Dear body: I forgive you…

You’ve been my sidekick for the best part of, okay well actually, for four entire decades now. We haven’t always been the best of besties and lately I’ll admit I’ve been blaming you for a lot of shit. It’s no secret we haven’t seen eye to eye or even seen each other at all. 

You’ve let me down. You’ve changed. You’ve stopped doing the things you used to let me do so easily without even blinking an eyelid. You’ve made me bat shit crazy at times and sent me almost to the brink, dangled me over the edge with nothing but my fingernails to hold on with. 

You’ve made me know things I didn’t want to know. Forced me to ‘discover’ so much shit about myself that at best is an overshare and at worst is fucking downright cruel. 

 Yet now we’ve become closer than we ever needed to be and I fucking hate it. You share far too many of your monthly secrets with me. You fire out hints of happiness and then just as quickly yank the buggers out of my hands before I can hold on tight enough to believe in them. 

  You make me feel so utterly inadequate sometimes I wonder what the fuck I did, or who I mistreated in a past life to end up with you. 

       There’s been far too many nights I’ve woken up, or not even made it to sleep for worrying about your stupid self so damn much. Shit there’s been moments I’ve been so angry I’ve thought I needed to harm you a little bit just to snap you the fuck out of it. But of course I haven’t. I can’t. We’re too close for that. 

Last weekend I went to a function for spinal injury research and I listened. I drank in the stoic atmosphere as an incredibly courageous group of people – those who’ve had a much more difficult relationship with you than me – shared their humbling but tragic life stories of being confined to wheelchairs, of being involved in horrific accidents. Of having their lives irrevocably changed involuntarily. 

I sat intently listening to a woman tell of her life spent conquering battles after an accident almost all but took her hopes of becoming a mum. She’d spent years trying before and continued to traverse the IVF terrain for seven years after the accident and then finally falling pregnant naturally to a healthy baby boy

She could breastfeed her beautiful bundle but she couldn’t hold him. She managed to bring a life into this world but will never run, climb or carry him to the swings. 

But she wasn’t looking for sympathy just help. Help for her and the most amazing group of talented scientists, specialists and researchers who make it their life ambition to cure spinal injuries. It was both humbling and awakening to hear her’s and those of her compatriots’ plight. It’s something close to my heart having lost someone I loved with all my heart from a spinal injury. 

So I’m sorry, Body. I’m sorry for blaming you and being so angry at you all the time. You’ve tried your best and you’ve been the pilot at the helm this whole time. You haven’t always let me down and the times you have I can forgive you for. You’ve carried and brought into the world the most spectacular mini human in the 12 y o. So thank you. At least when I feel like shit in the morning I still get to put my feet on the ground…to live my life mostly like normal. There’s an awful lot of people who don’t get that choice. 

Promise I won’t take you for granted again. For the team at the Griffifth university Spinal Injury Research thank you for not just the incredible job you do…but for opening my eyes and making me forgive myself. Lov n’hugs, Lady MamaG xox

You just have shit luck…

At least you have one. A throwaway comment but it sliced like a box cutter when someone said to it to me last week (after I’d already told them our last cycle had failed, but she’d seemingly forgotten). ‘At least you have a healthy boy, you should be happy with that.’

Shit, lucky you told me because had you not pointed out this fact to me I would have completely forgotten I gave birth to the world’s most perfect tiny human twelve years ago and who has been and always will be the absolute light of my life ever since. Just as well I have people like you to tell me the most blindingly obvious stupid fucking facts. Don’t you think I know this already???!!!

babyfeet

There are some things you just don’t say to a girl hiked up on fertility medication like a crack whore. And ‘at least you have a child’ is one of them. The other is ‘it’s so easy for me to get pregnant’. If you mention these lines to a woman coming down from a cycle you may want to wear protective eyewear…And possibly one of those Joan of Arc-style chainmail vests before doing so.

I was already feeling like a bucket of shit-stained undies at that moment in time and I felt like spitting staples at them. I didn’t say anything. Instead uttered under my breath the shitfulness of people’s ignorance.

What I wanted to say is, I’m quite sick of being Fertility’s bitch locked up in her dungeon of pain. I want out, I’m using my safe word, let me go. Let me goooooooooo. And I want all the people who think what they say is helping to shut the fuck up. It doesn’t help. There is nothing about ‘oh you have a child already’ that could possibly help someone who has been trying to make a small version of herself and her beautiful husband for the past four years and has been utterly consumed by it. Not ever. If there’s any kind of mind altering hypnosis/medication/therapy that can magically erase your ability to think about fertility, fertility and nothing but trying to get pregnant every waking day then I’ll take it. Shit I’ll even sign up for vintage-style electric shock treatment if you reckon it’ll make me forget about every single thing that isn’t working and blowing our dreams up like a hillbilly bonfire.

Last Monday it was time for my routine debrief with Dr Babies after our failed IVF I’m going to call the Worst Motherfucking Cycle Ever, I asked the question we all nervously mumble knowing full well we’ll never get a straight answer to. ‘Why didn’t it work…?’

It didn’t work because it wasn’t ‘our time’. It didn’t work because my eggs are shitfully old and shriveled into tiny caper berries. It didn’t work because The Vet is too stressed and exhausted. It didn’t work because I hadn’t detoxed for long enough. It didn’t work because I didn’t have acupuncture regularly for 18 months beforehand. It didn’t work because I waited too long between cycles. It didn’t work because I had six wines on Christmas day. It didn’t work because I didn’t drink the bin juice the naturopath prescribed me two times a day. It didn’t work because the protocol wasn’t right for us this time. It didn’t work because I rode my bike that one morning. It didn’t work because my body’s getting too old to reproduce. It didn’t work because I haven’t eaten enough leafy green vegetables. It didn’t work because my tongue is white and apparently that means your liver is fucked. It didn’t work because I waited too long. The biggest reason it didn’t work…ass-achingly shitfully bad luck. That is all. He didn’t have an answer because there really is no actual answer. It either works or it doesn’t. A fifty per cent gamble and our horse didn’t come in. It was a stupid fucking donkey.

The next words he asked have to be – apart from being told you are infertile – the single hardest words for a woman TTC to ever hear…’have you considered donor eggs?’ Bless him, it’s not Dr Babies fault, he’s clutching at whatever straw will help him make our dreams come true but I felt like tearing my eyeballs out of my head. ‘No, no, we won’t’ I answered a little too quickly. When you’ve brought a tiny piece of yourself and your partner into this world and you get to see little mannerisms, looks, features and personality that remind you a little bit of you or him, it’s a hard thing to get your head around. Don’t get me wrong, I really don’t love myself that much but once you have had your own biological child it’s kind of hard to have that right taken away from you.

I had never considered it before. Ever. Yet we’d talked about adoption – of which our chances are zero to zilch. Donor eggs were not on my agenda but all of a sudden they might have to be. If it means the difference between actually having a child that is at least half ours, and not ever realising this dream…well I’d be a dumbass idiot to not at least try it. And while it’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to get my head around I’m slowly beginning to realise it might be our only option left.

For now we’re trying one last little glimmer of hope called Ovulation Induction – which at least involves no general anaesthetic, limited drug injecting and a bit of good old-fashioned rooting. Our chances are as slim as Kendal Jenner’s waist, I know but we have to try our luck.

3 things that scare me most…

There’s three things that scare the living shit out of me. Well, no technically that’s not true, there’s an entire 18-wheeler’s trailer load full of things that I’m afraid of – walking on glass floors being one of them – especially if they’re at a great height (and what a stupid place to put them in the first place) I’m all like one-foot-in-front-of-the-other-while-fiercly-gripping-the-walls-as-if-I’m-a-base-jumper in those damn touristy shittown places.

ggirl

Lady Hope herself…

But the three things that scare me most at this right here second are: Snakes in my garden…anyone who has seen me on my daily walk-run down the bushy paths of our community will have laughed their squirrel nuts off at the sight of me leaping into the air when I thought a fallen palm frond was an actual boa constrictor lying in wait (it was very convincing, at a distance).

Rollercoasters and anything that tips you upside down…this is a real and actual physical anxiety and no amount of coercing by the 12 y o is going to change that. I did enough of the stupid ass things in my teens to put me off for life (thanks to my thrill-seeking bestie) and being that it’s school holidays there’s a very real chance my son may actually want me to partake in such life-threatening voyages.

Mostly I’m shit scared of failure. And by failure I don’t mean in life in general (though I may have slipped up on my 2015-diet-and-pilates regime, yes) but I am sweating bullets that this one-time-only last cycle won’t work.

Today my friendly needle nurse and I became acquainted once again. She placed a tournequay around my arm and I obligingly squished the stress ball. She then gave me a scrip to collect approximately $6k worth of drugs which probably isn’t the best thing to repeat to your girlfriend loudly when you spot her in a shopping market full of people. The filthy looks were reassured with my addition of ‘oh they’re not recreational drugs or anything’ to the man restocking the aubergines.

Loaded with anxiety and ‘will it fucking work this time?’ kicking around in my head, we’re about to start our ninth cycle of needle bashing.

There are fears I didn’t even know I had the inner fuel for but shit they’re burning into my psyche like a fucking furnace. Over the next 10 days those close to me will witness The Shining level psychosis that comes hand-in-hand with those wonderful things they like to call Follicle Stimulating Hormones (look them up, great lube for a party mood) and my favourite, the thick needle ‘trigger shot’ that is the gift that keeps on giving – pain that is – for sometimes an entire day if you’re lucky.

The next few weeks will go a little something like this: I want to laugh. I want to cry. I want to punch something. No hold on, I want to snuggle a kitten. I need chocolate by the tonne, no wait maybe I need sponge layered cream cake…

To the person upstairs who is giving out the luck dust, I think it’s about time you come spread some of that shit this away cos Lordy knows I’ve had plenty of your bad stuff…now it’s time to play nice. All we want is our family complete, please? Love’n’hugs and Happy New Year, Lady MamaG xxo

Dear 40…you don’t scare me one bit…

I remember when my mum turned forty. Shit it seemed soooo old. I was 14, and with my head up my butt (metaphorically not actually physically, I gave up ballet years before) meant old to me was anyone over the age of 25. Taylor Swift hadn’t even been born yet. But now it’s me knocking on 40’s door (November 10, if you’re asking)…it doesn’t seem half as bad. Could we say young, even? I can happily tell you I’ve so far managed to abstain from injecting botulism into my forehead or the cheeks of a dead pig into my face which means you’ll know when I’m pissed off with you because my eyebrows can still sit up in an upside down V at the top of my forehead and the tiny lines that sit at the creases of my eyes are there to remind me of the road maps of my life so far. Every one of them I’ve earned.

things get better, so much better...

things get better, so much better…

Even though my metabolism might have decided to all but give up on me, as have my ovaries and there might be far more cellulite making its way onto my thighs than I’d like…there is something quite enlightening to turning over another decade into demureness. My fondness for D’Auphinois cheese and a smooth Merlot, for one. My level of give-a-shit has depleted to almost nothing and gone are all those stupid years spent so indecisive in my twenties. Hanging on by a teeny thread are my thirties where I’ve discovered my faults don’t matter anymore. If I could tell myself anything it might be with each decade, the best is yet to come. I’d maybe warn myself of the shit that lies ahead but to treasure the wonderful moments that are gone in a tiny blink, too.

If Marty McFly really could travel back in time in his Delorian…I’d hitch a ride and this is what I’d tell myself…

Dear 10-year-old me: Yes life might seem shitballs because you’re growing up in a solo-parent home. Your brother leaves to live with your dad soon and it’ll feel like you’re an only kid. Sometimes that sucks balls big time. There’s gonna be heaps of stuff you want but can’t have – it’s character building. Your mum says so. You don’t know it yet but you’ve already made your friends for life and those three besties will be there for every one of your happy times and tragedies over the next thirty years. Just over halfway through this decade, you’re going to meet the boy who will change your life forever. Guess what…you’ll marry him one day, I know totally crazy huh? You end up leaving school and home much sooner than you should but it sure as shit won’t stop you fighting for your dreams.

Besties forever...

Besties forever…

Listen up, 20-year-old self: Your plans to travel the world will be put off for a while. Actually a whole decade but so much other stuff will happen it won’t even matter. You’ll land a top editing job on a couple of glossies and will love the shit out of it. That guy I told you last decade was the one, really and truly is and you’ll marry him soon. A couple of years later you’ll be in the hospital holding the most incredible thing you’ve ever seen…your baby boy. It’s going to be your greatest role yet, motherbood…so don’t wish away a single second of it. Not long after, your husband’s going to decide he wants to cross the Tasman. You’ll swear no for two years and one day, finally give in. Then you’ll never want to come back home…funny how fate changes you like that.

Dear 30-year-old me: I’m not sure how to tell you but this will be both the worst and best years of your life. One October day only just before your first year in your thirties, a call will come and take the wind from your lungs. It will completely kick your legs out from under you. They will tell you your husband’s been in an accident. You’ll fight with every bit of you but it won’t do any good. You will lose him. Yes, life will stop but trust me when I tell you you’re going to make it through. You have to. Over the next few years you will live in a blur never quite believing what’s happened. That pain you feel, it’ll never go away. But you know what? You might not believe this but a few years later, a man will come along who’s going to give you back the light you lost. He’ll ask you and your little boy to marry him and for the second time in your life, even though you’ll be scared to say it out loud, life will be perfect again. Don’t get too comfy. Soon you guys will learn the baby you so desperately want will come within a whisper many times but just as quickly fade away. It will take every bit of your fight to keep going back, again and again. What will be a complete mindfuck is that what was once so easy, now isn’t. You never even knew jackshit about IVF before but after three years, you’ll know more than you ever wanted to. Keep it up. You have to. One day it might happen.

all you need is love...

all you need is love…

Your biggest lesson in these three decades is to be grateful for all the good in your life. So yes, 40, you are so close I can smell you but you don’t scare me shitless…in fact I’m getting quite used to having you around – who knows, we might even become besties one day…give it time. Lov n’hugs Lady MamaG xox

Life doesn’t seem so bad…

This happy lil' vegemite is the air in my lungs...

This happy lil’ vegemite is the air in my lungs…

Why not give it another shot…? At least that’s what I told myself this month even though I’m damn sure last year I swore off Chlomid (and drinking, and KFC for lunch…and buying jeans). Pretty certain we decided to stick to trying ourselves until the Big Day comes when we have our last actual true blue IVF cycle. But things change, like the seasons (as does my mind), so like a good girl, I took my four little white pills each morning, as well as my good friend prednisolone (steroid) who has turned out to be not such a good friend, actually and then we thought hey, why not go all crazy ass on this cycle and whip in a little trigger shot too…you know, just to spice things up a little.

The trigger shot is meant to help boost your chances of actually ovulating and because I have currently also sworn off those stupid ovulation test kits (I cannot for the life of me work that little doowacky thing with the mini microscope) Fertility Gods Be Willing, this might be a better option. On day twelve, I stop in at the clinic and my favourite nurse – a lovely Kiwi girl – tells me she’ll quickly give me a shot of pregnyl. ‘This one might hurt a bit,’ she says before stabbing into the (once firm) fold of my tummy what may or may not have been one of those flying daggers they use in the circus. I don’t know because I never watch when the needle goes in. Hurt? FM, yes it flipping hurt! Not only did it sting but as the liquid goes in to my body I begin to wonder if I might just faint. Tough it up, chick I say silently in my head, you’ve had your nether regions disected by the somewhat large head circumference of your son you can handle this shit for sure. I pull my top back down and climb off the injection chair. ‘All good’, I tell her through clenched teeth…who am I kidding? It bloody aches for five hours afterwards.

Now it’s just a waiting game…like every month you sit tight for twelve days and try not to go bat shit crazy while resisting the constant urge to search up every possible early pregnancy symptoms you can feast your demented eyeballs upon. Not that I feel sorry for myself, there are people so far worse off than me.

We’ve got the boy and we are lucky. When I look into my 11 y o’s eyes…like the bluest blue of the ocean on a clear day, I couldn’t bare to ever not see those twinkling peepers again. A piece of me. My most treasured gift. My heart tenses when I think of the inconceivable grief suffered by a relative last year. There was a horrific fire involving her and her young children. Two made it out. Her and her youngest son did not. As she crouched on her bathroom floor trying to douse the heat from her own and the skin of her beautiful little three-year-old boy, somewhere during that time due to smoke inhalation, she passed out. If it weren’t for a neighbour breaking in to get to her, she would never have made it. She was rushed to hospital and placed into a coma in the ICU. For three weeks she lay still in a hospital bed before the doctors thought it would be safe to bring her out. The words she heard when she was woken would, I’m quite sure, have made her not want to wake up. Ever. Her little boy, the youngest of four, did not make it. Her gorgeous little brown-eyed boy had been buried while she was helpless and bedridden. She never even got to say good bye. This is not my story to tell but there is nothing like watching from afar as someone goes through the greatest grief of their life to make you realise your own problems are actually jack shit.

There is nothing more certain that death and nothing more crippling than grief. I hold the 11 y o just that little bit tighter when I think about that poor girl and what she has gone through and more so, what she faces ahead as the months and years slowly edge by.

It’s times like these I realise my own pain is nothing but a tiny distant blip in the radar of life. I count my blessings. Love n hugs, Lady MamaG xox

 

To our unborn baby…a letter of hope

babyfeetwings

For the unborn baby we might not ever get the chance to meet…there isn’t enough words in the google dictionary to tell you how very hugely desperately we want you. For almost three years we have waited and waited and waited for you to come into our lives. We have hoped, prayed and done a fertility handstand in the hope we might one day be able to grow you inside my belly. Your daddy has thought of all the things he wants to teach you and all the soccer games he can watch you play. We’ve wondered whether you’ll have his beautiful eyes and your mama’s lips. If you’ll be just like your brother and light up the whole room wherever you go…

Your big brother has been praying on the brightest stars in the night sky that you’ll come really soon. He’s getting sick of waiting too. He can’t wait to teach you how to ride a skateboard and cast a fishing line. He can’t wait till the time he gets to say he has a baby brother…and yes, even a baby sister. He says you’ll be the best thing ever and he’ll always stick up for you no matter what, cos that’s what big brothers do.

I’ve thought of names, even nicknames for fun. I’ve thought of all the books I’d like to read you while you’re growing inside me so you know my voice just as soon as you come out. I’ve thought of how much I’ll try not to be as scared as I was with your brother that you might stop breathing in your cot…I’ve promised I won’t keep putting my hand on your belly to check it’s still rising. And I know to live each precious moment because they’re gone far too quick. I’ve come up with colour schemes for your room and wondered which soft toys will become your faves when you sleep.

We’ve thought of how much you will complete our little family of four. How even though there’s going to be a big gap, you will be more cherished than the Pope at the Vatican. There’s been times when we’ve thought it was time, inched ever so close that it’s like I can actually see you, hear your soft cries and feel your silky skin. Every now and then you’ve made your way into my dreams, maybe you’re trying to remind me that one day you will be here. I’ve tried so hard to get keep you coming back night after night but you’re gone before I get the chance…disappeared into the night.

So wherever you are out there in the universe and whenever it is that you come into our lives we’ll be right here waiting with the widest most open arms, hearts so full they could burst like water balloons and smiles so big our faces might crack….but that day comes when our skies are lit up with rainbows, and we meet you little unborn baby…know, just know you’ll be cherished and loved beyond words. Love n’hugs, Lady MamaG xox

The last time…

all you need is love...

all you need is love…

Walking through the shops the other day, 10 y o asks me, ‘What do you want for your birthday this year?’. He was probably expecting me to say a new clutch (that’s of the handbag variety, I haven’t driven a manual since the ’90s.) Or maybe a new bracelet and if you’re reading men in my life, these will be greatly appreciated. But no, my answer was simple and relatively costless…that is if you don’t count the years of IVF, pain, emotions, mood swings, needles, anesthetics, nausea, aches, disappointment, grief and excessive weight gain (my thighs don’t normally touch, thanks quietly).

‘I’d like a baby,’ I tell him quietly. ‘I’m sorry I can’t give you what you want,’ he says with all the heart and love you could possibly ask for. ‘But I’ll wish and pray and do everything so that next time it works and we can have a baby.’ Yes, tissues may have been required around this time. ‘But you know what buddy, I’m still the luckiest girl in the world cos I’ve got you and The Vet,’ I tell him. I love the ‘we’ he uses. It’s not just me, it’s not just us, it’s WE. When The Vet and I got married, 10 y o kept saying it was ‘our wedding’. Everything we do is about our family and yes I want a baby, hells shit I want a baby but I can’t lose track of what I’m really lucky to have…some people don’t even get it ever and I’ve got it in bundles. Love, love, love is all you need.

Next month we go for our last round of IVF. When I say last, I mean last. I mean no more after that. Not even a Cold Chisel reunion tour. Not even a Star Wars Episode Fifty. End of. Shit just got real. It’s time to jump off this crazycoaster and go back to our Life Before Infertility…not that I’m even sure I know what that is it was so far ago. We will need every bit of the love, luck and wonder we’ve been getting from our friends and family. I’ll need all my strength to end the Chapter. Close my book and move on. I don’t want to say it got the better of me, because as you know I really hate losing. BIG time. How about we meet in the middle and call it a Conscious Uncoupling between Me & IVF or something?

Hells to the yes it’s been a rough couple of years. But it’s all the lovely phone calls from both the friends who’ve only recently come into our lives and friends who’ve been in my life since I was the same age as my son, younger even. Friends who know me almost better than I know myself…who even though the Tasman sea separates us, keep me in their hearts daily. They tell me I’m strong, and they should know, they know I’ve been through bigger, tougher, harder stuff than this and I’ll get through it. There have been times I haven’t wanted to answer my phone, gone into radio silence as a close friend likes to call it. But still they care. And it’s all those messages, the flowers, the support, the hugs, the calls and the love of all the beautifully incredible people in my life – especially The Vet – that remind me how lucky as a camel with two humps I really am.

We go into this last round with every single droplet of that love and hope and most of all a lot of my own that this might just be our moment… Oh, aThe nd thank you to the friend who offered me her fertility slate, blessed by the Buddhist monks of Nepal for luck. Let’s hope it works miracles, baby! Lov n hugs, LadyMamaG xox