I found the heartbeat/ Cultivating patience/ Beingbliss

Thank you for the doppler recs, people—I rented from babybeat, it arrived this afternoon, and about three minutes after I ripped open the package, I was supine, wand gelled, and I found the heartbeat. At first, I found a whooshing sound that I thought was my baby, but when I counted the number of beats that passed in 15 seconds and multiplied that number by 4, I got a very low number and knew it was my own heartbeat. But then I heard a different kind of sound altogether. A horse-gallop sound, with a little bit of a pop, going much faster than the first beat I found. “Oh!” I cried. “That’s you!” I didn’t blink. I smiled in wonderment. I whispered, “There you are, there’s my baby,” and just listened for a long time. It’s hard to describe the feelings I had. I’ve heard the heartbeat plenty of times now in doctor’s offices, but there is something very special about hearing it in the privacy of my bedroom, with the sun filtering through the blinds. It was just me and my baby, and I could listen for as long as I wanted to. I could express whatever I wanted to, without self-consciousness. No one was listening or watching or measuring or analyzing. The sound was all about me and baby.

As I drove into town to pick up a healthy lunch of beets, kale, and tofu cutlet spread with humus from the local hippie shop, I said out loud to myself: “Look at your life. Really look at it.” The town is quaint and smells of ocean water. The food is pure health. And I have a baby inside me that I can listen to whenever I want. It’s an embarrassment of riches, as the saying goes.

I am a mostly sweet person, I think, but I tend to get cranky, now and again—in general, but especially during pregnancy, I’ve found. My patience is short. Last night, I had what I’m beginning to always call a “hormonal uptick”, which puts me in a state in which I can’t eat much, I drop absolutely everything I try to pick up, and have zero coordination, even for something as simple as doing the dishes. I feel uncomfortable. My temper flares. I feel emotionally overwhelmed. Often these upticks will result in me finally bursting into tears—even if only for thirty seconds. And then it is over! Or mostly over. I have to take some time to be alone afterward. Breathe. Do some yoga stretches. And then I feel so much better and am sweet again.

But I think being able to check in with baby, spend some quiet meditative moments alone with him/her and the heartbeat, will be a wonderful reminder to be mindful of everything that is going well in my life. And to try extra-hard to cultivate patience—with both myself and others.

Others includes our neighbors, who live on the first floor of this house. I’ll call them the Gessatis.

It’s not their fault that I am still renting at age 40, that I live on the top floor of a house instead of owning my own quiet space, and I am constantly reminding myself of that. Because I’m sure that’s where the deeper, truer, frustration lies.

They are a loud Italian family, with a bazillion cars. They have always been very nice to us, and that’s most important, but they truly get on my nerves. When we keep the fans and air cleaners on, we can’t hear them so much, but sometimes I don’t want to have a lot of fans on. I also don’t want to have a conversation every time I walk out the door or go to do the laundry downstairs. I have had to be rude in order to get the message across to the guy, especially, I’ll call him Gus: I don’t want to talk all the time. 

The other thing I don’t want to do is answer questions about our business all the time. When I came back from the u/s appointment confirming our last loss, for example, there was Gus, asking this and that, and DH said, “No, we were just at the doctor’s,” and Gus said, “Doctah’s? What, are ya pregnant?” And I nearly murdered him. I said nothing, and DH just quietly said no, and we went inside.

Gus used to be a lot pushier and nosier, but I have grown cool, because it is the only way to get him to back off. I hate that I have to have a strategy of coolness every time I go outside. Really hate it.

The other thing that is very difficult is Gus’s wife’s smoking. I’ll call her Marge. We have had to tell her for  manymanymany months that she can’t smoke near the windows of the house, because it goes straight into our home. Finally, she is beginning to regularly smoke a good distance away from the windows, so none gets in, but I always feel a little on guard, a little ready to catch a whiff. It’s gotten to the point where when I see her smoking, even if it is a good distance away from the house, I get irritated, and I have to remind myself that at this point, it’s just a conditioned response that I’m having.

We have a big back yard, which they more or less are in all the time, and this makes it hard to spend time back there with any privacy. So I decided that instead of belly-aching about not being able to use the back yard I should do something about it. I purchased a 10 x 10 screen house and a cute little cafe table with two chairs, and set it up today as far back in the yard as possible. I’m hoping that when Gus sees me in it, he will not take it as an opportunity to come out and talk to me.

I mention this because I am so obviously already in nesting mode—I am cleaning a lot, rearranged the bedroom furniture and installed a small window AC unit in there, that sort of thing—and I am strongly wanting our own home. I am strongly wanting to move back to the Midwest, near my family. But these things will not be happening anytime soon. So I’ve got to check in with what is bountiful right now, and it is quite a lot. I can go to the ocean anytime I want, for example. I don’t have to work! That’s huge. I have an OB practice and hospital I feel very comfortable with. And, most important of all, I have my baby, and the music of a heartbeat. All that other stuff can wait.

Also, I have the most amazing few months coming up, full of travel and seeing tons of friends and family. I found out recently that, incredibly, my friend Shane is going to be in NYC (from LA) in September! I’d thought I wouldn’t get to see her at all during my pregnancy. Ohio is the first trip, two weeks long, gender-reveal party and family visits galore. Then Wyoming to see friends. Then DH’s brother, sister-in-law, and little niece will come to visit. Then an old friend and his family will meet up with us in Montauk. Then a wedding in Cape Cop, which we’ll turn into a weekend getaway. Then a week in Flordia to see DH’s parents, a few days of which we’ll spend alone in a beach bungalow. Then Shane visit in NYC. And October will be the baby shower in Ohio. Embarrassment of riches indeed!

Now’s the time for gratitude and happiness…

It’s not so easy, after three years of RPL. I find that even when absolutely nothing is wrong, my poor brain will start to secretly seek for a problem, or for something to fix. I’m not sure if I remember how to totally relax, or how to be happy in a carefree way. Maybe that’s just adulthood. But I think RPL has intensified that tendency some. I’ll sometimes find myself walking down the aisles of the drugstore with a pinched feeling in my face, and if I happen to see my expression in a mirror, I’ll see that I look troubled. When there is nothing to be troubled about.

In those moments, I smile. It’s a Buddhist teaching. Smile for no reason. It’s a way of reminding yourself of the bliss that being is—or can be, if you let it.

I just realized that someday I’m going to have the chance to teach my child that bit of wisdom. I imagine walking into my kid’s room, and he or she is just sitting there smiling. I say: “Why’re you smiling, darlin?” And the kid says: “I’m smiling for no reason.”

Yeah. That’s it. Right now I’m feeling it. That’s the flood of beingbliss.

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  1. I loved this post. I am so happy for you, you are such a beautiful soul and an even more gorgeous mommy!


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