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)

 

Neverland I love you so, now you are my home sweet home

We are home together after a weekend of hosting. There is  a distinct and palpable emptiness in our home. This is the plight of hospitality. Preceded by thorough cleaning and culmination and filled with deep true community, closed with echo and loneliness of home. It is remarkably true that I have chosen a partner with whom I am more than content to call my home. We take pleasure in this ebb and flow of hosting. However, I feel the emptiness more than I think I should. Why is that? Maybe I’m finally pregnant, maybe my cycle is coming, who’s to say. Maybe I just feel too much.

Samantha was my first kid, I was her nanny when I was just 19. I helped her learn to walk, and talk, clap her hands. and I rocked her to sleep sometimes. She was in central Oregon this week on an outward bound rafting excursion for grieving teens. She is processing the loss of her big brother, we both will always be processing that loss.What a stupid word “processing”. It’s the truest word, but I hate it nonetheless.

She has a way of bringing you in. I was convicted right away of how judgmental I have become. We would see a person in a strange outfit, or a person making a weird face, or acting  more excited than seems okay, or a someone making a loud noise and she would look at them and look at me and say “same”; like she was siding with them in some way. I wish I was more like that. We didn’t talk any more about it, just that one word. She recognizes the awkwardness in them as being her own. Most teenagers I know do the opposite, right? Actually grown ups do too. Small word, but a life changing practice.

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My Little Samantha at Paulina Falls

We went to a dance party while she was here and she knew nobody so she danced like she meant it. There were sparklers and twinkling lights in the trees, and waffles with bacon, real good party. I introduced her to someone I knew, who asked her innocently and  politely do you have any siblings. I felt like I got punched in the gut, I wanted to put my wings around her and fly away. Sadly I have no wings, so I can’t fly. She said no I don’t. They said the worst thing next…”Oh how lucky, you don’t have to share your parents with anyone”.I think we changed the subject, and shortly  left the conversation for a waffle.

This is not the first or last time she has had to answer that question. She later told me she doesn’t know how to answer. If she says no its like he didn’t exist, if she says yes she has whole blob of questions coming at her next. I think she did the kindest thing she could for them, shielding them from her truth. Another way that she is such a better person than me. I lean more towards vomiting my truth on everyone, thinking that they can help me carry it or make sense of it. (as you well know, you read my uterus blog)

Having a wee guest room has made me a better person these last 3 years. Being a nanny these last 15 years has made me a better person too. When we take a chance on someone, invest a little time or vulnerability in them, we wind up with way more than we spent. I hope you will share your life with someone, even if it costs you some dollars or some hours or some sad empty houseness. What do you have that can make you a better person? How can you spend something on someone that will bring value and depth of connection? This got preachy didn’t it?  Its beginning to ring of “moral of the story” after school special.

Truth is: I wanted to tell you about her, about him, about the joy of loving people. Even if they have to leave your house, or the planet you live on. I regret zero of the minutes I spent loving these kids, even though they are not mine, and I can’t keep them. You know the “better to have loved and lost” saying? Its cliche much like the word processing is, and its true. I wish I could make a sentence that tells you how deeply I am moved by this young woman and her big brother, what a life changing gift they have been. I have written 755 words now trying to express it, and I feel that this post lacks the resonating gong vibration that its meant to exhibit.

Tuesday October 11th is my 3rd wedding anniversary. This year it falls on Yom Kippur the Jewish high holy day of the day of atonement. A tradition on Yom Kippur is to light a candle that burns for 24 hours in memory of the dead. These candles are 79 cents available at safeway or really any store, I got mine at City Thrift yesterday. If you want to do that with me next tuesday that would be cool. Lets remember, and lets eat with our tribe and make meaningful conversations and loud laughs. Lets love like we have an endless supply of love, lets live together in community and open ourselves to whatever expense that comes with.

Lost Boy

Thank God for red wine, & an antique kitchen light

These last 15 months I have tried to be transparent with my story to you all, it has not been my intention to expose anyone. This is my story, you will have your own. In the last five years I have been in the proximity of and witness to something like 7 divorces. I have things I want to say about this. If you are one of those people, I am not trying to out you, or express disappointment in you, or tell anyone that you are a failure.  (or any other crappy kind of thing) If you are reading this I love you. I love the cuss out of you. (yep, you)

Stop reading & Listen to this poem, post title is at 2:15

I want to solve it. I want to solve them all. Is that just human? I want to learn and be vigilant and fireproof. Sometimes it seems to be a communication problem: one hurts the other-the other doesn’t say anything-the first keeps on as per status quo-the other holds it against them for years and eventually gives up. Sometimes this is followed by another person entering the picture promising to fulfill those needs, they don’t. Everyone is flawed and eventually hurts you. Sometimes there’s addiction. That is hard. Sometimes they just don’t want to do the work, they’re just tired and want to give up. Sometimes it makes no sense at all, we just can’t put our finger on it.

All of the times its painful. For the couple, for the kids, for everyone who invested in their marriage. Its even painful for everyone who only kind of knew them.  It’s also very ‘expensive, I’m talking a lot of dollars. I have a friend who says “pay now, or pay later” when it comes to the expense of counseling. I’m the child of a divorced family so I could write and write about what it feels like to have split up parents, and I can tell you about lots of counseling. We learn and grow from these painful experiences, they don’t have to own us or define us. There is no escaping the shaping that divorce will do to a person.

I’m mad about divorce. Furious. It’s not like people walk down the aisle to say “love you till it’s too hard” we all promise ” I’ll love you no matter what”.  I cry when I learn that someone who’s marriage I’m part of is divorcing. Yeah I said that I was part of their marriage. You know why? That is the point of community. We are vulnerable and invest in one another and share the burden of our needs. Divorce is breaking community, and it feels a little like finding out someone you love has died.

I guess what I’m trying to say, dear reader, is that you are invited to be part of my marriage. I revoke my “right” to privacy. I think privacy is one of the things destroying our culture. Maybe if we could be vulnerable with each other we would be able to heal our hurts, and expose our shame for what it is: a feeling that paralyzes us from changing. BUT shame cannot survive empathy.  Let’s be compassionate, because we all fall short of the perfect marriage, the perfect kid, the perfect job, the perfect life.

I have just over 1000 days of marriage under my belt. I can not profess to know anything really. I don’t know why my friends marriages failed. I pick them apart in my spare time, and I can’t come up with the answers. I try to learn from others mistakes but it’s not always clear what the lesson is. If you have a lesson for me TEACH ME. I want to learn, and I want my marriage to survive. Am I on to something? I never know.

I started this post with a disclaimer about not wanting to expose anyone.So Here, I’ll expose myself just in case you are feeling raw and alone. We are still not pregnant (I know you wanted to ask but didn’t want to be nosy). When I hear of yet another person in my community conceiving a baby I go straight to self-pity, and I cry. Its awful, I ask myself “Who even are you? Be happy for them”. I don’t like going to baby showers, and I’m all ugly about cute maternity clothes, and I have darkness in my heart about my dreams taking their sweet time.

There. I’m broken and flawed and I’m working on it. See, we’re all in this together. I can’t do it without you. Lets get our hands dirty and try to sort through some things, life and marriage and family are grubby hands work.20160814_162946

These thoughts don’t seem as conclusive as I thought they were when I sat down to write. The point of writing is not always to solve, for me its to process. Here I am in process, it’s not tidy folks. You know what? I’m not going to apologize. We are all in process, we are all trying to figure it out. Join me will you, in lament of broken marriages everywhere, and in research of how to make love last through *literally* the best and worst of times. (If you didn’t listen to that poem at the beginning when I asked you to, just do it now)

Her smile is more precious than the sparkle of pearls

These are the names of the kids in my family: Katharine, Micah, Steven, Crystal, James, Garrett, Haylee.

What this means is that I am the oldest of seven kids. Some of us share a mom, some a dad, some are related to me because my dad fell in love with their mom. All of them I love very deeply. You see that last name, she’s the baby one and she is getting married on Saturday.

I was 13 when she arrived here and by the time I was almost 15 I had a job so I could help keep shoes and coats on her. People don’t really remember the first 5 ish years of their lives, so I don’t know how much she knows. But I was a teenager and you rarely forget what goes on in your teen years. If you could read my journal during those years you would find pages and pages of prayers for her-often for her spouse. It would be embarrassing for me to tell you how fervently I prayed for her future. I am so proud of her, so very proud of the man she chose to be her groom.

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my all time favorite pic of baby sis, those golden curls, that perturbed look on her face.    Jiffy pop…

 

 

With the wedding coming up, and Josh and I thinking about growing a family I have been thinking a lot about my grandmas and wishing they were here. Grana is my Dad’s mom, she would love to watch this little lady walk down the aisle and marry such a nice man. I spent every summer that I can remember with her in Oregon living at her house on the Coast. She taught me to make pies, and grow food and flowers, and sew. She painted me with calamine lotion when I had the chicken pox, and she took me to the sea lion caves.

My mom’s mom Katharine was the embodiment of free spirited living and creativity. She was very involved in my upbringing as well. She once killed a snake on the front porch and skinned it for crafts, and she taught me to make flower chains and spaghetti sauce. I wish I could have her list of home remedies for all the ailments of pregnancy, call her for advice when the baby won’t stop crying. She knew all the things.

I feel like I know them as characters because they died when I was too young to see them as individuals. I have lots of questions about their personalities, about our family history, and about what it was like for them to be a parent. I don’t know if this is true but I think they are proud of us kids-that somehow they will be there this weekend as we celebrate growing our family by adding Zachary. Haylee is getting married a the beach where both grandma’s had their farewell service; the beach we spent Easter at, and random Wednesdays in August, and heartfelt family talks while walking the shoreline.

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Mom & I October 83    Sunset Bay

 

I am very contemplative as of late, really digging my roots up. I’ve been looking thru old photos and thinking about how much of themselves these women gave us. Hoping I can do the same, hoping Haylee feels the strength of all of us behind her as she makes this commitment. Hoping my kids know their grandmas as fixtures in our family. Guys I guess I’m just waking up early and staying up late Hoping. Do you ever just do that? Hope as a verb?

 

PS. huge points if you know the song this title is the lyric from. This song was my prayer for my sisters for a long time.

When it hasn’t been your day, your week, your month, or even your year.

I don’t believe in coincidences, do you? I also don’t believe time heals all wounds. That’s giving time too much credit. Time is not my friend, it makes me achy. There’s two things I don’t believe in. ( think for a good story I should have three, but I can only think of two)

Great uteruses think alike, is that the saying? Here is the tale of two uteruses. (that is a very funny plural) One which you already know and have an archive of blog posts to read about. The other is owned by a woman I’ve known for 22 years. She developed a fibroid last year. What a coincidence. (no it isn’t)  Hers was not the asymptomatic kind like mine, it was the bleeding incessantly kind. Sad, right? I t reached the point where it required attention hourly, so that’s a lot of blood.

I’m her person, so I went to all her appointments with her. She went in for emergency surgery the week before I went in for surgery. We had a lot of jokes about her showing me how it’s done.  The reason for the emergency part is because she was bleeding to death, slowly. We had a lot of jokes about that too. We checked in and the lady said, ” I don’t see your name on the docket”, “well it just got added, its emergency surgery” we answered. She appeared to be in perfect health so we felt like we were lying, even though we knew the secret truth. The surgery (D&C) revealed the cause was fibroid.

This ob/gyn surgeon was in on my surgery too, she’s really great with a fun laugh.* She takes her time talking to you and explaining (with drawings when necessary) what is happening in your body. She presented several paths towards a solution. We took the drug that shuts off your hormones just weeks from each other.  The bleeding had slowed down as a result of the surgery, but it was not the end all. After a few weeks it was apparent that the Lupron wasn’t helping.

This is the part you guys. The part where I reveal to you what a badass my bestie is. She shows great fortitude, and an excellent sense of humor.

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Monday May 23rd she went in for a surgery that was to be the end all of the pain.** It was going to be another D&C  to remove the 0ne fibroid. and if that was unsuccessful it would be a laparoscopic removal of the fibroid, and if that was unsuccessful it would be a hysterectomy. We don’t want to wake up from anesthesia with this ominous beast still in there. There was a lot of crying and praying and sleepless nights over this decision.

She woke up and it was still in there. The excellent surgeon couldn’t get the whole thing from the first approach, so she called it a fail and delivered the bad news to me first in the waiting room, and then to the post anesthesia patient.  Both the doctor and the patient were bummed, like really pissed. No one wants to get beaten by an small organ that has big powers.

Since I was 8 and learned that I could grow a person inside me I was certain that’s what I would eventually want for myself. I never faltered with this desire. My sweet uterine sister has never been exactly sure if she want’s to or not, she’s open to it in the right circumstances. Without a partner to make this decision with there is extra weeping. Guys this is hard. Uteruses are tricky.

Thursday May 26th she went in for her 3rd surgery in 12 months. She fasted. We arrived for surgery at 9, and were delayed and delayed and delayed till about 1:00pm I think. (That’s a long fast) ( we sent each other hilarious snapchats from across the room while we waited, we talked politics and religion and made lists) There was  a special tool flown in, and the maker of the tool was present in the gallery during surgery. First time it was used in this hospital.

Big Success! (you were starting to hold your breath weren’t you?) Got the whole thing. “Kate you have no idea how hard it was to get out!” said the surgeon. She and I happy danced in the waiting area.

The tale of two uteruses ends with two uteruses, for now. We love to apply meaning to our experiences, especially the painful ones. Coincidences seem to imply a glitch in the system, a synchrodestisty, a divine correlation. Are we really so close that we develop the same pathology of the same organ?  Litearally one week apart…I am to close to it to see any kind of insight. I am thankful to have a person to commiserate with, who understands things about guts. I am sad that it happened to her and that she had such worse symptoms.

We both watch vigilantly for recurring symptoms. We both celebrate as often as possible, in as many ways as we can think of. We both cry at really good movies, and we laugh at really funny things on youtube. We don’t at all know what is next for our uteruses, we have hopes and dreams tied to these organs (and several thousand dollars). I can’t believe I have a person in my life who is as relentless a warrior as she is, who laughs till she cries on a fasting stomach while waiting extra hours for a high stakes surgery. She wore a turkey hat to my surgery. We cried joyfully together when we awoke from surgery with intact uteruses. You know what, I just thought of one more thing I don’t believe: That suffering is bad. We can not survive without some suffering, I think it produces deeper happiness and richer community.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot to tell you that we are officially allowed to conceive now. So we are “working” on that. I’m accepting mix tapes.

*the doctors names are Dr. Morishita and Dr. Murphy at St. Charles Women’s Health, very highly recommend them both.

**There are many ways I considered telling this story, keep in mind this is my version of the story from my perspective. She will have a very different recollection of these events.

I hope that song is stuck in your head now. What song? Re-read the title of this post. You are welcome.

Need to be bold, need to jump in the cold water

There was an incident recently with a plant of mine, that was thrown away in error. I cried. About a plant. Hannah the wandering jew was with me for ten years. She survived being moved from 6 different dwellings, 7 if you count that I moved her to my office because my sweet groom was feeling outnumbered by my many house plants in our newlywed nest. She is now gone, along with the macramae plant hanger my grandma Katharine made. Here’s the silver lining: I had a jar of starts in the windowsill from Hannah that survived the clean sweep. You can not defeat this one wandering jew, she goes on and on.

Its May the 9th. Seven years ago today I made a choice that has made all the difference. I call it my personal independence day. I celebrate it quietly to my self, sometimes with one of the friends that told me everything would be okay on that 2009 day. I woke up strong that day, and chose to leave the boyfriend of seven years who was not good for me at all. I chose to hope that at 27 I could start all over. I got my massage license, and started going by Kate instead of Katharine. (if you still call me that, I love it do not change it. I will always be Katharine) I colored my hair purple, and started growing it long (which were both frowned upon in my last life) I started what I call church rehab, by going to Christian gatherings, slowly rebuilding my faith. I also read the Harry Potter series, because its about time! (there are 7 books in that series if you forgot)

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Here’s Pony & I our new home in 09

 

On the 7th day God rested. Naaman bathed in the Jordan 7 times to cure his leprosy. Joshua marched around Jericho 7 times on the 7th day. Jesus told Peter to forgive a wrongdoer seventy times 7. It is said to be the number of completion. I have officially been away from that boyfriend longer than I was with him. So now it is finished.

My point in writing this? Celebrate your victories friends, however small. God tells his people to commemorate his faithfulness. He knows we are prone to forgetting, he commands us to remember his works in our lives. I chose to hope, and his provision is more- truly way more- than I hoped for. My groom has qualities that I couldn’t have known to ask for, that I didn’t know I deserved. Even his family is wonderful.  I am now qualified to tell people that they don’t have to settle, they can hope for things outside their reach. That our God writes us stories worth living. Sometimes our struggles can be overcome by brave choices.

If you have a victory you want to celebrate, but maybe you are embarrassed that its too small or too dorky; I think you should come over and we will pop a cork and celebrate. (There are always cold bubbles in the Pentz house, one never knows when a celebratory moment will arise) You have everything you need to do the brave thing, so go do it! Happy my independence day guys, you can raise your glass with me wherever you are today.

A Blog about Guts & Uterine Management