Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

I am a known disliker of Christmas. It usually involves going back to my home province, either driving on the dreaded highway 401 at the worst time of year or taking a couple of trains down the Windsor - Quebec City corridor. Neither options enchant me (although option 2 absolutely delights Mr. A). Then there is invariably my mother's craziness to contend with. In large fucking doses. I can usually manage two days, but inevitably, we visit for about five days, which is two and a half times my limit.

Last year, I made it clear to my mother that we would not be travelling with a baby. It did mean missing Christmas with her family, and not seeing my dad at all, but the thought of travelling with Gummy Girl at this point makes me want to insert sharp lead pencils into my eyeballs.

Hence, we are home.

And so far, it is a brilliant Christmas.

We declared the 24th and 25th days to ourselves, and so there is just the three of us. I have dreamed of this for years. A peaceful, simple Christmas at home with my husband and my baby.

We decorated the potted Norfolk pine and made pain au chocolat for breakfast. Later, I will make boeuf bourgignon. We might go for a walk in the snow. We'll listen to carols. We'll finish the Globe and Mail crossword. It's perfect.

I decided it would be good to attend the early church service at Mr. A's church last night (despite it overlapping slightly with Gummy's bedtime), and I was surprisingly choked up with emotion during the service. I thought about the grace symbolized in the birth of this special child, Jesus to all, and Gummy to me. How blessed we are.

I also feel like I am holding in my heart a very special place for those spending the Holidays with infertility as your constant, unwanted companion. I think of my friend Veronica, and of dear Suzanne who has just received very tough news. And Conceptionally Challenged, especially, who grieves for her beautiful daughters. May the years ahead bring you babies and happy Christmas morning.

Merry Christmas to all of you. May there be many moments of peace and joy for you during this time.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

the fertility clinic waiting room: part 2

(see part 1 here)

I went back to the Fertility clinic a few weeks ago on December 5. The last time I was there was for u/s # 2 in August 2012. Earlier this fall, I called my RE's secretary to book an appointment. I needed to ask him some questions about my hormone replacement therapy and also, get his take on the birth and what he thought would happen with a potential second pregnancy.

I gave a lot of thought to the visit beforehand, starting with the waiting room. Was I even allowed to bring my baby to a fertility clinic waiting room? I asked the secretary, I called the nurse, and by all accounts, it was a-ok to bring Gummy Girl. But you know me by now. I still felt awful for the women/couples who would be waiting there and have to be subjected to the sight of my living, wiggling, super-cute reminder of their childlessness.

I also thought about how I would probably loose my shit and start bawling. Did I ever tell you about the phone call I made to our dear fertility nurse a month after Gummy was born? I got her voice mail and just said that I had given birth to a baby girl and....wah, wah, wah (I was unable to finish my message and just hung up, hoping she would understand). I found a parallel to the advice of not texting/phoning anyone while inebriated: Don't call your beloved fertility nurse within 6 weeks of giving birth. But now Gummy was 9 months, so more time had passed. Except that I would see my nurse and my doctor in person. So, I had real reasons to be concerned about lots of public crying on my part.

The three of us trekked down to Fertility Treatment Town on what happened to be a beautiful, warm late fall day. Gummy looked awfully cute in her green corduroy jumper with a mouse on the pocket. My heart was filled with pride and joy: I was taking MY daughter to meet the people who helped usher her into existence.

The fertility clinic where we've been treated used to be located at another hospital in FTT, but moved in the spring of 2012 to a different hospital in the same city. The funny thing about the new location is that it is directly 2 stories above where my office was as a resident. So going there brings back all sorts of memories. Overlaid are the memories of the early ultrasounds when I was pregnant with Gummy.

I got myself worked up about it all. As I do.

I stood outside the waiting room with Gummy after checking in. The nurse made a huge deal of how beautiful Gummy was and made us feel welcomed. But the waiting room was packed and my heart hurt for those couples. At the same time, I had a legitimate appointment for a legitimate reason. And the waiting room is where we would be fetched. Not the hall. So we went in, the three of us. I took Gummy to the end of the room, where there was a Christmas tree, and did what all good fertility patients do in the waiting room: avoided eye contact with anyone.

And it occurred to me: I was that woman.

That woman who brings a child to a fertility clinic waiting room.

But I couldn't/can't apologize for Gummy's existence. I am blessed beyond words by her precious life. I am just am sorry that there isn't a different, smaller, perhaps painted in brighter colours and filled with toys, waiting room for people who have kids and still need to go to the fertility clinic.

Strangely, I also could almost see myself sitting in that waiting room in years passed. At times hopeful. At times completely beaten down by failure. At times worried sick. And now I was sitting in the waiting room showing my daughter the Christmas tree ornaments.

A nurse called us in shortly after arriving to our seats in the waiting room. We got to see our dear nurse who was pleased to meet Gummy, and happy to see us. We waited a long time to see dr. RE. As always, I could hear the prosody of his speech, muffled through the walls of the exam rooms and knew he was taking the time he needed to consult with the couple in the other room. Hearing the sound of his voice through the walls always helped me wait. I knew when our turn came, he would give us the time we needed.

Dr. RE was pleased to meet Gummy, but wasn't really all that focused on her. It was the most striking thing about our visit: neither our nurse nor Dr. RE were all that focused on Gummy. Their attention was on Mr. A and I. They were happy to see us smiling, see us having become parents. It seems that when you have a child, everyone's focus turns so sharply to the baby, which is so wonderful. It really is. I'm saying that the contrast in this instance was noticeable.

It was a full appointment. The short version is that Dr. RE confirmed my fears that complications would be expected with a second pregnancy. He flat out said it would be a high risk pregnancy and I would need to be followed at the large University Health Centre nearest to Pleasantville. While I am worried about placenta accreta (what I had last time) or increta, Dr. RE went straight to worrying about percreta (where the placenta invades not only the wall of the uterus, but the adjoining organs). He did nothing to help me want to get pregnant again.

Despite that, I did agree with him that running some investigative tests right now while I'm on mat leave would be a good use of my time. He posited that my uterus might be in rough shape after what happened, and thought that I may end up needing one or two hysteroscopies, but that we should start with an u/s and a sonohysterogram. We also talked about interim and long term HRT strategies. I fell in love with him all over again. He's the only doctor whose ever really understood what's going on in my reproductive system.

He convinced me to come in for an u/s the following Sunday at 8 am (which means leaving my house at 6:30am). I did agree to it, and drove down that long highway at the crack of dawn like the good ol' days.

And just like that, on CD21 using my regular HRT regimen and nothing more, my lining was at 8mm. What. No coaxing? No del.estrogen shots? Just fluffed up to 8mm after 5 days of prome.trium!

That was a surprise. Crazy what having a baby can do.

I'll book a sono for the new year, and we will see how things look in there. But beyond that, I'm not looking to work up to a FET anytime soon.

I'm just thankful that we have one amazing little girl to call our own. And so grateful to everyone who helped us welcome her into our lives.

Monday, December 9, 2013


It appears I missed posting in November altogether. I squeaked one post in at the beginning, but then I had to temporarily abandon this blog and spend time writing elsewhere. I wrote a novel in November, thanks to NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I could have stopped in to write about the experience of writing, but there was no time for that. Every time Gummy napped, I wrote the novel. And I made it to 50 000 words by November 30. I'm not sure how.

Well, actually, I do know how. I focused on the quantity instead of the quality. I had an idea of the plot and characters, and made a rough plan ahead of time, but then during the month of November, I just wrote. I did NO editing. And I stuck to that rule, which is why I got to the end of the month with my 50 000 words.

But let me be clear: the novel I wrote is a few neighbourhoods south of Terrible.


I don't think the grammar is even something recognizable as English (I know what you're thinking: that's not a far cry from these posts, which I do try to edit before posting. But at least I have the excuse of being an ESL person).

I did this to reclaim some of the pieces of my identity I felt have been far out of reach since Gummy's arrival. I needed something just to myself. Something contained, achievable, confidence-boosting, fun, engrossing. And it was all that.

When I asked Mr. A in October if he would support me in doing this, however he was able, he said yes. And he mostly did that. There were a few frustrating moments when I wanted to write but he couldn't take care of Gummy, but that's par for the course. He also pointed out when we talked about it in October, that doing NaNoWriMo might make me feel better than sitting on the couch watching shit TV every night. He didn't say this in a blaming or condescending way. He just wanted me to do things that make me feel better about myself.

He was right.

I like shit TV, but I like writing even more.

So, I'm trying to figure out the balance between relaxing while watching Girl (what a gem that is) and using what little free time I have to a) get shit done and b) pursue my interests. I figure I'll feel somewhat happy about my balancing skills the day before I go back to work from mat leave, and then I'll have to start over.

Friday, December 6, 2013

In and out: the nine-month mark

I have plenty of other material for blog posts, but this will be a short and sweet post. If you are struggling right now, this one is all about unicorns and butterflies, so feel free to skip. I will come back with angst later. Oh, I do angst really well, and I promise you more. But for now, let me revel in my beautiful daughter.

This is Gummy after 9 months in-utero (well, 38w2d)

Gummy Girl, what do you see over there?
And now, she has spent 9 months ex-utero

Sitting with her is Big Hoot, her favourite owl
They aren't kidding when they say 'kids grow up so fast'. Gummy is about 29 inches long already. She babbles with great intent, and wants to grab everything in her vicinity, including poor Chicken's fur and ears. She is happy as happy can be (except when she's not). And she still makes us cry tears of joy and gratitude when we put her to bed. We are so lucky.