A Bun in the Oven

mood: expectant | drinking: nothing with caffeine or alcohol in it

bean_web

So I’ve been hiding a big secret from a whole lot of people for about 13 weeks now.

Yep. I’m knocked up. In the family way. I’m in the pudding club. Got a bun in the oven.

Said bun is currently named “Bean.” And no, we don’t yet know if Bean has a frank. And yes, we will be finding that out at some point in the next 6 weeks or so.

We’ve been told that Bean will greet the world on or around September 1st. I already have two people with their money on August. Either way, we’ve got a Virgo baby. I’ve been told this is a good thing. I’m not extremely well educated about my horoscope, so I’ll just cross my fingers.

I don’t have a big bump yet, just a small one, and so sometimes it’s hard to believe that this is all real. That’s what this is for:
bean_13weeks_2

See? Proof of life.

Boy and I are pretty excited about the whole thing. After the miscarriage last October, we kind of put any ideas of having a baby away on a shelf. We decided to put the brakes on the whole trying to get pregnant thing and do some soul-searching about what we really wanted.

I guess we didn’t apply the brakes very hard, because that’s about the time that Bean joined us.

I know that in about 6 months our lives will change in ways we can’t even imagine. So I’m not trying to imagine it. I’m just eating my saltines and apricots (yes, Bean loves the stone fruits) and taking each day as it comes. So far, so good.

Then we’ll see how tomorrow goes.

I’ve been writing a lot about the whole thing privately, and I may post a bit of that here soon. But don’t worry, I don’t believe the world needs another mommy blog.

I’m still me, after all. Just slightly, um, enhanced…

-Lo, who is officially up the duff.

About What Was Lost

mood: transparent | drinking: liquids

test

Positive

I take the test on Thursday night.

I already know what the answer will be
but I need more than intuition
and swollen ankles
to prove it.

I place the stick on the sink,
peel off my clothes.
The purple plus sign begins to form
before I can unbutton my jeans.

I avert my eyes and turn on the water.

I stay in the shower much longer than necessary
draw the razor up to my knee
shampoo my hair a second time.
The katoush of my heart is louder than plumbing.

I want to be delighted. I want to be ecstatic.
I want to be something other than terrified.

***

I watch him as I walk down the stairs—
he only has a few seconds of ignorance left.
It seems cruel not to warn him.

But I carry no words,
only a positive plus
on a plastic wand,
which I deliver with unsteady hands.

The seconds it takes him to get it
stretch on for a hundred years.
But then
he grins.

We walk in the dark with the dog to the store
and buy two more tests.

At midnight, we lay three purple plus signs
in a row on the table and stare
until one of us starts to giggle,
and then the other.

We are giddy. We are hysterical.
We can’t go to sleep.

***

The next Tuesday, I begin to bleed.

It takes three days of doctors
to confirm what I already know,

and more than a week
for my body to expel
the tiny ruby bits
of a person I had barely begun to believe in.

When I am finally empty,
we grieve in separate rooms.

*****

The statistics say that 20 percent of known pregnancies end in miscarriage in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy, and that more than 80 percent of these losses happen before 12 weeks.

I am a statistic now.

On Thursday, October 22nd, Boy and I found out we were pregnant. Our best guess put us at about 5-6 weeks along. On Tuesday, October 27, the day we got the keys to our new house, I began to miscarry. It took 8 days.

Just two weeks before that, one of my very best friends suffered a miscarriage when she was nearly 7 weeks pregnant. When it happened to her, I didn’t even know that I was pregnant, and of course had no inkling that I would undergo the same loss myself just days later.

I didn’t know how common miscarriage is, until it happened to me. For some reason, we tend to suffer the loss silently, perhaps out of some sense of shame that it was somehow our fault, or just the need to curl into ourselves during a confusing, frightening and painful time.

But what I have found as I have slowly begun to speak about what I lost, is that so many women around me have gone through the same loss. One woman told me she had seven miscarriages in the space of two years before ultimately carrying her baby to term. My own mother had two miscarriages before I was born.

As lonely as it feels when you’re in the middle of it, there are thousand and hundreds of thousands of women who bleed like you. Who know exactly how you feel. I wish their voices were louder.

I usually keep the most personal aspects of my life off the internet, but in this I do not want to stay silent.

It has taken me some time to process what has happened–I had barely begun to even believe I was pregnant at all. I know I’m not finished dealing with the repercussions of this loss. Neither is Boy. And we will deal with it together, privately.

But in the meantime I want to put this poem out there, so that somewhere, someone knows she is not the only one.

-Lo, breaking the silence.

Finally Awake

apresunreve_alice
Mood: Catatonic
Drinking: Water

You’ll be happy to know that you can now (or later) gather ’round the computer after consuming large quantities of holiday bird and sink into a peaceful, even catatonic state while you watch the newest cinépoem.

It’s better than football.

Unless, you know, you’re one of those freaks who actually likes watching football. But if you are, chances are you’re not reading this website. If you love football and read this website, well, you must be ambidextrous, too, you crazy fool.

Back to the point of the post: new cinépoetry.

Après un Rêve (After a Dream) is the 18th cinépoem to arrive on our scene. It was inspired by a couple of things… the poem itself was written shortly after I found out my sister was pregnant. The title is borrowed from a musical piece of the same name by composer Gabriel Fauré.

The Fauré piece is also the musical score for this cinépoem, and adds a great deal of melancholy ambience, helping to create the dreamlike state we were shooting for.

The look and feel cinépoem itself was inspired by a recent trip to Ireland. Boy and I decided to shoot a photographic cinépoem abroad, as we’ve done before in Paris and in Venice. This time, instead of letting the cinépoem loose throughout an entire city, we stayed within the lush green confines of St. Stephen’s Green, in Dublin’s fair city (where girls are so pretty).

We shot the series within an hour’s time, early one fine Friday morning. I’m sure the Dubliners thought we were very strange tourists, but they were polite enough not to mention it.

I’ve only recently discovered the other words to Après un Rêve (the musical version). Here is the translation based on a French text written by Romaine Bussine (1830-1899), which is apparently based on an Italian poem by an unknown Tuscan artist:

In a slumber which held your image spellbound
I dreamt of happiness, passionate mirage,
Your eyes were softer, your voice pure and sonorous,
You shone like a sky lit up by the dawn;

You called me and I left the earth

To run away with you towards the light,
The skies opened their clouds for us,
Unknown splendours, divine flashes glimpsed,

Alas! Alas! sad awakening from dreams
I call you, O night, give me back your lies,

Return, return radiant,
Return, O mysterious night.

They’re all beautiful, I think. The cinepoem, the music, the anonymous Italian. I love them all.

Go visit the waking dream here. Non-mac people can check out the YouTube version here.

-Lo, who dreamt last night of spaceships and sparrows.

The Peanut Proclamation

jobelly2Mood: Chipper
Drinking: Diet Dr. Pepper

I’m going to be an aunt soon.

My sister is gorgeously, beautifully pregnant with an ever-growing bump that we’ve been calling “Peanut”.

He’s a first for the Witmer clan. First grandchild for my parents, first baby for my sister, and the first time I’ve ever been so close to a pregnancy.

Friends have popped out wee progenies here and there over the years, and I’ve been there at baby showers and first birthdays. But I’ve never been so involved before.

Last weekend I attended a birthing class with my sister, and was quickly overwhelmed by just how much I do not know about this whole process.

You’d think, being in possession of a womb myself, that I would be a little better informed. But I’m also a member of the Unused Uterus Club at work (where myself and my fellow Unused Uterians are surrounded by women who’ve already gone where we few, thus far, fear to tread.)

I think my mother was afraid I’d be either terrified or grossed out by the class (and the incredibly crisp, unedited videos) and make my Unused Uterus Club Membership permanent.

But just the opposite happened. My dad attributes my stoic stomach to growing up on a farm and watching hundreds of newborn creatures — puppies, kittens, lambs, goats, etc. — make their somewhat slimy but no less miraculous way into the world. I’m sure that’s part of it.

But the avalanche of new information was ultimately what won me over… learning about the four stages of labor and the way the body readies itself for what is to come. I had no idea, and now I’m utterly fascinated.

I’ve always thought of pregnancy as nine months of waiting for the torture of childbirth. Yes, a miraculous new life is growing inside of you, but at some point it’s going to need to come out, and the coming out part is going to hurt.

But the pain is just part of the process, I think. And I know I’m saying this from a safe and painless vantage point — unused uterus and all. But after the birthing class and talking to my sister and thinking about the millions of women who’ve already been there, well. I think the actual act of parenting is much more daunting than the few hours of birthing.

I’ll get the inside story in a few months from my sister herself, as she crosses over to a place I’ve never been.

All our lives, I’ve gone first. First to drive, to date, to drink. First to get a bicycle, and then a horse. First to break curfew, first to leave home. And now, finally, she gets to take the lead.

I know she’ll be amazing.

And I? I’ll be an aunt!

-Lo, who has big plans for Peanut’s punk rock t-shirt collection.