Tick, tick, tick, tick…BOOM!

ka-boom...

ka-boom…

That is the unfortunate truth of what my life has become…a mother f’n ticking time bomb – both in the metaphoric and grammatical sense. I miss my old self, the self who used to be able to shop at whim (and still fit into a size 8, at times a push) stalking out of my fave shop, designer Loubs in one hand, and a bandage dress in the other. The old self who could melt away in the bath every night – and not be worried I was melting my uterus, cooking my eggs or harming an unborn foetus (because apparently overheating yourself in the bath can cause miscarriage, who knew?!).

The old me who didn’t have to shove a basal thermometer up my jacksie every morning before I get out of bed…and know exactly where I’m at in my cycle every. single. godamn day (TMI even for me). The old me who could still ride her pretty pink cruiser bike down to the shop and not worry that again, I could be harming any possibly carrying foetus onboard my womb. The one who didn’t need to be, or wasn’t totally and utterly consumed by fertility. Who would eat gluten – KFC included – with gleeful joy because she wasn’t being told by some naturopath that it could be hindering my ability to naturally conceive. Who wasn’t worried about eating bananas, because apparently they could potentially block your tubes during ovulation…according to Mr Needles.

The old me who didn’t have a particularly unhealthy obsession with buying ovulation tests to the point where I could in fact be considered a fertility test junkie, beady-eyed and hunched over with my paper bag full of goodies firmly in my grip like an addict who’s just scored a free hit. The me who has not one, but about a trillion different types of ovulation indicators – the pee ones, the spit ones, all the fun kind and then is reduced to tears every time they bring a negative result.

The old me who didn’t have to explain to every one I see, know and some I don’t that we’re either in the middle of a cycle, about to do another cycle or just had yet another failed cycle. The one who would seek out the latest foundation instead of yet another fertile herb she’d heard about from the far reaches of Northern Cambodia that was a surety to cure infertility (yes, I fall for it every time, just you try asking some desperate infertile woman not to). And the me who didn’t have to consume approximately four-hundred-and-thirty-seven horse tranquiliser-sized vitamins every day. The old me whose life wasn’t defined by grief and fertility – the two of which go hand-in-hand.

Then I remember I did all these things in my twenties…riding bikes, eating gluten by the bucketload, drinking (lots), having super hot baths every night, getting stressed with a full-time job…and I STILL got pregnant.

The hardest most constant fear in infertility is the ticking time bomb that resides inside your head – and you can think you can hide from it, banish it to the naughty step but that shit just keeps coming back like a teenage pimple on your forehead. Tick, tick, tick, tick…Ka-bloody-BOOM! To all my beautiful one-day-mamas out there on this bumpy road, loves to you…and to the gorgeous blonde who came up to me in the mall because she reads this here blog and told me not to give up, bless your darling heart…Love n’Hugs, Lady MamaG xox

Somtimes things go grey, REALLY grey…but there’s always a rainbow

you are my sunshine...you make me happy, when skies are grey...

you are my sunshine…you make me happy, when skies are grey…

Earlier this week was a day I’d really rather forget. It was a bad day filled with grey and covered in so many uncontrollable emotions. That’s probably the worst part of it. As a Scorpian, as a Woman and as a bloody Stroppy Bird, I like to always be in control. Stand up to my emotions, look them dead in the eye and tell them to piss the hell off, there’s no place for them here. It was one of those type of days that rhymes with what people do on horses when they’re trying to kill a fox (you can work it out among yourselves and yes, I do have the tongue of a sailor).

I don’t quite know what triggered it. Maybe someone cut me off in the traffic. Maybe it was because there wasn’t any fruit toast left in the fridge. Maybe it was because I couldn’t find my favourite running pants (okay, who are we kidding, I don’t actually run in them but they are bright…and supa comfy). No, I know what it was, fertility. She has this really uncanny ability to get in the way of being able to pursue a normal life. I watch my temperature like Courtney Cox waiting for a Friends reunion and it’s a constant reminder that I’m on the train of Unfortunate Mess.

The Naturopath has suggested I start meditating. Who are we kidding? I can’t even sit still long enough to finish my cup of herbal tea, relaxation is the Andrea to my Gina…we just shouldn’t be in the same room together. That is, if you don’t count a nice relaxing massage but the last time I tried one of those the ONLY thing I could think about for the entire forty-three minute ‘journey’ was if it was harming my as-yet-unborn-and-completely-ficticious-embryo by sucking in the ‘harmonious essential oils’.

As it stands I’ve decided to go Gwynnie and Consciously Uncouple with Fertility because she just won’t play nice. She lives inside my head and takes up way too much space, wears all my favourite outfits and doesn’t return them, breaks everything she can get her hands on – mostly my heart and my head. She changes my mood and makes me cry uncontrollably for three hours – so much so that the poor unfortunate girl who happened to call me on said morning possibly thought she might have needed to alert the people in the white coats. Yep, like big thundering clouds every damn thing went grey. So I cried and cried and heaved and heaved until I thought my eyes were going to fall out of their sockets they became so red. I was like a five-year-old trying to explain why their big sister is soooo mean because she pulled my arm out of socket. Emotion came in and took over, she rode off into the sunset with my sanity and left me a helpless mess.

But once all the clouds were gone I came out and felt okay. At least I hope I did. I haven’t been broken in a long time. A LONG time. But like anything you learn to ride the bumps.

Infertility is a curse but it’s not an affliction. Sometimes it feels so much like it’s not fair but not fair is the kids of the beautiful Gold Coast mum who will spend their first mother’s day without a brave woman who lost her battle with cancer last week. Not fair is the parents of the 200 young Nigerian girls who wait anxiously to hear if they’ll get their daughters back. Not fair is the children of the families who went missing on Malaysian Airlines 370, who today don’t have a mum to call and wish a happy mother’s day.

It is hard, hell yes it’s shitful but there is always a rainbow after all the grey. For me it’s the little boy who has spent 10 wonderful beautiful incredible mother’s days with me and one smile from his twinkling eyes is all I need to remember in the end, it will all be okay. To mums everywhere you are and share a blessing. And to the 10 y o, every minute you’re in my life I am grateful for. Love n’hugs, Lady MamaG xox

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.

 

 

 

Being a mum…hands down the hardest job in the world…

I'll walk to the ends of the earth to take his pains away...

I’ll walk to the ends of the earth to take his pain away…

I can tell you the single moment I learned being a mum is the toughest job in the whole wide world. It was a Spring morning in October eight years ago. I watched my not-quite-three-year-old little boy sleep in the bed beside me. His beautiful lashes with the blonde tips on the ends, firmly closed. I still tell him to this day those lashes were kissed by the angels when he was born. I leave him to sleep a little longer. I want him to stay in peace for as long as he can. When he finally stirs I look into his blue blue eyes  and I do the single most hardest thing I’ve ever had to do as a mum. I tell him today is a special day. Today we will say goodbye to his daddy. ‘Daddy is gone to heaven and he’s never coming back,’ I tell him. Even though we lost him five days before that morning I didn’t want him to be scared. I tried and tried to protect him from reality but the time had come and it was my job to shatter his tiny heart into a trillion little pieces.

He tells me ‘No, no!’ in a big voice for an only-just-woken toddler. ‘Daddy’s not dead. He’s at the racecars.’ I am his mum and I can’t lie. I tell him his daddy had an accident in his racecar and he has gone. I will tell him this over and over until his little face bursts into floods of tears, hot red cheeks steaming from his anger, frustration and disbelief. He puts his head back on his pillow as if he’s trying to go back to sleep, to step in reverse from the words he’s just heard from his mummy’s mouth. His mummy, how could she be telling him such horrible horrible things, she’s meant to keep away the pain not stab it in.

That morning I would have rather been anywhere but in that bedroom telling my little boy those words. I would have taken all his pain, his fear and his loss. Syphoned it out with my heart and poured it into my own body so he didn’t have to suffer. That’s what you do when you’re a Mum. You take their pain away…when they’re sick, when they’re scared, when they’re sore and when they’re hurt by the most horrific loss of grief.

It’s the hardest job in the world. It just is. The next time you hear yourself say ‘I’m just a mum’ or ‘She’s just a mum’. Or the next time you think you’re not doing enough. Or the next time you beat yourself up because you’re doing too much…holding down a job, raising kids, keeping a house, just remember there is nothing you can ever do, no job in your life that even comes close to the role of Mum. For those of us who have had to be both a mum and a dad, for those who have taken on other mum’s kids, for those who have spent months and even years trying to become a mum and for those who haven’t got their own mums anymore you probably know this already.

Tomorrow, it’s hospital time once again for this here thirtysomething mama as I try to become a mum to another precious little person. It’ll be our eight time on IVF and I’m more hell bent on beating this asshole affliction than Kim K was to be a Vogue covergirl. I’m lucky enough to already know what it’s like to be a mum and that’s why I’ll never give up trying. Love n’hugs, LadyMamaG xox

 

 

 

 

We can fix you, poke a finger in my eye and hope to die, promise…

I have one in every colour...

I have one in every colour…

There are some really fun things about being infertile. The most funnest is of course the not being able to get pregnant bit. The second most funnest is having your hormones turn you into some crazy-assed banshee who, at will, (which coincidentally is most of the time) can explode like a landmine when pushed. The fourth most funnest is taking about six hundred and fifty-two pills every single day – to the point where your pee resembles the colour of yellow powerade and actually begin doing the opposite of what they’re set out to do…yes melatonin, we be talking to you. Apparently it helps you sleep. Unless you’re in that small percentile where it does the opposite and keeps you awake for approximately…oh just the ENTIRE night.

The most funnest bit that I really love is when people you trust tell you they can fix you. I’ve been to see, well actually I lie when I say I’ve been to see her because in my two consultations both of them have been via skype, so I actually haven’t physically seen anyone. But this person I’ve seen-via-skype informed me she didn’t think my tubes were blocked and also apparently – and despite every other fertility specialist and scientist disagreeing – that my eggs are actually fine and 38 is apparently a good age for conceiving, she believes in all her wisdom (I should point out she’s neither a doctor or a scientist). Trouble is you take one partially demented (via hormonal infliction) desperately wanting, possibly naive but very trusting infertile woman and you sprinkle your seeds of hope over her head…it gives her false hope and that, my friends can be dangerous. It creates a girl who argues with her heart and her head on a constant basis.

Those monthly battles go something a bit like this: Heart, ‘I think I’m having some symptoms, we should really do a test,’. Head, ‘No.’ Heart, ‘but you don’t understand I really think it’s worked this time, she said it could, she said I might.’ Head, ‘No.’ Heart, ‘but just one, please go on I’ll only do one, promise,’. Head, ‘No. End of.’ Heart then turns on her heels and stalks off with her nose stuck up in the air. She’s pissed as all hell. But head is right. Tests only make you a) more anxious and b) even more anxious. Fertility can be a mind struggle and half the battle is having hope, being positive but it’s also being real. Every single specialist will tell you your eggies have less chance of baking once you plummet from 35, apparently it’s like being on the edge of a cliff once you reach old age of 38 and by 40, well it’s almost goodnight nurse. Sure, there are miracles, hell even some women can do it on their own at 40 and older but they are a minority. A girl can dream can’t she? It doesn’t stop me from being ever the optimist and hoping just one day it might come true.

I’ve had everyone – except Dr Babies – tell me their little concoction can help. If I go and have needles before and after, apparently there’s a 65 percent chance of conceiving. If I go a naturopath and follow their diet, drink their bin juice – which is what The Vet calls it because it resembles the remnants of week-old bin rubbish in both aroma and appearance and the taste is possibly similar too – two times a day for three months, there’s also around a 60-80 percent chance of conceiving. Oh boy, sign me up. Fire away, if you can give me those kind of stats, I’ll let you string fishooks through my arms if that’s what you need to do. Only problem is, where do they base these stats? Are they based entirely on medical results? Are they completely accurate…your guess’s as good as mine.

We’ve had our break. It’s been four months since our last confession, I mean cycle, and we’ve got our combats on ready to face the next war zone. I’ve given up gluten, alcohol (okay mostly) and shopping – alright that one might not have been for fertility but I lost my will to shop long ago, along with my waistline. I’ve been keeping calm, even been wearing tiny pressure point needles (that look like massive pimples) in my ears. I’ve been drinking green juices and have given in to eating the odd kale salad. I’ve tried massaging my belly with a healing crystal and when I get my lazy ass there, have been doing Barre classes to ‘improve the positioning of my uterus’. Yes folks, I’ve gone completely batshit crazy. I’ve done everything they told me to do and then some. I’ve listened. I’ve believed. The control is no longer mine.

Next week will mark the start of our eighth round of IVF.

We are back with Dr Babies, who throughout this has been our voice of reason. He has given us real medical stats, they might not be great, or what we wanted to hear but they are proven.

Don’t ask me how long we’ll keep doing this or even how I feel about starting all over again because I don’t know. To answer that would be to give up hope. All I know is I’m ready to start the battle again. The ups and the downs, the invasion of my body, the insomnia and the stress. The hopes and the dreams, the cautions and the disappointments. The numbers and the stats, the tests and the results. And the waiting, oh the waiting…

I come ready to fight this battle…and, by f*** I want to win. I have my steel armour, crafted by my army that is the constant love and strength I get from The Vet, the 10 y o, my family and my friends…and let’s just hope there’s something Over the Rainbow…Love n hugs, Lady MamaGxoxo