Monthly Archives: July 2013

On further outing (nothing bad has happened yet)

A couple of days ago I was commuting to work, as one does. My route takes me through an extremely large and busy train station, and as I was trotting along the main concourse, I walked smack into my mother.

Which surprised me, as I thought she was still on holiday.

‘Oh, no, we got back last night,’ she said, kissing me. ‘We’re in town to do some shopping and speak to business people. How are you, my darling? You look well. Is there any news?’

With great presence of mind, as I am trained like one of Pavlov’s dogs to never lie to my mother (it’s a bit of an affliction, to be honest), I said: ‘We can have a proper chat later.’

‘Oh, that would be lovely! Lets have tea together! What time do you finish work tonight?’

Christ.

So I spent half the day panicking about How To Tell My Mother. In the event, panic wasted, as her business meetings overran by hours, and we agreed tea was to be postponed to another day. Of course, then H and spent the next few days twitching every time the phone rang, in case it was her. But she is very busy, and so far it hasn’t been. This will not last.

As for my Dad (my parents are divorced, and live at opposite ends of the country), he is currently much preoccupied with his own serious health issues. However, he gets very peeved if he realises he’s the last to find out family news. If I tell Mum, I’ll have to tell him shortly afterwards. And yet, I do not want to enfretulate him. He has a heart condition, after all. God damn it.

And then there’s H’s parents, about whom I am feeling complicated and prickly. I started miscarrying in a slow, dreary, tedious way on their sofa-bed once, Christmas 2009, and their response to that sorry event can be summed up here. I’ve never really quite got over that, and now that I think of it at length (instead of slamming the file shut whenever my mind strays over there), it has all put a bit of a crimp in our relationship. I don’t want to upset them, or be a source of grief to them, and I am very sad they haven’t had the grandchildren of their own that they want so much. But on the other hand, I’m not sure I care for their bland indifference to our, mine and H’s, actual physical and emotional suffering, coupled with tactless trampling on sensitive issues and moments of extreme awkwardness whenever the subject of childlessness comes up. And no, I don’t care for the business of educating them about ART. We’re all discussing the pros and cons of 3-day versus 5-day CGH-array embryo testing, and they’re all ‘have you read this article in the local newspaper about full-fat dairy products improving fertility?’ They mean well, obviously, but they are trailing about five or six years behind us in terms of getting their heads round our journey, and it drives me fucking nuts. This is your son, your family, your loved ones. Sack the fuck up and pay attention, for the love of Christ.

And therefore, I do not, absolutely not, no-how, want to tell them I am pregnant, have them all be happy, and then tell them I miscarried and have them all sail straight back onto their river-cruise in Egypt and make like it never happened. That would pretty much ruin our relationship for years to come.

H is in charge of telling his parents about our fertility issues, as I am in charge of telling mine. Both sets of parents are a few miscarriages short of the grand total (discussing the very early ones is just beyond me, to be honest. They are important medical information and cumulatively have done something ghastly to my psyche, but as individual events they’re all a bit ‘oh fuck not again,’ rather than soul-crushing). I think we missed a trick, not telling them the grand total earlier. I wish we’d also spent time telling them what is and isn’t supportive behaviour. But, to be fair, they have had Bad Sad Times of their own recently, and it never seemed the right moment, and now in this corner we are painted.

What to do, Gentle Readers? What to do? Keeping in mind that my Mum the Incurable Excitable Chatterbox talks regularly and gossipily to H’s parents, so if we tell her, we shall have to tell them within days. And I don’t know if I can keep this from Mum all the way until the scan, because she was trained by the KGB and also, they all know we were planning on doing IVF this summer. We communicated that much, at least.

(This is all very silly, isn’t it? What a cheeringly daft thing to have got my knickers in a knot about. TELLING FAMILY).

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Outed (nothing bad has happened yet)

On Monday, as planned, H and I went to see the GP, in order to get all my miraculous baby-sparing medications transferred to NHS prescriptions, which would be ever so much cheaper and easier to refill.

Naturally, I became terribly anxious (read: freaked out, snapped at H for no particular reason, had anxiety dreams) about this. I had visions of doctors refusing to do this without a proper letter from Dr George (we’d only managed to crowbar a rather vague email out of him), or refusing to do this on principle because it was a private IVF cycle (you know, like cosmetic dentistry), or refusing to do it because they didn’t understand why we’d want these drugs in the first place (in NHS IVF, they often have you stop progesterone on getting a positive pregnancy test (I know! What the serious fuck? And then they wonder why NHS success rates suck compared to private! How about because they treat it as vanity bollocks and don’t keep up with the research at-fucking-all?)).

Yeah, no. We saw a rather eager young chap who not only cheerfully and instantly sprang to his computer and printed out handfuls and handfuls of prescriptions for me, but also booked me into the NHS antenatal service, tested my urine for sugar and protein as if I were a normal pregnant woman (all fine, BTW), and wrote me out a Maternity Exemption certificate. This piece of NHS starlike wonder and genius guarantees that all pregnant women do not have to pay a penny for any even vaguely pregnancy-related medications for up to a year after the birth of their child. To make up for the being-shit-about-infertility part. This certificate is now stuck to my fridge, so I can stare at it in bewilderment and awe with all the more ease.

And then I went to work, and very discreetly, by email, let my boss (who knew I was doing IVF) and the office manager (who has to sort out which category sick-leave and doctors’ appointments fall under, because pregnancy stuff is tracked separately so as not to affect sick leave entitlement), that I was, in fact, uh, well, oh for God’s sake, pregnant (eeeeeeep I typed it I typed it eeeeeeeeeeep). And could we keep it quiet just for now, please and thank you.

Since when, my boss has given the world’s worst performance ever as discreet secret-keeper. She turned, on the instant, into the Mr Bean of discretion. I’m surprised she doesn’t *wink wink nudge nudge* me every time she speaks to me. For example, this morning I got caught in the rain on my way to work, and feeling chilled and disgruntled, I grabbed a decaf coffee. I have studied the available guidelines from several sources, and it seems that the magic number to stay under is 200mg of caffeine a day, and one frikken’ decaf has between 10 and 50. Also, I usually drink several coffees a day, and colleagues do actually notice and comment when I cut down (May: wild hair, glasses, nerdy teeshirt, coffee cup). So, decoy coffee, if you will. I had not yet sat my damp self down at my desk when Boss popped up and gasped: ‘Oh, May, is that coffee? Should you be drinking that?’ ‘It’s decaf,’ I said. I should’ve said ‘Of course not. It’s methadone,’ but I was tired and undercaffeinated. ‘I should phone your husband and let him know!’ she trilled. I smiled, weakly, incandescing under my various colleagues’ curious glances.

(Phone my husband oh my horsey God).

Later, she freaked out when I went to go pull something out from under my desk, and got a male colleague to come and do it for me. Which he did one-handed, and then gave us both a very curious stare, while I went absolutely puce with mortification.

I may have accidentally murdered her before the end of the 1st trimester. Or, because I simply must not strain myself, got any number of willing colleagues to do it for me.

It dawns on me that I do not have a repeat prescription for the Metformin. So I shall have to go and annoy the GPs again tomorrow. Bother.


Nothing bad has happened yet

We’re still here. May, H, and the putatively rapidly-increasing-to-orange-pip-size embryo (you had better be increasing to orange pip, young lady/man. Or there will be tears (mine, obviously. I don’t think you get around to lachrymal glands for weeks and weeks)).

I took the official, digital, expensive HPT on Friday morning. It briskly came up with ‘pregnant, 1-2 weeks’ (meaning since conception). So there you go. I then left a message for the IVF nurses at Riverside and went on my merry way to work.

(Holy crap. I’m pregnant).

The IVF nurses and I played a few rounds of telephone tag (there’s no phone signal in my office. Hurrah) before I managed to nail one of them down in the office.

‘So, you’re reporting a positive pregnancy test? Let me find your notes… Oh! I see we transferred an absolutely perfect, beautiful embryo! Well done! And a positive pregnancy test this morning! Congratulations!’

‘Thank you,’ I said blushing ferociously, halfway up an alley next to a building-site.

‘So, six week scan, let me see, how does August 15th sound? It’s more like six weeks and a bit…’

‘*sotto voceOr damn near seven weeks*’

‘Byeeee! Good luck! Keep taking the medications! Call us if you have any questions! Good luck! Perfect embryo!’

These last at a bellow because the cement-mixer had just started up.

H and I are perfectly reasonable specimens, but perfect? We made something perfect? Well, we did (6AA, 42 chromomes in neat pairs) but how?

On my way home from work, I stopped at Riverside’s pharmacy to collect the last of my prescription for Clexane and Cyclogest. I’d wimped out of having more than 14 days’ worth of both in the house in case I got a negative and had to sit there and stare at the boxes while weaning myself off steroids and bleeding that perfect embryo out in a tsunami of gore. But even with the rest of the prescription safely gathered in, I don’t have enough to last next week. The plan is, on Monday, to go to the GP and get them all transferred to NHS prescriptions. And if there’s any delay or issue with that, we’ll have time to get a renewal from Dr George and, oh, I don’t know, sell a kidney or something.

We also need to arrange for my second Intralipid infusion, which is also supposed to happen at around week six.

I am going to be discommoding work repeatedly for weeks, aren’t I? First person to say ‘Pregnancy is not an illness!’ gets karate-chopped in the throat.

Speaking of which, symptoms! Feel free to skip!

  • Breasts – sensitive and bullet-nippled for the first week or so I spent on progesterone. And then they got bored and dozed off. And that is where they remain. Underwhelmed. Noncommittal.
  • Nausea – nope. Not since the brief brush with OHSS. I do feel vaguely averse to raw egg-whites and mayonnaise, and chocolate seems pointless and tastes funny.
  • Metal-mouth – Yes! Plain water tastes awful, so this pregnancy continues to be sponsored by Gatorade (H bought gallons of the stuff in case the OHSS settled in for a while).
  • Cramps – intermittent, worse in the evenings or after a walk. I am doing my best to ignore them. You hear that, Cute Ute? I am ignoring you, you whiny bitch. And leave that embryo in peace. It’s supposed to be digging a hole right into your lining. Satsuma, meanwhile, lets off occasional twinges and dull achery, because why the fuck not? She never normally bitches during the luteal phase, but I think she is still sulking about the 18+ follicles and being shoved hard towards a two-foot needle.
  • Headache – slight, persistent, possibly due to sleep deprivation. Progesterone normally makes me sleepy. Well, my own progesterone does. This ersatz stuff in cooter bullets clearly substandard.
  • Belly – absolutely covered in bruises, from pin-head scarlet blood-blisters to socking great lurid blue green purple blotches. Oh, Clexane. I am less likely to bruise if I put an ice-pack on for a few minutes before and after injecting, and if I depress the plunger on the syringe v-e-r-y slowly. No, slower than that, even. Slower.
  • Cooter – (look, I said you could skip this) a little itchy, but hasn’t produced any spotting again. However, the waxy, slithery sensations of melting pessary/suppository are not nice. And my knickers do not approve. Yes, yes, I have panty liners, but I’ve never really liked wearing them, either. No, this is not sexy. No, we haven’t had sex since before retrieval. Damn it all.

So, yes, here we are. I have known I was pregnant since Tuesday morning, and Nothing Bad Has Happened Yet. That’s six whole days. It is not how we do things chez May. It just is not. I don’t really know how to deal with it. Optimism and good cheer seem ridiculously premature, anxious gloom is just churlish.


A certain place of tiredness

Item – I now have four peesticks lined up on the bathroom windowsill, each one with the second line a shade more marked and obvious than the last. You have to squint at the one I took on Tuesday morning. This morning’s? It’s still faint, but you can see it feet away. I don’t think even Bitter McTwisted can argue that they’re all faulty (all three different brands), but occasionally she tries.

Item – we have a fancy digital peestick for tomorrow’s Official And We Phone The Clinic test. I’ve never used a fancy digital one before.

Item – The spotting from Tuesday has not reoccurred. I concluded that it probably was caused by the progesterone pessaries and went aft instead, effectively converting them into suppositories, ho ho. And so now I have a sore sensation in my back passage as well. I’m buggered either way (ho ho ho). Another eight weeks of this I am to hope for. Huh.

Item – I was not only bloated and miserable, but viciously crampy last night. Cute Ute felt hard and heavy and somehow full of corners. The funny thing is, she used to feel like this when I was pregnant with Pikaia. It’s eerie. (For newcomers to the blog, Pikaia was my first pregnancy, five years ago, and the one I got furthest along with before she was revealed to be a blighted ovum, poor little sod, who had no intention of going anywhere on her own and had to be surgically removed. Which turned into a shitstorm. Yay memories!). I lay down and drank Gatorade and water, and it didn’t help much, and I had a bloody miserable night with no sleep, bonus rainstorm at 2am, and a snoring husband (I will staple his bottom lip to his nose, so help me). This morning, I had the runs. OH JOY. Which of the many drugs, hormones, or excess heat coursing through me caused that, eh? So I stayed at home. And stared vaguely into space a lot. And now I have cramps again. Are the cramps just going to be A Thing every evening?

Item – Oh! A fun thing! DrSpouse was in town yesterday, and we had a quick lunch together, sitting in the shade on a bench. That was nice.

Item – H and I are being very… restrained… in our expressions of jubilation. In our feelings of jubilation. Because history. We just sit about having occasional sensible discussions about scheduling scans and whether I’ve drunk enough water today. We have yet to tell family on either side, for example. We haven’t had that discussion yet.

Item – I am probably going to have to tell work in the next few days, because I will be scheduling eight trillion pregnancy-related doctors’ appointments and per law, if it’s pregnancy related, you get paid time off to attend. It feels weird, wrong and stupid to tell work before I tell my parents, but I am a snowflake and everything in my reproductive history is weird, wrong and stupid, so fuck it. Also, if this goes wrong (ohpleasepleasepleaseno) I am taking the rest of the Summer off and damn the consequences, only, consequences may well be slightly less damnable if work has an inkling why I have lost my tiny mind and fucked off into the outer blue yonder.

Item – My Dad has had some awkward news about his health, and has been read the Riot Act about his drinking and smoking. Total abstinence may save his life. He has announced that he will now try total abstinence, and I feel wry, sad, and cynical about it all. Because history. Having his sesame-seed-sized grandchild on board adds a rather gloomy flavour of poignancy and regret. Will this one get to play with Grandpapa? Will Grandpapa get to play with it?

Item – And there are several dear people out there who are not pregnant now. And we would’ve been pregnant together. And it’s so sad. So endlessly, hugely sad.


Believe in the line

Early morning dialogues chez May & H:

‘H? Don’t you want to look at this?’
‘What am I looking at? Oh. Well, I can’t see anything.’
‘You can’t see… With what eyes are you looking, for fuck’s sake?’
‘Really tired ones. What with the storm last night, I did not exactly sleep.’
‘Neither did I. Just look at it.’
‘OK… Oh. Huh. That’s really quite faint.’
‘Yeah. It came up within three minutes, though.’
‘Oh.’
‘Five days past six day transfer on a cheap Internet peestick. That claims a sensitivity of 10miu.’
‘Oh.’

Oh my Gentle Readers, the romance. The adorableness. It’s exactly how we all dream of telling our partners.

Later:
‘So you’re going to work this morning?’
‘Yes. I feel fine, and I need to think of Something Else for the rest of the day.’
‘Well, take care. And remember not to freak out if you get cramps. As far as I can tell from twitter, everyone gets cramps.’

Bless the man.

So I went to work, and thought about Something Else for as many chunks of the day as I could muster. Work also had air conditioning. I know we had a massive storm last night (‘It lives! It LIVES!Bwahahahaha!‘), and they’re supposed to clear the air, but this city is still and exactly like sitting in a bowl of nasty hot chicken soup. Complete with unwelcome feet and a greasy film all over everything.

And yes, I have cramps. More infuriatingly, I had a trace of pink spotting. Some gentle investigating with a tissue leaves me completely unsure as to whether it originates from deep within, or from the more outward area of my precious, and said precious is actually feeling a tad sore from all the ghastly waxy glop of dissolving progesterone pessaries, also I am on Clexane. So I freaked out for about ten minutes and then talked myself down off the ledge.

Actually, no, I did not freak out, exactly. I was actually hijacked but completely by Bitter McTwisted, who looked at the trace of pink on the toilet paper and laughed, acidly, because chemical pregnancies are what Mays do best. Who the hell was I to think this one would go any differently? It would never go any differently. This was insane and I was a fool. An utter, utter fool.

And then the Positive Thinking Fairy got her in a headlock and dragged her back to my hind-brain. They’ve been duking it out ever since. Don’t they ever get tired? As I type, the Positive Thinking Fairy is listing everything that is different this time, the progesterone support, the Prednisolone, the Metformin, the bloody Clexane (wanna see my bruises?), and Bitter McTwisted is leaning back, staring at the ceiling, muttering ‘yes, but this is May we’re talking about’ whenever Positive draws breath.

I’m not sure which of them dragged me into a chemist on the way home and held out a box of peestick and some money to the lady at the till. This peestick, an ‘Early Bird’, which the internets later told me had a sensitivity of 50miu, also came up with a faint positive within 3 minutes. Christ, those internet cheapies are cheap pieces of shit, aren’t they?


Satsuma’s Revenge

We can’t not have a little melodrama around here, Gentle Readers.

So, we transferred one absolutely perfect embryo on Thursday – a Day 6 transfer, because of the testing. Friday, I felt fine. H and I went to see the GP in the morning, to see if i could get the next 12 weeks-worth of medication on the NHS should it become necessary, and could i be dealt with by the high-risk obstetrics team rather than the midwives? answers yes and yes, and the GP was ever so sweet and concerned, which made me feel weepy. I took a short walk to the town centre to do a couple of errands, and then mostly lounged about. Saturday, I felt fine. H and I went on an outing to the great big botanical gardens and wandered through the trees and flower beds in the pleasingly slightly-cooler weather, eating ice-cream.

Sunday, therefore, I woke up at about six in the morning, feeling sick. The nausea faded a fair bit after a cup of tea and a few spoons of yoghurt, so we decided to stick with our original plan and go out for breakfast. By the time we’d walked the 20 minutes to our favourite purveyor of stonking great breakfasts, I was feeling sick again, bizarrely short of breath, pale, and sweating profusely (I don’t sweat profusely. I just get sticky). I only managed about four or five mouthfuls, handed my plate over to H, and sat sipping my ginger tea in increasing discomfort, yawning and gasping for air. We decided that I should get the bus straight home.

After lying down and drinking a bottle of Gatorade, I felt distinctly better, but disgustingly bloated. So I weighed myself. Holy hell, I’d put on seven whole pounds since the beginning of the IVF cycle. Huh. And standing up was making me pant and yawn again, so I went back to bed.

By evening I felt awful. Satsuma, weird bloody gonad, was fine, merely twingeing dully every now and then. But the rest of me? I had pains in my back, stomach, chest and ribs, could only breathe (relatively) normally lying on my right side, felt sick, had heartburn, and could not force myself to drink without gagging and retching. All the drinks just… sat in my stomach, sloshing about and adding to the unpleasant sensations of pressure.

H (poor H. What was the one thing that freaked him out about IVF? Me getting OHSS) eventually called Riverside’s emergency number and spoke to a nurse who agreed it did sound very like OHSS and gave him a list of serious danger signs (vomiting, dizziness, severe pain, stopping peeing, very dark pee) at which point to take me to a hospital. If I still felt that uncomfortable in the morning, call the clinic and get seen then.

The night was not good. I got very little sleep and could not get comfortable. Eventually, I managed to start taking sips at five-to-ten minute intervals from the Gatorade bottle without retching, and by 7am managed half a cup of tea. After a bit, my bladder announced she was functioning just dandy-oh, thank you, and then I drank some more, ate a little yoghurt so I could force down the Metformin and Prednisolone, and then a couple of paracetamol to deal with the persistent back and rib pain. I even had pain in my shoulder, like the referred pain after abdominal surgery. Gah. Gah, I say, also bah and pah. I had however deflated noticeably – I weighed myself again and had lost five pounds overnight.

I’m not feeling too bad at the moment. Apart from the psychological trauma of having to explain OHSS to my boss, with reference as to why I wasn’t coming into work (‘It’s not an ‘implant’, it’s a transfer. And now I am going to say “leaking ovaries”. Leaking ovaries! So there!’).

Oh, And Dr Google insisting cheerfully that developing OHSS post-transfer can be a sign that… you know… because OHSS is brought on by HCG, and now the HCG trigger is out of a lass’s system, where else would she get more from? Bugger Dr Google anyway.


Star

You can always tell when a May is excessively nervous. She does housework. Normally I regard housework with the finical loathing of a millionairess asked to pick through the recycling for food scraps on a very hot day. My first dissertation however and for example saw me scrubbing all the grouting between the bathroom tiles with bicarbonate of soda and an old toothbrush. This morning, I washed dishes (I confess, we had reached a Dish Crisis) and tried to ignore the insistent stinging focus of every neurone I possess on the phone. The embryologists weren’t due to call until midday and I was scowling at it through the back of my head by 10:45.

And H had a nap, because he had spent the entire night lying awake rigid as a board in an unholy puddle of angst, heat and cotton mouth.

And they rang! Just after midday! As promised! (I am still finding it novel to be rung by a lab when it says it’s going to ring).

‘Is that May? It’s the embryologist. I have good news!’ And I promptly went a little giddy.

The good news? The two ‘good’ embryos were just that – good, hatched, developing, and chromosomally normal. The third, the slightly lazier one, was abnormal. The Wee Fourth’s wee hiccough did not in fact yield a result, but it looked rather crummy this morning, so it has been benched.

We were told to come in for transfer as soon as possible, and to think about whether we wanted to transfer one or two while we travelled, and I tell you, it’s hard to think about these things and find your shoes wallet hat knickers (what? I was in the shower just before they called) and bus pass. And we were a tad bemused. Doctor George had made a strong case in favour of transferring one. Two embryos wouldn’t necessarily increase the chance of a pregnancy, but twins are riskier, both to the mother and themselves, and my uterus (sorry, Cute) is a stiff distorted heap of rust to start with. H is somewhat skeeved by the idea of putting me at any extra risk (remember how he freaked out about OHSS before IVF was even really on the cards?). He also, I think, likes the idea of having One In Reserve, and FETs can do better than fresh IVF, because an embryo that survives thawing is one tough cookie, and the uterine environment is nicer for not having been jack-hammered with fertility drugs. We were all ‘good reasons for one at a time!’ So we sat on a bus and boiled and Talked Cryptic. And decided that unless they had a new bit of information that Changed Everything, we’d go with one.

And then we reached Riverside (‘Good luck!’ said the Receptionist), wandered off to the waiting room (‘Hi!’ said Dr George, rushing past in scrubs and carrying a sandwich) and sat there, tweeting nervously (it’s the beans) and wishing I could go pee.

As I have already remarked on this ‘ere blog, Riverside has a seemingly unlimited supply of charming medical staff. We were called through by yet another one, in pink scrubs this time, and led to a room containing two chairs, a gynaecological couch with stirrups, an ultrasound machine, the door to an en suite toilet, and in the wall next to the couch, a serving-hatch. ‘Do you have a full bladder? Yes? Good! That *pointing at the toilet door* is for later.’ She then went off to fetch a doctor (we knew it wouldn’t be Dr George as he was clearly doing retrievals (and sandwiches)).

Transfer Doctor was a sweet, pretty lady. (I don’t know about you, but I personally feel more self conscious about a pretty lady looking up, err, me than I do about a chap, on the principle of, if you ain’t got one, you don’t get to judge). She opened the hatch and lo and behold, it led to the Lair of the Embryologists, and an absolute poppet in a pink hair net poked her head through to check I was me, and H was H, and to say good luck, and then went off to fetch our embryos. And then another embryologist appeared at the hatch – it was the one we originally had our consultation with all the way back in June – just and cheerfully to say good luck. I like Riverside.

We established that there was no more information to suggest transferring both rather than one was a better idea. So we decided to transfer the starriest, prettiest embryo, and freeze the handsome second one, graded respectively as 6AA and, I think, 6AB (or was it 6BA?).

(6AA? We produced a 6AA? How?)

(WordPress app. is not letting me do links this evening, or I’d link you to an explanation of Day 5 blastocyst grading)

And then I got to take my skirt, knickers and sandals off and put my Lucky Fluffy Socks (gift of Shannon (hi Shannon!)) and clamber onto the couch, H sitting close to my head where he could see the ultrasound screen and the tv screen on the wall above it. Pretty Doctor winched me open, using the longer speculum (Cute Ute, being ‘bulky’, no longer fits behind my pelvic bone and instead rests her weary fundus on top of it, and my bladder, so, uh, is further ‘up’ than she used to be. It’s a thing. Fucking adenomyosis). She then proceeded to scrub my cervix clean ‘of mucous’ (it’s meant to have mucous. It’s a protective coating) with what felt like mop, broom, window scraper and street-cleaner truck with whirling brushes. And then we threaded a test catheter in, which I barely felt (my cervix has always been cooperative). And then we waited. And waited. Me with a breeze where one does not normally feel one. Eventually the Nurse called through the hatch: ‘Hey! We have a lady here with a full bladder!’

‘And a speculum up her vagina!’ chimed in the Pretty Doctor.

‘No sense of priorities, these embryologists,’ added the Nurse, ‘Next week I’ll make them lie there with a speculum up them and a full bladder… Of course, I don’t know where I’d put the speculum in Fred… ‘

Giggling hysterically with your vagina full of ironmongery and a full bladder is also quite a thing, by the way.

Poppet popped her head back through apologetically to ask if we wanted to see the embryo. Yes please! Who on earth wouldn’t? And after a few moments it appeared on the TV screen. starOh my God. It’s… It’s an actual embryo. With a trophoblast, an inner cell mass, and a neat little cavity. It was textbook. I actually teared up.

Another pause while they coaxed it into a catheter, and ceremonially handed this over to the Nurse, who ceremonially handed it to the Pretty Doctor, before taking on the ultrasound machine and prodding me about to get a view of Cute Ute’s inner workings. Cute Ute not being exactly where she should be, this took a minute of determined if apologetic pressing on my bladder from all angles. And then we watched the catheter appear in my uterus, and be withdrawn, leaving a little, white, magical dot behind.

And another pause, me still full of contraptions and bonus covered in gel, while the catheter was handed back through the hatch and checked to make sure it was empty. It was! And I was finally emptied of metal and allowed, oh bliss! to go pee. (And put my clothes back on).

We were handed a photo of our 6AA embryo as a souvenir, so we took it with us to lunch at an American-style diner. Burgers and fries and milkshakes. Every fresh little embryo whose had a hard 24 hours being tested needs a milkshake.

As for the other one, we asked them to freeze it, and what then? Well. It depends on what happens next. So we all four are waiting, and H is googling special offers on peesticks.

Strange world. Normally thrusting your progeny into a chest freezer for an indefinite period of time would be considered abusive.

P.S. As I type this, H is trying to tell his father we are doing IVF this summer without letting it slip that, err, we’ve done it. Teeheehee! Secret Squirrel! I did the exact same thing with my mother on Tuesday!