Category Archives: Pikaia

Because I am tired (NBHHY)

Item – H and I spent Sunday on an outing with my dear Mama, eating an enormous lunch and having a charming walk and visiting an exhibition and filling head with Art. I also took the occasion (‘Darling, why didn’t you come abroad with us last month? We had a lovely time! H would have adored it!’ … ‘Well, errm, since you ask….’) to inform dear Mama of the fact her eldest daughter (c’est moi) was In An Interesting Condition, thanks to the Wonders of Science.

Item – Mum was marvellous about it. She was so pleased, but instantly made a massive effort to control herself and stated that she would try not to think about it all, because it was all so new and tenuous, and then stroked my hand, and asked a few questions about the IVF process and the chromosomal testing, swore herself promptly to secrecy until we give her the go-ahead to Spread Glad Tidings, and then we had a brief discussion about Morning Sickness We Have Known and how very much she hated certain vegetables during her last pregnancy, and then we went off and looked at the Art. And that was that.

Item – I was so tired when we got home I went to bed at 9:30pm.

Item – And then I got up for a wee at 3:30am and couldn’t get back to sleep. It’s one thing having 1st Trimester knackerment. It does not combine well with insomnia and my sodding bladder. I was a yawning dribbling pointless distracted lump at work today. My boss is being nice to me about it. Oh God.

Item – In today’s post, a bundle of letters and leaflets from the local maternity services, full of ante-natal appointments and screening dates and advice on giving up smoking. I promptly sat down on the stairs and cried. It’s all getting so very very unavoidably real even if something does go wrong. I am completely overwhelmed.

Item – Remind me to tell you about the local maternity services soon. They’re run from the same hospital that treated me (so very shabbily) when I lost Pikaia, and where I refused to go back to for any subsequent miscarriages. I am having anxiety dreams about going back there. Gah. Must stop talking about it now or I will never sleep again.

Item – My main issues with having put on nearly half-a-stone already less to do with ‘looking fat’ (I am fat), and more to do with a) being judged and scolded for gaining too much weight by medical practitioners, and b) looking obviously pregnant to people I have no intention or desire to discuss my gestational status with, now or indeed ever. And some of the people I am thinking of are extremely rude nosy and boundary-impaired twatweasels, and others are misogynistic creeps. So. Oh the joy of the large workplace, that has such a mix of people in it.

Item – Bed!


Terror. Terror is a thing (NBHHY)

Yesterday, I was paddling about on Twitter, seeing if anyone had said anything amusing lately, in a fairly serene and optimistic mood (I know. Optimism. Who’d’a thunk it?). And instead I saw the news of an eight-week scan gone tragically wrong – no heartbeat, no baby after all.

Yes. That can happen. It happened to me, once. Seeing that forlorn tweet was like falling through a trap-door. I was overwhelmed with sorrow for the woman who posted it, and empathy, and for a few minutes I could only think of her sadness and remember how bereft I had felt when Pikaia turned out to be blighted after all.

And then, of course, I panicked on my own behalf.

It’s over a week until my scan. I am five weeks and four days pregnant right now (by that slightly daft reckoning that assumes pregnancy a) begins on the first day of your period and b) your cycle is always exactly 28 days. This embryo was actually conceived three weeks and four days ago). If I had a scan now, it’d be inconclusive at best, as my embryo and his/her entire playpen are still too small to visualise as more than a tiny circle, a few millimetres across, the heart, even if it is there, too small to see beating. And I have no worrying symptoms at all. The cramps that bothered me last week have mostly naffed off, unless I walk a lot, and then they go away when I sit down and have a drink. I feel sick in the evenings. My breasts hurt. I get light-headed easily. I am not spotting at all. I, a life-long night-owl and midnight-oil-burner, am ready to clamber into bed at 10pm sharp. Nothing Bad Has Happened Yet.

And I am absolutely paralytic with anxiety.

The baby will not die because I rejoiced in its existence.

The baby will not live because I panicked and fretted and grieved over it.

I must keep telling myself that. And keep taking the medications. And wait.


A certain place of tiredness

Item – I now have four peesticks lined up on the bathroom windowsill, each one with the second line a shade more marked and obvious than the last. You have to squint at the one I took on Tuesday morning. This morning’s? It’s still faint, but you can see it feet away. I don’t think even Bitter McTwisted can argue that they’re all faulty (all three different brands), but occasionally she tries.

Item – we have a fancy digital peestick for tomorrow’s Official And We Phone The Clinic test. I’ve never used a fancy digital one before.

Item – The spotting from Tuesday has not reoccurred. I concluded that it probably was caused by the progesterone pessaries and went aft instead, effectively converting them into suppositories, ho ho. And so now I have a sore sensation in my back passage as well. I’m buggered either way (ho ho ho). Another eight weeks of this I am to hope for. Huh.

Item – I was not only bloated and miserable, but viciously crampy last night. Cute Ute felt hard and heavy and somehow full of corners. The funny thing is, she used to feel like this when I was pregnant with Pikaia. It’s eerie. (For newcomers to the blog, Pikaia was my first pregnancy, five years ago, and the one I got furthest along with before she was revealed to be a blighted ovum, poor little sod, who had no intention of going anywhere on her own and had to be surgically removed. Which turned into a shitstorm. Yay memories!). I lay down and drank Gatorade and water, and it didn’t help much, and I had a bloody miserable night with no sleep, bonus rainstorm at 2am, and a snoring husband (I will staple his bottom lip to his nose, so help me). This morning, I had the runs. OH JOY. Which of the many drugs, hormones, or excess heat coursing through me caused that, eh? So I stayed at home. And stared vaguely into space a lot. And now I have cramps again. Are the cramps just going to be A Thing every evening?

Item – Oh! A fun thing! DrSpouse was in town yesterday, and we had a quick lunch together, sitting in the shade on a bench. That was nice.

Item – H and I are being very… restrained… in our expressions of jubilation. In our feelings of jubilation. Because history. We just sit about having occasional sensible discussions about scheduling scans and whether I’ve drunk enough water today. We have yet to tell family on either side, for example. We haven’t had that discussion yet.

Item – I am probably going to have to tell work in the next few days, because I will be scheduling eight trillion pregnancy-related doctors’ appointments and per law, if it’s pregnancy related, you get paid time off to attend. It feels weird, wrong and stupid to tell work before I tell my parents, but I am a snowflake and everything in my reproductive history is weird, wrong and stupid, so fuck it. Also, if this goes wrong (ohpleasepleasepleaseno) I am taking the rest of the Summer off and damn the consequences, only, consequences may well be slightly less damnable if work has an inkling why I have lost my tiny mind and fucked off into the outer blue yonder.

Item – My Dad has had some awkward news about his health, and has been read the Riot Act about his drinking and smoking. Total abstinence may save his life. He has announced that he will now try total abstinence, and I feel wry, sad, and cynical about it all. Because history. Having his sesame-seed-sized grandchild on board adds a rather gloomy flavour of poignancy and regret. Will this one get to play with Grandpapa? Will Grandpapa get to play with it?

Item – And there are several dear people out there who are not pregnant now. And we would’ve been pregnant together. And it’s so sad. So endlessly, hugely sad.


On it not being Mothers’ Day

Five years ago, pretty exactly, we were here. And it was such a beautiful place to be.

Whereas we spent this afternoon going through all the paperwork from all our medical tests and procedures, making sure we had a full set of all the relevant results for H to sneak into work and photocopy tomorrow, for the benefit of the Riverside Clinic. And this is not a beautiful place to be. Not at all. Five years, and all we have to show for it is an inch-thick stack of doctors’ letters.

I have friends who can talk of nothing else but whether or not their four-year-olds did or did not get into their primary school of choice, and how silly and expensive the uniforms are. And I am not able to join in. And I should, I really really should, be joining in.

And then, of course, there’s the Trial-By-Drive-By-Mother’s-Day. It is not Mother’s Day in the UK. We did that in March. I’m not sure I need all my favourite social media to be plastered with variations of ‘honk if you love motherhood!’. Nevertheless, I am clearly wrong and making a private gesture of affection to, well, your own mother, is inadequate and the only way to prove you love her and love being a mother (hurrah for you) is to post passive-aggressive self-aggrandising horse-wallops about it on all the internets. Because if you just send the poor woman flowers, who’s gonna know. And if you accidentally grind broken glass into the hearts of everyone who has lost their mother, or never had a mother, or was abused by their mother, or who can’t be a mother, so what, eh? Serves them right for not being normative.

(No, really, there are people on the internet who think that if you’re not a mother, you’re not even a woman, and nothing you are doing could possibly be as worth-while as raising children, and you know nothing about love and self-sacrifice, you selfish selfish party-hopping waster. I think they might have a hard time selling that one to Mother Theresa or Susan B. Anthony or Emily Dickinson or Queen Elizabeth I or Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell or Amelia Earhart or… you get my point, I hope. *Flail-hands*)

Anyway. This post is brought to you by Bitter McTwisted The Angry Infertile and Not Enough Tequila.

So, H and I sorted through the letters, and I had a panic attack (whyever not?) and H had a moment of ‘not listening! Am made of teflon!’ which neatly derailed the panic attack because I had to stop and shout at him, and then we had a prolonged and weepy conversation about how fucked up my family was for a change, and then my mother rang to offer me moral support and millions of pounds to do this possible IVF also three nights in a health spa if I liked or possibly craniosacral therapy because that is the new acupuncture, and I felt like an idiot. And then we went through the letters properly and with tears in our eyes because, actually, this recurrent miscarriage business is really, really, really fucking horrible.

And, possibly in self-defence, I find I keep losing track of how many miscarriages I’ve actually had, and when. Things I was so sure I’d never do. Surely each and every one was burnt into my brain forever. Surely. And now I must go back through my blog and my diary and my inch-thick stack of letters, and count them all.


Christmas makes everything twice as sad*

I am spending a second day at home in front of the telly, because I feel very sick and Cute Ute the Despoiler is making a horrible fuss (Stupid uterus. I dislike her intensely. The feeling is clearly mutual). Shark Week began today, so I hope (but by no means expect, damn it) that therefore I’ll be feeling less-than-dead by Saturday and will be able to sit upright on my pew at this blazin’ wedding.

I’ve done two loads of laundry and cleaned a lavatory. It’s not all been Criminal Minds marathons and hot-water-bottles. Alas.

H and I are trying to be festive. We bought a very (very very) small Christmas tree. We put up some decorations – snow-flakes, a wreath, a couple of reindeer. My dear friend korechronicles sent me a Christmas ornament a couple of years ago, which we hung on the bookshelf. I have some handpainted wooden stars as well I need to find a place for – we can’t hang anything on the tree, because you see, my tree is tiny, and so wee, that I sometimes think the pixies gave it to me**, and it would topple over. I received my first Christmas present – you know who you are, you and your classy classy gift-giving – so I opened it for Hanukkah, and am thrilled to absolute bits.

This year, we are going to H’s family for Christmas, because we feel they need us the most (My family is going skiing. Again. They keep asking us to come, but neither H nor I can ski, and the idea of being stuck with my sisters for a week in a country where I don’t speak the language and can’t just run screaming into the mountains in my nightie for fear of Death-By-Snowdrift, does not appeal). At least I won’t have my period (see last year. That was fun).

However to make up for my NOT having my period over Christmas at the ‘rents or in-laws, the In-Laws are coming to us. Tomorrow. So I can still have my period at them. HAH.

And I keep bursting into tears. I wanted to be pregnant. I haven’t been pregnant for so, so long, I am absolutely terrified that All Is Wrong in there and I can’t ever get pregnant again. I’ve had my lot, and they were all duds, and that is that.

Oh, and there’s the tiny question of Christmas, Season of Doom, in that I’ve had two miscarriages over the festive season, and it sucks. The media are doing wall-to-wall baby stories and family stories and babies and families stories and mothers and more babies and every radio is blaring out songs about the wonderful birth of a special baby and people send you cards with pictures of tiny shiny babies on them and Christmas is all about the kiddies, innit? And you don’t know the meaning of love or family until you’ve given birth, allegedly. Why not flay me and roll me in rimming salt while you’re at it?

Pikaia, my first poor little doomed embryo, would be nearly four this Christmas, if she’d actually grown a spine as her nickname suggested she should and lived. Have you seen a nearly-four-year-old in the run-up to Christmas? She’d be so excited you could power a small cathedral city off her for a week. And now she is nearly four, I have so many, many ideas for beloved books and adorable toys for her. I do, I really do, find myself looking at toys shop windows and thinking ‘Would Pikaia have liked that? I hope she would’ve liked that. It’s very cool.’ Or I look at books and think about reading it to Pikaia. And then I have to stop that right now and go and look at a book on astrophysics or baking, because grown women weeping over Dr Seuss are frankly unnerving.

Poor Pikaia. Of all our losses, she’s the one who really haunts me. She’s the only one I ever imagined (however briefly) as a living child, you see (too scarred/scared to do anything of the sort after her). She follows me about like a little ghost, slowly growing up as I grow older. I can see me in my late 50s being haunted by a red-haired university student who keeps forgetting to call home. But for the moment, she’s nearly four. She has fiery copper hair. She loves books and making things and drawing and music. She has a doll or teddy she adores beyond words. She has unusually small hands and feet, because her parents do, and is tall for her age, because her parents were. She is precocious and worryingly articulate, like me, and a little song-bird, like H. I don’t know if she’d be prone to brief but terrifying ferocious outbreaks of temper followed by tears like me, or pouting and sulking like H. I wish I did know. I miss her so much.

And I know I’m not the only one to have a ghost-child. Melissa wrote movingly about hers here (and it touched me particularly because I know that city so well, and can picture it). And then everyone chimed in in the comments, and I thought, see? I’m not mad. We’re not mad. Not mad at all.

* Douglas Copeland.
** Waitrose, actually.


Hence migraine

I am at home, again, today. I woke up feeling bizarrely cranky and unfocused, and monosyllabic, which anyone who has met me (or, hey, has read this blog) will tell you is uncharacteristic. Clumsily, I staggered off to the station, thinking ‘bloody hell, the sunlight is bright this morning. Really bright. This can’t be normal for October’.

Yes, well, you’re all sharper than me, so you won’t be surprised to hear that the next thing to happen was a scintillating scotoma eating the woman next to me’s head.

So I went home again, got H to ring work for me (bless the man) and put my head under the pillows for a few hours.

Bugger migraines. Bugger them to hell.

H, being ‘wise after the fact’, pointed out it’s 1) that time of the month for me, 2) I’ve been sleeping badly and 3) I’ve been stressed which = migraine. To which all I could groan was ‘you could’ve said’, to which he hinted I could’ve said, as I was the one behaving like an aphasic cassowary this morning, to which I implied that being an aphasic cassowary, I wasn’t in the best condition to judge my own state of neurological activity, at which point H wisely kissed my eyebrow and crept off to work.

Yesterday was International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. H was, well, I shall say out at his club, because it amuses me to do so, though no doubt he will give me the stink-eye when he reads this (he was at rehearsal. He’s proper talented, you know). So I said I’d be home by 7pm to light a candle, or several, to commemorate our poor little sods of embryos and your losses too, Gentle Readers. And H said he’d text me at 7 to let me know he was thinking appropriate thoughts. So that was the plan.

I admit I was feeling sulky about it. Not because H wouldn’t be there, but because I have been lighting candles for years now and I am very very sick of this twilight, bruised existance as neither mother nor not-mother. I currently am in a Denial Place about it all. I don’t want to think about it very often and I certainly don’t want to dwell on how much it hurts. I don’t want to be Infertile anymore and I don’t want to be bound on this wheel of torment anymore. So, no, I was not being pleased about the idea of lighting candles and focusing on loss and grief. I was going to do it anyway, out of solidarity, and because being in The Denial Place is just one of those places you wander in and out of for the rest of your life when a Bad Sad Thing happens, along with the Acceptance Place, the Raging Place, the Shan’t Get Out of Bed Place, the Reasonably Happy Place, and the Place of Lamentations (I doubt I’ll be here for very long, and I’m spending longer and longer in Acceptance and Reasonably Happy, fash not yerselves), and I didn’t want to face me in a few weeks time when I am visiting Rage or Lamentations, shrieking ‘and you didn’t even light a candle on the 15th and throwing plates. So I noted the location of the matches before I left for work.

Work, however, had a sneaky bastard trick to play. A couple of colleagues didn’t turn up, so I cheerfully (oh, hey, I wasn’t in a hurry) volunteered to hang on for another ten minutes so as not to leave my other colleagues in the total screaming chaos lurch. The manager who was supposed to be finding out what had happened to the next shift, didn’t. The other manager simply sodded off home without waiting to see if their staff had turned up. I ended up staying on an extra 40 minutes, hot and flustered. When H texted me something sweet and moving about Pikaia and our other benighted embryos, I was still on a (very packed, slow-moving) train. I felt angst. Much angst, with added pissed off.

So in the end I lit our candles at about 7:30. Then I ate cheese and rice-cakes. Then I blew the candles back out, went to the cinema on my own, and watched Looper (which wasn’t half bad, or, at least, Jeff Bridges wasn’t half bad, and the plot was fascinating, and Bruce Willis, as ever, was about as interesting to watch as a lump of silly putty, but, like silly putty, can be squashed into the correct shape for purpose and isn’t actually offensive or irritating).

And I had bad dreams.


Diamonds and rust

Hello, and welcome to all you interesting and lovely people who did me the honour of reading the last post, the ranty one, showering me with compliments, and are now hanging about to see what I’m going to do next. I have no idea what I’m going to do next. I now feel a tad fraudulent – you do know this blog is mostly me whining about doctor’s appointments and just how horribly bad I am at menstruating, right? Sorry. *gnaws nails*

Or freaking out. There’s always me freaking out.

H and I took a few days off work. I won’t use the phrase ‘staycation’, because ‘staycation’ sounds like Day Camp for vampire slayers. But that. The problem with being at home with nothing to do except relax and enjoy yourselves leads to such behaviour as Visiting Ikea And Buying Storage Bins, which leads to Sorting Out The Knitting Stash, which leads to H laughing at me as I shriek: ‘How do I have this much yarn? I don’t even remember buying this? What is this? I have 45 litres of SOCK YARN! How am I ever going to knit all this? What was I thinking?’

And then you find the half-finished and abandoned knitting projects. I knew it would be in there somewhere, along with the scarf that came out too small, and the sock-I-can’t-be-arsed-to-knit-a-friend-for, and the half-a-pullover I’ve been havering about the neckline for.

It is most of a Shetland lace baby shawl, in very fine white wool, knitted on tiny needles. The sort of lace cloud a new-born is wrapped in for the home-from-hospital pictures, or for a Christening. It’s patterned with diamonds and trees-of-life and rose-buds, all chosen for their charming symbolism. I remember casting it on way back when H and I were still merely infertile, and, indeed, when I was still under the impression that as soon as we’d removed my uterine polyps and convinced Satsuma to just let an egg go once in a bloody while, I’d get pregnant. And, of course, carry the baby to term. Why shouldn’t I? I come from a Revoltingly Fertile Family. Carrying babies to term, through Hell or high water, is what we do. Or, what they do. I didn’t yet know I wasn’t one of them.

Of course, just about when I had nearly finished the body of the shawl and was trying to work out the maths (I am proper discalculic. Ask H. So this part was taking weeks) for the edging, I did get pregnant. And miscarried. And I didn’t have the heart to keep knitting. I told myself I’d get it out and finish it for the next baby. OK, for the one after that. Maybe for the third one. Damn it, not the third one. And since then I haven’t been able to face even looking at it. I think I have since once angrily announced I’d finish it if I ever got past the 12th week. And then I could use it as a fucking shroud, if necessary, because then there’d be something to bury.

Because you, oh Gentle Readers, are wise, and because all the above might have given you a clue that Not All Is Well chez the Psyche of May, you will be considerably less surprised than I was to discover that when I did unearth the shawl as I entirely expected to do this afternoon, still on the needles, still unfinished, I burst into tears. I flung myself into H’s arms and sobbed and sobbed.

‘What is it, darling?’ he asked, concerned, ‘A lace shawl? Oh, sweetheart, have the moths got it? No? What is it?’

‘It’s so beautiful,’ I choked out, ‘and it was for our first baby…’ and then I got snot on his shoulder (‘Dignity’ is my middle name. My first is ‘Lack of’).

Gentle Readers, this thing is beautiful. And so nearly finished. It breaks my heart.

H thinks I should just finish it. Partly because he’s feeling vaguely hopeful again these days, bless the dear eejit, and partly, well, because, did I mention it’s beautiful?

I could always auction it for a suitable charity, I suppose. If I can convince anyone to pay hundreds of pounds for it. I couldn’t let it go for less than hundreds of pounds, not even for the most excellent of causes. It has, after all, already cost me an infinity of grief.


Grief Bacon

Gentle Readers, my period appears to be turning up a day early (I say ‘appears’. It hasn’t appeared. I have had cramps for 24 hours, I feel sick, my bowel has done its trademark premenstrual panic-and-empty routine, I feel so very grim I’ve called in sick, and yet? Not even spotting. But anyway), so I am in a sort of heap in the living-room with the Olympics on in the background (there appear to be… horses? What happened to the swimming?).

I haven’t been posting very much recently out of a giant, swamping feeling of anxst. And I am very, very bored of telling you all about my anxst. The whole infertility/RPL/borked innards saga has been pretty much nothing but anxst for six years (seven, really, but six blogged), and as well as being bloody unpleasant to live through, it is so fucking boring now. And this is not one of those excellent-reading heart-warming IF/RPL/Borkage stories that canters through high drama diagnoses and treatments and losses and! Finally! The Take-Home Baby! in two or three years, giving everyone a lovely story-arc with weeping-happy-tears resolution, crucially, before everyone gets royally sick of the whole thing and wanders off to find a blog less wall-to-wall tedium and frustration.

*Musical interlude in which we play May a concerto on the world’s tiniest violin*

However, my trousers are getting tight and I daren’t weigh myself, because I have been dealing with the Unspeakable Anxst Du Jour by eating rather more than I think is wise. The Germans, who have a splendid way with a compound noun, call this kind of ensquidgerey Kummerspeck, or grief-bacon, the weight you put on because you are comfort-eating your way through a crisis. (This, and ‘shark week’ for the days taken over by menstruating, are my new favourite terms. Oh, the infinite ways in which the raw, sarcastic, redolent-of-pain-and-blood ‘shark week’ is preferable to the twee, coy, tea-cosiness of ‘Aunt Flo’).

For the sake of my favourite jeans and my dignity in attempting to sit down therein, I shall now vent anxst all over this blog-post. You have been warned.

Your mileage may vary, but for me personally, the best way to be told of a friend/relation’s pregnancy is emphatically not by ultrasound photo on FuckBucket. If the announcer is not particularly close to me and has no clue as to my woes, or, perhaps, not much of a clue and is a clueless clot from the clue-free shopping channel anyway, I’ll let it pass. I might even say ‘congratulations’ (note lack of exclamation mark).

If, however, said person knows me, loves and is loved by me, knows my woes, and still thinks I can learn this alongside every twerp dick and hairball she went to primary school with, well, I get a twitch in my eyelid, is what I get. No, I don’t want a phone-call, either, though I appreciate the personal touch there, and will tough it out. Email me. Or write me a letter. I don’t need eighteen paragraphs of ‘I’m so sorry, I know this is so hard for you, I feel so guilty,’ either, because I don’t like being Bitter McTwisted the Kill-Joy Queen. A simple ‘Dear May, I am pregnant! Just thought I’d let you know before I start babbling about it on FuckBucket. Baby is due on [whenever]. Thinking of you, Much love, Friend-With-A-Clue’. Then I can have my ‘happy for you, sad for me’ moment in dignified privacy before emailing back ‘WHEEEEEEE! CONGRATULATIONS! SO MANY HUGS!’.

The real knife-in-ribs twist is, this friend answered the long, loving, concerned-all-for-her-and-her-toddler letter (with re-cap of our own medical disasters as shortest paragraph in said letter, and done in a ‘just to let you know our news’ way and NOT a ‘where were you, you unsupportive bitch?’ way) I wrote to her to restart our friendship with a brief ‘that was a lovely letter and I was really moved. In touch soon’. And then ignore me for months. While I, you know, had surgery and shit. And then, 24 hours before the Grand FuckBucket Announcement, email me a link to a completely unrelated funny and add ‘we should catch up soon’ at the bottom of that. Oh, hell, no, we should not catch up. She gets three kids (yes, twins. Ultrasound of naturally conceived twins) in the same time I get, what, three? Four? miscarriages. She can’t face me. She offers no support or love or even so much as a ‘how did the surgery go’? I think, right now, we will ‘catch up’ approximately as and when I become the Chief Rabbi of the British Isles.

Meanwhile, because we can’t do naturally conceived twins in a Surprise! ‘oh, goodness, I don’t know how we’ll cope!’ way *hiss*, we have to decide whether we want to blow an entire fucking house-deposit’s worth on, not a baby, but the mere chance of being allowed to buy a metaphorical lottery ticket for a baby.

H is still deeply pissed off with his job, by the way, and therefore is rather distant and preoccupied and also rather given to comfort-eating, which is getting a bit mutual-enabling. As have my gluten-free baking experiments – oh dear, if cake is good, we’ll eat it. Who knew?

And then there’s Olympics. You can’t have missed them. The last time they were on was the summer just after my first miscarriage, and I was grieving and angry and wondering if I’d be able to get on with the trying-to-get-pregnant any time soon. As I said then, on the subject of waiting to TTC:

No, the main reason they don’t want you TTC-ing at once is, apparantly, a) so you can take a month to ‘finish grieving’ and therefore not have a full-blown nervous break-down during the first trimester, and b) so they can accurately date your pregnancy from the date of your last period. To which I say a) finish? I was supposed to finish this already? But I’ve got enough left here to keep me going until the London Olympics, and b) how amazingly thick does a doctor or midwife have to be to assume the date of the last menstrual period means jack for a good 20% of the women they are going to see? No, wait, flash-backs to the Early Pregnancy Unit From Hell, don’t answer that.

And here we are at the London Olympics and, oh, God, nobody tell poor May-in-2008 what happened next or she really will have a full-blown nervous break-down.

I don’t think I mentioned it on the blog ever, but I found it in my old-fashioned paper diary (I’ve kept a sporadic diary since I was 8) – When I was first pregnant I had a lovely little fantasy of sitting watching the Beijing Olympics and feeling my baby move for the first time, and being able to tell her in 2012 that we watched (well, were in the room for) the 2008 Olympics together and she did somersaults along with the Olympians. And then I lost her. And all her tiny embryonic siblings since. And it’s finally 2012 and the Olympics are on again and I’m still not pregnant and another dream has died and I keep weeping whenever an athlete wins or loses or just, you know, turns up and represents. We’re all here again and all those embryos aren’t.


The no-good bad sad unreasonable

It was my birthday on Thursday. I am 37.

Well now.

I wouldn’t mind being 37 in the least if it weren’t for the ‘and barren’ thing. Why else should I mind being 37, if not because I’ve spent my entire 30s so far failing (sometimes bloodily, spectacularly) to have a child? Oh, and getting a job and a promotion and a degree, which I keep mysteriously forgetting about. It’s not like I’ve spent 7 years exclusively either flat on my back on my chaise longue or flat on my back on the ultrasound table. But it somehow feels like it.

Tomorrow, H and I are going away for a week, for a holiday. We always have a holiday this time of year, partly because it is my birthday, you know, and partly because I got a miscarriage for my 33rd birthday and it was such a long, drawn-out mess of a thing, and I’ve not only never got over it, but it has come to stand for All The Other Miscarriages And Continuing Lack Of Baby. So my birthday is partly a pleasant day of being sent cards and given presents and being taken out for dinner and such, and partly the pointiest day in a week or so made up entirely of things to bruise oneself upon. It’s easier to be Somewhere Else, and not trapped in the routine of the everyday which won’t even have the decency to be an everyday that includes small sticky fingers, nappies, push-chairs, very small jelly sandals, and someone asking me ‘why? Why? Why, Mummy? Why?’ seventeen million times a minute.

Because of the timing of The Period, H and I didn’t go away this week as originally planned. So on my birthday, I went to work (still feeling rather fragile, as The Period has hob-nailed boots). Whereapon all the ladies who are on maternity leave came in to show the office their babies. Which, you know, fair enough, but on my birthday? With all its pre-existing pointy-bruisy-ouchy bits? Thanks, Universe. And then there was a spate of ultrasound pictures on FB – you know, cute ones, showing wee spines and skulls and things, rather than the ones I’m used to, which show ovarian cysts and adenomyosis and empty uterine cavities and, occasionally, little empty collapsing gestational sacs surrounded by haemorrhage.

The thing about Not Getting Over It, is that, in my case at least, nothing has happened to get me over it. Time has passed, yes, but in that time I’ve had more losses, and my health has got worse, which have between them increased my distress. My chances of having a living child have, of course, shrunk, because time has passed, which in itself fucking sucks rancid arse and would be plenty to be depressed about. I do not have a living child, which I am given to understand is a joyful event that provides a great deal of distraction and healing, even if he or she can never ‘replace’ or ‘make up for’ the lost ones. So I am sad. I am sad on my birthday, and I am sad the week after my birthday, and I am sad when I should be happy for people, and I am sad when sad things happen to people, and I am sad when doing laundry and sad when watching telly and sad when standing on the bus and sad when walking along the street and sad when I go to bed and sad when I get up in the morning.

This is not a totally joyless soul-crushing sadness. I still laugh at jokes and enjoy books (oh, I got books for my birthday! I love getting books for my birthday!) and put on pretty sun-dresses and wax my legs (OW) and get excited about the holiday H and I are just about to go on. It’s just, I might cry at the drop of a hat. Hell, I cried when some chap I’d never heard of cried when he was given a gold medal on the Chelsea Flower Show. And I Compleeeeeetely Lost My Temper when we discovered the moths had got back in again and eaten a hole in my hand-knit slipper-sock (admittedly the stupid sock had been abandoned under the bed since Christmas because it had felted and I had to fight like a ninja to get it on over my heel, but still. I knitted it. Moth ate it. Now I have to Clean All The Things and spray entire bedroom with Moth Murderer TM). And, of course, everything beautiful makes me sad. The sunshine, the birch-trees tossing their heads in the breeze, the birds on the bird-feeder, roses, H singing, the neighbour’s baby. Everything I love is full of sadness.

This too shall pass, no doubt. And at least I am not feeling the horrible ugly depressed stuck-in-a-trench way I used to, and at least things still are beautiful. It’s just, I’m 37, and I want to have a child, and every where I look, slammed doors, locked windows, hoops to jump through (mostly very high, very small, and on fire), ‘no thoroughfare’ signs, paths being blocked off, bridges being dismantled. Eventually the only path left will be the one sign-posted ‘fuck this shit, I’m childless’. One day I will be OK with that. Today I am sad.


I make no sense just because, OK? OK.

So, yes, thoughtful pause has ensued. Sorry about that. Well, I’m sorry about that if you were in any way wanting to read more of my ramblings and fossickings (you strange masochistic person, let me clasp you to my grateful bosom). If you didn’t care, well, then we’re all staring at each other in a confused fashion, because you are, aren’t you, reading this? And yet you don’t care? How odd you are. Hello!

Anyway. I felt rather as if I had painted myself into a corner with the whole ‘Let’s Talk About FEEEEEEELINGS!’ thing, and so I had to do what everyone who paints themselves into a corner has to do – that is, sit on the radiator kicking my heels until the paint dries. Meanwhile H’s post has brought all sorts of fascinating people out of the woodwork to comment. It’s gratifying and astonishing. (Apologies if you never thought of yourself as the sort of person who lurks in woodwork. Do you prefer shadows? Corners? Having been sitting quietly over here all this time?)

So, on to the meanwhiles. Meanwhile!:

Item – I have H’s cold! At least, I think it’s H’s. It could be anyone’s. I live in a big city and people cough and sneeze so very inconsiderately (did I ever tell you about the chap at work who was about to hand me a book, felt a sneeze coming, lifted the book to his face and sneezed right on it, wetly, and then put it in my poor little cringing bare hand? I wish now I’d had the strength and swiftness of mind to put my hands behind my back and GLARE at him). I was clearly feeling out of sorts on Friday, and woke up yesterday morning with my throat on fire. On. Emmineffin’. FIRE. And a fever. And now I have ear-ache. Which is an embuggerance.

Item – It’s six dpo and I don’t feel comfortable stuffing myself to the gunwales with anything more punchy than paracetamol and tea. Which sucks. I rather wish I had the insouciant gumption to just shout ‘the hell with it!’ and snarf 400mg of ibuprofen and a Beecham’s flu powder and a large ginger-wine toddy and possibly a thumbnail of cocaine and all (is cocaine any good for colds?).

Item – To my horror, my astonishment, my despair, and my utter horror, I had a screaming weeping melt-down on Friday. Because it was the 11th, I think. Because while I am no longer in active mourning for that particular pregnancy, or, I think, any of the others, as such, I still feel bitterly cheated out of four years of pregnancy and motherhood. I still feel I should have a three-and-a-bit-year-old, and these past four years have been an intermittent torment-by-denial. And because it’s Mother’s Day (not in Britain, mind you (we have ours in March, before Easter), but for most of the rest of the planet and therefore for The Internets) and because I will be 37 in a couple of weeks and I have not a single living child about me. And because I have been going through The Period Designed By Abyzou, for years now, every month, and the only reason for me to go through this physical torment is in the hope of pregnancy. Which isn’t happening. Fucking fuck fuck fuckitty fuck.

Item – Speaking of which (The Period, not the fucking) H and I cancelled and rebooked our traditional end-of-May holiday this year because we counted on our fingers and saw the dates we’d already booked might be invaded by Said Period, and therefore Would Not Be A Holiday Experience. And then of course panicked that Satsuma would uncooperate and delay The Period by a week and Fuck Up All The Things. She didn’t, bless her, she ovulated when I usually expect to ovulate, and I was quite surprised, because I have trust issues when it comes to Satsuma and I will have them forever. Sorry, Sats.

Item – You know how you have visions of your life, and life goals? H did, bless him. I had life goals too, when I was in my late teens and early twenties, you see. A) I was going to be a professor and writer, B) I was going to have at least one kid, preferably two, to whom I’d be the coolest, adorablest, most thoughtful and loving mother in the whole Goddamn world, and C) I wasn’t going to have the sort of fucked up, emotionally dishonest, unsupportive, unloving, cats-in-a-sack, serially unfaithful marriage that is common in my family, and I’d rather be single than deal with an atom of crap at any point at all in any of my relationships. A has gone down the crapper, B is going down the crapper, I am left with C. I need to re-write C – indeed, to a large extent, I have rewritten C. I’ve kept the bit about not having an emotionally dishonest, unsupportive, serially unfaithful marriage, indeed, I’ve put that bit in 16-point bold. But I’ve had to radically redifine ‘crap’ and exactly how much an atom of it is, though, you know, to leave room for people being tired, or sad, or depressed, or angry, or grieving, or having a bad day, or a blind-spot about other people’s bad days. When I am in a state, I regress, and my ‘atom’ shrinks and becomes oh, so much less forgiving, this is true. It is also true that the pain of the sad slow demise of A and B makes me even more unreasonable than necessary about C. I fear I have lost everything and become completely utterly blind to all the other things I am any good for, or have achieved. On Friday, for example, I was loudly and weepily announcing that I have achieved nothing, nothing at all in my entire life, while H looked at me with compassion, and also with startled incredulity. I had actually completely forgotten that I had three degrees (two post-graduate), a good marriage, a job, a talent for cooking, knitting, and writing poetry, and quite a few good friends. It’s madness. I am quite mad.

Item – Anyway, H has his first appointment with the counselling service next week. Which makes me feel like an elephant has scrambled down from my shoulders. There’s still a clan of them camping out on my chest and all around my living-room, yes, but the one on my shoulders about H’s state of mind was giving me a crick in the neck. Hurrah!

Item – Yes, I know. Get my own counsellor. Stat.


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