Day 331, Part 4

By , September 30, 2011 10:00 am

Monday 20th September 2010

One year ago.


Suse strides over to the bench, sitting down hard.  I follow.

“Hello?” Suse says.

“Hi there, Susan, it’s Shelley here.”

“Hi Shelley.”

“Have you got a minute?”


“Look,” she says, pausing again, “I can’t tell you this officially, as the analyser is still not functioning.  But your beta-HCG level is positive.”

We both sit there for a moment, before looking at each other, our eyes wide.


“It’s just the progesterone level that isn’t through yet.  But the beta-HCG, the actual pregnancy test, is positive.  And… Well, we don’t like to give out the result until we have both, but, unofficially, it’s really the beta-HCG level that counts.”

We both sit there, a little stunned.

“So, that’s good, right?” Suse says eventually.

“Yes.  Absolutely.  And the level is nice and high.  Like really high.  It’s 703, and we like it to be above a hundred.  So you’re definitely pregnant.”

“So, unofficially, you’re telling us we’re pregnant?”

“Unofficially, yes, I am.  I just didn’t want you to be waiting till tomorrow to find out.  I didn’t think that was fair.”

“No,” I pipe in, “we were just talking about that.  We were about five minutes off ringing back.”

“Well, there you go,” she says laughing, “I beat you to it.”

We all go silent.

“So, where to from here?”

“Well you know, you still need your ultrasound at five weeks to check that it’s not an ectopic, which will be a week from now.  And, like I said, I’ll give you a call tomorrow to confirm.  To re-confirm.  But for now, it’s congratulations.”

“Thank you, Shelley,” we say together.  “Thank you.”

“Okay, talk to you tomorrow,” she says, hanging up.

I sit there, still.  Still dazed, before Suse falls into my arms.  I hear her begin to cry, and instantly my own shoulders begin chugging, convulsing, as the tears drop from my eyes.  Suse throws her legs over mine, hugging herself into me.

“We did it, honey,” she mews, barely able to speak. “We did it.”

“We did it.”

“We did it!”

“I know.”

“How are you?”

“Stunned, you know.  A bit shell-shocked, really.  I’d been bracing myself for the worst.”


We fall silent, staring out over the water, watching the swans as the silently float around.

“Oh my god,” Suse says, exhaling heavily.  “It wasn’t all for nothing, you know?  The herbs, the acupuncture, the hypnosis…”

“…The candle.”

“The specially concocted pre-conception recipes.”

“The meditation.”

“Ella saying I was pregnant.”

“Meg’s dream we got pregnant on the first round of IVF.”

“The Garfield doctor telling us someone had to be lucky first time.”

We both watch as the birds draw up against one another, rubbing their backs together.

“I was trying not to read too much into it all,” I say, my voice cracking.  “I was trying not to get too excited, you know, to not see too many signs.”

“Me too!”

“A winter baby.”

“Just like we imagined.  Just a year later.”

“Unofficially, that is.”

“Yes, honey.  Unofficially.”

We grip each other tight, and I place my palm against her belly, again imagining the cells multiplying, becoming a baby, a childhood lived out over seconds in my mind.  I smile.

“It’s poetic you know,” Suse says eventually, “that, in the end, it’s unofficial. The whole thing, the whole damn thing, until your child is in your arms, on the day that they are born, is unofficial.  Isn’t it?”

I look at my wife, and I smile, shaking my head slightly at her insight.

I watch as her brow furrows into that familiar frown.  “She said the level was high, right?”


“Does that mean it’s twins?”

I laugh so hard that I almost fall off the bench.



To be continued in three months…

* * * * *

10 Responses to “Day 331, Part 4”

  1. Jess says:

    I needed a good cry. Xxx

    And what will I read for three months?

  2. Susan Nethercote says:

    My darling, as I sit here at the computer, my eyes practically falling out of my head from the several times our daughter has had us up through the night this week, I am reminded in the most beautiful and eloquent of ways of how incredibly blessed we really are! Thankyou for reminding me every day of our journey of bringing her into being- how very very lucky we are. I love you and our darling Harper Grace. xx

  3. Bel says:

    Your IVF story has been a great read, and somewhat therapeutic. Part comic relief and part raw emotion inducing from beginning to end. In a world where many people do not discuss what is perceived to be a taboo topic, I found it comforting to hear about a fellow IVF’ers ride on that cliché emotional rollercoaster! Thank you for sharing.

  4. Mark Nethercote says:

    Thank you, Bel,

    And thank you for all of the comments along the way. It was a ride, and it has been fun bringing it to fruition – both the blog, and the commencement of our family.

    There’ll be a short break as we recover from winter colds and sleepless nights from our as-yet-unnamed-in-the-blog child, but the story does continue, and I look forward to bringing the rest of it along soon…


  5. kirsty says:

    bless you both for toughing it out. Nothing in my life has come close to the joy of being a mother and 20 years on it just keeps getting better and more beautiful. If anyone deserved to be lucky the first time it was you guys. happy sleepless nights.

  6. Nat & Joel says:

    Oi!!! It’s been over 3 months….I need an Aussie blog fix!! Having a child, etc… No excuse!!! Hope you guys are well xxx

  7. Esther says:

    I was searching for “potato gems” to explain to a friend what they are when I happened upon your blog. I’ve spent half the morning laughing, and half in tears. It looks like I have about 18 months of entries to catch up on, and I can’t wait to read the new installments – your blog is just, simply put, magic!

  8. Mark Nethercote says:

    Thank you, Esther, that is very kind. I have more than 18 months worth to catch up on, which is what happens when you have a child, I guess! A sixteen monther keeps us very busy – so much so, that this is the first time I have even revisited this blog since, well, I last published. Life goes in waves I guess; we’ll have to see if I can get this wave going again…

    Thanks for your kind comments,


  9. Laura says:

    I teach Obstetrical Sonography and found your blog while looking for images of pulmonary hypoplasia. But, as an IVF survivor, I was hooked immediately! Yours’ and Suse’s story is all too familiar and I had to keep reading to the end! Your writing is wonderful, capturing the raw emotions and the descriptions of what we won’t hesitate to try to see our dreams come true! It took six pregnancies for us to be blessed with one wonderful son and one beautiful daughter! In those IVF days of consuming sadness my husband always reassured me that everything would work out, and I fell in love with him all over again!

    Now all of a sudden those miracle children are 17 and 21 years old and we are sending our second one off to college next year. What a ride it has been! I can honestly say that God has repaid of for the lost years of infertility, and I very seldom think of those difficult times!

    Congratulations on your blessing of a little girl whom I know must be loved incredibly! Hold her tight everyday because she will grow up so fast! Best wishes!

  10. Mark Nethercote says:

    Thank you, Laura! It’s been a long time since I have looked at my WordPress site, so thank you for you lovely comments, and I apologise for taking so long to get back to you.

    Life has got quite busy with my beautiful family, so this is, thankfully, little more than a memory. I wish you well, and really do thank you for your very kind message.

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