Monthly Archives: November 2010

Cold

Item – Blighty is smitten with a Cold Snap, and is, therefore, cold. And snowy. In November, Blighty is normally dank rather than icy, so this is all quite unsettling. And cold.

Item – H, poor lamb, has developed another cold, only weeks after his last cold, and is very tired and fed up, and I don’t think the weather is helping.

Item – I do not have a cold (yet). Instead, over the weekend, my lower abdomen staged some kind of revolt, and I spent two days clutching at myself and feeling very, very angry. It was the oddest thing. It felt like period pains, trapped wind, ovulation, AND, freakily, what felt exactly like ovulation pain on the left side – the side that, technically, doesn’t have an ovary. (Well, it has a tiny fragment of an ovary (named Kumquat (well, the other one’s Satsuma)) that pretty much blew its wad in growing a teratoma the size of a grapefruit and getting ripped in half by it. My teenage years were such fun). I panicked, variously, about further teratomas, endometriosis to go with the adenomyosis, appendicitis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, interstitial cystitis, and internal bleeding.

Item – In case I was ovulating (oh, hey, I ovulated on day 8 once. Day 14′d be… possible), I badgered the poor, feverish, headachey H into doing his marital duties, and it was slightly unpleasant for both of us.

Item – And then I got tetchy with H for being not-quite-sympathetic-enough. And then I bought ice-cream and we ate it all. This works, as a marital harmony strategy.

Item – My insides have stopped feeling like they are falling out. But they still feel like I’m about to ovulate any minute. I think if I badger H again he will run screaming into the icy night.

Item – I know very well this is about H feeling unwell and very tired, as the sodding cold has been keeping him awake for great chunks of the night. I know this is not a rejection of me or anything like that. I know he feels bad about the poor timing of it all as well. I know he wants us to have a kid very much. I just don’t think he has ever, ever, taken on board the whole ‘the more sex you have in the couple of days before ovulation, the more likely you are to get pregnant’ thing. He seems to be stuck in the ‘it only takes one!’ mindset of a contraception public information campaign.

Item – Being harangued about biology, statistics, and the way he is driving his wife crazy doesn’t seem to turn him on. Awkward, that.

Item – IVF seems very attractive at these times. I would totally take OHSS and a giant needle through the vagina if it meant I didn’t have to lie awake at night feeling abandoned without hope of reprieve as my next period comes careering towards me with its wheel-blades out, like Boudicca’s chariot.


Advance token to the nearest railroad

I am very tired. And I cut my tongue on my brand-new integral tooth razor (fucking pomegranates) while licking peanut-butter off a teaspoon. And my knee hurts. I want a hot-water-bottle. But H says some of you guys have been asking about the Assisted Conception Unit Appointment of Whatever The Heck Do I Do Now, and that I should stop lying in the middle of the living-room floor like a dropped fried-egg and tell you about it. Because it’s good manners, that’s why.

H is very lucky I didn’t get him in a head-lock and make him write this post.

Yesterday was all a little hectic. H and I had been out getting smashed (literally, sodding teeth) the night before. I was going out again that evening, and a friend was staying the night, and the flat looked, as ever, like an explosion in the back room of an Oxfam shop, so I had put on my Big Girl Panties (they have polka-dots on) and scrubbed and tidied and made beds, then rushed out to meet H at the Hospital Out In The Country, and then rushed back to finish cleaning the bathroom and removing at least one of the wobbling turrets of crap, miscellaneous, burying the kitchen table, and then rushed out again, to meet my friend at the theatre, and this involved a delayed train and a twenty-minute shit-shit-shit gallop through a thoroughly scruffy part of town. Oh, it’s OK, I was On Time and had a perfectly nice evening, thank you. Just… flustered.

Anyway. Rewind, to H and I sitting in the waiting room that the Fertility clinic shares with the earwax clinic, worrying that when the nurse came and called for Jane Bloggs and no-one answered, she was actually wildly mispronouncing May Nutsinmay and now we’d missed my appointment. Usual mix of the very elderly and deaf all talking over each other, one beautiful but snot-covered toddler, and quiet sad-eyed couples staring at the floor. I used the 40 minute wait to make copious notes, and underline key words, like ‘scan’ and ‘hormones’ and ‘cyst’, until I was dragged off to be weighed.

Miss Consultant was there in person this time, with a side-order of terribly polite minion who had to sit on a plastic chair behind her and who nodded and went ‘hrrm’ at everything any of us said. Did we mind the minion being present? Not in the least. How are minions to learn to be consultants themselves if they don’t get to watch consultants consulting? And my God, Miss Consultant was on form yesterday. She tore through my notes like the Arrow of Apollo.

  • Haven’t been pregnant since April (probably), but haven’t been trying for several of those months because we were dancing attendance on The Professor at her world-famous recurrent miscarriage clinic. Check.
  • The Professor recommended aspirin therapy, and possible heparin therapy, depending on repeat blood tests when (if. WHEN) I get pregnant again. Check.
  • Last cycle was 74 days long and drove us all nuts. Check.
  • Weird outbreak of pain and bleeding three weeks before ovulation – was it a cyst? I say this firmly. Check.
  • Miss Consultant notes that I have lost weight, and only have a few pounds to go before I reach Official NHS IVF Guidelines weight. I try not to smirk (I am lighter than I have been in years). Check.
  • Miss Consultant announces that I need a scan, just to make sure I’m not growing another teratoma (a dermoid cyst, or teratoma, is exactly what ripped Kumquat the nearly-non-existant left ovary to shreds when I was a teenager, and also screwed with my cycles but completely from the age of 13 through 18). I don’t know why Miss Consultant mentioned teratomas (is it normal to develop two, 18 years apart? Surely you’re born with the fuckers?), and feel panicky-sick on the instant, but at least I am getting a scan at some point, and we can look for piranhas and count Satsuma’s pearls for her. Check, triumphant, because I was prepared to tie myself to her desk with a cable-tie and refuse to go unless I got one.
  • Miss Consultant then also announces that I should really get some day 3 blood-work done, estrogen, prolactin, and FSH. She fills in a form and hands it to me, with instructions to attend the phlebotomy clinic on my next day 3. I am too busy thinking ‘prolactin? What the fuck?’ to remember that day 3 is one of my ‘I am lying on the bathroom floor and no I am not getting up’ days. This should be fun. It is also not quite a monitored cycle, but it’s much more than I was expecting (I was expecting ‘please go away and hump your husband’), so Check.
  • And H hasn’t had a semen analysis since 2007, so he was promptly handed a little pot and a form of his own, to fill and complete and return to the clinic at his convenience. I’m not sure what they’ll look for. I’ve been pregnant quite often, really, so I think we can be sure the quantity and motility are both A-OK. Perhaps they’ll be looking for little Viking helmets worn backwards and tankards of mead.
  • And before we left we had a follow-up appointment made. I have the appointment card in my hot little hand. No stupid letters going astray now hahaha! (Check).

So, brisk as it all was, I think I emerged victorious. The NHS has not washed its hands of me, and my concerns about Satsuma’s recent vagaries were not dismissed. Yay!

And, did you see that? A day 3 FSH test? I have been at this infertility lark for over five years and that will be the first, the very very first FHS test I have ever had done on the correct day. I’m serious. I’ve had two done entirely at random, one in the luteal phase FFS, which told us all precisely nada about anything. (Incidentally, given that my AMH is stellar, or was back in July, does this mean FSH will automatically be cooperative, or can it go doolally-tap without affecting AMH or vice-versa?).

The prolactin I have googled, and comes under ‘wise precaution’. The estrogen will interest me greatly, given the excessive estrogenic activity of my lady-parts when stuck in ovulatory wheel-spin.

Oh, and Miss Consultant suggested, if Satsuma can’t get her act together again, ovarian drilling (60% success rate (did you hear that, you ridiculous gonad? Drilling. You have been told)), and if that doesn’t work, IVF. Oh. So we’re IVF candidates again. I can only assume because Miss Consultant respects The Professor’s opinion as to the cause of my miscarriages, and therefore with that being ‘fixable’, and me being thinner, we’re no longer unacceptable wastes of time and money insofar as that is concerned. I feel rather steam-rollered.

But, some areas of Britain have stopped doing IVF altogether on the NHS, what with funding cuts (what do we want our taxes spent on? Baldness cures or babies?), so by the time we go back for our follow-up appointment with blood-test results and scans and SA results, no doubt the ACU will have been burnt to the ground and its ashes scattered on the Thames. And yet, the National Insititute of Clinical Excellence recommends every couple should have two free IVF cycles. *throws up hands*

And, yes, I did ask what I should do about these day 3 tests if months and months go past without a day 3 (and not for cute reasons neither). Miss Consultant shrugged. ‘Wait,’ she said. As if I’d been doing anything but for the past five arsing bastard years.


Crunch

Important things first – today is H’s birthday. H is a star and a gem and an angel among men and a mensch and is the onlie begetter of some of the stupidest puns ever spoken by an adult, and I love him.

It’s been, well, a lively few days. By my standards, at least. Which are quite low. I think buying a new brand of coffee is quite, quite thrilling.

But Sunday really was nice and exciting. The redoubtable HFF organized a Bloggers Lunch, which turned into a Bloggers Moveable Feast, because once we’d gathered for the preliminary ‘oh, so that’s what you look like’ pre-shopping morning coffee, we were hooked, and talked incessantly for the rest of the morning.

So, I met Katy, whose blog I have been slowly but steadily chortling through the archives of, for the first time. Good Lord, but the woman is funny. Funny). This post made me laugh so hard I lay back and wheezed like Muttley for minutes on end. Katy brought a non-blogging friend with her, who was so clever and funny herself she probably should blog. HFF of course is now firmly in the ‘dear old friend and co-defendant’ category, and is a joy to chat with. And later we were joined by the lovely Bumbling and her darling angelic little girl (and so like her mother). Bumbling has been to my blog before, so I had a shy moment of real live actual people read this (which, in retrospect, is daft. Of course real people read this. Who did I think was reading it? Visitors? Replicants?) and clammed up temporarily. Sorry, Bumbling. I’d’ve loved to talk more to you. I have kicked myself – look, you can see the mark on my ankle and everything.

Having eaten and drunk and talked and talked and talked and talked and talked, we eventually really did have to go our separate ways, and I pranced off feeling very chipper and pleased with myself, because, really, what spectacularly amusing and lovely people they were, and they had lunch with me, Queen Dork, and I didn’t humiliate myself very much (did I? No, don’t tell me. Leave me in my happy pink cloud).

H, only blob of testosterone in entire crowd, was quite quiet all afternoon. This is entirely normal for H, but I did ask if he’d been OK, lost in the sea of chatter, and he gave me a look and said ‘I like listening to funny articulate women. I was perfectly happy.’ So I said ‘oh’ and carried on yammering nonsense at him all the way home, just by way of contrast.

Anyway, meanwhile, my run of RAGING DORK has continued, despite brief respite on Sunday for socialising purposes (thank you Universe). On Monday, I realised, with a heavy heart, that the wire mesh part of my beloved little cafetiere had great big holes in it, so when the plunger is depressed (poor plunger, how can we comfort it?), the coffee grounds swirl happily through the coffee rather than being coralled in the bottom of the cafetiere. So I got down the great big six-cup cafetiere that only ever gets used at dinner parties (which I host about once a decade), and promptly dropped it. It very unkindly shattered into thousands of miniscule shards, and there was me in my stocking feet, cussing like Al Swearengen, uncaffeinated, and the hoover out of arms-reach and all. After much finicking collecting of razor-edged glass sequins and careful emptying of hoover bags, I made coffee in the little jug with the damaged plunger, and sieved the grounds out through my teeth. Unsuccessfully. I am very glad I am not my lower bowel. No, wait…

Today, though, I had got it together. I was wearing make-up and managed not to smear it from nose to ear. I wore a skirt and did not tuck it into the back in my tights after visiting the ladies’ and trot out into the street thus déshabillée. I took H to a fancy restaurant, and lo, they had our booking. We ate nearly all of our (exceedingly good) dinner in happy temper with the world and each other. And then I ordered pudding with pomegranate in – I like pomegranate. I offered H a taste, and he refused, as he really doesn’t like pomegranate seeds. Your loss, I thought, and bit down, then, on a seed that seemed extremely… gravelly. Weird, I thought, feeling the grit against my tongue. Shall I discreetly spit this out? But then my tongue touched something horrible, and in dismay I swallowed the gravel, for, alas, it was not gravel, and the bastard spawn of Satan pomegranate had chipped my Goddamn front tooth – the front one, oh curses!

Luckily, it didn’t hurt a bit. Even more luckily, when I had stopped vapouring quietly to myself and gone off to the WC to have a look, I realised the chip was a) quite small and b) not visible from the front, as it were, so Vanity of Appearance was appeased. Smug Pride in Family Indestructible Teeth got rather a debagging, alas.

Surely, that, and the cafetiere, and the Supermarket Trouser of Doom reported in the last post, are my lot for the moment? Surely, the dorktasm has climaxed now? Especially, please, as I have an Assisted Conception Unit Appointment of Whatever The Heck Do I Do Now tomorrow, and I do so want to be In Control for it.


Dork.

Item – It’s H’s birthday next week (yay H!), so we’ve gone away for a fun weekend in Another City Altogether. We’re staying in a very nice B&B. They made us tea with scones (whipped cream and strawberry jam, yes, absolutely) as soon as we arrived. And they have WiFi. LIKE.

Item – And then, because we’re all class, we dined on fish-and-chips at the sort of plastic table the chairs are bolted to, and then got a half-price bottle of wine in the Co-op on the way back to watch telly all evening. Ahh, marriage.

Item – I am 35, you know. Proper grown-up, with a PAYE tax code and strong opinions about washing-up-liquid and house prices and everything. And yet, my period still catches me out. I assumed that on day 6, I’m not going to suddenly rupture an artery and soak right through my trousers in the middle of a supermarket. I assumed wrongly. This is not the first time I’ve been caught out like this. Alas, I doubt it’ll be the last.

Item – But I am wiser than I was at 16, for I was wearing black trousers (and not, say, a white skirt with pastel flowers, since you ask. It was so much more than a mere fashion mistake).

Item – H is not quite so wise as me. I practically had to turn him upside down in the booze aisle and shake him until the B&B keys dropped out of his pocket. Dear chap, utterly oblivious to all such muttered hints such as ‘we really need to hurry up.’ ‘Seriously, H, we need to go NOW.’ ‘SOMETHING BAD IS HAPPENING, GIVE ME THE FUCKING KEYS.’

Item – And then I ran straddle-legged into the night, as if adopting a peculiar gait all the way up the main street could keep my knicker crotch from touching my trouser-crotch. Eh. My trousers have been scrubbed down with scented hand-soap and are drying on the radiator, so that worked. Did I bring a spare pair? Did I buggery.

Item – The red wine, delivered by the embarrassed and penitent H, trailing in ten minutes after me with his face stuck on ‘ohhhhhh I get it!’, was much appreciated. Cute Ute is in disgrace, however, and has been sent to Coventry. No one is to speak a single word to her for the rest of the weekend.

Item – I am meeting Interesting Internet People on Sunday. Dear Christ, what will I do for an encore?


What she said

Hello, petals. I’m feeling ever so much better, thank you.

I did love all your comments on my last post, threatening international mayhem and possible slaying if my clinic doesn’t produce something fabulous at the visit next week. But, my dears, HFF is completely and utterly right – have you read her comment? Please nip back and read her comment – and the reason I am not expecting much to come of this visit is that, reallio-trulio, there is not much that can be done for me. To whit:

I have adenomyosis. The cures for this are, um, hysterectomy. And that’s it. There is no cure that will also allow me to have a baby. As for palliative treatments, or treatments that will slow or reverse the condition for a while, well, they are, variously: months of Lupron or similar oestrogen suppressants; months of birth-control pills; months of the Mirena coil. All these also do not allow one to get pregnant. Therefore, beyond tweaking my pain medications, there’s absolutely screw-all to be done. Until the point I flip out completely and do one of the above for six months just to give myself a break (obviously, not the hysterectomy. I’m saving that for my 40th birthday).

And I get pregnant quite regularly (when my sodding ovary isn’t on a crazed SHAN’T bender), and Clomid makes me anovulatory, and arsing about with my oestrogen levels is Not Good for the adenomyosis anyway. My husband’s sperm is plentiful and can swim. IVF, with or without ICSI or PGD, does not at all increase the chances of NOT miscarrying for women like me. So there really isn’t much even the most eager of fertility clinics can offer me. As HFF said. (I shall get her to do all my posts when I feel shite. She’s very good).

What I do want, if possible, if NHS resources stretch that far, is monitoring, if Satsuma the Ovary of Recalcitrance acts up again. I would like to be able to call them and say ‘look, it’s day 21, and there’s been not a peep from within’ or ‘it’s day 21 and within is Making a Fuss’, depending, and they’ll book me in and have a look and be able to say ‘ovary’s doing nothing, take provera’ or, ‘hang in there, I can see a lead follicle’ or, ‘yep, that’s a cyst,’ or even ‘shi- err, shoot. I think a piranha is eating your fallopian tube.’ And, as a bonus, I’d like a 7dpo progesterone test, because 11-day luteal phases, while not in the official ‘man, you iz borked‘ ball-park of How Not To Do A Luteal Phase, are stupidly short and I worry.

And there you have it. I want a monitored cycle monitored on my terms, and the NHS wants to save money and wash its hands of me.

Anyway. Cycle 30-something-or-other. For the past five years, I’ve been begging and pleading with the Universe to let me be pregnant for Christmas, as all these infant-free, infertile Giant Holy Baby Celebration Family-Is-Everything Extravaganzas are… depressing. And then there was last Christmas. Where I was pregnant, after all. Hah! Hah, I say! So now I do not wish for anything baby-related and tinsely at all. I merely wish to eat a roast potato at some point, and perhaps get drunk at least once.


Not a happy camper

Another 11 day luteal phase. Bugger. Bugger bugger bugger bugger bugger.

In less than two weeks I have a ‘well, now, anything to add?’ appointment at my old NHS fertility clinic, which I wondered at the point of, given that back in the summer said clinic and I seemed to be washing our hands of each other. And here is the point. My luteal phase is shortening again, Satsuma’s on an erratic bender, and I get far too many weird and inexplicable pains and cramps and such-like in the lead-up to ovulation and I don’t like it. But I do have a strong suspicion that Miss Consultant, or her minion, depending on who I see, will shrug. And then we will try to stare each other down, like cats on a high fence. And the person with the medical degrees will probably win, and I will turn tail and shuffle off home in a temper.

Meanwhile, inevitably, OW.


Thermometer says no

Title of post says it all, really.

As I was staring glumly at the depressingly low number on the digital read-out on said thermometer, H leaned over and asked me what it was. And then he was glum too.

There was much counting and recalculating of days this morning, because if I am now 11dpo (chart says so, at least), my period could start any time between tomorrow and Monday (no, I do not have a regular luteal phase. Why on earth would I have a regular luteal phase? That’s for normal women), and we had tickets for amusingness on Monday evening, and tickets for a concert on Tuesday evening, and any way I slice it, I’ll be in A Bad Way for at least one and almost certainly both of these events, and it is NOT FAIR *stamps little princess feet*.

H wondered if I should take the low-dose aspirin for a couple of days anyway, in case it at the very least dealt with the ‘clot colic’ aspect of The Horror To Come by lessening the, err, clots. I wonder it too, now. Perhaps I shall try it and report back. Once I’ve checked interactions with all the other painkillers I have stacked on top of the fridge. (What? I like unnerving visitors to my kitchen. A girl’s got to get her fun somewhere).

Anyway. I am feeling very glum. I do not want to be shoved back into the Ocean of Ovulatory Limbo. I do not want to start all over again. I do not want to get my period. Not at all.


This is all very tedious

The Pre-Thanksgiving 2010 Pee-Stick extravaganza has begun.

Eight days past ovulation, perfectly negative. So there.

Nine days past ovulation, perfectly negative. So double there.

Symptoms? Eh. crampy, headachy, heartburny, and very, very, very grumpy. Breasts indifferent.

*shrug*


Of all the luck

Sorry. We haven’t got to the part of the two-week-wait that’s interesting yet. Nothing to do but think longingly of coffee and booze. Watching me thinking of coffee makes the dehydration of mastic compositions riveting viewing.

So, while we wait for the Pre-Thanksgiving Pee-sticks Extravaganza 2010 to commence, I shall ask, nay, plead, that you all go over to the Hairy Farmer Family blog and read this post, about the first few weeks of the life of her premature son. Take many hankies and possibly a stiff belt of whisky with you. And when you’ve read it, if you’re British, can I beg you to harangue the Secretary of State for Health, Andrew Langsley, for more attention, more funds, more EVERYTHING, for British NICUs. There’s a form letter Bliss created that you can download here. You can even email your own MP from this website, and ask him or her to harangue the Health Secretary for you. Because this is not fair, damn it, that the tiniest, most vulnerable, most new and fresh and full-of-potential among us, should get the shabbiest care.


It’s all good

I am quite sure I actually ovulated. On Tuesday. I ovulated. And now I have a box of provera to shake in Satsuma’s face in a threatening manner as a bonus. Seeing that she is actually scared of provera.

Day 63, I ovulated. Ugh. But I looked at my chart again, and I have ovulated a little under three weeks after the agonising ovarian pain with bleeding pregnancy scare ridiculousness, so I am more convinced that ever that it was a cyst, and it burst, and then Satsuma was free to Do Her Thing in her own sweet time (ie, usually, for the past year or so, it takes her just under three weeks to mature an egg and pop it out. Except that time last Christmas, when she did it in a week (and it all went to hell). That was… odd. Among other things).

Anyway. Satsuma is probably behaving, at the moment. Hurrah.

But because she is a sarcastic little bitch, she has timed it so that I’ll be getting my period on the two days when H and I had bought tickets, a) for a comedy show, and b) for a concert, both of which I am hugely looking forward to, and missing either of which will crush me to a bitter pulp of resentment.

Fantastic.

Oh, well, yes, there was appropriately timed sex. I’m just going to plan for incapacitation anyway.


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