22 April 2008

A Day for Gaia

We are waiting for rain. Stella has been waiting for rain for a year. The days it comes she dons her full regalia in joy. Sometimes she is sure it will rain, she suits up for it regardless of outcome. In California, we don't have rain for several months in a row. It has taken me years to adjust to the subtle- and not so subtle (rain v. no rain, duh)- seasonal changes. There are still days when I completely lose my bearing. Is is Fall? Spring? I begin looking for Jack O' Lanterns or Easter Eggs as a clue.

Today the sky is thick and the dust at the dog park has a little less loft. I want the rain to fall today. Earth Day. The idea of a day to raise awareness and protest environmental destruction was born right around when I was- the Fall of 1969. I like to imagine early 1970. Parents looking ahead into their grand children's lives, young students with a new agenda, confused politicians. All looking out for the Gaia, looking out for us. And here we are. 37 years later. Today's Earth Day is more about community clean up, fun festivals, and recycling lessons than protest. Pollution, pesticides, extinction- these problems have not gone away, but Earth Day is no longer known for demonstration and protest. The original organizers have action items, so go get busy.

15 April 2008

14 April 2008

Such a Deal!

I have a personal trainer.

Surprisingly, I'm not afraid to admit it. I've always associated having a personal trainer with being perfectionist and foolishly rich. My disdain probably originates from some secret desire to have money to sprinkle here and there- and have the body that only comes from excellent genes or a particular type of perfectionism. I never wanted a trainer like I never wanted an exercise buddy. I don't want someone to see me puffing up a hill or watch them pressing more pounds.

But here I am, ready to cancel my (unused) gym membership.

It all started because Rex wouldn't chill out. As in, "Cut it OUT, REX! Stop (insert: licking, following, nosing, barking, chewing kids toys)!" So I took him to the dog park. He LOVES the dog park. The butt sniffing, the rough play, chase. At the dog park, I sit there watching him burn off all that puppy energy. And I think, here's one more creature to take care of. What about me? MY time? And of course work is more stressful, my PMS started lasting 14 instead of 7 days a month, and those new pants I bought only serve to accentuate my muffin top and make me very gassy.

So Rex and I went running together. And we did it again. And again. And he began to recognize my running shoes and baseball cap and now jumps for joy when he sees me putting them on. And today he encouraged me. He actually turned around and said, "Oh, come on!" when I slowed to a walk. It was a subtle, but certain nod of the head, jig of the front paws. Totally non-judgmental. "Hey could you pick up the pace a little? I know you can do it, and I'd really like to go a little faster. Please"

I intend no offense in comparing Rex to a personal trainer- I can't help but compare him to Otto every day. But there is no doubt in the connection. He is expecting me. He wants more out of me than I think I can give. He is faster and stronger and will always be. But Rex makes it even better: he's free and it's a mutual benefit. Two more reasons to lase up those shoes.

01 April 2008

I Hold Them in My Heart

Why can't it be "April Fool's!" now that my patient's baby died at 6 months and my dad euthanized his cat, and I got an asinine crank call telling me I had so many days to live?

Yesterday. Can't I wish it one big joke? Ha ha, just kidding?

The mom came in for her routine prenatal. Mentioned no movement. Watched her daughter draw happy pictures of the baby. I searched for the heart. The quick beat I love to share with the big siblings. Is that a horse in there?! A train? I searched again. I prayed. I tried to make my face neutral, my eyes soft. I took her into the room with the ultrasound. And the little one only floated with his mama's breaths. Not still, but swaying in the fluid. I couldn't get the words out before my heart cried. My tears fell. I think your baby died. You need to go to the hospital for a better ultrasound. But I knew. She knew.

In 10 years, this was the first fetal demise. Nasty jargon for a loss inexplicable. The term you don't share with the family. Fetal. Oh, no... a baby, a loved member of the family. Demise. Should that soften the blow? Make it so that the midwife doesn't cry when she collapses in the chart room, her colleagues with no choice to hear it out? I was unprepared for the moment, caught in the disbelief. Consulting with the perinatologist like I would for fibroids or diabetes, while the majority of my soul paced the room, asking why?

And when I came home to tell it all again to Augusto, it was too familiar. The same sequence of sadness when we lost our first son. That empty, empty sound on the doppler. The panicked face of the resident. Then the words that became only the sound of nothing in the room, of everything lost in our hearts.

I told the family of my loss. Felt strangely grateful for some small connection to their crumbling souls. I am so sorry. What else is there, really, to say?