Monthly Archives: April 2008

Emotional drizzle

While I was tearing my hair out and banging my head on the keyboard of my lap-top, in the throes of composition, I was pretty much ignoring Queen Satsuma. Based on the previous cycle, in which she flipped clomid the bird and didn’t produce anything even beginning to resemble a lead follicle until day 21, I grumpily assumed she’d still be painting her toe-nails when I went for my dawn-of-day 14 scan on Thursday. She infact only started fussing and whining on the Wednesday, and she can do that for weeks at a time (it’s like living with a toddler, honestly. How long does it take her to get dressed in the morning, even with help? How many pointless tantrums per day? Dear God, the whining…).

Nevertheless, day 14, a 19mm follicle. 19, people! Nice Lady Wand-Monkey was quite impressed. And the uterine lining looked splendid. She turned the screen so I could see and blimey, I too was impressed. I faithfully promised to pee on OPK sticks, and I ran outside and phoned H, to warn him his services were most certainly requested that evening.

That night H checked his email while brushing his teeth, and when I clambered (I do clamber. There is a small Matterhorn of books and knitting down my side of the bed) into bed to join him, he, instead of throwing his arms about me etc., was just sitting there, looking into the middle distance. I wanted to know what the matter was. Bless the dear eejit, he commented on how well I must know him. Now that you mention it, I’ve known you since you were 17, yes, but even a plank would spot something was up if they were expecting nookie and got a motionless lump with his hands folded in his lap. And it turned out that a very dear friend of H’s family, who had taught H music when he was a boy, and whom we usually go to have tea with when we visit that part of the world, a special person, a precious person, has just been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and it is very advanced.


No nookie for us that night, obviously.

And it makes me want to put Satsuma in a velvet-lined box and take her out once a day to kiss her, because while her rogue twin did have a feeble half-hearted go at killing me, and while the PCOS thing is very bloody annoying (bloody and annoying, heheh), she is not depth mining my entire person with destruction.

Friday, went into work, realised I’d forgotten the pee-stick, made stealth raid on the chemist’s as I ran through Main Station, duly crossed legs all morning, hid in disabled loo for private commune with own hormone levels. No surge yet.

H commented last night that it was a bit much, that an OPK stick, anywhere from not-a-surge-at-all upwards, looks exactly like a positive pregnancy test. I had been going to bitch about that myself, but decided now was not the time to indulge in Inner Bitter Infertile. It must be spreading. But, yes, it IS a bit much. Grr. Argh. We nevertheless worshipped at the altar of Queen Satsuma, in a very slightly gin-fuelled way.

Day 16 today. I have THAT piece of coursework to finish (dare I mention coursework? It seems to me the second I mentioned my degree crisis I set off some kind of chain-reaction of uncommunicative crises all over the blogosphere. I feel like a bad-luck kitteh). Humphrey Lyttelton died last night – I adored him. It’s all too much. I am beginning to develop a distinct flattening of affect.


Seven glimpses of my soul

MsPrufrock did a meme, and I am a sucker for a meme (me!me!me!me!), and this one seemed really rather beautiful, not that I think I can write beautiful, so busy doing grouchy, you see, but one might as well try. Seven views, or images, that mean something rather more than ‘ooh, pretty!’ or ‘blimey, that’s steep.’ So here they are, seven windows of my soul. It’s such a nice change from essays and/ or my innards.

  • I used to climb the horse-chestnut tree in my grandmother’s front garden. It was enormous, ancient, wonderful. I remember looking up from my branch, up up at the sky between the vast green leaves, and feeling a certain secret happiness that no one else seemed that interested in how beautiful it was. To this day, looking up at the sky through branches makes me happy.
  • I grew up not-in-Blighty. The view from the terrace of our first house, in early Autumn – us, perched high on our mountain’s shoulder, which rose behind us and to the right of us, and looking straight across at the copper-tinged mountains opposite, and away to our left, the mist rising from the little river below making a chain of smoky pearls all along the valley floor, and the sound of the church bells drifting up to us from 1000 feet below.
  • Our second house stood on the lap of a different mountain, and looked out across the olive groves, and a much broader valley, a magnificent sweep of a valley, full of distant villages and half-glimpsed churches and palaces and rocky out-crops, and beyond, the snow-capped mountain and the sun rising behind it. All this from the bathroom window, as the morons who’d built that house put all the main rooms facing North. Mind you, that view was wonderful too, but the one you saw kneeling on the seat of the bog, at dawn, was perfect. I miss it to this day.
  • At boarding school, which, incidentally, I Did Not Enjoy Much, and to be frank I worry about people who say they did, the one thing that made me happy was the view. The school was on the side of a hill, looking out across the levels to Glastonbury Tor. Here are some links to the sort of thing I got to stare at every day for six years.
  • My Dad married for the fourth time, as was his wont, and my step-mother put aside a room in her house for me, because I was at the above-mentioned school by this point and therefore staying every few weeks. The first room ever in my life that was My Room. Before that I’d always shared with my sister or been in a dormitory. My own private room. Oh, the bliss. And the view? Straight out onto a damp yellow brick wall, and the neighbour’s window, barely ten feet away.
  • H’s parents still live in the same house they did when we first started dating, back at the astonishingly tender, unripe age of seventeen. On our first date, H and I went for a walk up the hill behind their house, and stood at the top looking out over yet another valley, a soft rolling green one, that melted away into the distant winter sunlight. I, vain as only an eejit seventeen-year-old could be, had left my glasses, deliberately, back at school. And I raised my hand and pointed to a distant glitter and said: ‘Oh, look, what a beautiful lake,’ or words to that effect, and H turned to me and, bless him, did not fall on the icy path laughing his head off, but gravely pointed out that it wasn’t a lake. It was the sewage works. We still go back and look at our sewage works whenever we visit the H-Seniors.
  • Anywhere along the Thames, between Kew and Tower Bridge. There are so many views of that river that just DO it for me. There are renowned buildings and bridges, yes, and very well worth a good stare they are too. But there are also the jetties where the cormorants roost, and where we watched them fishing for dabs in the river mud, and the strange little temporary beaches of low tide, and the green of the city, the trees all along the embankments like lace in winter, and like a green mist now. It looks like home.

Anyone else fancy a go? Oh go on. Go on go on go on go on go on.

Waving triumphantly from the top of the smoking ruins

These last few days have been a genuinely unpleasant experience. I was alone in the house with more work to do than I could really cope with, I was not getting anywhere near enough sleep (I am one of those bloody annoying people who writes most fluently and cogently between 9pm and 2am) I had too many things other than my essays on my mind, I could see that one essay in particular, a great big one that involved considerably more research and library-trips than the others, was simply not going to be anywhere near finished by the deadline… The whole thing was resonating most distressingly with the Great PhD Fuck Up of 2001 (in which, I was trying to work on a PhD, we were living with my parents because H had lost his job, I was working part-time because of PhD so we couldn’t afford our own place, I was radically disagreeing with my supervisor about, ohhh, everything, but being too chicken to say so, then as soon as H found a job and we moved to our own flat, my mother was diagnosed with breast-cancer, I took a year off PhDing to look after her, she recovered after surgery, my PhD didn’t, I promptly became horribly depressed and made life completely miserable for H into the bargain, and spent the next four years drifting in and out of bizarre short-term contracts and long spells moping about being unemployed myself, consumed to the bones with self-loathing. Ugh. Indeed).

Anyway. H came back from his family on Monday and made the mistake of giving me a hug and asking how I was doing, at which point I quite naturally burst into tears and pointed to the heap of done essays and the horrible heap of the not-done essay that was due in in the next three hours. Poor H. I’d been sounding quite chipper on the phone, because I lie, I dissemble, hah hah. I hadn’t wanted to ruin his time with his family and make him worry about me when there was nothing he could do and anyway, some mad frenzied part of me half-believed, half-hoped, that I might somehow crack the beast, possibly by finding 42 extra hours made out of dust-bunnies under the bed or accidentally warping the space-time continuum.

With H there to re-introduce me to Real World (hello Real World!) and rub my shoulders, I decided the best plan would be to hand in the three done essays, and to email my tutors and apologize, with dignity and composure and no grovelling or begging for mercy, for failing to hand in the Horrible Fourth.

And then I had another little cry, and spent the afternoon trying to talk myself out of some rather tiresome feelings of self-disgust and a tendency to catastrophize one essay into ‘I’ve failed my entire degree’.

Whereapon my tutor emailed back to say, never mind, things do sometimes get on top of us, can you get the essay done by next week?





What a waste of some perfectly good grade A anxst.

So H and I went to bed and did our duty by the clomid. And today we’re both on holiday. And wobbly-kneed and shaky, I stagger back out into the sunlight.

Brain dump. Hence language.

Too busy to process anything. These are today’s issues:

  1. I thought I had to write a 250-word supporting statement for my Dream Job Not-So-Dreamy Application That Never Ends. It was due in today (Friday). I decided to do it this morning, and then go to the library straight after lunch. So this morning, I duly looked at the supporting statement fulfillment details, and saw (ARGH!) that it was 750 words. No, no, it’s quite alright, I did it and sent it off, but it bit a HUUUUUGE chunk out of my scheduled library time, and did something fairly drastic to my blood pressure.
  2. Ohhhhh Christ the essays are killing me.
  3. A friend of mine announced her second pregnancy today. It’s early days, and it will be a Christmas baby, so clearly conceived just when my first clomid cycle was, err, not conceiving. She only recently decided she was going to try for a second child soon, and this is slightly sooner than she meant, because, apparantly, of wine and hormones. Also, her first childbirth nearly killed her and then she got PND. I am delighted and pleased for her and amused re: the wine and hormones and I think it’s very cute. But I also worry about her. And, dammit, my own fading little failed-cycle ghost would have been a Christmas baby too. I am feeling pretty COMPLICATED about this.
  4. I have eczema, my skin is so dry it is cracking and peeling (mmmm, we’re all about the winsome chez May), I look a good ten years older than I am my face is so frazzled, yet I still have Neck Acne. Fucking hormones. Fuck ’em. Fuck it. Fuck.
  5. Did I mention the essays? I think I am going to drop a juggling ball on this one, and have the whole lot cascade down on my head. Several people have, while ‘wowing’ me for taking on so much at once, mentioned that at least the degree and the new job will take my mind of the whole infertility crapateria. Not so much. Think about it. If a woman is carrying a large and heavy armful of logs, does she really feel her mind has been nicely taken off them if some sod balances a bucket of water on top of her head at the same time?
  6. And I have done all this, deliberately, to myself.

Just when I feel completely frantic and needy for some cookies and head-patting, I am far too busy to go about talking to bloggy friends and garnering said cookies and head-pats the care-and-share mutual commenty way. Arse. Feck.

I am not here. I am not writing this.

Seriously. I have essay deadlines. They loom. I am writing my essays.

I am. I really am. Why are you laughing at me?

These essays have been blighted from the get-go by the most gut-searingly acidic sense of doomed panic, a deep feeling of pointless depression, and a sort of raw sensation of being examined and found absolutely wanting. In short, I have been miserable about them since I got through the reading and research and sat down to actually write the beastly things. The agony. The agony. Why, oh why, such self-doubt and torment? And so on. For, in fact, the past five days.

Meanwhile, during the past five days, I have been taking the same-again 50mg of clomid every evening, dutifully, pointing out that this time I seemed to be perfectly even-tempered and not suffering from any kind of anxst or psycho-lite behaviour, hadn’t, in fact, tried to bite anyone at all, and was this a dud packet?



Hopefully I will have got the hell over myself by Friday and be in a reasonable frame of mind in which to just, you know, write something, this weekend.

Day 7 scan at dawn this morning. Nice Lady Wand-Monkey carefully counted my teeny-tiny follicles which may be the permanent ones (or Cysts that are Poly), or may actually be fresh and raring to go. Can’t tell which, as yet, but there are 14 of them. This was written in quite large letters in my notes and to my current self-irritation I was so busy dropping my shoes (repeatedly! Repeatedly!) that I forgot to ask how many boring little follicles I had had last cycle, and are these the same lot, still hanging about waiting to squish any over-achievers? Anyway, as my cycles are long and my life is complicated, my next scan is on day 14, by which time no one expects Satsuma to have done anything much. Nevertheless, Nice Lady Wand-Monkey solemnly adjured me to a life of riotous bed-spring stressing for the next week. Heh heh.

Not that that will go according to plan. H has gone away to spend a long weekend with his family, who store all their birthdays up for the one big festive bonanza every April (mine do it every January. April is better timing). As I am Afflicted With Essays and Scans, we decided I would stay here by myself in reach of the libraries and eat ramen and type like a maniac. The scans have worked themselves out so as not to interfere (typical), but the essays are biting my arse, so it is all for the best. Or will be, unless Satsuma loses her head entirely and decides to charge unexpectedly for an early ovulation, a consummation too annoying to contemplate.

Anyway. On the side of the angels arises H, who, feeling concerned that he is abandoning his post as Chief Supplier of Tea and Fruit to the Student, came home last night with the most exceedingly vast haul of treats and goodies to look after me in his stead – luxury-brand chocolate ice-cream, chocolate gingers, chocolate, err, chocolate, piles of instant ramen (for that ‘reverting to 19’ thing I do when studying hard), tea I like but can’t find in the shops easily, grapes, and a selection of soothing, or relaxing, or refreshing bath bombs and melts.

I love him. I love him to bits.

Pain, or, beyond ‘it hurts, deal with it’.

  1. I left work this lunch-time and was promptly mugged by a migraine. I felt like someone had smashed me across the bridge of the nose with an iron bar. I staggered home and filled up on ibuprofen. Even once the pain-killers had kicked in, I felt disorientated and cotton-wool-for-brains. Not conducive to getting on with my essays at all. This made me exceedingly cross (oy vey, the crossness begins). Also, mildly panicky as to whether the eye weirdness I ALWAYS get with migraines counts as the sort of visual disturbance one should stop using Clomid for. Yes? No? Anyone? Also, I do not think I have had as many migraines in the rest of my life as I’ve had in this past year.
  2. Still a little crampy, even though the Red Tide turned itself off on the afternoon of day three with the suddenness of an upturned bottle reaching empty. Spot. Spot. Spot. Ow.
  3. In the past few weeks, I have bumped into the following opinions about period pain – a) It’s not that bad and girls who make a fuss are wimps (by some tosser on a forum discussing how to deal with your daughter’s periods). b) Painful periods are a psychological reaction to the disappointment of not being pregnant (by some other tosser on another forum on painful periods – you can see my reading matter was getting a little preoccupied).  c) My periods wouldn’t be so painful if I just RELAAAAAAAXED. No, wait, to be fair, the actual phrase was, ‘you need to relax more, I’m sure the stress is making it worse,’ which doesn’t necessarily sound bad, but it was said by sister Trouble, and naturally I was incandescent with rage the second she said it despite my cool and bland exterior – cool and bland because I am an excellent liar and dissembler and I’m sure she meant well, but I AM NOT GOING TO FREAKING RELAX, ALREADY. Sheesh. d) ‘Your periods will get a lot better once you’ve had a kid’, said, luckily, not to me, but by a woman with kids to another woman without, both of who I work with and whom I overheard in the ladies loo while I was dealing with the Dressing Station At The Battle Of The Somme in the next cubicle, last Friday.
  4. The enormo-bruise on my right thigh I got well over two weeks ago, when a security gate slammed shut just as I was walking through it (stars, I saw them). It’s still luridly green and it’s still tender. And you can see the exact outline of the edge of the gate in purple against the green. Mmmmm, yummy.
  5. And then, of course, there’s my heart, which pretty much matches my thigh. We’re very keen on matched accessories chez May. My socks match every day.

All out of chirpy

[Insert standard whinge here about heavy and excruciatingly painful periods, clotting in an -oh-my-God-is-that-my-liver? way, and being pretty-much stoned on a combination of sleep-deprivation and opiates].

Today I start Clomid again. Yipp-fucking-ee. It’s all about the sucky bad attitude chez May this week.

You see, the plan for this cycle is to do exactly what I did last cycle, same dose (50mg), same scans, same 7-days-post-ovulation blood test. Because I phoned them up 12 days post ovulation to announce the decided loss of my uterine lining, they are even more determined to monitor this cycle. The Wand-Monkey Nurse explained that my luteal phase was short because I ovulated late and pathetically, and that I may well respond better this cycle, lots of women do, but they need to check. I tried valiantly – in the middle of the work-place, with people peering round the door of the deserted office I was having a private conversation in, and it was obviously private or I wouldn’t be lurking in here, so go away – to explain that I always had short luteal phases. I am not entirely sure the nurse was listening nearly as hard as the occasional colleague. And I really don’t see the point; of same again, that is. I only get six cycles, why waste one on same-again? Why not up the dose of Clomid? Why not hand out the progesterone supplements?

So, this cycle is a barrel of shite from the get-go. Hurrah!

Forgive the foul temper. I spent yesterday holding it together at work despite the cramps and drugs (codeine works, but sheesh, it’s hard to concentrate through it), and then I went to the theatre with a friend in the evening, which was great fun, so I ought to be very cheery, but very hard work when all I wanted to do was curl up into a ball on the floor. Naturally, I slept very little last night and am so tired today I don’t know what to do with myself. Also, ow ow ow.