"Edited to Add"....

This started as a pregnancy blog when I fell pregnant in May 2009 after four years of finding a donor, doing all the counselling / paperwork / tests and trying.

And now, thanks to a 4WD which skidded onto our side of the road, killing our baby daughter at 34w and injuring me, my partner and two of my stepdaughters on 27 December 2009, it has turned into something else. We didn't want this something else, but apparently it is all we've got to go on with.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


What is making me queasy at the moment:

- the huge pile of exam marking in front of me - bleugh!

- wierd plastic smells - shops seem to be full of these.

- twee comments in the "what to expect" book such as "a wrinkly baby is cute, a wrinkly mummy, not so much" - urrr! (in the section on which beauty treatments / botox injections not to have while you are pregnant - at this point I ran screaming back to Kaz Cooke, even if it is an old edition with the pages falling out)

- not eating anything for more than 10 minutes... and I've gotten sick of my ordinary nibble of choice - dates and almonds, so am desperately searching about for suitable replacements. Pistacios - good, but too salty, dried cranberries - good but too sweet (why would anyone think you needed to add sugar to cranberries), kiwi fruit - in dwindling supply at our house.

- the thought of the conference paper I have to deliver in 5 days which is still in very messy shape (and will stay that way until pile of exams is cleared). eeek

Image: Alexei Jawlensky: Girl with the green face, Chicago Art Institute, photo from here

Thursday, June 25, 2009


The ladies at Waiting for Mavis got me thinking about a 'word of the day'. So far I've been very lucky in that it has only been "queasy" and not "vomiting" *touchwood*. And although halloumi (or my bladder, under the bad influence of nearby halloumi) has been waking me up regularly at 4 / 5 am, I've usually been able to get back to sleep after a little while.
So if I had to pick a word for the day, it would probably be "inshallah" - meaning "god willing" in arabic. It is a bit of an odd pick in that I'm not religious myself, but El Prima is. (Gah - clarifying my own spiritual beliefs is tricky. Let's just say I grew up with the sense that the core bits of most religions are very similar - treat others with love and respect - be compassionate because you don't know when it will be your turn to suffer etc - but that religious institutions were problematic because those good core bits tended to get overshadowed by power plays, divisions, hierarchies and people wanting to tell you how to live your life.) I won't go into El Prima's story about how she reconciles her religion with her sexuality, because that is her story, but suffice to say this is something she has put a lot of thought into, and which is very important in her life.
But for us, inshallah is comforting at the moment, because it is both a permission to hope, and an acknowledgement that it is not us who will decide whether our hopes are realised. When I think of the word inshallah, I think of El Prima's mum, and all that she has weathered in her life, coming through with such grace and generosity towards others, and hope we can show the same acceptance and perserverence.
Image from here.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


It's a haloumi!
Attractive and stylish, non?
(extra points if you can tell which end is the head - the lovely ultrasound tech wasn't quite sure. We're betting on the top-left end.)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Ridiculously premature discussion of birthing options

As much as I don't want to count chickens before they hatch etc (and as much as even planning what to do if said chickens might hatch) I made a tentative phone call to the Mercy Hospital family birthing centre yesterday, just to see how far ahead we'd need to book if, by any chance, come February, we might be in a position to think about the immediate hatching of a chicken...

"Oh, we've got a few bookings for February. You'd really need to book in this week if you want to be sure to get a spot".

Yea gods! How am I supposed to accept the possible reality of giving birth by the end of this week! And how does this work for suspicious people such as myself who are afraid of booking anything which presumes a chicken hatching, as that would be mocking the gods, and inviting disaster?

But, to put those suspicions aside for a moment, it looks like we are going to have to book some kind of birthing centre ASAP, whether or not I am able to wrap my head around the concept.

So, although I'm pretty sure that there are only 3 people reading this (and only one who isn't related to me by birth or whatever we would have if we were allowed to be married) I feel compelled to make a plaintive request to the internet at large to answer my question - Have you given birth at the Mercy? (ordinary hosp / birthing centre), and did they poke you with sticks and torment you and your baby and loved ones, or were they intuitively compassionate, respectful of you, your relationship (same-sex or not), your baby and your preferences for giving birth and extremely competent in helping you get baby from inside your uterus to outside?

Do you have any advice on giving birth in the following circumstances?
- living in sydney until about christmas, then moving to a suburb in melbourne's north (just a little further north than the current swineflu hotspot)
- keen on minimal intervention - and a midwife-led birthing environment.
- maximum support for breastfeeding / rooming in.
- no complicating medical conditions / factors thus far.
- same-sex friendly "a plus".

Gah - this sounds like a personals ad!! Any tips much appreciated!

(Photo title: Sister Mary Rose supervises Hospital Maternity Ward, April 1953, Ralph Morse, TIME - don't you love that the mother's face is just cropped out of the picture! Gah.)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

120 bpm!!! (alternative title: "It's alive!")

Scan went well today, despite me waking up from 4am onwards thinking it was time to get up (and then having bizarre dreams about being back at uni, in student accommodation).

Little haloumi is an impressive (to us!) 10mm long, and has his/her own yolk sac accessory and the beginnings of a salacious and commodious placenta. At first, haloumi was difficult to see - mainly because I kept giggling. The extremely young-looking technician was very friendly - introduced herself to El Prima, and asked us if we wanted a picture. And complimented me on my bladder - always an excellent way to make a good first impression. She confirmed that haloumi's looking about the right size for 7 weeks - and has a nice healthy little heartbeat of 120bpm (90 to 200 is normal for this stage, so maybe this means we've got a chilled out haloumi).

(As an aside, El Prima and I are constantly in confusion about how the "weeks" are counted, given that she has a conceptual objection to the standard medical system of counting based on that wacky concept that "week 1" begins with your last period, so that conception doesn't actually occur until "week 3". Admittedly it doesn't make sense, especially when - as in our case - we know down to a few days the date of conception - but I'm all for it, given that it feels like you get a bit of a head start.)
El Prima's going to scan the picture in so we can post it up here tomorrow. Promises to be slightly more accurate than the picture above, but still quite blobby.

Completely unrelated dot points

  • I think it is a signal of how often we do ironing, that the cat (now nearly 1 year old) got very excited when we brought out the ironing board from the laundry, and is now obsessed with it.
  • El Prima bought the "what to expect" book today. I find the twee little bits about babies and cuddles a bit annoying, but it is reassuringly filled with seemingly useful information. And despite my initial worries, it doesn't come across as too judgemental. But zero points for including same-sex families.
  • I've managed to eat a huge amount of grapes today. And I just tried to explain the winter solstice to Snacky (El Prima's middle daughter, 15 years old) using a grape to represent the earth - not quite sure how successfully. Mmmm grapes!
  • My dad & stepmum were in town from interstate - and we went to see them, which was lovely, but I made the mistake of not eating a proper big breakfast before we went out (because I thought we were going for brunch). As it turned out, we didn't have "brunch" until about 1:30pm, by which time (despite nibbling on almonds & dates) I was so hungry I had a headache.
  • Our first ultrasound is tomorrow! We're at approx 7 weeks, so this is mainly to check dates & viability. Cross fingers we see (hear?) a heartbeat.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Baby Stealing!

This is just way too disturbing:

In Pascagoula, Mississippi, in November 2008, Cirila Baltazar Cruz gave birth to a baby girl. Soon after, her daughter was taken away from her because she could not communicate with the hospital attendants. ... Baltazar Cruz is up for deportation, while her daughter is reported to be with an affluent Ocean Springs couple.

Details are here if you want to call / write to express your concern.

Wednesday 17 June 2009
I feel like I’m seeing everything in smell-o-vision – every scent is so intense at the moment. Strangers’ aftershave on the train, diesel fumes of the bus, the chemically smell of new fabric – it is like I’ve become some environmental toxic sniffer dog. My instinct is, if it smells unpleasant, then it is probably not a good thing to be breathing in, so I end up spending a fair bit of time breathing through my scarf, or going to stand next to a plant. Plants, by the way, mostly smell sweet – like really good fresh water. Yay oxygen. I had no idea that harbouring a little embryo would give you secret powers like this.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Best Birthday Present Ever!

Still up the duff, it appears!

I think there need to be a different word for "preganant" for the first 12 weeks - maybe just to ease you into the idea, but also to recognise the fragility of the state and the concept. Something a little more specific than the 19th century euphemisms about being in a "delicate condition". I feel like I'm still in the waiting room, listening out for my name to be called.
I opened the parcel from my mum today, and it is a necklace - pearls interspaced with earthy red, azure blue and lapis-blue ceramic beads - just beautiful. And better still, was the news when she called me that she's planning on staying in town after Christmas for at least 6 months, to enjoy her first (touchwood!) grandchild.
I went out this morning to get bread & milk, & when I got home, El Prima and the girls sung me happy birthday and surprised me with a cooked breakfast. Spoilt!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

This wasn't quite my conversation with the lovely nurse at the clinic when I rang up for the results of my blood test, but almost. She was very nonchalant, "Oh yes, it is all fine", while I was scrambling for a definite, yes pregnant or no not pregnant.

And while I have no illusions about my tiny little embryo being the messiah (he's just a very naughty boy), it made me wish for an angel who could really spell it out for me and give me a bit of certainty. But certainty isn't really what we signed on for, and I'd better get used to the uncertainty which is the very definition of TTC / pregnancy / parenting.

New in town...

Eeek! It is a funny feeling to be blogging again. It feels kind of "old school". To give a little back history, soon after I started working fulltime in lawfirm A (ie about 6 years ago), I set up a blog for my dear friend W, and in the process, decided to set one up for myself. It was all blogging hi-jinks until I realised that I was so miserable in my job, that if I wasn't careful, I would have an excellent blog, and no job. Seeing as the blog didn't pay the bills, the blogging had to go. Now that I have a job I love, hopefully I can blog "safely"!

I also feel like a bit of a cheater to be starting up a TTC blog only now, when we have managed to get our first BFP. Actually, I think that really is cheating. My sad & sorry excuse was that I found the TTC process too depressing to blog about - the rollercoaster of hoping, and then being disappointed.

We got our BFP on the 9th cycle of inseminations, and so it is a big relief to know that I am apparently capable of conceiving. My HyCosSy test came through all clear, and I haven't been diagnosed with any gynae conditions which might affect my fertility. So we were begining to wonder what was happening. My GP suggested that since our known donor lived in town, we ask him over for a fresh donation (up until now we'd been using his frozen donations via the clinic). Fortunately, he was happy to, and had just had a round of STI tests giving him the all-clear, and our result seems to indicate that fresh is indeed best. Woo hoo!

So... awkward introductions... I'm about to turn 33, and this is the first time I've conceived. My partner, El Prima, is mum to three daughters from her previous marriage who are now in their mid to late teens. The youngest two live with us.