I got a $12 pumpkin for $1!

And look what we made out of it:

Roasted pumpkin seeds.


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.

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:






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.


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


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


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

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

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


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.

Bittersweet News

My primary nurse finally got back to me today via email. She will talk to the RE to see if he will approve the immune panel requisition (I don’t know why this would even be a problem, since I have to pay for this out of pocket).

We also got some results back.

Our last miscarriage, was of a chromosomally normal baby girl.

So much for statistics.

I was at the gym when I got the news, and started crying in the studio space between my sets of walking lunges.

So if the embryo was normal, then it was either my body or the extreme work-related stress that caused her to stop developing. Why the hell are they hesitating to send me for immune blood work?

I am doing so much body blaming right now.

I know that I have Celiac Disease. What other autoimmune issues are lingering in the background? Why didn’t they test for immune issues before we started all of our IUIs and IVF/FETs.

Tonight I had a massage appointment. I thought about cancelling because of how I was feeling, but went ahead with it anyway. My massage therapist is kind of chatty, but knows us and our TTC history fairly well, so naturally I shared the recent news. We talked about Thanksgiving, about the bird feeder that we plan to build to honour our angel babies, and she asked me

“Why a bird feeder?”.

I wasn’t really sure, except that this summer, we have really noticed their presence at the cottage, and on my daily walks in the forest with the dogs. She asked what kinds of birds we have been seeing mostly, and I named off a couple that we regularly see at the cottage: chickadees, nut hatches, hummingbirds, and blue jays.

“Which one stands out the most to you?” she asked.

I answered her quickly because it was clear to me- the ones that ate out of my hands.

The Chickadee.

Soon, my massage was over, and I got redressed in private. When I came out of the massage room, my massage therapist handed me a piece of paper- the symbolic meaning of the chickadee.

Social support
Standing up for yourself

Maybe our angel babies are speaking through the birds. Maybe they’re nuzzling into my fingers and looking into my eyes, sending us both their love.

Fresh New Cycle and Fertility Clinic Frustrations

So yesterday I started my first period since the D&C. It took 26 days for it to begin, and so far it’s been pain-free.

Yesterday the bleeding was light, and today it has been heavy but without cramping. Most of my periods prior to TTC have been pain free, and it wasn’t until starting all of the fertility drugs that I started to have more painful periods. So, so far, this feels cleansing.
I am excited to see how my BBT looks for this upcoming cycle, because my post D&C BBT was wonky. I had some egg white cervical mucus for two days, which indicates that I maybe ovulated, but my luteal phase was only 6 days, and there was not a distinctive temperature shift. My body temperature was also really low, which was weird. This cycle has already started off 0.5 degrees Celsius warmer.

On the weekend we celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving with my in-laws at the cottage. We started the process of closing the cottage for the winter, bringing in the dock, clearing out the fridge. The whole family stayed overnight, and we got to spend a lot of time with our niece and nephew.

One afternoon, I was playing with our 8 year old niece, when she pulled out this book:


I asked if she wanted to read it to me (to practice her reading out loud), but she didn’t. She wanted me to read it to her. I took a breath, braced myself, and started reading. She cuddled into me, and at one point, I started to well up with tears. The words seemed to hit a chord, and I thought that I could not continue. I took another deep breath, put on a smile, and continued on without her even noticing.


That night, I couldn’t sleep. I started reading Ann-Marie MacDonald’s new book, Adult Onset, which really was not a good thing for me to begin, given that there are a lot of flashbacks to the main character’s mother’s multiple miscarriages/stillbirths. In bed, I started crying, then fully weeping, while DW pulled me into her chest. I didn’t sleep at all Thanksgiving night.

In other news, I’ve started the process of cleaning out our garden. The weather has been warmer than expected, so the soil is easier to work. Today, I pulled up all of our rainbow carrots, beets, and harvested some brussel sprouts.


I roasted some with maple syrup, and they were delicious.


Lastly, I wanted to share my frustration with our fertility clinic. I emailed my primary nurse almost two weeks ago about getting the immune blood panel done, then emailed her again a few days ago, and then called and left a voicemail today, and she still hasn’t gotten back to me. DWS emailed her at the same time two weeks ago, and she got a reply. I’m not sure why, but it seems like she is avoiding me. It is super frustrating for me because I’m anticipating my next cycle to be in about 4 weeks, and want the immune results to come back before we transfer the last embryo. Yes, we plan to transfer the last embryo probably sometime in December. I just want to rule out any issues with staying pregnant, so that we maximize our chances with this last embryo. I don’t know why our nurse won’t get back to me with a yes or no from the RE. It is super frustrating.

Anyways, new cycle, new beginnings.

Being Gentle with One’s Self

Bare feet on grass. Hands massaging moist soil. Sun warming your skin. Cool fresh air filling your lungs. Do you feel connected to the earth?

Today, I do.

I had another terrible sleep last night, after weeks of terrible sleeps. I even moved myself to the guest room because I worried that my tossing and turning would wake DW. It turns out we both has bad sleeps last night.

I have a love-hate relationship with mornings. I love the sense of renewal, a new day, and that this day can be completely different from the last. However, I have never been a morning person. I have struggled to fall asleep most of my life. I remember being in kindergarten and staying up to watch the Johnny Carson show because I couldn’t sleep. Even back then, I had so many worries.

But today has been a little different. Still tired and slow moving, but way more connected.

Most mornings I make the same breakfast of scrambled eggs and some sautéed veggies or gluten-free bread. I have a cup of green tea. I take my supplements. I take my breakfast to the living room and sit in the big comfy chair, cross-legged, in front of the front bay window that looks out at our maple tree and the street. I eat my breakfast while getting caught up on the blogs that I follow, and the YouTube channels that I subscribe to. After breakfast, I get changed and take the dogs to the conservation lands for a easy hike. When I get home, I make myself something to eat, and either do some housework or run some errands in the city. If I have time, I go to the gym and try to burn off some of my anxiety. I try to get all of this done before DW gets home so that the rest of the day is for me to spend with her. Our activities are varied, depending on what work she has to do to prepare for the next work day, and also what our dinner situation is. Most nights we eat dinner at home, and try to prepare it together. After dinner we watch a show or two, and then head to bed. In bed is when I think about all of the awful TTC stuff, and overanalyze my “infertility”. This has created a nasty cycle for me, where I am not sleeping properly, and go about my days on auto-pilot. This task-driven routine is comforting, because it’s been all about survival while waiting to TTC again, but what I’m noticing is that I have not built in time to deal with shit, which is why my bedtimes have become so stressful.

So far, I’ve been trying to deal with stress through physical activity, and blogging. Unfortunately, I’m finding that most of my blogging is happening when I’m sweating away on a piece of cardio equipment, desperately trying to distract myself. This means that I’m only giving myself 30 minutes every other day to process our losses, and even then, I’m not doing it well.

Things have been so rough for me emotionally lately. I crave social interaction, but it is so limited because everyone works during the day, and any other time, I want to spend with DW who is so busy all of the time. She is taking the last part of her Principals Qualification course, and is at school until 10pm at least once a week, sometimes two, until Christmas. Some of my friends don’t know we’ve been TTC, and I would have to get them caught up on it. The rest of my friends have moved out of the Toronto area because it’s so damn expensive around here. But I have you, blogger friends don’t I? And let me tell you, you have all been such a huge support to me, but- don’t take this the wrong way- you are not enough.

Today was my first session with a counsellor/therapist. I drove a good 40 kms to her home, which is where she practices out of. It is a beautiful log house set far back from country roads, with big windows and very high ceilings. I was in awe of her home, and took some pictures to show DW, as it is exactly what my dream house looks like. The decor was mostly preserved wood pieces and beautiful antique door knobs/handles. I closed my eyes while sitting in her waiting room, and felt the sun coming through the windows, warming my skin. I took a deep breath and caught the faint scent of lavender in the air. Waiting for my appointment was very relaxing.

I felt only a little uncomfortable at my first meeting with her. She pauses a long time, which I’m sure is a technique to give me room to speak. I’m not used to taking up so much “speaking realty”. I’m usually more comfortable listening to other people. I’m sure that she caught on to this, as the exchange ended up being 60/40, with me sharing a little more than her.

I was worried that we would not be a good fit, as she is a family and marriage counsellor, and I’m not really seeking marriage counselling. I wasn’t sure what her exposure to the LGBTQ community was, or if she had any experience with fertility or pregnancy loss.

I was caught a bit off guard by the first thing she said to me after welcoming me into her home. She told me that I “didn’t look like a Dorothea”, which I thought was kind of a weird thing to say to someone you had just met.

The second thing she asked was what I was hoping to get out of the counselling sessions with her, and I told her about the pregnancy losses, as well as my unbelievable stresses at work. She then asked me how I came to find her through my friends who were clients of hers- how exactly did they decide that we would be a good fit? My friends, who are also a lesbian couple, see her monthly, and recommended her because she “tells it as it is”, and is a “very good therapist”. I asked why she seemed so concerned about our “fit”, and whether she didn’t feel comfortable counselling me because I wasn’t there for marriage counselling. And that is when it all changed.

She was asking because she too, had struggled to get pregnant. Ten years of losses and her doctors told her that she was never going to become a biological mother. Then at the age of 45, she started seeing a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) doctor, worked through some of her emotional and psychological issues, and found out that she was unexpectedly pregnant during a hurricane on the east coast. She was very familiar with pregnancy loss and the devastating effects of it- physically, emotionally, and psychologically. When I described my work conditions, she shook her head and said, “that is an impossible situation. They have set you up to fail”, which is exactly what DW has said about my timetable. My therapist, it seems, used to be a teacher as well. We, in fact, were a perfect match.

A lot of amazing things came out of our first session. As soon as I left her place, I wanted to blog about it because I was so scared that these revelations would fade, and they are so valuable to me:

Our babies choose us.

So far, perhaps because of the nature of IVF, I’ve been approaching it like we choose our baby. For example, we chose to use my eggs because they are six years younger, we chose the sperm donor based on certain criteria that were important to us. Instead, we need to project our unconditional love out into the world, where our baby will know that whoever he or she is, we will love them.

We need to memorialize and set our angel embabies free in a meaningful ceremony to make room for the baby that wants to be here. We need to invite him/her in.

We have not yet said goodbye to our angel babies. I seem to be holding onto them so tight, which may be contributing to my anxiety because I’m dwelling on the past. I need to let them go before we can welcome the new embaby in. I was thinking that DW and I should make a bird feeder out of 6 pieces of wood, to symbolize each of our angel babies. Their memory will feed and nourish the birds we draw so much joy from watching, and all of the babies that they and their babies will have in the future.

Each loss had a greater purpose or lesson.
I hope that I learn what they are, so that I can be at peace with this aspect of our losses.

We need to let go of our expectations because they make our baby feel unwelcome.
We had a name picked out, if our first pregnancy was a girl. It was a feminized version of my grandfather’s name, and he was the person that I felt closest to in my family. He passed away in 2010, and I still haven’t fully gotten over it, as him and my grandmother are the only two people in this world that I felt truly loved me. For each subsequent pregnancy, we carried this name with us, as well as the idea that maybe the embryo was a girl. It’s not that I wouldn’t be happy with a boy (I’d be happy with a baby, period), but when we would talk to our bellies, we always imagined this spirit baby in there, and she is a girl with the feminized version of my grandpa’s name. I know this sounds absurd, but we need to let go of it, and just be open to the baby being whoever he/she is. His/her name and all of those other insignificant details will come after.

Spirit baby you are so wanted and loved, whoever you are. Mama et Maman can’t wait for you to come home. Please come home.