Friday, November 26, 2010

Blood in the Snow...

I's a gross title. 

But, there is a point to it all.  I promise. 

On Thanksgiving morning, Ty and I went out with Ferdinand for a hike.  We have, here in Montana, about 3 feet of snow in our local mountains...and in front of my house.  We bundled up in our winter gear for the expedition because, in addition to the fluffy snow, it was below zero.

We try to walk every day...or every night.  I'm not talking about little walks...I'm talking about miles of journeying.  This Thanksgiving, Ferdinand was now fluffy; grown out from his summer hair cut.  He looks amazing leaping through the snow, and Ty and I laugh and talk and talk and laugh for hours while we trek through whatever mother nature wishes to dish out.  The boys, content to ride sleds down the block at the school contact us via cell phone for simple requests like "can we make hot chocolate?" (yes, of course!) or  "Will you bring home burger king? ( can make grilled cheese though.) and "How much money do you get when you pass Go in Monopoly?"  (we lost the rules ages ago...).  With competent big brothers abounding, we don't worry when we take off on these walks that the boys do NOT want to come on...due to the expansive lengths of time we enjoy in the wilderness.  So, they stayed warm and toasty...happy with their sleds in between bouts of hot cocoa and grilled cheese while smelling the roasting turkey that weighed in at 28.7 pounds. I was saying, Ty and I took off that morning for a nice long hike while the turkey self basted itself in homemade herbal butter.  We decided to trek around through the trees, enjoying the winter wonderland before us.  A natural high permeated the woods and we joked about getting lost in a Narnia-like atmosphere.

Deer walked through the woods with us.  They seemed completely unafraid of our presence.  It was as if we simply belonged there, just like them.  We watched them quietly, enjoying the full rack of horns on a prominent buck.  Even Ferdinand was quiet.  Watching. 

We continued walking and came upon a femur.  Yeah.  A femur.  It was large.  Not from a deer.  It was slightly bloody and it stained the snow.  My educated guess was that it had once belonged to a cow.  Recently belonged.  Ferdinand claimed it, and I let him keep it.  He looked so funny carrying a MAMMOTH bone in his teeth, trotting merrily along as if he was leaking pride from every crevice in his being.  I wondered what kind of animal had brought that bone to that wooded area.  Too big seeming for a fox. 

Maybe a mountain lion???

I shivered a bit.  Ty could feel that I was a little wary; my anxiety levels climb quickly now-a-days.  I've been trying to self monitor these feelings of anxiety, so I suddenly flung myself onto the ground to make a snow angel.  I find that acting foolishly and child-like often helps to offset my anxious feelings.   Flap, flap, flap!  I was determined to make a KICK-ASS snow angel.  Ferdi cocked his head at me, his blood stained bone in his mouth.  Ty laughed joyfully at my antics and blew rings of misty air into the sky as hot breath met frozen air.

I brushed myself off and looked at the snow angel. 

It was bleeding. 

Well...not really.  IT wasn't bleeding, but, apparently I was. 

My period had arrived.  And I, stupidly, was not prepared and had soaked through my winter apparel.  Soaked into the figure of my snow angel.  Where my blood stained the snow like crimson.

I suppose I should have been prepared.  I know my cycles.  I think I just....wanted to be pregnant.

But, I'm not.

Ty and I held hands as we walked away from the bloody angel.

We want a baby.

That's really all we used to need to know.

In the past, wanting a baby simply meant we would have one.

Time changes these things.

If we had never had children, most people would feel sympathetic with our seeming infertility; but...that really isn't the case for us.  We have beautiful sons.  Five of them.  We had, at one time...two years ago...thought we were complete...done...finished.

Simon and Alexander changed how we felt.  Losing them created a vast emptiness, and we realized that we wanted to fill that void.  We couldn't have them...but surely we'd be able to have...someone else????

But...a year and a half later of very half-assed efforts at prevention, and in the past 7 months, active trying to conceive...I'm starting to get that I may be...done.

Not because I want to be done.  Not because my husband wants to be done.

Simply because I am 36 years old.  And very possibly, I am at that 11th hour wherein pregnancy is no longer "easy" to achieve.

It's humorous really.  In a sad kind of way.  I get to have a monthly period.  A HEAVY monthly period, which deep seated cramping and a flow that no one would envy.  But...I don't seem to be able to get pregnant.  My eggs aren't meeting with sperm and creating a baby.  Even though there is ample sperm around.

Even so....I feel really grateful.

As I walked out of the woods with my husband holding my hand, I understood deeply that this man...this dear wonderful man who I love with every cell in my my life partner.  Babies grow up...they create their own families.  They do not belong to us.  We are entrusted to care for open doors for the future. I understood as I walked that even after my boys...almost young men....are grown and have lives of their own, that I will be holding the hand of this man for as long as life allows us to live.  This is my life.'s a good one. 

There is much to feel thankful for...including the blood in the snow. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Thanksgiving Approaches

In one week, I will be serving my family of 7 a turkey dinner with all the trimmings.  Stuffed under the skin of a beautiful Hutterite (sort of like Amish...)  turkey will be a walnut cranberry dressing with all kinds of secret ingredients I will only pass on to my daughter in laws of the future so their husbands won't be wistfully wishing mom was still the only cook in their life.  We'll have pomegranate salad, stuffed eggs, artichoke spread, butternut squash and candied yams, ginger pumpkin cheesecake, red smashed herbed potatoes, maple pecan pie, Brussels sprouts and caramelized garlic and a variety of other last minute ideas I am sure to come up with. 

We don't live near I'll be doing it all on my own.  I'm used to fact...I even like it!  There is something about providing a feast like that all on my own.  Listening to the moans of delight and knowing I caused them!  My sons and husband always tell me I am the best cook in the world, and I appreciate their praise greatly.  Yeah...I know how to cook (as is evidenced by the size of my thighs...groan!).  I always think about the people who will come to love my sons and want to spend their lives with them.  I don't envy them trying to make the things my kids like to I always knew that I'd be happy to share the secrets with them while encouraging them to find their own culinary signature...Who's possible they will be better cooks!  I'd like to think so....

But, all of this talk brings me to a certain point.  I don't know what Simon and Alexanders favorite's would have been.  And that fact....hurts. 

I can't assume anything about it because the core truth of why I concoct so many dishes each year is that each one of my boys has a different favorite Thanksgiving dish.  I make each favorite just to see their eyes light up at the mouthwatering display that contains the food they crave the most.  I will never see my twin's eyes light up over a favorite food...or a favorite anything. 

My sons have been actively making their Christmas wish lists.  So many treasures and desires.  So many options for delight.  I love looking at the long scrolling lists of heart felt wishes.  I remind them each gently that it's impossible to get them everything they wish for.  They always smile and express that in truth, they are just EXCITED period. 

One of my boys put  "A baby" on his list. 

He said that was the one he wanted most. 

He is currently carrying around a little egg with a painted see if he would be a good father.  He says that if he lets the egg break, his baby will die because he wasn't careful.

I responded to this by making him a cotton filled container to reduce the risk of breaking.  I never want it to break.  But....I do know that at some point, that egg will get rotton...and I will have to do SOMETHING....I don't know what that will be yet.  All I know is that the egg needs to stay in tact for my son.  It has to. 

And yet...eggs are pretty delicate.

And, as he so wisely proclaims, so are babies. 

As I scan these holiday wishes, I am forced to be grateful for all the abundance in my life.  We have so much.
We have each other.  The trauma's of life have brought my family so close.  We depend on each other for support, guidance, love and laughter.  We count on each other to come through with the tasks we have at hand so that no one else is over-burdened.  That can be hard when grief is being dealt with, but I've found that even in grief, this family bedrock has held firm. 

Thanksgiving is coming, and Christmas is on it's tail. 

The outcomes of both holidays promise to be joyful, with the essence of two little boys that should have been, in the rafters of our hearts.  Watching.  Protecting.  Reminding.

It's time to be thankful for each other.  In life.  And in death. 

It's all the same really. 

Monday, November 8, 2010

A Baby with No Name...

This weekend my husband got a call from a friend who used to be the bass player in his band, The Voodoo Horseshoes.  Though they no longer play in the band together, they still appreciate each other musically and spend regular time jamming together.  My husband is musically gifted and can play just about anything he wishes to play. . .drums being his hallmark instrument.  In any case, the call was about a local bonfire party.  When Ty asked me if I'd like to go, I said yes, and so....we went.

It has been an unusually warm fall, which is nice because we have been spending a lot of time walking and talking and talking and the day, in the night...just...whenever we can!  So, in the theme of a beautiful fall, the night was glittering with an abundance of starlight.  We pulled up in our car and walked around with Ferdinand for a bit before entering the scene.  It's become sort of a tradition really...talking and walking...assessing feelings before entering any social environment...touching base with where we are in the moment as a people.

Once the ground felt firm under our feet, we walked over to the warmth of the fire.  Free-spirited people were smiling and drumming in a circle.  Women and some children swayed near the fire.  An older woman held a rainbow colored pipe in her mouth, blowing smoke rings into the fire.  Ty brought out his guitar and seamlessly entered the melody bringing the mellow groove into an energy that follows my guy everywhere. It was powerful.  So, even though I do not carry a musical bone in my body, I pulled out his mini drum and tried to keep some semblance of a beat.  My efforts were in vain, but, it didn't matter.  I wasn't on stage; I was just one of the many enjoying the music.  Participating in the rhythm...even if I have none.

Sparks were flying in the air, and a curly haired woman offered me a huckleberry seltzer.  It had whole huckleberries floating in it.  It was fresh and inviting and I chastised myself for missing out on the gathering of huckleberries this year.  I had wanted to....but, I just couldn't DO it.  I know we will miss those berries this winter.  Maybe next year I will be ME enough to get out there and gather berries.  As I drummed lightly, and sipped my drink I noticed that right beside me was a lovely young mother holding a tiny baby.  TINY.  He smelled like the newness of life.

I gathered the courage to speak to her.  I knew I might cry...but I couldn't stand to pretend that I wasn't dying to touch his tiny nose with my own.

The young mother told me he was nine days old...and when I asked his name, she smiled softly and said "He hasn't shared his name with us yet....He doesn't have a name."  My heart swelled as I looked at the little nameless baby.  His mother and I talked about baby's, breastfeeding, birth....and I told her I had five living sons.  I told her about our loss.  We talked about stillbirth and about my journey through it all as the music pulsed around us.

The hours went by and then, she turned to me and smiled.."Would you mind holding him while I go pee and get something to eat?"  I looked at her smiling...and nodded.

He felt warm and toasty from the firelight and his mama.  His little eyes fluttered open and he SMILED at me...or whatever it is baby's smile at when they are so very new.  Then, he nestled in my arms up against my breast and cooed into a sweet slumber.  We sat like that for about 20 minutes.  I gazed at him intently feeling the energy of this little man with no name.  He could be anyone.  He could have been any baby.  No name to define his inner being.  Still free.

For a moment, I thought about the fact that I am not pregnant in spite of a very exuberant and constant attempt to change that.   Who else do I know...or does ANYONE know who has sex at least 14 times a week?  Or more?  I used to be so fertile that it wasn't as much as issue of how, but instead was always just when.  As I am now in the 6th month of being "open"....I still have a vacancy sign in the window of my heart...with no takers.

I am the teenage girl who finds herself pregnant after only one encounter; her first and only encounter at that.   

 I am the mother of five living sons and the woman that had 3 miscarriages in between.  I am the .1% of women who will become pregnant with an IUD...with twins.  And the mother who lost those twins.

The point is...I used to get pregnant easily.  Yes...I've had as many losses as gains, but pregnancy was never an issue.

Until now.

So, as I held that little nameless baby I was surprised that I didn't need to cry.  I am not pregnant.  I may never be pregnant again.  And worse...I may become pregnant at some point only to lose that pregnancy.

I may be too old.

It may be too late.

But I held that little boy....and gently rocked to the music of the drum circle where my husband was now jamming on the drums like there was no tomorrow to the delight of the bonfire companions we were enjoying.

Holding a baby with no name allowed me to feel the energy of baby-ness.  It gave me permission to ask the universe who he was.  The answer kept coming "He is Peace...Peace....Peace."

His mother came back and smiled at me.  I gave her baby back to the warmth of her arms and went back to my lame attempts at drumming.  Awed that there was no urge to sob in having to give that precious being to another woman.  His mother. 

I closed my eyes and felt the pulse of my husbands rhythm in the air all around me melding with the rhythm and song and dance of a group of new sisters and brothers in love with the stars and fire in the clean air of a perfect autumn night.  A baby with no name nestled in my heart.  Peace flowed through my veins.  I found my heart beat and began to feel it in my fingers.  Suddenly....I was softly drumming.  And it was on the beat.  For the first time in my life, I had a rhythm that wasn't painful to the ears or soul.  I was really....drumming.  To the beat of life.  My life.  When I opened my eyes, I saw Ty smiling with surprise and joy in his eyes...I was DRUMMING! 

My womb may remain empty.  The baby in my heart may never have a name.  My sexy, virile husband and I may make love more than anyone in the world without sperm and egg creating someone new ever again. But even if all of that is true for the rest of my life, I feel that something was born in spite of it all.  It's name is peace---- And it lives in me.