Friday, September 29, 2006

One small step

I just fired off a letter to my MP asking for help with getting October 15th officially recognized in Canada too.

We shall see.

The government failed my son miserably when he was alive. Having only one OB on duty in a hugely busy hospital labour and delivery ward is unthinkably stupid and, frankly, borders on negligent - and it cost my son his life.

Let's see what the government is willing to do for him now that he's gone.

Fingers crossed.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

It's official

October 15th is officially Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day in the United States. It was passed in Congress today.

According to the wonderful people at

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day is to promote support, education and awareness for grieving parents nationwide (and worldwide).

Too many families grieve in silence, sometimes never coming to terms with their loss. Our goal is to help others relate to our loss, know what to say, do or not say, not do and to help families live with their loss, not "get over" their loss.

I only wish the day was also recognized here in Canada. If I had any inkling as to how to go about doing here what the October 15th supporters have done in the States, I'd do it in a heartbeat.

Any ideas? Anyone? Anyone?

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Beans and fibre on a rockin' Tuesday night

Last night My Beloved and I went on a futile hunt for dried butter beans. I wasn't able to find them when I went shopping in the afternoon, and he suggested we try a different store which has a greater selection of non-traditional foods (a classification I assumed butter beans must fall under). So off we went.

No one told us that "butter beans" is just another name for lima beans. We saw a zillion different brands of lima beans, both dried and canned, but passed them up in search of the elusive butter bean. In fact, as he was putting back yet another can of limas he'd grabbed thinking they were the sneaky little butter bean, My Beloved commented on how much the two looked alike.

No kidding.

Anyway, we eventually gave up and found ourselves wandering through the cereal aisle. Beanless.

We're very particular about our cereals, the better half and me. I lean towards crispy flakes or wheaty squares and he sticks with fruity granolas and nutty oats.

But we both love fibre. Ever since we learned the magical equation (in every serving there should be at least 1g of fibre per 100 calories for the product to be considered relatively healthy) we've been fiends about finding the most healthy (a.k.a. fibre-leaden) cereals we can.

So we took our positions in the aisle, grabbed a box each and happily started perusing nutritional stats.

We'd been fully engrossed in label reading for quite some time when My Beloved stopped, cereal box in hand, looked at his watch, looked at me and pointed out how undeniably pitiful it was that we were standing in the grocery store at 10:00pm on a Tuesday night marveling at the whole wheat and bran content of cereals. And enjoying it.

I quietly dropped my box of Muffets in the basket and we slunk off to the cash, two old people wearing pretty convincing 30-something disguises.

We stayed up until after 1:00am watching TV and playing on the computer in what I'm pretty sure was a subconscious way of proving that we're not that old. But I'm feeling it today.

Thank God I had my fibre.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Butter tarts and a billion hats

I've been missing Thomas so much the last few days. I miss him all the time, but every now and then it hits me like a freight train and sends me into complete mental chaos. The disappointment of the IUI and the general infertility malaise that I'm settling into hasn't helped either.

For some reason, every cycle that I find myself still miserably and utterly unpregnant makes me miss Thomas more. It's as though I'm moving farther and farther away from all babies - including him - with each failed cycle. Like they're all out of reach. Like I'm hurtling into a vast babyless void.

And I don't know what to fill it with. I don't know what I will fill it with if it stays empty forever. I guess there will be a lot of bear hats for my friends' kids and a freezer full of butter tarts and pumpkin loaves for My Beloved and me. I can make other things if I can't make babies, I suppose.

Eeew. How maudlin and self-servingly pathetic. But what's a melancholic girl to do? Bake and crochet. Blog and moan. Repeat.

On Saturday night we went to the in-laws for dinner where there was lots of good food and lots of people I love. But I kept seeing the empty space where Thomas should have been. I watched his three cousins running and playing and getting cuddles and kisses from their aunts, uncles and grandparents - and I ached because Thomas wasn't there to do the same.

The kids are all growing up and getting so big and my Thomas is still a little baby.

What a great, big, horrible mind fuck.

Geez, I can't even blame this funk on Clomid since we're playing hooky from the clinic this cycle. It's all me baby. All the negativity and resentment and grief and frustration. It's all me.


Friday, September 22, 2006

10 Ways to cope with a failed IUI

1. Cry a little bit, but try to control yourself while driving because not only do you look like a lunatic (which is probably really disconcerting to other drivers), but it's hard to see properly when you're looking through tears.

2. Keep any non-fertility related doctor's appointments you may have already made, because finding out your blood pressure is perfect will make you feel infinitesimally better about the state of your stupid, broken-down, and frustratingly malfunctioning body. And infinitesimally better is better than nothing.

3. Count your blessings, like the husband who gets mad at you for apologizing when you tell him that the IUI failed and makes very sure that you know he doesn't feel an ounce of anger towards you or said frustratingly malfunctioning body.

4. Treat yourself. Go to your favourite grocery store instead of the discount chain with the shitty produce where you have to bag your own groceries and get a big honking chocolate cake. Eat close to a quarter of it almost as soon as you get home.

5. Decide to take a holiday from the fertility clinic. Throw caution to the wind and bar all doctors, nurses and ultrasound technicians from your nether regions and refuse to take any and all mood-altering fertility medications for the period of one complete cycle. Just because you can. And if you don't you may go stark raving mad.

6. Keep on crocheting little hats for little heads even though you know full well they might never find their way onto a child of your own. Take comfort in knowing that little heads somewhere will be snug and toasty just the same.

7. Mope, but don't lose hope.

8. Recognize that number 7 is really hard to do (the not losing hope part) and that it's kind of annoying that it rhymes.

9. Gratefully accept the hugs and positive thoughts from the 9 billion people you told about the IUI in the first place.

10. Vow to keep things a little more private in future in order to spare everyone's feelings - including your own.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

I may have a problem...

Can't. Stop. Making. Hats.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The big lie

It's easy to lull yourself into believing that you'd be okay with not having another baby when you're not around them all that much - and when your memory of the one you had feels more and more like a beautiful dream as time passes. It's easy to lie to yourself when you've been doing it for so long and pretending that you're just being grounded and realistic and mature about the whole thing.

But when you hold a baby - when you look into her tiny little face and are rewarded with big, toothless, open-mouthed smiles and baby-sized giggles, when you feel her warmth and smell the intoxicating babyness of her - it's almost impossible to believe the lie.

I went for lunch with my neighbour and her 4-month old baby today, and I fell in love with her like I do every time I see her. The world around me fell silent while I held her and talked to her and bounced her on my knee and watched her watching me with her big, wondering eyes.

And I ached.

How can I give up when I know this is what I'm fighting for?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The bookstore

Last week, on a rather rainy Tuesday, we headed out to the bookstore in search of evening entertainment because it was just too soggy to go for a walk.

I wasn't looking for anything specific, but I found the lazy wander through the store (our favourite one - slightly farther away but worth the drive) very relaxing. I picked up an interesting looking novel from the bargain fiction area (because I'm cheap) and a crocheting magazine (because I'm delusional - I'll likely not make a single thing from the magazine because it all looks too hard, but it's cozy pretending that I actually could).

I wandered my way into the self-help section and off-handedly glanced at the shelves to see if there were any books on infertility. As it happens, I was standing right in front of them - a whole shelf full. I sort of just stood there dumbly looking at their spines, thinking about how odd it was that I should be in a position to thumb through one and pick up a tip or two - tips that I might actually need.

I took my time, weighed my options and plucked a title from the shelf.

It was like a weird Pandora's box. Upon opening it, the quiet of my lazy trip to the bookstore was shattered and my noisy, uncertain life rushed into my ears. All the words I try to avoid thinking about were swimming on the pages in front of me in ways that I presume were meant to be helpful, but just made my heart pound instead.

I wanted to put it down - as if closing the book would make the words not apply to me anymore. As if it would make me pregnant or not infertile or not the mother of a dead boy.

And then someone joined me, directed to one of the saddest spots in the bookstore by a loud and slightly bumbling clerk whose booming voice cut the silence of my melancholic revery. She stood beside me pondering the spines as I'd just done before reaching out and making her choice. I took a sideways glance at her. I wanted to see if she looked different - if she maybe looked a little like me in some way.

She looked normal. In her late 30s, maybe early 40s. Slim, pretty, ordinary. I wondered what brought her here, to the infertility section of the bookstore. I wondered about her journey and how long it had been. And I wanted to say something - to touch her arm and show her that I understood the nine million things that were probably swirling around her head - that had been swirling there since she first figured out that something wasn't quite right.

I looked at her again.

Then I closed my book, put it back on the shelf and walked away.

What else could I do? We walk alone.

Monday, September 18, 2006

In case anyone was wondering...

....this is what I've been doing instead of blogging the last few days.

It's not that I haven't had anything to say, it's just that I've been keeping my fingers busy with crochet. And my mind too. Which is always a very, very good thing...

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

'Tis the season...

...for crochet!!

I made this small lovey for the sweet little girl of a virtual friend of mine. Little E just happens to love blankies, and when I found out I decided it was the perfect way to thank them for donating a pair of Dr. Seuss books (our favourites!!) to their local library in Thomas' memory, and for making a beautiful scrapbook for Thomas' birthday.

I intended the lovey to be a bit more decorative, but I'm simple (and by that I mean not as skilled as I wish I was) and this was all I could manage. I desperately need someone to teach me how to properly crochet in rounds so I can expand my repertoire someday very, very soon...

In the meantime, I hope E enjoys cuddling with her new lovey, and I hope she feels the hugs in every stitch!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

It's in the stars

Today's horoscope:

Too many things look as though they can go badly wrong. Your concerns are understandable, but the cosmic message is clear - things will turn out fine, albeit after a long haul.

Long haul?

Buddy, you don't know the half of it.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Can I print a retraction?

Me and my big mouth.

My Beloved and I weren't totally sure what we'd do if we ever found ourselves in the enviable position of having to decide to tell family and friends about a brand new pregnancy. There were certainly more cons than pros, given our less than stellar reproductive history. Even just the two miscarriages made us wary of spilling the beans too soon. And then there was Thomas.

But because I can't keep my big gaping maw shut, anyone and everyone who reads this blog (family, friends and strangers) now knows that I'm in the two week wait, with increased chances that something might indeed be percolating within.

I've taken away our ability to choose when we will announce our happy news (if we do indeed get some).

I'm an idiot. Our choice now is to tell the truth or lie. Fantastic.

It's not that we want to withhold good news (for God's sake, we revel in even the tiniest bit of it ourselves, so we know how news this big and this good would make the people we love feel) it's just that we're possibly the most gun-shy people on the planet when it comes to second lines on a pee stick. And when we see them this time - if we see them - we'll need time to absorb it all. To mourn our boy as we celebrate the possibility of a new life, and to make sense of our excitement, fear, bewilderment and disbelief.

And it would be nice to be able to do that without every single person we know staring at us.

Which brings us back to my flapping pie hole. I'm kind of sorry I opened it. And I don't know what we'll do now, so all I can say is please don't ask. Please let us do this the way we need to, even though it might be hard for you while you're waiting and wondering.

Just imagine how much harder it is for us and give us the space we need.

As for me, I guess I'll have to bind my fingers so I can't type and keep my mouth full of cookies so I can't speak.

Hmmm. The cookie thing doesn't sound half bad...

Sunday, September 10, 2006

And scene


No clamps. Three eggs released. A combined 37 million sperm advancing.

And now, we wait.

Come on baby, come on...

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Halfway there

Okay, in a word - ow.

I guess every OBGYN has his own personal little touch, and Dr. Tiny, as we'll call him, likes the tenaculum. A scary sounding name quite befitting the object that bears it. The insemination itself was virtually painless - even the catheter going in was barely noticeable - and there was almost no cramping afterwards. But the clamp on the cervix, yeah, I felt that.

Clamp. On. The. Cervix. Good God, that's just barbaric. And not the least bit romantic, I might add. If we conceive, my memory of that blessed moment will be of Dr. Tiny's head between my legs, the stale air of the exam room, the discomfort of My poor Beloved who wanted to be anywhere else but stuck in that tiny room with me, and that awful clamp.

It all seems like a strange way to make a baby.

And yesterday as I sat in the waiting room at the clinic for what felt like the 900th time this week, I was suddenly seized with doubts about what we're doing. I mean, is it right to force your body to do what it doesn't seem particularly interested in doing just because you deem it should be doing it? Does pumping yourself full of drugs and submitting your innards to countless ultrasounds make good sense over the long haul? Will there be any repercussions for me years from now? Should we just accept the fact that Thomas was our chance at having our own child and move on, confident that the gods have our best interests at heart and know what they're doing?

And speaking of God, Is it right to sneak around behind his back like this?

I know scores of people do it every day. The clinic is jam packed almost every time I'm there, and I'm sure the numbers are indicative of patient volume at clinics all across the country. There are thousands and thousands of couples who resort to assisted reproductive technology to have the families of their dreams.

But does that make it right? Just because we can do it, does that make it okay?

It seems logical that in this case, having the ability to do it does make it okay. Why wouldn't we use the technology we have to do something as wonderful as make babies, right? So why does it still seem off to me somehow? It is because it's a little grittier when you're actually in the trenches? Is it because it's easier when it's "them" and not you? Is it because I'm afraid that this, our last hope, won't work and I'll finally be forced to face the fact that I will never carry another child?

And why the hell am I doubting it now? For one thing, it's clearly too late. There are twenty one million of My Beloved's very best, hand selected swimmers having a party in my uterus right now. Thanks to Dr. Tiny and his cervix mangling clamp.

(He must be in cahoots with Helga, the vagina mangling ultrasound technician. A story for another blog.)

And I'm going back for an insurance squirt tomorrow morning, so clearly I don't think it's all that wrong.

Oh Lord, I just don't know anything anymore.

I guess looking into the face of a child you've borne, no matter how that child came into being, erases every single doubt and makes the months of turmoil, disappointment and despair completely and utterly worthwhile.

Having already looked into the face of my beautiful first-born son, I have a feeling that must certainly be true. And in the absence of any other certainty, I'm going to hang onto that.

Particularly tomorrow when I meet Dr. Tiny for a second round of clamp action.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Open wide...

So, we have the IUI tomorrow morning, bright and early.

I wish there was a prayer for this.

Mostly I guess I wish I believed praying would make a difference...

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Grass and purgatory

I don't know when the last time we cut the back lawn was, but judging from it's deep, jungle-like thickness this afternoon, I'm thinking it's been a few weeks. If I'm not mistaken, the last time was when My Beloved ran over a mouse.

Good times.

Anyway, it's been too rainy or we've been too busy lately and it just got kind of forgotten, my precious lawn. But today felt like a good day to go out and restore it to its former beauty. I needed an escape - a way of blowing off some restless energy that didn't involve researching infertility or brooding about my broken parts. Or thinking about Thomas.

It was very therapeutic. Cutting beautiful, kelly green swaths out of the jungle with each pass of the mower made me feel productive and useful. It was late in the afternoon and the sun was illuminating the grass in a way that always takes my breath away and, strangely, reminds me of home.

It was meditative and comforting. And just destructive and loud enough to satisfy the Clomid-driven beast within.

Because it's been so long - and because we have an ancient, hand-me-down mower without a bag - the mulch blanketed the newly cut grass in a dangerously heavy layer. It would have looked awful if I left it and, even worse, it would have killed the grass beneath it. So I found myself re-mowing the lawn in an attempt to mulch the mulch.

I kind of did it without thinking, lost in my meditative grass cutting trance, but eventually I realized what I was doing - and that I'd been doing it for a while. And I very briefly wondered if at some point during the day I'd died and that this endless grass cutting exercise was actually purgatory. Not unpleasant, in fact kind of satisfying, but still repetitive, dirty work.

I usually picture purgatory as a big, white room with small white benches all around its perimeter. Souls waiting for the call hang out there chatting and playing tic-tac-toe. It's kind of boring, but comfortable enough.

I bet purgatory has its own flip flopping attendant who calls out the names of those waiting in a maddeningly random order.

Hmmm. Maybe I died yesterday...

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Game on

So my left ovary cooperated this cycle. I have three follicles waiting in the wings for their big IUI debut, which will likely be on Friday or Saturday depending upon the results of my ultrasound tomorrow morning.

I was giddy when I heard the news (no small feat after waiting almost an hour and a half to see the doctor, by which time I was as steamed as a Maritime lobster) but now I'm just feeling kind of dazed and confused. And I have no idea why.

Let's just blame it on the Clomid again, shall we?

You know, it occurred to me the other day that it's possible that I'll move directly from trying to conceive (and hopefully succeeding) into menopause with barely time to pee in between. Which means it could literally be years until I feel sane again.

Years before a clear, concise, logical thought passes through my addled brain.

Speaking of which, it took most of my scanty mental reserves not to go ape-shit while I was waiting at the clinic. I don't mind waiting, and I understand that it's a busy clinic and I can't expect to be in an out in much less than an hour - I do. But when people who come in for cycle monitoring 45 minutes after me leave before me, I get really, really agitated.

I thought at one point I might seriously cry - great angry tears of hormonal rage (which, of course, I would have blamed on the Clomid).

I made due with imagining the great satisfaction with which I would pummel the nurse who I pinned as the one randomly deciding who got called in next. I loathed her today. Every time she lazily flapped by in her ill-fitting rubber flip-flops it was all I could do not to scream, "Pick me!! Pick me, dammit!!! I've been waiting here since before Kennedy was shot!!"

But I quietly seethed instead, sighing and checking my watch and looking disgruntled. And hating the nurse as she flip-flopped her way around the clinic with her powers and her bad dye job and her nose in the air.

I'm crazy and mean. I shot death rays at the ultrasound receptionists when they asked those of us waiting to see the doctor after cycle monitoring to move to the front waiting room in order to make room for ultrasound patients - most of whom were pregnant. Evidently I'd been waiting there so long that people who came in after me were already visibly pregnant and back for prenatal care.

I skulked off to the front waiting room (where it's virtually impossible to hear your name being called by the flip-flopping nurse) and pouted until a chair in the hallway close to the nursing station became available.

The flip-flopping nurse's shift must have ended while I was out front sulking because I was eventually called in by a different one. She seemed nice enough, but I punished her - and the clinic at large - by not smiling at her. Which I think is actually pretty restrained of me since I was really out for blood.

She looked at me kind of nervously and hurried from the room as I mumbled a disingenuous thank you. The doctor appeared about 10 minutes later and gave me the good news.

He has no idea how lucky he is that he had some.

So that's where things stand. An IUI any day now. And all I feel at the moment is fatigue and leftover resentment at the flip-flopping nurse who I'm fairly certain forgot about me, leaving me to rot - barren and uncomfortable - in a room full of pregnant women waiting for ultrasounds.

Ah, Clomid. God help us all if this infertility gig goes on much longer.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

A tiny angel

Today I found out that a very, very sweet friend of mine lost her baby. She went in for her 10 week appointment this morning and left with the knowledge that her very loved and very wanted little Button had died.

She's not a blogger so there's no place to leave condolences, but if you'd think of her and her husband tonight as they deal with the first few terrible hours of realization and sorrow, I think she would appreciate it very much.

I'm so, so sorry C.

(((HUGS))) and love to you, my friend.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

I'm officially old

Last night we called the police. Twice.

The parents of a sullen and mostly invisible 16-year old girl who lives beside us went away for the long weekend - but they left her behind. And apparently she has a lot of friends, all of whom descended upon the house last night for an unforgettable end of summer bash.

It kept us up, fuming and complaining to each other, until close to 3:00am.

It's not so much the party that bothered me. In fact I didn't even care all that much about the noise. It's when I saw someone pissing on the side of my house that I got a little pissed myself. Eventually the area between our house and theirs became a communal bathroom for every single staggering, nauseous little idiot who couldn't be bothered to use the washrooms inside the house. Yes, it seems boys well under the legal drinking age can't hold their liquor. Shocking.

This morning it looks like a crime scene out there. Empty bottles and cans of beer littering lawns, vomit soaking into the mud, shattered glass on the streets, and peaches, obviously used as projectiles, smashed on the sidewalk and on neighbouring driveways.

To give the little hooligans credit, they're out they're cleaning up right now, but it never should have come to this in the first place. And we all know they're only cleaning up in a vain attempt to erase the night and spare the sullen, invisible girl from the wrath of her parents, lest they find out about her little shin-dig.

The arrogance is what stuns me. The notion that they think it's okay for them to roar well into the night, puke on other people's property, smash bottles and then happily stagger home.

I can't bear that they think this is okay. That it's acceptable and there are no consequences beyond a little cleaning and a big headache.


It's like the gods of justice heard our prayers. The sullen girl's aunt and uncle showed up this morning while the cleaning crew was still hard at work.

It got ugly. The aunt angrily (and loudly) kicked everyone out of the house while the sullen girl hurled obscenities at her shocked and raging aunt.

Eventually the police showed up. Three cruisers worth of them (which is great - they didn't bother to come last night when dozens of drunk teenagers were stumbling about the neighbourhood breaking stuff, but they show up in full force this morning when the crowd has dwindled down to a handful of kids and an irate set of relatives.

To make a long story short, the sullen girl was made to sweep the streets under the watchful eye of a beefy cop while she back-talked him (BACK-TALKED A COP????). The Aunt and Uncle were asked to leave, since their presence was only making sullen girl freak out.

So all's quiet for now.

My advice to sullen girl, if she asked, would be to soak up the daylight and fresh air while she can because my guess is she won't be seeing much of it once Mom and Dad get home.

As My Beloved and I lay in bed last night talking about the party, I realized we sounded more like someone's parents than people who might actually have a shot at attending a party like that. It was a little sobering.

But when our conversation lazily shifted to our mutual need for more bran and maybe even dried fruit, I knew we'd officially turned a corner.

We. Are. Old.

Friday, September 01, 2006

I did it too...

Being someone who is larger than average, I was very, very proud of my pregnant belly once it finally stopped looking like one too many cheeseburgers and started looking like a proper pregnant bump. I loved it to death, that little belly of mine. I was kind of shy around people I knew for some reason, but when I was with strangers it was a different story. I loved knowing that they could tell I had company just by looking at me sideways.

This sounds ridiculous, but my favourite time at Mass was going up to communion. I know my favourite time should have been something less me-centric and more God focused, but it was what it was. And it was sweet. See, because I was getting too big to properly clasp my hands below my tummy, I'd rest my hands on top of it while I shuffled up the communion line with the rest of the congregation. And the whole time I was excitedly thinking that anyone who looked at me would know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I was having a baby.

Last Sunday as I sat in the same spot I always used to sit in when I was pregnant, I started thinking about that. About how I so proudly showed off my pregnant tummy and how I hoped people would look at me and smile.

And that's when it occurred to me that women who had experienced miscarriage - maybe even stillbirth or a loss caused by birth injury, abruption or congenital defects - saw me. They watched me holding my tummy lovingly and protectively, and they felt the dull ache that I feel now when I see the same thing innocently paraded in front of me.

I caused the same pain I feel now. And it never once occurred to me while I was pregnant, even after having two miscarriages before getting pregnant with Thomas.

I was horrified. I sat there in utter horror feeling miserably guilty that I caused this kind of pain. Unintentionally, of course. But just by being visibly pregnant, I know I must have made someone wince and look away. I was a reminder of what someone had and lost - or of what someone never even had to begin with.

It was a sobering thought. I tend to think that no one in my world knows this kind of sorrow, but people are good at hiding the horrors they live with and the sorrows they bear. I'm sure I opened wounds. God, I must have.

I don't quite know what to do with this. If I get pregnant again I know I'll feel that same pride - maybe even tenfold because of the lengths we've gone through to coax my body into cooperating and carrying a life again. But I will also now be aware that my joy could be the cause of someone else's pain.

The worst of it is, there's just no way around it. My hard won joy is going to cause someone else pain. It's inevitable.

Ain't life grand?