Monday, July 3, 2006

Diary of an IVF whore

"...Now see here, journal, I don't want to see any miscarriage stories this year in this one! So much progress towards starting IVF - it's quite amazing to find myself in this position - so close to starting after so many, many months and years of waiting and heartbreak.
I had to terminate the pregnancy we had in December '04 (two months ago). It surprised me a little how relatively easy I found it to cope with.
And so, lying in Recovery, I made the decision: we are going to start using Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis with IVF to try and make our family now. I wish it hadn't resorted to this, but then how long do I continue to do this? To my mind and body?"

8.5.05 Mother's Day
"...Bought a bunch of flowers for myeslf yesterday. No one in the family has mentioned today to us at all. Don't know what else I was expecting.
I start sniffing Synarel tomorrow. I am soooooo excited. Really looking forward to seeing how well my body reacts."

"...I'm trying very hard and so far I've not mastered it properly, but I really need to concentrate on bringing in this baby's energy. We're so close now. I have to keep remembering what Steve has started saying: 'Don't look over there, or over there - just keep bringing in that baby.' I really do feel like it's just him and me this time. Funny that surrounded by practically zero family, only dr's/nurses at the IVF clinic and many strangers mostly via the net, we seem to feel really strong and focused. There's not much doubt, certainly not as much as when we were trying to conceive naturally."

"...Did my first injection last night. Weirrrrrrd!! But now I've done it once, I am sure I will be able to do them quite easily. It's funny, I'm not resentful or 'hating' this process or the drugs at all - it's a bit scary, yes, but it still feels like we're heading in a positive direction.
You are so longed for, little one! We want you here with us and would go to any length to get you here safely. I'm feeling very positive about the outcome of all this. I don't think we will be too disappointed. I fear saying that, in case something goes wrong and it all ends in a miscarriage again, or no pregnancy at all.... but I really don't think that will result.
No, I know this baby will be strong and fit and healthy. We are waiting for you. We are ready to catch you. Please don't hesitate."

"...I can't believe it's only a week from today until Egg Pick Up! These years of yearning and trying to conceive our family have been so long and at times painful, lonely, boring, difficult and filled with immense sorrow. That it could all be about to end is a bit incomprehensible. I mean, I was also sure that Ella was "the one", I could never have guessed it would all end up the way it has. So it's very hard to not have reservations. I'm having to let go an 'identity' of sorts.
I wasn't sure before, but now I've seen: You are NOT my mission or purpose in life, little one. Although I am more than willing to have you become part of our lives. xx"

"...Ok, whoa. Trying very, very hard to stay positive today. It's so very difficult to keep focused on you, my little one. You haven't made yourself known to me just yet. I have to keep trusting this process.
This morning I went for my first ultrasound to check how many follicles have been produced. There were 14. I know my eggies are good! It only takes on. One special little one. Come on! We'll always be here in the meantime, but hurry up already, will ya!"

"...Optimism being smashed to pieces here! 6 eggs retrieved from those 14 follicles. Only three have fertilised. We now have to wait all day today and right through tomorrow (biopsy day) to find out many have survived.
The chances of of one of those three being both normal AND living for 5 days and growing all the while is just so slim.
I can't bear it. By far, this is the worst, the most cruel wait I've ever encountered during our years trying to conceive.
To top everything off, that girl has completely done her top over something I vented publicly abouty her behaviour towards me (particularly at Ella's birthday "celebration" where they arrived with their child and didn't even come over to say hi). That and other things she's said or gestures she's made that I find totally inappropriate and insensitive.
I was asked by Steve not to confront her - I see now it's not for me to do that in an attempt to alter her behaviour and frankly, from her reaction, I doubt she would have cared about me if I'd put my heart on my sleeve and gone straight to her anyway, which would have crushed me even more - But I needed to get it out somehow. I was also unsure (as I am about just so many things) if what I was feeling was justified, that maybe I had it all wrong about her.
So I wrote it out, posted it and received pages of sympathetic feedback. I was able to put it all behind me after that acknowledgement/validation. Well, through her own snooping (which she has cleverly skirted), she has come across the post with all the comments now, 6 months later.
Great timing!
And once again, I am left doubting if I have this right in my head - this, however, is denying my feelings. She is simply livid at being called on her two-facedness. If she would just stop going around acting like a perfect saviour and generous person, and stop talking about the same people she's so "generous" towards behind their backs, perhaps she wouldn't be so confused about why I feel like this."

"...Well my goodness. One (at least) of those 3 little embies is normal. Not only normal but going strong.
This morning, when I woke up, I was just filled with dread waiting for "the call". Overnight, I had to get up at least 8 times with excruciating stomach cramps and rather violent trips to the toilet. I've lost 2kg in about 2 days, as this started on Sunday. I believe this is all manifesting from sheer terror. I wanted to feel so fit and healthy to welcome this emby aboard! But I feel quite wretched right now."

"...You're in, little fella! It still may all end in tears (have a blood test on 20/6) but I hope with everything i have in me that it will end in tears of happiness sometime in the first months of 2006. I feel so calm and peaceful, it feels quite surreal compared to the past five days of raw nerves."

"...Well, miracle emby did not stay. I started bleeding on Friday morning, unbelievable pain that went away after I passed a rather sizable clot. Lovely!
Spent the weekend recovering, accepting, gathering strength again. Steve seems to have taken it quite well, no tears from him and buckets from me.
I'm fine now though. Whatever 'fine' is...
We're not quite back at square one and that's a good feeling."

"...I'm currently well on my way through our second PGD cycle. This time, hardly anyone knows and those who do are in the dark about dates, timing, etc.
Interesting to observe that up until this past weekend, Ella was very prominent in my thoughts for over a week or two. I brought it up with Steve last Wednesday night and he said that, yes, he too had been thinking of her much more recently.
We revisited that yesterday and noted that our thoughts of our girl had died down again. Funny thing is - and I haven't really shared this because a) I'm still a tad unsure of whether my mind is playing tricks and getting in the way and b) I wouldn't know how to explain it out loud and still sound convincing - but anyway, I think I have vaguely sensed Ellanor again. There is a very, very slight sense of her around me. I'm unsure about it. I want desperately for it to be a 'sign'... yet I don't want it to be my conscious making stuff up."

"...Trying desperately not to be despondent about today's ultrasound results. Once again, I'm caught up in dates, numbers, measurements, instead of sitting back and trusting."

"...And here I am again, waiting for Egg Pick Up tomorrow. I'm neither excited nor anxious, happy or sad. I feel completely exhausted and somewhat defeated already, to be perfectly honest. Part of my tiredness comes from the drugs, yes... but mostly I really do just feel so exhausted about my 'existence'. That we came so close last ycle but didn't get pregnant, that people around me either continue to fall pregnant easily or have their precious next pregnancy again after miscarrying or losing their own baby.
There is a real sense that so many are moving on (although of course I realise many aren't) and I feel left behind. I surprise myself that I am genuinely ecstatic for so many of the girls I am on this journey with (on EB), when they fall pregnant after their own perseverence. And I am equally distraught if any of them miscarry (which happens all too often).
But I seriously rue my role becoming one of inactive supporter - I wouldn't be so gracious if my own chances got to the point of being futile.

"...Well, it worked. It's happened and I am sitting here again waiting for next week's blood test to confirm whether the embryo transferred last Friday has implanted. Oh, will you grace us with your presence this time, I wonder!?
I have pregnancy symptoms already - bloated, on-off nausea, tender breasts, discomfort around waistline - all caused solely by the Crinone gel which does a bloody good job of mimicking a pregnancy.
So much of my married/adult life has been taken up with shit like this! I say to myself and others, so often, "I'm so SICK of wanting a baby who won't come", "I'm giving up", "I'm not doing THIS anymore"... And here I still am. Writing the same goddamn thoughts and hopes every time I put pen to paper in here. SHITS ME!!!!!"

20.10.05 (first day of period in the cycle Lolly was conceived)
"...It wasn't just the Crinone gel. I did get pregnant with that last little miracle. We knew and were elated for approximately two days before the bleeding started. I'm uplifted and relieved that we have definitely closed the IVF option door.
We always agreed on only trying 3 times but we feel, after achieving our aim (to "get pregnant") on our second attempt and having it end in miscarriage anyway after all that effort to ensure it's a healthy emby, that we have tried this and know that perhaps one day if we kept trying, it would work.
But we're not prepared to keep endlessly trying with PGD/IVF. If anything, that kind of seems more hopeless to me."

"...Who thought we'd get another pregnancy in before the end of the year? I am roughly 6 weeks pregnant and holding out hope that it's a keeper, conceived naturally. Hanging out very anxiously, whilst getting very tired and sick, until next scan next week. God, here's hoping we have another healthy miracle in there."

"...Well, we sure DO have a healthy, naturally conceived absolute miracle on our hands here! "Lolly" is currently barrelling towards his/her July 28th due date. I love you already.
I hope you can trust me and go easy on me! You, your dad and me... we'll be the tightest team. I admire you already for this mammoth task you've taken on. I mean, I know we will see you right and love and nurture you so well - but coming in as you have done, after losing our first daughter, and all these other miscarriages... well I think it's a big task to take on. But I'm so glad it was YOU who chose it.
I can already kind of get the feeling of you. You're much like your direct and unflappable Dad. Not at all 'fragile' or delicate - like I felt with Ella. She herself was strong, but I always had a rather 'fragile' feeling when pregnant with her. Not with you, though! I do believe you're as strong as an ox and having a ball already. You bring us joy."

"...Little Lolly, I was so scared today. Had a yucky dream that stayed with me. Luckily I had an appointment with (Dr Luffley) and I got to see you again on the screen.
Your whole face filled the monitor and you sucked your thumb, then rubbed your eyes. I could hardly believe what I was seeing!
We are ready for you!
I look forward to meeting you every day now. We love you so much already and cannot wait to include you in our daily lives.
I watched your Dad as he slept the other morning and cried silently. With joy, with a bit of melancholy, with the knowledge that you and I are about to make him so happy. I want to watch him be a dad. It was cut so short with Ella. And I look forward as much to seeing you as I do to seeing him hold you and kiss you, bath you and dress you and whisper to you as you sleep.
Come safely, lovely one."

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

These dreams go on when I close my eyes...

Every second of the night, I live another life.

Yeah, thanks Heart. God I loved that song.

But I digress. Before I even start.

I had the most godawful all-nighter of a dream last night. I don't want to go into it again, suffice to say it was about the baby and wasn't all peachy. Just deeply rooted subconscious fear stuff. Luckily I had an appointment this morning with Dr Luffley, so didn't have to wait too long before seeing that lovely little person on the ultrasound screen again.

And what a show I was given.

Instead of being that little blob, or the squirming arm and leg buds, or the lanky bundle of limbs, or the little ball of chub squeezing its own cheeks... where once I could see the whole length of a body, what I saw today was so amazing I can hardly describe it in words. I was greeted by a face that filled the entire screen. With a face as large as, well, life. Sucking a thumb. Then taking it out and rubbing both eyes with pudgy fists. I was gobsmacked. And Dr Luffley said "Isn't it so amazing, it's like watching them in a cot or something!"

It was exactly the antedote I had needed to clear out the remainder of the nasty feelings from the dream I couldn't shake. It was too much. During the Q&A portion of the visit (which despite what some may think hardly ever happens - I never really have questions), where I had a full list written out which Dr Luffley dutifully and respectfully ran through with me, I lost it and began to cry. It is all so surreal. I tear up again as I think, just a month ago even, I didn't dare be so bold as to assume this would come. This day where I was planning what I needed to do when Lolly gives a not-so-gentle rap on the door, I never honestly allowed myself to believe it'd come so I didn't think about it.

Being forced to make some necessary arrangements, such as work out what I do if I go into labour when Dr Luffley is still technically on leave and not "on call" but promised he'd come in for us if it happened before he was back consulting and delivering.... it's all a bit much. The last of my fears - and I will only divulge as much as to say it involves cords and the disasters I have heard about in the last two years in the new parallel world in which I reside with other parents - was alleviated today. My question was answered. I was reassured. And I feel like I've buckled in for the steepest part of the ride. The end bit, the big finale on the big dipper!

I returned to the waiting room and kept it together very admirably, while performing a urine test, the result strip over which not one but two women pored for a tad too long until they even called Dr Luffley over in between appointments - ewwww, don't get him to look at my wee-stick! - who came back to the reception window where I was waiting, to reassure me the result was fine. I have no idea why I had to give them a cup of my pee (which was like liquid gold because despite being busting, my bladder now holds about 2ml of liquid at any given time and takes forever to refill). I forget what they were testing. All I know is, whatever it was, I passed. The test as well as the pee.

On the way home, I called Steve. By the time I got out to the car, I just wanted a good cry to release all the tension. I had hoped to join him for lunch. His office is about 15 minutes due south from there. But no, I had forgotten he was in the city in training all day.... so I kept it together a bit longer while I told him Lolly's antics for the morning, got off the phone from him and then blubbered on the way home.

Here's where it gets funny. I only really started to cry when I heard Private Eye, by Hall & Oats, on the radio. I had cranked it up earlier, and then on came this old classic. I was immediately transported back to the age of 9 where I sat as a passenger in our combi van, surrounded by my two brothers and sister, mum and dad in the front. We were returning from a day trip to Warrnambool back to our camp site at Peterborough (the yearly summer holiday destination) and I was perfecting my singing. I had discovered that I could sing quietly without anyone else hearing, or so I thought, if I directed my voice into the window. I honestly thought I was the only one who could hear me. As I belted out Private Eye, once more with feeling. And then Man Eater. So earnestly that I believed I was in the film clip. I think I must have had a Hall & Oats obsession that summer.

Well, turns out, my older brother did hear. And told me huffily to shuddup. For anyone who has seen Napoleon Dynamite, when I saw this movie I thought someone had followed my older brother around to get ideas for the character. Right down to the sullen bottom lip, hair and 'tude. It's uncanny how similar they are, I could be looking at my brother back in the early 80's, it's just too funny.

I remembered that in an instant today, driving home. And I felt, I don't know... I guess I felt sad for that little girl. That she couldn't possibly have known then what would happen to her first baby - I was baby crazy, especially at the age of 9 (and every other year, I won't lie). It would have snuffed a light out in me forever, right there. All the intrigue and beauty and mystery of babies.

And then I laughed. I laughed at myself crying while belting out a very poor rendition of Private Eye once again 22 years later, this time with big fat tears rolling down my hormonally chubby cheeks and no one to shut me the hell up. How tragic, above all, that it was Hall and Freakin' Oats that got to me. Shit, don't tell anyone. I'm so embarrassed.

God. What a mess of a post this has been.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Nothing music can't fix

The wheels fell off my little red wagon yesterday.

With the wise words of some friends I am still overwhelmed at being blessed to have, a phone call to Dad and some playing with Pepper and Jazz, I felt much better by the time Steve came home.

Issues surrounding the inability of people in my life to just leave me be, to have these moments without having to justify why. Of assuming that my growing Lollybelly does not signal the end of my grief.... but rather, in some bizarre respects, enhances or spotlights it.

I am so exhausted from trying to point these things out to too many people who should know how to support us better, but who don't. I'm tired of excusing them when they're so seemingly intent on not letting me go at my own pace. Steve and I discussed last night that I'm allowing the actions of so few overshadow the good, decent, easy relationships we have with so many more. Our dinner guests on Saturday night, for a perfect example. Wonderful and easy to be around. At the end of the night when we'd all dispersed to different areas of the house to chill out, one of them leaned in to me and in a rare moment of seriousness (because he's a blessed dag) enquired "Now.... are we going to need to watch out for you, all hormones and jokes aside?" I nearly collapsed on him there and then and said "Take it all away now! In a tip truck. Please!" Instead, composed, I thanked him profusely and said "Yes please, all three of us." It's such a relief to know that, as he and his wife said, we don't have to do or explain anything. We simply have to see them. They'll take care of the rest. I know that. And it's such a relief, I can't even explain how much.

Back to yesterday, though, I was also starting to feel gripped from the inside out with fear that something may well go wrong this time too, which has been pointed out to me on several occasions is the fear of "all expectant mothers". But, see, it's that last little three letter word which widens the chasm between me (and grieving mothers like me) and other expectant mothers - not "all" of us at all.

That little word... "too"... it changes everything.
It means as well.
It means what if something happens this time AS WELL.
And it hurts to have it said to me that I am going through what any other mother goes through.

I'm not trying to be precious here. I'm stating a fact, how I feel. It's akin to when I was told that "all mothers are sad on their child's first birthday, particularly their first child." Erm.... except I didn't think I needed to point out to this person the blatantly obvious fact that, uh, my child wasn't here for her first birthday. It was so hurtful to be so invalidated by that one flippant, off-the-cuff remark and I found it very difficult to find something within myself to forgive the person for being so way off the mark.

After talking to Dad, I felt much better. Dad's a very logical man. He's a Doctor of Civil Engineering, a title which means little to me in terms of understanding what he does but makes me burst with pride that he's someone who's made a huge dint in his industry and is known in his field worldwide. Not necessarily liked by all, but respected for his intelligence and ability to put forth a point nonetheless. I inherited from him my deep sense of moral justice. Unfortunately, I also inherited from the other side of the family a crazy self-victimisation technique. I like to call it chatterbox brain.

My chatterbox brain just would not SHUT UP yesterday until Dad rationalised away my proclamations. He didn't patronise, he never once said I was being unreasonable or silly. Quite the contrary, he masterfully Jedi-mind-tricked me to calmness and laughter by agreeing with me and saying lots of "yes of courses" and "mmm I can't imagines" in the most tender tone. And he talked me through what we DO know: that by now with all the monitoring I've been having, an unbalanced translocation of mystery is off the cards - 99.5% certainty of that - the heart makeup appears to be perfect, growth rates are above par...... and that all these other things I'm conjuring up that "could" happen, well, as he said "Why would you want to add in more risk factors when you've dodged the ones that are most likely for you?"

He's right. It was as if I dropped the heavy cloak I'd been struggling to keep up round my shoulders. I immediately felt lighter. And cried huge sobs of relief that I have these intelligent people in my life to carry me this last little part.

So I celebrate this morning with a good dose of loud iTunes random plays from our extensive and diverse mix. I just finished I Go To Rio and am now rawkin' to Trick Me by Kelis. Is that wrong? Oh, next we have Everyone Deserves Music by dear young Michael Franti. Gotta go. Jig to dance.

Tuesday, March 7, 2006

A memory like a smack in the kisser

Look at this photo I just came across. This is really, really difficult for me to see. To see the obvious pain I was in. 

I recall I almost felt good this day. A little bit of 'normal me', a bit more feeling coming back in. Steve took this about two months after Ella died. I distinctly remember he was trying to get me to smile. 

I honestly thought I was... maybe in mouth muscles only.

If you were ever wondering, this is the watery eyed, weary smile you get if you're a lost mummy. Look after her. Even if it is you, yourself.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Ellanor - 2nd birthday post

Happy birthday, you gorgeous guiding light.

In my thank you's to you, I forgot to thank you for waiting til I'd showered and straightened this thick mane of mine before breaking your waters. I felt very fresh!

You're beautiful. A beautiful soul, so sure and peaceful! Have you finished yet? Is your mission complete? You've been such a force in our lives and your coming catalysed so much for so many, even now 2 years on, that I couldn't possibly recount.

I know you're off up to something because I don't hear from you anymore. Not since September last year, when I felt you RIGHT by me in the middle of the night when I woke to feel the strange sensation of that IVF pregnancy leaving me. You were right there, you know I know you were! Smiling. I'm not sure if you give me strength or just confirm the strength I have in me. I'd like to think it's the latter, because I wouldn't want to rely on you. But, wow, you've continued to open me up to some amazing things. I think the secret is to remain open isn't it, my girl?

I like to think of you as off somewhere, like a young adult who's gone travelling after leaving home. I can imagine you elsewhere in the world, the daughter who is so busy living she never calls home. But the distance and the inability to contact each other doesn't mean we're not connected does it? You chose us, we really are so blessed. We kissed goodbye two years ago but it was also one massive hello. It truly was. You're eternal. You proved to me that we are all eternal, and if we have the ability (because I think you must be a special powerful soul to be so loud!) and yet others still living have the ability to hear us, we sure can live on. I firmly believe that, having shared this experience with you.

I feel very very privileged to claim you. But you're not just mine. I knew that the moment I met you - you were here for everyone, not just us. My God. If only I'd known what that really meant..... lucky I didn't or I would've lost my nerve well before you left again. I never saw you as a baby, I still look at your pictures and don't really see a baby because I know you deeper than that, and I found it difficult to say you were "my baby". You were always Ella in conversations with nurses and doctors. It was uncanny the respect I felt for you, I didn't expect that. And just when I was starting to see you as more vulnerable, you left. It is very beautiful to me.

My darling, I do miss having you here so terribly much it still hurts. But only on this special day do I feel the sorrow. You know we still have work to do, and living, so you're happy in your place and I'm so glad you're there.

Love you more than any keys on a keyboard or words from my mouth could ever express. Just continue to feel it and reciprocate whenever you like.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Pucker up, Buttercup

Why am I sooooo offended by the news today that Brad and Angelina (we're on first-name basis) are expecting???

Is it the fact that it just doesn't seem that long ago that doing the shopping was a covert operation for them so no one could see them together?

Is it the fact that the resultant child will have ridiculously plump lips with all those combined genes?

Is it because I am feeling for poor old Jennifer Aniston? As much as you can feel for someone you've never and will never meet and who has more expendable income than she knows what to do with wisely.

Is it because they already HAVE everything?

Why is it when you see a celebrity couple who's announced they're pregnant (is it possible for a couple to be pregnant? I've always giggled at people who say "we're pregnant" - surely it's just the woman who is, but that could be just me), if you've ever struggled to conceive yourself, you think "Oh heck even THEY'RE having a baby now" and want to wipe the smiles off their faces? I go through phases where I can't pick up a magazine for a lazy checkout flick because I am sick do death of seeing happy happy joy joy stories about these deliriously giddy new mums. It's a bit overdone don't you think? It's like those publishers just think that's all we want to hear and see! So sad to think that these women (cos they mostly are in these positions) don't consider their fellow women, the ones who are suffering infertility. How is a woman who can't get or maintain a pregnancy supposed to feel safe picking up a New Idea to inanely flick through the glossy gossip? She can't! It's impossible.

Don't get me wrong, I can see right through the paper-thin ideals of these publications that seem to think that all women who read them are taking a 10 minute coffee break from the vacuuming and ironing and getting husband's dinner ready, before she reapplies her makeup and fixes a bow in her hair and smoothes her apron so she can look refreshed to greet her shirt and tie-wearing dear husband at the door and take his briefcase for him. Of course women want to read nothing more than "I'm the happiest I've ever been in my life. My family is now complete with the arrival of Wilhelm Jake Cruise Wahkeen Bodiddly III". They're so see-through! The stories so similar! All they have to do is change the photos - which are also the same: celeb mum lying across pristine white bedspread with perfect, clean baby, both looking at camera. Or throwing baby up in the air, wide-pan shot so we can suitably ogle the star's sterile-clean, everything-in-its-place living room.

It's so unreal. Puts so much subliminal pressure on so many women to live up to that kind of ideal and feel unworthy if they don't.

Mags cheer me up somedays. They fill some sort of fluff-quota in me that I sometimes seek. I'll admit right now that I don't read them for the articles. It is all about the visual for me. But geez, I dunno, these prego star stories are just wearing so thin. Buzz off, Bec and Lley-Lley, please stop flaunting and go enjoy your baby in privacy. Tom and Kate? We-hell, I'll leave that right there.

And now Brad and Angelina? The impossibly wonderful, charity-giving, adoptive mega-uber-stupour-superstars now pregnant?

Please somebody make it stop.


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