Friday, June 27, 2008

Yarn therapy

I know it's vain, but I was just so proud of this blankie I had to share. It was sent to a very special friend and her new baby girl.

I'm currently working on a slightly more masculine afghan for My Beloved's birthday. Also good therapy.

Apparently any kind of yarn play works for me.

And that's the hooker report for Friday June 27th.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

For clarity..

For everyone who has left comments in the last few days, thank you so much for the wonderful, supportive thoughts, as well the advice, suggestions and offers to listen and help. I appreciate it so much. As those in the trenches know, it can be a lonely, frightening, confusing battle, and having so many people on your side who are willing to truly listen and be there no matter what means everything.

I just want to reassure everyone that I'm very comfortable with my OB (who is not the one who did the sonohysterogram last week - he could have done it blindfolded with his hands tied behind his back and I wouldn't have felt a thing. He's good. He's very good). I trust his advice and his methods and I appreciate his compassion and the genuine care and concern he has shown for us during this journey.

Being at a fertility clinic staffed by a stable of OBs, I'm at the mercy of whoever is on duty the day I head in for monitoring or for a test. I only see my OB when I make an appointment to go over results or to touch base. I just happened to end up with a dud last week, which, in my experience, hasn't happened very often.

Any lags in treatment have been my doing, for the most part. I have no control over the time it takes to get appointments or schedule surgery, but in every other respect My Beloved and I are driving the bus. After the miscarriage last summer I needed a break from the clinic. We felt that since I conceived the twins naturally, we could walk away with confidence. Well, as much confidence as you can have under circumstances like ours. I had follow-up blood work done to rule out clotting disorders and then we walked away.

The miscarriage shattered me in a way I hadn't expected. The winter was dark and hard, and I needed the peace of normalcy. I needed to be away from dildocams and doctors and the torment of monthly poking, prodding and endless exploration. I felt broken, body and soul, and needed time to heal.

I went back to the clinic in May because it felt like the right time to return, and I had some questions I needed answered. The clinic-less gap between last August and May was my doing.

If I was younger and had more mental stamina I might consider hunting down a second or third opinion, but aside from the fact that I really do trust my OB, I just don't have it in me to start from scratch. I can't do all of this all over again. I've had an HSG, three or four IUI's, endless cycles of monitoring, a laproscopy, Clomid, bloodwork and a traumatic miscarriage in the middle of all of it. I can't start again.

At some point you have to know when to say "enough" and let it be. I want a child. But I want my sanity too. And I don't want to lose out on what I have now because all I'm doing is focusing on what I don't have instead. That's no way to live.

We have an appointment to see my OB on the 14th of July to go over the sonohysterogram test results, and at that point we'll figure out where we're headed.

And we'll do it together, My Beloved and I. Just like we always have. His proclamation that we were "done" was simply his way of making sure that I knew that it was okay with him if I needed to stop - that he didn't expect more of me than I could handle.

I knew that. And I love him for it.

So I'm okay. We're okay. And eventually, probably sooner rather than later, we'll make a decision about what the future holds.

Thank you again for your concern. I appreciate it more than you know.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Love the one you're with

P.S. Thanks so much for all the comments - and the concern and advice. I have so much in my head right now, a picture is all I have the energy for.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


I have a high threshold of pain. I do. Really, I do. But three attempts at a saline sonohysterogram? (Which, in case you've never had one, involves a clamp and a catheter - and that should be all I need to say for you to understand why, upon attempt three, I thought I was going to die).

But I could have endured that quite handily. Even the emergency run they made to get a tech who they thought might be able to get a better picture of my uterus. Even the repeated injections of saline. Even the failed attempts being blamed on my tipped uterus (and not the OB's incompetence). I could have dealt with it all had they been able to give us good news. Or at least conclusive news.

One OB, two techs, 49 million gallons of saline and that fucking clamp on and off three times.

And at the end? Something. What, they don't know. But something. Probably scar tissue. Maybe scar tissue?

They don't know.

I sat there in a puddle of saline, gel and blood while they told me they just weren't sure what it was they saw, but that there appears to be a blockage of some sort in my uterus.

The OB who did the test (and God help both of us if I ever lay eyes on her again) recommended surgery to determine what exactly it was that they couldn't see. That's what she put in her notes to my OB.

My OB, who I can't see for another three weeks. And only that soon because I lost my shit on the phone with the clinic when they tried to tell me it would be August before I could get in front of him to discuss the fact that there's something lurking in my uterus that's likely the cause of last 12 months of failure.

A spot magically opened up on July 14th when I went into meltdown mode.

So, all in all, it's been a shitty week.

No one has told us we need to stop - or should stop. But this broke me in a way nothing has before. I barely made it out to the car before I burst into tears, scaring the shit out of My Beloved who had no idea what exactly I was crying about.

It was just too much.

I'm not a pussy - I sailed through my HSG, the IUIs and my C-section recovery, even after hemorrhaging and getting a blood infection. I'm strong and stubborn. But this? Somehow it was just too much. It hurt like hell (I'm not sure, but I think she was digging for gold), I'm still spotting five days later, and we have no clear answers. Only the specter of another surgery lurking in the darkness before us.

But I don't know if I can do it. I don't know if I have anything left. Like I said, I thought I would walk to the ends of the earth to have another child. But maybe this is what the end looks like. Me, completely out of courage and mental stamina. And hope.

"That's it. We're done. No more." Was My Beloved's conclusion upon finally calming me down enough to allow me to tell him what had gone on in the little exam room.

My Mother agrees. So does his. So do I. Mostly...

But part of me is down on my knees begging someone to tell me how you stop when you have nothing to show for your five years of effort except for an ever increasing stack of therapy receipts, a basement full of unused baby things, and a tiny grave marker.

How? How?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

What now?

What happens when you've both reached your collective breaking point? When the road ahead is just too steep to climb? When the answer is "let's stop" instead of "let's do everything in our power" - because suddenly, and without warning, you've reached the point where you think you have done everything in your power?

I thought I would go to the ends of the earth to have another child of our own.

I didn't know the gods would actually make me walk all the way to that precipice and just leave me standing there in agony.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Monday's song, with thanks to Simon and Garfunkel

God only knows
God makes his plan
The information's unavailable
To the mortal man
We work our jobs
Collect our pay
Believe were gliding down the highway
When in fact were slip slidin' away

Slip slidin' away
Slip slidin' away
You know the nearer your destination
The more you're slip slidin' away.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Father's Day

Last weekend we babysat our nephew for several hours on Saturday. In the afternoon, after Nutella sandwiches, fresh strawberries and kite-flying at the park, My Beloved sat down on the floor and began to teach J how to play chess.

He's five.

Three years ago My Beloved had just 20 hours to be a Father to Thomas, and in that agonizingly short time I saw the sweetest glimpse of what could have been.

As the years pass and I watch him doing things like teaching five-year olds how to play chess, and playing peek-a-boo over the fence with our two-year old Goddaughter, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt what kind of Father he would have been to our son.

And what kind of Father he is in his heart.

I love you, Sandy.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

What a wonderful way to spend a Saturday morning

Ultrasound technician: Oh! Oh, you were pregnant last summer? Did you get a baby?

Me: No.

Ultrasound technician: (Long pause) Did you have a miscarriage?

Me: (Wondering what else she thinks I did with the babies) Yes. Yes, I did.

Ultrasound technician: Oh.

(Laying very still and quiet on the tiny table hoping there won't be any more questions)

Ultrasound technician: Oh. You've had a C-section?

Me: (Shit) Yes. We had a baby in 2005 but he died too. I had a C-section then.

Ultrasound technician: (Quietly) Oh.

The rest of the exam proceeded in silence until we said polite goodbyes and I retreated back into the protective cocoon of the change room to nurse my wounds.

After this the nurse stuck me in both arms trying to find a decent vein.

All in all, pretty much just as shitty a time as I'd remembered and expected.

I came *this* close to fleeing in a hail of tears just before I was called in for my ultrasound, but I talked myself down off the ledge. I decided it's better to just suck it up, submit to the prodding and deal with the aftermath of whatever results they find sooner rather than later.

The clock won't stop. Time waits for no broken uterus. I can't suck out now.

Good times, my friends. Good times.

Friday, June 13, 2008

My aching (empty) head

I had a post all written - published, even - and then discovered that the reason it seemed so familiar to me (not to mention easy to write) was because I'd already written it. I thought I'd only noodled it around in my head. I'd completely forgotten that I finished and served the noodles days ago.

Clearly I'm losing what's left of my mind.

Case in point:

I stood in a store this afternoon explaining to a puzzled looking clerk that I couldn't decide between two dresses and needed to buy both so I could let my husband choose which one I should keep.

I was truly incapable of picking one over the other. So, of course, instead I opted to make it appear as though I live in 1940 and need my husband's stamp of approval on everything I'm wearing before being allowed to leave the house.

Seriously, she was looking at me with such open scorn and disgust. And then she proceeded to wrinkle up her nose and tell me that the brown dress was a terrible choice for my colouring. Even though I hadn't asked for her opinion. And wanted to shove something directly up that wrinkled little nose.

I was too tired to bother being swayed. I liked the brown dress. It was flattering (a rare thing for me). I didn't feel like trying on the wild blue and white Hawaiian print number she thought would be a better choice. And, frankly, even I had mustered up the energy, it was hideous. Not even close to the style of the brown dress she thought was so heinous.

In the end I came home with my two dresses, drank a big glass of water, sat down for a while and eventually managed to find enough energy to do some mindless tasks around the house.

I'm tired. I'm dreading the return to the fertility clinic tomorrow. I'm utterly dumbfounded that this marks the start cycle #51.

But My Beloved loved the dresses - especially the brown one - and he said I should keep them both.

Sometimes having too much in your head and being incapable of making decisions pays off. I'll be the best dressed broken uterus at the clinic. Lucky me.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Of Mice and Men. And Cats.

Note to self:

If you go shopping after taking the cat to the vet, change your shirt. The 15 pounds of fur shed upon spotting the carrier - which is then instantly deposited all over the front of you - is very, very noticeable under the lights of the dairy aisle.

Tiny, airless veterinary exam rooms will make you very hot. The remaining fur on the cat will stick to all the humid, exposed skin you have. You will look like a sweaty Yeti approximately 2.7 seconds after entering the room. Just accept it. Pretend you didn't notice the vet noticing your furry, glistening skin and being amused by it.

A 12-year old cat who has already lost three fangs to gum disease will likely require further dental work and extractions. Be prepared for the overwhelming feelings of fear and dread associated with subjecting a small thing you love to medical intervention. It's not your fault. Your history is fucking with your brain.

It's okay to decide to return the flea treatment the vet recommended because it's toxic and means you can't properly cuddle your 12-year old, mostly toothless cat who you are terrified you're going to lose when you send her back off to have her dental work done. If she doesn't have fleas now, she's probably not going to, particularly given how infrequently she's actually out in the backyard. And if she does get them, you can deal with it then instead. Proper cuddles are way more important at the moment.

It's okay to be this attached to a cat. You loved her before you even knew your Beloved. You have a long history. She has been a security blanket and a comfort and an amusing little friend through times more difficult than you ever dreamed you'd face. You are as close as two beings from two different species can be. It's okay. It's okay. It's okay.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Oh, for the love of crap!

It seems unnecessarily cruel to have to spend part of Father's Day weekend at the fertility clinic.

Not a big part (just long enough to have an ultrasound and wait God knows how long to been seen by a doctor afterwards) but still, cruel just the same. Particularly since this visit signals the failure of another cycle and the start of more poking, prodding and general torment.

But then again, there's nothing particularly kind about infertility, so I shouldn't be the least bit surprised by this.

Nothing much surprises me these days.

Good times, my friends. Good times.

And I've just remembered that I forgot to go get a lottery ticket. Someone else is going to win my $14 million.

Double crap.

Clearly I'm going to need some chocolate tonight.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Take my hand

My Beloved and I had a long discussion about what to do when someone, post trauma, has disappointed you in some way. Or if it's even fair to be disappointed in someone who quietly faded away while you were in the midst of your darkest grief.

Is it fair to expect more of someone than they were able to give?

For three years I've been defiant, arms folded across my chest, chin in the air, my answer a resounding "YES".

Yes, I believed, it IS fair to expect someone to rise to an incredibly difficult challenge when you desperately need them to. Figuring out how to deal with you as a bereaved person instead of the person they once knew. Figuring out how to approach you that first time after. Figuring out how to be there for you when they haven't got a clue what you're going through or what you need.

Yes. I've always thought it was fair to expect those close to you to find a way to do all that.

So many people did, you see. In varying degrees and in different ways, they were there.

But a small few weren't. Not after Thomas. Not after I lost the twins. And now, with no end to the silence in sight, I'm wondering if maybe I really have been expecting too much.

Or if perhaps I'm not, but need to let it go just the same.

My Beloved asked what I'll gain from still being hurt and disappointed in these few.

I had no answer. I will gain nothing from continually allowing myself to feel the sting of their continued absence.

In fact, I will lose. If I let the chasm continue to grow, I will simply be adding further loss to a life that has already seen too much.

My point has always been that it seems wrong for the person who has suffered to have to reach out and pull in those who have stood quietly by and done nothing. It seems unfair for someone who is grieving to have to take care of others; hold them by the hand and tell them what to do to help.

But if we don't, are we any further ahead? If we stand just as quietly on our side of the fence mourning our losses and the loss of much needed support on top of that, are we any better off?

If I could let it go, the answer would be yes. And I have been able to do that in at least one case. But another, I just can't.

"Reach out." He said.

So maybe I will.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Public Service - Summer Reading

One of my current freelance jobs involves reading books and then writing questions for the authors to answer. The Q&As finds their way to an online book club.

This, for the record, is my dream job and I'm astonished that it found its way to me (you know, what with my history of staggeringly bad luck and catastrophe and all). It's beyond cool that I can ask absolutely anything I want, especially when a question about the story or a character - or even the author - is really nagging at me, making me desperate for an answer.

I'm nosy and I love books. This is the perfect job for a nosy book lover.

Anyway, I just finished a couple of books that I thought were fantastic. Both are very different, but each completely captivating in its own way.

If you're putting together your summer reading list, may I humbly recommend:

Burning Bright

The Ten Year Nap

A shady spot, a warm summer breeze, a cold glass of iced tea, a week off, and a stack of books. Perfection.


Friday, June 06, 2008

Random garden pictures...

...because we're oh, so proud.

This is my brand new Butterfly Gaura, a native North American wildflower. It's a little odd looking - kind of weedy and grassy - but these gorgeous little butterfly shaped flowers perched along the tall stems are a sweetly redeeming feature.

Look, look, LOOK at my pretty little Buttercup! These grew wild along the roadside at my Grandparent's Muskoka cottage and I was beyond thrilled to find them at Sweetgrass Gardens. I clutched my little pot of Buttercups for dear life, even after the owner tried to persuade me to get something bigger and showier for the wet patch at the back of our yard. They bring back sweet memories and make me smile. There's nothing I'd rather have in my garden.

My Mom and Dad had to take down a nearly 40-year old maple tree in their yard. It was splitting and in danger of falling on the house behind them. They're not altogether that fond of the people behind them, but they were still reluctant to allow a dangerous tree to lean precariously into their yard.

So, because I'm nostalgic and My Beloved is becoming a "found yard treasures" pack rat, three sections of the tree have found their way into our backyard. The stump in the foreground is a little stool in the middle of our vegetable patch, a smaller piece is toppled over against the back fence in a spot that is going to eventually be filled, in part, with native plants (aiding in our attempt to make it look wild and unplanned), and the third, if you look closely, is now a table tucked in between our two Muskoka chairs.

It was My Beloved's idea. Because he's clever like that.

And finally, this is a Flower-of-Jove that I planted last year. It was called "Peggy", so I had to buy it in memory of a dear family friend (of the same name) who passed away last year. As a new perennial it didn't bloom at all - it barely even grew - but this year it has grown to twice its size and is now covered in this pretty little trumpet-shaped pink blooms. I think Peggy would be pleased.

And that's how my garden grows. At least for now.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

When in Rome

Last Saturday My Beloved and I went to the Six Nations Reserve near Brantford, Ontario to visit a tiny little nursery that specializes in native plants.

Because, I suppose, Christmas is so far away and we need another outlet for obsession (pornaments being unavailable at this time of year), we've become fully engrossed in the idea of creating a native garden in our backyard.

Aside from being cool and a very interesting challenge, it kind of makes ecological sense. European plants aren't meant for Canadian soil. Oh, they do okay (and Lord knows I have a LOT of favourites planted in and around our house), but they didn't develop here and they require a lot of poking and prodding and special attention to keep them thriving.

Native plants, so the theory goes, don't. And there are some really interesting ones out there.

They're a little simpler than showy European flowers (and by simpler I mean weedy looking in some cases) but there's something very satisfying about taking on the challenge of reintroducing native plants to a landscape that has been virtually stripped of them in favour of more exotic fare.

I came home with a Bristly Buttercup, a clump of Sweetgrass, a wild Geranium and a Bergamot.

It was largely a fact-finding mission, but after seeing rows of lovingly tended native plants I couldn't leave without a few favourites. I bought as many as I had cash to purchase (they don't take credit or debit).

The owner was so kind and helpful, and spent a lot of time answering our questions and offering advice.

The setting was idyllic, and the distant rumble of the thunderstorm that engulfed us on our way home somehow made it a mystical and soul-soothing experience. There's nothing quite like the smell of a storm on its way - or the heady scent of hundreds of small plants nestled in pots of native soil.

I loved every second of it. And we're going back as soon as we have a better plan for our native garden.

If you live in the area - or within day tripping distance - it's absolutely worth taking the pretty drive along the 403 into Brantford to check out Sweetgrass Gardens

Monday, June 02, 2008


A thousand years ago in a previous life that I barely remember and can't believe I ever owned, I worked with a girl who was virtually perfect in every way.

She was girl-next-door pretty. Straight white teeth. Deeply tanned skin gained from hours in the family pool. A halo of golden hair around the flawless skin of her face (which didn't require one lick of make-up).

And she was nice. Really, seriously nice. She was as close to perfect as you'll find. There was absolutely nothing wrong with her and nothing to dislike about her. Nothing at all.

She married a blond banker; tall, tanned, handsome and every bit as nice as she was.

They moved into an upper middle class neighbourhood and had two beautiful children, last I heard.

I used to look at her with awe. I was a lumpy, brown-haired girl with blotchy skin, hair that frizzed in the humidity, and overactive sweat glands. We couldn't have been more different, she and I.

I found myself thinking about her this afternoon - thinking about the charmed life she seemed to lead, and how there are people like that out there; those that seem to float through life on a cloud of good fortune and flawless skin.

I feel no malice towards her - none at all. But I do wonder why is is that there's such disparity in the human experience. I wonder how two people of roughly the same age from roughly the same place can come together to do roughly the same job and yet be so different - and have differences continue to widen the gulf between them as the years pass.

Okay, My Beloved is tall too. And handsome. And, of course, really nice. We have that in common, she and I.

But the lumpy girl and the tanned goddess couldn't be more different if they tried. And neither could their lives.

The last time I saw her I was about 5 months pregnant with Thomas. We were shopping for a new carpet for the family room and bumped into her in one of the aisles.

We made the awkward small talk of people who hadn't seen each other in years, and then parted amicably, the requisite "congratulations!" doled out and well received.

And here I am and there she is.

Still so different.