Monthly Archives: December 2006


You know, yesterday I snarked about the In-Laws refusing to come to us for New Year because ‘it wasn’t worth it for one night’? Well, it seems that in my first-thing-in-the-morning sleep-deprived fuddlement, I got hold of the wrong end of the stick, or, very possibly, though we shan’t argue any more about this, H presented the wrong end of the stick to me. What the In-Laws actually said, was that seeing as I wasn’t well, and H, when he called them, also sounded about as far from well as it is possible to get without being inaudible, it wasn’t fair of them to barge in on us when we clearly needed to rest and get over our lurgies, and in any case they were worried about leaving their cats (they’ve recently rescued a new cat and old cat has murder and mayhem in his heart), and that they didn’t think it was worth it to put us to all that trouble when we were both so exhausted for just one night that they wouldn’t be able to enjoy for fear of cat mincemeat.


Well, I feel small now.


That went… well.

So, it is after Christmas, and I am back in my own home again, after the annual Caravan of Relations, also known as the Carnival of the Animals. Oh, God, the relief.

It started flustered. H had a cold. Just as he started to feel a little better, I went down croaking. We nevertheless arrived at my mother’s house with a full set of properly wrapped presents and managed to sort the place out and do grocery shopping before that particular selection of relatives returned from their holiday on the Continent, and I made dinner for them all, politely blowing my nose very hygenically into fresh tissues that I instantly burnt, and washing my hands every few minutes. And then I went down like a snot-filled nine-pin and spent Christmas itself coughing and gasping and being utterly unable to speak above a hoarse whisper and, frankly, no better company than the turkey itself.

Christmas Day, my uterus gave up again and let go, leading to a disgruntled changing of underthings and general hoarse imprecationing of hormones and their wicked evil ways. I can’t call it a period, I hadn’t ovulated. I tend not to, you see. It’s very annoying. And anyway, on Boxing Day it had got a grip and stopped. Which was just as well as we were now packing up and trekking down to the In-Laws for a few days. Me, I still sounded like Dracula’s best baritone door hinge.

The In-Laws met us with cheery smiles and the news that tomorrow their small, nay, bijou, house would contain not only our good selves but an aunt, uncle and cousin as well, and how did we feel about sleeping on the sofa? Delighted, obviously. There’s nothing I like more, when unwell, than having to BE unwell smack bang in the living-room surrounded by people I hardly know who wish me to talk to them. And having to wait until everyone else has gone to bed before I can go to bed, that always cheers me up when I’m getting slightly out of my box on phenylephrine and cough syrup. And said unclish person was in a terribly jolly ‘tell me all your life-history, you are the most interesting person in the Universe, bounce-on-sofa, bounce-on-sofa’ mood. As a back-ground to all this, H and I were having a long-rumbling bickerness about the fact that his parents would be coming back up to London WITH us for New Year, and the flat looked like the aftermath of a grenade in the back room of an Oxfam shop, and I was Not Happy, as MiL is a tidy house-proud woman and there is no way I could be unlocking our front door chirping things like ‘Mind the laundry! I’ll deal with that in a moment, why don’t you throw those books off the sofa and sit down – mind my knitting! Oops. Well, there’s an A&E just down the road – perhaps if you lay flat on your tummy in the back seat of the car?’

Anyway, the next day said relations do indeed fill small house to gunwales, and we have a festive dinner. During dinner, I experience what I can only describe as a brief uterine haemorrhage. I get up and scuttle to the loo (and there’s another thing. Their loo is downstairs, and separate not only from the bathroom, but from any kind of sink either, so if your hands are Not Respectable, you nevertheless have to take them out into the public hallway of the house en route to a sink). I mop up as much as I can and then, of course, cardigan wrapped awkwardly about me fore-and-aft have to go into the living-room and find my clean trousers, knickers, and tampons. I inform H that as far as everyone else is concerned, I spilt my dinner in my lap. I retire to the loo again. I scuttle between the loo and bathroom and rinse the Knickers of Doom (for yea, verily, it was them) and my trousers out, to remove as much embarrassing stain as I can. No one says anything. I can’t work out if they are being very polite, or simply haven’t noticed me scampering about in a crouch. I decide I hate everything, and drink a little too much.

It is, however, agreed that we can go home 24 hours before the In-Laws so as to clean the flat and buy food and whathaveyou. I am still hoarse and coughing and H and I are not really getting much sleep, and not in a good way. We drive back up to London in the wind and the rain. We are very tired. We collapse in front of the telly and get takeaway. Tomorrow we will sort out flat, we say. We should have just enough time before they arrive. And then we go to bed. And then we have Mammoth Melt-Down Row of Epic Proportions.

In retrospect, the length and extremity of the melt-down had less to do with the actual subject we chose for said row (I’m a little hazy on that) than the fact we were both far too tired and fed up to make any kind of sense at all.

Anyway, we fell into each-other’s arms, vowing undying love and passionate devotion to each other, at about five in the morning.

And H phoned his parents a few hours later to say, could you please not come up today, as, err, err, May had such a bad cough (oh yes) she kept us both awake until five in the morning and we are both completely out of it? Come up early tomorrow instead. We’ve bought some lovely organic pork to roast for dinner, and we have expensive chocolates and champagne. And they said, well, we won’t come up then, no point for just one night.

So H and I will be spending New Year’s Eve all on our own, eating ourselves stupid (eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow we diet) and trying to work out what, if anything, we had been arguing about, and whether we need to pay it any mind or not.

And as a yah boo sucks to the In-Laws, it is gone five in the afternoon, no tidying whatsoever has been done, and I am still in my pyjamas.

A happy 2007 to you all.

It comes to us all

In the lead-up to Christmas my work-colleagues have a long lunch-break together, and a bit of a drink, and generally get talkative. I was therefore sitting in the pub, waiting for my lunch and drinking coffee (I never drink at lunch and then go back to work – I’m enough of a clutz without being tipsy into the bargain, and after all, my job does involve scalpels (heh heh heh)) surrounded by people whose highest common factor topic of conversation is medical dramas on the television. So that is what we were earnestly discussing.

One plot-line had apparantly involved a birthing-pool, so I was chattering about my sister’s very jolly experience lolling about in one eating sweeties when she was in labour. Instantly my boss practically lunged across the table, tapped my (alcohol-free) coffee mug and said archly ‘Birthing-pools? Is there something you want to tell us, May?’

‘No,’ said I, smiling, ‘We were talking about TV writer’s perceptions of labour.’

‘Oh,’ said the boss, looking slightly crestfallen. And the conversation moved on.


Thank you. I feel better now.

And I award myself one small gold star for not melting in a downward direction at the time.

No Chocolate. Not Now. Not Ever.

So. Today we went to see the gynaecology consultant, the appointment that took so much wrestling to extract from the claws of the Choose and Book system the NHS is so rightly proud of (providing, of course, that they pride themselves on the more baroque arcana of modern labyrinth creation rather than on providing a health service). We arrived, control-freakily as ever, very, very, early. And of course, the waiting room for the gynaecology clinic is also the waiting room for phlebotomy, ante-natal and post-natal check-ups. H and I hadn’t had time yet to go through our notes and work out whether we had written evidence of every question we did want to ask. So, an interesting cross-section of the population to discuss cervical mucus and excess facial hair in-front of. And yes, there was a gloriously, delightedly pregnant lady, and a lady with a perfectly beautiful if rather grouchy babe-in-arms. Apparantly, in the States, they think this sort of thing (the barren dumped in to wait with the splendidly reproductive) should Not Happen, but in Britain, protesting because you’re feeling bitter and infertile that morning is regarded as Silly. And Making a Scene. Which we Brits Do Not Do.

Besides, the baby was seriously cute.

Not that that stopped me snivelling just a tiny weeny bit while watching A Child Against All Odds this evening.

H had even took the afternoon off work so he could come with me to the Country Hospital and make intelligent noises while a doctor who has earned the right to call himself ‘Mister’ trotted briskly through my paperwork and made notes all over it in unexpectedly legible handwriting. And it was quite easy for him to be brisk with the paperwork, as my GP, good ol’ Doc Tashless, had failed to send any.

Yep, that’s indeed right, my precious (and slightly mysterious) blood test results from way back in October did not make the bus trip and short walk from GP to hospital. I had hoped to finally find out what was really truly in them. I was much more disappointed than Mister Doctor. Mister Doctor simply ordered more blood tests.

And nowhere on any of this paperwork did it mention that I am one ovary down on normal and have been since I was eighteen. Mister Doctor sighed, and ordered an ultra-sound as well. It dawned on me that I wasn’t going to be having one today after all. Oh, well. And I had been so looking forward to seeing what the malignant satsuma was up to. Judging from the twingeing, pinging, cramping and whining, it was hosting a pyjama party for fifteen pre-adolescent cheerleaders.

And then I sat, patiently, meekly, nodding and looking sensible, through the Fat Lecture. *shudder*

I did know I was going to get one, because I always do, and I do know Mister Doctor is perfectly right, I need, need, need, must, need, to lose weight and if I do I may get some semblance of normal behaviour out of the sulky satsuma all by myself without recourse to Metformin or Clomid or Progesterone or any other items from the Infertility Bag-o’-Fun. It just sucks to be told it by a male doctor who weighs less than I do. And also, apparantly, I need a dietician. Well, yes, but all the nagging all my other doctors have done in the past have singularly failed to include referrals to dieticians. And I hate, nay, loathe, with venom, being told to do something that I have been TRYING to do, unsuccessfully, for years. Which goes for the whole experience of the Fat Lecture in the first place. H nobly tried to interpose his person between me and the slings and arrows of outrageous nagging by pointing out that PCOS, in fact, one of the main points about PCOS, as it were, is that it makes you save every calorie and keep it stored for ever and ever. Mister Doctor agreed that this was so, but it was still my responsibility to lose weight. And that he wanted to keep Metformin in reserve, as it were, for if being dieticianed and forced at gun-point to go to a gym didn’t work (remind me to post about Games Lessons Trauma one of these days).


We wandered out into reception again with oodles of extra paper-work, to book the follow-up appointment, only to discover I’d been entered into the system twice, and under the care of two separate consultants, so after some hasty wrangling in the back office, Mister Doctor released me into the care of the fertility consultant the peculiar 18th of January appointment had been for. Which explains that.

But as we were in phlebotomy anyway, and the nurse was at a loose end, I had my blood taken while said wrangling was going on. First sensible and convenient thing the NHS has ever done for me. Luckily I don’t mind needles much (I’m a blood donor, where they come at you with a thing like a drinking straw attached to a garden hose), so that was all very quick and painless and neat and now I have a teensy crater in my right elbow to match the impressive collection of teensy craters nestling in my left elbow, from all that altruism.

And then we went to radiology and handed over even more paperwork so they could tell me when I finally, finally, stop being teased by that naughty NHS and get the dildo-cam.

And then we went home, and I treadled madly away on the exercise machine for half and hour, and we ate very healthy things like green beans and tomatoes and chicken for dinner.

I am a little depressed.

Self-pity party

I have finally – and even as I write this I realise I may be jinxing myself – stopped spotting. Only 39 days in a row for that session. An improvement on the last 58 day session, but, really, I am not feeling in any way fond of my womb and its total lack of grip on its own lining.

Apart from the underwear difficulties and general worrisome-ness, it plays hell with our sex-life. H is not quite the least squeamish man in the world when it comes to the red stuff, and I don’t exactly feel like Mata Hari myself under the circumstances. We are, of course, supposed, medically and officially, to be at it like knives in the hope of catching an egg should my singularly maladjusted satsuma accidentally forget its main role in life is to crush said eggs into cysts and let one slip away from itself, and the circumstances are Not Conducive. The one time in my life when even my mother thinks I should be having more sex.

I do so hate feeling so unattractive and self-conscious all the time. And it has seeped, like Dickensian fog, beyond the confines of the marriage bed. Not one single client, coffee-shop guy, passerby, friend-of-a-friend or indeed anyone at all, has flirted with me for months and months. I used to at least get the odd twinkly smile and occasional compliment on my exceptionally pretty hair. Recently, nada. Zip. I may as well be made entirely of cement.

Self-confidence – last seen hitch-hiking south, wearing a second-hand duffle-coat and Sensible Shoes.

Self-esteem – needs talking down from a ledge half-way up the fa├žade of the British Library.

Need to eat chocolate until I boke – taking over my entire life.

I meme, you meme, we all meme for ice-cream.

This is a lovely new New Year’s meme from the Town Criers at Stirrup Queens:

The categories:
Things you learned this year
People you met
Things you don’t want to take with you into 2007
Things you want to hold close as you pass into 2007
Things you’re looking forward to in 2007
Things that were life changing in 2006
Things you hope to accomplish by the end of 2007

(see–those are the seven categories. Now you can either give two answers for each category OR you can choose two from that list and give seven answers)

Well, I am spending the evening all on my own, eating spaghetti dangerously over the key-board in my jim-jams, while the Husband of My Heart goes to a party (without me. Not that I’m bitter or anything, but his employer throws seriously grand Christmas parties and mine… doesn’t). So I may as well entertain myself with New Year thoughts. It beats the hecketty out of Christmas card lists.

Things you learned this year – 1) Nobody wants to hear about your womb lining. Especially not during dinner. Really. 2) I am actually not only good at my job, but I enjoy it and can see a career ahead of me. Considering the fact I spent the six years since leaving university bobbing about on the seas of short-term contracts and unemployment, feeling like the worlds most huge eejit, this is wildly cool and fantastic.

People you met – 1) A whole host of infant nieces and nephews, as every newly-wed female in my ginormous family spontaneously ovulated on their wedding-nights and showered us all with glorious babies. Bah humbug. 2) All these amazing bloggy people on the Internets whose example has given me permission to actually talk about this not-having-a-baby lark and whose presence has made me feel just a tad less of a freak for not being as fertile as my endlessly fissioning family.

Things you don’t want to take with you into 2007– 1) These extra five stone of lard. 2) The constant neurotic anxiety that someone somewhere is going to find me out and not let me be a writer/ employed/ a real infertile (this one is particularly tortured and neurotic, but see my long-standing relationship with doctors on this issue).

Things you want to hold close as you pass into 2007 – 1) My husband, bless his heart. 2) My sense of humour, such as it is, a silly thing, but mine own. It has occasionally deserted me before, when the going got tough. I’d really rather it didn’t.

Things you’re looking forward to in 2007 – 1) Finishing the novel. What do you mean, what novel? Surely everyone is writing a novel these days? 2) More sex. I am perfectly, straight-facedly, deeply serious.

Things that were life-changing in 2006 – 1) The sudden, irrevocable, step from ‘we might as well start trying for a baby, shall we?’ to ‘we’ve trying for a baby for a year and absolutely nothing is happening’. Which changed me from a mere whiny dumpy girl to a woman with real syndromes and things and an impending appointment with the dildo-cam. 2) People are indeed prepared to give me money in exchange for having me hanging about the place muttering about the students and kicking the photocopiers.

Things you hope to accomplish by the end of 2007 – 1) Finding a publisher for the novel. OK, an agent then. Oh all right, that I finish it at all. 2) Getting into graduate school to do an MA. Interviews end of January. Oh, pleasepleasepleaseplease.

I note with interest that I did not in any way mention babies or pregnancies in that there last point. Why? Because I am chicken. Me no mention, Fate no kick me in teeth.

Oh, bother.

How to pick a fight with your spouse

The following is usually a fail-safe way to ensure you and your beloved will be clawing each other’s eyes out by the end of the day.

1 – We plan the day weeks in advance. The day that Husband would take the morning off work, delight himself into a plastic pot, and make like Nigel Mansell down to the clinic in the next county. Said clinic, by the way, does not provide on-site wankatoria for the convenience of the fertility-challenged gentleman. Said gentleman would just have to leap straight from recumbant business in his own bedroom to the driving seat of the car, and go like the clappers, trousers still about his ankles. Must get precious pot to clinic within one hour or there will be no point.

No pressure.

2 – On the previous evening, H decides to fill in his paperwork. The paperwork requires a hospital number. We wonder what a hospital number is. We wonder if H was ever given one, and if so, where he put it. We panic a little and disembowel the flat looking for anything at all mentioning hospital numbers. I have a hospital number, for when I visit the Time-Warp clinic next week. It does not seem entirely apropos. I make an enormous effort not to say anything at all snide about, say, looking at the paperwork a few days before it all goes deadline, perhaps, maybe. I fail. I bury my head in the Internet and leave H to sift through the detritus that buries our dining-table alone, lest I accidentally sink my teeth into the fleshy part of his upper arm. H concocts plan to sprint round the corner to the GP’s surgery at dawn and beg for hospital numbers. We go to bed.

3 – Next morning, H duly sprints off. I attempt to regain sufficient consciouness to shower. I am beyond hopeless at mornings. By the time H returns, I have made it as far as the living-room, where I am drinking tea and (oh, God forgive me) surfing the ‘Net. There is no hospital number. There is, however, a plain, unmarked, plastic bag to put the paperwork and the pot in.

4 – While I get ready, H is indulging in displacement activity. I understand that he is feeling a little nervous and having a touch of performance anxiety, but, now wait for this, H, who is, may I quickly remind you, a man, is distracting himself by cleaning. The toilets. Both of them. With the brush and everything.

Yes, I know. That’s what I thought, along with ‘Ye Gods, I have married a Martian’.

4 – The plan is, to be completely dressed, shod, groomed, and to have one’s coat and bag and wallet and keys all exactly on hand, so H can, well, can get straight into the car afterwards and drive to the clinic without waiting for me to find my shoes or work out that the main reason I can’t see my glasses lying about anywhere is because I am wearing them. This, I accomplish, so I declare it a dud ingredient; a true professional at this bickering lark would at least have left her wallet behind.

5 – The Act Itself. No problems, despite my dearest one’s extremely strange taste in fore-play. My role is to provide kissing. I’m good at that. H loves kissing. (No no no, on the mouth. Honestly. I told you he was a Martian).

6 – I place Pot of Preciousness in my armpit, to keep it warm. I wonder aloud why I am Keeping the Pot Warm as it’s not, err, my pot, and make facetious remarks about more effective crannies to keep things warm in. Because I am filth on wheels when het up.

7 – We drive all the way into the next county, and I map-read, and I direct us down the wrong road at one point and we make the mad crazy looping through strange housing estates looking for the right road. Also, the Pot is starting to really dig in and get uncomfortable, on account of my arm-pit not being pot-shaped. I try to remember which deodorant I put on. I wonder what on earth the tech will make of being handed a sample that smells of nervous roses.

8 – There is no parking.

9 – We walk 47 miles from the car to the hospital. I keep my mouth extremely tightly shut, and my arm clamped to my side. Pot ouchy.

10 – OK, now handing the thing in at a window marked ‘samples’, to a woman who seems not in the least phased by my putting my hand into the neck of my tee-shirt and having a good ferkle to fetch said sample out, having wandered down some damp corridor in a hospital building that looks like a rendition of the Matterhorn in white cement, is an anti-climax. I refrain from pointing this out to H.

11 – We now go to IKEA. Because a) we have taken leave of our senses and b) we need some more sheets, towels, plates and a coffee table. Not necessarily because of this morning’s activities. We get lost, we buy more things than we meant to buy, we radically disagree on bed-linen aesthetics, and H realises we are running out of time as he has a meeting to go to in the afternoon.

12 – My mother is coming to stay the night and the flat looks like the aftermath of a student party in the back room of an Oxfam shop. As H has a meeting, I have to clean it up myself. Cleaning is my leastest favourite thing in the universe. I refuse to remember that H did at least clean the toilets. I still think it’s weird.

13 – While cleaning, I discover that we have mice. Again.

14 – The hoover breaks.

You would think, wouldn’t you, that here we have a golden recipe for the most foamingly inelegant marital melt-down. And I have spent the entire day expecting it. Nada. Not a cross word. Not so much as a snide remark (well, apart form that one teeny little one from me last night). I am about to go and brush my teeth and join H in bed. Can this tranquillity possibly last? Or will the fact that we will be facing his mother-in-law over the tea-pot at dawn finally blow that one tiny little bridge of temper to splinters?