Tag Archive | divorce

The Safety Net mystery

In Australia, our universal healthcare system is called Medicare.

To give you a basic rundown (mainly for the Americans who have a totally different system) anytime we use a public hospital it’s totally free. Our public hospitals are extremely high standard and often better equipped than private hospitals, so we tend to use them majority of the time.

No matter whether you go in for a sprained ankle and spend five hours in the emergency department, or attend three times a week for cancer treatment over the course of two years, or have a serious car accident and need five surgeries then spend three months in a ward…all totally free.

Other things outside the hospital setting are charged differently and attract different levels of “benefits”.

If you are a low income earner you get a healthcare card and then things like visits to your local doctor’s clinic, x-rays, psychiatry, pathology and dental treatments are free for you.

If you aren’t a low income earner then these benefits are partial subsidies. So for example, if Medicare decides that the scheduled fee (benefit) to visit a local doctor is $35 then that’s the subsidy amount you receive.

If Doctor A charges $65 for a visit then he is charging $30 above the scheduled fee and you will be required to pay $30 out of pocket rather than the full amount. If Doctor B charges $40 then you will only be required to pay $5 out of pocket, because it’s only slightly above the scheduled fee. And if Doctor C bulk bills then that means they only charge the scheduled fee so it costs you nothing.

(I do have a point to all of this by the way. I’m not just giving you a quick lesson in universal healthcare. I promise.)

To make life easier for people who have higher than average medical costs (for example people who often need to see doctors or get medical tests…in other words, people like me…) the Government has something called the Medicare Safety Net.

Depending on your individual circumstances, each citizen is set a threshold amount. Once you reach this threshold in out of pocket medical expenses, the Medicare Safety Net provides a higher Medicare benefit for all eligible services for the rest of the calendar year.

So for the example used above, if you haven’t met the Safety Net threshold then you get a $35 benefit if you see a local doctor. But once that threshold is reached your benefit may increase to $50 for each visit so your out of pocket expenses obviously become much less.

Now see there’s an added benefit to being married in Australia. Because the Medicare Safety Net for a single person without a healthcare card is $2030. So once a person reaches $2030 in out of pocket costs, they get the added benefits.

But if you are married or in a de facto relationship, you can combine both partners medical expenses and still only need to meet that same threshold of $2030. Twice as easy!

For all the years my ex-husband and I were going through IVF this was fantastic because I would reach the Safety Net almost immediately at the start of the year (egg collections, specialist visits, ultrasounds etc were only billed under my name) and then Doug would also get cheaper medical treatment for the rest of the year.

Well this pregnancy has unfortunately fallen across two calendar years in a very awkward way. I was 20 weeks pregnant when the clock struck midnight on New Years Eve.

So exactly half of my costs were in 2015, and half in 2016. For example the Harmony test and initial ultrasounds ($750 out of pocket) were in 2015, but my obstetrics management fee for the private hospital where I’m going to give birth ($1250 out of pocket) was in 2016.
So even though I’ve spent a lot of money, unfortunately it took me until the end of February to finally hit my threshold for the year and start accessing the higher medical benefits.

Except here is the thing (and here’s the point to this blog post that you’ve all been patiently waiting for)…

I logged into my online Medicare account last week and realised with a sickening dread that my ex-husband and I were still registered as a “family” for Medicare purposes.

He and I have been registered as a family for years, and obviously when our divorce was finalised last year some lawyer somewhere forgot to tell us to separate our Medicare files. So we were still linked.

I was outraged.

“Oh hell no!” I shouted. “There’s no way in damnation that man is accessing cheap medical care for the entire year because of my medical expenses. No way. No how. Not going to happen.”

So I phoned Medicare, explained the situation, and asked them to legally separate our Medicare files so that we were no longer sharing a Safety Net.

At that point, I was feeling pretty smug about myself.

That buffoon of a man clearly thought he could just slip in undetected and access cheap medical because of my expenses? Because of my child’s expenses? Well how rude!

But today I’ve logged back into my Medicare account online and something terrible has happened.

I’ve gone from sitting well above the threshold to dropping well below the threshold.

I’ve dropped right back down to having accumulated only $1500 in out of pocket expenses for the year. I still have another $530 to go!

I honestly don’t know how this is possible. It must mean that some of my medical expenses that I’ve paid this year aren’t listed on the schedule of benefits.

It also means Doug has spent a huge amount of money on out of pocket medical expenses in the first three months of the year.

This is just…unheard of.

In the whole time we were married I only ever remember him being seriously ill once, when we both had whooping cough. All his other expenses were fertility treatment related.

So of course my first reaction was to freak out – like, oh my god he’s sick. Is he okay? Is he dying? What’s wrong with him? He can’t die he’s the love of my life. I’ll die if he dies.

My second reaction was one of terrifying realisation – majority of his medical expenses over the past ten years have been fertility related. I know he has a new love in his life (thanks to a blabber-mouthed acquaintance filling me in on the news at the end of last year).

Does that…..is he…..could this….I mean….is that evil fucker doing…fertility treatment? With her? With the new girl?

And then I think back to the night he left me.

The night he told me he had to leave because he wanted to have children so badly, but I was incapable of giving them to him without IVF. And he couldn’t do IVF ever again because it was just too hard.

Has he changed his mind? Does he love this new girl more than he ever loved me? And so he is willing to do IVF with her?

The mere thought of it makes me want to vomit. And then kill him with my bare hands. And then vomit again.

Then I think about what my doctors told me when I fell pregnant this time around – the real reason I’d been unable to have children previously was a male fertility factor. He’d been the main cause of our infertility. Not my endometriosis, not my PCOS, not even my blocked Fallopian tubes.

So maybe he knows this now too. Maybe he knows now that IVF is actually his only option.

But not with me.

With the new girl.

The problem wasn’t actually the IVF. It was just me. I wasn’t good enough. He just didn’t love me.

And I’m 34 weeks pregnant.

And I’m super hormonal.

And I sometimes still miss my husband.

And I sometimes still dream about my husband.

And in my dreams he is the father of my unborn child.

And the idea that he’s undergoing fertility with someone else makes me want to cry and cry and cry and cry.

What if our lives were supposed to be a Nicholas Sparks novel?

Like we divorce but then re-discover each other years later, only for Doug to gasp in shock when he meets my precocious young daugher. Instead of being upset he thinks she is wonderful because she has my eyes. The eyes of his true love…

Then we each realise we’d never stopped loving each other, and even though I’m trapped in a loveless marriage, we share one amazing night of passion. I go home to tell my husband I’m leaving him, but then find out Doug has been killed trying to rescue stranded puppies in a freak tornado.

Devastated by my loss, I only find a reason to go on living when I discover a month later that our one soulful night of love-making had created miraculous new life. A son that I name Doug junior…

WELL NOW I CAN’T HAVE THAT.

Now there can be no Nicholas Sparks ending. He has RUINED it.

This is ridiculous I know! Because I am having a baby with a man who isn’t my husband! I can clearly see how hypocritical I’m being.

But you guys my baby was a total accident. There’s a difference between a whoopsie accidental pregnancy and seeking fertility treatment.

If he’s doing fertility treatment it means he’s fully in love and super happy and wanting to start a family with this stupid trog.

I’m also aware that this freak-out is totally illogical. I mean I have no idea why he’s managed to incur so many out of pocket medical expenses.

Maybe he was in a car accident and needed a lot of x-rays.

Maybe he has something wrong with his back and needed lots of physiotherapy.

Maybe he has decided to have a sex change and he is paying for hormone treatment.

Maybe someone finally decided he was a smug little jerk and beat the shit out of him, so now he needs cosmetic surgery to fix his face…

In the end it doesn’t matter.

I know it doesn’t matter.

His medical expenses are none of my business. He is no longer my business.

But damn it I want to know!

What are you up to, Doug? What exactly is going on here?

It kills me that I can’t know.

It still hurts me so badly that I’m finally having a child, but that amazing event in my life has nothing to do with my ex-husband.

The man who was my forever. Who promised to love me until the day I died. And all the other blah blah blah lies that he told and I foolishly believed.

Nothing to be done about it, and I’m very aware that it’s silly I’m upset over this.

Just needed to vent, I guess.

If you’ve taken nothing else from this ridiculous blog post, at least now you will pass a pop quiz on the Medicare system and the Safety Net threshold.

This is a very important life skill.

You’re welcome you guys. You’re welcome…

Sadie xx

p.s if you steal my romance novel idea I’m going to be super pissed at you

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The last of the update posts

Can you believe I’m back already? Hopefully this post will bring us up to the present time. As per usual – this will be a long one. Hopefully our last long post!
 
At the start of February, the sale of the house my parents had owned in the city for 30 years was finalised and they had to vacate. Unfortunately, their new house was not ready for settlement for another two weeks.

So of course they hauled all their boxes and furniture to Paradise, stored them in my garage and moved in with me temporarily. It was the least I could do, considering I was soon to be moving in with them for more than a year!
 
James had been promising to move out for weeks, but unsurprisingly by the time my parents arrived he was still living in my front bedroom.  You see, he’d started yet another new job and then quit after less than a fortnight. So he had no money to move out and rent his own place.
 
This was something that was giving me high anxiety, because my father, who struggles to hold back his sour feelings at the best of times, was about at the point where he was ready to hit James with a baseball bat.

Like, I get it. It must be hard to watch some deadbeat guy walk all over your only daughter and treat her very badly. I’d wanna hurt the guy too!
 
But along with my mother, we sat him down and explained to him that even though James had been treating me terribly for a sustained period of time, we had to tread very lightly. If he were to lash out at James at any point, no matter what he’d done to cause my father to react that way, then it would actually be bad for me in the long run.

Because I wanted to request full custody of my daughter for at least the first two years after her birth, and if at any point my dad screamed at James or physically manhandled him out of my house then James could argue that he didn’t want his child living with someone who was violent and it could end up affecting me in the Family Court. I didn’t need to give James any ammunition against me.
 
On the day they arrived, my mother announced that she was moving into my bedroom. My parents have a large dog that sleeps outside each night, and she said that as the dog had never lived in a house other than the one they’d just sold, she was concerned their dog would cry all night alone in the backyard.

She explained that as my bedroom is at the very back of the house, if she was sleeping in my bedroom the dog could still see her and may remain calm and not disturb the neighbours. But if you ask me this was just an excuse to be with me all night and stop James coming into my room in the evenings, saying abusive things and upsetting me.

My mother also took over a lot of the cleaning and cooking duties. It was a huge relief as James refused to do any kind of housework at all so having to continually clean up after both of us was getting exhausting.

Unfortunately, James readily started taking advantage of my mother. He was eating all the food she cooked, without ever offering to recompense her for the money she was spending on groceries. She was also doing his washing and cleaning for him. My mother was silently seething about it, but put it up with it to keep the peace.
 
One night, I was lying in bed, when James started texting me from the front bedroom. You know I can’t even remember what he was texting me now but I know it was bad. Probably stuff along the usual lines – I’d ruined his life, he wished I’d had a miscarriage, he hated me for keeping the baby, I should buy him a boat as compensation for the hell I was putting him through etc etc.
 
I started crying and showed my mother my phone. She got so angry and told me instead of sitting in my room blubbering I should go down to his room and confront him in person.
 
At this point I will admit I stepped a bit outside my own personality. I snapped and stormed down there, barged into the front bedroom and told James he was a “fucking loser” with no education, no job and no hope in life and that I didn’t want my daughter exposed to his nonsense.

He screamed back that I was a “full retard” (naturally I asked him how many full retards have masters degrees and have started their doctorates but he didn’t have an answer for that) and he didn’t want our daughter exposed to me.

Then he burst out into the hallway. My parents were both sitting in the living area listening to him as he screamed at me and told me how much he hated me and that he was leaving the house immediately to get away from me because I was a bully and a retard.

I was bawling my eyes out and so stressed I had pain shooting down the sides of my uterus. He stormed out of the house and slammed the front door.
 
My father then started screaming that James was never allowed near me ever again and they would no longer allow him to subject me to such verbal abuse. I was so hysterical I actually vomiting.
 
Literally 25 minutes later, James texted me:

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He begged to be allowed to come home because he was sitting by the side of the road crying. I told him that he could come back inside as long as he went straight to his bedroom without saying a word to anyone and stayed away from me. He also had to agree to see a doctor and seek help for his mental health issues. He readily agreed.
 
Then my mother had to go out to the living room and calm my father down enough for him not to physically intervene when James arrived back at the house. Thankfully he agreed to be civil about everything.
 
The next morning, in typical James style, I received a retraction of his apology and an assertion that everything the night before had been my fault because I’d called him a loser:

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(The black squiggle is where I’ve had to block out James’ actual name)
 
Of course it triggered another fight between us and I ended up sobbing in the bathroom at work.
 
The following day, a heat wave hit the east coast of Australia. It was 38 degrees (100 F) outside, a dry oppressive heat, and much hotter inside.

James, who was usually out of bed before 5am each morning, still hadn’t made an appearance by 8am. When I went into his room the windows were shut and it was like a sauna in there. He was lying on his bed under a blanket. I asked him what was wrong and he could barely open his mouth to speak to me. He just whispered that his life wasn’t worth living and rolled over away from me.
 
By midday I was bringing him bottles of water and food, because I was so concerned he was going to require hospitalisation from severe dehydration. It was well over 40 degrees in his room and he wouldn’t allow me to open a window.

He refused to eat or drink. If anyone has ever seen the television show Shameless, it was like watching Monica or Ian Gallagher when they have their bipolar depressive episodes. I was seriously concerned for his mental health.
 
By 3pm I told him if he didn’t get up out of bed in 15 minutes I was going to call his father and make him drive all the way from the city to physically drag him out of bed. That seemed to do the trick and he finally made an appearance in the living room.
 
I think by this point James could see the stress I was under and the fear in my eyes. He knew he’d gone too far and that I didn’t know how to help the situation anymore.

So he called his old boss in the city, from way back when he’d been a truck driver (when I first met him) and asked if there was any work going. His old boss said not only could James have his old job back – he could start on Monday.
 
So just like that James was gone.
 
I mean, he wasn’t totally gone. He would still message me every day. Sometimes to ask how I was doing, but mostly just to bitch about how much he hated it in the city and his old job and how he wouldn’t be back there if I hadn’t ruined his life.
 
But the physical separation was such a huge relief. It was like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I felt free from the burden of him, even temporarily.
 
At the same time my parents’ new house settled and we moved both their stuff plus a lot of mine across to the new place. There was still a lot of packing left to do at my house, but I had a few weeks before I needed to have it empty for renters to move in.
 
The adjustment to living with my parents was actually harder than I thought it would be. On the one hand, it was lovely that my mother was doing my washing for me. But on the other hand, I hated that she was going into my room uninvited to empty my dirty clothes hamper. I felt like I’d gained my sanity back and was protected inside a little cocoon in my parents’ “in-laws suite” (thanks Bruised Banana!) but at the same time I’d lost my privacy and independence.
 
When I was 25 weeks pregnant, I got a new car. I know what you’re thinking – how could I possibly get a new car when I’m totally broke and can’t even afford my bills. Well let me tell you the answer surprises me as much as it surprises anyone.
 
My parents had approached me weeks prior and told me that they felt it was very unsafe that I was driving around in a beat-up old car. It was actually my first ever car – a small white two door car that I’d bought when I was still a university student.

When I was married to Doug, he’d driven a fancy corporate car (because he had a fancy corporate job) so I drove around in his brand new car. My little white car was relegated to the garage where it was neglected for many years. But after the separation, it was serviced and repaired and became my number one (and only) car again.
 
I explained to my parents that I would like very much to upgrade my car, particularly as it only had two doors so I was going to have a lot of trouble getting the baby in and out of the back seat. But I had no money so it would have to wait.

And then they bought me a brand new car.
 
Like honestly they called me up one day and said “come on down to the car dealership to test drive this car and pick which colour you want” and that was pretty much it.

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I want to stress that my parents aren’t rich. Far from it – I can remember growing up they often struggled to put food on the table or pay bills. But they had some surplus money left over from the sale of their house in the city and they saw this as a way to genuinely help me.

It wasn’t a gift it was a loan. I was given the car on the condition that over time I slowly pay them back for it, and if that wasn’t ever possible then my brother would get a little more in their estate after they died. It was as simple as that.
 
I can’t tell you what it feels like to drive around in that car. I can’t tell you what it feels like to know that my parents care so much about my wellbeing, and the wellbeing of my child, that they would permanently loan me that much money so that I could be safe in a car with seven airbags, ABS brakes and every other safety feature under the sun.

And the fact that I never once asked them for it makes it even more special. I have people who look after me and care for me without me even having to tell them I need help.
 
I sold my little old car for $1700 (haha!) and immediately gave that money to my parents as a way to begin paying them back for the car. They said that was quite enough and not to worry about paying them back anything else for the next few years while the baby is little.

Even my brother was super supportive and glad that I had a new safe car. My whole family was amazingly supportive. It made me cry to know I was going to be okay and my family was genuinely going to take care of me.
 
James vocally told anyone who would listen that I didn’t actually own my new car – that my parents did. That it wasn’t really my car at all. But my parents told me to ignore him and not let it bring me down.
 
When I was 26 weeks pregnant, I was sitting in a meeting at work one morning when I suddenly felt overcome with morning sickness. I’d suffered really badly until about 17 weeks, vomiting multiple times all day and night. At 22 weeks it had recurred for about a week. So feeling nauseated at 26 weeks wasn’t entirely a surprise.
 
I stood up to quietly excuse myself from the meeting, when I unexpectedly became dizzy, saw yellow spots in my eyes and heard a high pitched ringing in my ears.

Next thing I know, I was lying on a sofa across the other side of the meeting room with my shoes off and my feet elevated. Luckily my boss, who was sitting next to me in the meeting, had seen me go very pale in the face and acted with lightning speed to catch me as I fainted so I never hit the floor.
 
Though I said I was feeling much better, the workplace health and safety protocol in my office dictated I still go up to the hospital to be checked over. So my boss phoned my mother (once again…so lucky that my parents moved to Paradise) and she came to pick me up.

To be honest I wasn’t stressed about the situation. I felt really calm that my baby was okay and I was okay, and everything was going to be okay.
 
By the time I got to the hospital my blood pressure was completely normal but my usually extremely over-active baby (every time I’ve had a scan they’ve had trouble taking measurements because she doesn’t stay still long enough!) was very quiet. So they hooked me up to the EKG machine for a few hours to monitor her heart rate and my contractions.

The midwives were originally concerned because they could see on the machine I was having contractions, but the doctor was satisfied that they were Braxton Hicks and nothing to be too concerned about so I was sent home.
 
On the way home, I texted James to let him know what had happened. His exact response was “Wow I’m glad you’re okay. But aren’t you going to ask me how my day is going?” It was so…typical.
 
When I was 27 weeks pregnant I headed back to the city to do a breastfeeding workshop with the Australian Breastfeeding Association.
 
For me, breastfeeding is something that I take very seriously and it’s my number one goal to exclusively breastfeed my baby until she’s six months old. I really wanted to learn everything I could about breastfeeding so that I knew how to get the baby to latch correctly and where to go to for help, so that I could achieve my goal.
 
I was shocked and embarrassed when I realised that there were ten other mummies in the workshop, and literally every single one of them had brought their husbands with them to the class. I felt like such an idiot sitting there without a supportive, loving partner.

They even had a whole section of the workshop dedicated to how partners could support the breastfeeding mother. When we went around the room to introduce ourselves, I actually lied and said my partner was at work. I didn’t want them all to pity me or look at me differently if they knew I was doing this all on my own.
 
In the half time break, I texted James and told him I was the only woman there on her own. His response was “Well as far as they know I’m out working my butt off to bring in money for the baby before she is born.” My reply was a simple: “But James…you’re not.”
 
That evening, seen as I was staying in the city, James invited me to see Deadpool with him at the cinema. He’d promised to take me to see the movie before he left Paradise to make up for the fact he’d been very mean to me on Valentine’s Day (…a story not even worth mentioning). I agreed to go with him, thinking it would be best to stay as amicable with him as possible.
 
But when we got to the cinema he made me pay for both our tickets as he claimed he had “no money” despite the fact he was now working full-time, earning more on a weekly basis than I was and also living rent-free with a friend in the city! The tickets were $45 and it was simply money I didn’t have as my house was still vacant. I couldn’t even find the money to pay for my next credit card bill let alone indulge in trips to the cinema.
 
Being super pregnant and emotional I just started bawling my eyes out in the foyer of the cinema. It was so embarrassing! I told him it wasn’t fair that he expected me to pay $45 for our tickets when he was the one to invite me and he was yet to pay a cent to help me with any of the baby’s costs.
 
He sat next to me silently for about 15 minutes while I cried, playing a game on his phone. Then he leaned over and told me I should calm down and he had no sympathy for me because even though he admitted I’d been having a very hard time and he knew I was struggling with money, as soon as the baby was born the government would force him to pay child support for “a kid he probably won’t get to see very often.”

And then I’d be “laughing all the way to the bank” for the next 18 years while his life was “ruined”.

So he said I should actually be the one feeling sorry for him, and not the other way around. Then he tossed two $20 notes into my lap and told me to stop crying.

The next day, in usual James fashion, he back-flipped on his original stance and told me he was very sorry. He said he wished he’d been able to come to terms with the pregnancy earlier so he could have properly supported me.

Somehow it meant less to me and also hurt less. He lives two hours away now. I don’t feel his words like I used to – they don’t seem to burn into my soul. I let them slide off me like water off a ducks back.

Is he really sorry? No. He’s not. Because he tells me he’s sorry all the time and then goes and says hurtful things again.

Do I trust him? No. Do I want him around my daughter more than necessary? No. But…am I as stressed and anxious about the future? No.

Right now I am 28 weeks pregnant, fast heading towards 29 weeks. I am feeling like I’m in a safe space in terms of the viability of this baby. She is extremely active and I feel her moving constantly day and night. I know if she’s born now she will be born alive and have an 85+ percent chance at survival.

Being with my parents, as I said, is both a blessing and a curse. But everything is more relaxed now when it comes to James. He has already mentioned that he feels like they’re acting as a barrier and he can no longer see me whenever he wants to see me. He doesn’t understand that this is deliberate and they are intentionally blocking his access to me.

And my parents have already said if at any stage I feel ready to pull the trigger, they will contribute some money and help me with legal fees to fight for custody of my baby.

I’m honestly hoping it doesn’t come to that and James will be able to allow me to raise her in the best possible environment without too much fighting or disruption. I still have a long way to go, but I am hopeful for the future now.

I’m glad she is with me. I’m glad she is my baby.

I still have a long way to go before she is in my arms, but I will continue to do what I think is best in order to provide for her, support her and give her the best possible life.

And now we are basically up to date! Congratulations to you all on reaching the end of my epic story. Well, not the end, but you know what I mean. No more “to be continued” at the end of posts.

I look forward to keeping you updated on everything going on in my life and waiting for this little girl to arrive.

Love to you all.

Sadie xx

The one where Sadie gets her “groove” back (part two!)

Sorry for the delay in updating, the Christmas holidays got the better of me.

If you want to catch up on part one of my story before you read part two, you can read it here.

Otherwise, strap yourself in because part two is super choppy and actually has nothing to do with me getting my groove back…

___________________________

We were lying together in bed one night, James and I.
 
It was very late, the lights were off and I was very nearly asleep. Suddenly he sat up.
 
“I can’t do this anymore.” he said.
 
Groggy and confused, I reached over and switched on the lamp.
 
“Can’t do what?” I asked.
 
“I can’t be with you.” he said. “You’re very pretty and very nice. But it just doesn’t feel right. I’m just not that into you. I can’t pretend I am when I’m not.”
 
For a second I thought he was joking. After all, he’d been so intense during our short relationship. He had brought his son into my life. We’d spent Christmas together. What the hell was he talking about?
 
My next thought was that I’d just started feeling healthy again after my husband walking out on me. I wasn’t going to put up with any nonsense from anybody else ever again. Not him, not anybody.
 
So I started screaming at James. Told him in no uncertain terms I was too good for him anyway and didn’t have time for losers like him. Told him to get the hell out of my house. Grabbed his clothes from my wardrobe, his toothbrush from my bathroom and marched him downstairs in the middle of the night to my front door.
 
Once he was gone I didn’t even cry. In fact I was kind of glad that I could get back to my intense self-imposed gym schedule without feeling guilty that I should be spending my time with him instead.
 
The next morning he texted me very early to say he was sorry. I angrily deleted the text. My friend had been right – I didn’t have room in my life for any more Willy Wonkas.
 
My beloved house was on the market, my financial future was still in the hands of my divorce lawyer and I had better things to worry about than some stupid boy that I’d only been seeing for a couple of months.
 
I told all my friends what James had done and they all agreed wholeheartedly that he was basically the scum of the Earth. He’d even formally met my parents! You don’t meet a girl’s parents then ditch her like that.
 
48 hours later he turned up at my doorstep begging for forgiveness. He said he felt like he’d made a terrible mistake. It was just that after his own divorce and the fact he didn’t get to see his son very often, he felt like he wasn’t ready for anything serious. He’d rushed into things.
 
“Anything serious?” I scoffed. “Do you think I’m ready for anything serious? I’m still going through my separation! At least your divorce was finalised a long time ago!”
 
“So could we try again?” he asked hopefully. “Just…not so serious? Like maybe…friends who date each other and sleep together…but aren’t…committed?”
 
“If you’re suggesting we sleep with other people then no.” I said firmly. “I’m not interested. I don’t want to catch anything nasty.”
 
“Okay I agree.” he said. “We could be exclusive…but not committed?”
 
“Fine.” I said. “Whatever works.”
 
And thus began the most bizarre relationship I’ve ever been a part of.
 
Suddenly I felt like I’d been thrust into a Taylor Swift song. We were together, we weren’t, we were together, we weren’t.

He’d be super committed for a few weeks then panic and back right off. He’d call me up and tell me he still wanted to be with me and we were back on again. Even though my friends were telling me that this whole thing was silly and we should never, ever, ever get back together…
 
Whilst I was dancing the ridiculous relationship tango, other parts of my life started to change dramatically as well. 
 
One day I received a phone call out of the blue from a large organisation based in a seaside town about 2 hours outside the city where I live. It was a lovely regional hub, and had the atmosphere of a friendly town with the infrastructure and services of a small city. Let’s just call it….Paradise.

Doug and I had always planned to move there to raise our family but good jobs in the area were very hard to come by. I’d gone for a job interview there many moons ago and ended up coming in second from a pool of over 300 candidates. 
 
The caller on the other end of the phone was the manager of the same organisational department where I’d applied for the original job. She said that a different job had popped up and as I’d come second last time she really hoped I would apply. She even said she’d send through key information on the job which would give me a competitive edge in my interview.
 
Honestly I thought the whole idea was perfect. Paradise was close enough to the city that I could still regularly travel home to see my family, but far enough away that I would never have to worry about running into Doug in the grocery store or at the cinema.
 
The money was incentive too. Years ago I worked in a high stress high paid job, but I’d given it up prior to starting IVF and taken a $30,000 annual pay cut in order to work in a low stress environment and help our chances of conceiving.  It was never an issue as Doug’s hefty salary made our lives more than comfortable.
 
But going through the divorce on my lower wage, it meant I was left completely broke trying to pay the bills and mortgage. This new job would be a $15,000 increase on my current annual salary. It would mean I’d still have to carefully budget and watch every penny, but I would be much better off financially and have a chance to apply for further promotions at the company in the future.
 
Not to mention the housing market in Paradise was amazingly better. In the city, the money I received from my divorce settlement would be enough to possibly afford the deposit on a small two bedroom apartment. But for the same money in Paradise I could easily put down a deposit on a large house with a decent sized garden for the dog.

It would be a lot of space for just one person, but make the transition out of my dream home much easier and I could always get in a few people to rent the extra rooms.
 
Plus…I mean…who doesn’t want to live on the doorstep of some of Australia’s nicest beaches?
 
After agreeing to apply for the job, the process actually happened very quickly. In a matter of days I was signing a contract and resigning from my old job. I told my family and friends, who were all a little worried that I was isolating myself too far away from them, but at the same time excited for my big change.
 
The hardest part was telling James I was leaving. Or…so I thought.
 
“Great!” he said enthusiastically. “I’ve always loved it in Paradise. Let’s go!”
 
I stared at him blankly. “Wait…what?”
 
“Well I’ll quit my job and move with you!” he said, as if this was somehow an obvious option.
 
“You want to…move in together?” I asked, perplexed.
 
“Well sure!” James said. “But I’ll have my own bedroom wherever we live so that it won’t feel like a serious relationship.”
 
The idea sounded wacky as all hell and there was also the obvious problem of maintaining custody weekends with James’ son, not to mention he had no job prospects once he arrived in Paradise.

But James was determined the move would be a fresh start in life for him and a chance to get out of truck driving. And secretly, I liked the fact I wasn’t going to be totally alone in a new place…
 
Two weeks later I was settling into my new job. The team in my new department were all lovely. It was an all female team (surprisingly with no bitchiness that I could see!) and everyone was a fair bit older than me. But everyone was so nice and I made friends very quickly.
 
I had one minor heart attack when my supervisor dropped my ex mother-in-law’s name during conversation and it turned out they were friends. But other than that, my life was pretty chilled out and living with James was pretty effortless.
 
A month after moving, my divorce settlement came through and a week after that I’d bought myself a new house.

Modern and surrounded by quiet bushland, the house was built only eight years ago with four bedrooms, two bathrooms, a good sized yard, two living rooms, double garage and a huge leafy park directly opposite where all the neighbourhood kids congregated every day after school.

It was ten minutes from the beach but only 1.5 kilometres (0.9 miles) to walk to work each day. There was even a dedicated flat walking path that would take me straight there.
 
It was no palace. The house had been a rental for its entire eight years, so some internal walls needed patching and it needed painting inside and out. The carpets in the bedroom were worn and also needed replacing. But it was mine! It was a house nobody could ever take from me. I was very proud of it.
 
James was amazing. He moved all my furniture and boxes to the new house. Then he helped me pick paint colours, and while I was at work each day he painted every internal wall, the entire outside of the house and even built me new fences so the dog couldn’t escape. The only thing I needed to source was someone to lay new flooring in the bedrooms. Within two months the house was looking brand new again.
 
Plus, our relationship had never been better and James even told me that he loved me. Everything was coming up Millhouse.
 
I held a housewarming/birthday party when I turned 29. James organised the whole thing and I had so much fun. Surrounded by friends in my new home I felt like a whole human being again, even though it was my first birthday in over 10 years without my husband.

When it was time to blow out the candles on my birthday cake, James’ 4 year old son Isaac asked me to pick him up so we blew out the candles together. It was an incredible feeling to finally be able to blow out the candles on a birthday cake with an excited little boy nestled on my hip, even if he wasn’t mine to keep.
 
It was when the crazy busy house renovating stopped, the boxes were unpacked and I’d settled completely into my job that things with James started to go really badly.
 
Four months after moving he still didn’t have a job and wasn’t really looking for one. He would sit on my couch all day in his underwear, watching tv and making a huge mess (which he never cleaned up!). It was absolutely maddening.
 
Then he became lazy and started skipping his custody weekends with Isaac because he couldn’t be bothered driving back to the city to collect him. As you can imagine, I found it very upsetting that I wasn’t able to see my favourite little guy very often.
 
As if things couldn’t get any worse, one night James agreed to do IVF with me (in a sperm donor capacity) so that I could try once more to have a child of my own. My parents even said they would lend me the money for the fertility treatment.

I was ecstatic and booked an appointment to see a fertility specialist in Paradise. Then, the day before the appointment, James changed his mind and said he couldn’t go through with it anymore. I was left devastated.
 
A few weeks later, we patched things up. Things were fine for about a month. Until I found out that at the beginning of our relationship, back when we were still living in the city, he’d slept with another girl behind my back. A girl who had the same name as me. Can you say ewwww!

He argued that it was perfectly fine because it was only one time, he’d used protection with her and we hadn’t yet agreed to be exclusive. But it still made my blood boil that he’d hidden it from me.
 
It especially made me mad because we’d been having unprotected sex for months. After sleeping together for a while, we noticed I seemed to have a mild allergic reaction to condoms so I’d gone to the doctor and asked for a prescription to the contraceptive pill.

The doctor had actually laughed at me and told me I didn’t need the pill because I’d never get pregnant naturally. But nonetheless, we’d ditched the condoms and been unprotected. I angrily made James get an STD test to make sure he hadn’t given me anything. Thankfully it was clear.
 
But James turned into a verbally abusive monster. He told me he hated my beloved dog and hoped he died, thought I was a stupid uptight snob and wasn’t worth the effort.

Finally our constant arguing got the better of me. He told me he didn’t love me at all, I told him I hated him and needed him to move out of my house within the coming weeks.

Honestly I was so upset that I felt sick and even started vomiting, which was unusual for me. But I also knew that my period was due and judging by the intensity of my menstrual cramps it was going to be a huge one. So I didn’t think much of it.
 
Trying to make the most of the little time I had left with Isaac, I took him to the local theme park and we rode the kiddie rollercoaster all day. Then we rode our bikes all around town. Saying goodbye to him, knowing it was probably the last time, was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.
 
That weekend I drove into the city to have dinner with my mum and put some distance between myself and James. I told my mother how I’d been so miserable it was making me sick and nauseated.
 
“Nausea, hey? You should take a pregnancy test.” she said nonchalantly, taking a bite of her chicken.
 
“That would be a waste of $12.” I scoffed. “You know I can’t get pregnant. Besides, I’ve had horrible cramps all week.”
 
But after dinner my mother drove to the supermarket and purchased a test herself. I was cranky and most certainly not a willing participant.
 
“Just take it.” she said, handing me the box. “At least then you’ll know.”
 
“This is so stupid Mum.” I snapped. “As if I don’t have enough to be sad about lately, without you reminding me I’m horrendously infertile.”
 
Yet to appease her, I stormed off into the bathroom and locked the door. I could hear her hovering just on the other side of the door, like the meddlesome parent that she was.
 
Sighing, I ripped open the FRER package and followed my old routine. I turned the test face down so I didn’t get pee in the results window, did my business and then quickly flipped the test the right way up so I could leave it to sit for 5 minutes on the floor and wait for the lonely little control line to appear.
 
Strangely when I turned it over, the control line was already there and super thick even though it had only been a few seconds. Except I noticed straight away that it was on the wrong side of the window.
 
“The freakin’ test is faulty.” I called through the door to my mother.
 
“What do you mean?” Mum called back.
 
“There’s only one line in the results window, but it’s the pregnancy line not the control line.” I explained.
 
Suddenly I realised what was actually happening and I burst into tears.
 
“Why are you crying?” my mum asked, banging on the door. “What’s going on in there?”
 
But I didn’t even have the ability to form words to respond. I just kept staring at that test.
 
Sure enough, after a minute or so, a super faint line appeared on the control side.
 
It was a reverse squinter.
 
In other words, my hcg levels were so high that the pregnancy line had sucked all the pink dye across from the control line.
 
After years of trying and failing to conceive, multiple surgeries, 8 cycles of IVF, 3 pregnancy losses, an ectopic pregnancy and my husband walking out on me because I couldn’t have kids…I was pregnant.

Pregnant naturally.
 
No wait, I was pregnant accidentally…to a man I’d just ended a relationship with.
 
To be continued…..(again)
 
 

The one where Sadie gets her “groove” back (Part One)

Warning: this post is super long and mentions sex a lot so if you’re a prude…don’t read it? Haha!

I met James on Halloween night in 2014.

I’d been invited to a party hosted by one of the girls in my new group of friends. The group I had ingratiated myself with after my friendship circle of ten years cast me out in favour of my ex.

I was super excited to attend the party, as I felt like it was an opportunity to dress up, cement my new friendship bonds and finally do something fun.

I thought it would be hilarious to go to the party dressed as a corpse bride, given my husband had left me only three and a half months prior.

So I found an old wedding dress in a Salvation Army shop and then my mother and I spent hours coating it in blood. Then we tore up a veil, bloodied and dirtied it and splattered blood all over a bunch of white flowers. Finally, we covered my exposed skin in cuts, bruises and blood then painted my face to make me look dead.

I looked absolutely horrific and I absolutely loved it. I looked nothing like myself at all and all my new friends thought it was fantastic.

When I arrived at the party he came up to say hello and introduce himself. He was the older brother of the girl who was hosting the party, but as she was a few years younger than me it turns out that he and I were actually the same age.

He was dressed as a scary version of Willy Wonka – purple velvet suit, oversized purple top hat but macabre white face paint. I honestly had no idea what he looked like underneath his costume and didn’t really care to find out.

I quickly rushed off to join my friends and was surprised when he followed and pulled up a chair across from me. He wasn’t part of our little group so I wasn’t exactly sure why he wasn’t off enjoying the party with his own friends.

Like I said in my previous post, men were not on my radar and certainly not whilst I was dressed as a terrifying corpse bride. It didn’t even occur to me that he was hanging around us because he was somehow interested in me.

I was having coffee with a friend the following day when my phone buzzed and I realised that he had sent me a friend request over Facebook.

“Oh God no.” said my friend, rolling her eyes. “You’ve just gotten rid of your stupid Willy Wonka husband, you don’t need another Willy Wonka in your life.”

I laughed so hard I spat coffee all over the table, but accepted his friend request nonetheless.

Browsing through his Facebook photos, I realised he was actually quite good looking. He was the total opposite of my husband, who was 5’5” and nerdy with red hair and glasses (think Ron Weasley, only wearing Harry Potter’s glasses).

In stark contrast, James was very tall and muscular with dark hair, golden tanned skin and eyes that were a curious mix of green and blue. More of a Channing Tatum than a Harry Potter.

But whilst my husband was a high flying executive with a hefty salary and a corporate car, James had never been to university and instead dropped out of school when he was 16 to become a truck driver.

I’d lived a sheltered upper middle class life and had never even met someone who didn’t finish school. I couldn’t imagine we had very much at all in common.

But there was something about him that I found interesting, so when he asked for my phone number and invited me to dinner the following Tuesday night I nervously agreed.

I’d been on a couple of dates with a couple of different guys after my husband left, but always hated the experience, never gone back for a second date and definitely never let them kiss me. I wondered if it would be the same with James.

Tuesday rolled around and we had a lovely dinner. I discovered that he had a four year old son from a previous marriage, and had just as much baggage as I did. His wife had remarried, and taught their son to call her new husband dad so the poor kid was very confused about the fact he had two fathers.

Despite the fact we clearly led very different lives I actually found myself attracted to him. I ended the date feeling very optimistic.

But the next day I received a message from James letting me know that whilst he found me to be a very nice person, he wasn’t romantically interested in me and he hoped we could be friends.

I was a bit shocked, but honestly not upset as I’d really only just met the guy. I agreed that I’d like to be friends and completely forgot about the whole episode.

A week later I saw him at the wedding of a mutual friend. It was a “party wedding” at a rural site where all the guests stayed overnight in dormitory style accommodation. Once again, to my surprise, he made a beeline straight for me and even sat next to me at the reception.

There was an abundance of alcohol flowing, and I’d hardly had a drink in the years since I began IVF treatment. But that night I knocked back eight shots of vodka and kept the drinks coming. To say I was drunk would be an understatement.

James ended up just as drunk as I was, somehow managed to hit his head and a few of us all helped him back to his dorm room to lie down (yes well done…a bunch of wasted idiots helped the potentially concussed guy to sleep…).

But after we helped him into bed and all went to leave, he asked me to stay behind. Still thinking nothing of it, I flopped onto the bed next to him. I was shocked when he confessed that despite his best efforts to keep things platonic, he was extremely attracted to me and then he kissed me.

We didn’t take it any further that night. Firstly because we were both so drunk we’d lost majority of our motor skills and secondly because he was sharing his dorm room with others and it would have been weird to do anything intimate with people wandering in and out of the room. Obviously…

The next morning I brushed the encounter aside. We’d both been intoxicated and I’d had a sneaky pash with a guy that wasn’t my husband for the first time in many years. So I was very surprised when he invited himself to my place the following evening to watch movies.

After that, we started hanging out almost every night. He even introduced me to his four year old son Isaac, who he had custody of every second weekend. We’d go to dinner, we’d hang out at my place, we’d go for ice cream. It was fun and innocent. We’d kiss and hold hands but I’d never let it get any further than that.

In the end it got to the point that even my mother was pressuring me to take things further with James. She kept on telling me there was nothing stopping me and I needed to move on with my life. She suggested I have a few drinks to take the edge off my anxiety and then just…go for it.

In the end James did the hard work for me. We were at my place one evening and he suddenly informed me that he’d brought a condom. I told him I was extremely apprehensive as I hadn’t been with anybody except for my husband since I was a teenager. He was very understanding and promised to take things very slow.

Having sex with someone who wasn’t my husband was quite honestly devastating. I had no clue what I was doing because I was so used to Doug’s little intimate quirks. James was totally different to Doug. I didn’t know where to put my hands. I didn’t know where to look so I just kept my eyes shut. All the sensations were just totally different. He didn’t smell like Doug, he didn’t feel like Doug, he didn’t taste like Doug, he didn’t sound like Doug.

It made me miss my husband, yet at the same time made me realise that our marriage was truly over as there was no going back from this point.

After it was over, James suggested he stay the night with me but I asked him to leave. I couldn’t believe how horrible the experience had been. Once he was gone I phoned my cousin crying, telling her I hated sex and I never planned to do it ever again. She just laughed at me and suggested I’d soon change my mind.

Once again James surprised me by calling the next day and inviting me out to dinner. I thought for sure I’d never hear from him again.

Even more surprising, after our date he was clearly willing to go for round two.

To be honest I can’t remember when sex with James turned from horrific to amazing. It definitely wasn’t the second time or even the third. But I can tell you that his patience with me was outstanding. He never once made it seem like my clear lack of experience was a problem.

But suddenly one day I realised that I was actually enjoying myself. The things that made sex with James different were the things that made sex with James better.

He was much stronger than Doug and much more willing to try…um…more adventurous things? He never judged me or my body. Never made me feel silly. Never said anything along the lines of “respectable girls don’t do those things” like Doug used to tell me. It was like I was having my eyes opened for the first time.

Almost overnight, it seemed like my life was completely turned around.

James started spending the whole weekend at my house, even when he had custody of his son.

Isaac and I bonded almost immediately, and he loved having sleepovers at my place. Suddenly my spare room was full of his toys. Something I never imagined would happen after my husband left me. It was truly amazing.

James was very understanding of my infertility, and had no problem letting me take over some of the menial parenting tasks like bath time and cooking dinner. I’d sit next to the bath and listen to Isaac talk about silly nonsense while he played with his rubber ducks. It made me feel like a whole person again.

In the mornings, Isaac would come running into my bedroom about 5am, climb into bed with us and curl up with his arm and leg thrown across my body. He would tell me I was beautiful just like his “other mum.” Of course I would correct him and tell him that his mother was his only mother, but he was confused because he already had two dads so he didn’t see it as a problem to have two mums.

Having James and Isaac in my life even made my first Christmas without my husband a magical experience.

James and I went shopping together to pick out Christmas presents for Isaac. We wrapped them and placed them under my Christmas tree.

Then on Christmas Eve we took Isaac around the neighbourhood to visit all the houses that had awesome Christmas light displays. After dinner, we watched Christmas movies and James took Isaac upstairs to put him to bed.

As I was heading up to join them, I noticed our thongs (flip flops for you Americans haha) on the landing all lined up from biggest to smallest. I suddenly felt kind of like…I belonged to a family. I wasn’t alone anymore.

image

The next morning Isaac was sooooo excited to discover Santa had visited him overnight. He actually shouted out “Daddy! Sadie! Santa has left me gifts! This is bloody excellent!” and James had to tell him off for swearing hahaha.

After we all had breakfast, James took Isaac back to his mother’s house. But it was still just so lovely to wake up on Christmas to a happy, excited kid in the house for the first time ever. I honestly didn’t miss my husband at all.

The following day, Boxing Day, was hot and humid. So James and I spent most of the day floating in the pool and enjoying each other’s company. We made plans for New Years Eve and I realised I was actually looking forward to 2015.

Little did I know, everything was about to drastically change…

(to be continued in part 2!!)

Love,

Sadie xx