Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Lovely Objects: Tea

Q brought home this tea the other night and I love it. I mix it with honey and milk and it's like chai.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Lovely Objects: Thai Spirit Houses

I have one made by this man in my living room and my enjoyment of it never ends. The artist lives in California and has taken part in several exhibits and won awards for his beautiful work.
He is a Buddhist who spends a great deal of time in Thailand and loves the culture, something that definitely comes through in his work.

Check them out here.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Bed Rest Chronicles Part 3: The Guidelines

1. Get clean and dressed every day. Brush hair and teeth; wear comfortable clothes but never wear pajamas and robe all day.

2. Don't give in to despair or worries. While it's not possible to remain positive and "up" all of the time, dwelling too long on the negatives does no one any good.

3. Time goes by quickly, even while lying in bed. Maintain some kind of schedule in order to keep a focused and sharp mind.

4. Television is not the best form of entertainment.

5. Think every day of good things, things to be thankful for, no matter how hard the task may seem. In fact, the times when it seems most difficult is when I need to think of what I am thankful for.

6. Be happy for the people who offer friendship and a helping hand. But don't be surprised or disappointed by the friends who offer nothing.

7. Laugh. Every day.

8. Now is not the time to think too much about the past, or even look too far ahead to the future. Now is the time to use all I've learned about living in the moment.

9. Love unconditionally, unreservedly, the life growing within me.

10. Acceptance.

11. Patience.

12. Be kind to myself. I am now my own best company, do I really want to bring myself down all time?

13. Per the above; ok...pregnant and 41 is not that pretty a picture, especially after lying in bed for weeks. Just remember the body always changes no matter what the situation, and think of what I am gaining. Remember I am not just my body.

14. Meditate every day. Tap into the universal light and energy and love that exists for all of us.

The Bed Rest Chronicles Part 2: Husband

An old Chinese parable:

There was a country farmer working in his field and his horse ran away. His neighbors sympathized over his bad luck. "Who's to say what is good and what is bad?" He said.
A few weeks later, his horse returned along with a herd of wild horses. His neighbors congratulated him on his good fortune. "Who's to say what is good and what is bad?" He said.
While taming one of the wild horses, the farmer's son was thrown and broke his arm. This seemed like a bad turn of events to his neighbors but the farmer gave the same response.
A week later the army came through the province and conscripted every able bodied man, but not the farmer's son with his broken arm. "Who's to say what is good and what is bad?"

I've thought of this story a lot lately as it seems to sum up things rather well these days.
I am for all intents and purposes an invalid doing all I can to prevent the loss of our baby.
Yet every day that passes, no matter how difficult, is full of gratitude and love. Rarely a day goes by that my husband of just two months doesn't do something or say something that shows his love and care for me.
Whether it's sleeping on the hospital floor without complaint or bringing home little treats from wherever he's been that day, I can tell I am not far from his thoughts, as he is not far from mine.

Is it all a bed of roses (no pun intended)? No. Navigating a new marriage, especially at our ages, along with this stressful situation is not easy, and a great deal has fallen on Q's shoulders. But love and humor go a long way and smooth many rough patches, and in some ways our transition from independent minded singles to married couple has gone surprisingly smooth. This I owe to our love for one another and the hard work we are willing to put into our adventure called marriage.

Many of our evenings are spent together in bed. We've watched baseball games, television shows on Q's Netbook, talked, joked, even argued. Q is a person always on the go, I know it's not easy for him to stay immobile for very long, but he does this because he understands I/we need it.
There is such a sweetness to these times that makes it all bearable. Often during my daily meditation my thoughts are pulled in his direction and then a memory will flood my heart with such intense love that I feel overwhelmed by it. Good medicine, indeed.
I know there is a lot we are missing out on, and we certainly have our valid worries and fears to contend with, but I wouldn't trade our time together for anything, and I know that what happens now is the foundation for our life together.

Below is the contemporary version of the Seven Jewish Wedding Blessings which Q's mother recited at our wedding.

May your marriage enrich your lives.

May you work together to build a relationship of substance and quality.

May the honesty of your communication build a foundation of understanding, connection, and trust.

May you respect each other’s individual personality and philosophy, and give each other room to grow and fulfill each other’s dreams.

May your sense of humor and playful spirit continue to enliven your relationship.

May you understand that neither of you is perfect: you are both subject to human frailties: and may your love strengthen when you fall short of each other’s

May you be “best friends," better together than either of you are apart.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Bed Rest Chronicles Part 1: Background

I knew from a fairly young age that having children would be difficult for me, but never wanting children this was something I just accepted about myself and didn't explore too deeply.
It has only been in the past two years or so that I've had a strong desire to have a baby and my now-husband Q and I started very early in our relationship to get pregnant as we are both well aware of our advanced ages for this kind of project. In fact, when we married two months ago today, I was already in the throes of first trimester miseries.

Knowing and understanding are two different things. What I knew was I was at a high risk for miscarriages and stillbirths, but the risks had never been spelled out to me in any different terms. And there is of course that handy trick humans have of thinking bad things happen only to other people and "I'll be just fine." This can often work in our favor, but not always.

After nearly three weeks on bed rest I can say that things are not fine, but on the other hand they are. As always, the glass is half full and half empty.

What happened to me, what is called an incompetent cervix, was never anything that entered my realm of experience or knowledge, despite it being a not-too-uncommon occurrence. It was briefly touched upon last year by one obstetrician who, when I asked her about the risks involved with my DES exposure, very casually said, "Oh, we can stitch you up." The words "incompetent cervix," "cerclage" or really anything else, were not mentioned and I had no idea what she meant by "stitching me up" other than it sounded like a rather unpleasant proposition that would turn my womb into some kind of a purse. Not the least bit impressed with this doctor I never went back to her.

Today I am 20 weeks pregnant. Every week now is a milestone. Three weeks ago, my husband and I went in for my amniocentesis, a common procedure for women like me who are older. During the preparatory ultrasound the doctor discovered that my cervix was nearly gone, my uterus had formed a funnel shape and the cervix was also slightly dilated. Had it not been discovered I would have gone into labor within days and lost the pregnancy.

Q and I were sent to the hospital that afternoon. What had started out as a routine procedure with certain risks was now a very scary ride into the unknown. Considered an emergency situation, the original plan had been to perform surgery on me that night. However, another doctor refused to do the surgery until she knew for sure there was no infection in the womb. Once it had been determined this was not the case, I had a cervical cerclage the following morning and had my uterus pushed back into shape and was given more cervical length.

Now at twenty weeks the baby is fine. I am fine. But I am on bed rest for an indeterminate time to prevent early labor. Once a week I will be driven to the doctor's for exams and a progesterone shot. My one opportunity to leave the house.

Maybe it is egotistical to believe this but I see a series of small miracles that say to me our baby is meant to be. It's nothing short of a miracle to me that our amniocentesis was done by a doctor who specializes in this very thing, and who was the one that performed the surgery at a hospital which has a reputation for being the best when it comes to treating high risk pregnancies.
Also, at the time this was discovered I was sick with a virus and had been out of work for two days, resting in bed and on the couch.
Maybe, had that not been the case, I would have lost the pregnancy before even making it to the amnio appointment.
Now I am in very good and competent hands in a practice that specializes in high risk pregnancies, of which the above mentioned doctor is part of. Just the fact that we decided to go ahead with the amnio and caught this in time seems miraculous to me as without going into too many details it was obvious my previous ob/gyn practice was negligent and Q and I had talked at length on the amnio issue and had a couple of times considered canceling the appointment.

So this is the background information. I feel the need to write about all of this as a healthy outlet and as a way to process all that's happened and will happen.
I've found this to be a time of review and even renewal. A time that can be incredibly difficult and depressing yet one that is full of miracles and a great deal of love.