Halloween

I got a $12 pumpkin for $1!

And look what we made out of it:

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Roasted pumpkin seeds.

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Jack-O-Lantern.

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Pumpkin soup.

We stayed home and handed out candy to all of the trick or treaters. My estimate is that we had about 50 kiddies in costumes (and their parents) braving the super cold and rainy weather. It warmed my heart to see all of the kids (especially the wee little ones) in their costumes. Their little voices saying “Trick or Treat”, and “Thank you!!”.

Maybe next year we’ll have our own wee little one to dress up in a cute costume. A girl can dream…

Public Shaming

I have received a flood of messages today from colleagues, and colleagues from other schools. All due to a very insensitive write-up in our union’s semi-annual mail-out. This mail-out goes to every single teacher in my district, which is one of the largest in Ontario. It arrives in our mailboxes at school, and is a lunchtime favourite for teachers, who sit around the lunch table, crunching an apple in one hand, and turning the pages of this mail-out in the other. This publication outlines all of the retirements, new hires, transfers, births, promotions, and condolences. Basically, it is the gossip column for the largest school board in Ontario, but NEVER have I ever read negative news that was not consented- even condolences have needed to be approved by the member affected.

Given all of this, you can imagine how surprised as shit I was when a colleague from another school text messaged me a photo of my name mentioned in the fall/winter union mail-out. In fact, the exact words were:

“We would also like to say farewell to the following staff who are on leave: _____________ .”

First of all, since when is it anyone else’s business that I am on leave??

Second of all, “farewell”????? Where the hell do they think I am going? They use “farewell” when people transfer schools, are promoted, or retire. It is not appropriate in this context. How the hell is that supposed to make me feel? How is it supposed to make me feel about coming back to work?

Thirdly, why was this included without my consent?

Lastly, how insensitive for the colleague who wrote and submitted this, to not consider the repercussions of announcing to essentially the public that for some unknown reason, I am not working. For example, the emails and messages from other colleagues who are wondering if “everything is okay?”. This puts me in a position where I either have to disclose our miscarriage to people that I have a professional relationship with, or come off as an asshole for not replying/not revealing. Even worse, most people assume that a “leave” is usually stress related unless it specifies maternity or illness. So as it reads, everyone who doesn’t know what’s going on in my private life is led to believe that I’m having a hard time “hacking it” at my job. When in reality, I’m physically and emotionally trying to grieve, and know that it’s not fair to me or my students if this isn’t done properly.

I haven’t slept in two nights, as my anxiety has been sky-high from a phone call from our school board’s long term disability provider (I’m not collecting LTD yet, and probably won’t be at all because my leave is so short), asking all sorts of intrusive questions about the nature of my leave, feigning sympathy, what medications I’m on, who my specialists are, and etc. Apparently I have the right to not disclose anything to her, as she works for the insurer and indirectly, my employer. But I told her everything, and I did so honestly. I became shorter with my answers though, when she started to sound like she was really prying, and asking inappropriate questions. I called our union to complain about this phone call, as it truly set me back in my emotional recovery. And remember, I’m not just grieving one miscarriage, I am grieving our two years of infertility, three miscarriages, my mistreatment at work while this has been happening, as well as processing the fact that my body killed off a perfect, chromosomally normal baby girl.

The publication of my “unspecified leave”, and its distribution to the entire membership of my district, feels like a public shaming, and has brought me to a higher level of anxious and pissed than ever before. A medium that is normally used in the same way as your great aunt’s Christmas family update mail-outs, should not have been used to share my private status with my school with the 15,000 other staff in the board.

Needless to say, I am extremely pissed off by this. DW plans to email the editor of this publication to urge her to create guidelines on what schools can submit for these updates (yes, it was my school that submitted this little shaming piece- the same school who has made my time miserable). I feel like I deserve an apology from my school, but I am not holding my breath, because I know it will never come. So for now, I will just keep blindly emptying my inbox, because those who matter, already know, and those who don’t, are just looking for more gossip.

Faith? Therapy Part II

Apparently I need to believe in some greater plan that things will work out the way that they are supposed to.

I had my second session with my therapist, and I left feeling worse than before our session. I was really unsettled, and I’m not sure if that is normal- to have a finished puzzle taken apart and shaken up because the process of putting things back together is the therapy.

About a week ago, I started to notice that the shock of our miscarriage started to wear off. The bouts of crying at random times has significantly reduced. I’m starting to pick up the pieces of my life, I am starting to be more aware of my feelings in a more rational way. I feel like I am starting to grieve properly.

Then, at some point this week, I realize that I only have one month left until my reevaluation with our GP, and that as it stands right now, I’m supposed to return to my hellhole of a workplace the first week of December. Of course, my GP says that she won’t have me return until I’m ready, but as far as my workplace is concerned, I’m supposed to return in a month. This terrifies me, as I feel like I’m just starting to heal, and have taken a few steps back because of my work-related anxiety. I haven’t been sleeping again, and am finding myself dwelling on things out of my control- like the timing of our next FET.

DW has also been unhealthily busy at work- with her principals course once, sometimes twice a week, her union meetings out of town, and the extracurriculars she runs for the kids after school (I do really miss the extracurriculars that I did with my students- they were what fulfilled me at the end of a really long day). Bless my wife, she comes home then has so much prep to do for her lessons the next day, because she is the “yes” person at her school- the problem solver who takes on more work to alleviate timetable conflicts in the school. I believe I was that person at my work, except, I never actually said “yes”, but ended up being that person, miscarrying at the peak of stress- and that is part of why I am terrified to go back to work.

Anyway, at my therapy session yesterday, I was stuck in my own head. I could only catch bits and pieces of what the therapist was saying. I also felt like she didn’t “get” me yesterday, so much of what she said wasn’t connecting with me. She was also having some repairs done on her home, and her dog barked the entire hour at the repair men, so that distracted me as well.

But I did take home some good points that she raised:

– I need to start using my voice and standing up for myself. If I advocate for myself, people will adjust to it, and will respect me more. I need to respect myself more.

– I need to let my GP know that I have a mental fixation on this official “end date” for my medical leave. Perhaps she will reassure me that it is open-ended, as needed. DW is certain that our GP agreed that I should be off the entire semester, but that she wanted to be kept in the loop via reevals. Sometimes I won’t let myself believe that people will stick to their word, I guess.

– I need to work on my anxiety. She recommended meditation, and a vision/dream board. I’ve been going to yoga every other day this week, and will try to make it more often if possible, because it ends in a meditation component. I can’t seem to bring myself to a meditative state on my own for some reason. I’ve also noticed that I’m feeling uneasy about making a vision board (of where I see my life in the future), because it includes things that would absolutely break my heart if they didn’t happen. Basically- kids.

This is where she said I need to have faith. Not necessarily in a Jesus Christ kind of way, but just a knowing that things will work out such that I’m happy. So having faith that there is some master plan, and all the worrying in the world won’t change it. That all of my attempts at controlling situations won’t change the overall outcome.

I don’t know the rules around having faith. Do I just have faith that my babies will happen? Do I just have faith that work will miraculously treat me with the respect and fairness that I deserve? Do I just have faith that DW will be happy with her decision to be or not to be a vice-principal? Do I just have faith that we will be able to love where we live and have enough money to live comfortably? Can I assume that my life will be a fully happy one just on faith?

I don’t know how to have faith. My life experience has me believing that you make your own fate. You work hard, and it pays off most times. If you don’t put forward an effort, things are unlikely to happen for you. I am in control of my own actions, and subsequently the results of those actions.

But, there’s also the other part of each interaction- the response from the world. That part I can’t control, and that’s what is giving me the anxiety. Even if I prepare my body perfectly for this next FET, anything can happen. I have no control over that outcome. Even if I talk (again) with my administration and department heads about my work concerns, will they dismiss them again like they did that first week? Or will they reconsider their poor planning as it resulted in me (possibly miscarrying and) going off on a medical leave? I have no idea.
Faith would have me just trusting that everything will work out. The therapist described it as a “things will rearrange and the puzzle pieces will naturally fall into place”. I have a very hard time with believing this.

DW thinks that having faith is more knowing that whatever happens, we will adjust our lives to be happy. We have each other, and if we don’t have babies, we will have the time and money to go on amazing trips and continue to eat organic food.

Unfortunately, I don’t think I can be happy with that. There will always be a large chunk missing. Sadly, at this point, for me, life will be incomplete without our babies. There is a part of my heart that is reserved for loving them, and if they don’t come, it doesn’t just get used for something else. It will just be a big empty void. A reminder of how my body failed, and of how cruel this world really is.

So maybe knowing that these kids are my deal breaker with the world, I should have faith that they will come into fruition?

Thyroid Update

I haven’t been sleeping well for several weeks now. Luckily, I haven’t needed to supplement with naps…. Until today.

I had an early morning appointment with my endocrinologist today. She is really wonderful, and is always on time, which I really appreciate. She is young (around my age, 32), and has a small child of her own. As soon as I walked into her office, she must’ve said “I’m so sorry” (for your miscarriage) about 20 times in a row. I thought that she herself was going to cry. She has been rooting for us since about a year ago (half way through our TTC journey), which is when I was first referred to her due to astronomically high cortisol and prolactin levels. After 9 months of regular blood draws, my stupid RE never even caught my unacceptably high TSH levels (between 4-5, when it should be under 2), but she did.

Wow, I can’t believe I’ve been seeing her for a year now. We’ve been trying to make a baby for far too long.

Anyway, she went through my labs from the past couple of draws. My TPO antibodies are within the normal range (to rule out autoimmune thyroid attacking itself), my preconception TSH was 1.12 in July, 0.60 in August, and 0.56 right now (October). She says my thyroid is right on target.

When we transfer again (probably in 6-7 weeks from now), I will increase my Synthroid dose from 25mcg to 50mcg on two days of the week.

In terms of the miscarriage, it wasn’t likely my thyroid that caused it.

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The dogs and I went on our daily walk through the conservation lands, and again, I stumbled on raspberries (which is crazy because I was reminded again by my TCM doctor to eat them, and this is not their growing season).

Here are some pictures:

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Wow, I fell asleep while waiting for these photos to load from my iPhone. Two hours later, I’m awake and refreshed!

Gluten-Free Banana Bread

It’s getting chillier around here, and since it’s also damp, I definitely feel it in my bones. The leaves have changed, and the ones that have fallen are starting to get all mushed up. I’ve been admiring the beautiful colours and characteristic shapes of all the leaves. I think oak leaves might be my favourite.

Yesterday, we were tidying up the kitchen, and DW brought to my attention a very overripe banana that needed to either “get used or get chucked” (this is her gentle reminder for me to declutter as chaos levels approach threshold levels). One banana isn’t quite enough to make bread with, but we keep a stash of banana chunks in the freezer (for shakes and smoothies), so I microwaved a couple of those, and made banana bread.

It’s been a few weeks since I had baked us any goodies, as I was noticing that treats don’t last very long in our house because we gobble them up so fast! But it was a dark and chilly day Friday, and my poor lover had a full day principal training class to attend the next day, so it felt appropriate for me to make us something special.

Here’s the thing though- I don’t like chocolate (strange I know), and DW doesn’t like walnuts, so this loaf of banana bread had hers and hers sections.

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It baked up real nice in my silicone loaf pan- no sticking at all, and the loaf basically slid right out with little coaxing.

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The texture was perfect. It was moist on the inside, and just a bit crisp in the crust.

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We went wild apple picking in the conservation area that we take the dogs, and made cinnamon applesauce last year. It’s sat in the freezer for far too long, and was finally incorporated into this banana bread.

For the oil, I used a mild-tasting olive oil, and for the eggs, I used omega-3 eggs. Finally, I mixed in a quarter cup of bittersweet chocolate chips for DW’s side, and a similar amount of chopped walnuts for my side.

Gluten-Free Banana Bread from Taste of Home

Ingredients
2 cups gluten-free all-purpose baking flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
2 cups mashed ripe bananas (4-5 medium)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Directions
In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. In a small
bowl, whisk the eggs, bananas, sugar, applesauce, oil and vanilla.
Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.

Transfer to two 8-in. x 4-in. loaf pans coated with cooking spray.
Sprinkle with walnuts. Bake at 350° for 45-55 minutes or until a
toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10
minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Yield: 2 loaves (12
slices each).

Nutritional Facts: 1 slice equals 140 calories, 6 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 35 mg cholesterol, 89 mg sodium, 21 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber,

The recipe is from: http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/gluten-free-banana-bread/print

My RE’s Immune Testing

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The above blood tests are what my RE checks to evaluate the immune causes of recurrent miscarriage. I know that NK activity is missing from this list, as I think the blood needs to be sent to the States for testing.

I would love feedback on what other REs have tested for for RPL (recurrent pregnancy loss) or miscarriage with a normal embryo.