PAIL September Monthly theme post: Write to life.

This post is part of the PAIL monthly theme posts (Pregnancy After Infertility and Loss), and September’s theme is Why we blog. . Other posts from the members are here.

I started blogging in February of 2011 as a space to record my journey as we tried to conceive. I’d spent so long trying not to get pregnant, it was just weird to be on the other bus!!! I needed somewhere to clarify how I felt about it, and I’ve always done that with writing. Private Blogging was just an evolution of my existing emotional processes.

Six months later, I began thinking we may have a problem, reading infertility blogs, trying to get my head around what was next. On my fortieth birthday I was sitting in an IVF clinic waiting room with a wad of Internet research and an armload of questions, PCOS for me and a couple of low sperm counts for hub-in-boots. The thoughts had to go somewhere.

Trying to conceive is inherently funny. IVF is inherently funny. The things you have to do to help science make a baby are madness. Absolute madness! Counting follicles like you have an egg carton in a supermarket, injecting yourself, wandering around secretly carrying ovaries that look and feel like bunches of lead grapes. Jerking off in strange rooms with bar fridges and porn…it ain’t your normal journey.

I also felt writing about it here would allow hub-in-boots to see my emotional journey in his own space and time, if and when he wanted to read about it, not by my leaning on him too heavily (at least at first). I thought it would help us communicate, with more space and reflection. I think it definitely achieved this, and our journey through IVF and bedrest were, I’m sure, much more harmonious and mutually supportive as a result.

Plus, once you’re out about IVF, you can get tired answering the same questions, talking about it all the time. I blogged so I didn’t have to spend my life talking about it. Everyone knew where we were at, so we could start conversations from a place of shared info. People didnt have to ask me how it worked, I wrote it out for them.

The decision to be “out” about IVF was a very personal and practical one. I had depression years ago. I suffered very very badly, before I knew what was happening. I remember thinking if I really knew what it was, what it felt like before hand, I would’ve recognised it, and got help sooner. When I got better. I swore I would be out about depression. I would always tell people, I would talk about it, if it was relevant. Just in case it helped just one person.

And so it was with infertility. Another taboo, another outspoken Jo. Another hope to suffer with a purpose. And with humour.

You would think that pregnancy would end an infertility blog, but the fact is, a pregnant “infertile” feels differently about being pregnant. It is a whole other category of complicated. Add that to pregnant infertile, with a sub chorionic haematoma of grave proportions with a complicated pregnancy on extended bedrest, hell yeah I still needed to blog. I was living in liminal space, on the threshold of everything, but nowhere.

I needed to blog my child into existence.
I needed to write him alive.
I needed to distance myself from the spectre of loss that sat beside us, waiting for tragedy.

And when jman arrived, I needed to blog myself into being a Mum. I needed to blog his first days, as a gift to him. I needed to blog away that spectre of loss that haunted us, to blog away the pregnancy trauma, (because waiting and hoping 24/7 it is traumatic).

As jman hit nine weeks old, my nephew, 22, committed suicide. No warning. Simon, originally himself a very premi baby with months in NICU, would have been twenty three on Monday.

I felt like the spectre of loss had just moved somewhere else in the family, that it was still here. I felt that our making it through somehow contributed to Simon not making it. I understand this is completely illogical, nonsense, but emotions can speak other truths from logic. My anxiety skyrocketed. I had nightmares about the ‘inquest at jensen’s death’ if he slept through more than a couple of hours. I dreamt of my nephew. I dreamt of losing Jensen, as in physically leaving him places. I didn’t always directly write about these things, but I tried to blog myself to a more positive mindset, to record each day, to see how real and alive he was, and to see how safe we were, even as my mummy radar shifted into overdrive.

On a more prosaic and joyful level, I wanted to share the joy of this special boy who we’d worked so hard for. I wanted to celebrate his life, with both those who loved us in real life, and those who had joined us in our journey, online, and rooted for us, and cheered for us, and cried for us, and helped to bring him here. They all pushed us another step forward.

It does annoy me a bit, people that condemn Internet over sharing about their children. I get the safety thing, I get it, but what they miss is how enmeshed you are at first as a mum, how their life is your life for a long time. I will end this blog at some point, when I feel it is taking from jman rather than recording for him. I’m his mother, I trust I can make that judgement, like I make a thousand other judgements for him, every single day.

I thought about transitioning to another space when he arrived, but it is all part of our journey. It is all part of the one continuum, and I don’t care who knows the gory details. I don’t care if it doesn’t have tidy easy to tag cookie cutter blogger edges. It is our life. It is messy and multi faceted. It is worth sharing.

Right now, with a fourteen month old tear away on the loose, blogging is sometimes another nagging chore, but mostly it is a perspective changer. It can be hard when you’re picking up books for the sixteenth time that day, have just been hit in the head with a yoghurt covered spoon, and you’re wondering why you bothered with two degrees and whatever happened to your brain? Because I might blog about them, because I have a problem with perfectionism and at times negative thinking, blogging, particularly humourous posts, make me stop and reframe the moment, from “what a disaster!” to”what a hilarious post!”.

When I travelled solo, or dated idiots, I’d always think how Would I Tell the Story; as I got stuck in carriage full of smugglers having lost my passport on a Bulgarian night train on the border, faced with an Alsatian with bad breath, the thought of the dinner party story it would become made me stop and reassess, and not panic. And so it is with the parenting trip. I think in stories, in words, in connecting my story with other stories. I always have. A blog is simply a logical next step.

The value in blogging after, after infertility and insurmountable odds, is firstly to show it is possible to those still in the trenches. Secondly it is to celebrate the joy of a little person becoming a person, growing, developing, and thirdly to acknowledge that how I parent requires everything I have been until now, and more.

Lastly, and this is something I only thought about after I first drafted this post, when you become a mum it is a time of personal upheaval. You lose who you were. You lose your edges. You get to be someone else, but eventually I think you need to try and recognise which parts of yourself are lost, and to an extent mourn them, which parts are new and worth celebrating, and integrate those disparate selves into a whole. This, I think, is how you avoid becoming “just a mum”, how you avoid resenting your partner or child through the upheaval, how you find a way to parent well, and how you find a new normal by selecting from the smorgasbord of selves to create a new plate of you. I’m laying out my dishes in these pages, I’m looking at what is there, I’m thinking which parts I want a second helping of. That’s why I blog.

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The Monday snapshot: and just five more

The jman is frustrating the bejesus outta me. Mr ” I want that crap I’m crawling backwards why can’t I get it HELP!”

That and the 4 am waking. Grrrr.

In our pre natal classes the midwife asked the blokes to recall a time when they were doing pushups, and they nearly killed themselves to finish a set, then the trainer announced ‘and another five!’. “Remember how annoyed you are?” she said, “How ripped off?”

“That’s what it’s like for your partner with the baby”, she said, “when you’re home late”.

Now I tell hub-in-boots, it’s one of those “just five more push ups” days. Don’t be late.

Last week it was “dear husband, I’m down by the water. With the pram. Near the edge.If you’d like to join us….“. Which he did. Promptly. Obviously the tone of my text got through, as he didn’t park then walk down, he just drove straight down the hill to us. Phew.

And of course, Mr “my mum’s about to push me in” was all sweetness and light, when Daddy arrived….and, thankfully, it turned into a nice evening.

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Going on strike

I refuse to do any more tests. I refuse to hear any more bad news! In fact, I’d like to go on strike from being pregnant.
I’m over it . There’s complicated, and then there’s just stupid. This has crossed the line into stupid.

Just found out I have gestational diabetes. I would now like to use the rest of this post to swear. A. Lot. My pre pregnancy level? 6.3. Last Friday? 11something. I didn’t hear the something as I was swearing at the time.

I have eaten lentils. I’ve eaten quinoa. I’ve eaten vegetable soups. I’ve steamed. I’ve stir fried, or at least lately other people have on my behalf .

Before pregnancy , I’d worked my ASS OFF to get my blood sugar (with insulin resistance for years) to within normal ranges on a GTT. I’d lost more weight. I exercised.

After pregnancy, I immediately spoke to my endocrinologist. I saw my old dietician . We went through a normal week’s eating. I employed every suggestion she made immediately. I walked almost every day, even on holidays, for 5k’s +. I continued to box, up until 8 weeks when holidays and subsequent clotville and bedrest central hit.

I have done EVERYTHING right. I can count the number of “break outs”, diet wise, on ONE hand.

And instead of a well done certificate for being a model pregnancy citizen, I get the urgent appointment with the endo tomorrow. My dietician just rang and said she’d be next stop, that the endo will send me to her to learn to start blood sugar monitoring etc, so I’m to call in there afterwards & pick up supplies for a phone how-to later in the day. Another outing, another doctor, another complication.

I know it probably isn’t a big deal. I know we’ll manage it, and monitor , and avoid gestational diabetes type complications. But I feel ripped off. And I still want to go on a pregnancy strike. Demanding better conditions, better pay, more joy.

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The deadline

Today I am 15 weeks and 3 days. And as far as I know, our little gumby is going along fine. I back at home after another three days at mums, visits from old friends, my mum in law, neighbours, and even a one hour visit to my oldest friend’s birthday bash.

Somehow I’ve managed to not organise any visitors for today, and it’s a long day with hub in boots training until 9pm or so. Bit of an oversight. And it’s hot. I’ve already tried changing rooms to get more air , but it’s boiling in here. Sweaty. I’ve been spoilt at mums with air con on all day.

Physically, the spotting has settled right down, maybe four days ago it gradually ground to an almost halt. Its still there, but nothing like what it was. This has to be a good thing, right?

This coming Saturday is ‘BASTARD’ the clot’s deadline day. 16 weeks. The point at which we are opened up to a whole host of other complications if BASTARD is still there. Complications that the ob would not discuss, ahead of time. I guess that’s what we hear about, next visit, depending on my progress. I guess we have to steel ourselves for that.

I don’t want to get too hopeful, and let’s face it, we’re probably hoping for quiet gradual improvement, not miracle healing ( “ta daaaa! No clot!). I am hopeful because of what I can see happening on the outside. However we have no idea, right now, what’s happening inside. The two do not always coincide.

This week is also significant because we drop down to a single salary, or at least 1.25 salaries. My leave is starting to run out, so what I have left I’m having rationed out, until I can go in maternity leave at 28 weeks. I am nervous of how we will go forward, financially. But I can’t afford to give it too much thought. Naturally work managed to completely ignore my request and stuff up my pay, which sent me into a total flap on Friday night. Sometimes in the calm, going along ok, the flaps are only one mishap away.

In the knitting stakes, I’ve learnt to purl, but I’ve gone backwards a bit. I seem to be getting less capable at knitting overall. So I’m not looking at it this morning. It’s pissing me off!!!

Instead, I am, unbelievably, reading the Twilight series. And loving it! My niece suggested it as light reading, and while I was pretty damn sceptical it is actually well written. I couldn’t even make it through the first Harry potter a few years back, the writing was so bad. But this is pretty good. From Gabriel Garcia Marquez/ Jeffrey eugenides to Twilight with Stephanie Meyer eh?

I’ve also watched one and a half eps of Gossip Girl. Not bad, so far.

It was nice on the weekend at mums when hub-in-boots dropped in on his way home from AFL. We were genuinely glad to see each other . There’s been some moments lately where I’ve hung out all day for 6pm, my end point of keeping tabs on myself, and he’s arrived home, exhausted, looking for all the world like he doesn’t want to be there. It’s not easy to take, on days where he’s my only connection to outside these walls. I understand he has too much on, with work , afl, and then carer being like his third job. I get it. Its exhausting, physically, mentally, emotionally. But it isn’t easy at my end some days, either. I live with the warring anxiety & hope, 24/7. I have physical evidence of it. I am trapped. And sometimes that is so all consuming I can’t spare the energy to even think how it affects others… If I did, I’d just seize up. So it is good when the days at mums break that cycle, reset us, make us glad to be us & glad to be together again.

In one way, Saturday is just another day. In another, it’s a looming deadline, and instead of rushing around to get things done to meet it, I need to lay here. And have no control, and hope.

In the meantime, I get to leave the house Friday , for a glucose tolerance test. Mmm thick lemonade for breakfast. Some girls get all the fun.

Safety in numbers

Well. I’m a little less sweary than Thursday, you’ll be relieved to know. I am currently channelling my dear departed Granny, as I am firmly ensconced on her cane lounge, and I’m knitting. It’s sort of like a chaise lounge, very comfy, on the perfect angle, moved in from her granny flat this arvo by my big bro and wiley sister, who figured it would work in my current condition.

Granny, who lived at home to a very sane 99 and 3 months, who thought turning 100 would be ‘ridiculous’, who never swore or drank ( geez there’s a couple of big differences right there), would take to her cane lounge of an afternoon, and read, or crochet. For many years she could provide a running commentary on the streets’ comings and goings, spied from this very lounge.

She could appear sweet little old lady, but she had a wicked ‘tude, was a true individual, could have an acid tongue, and at 99 still cared about her hair and outfits. She couldn’t wear pants…she didn’t know how to. Once we bought her some to stay warm , and there she was, laying on the bed, giggling, wrestling, two of her legs stuck in one leg of the pants. We didn’t bring them out again.

For many years, grandad would serve her breakfast in bed on a little pink table. She would lay there and have her toast, and read the paper, usually starting with the deaths. We always thought this ritual was about her ‘weak heart’. Yeah, not so much. Just good organisation and a unique take on a wife’s rights. By 10 or 11am she would join Grandad in the garden. He died at 84. She kicked on for another 20 years.

I have a cushion she crocheted, in blue, away in the wardrobe, just for gumby . We dug it out today. It just needs stitching together and stuffing.

This weekend my sister decided, after Thursday’s total dummy spit of a day, that a change of scene was in order or I’d lose my marbles. I’d had a good day Friday, feeling better after sorting out a few possibilities with work, which was hanging over my head like the sword of damocles as I last blogged.

Friday, some of my prayers were weirdly answered when hub in boots was sms’d by work at 1am saying the system was down, don’t come in. So all day, we could just hang, and try and process. He ended up going in Friday night (and sat, and sun),but by then I was back to calm. Ish .

I had a short stint in the garden yesterday, in the sun, watching a yacht race. (no we’re not rich, we’re renting, cheap, a tiny flat in a street of mansions ). The cormorants were out fishing, people out kayaking, and the yachties pulled some great jibes right in front of us. The sun under the frangipani trees was awesome.

Then came a visitor, a mate from work and her two little girls, and food parcels, baking, lush bath bombs, and, gasp, baby gear. Yes, you heard me. She asked permission, I said yes, and in a quiet way the baby gear moratorium was lifted. Right on 14 weeks.

The “fuck it” (very non granny) has been thrown out to the universe, and we have blown raspberries in the face of the fear of jinxing ourselves, by getting baby gear for a baby we may lose. My work friend brought a car seat, and portable high chairs, and a gorgeous little shirt and onesy, and some maternity clothes. Raspberries indeed. As the ob slightly less than eloquently put it to hub in boots, there is no point in this pregnancy that is safe, where we can relax. And as my sister said, losing a baby would hurt like hell, and whether we have a room full of gear or not makes very little difference to that potential experience.

So from now on, I’m going to work on two assumptions : 1. We’re having this baby and 2. I am not getting back to work before HE is born.

With that in mind, (and the time still stretching out scarily before me if I lift my eyes to the horizon), yesterday we upped stumps and my sister and i came to mums. A trip out of the house without bad news attached. That’s new.

We stayed the night, and after a walk to the yard , visitors , a car trip, catch up with my big bro and yummy dinner, I was knackered. I slept pretty solidly. Hub in boots was out coaching AFL, in his own little man cave, with about 7 hours straight of footy in the big pre season NAB cup. Happy as a pig in mud.

Today, I got some garden time in the sun (the herb gardens i did as Xmas presents are going great guns waiting here for collection with mum’s tlc), caught up with some of the old neighbours, and finally got to see my mum in law .

We gave her her birthday in advance for wednesday, and later, with the patience of job, she started to teach me how to knit. I thought I’d be ok as she’s left handed too, but no. She knits right handed, and crochets left handed! But we got there. I’m also getting good at dropped stitches, but hey, it’s keeping my hands (and brain) busy.

And some of the outfits in the knitting magazine are hilarious. Stay tuned for when I next get near a scanner! Woot! Some of these knitting women seriously need to get out more (and I’m a fine one to talk). Can’t wait til I can manage booties….

I promised my counsellor I would think of some project I’ve wanted to do for ages, that I could do laying in bed. So I have. (Novel writing did come up, yes, but slightly beyond my present brain space). Now all I have to do , with the help of the net, is continue to knit and spend some other time brushing up on & improving my French. Perhaps not at the same time as I knit….

The cane lounge and I are hanging out together tomorrow here at mum’s, and even though mum has tai chi I’ll still get company. I’m aiming for a nasty, slightly holey, short scarf by the 15 week mark next Saturday. Progress photos to follow. My knitting and I will head home tomorrow night.

In the meantime, I’m taking a few leaves out of granny’s book.
1. Lots of rest & other people looking after you won’t kill you
2. Having an interest in all the people around you can keep you going (she had her own version of Facebook …)
3. Crocheting (knitting ) is good for you
4. You can dip strawberries into the sugar basin and still not get diabetes til you’re 80 something ( I don’t think I’ll actually do this, it’s more the blatant disregard for rules I’m in favour of)
5. Even if your granddaughter’s boyfriend backs over you with a car at eighty something, you can still bounce back (ie don’t mourn lost time and opportunities, and don’t chuck in the towel. And yes, it was my boyfriend. And yes it was an accident)
6. If you don’t like a piece of furniture, a saw is helpful, but make sure you have a spirit level (I may save this one for postnatal handy hints, and you can’t trust hub-in-boots with a saw…)
7. Even if you don’t leave the house , your hair and outfit matter. Maybe I could have Sundays and wednesdays off this one.

Move along, nothing to see here.

There is only one way to start this blog post, and that is by swearing.
fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.FUCK.fuckitty FUCK FUCK IT.

I am not sure how one can have a lay down screaming two year old’s supermarket tanty on the page, but I intend to try.

So FUCK doctors.
FUCK infertility
FUCK ivf
FUCK bedrest
FUCK ‘BASTARD’, the haematoma
FUCK pregnancy
FUCK work
FUCK money
FUCK age , and insulin resistance
FUCK risks and statistics
And FUCK WASTING MY TIME with this crap.

There, that should do it.
Eloquent one day, Tourettes the next.

I LOVE that EVERY VISIT needs to start with the phrase “your baby is STILL alive “. Seriously . Is this the shittest pregnancy ever?

I LOVE the phrase , “the clot’s there, about 20ml, oh no, wait. Oh it’s ALL THE WAY up there. It’s about 60.”

I PARTICULARLY love the phrase “actually you may NOT get back to work, we’ll have to call that at about 20 weeks. BUT you’re definitely on bedrest for three more weeks. ”

Then as an aside: “and you’ll need a psychiatric assessment next time you’re in. You’re at a huge risk of antenatal and postnatal depression with the way this is going”. Excellent. This pregnancy lark just gets better and better.

I LOVE when hub-in-boots says “so at 16 weeks with no more bleeds we could relax?” and doc says “no. No at TERM you can relax. Maybe at 28 weeks, when it may be viable “.

Yeah good.

This is proving to be a fun day. Why did we decide to do this again ?

“we’ll see you in three weeks , unless you get a bright red bleed or cramping first”. god I have so much to look forward to !

On the upside, (fuck, there’s an upside?), Gumby appears oblivious to its new “clot mattress”.

The other upside is, my situation is so shite I have given up on stupid pregnancy rules. I had a nice strong macchiato (first coffee since October and possibly the best thing I’ve tasted in months), a fresh juice in my friends’ deli, and an arancini.

Seriously? Sedate me now. Put me out of my fucking misery .

Pity party over. We will now return you to your normal viewing schedule. Move along. Nothing to see here.

Le Scaphandre et le Papillon

Recently, on holidays up my brother’s farm, I saw a film in DVD called “the Diving Bell and the Butterfly” (Le Scaphandre et le Papillon). I had read the book years before, and it touched me deeply, reaffirming for me the power of the written word. I was a little astounded when those mad frenchies decided to make it into a film. I figured as a movie,  it would either be stunning, or an unmitigated disaster.

The book is a short internal monologue, musings on life and consciousness, written by Elle fashion magazine editor, Jean-Dominique Bauby, paralysed from head to toe after a massive stroke, who completed the book over 10 months with his one moving body part, by blinking as the alphabet was read to him over and over and over by a carer.  As I read the book, and realised what has gone into making each word, I understood the levity of stark prose, not overwritten, each word chosen, letter by letter by letter. Not an easy thing to turn into a screenplay

The film was stunning, life affirming in its beauty, with cinematography that spoke of both his internal world and the world he was kept from. Needless to say, we shed tears watching it. And laughed.

(Hell, if you get a BAFTA for best screenplay on a silent film, The Artist I’m guessing the French film industry knows what it’s doing! I later discovered The Diving Bell and the Butterfly also received a best screenplay BAFTA back in 2008).

For me, this week, as frustration has started to rear its head, I think of that man who felt as though his body was physically locked in an old fashioned diving suit, but whose consciousness was like a butterfly, flitting free & high above.

My life has made room for frustration now, and it’s actually a good thing. There is only room for frustration when medically, nothing is happening (touch wood). I have had eight days free of hemorrhages. This is a record since my dramas started. Still spotting old blood, which can still be scary, (so I can’t have that soak in the bath I am busting for), but not bleeding.

Sunny days make it worse, and make it more uncomfortable to lie around. Weekends are harder, with more coming and going and the usual together time marred by my motionless frame. Weekdays have elastic time, where it is often just me, alone, and sometimes I kill hours easily, and other times if I looked more than two days (two hours) ahead at this I’d just wig out.

I’d like to wash the floors. And tidy. And de clutter a few cupboards. I’d like to wander down to the backyard (I did on Sunday; momentuous), or hang out some washing, or cook something . I’d like to run, and box, and swim, and sit in a cafe. I am so tempted…To just do a little bit. So often we run through life wishing for the gift of some time. I have it, and I can’t use it.

Instead I hold fast to my promise to sit still, and I shuffle: Facebook, email, blog, games, books, radio, staring out the window, short visits, phone calls, tv series, a movie, nap, shower, meal. I try to do books/radio/iPhone activities/nap in the morning in bed, and by two ish move to the couch for lunch, sometimes visitors, and a bit of tele til hub-in-boots gets home around 6. Each day is sort of ok, but the weight of accumulated days like this is getting heavy.

Physically, my muscles are becoming uncomfortable and twitchy, my shins have gone weird and angular, my feet hurt from lack of use. I am not as good at seeing the milestones as I was: Skype counselling today, doctor (ob) tomorrow (woohoo leaving the house!), 14 weeks on Saturday. I need their forward momentum.

But weirdly, on my fourth week of bed rest, I want the other two weeks in bed. I am fearful of hearing ‘yeah you’re ok to go back to work’ from the ob tomorrow. Dont get me wrong: I hate bedrest. It sucks. But it has a purpose. And I want gumby to have the best chance possible, conservative treatment, at least to make it to 16 weeks.

I also have clarity of purpose here, at home. There is only one objective: grow gumby. Ok maybe two: 1.grow gumby, 2. absorb clot. I think dealing with this whilst dealing with work would require more resilience than I have just now.

My sleep is a weird in between space, where I don’t get much precious “blank time”. I wrestle with waking up every couple of hours, with dreaming I’m hemorrhaging again, with unnamed terror when I sit bolt upright at the slightest noise. I am not physically tired enough to get proper rest. Emotionally, I seem to be wrestling with more, now that the immediate physical danger has seemingly passed. Having passed the all important first trimester milestone, I seem lost for a strong focal point; hopefully temporarily. The stupid what if game has a bit more power at the moment. At times I run through scenarios in my mind, wondering which I need to be prepared for.

So I feel the need to blog, yet I don’t have much to offer. I could give you dvd reviews after a marathon viewing of “Game of Thrones” a medieval ish drama series filmed in Northern Ireland (took an episode to get into it, then knocked over 10 episodes in two days! Sad!). I watched a Harry Potter yesterday (Harry Potter and the order of the Phoenix). I am not much of a dvd box set watcher, my first ever being Dexter (series 1-5!!!) during IVF down time. I find TV leaves me feeling listless. After conquering Gabriel Garcia Marquez Love in the Time of Cholera and then a fairly quick effort on Jeffrey Eugenides The Virgin Suicides, followed by Hsu-Ming Teo’s rather lovely Love and Vertigo, I seem to have hit the wall, book wise. I may branch out to a Neil Gaiman next. Or possibly something as nasty and throw down as the Twilight series.

I found The Virgin suicides a beautifully constructed novel, perfect in its simplicity of voice and pre-ordained storylines. It was much more readable than his later epic, Middlesex, which is one of the few books I have picked up several times and failed to finish (I will never forget my struggles with Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness whilst at school. It’s one of those rare ones I never went back to). In an ideal world I would use this time to catch up on all the classics I’ve never read; in reality often my head is too busy with pregnancy worries for weighty tomes and self improvement.

As nice as it is to use time, I find that time often uses us.

I am lucky in the sense that I live in an age where this pregnancy could happen at all, and where, as the problems reared their ugly heads, I was able to monitor what was going on, to know Gumby was still kicking. I am lucky I live in an age where we have Skype, and email, and iphones to keep me feeling connected even as I disconnect. I am free to communicate. I can move if I really need to. But I think in my own limited way (though hardly comparable to Jean-Dominique Bauby) I understand the heaviness of feeling like I am stuck in a diving bell, while the world carries on in its noisy way, and the traffic still jams and the people still work, and the mail still gets delivered, and I wait, motionless, in a muted two room world.

Like Jean-Dominque Bauby’s butterfly, at times I can rise above this here and now, and think beyond these walls, and enjoy the sky and the leafy green wall of trees that lies beyond our apartment windows, and sometimes even have the optimism to flit forward to a full term labour and a perfect little Gumby (who, importantly, has no chromosomal issues…we got the full screening results and the all clear yesterday). But sometimes, I can only make 6 o’clock. The optimism and the dread, the yin and the yang, the hoped for growth of Gumby and quiet non eventful disappearance of the clot. A butterfly just went past the window as I typed this…I’m taking it as a good sign.