Mairi Moon, Woman With Wings

My son, Xaq, gave me this Blog for Christmas in 2003. He wrote at the top of the opening page, "You are my favorite mommy, and I think the entire internet should know just how cool you are. So here is your very own blog, so you can spread your love like peanut butter. Not too much peanut butter, though. I like jelly better." So this is me, Mairi Moon, Woman With Wings, spreading my love like peanut butter, with lots of jelly.

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

New Year's Eve and Family Tradition

When I was a wild and crazy young woman...ok, I was never a wild and crazy young woman...but when I was a young woman, and thought about being wild and crazy, I used to go out on New Year's Eve. I would go to a party, or go out dancing with a friend, or just go out carousing in one way or another. Two New Year's Eves stand out in my New Year's Eve memory archives. The first was spent at a French restaurant called Daphne's, in London, with the only man I had ever dated, up to that point, who had any sense of style and elegance. Up until then, the men/boys I had chosen ran along the lines of scuffed shitkickers, worn jeans, flannel shirts, and scraggly hair framing a beautiful boyish face. This guy, though, was a real GQ specimen, complete with Italian shoes and a very nice, barely-there cologne. This guy blew his hair dry before this date, for God's sake. He knew about wines that came in bottles with corks--he even knew the difference between them! And, he knew how to dance. My previous boyfriends were all the type that sat and watched at weddings, looking trapped and uncomfortable, as if they feared at any moment Aunt Sophie might force them into a rhumba. Not this guy. This guy would walk over to Aunt Sophie and ask her to dance, and she would beam at him and wink over his shoulder at me and mouth the words, "this one is a keeper!"

At any rate, this guy--we'll call him Kevin, since that is, in fact, his name--was Mr. Suave and Debonair. Now, understand, as the daughter of a diplomat, I was raised to know how to dress for a nice restaurant, and what a few different wines were, and how to comport myself at table. I just hadn't found it useful to reveal all this to my previous beaux. For years, I think I feared that if I revealed my cosmopolitan background I would risk rejection from my hippie friends. When I met Kevin, he instantly recognized that part of me, and it was that part of me that attracted him.

So, here we were at Daphne's elegantly attired, eating fine food and drinking fine wine, and toasting the new year. It was great. I felt like a real grown-up. It was almost possible to forget that, a month earlier, he had picked up a girl at a party at MY house and taken her home to his bed, the scoundrel. Almost, but not quite. We went to Paris for a week after that, and it was lovely, but when we came back to the U.S. things gradually fell apart, as I was unable to forget and forgive, and he was unable to care very much whether I did or not.

But it was a GREAT New Year's Eve.

My children are crawling all over me now, so I'll have to tell about the other memorable New Year's Eve later.

So that's me, Mairi Moon, woman with wings, stopping in the middle of what I'm doing to do something else, as usual.

Monday, December 29, 2003

My Good Bad Night at the Hospital

I went to the hospital this morning to induce a lady who was 42 weeks pregnant. I started her pitocin at about 9am, and kept increasing it at the prescribed intervals until she was at the maximum dose. I spent the whole day hanging out with my student in our client's room, in the cafeteria, in our call room. We ended up establishing this odd relationship with a family who was waiting by the elevator for their family member to deliver. The first time we passed them, they stopped me and asked me if I was working with their daughter. I said I wasn't, and asked what was happening with her. They said she was having a baby, but was only 3 cm. Each time I passed them throughout the day, they would give me an update. Finally, at the end of the day, we passed them, and they said, "she had her baby!", and we all hugged.

Back on L&D, we checked our client's cervix for the second time, and found no change in dilation, but her amniotic fluid, which had been clear when her water broke around 11am, was now green-tinged with meconium. I wanted to consult with the attending OB about possible amnioinfusion, but all the docs were caught up with a 6-months-pregnant woman who had just come into shock-trauma with a gunshot wound to the chest. The attending went down to the OR to meet her, and a few minutes later she was wheeled onto the unit, her right side of her gown bloody from the tube in her right chest, and her face conscious but wide-eyed with the shock and confusion of it all.

By 9pm, our client had only progressed one cm, having started at 3cm. Her baby did not descend one millimeter during that time, and the client was still not feeling the contractions, even though they were visible on the monitor every 2-4 minutes. I felt them with my hand, and they felt weak. Her baby was bouncing along pretty happily, though, and I thought it might be good to put in an IUPC (intrauterine pressure catheter) to accurately read the pressure in her uterus, and to advance the pitocin even further until the contractions were effective. I also thought an amnioinfusion might be helpful, since now there was even thicker meconium, and the baby was having occasional decels. However, when my student midwife attempted to insert the IUPC, she could not get it past the baby's head. I figured this was due to lack of experience, so I tried. I was also unsuccessful. At this point I consulted with the on-call OB, who agreed that an IUPC was a good idea, but was about to go to the back for a procedure. So I decided to wait until he got out, and went to the lounge for a few minutes.

Meantime, he sent the chief resident into the room, unbeknownst to me, so that when I returned a few minutes later, she was sitting with my client, explaining to her that she would probably have to have a c-section! She then attempted an insertion of an IUPC herself, and was, of course, unsuccessful, because why would a doctor-in-training be able to get it in when an experienced midwife could not? Well, of course she wouldn't.

I was not happy that she talked about c-section with my client. I had spent an entire day with this woman, and had established a trusting relationship with her. The decision to go ahead with a c-section is a big deal, and I would not have made it without her input. I stopped in the hallway to discuss this with the attending, who was standing there hearing report from an intern, and while I was waiting, the anesthesiologist suddenly marched over and began talking to the OB in the middle of the intern's sentence, challenging the OB's decision to start an emergency c-section on a pre-eclamptic patient who the anesthesiologist believed should have more IV fluid before starting the procedure. The OB did not disagree, but the anesthesiologist proceeded to argue as if he was being disagreed with. He said, "she hasn't even been treated with antihypertensives yet," to which the OB replied,

"I've never heard of treating pre-eclamptics with antihypertensives--I mean, I 'm no expert, but in my experience, I've never seen that," then, turning to me, he said, "have you?"

"No, I replied," I thought the only treatment was delivery,"

at which point the anesthesiologist snapped at me, "you stay out of this. Are you a doctor?"

"No," I said,

and then the OB said, "no, but she is a midwife, and she is working with us tonight."

The intern put her arm around me and we both stepped back a couple of feet. The two docs finished their discussion and the anesthesiologist stomped off. I said to the OB, "don't worry about him, he is just cranky. My client had one decel and he popped into her room and asked, right in front of her, if she was going to need an epidural for emergency c-section."

He said, "Oh, I know, he's just like that."

I said, "thanks for sticking up for me,"

and he said, "hey, thanks for your expertise."

Then I went into my call-room and called my partner to bitch and moan, but I discovered something really great, and this is what it is: I am definitely growing as a result of my spiritual quest. Three years ago that exchange would have gone straight to my heart, and I would have been shaking and tearful and angry. By a year ago, such an exchange would have upset me for a few minutes, but I would pretty quickly have talked myself down from it, saying to myself things like, "it's not about you, it's about him. You did nothing wrong, he's just cranky, don't let it get to you," and so on. But tonight, I was actually able to step outside of the whole thing and see it from a perspective of "my, isn't this interesting. He's very upset," and it never got to me at all! I mean, it felt yucky, but the slings and arrows did not touch me. I was able to turn sideways and let them zing right past me.

After a while, I found the intern, introduced myself, and thanked her for putting her arm around me, which really felt great. She said I was welcome, and that she knew it was always good to feel you have a buddy in such a moment. And, when the anesthesiologist came into my client's room to do her epidural in preparation for her c-section, he put his hand on my shoulder and said he just didn't understand why everyone was so eager to cut this woman, and felt there were too many opinions flying around, but that he was very sorry for being rude.

It was an interesting end to the whole strange interlude in this strange day of no baby so far for my client, but an 8lb 12 oz boy for the family by the elevator, a healthy baby still inside the 18-year-old with the gunshot wound, and in a few minutes, most likely a healthy baby born by c-section for our lady. The baby's name will be Heather.

So that's me: Mairi Moon, woman with wings, flying along on my good bad night at the hospital.

Sunday, December 28, 2003

What This Blog Is For...

I thought it would be a good thing to write what this blog is for. Unfortunately (or, fortunately, depending on...something...), I don't really know what it is for. I know it is not just for keeping people up to date on what is going on my life, because I don't really want it to be about me, or about my particular life. On the other hand, I am doing the writing here, and I can only write about what I know, so I'll be writing about me and my life. The thing is, the fact that my life is the subject matter doesn't necessarily mean that that is what it is about, really. What I would like to think is that I might write things which might also carry a deeper meaning.

On the other hand (does this make three hands now?), I don't want to be co-dependent about my blog-writing. This writing is not written for its effect on the reader, but rather because I have something to say and this is my place to say it. I am working on a comment function, so that there will be a place for you to say something back!

So that's me: Mairi Moon, woman with wings, flying along in the bumpy blog lane, finding my rhythm.

Friday, December 26, 2003

How this blog got its name...

I am many things in life. Here they are, in order of importance to me: Human Being, Woman, Mother, Life-Partner, Midwife, Singer, Dancer, Writer. It was harder than I thought it would be to put that list in order. I ended up asking myself, for instance, "would I still want to be a human being, even if I wasn't a woman?" The answer was yes, so I put human first. I would still want to be a woman, even if I wasn't a mother. I would still want to be a mother, even if I wasn't a midwife. I don't know if I would have had the courage, wisdom, or even the idea to be a midwife if I hadn't become a mother, so I put mother before midwife. Also, being a mother is the most important, precious thing in my life, although I couldn't be one if I wasn't a woman and a human (unless I was some other kind of animal mother--but I think I prefer being human, though who knows...). Being my husband's partner is also very important to me, though I'd give that up before I'd give up my kids. Singer, dancer, writer were easy to put in order. I can't imagine going through life without singing. Dancing and writing are fun, but singing is like breathing to me. Which brings me to the topic of this posting: how this blog got its name: from a song, of course! I have been an adoring fan, for many years, of an a capella women's singing group called Libana, who live in Boston but tour all over the place. They made an album many years ago called "A Circle Is Cast." You should definitely go on line and buy it this instant; it will enrich your life immeasurably and give you lots of things to sing to your children! One of them is a Native American chant with the words

"There's a river of birds in migration,
A nation
Of women with wings"

That chant has always stuck with me, and was in my repertoire around the time that I joined a group of women who were the masterminds and creators of the seasonal celebrations at our local Ethical Society. As we worked together, we also sang together, and I ended up teaching them this chant. In a very organic way, "Women With Wings" became our name, and being a woman with wings has become a part of my identity.

What does it mean to be a woman with wings? Well, at first it meant being one of the women in this wonderful group, which happened to be comprised of women who really do fly in their lives, and who help each other to fly when we run aground, too. But, more globally, being a woman with wings means being willing to step off that ledge into places outside one's comfort zone. To see far-off places deepin your heart, and not let life make you feel "clipped," but be willing to soar, knowing that the updrafts of human compassion will always support one who reaches for her best self.

So that's me: Mairi Moon, woman with wings, flying along in my river of birds: you!

Thursday, December 25, 2003

What We Did On Christmas Night...

Just got back from taking our family of 6 to see "Cheaper By The Dozen." It was fun and cute, and pretty lightweight, and surprisingly OK to take all of our kids to. It occurred to me on the way there that after watching people struggle with a family of 12 through a whole movie, I might feel like my family isn't so big after all. However, it actually all looked pretty familiar. That look on the Dad's face when he realizes he CAN'T handle everything--job, kids, marriage--but trapped into a life in which he simply has to try as hard as he can because there is no alternative. That sinking note of betrayal in the Mom's voice when she wails, "You SAID you could handle it!"

Reminds me of a time when I went, with full support of my sweet husband, for my last intensive at Case Western before they granted me my MSN. Mid-January, 17 inches of snow, and I go off to Cleveland for 10 days of 9am to 9pm schoolwork with six-week-old Emma strapped to my body. The Sunday before the end, it was blizzarding, and I was spending my 38th birthday alone in a hotel room with piles of research to compile on my laptop, a baby with RSV who sounded like she had Saran Wrap in her lungs, and no way to get a freaking thermometer even though the hotel I was in was physically connected to the Cleveland Clinic (I even got a classmate to watch Emma while I went over to the Peds floor to beg or borrow, but they wouldn't let their IVAC leave the floor, and they certainly weren't going to let me bring my sick baby onto their unit!). The phone rang, and when I heard my husband's voice I thought he had called to wish me a happy birthday, but it turned out he was calling to tell me, ("now Honey, don't freak out, everything is under control, everyone is OK, but...) that our 2yo Michael had reached up and slammed the microwave door just as the babysitter was taking out some hot milk, and it spilled down his arm and face leaving 1st and 2nd degree burns. This turned out to be a huge bonding experience for Michael and his daddy, but I thought I was going to Mommy hell for sure. I can still recall at a moment's notice that twisting feeling in my gut, telling me, "GO HOME, GO HOME, take your sick baby and go home to your burned baby and never never never leave again." But I David insisted the crisis was past, and that it would be better NOT to take Emma out in the cold, and that I should just finish what I came to do. So I did. I still have misgivings, and that was seven years ago!

I just let David read this over my shoulder, and he said, "you need to tell them how masterful I was in handling the situation." But, of course, I don't, because this is not about him. He also stood there for a moment and sighed, and walked away, saying, "I guess this is another thing I am going to lose you to." I guess I'm not the easiest person to be married to...

Anway, I love being married to him, I love being a mommy--it is the most important job I do, just not the only one, and I just have to keep balancing it all, even when it feels like it might all crash down around me!

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

What A Nice Boy Is My Zacky

I think it is such a cool thing that my 15yo son, Zack, gave me this blog. What a thoughtful idea, considering that I have been trying to write more lately, and have been sort of stuck for where to put my stuff. I am happy to have a place to rant and rave and philosophize and ponder!

I wonder how many people in the world got a blog for Christmas today? If you did, then you must be as happy as me! I'd love to hear from you about it, but I still need to learn how to put a comments feature on this thing.

This is my very first post, and I find I can't think of anything at all that is interesting to say. I have no idea what this blog will become, but I am looking forward to the adventure it will take me on! More later!
--Mairi Moon

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

This is a post!

You will have a lot of these.