Little Flower Faces

IMG_5040

The other day I cut some daises from my garden.

Because I can do this now.

Cut flowers from the garden.

 

I am walking out to the street in front of my house when I see Friendly Neighbor.

Friendly Neighbor looks at our wildflowers and says, “This is amazing!”

I say, “I know, right?!”

 

Because it IS amazing.

 

Used to be the front of the house was all ivy. I am not a big fan of ivy, reader. Gardener Friend introduced me to Other Gardener Friend who now helps us with our garden. OGF is the one who made the magic happen really.

 

I tell her, “I do not like ivy. Can we get rid of it.”

“Sure.” she says.

“Can we plant wildflowers?” I ask.

“Sure.” she says. “What do you want?”

 

This is always a funny question since I really don’t know the names of the flowers and I am not even sure if they are considered “wildflowers” technically.

 

“Well.” I say. “I like daisies. And Echinacea. And Black Eyed Susans.”

“Ok.” she says.

“You can add some too.” I say.

 

And so she does. OGF comes back with all the flowers and some seeds too. She tells me, “The seeds will come up next year. Just keep everything watered.”

 

And so I wait. And now it is next year. And the front of the house is a wild garden. All of our neighbors stop as they are walking their dogs to admire the beautiful flowers.

 

“So beautiful!” they say.

 

Sometimes, when I feel sad, I go look at them, all bright and cheery, their little flower faces reaching for the sun. When I go for my morning run I try to remember to notice all the nature, not to take it for granted.

 

Do you have a garden reader?

If you do not, maybe you can start a small one.

You can watch it grow and visit it everyday if you want.

 

It is not always easy living out here in the woods with a yard. I am used to the city. But I do love my wildflowers. They make me happy.

 

Yes they do.

Advertisements

Treasure

RenderedImage

Soon daughter will be moving out.

I have written about this previously.

 

But now it is getting closer.

I am noticing every little thing she does.

 

The way she sings in the shower.

The kindness she shows our dog, Zelda.

The way she will reach for me and lay right down on my body.

The way she will push me away when she does not want touch.

Her arguments.

Her listening.

Her incredible work ethic, working two jobs, never really complaining.

How she fixes her lunch all neat in little bags.

And as she passes, the wafting smell of freshly washed 20-year-old hair.

 

Daughter comes down the stairs in the morning before work. She turns around and asks, “Are the back of these shorts all right?”

I look. “Yes.” I say. “They look good.”

 

I am taking it all in reader.

These are the moments of our lives. Spent together, day after day.

I have cherished.

 

I am preparing myself for August 4, move out day. I know she will not be very far away.

I take comfort in this, the distance factor.

 

And so she grows up a little bit more.

And so, I do too.

 

Daughter, you are a treasure.

I hope you know how precious you really are.

Just like that

IMG_5003

The other day I attended birth #2 of the month.

Luckily I have had a few days to rest in between birth #1 of the month and birth #2.

 

It is evening and Mama is having contractions. They are light and spaced out. I go to bed with my phone next to me like I always do. At 3:30AM the call comes.

 

“Hello!” I say.

“We are at the hospital. They say I am not in labor yet but it hurts so much. When they checked me I was only 1cm. They were going to send me home but I don’t want to go home.” Mama tells me.

 

This is not really good news. Mama is having a difficult early labor. We talk about the possibility of going home and laboring at home. But Mama does not want to go home. Mama knows she is going to want pain relief.

 

We have spoken about this.

 

And so she stays. In some time I meet her at the hospital. She is 3cm!

I think: Good. Good.

 

We are breathing and using our tools and techniques. At some point the epidural is requested. And in comes the cart.

 

Now we wait. A few hours pass and the next check happens. 4cm. Doctor is pretty timely with her checks. “I’ll be back in two hours” she says.

 

Progress is happening but it is slow. Contractions are irregular. Their strength is questionable.

 

Two hours pass and Doctor comes in like clockwork. “Still 4cm. I suggest we augment with Pitocin to get you into a stronger labor.”

 

I kind of knew this was coming. When Doctor leaves we talk about the risks and the benefits. Mama really wants her baby. Doctor has swayed her to the Pitocin.

 

I think: It is ok. Mama is in charge of her labor.

 

After they start the Pitocin I take a little break. Not too long and I get a text from Husband: 8cm!

 

Jesus! That was fast! I start to make my way back to Mama. By the time I get there she has started PUSHING.

 

Can you believe this? All day plus some and no progress and then BAM! 8cm to pushing in the blink of an eye.

 

Mama is curling up around her baby. I am on her right side. Labor nurse is counting as she bears down. It is only 45 minutes reader. 45 minutes for this first time mom and the head is right there. Doctor is putting on her gear. Labor Nurse says, “Should she push with this one?”

 

Doctor says, “Sure.”

 

And Mama does push and guess what? Out comes the head!

 

“Whoa!” says the Doctor. Because she has not gotten to drop the bottom of the bed off or anything yet.

 

Doctor reaches under baby’s head but the anterior shoulder is coming quickly. And just like that all of baby slips right out!

 

Just like that.

 

“Your baby is here!” I say.

 

Almost immediately Mama cries. Baby is put right on Mama’s chest. Dad is filming using his phone.

I take the phone to continue so he can move in to meet his baby.

 

“I can’t believe you are here! You are really here!” Mama says.

Ok, I cry, again.

 

All the usual things happen. Vitals and clean up and skin-to-skin time. I hang back as the new family forms. Texts are sent out to family, a few calls made. A few more tears cried.

 

I stay for an hour and then I start to pack up the Doula gear and make my way out.

 

“I will talk with you soon!” I say.

“Thank you…” Dad says.

 

“You are welcome.” I say.

You are so welcome.

I Want My Baby!

luxelight17Oct17232 copy

The other day I attended a birth.

It is the first birth of two I will attend close together. It was originally supposed to be birth #2, however baby has other plans.

 

So it is the other day and I get a call from the Mama. “I am at the hospital for my stress test follow up. They won’t let me leave. Fluid is really low. They want to admit me now and induce.”

 

“Ok.” I say. And I remind Mama she always has a choice on whether or not to stay or to leave, regardless of how the hospital presents it to her.

 

Mama is a thoughtful mama. She weighs the risks and the benefits. She decides to stay.

“Well,” she says, “I guess I am having this baby.”

 

And so we begin. The often long and unpredictable process of induction at 38 weeks. I tell Philly, “Get the coffee ready. Birth is coming.”

 

I say this but I know it will be awhile anyway.

 

And it is. Mama is admitted to the hospital and various methods are used to try to get her into labor. A good start is made but after a whole day she is stalling at 3cm. I get a call at 12:30AM. “They want to start the Pitocin now.”

 

And so they do. They start the Pitocin. Nothing much is really happening through the night which works out because I get to sleep. And so does Mama. I get a text a 5AM: Sorry! I fell asleep!

 

I text: Good!

 

A few more hours and things begin to change. Mama Husband texts me: Things seem to be shifting. I think its time for you to come soon.

 

I text: Ok! See you soon!

 

I have a coffee. I grab the Doula bag. And off I go. Since it is actually daytime and not the middle of the night I get to use the Valet parking service.

 

Woo!

 

I walk inside. I hit the elevator button to go up to the 7th floor, Labor and Delivery. I push the button to be buzzed in and walk up to the desk to see what room Mama is in.

 

When I get to the door I knock and open it. I whisper Mama’s name.

 

“Hello.” she says.

 

Mama is sitting reversed on the bed so Husband can get to her back to apply pressure. I can see they have their groove going. Slowly I try to make my way into the room and the labor.

 

When I look at the Pitocin I see it is on 18! I think: Mama is doing very well for Pitocin on 18. Baby is not doing as well. Baby is having latent decels and Hospital Staff is concerned.

 

Time passes and things are getting more intense. We try different positions and counter pressure. But at some point Mama tells us, “I want the epidural.”

 

We have an agreement she will ask three times while not having a contraction for an epidural, just to be sure she really wants it.

She asks three times.

 

The epidural cart shows up and in 20 minutes Mama is hardly feeling her contractions. “This is weird.” she says. “After feeling so much, now hardly anything.”

 

Baby is still having decels. Labor Nurse turns the Pitocin down. Last time Mama was checked she was just 4cm. Next check is in a little over an hour. I say a prayer she makes good progress.

 

Midwife comes in and does the checking. “I don’t feel any cervix here. Not here either. Nope. You are complete.”

 

YAY! I think: 4cm to 10cm in an hour and a half. Amazing!

 

And I tell Mama, “4cm to 10cm in an hour and a half. Amazing!”

She smiles.

 

Labor nurse asks, “Are we ready to have a baby?”

This is always a funny question that tends to bring a look of surprise to the Mama’s faces.

 

“I guess so!” Mama says.

 

And so begins the pushing. We all get into position. Right away Mama has a very good pushing groove. Baby is already pretty low in the pelvis so she does not have far to go. Only about an hour of pushing and baby’s head is staying right where we can see it.

 

Baby heart rate is still not that great. Midwife calls in Attending Doctor and it is decided to use the vacuum extractor to speed up the birth because of the heart rate. Maternal Fetal medicine comes in to place the vacuum.

 

Because of the heart rate Neonatal Team ALSO comes into the room. I am not sure but I think there are over ten people in this room counting me and the Labor Nurse. Once the vacuum is placed things happen very quickly. It is only two more pushes and baby comes flying out. Eyes wide open. And a little stunned.

 

Because baby does not take a breath right away and cry, baby is whisked off to the warmer by the Neonatal Team. Mama is reaching down to catch her baby and begins to cry, “Is baby ok? I want my baby! I want my baby!!”

 

We reassure her Baby is ok. Baby just needs a little help breathing. The Team is rolling baby around, stimulating baby to breathe. And baby does. Still no big cry, but definitely breathing. Not too long and The Team brings baby to Mama. She is crying big rolling tears. “Are you ok? Are you ok?” she is asking her newborn.

 

The room slowly empties out. Baby is very quiet. Turns out mom and baby have a temperature indicating a possible infection in the fluid. I think: It is very good baby has come out when baby did.

 

In a while I begin to pack up to go home. I say goodbye to Mama and Husband and Baby. It is always a miracle. And always a surprise. You never really know how birth is going to go. I am grateful for all the people in the room today, all helping Baby come into the world, a little stunned, needing help. And they were all right there, at the ready.

 

I pick up my bag.

“Congratulations!” I say.

“Thank you!” they say.

 

And as I walk down the hall I think: I am so glad Baby is ok.

Yes I am.

Moving Day #1

IMG_5008

Yesterday I met up with son in Brooklyn.

I met up with son to gather items from the Brooklyn apartment for myself and for daughter. The meet up involves a U-Haul and daughter and Philly.

 

It is morning and we hop in the KIA to drive to Brooklyn where we will rent THE U-HAUL. We get there in two hours. We pull into the U-haul place and the adventure begins.

 

Have you ever been to the Brooklyn U-haul place reader? If you have been there you know it is not exactly a speedy and fun kind of joint.

 

Half and hour later we leave with Philly and son in the truck. And daughter and I in the KIA. Since the Parking Goddess is on our side, we find a great spot one block away from the apartment. We begin to make our way to the next block. Philly pulls the truck up to the apartment and double parks, because really, what choice does he have in Park Slope?

 

As daughter and I are walking to the apartment we run into “M”. “M” is a program friend. I am instantly sad. I miss Brooklyn. I miss running into Program Friends on the street. And now we are moving everything out of the apartment.

 

The moving begins. Couches and dressers and boxes and lamps. Up and down the stairs. I linger in the space and just smell the old wood smell of the apartment. Daughter waits inside the truck to guard the contents.

 

It doesn’t take long. Maybe three hours. In-between I run down the street to get my bangs trimmed by Favorite Brooklyn Hairdresser.

 

And soon, we are off, out of Brooklyn. We drive back to Philadelphia. We make a pit stop along the way, which normally I hate doing but somehow this time it is ok.

 

At the Rest Stop son says, “Look mom. You survived.” Because he knows I hate stopping.

 

Philly laughs. He loves to stop.

 

When we get home, we park the truck outside the house since it is too late to go to the storage unit to unload all the items for daughter’s move to her new home.

 

When we get inside the house we sit on the green couch to watch THE METS. Daughter is trying to get son to let her examine his back for zit popping. Son is shooing her away. Eventually, daughter wins the examination jostle.

 

“Hey.” I say. “Will you scratch my back daughter?”

“No.” she says.

“Please.” I say.

“No. Stop. I don’t want to.” she says.

“PPPLLLLEEEEAASSSSEEEEE!” I say.

Now she is getting mad at me.

 

We start to play Heads Up. I do the food category and I do really well!

“Good job mom.” son says.

 

Next it is daughter’s turn. I cannot remember what the category is but the answer is SpongeBob Squarepants. I try to give a clue, “You know, he doesn’t wear pants.”

 

Son cracks up. “I think he definitely wears pants. You know, that’s his name.”

“What?’ daughter says.

I say it out loud to daughter: SpongeBob Squarepants.

Now daughter is laughing at me too. “Yeah mom, that’s pretty much his name. PANTS.”

 

Hahaha. Very funny right?

 

It is late and I have to go to bed. Tomorrow we have to drive the truck to the storage place and load everything in. It has been a long day.

 

“I am going to bed.” I say.

“Goodnight!” son and daughter say from their card game of SPIT.

“See you in the morning.” I say.

 

And inside I smile because we are all here together for the weekend.

“See you in the morning.” they say.

 

And even though there is more moving to do, it is ok.

Because we are all together.

Yeah.

Hope

IMG_5003

Today I had a little cry.

 

I had a little cry because so many things are happening inside me and all around me. And I feel overwhelmed and sad and happy all at the same time.

 

Some people might say this sounds very GEMINI.

 

I am getting older reader. I am having my struggles with things that come up as one ages. Body things. Woman things. Mind things. Life things.

 

Son and daughter are getting older. Daughter is moving out. Son is leaving the Brooklyn apartment. Despite my desperate pleas for him not to give up the rent stabilized apartment. He is moving, anyway. And while I am happy for him because he seems to want to do this, I still am sad he is leaving such an incredible situation. But I have tried reader, I have TRIED to talk sense into his 23-year-old head. But he is determined and so I have to let go.

 

I will have my own grief process letting go of that apartment, let me tell you. Ten years with the son and the daughter on the corner of 1st Street and 5th avenue in Brooklyn.

 

I have many memories.

 

Friday we will drive to Brooklyn and rent a U-haul to move things out I want to keep and things daughter wants to have. It will be my last time in that apartment.

 

We will put everything in storage for one month later when daughter moves out. And again we will rent a U-Haul and help Young Adult #2 move on to a new place, carrying boxes and lifting furniture towards a new life.

 

And just like that a whole chunk of my life is re-arranged.

 

No one really tells you about the big LET GO that will be required of you when your children strike out on their own. But it is BIG. And so I keep on writing.

 

I do not think it is just me.

Getting older seems to be one let go after another.

Like it or not, you will be humbled.

 

Friday will come and I will tap into the excitement both the son and the daughter are feeling. I want them to know I am happy for them.

 

And proud.

And hopeful.

I hope they will be happy in their new homes.

Yes I do.

Presence

IMG_0738.JPG

Yesterday I went to the store.

On my way I text daughter: I am going to the store.

Daughter texts: Oh! Can you buy my Bodywash?

My heart jumps a little mama jump. I text: OK.

 

My heart always jumps a little jump when I get to do a daughter favor now. Because daughter is moving out soon reader. At the beginning of August, daughter will be leaving this house.

 

I text: What kind?

She texts: The kind with the blue fruit on the label.

I text: Ok.

Because I know that blue fruit bodywash. It is the bodywash smell that one gets a whiff of whenever they walk past the daughter bedroom area.

 

I realize: This is probably the last bodywash I will purchase.

I text: This is probably the last bodywash I will purchase. Sniff.

She texts: Aw Mommy!

 

Lately when I walk past the daughter bedroom area I get a little sad feeling. Because I know what is coming. I already went through this with son. It is not easy, this separation from the now adult child.

 

I know I will miss seeing her everyday.

I will miss her big pile of auburn hair on top of her head and she pads down the stairs for breakfast.

And her Playlists, shared in her room while we do female grooming.

And our living room spontaneous dance parties.

Especially our living room spontaneous dance parties.

And I will miss her lying around on the couch scrolling on her phone, even though it currently drives me crazy.

I will miss her presence.

 

I am trying to prepare. I am approaching the empty nest. It seems too soon. Daughter is only 20 years old. But this is what she wants to do now. She tells me, “It is time. I am ready.”

 

I do not know how other parents manage the myriad of feeling that come with this level of letting go of one’s children. For 20 years daughter has been an everyday part of my life. And it has not been easy. But it has been heartbreakingly beautiful, sacred and profound. And I have loved every moment, even the really hard ones.

 

And now she is a young woman. Insightful. Strong. Intelligent. And I respect her decision, even if a part of me feels: TOO SOON!

 

Soon, we will rent a U-Haul. And drive to Brooklyn to procure things from the Brooklyn apartment, which son is moving out of BTW, but perhaps that is for another blog. We will drive the U-Haul back to Philadelphia to help daughter set up her new apartment with her roommate friend, 20 minutes away from where we live now.

 

And so today I walk slowly past the daughter room. And I take a big breath to drink in as much daughter smell as I can. Because I know what is coming.

 

Yes I do.