Embracing the good stuff

There really isn’t a bright side to having a miscarriage.   But since my body is no longer growing a new life and I haven’t been able to try for the past two months, I wanted to make sure to enjoy the things I can’t over-indulge in while trying to conceive, pregnant or breastfeeding.

These are a few of my favs:

  1. Wine.  I love wine.  I’m not a huge drinker, but I really do enjoy a couple of glasses of wine with dinner (or before dinner or after dinner) every now and then.  After getting over the initial shock of miscarrying, I welcomed the wine back into my life wholeheartedly.  Shiraz, Valpolicella, Pinot Grigio, Barolo, Prosecco… I’m not too picky.
  2. Coffee.  In the past, I continued to drink not quite one full cup of coffee a day when TTCing and pregnant.  But lately, I’ve been enjoying more than just one.  There’s nothing like coffee to start out the day and I’ve been enjoying my morning indulgence.
  3. Meds.  I don’t know about you, but acetaminophen does NOTHING for my headaches.  I need ibuprofen.  Advil is definitely the one drug I miss more than anything when I’m pregnant.  Cold and sinus medication is another highly enjoyable pill for me.  I’ve spent the past two months living pain (and congestion) free!

Don’t get me wrong, I would HAPPILY give up all of these things to be pregnant.  And, as I move further into this cycle, the time is coming to start weaning myself off this stuff.  But, since I had to get through these past couple of months, at least I could do it with a glass of wine in my hand and some Advil on standby.

On another note, after her unexpected return on Tuesday, AF disappeared…. only to return once again today.  Seriously lady, are you kidding me?  Get the hell out of here!  It is CD 9 and you have worn out your welcome!


I forgot that trying to conceive means spending a lot of time waiting.  Waiting for AF to leave, waiting to ovulate, waiting to test…

So, since I’m still in the early part of my first post-miscarriage TTC cycle, I’ve been trying my best to keep busy and to distract myself from the constant thinking, iPhone app-checking and other crazy TTC rituals.

This past weekend, I busied myself with a different kind of new life – our vegetable garden.  When our family took possession of the farm last summer, the vegetable garden was already well-sprouted.  All we had to do was pick and enjoy the veggies.

This year, we’re doing it ourselves.  Being the city-folk that we are, we bought a book and watched a bunch of You Tube videos to learn some gardening tricks.  My aunt came to help us, which made a huge difference.  She (along with my late Italian grandmother) always planted a vegetable garden in their backyard, so she has a ton of experience.

garden hands

Planting the lettuce.

My legs are killing me from all the squatting, but I’m proud of all the work we did!  If everything goes well, we’ll have a nice crop of delicious veggies later this summer.  We planted arugula, spring mix lettuce, radicchio, beets, radishes, two types of carrots, green beans, cherry tomatoes, three other types of tomatoes, red peppers, onions, cucumbers, zucchini and butternut squash.


Time to start growing!

Since the garden is massive, D used the rest of the space to plant pumpkins.  He planted four different types, ranging in size from jumbo to mini.

Working on the garden for a couple of days was a great way to keep my mind occupied and focused on something other than the inner workings of my reproductive organs.  However, in an attempt to distract me from my distractions, AF decided to play a stupid game with me.  Today is CD 7 and – after leaving for two full days – she decided to return in all her glory this afternoon.  WTF?  Hopefully she doesn’t plan on sticking around.

How time flies…

It’s been three years since I stood alone in the bathroom with my heart pounding and a goofy grin on my face.  Three years ago I got my first BFP.

It’s hard to believe that Littleman progressed from those two pink lines, to a 9lb 5oz wailing newborn, to a smiley, toothless infant, to a full-blown toddler in just three short years.  I know parents say this all the time, but where does the time go?  It blows my mind that my little baby has turned into a kid.

My baby who wouldn’t take a bottle is now a toddler who picks up his own cereal bowl to slurp out any leftover milk.

And, the things that come out of his mouth continue to amaze me. My recent favourites include: “Dat shirt new, mommy?” or “Dat car orange.  Orange my favourite colour.” or “Thank you for dinner, mommy!”

Of course, the phrases I hear the most these days are “I do it myself!” and “why?”

I love watching Littleman grow and explore and learn.  I’m happy that he’s developing the way he should.  My heart bursts when he kisses me and tells me he loves me.  But I’m not gonna lie – it makes me a bit sad that he’s growing up so fast!   Before I know it, Littleman will be a Bigman and I’m just not feeling ready for that!!


Now that we’re officially “allowed” to start trying to conceive again, I can’t help thinking about what it will do to my mental health.  I like to think of myself as a pretty well-balanced person, but I will admit freely that the TTC journey brings out the crazy in me.

I am not usually a superstitious person.  I will walk under a ladder.  I don’t care if a black cat crosses my path (as long as it crosses it as far away as possible – I’m terrified of cats!)  I’ll open an umbrella indoors.  In fact, I’ve always found all that stuff kind of silly.

But for some reason, with my last pregnancy, I found myself secretly superstitious.

That half-used box of tampons in the bathroom cupboard?  I couldn’t bring myself to remove it just in case it jinxed things.  My basal thermometer that sits front and centre in the top drawer of my bedside table?  I had to leave it exactly where it was just in case.

And when my early ultrasounds had the baby measuring a week behind and my doctor changed my due date so that it was no longer September 13 (Friday the 13th), well, I was pretty OK with that too.

Looking back, I wonder why I felt like that.  Would the outcome of my pregnancy be any different if I’d thrown away those tampons?  Would my baby still be growing if my thermometer got buried deeper in my drawer?  Was Friday the 13th an unlucky due date?  Obviously, I know the answer to all these questions:  no.

Which leads to another question: am I just totally crazy?  No, I don’t think so.  I’m pretty sure I’m just a normal mommy who worries about things that I have no control over.  And the silly superstitions were a way of coping with the stress and worry.

I’m going to try my best to calm and crazy-free this time around, although I know that won’t be easy.  Wish me luck!

Here we go again (a.k.a. CD 1)

So, the moment we’ve been waiting for has arrived.  CD 1 of cycle two after my miscarriage.

As I prepare to jump back into the world of trying to conceive, I know that I need to get over something that’s bugged me for a while: the acronyms.  Ever since we started trying to conceive our first in spring of 2009, I’ve lurked on fertility and motherhood-related blogs, message boards and websites.  When I first started reading, I was overwhelmed by the plethora of weird acronyms (starting with “TTC”, which is the name of the public transit system where I live!)  I don’t know why the acronyms threw me off so much.  I work for a government organization so I should be used to speaking in letters!

When I finally learned what all the acronyms stood for, I decided that I hated them.  “AF” made me shudder.  “DH” was just too cheesy for me.  You get the picture.  I swore I would never use them.  But, since I was only a lurker and never a poster, I didn’t need to.

Now that I’ve chosen to write about my journey, I’ve realized that the acronyms make things easier and are just part of this whole world.  So, here I am, getting over it.

AF has arrived.  It’s CD 1.  I’m now ready to TTC post-mc.  I’ve bought my OPKs and I’m taking my BBT.  Hoping for my BFP.

How’d I do?

Anyway, for a very long time now, I’ve dreaded CD 1.  But today I’m actually kind of happy that it’s here.  Of course, I wish I wasn’t in this situation at all and that I was 23 weeks pregnant like I was supposed to be.  But, since this is where I find myself, I’m ready to move forward.  Let’s get this show on the road!

Happy Long Weekend!

I love long weekends.  Here in Canada, we’re celebrating our first long weekend of the “summer” and it feels so good.  Who invented the five-day work week anyway?  Four days is much more civilized.

The one bright side of our friend’s wedding being called off is that we got to go to the farm.  After work on Friday, we joined the millions of other Torontonians escaping the city for the Victoria Day weekend.  Our drive took an extra hour, but we didn’t care.  The weather was beautiful and we had a whole weekend ahead of us.

When we arrived at the farm, seven more horses were being dropped off for the summer.  The local farmer who uses our land had brought two of his horses to graze a week before.  Now there were nine in total.

This next part may make me sound like a crazy person.

So, last summer we had four of the horses.  Three of the four were pregnant.  At the time, we were trying to conceive.  On Friday night, the same horses returned with their three babies.


The newest arrivals at our farm.

I know I’ve complained about being jealous of other pregnant people.  And about being worried about potential pregnancy announcements.  But I think I’ve crossed the crazy line with being jealous of horses with babies!

I guess it’s not that I’m jealous per se, it’s more that it reminds me of what I would have if we had succeeded in getting pregnant when we wanted to last summer.  Or of what we would almost have if I hadn’t miscarried.

Luckily, it’s been a busy weekend so there’s a lot to distract me from my own craziness!

One of my favourite discoveries when we took possession of the farm last summer was the vegetable garden.  The previous owners had planted it, so when we arrived in August, all we had to do was pick and eat!  This year, we’re going to attempt to plant it ourselves.  D has a friend who is a pumpkin farmer, so D decided he wants to try growing some pumpkins.  We’ll try a handful of other vegetables too.

To prepare, D tilled the garden while Littleman and I helped out. We plan to start planting next weekend.  I can’t wait to see how it goes!  It was so great to pick fresh sun-warmed tomatoes for homemade bruschetta.  Or butternut squash for our Thanksgiving dinner.  Yum!

photo 2

The vegetable garden.


photo 3

The helper.

To all you Canadians out there, hope you’re having a wonderful long weekend!

Bad sister?

I have an irrational (and, quite frankly, inappropriate) fear that my sister will tell me she’s pregnant sometime soon.  My sister is three years younger than me and got married last year.  She and her husband have been together for many years are both well into their 30s.  I know they want children, so it wouldn’t be odd or unexpected for them to become pregnant at any time.

I want my sister to have a baby.  She loves children and has always been great with Littleman, as well as her niece and nephew on her husband’s side.  I want her to experience the joy (and challenges!) of being a mother.

But, ever since my miscarriage, I’ve been terrified that she’s going to get pregnant.  As much as I want it for her, I want it for me too.  And I want it for me first.  I know that sounds so awful and selfish, but there it is.  That’s how I feel.

Last weekend, my sister and her husband came home for a visit.  They live about two hours away, so we don’t see them all that often.  It was weird to me that they were coming at all, because we were supposed to be seeing each other at a family wedding the following weekend.  So, of course, my imagination kicked in and I immediately assumed that they must be coming to tell us that they’re expecting a baby.

I felt a bit sick to my stomach when they arrived at my parents’ house.  I waited for them to say something, but of course, they didn’t.  Then I thought that maybe they were waiting for D to arrive.  He was working day shift and was meeting us all for dinner.

When I heard my brother-in-law say he was going to grab a beer and ask if anyone wanted anything, I held my breath.  This was it.  This was when I would know for sure.  My sister likes her beer, so I would be able to tell immediately if something was up.

She accepted a beer without a pause and (after double-checking to make sure she wasn’t fake drinking, like I used to do when I was pregnant) I finally relaxed.

Phew, crisis averted.

I love my sister and I know that I will be happy for her whenever she does become pregnant.  But with my emotions still raw and the future of my own womb unknown, I’m a little bit glad that it isn’t right now.

It’s all relative

Sometimes when I’m feeling particularly sorry for myself, I’ll see something on the news or hear about something bad that’s happened to someone else.  Then, I’ll feel guilty for feeling sorry for myself because other people have it a lot worse than me.

My best friend (who is very wise) is a social worker and an incredibly good listener.  She always reminds me that it’s all relative.  While my situation may not be as horrible as something that’s happening to someone else, it’s horrible for ME.  And I shouldn’t feel guilty about it.

Right now, my heart is going out to a close family friend who is going through something pretty awful himself right now.  My family was supposed to be attending a wedding on the weekend.  The youngest son of a family we’ve grown up with was planning to get married on Saturday.  A couple of days ago – just a week before the wedding – the bride-to-be called it off.  How horrible.  I feel awful for him and it just breaks my heart.

Everything was planned and paid for.  Friends and relatives were travelling to another town for the celebration.  Now they have to tell everyone that the is wedding off.

Obviously, I don’t know the whole story.  We don’t always know what goes on behind closed doors.  But, times like this remind me that we all have pain.  And that no one’s pain is worse that the next guy’s. 

For me, my miscarriage and subsequent D&C were the worst things that have ever happened to me.  Those were the hardest, most painful days I’ve ever had to get through.  Some may look at that and think I’m lucky because I haven’t been through worse.  I look at it and think my wise friend is right.  It’s all relative.

Mother’s Day Part 2 – Being a mom

This year, Mother’s Day feels bittersweet for me.  I am blessed with an incredible son, who I love more than anything.  But this day also reminds me about the baby we are no longer waiting for.  While I’m definitely feeling the sadness in my heart today, I’m trying hard to focus on what I have, rather than what I lost.

It’s still kind of hard to believe that I’ve been a mom for more than two years now.  There is so much I could write about what it’s meant to me and how I feel about being a mother – about how wonderful and how challenging it has been.

What’s really amazing is how you can just morph into the role.  I always knew I wanted to be a mother, but actually being someone’s mother wasn’t something I could really prepare myself for.

I’ve learned that being a mom means being a jack-of-all-trades.  I’m part doctor, part teacher, part chef, part wrestler (ever try to get snowpants on a toddler?), part comedian, part negotiator, part cleaning lady, part singer.

There’s no manual that teaches you how to be a mother.  I’m a planner and an organizer, so I read lots of books before and after Littleman was born.  I realized very quickly, though, that no one else could tell me how to do this job.  The advice in parenting books mostly caused me more stress and I had to learn to trust my own instincts instead.

I have to laugh when I think about all the things I swore I would never do or say.  Or about all of the ways I planned to do things when raising my baby.  Things just don’t always work the way we plan it.

It was important to me that I breastfed Littleman, but I wanted to make sure that I got some rest too.  So I intended to pump and freeze my milk so that D could help out with some of the feedings.  Turns out Littleman never, ever took a bottle.  So much for that plan.  I ended up with a freezer full of breast milk that never got used.

When it was time to introduce solids, I wanted to make my own baby food so that Littleman could eat a variety of fresh, homemade foods.  D bought me a special baby food processor, complete with a food storage system.  I’d spend my precious time during naps steaming and pureeing lots of different fruits, vegetables and meats.  Littleman hated almost all of it.

Once he could eat regular food, I swore that we would offer Littleman whatever we were eating for dinner and, if he didn’t like it, too bad.  He wouldn’t starve and he would learn to eat whatever was put in front of him.  Nice try.  If I’m alone with a screaming toddler who wants a banana/yogurt/cheerios/pear/toast, then that’s what I’m going to feed him.

Even though some of my “plans” haven’t panned out and things don’t always go as expected, being a mom has been an incredible and exciting journey.  He may not eat as adventurously as I would have hoped or sleep through the night as often as I would like, but so far we’ve managed to raise a smart (he can count to 11!) and polite (he’s great with the “please” and “thank yous”) little boy.

When I think about what being a mom means to me, I don’t think about what my son ate for dinner last night or whether his t-shirt matched his pants today.  I think about the time we spend together as a family.  I think about playing outside, singing the alphabet song, reading before bed or pretending we’re driving a firetruck.  I think about the hugs and the kisses and the snuggles.

Although I am sad that I’m no longer spending this Mother’s Day preparing for baby #2, I’m honoured to be called “mommy” by a sweet, funny, loving and beautiful boy.  And, this morning, when Littleman said “I love you mommy.  I kiss you!” it made all the parenting stress, challenges and exhaustion melt away.  All that was left behind was love.

Whether your have children at home with you, are expecting, have suffered a loss or are trying and hoping to become a mother, Happy Mother’s Day to you!

Mother’s Day Part 1 – My mom

When I think about Mother’s Day, I don’t immediately think of it as a day about me.  To me, Mother’s Day is still very much about celebrating my own mother.  So, even though I am a mom myself, I wanted to start by writing about my mom and how important she is to me.

I have an amazing mom.  Growing up, my dad worked long hours so my mom stayed home with me and my younger sister.  It wasn’t until I became a mother that I realized how tough her job was and how much work my mom did.

My dad left for work before we awoke each morning and often didn’t get home until after we were in bed.  That meant that my mom fed us and got us to school.  She took us to swimming lessons.  She made sure we practiced the piano.  She drove us to our friends’ houses and always welcomed our friends over to play.  She packed our school lunches (yes, right up until we finished high school!) and made home-cooked dinners every night.

Now that I’ve grown up, I realize how lucky we were to have our mom at home.  But Mom’s help and support didn’t end when I grew up, moved out and started a family of my own.

When Littleman was born, she helped me tremendously.   In the early days after his birth, she would come and help out when D was working.  She loved spending time with her grandson, but she also helped around the house – bringing us dinner, folding our laundry, dusting, cleaning the bathroom – stuff that the mom of newborn didn’t have time to do but that desperately needed to be done.

I loved spending time with my mom and Littleman throughout my maternity leave.  We would walk together for hours, stopping for coffee or gelato.

My mom and I have always been close.  Sure, we had our moments during my bitchy teenage years and there are still times when we grate on each other’s nerves.  But, for the most part, we’ve always enjoyed spending time together.  It’s rare for us to go more than a day without talking to each other.  As an adult, I’ve come to think of her more as a friend.

I feel very lucky to have grown up with a great mom who has always been loving and supportive.  I’m glad that my mom is such a big part of Littleman’s life.  And I hope that I can provide the same love and support to my children as I received from my mom.