Finn & Rebecca

Finn & Rebecca

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Prescription for Hope

My Prof actually wrote out a prescription for hope for me - on his prescription book! He wrote out the letters H O P E !! and underlined it twice. Twice!

My appointment was last Thursday, and I drove to the practice with the feeling that inevitably the Prof would most likely agree with Dr S that things were not looking good for my eggs and that donor is the only way to go.

I arrived and waited in his room for a few minutes feeling a little nervous but resigned to what I had roll-played in my mind. The Prof arrived still in scrubs and I was pleased to see him - he really has such a collected and calm energy. He sat down and opened my file and asked me "Tell me what you think about this whole situation"...

?? Really. So off I launched into my pre-orchestrated spiel about protocols and Dr Sher's views on using Menopur and concerns about being Oestrogen dominant etc etc. So he stops me mid-rant and says, "No, you are chatting now - just tell me what you think about where we are." I was at a loss for words admittedly...what was I to say? So he said "Well I am going to tell you what I think. I think we do not give up just yet".

W H A T!!!! Not what I was expecting at ALL. And the tears started...I had been prepared to have an adult discussion about donor eggs and where to so I was not ready for this...

Still speechless, he continued to tell me that he had just got back from a conference where a lot of emphasis was placed on poor responders and he had actually used me as a case study under discussion. Apparently there was resounding agreement from all the dr's present that due to the fact that I have had two ectopics, we should not be too quick to give up. It is clear I have viable eggs and it may just be more difficult to find them...however, it is too soon to turn to donor.

I told him that I had come today with a message from my sister that she has lots of happy eggs for me. He made a note of that on my file but said that we have time...and if we need to go down the donor road then my sister will still be there next year or the following year. He said he can see I am not ready for donor.

I mentioned money as a reality and he understands there are financial limitations. He told me that I qualify to be included in a project due to my case which allocates R5000 towards a cycle (not sure for how many though...) and he will also waive all doctor fees so we will only need to cover direct med costs and lab costs. He wants to look at doing PICSI next time as even though DH little guys are abundant, we need to make sure we are getting the best genetic superstars as this could also be a reason why our embryos are not making it. I will be on what is called the "Washington protocol" which is low stims (so cheap stims...) and the aim will be on trying to get one good make one good embryo...

So, we are giving it journey...another year...of HOPE....of prayer....of preperation...of the collection of emotions this process brings with it...

But I know one thing....I will not give up....not until I am holding our little one.

A colleague gave me a voucher for a tarot reading by a intuitive who works with his guides as well. So yesterday I went to see him. My obvious question was: when is this journey that in fact started with a reading will end. He said that they said to tell me that I still have some way to go but 2011 looks like it could be the year, that I must not give up treatments, that my first born will be a boy, most definitely. He told me that I should remember that special children are worth the wait and that I have been on this long journey to prepare for him....

I bought a small magnetic heart with the word "believe" on it.

And I have it stuck on our fridge.

Next to The Prescription.

For hope.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Our bounty

Here is proof of the satisfaction one gets from being able to grow your own food. I mean how amazing is this...the incredible bounty from our veggie garden....

When will I have this on a larger scale? And with space for my donkey and horse and dam and oak tree and chickens and a huge studio where I do my work and am successful for all the years to come until I can watch my grandchildren running across the lawn towards me....

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Personal Trainer from hell

Well...I have replaced acupuncture with a personal trainer. The one the antithesis of the other. One meditational and natural calm healing, the other hardcore tearing of muscles to build tone and form...oh well, if I land up with a more lean mean me, then great.

The session was an hour long. The routine, unrelenting. Competitive Cam did it all, even though I could feel my thigh muscles ripping and burning. I had no idea that the next day, and even worse the day after that would leave my body screaming with stiffness. Eina. What do I say to her next week? Surely the exercises should have been do-able? Surely one shouldn't be in such agony after doing them? I am going to have to admit defeat though as I am not looking forward to another physical fallout of this degree. I am going to have to ask her to tone it down a little!

I have an appointment with the Prof on 10 December. Not sure I want to know what he is going to say...will he take sides with Dr S and agree with what he said, or will he offer me some hope?

I went to see a medical intuitive who works with Jin Shin Jiatsu (sp?). I couldn't stop crying during the session...really all came out. Anyway her insights included the fact that I have a fear of freedom and a fear of the future. Go figure.

She did some chakra and energy point healing and during the session I was finding it hard to breathe when her hands were in some positions while easy to breathe when in other positions. Wierd. But felt nice and calm afterwards. She feels I could do well to hand it over to the universe. And do some self-help healing using the central energy points (think?) daily action. She gave me a copy of what to do and I have been trying to remember each morning.

I am also now more a brunette than a blonde. Decided to go more my natural colour with a few highlights but hairdresser chose a lovely colour called "honey lavender" so we went with it...very interesting shades of brown, purple, gold, red....but nice. DH thinks it is sexy and a bit hooker. I think he's been playing too much Grand Theft Auto.

Persia is growing fast and has started exploring the garden with Asia. They are really playing nicely together and have taken to tearing across the lawn under the basil and lavender bushes. Just took some great pictures and will load them next week.

Am looking forward to the end of this year. And to a good break. We are going to Knysna to spend xmas with mum and sisters and Mish and friends.

We may also stay for New Year but we may also come back to welcome 2010 in Aurora.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Persia Halo

Introducing Glitterkatz Persia Halo

My consolation prize after all...introducing the newest member of our family....Persia Halo.

Persia is Asia's cousin a couple of times removed! She comes from the same Bengal breeder and they share a grandmother/ great grandmother. We got to see her - she is a F2 so still very Asian Leopard cat and oh so wild. The breeder also had some amazing silver Bengals, but they were all sold. In any case, we really can't get more than 4 cats! Enough animals for now?

Persia is a beauty. She is a brown marbled Bengal and has lots of glitter fur already (shiny golden hairs that glisten in the light). She has a special gold spot on her back and a pyramid on her neck and of course the Bengal spots on her tummy. I think her adult fur will be spectacular. She spent her first week in our bedroom and has been very good until last night when she decided it was playtime at 5am....mmmmm.....

We introduced her to Asia today. At first he was most disgruntled but extremely curious. He spent the morning observing her, growling, mock-charging and checking her out. Persia is quite brave but mewls at him. As I write this, Asia is changing tactic and seems to be trying out a more playful approach. Persia is not so sure about this and is ducking under tables with a squirrel tail. In a couple of days I am sure they will be playing up a storm.

We picked her up on the way back from Knysna. Was great to see mum feeling so well. I am so proud of how she is coping with this illness and I am constantly sending her strength and healing light.

Have been feeling a lot of anxiety since my cancelled cycle - all sorts of imagery and fearful thoughts keep invading my peace of mind - very unwelcome actually. This mirrors my dull state of the moment. My energy levels are low and I find myself listless and a little detached. Had a really bad week with AF at its worst and most painful as well as an incessant headache I couldn't shake. Whether delay tactics or masking my real anxiety or oh whatever.

I do think about it every now and then and I do not know what to do next. I think we need to go speak to the Prof and take it from there. The thought that this journey seems never-ending is wearing me down. Perhaps it is time to give it up even though it feels so wrong. Have been sorting through old photo's and folders today....seeing all the family children growing....seeing the love...seeing the smiles....seeing what we don't have....thinking if I can do it without my DNA....wondering if even that will work....wondering what I will do if it doesn't....not thinking, thinking, not thinking.

I am going to see a medical intuitive on Thursday - perhaps she can shed some light on my physical manifestations and inspire some hope? I hope. Holding onto hope. And in the meantime, I bless all the good things in my life and most especially the love with my so very special DH.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Time out

My worst nightmare since starting out this journey 11 years ago, is starting to happen. Even my FS's are starting to give up on me. Yes. The words I hoped I would never have to listen to were said this morning. Poor egg quality.

My 36 year old eggs seem to be way older than their years. The Prof is on a conference and Dr S has been looking after me this cycle. He is puzzled as I have been pregnant with two ectopics (both would have been viable pregnancies if in my uterus) and with the first IVF (later m/c). But even on the first IVF my embryo quality was not great. In the past two cycles, I have only produced grade 2 and 3 embryos - slow developing and haven't even grown past a 7 cell on day 6. He feels this means that my egg quality has gone downhill fast, and I face the odds as not only am I a poor responder, now my egg quality doesn't look that hot at all.

This means that I could do cycle after cycle, getting only 2 or 3 eggs of poor quality and hope each time that perhaps, just maybe one good one squeezes through. Just the path I was hoping wouldn't be mine. He started chatting about egg donors and even adoption. I so wanted our baby - you all know what I mean - my eyes, my toes. I keep thinking about the ectopics and how close we got. And how unfair it all is. Just because of an infection I got when I was 19 resulted in damaged tubes that cannot carry an embryo to it's resting place. Now because of all the wasted time trying, my eggs seem to be on a time out.

How do you give up your DNA? How do I go down that road now? How do I accept that I could never say "you look like me when I was small"?

I am not sure what to do now. Maybe try one or two more cycles next year? Dr S also suggested that we do very low stims and monitor progress and perhaps cancel before retrieval if follicle count not good. But he agrees the odds are against us and suggests we think through all the options.

For now, I will rest my weary mind and punctured body.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

What will be will be

I keep telling myself, what will be will be.

On Wednesday I went under aneasthetic for follicle aspiration. We retrieved 3 eggs - 2 mature and 1 immature. Had to wait 24 hours before first fert report on Thursday. I asked DH to call as I had an owners meeting and couldn't bear the thought of having bad news before being harrassed by the new CEO, who is a bit of a tosser. But...I couldn't wait and sent DH frantic smses to just tell me if it was good or bad news. Instead of indulging my need for skimpy information, he waited an hour before calling me to tell me that only one of the two mature eggs had fertilised and they were waiting for the immature egg to mature and would then fertilise it. not great but not too bad...I can hang in the hope camp.

On Friday, again I couldn't make the call. DH found out the news and emailed me. The fertilised eggie had divided and the immature eggie had matured and fertilised. Good news. Great, we stay put in the hope camp.

During retrieval, the anesthetist had popped in for a visit and asked if I was a good hen. I replied, "no, not really". DH added, we are going for free range and grain fed eggs! LOL. So I have named the embies "Free-range" (the first one to fertilise and divide) and the second embryo "Grain-fed" (as he needed a little more nutrition to get going).

On Saturday, we were having breakfast at the Olive Station and my cell rang. I answered. Sister Fourie told me that Grain-fed had not divided. Free range was now a 5 cell embryo, but on day 3 they would like to see an 8 cell. She said that she would call again on Sunday and if all is well, we will do a Monday embryo transfer. If all is well. If. If. If. It has to be well. waiting for the call.....

The call came at 11.11am.

Free-range is still only a 5 cell. Not good. And Grain-fed started growing and is a 4 cell. Mmmm. This is starting to feel like deja-vu.

I am to go in tomorrow at 11am and if Grain-fed has grown I presume they will want to do the transfer. If the embies have not grown, I leave again with another cancelled cycle.

Not really sure what to do now. Not sure what we will do if this is cancelled again. Maybe it is time to call it a day and let what is to be, be.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Peaceful and positive

Went for scan yesterday and at first I didn't want to look at the monitor. When the FS said, "oh that is a disadvantage", I almost fell off the bed with disbelief. So I looked. I had to. And there on the RHS were three small follies - 13-14mm each. WTF? And then moving over to the LHS, 2 huge follies at 20-22mm already, were smiling at us saying "woohoo, we are ready!" How does that happen? How do these little follies change their minds so radically for no apparent reason and decide to grow on a whim while some just lag behind? So FS decided on the spot to give me the trigger shot that night and to move to ER on Wednesday so as not to potentially lose the two front-runners. He added that he was concerned they would become post-mature...oh great.

So there I sat outside the scan room waiting for meds, and my ole fave FS walks past and asks me "How are you doing?". And what do I do?...Promptly burst into tears and spluttered out "There are only twoooooooo...". He must have regretted asking me that question - but don't men know not to ask that by now and FS's especially - you are just asking for an emotional outburst if things are not that great!!! Anyway, as I choked on my tears, he says to me "Camilla, you have been pregnant before. We only need one".

Only one.

The fear closed in and negativity covered me in a hard shell so quickly that I almost wrote the entire cycle off there and then. I have been here before and I know the ending.

Later that evening I met with one of my intuition course friends and after a great chat, I realised that I simply cannot give into the darkness. She gave me Louise Hay's CD "How to heal your life" which is an extension from the book with all the top metaphysical authors speaking about how to change your life through chosing to change, be positive, live with affirmations etc. I realised that I cannot give up before I have even started, fear or no fear. I will acknowledge the fear and then move into the light. Anything is perfectly possible. Right now. If I don't truly believe this how can I create it?

So, I am back in a positive space and I plan to stay here no matter what.

Because all you need is one.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

First scan and follie time again

Went for first scan on Thursday, CD8, day 6 of stimming...

Seem to be about 6 follies on RHS and about 3 follies on LHS but only one is 14mm and the rest are all still small - to be expected I think. Really hope that I don't land up stimming again for 15 days!!!

Last time on CD10, day 9 of stims, I had 3 follies on the LHS and 5 follies on the RHS all about 11mm only. By CD13, three had grown to 15mm, 13mm and 12mm so stims continued. On CD16, there seemed to be 5 follies in the lead only at 18mm, 16mm,15mm,14mm and 11mm...and we went to retrieval getting only 4 mature eggs. One fertilised on its own, 3 were ICSI'd. Only 1 of these carried on growing but didn't make it and on day 5 it had stopped growing and ET was cancelled. I am really hoping to have better results this time. Hoping hoping hoping.

Here's a comparison on stims and cycle - will fill in as I go to keep track:

CD2 - 3 x Femara tabs
CD3 - 3 x Femara tabs / 4 amps Menopur
CD4 - 3 x Femara tabs / 3 amps Menopur
CD5 - 3 x Femara tabs
CD6 - 3 x Fenara tabs / 4 amps Menopur & Scan
CD7 - 2 amps Menopur / 1 amps Fostimon
CD8 - 2 amps Menopur / 1 amps Cetrotide
CD9 - 2 amps Menopur / 1 amps Cetrotide
CD10 - 2 amps Menopur / 1 amps Fostimon & 4 day Cetrotide & Scan
CD11 - 2 amps Menopur / 1 amps Fostimon
CD12 - 2 amps Menopur
CD13 - 2 amps Menopur & Scan
CD14 - 2 amps Menopur / 1 x Cetrotide
CD15 - 2 amps Menopur / 1 x Cetrotide
CD16 - 2 amps Menopur / 1 x Cetrotide & Scan & Trigger in the pm
CD17 - No meds
CD18 - Aspiration = 4 eggs
CD19 - One fertilised, rescue ICSI on 3
CD20 - One stopped, 1 out of 3 fertilised
CD 21 - The 1 embie stopped
CD22 - The 1 embie started again
CD23 - The 1 embie stopped again and ET cancelled

CD2 - No stims & Scan
CD3 - 2 amps Menopur / 150 Gonal F
CD4 - 2 amps Menopur / 150 Gonal F
CD5 - 2 amps Menopur
CD6 - 2 amps Menopur
CD7 - 2 amps Menopur
CD8 - 2 amps Menopur & Scan
CD9 - 2 amps Menopur / 3 day Cetrotide
CD10 - 2 amps Menopur
CD11 - 2 amps Menopur
CD12 - Scan - 2x 13mm follies on RHS and 2x 20-22mm follies, 1 x16mm on LHS!!! / 2 Menopur & Trigger shot at 11pm
CD13 - No meds
CD14 - Aspiration = 3 Eggs (!!!???)
CD15 - One egg fertilised. Waiting to see if immature one matures & fertilises
CD16 - Immature egg fertilised. First egg divided.
CD17 - First egg only a 5 cell on day 3 (should be 8 cell). Second egg stopped.
CD18 - First egg still only 5 cell :(. Second egg started diving again and is now a 4 cell...
CD19 - Going in at 11am and praying there is something to transfer

My ovaries have been twinging much more than last time and I feel really bloated. But am also feeling more detached than last time - maybe for my protection, maybe I am just feeling veteran!

Next scan is on Monday which will be CD12 and day 10 of stims, to see how things are progressing. Peace and love to my follies!

We are getting a new kitten!!!!! Yes, another bengal. She is a marble patterned bengal and is only 6 weeks old, so we have to wait a few weeks before we can fetch her. Her name is Persia Halo. I will post a pic soon.

Consolation prize? Time will tell.
PS: Added later....this is feeling like deja-vu damnit

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Neroli is in heaven

Our tortoise, Neroli, is in heaven. Well, her idea of heaven that is. Our flourishing veggie garden above. Filled with sprouting lettuces, spinach, carrots, baby marrows and other irresistible greens. And she is allowed to roam free along the furrows and dips between the beds of tortoise treasure.

She is only 10cm big however. So damage to the crops is minimal. We are not worried. Neroli is an angulate tortoise and who knows how she found her way into our garden, but for now we will leave her in paradise.

I inspected some of the patty pan plants earlier and see that their flowers are full of strange looking bugs with long back legs. Having chosen to go completely organic, we have not yet resorted to home-remedies for natural ways to curb manic insects intent on demolishing our future pickings. Not even the odd beer-trap. If we do, we will have to keep Neroli in mind as falling into a beer trap would not be pleasant for a little tortoise.

I am also avoiding the beer trap again.

Yes, I am 1 today on stims for IVF # 3. We have a new gadget to inject FSH with - a fancy Gonal F Pen. Took some figuring out though and DH had to stab me 3 times before the dosage was actually successful. The first time, we hadn't pulled up the pen's clicker thingy. The second time, we didn't click in enough for the proper amount. The last time, to get it right. LOL.

I admit I am not feeling as heightened a sense of excitement or positive power as the last time. Maybe better. I don't think I want any expectations this time. While I am an enthusiastic participant who would love for everything just to fall into place perfectly, what will be will be. It is just so.

No dwelling on the what if's and but what's.

A peaceful approach. A quietly committed amble.

And hopefully not down the garden path...

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Asia is 1 years old!

Little Asia Sky Lightning Claw, our Foundation 1 Bengal kitten turned one years old in September! He is now a full-on teen in kitten years and what a character!

He doesn't shower with us anymore but he still only drinks water from a running tap! He has eeked his way into all of our hearts either loved madly or loved partly or hated completely depending on which relationship we are talking about. By us and Savannah, our Alsation cross Ridgeback/Irish Wolfhound, he is loved madly. By his elderly aunty cats, it is the two latters.

Playing with Aunty Savannah...Grrr looks like Sav is going to eat Asia...but they are just playing!

Tallulah, the eldest, our 14 year old tabby abhors him and hisses aggressively whenever he comes near. She then makes the fatal mistake of running away which he cannot resist and inevitably he then springs on her from the rear, which results in a whole lot of growling and hissing and spitting. Mmm, definitely no love lost there. Which is sad really as all he wants is a little love in return.

Tallulah's daughter, Pye, our 13 year old tabby, has made a kind of pact with him. She hates him when he leap attacks her but when he is calm, he is welcome. Here is a picture of the two of them during a rare peace pact, showing an unusual display of acceptance and affection. This does not happen often though as usually he is in full play mode launching mock attacks whenever he sees either of his "aunties". We are thinking about getting another Bengal and calling her Persia...if one is such a little handful, two will be a riot!

News of the moment is that he has a pet rat which I have nicknamed "Ratatouille" after the movie version. He brought the rat inside but instead of killing it, he plays with it now and then - usually at 3am.

This is one clever rat as all of our traps have so far failed. So, for now we are cursed with a rat in the kitchen....fabulous!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

I'm bringing hope back

The sunset in Namutoni, Etosha, the evening before my ruptured ectopic in 2006

Hope is a small word big with possibility. A slippery little word when things look so hopeless yet a defining word when you catch a glimmer of potential.

Mum went for her scan last week to see if the chemo was working. Quite prepared for the worst, she was overwhelmed with the good news that it was indeed working! The original scanned tumour has in fact shrunk. Small cell lung cancer does usually respond well to chemo, but it is one thing to know that and another to be on the good side of statistics! What wonderful news for mum who was so determined to be brave and confront scary results. To have hope restored is a wonderful boost we all need in the face of adversity and especially during the most intense battle of your life.

As for me, IVF #3 is on the cards for October if all goes well. Now in the hands of my FS and the divine timing of the universe, I am a willing participant and a hopeful one. Hopeful that we will finally be blessed with a text book cycle and well of course, a positive result. Hopeful that the mindbody shift with the realisations of late will have laid a pathway my destiny can recognise. And if not, then hopeful that the little word "hope" will hang on until we need the power of possibility again.

A battle against death and a battle for new life.
I'm bringing hope back.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

How I came to be...

This is baby me with my mother and pet budgie Coobie - Knorhoek, Sir Lowries Pass, 1973.

Mum had just turned 24 in January, 5 days before I was born.

She had met my father while working at the Cape Times, where as an outside rep, he used to sit at a desk close to hers in the same office. Mum would take messages for him when he was out. She remembers thinking he was very posh in her view at the time and he made his attraction for her quite obvious. My older sister was born when mum was 20 and as a single mother, she was just making ends meet, living in a small flat in Wynberg. She developed a serious eye infection and was booked off work for a month with her eyes bandaged up, making caring for my older sister, a toddler at the time ridiculously challenging. It was just after my sister had fallen carrying a glass, severing the artery in her hand, that he had find out how she was.

Mum needed help, and he offered it. He moved in and one thing led to another as it does, from the divan to her bed. It was with overwhelming relief, that she agreed to move into his flat in Moullie Point. He arranged a new cheap Toyota for her and made sure the bills were paid. Comforted and safe, cared for and adored. She knew that the deep care she felt for him was not love. It's just that living with a man was not quite the done thing in those days and the enticing sense of security with the continual nagging from her caustic mother lulled her into aggreeing to marry.

He never did admit to being thirty years older than she was, or to having 2 girls both older than she was. Until much later. But she felt comfortable and safe so she stayed with him. They married on 11 March 1972 and I was born on 29 January 1973. They had moved to Knorhoek in Sir Lowries Pass and I was born in the same room as my sister had been at Vincent Pallotti Hospital in Pinelands. My mother was wearing a green paisley printed cotton top when I was born, which I keep to this day. From the first minute he saw me, Mum says Dad was besotted.

But she just wasn't in love with him and he started being distrustful and suffocating her independance. Not a great idea with a freedom-loving Aquarian. I think about how he must have felt. She was beautiful and young, a free spirit with so much pain still unprocessed, and yet so strong. How he must have cherished the idea of having her. He would have known she didn't love him, growing angry and jealous imagining losing her to another's arms. Claustrophobic love stifled the care she felt for him and suburbia closed in.

A holiday in Plett offered space and clarity. Visiting her brother on his farm, she felt a sense of place, family and support and so she began to contemplate her escape.

My mum insisted they move to Plett and a flat in a block called Dolphins Court became our new home. Dad commuted to Cape Town. The bird flew the coop, Plett the perfect playground for freedom and flaunting it. She grew strong enough and he pushed her to the edge. Apparently went she told me they were getting divorced and she asked me if I knew what that meant, I said quite confidently that yes I did - it was the same as wors. I was 5 when they divorced.

At the time of the divorce, we lived on a smallholding called Holt Hill. My mother, my sister, my new baby sister and the gardner Cornelius. I remember such good times with our cousins who lived at Cloud Nine further up the road. What heaven for young children. We ran wild through fields and forest. Picking fruit off the peach tree and eating peas from their pods. Building forts in the pine forests and make-believe towns from sticks and clay. Swimming in the muddy dams and riding Tanglefoot the horse. Molly and Folly the donkeys and Polly and Jasper, the labradors. Collecting pansy shells on the beach in the morning light. Peanut butter and jam sandwiches and secret tins of condensed milk. Giggles and tears and sun and sadness.

Here I am at 5, on a swing on our farm, Holt Hill.

As I sit here thinking about this, I consider how different my mother's memories are to mine.

How oblivious and yet aware we are as children, so forgiving and innocent. How honest and new. What do we remember? What memories do we hide away?

Cammy remembers the wonderful memories most.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Spring it on!

Spring has sprung.
Well it has in my garden.
Butterflies are flitting, sunbirds are trilling and bulbs are blooming.

We have started a vegetable garden at last and rows and rows of promising shoots have burst out of the soil on the way to becoming vegetables and herbs. It is so thrilling to watch them grow as day-by-day they get stronger and taller. Of course it would help if Neroli, our tortoise didn't keep chewing the shoots! Next step: An earthworm farm, a solar geyser and a rain water tank. I want some Bantam chickens too but DH says probably not a good idea with our little leopard kitty and the new veggie dream. Mmm, maybe we should wait for our smallholding before doing chickens.

I am excited that Summer will soon be back. Not for the wind but for the warm afternoons and lazy mornings soaking up the sun on the weekends. And for the swimming and less clothes and soft air.

Time has softened the disappointment of my cancelled cycle. My intuition teacher sent me a message she received from her guides for me about a mind-body connection that I am aware of but had just never acknowledged in relation to not conceiving. Perhaps acknowledging this now will effect a shift and a healing so that my body can relax into the next cycle without cellular sabotage. I do hope so.

It is as simple as the fact that I have assumed responsibility for people I am not responsible for - this is depleting my energy and it is time to let this go - I am only responsible for myself. Thinking about this - how marvellous to release that burden of responsibility that I have committed to and indulge in being free and un-bound until I do have a baby which will wrap me up so tightly in responsibility, I may balk at it. I may enjoy this space, as soon as I get my head around how to release myself from this self-imposed duty. Then I too need to forgive all the irresponsibility and restricted maternal nurturing impacting on my perception of motherhood as well as releasing the fear of losing my DH and being left alone with a child and no father....mmmm a bit of work to do!

I have also decided to hand over responsibility to my FS in whom I now place all my trust - he can call the shots. I am not going to try control the process anymore. At our POA meeting, he emphasised that he has great hope for us as we have conceived naturally twice, only problem being that the embryo implanted in the wrong spot - he truly believes we can again, we just need to find a good embryo.

As I am a poor responder to stims, this may take more cycles than the average. So we will try again, on his command and advice. I went for an antral follie scan at the beginning of this cycle which is near its end and as soon as AF arrives, I must go in for a day 1, 2 or 3 antral follie scan, and if good he may say let's go for it again. Only problem is, after arriving at this perspective, I realised September will not work as I am away in Joburg during the period we would need to do scan maybe October....

Have been watching the programme "A child against all odds" on BBC Knowledge. The producers cleverly put two stories in each episode - one that is successful and one that isn't. Fear is never far away that you will be the one that fails, but if you don't have hope, what do you have? I really want to be positive but sometimes I am just not - that's the armour I suppose.

And putting it into perspective. Let's talk about hope and how hard it is to hang onto hope when you have terminal cancer and you know you are dying. My mum has to deal with this everyday. How difficult it must be when you wake up feeling like your usual self but you always have the thoughts in the back of your mind, I do not have long, I am dying, tomorrow may be different...

I pray for peace for my mother, for release for myself and for a long hot Summer of many memories we can cherish forever...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A little subdued

I am feeling a little subdued. Somewhat quietened. Still and un-wordy. Silly and sad. So I am calling on time to dull this mood so I can write again.

Will try keep to Saturday updates...when time is on my side again...

Sunday, August 2, 2009

It's over

My worst fear just happened. Clinic called to say bad news - the last embie did not divide again overnight, so not looking good at all. It has also probably stopped developing. Looks like the end of the road for me on this cycle.

Have an appointment tomorrow at 12pm to discuss POA.

All that money and hope down the drain. 16 Days of stimming for nothing.
Gosh, this process is not for the faint-hearted. And yes, I know if you get a BFP it is all worth it. But we didn't so I am wallowing in self pity and disappointment right now.

Would I rather have ended my cycle here or waited 2 weeks? Would the embie have made it if I had put it back on day 3? Would I have had a better fertilisation rate if all had been ICSI'd upfront? Would could should...

Useless and helpless and sad. Part of me wants to give up - I mean what is the lesson in this? Perhaps I should accept my reality instead of pushing against it even if it feels like something we should be doing?

Adding to this sadness is the fact that my sister and my niece left yesterday to move to Pretoria leaving a wide open hole in my heart. My niece has been near me since she was 8 months old. Now 4, I am going to miss her so much. I have felt responsible for my sister since childhood and felt needed by her during our youth and again in the past few years. That is now gone too.

On Tuesday I will drive to Knysna to spend time with my I wish it had been with good news to share at the end of the trip. But it is not too be.

Yes, this too shall pass.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Hope is dwindling

Our frontrunning so-called great embie has stopped growing. What a way to start a Saturday. With the call that cuts through your hope and makes that feeling of dread and hopelessness stick in your throat.

The other embie that was rescued with ICSI is still dividing and looks good but who knows what will happen to that one. I know you are meant to stay positive but it is a little difficult when nothing goes according to plan. Now I am aware of putting the reality into prespective (yes....worse things have happened, it could be worse, etc etc), but trust me, any hope that is heartfelt and sincere hurts when it is ripped away.

And so we wait for the call tomorrow when we will hear what has happened to little embie 2. Is he a fighter? Will we still make it to transfer on Monday? I must admit I am feeling helpless and useless and while that is not a natural state for me, it is where I am right now.

I even did a search on "life being childless" and didn't find anything inspirational at all. I can not come to terms with this possibility - it is just not what I saw for my journey in this lifetime. And as for that saying "it is not the destination, it is the journey"....whatever. Those words of wisdom suck right now....

Friday, July 31, 2009

Going to be a blast

Haven't posted updates as everything happened so fast. Went in on Wednesday for egg retrieval. You go under anaesthetic as it is quite a painful experience. A rather long needle is put through the wall of your uterus into your ovaries and the fluid within each follicle is sucked out and hopefully contains a mature egg. Well...they only got 4.

Secretly I was so hoping for more but realistically, not a bad result for a low responder. Prof says the 4 looked good and he was happy with them. The 24 hours after ER was stressful as we didn't know if the 4 would fertilise and had to wait until 11am yesterday to find out. I procrastinated until 12pm and then called. Only one had fertilised. One. Only one. So I agreed that they do rescue ICSI (follicles are injected with sperms) on the other 3 yesterday afternoon.

Prof called and asked to see us this morning and that possibly we would do the embryo transfer. When we got there, Prof informed us that the 3 other follies had been ICSI'd and that of the 3, one was looking okay so far but the other 2 were non-viable. So instead of just one, we now have 1 and 1/2. He told us that the egg quality on retreival had looked great, DH's little guys were fabulous and that it is just luck of the draw that some eggs are abnormal. Not every egg is a good egg.

He was willing to do the transfer immediately but he recommended and we agreed to carry on watching the frontrunner to see if it is going to grow properly into a blast (reach blastocyst stage - see pic above of a good blastocyst) and the new little one for a couple more days to see what happens. We felt this was the right thing to do as even if the embie doesn't carry on growing and we don't get to a blast 5 day transfer, we will know instead of transfering an embie on day 3 and waiting waiting waiting for 2 weeks and then it not resulting in a pregnancy anyway. Even if you transfer a blast, it does not guarantee a positive but at least you know it had made it to almost hatching stage.

Hope we have made the right decision.

So little embies...grow, divide, live. Please live so you can come back to the mothership on Monday.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Slow and steady

Went for scan # 3 on Friday. Mmmmm. Follies are growing but real slow. Hoping that this slow and steady growth means I will have some great quality mature eggs. There were two dominant follies at 15mm but the rest are still 12mm, 11mm etc and they need to get to 18mm. So here's to hoping they catch up over the weekend as we really want more than 2 eggs this time around. Why? So we can be more selective about which ones to put back rather than just put back what we have.

The Prof has now moved ER day to Wednesday! This means that I will be on CD18!!! Was initially a little concerned that I would be so late in my cycle but Prof not I will carry on watering the garden and singing to my follies...

May the new moon, bright after the eclipse, tune into the growing of my follies and supercharge them with mother energy.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Follies or follies?

Follies or follies? Time will tell...

Went for my CD10 scan this morning. Now there are 8!!! Yip, 5 on the RHS and 3 on the LHS. But....the follies are still small - 11mm at best. They need to grow to at least 16-18mm before maturing and being ready to pluck from my ovaries.

So, Prof has added a few more ingredients to my secret recipe protocol and I am going back for next scan on Friday CD13. He doesn't believe my follies will be ready to be retrieved on the usual CD14 (Sat) but only on CD16 (Mon)! I was secretly hoping to do ER (egg retrieval) on Sat as I wouldn't have to take work days off but alas the body has its own rhythms.

Yay, more injections mmmmmm - my tummy is starting to look like a pincushion!! Last IVF I was on a very mild protocol and only had 10 injections. This time around, the Prof has hotted things up and I will have had 17 by Thursday!

Am talking to my follicles and saying the following affirmation...
"My eggs are growing, ripening and maturing...My eggs are of great quality..."

Maybe I will make up a little song and sing it to them hee hee...

Saturday, July 18, 2009

My Prof's Secret Recipe

This is what you want to see in your ovaries when you are on an IVF cycle...many big and happy follies! (This is not my ovary btw but it would be great if they looked like this at day 13!!!)

Went for my CD6 (6th day of my cycle) scan yesterday morning....went okay but had a hilarious experience with the sister...!!!

The scan showed 6 follicles on the LHS and 1 on the RHS - still very small obviously as they would be on day 6, so they still need to grow lots. I also have a cyst from last month's ovulation on the RHS which they will keep an eye on. My FS (Ferility Specialist) aka Prof, asked if I had already taken the Menopur (Menopur stimulates the development of follicles) injection that morning and I said yes. He then prescribed a Fostimon (also a super follicle stimulation shot) injection for after the consult, 2 amps Menopur and 1 amp Fostimon on Sat (that's 2 injections!!!) and 2 amps Menopur and 1 amp Cetrotide (this inhibits ovulation and keeps the follicles in the ovary so they can be grabbed later) on Sunday and Monday (Again 2 injections each day!!! Thank goodness for my Dr DH!)....eeeeeeeeeeeeek

Then I go for the next scan on Tuesday to see what's cooking.
The Prof also suggested that I talk to my follies and ask them to grow.....LOL!

Anyway, so off I go to the sister who is getting everything ready. She injects what she thinks is the Fostimon and then is about to give me another injection! I ask her why she is giving me 2 injections and she says she is giving me the 2 Menopur for that morning!!! So I say heck no, I have already had that injection and that I had told the Prof that! So there she is holding the injection in the air and we are looking at each other in disbelief, not knowing whether she has given me the Menpopur or Fostimon and not sure what to do!!!

I had joked only a few minutes before saying that it seems like I am on the Prof's Secret Recipe! So I burst out laughing and told her I want a credit for the 2 extra amps of Menopur! She called the Prof who also found the situation amusing (in the way only a dr can) and he said, give her the shot, it won't go to waste - who knows this may just be the winning combination! So you never know...we will see!

So on Friday I had in total 4 amps Menopur, 1 amp Fostimon and 3 Femara tabs! Hoping this is the boost my little follies need!

Rather amusing hey...of course if this cycle doesn't work I am still going to ask for my credit LOL!

On the down side, tests came back showing that my AMH levels are a little silly 1.1 which is on the border of pretty useless. Less that 1.1 usually indicates poor response to IVF / failed IVF (AMH = Anti-Mullerian Hormone, which shows a one's primordial reserve of eggs basically).

But my FSH is good at 4.2. Also my antiphospholipid tests came back which looked into if I have any lupus anticoagulant which usually interferes with the embryo / causes blood clots with the placenta etc - they use this test with repeated m/c's and it is ALL GOOD - no worries there...

So still feeling very positive about this cycle...grow little follies grow!!!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

And so IVF #2 begins

It is time. My period arrived this morning and so IVF round 2 finally begins.

I will be sharing my journey here instead of talking about it. Better that way. Better than dragging all who care along the ups and downs of an IVF cycle. Which under consideration by those around you, no matter how well meaning, sits thinly on the reality of the excitement, hope, expectation, fear, joy, disappointments and sadness you experience. And silly really when it is an opt-in procedure - you "asked" for it. Well...we did and DH (dear husband) and me are really positive this time around.

So I pray for a really fantastic cyle with lots of lovely follies (follicles), then embies (embryos), a smooth retrieval and transfer and our long-awaited BFP (big fat positive). I will be using the infertility lingo along the way, explanations in brackets for the fertile...

My protocol (stimulation meds) is as follows:
CD 2 (CD = cycle day) = 3 x Femara tabs
CD 3 = 3 x Femara tabs, 4 amps Menopur (injected into stomach courtesy of DH, who was a medic in the army and since has used his old injecting skills on me! He is so fab really!)
CD 4 = 3 x Femara tabs, 3 amps Menopur
CD 5 = 3 x Femara tabs
CD 6 = 3 x Femara tabs, 2 amps Menopur & scan to assess follies

Wish us luck.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Stress and the body

This is my mum at 25 with me aged 6 months...

My mum is finally in her own bed at home. After two weeks in hospital since diagnosis, she is finally well enough to return to her housie on the hill with her own canister of oxygen. After the biopsy, she developed an air leak which progressively got worse so she has been on oxygen since then. Further aggravated by extreme emphyseuma this took some time to heal. Then she got brain swelling from the radiation to her head, then an infection which left her extremely fatigued. Due to limited oxygen all this time there were a few days when she was completely disorientated and confused - similiar to altitude sickness.

I was so relieved that we went to Knysna to see her last weekend. It was upsetting to see mum so sick in hospital but as soon as she started feeling better, I got back glimpses of the mum I know. She is so much better now and can chat again - we will wait to see what happens now as the course of radiation kicks in - takes 3 weeks to have full impact. Her oncologist says she can only have one course of radiation and after 3 weeks if she is feeling up to it, a course of mild chemo - all to prolong the time she still has. And I plan on spending as much time as I can with her - hoping to go back in a few weeks....I am numb to the reality...or so I thought...

Onto the stress part. Well, I was supposed to start my next IVF cycle on Monday, which has to begin on day 1 of your cycle (first day of one's period). But my period never arrived! And as at today, I am 4-6 days late. Very unusual and the only time this has happened before was when I was pregnant with the last of course I have been freaking out in the last few days in fear I could be pregnant with ectopic # 3! Yesterday, I couldn't take the stress anymore and went for a blood test. Negative. Thank God. Had it been a miraculous conception in the correct place it would have been the most fantastic thing, but not having had to deal with the sheer anxiety of contemplating going through another surgery right now has left me with immense relief.

So...why is my body playing games with me? Why now when I was so sure that I was ready for the next IVF cycle? Stress? Am I more stressed that I thought? Is my belief that I bounce back quickly masking my body's truth? I have also read that antoibiotics can delay a period and I completed a course for my hectic flu experience last is a little frustrating. I was planning on going back to be with mum during my 2 week wait which is now getting further and further away...oh dear body please let go of this long 36 day cycle so I can start again? New beginnings dear body, new possibilities.

It is more important to me now than ever before. I so wish for my mother to meet her grandchild before she leaves. As I write this I look for hidden meaning. Have I just become aware of a mind-body thread? In delaying, my body buys more time for me, for her? No...can't be. I will breathe deeply. I will relax and go with the flow. I will trust my body and it's process. I will trust the universe's plan for me...I will take one day at a time.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Fearlessly fearful

I really do not have enough words for this.

When you are told that your mother has stage IV small cell lung cancer which has already metastatised to a brain tumour and a definitive time left with you in this lifetime, everything goes very quiet and then so noisy you can't think straight. Then the panic sets in. Then the fear. Then just nothingness and sadness. You cry until there are simply no tears left or so you thought.

While shock is numbing, information nudges you into reality. Statistics are rude and loud. And I want to be fearless for her. But I am fearful. Of what may come, of the road ahead she now faces. Not for me as much, but for her. My mother. How could she not be here forever?

I do not want to say goodbye.

It is too soon.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Asia Sky Lightning Claw

Our little furbaby, my consolation prize in case my first IVF attempt failed. It did and he is.

Asia Sky is his official pedigree name - a Bengal cat descendant of Asian Leopard Cats of note. He has grown so very much but won't sit still long enough for me to take a new picture. Here he is as a 3 month old kitten, drinking water from the tap (only way he will drink water!) and killing his "Leppy" (toy leopard) and now as a teen lying on my lap. He is on top teen form with rebellious antics, mock fighting, pushing the boundaries and all that teen sort of behaviour one would expect from a human child.

What a cutie. What a character. The addition to his name, "lightning claw" came from bad behaviour at a very young age. When he arrived, he could fit into the palm of my hand and at only 8 weeks old his hunting instincts were extremely well established! His eyes would literally narrow, take on a red mist of aggression and he would launch into attack mode. Demon kitten. He would lash out with unfurled claw at the very hand he fit into so perfectly. At the hand that fed him!

Now, a teen, he is slightly less interested in killing my hand. But DH gets mauled more often. Still, little Asia does seem to hang out with him more - boys with boys I suppose.

I am seriously thinking about getting him a sister, another Bengal and I will call her Persia. (Pur-sia). But I will wait until my next IVF and she can be my next consolation prize if it doesn't work out. It better work soon though or I may land up being called the "cat lady"!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Like the way it looks

Okay, alright, I like being a bit thinner. I resigned myself to loving myself fat but I now admit I like the feeling of toned limbs and smooth contours. Well, they are as yet still emerging after a long season of cocooning flab and we have some way to go, my limbs and I. But I quite like the way I feel breathless and warm after working out and I quite like looking at my ass in the mirror without wanting to hide it. So yes, I like the way it looks.

7 Kg down... and at least 7 kg to go! Progress slowed down on my post Mexican trip plateau but hopefully it will speed up again. As I type there is a big pot of yummy veggie soup on the go, and while my mind is wandering to hot apple pie and cream, my resolve is strong.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Mother's Day Memories

I realised today that I have been pregnant on Mother's Day for two years in a row. Both times, the brilliant news turned to the shattering reality that they were ectopic.

In 2007, having set off merrily on a Nambian adventure (after my gynae advised that going away for 3 weeks should be fine as we would scan when I got back) I was blasted into pain and fear with a ruptured ectopic at 7am while in a tent in Etosha National Park one morning just after Mother's Day. I still remember that incredible pain. I couldn't stand or walk or talk as stabs of cutting, tearing, red pain racked through my body. It took an incredible effort to crawl into the car, belongings left behind and drive as fast as we could to the nearest town. We arrived in Tsumeb, where the hospital was no more than a community clinic. There was no scanning machine, bewildered staff did what they could. An egyptian doctor finally realised this was way out of their scope and recommended we get to Windhoek and fast. All I can say is thank god for medical aid.

An airlift was quickly organised and what little I remember includes a blurry view from the private jet window of the desert below me. On arriving at a Netcare Hospital in Windhoek, in a drugged daze, I waited for the specialist to arrive. They sent me for a scan. I could hardly walk to the bed, it felt like I had water rushing around inside me and I was shaking badly. I almost lost consciousness while leaning against the wall waiting for my turn. A nurse saw me and helped me to a chair. I was finally scanned and I was told by the radiologist that I had what looked like a perfectly normal 7 week pregnancy! And I saw its heart beating so strongly, I saw it and I wept and wept. WHAT!!!! Was it my appendix? What was going on?

The specialist arrived, a dear old doctor (who later told me he has delivered more than 2000 babies in his time as an ob-gyn) and examined me. He was equally puzzled by the scan result. Then he pushed down on my abdomen and released his hand quickly. I cried out in pain and smacked his hand away. He looked at me and said, you have massive internal bleeding, we need to operate now. My husband in the meantime had had to go back to Etosha, pack up everything and drive to Windhoek which was 4 1/2 hours away. I was rushed to surgery where they found it was indeed a ruptured ectopic with more than 1 1/2 litres of internal bleeding. He later told my husband that had they waited any longer, I could have died.

But the mystery of the scan had not yet been solved. When I woke up, I was told that there still may be a viable pregnancy in the uterus and maybe this had been a twin. But....I would have to wait for Monday before I could have another scan to see. So I lay in hope all weekend, in pain, in hope, in pain. And Monday came. And we held each other. And there was no twin, there was nothing. He summised that what the radiographer had seen was the fetus holding onto a piece of the tube against the dark pool of blood in my abdomen which looked just like the shape of a uterus, misleading the radiographer. When he looked at the printout, it really fooled him too. WHY? WHY? What the hell was that all about? I saw the heartbeat hanging on for dear life. A life that was not meant to be.

I wanted to leave the hospital immediately. I was shattered. I couldn't stop crying and I begged the dr to let me go. He agreed if I promised I would go straight to bed. What I didn't realise is that for this type of surgery you have a 6 week recovery period. Well, after 3 days, we were back on the road and I was up and walking, well hobbling about. We had to wait in Swakopmund to get my staples removed but then we continued on our journey in a tent. I think those incredible nights in Spitzkoppe, the Nauklaft Park and Soussousvlei helped us to resolve our pain. This is a picture of me 10 days after the surgery on a dune at Soussesvlei and one of Spitkoppe where we spent 4 days camping while I recovered.

In 2008, exactly one year later I conceived again. And I dared hope. I so badly wanted it to be my miracle. Strong betas gave me hope. Stabbing pain one morning made everything come crashing down. No sac. Another ectopic. The cold admission into the hospital to remove another life that wasn't meant to be. Shattered doesn't even come close.

Now in 2009, same time. But I am not pregnant on Mother's Day this year. I would have been 7 months pregnant had I not miscarried after my first IVF in October. But I am not.

I send a blessing to these little lost lives that never were.

I am sad, but I bounce back and I will have hope again.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

No swines on Isla Mejeres

We made two day trips to Isla Mejeres (Island of Women) while in Cancun. Once when we first arrived and stayed in Cancun for two nights and again when we returned to Cancun for a stop-over night before flying back to Miami. The second trip was because we had had such a wonderful day the first time around, and we wanted to get out of Cancun - which is really just a glorified commercial Mexican experience - excluding the sea and the beaches, which are glorious. The first picture is from our room at the hotel in Cancun - see what I mean about the sea? The other pics are from our first day on Isla Mejeres. You get there on a ferry which takes about 20 minutes across the most intensely blue water you have ever seen before. If you narrow your eyes and look to the horizon, you can almost imagine being a pirate...a bit of a stretch of the imagination but still possible especially if you warp the Mexican banter around you to calls of "ahoy" and "land ahead".

We rented scooters from a small shop called "angel hire" which we thought was a good start, and ambled around the island, stopping off to snorkel, see the ruins, eat enchiladas, drink XX local beer and explore the village where there is too much to photograph but see the pic of the wall with the black cat mural.

We had the most delicious supper of freshly caught red snapper on the beach with gigantic margharitas just after the sun had set. Earlier in the day we visited some ruins of a hacienda that a retired pirate had built for a local Mayan girl he was obsessed with. She never could see past his sordid pirate reputation and married a respectable villageman instead. The mortified pirate died lonely with revenge in his heart.

The brown pelicans are adorable in their scraggly wet feathers - I love pelicans and watching them dive bomb into the turquoise waves in front of the hotel and hanging about for fish offcuts on Isla Mejeres was the perfect entertainment. We certainly didn't need the false glam of Monsier Frogs or Mango Bango nightclub in Cancun!

More Mexican tales to follow...

Friday, May 1, 2009

To flu or not to flu

Hard to believe that we have just returned from the source of the latest health mayhem, those poor swines. And, missed it! With an incubation period of 7-10 days before noticing symptoms, I am pleased to report that we are absolutely fine. No flu at all. Viva Mexico. Am sending love and healing light to all the people in the rural areas who are most at risk.

My tan is fading. Winter has arrived. It is snuggly weather and I feel like eating! Am craving hot apple pie and cream. But no! Still have at least 7kg to lose by then end of June. Must focus. The silly scale at the gym is messing with my mind, it has had the same reading for the past two weeks - really irritating! It is just not right.

Am busy eating a small bowl of chilli tomato pasta with sprouts - hopefully this will fill the hole which seems vast on this grey day.

Thinking back to the Mexico trip...We did visit the Temple of Ix-chel, the Mayan goddess of fertility on Isla Cozumel and I stood in the same place as all the Mayan women before me, who make it their pilgrimage at least once in their lives. And I asked for her blessing with an offering of a red hibiscus flower, a yellow leaf and a seed pod. This is the picture.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

A little echo

Misha and Aidan are visiting us. Aidan, now two years old is a real little cutie. With a cheerful energy, he is a delight and giggles and echoes almost everything you say. Misha, is a calm and grounded influence and has a wonderful way with him as a mother, a natural, I think. It is so clear that she was destined to have this child and with it a heart open and filled with love. I bless them both and enjoy having the laughter of this sweet little boy in our home.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Maxi

Yay - we won a MAXI award at the conference I went to in Florida!

Silver albeit but a MAXI nonetheless.

Have a very happy CEO.

View of hotel and Hollywood beach from our room on the 18th floor of the Westin and pic of a red wine tainted but happy me with trophy.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Land of the Maya

Hola amigos! We have returned from our adventure to Mexico and the land of the Maya! It was a wonderful exploration around the Mexican Caribbean with a glimpse into the magic of the Mayan history. Let me start with some initial insight...

The colours are unforgettable, the azure, turquoise, purple, teals of the sparkling seas, the grey, whites, greens of the crumbling limestone ruins, the vivid oranges, reds, yellows, greens of the Mexican decorative, all beneath the bright royal blue skies. Hues etched in our memories. Scorching heat and fresh ocean breezes, paradise reef gardens and crystal clear views of tropical sea life. Meeting a green sea turtle eye-to-eye in his world. Being an eye-witness to a barracuda circling a twirl of fish in the emerald green depths.

Serenaded by a trio of musicians on our eleventh anniversary in an historical hacienda. Standing in awe of the history of an ancient civilisation. Indulging in the depths of tequila shrouded margheritas, guacamole and salsa. Imagining the era of pirates and treasure. Observing the reality of life dependent on tourism now. Wishing we had more time to explore the authentic Mexico. Returning brown, baked by the Caribbean sun, relaxed from island time and with many more memories we will treasure forever.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Life is fragile

When you get that call that someone close to you, that you love dearly, has been in an accident. Your heart slows down to slow motion, your blood stops pumping through your head as you usher in silence to hear the words that come next...but she is okay. She has broken her vertebrae after being thrown off the back of a motorbike that collided with a car. She is not paralysed. She is not dead. The tears flow in relief and fear at what could have been. At who you could have lost. And you are in awe of how fragile life can be. And you are so grateful to still have her in your life.

Thank you for not taking her early.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Gods delay is not Gods denial

If you believe in God of course, I suppose this could give one a sense of comfort that the higher power may just be in control and one's disappointment is easier to process as it suggests there is hope. God in the sense that there is a plan for every one of us as we meander through this lifetime with the karmic load we carry, the lessons we need to unfurl, the learning we need to embrace. God in the sense of a higher power, the source of all beginnings, to which we all return in essence? Well, that is the God I understand. So I will take comfort in these words, if I may.

Our journey across the seas is almost here - so excited. We leave for USA on Saturday where we spend 4 nights in Hollywood, Florida (yes, there is another small Hollywood in Florida) and I attend a conference and, hold thumbs, win a Maxi marketing award - if not I fear my CEO will regret having sent me at huge expense. However, after that, me and my love head off for a Mexican adventure. Cancun to Chichen Itza, to Coba, to Tulum, to Playa Del Carmen, to Izla Cozumel and back to Cancun, then to Miami and back home. I am busy packing in my usual over-prepared frenzy. I will pack light. Ja right. I will try to pack light!

We got our Mexican Visa after a rushed flight and hairy drive through torential rains and floods to Pretoria - weren't sure we were going to get there, but we did and a sweet Mr Edgar Hurtado whipped the visas together in only an hour. Even the 4 hour wait at the airport coming back was worth it - muchos gracias!

Looking forward to living lightly and being free of routine for 2 weeks!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Mayan Cozumel - a shrine to Ixchel

I have my heart set on Mexico. After researching where we would go if we could add Mexico onto the trip, I am sure it has to be the Yucatan Peninsula. And on this trip, we have to go to Isla Cozumel. As a shrine to the goddess of fertility, Cozumel was one of the most important places of pilgrimage in the Yucatan in the centuries before the Spanish Conquest. A visit here was seen as especially important for childless women...

And if I had a girl, the name I keep getting is "Maya". So. We have to go.

Major snag though is the fact that we have to fly to Pretoria and appear in person at the Mexican Embassy - NOT negotiable - to get our Visas. I do not see this as a reason to forget the idea - we will simply have to do it.

So exciting planning this trip! Am waiting for final costs from the travel agent but so committed to going already, we just have to make it work. We will also go to Chichen Itza, Coba, Tulum, Playa del Carmen, Isla Mujeres and of course Cancun....soooooo looking forward to an amazing adventure! White sand, turquoise water, Mexico culture and Mayan we come...?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Working towards a lower bmi?

Well, on instruction from my FS, I have been working towards lowering my excessive bmi! Okay, I am on a losing weight mission...a diet if you must. And so far I have lost 4.5kg! Yeah! I am committed but in a healthy long-lasting sort of a way. I DO NOT want to be on a starvation diet so I am counting calories (1500+- per day) and I am going to gym. 10 kg to go...

Going to gym is pretty awesome in that you get to subtract 300 calories a pop! So you can eat a little more, or not depending on how badly you crave carbs. While the weight is dropping slowly, it is much more civilised not to be manic-obsessive about the process. On the other hand, I admit, everytime you eat something you really shouldn't, you ponder how many minutes it would take to deduct the credit on the bicycle!!!!

So, all in preparation for my next shot at IVF...hopefully April if all goes well!

And, amazingly exciting news - we are going to America at the end of March! I am going for a conference and DH is coming with so we can extend for a little R and R - hopefully in Mexico - the news was so unexpected but hugely fabulous!

Maybe life will start in the land of the dead? An unexpected miracle as the perfect fertilised egg drifts down the last tube which miraculously has unblocked itself? I do believe in miracles.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Why angels?

Why angels on my mind? Well I like to think of the 3 babies that never were as my little lost angels. I know angels are ethereal beings and divine messengers that have never lived as humans, but each of the 3 little possible souls sent to me never got to live and they helped me to learn many lessons. It doesn't matter if you lose a pregnancy as early as 6 or 7 weeks, you still mourn the loss and wonder what that baby would have been like. While time does dull the hurt, you never really forget the sadness. Some may think it is easier when you lose one so early, but it is still so very very sad.

I also discovered the world of angels and am still enbracing this inspirational spiritual awareness everyday. I embarked on my spiritual journey looking for answers and found a wonderful place for my intuition and self awareness to grow. So angels are in my life, in one form or another - and I welcome their love and help everyday. As for "my" little angels that have returned to the source - may we meet again one day on this earth or another.