Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A story of two births Part I



I do have to go back in time a bit for this birth story; not to go into excruciating detail about how I discovered homebirth and how I never saw myself as the type.

No, I’m the type.

I’ve always been the type.

I have to go back to tell you about another birth, the one that happened two years, two days and eight hours before this one.

I had five beautiful kids and while I considered having more, I was pretty focused on getting back into shape. I spent my life as a fit, size one but after five children I had evolved into something that barely squeezed (and I mean squeezed, because I would not wear a fourteen) into a twelve. So if I was going to have more it was going happen after I lost ten more pounds.

Then something really weird started happening.

All my life I’d had these sort of “psychic” moments. Nothing too dramatic, just a few odd things; I would occasional hear someone’s thoughts. Once in a great a while I’d have a dream that would unfold a few days later in real life. It was always something unbelievably mundane and meaningless.

Once I was so very excited to find a Pinesol type cleaner that was potpourri scented. An hour later my husband called to ask me, “What the hell is potpourri?” and why hasn’t he been able to get the word out of his head for the last hour.

I often dubbed myself the World’s most useless psychic.  If nothing important were to happen that day, I would the first to know the details of it.

But overnight the events went from three, four times a year to several times a week. It was very strange, even for me.

And then I realized I hadn’t had a period in forever.

I was pregnant, almost twelve weeks. I had been so busy I just didn’t notice. With all my other pregnancies I had been waiting to be far enough along for a pregnancy test to even work. I always knew. This one had crept up on me.

My best friend in the entire world was a midwife. For my past pregnancies she had flown all over the country to help birth my kids. She retired because she was battling breast cancer but had still driven three and a half hours in the night to deliver my youngest son.

She was so so thrilled to find I was pregnant again. She was in no shape to deliver a baby but was determined to be there for it. A deeply spiritual person; Kay believed strongly that the door to generations before was wide open during a birth.

For months we made plans. My wonderful Montana midwife, Marcy (the same midwife who delivered my fourth baby) was more than willing to deliver this baby while my friend, Kaye, helped in anyway she could.

Kaye’s condition worsened quite a bit over those months. We decided we would rent a motor home and her partner could drive. They could set up in our yard, we had plenty of room. I’d have the baby there, in the motor home.

Kaye was determined to be there for this birth. Her family told how she did everything she could think of to keep strong.

Meanwhile, as my pregnancy continued so did this strange psychic phenomenon. I’d dream some silly scene, just some person pushing a cart across a store while the cashier announced something on the PA . The next day it would happen in front of me. But along with all this trivial stuff came something else; an unending sense of forebode.

I could not imagine this pregnancy ending well.

I tried really hard to figure out why I felt this way (and tried harder to ignore the idea it might simply be a premonition). My first thought was that after five perfect pregnancies and five super easy births, maybe I felt I was pushing my luck. I was 38 years old. Two of my friends who had this many children also experienced (including Kaye) a stillbirth. I reasoned that this, this was why I felt this way.

Kaye often talked of pregnancy being the walk through the valley in the shadow of death; that you were a bridge between worlds. I know a lot of this came from her own experience. She had been carrying twins when one stopped moving. She gave her still alive baby three more weeks in her womb so he could have the time he needed, and then induced herself, six weeks early.

We talked a little about birth and death being intertwined.

Kaye felt as strongly about death as she did birth. She would not numb herself, she didn’t want to miss any time she had left to foggy, dulled thinking.

I did not tell her about this sense of dread I carried because she carried so much of her own.

I did tell my Montana midwives. Marcy set up a thorough ultrasound at the hospital to put me at ease. They checked for everything imaginable. Everything was absolutely perfect.

We made a trip from Montana to Las Vegas while I was in my 28th week.  In Vegas, we spent some time with Kaye. She wanted to feel my belly. Her arms and hands were swollen and huge; one arm was almost unusable from her non functioning lymph nodes. Two people helped her stand while her daughter filmed what everyone knew to be her last prenatal.

After we left, she told her daughter she couldn’t trust her own hands because they were so swollen but she felt something wasn’t right.

By the time we made it back to Montana I was 30 weeks along. I realized that my own fear had kept me from bonding with my baby. I was still unable to visualize the birth and focus on it like I had always done at this point in pregnancy, but I at least felt I needed to visualize my baby. I hadn’t even begun to prepare for her. So I forced myself to remedy that. I found a car seat on eBay and ordered a bouncer seat online. I picked up a few more baby clothes. While standing in the Salvation Army, I heard someone’s newborn baby cry. At that moment, I almost cried myself.  I imagined that sound coming from my own baby. I imagined nursing her and looking into her eyes. Just hearing that baby’s beautiful cry had allowed me to really intellectualize that I was going to have a baby. This baby was alive and kicking. Everything in the ultrasound had been perfect. Her heartbeat was perfect (I was calling the baby her at this point because I felt it was a girl, but we hadn’t checked). And soon, I convinced myself, I would be hearing that beautiful sound from my own baby.

I stood in that stupid thrift store aisle between a broken organ with twenty thousand “do not play” signs and a row of stretched out bras and fell in love.

I held onto that feeling. I couldn’t seem to stop the sense of dread and fear but I could push passed it and remember how much I loved my baby. I went in for a prenatal and again everything was perfect. By the next check up it would be time to order my birth kit.

I was at 32 weeks. My little boy laid his head on my belly to talk to the baby like he did every night. She kicked back a little like she always did. He drifted off to sleep and so did I.

I awoke about an hour later to the hardest kicking I have ever felt. I told myself everything was fine. Only a crazy person thinks a baby kicking hard is a bad sign but down inside I knew those would be her last kicks.  I fell into a deep deep sleep.

Later that day we would go in to check on her because she hadn’t moved. It would all play out like I had seen in my head a million times. No heartbeat from the Doppler, off to the hospital, no heart beat on the ultrasound. It took two weeks and two attempts to get labor started; I just wasn’t ready to let her go.

I had never had a hospital birth or a hospital anything before. They had me on Cytotec, Pitocin, a ton of IVs. And I really didn’t give a f**k. I didn’t take any pain meds. I wanted to be there for it all. I didn’t want to give anything less to her than I gave my others.

I didn’t want doctors and nurses around my baby. I’m still not sure how it happened but somewhere in that time span, the room sort of cleared out. I think the doctors and nurses didn’t know enough about a natural birth (at least pain wise natural) to understand that the baby was about to be born. My midwives Marcy and Carrie walked in then to visit and check on us. The baby came then with one small push. Caught by midwives while the staff were strangely gone from the room.

Kaye was on the phone through a lot of it. She was devastated. She had been living for this birth. She reminded me that I would want to take time with my baby; to look at her and look at her as long as I could. And so we did. We spent hours with her. But it wasn’t enough.

It will never be enough.

Because at the end, we still had to hand her over to the morgue people and at the end my three year old couldn’t understand why we left our baby at the hospital.


A few weeks later my due date came, and a few days after that, Kay died in her sleep.
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We kept ourselves very busy for the net year. We signed our kids up for tons of sports, scouting, and every second of summer was some type of out door activity. After the summer we moved form town to a place in the country. I needed the change of scenery. We grew a garden, had chickens, staying busy was the thing.

I still wasn’t able to be around an infant though. It set off an almost PTSD reaction. My youngest who was three when the baby died (Sonora Rain was her name) couldn’t watch or read anything with a baby in it without crying.

This weird psychic thing was still going on a year or so later and then suddenly it stopped. I realized it had been forever since a dream or daydream had come true. I couldn’t remember when I’d picked up on someone’s thoughts last.

It was a beautiful summer day, just before the fourth of July when I discovered I was pregnant again.

And this time it felt wonderful. There was no sense of dread. I was certainly scared but more in a gun shy sort of way instead of the ominous sensation that had followed me with the last pregnancy.

After almost twenty years of marriage and endless gypsy roving we bought our first (and last!) house. Moving was quite an adventure. We are practically an army. We had a blast one upping our game of “What’s the most redneck thing you’ve ever done?”. This move brought on so many hillbilly opportunities. In the end, we decided that moving the chicken coop full of chickens, miles down the road was the topper. Extra credit was given when the neighbors’ peacocks ran down the road the whole way behind it. 

I nested like crazy. I planned and overspent and over-organized. I bought cloth diapers because, I reasoned, we lived so far out in the country, but really it was because they were all so pretty. I watched a million YouTube videos on cloth diapering. I exhausted every home birth story available on line (if your story says homebirth in the tile- I have read it) occasionally running into one of my own stories and sometimes not recognizing them until halfway through. 

I was positive this baby was a boy. We chose Justice for the name either way (but this was definitely a boy).

I ordered everything I could possibly need. When it came time for my birth kit I agonized where to set up. I washed and re-washed baby clothes.

About 38 weeks in we thought we would go in for another ultrasound just to be sure (we had had one a while back as well). We live over an hour from our midwives (the same ones who caught Sonora, this birth would be closure and healing for them, as well). We were thinking of giving my body a nudge to labor just before my due date (I usually go over by a week or more) while they waited at my house for something to happen. I have history of ridiculously short labors. Even if I called right away, had I gone into labor naturally, an hour might not be enough time. 

This ultrasound would let us know if the position was good and, if so, we could then start evening primrose oil (to soften my cervix).
……………………………………………………………………….
The ultrasound tech was a bit gruff and hostile (toward homebirth, I believe) and a bit scared because of my history. She said the water was far too low. My placenta wasn’t doing its job. The baby was small and wasn’t showing the deep breathing pattern she liked to see. I looked over to see tears running down five year olds cheek. 

Midwife Marcy called in her favorite doc. The doc had spoken with the tech. and it seemed dire to all of us. I wondered if my baby was OK. Had my failing placenta already harmed him?  We did the non stress test. The doc seemed a bit muddled, as all seemed perfect to her. She said to go home for now, but come back in two days to check again and possibly start labor. This would not be a home birth unless I went into labor within two days on my own. I knew this would not happen.

I felt like I was caught up in  a whirlwind of fear and this desperate sensation of wanting a baby that I would never have. At the very least I would have a hospital birth. I had spent this entire pregnancy reassuring my now five year old that this birth would be nothing like the last one, that there would be no hospital, no doctors, he would never be separate from me. He could hold my hand the entire time and then he could hold the baby’s live wiggling hand. But now we were looking at induction of my very stubborn cervix two weeks prior to my due date and at least three weeks before I would normally give birth. I was not at all convinced that induction would work. Even if the baby (a big if) were alive and healthy, at the very least I was going get hacked and possibly separated from my baby and I was going to break my promise to my already traumatized five year old.

Two days later after having torn apart my home birth station, I did what I have never done before. I packed a hospital bag. Car seat in the car, nightgown, toothbrush; I wasn’t sure what to bring, in seventeen years of babies it never crossed my mind. I grabbed some baby things and also unearthed the “Welcome with Love” home birth storybook. I promptly threw it against the wall.



We met our midwife at the doctor's office where she would do her own ultrasound and non-stress test.

I noticed immediately that her demeanor was considerably more relaxed than two days ago. She had since gone over the ultrasound pics herself and found them not dire but  inconclusive. She then ran her own scans and found the water to be a little higher than average. Then baby’s hear beat was perfect. His breathing pattern was perfect. He was a good sized kid.  And he was busy playing with his toes. You’d swear someone nudged him and whispered act casual. This was not a baby in a life threatening situation.

And then the doctor said this,

“I see no reason why you couldn’t still have a home birth.”

I could have sobbed with relief and I did but I waited until we got to the car. All of us, my husband, all my kids, we just sat in the car and soaked it in.  We were all smiling with relief

She still wanted to see me have this baby by the due date as the risks go up quite a bit after the date at my advanced age (can you just feel my disdain for that term in the italics?).

At 39 weeks and 3 days the midwife crew showed up with every midwifery/witchcraft/medicinal /herbal concoction known or imagined or once thought of to possibly start labor.


And so that afternoon we began

Every 15 minutes I was trying something else.  I kept walking. I kept taking herbs. I’d get a few contractions here and there but nothing too real. My cervix was opening and softening a little. That evening I felt a pop that almost seemed audible.

Oh, I know that sound, mucus plug and water all in one pop. Well, this was good, it meant that all these herbs were doing something, but now it meant yet another clock ticking threat. It meant I had to get into established labor within a certain number of hours. I didn’t even ask how many, but I knew the drill, if the bottle of castor oil comes out, I’ll know I’m approaching deadline time. 

Everyone started getting tired.

We all went to bed for a bit.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Crazy is the new Enemy Combatant Status

Akin (almost) to the witch hunt of 17 century Salem; there was a time during the early 20th century when the ultimate oppression against someone you didn't like was to threaten a lock-up in the loony bin



You only have to sit through a few old flicks before you see it used as part of a slapstick routine, like with a lot of things we're afraid of; we laugh. 
  
Uh oh, Jeb made a snide remark about the mayor's wife -here comes the paddy wagon. Look likes the boys got a straight jacket for ya, Jeb.
-Cut to hilarious lobotomy scene.

We shake our heads and tsk tsk this simplistic view of behavioral oddities while producing Hollywood blockbusters and docudramas at the injustice done under the guidance of ignorance.

 Nooo, you don't understand, the stretchy pants help me save lives, dammit.
 
Seizures that look like staring spells? Lock him up. 

A female who likes to fuck?

Clearly, this is a dangerous mental ailment.
Someone who believes in a god the rest of us don't (or none at all)? Evidently the subject is bat-shit fucking crazy.
 
The motivations are obvious now. This was a user-friendly weapon and it was fired against anyone targeted out of fear. 


This idea of locking people up for having unpopular ideas has fallen out of fashion over the last few decades. 

I credit the hippies' coming of age for the decriminalization of eccentricity and sandals.




 

But now the power elites, who, I must say, have really had their nose to the grindstone, at this whole "hate them for their freedom" thing, have discovered that their new toys aren't all that useful, at least for the time being. Political pressure against the use of NDAA and the media (internet, anyway) firestorm over enemy combatant status makes these weapons of purge politically difficult to use (especially for a democratic president). 

So now, once again, having Jeb hauled to the loony bin is looking like a pretty doable option. 

The building designation is of little solace when you're locked inside it. 

And I really have to wonder; 

where have all the hippies gone?




The common factor in all of these columns of power is a shared building block: in none of these situations do you stand before a jury of your peers. 

And it really is poetic and kind of beautiful to think; that with all their unimaginable wealth and unfathomable power they are still so very terrified of a jury of 12.





Norman Rockwell's The Holdout


How do we know this is coming? Because power elites telegraph their next move 

 

About a million years ago before half a baseball team called me mommy, I did a little boxing and I kind of sucked. I sucked because under no circumstance could I throw a jab without telegraphing. If you telegraph your jab, you don't have a jab. If you don't have a jab, you don't have shit (I didn't have shit).

And here it is; they don't have shit either because they keep telegraphing their next move. They telegraph by feeding the media everything they need to feed them to smooth out the road. 

Here is what they've telegraphed over the last year of so; every criminal is suffering from mental illness (batman murders, Bran Raub -covered by Oath Keepers here ). No longer are we hearing about all the vices of their pre-crime life, all the juicy details of who they dated, who they voted for and what type of porn they watched. All we hear now is how terrible and sad it was that someone didn't notice this mental illness sooner and "do something about it".

But is the media really that complacent? Would they really repeat what they're told ? Aren't they just trying to get the good stories? To be best and first? 

Well, yes and yes. 


King Stern



Many years ago Michael Jackson's press people (I swear this ties in) started referring to him as the king of pop (The king was already taken by Elvis Presley -who had a nose). 

Media outlets, battling to get in close to be first with any MJ news were eager to impress his peeps. They hoped to get on his gatekeepers' good side and gobbled up the king of pop line. They slung it better then his own press agents did. Sometimes even skipping his name to make room for his title.


Some years later, Howard Stern commented that he found this absurdly hilarious and loudly proclaimed he would do the same. He would just give himself a title, any title. He would repeat it. He would ask to be introduced by it. And he would favor media who repeated it. 

Go ahead; Google "The king of all media".

And that was just the entertainment industry. 

Yes, the stakes are fairly high. There is money. There is fame. There are careers to make and break. 

But is it as high stakes as war? The leadership of a nation? The world? What about billions or trillions of dollars? Is it crazy to think that that amount of power and position could slant an individual reporter?


Power players and those who cheer lead for them would call this conspiracy theory. 

I prefer to call it human nature. 

In a world filled with sociopaths you only have to follow the trails of self interest to see where we're headed.


Crazy is the new Enemy Combatant Status/NDAA and is every bit as dangerous.

-Tasha 

See Also; 

Marine Veteran Brandon Raub, Victim of Soviet Style Pre-crime Detention









Monday, August 13, 2012

The Emperor Drinks Boxed Wine

Recently there was a show on one of the Discovery channels focusing on all the ways our subconscious minds fuck with us. In one segment a wine taste test was given to multiple targets. One poured from a box, one from a French wine bottle.

No surprises here, the targets swished and sniffed and twirled and declared this new French wine to be something fruity yet woodsy, fresh yet matured and simply elegant on the palate.




They shook their heads and rolled their eyes at the wine-in-a-box. They wrinkled their noses at just the sniff of it, as if to say, "I'll be a good sport and try it, but my accomplished olfactory already tells me this inadequate inebriate is of wino paper bag variety."

Of course, the twist ending was both wines were from the same cheap box.




Did they really believe the bottled stuff tasted better? Is it that they trusted so much in the price tag, set by experts, that their own taste buds were rendered completely numb? It is possible but I don't that's it.

The thing is; we lie to ourselves all the time, but we're not usually all that convincing when we do it.

I believe they saw this as a chance to feel superior to the masses. To finally look down from above at those box drinkers. With such an obvious - pick the dainty bottle over the cardboard box- password, to the super secret upper echelon club, who could refuse?

But why, why do we care? Why do we want so much to be a puffed-up compatriot of the preferential posh?

All of us are expert in something.

I don’t know shit about French wine.

I can only estimate the price afterwards; by degree of headache. I know the difference between a your and a you’re. Does that make me, by internet forum decree, better than someone who doesn’t know a there, from a their, from a they’re, but can reassembled a car’s engine with her eyes closed?


Why do we do this? Is this just basic tribalism? Is this desperate need to be accepted into something exclusive worse now than years ago when we were surrounded by a multi-generational family? Or maybe this is nothing new. Maybe this is just yet another off-shoot of royalty/celebratory worship.

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Pink vs. Gray Vaginas


When my husband first started law school, we had a neighbor who attended art school. This was one of the top, and therefore one of the highest stress (think cut-throat business world intrigue, then up it a notch) art schools in the country.

My neighbor’s art was always some type of vagina. It was sometimes rainbowed, sometimes flashing, sometimes ethereal, but always, always, it was some type of vagina.

Despite her inspired passionate drive, she was never really in the art school in crowd. These were the people who would be chosen to 'make it' in the fast paced, who's who, latex wearing, world of art.


 Georgia O’Keeffe; subtlety was not her thang

For her senior project exhibition she created a covered walk-way, filled with neon light, you guessed it,    vaginas. The floor was granite tile and the effect was actually quite pleasing to the eye. The light reflected onto the floor making a delightful, flashing, twinkling vaginal reflection. People walking through commented on how pretty it was. They would stand with hands leaning against the very shiny, very pink archway wall opening and wonder aloud what it could all mean .  .  .

 Neon Virginia? Close enough

At the end of the second day's showing, our neighbor, reacting to the weight and constant pressure of her supervisors' disapproval and her peers' non-stop eye rolling at, what they considered, her unsophisticated display, broke down and, for lack of a better term, flipped her shit.

She purchased a gallon of gray paint and overnight, dumped it out and sloshed and smeared it all over the floor and structure of her cunt-cabana. It looked like mud, but more dreary.

The next day people could not get out of there fast enough.

The director of the department followed visitors around and listened to their comments as part of the grading assessment.

They all said how ugly it was, mostly "Eww, gross" and "OKaaay, that was weird."

Our neighbor was officially inducted into the in crowd that day.

The director congratulated her and told she had finally done it.

She had made people experience something they didn’t wish to experience and, in this, had embodied the true essence of an artist.

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Is everyone full of shit?


It's examples like this that make one wonder, how much bluster and bullshit are the upper spheres of any area of society full of?

I suspect the answer is a lot.

Because all of us are knowledgeable in something, all of us have experienced a similar unveiling of the wizard. We have all witnessed the bona fide, recognized expert in our own area of knowledge buffoon his way through an appearance and talk out of his ass. It's no surprise but disappointing, all the same, to see that he really doesn't sport a giant green papier mâché head.


Maybe it's the anti-elitist in me, but while I have an interminable, boundless  faith in the power of the average person, who may or may not know a your from a you're, to achieve seemingly impossible heights, at the same time, I have a deeply ingrained suspicion when an expert claims to know better than the rest of us.

I leave you with a kind of long but, worth it, except from the autobiographical novel; Expecting Adam.

This ridiculous snippet made the email circuit at Yale, for obvious reasons, usually titled Faking it at Harvard (as if no one at Yale did the same).

And maybe I don't have an artist's eye but I still really think vaginas are better in pink.

 -Tasha

From Expecting Adam by Martha Beck ;
It was mid-November and the few remaining leaves rattled on the trees. I welcomed the winter chill, since icy air helped keep my mind off the nausea. I breathed it carefully one day as I waddled over to William James Hall (known to the intelligentsia as Billy Jim) to attend a class. I arrived a few minutes early and decided to use the extra time to visit a friend in the Psychology Department, one floor above the Sociology Department, where my class was held. My friend was in her lab, conducting an experiment that consisted of implanting wires into the brains of live rats, then making the rats swim around in a tub of reconstituted dried milk. She told me why she was doing this, but I have no memory of what she said. Maybe she was making soup. Whatever the reason, she had put the rats and the milk in a children’s wading pool, the kind you fill up with a hose so that toddlers can splash around on a hot summer day. The tub was decorated with pictures of Smurfs. Smurfs, for those of you who are not culturally aware, are little blue people whose antics you may have observed on Saturday morning cartoons during the 1980s. I personally feel that the Smurfs were cloying, saccharine little monsters, but Katie adored them.
After chatting with my rat-molesting friend for a moment, I excused myself and headed downstairs for the seminar. There were seven or eight other graduate students in attendance, along with a couple of extra professors who had come to hear the latest twist on established theories. I felt the way I always did when I walked into a classroom at Harvard, that I had just entered a den of lions — not starving lions, perhaps, but lions who were feeling a little peckish. The people in the room were fearsomely brilliant, and I was always terrified that I would say just one completely idiotic thing, make one breathtakingly asinine comment that would expose me as a boorish, politically incorrect half-wit.
“Ah, Martha,” said the course instructor, “we’ve been waiting for you.” I blushed. I had stopped at the rest room to blow a few chunks, and had been hoping that the class would start a bit late. I did not want to be the focus of attention.
“I’m sorry,” I said. “I was upstairs in the Psych lab, watching rats swim around in a Smurf pool.”
“I see,” said the instructor. “Yes, I believe I’ve read about that.”
A professor, one of the visiting dignitaries, chimed in. “How is Smurf’s work going?” he inquired. “I understand he’s had some remarkable findings.”"Yes,” said a graduate student. “I read his last article.”
There was a general murmur of agreement. It seemed that everyone in the room was familiar with Dr. Smurf, and his groundbreaking work with swimming rats. It took me a few discombobulated seconds to figure out that everyone at the seminar assumed a Smurf pool was named for some famous psychological theorist. I guess they thought it was like a Skinner box, the reinforcement chamber used by B.F. Skinner to develop the branch of psychological theory known as behaviorism. Comprehension blossomed in my brain like a lovely flower.
“I think,” I said solemnly, “that Smurf is going to change the whole direction of linguistic epistemology.”
They all agreed, nodding, saying things like “Oh, yes,” and “I wouldn’t doubt it.”
I beamed at them, struggling desperately not to laugh. It wasn’t so much that I wanted to mock these people. I was giddy with exhilaration, because after seven years at Harvard, I was just beginning to realize that I wasn’t the only one faking it.
                                                                -From Expecting Adam by Martha Beck

Monday, August 06, 2012

Joy After Loss

There was never yet an uninteresting life. Such a thing is an impossibility. Inside of the dullest exterior there is a drama, a comedy, and a tragedy -Mark Twain




I don't down own the copy-write to grief. If we are lucky enough to live long enough we lose those we love.

We just do. 

To experience loss is to experience the full palette of human emotion in all its vibrancy and darkness.

When it happens earlier in life it seems shocking. When it happens a little later in life we view it as a sort of phase. We realize we all must face these things at some point. Our friends and family are derailed by tragedies and we wait, watch and help while they go through it. When it happens toward the end of our lives, well, we view it as an inevitable part of the ride; another signal that our time is coming too.

If there is such a thing as scale of loss and I'm not sure there is, mine falls on the lower end. I did not know my baby as a little girl or as a teenager or as a young woman. I never heard her laugh or tucked her in at night. I don't have those memories of her to mourn.

I mourn the possibilities.




I stare at her little empty car seat and imagine buckling her in. I see the empty seat in my truck between my two youngest and visualize her in the middle. I see the empty table place and imagine her high chair there. 

While she is not physically here; she holds a window, a view of what might have been.

If there is a spectrum of grief I cannot begin to fathom the outer edge; losing a child whom I knew, one who colored my life beyond the eight months that I carried mine.  To lose her so young is such a very sad thing.  But is it any different from what we all must face at some point?
 

As a little girl I had seen such grief in my father, when my parents received a call that my 22 year old half sister had died. I could hear from the hall what sounded like laughter,  but not.  I was five at the time. I had never heard my dad cry. Peeking around the corner into my parent's room; I watched my dad hit his knees with his hands clasped out in front of him. I didn't know what happened but I knew it wasn't laughter I was hearing. The neighbors came by and picked me up “to play”. Hours later I learned what had happened from their kids. And while my father grieved his little girl, my 22 year old sister also had a little girl of her own whose life was upended in ways I cannot imagine.


So clearly I do not own grief. It is public domain. We all own a share.




But mostly what I want to talk about are the little oddities of the experience, the strange places where joy can be found even among such sadness.  I find my emotions don't always "match up" with the store bought variety. I suspect no one's grief squares with what it is "suppose" to be.

I find joy and peace in anything that proves she existed. And in anything that makes me feel she still exists in some way.

Anything that makes her feel real brings me great joy. The photos of us holding her and seeing her little plaster hand cast on the shelf bring me such serenity.  I dream of her at night and sometimes in the dreams she's alive for just a little while and I get to see her eyes. She looks right at me. You would think such a dream would be devastating but to see her looking back at me is such a beautiful experience that I smile when I wake up. It feels like I've been given a small sweet gift.

I have a habit of counting my kids when we're out and about. I do it so often that I don't really hear the numbers anymore. When I've mentally checked them all off, I go right back to what I was doing. If I don't get to the right number, I look to see who is missing and why and then I count again. Ever since the death and subsequent birth of my daughter my brain doesn't feel satisfied when I reach five. My mind rings the someone is missing bell so I start to count again. Mid-way through the second count I realize who is missing and why. 

This brings me joy, an odd bittersweet kind of joy.

It tells me that somewhere beneath the veil of consciousness, my mind  detects her. 

She was really here and somewhere, in some form, she still exists.


It tells me that the empty space  is not really as empty as it seems.  
                       


                           Baby Sonora Rain with Mom, Dad and brothers and sisters

-Tasha





Friday, July 06, 2012

Where are all the libertarian women? I'll tell you.


I never hear the end of women complaining that men aren't involved with their kids, that they don't take an interest.*

And some don't; but maybe it's because they're human and like most other humanoid life forms they can only take so much rejection and nitpicking before they shut down emotionally. 

                                                 This guy sports a six pack and he still gets nagged

And at that point they probably do say to themselves,” Maybe I'm just not cut out for this, maybe I should just step out of the way and let my wife takeover or step out permanently, let someone else raise the kids who can do all those things the right way."

Anything that doesn't fall in line with the way things should be done according to the TV model receives the head-shaking, smile knowingly and roll your eyes, silly man just doesn't get it look.

I cannot even begin to fathom what is wrong with women. And when I say women -I mean of the finicky mainstream variety.

    I don't know her, but odds are she's not a naggy bitch

I have not come across any of this bashing among the off the beaten path types; homeschooling, attachment, crunchy, gunny, anarchists, freedom minded women. Because of the circles I run in, I rarely meet up with women, these days, who aren’t of like mind set with myself. But occasionally when I’m cornered by chance or social dynamics to chitchat with the eye-rolling, tsk-tsking species of my gender, I am reminded why. 

Generally, the only discussion going is, my husband/boyfriend is an idiot because_____. Women do this as a type of female bonding. Women who** do not even know each other will connect in a bond of sisterhood by making snide comments about their buffooning husband. 

You see, we women want protection. Even those of us who claim independence, who pound our fists and declare ourselves in control of our destinies, those of us who carry guns, run companies, dig ditches or power lift; we can‘t help it. As deeply ingrained as it is in men to dream of being the hero (just admit it, even Samwise Gamgee couldn't help himself), we dream of feeling safe. 

                               Ya, sorry about putting that song in your head

And here is where is gets fucked.


This little lizard brain quirk isn’t enough to stop us from achieving anything feminism fought for back in the day. If channeled properly, it only means that we show our husbands a little respect; that we say, Thank you when he changes the tire, instead of stamping our feet and muttering about how we could have done it ourselves.  But when television tells us that men are insulting and bullying us when they talk to the mechanic for us, we get huffy and pissy instead of realizing they are just trying to do their job.

Men can't help themselves; they want to protect; they want to provide for their tribe, their family. I'm not saying only men should work while women do housework. I mean on a very deep, subconscious level this is where men are coming from.

So what now? 


We have effectively removed our spouses as protector and provider even if only in an honorary modernized version of the position.

And yet at a deeply rooted level we still want protection.

So here’s what now.


We have put government at the head of our table.

We have put government in the role of daddy. 

So while there may physically be a husband and father in the picture, in the dynamics of things, they have been replaced.
                                      I feel so much safer knowing this giant head is here

Government protects the children with their rules and laws.

Government provides food with their little programs.

Government provides health care and education.

So if you’re wondering where all the libertarian women are, we’re the ones not laughing at our husbands.

-Tasha

*This post is a re-write of one I wrote a few years ago. After careful review, I felt the message needed repeating and also, I noticed that it contained zero swear words. I don't like to write anything that doesn't contain the word "fuck" at least once'; hence the re-write. 

** Hat tip to Grammer Girl, fucking who and whom

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Is Skut Farkus style Obamacare really that big of a deal?

What does it really mean? I mean the philosophy is fucked, that is a fact.




A governing body that makes decisions based on how much power it can gain and how much money it can can avoid spending will essentially be in control of our lives and our bodies.

You want to drink raw milk? No, that's up to us now. Vaccinations? Well, we're in charge so that's up to us now, too and you know how we feel about that. Oh, and we do things about twenty years behind the times so, high fat? That's bad. Salt? That's bad too or it was fifteen years ago. Corn syrup is awesome though, so plenty of that if you're to be an upstanding citizen. Birth at home? Nope, not allowed.

Also, make sure you and your kids load up on pharmaceuticals like all the good people of the world who wash their cars on Sundays do. What's that? You don't want your children on drugs? Sounds like child abuse. We'll have to declare you unfit.

The possibilities are endless.

It's like accepting a gift of money from your mother-in- law. Oh you thought that was free?

No, the price is your kids wear the clothes she likes and do the activities she likes. Don't don't like beauty pageants? Too bad, mom loves them and if you want the goods, you'll make peace with having your daughter twirl on the runway while mom,"Ooohs and Aawws".



So yes, the philosophy is fucked.

How much of this health care plan that is philosophically and legally feasible is actually politically feasible and how much and how far can they push? Well, we shall see.

This will affect everyone.

NDAA however, is the power to kill.

NDAA is the power to imprison.

NDAA is the power to send anyone to a foreign land to place a check mark for all of the above.

It does not affect everyone. It only affects those who are politically expedient for it to affect.



That is me

and possibly, if you are an active libertarian; that is you.

Control over health care is important in that it really truly does affect everyone . Not just those at the top of  Martin Niemöller's  first they came for .   .  .   list .

So maybe, in that way, it really truly is that important.

Maybe this is the today's tea tax and or stamp act. Those not yet jaded and so full of enthusiasm had no idea the road ahead in this movement (thank God). Maybe, combined with the hard cold reality that Ron Paul could not get a fair shake, and make no mistake, to the young people who were new to the idea of freedom, the fact that the laws do not apply to those in charge was a cold hard and surprising slap, it really is important.

Here's to hoping that now that it is evident, we are not getting what we wanted for Christmas, that we received a deserved  C+ on our response to NDAA, that maybe this health care shove from Skut Farkus and his yellow eyes, so help me, yellow eyes, was  just one shot too many.

-Tasha

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Hand me my cane; I'm sticking around

Okay, wow, when I started this blog; Facebook wasn't filled with my high school friends, Reddit wasn't filled with my wrath and Twitter wasn't filled with my anonymous secrets (not really anonymous, guess what my handle is). I did, however, have an active and bright and glittery and kind of loud Myspace account.

I had a devil of a time finding my own log in requirements for this creaky old blog but as much as today's social networks have rendered my blog as outdated as FM radio, I have to say, I'm pretty nostalgic about the whole thing. I never thought I'd be grandfathered into anything with a six year time investment but I think it safe to say, I'm an old timer in the world of blogs. 




I started this rant before my husband started O a th Ke epers (no sense making it searchable), before Ron Paul announced his bid the first time around (the republican bid anyway). My now six year girl was just born and since then I have had a little boy (now 3) and another beautiful little girl who was stillborn in March. 

Time changes us all and I'm, frankly, not as witty as I used to be and I'm quite a bit more jaded. 

I'm also a bit more prone to self censoring now that I know I'm just a click away from family and friends and just a few clicks away from hostile media (thanks to O.K.). 

So being the cautious sort that I am; don't expect me to talk about the lap dance I once gave to Matt Leblanc or the day that I learned Judge Reinhold had a fascination for dirty talk (and I mean dirty). 




I mean that would be like saying fuck you to the liberal forums that sometimes comb and quote my blog. 

 


 I can't spend my whole life as the zany zebra baby of the family. 

I have been slowed down by age and responsibility; my most recent claim to fame is that a bit part vampire from the not-yet-released Breaking Dawn II sent me a direct message on Twitter and if that is not boring enough, it was in response to my Tweet regarding Wikileaks. 



Hopefully, my caustic wit will return so we can all discuss our adopted son Rand Paul and try to figure out where we all went wrong and if our collective tough love program can straighten him out before it's too late. 



So now I sign off-with the same sort of sentimental clinginess that I clutch onto to my Grease II and Olivia Newton-John records; I still hold this blog dear and cross-my-heart that I will update.

-Tasha