Sunday, December 11, 2005


Bogong moths live in caves in the mountains for most of the year. They’re small and dark brown and apparently are chock full of protein with a delicate nutty flavour. Now and then you see them braving it in the big city and dashing themselves against car headlights or street lamps.

One year they all went absolutely apeshit and every single Bogong Moth in the Known Universe came to Sydney.

Like some sort of evil entomological Schoolies’ Week, they came, they fucked themselves stupid and they made a big bloody pest of themselves.

One particular evening they started flying in through the window of my flat.

I closed the windows and they started crawling in through the ventilation shafts. There were hundreds of them.

At first I tried to scoop them up and throw them out the back door but soon the whirring noises and the furry wings and the way their feelers poked through the slats first closely followed by their brown Bogongish head began to freak me out and I turned on the vacuum cleaner and started sucking them straight off the wall.

Vaccuuming up live Bogong Moths is not something I’m proud of and would never have happened if C had been home because he is like St Francis of Assissi to invertebrates and what he can’t catch with an empty yoghurt pot and a piece of cardboard isn’t worth catching. In fact it’s probably not an insect at all, it’s probably a piece of cheese or a raisin or something.

The joy at learning that I had finally been struck over the head with the Preggers Stick lasted for 48 hours and then the Niggling Doubts started creeping in.

I tried to shut them out, I tried to say to myself…feel the queasiness….witness the extreme fatigue… but eventually they won.
Why should you be pregnant? The beta was wrong. It’s like last time when you were pregnant for a minute and a half. This time you’ll be pregnant for an hour and a half but it’ll still end the same way...ooh, what's that? Your period??

On the weekend I gave in and called the House Of Groovy IVF Love.

I’d like to come in for another blood test, I told them. I got my beta last week and it all sounded very good but now…

The Fertility Sister was calm. Of course, she said, you want to make sure it’s all progressing the right way.

That’s it, I said. Because the thing is I have Niggling Doubts.

I could hear the scratch of her pen as she wrote Nutter Incoming beside my name, but her voice was soothing.

If you want to come in and check that’s fine, she said, we understand. You want to put your mind at rest.

The problem with vacuuming up Bogong Moths is of course that you don’t actually kill them. Instead they rustle about inside the vacuum cleaner. Eventually you start to catch one or two, horribly mutilated, crawling out the nozzle.

Niggling Doubts are much harder to kill. Another beta will help, for now, but there’s no vacuum cleaner on Earth big enough to suck them all up.

And it’s not as if I could fry them up and eat them. Unlike Bogongs, Niggling Doubts have zero nutritional value.

And of course, as everyone knows, Niggling Doubts taste like shit.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Things You Might Do During A Two Week Wait

You might make a list of Jobs That Need Doing Before Christmas.

Sadly you will only make this list in your head and you will only ever recall the entire list once when you are lying in bed and can’t be arsed getting up to write it down.

For the rest of the Waiting Period you will be haunted by vague memories of The List as you determine to put things on and cross things off.

You might decide to get a haircut.

This is because you are attending a wedding on the weekend and you are sick of pulling your hair back into a boring ponytail and exposing your spotty forehead to the world.

But on the morning of the wedding you may wake up and go: oh fuck, I forgot to book that appointment. But then, genius may strike you!

Look, here in the shopping centre is one of those very cheap, very nasty, no booking places! All the hair cutters are standing about waiting for hair to cut. And here I am, practically standing in the doorway and I’VE GOT HAIR.

And one of them, Svetlana say, from an unnamed Eastern bloc country, will draw you gently inside. When she asks you how you would like your hair cut today you will start to explain your dilemma and then realize she is wearing her hair pulled back in a ponytail and she has a spotty forehead just like you.

Later you will emerge with your hair strangely layered and your fringe reshaped and a lurking suspicion that it’s not really a very good cut at all. You will attend the wedding with your hair pulled back in a boring ponytail.

This will be a lesson learned.

You might tell your sister in law that you intend making an entire nativity set using paper mache and roll on deodorant bottles.

To your surprise she may hand you a bag of washed empty roll on deodorant bottles which she has collected because she is a mother of three children and they Do Craft. Now you are stuck with this task because you will look like a wally if you hand the bag of washed empty roll on deodorant bottles back and you would feel guilty if you just shoved them into a recycling bin.

During your Waiting Period you might choose to start the Roll On Deodorant Nativity Set. You might sculpt your Christmas artworks on newspaper so as to avoid mess.

But then a breeze may blow through your flat and in a panic you may be forced to grab precious ornaments to weigh the newspaper down.

This will lead to precious ornaments being streaked with flour and water which dries with a cement like consistency. This will be irritating because it will be another job to add to The List.

A quick and clever fix however will be to put the Precious Ornaments somewhere people won’t see them like in that spot behind the bookcase.

You might start reading Messages From The Cosmos in word verification thingys when you go to comment on other people’s blogs.

This will be unsettling. The messages are very firmly one way or the other so as soon as you see the previously unreadable jumble of letters you will be struck with either joy or grief. They will also be spelt very badly.

You might have a mental blank and worry about whether ‘spelt’ actually is the past tense of spell or a primitive grain used to make tasty breads suitable for people with wheat intolerance.

Then you will cunningly incorporate your ignorance into your post in an amusing manner.

You might spend long periods of time staring at your nipples in the mirror.

This is a natural thing to do as you are wondering if they are changing in any way to indicate pregnancy.

Then you might decide your boobs are sagging. Then you might start holding a breast in each hand and wiggle them up and down, pretending your nipples are eyes and your bellybutton is a mouth and it can talk to you. Then you will stop because this is not natural it's just stupid.

You might read on somebody’s blog that pineapple is good for implantation.

Immediately you will dash out to the fruitshop. However there will be two kinds of pineapple available and you will spend half an hour weighing them up in each hand and wondering which is best for the embryos.

Unluckily a fruitshop man will hear you muttering to yourself about pineapple and embryos but on the bright side the sheer embarrassment will encourage you to make an immediate choice.

Your sister might ring from New Zealand and chat while you both wait for the phone call from the clinic.

As you chat together she will mention that pregnant women have higher body temperatures. Inspired, you may get your digital thermometer and shove it in your mouth. Similarly inspired your sister will get her thermometer and shove it in her ear.

Strangely your conversation will flow unimpaired.

When you go in for your blood test you might feel a shock when the Fertility Sister asks if this is your “final” blood test.

You may wonder if she means your credit card is declined or if all the sisters got together and decided they hate you and your husband with his rice pudding scented head and they never want to take your blood again.

On your way home you and your husband might feel moved to hug and embrace a large piece of public art because it reminds you of a pair of enormous ovaries and hence it could be lucky.

You will need to do this surreptitiously because the artwork is in a public space surrounded by offices. This will make you feel like Harry Potter trying to run through the wall at Kings Cross station without anyone noticing except of course you will not be carrying an owl.

If you get the phone call that says your beta was 490 and you are “definitely pregnant” you will cry/shriek/attempt to speak calmly/scrawl notes in your diary that will later prove to be unreadable.

For 48 hours you will float on a bubble of happiness and sheer joy. You will share that joy and be delighted and encouraged by the enormous wave of love and support you receive both online and in person.

With a great screech of brakes and clunking of gears The Great Big Fertility Ride pulls in at the station. C and I gingerly step out of the carriage. Hope’s already brushed off the vomit and darted off to climb into someone else’s carriage and start the ride all over again. She’s such a roller coaster tart.

We feel exhausted.
We feel incredulous.
We feel very very lucky.

It’s the earliest of early days but to get to this point, for us who have never ever been pregnant, it seems an incredible achievement.

(In fact, even writing this down seems ridiculous. As if the phone will ring again and an apologetic Fertility Sister will say… oh dear there’s been a computer error…)

C and I stagger shakily past the ticket booth and make our way towards the exit.

In the background I can hear the crazy music start up again, the gears clunk into place, the doors on the carriages slam shut, the babble of excited voices.

I’d like to watch, wave them on their way, maybe buy a Cheese-On-A-Stick for old time’s sake but then I remember that Roll On Deodorant Nativity Scene isn’t going to paper mache itself and so we hurry on home.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Letter From Two Bunches Of Cells (11 days Past Transfer)

dear ovagirl

got your letter.

have decided to stay.

please find enclosed beta of little thankyou present. more forthcoming.

love us.

when we say 'us', that might mean just 'me'.
in which case i'll love you twice as much.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Letter To Two Bunches Of Cells (7 Days Past Transfer)

Dear Embryos

I’ve been thinking about you both quite a lot and wondering how it’s all going in there.

It’s been a few days now. I think you’re both 12 days old now which is nothing to sneeze at, in anyone’s test tube.

You probably noticed that you’re not the first to occupy the place. Maybe you even had a little bitch amongst yourselves about being given a used uterus.

The truth is, one of your little mates was in there a couple of months ago. I haven’t been in to look myself and nothing’s shown up on the dildocam but I wouldn’t be surprised if he did a bit of tagging round the cervix, graffiti by the fallopian tubes...
Embryo Was ‘Ere... that sort of thing.

Frankly, I think he was that kind of blastocyst.

But let me assure you both, THE LINING HAS NEVER BEEN USED. I grew that one specially for you. (And you. )

And the other thing is, it really wasn’t occupied for long.

Embryo 1 decided not to stay. Not immediately. There was a little pfaffing in the womb, a little lounging around the Pink Palace before he finally jumped the fence.

It was enough to leave the faintest hopeful glimmer of a maybe possibility of a pregnancy.

(You embryos can be a little cruel, anyone ever tell you that in the Petri dish?)

I’m not going to come down all heavy even though I want nothing more than to grab you both in a headlock and staple you to the wall of my uterus. It’s important to let you embryos make up your own little minds (or whatever rudimentary cellular brain smudges you’ve formed) about whether you’re going to hang on.

And I’m not going to bag on about keeping away from the fence because look what a fat lot of good it did with Embryo 1 (known in certain circles as Julian).

Instead I thought I’d encourage you by telling you that a big exciting bonus about sticking around and actually being born is…meeting your dad. I’m pretty sure you’ll think he’s the best thing since…well since that new jello stuff the House Of Groovy IVF Love developed to grow you little guys in…and you all know how good that stuff is, right?

He’s gorgeous and talented and caring and he’s such good fun to play with, ask your cousins the Naughty Nephews.

And I love him more than anybody else in this whole world…for now.

Here’s a little something that no one else knows about your dad.

His head smells like rice pudding with cinnamon on top. True.

And sometimes, like apricots.

And very very occasionally like parmesan cheese but mostly it’s rice pudding and that’s one of my favourite smells in all the world.

And if you come into the world, and I really hope you do, he’ll let you smell his head whenever you like. I think I can speak for him on that one. I’m not sure about the rules on watching tv or spitting from the top floor of posh hotels but the rice pudding head smelling I think we can say is in the bag.

It might even be genetic, so along with his blue eyes and my brown skin, you could get a scalp that smells like a classic English nursery dessert.

It’s your dad’s birthday today. The very first present I ever gave him was a stovetop coffee pot. Wouldn’t it be cool if this year we gave him the biggest present ever…

So just mull it over okay? Think about your gorgeous dad with his blue eyes and his rice pudding head who can’t wait to hold you and love you and play cricket with you.

That’s all I ask.

Well that, and keep away from the fence.

Yours, with ridiculous amounts of love as always