Friday, September 4, 2009

Going Private

I've decided that I'm going to make my blog private. This may not make a lot of sense considering that I don't post very much and not many people read my blog but, at least for now, it makes sense to me. Maybe the reason I don't post a lot is that people might read what I write. I know that's sort of the point of having a blog, but I guess I'm realizing that I just need to write for myself for the time being. So, that's what I'm going to do.

I'll likely still read many of the blogs I've been following, and I may comment from time to time. I thought I'd leave this note just so that you know why you're being met with a private blog if you should click over here. My husband will be the only invited reader for now. I may change back to an open blog, I may delete my blog, or I may switch to WordPress--I'm just not sure. I wish you all well.


Shannon

Thursday, June 11, 2009

I Feel the Earth Move

Hey there. It's been awhile. I'm still not sure what I'm doing with my blog--indecisive much? I'll just jump in here and give you a few highlights from the past month and a half.

Sean, Kate and I were in California on May 17th, which is Sean's and my wedding anniversary. We celebrated our sixth married year together (there were ten unmarried ones before these past six) in Anaheim, without a lot of hullabaloo (I can't believe I just used the word hullabaloo). We moved from one hotel to another that day and didn't do a whole lot else, aside from taking Kate into the hotel pool. That night, I showered before getting into bed, and while I was in the shower the door to the bathroom started rattling. I called out for Sean and he came to open up the door. When he did, I peeked out from behind the shower curtain and looked at him. He said, "I think this is an earthquake" with a sort of half-scared, half-excited look on his face.

We were both a tiny bit scared, but realized within a short period of time that everything seemed okay and we were not likely to be swallowed up by the earth that night. However, the possibility of that, albeit extremely faint, gave us a little extra impetus to celebrate (if you know what I mean) our anniversary before going to sleep that night. So, so much for waiting until the end of June to start trying to conceive again. Long story short, I actually thought we got unbelievably lucky and managed to get pregnant, but it turns out--not so much.

So, this month, I decided to use an Ovulation Predictor Kit for the first time in my life. I just did my last of seven tests last night and all were negative. What's up with that? Either I started testing too early in my cycle or I didn't ovulate. The latter is certainly not going to help me in the baby-making department. I'm a little worried, but I'm not going to allow myself to be overly anxious about it yet. I'm planning on buying another kit and trying again for my next cycle. Hopefully, I'll find that it was just an anomaly.

In other news, Kate turned three! I can't believe my baby girl is three. On Kate's actual birthday, Sean and I took her to the Minnesota Zoo, and the three of us had a fun family day together. A week later, we had a larger birthday party for Kate, which included her play group friends, a magician (a little overboard, I know), and a lot of Tinkerbell decorations (we took Kate to Disneyland while in California and a Tinkerbell fixation ensued). My mom was able to fly in from Canada for a ten-day-long visit, so she was a part of the birthday festivities, which was very nice. Kate was happy to have a member of her family, aside from Sean and me, here to celebrate with her.

Yesterday, Kate rode her "big-girl" bike (equipped with training wheels) around our block three times!! I jogged beside her, every once in a while righting her leaning bike, and marvelling the whole time at how big she has gotten. She was smiling and giggling almost the entire time, amazed at her speed and amused that I had to run to keep up. Halfway through one lap, I actually got a little choked up about what seemed like a momentous occasion. My girl, in her pink, butterfly-adorned bike helmet, racing around the block with me yelling out instructions like, "slow down at the corner!" and "brake at the alleys!!" and "don't look back, keep looking ahead!"

And I admit that it occurred to me more than once, as I was yelling out that last instruction, that I could stand to do a little more looking ahead in my life. I think I look back and lament what's lost a little too much. I'm not making any grandiose promises to myself that I won't be able to keep, but I will say that, this week, I'm enjoying the here and now, and I'm looking ahead.

I've been getting out for some good, long walks over the last week, which I'm sure is partly responsible for my somewhat improved outlook. Last night, Sean put Kate to bed and I walked outside for a full hour, listening to music on my ipod and feeling really good. Exercise really can make such a big difference to my mood. I mean, just a short while ago I was feeling practically despondent, and last night, while walking, I was feeling like things such as happiness, a healthy life, productivity, another child, and better relationships were all possible for me. I am committed to walking five days a week, and Sean is committed to helping me achieve that goal.

Friday, April 24, 2009

A Ladybug and a Wonderful Girl

Just before Kate's nap today, she found a ladybug crawling around on the inside of the screen door on our front porch. She came to get me, excited to show me her discovery. She wanted it to crawl onto her finger, so I helped and we managed to get it to do that. Soon after, I said we should open the door to set it free, so I opened the door and Kate eventually managed to get the ladybug to walk onto the top step that leads to our porch. The ladybug didn't go anywhere immediately, so Kate picked it back up, turned around and headed for the house, saying to the ladybug, "we'll be friends forever." I laughed a little--and my heart melted--and told her that a ladybug probably wouldn't make a good pet so we should release it. So, we started the release all over again; she didn't want to let it go, but eventually she did.

Afterward, we headed upstairs to get ready for her nap, and I suggested that we read one of her ladybug books (she has a few). She liked that idea and chose Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy (really cute picture book), and we happily read that. The book begins with Ladybug Girl saying something, so Kate--I think looking for confirmation--said, "that's Ladybug Girl talking."
"Yes," I said, "it is." And then I went on to point out the quotation marks around the speech, and started explaining how those marks indicate that someone is speaking. (I believe that this lesson was just a tad premature--Kate is not quite three-years-old and can't read yet.) As I was finishing my lecture, Kate said, "whatever."

"Did you just say 'whatever'?" I asked.

"Yeah."

"Where did you learn that?" I asked, trying not to chuckle. Well, it turns out she has heard one of her aunts say it (my youngest sister who is only ten), and a neighbour who is also ten. I explained that it's not very nice to say that, and she of course asked why. I told her that it's basically like saying that you don't want to hear what the person who is speaking is talking about (not that I can blame her in this case, though. I was boring her to death, after all). I have to admit, though, I was amused.

We finished reading our book, Kate correcting me when I made mistakes (it's amazing how kids can memorize almost every word of oft-read books, isn't it?), and then after flailing around for about fifteen minutes or so, as she was finally settling down, she whispered, "Mommy?"

"Yeah?"

"I love you right up all around the sky and back," Kate said, paraphrasing a line from Guess How Much I love You.

"I love you right up all around the sky and back, too, Honey," I said.

How--oh, how--can I possibly ever be depressed or anxious or whatever I am, when I have this wondrous, loving, smart and all-around wonderful girl in my life?

Friday, April 17, 2009

A Brief Update

I've come to the conclusion that I need to give myself a few months to be healthier before trying to conceive again. Sean and I were going to start trying again just one cycle after my last ectopic, but I've been doing some thinking (and discussing with my therapist) and have decided that I should try to get into a regular fitness routine, as well as try to sort out (or at least start to try to sort out) some psychological stuff first.

I've actually managed to find some long-lost willpower and I've begun walking a few times a week. I'm hoping to figure out how to try to fit in a thirty- to forty-minute walk, five times a week. I really need to do something about my weight, which is, of course, about more than just my weight. I need to start liking my body again, which is very difficult to do in its current state; I need to have more energy for Kate and my life in general; I need to make sure I'm healthy for myself and my family; I need to set a good example for Kate; I want to be able to go shopping for clothing without becoming depressed and walking away empty-handed; and if I should be lucky enough to get pregnant, I want to do my best to have a healthy pregnancy.

I've been in a perpetual bad mood lately for some known reasons and other mysterious ones. That's not to say that I've had no happy times, and to be honest, Kate makes me smile and laugh daily, even though I'm Mrs. Grumpy. I've been trying not to bring Kate down with me, so I brood on the sly, or save up the grouchies for Mr. Cheery (that's my husband)--what a lucky guy! Anyway, I just wanted to post something short and inarticulate to let you (yes, you, my five--that's probably generous--readers) know where I am in Mission Second Child. (I'm not sure why I'm assigning cute names to things today--maybe to try to make my bad mood less obvious. Is it working?)

I'm going to reassess toward the end of June. In the meantime, my focus will be on my mental and physical health.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Because I need this reminder...

I was perusing the quotes at Thursday Drive (lots of great quotes there, by the way), and I came across this one. I've heard and read it before, but thought that I could use a reminder of such a great and positive message here on my blog.

Carpe diem! Rejoice while you are alive; enjoy the day; live life to the fullest; make the most of what you have. It is later than you think.
–Horace

I'm not saying I'm good at remembering this and putting it into practice. Actually, I'm often not very good at it, which is precisely why I need the reminder.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Pretending to be Perfect

A perma-smile was on my face one evening a few weeks ago while I watched Kate climb, run and jump so ably at an indoor play area in a nearby suburb. I'm amazed at, and proud of, how capable she is—she was climbing up this huge play structure (which is, in part, shaped like a big tree) with such ease, vastly improved from only a few months ago when she tentatively and slowly climbed up, not sure of her footing and not as strong. I was filled with such awe and love as I watched her navigate the climber. She was so curious—checking out different points of entry and new ways to climb up, not playing it safe and sticking to what she knew.

Her preschool room teacher at ECFE had told me earlier that day that Kate is confident, not afraid to stand up for herself (yay!), and has a mind of her own. Those things, while at times challenging, are music to my ears. I know that this is how I perceive her, but it's so nice to know that another adult—a long-time preschool educator—sees it, too. I hope so much that she holds onto these qualities throughout her life. I hope that I know enough, and will learn enough, to do my part in nurturing these characteristics and help strengthen them. I love her so much and I wish I could parent her perfectly so that I don't cause any harm—for example, damage her self-image or cause her to lose some of that confidence.

I'm not a perfect parent. I know no one is, but I think somewhere in my pre-parenting naiveté I believed that I'd come damn close to perfect. Not because I believed I was perfect—far from it, actually—but because I think I believed that I would love my child so completely, so enormously, that I'd never do anything that I'd later feel ashamed of, or at least not proud of. There is no question, I love my daughter as much as—no, more than—I thought I would, but I have not been a perfect mother. I think I tried, in the beginning, to be perfect and I was mostly proud of the kind of mother I was, but over time that has changed a bit and I have moved from being a close-to-perfect mom (this is subjective, obviously, and probably not at all true) to being a human mom. There is a lot of room for improvement on my part, but I have to remind myself that I don't have to be perfect—that it's not possible and that striving for that and ultimately failing is only hurting me, and eventually Kate, too.

I think this desire of mine to be perfect has some big, old, gnarly roots. It's strange, though, because there is this part of me that wants to be perceived in this way despite the fact that the people I'm most drawn to, and whom I find the most interesting, are people who aren't afraid to let it all hang out, so to speak. They show the world their imperfections and are more likeable for that, I think. I'm really afraid to show people my weaknesses. On some level, I think I'm afraid to start digging up those roots because the whole big mess of ugly, old knots may be unearthed at once, my foundation as I've always known it will no longer exist, and I may fall apart completely. I can't fall apart completely because, well, it's a scary prospect, but also because Sean and Kate need me. Then again, if I just keep on living my life this way, I'll never fully be in any of our lives. I think I need to take a lesson from my girl. I need to stand back, look at these old roots and ask myself if I should play it safe and leave them untouched, or if I should find a new way to approach my life and start digging with abandon.

My history of trying to be perfect—the good girl—started when I was young. I could be counted on to look normal, act normally, get good grades. Smile. Be nice. I was almost always smiling on the outside, but, on the inside, I was very often longing for a large, open space, where there was no one within earshot, so I could scream and let out all of my repressed feelings; a place where I could just be real and be myself. And did I mention scream? (I think my normal appearance and behaviour were, in part at least, a cover-up, so that no one would suspect that things in my family life were far from normal.) God, I just want Kate to be able to be herself. To be confident and feel good about who she is, and never feel that she has to pretend that everything is okay when it's not. (Of course, I hope that things will be okay for her more often than not.) I have to make sure she understands that it's okay not to be perfect. I suppose that means that I have to let her see that I make mistakes, and that I don't have to berate myself for that—that it is acceptable and normal, and that I just have to try to learn from it and move on. Move on. Oh, if only it were simple to do that.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Honest Scrap



I'm flattered that Wordgirl over at Blood Signs thought of me for this award. This forces me to post something, so that's good, and I'm happy to share a little bit of trivia about myself. I'll be borrowing some of the items I listed in that ubiquitous Facebook tag. So, without further ado:


1. I watch the Oscars every year, and get so excited by the show that you'd think I was nominated for an award! I have been collecting special Oscar editions of Entertainment Weekly for more than a decade. My magazine sits next to me on my couch (as does my husband--he's such a good guy!) on the night of the show, and, as the winners are announced, I put a little check in the appropriate box of my magazine's ballot. Why I do this, I'm not sure, but I'm fairly sure that I'm a nerd. I try to see as many Oscar nominated movies as I can before the show every year. (I used to manage to see a lot more of them than I do now that I'm a mom.) Given the aforementioned information, it probably won't come as a surprise that, when I was younger, I thought I wanted to be an actress. But, alas, I was too much of an introvert to go through with an audition that I was supposed to do for a school in Toronto, Ontario, which had a good theatre program. I did, however, perform in two musicals in high school -- Little Shop of Horrors and Grease.


2. I love the scent of lilacs. I get so excited every spring when they finally bloom and I can put my nose into them and breathe in deeply. I had a spring wedding, so I requested that lilacs be put into my wedding bouquet. (As an aside, I loved my wedding day. Not because I was really into all of the hoopla that sometimes goes along with weddings--more like in spite of that, actually--but because I remember feeling very loved and supported.)

3. I love to read, but I have a stack of recently purchased, unread books on my nightstand (and desk and bookshelf) that I can't seem to find time for (too much reality TV, I think). :(


4. Going on canoe trips in gorgeous Canadian parks used to be a big part of my life. I had some great times with Sean and our friends on those trips. I hope to take Kate on a canoe trip one day (hopefully in Algonquin Provincial Park). (I think I may be sneaking an extra item in here, but I thought I should let you know that I was born and raised in Canada, but have been living in the Twin Cities for about two and a half years now.)


5. I have loved the French language since I first started learning it in the fourth grade. I took ninth-grade French when I was in eighth grade, and took French throughout high school. When I got to university, I temporarily abandoned French, but then after two changes in my major and a two-year-long hiatus from school, I decided on French as my course of study and I eventually earned a French degree. I don't use my degree now, but I'm glad I persevered and got it done--it wasn't easy for me due to lack of self discipline and little self confidence.


6. I adore travelling--I love to see new sights, eat new food, and hear different languages. I've travelled to 15 countries outside of Canada, and I hope to travel to many more in my lifetime. My first backpacking trip to Europe happened during the hiatus from school that I mentioned in item #5. In fact, it was during that trip that my love for French was rekindled and that is what led me to studying it at university.


7. I met my husband a little over sixteen years ago while we were at university. (We've only been married for six years this May, though.) We played hooky from school together for those two years I mentioned earlier. I'm sure our parents were thrilled that we had met one another! We worked at miserable jobs for a year in order to make money for our trip to Europe, and then we took off together. We have no regrets about that.


8. I lived and worked (as an au pair) in a suburb of Paris, France in the summer of 1997. I fell in love with Paris and I hope to go back one day.


9. I have met David Letterman. I stalked him outside of the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York, after the taping of a show. He was very gracious--he talked to me for a minute and shook my hand before driving off in his Porsche. I felt like I was walking on air afterwards! Yes, I can be a little star-struck.


10. I have gone spelunking in two different countries--Hungary and New Zealand. (To be honest, I have done this, but I think I'm including it in this list, at least partly, because I like the word spelunking.) Speaking of New Zealand, travelling there was my last great travel adventure with Sean before we became parents. That trip will be hard to beat as far as travel experiences go--New Zealand was breathtakingly beautiful and full of exciting things to do.


Now for the hard part (for me, at least). I'm supposed to bestow this award upon seven other bloggers, which is a little tricky for me because I don't really know seven other bloggers. Had I not been tagged by Wordgirl, I would have awarded her, as she is an amazing writer who writes prolifically about her struggle with infertility, as well as her childhood and daily life. I also would have awarded Tobacco Brunette who is honest and very funny, but I know she has already done this. She struggled with infertility and now has a baby boy. There are a few other blogs that I read regularly--a couple of them I've only just started reading, and one I've been reading for a while now--so I think I'll pass this award onto them. They are:


Kate at Mother Words: Mothers Who Write. Kate is a mother, writer and teacher who writes honestly and beautifully about motherhood, books she has read, and about being a writer.


Jennifer at Thursday Drive is also a writer who writes about anything and everything on her blog, and does so intelligently and elegantly. I have been moved by her honesty, insight, and courage.


Krista at my life as i see it. This is one of the blogs I've just started reading, and its writer doesn't know me--I guess I'll have to introduce myself now. I was drawn to her blog for a couple of reasons. Like me, she is a mother of a daughter. Also, she seems to have been through some tough stuff in her life which she writes about in a really raw and powerful way. I've recently read some powerful poetry on her blog. I'm impressed by her resilience.


Well, I'm afraid that will have to do. I suppose this means that I should start adding more blogs to my blog list!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

And now for something a little lighter...

Okay, so I'm a little embarrassed to admit this, but I am addicted to The Bachelor. There, I said it. I know it's just mindless reality (highly debatable) TV, but I seriously can't get enough of it. It offers me some light, escapist entertainment, and sometimes a person really needs that kind of junk. I guess I'm a bit of a romantic, too, so every time a new season starts I have hope that this time the "process" is going to work, and the bachelor will actually find a life partner amidst the gaggle of suspiciously attractive and often too-young women. So, last night it was time for the bachelor Jason to visit the hometowns of the final four women. Holy **** that was good TV!

It is always fun to get a glimpse into the lives of the contestants' families; you get to see everything from the absurd (like last night's scene where a contestant's mother revealed a dead dove that she had been keeping in her freezer until the right time for burial presented itself; apparently, in her wisdom, she decided that the right occasion for a dove's funeral was on the day she was to meet her daughter's boyfriend for the first time) to the truly touching--a dad choking up because he was talking about his daughter and what she means to him. My pick ('cause it matters, you know) for Jason is Jillian--a funny, smart, genuine, real, and, yes, attractive woman from British Columbia, Canada (okay, so I'm a little biased, but I swear I'm not choosing her because we were born in the same country.)

Monday, February 9, 2009

Another Ectopic

I found out I was pregnant about two and a half weeks ago. I suspected that I was, so on the earliest day possible, I woke early and went to my bathroom to take a test. My heart was thumping as I waited for the result, and then, a couple of minutes later, I looked down at the stick. I could see that two lines had formed in the test window. I was thrilled and I became a bit teary. I crept back to my bedroom and into bed, and looked over at my groggy husband with a smile on my face. "I'm pregnant," I said. He gave me a big smile back and hugged me. He told me he loved me. "I love you, too," I said. And then we quickly sobered and discussed that we should try not to get ahead of ourselves, and that I should go to get my first HCG test done as soon as possible.

I had my first blood draw later that day. Five more followed after that--one every two days. My heart would pound with worry and anxiety every time I was about to get my result. Sometimes I would even cry with relief on hearing the good news that my HCG levels had doubled, because I had been so full of fear and worry, always expecting the worst. Every time, the result seemed promising--my HCG levels were doubling, even tripling once. I started to let some hope creep into my heart; I started to think about when the baby would be due; I started to think about cradling him or her, and singing lullabies; I started to imagine Kate being a big sister, having a playmate. Once my HCG levels were over 2000, I was supposed to schedule an ultrasound; the embryo would be large enough to be seen on ultrasound at that point, and an ultrasound would provide confirmation that the embryo was in my uterus. My HCG levels soared above 2000 on the Saturday before last, so I was going to call my doctor's office the following Monday to schedule my ultrasound. Then, on Sunday, I started to feel a strange pressure in my lower abdomen. I hoped that it was just gas, just a normal symptom of pregnancy, but I thought I remembered experiencing something similar with the ectopic I had in September, 2007.

I decided that I would give it a few hours and see if it went away. I went for a short walk on my treadmill--the first action my treadmill had seen from me in an extremely long time. (I had decided that I needed to get some regular exercise during this pregnancy--it would be good for me and the baby, and it could only help during labour.) The feeling didn't go away. I called a nurseline and the woman I spoke with took down the information I gave her and told me someone from the babyline would call me back. About forty-five minutes later a nurse, whom I don't care for a great deal, called me to say that she had consulted with my doctor, and that, unless I was experiencing pain or bleeding, I could wait until the next day to schedule my ultrasound. I calmly explained to her that I didn't feel comfortable waiting until I was bleeding, given that the last time I had an ectopic, I did not experience great pain and I had no bleeding. She then repeated, in a condescending manner, what my doctor had said. I told her I would take it into consideration and then make a decision about what I should do. I also asked where I should go if I made the decision that I should have an ultrasound that day. She gave me the information, but was almost trying to dissuade me from doing it. (Can you tell I'm a little bitter?)

Anyway, after some back and forth discussion with my mother (over the phone) and my husband Sean, I decided that I should go to the ER. Sean got my daughter Kate ready for the car ride, I got myself ready, and off we went. They dropped me at the ER and then left so that Sean could try to get Kate to nap in the car. (We have no family here, so Kate had to be with us.) I made my way to the ER receptionist, and almost apologetically explained to her why I was there. I was feeling like I was probably overreacting, and that I would hopefully find out in a short period of time that my baby was where it should be.

After a lot of waiting around, I was eventually chauffeured on a hospital bed, by a kind transport person, to radiology, where a very sympathetic woman waited to give me my ultrasound. I asked her if she would tell me if she saw the embryo in my uterus (I knew she wasn't supposed to). She gently explained that the radiologist and doctor would have to review the results first and then they would speak to me. I stared at the computer screen. I looked hard for a sign of life in my uterus. At one point, I saw something pulsing and I asked if that was a heartbeat. I knew it couldn't be, as it was too early in my pregnancy, but I guess rational thought had fled me at that point. She said no, that it was my own blood that I saw pumping. After a while, I noticed that she had typed the words "gestational sac" on the screen, so I asked, "Is that my uterus you're looking at?"
"No--I'm sorry--it's not," she said. And that's when I knew that I would not be having this baby. I started to cry. The technician was kind and tried to tell me that she could be wrong and not to jump to conclusions yet, but I could tell she knew that this was not a normal pregnancy. I just could not believe that this was happening again.

Another trip on a hospital bed followed, with warm blankets wrapped around me this time for comfort. The white walls of the hospital hallways were a blur as I rode along trying to process what I had just learned. I was pushed back into the small room in the ER where I had been waiting earlier, and I saw that Sean and Kate were now there waiting for me. Sean had been reading a book to Kate. He looked at me and could see from my eyes that something was wrong, so he came to me and I quietly explained what was going on. We had to be quiet and try as much as possible to keep it together because Kate was there in the room with us. Sean, though sad himself, focused on Kate. He resumed reading to her while I spoke with three doctors who had entered the room. They explained that a laparoscopic surgery was the best course of action; that they would do it that evening; that there was a "mass" in my right fallopian tube, which they would remove along with my tube. I tried not to lose it, and I tried to reassure Kate that I was fine, while Sean continued to read to her to keep her distracted.

After it was confirmed that I would be having another laparoscopic surgery, Sean and I discussed plans for childcare for Kate for later that night, after she was asleep. He arranged for a friend from Kate's and my play group to come over and stay at our house so that he could return to the hospital to be with me after the surgery. (We are so thankful for the wonderful people in my play group, all of whom I met in my first ECFE class two years ago.) I hugged and kissed both Kate and Sean, and we said good-bye. I was alone from then until the surgery began, waiting for it to be over. It is in moments like those that I wish we had family nearby. I wish that Kate could have been with family from the moment we suspected something was wrong so that she didn't have to be exposed to, and confused by, the sadness, and so that I could have had Sean with me the whole time. I wish that he could have been there to hold my hand and keep me company while I waited to be taken into surgery. However, we were all fine, and he was there when I woke up, so that's all that matters. He stayed with me in my hospital room until about 2:30 a.m. He said he wanted to stay with me until I was falling asleep.

The next morning, one of the doctors who had participated in the surgery came to see me to discuss the operation and what my next steps should be. She told me that they removed most of my right tube and that my left tube looked good. She said that I should be able to conceive again if I decide that's what I want to do. Sean and Kate came to pick me up by mid-morning, and I got to return to the comfort of my home. Sean has been absolutely amazing. He has cancelled two trips for work and stayed home all of last week to be with Kate. He allowed me to sleep in every morning, and nap during the day if I needed to. He took Kate out to have some fun every day, and also to our ECFE class. He went grocery shopping, made meals, and did all of the cleanup. He is incredible (which I already knew, but this provides further confirmation).

I know how lucky I am to have Sean and Kate in my life, and although I would be sad if I weren't able to have another child, I know that it would be okay. I think we will try, though. I want to have another baby--for me, for Sean, and for Kate. The last time this happened, I couldn't bring myself to try again for more than a year. This time, I think we'll try much sooner. I'm not quite as afraid this time. Maybe because I know that the damaged tube was removed, so the chances of it happening again are reduced. I think I may write about the next pregnancy (this is me being hopeful) from the time I find out about it. Maybe it'll help to know that I've got one or two people out there rooting me on. For now, I'm going to continue gathering emotional and physical strength, and I'm going to get on with my very blessed life as Kate's mom and Sean's wife.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Emilie

I saw Emilie, for the last time, less than 4 days before she passed away. I feel so fortunate that I got to see her one last time. I was going away to Canada for the holidays and, after learning that Emilie was entering into home hospice care, I decided that I wanted to have a short visit with her before leaving. I didn't really believe that it would be the last time I'd ever see her. Well, maybe somewhere in the back of my mind I thought it might be my last chance to see her, but honestly, I didn't really think that was possible. I didn't think she'd go so quickly. I don't think she thought she would either.

So, I went to see Emilie on Saturday, December 20th, and I had a short visit with her. She was in her bedroom, laying in her just-recently-delivered hospital bed. We visited for a short time and I quickly realized that she was tired--extremely tired--so I decided I should let her rest. I didn't say anything meaningful to her whatsoever because, although I felt a great deal for her, I wouldn't have known how to say what I felt without it sounding like I thought she would pass away before I returned from Canada. I didn't want to send her that message. I did hug her, though, and she returned my hug, and I am so grateful that I got to do that. It turns out it was my goodbye. We embraced for what was probably only a few seconds, but it felt like more than that. I stood up with tears welling in my eyes, but I did not let myself cry--not then. I reached down and touched her leg, and told her I'd see her when I got back. I really thought I would.

Only a small part of me feels regret about not telling her, during that visit, what she meant to me . I think she knew that I cared about her. No, I'm sure she did. I know she knew that I liked and admired her. I wanted her to have more time with her family, and it felt wrong to me to speak to her as though she would soon die. Yes, there is a tiny part of me that wishes I could tell her some of the things I so admired in her, and what kind of impact knowing her had had on me. I suppose if I had known beyond a shadow of a doubt that that last visit was my only chance to tell her, I might have said something like this:

I want to strive to be half the person you are. I want to be present in my life as much as possible; to speak up if necessary; to take care of my body the way you take care of yours; to ask questions; to be generous; to be more empathetic; to offer to help others, really mean it, and then do it; to show my gratitude more by writing thank you notes--promptly; to read more; to be gentler with Kate; to love my husband well; to be willing to be vulnerable and let people in; to be open to the possibility that there is more to this life than just the time we have on the earth. Knowing the kind of person you are, makes me demand more of myself.

I witnessed Emilie do these things, and be these ways, many times. She was a thoughtful, compassionate, intelligent person. She was a wonderful human being--one of the best I've ever met--whom I feel honoured to have known. I will miss her. I truly hope that Emilie is in a better place now.