Monday 20th September 2010
One year ago.
I pace around, chasing my own tail.
I’m beginning to get dizzy.
Suse bursts in.
“Let’s go for a walk to the gardens,” she says, sounding almost light.
“Good thinking,” I mumble.
We walk out, along Punt Road, down under our bridge, and along the bike track. We leave the din and congestion and smell of the evening traffic, crossing onto Morell Bridge. I look at the lattice work, the ornamental Victorian lights, thinking of a simpler time in which this was built.
“What are you thinking?” Suse asks.
“I’m pissed,” I say. “I’m frustrated. This is a test that takes ninety minutes to run, and we’ve been waiting all day. You went in at 9.30am, and we have to wait for six hours? For what? So that it can get to tonight, to now, to this point where they won’t be able to tell us tonight?”
We go silent.
“I have to know tonight, honey,” Suse says, slightly desperately. “I can’t cope having to wait another day. What am I going to do if I don’t have the result tonight?” she says, her voice rising.
“You’ll just have to cope,” I say testily, “just like I will. We’ll just be left in limbo for another fucking night, just like the last eleven months.”
We let go of each other’s hands, waiting at the lights. I walk off ahead, without the green man’s permission, and in through the garden’s wrought iron gates.
Suse catches me, taking my hand into hers. Through all of this, we’ve tightened as a team. People say that IVF will make you or break you as a couple.
If nothing else, through all of this torture we’re closer than ever.
As we walk, I squeeze my eyes tight, thinking of the last month, of the last year. Lighting the candle and surrounding it with salt to cleanse the house. Our fertility ritual under a full moon in Fiji. The boats that Suse made, to float away the spirits of past pregnancies into the sunset. Our counselling with Jules. All of Suse’s medical trials; her trouble with both shoulders, her ectopic, her blocked fallopian tubes, her brush with multiple sclerosis and a spinal tumour, and then her varicella reaction.
And then I think of this last month. Of all of her pregnancy symptoms. Of the incident with the dishwasher. Of Meg’s dream that we would get pregnant this first time. Of Ella’s comment in the car. Of what the Garfield doctor said about someone having to be lucky. Of that feeling I’ve had, ever since we lit the candle two weeks ago.
That something has got to go right for us.
I open my eyes, and I contemplate the opposite. The reality of where we are right now, somewhere on the road of IVF, trying to lift our feet into the next heavy step.
We continue along quietly. The gardens now surround us, the smell, the tranquillity, the soft air. We walk down our curve, winding right around the lake. We walk along the path, and as we do, I see Suse’s shoulders rise, the weight lifted slightly in the presence of nature.
“If it gets to five, I’m calling back,” I say. “I’m not…”
“…It’ll be okay,” Suse says, once again composed. “She’ll call.
She squeezes my hand, and we walk some more. We round the bend, past the lawn, the lake in front, a couple of birds fluttering at its edge. As if on cue, as we pass the park bench, the phone rings.
* * * * *
To be continued…