Wednesday, December 29, 2010

7 Going on 17

D and me are having such a good week. We're both off work, and we're both catching up on some much needed and deserved rest, and we're both working on renovating. Well, D is more than I am... she loves doing it, and I think it's kinda cool that I have a woman who is willing to try anything DIY related. She's talented :-)

On Christmas day, when we were over at my brother's house, his just-7-year-old and oldest of 4 kids ran off upstairs after losing it on her brother. My brother and wife are at the end of their rope with her, and it totally makes me sad to see. I can't imagine having 4 kids seven and under, and they're doing the best job they can, but along came a boy as number 3, and he is a tough kid to try to keep in check.

He is a sweet little thing, but as you can imagine, it's tough to be heard when you're living in a family of 6. He's got this endearing and absolutely relentless gruff little voice, which is all you can hear over dinner. The oldest, T, has always been a really good kid, but this year has started to act out. But so would I, if I was her... actually, I was her...

Though I don't know what it is like to be the oldest, I do know what it's like to have a brother who "ruins your life". My middle brother was horrible to me, and I endured years of pretty brutal "bugging" (reads full-on BULLYING, in retrospect). I've been locked in tuba cases (hence an intense fear of elevators). I've been pinned down and farted on with spread cheeks (lovely). I've been pinched and punched and scraped and treated like shit. He's an amazing man now, but he was quite a brutal older brother. If I complained about him, my parents would say one thing: "Just ignore him". That's all I was ever told...

And that's what T is being told to do. "Just ignore him." Your brother who, after you spend three hours setting up your Playmobile school, comes in and knocks it down with one speedy lap from Lightning McQueen. Your brother, who interrupts every one of your stories with his screams for attention. Your brother, who you have to come home from school right away to babysit because your mom is hard-up for help, is a tough kid to have in your life. At seven, you should be able to play, play, play. At seven, you shouldn't need to get grounded for not coming home after school because you wanted some time to yourself before starting your chores with the three younger kids...

It's really sad. My brother and his wife are doing the best they can, but this poor little chicky is stuck in this fucked-up world somewhere between playing with dolls or singing to Justin Beiber posters and having to look after a 7-month-old while her mom dashes out to get groceries.

On Christmas day, when I followed her up to her room, we had a chat about brothers. They can suck. I know - I had two. She just kept saying how frustrated she gets with him, and how her dad just tells her to "just ignore him"... and I had my little flashback. We had a heart to heart, and then I realized: this kid needs some serious alone time, with a hell of a lot of unconditional love.

So D and I took her on a date yesterday. We picked her up, took her out for pizza, went to see Megamind, then out for dessert and back home. She had an absolute blast, and it was amazing to see how excited she got (while totally trying to play it cool). D and I made a deal that, no matter how benign the conversation, we would not repeat anything she said to any member of her family, so that she can always trust us not to say anything. Obviously that goes within reason - if something drastic is said, we take it as it comes.

We had such an amazing time, and it made me realize that, although we are really active aunties, we spend time with the family as a unit - or at least the older girls together, but very rarely do we just hang out with one of them. It's so important. This kid, who thrives in everything she does, is so unhappy at home right now, and just needs some time to chill out and talk without having to talk over anyone.

I can't even imagine that household when all four kids are teenagers . D and I have already had numerous conversations at the large possibility that one of these four kids will live with us at some point in their childhood/adolescent lives, and we're okay with that. Every child should have a safe haven, and I'd be honoured if our home were to act as one for any child.

I'm a really lucky aunt.


Monday, December 27, 2010

Does this improve on silence?

I've been uninspired to write, feeling as though I have nothing to add to the blogosphere's conversation, especially when it comes to TTC or gay parenting or anything remotely associated with this blog title. It was funny too, with the timing: H2 commented on one of my posts, and because I was not familiar with the name, I clicked on her blogger profile and read her "About Me" and it is just a simple quote, which just took me in... one of those times where it felt like it was meant just for me. A quote from Sai Baba:

"Before you speak, ask yourself, is it kind, is it necessary, is it true, does it improve on the silence?"

I was going to write just to write until I read that, and thought, "no, this really doesn't improve on the silence". And though I know it's writing and not speaking, I still feel like this is a place where I have a voice, regardless of how many people are here to "see" me speak. But I do feel that what I put on these pages count. Or should. Or, I don't know.

Christmas was great. D and I had a fabulous morning together spoiling each other, and then headed to my brother's for Christmas dinner with his wife and four kids, who we adore. [side note: I'm going to rename "D" and perhaps give myself and other "players" in my life a pseudonym, as it's more personal. Plus, I *love* Insert Metaphor's cast of characters...]

We had lots of laughs and lots of great feedback from the gifts we got the kids this year ~ I have to say, we are pretty amazing aunties when it comes to this kind of stuff... especially when our 5 year old niece says that the only thing she wants this year is a Jasmine Barbie, but guess what? There is no Jasmine Barbie in Canada. D even went to Washington State to see whether we could pick up a Jasmine Barbie, but she only comes in the Disney Princess Collection. Long story short: we got a Jasmine Barbie from the storage room at the Disney store from Disney World itself! (We didn't go all the way there, but fate had it that a Santa-like person just happened to be there at the right moment). Anyway, we spoiled the kids without breaking the bank.

Besides Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day, we don't really have many plans this season, which is good... I'm catching up on many months of under-sleeping, and especially as I'm weaning off the anti-anxieties (still no problems, knock on wood), this time is really important to me to just be good to myself, and my partner, and although we have an apartment to renovate, our selves need to revamp.

It seems like this year went extra fast, which is good. It's actually been a flippin' horrible year, and though we are doing well now, and have been for some months, I would not want to go through anything remotely close to what we've/I've been through this year.

I have high hopes for 2011. I really do. I'm hopeful for the conversation that D and I will be having soon about family. I hope that she still wants to do this. I've been really respectful and have followed through on my promise to let the subject go for three months. But January is coming up, and though I'm not going to jump on D at 12:01 a.m. on January 1st, I'm looking forward to starting up a conversation that I hope sets up the rest of the year.

In my head, she says yes and we run out the door to the fertility clinic. In reality, we have some things to think through: I am currently in a job that ends this summer, and I need to find a permanent job in order to put in my hours before I take maternity leave or even start fertility treatments. I need medical coverage, which I have now, but D doesn't, so when this job ends, that's a top priority (though anything to do with reproductive "help" is unfortunately not easily covered). We are moving in the summer, hopefully, back to the city and out of Suburbia, which, although has done us some good, has mostly made us realize that our lives and our hearts are in the city. That damn, ridiculously expensive and beautiful city...

My health too. I will be off my anti-anxieties faster than I'd originally thought, if things continue to go smoothly. But there is more tweaking to do. My chronic pain issues are SO close to being gone (yay!) but I still have a little bit more to go there too.

And I'm not forgetting my wonderful partner. I have no idea what, if anything, she envisions when she thinks of our journey towards making a family. I respect that she is most likely not as eager as I am, and that's okay. I've been spilling out fears and hopes here, and she - for all I know - really did take a full 3 month hiatus from even thinking about babies. And that's okay. That was the point, right?

I'm getting antsy, yes. I just want to know. I'm a planner. I'm a dreamer. I'm a worst-case-scenario kind of person, so any answer can help me move on. I look forward to the conversation, and I trust that it will happen organically. I don't want to push. I don't want to harp. I want D to want to talk about this. I just have to remind myself that she is not me, and she will not, understandably, be on the same page as me... but this time, I'm hoping for at least the same book.

I trust that next year will be "our" year. We are going into it in a healthy place, and I do have faith that, whatever is in the cards, is the right thing for both of us. In the meantime, I will breathe.

Gotta remember to breathe.


                 [photo credit]

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy Christmas!

I hope you are all having a fabulous day, enjoying family and each other...

Santa was awesome this year :-)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

So far, so good

Day 2, and I've actually had no trouble sleeping... knock on wood.

On Thursday, I went to pick up a different dose of the anti-anxieties that I'm attempting to come off. The pharmacist, who I know is just doing his job, pissed me off big-time. I hand him the prescription, he tells me to come back in two minutes, and just as I'm walking away to go pick up some Christmas stockings for our wee family (just D, me and the kittens this year), he calls me back, "Ma'am, you know this is a different dose than you usually get, right?". 

"Right. But it's in addition to the other dose... I'm weaning off the medication, so I'm going down by 0.25-0.5 mg per week at the beginning."

"Oh."

I go pick up the stockings and head back.


With his zitty little face, he calls me up to the counter by name, and then somehow lets the entire store know what I'm on by basically yelling out the name of the medication. I'm kind of used to that though. As much as it sucks, a lot of pharmacists do it. It wasn't that that got me.


"Um, so... can I ask what you are taking these anti-anxieties for?"


"Uhhhh, well, they help me sleep. But basically, at this point, it's because I'm dependent on them."

"How long have you been on them."


"Over a decade," I reply, thinking in my head 'probably for most of the time that you've been alive'.


"I don't know how much you know about this medication, but it's not usually recommended for long-term use."


"Yeah, that's why I'm coming off them."


"Your body has probably built up a tolerance to the medication, and it may not even be doing anything for you right now, except help you sleep."


"Yeah, that's what I said. And that's why I'm coming off them."


"Because your body will start to need more and more of them to work. And you don't want to take a higher dosage after this long."

"Yeah, that's why I'm coming off them."


"Okay, well if you have any questions..."


"I won't."


I'm not usually a bitch to others, but when I feel as though I'm being talked down to about something that I am extremely well-read and well-experienced in, I get a little pissy. 


I felt like saying, "You try to deal with having a major depressive disorder with psychosis, coupled with a panic disorder when you were 17, try to keep up the straight-A-student-MVP-ball-player-piano-festival-winner persona, as you literally think you're going crazy, and then talk to me about how I should use the drugs. You try being put in a psych ward at age 17-21, pretty much exclusively, wanting to die and not believing with an inch of yourself that you're going to live into adulthood. You try getting electrodes that tickle when they're stuck to your brain, a stick to bite down on shoved in your mouth, lying in a room of doctors and nurses - enough of them to hold you down while you shake and piss all over yourself - after they put you out and shock your brains three times a week "just to see" if anything "shifts" in your mood, and tell me about how to take my medication. You have a panic attacks every day where you forget how to breathe and think your chest is going to explode and have your world shatter down beside you... and then, you can talk to me about how to take my meds. 


But I didn't. I took the bag from him, walked out with my head up (not held high, but I tried), got in the car and started my mantra:


"I can do this. I will sleep. I will stay healthy. I am doing this for the health of my family. I can do this. I will sleep. I will stay healthy. I am doing this for the health of my family. I can do this. I will sleep. I will stay healthy. I am doing this for the health of my family."

I can do this.


2 days down... a few months to go.



Monday, December 13, 2010

Canada, my old friend, you've let me down....

I love living in Canada for many many reasons (including the fact that I am legally married to my partner). It is an incredible country with such diversity and - at least in my city - a place full of very accepting people.

But this sucks. It is illegal to buy eggs (and sperm???) in Canada, so many are resorting to going overseas to basically buy underprivileged women's uteri to carry babies. And it sucks not only for the ethical reasons, but because for a country that prides itself on freedom, democracy, and liberalism (despite our conservative leader, Stephen Harper), we should be able to get the help we need to reproduce, if we can't do it the old-fashioned way.


Quebec just announced that they would pay for fertility treatments for residents living in the province. All the other provinces and territories are miles behind the times, with this archaic notion that we need to make alternate methods of fertility illegal.


For someone who is not versed in U.S. law, do any U.S. states have the same legal issues? Or can you buy sperm without repercussions and a ten-year stint in jail?

The true north strong and free, my ass...


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Different Pages, Maybe Even Different Books

Do you know how hard it is not to make one comment pertaining to whether or not we're going to have a child when it's been decided that we aren't going to speak about it until January?

And I don't mean "Honey, do you still want to have kids?" I'm mean the "Yeah, our kid wouldn't be caught dead doing that" or "Can you imagine how cute it would be if our baby had that hat?" or "Our niece will be old enough to babysit by then". 

As some of you know, our therapist helped D and me decide to put off baby talk (any of it!) for three months. I agreed that it was a good idea (and still think it is, mostly). We're in the middle of the last month of this, and I've been doing well this whole time, but I'm about to explode. Part of why I blog is to get all of this out, and to write out my hopes and dreams, because I can't speak with my wife about them. Not yet...

I can't tell her that one of the main reason I am coming off anti-anxieties is because I'm thinking about pregnancy. I can't tell her that I'm putting away a certain amount of money a month to pay for fertility treatment. I can't tell her that whenever I see a baby, my uterus kicks me in my brain. I can't tell her that I've met some really great people online who I really connect with. And it is not because I'm hiding things from her, it's because I am keeping my part of the deal, but to be honest, it feels like I'm lying - or becoming really distant from her - because I can't share these things.

I'm just really looking forward to a month from now, when we will be talking about babies, and I hope that when I finally bring up the fact that I've been blogging, she doesn't freak out. I hope she realizes that this is beyond important to me. How do I explain that gut-wrenching desire that comes from the pit of my stomach and my heart at the same time, to someone who has never had one urge to carry a child. I don't think she has to be on the same page when it comes to level of excitement... I just hope that if we do go ahead with trying to have a baby, she will feel excited. I think she will. If having a baby is what she really wants, she will.

Is there anyone else out there that wants to / is / has carried a child with a partner that isn't as invested as you? How has it worked? Does it work?

We're planning on moving and a lot of the places we're looking at and can afford are one bedroom places. The fact that I can't turn to D and say "but where will the baby's room be?" is killing me...

Ugh, I hate this. I just want to know, so that I can celebrate or mourn. I feel entitled to that. And it's coming... in less than a month. I suppose I should be happy.

Patience is a bitch.

                    [photo credit]

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Cleansing

I don't change, and I don't like it when people change things on me, but I realize that I'm really not liking my blog layout.

When I first started blogging, I thought this was a cool theme, but it's just so busy, the colours are drab, and I just don't like the way it looks at all.

Reading other blogs, I just love the simple, aesthetically pleasing white background ones with no whistles... so I think that's what I'm going to go for when I have some time to change things.

I figure I may as well do this while I have few readers... and hopefully I'll gain some more along the way!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Time to come off some meds...

                  [photo credit]

So, it's time to do some weaning. 

I've been on anti-anxieties for almost half my life, and I've decided that this month, I'm going to stop taking them. I am on a really low dose, and although they once really helped with my anxiety, I recognize that my dependence is mostly physical. The meds help me sleep, and sleep is one of the most important things for me to get to keep me from spiraling into a deep depression. They do very little - if anything - for my actual anxiety and mood.

Anti-anxiety medication is supposed to be prescribed for short-term use. Full stop. [The University of British Columbia published a media release on an interesting study about long-term use]. But when you're institutionalized as a teenager, with no real hope of getting out, I think doctors do whatever they can to treat you in the moment. And my moments were awful. I don't blame my docs; it's not like the anger and resentment I hold from receiving electro-convulsive (shock) therapy and losing 15 years of memory... this was something that was a quick-fix. I get it. I was dying. Or wanted to.

And now I'm not dying, nor do I want to. I'm doing this for me, but I'm also thinking long-term with medication and pregnancy. Out of the meds I'm on, this one is the one that I don't need for it's purpose, and it's one of the most harmful to a fetus. It's probably the best one to come off first. My plan is to come off the benzos completely, and cut down on the others (see my Happy Mommy, Happy Baby post for the logistics of what needs to happen / my ethical stand-point on medication and pregnancy). If I happen to be able to come off any other medication - all the better. But I also need to stay healthy.

I have some low-stress time coming up. I'm off work the week between Christmas and New Years, back at work for just over a week, and then off for a stay-cation for two weeks in January. This means that if I'm up in the middle of the night staring at the ceiling because I can't sleep, dealing with night sweats and little panic attacks, and god knows what else, it won't be as detrimental as it would be if I had to get up at 5:30 am every day to go to work. 

I'm scared. There has been two other occasions in my relatively recent past where I've attempted to come off some meds. One was pretty successful, despite the extremely low energy and the added 20 pounds. The other time was horrific. I was on disability assistance and in part-time school at the time; I locked myself in my apartment, letting only my then-roommate (who actually ended up being my partner for a year) come near me. I puked every day. I couldn't eat. I sweat through all of my clothes, but couldn't stop shivering. I didn't sleep for four weeks. I hallucinated. I punched through walls in frustration and broke my hand. And the sad part was, I totally shouldn't have come off that medication at that time of my life, but I told myself that being on it was a weakness. I fell into the stigma trap, knowing full well (theoretically) that I needed those meds as much as a diabetic needs insulin. But there's the age old debate...

When I was 20, I was on ten psychiatric medications at a time. I'm not exaggerating. I've always had treatment-resistant depression, but ironically, I was being over-treated. I don't remember life before Monday to Sunday pill boxes, taken morning and night. That's been my life. And still, even though I go out and do public speaking gigs where I talk to people about the stigma of mental illness, I still feel a sense of shame that I can't "just come off" my meds. 

It's more complicated than that.

So I'm taking it one step at a time, extremely strategically, and under the guidance of my awesome shrink. It will work, and I will be okay. It will be hard, but it's one step... and one step of many that I'm committed to take throughout this process.

With any luck, by Valentine's Day (or maybe sooner), I will be anti-anxiety free. And hopefully anxiety free.

Now that's a heart-racing, loving thought.

                [photo credit]

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Fertility Acronyms for Dummies

It's done! 

A list of fertility acronyms and abbreviations explained is now a page on the side of my blog.


There are about 175 definitions to fertility and pregnancy acronyms - common, and some uncommon. I've left the comments open and will do so for a while in case I've left out some obvious ones, or if you think I should add some more, or, of course, if I'm way off-base with some of them. I'll review in a month or so and do any updates needed. Also, there are some that, even though I know the definition, I don't know what they mean, so maybe I'll do a little bit of research for some of the harder ones - but it was important for me to get the list out.

Hopefully this will help the other virgins to TTC (trying to conceive ;-) with their journey - and with reading everyone else's blogs and go "yeah, I know what she's talking about!"

Thanks to those who helped out with links, etc. This is obviously not an original idea, but I thought it would be nice to have one place to come for help.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

In the meantime...

While I am doing my research on fertility acronyms and abbreviations, with help from Amanda Mayfield and others, here's a snapshot of what my life looks like right now:

Roses from a kind-of romantic day last weekend, paint brush and paint for a slow-going kitchen update and a bucket with gloves to scrub the crap out of the kitchen walls and cabinets (not literally, thankfully).

And then there is this:


What is that, you ask? It's paint and duct tape on the kitchen counters with the sticky side up. Our lovely but drive-me-crazy kitten has just found out that she can jump up on the counters. And yes, that is her fur, stuck to the tape, from a failed jumping attempt. Mean? No... don't think so... conventional methods of training this little devil are just not working...

I look forward to baby-proofing my home. There is some really cute stuff out there - stuff that doesn't make you look like your house is falling apart.

There is an untapped market out there for kitty-proofing, I tell you...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

TTC, BFN, FSH, OPK... WTF? HELP!

I love all of your posts. Like, absolutely love them. I have so much to learn... no really - a bit more to learn than I thought!

Although I'm not yet completely on the true TTC journey (but then, when exactly does that start... with the idea? Decision? Plan? Action?), I am trying to read all about it. Through my blogging friends, I am learning much about fertility and all that goes along with this amazing stage, though with some difficulty.

What the hell do all the acronyms mean? Seriously!

So, this is what I'm proposing. I'm going to read some more, collect some acronyms from other blogs and from you and your comments to this post, and start a "Fertility Acronyms for Dummies" page on my blog, so that people like me - virgins to the TTC life (wrong choice of word?) - can understand what the f*ck you're saying... because I can imagine it's all very important stuff.

And I ain't no dummy. I haz an ed-joo-kay-shion... just not in pregnancy.

But I want to. 

So help me out? We could probably do better than this:


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Damn cat / amazing doc!

I have wanted to write, but haven't been able to. Simply because this happened to my Mac power cord:


We have two kittens (I know, I know... lesbians we are). One of them we call the Golden Boy, because he does absolutely nothing wrong. The other is a little shit, who shits - literally - not where she's supposed to once a day, jumps on tables, chews through wires (see above), and has, as of yesterday evening, realized that she has the ability to jump on the kitchen counter. [Side note: if anyone has any ideas on how to train a very untrainable kitten, please tell!]

I don't really feel comfortable writing from work. I'm in a management position, and the last thing I want showing up is a web history that includes the URL "crazy lesbian mom". I'm out at work, but not *that* out.

So, I have had chronic pain for almost 4 years now, which if you want to get up to speed, you can read about. Long story short: I've seen so many specialists over this time, and nobody has been able to help me.

I ran into an old friend about 2 weeks ago, who asked about my pain. She is a medical researcher and is very sciency, so when she mentioned that she's been seeing a doctor of Chinese Medicine, I was a bit taken aback. And then she stated her case:

She suffered from chronic migraines for over a decade, went to this doctor three times, and has never had a migraine again. Her daughter-in-law couldn't get pregnant for 7 years; she went to this doctor and was pregnant within 2 months. Her granddaughter had chronic urinary tract infections; saw this doc... never again.

So what the hell, right?

I called, she wasn't taking new patients. I was asked whether I wanted to see her colleague, to which I replied no (looked him up - he's just graduated, and though I don't judge a doc necessarily on their experience, it wasn't him that got all the praise). I got on a cancellation list, was told there may be a spot in January. I'm used to getting the medical run-around, so that was no surprise.

What was a surprise was when they called and asked whether I could come in last week. I went, with an open mind and a curiosity that is still running strong. I can honestly say I have absofuckinglutely no idea what she did (there was a lot of tapping, rubbing, push and pulling), and the whole time I was on the table, I was thinking about how this would make a great Mad TV skit. 

I started out with a 10 out of 10 in pain. She also noticed (I have no idea how, considering she hardly touched me) that I had a shoulder injury, and issues with TMJ. So, I won't go into it too much, but what she did is based in NIS, which is Neurological Integration System, which has a basic principal that the brain is responsible for all the pain/symptoms in your body.

Basically, she worked on me for about 15 minutes, pulled back her chair, said I had 5 viruses, a fungal infection, issues with my kidneys, and problems breaking down carbs. Sure, whatever you say... but then I got up from the table. She asked me to check the pain level, and it dropped to a 5/10. I could raise my arm above my head for the first time in 10 years. My jaw - somehow - just stopped clicking and the pain is gone. She worked on me for another half hour.

She told me my eyesight was worse in my right eye than my left (true). She told me that there was an issue with my thyroid (true, which I didn't tell her about). She just kept telling me things about my body that was true, and that no - I didn't write down. The only thing she knew about me going in was that I was a female in my thirties and have had chronic pain in one area for 4 years. 

So here I am a week or so later, and my pain is at about 2 out of 10. I can still lift my arm above my head. I can open my mouth as wide as I want. Overall, I'm feeling a hell of a lot better... more energy, better sleep, digestive system WAY better. I can go grocery shopping, I can stand up long enough to cook - hell, to brush my teeth. I can walk to the train after work. I can take the stairs. I walked through the entire showroom at IKEA this week. Please, please, please make this be the end...

And yes, I talked to her about getting pregnant. She asked whether I was going to use frozen sperm, and I said "probably" (remember, D and I haven't even made a decision about having a kid yet). She told me to come to her when we were trying to conceive. She works with a lot of lesbians (and breeders too) who are doing intrauterine insemination - and other methods, for that matter - and without a hint of anything but a professional confidence, said that she could definitely help me work with the fertility clinics. She's apparently got a good track record.

Hell, if she can take this much pain away after so long, I will go to her for a simple hang-nail!

I go back to see her before Christmas about my chronic pain, and everything else she found, and I really really hope that this is the first step to painlessness... and a step towards being able to carry.

And just because I teased, here is a Mad TV skit for you:



Thursday, November 25, 2010

Wish us luck...

Tonight, D & I look after our nieces and nephew for an entire evening. Doesn't sound so hard, but this is the situation:

- 1 six year old girl (going on 16) who is grounded for various reasons and who only wants to wear her headphones and listen to Justin Beiber, making sure we know it's up to *her* when she wants to go to bed
- 1 five year old girl who riles up her brother to the point where he's unstoppable and who talks like she's the last person on earth
- 1 three year old boy who is riled up and does not come down, no matter how much you run him out... he's like the energizer bunny with a gruff old-man voice
- 1 six-month-old niece, who is a total mama's girl, who cries when she leaves her mom's arms. Awesome.

I love these kids, but this'll be a good test!


Monday, November 22, 2010

Don't take this personally

I love my job but it’s tough to work when my mind is elsewhere.

I’m worried about D. Good news is, she finally made a therapy appointment for next week; she’s realizing she needs help, and although she’s dealt with many deaths before, she still needs to deal…

There is this book we’ve had around the house for years that we both try to follow the teachings of: The Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz. Although much of it is based in spirituality, he does not force his on you, and the teachings are wide-spread and relatable. 




Number 1: Be impeccable with your word
Number 2: Don’t take things personally
Number 3: Don’t make assumptions
Number 4: Always do your best

Some of these might seem easy to do, and sometimes it is easy to follow through on a promise. But some times, after a long week of work, even though you’ve told a friend you haven’t seen in three years who is coming into the city for one night that you will meet them, it’s easier to suddenly not feel well, or have car trouble, or get the dates mixed up… just because.

One of don Miguel’s thoughts is that when we take things personally, this is where deep insecurities in the form of invisible scars are affected. He suggests that when we get on someone’s nerves or hit a sore spot, we are ripping scabs off. This is what I think is happening to D. Not that anyone is ripping at her, but that old scars are being reopened with every new death.

I have a director at work that makes me work very hard at number 2: don’t take things personally. I know I do a good job, and I know I’m very good at what I do. I am often complimented and acknowledged for my skill, though if my director is stressed out, everything seems to be my fault – any little *bad* thing (no matter how significant the GOOD thing is) that happens, whether it is a misplaced comma or a 6-month project being half an hour late, that’s more important. And then my director focuses on me, because I suppose it is easier to put blame on me when perfectionism is their only goal.

I’m often reminded of the “it’s not you, it’s me” cliché, which I pretend my supervisor says every time I’m blamed for something out of my control. Perhaps it is because I myself am a bit of a perfectionist, and blame myself anyway… so the added blame is a bit of an overload. Anyway, number 2 has always been tough, but I’m working at it. 

As for me and D, I am not taking anything personally… how can I? I am being impeccable with my word and following through with everything I can do to support her. I have made no assumptions about her actions, and I am doing my best: as a partner and a friend. All the while trying to be a lover.

This summer when we had a big blow-up, I read don Miguel’s The Voice of Knowledge, where the author reminds readers of a profound yet simple truth: The only way to end emotional suffering and restore joy in living is to stop believing in lies - mainly about ourselves.

This book accompanied me to my little cabin in the woods that I went to for 5 days as I reflected on myself, trying to make some sense out of all that was going on. If you ever need to forgive yourself, this is the book to read.

D read The Mastery of Love, and it changed her life. I know that’s a powerful statement (she agrees), but it came to her at the right moment. It’s on my list of things to read.

I guess this post comes down to this: we need direction. We need outside help when we can’t help ourselves, our situations, our loved ones. I know too well the people I lost when I was seriously ill because they felt too helpless, and that they blamed themselves for not being able to “fix” my mental illness and to suddenly make me sane and happy again. I lost a lot of people because I couldn’t make that happen myself.

When things are deep… and things right now feel deep… sometimes it’s necessary to reach out to things you know can help.

Today, I will do my best. For me, that somehow always seems like the easiest of the four agreements to follow.



Sunday, November 21, 2010

A slutty night

Last night was all about sex.

I have very vivid sexual dreams, but most of them are all pleasure with no purpose. Last night I had a very different kind of sexual dream, which kind of freaked the hell out of me when I was in it (I have lucid dreams), but especially when I woke up.

It started off pretty innocently. I was with a friend, who was introducing me to some guy that I was going to have a quick sexual encounter with to get me pregnant. Purposeful fucking, so of course that makes sense. And then it wasn't enough. I freaked out that he was my one shot - literally - and what if it didn't work? So I went on a hunt.

For however long my dream lasted, I was manically seeking the father of my not-yet-conceived child. I started off with what (in the dream) I wanted in a father: brown hair, green eyes, smart, good-looking, healthy, kind and gentle. But then it turned desperate. I *needed* to get pregnant, and so, I fucked every guy who waltzed into my dream. Anonymous faces, with looks and charms slowly going downhill with every sexual encounter. I filled up my fictional dream calendar. There were only a few hours where I was at my most fertile, and it was my last chance. This had to happen.

So anonymous faces and penises came in and out (again, quite literally), and then apparently anonymity wasn't important to me anymore, so old boyfriends showed up, friends of my brothers, and then... my entire elementary school class of boys showed up, and I went to them all rabidly for one purpose. Yes, Peter Scholtz, then Andrew Liteman, followed by Jacob McFarren, and even Richard Templeton... it didn't matter who. As long as they had sperm.

[Photo credit: Getty Images]
I often have nightmares where I need to get somewhere or do something, and if I don't, I'll die. This dream seemed no different. If I didn't get pregnant, I don't know what would have happened. And I woke up before I was finished. I rolled over to my partner - still sleeping - and chose to keep this dream under wraps for the time-being. Is it normal to have these kind of panicky dreams?

My subconscious is obviously getting impatient. I'm just trying to keep my conscious mind sane. My time will (hopefully) come, without having to fuck an entire army of boys to make a dream come true.

Ugh.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

TTC is hard to see; poetry is easy.

Today, I've been reading all of the blogs I follow (on my blogroll and through Google Reader). There are some really positive ones, written by people I couldn't be happier for: couples who've just conceived, couples who are basking in the delights of new parenthood... but then there are endless entries from women who are at their wits ends with this whole TTC thing (I won't list them out of respect for their privacy and pain).

Their honesty has got me thinking about my own journey, which has hardly begun, and make me question whether I'll be able to stay sane through the process. Knowing my health isn't great on the best of days - will I be able to do this? 

I don't even know whether I'll be able to go on fertility meds with the meds I'm currently on. I don't know how screwing with my hormones is going to screw with my head. Fuck, I don't even know if my partner still wants to have a baby with me... whether we'll even go down that road. 

The process excites me, but freaks me out beyond belief. I feel like on top of the mad journey of TTC, I have so much else going on. So should we even start trying? Perhaps I'm writing this, and doubting myself, because I am still in my pajamas on a Saturday at 3:00 p.m., after sleeping for 10 hours because work is killing me right now, and I need a break. 

How the hell am I ever going to get by without sleep, stressed out about getting pregnant, or up every hour with a new baby? Does this innate parenting thing kick in that makes it possible? I'm not not looking forward to it - I know it will be worth it all... I just worry about post-partum depression, and though my shrink is confident that the odds aren't high enough for me to worry about, that's what I do: I worry.

I have a good friend who has a 7-year-old daughter (pregnant on the first date with her now husband). She's a wonderful mom, and she wants me to be a mom, but she says nobody tells you how much you worry. Granted, she's a bit of a helicopter mom whose child can do absolutely no wrong, but if I'm a worrier by nature, what will that translate into when motherhood arrives?

I work at a Children's Hospital, which is wonderful and sad. I see kids every day who are sick, and I can't help but wonder whether my health will affect my baby's. You see? My partner and I haven't even decided on whether we're going to get pregnant yet, and I'm already worrying about the health of my baby. Lord knows that if we do start this journey, our baby may not come for years. Can I keep up the worrying for that long, or will I just worry about something else in the meantime? Probably.

But then there's this other part of me that *knows* I'm going to be an incredible mom. I just know me... and I know, no matter what the circumstances, I will thrive. Maybe that's what gives me hope and is pulling me through.

D and I have less than a month and a half before we can start talking baby again (therapist helped us make a deal that we'd drop the subject for 3 months so that we could work on "us" first). 

I was flipping through my menstrual calendar app on my iPhone - amazing little things - and my birthday is in a few months. On the calendar, there is a big, dark box around my birthday: it is the day of the month that is my best chance of conceiving. Last year on my birthday, I told D that I wanted to be pregnant by this birthday coming up... that's nowhere near happening. 

But thank you, Apple, for reminding me of the cruel irony that for my birthday, I *could* be in a clinic office, with the possibility of conceiving on that very day, but instead, I will be worrying... about something, I'm sure.

I suppose I didn't have to download the app, eh?

 (Photo credit: here. And no, that's not my real birthday, nor my real cycle).

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I suck at death

And no, that's not a vampire reference.

Death. I don't know how to deal with it. Or grief. Both. I guess they go hand-in-hand.

D and I have been to 2 funerals in the last 10 days. Including these two deaths, D has had six people in her life die in the last four months. This is a woman who lost both of her parents by the time she was in her early 20s. Me, I haven't lost anyone that close. My best friend's dad, a friend from high school, my amazing great aunt... all deaths, but none that has rocked me to the core.

D is used to grieving alone. She's had a life full of loss, and one specific death brought on a period of abandonment and forced independence (I've learned through her past that death brings out the worst in people). She's used to dealing with things - or not dealing with things - without the help of anyone else. Although she wasn't incredibly close with these recent losses, it is reminding her of the most important loss - her mom - and with every death, the scab gets ripped off yet again.

These days, it is obvious that she's hurting, that's she's having a hard time, but it's taken a lot of poking and prodding to get anything out of her mouth (never mind her tear ducts). Bottom line is, I don't know how to support a griever that well. I'm around to listen. I'm around to do chores that she doesn't have the energy or drive to do. I'm here to tell her how much I lover her... but I feel so helpless. I ask if there is anything I can do, but of course there isn't.

Of course it is affecting our relationship. She's withdrawn and angry and snippety. I'm frustrated and worried and feeling guilty that I'm thinking about how *I* feel when I'm not the one losing people. I don't know... there has to be a middle ground in a partnership around this. Where you get to grieve, but you can also be functional in a relationship. For now, I wait.

The latest death was a pretty personal death for me. The funeral was this afternoon. It was a friend from an organization I was involved with for over 10 years. I saw her every week for over a decade and went away with her twice a year. She was over thirty years older than me, but had more energy than I'd ever had. This woman ran a marathon in her early 60s. After she "retired," she backpacked through developing countries to perform 14 hours of surgeries for kids with cleft lips and palates and other "cosmetic" medical conditions (she was a nurse). She was one of those people who's energy and heart were too big for this earth. Diagnosed less than a year ago with one cancer, which turned into 3 cancers, she passed away merely 9 months later. That's the length of a pregnancy. Crazy.

And a note on Catholic funerals. No disrespect to Catholics, honestly - I welcome all faiths - but my god! (or rather, my God with a capital "G"...) How about talking about the PERSON a little more, and not about how God called her home, how because she was baptized, she chose to die with Christ, and has a special room in God's house? She hasn't been in a conventional church in over 30 years, and instead of celebrating her spirit, we were mimicking lines the priest spoke at us. I didn't really want to hear about Pope Benedict. I wanted to hear about how my friend made the entire operating room laugh during procedures. I wanted to hear about how she stayed up all night when we went away and looked after people when they were in trouble. I didn't want to be reminded of how bad my Latin and sight reading is.


It's weird. Last week's funeral was at an Anglican church, which is the church that I was brought up in (before I got caught by the Baptists... I'll save that for another post); a lot of similarities to Catholicism. This woman was a bit different though. She was a leader in the congregation. She was active in the church's HIV/AIDS outreach program. She even recently wrote her own eulogy, knowing she was going to die, which her sister read at the altar. She chose the verses she wanted read, she picked the hymns and, a few months before she died, she actually asked D's good friend to sing Amazing Grace at her funeral, which you can imagine was a wee bit emotional. It just felt more personal. Today just felt like it was the right thing to do.

So, to you G, who we said goodbye to today - may your house in heaven be as big as your heart was, and may your pain be gone forever. This is a picture I took on vacation this year ~ a picture that reminds me that no matter what our faith, a higher power is ever-present. Today, it reminds me of you.


And to D - I will find a way to support you, to be patient yet not stagnant, to make you feel as though you are not alone. Because you aren't. I ain't going anywhere.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The New Girl (and a thank you)

I'm new to all of this. New to a community who wants, is trying, or has expanded a single life or partnership into a family. New to a community who is versed in the conception lingo - TTC, IVF, HPT, 2WW... and a whole bunch of others that I've yet to learn. New to a community who are lesbians. That's right, I don't really even have "real life" close lesbian friends.

I don't live in a small town and I'm not sheltered by any means. I know gay people; I have gay friends. It's just that I don't make a point of making more gay friends for the sake of making gay friends. People come into my life as-is and I start relationships as-is, regardless of gender, sexuality, faith or age. I don't have a lesbian community, and until recently, haven't really felt the "need" to have one. I am just gay and living my life; nothing to see here. I married for love, not politics. I want equal rights, but I am not the woman you'll see marching with a flag in my hand to fight for them. I'm blessed to live in a country where I got to marry the woman I love by getting the same marriage license as the straight couple in the line in front of us at the local drug store. (Yay Canada!).

I haven't felt the need to seek a community, until now. When I first got serious about putting my dreams of being a mom into actions, I went online to read - to see how others have done it. And now, I'm scratching the surface... I started to blog about the beginning of my journey into motherhood, but I honestly feel as though I've been a bit of an imposter.

Life got in the way. Relationship troubles have put the baby plans on the shelf for the time being. Chronic pain has stopped me from starting the process of having a baby. My mental health has made the baby take the back seat. But, that is life. That's my life.

My wife doesn't know about this blog. It's not that I'm hiding it from her - I will show her next year, when we are "allowed" to talk about babies (according to our therapist and our decision). We made a deal that I would not pressure her to walk this road with me for three months, as long as she could tell me in January whether she's truly committed and ready for this whole TTC journey (an abbreviation I will have to explain to her). The next three months, we focus on us.

She bought us books last year to get ready. She dreamed with me about parenting. She thought up baby names with me. And then our relationship took a hit, and dreaming got put aside so that healing could start. And that's okay. I'm actually grateful for it; although this whole not knowing is tough, I recognize that I have an incredible woman who, regardless of whether it's just us and our cats, or us and our cats and a dog and a baby, I want to be with, am lucky to have, and can't wait to live my life with her.

So, for all of you who are ahead of me in the family or trying-for-a-family department, I just want to thank you for paving the way, for writing so honestly and openly about being lesbians and starting families - or having trouble starting families. I will join you soon, and I can't wait. I know very few of your names. But I'm getting to know many initials and nicknames, URLs, and some of your beautiful families through photos. I read every comment you write and truly appreciate the time you take to read, and feel supported by your responses. I feel as though I'm building a strong foundation before starting off on a treacherous and exciting journey, and that foundation  - this community - is vital. (I almost feel as though I'm coming out of the closet again).

For now, I hope that you'll let me be a part of your community: one that I'm realizing is stronger than I'd ever imagined would be out there. You are inspiring, you make me laugh, you make me cry, and I want to be like you. One day, I will be like you. I'm already on my way there.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Head, heart, and health

I’ve been to see my GP more than enough times over the past 3 and a half years. I’ve been to rheumatologists. I’ve been to neurologists. I’ve been to orthopedic surgeons. I’ve been to chronic pain clinics. I’ve seen shrinks. I’ve been to chiropractors and physiotherapists. I’ve changed my shoes. I got orthotics. I’ve had blood panels. I’ve had a full-body MRI. I’ve had a nuclear medicine bone scan. I’ve had CT scans. I’ve more than enough X-rays. I’ve had an EEG and numerous brain tests. I had “experimental” surgery this summer.

Nothing has worked.

Three and a half year ago, the dull pain in both of my feet turned into sharp pain that has taken away the possibility of activity in my life. I can’t go grocery shopping without being in constant pain. I can’t stand and wash the dishes without constant pain. I certainly can’t exercise without constant pain. I can hardly get by doing a desk job without constant pain. I am a completely different person than the woman I was when I could just “be” without pain.

But pain has become interweaved with my life now. It’s just there. And nobody knows why. There is nothing physiologically wrong with me (so far). It is not psychosomatic (according to more than two psychiatrists). It is inexplicable major chronic pain that has essentially taken my health away from me.

The sad thing? I do not have any mobility and my physical health is taking a big hit. I can’t do anything I used to be able to do. And yet, even though I am immobile and in constant pain, my physical ailment has nothing on depression. Having gone through both physical and psychological illnesses, mental illness wins in the “what’s worse” category.

I have to get back to work, as my lunch hour (where I’ve been stuck at my desk because the pain is especially bad today) is almost done. Though I will revisit this pain issue and how it has shaped the dream of having a baby… and how my mental health has teamed up with my physical health to make this an especially hard journey…

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Twins, Triplets: What's One More?

I just spent a lovely evening with my best friend, looking after her sister's five-month-old twins. One boy, one girl. Perfect. One shot and bam! - instant family.

I'm sure every reader who has twins or multiples is saying "oh god it's not that simple". And no, just having to change the boy's diaper while keeping an eye on the girl while my friend was in the washroom - I cannot imagine what it would be like to raise two babies at once. Two times the madness... but two times the love as well. Even two nipples ain't going to make the job that easy.

The babies are so different from each other. Physically, the girl looks like mum and the boy looks like dad. The boy giggles and smiles and dances and the girl is low-key, relaxed, a little less emotive and holy crap she's pudgy! They were actually a C-section just because the girl was almost 3 pounds bigger than the boy in the womb, and stealing all his nutrients. Hopefully (or not), she'll grow into her cheeks.

It made me think about the odds when couples are TTC. With the hormones, the potential meds, the clinical aspect, cleaning sperm so only the goodies can swim, making it the perfect place for conception. A lot of the moms I've read blog of have multiples. Does anyone know what the stats are? For any fertility treatments? IVF? Good ol' shoot 'em up turkey baster style?

Makes me think that the odds would be higher when I try to conceive. Can a woman who struggles with mental health, low energy, and pain really take care of two babies, let alone one? But the cards will fall where they fall, and I imagine that if it were meant to be that I somehow conceived twins or triplets, I'd just have to fucking figure it out like everyone else who is in the same boat does.

These twins tonight were so good and well behaved. The boy cried for about 30 seconds after I put him to bed. Everything was so easy... and then I thought about the other 21 hours of the day. What does mum have to go through to keep herself sane?

That's when I'm grateful I would have a supportive family nearby if I am going to have a baby. I don't know whether I could go forward on this journey without my mum around. I just wish she hadn't recently moved a ferry ride away.

Oh well, there's time. Perhaps too much time. Especially as I set the clock back tonight.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Preggo with a capital EGO

I've been spending more time than usual with one of my best friends. I don't know if it's just pure circumstance, or because she's pregnant and her husband is sick of hearing about it and/or she just wants to talk and talk and talk about it, and I happen to be around.

We've been friends since we were fourteen, and she's stayed with me through my crazy days, visiting me in psych wards religiously and just generally keeping an eye out for me when my eyes were full of pain. She's a great woman, wonderful at her job (social work with families) and I am genuinely happy for her. She and her husband are fabulous, and they're going to be amazing parents.

But here's the thing: since she made the announcement, nothing else in the world matters. And I completely understand that being pregnant - especially for the first time - is one of the most exciting things in the world, but there's a line, and I think she's crossed it.

She was barely three months pregnant when we had a particular dinner, which was interrupted every ten minutes because "the baby is pushing on my bladder". After said meal, she took my hand and put it on the top of her stomach, just underneath her breasts, saying that her baby makes this area feel harder after she eats. Now, if I'm not mistaken, a fetus at 12 weeks is about 2 inches, or the size of a small plum:

  

If you want to see it inside of you, in relation to all the girlie parts around it, according to BabyCenter, this is what a 12 week fetus looks like:


Is that really anywhere near her breasts? Not so much...

Now, I'm not saying that this size is not significant. This is the kind of thing Pro Life activists use to keep people from having abortions. This is a living creature growing inside of you, and it's an amazing thing.

Because she won't stop talking about it, and because I'm curious and can't wait to feel it myself, I ask her, "Can you feel it?" And she replies, "well, no; not yet... but I hear I'm going to feel butterflies soon."

I love her to pieces, I really do. But out of all of my friends, she is the one that knows how badly I want to get pregnant, and by no means am I asking her to hold back her excitement because I'm not where she is... but I wake up every morning to a text from her about a dream she had about a baby, or log into Facebook where she has already posted a "belly pic" profile shot (none of her friends have the guts to tell her that HER gut might just be a "generous" gut, without the baby's help) and is endlessly posting status updates about how her baby is doing today.

It took her and her husband two months of trying before she got pregnant, and they were "so worried" that they'd never be able to conceive, considering "it took that long". I have no idea what it's going to be like when my partner and I are trying to conceive with frozen sperm and a bunch of towels under my ass, getting injected by near-strangers in a clinic, staring at the ceiling and hoping one of the anonymous sperms is a good swimmer. Will it take 2 months? 2 years? Will it happen at all? Will I turn to her then? I don't know...

So while I'm ecstatic for her and her little plum, it's tough to listen to her go on and on about it. She gets to do this, and so far, she gets to do this so easily. I get that I'm jealous of her and I understand that it's okay to be, especially when I *am* happy for her deep down, but I don't know how many more coffee dates or walks we can take where I take a backseat and listen to how her life is evolving right in front of her - literally - while I feel as though I'm as frozen in the process as the frozen sperm that's potentially going to be involved in the conception of my (hopefully) future child.

I'm at the age where a lot of my friends are getting pregnant and having babies. It's tough and it's beautiful and it's inspiring and fucking frustrating. I can't make my breeding friends stop (and why would I try?) and at this point, I can't get my partner to move forward with our plan - because we lost our plan - so I feel as though I'm in limbo, surfing around in some sticky muck that may look a little like amniotic fluid, but with none of the nourishment or protection.

Empty.