Our modern miracles

I love seeing my friends create little versions of themselves.
While I was the first to have children out of my circle of friends, they’ve arrived in abundance since.
There’s the curly-haired ball of energy who tormented Master Seven to the point where he’d tense at the sound of her name and then turned out to be one of his favourite playdates.
The three-year-old tot who took a stack at my house, froze as he landed (upside down) and calmly squeaked out: “Um, cuddles…”, taking me back to a drunken night on the town with his mum.
There’s the little boy who has his mother’s eyes.
And the girl with her daddy’s charm.
But, as lovely as it sounds, it’s not always been that simple.
Many of my closest friends really had to battle their kids into existence.
There was unexplained infertility.
And explained infertility.
There were miscarriages.
And curettes.
Premmies who made it, premmies who didn’t.
There were hormone injections, Chinese herbs, acupuncture and, ultimately, IVF.
Most went through their conception woes in the years between my having Master Seven and Li’l Fatty.
Having conceived Master Seven fair near immaculately, I tried not to feel self-conscious around them.
As they prattled on hopefully about positive pregnancy tests, I reminded myself not to talk about the awful day I did mine.
I’d barely been near the man who fathered my baby – and yet here they were pulling their bodies apart.
To their credit, there was no resentment.
Or if there was, they didn’t let it show.
And for all of them determination – along with modern science – eventually paid off.
Fortunately their successes came before Li’l Fatty.
Which was good because Learner Dad barely kissed me to conceive him.
I wondered once how some of them would go explaining to their kids how they were made.
Then quickly realised my own explanations were going to be no easier.
The fact is they’re here.
How we explain that to them is our own story.
Let’s hope there are many to tell.


The sound of silence

If you’ve seen the film Marley and Me, you will most likely remember the ultrasound scene.
The excited buzz of the characters, played by Jen Aniston and Owen Wilson, recedes to dull silence as the doctor reveals there is no longer a heartbeat.
This scene resonated with me because it happened to one of my best friends.
After years of trying to fall pregnant, the countdown was on to that 12 week scan, when she and her hubby would surely determine all was ok and announce their happy news to everyone.
To find out later that their little baby’s heart had stopped beating was one of the saddest things I’d ever heard.
Although another close friend and I were standing by to catch the tears and dish out as many cuddles as she could handle, she retreated into a shell.
We barely saw her.
She knew we were there to listen.
But she also knew we had no idea what she was going through.
Months later, she told me she’d tried reaching out for what she needed but that there was really so little support for mothers who’d lost unborn bubs.
Sure, social networking had the potential to open up doors but it’s not like you’re going to post: “Looking for people who’ve lost a baby. PM me.”
I haven’t needed to seek that kind of support before so I’m not sure if it’s improved, but once again an article by Mia Freedman caught my attention.
She is compiling a book on the very subject and, not only will there be stories for you to read and hopefully relate to, but you’re invited to share your own.
Mia, who lost a baby herself late in pregnancy, shares the story here of the sudden death of her friend’s newborn, Leo.