Saturday, July 24, 2010

Baby's first photo

Personally I love being surprised with a good old internal exam.

So there we were, having crawled out of bed at 5am to make our 8am appointment in Brisbane - thankfully the last of the dawn city raids.

We got to the city early, despite the incredible amount of commuters on the highway at that hour. So we had a coffee (decaf) and some raisin toast.

Then we took the lift up to the doctor's office and were finally called in.

As soon as we sat down and told the doctor where we were up to, we were up again into the little room down the corridor where the ultrasound machine thing was.

The three of us walked in, and quickly filled the space (it is a tiny room). Then he told me to hop up on the table before exiting the room and closing the door.

Strange, I thought. He's about to see my belly skin. He will have to in order to do the ultrasound with that jelly on the wand thing. Why would he want to be out of the room while I pulled my top up to expose my belly.

T and I shoot each other worried glances as the reality starts to dawn on me. "He doesn't want to do an internal, does he?" I ask with a panic-tinged tone.

T races out the door after him and double checks. Then comes back and laughingly tells me I do have to take my pants off and get up on the table.

Why was she laughing? Because I had asked her some hours before, while I was in the shower, if it would be an internal exam. "He won't have that, will he?"

No, we both agreed. It would simply be a case of swishing the jelly wand over my belly.

Um, apparently not.

So I freaked out and started getting undressed, knowing that when it came to coming back into the little room, he had the timing of those ladies who work in lingerie departments - you know the ones who were there when you got your first bra...just as you are standing there with not a shred of fabric covering anything above your waist, and trying to figure out to to actually get into the bra, they fling open the door "everything alright in here, love".

As I strip jeans and shoes and knickers off, the panic rises. Ok, firstly, I must admit I am about one-sixth Greek, or something. Let me tell you, if you cannot already guess: hair removal is a full-time job for ladies of the Grecian, or Mediterranean, persuasion. In short, people, I had not kept up with the maintenance of my lady garden.

Secondly, the particular black socks I had chosen to wear that day sported two great big holes on the left. Why didn't I just take them off, you ask. That would be very wise counsel, were it not for the fact that it is winter, and I have not cut/polished/painted my toenails for about, oh, four months. I have not so much toenails, as prehistoric emu claws down there.

So there I am propped up gingerly on the table, waiting for judgement day. Haha. At the last minute, I scoop up that pathetic little pastel pink sheet all doctors have on those tables and cover myself up. Yeah, cos the man who is just about to excavate your vaginal area does NOT want to be looking at your hip skin or get even the slightest glimpse of your belly button, oh no! Yeah, that'll save me.

I mutter something incredulous when the doctor comes back in about believing it would simply be an ultrasound today...and won't you spear the fragile little embryo with the wand?

He readies the wand with a disconcerting amount of gel and a condom (WTF?) while saying: "Think about what heterosexual couples do, it is not going to go anywhere near it. And besides, if you don't think about that, I promise not to mention the holes in your socks". Bastard. Haha.

So there I am, waiting for that awkward pain as he shines the light and leans in. Honestly, I am expecting him at any minute to stop, put the wand down and call to his secretary: "Please call parks and gardens and tell them we need a team of five men - AND THEIR HEDGE CLIPPERS - before I can go anywhere near this one".

Haha, so what? In the scheme of things, I won't remember that. This is what I will remember, or rather, never forget.

What an amazing relief. Little embie is 1.4 centimetres long and yet still has a heart beat. We saw that heart beat. Wow. The doctor pointed out the spinal cord too. Double wow. I felt a physical jolt of warmth strike at my heart as soon as I saw that image. Like the connection between us suddenly got deeper. Triple wow. I am now seven weeks and six days.

Plus the doctor said I now have a 98% chance of having a healthy pregnancy. Where did he get that stat? I don't care, but I'm taking it.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I love ya tomorrow

I am now convinced I shall be giving birth not to a baby but to Woolworths Select toffee caramel biscuits (only $1.99 - amazing), sausage rolls, Red Rock sea salt chips and endless crackers and cheese.

This has essentially been my diet for the past two weeks and I notice now, with some alarm, that they are all processed, all white and contain very little nutritional value. Unless of course you count the times when I lashed out and spread a layer of tomato chutney on my cheese and crackers. Mmm.

Yes, I have become a carbo-loading machine. Only I have absolutely no triathlon to train for or body building contest on my immediate calendar. Huh, shame.

I am officially six weeks and two days pregnant. And yet I swear by the afternoon when my bloating peaks, I look six months pregnant.

I am not sure if I am getting used to the nausea or if it has abated with time. Either way I am coping with it a bit better as time goes on. How? I just eat through it.

It's not strong enough, thank god, to turn me completely off food or make me throw up. Instead, it's like this distasteful hold music that is always there playing faintly in the background: Barry Manilow or Missy Elliot for the digestive system.

So I push through it and eat away. Every few hours I eat. And I am exaggerating about my diet...along with the processed, but bloody yummy, crap is a stack of fruit, vegetables, nuts, eggs and red meat - although I cannot bring myself to look at it raw or actually cook it. Even the thought of it now is making me queasy.

Essentially I am an eating machine. So while I am sure that technically I should have put on about 0.3 of a gram, if you were going to be picky about exactly what my little embryo (is it a foetus yet?) weighs; I have in fact put on much more, I just know it. But there is no way in hell I am going to weigh myself yet. Too scared. Stupid, but true. You know women do not have good relationships with those scales, what makes you think that would change now? Sheesh.

I do have to be careful about what I am eating, though. I think 50% of me has been caught up in the whole "well I am going to put weight on anyway, I can eat what I want". Um, no I can't. So, yeah, Sensible Sally has not completely left the building. She just needs to assert herself a teeny bit more.

Anyway, tomorrow exactly what is going on will be confirmed with our first ultrasound. That's if the doc's jelly wand can penetrate past the sausage rolls and biscuits.

God. I cannot wait. Please be safe and healthy in there. See you tomorrow. (Wow.)

Monday, July 19, 2010


I have just filled out the application form that will see my name on Jay's birth certificate. *Like*

Momentous doesn't even cut it.

There I am, next to the sub-heading "parent". I cannot tell you how meaningful it is to go from nobody to somebody, even if that transformation exists simply in the clinical world of a Births, Deaths and Marriages filing cabinet.

If this is what equality tastes like, I want seconds please.

But it made me think of lots of other stuff. I am already a parent. A mum. Of course I am, have been for more than two years.

But it's funny when you are the "co-mother" feel a kind of infinitesimal distance from your own family. Kind of like a stepmum, or a dad who cannot break that umbilical bond between birth mother and child. Don't misunderstand me, this has not plunged me into a massive depression and it has done absolutely nothing to taint my relationship with Jay or T...but no one can deny that I have no biological link to this fabulous little person.

So what? I know. There are stepmums and carers and foster parents and single mums and single dads and all manner of definitions for the word parent. I know that. I am just telling you how a miniscule part of me feels.

But something like this birth certificate, as inconsequential as it sounds, is really quite profound.

So I am a parent, have been for more than two years. But I have never given birth.

So while I won't be a total wide-eyed innocent freaking out at every turn (much), my pregnancy will undoubtedly be different to T's...d'uh, it's mine, not hers! Haha.

The delirium in those first few months with our newborn will be tempered somewhat because I have been there before. To a degree.

Hell, when you are going through something as potentially scary as this, it pays to cling to whatever preparation you can may be a flimsy piece of alfoil, but it's a kind of armour nonetheless.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Remember me!

Such a long time between drinks and even Blogger has forgotten me! I had to re-enter my email address and rack my tether-end brain for my password to get back into my very own blog. Goodness! What is this world coming to?

How does that work, exactly, that "tick the box, remember me thing"? I've ticked the box, I've asked the damn thing to remember me - over and over again. I am beginning to look desperate.

Quite frankly, I think those remember me things need a check-up for Parkinson's, or severe memory loss at the very least. I mean, they remember you fine if you see them regularly. You pop in every couple of days, you have no worries, they let you through the front door without even a second look. "Come in dear and have a nice cup of tea."

But leave it a few days and you are black-listed. Forgotten. All of a sudden the flywire screen is snap-locked shut, the main door is deadbolted and one beady, paranoid eye is staring out at you through the peephole (and don't dare forget the second P on that word), pleading, "show yourself - friend or foe?"

Anyway, I am thinking at this point that I need to make with the bridge-building and get over that particular conundrum. I just need to face the fact that I can be forgettable. Gasp!

So, all is well* in my almost-six-weeks-pregnant land. *Well would have to be defined as any, or all, of the following adjectives, at literally any given point: nauseous, tired, grumpy, angry, frustrated, annoyed, overjoyed, teary, "why does meat smell so bad when it's cooked?", starving, "if I even think about food, I will vomit up both types of intestines", let me eat now let me eat everything in sight, exhausted, drained, vague, forgetful, exhilirated, depressed, anxious, headachey, irritable, addicted to icy poles/ginger/tea/dairy, repulsed by icy poles/ginger/tea/dairy.

Actually, I usually feel all of these things at once. How on god's green earth do women come back for more of this shit? Haha. Grain of salt, people, grain of salt.

Could you imagine living with it? Jeesh. T has been completely lovely and really going to an extra effort to make sure I am ok. She bought me a pack of 42 Zoopa Doopas - do you know those? They are these long thin icy poles that are full of sugar, but different and brightly-coloured sugar and they freaking rock! She is even cooking dinner some nights when I cannot face food or standing up any longer. What the hell am I going to be like at 8 months?? One step at a time. One day at a time. At times I have wished I was in her shoes, being the first one pregnant and minus a toddler running around. But then I realise he is the source of so much joy and levity in my life - joy and levity that takes my mind off the grossness - why would I wish that away?

One week tomorrow we will have our first scan. Oh! Can you imagine. It's a no-brainer, but I'm just going to come right out and say it: I cannot wait to see my baby for the first time and listen to its little heart beating. Wow. I can guess at how profound that will be, but I won't know exactly how huge that will be for me until it is happening.

So I am six weeks exactly next Tuesday, and next Friday was the next earliest time we could get down to Brisbane for our scan. It will be the last time we see our IVF doc before we transfer to an OBGYN up here (about an hour north).

Our rellies will look after Jay so T and I can go down together. It will be great. And ooh, it's been a while since I've had any pics on here - that will soon change I hope.

The spotting stopped after about 24 hours...and my anxiety slowly lessened as more and more anecdotes and statistics came out of the woodwork about how damn common it is. Um, could someone have told me that sooner please?? Hello! Worrier Platinum Class right here!!

I am telling a few more people, again with a massive "very early days, so fingers are crossed" disclaimer. I even had one guy tell me today that I should be careful about how many people I told. He's right, I should take it easy there.

One week at a time. One trimester at a time...

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Really? That again?

I will make this quick as I need to rummage through that dusty top shelf in my cupboard for the box that contains my birth certificate.

I just want to verify my middle name, because I am sure as sure that it is "worry".

Actually, that's not true. It would be my first name. Easily.

That's not true either, I just needed an excuse to use the word rummage, so came up with that whole birth certificate ruse. And I like how rummage leads to ruse and, surely then, ruin? We'll save word association for the day the psychiatrist runs out of Rohrschach butterflies.

Last Thursday evening I went to the toilet. Nothing unusual about that, except there was a little (I so hate this word) discharge left behind and it was light browny coloured. Sorry if you're squeamish...I am just getting warmed up here.

Instantly I thought that was my little embryo floating in the toilet bowl. It's amazing how irrational you get when you panic. I am not sure of its exact size, but I am pretty sure it is miniscule...and not as big as the thing I saw in the loo that day.

I spoke to mum who thankfully matter-of-factly told me that it should be alright, and if it wasn't, my period would show up as an indicator.

Since then, no period. Fine. I can breathe again and almost forget to worry. What a state of bliss that was! Shiny kitten all round!

This afternoon I went to the toilet. (I go a lot, alright? Here I was thinking I had to have an eight-month-old baby pressing on my bladder before I got the constant loo trips, but apparently no.) There was a small amount of browny blood on my knickers.

Plus all afternoon I have had very mild the cramps I felt days before I did the pregnancy test (implantation cramps?). It's like a there's a considerable build-up of, excuse me, Gassius Clay (gas) in your gut that just has to find sanctuary outside of your body.

So, cramps and spotting. Surely that's not good. Together? But they have both been light, so I am loathe to overreact.

A small part of me feels something could be wrong, but it's so hypothetical. Am I just fretting too much where a fret is not necessary? And through it all, I know I could ring every woman on earth and ask them about their pregnancies - yes it would be a logistical nightmare, but my neuroses make me incredibly thorough - and each one would tell me something different. So, ladies, fat lot of help you would be!

I am fine now, hours later, and there is only the slightest light brown (almost non-existent) still there. The cramps are almost gone too.

I wish the worry would as well!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Yes, that's a perfectly respectable title I think.

It has been a little while, hasn't it?


Shit, are we going to start that weird-ass Greek chorus thing again?

I don't know, are we?

Why are you answering a question with another question? That's a sign of...

Why are you persisting in asking questions?

Who is speaking here?

Who are you?


It's in the freezer, isn't it?

Yes, yes, 17.

Am I going mad?

Too late.

No need for a question mark on that one. Yes, it is too late. My sanity went the way of Elvis loooong ago.

Well, bbrrrrr, now that I have blocked that scene and succcessfully arrived in character of Blog Poster Number 4...let's begin.

It has been a few days since my last post because I had an instant worry as soon as I fell pregnant that the very raison d'etre for this particular blog had all but disappeared.

Here I was thinking TTC sequels, book deals, a telemovie script and a three-part special investigation on Oprah and it turns out the best I could manage was a 30-minute pilot.

Gash! Failure! I can hear you yelling it right now. Please stop. Haha.

You step on that cliched IVF rollercoaster and because you are so in the moment, and so focused on one cycle at a time, you never really think about the end. Of course that's what you are working towards, that's what you are doing it for...but for very complicated reasons of self-preservation, you don't allow yourself to think too much about the "prize" at the end. Because you may just not get it.

Today, I am three weeks' pregnant. What do I do now? It's too early for an OBGYN appointment. Too early for a scan.

The clinic nurse rang me this morning to see how I was going (lovely) and I shared the good news. "Oh, well done you," she said, surprised, and sounding disarmingly like a Jennifer Saunders character, perhaps an uppity politician's wife.

"What happens now?" I asked, anxious.

She explained that the doctor would want to do a six-week scan to see if there is a pregnancy still, looking for a "sac" (what?) and a heartbeat. And apart from that, it's just a case of keeping healthy and calm.

I think I have healthy down pat: I have been consumed with an intense obsession with full cream milk. And I have never been a milk fan. I slather it all over my cereal in the morning and lap it up like a cat who's got the cream. Ooh! Cream! Must put that on the list.

Everything becomes about the pregnancy. I went for a walk the other night along a busy-ish road. Lots of cars flew past, many of them spewing exhaust smoke into the air and up my nostrils. I suddenly felt the urge to hold my breath to keep the toxins away from my teeny blasty (it is a blastocyst at this stage...I prefer to disregard the "cyst" part of that word, thanks very much Mr Medicine). Because I am sure restricting oxygen to little blasty by holding my breath is going to be a whole lot better than breathing in a few carbo-mono-whatevers.

A lady at work was using a glu-stick and I remarked that I hadn't seen one since primary school, before immediately rushing up to take in a big whiff of the gluey end to gauge whether it still smelled the same as my memory. Red flag unfurled and raised itself too late. "Stop that! Think about the baby. The baby, Jerry."

Alcohol is off the menu, along with all those other potentially dodgy things: soft cheese, seafood, leftovers, BBQ chickens, pre-prepared salads, alfafa and a whole lot of herbal teas that I thought were safe, but come with lots of scary stories online. Google, are you here to help or hinder? I wonder sometimes.

I am also trying desperately to reduce my caffeine intake. Coffee has followed Elvis and my sanity out of the building, but I cannot - cannot - give up my English Breakfast. I won't. And I think I will be ok.

I am actually eating a lot more than I used to...but smaller amounts more often during the day. In fact, I feel like I am always eating there at my desk. Goodness, people will talk!

While the clinic nurse was on the phone, I took the chance to ask her about our six little embryos sitting in their cryo-home.

"Don't even think about that until your baby is at least one year old," she said.

Call me a cynic, but that then prompted me to enquire as to the cost to store those embryos. $225 every six months.

Hmmm. Was she targeting my deepest core emotions to perform a simple up-sell? I am a cynic. Fifteen years in journalism will do that to you, I'm afraid.

I'd like to think she wasn't chanting Tom Cruise's famous Jerry Maguire line in her head as we talked. Whatever her motivation for picking "one year old" as a good time to consider whether to donate or, I guess terminate is the word, those is something we will have to deal with.


Apart from that, I feel alright. Not as tired as last week and kind of bloated (d'uh!). I am in a constant state of "fuzzy in the brain" and will often forget what I am doing/saying even though I am in the middle of it. Quite disconcerting, really. But I am not sick and I am doing ok.

Hope it stays that way!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

A new acronym

We are all agreed on my love of acronyms, yes?

FYI, they're OTT and I refuse to keep that on the DL or the QT.

Oh, please, I am not going there again. I don't have the energy. I have never been this tired in my entire life...and that includes the time I stayed up with my best friend in Year 8 for THE ENTIRE NIGHT to witness the exact moment when the street lights were switched off.


Wow, did you feel that? Get me Bruce Willis and Liv Tyler into emergency sequel talks, stat, Armageddon is back. And she's angry.

That's right: that was the very last pregnant woman complaining of tiredness the world could take. Apparently, the earth's core is pre-programmed to crack and erupt if a certain pre-determined quota of whingeing pregnant women is reached. Me back there, just then talking about being (whisper...tired) pushed the planet past its tipping point. So, go home to your loved ones, people...this is your last day on Earth.

Anyway, I am not going to go there with the moaning about the dead weights on my eyelids. Not tonight, I am buggered. Oh shit! I went there, didn't I?

Look, I am vainly trying to get back to the point of this post. What's it called again? Right...a new acronym.


Any ideas? Let me shed some of that dawn street light on the subject for you.

Fertility Guilt.

Akin to survivor's guilt, but not the initials of that dimwit played by Tom Hanks in that atrocious movie. (Sorry Robin Wright, I love you despite your choice of husband, but that really was a bad flick.)

So, I am pregnant. I am elated and a thousand other things right now. I also feel some guilt. Guilt when telling my new little e-community peeps who are still clinging white-knuckled to the TTC rollercoaster, one many have been on for longer than my two-year-old has been alive. Guilt when posting an "I'm pregnant" comment on a TTC support group over at Aussie Mummy Bloggers. Part of me felt heartless doing that. I am sorry if I caused anyone any pain. Or jealousy. Of course, that was never my intention.

Look, I was raised Catholic - we got guilt covered. But I know that I am someone who would feel twinges of jealousy while starting to hum absent-mindedly "What About Me?" had I received similar news.

Isn't that atrocious. But it's the truth. Let me tell you, my over-arching emotion would be genuine joy for anyone who gets good baby-growing news. No doubt. But there would be twinges of some negative stuff too, I won't lie.

But it's like the way I feel about comparing development milestones in your kids. There is no point twisting yourself in knots if your toddler has not mastered toilet training, say, as quickly as "everyone else" you know: they all get there in the end. So too, will many of you reading this. I cannot know it will happen for all of you, no one knows that. But I do know that I have never laughed as much as I have these past few weeks, I have never jumped on Jay for random cuddles as often I have in recent times and I have never felt as loved as I have by all those physically and electronically around me...and I know that helped.

The good stuff. Focus on it. Use it, trust and try to let go. Alright, somebody stop me before I use the phrase "at the end of the day..."

May I please leave you with today's random observation from me.
Those backwards signs on the front of cars that belong to a business. You know the ones. Stickers that spell out words, but they are stuck on in reverse.

"Jokes" like this may seem harmless, but a 2009 NSBP* study found they are actually responsible for extending dyslexics' admission times to psychiatric wards by an average of 13.9months.

Why do you only ever see them the wrong way around? When do you ever see them in your rear view mirror, at which point, you are stunned and amazed at their twisty-reversy genius? Answer? Never. You only ever see them on the front of a car on the other side of the road coming towards you. Then you almost have an accident staring at the ridiculous letter formations trying to activate a deep, dark recess of your brain to actually decipher what the hell it says. It's the same dark recess that was particularly active during your tweens when such astounding items as invisible ink (imagination/perception), magic sand (spatial engineering) and elastics (physics/fractions/geometry) were commonplace in daily life. I saw one this morning, it was "CINAHCEM ELIBOM". I was like "whaaaaa?" as I craned my neck to catch it as it went past. Stupid thing was, I looked in my rear view mirror to get a better look - at the BACK of the car. I actually did that. Of course, there was nothing there. Haha, isn't that ridiculous? Alanis should so have written about that instead of freaking fly-streaked chardonnay.

*National Society for Bullshit Prevention