Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Sensible Things To Do After A Failed FET

The first time I ever got drunk was in the local Woolworths car park at about 8.30 on a Saturday evening. I was 15 and meant to be at my friend’s house watching videos, instead we were knocking back a bottle of port and singing The Cure’s Love Cats.
Also dancing.

I used to cringe at this memory until I met someone who told me they got spectacularly drunk for the first time on a bottle of Brandavino at the age of 13 and the next morning caught the bus into the city. Quite soon after his journey began, he decided that vacating the bus immediately was a matter of great urgency. He rang the bell, the bus stopped, he got off the bus and vomited like a geyser by the side of the road. When he finished, he turned to find the bus, full of patient Saturday morning passengers, waiting for him. After a slightly awkward pause he wiped his mouth, got back on the bus, returned to his seat and continued on his way.

I ended up marrying him.

Losing our last chance embryo was almost shockingly upsetting, considering the yes but, no but sensations I had been experiencing leading all the way up to the transfer. Even so, receiving the news necessitated a certain response. That afternoon I ate a large meal of Not Recommended For Ladies Up The Duff sushi and followed that up with a Not Recommended For Ladies Attempting Or Achieving Up The Duffness latte and during the evening I enjoyed a Severely Frowned Upon glass of wine for the first time in what seemed years but was in fact a few fraught weeks.

The following day I had another latte but this time requested a double shot of espresso. That night C and I drank a bottle of champagne and two bottles of wine with our live in-in laws. I also ate some soft cheese and a piece of smoked salmon.

Following this trajectory I believe I shall be snorting coffee straight from the grinder and washing down my crack cocaine and raw meat fritters with a good slug of goon in the Woolies car park, by this weekend.

Because I am no longer a teenager and this is not the eighties I shall not be singing and dancing to Love Cats. It’s possible though that I may quietly hum the chorus.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Letter To A 21 Month Only Child

Darling Tricky,

This month has seen you start to realize that actually the whole world doesn’t belong to you, despite what your grandparents in Newcastle have led you to believe. You have started to identify for instance that different towels belong to different people, there is a Daddy Towel which hangs next to a Tricky Towel and high up on the back of the door is a Mummy Towel.

This process of identification extends to pillows, glasses of water and various bodily discharges, hence Mummy Wee Wee and Daddy Fart. Words have flown thick and fast this month, you have shouted for sandwich, biscuit, gingerbread, porridge, vegetables, underpants and a puppy and when we try to distract you with a glass of water say, or perhaps a hilarious Daddy Fart, you cut us off with a contemptuous No Way.

This is thanks to childcare of course, No Way being the signature tune of fellow attendee, Jack. Jack only stayed a few weeks after you started but it was long enough to pass on both words and attitude. Tiring though it is to have you constantly exclaiming No Way at a bowl of wholesome mashed root vegetables, or to having your feet cruelly introduced to a pair thick warm socks, I give thanks that it wasn’t Bite Me Mother Fucker or something equally distasteful.

In positive developments at childcare though, we have finally moved from Don’t Leave Me, Oh God Where Are You Going Please Don’t Leave Me This Woman Is The Devil And These Children Are Her Imps to the almost as heartbreaking Bye Bye Daddy and the happily climbing into his carer’s arms, because apparently the Devil gives good cuddle. The devil also encourages crafts and provides you with a hot lunch so who are we to complain. At any moment I can look up and see some of your special craft activities blu-tacked to our loungeroom wall: your blue handprints, your large orange paint blob. And of course, it goes without saying, I will keep these works of art for the rest of my life.

You experienced Easter this last month and although you were sick with some viral ghastliness at the time you got to join in on an Easter Egg hunt with your cousins. They very sweetly found eggs on your behalf and dropped them in your pile and despite the ruthless bargaining, and take no prisoners hunting that went on between themselves, you were positively showered with eggs.
But because I am Pure Evil and decided that you were too sick to eat Easter eggs just at that moment we avoided clueing you in to the concept that those brightly wrapped jewel like objects were actually edible. Instead you smiled at them, played with them, rolled them about the floor and then collected them up happily and put them back into their paper bag. You are a bit obsessed with marbles at the moment and I’m sure you just thought these were retarded marbles with one fat and one pointy end. However, I am not a complete tyrant (unlike you), when you were feeling a bit better you had an easter egg for the first time in your life and it blew your tiny brain. It was like the first time you ate ice cream and your mouth just kept opening and closing like a goldfish. You didn’t even pause to demand “More” like you normally do, you just let your demented gobbling goldfish mouth do the work. When you were finished I explained that what you had just eaten was chocolate. More chocklit, you said immediately.

This past month has seen some very lovely family time, you, your daddy and me, always involving cuddles, often in your cowboy tent or on the Big Bed. Our bedtime routine sees you selecting some well thumbed titles from the bedside shelves; Owl Babies perhaps or Gorilla or Big Fish, where the main character is the chief fish of a small pond and, as you like to firmly clarify; HE WAS HAHPEE.

After stories there are more cuddles. And several expeditions over the pillows to turn the bedside lamp off, no on, no off again. Perhaps a round of Rockabye Your Bear. And then requests for More Books. These are usually denied because it’s now past your bedtime and your father is desperate for the sweet sweet relief of alcohol. We zip you into your sleeping bag, kiss you all over, pop you into bed and back out of the room, muttering to ourselves as we do that you are once again proven to be The Most Delightful Boy In The World.

You are a delightful little boy, quick to laugh, adventurous, and, as I think about your various falls- off stairs and over your own feet, pretty hardy. You get whingy sometimes, you cling to me sometimes, you have temper tantrums when you’re hungry sometimes, and you have shouting spates when you’ve just woken up but you are, despite all this, a great kid. We see the best of ourselves in you and sometimes the worst too but beyond the bits of us are the uniquely special bits of you and they’re beautiful.

This was the month where we tried to make another baby, not another you, no, but another like you. A potential little brother or sister. It didn’t work. That tiny soccerball bunch of cells never did expand like the embryologist told us it would. The sadness currently in both your father and I feels so deep and complex, woven tightly with the memories of all the fear and despair that seemed to haunt us before we finally found you.

It's like we’re failing to provide you with something that was fundamental to the making of both your father and I…a sibling. Three brothers in your father’s case. Three sisters in mine. I don’t know how long it will take for that guilt and that sorrow to dissipate. But I do know that amongst all that sadness is a great deal of joy . You are our son, our baby, our beautiful, grumpy, funny, singing, book loving boy. You may be an only child, but you won’t be a lonely child. You have so many people who care about you. You may not have brothers and sisters but you live with three cousins who fall over themselves to pick you up and hug you even when you call them by each other’s names. You have aunties and uncles and grandparents on opposite sides of the country who adore you. And always you have us, Vanessa and Christopher, your mummy and daddy, who love love love you with all of their hearts.

Because you, you our darling boy, you make us hahpee.

Your very own

What A A Milne said...

John had great big waterproof boots on,
John had a great big waterproof hat.
John had a great big waterproof mackintosh
"And that," said John "is that."


Thursday, April 24, 2008


Here are things I did in preparation for my last round of ART:

*went on strict no fat, no chilli, no red meat, no sugar diet as urged by the Chinese Fertility Goddess
*gave up coffee and alcohol completely
*had six months of chinese herbs and acupuncture
*surrounded myself in fertility dolls, gew gaws, holy water, symbolic pictures and lucky charms
*once IVF rollercoaster began in earnest was accompanied by my husband to every appointment.
*worried a lot

Here are things I did in preparation for this round:

*cut down on coffee and alcohol (although after the transfer I cut it out completely)
*tried to eat more vegetables
*had three acupuncture sessions with the Chinese Fertility Goddess
*replaced the whole boiling up herbs into Horrid Tea routine with a neat little jar of granules - two teaspoons in hot water morning and night. Still ghastly but so much easier to manage.
*Went to bloodtests and Dildo-Cam dates alone. (although C came to transfer)
*worried slightly less.
I have no conclusions to draw from any of this except that in the old days we didn't have a mortgage or a childcare bill. Also this time I have been alternatively more tired (and desperately wanted coffee) or more stressed (and desperately wanted alcohol). Also, at our old flat we seemed to have a lot more shelf space for all those bags of twigs and panda paws, not to mention the boxes of thinly sliced deer antler (yum).

At my last acupuncture session with the Chinese Fertility Goddess we had a quick whispered discussion about this as she inserted the needles.
I don't seem to be so wound up about it this time, I told her.
She nodded, you have a baby now, she said, it's different.
But it's not just that
, I said, I'm so tired, I wonder sometimes how I could make it all work, if I did get pregnant.

This set the CFG off on a spate of concerned tutting and head nodding. In China, she said, they know your body is completely changed when you have a baby, it takes years to recover fully. Years.
I muttered.
That is why the aunties come round, look after you, grandmother, mother, everyone helping, cleaning, cooking. Here, I worry, where is the support? Where are the aunties?

Of course Tricky and I had aunties akimbo when he was born. Aunty K and Aunty N were support people at his birth and Aunty N went on to do much of that helping, cleaning, cooking stuff that the CFG was talking about. Aunty AJ came over from New Zealand to do the same.
So it can't be the fear of lack of support.

I think I'm worrying about not worrying enough, or something stupid like that.

I worry that my body really has changed, really isn't up to another pregnancy, that my abdominal muscle separated belly, all papery skin and wobbly flab is a poor, second-rate sort of vessel to carry a child.

I worry that as worthless as I feel I am right now, this is it, this is my chance and yet that chance is so slim, so small, so fragile it could float right out from under me on the strength of a sigh.
I worry that I'm not strong enough, not grateful enough, not needy enough...

I worry that C isn't in the same headspace as me, that before, with all the needles he had to inject and the appointments we attended that he knew exactly where we were at, what cycle day it was, how hormonal I seemed compared to the previous 12 hours, he was a rock, a steadying, calming island in an ocean of turmoil. This time, busy with work and Tricky and more work, he seems only half with me, we're sitting side by side in the FET carriage just like last time but he seems distracted, like he's juggling his Cheese-On-A-Stick* with his Southpark Showbag** in one hand and trying to text a friend with the other.

This looks like a big hill we're going up now, I say nervously as the carriage rattles ominously. Mmm says C, can you hold the Cheese for a second, I keep dripping sauce on the Send button.

As a result we've managed to have at least three "heated discussions" in the past 24 hours.
Apparantly I'm being negative. Funny that.
Yesterday morning I did something that I determined last time I would not do. No matter what.
I peed on a stick and it was negative too.
As a direct result, in a very short space of time I have experienced shock, relief, sadness, optimism, denial and grief. Oh and guilt too, because I'm a lapsed Catholic and an Oldest Child and guilt is my birthright.

And then I lay down and read Ballet Shoes for a short time, it being my current Reliving My Literary Past Therapy.

See, you think you've got infertility sussed, you think you understand the nature of the stress behind it, the pain, the depths of sadness and uncertainty. But she's cunning! She's a mystery wrapped in riddle wrapped in an enigma! And also a chameleon! With rapidly changing coloured skin depending on whether she sits on a pumpkin or a potato! Or a turd.

I don't know really how I feel at this point.
My brain is custard.
Best just to go with "tired." This seems to sum up everything right now.

* and ** completely unfair analogy, C hated both the junk food and the showbags at the Show.

Monday, April 21, 2008

5 days past transfer

Tricky is 21 months now and that means a nice little letter with accompanying pictures, but with all the shrieking and gargling and steaming up the walls round here just recently, I got nothin'.
For now.

We have briefly decamped to Newcastle to visit with Aphwah (his grandmother) and Poppy(his grandfather) and Jimmy (their dog) because Tricky was shrieking their names out in the middle of the night in between tortured gasps and snot ridden snores and also because we wanted to steam someone else's room up for a change. Two nights of vapouriser and three nights of antibiotics have worked their steamy antibiotic ju ju on our child and apart from a slightly raspy voice and a taste for human flesh, there seems little other effect. Except for sleep. Last night he slept from 7 at night till 7 in the morning without a peep and it was magnificent. All that anxiety from watching his distress and feeling him sink his teeth into my shoulder has pretty much dissipated.

Today we went to see a kids show that I co-wrote with my ex-husband TWENTY YEARS AGO (for fuck's sake). It contains garbage monsters, a lost little girl and a foul mouthed seagull and features a strong recycling message. Tricky was excited about seeing the garba monsas but when they emerged from their piles of rubbish at the start of the show his lip was quivering and he uttered a few thin cat like wails. It was touch and go as to whether or not we bailed but he gritted his tiny teeth (including recently appearing molars and incisors) and soon settled down.

It was funny to see something I had written so long ago and from another part of my life, even though I had rewritten some of it last year for production. And it was nice to see Tricky watch something I had written, even though he spent at least the same amount of time eating banana bread and then scouring his seat for crumbs.

Today I am 5 days past the transfer. Next Saturday is my pregnancy test. I'm still chugging back the horrid tea and popping the progesterone pessaries. I'll try and see the Chinese Fertility Goddess when I get back to Sydney tomorrow. Last time, the time it worked, I remember getting waves of gentle nausea very early on, before the test. I felt slightly carsick or hungover.
This time I just feel tired. And constipated. And relieved that Tricky is getting better.

What I don't feel is anxious. It's like, this time round, I just don't have the time or the emotional energy for that shit.
This is going to work, or it won't.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Truly Madly Deeply Going Out Of Our Tiny Minds

Tricky, C and I have just spent the last 48 hours in Hell and it seems like we'll be making a weekend of it.

Tricky has never ever been so sick.

A runny nose during the week led to a "difficult" night of throat rasping old man type snoring and general off colour-ness. We went to the local after hours medical centre to be told he had a virus and apart from giving Panadol and keep up fluids, not much more to be done.

That night was hidious. The snot that was boiling away in his head was stopping him breathe. He would fall asleep then a few minutes later stop breathing and wake in a fright. This meant we were waking every five minutes or so too. We brought him into our bed but it didn't help. Instead, with all his usual writhing and kicking there was no sleep at all. Back and forth he went from the Big Bed to Tricky's Bed and amidst that was all the snoring and gargling and death rattling.

I was trying not to lift him, not to get up and down, stay in bed for at least half an hour after shoving in the progesterone pessary...all that Two Week Wait, easy does it, stay relaxed stuff, horribly aware of the cargo I was carrying. But finally, at the lowest point of the night when he started crying yet again, I snapped. As I launched myself out of bed, half asleep, I shouted Lie Down! I'm coming as fast again and so is your Embryonic Sibling!

I started stroking his back and he sank back down to sleep, gargling and rattling away. I felt like a complete arsehole. The next time he woke C took him out of the room and told me to go back to bed. The two of them "slept", I use the term loosely, in Tricky's cowboy tent which is set up in our loungeroom. It was quite comfy, C cheerfully told me later and nice and warm.

By the next morning Tricky was starting to look like a little crack baby, lethargic, eyes rolling back, could barely stay awake, mother becoming weepy and hysterical. Off to our regular doctor, Dr Jabs, who peered into his mouth and recoiled a little. Strep throat.Very nasty. Antibiotics.

When we spoke to Dr Jabs again, later in the day, he warned me about dehydration. The lethargy can be a sign of dehydration, was he drinking lots? Because otherwise he would need to go to hospital and go onto a drip. We had stocked up on iceblocks and various jelly crystal flavours, but, most unusually for a child who can hear a freezer door open from two floors down and shriek for icecream, we were finding it hard to get Tricky to have more than one. No he didn't want water, he didn't want jelly, he didn't want milk. By this stage I was getting ready to be hospitalised myself. Thankfully after holding us to ransom and demanding three Milk Arrowroot biscuits, he started drinking and made up his fluids again.

At around 1 last night it was C's turn to drop his bundle. We realised that Tricky was sitting up in his bed, half asleep, because it was easier for him to breathe. Inevitably he would have a few gargly breaths through his nose before the snot resettled and blocked off his air passage, then there would be silence for a moment, then a sort of shuddering choke as he tried to breathe through his mouth. This would usually wake him, or alternatively he would drift off to sleep and fall backwards or sideways with a crash in the bars of his cot.

C got out of bed, thinking, as one does, that it would be good to put him in the car because he would be sitting upright, he could go to sleep and C would just...sit in the car. Then we thought it might be better to but him in his stroller. Again he would be sitting upright, he could sleep and no one need risk their life driving about in a near-comatose state. Except...where were the car keys? Twenty minutes of increasingly frustrated storming about. I was standing holding Tricky who was screaming for his father and furious with me for keeping him from him. He let out a roar and suddenly sank his teeth into my shoulder. It was so painful and so obviously deliberate that I burst into tears. Finally the keys were found. In the car ignition. It was raining when we got back from the doctor's and we had sat in the car for several minutes before venturing in. As C dragged the stroller in and up the stairs at 1.30 in the morning, I was thankful that the rest of the family, Naughty Nephews and parents, were still away on holidays.

The rest of the night was a combination of stroller, holding Tricky upright on the couch, and lying in the tent. C and I took turns, having a couple of hours sleep before taking over from the other. It was the longest night of our parenting life. It was the sort of night where, in the morning, you say to your partner: Good Work, which means thankyou and I love you so much and look how much better he seems this morning and how the fuck will we get through another of those?

Tricky's been on antibiotics for nearly 24 hours now and I hope they really are as quick as Dr Jabs suggested they would be. In between the Dr visits, we've been dosing Tricky up on baby Panadol and some ghastly blue syrup that's meant to reduce his snot. These, and the antibiotics, are forced into his mouth using a variety of droppers. I've also been using saline drops and a thing I call a snot sucker to try and lighten the load. Every time we try and do this he cries miserably. It's horrible and it makes me feel horrible to see him this way. I keep thinking about that film Truly Madly Deeply where Alan Rickman's character Jamie is a ghost and died because of strep throat. "If only he'd had a wee suck of a Strepsil"... one of the other characters observes mornfully.

At some point during the night, as I was walking Tricky about the room, or perhaps crawling into his cowboy tent with him wailing in my ear, or just holding him, my precious beautiful baby, and stroking him and listening to him breathe, I remembered the 2WW thing again.

It's very hard not to feel like the universe is telling me something.


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Stranger Than Fiction

Squirty Up The Clacker Day dawned bright and early.

The House Of Groovy Love informed me late on Monday afternoon that I was scheduled for 8.45am which sucked for two reasons; firstly the Chinese Fertility Goddess wouldn't be open before 9.30 and I was hoping for a pre-transfer pinning and secondly Tricky wasn't due to start childcare till 8.30.

Luckily for us Tricky's carer was happy to take him half an hour early but the acupuncture would be post transfer only. This is apparently the one that actually matters and I had that session with the CFG the day before, but I am a Cancerian Creature Of Habit and since that was the routine last time which ended up in Tricky...well.... what can I say?

It was wierd beyond belief being back in the stirrups. Things felt, well...abnormal.

It had started with the strange Alice In Wonderland like rabbit hole that passed as a parking station, just opposite the House Of Groovy Love. Having squeezed into the bowels of the place we got into a lift fully expecting it to take us up to the street we had just driven off. Instead we found ourselves on the street behind. It took us at least a full minute of staring about before we realised which way we needed to walk.

Dr Lovely Accent was all smiles and warm hands, the fertility sisters were all caring words and pop your undies in your pockets and the embryologist had the most enormous eyelashes I have ever seen outside of a drag queen, but even so it all felt odd and discombobulating.

Last time our whole world revolved around what went in and out my lala.

Normality was spending every waking hour of every day devoted to mindful babymaking. We were on strict strict diets, both of us, no alcohol, coffee, sugar, fats, chilli... we drank Horrid Teas and we had regular acupuncture. This time, it seemed to have caught us up unawares. Somewhere in between the work and the child and the broken sleep I made some phone calls, had some blood tests, dated the Dildo-Cam and now we were about to have this tiny cluster of cells, like a soccer ball, the embryologist explained, her enormous eyelashes fanning the air as she spoke, inserted into the jam sandwich that was my uterus. She was telling me all about percentages of intactness and compressions and outer shells but all I could think about was what mascara she used.

And anyway, the good news is, said Dr Lovely Accent, no doubt clocking my bunny in the headlights stare, the embryo survived.

C and I nodded and smiled and followed him into the room, whispering to ourselves as we did.

Are you feeling alright? Dr Lovely Accent asked and I said yes, yes...but see this feels so wierd...and I tried to explain the strange non-normality of it all. He laughed and offered to give me a few more bloodtests if it would help. I climbed up onto the little seat and scooted into position, C sat beside me. The embryologist showed us our progeny up on the big screen and I felt my eyes prickle with tears. And that felt wierd too.

And then in went the speculum (thankfully not the plastic variety) and in popped Dildo-Cam for a bit of a look see, and a great wash of emotion swirled in my guts. Oh yes, my body was saying, it's this again, this having to be poked and have things stuck up you and swished about just so that you can have a chance at pregnancy. I was aware of what was happening but I was also aware of the pain I felt, not just for me, a general amorphous pain of infertility; why does this have to happen? The embryologist brought over the catheter and syringe with its tiny cargo awash in a saline sea. I reached out for C's hand. It seemed important that there was at least some sort of physical connection with my husband taking place while our last chance embryo was squirted up my clacker.

At that point C, nervous, also feeling the wierdness of the situation, said Is it good for you darling? and I began to laugh. It was one of those high pitched hysterical giggles heee heee heee... not advisable when one has a tube through the cervix. Dr Lovely Accent paused considerately to let me stop. I mustered all my strength, thought Stern Thoughts and managed to both repress the giggles and relax. I guess that means it must have been said Dr Lovely Accent suddenly and I laughed again.

I'm so sorry said C, it just popped out.

But maybe that laugh at the end was good, a quick Dildo-Cam check confirmed that the embryo was in a great position and we were good to go.

Except, unexpectedly, as we were leaving I thought I saw Dr Lovely Accent nick past us in sneakers and a pair of green satin running shorts. Surely not, said C, but as we stepped out of the House Of Groovy Love, sure enough, there was Dr Lovely Accent, shorts and all, not jogging exactly but certainly walking very fast as one might do if one was about to jog after one finished one's mobile phone call.

Within an hour we were back with the Chinese Fertility Goddess. Scarily there were at least four women waiting to go ahead of me, all lined up on the stairs. Eventually they moved themselves up into the acupuncture rooms. The CFG herself was in a consulting room with another patient. She had told me to knock on the door when I arrived but I didn't think that felt right. Instead I sat on a chair outside the office and waited. And waited. Finally I knocked on the door, apologetically. The CFG leapt up when she saw me, bustled me into a room, stuck me with pins and wrapped me in a blanket.

An hour later when I came out, there was a woman sitting in the chair outside my room and she was reading my book. I goggled at her and she waved it at me. It's great, she said. Congratulations. And good luck. Thanks I said smoothly, as if I was entirely used to seeing strangers reading my book in the corridor outside my acupuncture room, good luck to you too.

Twenty four hours, two cups of Horrid Tea, one pessary and a handful of forbidden chocolate later, I feel vaguely hopeful, generally apprehensive, reasonably worried and slightly excited.

Completely normal, I expect.

Monday, April 14, 2008

I just can't see it making the home reader list

As I write this I am sipping at a mug of "tea" which is simultaneously disgusting and soothing. It tastes like the black scum that gathers in the tiles under the shower screen, with a nice little lemony aftertaste.

Earlier this evening C and I prepared a hearty and warming soup for dinner. This entailed lots of ginger, lots of garlic and an organic chicken with its arse packed full of "herbs". These herbs looked like a selection of half dried berries, some form of dessicated peel, some twig type vegetation, a large turd and the ubquitous shavings of old foam surfboard.

These two incidents are indeed related.

Me, and the Chinese Fertility Goddess are on again.

This morning, after a brief spate of school girl like giggling on both sides, it was as if no time at all had passed since my last visit. Except it had of course, I had a beautiful toddler to prove it and then there was the...

Your book! You wrote a book!

Yes, I said, I did. Um...have you seen it?

I got your book! I bought it! Not finish reading it yet. My daughter reads it, she loves it, she laughs, says you are such a funny lady.

Mmm, yes, I said. Thankyou.

And, the Chinese Fertility Goddess giggled again, so many women come in to see me and they have your book! And they say...this Chinese Fertility Goddess, I think this might be you!

And it is, I say.

We laugh about this and she hugs me and I show her a picture of Tricky I have bought specially for her and also the copy of the book that I will sign for her. I tell her about living in The Country last year and the new tv writing gig and I refrain from asking her how many celebrities she's knocked up since I was there last.

She rushes me into the acupuncture room, so many needles, so little time.

I'm glad your daughter is enjoying the book, I say.

Yes yes, the Chinese Fertility Goddess pauses to wrap a blanket carefully around my legs.
My daughter is seven. You think it's ok for her to read?


I rack my brains to recall all the completely inappropriate bits for seven year olds. Several immediately come to mind.

There's a little bit of swearing, I say.

She looks at me... there's sex isn't there?

Yyyyes, I say...but I guess she knows what it is you do...?

The CFG nods and waves this aside and briskly finishes tucking me in. You rest now, sleep. Later make chicken soup with my soup herbs, drink H tea. Tomorrow, after transfer, you come back, come straight upstairs, I do acupuncture then you go home. And for two weeks, you rest. No cleaning. None. Leave it. Tell C I say: You Are Not To Clean.

Ok, I shrug.

And with that she bustles out the door. And I smile.

It's good to be back.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

All Being Well: Lots More Prodding

News Flash to braindead parents at Daylight Savings changeover….feeding your child an hour earlier (ie at their pre-DS eating time) ACTUALLY WORKS.

Tricky was a dream, nay a cherub, nay a fully fledged angel of the lord with floaty frock and feathers. Having been a screaming, back arching, food throwing monster of the deep the day before, he was suddenly a miniature Noel Coward, all witty repartee and delightful table manners. The booster seat is at the ready but we’re holding off for the moment.

My youngest sister K is pregnant. Almost 12 weeks in fact. She was one of those I’m going off the pill now, whoopsie! women. She would be one of those women I couldn’t help hating except that she’s my baby sister and she also spent most of this trimester with her head in a bucket. She told us, her family, when she was about three weeks and when I started to speak all that All Being Well stuff she hushed me and said: I started saying that but now I’ve stopped because I believe it will all be well and I want to just enjoy the pregnancy.

I was stunned at her blind optimism but also jealous and then also kind of proud of her attitude, because, why shouldn’t a healthy young woman believe that her pregnancy will end happily? Isn’t that one of the things IF steals from you? Faith? Optimism? Belief in a happy ending?

I hushed up and instead packed a bag of books for her. I’ve got a great one that AJ sent me about Spiritual Midwifery, I told her and also a couple of books about nutrition in pregnancy. Yes, yes, she said, bring all that. But what I really need is a book of baby names.

I hugged her.

Other news: The House Of Groovy Love rang to let me know that All Being Well, the transfer will happen on Tuesday! This Tuesday! As in the 15th!! Because my girly insides are giddy and impatient like unbroken colts before Almanzo Wilder lays his strong experienced hands upon them and have thusly jumped the estrogen fence. Big Fatty Dominant Follicle had grown to the size of a small helicopter by the last date with the Dildo-Cam which sort of hinted gently that the surge was in sight.

My Whockety! It all seems to have crept up so soon. I have rung and made an appointment to see the Chinese Fertility Goddess on Monday for acupuncture, which will be weird because I haven’t seen her since my last transfer over two years ago. I didn’t even send her one of those thankyou cards with a picture of my baby on it because…well I don’t know, it was all too much, the whole sending out pictures with my baby on it. I was so sore I could barely sit down for weeks and so constipated the last thing on my mind was a little letter writing so of course now I’m stricken with worry that she’ll think I’m rude and obnoxious and don’t deserve to have a second baby. In the highly unlikely event that she will actually be as lovely and sweet and as positive as I remember her being, I shall also see her on Squirty Up The Clacker Day for post transfer needles.

Tonight, I start on those silver bullets of waxy progesterone goodness: the pessaries. They’re small, they’re handmade, they’re individually wrapped in silver paper and stored in a lovely old fashioned dark glass jar. I could only love them more if they were tiny dark chocolate truffles but then I wouldn’t be sliding them up my hoohah and waving my legs in the air for an hour.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Everyone's a critic

Tricky is having some whopping great dinner tanties of late.

Last night for instance. We had the whole screaming, arching, fling your bowl off the highchair extravaganza.

When I took him out of the high chair to attempt to calm him down he shouted angrily that he wanted to sit in the big chair, which meant on my lap perched on a stool, and plucking small pieces of food from my plate. Some of these were hot! and so I had to blow on them first.

When I tried to slide him back into the high chair there was more screaming arching flinging, mix and repeat ad nauseum or until Mummy's small intestine dives up through her throat and hogties her windpipe in a mercy killing attempt.

We think it's the daylight savings; dinner is effectively an hour later and he's never been good at waiting for food. C's the same when his blood sugar levels drop, except he doesn't demand to sit on my lap (now if it it had been in our courting days...) and of course there's the three day a week childcare business and his resulting desparate need for attention, and almost definitely just our crap parenting style in general.

It's not going down well with my early morning dashes across the city to get bled and dildocammed in our attempts to defrost the last of the famous five. This morning I was back again, for both delights, only this time the capricious Sydney traffic decreed I should be ten minutes early and actually have time to mooch about on the street and wish I'd remembered to bring my latest literary adventure "The Long Winter" (Laura Ingalls, also doing battle with various frozen items, such as the livestock, the water pump and her hoity toity blind sister Mary).

So tonight we're dining early, ala pensioner hour, and hopefully food will actually make its
proper journey down his gullet, instead of across the floor.

And I won't be following through on those muttered threats last night to send him back to the freezer he came from.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Reuniting Cause It Feels Soooo Gooooood

Dear Dildo-Cam!

Well hello!
Look at you!
No you!
You with your tight fitting condom cover and your Helpful Assistant with her tousled hair and tra la la accent.
You with your big screen and your floral modesty sheets!

You know when I turned up to see you today, I didn’t know really what to expect. It’s been over two years, two long years, since our last encounter. This being my first day back on the job so to speak I wanted to make a good impression, but then, people in hell want iced water.

Last night I lay tossing and turning, worrying myself sick over the best and most direct route to the House Of Groovy Love.

I’m not a great driver Dildo-Cam, I’m a very average navigator and I’m a worse parker. Put these three things together and you may as well just call me shithouse, but I console myself with my myriad of other skills. Recalling obscure songs from my childhood for instance. Not too many people can pluck the university song of their visiting American third grade teacher off the top of their heads, yet nearly everyone can execute a reverse park, even if it is on the other side of the road on a one way street and it’s raining. Yet sadly it’s this second, more common, skill that seems to hold so much more value in our car crazy society.

But I digress! It was 40 minutes into my early morning 15 minute journey and I had only managed to park the car! I ran, breathless into the lifts, forgetting of course which floor I needed, only to realize that a lift full of women with anxious faces at 7 in the morning was only ever going to get out at one floor.

The newly spacious and smartened up House Of Groovy Love has many changes!

Instead of the typical “waiting room” configuration of chairs, to cushion the butts of we the infertile, and direct our anxious gazes at anywhere else but each other’s faces, there is now a multiple “circle the wagons” type approach. This makes avoiding eye contact that much more difficult but cherry picking magazines a breeze.

Some things stay the same!

I forgot that when you arrive at the House Of Groovy Love, the very first thing to do, before saying hi to the door bitch or taking off your coat or picking your wagon is to Write Down Your Name and then tick Bloods U/S or BOTH.

Hovering, even digging in your bag for a pen, is enough time for someone else to nip in and scribble down their name before yours and then opening your mouth to take a breath and say “whoa now, missy, settle back there,” means five more folk with firmly pressed lips and biros outstretched will duck in under your elbow and scribble their names down and suddenly a three minute bloodletting stretches out to a twenty minute wait and a close reading of why a minimally decorated room should be painted with eggshell or weak weak latte rather than white. (Makes it look like a gallery).

However, this didn’t happen to me because this is my Second Time Around and so, despite a momentary lapse of brain, I was one of the loathsome nippers. Yes, me, who drove around and around the Sydney cbd and its teeth grindingly hideous one way streets like a lumbering half blind elephant was suddenly Penelope Pitstop at the front desk.

Blood test? Jolly! I remember that big pillow they give you to cuddle, and the garish arm bands! I remember the tiny prick and the bit of cotton wool that gets taped to your arm, effectively in my case, hopelessly ineffective in the girl after me who was awash with blood by the time we caught up in the Ultrasound Lounge!

Your Helpful Assistant demurely ducked out of the room saying she’d “leave me to change” and I had to call her back because I had forgotten what to take off.
Completely blank! Nerves, or what!

She suggested… Undies! Yes, and trousers too, and then I was able to remember Shoes all by myself, but was that all? Strange, when I think back to that moment I didn’t have a lot more to remove, my top, but no bra because I didn’t want to disturb Tricky by scavenging around the bedroom, and a poncho.

Perhaps subconsciously I just wanted to wear the poncho for our reunion. Helpful Assistant kindly set me straight. She offered me the chance to handle you myself Dildo-Cam, but this made me laugh merrily and so she shoved you in herself and told me to concentrate on my breathing.

And very soon I was able to see my ovaries again! Unpredictable, unreliable funny old things that they are! One had a Big Fat follicle and two smaller hangers on! The other had five miniscule useless excuses for follicles! Oh the joys of seeing things in your body that no one should ever need to see! And all due to you Dildo-Cam. You!

A few hours later, Butterfly from the House Of Groovy Love rang to tell me that Dr Lovely Accent had decreed another blood test on the morrow. Perhaps due to global warming I seem to be a little high on the estrogen. Big Fatty in the left ovary has some ‘splainin’ to do.

Anyway. After the stressful night, drive, park and dash, I must say that the chance to lie down and put my feet up while you popped on the Barry White and we got reacquainted was probably the most pleasant part of the journey so far. If only he had that album of childhood melodies down...

Minnesota, hats off to thee….

Let’s hope it continues that way hey?

Love, in a platonic fashion


Monday, April 07, 2008

Mother's Day

Friday the 4th of April was the anniversary of my mother's death.

14 years ago.
The year I left my then husband. The year I met my now husband.
A lifetime ago.

In previous years I have marked the occasion with a special dinner with my sisters, or an hour meditating under a tree in the botanic gardens. This year I chose to do something different and had a huge fight with C because he stayed out til 3 in the morning the night before celebrating a co-worker's award.

While C slunk off back to bed with his hangover, I took our child to the museum (his first time) and looked at dinosaurs. Then I decided to join the museum which meant my entry fee was refunded. At first I asked for just a Single membership but when they took me to the membership office, none of the right people were about so I was asked to drop in later.

And if you don't get the time to do that, said the friendly staff member, just think of this as a free trip to the museum. It seemed a very nice and generous thing to do which made me feel a teeny bit better about the way the day had gone.

This also gave me time to reflect a little, and to play magnetic fishing with Tricky in the Under-Fives section, and peruse many tiny thin bones and skeletons in the over fives section. I was able to send sad text messages to my sisters re the day, and a slightly terse text message to C re the day (I knew he had forgotten).

Before going home I went back to the membership office. And when they asked me what sort of membership I thought that C would love to come back to the museum with both of us and so I said Family. Which meant I must have forgiven him, somewhere between the fossilized shells and the green tea in the cafe.

They took my details and siphoned off my credit card and gave Tricky a plastic T-Rex head, featuring a mouth that opens to reveal many many teeth, on a sort of handle thing.

Sadly he was unable to operate it but he was able to hold up the head and nibble thoughtfully at the brows.

It was that sort of day.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Third Week. Day Two.

Yesterday, it was C's turn to take Tricky in to homecare while I walked the Naughty Nephews over to their school. When I met C in the laneway outside the carer's house he was wiping the tears from under his sunglasses.

We scurried away together, feeling awful; he looked at me with a pleading look, C said in a trembling voice. I knew what he meant. It was the third week of pleading looks and accusing stares and screaming tomato and while the first week was ok, the second week (while C was away) had been, well, trying.

He stops pretty quickly, I assured him. If we'd waited at the gate we would have heard.

We got in the car, both feeling odd, as if we were fourteen again and truanting school or something.

We were scurrying because we were going to see a play at the Opera House, a play that started at 10 am. It was about two kids and a baby whose mother leaves them in their car at a supermarket carpark. At the end of the play I turned to the director who had invited us and grabbed her hand. That was amazing I said. At least that was what I meant to say. Instead I said That was ammmaaaahooooaa and bawled my eyes out. She hugged me. I think she thought that was quite a good review. Even for me, it was fairly impressive weeping.

Later C and I continued the wierd truanting feeling by having lunch together at a cafe where prams would be difficult and baked beans and banana bread were absent from the menu. It was an odd sensation, liberating yet missing something. He'll be having his hot lunch now, we said to each other over the chilli linguini. And later...I bet he's having his nap now.

At home I dug through the papers that had lain untouched for the past 28 days. I rang the phone number and a friendly voice chimed at the other end... House Of Groovy Love (not the clinic's actual name) Rainbow speaking (not the fertility sister's actual name), how can I help you?

Hi I said. It's day 2 and I want to activate my Frozen Embryo Cycle.

Okay, she said happily. Then you'll be coming in next tuesday for your blood test and ultra sound. I felt slightly dizzy writing these words into my diary.

What day will the transfer happen, I said...just, you know, if All Goes Well and it actually does happen.

Ah, she said. Probably on the following Friday.

I wrote this in too. The wierd feelings continued.

That play today, I said to C as I sipped at my decaf. I had a pretty strong reaction to it. I mean I thought it was good but, you know, it's been a long time since I did that in a theatre.

It's because we're parents, he said.

Friday. April 18th.

If All Goes Well.