The first week or so of our trip to New York was spent trying to liaise with my 2 doctors for a date with the scalpel. The earliest date meant waiting 3 months. When you’re 41 and the ticking is getting louder, you know that every month is precious time to wait. I managed to get a cancellation a few weeks after we returned.
On the flight home I watched a few movies as usual. One in particular was a fairly benign comedy called “Four Holidays” with Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughan. It was about a couple who were living together and were not ready or interested in taking the next step to getting married and having a family. A Christmas storm cancelled their flight to an island paradise and they were forced to visit family. During their visits, Reese’s character realised that she wasn’t happy with the “selfish” life they were living and that she did want marriage and babies after all. As she was coming to this conclusion, I started to cry. (Yes, I know! During a comedy!!!) It could have been because the script was quite bad, but I had to admit that I was getting very emotional. I stopped the movie to think about why I was crying and I realised it was because while she decided she wanted a baby, I decided I was done. I wanted my life back. I wanted my body back. I wanted to have non-conceptual sex with my husband and not care about what day of the cycle it was. I wanted to plan for the following year without wondering if I would be pregnant during that time. It was time to switch off.
We got home and I told my husband about my rom-com revelation, and while it is a decision we both need to make, ultimately it’s my choice. After a whirlwind 6 months of handing my body and dignity over to strangers, we would call it a day and be thankful for the children we already have in our lives.
4 weeks later I discovered I was pregnant.
I was so excited. I rang my husband to tell him the news. He was obviously surrounded by people and couldn’t talk, so gave a fairly unexcited response like “Oh that’s great. I’ll talk to you later”. That was not going to placate me. I had to tell someone who would be excited for me. Here’s a tip – the Woolies home delivery guy is not that someone. Nor is the Australia Post guy. In fact, most people look at you kind of strangely if you blurt out “I’m pregnant”. After all thousands of women around the world find out they’re pregnant every day. If I’d said “I’m pregnant and it’s octuplets…an alien…yours…”
When you’re going through the trials of IVF, it’s good to have a support network of friends and family, so of course, I wasn’t planning on waiting the requisite 3 months to tell them all. I couldn’t even wait 3 hours. I rang my IVF doctor’s office and organised for a blood test to confirm the result.
I was then in full baby alert mode. I needed to find an OB/GYN and get booked in. I called a midwife friend of mine and got some names. I adopted a similar system that I had used in finding the IVF doctor, only this time, I wasn’t too fussy about male or female. I also found that many of the OB’s were not taking on patients who were due on New Year’s Eve!!!! Hey, if I, as a professional singer with a professional drummer husband, can take the night off from the best paying gig all year to push this kid out, the least they can do is get off their yacht to come and catch it! I managed to get an appointment with one and got onto the internet to see what sort of feedback was on forums about him. When my husband came home and I told him who I’d booked in with, he started laughing. At first I thought perhaps this was his ex-wife’s OB. But no. They went to high school together! I should have known. Every time we need a service, for our wedding, boat, car, he went to school with someone who works in that industry who might be able to help us out. I told him he would not be coming to the first appointment in case I didn’t like him. If I like him, then I’ll tell him who my husband is, and we can discuss mates rates!
My body started to change instantly. I don’t know if they were psychosomatic changes or were really happening. I felt very bloated and my abdomen turned to jelly. I also got carpel tunnel in my left wrist, which I have heard is very common in pregnancy. It was so painful I had to put it in a brace. I bought a pregnancy book and looked in the index to see which bits I needed to know – with my history, what made you think I’d read it from the beginning?
A couple of weeks later, we flew to Mt Gambier to work. At the airport, my wrist was so sore I had trouble getting my laptop out of the case to go through security.I had been feeling fine and was just bursting with excitement and trying to calm down a bit. Otherwise it was going to be a very long 9 months. The next morning, I started spotting. Nothing to worry about, I told myself. That can happen. But it got heavier. I started to panic. It was a very calm, internalised panic. If I’m going to miscarry, then there’s nothing I can do about it and this pregnancy was not meant to continue for a reason. The people we were staying with called a friend who is a GP with a gynaecological specialty. He saw me straight away and sent me for a scan. I was almost 6 weeks but the scan showed less, which was an indication that things weren’t going well.
I didn’t cry. Well, maybe a little one. It was meant to be. And, as if to send me some symbolic message, the pain in my wrist was completely gone by the next day.