Saturday, May 27, 2006

The moral of today's story ...

I must be some kind of masochist or something. Today, I did a very stupid thing.

A week ago today, my next door neighbour had a baby boy. They came home on Wednesday and I haven't actually been to visit them yet. One reason is the fact that I'm kind of avoiding it a little, but the other significant reason is that I haven't had a gift to take when I do. A few weks ago I saw the perfect pressie, but my SIL persuaded me that it was too expensive and I could make it myself.

Now, as a particularly arty, crafty and generally creative individual, I agreed and decided that I would. The gift that I had seen was a soft-toy snake which wrapped in a coil (for attaching to the handle of a pram) which had been wrapped like a bunch of flowers, with an assortment of brightly coloured socks, vests and washers tightly coiled like little roses inside. Gorgeous. And not too difficult you might be inclined to imagine. If you can find the right snake.

On describing said gift idea to my sister, she decided that the best place to find this toy would be in the BabyZone store on the other side of town (not that far - we live in a small town). Great idea, I thought. No worries about parking stations or fees and a lot less crowded.

A lot less crowded with normal people, sure, but absolutely filled to the brim with every pregnant woman in town. Excitedly investigating row upon row of cribs, prams, activity centres, toys, blankets, baths, change tables and every fucking thing else related to baby were rounded women in pink rubbing their smug bellies. (PLease remind me NOT to wear head to toe pink once I become pregnant!!). Beside them were adoring husbands, gigling girlfriends or patient mothers.

And then there was me.

The only single and non-pregnant woman in the place.

I decided the best course of action would be to continue with my quest for the perfect toy snake, buy and get out as quickly as I could. I went to the appropriate aisle which was, of course, filled with young children squeezing, prodding, laughing and playing. I stepped over them and around them and could not find anything even remotely like what I was looking for. And my eyes started to get very, very hot.

A small child held onto my leg, possibly assuming I was it's mother. Big sister quickly pulled her away, but it was enough. Enough to bring every feeling I have been having over the past few months flooding back. Suddenly the store felt incredibly and overwhelmingly small and I knew I just had to get the fuck out of there. Now!

Once out of the store, I angrily stomped back to my car, wiping away stupid tears wondering what on earth had made me think I could actually go into a store like that in my current emotional state. Who did I think I was? WonderWoman? What right did I have to even be in there in the first place?

I cursed my sister and drove to the closest large shopping centre, went to the filled-with-normal-people K-Mart and found close to everything I needed there. I went home and carefully rolled every small thing I had purchased into a bumpy little rose. The gift now looks beautiful and my normal, calm state of denial has returned. I can easily pretend I'm fine in my normal life, surrounded by non-baby things and activities. But out of that - way too hard!

So the message here for all is:

Woman with infertility must never enter baby-obsessed one-stop shop.

Or have next neighbours giving birth.

Really, it's all just asking for trouble!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Once Upon a Time ...

Once upon a time there was a boy and a girl who loved each other very much. They met through the auspices of a fated plastic bag and each knew that the other was the one with whom they wanted to spend the rest of forever. It was all in the knot, you see.

One day, the boy decided that he would get down on bended knee for the girl. He opened his mouth to speak but no words came out and all he could do was show her the sparkling glitter of Hope in his hand. The girl had been waiting for this moment and she joyfully accepted his Hope and held it tight. The boy was rightfully relieved and they went to find others to share the good news.

On the big day, the first of forever, the boy and the girl proclaimed their love and wrapped each other in a spell of promise. Their promise was shared with all who loved them and they wished that soon the girl would swell and grow and their world would be filled with light and laughter and sleepless nights and tears.

Soon after this time, they began the journey which they thought would lead to their heirs. They fell into each others arms with abandon and felt certain that the seed would fall into fertile soil and be nourished and grow to perfection. At first, the joy of each attempt seemed the purpose in itself. The future consequence merely a bonus.

But after several months, the joy was not so spontaneous and they looked at each other with puzzled frowns. The girl, who loved to read, began a reading of a different kind. One filled with technique and science and lifestyle and tests. She began to wonder if they were designed to fail and that their full lives before they met meant that time now was short.

She shared her fears with the boy and they both began to study hard to pass the tests they were to endure. Anything for my love, they knew, but they failed the first test and the boy's strength could make no difference to the result. They realised that they were never going to obtain the joy they desired if things stayed the way they were.

The girl decided it was all her fault (as she had been the one who failed the biggest test) and did everything in her power to study harder for next time. She sought to remove all obstacles within and without and threw herself in front of the piercing arrows every time.

But the scars were long to heal and her heart began to ache. What if all of our fight has been in vain? She didn't know what else she could do and this time, kept her fears from the boy. She treasured the heartprints he had left on the doorpost of her heart and she did not want to harm him. He held her hand tightly, but he did not know how far she had jumped. Her landing had been a harsh one. It had jolted her out of the naivety of Hope and she wished so much for the boy to retain his. She needed it from him to keep her focused on the quest.

After a while, however, he began to see that she was in fact jumping, preparing herself for the steeplechase which she knew was ahead. The boy had thought that it would never need to come to that. The girl had wished that too, but she knew now that he was wrong. With their last failed, cold, wet step, they realised they had reached the end of this path. They turned to each other and the girl was pained to see the cold diamonds of understanding glittering in the boy's eyes.

He now saw the steeplechase set out before them and knew that the girl needed to undertake this quest alone. In the Hope dreams enclosing around them, he knew it could only be her. Strewn along the path were sharp points and wavering Hopes. Bottomless pits and lakes to drown in. Doors on either side hid unknown demons and all he could do was scream from the sidelines.

And she was afraid.

Afraid of the sharp points and demons, the lakes and doors. But, most of all, she was afraid of the Hope. The cruelest challenge of all was hidden inside that Hope. And a plastic bag dream might not be enough.

The girl looked at the boy, resolve infused in every cell of her being. She held his hands. It's time. He nodded slowly, not willing to let her go, but knew why he must. As her fingers slipped from his, he looked away. He did not want to see her fall at the first jump. But he heard the steady pound of her feet and he knew she had been practicing for some time. She called out and he looked up - she had made it! He released the breath he had been holding for months.

The girl remained focused on the path. She did not look up - she could not even look at the boy. She could only concentate on the next hurdle and at each one she imagined the consequence of failure. It was not an option she could even have nighmares about and she sailed over each hurdle, avoided each obstacle and refused to look into any of the open doors.

Along the way, she found her rhythm. It was hard, but she could do it. The armour that she had prepared had been strong and the training had allowed her to anticipate every step. In the distance, she saw the end of the path. As it came closer, she saw the boy, wildly cheering her on. Hope was there too but she knew she couldn't face her yet. Too soon. Too frightening.

As she reached the end she collapsed into the boys strong arms. She was weak and her body had little reserves for her draw upon to assist him as he carried her home. I'm so proud of you, he smiled as his tears fell into hers. They held hands quiely as they awaited their verdict. They had left Hope at the doorstep, and there she waited with Tomorrow.

On the day of awareness, Hope kocked quietly at their door. Her answer warmed their hearts and their night was filled with joy and bubbles. They had passed this test and the boy could not help but be awed by all that the girl had done to secure their happiness. He floated high above them and turned cartwheels in the air. He wanted to sing to the world but the girl knew better. Quiet, for now.

Fear had now crept into her heart and she trusted him even less than Hope.

Her body knew that she had passed the test ... and she certainly knew that she had worked hard for it, but something about Fear's presence cautioned her. Hope was also busy holding hands with the boy and she felt uneasy about going out and hoping all on her own. She did not want to restrain the boy, but she warned him. There are still more tests to face and hurdles to jump. Please be careful with Hope.

The day of the next test arrived. Whilst still looking for Hope, who seemed to have disappeared that morning, she noticed that Fear had come along for the journey. He stood paitently to the side, but she soon noticed that he had been joined by Sorrow. She knew then that they were waiting for her and she stood at the starting line with her head bowed. If I don't look at them, maybe they won't be there, she thought. But she knew such a thought was futile. Just before she began, she stood tall and stared them confidently in the eye.

I'm ready, she said.

And she failed.

Fear and Sorrow moved in to embrace her, but the boy pushed them away. He held her as she lay crumpled on the ground and gently helped her to her feet. She looked back along the path which she had successfully navigated and realised that she was stronger than she had known. She remembered the pain and hardship, and then remembered also that she could. She looked once more at the boy. She knew they had failed this time, but she knew that she could do it again. She knew the path. She had memorised some of the trickier challenges. She knew now where she would stumble. And she had the boy.

Through the tears, she smiled up at the boy. When I get my strength back, I want to try it again. I know I can do it and I want to give you my promise. He brushed her hair out of her eyes and he held her face. He smiled back at her. I love you.

And she saw Hope smiling down over his shoulder.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


With the coming of the cold weather, I have been lucky enough to bring all of my winter clothes down from where they have been folded in the top of my wardrobe since September last year. I love winter dressing. Layers and scarves and boots and leather. I love the colours and textures of winter and I always look forward to this time of year.

This year, however, it's a different story entirely. To my absolute horror, nothing fits! Everything is just on the wrong side of snug and I am very grateful for the longer coats I am able to wear to cover up my enlarged behind. I've never been so full in my life. I'm not normally one to complain (or even think about) my weight as a rule, but the past few months of injections, bloating, pregnancy, wild hormones and the lack of exercise that that has accompanied all of that has lead to this growth in my girth. And I don't like it.

The couch-dwelling tribute to misery that has been me has developed a more grounded position on this blue-green planet. And now that it's cold and dark, I will have so many excuses to use to get out of any activity before and after work. I guess I can have comfort in the fact that my office is on the 3rd floor in a building nowhere near anything other than a whole bunch of classrooms, forcing me to leave the building if I need to go to the admin areas, to see my staff, to meet with my supervisors, to go to the library ... anything really. For the most part, I actually hate it that my office is so far away. The building is completely empty during lunchtimes and working back after school can sometimes be a little frightening when it's dark. But, I suppose my little bit of fitness will be able to thank me for it. And there's yoga, but even that has been in tha background a little lately.

I don't think I really thought about the impacts that IVF would have on my body. I thought I did, but clearly had no idea. I have always been prone to bloating before my period and I think I thought it would be something a little like that. Haha! Amplified by 500 and we're getting a little closer. And the few weeks of pregnancy tipped it over the edge. Having never experienced that before, I did not at all comprehend the ways in which the hormones would affect every part of me. My mind, my emotions, my energy, my breasts, my bladder, my hair, my whole body. And then gone, but the hormones still partying on right until the end. The guests who wouldn't leave, even though the lights have been turned on and there are no more drinks being served any more.

A cruel reminder of what was.

But, it's my birthday tomorrow. Even though AdventureBoy won't be home tomorrow night. He's going to the football with my Dad (a big game that he has managed to get free tickets for). I actually told him it was OK to go as I knew he was so excited about the opportunity and I love it that he and my father get on so well. He truly is the son that my Dad never had. Until tonight, it was OK. And it's still OK ... but I really wish he wasn't going now.

My wonderful, bisexual, vegetarian, artist friend, Fifi, is coming over to cook me dinner. He has always been there for me (and I for him) for a big part of our lives. He looked at my garden on Sunday to get an idea of the menu for the evening. He is so excited to be cooking for someone as he lives alone and has just broken up with his most recent boyfriend. I'll have my nephew as well because my sister is presenting at a conference, so it will kind of feel like family. Just not the same. Not AdventureBoy and I will miss him.

And now I've got to just stop feeling sorry for my self and go to bed! Things could be worse (platitude, platitude!) and I AM grateful for all of the good things I have in my life (there's just one little thing missing).

Sweet dreams ... star dreaming ... twinkle little moonbeam ... goodnight ...

Thank You

Monday, May 22, 2006

Cobwebs in my Mind

I sometimes wonder how I feel about the fact that no-one actually reads any of this stuff that I write here. At times, I wish I had at least somebody to make their comments, tell me I'm normal, give me advice. But really, I know that I get so much out of it anyway. I have always journalled since I got my first diary as a gift for my 7th birthday. It had Snoopy on the front and tiny little key so that I could lock it. I hid it from my two younger sisters (and my mother of course) and wrote in it every single night until it ran out. I still have this diary and every couple of years I get it out and giggle at my naive and curious 7-year-old self. I was actually rather poetic at times - I'll find it again and quote some bits from it. Kinda cute really.

It was written at a time soon after the cobwebs mentioned in my profile comment. When I was five, I told my teacher that sometimes it felt like I had cobwebs in my mind. She laughed at me and told me that maybe I was just thinking about too many things and I should go outside and play with the other kids. I was fairly deflated after this and tried to remember all of the things I had been thinking about that would make cobwebs. I didn't mention it again to anyone else until I was in Year 3 and I wrote a poem and called it 'The Cobwebs in my Mind'. It was for display at our school open day and I proudly took my parents to show them my classroom. As soon as we walked in, my teacher sent me to talk with some other children while she spoke with my parents.

After a while, they were laughing, and she took them over to my poem. "Here it is", she laughed. "Cobwebs". My parents laughed with her and I vaguely heard their words through the sound of my pounding heartbeats, floating and snagging in those very same cobwebs. "Too curious" ... "questions everything" ... "daydreamer" ... "knows too much" ... "what would she know about cobwebs?"

I was crushed. Each comment and smirk tore through the cobwebs, the slivers like glass penetrating through my veins and down to my heart. I turned away and left the room, the tears stinging my proud eyes. I knew exactly what I meant by cobwebs and I still feel them there to this day. The first web was spun when I was too young to say no and continued to be spun until I said no more. But that's another story. Many more have gathered dust in the unlit corners and dark recesses of my privacy. Infertility is just another one and the owner of that web has been carefully repairing every hole and false hope to almost perfection with each passing month.

When we left the school, they asked, what do you mean by the cobwebs? The jokes and laughs at my expense had cautioned me well. Oh, nothing, I just thought it sounded good. They laughed again, perhaps relieved that they didn't have to delve. Well you know, nobody has cobwebs in their mind darling.

Yes, I know.

So, when I think about the fact that I am writing this all alone and to help clear (or at least acknowledge) my cobwebs, I am OK with that. I have always written for myself and this is just another version of that. But it is more than just catharsis ... it is my record. My artefact. Just like my previous journals
have always been. I do miss the lovely bound covers and the feel of the pen on beautiful paper. Maybe I'll keep them up as well (although at the moment, I'm loving this medium). The only downfall is that I can't draw on these pages too. I'll have to see what I can do.

Friday, May 19, 2006


May is the biggest month for birthdays for us. This week was AdventureBoy's and next week is mine. Hi step-mother's was the week before too and one of my very close friends is the week after mine. Normally this would be such a busy and fun time of the year for us. Lots of social events to look forward to and good wine to be drunk. But this year, all it does is remind me that another year has passed and I am no closer to the goal we set out to achieve 2 years ago.

It was just after AB's 40th. We waited until I had my 36th so we didn't have the hurdles of worrying about not drinking and naively thought I'd be pregnant by July. I even thought I wouldn't be able to go skiing that year. We had only been married in the December before and didn't start trying on our honeymoon as I didn't want to possibly be feeling sick and dealing with international travel! Right.

And next week I'll be 38. I've seen all the graphs and read all of the articles. This is when the big drop starts to happen. When IVF success rates decline and miscarriages increase. I never thought I'd still be here 2 years down the track, unwilling to even think about celebrating my birthday with either my family or my friends. This birthday just represents failure to me.

Right now, I have been unable to face many of my pre-IF friends, many who are either pregnant or have 1,2 or more. I find every moment with them or just talking to them painful. The sound of kids screaming in the background while on the phone, timing of dinners or other events revolved around the kids, and the constant reminder that none of this is mine.

Last Friday night was my MILs birthday also. The week before I had my D&C due to the 8week M/C (none of them knew anything of this). I could barely cope and it was all I could do to stop myself from crying all night, with 'Granny' calling all of her grandchildren to gather around for a photo and AB signing the card from us and our cat and 2 dogs (like they're the only ones we're ever going to have). I just sat there all night feeling more and more miserable, with no-one to add to the Granny photo and no-one to write their own messy name on the card. My SIL was talking of trying for #2, but commenting all the time that she wasn't even sure if she even wanted another one because it was so hard. And she had her career to think about. The other SIL has 3 beautiful sons, but constantly talks about the fact that she wished she could have at least had one girl.

I would be ecstatic with at least one of anything! AB and I had the biggest fight when we got home as he thought I was just being grumpy all night. And then it all came out. I have not cried so much since all of this began. I howled and howled and poor AB didn't know what he had started. But he finally understood my hurt and, more importantly, my fear of being childless forever. I am so ready right now and it's hard to keep having hope. It's a scary place that I don't even want to consider.

I think I'm over birthdays for this year.

Where did she go?

I am feeling a lot better today, but I have taken the day off anyway. I am still a little physically fragile but, more than anything, I am feeling incredibly emotionally fragile. I could cry with ease if you asked me to (or if you were just nice to me!) and I have lost all motivation or inclination to do anything. I have hermitted myself away from the world and I really just want to be alone with AdventureBoy. I am just now waiting for him to come home for lunch and I really, really want him to be here soon.

I have never been so dependant before in my whole life. My mother used to feel unwanted at my need to 'do it myself!' and when I started my first day of school at the tender age of 4 1/2 years old, I turned and waved to her tears and said "don't cry - you'll be alright without me".

And now I need someone like I've never needed them before. I don't need or want anyone else - I just need him. I kind of feel fairly pathetic about it really. The strong, capable, successful, intelligent woman that I was seems to have left home. Oh, and fit! She was fit and slim too. And now she is nowhere to be found. Poor AdventureBoy. I am sure he is struggling more than he lets on, wondering where the StellaNova he fell in love with and married has gone. She has been replaced with a couch-dweller who is quiet, tearful, lonely and obsessed. She has gained weight and lost any of the energy or vibrancy she once had.

We both miss her.

This is not meant to be a boastful memorial to the fabulous person I once was. I never even really saw or acknowledged that I was any of those things at the time. But, in hindsight, I can see what I have lost. I don't know where to start looking for her again, but I instinctively feel that I need to find her again if my relationship or my career are to survive.

AdventureBoy is home now. And I am so grateful.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


I'm just home from the surgery now, feeling a little dizzy and ready to sleep again (which I will do in just about 5 more minutes).

I was right and she was wrong. Silly grumpy cow.

Of course now I think that perhaps she could have been wrong about other things, but when Dr Challenge came to see me following the procedure, he reassured me that while she was wrong about the fibroid, he was absolutley certain that the pregnancy was definitely fated to end. He said, absolutely no fibroid in what he described as a 'pristine cavity'. Perfect he said. Ready. Especially since I only had the D&C 2 weeks ago. He even said he has a video to show me about it when I go in for my post-op visit next week.

I wonder if I should bring popcorn?

I feel so wonderfully relieved right now, but I think I just need to have a little nap ...

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Submarine ahoy!

So I haven't written for a while. Busy ... working ... moping. You know how it is.

And I'm back in for surgery tomorrow. Can't wait. I'll be having a hysteroscopy so that Dr Challenge can have a look at the fibroid that was spotted on the ill-fated ultrasound. If it really is projecting into the uterus he'll be scraping it off with some rather frightening looking instrument. Of course I trust Dr Challenge, but Dr Google has been telling me all about the horrible things which could happen and how horrible that even a straightforward version will be.

I'm hoping more than anything that the grumpy ultrasound operator just got it wrong and there is no fibroid protruding into my uterus. That it is in the wall of my uterus instead (or even just a figment of the sound waves' imagination). I just wish I was normal. That my body worked how it was supposed to and I was about 5 years younger. Of course, then I would be with the nymphomaniac ex-boyfriend inheriting herpes and genital warts and we really don't want to go back there again. It would be good if just my body but not my time was back there again.

I feel less than articulate tonight. I'm not scared, but sad about tomorrow. My thoughts are so scattered ... I wish it wasn't this way. I don't want more anaesthetic, no more painkillers, no more needles in my veins. I REALLY don't want my insides to be cut into again. But, more than anything, I want a baby.

It's AdventureBoy's birthday tomorrow. I have been so preoccupied I keep forgetting about it. I bought him a perfect card months ago, and tickets for Ben Harper tomorrow night, but I feel like I'm being a bad wife for not caring enough (and I'm worried that I might feel too crap to to actually go). He'll be 42 - and it doesn't matter for his fertility! I am so jealous of the fact that our bodies are designed to stop, to change, to be ravanged by the effects of hormones. Once they're out of puberty, guys have a pretty stable existence all round on that front.

He has all of his golf gear laid out on the table ready for his birthday game tomorrow morning. He doesn't want to wake me as they're teeing off at dawn. I think I'll go and write on his card now and leave it on his clothes.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Warning - long and soppy post ahead!

I went and saw Dr Challenge this afternoon. I have been having quite severe cramping since Saturday night and needed another day off work today due to the horrendous pain and dreadful sleep I had last night. There has actually been very little blood, but it feels like the worst period pain I get, as well as also being worse when either my bowel or bladder are full. Dr Challenge thinks I might have a mild infection and has put me on antibiotics for 5 days to clear anything up.

Just when I made my determined decision to get my life and health back into order. Lucky I made a new batch of yoghurt on Saturday - I'll need all of those acidophilisses and bifidises now! And, there's more. Because I clearly need to be absent from work as much as possible and can't really go a few weeks without some anaesthetic of some kind or another, I am going back in next Wednesday. Dr Challenge said"I would like to have a look at those fibroids that were mentioned on your ultrasound report."

Great. Even more detox on the cards. Even more reason to stay committed to this super health approach. Not that I have much choice I suppose. Unfortunately, the fibroids were the only things growing during this pregnancy. Dr Challenge said that the report said that one of the fibroids was identified as 'submucous', which are the ones that project into the uterine cavity and can impact on implantation or miscarriage. He's not sure that it will actually be there, but if it is he will remove it there and then and hopefully I will just heal quickly. He said he doesn't want to risk wasting a cycle and an embryo if that's going to be in the way.

Bummer though, it's AdventureBoy's birthday and we have tickets to go and see Ben Harper at our local entertainment centre. Oh well, don't mind me ... I'll just walk gingerly and fall alseep mid-show. General anaesthetic always makes me noddy for a day or two afterwards. I don't exactly know how I'm going to explain this one at work without telling someone the truth (or some version of the truth anyway).

I phoned my friend, Sweetie, this afternoon. She is one of my dearest friends who I have known for 14 years now. We actually work together, although we work in different departments and she only works part-time and we never get a chance to talk during the day, and usually catch up after school or during weekends. She always knows exactly the right things to say in any sitiation and always has the most sensitive approach to anything that might be difficult in any way. She is insightful, intuitive and I can't believe I didn't speak to her about any of this before now. Well, I can actually, but I'm really glad I did today.

Funny, but she knew anyway. I can't believe her intuition and compassion. She had noticed that I was away last week and when she found out I was again today she said: "is this about IVF?" I can't believe she could do that. Of course she has known that we have been trying without success but I have not said anything to her about it. We have been through so much with each other (including supporting each other through unfaithful husbands, sexually transmitted diseases, divorce and finding love again). Our 14 years together have created one of those bonds which do not have to be attended to every day to be strong. I am eternally grateful for her words and feelings today.

She also suffered a miscarriage before her first child (who is now almost 6) and, even though she had every right to say that she understood the feelings, she had the compassion to say, "but I can imagine it would be so much harder for you, after going through IVF to achieve it." And she even understood my complaints about Mrs Precious. Her comments, "well, I wouldn't know, but I don't think anyone could understand anyone else's infertility unless they've been there - I've heard that it's just as traumatic and stressful as those suffering from a terminal illness." Not that I could even dream of comparing myself to the life-threatening nature of terminal illness, but her words were full of a desire to understand.

You may wonder why I took so long to tell her? I have known all of these qualities for many years (which is why I have been her friend for so long). But she has her own issues to deal with and I didn't want to burden her with mine. And I just didn't feel like I wanted to tell anyone. She understood exactly why I hadn't and even added a few reasons of her own. She is a single mother of two very active and intelligent boys. Her ex-husband is a total dickhead and continues to provide her with grief even though they have been separated for 4 1/2 years. Her new (2 years now) boyfriend is an OK guy, but she knows he is not 'the one' and stays with him because "the boys love him and he helps me out". She is the youngest of 9 kids and there are numerous family issues going on at any one time.

So, after today, I love her even more. And I feel a strange kind of relief. I didn't want to tell my sister as her support and compassion would be too close. I speak to her several times a day and see her at least every second day. I certainly wouldn't tell Mrs Precious and my other friends would be wonderful, but live too far away or have other things going on. Sweetie would be there every day if I needed her, or once a month without prying if I didn't. She is close enough for me to visit but distant enough for me to withdraw. She is never overt in her concern, but pragmatic, realistic and sensitive. I am happy and feel warmed by her knowledge, if that makes sense?

And it takes some of the pressure off AdventureBoy who is just about to serve dinner that he has made. I know I am married to the most supportive and wonderful man for me. I know it's been hard for him too and he has done everything within his power to ease the burden for me. He doesn't always know the right thing to say and suffers my wrath at times ... and for still understanding and staying himself, I love him even more.

Sorry for a bit of a long and soppy post today. I don't know if it's hormones or lack of sleep, but I am feeling so touched by anyone who is showing me kindness at the moment.

And now, it's time for dinner.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Life ... and other thoughts

I thought I needed to write about something else for a change. I'm right now watching my favourite gardening program on tv. I actually don't watch too much tv - I'm usually far too busy! But today I have been coming to this major position of completely reevaluating the way I live my life. Perhaps not my home practices so much - I love my life at home. My garden, my cooking, my furry babies. My plans, my books, my broadband. My bath, my bed, my comfy couch. All of those things are good. Really, all it's just waiting for is the real babies.

The miaow is Siena and she will be 14 this year. She keeps the dogs under control - that's one of their mats she decided to sleep on and they won't go near hear as she rules the roost. If she wants the mat, she gets it! The big dog is Reuben and he's the baby and a big sook - only 2 years old - and Luna, she will be 4 this year. We love them desperately and AdventureBoy is absolutely committed to the dogs. Siena has been with me since I finished uni and even though she loves him when he feeds her, she's mine.

I think it's work more than anything. I put in so much effort to get to where I am and I'm not sure that I like it anymore. I'm the head of a middle school in a much bigger school and I love a lot of it, especially working with the kids and my staff. But there is little room for anything other than 200% commitment as a leader which, prior to infertility, was never a problem for me. And I was happy with it. AdventureBoy and I are both driven professionals and we encourage each other to achieve our best.

But now, with my focus very elsewhere, it's hard. I need information about what has been happening to me, as much as I can get, and I am reading, researching, ranting and assimilating. All of my spare time and mental energy is devoted to this pursuit and work is becoming more difficult and more of an imposition with each passing month. I'm not sure I actually have an answer to my dilemma. We cant' afford (and I wouldn't like it anyway) for me to stop working. I'm certainly not going to step down from my position. I guess I just need to work on ways of keeping it in balance.

And I want more time to complete my thesis. I love doing it but I never have time. I want to finish all of my research and preliminary writing by the end of this year. Then I can write, edit and submit sometime next year (depending on the success of my quest). Doesn't sound unreasonable ... I just have to work out how I can make it happen.

Well, I think that's it for tonight.

Yoghurt, Chocolate and Red Wine

I have just realised what a novice I am in the world of blogs. Over the past few days I have been devouring the blogs of others who have had similar experiences. I have been awed, I have been informed, I have been humbled and I have been hopeful. I am not always sure of the foundations for this hope as not all of the stories have the happy ending I crave. And even those who do achieve success don't always have it happy.

So what do I do?

Do I just keep blogging, hoping, wishing, working? I am thinking about cycle 2 ... after Saint Anne had told me it had worked the first time, I had started thinking that cycle 2 wouldn't be until I wanted child 2. I realise now how naive that assumption was. Cycle 2 could just be another one in the long line of many. (Of course, AdventureBoy thinks it will be the one which works).

But I think I have become stronger over the past few days. And certainly a whole lot more determined. I realised that I had become a little too complacent during the whole thing. Put so much faith and trust in the technology that I lost persepctive of the whole picture. As I reflect on it now, I really don't know how I reached this state. I am the last person to hand over complete trust to mainstream medicine.

I have been a little bit alternative and a lot herbal my whole life (well, since I have had control of it that is, when I left home at 19). I eat organically and grow my own vegies. I never visit doctors and have only had a regular one in the past year and a half since infertility began. I was fully vegetarian for 10 years until I started introducing fish on the advice of my naturopath and, more recently, occasionally free-range organic chicken. I use no chemical cleaning products. I make my own bread, yoghurt, sprouts, muesli and anything else that I can do with some success. I practice yoga, have regular Chinese and shiatsu massage, as well as reiki, kinesiology and I see a fabulous alternative chiropractor. So why did I hand it all over? I don't if I can explain it - I don't know if I even know.

I think part of it was that I just didn't have any answers. And that I didn't want to miss out. After my major surgery in which Dr Challenge removed 8 fibroids, a large endometrioma in my right ovary and extensive endometriosis, I cried. My healthy life and awareness had not prevented this. Heredity was too strong and I had waited too long. At 37 (when the surgery happened) my never-been-pregnant body had had plenty of time to develop all of these horrible things to prevent future pregnancy. Removing the fibroids opened my tubes again - I could never have done that without the technology and I started to see it in a new light.

My mother, at my age, had a full hysterectomy due to fibroids. She had already had 3 children in her 20s, so that was no problem to her. But I'm just trying for my first and I feel futile against the invisible developments in my body which I'm not sure I can fight in my own ways.

But, back to the determination. I let some of my previously healthy practices slip. I think I had lost a little faith in them and handed control over to medicine. But now, I realise I need them even more, to help me get through the tortures that IVF inflicts upon my body. And, maybe, just maybe, to help the next one stick. So, I have started again today with a vengeance. I told my ever supportive sister (who, by the way, still knows none of this) that I was going to become a health vigilante again and her reply, I was wondering where she had gone.

Of course, I still love my red wine, and my organic chocolate, and my french champagne, and my morning cup of tea. These are my sometimes vices and I think I might still need them sometimes to stay sane and not too ascetic. But as for the rest, I have to do it. I don't ever want to be thinking 'what if?' when some of those 'if's' are in my control. Poor AdventureBoy. He knows that when I am like this, he has no hope.

You count too, I told him last night.
You have your rations now.
I know, he said, resignedly. But can't I have just one more glass of wine?
When I'm pregnant.

Thursday, May 04, 2006


As I sit here, probably feeling mournfully sorry for myself, I think I also feel relieved. If it wasn't going to work, I'm glad we found out now, rather than weeks further into the hope and expectation.

We went and saw Dr Challenge on Tuesday evening. My blood results were clearly indicating that there was no hope and the ultrasound had already stated the same thing. I was disappointed, although I thought I would have been worse. I suppose I had been preparing myself for this since Friday. I knew. Any symptoms I had were all but gone and in my heart I knew it was no longer there.

"I have a space tomorrow morning for surgery", said Dr Challenge. Oh shit! So soon? Could I have tomorrow off so easily? I mentally ran through all of my meeting and appointments - and then mentally slapped myself around the head a bit. I always put work first and, in this, I need to start putting me first. "OK, I'm in."

I phoned the day surgery in the morning and they had all of my details ready to go in front of them.
"StellaNova, yes! I was going to phone but didn't need to wake you up too early. We have all of your information from last time, so just turn up. We'll have a bed waiting for you."

All of the familiar faces and all of the familiar smiles. "Clear the way, StellaNova coming through." And before I knew it I was in. Dr Challenge still pondering his latest challenge: "I just don't know what went wrong?"

He had told me the night before that the fact that they had both implanted first time was a good sign. "I have much better success with eventual pregnancy when this happens." AdventureBoy held my hand and smiled at me: "See?" AdventureBoy, the eternal optimist. Even in the face of overwhelming adversity, he can always be relied upon to see the positive.

Before infertility, every month: this is the one, I just know it! Every month, when it wasn't: it will be next one, I just know it! After transfer: this is going to work, I just know it! And then it did! See, I told you it would! And then, after the ultrasound on Friday: well, she said it might be just too soon. It will be right, I just know it!

It has been hard at times not to become infuriated at the impossibility of his certainty. You can't just know it all the time, I stamp my petulant foot at him. But you have to stay positive, his buoyant reply. You have to be realistic, I always say in a small voice. Because my heart will break with the disappointment if I don't.

After the appointment with Dr Challenge: well, now we have a month to try for it to work naturally. It's hard not to smile at his naivety. I know he keeps me from going too far the other way. Not that I am prone tp depression or pessimism, and I am certainly not a quitter. But my realism can sometimes offer little room for hope, especially for an AdventureBoy who only sees the sky as the limit.

And so I fall into the safety net. Lucky it's there, I hadn't really noticed it before I started on the tight-rope. The helping hands of AdventureBoy, Dr Challenge and St Anne help me to the side again. I pause to catch my breath - it was a long way down and the fall was a little frightening. St Anne points to the ladder. "When you're ready, StellaNova, we can help you climb again." Dr Challenge nods calmly. AdventureBoy rubs my neck and runs to get me a cool drink. I look up again. The tight-rope is almost invisible from here. But I know what it looks like now. I know what to expect and I think I'll be better at it this time. I've even learnt a few more juggling tricks to woo the crowd.

Right-o then! What are we waiting for?