Monthly Archives: May 2010

The Blood Shop

“So when are you going to have another one?” I was asked this morning at the park by a frequaintaince – you know, one of those mum pals you really like and that you see fairly often at the park, but who isn’t really part of your social circle.

I nearly choked on my achingly-dull non-caffeinated beverage but dodged the question with the agility of a glib ninja and proffered a suitably sardonic aside. Timing is everything I thought to myself as I fought back a flood of tears that I wasn’t prepared to shed publicly. There was no way she could have known that it had been less than an hour since I’d been to “The Blood Shop”, as Devilboy has dubbed Casa Conception, for “official” confirmation of our sixth failed round of pin-the-embryo-on-the-uterus. The period that arrived yesterday was evidence enough for me, but The Blood Shop likes to rub a little salt in the wounds in by insisting you go in and give blood so they can call you to tell you the bad news again – and you can wallow in the disappointment twice!

“How are we going to have another one?” would seem to be a more appropriate question, and one that I simply don’t have an answer to. When a single round of IVF delivered us our darling Devilboy we thought that we’d finally found the answer to our infertility crisis and our problems were over. We figured that, despite our initial difficulties, given that IVF worked once, it would work again. We figured wrong! Wrong times six.

Six failed transfers is very bad.

Really. Very. Fucking. Bad.

While we have one frosty left on ice, and we may consider one more medicated cycle if the little ice cube doesn’t decide to give us a break and hang about, the odds are that we won’t be able to have another child.  And we still don’t know why. There isn’t a single reason any medical person can give us as to why we aren’t already enormously pregnant. And that really sucks. They are calling it “secondary infertility” for want of an actual badge to pin on us. I mean what do you even call “secondary infertility” when you were infertile the first time too? “Secondary Primary Infertility?” Or perhaps “You’re uterus is an arid wasteland, tough luck bitch!”

Doesn’t really matter what you want to call it, it’s fucked.

This wasn’t the plan. The plan was to have a large family. And notwithstanding that it’s been obvious that “large” has had to be considerably revised as each year of infertility passed, the plan was most definitely NOT to have an only child. And silly me, I didn’t think to make a back-up plan – because lots of snot-faced kids squealing and running wildly amok was all I ever really wanted.

We are in constant turmoil, torn between joy for the child we have and despair for the ones we don’t, in a lonely limbo world between childless and bigger families. It’s kind of like no longer being an accepted member of the world of the infertile but not belonging to the world of the fabulously fecund either. We’re envied by one group and envious of the other, and understandably, neither can get how we feel. 

So, do we keep trying? More to-ing and fro-ing of daily blood tests,  pock-marked junkie arms, invasive and unpleasant procedures and hideous hormone twisting medications whilst juggling work, and more importantly, being attentive parents to Devilboy? Or, do we just give up and turn into withered bitter (more so than we already are) old cronies, collect dozens of stray smelly cats and scare the local children? 

Under sufferance, I tried the counselling services they throw in “for free” as part of the eight million dollar fee at Casa Conception, to see if they had any answers.  It would seem not. For all the nodding and benevolent smiling bestowed upon me by the counseller, unless she can has a spare baby she can throw my way, her services aren’t going to help too much. There is nothing she can say that will make it not happening OK. That is, had she actually said anything at all. Colour me crazy, but benign nodding doesn’t really help heal my wounded psyche.  

While life with the beautiful Devilboy gives us so much joy, the bitter irony is that because of him, we can’t escape the world of children. Our life revolves around them. Shops, childcare, friends, parks and playgrounds, they are all a hive of buzzing kids, their ever pregnant mothers, and their hundred million tiny siblings. And as luck would have it, I’ve become the go-to-girl for parenting advice and articles for a bunch of magazines. Thanks world – love your sense of humour!!

With no back-up plan and desperate for more Devilboys and/or girls, we have no choice but to cross our fingers and stay on this medicated merry-go-round for a while longer. So I better prepare my poor beleaguered veins for more merry times at The Blood Shop.

Self-pitying post-IVF moaning complete.

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Ee i ee i oh!

Last night while we prepared for bed, Devilboy pointed to the sheep in his book and declared happily. “My did seen a sheep!”

And he had indeed seen a sheep, at a children’s farm, just a few weekend ago.

ME: Where did you see the sheep?

DB: At the farm.

ME: That’s right, at the farm. What else did you see at the farm?

DB: My see piggy.

ME: Yes, you saw a piggy. What else?

DB: My see moo cow.

ME: And what else?

DB: My see goose.

ME: And what else.

DB: My see Ahmed.

ME: Ahmed?

DB: Yes, Ahmed.

ME: Who’s Ahmed?

DB: Ahmed! Ahmed!

ME: Who’s Ahmed???

DB: Ahmed, mummy. Ahmed Donald had a farm, eei oh!

Silly me!

So now I’m visualising an orange-bearded farmer wearing a kilt and a keffiyeh, smoking a habibi while he looks after his flock!

I am also counting my blessings that my son attends a childcare centre with such  a wonderfully diverse cultural balance that he’d come up with this rather sweet interpretation of the old standard.

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Loony Dunes

It’s a simple enough concept. Find a ridiculously tall mountain of sand. Sit on a piece of board. Go downhill very fast! Squeal loudly. Repeat.

And that is precisely what we did on Stockton Beach, or as Devilboy dubbed it, the “big sandpit”. We slid, we tumbled and we giggled as we went faster, faster down the 40 metre dunes. Who knew hanging a sandy ten down a steep sand dune with a two year old tucked between your knees could be so much fun?  Eventually growing weary of the slippery fun (especially the muscle tearing climb back up) and every last orifice filled with fine grains of sand, we explored the dunes from a relatively sand free 4WD, feeling very “Paris to Dakkar”, a train of camels disappearing slowly into the golden mounds of sand only adding to the surreal desert feel of our location.

Devilboy is embracing the “terrible” part of his two’s with great gusto and we are, to put it mildly, exhausted. So we we figured that getting back to nature and away from it all in ‘sunny’ Port Stephens might be just the thing for a quick recharge. A weekend in a cabin surrounded by bush, beach and wildlife sounded perfect for our plan and in the spirit of getting back to nature, we stayed at on the site of a former nudist colony.  These days the resort is strictly clothes on and thank fuck for that I say, for seeing us frolic naked through the wetlands with only the key to our cabin for company is something nobody needs to see.

Our plans to embrace the great outdoors, clothed or not, were somewhat scuppered on the first day of our break when we awoke to find it pissing down, biblical style, leaving us three options.

1. Remain trapped in a small cabin with a crazed toddler and nothing to do.

2. Find some indoor amusements and attractions in town.

3. Build a fucking ark.

Option one seemed only slightly less unpleasant than spending the day chained to a nest of bad-tempered vipers and the thought of collecting all those animal twosomes in a two-door hatchback whilst the boys toiled away constructing a large boat also lacked appeal. So off we went to see what Port Stephens had to offer a two year old boy on a rainy day… and that is how we found ourselves knee deep in a tank full of sharks.

To say Devilboy likes sharks is like saying seagulls like chips – so to discover an indoor shark centre, where inclement weather couldn’t spoil the fun, was like an aquatic dream. We fed “tiny, little sharks” (which were actually several feet long) and patted silky stingrays before deciding to throw DB to the big ones…  Donning a wetsuit, my pint-sized Jacque Cousteau braved the not-so-deep to meet a two-and-a-half-metre shark called Mungo and a 100kg black “stungray” that “tickled mine feet, mummy!”  

An afternoon dolphin spotting cruise, participation in which is virtually a legal requirement when visiting Port Stephens (I’m sure there are on-the-spot fines if you don’t have proof of dolphining), was less successful as the little loon was far more interested in admiring the one dimensional dolphin silhouette on the boats dirty carpet, rather than the flesh and blood dolphins merrily flipping about outside the boat.

The sun returned the following day allowing us our induction into the joys of sand boarding and a quick stop on the way home to a farmyard where sheep, goats, chickens and kangaroo’s wander freely, only to be stalked by predatory toddlers. And where Devilboy, though captivated by the camels and delighted by a donkey, saved most of his excitement for a metal rocking horse…

 Just like the one in our local park.

Sigh.

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