savoring september

IMGP2079After breakfast this morning, I lingered at the table in the outdoor kitchen. There was a slight breeze blowing through the forest and a steady trickle of leaves fell to the ground. I watched, mesmerized. The days have still been hot this week, but we are expecting a drastic change in the weather in just a few days. Autumn is knocking on the door. True, it is my favorite season and I do not lament summer’s passing… but, truth be told, I am hanging on to each day right now. Savoring them. I am thoroughly enjoying the hours spent at the creek each afternoon, basking in the September sun and knitting a few rows on a project while the children swim and play. Or sitting in the flowing water and enjoying my extra buoyancy while the cool water removes excess heat from my body. I know that as soon as we have some cooler weather, the creek water will quickly become too cool for relaxed swimming and that will be that. We will move on to other activities and splashing in the creek will lose its appeal. I’ve not had enough creek-time this summer because of my broken leg and I suppose that right now I am making up for lost time.IMGP2070IMGP2058There’s something else, too. When this transitional month of September passes, the time will be ripe for us to welcome this new life that has been brewing in my belly these past eight months. While I am eager to finally meet this new soul, I am also in no hurry for my pregnancy to be over. I am one of those strange souls that really enjoy being pregnant. The mystery of it all is intoxicating. It leaves me in awe. So, I’m going to continue to savor these September days in whatever form they present themselves… and be thankful for these beautiful days that feel like a generous gift. IMGP2080

 

each life.

{I started writing this post a few months ago, just before finding out that I was pregnant. I feel like the process of putting this memory to words had a very healing affect on me. After putting this post on the back-burner for a time, I still feel compelled to share it even though the circumstances of my life have shifted. I am now nearly 22 weeks pregnant, and feel healthy and strong, and very thankful to have the chance to share this experience here)

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IMGP1280I’m not sure why I’m writing this post. I have a tendency towards light-hearted humor in this space. That is my tendency in life as well. The world is already full of enough weight, I hesitate to add to that weight unnecessarily. But I’ve had this nagging feeling… honestly, for a couple of years now. I just can’t shake the notion of the possibility that this story might be of help to someone out there. Of comfort, or understanding. Of alleviating loneliness or maybe isolation.

So, first, a disclaimer: If you are looking for a light read today, do not read further. Have a lovely day, but move on to something else. My thoughts do not coalesce into anything profound here. There is no neat and tidy ending to this story. It is simply an experience that I feel compelled to share; or maybe the experience is compelling me to share. I don’t know. If you choose to read on, understand that this experience still pains me deeply. My words may not always flow as easily as the tears that are already coursing down my cheeks.

Deep breath. Here goes.

I have had four miscarriages. One. Two. Three. Then four.

The first three occurred in my late twenties, during my first few years of marriage. I was coming off being a vegetarian, and am pretty sure that the soy in my diet was screwing with my hormones enough that my body just could not maintain a pregnancy. There just wasn’t balance. Somewhere along the way, I learned about the Weston Price foundation, and Sally Fallon’s book, Nourishing Traditions. Eric and I were in the beginnings of our homesteading efforts, and the progression of our diets would have eventually evolved into more of the picture this book painted, but reading the fine print really brought some important truths out of the shadows for me, and quickly. I honestly can not say whether or not the shift in my eating habits contributed or not, but I became pregnant with Ira. If you have been reading in this space for any length of time, you might know that Ira is now eleven. He did not miscarry. I sometimes wonder if his tenacity and stubbornness came to be because it took four tries before his spirit made its way into the realm of the living. Obviously, I can’t answer this, but I wonder just the same.IMGP1281

Then, Opal came to be. No problems whatsoever. Then Olivia. Again, no problems. Completely healthy pregnancies, wonderful homebirths, beautiful babies.

Then, just over three years ago my day began in the emergency room of our local hospital. I was nearly 12 weeks pregnant. I had been spot bleeding on and off for several days beforehand, but really had a hard time accepting the blaring fact that I might be miscarrying. Oddly enough, before I laid down to rest for the night, I asked Eric if he knew how to get to the hospital. Very randomly. I told him it might be a good idea to look the map up online. I also wondered what homeopathic remedy was appropriate for heavy bleeding. We looked that one up as well. It’s phosphorous, in case you are wondering. Something in my psyche compelled me to ask these questions, and I did not push the questions aside as paranoia. I guess it was instinct. Regardless, when I laid down with Olivia, to snuggle her little being into slumber, the cramping began. My heart sank. I knew immediately that was the beginning of the end.

This miscarriage turned out to be very different than the other three that I had experienced. This time around, I hemorrhaged as my body tried to pass the placenta that was blocking my cervix. It seems slightly twisted that I was nearly killed by my body’s best efforts to cleanse itself. And quite frankly, I didn’t understand that this was happening. Each of my other miscarriages had resolved themselves with no intervention, so I guess I expected the same thing. When the bleeding just wouldn’t subside, and my extremities were starting to feel numb, we (finally) called the midwife. She very emphatically instructed Eric to get me to the hospital immediately. So off we went, headed to the hospital at 80 mph on the winding country roads in the wee hours of the morning. This a way I hope to never, ever have my day begin again.IMGP1282Healing from this trauma was just awful. Not only was I emotionally wrecked, but I was physically shocked as well. I am a very physical person, and when I could barely walk a few steps across the floor without feeling like I would pass out… I was down in a way I had never been before. This was by far the worst I had ever felt in all of my life. The emotional healing was extremely difficult, too. Miscarriage is often one of those quiet burdens a woman carries around in her heart. It can be very isolating. Mourning a miscarriage is hard for any outsider to fully understand. The woman may not appear any different before and after the loss. There may not have been any physical “proof” that a baby ever even existed. But damn it, it is a huge loss. If you have suffered a miscarriage, you know precisely what I’m talking about. It’s the loss of a life. And each life is so precious, even if it ends having barely begun.

I will spare you all of the nitty gritty details of my healing process. I will spare you the episodes of severe anxiety and panic. The anger and fear. The sadness. It was all there, trust me, but enough said.

A few weeks after this miscarriage, when my midwife stopped by to check on my healing, she very calmly said “Don’t let this be your last memory.” Meaning, if we really wanted another child, don’t be afraid to try again. I’m pretty sure I mumbled something along the lines of I don’t think I will ever be able to try again. No way. Not ever.

Life is full of surprises, though… IMGP1283

Now, I’m almost twenty-two weeks pregnant. I can hardly wrap my head around it. The joy and the fear are all tangled up together. The first trimester of this pregnancy was incredibly intense for me. I had a few short spells of spot-bleeding that left me feeling very, very anxious. For my mental health, Eric and I concluded that we should proceed with our lives as best we could and that I would simply take care of myself. Regardless of the outcome. Keep moving, keep breathing deeply, and keep some Rescue Remedy close at hand. We opted not to tell anyone about the pregnancy until I was safely through the first trimester. Anytime I had to leave the farm, which I made sure was pretty seldom, I wore a puffy down vest to conceal my swelling… to avoid the questions and my own insecurities. I guess we all have to learn to ride the waves of our own lives, don’t we? Each in our own way. Well, I’m riding this wave now. I’m in the middle of it… Is it intense? Yes. Is it beautiful? Yes. Will I survive? I surely do hope so. IMGP1284

hands on. little knits.

I have not been an avid knitter while being pregnant. I didn’t really get obsessed with knitting until Livi was a baby (nearly six years ago now. eeegads!). I remember when the obsession set in, though, how strongly it took hold. As a busy mama of three little ones, I had to figure out ways to make my new craft a tangible thing while still tending to the needs of my littles. So I would sometimes knit while we went on walks. I would knit while Livi was in her swing, in between pushes. I would most definitely knit on car trips (not while I was the one behind the wheel, of course). I was obsessed then, but I think I love knitting even more now. I have learned how to fix errors much better, so I don’t fret nearly as much as I did when I was just learning. And now, I get to indulge in the delight of knitting as an expectant mother. What fun!

So despite this being a wild and crazy time of year to do much else than tend the gardens, I just can’t help myself. I have to knit little garments for this baby that is growing in my belly. I’m pretty sure that this will be my last child, and I know that a pregnant woman needs to take a rest now and again (especially a pregnant woman in her forties), so hand over my knitting, please, I’ve got some work to do.

IMGP1505This sweater is the toddler t-shirt vest (http://samlamb.blogspot.com/2010/07/toddler-t-shirt-vest.html) which is super cute but will probably be a bit too big for the newborn stage.IMGP1507And this diaper cover is the Vanilla soaker by Kelly Brooker (http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/vanilla-3). Her pattern is very versatile, accommodating several yarn weights and with instructions for a whole bunch of sizes. I will be making many more of these, hopefully.IMGP1508One of the most beautiful things about knitting for a baby is just how little yarn you need to complete a project… perfect for cleaning out the yarn stash! And the projects are so little and fast! Which is a good thing, cause this pregnancy is flying by so “little and fast” suit my needs just right.