Writing and editing

I’m still here.

Practice this week was short, sweet and mostly at home. I did standing, baddha konasana, my baby-prep squats, and then backbends. It is sort of strange for me to launch right into dropbacks, because I don’t have a particularly flexible back. But for some reason, cutting out primary series really leaves me with a ton of energy to do backbends. I’ve been enjoying that part of my practice immensely.

After spending the entire day weeping and staring at clouds in a melancholy manner yesterday, I decided I needed to change things up a bit and I went into the studio. I miss practicing there and seeing my friends. it was so lovely to be in all that great energy again, plus I got an assist in utthita hasta padangusthasana and backbends. It was great.

On the baby front, I have been getting ultrasounds every second day. The biggest drag is that I can’t book an appointment, so I have to wait hours to get a walk-in appointment. I have been to three appointments and so far the receptionist has been polite enough to pretend like I have never been there before. The Russian ultrasound technician, however, hasn’t. “What? You are still pregnant?” she said to me on appointment # 2. “You must speak to this baby.” What is it about a Russian accent that makes you feel like even the most outrageous request is somehow an absolute requirement? “Ok,” I muttered. Me and everyone I know is talking to the baby constantly asking it to come out. I held the phone up to my belly the other day so Monica could have some serious words with it. But that night, I thought to myself, maybe the baby hasn’t come because I haven’t spoken with it yet?

On appointment # 3, I had a different ultrasound technician. She took 30 minutes to take pictures, which is an unusually long time. At one point she told me she had to get somebody – and I got really frightened. Ultrasound technicians are notoriously cagey. There are signs up at eye level all over their offices that say they cannot discuss any findings. As I’m lying there, covered with blue gel and beginning to tear up – I start thinking about the phone tree that will take place before I hear the news: from the technician to the receptionist, from the receptionist to my midwife, from the midwife to me.

And in walks the Russian ultrasound technician. She takes the measurements in her usual brusk manner and then looks at me.

R. U. T.: Your baby is perfect. Just lazy. You can go.

I’m almost tempted to ask her if it is really mine, seeing as I am quite imperfect, and not at all lazy. But I stop myself,and instead spend the next five minutes wiping sticky blue gel off my clothes.

I found a picture of the baby and I the day we left Mysore. I thought I was soooo huge.

Sigh, I didn’t know how good I had it.

Here is a picture of me taken yesterday:

This one was taken the day before yesterday:

From my pictures, you might assume that I am always in the kitchen. That would be an accurate observation. You might also notice that the belly isn’t really round anymore, it is sort of lumpy and baby-shaped which is strange. In the first picture from Mysore, I had been eating gobi manchurian almost everyday. Sadly, I don’t anymore and the baby has used up all my gobi credit. Yesterday, I noticed that I can see my ribs before they disappear under the belly.

I finished reading The Anthologist by Nicholson Baker today. I loved The Fermata, but this one was much sweeter. I am an English Lit major, which means nothing, but I did spend a year of my life tapping out meter on worn out school desks. Even though every moment of that poetics class was like dragging my nose against the sidewalk,  with all that tapping I unwittingly became such a big snob about unmetered poetry, but an even worse snob about badly metered poetry – in particular iambic pentameter. What a life skill, I know – thanks McGill. But this book was all about iambic pentameter, and I felt my snobbery was somehow justified. Here is a little tidbit about sitcoms:

At some point you have to set aside snobbery and what you think is culture and recognize that any random episode of Friends is probably better, more uplifting for the human spirit, than ninety-nine percent of the poetry or drama or fiction or history ever published. Think of that. Of course yes, Tolstoy and of course yes Keats and blah blah and yes indeed of course yes. But we’re living in an age that has a tremendous richness of invention. And some of the most inventive people get no recognition at all. They get tons of money but no recognition as artists. Which is probably much healthier for them and better for their art.”

I wish I wrote that. It did make me feel sort of happy about my desire to write cheesy screenplays and articles about facials.

Critter Corner:

Baby Raccoons in our backyard! Big dum-dums!

David and I made a little video on Monday of my pregnant dropbacks.  My second one is a bit jumpy but I’m too lazy and pregnant to get it perfect – so you are stuck with the honest (OK sloppy!) version of how I dropback everyday. The real reason to watch this is for the belly.

YouTube Preview Image

My belly dropped this week. I can see it started happening on Monday because my shirt is riding up in that video. I’ve been trying to coax baby out by walking around the garden and bragging about all the flowers, shaking rattles by my belly, and raving about how soft and nice the baby’s bed is. So far, I’ve just had some new cramping feelings – but the baby hasn’t come out while I am sleeping or anything.

Mary, the midwife, told the baby on Thursday that it was time to come out. She told me that I should start eating lots of Indian food, have lots of sex, and lie horizontally to reduce the swelling in my feet when I watch television. David says I have the best life ever. But then, it seems to work out for him pretty well too.

Actually, David is the best husband ever. When I came home today there was a package waiting for me from David that he bought all stealth-like online.

So great! I’m not opening it until the baby comes and I have to lie in bed for 2 weeks. David says we can glean good child rearing tips from the show. I hope there are lots of extras on Daddy, the world’s best pitbull.

It was the perfect spring rain today. The kind you purposefully go for a walk in. The city had that slightly sooty smell when water hits concrete, but my backyard smells like fresh dirt.

May 5th was Dolly’s birthday. I thought I might scatter her ashes in the backyard on her birthday, but now I don’t really want to. I think I will carry her with me a little longer.

On Monday,  I went to Eynat’s house to take photos of my big belly. Eynat has a big belly of her own. Her baby girl is due a week before Mystery Baby. Eynat is lovely and so talented and relaxed. I had lots of fun rolling around on her floor for a few hours.

Photos: Eynat Don Photography

Practice is going pretty well, considering I just have 4 weeks to go. Since dropping my feeble attempts at Supta Kurmasana in favour making a diamond with my legs, hands reaching slightly towards my bum, and a positively Quasimodo-shaped back, I haven’t had to let anything else go. There have been some changes though: I noticed in led primary that during the week I am holding Halasana and Karna Pidasana for about about half the usual count to avoid being crushed by the enormous weight of my belly. Uth pluthi is the fastest 10 breaths in history and there are some face-wiping/shirt-fixing escape tactics cropping up in between Navasanas.

On the plus side, I am still doing my dropbacks with less dancing around my mat than last month. The first time I come up from standing, I am so winded, I behave like I just ran a marathon and pant with my head between my knees for a few minutes but I can still do the three on kinda the correct vinyasa. I love backbends right now.

We saw the midwife today at the clinic. There was a crazy/grumpy pregnant lady waiting with us. Sometimes crazy/grumpy people make me feel nervous, and sometimes their grumpyness makes me feel extremely sunny, which is maybe a little mean. Today, I felt really sunny and happy in the presence of big crustiness. The baby’s head is in a great position, the heartbeat was good, and Mary the midwife said “Nice, Really REALLY nice.” about 15 times. Then she told me she has no worries about me or the baby.

Maybe the dour pregnant lady in the waiting room was doing all the worrying for us.

If you have a problem that is keeping you up at night, just visualize the crabby pregnant woman in the waiting room huffing, puffing and pulling pieces of paper out of her wallet in fustrated attempt to organize.

Let the  unbalanced pregnant person take the weight of  your problems. She already has loads – what’s a few more?

And don’t feel bad – we’ve been doing it for centuries!

My dropbacks are pretty wonky things at the moment. Sometimes by number two or three, they straighten out a little and I’m not dancing all over the place. Currently, I am blaming this on my overly squishy black Manduka. Ahem. It is my mat! I swear.

Before I was pregnant, I watched this video of an ashtangini who filmed herself dropping back 4 days before her water broke. She is my inspiration. She is also so adorable!

YouTube Preview Image

If you go to the youtube site, you can read all the amazing comments from people who think she is trying to kill her baby. She answers them with a surprising amount of equanimity considering the vitriol thrown at her.

There is this funny idea that the baby is this dumb thing floating around in your body. If you move one way, the baby will just float over in that direction. If you stretch, the baby will get a leg caught or it will squish a finger or two.

Before I was pregnant, I would push myself to the point of exhaustion, forget to eat, injure myself straining too hard or with too much ego in practice. Now, when I am tired: baby makes me collapse on the bed. When I want to eat something: baby tells me whether it is OK to eat it and how much of it I can eat. When I am pushing in yoga: baby tells me right away to back off, or to sometimes to keep going. I can’t eat, play, sleep, or do yoga without this kid’s permission. I swear to god, in utero babies are way smarter than we give them credit for.

Here is another fun pregnant lady video. Again, the comments on the youtube site are beyond offensive. But I do love her obvious glee. She and baby make a good pair.

YouTube Preview Image

Pregnant Superhero Power!

(The tagline reads, “Lead with the belly, follow with the sword.” For me – as my brother-in-law pointed out – I think I can change that tagline to “Lead with the belly, follow ten minutes later with the rest of your body.”)

When I came up from my third urdhva dhanurasana, I paused. I usually do so I can catch my breath before going back again. I was dead centre in the room. An arms length behind me, a picture of Krishnamacharya and in front of me, a huge picture of Pattabhi Jois.

I had landed today in a spot I had been dreading for sometime now. The backrow marble spot. off the carpet and sort of psychologically out of the room. When we walked in this morning Sharath and Saraswathi were talking in the office. Shrutti, Sharath’s wife, has been learning the assisting ropes and she was looking after the room. Usually, when you walk in and there is a spot, any spot available, you get harangued by the mother/son team “You come! No fear! Come! One more! Go now!” until you are tripping over yourself to squeeze in to whatever spot has come up.

Shrutti looked at me, and said:”There is one spot in the back. Would you like it?” She pointed to the marble.

I paused.

“Maybe you want to wait for a spot on the carpet?”

Oh! Goddess Shrutti of Yoga Spots! I love her! Choosing your own spot – unheard of! Beautiful.

I waited for a few moments. But then I remembered: the rule of KPJAYI is if you pass on a spot you think is bad, you will inevitably end up with a much worse spot. So, I lumbered over to the marble. But the Goddess Shrutti abided, and it was a total Yummy Mummy spot.

And after finishing primary and my three backbends I came up to standing. I paused and took a large inhale. And then I stared at the picture of Pattabhi in front of me. It is decorated with a garland of flowers and is placed on his chair. I think Sharath took the picture, and I think it is this one – but I’m not sure.

The background has been photoshopped black, and there is a celestial quality to it. Those eyes. Those teeth. I stared and stared and stared. I’m not sure how long I was there. Slackjawed.

“Sten!”

I register something.

“Sten!” Sharath is looking at me shaking his head.

Am I getting a pose? Am I not supposed to do dropbacks anymore? Where am I?

“You finished?”

Oh, crap I’m standing here like an idiot staring into space. “Uhh. No, I have to do my three.” I say this as I travel back down.

“Hmmm.”

At AYCT, we look out on a cookie shop in a little elf-sized building that is nestled in the back alley. In wintertime, if you look out while it is snowing, you might think we live in gingerbread land.

Cookie shop / Large portrait of the guru: equally transfixing, for different reasons, but transfixing nonetheless.

Somehow, I think sweet-toothed Guruji would understand.