Monthly Archives: September 2009

Red Menace versus the Chalet of Terror (with extras)

Item – Yeah, well, this cycle blew chunks. Hello cramps, hello blood. Come along for the ride, why don’t you. So, no, I am not going to come back ‘pregnate’ from vay-cayyyy-tion, urban myth be damned, screwed, buggered and dismembered.

Item – We catch a flight to the Alps tomorrow morning (‘ray). We have Swiss Francs (‘ray). We have new toothbrushes. (‘ray). My mother has called, emailed and texted us nine hundred and forty three times to check our flight-times (boo). As has FIL, who is not meeting us at the airport, or even arriving at all until a few days after we do (grr). I have packed my clothes (‘ray). I have packed all my ugliest black knickers and enough sanitary towels to make a double bed out of in a crisis (boo). I am having a weight-limit-of-luggage book-to-take emergency (boo). H is enduring said emergency with wry amusement (harrumph).

Item – We are going for a week. Can you live without me for a week? Of course you can. You’ve all got lives and everything.

Item – After much hanging about waiting to hear back from the Open University re: creative writing course, and a fair bit of phoning them and leaving messages and saying ‘bah!’ a lot, in between panicking that now, oh, now, that I finally have the courage to do it, it’ll all go tits up, I actually did speak to a human being this evening, who is my new best friend, and all is sorted and I am totally registered and doing the course starting next month *hyperventilates, falls over*.

Item – Just to make sure today did not contain so much as one electron of relaxation, I also had my annual PDR (Personal Development Review) this afternoon. Even though I think it went pretty well, and even though Alpha Boss was nice as pie through-out, and even though she hadn’t a single criticism to make, I was bricking myself. And now I can’t have a drink, as alcohol plus mefenamic acid plus tranexamic acid = holes burnt right through the stomach lining. Allegedly.

Item – Yes, I decided to take my drugs this cycle, despite the shock discovery that mefenamic acid and, in fact, most strong NSAIDS are implicated in ovulation problems, as well as being maybe, possibly, teratogenic (I knew that bit. I don’t touch anything stronger than paracetamol and pre-natal vitamins after ovulation. I’m so good). Agh. On the other hand, vomiting, fainting, and bleeding all over an aeroplane, or train-carriage, or God forbid a Swiss hotel room, not acceptable. But I shall be going back to Doc Tashless and berating him on return to these shores. Be-RATE-ing him. Because, seriously, does he know NSAIDS possibly inhibit ovulation? If he does, can I hit him with a chair? Do I have any alternatives to sterilising agents of death? Are they only an issue around ovulation and/or the two week wait? Why won’t Google tell me?

Item – I overthink everything, don’t I?


Temperature dropped again this morning. I can take a hint. I’m off to the chemist to buy my drugs and my Damenbinden and super-double-plus-good tampons.

What is it now? What?

Item – We are preparing for our voyage to the Chalet of Terror (as HFF so fittingly named it), for the In-Law Extravaganza. So far the preparations have involved me accidentally finding the sun-screen, and having a panic-attack about my passport (when I, apropos of nothing at all, suddenly muttered ‘shit!’ and hurled myself towards the study, H leapt after me shouting ‘your passport’s FINE.’ And then he claims he is neither observant nor empathic. LIAR). We set off on Wednesday. Ample time for dithering about trousers and which of the 97 books I wish to take will actually fit in the suitcase. Ample.

Item – I admit I am in a bit of a state (my God, you mean your last post was a clue?). This culminated last night in me losing it with H for not having done his teeth yet, inconsiderate swine that he is, and rapidly passed through the ‘and another thing!’ fringes of disconnected lunacy before landing with a tearful squelch in ‘And My Entire Life Sucks’. And then I looked up at H through red and puffy eyes and said ‘This is PMT, isn’t it? I know you’re thinking the same thing,’ and his ears went absolutely scarlet.

Item – The thing is, I really don’t like my job. Not because it’s a bad job, or at a bad place, or among bad people. Obviously, there are frustrations and the odd work-place loon, because that’s standard and how work just is. But I don’t like it because it’s not what I want out of my life. At all. I thought perhaps getting a professional qualification and a proper full-time job like a real grown-up would help. Actually, it’s making me feel increasingly trapped and dear God I am so bored. If I had a private office, hell, a private cubicle, and if I had more flexible hours, then I think I could take it, as the work itself is interesting and I am good at it. But, as any fule kno, Hell is other people. Even when they are harmlessly humming to themselves or slurping Cream of Pondweed soup at the desk next to me or peering over my shoulder to ask who I’m emailing and why I’m emailing instead of cataloguing those DVDs on the urgent shelf. (We in Britain spell cataloguing with a u. Because it’s French, apparantly, but when we first adopted the word in the Middle Ages we spelt it without the u, by and large, so this is mostly affectation. But it’s our affectation, so it must be right).

Item – Anyway, I am in a bit of a state. Is it very noticeable?

Item – Furthermore, today is 10dpo. For the past few days I have been having odd cramps and twinges. Yesterday (9dpo) my temperature dropped, bastard temperature, possibly not helping with the ‘My Life, Suckage Of’ crisis, as I thought this cycle was a bust. Today, however, temperature was higher than ever. I mentioned this to H (well, he did ask what my chart was doing, so…) and he gave me a hug. I was impelled by Mysterious Forces to say ‘and the last and only time my chart did that…’ but H interrupted, saying ‘I know‘ very firmly indeed, earning himself several brownie points for observation (again, when he next insists he’s not very observant, one of you set fire to his pants for me, would you? Because, LIAR).

Item – And I went bra-buying today. After much wrestling in and out of various confections of lace and elastic and wire, I bought another copy of the rather plain and menopausal bra I got last time I went bra-buying. Because seeing my squashed nipples through the mesh of a sort of frilly shrimping-net was depressing me. Also, bra-shopping with noticeably enlarged and painful breasts is a very very silly idea. I am an eejit. I need more bras. Arse.

Item – So, basically, I am pissed off with my job, and Bitch Hope is tearing holes in my trouser-legs, and I only have three Internet Pee-Sticks of Doom left. I had two batches, which ended up in the same box. One batch is labelled 25 mIU, and the other isn’t labelled at all, so is probably more of an ‘oops, you’re crowning’ mIU. I have two of one and one of the other. I am pretending I have none at all, and this is all nothing to do with me, and on Monday I am going to the Big Chemist near work to get my prescription for mefenamic and tranexamic acid, and lots of sticky-back duvets, and I am not going to go and look at the pregnancy tests at all, oh no, absolutely not, so there.

I loved long and long

Xbox (hi, Xbox!) posted this back at the end of July. In particular he says, of the child he and his wife are at last expecting :

We’ll know it as the kid that has kept us going for two years….

So no, I’m not nervous, I’m excited at the thought of finally getting to meet in the flesh, someone who has already done so much for us. Someone we’re already familiar with after years of ups and downs.

Someone we’ve already known for a long, long time.

A brand new old friend.

I think I cried when I first read it (sorry, Xbox!). Mostly because it’s exactly true. I was teetering on the verge of writing about it too. And then a couple of weeks later Mel of Stirrup Queens posted some thoughts along the same lines, and I got a little overwrought in my whole-hearted, nay, whole-bodied agreement and shelved the whole subject until it felt safe. Because, for me, it’s not a beautiful, heart-filling, piercingly sweet thought any more.

When I lost Pikaia (and I always think of her as female, even though we never knew if she was), I didn’t just lose a few weeks-worth of pointless pregnancy. I didn’t lose a mere blob of genetic material, a non-person. I lost that child who had already been in my heart for the whole two-and-a-half years we’d been trying. We’d been trying for her, after all. Through the polyps and anovulation and bleeding and surgery and drugs, the hope of her, the reality of her, was the one Pole-Star that kept us going. It was for her we did it. It was for her we clung on.

When I lost Pikaia, it was all that that died.

It took a year, at least a year, for me to get to a place where my heart wasn’t crying to have her back again. Oh, yes, I wanted to get pregnant again, of course I did. But in the night, when I wept, I wept oh come back to me, come back to me.

Finally, my heart managed to bury her.

Today I am able to hope and wish for a baby without instantly being hijacked by yearning for her.

Some people talk an awful lot of bumfluff about the influence psychology has on physiology. I have been told that, for example, painful periods are a result of my disappointment at not being pregnant (what, when I was fourteen?). That you must ‘make room in your heart’ for a pregnancy. That you have to be ready. And that, dear friends, is exactly why I have not talked about this before. Certainly not while I was still yearning for my first pregnancy to somehow miraculously come back. Some platitudinous twerp, I felt sure, would bounce out of the woodwork and tell me to free my soul or what-have-you, and I’d have to go round to their house and spit in their eye, which comes expensive if they live across the oceans. Every blog, message board, personal account I ever read or heard confirmed that getting pregnant again is a great healer and helps a person move on. I have yet to hear that wallowing in grief is a natural sterilizer. God, and if it were, all war-torn countries would have a birth-rate of precisely fuck-all (and they notoriously don’t). (And it kinda rankles that we had to get over Pikaia’s loss all by ourselves).

But still, it’s a, well, not a relief at all, really, but it’s something to be able to long for a baby, and not that baby anymore.

Not that either of us can forget her. H (to my (possibly unworthy) surprise) began to talk about Pikaia last night, and then he lit her candle for a while, and we spent the rest of the evening in its glow. See?

And so we go on, knowing only that it will go on for ever, and, perversely, the only life Pikaia has is in our desire, as she was made of our longing before she existed, and is made of our longing now she has ceased to exist.

On small things with large meanings

Well, I did mention my purple lacy knickers in the last post. I was amused to find out a couple of my dear bloggy friends ‘fessed up to grey – dare I say boring? – undercrackers as their standard issue. Well, a few years ago I’d’ve had the same. Tired. Grey. Or black. I wore a lot of black. Baggy. Exceptionally plain and functional. And now, my only boring functional ones are a set of five (black, natch) neo-brutalist Big Pants, the sort Rosa Klebb probably wears, reserved for surfing the Red Menace. Everything else is pink and red and blue and purple and lacy and, well, black-and-lacy. I have the liveliest lingerie drawer in London (but I draw the line at thongs (hah! Draw the line! Thongs! I crack me up) because, really, I hate it very much indeed when an ordinary knicker gets wedged up there. Flossing my butt-cheeks on purpose? Na-ah).

My socks are more of the same. Pink and yellow and blue and red and green and polka-dotted and striped and covered in hearts. According to Mr Snazzy the Head Acupuncturist, my wildly cheerful socks were one of the reasons he diagnosed me as being in hiding from my true, live-wire self. To which I say, thank God he didn’t see my knickers.

(My bra choice, I must confess, is more along the functional, armor-plated, does-not-show-through-shirt axis. But I have a violent objection to bouncing and over-spill, not to mention bust-lumpiness due to over-enthusiastic lace and embroidery).

I’d never thought about why my taste in smalls changed so colossally. I know I used to think I wore very plain grey or black knickers because H really doesn’t like frills and suspenders and that sort of lingerie (he says it reminds him of something trussed for the oven). He does like black, though he insists he prefers absolutely nada. But I am fairly sure this was an excuse on my part. I think I really felt I didn’t deserve pretty knickers. Pretty knickers were for pretty women, sexy successful women. Pretty knickers were for girls whose mothers hadn’t bulk-brought bright white 20-pair multi-packs of Calvinistically stern underpants and insisted on them lasting for as long as possible. When I was fifteen, I still had a few ragged, tight and greyish pairs lingering on from my eleventh birthday.

The first time I brought lacy knickers for myself, it was a disaster. I panicked and grabbed the wrong size. I think I grabbed the wrong type of knicker altogether. They were too small, uncomfortable, and the lace panel was too, well, too much of the composition of the knicker, and more was on display than I was happy about. And H (for yes, I was dating him back then) disliked them intensely, and said so.

Back into stern pants it was, then.

Years passed. And one day I was in a big shop, looking for more immensely dull and puritanical undercarriage coverings, when I saw some fuchsia pink ones. They were otherwise perfectly plain, and something in me went, ah, feck it, and I bought them, and I wore them, and something else in me decided that if H ever had an issue with my underwear, he could always take it off, ha ha. And a few weeks later I bought a lacy pair. And a pair with big red flowers on. And a scarlet pair. And next thing you know, I was buying orange tee-shirts with deep scoop necks and pink silk brocade skirts and just, generally, you know, giving a toss about my appearance.

Odd, that it took so long. Odd, that it didn’t even have the narrative grace to coincide with a flowering of my artistic integrity. Surely, if this was a proper story, the cute undies and pretty frock should have meant dinner with a literary agent. *sigh*. Artistic integrity still very much tightly closed bud. Pants, fabulous, thanks.

Way to go

Item – Lookee here, I actually went and ovulated again. On Wednesday. Really! Satsuma suddenly leapt up, shouted ‘let’s do the show right here!’ and promptly ripped me a new one from the inside, or whatever the hell it was she was doing, because, ow. I have now ovulated about a dozen times in toto, and that is what she does. Ow ow ow ow OW OW OW ARSE FECK OW. And relax. Don’t tell Satsuma this, but actually I quite like that she does that hurty-like-fuck thing. It’s pretty unmistakable, and it’s so nice to know these things for sure. Anyway, way to go, Satsuma!

Item – And then I did some counting, and my period is due the day before I am to pile my great corse into a cheap bucket airline Fokker and strap it in a seat for hours and hours. Days two and three are my worstest, bloodiest, hurtiest days. On a plane, on a train, in a taxi, in the rain, let’s all surf the scarlet flash flood to the Chalet of Terror and impress our In-Laws with our pale green puking collapse routine. Seriously, WAY TO GO, Satsuma.

Item – Wednesday was also ‘we will burn you’ day at the acupuncturist’s. Nice Earrings put about a dozen needles in my belly, in two long horizontal rows, and put pinches of moxa on the ends. She lit them in sets of three or four, but, anticlimactically, I didn’t really feel either the needles going in or the warmth from the burning. It was quite relaxing. It was… dull. Ah, well. She revenged herself by stabbing me repeatedly – and, oh, yes, I felt those – in the wrist and hand. Something worked, I would guess, in that Satsuma did her thang that night. So, way to go, Nice Earrings.

Item – We are moving the stock around at the library, which is hard, sweaty, dusty work. Today, I put on my scruffiest clothes, what with the dust/sweat nexus. But I forgot just how far down my scruffy cargo trousers slide when I am scrambling on and off book-ladders and crouching on the ground, and so I have this day shown a great many colleagues a strip of purple lace across the small of my back which was unmistakably knickerish in origin. Also, my tee-shirt is baggy and has a wide neckline. Some very lucky colleagues also got an eyeful of lacy bra-strap when I bent over. Class. Way to go, May.

Item – Did I mention I was bored? So, I bit all my nails off, danced up and down on the spot for days, had a little weepy moment, and signed my soul away to do a Creative Writing course with the Open University. Yeah, bury the lead. Way to go, May.

This is all terribly dull. Did I mention, boring?

Well. It’s that phase of trying to conceive, isn’t it? The seriously boring phase. The part when you actually get the time and energy to realise you’re 34 already – how the buggery fuck did that happen? – and Dream Job is beginning to get a little *ahem* unchallenging, which gives you time to notice that your boss is just a teeny weeny bit of a control freak and some of your colleagues are unreasonably stupid and all of them are just bloody there all day, seriously interfering with a girl’s ability to get a vast mug of coffee, put her feet on her desk, and fish out her knitting (funnily enough (no, not really) this urge is always at its most almighty when Alpha Boss has one of her periodic ‘and everybody must be extremely punctual or Alpha Boss will pitch a fit’ moments). And you think, shit, my entire life is turning beige.

See, as far as I have been able to make out from my extensive but haphazard skimming of the infertility blogs of the world, TTC does sometimes fall into a tedious, oh, look, there’s the rest of my life and it is also tedious phase. The basic story arc goes something like this:

  1. First inkling that getting pregnant is hard, Barbie. Much fretting about what the matter is, and if medical attention should be sought, and what, exactly, one is prepared to do or not do in order to procreate (this last hilarious in retrospect. Hil. Ar. Ious. Such innocence). Others in the same position start popping up to hold hands. Veterans pop up to stroke hair.
  2. First doctor’s appointment made. Massively exciting and distressing rollercoaster now embarked on. Infertile blogger usually screaming to get off somewhere between first transvaginal ultrasound and the hysterosalpingogram. Tests, whether infuriatingly inconclusive or hideously conclusive, all depressing. Sex life wobbles precariously on brink of toilet. But lo! a hopeful light at yonder window breaks! Devoted readers start to hang out on the blog, cheerleading and/or kibitzing.
  3. First rounds of treatment, whether Clomid or a spot of surgical interference to tidy up whatever inner mess is the issue, or straight into Big Guns Land with IVF. Sex resumes urgency if not always passion and tenderness. That Bitch Hope starts sniffing around the ankles. Things are very exciting and dramatic and, frankly, make great reading.
  4. A few people are allowed out of the fun fair at this point, as said treatments worked and thank God, they have a child at last. The rest are getting a bit sick of it all. The fireworks and champagne are interspersed with wailing and gnashing of teeth
  5. Treatments fail. Treatments work, heartbreakingly, for a few weeks, and then fail. Bodies become resistant to drugs. Bodies overreact ridiculously to drugs. There are more tests, more surgeries, more valiant attempts, on and on, with nerves slowly winched out on the rack to well past the point of permanent damage. Another handful of people nevertheless hit the jack-pot and are allowed to leave. The regular readers are all chewing their nails off by now.
  6. And then, nothing. Nada. Zip. One has temporarily run out of options, or funding, or strength, or all of the above. Some more people run away from or are chased out of the fair, this time with no prizes. The rest mill about for a while, until they get the wherewithall to clamber back on the rides. Weeks, months, drift past. The regular readers hang on grimly, bless them; the occasional soap-opera fans dissolve back into the ether, to hunt for something just a tad more fascinating than watching someone lose weight at snails-pace or save money at glacial rates. One in a hundred has a miracle. Everyone else instantly hates their own sodding unmiraculous bastard innards just that little bit more.
  7. Repeat 5 and 6 ad nauseam.

I am afraid that chez May we are currently stuck in phase 6. And I agree, my God it is dull. I had no idea infertility could be so bloody boring. Did you know? I mean, before you got to phase six? Me, I’m now very glad my acupuncturist wants to impale me with burning needles, because otherwise I’d have to impale myself just to give you-all something to read.

No, Satsuma still hasn’t come out of her room. How did you guess?

Can’t post, am too busy writing posts

No, really. I have about ninety-seven exceedingly whining posts, all of which I am heartily ashamed of, snivelling away in my wordpress dashboard. I must go on a deleting frenzy. They mostly run on the theme of ‘Woe is me, gnashing teeth now, I’m not pregnant, boo hoo hoo.’ Hmmm. Must go and rescue my big-girl panties from the laundry-basket.

Ovulatory news – none at all. I thought, briefly, that Satsuma was doing something, but when I asked her about it she threw an ‘I can’t work under these conditions!’ hissy fit and flounced away into her room, banging the door.

Acupuncture news – on Wednesday, I saw Nice Earrings again, and she was pleased with the state of my pulses, but thoroughly disappointed in the persistent coolness of my belly. Bellies, you see, should be warm, and mine is not and never has been. I’d always put this down to beautifully insulating deposits of lard, myself, but noooo, it’s an imbalance. H and I did try the moxa stick warming thing at home, but H is very dissatisfied, as the damn thing made the entire flat smell like a bonfire of wet wool. For days. I am very much wondering why a hot-water-bottle won’t do as well. Anyway, next session, Nice Earrings wishes to put a dozen or so needles in said belly and then set fire to them. Blimey, but she’s determined.

Family news – the plans for Chalet of Terror are still on, now with added Mother, who has decided to stay on a few days extra. Give me strength. Give me gin.

Work news – my job is getting on my tits now. That is all.

H news – H woke up this morning with such a bad headache he actually took paracetamol. Seeing as he was raised by hippies and regards pills from the chemist (as opposed to from the florist, sorry, herbalist) with unconcealed suspicion, I take this to mean his head felt like someone was smashing it in with a brick. He is currently in bed playing Civilization on his iPhone and drinking chicken soup. Poor lamb. Especially as I need him for procreation purposes, headache or no headache.