Monthly Archives: November 2009

Taking a stand (very quietly, in the corner)

So, yesterday. Yes. We were supposed to be going down to my mother’s place for a gigantic shindig, in our role of *cough* ‘willing’ slaves who will unfold folding tables for food.

I was not keen. I was even less keen after having been back at work for two (tiresome, tiring) weeks and having been In-Lawed the previous weekend. General preference not to speak to anyone anymore about anything, thank you, building to a strong desire to scream ‘Fuck off and leave me alone!’ by Friday afternoon.

And anyway, as I mentioned, the numb, ‘ah, feck it,’ stage of grief was wearing off, like lidocaine. I was horrifically aware of just how angry and miserable I was about the recent miscarriage, and, infuriatingly, about Pikaia’s miscarriage (what? Haven’t I got over that? Umm, apparantly not. Heigh ho). Had stopped sleeping, was whiling away the midnight hours by bickering with H or chewing my nails down to the quick again.

I was not at my most sane and collected.

By lunch-time, also known as leave-to-catch-train-time, I was having a meltdown (naked, in the shower, for added class). (The shower was on and there was shampoo in my hair. Does that help?).

By the time I had removed myself from the bathroom and put clothes on, I was a weeping hysterical mess, and had lost my glasses, and was about to throw furniture at H for mentioning the fact we had to go and catch the train.

By 2pm, I’d stopped sobbing, and we’d decided H would go to the shindig, as he’d been looking forward to it and because my mother had enrolled him as Court Photographer. I would stay at home all by myself and knit and read books and do my creative writing homework and blow my red-raw nose as many times as I felt the need to, and hey, maybe, even stop crying. We both agreed that me spending the shindig locked in the upstairs bathroom doing any of the above would… not be so good. As well as inevitable. So H went off to catch the later train (complete with the only tube of toothpaste in the house, oops), and I made myself yet another cup of tea and put Lord of the Rings in the DVD player.

Dear Readers, it was bliss. Sometimes, what a person really, really, needs, is, in fact, for everyone to fuck off and leave her alone for 24 hours.

I told H he may as well go for complete honesty, so he did, and reported back that everyone, at least, everyone whose opinion who I gave a stuff about, was fine about it, merely sending messages of love and condolence. No one made a big stupid deal of it, and no one said anything objectionable, at least, not in H’s hearing.

I shall have to show my teeth and not go to more family parties. It seems everyone actually does like me and respect me for it, even if they tend not to tell me that to my face.

I’m not over it because I haven’t gone into it yet.

Eventually, the shocked, tingling, freshly-slapped unreal feeling wears off.

And a few weeks after that, the dreary numbness wears off.

And only now do you realise that you are a boiling cauldron of rage, despair, terror and grief. Not when it happened, but now, weeks later. A whole month later.

Naturally, you’ve already arranged to spend the weekend at your mother’s.

Notes to/on self

Item – Funnily enough, if I sit on my arse for four weeks, indulging in the ice-cream-coma version of comfort-eating, I will put on four pounds. I should have tried harder not to look surprised when I found this out, it’s undignified.

Item – I haven’t ovulated yet. This is annoying me. It’s four weeks since the negative (really negative) Beta. I wonder if Satsuma has gone all lazy-arse PCOS on me again and could really be doing better, or if she’s behaving perfectly normally after all that hormonal upheaval.

Item – About two weeks ago Satsuma went mad and hurt in a manner ferocious for several days. The pinched-nerve, bloated pain ran into the small of my back and down my right leg. I hated it, and I hoped it was ovulation, and I sort-of ignored it because I was ignoring all my reproductive internal organs at that point on principle, traitorous little bastards that they are, and they weren’t even doing my *ahem* fertility signs *ahem* right. My basal body temperature was all over the place. I just felt weird. And then, quite suddenly, it stopped. Since then my basal body temperature has dropped and evened out and *ahem* fertility signs *ahem* are appearing in a consistent fashion. Now, wise and knowledgeable Readers, was this a luteal cyst popping? Because, back when things were starting to go wrong, Satsuma was the proud bearer of a ‘cystic mass’ which at least one medical professional opined might be a luteal cyst. They do interfere with one’s cycles, don’t they? And they do sometimes pop, rather painfully? So if it was one of those, I suppose ovulation would be delayed (or, more delayed than usual, Delay being the Chosen Way chez May).

Item – In any case, I am now completely paranoid that Satsuma has conked out on me and I will never ovulate again and that was my lot and a fucking lot of good my lot did me. Someone please take me by the shoulders and slap me until I stop laughing hysterically.

Item – By the way, why is my skin so dry? I am a one-woman Itchy-and-Scratchy show.

Item – I must stop biting my nails. I’ve made them bleed on numerous occasions these past few weeks. I’m not sure why I react to anxiety by eating everything in sight including my self, but I do, and it is both painful and fattening, and I should really cut it out.

Item – I am angry and unreasonable and pissy with, about and at absolutely everyone in the Universe. I manage to hold it together at work and then storm home muttering and swearing under my breath like Foul Ole Ron. Buggrit. Buggrem. Millennium hand and buggring shrimp.

It’s ‘Point And Laugh’ Tuesday

It’s been a great week for May Making an Absolute Tit of Herself. Seriously. Pop me in a blue beret and call me Beakie. Let’s all point and laugh at May! Yes! She can take it!

For starters, after the last post’s Great Big Attack of the Vapours, MiL was (narrative imperative dictates that this be so) lovely. H and his dad went off at about six on Sunday evening, both in ironed shirts. We girls had tea, we had a cheerful natter, we had G&Ts, I made dinner, MiL washed up, we got out the wine, put a film in the DVD player and shared some chocolate, and ended up watching several episodes of Duckula (H found the box set on sale last week) and laughing like inebriated hyenas (Hoomite and Yubi!). Either I was emitting ‘First Rule of Miscarriage Club’ vibes at a strength and frequency sufficient to boil water, or MiL was, you know, in a fairly mellow mood and wanted to keep it that way, but who cares! Result! And also, a salutary lesson that while MiL’s issues are MiL’s issues, umm, May’s issues are May’s issues, and May needs to stop projecting so much.

And on to the slap-stick section of this week’s programming.

I was in a cafĂ©, as one is, eating a toasted sandwich. A row of tables ran along the back wall, and I was sitting at one of them. And when I had finished my sandwich, I scooted along the bench to reach the section that had no table in front of it, so as to facilitate the standing-up part of leaving the establishment. Alas, I only noticed that the bench was not, after all, continuous, and was, in fact, four benches, one for each table, when I fell off the end of mine. And onto my neighbours’ shopping. I bounced upright carolling: ‘Sorry! Oops! I’m fine! More embarrassed than anything else! Glad your shoes are OK! Splendid! Bye now!’ and ran for the door.

Ow. My poor bottom. Has stiletto-shaped dent.

And then we were all having tea and birthday patisserie (did I mention it was H’s birthday yesterday?), and it was all marvellous, until I picked up my mug and watched it slide out of my grip like a buttered anchor. I basically poured an entire mug of hot Earl Gray directly onto H’s iPhone. Eeep. Oh, and onto the table, up my sleeve, down my trousers, all over the carpet, and between my thighs onto the chair beneath, but seriously? The iPhone? I nearly died of horror right on the spot.

It’s OK. The iPhone is fine. H thinks the iSock I knitted for it in pure (purple!) wool saved it from drowning.

Carpet is not fine, but carpet is hateful shade of anaemic beige anyway (also, who in freaking heck puts anaemic beige carpet in the kitchen?).

And at work today, a colleague distracted me while I was sticking labels onto books. I looked up, idly scratched my forehead and pushed my glasses up my nose while answering her, and yes, dear friends, I really did sellotape my glasses to my eyebrow.

And then I threw a veritable turret of books down the stairs at the exact moment I said to a junior colleague: ‘Abbie, don’t carry that many at once, you’ll drop them!’

For, verily, I am a class act.

And we shan’t at all in any way discuss the *ahem* very adult birthday treat I was giving H when someone let someone else know, in a very *ahem* pointed fashion that someone’s fingernails were insufficiently trimmed and someone else threw a leeeeeetle tantrum and vowed that that was the end, the end, you hear me! of adult treats for that evening, because surely a grown man person can keep his their blasted fingernails under control and there was wailing and gnashing of teeth and all participants announced they were really very very tired now anyway and totally going to sleep and twenty minutes later matters had resumed in a decidedly heated fashion. What was I saying about having mislaid my libido, oh doom, oh gloom? Well, I’ve found it again, and it appears to be made of cast-iron.

Dashed bad form, I know.

Snarling noises off

I am, sorry, but I am, in a fucking foul mood at the moment. I need not to be, as it is H’s birthday on Monday, and his parents are coming to stay for a couple of days, and I took time off work to (don’t tell H) (H, don’t read this bit) go shopping for him, which was niiiiiiice, and I’ve been to a couple of quite seriously good concerts and a dinner out, in the company of lovely people, and you’d’ve thought I’d be quite chirpy now.

I even got a really good mark for my Creative Writing assignment, which startled me (I thought it was pants), and which made H point and laugh, because, really, he always cheerleads me on, telling me I’m marvellous, and I always spend the entire essay/dissertation/story/poem/shopping list vapouring about my extreme rubbishness, and tah-dah! It was fine (again) and I was being silly (again) and H gets to point and laugh and so he should. Not that it’s a habit I can shake (You do know, don’t you, that you’re not really enjoying my blog at all, and it bores and irritates you in equal measure? That you’re not laughing at any of the jokes, in fact, you hadn’t realised there were jokes, and any minute now the clouds of delusion will lift and you will all realise this and briskly delete me from your feeds, turning to each other in embarrassment and saying you can’t believe I conned you all into sticking around for so long. Right? Anyone?).

Back on Planet Bitter McTwisted, Infertility Edition, I was jolted into rather an overshare at work on Thursday. Up until that point, all my colleagues were being rather sweet and discreet about my massive three-week absence. Probably gossiping like meerkats in my absence, but still, splendid lack of awkwardness. Until Thursday. Tech Guy (who is a sweetheart, really) came wandering in, and did the whole ‘hey, May, lovely to have you back! How are you! Better? Excellent!’ thing, which was gratefully received. Alas, on receiving this unwitting encouragement, he launched into a really quite intense ‘So! What happened to you then? We were all quite worried! Three weeks is a long time off sick, you know,’ (yes, I do know, thank you). ‘Was it swine flu? No? Normal flu? Not flu at all? It sounds serious! Tell me about it!’ (I wish I was shitting you, but I’m not) ‘Ohh, an accident, you say? What sort of accident? Did you have to go to hospital? Oh, you did? Why? Blood loss? You lost a lot of blood, you say? Ohh, dear. How did you…’ And at this point, thank arsing fuck, someone else popped their head round the door and said something had gone horribly wrong with the printer, and Tech Guy assured me he’d catch up with me later before sprinting off (shit).

My colleague S, who sits at the next desk, had been getting an unavoidable earful of this, and could see that I was flustered. She asked if I was OK. I nodded. She (quietly, not at the top of her healthy young lungs, colleagues take note), then told me she hadn’t asked me many questions because she didn’t think it was really her business, but she did want me to know that she did care and had been worried too. Never be kind to a flustered person. I sort of blurt-whispered ‘It’s just that, you know, I had a miscarriage, and it’s not that I mind people knowing, but I find it really hard to talk about it, especially in front of the whole office.’ And S said instantly that she was so, so sorry. And, did I have to go to hospital like I said. I said yes, that bit was perfectly true, as was the blood loss bit, and she looked quite miserable for me. And she asked how H was doing, which in my book earns her a Small Gold Star Certificate for Having Empathy And Intelligence.

Anyway. After a few minutes, people started coming back into the office, so we both coughed and stared casually out of the window or back at our computer screens and probably looked exactly like teenagers caught passing notes in assembly.

It’s true, though. I don’t mind people knowing one little bit. I just don’t want to be the one doing the telling. I most certainly don’t want to be the one answering questions or explaining next steps or trying to enlighten the unenlightened as to karyotyping or factor V Leiden, and also why, under the circumstances, it’s quite important that I absolutely don’t relax and go on vayyyycayyyyytion. Relaxing and vacationing might just work (hey, they sort of did in Switzerland, as I conceived about a week after we got back) and that’d be a great blog fodder anecdote. Hello! I nearly bled to death in a bus station in the Algarve! Also, I don’t speak Spanish!

My, I’m all unicorn ballet and rainbows today.

Anyway, part of the glumness is because on Sunday H and his dad are going out to do Manly Father-Son Bonding and I will be doing Girly Night In with my MiL. Now, she tried quite desperately to talk to me ‘about it all’ when I lost Pikaia, and I equally as desperately DID NOT WANT and became very good at changing the subject and/or if necessary volunteering to do the washing up. It was easy, because the rest of the family were milling about on most visits and MiL was clearly not prepared to broach things in front of *gasp* men. Not even my FiL or my husband. (I, personally, find protecting the Squeamish Sex from the realities of the massive and sometimes horrible sacrifices women make to keep the human race going, offensive both to their intelligence and our experience, but still…). A whole evening in, just the two of us, and a fresh new disaster to discuss? Oy vey.

I absolutely know in my heart her motives are the best and most pure. She is sad and sorry and wants to sympathise. She had a miscarriage herself, between H and his brother. It’s not like she’s going to say or think anything too clueless and irritate me that way. And this is her family, continuance of. And she has wanted to be a grandmother since H and I moved in together last century, and she has had the decency to more or less shut up about it. On points, she wins a total victory over my own female relations, who never shut up about anything at all ever.

But. But but but. You knew there was at least one but, didn’t you? The but is, as I said, that I just do not want to talk about it with people who need things explaining to them. And the other but is, MiL is a sort of emotional sponge. We all know people like this, don’t we? Unlike emotional vampires, who suck you dry, or emotional shit-stirrers, who like creating high drama for their own warped amusement, emotional sponges can’t hear a tale of woe without it becoming their tale of woe. They feel everything so intensely, they can’t separate out their own distress from the distress of the person concerned. MiL is prone to anxiety and sadness anyway, and is always taking the weight of the world on her shoulders, even about situations which she can’t possibly have any real responsibility for or interest in. My case is definitely meaningful for her and close to her heart. I feel awful because I know she already feels awful. I feel awful because she gets upset about the very idea of hospital visits and tests (I can’t cope with that. As far as I’m concerned, the up-coming visits and tests and hopefully answers are the only thing keeping me from booking a hysterectomy). I feel awful because it awakes bad memories for her. I feel awful because I’m part of a series of shitty things that have happened to H’s side of the family these past few years, and I feel I am adding to her burdens (regardless of whether it’s sensible of her to take on these emotional burdens or not, she does, and I’m hardly going to be able to magically change that for her with three well-chosen pieces of assvice).

And I feel awful because she has tried to say ‘I know how you feel’. And I can’t really sit there and say: ‘no, you don’t. You had a kid. You had one miscarriage. You had another kid. As for the grandkids thing, H has a brother, I’m not your only freakin’ chance. What you felt/ feel is in no way ‘less’ or ‘better’ than how I feel, but it is different. Because you never, not for a minute in your entire life, had to sit and face the possibility of never becoming a mother. And I have been doing that for the past four years. You probably had a far more realistic view of parenthood and what, exactly, you had lost when you miscarried H’s little sibling. You knew that loss, that grief, in a way I never could. I wouldn’t dream of telling a woman who had living children but lost the next pregnancy that I knew how she felt. I don’t. My beautifully idealised picture of my children is just that, an idealised picture. The weight that reality, practical understanding, can give to grief, I don’t feel. But similarly, a woman with at least one living child before her first loss cannot feel the bitter hopelessness of nothing but losses. She may understand, or empathise, but she cannot feel it.’

But I can’t say that. It’s not kind. And my MiL deserves kindness as much as I do.

Here’s to courage, and a stiff upper lip, and to iron bands around the heart. One day I’ll be able to take them off and go into hysterics. But, please, not this weekend.

One shell too many, one skin too thin

Item – So, went to the acupuncturist this morning, and told her what had happened since last she saw me. I was all proud of myself for managing it in a tear-free sort of way, though even I thought my voice sounded peculiarly like that of John Major I was repressing any and all emotions so hard. Nice Earrings the acupuncturist leaned over and put her hand gently on my wrist. ‘Naturally, you still feel numb and shell-shocked,’ she said. Hmm. My bluff, called, I think.

Item – She punctured my upper back and shoulders, and then spent a lot of time warming my belly with her moxa stick. My poor belly, that she spent months stabbing and setting fire to in an attempt to warm it up, all cold again. *sigh*. She thinks it’s because I lost so much blood. She also commented that my skin is very dry (yes, I feel lovely and alluring now, shut up thank you), which is apparently also due to the blood-loss (and nothing to do with the rising tide of ice-cream-binge-induced eczema, which I unaccountably neglected to mention to her). More oily fish, more yams and more dried apricots, she suggested. Sounds like the tagine from hell.

Item – Work went quite well, mostly. My boss was sweetness personified, was so sorry it had happened, wanted to be sure I didn’t take on too much, told me to spend today reading my emails and ‘settling in’. Several colleagues wanted to know if I had had swine flu, including some nervous ones who were clearly wondering if I’d contaminated them all. On being reassured I wasn’t infectious, they all politely dropped the subject. Most people said ‘are you better? Good’. A couple said it was nice to have me back. And then I checked my emails and did a little light re-classifying.

Item – Swift punch to the gut number one: A book I was dealing with had a dedication to the author’s son, who had been still-born. I put the book back on the shelf and went off for a cry in the loo.

Item – Swift punch to the gut number two: My colleague J had bought a card, and took it all over the office, showing it to people and asking if it was funny or just too corny, for his friend who had just announced she was pregnant. I said cheerfully (why cheerfully? What the fuck is wrong with me?): ‘I’m not the best person to ask right now,’ and he showed it to S at the next desk instead, and he and S then went on to have an innocent and well-meant chat about this mutual pregnant friend, and whether 35 was too old to be a first time mother (35! For fuck’s sake!), and what the risks of pregnancy were, and if she’d be OK. I got up half-way through a book-list, dumped what I’d done on the trolley, and fled. I ended up crouched on the toilet cubicle floor, wedged between the lavatory bowl and the paper dispenser, thinking ‘this is not a hygenic attitude’, and just waiting for the feeling of galloping rage and panic to die down. Then it was home time, so I nipped back to my desk, grabbed my bag, and vamoosed in perfect silence. Because I know both J and S would be mortified if they had realised how much their words had wounded me. And because they had no reason to know, and no way of knowing, that their words could wound me. My boss has been very reticent. Is it better to be shot down by an enemy deliberately being an unconscionable shit-bag, or by a clueless tactless oaf who should know better, or by a friend in all innocence and ignorance?

I don’t know, what?

I had an odd, inconclusive visit to the GP on Friday afternoon. Doc Tashless was not available, so I took whoever was available, and ended up speaking to an extremely nice, sunny woman who, get this, had actually read my notes before I came into the room, and one of the first things she said to me was ‘oh, you have had a rough time, haven’t you?’. Wow. And I smiled demurely and just about managed not leap to my feet, punching the air and shouting ‘YEESSSSSSS!’ (Incidentally, why the hell did I smile demurely? That’s so… British).

Anyway, I had gone to get my blood test results. And I got a result. Singular. I thought Doc Tashless had asked for tests on antiphospholipid antibodies, cardiolipin antibodies and Lupus antibodies, but all I got back was my Anti-cardiolipin antibody level. Apparently it’s under 10 iu/mL, and apparently that’s good. Which is good. But seriously, what the hell happened to everything else? Are they all the same test? Were there supposed to be three different tests? Sunny GP said that that was all they had in the results file. The original paperwork, of course, went off to the lab along with the sample, so we can’t find out, no, wait, I can’t prove, that Doc Tashless wanted all three things.

It was a bit of an impasse, to be honest. I was a leeeetle peeved about the missing results, and Sunny GP was reassuring me over and over again that the RM Clinic would do all the tests very carefully, including all the clotting and bleeding disorder ones, and not miss any out, which was sweet of her, but was not answering my actual question, and my asking of the actual question was somewhat bollixed because I couldn’t remember the word ‘antiphospholipid’. Agh. In the end I politely caved and dropped the subject in favour of one very dear to my heart.

Painkillers! Yes! For the periods from hell! I have proven to my own satisfaction that mefenamic acid is about as much use as a fart in a punctured space-suit. I pointed this out, less colourfully, to Sunny GP, and she said she was very sorry but as I wanted to get pregnant all they could offer me was pain-relief. I said I was aware of this. She said, in that case, would I like a prescription of co-codamol? And I said, with possibly unseemly enthusiasm, ooohh, yes please! Because they gave me that stuff for surgery and when I was miscarrying, and it really helps and also, whooooooooooooo I is stoned, giggle giggle. It really helps, by the way, because it is a freakin’ opiate. Opiates! Like Samuel Taylor Coleridge used to take to get his freak on and write Kubla Kahn! Oh, yes, and it also contains paracetamol. There’s nothing glamorous about paracetamol.

(NSAIDs and I are clearly having a bit of a hate-hate relationship these days, as I’ve worked my way up from aspirin to ibuprofen to naproxen to mefenamic acid and however effective ibuprofen is for a nasty headache, my uterus sneers at them all. (Except possibly diclofenac but that makes me feel even more stoned than the co-codamol and also gives me stomach ache, and anyway, diclofenac hard to come by unless you’ve spent a night on a surgical ward)).

So. I still have no idea what is wrong with me, but at least now medical professionals are a) taking it all very seriously and b) giving me opiates. Score.

Roll on 7th of December.

Tomorrow I go back to work, for the first time in nearly three weeks. I feel very shy and nervous about this. I mean, c’mon, I was away for three weeks. People will want to know. I have rehearsed my answers over and over again (‘No, I wasn’t on holiday, I was ill. Yes, I’m much better, thank you. It’s kind of you to be concerned, but I’d prefer not to talk about it, thank you.’). Last time I was completely blind-sided by one chirpy colleague gushing ‘Ooh, May, you’ve lost weight!’, and had to spend 20 minutes sitting in the loo with my head in my hands. God knows what it’ll be this time.

Tomorrow I also have another acupuncture appointment. Shit, but it sucks telling people all about it face-to-face. And last time I saw her, it was only a few hours before I got that poor, doomed little second pink line. And I told her my period was late but I hadn’t had a positive test and I didn’t know what was going on at all at all at all, so she for once did not set fire to me, and did very gentle acupuncture instead, just in case. Arse. Damn. Etc..

Meanwhile, Satsuma had had enough of being ignored, and over the past few days has staggered back into action. No idea if any of this action is conclusive yet, or if she’s just messing about because she’s bored. I can feel her aching and fussing, and *ahem* fertile signs are occurring *ahem*. H and I had a sad little discussion about sex, performance of, sans or avec rain-coats, and I got a little unreasonable at the very idea of missing a possible chance (nope, can’t shake the ‘anovulatory’ label. Still believe it’s true, despite hay-stacks of evidence to the contrary). But I’ve also rather gone off sex (yes, I know! Me! Off sex! I’d’ve been less startled if they’d told me Richard Dawkins was an Episcopalian). So in the end, I decided if we felt like it, we’d do it totally nekkid, and if we didn’t, we wouldn’t do it at all, and therefore let the tenor of our desires dictate just how ready to try again we were. Since when, we’ve done it, but I’ve been rather depressingly unenthusiastic and participating in a spirit of ‘just in case’. Which is not quite what I meant. Damn and blast and damn all over again. What do I mean, anyway? What, for that matter, do I want?