Yesterday evening I spent some time in my family's workshop with my brother N. My dad put together the workshop, but it would not be entirely accurate to call it "his" as it was always a family space, shared by him and my brothers (I didn't have an interest in it). N., who lives in an eastern province, is visiting for a couple of weeks and also making plans to ship the milling machine out to his shop. Shipping it involves building a crate around it. I helped N. start the base of the crate by sliding wedges of wood under the (100 lb? 200lb?) machine while he tipped it carefully. Despite feeling like we were making one of those workplace accident videos, things went well.
In between nerve-wracking lessons in the physics of large heavy objects, I found it surprisingly comfortable to be in the shop. It's not a place I spent a lot of time in, but I think it tells a story about my family if you look closely. Tools cover almost every space on the wall, and over the lathe, somebody carefully traced the outline of each tool and then painted its silhouette, so that each would always go back to its correct place. Who did this? Possibly my mom, who would have felt proud that she was supporting her husband and children. Or quite possibly my oldest brother A., who shares her sense of detail and precision and would have take pleasure in creating an efficient system (he now works in IT for a pipeline company). Scraps of wood were tucked away in corners. To me they look like rubbish that should have been thrown out, but when N. wanted pieces of wood to place under the base of the machine he was able to find exactly what he wanted amid the scraps. If I looked very closely I could see remnants of family projects (a puppet stage that we built when I was eight years old).
Standing in the shop I felt both my dad's presence and his absence. The absence obviously, because I felt he should be there taking an interest in what N. was doing. The fact he wasn't felt almost like a betrayal. Also apart from obvious ones like screwdriver, hammer, crowbar I have no idea what most of the items in the room are for. I even have some difficulty appreciating a milling machine (is it really so complex just to drill holes in stuff? Uhhhh....yep.) All the knowledge that my dad brought to that space to make it meaningful and useful is gone. Except it isn't. N. knows what the tools are for, and intuitively where to find them, although he hasn't lived in my parents' house for almost 20 years. It was interesting to hear him having a sort of dialogue with the place as he worked: "Did Dad have a socket set....I can't imagine him not having a socket set....he even gave me one.....ah yes there it is!"
I felt my dad's presence there because even though I never worked with the tools and machines, I know exactly why they are there. My parents were always transparent about their values and it is something I deeply appreciate. I might agree or not agree with aspects of how they raised their children, but I know why they did what they did. The world outside our house might be random, ridiculous and even cruel, but within there was purpose and intention, always. The shop existed to encourage their children's interests and build skills. My parents believed (as do I) that children need to learn skills and develop interests in order to make good choices for themselves with regards to leisure, education, careers, relationships. Although they were very frugal about luxuries, they spared no effort or expense to make that happen to the best of their ability. I should add that even though I'm talking here about something that didn't really include me (by my own choice!), there were many other family pursuits that did.
All this has got a dialogue going in my mind about things I can do and things that I can't. As you know, I'm trying to figure out which category "have another baby" fits into. There is an answer to that question, but I don't know what it is yet. I hope that having another baby is a "thing I can do," but, well, I have to consider that it's a "can't," as well. Right now I'm pondering the "can't" possibility. This cycle I went for bloodwork on day 2. I don't have the results yet, but I'm as sure as I can be that I have had an anovulatory cycle. Since I was doing the bloodwork I decided to get "scientific" on my end too. I bought 20 Clear.blue OPKs and tested from day 5 to day 15, twice a day in the middle of cycle (or what I thought was the middle). I never got a positive. I also didn't have fertile signs like slippery/stretchy mucous, which I do usually have. And I started bleeding after only 15 days.
It sucks that my bloodwork was done on this cycle. I wish I had it drawn on what I consider a "good" cycle (more than 24 days, fertile signs). I already know that the crappy cycles are crappy; what I really need to know is if the ones I consider good are actually good. But of course there's no way to know which kind I'm going to have on cycle day 2. Anyway, in light of recent events, I may have to re-name The Period as The EBB (estrogen breakthrough bleeding). The EBB is not a real period; rather the lining sheds because in the absence of progesterone produced by the corpus luteum, estrogen alone can't sustain it.
Funny, eh? When I started sharing this TTC business online, the drama on the message boards was about whether or not you'd get your period. AF here again? Soooooo disappointing! Well. Now I'm wondering if I'm even going to get my period. How nice it would be to be sure that I'm actually having a real period.
It all gets me thinking of how we can so easily take for granted what we can do. I know, and have known for some time, that absolutely everything I can do without a thought is something that another person in the world struggles to do every day. It's a sobering thought. But that's not all: everything, absolutely everything, from cuddling my daughter to driving to work to typing on this computer to kissing my husband to eating food to breathing: every single thing that I can do today, I will not be able to do one day. I will lose every last one. Every last learned skill. Everything my body does to keep my alive. I may lose them slowly, or I may lose them all at once. But I will lose them. I do not have a choice.
Kind of a depressing thought? It is....but it's also liberating, in a way. If I'm going to lose it all in the end, maybe instead of clinging to those things that are on their way out, I make the most of those I get to have, for now. I know my dad had many regrets when he died, mainly for every(thing)(one) he still could have done and seen and held close if he had more time. But he did not have any regrets of what he passed on to us.
Anyway. This doesn't mean that we intend to stop trying for a child. I still have a few months to take the DHEA / COQ10 and see if it helps. There might be a good egg or two. If not, we are still in a position to use donor egg, as far as I know. But it's useful to put the whole process in a little bit of context.