"Edited to Add"....

This started as a pregnancy blog when I fell pregnant in May 2009 after four years of finding a donor, doing all the counselling / paperwork / tests and trying.

And now, thanks to a 4WD which skidded onto our side of the road, killing our baby daughter at 34w and injuring me, my partner and two of my stepdaughters on 27 December 2009, it has turned into something else. We didn't want this something else, but apparently it is all we've got to go on with.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Hard Swallow

**thank you so much for all your good wishes and encouragement for our imminent rumpusing! It was a good reminder of why I shouldn't hide away too long from this lovely place and you lovely people.**

This is a new sensation I've discovered in the past few months - "the hard swallow". It happens when I'm driving, and see a 4WD coming towards me, or when I see a baby and try to estimate - 11 or 12 months old? Or when the IVF administrator tells me the dollar amount we have to pay to start IVF. A ball of fear or sadness, or something of a similar texture, rises in my throat and I have the urge to run / scream / hide. But I know I can't, so instead I swallow it down, "suck it up" and get on with the business of moving through the world.

I'm not pregnant this time. I didn't really think I was, but when I got to the 27 day mark, I just started entertaining little thoughts, "maybe Christmas would feel good after all" etc. But no. And while IVF felt like a relatively positive Plan B when I went to visit Dr Lovely last week, it doesn't feel like such a fun path now.

I'm a big hippy, you see. I don't like the idea of doctors taking control of my cycle, forcing my ovaries to blister with artifically stimulated ova, vacuuming out my eggs, and coercing them to germinate with a selected sperm. It all feels a bit too much like high school dancing classes where we were made to dance so closely pressed to the boys that a record put between us couldn't fall to the floor*. As though the doctors were telling my body, "Oh, just get out of the way and let us do this properly!" I know what it feels like to have medical experts take over my most basic bodily functions - I'm lucky they did, otherwise I would be dead, but that doesn't mean I like it.

We don't *have* to do IVF. As a dear friend has pointed out, our lack of luck so far is probably more about timing than anything else. But given our issues with frozen insems, and the difficulty and stress involved in interstate fresh insems, and "advancing maternal age"**, it is making sense. What I don't like most about IVF is that I feel corralled into it by fear - fear that maybe Z will be the only baby I have, that it is all too late, that if Christmas 2011 were to roll around without a pregnancy in sight, I'd lose what scrap of sanity I've got left. So it is a pragmatic choice, but a very reluctant, sulky one. And it makes me even sulkier to know how much we have to pay for procedures which I don't want anyway (or wish I didn't need).

But this is where the hard swallow comes in. *Gulp*

* Yes - a record! Remember them? Round, flat, black things with grooves on them. Told you I was old.

**I'm 34 - I know that is not so old in the scheme of things, but I'd like to have more than one, and I'm very conscious that it only gets harder and more risky after 35).

Sunday, December 12, 2010


(Image from here: http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/04/06/2865005.htm)

I've been hiding from the whole Christmas thing, and hiding my head here too. It has been a rough couple of weeks. The anxiety truck has hit me like I've never experienced before - building up from an incident a few weeks ago when I was driving and a car very nearly hit us head-on again, but swerved and didn't touch us, thank god. What is it about enormous silver 4WDs - I don't want to get paranoid, but they're all out to get me, aren't they? *insert crazy-lady face here* Normally, I'm pretty good at CBTing myself out of the anxiousness, but this time, I really feel like I dropped my bundle and wasn't actually able to function properly. I was so stressed that poor El Prima was being subjected to me grinding my teeth at night, and I was waking up with pain in my jaw and headaches. I had to ask work colleagues to finish some of my marking for me, cancelled a paper I was going to give at a small local conference, and took some sick leave (and antibiotics for a sinus infection).

Things have eased up now, but I think the extra stress of a near-miss, on top of working full time, TTC, and coming closer to the anniversary of our accident and losing Z was a bit much. With the warmer weather, and the winding up of the university year, it is so hard not to make the comparisons - one year ago, we were frantically packing, and in between I was going for swims in one of the most beautiful places I know. It was a busy, stressful time, but there was something amazing about moving through the saltwater while Haloumi did her own swimming within me.

Please excuse the big whinge. And now for the fun sequel to hiding - running away! Or, to be more correct, sailing away. El Prima, the girls and I are getting on a boat to Tasmania, to go and have a wild rumpus with the wombats.

(image from here: http://my-over-the-fence.blogspot.com/2010/11/wild-rumpus.html)

Christmas? What is that? We'll be rumpusing and white water rafting and beaching and camping, and hopefully eating copious amounts of tasmanian oysters, cheeses and wines.*

TTC? Oh yes, I feel like I've been running away from that too. I was in such a sorry state when I went up to Sydney for the insem that I didn't have much faith in my reproductive system, especially after a shocker 23 day cycle in November. So who knows, who knows? And better still, after months on the waiting list, we went to see the lovely IVF doctor who helped facilitate this fabulous miracle of a family
, so I finally feel like I'm in capable hands. And if (as is likely) we are not jubilantly waving urine-soaked sticks in the air within the next week, then I'll be starting a prescription to begin an IVF cycle. Apart from being capable and lovely, Dr Lovely was also more than happy to fit in with our Tasmanian holiday plans, as he is around in January for a stimulated cycle. So it feels like we have a bit of a plan.

And then, the small matter of the 27th December - the date that has been hovering over my head like a 4WD half a second before impact? We'll look into its beady eyes and will remember what it felt like on the other side - to feel whole and unharmed and hopeful. We'll stand on a beach and tell little Z how much we love and miss her. I don't really know what we'll do, but we will be at this beach, and won't have to drive anywhere, and I'll have El Prima and the girls by my side, which is about as good as it gets.

(image from here: http://www.smh.com.au/travel/all-walks-lead-to-fine-wines-20090205-7ymn.html)

There may not be a lot of internet during the rumpus, so while I'm sure I can squeeze in a little post before we go, I'll get in early and wish you all good things for the season, and a happy & safe start to 2011. xxxxxxxx

* okay, yes, we will 'do' christmas, but it will be in a hut in cradle mountain, and will bear no resemblance to last years Christmas (which counts as 'best ever' christmas thanks to Haloumi, and thanks to my mum, brother, sister, dad and me and El Prima and girls all being in the one spot at the one time).