Writing and editing

PeaceLoveYoga reminded me today of Guruji’s birthday. The rain last night cooled off the heavy damp heat from yesterday. This morning there are slim shafts of lemon light poking through the clouds. Nice day to think about Mysore, KPJAYI and Guruji. Big up.

Last week, my little milk jumkie got in the bad habit of eating every 20 minutes. Ok. I’m totally the enabler, but everyone kept telling me feed on demand. Then, I realized – I’m the dealer – I call the shots.  So, now I am cutting off his frequency. Yesterday was every two hours, today is every 2.5 hours. Eventually, I’m working up to 3 by the end of the week. David bought me a breast pump, so that I could leave Mr. Owl to run an errand but we couldn’t figure out when pumping would make sense because he is such a snacker. As my sister wisely told me, “It is a level of higher math you aren’t capable of on two hours sleep.” He is pretty good about the new wait, but there is some clockwatching around 15 minutes before he gets his next fix.

The whole thing reminds me of the Velvet Underground song, Waiting for My Man: “He’s never early, he’s always late/ First thing you learn is you always have to wait.”

Last year, David and I were walking down our street and on the corner, I noticed an addict punching numbers into a pay phone furiously and with a perplexed look on her face. I thought, “Funny, how you can see a crack addiction on someone’s face. The lines, the hardness has a uniformity to it.”

She looked up at me and stopped banging on the number pad. “What? You never seen a crackhead before?” She yelled.

Embarrassed, I looked away. Quietly and to David, I said “Well, I live in this neighbourhood – so yes I have.”

But a little self-awareness, even if it comes out of nowhere, is always welcome.

Happy moon day, happy birthday Guruji. Back on the game tomorrow.

Mercedes turned me on to 16 and Pregnant recently.

16 and Pregnant makes you feel super organized and on top of your shit, unlike most reality shows that just make you feel bad for watching and depressed about the state of the world. I get pretty weepy when the baby appears, as do all the grandparents (who are my age), which is nice. I hate to spread a bad habit, but if you go to the mtv.ca website under shows, you can watch all the episodes. You will have to scroll past such stellar shows as “1 girl 5 gays” though

Honestly, why haven’t I pitched a show to MTV yet? It seems like any awful thing that drifts into your head could be made into a program.

During pregnancy, I was quite into “I Didn’t Know I was Pregnant’ about moms who go to the bathroom and a baby comes out in the toilet. Mercedes, the purveyor of good music and terrible television got me started on IDKIWP. That show is truly incredible, and I think the product of limited access to  health insurance in the US. I go to the doctor when my fingernails are too long, so half the show is spent in gobsmacked amazement that someone could ignore the missed periods, the weight gain, the nausea, heartburn and eventually the searing pain of labour for nine months.

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Postpartum Ashtanga Yoga Practice

It is a month since I gave birth and I have two weeks until the go ahead from my midwife to start exercising again.  I am doing all of standing first thing when I get up in the morning. I have just enough time to crawl out of bed, throw on a top and do a quick little practice in the morning before I am called to duty.

I have some twinges of pain on my right side when I do backbends from the surgery. I think that tightness will be there for a while. I am slowly accessing my strength again. It is funny, because I was lifting all that extra weight when I was pregnant and I carry the 12 lb baby around everywhere, but the strength you need for ashtanga is different. Often I feel like I have been repeatedly punched in the stomach.

I would sometimes have moms in my class that did not practice for a year after the baby was born and joined my level 1 class – something they could easily do before pregnancy. Most of them would get a bit panic stricken after the third sun salutation. I can really understand why now. Body memory or whatever is really out the door for the first little while, I think I will need to retrain my body for months maybe the next year before I can do what I was doing pre-conception. Mysore style will help with that. I don’t know if I could jump back into a led class without feeling a little defeated.

But then, anytime I start feeling a bit down about building up my practice – I remember: I’ve got the cutest baby in the universe!

Really, if I only do standing for the rest of my life it is the best trade off.

Now if I can only figure out how to get more sleep….

On Thursday night, the day before Holden was born, things started to get a little rough in labour. I was at home when my water broke and I was starting to develop a fever, which would end up lasting through until the next morning. I was on my hands and knees in our bedroom trying rather unsuccessfully to cope with the contractions by counting my breaths, sort of like a never ending headstand. I was wearing shorts and a tee shirt but they were soaking wet at this point. David and I thought there might be some meconium – baby poop –  in the water, and when the midwife came over for the third time that day she confirmed it.

She said: “We can’t pretend anymore. We have to go to the hospital. David: put her in a large t-shirt and a pair of boxers with a pad and we will meet you in the hospital lobby.”

So, my husband pulled out the biggest t-shirt he could find. Yep. A huge white oversized boxy tee shirt that says in large black letters on the front: EAT MORE CHAPATIS. On the back there is info from a Sharath tour. He put me in the Eat More Chapatis t-shirt with a pair of his grey boxers. Mercedes tried to get me to put on shoes, but I couldn’t deal, so she had to carry my shoes with her to the hospital.

Sitting in the back seat, through the counting, I could hear David saying to Mercedes:

“Stan is going to kill me.”

After the 20 minute drive to the hospital, I got out of the car. The boxers were soaked with water and meconium, which was streaming down my legs, as I stood barefoot in the lobby of the hospital with EAT MORE CHAPATIS! blazed across my chest.

No one said a thing.

But anyone who has had a baby in the hospital knows that you meet about forty million doctors and nurses in the course of your labour and they all want to check how far dilated you are, where the baby’s head is and if you are me – what exactly your shirt says.

So, it really was an ashtanga birth! And I really will one day kill my husband for putting me in that ridiculous thing.

David was away last week, and I am just getting back on my feet. This week I am committed to being a better blogger and to responding to everyone’s lovely comments. Keep checking in, I promise I will be updating regularly with my post surgery practice and the amazing amounts of food I am eating while nursing.

Is it possible that I gave birth to the cutest baby that ever lived? Totally possible! My son is the greatest evah!


I gave birth to a 10 pound baby boy, Friday June 18th at 3:27p. Holden Owl Byrne. There were complications during the birth and I ended up having an emergency c-section. He is beautiful and calm, and we are definitely going to keep him.

I’m not sure how vegan babies get to be 10 pounds. The doctors were a little shocked when they pulled him out. Diana thinks my uterus is made of candy, and Erin thinks he is 8 pounds of Indian food. I think either is entirely possible.

So far, life is pretty quiet. I am healing from my incision, and Holden Owl is eating an enormous amount, sleeping and watching the world cup with his dad. As I write this he is napping, strapped to my chest all hot and sweaty.

The night I gave birth, Holden’s breathing started to get progressively more shallow. Because I had a fever and he had pooped in utero during labour, the pediatrician was worried that he had an infection or pneumonia. That night they took him to the NICU.  I couldn’t get out of bed until the next morning, and the next three days were spent dragging my IV back and forth to his little incubator where he was hooked up to monitors, an antibiotics IV, and a respirator. The culture in the NICU is really weird, I’ll write about it more when I have a bit more perspective. It was the most difficult three days of my life, I cried a lot, I was in a lot of pain, and both David and I were sick with worry and frustration. Coming home was the greatest. I spent the first few hours just sniffing the air and listening to the birds. Home is the best place to heal.

So, you get the pregnancy and the baby you need, but I think you might also get the birth you need. Because I maintained my practice through my pregnancy, most people said the baby would just fly out of me. I was sort of hoping that would be true, but it ended up being the total opposite.

With my lower half numb and obscured, my arms stretched out to either side of me, an oxygen tube up my nose, the largest, brightest lights I have ever seen, and an anonymous team of 20 masked professionals who I will never see again in my life – it wasn’t exactly the hippy love-in birth I was expecting. But actually, despite the hospital’s best attempts, the experience is so spiritually intense – it defies description. I felt uplifted, high. At first I couldn’t see him, I could only hear him crying and his crying sounded beautiful and adorable to me. Instant, unbridled love, mixed with this new feeling of nervousness.  Over the past two weeks I have felt equal parts hugely important and just an embodied vessel carrying the baby into the future.

Although, I don’t know if I am strong enough to go through the NICU experience anytime soon, I would gladly go through my labour and delivery again. Strange. I mean, I felt my uterus – warm and wet – being pulled out of me and placed on my tummy as they sewed it up. The whole thing is nightmarish, but it doesn’t touch me.

I love him. Who is he? It is glorious and complicated over here.

Practice notes:

Haha! As if!

I cried last week when David lifted me out of bed because my abodmen hurt so much.

I have managed to do some sun salutations for the past three days. I have no arm strength, and upward dog is tricky. It is nice to move again and fold forward without having a large belly in the way. My goal is to slowly add on standing, with no twists for my healing uterus, by the time I get to 6 weeks. Slowly, slowly.

How is it going over there?