Bloom

I find out I’m pregnant the first week of January. Grady is three years old and we’ve just celebrated the first Christmas where he seemed to understand the festivities. It has been fun and joyful and exhausting and now I’m holding a positive pregnancy test and daydreaming about next year’s Christmas as a family of four. 

For three weeks we fluctuate between “what have we done?” and “look what we’ve done!” until I have my dating scan. I pick the private clinic over the hospital lab because calm music plays, the lights are dimmed, and soothing artwork hangs on the walls. I don’t realize until I’m walking down the hallway that the last time I had an ultrasound there was during the process of being diagnosed with cancer. Those walls with the soothing artwork in muted tones hold ghosts, for me and for others I’m sure of it, and another is added when the technician squints at the screen and says, “I don’t know what I’m looking at.”

January is the cruelest month in which to receive bad news. The sky is grey and suffocating, the rain cold and relentless. I stumble through each day in a fog, barely functioning beyond what’s necessary. Being told the pregnancy isn’t viable is heartbreaking. Carrying something that isn’t an embryo but is still a growing mass of cells, less than two years after cancer, is excruciating. 

I cry a lot. I think dark thoughts. I quickly descend down the doom spiral at the slightest provocation. It is January, and then it is February, and a month after being told something-but-not-a-baby is growing inside me, a month of blood tests every two days and internal ultrasounds every week, I have surgery to scrape out any evidence that my mass of not-a-baby ever existed. And then a week later I have another surgery to fix the results of the first surgery. 

It is another month before my blood tests are clear of any trace of pregnancy hormones. March is as terrible as February, but in a different way. In March, I am in pain - both physically and mentally - but I am also empty.  

I spend the first three months of 2015 convinced that I will not survive. The pain, the mental anguish, the uncertainty, is all too much. I am surrounded by love and support, people show up for me in a hundred different ways, I have accessible, high-quality medical care, and mental health support, all the things anyone who is going through a tough time could possibly ask for, and still I struggle. 

I spend a lot of time looking out the window at the bleak landscape in front of me - dirty puddles of freezing rainwater, piles of mud where the garden once was, and not a single green thing in sight. I start to meditate, sort of, in my own way. I stare at the garden and try to clear my mind of the hurricane of anxiety and sadness, and whisper the word “bloom.” Some days it is a plea, some days it’s more like a command. Most of the time it is just my own version of “om.”

My therapist suggests I do something to honour my not-a-baby, like buy a piece of jewellery or plant a tree, to bring closure and peace. I decide to plant a cherry blossom tree. One of the first signs of spring in BC is the arrival of the pale pink blossoms; when winter feels interminable and the grey feels like it is here to stay, the cherry blossom tree in my garden will be a reminder that there is renewal and there is light and hope blooms.

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Meal Plan 03/18/19 - 03/22/19

Last week we had snow and this weekend it’s been warm enough to have the windows wide open. I don’t want to jinx it but Spring might have arrived. It’s barbecue season, babies.

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Monday: Barbecued cheeseburgers served with cucumber salad.

Tuesday: Sausage Egg Roll in a Bowl

Wednesday: Salmon Cakes served with homemade tartar sauce and green salad.

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: Barbecued cheeseburgers again because I can’t be stopped.

What’s on your meal plan this week?

Meal Plan 03/11/19 - 03/15/19

So I think I’ve figured out why I’m finding meal planning / cooking such a drag lately. It doesn’t matter how prepared I am, it never ends. I can have a perfect week full of carefully planned meals, efficient grocery shopping trips, nary a takeout menu in sight and ... then I have to do it all over again. One perfect week means nothing. 

But not striving for a perfect week means a lot of delivery pizza and cereal for dinner so here I am, begrudgingly planning another week’s meals. 

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Monday: Spaghetti served with green salad

Tuesday: Shredded chicken tacos served with purple cabbage slaw

Wednesday: Tom Yum soup with tofu

Thursday: Loaded nachos with the leftover components from Tuesday’s tacos 

Friday: some sort of roasted vegetable / protein sheet pan situation (suggestions welcome!)

What’s on your meal plan this week?

Meal Plan 03/04/19 - 03/08/19

I didn’t meal plan or grocery shop or do food prep on Sunday. Instead, I grumbled about meal planning and grocery shopping and food prepping. The problem with grumbling instead of doing, is that when dinner time comes, you don’t have any food in the fridge and you need to order takeout. And so, in the spirit of “done imperfectly is better than not done at all,” here is this week’s meal plan.

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Monday:  Indian food takeout. 

Tuesday: pancakes and cheesy scrambled eggs served with fresh fruit.

Wednesday: some sort of pasta with chicken and sauce.

Thursday: turkey tacos served with purple cabbage slaw and fresh guacamole.

Friday: homemade calzones served with chopped veggies.

What’s on your meal plan this week?