Friday, March 31, 2006

Huh! (in a tone of surprise)

I have a doctor who cares. Not only does she care, she is willing to put her neck out for me. Why the tone of surprise? In the Canadian publicly-funded healthcare system (which I love, despite its many faults), doctors are usually too overworked and underpaid to spend the time with patients that they deserve. And today, I got the time and attention that I deserve.

My Dr. is referring me to a reproductive endocrinologist for a consultation. Which means that I will be put on the waiting list. Best case scenario, I get pregnant before I get to the top of the list. Worst case scenario, I get there and the RE says "go home and keep trying, there is nothing wrong with you." Regardless, by sending the letter now, while we are in cycle 11, it means that if we pass the magic 1-year-trying mark, the RE will have to listen to us. We would then meet the clinical definition for secondary infertility and can get some intervention.

Which is what I want, but WOW! that was a scary conversation to have with my MD today. When she asked if I wanted the referral, I really wasn't sure what to say. I made my uncertainty known, so we talked it out. She said that basically all she could do was put me on Clomid, which would be a silly thing for her to do for two reasons: 1) according to my charting, I am ovulating in a regular pattern, and 2) she admits to not knowing what would happen if she put me on Clomid when I am already ovulating. MD feels that the right person to make these decisions/recommendations is the RE.

I have worried about secondary infertility since my son died. I think that, for those of us who experience the death of our first baby, we all think what if he was my only chance? But to be coming on a year of charting and timing and worrying, it is just surreal. Yes, I want to see the RE. But when the question was asked, I felt a little like I was admitting defeat. Which is so silly and exaggerated. And that huge fear crept in again - what if he was our only chance?

Last night I spent some time on me: I did yoga and did some reading. I felt a little less down and funky. But, spending that time on yourself, you do not get your overtime-work done or your house cleaned. Which causes more stress. Sigh.

I actually bought more pants this week because I never manage to keep clean dress pants in the house. And, even though there is no dress code at work, I feel like a slob wearing jeans and a t-shirt to work every day. Many, MANY people wear that to work every day here. I just don't like doing it. But what my appearance basically comes down to is this: how lazy am I feeling today? And most times, that means that I don't bother with pressing a shirt or doing my hair (Ponytail Addict). However, this week, I have managed to do hair, makeup, and work attire 4 out of 5 days. A new record. All thanks to the new pants.

The other, most symbolic and important, thing about these pants is that they are a size 12. Not a size 14 or 16. No room for 3 months of pregnancy hiding in these pants (though they are a little loose - should I have gotten the 10s or will these shrink when I don't hang them to dry??). I refuse to contemplate anything more than the fact that I am too lazy to do laundry on a regular basis and I am tired of looking like a complete slob, so I bought new pants. I bought them at a big-box multipurpose store, anyways, so they were less than $20 a pair. At that price, I can afford to grow out of them soon.

I have gotten some important reading done on my reading list. I would recommend A Broken Heart Still Beats to those who have experienced the loss of a child. It is a compendium of writings relating to childloss, or written by authors who have experienced childloss. The following poem was written by William Wordsworth after the death of his beloved daughter as a toddler.

SURPRISED by joy—impatient as the wind—
I turn'd to share the transport—oh! with whom
But thee—deep buried in the silent tomb,
That spot which no vicissitude can find?
Love, faithful love recall'd thee to my mind—
But how could I forget thee? Through what power
Even for the least division of an hour
Have I been so beguiled as to be blind
To my most grievous loss?—That thought's return
Was the worst pang that sorrow ever bore
Save one, one only, when I stood forlorn,
Knowing my heart's best treasure was no more;
That neither present time nor years unborn
Could to my sight that heavenly face restore.

- taken from

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Lists and Lists

I do okay in my routine. Get up, go to work, see the exact same people today as yesterday, go home, hang out, go to sleep. Safe. It is the deviation from that routine that knocks me down.


  1. escapade with Old Acquaintance.
  2. professional meeting with someone where I was in over my head.
  3. the sight of someone at work wearing her 1 month old in a cute BabyBjorn carrier on her chest. Recalling the weight and smell of my son. Desperate desire for that type of intimate moment.


  1. professional luncheon with someone where I was in over my head (this is getting to be a daily problem).
  2. professional luncheon with an old acquaintance (I sat at the other end of the room).
  3. noticing that the aforementioned baby-wearer has lost all of her baby weight (hey, when you actually have a baby to carry around and breastfeed, the weight loss is pretty easy).

Stop messing with my routine.

And in other news ----

I am in a funk. Depression? Laziness? Funkiness. I am tired of funkiness.

I also question my work-related feelings of inadequacy. I am relatively "new" to my field, but do have 6 years of experience. How much of this "I am in over my head" feeling is a reaction to the actual work-load that I face, and how much of it is a transferring of "I can't get pregnant, and even when I do I can't do that right" (note the tendency towards hyperbole I have when I am feeling funky).

Changing topics; I finished reading a year's worth of posts in the blog I mentioned previously. Here are the things that I learned from deadbabymama:

  1. I prefer the phrase "My son is dead" to "My son died" - the active voice.
  2. Canadians talk about Canadiana a lot (a.k.a. It Isn't Just Me).
  3. The word "reconciliation" can be applied to coming to terms with grief - better than "healing" or "resolution".
  4. It is the little things that hurt.
  5. Massive mood swings are normal.
  6. Other people mentally plan funerals.
  7. Take Your Kids To Work Day is only fun for the parents of the living.
  8. The Truth resonates.

OK, some of those things I already knew. You don't grieve for a year without learning something! I appreciate the validation of my experience when I read someone else's similar interpretation.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Put your mouth where your heart is

Today I ran into an old high school acquaintance. In my other lifetime, such an encounter would have been generally pleasant. In this life, such meetings can be terrifying.

We were able to get through much of our whispered conversations talking about the event that we were both attending. Shop talk. Enjoyable verbal distraction between presentations.

Talk turned to work. What do you do now? Oh, isn't that nice - do you enjoy that? Yes, I answer, but it would be nice to work less overtime and see more of my husband.

Oh, well, having children changes all that, she replies breezily and knowingly. You have to prioritize and make them your focus. In that tone of voice reserved for use around the childless. A little condescending. And she pulls out the pictures.

Then the presentation starts again, conversation truncated.

Of course, she wasn't trying to be hurtful - I haven't thought of her in 10 years, and I am quite certain there would be no way for her to know about my son. But I was saddened by my performance. Why wasn't I more assertive - why didn't I tell her that I have a son, too?

It just was all so awkward. Of course I always tremble a bit when I see an old acquaintance. I know that this type of situation can come up. I just always imagine myself handling it with such class. And I don't really feel classy about this. I feel gypped. Why didn't I get the opportunity to brag about my son? Why was I so chicken about claiming my title as "Mother"? Why do I allow social mores to rule my behaviour, even though I talk so big about always claiming my son. I had an opportunity to do that today, but it felt too out of place.

I wish that I could talk openly about my son, my pregnancy, and his birth, in the way that women with living children do. What is stopping me?

It just isn't as easy to do as it is to say.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


Today, I again spent some time slugging through posts in the BabyLoss blog-esphere. I am such an organized soul that I read posts from start to finish, beginning with the earliest archived message. This becomes such an investment with respect to both time and emotion. Especially since I am drawn to bloggers that actually have something to say. And have been saying it for a while.

I spent some of my lunch hour exploring year-old posts from deadbabymama. I have seen this blog linked from so many BabyLoss blogs that I felt I needed to explore what she has to say. I read the most recent posting, relating to a recent birth experience (with a good outcome, I might add). I hate coming in mid-way on a conversation, so began at the beginning, over a year ago in BlogLand. It is theraputic for me to read these posts from the time surrounding the first anniversary of deadbabymama's daughter's death. In synch with me, I guess. And a woman with something to say.

The rest of my lunch hour was spent in the cafeteria, eating with several colleagues. This is something that I simply could not do 6 months ago, so I really mark that as an activity that demonstrates a certain amount of healing.

In fact, I was able to sit through a description of a new DairyQueen commercial that depicts a pregnant woman giving birth in one scenario, and her husband doing the deed in another scenario. Hilarious (sarcasm). I get that some people find birthing experiences to be joyful and humour filled. I don't. HOWEVER, it was wistfulness that I felt, not the burning, agonizing, grief attack that would have characterized the same experience 6 months ago. I am healing, as much as I hate to admit it.

I really question the sense of ambivalence that I have towards so many things these days. What does this ambivalence indicate? Does it indicate healing? Does it indicate that I am not dealing with issues, or does it indicate the I have "dealt" (ha, ha) with them? Does it indicate that I am disconnected with my grief and my emotions surrounding my son's brief existence? Or it is really part of the natural healing process - am I just afraid that I am giving something of my son up by giving up that grief?

Then, when I type "my son" and the full implication of what that means glares at me through the computer screen, my heart beats a little harder and my stomach lurches. Why does that reaction make me so happy? Am I going to be that person that holds on to her grief like a beacon, turning my son's death into some sort of sick shrine? I don't want to lose the innocence and goodness of his life in some sort of twisted temple of bitterness.

This thing that I am doing here...this "getting on with it"...where is my guide? I am feeling my way through. Am I going in the right direction?

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Ring it up and shut up

I live in a relatively small town. Less than 50 000 people. That size really contributes to the small-town feel of the community. People are really friendly. It is the type of community where doors are held for strangers, smiles are exchanged when people pass in the street, and "please" and "thank you" still rank at the top of the Favourite Words list. It is also the type of community where (sometimes unconscious) prying and gossiping are part of the character.

Today for example. Today marked my monthly trip to the drug store to purchase a 5-pack of ovulation predictor pee-sticks. Not really my favourite outing of the month (the flashing neon sign reading you are still not pregnant that flashes in front of my eyes is such fun...), but a necessary one. It is always a bit of a precarious outing - prying eyes are everywhere. The secret agent in my soul is activated: I take a round about trip to the appropriate aisle, glance around, pick up the box, strategically place my hand over the product name on the box, and cut around the back of the store to the check out.*

6 months ago this was my experience upon arrival at the cashier stand: The cute, trendy, overly-made-up cashier picks up the box and loudly comments "Wow, these are so expensive. I had no idea. I guess it must be worth it though - I suppose I might try them. Well, good luck with that." You can imagine how thrilled I was that, after all of my careful espionage, this girl drew such attention to my purchase. I was also unimpressed with her casual "good luck" wishes. I wondered if she wishes hemorrhoid sufferers luck with their Preparation H purchases. Yes, she was being friendly. No, I was not interested in her tactless commentary on my purchase.

Today's experience at the cashier was equally enjoyable. Upon arrival, the older grandma-type, launched into a loud tirade that began: "there are those that want them and those that don't. You wouldn't believe how many pregnancy tests that I sell to young people. I mean really young people. Shouldn't they be buying condoms instead of pregnancy tests? They are just so young..." etc. etc. Since I didn't give her much acknowledgement, or look her in the eye as she spoke, she shifted into "keep-talking-to-avoid-an-embarrassing-situation" mode (which is always so effective - sarcasm drips). Her voice literally followed me out the door. Fortunately for me, today the store was nearly empty.

The inner dialogue while this was going on was: "Look, lady, there is absolutely no need to tell me, a woman who has buried her only (much wanted, much planned for) son, about the prevalence of teen pregnancy in North America. My Spidey-Senses begin to tingle when I am in within 200 paces of a teen mom. I generally avoid Saturdays at the mall so I don't have to look at the teen parent's showing off their kids, or their friends thinking they are so cool. I don't go to high school functions or teen activities, because I choose NOT to think about the unfairness of unwanted teen pregnancies in light of my experience. Thank you so much for bringing up the issue of teen pregnancy with me - just what I wanted to think about right now."

Despite the bitter nature of that particular inner dialogue, I actually am fairly amused by this society that I live in, where these types of comments are deemed appropriate. How on earth could these cashiers think those comments appropriate? That isn't anger/frustration talking, just utter bemusement.

My neck muscles increase in strength as the never-ending headshaking continues.

*amazing no one has stopped me as a suspected shoplifter yet.

Friday, March 24, 2006

The Pieces of Today

Well, blogging day 2. And within hours of my first post, I have a comment. I am a little weirded out by that. Yes, I get how blogs work. However, I had anticipated a few weeks of complete obscurity before the world found me.

Thoughts today:

The Good - my marriage. I cannot believe how strong our marriage is after the hell of the last 14 months. We communicate better than we ever have before. We like to spend time with each other. I am truly amazed. There are just too many horror stories about marriages splitting up over the death of a child or infertility. Makes you recognize something special when you have it.

The Bad - oh, the people that don't get it. The ones that really confuse me are the ones who have also experienced loss. A woman that I work with had a miscarriage around 10 years ago at about 9 weeks. Yesterday she told me a story that anyone who experienced a loss would just not want to hear. It blows my mind that she really doesn't get it. How can someone who has also lost a baby not get it??

The Ugly - This post. It's boring. Oh, I had planned on being a much more interesting blogger than this...

Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Pieces: Alpha to Omega

I have been thinking of doing this for a long time. When your child dies, you pretty much have to express yourself, or you lose your mind. I tried a handwritten journal for a while, but picking up the pen is a terrible chore. This I can handle.

The Moment the World Shattered

We discovered that I was pregnant in May 2005, after a year of "trying" through wacko cycles. I ate right. I tried to exercise. I was healthy. My husband came to every prenatal appointment. I loved every moment of my pregnancy, even enjoying the back pain and hip troubles. Those little aches were special because my pregnancy was special. We made plans, filled the nursery, and prepared for arrival.

At 37 weeks, I went for a routine prenatal appointment and the doctor measured the baby just a little short. To be safe, I went for a bio-physical profile and non-stress test. The ultrasound tech quickly found that everything was as it should be, but the baby wasn't exhibiting the practice breathing motions. The doctor didn't think it was much to worry about, but we did 2 more BPPs and NSTs to make sure he was okay. Everyone felt that things were going okay and the breathing movements were no big deal.

A week later, I went into labour in the middle of the night. I had been to the doctor earlier that day and everything was looking good. I had my first internal exam since my initial visit, and wasn't even a fingertip dilated. I remember feeling confident that I would have at least another week to wait for my baby and I felt a little impatient. As this was my first pregnancy, I didn't really recognize the onset of labour - I got out my "what to expect" book and checked the signs. I decided to let my husband get some sleep, as contractions were 45 min apart.

In the morning, he got up, got ready for work. I kissed him goodbye and he took the cell phone to work so I could call him as soon as I felt I needed to go to the hospital. He only worked until noon, so it seemed silly for him to take the day off. We didn't want to waste his two paternity days.

I called him home and he took me to the hospital a few hours later. When I arrived, they attached the fetal heart rate monitor to me. I knew the drill, since I had done the 3 NSTs in the last week, related to the BPP ultrasound. I thought the nurse was such an idiot - she couldn't find his heart rate. She went to get another nurse. I wasn't even really nervous. The other nurse couldn't find one either - what was going on? They called up the portable u/s and I was so confused. If there was something wrong, why weren't they doing an emergency c-section so that he would be okay? Then my doctor came in and said "I'm so sorry". I honestly didn't know what she was talking about. Sorry for what?

Obviously, we soon came to realize what had happened. I asked the nurse what was coming next. I didn't know I would still have to deliver naturally. They used drugs to speed up the labour, I was given Demerol and nitrous oxide and an epidural, and 12 hours later my son was born. We can only assume that his death was caused by the umbilical chord that was around his neck. Our doctor feels that this is the most likely explanation, despite the fact that it was only one loop and rather loose upon delivery. We choose to accept this explanation. We named him. His grandparents and my brother and sister were there to hold him after he was born. They left, and my husband and I held him until we could no longer stay awake. We held his funeral five days later.

We started trying again May of 2005. Eternity passes, 32 days at a time.