Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Odds & ends

Mrs. Spit had a beautiful post earlier today about the garden she's created for her son Gabriel, and the recent purchases she's made to include and honour her four other miscarried babies there.

I didn't want to say so in my comments there, but her post reminded me of a garden stone I saw a few years ago in a Hallmark store. The inscription?
"We tried. It died."
It cracked me up -- not only as a succinct explanation for my lack of a green thumb, but also my lack of offspring. Imagine the looks on people's faces if we provided THAT as a response for the "do you have kids? why not?" questions!! (OK, I have a warped sense of humour...)

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Another one of my work colleagues left us recently to take early retirement (and boy, I am I jealous...!!). She sent out a mass farewell e-mail that ended in a striking quote, & I Googled it to find the source (Sarah Ban Breathnach):
"When we choose not to focus on what is missing from our lives but are grateful for the abundance that's present -- love, health, family, friends, work, the joys of nature and personal pursuits that bring us pleasure -- the wasteland of illusion falls away and we experience Heaven on earth."
I think that's going up with the others on my sidebar. ; )

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The Toronto Star published a story today about a new, time-limited exhibit at the Royal Ontario Museum (affectionately known by locals as "the ROM," pronounced "rom"): the mummified remains of a 2,000-year-old Egyptian baby, which has not been publicly displayed since the 1950s.

One sentence in particular struck me:
"According to the ROM, the well-preserved shroud’s colourful symbols and images speak of parental love and show the baby being embraced by the jackal god Anubis while a grieving parent makes offerings to its spirit."
Plus ca change...

I encourage you to watch the video attached to the story. It brought tears to my eyes -- not so much the sight of the mummies themselves, touching as they are, but the Egyptologist's comments about how common it was for the ancient Egyptians to lose a child, and their belief in the afterlife and in maintaining an ongoing relationship with the dead. I think we (not so much we, who have lost children, but we, the general public today) have a lot to learn from them!

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I recently went into my closet to look for one of my infertility books. (Yes, I keep my infertility in the closet -- both literally and figuratively, lol). I got rid of a LOT of my infertility & pregnancy books years ago -- donated them to our pregnancy loss support group -- but I did keep some favourites stored in a plastic carton in my closet, including my "souvenir" copy of "What to Expect When You're Expecting."

I didn't expect to find the well-worn folder containing ALL my temp charts -- months & months worth. Or a fat stack of pamphlets I collected at an IVF seminar I attended, organized by a local infertility support group. I honestly thought I had tossed this stuff eons ago.

I threw the pamphlets into the recycling bin, & had dh shred the temp charts. I tend to be a packrat, but I honestly didn't feel the slightest pang as I heard the shredder whirring.

I did, however, feel a pang when I pulled my treatment diaries -- stuffed with receipts from our RE's office and other paraphernalia -- out of the box. I haven't looked at them in years. Those, I'm not prepared to part with yet (maybe ever).

It occurred to me that while I wrote in great detail about my pregnancy with Katie & its immediate aftermath, I haven't written a whole lot about what came afterward -- our struggle through infertility treatment. And I'm fast approaching the 10-year mark of when we made the decision to stop treatment & continue to live childless/free. It occurred to me that there was probably fodder for a post or two (or 10, lol) in there.

So the diaries are sitting with my other reading material in a pile beside my bed. One of these days, I'll get up the nerve to delve into that part of my past once again & share some of it with you. (One of these days...)


  1. That quote is going on my blog too - thanks for sharing

  2. I love the video about the ROM. Thanks so much for sharing. It hurts to know how many parents have had to live through the loss of their children, but it somehow helps to know about this kind of history and the attempts people have been making for so many years to understand and connect.

  3. The Gilda Radner quote on your sidebar particularly speaks to me because I had it posted on a bulletin board in my bedroom when I was in high school. You know, when I *thought* my life was complicated and my teenage angst felt like Gilda Radner was speaking directly to me. The irony is staggering, particularly now that I know of her series of miscarriages.

  4. That quote really touched me. Thank you for sharing it.

  5. I would love to read about your later TTC cycles. I think IUI cycles in particular are extremely stressful and can cause a lot of "burnout," so to speak. I've noticed how many couples take a very long break or stop TTC or trying for a child altogether after IUIs. Our friends' marriage stopped right about this time, too (he started c.heating on her o.nline while doing IUIs).

    The mummified baby exhibit is so poignant. It also reminds me of the 19th-c. infant death masks on view at our history museum. I remember being at the museum with D. and the girls when they were just a few months old and noticing that one mask's features resembled I.vy's. It was sad to think that the masks did not stay with the family, but I can see how later generations, and maybe even the child's own siblings, would not know quite what to make of it. That's another loss -- the loss of personal significance. Anyway, I'm rambling a bit.

  6. Oh, I howled at the "we tried but it died." I wish I had the courage to use that when people just will not shut up about why I don't have kids.

  7. Yeah, I actually have that type of humour too, so I get it. Why do you think I like the name Deathstar?

    I like that quote too. It's so true and we all need to be reminded of that daily.

    You wanna know a secret - though I shredded my temp charts a long time ago, I still have hung on to the bag of extra needles, sterile wipes and DVD on medications and IVF. Weird, eh?

  8. I almost choked on my ice cream when I read the inscription on the rock. It isn't just you - that's funny.

    I was cleaning out my closet yesterday and came across some infertility/miscarriage books. As strange as it may seem (especially a book on miscarriage of all things - doesn't exactly have 'memento' written on it) it feels like they give me something to hold on to - for those babies that couldn't stay.

  9. Thanks for sharing these fragments.

    I must admit chuckling with you at your first piece because I have a similar wonky sense of humour.

    That mummified baby segment - wow. How poignant.

  10. I must have a warped sense of humor, too, because I laughed at the thought of you saying that to someone.

  11. Ha, Ha! I must have a warped sense of humor too, I think that little rhyme might be perfect when people question me about not having another child.

    I have some paperwork from my pregnancy with M....boring things like a little appointment card and other things like that. Everytime I run into them, I want to toss them, and yet, I can't. If you do want to delve into that part of your history, I would love to listen. (read)

  12. Love that inscription, it suits my sense of humour, sadly it would offend hubby to no end.
    I was just looking at my treatment journals last night, from my first and second rounds of IVF. I'm not sure why I'm hanging on to them, but I do know I'm not ready to part with them yet. Ah infertility brain.

  13. That quote is perfect. I look forward to your sharing of your story... especially since I am on the fence regarding giving up already

  14. I love the garden stone. I wish I had one. It is brilliant. I might get cards printed up to hand out when people ask if we have kids.

    I still have a HUGE notebook that has all of my infertility receipts and lab results and test results and pictures of embryos. I don't imagine I will ever throw it away. Someone will have to throw it out when I die. I just can't part with it. It is evidence that I tried.