Those of you who followed my demented ramblings about the untold fun of infertility and IVF may have noticed it’s been a little while between posts.
76 weeks between posts to be precise.
Admittedly this is a trifle tardy. No, I didn’t drop off the face of the earth, I simply became a pregnant person which made my musings on infertility a tad obsolete.
After finally achieving my longed for pregnant state, I suffered a severe and debilitating case of writers block. In all honesty, it wasn’t so much writers block as the fact that with conception came stupidity. I became dumb. So very, very dumb. I’m talking George W. Bush dumb.
So to those of you wondering... yes, The Truffle was born. In March 2008 I gave birth to a 3.1kg bundle of yum. This is he.
That very same day I discovered I had made my first mistake as a mother when we named our son. As we announced to all and sundry that The Truffles post fetal name was Rafferty... all and sundry replied as follows;
“It’s a stupid name!”
“Are you sure?”
“But isn’t that a dogs name... why don’t you call him something normal like Jack?”
Oddly I have never met a dog called Rafferty but I have met several hundred called Jack. But I digress. The net result was that by naming my son Rafferty I would disadvantage my poor child before he had even left the hospital. Seriously, it was such a travesty I’m surprised DOCS weren’t called in to intervene. Without this constructive and helpful feedback from our acquaintances and friends our poor child was destined to live a life of abject horror because we weren’t selfless enough to give him a name shared by 25,000,000 other children.
Regardless, as we are clearly evil and destined to be terrible and wicked parents, we stuck with Rafferty. Thankfully, one year later, the sky hasn’t fallen in. Rafferty has survived his naming and is perfect in every way and amazingly there are many people, whose opinions we respect, who actually like the name and agree that it suits our raffish little Devilboy to perfection.
Before I continue I’d like to take the opportunity to thank those helpful people who were so negative in those first few days whilst I was overwhelmed by postnatal self doubt and anxiety and have this little message for them. “You wanna name it, you give birth to it! Oh, and fuck off!”
Why didn’t I write after Rafferty came along? Partly because after delivering my baby and living without anything resembling slumber for quite some time I became even dumber. In fact, there are chimpanzees that, with the help of some flash cards and a few signs, have better communication skills than did I at the time. Plus I had important gazing and cooing to do at my delicious little baby . Quite frankly, I had nothing to say that didn’t involve my beloved offspring and I figured that no one wanted to read another self indulgent blog about the tedious minutiae of their babies existance.
So what’s changed? Not a lot. My brain is slowly regenerating and I am now probably capable of enjoying discourse with the aforementioned monkeys and even valiantly attempt articulate conversation with sentient human beings. I still don’t have much to talk about other than being a stay at home mother/ freelance media whore and my treasure. But when a terribly clever and articulate friend whose opinion I respect told me I should keep it up, I had a rethink and decided I would - if people don’t want to read about my adventures with the lovely Devilboy they don’t have to. It’s not compulsory.
Whilst I will no doubt dribble on endlessly about babies (and mine in particular) and parenthood, think of this less as a gushing festival of mummy mush and more as a reaction to the ridiculous cult of the yummy mummy - like women don’t have enough body image issues already without being expected to look like an airbrushed Kate Moss before they’ve even cut the umbilical cord. The reality for the newly mummmyfied is more of a bloated and hollow eyed fembot, with admittedly gigantic bosoms (though said bosoms will undoubtedly be leaking) who is more likely to fall asleep covered in baby vomit and finds time for something as decadent as a shower only on days not ending in y. Expectations of immediately donning the Jimmy Choos to strut our svelte and sexy stuff are insulting and unrealistic and we should embrace our sensationally sloppy sleep deprived selves and just enjoy our new babies.
My other gripe is the avalanche of uninvited advice, criticism and lack of respect that one receives, seemingly as a matter of course, after becoming a parent. Where once I was seen as a mildly funny, thinking human female - I am now glared at with abject horror when attempting to make light of motherhood and am seen more as a nameless incubator for a small person... and an imbecile. In fact it’s been so long since anyone actually addressed me by my real name I may have to change my driver’s license to read “Raffy’s Mum” so as to not confuse people.
I will confess my parental shortcomings, frequently, for there are many and I am unashamed. I am prepared to confess that I am a bad mother because I played The Clash and Iggy Pop instead of Beethoven whilst my baby was in the womb and because my son has yet to hear or see the Wiggles but giggles excitedly to Bob Dylan while he eats his breakfast. I am a bad mother because vegemite sandwiches for breakfast, lunch and tea – though allegedly creating happy little vegemites - do not a balanced diet make. I am a bad mother because I sometimes feed him to sleep and when no one is looking sneak him into bed next to me so I can cuddle his warm soft little body to sleep. I’m a bad mother because occasionally I read to my son from trashy magazines instead of educational children’s books and because I can’t help but laugh when de does something naughty... and let’s not forget that I am a very, very bad mother because I gave my son ‘a dogs name’.
I may also confess to loving this little boy more than life itself.
I realise that admitting to being more of a slummy than yummy mummy carries with it the risk of being condemned by some but at a time when so many people seem to live to judge and an army of doctors and scientists are finding super new ways of being a bad mother every day... I’ll take my chances.
For those who want to hear more about the adventures of the delicious Devilboy and his terribly naughty mummy visit http://mummyfied.livejournal.com/
Our OB appointment went well and though we tried to sneak a peek on her little ultrasound machine, Truffy had his/her legs determinedly crossed and was giving away no secrets on this occasion.
All is going well and the OB declared that everything was bang on target. Now we just have a few more sleeps to the big 19 week ultrasound on Saturday morning where we will find out if everything is as should be and if the prudish little truffle will stop being so coy and show us what sex he or she actually is. Then the shopping can commence!
Our ever expanding family also now includes a ring-tailed possum that appears to have decided we are his new parents.
Whilst watching a movie a few nights ago this little ball of fluff just started casually hopping across the living room floor right in front of us (and Eddie who seemed oddly oblivious given they are supposed to be mortal enemies – we must have the worlds only possum loving cat).
Recently a bunch of trees were cut down from behind our building and we think he must have lost his regular home and has settled in the trees outside our bedroom. We presume he snuck through a cracked window.
During his first visit we locked the cat away and caught 'Ringy' in a box to take back outside to the trees. But for the last few nights at the same time (around 10.30pm), he starts knocking (literally) on our window to come in. He is so unbelievably cute all big pleading eyes and teensy little face. He gets on his haunches and taps at the window until we come over then he reaches right up so he can be head height with us. It is truly strange...
Last night he was knocking at the lounge room window until we came and said hello. We turned the lights off and went to bed and he followed us to that room and did the same thing on that window until we gave him the required amount of attention. We can't decide if he is after food, is trying to steal our DVD player to hock for drug money or if he is just some kind of sicko marsupial peeping tom.
We can't leave the windows open (which is going to make summer rather difficult) or he'll be straight back in and though Eddie seems freakishly chilled by his presence, I don't want to risk a Ringy/kitty death match in the house.
I have to say seeing a ring-tailed possum casually strolling across the Persian rug in your lounge room is a wee bit odd but having him stalk us is really trippy.
It has been a very long 'pregnant pause' since my last post. I was knocked over by the dreaded lurgy for weeks, which, when added to the normal pregnancy symptoms of nausea, tiredness and headaches have left me pretty well spent.
The lack of being able to take anything for it meant it really dug in but I feel almost normal again. The brain is slowly starting to kick back in and stringing sentences together is once more an option... just. I'm 17 weeks along now and am allegedly in the 'glowing' energetic stage, except that I am neither glowing nor particularly energetic... more pasty, spotty and still quite easily tired. I still have a hideous cough leftover from the flu and I have to wonder if poor Truffle is already suffering from shaken baby syndrome by my constant hacking but I've been told he/she is fairly oblivious and will be just fine.
The best news is that my 24 hour nausea has now gone completely, thank gods.
I have started to feel flutters in my lower abdomen which are apparently the Truffle 'quickening' and saying 'hi' as he/she redecorates and makes the necessary extensions to the pink room. With all the pulling and yanking going on in my ligaments I'd say these are some fairly major renovations and I expect my next ultrasound will show a multi level uterine mansion with a deck and a pool.
All the flutterings are quite exciting and I've taken to having in depth conversations with the Truffle about everything from federal politics and French literary greats to what we want for dinner that evening but I just get the same bubbly fluttering reply to whatever I'm talking about. The skills of communication of our little truffle will no doubt improve greatly when he/she is actually born. ;-)
People’s reactions as they find out about the pregnancy have been peculiar and mixed to say the least.
Our parents are thrilled, mine in their normal low key but loving way (if my folks were any more laid back they'd be horizontal) but the in-laws are beside themselves and literally giddy with excitement. My mother in law are calling from England more frequently and sending gifts already. She is baby obsessed. And it is very sweet and very lovely.
My self absorbed brother, has yet to actually directly acknowledge to me that I am pregnant. His moronic question of 'was it on purpose?' was via someone else. When my five year old niece, his daughter, declared with great excitement that "Aunty A. has a baby in her tummy" his only response, in front of me, was "I know" as he walked out of the room without acknowledging my presence or offering any congratulations. We are not close. I dislike him. A lot.
His lovely partner, on the other hand, has been interested, excited and lovely.
Our friends have been the most perturbing though. Whilst most have simply been very happy for us there have been odd reactions too.
Single friends worry that I won't want to play with them anymore.
A friend of M's with small children has welcomed us to the "the Club" and said that now we'll be able to see each other more often which offends me a little as it implies we weren't welcome in their lives when we were childless.
Other parents spend hours regaling us with tales of how our lives are over now. Yay! That's a positive spin. Oddly, these same parents are still breeding so it can't be all that bad.
My favourite comments have been from a small handful of people who have gone the "But aren't you too old?" route... to which I reply "obviously not" and they respond by telling me that my child will be retarded, have all manner of illnesses, be premature and/or late and that its really irresponsible to be starting a family at my age.
For fucksake, I'm 37 not 73. These comments are unwelcome, uninformed and are generally responded to with a not so gentle "fuck right off idiot".
There has been more than one friend whose response to our news is to demand "You have to make me godparent" which is frankly bizarre as
a) I thought we were meant to make that request not the other way around
b) we don't believe in 'God' per se, and
c) M and I have always said we don’t believe in the whole Godparent as a token thang.
Regardless of our beliefs we would obviously prefer not to be put in the awkward position of having to say no to people we really care about and risk offending them. Besides, can you imagine with all the deities floating around in our place the iconic riot we'd have on our hands if we had a single secular 'God’ parent as opposed to a 'Ganesha/Buddha/Shiva/Ixchel/Kwan Yin/Bast etc etc Parent'. Our easy solution is that we are not having ANY Godparent/guardians or whatever else you want to call them. Nada. Zip. We may have a welcoming/naming soiree (when the in-laws come out) but it will be very non traditional and very much on our terms.
Then there are the friends who become overly familiar and think that suddenly it's ok to start feeling up my belly and getting in my personal space. It would seem pregnancy makes one public property which is a little off putting to a person who suffers from tactile issues with non life partners.
Only a few new parents we have spoken to haven't immediately descended into negatives, these will be the parents we will use as our preferred parental role models.
Tomorrow we’re off to the OB for an update and in just 11 days we get our big scan to find out if it is a boy or girl truffle. So exciting... I now can't decide which I'd prefer, which is great because it means I'll be ecstatic either way.
The Truffle (Or Truffy, Lord of the Truffs as M. has decided he/she is now named) is perfect. I’m already a biased parent.
Yesterday we had the 12-week Nuchal Translucency scan which was exciting. Truffy is a very active young foetus. Within seconds of appearing on the ultrasound monitor he/she was waving to us happily before busting some ultra cool break dance moves (though ultra cool and break dancing in the same sentence is probably an oxymoron) and hopping maniacally about. I hope having Gangster Rappers living next door hasn’t influenced the Truffles musical tastes already. I don’t think I could cope if he/she starts referring to him/herself as Truf Diddy at such an early age.
At 37 the risk of Down or other syndromes would normally be 1 in 149, which is a terrifyingly high number but the NT results showed that my risk has dropped to 1 in 3,000, which is the equivalent risk of a 15 year old pregnant woman so I got an A and the truffle his/her first gold star. We’re so proud. And greatly relieved that the risky Amnio and CVS tests are not required.
We are now out and proud publicly pregnant folk, which is a good thing as it is getting increasingly hard to hide the fact as I have bypassed chubby and am protruding rather obviously.
It's been a while between posts. Everything is going well and we've had a ten week scan which showed all is still well with the truffle. I've been knocked over by 24 hour 'morning' sickness and extreme tiredness and have been struggling to get through the day - hence no posts. I still can't think of anything vaguely lucid to write but am hoping that this will fade (as promised by my OB) over the next few weeks and I will be back in form.
I’ve just got back from a date with dildocam for the seven week scan and I love him so. The scan showed everything is perfect so far.
Our little rice grain size truffle has a perfect heartbeat and is developing just fine.
I have nausea from the minute I wake until the minute I go to sleep which is currently about seventeen seconds a night given I’m up and down to the toilet constantly.
I’m tired and vomity and my boobs hurt like hell and I’ve never been happier.
I've been a bit quiet since the good news as I have been very busy reeling from shock and euphoria before slipping into a Google induced paranoia over the last few days.
Everything is fine so far just a little queasiness, slightly sore boobs and a little afternoon tiredness. All the normal stuff.
But... I've had a few sharp stitch like cramps over the past couple of days and then yesterday I sneezed whilst laying down and the cramp was INTENSE. The pain only lasted a minute or so but it was extreme. Of course, being the paranoid beast that I am, I quickly referred to Google and of course was immediately convinced I had an ectopic pregnancy (more common for some bizarre reason in IVF where the fallopian tubes are skipped in the process... but there you go)
This morning I decided to swap the information of Google for that of The Stabber at Casa Conception. I called her for some reassurance and she said to not worry so much and has banned me from the use of Google for the duration of the pregnancy (as if).
She said that it's probably just things jiggling about even at this early stage and unless the pain is very frequent, only ever on one side (it's been mostly the right but a couple of twinges on the left) and the pain stays for a long time rather just a minute or so and/or I suffer from spotting or other symptoms it should be fine.
Only about 12 days until the first scan. Though until I am three months gone I will be cautious about sharing the news with other folks... after the scan I will be less nervous about things as it was the first scan last time that was our downfall.
Regardless of my evil Google habits we are staying confident that the truffle will prevail.
Thanks for the letter.
I really like the room and have decided that I WILL sign the lease but as I'm still not much more than a bunch of expanding cells I can't really leave a security bond. Hope that is OK.
It’s just two more sleeps until we know if you are going to stay awhile.
I hope in the last week or so you’ve managed to make yourself comfortable in the big pink house. You see... your dad and I really want you to stay with us and are hoping you’ll sign on for a full nine month lease.
We had some tenants last year, two in fact. They were sharing... but broke the lease early. Given the kind of troublemaking embryos they were I can only hope that they left the place in order for you and didn’t trash the joint with their constant carousing and carrying on.
I know as the landlady it would probably have been appropriate for me to check but given that I can’t stick my head up my own hoo-ha, it’s a little tricky. It's OK though, I have it on good authority that everything is spic and span.
Do you remember that nice Scottish Doctor guy that lobbed you into that fun wooshy, waterslidey tube ride you took to the pink room in the first place? Well you can think of him as a kind of uterine real estate agent. He did a pre inspection in there and said it looks like a great place for a hip and cool embryo like you to live... he declared it in an excellent location and that it has all the mod cons you could possibly need. Keep in mind that we are completely happy for you to do any renovations and adjustments you need to make yourself at home...just so long as you stay.
If you do decide to hang around until the end of the lease you'll outgrow the pink room so we’ll let you come and share our place and you’ll finally get to meet us.
You’ll like your dad... I do and I’m very, very picky. In fact, he is my favourite person in the whole world. I like him even more than cake and that's an awful lot. He’s loads of fun and he’ll make you laugh until it hurts. Plus he’s got great hair which I just know you’ll love pulling really hard (don't tell him that I told you to try it though). He’ll love you completely and thinks you’re pretty darned cool already.
You’ll get to meet me as well... and then you’ll not only discover what it’s like to be loved to pieces but you’ll get to see first hand exactly what a besotted fool looks like.
We promise it will be worth your while to hang around and short of boarding up the exit all we can do is ask you really nicely... please sign the lease?
Given the solitary nature of my job, I have been very alone with my topsy-turvy thoughts since transfer and am finding it hard to keep myself occupied with happy non truffle infused thoughts.
This is a typical day;
• Make 3,420 cups of tea
• Attempt to focus on work
• Over eat
• Google to find out if my reaction to 2WW is normal.
• Cruise other IVF blogs (which mostly upsets me more as IVF seems to only work for stupid people who cannot spell)
• Resent people who have children
• Feel guilty for resenting people who have children
• Start crying because I feel so mean for resenting people who have children
• Resent people who have children for making me feel guilty and making me cry when they are the ones that have children after all (even though said parents haven't said a word or done anything wrong and I am making this all up in my head)
• Consider psychiatric evaluation of myself as I am clearly insane and a bitch.
• Google to see if I am normal – am somewhat reassured.
• Make mental peace with people who have children and call pregnant friend to say hi.
• Watch American daytime talk shows whilst trying not to poke out my own eyes as said American daytime talk shows are unbearably revolting.
• Consider flying to America and abducting the children of people on daytime talk shows as they are illiterate and unfit to parent.
• Google cheap airfares to America
• Call friends to be amused by their witty and fabulous lives.
• Have friends call so they can vent about their not so witty and fabulous lives.
• Attempt to meditate (note: I think that repeating to myself over and over again hysterically “I think my period is coming” is not that conducive to the goals of meditation.
• Google to see if feeling like my period is coming is normal
• Study International adoption sites for the several hundredth time in case they have changed the rules and I am immediately eligible for a baby.
• Seethe when discovering that I am not and that I must wait at least another two years to even apply.
• Resent adoption authorities who are clearly fuckwitted and should give me a child because I want one. Right Now.
• Consider moving to the UK as they have a better adoption programme.
• Google cheap airfares to the UK
• Google British real estate and job websites
• Try to find a Foxtel channel not playing a movie/sitcom/documentary about infertility/pregnancy/adoption/Spot.
• Fail miserably
• Clean the house twice because I may have missed a spot the first time.
• Visit the Icons and chat to them about why they should be protecting the truffle.
• Google fertility icons in case I am missing an important one that could be vital to success of IVF cycle. Make note to urgently find Venus of Willendorf figurine and obscure Haitian Erzulie Voodoo figurine. Should be simple in Sydney.
• Vacuum the ceiling
• Go to the bathroom every thirty seconds to check that there is no spotting.
• Google to find out if not spotting is a good thing.
• Stare into space
• Go to chemist to get pregnancy test kit. Leave chemist empty handed as I am not allowed. Buy Chocolate instead.
• Realise I have done very little work and will probably be fired.
Once M gets home, I am reborn as I have a playmate and therefore new and exciting things to do to keep myself occupied
• Follow him around like a smell
• Nag M to come and play with me
• Nag M some more
• Have M declare he will shove a red hot poker up my arse if I don't stop annoying him.
• Decide that it would be a good idea to learn to play poker, right now.
• Learn to play poker.
• Discover that I like poker as it is most fun
• Discover that folding your cards when you have a straight flush is quite stupid
• Lose loads of money playing poker until the early hours of the morning.
The waiting really is the hardest part! I would give anything for a needle to inject or a blood test to take just to feel like I am participating in this process still rather than it being in the lap of the Gods (mind you, I’ve been sucking up to them all so I should be covered there)
Speaking of Gods, I got a lovely Aztec ‘thing’ yesterday which is yet another alleged fertility icon, as one can never have quite enough. Ixchel, as she is named, is a quite charming lump of deformed clay with large saggy breasts who is hanging on with both hands to her fabulously flabby gut. On her head is coiled a fairly phallic snake. She is wonderfully obscure and has happily moved in next to the other icons that, like me, love her for her grotesque uniqueness.
I have to say that since the truffle shuffle I have been erratic, moody, emotional and my head is on a constant rotating cycle of contradictory thoughts... positive, negative, hope, despair until I’m dizzy from it.
I am mean and moody. I yelled at our local pizza dude so badly that we had to find a new pizza place (he WAS being a twat but I admit to overreacting just a tad) and then I screamed at a random Foxtel guy (mind you they had stuffed us around and we were Foxless for nearly a month and this during the time when I actually craved inane television.) Thus far I haven’t actually physically attacked anyone and M has escaped unscathed from my abuse... but he is sensibly wary and knows it’s probably in the post.
I keep getting period like pains and twinges (that I am told to read nothing into by the staff at Casa Conception as it is probably just my drug addicted uterus having withdrawal symptoms from all the drugs I’ve been pumping into it)
Of course, being a human female, I am reading whole epic novels into the pains. The two most popular themes being “it’s the truffle happily implanting... joy!” and “It’s my period coming... it’s all over... Misery!”
I have been unsuccessfully trying to distract myself with anything at all... walks, chats with friends, movies, old favourite books, tidying, pretty shiny objects and even our newly restored foxtel in all it's utter crapulousness and the cathode ray brain degenerator has proven to be my downfall.
Yesterday, somehow, I ended up engrossed in the tail end of the Channel 9 Midday Movie, the truly awful ‘See Spot Run’, starring a random Arquette. I have never desired to watch this movie and ordinarily such a movie would inspire me to shoot my television Elvis style... but ordinarily I am not a hyper hormonal, vague and moody idiot.
Only coming in, as I mentioned, at the tail end of the film, I was immediately engrossed in the exciting story of a clichéd bratty kid, a clichéd dickhead adult, a clichéd and clutzy Mafioso crime lord and a clichéd large unspotted dog called spot who is also an undercover FBI agent. Clearly this was essential viewing for a woman who has watched... and enjoyed... over the last few weeks the movies Syriana, Little Miss Sunshine, Eat Drink Man Woman and Babel.
I would like to share with you some real reviews of this tour de force of a film.
“It is possible, in fact highly probable, that the writers of this movie are as idiotic as the fat-headed lead character on screen.” Michael Thomsen, BBC
"What's amazing about See Spot Run is that, granting how wretched it looks from the trailers and TV ads, it's actually so very much worse even than that." M.V Morrehard, New Times
“See Spot Run is one of those movies that make you put your head in your hands and mourn the death of popular culture.” Gene Seymour, Newsday
Sadly in this tale, the spoilt brat child has to give the dog he has had for all of 24 hours back to the FBI when it’s real identity has been revealed. My reaction to this was to sob... and sob... and sob... and sob.
Luckily, five minutes later the boy is given the dog back when the FBI trainer, who has loved the dog for years and invested his entire life into training said dog, that Spot loves the boy he has known for 24 hours much more than him and gives the boy the dog back. My reaction to this was to sob... and sob... and sob... and sob.
My reaction is telling me something. Firstly, hormones are very dangerous things. Secondly, IVF turns educated and relatively sane people into blubbering certifiable morons.
On Saturday we had the embryo transfer. They chose the healthiest and most advanced blastocyst. It was a Grade 2.
Dr. Sickboy and the Scientist were exceptionally pleased with it. (Apparently they rarely give a Grade 1). The other embryos hadn’t quite developed to that stage yet. One was a borderline Grade 2, three were Grade 3’s and then there was the runt of the litter who hadn’t got far enough to be graded.
Had we selected to have two implanted the borderline sea monkey would have been also suitable but unfortunately, even after an extra twenty four hours of development time none were quite high enough quality to freeze. The freezing and unfreezing process takes so much out of them that they have very high standards to attain to make it to the fridge.
A delightful young lady Scientist (Not Steven-Hawking) called yesterday to let me know and I was surprised by how much it affected me, I was a blubbering idiot for most of the day. Somehow knowing we had a backup embsicle would have taken the pressure off but now it is up to our single gorgeous little truffle to hang in there.
I spoke to the Not-Steven-Hawking again after I had stopped blubbing as the result made me worried about the quality of my eggs etc but she said it was ok and was very reassuring. Not-Steven-Hawking had actually warned us, when they first retrieved the seven, that we should expect only one to two good embryos (which is what we got) and explained that that only about half of all egg collections result in a frozen embryo as they are so strict at Casa Conception.
Not-Steven-Hawking also explained that the reason it seems like so many women have zillions frozen is because many IVF centres do the transfer on day 3 before the emby makes it to blastocyst stage and if I had done mine on that day then all six would have been good enough to freeze. The problem is that the same result would have occurred after the unfreezing as there is a huge dropout rate from that day onwards as the cells burn themselves out doubling and tripling and compacting. It is very hard work indeed to become a blastocyst and they don’t even get weekends off.
Right now with one quality embryo and a two week wait ahead of us that already feels like two years... I am feeling lucky. The day of the transfer whilst we were in recovery discussing how utterly gorgeous and smart our truffle looked and willing it to like his or her new home... we overheard the science projectette in the cubicle next to us being gently told that none of her embryos had made it.
M & I left Casa Conception with mixed emotions of tentative optimism for ourselves and tears for our Casa Conception sister.
I miss needles. I know that makes me sound like a raving psychopath but I really miss our daily ritual. I miss having something to do… although that’s not entirely true as I still do have something to do.
My rascally ovaries got themselves all flustered and overexcited during the FSH injections and this is not good. As I mentioned previously it can be quite dangerous and painful. Luckily for me, my case has erred to the side of just painful and not dangerous but it means that instead of getting a couple of progesterone injections after the transfer, I have to do take a more gentle dose of progesterone twice a day for a few weeks in a fashion that is probably best left undiscussed but involves paste, a squirter and my hoo hah. This daily ritual is most definitely a solo act and doesn’t come with cups of tea and sympathy from M who instead runs as far away as he can pulling ‘ick’ faces.
In more exciting news Dr. Sickboy called and tomorrow we transfer. One of the lucky embys will be moving out of the Petri dish and in to the big pink room and hopefully the rest will be big enough and tough enough to move into a big freezer.
At the moment this is what my embys look like.
I think they look exactly like little Perigord truffles which is a wonderful thing because I love Perigord truffles.
We have super embryos.
I just heard from the embryology lab and spoke to Steven Hawking (I knew we’d bump into him at some stage) let us know that all our embys are doing really well and are of excellent quality.
On a day 3 check Casa Conceptions scientists are looking for the fertilised embryos to be around 7 cells each... but our little six pack of Sea Monkeys are racing ahead (I always knew our kids would be advanced for their ages) and we have 3 at 8 cells, 2 at 9 cells and one bruiser who, at 10 cells, is particularly sophisticated, clever and tall.
All six get a gold star and a merit certificate and we are very proud... they are such good kids :-)
We hit a six!
The Stabber just called to let me know the great news that out of the seven eggs retrieved, six fancied M’s post day spa coiffed and fluffy sperm and have fertilised. She was so please for us… I love, Love, LOVE her!
I knew seven was a good omen and now we have six embryos swimming about out in a Petri dish comparing cells and generally trying to out do each other to see who will be the lucky emby moving into the big pink room in mum!
The average fertilisation rate is just under 70% so we got a gold star from the Scientist (who incidentally was a young lady and disappointingly didn’t remind me even slightly of Stephen Hawking) for our 86%.
I want every single one of them to make it but we have been told the odds are that only one or two will get to blastocyst stage as there is usually around a 65% drop off rate over the next few days as the embies do their thing.
Hang in there my little embies... we really, really want you all to stay.
We got seven mature and sexy looking eggs. Seven is good. Seven is not great but seven is good. Eight is average… but who wants an average egg? Not I.
Dr Sickboy says that quality is preferred over quantity and at first appraisal they appear to be very good. Mind you I never trust anything a man tells me while he is rooting around between my legs.
The egg retrieval was quick and almost painless, though I must say a trifle surreal as M discussed dodgy Glasgow nightclubs with Dr Sickboy whilst I was tripping on sedatives and he had his head up my hoo ha.
The bright side of seven is that it is a lucky number and the icons jiggled happily when I told them.
My multiple Buddha’s were particularly excited as they claimed that Buddha walked 7 steps at his birth (obviously an advanced child, I would have had him out applying for a job by the time he was an hour old if he were my kid) and declared it a supremely lucky number.
My Japanese Buddha tells me that there are seven lucky Gods in Japan, otherwise know as ‘the seven wise men of the bamboo thicket’, which I think sounds a bit of an odd place to find seven allegedly smart guys. They represent seven virtues, fortune, candor, magnanimity, popularity, longevity, dignity and amiability.
Shiva, taking a break form protecting our toilet, reminded me that seven is the number of Hindi sages and their wives are referred to as the ‘Seven Mothers’. A nice omen.
Accepting as they are of other belief systems, my household Gods and Goddesses pointed out that there are seven heavens in Islam and that in Judeo-Christian lore it was on the seventh day that God rested.
Plus there are seven official Judeo-Christian virtues…chastity, moderation, liberality, charity, meekness, zeal, and humility as well as the far more appealing seven deadly sins… lust, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, pride and gluttony (my personal fave)
In Greek Mythology there were seven sages, there are seven wonders of the world, seven dwarfs and James Bond is 007.
By now grasping at straws for positive omens we observed that while we both love the film Se7en, M is also a big fan of the movie The Magnificent Seven...
So it would seem that Seven IS great. Now lets hope seven little eggs can get fertilised by seven little coiffed and fluffy sperms and make seven strong little embryos while their slightly sore mummy takes some post operative panadeine and has a nice lay down.
Last night Martin & I had planned a special evening for the two of us at Claude’s, our favourite restaurant in the world, for a romantic and decadent dinner to celebrate our first full day of officially being married (we had to apply for the Thai marriage to be recognised here and now it is – we’re legal hoorah!)
But those cheeky chickens had other ideas!
Our first day of being legally hitched was full of hitches. At 7am I visited Casa Conception where I immediately broke my marital vows by being unfaithful to my husband with Dildocam. The Cow wasn't there this time and instead I got a wand waver who was so irritatingly chirpy for 7am that I wanted to beat her to death.
M was understanding about my morning indiscretions with Dildocam and even drove me home afterwards. We then went to meet with two of my most fabulous friend’s for lunch… except I couldn’t sit still because my boobs were killing me. I swear to Gods they’ve doubled in size in 24 hours. This is not a good thing. They were so big before this that they had their own weather system… now they’re bloody enormous and I swear I saw a satellite orbiting them.
Anyway at the end of our lunch I got a call from Nurse Sweetness-and-Light (she’s new and I like her very much) to let me know my results were back from the bloodwork and DC.
She casually dropped that it was trigger time.
It’s only day 9 of the FSH injections… it’s supposed to be 12 or 15 days. And I have things to do. I’m not ready… could it really be happening? I’m scared. This is the money shot.... the last injection of them all.
Plus I really, really want to go to Claude’s.
Nurse Sweetness-and-Light , sensing correctly that I was shitting myself, calmly explained that the hens are laying ahead of schedule and everything is on track (my chickens are so efficient) and my estrogen levels are a sky high 11,000 (meaning a possible risk of OHSS, eek!) which explains why it feels like I've had bulldog clips attached to my nipples for the past 24 hours. As such, my doctor (a little more on him shortly) says it has GOT to be tonight with retrieval in 36 hours.
She then gave me an over the phone walk through of just how ‘Trigger’ works.
Now Trigger, as well as being Roy Rogers’s loyal horse, is the final step in the battery farming process. This is the injection that brings on ovulation. Trigger has been sitting menacingly in our fridge for ten days and is complex and scary requiring equipment and mixing which makes me feel like I really am about to shoot up something illegal.
Nurse Sweetness-and-Light told us that first we have to snap open the two little glass vials, draw up the solution with a syringe so long and fat it makes me faint just looking at it, mix it with a powder solution, suck it back into the syringe, change to a smaller needle (whilst breathing huge sigh of relief) ensuring there are no air bubbles then finally inject the lot (and it is a lot) into my gut. What fun!
So that’s how we found ourselves as born again newlyweds dining at Claude’s with an esky bag full of medication stuffing our faces at light speed so we could be home by 11pm and not have to shoot up in the middle of a three hat restaurant.
Having explained the urgency to the wonderful Claude's staff they raced about, watching clocks and making sure we missed out on nothing... to the point of force-feeding us the dessert courses with such haste I felt like a fois gras goose.
At 10.30 we were eight courses down and on to the petit fors and coffee whilst the rest of the restaurant patrons were leisurely enjoying about course number five and staring at us like we were gluttonous super heroes. By 10.35 pm a waiter was valiantly leaping head first into Oxford Street traffic to get us a cab in to which we immediately dived and demanded the driver get us home post haste.
At 10.52pm we raced (well waddled as we were full to overflowing with yummy Claude’s goodness and about two tonnes of freshly shaved truffles) through the door, trying to put Trigger together. We smashed a vial as we were opening it and threw away the special sucking up syringe by accident from all our fumbly nerves. Thank Gods they give you spares for just such an emergency.
I paced nervously while M cooked up my drugs and then settled onto the couch, needle in hand, trembling with hope and fear. As I shakily started to swipe my stomach with the alcho wipe ready for the plunge… a sudden burst of music entered our living room making me look up to see M, I kid you not, putting on the Trainspotting DVD for moral support.
So to the energetic and rather appropriate strains of the Stooges classic 'Lust for Life' I plunged Trigger into my very full belly and cuddled up to my very funny and charming ex IVF drug dealer and now completely legal husband to watch a movie I’ve seen a dozen times but through new eyes.
On Monday at 10.30am I have to be at the Doctors surgery, for the egg retrieval.
The one thing I’ve never discussed during this whole process is my doctor, a lovely man from Scotland with a fabulous accent. Ironically, from the day we met him many months ago while we were still only considering this journey… we have been referring to him as Dr. Sickboy, because his voice sounds spookily similar to that of the Johnny Lee Miller character from Trainspotting, of course.
I’ve been thinking about the reasons M and I have been unable to achieve a successful pregnancy and realised after a depressed afternoon in front of the ‘W’ channel exactly why.
We’ve been going about this all the wrong way. A healthy diet, herbal fertility treatments, acupuncture, temperature taking, weeing on sticks, avoidance of alcohol, drugs and caffeine plus anything else mildly amusing, a household full of fertility icons, IVF treatments and even sex just aren’t going to cut it. Pillows under the butt, a hundred books on conception and the sweet advice from friends to just relax (yeah right!) and being asked constantly 'are you pregnant yet?' also isn't going to help.
I have realised now that I need to change my entire lifestyle if I want to become a virtual baby making machine.
Firstly I need to get completely hammered and shag M in the back seat of my dads car with a broken condom and cross my fingers I don’t fall pregnant ‘cause that would be, like, totally uncool.
Failing this I need to take up crack, preferably in conjunction with prostitution. After M and I move into our new trailer home I will also become an alcoholic with an addiction to anti-depressants and M needs also to become an alcoholic as well as beating me as frequently as possible.
M needs to have an illicit affair with another woman and leave me or I can have an illicit affair with an underage male, preferable a student... which may prove difficult as I am not a teacher. Illicit sex with another man or men, preferably Asian or African American, on the same day I have sex with Martin producing multiple babies of different colours is also a fabulous option.
If all else fails I just need to have sex with Kevin Federline.
According to my television any of the above will guarantee us an abundance of babies... and the TV would never lie.
I got the call form the Stabber and my battery farm got a big thumbs up. She said that seventeen follicular nests is a very good number and with 12 of them already at a decent size she expects we should get enough eggs from my little hens.
Apparently this number is ideal as over 20 means there would be a strong possibility that the hens would lay poor quality eggs as it would be a bit too overcrowded and they could become distressed and start pecking each other to death.
The hens in my battery farm still have enough room to preen and scratch about so they should produce nice fat strong eggs and an RSPCA officer wont be sent around to shut my ovaries down.
My bloodwork results were also good and I have another date scheduled with DC for tomorrow morning (he better bring flowers this time, bastard) and pending the results of that and another round of bloodwork they may bring retrieval time forward to as early as next week.
This means we're only a few days from introducing the girls to the sexy post spa sperms and Operation Sea Monkey starts getting really serious.
My first date with Dildocam made me feel so cheap. Where was the romance? No flowers, no wining or dining, no small talk and certainly no foreplay before he just jumped straight in and started poking about! I feel so dirty and can’t believe I’ve already agreed to a second date on Saturday.
The battery farm appears to be doing well and is suitably overcrowded as DC found 17 follicles, 12 of which are plump enough for the hens to lay their little eggs. I think this is quite a good number but the DC nurse was a sour faced cow and refused to enlighten me one way or the other. In her defense I would be sour faced too if I had to spend my whole day sticking a condom covered camera up a never ending supply of ladies hoo ha's. I still dislike her.
I am now awaiting a call from The Stabber to confirm my results
She had to go. It was either her or me.
I am, of course, referring to the previously mentioned Kwan Yin, my recently acquired festeringly ugly icon of fecundity.
Kwanny didn’t survive the month. I had to avert my eyes every time I saw her/him for her/his abject hideousness and vague resemblance to a Hermaphrodite Virgin Mary bothered me greatly.
And it’s not just me who feels this way. Our household has not accepted her/him at all. M thinks she/he is repellent, Eddie has snubbed her/him and the other icons wouldn’t play nice either. because she/he was ‘different’. Now before you get the wrong idea, the icons in our household are all very open minded and supportive about Kwannys sexual ambivalence but unfortunately, like their owner, they are quite shallow and they feared her/his grosse ugliness could somehow rub off and tarnish their own loveliness.
She/he has been banished but for fear of reprisals, has been replaced with her/his prettier self. I found the lovely Kwan Yin 2 today in an Asian Artifacts store and though still of dubious sexual orientation she is beautiful and ethereal and all the other icons fancy her greatly.
Most importantly I find her simply gorgeous and any magical conception charms she can send our way will be happily received without fear of them grotesquely deforming our future offspring by osmosis.
It would appear that my chickens have been a little excitable. This morning I had my first bloodwork since I started the bastard injections last Friday and it seems too many chickens are trying to squeeze into the ovarian battery farm which is, it would seem, a bad thing.
A random nurse called to talk me through my results and said that apparently I have responded very well but a tad 'too well' to the bastard injections and they have to ensure I don’t respond too quickly as this could mean Ovarian Hyper stimulation Syndrome where, along with vomiting and abdominal pain, other niggling side effects include death.
Of course, the fabulous staff at Casa Conception are so professional and monitor their little science projectettes so closely that this is a very minor risk, similar to that of me getting hit by a bus or ever wearing pink. They have lowered my dosage accordingly to ensure this doesn’t happen as being dead would not only be rather dull but also lower my chances of falling pregnant substantially.
Thursday I have more bloodwork and my first date with the dildocam, more commonly known to normal folk as a transvaginal ultrasound which, though it sounds like somewhere a vampire with PMS should be dwelling, is just an internal ultrasound device.
My date with Dildocam is so we can count the follicles and see exactly how many funky chickens we’re dealing with in my little coup.
The Stabber called from Casa Conception and we’re good to go. The latest bloodwork results came back with conclusive proof that I am indeed a human and my hormones have done what they should… thank Gods the stupidity hasn’t been for nothing.
On receiving the go ahead to start on the Follicle Stimulating Hormones I was so excited I did a little happy dance (not only does this mean operation Sea Monkey is well under way but it also means only another week or so of injections of stupidity drug and hopefully the return of my brain) but this morning when it came time to inject, I choked.
I had performance anxiety. Giving myself the daily stupidity drug needles has been thus far, except for some rather attractive bruising, much less unpleasant and difficult than I thought it would be and I gave myself my morning dose of that with barely a second thought and the precision of a long term junky.
The FSH injections come with a special Pen of the type that diabetic’s use that is alleged to make it easier. They do not. Firstly you have to build it each morning and the thing is so fucking huge and awkward that even though the actual needle is the same size as the one on the stupidity drug syringe it took me twenty minutes and three trips to the internet to Google instructions and make absolutely sure I had it right before I could take the plunge. I don’t go around shoving biros into my fatty tissue so why would I prefer a needle that looks like one?
Making it even more intimidating, my charming British dealer wasn’t there with a nice hot cup of tea to take make it all better so my first attempt at stereo needling was done flying solo without the aid of Ewan McGregor fantasies. The dealer was off at Casa Conception to make a ‘delivery’ which is a pretty term for a wank. His sperm are to be ‘washed’ and frozen as back up for operation Sea Monkey day.
When I think of them being ‘washed’ I imagine them all at a little sperm day spa with little towels wrapped around their little tails whilst they are being scrubbed and buffed and massaged. Clearly, such thoughts make me insane. Regardless, I hope they will all get a nice blow-dry and coiffe while they are there so they look pretty for the eggs. (just in case they are shallow like me)
After about twenty minutes of balking the FSH was eventually injected but I was so traumatised that I know tomorrow will be harder. I’m sure that after a few days it will become as easy as the stupidity drug to administer but for the moment the pen and I are locked in combat. I hate the pen. It is a bastard!
On the bright side down at the ovary farm the hens are moving in and finding themselves some nice fat follicles to lay their little eggs.
How tragic that ‘bloodwork’ has so quickly gone from sounding dark and arty to sounding more like the name of a bad Steven Segal film (not that I mean in any way to imply that there is any such thing as a good Steven Segal film)
I was called back for more tests this morning as my bloodwork on Monday had ‘inconclusive results’. So further tests were required to see if I can attain human status in time to start the battery farm in my ovaries tomorrow.
My beloved nurse, The Stabber, wasn’t in this morning, which made me sad... for though it has been proven that she is shit at drawing blood, she’s a lovely lady who makes the experience as pleasant as can be and laughs uproariously at our silliness. Some of the other nurses look at us like we’re naughty children who need to take things a bit more seriously. In turn we think they can fuck right off!
If we didn’t have a little laugh during this process we would be extremely anxious, neurotic and stressed little barren bunnies ready to start freebasing Prozac as opposed to suffering a milder anxiousness and some background stress that can probably be treated simply with a topical ointment.
This morning, I met the wonderful Nurse Tell-Someone-Who-Cares. An efficient lady with a lovely accent and the personality of an undertaker , she marched me in to the bloodletting room and as I duly explained my prior issues with having no veins, shoved a needle straight in my arm and looked at me with contempt before spitting “I’ve been doing this a long time”. About 3 seconds later and with what I think was an attempt at a charming smile that nearly cracked her head open she marched out saying I’d get a call and that was that!
If I get her again I think I will hide under one of the larger Science Projectettes in the waiting room until she leaves.
Now I must wait by the phone to see if I get the go ahead to start farming the eggs. I do wonder where all the chickens will fit!
I haven’t suddenly become a masochist but morning needle time has oddly become one of my favourite parts of the day.
Even though M sees the syringe as his nemesis and starts suffering convulsions at the thought of giving or receiving an injection, he is sweetly participating in this morning ritual as best he can.
My beloved has become my dashing British dealer and my morning fix is delivered with a nice cup of tea. Every morning he gets up in our freezing cold house, makes me a steaming hot cuppa and prepares the syringe ready for injection whilst I still lay snug in bed… it makes him feel involved and me able to continue, for a few extra minutes at least, with the Ewan McGregor fantasy I alluded to earlier.
As it turns out, it is a lot less difficult to give oneself an injection than I thought. At one stage when it was clear my beloved couldn’t actually be the injector I was ready to drive every morning to Darlinghurst to find any random smackhead to do it.
The first was hard. But after actually doing it I realised that, much like John Howard, it really is just a simple little prick. After that it was a cinch. Don’t get me wrong I haven’t become some kind of sociopath and it’s not actually something I’d ever choose to take up as a hobby like some kind of macabre needlepoint, but with all the tea, sympathy and cuddles surrounding something that could have been quite nasty, we’ve made it as pleasant a ritual as it can be.
Today I had my first ‘bloodwork’ done at Casa Conception with my IVF nurse, a gorgeous woman who has been a lifeline during the confusing first stages of Operation Sea Monkey.
Bloodwork sounds so dark and arty doesn’t it? Even though it was very early in the morning it made feel very windswept and interesting as I dramatically entered the clinic with my black coat flapping devilishly in the breeze.
Being one of about 40,000 women in the waiting room made me feel less windswept and interesting but did serve to make me feel less of a freak. It is hard to acknowledge to people lucky enough to have spawned how excluded we have been feeling and how sad, lonely, pissed off and utterly fucked the last few years of infertility has been.
Looking around the room at all the scared and hopeful faces I didn’t feel so lonely or pissed off and though I didn’t speak to any of my fellow Science Projectettes I silently wished them all luck as waited for our names to be called.
Though I found myself in warm and gooey sorority…I sensed in the dagger like glares I received back from a few of the scarier Science Projectettes that rather than feeling a sisterly camaraderie they saw the other women in the room, myself included, as fierce competitors as I saw the silent scream flashing in their eyes “Which one of us will be the winning one in three?”
Though feeling a tad less exotic and uniquely faulty as I had when I walked in, I was still excited about my first bloodwork as it meant we were close to stage three of Operation Sea Monkey… the FSH injections. This is where my ovaries become a battery farm and we cultivate multiple eggs in the time and space my body would normally only produce one single free range one. Starting this all depended on what my blood tests would show.
This was where it got tricky.
The only complication to my bloodwork was that it would seem I have no blood. (Cue removal of flapping devilish coat and cease all visions of artsy gothic glory.) At this juncture there are two things I'd like to point out. First, as it appears I may not be a homosapien, this could be a contributing factor to my lack of procreating a human baby. Second, the kindly and gorgeous nurse I previously referred to, shall henceforth be known as The Stabber.
After not being able to find anything resembling a vein in my arms The Stabber valiantly plunged in regardless but the well was dry. Spotting a small vein like discolouration on the back of my hand, she went in for another fossick but again came back empty syringed.
Defeated by my bloodlessness she decided that she had to call in the big guns and Nurse Vampira was duly summoned. After attacking my arm with a heat pack that smelled like buttery popcorn and was so blisteringly hot I though they were trying to make black pudding with my veins, she hit pay dirt and went in like she was drilling for oil!
Many band-aids and a third degree burn later I was once again excited as, like a presenter at the Oscars, I was handed a glamorous gift bag full of thousands of dollars worth of shiny IVF goodies.
At first glance I though there had been some ghastly mistake for unlike the Oscars, my gift bag didn’t contain vouchers for exclusive Caribbean spa resorts, Cartier watches, state of the art flat screen TV’s, diamond studded mobile phones or other assorted sparkly baubles.
Instead it contained a freezer bag resplendent with a disposable ice pack (and perfect, my beloved pointed out, for carrying a six pack), drugs, needles, my very own sharps dispenser saucily marked ‘danger’ and a Puregon pen which, unlike the Mont Blanc pen one would undoubtedly find in the aforementioned Oscar bag, is used less for writing and more to stab oneself… which isn’t nearly as special.
After our exciting trip to Casa Conception we headed to my acupuncturist…for the call to have more needles poked into my body was impossible to resist. It is written in Google search wisdom that acupuncture when used alongside IVF increases the odds of a healthy and happy outcome and Google would never ever lie!
After an hour of impersonating a porcupine I headed off for lunch to meet up with friends where I studiously ignored all fluids less I sprang a leak and my beloved received a fine from Sydney Water for using a sprinkler.
Now we await the results of the test to see when phase three of sticking things that aren’t penises into my body to make a baby commences.
The list of my accomplishments in the field of abject stupidity is growing daily.
In the office yesterday I walked into a wall. We only have four and it isn’t that hard to navigate a square virtually unfurnished room or so I thought back in the old days when I was still capable of them.
It occurred to me last night that ‘perhaps my brain just needs feeding’ but after an hour I realised I was still on the first page of my book and that many of the words had more than one syllable. I decided instead to send my beloved to fetch me some trash of the type that really has no words... only pictures of thin blonde heiresses. By using the full force of my three functioning brains cell I managed to finish that… though with some difficulty.
Phase two of Operation "Entertain the Idiot" was to watch a movie. Nothing too complex… just a generic action blockbuster designed as fodder for the great unwashed. Unfortunately my skills of concentration meant that I was still mentally processing scenes ten minutes after they had finished and couldn’t even keep up with a plot written for and by the sub literate. I gave up on that and went to bed early to enjoy millions of little dreamettes of random ridiculousness. Another alarming side effect of Lucrin is that even my dreams are dumb!
So dumb do I feel that it has crossed my mind that they’ve been injecting George W. Bush with Lucrin for years. That’s right, I feel ‘W’ stupid! Though whilst the IVF fairies are making me a vacuous, vicious arse… I haven’t as yet felt the need to invade another country or become a fundamentalist religious hypocrite… so far.
Although… in saying that my house has turned into a virtual religious shrine.
I, who have never been particularly suspicious or indeed secularly inclined for many years, who counts amongst her favorite books this year Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion, has been picking up every possible piece of mildly symbolic fertility crap and fecund religious iconography that I cross paths with!
I have Buddha’s multiplying rapidly - a Buddha of compassion, the biggest fattest most extraordinarily jolly lucky Buddha I could find, serene Buddha for moments of calm, and a few little generic Buddha’s scattered around the house. I even have the ugliest Buddha I have ever seen… a ghastly kitschy thing surrounded by comical babies that is in fact an ‘official’ fertility Buddha but on closer inspection more resembles a fat pedophile.
I also have a skinny and malnourished looking Cambodian interpretation of Ganesha… the lord of beginnings and overcoming obstacles (and allegedly the god of intellect so he’s clearly malfunctioning in that area – have a sandwich Ganesha and get back on the job!) and his much better looking dad Shiva, the destroyer of evil and creator of the new, also known in our house as the Toilet God because this is where he lives.
There is our little ‘Turtle Dragon’ which is bestowing upon us long life and lucky new beginnings as we speak. Then we have ‘Wasll’, named thus by my beloved for reasons completely unknown to myself, he is a rather large Antique Burmese man with an enormous penis wearing what appears to be rather full nappies. Wasll (pronounced Wassell), who has become a very important part of the family, has a rather unfortunate moustache and is doing an alleged fertility dance but really he just looks a trifle queer.
Diana, the Roman goddess of nature, fertility and childbirth has been with me a long time, in fact I uncovered her in a little shop in Ireland years ago. She is a beautiful little thing lolling about starkers with her legs in the air whilst shooting something from her bow an arrow. I've always found it amusing that she is also known as the ‘huntress’ as shooting things and fertility/childbirth seems a somewhat unlikely combo.
An Egyptian cat, protector of family and good omen of fertility and birth looks upon this confused collection of multicultural and multitheistic idols with typical feline disdain and all these magical fripperies are complimented by the lovely double happiness candles given to me by Karen.
The newest addition to my collection is Kwan Yin. Kwan Yin is basically a chick Buddha although there is some dispute over whether Kwanny is actually a boy or a girl. Unlike the other members of my collection, who besides the pedophilic fertility Buddha, have all been lovingly collected on our travels and are often antique, artistic or simply beautiful - Kwan Yin, who cost two bucks is, in all her shimmering faux gold glory, a thing of inspired ugliness.
Kwanny is the Goddess of Mercy, who moonlights in fecundity. It is alleged that she dislikes negativy and I most definitely hate hideous lumps of painted resin crap so I doubt we are going to get along particularly well.
Yesterday whilst wallowing in my new found vagueness I sent an email to a client I know reasonably well. The kind of client you sign off with a "Cheers'" instead of a "Regards".
Now, this wasn't very exciting at all, until this morning when said client responded to the email in question and I realised upon reading it back that instead of "Cheers" I had actually signed it off "Cheese" which is ironically what my brain appears to be made from.
... if IVF drugs are supposed to simulate the effects of the alleged latter stages of pregnancy on your brain to get you used to being a pregnant woman. Every intelligent woman I know has said their brains have turned to goo during pregnancy but after a few days of injectable drugs and my brain is already like soft cheese.
For example, yesterday I left my handbag at home when I went to a meeting. I realised half way there and returned home, picked up said handbag and headed back to my meeting.
On the way from my meeting to the office, I realised that I left the very same handbag at the place of the meeting. I returned, collected it and headed off one more on my merry vacuous way.
At lunchtime I went to retrieve my wallet from my handbag and realised I had left my handbag in my car. do you see a pattern forming?
The day finally over I collected my laptop and all my bits and pieces and headed to meet M in Kirribilli for dinner. When reaching for my bag to get some coins to pay for the parking meter I realised that I didn’t have it. Quel Surprise. It was still at the office.
This is the same handbag I carry everyday. The same handbag that I have used for years and years and have never ever left behind even once. It is so much part of my daily attire it would be like leaving the house nude.
I spoke to the IVF clinic to see if this was somehow normal and they said yes. Stupidity is a definite side effect. Great.
The other fabulously exciting side effect is that I get short of breath walking up stairs and my heart rate is around 482,000,000 beats per minute. It’s a good thing we only have about three thousand stairs at our flat. I have also managed to burst into unsolicited tears on average once a day since the first injection. Aide moi! This is going to be fun.
Giving yourself a needle is hard.
I have a really itchy belly
I was fairly shocked when we began this journey to discover that stage one of making a baby with IVF is to go on a strong contraceptive pill. Seemed a bit of a paradoxical approach to conceiving a child but what would I know... the traditional methods, you know, like having sex and all that malarkey sure as heck hasn't worked.
Given my nervousness about drugs in needles and how my body would react to them and all their lovely side effects... I didn’t really stop to think all that long and hard about the side effects of an oral medication that is allegedly 200% stronger than a normal contraceptive pill.
After almost two weeks of taking them I am a ratty, bitchy, manic depressive cow who has sudden bursts of euphoric hysteria. It’s quite amazing what a total and utter tit I’ve become. Seriously, I can’t believe how utterly shit I feel and this is from the easy bit. I just hope it’s my hormones swinging into alignment at super speed due to the strength of these fuckers because if I gets worse M can stand in line, because I’ll be divorcing me first!
As I am stopping them in a few days my moods could flip about all over the place some more which will no doubt thrill M to pieces. My beloved adores irrational bitchiness and mood swings in his women! In fact, so attractive will this make me to him, I’m sure he’ll fall madly in love with me all over again!
Tomorrow is phase two in my mission to make our Sea Monkey. I am not at all excited to be starting the first round of daily needles.
Daily needles that, I might add, must be self administered, eek! I would prefer M gave them to me but as he couldn’t even give insulin to the cat without having an aneurysm I think I’ll be flying solo all the way in my quest to become a human pin cushion. At least if M could give me the injection it would seem a bit more Trainspottingish and I could just pretend I was a junky and he was Ewan McGregor.
I’m all ready though. I picked up the seventeen million dollar supply of the drug Lucrin - the lovely stuff I have to inject myself with for the next few weeks and was terribly thrilled to read in the information supplied that the drug is actually designed and administered for sufferers of prostate cancer. Umm, do these IVF people know about which one is the mummy and which one is the daddy and where babies actually come from?
Though hugely relieved that my non existent prostrate will be freed from cancer I am more than a little worried that amongst some of the more common side effects I may suffer from shrinking of the testes.
And, thank Gods, there is no evidence from this drug of mutagenic potential. I was really quite worried about that!
Anyway, I best be off, it’s been at least ten minutes since I last bit someone’s head off…
After four years, two surgeries, two years of Traditional Chinese Medicine, one year of herbal fertility treatments, one failed pregnancy and more than our fair share of sadness and disappointment we have finally begun our journey into IVFland and have started the suppression - the first step in a long and icky process.
My feelings about IVF are mixed and messy. I'm excited and scared and my over active imagination is jumping about all over the place.
I’m a little concerned about the eight hundred million dollars it costs but think there really isn't any amount of money that is too much in our quest for a child. My other half, M, is surprisingly chilled about the money. He says it’s irrelevant, unimportant and not to worry about it and if he isn't worried I shouldn't be. Normally he is the more sensible financial tight arse of our merry twosome... I am more easily distracted from financial matters with a colourful bouncing ball or a shiny new toy. I’m quite shallow that way.
I am uncomfortable about the invasion of my body by a thousand new doctors and nurses. But then I’ve had so many people hanging about 'down there' doing so many invasive procedures over the past three or four years... 'tis a touch late to worry about keeping my dignity intact. My ‘bits’ have been checked out so many times by so many people that they are practically a public playground - in fact they’ll probably install a swing set and slide as part of the IVF treatment.
I’m terrified of what I will learn about myself in this process. If it doesn’t work am I going to become a nasty bitter hermit with 42 cats who hates children? What kind of person am I? Will I cope so well and be so strong that I will impress people with my utter fabulousness about it all? Will people be saying 'she is a rock, that girl!' or will I be a dribbling pathetic mess who calls the IVF counselor daily in hysterics and leaves people with more of an impression of "she's a total nutjob - don’t get too close to her she smells like cat piss and spits at strangers"
I’m a little worried about my relationship with M. We don’t really ever fight. We barely bicker. We laugh. We have fun. We smile a lot and our relationship, if I had to do it in one word, could best be summed up by the word ‘lovely’. We have been happy for so many years through so many ups and downs but now it's changing, we are already sniping at each other. I am ‘negative’… he is fed up. He is ‘snappy’… I am fed up. We both feel resentful… we are both pretty fucking fed up.
We are questioning each other a lot. Is this normal? Why us? Will it makes us stronger or will it destroy us. We’ve discussed this and have agreed that what matters the most is that we love each other and we will do our utmost to make sure that whatever the outcome we protect ‘us’. ‘Us’ is the most important thing and it’s nice to know that we both feel the same way.
Have we given up on ourselves and nature too soon? Is this really our final hope? If it doesn't work, then what? I am scared of becoming a mere science project. It’s all so ‘sciency’ that I feel like a nerd just thinking about it. Everything is timed to the hour and everything is so matter of fucking fact and unromantic. We have a Doctor who will perform the procedures but we also have 'scientists' who work with him. That is the actual term used to refer to the rest of the team involved. 'Scientists' … I’m imagining Stephen Hawking will turn up at one of the procedures.
We'll get to see our potential child come out when it is still just an unfertilised egg… they have you watch and see as each egg comes out on a monitor. The egg! M is likely to want to poach it and serve it up with hollandaise sauce. In some ways this is quite cool (not Eggs benedict, which is quite nice too, but the seeing the egg bit) as we’ll get to meet our potential child when it’s still in pieces. It’s quite Frankensteinish as we get to watch them mix the mummy and daddy bits together to make a person. On second thoughts it’s more like those Sea Monkey things we had when we were kids… watching them spring to life and grow and change colours… but of course it turned out that they were just some kind of brine shrimp and were kind of disappointing.
How much is this going to hurt? There are needles, lots and lots of them for weeks and weeks. I don’t think that will be very much fun. Sex is fun. Needles are not. Sex is the way to make a baby, not impaling myself on a syringe twice a day. Maybe the control it gives me may make it not so unpleasant or maybe I am just kidding myself.
I have to try to stay positive but not get my hopes up at the same time as it's unlikely that we will fall pregnant from the first treatment. This is a hard balance to find. How do you do it? Is it really possible? It's very hard not to slide one way or the other.
I feel resolute about doing this because I think we’ve exhausted all our other options but I am still full of clashing and contrasting thoughts and questions. Is it because one side of me is realistic and I know the odds are that it won't work, so why get excited? But the other me, the positive one, knows we are doing everything that we can so there is no sense in being negative. Is there some magic middle emotion I should be latching on to here?
I am sure I will drone on about this endlessly as my IVF counselor suggests writing about it is helpful to analyse my emotions and fears going through the process. And I 'd rather write it down than talk with her. She scares me. Freak.
Anyway I apologise upfront for boring anyone to death.
... after a gluttonous weekend.
On Friday night I tried a new restaurant called Tabou that everyone has been raving about and it deserves the fuss.
The place felt like a proper French Bistro (in France) without the hand gestures and smoke.
The food was sensational. Very heavy regional French Cuisine. Think lots of sweetbreads and offal, which I've never been all that keen on but braved and found when they are cooked well they are delectable.
As was the twice cooked gruyere and goats cheese souffle which was the best I've ever had. The mains were heavy but perfectly cooked. I had PIgeon on lettuce parcels of puy lentils and liver which is so much more delicious than it sounds and I sneaked a tatse of Karens veal loin in spinach, which was also a winner.
Finishing with an Assiette of delicate desserts was perfect. Yum! Good food, a good buzz and good value.
Saturday day, we went to the Buddha Belly in Tery Hills with some foody friends from Melbourne. This is one of our favourite places to lunch, situated as it is in Indonesian style teak pagodas in an ornament filled asian garden. It is so well done it feels like you have left Sydney and are on hols.
The food is nice asian fusion. We had an entree tasting platter with betel leaf parcels, zucchini lowers and tangy asian salads; Twice cooked duck in a chilli jam glaze; mussels in a coconut chilli broth with wads of fresh herbs and to finish, the yummiest Affogato in the world (I think I've metioned how good it is before)
Sated and having enjoyed the company of our freinds we went home for a nap before the main event.
As it was all in aid of M's birthday, he selected dinner for two at ARIA. I have been before (but only in a function setting) and I always found it just OK but it was his call and I was surprised.
It was BRILLIANT! Shockingly so. I couldn't fault a single thing. In fact, the service was so good I got the names of our waiters and teh managers details so I could email this morning and compliment just how good they were.
We had the seven course degustion with matching wines.
The starters of some fresh oysters sound uninspiring but were perfect plump creamy and faultless. Scallops with shaved truffles, were simply yum. The Peking Duck consomme with a homemade duck dumpling and shaved abolone was so good it is indescribable and was one of my favorite dishes. Scampi wrapped in Tunisian brick pastry was so pretty I didn't want to eat it ... but I did and it was superb. Pork belly twice cooked sounded unexciting but was a revelation. It exploded in our mouths and was the most perfectly textured and tasty thing ever (and I don't like pork that much). Beef was lovely but not as exciting as the previous courses and dessert was good but unmemorable, coconut sorbet with some fruit thing. I think a souffle would have ended it better but I'm a fussy you know what.
Sunday was spent waddling about wondring how long before we are officially declared corpulant and suffering from a mild food and wine induced hangover.
I haven't had time to go through all the photos of lovely Thailand and the wedding yet but I thought I'd chuck up a mini album of the Buddhist Wedding Day before I forget.
It was an early start and bleary eyed at a local market amidst the noise and mayhem we didn't even know existed at 5 am in the morning we shopped for exotic Thai curries (entrails anyone?), sticky rice, sweets and lotus flowers.
Then we prepared and packaged the food we’d purchased, decorated the artfully folded lotus flowers with candles and incense
which we offered as alms to nine monks (nine being the most auspicious number in Thai Buddhist culture)
In return we were blessed by each of the nine monks to ensure good luck and good fortune for our union.
An evil Thai hairdresser did my hair in an atrocious 80's weedding 'do' that had me reminiscing over Molly Ringwalds worst. No matter how much I hated it... I had to live with it after him making clear his disgust at what I wanted (he didn't speak a word of English - it was all huffing and puffing and pulling the kind of 'ugly' faces that transcend language barriers)and laquering my head in place with about seventeen cans of spray to ensure I coulnd't change it back once he'd left.
We were offered the option of wearing traditional Thai outfits for the wedding ceremony but, beautiful though they were, we decided to stick with western attire as we wanted to be true to ourselves. I had a lovely simple Collette Dinnigan cocktail dress (which unfortnately you can hardly see in any of the pics as I was covered up during the ceremonial bits so the Monk didn't have a heart attack seeing all the ridiculous quantities of booby falling out of the dress)
During a deeply moving ceremony, one of Thailand’s most revered monks chanted blessings from sacred texts of long life, health, wealth, love and happiness cackling happily all the while (I'm not sure it's an appropriate description when referring to a monk but he was such a dude)
... in a dazzlingly pretty temple.
After nearly drowning in an exuberant shower of holy water,
we had dots painted on our foreheads and symbolic, binding strings tied around our wrists by the monk.
Monkdude then hit us in the head with his stick. I know not why. But apparantly it's not the done thing to hit him back.
We then moved on to part two of the day at a traditional teak house outside of Chiang Mai where the official wedding would take place.
Greeted by a traditional band and the seven village elders (who had a collective age of 382 million)
We formed a very noisy procession to our wedding ceremony
after draping garlands around our necks made from special flowers of such hugely important significance that I don't remember (the purple one was called a forever flower - that bit stuck in my tiny brain)
the ceremony was conducted by the ever so sweet elders in all their shaky glory.
In Buddhism marriage is a social, not religious, occasion. Buddha only stated that marriage should be based on deep mutual respect and that it should be a partnership of equals. Which was fantastically progressive considering how many thousands of years ago he decreed it so.
One of the elders led our ceremony win his sing-song voice and the others, all couples married happily for over a thousand years, each tied individual strings around our wrists and offered us advice on marriage and their genuine blessings for a happy life full of love.
As the ceremony draw to a close the two most senior elders, a sweet couple who were at least six hiundred years old and who had been happily married since the birth of Christ, led us gently by the hands to a symbolic marital bedroom declaring us wed. (nothing kinky)
except maybe a kiss or two (though only while grandma and grnadpa weren't peaking)
After the beautiful minutiae of the ceremonial part of our day it was off to the party
complete with loud joyous music and a feast of delicious spicy local dishes shared with the elders (the best food we had in the whole of Thailand) two day cooked pork and local curries... chicken, tofu, vegies, and hot hot hot chilli paste. Yum.
Then one last symbolic formality as nine enormous biodegradable paper balloons were heated with flame and released gracefully into the night sky to float away bad luck in order to make room for all the good luck that with the amount of blessings we’d received should definitely be coming our way.
As a surprise our wedding organiser had a fire dancer perform
and he breathed fire... thankfully without burning to death... as a dramatic end to the festivities
Finally it was goodbye to our gorgeous wrinkly new friends who I am completely in love with
Before we left for the happily ever after bit
It was a perfectly gorgeous and special day.
More pics and general Thailand yumminess will follow when I have a little more spare time..
A long overdue update.
Martin and I are off to Thailand on Saturday for a fortnight of well earned relaxation after a rather eventful but not entirely fabulous twelve months for us.
But I must say after last years disasters, things are on the up. My job is wonderful (I have had five emails from my boss in three weeks and no other contact - bliss) and as well as making obscene money, I am in a position to set my own business up at the same time, meaning other projects are closer to fruition.
The other great thing is I have become a lady who lunches. The job takes me out on the road most days and gives me loads of time to catch up with friedns for gossipy lunches which is simply lovely. NOt working in an office means the gossipy lunches aren't filled with bitching and whining... just happy chat.
When we return from our fabulous holiday we are booked in to begin our first cycle of hopefully fabulous IVF and I am remaining as positive as can be. It is scary and depressing and hideously unromantic and I can't beat the feeling of "babies aren't supposed to be made that way" but if that is how it has to be that is what I/we are prepared to do. (I say I/we becasue though we are doingthis together 'I' am the sucker who has to do the twice daily injections , daily ultrasounds, and hormonal therapies and ops and he just has to have an orgasm and put up with occasional mood swings making the 'we' bit slightly.... hmmm)