Tuesday, June 29, 2010

This is it

No, this blog post has nothing to do with Michael Jackson, even though, alright, I might have stolen the title.

But I hear MJ is making more billions dead than he is alive, so I don't think his people would even worry about suing my people. Hell, I don't even have people. Well I have people, just not people.


We are not here to talk about Michael Jackson.

Here is how my day went...

Pitch black.


Awake. Cold nose.

"What time is it," I think to myself.

"Can I be bothered actually lifting my head from the pillow to check the clock?"

Yes. Yes, of course I can be bothered.

I need to do my pregnancy test.


Triple awake. Ready.

A glance at the red, glowing numbers.


Damn. Too early. Too early?

I do need to go to the toilet. Should I get up?


Jay's stirring. I can hear him moaning, talking to himself. Is he cold? It's 4:48, I don't want to get up and risk waking him at this hour by turning a light on.

No. Stay in bed and try to go back to sleep. Yeah, right.

I am now busting to go to the loo by this stage. If I get up, I cannot just get up and go to the loo. If I get up, I will be doing the test.

Um. Ah. Um.

Should I. Shouldn't I.

I do. I can't wait any longer. I wee into the cup and praise the Lord for the outstanding pelvic floor muscles that enable me to not spill a drop, even at this groggy hour.

I dip the stick in and count to 14. The instructions in the box said 10 seconds, but I make a four-second adjustment to account for my impatience. 14 of my breathless, anxious seconds is roughly the equivalent of 10 normal, 1-1000, 2-1000 seconds.

I am freezing as I rest the stick across the cup, so I go back to bed knowing that the test needs five minutes.

I glance at those red numbers once more.


By 5:33 I will know.

The time actually flew. T and I shared nervous glances a few times as the twilight cast the day's first blue light on our faces.

I sat propped up on an elbow so I could see the clock clearly - no obstructions. I saw every number flick over.




By the time 5:32 came around I got out of bed and went to get a pessary from the fridge. Even if the test was negative, I was still going to pop those final four pessaries.

By the time I was back nearing the bathroom door, it was 5:33.

I peered around the door and took cautious steps inside, where the light better illuminated that little stick resting on a little plastic cup.

Two lines.

There they were.

Two lines.

Good god. Two lines. It is positive.

I whipped my hand to my mouth and my body around in T's direction.

She flew out of bed and later told me she did a classic Flinstones cartoon run between the bed and bathroom - her feet did not touch the ground, even though her legs were moving a million miles a minute.

We started crying and hugging each other.

"I knew it," I said as I gripped my arms around her back and snuggled in, so grateful to be able to share this unforgettable, tender moment with her.

"Me too," she said. "I was going to say something last night, that I had a feeling, but then I thought twice about it."

"And Jay knew all along," I said. All month, at odd intervals, Jay has pointed at my tummy and said "baby in there". Sometimes we would initiate it by asking him playfully, wishingly, if there was a baby in there. Other times he would just say it out of the blue.


I am pregnant. And so bloody lucky.

Thank you - every one of you reading. I know your prayers and thoughts helped make this happen. You contributed to the energy that made this happen. You were so important in keeping me positive when the darkness threatened victory. I don't have the words to describe the feeling I had when reading your comments of encouragement...but then, the kindness of strangers will always be confronting in a thousand magical ways. It has such a delicious power that has truly floored me. Suffice to say, you are wonderful.

Today I feel exhilarated, exhausted, overwhelmed, relieved, powerful, back in semi-control, healthy, vital, excited, worried and incredibly blessed.

Fortunate. Special. I feel special. What an awesome, special gift.

How precious.

How precious.

Thank you.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Did I mention I had a breakdown?

Did I mention I had a breakdown last week?

A complete and utter meltdown - my own existential Etna...my own vilifying Vesuvius...my own...no, there is nothing that goes with Eyjafjallajokull (hey, I was trying to be current).

Yes, I neglected to mention that didn't I?

It was last Thursday.

I could not get out of bed until 8am. That is when I normally leave for work. So, immediately I knew something quite bizarre was going on.

I got in the shower, as is rote, and exited seven minutes later, at which time I promptly burst into tears. You read that phrase a lot, don't you. "Mrs McIntyre promptly burst into tears." I always thought it sounded ridiculous. It was what highly-strung school marms in Dickens novels did when they weren't wringing their hands, fretting about the pox or staring anxiously out the parlour window, to see if the master will return from the great hunting conflict...or some such.

Then I got older, hormones took hold, and then ravaged my body, Huggies kept making those bloody beautiful, heart-wrenching TV ads and I realised that in fact tears do burst from their ocular pods quite bloody often.

That morning, I remember feeling like eons of stress - some of it conscious and some of it subconscious - had, well, burst their banks in my mind.

I also felt an incredibly draining weight physically pulling me through the soles of my feet to the ground. Deeper, maybe, if the tiles weren't stronger. Yep, this was some kind of freaky crazy evil pull - and not just gravity gone haywire. This was a weight on my soul.

I thought about calling in sick at work. But then I thought of how far behind I would be if I did that, and that cracked a new dozen dread eggs all over my newly-washed hair. So I went in, but told myself I'd leave at midday.

And I did. I also felt incredibly, bone-hollow tired. So my plan was to sleep all afternoon. My neighbours, who congregate in their backyard about 2centimetres from where my head lays on the bed, had other, very loud, ideas.

So, to say I was overwrought, anxious and consumed with a type of residual fury I have not known before...well, that would be an understatement.

In the days since, I have realised this is perfectly reasonable for someone in my situation. I feel the weight of expectation and I cannot help but feel a personal failure every time that one little line does its solo appearing act on the pregnancy test stick.

IVF is hell.

The two-week wait is heller.

It is the most uncertain I have been about anything in my life. I do not like that. This is a huge thing. A thing you want to be certain about. IVF also raises your expectations - almost to unrealistic proportions. Do you know how freaking hard it is for sperm to actually fertilise an egg the "normal" way? I saw an amazing documentary about it once...parts of the female anatomy are actually designed to attack and kill the poor little spermies. Can you believe that? I remember thinking as the credits rolled on that doco, "how the hell does life even happen, if not in a petri dish??" So, we eliminated all of that hoo-haa. Honey, we got an embryo, yee-haa. That is amazing...the science is amazing...so keep on with the amazing and make it implant, god damn it! That is not too much to ask, surely?

Tomorrow I do a pregnancy test. In less than 12 hours I will know.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

My cyclical pelvic flaw?

Happy Sunday!

I have a confession to make.

I got on my bike for the first time in about three weeks today and took Jay to the park.

It's maybe 8ks away, I don't know...it could be 400metres, I am not good at judging distance. But suffice to say it is not a park we would normally walk to, it's too far for that. I would say honestly maybe 6ks. Round trip.

The thing is, actually two things: I am someone who likes to ride at least every second day. At least. I love it. And please don't get the wrong impression. I am not one of those crack-head lycra crazies who think nothing of travelling 40ks in one leisurely morning. Me? I don't understand that. You want to go that far? Drive your god damn car, take a Greyhound or a flippin taxi. Fossil fuels be damned, 21st century humans are not built to power themselves to travel distances of that magnitude. We are lazy, we are always looking for the easiest way out of something vaguely challenging (as long as that search does not require too much effort) or we will get someone else to do it. Oh sure, I hear you, there are plenty of humans who cycle these nutso distances regularly, people who run marathons...but if there is not an opportunity to groom egos with a latte and a calf muscle/wax job comparison at the local cafe strip or some sort of sporting trophy or medal at the end, most humans will not have a bar of it.

So when I "cycle", I am rarely going above the 10k mark, alright? Plus I usually get Jay in the kid seat in the back and, while we can't actually see each other, we are close enough to have brilliant conversations about those colourful parrots squawking their delight at finding an untouched bit of blossom nectar, close enough to apply the brakes so we can slow down and touch that funny-looking tree or to laugh at the curly tan dog sticking his nose out of the hole in the fence as we whir merrily on by. And I absolutely love that. By the way, this, in the picture to the left, is most definitely not me. It is the antithesis of how and where I ride. But it sure does look cool, don't it?

Anyway, I have been all ix-nay on the...actually ix-nay on the "excercise" doesn't really work in Pig Latin, does it? How would you say it? Ix-nay on the xercise-eay? But then you have already said excercise technically first, thereby removing the point of Pig Latin, which is to...oh, never mind. I have been told not to excercise too much so as to not raise my body temp too much during this two-week wait.

But today, I thought screw it. I missed my bike. And the other reason? The lovely weather girl had forecast rain, and the sun was shining. It is winter here...but, oh joy for our sub-tropical climate, for I put on shorts and a t-shirt, slathered some sunscreen on Jay and we biked to the park. Shorts, sunscreen...not bad for winter, hey?

But it was a calculated risk.

The road between home and the park is dead flat, although I found myself involuntarily popping my bottom up off the seat each time we went over a bump in the path, or a particularly rocky driveway: minimise uteral bouncing, minimise uteral bouncing, I repeated in my head, while imagining this tiny little foetus jiggling up and down in a liquefied slo-mo, while screwing up its miniscule face in annoyance.

Then of course, as night follows day, came the thought that nothing at all might be happening in there. There could also be no jiggling, no annoyed foetus face and no foetus at all.

What I do know is that I have been experiencing minor cramps and a general bloatedness since Friday night. I might get bloating once a month, but never cramps. They are unusual. Like little twinges coupled with a constant dull pain, although pain is too strong a word.

Of course, I can also potentially explain the bloating away. Zero excercise and let's-put-extra-away-for-the-winter eating, I am looking at you!

Now I am just hanging out for those sore boobs!! And "accidentally" flinging the freezer open really fast, and then throwing my arms back to allow my chest to absorb the full brunt of the blow is not the type of sore I am looking for! (Although I have tried...)

Who knows? Who. Knows? Seriously, do you know anyone who knows? I don't. No one I know knows. But do you? I wish you did...

A friend went overseas for three months and returned recently. She was in gay Paris when she heard I was "pregnant" the first time. (I had stupidly announced to the world that I was pregnant on the evening of my first fresh embryo transfer. It was with a massive disclaimer...but, well, we all know how that turned out.)

Anyway, before any of us knew that sad outcome, she had been prompted to find the funkiest, coolest store in Paris, which I am guessing was very difficult, and purchase a baby present for me.

By the time she got home a month or so ago, there was no baby. Yet. She gave me the present and a good idea, knowing what she did about what had happened.

"You might want to wait and open it when you are pregnant," she said. "You might want to save it."

And so I did save it. Just like the pregnancy test is sitting on top of the bathroom counter, it is sitting on top of the tallboy, wrapped in funky polkadot paper.

But will I be able to open it on Tuesday?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Roll up, roll up

Good evening ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the GFAM Theatre. Tonight, the part of the Greek chorus will be played by Italics, fresh from her barnstorming run in the off-Broadway, Boy George hit Comma Chameleon. Now, please turn off your mobile phones and enjoy the show.


Hi everyone, my name is Bec.

Hi Bec.

It’s been three long days since my last blog post.




Galileo, Figaro.

Magnificent. I just wanted to try that, given I have a whole conversation going on with my very own chorus...my conscience, if you like.

This is like having a chat with my inner psyche.


I know!

Anyway, as I was saying, it’s been three long days since my last blog post.

Why is that?

I was getting to that, if you’d just give me a minute.

The reason for that quite marked delay between much-dreamt-about drinks is because this blog forces me to focus on a very specific part of my life at a very specific moment in time that is happening right now.

The dreaded two-week wait, so fearful it has earnt its own acronym.

This FET I have tried to shield myself from thinking about it too much – and already I think I am doing better at that, this second time around. Thoughts and imaginings of what in god’s name is going on inside my womb right now do consume my every waking and sleeping moment...but they are much less frenetic and lurch less toward extremes than last time.


And I guess I didn’t want to have to focus so harshly on how I was doing at the moment, by writing about it as honestly as I can, in this format. I wanted to let as much of it go as I can. Blogging kind of does not allow that to happen (although it has other advantages).

How are you doing?

It honestly depends on the hour. I can be either desperately searching for symptoms, longing to feel sore breasts (please, punch me if you like), a twinge in my lower abdomen (fancy a kick?), nausea (got any tripe?) or overwhelming tiredness (um, I already have that - have had since 1987). Or I can be preparing myself for another negative test next Tuesday morning. I go through those motions, alright not as often as I think about the thrill that will ripple through my body when the test is positive, but I imagine myself searching for those two lines.

And then I imagine myself not seeing them – even after shaking the stick, blowing on it, squinting my eyes really tight and praying to every higher power I can think of. I feel sick when I think about that moment...

I imagine myself getting into the shower that will surely follow whatever test result appears and crying tears hotter than the hot water spewing at me from above. If it is negative.

Hence the reason you don’t allow yourself to go there as often.

Right. I was just going to say that. I was even going to use the word 'hence', which is not so common in common parlance. Neither is the word 'parlance', if you think about it. I mean, it sounds French, why should it pop up in English? Exactly. Does that make the term 'common parlance' an oxymoron then? But 'hence', I was totally going to use that word too. Wow, are you psychic?

Think of a number between 1 and 10. I will think of one too. Now, what is that number?


My god, that’s right! How did you do that?

Do you really need me to answer that?

Alright no. Look! A shiny kitten.

You know what thought I cling to each time my flights of fancy take particularly doom-worthy turns? That most women in the world do not realise they are pregnant until they miss a period. Or they miss two.

Most? What does most mean?

It is a non-specific term to denote a shitload, ok? Certainly most women I speak to, most of the stuff I’ve read and most of the anecdotal accounts I have heard point towards a general unknowingness in the first two weeks of a pregnancy. Plus when the nurse coordinator from the clinic rang to check on me this afternoon, I asked her if I should be feeling anything. She said there were no definitive signs - which is both a good thing and a bad thing. Thanks Margy, I think I love you.

We are in the mixed blessing boat – the one filled with people who know the exact moment of “conception”, with that term actually defined in this case as the transfer of an embryo into the uterus. Not the implantation, but the transfer.

How do you ensure that embryo goes from transfer to implantation?

Honey, if I knew that, I would be sainted, knighted, BRW Rich Listed and Nobel Peace Prized out the window.

(Thanks for reading my 50th blog post. Woo hoo. Wait, does that mean menopause? Nooooooooo!)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

How do I look?


So I have bitten the bullet and changed my blog design. Hmm, and design may indeed be too strong a word. I have sadly discarded those Supre trackies (you know, the ones that everyone has) and I have dared to be bold. Alright this is still a template...but I dared to click on the "Advanced" tab and spend way longer than was necessary hovering over spectrum changes to font colours. I am so a graphic designer right now.


I cunningly timed it to coincide with that little tab to the right...over there (I am pointing) urging you all to make with the comments! **Alas, it is gone now, but there's more info about International Comment Leaving Week here.

So, what do you think *cringes, winces face together in an "I'm not sure" facial gesture*

Please just tell me if it makes you vomit. Oh, and also please tell me if you like it. Actually, please only comment if you are going to say something nice.


I tell you what else I would love to know is your most irrational pet hate - those things that drive you, and only you, completely insane. Those things that have you ranting to your wide-eyed friends...friends who have one of those eyes on you and the other very squarely on the Yellow Pages under C for Crazy.

Mine? Oh there are so many.

And many of them surround tea. Tea bag tags that break off when you undo them. I am cautious when undoing my tea bags, don't think I have bull-in-a-China-shop hands here. I respect the ritual of tea. But sometimes they come apart. It's the people in the factory in Bangalore who make those teeny tiny staples that are designed to keep that piece of dunking string attached to its little tag of cardboard square or indeed to the actual bag that I worry about. Sharpen up Mr Singh, I hate that shit! I also detest too much milk in my tea - or coffee for that matter. If it happens, my day is ruined. Ruined. I am a DASH of milk, macchiato girl all the way. The worst is trying to explain the concept of a dash to people when ordering. A tiny dash, I say, hoping desperately they have taken that in. Seriously, we are talking millilitres. Even the word dash intimates how LITTLE of the milk I want. You pretty much only say "da..." before trailing off with a whispered "..sh". Be quiet, shhhh, it's just a dash. But no, every single time the milk makes a gaaloop sound as it is sloshed in there. Milk of the dash quantity SHOULD NOT BE SLOOSHING!! Pant. Pant. Rant.

Other completely strange things get my goat also: why knicker manufacturers feel the need to sew, rather tightly too, the paper tag onto the front of the knickers. Ok, so we've got that tag sewn into the back, with the size and washing instructions etc that I personally cut off immediately because I don't want that dangling in my rhymes-with-Jack. Then we have the price tag or Elle Macpherson's face or some other equally-ridiculous tag explaining the science behind the design of this particular pair of knickers hanging off one side; AND THEN we have that third bit SEWN INTO the front. Why? And you basically have to cut a hole in your brand new knickers to get the freaking thing off.

And another thing. Those spare buttons you get when buying a new top.

Why do you take time and effort to store them, only to realise two years later when a button actually falls off that no way could you be assed A) looking for the matching button and B) sewing the little blighter on. You just go out and buy a new top. I mean, let's face it: the type of top that comes with a spare button has not obviously engendered much confidence in its manufacturer. It's not as if Karl Lagerfeld spent $15,000 weaving Unicorn pubes with foetal lamb eyelashes and beading gypsy tears into a gossamer gown only to sell it on Rodeo Drive with a spare button attached, is it? So, my point is, tops of the spare button calibre are likely to have given you change from $20. So if a button falls off - BUY A FREAKING NEW TOP!

Oh and I think we have covered my word nerd phobia of bad spelling, incorrect word usage (especially when done in what is meant to be an arrogant back-answer retort) and/or grammar. Call me a snob if you want people, but correct spelling will save lives. Consider this crucial comma. "Let's eat grandma" or "Let's eat, grandma".
That's all I'm saying (FULL STOP)

Think of your grandma and comment away people! I have given you two very good reasons. Well, I have given you two reasons, I retract any descriptors of their quality.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Is that the question?

A post over at my bloggy friend's place got me thinking about the online venting space that is the blogosphere.

Something happened with my boobs last night and I made a mental note to remember to blog about it next time I got the chance. And yep, that was about the most exciting thing that happened last night, so strap yourselves in people - this is going to be GREAT!

And just now, even though I am shamefully without tea, I had the chance to blog before Jay wakes up. So I signed right on in to my humble little Blogger space and was going to write this semi-angsty diatribe chronicling how my two-week wait was going.

Only I am a journalist, have I mentioned that before?, and I wanted to check one fact before I started writing. (It's an occupational hazard and a compunction.) I was going to go and grab my phone and bring up the calendar to see how far into the two-week wait I was...how far away I was from the day when I was going to do a pregnancy test. This week has been a blur and I know the FET was only a few days back there, but some weeks the days blend into one. Even this week.

But then I thought about my bloggy friend's post and suddenly didn't care to check at all. I didn't feel diatribe-curious or even diatribic, if that is indeed a word. I thought I'd not only take her lead a tiny bit, but practice some of that calm I've been preaching these past few weeks.

I understand her point that allocating space in the globe's biggest publishing free-for-all to describe experiences of the torture, trauma and a gruelling sort of stress that only this situation can create will somehow "cement how bad it is" in her head. That writing it down somehow makes it worse, gives it a new, perhaps nastier life.

We agree there is catharsis in that.

But I also feel an almost-physical release after that catharsis. Yes, all the anxiety and all my craziness and all the bad day blues do gain more credence all of a sudden when they are allowed to channel through words to form the shapes of the letters you are reading now.

But this kind of spirit is possessing my mind, my typing fingers and my emotions for only a temporary moment. Like Whoopi Goldberg in Ghost when she conducts those seances and goes into trances after being "possessed" by dead people. Sure they come in, but they also go out. And unlike some people who can/or claim to be able to do that sort of stuff, I am not exhausted or drained afterwards as is often the consequence, I believe...or at least Whoopi seemed awful bushed after that scene, so I feel I have some knowledge of these things. Personally after I blog about this stuff, I feel lighter.

I told my fellow blogger and TTCer that I think of some of these words as the stuff of a Viking funeral. Strange, I know, but I think of the more fraught posts as sitting atop a raft before being lit on fire and set off to be claimed by the oceanic elements. Gone.

Alright, not entirely gone, but weakened in its potential to do me harm. And that's a good thing. For me.

Ok, Jay is up, but I wanted to tell you about my boobs. Haha. Anyway, I was watching the footy on teev last night and had cause to rub my chest. Not in a Samantha Fox way (please) but I had a scratch or something.

Anyway I noticed a particular nip-ular area of one boob to be quite tender. Not crazy tender, but sensitive. Instantly I thought "I am pregnant, I must be." So I felt a little more, rubbed a little harder just to make sure, and before I knew it I couldn't tell if I was actually experiencing tender pregnancy-related breasticles, or if they were sore from all the rubbing!


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A bullet-shaped pessary. Delightful.

I suppose I better get used to random things in my vagina. That's a big statement for a gay woman, even one who dabbled on the other team for a while there...

I'm not saying nothing goes ever in there for non-medical reasons, but sometimes...ok, I'll stop talking now. Read on.

Obstetrician's hands, lights, speculums (speculi?), nurse's fingers, bendy syringes, squeegee hormone sticks and even my own fingers as I face the fact that perineal massage could be a distressing reality waiting for me just around the corner.

So, what's a bullet-shaped pessary between friends?

Isn't that hilarious? A bullet-shaped pessary.

So, it's progesterone and I have to, ahem, insert one twice a day for the next 14 days.

According to the fact sheet, it is designed to "enhance the receptivity of the uterine lining".

For you details people out there, apparently progesterone is the hormone released in the second half (luteal phase) of the menstrual cycle by the corpus luteum (which develops in the ruptured follicle). It secretes progesterone when an egg is fertilised...and that, fine people, is exactly what has happened in this case.

Only my body, and especially my corpus luteum don't know it. So we have to make like a magician and trick it, by introducing a 14-day, 28-dose sleight of hand.

Progesterone? Pfft, of course there's progesterone. Rabbit out of a hat? Of course...!

So, yeah, twice a day I pop these strange little hard "bullets" out of their plastic casing and, ahem, insert them. They look like Cusson's Imperial Leather soap, only whiter. Oh! And not that big! Are you on crack? Jesus Christ, I am not shoving something the size of a bar of soap, or a pack of cards, in there. Bullets. I said bullets. So if you look at your little finger and measure from the tip of the nail to the middle knuckle. Like that. Small. Like bullets.

Only thing is the fact sheet reckons I need to lie down for 30 minutes after insertion. The bullet does break up, break down, break dance, hell I don't know, once it's inside...and well let's just say the resultant mass is not as solid as it started out. So yeah, I guess gravity is not going to help keep that gooey mess up and where it's meant to be.

That's no problem for the night time one, I do it right before I go to bed. But the morning? I set my phone alarm last night but the damn thing woke me up every 10 minutes as it suddenly dropped out of service and decided to beep, light up and announce to me like some paranoid Raymond Babbitt that "Hello! No service, check the signal in your area. Hello!! I'm a good driver, I AM!!" So, a plan B on the whole morning bullet shall have to be devised.

What's that? You'd like to see a photo of these dastardly pessaries? Hm, yeah, would be nice wouldn't it? I had that idea myself four pieces of chocolate, one cup of tea and 30 minutes ago. Now, well the enthusiasm has worn off.

Oh look, Google images wins again.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

FET Day one

Freaking excellent? Totally?

Far evermore than.

Filibuster extenuating trance.

Further exhilirating terror.

Frame enter terrific.

Fabulous entrapment tomorrow?

Frozen embryo transfer.

Which of these is not like the other?

No, you have not stumbled upon the lesson plan for an English As A Second Language course.

Frozen embryo transfer. FET.
Yep, there's another acronym.

Had my first one at 12.23pm today. Wow.


Once again, at this moment (I think), I am pregnant.

My first little frozen embie...my chilly goog (thanks Jack, told you I would steal that term)...was implanted inside me today.

I took a sick day, whizzed down to Brisbane with T while Jay went about his normal day care business.

Before we knew it, we had parked the car, risen to the fourth floor in the lift and were told theatre was running early (when does that ever happen?) and we were both suddenly thrust into ridiculous hospital attire.

T resplendent in purple and a white paper hat, me naked from the waist with a random brown checked nightie and rather cosy white waffle gown...and white paper hat and toe-curling blue booties.

Right. "Just down this corridor," the nurse guided us. A fellow in blue who could very well have been a Grey's Anatomy extra shook our hand and introduced himself as Tony.

That meant nothing to me, so I assumed he was standing in for our regular IVF doc boss man. No, turned out he was the scientist.

As I settled on the gurney, and took one frightened glance at the large black stirrups, he came over and showed me some paperwork pertaining to our little embie.

"We have a very healthy embryo," he said, while referring to some numbers that looked like fractions.

"It divided into four cells straight away, which is what we want to see and then went to six, and eight and 10 and then it got to 12...after that we stop counting, as the cells divide so quickly."

Wow, little one. So, so young and little and I am proud of your strength and vitality already?

Is it possible for an adult human to be so amazed by what is tantamount to just a bunch of cells?

Hell yes. I certainly was today. Amazed. Awed.

Alright most of that awe was reserved for the science and the brains behind that science and the personnel actually carrying out these scientific prinicples in this day and age...but a big chunk of that awe was certainly reserved in a very special place for our little embie.

And god it was so good to have T in there with me today...not out in the waiting room having to entertain Jay. She held my hand and looked into my eyes in the seconds after the FET happened. Thanks baby, love you.

It was great. We smiled and were once more united in a new round of hope.

Reassuring shoulder rubs, hand shakes and eye contact lingers from no less than five medical staff and we were ready to go home.

Just like that.

I certainly feel different this time. Perhaps more realistic, and yes, honestly, a bit more calm.

I find I am not flitting about in my mind saying silly things to myself and making sillier bargains with myself.

I found myself thinking a few days ago about the possibility that this one would not take. My first reaction was to shut down such silly talk. Instantly, within a split second.

"If you think it, it will happen, STOP THAT!" But a new reaction followed that first one. It shut down that hysterical superstitious voice and told me to calm the freak down. It could happen, it could also...not.

I could lose it, I could also...not. Yes, it's a horrible limbo that I have no control over - but I have been there before and I feel strengthened by that, even if it was just once before.

You know I love my words. I love them too much in fact. I smother my words with way too much love. I am a suffocating linguist. A linguistic suffocator. Do you get my point??

But today, the circumstances dictated the need for just five...and they were a missive to a very specific recipient.

We love you, please stay.

**A small post-script to this, um, post: you know the cost I was rabbiting on about last post? We got the definitive answer today.
That's how much it costs for each FET.
We think we will get about $600 of that back.
I spoke to a clinic rep and asked to be told what that actually paid for, given that we were under the impression that the thousands of dollars we paid a few months back covered us for these subsequent transfers. She was vague and said something about it paying the scientist and the equipment, or something.
I am still not convinced, but hell, I can't do anything about it!
But you know the funny thing? I asked T on the way home how much cash we had left in our IVF fund.
Her answer?

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Performance anxiety

Ok, keeping it short and sweet people. (MasterChef, get your hooks out of me!)

Right, so these may not be the most helpful thoughts at this particular juncture, given that I shall be having my first frozen embryo transfer in less than 48 hours, but they are nonetheless flying about in the flotsam of my mind right now...and they are honest.

Firstly, and this has always been in the back of my mind: T got pregnant first go with Jay when she went through IVF three years ago.

She is three years older than me and had two embryos put in as a result. One morphed into the mysterious ether of non-existence, the other became Jay.

So, if my memories of Year 9 debating serve me, the negative in the argument That Bec Should Be In A Pregnancy Competition With Her Partner would say that, no, so much more was riding on that initial transfer for T. Um, there was no fall-back, no Plan B. The only "try again" option we had was to start a whole new round of IVF...injections, ovary stimulation, hormones, egg pick-up and all. For that reason, and many others we will never know, that one spectacular embryo stuck. Apart from that, and this would be the sting in the third speaker's summation, competition is stupid unless you are in the Olympics. Get over yourself, Leo.

The affirmative, however, would postulate that, damn straight, it happened first go for her: you are both healthy and committed in a stable, supportive and loving relationship - why the hell should it not happen first go for you? You have every right to be disappointed now that hasn't been the case. You should feel indignant that history has not repeated. Why? No one can answer that, but don't feel bad for asking, or even thinking about the answers to, that question.

And you know one other massive reason to get pregnant ASAP? It pains me to say it, but economics clouds so much of our lives, especially when you feel so stretched each week that you are nearly transparent.

The cost.

According to a forum post T found this morning, the charge for a natural frozen embryo transfer cycle with a clinic in another state is apparently $2350. Estimated out of pocket costs are $941...but there is some potential issue with Medicare over rebate amounts (isn't there always?).

So, that was today's little surprise. Each frozen transfer is going to cost about a grand.

So what? And I understand that - I feel that way too. What is money when you are talking about creating a new life who will walk this Earth and bless our family with his or her laughter, anger, opinions, flair, love and so much more? This is the path we have chosen of our own free will, we knew it would be expensive. I get that alright!

But I can't help the anxiety. Huh, and you can write that one down to hand to the stonemason, cos that one's going on my headstone. That's if I was going to be buried, and I am not. **Stream of consciousness alert: I want to be cremated cos I read a book ages ago about all these graves in olde England...and you know I'm talking a long time ago, cos I put an E on the end of old. But not that old that England gets an E, as in Englande. That would just be stupid. Anyway, they used to tie a piece of string around the fingers of the bodies when they buried them and run that string all the way to the top of the earth, attached to a bell in the headstone. Apparently, in OLDE England (or some such place wherever it was) there was quite a problem with the burying of people alive. Now that right there is one of my worst, WORST, fears. Yes, it's as irrational as my fear of spiders, Tony Abbott's ears and the ability of a man like George Bush to attain the office of president. And you know what they say about tying string around your finger - that's how you remember stuff, you don't forget it. Frankly, I would have thought tying a piece of string around your finger would remind you pretty damn smartly to take the freaking thing off as surely it would cut off some sort of circulation, right? Anyhoo, I will never forget the olde England buried alive reference. Hell, it could have been fiction...could have been some Mary Higgins Clark hoodoo...but it struck a very strange, probably flat, chord in my crazy mind. For a split second, I did question the logistics of such finger-tying of string...how to ensure it remained intact linking body and bell, why you wouldn't completely freak out as soon as you saw someone coming towards you with a ball of string, a pine box and a shovel etc ("Here they come! Those dodgy undertakers who are a little too enthusiastic about their jobs! Run!!"), but the fear removed logic from any talk of logistics. So, with that in mind, there is no way I am going to be buried six feet under. Nope, disco inferno all the way for me, baby. **Meanwhile, back at the ranch.

Look, that anxiety is not huge, it doesn't now taint my every waking moment. But it is there.

Just another speck of dust on my mountain of insecurity/uncertainty.

Friday, June 11, 2010

ET, phone hooray!

Good evening.

Really quick cos I am freezing and desperate to dive under my doona: doc's office rang today...

First words were: "Can you have another blood test?"

Life? Ain't she a funny freaking prankster?

So that was my fourth blood test in eight days - yee haa!

BUT, despite telling me I needed another blood, I AM BOOKED IN FOR AN EMBRYO TRANSFER NEXT TUESDAY.

Hang on ET, hang on in your little bicycle basket with your little white towel over your head - I am coming!

Double yee haa (for the purists: yee yee haa haa).

How cool is that?

And what made for an ultra nice change was the lovely blood test taking lady.

A) There was no attitude over bulk billing issues. And B) she actually beamed a beamy smile at me as I left and wished me luck for Tuesday (I had filled her in on what I was doing briefly. Well I thought I ought to...she would have taken one look at the punctures in my arm and no doubt suspected all manner of heroin junkie things).

So Tuesday people. Toot toot - ALL ABOARD THE EXCITEMENT TRAIN.


Thursday, June 10, 2010

A bit about our donor


So, let's just get today's latest stat out of the way: this morning marked my third blood test in seven days.

Woo hoo. Yep, they have cast a statue of me in bronze out the front of the Human Pincushion Society headquarters in Schenectady, New York.

Where's that? Oh, you take a left turn at Albuquerque and just follow your nose.

But I thought I would take an opportunity while my cous cous is fluffing and plumping and doing its amazing osmosis-y engorging; oh, and while my Gramp's shiraz is settling nicely into my glass...now half-empty. Yeah, I'm a half-empty kind of gal - but only when we are talking about red wine.

Because any glass that is not full of a precious commodity like red wine is cause for much pessimism. Any other time, people, I am glass half-FULL - optimism all the WAY!

So, our donor. The fellow whose sperm has already been introduced to my eggs in an extremely unconventional way.

The fellow who has fertilised my eggs. The very eggs that sit - just chillin - in a petri dish 80 kilometres away.

Capital W Weird.

Anyway, he's a Leo, so he's alright with me. And he was born in 1990. Does that make me a molecular Cougar? Haha.

According to a questionnaire we received about him, he tells us that he is 6foot or 182cms tall, he weighs 76kg or 168 pounds and he had hazel/green eyes and brown hair.

There's a picture of him playing a guitar which I liked immediately.

He describes himself as musical, outgoing and athletic and lists stubborness as a character flaw. Hey, at least he is self-effacing enough to list one, right? And, let me tell you, that is a big thing for a Leo. Haha.

He likes James Bond books, can play a few musical instruments and reckons he is fun, easy to talk to and passionate about the things he loves.

Sounds perfect right? Well, to be honest he was actually our second choice. But it was a close second (we had to go with this guy as our "first" pick was taken. My, don't the ladies love him?)

But then you get to a point where you think to yourself, this is not Australian Idol - or Sperm Donor Idol. Sure you end up with shortlists based on instinct, characteristics you like and others you don't.

But in the end it's all guesswork...kind of like it is in real life, I suppose. We are quite privileged to get such an insight into this person, even though we take it with a huge chunk of salt...as firstly, as I have learned while blogging, when you write about yourself and you have some time to go back, edit, tweak, change and cut...well, the rose-coloured glasses can skew bias in your own favour. Sometimes, anyway...but honesty is always the best policy.

And secondly, it's all dependant on how truthful this guy wanted to be in black and white. But, I like to think that the type of person - 20 year old or no 20 year old - who makes the huge decision to become a donor actually has a decent head on his shoulders and doesn't approach it with the same levity as getting a drunken tattoo at 3am on a Sunday.

Mostly, we chose him and liked him because he felt right. Instinct. The stuff you cannot put into words. And that's exactly how it happens "normally", isn't it? I wouldn't know, being abnormal as I am. Haha.

The donor questionnaires we looked at contained a short essay written by each one.

This guy displayed a humility none of the others did. He said he was proud of his achievements in sport and music...but not in a boastful way like some of the others did. He was just relaying fact. He admits he didn't know what he wanted to do with his life, but that if he studied hard and surrounded himself with good things, it would come to him. I like that.

But it was these last lines that really got me: "I definitely value every day that I live... I think the most important attribute to living a good life is surrounding yourself with people that you want to be more like, and always making sure that you are heading in the direction that your heart feels you should go".


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Warning: Irrational rant ahead


That was my day folks. Literally, figuratively, metamorphically, freaking emotionally, laboriously, monotonously, repetitively, annoyingly, endlessly.

You know those days...we all have them, when it very quickly becomes obvious that the universe has it in for you.

I reckon all the globe's inhabitants take up a spot on a giant roulette wheel.

And there is some sadistic mo-fo somewhere out there who takes great delight in not only spinning that wheel, cos frankly that would be enough fun for me; but wreaking all kinds of shitful havoc on the poor unfortunate who belongs to the face that happens to be blipped up immediately below the flicker thing. Sorry I am not up with the roulette technical terms, alright?

Tick, tick, tick. BOOM.

So, work sucked. Plans didn't pan out. Items on lists were not crossed off. Phone messages were not returned. Emails piled up. Random, completely unnecessary phone calls wasted my time. Lunch happened to be ordinary. My ass felt particularly large and bootylicious, but most certainly NOT in a Beyonce way, in a pair of black pants that normally cut quite a dashing gib. My container of almonds ran out. I put too much milk in my tea. I forgot my notebook. Left it at home. Mightn't sound like a disaster to you, but when you are a journo working for a company that rations its stationery as if it's the Great Paper Strike of 1931, it is a quite large problem.
Was there a paper strike in 1931? I don't freaking know. The Great Depression was on, life was hell pretty much everywhere. Surely paper would have taken a hit? Maybe I am thinking shortage, not strike. But both are possible, that's all I'm saying, and therefore if you needed to get your hands on a notebook and you happened to be alive in the year 1931: it would have been almost impossible.

And to top it all off? I went on a two-hour tour of a sewage treatment plant. Is it sewage or sewerage? I really cannot be assed Googling it, as I am sure there is a correct usage rule there somewhere. So get your freaking shitty lawyers and freaking sue me.

A sewage plant tour. I voluntarily offered myself up to be escorted around an outdoor collection of concrete tanks filled to the brim with...shit.


Oh, and did I mention the IVF doc's office rang to tell me I needed, wait for it, another blood test.

At this rate I will be a shoe-in for Human Pincushion Society president - or at least life member.

So I go in again this Thursday - my cycle is clearly stuck in molasses.

That will be my third blood test in seven days.

And, alright, I hear you: it's not the end of the world. At a wild guess, there would most likely be millions of people on the planet right now who are worse off than me.

I get that. And I get that we all have bad days.

But - you knew a but was coming right? - that was about the worst news I could hear on a day like today.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Let the blood run free

Hey-ho, here we go, a trip to the bloodsuckers again this mor-ning.

That's how the nursery rhyme goes, right?

I am such a good parent.

Yep, second blood test in five days and my membership to the Human Pincushion Society has now been verified. Woo hoo, YES! I am in! You know me, the more acronyms I can align myself with, the better.

Unfortunately, my cycle seems to be in some kind of hormonal valium haze. Plainly, it's off smoking grass with some hippy Gypsies in a communal tent village in the Byron Bay hinterland. Anytime you're ready, sunshine! We got work to do!!

Yes, it is moving very slowly indeed. My blood test last Thursday did not show enough movement in the ovulation stakes, so another was ordered for today.

I should get a call from the doc tomorrow to hopefully tell me that all is well, firstly, and to then give me a date and a time.

A date and a time. To implant the next embryo, this time a frozen one.

I went off to sleep last night thinking about that; about our little embies in their icy, icy home in the city lab and how it's almost time for another transfer again.

I think my state of mind can be summed up in one simple facial gesture. Make sure your two rows of teeth are pressed against each other, open your lips to form kind of a pretend or fake smile, jut out your jaw, widen your eyes, wrinkle that forehead and breathe in audibly. Your shoulders may rise at the same time. Your palms may involuntarily turn outwards or they may indeed come flying up to your mouth in either a mock or genuine nail-biting movement.

It is a gesture that, altogether, screams: "holy shit, this is pretty freaking scary, isn't it??"
And thank god for Google images, really...when words just aren't enough. Even the enormous amount of words I seem compelled to use. Which you would think would be enough. Sadly, no. Is that Fifi Box in that photo?

Anyway, as I was thinking about the next transfer I got that familiar old feeling of anxiety. For me, it's a physical reaction. First, there's a white hot strap over the back of my skull - the left side, mostly. Does that mean anything? Then it's a queasiness sitting at the top of my stomach, where I imagine the diaphragm to be based on those diagrams we used to study in Year 10 Biology.

Ring any bells? Flashback to Year 10 Biology anyone? Stop playing with that bunsen burner! Turn the gas off! You cannot drink the hydrocholoric acid! Please note the general diaphragmal area, where my anxiety butterflies are primarily contained.

But then I really made a point to put any abnormally huge fears out and away from my mind. I think a small amount of anxiety is completely reasonable, rational and normal.

But I really have to let most of it go. Relinquish. Give it up. Disregard. Abandon.

The large doses of anxiety that threaten in my case, being as highly-strung and frankly mental as I am, are really not healthy. They are not constructive. It is that simple.

So - chill! Perspective, sanity, calm.

Perspective, sanity, calm.

I figure if I write this stuff down often enough, it will actually translate into a reality in my mind!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Sweet and short

Ok, so MasterChef is on but I wanted to say hi.

Actually I wanted to say two things, predominantly: go Sam Stosur! and I also wanted to drop in a link to Lindy West's Sex And The City 2 review, which is THE funniest thing I have ever read in my entire life.

Poor dear needs a few more hits on her page: please help.

Ok, that was a LOT more than two things. So sue me.

Had my blood test today, (uneventful except for the chick who tried to charge me until I reminded her of a little invention I like to call bulk-billing and the way my test was treated last time and she sulkingly obliged) so am expecting a call from the doc tomorrow for an appointment date. Wuu hii (I think the O vowel in that context has become cliche)! Will let you know!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Counting down? Yeah it's getting old

Hello friend.

Two more days and I will voluntarily take myself into an office about 2 minutes' drive from where I work and smile cheerfully while making small talk with a lady who will stick a big-ass shiny needle in my arm and suck out a vial of blood.

Yes, that's right, I am still on that IVF rollercoaster. Remember that one? Haha.

I must admit that the rollercoaster has certainly hit the languid phase these past few weeks. I'm sure I saw a documentary once about the thought that goes into the design of rollercoasters and how it was crucial that they had ups and downs, both in a physical and figurative sense: kind of like a metaphor for life, man. So there should be so many metres of track that were thrilling, so many metres that were frightening and so many metres that were...languid, subdued, the storm's calm canary.

Right now I am filled to the brim with excitement and the thought of...possiblity. I can once again feel the beginnings of a slow build to what I hope will be a thrill.

I keep imagining myself pregnant, a few months from now, looking back on these posts, reading through them and remembering how uncertain I was.

It feels different this time. First of all I honestly feel a lot calmer - well, today, at this moment, I do. I guess my head is not all stuffed to overflowing with scientists reports, embryo gradings, appointment times, cycle times, medication, instructions etc etc etc!

I mean, some of that is there, sure...but it's not new and freaky this time.

Secondly, this marks about the fifth straight day of dedicated exercise. Now, I like to be active every day. But that normally means a 25 minute walk and not a lot else, well, not outdoors anyway...

But lately I have been consumed with a bizarre urge to run, to get my heart pumping, to sweat and to push further than I normally would on a bike ride.

It's crazy. I am someone who hates hills - both as a pedestrian and a cyclist. I do not like doing the huffy puffy while wearing sneakers and trackies and, frankly, I don't like to run unless someone is chasing me.

But there I was the other night, yes, in the dark (such was my weird commitment) running up the street. Truthfully, I do walk-run-walk-run-walk-run, but I do run.

Anyway, I remember a moment during that run when a voice popped into my head.
"Stop," it said. "You should stop now and just walk the rest of the way home. Your breathing is getting quite laboured, is that a stitch starting to form in your chest? You might twist your ankle on a rogue bit of branch that has fallen on the path, just stop."

But then, some other random voice I don't believe I have heard before said: "Do not stop. Eyes up, look ahead and focus on the end of the road. Now go."

Well I was so shit-scared at the obvious indication that I had the Commando Army trainer from Biggest Loser in my head, that I sprinted the whole way home.

It does feel like I am suddenly training for some Olympic event...well some regional masters amateur athletics carnival...where I am the only one entered in my own category. I feel like I am in training. I feel driven to get my body prepared.

Will it work? Will it help this time?

I was going to write, will it make a difference. But I don't think that's a good way of looking at it.

I know from being a parent for more than two years that you can and will give yourself a one-way ticket to Crazy Town (with a stopover in Mental Hills) if: you take the word of every "well-meaning" advice offerer as gospel and if you think that various questionable sources of so-called reliable information (random forum postings anyone?) are, well, reliable.

Do what feels right at the time, I say. Do what matches your values and what you are 98% sure will have a positive impact on the situation/child/your body/whatever.

Life is nothing but guesswork. Inform those guesses with as much good quality information you can and you'll be fine.