November 2006

Loose ends

by DaniGirl on November 30, 2006 · 72 comments

in Loss

I have my follow-up with my OB today. I don’t expect to learn anything, really. Maybe the pathology report can explain what happened, but mostly I’m expecting her to check that my parts are healing well and have yet another conversation about how these things just happen sometimes.

For the most part, I’ve let the gravity of normalacy compell me further and further from sorrow. It’s hard to wallow and wax philosophical on the nature of loss when one boy needs a diaper change and the other has spilled chocolate milk on the dog.

There are moments, though, when the grief breaks through and catches me by surprise. A little bit behind on my laundry, just last night I pulled a load of dark clothes out of the dryer that contained two brand-new but instantly-favourite maternity shirts that I wore Before, and I cried. Dammit, I wanted to wear those shirts more than once. I wanted to wear them a lot, to wear them until I was sick of them and desperate for anything that didn’t have an empire waist or ties around the back.

And yet, I can’t quite bring myself to stow them away somewhere. I just moved all the maternity stuff to one side, and I try not to linger too long at that end of the closet, idly rubbing the fabric and thinking of what might have been.

Other peoples’ kids are hard, too. Even with my two beautiful boys, I still find myself resenting anybody pushing a stroller, whether the passenger is a newborn or a wriggling preschooler. I could understand this response after our first miscarriage, when our dream of a family suddenly seemed impossibly distant. But I have my boys, and I’m surprised that my impatience extends beyond babies to strangers with children everywhere.

The hardest part has been reconciling the loss of one baby with the appearnace of another. I am beyond delighted to have my beautiful neice Brooke in our lives. And yet… well, you get it. Above everything else, I just wish I could have found out about our own loss the day before, or the day after – any time except the same day. I know with time this will fade away. I just wish I could make it fade faster. They say she has my dimples. I love her already.

A miscarriage is a physical loss, no doubt. I’m just now starting to get over the idea that I feel physically hollow inside. But mostly, it’s an emotional loss. It’s the loss of a dream, the loss of your vision of a future that included someone you haven’t even met yet, but someone you were expecting to profoundly alter your life. The first few raw days, I couldn’t bear the thought of a future without this baby in my life for more than a moment, but with time, I’ve slowly been adjusting to the alternate reality. The reality where nothing special happens this coming May. It’s a slow process, but at least I can consider the idea without panicked regret squeezing my chest.

From the day I found out that the baby’s heart had stopped beating, the idea of trying again skulked about in the shadows of my heart. The more time passes – and when you think of something a thousand times in a day, 10 days can seem like a long time – the more concrete this desire becomes. For me. Beloved is not so sure. He’s understandably reluctant to open himself to the risk of this kind of loss again. He’s not even really ready to talk about it, and I’m not ready to decide on anything yet either.

That’s the other thing I want to talk to my OB about today. About the maybe, the what if, the possibility.

Edited to add: the integrated prenatal screening results showed an almost 8 in 9 chance that the baby had Trisomy 18, the presence of a third set of the 18 chromosonal pair, which is, in the unsettlingly direct words of the OB, “not compatible with life.” The blood test results are only a predictive screening, of course, based on my hormone levels and may not have been 100% accurate because the baby had been dead when the second blood test was taken. Only an amniocentisis would have told us definitively, but it now seems more like an act of grace that we lost the baby when we did and not later. I will try so very hard to forget that I read in the page to which I linked that Trisomy 18 is three times more likely to occur in girls.

The occurence of Trisomy 18 is random but increases with maternal age. Its occurence once is not predictive of a second occurence. In fact, the OB said that if we were emotionally prepared to do so, we could try again as soon as after the arrival of my next period.

All this gives me some closure, inasmuch as I can now understand why the baby died. It doesn’t do much to answer the bigger questions, like why did it happen in the first place and could I possibly be brave enough or foolish enough to risk having it happen again. I don’t know yet. I don’t know.

You might have noticed that I changed the title of this post. It was originally called “Moving on” but from the time I pressed the publish button, I knew that was the wrong title.



by DaniGirl on November 30, 2006 · 8 comments

in It IS all about me

As usual, I was awakened this morning by the rustling of a little body crawling under the covers with me. I groaned, stretched, and cast a bleary eye toward the clock. I squinted, rubbed my eyes and squinted again, but no amount of peering could conjure the glowing red clock numbers out of the darkness.

Darkness. Yes, it was particularly dark, wasn’t it? After a moment’s adled consideration, I figured out the problem. The power was out.

Even though our neighbourhood is only ten to twenty years old, the power grid tends toward the unstable. In the summer the power flickers with a good thunderstorm, and we lose power completely three or four times a year for short intervals.

Hasn’t ever happened while I was trying to get ready for work, though. In the deep darkness of a rainy November morning, no less.

By the time I had coralled a couple of candles and a flashlight, I was already 15 minutes behind on a rather tight 35 minute schedule. I briefly considered not showering, but since I slept through the alarm yesterday morning and skipped that shower, it wasn’t really an option.

Meanwhile, Tristan went rummaging through his toys and came out with his LED head lamp. When he brought it home just last week as a prize earned for selling magazine subscriptions, I had rolled my eyes. What does a four year old do with an LED head lamp, aside from blinding anybody he looks at?

It took a couple of tries to explain to him not to look at anybody directly, but I soon figured out it was like having a voice-controlled flashlight. Words I thought I would never utter: “Oh Tristan, could you please come here and look in mommy’s underwear drawer?”

While Tristan thought the whole idea of the power outage was rather cool and went through the house testing the lightswitches, Simon was not so quick to catch on. The boys’ morning routine consists largely of being plunked down in front of the TV while Beloved lies on the couch and tries not to feel violated by the early arrival of yet another day. With no TV to mediate the morning transition, I was happy to escape to the bus as Simon tried to negotiate.

Beloved, patiently: “Simon, we can’t watch the Grinch, the power is out. The TV isn’t working.”
Simon, insistent: “No Grinch? Can we watch Spot?”
Beloved, wearily: “No, Simon. We can’t watch anything. The TV doesn’t work.”
Simon, relentless: “Okay, we watch TVO Kids!”
Beloved: *bangs head against wall*

When I eventually got to work and checked back with him, Beloved said he was seriously considering locking both kids in the car, strapped into their car seats with the travel DVD player between them, until he could finish getting ready.

But even the indignity of no television wasn’t the worst one suffered by the family this morning. We can get by without a warm breakfast, with mismatched socks, without our morning cartoons. But when you mess with my hair, you mess with my sense of self.

No power = no hairdryer. It’s going to be a long day.


P.S. Only two days left to vote!


Goodbye to Greg Wiggle

by DaniGirl on November 29, 2006 · 37 comments

in Uncategorized

No fewer than three people have e-mailed me today to flag this important breaking news, and who am I to hoard the information all to myself. Heck, if it’s important enough to appear in the Globe and Mail, it merits attention in blog.

We’d been hearing rumours for a while now that Greg Page, also known as Yellow Wiggle Greg, is quite ill. When the musical quartet visited Ottawa last month, the yellow shirt was worn by a fellow called “Sam”. (We didn’t make it to the show this year. $200 for Wiggles tickets once in a lifetime is more than enough for us!)

It’s surprisingly difficult to find any references as to who exactly Sam is. In the words of one of my faithful sources *waves to Fryman*, “Isn’t this on the same scale as the break-up of the Beatles or Beyonce leaving Destiny’s Child or at least David Lee Roth leaving Van Halen? Isn’t there supposed to be tons of rumor and speculation? I mean, what is this world coming to when we can’t speculate and spread false innuendo when something like this happens.”

According to the Globe article, Greg Page is sick with an undiagnosed but severe illness that has been plaguing him since June. An official announcement is anticipated on Thursday.

The one thing Simon has consistently asked for this Christmas is the Hot Potatoes Live DVD, and his absolute favourite piece of clothing is a long-sleeved Wiggles shirt donated by a dear friend. He takes it off, puts it in the hamper, and turns to ask me if his Wiggles shirt is clean.

I don’t think I’ll use Greg’s departure as a teaching moment myself. I think we can safely keep Simon immersed in pre-2007 Wiggles paraphenalia for as long as required. There are some realities that a not-quite three-year-old shouldn’t have to face. (I’m just glad I was well beyond my Sesame Street years when Mr Hooper died!)


It’s not the snow that does it. It’s not the Christmas lights. It’s not the parades, it’s not the Christmas muzak in the malls. I do love all those signs of the season, but it really doesn’t feel like Christmas until you get that first festive paper cup from Tim Hortons.

As I’ve previously lamented, I lost my taste for coffee when I was about six weeks pregnant. Loved the smell of it, craved the idea of it, but whenever I tried to drink it, it always tasted like the worst cup of six hour old diner coffee you’ve ever forced yourself to drink so you’d at least benefit from the caffeine hit. I haven’t been able to finish a cup in three months.

Rather than give up my morning routine, I swapped my morning beverage of choice. I still queued up at Timmy’s, but ordered a bagel and steeped tea instead of a muffin and coffee. It’s been my breakfast every weekday since Labour Day.

Now that I’m unpregnant again, I’m patiently waiting for my taste for coffee to return. I’ve genuinely missed it. Yesterday afternoon, I found myself craving a midafternoon java jolt, and figured my taste for coffee was finally returning. I ambled over to Timmy’s and even got one of the festive cups.

Despite more years of coffee drinking than I can count, apparently it’s only taken three months to confuse my brain into expecting the distinctly sharper bite of steeped tea instead of the mellow roast of coffee.

It still doesn’t taste right. It’s not awful, but it’s not worth craving. Oh well, at least I can get a tea in a festive cup.

What says “it’s Christmas” to you?


I forgot to vote!

by DaniGirl on November 28, 2006 · 0 comments

in Meta-blogging

Can you believe that I’ve completely forgotten to vote in the Canadian Blog Awards since Sunday? For goodness sake, if I don’t remember to vote for myself, how can I exhort you to vote for me?

(Although there’s been quite a bit of controversy, and lots of other things going on in my life right now, I still appreciate each and every vote. Really, I do!)


Snot and social media

by DaniGirl on November 28, 2006 · 7 comments

in Life, the Universe and Everything

I’m having a hell of a time pulling together anything coherent this morning. I have a few loose ideas around the topic of social media and society, but I’m having a little trouble unifying them.

I was going to start with a special thank you to Andrea. She left a link in the comment box yesterday to an old Sesame Street clip on YouTube. Tristan and I spent the better part of an hour last night clicking through various clips and I was instantly transported back to 1974. Oh how I loved Sesame Street when I was a kid! Oh how I still love it today!

And YouTube made me think about how I was going to write about the debate raging in our corner of the world right now about whether students should be allowed to have cell phones and digital cameras in the classroom. Last week, two students in Gatineau (across the river from Ottawa) used a cell phone camera to record their teacher yelling at another student and posted the clip on YouTube, but it sounds like the teacher was provoked by the students and the students have since been suspended. Michael Geist wrote an interesting editorial this morning about YouTube and our candid camera society.

And I wanted to tell you that I’m so excited because I might actually be able to tie my ongoing fascination with social media to my paying job. Isn’t that the Holy Grail for most bloggers? Since I work in communications, and since I am a known blog junkie, I might have the opportunity to do some work examining how we in government can and should be using social media to communicate. Cool, eh?

Surely there is a more elegant way for me to weave this jumble into a cohesive post, together with considered reflection and insight, but I just don’t think I have it in me today. I can’t even come up with a conclusion, or a decent question to ask to solicit your comments. I blame the snot. Eight days later, and the cold from hell will not relinquish its hold on my mucus membranes. Snot and social media… surely I should have come up with a better post than this.


Patriotic ear worms

27 November 2006 Life, the Universe and Everything

I recently heard someone refer to those songs that get stuck in your head as ‘ear worms’. While the term makes me shudder just a little bit, I must admit that it has a certain cachet. I think I’m particularly susceptible to ear worms. As I walk through the mall in the mornings on my […]

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Small victories

27 November 2006 It IS all about me

Much to my relief, not only did I manage to do up my fat jeans today, but I wore them all day. It’s amazing what a relief that is. And, I haven’t cried since Friday. Well, there was one weepy moment during a Christmas song, but that’s not unusual for me at the best of […]

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Canadian Blog Awards – the finals!

25 November 2006 Meta-blogging

As I said the other day, I’m truly honoured that you’ve voted me to the final round of the Canadian Blog Awards. Did you notice that there were less than 15 votes separating the top five blogs in the Best Family Blog category? I’m so pleased to be in the company of such excellent bloggers. […]

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Post script – part one (of many)

25 November 2006 It IS all about me

While I was out this morning, Beloved took a call for me. On Monday morning, just before my OB appointment, I had gone to have my second and final bloodwork done for the integrated prenatal screening. The call this morning was the children’s hospital, informing me of my appointment first thing Tuesday morning with a […]

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