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

 

Submerged.

bath

I have one delicious memory from my childhood.
One simple, ordinary moment in time that was savoured.
Bath time.
An evening ritual. One that made me innately aware of being planted solidly in a family unit, part of a bustling household and never more secure in that deceivingly inconsequential nightly routine.
My mother would pour my bath and take all the care in the world to ensure it was never too hot or too cold. Always warning me not to venture closer until the temperature was just right.
She would then kneel down and help me wriggle out of all my layers of clothes. I would lean in to her as she helped me balance, snuggling in to her hair and giggling, as she would use the opportunity to plant a million kisses on my flushed face.
She would then take care to, as all busy mums do; quickly make sure I was scrubbed clean and then leave me to enjoy my bath on my own for a short while so she could get 5 other things done before coming back to get me.
With three other siblings to compete with, I always felt like the most special, important person in the world whenever I got these moments alone with her, and I relished in them.
As the warm steam snaked its way off the white foamy bubbles, wisping up and around the room. I would submerge myself under the water, with only my face and toes remaining above the surface.
This warm blanket of liquid I cocooned myself under, was simply bliss.
The magic of this moment was more specifically about all the sounds I could hear under that water. My submerged ears, is where I found the greatest delight.
The happenings of the household at that time of night, muffled by a wall of water yet somehow so crystal clear. Noises that were not the same as when above.
It is this splendid, quiet moment on my own that is still so vivid to me now.
The bath was like a giant upside down glass and I listened very closely as if I was holding that glass up against the bathroom wall, magnifying the gentle hum of conversations and appliances competing with each other down the hall.
My teenage sister on the phone talking quietly to a boy, with her music gently thumping – white noise so parents couldn’t hear; my dad listening to the news propped up at the kitchen table keeping mum company while she cooked. The sturdy old electric frying pan she used sizzling and crackling our dinner as she stood over it and tiredly sipping her wine as she stirred.
Dad, always in a running conversation with the television unimpressed by whichever politician was on the screen at the time.
My parents were in catch up mode after each having a long day at work. They would debrief each other and discuss bills that had to be paid, children that were growing out of their school shoes and summer holidays to the coast that needed to be idyllically planned. They used to talk to each other like nobody else existed, all that mattered was the two of them – you would think as their offspring I would not like this so much – wanting to be a priority, but nothing could be further from the truth, I adored the love they had for each other, and their beautiful connection remains with me still.
In that bathtub, in that house. I felt a part of something, I felt safe and I felt very loved.
To my parents, I am sure this was a vexing nightly routine; possibly this same moment for them, as they sat in our little kitchen, was filled with worry, fatigue and stress of working hard and making ends meet.
If only they knew down the hall their child was listening on and falling completely in love with the sounds of their voices, and footsteps and what they thought were private moments between them.
Any time I want to remember my dad’s voice, it is this memory I go to.
As for my mother, any time I am craving to be close to her, distance keeping us apart for long periods of time; it is this memory I squeeze as tightly as I can and squish out all the loveliness. Her perfume, her smile, her warm hands as she busily get tasks done.
I would stay in that bath until my fingers and toes became prune-ish and my teeth began to chatter, then the time finally came to be scooped up by whichever parent’s turn it was, into a big fluffy towel.
It never ever escapes me, how this one single memory takes about 30 seconds of re-living in my mind. How it is light years away from where I stand today. A speck of dust in the story of me, and yet it is everything.
To me it has become clear, this is what it is all about.
The things we smile about today, the things we taste, smell and experience it is all so fleeting. Teeny tiny specks that one day you end up looking back on and become so giant in your mind – how truly sad it is if these moments get missed and not soaked up to savour later.
I am fortunate in a lot of ways the pain I have endured in my life, has taught me this lesson well. I do now hold my husband that little bit tighter. I do try not to stress over, well anything really. And I do make as much time as I can to be with my beautiful family. I also send the universe quiet tiny wishes, that my mother’s house was still filled with noise and footsteps and my father’s voice. We each try hard to fill that space for her as much as we can now.

I especially make sure I take time to stop and pour myself a bubble bath.

I sometimes even sink right down until my ears go under the water, and as I listen very carefully to all the beautiful noises I hear coming down the hall as I smile.

Smiling is a new thing for me lately, after being submerged under a different kind of blanket for so long, and it feels amazing.

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.