watching the leaves float down the stream

I went to the counsellor at the clinic today. She’s good, nice, thorough. She has that trick of spotting the flaws in your logic, the points where you need to step outside yourself and evaluate your ways of thinking and feeling. Sometimes I wonder whether all that stuff is like dust, better left undisturbed, lest it make you sneeze. It’s tiring, evaluating yourself and your feelings. I’m not up for much afterwards, and have concentrated on the more mindless tasks this afternoon.

Her aim seems to be to fill up your toolbox, to find those strategies that help you to cope, to group them together, and to remind you and help you to remind yourself, that you have them. It is good because it as active, it reminds you of the things you can control, in this ridiculously controlled/ uncontrolled environment.

She got me to start thinking ahead today, about where I would like to be when we get THE phone call. The “yes you’re pregnant” / “sorry you’re not pregnant” phone call. Originally I visualised at work, in my office, big box of tissues, door shut. I’m starting to rethink that one. Now I’m thinking sitting with hub in boots, down on the wharf, by the water together, speaker phone on. The counsellor asked me how long I thought would be reasonable to grieve? How would I feel if it was positive news? I had clear ideas on how long you grieve if it is a person that dies. It is not so clear where it is an idea of a person that dies. She calls these intangible losses. Not usually marked, not usually even acknowledged by those around us, but possibly still profound.

The tension in experiencing IVF is something that is ahead of me. I think part of the problem is the terrible tearing between hope (we want a baby, we know we’ll be great parents) and realism (the stats at my age are terrible…25% pregnancy per cycle, 15% take home bubba, multiple cycles are expensive and wearing and may damage our relationship and ourselves). There’s a pull between the incredible control over you and your own complete lack of control. The control: being at home at 9:40pm every night for two weeks of injections, 1-2 drinks a day- 1-2 coffees or teas a day, several blood tests a week, phone calls every second day, counselling once a week. The lack of control: we can’t buy tickets to Paul Keating in conversation because it’s probably prior to egg collection, we can’t buy tickets to The ship song project because I don’t know where we’ll be in cycle, I can’t plan my interviews for work because I don’t know how I’ll be feeling, we are subject to a chemical regimen so have limited control over our emotions, in the coming weeks we must wait for phone calls, often daily, that in some way determine our fate, we don’t know if the medical professionals know what they’re doing or are good enough, we don’t know what caused hub- in- boots problems or whether my body and eggs are up to the job ahead.

But I’m listening to the counsellor’s views, trying to take it one little step at a time, not to think too far ahead, not to catastrophise. For now, it is us, 9:40 every night. Tomorrow, a blood test before work, and a second, scarier kind of injection, still at 9:40pm. For now, that is enough. We take slow, measured, steps, towards our future.

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