Monthly Archives: May 2013

Launch of the Good Ship Endeavour

My period began, eventually, after a lot of spotting and dicking about, on Sunday.

That’s it. Sunday 26th. Suppression starts in three weeks. We’re off.

Therefore and for maximum narrative drive, I had one of the worst first-days-of-period I’ve had since I started using diclofenac suppositories and tramadol. I had been taking NSAIDs since Friday, as advised by my GP, and therefore was reasonably sanguine the Dread Lord Cute Ute would not tear too great a hole in the fabric of space-time, but no. Ha-ha. She went for full on End Of Universe. Poor H, who was angelically rubbing my back, or my feet, or replenishing hot-water-bottles, or rinsing out the basin I’d just been violently sick in, was absolutely shell-shocked by the time the bloody drugs started to work and I finally dozed off, whimpering, on Sunday evening. It is now Tuesday, and I still feel like I have been beaten about the lower back and abdomen with an iron bar.

(And I’m not entirely pleased at Cute Ute’s habit of menstruating violently on or about the anniversary of miscarriages. It’s not even passive-aggressive. It’s aggressive-aggressive. She’ll get a show all to herself on Criminal Minds if she’s not careful).

Anyway! H and I turned to each other and said, with one voice, ‘I hope we don’t have to go through that much more often.’ Grim smiles. I held up my new prescription of diclofenac-per-jacksie and also stated, very firmly, that I had better not need to refill it in four months’ time.

And then we looked at each other. Because either this will work, or I will Take Steps To Abolish Menstruation.

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And this is not my life

After some thought, and the odd freak-out, and the perfectly normal freak-out thank you, and the supplementary eccentric freak-out, I realised the only way for Mays to deal with This Sort Of Thing is to adopt the Way of the Ox. And therefore May put her head down, no, further down than that even, hunched her shoulders, buckled on the harness, and ploughed onwards, focusing on exactly one goal at a time, thinking ahead or trying to plan strictly Verboten.

Things achieved thereby:

Item – On Monday, I [oh, we’re back in first person now are we?] called the GP’s nurse repeatedly, left several messages, and eventually spoke to an actual human who booked me in for a cervical smear the very next day. (Then there was the Massive Awkward of getting the time off work at the last moment, and rearranging the rest of my work schedule so I could do a full afternoon and therefore not screw with my sick-leave allowance or my leave-leave allowance).

Item – On Tuesday, I went to said appointment, and asked the very pleasant nurse about chlamydia screening and rubella immunity testing. I hastened to explain this was about IVF and not about me being a bit worried by my sexual history, and she cheerfully said she could do the chlamydia swab while she was, err, ‘up there’. As for Rubella Immunity, I’d have to make an appointment with my GP and arrange it through him. And then I took my knickers off and she very gently and competently winched me open and scraped about in the upper regions of my personals. The last high vaginal swab I had, courtesy of Dr Expensive, hurt like a mo-fo (and after all that, didn’t include a chlamydia test after all FOR FUCK’S SAKE, or if it did, we never got the results of it (another reason why we gave up on Dr Expensive – the saying one thing and doing another. So wearing (incidentally, I FED-EXED MY MENSTRUAL BLOOD TO GREECE. WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO THAT LOT, EH?))), so this made a very nice change.

Item – I then tried to make an appointment to see my GP and there weren’t any appointments for any time that was convenient for me, and I thought, oh, for the sake of fuck, and we called Riverside Clinic and asked if we could, you know, just turn up to the drop-in clinic to get the blood-tests done and they said ‘yes of course!’ and I said ‘oh gosh, really? It’s that simple?’ and they said ‘yes of course!’.

Item – So on Wednesday morning I dropped in at the Riverside and they said oh, hello, please wait in the waiting room, and within ten minutes a nurse collected me, checked with me what tests I needed (Rubella Immunity, AMH, HIV, Hepatitis panel, full blood count (I have a recent thyroid panel, which proved my thyroid to be, bewilderingly, in stellar order)), and delicately sunk a needle into my left arm. Didn’t hurt a bit, didn’t even bruise.

Item – Next step, menstruate. Period due yesterday (my birthday) or today. It didn’t turn up yesterday in the end, which was considerate, so I am sitting here typing, full to the gunwales with painkillers, waiting for the Red Flag to signal the ‘and they’re off!’ any second now.

Item – Hopefully all results will be safely gathered in before I start the ‘nasal spray’. I still don’t know if it’ll be synarel or buserelin, because Dr George is not back at his desk until Tuesday, and then he will sort out the prescription for us (incidentally, this man answers his emails at once. Oh, my God). And then, I start the spray on ‘day 21’. I need to check whether he means day 21 as in around about when I ovulate, or ‘day 21’ as in one week after normal ovulation for normal people, which will probably be day 28ish for me on past performance.

Item – And now H has to go and get his HIV/Hep panel done, which he is planning on doing next week, depending on his work schedule.

Item – Nope, not looking further ahead than that. Not right now. Head down! Stare at own hooves! Ploughing onwards!


NHS for the win

I have a cervical smear test booked at my local GPs for tomorrow.

Yes!

Onwards.


We’re doing this. We really are. We may even be on the same page.

H and I spent the afternoon discussing what to do, now? Were we both sure we wanted to do IVF? This summer? Starting next cycle, if possible?

Sample dialogue:

May: YES PLEASE RIGHT NOW THANK YOU! NO MORE PERIODS THAN STRICTLY NECESSARY FOR MAY, WHO IS GETTING PTSD ABOUT THEM!
H: Well, yes, of course, let me get my calendar, how will this work with dates, umm, so let me see, we’d be doing egg-retrieval when exactly?
May: WHO THE FUCK CARES YES PLEASE RIGHT NOW THANK YOU!
H: And you need to sort out your smear test (Pap test to you transAtlanteans), and an AMH test – wait, the Riverside will do that… oh, it says here you need a chlamydia test, can you get that at the GP’s? And if there’s a delay in getting results, how will that affect the start of the cycle?
May: WHO THE FUCK CARES IF WE START IN JUNE OR JULY THIS SUMMER PLEASE RIGHT NOW THANK YOU.
H: Well, if egg-collection is too close to the August Bank-Holiday we won’t be able to do CGH as recommended by Dr George as the lab will be shut for a week…
May: WHO THE FUCK CARES no, wait, arse.
H: Hmm.
May: I’ve been playing telephone tennis with the GP practice nurse about this smear for a week. What if I can’t get it done this week? Then it’s my period and it’ll have to wait for a fortnight and then the results take two weeks, or, in not-NHS-speak, four weeks.
H: So, wait, if we start cycling in July… How long did Dr George say you’d need to be on GnRH agonists?
May: How about we ask Riverside?
H: Let me count on my fingers.
May: HOW ABOUT WE ASK RIVERSIDE?
H: September’s not a good time to cycle for you, is it, what with it being busy at work?
May: WHO THE FUCK CARES HOW ABOUT WE ASK RIVERSIDE?
H: I’m not sure September is good for me, either.
May: WHO THE FUCK CARES WE’LL MAKE IT WORK WILL YOU PLEASE LEAVE THE CALENDAR ALONE WE HAVE NO IDEA HOW I’LL RESPOND TO THE DRUGS ANYWAY IT COULD TAKE SIX WEEKS OR TWELVE OR WHATEVER.
H: October might be better than September, though.
May: I DO NOT WANT TO HAVE ANOTHER PERIOD IF I CAN POSSIBLY HELP IT OH MY GOD H.

And so on.

So, I shall spend every free second tomorrow dialling and re-dialling this practice nurse until she jolly well answers and speaks to me and if I can’t get a smear this week I’ll cry and use emotional blackmail also must ask about Rubella immunity and chlamydia, and meanwhile, H has written Riverside a very coherent and polite email setting out all of the above plus a delicate reminder to Dr George that ‘May’s Quality Of Life’™ is Not Very Good™, so can we not be ridiculous sticklers about things the NHS is responsible for please? Or something. (The phrase ‘ridiculous sticklers’ was not used (I mean, I’ve had a course of the antibiotics used to treat potential chlamydia recently anyway, and H and I are faithful to each other (well, I am (have we all watched House?)) and I had a Rubella vaccination when I was twelve (do they wear off?))).

[Pause, while I recount the parentheses to check they all match up].

As for LIT, which we were planning to do in June, well, Dr Fourth Opinion’s clinic has still, still, not got back to us about when exactly we’ll be doing that, which fact alone is MAJORLY GETTING ON MY TITS.

And, Dr George is not very pro-LIT. He doesn’t think there’s any evidence for it working, and if it did, there should be by now.

I was all, ‘Huh. OK,’ about that, as I wasn’t particularly pro in the first place, but was prepared to do it as side-effects are minimal and H found the hypothesis interesting and possibly even convincing. H, who found the hypothesis interesting and possibly convincing, was a little more, I think, gobsmacked? by this, but I can’t get a clear answer out of him about it. He agrees, however, we needn’t do it this cycle, and revisit it if this cycle tanks abysmally or ends in miscarriage. This decision may well have been brought on by Dr Fourth Opinion’s clinic’s non-communicativeness as much as anything. Dear clinics we are throwing our life-savings at, as a general rule, do not be difficult about communication. Thank you.

So, what Dr George recommended, was Intralipids, progesterone support (this, by the way, is a fucking ranty post for another day, involving The Professor. Remind me to get back to you on that), and steroids (prednisone, I presume), alongside a long down-regulation cycle to suppress the endometriosis a bit, using either Synarel or Buserelin (I can’t remember which) rather than the Pill, because I get migraines.

Huh. I used to get migraines about once every three years when I was on the Pill. And now I get them once every two months or so, on my own natural home-grown hormones. Yo no comprendo.

I must now eat salad and take Metformin (and that’s another post. SORRY).


Stirring dull roots with spring rain

So we went to the Riverside Clinic, for the Great Big Consultation To End All Consultations (please God).

I am having trouble processing it all.

Obviously, you, my Gentle Readers, would like to know what went down, and all I can say is, I don’t freakin’ know.

Item – Our consultant reminded me insistently of George Clooney at his most winsome. There is a goodly chance this man will have seen my vagina by Rosh Hashanah. Halp.

Item – The friendly chat with Dr George lasted well over an hour. I have never, ever, in my born days, ever had a consultant, NHS or private, who was happy to sit there for over an hour, going over things carefully and thoroughly, making all the ‘yes, I’ve read your notes and remember stuff’ noises. Never. For this alone, even H has a little crush on the man (me, I think he looks like George Clooney, remember? (H disagrees. H thinks he looks like Jon Stewart. Me, I am now having severe hormonal difficulty with the concept of the awesomeness of a Clooney/Stewart mashup. Seeing me naked)).

Item – The Riverside Clinic does this thing where they have you turn up for the initial consultation an hour early, for paperwork, and also so the male partner can retire to a private room and ‘provide a sample’. And then the results of the sample turn up mid-consultation (oh, good Lord, is this what money gets you?) So H was removed by a smiling friendly wee nurse leaving me in charge of the paperwork. I of course dropped the sodding lot all over the floor of the office, and while I was at it I dropped H’s music folder, and the nice lady helping me with it scrambled to pick sheaves of paper up for me. And handed me, poker-faced, the sheet-music for this*.

Item – It took me ten minutes sitting in the waiting-room, shoulders shaking, scarlet face in hands, to recover my composure. I’m quite sure the other couples thought I must have had NEWS OF EXCEEDING DOOM. Oopsie.

Item – H informs me the Riverside Wankatorium is devoid of Worrying Pictures Of My Parental Homes. It is also devoid of select images for the discerning gentleman’s gentleman (boo!) and the images presented for H’s delectation, while, he admits, were acceptable (real boobies!), they weren’t massively inspiring either. And he could hear people tramping up and down the corridor asking each other for files. Poor lamb. Nevertheless, his sample was magnificent, full to bursting with healthy handsome single-headed sperm swimming in nice straight lines. Dr George was pleased. I was pleased. H tried not to look smug.

Item – As for me, my AMH results from three years ago were so bloody spiffing, Dr George is quite sure my ovary is in tip-top condition, and likely to do rather well if encouraged. We’ll be retesting the AMH, but his optimism on the subject was bewilderingly lovely.

Item – The adenomyosis should not be a problem. I am the only person in the world concerned that I might give birth to Flat Stanley. And pregnancy would be good for the adenomyosis. Oh. OK. Oh. I… OK. *weeps with relief*

Item – My weight is not a factor. It’s not an issue. It was not worth even mentioning to me. We could cycle as soon as my period starts if I like. WHAT THE HOLY FUCK?

Item – Apparently, we have a pretty decent chance of getting a take-home baby with IVF. That’s hope right there, that is. I don’t do hope. I have not done hope for so long that it feels very much like it does when you’ve been kneeling awkwardly for hours and your foot has gone completely to sleep. You stand up and said numb foot is suddenly an agonising mass of tingles and throbs, and you can’t put any weight on it because it is not accepting neural feedback and feels like it’s made of jelly and wet sponges. Hope is decidedly unpleasant. Ow. Ow ow ow *hop hop* owie I think I might sit down again.

Item – And then we walked half-way across town in the rain. Because sometimes you just need to walk in the rain for a while.

Item – I’m having Drambuie on the rocks now. You?

*Providing link rather than naming the song, because not many choirs are singing it this summer, and we don’t want a massive H-TMI-reveal to his adoring fans, now, do we? No, we don’t. But the story was too good not to share. Shhh.


Pillar of salt

So I counted them all up.

Nine miscarriages.

Nine.

Shit. How did this happen to me? To us? How?

Shit.

I need a drink.


On it not being Mothers’ Day

Five years ago, pretty exactly, we were here. And it was such a beautiful place to be.

Whereas we spent this afternoon going through all the paperwork from all our medical tests and procedures, making sure we had a full set of all the relevant results for H to sneak into work and photocopy tomorrow, for the benefit of the Riverside Clinic. And this is not a beautiful place to be. Not at all. Five years, and all we have to show for it is an inch-thick stack of doctors’ letters.

I have friends who can talk of nothing else but whether or not their four-year-olds did or did not get into their primary school of choice, and how silly and expensive the uniforms are. And I am not able to join in. And I should, I really really should, be joining in.

And then, of course, there’s the Trial-By-Drive-By-Mother’s-Day. It is not Mother’s Day in the UK. We did that in March. I’m not sure I need all my favourite social media to be plastered with variations of ‘honk if you love motherhood!’. Nevertheless, I am clearly wrong and making a private gesture of affection to, well, your own mother, is inadequate and the only way to prove you love her and love being a mother (hurrah for you) is to post passive-aggressive self-aggrandising horse-wallops about it on all the internets. Because if you just send the poor woman flowers, who’s gonna know. And if you accidentally grind broken glass into the hearts of everyone who has lost their mother, or never had a mother, or was abused by their mother, or who can’t be a mother, so what, eh? Serves them right for not being normative.

(No, really, there are people on the internet who think that if you’re not a mother, you’re not even a woman, and nothing you are doing could possibly be as worth-while as raising children, and you know nothing about love and self-sacrifice, you selfish selfish party-hopping waster. I think they might have a hard time selling that one to Mother Theresa or Susan B. Anthony or Emily Dickinson or Queen Elizabeth I or Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell or Amelia Earhart or… you get my point, I hope. *Flail-hands*)

Anyway. This post is brought to you by Bitter McTwisted The Angry Infertile and Not Enough Tequila.

So, H and I sorted through the letters, and I had a panic attack (whyever not?) and H had a moment of ‘not listening! Am made of teflon!’ which neatly derailed the panic attack because I had to stop and shout at him, and then we had a prolonged and weepy conversation about how fucked up my family was for a change, and then my mother rang to offer me moral support and millions of pounds to do this possible IVF also three nights in a health spa if I liked or possibly craniosacral therapy because that is the new acupuncture, and I felt like an idiot. And then we went through the letters properly and with tears in our eyes because, actually, this recurrent miscarriage business is really, really, really fucking horrible.

And, possibly in self-defence, I find I keep losing track of how many miscarriages I’ve actually had, and when. Things I was so sure I’d never do. Surely each and every one was burnt into my brain forever. Surely. And now I must go back through my blog and my diary and my inch-thick stack of letters, and count them all.