Monday, April 30, 2012

little packages.

My table piles high with items in small packages. Little oatmeal packs. Small shampoo. Teeny maple syrup containers and Bisquick in a pourable container. I keep small packets of toilet paper and wipes.

We like to camp. We have a wee little pop-up with a propane stove and a sink that leaks. A king size foam cushion, a double, and a table that folds down into a bed. We have a propane stove, and a sink that leaks if you fill it too high. We have a drawer filled with card games and backgammon, teas and non-perishable items.

I fantasize about homesteading, living on a large swath of land without plumbing. No one knows us there. I'm tired of all this civilization. A burbling stream runs through our land and the children stop wearing shoes. They run silently through the trees and high grasses, and deer don't notice them because they are woodland creatures. Sprites or fairies or gnomes. No one can find us. We are a family, working together, raising a house and growing vegetables and homeschooling and wearing long skirts.

We meet TracyOC's family at the campsite. My lone homesteading family turns into a commune. Maybe we can make it work. Maybe no one will annoy each other. Their skill set can complement ours. We sit quietly together, and I wonder if I could ever leave our creature comforts. I checked Facebook in the camper, uploaded a picture. It is terrible. Tracy and her husband actually know a thing or two about communes and living outdoors. I have a camper with a space heater, and I complain if it gets too cold and my husband seems too contented in the freezing temperatures.

POLAR BEAR! I accuse him. YOU ARE A POLAR BEAR! I AM A HUMMINGBIRD!

My wings are frozen in place. I am too small to fly here.

Grrrrrrr...

We like to camp. We hike over rocky terrain and I listen to TracyOC tell the kids about fearsome creatures like Splintercats who tear the treetops into deep spikes and Hugags, the kneeless creature who knocks over whole barns or trees, just for a respite from the endless standing. Beezus giggles. She has never heard of these creatures. She looks at me wondering if it is true. I nod and smile and wonder if it is true. In these woods, it looks true.

The girls skip on the rocky terrain. They are tough cookies until they aren't tough anymore. Then we are tough cookies, carrying gangling arms and long, stretching legs. They become wiggly creatures brought back to life our concession to carry forty plus pounds of girl. I imagine never coming back to New Jersey. Our house would become part of the environment, covered in moss and ivy no one was around to pluck from the flowerbeds.

Even in the woods, there is civilization everywhere. Large RVs with televisions. Bi-planes, and orienteering ranges. There are paved paths and boat launches. Yet still I crave the stillness of the woods, the endless stars, the rustling of other things moving besides us. I crave quiet in my head, but when we are out here hiking, I keep talking--about this about that about here about there.

I am a FAKE! My meditations are amidst plane noise and the garbage truck and grass cutting. You found out! They are suburban meditations! They come with a soundtrack! This place is so profane that any quiet seems sacred!

It helps the quiet to grumble about the noise. I fill the quiet again and again. As I warm myself against the fire, I feel the cramping in my belly. It tightens and releases. I wonder what next year will look like. Will there be another baby? Or will this little package in my uterus become a woodland creature too?

I am eleven weeks pregnant. Eleven weeks of being almost okay. I'm not nauseated or sick. I'm not frightened. I am just waiting for my belly to grow and a baby to move and a doctor to tell me she is okay, or she is not.

I haven't seen a doctor yet. It is why I am not frightened. I cannot control anything. Even if she dies now, there is nothing they can do. There is a kind of liberation in that thought. Next week, I meet our new midwife. Until then, I live on this stretch of land with wildflowers and feral children able to hunt and build barns for the neighbors miles away. I walk through the woods barefoot and pregnant collecting wildberries for our breakfast. I manage to handle the cold without electricity. The children talk like yearlings to the animals, clucking and yelping and howling into the night. When the children come home to me, wrapping themselves in my skirts, I hold them and feed them wild honey, blackberries, and root vegetables. After harvesting all morning, I tell them the baby is coming, and the children fetch the water from the spring down the meadow. They boil it for me, and my husband runs into town to tell the womenfolk. I do the hard work of finding a place to birth. I imagine birthing alone in the cabin we built. No heartbeat checks. No monitors. No blood pressure. No weight checks. No ultrasounds. The women stand around and wait, watching for too much blood. But mostly it is just me, knowing there could be a chance she dies and another chance that she lives. Just like in history when the chance of your baby living seemed fifty/fifty, just like it still does to all of us who lost children.

It seems irresponsible, even to me, but that seems perfect and magical right now. A place to not worry, a land of freedom from fear.

I don't know if this baby is a she, but I keep calling her a she. And because she is in there, I will be prodded and poked and let them draw blood every time they ask. In nine weeks, if she is still alive, they will tell me if she is a he or she really is a she. I will watch her in the monitor and cry. I will drink some sweet liquid and pee into a cup. I will go into the city and birth her. Horns will honk. Machines will beep and whirl and they will make sure every single moment that she is not dead.

I adore small things. Packages that tuck into corners. The baby is balled up in a tiny little package right now tied up with yarn. She fits in my belly, as big as a lime. So small, no one notices her. I carry her in my pocket. A little package of hope and fear that smells exactly like love.

32 comments:

  1. Oh wow - Congratulations! Sending thoughts and wishes for a healthy, happy baby to join you in 29 weeks.

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  2. So pleased for you. I'm thinking happy and positive thoughts for you.

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  3. Oh, Angie. Congratulations on the new life inside of you! Happy homesteading and camping and gestatingxoxoxo

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  4. Wishing you lots of peace and love on this next journey!

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  5. What a wonderful post... love your life in nature. Big congratz to the little package... Sending all the happy vibes for little she. Much love! xo

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  6. Oh friend. Lovely news. Sending so much love <3

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  7. Congratulations, Angie! sending love and warm thoughts!

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  8. Congrats on Number Four!!! Sending lots of love and healthy pregancy energy your way--I had a feeling after that post a month or so ago :) Good on you guys--we need more of your kind in this world. Xo

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  9. OHHHHH ANGIE!!!! So happy for you!! Even the 2nd time around, it's still scary - but also wonderful. :)

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  10. Fantastic news, Angie! What a beautiful post. Loads of love to you all!

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  11. Congratulations, Angie. Great news, you sound peaceful. xo

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  12. Wow! Congratulations Angie! Lots of positive thoughts your way.

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  13. Hooray!!! And all my good energies sent your way.

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  14. Congratulations! Such wonderful news. Sending positive energy your way.

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  15. So pleased for you and your family. The camping sounds wonderful and I hope your little package will stay safe and well xo

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  16. Oh, Angie. It thrills my heart to hear this news. Wishing you and your family the best.

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  17. Oh my goodness, I feel so dense! Even with the title of this post, I totally didn't see this coming.
    I am truly elated for you. What lovely, lovely news.
    Hoping and wishing, every step of the way.
    Thrilled, dear friend.
    xo

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  18. Oh yea! I'm so happy for you and your family. I wish you peace and comfort as you embark on another journey.

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  19. Really great news. Congratulations. Wishing you all the best

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  20. Ah Angie what a wonderful little package of news!

    I sometimes have fantasies about hiding away until the boy is here. Giving birth alone in a (warm) stream in the woods (or even just in the bath at home). No more scans, measurements or tests and no more dire warnings about age and placental failure.

    But in the end I will let them have their way. If only they could offer a guarantee with it.

    I'm so happy for you Angie. :o)

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  21. Oh, do I ever understand the urge to be pregnant away from doctors, tests, and the illusion of an apparatus of control over life and death. But, what wonderful news for you. Wishing for peace for you and for small packages that grow, grow, grow.

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  22. Angie, I'm so joyful for you. I've been following your blog (and Glow) since we lost Charlotte in October and look at your "meditating mama" watercolor in its frame on my desk every day when I need a reminder to slow down the terror whirling in my head and just be thankful that I'm pregnant, right this minute, today. I wish you many quiet and peaceful moments.

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  23. So much love to you. Sending lots of warm thoughts and happy energy to you and this little package.

    I'm jealous of the camping. I may have to drag my darling city boy into the woods this summer & see how we do.

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  24. I had a suspicion as soon as I read the header. ; ) Congratulations!! : )

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  25. Congrats! That's awesome. What was all this "too old" stuff a little while back? ;P

    Wishing you a peaceful pregnancy. Loads of positive thoughts coming your way for your healthy, happy little one...

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  26. Such wonderful news, I'm so glad for you. I hope your beautiful little package continues to do well and, when the time comes, is unwrapped joyfully, joyfully alive.

    Muchas felicidades. xo

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  27. Sally, if you're dense, you have company. I didn't see it coming either.

    But I think it's wonderful, wonderful news. I am happy. And a little scared (is it okay to admit)? I think I'm always a little scared, sans blinders.

    xo

    Cathy in Missouri

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  28. Congratulations Angie. Wishing big, good things for you and your tiny package.

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  29. Oh, so much love. Congratulations, Angie, so happy for you.

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  30. I'm ridiculously late with this comment. Guess it's taken me this long to re-engage with my non-camping reality. As always, we all had a ton of fun walking around in the woods with you and your entire tribe--even your littlest-one-to-be. Maybe especially your littlest-one-to-be.

    Here's to big plans!

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  31. wow! just reading this now and so awesome. congrats Angie. sounds very peaceful, your way of wanting to go about things.

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