Monthly Archives: July 2010

The irony hath entered her soul

Item – I went to the chemist on Sunday afternoon, and I bought a bottle of low-dose aspirin, containing 100 75mg tablets, and it cost me £1.09. For 50 days’ supply. For a month and most-of-the-next-month’s supply. A whole pregnancy’s worth, 270 days or so, would cost less than £6. Less than $10. Just over €7. I have lost five pregnancies.

Item – I wonder how much 270 days’ worth of low molecular weight heparin costs?

Item – While I was at the chemist’s, I saw they had a special offer on boxes of ‘mother-and-father-to-be’ vitamins – each box contains two bottles, a pink one and a blue one. H had got these before, and I had been highly amused by them. Pink pills in pink bottles with a picture of a pregnant lady on the label, blue pills in blue bottles with a picture of a man’s hand resting on a woman’s hand resting on a naked and absolutely flat tummy. Because men would rather think about getting her pregnant, and women would rather think about being pregnant. Obviously. And then I bought them.

Item – the other brand of ‘his&her conception’ vitamins has a smiling, fully clad couple on the box. He’s embracing her from behind (oo-er) and smirking out at us something ghastly. A picture of a dozen-or-so manly blue sperm approaching a big pink egg floats before them. I damn well hope we are already doing better than a mere dozen or so sperm a shot. I can only assume that the manufacturers are assuming that the purchasers of their product have blanked out Biology class. So I bought that box too (oh, hey, three-for-two offers. I am powerless). Also, the man-pill in this contains pine extract. What? Why? Is this some kind of sympathetic magic? Pine trees, tall and straight and vertical?

Item – My mother’s take on this diagnosis and treatment plan: Shouldn’t I actually be going to a Naturopath to prepare my body for my next pregnancy? H, who luckily took that phone-call, merely pointed out that aspirin is made out of tree-bark, and what could be more natural than tree-bark? I don’t know what I would have said. No doubt something so caustic even Ben Goldacre would have exclaimed ‘steady on, old girl.’

Item – Anyway, we are fully stocked up on conceptive aids, it’s cycle day 8, we’re both feeling hopeful. This will probably bite me on the bum in ten… nine… eight…. Faith in the future? Ah ha ha ha ha. Onwards.


The name game

Hello, May has foolishly granted me author access on her blog. So, you may hear from me from time to time.

I’m starting off with a long list post. I found The Penguin Dictionary of First Names next to the loo the other evening and took it along to bed with me. I then proceeded to read out random suggestions of names I quite like, until May kindly hinted I quietly write down my favourites. May did the same the following day; we then bravely ‘marked’ each other’s lists:

  • X – no way Jose*;
  • ~ – maybe…;
  • √ – actually, now you come to mention it…; and
  • = – hey that’s on my list too :)

*This doesn’t necessarily mean we don’t like the name, we may know people who already own the name or sometimes an annoying classmate/colleague beat us to it.

For your complete enjoyment here is the full list of the names in a table:

H’s names May’s marks May’s names H’s marks
Abigail ~ Abraham (Bram) ~
Abiline ~ Adelaide X
Aiden X Amos X
Amaryllis X Anaïs
Araminta X Aphra ~
Aveline X Asa X
Azaria X Astrid ~
Caitlin = Austen ~
Caleb = Barnabas X
Christabel ~ Beatrice ~
Constantine Blaise X
Eaden ~ Blake X
Emeline X Caitlin =
Fidelma ~ Caleb =
Gamaliel X Catriona = (with a K)
Gennadi X Cecilia
Gregory ~ Cosimo X
Guinevere ~ Cosmo
Holly X Dinah X
Iagan ~ Dorothea ~
Isobel = Erasmus ~
Jocelyn Ezra ~
Karolina ~ Finn X
Katrina ~ Francesca ~
Katriona = (with a C) Fulke X
Kelan ~ Grace X
Madeleine = Imogen ~
Malvina ~ Inigo X
Marjoleine X Ira X
Meliora X Isambard
Melissa X Isaac/Izaak ~
Monique ~ Isobel =
Morwenna ~ Isaiah X
Nadia = Isolde
Nadine Jerome ~
Nerina Jonah ~
Nakita ~ Josephine X
Penelope X Josiah ~
Perdita X Levi X
Sabrina = Lily
Tabitha = Linnea ~
Tiernan Madeleine =
Willow Martha X
Yolanda Maxine X
Miranda ~
Nadia =
Nahum X
Noemi
Ngaio X
Noam X
Phoebe X
Reuben
Rose ~
Sabrina =
Sappho ~
Solveig
Tabitha =
Thaddeus X
Thea ~
Theo ~
Tycho X

So what have we learnt?

Like many other things from music to comedy we have overlapping, but not identical, tastes. I like longer names – having a multi-syllabic real name I really enjoy being able to shorten it when appropriate, e.g.  formal introductions full name, friends or people I like are allowed to use the short variant. [compartmentalisation much?]

We are rather snobbish when it comes to names – only a couple in the top ten lists (at the time of writing anyway).

I’m not keen on names starting with B or D [random], nor May on K or Mel… names.

Any kids of ours are probably going to have a dozen or so ‘middle’ names.

Finally, I must confess this isn’t really a result of renewed hope or optimism per se. Just something we did I thought interesting enough to share while I get used to the idea that we are not without hope and go on living and now blogging together.


Well, actually

Yesterday (yesterday was Wednesday, right? Right?) H and I had another hospital appointment, this time at the good ol’ Hospital Out In The Country, where the gynaecology and fertility clinic of the Mothership Hospital goes to hold consultation visits (yes! It is confusing! We are confused! Don’t try to understand, you will give yourself an aneurism!). This moveable feast of a clinic has been treating me since the beginning of the whole I Can’t Haz Baybee saga, and frankly, we’re sick of each other.

So I was going in a mood of ‘what the buggery fuck is the point, eh?’. Also, I had spent Wednesday morning clutching my gut and groaning as my intestines, freed from the paralytic clutch of the tramadol (goddamn opiates), rumbled slowly back into life. Would it be too awkward for words if I – eh, euphemism, quick someone, a euphemism – anyway, during the clinic visit? And I missed work that morning because I needed to spend a couple of hours in the bathroom communing with the toilet-roll holder to not much avail. Did I say goddamn opiates? Good.

Where was I? Going to the HOITC. I met H on the way, and we arrived appallingly early and very hot and had to camp out in the coffee shop drinking sugar-free Ribena for a while, because the waiting room was PACKED. It was still packed when we confessed to being there to the receptionist, who was also trying to manage the ear-nose-and-throat clinic that shares the same two-rows-of-uncomfortable-chairs-and-children’s-play-area. I ended up giving my (comfortable! Score!) seat up to a senior lady and perching on the bench in the play area. And, scattered among the toddles with adenoids and the elderly with hearing-aids in the wrong ear, there were the couples, all quiet, sad-eyed, and refusing to look at each other. I really don’t know why we don’t talk to each other. We, of all people, know something of what we’re all going through. Though, admittedly, a hot room packed full of the senile deaf and their relentlessly cheerful helpers is not conducive to intimite conversation.

It was not at all helping with the ‘you and I, clinic mine, have had it, OK? OK,’ thing running through my head. Spoilt by air-conditioning and sofas, that’s me.

And, naturally, Miss Consultant was on holiday, so we were being seen by one of her minions, and naturally the Minion was heavily pregnant, because, naturally, your life doesn’t go on hold just because you work in a fertility clinic and indeed, why the hell should it? To the Minion’s credit, she was as discreet with her bump as she could be, given that she was a small Minion and the bump had probably doubled the size of her torso already. She sort of shielded us from it with my medical file until we’d all sat down, and then tucked the bump under the desk. It was masterly. And my medical file is very large.

Anyway, she went briefly through my blood-test results from effin’ December again, and the extras Miss Consultant ordered in February, and cheerfully told me my anti-cardiolipins were normal. I smiled, I refrained from crying ‘hah!’ and startling her.

We then moved on to the scan I had in March, at least, I thought we had, but no, she began by discussing the scan I had in January when I was a teeny weeny bit pointlessly pregnant (again) and everyone was playing ‘hunt the embryo’. The possible fibroid. Which, moving on to the March scan, oh yes, looked far more like adenomyosis, look, it even had teeny cysts in it caused by trapped ‘fluid’ (yuk), just like real adenomyosis. I refrained from rolling my eyes. We discussed, or, rather, H sort of burst out and firmly told her and I went nod nod nod, about how painful my periods were and I even got in the bit about missing two or three days of work a month and tramadol. She looked shocked, poor Minion. I knew Miss Consultant and her previous minions hadn’t really paid this point a blind bit of attention. But Pregnant Minion wrote it down in my notes, I watched her do it. So.

Further WTF moment, in my notes it does say that at the time of the January embryo hunt, there was some concern that the weirdness in the uterus plus invisible embryo meant I was having a molar ‘pregnancy’ left over from October 2009. I had understood this to be discounted at the time, because my beta in October was so freakin’ low. I furthermore understood this to be dismissed as a possibility because during the course of January they had repeatedly punctured me and tracked my beta back down to a big, fat, shiny ‘less than one’. So. Anyway. It was not molar. It’s probably not a fibroid. It probably is adenomyosis. But if I want to be really sure I can have another scan done by Doctor Expert, who specialises in scanning Mysterious Bulges in Uteri. I am not entirely sure that Doctor Expert isn’t the doctor who did both my HSGs and freaked out about the state of my fallopian tube both times (since when I got pregnant, ooh, lots, so, WTF?).

Anyway, given The Professor’s advice Not to Fuck With The Ute, and given that the treatment for fibroids or adenomyosis would be Grin And Bear It because the other treatments (combined pill, Mirena coil, total hysterectomy) make conception quite challenging, we all decided that there wasn’t much point having another scan unless, I don’t know, Cute Ute made a bid for International Dictatorship or my entire leg fell off. I have a provisional scan with Doctor Expert possibly booked (remember what they did with my booking last time! Because they didn’t! Remember to do anything with it, that is! I’m such a card!) for November, and I can always cancel it if something comes up.

We also announced that we’d gone to see The Professor, so there. The Minion looked rather impressed. I pointed out rather grandly that The Professor had done a Thrombo-Elastogram, which the NHS does not do, and actually I did have a clotting disorder, after all, actually. The Minion scribbled this all down in my notes, looking awe-struck, and offered me a prescription for low-dose aspirin. Given that a prescription costs £7.20 to fill and a bottle of LD aspirin costs £1.95 over the counter, I gently refused, but I did appreciate the offer.

And then, well, we sort-of left it at that. If I can get pregnant on my own, and if I have a clue how to stay pregnant (oh God! Hope! Ow ow ow ow ow ow), and if my other gynaecological problems are not currently treatable what with the whole getting pregnant thing, there’s not much else this particular clinic can do for me. Except scan me again, just to make sure Cute Ute is doing anterior wall adenomyosis rather than, say, break-dancing or macrame. We’ll see how I feel about that in November.

The Minion said something sweet about hoping to see me soon back at the Mothership Hospital, meaning at their Maternity unit, no doubt. I didn’t have the heart to point out I’d miscarried there twice and therefore it was not necessarily a nice thing to say to me. And then H and I wandered off home.

Was that my last visit to the HOITC and the gynae/fertility clinic? Good Lord.


I think, maybe, answers?

So far, the combination of mefenamic acid, paracetamol and tramadol works pretty well. I am not in much pain. There have been uncomfortable hours, here and there, but nothing nearly as fall-to-the-floor-horrible as previous cycles. I’m even prepared to go to work tomorrow morning. Is it a fluke? Is it a joke? Is it a visitation from Angelic Hosts? Only draw-back: as advertised on the box, tramadol makes me extremely sleepy. I nod off on the tube, now. I fall asleep face down into my dinner (salad, thank you for asking). I’m dozing off writing this. Every now and then my head jerks back and I go ‘wha? Wffst? Urgh?’ and start typing again.

So that’s one answer – how do we tame the Cute Ute and get her to just chillax, already? Knock her unconscious with scary addictive pain-killers. Yay!

Onwards to the follow-up visit to The Professor this afternoon.

Dragging my bleeding self across town was not too dreadful (despite nearly missing my stop and flinging myself through the closing tube doors going ‘aaaaaaaaaaaaaagh’ for the edification of my fellow passengers (see above for reasons wherefore)).

I found H near the hospital and let him steer me to the clinic. The nice receptionist warned us that there was a half-hour wait. Heigh-ho. For this we pay much much silver. I knitted, slowly and carefully, because I was dopey and there was an interesting possibility I might fall asleep into my half-a-sock and stab myself in the face. I peeped nosily at the other patients (‘but, but, she’s fatter than me!’) (nooo, I don’t have residual anger issues about the weight thing. Whatever made you think that?). I pestered H, who was being silent and anxious and had been refusing to admit he was anxious for days, until he got me water.

Meh. It’s a nicer waiting room than I’m used to. The seats are upholstered. But waiting is still very dreary.

Anyway, after exactly the promised half-hour delay, The Professor called us into her office, looking very full of good cheer, resemblance to Famous And Well-Loved Actress startling as ever. She had results to share with us, and we had questions to ask, and I was still one-third in la-la-land on tramadol, so I’m not sure I’m writing this down in the order in which it all occured. I shall have to get H to footnote it all in the comments. Anyway:

I asked about coeliac disease – Daisy the Commentator has mentioned it as worth looking in to. The Professor thinks if I’m really concerned I should get a referral to a gastroenterologist and have it checked out properly, but I have no indicative symptoms, so she doesn’t think it’s an issue. Possibly because I weigh *cough*many*cough* pounds and have beautifully behaved bowels when I’m not lavishly pouring opiates or prostaglandins into them.

Metformin. We asked about that, again, as everything I read or hear about it is wildly contradictory. She quoted some studies that metformin did increase ovulation in non-ovulatory patients with PCOS, but seemed to have no real effect either way on recurrent miscarriers. I ovulate au naturel these days and I am capable of losing weight solo as well, so she wouldn’t advise metformin for me.

As for the weight-loss, she was very pleased with me, and encouraged me to keep it up and see if I can get down to BMI 25 or under. (H has made a very pleasant low-carb stir-fry for dinner. Onwards).

We also discussed any possible further surgery for me, given that I am going to see the gynaecologists at The Hospital Out In The Country tomorrow (busy week, this) about the adenomyosis and anything else they’ve spotted in there. The Professor is of the opinion that we should leave Cute Ute strictly alone unless surgery is needed urgently. Anything exploratory or for shit and giggles (I’m pretty sure she phrased that differently) is not worth the risk, given that the plumbing seems to be in working order. She is also pretty sure that courses of lupron etc. would only be a waste of time at present. I am 35. I can get pregnant. Best leave well alone. And given that the new pain-killers make me feel almost functional, I think I shall leave well alone for a while longer. Unless the HOITC lot have spotted an Alien in there. Or the forceps they couldn’t account for after my last lap [joke!] [At least, I hope it's a joke].

Now for my blood test results.

Negative for Prothrombin Factor II mutation. Negative for Factor V Leiden mutation. Negative for MTHFR. I am immune to Rubella. Negative for APS/APLS. Oh, um, good?

And then there were my AMH results. She gave me a little print-out which included what would be very low, low, satisfactory and optimal results for comparison, and I got a result of 31.95 pmol/l. Anything above 15.7 is ‘satisfactory’, above 28.6 ‘optimal’. My God. Satsuma is a fresh-faced little superstar. Readings over 48.5 indicate PCOS or possibly even ovarian tumours, so I assume this lovely number means Satsuma isn’t in the throes of decorating herself with a double-thick layer of cysts after all. Well, we were assuming that already because she was ovulating so startlingly often. She’s a reformed ovary, indeed she is. Thank fuck. I was worried sick she was conking out and I’d have about three weeks of ovarian function left before she exploded in a puff of ashes. I shall stop freaking out about being 35 at once.

The Professor then turned to the TEG (thrombo-elastogram) and fibrinolytic tests. These are the ones the NHS does not do. And, lo and behold, I do, after all, have a clotting issue. My TEG result was elevated, ie even non-pregnant I am more likely to make a big fat blood-clot, and my fibrinolytic results indicated that my blood-clots take longer to disperse than usual. Neither is a risk factor for my everyday life (though does this explain the exceedingly icky clotty nature of my periods?), but when it comes to trying to establish a placenta… Well, damn me blue and call me Captain Obvious, but there’s a good old-fashioned point-a-finger cause of recurrent early miscarriages for you.

But, but but but, there’s a simple treatment. I go forth and buy some low-dose aspirin (apparently nice and cheap if you ask your Friendly Local Pharmacist). I start testing for pregnancy on the eleventh day post-ovulation with my super-sensitive tests. I see a second line, I start taking 150 mg a day of aspirin and I call The Professor immediately for a follow-up TEG and fibrinolysis test. If I still look clotty, I can have some low-molecular-weight heparin to stab myself with too (Lovenox, to you Statesiders). For (hopefully) nine whole months.

And yes, H and I are cleared to start banging each other sans goalie again.

I trundled slowly all the way home again, made myself a cup of tea, checked the clock to see when my next dose of tramadol was due, took my shoes off, sat down, and promptly burst into tears. Happy, relieved tears. Yes, OK, it sucks to have stupid clotty blood that clots and killed off five probably perfectly lovely embryos. But having an answer, a reason, a treatable reason why this keeps happening (also, bonus, a functional ovary in good nick), oh, God, the relief.

Not being a tomfool ‘nana-brain, I know this is all no guarantee of anything. I have PCOS, Satsuma could go on strike anyway, because she just bloody feels like it. I might not start the aspirin in time. I might not get the heparin in time. I might miscarry for a whole ‘nother reason (common-or-garden genetic mince, for example, which probably causes most ‘one-off’ miscarriages).

But suddenly, painfully, like blood running back into a foot that you’ve sat on until it went numb, I feel hopeful, for the first time in a long time.


Bullets

Item – I’ve just finished commenting on all the comments on the Great Long Ranty Post, and I have cried over each one (in a good way! A good way!). Did I mention I love you guys? Yes? Oh. And if any more comments turn up, I will comment on them too. It’s going Epic, ohh yes.

Item – Period started, as expected, in the night. Sheets spared. Cramps, as ever, horrible. Really too hot to clamp a hot water bottle to the small of my back, but I am lying here in a muck sweat giving myself heatstroke anyway, because the cramps in my back and/or thighs make me feel sick otherwise. Hurray! Sucks to be me!

Item – The mefenamic acid is working a bit better this time, because I started taking it yesterday, at the first, faintest hint of a cramp. Also, the completely random GP I saw last Wednesday moved me from cocodamol to tramadol (upgrade!), so now I have 100 tiny scary capsules of heavy-duty ‘we normally give this to cancer patients’ medication to play with. Bloody hell. The first dose took over an hour to kick in, but seems to make me feel less stoned and woozy than cocodamol. But I’m only taking 50mg at a time, as per random GP’s instructions. The box says I can take 100mg at a time, so if I feel hard-done-by or can’t sleep, I shall feel free to knock myself out. Ha ha. I punned.

Item – Period brought with it a major disturbance of the lower bowel (ohh, fabulous. Prostaglandins, so… targeted in their smooth muscle onslaught. I’m surprised I can still breathe in), which is a magnificent way to lose a couple more pounds before meeting The Professor tomorrow and impressing her with my shrinkage (and sweaty incoherence). Because, Gentle Readers, I have now lost 9 pounds since I started the Forced March Shrinkathon, ie all the miscarriage bender misery weight, and am back to the size I was just when I was last starting to feel smug about mastering this weight-loss thingy (size 16, British, 12 to 14 American). I don’t really look thinner to myself, and feel rather bloaty and ick most days, so was quite surprised to find I can fit into trousers that were too tight to do up back in June. Indeed, having put said trousers on and admired the effect, I went to find H, said ‘look at this!’, and pulled them off without undoing the button or zip first. And then I had to find a belt, because we were going out and H was now watching me with a predatory gleam in his eye.

Item – The weight loss has slowed down from the six-pounds-in-one-week initial onslaught, to about two pounds a week (don’t fret the math. I put on a few pounds after the first week (because I saw cake, and I saw booze, and I have no control, and it was WORTH IT) and had to whittle them off again too), which is healthier and sensible and is what the book said would happen. This is good, right? We can keep this up for another few months, can’t we? Yes we can. Pass the macadamias. What? They’re low-carb.

Item – I am scared of what The Professor may have to tell us about all my blood-test results. I’m almost hoping it’s a clotting issue because that’s treatable. What if it’s not treatable?

Item – Must go and lie back down. Sorry.


500

Good Lord, folks, I’ve reached my 500th post!

[H did point out that he wrote some three or four of those posts, so, technically, WE'VE reached OUR 500th post].

Your comments on my last (huge, venting) post moved me to tears. You all deserve a bouquet of flowers and a gift certificate. What you’re getting, is me giving you each a specially hand-crafted individual reply, as soon as I’ve finished here.

I don’t think I’d’ve ever kept writing for so long, through all the highs and lows and bellowing and weeping, without your support, Gentle Readers. So, all I have to say in this post, all I need to say, all I can ever say, is…

Thank you.


There’s a terrible silence about it

So, 300 people and counting have looked at this blog since I posted the last post, and a good third of those came from various feed readers/rss feed aggregators/whatever the hell you like to call yours, so really meant to look at this blog. And the 7 people (so far) who have commented are all stalwart regulars, none of whom, no, not one of whom, bounced idyllicly into pregnancy and baby-wrangling with nary a pang or tremor.

It took me two hours to write that post, trying to work out how to say what I felt without vapouring, incoherence, ranting or uncalled-for snark. I did really want to know, for example, whether Fertile People do read this blog, and whether it has changed their minds or attitudes (for better or worse) about us Infertiles. Or do they read it in the cheerfully idling manner of someone enjoying a good ol’ car-crash dust-up on F*ckB**k?

I mean, hell, I read ‘Mummy’ blogs all the time (usually because the writer makes me laugh like Brian Blessed on helium). And it helps me remember parents are human and complicated and Baby does not equal Future of Nothing But Dancing Unicorns And Rainbows. It – ahh, naturally – both defuses the Envy and increases it. It seems kids, by and large, are worth it even when they are lying on the floor in Sainsburys, pulling glass jars on top of themselves and making a noise like a dentist’s drill in a steel plate.

There are even (!) points of comparison. Take the judging thing – many parent bloggers have at least a few little vents about feeling and indeed being judged over the parenting. It hurts, to be doing your best and damndest, and yet still have family/friends/random passers-by carp and snit at you, or dismiss your concerns and difficulties. Especially when your beloved tot is behaving like a psychotic bull elephant and everyone thinks it’s YOU and you know it’s actually A REAL PROBLEM. Especially when you’ve just got your child to eat something other than strawberry yoghurt and Auntie Whatsit gives you a lecture on feeding the child a variety of foods and not being a lazy mother who can’t be bothered to cook. And so on.

Similarly, we infertile people are all doing our own best and damndest to build our families, and it really hurts to have family/friends/random passers-by carp and snit at us. Or dismiss our pain and struggles. Especially when we’ve just lost another baby/failed another IVF/been given a horrible diagnosis.

Sometimes, when I am mellow and feeling particularly fond of all the human race, I don’t blame fertile people for not really knowing what to say or what to think or how to deal with it all. Culture, media, films, books, magazine articles, TV programmes, insist on showing infertile women or women who have lost babies as neurotic, unpleasant to be around, horrible tetchy wives, too tense and uptight to be able to get or stay pregnant, self-sabotaging, self-defeating, undeserving, impatient, hypochondriac. We’ve done something dangerous, had ‘too much fun’ as young women, been career-women ball-breakers and neglected our biological clocks, unable to get a man, ‘resorting’ to ART when shagging strangers in cars fails, driving our husbands into the arms of other, younger, more fertile women, or trying to steal younger, more fertile women’s husbands. When we feature in a film or novel it’s usually as an insane and broken baby-stealer or as so delusional we’re pretending that a doll, a cat, a puppy is really our child. And infertile/bereaved men? Either don’t exist at all, or only exist as the reason why their partner has lost her mind. Their stories and feelings pretty much never get a look in.

Given all that, how is a fertile person supposed to deal with their sister, brother, daughter, son, cousin, friend, especially when she or he suddenly acts weird about holding newborns and bursts into tears when a pregnancy is announced?

Compassion, a simple ‘I’m sorry,’ can seem, to some, inadequate, and therefore the Wrong Thing To Say (it’s almost never the wrong thing to say, really). To others, compassion is too risky, because admitting this IS a shitty situation can seem too like opening the floodgates to a full-on Attack of the Psycho Infertile. (I hereby promise we none of us will steal your baby or your spouse just because you acknowledged that infertility and loss are very painful). However, if we are calm, mostly, and haven’t chased a pram down the street screaming ‘Gimme!’ lately, fertile people can lose track of just how much we’re struggling, and assume everything is OK and we don’t want a baby that badly, and act accordingly. Which can hurt us very much too. And then, there’s the infamous pregnancy announcement or Christening or nosy question at Easter dinner, and an outburst of pain, and people think we ARE psycho all over again.

And the advice! The ‘just relaxes’ and ‘go on holiday!’ and ‘forget about it, and then you’ll get pregnant’ (I did that one Christmas. It… ended badly) and ‘eat pineapple/cough medicine/raw fish’ and ‘are you doing it right?’ and ‘maybe you’re just not meant to be parents’. All things that seem to be based on this image of Infertile as Too Neurotic To Get Pregnant. Which hurts, the assumption hurts, the ignorance hurts, the facile dismissal of real pain and grief hurts.

Almost worse, the kind souls who, while juggling their newborn and their toddler on their knees and keeping an eye on the six-year-old on the swings, tell us, so earnestly, that everything will be fine, and we’ll be pregnant by Christmas, they just KNOW it. Whose pain does this platitude ease? Theirs? No doubt. It’s so nice and easy to wish good things for those you care about. Especially when making the good things happen is none of your business and not your problem. I do it all the time, myself, in the privacy of my own head. Does it ease the pain of us infertiles to hear it? Actually, it stings. It angers us. It’s a denial of the horrible truth we’re living, that there may never be a child. That we could be going through this for nothing. That nothing we or anyone could do would help in the end. And no one will acknowledge this horror, and no one will sit with us while we deal with it. Just empty promises they have no way of keeping and no intention of doing anything about, and we’re supposed to be comforted and gladdened.

So really, are any fertile people reading this? Who have read this far?

Have I really pissed people off now?


Inclusive

The oddest thing. Apparantly I’m a Mummy*-Blogger.

Well, that’s what I thought, too.

You see, back in April, some kind dear soul nominated me for the MAD (Mum & Dad) Blog Awards, which was all rather interesting and cool (if mildly discombobulating) (by the way, did you vote for HFF and Shannon? Because they BOTH got short-listed and I had to resort to Twisting My Husband’s Arm, also, Using The Work Computer, so we could vote for both of them. *cough* Probably shouldn’t’ve confessed to that). Where was I? Oh yes. I was nominated, and therefore, I think, I assume even, I ended up on the radar of the organizers, one of whom also organizes the Tots100 Index of UK Parent Blogs and Bloggers. And, every month, the amazing Sally (how the hell does she find the time?) combs through all the statistics and puts up a new ranking of the ‘top’ (see above link for explanations of how this is worked out) 100 blogs.

And this month, I was in there. At 90. I felt quite faint.

And I’d always felt that, you know, one day, if all the stars align in their courses to spell the words ‘May, you’re 5 months pregnant!’ across the night sky and H wins £1’000’000 on the Premium Bonds and Silvio Berlusconi announces he’s sending himself to jail and they discover a cure for Being A Dillweed At Work and I’m really amazingly fucking lucky and I do get a take-home baby, I’d look into this Mummy-Blogging lark. Mostly because I wouldn’t take my own family’s advice on child-rearing if it came with a bag of gold dubloons and two tickets to The Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain, and *cough* even more mostly, because if I ever get this Baby, this Miracle, this Pearl Beyond Price, I am SO going to yak about it/him/her/them non-stop. Possibly. In a super-special-snowflake way, because I am one.

But it would seem I don’t have to wait at all. Even though the youngest living things in this abode are, actually, the moribund house-plants. Even though none of my pregnancies has made it out of the first trimester. Even though I get to lie on the bed drinking gin** and farting about online all weekend instead of actually, you know, nurturing anyone. Nevertheless People Out There think I am still, if not a parent, at least parent-flavoured. And worth keeping in the mix.

This is surprisingly nice.

But still discombobulating.

I think that anyone who ever had trouble getting or staying pregnant (even if they’re now avec miracle(s)) would ‘get’ some of the misery and bitterness I ‘occasionally’*** spew out all over the blog. But I have no idea at all how all this comes across to anyone who has never had any trouble getting or staying pregnant.

Seriously, if you’re reading this, and never had any trouble getting or staying pregnant, how does all this come across? Do you feel you can sympathise or even empathise, or does all this pain and effort seem alien and lunatic to you?

* I’m British, we spell it with a ‘u’. OK? OK.
** Disclaimer – not since the start of the Forced March Shrinkathon.
*** Read: ‘weekly’.

Arse

Item – I fell off the diet wagon with a rather louder clang than I anticipated. On Tuesday, the scales were grumpily informing me I’d GAINED 2 lbs. Cue massive crise des nerfs. They’d gone again by this morning, but that makes Week 2 of the Shrinkathon a bit effin’ pointless. No matter. On we soldier.

Item – Big work ‘Do’ tomorrow, though. With cake and booze and one small plate of crudités I shall have to monopolize as inconspicuously as possible. As for no booze, eh. Antibiotics? Tell them all I’m permanently (as opposed to cyclically) off my bonce on codeine and it dinna mix with white wine? Run away? Remember, the truth is not an option. I do not discuss diets with colleagues, people with functional gonads, or skinny little less-than-8-stone sociopaths who spend all day telling me how all these doughnuts in the staff-room are undermining their diet (their what?). So. Dramatic lying it is, then.

Item – I ovulated on Tuesday, you know, as you do (go Satsuma!). This means that when I go for my return visit to The Professor, and then the next day when I go to the gynaecology clinic to discuss the results of the scan I had back in March which showed I had adenomyosis (oh, only, what, FOUR months ago), I really will be off my bonce on codeine, also bent double, sweaty, blood-stained, and incoherent. Oh joy. I shall have to make H write everything down. Dictaphone maybe? (Oh, hey, I could muster a faint in the gynae clinic and, you know, MAKE MY POINT about ignoring people with debillitatingly painful conditions for FOUR MONTHS). And getting across town to the appointments will be… unpleasant. Oh dear.


Together forever

So, we went to this wedding celebration. And it was beautiful.

I love weddings, me. I especially love this relaxed, mucking-about-in-the-garden, shady trees and kids playing and music, eh, suit yourself kind of wedding. And I loved seeing Shannon and Alastair so happy, grinning ear-to-ear all afternoon. And meeting their family, who were also all so very happy, that I loved too. It was as if the entire garden was filling up with joy – we were floating in it with them, and it was such a privilege and honour.

Anyway. A couple of old friends were there, so I had people to talk at at length (I like doing that at parties). And I said hello to all sorts of pleasant and interesting new people, and said breezy things like ‘oh, I’ve known Shannon for a couple of years! How do you know her?’ and if that didn’t work ‘ooh, look at those kids! Aren’t they precious?’, which invariably did work. (And once HFF nobly threw herself into the line of fire, sorry, questioning, and deployed admirable frankness to such good effect we none of us had to say ‘ohh, we all met on the internet and we are worrying you now, aren’t we?’ as HFF had blown the questioner-in-question’s curiosity valve). Incidentally, how do you tell a person’s friends and relations that you met them on the internet because you were all blogging about your uteri? I mean, really, how?

Moments of Spectacular:

  • Seriously? A home-made electric spit to prop up over the barbeque? I do love people who make stuff.
  • Helplessly watching a sky lantern float into the neighbour’s tree. Um. Oops? Of course I wasn’t giggling hysterically, what do you take me for?
  • The Cake.
  • Little candles hanging in the trees after dusk.
  • And Tilley lamps! I love Tilley lamps!
  • Shannon and Alastair kissing as we toasted them.
  • Meeting young Tiger for the first time. Well baked, Bee Cee!
  • Watching H play with some of the older kids. I love that man. *blows nose*
  • Not looking like a moose in my red dress (Vanity, vanity, all is vanity. Sorry).
  • Watching the stars through the taxi window as we drove away, holding H’s hand and feeling peaceful, if not downright pleased with life. Which is a rare good place for me.

Best wishes to the happy couple and their lovely family, and many, many thanks for asking us to come and celebrate with you.


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