Thursday, 17 September 2009

Again with the IVF: Things the Cherryblossom Taught Us

Preface: Everybody in this house has been hit with a stomach bug so violent, and so long-lasting that I have gone crazy and come back again. Poor Rocco ... it has been the sickest he has ever been. A few nights ago was one of the worst nights of his life, possibly even worse than his first night home after he was born. Emergency midnight baths were needed, he was up every half-hour, shitting and teething and crying. Dave is away - it was all up to me.

Where do those deep wells of mother love and kindness come from? Mine *almost* ran dry. I don't function so hot when things are too overwhelming for me. As you can see from my twitter update yesterday:

I wasn't joking, not one little bit. (Click on above image for a larger view ... please note, my cluttered, overflowing "office" is so messy that I must write from bed. One day, when real life starts, I will get organised. I will. Why can I suddenly hear my sisters laughing?)

So, that's why it's taken so long to post. I have a series of posts waiting patiently in line in my head, after this IVF mini-series is finished. They have all taken a number from the deli counter machine. But they all came after this, and none would make any sense until I had written this out.


Before you read this post you must look at this photo of Dave planting a Cherryblossom tree on the 1st September, 2007:

My embryo transfer was the 1st September, 2007. The first day of spring .. a Saturday. I'd driven down by myself .... Dave hardly came to any appointments at all with me to do with the IVF, which was mostly fine. It took AGES for his poor purple nethers to heal .. and all of you are right. It was such a display of love. The doctor actually stuffed up the first sperm aspiration, and had to do it twice on Dave. Twice. The guy's a keeper.

Straight after my embryo transfer, I drove into the driveway to find Dave gardening. He called me over to tell me he was planting a cherryblossom tree. He said, "I thought I could plant this, the same day you got implanted." I smiled. My first thought was to correct his mistakes, because ask ANY woman undergoing fertility treatments and she will tell you that "implant" and "transfer" are two very, very different things. Embryo transfer is when the embryo is transferred into the uterus. Implantation occurs when the embryo adheres, or implants, to the wall of the uterus. Not every embryo transfer ends in a pregnancy. Sometimes, the embryo does not implant. This could be for different reasons, but it's the same as "normal" babymaking ... just because you have sex doesn't mean you get pregnant, even if the sperm travels to the egg at the right time, etc.

The second, louder but unspoken thought I had when I saw Dave planting that cherryblossom tree ... YOU IDIOT! Because it's rare for a woman to achieve a pregnancy and then go on to have a child, after her first-ever IVF cycle. All the nurses all the way through spoke to me as if my first cycle was doomed anyway, more of an "oh, let's see what we do wrong now so we can do it right the next time" kind of way. So I expected it to fail, yet inexplicably and simultaneously expecting it to succeed. Strange.

I watched Dave plant the tree - even took a photo, and resigned myself to the fact that the tree would always remind me of my first failed IVF cycle.

Have I ever mentioned I'm a glass-half-empty kind of gal?

I went inside, walked straight upstairs, and pissed on the first of 798 pregnancy tests I had stashed away. I had been given an HcG shot, so knew I would get double lines. My plan was to test every day, watch the second line fade, and then if I really WAS pregnant, hopefully watch a second line appear.

I took it easy, laid around. Walked gingerly. Full of this brand-new hope that, after all these years, there was an actually possibility I might be pregnant. The only people who knew were my sisters ... and my bloggy peeps. I blogged everything, in detail, daily. It was exciting, and nerve-wracking, wonderful and terrible. I received support from women still in the trenches ... still undergoing treatment to try for their first child. And here I was, hoping for my second. I will forever be grateful and amazed at their Grace, to give support freely to me.

There is this thing called the 2-week wait, or 2WW. Like, a limboland, waiting for the embryo to implant ... or not. Every twinge, every bump ... is obviously a sign from Jesus.

I promised Dave I wouldn't piss on any pregnancy tests, but I privately pissed on every pregnancy test. One day I was waiting for one to dry, ran outside to my car, and I don't know how but I managed to drop it in the crevice of my dashboard console. I think of it sometimes ... still there, with the answer that I never saw.

The HcG finally went down after a week, so I had a pure white test one morning, with no false second line. Let the games begin. Wanting something so badly .... made my heart spin around on its bloody axis a few times, do some somersaults off a lung, then spring back in its place.

At 8dp2dt (8 days past a 2-day transfer - (embryo was 2 days old)) .... I was down in Sydney with Max, about to go to his cousins birthday party. We were in a food hall, suddenly I got ravenous, and craved a particular food. Right then, with my mouth salivating, I knew. I knew I was pregnant. I bought some massamum curry with naan and dahl, wolfed them down, and went to a public toilet for pregnancy test #649. (Nancy I know you don't believe in food cravings, and I never had any with Max - but I swear, that was the first of MANY food cravings. I'm here to tell you .. they are real.)

So, I took my first big proper official pregnancy test in a disabled/parenting toilet in Bondi Westfields, with my five year old fully clued in. "MUM! Why are you weeing on a plastic thing??"

(I'm all class. Delayed gratification? What's that?)

The pregnancy test was positive.

The end.


It wasn't the end - it was just the beginning. Of the second-biggest, longest, torturous journey I have ever been on in my life.

Here is the Cherryblossom, two years later. (I put this post into Stirrup Queens weekly Show and Tell .)
Spring is here .... the blossoms are just starting to show. The buds and flowers and fresh growth are all there, just below the surface. How can I be 37 and not know that all of that renewal is underneath the barest of branches? Like, I didn't know Dave's renewal was underneath all of his cancer and sick and tumours. Patrick Swayze died this week from cancer. A husband of one of Maxs teachers at school died this week, from cancer. Max brought the note home, with this look in his eyes. I read it and was silent. Max turned to me ... "Mum, can you believe dad SURVIVED????"

The Cherryblossom does not remind me of my failed IVF attempt ... it was Dave's intention for it to remind me of the baby that was to hopefully come. The tree has stood there, quietly, doing its own thing. Throughout all the chaos and bullshit, it's just there, being a Cherryblossom tree.

It's teaching me things that I don't even realise yet .... Zen things.


(PS: I will now be blogging a whole lot more often)


  1. What an incredibly cool story. I'm so glad that tree has more meaning to you than just a failed ivf.

  2. Beautiful. I heart you, my dear--big, puffy heart you.

    I'm so glad that Dave had faith and planted that tree. What a perfect gift. Plus you get the added gift of Zen things! Hugs.

  3. Thank you for sharing such a lovely story!

  4. I love the tree - what a great, hopeful thing for Dave to do for you.

    I hope you know that everyone's well almost runs dry.

  5. My dad planted a weeping cherry tree for my mom when she found out she was pregnant with me. Your story made me think of that. I think it's still in her front yard.

  6. I love what that tree represents. What a great story. ((hugs))

    And I have just got to ask...where the heck did you pee that you were waiting in the car for it to dry? Haha...did you just get an inkling to pull over on the side of the road and pop a squat? :)

  7. Tell us how you and dave met and fell in love sometime. (sorry if you already did and I haven't found that post yet)

  8. A beautiful post. Thank you for sharing.

  9. I have things that remind me of my first failed IVF. In fact there is one location in particular - a hotel in a fancy location that we stayed at for a wedding just a day after I got the bad news. And I happened by there the other day and my stomach did a flip flop, remembering the horrible emotional pain I was in when I stayed there.

    I'm glad you don't have to have such a reminder in your very own back yard.

  10. I love the tree. Beautiful...and what an amazing story. Me, I have dogs - one for each failed IVF. Ha, lucky we didn't do four!

    Just a lovely lovely happy ending to everything. Your best is yet to come dear one xx


  12. This post made me cry. Well, the tears didn't actually fall, but my eyes got blurry. Which, for me, is the same.

    What a beautiful tree. I'm glad Dave planted it for all of you. That's so beautiful.

    I hope you all feel better. Poor little Rocco.

  13. This is such a fabulous post. I love the cherry tree. It's a beautiful tree with a great memory attached.

  14. bah. food cravings are all in your mind. :)!

    And did I tell you I'm getting a cherry blossom tree for my second sleeve? My kids names will all be written in the branches.


Write to be understood, speak to be heard. - Lawrence Powell

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