the miscarriage files : tami kent, MSPT

IMAG0384IMAG0344having a miscarriage shook everything as i had known it. i lost control. i lost certainty. i lost the comfort in thinking that once i was safely past the first trimester, nothing bad could happen. but it did. and it was horrible. i felt like my insides gave up and surrendered all the strength i had known them to have. they opened up and they spilled out a tiny little life that wasn’t going to make it and in that moment, i felt like i had lost everything.

IMAG0380the physical pain during the miscarriage was just like what labor with Sebe felt like. hours of contractions that piled up on each other in waves and left me breathless. and when it was over, almost instantaneously too was the physical hurt gone. i remember feeling both sudden relief and horrified sadness as the end of the pain meant the baby was out, but gone forever. the forever part was both a rational and irrational thought, happening simultaneously in my brain that, at 3:30am in a dark hospital room surrounded by emergency nurses and doctors whose faces reflected back to me how i was feeling inside, was complete mush. leigh was gone on a 24-hour work trip and my mom had driven over to stay the night with sebe so that my dad could rush us to the hospital. i sobbed uncontrollably into his neck when he came in to see me before i was wheeled away to the operating room for a D&C. “it’s gone. the baby is gone.” he held my face and kept saying it wasn’t my fault. my parents are two of my best friends. if it couldn’t have been my husband with me that night and the next day, i was incredibly thankful that i had them. but driving your daughter to the emergency room in the middle of the night while she is having a miscarriage is something no father should ever have to witness. when i close my eyes, i can still see that car ride. i don’t think i will ever not be able to see every moment of that night.

IMAG0381IMAG0336at some point in the following few days, i talked to the midwife who would have delivered the baby. i told her my whole bottom half felt like jello and i didn’t remember feeling like that after giving birth to Seb, which was done naturally, without so much as a single tylenol afterwards (stubbornness runs in the family). she offered that when i was ready, i should look into pelvic floor work and mayan abdominal massage, two things i had never heard of. for the pelvic work, the most respected in town was a woman named tami kent but i was warned she booked out appointments up to two months in advance so the midwife also gave me the name of someone who had studied under tami. my miscarriage happened the evening of December 19th, 2014, the first night of hanukkah. the holidays were approaching and i knew folks were going to be taking off for family festivities so i hastily filled out the contact form on tami’s website, saying just that i was recovering from a second trimester miscarriage and was a mess. i thought for sure i wouldn’t be able to see her soon enough i  so left messages for a few people who do abdominal massage. two nights before christmas eve., i was home baking (these) holiday cookies for the girls and i got an email from tami. she said that her receptionist saw my intake form and that she had a soft spot in her heart for people in my position and could i come to her office the next day at noon, the only slot she had available before holiday break. yes, for sure, thank you and i’ll be there, i told her. with the appointment the following day, i didn’t have the chance to research exactly what it was tami would be doing to me but i didn’t care. whatever it was, i was going to feel better and that’s all i was hoping for. tami’s office is close, just around the corner from us on east burnside. she is in a building filled with other holistic practitioners that is on the same block as screen door, portland’s popular brunch spot. i had passed the house so many times but never had a reason to go inside.

IMAG0352tami practices out of the same simple and warm space she has used for over ten years. there is a tiny waiting room with some magazines and a tiny desk where she fields the appointment requests of hundreds of women. there is a door that separates the waiting room from the room where the magic happens. it too, is simple and warm and feels a bit like the top floor of a treehouse. without getting too tmi, Tami has basically defined a physical therapy that involves the internal massage of your hoo-ha. there’re muscles down there i didn’t even know i had and shit was tender, some of which, tami said, was probably left over from having Sebe over a year ago. with one hand gloved in latex and the other placed under my lower back, she first had me do a couple kegels to figure out which areas needed the most attention and then, chatting with me the whole time, spent the next 45 minutes working on my junk. boo, i cannot be more sincere about this – the. work. was. incredible. like, I felt like a new woman walking out of her office incredible. like, i continued being on cloud nine for a whole week after seeing her incredible. she told me to be easy on myself the rest of the day and to drink water and to get a good night of rest. floating out of her office, i didn’t want to drive home right away. i walked a few blocks away to paadee and ordered pad se ew with tofu and a thai iced tea and just sat with myself and ate noodles in bliss. i thought a lot about the miscarriage and the work i had just experienced and i was so thankful. there are many times in a day when i fall a little more in love with portland and that afternoon, tami was one of them. there are people who practice more traditional pelvic floor work, which i also want to look into but  tami’s work is special. she comes from a career at OHSU, managing women’s physical therapy but she left that world to open a practice that spoke to her more holistically. because it works. or at least it is working for me. i had two follow-ups with tami, the third and last one last week. it was my last time seeing her unless i feel the need to go again. i think miscarriage brings many women into her office but she sees anyone who needs to strengthen and reconnect to her lady parts. there is a powerful physical outcome to tami’s work but she is also an energy reader and in her calm, kind and present way, talked with me about the mind/body connection, specifically in relation to having a miscarriage and in wanting so much to be pregnant again, to give birth to a healthy baby. i have felt stonger, more centered and more whole after each visit with her. i cannot recommend tami’s work enough. i just wish it hadn’t taken a miscarriage to find out about her.

IMAG0348because i can’t post photos of the work tami does, i figured pictures of the most delicious bakery/pastry shop in town would do the job. in conclusion, i suppose this post is about treating yo-self, whether it be an internal vaginal massage or a freshly rolled cannoli. for more about tami kent