Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Good Luck

Most people have something they do for good luck. Knock on wood, rub a lucky coin, wear socks inside out, always listen to the same song before a job interview, etc. These rituals help us feel like we are contributing to the likelihood of something good happening. In my case, lucky charms and rituals help me feel like I have some control over the completely and totally uncontrollable fertility treatment outcome.

Baby Horned Owl
"Other Owl"
I have been really into owls lately. I normally can't stand birds--I find them creepy (especially in swarms). But for some reason, owls have been speaking to me. They are cute. They are wise. They deliver your mail if you go to Hogwarts. I feel like they are a good-luck totem for me. My first owl in the house was a metal sculpture from Edgecomb Pottery near Boothbay Harbor, Maine. He is a cute baby horned owl and sits on my mantel. I got him in April as a "just because" prize from Bryce. My second owl was a cast iron spoon rest from Arena's here in Rochester--this time a birthday prize from Bryce in May. My third and fourth owls came to me in late June--a slightly creepy, Coraline-esque button-eyed stuffed owl from a shop in Bar Harbor, ME and a little plate with an owl on it, also from Bar Harbor (but a different shop). These owls made me feel like I was filling my house with good juju.

My awesome corduroy
owl bag
So, when I was starting my first IVF cycle in August, I felt I needed a special owl prize to reward myself for going through the grueling process. I went to the Park Ave Festival and saw my prize--a beautiful corduroy pocketbook with owls all over it. Cute owls. Owls in many colors that would go with anything--and I could take my good owl juju on the go with me everywhere I went. Unfortunately that bag was sold in the booth, but very, very fortunately I could order one from the seller on etsy.com. I went to pick up my bag at the seller's house, and met a wonderful person who was also going through the infertility journey. My love of owls and need to have a special present for myself during this time led me straight to an awesome friend that I would have never otherwise met. After discovering our unfortunate similarities, I stayed at her house for almost two hours talking about the infertility journey. She invited me to her yoga class and support group for fertility, and I have been going ever since. My search for owl good luck charms brought me a friend, centeredness, and support that I may not have found otherwise.

Sparkly owl pendant
with "moon"
The day of my actual egg retrieval, Bryce had to go back to work for a meeting. I could not be left to my own devices as I was on Percoset and in more than a bit of pain. Enter my friend who came to be my nanny for the day and watch "Love Actually" with me as I drifted in and out of consciousness. This friend brought me another owl--this time an awesome, sparkly pendant. It is not something I would ever have picked out for myself, but I felt it was a very special owl as it was a heartfelt gift and I could wear it on me and REALLY take my good juju everywhere I went. I wore the owl throughout the remainder of the cycle. That cycle didn't work out, and (among other things) I superstitiously think part of it was because my owl pendant was compromised. About a week after transfer, I went for an easy hike in Penfield with Bryce and our new greyhound. There was a bizarre tropical cheeping sound coming from the ground near the trailhead, and hopping around the ground was someone's grey and yellow cockatiel. A profoundly NOT good luck bird, a creepy bird, especially when it flew up on my shoulder and wouldn't leave. The stupid evil bird proceeded to bite at my neck and bit my chain right in two, causing my good luck owl to drop to the sidewalk. I was incredibly upset. This HAD to be a really bad omen. Some freak tropical pet bird flies up on my shoulder and bites my owl charm right off my neck? That is NOT good juju. But, with a new chain the owl has been cleansed of its unfortunate ravaging by the cockatiel and is now, once again, a good luck charm. Maybe wearing it for the entirety of the cycle (and timing the cycle in the winter when birds are less plentiful) will make a difference.
This is the moment--that bird is
biting my chain right off my neck. 

Quilted Owl
This Christmas I was swamped (happily) in owls--I got a set of beautiful quilted owl ornaments from a good friend, an owl ornament from my mother-in-law, a beautiful Hedwig-esque snowy owl print from my mom and stepdad, an owl water bottle from Bryce, and an owl charm on a Troll bracelet. I am swimming in owl goodness.

Which brings me to my next set of good luck rituals, thanks to a friend from the yoga group. She let me know some tips that were given to her by her acupuncturist, and since she got pregnant with her son that cycle I am more than happy to follow them. Ritual #1: Make space in the house for your future baby. Make sure that baby knows you are ready for its arrival so that it can come to you. I have a guest room that I redid in the past couple of years and I have made it my meditation space. It is a soothing space filled with picture books and drawers full of pregnancy books that friends have passed on to me (but I am not ready to read yet). It will be the baby's room one day (soon). Ritual #2: Buy something for your future baby. In the fall I kept passing a onesie in Target that caught my eye. It had a cute frog in a lotus pose on it, and I wanted it but couldn't justify buying a onesie for a nonexistent baby. Finally, Bryce said "Just BUY it!" and so I did. I stored it in my injection closet on top of all the boxes of medication and bags of needles that I would be using for my next cycle. After getting this piece of advice from my friend, I washed the onesie and matching bibs that I bought. The onesie is on the bed in the guest/meditation room so that I can have it near me when I'm relaxing in there. The bibs are stuffed in our pillowcases. Weird? Maybe. I am definitely letting this baby know it can come anytime!!! Ritual #3: Burn red candles. Burn them all the way down until they go out if you have time, and if not snuff them out, don't blow them out. Not sure what's behind this, but I was so excited because I had just filled the house with red candles for the holidays. And we bought a snuffer in the same shop in Bar Harbor as the little owl plate, so I have been snuffing and not blowing out my candles anyway. I bought more red votives and tea lights and have been continuously burning red candles. And snuffing them. (Tea lights are kind of cheating because they burn out in a couple of hours max, but I don't think that hurts the ritual.)

All of these things may seem silly and superstitious. Is a house full of owls, red candles, and empty onesies really going to make or break my chances of getting pregnant? Maybe not. But it can't hurt. I am adding all of these tokens and charms and rituals to my arsenal for IVF #2 -- Future Baby, we're ready for you!

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