Keeping Calm: the next chapter of our fertility journey

Hi, it’s been a while. This post has been waiting to be posted, and it’s just taken me a little while to consider whether I wanted it all over the blogosphere or not. I decided to go for it. Almost a month ago, I posted this to my Facebook friends:

4cf59c0b5cf1e92a70ecdff876357de6My task today is to clean up my computer files. I’ve just come across a bunch of files relating to the three IVF cycles it took to get Sweet Pea. Notes, numbers, schedules, charts, photos of my little embryos… my heart and hopes in a petri dish, magnified x4000. A mantra I could never quite follow in the form of dozens of .jpg versions of “Keep Calm and Carry On.” Finance spreadsheets that never ended up with a total because by the time we got to “the end” I couldn’t bear to look at anything that showed the monetary value of our failures. Files I still can’t look at, but will never be able to throw away.

Hastily typed-up notes from a phone call with my amazing doctor, May 2012: “recommend another fresh [cycle] ASAP. Frozens there, suspended in time… may not be able to do retrieval in 1-2yrs if wait.” Even now, my heart beats a little fast and I’m slightly nauseated when I read this.”

The last month has had a bit of underlying stress to it as I consider what I want to do, what I hope for, how awesome our family of 3 is as I work on the positives that will hold me together if another baby doesn’t show up.  Tomorrow, Tuesday, exactly one week after my miracle baby turned one, we go see our awesome doctor at the fertility clinic. We owe him a 1-year-old’s birthday picture, anyway. I don’t know what this appointment is going to bring. It is just a discussion of the future. It holds many hopes and lots of questions, but no promises. I have learned to let go of guarantees in my head… but my heart continues to beat just a little fast as I try to meditate away that knot in my stomach.

After much discussion with the Mr., we are sharing this with you, dear readers.  I’m not going to pretend it is an easy decision to share this journey, whatever it brings – on the contrary, it’s rather terrifying. When we started fertility treatment I spent hours reading the blogs of people who were brave enough to write, trying to get some glimpse into what the process might be like. If I can offer that in return, good. If I can offer some perspective to people who have no idea what this is like, good. If I can bring awareness to an issue that I think needs awareness right now, then it will be worth it. And just maybe it’s a little bit selfish too, because I know that support and love can go a long way in carrying people forward.

#thisismystrikepay = Food For the Soul

Heather Hart @bwasgrumpy posted last night that #thisismystrikepay = food for the soul. I just happen to agree, and am hoping she doesn’t mind me borrowing that phrase for the title of this post.

Wow, what a weekend. #thisismystrikepaIy carried on as we were all hopeful over the weekend and disappointed with negotiation news this morning. Nobody could be more surprised than me and the Mr. We’ve had a hard time looking away, which is a sentiment I’ve heard from others, with tweets like this one:


This is my personal favourite tweet from tonight:


It’s true, isn’t it? Teachers suddenly had all this TIME that used to be filled with marking, so they posted and blogged and retweeted, and some of my friends even learned how to use Twitter for the first time so they could participate. My husband’s picket sign reads “Teachers Taking a Stand,” and I’ve been enthralled watching B.C. teachers do exactly that.

This simple hashtag took off. Why? So many teachers are parents too, and even those who aren’t have kids they’re concerned about. The fact is that every single one of the kids tweeted about this weekend is as important as any other. Every single one deserves the support of a fully funded education system. Is there a poster child for this campaign? Sure – thousands, in fact. It’s the thousands of kids across the province who are without textbooks. It’s the kids who don’t get time with their teachers due to overcrowding. It’s the special needs kids who need extra support. It’s the kids who are graduating this month who have spent their last 13 years in an education system abused by the government. It’s the kids who haven’t even stepped foot in a classroom yet. It’s any number of these, and many many more.

It’s the kids pictured here:


And it’s my kid:


And it’s yours.

So, you can read about how #thisismystrikepay got started here, but more importantly you can keep your eye on the Twitter hashtag. These are the stories and images that are important.

It’s time for me to look away for the night… I’m off to do some regular ol’ mama-ing and make a new t-shirt for Miss Sweet Pea to wear on the picket line tomorrow.

Please, carry on.

This Is My Strike Pay

How did #thisismystrikepay start, anyway? I’ve been asked a couple times today to explain more, and I think the best way to do that is simply to quote my husband. When he captioned the image of our daughter last night with “This is My Strike Pay,” he posted the following:

Let’s start dispelling the myth that this is about parents vs. teachers, shall we? Many teachers ARE parents and are in this fight as much for their own children’s future as anything else. Why would we vote 86% to strike without pay if we didn’t have cause to believe this is right? This is my pay. Her name is Sweet Pea and I want a better education system in place before she starts kindergarten. Teachers: consider sharing this please. Teacher parents: please consider posting a picture of your own child/children with the caption “THIS is my strike pay ” and the date they will start/started/graduate from school. It’s the next side of the “human face” of this movement and no one else is going to get it out there but us. Solidarity, sisters and brothers. And solidarity to our children, too.


Personally, I think that says it all. Thank you to all the wonderful B.C. Teachers who participated in #thisismystrikepay in the past 24 hours. It turned into something I didn’t dare imagine when I posted to Twitter last night: a heartwarming reminder to all parties involved that the kids are at the heart of the current negotiations. Carry on, friends.

Kitchen Busy Box

Sometimes simple toys are best, right? Some of Sweet Pea’s favourite things right now are at her great grandma’s house.

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Another favourite is this yet-unpacked bin of spices. Those little bottles are just irresistible!

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Sweet Pea is pretty good at independent play, but she likes me to be nearby. I thought this morning that she needs some kind of box of toys to keep her busy while I’m in the kitchen. This little bin came from the Free Table in our community, and rather than filling it with toys, I decided to fill it with baby-safe kitchen items.

Contents of our Kitchen Busy Box: A couple bamboo plates, wooden spoon, plastic baby spoon, spatula, old spice jar filled with rice, small tupperware container, egg carton, measuring cup, empty water bottle, empty formula canister, IKEA dish brush (another favourite!), and a colourful cloth napkin. I will add a couple empty cardboard food boxes as I get them. This was a totally free little kit to put together, and can adapt and change as she grows, or as disposables need to be disposed of.

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I think it’s a hit – this managed to keep her busy long enough for me to unpack 2 kitchen boxes. Long overdue, I now have cupboards to unpack into, and I found plates, bowls and drinking glasses. Success.

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An Unfair Fight for a Fair Deal

I don’t normally write particularly political posts, but oh, would you just indulge me for a moment? I am feeling incredibly dejected today about this fight for a fair deal for our B.C. students and teachers.

I am sad that my mom, who has seen a 0% wage increase for the last 2 years, may not ever see one before retirement.

I’m feeling sickened that my “little” cousin Wes, who just proudly graduated, has spent his entire schooling in a system abused by our government.

I fear that my daughter will face the same.

I will be grateful if Sweet Pea  doesn’t need extra resources in school. But, I worry that she will be overlooked, because I know – I know – that right now those kids who can make it don’t get enough attention, because teachers have to focus on those who can’t. There are too many kids in each classroom, not enough help, and unfortunately no superpower bestowed upon teachers to allow them to spend individual time with each student.

I worry that if I decide to homeschool, because I believe that my daughter deserves more than the above, that it will be seen as a slight against teachers. My dear husband, I support you. Mom, I support you. My friends, and acquaintances, and you who I honked at while you were on the picket line the other day, I support you. I know how hard all of you work, and I know that this system is failing through no fault of yours. It is failing despite you, not because of you, and I hear how frustrated you are about that. I’m so sorry.

I am scared that we will have to leave this beautiful province, my home, our friends and our family, for the Mr. to even get a permanent position anytime soon, because teachers who graduated TEN YEARS AGO are still being laid off due to classroom closures and lack of resources.

I am concerned that even when he does get a job, he will burn out awfully fast.

I am disgusted by the bullying that is going on by the government. Did you know that the Mr., as a teacher-on-call, would not have qualified for the signing bonus that the B.C. Liberals were “offering.” He does, however, qualify to have his pay stripped 10% due to the current job action? There is no fairness to this fight.

I worry about our own financial future.

I don’t know how we’re going to be able to afford to stock a classroom with books, or to buy a coat for that 5 year old who can’t go out to play at recess because he doesn’t have one. I promise you I will try. I don’t know your kids, but I can tell you my husband cares for them and we are committed to them. I promise I will try.

Parents, I’m sorry. I know this job action is inconvenient, and I know it’s tiresome. I know you’re worried too. But please, PLEASE know that teachers are on your side. They are not teachers for the glory, or for the money. By and large they care about your kids, and many of them are parents too. Many of them are, like me, being kept up at night with their worries. And all they can do is keep trying to be heard, keep trying to fight for a fair deal.

Early Morning

Good morning, baby mine,

When you were wide awake at 6:30 this morning, I was annoyed. You had been wide awake at 5:00, and I don’t know if you remember this, but after I nursed you AND offered a bottle (are you going through a growth spurt?) I held you until nearly 6:00 while you fell back asleep. I watched the brightening sky and told you the birds were singing to you. I put my phone down and thought about being your mom, stroking your cheek and praying for you. I am sure I felt righteous in our early-morning moment, and deserving of the sweet sleep that was still to follow. I was not ready, at 6:30, for that little hand that was reaching for me through the crib slats.

Your Daddy was already up and getting ready for work, so after I soothed you yet again, I brought you into bed with me. It is amazing to me how your little body can take up so much space in his half of a king-sized bed! 

I got to fall asleep with my hand on your tummy.

I got to be just a little bit of aware of you stirring some time later, only to reach out and touch my arm, which was enough to comfort you into staying asleep.

When you did wake, demanding more food and more comfort, I got to buy an extra half hour for myself by lazily nursing you right there in bed.

I appreciated your beautiful smile as you realized that I was still there.

I snuggled you and smooched you and sang a silly morning song that I had made up when you were brand new.

We played peek-a-boo under the blanket that I still didn’t want to give up. You laughed.

I was grateful.

Thank you for waking up at 6:30, little girl. But tomorrow, maybe sleep a little longer.

Love, Mama

Tree Musings

This is a short post, because I’m still packing here. Growing up on the west coast, I’ve always loved the trees. I feel at home in the woods, in parks thick with foliage, and in the cherry-tree lined streets of Vancouver and my old neighbourhood. And I’ve been thinking a lot about them in general lately.

I’m sad we didn’t get a family photo on the farm, under this gorgeous cherry tree, while it was full with blossoms. This is a picture of it just around this time last year, through the freshly-painted window that would soon be my baby’s room.


We finally planted the magnolia tree that has been sitting in a pot since about this time last year. I wanted to buy a tree for the baby. Having decided to move, I wondered where to plant it, and finally decided it should be here. Sweet Pea’s first home, her birth place, ancestral land. Yes. The new lady of this house is an avid gardener, and I consulted with her as to where she’d like it. She suggested a spot in the front yard, and we got it in the ground just yesterday. I know it will be well cared for, and I love that we’ll be able to see if when we come by on walks.

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And, in what I think is wonderful timing to be taken as a very good sign, our cohousing community is having a tree planting on Sunday, the day after we move in. When we took a load of boxes there the other day (in fact, the same day the magnolia was planted), there were a bunch of potted cedars and instructions to choose one, label it, and show up to plant it on Sunday. Almost all were already claimed, but this little shorty was still looking for a human to choose it – perfect for a 9 month old! My girl’s got a tree with her name on it at the new house.

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I’m pretty happy about that.