Thursday, December 18, 2014

sick day

That's what it took to get me to write a blog post. Technically, I'm on my third sick day in a row. Some nasty stomach virus has gotten hold of me and is not letting go. It's not great to miss so much work, but frankly, I'm not that surprised I'm this sick. I've been exhausted. I'm grated down to my apple core. There aren't many defences left. Viruses are opportunistic little creatures, and I looked like a sure bet.

The somewhat hilarious past is that I was at work when this all started. I had to excuse myself during a session with a family to rush to the bathroom and hurl. Splashed water on my face, went right back in there and finished the session. I did ask them to wash their hands when they left my office.

The Christmas preps are more or less done. Presents, cards, tree, meal prep (not done, but planned), cookies, etc. You know it. You do it too. It's hard to fit in to the regular jam packed routines of regular life, a life in which as a working mother, I do so much. You know it. You do it too (whether you have a paying job or not). It all easily seems like a chore to me. Christmas is not an easy time, in my experience. I don't have a good relationship with my family. My relationship with my in-laws has broken down. And there were many years of hoping for a pregnancy and a baby when Christmas was just another thing to endure.

None of those layers of stuff have gone anywhere, except for the childlessness. However, this year, I am approaching it with new eyes. My daughter is almost 22 months. She will awaken to magic, if I but foster this awakening. This gives me a new sense of purpose approaching the holidays. I'm usually such a crank, walking backwards into December, ready for January by the 2nd of the month. But this year, beyond my regular crankiness, I am doing the things that Christmas requires. I took GG out to buy a Christmas tree. I decorated it with safe ornaments for her. I have put up the christmas cards. I have invited her grandparents, the ones who barely talk to me, for Christmas dinner. I am doing the things. It is important to her, and to me.

On boxing day, I'll have to fly with my toddler to Montreal to visit my family. Let's deconstruct that. First of all, flying with a toddler sounds horrifying*. At least the flight is only about an hour. And then there is flying. I have never been a happy air passenger, but my fear of flying became established when I traveled with GG as an infant. Exposure is the best thing I can do to manage this fear, and so I will make myself board that plane. I can see it from here: GG will be happy as pie, and I will be crying with my face stamped on the window, begging all deities to let us land safely (which was the scenario last time, except she was 4 months old and slept on both flights). I'm glad Mr. A loves to fly, because he can show our girl that it isn't so bad. All of this is important. I need to see my parents, my dad especially. My family needs to see GG and be part of her life somehow. I am doing the things. It is important to her, and to me.

To summarize, this year, there is still a generous amount of 'must get through the holidays', but with a dash of heightened sense of parental responsibility to create a wonderful experience for my child. Sounds promising.

Happy Holidays to you, dear women.

* All advice on this topic is welcomed in the comment section. 

Saturday, November 29, 2014


I was at the natural food store in Pleasantville the other day and needed an updated vitamin card (don't ask). The young chap at the cash asked: "Are you a student or a senior?"

I had to laugh.

The answer I should have given was:

"dude, you are catching me in the 5 minutes between the one and the other."

More later. Just thought I'd pop up and say hello.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

October First

Dates are very meaningful to me. It always surprises people when I remember their birthday. But I do. For the most part. I have intricate maps of information in my head, which is how I remember a lot of things. Dates are located on a rounded square depicting the calendar year, and in my mind, I literally travel that rounded square each year as we go through the weeks, months, seasons. I'm just a psychology nerd.

October First. Two Thousand and Nine.

That's the day when things went from maybe to NO. It was unequivocal: no babies would ever come from my genetic material. I couldn't make a baby from scratch. It was NEVER going to happen. It's not that it would have been possible before 10/01/2009, because my ovaries were inactive and un-stimulable before then. But that's the day it became crystal clear.

There were two terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days during my awful journey through infertility. October first, 2009, and May 25, 2011. I can't tell which was worse, and rank ordering them is moot.

Both involved a drive from Fertility Treatment Town to Pleasantville, neither of which I really remember. Neither of which were entirely safe for me to do alone. But I look back now and I feel those two drives were emblematic. Alone, and empty handed. The first, without eggs to make a baby. The second, without life inside the baby inside of me.

I remember the Santa Cruz Lemonade jar on the May 2011 drive. I was pregnant, thirsty and craved lemonade. I had it in the car. I drank it awkwardly on highway 401, at 125 km per hour.

I thought about it a lot today. October First, two thousand and nine. I remember getting home and lying down on the couch and sleeping and losing a lot of time that day. My body was NEVER going to make eggs. My body was NEVER going to make a baby.

When at supper on the evening of Oct. 1, 2009 Mr. A asked what I was going to do the next day, I could hardly fathom the question, let alone make up an answer. I think I said I would try to get out of bed. A part of me died on that day. What are you supposed to do the day after a part of you dies?

10/01/2009. That was five years ago now.

This evening, I rocked my baby to sleep, like I do most evenings. My body did not make this baby. My body grew this baby. This baby is my baby. She will never need to know about October 1, 2009. She will only need to know about June 23, 2012 (the embryo transfer) and February 28, 2013 (her birthday). The sorrow which lay ground for her existence is not hers: it is mine. Her life is hers, with its joys, its tribulations, its constant learnings, its intensity.

I think about genetics very little these days. What I think about is how to give my girl everything, EVERYTHING she needs to grow up strong, and healthy, and smart, and strong. Our mother-daughter genetic disparity is part of her story, part of mine. And that will be the subject of interesting discussions, and meaningful soul searching on her part in a few decades.

October First, two thousand and fourteen. I have a daughter. I am someone's mother.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Still here. Still, ahem, blogging.

 I could write more often, couldn't I? there are so many things I could do better, more often, with greater care, with better follow-through, and more mindfully. Shit. To be honest, I'm glad I remember to floss every night.

Being the working mom of a toddler is kicking my ass, admittedly. It probably doesn't help that my perfectionistic tendencies get kicked up a notch when I'm stressed. My perfectionism isn't pathological. At least not for the most part. Unfortunately, my husband's inattentiveness and forgetfulness are pathological, and making some things about family life quite difficult. There is more to say here, but I will have to leave it at that. Things are hard.

I changed jobs in July. I left my old job at the community mental health centre with much regret. I really liked it there and they really liked me. I also felt disloyal, since they had initially hired me on a contract, and then offered me the full time permanent position when I was 6-months pregnant, knowing I was soon to be away for a year. It was good work, and it had a lot of what I liked in being a child psychologist, but there were a few key things missing. A job came up at a university children's hospital 45 minutes away from Pleasantville, with better pay, better benefits, in an area germane to the topic of my MA and PhD research. The interview went quite well I thought, and I received a phone call a few days later saying that they wanted me. Turns out they interviewed 10 people, and hired me without a second interview. My ego had trouble fitting through the doors for a few days after that. I was very pleased with this outcome. It's true that I have worked my ass off for this, and it always feels good to be rewarded for my years of very hard work. And folks,  I'm one of those lucky people who LOVES what she does.

My Gummy girl is about to be 18 months. From April to August, she has been sick so, SO often. She's had 3 double-ear infections (needing antibiotics each time. ARGHH!), at least 2 stomach viruses (the one she had 2 weeks ago dragged on for 7 days, and Mr. A got it too, which meant taking time off work three weeks into my new job. Cue newbie anxiety). She looked quite thin a few weeks ago, and with the illnesses and the transition out of cloth diapers, she had an adolescent-boy-pants look going on. I went out and got her smaller shorts to wear, fearing that the ones she had were impeding her gross motor development. Luckily, she has been well since the last puke-fest, and is doing better with holding her food down and her shorts up.

The childcare situation continued to be a rock in my shoe. In addition to everything I've complained about on here, the fact that Shitty Daycare was making her SICK did nothing to help me like it. There was the 15-month ages and stages questionnaire (ASQ) that one caregiver filled out, stating that my child had no language. It lacked a lot of nuance and context, but I understand that the caregivers are not as well educated as I would like them to be. They sent the 18-month ASQ this past Friday, and in the process, voided any remaining chances I had resolved to give them. They described my baby as having "extreme mood swings for no apparent reason", which in my world is code for bipolar disorder. Could they not have described her as "still adjusting from being away from her parents?" Wouldn't that be a kinder, more developmentally and contextually appropriate way of talking about someone's development over months 16, 17 and 18 of their young lives?

Well, I'll save you the suspense. Gummy got a spot at the Good Daycare on the university campus (where Sattva's girls went) and we are withdrawing gummy's tiny ass out of Shitty Daycare pronto. I'm only just trying to figure out if I should call the Shitty Daycare director and tell her that as a child psychologist, I would have grave concerns if I was consulting to a daycare centre where care providers described infants/toddlers in such a way. And that as a mother, I find it unacceptable.

The new Good Daycare. Oh! The Good Daycare is beautiful. It has natural light, wooded outdoor playgrounds, play-based learning. I am a little awestruck, and I do realize that it will not be perfect. But oh-so-better than Shitty Daycare. Oh-So-Better. There is no where to go but up as far as I can tell.

Also, my child does not have bipolar disorder. She is, admittedly, entering the heart of toddlerhood, and is rather forward about expressing her needs, wants and feelings. She is a little girl with a temperament on the intense side, but who is otherwise quite adaptable, content, curious, loving, and yes, she is developing language. Her expressive language is lagging a little because she is growing up in a bilingual household. But her receptive language is right on target. She is doing well. I know because I'm her mother.

She is my everything, that gummy girl.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Two years now

It's been two years today since the embryo transfer that resulted in the creation of our wondrous Gummy Girl. I think of all the cycles we have collectively attempted and how so many (most?) have failed. I think of how a precious few have (or will) become our children. I still marvel at this miracle. Every day. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Gummy the toddler

It's been hard to write, folks. It's not that I've lost my grammar or vocabulary, and I probably could squeeze in a post here and there at work. But I've been struggling personally and it seems inappropriate to share everything I have on my mind in this context. So instead, I thought I would talk about the best part of my days, my weeks and my life: Mademoiselle Gummy.

She is still at the mediocre day care. As soon as I made the potential nanny a job offer, she vanished into thin air. Tells you something about her age and inexperience with the job market. Rule of thumb, little girl, when someone offers you a job, you should say yes or no, but you should say something. She will hopefully learn this lesson, but I am not the one who will teach it to her.

At about the same time that the nanny wasn't materializing, money concerns simmered to a near boiling point.* My motivation to look for a nanny evaporated as Gummy became able to tolerate going to day care. She continues to struggle with drop offs and pick ups (there are tears, sometimes accompanied by horrified, baffled looks in our directions about why the fuck we are leaving her with strangers), but she is reportedly doing fine during the day. The day care centre has done nothing to impress us as parents, and she will be leaving this centre as soon as a spot becomes available in another centre where her name sits on a wait list for now. I am not happy about this situation, but I am trying to just exercise patience.

Meanwhile, she started walking on May 4, a few days after reaching the 14-month mark. She had been walking around assisted for a while, with us holding her hands or holding on to her tiny shopping cart. But one Saturday, her friend Bea came over, and Bea walked around like a champion. Gummy got inspired and the next morning she started walking around unassisted. She was met with our very loud squeals of delight, and took it up as a practice. For a week, whenever she walked unassisted, she emitted a loud squeal, figuring that the two went together.

She also started using words. Ok, it's mainly ONE recognizable word, but I'm optimistic that there are more forming in her sweet noggin. In late April, she suddenly said a very H-y "HI" with a wave of the hand. She did that when her father entered her room, and then did it again when she saw me, and again for the cat. She did it all day long, whenever it seemed appropriate to her, and mostly, it also seemed appropriate to us. She was using a recognizable work in context! I nearly wet myself. Since then, she has also said the word "moo" when looking at the depiction of a cow (is moo a word?).

Gummy seems to understand a thing or two about what's going on around her. She figured out that the owl in one of her books is much like the owl atop her bookshelf so she points to it when we get to that page in her book. She exhibits book preferences, and wants to look at certain ones over and over (rapidly if possible, but on some pages she likes to linger). She makes her wishes known as best as one can without language, and is starting to have the impatience of a toddler. And I guess since she officially toddles, she is now a toddler!

Gummy has also become more cuddly. She likes when I put her to bed (as much as I do? I can't imagine). She likes me to play with her hair, rub her back and read her stories. At some point, she insists on facing me and she just stares and smiles (and sometimes wants to inspect the contents of my mouth, which is uncomfortable, but hard to deny her this moment of pseudo-dentistry). She likes to put her head on my shoulder and tap-tap-tap on my back. "there, there, maman**" she seems to say.

I could gush about my girl for another long while, but it's bedtime. I will leave you with a few pictures instead.

This is at the park, inside a hippopotamus. 

*Being solely responsible for paying for mediocre day care, plus my professional dues, plus my liability insurance, plus a shitload of money to get the car fixed = big freak out for Augusta. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

emerging, maybe.

Although, really, it's still a feeling of submersion I hold inside.

Your comments on my last post were very much appreciated. It still amazes me that you read my blog and write me the most generous comments, texts or emails. You are big-hearted women, and I am so lucky and blessed to know you.

We are swimming in a weird status quo as far as child care goes. Gummy Girl continues to attend Mediocre Child Care Centre. She continues to struggle with separation, although she is getting used to the drill. Her father and I continue to feel dissatisfied with this situation, although we both recognize that emotions aside, this is not horrible. Or even bad. It's a good enough child care placement. But word, good enough feels far short of what a mother wants for her precious girl.

My frantic nanny search was, as is true for so many things in life, require a ton of effort for little return. Lots of sifting through potential candidates, some of which made it to Augusta's Gate #1 (phone call) and were quickly dismissed. Mostly on grounds of availability. At least one on grounds of my gut saying I couldn't trust her (and I listened to said gut this time, you'll be happy to note).

We interviewed a young woman last weekend. She sounded like a winner on the phone, but having her in our home confirmed it. Gummy smiled at her, waved at her and gestured to be picked up by her soon after she arrived. This is Gummy at her most comfortable. As for Mr. A and I, we both felt like we could trust this young woman and that she loves children.

It took a few days to hear back from her about her references, but she came through, and I started calling them last night. One mom told me she left her 10-month-old with this young woman for the weekend. I think that speaks volumes.

So, it's not finalized yet, but it looks like we might have a nanny. It will eat up a rather large percentage of my income, but at least my mind and heart will be much more at peace. And I feel like I will be giving my girl more than just good enough.  

Thursday, April 3, 2014

theory and practice

In theory, Gummy started at the daycare centre yesterday. In practice, she went for 2 hours and Mr. A picked her up. 

In theory, this daycare centre is the right fit for us. It's close to our home, it's a licensed child care centre, it had a space available for Gummy starting in April. We have friends who sent their son there between ages 1 and 2, and they were very happy with it. In practice, I'm not sure it's the right fit at all.

In theory, she would go to this daycare centre 3 days per week. In practice, I never want her to go back there again.

In theory, she is miserable at the daycare centre because of her secure attachment to her parents, and her distress is a healthy sign. I wholeheartedly believe that's why it's been hard for her to go to the daycare centre. BUT in theory, that should be the extent of what makes ME miserable: the fact that my baby is struggling with being left in the care of others. In practice, I cry every time I think of having to leave her in that awful place and thank her father for taking it on himself because it would break me in half. I am unsettled about the physical space (the room she's been assigned to looks like a storage closet); some of the other kids in the room (a few very rambunctious boys, one of which I will probably see in my practice in a few years); and the quality of the caregivers (nice and nurturing enough, but somehow flat in their affect and interpersonal skills).

In theory, I should give this a chance. In practice, I am interviewing nannies and pulling her out of there.   

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A month's worth of transitions

That's what it's all felt like since the end of February. One big transition, with a thousand little transitions nesting within the big one. Ask me if my frontal lobes are tired.

I'm at work right now, and this seems to be the only time I can write. Which is to say, I suck as an employee. But I suck more as a blogger these days, so I'll preempt my good-worker conscience.

Status updates, in no particular order:

1) I really like soy lattes. It's a struggle not to stop by the coffee shop that makes good ones everyday.  I'm having one right now. Ah-mmmmm (as Gummy would say)

2) Work is going well so far. I am thankful for this job. I am thankful for my great co-workers. I am thankful to work in a place where my work is valued, and where I value others' work. This job doesn't have everything I need, but it has a lot of what I need.

3) The commute is killing me. Physically. Psychologically. One day last week I spent 3.5 hours in the car. Typically, it's closer to 2.25-2.5 hours, which is still way the heck too much. When I was in my early 20s, I promised myself that no matter what, I would never spend hours in the car commuting once I became a grown up for reals. I am disconcertingly breaking that promise.

4) In the car, I think of all the emails, thank you cards, books, household chores, and most importantly, TIME WITH GUMMY that I am not writing/reading/doing/spending. See third sentence of point 3.  

5) Because of 3, I look at the job postings everyday for something even marginally closer.

6) Because of 2, I continue to feel ambivalent, and I keep telling myself to find my peace with the commute and with the few things missing from this job.

7) Gummy had a very rough first day when I went back to work (as you read in my last post), and continued to be iffy for the week. The following two weeks, she treated me like I was a stranger. She displayed stranger anxiety with her own mother. Luckily, given what I know professionally, I was ok with it. Knowing that she needed a reliable caregiver, and that this caregiver was now dad, I was reassured to see her count on him to meet her needs. Personally, it hurt. A lot.

8) Interestingly, having children means you get to work on your conditioned patterns. A big one I got to revisit with Gummy's new way of relating to me was: At the slightest whiff of rejection, I walk away. And by walk away, I mean I am out of there emotionally, mentally, and sometimes physically. That's worked fine in my life so far. Except, it quickly became clear that this strategy wasn't going to work with my own child. She wasn't actually rejecting me and she sure needs me to check IN, not check out right now. So, while I didn't have the time for a long, reflective journaling session at the local coffee shop to ponder the depths of this awful, previously useful pattern, I've given it a lot of thought (yes. in the car). My work is to stay connected to her no matter how she feels; Love her, no matter what she is doing; Support her, no matter who she is favouring as her primary caregiver. I need to be steady in my love and support, so that she can learn to feel steady inside. Small task.

9) I had booked off all the Fridays in March as a means to transition from being at home full time to working full time. I have asked and been granted an extension on that. I looked at how much I was struggling with what was happening, and decided that the responsible thing to do was to ask for more time.

10) Gummy goes for accompanied visits to the day care this week, and starts in earnest next week. Now that she's used to being at home with dad, we'll rock her world a little more.

11) To protest the impending change, she contracted a stomach virus and puked all over me last night (and was up from 2:30 to 5am. Poor peanut was feeling awful).

12) My dear friend Veronica just sustained miscarriage #4, with an added bonus of a hemorrhage for this one. Please spare any good thoughts you have for her.

13) After one too many night of stretching leftovers and eating toast for supper, I bought a slow cooker. Hoping this helps with our 6pm unhappy hour. If that fails, I'll just up my alcohol consumption.

14) Fuck, I'm turning 40. In less than a month.       

Monday, March 3, 2014

out of sorts

Today was the day, after 54 weeks* at home, that I was expected to returned to work. And so, that's what I did. I was looking forward to it, in all honesty. I needed a break. Adult conversations. Psychology conversations. Case conversations. All things I get to have at work.

The day was off to a good start. Getting ready, playing with Gummy, having breakfast together. The goodbye went well.

People at work were sweet. There were flowers waiting for me on my desk, with cards signed by my colleagues, chocolates, tea. Oh, my colleagues are great! What a way to welcome me back.

It was mentioned that I looked very relaxed, and when I said that Gummy was with her dad, they understood why. I wasn't stressing about a rough transition to daycare because that's not happening right now.

I drove home feeling like my first day had been a success. Very much unlike me, I hadn't cried once.

Then I got home. I was told Gummy cried on and off all day. That she had a hard time eating. She seemed exhausted, but still ate her supper and had her bath, however cranky she was at various stages of the evening routine (including one random and very intense burst of wailing and tears while eating supper).

It seemed clear that I would be the one putting her to bed tonight, which is usually something Mr. A and I discuss or coin toss (because we both want to). But she would not have it. She was so out of sorts, the poor thing. She wailed and thrashed in my arms and insisted that dad put her to bed. That was a first.

It was hard, but I know she's just out of sorts. Of course, I cried a little after that. It's really hard on her and what is hard is my absence. An absence I even enjoyed.

So, yeah. Let's just say I was ready to throw away this career in a heartbeat. But I went out for a walk in the %&# cold night, and it helped cool off my thoughts.

She's just out of sorts.

How can she learn distress tolerance without distress. How can she learn to regulate her emotions without being faced with emotion-producing situations (beyond 'the cat won't let me pull her ears off').

still, I learned something deeper about mother guilt tonight.

* 52 weeks of parental week + 2 weeks short-term disability last February

Friday, February 28, 2014


Gummy is one today. She is a miracle. Our miracle. 

We are having mamas and babies (ahem, Toddlers) over to celebrate today. 

Thank you, dear women for holding my hand through this magnificent* journey. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The state of the U

The state of my uterus, that is. Not the Union (because we don't have a state of the union here in the great north, and because I don't want to talk about politics, I want to talk about my uterus. I majored in Infertility, and not political science).

I went back to the fertility clinic a few weeks ago. Same waiting room. Except that this time I was all alone. No Mr. A. No Gummy. Nobody else, in fact. My appointment for the sonohysterogram was at 10:15, after the morning blood work and u/s rush.

The last sono I had at my clinic was on the painful side of uncomfortable. It felt like about 6 litres of saline was inserted inside my tiny, pre-baby, never stimulated uterus, causing a shitload of pressure. I had another sono at the US clinic, and that one was more like going to the spa. My uterus was soaked ever so gently with a small amount of green tea and lemongrass infused saline while I reclined and watched it all on my personal screen. Oh, the beautiful mild arcuate.

Since this was at my north of the border clinic, I was expecting the 6-litre treatment. However, I think they've revised their practices OR my uterus can now handle its liquor, so to speak, because it wasn't so bad. But of course, I was anticipating PAIN and so had the accompanying mucho anxiety.

Dr. RE somehow didn't get the message that I was in with the nurse and so we waited for him for a while, me in my bedlinen skirt, she in her scrubs, busying herself with tasks. We chit chatted. And then she asked about the birth. "WELL, you might want to sit down for this". Turns out she had been an ER nurse before starting at the Fertility Clinic and found my whole story quite fascinating. Because we were talking about a different hospital, she was at (greater) liberty to say what she thought. She agreed that errors had been made and encouraged me to write to the hospital* She also thought this should be a teaching case because the retained products should have been suspected given that my blood pressure kept climbing after the birth. But when you show up at the ER in hypertensive crisis and the OB on call is an asshole, that gets missed. I appreciated being able to debrief this story with her, and appreciated her encouragement to do something about it.

Interesting outcomes of the sono included:

  • My uterus is in excellent shape**. Dr. RE actually admitted that he was expecting I had Asherman's Syndrome, hence why he mentioned I probably would need a couple hysteroscopies during my last appointment. But no, that won't be necessary. Augusta's uterus takes a bow.
  • There was a tiny bit of what he called 'debris' and he cleared it all out with the saline. 

I asked him the same question I asked my OB at 6 weeks postpartum: what's the likelihood I would die if I have another baby? He basically told me what I knew already, but it was comforting to hear from someone who actually knows:

  • I'm at risk for experiencing placental disorder with any subsequent pregnancy. 
  • (I actually have multiple risk factors: previous D&Cs, IVF, previous placental disorder, c-section scar. 
  • I know this and so would be alerting any medical professional following me during pregnancy to the facts. 
  • Hence, if the placenta is burrowing into my uterus (or beyond), this could potentially be diagnosed before the birth (although Dr. RE didn't express any confidence in diagnostic tests for placental disorders). 
  • Regardless of pre-birth diagnosis, this would be an expected possibility, and I would most likely deliver at Large University Hospital instead of Pleasantville General Hospital. 
  • Dr. RE paid me a huge compliment and said that because I am who I am, this could not get missed*** 
  • Death would most likely occur if the placental disorder came as a surprise, and our small regional hospital was suddenly unprepared deal with a post-partum hemorrhage (and the need for an emergency hysterectomy) 
  • While he seemed to think death was unlikely, I gathered that a hysterectomy was much more likely. Fun. 
Aside from that lighthearted line of conversation, we also talked about HRT. He's been highlighting that he doesn't want me to take extra.ce orally as a long term strategy. The effects on the liver is concerning. So, he's trying to sell me on patches. Mmmmm, estrogen patches. What fun. Not only do I have to shove prometrium up my hooha for 11 days per month every month, now I will also need to stick patches on fleshy parts of my rump and backside. Looking forward. He also expressed the worry that too much estra.ce could negatively impact my cardiovascular system. I told him that my blood pressure problems were unique to my pregnant state, and that I normally have normal to low bp. "take it right now," I said "you'll see." 

Famous last words

My blood pressure was HIGH. 

Except that OF COURSE my blood pressure was high: I had just talked at length about Gummy's birth and ensuing circus, which, as you know, REALLY rattles me. And then I had a procedure which made me anxious. All that on a tiny breakfast (as per instructions) and without pain meds (contrary to instructions). So, this made Dr. RE nervous. I took my bp later that day and it was back to normal.  

The two conclusions from that appointment are:  

1) I'll have a follow-up appointment in March to finalize our long term HRT plan. The plan will include patches. Bleurgh. 

2) The ball is officially in our court in terms of transferring the second blastocyst from our DE cycle in June 2012. My uterus is ready to host and grow another embryo/fetus. 

The only thing with point number 2 is that I cannot begin to fathom having another child. And that would be another post altogether. 


*I've started that letter, but it's a hard one to write.

** Considering what its been through. 

*** I think he said "You're a psychologist, so you can judge character. If an OB is not taking you seriously, you would go to someone else." 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

faits d'hivers

In no particular order:

1) I am fucking exhausted. Night #4 of teething hell. It's hard to imagine this going on while I have to be at a work meeting the next morning, a hypothetical work meeting that I'm leading and in which being coherent is a prerequisite. But what I gather from some of your experiences, that of other mamas, and what I've been through so far is: even exhausted, one can function.

2) I love winter. This winter has been amazing.

3) Gummy will be 1 year old in a week and a half

4) Veronica is going through SCH/inter-clinic politics HELL. But she is pregnant. She is awaiting her first ultrasound and hoping the bleeding will stop.

5) We went on a family vacation up north (see point 2). Here are pictures of Gummy and I cross-country skiing.
Yes, that is Gummy Girl in the trailer!


6) I have been working on a post about the WHYs

7) I also have returned to the fertility clinic for a sono, and have started writing about it.

8) I also have big plans to continue the Who Needs It challenges.

9) For an explanation as to why points 6 through 8 haven't happened, see points 1 and 5.

10) marriage = hard

11) A dear friend who struggled with infertility for years has just experienced a stillbirth with her second child. Still can't quite believe this has happened to her.

12) I'm turning 40 in a few months.

13) Yesterday was Family Day (a stat holiday), and we celebrated by having the other Augusta, her husband and her little Gummy Girl over for brunch. I made a frittata, we chatted, drank coffee, played with the girls and celebrated their almost first birthday. We had a great time.

14) I want to comment more on your blogs, but I can't stop watching 'the good wife' while drooling semi-consciously on the couch every night (see point 1).

Thursday, January 30, 2014

The great 'Who Needs It' - Challenge #1

(The WHYs are coming. I promise. I have been thinking about it a lot).

Challenge #1 = Fessing up. Below is my version.

I didn't really know SRB. She was Bunny's friend and left great comments on her blog, but I had not followed her before. But then Bunny posted about the Who Needs It challenge, which meant I clicked over to SRB's site and you can imagine what came next. LOVE. Maybe hyperbolic, but STRONG LIKING.

SRB is inviting us, ever lovingly and peacefully, to join her on a de-cluttering adventure. She wants to start with her house (and ours) and move on to her heart. A woman after mine, I say.

It turns out, I have major issues with clutter. Major. And my husband is worse than me. So, we make a fine pair. The only thing is that he isn't bothered at all by his mountains of disorganized shit, and  I AM (by mine and his). And I have been acutely aware of how much the stuff weighs on my psyche. It's like a glom-filled alien that is sucking the life right out of me (maybe more like a zombie eating my brain). I spend so much time noticing the clutter and zero time doing anything about it.*

So this is my entry, just under the wire, of Challenge #1.

There are several areas of my home that are cluttered. My home is more clutter than harmony. I think I could create the world's most boring blog post if I tried to list everything here. I'll start small, with the two shelves flanking the window in the dining room.

Right side

What you see here: plants, cookbooks, plastic bag full of baby proofing stuff, a hot plate thingy, a soda stream (vital to our well being), a bunch of meds for Chicken that we didn't use hiding behind the soda stream, 2 shelves full of Gummy's formula/eating apparel (bottles, caps, nipples, formula, prunes!, spoons, containers, utensils), random candleholders, cypress oil used at Christmas to make it smell Christmassy, the candle-holder-given-to-me-by-Northern-Lad's-parents-a-million-years-ago-but-oh-my- do-I-love-it. Top shelf has vases, a few candles and a picture.

Left side
On this side, you see: world's messiest basket of teas, crappy coffee maker because our good one broke and mommy and daddy cannot get through the day without brown formula, Music Together Flute CD case, radio/CD player, pot overfilled with extension cords and rechargeable batteries, hot plate holders, wooden mortar and pestle, small bowls/tea cups, 2 extremely worn down teapots, one sauce boat (for people who mostly eat vegetarian at home. Don't ask why I put it on the wedding registry). On the 3rd shelf there is a wine jug that I use to make smoothies, a crystal decanter, 7 of the 12 riedel wine glasses we got at our wedding. On the 4th shelf lives a pottery bean pot given to us by the in-laws, a couple of beer steins that are used twice a year, 2 champagne flutes that my husband got at his high school graduation (1992) that he insists on keeping, 2 small wine glasses given to us by VIA Rail on the occasion of travelling by train for our honeymoon. Top most shelf has a ceramic flower vase and a great pottery salad bowl given to us by Oat's parents.

Phew! Even my description of the stuff is cluttered.

And then, there is this

Our kitchen is a great one if you happen to be a single person who hates to cook. Our family has two adults who like to cook, a cat who likes to hang out in the kitchen and a Gummy Girl who is just on the brink of being on the move. We would love to have a pantry big enough to put our food (we have endless jars of legumes and grains), but we don't. Hence, what you see above. Just 45 minutes ago, Gummy was bum scootching her way over there to inspect those different flours we have stored in bins. It is about to get messy and dangerous. I want all those things to either disappear or be stored on those shelves seen above. And somehow not look cluttered? Right.

To review:

1) The clutter is like a zombie - endangering my life
2) The clutter is tempting Gummy - endangering my child's life

So there's my motivation.

Other areas, in no particular order:

  • Kitchen cupboards - all of them
  • living room coffee tables
  • front hall external closet and hooks
  • bathroom shelf 
  • bedroom closet
    Bunny, if you want to reconsider our
    friendship, I will understand.
  • upstairs hallway linnen closet (the door barely closes) 
  • The Study (Oh, the study - it is one inchoate mass of stuff in there, which is why I avoid it like the plague and only dump things I don't know where else to put. To prove this, here's my desk

  • And finally, the basement. The basement didn't get to be photographed because it is too ugly down there. If all the other areas/rooms in the house are chapters in a book, the basement is the Encyclopedia Britannica. 
So, I've fessed up. It's hard. I feel like you will read this post and like me less. My house is messy. I don't have my shit together (or my shit has me by the collar). But at least I'm real. I'll give challenge #2 a go in a few days. But I wanted to start here.  

*Because it's all Gummy all the time

Friday, January 24, 2014

Day care days - part 2

(If you want to read part one, go here. )

So, I'm going back to work in 5 weeks.

(I'm just going to let that hang for a second).

Yes, a year of maternity goes by very fast. I can't even begin to imagine 12 weeks of maternity leave. I feel like a cliché, but all that I've heard about how fast it goes is true. I blinked and here we are. But of course, it's paradoxical. There were moments, days, weeks that went at a snail's pace. Like when she had the flu and then had a cold and we couldn't go out for 2 weeks. That was slow. Or when Mr. A was working such long hours in the summer and I had to solo parent for big chunks of time.

I've been in touch with my boss and it appears that I've lucked out in the re-structuring of our department. This isn't true for every psychologist, but it is for me and I am grateful. I am returning to meaningful, challenging work. I am looking forward to returning to work. I've missed it and it feels time to go back already. I am so much better at being a psychologist than at keeping house. I actually suck at it. My house looks like hell and I am only a mediocre cook. I think I am a decent caregiver to my darling girl, but I've sucked at being a wife pretty much from the get go, and having a baby only worsened it. I feel like this sounds awful, but I am looking forward to doing something I'm good at again. My self-esteem is at basement levels these days, and it could use the boost.

This is a two sided coin, of course. I am NOT looking forward to the transition. I know that it will be the hardest part: going from taking care of Gummy one day to driving to work and returning when she's going to bed the other. I will miss her beyond what I can anticipate. I will cry when she takes her first step and I'm not there to see it. It will tug at my heart in 10 000 ways. But just like every difficult thing I've had to do in my life, I will just keep in mind the WHY*.

I like the transition plan we've got. In March, Gummy will be home with Mr. A on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. I asked for every Friday off in March so that I could be with her on weekday per week. In April, she will go to day care 3 days per week, and be with Mr. A on 2 days. I like that I can go back to work for a month without worrying about her adjusting to day care. And I like that she will be home with her dad for at least the next 9 to 12 months. She is a BIG fan of her dad's. (I am too, as it were).

I still don't really like the day care where she'll be going, but I know that it is 'good enough'. I've also just heard this week that the French day care will be accepting younger kids as of September, which means Gummy can go sooner than 2.5 years.

But before this big transition, I plan on enjoying those last 5 weeks. We are still signed up for music classes and swimming, and loving it! And we have one last family vacation before I go back to work. I'm really looking forward to our winter trip up north, which will involve snowshoeing, skiing and teaching Gummy how to make snow angels.

*I started writing what the WHYs were, and realized it had the potential to piss off a bunch of readers and I'm not in the mood to piss people off today, so maybe I'll write about the WHYs another day. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

baby showers = still hard

During those difficult years "in the trenches", I declared a moratorium on baby showers. I made no exceptions. I tried to show women I loved who were having babies that I loved them and supported their entry into motherhood in other ways. But going to a baby shower, however much I loved the guest of honour, cost too much emotionally. I was already near emotional bankruptcy, and just couldn't afford it. 

This approach is not shared by all infertile women, and I respect people's individual choices. I think we each go through different experiences and figure out what we can do and what we can't. For me, a gathering of women celebrating the one big dream I wasn't sure I would ever get to fulfill was too much. That was an automatic no for me, so much so that I stopped being invited altogether. 

Then I got pregnant (again) (and this time for a longer time and it resulted in a living baby). 

My dear, lovely, generous friends wanted to have a gathering for me. I politely declined. I could not bring myself to go through with that, for many reasons. I felt guilty for not having shown up at so many baby showers, and not having supported many of my friends through early motherhood. I felt like at this point, I had grown to HATE baby showers and so why the fuck would I want one. I wondered if I needed to believe I was going to have a baby to have a baby shower, and unsure of the answer, I had to  forgo the experience. 

I don't feel like I missed out. 

(but tell me if you think I did)

I went to a baby shower this afternoon. My first one in....shit....I can't even remember. It was a lovely gathering of women for Lianne, this great woman I know a little bit and like very much. I wanted to be there especially because she has struggled psychologically with some aspects of expecting a child and turned to me for support. In turn, I wanted to show my support by joining in the gathering. 

It started early last week. I found myself complaining, complaining, and complaining some more to Mr. A about ALL the crap I had to do for this stupid shower. Bring cheeses and crackers. Bring a photo. Bring a bead. Bring a fucking affirmation. 'This is too much', I thought. 'The excessive meaningfulness is going to make me vomit' (and I did vomit, but that was because Gummy gave me the stomach flu by vomiting on me twice). 

But last night, as I was flossing, I thought "Augusta, what the hell is up with all your complaining about this shower?" I had to admit to myself a few things: 

1) I still felt anxious about going to baby showers.
2) I had nothing to offer a woman about to give birth on the topic of birth. 
3) I was scared for Lianne. In my mind giving birth is still scarier than meeting the Yeti. 

It was good to have an honest conversation with myself about these things. I could check my fears at the door today, and try to make this experience about Lianne and not about me. 

I went to the shower and it was mostly uncomfortable. The excessive meaningfulness did make me want to vomit at times, but I could also find it meaningful and sweet. Of course, when it came time to read affirmations, people had all these lovely wishes for the mother-to-be. I, on the other hand, pulled out a quote from psychoanalyst D. W. Winnicott* and sobered the mood right up. 

There was a game of trying to guess whose were the baby pictures on a board, and people talked about wether their babies looked more like them or their husbands. Always an interesting one for a DE mom. And then I tried talking to a friend I hadn't seen since April and she wouldn't even look at me. There were other parts too, good parts, but I left feeling like I just had been at a gathering of ornithologists and all I know about birds is that blue jays are blue.  

I'm not ready to reinstate the moratorium, but I would say these darn baby showers are still hard. I've got a few more coming up, and I probably need to spend less time complaining to Mr. A and a little more time shoring up the necessary inner resources to attend. 

*"I would rather be the child of a mother who has all the inner conflicts of the human being than be mothered by someone for whom al l is easy and smooth, who knows all the answers, and is a stranger to doubt."

Saturday, January 18, 2014


"You can get rid of those needles, Mom. I'm here now!"