Monthly Archives: September 2012

Results. Nevertheless baffling.

My endometrial biopsy! It has been all the way to California, and now it has sent me a postcard!

Item – Late secretory endometrium POD 9-10. Which is interesting, because I vaguely thought I was 12 dpo that day, but then, I am not very sure which day I ovulated that cycle. Really, I’m not. I could’ve been 9-10 days. But then I’d’ve had a ten-day luteal phase and I tend not to, you know. How accurate are these tests anyway?

Item – No evidence of inflammatory changes. Yay!

Item – No evidence of necrosis. Yay!

Item – No evidence of hyperplasia or atypia. Yay!

Item – 1-2 CD57+ cells identified. Now these (I have been googling) are the uterine version of killer cells of doom, I think, and the fewer there are the better. The ‘comment’ part of the results reports that ‘CD57+ cells are not increased and goes on to mention ‘appropriate tissue reactivity with the CD57 monoclonal antibody’. This is a yay, right?

Item – 4-5 FoxP3+ cells identified. These are regulatory cells that contol immune reaction, and are therefore things one rather does want wandering about the uterus. The comments state that they sugest ‘adequate stromal regulatory activity’.

Therefore Cute Ute the Destroyer is not actually that destructive an environment for tiny embryos in and of herself. My immune system generally is the mimsy, bastard, quisling fuck in this one. That, or I am consistently making embryos out of dead trees, bits of mud and spit. Or possibly both. *Wanders off into the middle distance to bang her head on the side of the bath for a while*


Matters not exactly contiguous

Item – Shall I tell you what was fun? The Hairy Farmer’s Not-So-Hairy Wife came to my demesne, and H and I dragged her over two museums and through the streets in the rain, just to wear her out good-and-proper, then, like the social burrs we are, trailed after her to the concert she’d actually come to town for. And she didn’t mind. Or at least, said she didn’t, because she has beautiful manners. The internet is a weird and wonderful thing, Gentle Readers. It lets you make friends with people because you genuinely like them, rather than just becuase they happen to live nearby and don’t actively terrify and repel you (remember school? Well, I went to boarding-school. There’s a reason we teenage bosom-buddies all lost touch. We were really mostly putting up with each other. And now? On the internets? REAL FRIENDS, thank you).

Item – In matters reproductive, H and I are still waiting for the endometrial biopsy results. Surely they should be arriving any day now? Gah. Frettlement.

Item – Also, Satsuma, being a cow of an ovary, is refusing to be definite about whether she has or has not ovulated, and I have not helped by spending the week on holiday and therefore getting up at all hours of the morning and thereby making basal body temperature unreliable at best. It may have been yesterday. It may not have been. H and I have been, eh, connubial, you know, practice for the well-timed medicated-cycle sex. This may be a two week wait. It may not be. Who knows?

Item – Having another attempt at the Occupational Health interview tomorrow. Will report back.

Item – Oh, and Metformin! Yes! I must tell you! I’m now taking 1500mg a day, in three doses. Side-effects: I am slightly more thirsty than usual. Possible side-effects: one day I ate some meat-balls containing gluten, and then had a few stomach cramps, and the next day I ate a cake and a chocolate mousse and another cake and then my bowels pressed the eject button and there was a very very unpleasant 10 minutes in a public lavatory praying no-one would come in and I thought, is this metformin-plus-cake-overdose? Or is it gluten? Or unholy combination of both? In any case, no more wildly festive cake-partakeathon, no matter how tempting the gluten-free selection acutally is for once.

Item – Related to the metformin, H thinks I have lost weight. I got on the scales, and the scales said ‘hahahahaha no you haven’t. Quite the opposite! Well done!’. Bugger. So I put my trousers on and my belt said ‘no, actually, you are thinner.’ So there’s a side-effect for you. Metformin is turning my bones to lead.

Diamonds and rust

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you fool with the snark, you will end up in full tirade

Warning – This becomes a really savagely ranty rant about ten paragraphs in. I am not kidding. I fulminate. Proceed with a blue helmet on, and cup of soothing tea at the ready. OK? OK. At your own risk…

Do you know what pisses me off? Apart from lots of things, obviously. But today and chiefly, it’s the ‘maybe you weren’t meant to have kids…’ thing.

Not that anyone has said it to me personally of late, I hasten to add. No need to rustle up the Cow-Shit Avengers’ Posse (hi HFF!)

But it has been said, many times, to many of us. Family members say it to their nearest and dearest. Friends say it to people they’re supposed to deeply care for. Complete bloody strangers say it to people whose lives they haven’t the first snibnet of a clue about – never read the comments on a newspaper article on infertility for starters (seriously, don’t. You will have A Rage). And for why, do they say it? What is the purpose of this remark? And do any of us know anyone who finds comfort in it? Anyone? Bueller?

… *crickets* …

Anyhoodle. So. Why do people say this in the first place? Do we say to cancer patients, oh, well, maybe you weren’t supposed to have a left breast? A house burns down – do we leap in to say ‘It’s God’s way of saying you should live under a bridge and eat out of bins!’? Man loses his job – it’s all for the best! Not everyone has the strength and patience to deal with a regular salary! Develop alopecia totalis – eyelashes are overrated! Some people shave their heads on purpose! There’s too much hair in this world already!

There seem to be several possible motives behind the ‘Maybe you’re not meant to have kids’ remarks. Firstly, most innocently, we have the clueless, who want to say something comforting and reassuring about our great worth and potential future as all-around kick-ass heroes/heroines despite our lack of sprog, and just fuck up the delivery. Not everyone is articulate. Not everyone thinks before their cake-hole flops burbling open. But they mean well. It’s worth asking ‘why do you say that?’, and if they then witter frantically on about your general kick-assery and other great contributions to human-kind, you can either give them a pass, if you’re tired and want to talk about Downton Abbey/Doctor Who/politics/knitting/marmalade now, or you can gently explain that as much as you appreciate the sentiment, the phrasing sucked great big green steaming ones.

Secondly, you get the Smug. They usually have several children of their own, and darling little Flymo will be practicing Khachaturian’s Concerto-Rhapsody in D minor on the violoncello while Mezzanine puts the finishing touches to a Souffl√© √† la Milanaise in the Kenner Easy-Bake. ‘Well, maybe you weren’t meant to have children…’ they murmur, sweetly, as they sip their decaf skinny wet vanilla latte. Oh, and what possible reason could they have for saying such a thing? I think, actually, they still resent you bitterly for getting a better degree than them when you were all at Uni together, or maybe they are harbouring a secret crush on your spouse. Something in your un-smug existance is sticking under their skin like a burr. Their own lives are sink-holes of stark, shrieking, Betty Friedan Mystique-style horror, and they don’t have the nous to realise that this is entirely due to the narcissistic wasteland between their ears, which would be just as wastelandy if they were living it up as a child-free career storm-trooper or grand high Vulture of the Culture. So, they attempt to bolster their sadly brittle self-esteem by poking you in your vulnerables. They’re not very nice, the Smug. (And Flymo will run away to Bogatan at 19 and get a facial tattoo, and Mezzanine will marry a harpy, fail utterly to keep a job for longer than a year, and dress like Whistler’s Mother, even at weddings. Poor kids).

So, yeah. Unless the Smug is your sibling, I’d advise deleting their email address. Maybe even if they are a sibling. Maybe especially if they are a sibling.

Speaking of siblings, you also get the sort whose own lives are a tad crash-and-burn, and who use the fact you are infertile (and they’re not) as evidence that they are, contrary to all appearances, better people than you. Because remember! No matter how intelligent, affection, empathic, decent and caring you are, no matter how much you love your family/partner/friends, no matter if you recently threw yourself infront of a speeding car to save a completely strange-to-you child, you don’t know what love is unless you’re a parent. Even if their loving parenthood is mostly channelled into shrieking at the beloved kid for wanting a hug or a kleenex or their dinner. Yes. About those email addresses we were considering deleting…

The next class of Not Meant To Be-spreaders are, I think, morally, the lowest. The clueless mean well, the Smug and the Damaged Family Members may be arseholes, but they’re actually being arseholes because deep down they know they’re full of shit and you are, well, less full of shit. So from our vast and draughty moral high ground, we shall forgive them. Which has the added bonus of annoying the living fuck out of them.

The lowest, really, are the ones who decorate the ‘not meant to be’ with a fat juicy ‘it’s God’s way of telling you you aren’t meant to be a parent’. They’re all over the internets, you know. And, what’s worse, they genuinely seem to mean it. They really think, they really insult and demean their own Deity by thinking, that Divine Providence specifically wants you not to reproduce, and instead of kindly giving you absolutely no inclination to reproduce and mayhap a sperm-count of zero to ease matters along, this parody of Ultimate Wisdom instead gives you a burning, desperate, heart-shredding yearning to reproduce, and perhaps a perfectly healthy spouse who could easily reproduce with someone else, only they happen to love you more than life. And then there’s the physical mess of it – PCOS, with concomittant anovulation, weight-gain, pre-diabetes, handlebar mustache, acne, risk of endometrial cancer, yadayadayada; or endometriosis, which is astonishingly painful and damages your internal organs; premature ovarian failure, with all the risks that premature menopause can have in terms of heart disease, breast cancer, and osteoporosis; testicular torsion; testicular cancer; mumps for fuck’s sake; or RPL. Especially RPL. If God doesn’t want you to have a baby, why would he let you get knocked up repeatedly only to watch the little scrap of life die, taking shards of your soul with it? Why would any God deliberately put a human being through all that shit to stop them reproducing, while letting a terrified 15-year-old get pregnant, or a woman gang-raped by soldiers get pregnant, or a crack-whore get pregnant, or a neurotic child-hating bad-tempered bitch get pregnant, for that matter? Why would God give children to people who don’t want them, can’t care for them, and are likely to abuse them, while denying them to people who long for them, who are kind and loving and ready? Why deny them in a prolonged, painful, ugly, messy, health-wrecking kind of way? What kind of a God is this, anyway?

‘Ahhh,’ say the God-bothering twatweasels, ‘God is teaching you/us/your family/society in general a lesson!’

Really. They believe in the sort of God who would take a decent, thoughtful man, and make him watch his much-loved wife collapse, screaming and bleeding, and be rushed to hospital, and have him be told his child, his child, is never going to be born, in order to teach him what, exactly? If he needs to learn life is unfair and ugly sometimes, why torture his wife to do it? If she needs to learn something, why torture him? If their families need to learn, why torture the couple? If society needs to learn, why pick on random people to ‘demostrate’ on? This is the sort of thing Fascist dictatorships do, along with ‘beatings will continue until morale improves!’ and ‘this shipment must be finished by 6 am or ten of you will be shot at random!’

And if God the Divine Creator exists, surely this is not what God is like. A Divine Creator God would not pick on people to teach ‘lessons’. This God wouldn’t decide this woman has to miscarry five times in a row because she hasn’t been to Church since she was 17, pour encourager les autres. Surely such a God would not give a man a varicocele because his religiously-inclined brother decides he deserves one for being a twat about Grandma’s will. God would not give a woman PCOS because she hasn’t accepted Jesus as her personal saviour. And for a mere, flawed, clueless-by-definition (for is not God Ineffable?) human to suggest they know God’s mind, and to suggest you deserve punishment in God’s Eyes… I am staggered by the sheer arrogance of these people. Never mind the petty, ugly, nastiness of their self-righteous (mis)judgement, and the fact they’re clearly missed the bits where pretty much all religious texts of all faiths warn against exactly this sort of thinking. It’s the breathtaking chutzpah-not-in-a-good-way of even being able to formulate the thought of a Deity reduced to a mere playground bully, making favourites and smacking people around just because they happened to ‘sin’ where a toady could tell on them, while ignoring the shatteringly massive derelictions of duty going on all around them.

I tell you, if I were ever to give over this jolly life of atheism and too much knitting and take up The Faith, it would be faith in a Deity so all-encompassing, so merciful, so vast and glorious and beyond comprehension, beyond worship, beyond humanity, and yet so full of love, and wisdom, perfection, and grace, the concept that It could even consider stooping so low as to pick out victims of It’s displeasure to torment for the edification of mere fellow humans would be so far beyond blasphemy as to be laughable. If there is a God, then we can have no idea why we are suffered to suffer, but again, if there is a God, God suffers with us, and for us, and through us, and God is also unspeakable, infinite consolation.

And therefore to reduce God to a stalking-horse so as to take sneering little pot-shots at fellow human beings in their grief and sorrow is disgusting. I am disgusted.

Here endeth the philippic. Now go and have a cup of tea.

Seriously, there is too much

Item – I managed to go to several Paralympic events, despite Shark Week. I remember very little of two of them, because I was completely off my feckin’ face on tramadol, and I spent another running to the loo every twenty minutes because even super plus extra tampons were Just Not Helping (thank fuckitty for aisle seats). (Incidentally, the Olympic Park Venue is now added to the alas lengthening list of Public Places I Have Bled On The Lavatory Floor Of – I’m not proud). I am very pleased, grateful (to Fate, and to H, for looking after me) and, for the moment at least, delighted to be British (this won’t last. I’m far too cynical a human being to do Patriotism for more than a fortnight at a time).

Item – Worst, most vile, throwing-up-painful day of Shark Week was of course the day I was supposed to be having my occupational health interview. I had to phone and cancel. I couldn’t stand up. There was a pitiful bit where I tried to get dressed and get the paper-work together while not daring to put my bucket down in case I Needed It With Urgency (‘where’s mah bukkit‘), and then Bitter McTwisted finally managed to get The Positive Thinking Fairy in a head-lock long enough for common sense to reassert itself – ‘will you crawl to the bus like this? How about the train? Would you like to throw up on a train? What if there are no seats? Will you STAND and throw up on the train? No? Go the fuck back to bed, moron.’ So now the whole thing is going to have to be rescheduled. Arse.

Item – Incidentally, HR liaison sent me email along the lines of ‘Why did you miss your appointment?’. Given that I’d spent most of the previous week discussing with them the very real possibility I’d be too bloody ill to go to it, I thought this so ridiculous I had to sit on the fifth draft of my reply all afternoon before I could make myself delete most of it and send the sixth, very brief and polite, version. I mean, really.

Item – Metformin. I have been taking it for two weeks now (barring puke-day of Shark Week, for obvious reasons). I have gone from one pill a day to two pills a day. Soon, three pills a day. I – oh Lord, do I dare say this out loud? – I haven’t had any kind of diarrhoea or upset stomach. Yet. Quick, get me some wood to touch (H, stop sniggering. And you. You can stop sniggering too).

Item – H and I have discussed (mostly, because I fell into A Rage), things about Dr Expensive’s proposed treatment regime that are giving me the yips. I am finding the idea of doing multiple au naturel cycles with LIT, Intralipids, clexane, steroids and progesterone FUCKING BATSHIT CRAZY, thank you very much. H and I are going to write Dr Expensive an email asking for moar better explanations.

Item – To be fair, Dr Expensive’s reasoning seems to be that in the past year-and-a-half, in which I have not had a single positive pregnancy test, I have actually almost certainly been containing a fertilised embryo on several occasions, but my very-much-primed-by-repeat-exposure uterus/immune system is now extremely good at killing them stone-dead as soon as they implant, and therefore before they can chuck out noticeable amounts of HCG. Evidence for this? Those cycles in which my luteal phase was a day or even two longer than usual, and my temperature didn’t drop until the day I started bleeding (rather than two days before), and I felt extra sicky and weird and aware of my nipples. As this reasoning raises my lost-embryos-I-could-have-loved count to double figures, the very idea gives me the screaming meemies. However, Dr Expensive therefore seems to think that I could get pregnant again very quickly, and if I am stuffed full of immune-suppressants and anti-inflammatories and anti-coagulants, the putative embryo WILL have a bat’s chance in hell.

Item – This next cycle, now on day 9, is not going to be the one we do medicated, because the United States are still cherishing the divot Dr Expensive hoiked out of Cute Ute. H and I are going to practice having lots and lots of regular sex, anyway, especially as we have a weeks’ holiday to entertain ourselves in.

Item – My blogging mojo has vanished. I’ve made a temporary replacement out of toothpicks and gaffer-tape, but I’d rather have the real good old mojo back.

As you know, the concept of the suction pump is centuries old

Thursday was endometrial biopsy day at Dr Expensive’s.

Because I had read this blog post, provided by Stirrup Queens, and more importantly all the comments (oh my God oh my God the HORROR. The AGONIES. The TENACULUM), I was in a heightened state of alert terror about the whole thing. I booked the remainder of the afternoon off work. I begged H to come with me. I took two ibuprofen 30 minutes before hand. I had co-codamol in my bag, just in case. I should’ve had some sanitary towels in my bag, but I forgot them, leading to me calling H as we both powered through the city from our respective work-places, begging him, if he passed a chemist first, to pop in and get some. Which he did, and he did.

Dr Expensive was remarkably casual about the whole thing. We left H sitting by the desk and retreated behind a screen, where I was treated to a gynae couch that doubled as a hydraulic lift. Dr Expensive declined to sit down and instead simply had me hoisted 5 feet in the air, and to H’s mild astonishment my head appeared slowly above the modesty screen. So I waved at him.

The speculum was uncomfortable, as when opened they seem to dig right into Cute Ute’s embonpoint (the adenomyosis, you know). The insertion of the Pipelle curette (a thin plastic tube, mostly, with an opening at the tip to scrape with, and a tiny piston inside it to suck with) was pinchy, but not horrid. The scraping sensation made me feel a sudden sympathy for the lemon I savaged with a zester the other week, but it lasted less than a minute, and I didn’t even need to say ‘ouch’.

Dr Expensive did pause, and ask me if I had fibroids – ‘No, adenomyosis’, I said – and muttered something about a long internal… something? orifice? (he does have a strong accent). I assume, from this, and given that the adenomyosis/adenomyoma can be clearly felt at the top of the front wall of my vagina (leaning on my bladder, the bitch), that it is affecting the upper part of the cervix as well as the body of the uterus. Is this a problem, or an anatomical quirk? I didn’t ask. A man had quite a lot of plastic and sharp implements where the sun does not shine, and I was a tad preoccupied.

And then Dr Expensive removed his implements and lowered me back down to behind the screen.

(No, no tenaculum. Admittedly I have a well-bred cervix who always turns up front-and-centre for appointments. However, your gynaecologist should really not use a tenaculum on you until and unless all other attempts have failed and/or you keep your cervix somewhere near your left ear. If they bring it out first go, for the love of God, kick it out of their hand and fire them, preferably from a cannon).

And then, when I’d replaced my knickers, Dr Expensive handed me my file and a small pot full of bloodstained formaline solution and, err, a few floating, err, shreds, and sent us off to sort out the paperwork. I hadn’t expected the uterine lining to look so like (sorry about this) meat. I mean, in a few days, the rest of it is going to dissolve, isn’t it? How does it do that?

I was bleeding a little, as expected, so I nipped to the loo and used one of the pads H had got me. The secretarial lady asked me if I felt OK, and I had to say, to my surprise, that I did. I was a little sore, as if bruised, but nothing distressing.

And then I let them do something unkind to my credit card, took my pot and paperwork to the lab down the street, and got H to buy me a cup of tea. And, frankly, the horridness of the tea was the worst part of the experience. But we still went home to watch Paralympics. Well, I did. H worked from home. Puritan.

Friday, I took another two ibuprofen in the morning, as I felt a little sore still, and I was still bleeding a little (heavier than spotting, but only just). Otherwise, I was fine. And today I am spotting in a very faint and watery manner.

So not even mostly dead. Despite suction.

I have no idea if the discovery of elevated NK cells in my lining would change my treatment options. I assume we’re also looking for hyperplasia, atypia, atrophy, necrosis or generally pants blood supply. I don’t know what we’d do about any of those at all. *flails*