Sunday, October 26, 2008


I've been taking good care of myself, lately. I've been eating well and exercising a lot. As a result, I'm feeling positive, energetic and kind of younger, somehow. Less tired. More focused.

I feel good in my body. And as a result I also feel... horny.

The Big Dude is, of course, oblivious. We haven't had sex since mid-August sometime, but I don't think he has even noticed.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Good News (Sort Of)

I had been worrying about the fact that we only had one remaining chance to have a second baby, due to restrictions on access to our sperm donor. There is such a shortage of sperm donors now that they ration the number of attempts. We had already had two failed cycles, so only one cycle to go - do or die. Crikey, the pressure!

But we've had some good news. The clinic apparently still has a decent amount of sperm left from our donor and there haven't been any inquiries about him for some time. They've decided to let us have three more attempts instead of just one. I can't believe my luck.

The lack of enquiries is crazy. You should see our boy - beautiful, clever, chatty, and such a cheerful, sweet nature. If other IVF/sperm donor patients saw our kid, they would be queueing up around the block to get access to our donor. We're definitely planning to keep the news about him to ourselves.

I guess extra "opportunities" to do more IVF is not everyone's idea of good news, but I think I'm okay with it. At least it takes some of the pressure off the next cycle.

I'm smiling just thinking about the chance to have another child like my boy.

And something else makes me smile, too. Of course, the only way to truly reserve the supply for three more tries was to pay for it and I cheerfully dug out my credit card, but - I wonder what they will put on my credit card statement?!

Saturday, October 04, 2008

My Father Called

I mentioned that my father called in the midst of IVF cycle and work dramas.

The message looked innnocent enough: "New phone number X - call if you like". But of course, things are never quite the way they seem with him. I didn't call, but he found me anyway. The news in August was almost okay but now he is, of course, in trouble again. The real difficulty is figuring out what kind of trouble. He says the trouble is that he is out of money to buy medicine. But is it true or is it just that he knows that I am always on the verge of cutting off contact entirely and says what he thinks will reel me in again?

That sounds harsh, I know. But my experience of dad is that he lies. Or at least that he is extremely economical with the truth. And that story about the medicine is, in a way, just a little too perfect, just a little too poignant.

As I've noted before, I've hardened my heart, painfully, deliberately. It took me years to get to that point, but I haven't responded to these requests for a long time. The consequences have been averted by the fact that my sister has kept helping him. But he has exhausted her patience.

I am almost shocked by what my sister said. The last time I spoke to her about him, she said, "I don't care how he is. I don't care if he hangs himself off the nearest bridge. I just want to be free of him." She said that, last year, our foreign affairs department advised her he had died. It turned out to be a mistake but she said that, at the time, all she felt was relief. My sister is one of the kindest women you could ever meet. She spends most of her scarce free time rescuing wounded wildlife. But two decades of dad's chronic irresponsibility and manipulation have brought her to this.

I told dad that we couldn't help him and advised him to ask the embassy for assistance to return to Australia and throw himself on the mercy of our (fairly generous) welfare system. This would have the, to me, secondary benefit of his incurring a debt to the government that would prevent him from travelling overseas again until it's paid. What would be never. Problem solved, possibly forever. Dad doesn't get into this kind of trouble when he stays in Australia.

I also told him that she was utterly sick of these requests, year after year, and the way things never changed. That she felt he was abusing her and abusing the relationship, which was true. It was a hard thing to write. But I felt totally exasperated and also felt he needed to know that there was not going to be a daughterly rescue this time so that he could plan realistically. Total silence greeted that email.

But now that I am out of my own latest drama, I haven't heard from him and am worried about him. I don't know what to do.

The fact is that I don't know my father very well. He left when I was sixteen and I didn't see him again until I was thirty. I've only actually seen him three times since then. But for a person who is such a small part of my life, he looms very large in my mind. In a way, he looms so large that I don't seem to see him clearly. He is abusive, manipulative and insensitive. He is also vulnerable and probably not entirely sane. I can't decide in my own mind if he is just such a dangerous person - for me - that I should avoid all contact with him, and certainly avoid giving him any opportunity to exploit me again, or if he is ultimately a person who should be pitied and tolerated and helped.

It doesn't help that I found out a few months ago that my father used to hit my mother who I love and am close to. I always wondered, but I never saw anything and she never said. Now I know. My heart closed just that little bit more. It also doesn't help that I don't judge him as harshly as I used to. I know how hard it is to be an adult now - to deal with the monotony of everyday life, the marriage that isn't what was hoped for, the demands of kids, the lure of alcohol, the desire to run away. I have more understanding and more compassion than I used to.

But neither the closing heart or the understanding or the compassion actually help me to know what to do. Some kind of love remains. Even today, I almost called that phone number to find out how he is. Even though I know the only reward for that call would be an immediate crisis to deal with and the transfer of those annual requests to me. After all, what if he really is very sick and doesn't have money for medicine? He is diabetic, due to years of heavy drinking. What if he dies? How could I live with that

This morning, in church, I felt ashamed of myself. How could I have turned into the kind of woman who doesn't want to help her own father. I don't turn away from strangers in the street, but I turn away from this man who gave me my life. But what can I do? What should I do?