Standing on the outside looking in…

A little over eleven years ago, I made a decision – not an easy one to make given the utter shitstorm of devastation facing me whichever way I chose.

On the one hand, I could go back where I came from. Back to our families, our friends, the places we’d grown up, the memories we’d been making since we were 16. Back where we’d be surrounded by love and support but maybe a few too many ghosts too. A few too many reminders of what used to be and what would never be again. The call to ‘come home’ was strong. It was never implied by anyone in particular but likely expected of me just the same. Some thought we’d pack up everything and head on back to our roots, to the open arms of a nurturing and healing environment where we could all huddle up and grieve together about a loss so great and so sudden and so severely crippling it threatened to swallow me whole.

OR…and it was a great big gulumping fat ‘or’ the size of Texas, I could stay behind in the country we had made our home. I could stay where my three-year-old would be surrounded by his friends, his kindy, his ‘normal’ and lord only knows how much I needed to give him normal at a time when our life was anything but. I could stay in the place he said he’d never leave ‘unless it’s in a wooden box’ – words to live by apparently. Bet he had no idea those words would actually be a reason for me to stay. Staying behind in a place where the everyday sun alone keeps your spirits from dropping below your ankles. A place where we’d built our Village.

But shit it was a choice that hurt my heart. A decision to make too soon after having already made so many of them neither my heart nor my brain were ready to make – or adjust to. Choices I look back on now and think ‘I have no idea how the fuck I did that’ but I didn’t have any option, it was up to me and me alone to decide the fate of my family. Even though being so far away not just from our families but the people I’ve had in my life since I was a kid – who know me best, who know how to put me back together, who call every week and know when to ask how I am and when not to – wasn’t something I was willing to do easily.

So I listened to my heart. I listened to the words he’d told me…maybe mostly, I listened to the feeling of what was going to be right for me. For us. We didn’t go back to our homeland…instead, we stayed put. We tried to pick ourselves up and keep going as best we could. And fuck I can’t tell you how much I thought I’d made the wrong decision or how I wished I didn’t have to be the ship’s captain because there were times when I was steering that ship towards much rougher seas than I knew how to handle. People are not always what they seem. Sometimes even the strong ones are barely holding on with fingertips. I read not that long ago, someone in the media compare divorcing her husband to that of a death. No, it is abso-fucking-lutely nothing like it. When you divorce, your kids at least still get to see their parent, to visit them every other weekend and for half the holidays. Your kids still get to relive their memories and share in the stories that helped shape them into who they are. There is nothing remotely like death when comparing a marriage breakdown other than that you are alone. And even then, your kids still have the parent to go back to. Death is final. No more conversations, no more hugs, no more love…just emptiness from where that person used to be and perhaps the odd fleeting flashback built far too long ago for your then-infant brain to process into an everlasting memory. I didn’t know what our future held, I didn’t even know what I’d do the next day, let alone half a decade later but still I picked my withered self up off the ground and fought to keep standing up just long enough to keep going until month by month, I seemed to learn to cope.

If I’d chosen the first maybe more obvious choice our lives…there’s every chance I wouldn’t even be writing this right now. Maybe I’d never have let fate step into my life one sunny August afternoon in 2010 when I least expected it and deliver the only person who could ever ever be good enough to take up the spot in my heart I thought had closed up forever. Someone was telling me it was the right thing to do and by god they were right.

No way in hell could I have ever thought that within four years of making the decision to stay behind and keep going that fate could have delivered what it did in the form of he who is my lifeblood, The Vet. How it’s even possible to meet two of the world’s most incredible souls in one lifetime I have no idea and yes I’m sorry girls for being such a greedy bitch and taking more than my share of the good men of society but I’ve cherished them both, promise.

Turns out I’m pretty good at making decisions. Well, sometimes. High motherfucken five, girl!

Then, as if the shitstorm that had bowled through my life hadn’t been enough, just a few years later, seemed to come back for seconds, all guns at the ready. Stupidly, I thought everything from then on in would be nice and simple. We’d get married, have a baby, maybe even two and our lives would be free to live happily ever after. Except no. A tough chick who can weather the fucking storm huh, okay we’ll slap you with just a bit more of a steaming pile of shit on a plate. Infertility, bitch. How’d you like them apples, hey?

If this was god’s sick way of testing my ability to cope I could have done without it big guy. Seriously a few years in the past 11 that weren’t marred by grief in some way would have been fucking fantastic. But it’s not like we get to choose this shit. One blow after another saw both me and The Vet almost beat. And probably the 14 y o too, bless him. Years and years of hurdle after hurdle. Tests, failures, needles, hospitals, losses and enough dosh sunk to put a decent deposit down on a Lambourghini…jesusfuckingchrist when I look back now on what we went through I barely believe I’m still standing myself but by god if there’s anything I’m good at it’s fighting, well in the metaphorical sense perhaps not so much with my fists. I will fight until there’s nothing left in me. Fight for what I believe is right, fight for what I know will turn out eventually but mostly I just fight for those I love. So seriously do not cross me. Do not. One word, people…Scorpian.

img_0873And bloody aye the fight was worth it. A few weeks ago our precious ‘lil Jellybean almost came into this world just a touch before she was meant to. I won’t lie. It was some scary shit even though I knew she had every chance of surviving none of us want early hatchlings. As The Vet watched them hook up the monitors and stab my thigh with some motherfucking steroids that hurt like a bitch and I writhed in pain…I looked over to see the tears trickle down his beautiful cheeks as he cradled me as best he could, though feeling utterly helpless and that was it. Enough for me to know exactly why I’ve put my body through five years of fucking torment…because Love Makes Us Whole. My story, our story is almost complete. Just two more weeks to go…Lov’n’hugs, Lady MamaG xox




Just a vet…

It’s 615 and his phone alarm goes off beside him. Perhaps it’s already rung a few times through the night. Concerned owners at hope’s mercy.  He could have sworn it was still 11 the night before. Doesn’t feel as though he’s slept at all. Still, there’s a job to do. No time to be exhausted. Ignore it and keep going. He’s up and back through the clinic doors by seven. Often there’s already someone waiting at the door. They know The Vet will see them.  He always does. He always has time and even if he doesn’t, he’ll make it. They know that. It’s part of who he is. And they admire him for it. 

Did he know when we drove past that empty little shop on the corner of the village seven years ago, his hopes and dreams would become so big? Perhaps not. 

Some days…shit, most days, he’ll see up to forty clients a day and by lunchtime will start on the sometimes four or five surgeries waiting for him in the hospital. You name it. Could be Anything from a basic castration to a tumour or mass removal, to the skilful and lengthy extended surgery of a cruciate, pyometra or exlap. A few hours and at times it’s touch and go. Maybe he’ll get in and discover something worse than expected. He’ll have to call the owners and convey their options…and they’re not always good ones. It’s a hard thing to do and one which never gets any easier, not with time or experience or age. 

Today he might have to say goodbye to an old friend. Not his but maybe one he’s known, seen and helped for years. Sometimes he might go to their home to make them more comfortable. He quietly and gently tells them it’s going to be okay, rubbing their belly and tickling their ear as he shaves a patch on their often weak leg. I’ve been there once or twice and watched as he’s done it late at night when he’s the only one there and the owners have been too distraught to witness their last goodbye. He talks away to them just like he normally would, changing their sense of fear to one of calm. ‘It’s okay to let go,’ he’ll say. ‘You’ll feel all better’. A gentle tail wag or a blinking eye in return as if to say thank you for what you do. Thank you for helping me. Long after the medication has taken affect he’ll still talk to them, give them the respect they deserve for a life of loyalty and unconditional love. 

He’ll say goodbye to many friends each week. Some long suffering, others to prevent the suffering. It’s never his choice. One he always gives them, the owners. He’ll gently tell them ‘if it was my friend, this is what I’d do’. It’s reassurance so they know what they’re doing is right. Lessening the burden. Helping to make a decision no one ever wants to make on their own. 

He’s seen men, once big hulking strong blokes reduced to a simmering grief-stricken soul. Witnessed owners wait an entire day in the car park, too frightened to leave in case their friend won’t make it. 

A little piece of every loss will sit with him. It’s impossible not to. 

Then the next day a new friend, teeny and fluffy and bounding full of life will jump around his head as he lays on the floor with them. High pitched barks of delight at meeting this new human who will help keep them healthy and happy over the years. 

There’s the days when he’s faced with owners who either have no option or haven’t allowed for the treatment of their friend, who haven’t listened or followed advice or come back for check ups, when a revisit could have meant an entirely different diagnosis. Sometimes there’s ignorance blanketed in fear… but his job is not to judge or berate or belittle. Nope. His job is just to listen. To block out his own feelings. To help. And most importantly, to heal. 

His humour, the silly jokes, the cheeky laugh, mask the burden of what could easily swallow him whole. The enormity of everyday pressures, responsibility of being just one person when you need to be five. Of owning and providing for staff and his family. Of expectations and reliance and those who think he should just fix it anyway because it’s his job. Regardless of cost. Regardless of their inability to pay for what needs to be done. He’s a just a vet. 

Long after the day is over, when the last patient is safely checked out and sent home he’ll look through the day’s visits and sit down to call the ever-growing list of people who are waiting on his words of wisdom. The night is always getting on and he has a family to get to…but they wait. They know. Dinner often goes cold. But he must get through it all. Results. Diagnosis. Advice. Decisions. Sometimes he’ll tell them the same thing three times. He knows it’s hard to understand what you’re being told when emotion clouds your ability to absorb sense.

The hours are long. The days stretch into night, seem to flow straight into the following day.  Sometimes it’s hard to remember what he did the day before. Twelve, fourteen, sixteen hour days. Doesn’t matter, he does it because he loves it. His passion. Devotion, humility and kindness like I’ve never seen in anyone before. I tell him but maybe not enough enough, ‘I’m proud as damn hell of you, to stand beside you in life every day’. I worry for what he carries inside his head with him, for the exhaustion and fear and determination to always be better. I worry for the pressures this job – even though we both know it’s so much more than that – weighs heavily on his shoulders. It’s a job that’s both as demanding as it is rewarding. I’m well aware of what this career can do to those caught in its clutches.

People will ask, ‘what do you do for a living’ when he coyly almost quietly replies ‘just a vet’ then often come the snide remarks cloaked in ignorance ‘oh shit you must be rich as hell all the money it costs every time I go to the vet’.

I love these comments. They make my back go up like a hissing cat. I resist the undying urge swelling in my gut to punch them square in the face. 

Haha Yes, he is rich you shitstick but not in the way you’d think. And not in the way you imply. He’s rich from the love he gets from every patient who walks through his doors every day. Whose entire Bodies wag when they see him, his face is smothered in slobbery kisses – their reward offered up for the love and kindness he shows. He’s rich in the love from their mums and dads and brothers and sisters who know he does his absolute best every day to keep them from harm, illness and worse. But mostly he’s rich in the love of his family. Of me and the 14 y o and the Supermutt who hear the pain and exhaustion in his voice when he comes home every night. Who listen to his daily tales of fear and grief and frustration. Who hug him and smother him with kisses, who hear and sense the pain of his burden and tell him ‘it’s all going to be okay’ just as he does to his patients and their families. He’s rich with the everlasting constant and undying love and pride not even my words (and I’ve always got plenty to say) could ever accurately convey. 

Yes he is just a vet. And yes, he’s rich…but not with money. Instead with love, with appreciation, with admiration, adoration and the utter unconditional devotion he gives. Just a vet. Just the most incredible human I know. 

Twenty-eighteen welcome, we’ve waited for you so long…

Almost time to say goodbye to the year gone by. Usually, round this time of year I’m gearing up to make my (mostly unsuccessful) resolutions for the year ahead. Most of em I never stick to and the ones I do seem to come with their own load of shit that constantly make me wish I never made them in the first place. Like the time I gave up alcohol for nine months (and no, I wasn’t even pregnant). Or the time I pledged to lose my shitful IVF weight gain. Or the time I gave up KFC for four whole months. I read somewhere nobody likes a skinny sober bitch anyways. 

But thiiiiisss year, this year there’s none to be made – unless you count The Vet’s hope I give up my Insta nighttime shopping obsession (whatever bro, like that’s ever gonna happen). Nope this year the only resolution ahead for me is happiness. 

So much of the past five years of my life has been suspended in fear, grief, hopelessness, self hate, self blame, diet, wanting, anger and a fucking great deal of self doubt that I’ve forgotten to actually live. As each year has turned over, I’d gone into it thinking the tide would change and we’d finally get the hope of our efforts realised. But then as another end drew near I’d look back and feel as though another bit of me has been chipped away. 

I’d put on my brave and happy lil’ face and get ready for the next load of fucking obstacles standing in my way of the only thing really that consumed my brain power. Don’t think. Don’t think. Don’t care. Don’t dare. Move on. Live life. Forget it, time will heal and it’ll work. Positive affirmations sometimes shit me to tears for their very existence and while I’m not a cynical person, in fact probably a little too much of an optimist at times, the things I’d tell myself, even I began to stop believing after a while. 

But something in me deep down buried in the bottom of my soul said keep going. Keep fighting and bouncing back from the boulders rolling down the hill at you. Eventually you will run out of courage but if there’s still a tiny bit left in the tank, use it the fuck up while you can. 

Problem is you never really know when it’ll be your last time and that it will actually work do you, so while you hope each one of those fourteen times you’ve tried will end in the eventual dream of a tiny person, most of them don’t and you’re faced with either giving up forever and having that niggling hope eating away at you that if you’d tried once more it could have been that time, or you keep going back again and again until you run out of hope, money or courage – or all three. Lucky for me I’ve had two of the world’s most incredible humans to prop me up every time. 

And now every afternoon as I lay back with my back propped up by a pillow and let my rounding belly rise and fall, feeling those teeny kicks and bum wiggles and somersaults of a wee incy girl growing her beautiful self inside me and the elation of what I’ve finally been able to do, the times she’s come to me in my dreams, the times she’s said hold on mummy, I’m on my way I know it’s been worth every single minute. Every needle. And every little piece of me it took away. 

So twenny-one-eight I welcome you in with the most open of arms and heart. I welcome you as the year that bitch slaps all other resolutions in the face. The year that rewards me for my tenacity and courage, hope and strength, fight and will, the year that will bring the joy into our lives we’ve spent the past 1825 days hoping for. The year I let myself be happy again. The year of our lil jellybean. The year I see my baby, my first born, my prideful achievement finally become a big brother. The year I see the love of my life who has spent the past seven years raising my boy, hold a tiny piece of his own self in his arms. The year we all become whole. Yes, twenty-eighteen, welcome…we have waited for you so long…lov’n hugs, Lady MamaG xox 

happy four-whole-teen to the best thing I’ve ever done, hands down…

‘He has the cord around his neck. If you don’t get him out with this one, we’ll have to cut him out. This baby is in distress’. The doctor instructs to push.

It’s 9am on Monday, December 15, 2003. And it’s hot as the flippin’ hades in here. Here being National Greenlane Women’s Hospital that is now no longer. I have a doctor to my right with my heel firmly implanted into his hip and one of my very dear childhood friends – a then-almost-graduated-med-student – with my left heel indented into her hip. My husband’s trying his best to keep me calm. It’s not working. I swear often. He is so excited he’s barely audible.

The doctor is concerned and even though I’ve only been in hospital three hours, and actual proper labour for five, things are beginning to get hairy. No way are they coming near me with that fucking scalpel. Like fuck they’ll cut him out. I’ll tear in half before that happens. They clearly do not know who they’re dealing with here. And so I push. I push like I’ve never pushed before.

Within what seems like hours but actually is probably only 10 or 15 minutes…he makes his entrance. First that head and then the rest of him slips out like a little eel. Eight pound three ounces. Fifty-two centimetres. Tiny lashes the colour of golden sand and a shock of silky blonde hair not even Marilyn could compete with. Holy snapping duckshit. I have for reals given birth. They lift him away and check his airways, make sure everything’s working properly – there are indeed 10 teeny lil’ sausage toes and 10 eency little splayed fingers searching for the womb he could just before touch. And then this tiny little being, a mini human who is all mine – a part of me and him – is placed upon my chest. There are no words for this moment. His daddy and I are in complete and utter awe at what we’ve just created.

This isn’t another birth story. This is a life story.

For that teeny little human who in a flash of an eye blink, changed our lives completely…you came into this world in a belting hurry, exactly as you have lived ever since. You had shit to do, people to see. None of this hanging around waiting for life to come to you, since that day you’ve had all of us in your world captivated in our hearts.

That’s when it started and from every moment since, I’ve worried, loved and nurtured you. I’ve watched you grow and quietly learned what I can from you. To love and forgive, to fill my heart with empathy and compassion, humour and wit. I’ve watched you turn from a tiny little boy into this young man if it wasn’t for having given birth to you, almost overnight, I now barely recognise. Gone is the sweet rounded baby face of childhood, the innocence of a world yet undiscovered. In its place now sits this strapping young lad with handsome chiselled features – some your dad’s and some your grandad’s. This person with eyes that show the endless depth of his soul, an ability to love and share and laugh and give. Of an ability to love and remember and honour every day, the person who helped create you but yet to equally love and adore and admire the one who also raised you.

Kiddo, I can’t tell you how dang proud I am of you. We both are of you. Of what you’ve achieved so far, of how you’ve buried your emotional scars just low enough beneath the surface to acknowledge them yet deep enough to not let them slow you down. How you bounce back bigger and brighter with each knock that forces your fall with just the right amount of resilience and nonchalance and most importantly, forgiveness. How you have hopes and dreams as big as the ocean but a whipsmart determination to reach them too. How you can’t wait for the moment to meet your baby sister and share your big, huge, brilliant heart with her. How it fills my heart with pride every single time someone tells me what a great kid you are, how kind and thoughtful and respectful you are with others. How much my heart swells to know I must be doing something right.

Four-whole-teen. Goddamnit I wish I could slow it down. Wind it back. Go right back to the start and get to do it all over again. But I gotta say too, I sure can’t wait to see you become this adult you’re sitting just upon the precipice of. To see you achieve all the greatness I know is set before you. So, happiest of day’s of birth to my most beautiful, handsome, loving, caring, bright and clever lad…you will forever and always be my sunshine…Lov’n’hugs, Lady Mama G, The Vet, The Supermutt and Jellybean xoxo

We’re halfway there…I never thought I’d make it

Twenny weeks. In the words of the immortal rock god and greatest power ballad belter to ever grace my treasured ’80s ghetto blaster, JBJ – We’re Half Way There…

And by jingoes it feels bloody good, don’t it.

This means I can now finally part with the three (yes three of the fucking things) basal temperature thermometers – for those unaware of what these contraptions are, basically you shove it up your hooha first thing in the morning, before you’ve even breathed and get your resting temperature so you can more easily guesstimate when you’re meant to ovulate – that have resided in my bedside drawer for the past five years. I’ve can also now part with the thirteen ovulation kits, my whopping POAS stash, plus the boxes and boxes of spare progesterone pessaries, ovulation stimulants and other cycle controlling palava that has taken up far too much real estate in my already-too-small bathroom cabinet thank you very damn much. Halle-for-fucks-sake-lule-jah!

It also means I can finally delete the bitchfuck annoying app on my phone that insists on reminding me with a very loud and stupid sounding jingle to ‘check my temperate’ or ‘feel my boobs’ and ‘monitor my mucous’ (and clearly not for my own sexual gratification) every afternoon at three fucking pm. Good riddance you painful reminder of how little control I’ve had over my life for the past five years.

It means I can put away the little rose quartz fertility goddess that’s been tucked in a box in my bedside table, as well as the Nepalese Buddhist Monk-blessed fertility stone from under my bed.

I no longer have to prick myself to buggary with umpteen gazillion needles. I no longer have to visit the hospital (at least for the next three months) to have whopping great cannulas stuffed into my unwilling veins…

To have made it this far. To actually be half way through a pregnancy at 42, I honestly never thought would happen is like taking home the Academy Award and a VMA on the same night. I’ve been asked many times these past few months how I did it and you know what…? Looking back through all we’ve been through – thirteen failed rounds of IVF, an early miscarriage, my ovaries induced to within an inch of their pruny little lives, umpteen general anaesthetics, two surgeries to clean out my internal lady parts, dye being run through my pipes (oh that shit was hella fun), dozens of intralipid infusions hooked into my veins, steroids, stimulants, herbs, natural remedies and gulping pills the size you’d only usually see being used to sedate horses, thirteen hundred-odd needles distributed throughout my lower abdomen and surrounding areas and living a real life torture game of cat and mouse between am I or aren’t I for nigh on five years, I’d have to say no fucking idea. Nope, none.

Sure, when I look at all we’ve been through now it’s a fuckload, really it is but at the time, I was so damned determined nothing could have stopped me – unless of course I let my fear get bigger than me.

It’s easier to say, ‘I could never go through that, I couldn’t do what you’ve done’ if you’ve never had to. I’m nothing more than anyone else except determined. And maybe a pinch of ‘tough ol’ bird’ for good measure.

That’s what keeps us going. The perpetual hope of a happy ending.

Maybe it’s because I’ve been through something that’s an even bigger grief and fear than most of us could imagine and it’s given me the courage to face whatever comes up at me with a whopping great axe tucked behind my back to tear it down. Years ago, when I was first widowed, I’d get told the same thing ‘How did you do it, how did you survive? I couldn’t cope, I’d just die,’ well you can’t and you do. You just cope. You pick yourself up and you keep going for those left who love you and need you.

And would I do it all again, the IVF I mean? Well, not willingly perhaps but to have this teeny lil’ precious being wiggling around inside my belly is absolutely nothing short of a miracle. Of love. Of blessings. Of kindness and of how if you have enough strength to keep fighting, eventually hope will find you and reward you.

Here’s her little appearance at our 20-week scan yesterday…and if this ain’t the sweetest lil’ button nose you ever did see…


and just incase you’d like to see a lil’  beanie baby doing her jiggy widdit here you go…

She’s not the biggest fan of the camera – preferring instead to shove her lil arm across her face every time we’d try to take a 3D image and she does insist on using my bladder like one of those in-ground trampoline pillows you see in the park but I’ll take anything. All the niggles and pinches, the aches and cramps, the mood swings and lack of sleep, the swelling and the fact my thighs now touch. The stretch marks, breakouts, hugemungous boobies and constant fear of losing her, I’ll take it all whatever gets thrown my way to get my beautiful angel in my arms. Keep baking away in there my most precious lil’ jellybean, we’ve made it this far. Lov’n’hugs, LadyMamaG xoxo

Could it actually be…?

I’ve sat down to write this so many times. It’s not often I stumble…but this is something entirely bigger than me. 

I’m in a public loo, bent over myself in two, staring down at a small plastic test kit on the floor below me. Shit. I promised myself I wouldn’t do this. It’s only two days out from my bloods and we all know early testing is a bad omen. You don’t do that shit. Fertility rule number one.

But fuck it. It’s 3pm on a Monday. Something inside my head told me to go and buy a test. ‘You need to do it. NOW,’ it said. But I am so fucking scared. I’ve had few symptoms and the only ones I have had sure haven’t been good signs. Angry. Hot sweats. Headaches. Insomnia. But oh so much hinges on this. Our last two embryos. All we have left. Every-fucking-thing.  The Vet didn’t want to use them up at the same time but I argued (because I am so ass-tearingly determined) that we needed to hedge our bets, ‘this is our last chance we need to chuck ’em both in and hope like hell they stick’, I convinced him. But now I’m beginning to regret that as I wait…my stubbornness might have just got the better of me. What if we’ve lost it all?

Fourteen rounds. That’s how many times I’ve stood here like this. Staring at a plastic pregnancy test hoping like all fuck two lines appear in that tiny pee-soaked window. For thirteen of them our hearts have been ripped apart. All except the one time it did work four years ago – only to be cruelly taken from us seven weeks later – just when we thought we’d won, we’d be parents again. Our elation gave way to grief. Loss. Again.

And I’m nearly forty-two. Like bloody ancient. Vintage, but not in a ‘everything that’s old is cool again’ way – more like a shit, you are seriously moving toward middle-aged way.

One thousand four hundred and thirty nine needles. And I’ve felt every single one of those fuckers pierce my skin. Over ten general anaesthetics – of which I’m terrified one day I won’t wake up from. Four surgeries. Weekly acupuncture sessions with my needle lady. I’ve taken Potions, lotions and all kinds of fucked up gravel-tasting ‘tea’ that truly does resemble something from the side of a dirt road mixed in with a few twigs and berries. I’ve taken that many ‘natural remedy pills’ I actually rattle like a tambourine when I walk. 

I’ve had people tell me they can heal me. That it never worked before because I wasn’t seeing them. Bitch, please. I’ve been told to try this doctor, that specialist, another acupuncturist, a naturopath, stand on my head, pray, meditate, use mind control, fertility massage, this diet, that exercise…but in the end it all comes down to me. And only me. I am the one to hopefully some day carry another tiny being inside my belly and welcome it into the world. Another perfect mini human just like the 13 y o. No matter who else, what else, it’s all down to the baby caravan and I’ve made it as ready as I possibly can. There is so much pressure on me.

And if I’m honest with you, this shit has almost got me beat. Fertility, you’ve stripped me bare. You’ve opened up my soul and quietly, silently over the past five years, eaten it all away. The little strength I have left has gone into determination because by fuck I won’t let you win. I’ve been through bigger shit than this before and managed to escape intact, well almost. What you’ve done to my family, my beautiful human of a partner, how you’ve torn his hope and shattered his heart. What you’ve exposed our 13 y o to – far more than any child should have to see. How you’ve consumed our lives, my life for 1825 days – each week, each month throwing out tiny drops of hope only to turn them into shards of stabbing pain. I’ve been dangling from your clutches like a puppet on a shitting string all this time…even if I wanted to, I can’t escape you. And you know it. You get us all in that way like some narcissistic cult. 

The test, the test. I can’t look. I really can’t look. I scrunch my eyes closed tight. My nerves are at their peak, adrenalin gripping at my throat like a hand. I open them slowly and look down at the floor. As usual, I expect to see one line…but no, holy snapping duckshit it’s two. ‘Two fucking pink lines, two fucking lines…there’s two lines‘. Yes I am screaming at the top of my lungs. Yes I am in a public amenity. Yes I look like a bloody nutter but you know what…? I couldn’t even give one fuck. I’ve got two lines. I dance a merry jig. I want to run outside and scream, ‘I’m pregnant y’all, look at it, proof right there, two pink lines. We did it’. But I realise as much as in my head I’m playing out a scene from Hugh Jackman’s The Boy From Oz, I need to get myself the fuck together.

I tell no one. Not a tiny soul. I really don’t want to upset the gods, not this time.

Like everything in fertility, my elation is short-lived. After I get home three hours later, I decide I need to take another test…shitfuck it comes back negative. I desperately email Dr Babies who, god bless him, answers my nutter emotional pleas at all times of the day and night. He asks me to send him a picture of the test. The first one with two lines. ‘That’s positive,’ he says. ‘No mistaking that. If a child can see two lines, it’s correct.’

Yaaaaaaaaaaasssssssssss (insert air punch here).

It’s worked. Halle-fucking-luleyah. 

I need to tell The Vet. I’m not exactly sure you tell your husband who’s waited just as long as you for this so I set about making a photo video to send him of all we’ve been through – the heartache, the loss, the hope. It has to be something special, we’ve waited so long, we’ve wanted this so much. He will make the most incredible father – hell, he already is and if anyone in the entire world deserves this – it’s him…this whole journey has threatened to swallow him whole. At the end of the video, I tie a series of cards to our supermutt who gives him the news. The news we’ve waited for so long but been too scared to believe. We did it. Our battleworn hearts are healed. We are having a baby. 

I can’t tell you how long I’ve waited to say those words.

We decide it’s best if we wait another six weeks before we tell anyone but that means week-in-week-out I’ll go through the fear of losing our tiny baby all by myself. My visits to Dr Babies become more regular than they need to be, I’m so frightened the spotting, slight cramps, sleeplessness means I’ve lost our little miracle.

By seven weeks it’s time to go for the heartbeat scan. I hold my breath, I’m so scared. Last time we got this far only to find no heartbeat. I sit up on the gurney and nervously lay back. Dr Babies inserts the probe and brings the image up on the screen. He fiddles with the screen for a moment. ‘Ah, there we go,’ he says. ‘Heartbeat nice and strong, all looks good in there.’ We hear it’s faint thumpety thump like a tiny drum and The Vet squeezes my hand tight. Tears trickle down his cheeks. ‘It’s real,’ I whisper quietly. ‘That’s our tiny baby in there…we did it’.

But much as I want to be excited, elated, joyful I’m just too scared to let myself believe it’s true. Too much has been taken from us I can’t bare to have it happen again. All we’ve gone through, the loss, the heartache, the pain – quite literally. The many many thousands we’ve spent. The trips we haven’t gone on. The life we haven’t lived. Everything has been on hold until this point and I’m just too scared to be happy.

It doesn’t seem truly real until I see our tiny jellybean moving on the screen four weeks later. But even then, the journey, the fear that choking feeling doesn’t stop when you get two lines. It doesn’t stop when you hear a heartbeat. It doesn’t even stop at the 13wk scan. It will only stop when I hold her teeny self in my arms.

By 10 weeks and with a positive NIPT test, we decide it’s time to tell the 13 y o and our immediate families. I write a card for our boy and fix a tiny ultrasound picture to the outside with a paper clip. I tell him how kind and generous and thoughtful he is. How beautiful he is with little kids, how his heart is so full of love and that he’ll make a great big brother – one day. We give it to him in the car on the way up to see our family and he doesn’t quite realise it’s from me. He reads it slowly and then reads it again. ‘Mama,’ he squeals. ‘Mummy are you…’ he pauses before adding ‘pregnant…?’ He bursts into floods of tears and throws his arms around the front seat to hug me. I never knew, until that point, exactly how much he’d been wanting this too. How much this process has affected his life. My face fills with tears. ‘Yes buddy, we’re having a baby. You’ll be the best big brother ever.’ 

Today we are thirteen weeks. We’ve made it through the first trimester hump that tests the very faith of every parent. We can breathe a tiny sigh of relief between takes. 

And our tiny jellybean is a pink one.

As we begin to share our news with all those who have waited just as long as us to hear those words, the tearful, emotional and utterly elated reactions from friends and family who’ve traveled this enormous journey with us is nothing short of humbling. I, we, have a village of support and love that has truly kept us going and our gratitude is far greater than my words can ever say.

To the tiny precious jellybean growing inside me, sweet angel girl we have prayed you would come to us for so long. Never could there be a tiny being more wanted, more loved. I knew one day you’d be sent to us, this tiny star of hope so this I promise to you, baby girl: I’ll spend my life making you the best you can be. Your daddy will dote on and adore you and show you how a woman should be treated with love and respect, you couldn’t ask for a better, kinder human. And your big brother, well he’ll be there to hold your hand the whole way. Always watching out for you, teaching you basketball and fishing and always having your back. Big brothers are good like that. I’m still scared, oh how I’m scared, I just can’t help it because I want you so very much. Stay safe in there, keep growing and wriggling and making our hearts full. Until we get to meet you…with all our greatest love, your mama, your dadda and your big bruv. Xoxo

Last words…

October 6, 2006 also fell on a Friday eleven years ago. It was an overcast day, scattered showers cloaked with deep grey cloud covering the mountain and stretching down her winding roads. 

I didn’t know it. He didn’t know it. Our little boy didn’t know it but the day before would be the last time we ever spoke. Words which might have at the time, seemed routine, insignificant, normal…the same ones we so often use…words that will forever be etched in my mind. 

If only we knew those would be our Last Words. We’d cram everything we possibly could into one last call. Years and years of words tightly bound into one last conversation where you’d say the most significant thing you could ever say to anyone. You’d hope and love and be grateful for all you’ve had together. 

You’d say remember the time we did this, you’d say thank you for giving me a lifetime of memories to keep in my heart forever. You’d say I don’t want to do this without you. You’d say don’t go. Please don’t go…

We’d been at a restaurant in Noosa that evening, the one before blackness. Before grief. Before the end of that life. I called just like I always did. Asked him about his day, how qualifying went, how he felt about the car. Maybe we spoke about something quite mundane that I wouldn’t remember eleven years later. Then I handed the phone to our little boy. His face lit up. He so loved his daddy. ‘Hello my daddy, you go fast in the racecars?  I did lots of unders in the pool today,’ he said excitedly. 

Our almost-three-year-old had just mastered the art of confidently being able to jump off the side of the pool and swim under water. And he was pretty darn proud of his efforts. He chatterboxed his way through a few more possibly indistinguishable sentences before signing off with ‘loveoo my daddy’ just as he did every day. Just like he’d done the night before. Just like we thought he’d do the night after…

It’s a rule in our family, no matter what, how you’re feeling, if you’re going away for a short time or a long while. Pissed off or happy as a lizard in the sun, you tell the person on the other end that you love them. Always. 

I don’t know what words were said on the other end of the phone that night and I know the 13 y o would so love with every bit of his heart to hear that last conversation, his dad’s Last Words one more time but I know what he said to his boy would almost certainly have been ‘I love you too, buddy’ because there was truly nothing he loved more. 

It would be a gift, one of the most treasured, to know but we don’t. We get no warning when those we love are ripped right out from our lives so suddenly, so tragically there is no time before, only after. 

Never am I reminded more of how important it is to love and to tell the people in your life how much you love them than this time of year. These three days – today, yesterday and the day before eleven years ago, I said those words so many times beside his hospital bed as he began to fade out of this world. 

Today my heart is heavy with the ache of loss. I know he misses him. We all miss him. We wish we could hear those Last Words again and again and again. If only. Fly high, most beautiful soul, Didley you will be in our hearts forevermore. Lov’n’ hugs Lady MamaG xox.