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The Goats and Their Hooves

I trimmed goat hooves for the first time this week. I’m not going to turn that into some kind of metaphor, so relax.

We’ve been in New Mexico for ten months now, a little longer than it took to grow Winnie or Georgie (barely). I met a friend (ten months means we’ve made one! or even a few!) for cocktails a few weeks ago, our first time hanging out without children or partners. We first bonded over our mutual vaccination schedules and lack of guns in our homes, then found out we had other things in common, like being and raising excellent humans, etc. This night, we wandered a whole block away from our cars to a bar– the Lowrider themed bar, thankyouverymuch– where the partner of a mutual friend was bartending. He made us strong cocktails, and I somehow woke up the next morning signed up for a shift at the goat co-op.

No, really.

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So I’ve been working every week at building those milking muscles, getting faster and more efficient and better able to note when Itsy is about to stick her hoof in the milk bucket or Souffle is sneaking up behind me to make a break from the paddock. Dee still manages to toss her bowl upside down every once in a while, but I’ve built up a wicked fast catching reflex, so the chickens only get an extra treat of spilled goat feed every once in a while.

The goats at a local school had some overgrown hooves and I had expressed interest in learning everything  how to trim hooves, so the woman who runs the co-op kindly picked me up and showed me how to brush and clean and scrape and trim and clip and scrape and brush and trim those hooves. It was immensely satisfying.

 

I’ve been acquainted with goats and their output for a decade or so now, but I’ve learned more about goats in the last month than I likely had the ten years prior. About bloat and mastitis, about their teeth and their toes.

Maybe one day we’ll have a couple of goats, a few chickens. The high desert has surprised me in the garden– after months and weeks of being sure that nothing would every get any bigger, the plants have exploded. While I see my friends in other climates rolling in ripe tomatoes and even winter squash (how do you do it, Okie Foodscapes?!), I’m delighting at the first pinto bean pod, the fact that my cassava melon plant is blooming and not, in fact, dead, and nearly ripe apples and grapes. The peppers are blooming, and so are the spaghetti squash. The basil has come from behind. Even the sage and the fennel are hanging in!

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We’re sowing turnips, broccoli rabe, radishes, winter peas, and some grains soon. Mulching has paid off. Weeding is a full time job, but watering isn’t because of these beautiful monsoons. We saw a puppet show at the farmers’ market. We’ll show up to milk and water and feed and greet the goats on Monday morning, bright and early. Friends will join us for dinner, perhaps just to see where I’ve worked in the raw goat’s milk and the purslane and lambs quarters I can’t seem to stay on top of.

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All Quiet on the Western Front

If only life were my tenth grade English class–

We wrote and wrote and wrote and read and talked and wrote that year.

It wasn’t the year of my favorite book- Julius Caesar, Old Man and the Sea, A Separate Peace, all were fine- but we wrote and we wrote and we wrote and wrote that year. It was– and if I’m honest, always will be– the writing.

Why does it have to mean anything? A student asked of the Old Man and his pieta. Why couldn’t he represent a lawnmower, over Christ? He bemoaned. Well, a lawnmower’s hands don’t bleed, for one, and I’ve yet to see one teach a man to fish.

We wrote autobiographies that year, individual exploratory writing exercises. Lists of things we loved and hated, moving ourselves into metaphor, “if I were a- if I were a- if I were a fish, I’d be a carp” and “if I were a jazz musician, I sure wouldn’t be Miles Davis, have you read about that guy?”

Perhaps inspired by all the self-reflection, I walked into class one day–probably late, probably without my assignment done, probably with plenty of excuses in hand– and told my teacher it meant a lot, her teaching. The writing and writing and reading and writing and thinking and talking. I knew we were getting better, and we’d always use those skills (it would take longer for me to feel the same about compounding interest, relevant though it might be). She thanked me, I went off for lunch with my friends.

The next day she pulled me into the hall. Stepping out into the hall with a teacher wasn’t new. I walked those halls with lots of weight, the weight of never finishing an assignment on time, of wondering if attendance had been taken the day I’d decided the park was more beneficial than class, of all that was going on at home and my inability to articulate it. I was afraid of everything. I knew I could but I wouldn’t. I ran, and hid, and destroyed any evidence of success.

The door latched. My stomach turned. “I was being thrown to the wolves yesterday,” she said. “Thank you. I needed to hear that. I needed to hear that it mattered.”

Weeks later, I turned in a completed autobiography, printed and bound. There were two post-it notes with her comments. The first–taking exception to my description of a clarinet as “soothing”. Sure, word choice could have improved there. The second–where I’d noted my wish to learn how to care for others without feeling guilty: “when you figure it out, let me know”.

Two children, one marriage, and many friendships and relationships and changes in the family dynamic later, here I am. A recent conversation about volunteer commitments met with disdain: “Shouldn’t you be spending more time with your family?” Shouldn’t I be showing them the size of the world, the size of our hearts, the size of our need and our obligation to one another? Shouldn’t I show them how to care?

I pulled myself into the hall that day. Told myself it mattered. Dropped the guilt in the recycling bin and watched it tumble into a truck, carted off into the distance.

If I were a- If I were a- If I were a- If I were a-

 

 

Apology

It is, every day, a reconciliation. An understanding that I will never have enough to give, but what I give must be enough. Reliance on grace to fill in the gaps, faith that one step and then another leads me somewhere, or through somewhere, or nearish somewhere.

I say lots of I’m sorrys, but I still work on repentance, to literally and figurative turn, and in so turning, view my wrongs, my sins, where I have taken from another, or not given what I ought. For not listening. For not being present. For taking my anger at and lobbing it full force at my husband’s heart, saying, “Take this. I can’t. It’s yours.”

I’m sorry is not an apology. It is a placeholder, a glib acknowledgment on my part, that just as soon as these wounds heal, just as soon as I find a minute, just as soon as everything is perfect, I’ll turn, and I’ll view you, really see you, and give you what it is you need, from me.

.

.

.

 

Most Merciful God, I confess that I have sinned against you, in thought, word, and deed, by what I have done, and by what I have left undone. I have not loved you with my whole heart, I have not loved my neighbors as myself. I am truly sorry, and I humbly repent. For the sake of Your Son, Jesus Christ, have mercy on me and forgive me, that I may delight in your will and walk in your ways, to the glory of your name. Amen.

 

 

On the Refrigerated and the Grotesque | Daily Prompt: South

I’m spending a few minutes every day with the Daily Post’s Daily Prompt. I’m not planning to publish every brainstorm, but will post a handful, for accountability and that weird stomach flip I get when I hit the publish button.

Daily Prompt: South

Thick sliced tomatoes dressed with salt and pepper, cantaloupe and watermelon and sweet corn and white onions from a roadside stand across the highway, behind the fire station and next to the field with the giant pivot irrigators sucking up the Ogalla aquifer, the sugar as translation of the hot days, unrelenting sun, thick air.

My grandfather, raised in what is now a ghost town, and his mother’s house with a persimmon tree in the backyard, the color of the ripe fruit taking up residence in my memory as a picture and not a word at all.

 

His grandmother, who chewed tobacco and once brought a tray of fried chicken and biscuits and a pitcher of tea to him at school, who leant us her middle name for our oldest daughter, who helped to raise my grandfather as he helped to raise me.

 

The origins of my family on their journeys both through the rhotic South to Oklahoma as immigrants and colonizers, and in their safe, still lives in Mississippi before their forced removal to Oklahoma.

 

A car trip to witness to the love of my dearest friend, across Oklahoma and east and south, into the non-rhotic South, in chaos and fear and change, and the desperate need to reframe that into something romantic and lovely. Its talons deep in the Southern and the Grotesque, chasing, literally chasing– through lengths of draping Spanish Moss while hiking up my taffeta skirt– a drunk man with the keys to my car and some weird power over me.

 

Another man, the one I chose, correctly, who chose me, who made our family, and then packed up that family into boxes and bins and a trailer and tiny car, and moved us south and west, to the high desert and the mountains, to light. Who spent weekends north, weekends south, weekends west, and a whole honeymoon across an ocean east.

 

Who never puts a tomato in the refrigerator, anymore.

Minor Survival

I’ve committed to myself, as of today, to spend 5-10 minutes with The Daily Post Daily Prompt, well, daily.

Today’s one word prompt is survival, a word that–in the context of this week– veers dangerously far from mommy-blogging territory.

Tuesday, I had a minor surgical procedure done. I was nervous about it, as one sometimes is for such things. Deep down, though, I was sure I’d bounce back quickly, go back to work that afternoon, and maybe have a funny anecdote or two to tell about it. My arrival at the hospital that morning certainly encouraged that idea– I had a wisecracking nurse, I joshed the anesthesiologist about my upcoming “nap” which I felt was well deserved, and the patient across the hall from me was doing astrological readings for every member of his health care team.

The nurse anesthetist dropped some kind of antianxiety/woooooooooo med in my IV and my bed was off to the OR. I expected to wake up, newly dysplasia-free.

Instead, I awoke in chaos, and parts of my body that had been previously traumatized were alive with pain. I was trying to grab the rope of consciousness, but I couldn’t, and the nightmares that have been torturing my sleep for the past few months were ever present.

The surgery went okay. One minor mistake/complication. My throat is raw and sore from the breathing tube they inserted, and I didn’t remember my discharge instructions. I’ve been physically sick from the anesthesia since Tuesday, and my brain is scrambled. The pain has lessened, but I wasn’t prepared for how intense it would be immediately following– it brought me to my knees on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, unable to sleep.

But here I am. Dressed. Washed. Medicated. Fed. Coffee’d. I’ve snuggled my girls, rescheduled a doctor’s appointment, watered the plants, and I’m off to work.

I stumble, I misjudge, I survive–through no great momentum of my own.

 

 

 

Lately

My friend Gina at Popcorn and Pandas does this great recurring series called “Lately” that she adapted from another blogger (you can check out all of Gina’s Lately posts with links to the inspiration here).  I love the idea of checking in with yourself and creating a record of the things that drive us every day. With that in mind, I’m snagging the idea, adapting a few of the gerunds myself!

Lately I’ve been…

reading A Short Introduction to the Hebrew Bible; Jesus and the Disinherited; Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, and Judges. You know, light stuff. I’m about a third of the way through the first year of a four year course affiliated with the Episcopal Church called Education for Ministry, for which these are our texts so far. Here’s a great explanation of the course from Sewanee:

Every baptized person is called to ministry. The Education for Ministry (EfM) program provides people with the education to carry out that ministry. During the Service of Confirmation we ask God to “Renew in these your servants the covenant you made with them at Baptism. Send them forth in the power of the Spirit to perform the service you set before them.” EfM offers an opportunity to discover how to respond to the call to Christian service. 

writing  Descriptions for our new classes, press releases for events, and email after email after email.

listening  Right now, to sweet, sweet silence, but we have a lot of Jack’s Big Music Show on heavy rotation, and I had a major craving for some Tracy Chapman today, so the self-titled album was on repeat.

thinking About how to better organize my time, so that I’m giving my best to myself and others. And also about the fact that’s nearly swimming hole weather!

smelling Lilacs. Everything is in bloom despite the fact that our last frost day isn’t for another few weeks. I can’t get enough lilac, though, since it always seems like they fade far before I am ready for them to go.  

watching The big, blue (and purple and pink and orange) New Mexico sky.  When we first moved here, I was a little overwhelmed by the size of the sky and the intensity of the light, but now I crave it, every day. It’s a wonder, that sky.

wearing  So much linen, y’all. Consignment shops +  Santa Fe ladies that give up their Eileen Fisher wardrobes for the betterment of others have been rocking my world. Linen pants, linen shirts, linen jackets, linen skirts. So many neutrals, so little time.

eating  The leftovers from the popsicles Winnie and I made yesterday: coconut milk, avocado, frozen blueberries and raspberries, and a couple bananas. I filled all the molds, but some of the puree was leftover, and, ya know, somebody’s gotta eat it.

drinking My first ever cup of totally homemade dandelion root tea!  I’m obsessed with roasted dandelion root tea, so Winnie and I dug up some roots in the backyard yesterday (or as Winnie called it, “gardening”) and then I washed, roasted, and ground them today. It’s a whole lot of work for something I can pick up at the store pretty easily, but it was so cool to know that it’s just right at my fingertips like that! And the flavor was spectacular. My liver is giving me a high five right now.

feeling Ready to do some gardening. We have a couple raised beds in the back, and lots of seeds started, so I’m ready to see things get going!  We’re hosting a meetup of local parents and kids next week to do a seed and seeding swap, and I’m really looking forward to it.

wanting For all of my thoughts, actions, and belongings to be organized and purposeful. Is that so much to ask? (In other words, put down your damn phone, Sascha.)

needing  To prep for tomorrow’s coffee and cheese pairing run through. Excited to cup coffee and pair with cheese– totally unexpected, but really delicious.

loving  Our little community. The folks we’ve met here, the people we run into day after day, and the new people who keep popping up at every turn, have totally made our transition to a new place

wishing I were going to to be in Brooklyn when my friend Elizabeth Mangum-Sarach (of BirthFocus) hosts the inimitable respectful parenting guru Janet Lansbury for an intimate tea at Elizabeth’s new space, Nurture(Bklyn). What a cool opportunity!

hoping  For excellent weather for Saturday’s Spring Fair, hosted by Winnie’s preschool. We think this nature-based preschool is just magic, and I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to connect with other Dragonfly parents and share a little bit of that Dragonfly magic with other folks in the community!

craving  A veggie burrito from the Betterday Coffee Shop: homemade tortilla, red chile, squash, greens. It’s so ridiculously good.

clicking  On todoist.com every other second.  It’s the only way I can keep my to-dos in order, between work, home, Winnie’s school, church, volunteer obligations, our garden, and the like. As soon as it pops in my head, it goes on a list, or I’ll never remember it.

Oh, and in keeping with the Lately theme: since I last posted, we got to hang with a pal from NYC, I went to a spa in the mountains and had no cell reception and soaked in a tub and walked around in a robe and it was AMAZING, we flew as a family of four for the first time to Mike’s sister Jenny’s wedding and it was fabulous– so great to see family and meet Jen’s friends,  we threw a Fleetwood Mac & Cheese party at the shop, we signed a lease on a house, and Winnie has gotten really into shouting ALLELUIA during quiet moments at church, which is totally liturgically appropriate (for now.)

 

Alleluia, y’all!

 

My D&C, Or: I Know It Was Supposed To Be Terrible, But It Wasn’t & Here’s Why, Or: On Barbecue & Babies, Manicures & Miscarriage

I like painting my nails. It’s sort of how I like cleaning the bathroom, a small room that can be done in an hour.  I can’t handle the commitment to a daily makeup or hair routine, my clothes are a mess, but I can find a color that makes me happy, and throw it on my nails with skill, and look down at something that pleases me, every once in a while. I write with those hands, too, which isn’t lost on me.

 

That day, my nails were pretty delightful. I’d tried out these crazy stick-on things that week, white polish with black script, as though I’d really taken the writing metaphor all the way. We woke up and went to the place we were supposed to, gripping each other. I went to sign in, and the person at the desk looked at me, and my hands, and said kindly, “Oh, my! Those are beautiful! Can I see?” She took my hand. I wanted to stay there, to say thank you for holding my hand, I know you know what I’m here for, that I thought I was nearly about to break except they told me I was already broken, and here you are holding my hand, sharing this interest that holds no weight, no special tie to the fetus that is still inside me, but holding my hand anyway.

 

I sat back down.

 

I read an email from a colleague. We had a work trip planned, something new and exciting, a project that showcased my skills and took me to a place I’d never been. Colleague was keen to get a move on planning it. Colleague had heard the bad news, said the email, but colleague didn’t want to talk about it, colleague said. Oh. Okay. Well, anything for you, colleague.

 

Text from another colleague. They knew I’d told them before, but could I remind them of the password? It’s “buzz off”, I wanted to write. Don’t you know where I am? I texted back the password, plus some pre-emptive answers to questions I knew would come up in my absence. “Just FYI, I’m going offline,” I wrote. ‘Gotta dilate this cervix and remove the fetal tissue now, deliverables, etc,’ I didn’t write.

 

We went back to an exam room. There was an ultrasound machine, on, but with no picture, just a grayscale blank the shape a windshield wiper clears in the snow. This was the same sort of screen on which we had seen the heartbeat weeks ago. This was the same sort of picture we had sent to friends and family. This is the same sort of screen we had been peering at when a technician I’d never met said, “No. No baby! No heartbeat. Growth stopped. No baby. Sorry.” Sorry. No baby, no parents. Go back to your day job.

 

I lost it. I hated that screen. I wanted to smash it to bits, to ban it from all medical facilities everywhere. “It’s okay,” the doctor said. “You can do whatever you need to.” He had curly hair, and his scrubs were a green blue that the internet tells me is something called “terrace garden” or “forest canopy”, printed with the name of the hospital, ad infinitum. He was a resident, I learned, and he was so good at his job.

 

What followed was what I think every doctor, every patient wants but almost never has. It was just time, time spent talking, time spent quiet. Time filled with logistical questions, and unanswerable questions, and resolutions that the doctor didn’t need to know but I told him. “We thought we were parents,” I said. “You still are, you still can be,” he said. “This is hard,” he said. “Impossible.”

 

He laid out my options, with no judgement. You can go home, he said. Right now, he said, if you want to. You can wait, or we can give you a medicine to help the process along. It’s hard, he said. But you might want it, he said. You’ll need to come in for another ultrasound to be sure there is no remaining tissue, and it can be quick and painless, or take a long time and have lots of cramping.  But it’s about what you need emotionally. We’re here for you.

 

And they were.

 

The other option was what I came for. General anesthesia. Dilating my cervix. Removing the fetus. Curettage or vacuum aspiration to remove the remaining tissue. And then I would wake up, and no longer be pregnant.  And then I could mourn my loss, because I would have lost it, and it would be done. It would be done.

 

I was thankful for modern medicine. I’ve suffered trauma, and that makes me sort of afraid of the range of emotions I know I’m capable of. Structure is good where grief is concerned. Let’s not do this in my bathroom at home, the one where I saw the positive test, the one where I soaked in a bath, the temperature of which I’d measured so as not to harm the growing fetus.

 

I still felt pregnant. I was still vomiting every day. I’d been on my honeymoon with a dead baby in me, taking pictures of my still growing belly, calling the little bundle a strawberry. We canceled all of the cider tasting, pub visiting, horseback riding across Somerset when we found out. There was joy in being pregnant, so I didn’t regret it. But–well, it was what it was.

 

I’d lit a candle in the Wells Cathedral. I wonder what that candle ended up being for, after all. I took a picture of it, the singular flame. I don’t believe in a tit-for-tat kind of God, the kind who agrees that I know best and gives me just what I ask for, even if I rarely ask. I didn’t think that candle provided special womb protection, traveled back to the moment of conception and assured against any chromosomal abnormalities that would lead me to miscarry. But when I lit it, I did think it carried the light of my new role, the light I felt glowing around me each time I remembered I was pregnant.

 

The D&C, the removal of the tissue, the procedure, the anesthesia, etc, was decided. The doctor left me, and a nurse came in. She read the room, and declared that she had to see my nails. “The whole office is talking about them,” she said. Never had a girl felt more impressive with a drugstore accessory than I did that day. And never had I experienced such an unobtrusive way of coaxing me into being cared for, doted upon, for having an excuse to hold hands when I would have never asked.

 

We moved from the room of the barren-ultrasound-machine to one of a series of curtained off sections in a large open area, like an ER of sorts. Conversations buzzed around us, welcome distractions and reminders that we weren’t alone. It felt strangely comforting to hear snippets of the experiences of others, people we couldn’t see and wouldn’t see again. “You can take ibuprofen for the pain, or call us if it’s not enough.” “You’ll see bleeding for a few days.”  “When can we try again?” “You might feel some cramping.” “Could you tell what it was?”

 

The anesthesiologist came to see us. I was most worried about the anesthesia, as I’d never gone under before. It seemed like diving off the edge of a great precipice, being robbed of all sensory input, of all cognitive awareness, of the ability to feel and think. It seemed frightening– and completely glorious. To learn of none of it.

 

The pace picked up, and soon I was being wheeled into another room. There was a chair with stirrups, lots of lights, instruments, some sort of mask for me to inhale things through. It hit me that I was having surgery, that I was in an operating room, that I was surrounded by surgeons and they were preparing to operate on me. And I was terrified.

 

Everyone spoke in calm, soothing voices to me, and in the most professional, no-nonsense tones to one another. I choked out to a nurse, across the room, “Please help. I am scared shitless.” It wasn’t my most eloquent. It was how I felt. Again, the hand. She grabbed my hand and started rubbing it furiously.

 

“I like to talk about food,” she said. “You must be starving! And after all this, you can eat whatever you want. What are you going to eat first?”

 

I hadn’t eaten for something like 16 hours. Food sounded fabulous. I had a craving deep down for something heavy and comforting, rich and overwhelming. I wanted barbecue so bad.

 

“Barbecue. All I want is barbecue. And I have no idea where to get it! I don’t even know of any good barbecue spots in the city!” I wanted the kind of weird but glorious barbecue you can find in crock pots and chafing dishes in gas stations in the south– or maybe cheap and delicious Tex-Mex, a banh mi from that building shaped like a milk bottle and an Indian taco served at a fundraiser, fourteen thin paper plates supporting its weight. I wanted food from home.

 

The resident perked up. “BARBECUE! YES! How about Fette Sau? It’s insane.” The room buzzed. “Ooooh, where is that?”

 

“Is that French?” The awkward anesthesiologist chimed in.

 

“It’s barbecue. It’s fucking delicious,” replied the resident.

 

The oxygen mask went on my face. A kind doctor stood over me. I remembered her from my initial google searches for gynecologists upon my move to this new, foreign city. “I know you,” I said. “You have an MPH.”  It was important to me, a focus on public health. It didn’t really matter right now.

 

She smiled. “I do!” Things sped up, slowed down, at once.

 

“Okay!” chirped the anesthesiologist, done futzing with whatever it was he was doing with the drugs I would soon be breathing in. He seemed less than impressed with barbecue. That’s okay, he wasn’t invited anyway.

 

Everything shifted, monumentally. “Whoa,” I muttered. “I feel craaaaaaaaaaaazy.” I was flying, or swimming, or something. Maybe I was falling into my own womb.

 

“Go with it,” said the resident, and I could have sworn we held eye contact as I floated away.

 

I awoke 15 seconds, an hour, or a couple of years later. Mike was there. I immediately tried to sit up, to shake the sleep off, to acknowledge that I was still alive. I mean, I think they knew, but I wasn’t sure.

 

Dr. Public Health had gone to let Mike know everything had gone okay. She told him I needed barbecue and they recommended Fette Sau.

 

The nurse who brought him back to me in the recovery area had also reminded him that I was hungry, and he should take me out for barbecue. The place was in Williamsburg, she said, and the other doctor would know the name.

 

They came to give me the summary: all went well, and they were able to remove all of the tissue. I was grateful. I had been sitting in grey-blue light of spring, alone, for far too many hours with death inside of me. Even though a part of me had died, was wounded, needed to grieve, I was glad to be rid of that talisman. Ready to create some space for Mike and I to cry and cling; and then, eventually, to move forward.

 

And barbecue. Two more people stopped by to remind us. They told us to order the burnt ends. The resident stopped by again, and noted my MPH comment. Oh. So it had happened. I really had outed my encyclopedic memory of the credentials of every person I’ve ever googled. “I’m glad it’s important to you. It’s important to us. It’s intrinsic in what we do,” he said. “We care. We care a lot.”

 

I got dressed, took home discharge instructions on a brightly colored flyer. Mike and I ordered take-out Indian food and ate it on the couch that night. I wasn’t in any shape to go out for barbecue, but deeply appreciated the theatrics and continuity of care regarding my next meal, even if we all had an inkling that it was a ruse.

 

We went camping the next day. I didn’t want to be in our home. It was quiet, and some deer took a walk with us. We rowed a boat on a lake, meandered, and I drank a beer, because I could now. I cried because I could. It felt awful. It tasted fine.

 

It took us just a few months before I was pregnant again, pregnant with the nearly three-year-old girl now following her daddy around the house, telling him stories a mile long. My due date with her  (and many subsequent days) came and went, and so I showed up at the hospital for an induction in the same way a kid shows up to school on field trip day. The high-risk OB I’d seen a few times during the pregnancy stopped by to wish me luck. “Trust your pelvis,” she advised.

 

I walked back to the labor ward, where I would, in a few hours, deliver Winnie into an overly warm and terrifically welcoming room. Among the doctors and nurses , I caught a glimpse of the curly-haired resident, furiously entering notes on a computer. I didn’t need to go back to that place, didn’t need some great catharsis. But I noted to my OB when she checked in between contractions later that he and the rest of their staff had made what should have been one of the worst experiences of my life into one of the most healing, and I was glad to see his face. And maybe I’d get that barbecue, one of these days. It came highly recommended, after all.