Struggling, and My History Part I

Since the D&C on Thursday, my pregnancy hormones have plummeted. My body feels it, and so does my mind.

Physical Changes:
– boobs have shrunk down, and are less tender
– hair and skin is feeling oilier
– appetite is back in full force comfort eating
– falling asleep at bedtime is challenging
– cluster headaches stabbing through my right eye

Emotional Changes:
– less happy
– less content
– find myself stuck in destructive moments of dwelling jealousy, deep depression
– severe anxiety stemming from work-related triggers that in unable to shake

I’ve been baking and cooking up a storm, feeling guilty for not going into work these days while DW, who is also grieving, does. She is taking her final principal qualification course, which has her pulling 15 hour days at least once a week. She is doing this for us. Meanwhile, I’m making her gourmet lunches and snacks. Recently, I made chicken souvlaki from scratch, taking the care to give the chicken a nice long marinade. It was delicious. This weekend, she put in a request for oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, which of course I made gluten-free.

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This morning I baked up these Brazilian Cheese Balls:

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I haven’t been sleeping well over the past two nights. I can’t seem to fall asleep, with anxious worries about work, and some recent drama involving my undiagnosed bipolar personality disordered father.

Work has been carbon copying me on the comings and goings of my students, which are all pretty troubled youth. They also notified me that they are dumping almost a dozen students with a timetable conflict into my second semester credit recovery class, which is not an appropriate use of the period, and makes my life a living hell for second semester. They are always dancing the line of violating my contract, but unfortunately, approaching them about this will accomplish nothing except undeservingly getting me deeper into their bad books. My medically necessary leave of absence has already done a shit load of damage in this respect, which makes me anxious too because we (DW and I) have decided that I NEED to get out of this school, and accomplishing that requires a positive recommendation from the principal who has shamelessly made me his scapegoat. Each and every email that I get from work triggers a full-body-sick-to-my-stomach feeling of dread, and I get these emails on a daily basis during the work week. I am on a fucking medical leave people! Leave me the fuck alone. Technically, I am not expected to be checking or responding to their emails, but it all comes into my iPhone automatically. So yesterday, I took a positive step in detoxifying my life and REMOVED my work email from my iPhone. I will still have to check it on my computer once every two weeks or so, but it will be when I choose and not disrupting my life at their convenience.

Now my father is a very complicated problem. He disowned me back in July (for the second time) when I told him that we were trying to have a baby, and then just yesterday sent me a nasty mean-spirited email that haunted me all last night. I have not “come out” about him before, and I feel that I should do that soon.

[TRIGGER warning- do not read on if descriptions of physical violence is triggering for you.]

My father has done a lot of bad things, mostly to me, but also to my mother and sister. He was in his last year of dental school when he got my mother pregnant, and has always blamed my existence for “ruining his life” (his words, which I have heard so many times). Being a nice Christian couple, my parents got married when my mom was three months pregnant, and they were both 25. She moved in with his family (it’s a Chinese thing), and the “perfect family” image that his family portrayed so perfectly started to crumble. Almost every single one of my father’s siblings has an undiagnosed mental illness that is so very destructive to the people around them. Only one of them has been diagnosed, and she is treated so badly by everyone else. After all, they are all medical doctors (I’m not kidding, almost every single one), and have too much pride to come to terms with their issues.

So we lived with my grandparents, and I would say that they raised me until the age of 8, when my mother finally left my father. Contrary to what many people think of children suffering from the fracturing of the family unit, I was very relieved that she was finally leaving him. I had witnessed him physically assault her regularly, and once even thought that he had killed her when he pushed her through a glass shower door, knocking her unconscious. At 8 years old, I was aware that he was a very bad person and that we would be better off on our own.

When I was 2 years old, my father had an affair with my mother’s 19 year old sister. He flaunted it in her face, and even got her pregnant. He forced her to have the pregnancy aborted, and when my mother’s parents found out my aunt was pregnant, she got shipped off to Asia. My mother was too ashamed to tell them it was her husband who had gotten her sister pregnant. That aunt has always been weird with me.

The rest of his affairs were carried out in an equally flaunting manner. He would have sex in his office with his assistants, show me photos of his latest girlfriends, and leave evidence of his escapades all over his condo. I hated visiting him. His visits would consist of taking us swimming, then making us clean his condo (disgusting- think of all of the paraphernalia lying around).

He was never loving, kind, or dependable like I saw all of my friends’ fathers to be. When other kids wished for toys when they blew out their birthday candles, I always wished that my dad would just die. Or I would fantasize about having a different dad. Dreaming of smiles on my mom’s face, laughter, and living a life without fear.

I was so fearful. All the time. Because when we lived with my grandparents, I had their protection. My father still answered to his father, and my grandfather loved me. But when we moved out, he would come over and terrorize us. He would pull into our cul-de-sac in his Porsche and then enter the house in a bad mood. He’d then pick a fight over nothing with me or my mom, and then beat me or my mom. It was a sick beating too. Not just a punch or a slap, but a Muay Thai kick to my 8 year old quad, knocking me to the ground and then dragging me by my hair across the tiled foyer and then slamming my head against a wall. The worst part for me wasn’t the pain, but the fact that my mother would take my sister and leave me there alone with him. It was me or her. She’d rather save herself. Sometimes, I would hear his car rolling into the neighbourhood, call my mom for help, and she wouldn’t come save me because she herself was too scared to confront the monster that she married. Once, I tried to call the police, but he ripped the phone out of the wall, and I got the worst beating of my life, for “betraying him”. He always apologized after beating me up, saying that it was for my own good, and that god had anointed him, and that he was doing what god wanted him to do, because I was not honouring him.

The emotional abuse was worse than the physical abuse. It’s damage had staying power. He basically convinced me that I was worthless, a mistake, and that there were evil spirits in me. I was just a kid. I tried to cope by writing poetry secretly in a diary that I kept. My sister found my diary and showed it to him. For that, I was locked in my bedroom for 48 hours and had 4 “Christian pastors” exorcising me, until I finally gave them what they wanted… Me to admit that I was full of evil spirits, and to talk in tongues as a sign that the Holy Spirit had come in flush out the demons. I was 11, and then subsequently tried to kill myself soon afterward.

While I felt some fleeting moments of sympathy for my mother, I also felt incredibly angry at her. When her romantic relationship with my father was really bad, she would disappear- drive up to Whistler for a week, or fly to Asia for a month, leaving us with my grandparents, who were so loving and kind (thank goodness for them). But as a small child, all you really want is your mom, and I felt abandoned. When she finally stepped up and bought her own house, I thought it would be a new beginning for us, but she gave him a key to come and go as he liked. He had his own condo by then, but would stay at our house whenever he wanted, making it never safe for me. I walked on eggshells my entire life until the age of 17.

I survived high school primarily because I played every possible sport, joined jazz band, the acting troupe, and an Eco club that took me on weekend trips. I made it so that I never had to be at home. Money was tight because my mom was essentially raising us on her measly income, penny pinching because money only came from him when we “deserved it”, and in his mind, we never did. I ended up getting a job at the library, and saved everything so that I could leave the house after I graduated high school.

I busted my balls and graduated as valedictorian of my class, with a 97% average. I was offered full tuition scholarships to each university that I applied to, and in the end chose the one that also covered my room and board in residence. I was finally free.
It was difficult, as I used up my savings that first year, and worked two part-time teaching assistant jobs for the university for the duration of my degree. I actually really enjoyed the teaching portion of the job, but it was so time consuming that my grades dropped significantly during years 2 to 4, because I was trying to make ends meet. I didn’t qualify for student assistance because even though I got very little money from my family, my father’s income was too high.
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Wow, this post did not turn out at all how I had initially intended. But I guess I needed to put this out into the world so that it can be lifted a little off of my shoulders.

I have invested a lot of time into trying to undo the damage that my father has caused. I devoted myself to intensive therapy with psychiatrists and psychologists for almost 6 years, and continue to reflect on my emotional well-being and interactions with others. It wasn’t until I was 24 years old that I really felt like I was having meaningful healthy relationships with other people. Prior to that, I was promiscuous, inconsiderate, self-centred, and self-hating. I am very happy and comfortable with who I am, and have felt very stable in my sense of self for almost 10 years now.

So when my dad says he’s “disowning” me, it really bears no weight because I’m not the same scared little girl that he used as his punching bag. But when he continues to send really mean and nasty emails to me, I need to stop forgiving him, and resist the urge to give him even a whispering voice in my life.

Recovering at the Cottage

The night of the D&C, I followed up the Oxy and Tylenol with more Tylenol. The only kind that we had that wasn’t combined with caffeine was a children’s Tylenol, chewable grape flavour. I had cramps and some bleeding, but it only lasted for about 24 hours post D&C.

I felt well enough on Friday to bake these:

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And then Friday night we packed up the car and the dogs and headed to the cottage. The cottage is only about two hours away, and by about 9pm we were settling into the stillness and quiet of our little home on the lake. It was pitch dark, which is a delight when you’re so used to the never ending light pollution of the city, and there was a chill in the air, but it was clean and fresh.

DW fetched some wood from our wood shed, and started up the wood stove in the main room. We just sat there and stared for hours.

Last week I had read Sarah Waters’ Tipping the Velvet, a lesbian classic that for whatever reason, I never got around to reading until now. I was amazed by how racy it was! I have not read 50 Shades of Grey, but I imagine that the sex scenes in Tipping the Velvet might be comparable.

Friday night I started Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven, which came highly recommended by Erin Morgenstern (who wrote one of my favourite books, The Night Circus), and let me tell you, I could not put this book down. I finished it by Saturday, ranting and raving to DW about how amazing it was, and how I wish I could join a book club just to have friends to revel in this book with me. Then I thought to myself, how amazing it would be to have a lesbian book and knitting club- especially right now with the seasons changing. Autumn and winter are high season for certain lesbian activities, such as candle burning, tea hoarding and drinking, knitting, reading, and the cooking of vegan comfort foods.

Anyways, back to the weekend. Other than reading, we finished another jigsaw puzzle:

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And roasted marshmallows in the fire:

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I thought very little of our pregnancy loss, which means that I might be moving on, I’m learning to exist with this experience being a part of me.

Rotisserie Chicken

So I spent the majority of the lit day at the hospital, waiting for my D&C. We arrived at noon, and didn’t leave until 7pm! I am tempted to write a really long, negative post about how ridiculous the scheduling is at this hospital, but I won’t.

Instead, I will rave about the amazing care I received from the nursing staff after the procedure. First of all, I got hot blankets. Not just blankets that would warm me with time, but blankets that were kept warm in an oven of sorts. And I got as many hot blankets as I wanted. At one point, I had three such blankets warming me.

Second of all, the nurses seemed just as frustrated as we were with the scheduling and whereabouts of the doctors. For example, my RE was booked from 1- 3, and no one knew where he was until he randomly showed up at 5:15 to check in with me pre-op. We suspect that he went for a late lunch/early dinner at the expense of making me wait even longer. The nurses exclaimed “Oh there he is!” when he finally appeared.

The anaesthesiologist didn’t believe me when I told him that I metabolize anaesthetic really quickly, and everyone was shocked when I woke up while being wheeled away to the recovery room. Usually they expect people to “come to” an hour after being moved to the recovery room. The OR nurse nearly jumped out of his skin when I started talking to him.

In the recovery room, the machine monitoring my vitals was beeping non-stop. The nurses kept having to switch off the alarm, but it kept going off because of how low my heart rate was. The machines are programmed to alert them when the heart rate becomes lower than 50 beats per minute (bpm), as the average normal resting heart rate is somewhere between 60 bpm to 100 bpm. I’ve worn my heart rate monitor to bed a few times, and know that my resting heart rate hits a minimum of 35 bpm, and averages at about 42 bpm over the course of the night. In recovery, my heart rate was steady at about 44 bpm, which drove the monitors crazy! The nurses asked me if I worked out or played sports, because abnormally low heart rates are common for athletes. Our hearts are healthy and don’t need to work as hard while at rest. But the beeping- it drove us all nuts!

It was also during my recovery room time that I got not one, but TWO popsicles, and got called “sweety” and “pretty girl” a ridiculous number of times, which also made me happy. They were also the first people to ask about our pregnancy, and to recognize how difficult it must be to go through this.

During my mandatory time in recovery, I had soaked through two pads, and was given oxycodone and Tylenol for the pain (rated 3/10). The pain went away soon after, and then I was wheeled off to the front of the hospital where my chariot awaited. DW whisked me away and since I was starving, we went out for dinner. (*I must also mention that DW deserves an award for staying with me the entire time that I was waiting for surgery and after my recovery.)

I was feeling nauseous during the car ride, but my hunger trumped all other discomfort.

What did we eat? Not congee, which would be my usual sick-person comfort food. Not even Vietnamese Pho noodle soup would satisfy my palate.

My body was craving crispy-skinned, salty rotisserie chicken. So we went to Swiss Chalet, which is a chain of restaurants usually frequented by senior citizens. Like many of the patrons there, I was dressed in comfy clothes, looking forward to the “2 quarter chicken meals + appetizer + dessert for 19.99”, and was wearing a diaper.

Oh and now my chariot is whisking me away to the cottage for the weekend. Just like the Real Housewives of [Wherever], I have the luxury of recovering from my surgery in privacy and amongst beauty.

Chillin’ In the Operating Room

I’ve been bleeding on and off for over a week now. Pregnancy symptoms are still plaguing me (I still can’t lay on my stomach comfortably because my tits are so bloody engorged and sore). But today my friends, is the official eviction of little spark #3 (#1 and #2 were evicted from DW earlier this year).

Of course, we are very sad about this, but I’m ready to move on. I’m currently swagged out in not one, but TWO hospital gowns, blue grippy slippers, and a very flattering hair net.

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My D&C is “on the list” but not scheduled per se. The appointments are triaged, so if someone else with an urgent OB-GYN needs surgery more than me, I will get bumped. I have been here since 12:30pm, and could be waiting until 4pm. So basically, I’ve been fasting (no food or drink) since last night, with no idea when I can eat again. It’s currently 1pm, and I’m in a room of irritates and impatient people. One twenty-something-year-old accompanied by his mom said he’s been waiting since 11am.

I’m all sorts of uncomfortable right now. I am legally blind without my contacts. Even wearing glasses, I have no depth perception and the blurriness in my peripheral vision (the part of the visual field beyond my glasses) makes me super dizzy. I can’t even walk up or down stairs while wearing my glasses because of this. But because of the surgery, I can’t wear contacts. So I’ve been wearing my glasses, meandering around like a drunk person, getting sick in the car on the way to the hospital (it’s not DW’s driving). We arrived at the hospital and I was on the verge of yakking.

I’m also extremely hungry and exceptionally thirsty. I usually wake up with a voracious appetite, so you can imagine my dismay when I woke up at 4am, hungry, and unable to do anything about it. I’ve been so thirsty that I’ve been swooshing water in my mouth and spitting it out, just to moisten my mouth.

Needless to say, I’m anxious for this to be over soon. Until then, I will keep waiting, dreaming of a clean slate and some comfort food when all of this is over.

Wish me luck.

The Best Gluten-Free Muffin Recipe

Hello folks. I’ve decided to interrupt my week of miscarriage posts with a lovely muffin recipe that just won’t quit. Seriously, I’ve made it twice in three days because it produced the most delicious muffins that I have ever tasted. And yes, that also means that between the two of us, we’ve polished off almost two dozen muffins in three days.

So I’m sharing in case any of you would like to join in the gluttony, or enjoy in gluten-free treats that don’t taste like cardboard or cost loads of money.

Muffins, seem to be one of the things I miss most about my pre-diagnosis days. Specialty bake shops often have really obscure flavours, such as sweet potato strawberry pumpkin seed, or zucchini jalapeƱo chocolate chip. I’m always disappointed because all I want is a simple berry muffin, or a chocolate chip muffin, and if I do happen to find some, they are dry, or simply suck. Also, I am not vegan, and many gluten free bake shops seem to boast being gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free, which I get, but butter makes such a big difference in the flavour of food.

So here’s the recipe: http://www.agirldefloured.com/2012/05/16/best-gluten-free-blueberry-muffins/

I recommend that you use the flour blend that she provides, as it produced a texture indistinguishable from wheat cake flour.

Our first batch was a mixed berry blend: raspberries, blackberries, blueberries.

And our second batch was pure wild blueberry. Here are some pictures of this batch. They are nearly half gone!

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Give ’em a try, and let me know how it goes!

The Bleeding Begins

I’ve always been a fan of technology, especially when it allows us to do things like take pictures of our bloody maxi pads and text message them to our wives at work.

Yeah, I did that today.

You see, I stopped the “pregnancy” sustaining meds on Sunday, and have been off work all week waiting to get this natural miscarriage over with. On Wednesday, the spotting began, though I can barely call it spotting, as it was like one smear per day (I’m not apologizing for the TMI), and unworthy of the panty liner changes.

But today, sitting in the car, on our (me and dogs) way home from the conservation park, I could feel the twinges I distinctly recognize as my angry cervix opening it’s long and hostile mouth. Ten minutes later, it let out a loud roarrrr and bloody clots and tissue started to waterslide, landing on my panty liner.

Lovely right? Cervical sea monsters and waterslides.

It seems to come in waves though. As the waterslide is vacant at the moment. I do feel some tingling in my uterus, perhaps some cajoling of the next sliders into the queue.

I know there’s a whole lot that needs to come out of there, and worry that this is gonna take a while.

Tomorrow is the review appointment with our RE (which I nearly had to bribe someone to get). I will likely try to get an appointment for a D&C, as this waiting is killing my will to live, and I’m anxiously waiting to just move on from this already. The pregnancy symptoms (morning sickness and food/smell aversions) are downright cruel and make me feel so shitty- both physically and emotionally.

Other than that, we’re gonna take the opportunity to also ask the RE where we should go from here. I know he’ll just encourage us to do the last FET, but since we have his attention for a few minutes, I hope we get a chance to talk about his speculation on why we keep miscarrying with my eggs, as well as whether DW’s nearly 39-year-old eggs would be a good option to move forward with. My GP seems to think that DW miscarrying twice with my eggs and me miscarrying once with my eggs is still within the realm of normal, but if this guy is an “expert” on fertility, I want to get his gut feeling on this.

Anyway, Happy Friday everyone!

Wish me luck on passing these “products of conception” quickly and completely.

Ugh… Symptoms

Despite being off the progesterone for two days now, it seems that my HCG continues to rise, and that this morning sickness just won’t quit.

Let me paint you a picture:

Wake up. Take my Synthroid with a full glass of water. Smell the faint trace of chlorination in the water, gag a little.

Dry heave. (I must be hungry).

Go to the kitchen, with intentions to make a healthy breakfast. Open the fridge to find inspiration. Become overwhelmed by the variety of potential aromas.

Dry heave, grab the gluten-free cupcake box, and slam the fridge door closed.

Decide to make a Non-Oprah chai tea latte to go with my salted caramel apple cupcake (since I have been depriving myself of caffeine since the beginning of this FET). Open the carton of lactose-free milk, imagine the musk of the udder that it was milked from, nearly hurl. Continue to steep tea and steam milk anyway.

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Bring my latte and cupcake outside to encourage the forced eating process a little bit. Split the cupcake in half to sandwich the icing. Lick my fingers that are covered in icing, taste too much coconut oil in the icing, almost hurl.

Scrape off icing and eat cupcake like it’s a muffin. Accidentally drop crumbs on the ground so that there is less volume for me to eat. (Dogs circling like sharks). Take so long to eat it that I am able to watch the melting of the vegan buttercream icing into a sloppy mess.

Chug my latte while pinching my nose closed.
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I don’t know if I can wait for this miscarriage to happen on its own. These symptoms plague me, and are not the happy reassurance that they once were.

Now, excuse me while I puke.