Tuesday, June 25, 2013

the wasp and I

I went out on a long bike ride with Emma on the handlebar seat.  We got out of town, and by the fifth kilometre or so, we were surrounded by about four wasps, that started making threatening circles and nose dives right by my face, arms and legs.  I was terrified.  I biked really fast (or whatever one can call really fast on a retro 3 speed bike) and tried to get rid of the unwanted intruders, but they followed me into town.  For the entire five kilometres, they did their intimidating circling around my head.  I was already imagining Emma in full anaphylactic attack, so far away from the hospital and help…as we really live in the middle of nowhere, and when you get out of town, you are alone, just you and the wasps/bears/moose/etc. 

We made it home unharmed.  When I got into the kitchen, I found a wasp on the netting by the kitchen window.  It was buzzing about quietly, and although I briefly entertained some murderous thoughts, mainly consisting of entrapment between my double windows and death by starvation, I decided to let the insect live.  

Later on, as I went to get a snack, the wasp was eating the sugar off my countertop where I had cut up some melon.  I put my African violets in a water bath in the sink, and went back to the living room.  

An hour later, the wasp had drowned in the water bath.  And, inexplicably, I felt sad.  I let it go down the drain and watched as its little wings fluttered in the water current, and wished that it hadn't died.  As if, by allowing it to live, I had somehow bonded to it.  

And I am not on any hormonal treatment either. 

Life is weird. 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

parallel life

I sometimes come across blogs of women who resolved the infertility battle by not having children, not adopting children, and focusing their energy on other aspects of life.  Despite having Emma, I often think about this parallel universe me that, in another world, not quite so very far away, in fact a lot closer than I would have liked, would have had to take this other path in life, the path of childlessness (wow, that was a long sentence).  What would I have done?  What would I have become?  What would my days be like, my marriage, my hobbies, my work, my goals, my life's meaning?

I am sure that the reason these thoughts creep up on me is that I have spent a lot of time creating, in my mind's eye, this alternate future, so that I can survive the uncertainty of the infertility.  In this other life, the other me has a close, cuddly marriage.  We are close anyway, but having only each other to focus on in the past has brought the relationship to higher levels of closeness, so I am guessing it would have continued in this fashion, once the stress of not succeeding with the IVF's would have been left behind.  Also, I am thinking that I would have had a lot of time for myself.  I probably would have played a lot of piano, perhaps progressed to grade 8 Royal conservatory, and would have exercised a lot more.

The exercise bit is in particular something that I can see myself doing.  Today I took part in a triathlon organized here in New Town.  I am not an athlete, and am not very competitive either, but was invited to be part of a team that had another four people.  I did about three quarters of a 1 km swim, and another partner did the rest of the swim, and half of the 10 km run, then another partner did half the run, and lastly the 40 km bike was split between two people.   It was not very strenuous, because there were so many of us, and it gave me a chance to train for something for the past few months.  What I have especially enjoyed (aside from cutting my 1 km time from 28 min to 23 min in the past few weeks of training) was to be surrounded by these ladies that did the entire triathlon by themselves, and to see how fit they were.  Mostly, they were around 40-45 and had no children.  One of them had two grown up children, but the really competitive ones did not.  It was inspiring to see how they put their time into creating this admirable level of fitness.  And who knows what their story is, perhaps they too have battled infertility, or did not have a partner to have a baby with, etc.

I am so psyched up after this triathlon that I want to do the whole thing by myself next year.  Of course,  if the IVF's work, that won't be in the plan, benched as I will be for the whole pregnancy, and then probably struggling to take off 60 lb again.  But eventually I won't have to worry about this aspect of life and will be able to complete a triathlon.  Or a half marathon. Or something athletic.  In this universe, not in the parallel one.  Who knows, maybe a girl can have it all?

Friday, June 21, 2013

getting ready for a FET

I am ready for a frozen embryo transfer.  My prolactin is finally down to 4 after one month of no breastfeeding.  Today I have squeezed one nipple to see if anything comes out, and nothing did.  That is when I finally got sad.  The breastfeeding days with my little girl are gone, definitely gone.

I am doing a frozen cycle in July.  I was expecting my period to come in one week, but it came early, and threw out my plans for a nice July long weekend, as I now need to be present for an ultrasound at 8 am instead of camping with my family.  I am so used to this though, missing out on many experiences in life because I have to be there for IVF.  When it works, it is worth every missed moment.  When it does not, it feels as if it was a waste of time, but I don't believe that any moment in which we fight for our hopes is a wasted moment.  In fact, these are the moments that count the most towards making a meaningful life.

I am very anxious today.  I don't know if it is because I just got my cycle, or because the IVF battles are starting again, or because I might not get pregnant, or because I might get pregnant.  I am not sure yet which one I should be most afraid of...

And so the story goes.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

learning activities

It has been a long time again since I have blogged, despite my stern resolution to keep up with it regularly.  I guess life is just taking me over.  I am busy and happy and things are going really well for us at the moment.

I have weaned Emma successfully, and it was much easier than I thought it would be.  All I had to do is wear turtlenecks constantly for about one week.  She could not undress me and other than the minor inconvenience of boiling from excessive heat at night, it was pretty tolerable.  Long live the turtleneck, world’s best weaning adjunct.

Work is good, the new town is easy to get around in, and it is summer, which makes everything lovely and pleasant.  We have a short season up north but in this short season things manage to grow, so I have planted kale, tomatoes, yellow peppers, zucchini, onions, potatoes, rhubarb and herbs – parsley, basil, thyme, oregano, lovage.  I enjoy the garden immensely.  The City has sent us as a gift a whole crew of ladies that replenished the top soil, and cleaned out the old weeds, repositioned a whole bunch of plants, and added to my meager gardening skills immensely.  The garden is gorgeous at the moment.  I am really impressed by how hospitable and appreciative of our work the City of New Town has been.  We do provide a much needed service but still, they did not have to do all this…it is so nice to be treated like a Queen, haha.

Also, I have started doing a lot of Montessori activities with Emma.  I wanted her badly in a Montessori type of school from the age of 2.5 years old, she is not yet there, but I know that it won’t happen.  We are very isolated and no such establishment is available here in our little town.  I am therefore doing it at home.  I am reading blogs of moms that are doing Montessori at home, and following books on the subject.  Every night I prepare five activities for her to do the next day if she is interested (she always is), they are on a separate tray each, and prettily presented.  They usually include pouring (water, rice, etc), transferring (with spoon, tongs, fork), fine motor skills, arts (drawing, colouring, watercolour, etc), grouping and sorting (by colour or shape) and also language (cards, books, etc).  I will be teaching her at home every morning from 7 to 9:30 or so whatever she seems interested in at that moment.  She sometimes shows interest in the piano (other than just banging on it, which she does constantly) so I will be including some music in as well.  At the moment she is more into drums, imagine that.  Noise and rhythm class, I guess…

She is doing very well in her swimming class.  She progressed from where I dreaded going (because mine was the only child screaming for the entire half an hour) to floating by herself with the belt, and lying on her back without any protest, swimming with the belt through a tunnel, and sliding off a really tall slide.  I have also registered her in a soccer class, and have no idea how that is going because MrH is taking her, but she is enjoying herself and that is what matters. 

I am quite keen on education, starting as early as possible.  I know that there  are people who say to leave the kid be a kid, but I don’t think that learning new things every day and getting better and better at something in any way subtracts from life.  Quite the opposite:  she used to be a lot more bored before I started with the teaching.  She enjoys the small accomplishments of every day, and likes to practice her skills.  I am not pushing her, but encouraging her to concentrate and to pay attention.  Her mood has improved a lot and she is more cooperative since the Montessori activities.  She is also more manageable in public, with fewer, less intense tantrums. 

The nice thing about parenting is that it is a topic of such intense interest for everyone, that one can easily find written material on all aspects of it, and wonderful ideas.  I am not very crafty though, and the schooling style that I went to included mostly abstract thinking and very little hands on.  This is why for me the Montessori approach, with beautiful tangible demonstrations of everything, from a cube or a sphere to a hundred units or the sandpaper letters and numbers is so different and a bit difficult…especially when I look at the felt or paper origami that other mothers publish on pintrest… I feel very non-crafty.   I get around it by buying a lot of the materials already made, which makes it fairly expensive.  I would say that so far, for the infant and toddler materials, I have spent about 500 $, including printing fees for printing out free cards that I am getting off the internet, and dollar store materials that are for home made activities.  It is not too bad, considering that it is spread over two years.  It also includes the books that she gets.  There are really no other toys other than a play kitchen in the basement which does not get used much yet, but I expect will be popular in the next year, in particular in winter when we cannot bike.

How much do you guys spend on toys and educational materials?  I am quite curious.  Is there a limit? Are they getting used?  And also, if your kids have outgrown them, do you keep them for the next kid, and if so how many bins of stuff can one keep?  I have decided to keep just the learning materials, and not many other toys. 

I am however going to do a cleanup this week and perhaps bring some of the older toys to the office.  We have too much.