Monthly Archives: June 2010

Drink is the answer (I’ve forgotten the question)

Item – So, I am hungry and I have a headache. I have also lost 4 lbs since Thursday. Um. There’s no way I can keep that kind of weight-loss up, is there? And it would be massively unhealthy and stupid to even try, right? Right? And it’s all water anyway, what with it being 30C out here, right?

Item – H made the vast tactical error of eating a sandwich (with bread! Actual bread!) and then drinking a bottle of cider in front of me. I don’t actually want a bloody sandwich, mind you. I ate my tuna with celery and cucumber, and thought, but this little salad tastes very nice! Yes it does! It’s all nourishing and savory and crisp and refreshing! And has no fucking alcohol in it at all. So I bit his head off.

Item – I’m a bit weird on the subject of alcohol. Comes of having an alcoholic parent. I panic if I’m the only person not drinking/tipsy/plastered [delete as appropriate] in the room. My lizard hind-brain is still convinced, after all these years, that Plates Will Be Flung and Other Women Slept With. The fact none of this bothers me in the least when I’m blotto as well is… err… anyway.

Item – Sex. Sex is an issue. We’re benched, so we must contraceive. We both hate condoms (yes, I do hate them. I hate them very much). All other methods are too long-term, or too hormone-buggering or too fiddly (one day I shall tell you all about May versus the Diaphragm). Doing Other Things sounds lovely in theory. In practice, well, we’re probably both a bit out of practice, so this month would be a lovely time to practice (ah ha ha ha I just slay myself, really I do). But Doing Other Things, for me, at least, has always been Stuff You Do When You Can’t Do That, so like diet-food, it’s never as satisfying as the full-on Death-by-Chocolate. Death-by-Chocolate conjures up any amount of thrilling mental imagery that I don’t think I meant, but pretty much any other food imagery sounds just as filthy and anyway, I liked the petite mort joke.

Item – I am still slogging along in the Foul Mental Place. I feel like I’ve just done five (shall we say five? Whyever not, even proper doctors agree it’s five) rounds in the ring against some huge great bullying battering-ram of an opponent, and each round ended up with me on the carpet spitting teeth, and now, still punch-drunk and bleeding, I’m being sent off to run a full marathon, at the end of which, if I’m really lucky, I’ll be allowed back in the ring for another beating.

Item – I am getting the binge-urge out of my system by buying body-lotion and leg-wax. This is bound to go wrong. Shannon, if I turn up at your wedding in thick black tights, please don’t laugh.


On guilt

We had our great big, do-or-die, holy crap how much money? private appointment with The Professor of the World Renowned Recurrent Miscarriage Clinic on Wednesday. And look! I’ve said utterly buggerall about it since.

I don’t know how to talk about it.

Because we’ve been benched.

Gah.

And with the benching, a metric ton of guilt, shame and self-loathing.

I don’t really want to talk about any of it, either. But then, sitting about in a puddle of un-aired misery leads to mould on the lower extremities and an eventual spiral down the Depression Drain. And, as we all know, Talking About It leads to Sense of Proportion and eventually to Pulling Socks Up and/or Putting Big-Girl Panties On. So. Onwards. Show no fear, the Internets can smell fear.

[Insert standard 'long, rambling, less-than-usually coherent, may contain bad language and references to blood, needles, and fucking idiots' disclaimer here].

On visiting the World RMC as private patients, rather than an NHS one, we do not go directly to the clinic. First, we stop off at the reception in the private wing of the otherwise good-and-proper socialist hospital to hand over your credit-card details. And the private wing reception area has actual upholstered arm-chairs to sit in, and copies of The Field to read (I’m used to hard plastic and Chat). And the most random assortment of patients imaginable. Normally, when you go to a clinic, everyone in it has what you have – the Infertility Clinic I have been patronising for the past four (four? Farkin’ ‘ell) years is usually held in the same suite as the Ear Nose and Throat lot, so the waiting room is always one-third elderly deaf, one-third depressed-looking couples in their mid-to-late thirties, two snot-covered children with chronic adenoids and bickering parents, and a puzzling man with tattoos. At the private clinics’ reception and billing centre (oh yes), we had a young fit man in sports-wear, three Saudi women in full and total burqas with a translator in a camisole (WTF?), a woman with a toddler (advice to young mothers – don’t wear a dress that short if you have a child to bend over. Or, perhaps, wear less tatty knickers. Thank you), an old man in a wheelchair holding hands with an old woman in a wheelchair, a teenager with a PEG tube. All we had in common was the ability to throw money at our problems. So, Champagne Socialist guilt right there. (I’m stalling. Can you tell?).

Then, having established our financial bona fides, we proceeded out of that building and into the one next door, where the actual clinic was, and my, was it smart. It had a sofa. It had a telly. It had a chunky leaflet with a pretty pastel cover. It also had another couple already waiting, and good Lord but didn’t they glare at us when we were called through before them despite arriving afterwards (queue-barger’s guilt, because I’m British).

The Professor herself looks exactly and disconcertingly like a certain famous and much-loved actress, by the way.

She called us through into her surprisingly small office (into which colleagues apparently feel free to barge mid-consultation to ask for details-we-almost-certainly-should-not-have-been-hearing of the previous consultation, which seems… so very NHS, really), shook hands, and got out a fountain pen (ooh! Private clinic! Do you think she takes the NHS notes in biro?) and our folder. She went through the history we’d sent her again, double-checking some details, ignoring others. She went through what tests we’d already had done, and the results thereof. She totally accepted the two possible chemicals as real, and proceeded to talk about my five (five. Shittity shit shit) miscarriages. She was utterly uninterested in my charts beyond the fact they clearly indicated ovulation and a progesterone surge thereafter. She did not think my bizarrely low basal body temperature was any kind of issue at all. I asked her if the adenomyosis was a problem. She explained that extensive adenomyosis with scarring that circles the entire uterus is sometimes associated with very late miscarriages or premature labour because the scarring won’t stretch to accomodate the foetus, but an isolated patch of it is not a problem and does not interfere with implantation. So, you know, good. And she ordered a double-handful of blood-tests for me.

She also asked me about my weight. I’d checked that morning, so I said eleventy-million pounds (I may be exaggerating out of sheer embarrassment here, and no, I’m not in the mood to tell you how much I really weigh right now), and she did me the unexpected courtesy of taking my word for it rather than sending me off to be weighed again by a nurse (which always makes me feel like I’m being made to stand in front of the class for fibbing, and invariably pisses me the hell off).

And then, kindly, in a very British ‘let’s be sensible’ way (resemblance to Famous Actress if possible even more marked), pointed out to me that the weight and the insulin resistance needed to be dealt with before I tried to get pregnant again. I think she mentioned joining Weight Watchers or Slim Fasters or some-such and went on a little pep-talk digression about the useful psychology of joining such groups, while I stared at her in a manner that can only be described as wooden. All I could think was, ‘lady, I went to an all-girl’s boarding school. For me, the psychology of all-or-mostly female weight-obsessing groups is one of shame and humiliation. So no, not joining Weight-Fasters. So shut up about it. Shut up. Shut up. Shut up.’ And also, I thought ‘May, do not freak out now please. Hold it together, please’.

I tuned back in in time for the upshot. The Professor would like me to lose about 50 lbs altogether before trying again, but immediately said that probably wasn’t feasible, while I went fuchsia with humiliation and rage – what the hell did she mean, not feasible?

The thing is, I’d understood, or carelessly led myself to understand, or deluded myself into believing, (or, fuck it, been lied to by other medical professionals) that the hormonal imbalance caused by/causing (vicious circle) the weight problem was pretty much the hormonal imbalance that stopped me ovulating. So I’d assumed/been misled into thinking that if I was ovulating all on my own, unmedicated, fairly regularly, then my hormonal imbalance wasn’t severe enough to cause miscarriages. Possible Gestational Diabetes and a baby the size of a Blue Whale calf, yes, but recurrent miscarriage?

I had no time to really think about this, as we were now being handed all our paperwork for the various blood-tests to take to the nurse. On autopilot, I discussed a follow-up appointment – did I want to wait until I’d lost some weight (fuck, no) or come back in a month when all the test results would be back (hell, yeah)? We shook hands again, and she said something kind about us ‘getting there’ as we left.

We went silently back to the private clinics’ reception, where they keep the nurses. H was having a blood-test too, as part of a research study into recurrent miscarriage genetics. I’d cheerfully ticked the ‘happy to participate!’ box without checking with him, as I hadn’t realised they’d want his blood too, which made me feel like a prize rotter, but H was perfectly mellow and agreeable about both that and about being punctured, bless him, so the nurse took a little vial from him first, with a dainty little needle the size of a kitten-hair, and still managed to bruise him.

Then I sat in the special chair while she gathered together ten separate vials (H blenched at this point, ha ha) and found a needle the size of a ship’s cannon to stab me with (I didn’t bruise at all. Life is odd like that). I know I was being tested for AMH and for a thrombo-elastogram (the NHS doesn’t do that one), and for Factor V Leiden, (but hadn’t we done that one?), Antiphospholipid antibodies (is that the same as anticardiolipin? Or is there more to it than that?), Protein-C Resistance (I think), Prothrombin Gene Mutation, MTHFR, my own DNA vial to match H’s, is that all of it? Dammit to hell, I was too shell-shocked to make notes, again, and now we’re both annoyed that I didn’t. There were definitely ten vials, and that is not ten tests. And I know there were some she didn’t order because she had the NHS results before her. Curses curses curses. I hate me when I go all limp and biddable like that.

And then we went and tormented the credit card in the billing department, to pay for all these sodding tests I can’t even remember, and walked back out into the London traffic, me considering where, exactly, I might find a nice quiet out-of-the-way cliff to chuck myself off.

Enter Long Dark Night of the Soul, on the subject of my baby-killing lardy arse, and just how much I loathe and despise myself about that now (exceedingly, thank you for guessing).

Before anyone leaps up to trash the good Professor, she never said anything at all about this being my fault, or that I was to blame for my weight, and she absolutely and repeatedly acknowledged that it was very hard for me to lose said weight etc. etc. And she is thoroughly exploring other possibilities, isn’t she? So this isn’t about her being an anti-fatty.

But we are still benched, at least for this month, and then after the follow-up appointment, until she decides I am slim enough, I suppose, unless I wish to rebel madly and risk dumping another few embryos down the crapper.

I tell myself a forcible benching is a good thing. I’d never have the strength of mind to bench myself, and I clearly, clearly, need to back off and concentrate on my health and the inside of my increasingly untidy head for a while. Even if I am 35 and running out of time for all this, especially given how slowly I lose weight. Damn, I’ve just bitten one nail to the bloody quick.

I am scared to face just how freaked out and miserable I am about the whole fat=miscarriage thing. I am, in fact, so scared and freaked out I actually did something productive. I promptly got out a low-carb diet book that my MIL had given to me a couple of years ago (which annoyed me at the time. Actually, it still does annoy me. I do not take advice on this matter. End of. Except, it appears, from stringent diet books that annoy me (whoa, that is fucked up)) and… started to diet. I haven’t even fantasised about cake or ice-cream (beyond a mandatory ‘shut up about the ice-cream’ when H mentioned we had some left. I don’t care. I’m not touching it). As far as I am concerned, food is now the enemy again. I have been fraternising with said enemy, trying to make peace with it and not make myself utterly fucking miserable over it, and it has turned round and shot me in the ever-expanding arse.

By sticking to the book like a religious maniac, hopefully I won’t become bulimic (but see my adolescence, 15 through 19, for the been-there-done-that (yes I was thin, no I wasn’t in the least bit happy) reasons why this is an ugly possibility). Also, hopefully, I am old enough and wise enough not to go into full-on May Must Suffer mode and start behaving like a giant dill around food, driving the entire family nuts in one easy dance-move.

I am in a rather foul mental place right now, so you’ll have to hope for me.

By all means share your own dieting experiences, dear and lovely readers, and what worked or did not work for you, and whether the New Convert Cake Hating actually lasts or not, and so on.

Just, and this is really important for the sake of my mental health (wobbly, brittle, probably out of warranty) don’t tell me what I should be doing or eating. Just, don’t. I have Issues and I will react by Ignoring you for weeks if not months. Just as no one should tell an infertile woman to ‘just relax’! or ‘just adopt!’ or ‘eat pineapple, my cousin did and now she has quads!’, so please could no one tell me to ‘eat [whatever]‘ or ‘see a dietician!’ or ‘join a power-yoga class!’ etc.. I decide what I eat. I do not do group exercise. Is final.

To be really ranty-angry for a couple of paragraphs, the thing is, I react badly to advice on this, because the person giving it has always been either some smug cow who’s never had an eating disorder in her smug life, or was projecting her own eating disorders onto me as a form of cheap self-therapy, and both scenarios sucked.

And chiefly, I have just asked people not to give me diet-and-exercise advice, so doing so at this point would be grossly rude, at best, and I don’t like rude people much.

If I sound massively defensive, it is because I am massively defensive. I have masses to defend, after all, not least the whole ‘I was a teenage Binge-Starve 100lb pin-up’ thing. And the fat=miscarriages thing. And the inner voice yelling ‘it’s your own stupid fault, you don’t even deserve a child, you fat bitch’ thing. And the whole talking myself into thinking the weight wasn’t such an issue as long as I was ovulating thing. So, yeah, tell me how to diet, tell me how I killed my babies and what I should’ve been doing instead, tell me to my face I am stupid and how infinitely superior you are in your superior dietary wisdom. Watch me react really maturely to that.

Watch me react really maturely to the whole bloody issue right here right now, in fact.

Did I mention I was in a foul place mentally? Fuck it, pass the celery. I don’t really like it, so it should suit me beautifully right now.


How’s your weekend going?

My weekend is being filed under ‘ruined’, and cross-filed under ‘shite’ and ‘miserable’.

But I haven’t thrown up yet, so yay.

On the other hand, I did slowly slide down the bathroom wall until I was lying on the lino (ick. Hairballs) and have a little weep at 4:30 this morning.

H is being very sweet, refilling my hot-water-bottle and rubbing my feet and such-like, but he is absolutely hating this (we shall BOTH totally spend our forties dealing with menstrual PTSD). And I got all shirty with him because he went to sleep in the spare room (we were both snoring. That is not why I was shirty) and he slept in until past 11. So I had a Squeaky Princess Foot-Stamping attack because I had to make my own TEA at ten am, dammit, and anyway, he was happily asleep and I was just so goshdarn envious what with the being awake for hours in ridiculous amounts of pain. I could’ve just kicked him awake and demanded slave-service, but hey, much more fun to be the martyr, don’t you think? No? I see your point. Next time, I’ll kick him awake.

Anyway. Painkillers are working in a half-assed way at the moment (hence online presence). H thinks I should go back to the GP on Monday and slide slowly down the wall of his office until I’m lying weeping on his lino. Maybe I could score some methadone.

I think the real issue is, I need to start taking the mefenamic acid at least 24 hours before the first twinges begin, as instructed on every ‘dealing with dysmenorrhea/endometriosis*’ website I’ve ever seen. But I daren’t, in case there’s the teeniest weeniest chance I might be pregnant and oops, I’ve just poisoned the poor little fecker on top the massive hazard of being in my damn uterus in the first place. I am aware this is more than a little daft of me – I have Really Sensitive Pee-sticks, and we’ve all established that temperature charting is fairly reliable for me. I could start drugging up as soon as I notice the first temperature drop, even. But this cycle, despite the huge obvious temp-drop, the utter lack of metal-mouth, nausea, or sore bazoomas past day 11, and despite the lack of well-timed sex, I was too chicken.

I am a dill-weed. And now the Cute Ute has spent the past 36 hours flailing about in agonised hysterics. So. [Takes self by shoulders and gives self a good shake].

*I know adenomyosis and endometriosis aren’t quite the same. Adenomyosis seems to be the red-headed ditch-dwelling step-child of endometriosis and there is NO INFORMATION out there. Or if there is, it’s on endo sites, explaining how adenomyosis is the red-headed ditch-dwelling step-child and is not going to be discussed here because this is an endo site. Or, more fairly, that adenomyosis often comes as endo’s side-kick, so we shan’t bother discussing it on its own, shall we? (Also, if Satsuma doesn’t have an endometrioma on her, given the way she fusses during ovulation and menstruation, I shall eat my hat. However, given my medical weirdness so far, I shall carefully make a hat out of spaghetti carbonara first).

Unexpected day off

Crimson Menace sneaked up on me in the night, and kicked me awake at 4 am. A day earlier than called for, at that.

I feel like hell. And shit.


Disjointed

Item – I have had it with this m*th*rf*cking fracture in this m*th*rf*cking toe.

Item – Seriously, it’s a toe. It’s about the size of a grape. It has no business being such a flaming nuisance just because I broke it just a little bit.

Item – Work are being very nice to my toe, and are letting me sit tight in the office surrounded by crenellations of books rather than hopping about the stacks sorting out the bewildering mess only 5000 students with exams on the morrow can make of a library. So that’s OK. After nearly a week of pathetic limping, I can walk more-or-less normally, if rather slowly, but the bastard thing will insist on swelling up and aching at the end of the day. Especially after I attempted a gentle meander round The Big Park at the weekend, which, in restrospect, was daft. Also, I’m not keen on bending and flexing my foot yet; I have been known to yelp mid-stretch and freak out my colleagues just a little bit. I AM VERY BORED OF THE TOE.

Item – H is on some kind of mission to prove all other husbands in Britain wrong, and is still doing all the cooking and most of the house-work. Yes, most! I cleaned a loo the other day! All by myself! And I helped make the bed! Once!

Item – H has been looking after me very carefully ever since Zombryo, really. I don’t know if it’s because I was so obviously so fucking depressed it frightened him, or if it’s because he, like many dear good chaps, wants, needs, to Fix Things, and not being able to fix Zombryo, took on fixing me, in so far as he could, by treating me like a prize exhibit in the V&A. This has been very soothing, but I am feeling increasingly self-conscious about it all, also, H is right, I do make better cauliflower cheese than he does. And then I went and broke my toe, and made, say, standing at the sink or the stove into a great big stupid physical issue instead. Arse.

Item – I bought him a theatre ticket and dinner. I try.

Item – How long to bastard toes take to heal anyway? (Longer than legitimate ones, no doubt).

Item – Anyway, meanwhile, in Matters Arising North of the Knees, we are now all pretty certain my period is due on Saturday. So, there’s that weekend blown out of the water.

Item – This is not a hope-filled cycle (not that I find getting pregnant a hopeful event in any case, these days. Gah). H and I had sex four days before I ovulated, and then again the day after I ovulated, and unless H has the Sperm of Hercules, whose endurance and/or speed is beyond that of mere mortals, my poor little egg had a very dull trip down the Fallopian tube. No matter. SymptomWatch has been set to ‘ignore’. I have counted my drugs and my sticky-backed duvets. Onwards.


Aggrandizement

Do you, oh Gentle Readers, remember mid-April chez nous? I was doing a magnificent job of convincing myself I was pregnant again, despite negative tests, and then my bastard period turned up on time after all, never mind.

But, you see, I had metal-mouth. And high temperatures until the last possible second (usually my temperature starts dropping a couple of days before the Crimson Menace sweeps in) (for those of you who don’t chart, or who don’t find it works for you, sorry, but it works for me. Therefore the temperature thing is highly indicative of, well, stuff). And nausea. And the godawful throwing up when the bleeding started. And basically, I felt like I have felt on occasions when I have been realio, trulio, medically certified pregnant.

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned the above vapouring to H. Hell, I was getting bored of the squeak of the ‘was I, wasn’t I?’ hamster-wheel and wanted to share. To my, well, my disconcertment, I suppose, H took it all quite seriously. Not only that, he shared his own conviction that I’d been a teensy smigeon knocked-up, and that it had been another chemical pregnancy.

(The same thing happened in August 2009. I had every single possible early pregnancy symptom except the, well, pregnancy, (oh! Oh! And there was vomiting during the bleeding!) and wound myself up into a pretzel of embarrassed rage because I was so sure I had been but had no. Sodding. Proof. But I’ve been Really Pregnant With Medical Drama a couple more times since then and, well, I have a lot more faith in my gut instinct (gut instinct! Gut! Get it? Oh, never mind) these days. So).

Which is all well and good (not really), and would indicate that H’s sperm and my eggs love each other with an unhallowed and doomed passion √† la Tristan und Isolde because crikey fishnuts, how many times have I been pregnant now?

In any case, I was just going to fling it into the heap of Things May Havers About, Especially At 3AM, and carry on. But H had rather got his teeth into the idea, and decided we needed to let The Professor know about these possible chemicals. So he added them to the massive medical history questionnaire. Oh, not behind my back, not at all. I was there, I said ‘well, I suppose, yes, then.’ At the time, I was feeling very pro my gut instincts (possibly because I was feeling very anti my NHS gynaecology team and their Enormous Meh).

And now I have anxst. Because while three of my miscarriages involved More Medical Drama Than Strictly Necessary, Damn It, and are therefore On Record, the two possible chemicals? So easily dismissed as the neuroticism of a very neurotic woman being neurotic about getting pregnant.

Including them in our ‘stats’, as it were, feels like cheating, or artificially inflating my score (because there are Cups and Medals for habitual aborters, and all the accolades society can throw at us, right?). To not include them also feels like cheating. The fact that H, who is the level-headed, phlegmatic, less imaginative partner in this (I am wildly imaginative. So, ‘less’ in no way implies H is deficient in imagination, just as the Irish Sea is in no way deficient in salt water just because it shares a planet with the Pacific) – where was I? Oh yes. The fact that H is convinced I was pregnant both times, if only for a couple of days, brings me up rather short. Why the hell would he wish that on me, on us, if he didn’t feel sure? Why the hell would I wish that on us, if I didn’t feel sure? We’ve had our Regulation Standard Three (and therefore the NHS mandates investigation) so it’s not as if we’re trying to convince anyone we need investigating.

It’s just, if I am getting pregnant every other bloody month, isn’t it useful information? Isn’t it?

P.S. – This is exactly why I bought the Extremely Sensitive Internet Pee-sticks, by the way. The whole ‘was it a miscarriage?’ mental head – well, not fuck exactly. Head-grope? – in April.

P.P.S. – And, this is exactly the wrong moment for anyone to tell me that eighty-bazillion-and-three percent of all conceptions end in ‘chemical’ pregnancies but most women don’t know because they are not neurotic obsessives and anyway, don’t have a fucking clue when they ovulate and have normal healthy pregnancies as and when they want them so the whole subject of what is going wrong never arises in the eternal sunshine of their spotless minds. I’ll take several dozen chemicals in exchange for having got to keep Pikaia. Hell, several dozen plus the other two miscarriages plus a hysterectomy plus my eye-teeth and a leg. I’m running low on grandmothers, or I’d sell one of them as well.


Status updates

Doc Tashless the Wonder-GP – wonderful.

Referral letter for The Professor – being written (I’m to collect it next week). Doc Tashless also cheerfully volunteered to print out and include every test result he could find before I even asked him, so I wouldn’t have to ‘do anything twice’. See point above.

Toe РOfficially Broken. Doc Tashless gave it a cursory and decidedly blasé glance, told me to strap it to its neighbour, and pointed out toes, eh, they get better eventually.

Strapping the toe – Good idea. Makes limping much easier.

Work – Being angelic about the toe thing. They even sent me home early so I ‘could get a seat on the bus’.

Social life – I am going to the theatre tomorrow, which surprised me. My friend E sprang this on me over lunch.

Husband – bought me ice-cream, declared I should definitely go to the theatre as I needed a treat after the spoiled weekend, is doing all the shopping and cleaning and laundry, and only once said wistfully that he missed my cooking as he was getting a little bored of his own kitchen repertoire. Actually, he’s not a husband, is he? He’s a wife.

Cycle – buggered if I know. Temperature very high, fertile ‘signs’ still in evidence this morning, Satsuma very quiet. *Throws up her hands*


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