this little baby inspired much creativity from the sewing machine before she was even out. now, i can barely keep my imagination quiet as it keeps brainstorming things to be created. and every once in a while, i actually make it to the sewing machine to produce something i imagine! as usual, i am most interested in creating new things from used fabrics. daily inspired by my favorite blogger, Amanda Soule, today i made this awesome wool baby-cozy from the sleeves of a used sweater (i put it in the washer and dryer on hot to felt it first), mimicking a similar one that she hand-knitted.
that first night you emerged into the air, i couldn't sleep. urgently awake for 5 days straight, anticipating and anxious over you for 42 weeks before that ~ i wasn't about to close my eyes to the wondrous sight of you finally in my arms. at 2 am the nurse came in on her rounds and scolded me, "you've been through a lot. you need to sleep." i smiled and nodded appeasement. finally i tried to situate us skin-to-skin in the narrow bed to rest (and set my phone alarm to ring every hour to make sure you still breathed).
as challenging as joyful, these first two months of your life so far. you come with a steep learning curve for this momma so unfamiliar. but you're a gentle and patient teacher, and i wake (most) each day ready to learn more.
then i give you your first bath. i draw the water too hot at first and you immediately scream alarm when i dunk your foot. but when the temp is right, i slowly smooth water over your legs and gradually lower them in. your eyes dart around the room with this unfamiliar sensation and i lean in to grab your gaze. i speak the soothing mommy language your smiles have taught me. you search my face with question to discern your happiness and safety. our eyes remain locked as you relax into enjoyment and ease. i am caught with giggles that make my heart gulp for air as i am amazed at the trust you place in me, and your wondrous angelic newness. i am honored to be here with you in this moment, to share these first impressions with you ~ the world as huge and important as perfectly warm water in the bathroom sink. i sit down to dry you and you melt into my breast for a deep soothing meal. i glide my fingers over your soft soft skin and whispery fine hair, and am taken back to that first night, welling over with gratitude and awe-filled tears.
well, Anjali has done what i could never do for myself ~ torn me away from this computer. i am totally absorbed with her; when she's awake i feel guilty for being online, when she's asleep i'd rather be getting stuff done that i can't otherwise. but i miss communicating! i haven't found the time to write our story as i would like to, and i want to move on to sharing with you about post-natal life. so i'm going to post Papi Sealion's version ~ written only days after her birth. it skips some details, but the feeling is all there.
so if you don't know:
IT'S A GIRL!!!
(only six weeks old, but that seems like such old news!)
Anjali Sage Pope was born at 4:17 pm
on Saturday, October 25.
she weighed 7lb 7oz, and was 21 inches long.
in the words of the papa (pardon the doctor-speak [ask questions for clarification, if necessary]):
It began Early Sunday morning. Sunday October 19th. I awoke to Tiffanie at 3 AM asking me to call Julie, our soon to be savior, so she could leave on the first flight from San Diego to help us with the labor. The contractions continued through the day, moderate in intensity and 10-20 minutes apart. They broke in the late afternoon and Tiffanie was able to sleep through the night to Monday morning without much interruption. Monday was eventful. The contractions closed in on the magic number 5 minutes apart. A number that would seem to be the finish line of a marathon by the end of the week. The midwife on call, in close contact, continued to reassure and say "call me when they get to 5 minutes apart." 9 minutes, 7 minutes, 4 minutes , 9 minutes, 12 minutes, 8 minutes, 8 minutes, 6 minutes, 15 minutes. Sheets of paper were strewn across the house recording contractions and hoping for the magic number of 5. just 2 in a row, maybe 3. That's all we wanted. I wasn't sure why it mattered, but I was sure that it wasn't getting there. Monday night passed, Tuesday night passed, all the while my laboring goddess continued to pace the house, taking each contraction as it came and smiling until the next. Although against her usual practice, the midwife checks her cervix, 4-5, fully effaced and the babies head readily palpable. Wednesday is now past. Tiffanie hasn't slept in three days other than 5 minute respites occasionally between contractions. Her lower back is raw from the hours of massages I have applied and the inside of her ankles bruised from acupuncture and massage to try to get the labor organized. The days weren't bad with the pineal gland on our side. As we all know, sleep deprivation can be ignored by the body in extreme circumstances. The nights were agony. She continued. Thursday gone and Friday night now at hand her exhaustion is evident. All of our exhaustion is evident. The baby still thumping away at 145 BPM through every contraction. The midwife still can't understand why the labor wont get organized. We go to the hospital that night. The concern is for a possible twin that was missed through the gestation (remember, we had never had an U/S up to this point). No twin. Baby looks great, placenta looks great. Lets go back home. On the ride back her contractions finally regularized. We had met the magic number! We found the 5!! 4-5 minute regular contractions all through the night, 10 more hours of them. We are all ecstatic, the birth tub is filled up, and we're ready to have the baby. Baby has other ideas. Still no baby by 8 AM. Cervix still at 5 cm. Tiffanie's eyes still open and a smile still on her face after a full 5 days without sleep. The midwife says that we have no other option but to go get some Pit. After arriving at St. Luke's in San Francisco the baby started showing some decels during contractions. Still reactive. The pit is started and that reactivity waned and the decels become late. Tif's temp starts to rise as does Anjali's baseline HR. The doc calls it and says we have to take the baby out now. At 417 PM, Anjali Sage was pulled out in an urgent c-section after 7 days of battle. The cause uncertain, but the best guess so far is the combination of three factors. a 42 week old placenta, a very short umbilical cord and a nuchal cord. The baby simple couldn't descend any further because the noose tightened every time she tried. Thanks to all of you for your concern and support through all of this. We could not have done this without Julie, Tiffanie's best friend from San Diego. She was there with us the whole way.
In lieu of the photo I'm sure you're dying to see, I share with you the cutest photo I could muster. Go ahead and click on the photo so you can see his totally adorable little face up close.
Our story is a long-drawn-out one, that started early early in the morning on Saturday, and has continued through today, building (and waning) and building (and waning) and building. We feel the sun and stars (and this unusually blustery Autumn wind that's sweeping the streets today) are shining on us. Using nature's medicine cabinet, we are upping the ante and moving full steam ahead. Baby, ho!! We have had the greatest blessing of Woo's presence since Sunday, and I seriously don't know what we (I) would have done without her. I love you, Woo! So if you read this today, send us a special wish upon a star, and let's bank on welcoming this eagerly awaited new addition (tonight!!) perfectly soon.
We have been in baby-preparation mode here for so long now. And Papi Sealion and I already have a habit of being more productivity-oriented than play-oriented ~ we just enjoy making and doing, being handy. I guess that *is* our "play". But, with my limited mobility and impending babymoon, I have been feeling a little bit of cabin-fever. Last week on Sealion's day off, we escaped to the beach!
Stinson Beach is only about an hour away, and on this mid-week afternoon in early October, the beach was expansive and the crowd sparse. The sun, sand, and waves were good medicine.
A couple of camp-chairs, a bottle of wine (and maybe a cookie..), and some light reading:
With my belly-oven, I only needed to cover myself up when we went for a walk in the wind.
I replaced my cellphone before it had stopped being functional. For a year now, it has slept in a box with other small electronic gadgets, computer cords, etc. (Mr. Sealion is so organized!) Because I was too guilty to let it go. E-trash guilt. As if living in progressively-activist Berkeley isn't enough, (when I'm not obsessing through baby-care books) I read online or books about environmental/health concerns (like the one I'm reading now, to take a "break" from baby-reading: Exposed, by Mark Schapiro). These seem even more relevant and concerning now that I'm inviting a new and fragile human into the world.
SO this morning I logged on to the Berkeley page of Freecycle.org to advertise for Mr. Sealion some scrap lumber he is parting with, and saw a post: WANTED: working cellphone. After coordinating with the author of the post, my old cellphone will be in the hands of its new and appreciative owner this afternoon! All I have to do is set it out on my front porch for him to pick it up.
My former cellphone awaits its new owner, in a box with a happy note on my front porch.
You wouldn't believe the kind of stuff people are interested in taking off your hands ~ for school assignments, art projects, refurbishing an old house, or for some eccentric collection. The rules on Freecycle are ~ it must be free, and family-oriented. If you want an item, ask for it, if you have an item, offer it. Then the author of the post coordinates with the responder of his/her choosing for the item to be picked up. Around here, people usually arrange to leave the item outside and not exchange face-to-face for safety reasons. It's so easy!
Not too long ago, "garbage" was barely a word in the dictionary. People really did use things until they wore out and could no longer be repaired. Then they incorporated their still-usable materials into other useful things.
The Earth is a closed system; what we throw away doesn't simple disappear.
"One man's junk is another man's treasure."
[Enter your cliche' about waste and conservation here.]
If you haven't seen it, here's a great little primer and/or reminder about "stuff": The Story of Stuff.
To read up on sooo many subjects of environmental/health concern (such as electronic waste), the Environmental Working Group is a trustworthy, and encyclopedic resource. Of especial relevance to me in my life lately have been the subjects of body care products, and plastics.
I haven't done a "public service announcement" in a while, so thanks for bearing with me. ;-)
Now back to your regularly-scheduled "waiting for baby" programming.
For many years, Gemini Cricket and I have held a concept we call "accidental time". I don't think we're the first to come up with it, and perhaps actually we adopted it from the book, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, or at least were inspired by it. It has to do, in its broadest sense, with synchronicity. And we believe in it. (Correct me on this one if I'm off, Señor Gemini. .) A simple example might be: we were on a walk around town one afternoon, and over the course of our wanderings, we would have ended up on a certain stretch of sidewalk at a certain specific time, but ended up.. stopping to look at art, or grabbing a beer instead, and subsequently strolling upon that certain stretch of sidewalk at a later time instead. Well, during the time we probably would have been there, but weren't, a car randomly ended up careening onto that specific stretch of sidewalk. When we learned that, we realized we were living in "accidental time" ~ a hiccup of the universe, like a magical window we could peer through for an instant, that showed very explicitly that there *could* have been a different outcome, but Happenstance managed that moment differently.
It doesn't have to involve calamity or danger at all, just a tweaking of destiny as simple as a sleight of hand. If we were headed out the door in one direction, and ended up needing to go back in the house to grab a jacket, it meant we would head out the door in a different direction after that because this was now a different adventure.
Mystical, fantastical, psychedelic, altogether imagination-feeding. And, in a few instances, very important.
Today is my "due date". I've never been able to say "due date" without putting the quotation marks around it; Baby doesn't have a calendar or BlackBerry in there. And I certainly don't want to impose these artificial constructs onto him/her. ~ At all ~ let alone inside the womb.
But I can't help but feel like today ~ and any day following on which Baby decides to stay snuggled on the inside ~ is "accidental time". The air is tinged with magic electricity and the wind feels a bit more . . important. Similar to a week ago, when I said that that all-important veil was feeling a bit thin, today has a tinge of the psychedelic dancing around its edges. I feel as if I should celebrate and do something special, but I don't exactly know what. It's not a time to check the to-do list one more time, or clean out the fridge. I feel like Baby and I need a little champagne and mischief.
For now, lively breeze through the windows, Bjork's Vespertine, and burning sage are what I'm coming up with. Let me know if you get any ideas. ;-)
p.s. If you feel the Spirit directing you in suggesting a name for Baby Pope, give a yell. We are open and unattached at this point. And there's still a completely 50/50 chance of the sex. Show me your imagination.
This necklace immediately felt very powerful ~ I didn't even try it on for a couple days; I was intimidated. But it also feels *clean*. I'm wondering if perhaps this is in resonance with the intense feelings of childbirth that I've heard are crisply part of that moment, and do not linger (so that we won't mind doing it again).
In her words:
"The gems that requested to be near you are the following ones: Rose quartz, (pink): Unconditional love & nurturing acceptance of oneself Garnets, (red): Improves the quality of the blood, wound healing, fortifies the inner flame, the desire for self realization and encourages the basic dynamics of shared survival: mutual help Adventurine, (light Green): Calming quality, encourages pure heart centered love, and supports embarking on new adventures, and reveals what makes us happy or unhappy Pearls, (peacock): The essence of the Mother, which is created inside the womb of the sea beings. Encourages ease in childbirth"
Ha! At my midwife visit yesterday, I told her that I was having trouble visualizing baby's actual position inside my belly. So she got a kids' marker and drew me a diagram! As she drew, she realized it was more of a challenge than she expected, so she went ahead and labeled it, too. This made me laugh really hard.
The outer circle represents my uterus.
The lighting and my camera don't help you see that there is an arrow pointing down (the direction the baby will go at birth), and then way underneath it says, "head".
On this side are the little legs and feet, umbilical cord, and, toward the bottom, elbows suggesting arms.
Talking to Woo on the phone, I got teared up. You, Baby, have already pierced my heart. Having you inside me just under the surface is like no other experience. A few days ago, knowing we were full term at 37 weeks, I felt "ready" ~ I had a little fantasy of your coming at any time, "early". I no longer wish for you to come "early", or to be impatient for the time of your emergence. This space of having you inside of me is so minute in the course of a lifetime. So precious. I want to savor it. It will be passed before I even have a chance to blink. Take your time. Don't rush. I love this moment. Mmmm.
I rub below my ribs on the right and feel your legs there tucked. Your back riding down the length of my belly just to the left of my belly button. I rub there and you respond, slightly shifting ~ first your tail and then your legs, your arms.
I am filled with you. Full of you. My skin has stretched, my organs and bones shifted to accommodate your developing form. We are a pair, you and I ~ yet one, all at the same time.
Soon you will be out in this cold air. I will hold your skin next to my skin, next to my heart, for as long as I can.
But for now you are snuggled warm inside. And I can enjoy holding you in this way, savor your presence as literally a part of my being for this ~ one of the last nights of this miraculous tandem all-in-one existence.
With such happenings and goings-on, Papi Sealion and I almost let a very important milestone go by unacknowledged: A year and a week ago ~ August 31, 2007, we married. That's right ~ there in the middle of the Black Rock Desert we made it For Real. Getting married at Burning Man is pretty cliche' among burners; we were a couple in most likely hundreds who chose to tie the knot there that week (some more sincerely than others) ~ there were a couple wedding parties taking place just yards away from ours, even! For whatever reason, I've found it hard to be a cheerleader, a teamplayer, or a bandwagon-jumper in my life. With just a few exceptions. Burning Man is one of those exceptions. So I report straightforwardly to those locals who have their preconceptions or jaded judgments about that week-long celebration of open expression that, yes: I got married at Burning Man.
We thought of many ways and places to do it. But Black Rock City kept feeling like the rightest place. Both of us believed that attending together that first year was the turning point in our relationship that launched us to where and who we are today. Seminal. And we would have had an actual wedding party, too. But getting to Black Rock City is a personal, logistical, as well as scheduling challenge; it's not quite as simple as catching a plane to Chicago. Some of those most supportive and influential to our relationship just weren't there. So we did it by ourselves ~ or, as much as you can be by yourself in that city of almost-40-thousand.
Dust storm self-portrait.
Sealion, as we made The Decision to prepare for our wedding.
In the midst of one of many dramatic dust storms of the week, on Friday afternoon, we costumed ourselves in our finest playa-wear and headed out. We didn't have a specific destination in mind. I had heard that there were tea ceremonies somewhere near The Man at a certain hour (specific times, places, and schedules being quite dubious at Burning Man) that day. We liked the idea of some kind of ceremony and ritual, so we walked to The Man in search. And didn't find any tea ceremony. At this point, in the heat of the day, I having chosen to go barefoot (it sounded good at the time), and now low on brain calories, we were beginning to think maybe our timing was just not right. Maybe we should go back to camp. And then it rained. The week had been treacherously hot even for the Black Rock Desert, and the rain was welcome if brief. People danced and sang. Then there it was: the biggest most vivid rainbow I can remember. It went through the spectrum and then through it again on the other side.
It arched broadly across the grumbly-dark sky, and landed: right on the Temple. This was the sign we needed, and we followed it. Way out there across the playa, directly towards the Temple we trekked. Stopped in and paid homage at the (much smaller in size) Tasseograph Trash Tea Temple (the precursor to this year's official Temple by the same artist ~ beloved Lucent Dossier member, Shrine) (and also interestingly appropriate in light of our original search for a tea ceremony). It felt holy.
Tasseography is "the ritual of 'reading' tea leaves in an act of divination or fortune-telling."
The Temple itself was full of other weddings and wedding-goers ~ Chinese dragons, musicians, and a whole procession dressed in red. Then a couple of women and their smaller but just as festive wedding party. Plus all the temple-goers who just happened to be there. So we sought out a little patch of dust just outside of hearing range of the loudest of the music. As we held hands and focused our attention on one another, cyclist-citizens and artcars rode by and spectated. One guy with a bullhorn shouted to us in classic BRC fashion "Stop being in love" (or something like that). We laughed. Sealion and I shared feelings and made vows. Impromptu, we kinda wish we had recorded it. But it was real, and I felt much clearer and more in touch with my thoughts than I ever would have in a preplanned ceremony. We are more than the sum of our parts. Better together than separate. We inspire and help each other to Be Bigger and come closer to our Ideal. We envision a well-loved and nurtured family together. We promised to continue to strive to be the best version of ourselves we can be for each other, and to help one another in that process. I cried. He cried. We hugged for a long time, and kissed. And then Sealion set up the tripod and we took some photos. My little camera ran out of batteries.
It felt right, huge, and solid. And For Real.
With the Temple and its crowd in the background.
From the vantage point of the Temple, with the wide open playa behind us.
So happy with this man.
Sunset approached. We walked hand-in-hand to the Temple. The ritual of the Temple is that people bring offerings, photos and notes of loved-ones passed, regrets challenges and hurts, and promises and hopes that they leave there in mindful meditation. All reachable walls are covered with handwritten words and dedications throughout the week. As the Temple burns on Sunday, the fire seals these. There we silently wrote on opposite sides of the same wall: letting go of things inside that might keep us from dedicating ourselves wholly to our intentions together.
Then we made our way back to camp and the rest of our world, ate some dinner, changed into our afterdark gear and. . celebrated another night in our favorite city on the planet.
postscript: November 1st, Sealion and I went to the Sacramento County Courthouse with lovely Gyrlene as our witness, and had our marriage sanctioned by the state.
"Want an Obama T-shirt? MoveOn's giving them out if you make a small donation to their young-voter registration program, aimed at registering half a million young voters in swing states. I just got mine, and wanted to share the opportunity with you."
Burning Man. As thousands in the Bay Area, and around the world, pack up the last of their gear, or are even heading that way at this very moment, Papa Sealion and I are planning our own, intimate road trip miles away from the Black Rock Desert. It was a tough tough choice for this big watermelon-belly mama. The first year that I attended, Black Rock City rocked me to the innermost core. Up until a few days before we departed, I wasn't sure; I couldn't really prove I was Worthy enough in my own mind, Big enough, or Up To It. I now know that I am a citizen of Black Rock City, as much as the dustiest veteran. I feel as at home there as any other place on the planet I've ever been. I really do believe I could go, and Baby and I would be just fine. But I don't need to "prove" anything to myself. And that's kinda what I feel I would be doing if I went (besides feeding my spirit wholly and deeply).
Here's a letter I wrote to my brother Gemini Cricket as he packs for the playa:
i am having a hard time today, knowing everyone is getting ready to go, or leaving. i really feel like crying. i probably will get around to it. please please please think of me often and dedicate some spiritual time for me. don't take it for granted or feel like it's old hat. breathe deeply, soak up the dust and the sun, and the beautiful bare breasts and hearts. make connections. open yourself up and be vulnerable. live some art and some poetry. be affected. and transformed. let it wipe your slate clean. remember why it's cool, and that you're a part of that. i will be wishing these things for you. and i'll be there in spirit at every moment, so look for me, and then remember and tell me about it when you return.
So my goal now, as it has been, is to keep bringing Black Rock City home with me, to make it here, anywhere, always inside me. (To reiterate what I already wrote to a certain extent: )That quality that lets me be totally present and totally in love with every moment of the day-to-day, seeing it as a ritual of beauty, and paying attention to the details. It's not being bored, or impatient. It's *seeing* people and making the effort and the personal investment in connecting with others. Hearing the music in the traffic noise. Opening myself up to being vulnerable, and being affected. To being so inspired with being alive that finite hours of sleep are enough (important in the coming months!), and savored for their preciousness. To seeing and being Art in everything, because it's true, and worth it and why not. Dancing passionately, and knowing I'm beautiful and so are you.
With this new and fresh creature growing inside my belly and making its presence very much known, I gotta admit, it's not that difficult to be fascinated by the "everyday" lately. *Life* is fucking incredible! ~ when you're pregnant, and when you're not! When you're new, and when you're old. Being an Earthling is a fascinating, juicy existence. It's nice, "in this day and age" with our cushy circumstances, to spend a week out in the desert to be reminded of this. But we don't have to. And, really, we don't even have to open our eyes (physically) to see the miracles.
It's all there, all the time.
sunrise: magical no matter where on the planet you see it.
i still look forward to the next time i get to go to burning man, though. ;-)
This post is not what I intended it to be when I wrote the title, but I think I'll keep it.
(I typed "yuppers" first ~ what do *you* think the spelling of this word should be?)
I changed the name of my blog. I think in the "pro" blogging world, this might be a no-no, but I'm not a pro, and I needed a change. I felt I had outgrown WIDE WORLD OF TIF.
Reflection ~ the day I headed out for C-A.
When I created this blog, years ago now, the story of my life was 100% up in the air, and up for grabs. I had no clue where it was headed, and welcomed this unknown. I was riding my life bare-back and holding onto my hat as I took off for who-knows-what. It felt Big, and dramatic, and Important. Romantic, or glamourous.
It didn't take me too long, time-wise, to wear out on that. Glamour gratifies and is quickly addictive, but it doesn't Nourish Deep Down. I needed nourishment. I veered off at a Y in the path and it slowly step-by-step (moment by moment, peu a peu) led me here. Now.
I feel soooo much different than the woman in the photos at the beginning of this journey. Thanks to some blessed Mirrors along the way, I can say that I feel as if I've learned some things. And I like myself more. I feel as ready as I can be for the path immediately in view. And, more importantly, I'm excited to embark.
The name I have chosen, Moment by Moment, symbolizes this quiet(er), step-by-step path I visualize taking. Hopefully being present. Hopefully being mindful. Hopefully still taking time to see and smell the flowers. If I could get Blogger to work with me, It wouldn't be a yelled, ALL-CAPS, but a more conversational extension of a hand in invitation. Peu à peu is French for "little by little". I have a love-affair with French, and love this phrase. It says much, poetically.
Reflection ~ last week.
So here I go.. ! I have wanted to post more about my process as this little one has grown bigger and bigger inside of me. But it feels so BIG (the baby, yes, but the process even more so), that I just never know where to start. Happily, I at least have been writing to myself, if not the cyber-world.
Blogging feels good for me, like nettle tea, and sunshine. So I hope to continue. And that is the official dedication: to take a breath, notice, and Share. Moment by Moment.