Finally! ¬†Something to be excited about! ūüėÉ

I have been under my overweighted doom and gloom blanket for so long now.  Now I finally have something that has perked me up.  

I registered to participate in a coffee mug exchange for those of us struggling to conceive.  Started and hosted by Chelsea at http://www.trialsbringjoy.com/, I believe it’s in its third(?) year, and has gone from about 30-odd participants, to over 800 hundred this year!  

I’ve just received my exchange buddies details, and I’m so excited to do this!  I’m working onsite with my hubby today but tonight?  I’ll be contacting my buddy, and putting my mug parcel together. ūüėÄ

It saddensmd to think that over 800 of us (well far more really…….think of the ladies who can’t or don’t want to participate!) are still trying to have our babies.  While it doesn’t change our situation it does let us know we’re not alone.  We’re not “freaks” or some kind of oddball.  There’s a lot of us.  Infertility is a real thing…….and it’s on the rise.  

Anyway, I’m totes excited about this, and I can’t wait to get this parcel in the post.  

#ttcmugexchange2015

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Karmic debt? Divine justice? Or maybe just plain bad luck.

I keep asking why me? ¬†What did I do? ¬†What didn’t¬†I do?

And people keep telling me I didn’t do or not do anything. ¬†That I’m not being punished or paying a price, that there is no such thing. ¬†And how do you know that?, I always want to ask.¬† Can¬†you actually prove that?

I keep being told I’m just having bad luck. ¬†Bad luck, you say?

I’m not so sure. ¬†I don’t know if I believe in good or bad luck or not. ¬†I mean the very idea that luck exists at all is as up for debate as karma and divine intervention.

So……if it’s bad luck I’m having, then surely I’ve done something to warrant it…..right? ¬†I mean there are a million superstitions about it. ¬†You can’t just have good or bad luck without earning it, it just doesn’t make any sense. ¬†That there is good or bad luck and that either can befall anyone at any time implies there is something or someone that decides who gets what, and when.

Consider the following:

See a black cat cross your path? ¬†Well my God…..there’s probably a billion black cats in South Gippsland alone, and I reckon I’ve seen most of them cross the road ahead of me on average once a week. ¬†Not to mention that when we were in Zlin, we went out for a drive and twice, in different locations miles apart, black cats sauntered across the road ahead of us in that way that cats do…….casually and oblivious to the mayhem that will ensue in their wake. ¬†Meaning I’m so¬†screwed beyond¬†screwed from black cat-ism¬†that I may as well go ahead and have my entire reproductive system removed.

What about putting the good luck in my favour?

Walk under a ladder?  Never.  Not once in my life have I done that.  Who would?  Go around.  Simples. *Meerkat-like noise*

Broken a mirror? ¬†Run over a china man? ¬†Not that I can recall…..and definitely never, respectively.

To this day I have never again rocked an empty rocking chair since seeing in a movie that it’s “the worst kind of bad luck there is”. ¬†(As per Mose, played by Danny Glover, Places in the Heart). ¬†Who am I to test such things? ¬†Seems just as possible as any other good/bad luck action. ¬†I’m not taking any chances.

At 43 years old I habitually go back out the same door I came in through, and in STILL say “bread n butter” when I pass/go around a pole or column. ¬†I can’t help myself. ¬†It comes out without thinking. ¬†Second nature.¬† And again, why take the chance?

Conversely, there are items that are meant to be things to bring you good luck: ¬†horse shoes, angel charms, semi-precious stones, four leaf clovers. ¬†Rabbits feet, numbers, colours, a jade plant outside your front door. ¬†Rubbing Buddha’s ears or belly, touching the smiling, waving cat, touching statues on bridges in Prague. ¬†I do, and did, all those things.

Its not brought me any good luck. ¬†My common sense tells me doing that stuff didn’t actually DO anything, good or bad. ¬†My superstition and desperation tells me I clearly did them all wrong, or in the wrong order, and so I got bad luck.¬† And I know that’s bullshit too…..but I’m looking for a way to blame myself, since I can’t blame luck.¬† Or fate.¬† Or destiny.¬† Or whatever.

So that says to me, that my bad luck is either so strong, so stacked against me…….or luck, good or bad, doesn’t really exist. ¬†I don’t know. ¬†I think at this stage I’m talking in redundant circles. ¬†But then that just reflects the reality¬†of infertility, so who knows.

Either way it leaves me……well…..screwed, really. ¬†What’s left? ¬†Prayer? Seems a bit out of line and hypocritical, don’t you think? ¬†To pray when you’re not sure you even believe anymore? ¬†And if you do believe, that you kind of believe¬†that rather than a loving God, that He’s actually just a big, fat, prick? ¬†More akin to an ant bully with a magnifying glass, than some kind, loving being. ¬†Or entity. ¬†Or force. ¬†Or whatever.

But I have been out of line…..and hypocritical. ¬†I have prayed. ¬†For success. For a baby. ¬†For the science to work. ¬†For answers and solutions. ¬†I’ve also prayed for peace, of heart and mind. ¬†The ability to find something else in life that could fulfil me. ¬†For the longing to just go away. ¬†For death, if that’s what it takes. ¬†If He/She\it can’t or won’t give me a baby, to give me peace, or just fucking end my life. ¬†People look at me like I’m crazy (and to be fair, the jury has been out on that one for a while now) when I tell them I pray for these things, in this order. ¬†Baby, peace, death. ¬†If I can’t have either of the first two……then I simply do not want to live. ¬†I do not want to go on this way. ¬†I don’t. ¬†Period. ¬†I’m sorry to tell people, but time actually doesn’t heal all. ¬†In some instances, like mine, it makes it worse.

I wish….oh how I wish……I could find something. ¬†Some hope, or……belief. ¬†Faith.

But I’ve been wishing a long time too……and I’m pretty sure that like good and bad luck, wishing is just a thing humans made up.

Unworthy

I’m unworthy of motherhood.   It’s true.  It can’t be anything else.  

I’m not sure why.  I don’t know what it was I did wrong, or what I did to have such a blessing revoked, but clearly……at some point in this life……or another……I did or didn’t do something that resulted in me being found unworthy of motherhood. 

It must have been bad, what it did.  Really, really bad.  Or really, really bad that I didn’t do it.  

So many others seem to be blessed with motherhood……others that have done things I’ve never done……would never do.  Drugs.  Smoking.  I did drink a lot in my twenties, but that was short lived.  I’ve never committed a crime.  I’ve never been sexually promiscuous.  I’m married and faithful to my husband.  I pay my taxes.  Until this past April, and the first year I was in Australia, I’ve been gainfully employed continuously.  I’m not cruel to animals.  I am, for the most part, a nice person.  A decent person.  I’m not perfect.  But I’m a good person. 

Yet motherhood……the one thing I want more than anything in the world……remains elusive. 

Friends of ours have a daughter.  I think she’s 16……maybe 17 now, I’m not really sure.  Doesn’t matter.  She’s got the maturity of a 12 year old but not nearly as much common sense.  She’s quit high school.  Has no life skills, and she can’t hold down even a part time job, or keep an apprenticeship.  She lives in a semi-converted shed with her boyfriend, whom also is a high school drop out, no job, can’t keep one.  I hear they fight continuously, and are on again, off again more than she changes her underpants.  She’s got a piss poor attitude, a bad temper, anger management issues with a tendency toward violence, and like all teenagers, knows nothing but thinks she knows it all.  She also has some psychiatric issues that need to be addressed, but aren’t.  I suspect she’s bi-polar.  Definitely has oppositional defiant disorder.  I know her parents have called the cops to get her under control when she’s gone ballistic.  She’s essentially nothing more than an ungrateful fucking brat who needs her smart mouth mashed and her ass kicked.

She’s pregnant.  I’m surprised it took this long, to be honest.  I think she probably planned it, seeing as how it’s easier to live off the system in Australia than do anything constructive with your youth.  I can’t believe it, and yet the writing was on the wall ages ago.  Another little one born into unnecessarily unfortunate circumstances.  Another little one for us taxpayers to support because momma is a drop kick loser.  The baby will be fine.  No doubt her parents will end up raising it, because she’s a lost cause and if she doesn’t spend time in a mental ward or jail at some point I will be entirely surprised.

Still……planned……unplanned…….why?  Why has she been so blessed?  Why is a baby on its way into her life and her arms at age 16/17……..and yet here I am at 43+…….prepared…..ready….trying every expensive avenue known to man……and still waiting?  Longing?  Yearning and pining?  Dying.  Of a broken heart.  Of a grief that time does NOT heal. 

What did I do wrong?  What didn’t I do right?

Why is she worthy of such a blessing?  

And why am I not? 

Without family a house is not a home

house

I spent the better part of last week with our best friends and their girls, whom I adore¬†above all other children.¬† I am closer to these girls than any other kids I know, nephews and nieces¬†included.¬† These people are more than friends.¬† They’re family.¬† I’d take a bullet or step in front of a train for any of them.

As always, had a fabulous time with them.¬† With them I get to experience all things “family with kids”.¬† Teen histrionics.¬† The highs and lows of boyfriends and girl squabbles.¬† School awards.¬† The girls eye rolling at our adult uncoolness.¬† Me staying abreast of and eye rolling over the latest cool trends.¬† All things I’d love to experience with my own kids. (And yes…..I know that there’s a lot more to parenting than this.) ¬† And sometimes it’s hard to sit by and watch and listen¬†to the family dynamic at work, knowing the only way I’ll ever get to experience it is¬†by¬†observation.¬† But it’s fun while it’s happening and I spend a great deal of time laughing.

Eventually though, I have to leave…..and go home.¬† And common sense says¬†that getting away from the reminder of what I really want the most¬†but cannot have should make it easier.

It doesn’t.

It is when I get home that reality and the hand I’ve been dealt is the hardest to take.¬† When I leave their real home and come back to my pretend one.¬† The realisation sets in again:¬† they have a family home.¬† I have a house.

An empty, silent house.

The closer I get to my house, the more my heart hurts.¬†¬†Heading down the driveway,¬†it is evident a family does not live there.¬† No bikes¬†or scooters litter the driveway.¬† No netball hoop or swing set stands in the garden.¬† There’s no cubby house or sandpit.¬† No backpacks and a scrambled pile of kids shoes¬†sitting inside the backdoor.¬† No school notices¬†or report cards on the¬†fridge.¬† No permission slips on the bench to be signed.¬† No hats and jumpers slung over a chair.¬† No school clothes to be brought in off the line and hung up.¬† No lunch boxes to be packed or thermoses to be washed.¬† No toys scattered here and there.¬† Just the bits and pieces of a childless man and a woman.

There’s not much in the way of sound here either.¬† No laughing, squawking, or sibling bickering.¬† No one calling out for mum or dad.¬† No queries as to where this or that is….where did you last see it….I don’t know, I just can’t find it!¬† No children’s shows on the tele……no horrible music on the radio from the latest teen singing sensations.¬† I’m not threatening to gather up all the scattered toys and donate them to Vinnie’s if they don’t pick them up and put them away……

The house is just empty.¬† And not just of furnishings.¬† It won’t matter how much stuff I fill it with.¬† It won’t matter if I pay thousands and thousands for furnishings and d√©cor, and it looks like something out of Home & Garden, or if I scrounge things from op shops and it¬†looks very Frugal¬†Uni Student Chic.¬†¬†If every room¬†of the house was wall to wall with stuff, top or bottom dollar, it would still be empty and echoing.¬† It would still lack life.¬†¬†I want to get¬†rid of this place.¬† I don’t want to reside here anymore.¬† It holds nothing but bad¬†memories and the spectors of dead dreams.

My heart breaks at¬†the sight of it….sitting high on the hill….a¬†giant monument¬†to the death of dreams I once¬†had.¬† We built this house with a family in mind.¬† It’s huge.¬† Open planned.¬† Plenty of space¬†for little ones to run around and grow up in.¬† Plenty¬†of space for a family.¬† I chose it and once loved it because of those features.¬† Now I hate it.¬† I hate this house.¬†¬†I hate it’s hugeness and it’s open planned living space.¬† It’s too big for just the two of us and¬†it will never be¬†a home.¬† I hate that there is nothing running around in all this space but two¬†hairball-puking, fur-shedding cats.¬† That’s not quite the pitter-patter of little feet I had in mind.¬† It’s not the family I envisioned.

But it’s¬†the only one¬†I’m going to get.

So why are you going through all this?

I was asked this, when I said to someone that I no longer have any faith or belief that¬†I will ever have children.¬† They wanted to know why, if I felt that way, was I bothering with doing what I’m doing now (more on that in a moment).

I said, “So that when I am old and alone, in the nursing home, and nobody visits me because everyone else is dead or has forgotten about me, I will be able to tell myself that it wasn’t necessarily my fault.¬† That I did everything in my power at the time to change the outcome.”

What I’m doing is testing for reproductive immunology issues.¬† I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned that in an earlier post (I have a chronic case of lazy right now and can’t be bothered going back to look).¬† There has to be a reason for my recurrent implantation failure (RIF, as it’s known on Infertility Island).¬† I’ve done some bloods, and I’ve just had a biopsy (hysteroscopy and D&C) and the “scrapings” got sent off for testing for natural killer cells.¬† I’ll do some more bloods (if the RI ever gets around to emailing the test order).¬† Once we’ve got all the results back¬†the RI¬†will look at them together, and work out what, if anything, is wrong with me, and try to devise a treatment.¬† And then we will, at some point in the unknown future, go and give our last two embryos in Zlin a go.

Meaning we’re going to defrost them and kill them by putting them in me.

I have spoken to the RI, lovely¬†man in Sydney, and he says that he’s helped an awful lot of people who’d given up hope.¬† I told him I don’t expect I’ll be one of the ones he’s helped; I don’t believe he will be able to help me, that the writing’s all over my wall.¬† He didn’t argue.¬† Unlike my fertility specialist who insists he’ll get me pregnant.¬† I’m like, “dude you’re not even treating me anymore.¬† You’re just¬†helping me with the Zlin prep work on this end.¬† You’re¬†not going to get any credit for any success.¬† In fact, if you hadn’t fucked me over with your non-belief of NKCs and immunology issues last year, you might have just delivered my first baby.”¬† Ok, I didn’t actually say that to him.¬† But¬†I thought it really, really hard. ¬† I didn’t have the energy to tell him that I no longer trust him, that I feel he dicked me over more than once and that if I ever were to succeed in getting pregnant I wouldn’t be coming to him for pre-natal treatment.¬† His approach is too soft….too conservative, which I now realise is just his way of pooh poohing me in a nicer way than other doctors have in the past.¬† If I were to ever get pregnant, I’d be seeking treatment from a perinatologist.¬† I’m pretty sure I don’t need to worry about that though. .

Like I said, in the end, I don’t want to look back and say, I wish I’d tried ______.¬† Or I wish I hadn’t passed the opportunity to ______.¬† So I’m doing all this…..all these things we can’t really afford for me to do…..because I don’t want to get to the end and feel guilt on top of the heartache that I know I will carry with me forever.¬† That’s why I’m going through all this.

H is for Holidays

It’s also for Hell.

Which is what non-bank holidays (religious, or “family” holidays….Christmas, Easter, Mothers and Fathers Day, Halloween,¬†Thanksgiving)¬†have come to represent for me.¬† I don’t enjoy them.¬† I just endure them.¬† They no longer hold the joy they once did.¬† Now they are painful.¬† Long.¬† They seem to last forever.¬† I breath a sigh of relief as soon as New Years has passed and I know I have a few months reprieve before I’m assaulted with the onslaught of brightly coloured foil eggs¬†and stuffed rabbits.

If I was in the US, my misery would be compounded to the nth degree, to the 100th power, squared with the holidays upon us.¬† Halloween is the kick off of the holiday season, and as soon as Fall (autumn) hits, the candy, decorations and costumes come out in full force.¬† Americans love Halloween, and you don’t have to be a kid, or even¬†have kids to take part.¬† It’s the one night of the year you can be whatever or whomever you want to be.¬† You can dress up as whatever you want and nobody will bat an eye.¬† Hey, it’s Halloween!¬† But my favourite part has always been seeing the little ones¬†in their costumes, trick or treating.¬† The smaller the better.¬† The “make me squeal with delight because it’s sooooooooo cute!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” factor¬†stops around age 7/8, and they’re just “awwww, how cute!” and then around 9/10 it becomes “hey that’s a really cool costume”.¬† But the little ones, from teeny infant to 6/7 just make heart thump.¬† 3/4 is especially adorable with the way they’re usually shy but determined and walk up holding out their bag or pumpkin……I just want to give every one of them ALL the candy.¬† I have imagined so many times choosing costumes for my little ones and then when they’re old enough to decide helping them pick just the right one.¬† Some visions even included me dressing up too (Kanga and Roo, or a lioness and cub are my favs).¬†Hey, it’s¬†Halloween!

Fortunately, Halloween is not very big in Australia.¬† It’s making it a bit bigger every year in the city and suburbs, but here in regional rural areas, not so much.¬†¬†¬†Woolies and Coles will come out with some sort of selling display the week of Halloween, but it won’t be much and if I time it right, I can probably avoid it, and avoid the tug at my heart because of the memories of my childhood and once-upon-a-time daydreams I had with my own progeny.

Thanksgiving is blessedly an American holiday, and so I don’t have endure any visual reminders outside of the ones that come to my Inbox via spam, or on¬†Facebook.¬† Thanksgiving I can get past with hardly a blip.¬† There have been years I’ve actually forgotten it!¬† (I know…..bad, unpatriotic expat….but like I said, no reminders.¬† I refuse to take 95% of the blame.)

The C word:¬† Christmas.¬† *sigh*¬† Christmas was once upon a time my favourite holiday of the whole year.¬† I revelled in the sight of Christmas displays and the music playing over the intercoms in every shop.¬† Nobody does Christmas like Americans, but Australia does a pretty decent job of it too.¬† Now if anyone thinks I had grand visions for Halloween, you can’t begin to imagine the images I conjured up for Christmas.¬† Not just in recent years,¬†but my whole life.¬† I started feeling clucky very early on, in my early teens.¬† I always wanted to be a mother, and so I have had many, many years picturing events and moments in my head, thinking, “One day…..when I’m a mom….”.¬† Once I got married, each Christmas I would decorate the tree and think, “Maybe next year….”.¬† Then next year would roll around, and I’d decorate with a bit less enthusiasm and think, “Ok…maybe next year….”.¬† I have long since lost all enthusiasm for decorating, and despite the fact that I have a closet full of Christmas decorations for the whole house, I don’t even break them out.¬† It’s too painful, it’s too tiring, and to be honest…..why bother?¬† Who sees it but my husband and I?¬† We’re not religious people so we don’t celebrate it in that way.¬† We celebrate it as a “family” holiday.¬† Of course……we don’t have a family, we’re just a couple.¬† A couple without a family of their own.¬† My in-laws are probably going to WA to spend it with my brother in law and his wife’s family, where we’re not invited, not that we could afford to go if we were¬†(and not that I could afford to go emotionally, if we could financially, because they have a new baby…..seriously, no…..I can’t deal with older kids at Christmas, certainly not babies).¬† My husbands sister has her Christmas with her husbands family.¬† That leaves us going to spend it with our best friends, which is good……but I feel like¬†we’re interlopers……crashers…….out of place and underfoot and just an extra nuisance.¬† I’m uncomfortable the whole time.

I don’t know what we’re doing this year.¬†¬†To be honest I’d like¬†nothing more than to go somewhere, just the two of us, and I’d like it to be somewhere Adults only.¬† Not in a X rated way, but a place that no¬†babies or children are allowed.¬† I can’t get away from Christmas reminders like decorations and music, and while I now find it depressing (used to find it heart warming), I can deal with it.¬† What I can’t deal with is watching little kids running around.¬† They are the physical embodiment of what¬†I long for and no longer believe I will ever have.¬† I don’t know where this mythical place is, this adults only haven, if it even exists, and I have no idea what it would cost to go there.

H is for holidays…….and How the Hell and I going to get through this round of them.

It doesn’t take much to knock the wind out of my fine sails

I woke up this morning and was, for the most part, fine.  I got up, got showered, got dressed, went downstairs.  Fine.  Decided what we were doing today, put a load of dishes throughout the dishwasher, a load of laundry through the washer and hung it out.  Fine.  Went upstairs to make myself presentable to meet my husband in town.  Fine……

……until I started putting my makeup on.  As I squeezed tinted BB cream onto my finger to try to even out my skin tone, it occurred me that she (relative that just had a new baby) was probably tending to her new baby while I get ready to live another empty day in this fucking empty life.  

And that was enough to take the wind out of my fine sails

Because while she’s busy cleaning up spit up, I’m cleaning up cat puke from the couch.  While she’s building a bond with her new baby, I’m feeling less and less linked to the entire human race, especially the female side.  While she’s preparing to settle down for another breastfeed, I’m preparing to settle down to another empty hour of an empty day with empty arms.  While she’s marvelling at every new facial expression of her progeny, I’m marvelling at how hard it is trying to hold it together during the Johnsons bedtime bath commercial.  While the sounds in her house echo with the cries of her new baby, the only sound in my house is the ridiculing sound of the kitchen clock ticking away the minutes of the time I have left.  

The thing is, these feelings aren’t confined to just her.  I feel this way in lesser degrees about any new mums I know of, or encounter.  It’s just that she’s the newest mother I know personally.  And I happen to be related to her.  Which makes it doubly hard.  

I wish there was a pill you could take that would kill the longing and need for children.  Something that makes you feel nothing about motherhood.  And pure apathy when you look at pregnant bellies, baby’s in prams or capsules, small children running about.  Happy families doing happy family things.  I’d take that pill in a heartbeat.  I’m so tired of feeling this way.  I’m so tired of the feeling getting worse and not better.  I’m so tired of people telling me time heals all, when so far time has only made it worse. 

 

My Child/ren Will Be Rainbow Babies

In the Trying To Conceive speak (for those not up to scratch on their acronyms, TTC means Trying To Conceive), a Rainbow Baby is described by Urban Dictionary as the following:

Rainbow baby

A “rainbow baby” is a baby that is born following a miscarriage or still birth.

In the real world, a beautiful and bright rainbow follows a storm and gives hope of things getting better. The rainbow is more appreciated having just experienced the storm in comparison.

The storm (pregnancy loss) has already happened and nothing can change that experience. Storm-clouds might still be overhead as the family continue to cope with the loss, but something colourful and bright has emerged from the darkness and misery.

“We lost our last pregnancy, but now we have a rainbow baby.”

Why isn’t failed fertility treatments or failed implantations included in this?¬† Why isn’t a baby born following infertility a rainbow baby too?¬†¬†I might not have become pregnant.¬† I might not have carried a baby or experienced any pregnancy milestones.¬† I didn’t get to¬†any stage where I was told the baby was no longer alive.¬† But those were more than just embryos, more than just a cluster of cells put into me.¬† They were my babies, as real to me as any baby is to anyone.¬† I had as many hopes, dreams and aspirations for them as any expectant mother does her unborn child.¬† That I¬†didn’t get to any stage of pregnancy doesn’t change that at all.¬† And I still feel, instinctively, they were boys.¬† My boys.
Not to diminish the ‘storm’ of people who’ve experienced miscarriage or stillbirth. ¬†I certainly wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy and dear God I wish nobody ever had to deal with it……there is no comparison.¬† But infertility is no picnic in the park either.¬† It’s a storm too.¬† Perhaps miscarriage and stillbirth are the 40 days and 40 nights of rain storms where the whole earth floods and everything is destroyed, but infertility would be a category 5 hurricane.¬† Not the same, but still devastating.¬†¬†Still a storm that people are glad to see finished.
So, I’m claiming that term, Rainbow Baby’s.¬† I think it’s fitting that any child I’m ever blessed with, however they get to me, will be my rainbow after¬†the storm.¬† I just hope I can keep weathering the storm.¬† I really need to see that rainbow.

Survival Mode

This is what I’m in. ¬†Survival mode. ¬†It’s hard. ¬†Mostly because I don’t want to survive. ¬†Surviving means I made it through, despite the heartache and the let down. ¬†I don’t want to make it through……I want to realise my dream, which is not the same.¬† Realising the dream¬†would be a triumph. ¬†Surviving would be¬†merely a¬†hollow victory.

For me survival mode means that I spend countless hours down the rabbit hole of the Internet, but as little time as possible up, above ground, in real life. ¬†While I’m down the rabbit hole, I can pick and choose what I expose myself to. ¬†I can close that browser. ¬†I can avoid that link. ¬†I can ignore that latest post. ¬†I can’t do that, up there, in real life.¬† In real life, there is no reboot……no updating apps…..and no way of clicking undo or redo.¬† I like the internet because I can get lost yet still find my way back.

Survival mode means not leaving my house until I absolutely have to.  And believe me, I can be pretty conservative about what I need from out there, in real life.  I can get very creative with the contents of a nearly bare pantry (pasta or brown rice makes a great base for lots of things).  I can figure out ways around being out of conditioner (olive oil), or toothpaste (bi-carb soda).  Even deodorant (hand sanitiser, or lemon juice if nothing else).

Survival mode means if I do leave my house I avoid places that put me in the position of having to come face to face with pregnant women….babies in prams….toddlers in strollers or testing out their newfound sea legs….or small children running around occasionally calling out “Mum/Dad?”.¬†¬†Since fertile people are abundant in this region, I really can’t go anywhere that they aren’t “marathon gang roaming”…….pregnant bellies on display……waddling along.¬† What I wouldn’t give to waddle too.

Survival mode means that if I am forced to be in the vicinity of these people, I strictly avoid eye contact, and interactions, at all costs.¬† Please don’t talk to me…..please don’t try to make me have a conversation.¬† You have a pregnant belly, and/or a¬†toddler on the¬†hip, and occasionally, one in the pram as well.¬† Things I have not been able to obtain myself but desperately want.¬† You and I have virtually nothing in common.¬† You’re a mother, you’re a woman with child/ren.¬† I’m not a mother, I’m a woman that is barren.¬† What is there for us to discuss?¬† The weather?¬† Sport?¬† Politics?¬† I can offer nothing you will find value in, due to my status of Not Mother.¬† And¬†you can offer nothing that¬†won’t break my heart.¬†¬†I of course have friends with children, but I am selective……very selective of the ones I see and spend time with. ¬†I have to be, to self preserve.¬† I generally do not interact closely with the ones with babies or small children, preferring the ones with teens or grown kids.¬† The teens are hard too, because I have vividly imagined being a mother to teens as well.¬†¬†But the babies and small children are simply unbearable.

Survival mode means that I have to get away from fertiles and their progeny as quickly as possible, at all costs. ¬†I have left entire shopping trollies, full to the hilt with frozen goods and other perishables, sitting in the middle of an aisle, because I couldn’t bear to listen to the cry of a baby the next aisle over that couldn’t have been more than a few weeks old. ¬†I abandoned that trolley, and walked out the door in tears, thinking, “Who brings a baby that tiny to a disgusting, germy,¬†disease ridden place like a supermarket?” (infertile histrionics).¬†¬†Followed by, “Why couldn’t that have been my baby crying as I did the family shopping?” (infertile inability to cope with infertility)

Survival mode means that¬†I flick the channels of the tele because I can’t bear the¬†Huggies commercial.¬†¬†Or the Love Your Children ad where all the kids are saying/screaming/calling for “Dad!/Daddy!”.¬† I’m not a dad……and neither is my husband.¬† Because of me.¬†¬†It means I refuse to watch new movies because I don’t know what’s coming up; there could be innumerable scenes with infants, little kids, happy family events. ¬†It means I refuse to watch certain movies I actually like, because I do know what’s coming up, and I know how it watching it will feel. ¬†The news, with it’s ever faithful nightly reports of child abuse, abandonment and neglect is like emotionally eating glass. ¬†Women’s magazines rarely get bought; inevitably there is an article on some happy family occasion, fun things to do on school holidays!, or an article featuring some celebrity and her “miracle baby”.

It means that most days I will be sitting at my kitchen island bench, eating breakfast and checking my emails, and I probably look like I’m doing alright because I showered, and dressed, and put my hair up in a ponytail. ¬†Hell, I might even have put on a little bit of makeup. ¬†But in my head, I’m hearing any of the following on a continuous loop¬†at a beat and tempo¬†like a tick-tocking clock or a metronome:

  • You…don’t…have…kids…you…don’t…have…kids…
  • You…can’t…have…kids…you…can’t…have…kids…
  • You’re…not…a…mum…you’re…not…a…mum….
  • Time…is…running…out…time…is…running…out…
  • You…are…worth…less…you…are…worth…less…

And it means that some days, on good days, I can just manage to get through the latest text and pic message combination¬†from a relative who’s just had their first baby, without throwing my phone through the wall…….and some days a text and pic message will send me spiralling into a human heap, dripping tears and snot, and unable to get up out of the floor of the room that might have been our baby’s nursery.

And somehow, at some point, I manage to get up and keep going.  In survival mode.

Leaving Infertility Island 

People talk about their bucket lists, and almost always there is mention of travelling, or visiting a location they will just DIE if they don’t see before they, um……..die.  

I’m no different.  My bucket list has travel plans too, but they consist solely of getting off Infertility Island (I borrowed this term from Maya over at Don’t Count Your Eggs http://www.dontcountyoureggs.typepad.com/)

I always thought that when I got to leave Infertility Island, that it would be via the boat that would take me to Parenthood Peninsula, which juts off the mainland of A Life Worth Living.  It’s not that far really.  Kind of like Cuba to Miami, only no Communist block.  The boarding pass onto the boat being, of course, a living breathing child fresh from my loins or abdominal incision (adoption not being an option, thank you Australian government).  I have tried to acquire this boarding pass.  I have shelled out money.  I have bid my time.  I have performed tricks for the government agencies, and provided entertainment (at my own expense no doubt) to countless medical staff.  I have prayed.  Pleaded.  Bargained. And various combinations of each.  I can’t tell you how many trips to Parenthood Peninsula I have booked.  And each time, I look so forward to the trip. It’s all consuming.  I want nothing more than this one item on my bucket list.

My travel plans keep getting fucked up though.  Whoever my travel coordinator is, they are pretty fucking hopeless.  I have never had such a lousy trip in all my life, and I haven’t even made it to the jetty yet.  No, I’m way over here……miles away from the docks, watching other people board the boat by the hundreds, but I’m not one of them.  I’ve even helped people make their way to the dock, and have watched as they queue up to get on the boat.  Their ship will sail from Infertility Island in just a few months, but I’ll still be here.  As they say, no good deed goes unpunished.  Hence, I shall be helping not another single, solitary person, no matter how much they beg, and tell me THEIR sob story, and stroke my ego and then take the info and run like a rat with it.  (I rarely hear from them again.)  Not ever again.  I will never forward another piece of information or advice to help another infertile.  Why?  Because I keep giving away my chances.  I’m convinced, now, that every time I help someone and they get to board the ship while I’m left stranded in the middle of Bumfuck, that I’ve accidentally handed them my boarding pass.  So, fuck everyone else, you can just find your own damn way to the jetty.  I’m done being the Good Samaritan.  It is the worst paying job I’ve ever fucking had.

So, my quest to at least get to the fucking jetty has been fucked up, yet again.  I have a new road block to contend with: suspected immunology issues and other related lovelies that have resulted in Recurrent Implantation Failure, or RIF as us natives of Infertility Island refer to it.  I’ve been in to give blood for the testing, to see what kind and how many immunological assassins live in my blood.  I never get colds, flus, or any kind of gastrointestinal illnesses, so I’m thinking I’m probably more overrun than Hungary at the moment.  I have today received the confirmation of the date, time and location I’m to undergo a hysteroscopy, D&C and investigation of natural killer cells squatting in my uterus.  I assume my entire body is nothing more than a cesspool, a toxic waste dump, or at the very least a medieval torture chamber where innocent embryos are sent to die.  I’m like The Dip, from Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, but instead of dissolving celluloidal cartoons, I dissolve human embryos.    My husband has gone in today to give blood to be karyotyped, so we’ll see what comes back about his chromosomes in a few weeks.  No doubt his results will yield a set of perfectly organised chromosomes, or some little issues that have zilch to do with every failure we’ve had.  It will all rest squarely on my shoulders, no doubt about it.  Even when I’m just the incubator, I can’t do it right.  A faulty incubator.  

Here’s the thing:  even of we discover what’s wrong with me, even if there is a treatment for it, I no longer believe I’ll ever get off Infertility Island.  I don’t.  I have no more hope that I will be taking a one way cruise anywhere.  My travel plans are written up in permanent ink and they include no further movement than from Coveting Cove to Cape Childlessness.  Up to now, I’ve thought that I could get the itinerary changed if I pay enough, or do this or that, but I’ve only been fooling myself.  There is no change of itinerary.  Some people get a cruise and others, like me, get a life long hike through an empty, ugly landscape with no geological definition and no nice views.  No map.  No tour guide that actually gives a shit and certainly no torch to light the way.  You just feel your way along and pray with each step it’s almost over, because dear God, is this all there is?  

I’ve been touring the large, sprawling village of Cape Childlessness for over a decade now, looking for a place I think I can live in somewhat peacefully…….but the whole place is just a dive!  And, I can’t imagine why anyone would live here with resignation, much less willingly.  I mean, most of the people residing in Cape Childlessness are doing so because they had nowhere else to go in the end, but there are a few who thought it a lush paradise, and the ones in between just make the best of a bad situation.  I don’t know how you do that.  I don’t know how you get the shaft on something so major and from what I can see so widespread, and then go on and pretend like it doesn’t bother you that you were left out and forgotten, or that your life is fulfilling and worth living…….but some do.  Well, hats off to them, but I’m not one of them.  

I’m not really leaving Infertility Island…….and I know that.  I know that in my heart of hearts.  But I refuse to go live in Cape Childlessness either, not by resignation and not willingly.  I will swing by the neck like the pendulum on a clock before I reside permanently in childlessness.  

I’m not booking another trip to Parenthood Peninsula just yet either, though.  I don’t believe the glossy brochures and the testimony of the previously departed Islanders now living happily on PP.  I’m wary of the smiling face and outstretched hand of the tour guide, asking for yet a other deposit on a trip I know isn’t going to go anywhere.  I’m not even sure I want to view at the free, no obligation sales pitch anymore.  I’ve been lured in before, by the happy, smiling faces of the people who’ve gone before me and have posted evidence of their journey on Instagram and Facebook…….and I don’t buy it.  Oh I totally buy that they’re happier than they ever dreamed, over there on Parenthood Peninsula and they have even travelled through A Life  Worth Living.  Most people relocate there, after their time on the Peninsula.  Grand kids make the mainland so enjoyable, I’m told.  

I just don’t buy that I’m ever going to get to see these places, except from Instagram and Facebook.  I’ll believe it when I see it.  I’d like to say that I’ve missed the boat every time, or that my ship sailed and sank.  But to be honest, I think I was ever on the passenger manifest.  And I don’t think I’m ever going to be either.  My life, if you can call it that, has been lived entirely on Infertility Island.  I hope it’s not my final resting place…….I just don’t know how I’m going to get off this island because I’m too scared to book another trip.