I am the outlier.

In research we commonly deal with outliers.

Pesky scores that vary wildly from the general sample. They don’t fit into the norm. Their very presence can compromise the dataset. In my line of work outliers generally signal one of two things; a participant with radical views, or someone taking the piss.

Best to get rid of the sucker.


But recently I realised that I am the outlier.

I am the nuance that doctors dismiss, reject, or refer, or tell me bluntly “I don’t know what to do with you”.

I am the difficult patient who doesn’t fit into the medical framework. Who doesn’t present the way others do. Who doesn’t respond to treatment in the manner expected.

Pharmaceutical psychiatric treatment has little success with me. Antidepressants make me suicidal. Antipsychotics have never stopped the voices. Sleeping pills fail to put me to sleep.

I’m tested for epilepsy because my psychosis is ”abnormal”. I’m “high functioning” to the point of rejection from doctors and hospitals because I am not sick enough. I’m misdiagnosed. I’m turned away. I don’t fit the stereotype of ”bipolar”; whatever that may be. Then I fall down to the darkest, bleakest most dreadful depths and the doctors don’t believe I will be able to function. But I do.

I am the outlier.

I am diagnosed with a rare subform of a rare autoimmune disease that no one has ever heard of. Random allergies that make no sense. Hubster marvels how I can chow down a spicy curry no problem, but end up in hospital after a sandwich. I’m told I need medication, I’m given a poor prognosis. And now, undedicated with no treatment other than dietary changes I shouldn’t be in remission. But I am.

I am the outlier.

After years of trying to have a child, and seven or so early miscarriages under my belt I seek medical assistance. At first no one takes me seriously because I am not even thirty. Then, at 29 years old it is discovered that my reproductive years are ending. I’m to descend into premature menopause. This doesn’t run in the family.

I am the outlier.

Suddenly I’m being thrust into the world of IVF.. ‘I’m told I need to act now. I’m told I need high doses of medication. Friends my age spend their money on holidays and drinks. We spend our money on medical bills.

Then I start the process and am told my bloodwork is bad. That IVF isn’t possible. That it may never be possible for me.

I am the outlier.

And as I put my hands on my growing belly, knowing of the tiny heart beating inside, I know that you, little one, are an outlier too.

The one that arrived the very month when I was told it wasn’t possible. The one that came when I had all but given up. The one that blessed me with its presence naturally, the very cycle IVF was cancelled. The one I didn’t lose.

You are my little outlier. The most beautiful outlier there ever was. Every child is a miracle, but you are an extra special. You beat the odds.

Together we may not be representative of the population. We may have different needs to others. We may be the outliers.

But who wants to be average anyway?







The Babies I Never Had. The Child I May Never Have.

Warning: This IS long. Partly because I tend to ramble, and partly because this is a post that has been in the workings for six months, and a difficult post to write. There is also no pretty picture. I did consider including an X-ray image of my uterus but figured Hubster might get miffed it he saw I was posting pictures of my womanly parts online. 

About six months ago, after several days of waking up and immediately wanting to puke I realised, with a fairly abrupt shock, that I was late. Now, I’m never late for work, I’m never late for deadlines, I’m never late for social engagements, and I’m sure as hell never, you know, late. So this could only mean one thing.

I hot footed it down to the shops and grabbed the first test I could see. When I got home I knew what the result would be before it even showed up. When the two lines appeared I burst into tears and then promptly had a panic attack.

An hour later I tested again, just in case I had gotten some weird designed-to-really-freak-you-out bum test. Yep. Still positive. I think the word that first came out of my mouth started with “F” and sounded a lot like “Duck”.

Totally unexpected. Totally not the plan.

Because of all my health problems any pregnancy I have will be high risk and will need to be closely monitored. Because of the medication I am on I have been told to go straight to a doctor if I ever find out I”m pregnant. There is absolutely no playing it cool, and just seeing what happens with me. It’s a giant pain in the posterior.

So I went to see my GP, brandishing my test and asking her if she thought it was a positive result (because apparently I need a medical doctor with worse eyesight than mine to confirm the presence of a second line). She laughed and said yes. Booked me into the hospital, gave me my due date, lectured me about folic acid, and sent me on my way to have a batch of bloods done (and a rather unexpected pap smear that I wasn’t informed about. The fun just never stops).

Then I had to break the news to Hubster. When he came home from work he found me sitting solemnly on the couch.
“I need to tell you something”. I started.
“Oh god. What?!” he asked rushing over.
“I can’t say it.” I told him, covering my eyes.
“Just tell me! What!”
“I’m…pregnant.” I whispered.
He looked at me incredulously. “That’s not possible.”
I handed him the test, and then he was all “What?! How?!” and then “This was not what I was expecting” (apparently he was expecting me to tell him I was dying. Gee thanks Hubster. Let’s not get too excited here ;)) And finally, in a rather stern manner, “Rachael. This CANNOT happen.”
“Er, well. It’s a bit late for that speech.”
Then we both looked at each other and burst into laughter. He gave me the biggest hug and told me we would work it out. We would be ok.

And then I was happy. I figured it was pretty much the ONLY real good thing that had happened that year. The baby was due on Hubsters 30th birthday, which has gotta be a good sign right?

Spoiler alert: it wasn’t a good sign.

The next morning I tested again. And once again, I knew what the result would say before it did.


Hubster rolled over as I came back in our bedroom and asked how it went. I tossed him the test and told him I wasn’t pregnant anymore. I didn’t cry. I can’t say I was dreadfully upset. I wasn’t even surprised. Because it was the eighth time this has happened. I get pregnant easily. I just can’t seem to hold on to them.

Although the pregnancy was unplanned the whole event made us reassess our situation. We decided it was the right time to complete our family. I saw a doctor about the strange early losses, I was referred to a fertility specialist. We liked him instantly. Mainly because he looked like Dr. Who (though, sadly, not David Tennant).

This week, after weeks of being poked and prodded, hundreds of dollars worth of investigation and another failed pregnancy we found ourselves back in Dr. Who’s office. There are a few issues at play really. My physical health has, clearly, been less than ideal for a long time. But I heard myself being told that my ovarian reserve was diminishing. That at 28 years old I was essentially running out of eggs. What the actual flip? I had imagined all sorts of scenarios that were preventing us from having a viable pregnancy. This was not one of them. I’m not even 30.  I thought I had all the time in the world.

So the next few months are make or break for us. We will try two cycles of injections and hormone treatment to try and fall pregnant. If this doesn’t work it is on to a round of IVF. The doctor told us that it would be a good idea to freeze some embryos. Because I am running out of time. Awesome. I keep imagining my ovaries as having white perms and zimmerframes. Retiring early. Thanks girls!

So here’s the thing. Technically I am diagnosed as having had recurrent miscarriages. But I’ve never been really able to see them as that. It all happens so incredibly early. I feel I can’t compare a late monthly and a few positive tests to the horror of losing a pregnancy at a later stage. After seeing a heartbeat. After feeling movements. After knowingly carrying an unborn child for weeks. We almost lost Master D several times. I know these early losses don’t compare.

But I am at the crossroads now. I am beginning to realise that it is quite possible that Hubster and I will not be able to have another child. And that I spent the first year of my Master D’s life psychotic, depressed and in hospital. Then the third year of his life, psychotic, vomiting and in hospital. I have missed so much. I will never get that time back again. And I may not get another chance. Master D may grow up without having the experience of a sibling. In a way I wish I had never seen any of those positive tests. I wish I had never been aware that I was pregnant for that very short time. Because I start to feel grief over the babies I never had. Over the life we may not be able to have.

At the end of the day I know I will be ok with whatever happens. I am fortunate enough to have had the experience of being a mother – turbulent though it has been. I DO have a child. I’m one of the lucky ones.

Another child would be an absolute blessing. But my body is tired. The treatment is stressful and invasive (not to mention expensive). I’m not willing to cycle after cycle indefinitely.

I want to give the treatment a go. I know we would regret it if we didn’t at least try. But at the same time I need to put my health, and the child I already have before a child I may never have. I have no idea how pumping myself full of medication and hormones is going to affect my mood or my physical wellbeing. Master D has been without me enough. Theres a limit. And at this stage three cycles of treatment is our limit.

I feel strangely relaxed about the whole thing. I have suspected for years that there is something very wrong. There has been so much angst and worry and frustration. But I’m at the end now. This is now largely out of my hands. What will be will be.

In a few months I will be pregnant, or I won’t be. And I know I will be at peace with whatever the outcome.