The (in?)fertility

Mr Blue Sky

Most improbably, I have finished my cone project in plenty of time for hand-off this evening, an event which will require me to walk for 10 mins, take a bus, walk for another 20mins, (or MAYBE, I'll just take a taxi, though that kind of thing makes me as nervous as W4I. Apparently I believe a taxi is the thin end of the wedge that will inevitably lead to a online gambling addiction, thousands of euros of debt and end with my living under a bridge) knock on a door I have never seen before, go: Martin? in hopeful tones if a man answers or: Hi! Is Martin there? if a woman answers. Then I will dump deliver the Big Black Portfolio and SKIP SKIP SKIP away feeling OH-SO-LIGHT and who even cares what it looks like anymore? I've got rid, as they say on Corrie.

I've been having a bit of a time of it. Do you remember this, kindly readers?


This is what it's been like, for months, but with extra juggling and exhaustion-induced despair/irrational thoughts. I am so burned out I am actually a Walkers crisp, and those illustrations still need to be done by end of month. (Those fecking things - it's like trying to outrun your own shadow. It's getting mystical, as this point.) While this is just feasible, I am reminded of that saying about people who have been made partner in a law practice: It's like winning a pie-eating contest. And your prize is more pie.

Next week, my students have exams, an event that involves a vast amount of forms called (things like) Learner's Assessment F11-R456. On the other hand, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Only! 6! weeks! to! the! end! of term! Holiers needed URGENTLY.

Other things I have noticed of late:

  • The JB has been away for the last week, at a conference. In his absence I have been shocked to discover my breakfast dishes are still there, lying around in grey water, when I get home after school. Proof he does do dishes. Huh! I thought I did Everything Around Here. That's the thing about housework, isn't it? It's only noticed if it's not done.

  • Also. Yes. What was the other thing.

  • Ah. Our floor in The Hotel Tallafornia now hosts a weekly vist from Slimming World. A whole world of slimming - imagine! Continents of svelteness and seas of self-confidence! I am reassured by its logo every morning: Slimming World: Because [I am] amazing. Huh, ta, Slimming World.

  • I think, anyway.

  • It seems that the Authority may be sorting something out with regard to India opening - soon-ish. Also hopeful signs float over Florida. Too tired to be excited, but I presume I am, really.

  • Alrighty then. I am going to go and do the drop-off, I reckon.

Be well, friends.






on being loved

[Apologies in advance for the gloom-laden, whiny quality of the below.]

P-kit has almost earned the right to drop the Psycho from her name, I do believe. I know cats are reputed to have little in the way of an emotional life, but I would swear she loves me with all her little feline heart. She follows me around, like a dog, purring extravagantly. She lies on my chest and pats my face with her carefully sheathed paw. And since yesterday I drank the water that she had ever so delicately lapped earlier, and wasn't even much bothered, I think it's official. I am, in fact, a cat lady.

How did that happen?

Ah. What it is to be loved. I suspect I'll always be at sea with this thing you humans call love. I never know what it is that is required of me. Am I responsible for the other's happiness? How is that? And how responsible is he?

For the JB continues to trudge through the mire. It's not altogether easy being beside him through it, either. He is so focussed on being a parent, at times I am at risk of feeling like a conduit to his target/like a failure, depending on the mood. It takes some effort to keep it straight in my head: he is choosing to be with me, and I must not second-guess him, or throw myself on my sword. (We are far into the adoption process, after all! He just needs to have a bit of patience. Gah.) All potentially terribly regrettable options. Last night there came about an unhappy confluence of tiredness, sickness (My ear. It feels broken. Uff. Why is my body so weird?) sadness and sensory overload that ended with my telling him he knew where the door was, if he wanted to go. Oh, sigh. It's never a good idea to act rashly on your hurt feelings like that, is it? He did apologise, but he is miserable, and that makes him dramatic and catastrophic. And I was too tired to talk him round.

Maybe I am mistaken, but I believe his starting point is wrong. I feel that you have to start with you two, that that is a great piece of good fortune, to build on, if you are lucky. If it is children you really want from the relationship, you need to be clear. (The JB discovered his desire to be a parent after we were married, a thing that has caused us no end of angst. I had all sorts of issues about it, physical and emotional.) Where does that leave us? We are all out of step with each other. It's not good.

Points of view most welcome. Also kicks in arse, advice, or whatever is required here. You'll know.



Drawing from hotel room recently, in [London]Derry. Vurry naice ut twas, toy.


Last week we said finished our adoption preparation course. It was a bit sad to disband, but we all exchanged email addresses and have already arranged meet-ups. We were visited by an adoptive parent who gave us the most encouraging talk about her lovely daughters adopted from Russia. It was really good.

There was a funny couple in our group -  both great characters - very outspoken and entertaining. (Do you know a couple like that? I do wonder how they get together - I imagine that thrilling moment of recognition when they catch one another's eye: "Hey, you're one of ME! Let's get together and be Great Characters!").

Earlier in the week WFI posted about that weird version of the White Coat Syndrome that infertiles get, where we feel the pressing need to be all! zany! to! get! through! the! embarassment! of talking about All This Very Private Stuff with doctors and bosses and anyone we don't know very well, and sometimes, even those we do, if they are not totally au fait with this sort of thing. Sort of like when you meet a Policeman and automatically feel all illegal. This syndrome can manifest at the most unexpected moments and leaves you feeling like you have somehow ended up on stage with only a pink feather boa on, and suddenly have a terrible compulsion to cancan your way off. Suddenly you're on autopilot and a zany monkey with a deathwish has taken over the controls. (Like in the Wallace and Grommit film The Wrong Trousers, ever see that? So good.)

In our meeting, for instance, when we were warned we'd be asked how often we have sex. And Wife With Loads of Personality spoke up bravely, as she was wont to do, to ask why they needed to know that, exactly?

The group leader explained something to the effect that it seen as a barometer of the closeness of a couple. If we weren't having sex, then why?

Husband With Loads of Personality, obviously possessed by the Zany Monkey with a Deathwish, shouted out:
Oh well, we have sex all the time! LOADS OF SEX! ALL THE TIME!! Only we call it MAKING LOVE! WE MAKE LOVE ALL THE TIME!

We nearly died laughing. Nearly died, I tell you.


For those of you who like that sort of thing, I got a really nice new pen.
A Pentel Color Brush - ooh it's nice. It's got a brush tip which makes lines just like a perfectly loaded paint brush, and makes hair so much easier to draw. Quick sketches are so easy:

I recommend.

Pen and Zany Monkey stories gratefully received.



Thank you for your intelligent and well-considered input into the dilemma of the last post. It was really helpful to hear your points of view. I believe I'll know what to do if that situation arises. Or I hope so.

I spent Saturday night in Carlow visiting my friend, R. I always enjoy going down there. It's a small town with a wide river going through it, (otters! herons!) in the middle of a flat piece of countryside, and modest and overlooked by tourists as it is, it has its own secret charms. You can park, for one. You can drive up the main street and everything you need is within a 5 minute radius. There are pubs with fires burning, nice places to eat, a really excellent art centre, and there's R, a wonderful, wise friend. She lives in her own way, without fear or favour. We had a long talk and compared notes on everything from work to love. You can tell her whatever you need to, in the certain knowledge that she will listen, get it, never judge you but offer some insight that will illuminate the way.
(Just like you, my comrades, only present in a more bodily way.)

It's good to talk. She spoke from her own experience about childhood abandonment and how that can ruin children's sense of security, and make them believe they are somehow to blame, how important it is to be open about it, (all the things we hear in our meetings) and despite all this, how grief passes, and we need not be worried, because we can do it, we can be the parents that child needs. I was humbled and inspired.


But the next day as I walked along the river, the JB texted me and I started to worry about the his readiness to adopt. I think he's absolutely there beside me, but then sometimes he says something that makes me wonder. Like, how he's still hopeful that we'll have a biological child. And it made me wonder if this is part of the grieving for that child, which will pass, or if it's something that will remain and always haunt him.


Fear started to churn catastrophically in my head, and logic flew out of it, to the point where I was composing texts to implore him to go to a counsellor to work out whether he could be happy with our adoptive family and if not, well, we'd have to split, and (I told you it got catastrophic), that we'd have to accept that. I would not adopt unless he felt the child would be first in our hearts.



I don't half get operatic sometimes. I should know this, I have illustrated it before now.

I arrived home, and he was all upbeat and chirpy. He showed me all the work he'd done in my absence, varnishing the floor, cleaning and doing laundry. He apologised cheerily for what he'd said about the biological child: Oops, sorry about that. That was a bit weird, wasn't it? I read our ad0ption material after texting you, and it says it's perfectly normal, to go through these feelings.

Oh. So, no tragic divorce scenario, eh? Just tea and toast, and some light TV viewing.

I am a twit.


R and I were talking about our relationships with men, and how she finds it easy to be friends with them but is more uncomfortable in romantic scenarios, and I..? We stared at each for a moment as we both realised I don't actually have any male friends. A plentitude of lovely women friends, but no close male friends.

How about you? Do you have really good friends of the opposite sex? What for? (Heh). Should I look into getting one? Maybe I can order one online? (Mail order? I just died of my own corniness). Thoughts, ideas, and prods in right direction are welcome.


cutting the mustard

So! Sorry about the slight interruption in transmission - I was temporarily dumbfounded by all the tampon talk. How to follow that? Also, new departures have been keeping me off the streets. My friend (Sister 1), and I are working on an online business. Business! This seems most unlikely for me, and yet, it is surprising how much fun I am having with it. Apparently this is what hunger can do for you! More on this later.
(Recent work)

Work on comics ticks along in the background. I am thrilled by these opening doors - I feel so grateful to the residency for lighting this fire inside me. I intend to have all this in place and producing funds before the arrival of our child.

Hear that fightin' talk? True, it is impossible to predict how long that might be, but I am buying wholesale into the notion that you must act as if (Is that an AA culture thing, btw?)- you have to believe it's going to happen. So it will. Mamby-pamby won't cut it, to summarise the philosophy in my own more prosaic way. Which brings me to last Friday, which saw us nervously taking our places in a circle of padded seats, for the first meeting of our adoption group. It was led by a social worker, and a facilitator who is an adoptive parent herself. They were lovely! And human! I had feared a version of my severe Home Economics teacher, and talk of vitamins, spaghetti bol-gon-ase  and car seats, or something, but no. It was really, really good. Even the ice-breaking exercises and introductions, usually a bit nerve-wracking for me, were absolutely fine. Fun, even.

We set all sorts of guidelines about making it a confidential and safe space for everyone, so obviously I am not going to describe anyone, or quote anyone, but they were all heartbreakingly vulnerable and kindly people. Many, of course, are Our People. People I can already imagine will be real friends. We have already did a good deal of nodding vigorously at the reports of Things Fertile People Say, (like, someone advising one comrade that having a family was just a matter of a bottle of wine on a Friday night. Which is presumably the Irish equivalent of "Just relax", apart from being extraordinarily annoying and ignorant.) and respectfully listened to another member of the group confiding in us about their infertility.

It did my heart good to be surrounded by them, projections of our own wounded selves and yet, brilliantly different and perfectly themselves.

T xx


It was our wedding anniversary earlier in the week.

It's been four years since we - heh - joined together. (Click advisedly! Image may give creeps).
Things I have learned about being married since then = .2, feels like. Recently it's been up and down, to put it mildly. The miscarriage still haunts us, (not surprisingly) making me hypersensitive and the JB as angry as a wet hen. You can see how these two states of mind might collide and cause a small nuclear explosion, and they do.

[Mansize tissues. Someone has to explain that to me.]

I do understand it is the grief. But I need to remember  I understand it, at the crucial moment. Poor old JB. It's really hard. Then, just as quickly, it's over and we're rational again and jokey with relief at having dodged the bullet.

My cousin, who is from London, is marrying her partner of 15 years. To be together all that time, and really know each other, and stick together through all the life crap, and still want to get married, and be together till the end - I think that's really something. And so, as is proper, The Pearl tribe will converge on the hapless, unprepared capital for the celebrations next weekend. Oh, the EXCITEMENT. My sister (not) in-law (they are actually not married. Is there a term for her relation to me? There should be, she's brilliant. A pastry chef too! Sister-in-cake?)'s sister is lending us her (FANCY!) flat in central London, and we are going to have FUN, and poke around, go to shows, cafes, and squabble over A-Z's in Leh-cess-ter Square!

(If any one of my England-residing blog comrades is terribly terribly terribly bored at a very very loose end has some free time to meet next week, drop an email, (I can shake off the rellies, and point the JB in the direction of a war museum or something) I'd be so pleased to offer you a beverage of your choice in a cafe of your choice. However I do understand you are busy and have proper jobs and such like, (Employment.  The horror.) so do not worry if you can't. Another time will present itself in the future. There is to be no worrying! I AM ON MY HOLIERS!)


never say die

This is cheery.
The other night, in between barking coughing fits, I had this fevered dream that I was dying after being in a bus crash. I was not afraid. My dream-self was fine with idea. My last martyred dream-thought:
Maybe it's for the best, eh? The JB can go and have children with someone else.

I woke up all AURGG-ish, feeling hollow and cried punily on the JB, weakly confessing to him about the dream. He told me never to give up, no matter what. And he couldn't have a family with anyone else.
Me: Well, you could. It would just be an inferior one.
We laughed pathetically.

The dream left a dismal pall behind it that hung around for days like a bad smell, not helped by the fact I was on house arrest with the hacking cough and odd, vertigo-like sensations. Normally I could dismiss the ramblings of my subconscious, except that, in my dark moments, I can see where it came from. It would be strange, after all, if it never occurred to me that the JB could meet someone else and have plenty of time to have plenty of children.

However. I have to believe that he can make that choice for himself.

This is cheerier.

I got that residency. [!!] Flor-ee-dah, here I come! It is so deeply satisfying to send a sonar ping out into the ocean depths from my lonely submarine and hear a responding ping come back.
That's the best thing about it. There are people out there, and they hear me.

Like you, kindly readers.

Thank you for your encouragement, so much.

entertaining and not

A Party
The JB saw fit to invite 8 colleagues over for dinner on Saturday. Pa-NIC. Would they be starved or poisoned chez nous? These seemed the only options to my grim frame of mind. I can make dinner for four or six friendly souls easily enough, but those were 8 work people, and if I killed them, it would be a disaster, I reasoned. The JB would be lonely at work, and I'd be in jail for manslaughter and trying to pervert the course of justice, because the Guards would have found the 8 corpses of the academics (plus ones) in the garden where the JB wouldn't have dug deep enough graves for them, being more used to digging holes for small creatures.

But lo, the people, they came, they did not get poisoned, they made in-groupish (bunny, I learnt something!) academic type jokes, they were plied with wine entertained. I was quite fascinated by one - he said all the right things, and was perfectly polite, but he had not so much a flat affect, as no affect at all. Curious! Like Kevin McAleer, only without the humour.

Previously, on Ulysses
On the tome: we are trudging a bit. Just when you feel like throwing the thing in the fire, you hit a brilliant descriptive part that just flies and you think: Not bad, this Joyce feller. Might catch on yet. Like the bit where he gets up and goes to buy kidneys (bleah) in Dorset st, (which is not far from here) or where they are going to the funeral in the trap - yes! this is easy - but then you hit a part dense with classic and contemporary reference which you'd have to be a lot better educated than I am to appreciate, and the crest falls somewhat. Still, we persist, hoping for a rude bit to come up soon.

Avian Shenanigans
Peace reigns again. The Birds finished their crack suet, and I made the decision not to be an Enabler any longer, and not replace it. All is harmony, as they resign themselves to peanuts and dried mealworms. Eat up, my feathered friends.

Personal Neurosis

Some struggles with insomnia in recent nights. Brain running manically over scenarios, all of which seemed real at the time.
Scenario 1: I am convinced I have conceived again. (Am I happy? Or afraid? Both, which is uncomfortable.)
Scenario 2: I am convinced I have conceived again, but it's a chemical pregnancy.
Scenario 3: I am convinced I'll never conceive again.

Ig! (New alternative to ug). I wear myself out.

Your fatigued

not a figment

My 10-week scan was turned hastily into an 7-week one yesterday after a call from the EPU. I took the call in the made-to-measure curtains dept in a department store, oddly enough, as I stared unseeingly at the roman blinds. Apparently a mistake had been made, and I was to go along at my earliest convenience to confirm that Figment (as I have come to think of him/her) was in the right place.

How wonderfully relaxing last night was. Oh yes. Like a nice warm bath.


So this morning at 8.30 there I was waiting in the EPU in a famous Dublin maternity hospital, with those lino floors that curve up the walls of the long narrow corridors, and signs on the buildings saying things like: This is not the Early Pregnancy Unit. (A representation of an EPU, like the pipe? No, not even that). And I waited, and looked out the window where veils of drizzle were being lit up by the sun. I thought, this before part is so uncomfortable. I hate not knowing. To be suspended in hope and fear, like people whose loved ones have gone missing, and who never know what happened to them - that is the cruelest torture I can imagine. There were a few couples to go before me, so I waited and drank water. An hour went by. The couples seemed to be seen really very slloooowly.

The midwife took my history. I waited a bit more. A young couple came out finally, unsmiling. I was invited inside and my scan was over in about 10 minutes. All is well, Figment is in the right place and is the right size, and has the right heartbeat.
BIG MASSIVE SIGH OF BIG MASSIVE RELIEF. I left, wobbly with released tension.

I glimpsed the young couple again on the street. They were gripping one another's hand, their faces were set, hers was red with tears and it just pierced me. It is so high stakes, all this, it doesn't bear thinking about. It's not fair. Poor, poor young couple.

Words fail me.

Your over-wrought,

Now really must relocate my sense of humour, un-obsess myself with myself, and, you know, do some work. Really seriously. Really, really. But first, must celebrate. Going to be happy. Come back soon for a show of normality! (I hope).

Has anyone seen my mind?

I seem to have misplaced it. And my sense of humour, too.

Last night I got anxious and morose because I haven't been feeling as sick as last week, and this seemed bad.
Then I made the JB, poor man, wracked with nerves too. He was doing his wrinkly brow, and I had the temerity to be annoyed with him, because he didn't (somehow, magically) know the Right Things to say. He should have (somehow, magically) known I wanted reassurance! And (somehow, magically) should not have had his own feelings about the subject!
URG! I am a twit.

I am so sorry, JB, my only only.  On Valentine's Night too.