Posts Tagged ‘miscarriage’

Poem: Starlings in Winter

This poem was on NPR Writer’s Almanac today. I loved it and wanted to share it with you…

Wishing you joy…


Dec. 8, 2009 

Starlings in Winter

by Mary Oliver

Chunky and noisy,

but with stars in their black feathers, 

they spring from the telephone wire

and instantly

they are acrobats

in the freezing wind.

And now, in the theater of air,

they swing over buildings,

dipping and rising;

they float like one stippled star

that opens,

becomes for a moment fragmented,

then closes again;

and you watch

and you try

but you simply can’t imagine

how they do it

with no articulated instruction, no pause,

only the silent confirmation

that they are this notable thing,

this wheel of many parts, that can rise and spin

over and over again,

full of gorgeous life.

Ah, world, what lessons you prepare for us,

even in the leafless winter,

even in the ashy city.

I am thinking now

of grief, and of getting past it;

I feel my boots 

trying to leave the ground,

I feel my heart

pumping hard, I want

to think again of dangerous and noble things.

I want to be light and frolicsome.

I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing,

as though I had wings. 

“Starlings in Winter” by Mary Oliver, from Owls and Other Fantasies: Poems and Essays. © Beacon Press, 2003
European Starling eggs

Nesting: For more information on these beautiful birds. Click here.

IVF and the Newlywed: Runaway Heart


tanya and me, age 3When I was little, I used to run away from home a lot. I’d pack a snack and hide behind our house. I’d sit with my back against my bedroom wall and stare out at the palm trees. Sometimes, I would plant watermelon seeds with my fingers; digging little holes between slips of grass. I’d stay hidden until I got bored, or hungry, or both. Eventually, as rosy dusk would fall on our subdivision, I would return home, weary from my travels. My parents would put on a big show about how happy they were that I was back, and tell me how much they missed me.


Eventually, I figured out that my mother could actually see me from the house, and that she knew the whereabouts of my secret hiding spot. So, when I was big enough, about eight or nine, I would run away to my grandparents’ house. They lived about three blocks away, but a canal separated our neighborhood from theirs. The fervent walk seemed endless to me in my childhood rage.


My Grandmother would invite me in (she always seemed to know when I was coming???) and we’d sit at her kitchen table while I wailed about the horrors of the day. Eventually her phone would ring. “Yes, yes hello! Uh huh…Yes, She is….Ok!”


“Grandma, who was that????” I’d ask.


“Wrong number” She’d reply.



I go in for a biopsy tomorrow.


They are trying to rule out endometriosis as the cause of our recurrent losses. Sadly, you have to have a series of miscarriages before the insurance will cover the cost of these tests! Think of how much money and heartache would be saved if they investigated these things BEFORE people began IVF? Could you imagine this happening in life outside the realm of medicine? It would be as if you’d have to get in a few car accidents before they check to see if you’d pass the driving test.


Nevertheless, I’m off track again. Insurance does that to me….


I hate biopsies. I’ve never seen a happy biopsy. They always come with some baggage and discomfort. The Bear will be going with me, which is nice. And my Doc gave me a prescription for a valium. Even nicer! Hopefully I will be dreaming of bunnies….


I bring all of this up because it makes me miss my grandmother more than ever. I wish I could just run away behind her house, or sit at her kitchen table and cry. I’m so exhausted by this process.


I just have to remember why I am doing this….for love.


Full circle.


IVF and the Newlywed: Posessed!

It’s a gorgeous day out today and I am hoping to get outside and bask in some leftover sun. It will be nippy in New England in no time. The Bear is very sick today, so I’m playing nursemaid. Nothing much to report…we went to the Dr. this week and she gave both The Bear and me a battery of blood tests. She’s trying to discover why we have had so many miscarriages. She also wants me to do a biopsy to see if there’s anything going on in my womb. I negotiated for a valium. I’ll tell you, I am sick of people hanging out between my legs. I am sick of this process and all the emotions tied to it.

I’m on a two month hiatus from IVF and it has been SO NICE to get my body back. My mind is clear and focussed, not overwritted by the excess of meds. I really don’t want to think about a biopsy or anything having to do with my netherparts- except pleasure.

I am going to try to find time this weekend to find myself again. I don’t know what that means yet, but there’s this funny , quirky lass inside here somewhere, who’s been in hiding for a wee bit. I’ve got to shake things up and bring her out again. I miss that silly bitch.

I couldn’t help it, but when the Bear started vying for my sympathy vote with his cough,cough, sick, sick, I told him to imagine if his balls were the size of grapefruit and he got 3 shots every day! Then, come to me for sympathy.

So who’s taken over my body, and when can the real M come back??

IVF and the Newlywed: Lost and Found

Lost and Found

Sometimes things are too fresh, too green. You can’t talk about them until they settle. That’s how I was feeling this weekend. I just couldn’t bring myself to put my insides to “words”. Perhaps if I were to “paint it out” things would have gushed forth like butterflies, like blood. 

I spent the weekend vacillating between turbulence and limbo. That ether-state of decision-making. A band-aid to my soul.

Friday night. Starless sky. Lying in bed with my big Boston boy. “I’m so sad, “I said, “I thought I was over this, but I’m not.” He held me and said. “We’ll never get over this, sweetheart. We’ll get BEYOND IT, but not over it.”

I think of this Loss. My third Loss. I think of all that life-potential that could not hold on. I blame myself. The scars in my womb from fibroid surgery. My age. My weight. When does the blame stop? When can you look at yourself again and feel whole and beautiful?

I am usually a happy person. A conduit of good energy. I have friends I would do anything for. Friends who I won’t talk to right now because it’s just too hard.

Sunday morning. I woke my sleeping Bear and said, “Let’s think about adoption.” We can still keep trying with IVF, but we do want more than one child, so why not explore the options. Groggily, he agreed. We hugged and kissed and laughed with the languid ease of weekend morning love.

Sunday afternoon. I obsessed over cupcakes. I just found a lovely new book exclusively on CUPCAKES. The cover features a bit of vanilla heaven with a sugared violet on top. I’m not sure where this new obsession with cooking has come from but cupcakes are my secret passion. They remind me of childhood birthdays and modern weddings, and Martha Stewart perfection. Maybe if I start to practice now, by the time I am (fingers crossed) a mom, I can become the best cupcake maker on my block. 

So I mixed my eggs and milk, and frosted with the back of a spoon, and in the end I had 24 lumps of cake. Really uninspiring looking. But hey, it was my first attempt! And even through they were ugly they tasted DELICIOUS!


A cupcake story:

Spring 2008. My Boy and I went down to visit friends in New York City. I was getting out of the shower when he surprised me with my engagement ring “I wanted to do this on the top of the empire state building,” he said, “but we ran out of time.” My engagement ring is my grandmother’s. It’s the ring I have always wanted to wear. My grandparents had a very happy marriage and although I never met them, I know my grandmother is looking down on us and sending lots of Wisdom and Love our way.

So this was a splendid weekend with my sweetheart, celebrating his birthday and his first trip to the Big Apple. We walked through central park and met my best friend for drinks by the pond as swans glistened past.

That night I lost my wallet at a dive bar in Hell’s Kitchen. Lost????? Not sure, but it was GONE. We had $14 left and two Amtrak tickets after we checked out of the hotel. We used most of our remaining cash to buy subway tokens to visit  police stations and file reports. Uptown than downtown, and scurrying back again! We didn’t have enough for lunch or dinner, but walking down from Port Authority was passed the Cupcake Café. Although the location has changed, the Cupcake Café in NYC brings back the warmest memories for me. My time in grad school in the Big City. Working in Manhattan for some wonderful designers. Sitting with friends for gazpacho and carrot cupcakes and musing over theatre, art and life.

We had a few bucks left, enough for a pair of cupcakes and two coffees. A welcome respite from the chaos of the city street. Sitting across from my Boy, gobbling a bit of lusciousness before we went back home. Basking in our newly engaged love. It was the perfect frosted dream to a weekend I will never forget.

These are the things I need to hold on to right now. Love, sweetness, the treasures in my life. No matter how complicated things get in our lives, it only takes a few simple things to bring us back to the heart of the matter. Back to the HEART.




I Dreamed that Angelina Jolie was My Egg Donor

I dreamed that Angelina Jolie was my egg donor.

No really!

It’s a reoccurring dream I have been having lately. I am sitting on the couch eating pizza and Angie appears in a cloud of lemon meringue. At first I think she’s an angel. “I have a gift for you” she says demurely with a flash of her pearly bonded teeth. I notice the little satin pillow she as in her hand. It’s the cheezy kind you find on wedding websites for your ring-bearer. But there’s no ring. Just two tiny little fireflies buzzing above it. 

“Here…” she says, placing the pillow into my greasy pepperoni fingers. “For a mere $7,000,000 co-pay these can be yours. We can drop them into your womb and you would have a 61 % success rate at conceiving.(another smile). Isn’t that better than your measly 22% at your age and (ahem) size?”

I notice that her collarbone lifts gently from the bodice of her gown . Her arms are white and veiny. As she hands me the pillow I think. “Gee, she IS pretty! We would have beautiful children. But would I feel they are truly MINE? I mean, I would be nurturing them in my body, and I’d love them as much as if they came from my own DNA. We COULD mortgage the condo, maybe get a few more jobs. I think we could drum up some extra cash, but not the $7mm required for this transaction!

My husband comes in to the room holding a beer. He’s speechless at the arrival of our new visitor. I can sense he is leaving some room for ME to make this decision. He loves me and would support my wishes and dreams (and who can refute the astounding cuteness of our future offspring, if this were to pass).

I look at Angelina in her stunning gown and baubles. I think of all the adventure and excitement I have had in my life. I HAVE been truly blessed in that way. But these experiences have prolonged my settling down, my time of finding the right  partner. Now I’m 41 and newlywed, and ANGELINA JOLIE is offering me her eggs!

“Limited time offer” she says. Head cocked to one side as she glances at me through those crazy lashes.

I look at the “fireflies” buzzing gently in my hands. So delicate and beautiful. I look at my husband. I know he will be the best father in the world. He’s already the best husband. I consider the chemical pregnancies we have had and the misscarriage I seem to be having this weekend….”A 61% success rate” I think. That would end the hurt and the pain of these losses.

She glows like a cloud of frosting. I would eat her if I could. 

“No thank you, Angelina.” I reply. (I dare not call her Angie.)” As kind and thoughtful as the offer is, we will have to decline.” My husband utters a surprising sigh of relief. “We’ll try naturally for a few months and then we’ll do IVF again. There’s still time…” I reply, a little teary eyed.


Almost celestial!

Almost celestial!

“OK.” She whispers.”But if you change your mind, or need me in the future, I’ll be out on Long Island wrapping up my latest film. The offers good until your insurance runs out.”  She flashes another brilliant smile and turns to leave. “Ummm?” She stalls, with a guilty, beseeching look that almost makes me grin “Can I have a slice of that pizza?” She asks. “I haven’t eaten in months.”

Belly dancing helps

My husband says that if I “believe” then good things will happen for us. I do agree with the power of positive thinking, but every time I try to say “I AM pregnant” it sounds more like a question than a statement. I guess if you have been on this journey for so long, it’s hard to visualize something that seems so far away.

But sometimes, when I close my eyes and relax, I can see two little glowing pearls deep inside me. Two, beautiful lovely orbs of light. This is bigger than any word, any hope. Any question.

And belly dancing helps! I highly recommend this to all the gorgeous women reading this. Get up in the morning and make up your own belly dance. Celebrate the roundness of your hips and the shape of your body and play some music you love and DANCE. Dance for yourself. Dance for all your wisdom and great potential. Make up the moves as you go along. Just dance.

This I do for ME. I started it once I went on crinone (progesterone) to help prevent miscarriage, and my Doctor said it stays in place best if you are active. So I made up a little dance I do each morning to OWN this situation and celebrate it MY way. My dance is somewhere between a belly dance, a hula and something you might have seen at woodstock.

I did it for my husband this weekend. He calls it the Crinone Dance.

Whether it helps me keep this potential life moving inside me or it’d just another way to lift my spirits, it seems to be working.

Try it.

Wishing you joy, peace and love.