Acculand visions and Hope Hathaway

I have just returned from my second appointment with the amazing Hope Hathaway. This woman is special. I just realized that her name = Hope has a way!

I started going to Hope last week. I drew this picture of her and her huge sweet cat, Zen, afterward. She does acupuncture from her third-floor walk-up apartment that is located–incredibly–only a ten-minute walk away from me. And she offers a steeply sliding scale. A friend I trust recommended her. I have connected with a lot of teachers during the past year. It’s difficult to put into words how grateful I am for what they have shown me and how they have helped heal me. Maria (yoga instructor), Fiona (therapist), and many others. And now Hope. I have never met anyone remotely like her.

This evening I started by telling Hope about how lethargic and sad I have been, particularly yesterday. I told her about the dream I woke up from yesterday that colored the rest of my day: I dreamt I was holding an infant daughter who had thick dark hair, and I was thrilled. When I woke up, I felt the sharp contrast between what had been in my dream and what is my reality. “It feels cruel,” I said to Hope. “Like the dream was showing me how happy I would be if one of my four pregnancies had gone to term. Like it was showing me the extent of my loss, really rubbing it in.”

Hope smiled and laughed. She laughs a lot. She smiles a lot. Her eyes are white-sky-blue and ethereal. Her skin is coffee mixed with a lot of cream. She has freckles. Her curls spill out of a high ponytail. She wears white flowey things and is easy to hug. She talks in a really down-to-earth way that makes you think she’d be fun to get a cocktail with.

“Well, I don’t want to take anything away from how you experienced that dream,” she said, smiling, “but I have to tell you that I see it totally differently. I don’t get why you’d be sad waking up from that. That’s you with that baby. It’s not like you have some twin in your dream–that’s you! You’re already there. You’re a mother. So many women who come to me with infertility stuff can’t even imagine themselves with a baby–they can’t even begin to see it. But you see it and feel it and everything. I know I’m an eternal optimist–maybe it’s my name,” she said laughing. “But that dream says to me how close you are. It’s just a matter of time.”

Ah. Hope has a way. She–it–really does.

“Why not believe that to be true?” she said.

I decided to tell her why. I brought out my skepticism, my cynicism, and my tears. I told her that I’ve been having these dreams for a long time, and they haven’t been a good omen yet. I have them just before I get pregnant and while I’m pregnant and after each loss. I told her about how I feel like my body and mind are tricksters. They trick me into thinking I am going to be a mother, only to yank it all away from me, again and again. I said that my body really wants to have sex during “fertile” times, I produce lots of cervical fluid, and feel the strength of my ovulation–it all seems so powerful and healthy. And when I get pregnant, I get sore breasts and nausea, my appetite increases, and a host of other changes that tell me “This is it!” And then the symptoms begin to dwindle…that beginning of something begins to end…

“Hmm,” said Hope. “Okay.” She didn’t seem convinced by my speech about my cruel trickster body.

“It sounds like a lot of mind stuff is going on,” she said (how I loved hearing all that chatter reduced to “mind stuff”!). “And your body has been through a lot of hormonal changes. And you’ve lost so much blood. There’s a lot going on here.” She talked about how those four pregnancies weren’t meant to be, chromosomally, but that doesn’t mean I can’t get to a place at which a baby will come into the world through me. “We want to work on all that old stuff that’s blocked up inside you, so that the baby is like, ‘Hey,’ ” she said, grinning, dancing a little in her chair, imitating my future baby, ” ‘Hey, hey, what’s going on? This looks good, I wanna be out there in this!’ ”

I threw back my head and laughed. “Okay,” I said.

“Why not think like that, right?”


Once I was on the table in the back room of her apartment, the white curtains billowing in, needles in my feet, legs, arms, abdomen, and chest, I fell away almost immediately into Acculand. Rachel, an acupuncturist I went to at a community acupuncture establishment this past year, called the place some people go to have visions during treatment “Acculand,” and the name has stuck with me.

Visualization has always been accessible to me. I had vivid visions during shamanic journeying workshops in college, and Acculand reminds me of that. Also, I have always had vivid dreams, and have been recording them in detail since 1996. Still, the immediacy with which I fell away to Acculand, tonight,  surprised me.

Suddenly, the table I was lying on was resting in the middle of a swiftly moving river. I could see the white gauzy sheet I was wrapped in. I could see my bare feet. On either side of me, riverbanks filled with deciduous trees. Afternoon. Smooth gray rocks in the river. The table submerged halfway up its legs. I saw an eagle swoop by in the sky above me, its wings outspread. He landed on a tree branch and looked down at me. Intense gaze. When he flew away, a beam of buttery yellow sunlight took his place. The sunlight streamed down from the sky and directly into my upturned left hand. Warmth and light filled the cup of my left hand. It felt so good! The river-water began to rise. It rose until it reached the top of the table. The water was warm and soothing. It did not cover my body. I was sort of resting on top of the water, on top of the table.

I then saw what must have been a giant egg. But it actually looked sort of like a huge testicle. If you held up a huge disembodied testicle to a lightbulb–that’s what it looked like. Small branching veins all over it, bright red blood pumping through the veins. The egg/testicle glowed as if lit from within. And then there it was: A little fetus, right there in the middle of the testicle/egg. Happily bobbing in the center of things.

I then looked down at my torso and saw that it was flayed open. But instead of organs and entrails I saw tiny sea creatures, tiny land animals, tiny trees and moss-covered rocks and ferns. I was made up of little animals and plants. I was, I realized, one with the natural world. I looked like a Frida Kahlo painting. Like a surgery scene in a fairy tale.  

In Hope’s kitchen, at her round kitchen table, I told her about the vision. She freaked out. “I was working on your kidneys,” she said, “and water–I was working on your spleen–and blood.” She listed all of the things in the vision that corresponded with the treatment. We talked about the obvious fertility-related imagery in the dream. We talked about how good it had all felt. She said I should write the vision down. I said not to worry–I write down everything.

“You don’t need me to tell you what we’re working on,” Hope said. “You know it intuitively.”

I pet huge Zen before leaving, and I commented on the healthy plant in the hallway. “It’s called mother-in-law’s tongue,” said Hope. “It grows like crazy when you put it in a big pot.”

We have one of those here at our apartment. Maybe I should put it in a bigger pot before we go to visit my future mother-in-law and ask for her help, advice, and financial assistance on the next step in this unexpected trip we are all on.

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