weekly prompt #6
She lies on her yoga mat and tries to follow the instructions:
„You do not have to do anything, let you breath flow. Be one with the mat“, whispers the yoga instructor softly.
The smell of incense almost takes her breath away. And this is supposed to be relaxing? I have to gag from this stuff. Great, I’m not even good at relaxing, this day is going just great.
Her alarm had gone off at six-thirty, but she wanted to stay in bed for a tiny bit longer and boom, 25 minutes had passed. No time for coffee or a toast with jam, meaning also no visit to the toilet before class. Damn, then I will have to go in the middle and in this fancy yoga studio they really frown upon people leaving the room. "Yoga with an Ohm" is much too expensive for her, but she needed to splurge on something, with everything else going to shit.
A gentle breeze sneaks out of her behind. Oh no, I hope it doesn’t smell. Now, breathe in and out extra loudly to drown out the sound. Ok, good. These yoga pants are so tight at the waist. She got them ages ago at a discount store and they are not as fancy and elastic as the ones with the elegant patterns on the gazelles to her left and right.
"Put your hands on your belly, feel the air moving," whispers the instructor. She obeys dutifully and her fingers get caught on the little roll of fat above the waistband. Like dough that sloshes over the muffin tins. She sighs loudly, much too loudly and can feel the disapproving looks even with her eyes closed
She slides back and forth on the mat trying to find a more comfortable position. This cheap thing never stays nicely flat on the ground but rolls up. She feels like she is being eaten by a carnivorous plant that is slowly wrapping her in bright green fangs and closes her eyes more tightly.
Shavasana, the corpse pose. Just relax for a few minutes, then back to reality. First I have to call the lawyer, the letter with the documents for the divorce arrived yesterday and there is still a lot, no actually everything is still unclear. Then talk to that nasty guy from human resources, then...
Her thoughts are all over the place. In the distance, as if through a thick pillow, she hears a soft gong. Exhale.
"Come back into the room," whispers the yoga teacher. "Keep your eyes closed, be aware of yourself."
Hey, that worked. The mat feels soft and firm at the same time, the pants no longer pinch and even the fabric has relaxed and feels very nice and smooth.
She sits up, everyone sounds a shared OOOHHMM only then she slowly opens her eyes and blinks. Huh, why am I sitting by the window? I squeezed myself into the back corner earlier. She looks down. The mat shines in a rich orange, her legs are clad in petrol blue leggings and don't look like her legs at all, but much much longer and slimmer. She looks around confused. What the F? The room empties. In the back, in her corner lies an abandoned bright green half-rolled up yoga mat.
She slowly gets up.....
close your eyes and leave the room
yoga makes new you
We sat in the parking lot at the fertility clinic and prayed.
Three years of my wife peeing into cup, tracking her ovulation, telling me when we need to get busy in the bedroom. Three years of disappointment. Late periods. Unusual sensitivity in her breasts. Painful cramps, probably stress-related. Crying. Screaming. Therapy. Three years of friends and family members announcing they’re pregnant. We helped plan baby showers. We gave likes on Instagram. We wrote congratulations cards.
“Dear Jesus, give us babies.”
I squeezed her hand.
“We can do this,” I said.
The waiting room at the fertility clinic had tall windows that looked out to the riverfront, portraits of beautiful babies being coddled by happy parents, and an inspirational quote about flowing with grace by ‘artist unknown.’ The receptionist offered us Perrier while we waited for our appointment. I wrote a haiku on my phone. My wife stared out the window, watching families play in the park by the water.
Our friends are pregnant
(Again) I put on a smile
When is it our turn?
I thumbed through the welcome packet, excitement and apprehension pouring over me. Three years. We were finally going to get some answers to our fertility questions. I was nervous what those answers would be and how much it would cost us. What if we have no chance of getting pregnant and the doctor pressures us into an expensive procedure that does nothing but get our hopes up? I have never had much faith in doctors.
A nurse came out to the lobby. My wife lit up when the nurse asked if she was pronouncing her name correctly. Ka-My-Lee.
“You have a beautiful name,” the nurse said. “We’re so happy you chose our clinic for your fertility journey. We are going to take great care of you. Doctor Edwards is ready to see you now.”
“Thank you,” Kamaile said.
Doctor Edwards was tall and slender. He wore dark wash jeans and black cowboy boots with his lab coat. His hair was dusty grey and balding in the middle. He took out a notepad and pen, drawing three dots in a staggered line that resembled a graph.
“Thomas and Kam-Mile,” he said. “I understand you have been trying to get pregnant for three years. You need a little help. Kam-Mile, your weight is a concern.”
He looked down at his notepad.
“This is your BMI,” he said, pointing at a dot on the page. “You are in the obese category. To increase your chances of getting pregnant, I recommend losing around thirty pounds. That would put you in this category here.”
He drew lines to connect the dots.
“What would you recommend to a person in a smaller body?” Kamaile said.
“Do you mean someone with a lower BMI?” he said.
“Sure,” Kamaile said.
“It would depend on the person,” he said. “Your body is risky.”
I was so tense that I was shaking. I bit my cheek to keep myself from cussing him out. I wanted to tell him to take that stupid notepad and shove it up his ass.
“What studies do you have that show losing weight helps women get pregnant?” Kamaile said.
“There are many studies,” he said.
He drew a circle.
“This is your ovary,” he said. “Up to fifty percent of infertile women have had endometriosis. Sometimes endometriomas attach to the ovaries. There is a chance that part of your ovary was removed when you had your surgery.”
He drew a circle within the circle.
“We will do an ultrasound to look at your reproductive organs and see if everything is functioning properly,” he said. “Thomas, if you are ready to do your semen analysis today, we have an on-site collection room.”
In the exam room, Kamaile undressed from the waist down and sat at the edge of the table while Doctor Edwards prepared the ultrasound. I had a sinking feeling in my chest. What if the problem is me? Doctor Edwards made awkward small talk while probing her vagina. He asked her about her career and where she went to college. I took out my phone and opened the web browser. What percentage of men are infertile? What supplements can I take to improve semen quality? How often should I be having intercourse when trying to conceive? Kamaile stood up from the exam table and put on her clothes. Everything appeared to be normal with her first test.
"I'll pay for our visit," Kamaile said. "You go ahead and do your semen analysis. Meet you in the car."
I shut the door to the collection room and locked it. I set my semen analysis cup on the edge of the sink and unfastened my belt. On the wall, hung between two lounge chairs, was a painting of a school of sperm swimming in a flower-like formation. There was a generic side table in the corner with a stack of dirty magazines. Opposite the chair was a lifeless TV, which I could only presume was for viewing porn. It was odd because there weren’t any DVDs. Something about the small vial of lube the nurse gave me made me feel uncomfortable. I threw it in the trash bin. I unzipped my pants, closed my eyes, and imagined the warmth of Kamaile's body against mine.
I sealed up my sample and left the clinic.
BMI is not an accurate measurement of health. BMI was developed in the 1830s by Lambert Adolphe Jacques Quetelet, who was searching for a universal average man. It was later adapted by insurance companies, and then the medical community, but only because it was more convenient.
Women who are obese and struggling to become pregnant are often advised to lose weight, but studies find that there are no fertility benefits from weight loss.
Infertility affects 1 in 8 couples trying to conceive. In at least half of all cases of infertility, a male factor is a contributing cause.
(Dr. Edwards is a made up name and details of our clinic have been changed)
As Mother’s Day nears, I remember my Mom. She was beautiful, glamorous, and complicated.
I remember I loved her but I was also scared of her. She was temperamental, and very quick to react. I remember being closer to my Dad.
She was never too warm, too loving, too motherly. But she was always there for me. Whatever happened, she was there for me.
It was her name I called when I was going through labor for my first child. The one I turned to when we were planning to build our house. The one I could rely on to save a cash-strapped business. She lent me money with interest, so I never took money for granted.
In the end, I had to decide how her money would be split between us siblings. I had to decide to pull the plug when her life was only being prolonged by machines.
I remember that first Mother’s day without her and how desolate I felt. She was not very warm, my Mom, but life without her has been unbearably cold.
Mommy, never warm
She loved me by trusting me
How I miss her so
As a fiction writer (romance, crime and speculative fiction), I tried summarizing some of the stories I’ve written using Hellokoos. It was a fun exercise!
Careful what you wish
Turn back time, change in a flash
In My Dreams
In between life, death
A girl and boy fall in love
Never met for real
Too good to be true
Something’s definitely up
But are you still game?
The best friend she loved
Or the hot guy she just met
So who would she choose?
The Crime Circle
Standing up to the bullies
While making music
Life’s Tricks and Treats
Childhood friends, meeting
Old Halloween traditions
Memories and love
Take a leap of faith
Find out who you really are
Love is genderless
Come Full Circle
A slow burn falling in love
Friends first, lovers now
In the Key of Z
In the key of Z
The song I want to perform
With you beside me
More Than Meets The Eye
Turns very real between them
More than meets the eye
The Seventh Time
Off and on again
This is the seventh, last time
Love’s a decision
If I had to pick
The one I need to survive
I’d pick one I love