taken out, replaced with something else, deemed unnecessary, that gets unfolded, held, touched, fondled, refolded and repacked carefully. it is the smallest of the baby clothes i have, handed down from my baby's cousin, washed and worn and shrunk and soft. it seems to breathe love, care, tiny but worn, familiar. it gives me hope that i can do this. not like the other clothes--new, crisp, too clean, tags intact, threatening, like blank canvases waiting to be imprinted with my mistakes. this one, this feels better. like shared mother-knowledge, a gift from others who have come before, learned, loved. they will be with me, but the onesie is mine now to dress the baby in alone. my baby. i am overdue, and everyone says my baby will be big. i am big, heavy, tired with waiting. the onesie looks small, too small, too pink for an unknown gender. my feminist instincts lose courage--will i want to put a little boy in pink? will others laugh, judge, think i am a bad mother? i pack other pieces, soft greens, blues, yellows. but the pink stays. i know i will love it the most. as i love this baby. the most. more than all others come before, lost before, to other mothers. more than myself. more than him. a love that grows and grows, feeding on itself, tossing aside remnants of old lives. this baby will soon outgrow this onesie. and perhaps my love? maybe it will never fit. i pack it anyway. when she comes, i slide her carefully into it. a perfect fit.
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#53 of 67 Old 04-14-2005, 07:37 PM
 
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The first wave arrived, unexpected, unexplained. I was lying on my over-stuffed, brown couch wondering what this mild but unfamiliar wave of nausea was all about. Had I eaten something funny? Was it the flu? Several days later the answer appeared as two pink lines on a little plaxtic stick. from there, my morning sickness quickly became a constant feature of my life. It was a gnawing, hungry, woozy, pukey feeling-- 24 hours a day! It felt like there was a beast in my belly that had to be fed constantly. Iate all day long-- literally. Eating was the only thing that helped diminish my constant queasy companion. I usually threw up once each morning and then just wixhed I could throw up the rest of the day.

but the most striking feature of my morning sickness was my battle with garlic. At first she was an unknown enemy. I just thought I had an utter averstion to the taste and smell of ALL food, which didn't combine well with the imperative to eat. I had to eat all the time, but hated every bite. I couldn't even walk into a restaurant for fear of the smell, and spaghetti was the worst. I could not imagine at that time how anyone dould tolerate such a vile substance. The food I made myself in my house, like daily almond butter and jelly sandwiches, was generally OK, but for some strange reason Icould not enter my pantry. I ran in horror at the smell. Then one day my husband breavely hunted her down-- a sealed bottle of garlic powder on a top shelf! Finally, my house was once again a refuge from the garlic assault. Give me labor, give me birth, give night-waking, but no morning sickness please!
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#54 of 67 Old 04-15-2005, 05:08 AM
 
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anticipation:

it is the end of september, indian summer. waiting for baby to make her move. dreamt she was a girl all along. due date comes, goes. i am ignorant; an unplanned baby for me, i figure i will go into labor just like every other woman on the planet and my pain threshold is high, so i will DO IT! no problem. friends tell me that if anyone can do this, i can. granola girl, that i am. one week past d.d. no baby. doc says "induction?" i say "you betcha!"
driving to the hospital on a friday evening. legs sticking to the seats, fear, nerves strung tight between me and my husband of 4 months. we know we are on the doorstep of a new life. i know a bit about kids from cousins, babysitting; he has no clue. but here we go anyway! woohoo!
check in at the hospital. up to the place where we toured earlier. in a room with NO natural light. i am set in bed I.V. with some pitocin and a half a pill of some other drug inserted inside me. we wait. sleep, they say, yet they come to check me every half an hour! by 3 am, i am so tired i feel like keeling over, but the pain has started. brave girl had sent everyone home to sleep, so i am alone, scared, cold. but i am making progress! 3 cm, and the water breaks. i feel as if i have wet myself. i am fanatical about changing the pads underneath. i run out of pads and the nurses act as if i am a freak for wanting more.
the pain increases, feels as if my back is splitting open. i submit to the epidural, the pain from the needle feeling like a bee sting compared to the wrenching contractions caused by that wretched drug. and we wait again.
i progress no more. baby did not want to come yet, why did we force her? i am exhausted though, and decide i want it over with. we see her beautiful face within the hour. eyes wide awake, so so blue and curious. what is she thinking? i love love love her. i am so glad to hold her. i am exhausted. we sleep.

~i guess i didn't stick to the anticipation theme all that well, i just got caught up in reminiscing. it sure is hard to not go up there and revise revise revise!!! and to think i started writing this with the intent of paralleling my c-section which arose out of my ignorance with my completely researched and fought for natural vbac!!! i just want to let you know how happy this writing thing makes me! i have a complete fear of sharing my writing, so just know that pressing the button to send it out to you all is making me want to vomit. but it's the first step! must remember that quote to allow myself to write complete drivel and i am humbled and have the strength to click that mousie...
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#55 of 67 Old 04-15-2005, 12:21 PM
 
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lying on the hospital bed, on one side, unable to move and having to ask for permission to pee. i wait and hold as long as i can just to savor the treat of moving, getting up and walking the few feet to the bathroom, untethered to monitors, allowed to operate my body. back in bed as quick as you can so we can keep tabs. damn. these threads hanging from me like spiderwebs, clinging to me, controlling me, saving me. keeping me in place. sucking the power from me. the power to birth my baby. actively. instead, i wait. alone, not alone. the worst part. i ask to pee. i've waited too long. they bring out the bed pan. now i am really imprisoned. can't even get up to pee. they all watch me. mother, husband, nurse. anytime you're ready. "it's a lot." yep, it's fine. "it's a whole lot." she's not even listening. they're watching. i can't go. i tell them to look away. i can't believe i ever knew how to pee while lying down. i let loose. the rivers flow. and flow. and flow. i feel wet. the nurse comes running. i've overflowed the pan. i'm uncomfortable, embarrassed, but also a bit smug. told you so. later, they break my water. it comes out, dribbles at first and then a second river. i could swim in these waters. my baby has. follow the water, sweet girl. swim to me so that i can swim to you.
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#56 of 67 Old 04-15-2005, 08:07 PM
 
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I'm afraid to start this freewrite on fear, he, he! Fear... It sits in my chest, like lead, constricting my heart. I wake in the morning and it clenches my stomach. I try to speak and it catapoults into my throat. I fear the what ifs. What if my baby gets stuck in my pelvis? What if the cord will not let him through? What if my baby dies and my partner and I do not make it through? What if our families never forgive us? What if my midwife does not handle things well enough? What if I have a C-section? What if labor stops when I get to the hospital? What if my midwife loses her license for attending our homebirth?

All these fears and more took over my daily thoughts when I was pregnant with my first baby who was breech. I cried. I ran. I sat in silence withthe fear who came to be as a wise, but tough grandmother. I drew it in red and black on the blank page. And I spoke to my baby about it. I told him, it was OK to turn, OK to come into the world, but still he stayed... close to my heart.

I remember when the midwife tried to turn him, and we were all listening to his heart beat on the doppler. It went way down, very slow... Fear sizzled like electricity through every cell of my body! She moved him back, and his heart rate went right back up-- breath. I can breath again.

Fear as a friend. I befriended the grandmother. She loved me and told me it would be OK. When I went into labor, the fear disappeared. I was beyond all fear. When I sensed the fear of those around me, it seemed absurd. I had a knowledge. I was birthing my baby. All would be well. And it was. My breech baby told me his dreams this morning. Sometimes he seems so grown up. We have both come a long way.
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#57 of 67 Old 04-25-2005, 02:11 PM
 
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Leaving
I always hated goodbyes. The very idea of separation leaves me with a feeling of panic rising in my throat, and I can just taste the bile. I suppose this doesn’t happen with everyone I have to say goodbye to, but only the few close people in my life whom I couldn’t imagine seeing or talking to whenever I want.

Being an only child, I really relied on my parents for everything while growing up. I had friends, but lacked self-confidence to really “got get ‘em”, especially as I grew closer to my teen years. Instead, I buried myself in my books, and got lost in a world where fiction seemed better than reality. When I was little, I was gregarious and would even embarrass my parents with the comments I would say to complete strangers. I really don’t know how I changed SO much, but it’s true. Around my initiation to womanhood, I became a geeky wallflower who would only emerge when spoken to, and I carefully held back my opinions and thoughts, but I remained bursting with the energy that just needed to be released. Soon my time came, when I discovered with joy the true art of writing! Journaling was a favorite pastime, but I grew to love telling stories. That became my one reason for existence.

It makes me sad when I have to say goodbye to eras, homes, events, and not just people. I guess the concept of change bothers me, and I am one who likes to have constancy in my life. Oddly enough, though, this changed for me when I had a zillion changes happening in my life starting in 1995, when the first death in my family occurred. It was my maternal grandmother, who lived overseas with the rest of my family, and I was incredibly depressed with her passing. After that, it was the death of my paternal grandmother in 1997 that really started making me different. I had been dating my now-husband in high school, and I was really a mess with not knowing how to handle seeing my parents so melancholy. A few years after that, I was desperate to hold on to everyone and everything when my best friend moved away from my neighborhood (but not out of the area). She started the chain of everyone close in my life moving to a new home. It bothered me in increments, until the crescendo came with my parents relocating out of state for my mom’s job. I stayed behind because I wanted to continue onward in my own life without them, but it was a painful journey I took a long time to adjust to. Another painful thing that happened that still affects me is my now-father-in-law’s sudden passing. As I write this, his death anniversary will be coming up. It makes me sad that we had to say goodbye to him so soon, and he couldn’t have even been around to see our wedding and our baby girl. Change and goodbyes became somewhat easier and somewhat harder during my pregnancy, making me all-too-glad to say goodbye to my parents on several occasions, and yet I would weep like a clingy toddler when I would think of them, and miss them for not being here with me whenever I would want to feel their strength to carry me through my uncertain days while pregnant.

Now I’m at the point where I am ok with goodbyes. For some reason, I feel compelled to want to move from our house and start afresh in a new city, even! That’s hard to comprehend, because I have no clue where that is stemming from. My husband thinks I’m crazy, and he would never dream of even moving outside our city unless he had the job of all jobs. I compensate by moving our furniture around and organizing the house—two things I wouldn’t have dreamed of doing while growing up or while I was in my first apartment alone. I must have the mommy hormones running through me now, and that must be why I have changed so. It’s not a bad thing, but I am still trying to figure out what else I can do with the energy I have, and incorporate that into my writing. But write I will do, and I am happy to do so. And with that, I bid adieu to this little musing.
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#58 of 67 Old 05-02-2005, 05:13 PM
 
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pregnancy tests

I am the consummate pregnancy test over-user. I am too ashamed to tell my dh how many I use. But not for the reason that many here are... I am not pregnant.

I have longed for those two lines to show up since I was with my first husband, at age 21. If I had all of the one liners, I might be able to cover the wall of my bathroom, or maybe tile the floor. For 4 years, I waited and tested, and then divorced (not because we didn’t get pregnant). Then with boyfriend for 3 years. How I longed for children- more than wanting to be with these men, body and soul longed for children. I was a nanny and would look into the eyes of my charges, I would see into their little souls and wonder “why not me?”

When I saw doctors about my irregular cycles, they would just tell me to go on the pill, and that I probably didn’t ovulate regularly. I was told I was irresponsible. I was told that I could get cancer.

Finally I cleaned up my mind, set my sights upon myself, extricated myself from toxic relationships and moved to China, not knowing that I would meet DH on my very first day in Beijing at my new job. Not long after that, we knew that we would marry, knew that we wanted and would not prevent having children. And that is the road that has carried me through until today.

Ironically enough, my only pregnancy was not diagnosed with a home pregnancy test – we were involved in a head-on car accident just a day after ovulation, March 1, 2004. Over a month later, after being hospitalized for 3 weeks for a fractured pelvis, and suspecting all the while that I might be pregnant, did we find out. We thought that I’d had a miscarriage. It took another 2 weeks to determine that I had an ectopic. 49 days after ovulation, the tube finally ruptured, and an emergency surgery saved my life. The weeks of waiting for resolution to that pregnancy were more painful than the fracture, more painful than anything I have ever experienced. Every day I spoke with that little soul residing adamantly in my being, knowing that this child was not going to be mine to raise.

But now it’s a year later, and this month I thought that it would happen for sure – everything was right, my thinking mature, prayers happening for us all over the world and in the most Holy sites, medication and BDing on all the right days. It feels right. And in the past week I think I have already used at least 10 tests, all negative. Today is 14dpo. DH and I were at CVS this afternoon and I almost bought another box, but he held me back, trying to make me promise (which I did not) that I would not test again until next week (fat chance). AF hasn't come yet, and I am still waiting for those 2 lines.

celeste terra, single wohm to twin toddler boys max and shoghi. bamboo village press
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#59 of 67 Old 05-08-2005, 11:01 PM
 
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labor was sucky throughout but a turning point was when i finally said yes to the c-section at the end, because i had to, and because i couldn't do it anymore. the defeat, the letdown, the air out of my balloon, my baby wasn't "tolerating" labor, no progress, i was going to ask for meds anyway, it all came to a head. another turning point was probably being in the room with the stress test, about to be let go, when everything happened and they all came running... not knowing what to do, totally panicked, i found chuck's eyes, which held me up completely. i just knew i had to be still and let them all work. he just knew he had to hold my eyes and keep me focussed. so we locked eyes and souls even though our very insides and cores were overflowing with fear. i was weeping silently, could feel the tears running down my face, but held my head still to look at him. he mouthed "it's ok" over and over and over. after it all passed, and they explained that i would be admitted immediately, there was a brief calm. a turning point. i knew that he would be everything i needed him to be. even though i had wondered before. i let myself turn everything over to him, and i concentrated on sending our baby good feelings. other turning points: breathing through pain, asking questions, finding i could stand up for myself.
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#60 of 67 Old 05-10-2005, 11:33 PM
 
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when my daughter came, i didn't see her head, slick with birthing juice, followed by a curved, trembling little body naked and vulnerable to the light, the eyes, the world that waited for her. not my eyes. mine watched his, which watched her--after she was brought outside the curtain that separated her from her mother's view. he stayed with me. i thought nothing of it until later, when someone told me that was unusual. they noted his loyal care of me--it was noteworthy, i guess, that he stayed by my side. but it never occured to me, or to him i think, that he should make a choice. he naturally stood by me, as he always did, and formed the link between us all. i watched him, as he watched her. he touched me, and reached out to her with welcoming love. i listened, and i watched, waited for some glimpse and sound and sign of her. they flashed her quickly to me--no warning or lingering glance allowed, i didn't see enough to take her in. i don't remember much between that and going to the recovery room. when did i get to hold her? when did she first see my face? does she feel sadness at all about the mess i may have made of her birth? does she hold the memory of it? of my not greeting her? of silence and blinding light in the room? where is her mother? i focus on the joy. on the love. on the link between him, her, and me. he stayed with me, and we reached out to her.
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