Welcome

We always thought we would have kids. We started trying when we believed we were ready. A month went by, then two months, six months, a year. Nothing happened.

Something was wrong, but nobody could tell us what - and they still can't to this day. We tried IVF three times but our results were not good. We were devastated.

Eighteen months after our last IVF cycle, we knew we would not be having our own children. And, somehow, we have moved to a life that is much different to the one we thought we'd have.

This blog is about what we do now we know we won't be having children - the thoughts, dreams, realities, sorrows, and joys that have become our new life path.

I hope you will enjoy what I will be sharing, and I hope that if you are at the point where life without children is a reality for you, that you might find some hope and inspiration here.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

A letter to her child...

The following is from one of my readers - a beautiful letter to her child...

Dear baby,

I've wanted you for what seems like forever, I dream of holding you and feeling your warmth.

You have no idea how badly I want to create you. To be a mother, I want you more than I can take... more feeling than it is possibly to feel.

It's almost like a need, a need for you.

To feel you move like butterflies, to feel you kick inside me, to feel ethereal, dreamlike, unbelievable to thing I could grow life.

I want to feel the pain of you getting bigger inside me, the weight of you.

I want you to grow and grow like a butterfly in a cocoon.

To see the plus sign on a test, to squeal with glee, to hug my fiancé and see the amazed look in his eyes.

To cry over the joy, the adventure, the possibility that will be your life.

I can draw, paint, write and knit, but creating a painting is so much different to having a work of art, a pure creation made by two in love grow inside you.

I envision your tiny little legs, kicking and squirming, your chubby fingers tight around my thumb, your beautiful soft skin & perfect eyes.

We've talked about you for what feels like eternity, we read books, articles, watched videos about you.

We planned names like Damian or Hamish or Olive or Christine.

We planned out your early years, we planned out everything.

I felt so ready yet scared and excited, the ovulation tests, pregnancy tests, the baby books, my fiancé’s mothers handmade clothes, created for his baby. Special for his baby, our baby, our soon to be universe.

I couldn't wait for you, I was so excited, we were so excited.

I wanted to hear you, hold you... I wanted you to be mine, which you can never be.

I started becoming more tired, more stressed & in more pain. I wondered is fibromyalgia genetic? Could my mum have passed it to me and if so, what would happen to our dream?

I googled it, my heart didn't just sink, it fell, down & down & down. It spun down like a penny in a charity coin machine, until it hit the ground with a cold hard thunk.

My fiancé was broken, I was broken.

Months have passed, he's sold the baby books, hidden his mother’s baby clothes and I have hidden my pregnancy jumper & sold my ovulation tests.

I sold my pregnancy journal, the very happy mother to be messaged me urging delivery, so elated and excited at her pregnancy. I marker penned my name from the 'this book belongs to section' scrubbing it out, trying to clean to sadness away, the memories.

I stuck a neat white sticker over it, almost purifying it as if some omen, some sad, angry, heartbroken entity was being removed or set free.

My fiancé posted the book whilst I tried to forget. When I found out fibromyalgia is genetic and clusters in families.

My dream died, my never born baby died with it, I feel stupid to mourn a baby that has never existed & will never exist but I can't help it.

I used to brood over babies, seeing pregnant women's tummies & children pulled my heartstrings and made me excited and nervous.

Now when I see a child, a baby or a pregnant woman. It ruins my day, I see children’s clothes/socks/blankets & toys in shops & supermarkets.... it makes me feel sick to my stomach with loss.

Most days I can try not to think about it and it sort of works, but some days I cry about you, my never baby. Some nights I stay awake, like right now & I feel sad and broken.

I needed to write this letter to you my never baby, because as I know you won't ever be here I still love you, I still think of you & I still hold a piece of my heart just for you and I hope one day that mourning will heal & my heart won't be quite so fragmented.

Endless love,


A lady who dreams of being your mum.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Babies...

Apologies again!

I’ve had a few health issues this past month, plus a work project that I’ve had to focus on, so the blog has gone on the back burner for a while.

I’m not sure if you heard about the storm that happened in South Australia a few weeks back. It was one of the biggest we’ve seen and ended up with the entire state losing power – some areas for more than 24 hours.

Hospitals and other emergency services generally have backup generators, and so do IVF clinics. After all – they have frozen embryos that need to be looked after.

Unfortunately one of the IVF clinics in South Australia lost all power and couldn’t get it back before they lost all of the frozen embryos. All of them.

They have offered free cycles of IVF for all affected clients.

I cried for the clients and the embryos when I heard this news. I was also very angry. I was angry at the loss of the embryos, but also because to most people the offer of another cycle was an acceptable way to make amends.

But, the loss of those embryos, at least to me, is much more than a free cycle could ever compensate for.

When we did our IVF cycles we got to take home photos of our embryos. We have two photos and I’ve kept them. I won’t ever part with them. Because they are our children. Had we lost any embryos in an incident where power failed I would have felt that our children had died – not just that embryos had been lost that can simply be replaced.

Does that sound weird? I would have felt that the clinic was being flippant about the loss of our babies.

What do embryos mean? How early is it in the cycle to say “they are our children”? For me, our embryos were our children – especially given they were as close as we ever got to holding our babies in our arms.

They were never just embryos to me. In those tiny little beings there were already so many things that were set – their eye colour, their hair colour, whether they would have had Kirby’s eyes. Would they have been interested in computers or writing? Would they have loved animals like I do? We’ll never know, but we’ll always wonder.

Our babies...


No doubt the different clients of the clinic would be experiencing so many different emotions and thoughts. For those whom IVF does not work for, will they forever wonder if one of the embryos that was lost could have been the one? I often wonder about an embryo that was not put in me because it was not judged as strong enough – could that have been the one that made it? Again – we’ll never know.

All I can say is that our embryos were the closest to our children that we ever got, and they were a part of Kirby and a part of me. They were more than simply embryos – so much more.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Wayward wonderings...

Sorry about that!

I’ve come back to writing the blog a little later than I promised. Just after I wrote my little note on the 4th September I got a lovely stomach bug and then a headache that lasted about a week, and so looking at the computer was limited to work and not much else!

Oh – and I said that I was going to talk about “Stranger Things”, but I got the name wrong. I’m going to talk about “Wayward Pines” instead. If you haven’t seen it and plan to I will try not to give any spoilers.

The premise of the show is that a select group of people have been selected to be put in cryostasis by a particular man who predicts that something bad is going to happen to humanity. The people are woken up some time later (a long time later) and often don’t even know that they were put in cryostasis, so they wake up rather confused.

Anyway – that’s a pretty all over the place, brief description of the show.

What got me thinking though, is that one of the key aims of the community of Wayward Pines is to increase the human population. And anyone who could not produce children was seen as unnecessary and were…well…I’ll say no more on that.

It’s a real commentary on what is important to humanity. Would it be the case if something happened to humanity and only a certain number of people could be saved that those unable to have children would automatically be left behind?

What if a brilliant poet or philosopher or teacher or scientist was unable to have children? Would they be left behind? Okay – so the scientist may not be as they would have something to “contribute” – which is another issue altogether on what is valued in society and what is not.

If Charlotte Bronte, or Plato, or Degas, or Beethoven, or Confucius were around and couldn’t have children - would they be left behind?

If the only thing that is of value when push comes to shove is the ability to procreate, then what would we lose? Who’s to say that those who can’t have children have nothing to contribute that is worth saving?

Art has been around as long as humans have been. Storytelling, music, all of that – crude as it might have been – were part of early human society.

Of course it isn’t an either/or – having a child doesn’t mean you can’t be an artist too!

I’m getting myself all confused now. What is the point of this entry?

I guess my point is that people are much more than just their ability to procreate, but when it all boils down, people who can’t procreate are seen as “not as worthy”, not as valuable.

But, we are. I say we are. I say we have a lot to give. We have a lot to give future generations. No matter what society says.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Apologies...

Hi everyone - my apologies for not having posted for almost the last month. It's been a difficult month with not a lot of time for writing...

I plan to do a post or two later in the week...one will be about "Stranger Things"...

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

A letter to the clinic...

Back in March I wrote a letter to our IVF clinic about my endometriosis and how I felt about the fact that they didn’t investigate whether I had it or not, and that if they had, and it had been treated, we may well have our child with us right now.

I didn’t post it!

The letter was teaming with anger and name calling…not exactly the most productive way to get the clinic to understand us and our situation. I meant to write that version of the letter exactly as I did as I needed to vent completely before I could write a letter that could actually be sent to the clinic.

I have written that letter now and emailed it to them last week. It’s below for you to read if you wish - just double click on the picture to open it so that you can actually read it!

Oh – and to date – I have heard nothing from the clinic…not even an acknowledgement that they have received the letter and that it will be given to the person to whom it was addressed.

I wait with anticipation as to what they will say…if they reply that is!




Monday, July 25, 2016

An old soul...

We took the eleven year old daughter of our friends out on Saturday. We went on a dolphin cruise on the Port River in Adelaide and we even saw four dolphins! We were the only ones to see one of the dolphins which was pretty special!

Jess knew that Ari had died and in the car on the way to the Port she said about how sad she was that Ari was gone and how it must be really hard for us.

She said “He was like your child…so he was like my cousin too.”

Okay – I’ve got tears in my eyes right now.

This beautiful, amazing girl said so simply and honestly exactly how we felt about our Ari. He was our child.

She showed more understanding than many adults would and with such simplicity and honesty.

We adore her so much – she is a pure delight in our lives – and I know for sure she is an old soul.

We love you Jess! 

Me, Jess, and Kirby

The Port Adelaide River

One of the tall ships the "One and All"

Jess with her Dad, and Kirby with Ari when he was a puppy.
Jess can't remember a time when Ari wasn't around.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Counselling and stoicism…

Earlier this year I was considering going for counselling after my operation in January. This was due to the surgeon finding endometriosis, which very likely could have contributed to my infertility but was something the IVF clinic we went to never looked into, let alone mentioned. I was feeling very angry and let down and the grief about not having children reared up violently.

I haven’t gone to counselling.

This time I found, after a bit of time, I didn’t feel that I needed it. I found that I have moved through the grief and pain (although it did rise again after my last operation in June) and have come to a point where the anger is not overwhelming and I no longer feel guilty that I let our children down.

It was only since losing Ari that I realised that the need for counselling had gone. This wasn’t because I thought that I needed counselling after losing Ari, but rather that I realised that I know things about myself that I didn’t even know I knew – how’s that for a mouthful!

I used to be a positivity nut – and when things weren’t going my way or I thought they were unfair I would try to control everything to make the situation good again, or I would look for a very good reason as to why things weren’t going my way. I didn’t recognise back then that what I wanted was for things to go my way – I just thought that because I was thinking positively about certain aspects of life that they would happen the way I envisaged.

Even after we couldn’t have children I had this idea of how life was going to be for Kirby and me and that was the way it was going to be. If we couldn’t have children then surely this new vision of life would become a reality? It would be completely unfair if it didn’t!

It didn’t. Well, not completely – things have happened that we hoped for, and things have happened that we wish hadn’t.

My mother-in-law said to me the other day that there is something different about me this year – that I seem more settled in myself. And that is how I feel.

Life has its ups and its downs – I have very little control over it really. I do what I can do and then the rest happens due to events, people – a combination of things really.

I have learnt to accept that – most of the time! The night before Ari died, when he was in the emergency vet overnight and we knew he was very sick, I said to Kirby that it was quite possible that Ari might not come home. Kirby was surprised, I think, as normally I wouldn’t even want to entertain that idea. But, it was a real possibility, even though I hoped that what was wrong with him would be something like a blockage in his digestive system that an operation could fix.

I don’t believe that my “negativity” contributed to the outcome. How could it? Ari already had lung cancer and was going to die. I didn’t create it overnight and change what was wrong with him from something that could have been fixed to cancer. If I had the kind of power to change situations there is so much I would change in the world and I would be a god! And, Ari would still be here because I would definitely have made it so.

So, I’m not sitting here with my thoughts and emotions constantly wondering why it all happened and how unfair it all is and that life is over. Of course, I am grieving – which involves feeling sad, angry, guilty, asking why, etc. but it is a healthy grieving, not an unhealthy grieving. I hope that makes sense.

Stoicism is something I have been reading about lately – once again thanks to Oliver Burkeman! Being stoic – as it is defined today – was not what it originally was. Stoicism is a philosophy and one I am keen to learn more about. One of my favourite quotes from Marcus Aurelius (2nd century AD) is:

“The cucumber is bitter? Put it down. There are brambles in the path? Step to one side. That is enough without also asking: “How did these things come into the world at all?””

I’ve still got a long way to go in understanding Stoicism, but it seems to be a philosophy that quite possibly will appeal to me the more I delve into it. Or maybe it won’t be. I don’t know and that’s quite okay.

So, with the endometriosis and with Ari and with not having children – I can grieve in a healthy way, and wonder why as part of that grieving, but that is it. I don’t have to keep on asking why and constantly dwell on it and be angry all the time.

The interesting thing about Stoicism is that the recognition of a situation doesn’t mean that you don’t do anything about it – if someone is bullying you, you wouldn’t sit there and say “well this is how it is” and leave it at that. You would say “this is how it is – now I recognise this and I will do something about it.” Perhaps it is in that recognition of the situation that the clarity of whether there is anything that needs to be done occurs, and if so, what that might be? What do you think?

Therefore, I will still be writing to the IVF clinic to ask for an explanation about why they didn’t look into endometriosis – because I believe this will be a healthy thing for me to do and may prevent them from failing someone else in the future as they did us. After that, whether I get a satisfactory answer or not is out of my control, and I will leave it be.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Odi...

After last week’s sad entry I thought I would share with you a video to make you smile.

I was really worried after Ari died that our other dog, Odi, would fret quite badly. But, while he’s been a bit confused and looking for Ari, we’ve had him inside more and he is proving quite the well-behaved indoor dog!

My Mum and Dad bought him a new toy “Giggle” as well, which he absolutely loves. Toys and presents are Odi’s absolutely favourite things! He even tries to take presents that are given to Kirby and me…if he can get to them first!!

So, here is a video of Odi playing with Giggle…

video

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Ari...

Well – this past fortnight has been extremely sad and Kirby and I are still in shock.

Our nine year old German Short-haired Pointer, Ari, was absolutely fine a few weeks’ ago. He played, ate, and was the silly larrikin he always was.

Then about a fortnight ago he refused his dinner, which he had never done before. Breakfast and dinner time were the best times of day for him!

I took him to the vet and it seemed he had a bit of a stomach bug. I offered him chicken and rice (as per the vet’s instructions) when we got back home and he ate that down quite happily. Over the next few days he returned to his normal self.

Then early last week he wouldn’t eat again and I took him back to the vet. The vet took blood and tested it, and everything was fine. He did have a yeast infection in his ears and it seemed he also got something in his eye – so we started treating both of those things.

Ari ate the next day and we planned to take him to the vet for a check-up later in the week.

Then on Thursday night Ari started breathing really heavily (using his entire body to try and breathe), he was having trouble walking, and looked terrible. We rushed him to the emergency vet and they admitted him as he was clearly in pain, and they told us they would do scans on Friday and then call us with the results.

The results were not what we what we ever thought we would hear. Ari had lung cancer.

Kirby and I went to see him. He could barely walk, and just wanted to lie down. He knew we were there, but didn’t wag his tail – he just didn’t have the energy. He couldn’t lift his head, and so I sat down on the floor and lifted his head onto my lap and patted him. Kirby sat down on the other side of Ari and stroked his head.

The vet came in and Kirby went to stand up, but the vet sat down on the floor with us – which was lovely for her to do. She explained it all. He had a large amount of tumours in his lungs, which was why he couldn’t breathe properly, and there was no treatment because of the stage of the cancer. We could have had him go for more scans (more invasive) to make sure it was cancer – but the vet said she was 99% sure it was. The tumours were the shape of cancerous tumours.

We were given time alone with Ari to talk about what we would do, but really there was only one thing we could do. He was in so much pain – it wasn’t fair to keep him going any longer.

The vet came back in and Kirby and I held Ari and patted him as the vet gave him the injection to put him to sleep. He stopped breathing and slipped away from us.

Just as I wrote that last paragraph I felt that tightening in my chest that happens when somebody tells you bad news.

This is just a bad dream…surely? 


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

I don't want a baby...

Surgery is over and I’m on day six of getting better. It all went well and while I’m a bit sore still and can’t do a lot of physical activity I do feel much better energy wise and therefore mentally and spiritually as well.

My surgeon found more endometriosis – quite significant scarring actually. And it may be that the pain I felt before I will still feel in the future. I’m reading a book called “Endometriosis and Pelvic Pain” by Dr Susan Evans at the moment to get some tips on lifestyle changes I can make to help me be as healthy as possible. I may go to the clinic where Dr Evans works as well as luckily for me it’s here in Adelaide, South Australia.

One thing that concerned/s me a little is that my surgeon said that if the pain doesn’t go away then the next step may be a hysterectomy, but from what I’ve learnt about endometriosis, a hysterectomy won’t do anything to fix the problem. I think I’ll get a second opinion before going down that road as it’s not a simple procedure.

Well, as the title of this post says, I don’t want a baby anymore. Really – I don’t.

I no longer think much about holding our newborn or nursing him or her or changing their nappies.

Instead that longing has been replaced by one for our seven year old child. I wish our seven year old Jacob or Ruby were here with us. I wish they were moving from being a small child to being one with more independence and riding around the wetlands on their bikes with their own friends, who is going to school and learning, and perhaps playing sports. Who knows what they would have been interested in? I wish they were here so we could know them.

In my heart my children are growing up as the years pass by. They were newborns, toddlers, pre-schoolers, and now they are seven years old.


A few weeks ago Kirby and I both had gastro – as we were sitting in the lounge feeling sorry for ourselves I asked Kirby if he thought Jacob or Ruby, given they did not have gastro also, would have looked after us as best a seven year old could do. We both thought that they would have – at least some of the time. 

Then Kirby and I held hands and reflected on what might have been.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Back I go…and my nephew…

Hey everyone! Tomorrow I’m headed back into hospital to fix up a small issue from the procedure back in January – not my doctor’s fault, just something that happens. My body does not like the clips put on my fallopian tubes and so they are coming off and my tubes will be taken out.

I’m not looking forward to the procedure itself, but I can’t wait till it’s done and I can get out and walk my dogs and ride my bike and so on again. It’s really quite exciting!

Okay – got to tell you about something my five year old nephew did a few weeks’ ago.

Kirby and I were going to look after him one evening, but Kirby was sick and so I got to look after our nephew by myself, which was quite nice as we don’t get a lot of one on one time.

We played some games, he beat me at an x-box sport game, and then we had some quiet time before he was to go to bed. We decided to watch a movie.

My nephew said I could pick the movie and pulled out his DVD box. I looked through them and picked out “Despicable Me”. He looked at it and shook his head.

“We can’t watch that, because it’s for over three year olds and Charlie is only two.”

So, I picked out another movie “Kung Fu Panda.”

“No – that one is for over three year olds as well.”

Eventually I picked out a DVD “Planes.”

“Yes – that one is okay.”

It was really thoughtful of him to think about what movie would suit Charlie as well…we wouldn’t want Charlie watching something that is too mature for him…

By the way – Charlie is the dog.

My nephew let me “choose” until I picked a suitable movie (otherwise known as the movie he wanted to watch all along)!

I let my nephew have that one – he is a clever little guy!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Like mud...

The Australian show “Four Corners” covered IVF this week – I’ve yet to watch it as I want to sit down properly and be able to focus on it. But, the following quote was in the synopsis on the Four Corners’ website.

"Embryos are like mud. You keep putting embryos on the wall of the uterus, eventually one will stick." Fertility Doctor

Yeah – you read right. Apparently our precious little embryos were like mud.

Okay – so I know what this doctor was getting at – they put an embryo in and they hope it will stay. But the analogy shows a lack of understanding and compassion as to what we go through. My embryos were real children to me and still are – they weren’t mud.

I actually felt shocked by this comment and began to feel upset as though this doctor was personally attacking my children (our embryos). I wanted to find out which doctor said this and call them and blast them into realising that they were stupid and uncaring and just plain wrong.

But, instead I tried practicing something I learnt recently – I took a few minutes to determine if there was a judgement that I was making that was leading me to be excessively angry. There was – I made the judgement that nobody should ever make comments like this.

The reality is that there will always be comments such as this. I can’t change that.

I also made the judgement that I needed to do something directly about this comment and make that doctor feel as bad as possible. But I don’t.

These realisations took a bit of the heat out of my anger.

Then I was able to think more clearly about if and what I could do about it.

And now I’m writing this entry to say to anyone who reads it – please consider what you say about IVF, our babies, and us, because words can hurt.

That’s all I need to do for now.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Sometimes it's convenient...

In the last few weeks I’ve had a big editing project on the go, and I’ve also had the pleasure of a bout of gastro! So I’ve been either busy working – or sick. Now it’s just the working bit that remains (thank goodness!).

While I was sick on the weekend and in bed feeling quite awful, I had the thought that sometimes it is quite convenient not to have children. Wow! This was followed by feelings of guilt – how could I think that? What a terrible person I was! What a selfish person I was!

But, let’s be honest – when you’re sick and all you want to do is sleep in between bouts of (well probably no need to go into detail), not having to worry about anybody else makes it much easier to rest and focus on getting better.

Is that such a horrible thing to think?

I don’t believe so.

It’s a reality.

I’m sure parents wish for peace and quiet when they are sick. And, imagine trying to look after yourself if you and your children all came down with gastro at the same time! But, all in all, I doubt those parents would choose not have their children at all for the sake of peace and quiet when they are ill.  Of course the perfect scenario would be to have both children and peace and quiet in times of ill health.

I wouldn’t have chosen not to have them either. If Jacob and/or Ruby were here I would have managed somehow and I wouldn’t have given them up for the world – even if I was sick and they were constantly waking me up asking about this or that.

I have to say that I admire parents (most anyway as some of them don’t deserve to be called parents) in how they deal with being sick and still caring for their children. I don’t know how they do it. Sure – they kind of have to – there’s no off switch on kids that you can press when you want some time to yourself. Regardless – they are pretty amazing!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Back to it...

I knew it had been a while since I’d written an entry here, but I didn’t realise that it has been quite so long!

The last month and a half have been busy with a family wedding and work and so on. I’ve also been unwell. The pain in my side has become worse and I will be going back in for surgery in mid-June to see if that can be resolved. More of my beautiful fish died – it seems there has been a spike in pH in the pond which is now fixed. I’ve been sleeping a lot and have kind of been a bit of a hermit regarding my writing and this blog.

I’ve had a few things to sort out in my mind before I felt ready to write again.

In regards to my last entry, one of my readers asked about endometriosis and what the symptoms are. There are many symptoms, and one of the best places I’ve found to read about them is on the Jean Hailes website, and the video Understanding endometriosis is really informative and I’ve shared that with my family to help them understand what endometriosis is all about (it's the third resource from the bottom of the page).

Last weekend there was an article written by (yet another) a woman who had gone through IVF and talks about how difficult infertility is, has ended up having a child, and is telling the rest of us not to give up because “you know, miracles DO happen. I have one sleeping upstairs right now.”

I still find articles such as this frustrating. Really – who is this woman to tell us that miracles happen? How often, really, do miracles happen?

Well – at least this woman is trying to be positive and encouraging. On the flip side of the coin, some of the comments on the article were just down right cruel toward people who are struggling to have children. It’s fine to have a difference of opinion, but why be nasty about it?

One woman suggests that our wanting children is the same as wanting any “commodity” and that we have some kind of sense of entitlement to children, and from her “Buddhist” perspective desiring to have our own children is an EGO-TRIP and will only end up with our suffering. Many people pointed out to her that compassion is one of the key principles of Buddhism, but she didn’t seem to get that point. I had an interesting debate with her, but eventually gave up – there’s no point trying to talk with someone who just wants to be right.

Oh – and she also claims to have infertility envy. Yeah – you read right.

To be honest – just thinking about what she, and some others, wrote brings up the angry wild beast in me. I won’t share with you the names I want to call her that are rolling around in my head – but I’m sure you can imagine what they might be. I’ll just say that she’s a great big meanie-head.

Why am I sharing this? Because there are going to be times when people are going to say cruel things to us – we who want children so much but can’t have them. It’s like we deserve the judgement and criticism for wanting children more than people who don’t particularly care about kids, have them anyway, and then treat them like dirt.

It’s getting easier with time to let these remarks and comments go without latching onto them, but given what I’ve recently been going through the comments by this woman really stung. I felt fragile and anxious and stuck.

Ironically, it was thinking about this woman’s version of Buddhism that got me back to feeling settled again.

For some reason I wanted her to be compassionate to me, but she wasn’t being compassionate. I made it my mission to get her to understand my perspective, but she wouldn’t. There came a point where I could either go crazy trying to change the way things were or I could let it all go. So, I let the anger go and watched it float on by – and I still am letting it go and float on by whenever the anger about what she said arises in my mind.

I like to think of Buddhism in terms of a river. Your self is sitting on the bank of a beautiful clear river and all different leaves float by from all different types of trees. You try to control them by creating a dam, but that just stops the flow of the river and all the leaves come together and form an indistinct sludge. You try to capture the leaves using a scoop, but that just stirs up the river and the clear water becomes so murky that you can no longer see the bottom. You try to push all the leaves away from you with your hand, but they just stick to you instead. Eventually you learn that all you need to do is watch the leaves float by.

All of the leaves represent different emotions – anger, sadness, happiness, love, guilt, joy, satisfaction. None of them are seen as “better” or more “worthy” than others and none are meant to be latched onto or pushed away. They are what they are – you see them, you feel them, you appreciate them for what they are, you may even act on them, and then you let them go.

This is what I try to do with my emotions – but it’s not always easy because I’m human!

The anger comes around, I see it, I feel it, I act on it if I am able and it would be healthy to do so, and then I let it go.

I’m going to leave it there, except to suggest that, if you are interested in a book that I have learnt a lot from, have a look at “The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking” by Oliver Burkeman.

I just realised that I mentioned this book in April last year – so you can be assured it’s a favourite of mine!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

My weekend...

Wow! What a weekend of ups and downs and challenges…which all started on Thursday.

On Thursday I had my follow up appointment with my gynaecologist and I mentioned to her that I have been having a pain that feels like something is pressing on the left side of my lower abdomen, and every now and then a sharp pain that sometimes makes me double over and gasp. She explained that sometimes there can be a build-up of fluid on the ovary side of the clip that was put on fallopian tube.

So I’m off for an ultrasound on Friday and then another appointment with my gynaecologist Thursday week.

I learnt some more about my endometriosis as well. It was not just a little bit, but is at stage three. There are four stages from one to four with one being the least amount of endometriosis and four being the most – although the amount of endometriosis does not equate to the symptoms or pain a woman can feel. A woman can have stage one and be in a lot of pain, while a woman can have stage four and not feel anything.

It seems I have stage three with much of the endometriosis in places where it cannot be removed.

I’m not sure what is going to happen from here, but much will depend on the ultrasound findings, but possibilities are further surgery and a possible hysterectomy. Which I do not want. I definitely do not want a hysterectomy if at all possible.

Friday I was one very unhappy chicken. When I went in for the uterine ablation and the clipping of my fallopian tubes I was looking forward to a simple procedure which would leave me with far less monthly bleeding and therefore an increase in energy. I was really excited about feeling good again and being able to get on with life. But, as can happen with all of us, it wasn’t so simple and things still aren’t sorted out.

So – Friday. I went out to the pond to find one of my fish, Sahmi (a golden comet), had died – he lived in the little pond with Uthai (another golden comet), and Jade and Jasper (my catfish). As my regular readers will know I love my fish. They all have names and they are very friendly.

I had to do a water change in both of the fish ponds and so I did that and put the fountain back in the bigger pond. I went inside to do some other things that needing doing. Later I went back outside and my big pond had tipped over and much of the water was gone. The dirt underneath was a quagmire and the pond was floating. I panicked as I couldn’t see my big fish (Rose, Ash, Billy, Jamie, Flint, Gertie, Myrtle, Faith, and Mai). I pictured them having gone through a hole in the bottom of the pond and having disappeared somewhere in the mud.

I ran into the shed and grabbed the first plastic box I could find to put any of the fish I could find in. While doing so I shut the garage door on my thumb – ripping some of the skin off and bruising my nail. It was very, very fortunate that as I emptied the big pond I found each and every one of my babies.

I rang Kirby in tears – I just didn’t know how I was going to cope. Being the amazing man he is, he talked me through my feelings and suggested sitting down with a coffee and doing some deep breathing. I did so and felt much better – although my thumb was really hurting by this stage!

Onto Saturday. Kirby and I found that the area beneath the pond was extremely soggy and far too soggy to put the pond back in, unless we wanted it to float and tip over again. Kirby’s Dad came over and suggested we put two large holes deep into the ground and fill them with gravel so that any water would drain away more easily, now and in the future. Kirby did this, but by Sunday the ground still hadn’t drained enough to put the pond back.

On Sunday we decided that the best option, as the fish couldn’t stay in the containers for much longer, would be to empty the little pond and put Uthai, Jasper, and Jade into the big pond. And then we could put the big pond where the little pond had been (on stable ground) for the time being until the water in the big pond hole drained away.

I began emptying the little pond. Uthai was easy enough to catch, and being the easy going fish that he is he was quite happy in the container I put him in until the big pond was ready. As I emptied the pond further I started getting worried as Jasper and Jade were nowhere to be seen, which was unusual as they are curious and like to know what’s going on – especially Jade.

I eventually found Jasper. He was dead on the bottom of the pond. Then I found Jade, she was very ill and on the bottom of the pond. I burst into tears and it felt like nothing could stop my heart from breaking.

The endo, the possibility of future surgery, the fact that our kids had more of a chance than the IVF clinic had given them, and my fish. It was far, far too much to take on. I actually had a dream on Saturday night (before I found Jade and Jasper) that I was in a room with some other women and there were darts, daggers, and spears sticking out from the walls. The people in control said that every now and then, with no notice, the weapons would be shot out into the room and some of us would be injured and possibly die. The only way out was to pass some tests. One of which was to be able to communicate with a dog, but I don’t remember the rest of the tests. It was really frightening – especially when I had passed a test (the dog communication one) but still had to go back into the room, with the possibility I would die, before I could do any further tests.

I’m still thinking about that dream. It is one of those ones that seemed to have a message from my subconscious.

Pretty yucky weekend all around.

Then, last night, something happened. I didn’t want to go to bed as my mind was racing and I was crying a lot and I didn’t think I would be able to sleep. I decided to go outside, in the cool darkness, and look up at the stars for a while. At first I could only see a few stars, then more became visible, and eventually I could see the white mist of the Milky Way.

I thought to myself – the Milky Way is so vast, and then there is this universe beyond that. One of the stars I could see is 1340 light years away, which means the light I was seeing left that planet around the year 670AD. The time before me and the time after me is fathomless. I’m tiny, I’m a blip (less than a blip really). My life is nothing in the vast scheme of things.

Instead of making me feel unimportant and worthless I felt a weird sense of freedom. If my life is so small and I am a speck of dust, then why do I worry about so many things? Why don’t I feel the sadness, the happiness, the love, the hate, without judgement? Why don’t I just get on with my life as it is? If I don’t really matter in the big picture then maybe I ought to live my life without all this worry and speculation and wondering what other people think of me and how messy the house is and trying to work out how I can control what happens to me. All I need to do is live the best I can doing what I believe is important.

That’s all I need to do. I can still feel the fear and loneliness, but I need to learn to detach from them so I can see them for what they are, and not hold onto them when they are no longer of any use to me. I can still feel sorrow at the loss of my fish and that our children were never born, and I can feel anger at the IVF clinic. But, I need to realise I don’t have control of everything – or anything perhaps. 

There is a freedom about this and all I need to do is embrace that freedom.

That’s all I need to do.

Some of my beauties...

Monday, March 28, 2016

The letter...

I went to see my doctor not long after my last blog entry. And my apologies for the time between entries! I’ve a couple of big projects to do and I haven’t been feeling too brilliant – although much better now.

Back to the doctor. She was amazing. I told her how I was feeling and that I wanted to go and see a counsellor. She agreed it would be a really good idea and we worked out who would be best for me to go and see. My doctor also offered to spend time, right there and then, talking about the endometriosis and how I was feeling about it all.

I won’t go into all of it, but she basically validated what I was feeling – which was very important as I now realise. To have someone who doesn’t have a personal link to me (as family and friends do) say that my thoughts and feelings are rational was so comforting – I’m not crazy! At least not on this issue…

My doctor suggested that I write a letter to the IVF clinic that we went to and let it all go. Write exactly what I feel and say exactly what I want to say – let it rip and use all the angry words I want to use without any holding back. And then, if I wanted to later, I could write it in a more appropriate way and actually send it to the IVF clinic manager.

I wrote the letter about a week after seeing my doctor. It was really therapeutic. I started off with my incredibly angry words, and then through the letter ended up claiming myself and my healing back.

I have decided to share the letter with you as it shows the thought process that I went through while writing it – from unbelievable anger at the clinic to claiming my own self again. I have blacked some of the letter out due to the words not being necessarily appropriate!






I will still be writing to the IVF clinic formally and seeing a counsellor, but writing this letter now has been an important and valuable first step in working through these messy emotions.


Monday, March 7, 2016

Stuck...

Frankie's response to my dancing...
I’ve been busy this past week, and I’ve actually enjoyed myself quite a lot – even though most of what I’ve been doing has been housework! It’s amazing what a good music soundtrack can do to make housework more tolerable! Although when I’m dancing around the kitchen with a broom my cat, Frankie, tends to hiss at me – I guess she’s not a fan of my moves…

Kirby and I went to the Adelaide Clipsal V8 Supercars on Saturday and that was awesome. We watched the race and wandered around looking at all the displays of old cars, and new cars (the type that we would never be able to afford!), and taking in the atmosphere. It was very hot! 38 degrees Celsius (around 37 degrees Celsius equals 100 degrees Fahrenheit). But it was great.

So things are going well, except I have a sense of feeling stuck in some areas of my life – particularly in regards to my writing. I want to write, I know what I want to write, but somehow, when I think about it, my anxiety rises. It’s almost like I don’t deserve it…or maybe I’m worried that I will fail at it…I’m not sure.

I’m having a lot of dreams about babies and the other day I said to Kirby that the baby I lost in 1998 (six years before I met Kirby) would have been eighteen this year. I actually said “Hayley would have been eighteen this year.” I’d never called that baby anything…so I don’t know why I’ve called her Hayley now. It was a very early miscarriage and it wasn’t confirmed at all, so there is a chance there was never any baby, but I do believe I was pregnant as my period was three weeks late and was very heavy when it came, and normally, at that time, my cycle was like clockwork.

I’ve still been crying and feeling upset about the whole endometriosis thing and finding myself thinking about that a lot. That’s happening less and less though.

I’m doing okay with the regular, every day things, but I feel as though there is a block which I am stuck behind that is stopping me from getting on with the other things – the things that make me who I really am.

So, I’m going to go see a counsellor.

I’ve gone from being so confused and sad that I know I need to see one, to feeling really good and thinking I don’t really need to see one. To be honest, I’d rather not go. I want to be able to work through all this on my own with the support of my family and friends. But, I can’t.

My family and f
riends are there without a doubt and they can talk to me, support me, and provide endless hugs, but I need to talk to someone who is independent, can assist me in viewing things differently, and can guide me toward regaining my motivation (or perhaps it’s more to do with overcoming anxiety or feeling I deserve to follow some of my dreams regardless of whether I succeed or not).

It’ll be interesting. I’ve seen one counsellor before, but I’m not certain if I should see her again, or whether it would be useful to see someone different for a different perspective. I’ve got three days to think about it!

It will be an interesting journey I’m sure. 

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Guilt...

He’s going to say I have nothing to feel guilty about – but I have been feeling guilty lately.

I’ve been feeling guilty since the surgery and when I found out about the endometriosis.

So, it’s true that I may not have had endo back in 2009/2010 when we were doing IVF, and it’s true that even if I did and it was treated it may not have made any difference to me getting pregnant. It is, however, the closest thing to an explanation as to why we couldn’t get pregnant that we have ever had. All we ever got from the IVF clinic was “unexplained fertility”, which left us wondering if the issue was with me, with Kirby, or with both.

It’s not that either of us would have blamed each other – there is no blame.

Well – I know that I wouldn’t have blamed Kirby, and I know that he wouldn’t have blamed me. So, feeling like I do at the moment doesn’t really make sense – but then how often do feelings and thoughts really make sense?

I feel guilty that it seems I was the one who couldn’t bring a baby into our lives and who couldn’t make Kirby a father. He deserves to be a Dad. He should have had a son or daughter to raise and nurture and discipline and be annoyed at some times and love and have fun times with and create memories with. And I couldn’t give him that.

I keep thinking that I should have known endo was a possibility, and that I should have pushed for more tests and investigations. But, how could I know that endo was a possibility if I didn’t even know what endo was?

I asked Kirby the other night if he would still have married me if he knew that I couldn’t have children. I regretted asking the question as soon as I did. I know the answer – he would have. Asking him that question was unkind.

But I keep ruminating about the unfairness that my inept body cannot give him a child. I guess I’m just going to have to sit with that for a while until it passes by. And I hope it does soon.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Our child...

I haven’t written an entry for a while as I’ve been concentrating on getting better, and I’ve also been in a bit of an emotional well and found it hard to write. Though things are improving slowly but surely.

So, on my return to the blog – I present you with a funny story about our nephew.

My mother-in-law was explaining our family tree to our nephew (he is five years old). She started with herself and my father-in-law as Grandma and Pop, and then had two branches down to Kirby and my sister-in-law.

My sister-in-law had a line to her husband (our nephew’s Mum and Dad) and from there a line dropped down to our nephew.

That all made sense to him.

Then my mother-in-law drew a line from Kirby to me (as Uncle and Aunty) and explained that we don’t have any children.

I can imagine my nephew as he stood there, rather indignantly, and stated “They DO have children – they have ME!”

He is a precious, precious little boy and I couldn’t love him more if he was my own son.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

It's how I feel...

It’s been just over a week since my day surgery. It went well – except that I ended up staying in hospital overnight as the surgeon had to do a bit more to me than originally anticipated.

It turns out I have endometriosis, so the surgeon cleared that up, my blood pressure dropped, I was in more pain than I certainly anticipated, and I was admitted. Fortunately I only stayed one night and was able to come home. I am so thankful for Ashford Hospital here in South Australia – the best medical care I could have hoped for.

For the first few days I was limited as to what I could do – in other words it was bed or the couch. And the worst was not being able to have my cats on my lap and not being able to pat my dogs or play with them. I’m feeling much better now and slowly being able to do more and more.

At least I’m feeling better physically.

Mentally?

Spiritually?

I’m struggling big time. It changes from day to day – Wednesday was a not so good day, yesterday was a good day, today is a bad day.

It’s not the fact that I’ve had an operation that has forever taken the choice of trying for a baby again away from me (which is something I have accepted). The reason I am struggling is that I have endometriosis and despite going through IVF and seeing a gynaecologist back around that time with symptoms associated with endometriosis (like infertility – duh!) nobody even bothered to investigate it as a possibility.

If they had – if they only had – it might have been addressed and we might have our child here with us right now. I am really struggling to come to terms with this.

I know that there is a possibility that I still wouldn’t have become pregnant, but the fact that further investigation was not done at the time is just beyond my comprehension. Why didn’t they check? I had the fatigue, I had the pain in my abdomen and lower back, I had the painful period cramp, I had had miscarriages, and I damn well couldn’t have a baby. What went wrong? You know I even recall them saying that I didn’t have it as they couldn’t see it on any scans – well guess what – the only way to truly know if someone has it is to do a laparoscopy (like I had last Thursday).

I am so furious. I have tried not to be angry and to “let it go” knowing nothing will change, but that isn’t working so much and I feel like I am being eaten up inside.  Instead I am going to let the anger and grief and whatever other emotions occur have their space, and deal with them instead of trying to bottle them up. I will cry, rage, talk, meditate, just “be” out in nature, play with my dogs, hug my nephew, throw tantrums, consider how blessed I am, tell Kirby I love him, and swear my head off.

But I’m not going to pretend I’m fine.

That would be a lie – because I’m not.

One thing that I know will help me now is to say this to you who are having trouble having a baby – if you even remotely suspect that you have endometriosis, stand up for yourself and demand that it be investigated. And don’t let them put you off by saying your scans don’t show any signs of it – insist on a laparoscopy.

And please, please, please – if you do go through the tests and find you do have endometriosis, and it is treated, and you end up with that miracle in your arms – please let me know. It would help to mend my heart to know that something good might come from sharing my experience with you. And photos too please! Lots of photos!

My love, as always, to all my readers, and thank you for your endless support.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

PMS...

I haven’t written an entry for a while. I had an editing job come through that has taken up a lot of time (lucky I enjoy it!), and I’ve been tired…

And I’ve also had a case of PMS – otherwise known as “Poor Me Syndrome”.

I have been feeling down, feeling that the world is unfair, that nobody likes me – everybody hates me, that the problems of the world are unfixable, that the human race is doomed so why bother trying, etc. etc. Basically I’ve been in a place that everybody in the world finds themselves at one time or another.

I’ve now kicked my own butt and I’m feeling much more positive.

So – what’s happening at the moment?

Next Thursday I’m headed into hospital for day surgery. As my regular readers will know I have had trouble with heavy bleeding every month that has led to me having anaemia. I tried a hormonal thing that didn’t go well and was then referred to a gynaecologist. I saw the brilliant Dr Singla just before Christmas and was given some options to think about and talk about with Kirby.

I will be having a uterine ablation and a bilateral tubal ligation, which hopefully will really help with the bleeding, and thus the tiredness, and thus me being able to live the life I want to.

I’m really excited about how I may very well be after the surgery. I have plans of what I’m going to be doing (I will be easing into things slowly though) including starting Aikido, resuming bike riding, and doing more sewing.

But, I’m nervous as anything about the surgery (especially the anaesthesia). I’ve been under anaesthesia before, but the last time I was under the full one was when I was sixteen. I’ve only been under light general anaesthesia since then (once to remove a ganglion from my wrist and the other times for egg collection during IVF).

I guess it’s normal to be nervous. There are things that can happen under anaesthetic – but then there are things that can happen just by crossing the road too.

But, I cross the road a lot – I don’t go under anaesthesia that often (thankfully!).

Well – if you, my lovely readers, could send me positive vibes across the air waves on Thursday that would be brilliant, and I’ll let you know how it all goes.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Friends...

We recently went to visit some friends who have a new baby boy. He is beautiful and already knows how to do fist bumps so obviously he is very gifted!

I loved giving him a big cuddle and I tried to sneak him away so we could keep him, but our friends know where we live so I don’t think we would have gotten away with it…

This entire entry could be just about him, but there is something else I want to write about.

I was holding this amazing child, feeding him with his bottle, and burping him, and we were all talking about him and how he and they were going, and his Dad suggested that he (not the baby) might try out the tummy time cushion we had given them (would have made an interesting sight – a grown man, tummy down, on a cushion for a little baby!)

Then they asked us how we were going, and about our dogs, and about many other things that were going on in our lives.

What they didn’t know was that on the way to their place Kirby pulled over to the side of the road as I was crying (mostly because of the hormonal effects of the Mirena) and feeling like my life was worthless. Kirby suggested we put off visiting our friends, but I said no because I really wanted to see them. I was grateful to Kirby for offering an out if I needed it – he is so understanding.

So, in asking us the questions they did I was given a great big validation that our lives are interesting and that our friends care about us and what we are doing too.

Focussing on a newborn baby is absolutely normal and understandable, and should the conversation have been completely about them and their baby I would have understood. But it was a precious gift to have our friends being genuinely interested in our lives.

Sometimes I feel like our lives are not as important as those of people who have children – not because of anything any one says or does really, but because of my own thoughts.

The gift our friends gave us that day pushed those feelings aside and have actually made me relook at my life and see that what I do is worthwhile in a different way to what it would be if I was raising a child.

I do feel like I’ve rambled in this entry – it’s harder than I thought to express my thoughts and feelings about what happened. So I’ll leave it at this.

Thank you to our beautiful friends, and isn't their baby gorgeous!!

I didn't want to give him back!!



Daily Mail Online...

Well – I’ve been a bit naughty leaving it for a month to write a new entry…can I blame the holiday season? I think so!

To make up for it – I’m doing two blog entries today…

The first…I am very excited to say that an extract from my book “When You Can’t Have Kids” has been published in the Mail Online. Along with lots and lots of photos of us, and our family, and our dogs (Ari and Odi are now selling autographed copies of their photos at $5 a pop as they believe they are famous now…I’m kidding of course!)

Ari and Odi

My own reactions, apart from being thrilled, have surprised me. Reading the extract, after not having read my book for some time, has brought about some of that old sorrow I used to regularly feel.

It’s not overwhelming, but there is a definite wistfulness and wondering why not us. I’ve also been sincerely moved, almost to tears, by the comments of support that I have received from friends, family, and from complete strangers. The book is doing exactly what I wanted it to do – to let people who can’t or are struggling to have children know that they are not alone, and to give people in the wider community some understanding about what it’s like to not be able to have children.

I’ve also read some negative comments about the extract – and these have impacted on me as well. I’ve felt a bit hurt by some of them, but at the same time I know that there is more support than not and that the comments that are negative are generally due to a lack of understanding or to a personal view. However, I also respect these people for making their comments and will always defend their right to make them.

You know – even if I never sell another copy of the book (although I hope I do!) I would still be delighted with how it has turned out. A cathartic process for me in writing it, support for those in similar situations to Kirby and me, and helping people to understand more about infertility.

It’s all I hoped to achieve.