Wednesday, 23 January 2008


I bought more fruit then we can possibly eat. Hoorah for summer.

I took Tima to the vet (as I have been doing everyday) and his wound is looking pretty awful. It aint doing what it should be doing.

I cried.

I had my first Lucrin injection. (I think that it is like your Lupron)

My husband got fired - completely unfairly (he asked to continue part time while we are doing IVF and they fired him).

I am making dinner and will take it over to our good friends so we can talk.

Our friend told me she has preeclampsia and has to be induced tomorrow. I hope she is OK.

As little Annie says......

Tomorrow is another day. (Is it Annie?)

I'm just not up for too many of these days.

Monday, 21 January 2008

3 referrals

I was going to take a picture of three referrals my GP wrote for me. But I've posted them off so I will have to describe them instead.

A note for those in other countries. We have a lovely public health program called medicare here in Oz. The latest is that medicare (ie the federal gov) will pay for 80% of all medical treatments once you have spent over $1000 in one calendar year. This does make IVF much more affordable as most of it paid for by the gov. It also covers specialist treatment as long as you have a referral from your GP. Hence my need for these referrals.

So, back to the three referrals.

No 1. A referral to my IVF doc.

No 2. A referral to my psychologist

No 3. A referral to a psychiatrist.

Is there a connection you ask? .... You Bet.

But I am trying to understand it. I really like the psychologist I have been seeing but I went through a stressing stage and was thinking "there has to be a better way of living through this". So my GP suggested a shrink.

So we all know what the referral to the IVF doc is for but what is the difference between the other two?

My psychologist treats me as a well person going through a really shitty and stressful time. Last time I was there I looked her straight in the eye and said "Am I doing OK?" and she looked me straight back and said "Yes". I know that she is a believer in self talk and the importance of these types of thoughts: "I will get through this", " I can survive this". "There will be a time when I am happy again". So part of me knows that she believes that it important for me to believe that I am doing OK. That I am traveling well with this.

This week I went along to the psychiatrist I was referred to and he has basically said that I have anxiety, depression and PTSD. Quite a cohort of unwellness. He thinks I'm stuck somewhere in my grieving process about Maya which triggers the unbearable pain I feel when someone tells me they are pg. I see a new-born. I go to the birthday parties etc...... You know, the equivalent of a Nam vet. diving for cover when a car backfires because it takes them back to the jungle.

So my question to myself is....... Am i well or unwell? Have stressful events triggered anxiety and depression or am I just stressed and sad? Are my response to my circumstances inside the range of "normal" or am I really really not coping?

I'm not sure that I have anxiety. But I am anxious and I feel it physically. When I have spoken to my friends about anxiety it seems that it centres around going to extremes in your mind. Letting remotest possibilities have more weight then likely outcomes. But it is not the worst case scenarios that are pursuing my thoughts....... or should I say it's not the remotest possibilities that my pessimistic mind can think up. It is the most likely thing that terrifies me. We will do IVF and it will fail again. I mean I have a 1 in 4 chance of it succeeding so most likely it will fail. It is not my mind taking me off on wild journeys of extreme pessimism that is causing the anxiety, it is plain old looking at what is realistically in store. Besides, when you've lived through possibilities worse than an anxious mind could have conjured..... well...... statistics aren't much of a comfort anymore. The worst did happen.

So I tend to think that I am coping. My evidence is that I manage to work (and do it well), and I participate generally in life. I don't usually stop doing things because I am feeling really bad - just occasionally.

The evidence in favour of the anxiety and depression is that I don't often feel happy - more just a lessening of "the weight" - but it never goes away completely. And I usually feel at least a bit nervous and often quite nervous. And occasionally I wake up with my chest so tight it hurts. But I have also talked to friends about this and it does not seem that uncommon. The other things about the PTSD is that I know that my grieving process took a serious left hand turn when I found out the death of my daughter was caused by a chromosomal problem inherited from moi. That changed the shape of my grief a lot. Perhaps there is still unresolved things there....

I find it hard to get perspective......... but I know that others find it as hard as me.

And this is my main reason for thinking that I'm not doing too bad. It's just a really shitty road.

I'd be interested in your experiences with different sorts of therapists and what you found helpful.

(But don't feel the need to comment on my wellnes or unwellness - I think I'll have to figure that one out on my own.)

Thursday, 17 January 2008

Poor Tima

Look at this pathetic little creature.

Now if that doesn't make you go Ohhhhhhh! You officially don't have a heart. You are clinically dead.

He has a lot of staples in his leg where a lump got cut out.

He has stopped wagging his tail and gets around with it in between his legs and his ears back.

I hope he gets better soon.

Thursday, 3 January 2008

The Real Christmas letter.

A counterweight to the circulars stuffed into Christmas cards telling you all the things you did not want to know.

If I were to send one of those...... a truly honest one....... it might look like this.

Greetings friends.

We hope this letter finds you well (although being too happy is a bit gratuitous and I don't want to know if you are pregnant).

2007 has been a year of joy and crap. Mostly crap but there are a few miracles to celebrate within. Most importantly the fact that I have not descended into madness and that we continue strong as husband and wife despite the pressures of our circumstances on our relationship.

The year started with a new job for me (Barbara) at the same time as undergoing our first ever IVF cycle. Being only 7 months after the death of our daughter Maya it was a very loaded experience and induced trauma. I had frequent flashbacks, intense anxiety, and lost a lot of weight. My new job teaching kids with autism was very intense as I suddenly was landed with the high support class when another teacher quit. Whilst extremely challenging, it was the only experience that was demanding enough to make me stop thinking about myself and focus on something else for a moment. So each day I cried my way to school and then support some extremely distressed children who were regularly self harming or having intense and frequent "melt downs" and then return home and start my own grief and trauma again. I am grateful for a few friends who listened to me during this time and offered sympathetic murmurs.

The IVF cycle had the result of having three healthy embryos. One was transferred and two were frozen. The transfer did not take and I did not fall pregnant. I found out and managed to get a urinary tract infection and nits from the kids at school on the same day. Funny now (well the nits are) but not at the time.

Luckily it was school holidays after that and I spent time with my husband resting and grieving. We found the process of our first IVF cycle quit damaging to our relationship due to the high levels of stress we experienced so we spent the next few months talking and being gentle and trying to understand if there was a way forward - a way to do it again without hurting each other (unintentionally of course).

After a month or so it was the first anniversary of the death of our daughter Maya. We got together with a few friends and had a picnic. Her absence was felt keenly. My two closest friends and sister had had children in the meantime and seeing these three children together while Maya was gone was very difficult. Visiting the grave of your only child hurts.

I also caused a lot of pain to a friend who I had not acted well towards (not intentionally) but due to being so absorbed in my own grief. It was a friend who had been very supportive and also had an intense time (but very different in that she chose it). Still. I overlooked something and it made her angry. We recovered, but it shook me as I wondered how many other people felt this.

June brought on our second IVF attempt with the two frozen embryos. On the day of transplantation I drove to the clinic with my husband only to be called on the way to the clinic to be told that neither of the healthy embryos had survived the thaw. It was extremely uncommon as they have a survival rate of 9/10 at this clinic so to have 2 not survive was very bad luck.

Tell me something new.

We grieved again.

I experienced intense anger a the unfairness of our experience and took it out on life and myself.

My friend told me she was pregnant that week.

The next few months were spent regrouping, and strategising about how we would cope physically and emotionally with the next round of IVF which of course would be a fresh cycle. Which we did well. And found the next cycle to be quite bareable and maintained a strong hope throughout which helped us to be kind to each other as well as manage the stress of work and cycling. Well done us and though none of you saw this or knew it, we were a walking miracle for a while there.

My next door neighbour told me she was pregnant.

Once again on the day of transfer whilst driving to the clinic we got a phone call to say it had been cancelled. This time none of the embryos tested were healthy. They would die if they were transplanted.

This time I tried a few weeks of denial before going into grief and experienced a blessed and delicious numbness.

I spent may hours stressing about seeing my friend who was pregnant. The thought was unbareable and the actual experience not much better although survivable.

I was bridesmaid for a friends wedding. I could see she was really happy on the day which made me happy but I felt very removed from the experience and spent most of the day strategising about how I could get through without a melt down.

More people became pregnant.

I went to a first birthday of the aforementioned babies born after Maya. Bad idea. Did not cope at all and had to leave.

I didn't go to the next first birthday.

Thought for a few exciting days that I was pregnant but i wasn't.

Looked after by friends.

Jake and I are still working hard to find the way forward for us. But we are still doing it together. And that is a big blessing.

I am hoping that 2008 looks very different.

PLease forgive the general lack of me initiating contact over the last few years. I try to do it when I can.
I am sorry that I have totally dropped out of those organisations and commitees I used to participate in and contribute to. I am not up for it at this time. Sorry to my dear friend and sister who are pregnant. I won't be visiting you in hospital. I don't want to hold your beautiful babies cause I might not want to let go. Sorry I can't spend time with you. I still love you and miss you. Sorry to my husband for the many and lengthy times that I am emotionally inaccessable. I will try to be more available this year. Please be gentle and patient with me. Please believe in my love, and my intentions.

Ant to those who sent me a Christmas letter giving me details of your children's progress and favourite toys. I recycled it without reading it. Think of something else to say to me cause I can't make chatter about kids.

And to people who still have the illusion that you are in control of life. You drive me F**Kn crazy.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.