Sunday, August 05, 2007

What OvaGirl Did Next...

Sleazy hypnotists and dancing chickens, pagan weddings and costumed sheep, oversexed guinea pigs and the smell of boiled wet dog. IVF, infertility and family…
It’s a love story...

I started blogging in January 2005. The year before that my partner C and I had discovered, via a series of unpleasant and embarrassing tests, that we were infertile.

The discovery came after a very long period of “casually” trying to conceive– since if we admitted we were actively trying then we would also have to admit that we were actively failing. And so the years rolled on by in a great flurry of work and travel and generally doing all the things one does when one is not with child.

“No no,” we would say jovially, “we haven’t quite got the knack of making a baby yet, but we’re having a lot of fun practicing.” And that was funny for about, oh, six months.

In 2004, finally, we had to face the fact that there was something amiss with the plumbing – either mine or C’s or both, and a trip to my GP saw me coming away with a referral to the fertility clinic at a nearby hospital.

This was us on the official first stage of The Great Big Fertility Ride. That day we came home from the hospital when the specialist told us we needed to go straight to IVF was a particularly special one and I rate it up there with the day my mother died and the day I was diagnosed with MS.

Everyone has different ways of coping and mine was to get onto the internet and randomly google terms like “barren”, “my uterus sux” and “dried up girly bits”.

And so it was that I discovered a hitherto unknown world of blogging. Not just a world of blogging but a very special corner of that world where People Who Can’t Seem To Have A Baby write about the way they feel.
I think I’d heard of blogs but I had no idea what one was and suddenly I was reading stuff by women who felt as angry, as hurt, as totally fucking ripped off as me, and it was like coming home. At the same time my husband, also hurt and bewildered, but also seeing the devastating effect this news had on me, had dug out the number of an alternative practitioner whom we would eventually come to know and love as the Chinese Fertility Goddess.

And then I started to write.

Years ago I had a friend, Simone, who used to refer to acts carnal as ‘legs up and laughing’. This seemed a cheerful descriptor of what was generally a funny activity (at least where C and I were concerned) and so I mangled it to give me “L’Eggs Up and Laughing”. At first I wrote about the hideous tests, the unhappy news, the weird smelly herbs we had to boil up for the Chinese Fertility Goddess, but quite quickly it became more than that.

In my efforts to make a family I had begun to examine my relationship with my own family, my childhood, my small nephews who had come from London to live nearby, and, my relationship with this man, my husband C, who sat beside me in the carriage of The Great Big Fertility Ride and indeed all the carriages of all the rollercoasters of our life together.

One day, looking back through some of the things I had written on this blog, I decided to send a few posts to my agent. She in turn sent these onto a publisher.

And they said…yes.

Well, actually what they said was that they wanted me to write a book. And it would be the blog, but also more again.

And so I said… yes.

And this September, two years after our first IVF cycle began, My Book is being released.

This means some things will change.

For instance, it may surprise you to discover that OvaGirl is a Made Up, Secret Squirrel, Clark Kentish sort of name. I know! Shock!

And also, this blog may seem to have slimmed up, since last you saw it.

That’s because I have deleted most of the early entries, ie those leading up to Tricky’s birth. (And let me tell you that caused me no end of heartache because of the beautiful comments people left for me.) I did this because the book contains nearly all these entries anyway, but polished up and with incriminating names and patently stupid bits removed.

But I have left some posts, including the start and the end, intact, because I wanted people (who don't read the book) to see that there can be a happy ending to the Great Big Fertility Ride, even though its carriages might get a bit skanky and scratched and pong of chucked up steak sandwich.

I’m having a wee little holiday now.

I’m also doing Book Stuff, launches and publicity guff. If you’re in Sydney and you want to come to a book launch on September 5th, let me know on the comments or contact me through my profile. There will also be one in Newcastle and hopefully Melbourne and other places at some stage.

Legs Up And Laughing will be available in the UK in October. And in the US?... well, I don't know. Ask your bookshop! It's published by Murdoch Books and it's a Pier 9 imprint.
And it has a pretty cover!

And finally, if you are from that Corner Of The Blogging World I talked about before, (and further afield too, the theatre people and the political people and the writerly people) then I want to let you know that at the end of my book, on the acknowledgements page is this:


To all those who read and commented and supported me on my blog “L’Eggs Up And Laughing”, throughout the events of this book. You shared my grief as well as my joy. You made me feel part of a community who knew exactly how I felt. You kept me writing.

Back Soon (honest)

Your Very Own OvaGirl...

Vanessa xxx


millie said...

I got goose bumps reading this post. You must come to the US. You simply MUST.

Congrats on the book! That's such wonderful news. How do we get copies? If only to make up for the fake name. I totally thought Ova was your first name. ;)

WonderMama said...

Ova Girl!!!
You've been holding out on us!!

Congratulations on the book! I can't wait until it comes to the US to read it! You must write a quick post and tell us how we can get a copy!!

And, you are one gorgeous Mama!!

Thalia said...

OG I'm so pleased to see your book at last. I have to confess to being a bit sad that people won't be able to come though and find the story in your archives, there is something different about that than knowing they can discover it through your book. I assume the entries will disappear from google as well eventually, so ppl won't be able to happen on your story when they're searching for some combination of words that describes their pain.

But let's hope they find your book instead. Your entries have always been little polished jewels in the blogosphere, and it's wonderful that more people will now discover them. Congratulations again.

To all those in the US, I should point out there's this amazing website called AMAZON, and they sell books, and if you go to in october, and order OG's book (sorry I just can't make the switch to vanessa) they will send it to you. In america!!

daysgoby said...

Look how beautiful the two of you are together!

SO pleased for you!

Em said...

Congratulations! I hope we are able to get the book here in the states.

You are Tricky look lovely together, btw.

sorenson said...

congratulations on the book, and though I'm sad that your blog is slimmer, I am still oh so grateful that we found it (and so many other infertility blogs) when we did, because they helped to keep us sane through some of the hardest times in our lives.

bean and I are in Melbourne, and if you have a launch down here we would love to come - post details on your blog?

sorenson said...

oops i meant to include our own blog but somehow hit enter instead of filling in the 'your webpage' box - wriggling 2 week old baby on chest makes computer time more challenging these days!

Suz said...

CONGRATULATIONS! I can't wait to get my hands on a copy! How can we get

Jenn said...

Wait, Ovagirl isn't your real name? :)

Congratulations on the book coming out. I do hope you keep blogging. I'm not ready for the story to end yet.

Susie said...

Congratulations! What a great event!

Lin said...

Brava, Vanessa! Interesting how such a tortuous journey can have such a beautiful arrival point, non?!

YAY YOU!!!!!!!!!!!

Trevor said...

Congratulations and commiserations.

Congratulations firstly on your book release. You are a gifted writer but - to be honest - there are plenty of good bloggers who will never get book deals (and plenty of mediocre one who won't get book deals either. Er, hi.). The reason you have been published is not just your skill with words but your incredible bravery in describing so honestly the hell which is infertility. To have opened your life up and shared with us all the visceral emotions of what is an intensely personal experience - and to have done it so articulately - marks you out as an exceptional person. So, congratulations on the book. It is well deserved.

But nothing in life is ever a free ride and I also offer my commiserations to you on the loss of OvaGirl. The honesty described above is noteworthy when written from behind the mask of anonymity, but even more notable when the courage is there to expose all to the light of day. The internet is full of writers who express views and opinions from the safety of their unidentifiable keyboards about which they would be more reticent if that privacy was removed. I suspect you will miss the degree of freedom which an alter-ego provides.

With this in mind I would like to finish by paraphrasing a remark you often make to Tricky.

For myself – and I believe many other readers – you will forever remain OUR very own OvaGirl.

granny p said...

Hullo friend Vanessa - nice to be able to call you that here too...Ova never quite fitted, especially after meeting you. I'll be after that book. lots of love from me too under my real name. Penelopexx

LL said...

Hubba Hubba...
You'll always be OG to me... but it is nice to put a face to the amazing story that you tell so brilliantly... besides when I hear the name Vanessa, I always think of a girl I once knew who was nicknamed "Vanessa the Undresser" lol!

Oh & I am sooo coming to the Melb launch if you have one....


lucky #2 said...

Ovagirl! To see a copy of your book brought tears to my eyes. I am so happy to know that more IFers (and non-Ifers alike) will benefit from your viewpoint and honest recountings of an IF struggle.

Beautiful picture, too!

I am so proud of you.

calliope said...

I am so, so, so, effing proud of you!
Thank you for sharing so much of yourself with us. I can't wait to tell people to buy your book. Tell The People In Charge that there are people in the U.S. that want this book!!!

cartwheels for you!

Piquant Molly AKA Mollywogger said...

Congratulations! Holy crap! Very impressive.

I look forward to getting my hands on it!

Lut C. said...

Congratulations on the publication of your book!

I'm sad to hear you've taken down most of your archives. Your posts moved me so much.

Out of curiosity, did your publisher ask you to remove them out of fear for sales? Or was it your initiative?

Best of luck with the launch. :-)

Jen Allgood said...

Ova Girl-
I just want to say Thank you. Over the past two years you have been a light in the darkness for me. On some of my darkest days you made me laugh. On others I cried with you and felt like I wasn't alone. You're a world away and I'll never know you or you me, but you and your family will always have a special place in my heart. Thank you for giving so freely of yourself and your amazing gifts. I will most certainly buy your book. And I have a feeling it will always be in my library as a reminder of this incredible roller coaster ride in both our lives. Life is quite a ride. Thanks for reminding me from time to time that it's all worth it. Thank you.

elle said...

WOW! I've often read your blog and thought, "yes, she's nailed it. That's what I'm feeling, the exact shape and angle of it, but so poetically put." And now, many others will know your talents! It made me teary-eyed to read it - how something so sad and awful has turned into something so amazing for you! Kudos to you!

You and your gorgeous little boy are beautiful. Wishing you much success!!

Sparkle said...

I've read your blog since I first did a google search on 'golden gun' chinese medication prescribed to Mr. S and figured out we were going to the same CFG.

I would love to come to your book launch in Sydney - but have still not figured out how to contact you via your profile(!)

Mony said...

Well well well!
How wonderful! Wonderful!
We always knew you were a clever girl! Now the rest of the world can adore you too.
I feel very PROUD!

Mony said...

I would also dearly love to attend the book launch.

Evil Stepmonster said...

Congratulations to you! Please post details of launches on your site - I can't wait to see you in Melbourne.

Thank you so much for your honest, proud and inspiring blog. You have helped me in ways you will never know.

Anna said...

Heartiest congratulations on the book - we will be keeping a look out for a Melbourne launch! You'll always be OG here too :) I also found blogs as part of struggling with infertility and discovering your Australian voice in that world gave me that close-to-home feeling of solidarity and was really important to me during the hardest times. Thanks.

Alexa said...

I CAN NOT WAIT! I felt all teary and proud reading this post. Well done! Hurrah!

gold star said...

I've ceased my lurking to congratulate you and tell you I've enjoyed your posts immensely since I stumbled across your blog a few months ago.

cheers to you!

Bumble said...

Congratulations OG (Vanessa!), this is just amazing news, you must be so proud. Your writing has always touched me and if I'd like to have a keep at home copy of anyone's blog, its yours. So I'll definitely be buying your beautiful book!

sbs said...

I may cry.

Anonymous said...

Congratulaions OG. I'd love to come to your book launch in Sydney. Details please! Jackie

Betty said...

Wow, what a clever woman you are. Thankyou for having the guts to put this out in the public arena. I am sure your book will help other people who are sufferring infertility to feel that they are not alone. I can't wait to read it! Well done.

Urban Chick said...

i'm shedding a little tear here, V

it's completely fantastic that all these words are now in book form - even though my mama told me never to give money to rupert murdoch, i may even buy a copy

lots of love to you, C and the lovely tricky boy


Drew said...

I heading out soon to buy your book. You are just incredible Ovagirl - I can't wait to get hold of your book and read. It is wonderful that you are putting the infertility message out there and share your experience.

Damn proud of you. Really am. And thank you.

Ms Heathen said...

I've lurked anonymously up until now, but just wanted to say thank you - for sharing your experiences with us, for writing so beautifully, and for giving me hope that it is possible to get through all of this.

Anonymous said...


seepi said...


I feel so privileged to have read your blog 'live' - I will definitely grab the book as soon as I see a copy.

Book launch in Canberra?
(Sadly filled with older professional women doing ivf.)

fisher queen said...

Congratulations! I had often thought that your blog would make a great book. I am so glad that the non blogging world will get a chance to see it.

I'm already making mental notes for Christmas gifts...

Nico said...

Ooooh, Christmas gifts - that's a great idea, FQ!

Ova (I can't quite bring myself to call you by your real name either), sorry I'm tardy on posting my congratulations. I can't wait to read your book - I have loved your writing from the first day I came across your little corner of the blogosphere. I do hope you keep regaling us with tales of Tricky's pursuits, and yours! And it would be totally fab if you made it to the states some day.

frangelita said...

So excited! Definitely buying a copy. I have loved reading your blog and cried over it a few times - even though I don't have any such traumas of my own to relate it to. And I suspect I shall cry all over again when I read the book. congratulations - and love that we've finally got a proper pic of you and tricky too. You're a gorgeous pair:o)

mig bardsley said...

Dear Ova girl. Congratulations, thank you for sharing your story with us and thank you for the book in advance (I shall order it today).
I would say nothing could be as gripping, funny and heart aching as it was reading your blog through the year or so that I followed it (I so remember Frangelita and I screaming at each other over the phone " SHE'S GONE INTO LABOUR!!!..HAS SHE HAD IT YET???!!!...YAY!!!! SHE'S HAD THE BABY!!!!!)but actually I suspect the book will do it all over again.
and thank you for the pics :)
xxx mig