25 Things No One Tells You About IVF and infertility…

1. When people say IVF is an ’emotional roller coaster’, they are sugar coating it – nothing will prepare you for the soul destroying cycle of hope and despair/hope and despair like month in, month out unsuccessful IVF cycles.

2.You will find yourself living in two week blocks – two weeks of self injecting hormones and watching to see if you got good eggs up… two weeks of waiting to see if your cycle worked. You will plan your entire life around these two week blocks.

3. Well meaning friends who aren’t aware or have forgotten that you are on IVF, will ask ‘So, when are you two starting a family?’ (sometimes while smugly patting a growing abdomen), which will simultaneously make you want to burst into tears and/or stab someone.

4.  IVF totally kills your sex life – after months (for some people, years) of trying the ‘old fashioned way’, you will find yourself being told NOT to have sex at various time while trying to conceive on IVF.

5. After a while on IVF, you will start avoiding baby showers and visiting friends with new babies. – you will even avoid the baby section of department stores and women with strollers in public… anything to stay away from the little emotional time bombs.

6. IVF drives home just how ‘animal’ humans are, and how hard we work to ignore this fact in our day to day lives – being infertile and unable to breed makes you feel ‘less of a woman’… femmascualated, if you will.

7. When on IVF, topics like vaginal discharge, sperm count, sperm motility, testicular aspiration, and fallopian hydration all become perfectly acceptable conversational gobbits, and will be trolled out with alarming regularity, even over the dinner table.

8. IVF patients see a pregnant teenager smoking or drinking, or a new brand new mom smoking near an infant, and do not just go ‘Tut, tut, how irresponsible!’ – they will go into a completely uncharacteristic, blind rage and have to employ all their self restraint to refrain from ripping that person a new asshole.

9.  When on IVF, people will frequently say, to ‘Why don’t you just adopt?’ – like there is a magical baby store somewhere that you can just rock up to a counter, place your order and pick up a matching pair of kids for an instant family.

10. While on IVF you won’t want to have sex – your abdomen will be bloated and tender from injecting hormones – so you won’t want to have sex during the follicular stimulation part of your cycle.  Waxy progesterone pessaries or Crinone glugging up your vagina like Clag, is so NOT sexy – so you won’t want to have sex during the luteal support phase of your cycle either.

11. You will find yourself unable to be genuinely happy for any friends or family members who are pregnant/having babies/have newborns… you find yourself faking happiness in these situations and turning in an Oscar winning performance.  This is emotionally exhausting.

12. On IVF, time ceases to pass in the same way – normally days and weeks and months normally seem to fly, but when waiting to do a pregnancy test, time will creep by the speed and velocity of cold molasses flowing uphill.

13. People will judge you for trying ‘extreme measures’ like IVF. They will say that you will ‘get pregnant as soon as you stop trying so hard’ – this is complete and utter bullshit.  No one in their right mind would put themselves through IVF unless they had serious medical issues.

14. While on IVF, even if you have a rare and fleeting moment when you feel up to it, your partner won’t want to have sex with you – he’ll be worried about knocking those precious little embryos out of place.

15.  When you’re on IVF, a veritable plethora of absurd advice will rain down upon you with alarming regularity – ‘Just take a holiday and it’ll happen’… ‘You just need to relax and it’ll happen’… ‘Try standing on your head after sex and it’ll happen’ – I shit you not on that last one.

16.  At some point when undergoing IVF procedures it becomes perfectly normal and routine to have a big plastic wand shoved in your vagina, sometimes several times each month – regular trans-vaginal ultrasounds become the least of your problems.

17.  The phrase ‘Life isn’t Fair’ takes on a whole new meaning – after enduring unsuccessful IVF treatments you’ll find yourself pondering women who get pregnant and don’t want to be and thinking ‘why is it so easy for everyone else???’

18. When you’re on IVF eventually the idea that people can get pregnant through sexual intercourse becomes a concept so foreign to you, as to be completely fucking absurd – conception no longer has anything to do with physical intimacy with your partner.

19. IVF somehow makes your uterus public property – everyone from your mum, your sister, your neighbours, your work colleagues, to your hairdresser will all have an opinion on what you are doing ‘wrong’ and they will be only to happy to share it.

20. After a while on IVF treatments the phrase ‘We are praying for you’, will make you want to commit grievous bodily harm.  With the nearest blunt instrument.  You will need a chaperone/witness for social occasions.

21. At some point on IVF you will try to convince yourself that you have ‘given up’ – but deep down inside you will discover you are unable to… even years later you may find you never actually ‘gave up’ and the pain of it all is still with you.

22. If you are on IVF long enough (too long?) you will find yourself developing deep and abiding friendships with the anaesthetists who keep you company while you wait for your surgeon – you may even end up with a favourite anaesthetist (this is a very sad state of affairs).

23. While on IVF, you will learn more about the female anatomy, the reproductive system, hormones and artificial reproductive technologies than you ever wanted to know… you will become the ‘Girly Swot Guru’ for the rest of your fertile female friends.

24. Early on during IVF your modesty will be defenestrated – about the second or third time you have an embryo transfer with your OB/GYN, a scientist or two, a nurse, an orderly and some strange guy writing notes in the corner of the room while you have your feet in the stirrups you will decide: ‘Modesty, schmodesty.’

25. But the worst thing no one tells you about when you’re on IVF is that a positive pregnancy test is no guarantee of a healthy viable foetus – so much can still go wrong from the point of conception and positive test to actually growing a healthy baby, and a miscarriage after years of effort, pain and expense is absolutely soul destroying.

test tube babies ivf pain

Lost in Translation

I read an article’11 Untranslatable Words From Other Cultures’  that focused on a handful of words that are completely untranslatable into the English language without resorting to an entire phrase to replace one elegant word.  Most of these words encapsulate a universal human experience that occurs in the English speaking world, but English simply does not have single words to represent these concepts.

Which immediately reminded me of a ridiculously long and equally obscure Inuit word which reflected a uniquely Inuit practice, but which was annoyingly eluded me and has been on the tip of my tongue for days.  So I started to search for it… and instead I found a whole collection of other awesome, yet untranslatable, words from other languages.  Naturally, through my research I have been unable to find the original Inuit word I was looking for..  :/

untranslatable words culaccino

Mamihlapinatapei – Yagan (indigenous language of Tierra del Fuego) – “The wordless, yet meaningful look shared by two people who both desire to initiate something but are both reluctant to start.”
Donaldkacsázás –  Hungarian – Literally translated as “Donald Ducking” but refers to the act of wandering around one’s house wearing a shirt and no trousers like the beloved Disney character.

untranslatable words depaysement

Litost – Czech – The state of agony and torment created by the sudden sight of one’s own misery.
Drachenfutter – German – Literally, “dragon fodder,”. Refers to the gift German husbands bestow on their wives when they’re the doghouse, IE: have stayed out late or they have otherwise engaged in some kind of inappropriate behaviour.
Ya’aburnee – Arabic – Morbidly beautiful this word means “You bury me,” and is a declaration of one’s hope that they will die before another person, because of how difficult it would be to live without them.

untranslatable words goya

Kyoikumama – Japanese – “A mother who relentlessly pushes her children toward academic achievement.”
Ponte – Italian – While it literally means “bridge,” this word also refers to the concept of taking an extra day off taken to make a national holiday falling on a Tuesday or Thursday, into a four-day vacation.
L’appel du vide – French – Literally, “the call of the void”, this French expression is used to describe the instinctive urge to jump from high places (not sure this one counts, it’s more a phrase).

untranslatable words iktsuarpok

Tartle – Scottish – The act of hesitating while introducing someone because you’ve forgotten their name.
Duende – Spanish – refers to the mysterious power that a work of art has to deeply move a person, though it was originally used to describe a sprite-like entity that possessed humans and creates the feeling of awe of one’s surroundings in nature.

Bakku-shanJapanese – A woman that looks attractive from the rear but not from the front.

untranslatable words jayus

Ilunga – Tshiluba (Southwest Congo) – the willingness to forgive and forget any first abuse, tolerate a second abuse, but never forgive nor tolerate a third offence.
Dozywocie – Polish – Many cultures acknowledge this concept, but Polish sums it up in a single word, it refers to the parental contract with children that guarantees offspring lifelong support.
Saudade – Portuguese – this word refers to the feeling of longing for something or someone that you love and which is lost.

untranslatable words komorebi

Prozvonit – Czech – The act of calling a mobile phone and letting it ring once so that the other person will call back, saving the first caller money.

Wom-baPersian – Describes the smile of a child as it sleeps.

Lingam – Sanskrit – Refers to the symbol of the erect penis or phallus used as an object of veneration and worship.
Takallouf – Urdu – Loosely translated as “formality,” it often refers to the prodigious amount of preparation put into hosting a tea or dinner.  However, it also refers to a deeply ingrained social restraint so extreme, as to make it impossible for the victim to express what he or she really means.

untranslatable words mangata

Torschlusspanik – German – Translated literally, it means “gate-closing panic,” but its contextual meaning actually refers to the fear of diminishing opportunities as one gets older.
Wabi (rhymes with Bobby) – Japanese – A flawed detail that allows the creation of an elegant whole.
Ayurnamat – Inuit – Roughly translates as the philosophy that there is no point in worrying about events that cannot be changed.

untranslatable words panapo o

Cafuné – Brazilian Portuguese – Tenderly running one’s fingers through someone’s hair.
Treppenwitz – German – Literally “the wit of the staircase,” also known as that witty comeback that only occurs to you after you’ve left an argument you’ve lost. It’s a universal pain that most of us know all too well.
Gagung – Cantonese – Translates as “bare branches,” this word is used to talk about men who have little chance to get married or start families due to China’s one-child policy.

untranslatable words pochemuchka

Tingo – Pascuense (Easter Island) – The act of taking objects one desires from the house of a friend by gradually borrowing all of them.
Frotteur – French – An individuals who get their rocks off by rubbing their crotches against the buttocks of women in crowds… classy.
Fremdschämen – German again – This is a word for the embarrassment one feels at watching someone else embarrass themselves, a sort of secondhand awkwardness.

untranslatable words sombremesa

Hyggelig – Danish – Difficult to translate, it gives connotations of a warm, friendly, cozy demeanor, but it’s unlikely that just these words truly capture the essence of a hyggelig; it’s something that must be experienced – think of good friends, cold beer, and a warm fire; to create intimacy.
Kokusaijin – Japanese – This has a literal translation as “an international person,” but refers only to Japanese people who have f0reign language skills and get along well with foreigners.
Chai-pani – Hindi-Urdu – While it literally means “tea and water,” this compound word is used to describe the money and favours given to someone, often a bureaucrat, to get things done.  In English, the closest we have is “greasing someone’s palm.”

untranslatable words waldeinsamkeitAnd last but not least… my favourite and yours:

Schadenfreude – German – Quite famous for its meaning, such that it has been absored into other languages; this refers to the feeling of pleasure derived by seeing another’s misfortune.  Think ‘Funniest Home Videos’.

UPDATE:    (Thursday, 17th October, 10:41PM)

I found it!  Bizarre words ahoy…

Aerodjarekput Inuit – A term used for the act of swapping wives with another family for a few days to a week during the extended winter period.  Also refers to a long standing, socially accepted practice of co-marriage or polygamy within traditional Inuit culture.

Huh.  So what started out as 11 Untranslatable Words… has turned into 41 Untranslatable Words.  The ridiculous stuff that sticks in your head, taking up valuable memory space…?   :S


It’s on my list…

I write lists all the time.  Shopping lists… grocery shopping lists… building materials shopping lists…. birthday present shoppings lists…. lists of recipes to try… ‘to do’ lists…  lists of upcoming committments… wish lists… lists of names I like… lists of cool quotes I’ve heard… and it goes on and on.  My iPhone is also stuffed full of notes that are basically lists of ‘stuff’ – movies that I want to see, books I should read, music that I want to get. 

I think it’s what compels me to fill out so many of those internet memes that pop up all over the place.  They’re questionaires, but they feel like uncompleted lists.  Must answer to complete list.   I have my own TO DO LIST… you know… the one of all the cool stuff you want to do in your life.  It largely incorporates lots of cool stuff I have already done…  but I also have a list in the back of my head of all the stuff that I always WANTED to do but never did because of my ‘bad back’ has been holding me back for years.

I never went waterskiing again after 1991.
I never went sky diving with my Dad.
I never went white water rafting with my friends in Austria.
I never joined the army which was my plan for ages.
I never got a motobike license.
I never went paragliding in Ouldeniz.
I never went scuba diving again.
I never walked up the Spanish Steps.
I never took up martial arts.
I never played basketball again.
I never bought an old Charger to do up.
I never built the Small Child a cubby house.
I never took up target shooting.
I never went canoeing or kyaking again.
I never climbed Cradle Mountain.
I never swim in the surf anymore.

There’s been so many things over the last 17 years that I just didn’t do or I avoiding doing because my back hurt or I knew it would hurt me more if I did them.  Only now (all things being relative) I’m look back and thinking… "You stupid dumb bitch."   I had a window.  I had a window… and I didn’t even see it.

My back pain started in 1991.  I left working in an office in 1994.  Retired on the grounds of permanent and partial incapacity in 1997.  Studied until 1999.  Got the court case all finalized in 2000.  Had the Small Child in 2001.  Got back into part time work by 2003.  Was doing IVF until the end of 2005 and then got back to full time work in 2007.

And that was my window… between quitting IVF at the end of 2005 and starting full time work in 2007 was my window.  The window where I had learned to manage and alleviate my back pain to a point where it wasn’t affecting me every day.  I was at my fittest, I wasn’t taking ANY medications, I had a positive outlook for the future, I was working full time even managing dodgy shift work, dancing for fun and fitness, gainfully engaged in the SCA and for the most part… I was doing okay.  I was having pain issues – but they weren’t overwhelming.  In hindsight the back pain played a small bit part in my life, but it was not the depressing, debilitating, all encompassing, inescapable and pervasive animal that it is now.

That was my window…  I might not have been able to race back to Austria, to Cradle Mountain, to Rome or Ouldeniz, but I could have joined a social basketball team, I could have taken up target shooting again, I could have taken the time to hit the beach occasionally, I could have gone canoeing with my Mum, I could have built the Small Child his cubby house… but I didn’t.  I didn’t because I didn’t want to ‘stir up my back’.

I had a window fuck it … and now it feels like I missed it.

What a pathetic groupie I’d make.

I’ve been trying to remember the bands and performers I’ve seen in concert and it’s not so easy for some reason.  Some I can’t be sure where I saw them, and some I can’t even really pinpoint with whom or when.  Expo being in Brisbane when I was a teenager was great.  Myself and my boyfriend had season passes so we went as often as we could.

Motley Crue  (BEC)
Masters’ Apprentices (Alex Hills)
Joe Cocker (Fisherman’s Wharf)
Motorhead * (Tallebudgerra)
Jimmy Barnes (twice at Expo, once at BEC)
UB40 (BEC)
John Cougar Mellancamp (twice – Expo)
Megadeath (Festival Hall)
Luciano Pavarotti (Farewell Tour)
Eurogliders (Expo)
Redgum (Amamoor)
Crowded House (Expo)
Tina Turner (BEC)
Nathan Cavilleri (Expo)
1927 (Alex Hills)
Aerosmith (BEC – fell asleep)
Ladysmith Black Mombazo (Expo)
Slim Dusty (under duress)
Wickety Wak (ditto)
Funaddicts (Easts)
Blur (Festival Hall)
Riptides  (Fisherman’s Wharf)
Cat Empire (Tivoli)
Rod Stewart  (BEC)
John Williamson (Sth Stradbroke Is and Amamoor)
The Angels (Manly Hotel)
Mental As Anything (Expo)
John Farnham (BEC)
Nick Cave (Expo)
Deltones (Twin Towns)
Kate Cebrano (Expo
The Choir Boys (Manly Hotel)
Violent Femmes  (Fisherman’s Wharf)
Black Sorrows (Expo)
Dame Kiri Tekanawa (in NZ)
Hoodoo Gurus (Expo too)
Ted Egan  (Amamoor)
The Cockroaches (before they became squillionaire Wiggles)

*what little they played before the police dogs and paddy wagons turned up.

Well not a particularly illustrious list based on what I can remember – likely that which hasn’t been remembered is not worth remembering anyways.  I knew I hadn’t been to many concerts… but that’s a sad, sad list indeed.  There is however a really diverse and eclectic range of music genres encompassed in the list and it occurs to me that I look rather well rounded… or like I’ve got some majorly fragmented personality or something. 

My favourite acts on that list would have to be Joe Cocker, Violent Femmes and Pavarotti… all brilliant.  Given what it costs these days to buy a ticket to go see a live act it’s no suprise that there’s not many modern acts on that list at all. 

Tea… Tee… Ti… “T”

Given my somewhat dubious mental state of late it’s no wonder I’m finding it ever more difficult to think of positive things to write about.  I had abandoned my alphabet a while back but decided forcing myself to try and keep thinking of nice things was a good idea.  So here I’m trying hard to come up with some things I like that start with “T” and very creatively the first thing that comes to mind is “Tea”.  Yeah… I’m really on top of my game here…

List of 10 Things I Like That Start With “T”….
1.   Tea – there’s something wonderfully civilized about a nice cup of tea
2.   True Love – the ‘I love you, dirty secrets, warts and all’ honest sort of love
3.   Train travel –
the motion of a swaying train is so sensual
4.   Tattoos – well executed custom designed personal tattoos… not flash
5.   Typing – the most truly useful thing I learned in high school.
6.   Tudors, The – fantastic show… I’m absolutely loving it
7.   Thesaurus – I like not using the same words over and over
8.   Teachers – they’ve got a hard job and they should be treasured
9.   Terriers – Caesar our Aussie Terrier is a wonderful little guy
10. Thunderstorms – Big, fat cold raindrops falling on your face after a sweltering summers day and the energy of the lightning and the sound of the distant thunder can be exhilarating.  Going out in a storm and getting soaked to the bone then coming in to get all warmed up… you can’t buy that feeling.

Toilet doll crocheted

I mean … honestly!

List of 10 Things I Hate or Dislike That Start With “T”

1.   Trifle – cake and jelly and cus-tard oh my.  Bleurk
2.   Trespassers – personal property or personal space – am often territorial
3.   Tea cosies – little woollen tea cosies? oh dear – grandma alert
4.   Trinket boxes – you’d be hard pressed to find anything more useless
5.   Toilet paper dolls – crocheted Barbies for the loo… i don’t get it
6.   TV theme songs – don’t change them half way through, it pisses us off
7.   Thimbles – hate using thimbles they seem to make me all thumbs
8.   Therapists –  mainly the psycho-babble ones… grrrr
9.   Two Faced – represent yourself honestly & expect the same courtesy
10. Toilet humour – I’ve never quite seen the appeal of poo and fart jokes.  That scene in Something About Mary where the guy gets his penis stuck in his zipper?  And then there was some other teen movie where the toilets exploded and some chick had shit raining down all over her?  I can’t stand that sort of humour and actually find it insulting to my intelligence.  It’s not witty, clever or amusing – it’s purile, banal and utterly aimed to appeal to the lowest common denominator.