Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Thursday, May 25, 2006
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
These musings come in response to (check out my kicky little ticker in the sidebar) the impending anniversary of starting to "try again". May 25th will mark the first day of the cycle in which we decided we would toss our fate to the wind. No one, however, informed us that there would be no wind.
Today I have decided that I am probably going to get something in red as an anniversary gift from my body. A tiny drop in temperature this morning is typical before the large drop that announces my period's arrival. Of course, I could be wrong (which is why I shouldn't chart obsess), but I have much experience that tells me that I should prepare myself for the red tide of disappointment. It is better to prepare yourself for the worst. What a sad life philosophy.
How about this thought - as much as I have griped on about my inability to get knocked up (to date), I am getting closer to actually comprehending what infertility is. On Thursday, I will meet the clinical definition for secondary infertility. This specter that I have been toying with for so many months now will be real.
And I begin to question - what is my heart's desire? Over 3 years ago, we "decided" we would start our family. It took a year for my body to recover from taking birth control pills and get knocked up. It was easy enough, once that line turned pink, to convince myself that I had just been impatient and that getting pregnant (though not as easy as my health ed teacher in Grade 7 proposed) was not an insurmountable task. Then our son died. Then I convinced myself that Fate owed us, and that we would become pregnant first or second try.
Now, 12 months later, I don't know what I want and I don't know what I believe. As I mentioned in a comment on Sarah's blog - getting pregnant seems about as controllable as the weather. It seems that there is very little control over the process. I feel like I am floating along in this river of time, days, minutes, and seconds ticking away, and no amount of arm-flailing and leg-kicking gets me any closer to land.
I have been in pursuit of a family for 3 years. Medical personnel will not look at it that way (I am just passing their cut-off mark). But I am now barely able to believe that we will actually have our own children in this lifetime.
Yet - I try so hard not to think that way. I don't want to tempt Fate, I don't want to draw in some bad karma. But the weather doesn't believe in Fate or karma does it?
Just to clarify, I am not sad or angry or frustrated. Just floating along this river, hanging on to my husband, keeping our heads above water. The impossibility of raising a family becomes clearer with each day. Just a distant, unattainable goal. Like winning the lottery. Nice idea, but what are the odds?
Monday, May 22, 2006
Crap. I was just writing that for a fun, colloquial taste of my home. Then I realized my son will never break the law in a Provincial Park on May Long. Sheesh, can't even May Long be fun anymore?
I loved my weekend in the sun in my garden. I may get around to posting a few photos one of these days. You know, the generic kind that don't show anything recognizable so that I can maintain my secret identity.
I felt nauseous and crampy yesterday. Sign of impending ectopic pregnancy? Sign of implantation? Sign of impending period? Sign of eating junk food for a week straight? Is the junk food craving a sign of pregnancy?
Only a few more days before I know whether I am fooling myself again this month. Still no word from the RE, despite the passing of approximately 7 weeks since the letter of referral was sent. C'mon, just send me the letter booking me in for an appointment in October. At least then I would know where I stand. Stupid bloody healthcare system, which I simultaneously love and despise.
A family member required the services of the provincial heath care system this weekend. Which meant I had the joyous experience of visiting the second floor of the hospital. How fun it is to walk past those lovely little bassinets with waving arms and kicking feet. Actually, I exaggerate - I didn't have to walk past them. But you can see them from the elevator door, so there. Surprisingly, it had little effect on me. My son is just as dead today, when I visit the mat. ward, as he will be tomorrow when I don't. My skin thickens daily (what a cute picture that is...).
Enough wit and pizzazz. I must refresh myself for the gruelling task of a 3 day work week (I have Friday off). Ta ta!
Thursday, May 18, 2006
In his autobiography, Disturbing the Universe, Freeman
Dyson cites a letter Einstein wrote to his oldest friend, Michele Besso:
"Now he has departed from this strange world a little ahead of me. That means nothing. People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion."
To hear Freeman Dyson speak on » The Stubborn Illusion of Time (Real Player, 3:23) click on the link.
That Eistein was smart, wasn't he?
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
I have begun the annual chore of preparing my garden for the summer and for planting. Because I was fortunate enough to have some extra help this year, things are much further ahead than they normally are by this time. Partly that has to do with the early spring that we have had. Partly that has to do with my extra help.
I am preparing to plan my vegetables this weekend. The Long Weekend in May is the traditional vegetable garden planting time in our neck of the woods. Victoria Day. Planting day. I did not grow vegetables last year and I am a little excited to grow some this year. And I have a plan this time (I don't usually, which means buying too much seed of one variety and not enough of another).
I had my husband use a weed-n-feed product on our lawn last night. I feel quite ratty about it. I am, as a matter of course, opposed to these products. Why scatter 24D in a blanket over an area that doesn't necessarily need it? Well, we are taking a stand. The dandelions are completely out of control. So I have broken down and had him do it. The poor guy usually does the job of digging them out, so, even though he feels the same way I do about 24D, he is happy with the idea of possibly having less than 8 hours of digging to do per session to keep up.
Which means that, despite the beautiful weather we are having, I should not spend any more time in my garden. In case I am pregnant (now stop laughing, that's rude), I guess I should keep away from 24D, considering the links to birth defects. i hope that it is safe, as long as I stay off the grass. I would love to sit and work on my deck this afternoon, instead of in my windowless office.
I work in a salaried position, which generally means that my work goes in ebbs and flows. Right now, I have finished a few projects that were consuming my life, and I am on an ebb. So, I come in to work for a few hours, take care of the day's problems, go home to my real life. The life that revolves around my son, my husband, and my future children. I like this time.
Speaking of my son, I have to vent a little. As I mentioned, my son has a new neighbour in the cemetery. I am hoping that we will be able to provide a little support to the newly bereaved family in the near future. However, right now I am a little irritated. On Mother's Day, when we went to the cemetery, we noticed what looked to be a small jar of expressed breast milk at the head of the new plot. I understand the sentiment. But please consider - milk, plus sun, plus heat = smell. I want to go to the cemetery this afternoon, but my husband has forewarned me; the smell is atrocious.
The issue of caring for cemetery plots is always a contentious one. Should people be allowed to put whatever they want on their family's plots? Gaudy garden gnomes, pinwheels, streamers, the like? Toys all over the children's section? Plant flowers, shrubs? Install seating?
For the most part, I think that we need to live and let live. Which means, to me, that since the living are the people who have to deal with death, we should let them deal in whatever way they need to. If that means that the people who care for the cemetery have to move a lot of crap when they mow the grass, so be it. We paid for that little stretch of grass, after all.
I do think that I draw the line at food items that are left there for days and weeks on end. Please, take a piece of birthday cake out to the cemetery. Celebrate the birthday. Please don't leave it there. It goes rancid. It smells. It makes it uncomfortable for me to visit my son. And I don't think that your grieving takes precedence over mine. I think that we can cohabitate as grievers quite nicely, as long as we keep our expressions of love within the boundaries of our family member's plots. And when breast milk is going rancid and bubbling out of a jar within 12 inches of my son's headstone, I don't think you are meeting those guidelines.
Which brings me to the question - what on earth should I do? I mean, if these people don't remove the milk? Should I dump it out and take some bleach-water to rinse everything off? Is that a terrible thing to do? I hate it when someone touches the things that we have taken to our son's grave... What a predicament. I just hope that they take care of it themselves, and soon.
Thursday, May 11, 2006
Why on earth was I not a disaster? Why didn't I cry my eyes out? I didn't shed a tear. It is sick, that's what it is. It should have rocked my world and it barely registered with me. What is wrong with me?
It wasn't a lovely service. The officiant said things that I thought were horrible. In speaking to the Ecclesiastes "a time to every purpose under heaven" reading, he told the grieving parent's "Trust in God. God knows what's good for you." WTF??? Is he implying that this family has to suffer the worst of experiences because it is "good for" them??? I will give the benefit of the doubt and tell you that English is not his first language, therefore the implications of the colloquialism may just be beyond him. But, again, WTF???
He spent most of the time pushing pat little platitudes at them. Their son is in a wonderful place. God called him to Him. It was his time. Blah, blah, frickin' blah.
I think that I am, in part, ranting about the issue of God in response to Catherine's raging against God. I get that, I truly do. And this service today was yet another example of how the "messengers of God's word" have no clue about how we feel. Not a frickin' sniff. I am glad that the family will probably remember little of what was said at the funeral.
And I am deeply in debt to the compassionate, empathetic, eloquent, understanding woman that performed my son's funeral rites.
So I guess I was not unmoved. I can do a hell of a job fooling myself.
When my husband told me of this, most of my thoughts were completely selfish. For a moment, I felt that sickening thud of regret for the family that will not get to spend time with their baby. But, perhaps since I have never even heard of these people until yesterday, my next thought was of my husband, who will be in the circle of people who do know them. These people, who have barely mentioned our son (to my knowledge) and who were hardly supportive when he died (though I imagine it was because they didn't know what to do or say), will likely be more supportive of this woman because of her gender. But, actually, that may not be an issue, since she will receive her 3 months maternity leave and (if she is anything like me) will stay home and hide for the next 3 months.
Secondly, macabre as this is, I liked having the plot next to our son open. In case we need it. Also, because then I could sit next to his grave without sitting on someone else's kid.
Thirdly, I am a little excited that people who know us will be at the graveside service, and will get to see our son's headstone. They are very few things that I get to show off about our son. What a thrill to know that people we know will actually get to see something that is his.
Fourthly, I think that I am glad of the company. Not for me, but for our son. I talk to our son when we go to the cemetery, but I also talk to the little girl buried to the west of him, and the little boy buried to the north. They have become his friends. I guess, since I cannot arrange for playdates with his friends here in this life, I might imagine that these little grave markers that surround his grave marker are his friends. One more friend for our son.
The truth of it all, too, is that I am a little jealous of people who have been granted the joy of spending time with their children. Though it was only 3 weeks in this case, I have to admit to my jealousy. For those of you who did have a few moments to spend with your children, I know that you cherish those moments and I don't begrudge you that time. I would never want that taken away from a bereaved parent. I am simply just always a little sad that we didn't get to see his eyes gazing at us, see the rise and fall of his chest as he slept, hear his cry, etc. etc.
SO now that I have written it all out, I realize that I am sad for this family that I don't know. Nothing will heal this wound for them, and I know this better than most. I am sorry you couldn't stay, little baby.
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
These little shelters where death is part of life are unexpected pleasures, don't you think?
Anna-Maria Tremonti first interviewed a bereaved parent who, after posting the notice of his daughter's death on her MySpace blog, has been monitoring the comments that people have left in memory of his daughter. Then she spoke with the editor of Lives Lived, a 650 word column in the Globe and Mail that shares stories of the lives of deceased Canadians. Finally, she interviewed an obituary writer for insights into the obituary "industry".
I was very moved by the Lives Lived column. I am not a Globe and Mail reader, so I wasn't aware of that column (I rarely read our 20 page local paper, I am more of a radio gal myself). The editor spoke, with feeling, about her approach to the column - it should tell one or two anecdotes about the person that gives us insight into his/her personality, and should not sound like an obituary.
I, of course, tried to imagine what those 650 words might say about my son. And what a lovely idea it is to honour a person's life, rather than dwelling in the horror of his death. As an example, today's subject. Peter Walker was a documentarian responsible for bringing us several episodes of Birth Stories who developed cancer and, in response to that, had the children that he had always hoped for, months before dying. I get that. Using those details of his life to tell his story leads me to an understanding of a person who I would probably not be that interesting in otherwise.
I will be thinking about my 650 words for my son. Perhaps I will manage to put them together in some fashion. Perhaps I will share them with you.
*Note: if you are interested in hearing the program, it will be uploaded to their website later today, early tomorrow. It will probably only be available for one day, so you should try and catch it tomorrow. It was in the last hour of the program.
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
So I am getting back on the horse here. I guess that, since the purpose of me keeping this blog is to keep myself mentally fit by dealing with my little inane problems, I had best get to it.
I am in serious cleaning mode. My home, my office, my yard (my car desperately needs it). I find myself looking for some sort of "sign" that I might be pregnant, time after time. SO...this month's sign is the nesting instinct.
I saw two birds doing it in my yard yesterday. Ha ha ha.
I have continued to work on my son's scrapbook. It is coming along nicely. I have spent time organizing his things that need to go into the scrapbook, so the process should speed up (ha ha ha, as if I will ever spend any less than 4 hours on a page).
My morning radio station was trying to tell me something this a.m. In order of performance:
- Landslide - Stevie Nicks (and I began to think about life, life's path, life's struggles)
- Life is a Highway - Tom Cochrane
- It's My Life - No Doubt
- What if God Was One of Us - Joan Osbourne
- How Far is Heaven - Los Lonely Boys
Neon sign. Think about your life and what it means today. I left the house. No doubt the inundation continues in my absence....
I have an amazing husband. In the midst of this "trying" business, his sense of humour remains intact. He saw the birds doing it, too.
I have the sense of humour of a fourteen year old boy sometimes.
Sunday, May 07, 2006
This week has been a teary one for me. I tear up in the oddest locations. In the bulk grocery store. Listening to the radio. At church. Quite consistently this month. My grief counselor believes that the soul is imprinted by life's tragedy's for a long time. Last May was one of the most difficult times for me - I went back to work and dealt with my first childless Mother's Day. Perhaps the shockwaves from a year ago are washing over me and the waves are coming out in tears.
We went kite flying at our son's grave. I recommend.
I am in mid-stickdipping. Pee collection is proceeding in excellent fashion, as per new approach, and the colours change as they are supposed to. Here's to chemistry.
Saturday, May 06, 2006
Friday, May 05, 2006
Firstly, we have an identity crisis. We have spent most of our national existence explaining to people that we are not American and we are not British and we are not French. Then the Quebecers are busy explaining how they are/are not Anglophones. The Newfies are saying something, but we haven't quite been able to figure out what it was (maybe if they wrote it down...). Comments could be made to generalize about the other provincial attitudes. Aboriginal people are not really into being Canadian, and are still quite irritated about the bum deal they got when (back when we were French and British) the whole power structure of the country was completely destroyed. So we have spent a lot of time defining what we are not.
What is our reaction to that? Well, we make sure we define things as Canadian. Obviously, there is hockey. Then, in a round-about way, we worship the hockey player that was Tim Horton (now the coffee and doughnut man). We have the Canadian content laws that rule our airways. What is comes down to, in my mind, is that we are kind of stuck in this adolescence of our nation asking who are we?
But I am a fierce patriot. I love the CBC, public health care, and rollin' up the rim. So please understand that some of my viewpoints are coloured by national pride.
For example, I am in love with Canadian music. Rock and folk, mainly. Be it the Canadian content laws that ensure that radio stations play a high percentage of Canadian tunes, or simply an affinity for the stuff, I love Canadian musicians. Sarah McLachlan, Barenaked Ladies, Alanis Morrisette, Jann Arden, Great Big Sea, even Nickleback at times. I needed you all aware of this, because I imagine that I will start quoting some of my favourite songs here. So know that, even if you don't care for Alanis or you think that Sarah's music is too saccharine, I know them better than you do. Trust me, I do. And I think they are deserving of my affection.
In that tone of educating the masses on all things Canadian, I want to direct you to the Rick Mercer website. Do you have the "Hand in my pocket" commercial where you live? For Capital One credit cards? Where the bankers are shown with their hands in the pockets of Workaday Joes as they go about their business? Well, our one and only Rick Mercer did a spoof on this that is just hilarious. Click on the clip entitled "Knee in my Package" and prepare to be entertained.
Mercer is indescribable in non-Canadian terms...he is a satirist, for whom nothing is sacred. And there is nothing that we Canadians enjoy more than a good, satirical laugh at ourselves and our neighbours.
In more topical news, I have begun using our recent eBay acquisition - the OPK strips. It is a little fun to pee in the cup and dip the strip and watch it turn colours. For any other dippers out there, it was recently recommended to me to use Dixie cups for pee collection. Then you just throw them away. The pee collection was always problematic and this solution was a wonderful epiphany for me. So I had to share.
Thursday, May 04, 2006
Poor Momma Bird...I know what it is like when the egg doesn't hatch.
Our pastor and his wife
Our grief counselor
Our friends, Mr. and Mrs. H
Various medical professionals:
- our doctor
- our doctor's nurses (several that I know personally, but have never commented outside of office hours, YAY for confidentiality)
- the obgyn that did the HSG in February
- potentially the RE that we are being referred to (depending if the letter has arrived yet)
I imagine numerous people in our lives would probably guess that we are thinking of getting pregnant, but are too afraid to ask. Then there are my 2 relatives who flat out asked me and I stumbled around a bit before lying to them. I feel like everyone knows, but I think that is just a bad case of hypersensitive self-protectiveness.
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
Yes, the general public needs to be more aware of infant mortality in general. It's almost like an urban legend; most people have heard stories, but don't personally know anyone who's suffered a loss. Therefore, it's easier to assume and believe that all pregnancies end healthfully and happily, rather than to think that something so horrific actually does happen and happens more frequently than a person cares to imagine.
That is exactly it. It is an urban legend. Something that happened to your sister's coworker's neighbour's niece fifteen years ago. Of course, due to my experience, I am on the stillbirth education bandwagon. But Sherry is right - the whole issue of dead babies is an urban legend. Perfect wording!
Next issue to address: I want to sleep. Please. It is so freakin' rare that I actually fall asleep within the same hour as my head touches the pillow that I feel like a raving lunatic some times. I don't drink coffee after noon. I don't nap anymore. But my brain shifts in to overdrive the moment the light goes out. Result? Mornings suck.
It isn't always pregnancy obsession or thoughts of my son that keep me awake (though that may be 70% of the wakefulness). Work stuff. Life stuff. Crazy relatives stuff. However, the past week has mostly been focused around remembering. Remembering what it felt like when we saw our positive pregnancy test result. Remembering what those first few surreal days felt like, when I knew I was pregnant but there were still no physical changes. The absolute naivete of it all.
I am, however, remembering and not reliving. That is a blessed relief. The reliving is scary...the reliving makes you feel like you will never function properly again, that your brain, your spirit and your soul is damaged by the weight of grief that you now must permanently carry with you. Remembering is healthy. Remembering is normal. Remembering actually feels good. No post-trauma stuff in remembering. Just wistfulness, slightly tinged with regret and guilt. I wonder, will that time come when the remembering will bring peace, joy, and gratefulness? I don't know. For now, I am grateful for remembering in the form that it takes, and happy to leave the reliving in the past.
That is today. And yesterday. I don't know what tomorrow will bring. Maybe the reliving will be in my future. But today I am very comfortable with remembering.
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
- I rarely watch reality birth story shows. However, I caught one that was touted in my TV guide as "working model receives bad news about twin pregnancy" and thought, are you serious??? some fluffy, feel-good birth story show is doing a REAL pregnancy, including loss??? only to discover that the producers managed to gloss over the loss. The 40 year old model experienced a vanishing twin in the early weeks of her pregnancy, which the producers chose to let the mom talk about for about 30 seconds, and then on to the fun stuff. This was the impetus for the Ap. 28 post - I was so excited to see a pregnancy including loss on TV and the treatment of the loss was so laissez faire. Like, well, she has one baby, so doesn't really have anything to complain about. The vanishing twin, though mentioned, was a non-event.
- I haven't wished ill for anyone that I care about. I only feel that disgusting tug of hatred for people that I don't know. For people who could have had 12 losses for all that I know. That is partly why I think the emotion is so ugly...what do I know about these people that would make me want their lives to be torn apart??
- I just wish that someone who people listen to, like Oprah, was out there fighting for stillbirth research. I don't care if the person is a celebrity, but our society listens to celebrities. So, it frustrates me that the voice of parents is so quiet. Every day I hear of some terminally ill infant/toddler in the news because our medical system is failing them. I really appreciate that this is an important issue. I do. But there is never any mention of stillbirth. I bet if we looked at infant/toddler mortality rates vs. stillbirth rates we would be shocked into action. But, oh well, it happens, nothing we can do.
Now, on to timely topics from my circles of entertainment. NHL Hockey. Our country is gripped with Hockey Fever, with a number of Canadian teams heading into the playoffs. It is still mathematically possible that 4 Canadian Teams could move through the quarter finals, though perhaps not practically possible.
I realize how stereotypical this Hockey Fever is, but I am Head Musher on this Dogsled. I am loving watching all of the games. If hockey isn't for you, then choose another sport. In sports, there are no pregnancies, there are no babies, there are no discussions of mothering/motherhood beyond the "I owe this to my parents" comments that the players make. There is a definite beginning and a definite end. In hockey, players occasionally take out their aggressions on other players. When the game is over, you turn off the TV, kiss your husband and go to sleep.
Monday, May 01, 2006
My son's life, though brief, was beautiful. I remember how it all felt. And it was all the most important thing that had ever happened.
I celebrate this day as the beginning of my son's life, which culminated 258 days later in his death on his day of birth. Not the way the world is supposed the work, but the way my son's did.
So, Happy Conception Day, Little One. No regrets.
I love you and I miss you.