Last Man Standing

“Rest your head on your mat, open your eyes, see the mat.” I see it. I has tiny circles separated by capital letter I’s and inside the circles are little squares. My eyes get blurry like I’m looking at a magic eye picture from the 90’s, but i don’t see a hidden picture of a dolphin appearing. This is of no consequence to anything. At the end of class he says “open your eyes, meet the eyes of the people sharing your practice today, see each of them” I prefer seeing people to seeing my mat. They have eyes and expressions and they sweat with me here today. Baptiste Power Yoga is hard, and I feel like I am building something when I’ve finished. Daily yoga is my Lenten commitment. I cry every day because they say “happy baby” which is a pose you do towards the end while lying down, and the hot tears drip into my ears. I’m not totally sure why I chose this for Lent. I know that I didn’t want to give up anything since my diet is already paleo and very restricted, and I feel like I have a lot of loss in the balance of my life. So adding something felt like a safe choice, turns out an hour a day commitment is still a sacrifice. Shrugs.

Fun update: we went to the naturopath on Friday morning for our most recent fertility results. These results have to do with my dear sweet grooms body not mine, and so I asked him yesterday if its okay for me to write about. “This is our journey, Kate, not mine. Be as transparent as you need to”. Our culture has taught us that one’s manhood is tied to his performance and sperm count, I challenge that to say this guy’s manhood is tied to his response when asked to be vulnerable with his numbers. Together we have done so much work to improve our fertility, and now we embark on a new leg of the journey towards being parents. ( I doubt anyone really watches my song links, but I literally listen to this song everyday. it is the title of this post. Last Man Standing )

In November I wrote about the odds being stacked against us for natural conception, here are the details of that, and the fantastical new plan to beat the odds. The swimmers need to be at least 60% quick and zooming, we’re at about 30%; We need at least 20 million of them and we only have 16 million, lastly only half of our guys are normal the other half have two heads and coiled tails and stuff like that. Upon receiving this news (on his 37th birthday) he had his game face on and was ready for the next step, our ND calmly asked “how hardcore do you want to be.”  “Very” was my champions answer. She explained oxidative stress like this (3 minute animation)  and told us that  carrying some extra weight is the main cause of his oxidative stress. Well he has been hitting the gym an hour or more a day, 5-6 days a week since November and while he has lost some weight he needs something more dramatic to jump-start his metabolism.

 

Drum roll please….

Enter the HCG diet. Daily injections of this cool hormone will cause him to burn fat cells as energy, and somehow survive on 500 calories a day. Don’t worry guys its only for 3 weeks and then he can resume normal (is paleo diet normal now) eating. Did I almost pass out at the office when I heard about this, and saw the price tag, and comprehended the commitment level? You bet your buttons I almost did. So I’m in the waiting room looking at the patterns in the carpet and sipping water and being told to breathe, and my bad-ass groom is getting the instructions to take injections at home and how to count calories and scheduling weekly followups with our ND.  My head is spinning. Sally you will be proud of how Dr.Science this post is, the rest of you might be rating this post high on the EW! scale.

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Here’s us on our wedding day

I honestly don’t even know what to expect in the next 3 weeks, but did I know what to expect the last 3 weeks? NO one could have known that we would be sad and mourning the loss of a perfect little baby in our family, and it felt like I couldn’t breathe at some moments. Today I showed up though, and I might show up again tomorrow. Its a daily thing. We wake up grateful and put one foot in front of the other, we look each other in the face and try to see one another. So far that’s what I’ve learned from yoga-show up and see. We do not know what will happen in the hours and minutes we spend on this earth, sometimes its awful and unbearable and we feel crushed. The man I have married is so clearly the best partner for me in this journey. He is grounded and focused and kind and compassionate and also really tough. We are sharing our story so that you can see into us, and can lament and rejoice with us at the appropriate times. If you have experiences with this diet or infertility or grieving lets talk about those things and learn from one another.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In these arms of mine

When you are grieving the world is filled with landmines, spending time with anyone who is not grieving is eerie and wrought with danger. You must eventually return to the land of the living, but when, how? You wake up, you make coffee, you take a shower because that is what you do. The vacancy is loud and every crying baby is a reminder of what is missing. Today my dear nephew Braxton would have been  months old. We look at pictures, we talk about getting memorial tattoos, we say his name a lot. We look at the list of names of people that gave dollars to help with the expenses*, we say we should write thank you notes but we don’t know how.  This is what I’m listening to (blog title at 1:10)

I’ve told you before that I come from a big family. I grew up in my Mom’s house with one brother, and all my littler siblings grew up in my Dad’s house. (They range from 6-13 years younger than me) I have allowed myself to believe there is a separation because of our age, or because of our cross town households. I guessed that they thought of me as other, and I didn’t come around much because I focused on our differences. This week crying and praying in the waiting room, listening to the “CODE BLUE” on the intercom in the hospital, mourning and wailing : there were no differences.  They ushered us into a private waiting room and said “Now, this is just for family” and we all proudly rose and marched into that room. There were 15 of us in there, and we were family.

I have come to recognize the hot breath of the enemy on my neck. If there is a voice whispering “you don’t belong” or “you are not good enough” or “you’ll never fit in here” its not a voice worth listening to. In this strange land of mourning I will watch for the accuser of brethren, the last thing we need is to become divided.  I would encourage you to watch out in your relationships too, the family unit is under attack in this culture. Have you been unnecessarily critical and nit picky of someone you love, have you been holding onto your “rights” in disagreements with them, are you like me shushing the voice that says “your not worthy”?  As we learned in the movie The Usual Suspects “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled is convincing the world that he does not exist”. Calling the lies what they are is often enough to silence them.

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I have a lot of questions for my maker, don’t you? I have some doubts, and I’m kinda mad right now at him. I will not be deceived in this painful time to thinking that God is not for us. I can’t understand what the cuss he is doing in this scenario, but do I understand how the stars were made, or the oceans, or big fat ugly spiders? No ma’am I do not. I’ll keep being me, and let God be who he is, let him make all the hard decisions and not fill me in on the details. I know he loves me. I also know he loves baby Braxton. He loves you too dear reader, I’m absolutely positive of this. Lets be together in this nonsense and let love be the guide through the maze. Cling to these truths, hold fast, and call a friend if you think there may be a lie rolling around in your piles of thoughts and feelings. I love to bust lies, I’m a ferocious slayer of falsehoods so call me for battle okay. We can wrestle doubt together.

*HERE is the link to give if you feel so inclined. even $5 makes a difference.

You knock me out, I fall apart, and I thought I was so smart.

I was writing this sentence that I thought was going to end in an exclamation point, but it ended in a period. I write, but am I in charge of my story? There’s ice on the streets and sidewalks, there’s no leaves on the trees. Snow is my friend, ice not so much-because danger. I’m as much in charge of the seasons as I am of my story. I wake up and experience what this sentence, this chapter, this season is going to show me. This week it was a period.

I went to this thing, for women. There was food and wine so that’s how they got me to go, plus I got to sit by teenagers so that’s kind of my jam. I met all these chicks who are not the same as me. I’m going to tell you why that was cool in a minute, but first let’s talk about flowers. I came home to flowers on my porch and a post-it note saying “your heart is true” with a heart drawn. Guys a paper note, on my porch.(jaw hanging wide open)  I also got a paper note in the mail recently which said essentially “you and me, we are impatient. God is not”. Paper notes are the thing man, I’m like wicked encouraged by this stuff…and flowers in winter (deep breath in, long long sigh out) all the feels.

Okay so I’m a whiny little cry-baby-punk-sissy-wimp when it comes to christian women’s events. Why? Because!! Women complain about all the same things, and its so cliche and the conversation is so tired. Plus I’m like little miss vulnerable and I’m exhausted from being so heart-on-my-sleeve-ish. Like I said they promised wine and food and hanging out with guaranteed not moms at my particular table, so I said yes to the thing. I met people who I didn’t understand, who’s struggles were real and heavy and they were in it. Up to their elbows trying to get a grip on life and not fall on their faces, these girls were like me.

I listened in on some stories and I was humbled, just brought low. Some people are widows, some are fighting against self hate and depression, some have loved ones that are addicted to drugs and live on the street, some are told they are not allowed to dance, some try not to yell at their children all day. One lady lived through WWII in an underground bomb shelter her dad built, listening to explosions all day in the dark. One lady hangs out in dressing rooms at strip clubs in her hometown (Tampa, which btw has more strip clubs than Vegas) so she can be a friend and light to girls in the sex trade.  My ill behaving uterus seemed of little consequence when I heard these stories. Guess what though? These girls cried with me about my vacant womb, they hugged me and assured me that my struggle is real too.

I’m lighter tonight. I will still cry at the origami gum wrapper commercial (watch if you dare), and my favorite Hamilton song (listen here, you will not regret this), and when the brownies go so so well with the wine (paleo brownie recipe here). I’m still a mess, I’m still in pieces, I’m totally undone. I met a girl who tried to conceive for five years, and she asked me all the right questions and guessed all my insecurities, and loved me in this embarrassing mess where I am. So my things are in perspective now, I remember who God is and who I am. I remember the most important thing is that we are all in this together. Want to have coffee?20170204_221051

When our children tell our story, they’ll tell the story of tonight

Does anyone else pronounce chicken pot pie “chicky pie-pie”? Just me?  Okay. Well…happy comfort food season. What’s my favorite comfort food?  Every Single one of the bananas. Who me?  As for me I’m not pregnant. (Yes I am watching SNL watch the clip here) Good news:I’m not a 3D printed woman, I’m a real woman.  As a real woman I’m going to a women’s march Saturday. Wait…what the what- this post just got political. If you call human rights political then…I guess so.

Whatever gender or race my baby is  I think I want to invite them to a world where they matter as much as anyone.  I don’t mean to protest anyone, mostly to stand up for those I think deserve justice. From the march’s website “We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.” That’s what Jesus did, that’s why I’m doing it. “We don’t stray away from good doctrine or truth by focusing on justice and compassion for those in the margins – rather, we find Jesus and truth in the margins.” My pastor Ken Wytsma said that in his book The Grand Paradox.

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Ever since I was a 2 year old this fine country of ours has celebrated the birthday of a one Martin Luther King Jr. He was an incredible leader in Civil Rights, the rights of all humans to receive equal treatment, and I’m inspired to follow his lead. He said “in the end we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” Not this friend, I’m going to speak up. Happy Birthday Dr.King, I hope you like all the streets we named after you, I hope you see us from heaven as we march on some of them this weekend. Cheers to you. Raise a glass to freedom, something they can never take away.

While we are talking about taking stands, and believing in things I would like to say that I am a Work In Progress. Many of my opinions are still be formed, I’m still thinking through some of the facts that I have come across. Social Media forums prompt us to make a statement about what we think and feel, we end up sounding very absolute. What about properly executed discourse, words exchanged, non extremist “OH I’ve never thought about it like that before” kind of comments.  If we can’t talk about things without flames coming out our ears how will we ever repair anything? We need a rap battle I think; you know a little sass, a little grit, some rhyming to get the conversations flowing.

I finally started listening to the Hamilton Soundtrack  when my first intern came to visit in September and taught me how to use spotify (thank you Shlubz). I feel that I can not stop listening to it because it is the most patriotic music I’ve ever heard, and it reminds me of a time when this land was being built. We are still building it, I suspect we may never stop. Also reminds me that the founding fathers were humans, they were flawed. I grew up idolizing them, but they were people who cheated on their wives, and stole cannons, and owned slaves. Our country is still run by humans (not 3D printed guys who say”you are making a sunglasses guy like me laugh from my face”) sometimes we get it right, sometimes we do not. We should be talking to each other about these things. Sometimes, we should be marching together about them. See you Saturday?

 

 

 

gives us something to think about, something to drink about

We have this thing where we ALWAYS state why we are toasting when we raise our glasses, its in our vows. Today we said “here’s to whatever comes” (which is from fiddler on the roof) because we feel vulnerable and out of the control we often pretend we have. Were headed to a memorial service today for a young man and his wife who were killed tragically in a car accident. I feel a lot of things in response to this, I suspect I will feel different things in a couple hours after the service, but in this hour I feel vulnerable.

On the Facebook I keep seeing these posts like “enough already 2016” and how much 2016 took from us and how we all can’t wait for a new year to begin. Its a trick we are playing on ourselves that suffering knows the bounds of a year, that a the year itself is what is causing the pain. I don’t fault anyone for making these posts, we all do what we have to in order to get through hardship. For me being honest with myself is what I need. There will be tragedy and death in 2017, I can almost guarantee it. So what the cuss am I going to do?

Well for starters, I’m going to write.

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I’m gonna sit at the table with people.

For Christmas I received a gift from someone. She believes in my dreams so much that she gave me little leather baby shoes. Isn’t that so sweet!  I’m going to hope in the future, that those shoes will get put to use by my baby person. Hope is not a high-heels thing that makes you look like you have it all together. Hope is much more like bare feet braving rocky ground. Its a bit gritty, am I right? Its time to admit that we are afraid, that the darkness is blinding, that our inability to vault up sadness freaks us out. Then we follow that doubt up with hope, one foot in front of the other.

I’m going to show up in new ways this year, for people who need me to. I’m not totally sure what this means but I’m up for whatever comes. I’m going to be the opposite of silent, I’m going to stand up and speak out about stuff that deserves to be broadcast.  Lastly-I’m going to hold my hands open not clenched, because nothing is mine.  L’chaim

 

 

 

 

We’ve got a million miles ahead of us

You bet I’m listening to Justin Beiber <I used to believe we were burnin on the edge of somethin beautiful> I still believe that Justin! <Don’t fall asleep at the wheel, we’ve got a million miles ahead of us> Okay, I won’t! Also watching Tim Burton’s Alice In wonderland. The flowers are so mean to Alice, am I right?  “She’s not even wearing the right dress” they gossip about her as she passes by. Then Absolem says “You are not hardly Alice” everyone is against her! I have loved the story of Alice in Wonderland since I was a small girl, I think it’s all the other worldness. It’s certainly not the rabbit that makes me love the story, rabbits are all together  untrustworthy. At least the Hatter believes in her from the start; she has some friends, some help in her journey.

I have felt so incredibly loved by many of you kind humans. You have gingerly and tenderly asked if you can ask the state of things in my womb. Your nice, all of you so nice; not at all like the gossiping flowers. Yes you can ask, and I promise to tell everyone everywhere when we have succeeded in our dream to have a baby. In the meantime we are plugging along trying to stay paleo and stay active and healthy, taking our vitamins and such. I’m focusing on gratitude and staying positive.

This time last year we were preparing for 3 days in the hospital. I was making cookies for the nurses and visitors, and getting my Christmas all in order, and making plans to lay low and recover for 6 weeks (an eternity). I will spend next week baking and gathering with friends, working on choreography to teach in December, and going to yoga. I love to look at the passing of time, don’t you? We get further from the things that were painful, yet new potentially painful things are on the horizon. It gives hope though to look back and see how you have used time.

“Sometimes I have believed as many as 6 impossible things before breakfast” Alice says this to cheer herself into doing something impossible. Here’s why movies are so great, 90 minutes in she is much more muchier and she’s absolutely Alice. She isn’t confident that she knows who she is or what she was brought here to do, but she’s got a hunch and a few fans. We have some news that the odds for natural conception are stacked against us a little bit, but we aren’t giving up. Thank you all for cheering us on, and believing in our dreams with us. Seriously, when this kid gets here you are all invited to party like its 1999 with us. (I hear that party=naps to pregnant people so be ready for napping fun times) Till then, pop the champagne we have so much to be grateful for. Would you comment telling me why your grateful? (even if its your nice new baby, I promise to be grateful with you instead of being envious) I’m grateful that I’m not about to get operated on. Your turn.

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Such a lame excuse to say I’m tired, everyone is tired more or less

I make these little deals with myself, where accomplishing a strange task gives me some kind of bragging rights…with myself. Do you do that? I went to Costco for eggs and butter last week, I didn’t get a cart because if I can carry it all I won’t go over budget. So I’m in line with 4 dozen eggs, 2 lbs butter, 3 lbs of almonds, and a big jug of maple syrup. The fellow in line behind me offered me the extra space in his cart because I was balancing  all of this in my arms, I proudly declined stating that this was my workout. I walked out of there with my head held high, and my bicep quivering under the load.

I went to horse camp this weekend for a ladies retreat. I prepared myself to be out of my comfort zone since I’m not a “Horse Person” at all. The horse part was so wonderful, what fascinating creatures. My face hurt from all the smiling.  I went on a trail ride, and then had a lesson in the arena, and then another trail ride; I got to comb out the mane of a giant draft horse who I think really liked me.  I did not adequately prepare myself to interact with 50 or so women who are all moms. When I say moms I mean the majority of the women had 4-6 children and a few moms I met had 8 children and were pregnant. If you were not a mom at this retreat you were a teenager or you were me.

I came home with a very full heart. I felt both encouraged and discouraged. I felt that I had been given everything I needed, but also a very aware of the great big child shaped hole in my life. I lay awake in my bunk at night coiffing my inner monologue and speaking truth to myself. Its good for me to wrestle with these things, pressure makes diamonds right? Of course I want to be a sparkly diamond of a person, not a hard lump of coal. Truthfully I feel more aligned with the coal version of myself. I’m not proud of jealously and discontent in my heart, it doesn’t look good on anyone. However I’m going to be honest and acknowledge my less flattering thoughts because I want to heal them and change them. I don’t want to pretend I don’t feel sad.

I had a … procedure today. If you have had an HSG you can hug me next time you see me. If you haven’t I’ll spare you the details lets just say there’s a catheter and x-ray visible dye, as my friend Samantha would say “its not friendly”. It was my second time having the procedure so I was familiar with how it goes down, which did not make it more “friendly”. Anyways:Guts! The results were not what I would call super exciting, but the powers that be say its better than bad news.  My dear sweet groom was there for what should have been an hour, and turned into 3 hours. We were both late to work, and a little shaken up from the whole ordeal.

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Waiting room selfie

When I was waiting for it to be my turn to get married (which wasn’t till I was 32) I whined secretly to myself about all the good wedding ideas being used up. She walked down the aisle to my favorite song, those were totally my colors, I was going to wear basically the same dress, that venue was spot on with my Pinterest. Same sob story now with babies. As it turns out I got the best wedding I could have dreamed, best song-best dress-best colors-best venue-BEST GROOM. I wouldn’t change a thing, right down to the eleven week engagement. So why wouldn’t my baby story be just as deluxe?!?

I don’t promise to swear off fruitless acts of bravery and bragging rights to myself. I was once in the delivery room with a person who insisted on having a natural and silent birth. Why? There is no gold medal, no ten foot check, no news story to cover your amazing feat. You get a baby, same as anyone in the delivery room. I can’t decide if the unnecessary self sacrificing is worth anything, or if its just meaningless martyrdom. Maybe the small things we challenge ourselves to do (that go unnoticed) prepare us for the difficult things our story requires us to rise to. Maybe they wear us out so that we can’t elevate our actions to meet life’s asks of us. What do you think?

I do promise (not to you, but to myself) to be more aware of the nonsensical stories I pretend God is writing for me, and to call them out as such. I’ll re-read the incident log as having been written by someone who thinks I’m worthy. Shading the story I read (of my life) as a page turner with a victorious win at exactly the point it seems like defeat is lurking. I’ll try to say YES a little more, try not to isolate my experiences but share them with my community. Pay attention to the details that matter, will you join me?

If you listen to this…I’ll love you forever.

Stephen Kellogg: Lonely In Columbus (This Blog’s title at 1:18)

(side note, I could listen to this whole album on repeat for years on end)

 

A Blog about Guts & Uterine Management