Friday, November 18, 2005

Life on a train

I'm coming out of hibernation just briefly to post this link: Life on a train

It was emailed to me by a guy who has me on his "forwarded jokes" list, so I figured it was going to be humourous, a series of Kodak moments with an ironic punchline, perhaps. Needless to say, I was not prepared for the over-arching sincerity of the whole thing and I ended up bawling halfway through it. There is an especially poignant line in there that will touch anyone who has lost a baby. I know it's probably overly schmaltzy for most of you, but if you ever need to have a good cry, this may do it.

I am still reeling from what is going on at home. We are at the beginning of a very long, dark tunnel and I am very wary of what lies ahead.
:: posted by Ann Howell, 4:13 PM | link | 4 comments |

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The winter of my discontent

It snowed here yesterday and along with this meteorological harbinger of the barren season ahead, an avalanche has fallen on my marriage. The foundations have been shaken to the core and I do not know if they can ever be repaired or restrengthened. Because this is such a deeply painful and personal subject, I will not be writing about it in here. In fact, I probably won't be writing at all for a while, as I try to take stock and decide what to do. One thing that losing my daughter has taught me is that I have inner strength that will carry my through this. I just may not be happy with what lies on the other side.
:: posted by Ann Howell, 7:37 AM | link | 15 comments |

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Nelson's here!

The little pup is lying peacefully beside me. I still can't believe that he's ours! I really held out suspicion that we would get him until the last minute. I went to the store yesterday to pick up a few things I thought I might need, and I flashed back to when I was in the same store a few weeks before we lost Lydia, finally daring to buy some onesies and a little stuffed lamb. I remember bringing those things back home and placing them in the Moses basket, still in awe of the fact that she would be here in a few months. Anyway, I know it's not the same thing, but I admit that I was a bit trepidatious just buying the puppy chow and a couple chew toys. I could imagine having those items sitting in a basket haunting me if we couldn't get the dog after all. But all went smoothly this morning. I gave the woman some money (which she claimed wasn't necessary, but which she also didn't refuse) and they gave us a cage and some food. Nelson hopped happily into the car and he was great on the ride home (besides passing absolutely *toxic* gas on a few occasions!). As soon as we got home and he was out of the car, he did his business (it seems there was cause for the bad gas - yuck!) and we had a nice little romp in the back yard. Once inside the house, he had a nice little poke 'round, gulped down some kibble and pounced after his new bone for a while. I took him for a short walk and then we came back indside. As soon as I sat down at the computer, he lay down beside me and settled in for a nice nap. He doesn't seem too traumatized, or anything (though I can't say the same thing about the cats!), so hopefully the transition will go smoothly.

Now I've got to start training him, which should be interesting. The first hurdle is going to be making him understand his new name (they had been calling him Tiger), but I don't think that will take long. I will post a picture soon, but be forewarned that he has a face only a mother could love. That being said, he has very expressive eyes and I'm sure he'll grown on us in time.

Anyway, that's all the news for now. I've got to go and write a short bio for church tomorrow. There's some sort of induction ceremony and I've got to stand up and say a few words. I don't mind public speaking, but I really don't like talking about myself. I haven't decided whether or not I'm going to talk about Lydia. Maybe I'll write two versions and decide once I'm there which one I'll use. I'm getting nervous just thinking about it...
:: posted by Ann Howell, 2:30 PM | link | 9 comments |

Friday, November 11, 2005

To call or not to call...

It's Day 34, no sign of AF and I am fairly certain that I never ovulated (no temp shift, no positive OPK, not much CM to speak of), so the big question is: do I call my doctor? Or do I wait a few more days and then call him? Or just get the last round of Provera/Clomid called in and move onto the next cycle? I hate bugging my doctor, but I also hate being in limbo like this. Is it normal not to ovulate on Clomid for 2 cycles in a row? Ugh... all of this just sucks. I can take not getting pregnant, but I can't stand wasting month after month like this, not even in the running.

On a positive note, the girl with the dog said her boyfriend's father isn't going to keep the pup after all. I offered her $50 for all the supplies she says is part of the deal and I'm supposed to go pick him up tomorrow. Mind you, she still hasn't emailed me her address, so this could be another red herring. Stay tuned...
:: posted by Ann Howell, 9:57 AM | link | 4 comments |

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Climbing Mount Everest

I did it. The Mount Everest of difficult feats for childless mothers everywhere -- I held a baby. It was the two-month-old son of a friend of mine and his girlfriend. I swung 'round to their place to deliver some presents for the new arrival, and as soon as I walked in the door the baby started crying. Apparently he had just had some vaccinations that day, which made him very uncomfortable. The mother picked him up and rocked him, but he wouldn't stop wailing. I stood next to her and brushed the baby's cheek with my finger, trying to comfort him. She was about to hand the baby off to her boyfriend while she went to go fetch a bottle, but then she looked at me and tentatively asked if I wanted to hold him. I felt a wave of panic wash over me, but I nodded my head and let her place the baby in my arms. I held him tightly and rocked him gently, but the screaming was very unnerving. Even though his own mother had had no better luck with him, I felt like the baby must have gotten an unmaternal vibe from me and screamed even louder because of it. The mom came back quickly and took him from me, trying to soothe him with some milk. Anyway, even though I had a big cry on the drive home, all in all it was a positive experience. I didn't fall apart or collapse or drop the infant like a hot potato. I think it helped that the baby was a boy and since the mother is Chinese, he bore little resemblence to Lydia. On the other hand, he had a full head of black hair just like my daughter, so I guess there was some similarity (plus the fact that most babies tend to look alike at that stage). At any rate, both of the parents were sensitive and neither glorified the experience of being new parents, nor overstated the trials and tribulations. If they had gone and and on about how little sleep they were getting or how many diapers they had to change in a day, it would have sounded very disingenuine and I would have known they were trying to protect my feelings. The mother did seem rather harried and I know it must be very difficult since she has a lot of trouble speaking English and the few Chinese friends she has here live a ways away from here and she doesn't drive. So, I offered to take her to see her friends whenever she wanted. Maybe being nice to a new mom will throw some good baby karma my way! Just kidding, but not totally.

Anyway, still no AF this morning, which is rather disconcerting. I really don't want to have to go the Provera route again this month. I wish my body would just cooperate!
:: posted by Ann Howell, 12:30 AM | link | 7 comments |

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Insult to injury

Between Julie's news and not getting the puppy and the end of another unsuccessful cycle, I haven't felt much like posting lately. I really am beginning to feel like a mutant; not only could I not hold onto a pregnancy that had progressed late into the second trimester, 18 months later I still can't seem to get pregnant again. After church on Sunday (it still feels weird to say that -- I can't believe that we have become "churchgoers"!), we got the dreaded question: "Do you have any children?". I always feel like people think we're selfish greed-mongers when we say "No" or "Not yet". Sometimes I practice (in my head) saying "We're trying again after losing our daughter who was stillborn" or "We had a loss and hope to have another child soon", but I always chicken out. Lydia was our baby and I don't feel like sharing her with every stranger who asks, especially because I'm sure they don't really want to know, anyway.

God, I'm feeling sorry for myself today. It's just that this is another month down the drain (temps were still down today, so AF is definitely on the way) and it's getting harder and harder to deal the longer this drags on. I'm sick of being abnormal!
:: posted by Ann Howell, 9:01 AM | link | 2 comments |

Friday, November 04, 2005

Mad at the universe

I was going to write a quick post about how utterly disappointed I am that the current owner of the dog has now decided that she's going to keep him after all, but Julie's news put that firmly into perspective. My heart is just breaking for her.
:: posted by Ann Howell, 10:38 PM | link | 4 comments |

Canine update

He's ours if we want him! I'm going to go over tomorrow morning and have a look at him, and unless he's foaming at the mouth, I'll be bringing him home! Unbelievably, K. has agreed to go along with this, as long as he doesn't have to participate in any of the caretaking. I just hope this is not a sign of his future parental involvement ;)

Anyway, I'm really happy about this! It will be really nice to have something to mother. I just hope he likes all of the little outfits I've sewn for him...
:: posted by Ann Howell, 11:56 AM | link | 5 comments |

Thursday, November 03, 2005

New member of the family

I had a 3-pronged post brewing in my head, including one rather lengthy segment on the decline of feminism in this post-modern world, but I am just too excited about another development that has come up today. Someone I used to work with needs to find a home for this guy and I really want to take him! The fly in the ointment is that we have never seriously talked about getting a dog and K. is not the most animal-friendly kind of guy. He does like my parents' dogs to a certain extent, but maybe that's just because they don't come home with us. The people who have him now are moving over the weekend and they are planning to take him to the pound if no one can take him (this is not their dog, they just had him dumped on them under somewhat dubious circumstances). I told them that we would stop by tonight to look at him, but I'm not even sure that I'll be able to get Keith to come along. I need to mother something and my cats are much too independent -- this puppy would be perfect! Of course, the reason why he's been passed around so much in his short 3 months of life may be that he's a yappy nut-job. But it can't hurt to take a look, right? :)
:: posted by Ann Howell, 2:33 PM | link | 5 comments |

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Another month bites the dust

[Warning, this is a totally TTC-related post] I'm at 9 dpo (at my best guess, anyway) and my last ovulatory Clomid cycle ended with AF at 11 dpo. But lest I even have a single day or two of hope, the cramps set in this afternoon. Damn! We had done so well BD-wise this cycle, too. Well, I've got one more month worth of Clomid to go, before we move onto more aggressive protocols (assault rifles and trucker caps for my ovaries, perhaps?). And, as they say "it ain't over till it's over", but the way I'm feeling it really can't be anything other than AF. I'm getting really tired of this!


:: posted by Ann Howell, 4:35 PM | link | 4 comments |