I’m running out of my lucky stars to thank…

shove it up your arse...

shove it up your arse…

I’m not gonna lie, it’s hard not to feel like you’ve been ripped off more than a Glee kareoke remix when it comes to infertility. I mean shitfully ripped off. You get your hopes up, you really think it’ll be your lucky day this time. You chant the little mantra ‘it’s going to work, it’s going to work’ over and over inside your head. You put a little bag of pink crystals that someone gave you for luck under your pillow every night. You think when you hear a fave song on the radio on your way to the hospital that it surely must be a sign.

You stop drinking (okay, maybe not all the time) because you think it might hamper your chances of it ‘taking’. You don’t ride your bike (and it is a really pretty pink one with a big cherry seat on it) because you read somewhere that it might reduce your chances of the embie sticking. You don’t go on holiday because you (do have a slight fear of flying) but have also been told it’s not good to fly in the first trimester.

You pretty much put your whole entire life – and that of your family – on hold for as long as you’re willing to dedicate your every ounce of being to trying to procreate…which for us is now two years, twenty-four months or seven-hundred-and-thirty days.

You go to Ikea and it’s like there’s a goddamn dedicated baby aisle popping out newborns because on a Thursday morning at 11am (yes, my life is sad) EVERY single woman who has given birth in the past three months has decided to venture to Ikea for a flat pack cot, change table or $10 bath.

People still tell you it was easy for them to get up the knock. Nice. They even ever-so-helpfully tell you that ‘trying to have a baby is the fun part’. Excellent! If daily needles, maniacally hard out mood swings, masses of weight gain, hot flushes and days spent in floods of tears is fun, then yep…it’s like a day at the frickin’ circus.

You start wondering if you’ve done something that Lady B Karma might be slapping you in the face for and constantly look at ways you can blame yourself for yet another let down. Along with telling The Vet that (coincidentally you have also read somewhere among your countless supplies of fertility self-help books and memoirs) that you really don’t think he should be cycling every day because it’s not good for his swimmers (and not of the tog variety). There is every chance he will utterly resent you after pretty much removing all caffeine, gluten, dairy and now red meat from his life, what’s giving up one more thing anyway…

Yep, it’s real hard not to feel bloody well ripped off. To feel like someone keeps pulling out the rug from under your feet. And it’s even more hard to find the will to keep on trying and not just give up…words you’re not even supposed to utter among infertility circles. But bugger it, shit got me sad and I’m allowed to feel like I’ve just won lotto then discovered I threw the ticket in last night’s fire. Love n’ hugs, Lady MamaG xox

 

I really want to punch Mother Nature in the face…

How many times can a heart be broken? Turns out a shitload!

How many times can a heart be broken? Turns out a shitload!

There’s been plenty of times in the past two years when I’ve really felt like hitting something and by something, I mean of course someone. Not anyone in particular, just the one who happens to be at fault for my infertility – which would clearly be myself. Or that nasty biatch who has cast her ugly spell on us, Mother Nature. Or possibly the Fertility Gods who keep giving us dreams and taking them away just as fast. Whoever be to blame for this bullshit heart-ripping pain, I want to smack them real hard in the face with my knuckles. Bare dust-style. I am beat. We are all beat. Today we got the delightful news that yet again, another cycle has failed. That would be our eighth if you’re counting (and yes, I bloody well am). Turns out eight isn’t such a lucky number…well not for this girl at least. Maybe it’s time I looked at my Feng Shui.

We had two lil’ embies this time and were so sure they would stick like honey to a fry pan that we’d given them names. We started talking to them at night, we were going to have the perfect pigeon pair – a boy and girl and it’d be all done in one go. Except it wouldn’t, it didn’t and it isn’t.

I didn’t get ‘that feeling’. That one where you just know. You know there’s an itty bitty peanut growing inside your belly ready to make it’s new home for nine months. Settling in, making its own self comfy, twinkling in your eye and fluttering ever so slightly with it’s teeny tiny embryo magic dust. Maybe it’s mother’s intuition, preparing your mind and your body for protection mode. Telling you it’s time to rest up and do your best to grow a little person. But still, you must wait. In infertility they call it The Two Week Wait. The single most infuriating, mind-destroying, sanity-depriving, sleepless and nerve-wracking two weeks of your life. Well, technically it’s only eleven days but boy is it eleven days of complete and utter shitfulness. If you don’t come out of it and the end at least a little bit like Sissy Spacek from Carrie, you’re doing well. Real well. Eleven days of questioning your every internal move…was that a flicker of a cramp? Could that be a twang of implantation? Could have sworn it hurts to sleep on my chest, must be a sign, surely a sign, definitely a sign…or not.

At the end of that Two Week Wait, a nurse will deliver the news you already don’t want to hear. Sorry, it didn’t work. Not this time, or the time before that, or the time before that even. Then it’s my job to ring The Vet and tell him. I would put off that call forever if it meant I didn’t have to break his heart one more time…but I can’t. It is what it is and we can’t change a single damn thing. Love n’hugs, Lady MamaGxox

Patience…

In the words of the great poet, Axle Rose, ‘all you need is just a little patience…’

And a whole lot of optimism. An army truck size load of it. Apparently eight is a lucky number in the Chinese horoscope. I’m hoping their little luck shines down on me like one of those little brass cats you see on the bench of Chinese restaurant with the waving arm. Things have been a little different in camp fertility on our eighth round. Dr Babies has tried a different protocol using something called Menopur, an older style IVF drug they bring out when women don’t respond to newer age drugs like Gonal F (of which I’m well-acquainted).

I rather like Menopur, she hasn’t caused me much bloating and even the crazies have managed to stay at bay…for a touch at least. I still get a daily (actually two) needles stabbed into my belly every morning and if you’re especially lucky and dehydrated it feels a hundred million times worse, bit like a cat claw ripping into your skin. After eight or nine days with my lovely new friend Menopur, I’m off for my scan. The specialist says he likes what he sees. I think even the word ‘wow!’ might have escaped his lips. When your fertility specialist starts to dance a merry jig around you, things might just be looking up. My oestrogen levels have tripled, he says, looking at my blood results. This is a good thing. Could be the naturopathy, could be the break, could be my stress levels, could be luck could be just that the flippin’ sky is blue…whatever it is this is a good thing, right?

He scribbles in his illegible doctor scrawl on a sheet on his desk and books me in for egg retrieval in three days’ time. There are 13 nice little follicles making themselves cosy in my ovaries, he says. Some on the left. Some on the right. I am so high on my happy news right now my smile’s bigger than Pharrell Williams’. Yes, 13, that’s like huge. Massive numbers. My surgery is booked for 7.30 in the morning on Wednesday.

Hospitals are the shittiest places. Their colour schemes, their staff uniforms, nothing says happy. They’re just drab, colourless pits of fear. They lay you on a gurney with your arm stuck out onto a vinyl strip that reminds me of those rooms where they do final executions on death row inmates. When the anaesthetist sticks his great big hulking needle into my hand he says I might feel a bit of pain. Is he fucking kidding? If they didn’t have a gas mask over my face I would have ripped that thing out of my hand and walloped him one right across his cheek. Shit it hurt, all up my left arm not to mention the hole in my hand where the electrical wire sized catheter has gone in. Five, four, three two…and she’s gone.

I wake up in recovery an hour or so later and the nice nurse in her blue scrubs is chatting away animatedly in my ear. She’s got an earring in her eyebrow and her hair tied up high on her head. For a minute I forget where I am. I want to open my eyes but it’s hard. I’m pretty sure someone has glued them shut. I look down at my hand and see the number 6 written on it in biro. That’s what they do when you have an egg collection, they write the number of eggs they fished out on your hand. Six? What? I thought there were 13? Bugger me! Well there’s as good a reason as any not to count your damn follicles before they hatch. Six eggs. My belly is swollen to the size of an NBA level basketball and the pain is like someone has taken a blender to your insides. I take six panadol when I get home and still the pain is hanging round like a Beverly Hills housewife at a restaurant opening.

That afternoon the scientist from the lab calls and lets me know they’ve fertilised five eggs. They’ll call again in two days time to let me know if they’ve survived and then by day five, if we have enough, two lil’ fighting embies will start renovating my uterus to make their nice new home inside for nine months. And for extra good measure, Dr Babies has decided he’ll also give me a Pregnyl injection when we go for the embryo transfer which will hopefully act like a bit of Spidey’s good stuff and make it stick like glue to the sides of my uterus.

I’m thinking if we have a girl, we might name her Hope. Not because I watch Young & the Restless but because hope really is all you have when you’re spun out of control down the path of fertility. Hope, patience and fear mixed with a tiny bit of strength.

While I wait for my belly to stop looking like one of those poor starving children, all distended and swollen, we also wait for our two little bubsicles to grow nice and strong so they can last the distance…maybe if we have twins we’ll name them Hope and Faith… Love n hugs, Lady MamaG xox Here’s a little ’80s rock to brighten your day. You’re welcome.

 

 

 

Telling it like it is…

baby factory? I'll take that one thank you...

baby factory? I’ll take that one thank you…

You could hear a pin drop, the room was so quiet. We were in Dr Babies’ office and had just been told of my many issues leading to my infertility. It was that silent. No words. Just a distinct disbelief. I wanted to ask him to just check again, look over his notes one more time (because of course I’d almost tripped over and fell up the knock with 10 y o). But words failed me. Silent tears trickled out of the side of my eye and I looked down at my hands. I was pissed off as all hell. Angry and downright gutted. Gutted this body I’d taken care of (mostly well, yes yes apart from the drinking, the partying and a little more drinking) could let me down. Worst of the facts was that age was a persistent player in my now unreproductive organs. The cobwebs had long grown over them and deemed them almost all but unuseful.  Our chances, Dr Babies told us, of getting ourselves a lovely jubbly little bundle of loveness were somewhere in the vicinity of 10% on our own and not a whole lot more via IVF.

Now I am one of the fast-approaching-a-decade-that-closely-resembles-forty in denial, who me? who is apparently ‘clogging up the IVF clinics’. Did I choose to be in this position? Was I a career-driven, heartless bitch who put having babies way down the bottom of my to-do list? Did I prefer traveling the far reaches of the Morroccan desert on camelback to starting a family? Was I too busy waiting for Mr Right with my long-sweeping checklist to even see that he was right in front of me? Was I selfish and enjoying my own adult life too much to consider anyone under the age of 20 being able to inhabit it? No. I was none of these. But that’s what some would have you believe. Does someone who is 40 or even 43 have less right to undergo IVF treatment than someone who is in their 20’s or 30’s? Forget what priorities they may or may not have put first, having a baby is one of the most incredible times in a woman’s life. Becoming a mother is a gift that no trip, present, whopping great diamond or even flashy car could ever replicate but that doesn’t mean to say a woman still doesn’t have the right to give it a go because she apparently put babies ‘on hold’.

Some of us have no choice. Maybe we haven’t met our tall dark n’ handsome. Maybe we would really like to fulfill our achievements and kick our goals all the way to the glass ceiling. Or maybe some of us were like me. A widow. A single mother at 31, with a small boy to look out for. I had no idea that some four years later I would meet the most incredible man who filled my life with such joy that I so desperately want to have a part of him and I to share for the rest of our lives. Things are not always what you think they are and it’s so easy to ride side saddle on our high horse looking down at those around us who might be struggling with one of the biggest fears of their lives.

As the time draws close for us to start on our long and winding (though we hope a little less long and winding this time) road through IVF yet again and yes I’m getting scared. Scared as all shit. It’s another year, another round, another series of tests, another ride through the constant waiting but bugger it, what have we got to lose…? That’s a rhetorical question – especially to those in my immediate family who may or may not right now be using words like sanity, mind, shit, hair and just plain normal human being-ness. It’s time to make the appointment with Dr Babies. I’ve done my six weeks of hard labour (gluten free), I’ve taken more vitamins than you could point a sharp stick at. I’ve participated in many (okay not many but definitely a few) jiggly, sweaty gym classes. I’ve gone back to see Mr Needles, I’ve tried to calm myself and keep busy. I’ve worked on my positiveness and being Brady Bunch-happy. I’ve even whispered to the big fella upstairs. Now it’s all up to me, right? No pressure or anything.

It’s been so much more than a ride on the crappy carnival of infertility and if I’m honest I’m not looking forward to revisiting her nasty self. And just a quick word to the wise, there’s some things you just should never say to a woman who is a) hormonally challenged and b) who has tried every goddam thing under the sun and still has nothing to show for it. What I’ve learnt so far is not to take to heart what people genuinely think is okay to ask.

Here’s a brief Q & A to get you up to speed. Do I want your eggs? No thanks I’d prefer my own, we’re not in a supermarket aisle. When do you think you’ll give up? I’m not sure, would you like to give one of your children back? How much has all this cost you? Thanks for asking. A frigging helluva lot, both financially and emotionally…but if you’d like to put your donation in the tin. Do you think it will work this time? Last time I checked I don’t have a crystal ball up my jacksie so my guess is as good as yours. Have you tried this…yes and everything in between. I know it worked for your friend’s sister’s cousin who tried for years but don’t mean it’s gonna work for me. When you give up, is when it’ll work…thanks, how enlightening did you study under the Dalai Lama? And my favourite of all, the bonus prize, the double-whammy, the supersize me with fries, Stop stressing, don’t think about it, just relax…let me just tie a led brick around your ankle and let you walk around with it for a few months, you know just to get the feeling. Don’t think about it though and you won’t even know it’s there.

Yes, fun times here we come. Love to all my fellow babywanters out there – close to forty or otherwise – big hugs, LadyMamaG xox

Ups and downs…

I almost died today. I actually thought it was all over. Saw stars in my eyes. Went dizzy felt like I was gonna hurl up my non-existent, liquid, gluten-free breakfast. Honest to Goodness, I thought my number was up. I blame it on my girlfriend. She asked me to come to Barre with her. And while I’d like to tell you that involved learning how to perfect a Margherita or the ingredients to a divine peach martini, there was nudda alcohol (even though I really could have done with some) involved in this particular tryst. The result is I can no longer lift my arms above my head without wincing and I now require assistance to be lowered onto the toilet seat. Sorry. But it’s true. The Barre – and it was my second attempt, (in a row) I might add – was not of the suave inner city drinking kind, but instead of the burn your buns and ballet-kick your legs almost above your head without knocking someone out kind. I’ll be posting naked selfies in no time, I thought. Err, wrong. While our sweet and petite instructor gleefully told me to dig down deep into my squat so I could ‘feel the burn’, I’m not sure if the poor girl behind me appreciated my burn so much. I read somewhere Miranda Kerr or Gisele or someone equally as goddess-like swears by it so I said ‘sign me up to the Gisele-butt’ – except I may never return. Well, not until I can take myself to bloody loo at least.

I'll look like this in no time...

I’ll look like this in no time…

Yes ladies and ladsters, welcome to twenny-one-four…where a new LadyMamaG is about to be unveiled before your very eyes. Oh, I haven’t even told you about my new little journey yet have I? Alright, grab the nearest bottle of Pinot and I’ll fill you in. It’s no secret 2013 was not a very nice year to me. It’s also no secret that we’re still not speaking, so much so that I am now refusing to even acknowledge her other than to say she’s behind me, like waaaaaay out yonder behind denim dungarees and spiral perms, behind me. Along with her seven failed IVF attempts and one lost pregnancy. ‘Get out’, I told her. ‘And don’t you be coming back, y’ hear?’

Despite my need to constantly be in the driver’s seat of my own life I have given way to the patron saint of patience (just for a short time, mind) and decided to take a break from all the nasties that have been invading my body like a deranged PacMan for thirteen odd months. Dr Babies suggested that it might be a good idea to take a short holiday from the fun resort that is IVF and opt down the path of holistic remedies to see if they might help.

I’ll spare you the intrepid details to save you from falling into your computer screen asleep but I did enlist the help of a naturopath, and one who goes by the moniker of Baby Maker, no less. When a fertility-challenged, hormone-hyped, possibly mentally-unstable woman reads those words there is no need for formal introductions, you can go straight to first base thanks very much. After our first meeting where she told me there was a slight possibility my tubes are not in fact blocked (funny, a hysteroscopy, laproscopy and the photographic evidence proves otherwise) and also that age be damned, I’m in fact in the most common age of women trying to conceive you don’t need to ask me twice, sign me up and fill me with whatever it takes, I’ll even dance the tango round the Mulberry bush naked if you think that’ll help.

Only problem is, when you tell a fertility-challenged girl that you might just have the answer to all her hopes and dreams she will literally hang on your every word and hold you so true to it that I would look at maybe switching your address should it not work out. Jo-king. But no really when a girl is as desperate as I am and you tell her that you have a much higher chance of conceiving by following her guide, she is going to hold you to it like a marshmallow on a stick.

Here’s what she’s put me on. Some vial tasting liquid that may or may not be the fermented urine of a rare Alpine elk. Approximately fifty-four different types of ‘uterine-health’ herbs that make me sound like a pair of maraccas when I walk there are so many pills jiggling round in my belly and the best part – a gluten free diet. I’m all for things that make you healthy but seriously there is only so much quinoa, wilted kale and sprinkled flax seeds a girl can take, right? Okay I admit there is a slight possibility I may even feel better for it but oh how I long for a nice bloody crusty French roll and a bowl of pasta.

Apparently all these things are going to get my hormones back on track. Perhaps you should ask The Vet, the 10 y o and possibly even the dog (who always remains my biggest fan) and may all argue that Mrs Bitchypants got a whole lot nastier this month.Thanks to the lovely spirit goddess who ended school holidays this week, lov yah guts baby. Apparently I need to open up my spiritual vessel (eyes up here, thanks) to a more positive and healthy and welcoming state. We’ll see how long that lasts without KFC and bread rolls in my life. Love to all the GF sufferers out there…let’s hold hands, LadyMamaGxox

 

 

When are you going to give up…?

this many more...

this many more…

With soggy wet hair, stepping out of the shower 10 y o scrunched his nose up the way he does when he’s deep in thought, blinking at me through shampoo-redened eyes he asks, ‘why don’t you just get the IVF doctors to fix what’s wrong with you and you can have a baby. Can’t they fix your tubes so they work again?’ Nope, I never thought my 10 y o would know what tubes were either, much less that mine needed to be unblocked before we could have a baby. We’d just been watching Ricky Ponting’s story on ABC. ‘How many times did it take them to have a baby?’ he asks. I tell him they went through seven rounds before falling pregnant with their first daughter. ‘What number are we up to, maybe our seventh one will work,’ he says as if that’s the lucky number for everyone going through IVF. If it worked for a cricket legend, surely it’ll work for us too, right? I tell him we’ve already had our seventh go but that maybe eight will be our lucky number, instead.

‘How many more times will it take?’ he asks. That, Charlie, is the golden ticket. ‘Who knows,’ I reply. ‘If we did then we wouldn’t have to keep trying, buddy. We just have to hope the next one works.’

Then I started to think about how many times I’ve been asked what’s my lucky (or unlucky) number? When will you give up? When will you stop trying? How many goes until you decide enough is enough? What’s your limit? Truth is I don’t have that answer myself. If I did then maybe we wouldn’t be on this shithole journey in the first place.

You can’t put a number or a limit on how many times you’re willing to give it a go, much less than you put a number on how much you want a baby (and if you’re asking, Fertility Gods, that’s a real lot, heaps, like gazbillions). You just have to keep saddling back on up to that horse, grab it by its nasty little reigns and do your best to pull that crazy Mustang into line.

I’m thinking 14 might be my lucky number, well the year at least (nooo not fourteen babies you crazy fool) and that eight, well eight has a nice little ring to it thanks nicely. I’ve gone and signed up (under Dr Babies’ guidance) with a naturopath who has given me a list longer than Julia Roberts’ arm pit hair circa Oscar winning days, of potions and lotions that she promises will get my body back in perfect baby-making shape. Or at the very least, they’ll make my hair shiny and my nails grow (an obvious positive). I’m not wholly convinced by anyone who refers to themselves as a ‘baby maker’ but I figure, do your worst love, the crap this body’s seen in the past year would make a junkie look like a saint.

The ‘Herbs’ she has prescribed me, she admits, taste fairly close to ground up gravel and the amount of little brown bottles I have on my kitchen bench which are certain to aide everything from gut issues to healthy liver, heart and folic acid levels are sure to do me no harm. Well apart from that of my hip pocket. At the very least you may see me sign up to run a marathon very shortly. Or…then again, you may not.

No, I’m not ready to give up. Not just yet. Ask me in another year…Love, as always, Lady MamaGxox

Laters, twenny-one-three…

a new year, new luck...?

a new year, new luck…?

Dear twenny-one-three, this might hurt a little bit so, like ripping off a week-old band aid, I think it’s best if I come right out and say it: I’m not going to miss you, not one teensy bit. You’ve seemed to lack mostly what I would say is just a mortal thread of common decency. Yes, there have been some wonderful highlights – you’ve seen the decade roll over that was the birth of the 10 y 0, and the greatest day of my life. You’ve seen the first anniversary of the day I married the Most Beautiful Man in the World, and you’ve finally seen the end to open home weekends. But, apart from that, I’ve got a bloody big bone to pick with you because it seems you’ve wanted to throw curve balls at me which ever way I’ve tried to turn. Thirteen has been about as lucky as a black cat crossing in front of you while walking under a ladder, with an umbrella up inside.

As I sit here – in my running shorts that I’m very unlikely to be running in – and try (hard) to think of all the new resolutions I need to make; no more KFC (cravings be damned), actually do my pilates DVD instead of allowing it to gather dust on my bedroom floor, eat nothing but kale, chia seeds, acia berries, quinoa and tofu EVERY night, walk the dog daily and curtail my sailor’s tongue (okay who are we kidding for that last one) I cast my mind back to the days before this year clicked swiftly into the number thirteen that has been about as lucky as Liz Taylor’s wedding vows. Yes, all seven of them.

I’d hardly even heard of Folicle Stimulating Hormone, progesterone, ovulation suppressant and trigger injections, must less known anything about how much they’d become a part of my daily life for the coming year. I’d had two, maybe three general anaesthetics in my lifetime, my thighs didn’t touch at the top and my wardrobe still fit me. I thought testosterone and steroids were for crazy gym junkies whose heads seem like they’re too small for their bodies trying to increase their biceps that one more inch and, here’s the big one, I actually stupidly beligerently believed it would take one go of IVF and I’d be up the knock.

It’s fair to say that twenny-one-three, you’ve been about as kind as Gordon Ramsay in a hot kitchen to this here fertility-challenged thirtysomething…so please please let the new one that arrives tomorrow and takes over from your shift be so much better than you. Laters sista, like a teenager’s training bra you won’t be missed.

Happy and safe New Year my lovely jubblies, love n’ hugs, Lady Mama G xox