Hidden.

dance-movement-photography

Through the upstairs bathroom window, the late afternoon light streams.

The kind of light that catches all of the tiny particles in the air, as they gently float around.

Specks of dust drifting; eventually falling.

The room feels like a warm cocoon, despite the cold tiled floors and the flat slabs of Caesar stone, glass and porcelain. My naked skin, in a rare moment feels comfortable, at ease..in no rush to bundle itself up to chase warmth and hide again.

In front of me, rows of bottles and boxes of medication are lined up across the vanity. A collection, I had no say in acquiring. I have visitors coming so scooped into the top drawer they will all be pushed. Hidden.

Take two with meals, take one before eating, take one of a night, take one of a morning and two of a night. Take before bedtime; lay down for an hour after insertion. Side effects may include mood swings, hot flushes, vomiting and diarrhea; side effects may include migraines, cold sweats at night, heart palpitations and dizziness. Do not operate heavy machinery. Do not take on an empty stomach. Do not mix with alcohol. Do try to hold down a full time job and progress your career, run a house hold, keep a happy marriage, keep friendships in tact; socialise. Take care of family. Keep that smile always on your face. Keep standing up every time BAM! you get pushed over and left behind.

I can’t help but let out a sigh. So imprisoned and disappointed by this, my new normal. So disappointed by my answer now when asked how many medications I am on. It used to be zero, now it is about 7. So very disappointed with my own skin. The failure of everything inside of it. This lump of clay I have tried hard to mold and do the things I want, a lifetime of worry and doubt hidden under layers of clothes, and smiles and conversation.

I study myself closely. It is difficult, with hot breath fogging against the cool glass, like the hazy way that I have always tried to see myself really.

My face, my hair and every inch of my body under a critical microscope.

The bruises and the redness from hundreds of needles jabbing my soft middle. It used to be flat and strong, now pudgy and sad. My face full of lines and bumps and sun spots and beginnings of wrinkles. It used to be so dewy and youthful, pretty; stealing kisses, with crushes on warm summer nights. My legs used to be smooth, creamy, strong. Leaping and bounding and swinging and gripping on to life, all with a mischievous look in my eye, drunk on the prospects of ‘forever’. They are bumpy and lumpy now. They fail to move as fast as I want them to.

I used to be a fun, sunny girl. Why did she leave so casually, without even a goodbye?

So used to bundling it all up so quickly, with robotic consistency, that I have failed to ever let myself breath, let myself be open and free.

When I was a kid we would visit my Nan and Pop’s house every Sunday after church. In the romance of memory, I loved every minute of my time with them. Picking mandarins from their trees in winter time and strawberries from their patch in summer. Nan telling stories of when she was a little girl and pop making me giggle with delight with all his jokes and elaborate magic tricks. They were strict grandparents though and very much believed children should be seen and not heard; not that it was a rule to conform to, just one I was often reminded of, whenever I would gripe or annoy my mother in their presence. I didn’t really mind this though, it was possibly my earliest lesson in respecting others and biting my tongue, no matter how much I wanted to speak my hot tempered mind, when life wasn’t fair.

I guess they were my earliest teachers in a diplomacy of sorts, but unfortunately, also in becoming invisible, disappearing into myself, hiding my feelings deep down and smiling, always smiling.

IVF is hard and it is scary but it is even harder to talk about openly and share because of how closely it is all tied to failure, disappointment, not getting hopes up and pressure; immense pressure for your body to perform, to do its magic tricks and pull the rabbit out of the hat everyone around you is waiting for.

I just want to move past the shame of it all and the insecurity. I want to move past it all completely and live the life that everyone around me has.

To be a mum, something I have wanted to be since I was cradling my doll Lucy, I got for Christmas when I was around 7. She could talk and I would feed her and change her nappy and I was blissfully happy, even though in the months begging for her, (after watching an afternoon ad on TV) I had actually conjured up in my over-imaginative mind, a real baby showing up under the tree that day.

To say out loud that I want it, and I want it so desperately is scary. But I do.

I don’t know what life is without such a want. I don’t think I am ready to face the prospect. So, invisible I remain, hoping that works.

I start to get dressed as the nausea has returned, maybe from the tablets I have just taken, maybe from the reflection in the mirror.

The day of my Frozen Egg Transfer is the most incredible few hours of my life, picturing my little embryo nestling in, warm and cocooned, looking for somewhere to nuzzle and remain. How could this not work? By morning though, I have convinced myself I have failed again and how could this possibly ever happen?

Even worse, as I push the rest of the packets into the drawer, side effects of the drugs also cruelly mimic early signs of pregnancy, cramping, spotting, sore breasts.

I tell no one though, I keep all my fears and my doubts to myself. Hidden.

Feeling like one of the tiny particles of dust catching in the sunlight, as it spins and tumbles through the air trying to find somewhere soft to land.

Em xoxo

 

The Bottom of the Hill.

Hills and more hills as far as the eye can see.

On the outskirts of town, they ebb and they flow. Looking like a far off distant land you could easily explore and conquer like a Burke and Wills expedition.

Why is it you feel like screaming and crying and dying as you walk up a hill, wanting to stop every breath, every step, but as soon as you stretch your whole body and reach the top, you feel like a queen; an athlete; a champion! Adrenalin pumping through all of the pulsing, hilly veins inside. Wanting to feel this way forever. Hooked.

When my mum was my age, she had birthed and mothered four children. She was in the midst of a life running a household containing a 15-year-old, a 14-year-old, a 10-year-old and a 4-year-old.

She had at 37, already lived in a shack my parents had built with their own hands as newlyweds, on the side of a hill, in the middle of nowhere.

Their first year of marriage and they had no electricity, no indoor toilet a new baby and snakes and spiders to contend with. She was 21. On the side of a hill.

They then went on and raised the rest of their brood, on a huge, flat, dusty property with a long, long dirt driveway. She handled it all bravely. The kids, the cows, the dust, the wheat crops and dad..worrying about the rain, the drought and making ends meet. Despite the flatness there she could still look out across the plains and see hills on the horizon, warily keeping an eye on them – closer then she wanted them to be. She was focused on staying strong and keeping a household running, she had no time to enjoy ups or wallow in downs so she kept charging on and planted her life firmly where it was flat.

I have wondered lately how she coped with it all? She did not have cafe dates with girlfriends, cocktails or book clubs, hiking or wine tasting weekends…or the freedom to throw a tantrum and hurl herself under a mountain of doona to Netflix and chill.

So it is her that I think about now, on the edge of that hill of hers. Her and that incredible strong will, as I face plant my bed and give up.

As I dig my way through all of my hills and tell them to all go to hell.

I am sick of the climb, sick of hurting as I scrape my skin from my legs – only getting half way up before I slide down again in the rubble and rocks and muck, sore from straining my neck to look up and see where I long to be.

I have had enough, so today I quit. I give up, resigning myself to the fact it is too hard to reach the top.

I am sick of the injections, the nausea, the headaches, the cramps, the negatives, the scans, people mourning, dying, leaving my job and trying to stay positive; more scans, more injections, turning around and pregnant bellies and newborn babies everywhere swirling around me, not knowing who I am or where I should be; up the hill, down the hill, round the hill? I am sick of the waiting. Waiting until I am suddenly told I am over the hill and it is too late.

So today I am going to just quit and surround myself with soft hills of pillows and bedding filled with feathers. Diving into doonas, hugging hot water bottles and a call to my mum today because the hill is shitty and she will tell me what to do.

Maybe next week I will feel like I can strap my hiking boots back on ready to go forth again. Maybe I will be surprised by how light those heavy boots suddenly feel.

Maybe by then I will look out across the Autumn afternoon and feel OK when I see those hills on the horizon.

Thinking about how at least I am not on the side of one of them, doing a wee in the dark.

 

Em xoxo

Treasures.

Before there was all of this and things were hard. Before I moved through life tactically and knew about pressure.

There was a large, clunky dress-up trunk, at the back of the sun-soaked kindergarten room.

It had dents in it.

Dents made from my young teacher I now suppose.

As she pulled and pushed it to do something amazingly romantic perhaps – fleeing a Budapest bedsit in the middle of the night, where a lover slept soundly.

Catching a plane, then a train to a dusty country town for a new start. A chance to disappear into something other than herself. Resting it down gently, filled with old costumes, in the midst of my class-roomed world.

 I remember the buttery warmth across the mostly brown room, like yesterday. The trunk itself was often covered with cushions and pillows and packed up tight, which made it always seem even more of a treasure trove; a mystical box that my little hands itched to dive into at all times. When all tasks were done and colours were kept in between lines, Miss Eveleigh gave me the nod I needed.

Silent indications that it was finally time for me to carefully – almost reverently, make my way to that box before anyone else thought twice about it.

A chance to disappear into something other than me.

Children around me picked up fireman hats and stethoscopes, teachers glasses and astronaut suits.

Maybe I should have to.

Instead, I reached like always for the thick, heavy faded wedding gown and fell into it. Dancing around in complete bliss.

I remember it was so scratchy on my skin and so billowy and so big, it was hard to walk in a straight line without stumbling over.

I always picked up a doll; my baby – and felt that was that; ambition recognised. The dress, the kid. I had it all. This was where things were going. Children around me pretending to be surgeons and pilots.

Perhaps I should have to.

Then maybe right now I would be able to breathe in. To not feel the weight of the pressure of a clock booming in my head. To not feel my next birthday approaching like a roaring jumbo jet inbound from Budapest. In the middle of the night, my body dented from pushing and pulling it all around to get where I need to be.

I am running out of time, I can feel myself drowning in layers and layers of white lace and billowy fabric, clutching on to imaginary babies for dear life.

To discover you only have a finite time to turn make-believe real; a hard punch to not fall down in a heap from. To realise it may not happen, makes me wish I never wanted it at all. In my head, I now have 2 years left. 2 years to find the treasure, the trunk and pull all I want from it.

What an unrealistic time frame I have managed to set myself.

What a time for wishing I could easily disappear into something other than this.

Why am I suddenly a 37-year-old pirate digging for treasure?

Em

xoxo

From the Tips of My Toes.

Baby Ruby holding Scott's hand

 

I have so much love inside me.

It starts from the very tips of my toes and reaches all the way up to the hair on my head.
It has always been there.
It sits and it waits for you.
I promise I have been very patient..and positive, even mostly upbeat while I have waited, for so long now I forget where I end and you start.

I have watched everyone else around me meet their little joys.

I have lived vicariously through them, cuddling my nieces and nephews as much as I could. Hoping that feeling of being someone’s mother, sprinkles on to me a little bit each time.

I have tried everything to get you here.

Distracting myself in hopes you would pop up one day and say ‘Surprise’! Trying to pour the love I am keeping for you onto your Daddy, on to friends and family and their children….even the cat, but there it still sits, stubbornly knowing it is only for you.

I have tried lots of tricks to bring you along that little bit faster.
Some of these tricks have made me very sick, some had me doing very strange things and some made me feel prodded and poked like a pin cushion. All of it worthwhile to see your face, your little fingers and chubby legs.

I do not know how it is possible, but I do completely already love you – without you ever even existing. I have picked out your name, and it is as beautiful and strong as you will be my love. I have already guessed your hair colour; auburn like Mummy, and your eyes, beautiful blue with flecks of green like Daddy. The way your soft cheeks flush hot and red when you are tired. The way your little hands feel as they take mine.

I smile for you. I grieve for you. I crave for you more then I have ever craved anything.

I think about you all the time now too. For a while it was every now and then. Little tiny thoughts and wishes I dared to conjure, a soft and breezy whisper; now though it is a tornado whirling around in my head over and over.
Even though my whole body painfully aches for you, the thought of you actually appearing is quite incomprehensible. Because you see, I dream of you but I also dream about lots of things that won’t ever come true.. so I worry you won’t either. To have you would be like winning a lottery, and I am just worried that I am not that lucky.

I watch people with their little ones, and how they almost take for granted how easily they came to them. They simply thought it and it happened. Photo frames on desks of camping trips and seaside adventures; children’s smiles taunting me with their easiness and regularity…reminding me what is normal for everyone else on the planet but me it sometimes seems.

I also think of you a lot when your amazingly, fantastical Daddy does something that is kind and lovely for someone. You are really going to love him. He wants you to arrive just as much as I do and I am just so excited for you to know his love. It feels like a warm, sparkly summers day. How lucky are you.
When I am feeling more positive and sure you will come, I daydream about what it would feel like to look down and see the swell of my tummy. To feel you growing and moving inside of me, protected and loved so much already. Hearing your little heart beat.
Finally the relief washing over me knowing everything was going to be OK.
Knowing I was not a failure.
Knowing I too would be a member of a club I have longed to join forever and a day.
Knowing I have succeeded in giving Daddy and I everything we ever wanted all wrapped up into one little being.

I have spent many years watching many women who had come before me, their belly’s swollen for a time before they got their tiny wish granted. I was happy for them, while distracted with all that youth brings, never noticing how quietly time ticked on and days turned to night. I had all the time in the world I said. I had many mountains to conquer before you would come…
Soon women in my life who came after me, started to have swollen belly’s too and so then came the fear. Despite this fear that surges in the dead of the night, I do deep down believe we will meet some day little one. I hope it is soon.

I hold on to this love for you, like a keepsake box filled with many things. Our first touch, skin on skin. Your first suckle. The first time you cry for me. The first time you smile for me. Our first book we read together in your room; in our house; in our life we have made ourselves with that same tornado of love that now churns out of my body releasing it all around you.

In the meantime, if you do hear me cry at night, just please know that I do a lot more smiling then it looks, just sometimes…sometimes the pain and fear of never seeing you or holding you is too much to bear. I really want you to know no matter how hard it has been for us; all this waiting and pleading to the universe for you; it was all worth it, every second of it. I would do it all again, for you.
Even if you never come. We love you, so quite simply and surely, we had to try.
I know we will be OK; we will find some other way to use this love we have for you. But for now there is hope and hope will do me just fine.

So, I sit and I wait. Filled with love,

from the tips of my toes to the hair on my head.