Thursday, May 29, 2008

Good news!

Sherry's beautiful little Megan made a safe and healthy entrance into the world at 7:50am this morning.

Mommy and baby are doing just fine. Just fine.

The gods seem fairer and the world seems kinder today.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Oh Lord. It just never seems to end, this three year battle with broken innards.

I haven't been back to my OB or to the clinic since I had the post-miscarriage blood work last fall. I was endlessly paranoid about a clotting disorder, given the bloody drama that was my D&C, so I insisted upon some additional blood work to ease my rapidly disintegrating mind.

It all came back normal. Yeah, can you believe it? Some part of me is actually normal.

Anyway, since it's been 7 months since we last discussed the state of my lady bits, I decided I needed to do a bit of a "where are we at now and where should we go from here?" check-in with my OB. We met yesterday.

He was so kind. He always is, but yesterday he really seemed to have time to listen to me in a way he sometimes can't because he has waiting room full of 42,000 other busted uteruses waiting to bend his ear.

It was both a comforting and a disconcerting visit. Comforting because he listened and because I know he genuinely cares about what happens to me, disconcerting because for the first time he gently suggested we may be coming to the end of the road.

There's another test he wants to run (a delightful sounding syringe up the duff/ ultrasound combo dealie) to rule out inter-uterine scarring, and he suggested a couple of cycles of monitoring just to make sure I'm still ovulating and still as thoroughly hormonal as I need to be.

So it sounds like it'll be another summer of great big infertile fun.


I want a baby. But I want all this to end too. So much. So, so, so much.

I'm strong. I am. But come on now, everyone has a limit.

Apparently someone thinks I haven't quite reached mine yet and is having a good old laugh while watching to see just how far I'll actually go.

Friday, May 23, 2008

You don't know what's inside until you take a closer look

Therapy is interesting.

Granted, there are things I'd rather be doing than sitting in a little office with a stranger discussing how my life has shattered into 47 billion tiny pieces; and God knows I wish I had no reason to be in therapy in the first place, but it does serve a purpose.

Last week I found myself weighing out the pros and cons of Thomas having been born brain dead.

I know, How can there possibly be pros?!, you're asking.

The thing is, it has always been so utterly devastating to me that Thomas never "knew" us - that he never felt us hold him or kiss him or touch him. He was stillborn and revived, but never truly fully alive.

And this has tormented me endlessly.

I was discussing this with my therapist, telling her how much I sometimes wish that he had been able to see me, respond to the sound of my voice, feel me there, loving him.

She just listened, kind of wide-eyed.

As I talked (and talked, and talked, and talked), I came to the conclusion that if he had to die, it happened the best way it could have. For us to have known him in the way I have so often wished we could have, he would have had to have suffered so much more than he already did.

To wish for that knowing what it would have meant for him is unfathomable.

It's better, I have concluded, that we were the ones to have suffered instead.

But the thing is, I know he felt our love while he was safe inside me. And I know he feels it now. And in the end, that's all that matters.

See? Therapy is interesting. Depressing, yes, but interesting. You never know what little bit of pain all knotted up in there is going to finally work its way out.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Because I can do more than just rant...

...I can grow stuff too.

Thomas' tree, standing strong and tall in the back corner by our favourite chairs.

I love phlox. And phlox love me. They do - look at all the little heart petals! They totally love me.

A broad bean seedling. And my fingers. Don't we look nice together?

Violas that reseeded themselves from last year, clever things.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Because I'm just crazy enough to do it

Okay, Baskin-Robbins Canada (who aren't even participating in the "Bump Day" promotion) are going to think I'm a complete raving lunatic, but I needed to complain to someone.

I said I wanted a free pint. I said all the people left out of their cruel and exclusionary free-cone celebration of fertility want a free PINT of ice cream.

I'm sure it'll fall on deaf ears (because really, what are we supposed to do - bring in copies of our failed charts? OB/RE notes? IUI and IVF receipts? Empty Clomid wrappers?), but at least I feel a little better now.

More or less.


Monday, May 19, 2008

I know it's nice and everything...

I just found this little announcement on Facebook:

Baskin-Robbins is introducing Soft Serve!

To help welcome this new addition and to pay tribute to all mommies-to-be, Baskin-Robbins is turning Wednesday, May 21 from “hump day” into “Bump Day,” by offering a FREE cone of Soft Serve to all expectant mothers across the nation!

Baskin-Robbins Bump Day will take place on Wednesday, May 21 from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. at participating store locations in California; Chicago; New York; El Paso, Texas; and Nashville, Tenn.

During Bump Day, expectant mothers will be treated to one free 3 oz. cup or cone of soft Serve. For more information about Bump Day or to find a participating store, please visit

Isn't that sweet?

I mean, it really is and all, but I think I may need to write to Baskin-Robbins and suggest that maybe the fertility-challenged could benefit from free ice cream too. I'll tell them it's therapeutic; necessary in a way it simply isn't for those with already expanding waistlines. Because God knows it's nice to have options when it comes to the monthly routine of drowning your accumulating sorrows.

Quite aside from that, I for one would love to catch a fucking break one of these days.

Free ice cream would be a start, she said as she stormed off in a self-pitying huff.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Out of the mouths of babes...

Four-year old neighbour peering over the fence from his mom's arms: "Can I ask you a question?"

Me: "Sure!"

Four-year old neighbour:
"When is your baby coming?"

Long awkward pause (insert crickets) while I formulate an answer as the four-year old's parents desperately try to ignore the stampeding herd of pink elephants running through my backyard...

Me: "You know what? That's a really good question. I just don't know. But I tell you what, if you find out, you let me know, okay?"

Four year old neighbour:

It sounds worse than it was. Well, for me, anyway. I could barely get back into the house before bursting out into a fit of hysterical giggles as I told My Beloved what had just transpired over the rosebush.

The boy's parents parents? Well, this happened on Saturday and my guess is that they're probably still red with embarrassment.

The poor little guy mixed me up with my pregnant neighbour who he saw at the park last week. She isn't showing yet, so I'm going to pretend that his question had nothing to do with the current state of my stomach area.

He just did what little ones do - he asked an innocent question. Unfortunately he posed it to the worst possible person.

Ah well, he's none the wiser and I still think it was pretty funny.


Yeah, it's been a banner week for interactions with children. Oy.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Tomatos and a slip of the tongue

My neighbour, drowning in the end-of-day-rubble of a major home renovation project, asked if I could watch my 2-year old Goddaughter for 15 minutes late this afternoon while she cleaned up some of the debris the contractors left behind.

The first word out of her little mouth after I reassured her that Mommy would indeed be right back was, "Cookie?"

Alas, because I have no personal self-control, the house is sadly bereft of cookies.

Luckily she was clutching a breadstick and I was able to distract her from the cookie quest long enough to remember that she adores tomatoes, which I happened to be cutting up for a salad.

Her eyes lit up and she literally quivered with excitement when I asked if she wanted some tomato.

I stood in the kitchen doling out impossibly small bits of tomato (because I'm beyond paranoid about children choking - even ones who have been eating solid food for more than a year and have what appears to be a complete set of teeth) reminding her to "CHEW! CHEW! CHEW!"

She must have thought I was some weird tomato-bearing fairy god train. Clearly the child knows how to eat. But God help me, I couldn't have her choking on my watch.

After the first piece or two I realized that I should be enforcing her Mommy's rule about please and thank you, so as she held out her tiny hand for another miniscule piece and I placed the bit of tomato in her palm, I prompted her with a "Please?"

Her reply both broke and filled my heart all at the same time.

"Thank you, Mommy" she said by accident.

Mommy. So that's what it sounds like.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day

To the Mother who taught me how to love, thank you.
To the tiny boy who made me a mother, thank you.
To the man who took such gentle care of my heart this weekend, thank you.

Happy Mother's Day and quiet peace to everyone for whom today is more about sorrow than joy.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Your breakfast order

Whether you have little ones or not - in fact especially if you don't and are going to spend Mother's day coping with loss and disappointment and the myriad emotions and torments associated with being childless on Mother's Day - this is what you should request for breakfast tomorrow morning.


1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp granulated sugar
pinch of salt
1 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt
2 tbsp melter butter or canola oil + more for the pan
1 large egg
2 mashed bananas (about 3/4 cup)
Extra sliced bananas
pecans and syrup

In a large bowl, combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, sugar and salt. In separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk or yogurt, butter or oil, egg and the bananas.

Make well in centre of dry ingredients and add banana mixture. Stir with fork until barely moistened.

Heat nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and brush with oil or melted butter. Reduce heat to medium and spoon in 3 tablespoons batter for each 4-inch pancake. When bubbles rise and break surface, turn over.

Cook about 2 minutes more until nicely browned. Transfer to plate. Keep pancakes warm in preheated 200F oven.

Serve topped with banana slices, pecans and as much syrup as it's legal to use in one sitting.

I believe that all women are mothers. We respond to pain as though it was our own, we heal wounds of the soul, we nurture and cherish relationships, we give of ourselves over and over again.

We are all mothers. Even those of us with no children to tend. Even those who have never had the chance to be pregnant at all.

I believe there is a mother in all of us.

And we all deserve mounds of pancakes glistening with butter and dripping with syrup at least once a year. So buy what you need today, give this recipe to your beloved, and wait for the sweet smell of hotcakes on the griddle to waft up to your side of the bed in the morning.

Friday, May 09, 2008

The unexpected

I used to tend my Grandmother's grave all the time. Before I was married, I lived very close to the cemetery and regularly visited her little corner of the world to say hello, plant pretty new flowers in the spring, and water and weed throughout the summer.

It never bothered me. It was peaceful. It was a way to feel close to her - to feel like I was doing something for her. And it was my way of showing the world (well, the cemetery dwelling world, anyway) that she was loved and not forgotten.

In 2004, when I was three months pregnant with Thomas, my Grandfather joined her. By that time I'd pretty much stopped being much of caretaker to the garden because I lived just far enough away (an hour round trip) for it not to be all that convenient anymore. My sister and my Mom, who'd shared the garden duties with me over the years, took over regular tending.

And then Thomas died. And he was buried there too.

And suddenly that quiet, peaceful place I'd always found comfort in was a terrible place where all I did was stand and cry, ripped wide open and bleeding from the pain of my sorrow and guilt.

I barely went. I didn't see the flowers at all last summer. Or the summer before. It was all I could do to place his Christmas wreath in November and take it off at the end of March. And sometimes I didn't even do that, letting my Mom or sister take care of the retrieval process for me.

I'd usually bring something on the rare occasions that I did drag myself there for a visit - a little teddy bear garden stake or a small bouquet - but I couldn't bring myself to actually look after the garden. Not the slightest bit. Not even to pull a weed or give it a shot of water. Nothing.

I might as well have been asked to climb Mount Everest as tend the garden.

Just making the trip took every last ounce of energy I had. And once I was there, weeping at the grave, leaving as fast as I could was my goal.

But for some reason yesterday everything changed. I went to the cemetery. Happily. Well, not happily, but with as much peace and contentment as it's possible to have when you're going to visit your son's grave site.

I took violas, snapdragons and alyssum, a bag of dirt, and all the gardening tools I'd need. I trimmed the two cedar bushes my Grandpa brought back from his cottage and lovingly planted there, I cleaned out the garden and topped it up with fresh earth, I planted my flowers, and I edged Thomas' plaque so that all the words could once again be seen.

I was there for more than an hour, happily weeding and tending and primping, as though the past three springs of my neglect had never even happened.

I don't know what seismic shift in my thinking - or perhaps in my healing - enabled me to do what I did yesterday. I absolutely haven't got a clue what made it easy - even pleasurable - to tend to the grave site garden after all this time.

But I know I'm glad it was.

And what all this proves to me is that healing comes when it comes. There's no time line you should follow - no time line you can follow. There's no schedule for the cessation of the aftershocks of grief. It just happens when it happens.

Slowly, slowly, slowly you return.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Mothers For All

If you're still hunting for the perfect Mother's Day gift, a donation to this charity - an organization created to help women who have stepped into the role of Mother under the most heartbreaking circumstances imaginable - might be just the thing...

Mothers for All is a non-profit organization that supports the women in Botswana who are caring for children orphaned or made vulnerable by HIV and AIDS. The trust's primary focus is teaching income-generating skills to the orphans' caregivers - mainly women, often with little means, often caring for more than one child - thereby providing a sustainable means of support for them and their charges.

Mothers for All also aims to provide a social network through which the orphan caregivers can share their experiences, challenges and knowledge. Ultimately, the women will be taught permaculture and food gardening, and will be given environmental awareness training.

Click here to find out more.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Sunday afternoon

Drawn by the chatter of voices big and small, I went to my bedroom window yesterday afternoon and peered out onto the houses behind us to see what was going on (because no matter how hard I try, I simply can't avoid being nosy. I've decided it's a trait that's been genetically encoded and, hence, totally not my fault).

The chatter was simply neighbours with company out in their backyard.

I watch for a few seconds as two moms tended to their little ones. When the woman who lives in the house stood up, I saw a belly in a bright red sweater sticking out from her black jacket like a shiny, ripe apple.

I blinked. A belly? A noticeable belly when her daughter just turned one a few weeks ago?

But there it was.

As if the gods new I needed confirmation, I then watched her place her hands on either side of her tummy, gently rubbing it in small, tender circles, cradling the life inside.

"Yes," she replied to the question I didn't hear but instantly knew from the response she gave, "I guess it starts earlier and earlier."

Because this is baby number three. Their first, a little boy, shares the same birthday our first child was supposed to have. Had it lived, it would have also shared my Father's birthday.

May 17th.

Their second child, a little girl, was born last April.

And now number three is already on the way.

I stared and stared. I'm awed by people for whom breeding is like breathing. The whole row of houses behind us is filled with people for whom, it appears to me anyway, having babies is just routine.

Complication-less life after new life.

I can't even imagine what that would be like anymore. Pregnancy resulting in death is my only personal experience with the process. It's practically unfathomable to me that a live child is ever the result of a ripe apple-like belly.

And yet they are. By the millions. Every day.

And I'm still left in awe with my nose pressed to the glass taking it all in.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Trust me, you'll get it...

Anyone who has spent more than a few months in the process of trying to get pregnant is bound to find this as hilarious as My Beloved and I did...

Trust me.