Monday, October 30, 2006

I know you meant well, but shut up

So it finally happened. The ugly old, "maybe it's not meant to be" phrase finally lurched its way into our quiet little world of loss and infertility. A friend of the family uttered the unthinkable to my mother.

She meant well. She's a sweet, sweet woman who has been nothing but kind and wonderful to my parents, particularly since Thomas was born.

But all good intentions aside, it was an awful thing to say. Just awful.

Those words have no place coming from anyone but me or My Beloved. We decide when things are winding down - when hope is well and truly lost - not someone else. Not anyone else but us.

We're very well aware that people all around us are getting pregnant with ease. We're well aware that both of us are another day older each time we rise with the sun. We're well aware that I have problems that make conceiving difficult. We're well aware that my biological clock is winding down.

We're well aware that maybe it's not meant to be. Trust me.

We don't need people to remind us. Those thoughts run through my mind in a disturbing and unrelenting inner monologue 24-hours a day. I know what we lost. I think about him all the time. And because I know what we lost, I know how devastating it is that we can't seem to have that gift bestowed upon us a second time. I'm painfully, in fact agonizingly, aware that that we might never have another child of our own. I know that. I get it. I'm not stupid nor am I so Clomid-addled that it hasn't occurred to me that all this might be for naught.

Maybe it's not meant to be.

But please, please don't remind me.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Good to know, good to know.

Under no circumstances should you attempt to make apple pie when you're so hopped up on fertility medications that you can barely think straight, you're beyond tired and you hate pretty much everyone who breathes.

I'm quite serious about this. Don't do it. It'll end in tears and a spectacular kitchen tantrum compete with the pitching of dough, the whipping of pantry doors with a damp dish towel and swearing that would make a sailor blush.

And while you're at it, don't listen to that snobby Hampton bitch ina garten (who is too chic to use capitals, sweetie) who claims you can make pastry dough in your stand mixer. You can't. At least not the "No Fail Pastry" recipe Crisco has on the back of its package. It does fail - and quite dramatically - when you attempt to make it in your stand mixer.

You'll peer deep into the bowl of sticky, yellowish dough and wonder if a little extra flour will do the trick. But it won't. It'll appear as though the dough has been repaired (at which point a little self-satisfied gloating might ensue) but it's not actually fixed.

Not buy a crumbly long-shot.

It won't roll out. It'll just crack and fall apart. And then fall apart some more. It will mock you like you've never been mocked before until finally in a fit of rage you'll throw the whole works into the garbage, seething and spewing like a madwoman all the while.

Please don't ask me how I know all this. Just trust me, I do.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Where am I?

I'm lost in a sleepy, irritable and slightly bloaty Clomid haze.

If you see me wandering helplessly through the streets looking confused and a little pissed off, please give me a cookie and point me in the general direction of home. Or the closest bakery.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


We were laying about like sloths on Saturday night watching something or other on TV, when a wedding scene flickered onto the screen. The divorced parents of the bride and groom were making awkward small talk when one ex asked the other, "Are you happy?"

The response was, "Of course I'm happy - we're at our son's wedding."

And that's the point at which my mind, as it so often does these days, wandered off on a little journey of its own. It went to the land of "there'll be no wedding for your son" very rapidly, before finally coming to rest in "you might not live to see your grandchildren" town.

Seriously. It's theoretically quite possible that I'll die before my grandchildren are born. If I got pregnant right now I wouldn't give birth until after my 37th birthday. If we started adoption proceedings right this second it would be longer than that. If our child ends up on the same timeline as we are for starting a family, I'd be in my mid 70s before its child was born.

I'm not planning on dying at 74, I'm just saying it's not beyond the realm of possibility to think that I won't last that long.

And even if I do, I'll be old. Way old. The grandparents of my generation were young when we were born (relatively speaking) and in many cases lived well into our adulthood. I lost my last living grandparent when I was 34, just a few months before giving birth to Thomas.

For my grandchild to have the same experience, I would have to live to be 108.

Call me pessimistic, but I have my doubts about my ability to manage that feat. I already feel old in body and spirit. I'm not sure if I can handle another 72 years.

This is the way it is these days. People are staying in school longer and working hard at building their careers, and as a result they're getting married and having children much later than they used to. I'm not saying education and careers are a bad thing. Not at all. I'm merely pointing out that in our quest to achieve personal greatness and self fulfillment before our time to do so runs out, we may have overlooked something very important.

That is, of course, that time will run out on something else.

We are older mothers - wiser maybe, and with much more life experience to pass on to our children - but we won't be here for them for as long as many of our own mothers will be here for us. We'll be great-grandparent age when our first grandchildren are born. We won't dance at their weddings. And we won't have a chance in hell of being in one of those once-popular four-generation photo shoots.

I'm not trying to start a debate and I'm not being judgmental - honest. I did it all too. I went to University and started a career and always felt young enough to conquer the world. Mortality, scrambled eggs and the rapid approach of 40 were a million miles away.

Until suddenly they weren't.

I don't regret the experiences I had and the choices I made before I married My Beloved at 32. I loved going to school and my early working years were fun and exciting. I grew into the person I am today because of the life I chose.

I just wish I wasn't so old.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Things I love

In no particular order...

Cake. I love cake. In fact one of my very first blogs was about my overwhelming affection for cake. Almost two years later my love for cake is still as strong as ever. I can never resist its sweet siren song. Seriously. Never.

I didn't take this picture and I don't know exactly where in Muskoka, Ontario it is, but that region is one of the most beautiful in the world and a place that holds some of my dearest childhood memories.

Thomas' angel wings, high atop our Christmas tree last year. I found them at Canadian Tire, of all places, and knew that they had to have a place of honour on our tree - which is where they'll find themselves this year and every year.

Me Beloved tending the beets in our little vegetable garden. He's so proud of that garden (he designed and built the frame and is usually responsible for the majority of the harvesting) and I love it because it reminds me of how much I love him.

Lucy. Sweet, simple Lucy. She's been a loyal and loving companion to me for almost 10 years. She's always there with a deafening purr when I'm desperate for something to cuddle and all she asks for in return is a Lucy size share of the bed, a few treaties every once in a while and breakfast RIGHT NOW. BREAKFAST NOW. NOW. NOW. NOW.

This always makes me laugh - the whole idea of it. I asked my sibling to put together a vegetable platter for a BBQ My Beloved and I threw in the summer, and this is what we ended up with. A weird fruit guy. Oh, and some vegetables too. She never fails to disappoint, my sibling.

Last Christmas was unspeakably difficult for a million different reasons, but this moment - this shot of my Dad by the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve - was one that brought me a momentary feeling of peace. I had so few last year, and I'm glad I captured this one on film to remind me that even in the midst of hell there are the briefest glimpses of heaven if you look hard enough to find them.

There. That ought to help me make it through another round of Clomid.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The remedy for wallowing

Okay, so you know what helps to combat wallowing in self pity (other than wallowing in a vat of chocolate)? Spending $75 on yarn and Christmas decorations at Michael's.

I was practically giddy.

We have a system, My Beloved and I, that allows this kind of frivolous spending. It's called "fun money" and we each get a certain amount of it every month that we can spend on absolutely anything that tickles our fancies. And for me, the more unnecessary and cozy-inducing, the better.

I needed the yarn, but the tiny silver Christmas tree and accompanying ornaments (including a tiny tree skirt, a tiny garland, tiny balls, and tiny little lights)? Nope - didn't need any of that. But I pictured it up in our little sitting room (converted from a nursery oh so long ago now) and I pictured My Beloved and I curled up on the futon watching It's a Wonderful Life in the glow of the tiny, fully dressed tree - and I had to have it.

I'm not going to apologize for this either. I know I could have put the money to better use. I could have donated it or bought a pair of dress pants (which I'm desperately in need of) or gotten a much-needed haircut. But aside from the fact that none of those things are supposed to come out of our fun money, I needed to do what I did. I didn't need the things themselves, but I needed to have them just the same.

Trust me, it makes sense.

When you're sad and struggling so much and you find a way to make yourself happy and excited, even for a few minutes, you do it. And you revel in it. You buy the package of tiny sparkling candy canes for your little silver Christmas tree and you don't look back.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

As a matter of fact I'm NOT sorry

There are some days that find me desperate to wallow in self pity. I'll have used up all my mental resources, and the only thing left to do that I know will please me (and appease the beast of grief within me) is to feel sorry for myself. Mope, sigh, stare out the window and wish I had someone else's life. Someone who didn't happen to breed only dead children.

I don't feel like crying. It's not that I'm on the verge of tears. I just feel like acknowledging this ungodly shit storm is the right thing to do. Some days it refuses to be ignored and pretending it doesn't exist doesn't work.

It's there. It's right there. It's always fucking RIGHT. THERE. I can't escape from the sorrow of three lost babies or the frustration, guilt and shame of not being able to get pregnant again.

I know there's more to my life than this. I'm not just a walking uterus. I'm married to my soul mate and our life together, shit storm aside, is one blessed by the heavens. And I'm grateful for that - and for all the things in my life that are so unquestionably good, pure and true.

But the ugly facts remain. And they haunt me. I can keep the attic door closed on the ghosts for a little while, but on days like today when the skies are gray and filled with endless drops of rain, I have to unlock the door and let them come screaming the hell out.

This part of my life isn't pretty. It's awful. It tears me apart on a daily basis and forces me to work harder than I've ever had to work in my life just to stay above water.

Some days I slam the windows shut on the sounds of crying babies. Some days I slam the windows shut on the sounds of children playing. Some days I turn away when I see a mother with her child. I can't bear to hear what I've lost. I can't stand to see what I don't have.

This is the ugly truth.

I'm so lonely for my boy and so bruised and battered by the happiness around me that continues to stay frustratingly and achingly out of my reach.

And today I'm not going to apologize for it.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Like ships that pass in the night

My Beloved and I were at Costco today picking up 15 tons of toilet paper and a shed full of dishwashing liquid. You know, the usual.

I was shoving the massive, and slightly overloaded cart along the book aisle when I looked up and saw a girl I worked with years ago coming towards me. The last time I saw her I was about 5 months pregnant with Thomas. Like today, we ran into her while shopping and, having heard the news through my cousin who she still worked with at the time, she excitedly rushed over to ask me all about my pregnancy and to congratulate us.

I hadn't seen her since, until today. And it was a very, very different encounter indeed.

As I looked up, I saw her quickly look away - off to the side and down to a stack of books which allowed her to keep walking towards me without having to acknowledge me. I did the same. Our eyes met for just a fraction of a second but I know she saw me. With a strange, unspoken understanding we quietly passed each other by. There was too much to say and not enough courage or energy for either of us to utter a single word. I was as guilty as she was for not stopping to chat, but it made me sad just the same.

These little moments are the ones that remind me that I'm different. They're the moments that make me want to run outside and scream - throw a 36-year old tantrum that you wouldn't believe. Break things. Hit things. Cry.

But they're also the moments that help to remind me that there are a lot of people who don't care that I'm different, and who embrace the person I've become since Thomas died. They're the ones who are always there when I need them and who unflinchingly look me straight in the eye, no matter what.

I don't blame the girl who passed me by today. In fact, I'm sure I'd have done the very same thing if I was her. No one likes awkward moments and extending belated sympathies. Not this kind of sympathy, and especially not in the book aisle of Costco.

But to everyone who hasn't passed me by, thank you. I am where I am today because you've been brave enough to walk with me every step of the way.

Sunday, October 15, 2006


Thinking of my three little Peanuts with so much love, today and always.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

The great escape

We ran away from home for a few days this week, all the way to Niagara Falls.

That's me. The Falls are back there somewhere too.

I highly recommend running away from home every now and then. It's not great for the waistline (I ate pretty much everything that wasn't nailed down - mmmmm, cheesecake) but it's very, very good for the soul.

Now go on, you go somewhere too. And let me know what you had for dessert.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The joy of multicoloured yarn

And tassels - the joy of tassels too! I just figured out how to make them (shut up, I'm slow) and I'm now I'm fully immersed in a passionate love affair with tassels.

As for the yarn (which I'm also loving), why is it that when it's multicoloured it's called ombre?

Ombre. It sounds like it should be wearing a black Stetson and reeking of whisky and horse manure. It makes no sense to me. If I researched the origin of the word it might, but I can't be bothered, so I'll just continue to enjoy the dark, dangerous sounding yarn that ends up looking so pretty when it's crocheted. And especially when it's made into tassels.

Mmmmm. Tassels.

P.S. Since some of you asked (and I'm going to assume you weren't just being kind to the crazy yarn lady) I'm thinking of setting up a separate website where you can buy the hats. God knows it would be useful to have an actual legitimate reason to keep making them (since I can't stop and it's starting to get very cluttered and yarny around here) so if someone's willing to buy them, we'll all be happy. Me and the hats, I mean.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

You'd never know it to look at me

For some reason most of the time we only have half the curtains open in our bedroom. Other than being pathologically lazy, I really have no explanation for this odd phenomenon. I always throw open the right hand side - where the open part of the window is - to make sure that air can properly circulate through the room (I'm a little pathological about the need for constant fresh air too, so much so that once I woke up in the middle of the night to find it snowing a little inside our bedroom). But since the left side of the window has no air-based function, I don't bother uncovering it. There's not all that much to see back there, especially now that the angel garden has started to die back.

Anyway, I was feeling a little irritable this afternoon for no particular reason and decided to throw back the left side of the bedroom curtains for a little extra light and cheer.

Which is when I saw the two moms with their tots. Our sightlines through the bedroom window include a peek between the two houses behind us and onto the street they front on. It's chock full of babies and toddlers, much like our street. The two moms were playing with their babies on the lawn - the tiny little snatch of lawn I could see between the houses. I suppose they bumped into each other and just got talking.

It got me thinking about the way you're approached, or not approached as the case may be, when you don't have kids in tow. When I'm walking or shopping, be it alone or with My Beloved, no one with a stroller stops to talk. They smile and pass right by. I'm childless - I clearly have nothing to talk about. But people with babies do. They have endless things to discuss - war stories to tell, hints and tips to swap, sweet ramblings about baby smiles and first steps. And they can talk for hours without even knowing each other's names. Because they have babies in common.

I, on the other hand, have a terrifying birth story that ends very, very badly. And who the hell wants to talk about that?

I have of course told my story (to two hairdressers, the next door neighbours we don't know all that well and my dental hygienist - twice) but telling the same horror story to each new person who somehow manages to ask that one question for which there is no answer but the sad truth is no fun at all. It doesn't bring any joy - to any of us.

It just serves to remind me that I'm standing on the outside looking in and have lost more in three years than many people lose in a lifetime.

I want to stop the ladies with strollers and tell them that if the world was right and the gods fair, I'd have a little boy with me too. I want to tell them that I'm not childless by choice, that I didn't opt to have a career instead of a family and that I love my three lost little souls so much I can barely breathe sometimes - so much that sometimes it feels like I'm going to implode from the combined force of the contained grief, anger and longing.

But instead we pass by, me with a strained, plastic smile on my face and them never knowing how much we almost had in common.

I realize that there's nothing I can do to remedy this. I know this is just the way it is. The mothers who don't know me will continue to talk amongst themselves and I'll continue to pass them by. The parents in the park by our house will continue to acknowledge My Beloved and I with a quick, polite smile at best. Because why would they do anything else? Why would we if we were in their shoes instead of our own?

It's not their fault and it's not ours. It just is what it is.

And I will never get used to it, this business of being an invisible mom. Never.

Monday, October 09, 2006

And speaking of candles...

I was just about finished setting the table at my Mom and Dad's before our Thanksgiving dinner last night, when my Mom told me to light the little pumpkin candle she'd bought for the centre of the table. It was nestled in some dried eucalyptus and wheat, and sitting in front of the harvest angel I bought her a month or so ago.

As I was lighting it she told me she bought the candle for Thomas - a little light for my little Peanut at Thanksgiving.

Thanks Mom

Friday, October 06, 2006

Light a little candle

If the world sees all our tiny candles on the night of the 15th, it will see - and maybe better understand - that the light our babies brought to our lives will burn brightly for as long as we live.

And that we will always remember.

Seriously, I can't stop

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The grass really is always greener

I was struck by something I read on someone else's blog today. Like me, she's been trying to bring home a baby since 2003, and like me she has nothing to show for it except sorrow. Our stories differ here and there, but they both have the same ending. We are both childless - mothers only to heavenly babies.

She has had repeated, unexplained miscarriages. I guess there's enough reason to believe that she won't be able to carry a child to term, which may be part of the reason that she is resolved to accept her fate in a way I just can't. I have yet to be given that horrible sentence.

But even though she has, I'm strangely envious of her. I'm dreadfully sorry for her and absolutely sick that she has gone through so much, don't misunderstand me. But I'm envious of the way she is dealing with this new chapter in her life. She's making the supreme effort to extract herself from the torturous limbo of the infertile. She's not waiting anymore. Her life isn't on hold.

She's moving on.

She's actively searching for ways to live a life that isn't defined by her inability to carry a child. She's looking for new experiences and opening herself up to the world at large in all its wonder and glory. She's charting a new course and finding something else to be - many other things to be - if she's not going to be a mother.

I was breathless with excitement. Drunk with the idea of this newfound freedom.

Until I realized I'm still good and trapped in my own limbo.

I don't resent the fact that we're still trying and I don't want to stop. Not yet. But I'm looking at this woman - this childless woman - with longing because she has found a peace that I feel a million and a half miles away from. And even if I come to a point where I'm forced to make the same decision she did, I don't know if I'll do it with half the grace she has. I don't know if I'll be able to muster the enthusiasm to look for the joie de vivre she seems so determined to find again.

I feel too beaten down to ever be able to walk away from all this with my head held high and my heart set on a new dream. And God help me, I haven't the faintest idea what that dream might even be.

Maybe she felt this way once too. Maybe we all do. Maybe circumstances eventually force us to learn a grace we never knew we had in us, and when the time is right it's there for us to display to a wondering world just the way she is.

I don't know.

I just know I applaud her, and every single woman like her, for not letting this ungodly sorrow eat her alive. For not letting it define her. For not letting it suffocate the person she once was and the person she was meant to become.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

It would have fit. Imagine that.

I normally park on the driveway after I go grocery shopping because I'm too lazy to get out of the car, lift up the garage door, get back in the car, drive into the garage and haul down the door after I'm finished unloading the groceries.

'Cause you know, that amount of exercise would most certainly kill me.

So instead I pull the car up as close to the garage door as I can. I have it down to a fine art (Much to My Beloved's glee, I no longer hit the door leaving dents and gashes) which means the other car can tuck in behind it without hanging over onto the sidewalk.

And everyone's happy. Except maybe the neighbours who get stuck looking at 28 feet of end-to-end car out their front window.

But today, in an uncharacteristic fit of energy, I decided to put the car away all neat and tidy. I pulled it in, right up to the fabulous (and I mean that) shelving unit My Beloved built at the back of the garage, and got out to start the unloading process. When I rounded the back of the car I was struck by the amount of space left behind it.

"Yes," I thought stupidly, "the stroller would totally fit in here."

You see, after we were given the beautiful Peg Perego stroller by my Mom and Dad, I was consumed with thoughts of how best to store it between uses. Lots of people in our neighbourhood leave their strollers on their porches and I figured we'd just do the same. But My Beloved worried that it would get stolen in the night. I loved my stroller too much to have that happen, so I figured we'd stash it in the garage between the many walks Thomas and I had planned to take through the neighbourhood that spring.

But I always wondered if it would fit behind the car. I never thought to actually look and see for some reason.

Until today. Nearly 19 months after he died, I determined that Thomas' stroller will indeed fit quite nicely behind the car.

The stroller that never made it out of the boxes it came in and remains stashed, unassembled and unseen, in the basement beside the similarly unused crib.

I don't know why these things still happen - the random, innocent thought followed by the jolt and lurching stomach. It's so cruel that the healing process dribbles along like a leaky faucet that can't be fixed. Quiet and relentless. And agonizingly torturous.

I wish I'd just left the car on the driveway. I wouldn't still be thinking about the stroller tonight if I had.


Monday, October 02, 2006

Free to good home

I made this little guy a few weeks ago out of some beautiful, soft orange yarn I somehow miraculously managed to find after deciding I wanted to make a pumpkin hat. It was waiting for me in its little wire bin at Michael's and I couldn't have been more excited.

I was pretty proud of the finished product - until My Beloved had a look at it. He was kind, but decidedly unenthusiastic about my cozy gourd hat.

"Maybe it's the eyebrows? Maybe it's the smile?" He didn't know, but something wasn't "right".

So I cast the pumpkin hat aside and continued making other hats that did find favour with the critics (another bear, a cat, a bunny and a blue and white striped hat with ears).

But the pumpkin hat taunted me. I knew it was there, unloved and unwanted, and I knew it had no place to go, unlike the other hats that have all been claimed.

So I've decided it's time to go public with my shame. Admit that the pumpkin hat exists and has no home.

It's kind of the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeers of hats, I suppose. And it's yours if you want it. Just leave me a comment and let me know. I think it would fit a child up to about two (although this is a best guess because there aren't any two-year old heads around here for me to try it out on).

Anyone? Anyone?