Wednesday, August 31, 2005

My attitude needs a makeover

This is the conversation at breakfast this morning:

Me: "So, how is everything going at the office?"
Him: "Well, it's going to be a hectic day. Bob, one of the project leaders, has a wife who's about to deliver any minute now."
Me: [Silence. I start flipping through the junk mail on the table.]
Him: "His wife lost a baby in the second trimester a few years ago, too."
Me: [More silence. I start getting really interested in an offer to have my carpets cleaned for only $19.95 per room.]
Him: Anyway, it's going to be busy day... Hey, what's wrong with you, anyway? Why are you in such a mood?
Me: I'm not in a mood! Or maybe I am, I don't know. Nothing is wrong. Have a nice day at the office.

What *is* wrong with me? Hearing about yet another woman giving birth was obviously so disturbing to me that I couldn't be civil, yet even when I hear that she has also had a loss, I still couldn't have a normal polite response. I really am a nice person, or at least I used to be. It just seems like part of me instinctively shuts down whenever I'm confronted with even the idea of anyone else's healthy pregnancy. I don't want to be this bitter, I just don't know how to rise above it. God, that sounds pathetic. Surely, hanging onto the bitterness isn't doing me any good, so why shouldn't I just be able to accept that life will go on for the rest of the world and that it isn't all about me?

Maybe getting my carpets cleaned would help give me a new outlook...
:: posted by Ann Howell, 5:30 PM | link | 8 comments |

Monday, August 29, 2005

My body is revolting

Well, it seems as I am having a really wacky cycle after all, as the spotting turning into bleeding yesterday and this morning it was clear that it was a full-blown AF. Which means I had a 17-day cycle; a record even for me. Just to be utterly pedantic, my last 7 cycles have been 32, 29, 23, 46, 33, 27, and now 17 days, respectively. What is wrong with me? I just hope the doctor has some answers for me this afternoon, though I imagine he'll have to send me for blood tests or take biopsies or drain my humors or something before being able to make a diagnosis. I'm just so flaming frustrated! *Whine alert* Why is this so easy for other people and so hard for me? I just want to have a baby. 16 year-olds are able to pull this off without even trying. I'm adult with a house in the suburbs and a husband and a career... I'm ready, for pity's sake!

I'm going to go work out and try to vent some of this frustration. I can feel a good kick-boxing segment coming on... I'll just imagine kicking my ovaries into shape.
:: posted by Ann Howell, 9:08 AM | link | 5 comments |

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Even my subconscious is against me

Reading Julie's latest post reminded me of a dream I had last night. I dreamt that I was about 5 months pregnant and I started going into labor. I knew that it was too early for the baby to survive, but the labor couldn't be stopped. I gave birth painlessly and the baby died almost instantly. Honestly, I don't know what I would do if something like that were to happen again. Could I find the strength to go on and try again? Mind you, if you had asked me a couple of years ago if I could bear delivering a dead but fully-formed baby and still find the resilience to try to have another child, I might have scoffed as well.
:: posted by Ann Howell, 11:55 AM | link | 1 comments |

Breaking news from the fertility front

Well not really, but I do feel like a news correspondent the way I've been recording, researching and (over)analyzing my fertility signs over the past few days. I haven't been totally obsessive about it, but each new piece of data I record into FF has me rushing to the chart gallery to make sure that I'm normal and still have a possibility of getting pregnant this month. The latest exciting development has been mid-cycle spotting. Now what is that about?! I've never experienced this before in my life (that I can remember, anyway), so it has me wondering -- I mean it's way too early for implantation spotting (isn't it?), so I figure it's one of three things: 1. Ovulation spotting -- which could make sense, but again this is not a usual occurence for me, so why now all of a sudden? 2. I'm having a really wacky cycle and AF is about to arrive almost 2 weeks early, or 3. I've got some horrible disease that will not only render me permanently infertile, but will make my husband a widower at a very young age. Who me, overreact? I'm hoping that it's down to the first case, in fact that would be a handy ovulation detector if it were to become a pattern, but the others can't be ruled out. Luckily I have an appointment with my doctor on Monday, so maybe he will be able to shed some light. Until then I will be obsessively trying not to obsess...

Besides that, it's a beautiful day, but I'm stuck inside working on a contract (since I bunked off yesterday to play golf). I could take the laptop out onto the "patio" (read: the cracked, heaving, weed-filled square of macadam behind the house), but I can see myself out there looking over my screen at the lawn that needs to be mowed and the flower beds that need weeding and the bushes that need trimming... and then the temptation to bring out a glass of sangria, stretch out on the lounge chair and ignore all of that would be way too strong and I'd never get any work done. So, it's back to the grindstone!
:: posted by Ann Howell, 11:37 AM | link | 2 comments |

Monday, August 22, 2005

Stretching the muscles

Mea culpa again for the gap in posts. I realise that I'm writing this blog solely for myself, but it's supposed to help me stretch my creative and expressive muscles, so not posting for two weeks feels the same as not exercising for two weeks. Ironically, I have been working out fairly regularly, so I need to apply that same committment to writing.

Last week I was in Massachusetts visiting my parents (somewhat explaining the recent dearth of posts), which turned out to be very rejuvinating. My husband spent a couple of those days chopping wood with my dad -- a very "back-to-nature" bonding experience. They didn't exactly bang drums and howl at the moon, but my dad was grateful for the help and impressed that DH was capable of such an extended period of manual labour. DH was just impressed that he managed not to permanently injure himself.

I got to breathe country air for a few days and have some heart-to-hearts with my mom. A lot of our conversations were about future plans and my desire to have another child. My mom's recurring theme was not to dwell on it and let nature take its course. "One day you'll realise that you've missed a couple of cycles and you'll know what's happened!" I know she was just trying to be optimistic, but I couldn't make her understand that I'll never be able to be that oblivious about my cycles again. It's ironic, too, because my mother was never able to have children (we're all adopted in my family) and she herself was an infertility guinea pig for a couple of years in the late 60s. She went through seven painful uterine biopsies before finally making the decision to adopt. Was she so oblivious to her cycles then? I guess she's just trying to spare me all of that distress and she must figure that since we have conceived naturally on our own already that we should be able to do it again. On some level I agree with her, but on another I want some answers as to why my cycles are now ridiculously irregular and why after 14 months of unprotected sex we have yet to conceive. Maybe as with the loss of the baby there just are no answers. That being said, I'm trying to get an appointment with my OB/GYN to see what he says.

Anyway, I've got to get some work done today. With any luck, I'll be able to write a more interesting post later. My "creative and expressive muscles" are just getting warmed up...
:: posted by Ann Howell, 11:34 AM | link | 4 comments |

Monday, August 08, 2005

Losing the pre-baby weight

When I was pregnant, I steadily put on 2 pounds a month after the first trimester -- 2 lbs. in April, 2 lbs. in May, 2 lbs. in June. When I came home from the hospital, I weighed exactly as much as I did before I got pregnant. Just over 6 pounds gone in one day -- not a recommended method for weight loss, however. Anyway, in the past year or so my weight has fluctuated slightly, but I'm more or less back where I started, which is 15 pounds more than I should be. (This is all weight that I gained in my 20s, so discreetly that I don't even remember it happening. One day I just realized that all of my clothes were 2 sizes bigger than they used to be and that I had giant hips full of jello.) I have made very lame attempts at shedding the pounds before, but as much as I'd love to blame it on some metabolic disorder or strange fat-creating disease it comes down to the fact that I am *extremely* lazy and have a love of chocolate that borders on obsession. But for the past week I've been making strides. I'm trying to change my habits slowly, without making a formal commitment that I will only break down the line. For example, last week I exercised every day. I didn't always do my infomercial-obtained workout like I'd planned, but I moved my body at sweat-inducing levels for at least 30 minutes every day. That is *very* impressive for me. Now, I also had chocolate in some form every day and since I had a couple of social events to attend, I also had a few alcoholic bevvies along the way, not to mention the evening that I had half of a giant bag of Doritos for dinner... But, I worked out everyday, which I am very proud of.

This week, I'm trying to slowly start improving my diet. I've started using FitDay, where I can enter in every morsel of food I consume and the online calculator will tell me how much of a pig I'm being. Today, even factoring in a glass of wine that I plan to have with dinner I will have stayed under 1700 calories (assuming, of course, that I don't slather my steamed broccoli in butter and manage to stay away from the ice cream afterwards). That's probably an obscenely high amount for Atkins/South Beach/vomitting Hollywood waifs, but I think it's a healthy, yet still weight-loss inducing amount for me. My goal is to lose the 15 pounds by New Year. That means I have to lose .8 pounds a week from now until then. Of course, I have voices in my head telling me that there is no way I will succeed, but I'm trying not to listen to them. They're the same ones reminding me about the Hagen-Daaz in the freezer...
:: posted by Ann Howell, 7:22 PM | link | 4 comments |

Friday, August 05, 2005

Cheesy country songs make me cry

God, I'm in a bad mood today! I don't know whether it's because my cycle is all over the place this month (with regard to all of the "signs") and I have no idea whether I've ovulated yet or not (which is just really frustrating at this point), or because it doesn't really matter since our "intimate life" has been so pitiful lately that there's practically no chance of conception unless a miracle occurs. I know there are plenty of valid reasons why my DH has not been too keen lately, but it doesn't do my libido (or my pg. chances) much good.

On another note, my new favorite radio station is K103.7 out of Kahnawake, a local Mowhawk community. They play an ecclectic mix of current (sometimes "alternative") pop and "classics" from bygone decades. I especially like to listen when I'm in the car during the day and my local NPR station has switched to it's all-classical-music format (I like classical, but more at the end of the day when I need to relax). Anyway, on the way into the office the other day they played this sort of country anthem (not my style at all, but that's what I like about this station, you hear all sorts) and although I was only half-listening to it soon I noticed that there were tears streaming down my face. There I was sitting in traffic, practically sobbing because the words to this cheesy country song made me think of my daughter. I later learned that the song was "Not a Day Goes By" by Lonestar, and although it is not something that I would listen to for any other aesthetic reason, I have now put it onto my iTunes list of songs for Lydia. These are the "poignant" lyrics that got me going:

"Got a picture of you, I carry in my heart
Close my eyes to see it, when the night gets dark
Got a memory of you, I carry in my soul
Wrap it close around me, when the world gets cold

If you asked me how I'm doing
I'd say just fine
But the truth is, baby
If you could read my mind

Not a day goes by
That I don't think of you
After all this time
You're still with me it's true
Somehow you remain
Locked so deep inside
That baby, baby, oh, baby
Not a day goes by"


Under normal circumstances, trite crap like that would make me flip the dial faster than if I'd heard Rush Limbaugh spouting off, but I swear this loss has made me ridiculously sensitive to the weirdest things. I get teary-eyed at insurance commercials, for god's sake.

Anyway, I've got to try to cheer up and get some work done. Maybe if I tune into K103.7 I'll hear a song that will make me spontaneously break into peals of laughter. It's worth a shot.
:: posted by Ann Howell, 9:04 AM | link | 1 comments |

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Fifty lashes with a wet noodle

I'm such a bad blogger! I don't know what happened last week -- I mean I thought a lot about what I was going to write about next and I've been keeping up with reading my favorite blogs, but something has kept me from actually sitting down and writing the next entry. Anyway, I won't make any rigid promises (that I'd more than likely break), but I will try to write something at least a few times a week.

I don't actually have a lot of time right now (I'm in the middle of a really dull web project), but here are a few blurts from the last few days:

I had a dream about being pregnant again. It was the day of my induction and I could feel the baby kicking (I kept checking for it and it was such a nice feeling). I was surrounded by people whose faces I didn't know, but who somehow I knew were friends. When I woke up (before the birth, unfortunately -- I was looking forward to meeting my dream baby!) I realized that the strangers were actually my online support buddies. Women I've been "talking" to almost daily for the better part of a year, but have never met. In a funny sort of way, it'll feel like they're with me if and when I do ever have another baby.


I'm thinking of doing a home spa this weekend. Many years ago I came across this program for a 4-day home spa in a magazine and although I've never done the whole thing, I've kept the tattered pages and used elements from it to do a mini-spa from time to time. What's great is that it plans out the whole day and I *love* planning (even though I never, ever actually go through with the whole thing). So, I may actually tweak it some more this time and record what I plan to do (and post-hoc what I actually got around to doing). It's fun and relaxing and a spiritual boost, if I can get into the right frame of mind.

Alright, I've got to get back to work now, but I will come back very soon and write a proper post. There have been many other thoughts swirling around my head lately that I'd really like to get down.
:: posted by Ann Howell, 4:00 PM | link | 2 comments |