Sunday, August 31, 2008


And after approximately 14 months, I've finally pulled my finger out and written my new website.

I'm so pleased with the way it's turned out, it has been a monkey on my damn back, constantly drumming its fingers and looking at me pointedly. Kind of like what Pepper does when she wants in after she's finished her tea at night.

It's taken me a while to grasp CSS properly, I learned it just after I'd had the LGBB and all I remember is, I've GOT to concentrate on this. I need to learn this language of code if it fries every brain cell in my head. And it worked, I can pretty much write an entire site these days without using a design program.

However.... it takes so much concentration for me, because I'm self-taught, and the ways of Web 2.0 are so different now to when I first began with web design that I just cannot fathom the thought of constantly keeping up. Add to this the fact that I have a littl'un running around, or to run after, that my time to concentrate is so limited. I don't have the head space or the passion to do it anymore. Besides, I'm a bit of a dinosaur in terms of web design, I guess, but hey I reckon I did an orright job of my new site.

My real love is in creating, designing, making things look pretty. Which reminds me to show off something I've recently completed - that's for next time. For me, near enough is NEVER good enough. And I am the type who prefers not to even enter in the race if there's a chance I may not win it, or at least (these days I've dropped my standards on myself) come in the top three. Sooo.... it's probably best I back away slowly from web design and just focus on what I love.

Not to mention, I still have some serious book writin' to get on with too! And this finalising of the business website is just another path cleared for me to concentrate even more on the book. Huzzah!

Here 'tis! Whaddaya reckon? Is that little Refresh Picture button in the top right corner of the home page as addictive for you as it is for me? It's like spinning a roulette wheel.... Just when you think you've seen every image, a new one slips in (there are at least 14 I can remember putting up, you just have to be patient for them to cycle through because it's randomly generated). I still have to update the other page headers to do the same thing, but that's probably actually never going to happen even though the button's there, all ready and waiting for me to fire off the commands to make it happen *sigh* Piss off, monkey (ooh, and can you find any broken links anywhere?)

Last thing to do is to update Ella's Pages, but that's another rather big ongoing job currently in the pipeline. It's a blog format now and is far more dynamic and hopefully will act as a place for people to connect. Don't want to say too much more but, yeah, I have hopes it'll be good for whoever visits (seeing as she gets a fair few frequent visitors around the world).

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Celebrating him in our lives.

He knows. But just in case he forgets sometimes, like I do...

I may not always love you
But long as there are stars above you
You never need to doubt it
I'll make you so sure about it
God only knows what I'd be without you

If you should ever leave me
Though life would still go on, believe me
The world could show nothing to me
So what good would livin' do me
God only knows what I'd be without you

God only knows what I'd be without you

This image is one of my enduring favourites of two of the loves in my life. Doesn't matter how many photos I take of them together, this is the one in my mind's eye. In it, Lolly is barely 4 hours old.

Favourite of the moment

I recently wrote of the words the LGBB was getting almost right.

There's just one more that I feel compelled to share. It is by far my favourite of the moment, just because of its sheer irrelevance to the actual description of what she's trying to name.

I first noticed it a few weeks ago. Tried to give her the correct pronunciation by repeating it. Then promptly forgot she'd said it. That was, until the other day, when Steve and I thought a slow walk in the open air would do us all some good, not least of all our poorly girl.

So we walked up the street, past the shops, pointing out little things to her. She was less than amused. All of a sudden, rounding a corner, there it was. The thing that caused the LGBB to point and exclaim, withered but excited, "Cray boots!"

Can you guess what it was? A fish monger perhaps? Someone wearing boots at all? A person?

No. It was her play group.

Did I tell you how much I love her mis-said words?

Friday, August 29, 2008

A final putting my hand, foot and mouth in it

Well, that wasn't very fun.

While the after-effects still settle down, I now have my voice (sort of) back to normal. Lolly pretty much looks like she was never so sick just a few days ago, except for the now fading tell-tale spots still around the corners of her mouth, on her feet, around her nappy line and in her mouth. She tells me that eating certain things is still "a bit funny", but this does not also produce pain-filled tears and a need for a cuddle every time she takes a swig of something or puts food in her mouth.

I copped it pretty badly too. The ulcers were confined mostly to the inside of my mouth, with just a couple of sores in the corners of my mouth that really just looked like red scratches to the eye. Yesterday, I got a few more grazes up under my top lip. The virus is still working its way out of my body, apparently (and the LGBB's).

I'm over it. So bloody over the headache (which is there again today and has been solidly since last Friday, despite my good friend, Pana Deine), the general body lethargy, the fuzzy thoughts, not feeling like I can cope with the LGBB, not being able to speak, to sing, to read books in order that I may amuse a steadily feeling-better child, who is getting better much faster than me (who cannot rest it off, due to said child). It's a bit of a vicious circle but we're nearly through it. I'm sick of the weakened joints, I am just hanging out for a decent massage to ease some of the tension built up in my back from the aches and chills of the past week.

We'll be contageous for at least another week yet. Once the sores clear, it is still able to be passed on for another 5-7 days. What joy.

Two stir-crazies, just completely and utterly OVER one anothers' company.

One thing I find lovely, though, is that even after the day in, day out, no break from each other nature of all this, the LGBB chose me to read her a story last night before bed. I felt up to it and could actually speak, albeit through a husky cracking voice to rival Kim Carnes. So I took her down and decided to go for an imagination-story. No book. Flying solo. During tea, she had suddenly piped up, "Little Charlie is at school." See, on the weekend, in an attempt to distract her from her wracking pain, I put on the original (and best, IMO) dvd of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for her for the first time ever. She had lain there, dazzled by the opening sequence and allowed me to explain the story to her as it unfolded. We only got to the chocolate river part. But still, that's a good twenty or so minutes in to the movie. She's seen it two more times since then and lost interest at the same spot so I am quite sure she thinks the movie is simply about a little boy called Charlie who finds a golden ticket and goes and sees a man about a river. And that's it.

So last night, when she started chatting about Charlie, I decided to make a precis of the story and told it to her as she lay there, falling asleep in my arms and desperately trying to stay awake. Good. I wanted her goooooood and sleeeeepy. There were several requests for The Candyman song, which just finished her off.

I lay her down in her bed and she snuggled in, surrounded by her friends - she is SO me as a little kid, she keeps befriending new stuffed toys off her shelf and insisting they enjoy the comfort of her bed, so what started as one bedtime toy increased instantly to three, then four and at one stage before we cut them back, she had six in there. My high count was somewhere in the thirties, so she's got a long way before she beats the master. And I got those little emotional catches of breath in my throat, looking down at her sweet little excited, full face as I bid her sweet dreams, with Charlie and Willy Wonka and Grandpa Joe... her grin got wider and wider and didn't leave her face as I left the room.

I thought I'd done so well. Sending her off to the Land of Nod with these images in her mind. If only she didn't feel the need to then chat to Charlie for the next half an hour. But my God, it was funny listening in.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I am NOT even kidding

I would have been giddy with relief and joy at seeing my girl playing with her doll house after days of doing not much more than writhing and hitting out, desperate as she was to jump out of her own skin.

But when I rounded the corner and discovered the LGBB's version of a tea party (note to self: get her a dolly sized tea set), I had to heave a sigh of sheer delight.

She thinks coffee ought to be big enough for mum to swim in it like it's a hot tub? I'M WITH HER.

And what are the sizes of the muffins that go on THOSE plates?? Awesome. I'm coming over to her place next time it's coffee morning.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Just sit right down and you'll hear a tale

A tale of a fateful trip... What we have here is a confessional of maternal proportion. The good, the bad, the downright ergly.

I made THE single worst decision in my parenting career to date on Friday night. I brought the LGBB in to bed with us. I thought it would help. The poor kid had been really off (only way to describe it) all day Friday - pale and dazed-looking, not responding to all the usual things and just simply not herself. I took her to the doctor that afternoon and he told me she was more than likely coming down with tonsillitis. Okay, what do we do now, I wondered? What ho! We wait. We wait, said the doctor, until tomorrow and then if she gets any sicker, bring her back and we'll be able to see clearer what's going on.


So I took the LGBB home and began plugging her with Panadol and Nurofen, hoping like crazy that this was going to be just some 24 hour yucky cold/bug thing. I queried with the doctor if it was safe to give her these if she was not eating and having scarce fluids. Yup, he told me, it'd be fine for at least 3-4 doses. That gave us til Saturday afternoon, I thought naively, because Shirley she wouldn't wake that night - she must be so exhausted - and therefore, wouldn't be having any med's.

By 7pm, Steve and I realised we were going to be in for an all-nighter. What made it more interesting was, I was coming down with something too. Throat on fire, head like it was stuffed in a bucket (y'know, compressed, pressurised, whatever) and aches, stabbing pains and chills beginning to creep up my back, arms, thighs and into my hips. It was in this state that I made a really horrible remark to Steve, in front of the LGBB, that I am most ashamed of. Most ashamed :( I told him to *cough* fuck off. Fuck right off, I believe it was, actually. Over some female-perceived notion that, as a male, he was dithering about and not providing her what she needed, no matter how long I stood back and allowed him to try. I whispered it to him as I was sitting with her in our rocking chair and in the dimly lit room, against the backdrop of her gorgeous night time la-dee-dah music, I told her knight in shining armour to fuck right off. Klassy, non? I even did a bit of a Mastermind (remember that show?) trick and turned in the chair so we had our backs to him. God what a princess. I blame heightened pain and worry. Not that it's any real excuse. What made it worse was that Lolly, so delirious from not sleeping that day except for a couple of grabs so far and also beginning to really ail from whatever this was, drifted into a limb-jerking sleep in my arms and right as she did, she talked in her sleep. It made me burst into silent, self-berating sobs. Because she said, "Daddy..... go 'way." Oh God oh God :( Steve walked back in behind me moments later (see, he knew I needed him even though I told him to fuck off and what a man, because if it were me, I would've said, right back atya, asshole, and kept walking, doing a bit of a Tyra Banks-head wiggle butt-slap, kiss this, on my way out - see, again, a princess). And I turned the chair back around, face full of tears, "I'm soooo sorry. I didn't mean it." I told him what she'd said, drifting off, and he gallantly replied, "Well it could have been a statement or a request, you know, Lenny. I was leaving the room when she was drifting off." Yeah. Maybe. Saved by the husband.

So anyway, this one-to-two-hourly night waking began at 9.30 and continued until, sometime around 2am when she woke again, I went in and bundled her up in my arms, deciding she was bound to sleep more peacefully snuggled between her Mum and Dad.

Uh.... and that brings me to the worst decision I've made so far doing this gig. Ho deary me. What was I thinking? Instead of getting grabs of sleep in two or so hour lots, "sleep" for the rest of Friday night consisted of all three of us rolling around uncomfortably to avoid the person next to us. Much huffing and wailing and thrashing (and sweating) was had.

By 6am, Lol was sitting up. Absolutely over it. Crying and grabbing at her lower lip, hooking her fingers in it and wailing. I couldn't stand it, the meds weren't cutting it, there was obviously something quite terribly wrong. So off to the hospital we went. I was by now nursing a fever myself.

Another bloody useless idea, going to the ED, I'm sure many of you could attest. We knew before we left the house. We knew before we got in the car. We knew as we made the short drive to the emergency department that they'd do little to help. BUT... you still have to try, right? No stone left unturned and all that. Right. So we sat with the LGBB in the empty waiting room for over half an hour - not a bad wait, all things considered - and then had more waiting as shift changeover happened with the day shift doctors. Then more waiting after the nurse took the initial explanation (which you give to the Triage Nurse). Then more waiting after explaining the same thing for the third time to the doctor. Oh and one more time through, for good measure probably, to the head doctor after the doctor who saw us wanted to consult with him. AAAAAARGH.

And after all that? We were told to go home and keep up with the meds. That was it. Three hours of our lives we'll never get back. I don't know what I expected. That perhaps someone would give us a magic wonder pill that would cure her pain? Not too much to ask, was it?? I didn't initially think so.

So all Saturday, now all of us sleep deprived and me with increasing flu-like symptoms forcing me into bed by 6.30, we watched on as the LGBB thrashed about on the floor like a fish out of water every time her medication wore off. It was agonising, I'm sure, for her but just too much for me to stand by and watch. And by lunchtime that day, to make it agonisingly worse, she was refusing to take ANYTHING by mouth. Her fluid intake became dismal, but there were bouts of sipping of pear juice via a straw and some clear tea (honey and lemon).

Saturday night, by some miracle, she went to sleep fairly easily - okay, that's a tad misleading, Steve did have to sit with her still for 45 minutes (for us, it's normally a very simple story-read then tuck in bed, night-night kiss, lights out and don't hear from her for 12 hours) - but considering she was so poorly, we thought this was quite good. We fell asleep, exhausted, at about 7pm.

The fireworks began about an hour later. Fireworks to rival the Sydney Olympics extravaganza because, apparently, the Tinpot Junction cricket club was having, I don't know, a celebratory Trivia Night salute to Guy Fawks. Faaark me. So we were awake. On tenterhooks. And then she cried out. And then the dogs started barking at the banging. And then, it all stopped. Lolly was only crying out in her sleep. The dogs settled mercifully (normally they are impossible to stop once they start during fireworks). At 10.25, oh joy, the phone rang right by my head. Caller ID showed it was from a payphone. Who the hell do we know who'd be calling us on a payphone? I thought. And when the machine picked up, just as I slumped my aching body back down to listen, all I heard was a woman who said, "Did she mention sleep?" to someone, presumably, standing with her, before she grunted at his reply to her question and hung up. How odd. But how fitting she mentioned sleep. This sleep of which you speak, where can I buy it, lady??

But of all these things, none were more wretched than not physically being able to get to my wailing child. I was aching. But my head and my body were just not able to get me there. I was in nauseating, feverish stage, my body was wracked with not only maternal guilt at not being able to get up, but also disorienting pain. At around 4am, though, I literally forced myself up and down to Steve and Lolly - I heard her say "Drink??" on the monitor imploringly as I passed it so grabbed her cup on the way down. At least Steve would have something to give her and thankfully, she was apparently desperate enough right now to drink. It was overpowering her instinct not to inflict more pain on herself.

So another hourly waking night was had. By Sunday morning, the LGBB was pretty desperate and I was not prepared to go another day without a visit to a doctor again. So we managed to get an appointment at 11 o'clock that day.

"Hand, foot and mouth," she diagnosed. And so it was. By the end of Sunday, our poor little girl had lips and cheeks the size of a Hollywood celeb overdosing on botox. Ulcers in her mouth, on her tongue, inside her cheeks and lips. She has scratches on her chin from where she's pawed at her face. She pretty much hasn't swallowed since Friday night so we've been going through clothes (and drool rags) at a rate of knots. Washing is piling up everywhere as I haven't had the occasion to hang it out after it's been washed, even though it's needed immediate washing. The LGBB is fast running out of clothes, as every top we put on her is saturated down the front and on the sleeves within minutes from her avoidance of swallowing.

By Sunday night, our trickery to entice fluid to pass her lips was futile. Icy poles, milk, jelly, juice, warm "tea" (honey and lemon in boiled water), plain old water... all out. Our efforts to bypass oral pain relief and head straight for the suppository were in vain. Or should I say, they were a strain. More for the LGBB. And did she what.... she didn't stop straining until she shot out that nasty little pill. If only she knew the relief it would have brought her.

I phoned the nurse-on-call hotline too and went through our situation with a great nurse called Anne, a mum of five, who soothed my self-doubt and said I had been doing all the right things, that the alarm bells in my head about how little she'd been drinking that day compared with what Steve was turning into silver linings, was correct. "A mother's intuition is most powerful," she confirmed to me. She also told us that, basically, our crunch time to get her fluid intake way higher was Monday night, "otherwise she'll have to go on a drip".

We managed to all get something more resembling a full night's sleep last night, which is one mercy, when we dosed the LGBB up on Phernergan just so she could rest and hopefully sleep some of the virus off. She managed about 6-8 (but still broken two or three times) hours, which was good.

This morning, her wellness within herself was shining through more - there were more attempts to make conversation and glimpses of a very lispy, dribble-clogged Lolly appeared - but her ulcers and spots are at their worst now. I think they will begin to pass within the next 24 hours.

What is more pressing is that she is currently still standing at only one wet nappy for all of today. Not good. I am waiting for her to wake - she just resettled, with a little of my assistance, as she cried out but really did not want to get up yet and given that she hasn't been shown much mercy on the pain front so therefore has been unable to get any decent sleep, I've allowed her to keep sleeping and she's drifted back off again, poor wee mite - so I can try my next trick: a hot chocolate with dunking biscuits. A new delight that I had hoped to save up until she was at least ten. But hey, when illness calls for it, you pull out the big guns.

I need to duly acknowledge the phone and email support I have had from my close circle these past couple of days. Especially grateful this time, am I, for having you there. As one dear friend said earlier this afternoon, "I know what you're going through, I can handle anything, anything except when they cry in pain." And she's right. My eyes pricked with tears then, for it is that - seeing your child writhing in front of you, stiffening their body, rolling and contorting in such obvious pain and when you bundle them into your arms, they flail and you realise you're only making it worse so you lay them back down and just have to sit by.

I did this yesterday morning and waited until the LGBB had exhausted herself some more. This all happened after a dose of Panadol so she has obviously been experiencing some chronic pain which, alas, not even the comfort of her dummy in this instance could relieve. When she had stopped flailing about so much, I chose my moment to ask her for a cuddle - as if I needed it (which I seriously did) - and she blessedly stretched out her arms. It had been hours and hours since she had wanted me, Daddy has been her comfort shoulder of choice this weekend and I am so, so glad she wanted one of us at all. I think I would have been quite beside myself by now if she had been rejecting both of us, leaving us helpless while she just went through it on her own. And so I picked her up, cradling her on my crossed lap on her bedroom floor. She looked so much like a big girl, lying there with her long golden hair falling down to the floor. Gazing up at me with such a tired, drained face, I spoke straight to her and let her know for the first time that Mummy really didn't like seeing her this way. That it was very upsetting for her and for Mummy and Daddy as well, that we were so sad we couldn't make the pain go all away. She listened. To all of it. It was as much for her as it was for me. But I was honest with her. A policy I want to instil in her and have her know it's a trait she can trust in me.

We're sort of shattered right now, as at Monday afternoon. Today, there has been barely more than, I'd say, 3-500ml drunk all day. No food. Copious diarrhoea and one wet nappy at 9am. We are staring down the barrel of the IV drip if things don't change when she wakes. Please wish me luck. Steve has gone back to work - for respite more than anything, no doubt, poor beggar, he has been nurse to both of us for much of the weekend - and as our one saving grace retracted their offer of support and hands-on today, we have been left to fend for ourselves again. I was so hoping their involvement would entice the LGBB to drink, but I guess understandably, they don't want to risk becoming infected as it will throw them out for a few weeks (even if they don't get it, I think they can pass it on still? Not clear about this).

I've been writing this over the past three days. It's good to get it down and out. I think we need a big lie down and a family holiday after this. And me? Well, I'm over the worst of it. I'm sure of that *winces hopefully* The head is still sore and stuffy. The aches are still there, especially in my joints, but it all feels like it's subsiding. Panadeine is at least being more effective today. I am certain I will be back on deck tomorrow, in full command of the flight deck for my little one.

So. We're contageous. We're kind of feral. Don't come within ten paces. We may bite.

The best of me

I'm getting around to updating what happened with us on the weekend. Until then, please.... enjoy this little tid-bit that happened on Saturday (mind you, while our LGBB was not so blissed and rather more bombed, poor little poorly-girl).

To begin, let me pose a simple enough question: What does a parent hope to pass on to their child? A sense of self-worth? Common decency? A sense of humour? Compassion? All of the above?

While distracting herself at her toy cash register, trying to retrieve some coinage in the drawer, the LGBB was overheard to mutter absent-mindedly to herself, "Where is that Charlie Chan?" *

Adda-grrl. It's so lovely when a parent sees themselves reflected in their child. For me, it's retention of the utterly useless but always amusing movie lines that let me know the force of my genes is strong in this one, Luke.

*dreamy sigh* I picture the three of us in years to come, carrying out entire days of conversation using only movie lines. Just like her father and I used to do before she came along.

* Something we say when either a moment is awkard (a la the Chinese restaurant scene where Bill Heslop's bit on the side comes over to the table and flirts in front of Muriel's poor mum) or when we literally cannot find something.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


What day is it today? Oh My God... I can lift my head and open my eyes.

The LGBB has shared with me a horrendous dose of the flu. She has been inconsolable for three days straight and I am desperate for her. Worst part? Since it hit me worse yesterday lunchtime, I have not been able to get to her even to offer my ineffective comfort.

We've had two nights of round the clock 1-2 hourly waking and two days full of screaming, crying, whinging and wailing in between blessed few-minute respites of distractions (in the form of, namely, Hi-5 - although they no longer cut it *I'm scared when Hi-5 can't even help* - and pancake making with Daddy).

Oh dear God, let this pass soon.

More later, when the screen stops scrolling on its own.....

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Next: World Domination


Fools, all of them, fooooools!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Astounding news

I would just like to acknowledge how breathtakingly difficult it must be for parents, who have had to struggle to reach viability (I hear it's actually as early as 23 weeks now in some babies' cases??) to even give their baby a chance at taking a breath outside the womb, to now hear in the latest local news that a bill is being thrashed out right now about legalised abortion up to 24 weeks gestation.

I will NEVER judge someone in any position when it is as emotion-charged, and with so many variables to consider. However, I do have a real time getting my head around the fact that one woman can be in a bed convalescing and praying each day that her leaking amniotic fluid still replenishes to keep her baby safe enough to grow. Inch by inch, hour by hour. Then in the next bed, one day soon it may be likely that a woman has been addmitted and induced for a planned termination - at the same gestation.

I'm ... without speech on this one.

My head reels with the intricate details that they are probably going over in Parliament, one by one (and I hope to God they think of everything if they are going to pass this). There are many, but some stand out more than others. Namely, the fact that, after 20 weeks, a formal burial and also a birth and death certificate for the baby is required - what are they going to do, allow an unwanted pregnancy to go without the same?? Surely not.... There are women I know, and I know of many more, who, on the advice of medical staff, have terminated before 20 weeks "to avoid all the rigmarole and paperwork and ramifications" a very much loved and wanted baby because of abnormalities incompatible with life. These mothers now go through life without a birth or death certificate for their very real, very here, yet legally unacknowledged bub. Now, are they really saying that, viability tightrope aside, a baby who manages to gestate this far (and in my world, yes, babies manage to make it that far) and whose life is going to be cut short at the hands of the decision-maker who in other situations would actually be their advocate for survival, is not going to be legally recognised as having been born? Or are they? Either way, whether the birth and death certificates are remaining or not, what a throughly heart-wrenching thing for others to realise is happening in society around them.

Look, I know, it's me trying to be Pollyanna again. But why aren't they considering the fact that so many parents are living with pre-term stillbirth and, in some cases, red tape that prevented them getting these very symbolic and cherished pieces of paper?? Will they? Will they think? I realise it's being set up to protect first and foremost the mother. Ok. I think I can accept that, for, as I said, I cannot judge anyone in this position (somewhere I have not - yet - been myself, but somewhere I could always be with each and every one of my pregnancies, past and future). I cannot say that I would do as others would decide, and vice versa. This goes a little beyond that, though. Surely someone will think of the wider community here and take that into consideration too. If it is now going to be so "easy" to terminate at such a late point in a pregnancy, please let some things change for parents who are being coaxed into terminating before 20 weeks then. Are they going to have the extra few weeks too? Or are those who have been told the abnormalities are terminal and unsurvivable outside the womb already damned and therefore deemed best to end their torment sooner rather than later?

Who ultimately decides? Yes, yes, they are saying there will be extensive counselling provided for the woman, but how far will they go? Will they discuss all the growth that has happened to that point? Will they take her to a NICU and show her 24 weekers with parents who cannot take their eyes off their struggling children as they are hooked up to machines? Will they let parents who have lost a child at that gestation talk to these mothers?? Is this the extent of the counselling they are considering? I doubt it...

If they are just selectively reporting the facts and this Bill is actually being passed in order for women to have a few extra weeks to decide whether to keep a child who has birth defects or other abnormalities that are terminal or severe, then I can come around to it. Marginally. But if this is also going to be something allowed for those women who are "lucky" enough to not even realise they are pregnant until they're halfway (apparently, in some strange mystical faraway land from mine, that does happen more often than I care to imagine) and they do not want to keep the pregnancy, then somebody had better stop me from raging up to Canberra to pose some scenarios to them, involving people who are out there every day struggling to get their babies to a size and gestation for the best (or the only) possible chance of survival.

It literally does take all my breath away.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Lady Bliss Bomb's life of leisure

It was not even 9am when I was finishing off a report yesterday and suddenly, I felt a little hand on my leg.

Looking down, I locked eyes with a concerned looking LGBB, who cocked her head on one side and stated earnestly, "I nee'a coffee."

What? Mummy needs a coffee? I asked, assuming I'd misunderstood.
No, I was corrected firmly by the LGBB. "I need coffee."

Get this kid to the café. STAT.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

This may be my next addiction

This woman invokes the same responses in me as do several of my dearest friends. That one where my body is lurching forward in friendly, positive solidarity with what they are saying, right before the Seinfeld-esque "GET OUT!!" push (which just seals the confirmation and could more easily and perhaps less painfully be implied if I just said, why yes, dear friend, I understand and can relate to feeling sheepish about handing your child over to your partner before he's even had the chance to put down his keys and finish saying "Hello, I'm hom....")

Can't. Stop. Watching. She's going in my bloglist. I think she's my new friend. Actually, her and Melbourne Radio 3MP, I am most surprised and not a little embarrassed to say. This is the most nurturing, mumsy station (to me)! I have discovered that listening to it, I can breeze through housework, literally whistling while I go, and feeling like doing those stereotypical circa 70's/80's things like have a Tupperware party on a Thursday afternoon and serve pumpkin scones and make cucumber sandwiches on white bread with no crusts... and I think it's because it conjures up memories of times of my early childhood when my own mother would listen to this station and sing while she worked around the house and entertained, as you did back then (before the days of blogs and online shopping). It's comforting to know there are parts of my past that had soft landings. Just strange that they can be uncovered with the "easy music" experience that is 3MP. You tell me, where else would I be able to hear, in this order, ABBA, The Beach Boys, The Dixie Chicks, Simon & Garfunkel, Backstreet Boys, The Beatles, then Nora Jones? Ok, yes, most of them can be found on my iTunes play list. But where else? Not particularly saying I'm in to all these artists. But it's different. It's not all Miley Cyrus and The Veronicas every hour. All those stations that boast variety... pah, I say to them.

I blame my Obstetrician for this. I had to be put on hold a few times over the past couple of months, when I had to phone to make appointments and then again when I finally called to see if my booking at the day surgery clinic had been made. Their hold music is 3MP. And I wanted to give him a sound telling-off for being so daggy. But now I find myself unashamedly rediscovering the side of me that knows how to nurture... me! Guess I ought to actually think about thanking him instead, huh.

So. Care to share? What's your sheepish daggy delight? What's the thing that nurtures you, harking back to your childhood memories of being well taken care of? Do you have one? Or are you all ultra-hip and unwilling to divulge your love of, I don't know, Women's Weekly recipe card parties?

Monday, August 18, 2008

And in your dreams, whatever they be...

Well. The last time I heard this song, I wrote about it.

The very next time I am listening to this song, years later, I am posting this. It's on the radio right now still, as I type this. I'm swooning just hearing it!

I am sitting here quite agog. But smiling. And flushed. And a bit teary. This song by far just epitomises EVERYTHING about my journey with Ellanor. Everything. It comforted me, it comforted her, when I sang it.

I can't think anything else other than... I had to hear this today, given the current climate. Thank you, baby girl :)

That thing called Life

Today more than one person's life will change forever.
Someone will be shocked at how "normal" things felt this morning, before the sudden impact.
Someone else will know it's about to change, but they don't know quite how.
I sometimes wonder which is more difficult to handle.

And right now, as I often do, I am thinking about the many millions of faceless, nameless (to me, yet they all have names and they all have faces if I was able to see them all) people in the world who today will have their lives changed forever. It is more than sparing a thought for them. And it is something everyone is capable of offering people they will never meet. But to explain it in full would make this a humungous and off-topic post.

When I went through my first reeling life direction change, I stood in a bathroom at work and couldn't recognise my own face. That is how much I changed. I had morphed into somebody unrecognisable to me, but because it had happened so far under the surface, it wasn't until the next time I really tried to look at my reflection that I was so stunned by the fact that I didn't know who I was anymore. I vowed then to be more conscious in noticing when things were happening to me, however subtle, that were changing the person I knew as "me" at any given time.

The next time there was such an impact on my life was when I had Ella. I recall now that I would go to the toilets around the corner from the NICU and force myself to look in the mirror. Just to stay connected to my reflection. Ah, that's who I am. She's still there. Sometimes I'd even have to psyche myself up to go back - "Come on" - and I'd shake off my rising feelings of dread and yearning to take flight and desert all this responsibility. It was always a split second desire, but ultimately something I knew I didn't want to do. There aren't enough forces in the world that would have kept me from my daughter's side during her short, full, purposeful life. Note to self: I MUST remember to include this recollection in the book.

But I did learn how to balance protecting myself first - not necessarily putting myself first, more just going in to challenging and difficult situations with a full suit of armour on - with being present in the moment with someone.

I went through a really strange, enormous backward step about two years ago and it lasted for well over a year. Once again, I had to try and define who I was now - and integrate these new experiences with who I had been learning to become up until then. Not strange, though, that this coincided directly with having the LGBB. I was actually thrown more wide open with her birth and her staying in our lives than I had been with having Ellanor and experiencing her passing. By that stage, I knew all about how I coped in a life changing situation. Until... the next unknown one came along and changed my life again.

I find it so fascinating. Changing, evolving, pausing, striving, conscious and spiralling ever upward (for one can never truly "take a step backwards" - it's impossible because one cannot unlearn something unless, of course, they choose to forget and go back to sleep). It is life as I know it.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Why I shouldn't blog when I drink Reason #3,158

Ok, here's me on a typical Saturday night. Listing Ebay stuff (read: procrastinating by going through my iTunes list and marvelling at the dust-covered doozies in my play list, choosing the absolutely daggiest random genres I can find).

Now, I want it duly noted that whilst I considered googling this for the answer - quite a simple and very basic question - I thought, why not just let the blogosphere in on just what goes through the mind of a... well, a tragic.

Is Peter Cetera the lead singer of Chicago? I am intrigued. I shan't google for the answer, I want to a) see if anyone knows the answer, b) see if anyone is still reading my drivel these days, and c) is willing to admit it (that they know the answer and that they are reading) by replying to this post.

So there's your challenge. And uh, make it snappy, will ya? Because I am really itching to know now - that "You're My Inspiration" song is just too similarly sounding to the good old Karate Kid II classic that goes "I am a man who will fight fer yer honour..." Actually, just change the words and I do believe it is exactly the same song. So I am guessing the singer is the same. I am admittedly quite relieved that the name of the lead singer from Chicago is not at the front of my memory. But I shall leave it there, lest I offend Chicago's biggest fan who may just ironically be reading.

And while we're just on my daggy play lists, can I just say a very tipsy OH MY GOD I FORGOT IT EXISTED Re: "My mama said" from the one and only ABBA (Waterloo album)? What a great song! (when you're bored, at least) *cough* Have I said too much? AGAIN?

Look! Over there! *bolts*

Friday, August 15, 2008

A stoning

Well, it's time to start asking the Big Questions.

I've gathered enough energy now and have integrated much of this latest experience of missed miscarriage to begin my new project. In conjunction with writing the book (yes, that's still going along, however slowly), I am going to start properly tuning/tapping in. I haven't had all the tools or understanding until now.

But a question posed to me just yesterday, about finding what I was really - no, really - passionate about and knowing I would know when I knew (how clear...) suddenly woke me up into this new reality.

My waking thoughts as I lay in Recovery all revolved around women. The women who had woken in that room, after IVF egg collections, after suction curettes, after day surgeries on their "parts". They were filling my head. I cried then. I cried for me, it's a given, but I cried for them too. How many people had woken in there with the realisation that their baby's life was officially over? Or that they were about to be plunged again into another IVF cycle with yet another unknown outcome.

I became desperate to get up and move into action. In that bed, in the space of two hours, I planned to do something, whatever it was that I, specifically, could do for these mothers and babies. I went from wanting to be there with them as they were put under, someone to comfort them as I have been done too many times now ("so that means I'll have to maybe become a theatre nurse"), then I wanted to be there to gently help them wake into their new existence as the realisation hit them ("I just want to take that emptiness and pain away for them, so maybe that means .... a Recovery Room nurse?") and finally, I landed on the possibility of becoming a midwife.

So when I was confronted yesterday and talked straight (with Jen), I remembered that final consideration, that seemed sillier the more I woke out of my anaesthetised fog, and in a split instant as she was talking, it smacked me square between the eyes with an undeniable knowing. A midwife. That's what I'm heading towards becoming. A spiritual midwife.

The woman who sits before the mother; the one who holds; the earth-mother; the woman who massages; the woman who leads the child by the hand to be with us; the woman who holds the pelvis; the cord mother; the medicine woman; the wise woman…
[Sheila Kitzinger, Rediscovering Birth, 2001, p131]

On another, though not unrelated, note... What are we missing? What are we not focusing on? What do babies need their mothers to do, say, ask, prepare for them to come and stay, long before they get here?

I called the title of this post 'A Stoning' because, hey, these are questions that are pertinent and yet very rarely brought out and honestly faced. There is a lot of sweeping under the carpet of such esoteric questioning and striving to understand.

I am not saying I brought miscarriage on myself. This is such a naive notion, which goes in the same basket as "I had a fight with my husband or had bad feelings towards him so that's why it's left"..... totally reasonable (though irrational, in hindsight sometimes) thoughts for a woman to have when she lives in such a cause and effect world. I've thought it myself - I spent years living in a self-imposed state of persecution that I must obviously be a bad, evil-to-the-core human being and I was also inflicting my childless fate on my dear husband, who actually did deserve to have a child. It was horrendous reasoning. Frantic, desperate, fear-filled questions of my fate.

When one has lost a child, and lost pregnancies nearing double figures, one asks... "Why is this happening?" Before the LGBB, I had a lot of time to ask those questions. But my focus was absolutely thoroughly blinded by the heavy fog of desperately needing a child to help me fill the void. I can only thank all my lucky, lucky stars that they upstairs saw fit to send me someone who would enhance my experiences and actually make me useful, hopefully, to others sometime down the track.

For I'm no longer talking with the experience of my first or second or fifth miscarriage anymore. I'm walking with the after-effects of my ninth. Sure, on one level this is just a number. And, hell yeah, I know there are more women out there with even greater numbers of loss. Whatever their experiences are to deal with and heal and grow from are their business. My purpose, my passion, my drive... comes from needing to actually talk to the babies. And I know what I need to ask them.

I am scared shitless. But I am going headlong into it. I can do it now. And it's exciting.

Yo Manic Manic

Why is it that every parent I've so far spoken to about this show are unnerved by the fact that Little Jnr is watching it, mesmerised? Shit, even the website gives you a startle.

Is it the way young children seem to go into a trance watching it?
Is it because of the repetitive rather nonsensical, trippy songs and "dumbed down" *cough* educational content?
Is it because, as Steve reckons, that D.J. Lance Rock in the scary orange wig-hat is hatching the first stage of his world domination plan and in twenty years, when all these kiddies are in their early adult years, when he flicks a switch there'll be an uprising using the brainwashed Yo Gabba Gabba legion of toddler fans?

All I know is, there is something about the whole thing that even makes me kind of come over glassy-eyed, with its white backdrop sets and bright colours and spinning monsters repeating the same 3 or 4 words over and over. And if I have to steel myself to look away.... well.

Be scared. Be very, very scared.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

And wouldn't she just go to the opening of a handbag

That Johanna Griggs?

She may be the darling of.... well, she must the darling of someone/thing (aren't they always), it just slips my mind what/who. But do I need to see that mechanical, wide-mouthed, toothy, somewhat maniacal grin on my TV again? All I wanted was to tune out watching some swimming trials. She's going to choke on her dimples if she doesn't watch out. It's getting to me! Perhaps it's the carefully elocuted words or the heavy concentration on the auto-cue. Or, hell, maybe it's just that I'm emosh'nall and I'm sore and feeling rather frumpish and ugly and cack.

And who better to take it all out on.


What the doctor ordered today

He: Hey Lolly... are you going to juggle an ice cube, a tiger and a chainsaw?
LGBB: *thinking a moment* ...Noh!
He: Ok. *pause* Hey Lolly... are you going to wear flippers when we go down the street?
LGBB: *thinking again* No.
He: Ok. *pause* Hey Lolly... are you going to cure cancer?
LGBB: *without thinking and very matter-of-fact* Yes.

To test her, I chimed in and asked if the LGBB was going to ride an alligator to the shops. She looked at me, rather disdainfully (I know, I know, they have to put up with me, it's tragic for them sometimes) and shook her head no. My stupid enquiry wasn't even worthy of a verbal reply.

And later, the future scientist was sitting on her My Little Pony trike and answered an imaginary phone call from Kelly (of Hi-5 fame). "Oh hi, Kelly.... hi *pausing as if to listen* Uh... just ridin'."

I'm ready to go in now. See you the other side of 2pm, sometime.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Ok, this is NOT what I expected...

...when I searched for DIY wheat/heat packs.

I started reading and had NO idea what forum I was in until I saw several mentions of penises. Scrolling up to the top, I saw the forum name.

Ah. The secret life of boys, eh?

Didn't we have fun while it lasted...

Well, there we have it. Pregnancy number 6 to make it into the second half of the first trimester. The third missed miscarriage. And my twelfth pregnancy in total.

I found out today with Dr Unflappable that the baby hasn't grown even a millimetre in the past fortnight. Ho, but the placenta has! What joy it would be to pass at home. So, thanks but no thanks, I'm having a curette on Wednesday.

My head is high, my tears haven't reached the surface yet. I am looking at my little Lolly (gobble bliss bomb) as some sort of unbelievable, unimaginable how-the-fcuk-did-she-get-here miracle. Cannot stop gazing at her this afternoon.

And I miss Ellanor. SO, so, so much more in these past hours since finding out. Ah... here come the tears. Good. Better out than in. All round.

Steve and I are planning hard. He's home with me now. Doing dishes, no less. We're planning big Ebay sells of our hoarded baby stuff (it was in the wings/on the shelf anyway, but had to be put on hold just til the outcome of this little one was known) and want the extension completed within the next year.

I always had an inkling in my mind's/intuitive eye that Lolly would be at least four - I always thought she'd be four - when our next child made its way here. Strange that this has panned out like this. Because I have to say, given that I am about to go through yet another bloody procedure and more general anaesthetic and recovery, I do NOT want to have any more little oopsies. That's two this year. And we've pretty much only had sex twice (or so it seems like).

Great hit rate, you may ruefully think. But I say.... what is the friggen point? I am yet to accept that I seem to be some sort of human experiment or poster girl for pregnancy loss. That is how I see myself. I have to make sense of my losses in order to process them, mentally, emotionally, physically. Not in a "it was meant to be" way or "this was my lesson here, here and here" way. More a "this is not going to beat me, I will learn with each loss how to keep standing back up on my feet no matter if it feels it may slay me for good." This is always how it has felt (to me).

But come ON. This is just losing for losing's sake now.

Thank you all, anyway. Just for being "out there".

That's a little bit of WEIRD

What a night of entertainment we had last night.

• We caught our first mouse (good old Nutella) and now I am so horridly guilty and sorry that I curse the mouse shit on the couch and in the cupboard under the sink that I have to wash and get rid of. Why? Because honestly, it is the smallest little itty bitty baby mouse you ever saw. I hang my head in shame. And set the trap again tonight in the hopes of catching more (oh don't you worry, I'm afraid cleanliness and hygiene are going to win out over my desire not to harm and take a life or 15)

• I ducked out last night and came home after the LGBB had been put to bed. Assuming Steve would be in the front room watching TV, I was surprised when I approached the porch steps to hear the doorbell ringing already. Sometimes it gets stuck and it's not uncommon for someone to push it and it just keeps ringing and ringing until we answer the door, reach around and unstick the button. I walked along the porch and the door flung open. It was Steve - "Alright! I heard you!" he said and I replied, "I didn't push the doorbell.... how long's it been ringing for?" He said about three rings. And that's when we both just stared at each other and went "Wooooooohhhhh!!!!" He asked if I'd seen anyone or if the security light was already on when I got to the porch. I had to admit, the light had come on slightly earlier as I stepped up to the porch, but there was absolutely no way possible that anyone would be able to not be seen. So that was a little mysterious bit of excitement.

• Lastly, we discovered the maximum heating time limit of our wheat pack. How? By putting it on for an extra minute by complete oversight and causing it to catch fire. I had to guffaw at my husband when I walked in to the kitchen as he was standing at the microwave waiting for it to finish (he was heating it for me and those bloody cold feet I've still got) and he mused that it smelled like popcorn. I looked at the time and stopped the machine straight away, got it out and saw scorch marks appearing all over the fabric before our eyes. It was popping and sizzling.... and place STANK to high heaven for the rest of the night.

So. A night full of surprises. I love when that happens. Makes a night go so fast. Mind you, I didn't get to bed until well after midnight and was wide awake again at 6.30. Just waiting for, y'know.... stuff *sniff* Work, cleaning, scans. The usual.

Toodles til later. I'll update results when I can. If I can. Bear in mind if I need to get my head around anything, I may not be up to being all sharing and caring and dignified this afternoon. Oh God, the sinking feeling.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Last Cardiprin


I've just popped the last one. You know, before tomorrow. Before we discover the yes/no as to viability (so far, at least).

I hope to hell I have to keep taking them and it isn't literally "the last one" required.

The Plan pt. 1

Ok, so we have some ideas drawn up. Bit hard to see through my scribble, but ... what do you think?

Some time back, a few of you (correctly) suggested that there needed to be a toilet, at least, in between the two bedrooms. At the time, we were tossing up whether to put the bathroom where our laundry is currently. But as that area is adjacent to the kitchen, and then the bedrooms and existing kitchenette/play room follow after that, it was deemed too far for the furthest bedroom (which is the LGBB's room) for those inevitable night time toily-stops.

So now we have decided to leave the toilet in the laundry, convert all this into an attractive combined laundry-visitor's/third toilet and extend out from the play room to create a study and large family/rumpus room, with a bathroom and second toilet tucked in between the two bedrooms. Currently, the LGBB has a little ensuite in her room which we are going to remove and create a walk-in robe out of. What girl wouldn't love that?! And it means we save a little on walls because we only have to remove the shower and gut the rest, replacing it with a simple shelves and rail system.

Oh, thought I should mention, the other thing is that we wanted a plan that we could do in parts - as in, we are not really needing a second bathroom just yet and could do without it for at least a year yet. The LGBB just uses our bathroom at the moment. The area where the new bathroom will go is still large enough for her toys for now. So we have designed it in such a way that we can work around the narrower shape of the existing structure and all we will have to create is a slightly different wall shape for the middle bedroom until we're ready to extend. Then, the current door from the hallway to the LGBB's "end" of the house will just become the door for that other bedroom......

Oh dear. This sounds so confusing.

Clear as mud?? Sorry! I have two plans so far. I prefer the one on the left. I've also roughed up a current plan, and when I say rough it's reeeeally rough.

Do any of you gurus/drafting hobbyists have any more super-happy-funslide floor plan ideas that we could use in this space? Would looove to hear your thoughts. Our next step is to contract a draftsperson, get the plans drawn up and then get building quotes.

Here is what it currently looks like. Please note the appalling lack of storage/cupboard/linen space and the shoe box sized second bedroom....

We're heading towards the one on the left. It just feels more finished off. We already have two living areas so this third "family" room could be used in a number of ways. I'm picturing little girls' slumber parties already... Due west is down the left hand side of the house:

Saturday, August 9, 2008

The knot

That one. That one you create no matter how carefully you are trying to undo your pants. Your brain has already given your bladder the heads-up, she's in the toilet vicinity, I repeat ... she is in the toilet vicinity, get ready to go, and in the final moments of getting your pants down you pace yourself. You're now busting. You know all you have to do is get your pants off. But there's always that ONE pair of pants (track pants, of course) with the drawstrings that are designed to knot. The fabric attracts knots. You don't know how, but it actually has little knots along each side, from times past where you have infuriatedly decided that that'll do, it will just have to stay knotted.

And you stand there. A little bit of sweat starts to form on your top lip from the effort of keeping your bladder paused, trying desperately not to think about just how very very very MUCH you need to go, now that you are right next to the toilet. But you can't. Oh no, because the knot to end all knots stands between your derriére feeling air and sweet relief.

These days, you can't even do this in private. You have an audience. One little pair of toddling eyes. Ever so ready to boogy and break out anything that looks relatively like a dance move, even if there is no music. So the very reason why your pelvic floor is the abysmal way it is joins you in your hip swivel (that you are trying to keep to a minimum so that you can keep the knot steady as you work at it with your trembling fingers). You will never. Ever. Drink water again while wearing pants. You promise.

And right now, you're all wondering if I'm sitting in a puddle of my own wizz, aren't you? Well... wouldn't you just like to know. But that would be telling. And I don't tell.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Far beyond ourselves

The latest news from Avaaz. Timely, as ever.

ABOUT AVAAZ is an independent, not-for-profit global campaigning organization that works to ensure that the views and values of the world's people inform global decision-making. (Avaaz means "voice" in many languages.) Avaaz receives no money from governments or corporations, and is staffed by a global team based in London, Rio de Janeiro, New York, Paris, Washington DC, and Geneva.

Click here to learn more about our largest campaigns.

Dear friends,

The Dalai Lama's Olympic handshake is circling the world, headed for Beijing. Click below to see more and join the call for dialogue!


As the Beijing Olympics begin, the world looks on with mixed emotions. It's a moment which should bring us closer together, and Chinese citizens deserve their excitement -- but the Chinese government still hasn't opened meaningful dialogue with the Dalai Lama, or changed its stance on Burma, Darfur and other pressing issues.

Even worse, extremists in China are promoting the view that Olympic activism like ours is anti-Chinese. We can't stay silent, but we also can't let our efforts be abused to divide people. So what can we do? The answer comes from the Dalai Lama himself, in an unambiguous gesture of Olympic spirit and friendship: a handshake.

It began in London, passed hand to hand by thousands of us -- now the handshake has gone online, and is criss-crossing the globe on its way to Beijing. All of us can join, Chinese and non-Chinese, and it comes with a promise: to hold ALL our governments accountable where they fall short, in Tibet, Iraq, Burma or beyond. We'll deliver our message in a bold media campaign in Hong Kong and around the world: Click below to see how the Olympic handshake started, sign up to join in, and watch it circle the globe --

The worldwide outcry has produced a little progress, but much resistance from Chinese officials so far. If we are to see advances not setbacks after the Games, we need to show both that our voices will never fall silent, and that our challenge is a positive one.

We have one last chance to reclaim the spirit of the Olympics, with the message of friendship and dialogue we share with the Dalai Lama. The more people join the global handshake, the more powerful our message will be when it hits the Chinese and international media. So let's forward this email on, encouraging everyone to join in. "One World, One Dream" is an ideal that's bigger than the Olympics -- it's time for citizens around the world to take it back.

With hope and respect,

Paul, Ricken, Ben, Milena, Graziela, Iain, Pascal, Veronique and the whole Avaaz team

PS For a report on Avaaz's campaigning so far, see:

In a representative survey of us from all over the world, 92% of respondents recommended we pursue this handshake instead of the often-suggested boycott -- there's a strong consensus that this is the way to get our message across right now.

For more about the Dalai Lama's support for the Olympics and positions on Tibet and China, see:


Don't forget to check out our Facebook and Myspace and Bebo pages!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Smacked back to reality

"...when you hurt, someone comes."

It seems a simple enough statement and one that shouldn't ever be questioned in a child's reasoning. But in 2005, a child neglect case was blown wide open to reveal a child gone feral. A child who didn't bother crying, was emaciated, still in nappies at the age of 5, didn't speak, couldn't walk....

All while in her mother's care.

I have just spent the past half hour reading this from end to end, riveted, sickened, reduced to tears and a lump in my throat. How the hell does this happen? I cannot fathom how anyone of sound mind would consider it acceptable to raise their apparently beloved child this way.

And the thing that guts me the most is that if there is one uncovered, there are more. The world just doesn't know about them.

So what have you done?

I am feeling a bit desperate here. It's all I can do to stay awake. The depression, miraculously (for now), has stayed at bay this past fortnight, when I really did expect to be a heaving mess in some corner with the realisation of another baby on the way and all the months of worry that seems to come with carrying a baby whose health is unknown right to the end.

Add to this the most chronic pregnancy-induced fatigue I have ever had and I am really trying not to look into my near future, for more than just the obvious angst-ridden reasons.

So what have you done for extra support? Hands-on support? I have friends. I have oodles of friends with endless love and words that soothe. But they're spread out over the country, none of them are here near me. And even if they were, they too have young families. I don't have a mother to call on. My father is two hours away (and I don't have him to call on either, really, anyway). The sibling within reach is living his own busy hectic life. There are plenty of people around me who seem to say the right things, like the dearest SIL (married to aforementioned brother) you could hope for, promising to come around more often. But we all know how life gets in the way of those impromptu drop-ins. And they're just a tad too far away for anything that isn't pre-planned. Aside from this, it often doesn't take away from the pressure. It enhances it, if anything. At best, it is the pleasure of having someone else here to chat with for a few hours. But I wouldn't ask her over to put her to work in my home.

This is the part that always adds stress for me, not takes it away. Right now, I'd feel obliged to stay upright, explain myself (none of them know I am pregnant yet), stay in their company. I'd feel like I am dumping the LGBB on them. That people have to make so many things happen and drive at least half an hour to us (though we are far being "far out of town", we seem to be in a corner over 'ere - a beautiful corner we are blessed to live in, but an out of the way place that's sort of seemingly forgotten) also makes me feel very put upon to have things "just so" for when they do visit.

And the PIL *snort* Well.... let's just say a mum (me) who can't ask for help and a MIL who needs to be asked before she'll do anything as simple as make a cuppa for herself (ie. the help is never, not ever, offered out of her own unfounded fears that she'd do it 'wrong', despite me saying innumerous times in Lolly's first year that I wouldn't care that she did something differently to me, but just doing it would be blissful) do not a good match make. I could literally empty off dry washing from a clothes horse into a basket and hang out another full basket right in front of her while she's sitting on my sofa talking to me and she won't lift so much as a face washer. Is this typical? Would I be asking too much? It's a serious question, I honestly wouldn't know!

I am reminiscing about the conversation I had with Steve. The LGBB was eight months old. We were driving somewhere in the car and I said to him, in all seriousness, that I could not with clear conscience bring another soul knowingly into this world with the (lack of) support network we have. It would not be fair on us, on Lolly, on a new baby - I did not at the time believe I was fit to be around a baby, such was my state of panic and desperation. If this was how those familiar to us chose to "support" us, post-neonatal loss, I was none too keen to find out how much we'd be left to sink or swim if there was a next time, once removed from the shock impact.

It's not like I complain. I mean, I do to Steve on occasion. But I don't get out there and whine about "my lot" because, shit, I know very much how different it could be right now. I would choose this pickle over our prior any day.

But it doesn't change the facts before me right now. And how I am going to get through right now. I haven't had so much as a helpful neighbour. The first person who came and did anything useful, without even asking, was my brother's MIL. Bless her. She came over one day when Lolly was eight weeks old and told me she was going to bring in my washing and fold it. I sat on the couch opposite her and cried with joy. And all I had to do to repay her, apparently, was make a cup of tea. She couldn't have been happier to do it. But I am mindful not to ask too much of them. They both work and have busy social lives. They are our main babysitters these days, though we have only asked them a handful of times.

I am sure there are women out there in this predicament. Those who have neither mother, sister, brother, mother-in-law... hell, not even a friend close by ... who can relieve the burden just some of the time. It's funny to me (in a not so ha-ha way) how once again, even in this, Steve and I really do team up and go it alone. We get by. We just bloody well pick up and keep on moving. This is not me being woeful. This is me being rather desperate. I've already said to people that I need help. I have asked. But while I have had sympathy, I haven't received any real helpful help, not often (there have been rare occasions and I won't deny the helpers that). And certainly nothing concrete. Even when I attempted to set up a regular fortnightly morning for Lolly to enjoy her grandparents' company, they did not want to commit. What is with that?? They live over an hour's drive (one way) away. In the middle of nowhere and nothing. They moved there after the LGBB was born. Me bitter, much? That's not for here *rueful pursed lips*

So what do I do? What do others do? When you can't call on that mum, that aunt, that sister? Sister in law or friend. Who the hell does that leave??? I'm so damn exhausted already, I do not relish the thought of doing this over, now with added toddler. All the excitement and anticipation and hope aside.... I do not know how I will do this with my sanity intact.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Swings and round-abouts

I have to talk sternly to myself this week. There's no point talking myself into the worst case scenario waiting for me at my Ob's office next Monday. What will be will be. I have been working hard at expecting the best and walking with hope each day. It's becoming a drain and I am SO close to getting more answers. When three days ago, I was so quietly sure I was in tune enough with my body that I could tell things were "trucking along well" in there, now I am just so not sure.

See, this is what my mind does. It gives me the breaks I need to get by, by offering me logical rational facts: my boobs are the size of melons and it hurts to even walk fast unless I clutch them to my chest, I can feel the blooming bulge of my uterus (no easy feat, given that I have to feel past the flab left from the LGBB, and thank ewe very much for THAT, dear precious), I am still having bouts of mild nausea and the tiredness is chronic - something new and very different for me. A first! Surely that counts towards being a good sign too.

And then, once I've had that break and ridden the crest for a day or three, I hang on tight and head into the trough. All these positive pregnancy signs actually mean zilch. I am pregnant, that's not in question though. The health of the baby is. My doubt then starts to inch its way to the top, niggling, whispering in my ear. "It's coming, you know this can't possibly work, look at your history, look at those odds, there's no way it's still even alive in there, let alone growing normally." I allow myself to believe this then, after just falling for being convinced that it's all alright. I have to do it. If I don't, the absolute shock and devastation would be far too much to have to deal with. I could never again allow myself to think I was invincible. I did that for the last time in December 2004, when I lay there looking at the slow heartbeat of that baby girl who would never make it. I'd been so certain it would be fine, after all it was only the third time I had ever made it that far into a pregnancy (I was 10 weeks at the time) and I thought that I'd be paid a break, given the loss of Ellanor earlier that year. Someone would surely cut that break for us.

There was no break. No deal. No mercy. I had no choice but to end that life, in order to save myself the agony of delivering after she passed. What is more horrific, I ask you?

So I wait. All I can do is wonder between now and next week. Let myself alternately think I will actually meet this baby when it is full term and healthy, and know it will meet its abrupt end next Monday. It's all a guessing game, even for me, and I have always felt I should be the first and foremost to know what's going on in my own life. In my own body. Not so, apparently.

But as Dr Unflappable said last week, even a heartbeat doesn't really seal the deal. Not with us. It was strangely comforting to have that acknowledged by him. And I am quite certain he would be relieved he can talk straight to me like that. He is exceedingly caring and kind, which makes it easier to listen to. Funny thing is, I'm not as sensitive as I used to (or could) be about pregnancy loss. Someone talking this frank to me about my losses used to really raise my ire. But, perhaps because he is one of the few who truly understands where we've been and what we're faced with whenever we are pregnant, I can hear it from him and feel looked after and neither slapped in the face nor condescended or misunderstood. It's a relief in some respects to realise that I've become partially desensitised, otherwise I would really not be living life right this moment. You can't let these things bring you down, yet it's a fine balance to meet them squarely and not pretend they aren't there.

Oh yes, I have taken out that box of darkness from the top shelf of my subconscious many a time. I know its contents well, scoured and hunted and challenged each thing in that box. They don't scare me anymore. I'm not surprised or shocked or repelled by anything in it anymore. Let's just hope there's no more room in it to squeeze another deep, dark loss.

So here I am. How many sleeps? *counts fingers* Seven. Just seven. Why, that's practically tomorrow! I can do this.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Being creative

I'm currently in the process of updating Ellanor's entire site. It's far more interactive, a blog format. And I'm using WordPress! (sorry, Blogger, but it sort of shits all over you.....)

Loving it so far. It has brought me closer again to the information we have on her site. This time, I hope that the people from around the world who sporadically email me can actually find each other on there as well.

My hope was always to start a forum or blog, or similar, where people could be brought together to chat. The people I come across (or rather, who come across me, via Ella's pages) always sound so relieved to have found a "real live" person with a balanced translocation, or a partner of someone who has one. There's a desperation there sometimes, that they are not alone - or not alone in having this little strange evolutionary glitch in every cell of their body. That alone is huge to come to terms with, but if you are then contributing to failed attempts to conceive a baby... it's something that can bring the strongest person to their knees until they accept and research it further.

I think I love the internet today.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Australia's longest running IVF recipient

Did I tell you about this? I don't think I did. I can't BELIEVE I forgot.

When I had my hair done a few weeks back, it was by a new hairdresser. A girl who was very vocal about her friend, someone who was still waiting to have a baby. It was the kind of conversation that made me instantly regret explaining in more detail (when she pressed for it) my situation with regard to children. You know, the whole "So how many kids do you have?" line of questions.

So. Here she was, telling me about her friend, whom I of course felt for, doing countless IVF procedures to, as yet, no avail. She even moved to Tasmania to work with the best IVF doctor in the country.

Hang on. This piqued my interest. Let me get this straight...

"The top IVF doctor is in Tasmania, is he?" I asked innocently.
"Yeah, and she moved there just to be treated by him," was the reply. Right. So here we have the (allegedly) longest-running IVF patient, moving off the mainland, to pursue treatment with someone who ... quite frankly speaking ... if he's the best in Australia, certainly hasn't helped her yet.

I was itching to ask how long she had been doing assisted conception for, but felt it far too private a question to ask. It was none of my business. However, I didn't have to wait long until the information was offered voluntarily. I thought I had misheard, actually, and had to ask her to repeat - "How long??"

Three years, was the reply. Well, well. Australia's longest-running IVF patient has been doing it for three years. I had to admit, this was news to me. I'm sure I've met women who have been doing it for a decade. Perhaps I am mistaken. And maybe, for all I know, the best IVF doctor is in Tasmania.

From what I know of my own journey, hell yeah, three years can feel like an eternity. Heaven knows it feels like your entire lifetime has been spent trying to bear a child, sometimes that often happens after the first year. Adding year after year on top of that.... well, the desperation and frustration just mounts and mounts. So I can well imagine the poor girl could have perhaps quipped at one point to her best friend that she'd been doing this for so long that she must surely be the longest IVF recipient in the country. Such a shame that her best friend has apparently taken her literally and retold it, to who knows how many customers now. I can see how that original statement can just sound laughable in another person's hands.

Just another blaringly obvious example of the danger of such information in the hands of someone who either has not been listening to her friend, has a friend with a strong sense of exaggeration or does not have her finger on the pulse of the groundswell of infertility stories out there. Or all of the above.

Friday, August 1, 2008


Oh WHY am I having period pain again??

Urgh. And double URGH.

Each night, I am having mini panic attacks as I drift off to sleep, imagining I am just about to feel the "BANG" beginning to a miscarriage. Why is my brain going this way? Why can't I train it not to think bad thoughts?

I keep thinking, I don't feel sick enough. Or I don't feel sick for long enough. Or I'm plain tired, it's not really pregnancy exhaustion. I can't suck my belly in now if I tried. So I am forced to go looking for some not-so-maternity-looking maternity wear, am about to go now (hey, I was pushing maximum density in the clothes I already owned, orright? I am not going to make it another fortnight with my clothes pushed already to their limits - all things that were fairly loose, and should have been baggy to begin with, are now positively fitted if not tight).

How many more sleeps to scan day?? A BAJILLION. Ugh. I'm about to say that thing I loathe.... "It's not faaaaair." Now I sound like a whiny whinger.

Why must my mind fuck with my physiological symptoms, people? Riddle me that.

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