Life by a thousand cuts

While I type this, I am listening, on a loop, to The Ship Song project. It’s a remake of Nick Cave‘s iconic song by the Sydney Opera house. It’s beautiful. Make sure you watch it. With tissues.

One day, I hope I’ll be singing this song to our unborn baby. I’m going the funky lullabies.

But when our gumby can hear is a long way away. And this is life by a thousand cuts.

Currently gumby is the size of an apple seed. And gumby has maybe a 30% chance of miscarrying at this point, per our doctor. As of next wednesday, if we get the ok, that drops to 10%, but it’s still a very real number.

When you’re going through IVF, the odds are stacked against you. At my age, 40, its a 25% chance of conceiving in any one cycle. It’s 15% odds of a take home baby. Its 10% odds of frozen embryos in any cycle.

We have beaten those odds, all except that crucial 15% take home baby.

Next we have round 2 odds…the ones you don’t look at when you start handing over wheelbarrows full of cash to the medicos. At my age, 1 in 240 women has a baby with downs. 1 in 64 have some chromosomal abnormality. If you have amniocentesis to diagnose this, I’ve read varying odds of 1 :200 to 1:500 chance of an amnio related miscarriage. If you have chorionc Villius sampling (a week 12 biopsy of the placenta if you’re revealed as high risk in the scan) that’s 1:100 chance of miscarriage. More if they have to have a couple of goes at getting the tissue. My mantra of the week is “I am not a statistic”.

So people sharing how early they miscarried in their pregnancy, people telling me to remember it’s still high risk at this stage, people reminding me nothing is certain, ummm I get it. These numbers are in a chorus line in my head. They’re doing high kicks. They are a constant background soundtrack to my life. It isn’t easy, but I will hum along until we’re out of the woods.

And yet, and yet, and yet. In my mind I am singing this song at 27 weeks to our little gumby. I am painting a nursery. At the same time in my mind I am preparing for how to deal with miscarriage, thinking about when we would start IVF again, how it would feel, how we would recover.  Perhaps this is why I am bolt upright in bed at 3-4am EVERY morning, unable to sleep. Either that or the hormones.

I am not a silly girl with magical thinking, people. I understand the reality of our tightrope walk here. I understand you’ve been through a miscarriage and you want me to be cautious. But I also know this may be the only time in my life I am pregnant, and even if it doesn’t last, I want to enjoy it. I want to celebrate it.

It is life by a thousand cuts, because at every stage, the odds could kick in, and our little apple seed could disappear into nothing. And we can do nothing. It is life by a thousand cuts when you have the STUPID notion to pee on a second stick a week after the formal test results, and hit a flat panic when the line is very very faint, and run to the clinic for an extra blood test, only to fine your HcG levels are 2500 and they only need 1200 to be comfortable. Ah, those cuts.  It is life by a thousand cuts because even though you are not supposed to overinvest in a 6 week long pregnancy, you have to book the hospital and the doctor NOW! So you are simultaneously treating it as VERY very real, and very very precarious, just a notion, just a possibility at this stage. A posibility with a hospital booking.

And still. We sit around the lounge room for two hours on separate computers shouting out possible baby names and laughing. I shout “Holly”. Hub in boots says “Holly Molly!”. I say “Iggy”, and hub in boots laughs his head off, then goes “wait! That WORKS!”. Audrey is still a finalist. Evan is up there. Jethro was another one we laughed at but kind of like in a rock and roll way.

Don't worry, we're broke. We're only renting....

We sit on the jetty and watch a seagull nearly attack a fisherman on the wharf next door, only to look at the deck yacht she’s just flown from, and hear and see two fluffy grey seagull chicks, tweeting and chirping and running up and down the deck. We watch the sunset, and as the wharf rocks, we hope one day there will be a little person sitting down there with us. We move the essential food to the middle shelf of the fridge so I don’t get more headspins getting them out.

We make lists. This is because I can’t leave the house with deodorant on and having cleaned my teeth. So far I have not forgotten underpants, but I am thinking it is only a matter of time. I have to write EVERYTHING down. My IQ has dropped maybe 80 points? My head is a sieve, leaky, unable to hold information. Basic tasks are too hard. I feel stupid!

And all of this is good. When i feel a bit odd, or crampy,  or dizzy, or tired, hub-in-boots gets worried.

“I’m sorry you’re feeling bad.”.

“I’m not. I chose this. I am glad.”

I even embrace all the odds and risks. Give it to me. I take it willingly.

Not looking our prettiest getting robed up prior to embryo transfer....

This morning I was thinking about hub in boots. About his relentless optimism, which has become a bit of a joke between us in recent weeks. Because of course, so far, as much as it pains me to admit it, he’s been right. When we first set out on this, and christened it Project supergrover, then Project supergrover mark II, he sent away and bought SuperGrover T shirts. He bought them in two sizes. One for when we were on IVF, and one for my growing belly when I became pregnant. Now THAT’s optimism. And it was a gesture, a nod to our future, that I’ll never forget. That future is now a very real possibility.

We wore them to egg collection, he wore one to embryo transfer both times from memory. And Supergrover has lift off.  If all goes according to plan, I will actually be needing the larger sized one by about March or April. As long as Grover doesn’t crash into a wall.

I think about all the people that had us in their prayers, all the friends, all the colleagues, all the not-so-strangers on an internet forum and blog. About all the lit candles around Sydney, about all those quiet can’t quite get to sleep moments, where I sent out hopes to a higher power to bless us. And I know that every little bit, every little gesture, text message, phone call, blog comment, test, referral, doctors hunch, carried us to where we are now, waiting. Excited, nervous (nexcited), and waiting. One week to that cruicial first find a heartbeat scan. Two more weeks to the first Ob visit. Four more weeks til the screenings for Downs. Four more weeks to possible amnio. Then breathe out.

Come sail your ships around me

And burn your bridges down

We make a little history, baby

Every time you come around.

Come loose your dogs upon me

And let your hair hang down.

You are a little mystery to me

Every time you come around.

We talk about it all night long

We define our moral ground

But when I crawl into your arms

Everything, it comes tumbling down.

Come sail your ships around me

And burn your bridges down.

We make a little history, baby

Everytime you come around.

Your face is falling sad now

For you know the time is nigh

When I must remove your wings

And you, you must try to fly.

Come sail your ships around me

And burn your bridges down

We make a little history, baby

Everytime you come around…


2 thoughts on “Life by a thousand cuts

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