Posted in Infertility

Then and now; Broken tales from an infertile heart.

No one understands your journey…

Of course we all have those friends that have ‘been there, done that’ between the sheets at the fertility specialist, but not one of us truly understands what it is like for the other, because every damn story is written out in different ink, and metaphorically tattooed across our foreheads like a freakin’ barcode of failure.

Each of us face a completely different reality, some fight to ever even conceive, some conceive and perpetually miscarry, some take pills, others take injection-after-injection, some of us are scheduled by our bank-book balance, and others by the emotional toll it takes.

I don’t even understand myself as I delve deeper into this world with each new day, its obvious now that my twenty something self that was fighting to conceive was blinded from what was in store through these fertility struggles this almost 10 years later.

I don’t want to discount any one of our stories because they are all so relevant, so raw, and our biggest tribulations (no matter how small) but I did want to highlight why doing this a second or third time around is taking a far bigger toll on our family than I ever expected back then.

During my first ever experience with infertility – as a twenty-seven year old newly-wed – I began to question my entire existence, because I believed whole heartedly that I was brought to this earth to be a mother – and a mother only. I never held any convicting thoughts about my career life – for me it was about being married, and having children.

In hindsight, our struggle was short, and a minimal problem in the grand scheme of fertility. We did the recommended one year of trying to conceive naturally before we would be considered as a candidate for the fertility clinic… and then another six months before the referral was accepted and my first appointment was arranged, but when the Doc. saw me he was sure of my problem (PCOS) and prescribed me the pills that got us pregnant on the third month. In the moment, this was an excruciatingly long process – we were a single couple – all we had was time to think about what was missing from our lives. We allowed ourselves the time to ache and pine, we let the ivy of infertility wrap and entwine us within it, and we lived there for nearly two years.

Fast forward five years (two live births, a few miscarriages, a D&C, and endless appointments later) and our newest journey plays out wildly different. We still tried for several months naturally – after all our second son was conceived that way so we had no idea which side of the field we were playing on this third time around. We also weren’t in any hurry to complete our family because both of our boys (at the time we started trying for number 3) were still very young and we simply considered that we were getting a head start. This story all began two and a half years ago. It was somewhere at the seventh or eighth month mark that we began to seek gynecological opinion on the matter, and again, I was treated as ‘text-book PCOS’ to which I did respond to in just a few short months, but after the entire first trimester that pregnancy ended accompanied by surgical intervention. All this time – all this time telling our kids that we would be introducing a new child into our family, getting them excited and waiting – only to have to burden them with the disappointment of loss.

On one hand I am no longer alone, I have already claimed my identity and purpose as a mother, but – on the other – we now have to share this journey and heartbreaks with our small children. It isn’t a world that they understand, or that we set out to share with them but a broken heart bleeds out and saturates the work around it by default.

At twenty-seven I didn’t understand this. I loathed the complaints that I would get from actual mothers because they struggled to get pregnant again, but I get it now – It isn’t about identifying as a mother anymore it becomes more about giving your children their siblings, allowing them to claim that birth right – and more so, that infertility the second, or third time is almost impossible to prioritize.

Back in 2012 when we became pregnant with our first through a local Fertility Clinic, I immediately jumped ship and ran to a midwifery clinic for my prenatal care- in part because I was desperate for a more natural approach after everything we had been through, but mostly because I had a deep dislike for my Doc. and didn’t want him anywhere near my pregnant body.

In 2017 we returned to the same Doc. (after spending a year out of town with another Doc) not because I wanted to, not because I held complete faith in his care, but simply because I could not afford the time to leave my geographical area – almost daily – with two boys that had school and routines to tend to.

The sacrifices the infertile couples endure are gravely over-looked. I have spent months waking my two boys (now four and three) at 6am so we can hit the fertility clinic for my cycle monitoring appointments before the real rush of our day begins. This clinic still isn’t conveniently located either – we are on the road for almost an hour between the trips there and back and we return just in time for me to feed my eldest something quick to eat before running to the bus stop. We have done this several dozen times.

My poor school-aged son, returns home at the end of the day exhausted and miserable for it, but it is his welcomed sacrifice to “put a baby in mommys belly”.

If I am at all lucky, my clinic days fall on a day shift work day,  and I leave the house extra early to get to the clinic before work, of course, I am still running into work a ten minutes late anyway but at least I didn’t have to wake my boys to bring them along. Shane and I have discussed the idea of me taking some time off of work to manage all this, we even asked our Doc his thoughts about me taking a sick leave, of course his thoughtful response was “Why? You aren’t sick”. Ultimately though, it was decided that it would be simply more difficult to manage my clinic days when I am not working, because it would mean taking the boys to all of them which isn’t fair to anyone.

This second time around has brought so much more uncertainty to the table, I eventually stopped responding to my oral meds which also started to give me debilitating monthly migranes so I was quite glad to kick those anyway. Now I have been taking daily injections to control my pituitary, another to grow follicles, a trigger shot to induce ovulation, and vaginal capsules to facilitate a healthy uterus. It was a slippery slope adjusting to these new meds these last few months, and the bill is just shy of $5000 after just a few short months.

We still don’t know were we are going to go from here, or whether IUI will work for us or not. We just persevere – test our patience – and wait it out. In the meantime, I am praying for an end to this journey whether that be a blissful babe in our arms, or a peacefulness in my soul we can just finally stop trying.

Truthfully,

Ella

 

 

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Posted in Elliott, Family, Oliver

A lesson in Motherhood – A future letter to my boys

Now that you have gotten much older, you both likely reflect on many events from your past and woven through those memories are your interpretations of my behaviour as a mother, so I want to clear this all up for you here and now.

I know you have always thought I treat your brother differently.

You are absolutely right!

You two were not born the same,  you both possess different genetic matter (albeit from the same gene pool) and with that comes entirely different preferences, opinions, and needs. While you will never understand this until you are a parent of your own, I did treat you differently, but not by accident and not by any favouring of one of you over the other – but simply because it was my absolute intention to fulfil your emotional, physical and mental needs to the best of my ability. Maybe not in your day, but in ours there is this misconception that parenthood is simply the ‘forming’ of children in our image, but this isn’t true, our mission is to honour the form that you brought into the world and teach you how use it, refine it, and build upon it. Parenthood isn’t about spreading myself amongst you in fairness and equality but about learning and adapting to each of you independently, and each of your needs as they present themselves.

Just the other morning, for example, Elliott, you cried as the bus reached our stop and it was time for us to part ways. I was shocked and annoyed by the situation because up until that very moment you were perfectly prepared to return to school after the Christmas break, but as the bus pulled away and you stared out the window at me with your tear stained face, I realized something monumental in our relationship. You hide your emotions, you bury them deep inside you and avoid its release until it is inevitable and you need me. Earlier that morning, while I busied myself in the kitchen preparing your lunch and organizing your school bag, you were reeling with the conflict of leaving the house and I had no idea. You needed me – differently than your younger brother, who gathers his things and runs out the door at every opportunity – you needed a whisper of hope, you needed assurance, you needed reminders of all the wonderful experiences that school holds for you, you needed me to prepare you; that nothing is different that this school day is still the same as all those you had prior to the break because change is something that intimidates you.

I only hope in all the days we have spent together as mother and son, you understand how much I love and appreciate you for who you are. While, I sometimes seem annoyed that your nervous intimidation inconveniences me, I am more honoured and humbled by it than anything. It keeps you safe and it keeps you needing me and wanting me, it keeps you seeking answers and assurances that you deserve. My only condolence to you for this day, is that I vow to move forward holding your hand as we respect your sense of nervousness, while recognizing when it could be holding you back from living and breathing new experiences. I am forever thankful to you for this lesson.

I have learned by now, in the four years of motherhood you have gifted to me, that you are never comforted with showings of affection. While sometimes a brief hug can settle your anxiety it isn’t the long-term answer. You need your personal space, and a quiet moment to process your feelings. You need to meet with me alone and sit in silence for a moment, before I canvas you about your fears. Sometimes I have to pry the information from you, before we can brainstorm a plan and solution together. I cherish this new way of seeing life unfold.

Oliver, you have entirely different strategies for handling change. You embrace the unknown and jump in feet first with very little hesitation. You pride yourself on being brave and adventurous and socialize easily. You expend so much energy in a day with all your activity, that when you return to me you need to be refreshed. You will never turn down a cuddle and want to be smothered with kisses. I am happy to oblige. I also know – much to your dismay – that you need your sleep so I often invoke your nap times to keep you grounded and feeling in control. I know at 3 that seems counterproductive to you, but I promise I have had your best interests at heart. You challenge me in ways that your older brother never did, and so everything we share together as mother and child is also a new exploration into the realm of parenthood. You have an intense conviction to your beliefs and choices and I commend you for that, but it certainly isn’t an easy trait to parent, especially because I know we share this conviction and we are often not on the same page. Still, I know you are filled with amazing potential and it will truly shine in your adulthood, I know this with certainty, because that is where I am at now.

My frustrations are never about you two, they are birthed from an inner conflict with myself because I know in these moments I have failed you. Motherhood isn’t perfect, in fact, perfection in parenting is probably the least achievable thing we will ever attempt in our lives, it is a variable education that we can never be prepared for.

So, Yes! I do treat you both differently, with reason and intent for the betterment of your well-being, and while you may not always see your childhood though my eyes, and you may never understand my intentions, I vow to preserve your organic self – because that is what parenthood truly means.

Tight squeeze!

Mama

Posted in How Tos, Recipes

Apple Pecan Two-Bite Trifle

REMIX//

Ok… so my last trifle was such a hit I decided to get creative and mix things up in the dessert kitchen this morning. Unfortunately I’m introducing this far too late for our Canadian thanksgiving, but perhaps our American friends can find some inspiration here just in time for their Thanksgiving festivities. Either way, it’s totally Kismet for Fall!

As with my other trifle, it serves best in a trifle dish so all those delicious layers adorn your table beautifully.

Ingredients

  • 1 full-sized angel food cake
  • 1 box Dr. Otker English Toffee pudding mix
  • 1 small package of chopped pecans
  • 10 apples
  • 1/3 Cup Sugar
  • 3 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tub of Cool Whip
  • 1 pkg of Two-bite brownies (approx. a dozen)

If you have your supplies on hand you are ready to get Prepping, (can be made up to 24hrs in advance)

Step 1: Peel and finely slice your apples. 10 should do.

Step 2: Blend your Dr. Otkers pudding mix, and refrigerate until your apple slices are ready

Step 3: Toss apple slices with 1/3 cup of sugar

Step 4: sautee in a frying pan drizzled with maple syrup – until golden and soft.

Step 5: (while waiting for apples to cook ) Cut all two-bite brownies into fours.

Step 6: Refrigerate apples until chilled (do not drain the liquid)

Step 7: slice angel food cake into 3 sliced rounds

Step 8: place the smallest round of angel food into the trifle bowl.

Step 9: Layer with 1/3 of the pudding

Step 10: Toss on 1/4 of the brownie chunks

Step: 11: Layer on 1/3 of the whipped cream and spread evenly

Step 12: Pour on 1/3 of the apple slices and liquid

Step 13: Sprinkle on 1/3 of the pecan bits

Step 14: Repeat steps 8-13 two more times. (Using the largest angel food round last) Be sure to top well with your apple slices and pecans, add the extra layer of brownie chunks for aesthetic appeal.

Voila! Make ahead and keep chilled until ready to serve!

So good, you might just want to skip dinner and dive right into dessert! Let’s hope my MIL is equally as delighted when we serve this for her birthday tonight!

Tight squeeze!

Ella

Posted in Design, DIY

Hutch makeover Inspo. 

Current dining room Situation

BEFORE

It’s finally time! I’ve worked up the nerve to tackle the daunting task of refinishing my found and foraged dining room hutch. It has only been sitting hopeful on my to-do list for a good seven or eight years, patiently waiting for his number to be called. He shall be named, Henry, and while he isn’t exactly the “ruler of (our) home”, he definitely has a presence here. I can not wait to see him in all of his transformed glory…. for now, I will share a few of my Pinterest inspirations with you as I narrow in on the look I really want! 

Classic Farmhouse Via Pinterest

While, I am sort of over the whole farmhouse thing, I do quite enjoy the Light and bright look of all the white furniture pieces. They are easy to capture In a photo and would make a nice bright backdrop for a Holiday family dinner. Bonus points for it’s compatability with decor of all color schemes including those holiday specific pieces. 

Ultra Feminine via Pinterest

I’m totally having a love affair with both pinks and florals right now, and obviously this is the direction my dining room has been taking for awhile. I’m Just not certain that will last too long, and I would hate to go to all that effort just to tire of it in a year or two. 

Black Tie Affair via Pinterest

Um…. black! YES!!!! Especially perched against a white wall and a few scattered pieces of bold color decor (like my neon pink chairs the flank the head and foot of our table). But… I don’t know how I feel about a piece Of Henry’s stature in all black, it might present as a looming black cloud over our average sized dining room. 

Touch of Modern via Pinterest

Again… that whole country thing, I’m over it…. unless it’s country music, well then! 

Bold Statement via Pinterest

Bold, bright and unexpected, everything Yes! I love color, I love living in the unexpected. But for a week long project like Henry can I love it for the longterm???

What are your thoughts??? 

Tight squeeze!

Ella

Posted in Elliott, Family, Oliver

Why I will no longer say that my kids drive me to drink and other ridiculous nonsense 


Yesterday I joked to my co-workers that it isn’t so much my job that drives me to drink but that my kids sure do…

This morning, in my infinite post-slumber wisdom, I woke up full of guilt and immediately wished I could take back those ridiculous words.

I’ve heard it time-and-time again, and I’ve said it myself but I’ve suddenly become aware of the implications of that statement – and not on the alcohol front – but what this (and other equally ill-suited statements) says about my children.

There is actually nothing painful about a three or four year old, in fact, they are by nature the windows into the soul of Mother Earth, the most organic form of humankind to exist. Pure, neutral, and loving. It’s not my kids, it’s really just motherhood as a whole that gets our panties all in a bunch.

This totally exhausting, completely unerving stage of motherhood is filled with amazing humans and to say that THEY drive me to drink is really just implying there is some kind of fault with them as children – which thank my lucky stars – there certainly is not! They are prefect beings acting completely in tune with themselves exploring curiosity, practicing conflict, learning their physical limitations, and expanding their mindset. They are truly in harmony with themselves and their authenticity and when I think about placing blame on them because I can’t keep up with these systemic expectations of motherhood, well that is just absurd!

The responsibility of motherhood, on the other hand, is what interferes with my ability to bask in all the glorious adventure my children bring to me.

You know… Motherhood; the toppling laundry piles, nagging house keeping tasks, home cooked meals waiting to be made, honey do lists, daycare planning, Taxi service scheduling. It’s all those looming accessories to childhood that really get to us. Add in this new millenial motherhood where we needlessly busy ourselves sweeping dirty laundry under the area rug so we can post a perfectly curated picture of ‘real life’ on social media, Document a reality tv show via live story options, and post minute-by-minute twitter updates of the goings on of our lives.

So let us give credit where credit is due; our  preschoolers and early elementary children are just busy living their intended life, and being awesome at it! If we are struggling to stay above it all, we need to shed a thing or two from the mundane task lists and take more time quietly enjoying our kids.

Forgive yourself mama! Motherhood is the scariest hood you will ever go through, so drink that wine (or otherwise choice of chill-out beverage) just don’t make your children the “excuse” you think you need!

Tight Squeeze!

Ella

Posted in Mental Health

The ‘Harvey Weinstein’ Talk We must have!

Today I made the mistake of spending my kid-free time trolling the internet response to the Harvey Weinstein scandal. I am shocked and appaled at the outpouring of negative opinions and women to women victim shaming involved here.

Let’s make something very clear,  If we don’t stand with these women (Celebrity or not) we are standing against them, there is no middle ground. This kind of angry outcry from desensitized internet trolls is exactly the dialogue people like Harvey Weinstein are hoping for; devaluing the magnitude of his criminal behaviour, minimizing sexual assault, and aiming the spotlight away from the empire that is the Weinstein company and the hundreds of men and women who probably knew about and facilitated these ‘hotel meetings’.

First and foremost our responsiblity as the  public should simply be to listen. Let us listen intently to their stories, feel their emotion, and provide them with a judgement-free platform for which to tell and retell their stories. Because if we do we actually open up a more powerful dialogue of resistance and unacceptace of sexually inappropriate behaviours. More women will be able break free from the bondage of their corporate corruption and speak out against sexual harassment in the workplace. But mostly, listening will help them to spread the shockingly ‘new’ expectation that we should not tolerate this behaviour anywhere and at anytime.

Let there be no mistake, Harvey was powerful because he had a tribe of men and women for whom he assumed power and whether by fear, or ignorance, or otherwise involved in these predatory acts they sheltered him, encouraged him, and facilitated this long-time abusive business tactic. What we know about powerful empires, is that they do not topple easily.

Mass opinion has been that these women chose not to come forward before they bank rolled millions from under his corporate wing. Why thirty years later?

Celebrities have historically been using media covered outlets to make cracks in the foundation of his power;  from Gwenyth Paltrow on Letterman, Rose McGowen on twitter, to Seth Macfarlane at the 2013 Oscars. They spoke about it amongst each other, they loathed this man that ran Hollywood, for God sakes, they called it his “Open Secret”. Don’t underestimate this ‘new’ movement for one minute, it has been a long time coming, these women have been quietly forcing momentum on these tides, until the waves could no longer be ignored.

Our very pathetic reality is that thirty year ago corporate Hollywood would not have tolerated these accusations. We are naive to think that women’s rights were better thirty years ago, naive to think that women were as highly valued in the industry. To topple this empire, his little black book of assaulted women had to rise to alarming numbers, because we all know when one or a few come forward it is never enough. Even still, had he been convicted, he would never had been robbed of his role in Hollywood and people would still be turning a blind eye. So, yes! It had to be now, not because these women are older and established in their wealth and fame, but inspite of that.

What we won’t hear about, Is what happened to those twenty-something aspiring actresses that forcefully resisted his advances, and refused to work with him, because without established fame he would have made damn sure they simply disappeared! Blacklisted from hollywood, and silenced by remaining nameless and unpopular in the public eye. Did it do themselves or the public any good to speak out back then? No! He continued to negotiate sexual tasks and favors for success in the industry.

Let’s acknowledge talent where talent is due. These Celebrity women coming forward that have didn’t achieve status because they were sexual vixons, but because they are artists and believed in themselves and their talents and firmly believed these roles were meant for them, and on some level, Harvey knew he needed them too – regardless if they were sexually complacent.

When we engage in conversation about how a woman behaved, or whether or not she accepted fame, wealth or status as a result, we minimize the fact that sexual harassment, assault or otherwise has zero place in the workplace. Period. So just stop!

Other internet naysayers were particularly hung up on the fact that these celebrities willingly met Harvey in his hotel room. <eye roll> First of all, since when did we decide entering a hotel room was open invitation for sexual assault? Secondly, use some perspective, I would assume that a high class Hollywood movie moguls hotel room was hardly just that. He likely wined and dined in the penthouse suites which consisted not only of a bed, but of a living room, a kitchen, and <gasp of shock> an office area… you know, for conducting business.

The most overrated public response to these accusations is, how can these women live a double standard and depict nudity whilst complaining about their trama as victims. I can hardly stand to give this one a response because it’s so obvious to me, but I will let you in on this little secret. Acting is their art form, and human bodies in the nude are the rawist most authentic form of art in existence! If this isn’t enough for you to understand, please consider also, that often times victims of sexual abuse become disinhibited in their sexuality therefore resulting in promiscuity. It doesn’t make them the target of their abuse, it is the result of it.

I wasn’t among the millions of women who posted a #metoo hashtag on social media because I honestly can’t think of a time where I’ve felt any form of unwanted sexual advances, but #insolidarity with women across the world I will engage in healthy conversation regarding sexual assault. I don’t have to have a daughter, to want differently for the children of our future. I hope you will consider the same!

Ella

Posted in Family, Infertility, Mental Health

A year after loss. 

One year ago today!


Now a year later I headed to the lab where I donated 10 vials of blood and a urine sample, the last of a series of work-ups we have been enduring for the last few months. Still on this journey, waiting and hoping, but mostly feeling defeated.


But then… (and I can’t even make this up) as I loaded my blood deficient body into the car to leave the lab, my Michael Franti CD instantly broke out into chanting these words…  “Don’t let it go… when the rain falls down you know the flowers gonna bloom, and when the hard times come you know the teachers in the room so have a little faith in me, have a little faith in you, don’t let it go!”

I have never really listened to this CD before, it’s my least favourite of all my Michael Frantic CDs and just by happenstance threw it in last night, without really knowing I needed it today.

All morning I’ve been wandering from here to there doing life while I carefully plotted the words I would write in this post because we never really know where our emotions are at through all this, but these lyrics right here is really all I have to say about it. #faithrestored

Tight squeeze!

Ella