Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Dr. Lin on Pregnancy, Delivery, and Love

Our family has an acupuncturist—Dr. Lin.  She’s from China where she was the head of OB/GYN for a substantial geographical area.  Once she delivered 17 babies in a single day.  She and her husband are Christians, and when the opportunity arose, they came to the US and sought asylum. 
While Sam and my son-in-law, Aaron are VERY fond of Dr. Lin, Maddie and I love her.  Dr. Lin doesn’t merely stick needles into body parts.  She massages the hands, feet, sometimes the back.  She always has a period of pressing her hands at our temples.  Our bodies soak up peace and tranquility.  We leave feeling refreshed.

When Maddie became pregnant (for which she credits Dr. Lin) (and Aaron), we asked if she could impart some wisdom for Maddie in preparation of labor and delivery, and for me in support of her—though we’ll have two excellent midwives (and Aaron!) in attendance at the homebirth.

Yesterday, Dr. Lin imparted her wisdom.

Some of what she said has changed the course of not just the next month, and The Big Day, but hopefully, the rest of our lives.

First some practical advice:

1.    She liked that Aaron and Maddie were moving in with Sam and me, and that they'll be with us when the baby is born.  She said: this is good.  So so good. This time so special.  It goes fast—but you will always remember it.

2.    She said:  slow everything down now.  Take time eating meals.  Eat for a few minutes, then take some water.  Have a few nuts.  Chew, Chew, Chew.  Have clear soups with every meal. 

3.    She said:  Organize something in the house every day.  A closet.  A room.  Don’t keep too many things.  Live simple.  Maddie, you help your mother—every day.  Mother, you let her.  You watch out for her, too.  Help her get rest.

4.    She said:  Maddie, you sleep as much as possible.  Go to bed at eleven, wake up when is natural.  Take time eating breakfast.  Chew, Chew, Chew.  Rest.  Organize closet.

5.    She said:  take walk every day.  Not too fast.  You take time walking.  Get sunshine.  If weather too cold, go to mall, but not when too many people come.  Now don’t go see movie.  Many sick people.  You stay home.  Rest.  Have snack.  Chew, Chew, Chew.

6.    She said:  you enjoy time with family.  Make things ready for baby.  This time beautiful.  Thirty-two weeks, you look perfect.  Beautiful.  When contractions begin, you think:  my baby comes soon—don’t be worried.  There is pain, but remember, this pain is beautiful.

7.    She said:  Lisa, you take care of Maddie’s hands, feet, and head.  I show you lower back, too.  You help her relax.  You do this every day.  Begin with heating your hands.  Never touch with cold hands.  You take stone from hot water (she began demonstrating with a stone from a bowl of hot water).  If too hot, put in cold water for little time.  You do this for you husband, too.  Sam—there is powerful man…

She gushed over my powerful husband for five full minutes—he has that effect on the over-65 crowd.

She also handed me the stone which she’d held with no problem.  Yikes, it was hot!!  She showed me how and where to massage Maddie’s (and Sam’s) hands and feet.  She showed me what to do to help Maddie with lower back pain—especially during labor.  She explained to Maddie about breathing and relaxing and what to do with her body, what to be thinking about. She showed me which parts of my hands to use to help her, and how to support myself so I wouldn’t start aching.

Lastly, she showed me how to hold Maddie’s neck, then temples to keep her relaxed. 

8.    She said (as she demonstrated):  warm hands with stone—lots of heat.  Put fingers here, press here, hold here.  Move hands here—don’t let fingers touch face.  You stay like this now—most important part.  Put arm like this, then you don’t get tired.  You close eyes—she is relaxed now, maybe sleeping.  Now you meditate for her, pray for her. You do this with Qi Gong (it sounded like she said chignon).  With purpose for her, intent for her.  It is pouring all love into her.

It is pouring all love into her.

It is pouring all love into her.

It is pouring all love into her.

I wrote a fictional story once, the most autobiographical one I’ve ever written, and though my grandmother was German and not half-Cherokee, it was her touch I was remembering with these words:

My grandmother on my mother's side was half-Cherokee, and the people I knew, before our move to California, said she was a medicine woman. They said the world broke her heart, and everything good that remained was channeled through her able hands.  Her healing hands.   

Hands that had never struck my cheek.

I watched Dr. Lin pour love into Maddie.  The kind my grandmother had poured into me.  How often had she held my hand, made her touch accessible?  She might not have been able to put a name to it, yet the outcome was the same—healing, soothing, the rendering of peace.  The love she spoke into me lasting a lifetime, a shadow of the Love that would last for eternity.

Touching. Holding. Loving. With intent.

That’s what Maddie and I had felt during our regular acupuncture appointments with Dr. Lin.  In fact, we talked about it once, wondering if she prayed for us when she held our head in her hands.  The intent was so strong, we could sense it, feel it.

What we came away with yesterday:  being a medicine woman or a healer or someone who acts as a balm in what can be a rough world, at its foundation is the pouring out of love with intent.

Before we left Dr. Lin’s office, she disappeared to her closet where unusual items dwell.  She came back with a basket containing three large stones.  She said:  you take these.  My friend from India brought back for me.  Wash them.  Use them.

I’m not sure if Dr. Lin had ever heard of a “group hug” or not, but that’s what we engaged her in.

With intent.  Lots and lots of intent.

All in Goodwill,

Friday, February 21, 2014

Last Night at Our House…An Update on Roy Marshall

Many of you are wondering what’s going on with Roy Marshall now.  You’ve heard rumors he turned down a room in an apartment.  The other homeless men gratefully accepted, but not Roy.  He said no—he wanted to stay in his tent. 

Why would he do that?

Because Roy’s “end game” was never about finding shelter for himself or fixing what we refer to as the homeless problem, and what he refers to as the homeless opportunity.  He hoped that by loving the homeless, it would change our hearts—as it had changed his.  The mission God gave Roy was to love the church by helping them to love the homeless, the least of these. 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Looking for a Good Man

By now everybody and his brother and uncle knows I’m looking for my biological father. 

I’ve followed one lead after another, gone down quite a few rabbit trails, had some scares, and some laughs.

As each new “candidate” surfaces, there comes the moment I begin reading an article, an email, a biography, an obituary—the threads of a person's lifewhen a question emerges.

And it isn’t, “Will this be him?”

Friday, January 31, 2014

Button Your Blouse and Go Home

I’m a fifty-year-old woman looking for her father—on Facebook with a poster.  How pathetic is that?  I loved my mother and know she did the best she could, but did she really think it wouldn’t matter to me to know who my father was? To be fair to her, for thirty-five years this was exactly the case.  Not a surprise, though, considering the subsequent men who filled the role of dad. 

They gave fatherhood a bad name.

We don’t hear much talk these days about heritage, birthright, and parentage. Well, maybe parentage—when someone wants child support.  Then we go all DNA on one another and haul lazy asses into courts.  Yet for the most part, anything goes when it comes to parenting configurations.  Teen parents—not a problem.  Children out of wedlock—they won’t know the difference. One night stands resulting in single parenting—exhausting but doable. Sperm donors, egg donors—the miracle of modern medicine.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Closing of the Casket...

Last Saturday I attended a funeral where I felt something I’d never felt before. 


The casket was open as friends sat down and ushers escorted family to a private room.  Up ahead Mr. Cooley’s full white hair and kind forehead could be seen above a line of white satin.  I’d sat with him days before, holding his hand as his family worked to bring home his wife of 56 years so she could say goodbye.  It was one of those “flukes” in life where the truth is more than a writer could make up.  But that is another story—one of faith, strength, love, and courage. 

This one is of finality.