Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone!  It sure is a long time since I have posted (again).  Life with Emma does not allow for much time for extras, such as ironing clothes, doing banking, or blogging.  She is a very high demand for attention little lady.  Even now, as I have decided that I am posting no matter what, she is on the table, in front of the monitor, with her arms around the screen so that I cannot see anything, trying to grab the keyboard that is on my lap, and distracting me by breaking the CD collection next to the computer.  Right now she is pulling on my clothes and screaming bloody murder.  I am certainly not paying attention to her at all and managing to concentrate 100% on what I am doing here, hehe.

This Christmas I have baked like a mad woman.  I don't know if you guys remember my Thermomix obsession, that little kitchen appliance that I wanted to marry if bigamy were not forbidden.  I got some new cookbooks for Thermomix, and because it is required that one follow the instructions exactly by the letter, the food actually turns out as if someone else made it, not me.  (Someone very gifted in the kitchen and with very little fear of saturated fats). Usually when I read a recipe, I approximate and get inspired, but never follow by the letter.  In this case, I am very impressed by how good the recipes are turning out by following the cooking books to the letter, and we have been eating very well lately.  So well that I have gained 5 lb in the past month!  It is time I stopped having chocolate tart for breakfast...

Aside:  I used to be very strict about Emma's TV watching habits, but right now I can safely say that if it were not for my computer screen playing Youtube videos (right now "your baby can read") I would not be able to finish this blogpost.  Anytime I have to do something that does not combine well with Emma pulling on my clothes and trying to get my attention, I use youtube or good ol' Dora.  I would really like to know if this is likely to damage her brain and also if it qualifies me to apply for worst mother of the year award.  

Lately I am also not blogging because I feel tired.  There have been a bunch of incidents where people have behaved meanly towards me and my family, and although this is normal part of life, lately it has been happening a lot more often and lead to tiredness and overall weariness on my part.  I have had bad sleep for a few nights, and also generalized worrying about what the future will bring.  I have the feeling that we have landed in the middle of some bad people, and although I am probably right, this is the type of thing that is best suppressed to the subconscious, otherwise it turns one into a paranoid person.  I am starting to sleep better, but am feeling harassed by my fellow human beings, who lately have displayed more evil than good.

Emma is the one thing in my life that brings me joy.   She is beautiful, and smart, and seems to be very kind.  She is a little lady.  Hates to eat but loves to drink Perrier water.  Probably because I read too many French books while pregnant with her.  She also loves dark chocolate.  She has thinned out and lengthened a lot in the past three months.  I have no idea what percentiles she is on at the moment, as I have not taken her to the clinic to measure her, I just let her step on the scale in the morning (she loves to do that, as she sees me doing it and must think that I am having such great fun weighing myself, haha).  She is probably still around the 90th percentile for weight and for height as far as I can tell.

Overall, even when unhappy with my environment, I have to honestly say that having Emma and MrH makes me feel a lot better overall than when I was struggling to have her.  I think infertility and lack of a family is such a difficult task to bear, that very little compares to that.  It is easier to lose one's friends and become the pariah of the local group than to struggle to have a baby and not be able to.  Just my feeling at the moment.  Not meant to upset anybody, just to validate how very hard infertility has been for me and probably is for others.

Today I am thinking of all of you ladies who are struggling to complete your families, and want to send you all love and a big supportive hug.  May the future bring you peace and fulfilment.

Now I am off to polish the remainder of the chocolate tart.  Will post pictures.


Monday, November 19, 2012

rambling

This concludes our two birthday back to back series and the inevitable weight gain that starts the season... We had a very nice dinner for MrH, an organic roast chicken that I prepared with garlic, and mashed potatoes with nutmeg, peas and Brussels sprouts, and then for dessert the chocolate ice cream (divine, divine!!!) and a creme brulee that turned out really brulee because I have no torch and tried to use the broiler to caramelize the sugar.  Ended up cremating the sugar on top, but everything underneath was still scandalously decadent.

I was reading now about this woman in New York whose two beloved children were murdered by the nanny.  How very very sad!  The nanny was obviously mentally ill, and everything sounded completely devoid of any explanation that a human mind can comprehend... I can only say that my heart weeps for this tragic, unexpected loss, that makes no sense to anybody.

Yet...if you read the comments that people leave behind on the articles published in the media, it is so upsetting to see how they sound as if things could have somehow been prevented:  should not have left kids with nanny, one should raise own children, don't trust anybody with your kids, and don't ask the nanny to do housework, don't fight with nanny, blah blah.  People!  This nanny was not normal, don't make it sound as if it the parent's fault.  What the heck?  Have some heart!

MrH's birthday and breakfast

Today it is my sweet husband's birthday.  I think the world of him and wish him many healthy years, and a fulfilled life, and the art and ability to create happiness out of the ordinary day.  Even more so, out of the extra ordinary day, like today.  He is the best father that Emma could have ever wanted, and I am sure if she knew what a birthday is, she would be chiming in with some wishes as well.

You know what makes a great breakfast?  A home made baguette slice (doesn't have to be home made, but around here home made is the best you're going to get, and my latest creations are improving dramatically), with apricot or  peach jam, and topped with whipping cream.  Mmmmm.  Dunked in coffee with hot milk.  Heaven.

The only person who does not think so is Emma.  She looks at the jam, takes one lick of the whipping cream, and pulls her nose up.  If given the opportunity, she tears the breakfast offering apart with two fingers, like it were a dead insect.  I swear, this child of mine should be filmed and distributed as diet helper.  You give her great things, like dates, and candy, and she often spits them out and is not interested.  Banana bread, I mean c'mon, who doesn't like banana bread with dates and walnuts? apparently Emma.  When hungry, she might eat it, but if she is not hungry, you could give her the world on a stick and she would not touch it.  Except to trample on it, that is.

Why can't I be more like her?  I think I am becoming a bit more like her:  unembarrassed to spit out whatever does not taste like I really need or want.  Not always though, and not perfectly.  Last night, I asked MrH what he would like for desert on his birthday, and he said ice cream.  So I made the liquid for putting in the ice cream maker but it turned out too sweet.  So I drank about a cup of it (can't waste it) and replaced the missing cup with cream.  Turned out great.  I was a bit sick on the other hand....

Sunday, November 18, 2012

birthday and my closet

It is my birthday today!  I am turning thirty-and-a-considerable-amount.  I feel too old to have a birthday, if that makes any sense, in that I would rather not turn thirty-and-more and prefer to stay thirty-and-less, even at the expense of having a birthday... I guess it doesn't work that way.

MrH has brought me breakfast in bed, and let me sleep in, which is the first time I have slept in for the past two months or so... I am not going to lie, it felt so good it should have cost money.   I got myself for my birthday a nice black turtleneck sweater from Brunello Cucinelli, who makes the best cashmere sweaters (3 ply, soft, resilient, reasonably thickly woven) other than Loro Piana.

I am a fashionista at heart.  I am not into following trends much, and still wear bell bottomed jeans at times, but I like reading about different luxury brands and designers, and learning about fashion trends along the years, and most of all looking at, touching, and wearing very good quality materials made into very good quality clothes.

When I was young, I had no money for clothes.  Then, I did, and got myself lots of very nice clothes.  And shoes.  And purses.  The problem is that a wardrobe is always in flux, and my issue is that for the past five years or so I have only been attracted to very expensive pieces.  Like, ahem, the last piece that I bought was a Hermes belt.  Not a H belt, too obvious, just a black belt that looks very ordinary, but feels completely divine.  The leather is so soft, and bendy, it feels like a hug rather than a belt.  I am not going to say how much it cost, but suffice it to say I could have bought at least 8 decent leather belts with that money.  However, this belt, a Chanel scarf, a vintage purple wool A line Chanel skirt, a pair of red acid wash skinny jeans (don't know the designer), two white shirts from Thomas Pink, and the above mentioned turtleneck sweater are the only clothes that I bought this whole year.  The total price of all the purchases amounts to about 165 dollars per month, if I divide everything by 12.  Not too bad.  Each piece in itself is extravagantly expensive, but overall I don't think that the average amount spent on clothes is extravagant when calculated monthly.

I was reading a book on the psychology of one's closet (You are what you wear, by Jennifer B something) and at some point in the book, it is mentioned that a French woman "only needs a black cashmere turtleneck (check!), dress pants, jeans, a white collared shirt, a Hermes scarf, a trench, a pair of flat shoes, and a pair of heels.  Cost is immaterial because, even though French women purchase these items from the highest end, they can endure a lifetime".  I don't know about the lifetime part, since one is prone to changing the cut of the pants and jeans at least once every five years, plus in my house we stain things occasionally beyond repair, especially since Emma came on the scene.  But I do understand what she means.

Inspired by this quote (and several others that are harping on the same topic, quality over quantity), I have felt a few times compelled to clean out my closet to the bare bones, and just leave in it one or two pairs of jeans, two pairs of dress pants (thin and thick), three thick skirts, two thin ones, one dress, and two blazers, thick and thin, two white shirts, one pink short sleeve shirt, one white turtleneck, one black turtleneck, one cashmere cardigan and two silk blouses, two belts and two scarves.  And my lululemon pants, sine qua non (in case you're impressed, that's all I can remember from four years of high school Latin).

Those would be my essentials, at this point in time. However, I have some other needs that these essentials would not cover.  Like the need to roll around in the snow with Emma.  I doubt any of the above mentioned pants would cover my legs appropriately.  And the need to go to the playcentre and play with watercolours (ahem, the white or the black very expensive cashmere sweater?).  So I need some clothes with which I don't have to worry about stains and little hands grabbing me.  Also, I need some clothes for reinventing my style once in a while.  Like for layering, perhaps some cotton frocks, or a leather vest, or some leather skirts, or even very casual corduroy pants worn with man's shoes and a white shirt and a manly watch.  And pearls.  I am digressing, but what I mean is that more closet volume allows more colours, like orange and purple,  more patterns, like pinstripe and ecossais, and the presence of the hot pink blazer with bows that I would not be able to wear more than once a month for fear of being remembered as crazy on a regular basis.

So, there it goes.  I will not be culling my closet for volume or diversity in the near future.  As long as I have in my head all the possible combinations, I think volume and diversity are good.  Yes, there are clothes in there that I have not worn in the past two years, but invariably I dig them out and wear them eventually, and when I do they feel like new clothes, without having spent any money.  In addition, it is extremely unlikely that I will NEED something in the next few years, since I seem to have some item of clothing for every possible occasion (except for a nice formal dress, that is until my boobs recede back to their usual size so that I can fit into my pre pregnancy dresses) which allows me to spend the above mentioned extravagant amounts of money on occasional purchases of accessories and cherry-on-top type of designer clothing.

I bet normal people do not spend this much time dissecting their wardrobe.
But normal is overrated anyway.




Thursday, November 15, 2012

spam

I am getting a lot of spam comments lately, I was wondering if the rest of you that have blogs are getting the same problem.  Every day, some loser that is trying to promote their website writes some bogus comment that has nothing to do with the kettle of fish, and the comments come to my email.  I am not, however, seeing them on the blog itself, so I guess some spam blocker must be in place.

Still, I get so excited when I see a comment in my inbox in the mornings, and then realize it is spam...such a bummer.  I get the feeling that I am getting tricked, and falling for the same trick every time.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I'm baaack

I went to South Africa on a quick holiday to attend the fabulous wedding of my step daughter.  It was very nice to enjoy some summer, and to watch Emma on the beach playing with the shells.  We came back to some nasty snow piled on the back porch.  Unfortunately, I was too pissed off to take pictures, but I should have, as the snow was up to my thighs.  I had to shovel for two hours, and MrH did about an hour and a half to finish off the job after I lay exhausted...

Flying to SA from Northern Canada has its own sets of challenges, namely taking three planes back to back with a small baby is not the easiest thing to do.  It becomes even harder if one's passport is expired, in particular if MrsH's passport is more than TWO YEARS expired and she is only made aware of this joyful fact by the airline checkin counter attendant... No, they did not let me on the flight.  We had to spend five days in Vancouver, having loads of fun trips to the passport office.  In other words, any travelling difficulties that we might have had were more related to my lack of adequate paperwork than to travelling with a 14 month old.

Emma is a beautiful, loving child.  She wraps her arms around me many times during the day, and at night when we fall asleep.  She is very affectionate.  She says "happy" and "cat" and a few Romanian words, all coming out really cute.  We go to Mother Goose where one can learn rhymes, and I know quite a few baby poems and songs by now.  We make cookies and bread, and she is able to use the rolling pin for both the dough and for banging things in the house with.  And she likes to bang on the piano.  A prodigy, what more can I ask for :)

As for myself, I am busy with work and now with cooking excessively again.  I have rekindled my love relationship with the Thermomix.  I swear that machine is addictive, and judging by the sheer number of blogs out there that deal with the Thermomix cooking, I think I might be right.  I simply must stop making things, and then struggling to eat them.  I think Emma is bang on when she spits out the food if she is full:  that's the attitude!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

clean house

Since I have been very lazy about blogging for the past few months, I am going to make it up by blogging excessively during this long weekend.  (It is Thanksgiving weekend in Canada). 

My latest aspiration comes from reading a book that has a character who is a Portugese immigrant woman, single  mother of three children, one of which has a brain tumour that is recovering well.  This woman has time to keep her house spotless, and paint her toenails pink fuchsia, and date a married man back in Portugal.  Married affair aside, I would like to (for once) have a spotless house. 

Hm.  I forgot one small detail.  She did not work.

Anyway, I am trying to figure out how to increase the amount of sparkle on my floors, kitchen sink, and oven, as well as vacuuming more often.  I have a cleaning lady who comes once a week and does the floors, the bathrooms, and vacuums a bit. She does not dust or do laundry.  My day's chores go something like this:  in the morning, empty the dishwasher, make breakfast and clean afterwards (including the floor if Emma eats by herself), sweeping around the birds' cages, folding the laundry from the dryer and changing the sheets (every other day or so), washing two more loads (one whites, one coloured) and getting lunch started.  Then I play with Emma a bit, we bathe and take a nap on the clean sheets.  When we wake up, we have lunch, clean up afterwards, and go to babysitter/work. 

When I come back, we go shopping if we need anything (twice a week) and make dinner, which usually creates a huge mess as Emma wants to help me.  I have to cut things on the floor, and let her play with the chopped vegetables.  It pays off though, as every time I am busy doing something like sweeping or brushing the carpet, she grabs her own item of cleaning (a small broom, or a sponge) and starts "helping out".  It is so cute to see how she wants to be involved.

At night we load the dishwasher and the washing machine/dryer, and MrH cleans up after dinner (dishes, floor, Emma's high chair), while I wipe the counter in the bathroom.

Any stories of how cleaning goes in your house would be appreciated.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Adrian's urn

Emma has been playing with Adrian's urn during this past month or so.  It was sitting on my night table, and she is still sleeping in our bed, so in the mornings she would get up and start throwing everything off the table onto the carpet.  She threw both the urn and the little icon that was surrounding it onto the floor, several times, before I took it and put it on my makeup table.

Poor Adrian.  He has no way to defend himself against his sister's attacks.
I have tried to tell Emma that the name of the urn is Adrian.  I know she does not get it, but at some point in the future I guess I will tell her that she had a brother born before her, who did not live.  I wonder if that will frighten her.  I wonder how she will process that.  If anybody has any advice about how to approach the issue, it would be much appreciated.  I was just planning to approach it in my usual matter-of-factly way that I use to disclose these facts to anybody who asks.

In the meantime, today I ran into a colleague who had her twins in the same month when I was due to have Adrian.  We were due within a day of each other.  Her girls are now 2.5 years old.  I wonder what Adrain would have done at this age.  Probably given me a hard time through his terrible twos.

These thoughts are quite fleeting though.  I love him just as much as I always have, and think with sadness of his little baby body that never got to live.  I can only thank God for Emma, whose presence makes my life so full and rich and busy that I cannot afford to fall into melancholy anymore.

Is this good?  Is it bad?  Occasionally I experience the sadness fully, just as I used to, and the anger at the waste of a little life.  But these moments are rare, and on most days all I do is the mundane thinking about breakfast, bath, nap, lunch, work, park, dinner, sleep.  And I am happy.

weight watchers

I am officially on weight watchers.  I have been registered with the online program for three months now, but largely ignored the app on my iPhone and did not track my points.  My weight kept on going up and up.  After gaining five lb in one month, I decided that enough is enough, and started tracking.  I am doing fairly well in that I have managed to lose two measly pounds in two weeks, but in all fairness I have been making liberal use of the "weekly"points, and last night I managed to polish off half of a medium pizza at Boston Pizza (Friday nights is our date/splurge night when we go out to Boston Pizza and have something greasy and unhealthy).

My mood has become vastly improved once I have decided to stop feeling guilty about working.  I was very conflicted about working longer hours (lately I am averaging 5 a day, with an inclination to increase toward six a day).  I doubt that I will go back to full time in the next three years, but if the need arises then I have to be prepared to do so.  I enjoy work, and am quite the workoholic.  Before having Emma, I used to easily work like a mule, and loving every moment of it, except for the sheer exhaustion and emptiness of my life - haha.   Now, I have to be more balanced.

The truth is that in today's day and age, we are all expected to work long hours.  We are going back to the work hours of 200 years ago I think.  The sooner I accept that, the better our life will be.  We are expected to work hard just to make enough money to cover our daily expenses, and in our case, to cover the overhead of the business.  Working part time makes it more difficult to do these things. And I am one who likes to have money, no kidding, that is why I need to seriously adjust when my income is slashed in half.

That being said, I am happy with the current balance, and I even think the five to six hour days are ok with Emma, who is very well adapted with her current babysitting family.  She is a wonderful child, and her babysitter is friendly and motherly, and I am very happy with the arrangement. That is what matters the most.  I think that those of us who have a stable, secure arrangement with a daycare provider, feel more at ease to work longer hours.  When Emma had just started with this new babysitter, and she was suffering from my absence, even four hours felt like eternity.  I was itching to get home and the five minute commute was an annoyance bigger than I can describe.  Now, I am even fantasizing about going to the gym before picking her up.  Not that I am actually going to do it... because even for a gym rat like me, seeing my little girl is a much more urgent need than that of pounding the treadmill.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

winter coming

Winter is coming in our neck of the woods.  We have very hard, long winters, but for the past two years, due to the change in seasons and global warming, they have been very mild.  As an example, I have an extensive glove collection that I did not even touch last winter.  I did not need to wear gloves at all!  Seven years ago, I could not have opened a door because my skin would have glued onto the metal of the door knob if I did not protect my hands.

Somebody was telling me yesterday that because of the permafrost melting, further North in Yellowknife the roads were sinking.  Apparently we will have no polar ice left in three more years either.  This is scary.  I worry about Emma's future, the world that she will live in, and whether she will be able to live at all, because who knows how many human lives this change in temperature will claim. I am quite negative since thinking about all this.  I am also shocked by the fact that most people around me don't seem to worry at all.  I guess that is why I have anxiety disorder and they don't.

On the plus side, we had a lot of fun in the park this summer.  Emma managed to climb all the way to the top of a tall ladder (2.5 m) by herself, and then to go on the circular slide by herself as well.  It scares me a bit so I go behind her, but I am quite amazed by how strong she is.

All in all, one of the best summers so far.  I got to go outside during the day, which for a working person is a treat, and enjoyed the sunshine together with my daughter, which is the most important part.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

breastfeeding-hard to stop

I was asked why I have not posted  much lately.  I didn't think anybody was still reading my blog, haha.  It really is not all that interesting anymore, just life with a toddler, and the usual problems associated with being a working mom, namely not enough time, not enough energy, etc.  I have gone through a very tired patch, and also had a nasty viral infection with fever and vomiting, which took my energy right down to zero.  All in all, blogging fell by the wayside.

I am going to Vancouver in two weeks to see if the surgery to remove some of the scar tissue from the uterus has worked.  The gyne will try to put a small probe in the uterus, to see if the opening created is still there, or if it has scarred back down.  If it is still open, then the next thing is to put the cerclage back in place.  Then to do more IVF, once I stop breastfeeding, which I still haven't.

The breastfeeding thing is hard to stop.  I have more milk now than I had during her first few months of life, and she enjoys the bonding as well as the actual milk I guess.  Due to my hemorrhage, I did not manage to establish a milk supply in early life, so Emma was deprived of my milk the entire time.  This is why I feel guilty taking it away from her now, especially seeing as she enjoys it so much, and lays claim on my boobs with such awesome determination.  She pulls my clothes off, even in public, and grabs onto them in a way that is definitely supposed to mean "these are mine, you are mine".  She is so cute, it brings a smile to my face just writing this :)  I have to say, breastfeeding a smaller baby brings in me notions of survival and nutrition, but breastfeeding an older baby or a toddler is a lot more fun and meaningful emotionally.  This observation could be skewed by the fact that when Emma was small, breastfeeding was such a source of inadequacy and emotional pain for being unable to provide it, that it might be why I did not find it fulfilling.  I am finally enjoying it now, and so is she, so we will have a very hard time letting go.

However, if we do not let go, there will be no IVF.  Hence no future baby.  And we make such cute babies...

Saturday, August 25, 2012

new babysitter, hard week

Life is a bit stressful at the moment.  We are trying to make decisions about the future, and just as I thought things fell into a good groove, something else came up, and I felt left in the air again.  Life is like that, nothing is aligned perfectly, probably ever, which is what makes living an art as opposed to a science, I suppose.

Emma is adapting to a new babysitter, and she has been very clingy the entire week.  This drives me a bit insane, as I cannot peel myself off her (or, more precisely, I cannot peel her off my leg to which she attaches herself to dear life).  Hence, the house was a mess for a few days as I could not tidy up with her stuck to my leg, and also we ate a whole lot of bread and butter instead of the usual cooked meals.  I have done my best to put dinner on the table every night, but for the rest of the meals, only Emma got something cooked each time, the rest of us ate bad carbs.

And we survived.  Note to self: next time we transition to a new babysitter arrangement, get a cleaning lady to come in twice or three times that week, as I cannot do squat other than reassure my child that I am not disappearing forever from her life.  And freeze some meals ahead of time.  And drop those standards way down low (that is the hardest one for me).

I need a holiday.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

vaccinations

Today Emma got her one year shots.  It was quite different from the previous shots, because she was much more aware of what was going on, and she also remembers much better afterwards, making it harder for me to distract her.

We went to the Health Unit, which is just around the corner from my house, and registered.  A volunteer lady measured her weight and her height.  Emma got upset about being laid on a table to be measured like a sheep, and she started protesting, obviously oblivious to what was about to come.

We sat and waited, and she started playing with this tall toy that has wires and beads, you know the classic weird one that I thought no kids ever play with.  Well, apparently mine is very interested in that particular toy, to such an extent that when the nurse came to get us, she did not want to let go of it and hung onto the wires/bars for dear life.  I had to pry her off.  The nurse assured us that she had lots more toys in her office.  I thought to myself, sure, and some sharp needles alongside them.  In fact, I was in complete agreement with Emma, I also wanted to hang onto that toy for dear life.

But, we had to go.  Indeed, the nurses' office was full of nice toys, and soon enough Emma was talking up a storm, chatting with us, and handling every animated plastic animal and colourful item in that room.  The nurse plotted her along 97th percentile, and gave her her shots, which made her scream hysterically.  FOUR of them, to boot.  Then, she blew bubbles from a bubble gun, and that was quite effective at stopping the hysterical crying.  Apparently I also need to get a bubble gun on top of the weird toy with wires and beads.

In the waiting room, where we had to stay for 15 minutes, there was another one year old boy who had just gotten his shots, and was also crying.  Both of them sat wimpering side by side, looking at each other with snotty noses.  Then they decided to make friends, and played quite nicely with the weird wire-and-beads toy, until it fell over and both started crying loudly again.  At that point, both his mom and I decided that 15 minutes is too long to wait, allergies be damned, and we each parted on our merry ways.

Emma was cranky for the rest of the morning, but we took a 3 hour nap together and both of us recovered from the experience.  I have come to the conclusion that I should try to take the day off every time she gets her shots (I mean one more time at 18 months) as it is nice for her to have me around, and be clingy and feel safe and whiny.  This evening, I tried to tell her the story of the shots, and made whiny sounds as I was poking her shoulder with my finger, and she laughed in a sort of embarrassed way, which was so cute.  I was not laughing at her, just retelling the story, as we both needed to debrief and get over the traumatic event.  Phew.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

hysteroscopy

I had my hysteroscopy on Thursday, and I guess I should blog about it.  I am becoming so used to all these medical procedures, general anesthetics, hospitalizations and complications, that I forget that they are pretty significant events in my life.  The list of "previous surgeries" on my chart is a mile long.  All of them obs-gyne related, except for a lonely tonsillectomy that I decided to have before attempting to procreate.

On Wednesday morning I went for the pre anesthetic consult, and given my history of serious bleeding with both babies, they typed and cross matched me for some blood, just in case.  On Thursday, bright and early at 4:30 am I left for the hospital, and took very literally the recommendation to bring no valuables.  In fact, it was so early, that I forgot to bring anything at all, except for my own self, with the clothes I was wearing.  I got to the main desk and, without a CareCard or some ID they signed me in for the surgery anyway.  They had my insurance number from the doctor's office, but still, it was pretty remarkable anyway.

A gay nurse from the Philippines started my IV while chatting about Vancouver real estate.  Then the medical student working with the anesthesiologist came to take my history, and ran out of paper pretty quickly.  Then the anesthesiologist came, and declared me ill with some form of bleeding disorder or other, even though all of my bleeding screens came back negative.  I guess I will have to see a hematologist at some point in the future.  Then the OB resident came.  Then the OB chief resident.  And, somewhere in there, I briefly got to see my surgeon, whom I gave my husband's number back home and asked him to please phone him with the findings, as I am very unlikely to remember anything he might tell me right after I wake up (I had enough anesthetic hangovers).

A pretty nurse from Hong Kong wheeled me into the OR and on the way we chatted about her lack of boyfriends for the past few years, and generally about the lack of eligible men in Vancouver.  The anesthesiologist asked me how much I weighed, and I said 74.9 kg, which he proceeded to round up to 75kg, despite my protests.  Then, I got some fentanyl, and felt nicely drowsy.  The oxygen mask, then bye bye a few seconds later.  When I woke up in recovery an hour later, the surgeon tried to tell me that he found adhesions, but I really could not form any memories at that point.  I slept for most of the day, and in the evening I was allowed to go home after proving that I could void.  I was extraordinarily hungry and all I got was two crackers and a can of ginger ale.  It was worse than Air Canada domestic flights.  I decided right then and there that, although it was nice to have all this uninterrupted sleep (I got out of the recovery room at 9 am and slept until 2:30 pm non stop), I had to get some chow, so I took out my own IV and left.  I got my dad to pick me up, and to stop at a gas station on the long way home so that I could get a pack of Pringles (they were multigrain, hm).  (I hate Pringles, but there wasn't much choice there, it was either that or chocolate).

So, the summary that I got from my husband is that I had a large fibrotic mass at the entrance in the uterus, where the cerclage had eroded through.  He separated the adhesions and created an entrance to the uterus.  The fundus looked ok, and generally the uterine cavity was fine, so if I do not re-adhere and there is a way into the uterus, I can get pregnant via IVF again.  He left a balloon catheter in the uterus for a week, and gave me antibiotics.

I feel fine, except for the occasional discomfort and mild spotting.  I resumed caring for Emma right away, and other than feeling very tired and weighing 5 lb more the following day, the surgery did not leave me with too many sequellae.  In fact, given my colourful history, it went remarkably smoothly. If in six weeks the uterus is still open enough to pass a catheter through, then he will be replacing the cerclage, and that will be a more involved surgery, with an overnight stay.  If they give me more than a pack of crackers to eat, that is.


Friday, August 10, 2012

First birthday

My little girl turned one today!  One year ago, she was emerging from my belly and crying "lustily" (as the OB wrote in the delivery note).   One year ago, I was getting to know her.  On her second night I cried when I saw how strong she was, how much she wanted to live, and how long she was wailing because I did not have milk.  If only I knew then what I know now, she would have been sleeping peacefully.  But, anyway, that was then, this is now: she is alive, strong, healthy, smart, and beautiful.  And so cute!!!

I am so very much in love with my daughter.  She is my everything.  With her, I feel like I am complete, and I thank her so much for existing.  She is a true blessing!  I don't know how she chose me, but I am thanking my lucky stars that she did.

Tomorrow we are going to have a little party for her, and we are going to cut a few little hairs from her head, by Romanian tradition.  This is symbolic of something, I just don't yet know what of.  I guess I'd better go do my research.  (Don't worry, MrH, we are not cutting her beautiful blond hair, you won't even notice...besides, I love her hair just as much as you do).


Thursday, August 2, 2012

on fear and trusting

Emma is going to be one in a few days, specifically in just 8 more days (August 10 is her birthday).  She is walking about four to five steps, and can use a spoon, although not always without spilling.  She is a sweet, sweet child, although sometimes she scratches me and slaps me quite hard when she is excited, so I look like an abused mother at the moment, with marks on my left cheek.  We have worked hard on touching softly, not throwing objects, and not scratching or slapping, and things are going well, except for when she is too excited to remember.  She is still a baby and does not have good control over her limbs yet.  As for words, she says mama, dada, tata, and kak (for caca=poop).  Of all things, the kak is funny.

Last night, while my husband, my mom and myself were in the dining room talking, Emma, who was on the floor next to us, wrapped an electrical cord that connected the speakers to the amplifiers around her neck, and by the time she started to cry the cord was pretty tight.  I nearly froze.  I unwrapped it, and my husband who was also terrified of the whole thing, cut the cord with a knife and we now have no speakers.  Scary stuff.  An accident could have happened with me right there!

This of course scares me to no end.  I worry about Emma having to go to another person's house, in another person's care, especially that it looks like I might have to increase my work hours in the not-so-distant future.  I had a chat with my husband about this, and he told me that he does not think that another person will be any less careful than me, and that obviously things can happen even if you are all the time with your child.  You never know when the one second of inattention can lead to a very bad thing.

I guess this lead me to think about God providing for us, a fact that I have come to forget lately.  I worry about the future, and I find it hard, without practice, to give my worries to God and to trust that He will provide, just has He always has, in some way, shape or form.  God will direct me towards good child care.  He will also let me know if I should work more or less.  I am forever torn between my duty to my patients and my duty to my daughter, and both are callings for me, but of course my daughter is the one that takes priority, since I am the only one that can be her mother, while as my patients can have another doctor.  However, it was through the grace of God that I have learned to do what I do, and I owe it to Him not to waste my skill and knowledge either, but to serve others.  That being said, life is long, and everything has its own season.

So many thoughts are running through my head... On top of everything, my hysteroscopy date is August 9, and it is approaching fast, so I am very nervous about that.  Not about the procedure, but about the possibility of waking up from the anesthetic to hear that my uterine cavity is all scarred up with Asherman's adhesions.  Again, something that I should better leave in God's hands.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

sunshine of my life

My day has been very hard.  On top of some personal issues, I had to deal with a completely overbooked clinic, and an assistant that started crying when I asked her to phone the lab for results a second time.  I think I was impatient with her, because I was running so far behind (I was one whole hour behind) and my voice betrayed my state of mind.  I apologized lots, and gave her a hug, and tried to make amends, but I felt like the whole interaction left her and me feeling unwell.  We had a talk about the differences between Europeans and Canadians, in that people from Europe are a lot more aggressive and direct in her opinion.  I tried to not get offended, since it is not the first time that I hear that, and I know that there is a lot of truth in her words, but by Golly I am VERY TIRED of hearing people complain about the fact that I am not like the Canadians, i.e. I am impatient and aggressive.  I don't think I am particularly difficult, case in point being that my employee (whom I pay) feels comfortable enough analyzing my upbringing and shortcomings, and I must say I am a bit disappointed by the whole incident, since I thought that I had worked very hard over the past ten years to smooth down my rough edges and integrate into my now-home country.

It seems I have failed.  Yet again.  Duh.

At the end of a day where I had a fight with my husband, my mom was upset with me the whole day because she heard me fighting with my husband, my employee cried and my patients were waiting for a whole hour, I got home and looked at Emma and still felt like I am really, truly blessed.  My daughter is the sunshine of my world.

Now if only I could undergo a personality transplant.

Monday, July 23, 2012

spoiled?

I wonder if our babies had after years of infertility are more prone to being "spoiled", i.e. indulged, more than fertile couple's kids.  Today I had a conversation with a lady who has five children and will probably have seven more before menopause without batting an eyelash.  She told me that all her babies slept by themselves in their cribs early on, that none of them was "difficult" in terms of putting to sleep, or leaving them alone to play without them asking for attention.

Emma is another story altogether.  She starts her night time mommy-is-my-prisoner time by rubbing her eyes at 8 pm and pretending that she is tired.  I say pretending because the moment we hit the bed, she jumps on me, stands up, walks along the margin of the bed, takes my book and crumples the cover, wants to play peekaboo under the sheets, and generally is more full of energy than at seven a.m when we wake up.  The fact that I am all too happy to indulge her is doing nothing to curtail this behaviour, of course, hence I am dealing every night with an hour of play time on the bed.

I am not very good at saying no and installing discipline as far as play/sleep delineations, or quiet/attention grabbing times.  Is this because of the way that I am, i.e. kinda' chill, or is it because I have waited for Emma for so long that she can do no wrong?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Emma is 11 months old!

Emma turned 11 months and one week today, and she is every bit as adorable as I imagined her to be, and then some.  She started walking recently, and today took a series of three to four steps, falling each time, then getting up and going for more.  She loves to eat rocks.  She poops sand, which  makes me think that either she is also sneaking in a good helping of sand along with the rocks when I do not notice, or that she might be digesting the rocks, which would make sense, given that she is my daughter and digestion is my forte in life.

She started playing the piano one key at a time, instead of hitting the keyboard with both hands.  However, when I pick her up and put her in front of the piano, the most attractive thing is the book with the songs, and she keeps on turning the pages, oblivious to the fact that I am trying to play whatever is on that page.  She started being very interested in books this past month, and turns pages one after the other, lingering over the pages that show pictures of cats.  We have a cat, and I think she sees the connection, but probably cannot compute why our cat is white and the one in the picture is black.

She loves going to the swimming pool, and also loves helping me make dinner.  By that I mean she takes all the bite size pieces that I have cut up for cooking and puts them in her mouth, or on the floor, then proceeds to do the exact same thing with the scraps of peel and seeds that I put in the "discard" basket.  She started eating with a spoon, if I load it up for her first, but usually puts it in her mouth backwards, and often grabs it with the left hand. She drinks from a glass very well but only if I hold the glass for her.  So far, no interest in holding the glass herself.  She likes to wash her hands in a big bowl of water that I prepare especially for that.

There is a lot more awareness of the world around her, and a lot more interest in details, like ants, or birds, or grass.  She also knows what she wants and expresses it very fiercely, with "nanana" sounds and shaking her head or her hand to show me that she means it.  She thinks that she rules the world, and in our house she sort of does...

Mama's girl, what can I say?

I have two interests right now concerning raising her:  one is an interest in the Montessori ideas, in particular that of involving the child into practical life aspects, as she actually does show a keen interest in everything cooking and cleaning related, and the second one is an interest in bilingual language development.  I am starting to speak in Romanian to her in the mornings.  Apparently kids need about exposure to a second language at least 30% of the time in order to pick it up, and the mornings account for that.  She is a bit bombarded with different languages, since I speak Romanian in the mornings and English in the evenings, while in the afternoons her nanny speaks Italian, and she is soon to be replaced by another nanny that speaks German.  The nanny languages though probably will not be interpreted as being as important as the ones that her own family speaks, and in particular I think she will at least understand Romanian if I make an effort.

It is an effort though, because I don't speak Romanian that often anymore, except on the phone with my  parents and whenever I go to Vancouver.  It is a fair idea to ask why bother.  I think it helps to learn a second language effortlessly as a baby, as it will ensure that forever the brain has awareness of what a language actually is.  I would also give her a sense of connection with my past, if that should ever become important to her.  Understanding the language of a country, even if one does not speak it, opens doors towards that particular culture.  I probably should work on using a relatively broader vocabulary in Romanian than I currently do, as I have let the language "linger" to a functional level for many years, and it became so sparse that I probably rarely venture outside of the basic vocabulary in my daily conversations.

Friday, July 6, 2012

hysterosalpingogram

I have been slacking off with the blogging, mainly because there is not much of great importance to write about, but also because I am very busy.  I am training to get back into a good physical shape before my next surgery, scheduled for August 9.  I am running 3-4 miles every second day, and doing weights.  I am 5'9" and weigh 162 lb.  I would like to lose another ten pounds this summer, and also I really want to get my shoulders stronger, since the left one is subluxating and creating pain when my muscle tone is weak.  I am very flexible, which means my ligaments are unstable, and if the muscle tone drops I start to hurt and am at risk of dislocating my joints, particularly the shoulders.  During my pregnancy, I could not train at all, since I was not allowed to exercise, and hence I ended up losing a lot of muscle tone.  I need about two more months to build it up.  Here where I live, in the North, it is very cold in winter, and it is difficult to exercise intensely, because just getting to the gym when it is dark and cold is difficult.  Summer, however, is long, warm and bright, and the perfect time for getting fit.  Summer is for gaining, winter is for maintaining.

Anyway, prior to my surgery everybody wants a picture of the inside of my uterus.  I suppose it is a great tourist attraction to my four gynes so far (the IVF one, the regular one here, the regular one in Vancouver, and the one that will perform the second transabdominal cerclage).  The IVF clinic tried to do a hysteroscopy, but I nearly fainted of pain and they did not succeed in their attempt.  Yesterday, the local gyne tried to do a hysterosalpingogram, and could not, despite (too many) many attempts, get the flexible catheter through my cervix.  I am a bit worried that I have cervical stenosis.  I am mainly worried in the sense that when they transfer the embryos, I hope there is enough room for the catheter to pass through.

Anyway, once again I nearly passed out in pain.  I was dizzy, nauseated, sweaty, bradycardic, and in agony.  I guess I am going to need sedation for a proper hysteroscopy, and I am hoping that the TAC surgeon-gyne will want to do it at the time of the TAC, as opposed to before, in order to save me an anesthetic.

The worry is that I might have adhesions in the uterus due to both the first TAC traversing the uterine walls, and to the two curettages that I have had to have during my enormous post partum bleed that nearly killed me.  Hopefully there are no adhesions, otherwise the whole second TAC is pointless if I cannot get pregnant.

Plan B is to go to India for a surrogate pregnancy if all else fails.  It is very expensive and very far, but for the life of me I cannot think of anybody closer to home that would like to loan me a uterus for nine months, so I might end up with a curry-loving baby.

I am quite peaceful about all my options, although a bit worried about how I will pay for the procedures, given how expensive it all is and the fact that I am only working three quarters time.  (I guess working full time would be the DUH answer, but I really love spending my mornings with Emma, and cannot envision leaving her in the morning every day just to see her at night.  I am so greedy for my time with her!).

Anyway, que sara sara.  We shall see.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

mystery poop

It was a lovely day today, and we spent the afternoon on the patio.  We live in a townhouse type of setting, and our neighbours to the right, who got piss drunk yesterday and had a big fight during dinner (our dinner, that is, that we like to eat on the patio) were much more sober today, and a lot quieter and more pleasant.  I managed to burn the chicken, but even that was ok because it turned out crispy and nice.

Emma had a good time playing and laughing with the neighbours' kids.  As the night came to an end and I picked her up to go inside, I noticed that she was munching on a round blob of poop.  Yuck indeed.  This is not the first time I notice my child eating poop, as she has done it before when I leave her without a diaper.  It is, however, the first time that she is eating somebody else's poop.  Because I swear I have no idea where that pebble of poop came from.  She was wearing her diaper, which was clean.  There was no way this poop would have come from the neighbours' kids, as they were on the other side of the fence, and too old to do this kind of stuff.

So I am sitting here, scratching my head, whose poop was it? As in, what germs and parasites might it harbour?

The only explanation I can come up with, and it is pretty farfetched, but at least it's a start, is that the cat must have sat on her litter box, and a piece of poop got stuck to her fur.  She might have sat on the patio afterwards and the poop fell off.

Yuck.  yuck. yuck.  Toxoplasmosis.  Giardia.  Tenia.  A whole bunch of other cat parasites that I know nothing at all about, not being a vet.

In Romania we say that if the kid eats poop, he or she will be wealthy (or was it lucky? can't remember).  If it is true, Emma is destined for a life of greatness.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

update

Emma took her first step today, as the babysitter tells me... it figures, even working part time, my kid will choose to meet a major milestone when I am away and unable to express my awe.  I did see her take a step today though, and even if it was a small one, and after the first one seen by the nanny, I was still pretty happy.  She is doing well and impressing me with how athletic and busy she can be.

On the news side:  I went to Vancouver to talk to a local specialist in transabdominal cerclages, and after a nerve wracking interview (for both of us, I think) he told me that although he has no clue what could have happened to my old cerclage, nor can he tell me that it will not happen again, he thinks I should get the cerclage replaced via an open procedure and pre-pregnancy.  So, on August 9, he is doing it (and the medical services plan of BC is covering it, yay!).  So, alas, no dr. Haney for me.  I would have liked to see greatness, but will settle for free-and-decently-good.  I think this guy has enough experience to make me want to give it a go.

Still no periods.  Emma is breastfeeding ad lib, and I am quite certain that my prolactin level is still high.  So, we are still far away from attempting another pregnancy.  However, I am preparing for another IVF, whenever it might be.  Part of the preparation was supposed to involve a hysteroscopy, done at the IVF centre in Vancouver.  Well, they tried... and tried... to do an awake office hysteroscopy on me, and could not do it.  It hurt so much that I nearly passed out.  I think the threat of barfing on them made them stop.  I should dedicate an entire post to that one, but essentially know that when they give you a rubber squeeze ball to hold during the procedure, it ain't gonna be pretty, despite all the lovely warm packs that you get placed on your abdomen.  In fact hey, if they place a warming pack on your abdomen prior to the procedure, RUN.

'Nuff said.  I am getting a hysterosalpingogram instead.  There was no entrance to my uterus awarded at this particular time, hence no hysteroscopy.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

hello


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Sunday, June 10, 2012


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Saturday, June 9, 2012

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Saturday, June 2, 2012

spiritual life


A friend invited me to a crystal healing workshop.  I don't know much about crystals in terms of spiritual link/healing properties, so I figured I'd check it out.  I enjoyed the crystal teachings as far as allegoric symbols go, objects that are representations of something desired, or reminders of states of mind and spirit that we seek.  I enjoyed even more the meditation that accompanied the workshop.

I used to meditate a fair bit, and I found it very healing in the stage of my life where I was struggling with infertility.  I was spending lots of time reading about meditation, practicing, and even went to a three day workshop on lovinkindness meditation.  (I spent the first two days plotting how to get out and go shoe-shopping.  On the third day, I finally stood still and meditated).

The workshop reminded me, more than anything, that I am seeking that spiritual side of myself again.  I miss it.  I am so caught up in the happiness of being a mother, the fullness of having a child, and the busyness of everyday life, that I forget to connect with that side of me for which I do not have a name.  I need it.  I also need to connect more with my husband.  Emma is good at taking all of my attention, but it is my job to balance out my time and energy between all sides of me, and not just pour it into the mother-role.

All this in just one hour of meditation!  I am going back for more, probably every Saturday morning if I can wake up, and also will restart my own program at home, depending on how I feel inclined.

Are any of you into meditation?  What forms of it? what about other forms of spiritual practice or beliefs that are different than the mainstream?

Friday, June 1, 2012

Progress

Emma is standing and my parrot Max can say "mama".

Monday, May 28, 2012

ant invasion

We have an ant invasion.  As soon as I returned from Vancouver, where I was to celebrate my friend's beautiful wedding, we found ants in the house.  GIANT ants.  I am not kidding, I measured one of them today and it is almost three centimetres (over one inch).  They are black and scary.  I started my personal crusade against them by killing them systematically, one by one.  MrH, however, thinks that I am unnecessarily insane and that I should just let the poor suckers live their lives of toil and honest work, even if it entails tolerating big black inch-long ants crawling on the kitchen floor.  They only have a limited lifespan here in the North, and winter is sure to come again and kill them all.

Not enchanted with the idea of sharing my summer with these crawlers, I nevertheless have allowed a couple of them to live so far.  I have squished one, flushed one down the toilet, and threw the rest of the hoard out unharmed.  Since then, I am training myself not to look at them and to go about my life in peace, which is hard, because I seem to have an ant phobia.  An easy thing to explain if you look at one of these suckers.

Emma on the other hand has no such problems.  We were sitting on the kitchen floor, and she spotted an ant crawling past, grabbed it using her perfect pincer grasp, squished it a bit and put it in her mouth.  I tried really hard not to gag/hurl/yelp/shout/open-her-mouth-and-pull-out-the-disgusting-ant/ and generally did not want my daughter to react to my phobias, but rather to work out life for herself.  The ant must have tasted really good because she was quite happy to suck on it for a while.

Brrrr.
Brrrrrrrrr.
I. Cannot. Deal. With. This.

I mean really, what is it that I have such a strong response towards?  It was just a little insect, probably a kind, industrious little thing, but try as I may, I cannot shake the image of my beautiful daughter with an inch long black ant in her mouth.

'nuff said.

my mom and Emma


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Emma on the rocks

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at my friends' wedding



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pondering life



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Friday, May 25, 2012

OB appt, plotting and scheming along

I saw my OB today.  He did not want me to go to Chicago for the repeat TAC.  He will try to hook me up with a local TAC performing OB in Vancouver, who has done more than the average, and who can do it for me under provincial insurance, i.e. saving me 25000$.  I hope it works.  I have an appointment with this doc in June.

In the meantime, he seemed very confident that I can carry this next pregnancy without too many problems.  He even offered to do a double TVC, but I said no go, I want the TAC and only the TAC.  He  said it would be better to avoid having another major surgery, like the TAC, but I said whatever, what I really need to avoid is another stillbirth, or a micropreemie delivery.  A surgery is a nuisance, but a stillbirth is a tragedy.  I would rather be cut up from my nose to my toes than lose another baby.  I still remember Adrian lying limp in my arms and I never want that again to another one of my loved-loved-loved-so-much babies.

As for the lower uterine segment, it will need extra care in ultrasounds over the last trimester, but he really thinks that it would have healed well and that it will not tear.  However, I am not to work, but rather to stay put in Vancouver with an ultrasound wand up my whazoohah.

I only want one more baby.  I promise.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

dr. Haney appt summary

The phone appointment with dr. Haney went fabulously.  I thought he was very intelligent and the things he said made perfect sense.  Essentially I am lacking the internal sphincter provided by the top of the cervix at the level of the internal os.  Therefore it needs to be replaced.  Hence the TAC.  The TVC only provides a barrier beyond which the membranes should not funnel, hence leaving enough column of mucus in the cervix to stop bacteria from ascending, but there is not a proper barrier like it is in the case of the TAC.   I might dedicate an entire post at some point to writing the things that he said, because they are worth reading by anybody who has had PPROM, PTL, and IC.  Essentially he thinks they are all effects of the same cause, which is loss of integrity of the internal sphincter and hence the column of mucus gets shortened in each case, and bacteria ascend.  The progesterone that we all get given is meant to thicken that mucus.

My problem, however, is that the TAC has eroded through the wall of the uterus and has been removed.  He said that he has only heard of two other cases like me in the world, none of them his.  (Insert exclamation mark here!!!!!!!).  WTF?  Do I REALLY have to have the rarest of rarest things happen to me?  I mean this guy is seeing the majority of TACs performed in the world and even he is at a loss of what to counsel me?  This after having another two exceedingly rare things happen before, which are not even related (one was the delayed pneumomediastinum after the laparoscopy, the other one the heavy bleeding two weeks after delivery due to SIPS).  Both of these things are super rare.  I mean super duper rare.  Only one other case of pneumomediastinum reported in the literature, and only 1% of post partum hemorrhages are so delayed, who knows how many are due to SIPS).

I should be in the Guiness book of records under "worst luck in obstetrical endeavours".

Anyway, he counselled that I get an ultrasound every week of my next pregnancy to make sure that the new TAC which he wants to insert is staying on the outside of the uterine walls, and that later on the scar from the previous erosion is not bulging out and about to give (i.e. ahem, rupture and kill the baby and perhaps me as well).

Should I go to India instead?  Equal amounts of money, two surgeries less, and two trips to a country that I would in any case like to visit in my lifetime.

Today I am seeing my current OB who probably does not know how to get out of this mess in a polite way.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

tomorrow's appointment

This week I have two appointments of some importance, one with dr. Haney over the phone to discuss the situation, and one with my obstetrician in Vancouver to plan which way to go.  Hopefully I will get some more clarity by the end of the week.  I am definitely leaning towards carrying the baby myself.  Today I have asked MrH, if this were Emma we were talking about, how would we feel if somebody else carried her for 9 months instead of me?  I personally would feel like I miss her terribly.  I have felt very close to Emma during my pregnancy, and both MrH and I felt that a lot of bonding took place during those 9 months, so I am not in a hurry to dismiss those feelings.  I guess if I really cannot get pregnant, then so be it, but I am thinking that I should at least try.  And then there is also the question of how much money can one afford to spend on these things, because I might end up spending both the cerclage+IVF 35000 usd followed by the surrogacy 35000 usd.  And I am not rich.  By any means.  In fact, I will probably need to pull out all of my RRSPs for that (my retirement savings).  And go back to working full time.  I don't know.  I think for now I should take it one step at a time:  I will be able to get pregnant, I don't see why not.

These are the things I need to get in place before the cerclage can happen:
1.  a sonohysterogram (and the travel to Vancouver for it) to see what is the thickness of the uterine wall around the tear from the cerclage.
2.  a hysteroscopy or a hysterosalpingogram to see if I have any adhesions from the prior D&C's.

I have to try to organize both for my one week off in June when I was supposed to be on vacation in Vancouver.  Neither of them is doable in my home town.

It is just a lot of work at this point.  I have very little emotional reaction to any of this.  Surgery?  just a lot of work.  Travel there, travel back, recover, can't lift Emma (bummer, have not thought of that yet, how am I going to care for her).

I have to figure out some things, but other than the inconvenience it will be ok.

Monday, May 21, 2012

surrogacy

I have spent the weekend researching gestational surrogacy in India.  It is very tempting.  To carry another pregnancy, I would have to have the TAC replaced again, this time by dr. Haney, at 25000 USD expense out of pocket.  I would not go for anybody else doing it, because unfortunately my previous cerclage was placed a bit too high and eroded into the body of the uterus, so now a repeat cerclage needs to be very accurately placed.  Nor am I a candidate for TAC during pregnancy, again because of the need for accuracy of placement.  These are things that dr. Haney emailed me.  I need to talk to him on the phone.

Unfortunately, with the repeated D&C's that I had after my hemorrhage, I might not even get pregnant, and end up spending all this money (and another surgery, I lost track by now) for nothing.  While a surrogate in India would likely get pregnant and carry the baby to term with most likely no fuss and no complications with the same embryos that my body might fail.

I have thought long and hard about which way to go.  I am still mulling it over, but I think I am going to go for the repeat TAC this summer, and pursue another IVF sometime in December, if my cycle returns and I am not still breastfeeding.  I would miss the embryo and later on the fetus, with all that distance to India!  to spend a whole pregnancy apart from my own fetus is very difficult.

But it is honestly a good option for me.  If all else fails, I know there is this option as well.  It would cost about the same as the TAC plus another IVF fresh cycle.

TAC cost 25000
IVF fresh 12000 (with ICSI)
total 37000

Surrogacy with IVF/ICSI and travel :  35000 according to a bunch of blogs.

Very tempting...
Repeat cerclage... not so tempting... how many more surgeries do I have to go through?

I oscillate between one option and the other with the speed of a bumble bee.  I need to sleep for about one month on this before I can say I made up my mind fully.  In the meantime, I want to enjoy Emma.

Friday, May 18, 2012

once infertile, always infertile

Despite having this wonderful child who exceeded all my motherly expectations, I am still finding myself thinking like an infertile.  I am still (due to work, and also due to the age group that I belong to) surrounded by pregnant women.  The good news is that I now feel like I belong among women as a gender, and among humankind as a species.  The bad news is that I am still having a hard time thinking about how long it is going to take me to get pregnant compared to other, normal people, and also feeling a bit worried about my health during a pregnancy, given that, um, I almost died last time.  Last two times.  I hemorrhaged both times, once badly, the second time almost fatally.

That being said, I still feel somewhat inferior to any other woman who can get pregnant naturally (and easily) and work or maintain a normal life during the pregnancy, then deliver and...not be scared shitless of dying while doing it.  I crave normalcy.  I want not to be quite so special for a change.  But it is not possible.  I am infertile.  I have incompetent cervix.  My uterus ruptured 360 degrees around the transabdominal cerclage, and is now weak all along that line.  And, to top it off, I have some weird placental site involution disorder that nearly killed me last time.

Why me?

All these thoughts take my attention away from Emma, and that is the true tragedy.  Reality has been good to me.  I am still alive.  But I am upset at myself for not being as happy as happy can be around my daughter, and not completely basking in the miracle that she is 24/7, without thinking about any other things that put me down and under.

I did not post anything on Mother's day because I am conflicted.  On my very first Mother's Day with a live baby, I would have liked to say how happy and blessed I feel about having Emma in my life, but at the same time how I felt that pain and shame of not being a mother for so long...almost like it still was reality.   I have a hard time letting go of my infertile self...I have a hard time forgiving myself for being imperfect in all these ways...and I definitely have a hard time embracing my courage and persistence, and basking in my success/good luck...

In other words, I still need to blog.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

video

9 months today

Emma is 9 months old today!  In honour of her anniversary, both MrH and I ate way too much chicken.  I bought a Hutterite chicken (Hutterites are like the Amish, all I really know about them is that they keep to themselves, they are very unlikely to read my blog, and they raise very good free range chicken, which I periodically cook in the oven impaled on a diet coke can that I drink on my way from the butcher shop).  Today I was too tired to even find an empty can, so I gave the chicken a quick shower in the sink, I dried it up with a fluffy towel for comfort of baking, applied salt and pepper to the armpits, and plopped it in the oven at 400 F lying on a cookie sheet.  I forgot about her.  I was actually too tired to go check on her until about 1.5 h later, when I found her sooo crispy and delicious that I kept on eating the skin.   I must have eaten the skin off the entire 5 lb chicken, because I am quite sure MrH did not eat chicken skin (his cholesterol would ooze out of his ears if he did) and the chicken is quite positively denuded.

I am sick with chicken-skin-itis.  Or something.  I feel like I am going to poop a puddle of oil tomorrow.

Now, onto Emma's latest cute achievements.  She can officially stand up and fall on her padded bum and stand up again and fall again exactly seven times in one minute.  I have timed it.  The amazing thing is that she does not stop after one minute.  She can go on and on.  I thought doing five sets of 15 jump squats is a lot, but if I tried to keep up with my kid, I would be feeling like an old woman.

The cutest thing she is doing lately:  when we sit at the table to eat dinner, she grabs both my hand and MrH's hand and waits for us to pray.  We usually pray holding hands, and include her in the circle, and it is so cute when she initiates the hand holding, knowing that we are about to pray before dinner.  Divine!  This child of mine makes me want to kiss her all day long.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

What I am up to

When I got married, I had a limited budget, and instead of spending it on the actual wedding... or dress... I spent it on a personal trainer.  At 50$ a session, two sessions a week, she kicked my butt into probably the strongest, best shape of my life.  And I have been fit most of my life.

It was expensive though... and now I am working part time, and don't have the money or the time to go to the gym and do it again.  However, being fit is part of who I am (or have been so far, ahem), and I would like to go back there again.  This is why I have decided that I will become very fit again, just like I was when working out with the personal trainer, but on a do-it-yourself budget sort of way.  The goals of this new challenge are:

1.  to get into a shape that I consider to be quite fit, comparable to the shape I was in back then
2.  to do it without spending any money, or at most say under 10 dollars a week (a class here in town costs about 8-12 dollars, so I thought I would allow for one class here and there for variety and flavour) on some weeks.
3.  to do it without taking much time away from Emma, say at most 1-2 hours a week.

I might reconsider some of these points and compromise.  I might find that it is too boring to work out at home by myself and consider joining a class more than just once a week.  Or I might find that I really need the exercise equipment at the gym, and just can't do it in the living room. But most likely I will succeed.  I have enough "exercise education" by now, after all the years of taking classes and reading books and watching youtube videos, to put together some workouts, or to choose from some workouts designed by others, online.

The challenge is going to be to keep up the intensity without anybody monitoring me.  In order to help myself with it, I am going to put aside 50$ every time I work out at the same intensity as I would have had I had a trainer at the gym.  And, at the end of the month, the 50$ is going for a good cause.  Like shoes (kidding).  I don't know if I am actually going to spend the money, or just keep track of how much money I have saved by doing it myself in order to feel smug.

Feeling smug it's all that it is about.   Having a six-pack on top of it all is sooooo divine.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Emma's mom lost her mind

Emma is still sick, now she is wheezing and I am giving her the occasional ventolin (salbutamol) puff when she sounds like she swallowed a little bird.  She is getting better (I hope) but at a very slow pace, and she hates it when I wipe her nose.  Hates it with a passion.  She wails so loud that I prefer to let the boogers drip into her mouth rather than have to listen to the wailing.  I want to be the cool mom, hygiene can go out the window.

Speaking of hygiene though, I am still busy cleaning every square inch of the floor with the toothbrush.  She is licking every square inch of the floor, so it only makes sense.  Today I left her without her diaper on because she has a small diaper rash, and next thing I know she is playing with her hands in a puddle of urine, spreading it across the floor in a "wipe on, wipe off" kind of Karate kid motion.  MrH noticed that she was trying to lap it up with her tongue, and I guess that is when we finally decided to intervene.  Most of all, we like to let our kid roam free :)  I should post the video of her pulling flocks of hair off the cat and putting them in her mouth.  

No, seriously, what is the grossest thing your kid ever did?  if you did not have kids, what is the grossest thing you did as a kid?

Changing her diaper is a wrestling match, in which mom has to pin Emma to the mat (mom-fifteen, Emma-zero), then Emma wriggles her way out as mom is busy putting the diaper under her (fifteen-love), then mom grabs Emma by her left foot and twists her with the back to the mat (mom-thirty, Emma -fifteen), then Emma screams bloody murder (thirty-love) while mom fastens the diaper (mom-fourty, Emma-thirty) and, if things go really well and all the stars are aligned, puts Emma's pants on as well (game point won).  The other day though, she won an entire set by wiggling her way out of a poopy diaper on the bed, spreading the poop all over the newly changed (!!!) white sheets.  Everybody got disinfected in the shower, including the cat. 

And so we go on.  Busy, busy life.  I am not complaining though.  I mean, it's not like I actually NEED to pee alone or anything.  Never mind the fact that breakfast, lunch and dinner are optional meals.  (I am exaggerating.  We do eat dinner in my family.  Everything else is grab-what-you-can style).  This morning I woke up at six o'clock sharp with Emma thumping on my face and yelling "dadada".  "Da"in Romanian means "yes".  So NOT what I was thinking just around that time however. 

The highlight of my complete breakdown as a person was not missing my car tire change appointment yesterday at 9 (and rushing in today at 9 thinking that today was yesterday), but missing my laser hair removal appointment, also scheduled for yesterday at 7 pm, and going in today AGAIN thinking that it was yesterday.  If this makes any sense to anybody.  I also lost all my phone numbers while doing the latest iphone update, so calling to confirm was difficult at best, but of course it is no excuse for the fact that I don't know what day it is, what planet I live on or what my role in life used to be.  The only thing I know right now is pretty obvious:  I am Emma's mom.  



Wednesday, April 25, 2012

tonsillitis

Emma is sick with tonsillitis, and I am also feeling under the weather.  Today I have stayed home and we both cuddled in bed.  She was so irritable that I did not even have a chance to realize that I am very thirsty, and did not eat or drink almost anything until this evening.  For the past few days, due to her being irritable, I lost 2 or 3 lb more.  I am so in love with her though that all I need is to look at the fine wisps of hair at the back of her little head and I just forget how tired I am.  I want to cuddle and hug her all day long.  This is all the time I get for posting tonight, as she is awake again and wanting more boob.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

spring cleaning

I realize I have been away from the blog for almost THREE weeks!!! that is the longest yet perhaps.  But I have been busy with spring cleaning.  Spring cleaning is something that I do in most years, that is when I am not pregnant or depressed (usually depressed because I am not pregnant).  During my years of normal, happy self, I have lots of energy (manic, anyone?) and clean, clean, clean.

I can safely say I have outdone my cleaning lady.  Her measly once a week cleaning doesn't hold a candle to the tornado that I have become.

Tonight for instance I have replaced my boots and winter shoes collection that I keep by the door with my summer shoe collection (or part of).  This called for cleaning all the winter boots (this winter I have mainly used Uggs) and putting them in the labelled boxes, then getting the summer shoes out of their boxes, applying lotions and potions to the leather, shining them, and carrying them up and down the stairs.  It might sound like a small task, but remember I have had many years of infertility, hence many years of disposable income and hurt feelings easily assuaged by buying shoes :) and shoes last, and last... so this year I have decided not to bother bringing all of my summer shoes downstairs, and not even trying to wear them all this summer, but rather settling for 70% or so of my collection.  Whoever is curious, I have four pairs of ankle boots, two pairs of ballerina flats, four pairs of Mary Jane style but with a respectable heel, five pairs of kitten heels, two pairs of Oxfords, and two pairs of loafers. Also, three pairs of running shoes/walking shoes that look like running shoes.  That is quite a lot to carry up and down the stairs.  (Up the stairs to storage heaven went three pairs of Uggs, and five pairs of just below the knee boots).

I am the shoe queen.

I am also the cashmere sweater queen, as I have recently discovered.  Spring is time to launder all the cashmere and put it away in a sealed box.  Last summer I had freezer space, so I put all my cashmere in the deep freezer until the fall came.  This summer, alas, I have bought a lamb and an eighth of a buffalo, so there went my freezer space (btw, I am no longer vegan, since I worry about Emma getting enough iron, so we eat meat twice a week now).  My living room is strewn about with the white cashmere, tomorrow it is time for the black and coloured.

I am feeling very old fashioned and organized.  I like it.  I am getting some inspiration from an interesting book called Home Comforts, which preaches very detailed ways to do just about everything, including how to make the bed hospital-style.  Have skipped that one.  I am inspired to be a better housekeeper since I have a crawling baby on the floors.

Emma is crawling and cruising very well.  She is all over the house, including opening cupboards, following me around, and wanting to be helped up to walk at all possible moments.  She can almost pull to stand, in the next week she will do it.  She no longer squirms when we change her diaper, but rather waits patiently.  She bit my boob a couple of times with her two bottom teeth, but understood quite well that it is not acceptable practice when I showed her that it hurt me and I looked upset and determined.  She eats with her own hands all sorts of fruits and vegetables, and also is wanting to use the spoon more and more.  She is learning how to drink from a cup without choking on the liquids or getting them all over me.  She is just over eight months.

I am going to have to figure out how to post some pictures.  I used to have an email address to which I would send them and they would show up on the blog, but I forgot what it was, so I will have to load them up myself.

I am going to update more often now as the bulk of my spring cleaning is done.

Cheers!