Tuesday, February 27, 2007


I don't know what to do or where to turn at the moment. I feel like I've been emotionally beaten and torn down. And that doesn't happen often to me, but when it does, it's severe.

Last week, my husband talked to me about a recent discussion that is apparently happening on the donor dads forums. While I'm sure many men discuss various topics -- just as we do, ladies -- the particular topic he mentioned was "pressure" and how some men feel pressured by their wives to use a donor. My husband told me that he sometimes feels that I am pressuring him to use a donor, and that I'm pressuring him to have more children. (As a reminder to my readers, I don't have any children, but he has two from a previous marriage, who live with their mom. He sees them every second weekend.)

Pressure. Hmm. Fair enough. I see his point. I do want children. I don't know how to quell that desire; in many respects it's a basic human function and need, much like food, water, love, etc. The need to procreate and pass on family history and traditions from generation to generation. Yes, there's some level of pressure there. In his view, there are two levels of pressure: (1) to use a donor and (2) to have children at all.

Using a donor
Okay, let's examine this one. If we didn't use a donor (saving us thousands of dollars), we would have to do IVF-ICSI. To do this, he would have to have surgery, and he had indicated he didn't want to do that. I would have to undergo a much more intense protocol of medications, injections and monitoring. We would come close to depleting our savings and likely still have to take out a personal loan. And of course, there is the travel to and from the clinic, necessitating overnight stays in Montréal (possibly more expenses). Remind me again... wasn't it he who pushed for a donor in the first place because he didn't want any of that? He was fine with using a donor? Remember that? What is this 180 degree turn? I don't get it. I just don't.

Having children for the second time
My husband has two children who are now 12 and 11. And he's unsure now at his age if he's ready to tackle that again. The midnight feedings. The diaper changes. The whole parenting routine. He's done it and he had originally thought that he was finished with that stage of his life. But where does that leave us? When we talked about this, he said he understood where I was coming from and he would be willing to have children with me. He said he wanted to bring a child into our lives to share our home, our love, our world. But now he doesn't? What happened? Or has he actually thought that through? Has he simply returned to his old way of thinking because it is what he was used to? Old habits die hard? I don't know. Again, I just don't get it.

I don't want to resent my husband; that isn't fair. Let's be honest: I went into this relationship knowing that he had had a vasectomy and that he'd had two children and he wasn't expecting to have any more. Since we met in 2000, his mindset seemed to have changed. He said that he wanted to have a baby. And suddenly, now he doesn't? *scratches head* So, in effect, my husband is preventing me from becoming a mother. Nice to know I'm being limited in my life's parameters and goals. Sorry. /snarky attitude off

Now you take those two ingredients and mix them with the following:
He asked, "How many times do you want to try donor sperm before we give up?" Huh? How can you expect me to answer that right off the top of my head? I can't. Good God, we've only tried donor inseminations once so far! Give it a chance man! And to come up with a number like that, just off the cuff, I can't do that. Besides, the number of attempts would be decided in collaboration with our RE, and since we're on a TTC break for one more month, I haven't been in touch with the RE's office. He hasn't had any input here yet. So to ask me on the fly to make a snap decision on how many times we try with donor sperm before we give up is a little unreasonable. It seemed to me like he was willing to give up there and then.

If I give up donor sperm IUIs, then what? Do I let my dream of motherhood die? Do I try to get it through my head and my heart that I am never going to be a mom? How do I live with myself? How do I go on? What goals do I set for my life if I don't have that one? I've no idea. I don't know if I can go down that particular path of IF. Tears well in my eyes just writing that.

Yes, I am resenting him right now. It's making me question many things in my life at the moment. So much for having a lovely visit with my mom and aunt. I've not been fit to live with and it isn't their fault at all.

I'm still trying to figure out my next course of action. But at the moment, I don't have any idea on how to proceed, if I proceed at all.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Pancake Day Traditions

Tomorrow is Shrove Tuesday (aka Pancake Day) for much of North America. Traditionally, pancake day is the day before Ash Wednesday and is the last day before the beginning of 40 days of Lent. During Lent, it was customary to give up little pleasures. In today's society, some people will give up using credit cards for Lent, or drinking pop, or eating candy, things of that ilk. Years ago, it was customary to give up eating meat for Lent, and to use up things like meat, butter, flour, the tradition of Pancake Day began. Pancake Day, is the last day to use up these ingredients before the Lent season begins.

In my home province of Newfoundland, Canada, we have our own traditions on Pancake Day. There are Pancake Day Races, church breakfasts, etc. And just about every household I know participates in making and eating pancakes for the evening meal. However, there's a twist.

In Newfoundland, you are supposed to put trinkets into your pancake batter. Each trinket was symbolic of the future and it was so much fun as a child to try to find the trinket that you wanted. I carry this tradition with me wherever I go, and every year, on Pancake Day, I still make pancakes for my husband and me. The trinkets traditionally used were the following:
-- a penny, to symbolize poverty
-- a nickel, to symbolize wealth
-- a string, to symbolize a fisherman (if a boy got the string, he would be a fisherman, if a girl did, she would marry one)
-- a wedding ring, to symbolize that you would marry soon
-- a button, to symbolize that you would never marry
-- a nail, to symbolize that you would soon pass away
-- a thimble, to symbolize that you would be a seamstress (a girl) or a tailor (a boy)

In our house, my mom never included the nail when we were kids for fear that we would inadvertently bite it and harm ourselves. Consequently, as an adult, I've never put it in my batter. Not to mention it's a tad morbid too! Additionally, now that we have one and two dollar coins in Canada, folks generally shun the idea of the penny/nickel thing, and put in lots of money for people to find, sometimes up to $5 worth! As children, my sister and I used to consume far too many pancakes in search of the ring or the money, and we despised getting the button.

This year, I am especially blessed. Mom and my aunt are visiting me and they will be here to celebrate Pancake Day with us. We're figuring out what to put in the batter now. There'll most certainly be money and a button, a thimble and likely a ring. We will probably omit the nail and the string; we'll see. Either way, it promises to be an enjoyable tradition that I get to celebrate with my family.

There's one thing missing though: the knowledge that some day, I can pass these traditions on to my own children as my mom has done for me and my sister.

**Edited to add**
For those who might be wondering, I got $2.35 out of my pancakes.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Reminiscing about Japan

In about 24 hours from now, I will be picking up my mom and my aunt at the airport. They're coming for 11 days for a bit of a holiday. Well, okay, their real motivating factor is to see Rod Stewart in concert next week. To heck with me. I'm just providing space to lay their heads! (Kidding! Kidding!) I always enjoy seeing family; I guess that comes from having been away from them for so long. From ages 19 to 22 I bounced back and forth to Saint Pierre et Miquelon, and then at age 23 (in 1993) I left Canada to go to Japan for three years. I haven't lived in my home province since then. Wow, that was almost 14 years ago. What happened? Where does the time go?

So much time has passed since then; I feel like that part of my life is almost like a dream. You see, while I was in Japan, I was dating a very handsome Japanese man (Yasuhiko is his name), and he and I were a couple for about three years. Even when I left Japan, we tried the long-distance thing for awhile, but neither of us knew when we would see the other, so after four or five months of that, we let it go.

But through all these years, Yasu and I have stayed in touch. We send e-mails now and then. We send Christmas cards (well, okay, he sends me Nenga-jou, or New Year's cards) and we keep each other updated on our lives. I even invited him (and a number of my Japanese friends with whom I still keep in touch) to hubby's and my wedding in 2004 but unfortunately he was unable to make it.

Each year, I get a card from him and I get to catch up on what he's doing. He told me when his mom passed away (I was blessed enough to meet his parents; a huge thing in Japan that is often a prelude to popping the question). He told me when his older brother (Hirohiko) got married. One year, a card arrived and he told me that he had gotten married to a lovely lady by the name of Chiemi.

This year, my Nenga-jou arrived shortly after the New Year, after hubby and I returned from our trip to Florida. Lo and behold, with that card was the announcement of the birth of their baby girl, born on Christmas Day 2006, and in typical Japanese fashion, imprinted on the card was a tiny picture of the baby.

For a split second, I stood in my kitchen and bit back the tears. Yasuhiko and I had talked about marrying and having children, all those years ago. But at that time, he wasn't ready to ask me to stay in Japan; he wasn't ready to pop the question, and before you can say "Gaijin" I had to be on a plane back to Canada before my visa ran out. I cried buckets of tears on that airplane, leaving him and Japan behind. So that dream never panned out and life moved on.

And now Yasuhiko and his wife have a beautiful little baby girl. And forgive me even saying this babe (I know hubby reads my blog) but one little tiny part of me had hoped that his children would have also been mine.

I'm thrilled for him of course. But this year, seeing my step-son at 11 years old and my step-daughter at 12, well, I wonder what would have happened if I'd stayed in Japan in 1996 instead of getting on that airplane.

Life leads us down many paths; I guess it's up to us to figure out why and to keep walking.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Finally, it's done!

So without further delay, here are the photos of the new and improved "room that shall not be named."

We started out by ripping up the baseboard and quarter round, and then hubby tore out the old, stained and icky parquet flooring. We screwed down the subfloor (because when the house was built, nails were used) and then I proceeded to paint all the walls. The colour is a paint (Desert Moss, #360F-5) to match the colour of the suns, moons and stars in the curtains. Then we laid down the new laminate flooring (10mm, cherry) before we put down the new baseboard and quarter round. Then came the wainscot on the lower portion of the walls, and the chair rail capped it off. I caulked the edges, painted the trim/wainscot and voilà! All in all, it took us about two weeks to do, working at it in the evenings after work for a few hours a night.

What do you think?

Yes, that wind chime is from Japan. It's one of the many souvenirs that I brought back from my time over there. I think I have something from Japan in every room of the house!

Note: Just for reference, our house is a three-bedroom bungalow with a finished basement built in the mid '60s. So it's sturdy like nothing else, but it also means we're working with old framing.

On the fertility front, we're still on our self-imposed hiatus and the drug-free thing is superb. I am glad we are taking this time. Next cycle is the bloodwork; I'll skip it this month because my mom and aunt will be visiting at that time so I'll go deal with it next month. And then we'll cycle again. I have a much better outlook right now and I don't want to lose that in the spiral of depression that often occurs with IF. But trying to balance the age factor with needing some time off is a tough thing. Glad I have projects like this to keep me occupied!

Before I sign off, does anyone know how I can reach Flicka over at Vacant Uterus? She's gone PW-protected and if she'll let me, I'd love to continue reading. If you know how to reach her, please contact me (e-mail info in my profile) with her info and I'll get in touch with her. Thanks in advance!

Friday, February 09, 2007

Pictures! (No, not the room... yet)

A few of you asked for updates on the room. Much to my chagrin, it's not QUITE finished. While I am definitely very ambitious, I am obviously not realistic! Apparently my dad thought I was "hiring" someone to do this work, and my sister was under the impression that I was taking time off work to do it all. No, gosh no. None of that! Tsk tsk! It's all my doing and it's being done every evening after I get off work. I'm plain tuckered out. But wow, the room is looking spectacular. I have a little more caulking to do tonight (I ran out of caulk last night) and then a last coat of paint on the wainscot to cover joints and nail hole fillings etc. One last going over with the dustcloth and I'll clean the windows and then it will be done. Before I reload the room, I'll take pics, I promise! Okay? Happy now?! Sheesh!

Though to appease you, I thought I'd put in some sort of pictures. These are two pics of my (fur) babies. Smudge (on the left) and Shadow are now the ripe old age of 11 years. I got them in the fall of 1995 while living in southern Japan and I brought them back to Canada with me in 1996 when I returned after three years in the Land of the Rising Sun. Even at age 11 they're still full of mischief and they are just gorgeous. And yes, if you are astute, you can see that the time on the digital box does indeed say "5:28"... that would be a.m. people. Hubby and I are up at 5 and I'm at my desk at 6:40 a.m. for my day. Ugh. On the bright side, we do get home by 3:30 p.m.! Okay, here you go... my "babies"...

P.S. To answer Shlomit, I work as a Senior Technical Writer–Editor (cum Translator) for... *whispers* the officers in red serge. Hubby is an IT support specialist and his shift is from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Because he and I carpool (our offices are close) I get up to go with him at that unearthly hour. You do get used to it though; I love having my afternoons to run errands and such!