The end of the first year

I must admit it. I’ve been horrible at writing since I returned to work. Being a mompreneur means that – for now – my blog has dropped in priority. Here I am for a long overdue update.

I can hardly believe that Wyatt is 14 months old. We successfully made it through the first year. He’s developed into such a caring, inquisitive, intelligent, affectionate toddler. His personality is so strong. I often joke he’s way more of an extrovert than I am, but he still loves his snuggles and down time when we are alone at home.

He’s really thriving at daycare; although, he’s barely been there this month. We went to Florida for a week earlier in December with my brother and his family. Then, my husband and I both took some time off over the Christmas holidays.

I hosted Christmas supper this year with my in-laws which was better than I expected. I really made an effort to focus on the kids. Wyatt (kinda) learned to open presents, but was way more excited to watch his cousins open theirs.

I really realized this holiday season that I miss my family. Tremendously. I wish my parents could have seen more of my son throughout the first year of his life. We’ve started facetime-ing with them a bit more often. My Mom works crazy hours though and she doesn’t get to see Wyatt as often as my Dad does. He made strange with her on Christmas morning and it just broke my heart.

We really enjoyed vacation with my brother though. I want to make an effort to visit my family more often each year.

Guess what? Come on this is an easy one… we are still breastfeeding, co-sleeping and cloth diapering. We might try to transition Wyatt onto milk at daycare and his toddler bed for naps (he hated the crib, so we converted it the other day). We aren’t really in a rush. We keep chatting about it, but haven’t actively pursued either yet.

As for me, I’m still working on getting clear as to what it is I’m destined to do for my career. I’ve been successfully freelancing and consulting since September. I have a few opportunities in front of me. I’m trying my best to listen to my intuition on which one lights me up and fits our family needs.

Going through infertility, loosing a baby, birthing a beautiful rainbow baby and watching him grow over this past year has given me a new perspective on life. I spent so many years angry, resentful, ashamed, hurt, grieving and feeling guilty. Infertility and loss will always be a part of our life – a part of our story – but I’m not willing to let the darkness overcome me. I will go with the ebbs and the flows of my feelings, but my son deserves to live in a home full of light.

I’ve decided my word for the year 2017 is CREATE… and I plan to create a life full of happiness, love, joy, and passion.

Happy Holidays & all the best to you in 2017.

XOXO

Lindsey

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Then and now: has society really accepted infertility?

A few days ago, I mentioned how we recently learned a couple we know adopted their children. They are good friends and next door neighbours to my husband’s Aunt and Uncle. We’ve met them many times, but I never knew how they became parents.

When I saw them last Saturday, they congratulated me on my pregnancy. As the conversation flowed, I told them that we did IVF and they admitted how they understood our struggle to conceive.

After getting married, Joanne and her husband tried to conceive for 4 years before pursing adoption. At that time, fertility treatment options were unheard of. They have an adopted son and a daughter who are now in their 40s.

When Joanne told her Mom they decided to adopt, her Mom could not believe they were not waiting longer or trying harder to conceive their children naturally.

This reaction is very similar to how my Mom reacted when I told her we were pursuing fertility treatments – “Just relax, it will happen“.

Joanne and I both found it fascinating that time (45 years +) hasn’t changed the way the people react when they find out you are having difficulty conceiving and have chosen an alternate method of becoming parents.

We are very fortunate to have made significant advances in terms of medical treatment for infertility; however, we still have a long ways to go with educating society about infertility as a whole.

I’m leaving on a jet plane… but I KNOW when I’ll be back again!

Baby + me are taking a trip this weekend.

Shockingly, my sister reach out to me soon after she received my gift. We’ve been chatting back and forth since then.

She’s shared lots of stories with me about her pregnancy and the early stages of motherhood. We’ve never really had an opportunity to bond like this – especially since I’m the older sister and was typically “doing everything first”.

I am still protective of my heart and aware of the limitations of our relationship, but it’s nice to feel connected again.

During one of our calls, my sister invited me to come visit her while my Mom is there. My husband agreed that this would be a good opportunity for me to see my sister (as it’s been 1 year), see my Mom (as it’s almost been 2 years) and meet my nephew. I probably won’t get another opportunity to visit before the baby comes. So, I used my Aeroplan points and booked myself a trip.

Tomorrow, I fly out to Alberta for the weekend. I am really excited to meet my adorable nephew. I’m also beyond excited to see my Mom. I am anticipating being an emotional mess in the airport – thanks to pregnancy hormones combined with my uber sensitive heart.

My goal is to relax and enjoy myself. If things go array, I will take a deep breath and remind myself that I’m flying back home first thing Monday morning. Sometimes short trips are the best as my family can be dysfunctional and chaotic. 

Wish me luck and no up chucks on the plane! 🙂

A new addition has arrived

I have a new nephew. My sister had her baby this morning. They named him Luca.

It’s a bittersweet moment as I haven’t spoken to my sister since the night I ended up in the hospital due to our ectopic pregnancy. There’s just too much turmoil and negativity there. I can’t fuel it.

I’ve always said my husband and I shouldn’t let our relationships with our siblings get between our relationships with our niece and nephews.

I plan to mail a gift tonight. I purchased a few outfits, shoes, rattles, and a stuffie for little Luca.

I hope this subtle form of communication will perhaps been seen as extending the olive branch. Although, I will be very hesitant and protected if my sister and I venture back into communicating with each other.

She doesn’t know that we are currently pregnant. My parents say they haven’t told her.

I have decided that our news can wait for now.

My sister deserves to be the centre of attention and enjoy the birth of her son.

Welcome to the world little one. ❤

A letter to my sister

Dear Jennifer,

My baby died. It’s been almost 39 days exactly since we lost her.

Didn’t you get the memo?  Oh you did, but you don’t know what to say? Or you are afraid I will blame you for still carrying your son in your womb while my daughter is gone?

Well, that’s not how I feel.

I don’t blame anyone for our situation – not myself, not my husband, not the doctors, not even God.

But, I am extremely hurt by your insensitivity.

I LOST MY BABY. I LOST MY LEFT FALLOPIAN TUBE.

And I also lost my sister.

Don’t you remember how hard it was when Aunt Carol died? Don’t you remember laying together on the couch in the basement and crying? This is so much harder for me than that.

Imagine waking up tomorrow without your baby. Imagine he was taken from you in the night. Imagine you are never getting him back, never getting to see what his face would have looked like, never getting to be a Mom in the eyes of everyone else.

I just want to lie back on that couch in the basement and be held by everyone I love around me. Because right now, I feel so broken. I don’t know how to ever go back to the person I was before, but I realize that I probably never will.

You know I always put on a tough front, but inside, my sensitivity is overwhelming. I base my good days on the number of times I cry. I aim for less than 3x a day. My episodes usually happen in the bathroom at work or on the drive home, or especially late at night. That’s when I feel the most alone.

It’s hard not understanding how the world around you can move forward when you are still grieving, still wondering why this happened to you, to your husband and to your baby.

You have always told me I am the strong one, but I am frightened beyond belief of what else I may have to face in the future. I feel like a fraud. My strength is dwindling.

The past few weeks, I have been thinking a lot about your upcoming delivery. I see cute birthing gowns on Etsy and I want to send you one. I see post-partum care packages and think, “Oh that would be great for her!“.

But, then I realize you don’t deserve it.

I didn’t have a choice when it came to losing my baby or my tube. I had to give them up or I was going to lose my own life.

You made the choice for me about losing our relationship. You chose to abandon me. You chose to pretend that nothing happened. You chose to block me out of your life.

I know I may not have been a perfect older sister, but I always tried my best to be there for you when you asked for help.

This time, I need help. I need love and compassion from the people who mean the most to me, my family, but you have cut yourself out of that category.

Deep down, I keep hoping that we can work things out. I pray that you will come around, reach out to me and admit that you made a mistake. Something as simple as, “I’m sorry. We are thinking of you“, would suffice.

It’s hard enough for me to take care of myself these days. I can’t spend extra energy nourishing a one-sided relationship that you obviously aren’t interested in continuing.

I am truly happy for you as you embark on your journey into motherhood. I just wish things could have been different. I wish that you could have seen how much the simplest of actions would have meant to me.

Love always,

Lindsey

Reflections of gratitude and remembrance

Today is Remembrance Day. On this day, we pay tribute to all of the courageous men and woman who have dedicated their lives to serve our country, especially those who lost their lives.

My Grandma’s first husband fought and died in WWII. While fighting in the Canadian Air Force, his plane was shot down.  He was presumed dead.

Why do I tell you this story? Because this year, I look at it from a completely different perspective.

I remember Grandma telling me how she always hoped that one day he would show up on her doorstep, alive and well.  As  a young widow and a mother, she had to wake up each morning to take care of her infant son wondering if her husband would ever be found.

They never did find the body. And obviously, he never appeared on that doorstep except in her dreams.

This year, I understand grief on a deeper level. Although it was my baby I lost and not my husband, I have a new-found admiration for the strength that my Grandma had to find during her time of grief.

Her story also shows me that blessings can follow tragedy.

Fortunately, my Grandma went on to meet my Grandpa. They were married and had 3 more beautiful children together, including my Mother. My Grandpa adopted my oldest Uncle as his own son. Together, they lived a long life with 4 children, 2 daughter-in-laws, 1 son-in-law and 9 grandchildren.

If my Grandmother’s first husband did not lose his life fighting for our country, I would not be here.

I’m sure immediately following his death, my Grandma must have felt helpless, hopeless and lost. But, her life shows me that the hardships only help to propel us forward to face the rest of life challenges and appreciate the beauty of what we do receive.

I can only hope that my loss is overshadowed by a life even more filled with joy, happiness and prosperity as my own Grandmother’s.

On this Remembrance Day and all to follow, I will be especially grateful for Donald Walker. I never knew this man, but I know this lesson is just one of many his life will teach me.

Donald Walker RCAF Flying Officer, lost in action on October 26, 1944

Donald Walker, RCAF Flying Officer, lost in action on October 26, 1944

In like a lion, out like a lamb

CD 2.

Aunt Flo came in like a lion. I can only hope our IVF cycle goes out like a lamb brings me our little lamb.

I got my period yesterday afternoon. We were on our way to spend the afternoon with my husband’s family who are camping about an hour away from our place.

Cramps! Oh the fucking cramps! Gotta love putting that fake smile on and pretending you are fine, when it feels like someone is removing your uterine lining with a dull knife. My periods aren’t always like this, but I had a feeling this month would be “one of them”.

Anyway, I couldn’t completely hide my discomfort. Cramps make me have to pee and shit like every 10 minutes, but I managed to escape to the gross campground washroom about once every half hour to an hour.

Before we left, I packed myself a gluten/dairy-free supper as I knew my husband’s family would have NOTHING I could eat. And boy, was I right! The only thing on the entire table I could eat was a few cut up veggies and the potatoes. My mother-in-law knows about my diet restrictions, but like usual, she didn’t seem to care. Good thing I know them well enough to know I need to take care of myself.

Overall, I made the best of the afternoon. I laid in the sun for a while telling myself that the heat from the sun would subside my cramps like a heating pad would (positive visualization works right?). Then, I convinced myself movement would be better. My husband and I beat his brother and a friend in a round of bean bag toss. I also got to spend some time playing with my niece and nephew. I love the toddlers years. There is nothing that compares to when a child smiles and giggles.

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My husband and our nephew

The downfall of the day was that my husband got drunk. And somewhere in his drunken state, he decided that it made more sense to support his family than his wife. 
Why, oh why universe do you keep challenging me on the concept of support? 
He started by trying to convince me to have a drink all afternoon. I politely declined each time, reminding him that I’m 100% off the alcohol since my period has arrived.
On the way home, I mentioned how I was glad I took my own food out because there wasn’t anything I could have ate. I also mentioned how surprised I was that they feed their children so much junk food. In this moment, my husband turned on me. He told me I was rude and should have ate their food for supper. He said he didn’t understand why I was being so strict. He called me a complaining bitch and said he will be feeding his own children junk food. 
Whoa there. 
As you can predict, the evening blew up into a big fight between us. Anytime my husband is around his family, he comes home with this arrogant, defensive attitude. I know being the son of an alcoholic and a codependent mother calls for some unsettled feelings, but I also know that he needs to deal with his shitHe didn’t want to listen to anything I had to say last night. He just kept acting childish. I truly believe that his behaviour stems from some unresolved issues that he has lodged deep down inside of him. I also believe that I don’t need to be the brunt of it. 
I’ve ask him to go back to counselling. He will be around his family a lot this month as they prepare for harvest season.  He needs support to be able to handle his issues with them, and his fears as we start our IVF cycle. Perfect timing. I just hope he follows through with it. 
I’m praying for peace and calmness for the rest of our journey. And some strength for my husband!