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Matters of life and death: part two

Part the Second: Death

I had intended to write a post about my mother reaching the end stage of her treatment for lymphoma; that there were only weeks to live; that it was a very hard thing to watch your parent waste away in front of you. Yet time slips away and suddenly there is only silence. My mother passed away at approximately 1:30am this morning.

My aunt and I had spent the last few days by her side, along with a close friend of my mother’s. We said goodbye when we left the hospital this evening because it seemed unlikely that she would make it through the night. A nurse called about 1am to say she was deteriorating. My husband, aunt, and I raced to the hospital through driving rain but she had passed away before we arrived.

She was not in any pain and a nurse was with her, holding her hand. I am so thankful for these small mercies and the great kindness that all of the nursing staff and the palliative care team have shown to us. There are truly some angels in this world. I am grateful that my aunt and my mother’s friend were here; that they had time to spend with her. I am glad that my mother’s suffering is over and I hope that she is at peace now.

Life is short, dear readers. Time is precious. If we are fortunate enough to have family and friends to love and to care about us, then we are truly blessed. Reach out and tell them you love them. Live well. Laugh. Love.

Matters of life and death: part one

Part the First: Life

As mentioned in my previous post, my sister in law is expecting her fifth child. SIL is married to the Husband’s brother. They are both lovely people and I care about them very much. We quite often receive emails from SIL updating us about family goings on, living as they do in the same city as the Husband’s parents, and I always look forward to them. They are always full of fun and laughter,  especially when they contain news of the four gorgeous whirlwinds, otherwise known as my nieces.We don’t get to visit in person very often, but it is always such fun when we do.

When we heard this latest piece of news, we were a little surprised. Simply because, well, to us it seems truly a blessing to have four children, but also because SIL almost died during the birth of #3.  We were all so concerned for SIL when she announced #4, but that little one arrived safe and sound, and all was well. After that, they promised that they were done.

While we stood together in front of the computer screen reading this news, my husband reached out to hug me, and it was that simple gesture that made me weep. We think this new baby is wonderful news and are very happy for BIL and SIL. At the same time, I was suddenly so overwhelmingly sad for us. Not angry, or bitter, or jealous, just sad.

Sad that we will never a house filled with four, let alone five, children. Sad that after all we have been through, we don’t really seem any closer to achieving a viable pregnancy. Sad that I have to see the disappointment on my husband’s face at the end of each failed cycle. Sad that I will probably never be able to give my husband the children that he would so very much love to have. Sad that we have to try to face the reality of a childless future.

At the same time, I am overwhelmingly grateful for all the blessings that I do have. A wonderful husband, who will be by my side far into the future, come what may. A good career. Our beautiful home in the country. Our fantastic four-legged companion, The Cat. We have seven, soon to be eight, wonderful nieces and nephews. We will welcome this little one with all our hearts. The Husband and I would like to have children very much, but if we do not, then we have much to be grateful for. Indeed, we have happiness.


Holiday highlights

Quelle horreur! The holidays are drawing to a close. Tomorrow we undertake a long drive back to Small City and return to work on Monday. A veritable ton of work awaits.  Sigh.

Because, you know, everyone cares what I do on my holidays, I present to you the highlights in bullet point format.

  • I ate so much chocolate this year that by rights I should be in a sugar coma.
  • I cooked. We made cannelloni stuffed with arborio rice, leeks, and mushrooms. Yes. Truly, we did. It was incredible. Then I made arancini with the leftover rice. They were delicious.
  • I baked a cake. It was a Lamington Cake.  Now, if you aren’t Australian you probably aren’t familiar with lamingtons, which are basically sponge cake cut into squares, rolled in chocolate and covered in coconut. They are ubiquitous in our fair land, but I have never made them. Someone in the office has been eating them so I thought I would give it a try. Being as I am much too lazy/have no patience/it’s the freaking holidays and I can’t be bothered to roll squares of sponge in anything, I opted for this cake version. It is awfully good.
  • We carried out a blitz on the garden. Soil has been tilled. Root crops are planted. Sprouts are sprouting. Trees are fruiting.
  • We walked on the beach and in the water up to our knees. It was lovely and warm.
  • In between we spent one whole day doing nothing but reading and napping. Bliss.
  • We had sex. That is to say, we successfully negotiated the fertile window once more, and I am now 5dpo.
  • I had a killer sinusitis headache for two days. Awesome.
  • I caught up on your blogs. I finished that book I had been reading for weeks.
  • This morning we received the news that SIL is pregnant with her fifth child.  Cue hormonal-cycle-support-induced teary moment or ten. Fortunately I have the best husband in the world to make me feel better. I will probably have more to say about this later.

Overall, a thoroughly good time was had by all.

The end.


It’s bunny season

I do apologise for the lack of updates. I am just incredibly busy right now. I am dragging myself towards the Easter break, when I am having an entire week off. The week will be spent at home on the farm. Lovely.

In order to bring you up to date, dear readers, cast your minds back in time to Wednesday last week. It was 11dpo. I managed to hold off testing until that morning, only to be confronted with a BFN. This was as I was expecting, but it was still disappointing. I headed off to work, and two hours later was spotting. By the early afternoon, my period had arrived in full along with the wretched bone-crushing cramps. Trifecta!

What can one say about all this? Not much, really. I was disappointed, though not hopelessly crushed. I find myself extremely frustrated at each failed cycle. I am taking a combination of drugs that produce horrid side effects, and I really don’t want to continue with this for much longer. However, we can’t know whether it is going to work until such time as I conceive again. Trapped in a feedback loop.

One other comment I can make: quite surprised that despite 100mg of progesterone daily I still only manage to have a 23 or 24 day cycle. Not quite sure whether to be worried about that or not. I prefer not. I have given up trying to figure out what’s going on with my body.

Right, then. Forward ho. As a result of all the above, we will be doing it like bunnies over the Easter weekend. ‘Tis the season, after all. All that chocolate has to be good for something.


Drawing a blank

In the absence of anything new to say about this situation, I will just give you the facts.

We managed to pull off another well-timed cycle. I am 8dpo now, with a case of two week wait madness slowly creeping upon me.  I am not kidding myself that I am going to be able to hold out on testing. I’d be surprised if I can make it past 10dpo at this point. I have no particular hopes that this cycle will be any different to any other; I’m trying to remain neutral. It’s the only way I can avoid a crushing disappointment at the end. Which sounds stupid, because I will be crushed, regardless.

I know it sounds negative, and I should try and find something positive to focus on, but really, it’s almost impossible to see how we can overcome this situation from here. I don’t seem to be able to find the words to articulate how I feel about all that in a proper post as yet.

Right, then. Change of subject. Have spent a productive weekend studying, pottering with my plants, and cooking a large pot of soup. I’m looking forward to my customary Sunday evening of finishing off the Saturday papers (and oh! luxury! A rare copy of the New Yorker!), a nice dinner, a glass of red wine, and something stupid on television.

Completely unrelated to anything: I’m really enjoying the new PJ Harvey album, Let England Shake.

A brief update

A brief update on yesterday’s post: everything turned out well for my colleague and his wife.

The scan showed a viable pregnancy, in the right place, with a strong heartbeat, dated at eight weeks.

They are obviously very relieved, and so am I. I am so very happy for them.

Thank you, dear readers, for your kind words and positive thoughts. They are very much appreciated.



Domestic bliss

My husband and I are spending a rare weekend together. We are being thoroughly irresponsible and ignoring our work/study commitments. Yes. We are taking a break. A little mini-at-home-break. It is most pleasant.

Let’s start with Saturday.  We woke up rather early, leaving quite a lot of time to drink coffee and peruse the weekend papers.  Then to the farmers market where we bought loads of fresh fruit (peaches! at $3 per kilogram!) and vegetables, and picked up some wonderful handmade food items such as vegetable wontons, fresh papardelle, locally grown and cured olives. We bought an almond tree and an olive tree for the farm.

Next, on to the local book fair, a veritable treasure trove of secondhand books. The money raised from the fair supports a local charity. I found a copy of the one Thomas Hardy novel that I do not own for the princely sum of $1. In the evening we made a sauce of fresh tomatoes and basil for the pappardelle, accompanied by a fine sangiovese and some good music.

Sunday morning. A nice long sleep in before undertaking some household chores.  The Husband is outside mowing the lawn, while I make a compote with the aforementioned peaches. We plan on taking a nice long walk this afternoon before cooking up something hearty to keep us warm in this cool autumn weather.

It is so wonderful to just spend time together, enjoying each other’s company. Such simple pleasures. I am so very fortunate to be married to such an incredible man, and I am truly thankful for every day that we share together.

Meanwhile, next week is the time we enter the fray once more with our April attempt. But I don’t want to ruin a perfectly sappy and sentimental post with talk of that.




March is a bust. The husband had a business trip.  I couldn’t go, seeing as I am now an awesome professional legal type and all. So, we must wait until April.

I admit that I find this is very frustrating. We agreed to throw our all at it this year. I will be thirty-eight in a few months. I really don’t think there is any time to waste.  As I said in my last post, highs are higher, lows are ever so much lower.

This missed month is something that is completely out of my control, so I must return to my zen-like attitude of living in the present. And the  immediate present brings a long weekend complete with a visit home to the farm. I am so very excited. I just can’t wait. Green grass, long sunsets in the valley, walks on the beach, plants, cows…heaven.


In a technical aside, I have put a link on the sidebar that will take you to a page of information about how you can update your blogroll links or feed readers now that I have a self-hosted blog.  If you do have a link to this blog or follow it, please know that I am very grateful. I hope that the information that I have posted there makes sense. If you have any difficulty at all, just leave a comment and I will put on my TCF Tech Support Hat and try my best to resolve the issue.

Have you given up?

When I went to the appointment with my GP mentioned in my last post, and after I had declined the referral he had so kindly offered, he came straight out and asked me, “so, after all that, have you absolutely given up?”

The answer to this question is no, not quite.

No, I haven’t given up. Yet I feel that we are facing an uphill battle, bearing a burden that becomes increasingly difficult to carry. I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about whether we should give up.  Yet I can’t. There are still too many variables, too many possibilities.

There are a lot of things that bother me, that weigh on me, about our past treatment. I can’t change any of those.  I can keep believing in the possible and working towards the goal. And I do. I do believe that the possibility still exists. So we keep going. But I’ve reached a place where the stakes are high. The highs are higher, the lows are lower. It hurts.

I’m trying not to focus on the past, or imagine the future, whatever it brings. I am working hard on just living in the present. On giving it our best shot this year. That’s all I’ve got. Right now it is one day, one step, at a time.

A security blanket

Last week I had a routine appointment with a general practitioner (GP). Having recently moved to Small City, it was a new practice, a new doctor, and something which I approached with a certain degree of trepidation. Would I have to give my entire medical history for the purposes of being a new patient?  I didn’t want to go through the whole sorry tale for the purposes of a minor, non-fertility related, consultation.

In the end, GP was given a one-sentence run-down. Following my explanation, he offered to refer to me someone here, someone he assured me is very good. I politely declined. When I moved here I did not have any intention of seeking a new doctor and I still don’t. That will probably seem strange to some, but I love Dr C, and there really isn’t any reason to leave him. He is happy to supply me with prescriptions as long as I want them, and I’m sure he would agree to anything else I asked for at this point – he has always been most understanding and obliging.

The real point is that I just don’t think there is anyone else out there that is going to be able to offer us any  more insight or assistance in our case. I’ve seen many doctors along as we travelled along this road, including Dr Famous and he couldn’t help me. Dr C is one thousand times better and has given us much better advice, not to mention an impeccable level of care.

As I walked home that evening, I considered this. Although I didn’t want to accept the referral, in a way I am glad it is there. A kind of security blanket. And I am grateful to have a GP who was understanding of our situation, that I can see should the need arise. Those are, in my experience, extremely rare.

Another instalment about my appointment to follow.

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