Friday, February 17, 2012


Yay, time for that topic! DV, or domestic violence as it's called is a common age old occurence.
I'll be willing to bet that most of us know at least one person whose life has been affected by it, at some stage and some of them will even be men.
I have heard of men that have been physically attacked by their female (or male partners) and at the very least had heavy things such as glass bowls, ashtrays and vases thrown at them. I never really thought about it when I was young, but it must be hard not hitting back...and so many don't. I hope at least one person has a think about the advantage they're taking when they do that sort of thing. I once gave my husband a paper cut on his face flinging a piece of paper about. He's never let me forget it.

Anyway, the person I had miss 24 and mister 21 with was one such man. If I hadn't been such a mess myself, I maybe would've clued in earlier. I once asked him early on in our relationship whether he thought men were better than women. He answered yes. Clue!!!! Nevertheless, I fell pregnant to him. The violence didn't start overnight like it does with some (one older woman I knew said her husband beat her up on their honeymoon), but worked up to it. It started with yelling (which really stressed out one of our friends, whose mother subsequently got set alight and killed by her violent long term partner), worked its way up to shoving each other and resulted in me getting punched, choked and generally put down. I'm ashamed to say that we did it in front of our daughter. It went for (only) a year before I got out. I won't go into detail, but suffice to say, I'm glad I did, it took long enough to come to terms with it as it was.

Things I learned:
* Anyone who "pulls a punch" (makes sure that they don't hit you as hard as they could), is in control of it.

* Drunkeness is an excuse, usually they'll end up doing it sober.

* A man can quite safely punch his female partner in public (it happened to me).

* A lot of people express disgust, but are loathe to intefere.

* Men that hit women are quite often to scared to hit other men (my ex, of course was an exception, he would've taken on man, woman or beast).

* Staying in a violent relationship for kids is the worst reason. Just supposing nothing too serious happens, the kids end up hating both parents, one for doing it , the other for putting up with it, I met a woman who felt this very way during that particular year.

Needless to say, I was very wary after I left. I didn't answer the constantly ringing phone, or venture outside by myself for some time. It was safer. When he did bother seeing his kids, I dropped them off at his parents or sister's house. His family were very helpful, fortunately and never gave out my address etc and so I was free to start again.

The biggest and best thing I think I did was thinking about the type of relationship I wanted and what sort of partner I wanted. I made a vow to myself to accept invitations from men I would never have dated before. I realised that I needed to change the type of man I liked, otherwise I ran the risk of repeating that mistake, like so many have before and after me. Fortunately it worked. I've been with G for 20 years, married 15 of them and have never been afraid of him once. Better be more careful with that paper.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


Time to delve into the murky past again... I've read a lot of "stuff" about birth, abortion and even some brave/foolish woman who breastfed and expressed on Facebook (or at least on a picture posted to Facebook).... and of course when fertility goes wrong. IE; infertility.
I fell pregnant very easily (some may call it accidental) with my first 2 babies, at 19 and 21. This is not uncommon at this age. You're highly fertile. Apparently fertility peaks (in women) in the mid 20s, slowly declines, declines a bit more sharply in the early 30s and rockets downhill after 35. That said, I've looked after a fair few women in their 30s and some in their 40s in maternity. Men, on the other hand, can impregnate a woman well into old age, but their is a gradual decline, but not a cut off, like menopause. Some would argue that there is manopause.....
Infertility hits both sexes, with a percentage being male, female, combination and unexplained. In our case it was unexplained and secondary in my case (as I'd had kids already) and primary for G (as he had no kids). I'm not going to pretend that I know the dramas associated with IVF, but I know how it felt for us.
We got married in early '97 and tried for a baby fairly quickly. I fell pregnant fairly quickly and expected a standard pregnancy like my first 2. At 7 weeks along I started to spot. This continued for a few days, by which time, panic had set in and I'd seen the doctor and had and ultrasound. The ultrasound (a lovely transvaginal one that involved a probe with a glove stuck awkwardly on the end of it and 2 people not 1 in the room) showed a tiny foetus with a still dot that should have been pulsing. So off to theatre for a D & C. While upset, I knew it was common and resolved to try again soon and hopefully it would be ok next time.
Next time, the spotting started again at 7 weeks. Ultrasound showed the embryo alive but ith a large ovarian cyst. I continued to spot and started to bleed while visiting my parents. Off to hospital with another D&C resulting.
The next time, my cycle started to play up. I went from a bog standard 28-30 cycle to a 21 day cycle. I got introduced to a temperature chart, subsequently diagnosed with luteal phase insufficiency and shortly after given a prescription for clomid.
Temperature chart: take oral temp every morning before rising, chart. Temp should rise in second half of month, indicating an egg has been released. Sex should be marked on this and you get to be humiliated by at at your gynaecologists.
Luteal phase deficiency: shortened menstrual cycle, less than 10-14 days with/without ovulation, meaning a fertilized egg may not have enough time to implant before a period.
Clomid: fertility drug, used for luteal deficiencies and anovulation etc. Taken early on in the menstrual cycle. You still use the temperature chart and have a preogesterone test on day 21-23. Side effects include possible multiple release of eggs, pelvic pain/ache and hot flushes. Twins are not uncommon.
I also had a hystero-salpingogram which involves dye being squirted through your reproductive organs to see if there are any blockages.
G didn't escape unscathed, however jerking off into a cup isn't my idea of hardship. He, however made it harder on himself by taking the first sample to the lab without the request slip. The second sample he "got" in a public loo near the lab and someone reached for his ankle under the partition while said collection was in progress. Go figure. I'm still amazed he finished.....
Oh I had a heap of blood tests too, for chromosomes, weird blood groups, diabetes, clotting diseases etc. fun times.
The next time followed the same course, which was becoming depressingly familiar. This time I was being ultrasounded regularly and taking progesterone pessaries, all to no avail. I lost this foetus at home this time. After this we were suitably traumatised and decided to delay trying for a baby for a while.
We came to an agreement that we would wait for a year and start again. We decided how long we would try for and how far we would go (up to 35, stop at IVF). One of my colleagues and I bonded as we were going through the same thing at the same time. She went to IUST (intra uterine wperm transfer)and fell pregnant before I did. Nonetheless, the support from her was very helpful as infertility is one of those things that makes people uncomfortable, so they are quite often rude/inappropriate about it. Surprisingly G found a lot of support from his mainly male work colleagues, which was also very helpful. In that year I concentrated on existing family and career. I started midwifery, despite some saying I was mad, but it actually depersonalized it for me. The midwives I trained with assured me that I would be pregnant when I finished the course and even though I didn't believe them, I was 6 months pregnant with miss 11 when I finished. Her and miss 8 have been an absolute gift. Miss 11 is like a female version of G and miss 8 a mini me.
So while my story isn't the worst it could be, it was still a long 3 years and enough to make me appreciate my fertility and the kids I have.