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Jody Vance

Jody Vance

Infertility Road Pt 2 – by Jody Vance

Getty Images: BSIP

You may have seen my post for Infertility Road Pt. 1 –if you haven’t, take a look before reading on.

Today we delve into Pt 2.

Feeling alone in your struggle.

Infertility can come from the man or the woman OR it can be the fearsome “unexplained”.  I had the latter, coupled with “advanced age” (36).  The majority of fertility issues are “unexplained”.  It’s a very helpless “un-diagnoses”……..without a reason treatment is a painful guessing game.

Guessing on a miracle is beyond comprehension and it is incredibly lonely.

As I explained in my first post, we started small on the infertility treatment scale.  It took years, and years, of costly steps to get to IVF. We were at LifeQuest in Toronto. Through my 2+ years at this clinic I had felt like part of a herd, I rarely saw the same physician twice.  I was a robot who followed all directions to a “T” with hopes that IF I were a perfect patient it would = success.

It’s important to point out that the technicians that I saw, daily, for bloodwork and ultrasounds, were very kind.  We got to know each other a bit — niceties — but I never felt that figuring out my “unexplained infertility” was really anyone’s priority.

The cost was huge.  Month after month, on top of the emotional toll, we kept paying, and paying, and paying for procedures — always believing that “this one would be THE one”.

Weeks of cycle monitoring (daily bloodwork and ultra-sounds) followed by a hopeful procedure (IUI with or without injectable hormones) — followed by two weeks of waiting — followed by disappointment. Then it starts all over again.

That, in a nutshell, was 2+ years of my mid-late 30’s.

When we embarked on our first round of IVF our physician actually PUT ME ON THE PILL.  (I cried daily for a month.)  Can you imagine?  The reason given: the doctor was going on vacation so he wanted to “hold me off”, “synch me up”, to his schedule.

I was exhausted and broken by this. It seemed so wrong, but I was desperate to follow all directions.  I did it…..  When he returned from holiday I did the three weeks of daily injectables….then got to “the day” only to find out I hadn’t produced enough eggs to warrant IVF.  There were only 5.  The cycle was a very expensive bust.

Crushed, I wanted to give up.

Enter the game-changer. It was January of 2007 and I had been poked and prodded, daily, since the spring of 2004.  Like angels in our midst, we met with a man who would become to be known as Uncle Doc.  A shy man, so I will not name him here, suffice it to say we are still in touch a decade later. At the time of our first meeting I didn’t know UD, my husband did, he was a friend through other channels. Boy-oh-boy am I ever glad I found the muster to make this meeting as it would ultimately lead us to parenthood.

Uncle Doc’s right hand woman, his 2-I-C as it were, was a pioneer in infertility treatments and IVF.  Before we entered their room the pair of them had hatched an URGENT plan.  Sitting before them I was 39 — there was no time to waste — so off I went with an appointment booked with Dr. Anthony Auyeung.

Yes, they pulled strings to get me into the clinic immediately — as in just days later.  (Typically a consultation with Dr. A would see one wait months.)  His is the office hopeful parents go when they are labeled “lost causes”.

Dr. A is a one man show, with a very tight team.  He is your doctor.  No one else touched my file. He went through my entire stack of results, and programs, from LifeQuest.  Watching him flip page-after-page, scratching his head, he finally said “I wouldn’t have done that -Wow, Ok, get ready — we are going to make our plan.”

Plan we did.  We would do one, very aggressive, round of IVF and if unsuccessful we could go the donor egg route – where the odds of conception would increase exponentially.  If unsuccessful, he advised us to consider a surrogate or adoption.

There was no mention of a long line of treatments, no false hope given, he was pragmatic and blunt.  It was both frightening and satisfying, in an odd way.

And so it began.

One round of cycle monitoring — one — we commenced with the IVF cycle (the one where I was injecting stimulating hormones).  I had the bloodwork and ultrasounds, with the same technicians, daily.  We got to know each other well and I was buoyed by their support and positive, cautiously optimistic, ways.

I had the retrieval on March 16th, on the 17th Uncle Doc called me to tell me to “have a green beer today because you won’t be drinking anything for the next 10 months.”  I did ….and then (happily) didn’t.

The next day, with my husband 1000 miles away, my best friend accompanied me to the clinic for “the transfer”.  Extremely nervous, I walked in to find Dr. A waiting.  He said, “So, we have two left of the five we retrieved……one is a C+ student, the other is a Valedictorian.”.  I watched, via ultrasound, as both were placed with care inside my uterus.  I could see the sparkle of cells from that little valedictorian…..I felt a surge of hope.

I went home …………and waited.

The waiting is so hard.  The worry very visceral.

More to come in Part 3!


To you, and you know who you are:

If you are going through this, do not think that you are alone.  Never in my adult life had I felt so isolated — so alone — as I did during this stretch of life.  It was extraordinarily difficult to articulate to others how I was feeling.  I’m writing about this journey now so that I might be able to help even one woman who is struggling through this process.  If you or someone you love is going through this …. forward along this blog.  I can be reached via the comments section or more privately through the blog email  The email goes only to me.


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Adopt A Pet, Kristina Matisic

Pet of the Week! – by Kristina Matisic


What’s better than one kitty cat? Two! Especially when they’re as cute as us. We’re Tia and Snooks, and we’re a bonded pair from Penticton.  (I’m the light coloured one on the left.) We are looking for a loving home where we can get lots of love, attention and cuddles.
We’re ying and yang kitties, and not just based on our colouring.  I’m pretty out-going and I love to play, roll on my back and ask for long delicious belly rubs. Snooks, my best friend, is a bit more shy. She likes to enjoy some peace and quiet. I know she’d do great in a patient, loving home where she can gain some confidence.
If you’d like to meet us, we’re at the Vancouver branch of the BC SPCA
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Jody Vance

Not “just another day” – by Jody Vance

Getty Images: Caroline Purser

Today was just another day, yet not, for a couple of reasons.

First, Throw Back Thursday.

Last year on this date, I wrapped up my daily morning show on TV and was asked to “meet in the boardroom”.  Over my almost 5 years at this station there were literally hundreds of layoffs — today it was my turn.  I was told “the bad news”, and yet it wasn’t bad — at all.

Fear of change isn’t in my DNA, I’m not sure why.  Change comes and then it’s embraced – there’s always something new and exciting — un forseen — ahead.

One year ago today, while fielding texts – and calls – of condolences, there was this crazy good spring in my step.  “Onward!”

Don’t get me wrong, I love to work, I really do.  I also enjoy immensely the security of a good job – but I also love change.

Change came, one year ago today.

My second point here is: Today — March 23, 2017 — is a personal landmark day.

Today, while walking my son to his friends house (so that I could get to CKNW for my radio job by 8:15a) we happened past a gent and said “good morning.”  He returned the nicety and then looked back and said “hey, you are the writer, aren’t you?”

I paused.

I’d heard “that girl from ______” (Sportsnet, Seeking Stanley, LeafsTV, City, CBC, VTV, CKNW, Rock101) but I had never been recognized for being a writer. I looked back questioning…and then it happened.

He said, “Mybackyard, right? I just found it, I love it. Thank you, I really love it.”

Insert my head exploding with pride and gratitude.

My son looked at me with an impish, knowing, grin.  He loves when his mom is “recognized” — he said, “wow, mom, now you are a writer too!”

I’m a writer.

Game changer. What a profound example of how change is always for the better?

My point here — buried a bit, I will admit — is:

Right now THAT GUY is reading this and, perhaps only now, realizing how his words made me feel about me.  Thank you “E”.

Words don’t do justice to how you (and you and you and you.) make us feel by reading, and commenting, here.  It matters, has impact, makes the world a better place – one reader or writer at a time.

Here at we are over 40,000 (in just 6 months of writing and sharing) and growing!

Every contributor here is a writer, (thank you) every reader here is part of our community (thank you) — we are so glad to have you here in our backyard. #mybackyard

Life can throw you curveballs, and fastballs, knuckleballs and sliders — catch them all — it’s worth the gifts you must wait to see.

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Claire Martin

England, My England – by Claire Martin

Getty Images: HGL

There is something profoundly frightening watching live news play out in front of you. Especially when you know that people you care about may be caught in the cross-fire.

I’m writing this from the safety of my office, numb and shaking at the same time.

Apparently a “lone wolf” (as reported by the UK media) has struck London with devastating violence.

My brother is a very proud black-cab driver in London. He has owned his Hackney Cab license for over two decades and loves driving tourists through the city he adores.

Westminster Bridge

Parliament Square

These are all the areas he knows like the back of his hand. And just rolling the names on my tongue takes me home instantly.

On July 7th, 2005 – I got a frantic call from my brother – who just kept yelling “I’m ok, I’m ok, I’m ok” into the phone. I was completely confused and spent several minutes trying to calm him down and ask what was wrong.

The 7 July 2005 London bombings, sometimes referred to by Londoners as 7/7, were a series of coordinated terrorist bomb attacks in London which targeted civilians using the public transport system during rush hour.

The fourth bomb went off on a double-decker bus in Tavistock Square – about 100 yards in front of my brother’s cab. He was traumatized by the event, but unharmed. And has continued to drive in London despite suffering anxiety attacks for a year afterwards.

About 20 minutes ago, I got a phone call “I’m ok” he said quietly “I’m ok”. But I can tell he’s not.

WHAT have I done for you,
England, my England?
What is there I would not do,
England, my own?

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Charlotte Phillips

Caring for Mom – by Charlotte Phillips

Sunday afternoon at Mom’s

“Hey Mom. MOM. HELLOOO.”

“Oh, I didn’t hear you come in. Wasn’t expecting you.”

“Your TV is really loud. I’m going to turn it down.”



“I was just watching the golf.”

“Yes, it’s amazing. The BC guy might just win!”


“Mom, do you have your hearing aids in?”

“I think there’s a guy from BC.”


“So, what’s up?”


Continue Reading

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Lynn Colliar

An Only has an Only – by Lynn Colliar

Lynn and her daughter Teagan.

I am an only child.
You know… spoiled, horrible, always get my way, indulged… all things I heard while growing up.
(*hint: even the littles hear and remember. Especially when it’s repeated time and time again.)

I actually thought I WAS spoiled and horrible. That it was all about me. To the point that as a “grown up” I became the “all inclusive”… everyone MUST feel part of everything. To the exhaustion of many of my friends.

In groups, when people were talking about their families and asking about siblings it was always the part of the conversation I loathed.
Admitting I was an only. The eye rolling. The assuming that I was, in fact, a spoiled brat who always got her way.

It was like everyone was trying to program me to be that way – so I made sure I was the exact opposite.

I was the best sharer. In fact I gave a girl in my ballet class my ring because she admired it.
I gave Shirley Mullens in Grade 1 my egg salad sandwich because she asked for it. She promptly threw it up.

I try to make sure no one feels left out. But there were many times when I was. All kids are – but for me, it cut deep.

Another side effect… I am a terrible arguer. Growing up I didn’t have anyone to argue with. Sure, my dolls and stuffies, but seriously, they lacked interesting perspective and vocal skills.

We moved a fair bit. It always seemed to happen at the worst time. Grade 1. Halfway through Grade 5. Every time I was launched out into a new world… alone.

My parents had all the faith in the world in me. You’re great. You’re funny. You’ll find friends. But they weren’t there the first day of school after spring break when I had to walk into a Grade 5 class full of kids that had been together for years. All looking and knowing… there’s the only child.

She’s probably a spoiled brat.

I used to cling to friends. Afraid they would leave and I would, once again, be on my own.

I am an only child.

Now I am a mother to an only child.

I used to make myself promises as a kid that I would never, ever, do this to another child. Make them grow up in isolation. Alone.
I look back now and realize I was never alone. I have cousins and great friends that have been by my side since grade school.
I have a tribe.
We tried to have many children. I would have had ten if all the embryos had stuck. But only one stuck.
When she was two, Teagan asked when she would have a little brother or sister. Then again at 2.5… 3… 3.5… 4….
She’s seen many of her friends get siblings and keeps asking when she will get hers.
I don’t tell her she’s an only child. I tell her she’s ours. And she has a tribe. And she will never be alone. So please don’t tell her she’s an only child. She’s not.

note from Jody: this is what #mybackyard is about. I could see Lynn and I having this conversation over wine and triple-0 burgers at white spot.  I didn’t request this reaction,,,,I woke up to it in my inbox. Thank you Lynn! We love your perspective here. Let’s keep these conversations going.

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Jody Vance

Singletons. – by Jody Vance

Getty Images: Liam Norris

My family goal always included a houseful of kids.  Growing up with a big brother, and very close with our cousins, often we were four – or more.  We learned from each other – social culture – independent play.  The parenthood dream, for me.

Alas, as you’ve seen on this blog in “Fertility Road Pt. 1”, my struggle to have just one, was real.  When my boy was born I felt incredibly lucky.  We could talk, at great length, about the up/down side of having an “only”, not to mention the pressure to have “multiple” kids.  Today isn’t about that.

Simply put, today, we celebrated the singleton.  No plans, no playdates, few kid-only distractions, just us.  Me, my boy and my partner.  We walked the dogs 5K in old growth forrest (in pouring rain), did major spring cleaning chores, got groceries – and OK, hit the dollar store for crafts and silly string – most of all we were just together.

At one point I asked my, highly social, son if he wanted a play date and he said “nah, I like this.”  At that moment the mom in me, who loves a full house of screaming nerf-gun wielding 9 year olds, said, “Me too bud, me too.”

He’s hit the age where we can really do stuff that matters.  Safeway wasn’t just the adults shopping, this time it was him hunting for specific items we need during the week.  He’s able to run around a store solo and find these things.  Obviously, it would be faster for me to “just do it”, as I have for his entire life.  I felt so good watching him venture out and come back successful in his task.  Life skills.

We are a busy family and often we just need chill time.  Evenings we often default to “you go watch your show, we will watch ours”, this time (after short protest) we chose together.  Planet Earth II is free on demand.  We watched and discussed — the kid regularly exclaiming “how did they get this footage?!” (that’s my boy)

Today, hanging with the singleton – without distraction – punctuated how fast he is growing up.  If I’d had a friend along to happily distract him from our tasks (as I’ve often done) I would have been distracted from the fact that he is quickly becoming quite capable.  He loved showing off his latest life skills.

We all loved it, at the end of the day, and at tuck-in it was decided that we would carve out more of this in future.  I’m in. (and yes, I still do story time – chat – tuck in.)

Only child sounds lonely – but that need not be the case.  They have their village, as they should, they also have the same family dynamic opportunities – without sibs.  Fostering that is my new Mom lesson.

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Jody Vance

Positive Parking – by Jody Vance

Getty Images: Eric Woods

Here’s the scene.

I had a wee fender bender (my fault) a couple of weeks ago and had a loaner car from Jim Pattison Toyota Downtown while they fixed “said bumper”.

That little Corolla was a godsend in getting me to and from all of my planned meetings and such.  I’d added the loaner license plate number to my pay-by-phone parking app (if you don’t use this app, you should!) so it was easy to hop in and out of various busy streets.

I parked my loaner a tonne over the four days I used it — and then I picked up my happy little 2016 Prius before heading out for my planned lunch with my very pregnant friend Robin.  Congratulating myself, I found sweet parking on Granville St – used the app to pay – and headed over to Heirloom.

Tangent: Heirloom is our fave spot to fit Robin’s cravings (can you say apple and old cheddar grilled cheese with home made hot sauce?!).

Two delicious hours later, I returned to my car with 5 minutes to spare on the app.  Fluttering in the breeze was a ticket.  (!?!)  I eye rolled to myself as it dawned on me that the app was still set to my loaner car plate.  DAMN DAMN DAMN!  There was $100 I wasn’t planning to spend on lunch…..

Just for the hell of it, with nothing to lose, I called the City of Vancouver.  For as much as folks bitch about City Hall I must say that every time I’ve called there the customer service has been quite stellar.  After explaining my situation, taking full responsibility for being an idiot with regard to the plate mix up on the app, the woman helping me said, “Oh my gawd, I’ve done that! Stand by.”  She put me on hold for 2 minutes and then came back.  “I see you did pay for the spot you are on, I will cancel the ticket.”

I felt a bit like I’d won the lottery.  There is actually technology for brain farts when parking. It made my day.

I texted Robin to tell her what had transpired and her reply was: “good things happen to good people.”  I laughed to myself as I saw how this unfortunate ticket had actually turned into a nice little silver lining.  Sometimes there are good stories to be found in this world of road rage and price gouging parking.

What’s next?  Well, I may just see if folks let me merge onto the Lions Gate Bridge — go big or go home, right?

Find the silver lining in your Saturday, it’s there, sometimes you might just have to go looking for it — after an eye roll.

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Adopt A Pet

Daxter and Jack – By Kristina Matisic


Why settle for one bunny when you could have two! Daxter, that’s me, and my equally adorbs brother Jack, we came to the BC SPCA  after an investigation. We had a ruff start to life and are still a bit untrusting of people.  But if you have a soft touch or maybe a tasty treat or two, we’d be super keen to make friends!  We do need a patient guardian who has time to show us what its really like to be a loved. 
In terms of our housing requirements, we need a big enclosure where we can have lots of room to hop and play.  We like to stretch those bunny legs!  We’ve been recently  neutered and litter box training is still in progress.  We’re just over a year old, so we’re still learning the ropes. 
We hope you’ll come down and meet us! 
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Sponsored Content

A GREAT Vancouver shopping experience

When I first moved back to Vancouver in 2009, I happened by this great little Kitsilano clothing shop called “Twist Fashions”.  Little did I know just how much my shopping-challenged life would change for the better.  “Very naive”, is how I would describe myself — completely unaware of the genius – downright glorious – fashion styling experience I was about to encounter.

There I was, a somewhat frazzled mom of an 18 month old, with a body that was just beginning to “bounce back” (for real) from baby.  Going in I really had no idea what “size” I was, nor was I all that interested in the horror show that had always been finding a good pair of jeans for my skinny legged body.  The need was real, I had to do the one thing I didn’t have time for, shop.  (While I’m excellent at shopping for others gifts, I’m awful at shopping for myself.)

As I walked through the store, thumbing some of the most beautiful staples — Michael Stars T’s, James Pearse button up blouses, Velvet tops in pretty patterns — you’ve ever seen, I was overwhelmed with want.  While my imagination went to the ease of trying on tops, I was trying to stay focused, “I need jeans!”  My denim nemesis.

It was in this very moment that I was thrown a lifeline by a team of women who’d eventually become my fashion gurus, my trusted shopping family.

It all began with four words that changed my fashion path: “Shall we get started?”

I was a bit perplexed, “started?”.  “Yes, you need jeans, right? We can help with that. Come with me.”

I was eye-balled, head to toe, then lead toward one of the three spacious fitting rooms at the back of the store.  Having picked out ZERO to try on, I was a bit confused as to what was happening, that’s when the learning curve hit: When you shop at Twist Fashions, you let the expert stylists pull your clothes …and you just try things on saying “yea” or “nay”.

I’m not overstating this, with no measuring of any kind……just using their sizing superpowers…..over the top of the fitting-room door came no fewer than 5 pair of jeans,  EVERY SINGLE PAIR fit like a glove.

Me: “You are a genius”. Stylist: “I know, it’s what we do. (giggle)”

I love them, all.

First up were the Citizens of Humanity jeans — like an old friend, they slid over my hips and did up with comfort — and oh my gawd, they fit in the legs!  I put those puppies off to the side thinking “I’m done”.  Already standing there in my underwear I figured, I may as well try on the others.  The Paige Denim were a solid tie!  The fit was perfection, so comfortable and stylish, with their slightly higher rise… Ohhhh…and then, to confuse things further, the buttery softness of the light grey Hudson jeans.

New conundrum: how would I choose?!

I went from having issues finding jeans that fit to having issues deciding from all of the jeans that fit perfectly.  My new “issue” was far more fun than my former one.  (It should be noted that this entire experience happened in all of 15 minutes flat.)

On a budget, I decided to take the Hudson jeans home that day.  (note: this was in 2009 and I still wear these jeans regularly today.)  Quality clothing, made to last, made to stay in fashion.  Staples.  Twist.

Ready to roll with my new favourite jeans, my new best friend stylist asked if I was interested in “trying on one more thing, the hot new trend, New J Brand cargo pants? They just arrived.”  I figured, ‘why not?‘….I was still  in the change room and wasn’t dressed yet.  I slipped into these dreamy pants, pants that could take you from the playground (read: comfy and not fussy) to the dinner out (paired with fab ankle boots and a blouse) SOLD. The first three times I wore them out my girlfriends demanded to know where to get them.  I told them, they went in, and those puppies were sold out by the week’s end. That is when I truly became a Twist devotee.  I would love to tell you that I still wear these cargos, but I can’t do that ….. reason: My friend Cathy stole them from my closet long ago.

You see where I’m going here?

Twist Fashions is a one stop shopping experience for those of us who are a bit shopping challenged — we don’t have time to walk the mall, window shop our way down a fancy street — before finding Sharon and her team at Twist, I admit, my closet was a mess of sale rack shrapnel, from very low end stores.  Clothes that were toast after 10 washes, you know what I’m talking about, right?  Disposable wardrobe.  I committed to saving up my $$ and buy one fantastic pair of pants rather than five crappy, sale rack, pants that end up just taking up valuable closet space and never make the cut to actually wear.

I’m proud to say that, thanks in no small part the team at Twist, my closet is now set up to succeed.

In this blog I’ve only, really, touched on the jeans and cargos — Twist is so much more than that.  These fantastic fashionistas have taught me to not fear horizontal stripes, and now I embrace them!  They know my taste and can now pick out that perfect party dress for me without me even being in the room. They know to call me when there’s a delivery from InWear, sometimes I even get texts telling me to  “get in here, we’ve put a 4 aside for you to try!”  99% of the time it’s perfection.  Those are some good numbers for a non-shopper like me.

The best part of all of this?  There is never pressure to invest more than you are comfortable with spending.  They enjoy the process of dressing you, they will style you up to the nth degree, right down to Shereen Du Rousseau fantastic accessories and AS98 shoes (my faves) — and if you opt to buy only the jeans, no problem!

Trust me, you want your spring and summer staples NOW.  Get set up.  Go to Twist on West 4th at Bayswater.  Do yourself a favour and carve out at least an hour, 90 minutes if you can, to get in a change room and find your fashion flavour, no matter the reason or season.  Spring stuff is stocked, get yourself ready!!

Please do tell them Jody Vance sent you.

(UPDATE!!! Twist is hiring.

Note regarding Sponsored Content:

When we put together the plan for MyBackyard.Press, Sarah, Claire and I made a decision to be very choosy about advertising put into blog content.  We want you to know that the things we endorse are not just about ad revenue.  If you see “Sponsored Content” you can trust that the company represented has been vetted by us, or is a product or service that we use personally.  For more information regarding sponsored content, please contact us via the emails available here on the blog. 

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