Well, it’s been a bit of a team effort so far, so it’s only fitting that you guys should be among the first to know: yesterday’s blood test was… positive. Yes, I’m shocked too. And so is Llewie. I think we’re both still digesting the result. I went into IVF first thing, and Nurse K – another of my favourites – took my blood and merrily sent me on my way with the best of her luck. I squeezed her arm on the way out, saying, “Thank you,” and I’ve just been down to the village to pick up a card for the nursing team, to say the same thing with the help of a box of chocolates. No matter what happens with this pregnancy, whether it holds or doesn’t hold, they’ve been wonderful, and I deeply appreciate the extent to which they’ve made a fairly harrowing process almost benign. That’s not easily done, but their professionalism and care have certainly made everything easier for me. IVF Australia: I’d recommend them to anyone.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. I’ll tell you what happened.
So after the test first thing yesterday morning, I wandered around the CBD completing various small tasks while Llew continued on to the office. Then I went to the State Library to work and wait. Unfortunately, I couldn’t sit in the Mitchell Library because I needed to be able to answer my phone, and this requirement limited my options to the busy lower-ground thoroughfare linking the two libraries. Noisy, especially once the American girl at the next table took a call. She evidently had a lot to discuss, loudly and at length. I resorted to sticking my fingers in my ears at one point, hunched over my laptop muttering a rich stream of obscenities while trying to edit a page of my MS, but I was only able to hear what she thought of a student’s incomplete essay; I gathered pretty early on that she was a tutor, and her self-professed skills in this area kept her happily occupied for upwards of half an hour. I started thinking I wasn’t the only one regretting she answered her phone. I thought maybe the person on the other end was kicking walls now too.
Finally it ended, and it wasn’t so much longer before Nurse K called. I answered about a tenth of the way into the first ring. My reflexes were Olympian. But I was so aware of Tutor of the Year sitting over there preening about three feet away that the last thing I wanted to do was talk or, worse, betray any emotion whatsoever. So when I said, “Hello?” and Nurse K said, “It’s K, Diana – congratulations!” I found myself saying in a small, blank voice “Really? Wow.”
The next few minutes are a blur, I don’t really remember what was said, then Nurse K furnished me with a couple of dates, including, if you can believe it, a due date. That broke the deadpan gridlock quick sticks – I started shaking and crying, although still desperately trying to sound remote and administrative for the benefit of my hair-twirling neighbour. Then I let it slip to Nurse K that I was all shaky, and she laughed and said, “I bet you are.”
So that was that… I packed up my computer and left, calling Llew as I exited the library. He wanted me to wait to tell him in person, so we arranged to meet outside the GPO in Martin Place. He looked nervous and uncertain as he walked toward me, and I’m sure the smile I gave him didn’t help matters, being all strange and wobbly (I just came as close as I’ve ever come, on any computer anywhere, to spilling water right across the desk… my desktop calendar is swimming… what was I saying about reflexes?).
Then he said, “Really? Wow,” which made me laugh.
“That’s exactly what I said,” I told him, watching everything from disbelief to delight pass over his face.
I think we’re both in shock. And when we spoke to his mum (they’re away down the other end of the country at the moment) as we stood in the warming sun of Martin Place, she sounded like she was in shock, too. Stunned. Somehow I think we erred on the side of disappointment this time, so getting the nod is a loud, jolting thunderclap. Indeed, I’m going to have to start watching myself. All these surprises seem to have addled my brain. In the past 24 hours alone, I’ve stood in the path of a moving vehicle, rooted stupidly to the spot as vague and unseeing as any village idiot; I’ve wandered around a supermarket for an unknown length of time before leaving without the very item I went in to buy; I’ve lost all sense of where I’m putting all my pens (where? Where are they??); I’ve written ‘its’ instead of ‘it’s’ in an email; I’ve lost a train of thought mid-conversation even as I was having it. As I emailed Llew earlier, it’s like my mind has left for a long picnic without bothering to invite me along.
It’s bizarre, and not a little perturbing. I live so much in my head, and always have done, that this sudden vacancy feels like a kind of homelessness. It’s as though my brain’s evicted me, very rudely, and I’m not sure it’s planning to give back my bond. All very strange, as is the supreme tiredness that has started washing over me nightly at about 7 o’clock. As I confessed to Shuckin’ Charlotte this morning, I am making like a dormouse, no longer dancing on tables so much as sleeping beneath them.
For all that, it is far, far too early to tell if this is viable or not, and past experience dictates we temper all the excitement and curiosity with some harsh truths. While of course this result is hugely encouraging, it’s simply too early to say if it’ll last, so we have no choice but to keep managing our expectations. We shall proceed with cautious optimism. In normal circumstances, there’s a good reason why people don’t share their happy news too soon – it’s too fragile, all of it – but thanks to so many people, this has been a challenge shared, and a hope multiplied, and keeping good news to ourselves is no insurance against bad. So we’re still in it, friends, we’re in with a chance, and thanks so much for keeping me company on this lurching, turning ride.