Monday, August 28, 2006

Farm Boys, etc.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Thanks and love

just wanted to extend my gratitude to each of you for your dear comments on the blog. i've wanted to reply personally to each one, and checking every day to see what's new has been a delight. i'm so grateful for this space and method of communication. it's been a real revelation and honor to open such a wide window into our lives, and to be so constantly and joyfully surprised by the sense of community that continues to grow here.

because of my son's giant cabasa i'm still doing some significant healing, in fact, typing this one-handed while nursing and lying in bed - hence the lack of capitals. it will be nice to be able to walk around and sit down again, and ditch this horizontal existence. i'm in the process of working through the details of my birth story, which was indeed a life/mind altering experience in every way - probably the hardest and best thing i've ever done. i hope to relate it all on this site soon, once i can get it sorted out upstairs in my brain.

thanks again for all of your kind wishes, emails, calls, and congrats. some of you i haven't been in touch with for ages and some of you i look forward to meeting in person some day! what great side effects a birth can have!

i'm loving being a mother more than i ever would have imagined.


charis (and sleepy owain!)

Monday, August 21, 2006

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Tomato Monk

Owain's birth song

low moaning birth song,
pain, no breaks, coming every minute or less,
her body a tight-pulled bow and ready ready to fire through meters of dense steel,
I pour water over her belly, back, over water,
humming low tones with her, breathing out long and relaxed, feeding her water,
lying on the bed, her body pressed against mine, every inch unforgiving, "I need a
break" "I do not have the energy," knowing she can do it, but desiring for a way to give relief:
neck rub, deep breath, encouragement, neck rub,
stairs: hang on Jay and slow dance, take the stairs up two at a time, hang on Jay and slow
dance, I hug so tight and sway with her, my ear pulsing with her song,
instantly on a stool Charis seated on me, I'm whispering to Becca and Jeannine "what is
no need for answer as I feel her body push with the force and power of a tug boat up rapids,
finally some seconds of break between pushes
power and force unstoppable, one hand on stomach feeling the change and shape shift, one
hand massaging as best as possible,
back to the tub, Charis resting into my lap and chest,
pushing more,
a moon rises between two mountains, cheers and encouragement from all corners of the room,
a head and Paula's hand ballet under water and a child on her chest,
quiet, too quiet,
all wrinkly and clammy,
suctioning of lungs, still a rattle, a little blue,
I touch every inch of the baby's body, talking, begging for bold signs of life,
turn the baby upside down, to drain the fluid, "It's a boy,"
oxygen to the lungs,
little cries, the greatest sound in the world.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Paparazzi or proud father?

Owain Atticus Nordlund Collins

Gentle; Strong
Attuned; Powerful
Peaceful; Determined
Calm; Alert

Two heroes were born today

The first:
Owain Atticus Nordlund Collins
Owain: Celtic, meaning HERO
9 pounds, 11 ounces
22.25 inches
Beautiful, healthy, alert, sweet, perfect, miracle of a baby boy. He arrived at 11:16 p.m. today, August 14.

The second:
My sister, Charis. Her heroism leaves me speechless, as I cannot imagine I will ever find the words to describe the enormous strength and determination she showed during 10 hours of hard, intense, seemingly constant contractions and labor. She was a rock. She was beautiful. She was who she always has been, but magnified exponentially. It was heroic what she accomplished today. And what a gift to receive in return for her labor - Owain is a perfect blessing for two incredible parents.

We are smitten. And exhausted! Good night - and I promise, more tomorrow!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Now we're really going!

Hi folks - B here. Well, we're REALLY off to the birth center in a few minutes now. Baby is still very busy in Charis's belly, but the contractions are coming hard and strong! Keep baby, mom and dad in your thoughts and prayers and we'll do our best to post from the birth center if we can. Love and crowning baby heads to everyone!
- Auntie B

Goin' to the birth center soon!

Okay, contractions are getting pretty strong, so I'm heading in within the next hour or so - hopefully we'll be able to post from there...


The waters have broken

Well, I'm not sure what to attribute it to: my massive blubbering/weeping freakout on my midwife yesterday, the fact that I'm now nearly two weeks past my due date and as big as a Belgian, or that Thelonious must hate hospitals as much as I do (I originally had tests scheduled for today to make sure everything was AOK in there), but since I've been sharing the most intimate details of my life on these pages anyway...


So, here we go!

Now my midwife says I'm to "go about life as usual" (good luck to us) until some serious contractions start, taking my temperature and pulse every four hours to monitor for infection. Then it's off to the birthing center with me. Supposedly within 12 hours I'll be in honest-to-goodness labor. But as we all know, certain fetuses like to take their time...

We'll try to keep posting with news as it happens! It's better than CNN!

Love and actual babies on the outside to all,


Friday, August 11, 2006

10 days and counting ...

Round these parts we don't bother with drivin' on bumpy roads to coax our overdue babies out! We get our horses a-trottin' around and promise our unborn children their very own Belgian when they get borned!

Eviction Notice

Tenant: Thelonious Collins (heretofore referred to as "fetus")
Landlord: Charis D Collins
Current Address: Womb

Said landlord requests that said fetus clear the premesis no later (but preferably before) August 15, 2006, Year of Our Lord. Landlord expects fetus to make every effort to leave peacefully via proper channels, exiting southward through birth canal and not busting through landlord's womb like a mascot ripping through a team poster, as is currently being attempted. Landlord also requests fetus remove current furnishings along with self, including placenta and umbilical cord, amniotic fluid and any old couches fetus may have picked up in the alley during his/her stay. Landlord has made an effort to sweep the membranes (with the help of her midwife), though fetus may still receive cleaning deposit back if landlord deems it appropriate. Landlord reserves the right to flush out fetus with castor oil cocktail like a hose in a mole hole if fetus hasn't at least made an effort to exit by date stated above. Landlord understands the mighty pleasures her womb must offer, but invites fetus to participate in the larger party on the outside: "It's more fun out here. I promise."

Landlord appreciates all of your calls and emails and loves that you care and feels like Princess Diana with all of the attention from her adoring public, but doesn't want to talk about it right now, and is avoiding the ringing phone like the plague as she has become more and more annoyed with the sound of her own voice on this subject. Know that she will make every effort to keep you informed as the drama plays out...

Stay tuned!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Don't get too excited yet! It's not quite the real deal!

See Jay's post below.

Questions and events that have turned me upside down

Recently, I've had some confrontations with a couple of fine men and women who wear bullet proof vests, heavy boots, flashlights, and guns and drive cars with flashing lights. In fact, two within 24 hours.

Wednesday I delivered recycling and garbage to the dump and was on the way to pick up some more shavings for Charis from the lumber yard. Chris and I call it the wood store - they have all this "scrap" wood that we collect. So far we have used it to build a deck and two book shelves. I guess I did not come to a complete stop at the one stop sign in Colfax, and bang went the blue and red lights. The young police officer was a kind gentlemen and only gave me a warning: it helped to be a Colfax resident. In the conversation with him, I found out in Wisconsin trucks must have their registration in the truck, but cars are not required to have their registrations. I asked why. The answer: "That is the rule."

Thursday I took our new-to-us Prizm to be inspected. It is a salvage title - we bought it from a man in Minnesota who fixes cars that have been totaled; only the hood and side panel were replaced. It was approved for title and safety in Minnesota before we bought it. Wisconsin does not accept other state approvals and has their own tedious process. I spent a nice hour with a very kind lady who is a state patrol officer and performs the car inspection. We did not pass because the license plate light does not work. Therefore, I am not allowed to drive this car (my current license plates were removed) until it is fixed and brought back for a second inspection (by appointment and only on Thursdays). I asked about trying to drive our new child home. She told me that it is against the law to drive it and to "call an ambulance." I asked why. The answer: "That is the rule."

Both of these folks seemed like fine people. I started thinking; what if these two officers started questioning the rules that define their occupation? It would turn their world upside down. If they truly started questioning the rules, could they still serve effectively as police officers? (Typing this I taste the bitterness of irony - I teach in a school system that I completely disagree with and question every day, yet still serve as a teacher there.)

Thinking about questions/experiences that turn the world upside down, I began reflecting on the experiences that turned my own world upside down:

- hearing the alto saxophone played professionally (yes, it was Spyro Gyra, but it was a gateway)
- "The Grand Inquisitor" in Dostoyevsky's The Brothers Karamazov
- Frankenstein by Mary Shelly and questioning which character was really the monster
- Environmental Philosophy class in the Adirondack Mountains
- being in Ecuador with joyous people who live a totally different lifestyle than I do
- beer, and that - hey - it's not evil (I grew up with Nancy Regan - "just say NO")
- The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
- a beautiful, intelligent woman who looked like she just got off the boat from Sweden and made (makes) my heart and mind swirl
- The Plies: thought, action, questioners, loving
- The Jacksons: opening their home and family to two (of us) poor homeless souls
- Monday night dinners: community and support unmeasurable
- hearing the Mel Brown Sextet for the first time at Berbatis Pan
- Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time by Marcus Borg
- being a part of the multi-age community-based Cedar Lodge classroom
- traveling in Italy
- staying with relatives in Sweden
- living in community with Becca and Chris and making permanent, intentional choices that are pro-community and pro-health (earth and body)
- Ellis
- our birthing classes and the excitement that comes with expecting our child

I would truly like to hear and know what experiences, events, books, etc. have triggered a radical change in your world view.

I am waiting excitedly for the biggest event to ever turn my world upside down. Charis is experiencing mild "practice" contractions as I write.