Monday, July 31, 2006

The end is still darkness


Whirrrrrr .....

Buzz ...

The switch is flicked and I blink into the blinding light.

I cannot see a thing, but the weight is heavy in my hands. It rolls gently over my palms and I notice I am sweating.

It's slippery, a voice whispers in my ear. Don't drop it.

I glance around but all is darkness or blinding light.
I am alone.

The rope stretches out ahead of me. A single line lit up through the darkness. Stretched taught, disappearing into the black. The end is unknown, but I know I have to step out anyway. I close my eyes. Maybe it will be easier this way.

I can't.
A deep breath. I open them again and reach my foot out into space. The crowd gasps below me, but I can't see any of them. Their hushed whispers unnerve me, and I am not sure if I can do it anymore.

Another whisper, it's the only way. I sigh. I know the truth.

I slide my foot along the rope. It feels familiar under my sole. My balance is steady and I step my other foot from the safety of the platform. I know the net exists below me, but I can't see it, I don't want it. I have fallen into it gratefully before. It has saved my life. This time, I want to make it all the way.

I am confident now. My movements are slow and sure. The light still blinds but I think I know the way. Before I realise it, I am close to half way. I think I can perceive the other platform in the darkness, but I really can't be sure. I have been fooled by my illusions before.

But there's only 6! - the others are too small, a voice calls from the crowd. Last time there were more.

I waver, unsteady, unsettled by the call. I know there were more last time. I know. Will 6 be enough? I churn inside and my feet start to shake the tension of the rope. Another gasp from the crowd. I could fall at any moment.

But I don't. Droplets of sweat bead my forehead. Droplets of blood bead my arms.

A small voice drifts thinly from the other, still invisible platform.
I'm here, it calls. I'll always be here. I can't walk this for you, but I'll wait.

And now tears cloud my vision. The lights dissolve into glistening stars.
I have to keep going - I don't know how to go back.
I inch forward again. Alone, not alone. Hope in one ear, Tomorrow in the other. Arms and nets waiting below and a quiet voice waiting in the darkness.

Forward is the only way.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Weekly Review

Our musical is finished (it was a great success). I actually enjoyed it (as I do each year) and I got to forget about IVF for a little while (unless, of course, you count trying to secretively give myself 3 injections in the make-up room toilet in between the matinee and evening show yesterday). We hold our show in a local theatre and myself and my friend Fifi are the make-up artists. I love working with the kids in this context and I get to meet alot of them who I've never actually taught before. This is where I was being picked up on Friday night and was late for AdventureBoy.

AB and I are good again. Our fights never last long and we don't have them very often, but they're always big when they arrive. I actually sent him that letter yesterday at work and he went out to his car to phone me, crying. But he really did hurt me with his comments and inconsistency. I absolutely KNOW he is trying his hardest, but it is easy for him to forget at times.

My Principal was at our musical. She was backstage during yesterday's matinee and was kind of nice to me. That doesn't come very easily to her and I was a little surprised by her gestures.

I don't know if it was a result of our meeting on Thursday - I was so uncomfortable about sharing my information with her. I felt, and told her, vulnerable in divulging. I started by letting her know that, like her, I hated to appear weak, but I may cry through the course of this discussion. I explained how protective I was of my experiences, but it was time to share. How I didn't want her to judge my professionalism. I didn't tell her everything, of course, but I told her about the long awaited pregnancy and the miscarriage and my desire to keep trying. About the fact that I still valued my career. That it could take me a while and I didn't want her to overlook me as a result.

And she thanked me for sharing the information.

I think she felt trusted, but it was for my professional protection that I shared. However, her demeanour toward me certainly changed immediately. I knew she had been questioning my focus, and her reaction confirmed it for me. She was almost relieved. She even hugged me as I left. Great.

I still don't think it was a great meeting. Not that it didn't go well, but I would really have much rather kept it to myself. Even though I can see how much it will help, I feel angry that this IF shit has taken away my ability to maintain privacy. If I was just a normal fertile I wouldn't have to say anything for months after the act. Here, I have needed to say something months, potentially years before. And that's assuming it will work at some time.

And, on that front, next bloodtest and ultrasound tomorrow. Most likely trigger tomorrow night and retreival on Wednesday. My ovaries are definitely growing more each day, causing twinging pain and an uncomfortable fullness. I need to keep drinking lots of water, but I forget. And tonight was the last glass of wine until my beta (and hopefully beyond).

Mmmm ... that was just a bit too much flippant hope exhibited there. You've got to be careful where you throw that stuff around.

People can get hurt with that.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

A letter to AdventureBoy

Dear AB,

When I said this morning that this cycle is really affecting me, I was mainly talking about physically. I am very drained and tired - more than a good sleep can fix. I am bloated and sore and I have been having a lot of cramps and nausea in the past few days. The needles seem to be hurting more than before and last night I had to start a third injection - that's three every night. I have put on even more weight and at this point there is nothing I can do to shift it. My skin has become very dry and I have had almost constant coldsores since I began. I have also had alternating constipation or diarrhea.

When I say that I am feeling shit I am not exaggerating.

Emotionally, I am just drained. I am not feeling particularly hormonal and if I'm short, it's because I do not feel well and I'm very, very tired. I am also anxious, but that started before the drugs. I am worried that it won't work. I am scared that we'll have to do it again. I'm scared that we'll run out of money.

When you say I was more affectionate or whatever last time, it's because I was excited. I was hopeful. It was all new. This time, it's none of those things. It's just painful, uncomfortable and I am completely aware that there are no guarantees. It might not work and we are no further along and I am just getting older.

I am somewhat depressed. Not because of the hormones. But because I'm fat, broke, professionally worn out and we have no baby. That's what is getting me down. All of those things.

Don't brush me aside because 'she's just hormonal'. That's a cop-out. I am more than just hormones. And I really need to feel that I have your support. Last night, I was looking forward to just lying on the lounge with you for a little while before I went to bed. We haven't had a good talk for about a week. I actually missed you.

And I was late because I was working. You have done that to me COUNTLESS times. Even last week, I was standing on the street, with a computer on my back, alone in the dark waiting for you to meet me for dinner. You got caught up with a call before you left the office. You took it. You didn't call me. You were late.

And I didn't complain.

It goes both ways and I would have appreciated ... no, expected ... your support last night. It was work and YOU will always prioritise it in those situations. I was rushing to get out to you. I didn't even know if you had your phone (often you don't). I appreciated you coming to get me, I appreciated the fact that you came early, but I didn't keep you waiting those 5 minutes for the fun of it. I was working.

And, it was only 5 minutes.

AB, I don't want this to become a continued battle. I (we) have a big week ahead and we need each other. I have a lot to do before I take 5 days off work. It's bad timing but I have no choice. I need to be able to count on you, lean on you, cry to you.

Please don't judge and condemn me at a time I most need your understanding.

I love you.
I need you.

Please be there.


Friday, July 28, 2006

Quick update

As I won't be at home to write again until Sunday (not with enough time to, at least), I am posting from period 2, just back from my ultrasound.

I have 5 follicles on my right ovary and 10 on my left. Last time there were none retreived from my right and only 3 really small follicles before hand. So I guess I'm feeling pretty good about the fact that they've decided to play again. They are all of a reasonable enough size to keep maturing, with about 4 all up not likely to get there. I didn't take note of all of the sizes as I think Monday is more important for that for me.

There is, however, a 2cm endometrioma on my left ovary, but Very Nice Nurse said that it was not in a place to be worried about. So I'm not worried.

I have to write more about how yesterday went with the Principal. It was OK, although I still really wanted to keep it private, I know that it will make things easier that she knows somethng (not all by the way - an edited version of the truth). Opening night was good - make-up was fine - and right now, I'm exhausted (I'm sure, a combination of many elements).

Period 3 bell has gone now. Gotta go ...

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Even bigger dilemma

I went to see my Deputy Principal today to ask her for more leave for next week. She is the only person at school (other than one close friend) who knows anything about what I have been going through.

And I really wanted to keep it that way.

She's happy to keep my secret for me, but she suggested that for my own professional appearance, I really should tell my Principal as well.

Now, I don't feel particularly close to my Principal, even though I have to work quite closely with her at times. I don't entirely trust her and I am not sure how she will see this in terms of my career. I know I am planning to take time off work once I actually have a baby, but if this takes a lot longer (which it very well could), how will her knowledge of my plans impact on my professional standing? Will she start to perceive me as time-framed ... no point considering me for long-term projects as I may not be there? Enforce the ceiling as they can't afford for me to be off with maternity leave?

The problem is, I know my Deputy Principal is right.

Last term was really a shocker for me (emotionally, physically, some aspects of professionally) and I know she noticed it. I know she has been questioning my lack of focus. We have met about things I know I have let slip. I know I don't want her to this perception of me and it makes sense to fill her in a little.

But what do I tell her? I can't actually tell her about the IVF as I'm at a Catholic school and it's a sensitive subject amongst Catholic viewpoints. I don't actually know her personal opinion, but it's a little like pre-marital sex and taking contraceptives. Don't talk about it and you can't be judged.

So, I tell her about the pregnancy last term. I tell her about the miscarriage. I will have to tell her my intentions to continue trying ... but how do I explain the time needed? I told my Deputy I had recurring ovarian cysts (which is kind of what those follicles are really), but my Principal used to be a nurse. I'm not sure if she'll need more or know more.

And I really just don't want to be that vulnerable with her. I don't trust her not to use it against me. And I just don't want to be weak. I'm so protective of this experience, the last person I want to share it with is her. But I will have to.


I am trying to look at the possible positive outcomes. Perhaps it will help her understand my state of mind and health last term. Maybe she will actually show some compassion. She's not so good at that, but it must be in there somewhere. I have other important things to discuss with her too, so I will discuss those with her first. But I know I'm going to cry. I don't want to so badly ... but I don't know how to stop myself.

So that's my plan for tomorrow. In between Year 8 History, Maths exam supervision, a counselling meeting with a student and another meeting with one of my staff, I will spill the beans. At some point in this day I will cry and at some other point, someone I speak to will. After school I will go and pay for my cycle and tomorrow night I will go and paint faces for the opening night of our school musical.

I really don't think I'm going to like tomorrow too much at all. It's going to be a very emotionally difficult day and I will have to be excited and bouyant for the students and their opening night.

I wish I didn't have to do this.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Obsession time?

I love my Chinese Cutie Punk. She reminds me of one of those dolls on a stick we used to be able to buy at the Royal Easter Show (annual Aussie fair type event - Sydney in fact). She is so excited to be treating an IVF patient and every time I visit her she has new information or new techniques to use on me. She has even made special appointments with me after hours to make sure she can treat me to coincide with my treatment cycles. I'm not entirely sure if I think it is going to make a difference, but I'm happy to be trying.

It can't hurt.

Oh well, as much as sticking multiple needles into your body can't hurt, that is.

I had my blood test this morning. No drama, no hiding veins, straight in and out. Easy (unlike my last dreadful experience). I spoke to a new nurse at the fertility clinic and she told me that things are going well. Continue what I'm doing and the ultrasound will be on Friday morning. She told me some numbers as well, but I don't know enough to completely know what they mean. Even Dr Google hasn't helped. They are oestrogen 992, progesterone 1, fsh 17.

I'm kind of nervous about the ultrasound. Last time, there were enough follicles to do ok ... but what if this time there are less? I can still feel them growing, but will they keep going without the obsession I devoted to them last cycle? This time, I keep forgetting about them. I have been so busy at work (and will continue to be) that retreival day seems to be sneaking up on me. I'm worried I'll forget about it in the day!

Well, maybe that's going a bit too far, but you know what I'm saying.

Maybe I might start obsessing again ... it's getting about time.

Sunday, July 23, 2006


Every Sunday night my sister and her son come for dinner. They only live around the corner from us and we really enjoy the opportunity to spend time with my nephew, MonkeyBoy, who is now 9 years old.

They have just left and now we are in a dilemma. She has found herself a new man (well, a boy actually - he is 6 years younger than her - not that there's anything wrong with that!). We have met him a few times and she brought him around tonight as well. He is pleasant, he is good to her and her son, he is fine.

But he is dull, he is quiet, he is nervous and he is passive. He would rather watch tv than communicate.

The absolute and complete opposite to my sister.

I know that you don't have to be the same to be compatible, we certainly aren't. But AdventureBoy and I both feel that he is not the one for her. And she is very convinced that he is.

I've not really written much about my sister either. She is 2 years younger than me and it wasn't until we were in our early 20s that we started to become friends. And whilst we frustrate the shit out of each other at times, we are very close. We have already decided that we are always going to live within walking distance of each other. She is a clever woman with a lighting fast wit, although she has never been able to recognise her intelligence. We are able to bring out the ridiculous in each other and we love nothing better than to live a life of word games. Last year, we spent 4 weeks only speaking to each other in cliches ... we give each other challenges to be able to somehow record phrases or words in our team minutes of our meetings and show them to each other. We share books and read each others words (except these - I could never show her these).

It might seem strange that I share everything with her but not this ... I don't know if I can explain that really ... I'll have to think on it. That will be a whole post on it's own.

But anyway, our dilemma. I don't know how to tell her what my instinct is saying. I've heard it for long enough now to know that it's usually right. And the fact that AdventureBoy feels it too, well that's enough for me. Maybe I don't tell her anything. Maybe I wait until it ends ... or doesn't!? Is it my place to say?

I don't know if it is. At the moment, he's making her happy. But I know her enough to know that it won't stay that way. His timdity and reticence will frustrate her. She will want him to make decisions and he won't. She will want him to have drive in his career and he doesn't. They have only been seeing each other for 6 weeks, and we all know how it is in the beginning! And then, I could be wrong. Maybe he is right and I've misjudged.

But my instinct keeps yelling at me.

But what would I know? I married the wrong one before this one.

And so did she. And now she's desperately looking for happiness. She wants a father for MonkeyBoy and someone to keep her company when she wakes up in the middle of the night. AdventureBoy and I are always there, but I know we're not enough. MonkeyBoy loves us (he even asked to stay here tonight when they were leaving) and we have a lot of fun making a difference in his life.

But should I challenge her happiness?

And do I have the energy?

My time is so taken up with my concerns and dealing with all of this ... I should just leave it. But then I'll feel guilty if it doesn't work for her (or guilty if I say something and it doesn't?!). Maybe I should give him a little while longer to warm up a little? I've never been a shy or reserved person .. it might be that I just don't understand him ... I just don't know how she can ... she's far more outgoing than me.

But anyway, back to the BIG OVARIES. I can feel them growing. Honestly, before all of this, I really couldn't be sure exactly where my ovaries were. Now! Now, there is absolutely no doubt. I can feel them, especially when I'm in bed, laying on my side and rolling over. They're not too bad yet, but I can feel them growing.

Come on babies ... go, go, go! Grown and ripen and be healthy and ready for my retrieval on 2nd August.

It seems a long way away because it's another month, but it seems so close as it's only one and a half weeks away. I have so much pinned on my desire for this to work. I don't want to have to do it again (although I know I will do it as many times as it takes). By mid-August I will know and I'm terrified of the answer. At least on this side, it's still maybe ...

Please, I hope it will work ...

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Bad Day

Every year, we have Grandparents Morning for Year 7. There are performances and tours, morning tea and speeches and at the end, the girls all give their grandparents a gift they have made for them. It's a lovely, heartwarming family event and it happened today.

And there were tears at the back of my eyes for a large part of it. I don't know whether it's the injections or just my general feelings about this whole infertility thing ... but I was fighting them for most of the morning. I kept thinking that maybe, this might not ever be mine. I wanted it. I wanted to be able to know the pride and joy that was so evident amongst these people. Two of our staff were also grandparents and I have known these people for so long and never seen them so full as when their grandchildren came to shower them with warmth and hugs.

For a wonderful event, it gave me a really bad start to my day. I have been snowed under at work since I returned from holidays in preparation for a departmental school inspection (all of the documentation is due tomorrow). I just finished my last bits then (explaining the lack of writing this week). After that, I got a letter from my principal putting a particularly negative spin on a meeting we had last term. Before I knew it the day was over and I still hadn't finished half of the jobs I had needed to do.

But I had to go as Saint Anne was expecting me - I picked up my mighty Gonal-F pens and a special little package for AdventureBoy. He was rather excited about his present when I gave it to him.
When do I need to fill it?
Not until the 2nd August ...
(and I started on the 29th June).
Another little dig that didn't help my day at all.

And I absolutely DO NOT recognise this body that I now have to call mine. I tried to buy some clothes today after seeing Saint Anne and nothing fits! I look terrible and all of my underwear now digs into my flesh. I have never had to worry about my size before and have always been a pretty standard size 8 (Australian) all of my adult life. I was SO miserable in the change room and didn't want to buy anything. There are parts to my hips now that I can't even fathom and the experience firmly entrenched the bad day even further.

I hate that this happened to me on top of everything else. I can't even feel a little bit normal - I'm down to only a minimal wardrobe that I can wear and I know I look different too. Usually, a couple of weeks of walking will make a dent in it, but not this time. I feel like I've even grown. Surely that can't be the injections having such an extreme effect this time?

So there's another mopey one ... I don't like to feel like a whinger all the time. I promise a more positive post next time. I need to for my own sake.

And I do have something to look forward to in the next couple of weeks ... BIG OVARIES!!!

Saturday, July 15, 2006


She conceived through IVF. She bled throughout her pregnancy. She had the worst labour I have heard about (ending with a full anaesthetic and emergency cesarean after 36 hours). Her husband is in Germany for work. Her baby was screaming with pain over teething and a rash all last night. She was exhausted. And she had the most patience I have seen with a baby who wouldn't settle.

I commented on this when her daughter finally went to sleep this morning.
"I wanted this so much - we worked so hard for her - I can't help but be surprised and grateful for the fact that she is in my life every morning. She is our miracle."
I only hope that I can be so selfless when the time comes. It was hard to watch her baby screaming like she had been stuck with a pin (or several thousand pins!). I was stressed for her, for both of them, but she was calm and persistent and I was very humbled by her whole approach.

We have talked for hours. She understands what I am going through and understands exactly why I haven't told my mother. I haven't really written much about my mother. I love her, I really do, but she disappoints me time and time again. She never fails to misunderstand me. She always tries, but completely misses the mark. She is judgemetal and harsh. Righteous and sanctimonious. She suffers from two fatal afflictions - bigotry and expert's disease.

I often wonder how I am me after a childhood with her. We fought like anything when I was a teenager and I am convinced that much of my rebellion was fuelled by a desire to rebel against her. I don't rebel any more, of course, not overtly anyway. And we really do get on fine. Don't misunderstand my intent - it's not to whinge about my mother (although I am!). But I could never, ever tell her what I am doing and expect understanding. I don't want to risk it and open myself up to her judgements.

When my cousin was talking to her the other day, she mentioned that she was coming to stay with me. She said to my mother that she hoped it would be ok if bub was a bit of a disruption to us (a little prophetic, as it turns out). My mother said, "it will be good for her! She needs some disruption to her routine and calm life. She needs to know what it will be like if she ever decides to stop focusing on her career and those two ever decide to have children!"

I have heard it all my life but it stabs all the same. Does she really know me so little to think that I am purely and solely focused on my career? It pains me that she believes me to be so shallow. That she hasn't even bothered to ask but made assumptions about me which paint such an unflattering picture.That she thinks me so selfish that my life is all about me. That my childlessness has been a decision! I feel like screaming at her again. To spit out my experiences of the past 2 years. To shame her pious smirk.

But I can't. She is my mother and she doesn't get it. She never will. I keep it all in because she judges so terribly. Anything personal I have ever shared has been twisted and distorted and regurgitated back at me, a horrible mess of cynicism and disbelief. And returning, always, back to her. Nobody could ever have had it as bad as her. Nobody has ever sufferered like she has. If I told her about us now, there would be some way of bringing it back to her. And then she'd tell me how to do it. And, especially, what I was doing wrong (which would, undoubtedly, be all of it). She'd tell me it was my fault for leaving it so late, for marrying the wrong one, for going on holidays and spending my money, for going back to uni, for getting a promotion.

I can't do that to myself.

The cobwebs are still there.

And I want to keep loving her.

That bit is hard at times. I have to work at it. I have to bite my tongue and ignore half of everything she says. And never share.

Her sister, my cousin's mother, is as opposite to my mother as two siblings could be. She is my Godmother and I have always been able to tell her more and get on with her far better than my own mother. As a child and adolescent, I would beg to stay with them over school holidays and I used to pretend I was one of theirs. The warmth and affection and thinking and talking that was encouraged in their home made me feel, well, home. Whenever I visit, I still do.

Since my cousin has come to stay, I have been 'homesick'. I need to visit. I need to feel that I belong somewhere. The first time I took him there, AdventureBoy said, "oh, so that's where you come from - now I understand!" My cousin and my aunt and uncle (and 2 other cousins) all live on the same property. My cousin has a separate house with her husband and bub, but they are always all together at the main house most of the time. I love spending time there and I really know I need to again.

Hopefully, my leave for this term will be approved and I will go. I am so happy that my cousin has come to stay. Even if it has reminded me about all of the disappointment my mother brings. But I know the kind of mother I want to be - just like my aunt. Is that bad?

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Part 762

Period started today. Pain, headache, cranky, listless ... hello old friend!

And now, don't come back for about 12 more months, thanks.

Oh shit - Lucrin! I almost forgot. I better go and stab - back in a minute...
OK - a straightforward one. Does it matter if it's 3 hours late? Hope not. It's so funny this cycle - I keep forgetting I'm even doing it. Last time, I was thinking about it every second, wondering what was going to come next, nervously anticipating the injections every evening. I'm not exactly flippant, but I'm determined to continue as normally as possible this time. So much was put on hold before and it took a long time to catch up again.

My cousin phoned me today - she is coming to visit me (she lives in another state) and stay on Friday. Her baby is now 7 months old now and I haven't met her. I'm really looking forward to it, especially as she is, well, one of us ... you know ... baby conceived outside of the body and all that. The gentle touch of the surgeon's hand, the careful insertion of the catheter, the squirt of the progesterone up the lala. She knows. And she will be the first person in my family to know about us. I'm looking forward to telling her. I'm generally so private with this (in the real world, that is) and she and I have always got on so well. We used to secretly believe we were really sisters and our real sisters should have been siblings to each other. My own sister, whilst fabulous, is too self-absorbed to be able to share this effectively with.

I'll find out more about how she achieved success. Don't worry ... I'll share.

Seven books that I love:

  1. I'll start with the books I am currently re-reading right now. The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy 5-part trilogy by Douglas Adams. I loved this as a teenager and I have read it several times since. They are so absolutely brilliant and the cleverness grows even more with every reading. A shame he died so suddenly and prematurely.
  2. Bliss by Peter Carey. An Australian author and a very Australian focus - great visual imagery and the quirkiness and honesty of the story was a great inspiration to me in my early 20s.
  3. The Famished Road, Ben Okri. This was my first experience of the genre of magic realism with mature awareness and has inspired much of my own writing since. It also offered a window into another culture and other beliefs and I love the combination of reality and fantasy in the same world which characterises this genre. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez is another which fills the same criteria for me.
  4. I also love a clever use of words. Umberto Eco is a master of this and In the Name of the Rose is my favourite of his. His story is so carefully yet brilliantly written and I particularly enjoyed the historical accuracy and integration of fact with fiction.
  5. I was a bit of a sci-fi geek as a kid and I absolutely loved the Dune series by Frank Herbert. I had (still have) the 6 books written by him and I re-read them every Christmas holidays. I used to haunt my local book exchange, swapping every few days to keep up with my voracious appetite for this genre.
  6. All of my gardening books, particularly those on organic vegie gardening. I consult with them regularly and they help me to know what to plant, when, how to fix problems and consider design and companion planting etc. I love my garden time and I love eating my own produce. Most garden writers, I find, are particularly passionate about their love of the natural world.
  7. Do I say love? I'm not sure. But I have certainly spent enough time with it over the past few months. I'd rather have never needed to read it, but Getting Pregnant by Robert Jansen (the director of my IVF 'corporation') is a really good IVF resource. It is extensive, comprehensive, medical, yet accessible and covers all sorts of stuff, including statistics, procedures, dealing with miscarriage etc.
There are so many more than this, of course. I love reading and books and I have a wall of books in my study, as well as 3 other bookshelves around the house. They become like part of the family - I could never give them away. They're the only think AdventureBoy and I have ever fought over. He still doesn't understand, but he at least accepts now. Lucky!

Monday, July 10, 2006

A needling kind of day

I had a blood test scheduled for early this morning. This holiday, I have been 'pretending' that I have no car and therefore forcing myself to walk everywhere I need to go (enforced exercise, you understand). The Leech Factory I go to is only about 20 minutes walk away and so I set out on my journey straight after breakfast. When I was almost there, I decided to look in my bag and realised that I had left the collection form behind so, with no car, I had to walk all the way back home to get it. Lucky my goal has been to get fit(ter).

The nurse I got at the Leech Factory, however, was HOPELESS and mutilated 2 veins with NO BLOOD before she ran out of the collection room, leaving me holding cotton balls pressed into the crooks of both arms. For each, she had dug around under the skin for at least a minute, searching for what I had never had a problem with before - it didn't tickle! Eventually, a GOOD nurse who I had before came in and quickly and simply found a good vein, took the blood, wrapped my arm to stop any bruising caused by STUPID nurse, and I was done. I have never had such a horrible blood draw experience.

Later, I went for my acupuncture session, and Chinese Cutie Punk, my acupuncturist, inserted another 15 needles for the hour. She's actually really good and I'm glad that I found her. Not only is she a sweetie, but her office is literally just around the corner from my IVF clinic (which is only a 20 minute walk from my place also - and just behind the day surgery where I have all of my procedures). I know how lucky I am with both of those factors, especially reading about others who have to travel for a lot longer (sometimes even spending days away) to access these services.

I walked to see Saint Anne at the IVF clinic after my treatment to pick up a new sharps container, concealed nicely in a brown paper bag so that I wouldn't be confused with a patient of the methadone clinic in the same street. My blood results indicated to her that my period should have started - but it hasn't! I'm waiting, waiting, waiting. I'm now on day 30 and my usual cycle is about 26 days. I hate waiting.

Tonight, I jabbed my 10mls of Lucrin with trepidation. I think I'd had enough of the needles for today. And it hurt. And there was blood. And now there's a big bruise for my efforts.

Lucky me.

Friday, July 07, 2006

There are reasons

A good friend of mine, Drew, came down from Sydney today to have lunch. We went to school together and then worked together for a couple of years in a bank before we both went to our respective universities to pursue our respective careers. We even lived in a shared uni house for a while. We have known each other since we were 15 and have had a lot to do with each other's lives. He used to have a crush on me and then I was a bridesmaid at his wedding. The crush continued as an undercurrent of our friendship until one day he told me about it and I felt very awkward about what I was supposed to do with that information. It was just after I had split up with my ex-husband and I still don't know why he chose then to share it with me.

But this story isn't about that. Today, he told me that he has left his wife. They have been married for 15 years and have two boys who are 13 and 10. A huge decision, he tells me, and it all comes down to trust. They have broken up once before and we have all known for a while that their marriage wasn't the most stable. Even still, it was a bit of a shock. I always thought they would just keep at it and they are both incredibly devoted to their sons. It's just been too hard, he told me, and broke down in tears.

He has been out for about 3 weeks now and the thing he most misses are the boys. He doesn't know how he's going to continue without seeing them every day and the tension with his wife makes it very uncomfortable. I could see the pain of his love etched into every line on his face. He ultimately wants it to work out, but I don't think it will. I didn't tell him that, of course, but my intuition was very strong about it.

And this afternoon, I have been reflecting.

There are reasons why I am glad I have waited to have a family. Despite the struggle and pain and heartache of my current failure, I am still glad. I would have had them with my ex and either, we still would have broken up, or we would have stayed together and our marriage would have been miserable. I know he left me (for my best friend!) but I had already worked out that we weren't going to make it. I clung desperately for fear of admitting failure and so he acted.

I watch my sisters sharing custody of their children. One nephew is in Queensland and the other in Thailand with their fathers. My sisters miss them and they always feel like their family is not complete when they're gone. I know it's better for everyone that all of these marriages ended, but the thing I am glad for is that I don't have to cope with that side of things as well. I see how hard it is for others.

I know if I had them I wouldn't be able to even contemplate thinking this way. Once they are there, they are who you are. But having never had them, I have to be glad for the other things. I search for reasons to be happy about some parts of this whole situation.

This time, I know I have found the right one. When (when ... when?) I have them with him, we will never have to share, we will all just 'be'. A child so wanted and a family that loves. We will stay young in heart and mind because they make us that way and I will be glad I waited because I waited for them.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

No hot flushes ... and Part 3

No hot flushes. No bad moods. Day 4 of Lucrin and I'm feeling fine. Apart from the time I actually go through the ritual, I'm not really even thinking about it. A bit hungry, but no more than normal pre-period hungry.I'm pretty pleased about that actually ...

I got a new French cookbook on Tuesday. I think I was just about drooling all over every page it sounded so good (except for the cow pages of course). The uspide for AdventureBoy with the synhronisation of my holidays with my hunger is that he is getting great meals every night for dinner. We've been all over the world this week, with a Thai prawn soup tonight (with all of the greens from my garden), pumpkin ravioli last night, French tarragon chicken the night before. I'm hungry again just writing abut them. And we have a surplus of lemons so I've been experimenting with many different types of lemon desserts and even baking bread. My chiropractor today said I was very balanced. 'Being on holidays suits you' she said. I agree.

Seven things that attracted me to my partner:

  1. His cheeky smile. He is a bit of a joker and a tease most of the time and enjoys looking for the fun in any situation. He was actually the friend of a guy I was seeing at the time, who was so serious and intense that he drove me mad. A great smile could not help but shine by comparison.
  2. His adventurous past. I loved (and still do) hearing about his stories about his travels and life in other places and other times. His previous life devoted to skiing was, for me, something I was extremely jealous of and i used to ask him so much about where he lived, what he did, who he was with, why he returned. I must admit, I used to get pretty jealous too of most of his ex-girlfriends (despite the fact that I had been married), especially the really pretty ones in his photo albums. As a seriously spunky boy in his 20s, he used to get all of the gorgeous girls. It was only once we were married that I got a bit more used to that part.
  3. His friends and family. As soon as I met all of them I was immediately welcomed and the warmth that they all clearly felt for him confirmed for me what a great guy he was. I did not meet a single person (apart from the ex-boyfriend I left for him) who sang anything apart from praise for him and his genuine nature. He related so easily and warmly to all of them and was a favourite amongst all of the kids - he is still known to his nephews as Uncle Monkey and they love him.
  4. His upfront love and desire for kids. Whenever we are in the vicinity of children, he seeks them out. He has an amazing way of making even the shyest child turn on to him within half an hour of meeting them and he is more than happy to goof around, read stories, wrestle and tickle and generally have fun with them, while still interacting effectively with the adults around as well. In some ways, he is a bit of a big kid himself but not in an infantile kind of way. When it first became apparent that our relationship was going somewhere, he told me very clearly that he wanted a family. It was very important to him and he would have started straight away if I had let him (oh, the benefit of hindsight!). I thought, at 33, I had plenty of time to start on that journey.
  5. His dedication to his profession. I have always been pretty career focused and previous partners have never quite understood this drive. AdventureBoy shares that drive and passion for his career and it was actually really sexy to me. He is intelligent, competent, successful and keeps learning and I respect him and what he does. That was VERY important to me and he truly understood and reciprocated that.
  6. His patience. His ability to do things (handy stuff). His stability. His honesty. His beautiful blue eyes. His gentle hands and long fingers. His support of my career. His ability to teach me new things. His willingness to listen. His respect for the elderly. His joy in humanity. Sorry - had to squeeze a lot in there as seven wasn't enough!
  7. The way he ties plastic bags. That, in fact, was the clincher. It has become part of our relationship folklore - a story to tell the grandkids. I have a particular way of tying a knot in supermarket shopping bags to store them for future use. It's a kind of knot which can be easily pulled open and I thought I was the only person who tied them like this. I had lived with many people and they all thought I was a little bit odd (and perhaps obsessive) when I insisted that all bags be tied in this way to save space while storing them. I saw it as just a matter of logic. One day in the early days, we went grocery shopping together. When we emptied the items back at his place, he carefully took the first empty bag and tied it JUST LIKE I DID! Even now, the significance of this overwhelms me. At the time, I laughed and kissed him and told him I knew he was the one. And I did. That simple action reflected everything - the similarity of our thoughts, desires, obsessions, upbringing. It was not something he could fake, and I loved him for it. I still do (even though we fight about the organisation of the second drawer in the kitchen at times!!).

So there it is. Funny how writing this particular list has made me love him just a little bit more again. It might sound like he's perfect, but he's not. He's just perfect for me (most of the time). Next post I will have to fit the last two into one - even though I'm having fun doing it, I think it's time to finish now :).

Monday, July 03, 2006

Tagged, Part 2

But first, a tribute to my big, brave, generous, furry baby (that's him with the black collar - he's bit of goof, really).

Yesterday, we had my family over for my youngest sister's 33rd birthday. It was a perfect, sunny, cool winter's day and after lunch the boys (from my 8-year-old nephew up to my 62-year-old Dad) went to the park next door to play football. We are lucky enough to live next to a great park which has lovely bushland in the corner near our back door and kitchen window and a couple of acres of grass with a children's playground at the other end. It was one of the great attractions when we bought this house. Our two Weimaraners were with them, runing around them and chasing the ball and generally having a great time.

At about 3pm, the phone rang - it was our vet, requesting Rueben (our big goofy boy) to be blood donor for a Great Dane who had lost a lot of blood from a ruptured stomach tumour. Of course we said yes (this vet really looks after us, and all of his patients, with love and extreme competence). Poor Rueben. Running free with Luna and the boys, then drugged and bled and returned to us about 5 hours later, staggering and flopping and really not sure just what happened. But we were proud of him, even if he didn't have much choice in the matter!

And now, to Part 2.

Seven things I can't do:

  1. Eat cows. When I was 17 I made a choice to become vegetarian. I was partly influenced by my Dad's 3rd heart attack and subesequent triple by-pass operation and my growing repulsion at the thought of eating previously living, breathing creatures. Over time, I relaxed some of my rigid rules and began eating fish and seafood about 10 years ago on the advice of a naturopath and dietician. Two years ago, AdventureBoy convinced me to try chicken again as he was running out of things to cook for me. I relented and have eaten it about once a fortnight since. But I just can't bring myself to even contemplate a cow.
  2. Sing. Or, at least, sing well. I'm quite capable of singing badly, but have never been able to feel confident about sharing this at any other time than when rather drunk (and when I, of course, think that I'm FAAABULOUS and have just been too hard on myself all these years).
  3. Give up. Ever. My determination used to drive my mother mad when I was a child and I know AB finds it futile to argue against it. This could be learning to ski, achieving a promotion at work, growing my hair or completing a degree. I might 'postpone' on occassion but the thought of defeat and failure is like poison to me and I will go to great lengths to avoid it. My pursuit for a child has become like this. I know I won't rest until we have that baby in our arms and I don't even want to contemplate a future where it doesn't happen.
  4. Have patience with incompetence. I frustrates the hell out of me wherever I find it. In my colleagues, my team, my bosses, my family, shopkeepers, cleaners, cab drivers, tradesmen, friends, AdventureBoy, myself. Harsh - I know! Perfection is hard to find and I torture myself at times seeking it. I know I can't attain it, but I try my best to do so. I'm much harder on myself than on anyone else (really, or I'd have NO friends at all - but I still notice it). Right now, I am VERY impatient with my incompetent reproductive system!
  5. Do the splits. Not anymore, anyway. I used to be very bendy as a kid and was always turning myself inside out and jumping and hanging from trees and cartwheeling and folding myself into small places. I still go to my yoga class once a week, but age (and possibly lack of practice) has stiffened me and I miss my old bendy body. After the first IVF, I have become even more unfit and inactive and have even less hope of getting myself down to the ground.
  6. Read and use HTML. Hence the really boring, standard design of this blog. i am on holidays for the next 2 weeks so, hopefully, that will be one thing I can cross from this list.
  7. Live without the colour red. It is my absolute favourite colour. I surround myself with it and it makes me feel good. I feel comforted and warmed by it's presence. The shade of red I actually like is quite a deep red - not quite burgundy - but a much richer shade of the primary red. I have red walls in my house (not all of them), red rugs, red cushions, a red bedhead, red clothes, red shoes, red handbags, red jewellery (I love garnets and rubies) and my car is red. I know it sounds like a bit of overkill but it is broken up by other colours and, well, I like it that way. When I finally get to re-do the design of this blog, be prepared for a significant use of red!
Well, that's taken another couple of hours to complete. I cooked dinner during that time too of course, but now I'm tired. Thanks for listening. More tomorrow.

By the way, the little girl in that photo is the daughter of the friend who started trying in the same month as we did. She was one in March.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Tagged, Part 1

OK - I have finally had the chance to stop and begin my holidays now. Even though we broke up on Wednesday, I have been in at school every day and today - I am just shattered. Like I said the other day, this has been possibly the worst of my whole teaching career (starting with a miscarriage didn't exactly help!!).

I started Provera on Thursday and I start my injections with Lucrin on Monday. Can't wait for those hot flushes ... but I feel kind of good that we're starting again. I feel like I'm wasting time when we're not. But even then, I just want it to work so I don't have to be thinking about it anymore.

I'm watching Grease on tv at the moment - I keep singing (badly) along with every cheesy song. I can't believe how 'Aussie' Olivia Newton-John sounds. A bit tragic really. And a preview for the Rocky Horror Picture Show just came on - one of my absolute favourites. My sister and I lived together for a couple of years while we were at uni. For a while, we were totally obsessed with this movie and used to get dressed up and play it really loudly in the apartment we lived in and dance and sing all over the living room. A true test of a boyfriend who was to be a 'stayer' was if he could either: a) see the fun in it; or b) (even better) join in. Only a few passed the test and we were pretty happy with our test. My mistake husband was one of those who passed. He actually thought we were a little bit mad - but we were fine with that. She's still mad now. I'm not objective enough to know if I am anymore. But she can certainly bring it out in me, if anyone can. I'll have to write more about her later.

But now, Part 1 of my tag post (by the way, 'Look at me I'm Sandra Dee' is on now - I can't believe I used to think she was SO OLD when I heard she was 29 when she made this!). Bea has inspired me to write it in shifts. My posts would be way too long if I tried to do them all together.

Seven things I'd like to do before I die:
  1. Standard answer - have a family and live long enough to see them have their own too.
  2. Learn to play piano - this is something I used to beg my mother to let me learn. For many years I asked my parents to buy a piano and every home which had one would find me carefully trying to pick out the notes to my favourite songs. They used to tell me they couldn't afford one and I used to get so cranky at them - thinking they could have if they wanted to, they just didn't care about me enough. Typical selfish kid attitude. All about me. I bought myself one a couple of years ago but trying to start up a new middle school, complete a PhD and get pregnant have all significantly impacted on my time to devote to this. One day.
  3. Finish that PhD.
  4. Learn to speak Italian fluently. I know bits and pieces and understand quite a lot due to the years living with my mistake-husband's family in my 20s. He was the youngest son and second-youngest cousin in a large Italian family and I was adopted into their heart from the minute I met them all. My parents and youngest sister were living in New Zealand with a work transfer for Dad (he was/is a corporate banker) and my second sister and I lived alone in the Rocky Horror apartment I just told you about. Nonna and ZiaElisa couldn't speak a word of English and as a very absorbant 19-year-old I learnt as much as I could. Of course, and hence it's place on this list, I wish I knew more.
  5. Finish writing my novel (maybe after the PhD) and then keep writing more. I don't know if I necessarily want anything to be published, I just love the act of writing. Perhaps I'll include some of it on this blog (but then again, it would be very long to post - maybe another blog?). And children's books. Not little kids, but early to middle adolescents. I have started a few but have only ever finished one of them. I don't even know if they're good but, again, I love the feeling of writing and trying to understand the interests of this age group.
  6. Have my 90th Birthday with my children, grandchildren, sisters, nephews and AdventureBoy. I would need to stay healthy and fit to live this long, so I guess that's a part of this one as well. I'd have to have an active mind, to entertain and challenge the grandkids, so that they would come to me for advice or just enjoy my company and I could teach them all sorts of stuff about life, the universe and everything (by the way, 42 might not be the answer). That would mean that AB would be 94 and I'm sure he'd still be my rock. I look foward to the opportunity to spend that much time with him (especially as we married so late).
  7. Live / study in another part of the world. About 12 months would probably be enough, because I think I actually live in a pretty ideal location right now. I just want experience somewhere else. Somewhere where I am completely out of my 'comfort zone' (sorry about the cliche) and I have to challenge myself just to get through each day. I used to always want to go and live in Florence to study art history and that still sounds like a great option. Vancouver also appeals, or somewhere else in France or Italy. Malta is another which holds sentimetal value although I think it would be a little small for a long term.
Whew, that was more thought and memory inducing than I thought it would be.

The 'Time Warp' is on now - I'm getting itchy toes! I wonder if my sister is still awake ...