Sunday, December 28, 2008

the results have been in and I've been casting them and grabbing them

...all eggs and bad tubes...

We met with my doctor. The results and finds of my surgery show that my fallopian tubes are blocked with the worst: scar tissue. The build up is from surgical adhesions from my c-section years ago with my first baby. There's a possibility that a 1.5 month old miscarriage also lended to the scar tissue. I was able to get pregnant a second time so easily because the adhesions had not grown and I was much much younger.

He gave us this news and did tell me that his wife, who is my age, had the same issue and she only had one tube, one ovary. They have two children now via IVF. He told me that I should feel grateful that I have eggs. "You should see the faces when I have to say 'I'm sorry but you don't have any eggs'." And he managed to tell me all this without making it sound like I was ungrateful. He's a fine professional. But of course, his praise for my eggs, his wife's success, didn't make me feel any better off than women without eggs. Even still I smiled and nodded affirmatively. He also gave me pics of the surgery and explained the surgery and finds step by step in detail. He then sent us off with the IVF packet shown in the pictures above. In the first pic, I look so much like my Dad, but what I'm really doing is biting my lip and faking a smile because of the news and Gera's trying to make me ease. In the second one, after a few elevator rides up and down (yes we did ride the elevator literally up and down), he said something silly, something so Gera, and made me laugh; that one is genuine me. I had to post both pics.

So Gera and I can only conceive via IVF. However, we're not doing that. My health insurance does not cover IVF and we certainly don't have $11,000 unexpectedly lying around anywhere.

How are we doing?

We are disappointed but in a good place. Of course everything is more noticeable now than it used to be. This week alone I saw, all counted, 47 pregnant women, and when we watched movies, that one with Katherine Heigl was on. She accidentally gets pregnant and decides to have the baby. Then just today, while we were bumming around in our undies drinking coffee, taking advantage of the holidays, Mel Gibson's Apocalypse was on. Pregnancy everywhere. This can be expected though. And I have honestly found a little humor in it all.

We are surrounded by babies starting with my love Ruby, who is preparing for a little brother or sister in May, Cierra who is my little sky (she coos when I sing to her and I love putting her in front of their Christmas tree and watch her little 3 month old eyes wander from one light to the next), and we have Gera's son who may come live with us within the next year or two. We've been trying to get him for a while. It's not easy. So we're pretty kid-ed-up. I'm grateful for my eggs and too stingy to give them away so I will take them with me to my end. Sometimes, succumbing to fate is not so bad.

what's reading this month

Perusing through the latest arrivals, found these two books to read over the New Year holiday. Friendly Fire by A. B. Yehoshua and The Library at Night by Alberto Manguel. Hope they turn out to be worth it.

The last book I read: A Partisan's Daughter, is rendered well. Some passages about communism drag underneath the relationship between the married man and the prostitute, but comes around nicely to a surprising, titillating end. Recommended.

I'm still working on crochet projects and hope to post them. Really cute stuff. Time is limited over the next week so will be posting, but in bursts.

Friday, December 26, 2008

if our child could be

If Gera and my child could be, it would have perhaps hazel eyes. Mine are light brown,sometimes a touch of gold-yellow, Gera's are green, sometimes a touch of light brown. We both have moles on our lips, mine on my top lip, Gera's on his bottom lip (may add pic later). It's hair would be curly for sure and it's skin tone would be a light brown, browner than my tone of course...or who knows, it could be as dark as my first baby. I always say a black woman can never be sure what color her baby will be. However, I think it would be a boy and he would be an artist like Gera, but a scientist by night. He would be able to sing, but he wouldn't be that tall. He would be extremely handsome with my nose and Gera's eyebrows and lashes and chin. He would have my father's smile and Gera's Mom's spirit. He would probably not have my JDW forehead or's a wonder.

He would be a miracle.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

A LifeTime of Secrets by Frank Warren

Frank Warren has published several fantastic collections of creative postcards with people's secrets. I found this two weeks ago in the bestseller section. Normally I don't go for bestsellers, but I picked this and discovered amazing voices in few words. The book is a collection of postcards from people around the world, "all backgrounds and nationalities...[of] creatively decorated postcards bearing screts they have never before revealed." Beautiful idea of "collective confessions." Visit the site, but I will say there were so many in the book that I thought were stunning. I read through one collection in no time. Very interesting stuff. Says a lot about humanity. ALOT!

To see the best post idea ever-click here

To get a better idea, get the book collection.

One of my favorites...for no personal reason is this one:

What a brilliant way to get people to release whatever ails them, or not. One of my post secrets is: my oldest sister was born stillbirth at 6 mos. because mother's boyfriend tripped over a concrete crack and dropped my mother while carrying her. My sister's name was "Kim".

If you had to write one what would it be? You can comment anonymously.

i survived

surgery was a sinch; the rest might not be so

Thursday, December 18, 2008

a success

My surgery went very well. I know one thing, to sleep like that, to be put under was Heaven. My mother says, "Yes, dear, that's a serious cocktail."

The day began great. The magnesium citrate the night before was the worst the part. Gera laughed at me several times, during several trips to the ladies room. I never felt so empty and dry. But it was necessary. I had a hard time not turning on the coffee pot the morning of because it's habit, somewhat, and I really love coffee. I could not eat a thing and that sent my personality into turmoil. I love food, always have and not being able to eat made me feel weird, mad. Luckily, I registered early and so my wait time was very little. I undressed. The nurse couldn't start my IV because my veins were flat and dehydrated so she left it up to the anesthesiologists. From this little room, I am rolled in a wheelchair, something I didn't dig at all and even told the lady, "Really, it's okay, I can walk upstairs." She said, "No, Ms. Osborne, I have to take you myself." I'm so stubbornly independent and am extremely uncomfortable depending on another person to help me physically. I didn't know that about myself until then. And Gera was watching her push me in the wheelchair. He frowned; I rolled my eyes. Off we went. The lady was fluent in Spanish and English. She heard me speaking to Gera and was surprised. Gera and I kissed good-bye and then the questions came. "Where is your husband from? Where are you from? Where did you learn to speak Spanish? How long have you two been together? You speak very very well?" We get that a lot.

I am rolled into a room with others waiting for a surgery. Everything is clean and organized and there was no smell of anything, not even "hospital." A nurse kindly covered me with warm blankets. I wasn't really cold, just a tad anxious. She saw I didn't have an IV and said, "Let's just get this out of the way now." She tied, and tapped, slapped and slapped at my veins and found a nice one on the inside of my wrist instead of the back of my hand. That was done. Transports rolled in another girl beside me. She was pretty, young, American hispanic, 28 years and ironically getting her tubes tied and burned on the ends. Ouch! I tried to talk her out of it, but she would not budge. She has two children and said "We're done because children are too expensive." I still didn't see the logic, but how could I--tubes tied, especially at the tender age of 28. She was in for a 3rd out patient surgery. A gallbladder and something else. Her nurse came over and was about 5 mos pregnant (I'm sure I'll start to notice pregnant ladies even more so now that I want to be). She too was going to get her tubes tied and burnt after the latest. She was on number 3 and had step children. My doctor came strolling across the room and loudly said, "Hello gorgeous! You ready to rock n roll? How are you feeling?" I responded and told him to be creative! I was ready. We chatted awhile and he knew the young woman next to my bed. He told her she was putting him out of business. We conspired to undo her IV and roll her out.

Next, the nurse came back. She shot something into my IV and boy did I feel great. I was there for another 5 mins and off I went. The last thing I remember was a nurse standing over me with a soft mask saying "Take deep breaths Ms. Osborne". Heaven. I woke to another nurse saying, "Ms. Osborne, your surgery went well." Within a few more minutes I was off again to another little room. My love was there waiting for me. I slept; he took a picture of me; luckily I wasn't drooling, but I did have a sorrowful frown on my face. May or may not post that picture. My hair was fortunately braided in two. It was fine.

I took a few days to recover. My first night of sleep I felt like I had been exercising and was sore all around. Stitches look great; navel looks normal. I still can't believe he made an incision there. I was back at work lifting books, pushing carts and of course working the desk within one week.

Stay tuned for my results...

Saturday, December 6, 2008

playing book display god

...a work saturday in the library...

When you first walk in to our beautiful library there is an overwhelming sensation of pillars and marble, etchings of important names of people, contributors/donors, grand golden letters writing out famous quotes from dead philosophers, writers, the like, of recent a 36 ft tall Christmas loaded with lights and bulbs, styrofoam colored candies, other sparkly things and four huge golden stars at the top. I'm not sure why four. Overwhelming. For an hour on Saturday/Sunday shifts, an employee is assigned to the Plaza, it's a lobby-like area where you answer patron questions, direct, point, show, and put out debut fiction, new fiction, new non-fiction and bestseller books on displays. So, I'm straightening and replacing and shifting and moving and adding books around here and there. I came across Francine Prose's latest work Golden Grove, and an evil streak came over me. I decided to play Book Display God. I removed her book from the high up "look at me" display to the lay down-flat-patrons-can-only-see-the-spine-and-must-turn-their-necks-and-bend-down-to-pick-me-up side of the display. I did this because I remembered one of characters in Blue Angel, which was a good read by the way, said Toni Morrison's books were "bullshit" and we all know that's bullshit. She's lucky I didn't take her book to one of my off-desk duty areas (pic shown): the ever deep dark eerie government documents shelves--everything is dusty and quiet and lifeless and creepy, gray and frayed and new but beige--can you imagine Francine Prose's book with its somber but colorful cover in the midst of U.S. government documents---I like to think of it as book cemetery. But, I'm not that evil. I did, however, decide to move to the front lines and set up on a nice small display rack Karen Fowler's Wit's End and only because she's a friend of a friend of a friend. There are so many new authors and new fiction, the books come in tides. When I'm working in the Plaza, playing Book Display God is a quirky relief from other library work like researching for patrons or pulling holds. The only problem is, however, in order to continue to play Book Display God, I have to read more (the stuff that I wouldn't normally read) and get to know more writers.

I'm currently reading A Partisan's Daughter and oh my is it good. Hope to dish more about it. Finished Morrison's A Mercy. She is a true master in making use of America's history. And since I'm off from the college for a full month-YAY!--I checked out a mass of crochet books. I've already purchased pretty yarns, in different colors and styles and hope to post some of what I make. I'm looking now at the simplest of all: scarf and hat patterns--it's winter here already (well as of two days ago, but now it's warm again), and I have lots of Christmas gifting to do---I am years behind. Luckily, my people love me!'s finally - almost time

whistling in ...

So Monday I have pre-op prep for surgery on Wednesday. I have never been more excited to do this. The last time I had surgery or was even in the hospital was a cesarean and as I wrote in an earlier post, that was 26 years ago. I'm going in with a positive attitude and a cheerfulness that's rather odd. I've been drinking lots of water and eating, still, fried foods sighhhh. I did, however, clean out a gigantic tub of raw baby spinach from Costco! Delicious with onion, tomato and a little fresco cheese, dijon dressing. This was a side dish to my lunch for about four days. I decided to load up on VK. The funny thing about trying to have a second child is meeting others who have stories with not so great of an outcome. One of my more mature students, 46, told me last week that she had been married for 11 years and had tried to conceive for 8 of them. She tried everything one could possibly offer AND she had five laparoscopy surgeries for various reasons, in addition to trying to conceive. I listened intently. She teared up and told me after her last trial of artificial insemination, she was going to try IVF, but then, her husband left her. I wanted to cry with her, but I felt like she is a strong woman and the experience probably lead to other better events in life. She remarried after four years and told me her second husband has been the best thing that ever happened to her. Her problem is that she only ovulates once, maybe twice a year. I read something about women whose ovaries don't produce a lot of eggs. The beauty about her is her attitude. She smiles often, sometimes, cries over her writing (which is very good--she's ESL) and doesn't feel confident about analyzing literature. She seems very resigned with not being able to conceive. Her story made feel aggressive and anger toward her husband. I don't think she's hit menopause yet, but I sure hope a miracle happens for her. She's a wonderful woman and would cherish a child in all the best ways.

I've also contemplated writing our baby a letter, now. So that when he or she is finally in the world and growing, or grown, we can look back on the "best drama in Renee's early forties." I was able to ask E what laproscopic surgery is like. She said it's an easy one. The only discomfort might be having the gas move to underneath my shoulder blades, but that goes away. Oh, by the way, the gas is what they use to blow up my stomach so they can see everything. Then, the gas has to go somewhere in the body---I read that the most common place is the shoulder blades and she confirmed this. She showed me her navel and there was no scar--I don't mind scars, I wear what's left of my c-section scar so proudly---it's from where my Jenn came. Surprisingly, though, after five surgeries, she had nothing there--just a pretty tanned colored navel. I don't know what not having children means for her, given she is traditionally Hispanic, but she seems to have handled it.

Well...I'll be thinking more about writing my baby a letter and may even have Gera take some photographs for a scrapbook. Chances are I will have to have another c-section and I am elated about this--too--the first one was so easy, HOWEVER, I was so incredibly young. The body just doesn't do the same things it does when we're young; I feel excellent and ever-so hopeful. Gera makes it all too easy for me; he's my rock and I'm his too.

Will keep all posted!

Friday, December 5, 2008

me photographer

I have been so inspired by all the great blogs that are up. I saved a few on my site. I fell in love with photography in 1987. I'm still an amature and it's amazing how ideas are crisp and seem so new and fresh were ones I had years ago (but don't you feel like that too sometimes?)--New ideas are your old ones? People are just able to do things a lot faster now! I love technology, but am still very out of touch. But I did photograph the minute things---just stuff---around my apartment, and I always photographed family.

Here's a tadtaste of my work:

empties '03

broken in whole '06

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

i prefer the shotgun

When writing, I like to choose a living space native to my characters--a given. One of those unique little places is a shotgun house. When I was growing up, about a block and a half from my great grandmother were these prominent, tiny, narrow houses. They were so closed together yet had so much space in the back. They remind me of what slave cabins must have looked like, the black & white photo of cabins. I like them because they can make up an entire neighborhood. I chose to include them in my stories because there are barely any left in the area where I grew up. The ones mentioned were recently torn down, as recent as 2001. Shotgun houses are a bad truth, but beautiful part of American history--a bit like wagons, and, to me, they preserve time periods. I hope to take some photos of a few my Auntie told me are left in my town---on the Southside. There's so much oil drilling here now (Texas sits atop the Barnett Shale--natural gas). Old monuments, like these, are coming down fast and it's so sad to see their beauty history and character destroyed. Some are so old that they are dangerously lopsided. Others have been refurbished, mainly in Louisana. The ones that were torn down close to my gr. grand's house were rebuilt in the same place, but constructed slightly bigger, more modern. Not the same. What does a shotgun look like?

I found these beauties on the internet.
Blogging this (while at work), I was reminded of Katherine Mansfield's The Garden Party and the "ugly chocolate houses"---surely her reference was to shotguns.

Thanks google image photographers.