Writing and editing

What is it about needing a break from everything when you have been away for a full month? I have been meaning to post so that my poor grade 3 remora readers aren’t subjected to angry vegan missives for weeks on end. Every once in a while something will happen and I think to mysefl, “Ah, yes – gotta blog about that.” But then the day passes like the day before and I’m in bed before I can put a few thoughts together.

This past week, I actually avoided my website like a late homework assignment. Which is pretty sad considering I’m the frustrated teacher as well as the delinquent student in this case. I’ve been catching up on my New Yorker reading since I have been home – and trying to wrap my head around the business in Egypt and Libya. And this is totally a silly lame excuse, but sometimes blogging is so writing-lite. Like Japan is underwater and radioactive, and I want to write about going to the park.

Incidentally, here is a picture from the park that David took. You can really see his front teeth while he is on the swing. Good stuff.

But anyway, I am steeling myself to go back to work soon, which is terrifying on many levels. Mostly because there is no job to go back to. I feel pretty floaty about the whole thing. I am so busy everyday, but I accomplish next to nothing. There is such a strong ambivalence. I desperately want some time to do things that don’t involve wiping someone’s bum and then I have moments of thinking he is only this age once. I have regretted working too long at a lot of jobs, but I can’t imagine that I will regret spending more time with him. But then there is the question of my sanity, as Tova pointed out to me a couple weeks ago. My grasp on reality is on a bit of a slippery slope currently, and although I’m not positive – I believe an extracurricular activity might help provide some grip.

The longest amount of time I have been away from Holden was his first night when I was in a hospital bed and he was down the hall in the NICU. He is nine months old – so I’m pretty sure that can change. And I have help. I am almost sure my mother would take him until next Christmas if given the opportunity.

Giving birth is a big whirlwind, particularly when you have a c-section. I just sort-of gave birth and ended up in my room. Holden was tucked under my arm and David and Mercedes went out for pizza. I didn’t really notice the train of nurses and doctors coming by. I felt nervous to be alone with the baby, but a nurse showed me how to feed him lying down and we just lay there cozy as the sun went down.

During the night (David was back at this point of course) a doctor came to my bed and told me that he had to take the baby because he seemed to have fluid in his lungs, and although Holden looked great, he had very little oxygen in his system. So, I politely told the doctor, no – he couldn’t take the baby from me. We could think about it some more and talk later. And the doctor said, Umm – the baby will have to go to the NICU And I said, Ummm. No. He is better off with me. And the doctor said, You don’t have a choice. And then I cried and the doctor told me not to cry and got me some kleenex and then took Holden out from the crook of my arm. He told me that the nurse would be in early the next morning at 6a to take out my catheter and help me walk to the NICU.

The nurse was 2 hours late. 2 hours.

Catheter came out at 8a, I popped out of bed (not really) and she led me a few steps towards the door. Then she turned to me and said, “Great! that is all you can do for now – let’s get you back to bed.”  Bahhhh! Holden was 10 feet down the hall – he might as well have been on the other side of the world.

When you have a baby there is certain knowingness about looking at them You just feel compelled to stare at your baby. Somehow that looking is a way of getting to know them, fixing them in your mind – how did they manage to arrange themselves, fully formed, inside you? Not seeing your baby right after birth is really disturbing. Even seeing them wrapped up in blankets is a bit crummy. You have a compulsion to examine them.

And I think I still feel that way. Luckily, I get to do that all day.

Practice Notes:

Last week I had the Laghu vajrasana walking down the stairs thing where you have to turn around and go down backwards clutching on to your burning thighs as you think to yourself, “Why the fuck do I do this?” At the end of this week, David gave me Kapo. I feel good, elated high from the backbending – which means next week it will kick my bum. Ok. closer to my made-up goal of Yogi nidrasana by June 16th. Really, having those goals is pointless because beyond Yogi nidrasana is endless misery. I should really make my goal getting a good well paying job so I can help support my family. Sadly, that doesn’t seem as appealing. Again the sanity thing.

Next post: Cab drivers in Ottawa as told to me by David.

C-sections and Ashtanga:

C-sections are so common, I’ve talked to a gajillion women who have similar birth stories. I mean, my dog had two c-sections. I think in my case, once the birth started getting medicalized – I was strapped up to a bunch of machines, I was given a medication to speed up my labour and an epidural – I think a c-section was kind of inevitable. At a certain point I just couldn’t move to change the baby’s position or help move things along. I’m not sure if it is because no one knows how to use forceps anymore or doctors just prefer to intervene just in case, but I know more people who have had c-sections than natural births at home.

Now, four months later, I think anything is possible post c-section. There are just a few considerations. And I think everything moves a little more slowly because of the surgery. So far, I think it is all about learning how to collect your bandhas and reintroduce your abdominal muscles to each other. For the first two months, maybe because I went through labour, my pelvic floor was numb. For the first few weeks, I would only know I needed to pee because my belly would start to cramp. Lifting my perineum wasn’t really an option – I couldn’t feel it to lift it. I would see myself in the mirror holding the baby with my stomach sticking out and my lower back severely arched. David said that was why they call it householder yoga. You need to pull in your bandhas to carry around a baby.

I do think the biggest revelation has been how brave birth and a c-section can make you. Every time, I feel like wimping out a bit in my practice – I tell myself, “Hey! They sliced your tummy open and pulled a baby out. The epidural was wearing off when they sewed you back up. If you land on your face coming out of supta kurmasana is that going to hurt more? No way, toughie!”

So, having a c-section has made me even more stubborn than I already am.

Broken Toes and Ashtanga Yoga

I broke my pinky toe on Thursday rushing around. I heard the crack when my toe hit the corner of the wall and I just kinda knew it wasn’t the usual stub. I swore a lot and it felt pretty gross. On Friday the toe got a purple band around it with a slightly bluish hue down the side of my foot. And apparently, you do need your pinky toe to practice primary series. Lame. So, I am gently easing myself into and out of poses. Janu B and C on the left side are sort of out.  The good news is, my hamstrings feel better.

David broke his toe In Mysore several years ago when someone was sitting on his mat as he came out of Karandavasana. It was sort of the same thing – an evil-sounding crack followed by a sinking feeling and a purple band the next day. His cleared up in a week or so and I’m hoping mine will do the same.

And yes, I did tell myself, “Breaking your toe is nothing! You gave birth! Buck up, toughie and get on your mat!”

On Hallowe’en we are celebrating AYCT’s second birthday with our annual Ashtanga Olympics. The Ashtanga Olympics is totally the highlight of my year. Maureen, David and I made it up as a joke because ashtangis have a propensity towards competitive behaviour. We thought most people wouldn’t want to participate. But then, as the event was coming up, people started asking us about the events and trying to figure out ways to prepare. I had students demanding we tailor the contests to their strengths – long headstands, backbending etc. Last year I watched 10 adults pile themselves on top of each other in child’s pose for a free class, while I sat – newly pregnant – working my way through a mountain of cashew cookies. It was glorious. This year, I’m totally throwing myself on top of people. And I will also eat a mountain of cookies.

Oh! and we are setting up a photo booth for students to get asana shots taken and all the money will be donated to Farm Sanctuary to keep Sprinkles and Samuel in bling. Tim Bermingham is taking the pictures, his work is fantastic and I always feel relaxed and comfortable working with him. He took my pregnancy asana shots that I have so far been too overwhelmed with baby stuff to work with.

So, basically, unless you live outside the GTA, you have to come. If you don’t, we will all just assume you hate animals and Sprinkles won’t be able to get this necklace that he was dreaming of.

He really needs one!

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!