Posted in Infertility, Mental Health

Moving Forward, Well Sort Of!

INFERTILITY//

It feels like a lifetime ago already, but it pains us just the same, the only thing we’ve learned since losing the pregnancy is that life keeps moving forward with the same force of speed, no amount of our resistance slows it any more.

There is still so much to be decided, do we really want more children, and at what cost? We have two amazing boys, is that enough for us now? We are faced with so many questions that still a few months later are no easier to decide. No amount of weighing it out seems sufficient enough to clearly see what it is we want.

If you are wondering what it is like to live in that mindset I will try my best to fill you in. Despite my best efforts, I live in an underlying unhappiness every day. I search for the small joys, like the sweet interactions between my boys, family dinners, and the short moments I get alone with my husband (albeit exhausted). I’ve suddenly found myself questioning all aspects of my life is my job good enough? Can we even afford to raise another child? Should we move to a more affordable City? Are we communicating enough in our marriage? It’s as though nothing brings me joy, although I know that most certainly is not true.  I honestly didn’t even realize the effect this has still been having on me until the moment I sat to write it all out, I suppose that is the therapy in writing – Sorting our thoughts.

To put it simply it’s like everything I do and say is laced with the negativity that this particular unhappiness is bringing to my life. Without knowing, I bring it into my conversations, into my behaviors, into my workplace, and home with my family, it’s all around me, and although I am abundantly satisfied with the other 95% of my life, this is the little black cloud that darkens it all. Not that I feel the need to justify my feelings, but I wanted to clarify, that it comes across that I am so unhappy in my life overall, and that just isn’t so!!!

I’ve been struggling to balance the weight of this loss, I don’t even realize it most of the time, I just go about mommying and stuff, but then, every so often… when I feel like crying but don’t know why… well,its safe to say that this is the culprit. Especially as little monumental days pass by, that should have meant something… like finding out the gender, and viability, but alas, it won’t be happening for us… at least not this time around.

Tight Squeeze

Ella

Posted in Infertility, Mental Health

Fertility and loss, as real as it gets! 


If you haven’t figured it out already, we are lost out in the sea of infertility once again. We always knew when we learned of Elliott’s pregnancy that there were no guarantees he would ever have a sibling, but life did play games on us and brought our sweet treasure, Oliver.

Since then, we’ve known we’d definitely try for #3 and maybe #4, but again, we were never foolish enough to believe it would be easy, nor did we take our chances to land another Oliver at 6mths postpartum.

This time around we decided to be careful, be precise, and plan. Of course, life has a way of reminding you that we aren’t in control when we decide to get serious about our plans. We started not REALLY trying, but not preventing last summer (2015), just a few months before I returned to work, it just seemed like the perfect time. Most people would think I am crazy, but I had my heart set on having just 1 more year off with my eldest son home, in my life plan this just seemed right.

As it would follow, because life is shit when it comes to fertility -for us at least- I had a chemical pregnancy in Aug. then another mid-1st trimester loss in November after testing positive and planning all the things you plan when you learn #3 is coming.

We didn’t always try each-and-every-month because we’ve learned not to take it so seriously after 3 heartbreaking losses. I’ve personally lost a lot of faith in this journey, because when life puts you on the brink of choosing between living and dying, I think that’s when you should be given your break,  am I right? But NO, it doesn’t! We can’t exactly have trust in the system of fertility.

This lengthy journey (in which I’ve been unwillingly kidnapped and locked in the trunk of a car) stretches us so thin we find ourselves taking absences from work and life, because leaving the house means pregnancy and fertility are rubbed in our faces everyday.

I’m tired of it! If you must know, I’m not strong, I’m not brave, I am no ones hero. I didn’t choose this journey to prove to you all how courageous I am! Someone threw me into the lions den and said “If she can do it, then we all can”. But that’s not true, if I succeed there still isn’t any gurantee to anyone else out there, that’s what makes this shitty situation so damn lonely. Just when you think you’ve found a friend that suffers with you, bam! One of you is suddenly pregnant and so consumed with guilt because you’ve left that person you care about on the journey alone. Did you hear me?? You can’t even be happy for yourself anymore. It is your own personal dark cloud that follows you, even when your rainbow is shining brightly across the sky.

So, After a few consults with a new OB/GYN I found myself back on the fertility drug band wagon back in May, after 3 cycles I’d find out we are expecting #3, this time I was (almost) certain this one was for real, except that that persistent dark cloud waters seeds of doubt. I wanted sooooo badly to hang onto #allthegoodvibes but it wouldn’t matter anyway, because this one would become the most painful loss I’ve experienced thus far. Yes folks! It does get worse, even when your certain you can’t take anymore!

If miscarrying a baby isn’t hard enough, not miscarrying a lost baby is by far the worst. When your body decides to be the biggest douchebag of all time and continue a facade of pregnancy – because it’s funny as hell to taunt weak spirits – and you learn far too late that there is no baby at all. That is a particular kind of living hell.

Needless to say, I ended up on an operating table, in the most vulnerable positions, unconscious while a doctor literally scraped away all evidence of pregnancy from my body.

If you’ve been wondering what that’s like, your crazy AF, because seriously who would want to know that kind of emotional wreckage?

I’m writing this now, because as of October 1st (just 2 days after my surgery) and everyday since, reminders of infant and pregnancy loss have been plastered all over my Facebook and social media. I don’t know if friends are being kind and sharing for my benefit, but it doesn’t help. I know I’ve failed, I figured out the statistics, and I’m not just 1:4,  I’m 4:6, I’m 100% broken, I’m damaged goods, I’m a failure, I’m functioning at less that 50%. My heart and my body aren’t just on different pages, they are in whole different books.

The most lonesome part of this whole thing, is literally being alone. My husband and I, we are most definitely suffering a heartbreaking loss and we have each other, that is most certainly true, but to the rest of the world it’s like this is a contagious disease. Yeah, we get the odd reach out from social media, but that’s the easy part. I’m not sure I want you around while I ugly cry, but seriously who is here with me when my heartbreak keeps me awake crying all night? I watch my kids all day long, with a broken spirit and much less effort than they deserve, because I am human and I can’t take it all on at once, but I haven’t exactly had “friends” knocking down my door to help. Of course, I’m not even sure I want any of you here anyway.

I am the only one who has experienced my particular brand of infertility and loss, that is the tricky thing about this story, it’s a completely customized torture to suit each person differently, that way it ensures that we actually do suffer completely alone.

I know what you are all thinking “You should consider yourself blessed to have two beautiful boys” obviously I know that I do, but that is the most enragingly inconsiderate thing to say to a person like me, and by that I mean empty. This is going to be a completely new concept to a lot of you, but a blessing does not sit on the other side of the weight scale to balance life out, it’s just a small light.

If I sit in a dark room alone and hurting, does it hurt less when I turn the light on? NO! The hurt is the same, no amount of light (or blessings) change that! Period. Not now, most definitely not for this type of hurt.

That darkness burns and scars its memories much deeper into our brains and hearts, it changes our composition for the rest of our lives. A blessing, on the other hand, is more like gasoline or oil they keep us running and functioning, but it doesn’t fix what’s already broken and damaged. And that’s what my beautiful boys do!

Anyway, what I’m trying to say is, there is no easy way to live through this. I’m not better, I never will be. In fact, as we speak, my body is sending me constant reminders of what I’m trying to forget. Since I was in fact pregnant for 13 weeks I still get the dreaded postpartum reminders; uterine contractions, lower back and pelvic pain, and the hormonal drop. There is no blessing is that!

Long story short; stop raising awareness of infant and pregnancy loss, unless your actually going to BE AWARE! Be aware of how deeply it scars, how dark these feelings of loss are, how real an unborn child is, how real these feelings are, how lonesome the journey, and lastly, there is absolutely nothing you can do or say to take it away.

Let us heal!

Until then!

Xo Leslie (aka Ella)

Posted in Elliott, Oliver, Uncategorized

Mama Life Mastered

Another apology ahead; I have found myself slipping away from the blogging world because, well, not to toot my own horn or anything, but I’ve been totally rocking this mom thing.

My house has had a pretty substantial deep clean over the last few weeks, my boys and I have been active and enjoying the sweet summer sun, and overall, I think I finally have some semblance of a rhythm going on in this crazy life.

When it comes to activities, it can be daunting to think up creative ways to keep the kids interested without always dropping a C-note on overpriced theme park tickets, and museum tours. Lucky for me my boys are dirt worshipers and anything that requires shoeless feet and muddy hands keep them entertained all summer long.

My camera, which I thought needed some major TLC is miraculously healed, and we’ve been busy trekking it around our neighborhood for some good old fashioned local fun. My three year olds mind was completely blown when he realized I wasn’t just telling stories and our seven year old Lab, Sophie, does actually love swimming. Honestly, if you could have witnessed his amusement in that moment, your heart would have melted too.

Needless to say our adventures have left me speechless, unable to record in this journal my thoughts, because I have just been completely lost in my boys, and my family.

Just when I thought I couldn’t keep up the excitement while revisiting the same beaches and parks over-and-over, I came up with the brilliant idea of collecting rocks, that we would later paint on gloomy days – SERIOUSLY BRILLIANT – this same routine stop became a whole new adventure with a completely new agenda. Also, throwing rocks into the water is a favorite pastime for these two.

As they are growing bigger they are becoming daring and confident. Watching as they brave new playground feats is the source of all this mamas pride, oh and their outgoing social skills as they make friends (clearly a trait they inherit from their father) has me getting all wobbly in the knees!

On the ol’ Homestead, we’ve got things rocking there too, squeezing in time for all the chores when there is just too much house to handle has been a serious thorn in my side, but making it a priority once in a while, making no excuses on cleaning day, and rocking a killer soundtrack has got me owning it. It feels “So fresh and so clean, clean” (I dare you not to sing that!)

 

 

While, I’m out now, I have some finger prints that need some windex, and a quick park date to arrange.

Tight Squeeze!

Ella

Posted in Design, DIY, Villa Villekula

Builder Basic Kitchen Renovation 2016

This month marks the 5th month to slip by into oblivion since we began our kitchen renovation. It has literally been us managing life, and then squeezing in little pockets of time to work on all the DIYs we set out to accomplish in there. It all began with some new pot lights (because these are the sort of luxuries you get when your husbands an electrician) and some how grew into a pretty major overhaul.

Our existing kitchen had previously be painted (poorly) using the Rustoleum cabinet transformation kits and had extensive damage to them. It just simply wasn’t practical to have chippy, hard-to-clean cabinets in our lives, least of all the kitchen.

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Before (mid pot light installation)

 

 

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Before (note the 70s backsplash and poorly painted cabinets although it was hard to tell with the poor lighting)

 

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Right: Original Cabinet Finish, Left: Cabinet transformation kit

 

Aside from the poorly painted cabinets (that I once was foolish enough to believe had a professional finish) I really needed to rid our kitchen of the glass tile backsplash that dated the kitchen which I assure you wasn’t actually established in the 70s. I think I may have actually held a party when we finally ripped it out.

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We actually had to rip the tile out with the drywall. But already an improvement without the tile!

 

One of our other priorities was to resituate our refrigerator. In its current state the fridge sat to the far left of our partition wall, which happened to meet a door way and main entrance to the kitchen, thus blacking about 4 inches of the door frame and making the kitchen access feel tight.

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We centered the fridge here. It was initially partially blocking the door frame to the left.

We also had to build out the bulkhead above the refrigerator area so it would be cohesive with our new pantry design.

 

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this Refrigerator is a monstrosity!

 

Everything we tackled with this project was something new for us. Yes, Shane has built things in the past, but an entire pantry cupboard was a whole new ball park. It forced us out of our comfort zone, in fact, often times we held up our timeline just out of fear of tackling the next new thing. We also had a standard for how we wanted the overall finish to look, because after all, it was someone elses DIY that got us into this mess to begin with, it was important that we raised the bar, and not just settled for the same standard, but different look.

As the “design girl” I knew it would be a challenge to achieve the sleek white and bright look I was going for while still being able to incorporate the earthy fixtures in the kitchen that we would not be changing (like the stone wall in the eating area, and our existing Corian countertop) so I sourced ideas to make it all balance, and utilizing oil-rubbed bronze was our best option.

PicMonkey Collage
the mood board

 

Lastly, to make it all worth while we really had to think about the little touches that would make the most impact. Since we had an existing builder basic design to work with we wanted elements that would “pack a punch”. We resorted to a few glass paneled cabinet doors, a stand alone designer range hood, wallpaper backed cabinets, and decorative knobs.

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I still swoon over that simple wallpaper backing everyday.

Finally (after 5 months) we wrapped up the esthetics in the kitchen (we still have a few drawers to build in the pantry so the kitchen is completely functional) and we can go on living our day-to-day lives in here.

 

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BMs Chantilly lace cabinets, White glass subway tiles with a decorative accent, and yellow and turquoise accents, and I whipped up that old Farmers Market sign with a bit of chalk paint and sand paper.

 

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Oil-rubbed bronze ceiling fixtures and cabinet pulls.

 

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Completely custom Fridge surround pantry which also houses bulky appliances.

 

 

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Under Cabinet mounted lighting, and we even tiled the riser on the breakfast bar which has made it far more practical for cleaning.

 

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BMs Metropolis Grey for the Island, and Behr Graceful Grey on the walls.

 

So if you’ve been missing us for a while, I’m sorry! I will try to get better now that this major undertaking is out of our hair – Until we tackle the next one 😉

tight Squeeze!!

Ella

Posted in Uncategorized

The least used Phrase

  
Sometime between now and my last post, my boys grew taller and wiser, and their vocabularies expanded beyond imagination. Now when asking for sustenance they ask for the nourishment they actually desire, so instead of references to “Apple tea” I get more specific requests for milk, water, tea, or juice, gone now are the days my boys will ask for “apple tea” whenever they want something to drink. 😞

Our experiences with our growing children truly are short-lived, it’s so utterly important to soak it all in while you can.

Tight squeeze!

Ella

Posted in Uncategorized

Mamas Moment

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It’s 6:15pm and here I am, minutes before I walk out the door for a string of 12 hour night shifts. I have about 10 minutes invested in my “professional” look; comfortably dressed, a little simple eye make-up, and crowned with a top-knot . In the 10 minutes it takes me to throw myself together, my kids manage to unravel a roll of Toilet paper, trash their play kitchen down the hall, run away with a few of my cosmetic essentials, empty a cabinet drawer into the bath tub, and throw several upstairs items over the railing to the main floor. My husband was home at 4:30pm and we basically greet each other in passing.

I stayed up late last night to launder the clothes in off-peak time (because we roll like that) and then spent all of my morning folding and putting away the clothes, prepping cloth diapers, and making homemade wipes, squeeze in a quick visit from my mom and sister, and a quick grocery shop before rushing home to make dinner. I barely sit down to eat before I am hauling ass upstairs to get ready, fortunately, I managed to squeeze in a shower during afternoon nap time (not that my 2.5 year old slept or anything).

Moments after I took these photos, I ran down stairs to throw together my lunch bag, and night shift essentials, and practically blew kisses on the run, whilst hollering to my husband “Have fun them, Sucker!”

And on that note, I am happy to have my workplace retreat at the Psych hospital tonight.

 

Tight Squeeze!

Ella

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Elliotts Eyes, Sick Kids, and MRIs

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This mother is freaking out today, and I am not looking for pity, but I am trying to keep this journal real to our family experiences, so your going to hear about it.

For the last 6 months or so, Elliott has been having a slightly flawed ophthalmic condition investigated. As you can imagine, assessing a two year old boy has been difficult, and even worse so when this oddity is only notable when Elliott looks in his left periphery, hence the timely process.

We were fortunate enough to be referred to Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto, of course, as these things go, We had to back track back to our general Practitioner to have the referral sent, because apparently Optometrists opinions aren’t satisfactory in these situations (interesting to note).

At our first apt at Sick Kids on February 10th, they explained to us that the Nerve that controls his right eye is weaker than the left, thus weakening the muscle and off-setting the alignment of his eyes (again; only when he looks in his left periphery).   As far as they can tell, Elliotts vision is completely unaffected so at this point there is no NEED to do anything, however, if we desired to correct the alignment for cosmetic purposes it would be a quick and simple procedure. This is all good news and we were certainly grateful to hear it.

The scary part, is that this condition is generally contracted from birth, and the fact that we only started noticing it a year ago, means 1 of 3 things.

  1. It was pre-existing from birth, but we failed to notice in his infancy (In which case this would be normal and there is no concern about the possibility of it worsening)
  2. He contracted it from a viral infection (Sinusitis) that he had prior to us first noticing it (which also means there is a low risk for this worsening over time)

or lastly,

  1. There is a condition beyond this that has caused damage to the nerve, and could potentially worsen over time.

Obviously we are all hoping and praying for 1 or 2, however, at Sick Kids they are superfluously diligent and investigate as a proactive measure to be certain to rule out #3.

So that brings me to now, and why I am here writing this today. We are looming on the eve of Elliotts MRI, which we all know is a fairly basic investigative procedure, but because Elliott is only 2.5 and getting him to sit entirely still inside a potentially scary tunnel for a minimum of thirty minutes, he will be put under.

I am battling with it all today, because he is at an age, where these things are incredibly hard to explain to him. I want him to be informed and prepared, but even with my fairly simple explanations, he is still completely unaware. In the morning we won’t be able to feed him for several hours, and he won’t understand why. When we arrive at the hospital he won’t understand why mommy is anxious, and daddy is overwhelmed, he won’t understand why he is being poked in the arm or covered with a mask… then he will sleep, and when he wakes, he won’t understand why he lost a two hour chunk of time. I may be over thinking it all maybe it won’t mean anything at all to him, as long as he has mom and dad there beside him. But for now, it’s nerve-racking that I don’t know how to explain it to him, so he isn’t completely blind-sided tomorrow.

Just another one of those things, listed in small print on the parenting contract, we thought we knew what we were in for, but another sneaky responsibly clause creeps in and makes us do something we don’t want to.

Thanks for listening, Tight Squeeze!

Ella

EDIT/ UPDATE; Elliott was a super trooper during the whole experience. He was brave and excited to travel to Sick Kids, and was especially elated to get to wear the hospital gown (like mama promised him the night before). He didn’t cry out in fear once, and took the “sleepy mask” without hesitation. So far, we hear that the results are good, and will soon follow up with our plans to treat this.