Waging an inner war

There is a pot of money sitting in our high-interest savings account.

On the spreadsheet where I keep track of things, it’s labelled as “short-term savings”.

It’s not our emergency fund.

It’s not the bit of money we were given by Q.’s mother earlier in the year (which is sitting in the HISA until we figure out what we are going to do with it).

It’s our miscellaneous money.

Here’s what we’ve been thinking of using it for:

  • top up our TFSA, RRSP and RESP savings to make up some of the shortfall we’re now building because I’m not working
  • put it towards a cottage vacation next year
  • finish the landscaping in the side/back yard so it will actually be a space we want to use
  • help offset the cost of demolishing our ridiculous shed and replacing it with a smaller option (a part of the side/back yard project that Q. thinks he can do himself)

All good things that would benefit the family we do have.

I will give you all one guess as to what I currently want to use it for.


I don’t know how to reconcile my heart and my head.

Logically I can appreciate that it makes no sense whatsoever to cycle again.

It would be, at the very least, financially irresponsible.

Q. and I are not financially irresponsible people.

But my inner voice just won’t let it go.

It argues that when it comes to long-protocol fresh IVF cycles where we transfer two blastocysts, we have a decent strike rate.

Four blasts transferred.

Three implanted.

Two turned into embryos.

Admittedly, we’re not doing so well with the final outcome as only one of the four ever became a baby that we brought home, but that’s not to say that the next cycle wouldn’t be successful.

Or so my inner voice argues.

I have no idea how to shut her up.


There is only one positive coming out of this entire experience.

For once in my life, I am not eating my feelings.

It’s like my body has finally realized that no amount of chocolate cake is going to make this better.


Filed under Anxiety Overload, Grief, Lonely Onlies?, Loss, Mirror, Mirror (Body Image), Money Matters, Second Thoughts

Questions I don’t know how to answer

Yesterday at nursery school on my duty day. E. has finished his snack and is idly flipping through Words Are Not for Hurting, one of a series of books with overt behavioral modification messages that I find deeply irritating but the kids seem to like. He is looking at a page where an older boy has made his little brother cry because he yelled at him after the baby knocked down his block tower.

“Mummy, are we ever going to get another baby at our house?”

E. is distracted by something his friend is doing before I can gather myself to form a response. It is the first time he has ever mentioned such a thing since he stopped asking about the baby that died.


This morning at breakfast. E. is eating oatmeal after finishing his waffle.

“Mummy, why are we not going to have another baby at our house?”

“Why are you asking, sweetie?”

“Because I want a baby.”


“That just seems to be how it’s worked out, sweetie. Besides, Mummy and Daddy love you so much. If we had a baby, you’d have to share us with the baby.”

Long pause.

“Ok.” E. goes back to eating his oatmeal.

Long pause.

“Why did you say, ok, E.?”

“Because now I know why we’re not going to have another baby in our house.”

“Do you like having Mummy and Daddy all to yourself?”

Big smile. “YES!”

Long pause.

E.: “Imagine if we went for an adventure on the streetcar and we forgot the baby!”

And then he is off, imagining what we would do on the streetcar, and I feel like I have dodged another bullet.


Filed under E.- the fourth year, Grief, Lonely Onlies?, Loss, Second Thoughts, Siblings

Three can be a good number

Microblog_MondaysWe had an adventure yesterday.

We went, just the three of us, to an annual event in our city, one that I have wanted to take E. to ever since he was born. This year I thought he was finally old enough to enjoy it.

We went early, so it wouldn’t be crowded.

We left early, before E. became too exhausted.

We had a blast.

There was one moment, where E. was shrieking with laughter and applauding wildly during the Jack Russell races, when I looked at him and I didn’t see all the other families surrounding us with their multiple children, I only saw him and a lump grew in my throat as I realized just how damn lucky we are that we have him.

We rode the bus home, E. eating a bubblegum flavoured lollipop and clutching the little yellow tractor he’d selected as a present for his best stuffed dog because it was her birthday and she was so sad she couldn’t go with us.

It was easy.

It was fun.

It was a great day.

This post is part of #MicroblogMondays. For the other participants, click here.


Filed under E.- the fourth year, Microblog Mondays

Learning to raise the white flag

Thank you to everyone who has commented on my last couple of posts. The support of this community means the world to me.

One of the comments exhorted me not to give up.

But that’s exactly what this is about.

I believe there could be a different outcome if we just kept trying and trying and trying and trying. Eventually, at some point, there would be another good embryo and a cycle that worked.

If we had unlimited financial resources and bottomless emotional reserves and endless time and an unceasing willingness to put our lives on hold, we could probably get there.

But we don’t.

One of the most insidious things about infertility treatments is there is nothing to tell you to stop.

If you succeed in building the family you want, whether that’s one child, or two, or more, then it’s easy. You write thank you letters to your doctor and the rest of staff at the clinic and skip away into the sunset.

But when you don’t end up where you wanted to be, the finishing line is much murkier.

I have a follow up appointment booked with my doctor for early December. I would love for him to tell me that we are making the right decision. I would love for him to look at my history and agree with me that thirteen embryos transferred resulting in one live birth and one miscarriage and a 70% attrition rate for the embryos during IVF cycles and a total failure to get pregnant during FETs suggests that maybe there is something else going on that we don’t know about and can’t (yet) test for. I would love for him to acknowledge that we got lucky, really really lucky, with the cycle that produced E., but that maybe he was a fluke and we should count our blessings and walk away.

I don’t think he’s going to do that. I think he’s going to tell me it’s all been a run of bad luck. I think he will be highly optimistic (because this man is ALWAYS highly optimistic) about our chances of success if we try again.

He’s not going to help us to walk away.

The onus is on us.

And here is the problem.

This is the first time in my life where working really really hard and doing everything right has not led to success.

I have not learned how to fail.

I have not learned how to give up.

I have not learned how to accept defeat.

Right now all I want to do is figure out a way to rationalize trying again.  And I can’t yet tell whether this is an indication of just how deep-rooted my desire for a second child is, or if it is a defense mechanism (because as long as I am planning another cycle that means I don’t have to actually deal with the grief), or if it is my stubborn perfectionist nature refusing point blank to accept that something I’ve done in my life might not turn out well.

I’m sure at some point in my life I would have had to learn this lesson.

I just wish it hadn’t been this.


Filed under Cycle Madness, Grief, Lonely Onlies?, Loss, Medical issues, Money Matters, Second Thoughts

What will not be

Microblog_MondaysNo one to sit with him in the backseat.

No one to make faces at across the kitchen table.

No one to open stockings with ridiculously early on Christmas morning before sneaking downstairs to see what Santa brought.

No one to share his history.

E. doesn’t know what he will be missing.

But I do.

This post is part of #MicroblogMondays. For the other participants, see here.


Filed under Grief, Lonely Onlies?, Loss, Microblog Mondays, Second Thoughts, Siblings

Reel Life

If my life were a movie, this is how this act would end:

The beta would come back positive. It would be nice and strong, and it would double appropriately. There would be a baby with a heartbeat at the first ultrasound. There would also probably be another blood clot, just to add some suspense and an excuse for some scary but ultimately meaningless bleeding later in the first trimester.

The ultrasounds would go well, every week. I would feel sick occasionally but would spend the rest of the time putting my feet up, basking in my pregnant glow, and being an exemplary (read: never frustrated) mother to E.

I would stop all the medications, one by one.

Nothing bad would happen.

The baby’s scans would look perfect, right up until I graduate from the clinic.

I’d spend the rest of the pregnancy with my midwives. There would be a few more anxiety-inducing moments (need to keep the viewers’ interest!) but in the end I’d give birth without any major complications. For hilarity the baby might come very close to being born in the (rental) car en route to the hospital. Or maybe the baby would arrive at home before the midwives could get there. But it would all turn out well in the end.

She’d be a girl, of course. Brown eyes and brown hair. The child who haunts my dreams.

E. would show absolutely no signs of jealousy and we’d fade to black with the four of us nestled in our bed at home, deliriously happy, probably all dressed in white.

But my life isn’t a movie.

And so it ends like this:

A phone call from the clinic.

A negative beta.

And a broken heart.


Filed under 2.0 FET #3, Grief, Lonely Onlies?, Loss, Second Thoughts


I’m not being evasive.

On the sheet with the instructions for the FET, it clearly says that it can take up until 6 p.m. for a nurse to call with the beta results.

The only problem is it’s now twenty minutes past six here and they STILL HAVEN’T CALLED ME.

I was in late this morning- right at the end of cycle monitoring hours- because I had to drop E. at nursery school first.

I looked at the pregnancy test sign up sheet. I was number thirteen or fourteen. I remember thinking it was a really quiet day- some days they go through more than one sheet (which holds thirty-odd names).

Maybe they’ve had some catastrophic event where they’ve lost power or something.

If they’ve just plain forgotten to call me, like has happened once before, I’m going to be really pissed off.


Filed under 2.0 FET #3, Anxiety Overload