Saturday, April 21, 2012

From a tiny egg donation ... What a Beautiful Life

Five years ago I answered a "Wanted" ad that has absolutely and forever changed my life.
The ad, in the Sunday paper, which I never normally read, was from a couple who needed a third person.
They needed what they could not fulfill by themselves.
They needed eggs.
They had a  precious little girl via a previous donor but now so dearly wanted to complete their family.

I had eggs. But I also had a husband who generally doesn't go and do random things for complete strangers. I casually mentioned the ad to him, and his reply was "Yes! I saw that too and thought of you. Do you want to call them?"
Miracle No 1.

I have 4 children and my last baby was a special IVF baby (note to ALL readers - 25 is TOO young to decide to have your fallopian tubes tied!) I was so lucky to only need one cycle of IVF - with one miscarried transfer then our beautiful girl. Because I had already been through IVF I knew what to expect and how my body would cope.
Miracle No 2.

But I was also 34, well past the preferred age for donors, so when I rang and spoke to S I was really trying to encourage her and to tell her and her husband that I was thinking of them. I was more than happy to put my name on the list of possibilities but didn't think I would be what they wanted.

Later that evening S called. She was sweet and lovely and so very unexpectedly said they wanted my eggs. Now this might seem weird but I didn't feel any trepidation or regret, no fear or worry. I was absolutely thrilled and delighted.

We talked for over an hour. Then the next night and the next. I described my physical appearance (LOL ... just on 5 foot, weird frizzy hair, little squinty eyes, but I'm AWESOME). They responded with "We don't care if you look like a monkey! We want you!". Husband R rang to have a chat and we talked about important things.

We discussed what would happen if the baby was born with a disability. They would love it regardless. We discussed what would happen if there were leftover embryos. They promised to either use them or donate them. We discussed normal life, heartache, marriage, toddlers, crazy hormones and everything inbetween. I committed to one cycle of IVF.
Miracle No 3.

The Man I Married had to officially give me permission to donate. In front of witnesses. And sign documents giving me permission. HOW bizarre. Legally I can terminate a pregnancy without his knowledge, but I can't give life without it.

We went to mandatory counselling sessions where we obediently answered questions which we had already discussed and decided upon. We signed on the dotted line.

We began IVF - sprays up the nostril for 10 days ( Both me and S so we were in sync) then injections to make my ovaries produce more eggs. At this point you may want to wince but actually the needle is tiny and it was ok. I was maybe a little moody but that's normal for me anyway :-)

They scanned my ovaries and found gorgeous fat eggs developing.
I went to Melbourne for the retrieval - fast asleep, and woke up to learn that there were 9 beautiful eggs waiting to fertilise with R's contribution in a little glass dish

6 had fertilised by morning. FANTASTIC !

Miracle No 4.
Not all fertilised eggs make it through the first few days, but by transfer day there were still 4 healthy embryos.
One was transferred.
It didn't stay
The next one transferred,
It didn't stay
The last two were thawed but only one made it through the defrost.
This transfer had to work, and it did... for a little while. After a wonderful positive pregnancy, heartbreak. That little precious embryo just couldn't hold on.

I can't tell you how many tears were shed, it was truly awful. How cruel to have had your dream in sight only to have it disappear.  

I had only agreed to one cycle but I remember saying to R "It's not the end, not until one of us says we are done."

We did another cycle. More sprays, injections and retrievals. Less eggs this time, but still 3 fertilised. Three.

The transfer, the 17th for S,  went ahead and she was, understandably, a ball of negativity. I can't imagine having my heart broken 17 times. 
"It hasn't worked...." she said, in the wee small hours, on the phone. 
But it had.

It really, really had.
Miracle No 5.

Nine months later the most perfect little boy came into the world.
He was gorgeous and wonderful and healthy and perfect.
Miracle No 6.

21 April 2009 

I have never once felt a twinge of regret. I never ever thought I was doing the wrong thing. I am not jealous or sad, wistful or wishful. I don't think of this little boy as any part of mine, he is special and wonderful and the son of two of my friends. S and I chat on the phone, she sends photos all the time and I struggle to see any resemblance. All I can see is his daddy, and a whole lot of love.

He turns 3 today. He sang "Happy Birthday To You" to me on the phone today. He's hilarious and solemn, stubborn and snuggly. He is busy and hard work and crazy and adored.

Happy birthday P-man. You are everything we dreamed of. xxxx

Miracle No 7.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Teenagers- Not So Much

This morning was an ugly morning.

I fought with Mr 18, forcing him to get up and go to school.

Miss 16 is the grey man who likes to fly below the radar, so she got up and got ready. Except that she is very quietly defiant and stubborn.

Miss 7 was argumentative and difficult, took 45 minutes to eat one bowl of cereal and was a pain in the a*se.

Miss 14, precious love of my life was so ANGRY and STUBBORN and PISSED OFF.

So, today I had a day off, I scrubbed my kitchen ( this is like therapy for me), & had a yummy lunch out with my Mum and this afternoon I was all set to write a blog post full of teen parenting angst.

I was going to write about my broody boy, all just-turned-adult-manliness, except he's standing in the kitchen singing to the kitten.

"Soft Kitty, Warm Kitty

Little Ball of Fur.

Happy kitty, sleepy kitty,

Purr purr purr."

I was going to write about my gorgeous but dreamily removed-from-reality 16 yr old, but she is in her room drawing amazing treats like this...

I was going to write about my 14 yr old who makes me crazy on a daily basis, who challenges me, but who also makes me laugh like a lunatic because she is JUST LIKE ME , but she is busy transferring sweet, non-swearing-but-okay-to-dance-to songs to her little sister's IPod and being lovely.

I was going to write about how tired I am, how over "it" I am, how sick of parenting and dealing with kids I am, but actually, today, I am in BLISS.

In BLISS, that's a special place to be. My kids are not perfect and they make me crazy but they are mine and I am always in awe and amazement at their wonderfulness. I am blessed in every way by these people, they are growing quickly, they are collecting baggage, they are strong willed, stubborn and opinionated,

just like I raised them to be.

much love to everyone tonight, xxx


Saturday, April 14, 2012

No Longer a Mummy

Somewhere, in the past few years, I have slid from being a Mummy to being a Mum.

It happens slowly, silently and without fanfare.

There is no farewell party and no-one gives you an award when you arrive on the other side.

Here's how I know I am no longer a Mummy

I no longer feel the need to discuss my offspring's poo. Its consistency, amount and frequency no longer fascinates and engages discussion at the checkout or in the pharmacy. I actually have no knowledge of their bowel habits, and for that I am deliriously grateful.

My handbag contains a wallet, a pair of sunglasses, keys and an iPhone. No nappy (diaper for the US contingent) no wipes, no pacifier, no half eaten cruskit, no packet of Tiny Teddies biscuits, no bandaids, no bibs, no enormous sets of plastic keys which play annoying tunes. Just grownup stuff and plenty of room.

My older three kids start sentences with "I'm just letting you know..." like they are keeping me in the social loop. This is not a request for permission to leave the house, this is just a courtesy call so I can cater for the correct number of meals at dinner time.

All kids can, with two minutes notice, get into the car fully clothed, toileted and shod WITHOUT help from me. The only shoelaces I tie are my own. We can arrive on time to events without 300 toilet stops along the highway and a return home because one child is not wearing underpants (again!).

Homework is now beyond my scope of practice. I was fine with simple readers but it seems as though all learning experiences are supercharged now. I cannot and do not wish to recall what the point of cosine, sine and ... whatever the other thingy was in triangles. I can't calculate what the angle is. I can't even work the stupid whizz bang, connect-me-to-the-internet calculator we had to purchase for 9th grade. I can't really remember which are the nouns and which are verbs and I don't really care! I can get my point across in a blog and that is sufficient for me. Anything more and I will suggest we email the teacher.

The backseat of my car does not have any dangly chains of brightly coloured bug-eyed dragonflies or teddy bears. There are no golden books scattered across the floor. I don't have a backseat-view mirror to gaze adoringly at my snoozing offspring. There is not a little white T-shirt declaring "Baby On Board" hanging in the window. There are NO carseats, booster seat, capsules or racing harnesses. There is no rug spread across the seat to protect it from spills. From door to door it is grey upholstery in all its naked glory.

Lastly, I know I have moved from Mummy to Mum because when I hear "Mummy" in my house someone is either wanting something or hurting .

"Mummy, can I please... please... please... have a kitten?"
"Mummy, she's being mean to me and I'm only little"
"Mummy, can 15 of my friends sleep over this weekend if we promise to be quiet?"
"Mummy, can I go to Melbourne on train with my friends for a concert?"

"Mummy, Mummy, Mummy" as my child wakes from an anaesthetic.

Yes my baby, always my baby, I'm here. I'm always here.

Friday, April 13, 2012

SYL 2012 - Time - Planning ( alternative title - Oh Crap)

Simplify Your Life Wk 14 - Time Management Planning

OH NO!!!
I am crap at time management.. crap crap crap.
I am utterly disorganised.
I am the mature age student who is madly writing a 2000 word essay because she forgot it is due in tomorrow. I am the mother who shows up at school an hour late for the performance because she forgot what time it started.
I am the wife who sneaks to the store after the kids have gone to bed to buy her husband a gift for his birthday which is tomorrow.. because (you know this bit) she forgot to keep track of the days.

I tell people I'm scattered, I'm flat out, I'm just in the middle of a crazy time, but the truth is.. I've been this way for a while now.

So the Simplify Your Life Challenge this week requires dedicated planning, organisation, committment to one method of recording. And I feel sick.

I love stationery and have all the physical tools to get organised but I am still in a total mess 95% of the time. I hate having to commit to one format, I am worried I won't hold it together. I am worried I will lose the book, the holder of the information, I am worried I will not continue to record important things, and so.... I don't do any of it. I fly by the seat of everyone else's pants.

The trouble is, I feel like the disorganisation of my world is hiding a bigger issue, and if I clean up one thing, the ugly truth will be revealed.

In my chaos I am always moving, going, doing and chasing. My friends see me rushing from one urgent event to the next and they often say "I don't know how you do it."

But the truth is, I'm not doing it well. I'm not actually doing any of it well.

I show up to class and all I can think about is the Dental  appointment I accidently scheduled for today, and how much information I will miss. I think about the fact that Miss 7 has a lunch box full of Uncle Toby products because I had 2 seconds spare this morning and basically emptied the snack cupboard into her bag. I think about the fact that yet again there is nothing organised for dinner, and wonder how many nights a week I can get away with eggs on toast before someone complains. I wonder who I will ask to collect Miss 7 from school tomorrow because after two and a half years of study I still haven't organised proper after school care for her. I worry about orders I have to send out for Button Bliss, and the advertising material that was due in last Friday. I worry that the dog is 3 months overdue for her vaccination. I forget to listen to the teacher so now I have to worry about that too.

The Man I Married is the polar opposite of me. He makes lists. Lots of lists. He makes lists of lists. He is organised and focused. He knows his purpose for the day and he moves steadily and unrelentingly towards the target. He has the most amazing diary and planner and he juggles many appointments and committments throughout the day, and he shows up to them all!
While this is awesome in many ways, there is rarely room for a diversion. He doesn't like to deviate from the plan.
Inconvenient roadblocks are handballed to me, so I find myself squeezing in more and more and more. And I become more chaotic and more disorganised.

The bigger issue I mentioned?
Time. Time to think about myself.
Too much time on my hands can lead me into a dark and nasty place, full of negativity and self doubt. If I stay busy and chaotic, I don't have time to worry about ME. There is security in that.

I can see however, there is a need for balance here. I need to get a plan, so important events don't pass by un-noticed . A meal plan would be good. My kids and husband would definitely be happier if I didn't look so wild and frantic all the time. I would be happier if I felt prepared for the next day.

Deb has suggested to babystep this weeks challenge (luckily for me) and I am holding on to this quote from her post.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

On The Run

From the Button Bliss files... On the Run

I have a confession to make... I'm a thief.
Yes I am sorry to everyone who believed in me , but there you go, a THIEF!
It's not my fault really.
Sometimes there is just so much going on, and the kids are yelling and I get distracted, and before you know it, there I am in Aldi, stealing.

Life in the Young household has been crazy, challenging, overwhelming and just plain out-of-control.

I have been sitting in a bit of a puddle lately, but yesterday I went to the supermarket with a friend who has no car. I only needed one thing, she needed lots, so we got a trolley and away we went, she pushing her trolley and me meandering behind.

Perhaps I haven't set the scene well enough. I also had Sarah (5yrs) with me, dressed in ugg boots, black and pink mini-dress, all topped with a fairy tutu, a tiara and plastic handcuffs. Cutting edge fashion.

So somewhere between aisle 3 and 4 I found myself pushing a trolley. I took it past the frozen goods section, had a wander through dairy and found myself face to face with my friend. WHO WAS ALSO PUSHING A TROLLEY !!!

We chatted a bit about the grapes and slowly... E..V..E..R.. so slowly it dawned on me that if she had the trolley, I should not be holding on to handlebars.
At this point it all went down hill (I do realise we were only on a slight rise to begin with) as I snorted with giggles and said "OMG I think I've stolen someones trolley". I swear, friend and I were standing there trying not to pee our pants, when the nicest backpackers two rows over started to look a little... well.....puzzled ...!

In between snorts of laughter and very red cheeks I called out "Is this your trolley". I think they thought I was a bit do-lally as they watched me remove my yogurt from their trolley and stand doubled over with giggles, and beetroot red cheeks behind my now catatonic friend.

Such a funny and giggly time has definitely put a bit off a spring in my step, after all, if I can make a total idiot of myself in the supermarket, anything else thrown my way is just FLOSS.

Be warned people. If you are in the supermarket guard your trolley with your life, you never know if I'm loose in the building


Saturday, April 7, 2012

The last time he held my hand

He turns 18 today.
How can that be?
That tiny baby is now a man. An adult.
Once upon a time he needed me, for everything. Once upon a time I was the centre of his world. Once upon a time his eyes would light up when I walked into the room, his chubby little arms would stretch out and he would cling to me.
I am so excited for him, for the brilliant new adventures that wait just around the corner, and yet, I am heart broken that my little boy is not mine anymore.
He is his own person, independant and stubborn. He doesn't have to ask my permission anymore. He answers to himself. When he hugs me now he towers over me, he has to lean down. He is strong and he pats my back, like I used to do for him.

I find myself this morning thinking of the last time he held my hand.
He was 11 and in Grade 5. We were walking out of school along to the car and he grabbed hold of my hand and walked along. I held my breath. It was such a rare treat and I knew it was an unconscious move.
We walked to the car talking about his day and suddenly he stood still looking at our hands. I laughed a little and said " You forgot that others are around didn't you?" He nodded and ever so slowly he let go.
My baby has grown up.
I wonder how long it will be before he holds my hand again.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

AUTISM Why I Need to Label My Child

Many times on our road to diagnosis I was asked,

"Why do you want to label your child?"

First let me rephrase your rude, insensitive and out of line question.

I don't WANT to label him. I want this whole bloody mess to be not happening. I want some normal. I want sleep. I want help.
No mother WANTS to spend hours in Doctors rooms trying to convince her already over-stressed, over-stimulated and over-analysed kid to 'just do his best'.
No mother WANTS to have her stomach hit the floor every time the school rings to report on her kid's latest social blunder.
No mother WANTS to dry the tears when her kid is the only one not invited to a party,or when the school suggests he not go on the end of year excursion.
No mother WANTS to rock him as he cries himself to sleep again, with her heart breaking and another day of the same crap coming up tomorrow.

Let me tell you why I NEED to label my child.

Without a label he is just naughty.
Without a label he is just disruptive.
Without a label he is just anti-social.
Without a label he is just disorganised and lazy.

Without a label he is without support or understanding in the classroom and playground.
Without a label there is no FUNDING and

Without a label the teachers have no guidelines, no strategies and no patience.
Without a label the principal won't speak to this mother.

If he does not have a label then he is just a little boy who sits in detention every day for not focusing, for not completing work, for lashing out at cruel kids, for refusing to look the teacher in the eye.

Yes, I need a label for my child.
Then maybe, the world will stop punishing him.
Maybe then he will be allowed to grow and flourish into an awesome young man.

Maybe, then, you will see what I see.

Photo snapped this morning by the gorgeous Madmother, with thanks xxx

Monday, April 2, 2012

Aspergers - The road to diagnosis

Lighting it up Blue for Autism Awareness Month 2012, blog-hopping with Renee from About A Bugg raising awareness across the world for all who slip and slide along the Austism Spectrum Scale

From when our son was a toddler we knew there was something unusual about him.
He was loving to a select few people, he spoke in adult ways, he was pedantic about the organisation and structure of play with his toys. It was a fate worse than death for any person who was silly enough to park the little police car in the ambulance bay on his car mat. Lego building was a precise and time consuming activity as all colours had to match pictures and none other could be substituted. We watched the same episode of Thomas The tank engine over and over and he would have a full on melt down if I tried to change to a different episode. Playgroup was a nightmare with Jack crying and hitting out at other children.

We spoke to the clinic sisters and doctors. They insisted all was fine.

We brought home a baby girl and Jacks' dislike for her was immense. He threw Tonka trucks at her. Pinched, pulled, smacked and stomped on her. We could not leave them in the same room as each other. When he described our family she was left out. She did not exist.

We spoke to clinic sisters and doctors. They insisted all was fine.

When he started school he could not cope with playground energy. He spent most of his Prep playtime either crying on the Prep steps or sitting in timeout for not playing properly. In the classroom he gazed out the window and daydreamed. In diary writing he learnt to write 3 words. Look At Me. He wrote those words each day and drew a scratchy picture of a boy in black and red crayon. After a month of the same sentence his teacher told him she never wanted him to write that sentence again. He stopped writing. He stopped trying.

We spoke to doctors. They insisted all was fine.

From Grade One to Grade 3 he spent almost every playtime in detention as punishment for incomplete work. The cycle was endless and soul destroying. I asked teachers to stop punishing him and start praising and they agreed. They punished him anyway. He only ever used black and red to draw. He said the other colours hurt his hands. He would say "I'm not a nice little boy". He had night terrors. He was so lost. He had no friends. He struggled to read the most basic words. School reports were harsh. I started surfing the internet for answers. Again and agin I came back to Aspergers Syndrome.

We spoke to doctors. They INSISTED all was fine.

It was suggested the problems were ADD, that he needed medication, that it would be more convenient beneficial to try medication. We tried it. It helped with his aggression towards his sister. He became more withdrawn. He stopped eating properly and lost weight. He stopped asking his funny questions. His school work did not improve. He made 3 friends. He still spent almost every playtime in detention. We stopped the medication. Teachers were unhappy. I asked about Aspergers Syndrome and assessments were performed. Recommendations were made. The school did not turn the list of recommendations past the first page. It was a wad of 120 pages. Unread, Untried, Pointless. In his Year 6 exit parent teacher interview his teacher told him and us that unless he went to university he would not amount to anything. Told him that he'd never earn enough money to support himself. The man I married used every ounce of energy and restraint to not punch the teacher. I wish he had.

We spoke to doctors. They conceded that perhaps, maybe, there was a chance that all was not fine, but admonished me for wanting to label my child.

At his small high school, finally, someone noticed. Finally someone stopped punishing and started helping us find answers. At high school my darling boy was finally allowed to be his quirky self. At high school teachers were given strategies to engage him, to help him, to recognise impending meltdowns and to give him an escape. Not all teachers embraced it, but many did. Not all teachers gave a crap, but many did.

The Applied Learning teacher came with me to the Doctor. She advocated for our son. She confirmed all that we had been saying for so so long. She spoke about him in a positive light. She highlighted his strengths as well as his weaknesses. 
We sat before a panel describing our home life, describing the hell that was Jacks primary schooling. We described our methods of coping. We described a funny, intelligent and witty young man who saw the world differently. We described a young man who at first refused to learn how to drive as "based on statistics, the motor vehicle is the most deadly weapon of the 21st century" A young man who gave impromptu lectures to groups of school children at Seaworld on the migratory habits of sharks when we went there for a family holiday. A young man who on paper is so far below average but in person is bright and clever with a wicked memory. A young man who has friends, who will sit holding a kitten for hours just so it can sleep, who will play "Guess Who" with his littlest sister so I can get some study done. A young man who, despite all the negativity, is comfortable in his own skin, who likes himself and has a very clear career plan.
The panel deliberated and finally they came back and with gentle voices told us they believed he had a disorder known as Aspergers Syndrome. They offered us comfort and counselling.

We insisted ALL WAS FINE