Category Archives: Clomid Chronicles

The wisest are the most annoyed at the loss of time

So! Cycle 50… something? 53? I think it’s 53. Let’s say it’s cycle 53 of May and H’s Baby Quest of Doom.

[Awww. The Triumph of Hope over Experience. It’s quite inspiring, really – Positive Thinking Fairy]

[Oh my God, woman, this isn’t the Triumph of Hope over Experience, this is the Triumph of Bloody-Minded Yet Completely Mindless Biological-Impulse Driven Arseholery over Every Single Form of Common Sense and Decency – Bitter McTwisted]

H and I are composing an email to Doctor Expensive, to ask him if he a) has the biopsy results, and b) has formulated A Plan for us, and finally c) is this Plan batshit crazy or doable?

I am not interested in taking drugs like Humira or Nupogen, which have severe side-effects up to and including cancer, and have no real research behind them to back up their effectiveness in preventing miscarriage caused by auto-immune issues. Anyhow, if my endometrium is not riddled with killer cells, then this class of drugs would be – hahahaha – overkill.

I am prepared to do LIT, despite the lack of randomised double-blind placebo-controlled studies, as the side-effects are not nearly so scary, and the risks therefore acceptable. Also, H is keen on the idea, as he appreciates the logic of trying to get my immune system to recognise his DNA as very foreign and therefore extending it uterine diplomatic immunity. And I am happy to make H happy.

I am not only prepared but very eager to use Intralipids, steroids and progesterone support. My immune system is clearly pissed off and needs placating, and my luteal phase has always been a tad short.

I am not prepared to take Clomid again, and I may lose it and bite Dr Expensive if he suggests it again (but see Clomid Chronicles in sidebar, there).

I am prepared to do, say, up to three natural (all the fun of the fair in your own bedroom!) cycles, medicated with the above.

If the stress of au naturel becomes, eh, this is awkward, too stressful for timely matrimonial activity during these three putative cycles, I shall, oh, I don’t know. I honestly don’t know. Lose my freakin’ mind, I suppose. Threaten H with a testicular biopsy. Run screaming down the street stark naked. Join a nunnery. All three at once.

And then, IVF. On intralipids and steroids, top-up LIT, perhaps. Progesterone support would be mandatory, of course.

If Dr Expensive has other ideas, he’d better be damn convincing. I am sick of passively obeying doctors and telling my gut instinct it doesn’t have medical training so it should be quiet. Look where doing that has got me.

(P.S. – I’m getting a fair few ‘click overs’ to my blog from Facebook. I am exceedingly curious as to who is mentioning me over there and in what context. Anyone care to enlighten me? Please?)

We are but poor, lost circus performers.

Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

First there was the immense Awkward of trying to explain to several different people (boss, HR representative, one-man time-table organizational mishap who is nevertheless in charge of the time-table) that as much as I appreciated the appointment with the Occupational Health consultancy, I may not be able to attend, and could not tell them yay or nay on that for another couple of days, and I am aware this sounds bat-shit but it would sound less bat-shit if I were allowed to say ‘ovulation’ and ‘fairly predictable luteal phase’ and ‘basal body temperature idiosyncrases’ – and I promise I draw the line at saying ‘EWCM’ – without everyone wandering what in the name of wonder I am talking about.

I am talking about Shark Week, goddamnit.

The Awkward did not in any way get resolved. I am just hoping I am correct in assuming that the appointment will fall on 12dpo and Satsuma won’t decide to jettison the corpus luteum early as a surprise treat and that therefore I will not be prevented from using public transport by a total inability to stand for more than a minute or so without vomiting or bleeding all over my trousers or getting cramp in the thigh so vicious I fold in the middle like a deck-chair and clatter gracelessly to the ground.

To those of you, bless you, who suggested I go to the appointment anyway, even if it is on Day Two/Three: The Sharks Are Eating Each Other, I can only shrug helplessly. I can’t. That’s the point. I can’t journey for an hour, either by taxi or public transport, while puking, fainting, stoned out of my gourd on diclofenac and tramadol, and literally hamstrung and crippled by cramp, and then actually hold anything approximating a conversation, and then journey back home for another hour. That’s the POINT. I CAN’T DO IT. That’s why I don’t go to work on those days. Not because it hurts and I don’t like it, but because I BLOODY CAN’T. If I stayed home every day it hurt and I didn’t like it, I’d only leave the house ten days a month.

On which snivelling note of self-pity, I will only add that if Shark Week commences on the date more convenient for the Occupational Health thingy, it will be full-on Everything In Reach Is Chum mode on the very days H and I got Paralympics tickets for. Which is… annoying.

I fucking hate living my life in four-to-five-week increments, with no forward planning possible. I really, really fucking hate it.

Anyway! Onwards! We have the whole ‘Better Living By Expensive Chemistry’ to discuss!

Augmentin – The high vaginal swab perpetrated on me by Dr Expensive at the beginning of July showed that I am one of the 20% to 40% of women who carry Group B Streptococcus in their, well, bits. And to most adults, it’s harmless. It just… sits there. About a third of men have it too. I had no symptoms, and indeed most women don’t. However, it can – rarely but who fucks with statistics when they’re already on the wrong side of them? – infect babies during birth and make them very bloody ill indeed, and there’s a risk of it being forced into my uterus (which is otherwise infection-free, according to the menstrual sample) during my upcoming endometrial biopsy. So I am taking Augmentin for ten days each, and so is H, because if he is a) having quite a lot of unprotected sex with me (and, well, of course he is) and b) a carrier himself, we could just pass it back and forth between ourselves in a years-long game of Creepy Bacterial Tennis.

(Side note – on discovering I was a GBS carrier, that evening I turned to H and said ‘You know my boss is a bit of a germophobe? Well now I have the perfect excuse for skiving off! I shall just call her up and tell her I have Strep cunt!’ And then I laughed immoderately for quite some minutes. Reviewing the incident now, I realise I am becoming Frankie Boyle of infertility. Send help).

Metformin – Dr Expensive, H and I had an Awkward of our own, in which he suggested if I was worried about timed sex, I could take Clomid, and I pointed out I’d done six rounds of Clomid and it made me anovulatory the last three, and he said if I was anovulatory I could take Clomid, and I said, no, the Clomid made me anovulatory, and he said Clomid would help, and I said no it wouldn’t, I’d taken Clomid, and it made me stop ovulating and he said, oh, why did I take Clomid, and I said because of the PCOS and he said what PCOS and I said what do you mean, what PCOS and he leafed frantically back through his notes from July and this is the sort of shit that happens if everything is wrong with you. Anyway, he thinks I should be on Metformin. Many years ago, when I was first Being Infertile, my GP suggested Metformin, but my infertility consultant vetoed it, on the grounds that I should control my weight by diet and exercise and if I took Metformin I’d never be able to stop (apparently this is bollocks). So I did it her way and lost 20 lbs or so and regained a regular cycle (when we stopped pissing Satsuma off with Clomid) and then had a squadrillion miscarriages and Miss Consultant has been as much help as a soap herring with the treatment suggestions since, so fuck it. I’ll try the Metformin.

The thing is, Dr Expensive has not ONCE suggested I lose weight. Not even so much as HINTED it. He just wants my blood-sugar and insulin as level and healthily low as possible.

I went to my own GP, anyway, and got him to prescribe the Metformin for me on the NHS, which he was totally happy and fine with. So there’s one expense spared. He also prescribed me an anti-spasmodic for the bowel, to help deal with the what we’re all reconning is Distressed-Uterus-induced diarrhoea and gut-cramp.

My own GP also agreed with me that it was a good idea to redo my thyroid panel, as the last one I had done turns out to have been in 2007. Which, incidentally, was normal. TSH<2, so REALLY normal, not just NHS-can’t-be-arsed-to-treat normal. On the other hand, 2007. Next trick, finding another free morning to present self to phlebotomist. GAH.

Intralipids, before ovulation, after ovulation, on becoming pregnant, and again before the end of week twelve. Hands up who saw that one coming. (Me! Me! I did! Me me me me me!).

Progesterone support – One of the test results indicated a type of autoimmune problem that leads to one’s progesterone production being screwed with. I have a shortish luteal phase, anything from 11 to 13 days, but usually 11 or 12. Yeah, I’m really not that good at making progesterone. Bring it on.

Clexane, also known as heparin. Fuck that aspirin nonsense! Stab yourself daily for, if you’re really lucky, 36 weeks! Yay! Also, heparin is anti-inflammatory. If it’s anti-inflammatory, May is going to be taking it.

Hence Prednisolone from before ovulation too. I am so not going to be competing in track and field any time soon.

Timed intercourse – just not this cycle, as I’m having a biopsy on Thursday (have I mentioned that?), and possibly not next cycle either as we’d booked a holiday in a fit of spontaneos optimisim.

LIT – Jesus. We’re basically throwing everything at this. EVERYTHING. With the option of IUI, IVF, seriously batshit experimental protocols involving drugs like Neupogen next. I said ‘NO FUCKING THANK YOU’ to the Neupogen, by the way. I like my spleen unexploded. But then I said NO FUCKING THANK YOU to LIT and got talked down in seventeen minutes by an H who wanted to give it a go and a Dr Expensive who just assumed we would do LIT, or why else had we come to him? Why indeed. At least LIT doesn’t have horrible side-effects beyond, hopefully, itchy welts. It’s supposed to leave itchy welts. It’s not working if it doesn’t.

This is all like standing on a very high diving-platform, waiting for the whistle (also the nerve) to jump. It makes me feel sick. If I don’t talk/think/write about it, perhaps I won’t have to deal with it. Or at least, I won’t have to notice the fact I’m dealing with it.

And that was the summed-up version.

Mother****ing Sunday

It’s not the best day of the year for the childless infertile woman, Mother’s Day. In Britain, we hold it on the fourth Sunday of Lent (i.e. today), and its roots are all entangled with Mothering Sunday, which was originally the day in Christian Europe when people who had moved away returned to their ‘mother’ church – the church where they were baptised – for a thanksgiving service in honour of the Virgin Mary. Of course, most people didn’t leave their village or town for generations, so not many people needed to do this. Later, in Britain at least, it became the Sunday servants were allowed to go home to their families for a little holiday, and that’s when it got inextricably linked to the idea of going to see one’s mother and celebrate her. When the celebration was revived during the First World War, it became explicitely about celebrating motherhood, and the original celebration of one’s first church and congregation got completely swamped.

Other countries hold the whole schemozzle in May. As the USA does this, and wherever America goes, Britain follows bleating like a lamb, we now seem to have two Mother’s Days. This one, where British mothers get their glitter-and-pasta-shape cards, breakfast in bed, and if they have sufficiently guilted prepared their partners, flowers and gifts, and the ‘internet’ one, where every fertile woman in Blighty joins in the FuckBonk memery and ‘copy and post this if you’ve ever…’ nauseating shite, for the sole purpose, as far as I can tell, of making all their childless and/or motherless acquaintances feel like a bucket of fermenting shit for the day.

So hello! Welcome to Bitter McTwisted’s Angry Festival!

(I’ve sent my mother a card. I am getting her a gift. I am grateful I have a mother I can send cards to. Look at me not letting Bitter McTwisted piss on anyone else’s day. I’m so good).

Every few weeks, H and I go out for brunch on a Sunday morning. We’re lucky – we live in walking distance of five good places to get splendid brunches, and given that I have totally, unconditionally, utterly banned H from getting his iPhone out at these meals, we actually get to chat and argue about Art and Politics and make each other laugh. This morning, H suggested we go out, as is out want, and just as I was scrambling out of bed it occurred to me: we live in Young Families Central. The last time we went out for a meal on Mothering Sunday it was like being dragged naked and screaming over a red hot microplane grater made of other people’s families (also, we got the shitty table in the corner with no flowers. Hell, yes, I’m bitter). So… we stayed in. You could say, in fact, that we skulked.

H spent the morning setting up his (technically, our, but All Shiny Thing Belong H, because though we eschew gender stereotypes chez nous with every fibre of our left-wing woolly-liberal hippy granola beings, well, I knit, and H likes fiddling with electronics) brand new can-talk-to-the-internet (it’s magic!) stereo. This caused a cascade of Things That Need To Be Updated And/Or Reset. This caused quite a lot of internet outages and non-workingness. This caused a bit of a row about the iTunes thingy H updated the permissions for on my lap-top weeks ago after I complained that it didn’t work for months, which of course still didn’t work because, remember, I switched lap-tops a few weeks ago, and the new lap-top also needed the permissions updated. Umm. Anyway, I lost my bloody mind and burst into tears, because it’s Mothering Sunday (bear with me (no, of course it’s not ‘bare with me’. Do I want us all naked together? Emphatically I do not. It’s bear, as in endure, put up with, have patience with. This is your grammarian public service announcement from blogland)).

I have an, eh, issue, shall we say, with people who allegedly know their shit telling me that whateveritis I am vapouring about isn’t a problem, or is already fixed already!, or dealt with in whatever way, while I stand there whimpering ‘but it doesn’t actually work! It really doesn’t!’. H, bless his Fix All The Things! little mind, has a bit of a record in this department when it comes to things electronic, because he really does know his shit and I really don’t. However, I do know when something’s not working, on account of not being an eejit who can’t tell the off-switch from the contrast button.

I also have an issue, of the huge, never-to-be-resolved, variety, with many doctors who, since I was fourteen, have told me my problems with very irregular periods, severe menstrual pain, and that awful lump I was sure I could feel in my lower abdomen, were variously, normal, all in my head, caused by constipation, and nothing to pester a doctor with. And so I lost my left ovary to a dermoid cyst or teratoma the size of a motherfucking grapefruit, that twisted, ripped my ovary in half, and gave me septicemia. Since then, I have had doctors who dismissed my increasingly-painful-even-on-the-pill periods as ‘not possible’, doctors who dismissed my weight-gain, acne and hairy upper lip as caused by my being lazy and over-eating, doctors who dismissed the fact I didn’t menstruate for nearly a year after coming off the pill as ‘one of those things’, doctors who kept telling me the reason I couldn’t get pregnant was because I was fat (and nothing to do with, say, anovulation and a collection of polyps all bleeding away like Iguazu), the reason I couldn’t stay pregnant was because I was fat (and nothing to do with, say, a blood-clotting disorder), and who when Clomid made me anovulatory said ‘huh’ and made me try Clomid again, even though it made me anovulatory, and doctors who didn’t bother to check my FSH/oestrogen balance on the right day of my cycle until I’d been in treatment for six motherfucking years (which proved my ‘fatness’ wasn’t, actually, fucking up my ovulation at all), doctors who insisted visit after visit that IVF would not help me get or stay pregnant, and all the while, time ran on, time ran out, I am 37 in May, and if, oh, if only someone had paid me, actual me who lives in this body and who has always been saying ‘this isn’t right’, some respectful attention, do you think I’d be nearly 37 with no children and seven dead ones and one ovary and a pelvis full of scar tissue and a womb agonisedly bloated with cysts and scars and misplaced endometrium? Not one of which issues had a motherfucking thing to do with the size of my arse?

So, yes, I lost my mind, I screamed at H, I cried. Mothering Sunday is a triggery bitch.

Two item posts in a row? You’re spoiling… something

Item – My laptop died. I think. Or at least is terminally unwell. I don’t know. I daren’t switch it off and on again in case it melts. But! Happy ending! I have a new (well, second-hand reconditioned) laptop! Which is not terminally unwell! So I may actually post more often, also comment! Wheeeeeeee!

Item – H isn’t very well. Actually, now we stop to do sums, we realised he hasn’t been entirely well for a couple of months, but we kept putting it down to stress (H very much emotes with his guts), or Christmassy rich food, or too much chocolate at Valentine’s Day, or, eh, well, whatever. So he went to the doctor, and the doctor said, oh dear, and wants to test his iron levels, his thyroid, his liver function, blood glucose, his bone somethingorother and his levels of creatine and urea (kidney function, right?). Just in case. Meanwhile H is having text-book symptomatology of IBS. Poor H. He would have IBS. I’ve just mentioned he emotes almost entirely with his gut. If he complains of stomach ache, my first question is now always ‘is anything stressing you out?’, because I know him. His gut knows he’s stressed before his brain does. So I worry. (I emote through the spasming arteries in my skull, whereas. And being wide awake).

Item – Dance workshop last weekend half-slayed me. I am still hobbling about and making distressing rusted-machinery noises every time I have to lift something heavy (including self out of armchair). Would I do it again? Oh, probably. But maybe not for another few months. Years. Months. Another lots of months.

Item – Tangientially, I was glaring at my (static) weight-loss ticker, and gearing up to give myself a psychological kicking, waily waily, which no doubt would have lead to OverEating Extravaganza and self-dislike-spiral-of-sulk, when it occurred to me to check the private little Bridget Jones-style list of weight-loss I was keeping a few months ago. Um. Well. Yes. I’m 5 pounds skinnier than I was then. I am the skinniest I have been for years. I am more than a stone lighter than I was on my wedding day. So, May, leave May the fuck alone, OK? OK. Right.

Item – On matters more internal, this past week has been rather hard on me. I’ve been having very painful cramps every day, usually worse at night (insomnia! There you are!), and generally feeling grim and tired and royally fucked off. Combine this with the Day of UnGodly Misery that kicked off my most recent period, and, well, what in buggery did I give wheat up for then? Eh? EH? Gah.

Item – Of course, Fertile Signs are Fertile again. Am I in the mood for sex? Am I fuck. Or, not fuck. Just, fuck everything. Even me, if possible. Fuck it.

Hacking onwards

Item – I’ve answered the final question at last (sorry, Womb for Improvement) on the 666 post, and I think that’s the lot. Please, please poke me if I’ve missed your question. I promise totally it was absence of mind, not avoidance of subject.

Item – I finally managed to nail down a receptionist at the GP’s (phones, they will not answer them. The one quirk in an otherwise excellent practice) to book a telephone appointment with a nurse, who will tell me whether or not I am anaemic and what to do about it at some point tomorrow morning. It all seems a tad convoluted, but clearly they must cater to patients who are hard of thinking and silly about Dr Google as well as to the Genius That Is Me. Also, Sod’s Law dictates the nurse will call me while I am up to my oxters in something complicated or in a meeting. Of course.

Item – Meanwhile, I am taking over-the-counter iron supplements, wotthehell wotthehell, and if it is anaemia, they are not cutting the bedamned mustard, in that I am still knackered, easily out of breath, prone to faintness, and inclined to occasional Restless Legs when tired of an evening.

Item – Restless Legs are not fucking funny. They’re driving me batshit. MUST. KICK. STRETCH. AIGH.

Item – It is 6dpo, for those of you keeping count and giving a monkey’s. Ovulation-wise, my last nine cycles have gone day 19, 18, 20, 22, 19, 21, 19, 17, 18. It’s got to the point where I even predict what week my period may well turn up before I ovulate. Something Is Bound To Go Wrong.

Item – On my last post, Carole comments:

Clearly ovulating at all IS a big plus, but I wish they would start taking some proper notice of the lateness of said ovulation. I’m still convinced that it was the main factor in my problems. Like you, I was always popping them out at about day 18/19 or even later and like you, I seemed to get to the pregnancy launch-pad considerably more often that one would think, given actual results. Then they hit me with the drugs and after the initial ”mutiny and general blow-up”, my ovaries fell into line and assumed text-book timing for the two normal cycles it took to hit the jackpot (Which they have maintained to this day, incidently, although it’s not worth them bothering anymore).

But Carole, I have been ‘hit with the drugs’. I did six Clomid cycles in 2008/2009. On the first one, I ovulated on day 25, no earlier than I do flying solo, and my luteal phase was still only 12 days. On the second, I ovulated on day 17, got pregnant, and miscarried at six weeks. On the third, I ovulated on day 18, and my luteal phase lasted only 12 days. On the fourth, I did not ovulate. At all. Cycle lasted 88 days and I took provera to end it. On the fifth, on a higher dose of Clomid, I… did not ovulate. Again, took provera eventually, cycle ended after 65 days. On the sixth go, I ovulated on day 44, which we all agreed clearly had fuck-all to do with the clomid I’d taken nearly six weeks beforehand. Short luteal phase, not pregnant. After six clomid cycles, three of them utter, utter duds despite the increasing dosage, I don’t get to do that kind of drug any more. On the NHS, six clomid cycles is your limit, because Clomid is not a tame drug, oh no. My ovary has been beaten enough. And since when, I’ve ovulated anywhere from day 8 to day 65, so it hasn’t bought a post-beating harmony to my endocrine system either.

Item – The one thing (damn it!) my gynaecologist has been right about is that if I lost weight my cycles would regulate. I lost a stone (14 lbs/6.5 kgs), and ta da! my cycles are regular. The idea is, if I lose another stone, my cycles will get even more regular, also shorter (yea, like that appeals right now) with a more decisive luteal phase. So, annoying as it is to admit it, proper notice has been taken of the late ovulating and medical practice as practiced in Blighty has given it its best wallop. It sucks that Clomid was No Fucking Help and that I wasted three long (looooooong also psychosis-inducing) failed cycles dicking about with it once it had started making me anovulatory.

Item – As to the impending scrape, I have been sent a bunch of tiresome forms and an appointment for the pre-op check-up already, and that will be at the beginning of September. Last time I had a lap&hyst&dye, I went into surgery a month after the pre-op check-up, but then, I was lucky, because someone else cancelled and I was offered the slot at short notice. I highly doubt things will work out neatly this time. Christmas Shall Be Ruined. This is a universal truth for May. *gloom*

Item – Also, re.: the impending scrape, Thalia mentioned them dinging me on the weight thing. I don’t think my weight should be a problem. Last time I had this op I was a good deal heavier than I am now and my weight didn’t seem to bother them at all. I think they’re treating it as a medical necessity because my quality of life is so shit rather than as ‘fertility’ treatment, so they’re less likely to be arseholes about my avoirdupois. I hope. Nevertheless, I’ve already lost three pounds this week, simply by not being ovulatory any more, I think, or possibly salad.

Item – HFF commented: ‘This sounds mightily odd, but I really hope you have a single chunky wodge of very obviously painful and easily-accessed endo. They can then zap it away and Make It All Stop Hurting.’. I say, Hear Hear! very heartily indeed to this. But alack and well-a-day, I fear that scraping out the endo will merely mayhap give me my bladder back, also make sure Satsuma is talking to the One-And-Only Tube. There is no removing of adenomyosis without removing the uterus itself, which is pretty damn drastic. And it’s the adenomyosis that is probably causing most of The Pain. Though it’d be nice if the aches and pains post-period, that go on and on and fucking on, like a five-year-old with a grudge, could be Eliminated. I’m not holding out great hopes for this operation, am I? Well, it seems daft to. Cute Ute is pretty much the Elephant Man of uteri, bless her.

ABC of all about me

I’ve seen this meme on many blogs recently, and rather liked it. Also, it’s a good way of gathering the threads for any newer readers (I am guessing I have them, because my stats keep slowly rising. Hello, newer readers! Thank you for reading!). Also also, I am feeling lazy but talkative.

A. Age when you started TTC: 30. H was 31.

B. Baby Dancing or Sex: Sex. FFS. The one night that H referred to it as ‘baby-dancing’, we were both smitten with such intense nausea and snark that we couldn’t.

C. Children wanted: I’d always wanted two. Now, one would be a miracle.

D. Dogs/Cats/Fill in Children: We work long hours, also rent and our landlord doesn’t allow pets, or I’d have a dozen cats by now.

E. Essential Oils/Vitamins/Snake Oils: Prenatal multi-vitamins and fish-oil (carefully choosing the non-vitamin-A brands) for me, and a ‘pre-conception for men’ multi-vitamin for H. Mostly because he takes a multi-vitamin anyway and this one comes on sale in double-packs along with my prenatal vitamins. I have also tried: herbal medicines (did nothing at all for anything), acupuncture (seemed to regulate my cycles, did nothing for the menstrual fucking agony despite the practitioner’s promises, or the miscarriages), essential oil massages (well, I smelled nice).

F. Fertility Meds I’ve taken: Clomid – worked for three cycles, then made me anovulatory despite ever-increasing doses for the next three cycles. Provera, to bring periods on, and also, at first, to get them to bloody stop. After that, I started ovulating all by my self anyway. Last summer, I was told to take low-dose aspirin next time I got pregnant, as I have a clotting disorder (but not one of the usual ones). However, the two pregnancies after that were ‘chemical’ (ie caused by defective embryos, as my sticky blood didn’t get a chance to interfere before I lost them, and anyway, I was taking the sodding aspirin), so we’re still waiting to find out how well that will work. Hmm. After two years of trying I morphed from Infertile Girl to Habitual Aborter, so fertility medications aren’t really an issue for me. Before anyone mentions metformin, read next letter.

G. Gain: I was really quite chubby when we started TTC. I put on a fair bit of weight after miscarrying for the first time, because I tend to eat my feelings, and good golly, but I had a lot of feelings to eat. I now weigh about a stone less than I did when we started TTC, but am still overweight/borderline obese. My doctors think metformin can cause more problems than it solves, and prefer me to carry on using will-power and common sense. Seeing as that when I apply them, I DO lose weight, I think they may have a point. People with PCOS and severe insulin resistance may find will-power and common sense really don’t help and they will need medical assistance, I agree, but just because you’ve heard of metformin or tried it and found it helpful doesn’t mean it’s right for me so kindly don’t tell me I should be on it (but see pet peeves).

H. HSG (Hystosalpingogram): Three. The first, after bleeding for four months straight, showed polyps and a possible hydrosalpinx. The second, under general anaesthetic while removing the polyps and a mass of adhesions caused by previous surgery, was fine. The third, after my first miscarriage left me with a severe infection, was possible mild hydrosalpinx according to the radiographer, and absolutely perfect according to the gynaecologist. I’ve been pregnant several times since, so…

I. Infertile Pet Peeves: Nobody dares say ‘just relax’ to me any more. However, I have a list of these as long as your arm: 1) Being told what medication/treatment/eating regime I should be following. Especially by people who don’t know the whole story. It’s one thing to say ‘I tried X and it worked for me, have you considered it?’, and quite a fucking ‘nother to say ‘you should try X!’ or, worse ‘Why the hell hasn’t your doctor prescribed X?’, especially when they go on to imply my doctor is being ignorant or tight-fisted, or blame the NHS for the lack of provision of X. (Don’t make me come over there and tell you exactly what I think of American health provision. I have friends in America who have to choose between the medication that is keeping them upright and functional and feeding their kids. That simply does not happen in Britain). It never seems to occur to said people that I am not taking X because it’s not a good idea for me to take X. End of. 2) “At least you can get pregnant” (Not even vaguely consoling the first time. By the seventh time? An arsehole thing to say if there ever was one). 3) “There must have been something wrong with it” (Yes. It implanted in my shitty uterus). 4) “Lots of people have really early miscarriages and don’t even know they’re having them!” (Yes, but I did know. So fuck off). 5) Anyone trying to make out that having a newborn is harder and worse than having a miscarriage. 6) “Wasn’t there anything you could have done to prevent the miscarriage?” (Oh, yes, dozens of things, I just couldn’t be arsed. What do you think? Did you even think? Bitch).

J. Job title: Book hamster. Information professional. Will catalogue your ass.

K. Kid’s names you’re afraid will be taken by the time you can use them: One of my many brothers already took ‘Beatrice’, which had been THE girl’s name for me since I was 21. So H and I have made a much longer list. Surely they can’t all be nabbed in the next four years?

L. Length of time TTC: Five and a half years, more or less.

M. Miscarriages: Seven.

N. Number of times you’ve switched OB/GYNS, REs, FSs: I don’t switch, I accumulate. I have seen/am still seeing 2 gynaecologists specialising in infertility, 1 gynaecologist specialising in IVF (we don’t call them REs in Britain) one NHS miscarriage specialist, one private miscarriage specialist (The Professor, world-famous, hopefully correct in her diagnosis).

O. Ovarian quality: Only one ovary, afflicted with PCOS. Does put out fairly regularly, after a very lazy start. My weight is probably affecting my egg-quality. Also, I’m 36 now (damnitalltohell). However, AMH and FSH both good.

P. POAS or wait for period: Obsessive POAS.

Q. Quote from an obnoxious fertile: This.

T. Time you tried naturally: Before Clomid, 2 years or so, with interruptions for surgery. After Clomid, 2 years, with interruption for proper diagnosis.

U. Uterus quality: Utterly shit, according to me (adenomyosis, fibroids, periods that hurt like a nail-bomb going off in my pelvis, is arcuate or heart-shaped). Just fine, according to the medical profession, in that my lining is beautiful and none of the issues that make my life hell make said uterus inhospitable.

V. Vagina: Just lovely, thank you.

W. What baby stuff do you already have?: A baby-name book (I claim it’s an aid for fiction-writing). A lace shawl I am making, and can’t bring myself to finish until I get past the first trimester (and then, I tell myself gloomily, I may as well finish it as it’d make a shroud if necessary. This is what RPL does to the soul).

X. X-tra X-tra Hear all about it! How many people know the ins and outs of our crazy TTC journey? Me. My husband. The internets. My family? Not so much. They don’t want to know. It means I win the one-down-man-ship contests and that really fucks with the status quo.

Y. Yearly Exam. Do you still go in even though someone sees your lady parts most months?: The past few years, very time I get the invitation from the GP to go for a smear, I’ve been having a miscarriage and can’t. I should do something proactive about this. I really don’t want anyone else up by precious. Gah.

Z. Zits. I have PCOS. So, yes. Luckily only one or two at a time.

ETA at 4:30 pm: I was missing the S! WfI pointed this out in the comments below, and I thought, what is she talking about? Since when is there an S? Oh. Ah. Sheesh. The absence of the R, however, is universal and inexplicable. S. Sperm. Lots. H’s SAs keep comng back lavishly normal. I’m the main attraction round here, folks.

Too busy to process the anxst

Item – So, you know, my husband is quite interesting. What else shall we get him to talk about?

Item – It’s been a hell of a week at work. It’s the beginning of term, and we are overrun with brand new deeply confused students who need patting and soothing and instructing and restraining and shushing and redirecting and, occasionally, shaking until their teeth rattle. We are very short-staffed at the moment (don’t ask. Big, easily-identifiable-workplace drama. Ugh) and I, who am only supposed to be doing two hours a day face-to-face with the hoi polloi because I am so very senior (no. I am not), am currently doing four hours at least, while my actual behind-the-scenes, back-office-boffin work gets done by the Invisible Non-Existent Gnomes of Not. My desk is disappearing under the Pile of To-Do. I think it ate my travel-mug.

Item – Speaking of which, when you take the lid off the travel-mug to check how much coffee is left in it, it’s fairly important to make sure you put the lid back on properly. Bent over the sink in the staff toilet, half-naked and cursing like Al Swearengen while you rinse your shirt-front is not how you want a colleague to find you. But no, I wasn’t burnt, thank you for asking. Just soggy, decorated with shreds of tissue from the impromptu mopping, and frankly quite glad to let the Pile of To-Do keep the sodding travel-mug.

Item – Anyway, I had a large G&T as soon as I got home, and I don’t think I want to stab anyone anymore.

Item – No, I have not ovulated. Current strategy, pretending I don’t give a flying fuck. Too busy, life goes on, concentrating on other things thank you, tra-la-la, haven’t even got an ovary, I just take my temperature every bloody morning at 7am for the heck of it. Ohhh, yes, this strategy is absolutely working, I’ve never been so relaxed. Hah.

Item – I’m certainly too much of a level-headed atheist to go about ascribing Malign Intent to the Universe, but really, this is all turning into the most insane obstacle race. First I don’t ovulate for nearly two years, and my uterus fills up with polyps and bleeds incessantly, so we send in the surgeons and they sort that out (false hope alert!), and then I even ovulate occasionally (false hope alert!), and then there’s Clomid and Satsuma the Bitch Ovary is forced to cooperate, so I get pregnant (FALSE HOPE ALERT!) and that goes wrong, and then my body decided Clomid is for the birds and it stops working for me AT ALL, but hey, I can ovulate on my own (yes! False hope alert!), which turns out to be a nasty game of moving goal-posts (see?) as I keep miscarrying, so at last we find a possible cure for the miscarriages (ohh, I’m tired now), but no! The goal-posts hare off back to the other side of the field! I’ve stopped ovulating again! Whatever next? Cysts? Endometriomas all over the Only Tube and Ovary? Hostile cervical mucous? Homicidal immune system? Barbed wire and trenches filled with crocodiles blocking the cervix? Armed nuclear warheads in tucked in each uterine horn? Armageddon?

Item – It’s my niece Minx’s 7th birthday soon. (Oh God, she’s seven. And I’ve wanted a child of my own since the first moment I held her and she fell asleep in my arms, less than 24 hours old). What do 7-year-old Minxes want for their birthdays, anyway?

And back again

So, we got the internet back. Why yes, we lost our broadband; where did you think I’d been? Anyway, I’m here now.

(Oh God, I nearly went mental not having access to the internet. Evenings went ‘oh, I’ll just check my post, wait, no. OK, I’ll check my blogs, arse, no. Twitter then, arse arse, no. Fine, I’ll just go online and see what’s on telly, ARSE, no. I shall have to google that actor I’m sure I’ve seen in something else AAAAAARGH,’ and so on and infinitum. I am such a sad eejit).

Anyway, update on current situation. Today, 12 days post ovulation. Past form would indicate period starts tomorrow. I was so bored what with the lack of internets I whizzed on two separate pee-sticks, both so very negative I am snow-blind from staring at them. Mind playing usual favourite trick of talking me into feeling nauseous every time I think about it too hard. Also, I have spent days being bothered by nasty metallic taste in mouth, which Logic would dictate is caused by extensive building works at work, which fill the air with dust, but Logic is being chased round the locker-room and towel-flicked by Hysteria at the moment. So, two pee-sticks sacrificed the gods of MindFuck.

Having peed on the second (blanketty-blank) stick today, I now feel crampy. Go me.

All change

Why yes, this is absolutely a two week wait. We performed our marital duties most assiduously at exactly the right time and everything.

Naturally, I am using the fact I ovulated merely as a good indicator of which day I will need to have filled the bathroom shelves with sanitary products and feminax ultra by (Friday or Saturday week, thank you for asking).

Eh, no. I am not going to let that bitch Hope in the house again. No no no. She can stay out in the yard and howl at the lighted windows in the drizzle and the dark. Now she knows how I feel.

Meanwhile, in the rest of my life, H, poor lamb, has my horrible cold/possible swine flu. I came home on Friday evening to find him tucked up in bed feeling shivery and pathetic. As I type, he’s huddled in his towelling dressing-gown, laughing very feebly at the comedy on telly, and looking clammy and glassy-eyed. Oh joy. Especially as he is a man, and therefore a rotten patient:

a) He will whimper about how much he aches or his head hurts, and I will recommend two paracetamol and a cup of tea, and I will make him tea and fetch the pills, and he will drink the tea, and he will complain about being achey, and I will say sympathetically ‘oh, isn’t the paracetamol working?’ and he will say ‘I didn’t take the paracetamol,’ and I will stare at him in bewilderment.

b) He will roam incessantly about the flat in nothing but underpants and slippers, answering every query with ‘dunno’. Can I bring you anything? Dunno. Are you hungry? Dunno. Are you thirsty? Dunno. Do you want a cup of tea? Dunno. Shall I cook dinner now? Dunno. I’m going to the shops, can I get you some throat sweets? Dunno. Do you want a sharp kick on the shins? Dunno. Shall we find out the hard way? Dunno. Etc.

c) He has naps in the middle of the day when he’s unwell. I am a royal bitch, aren’t I? Of course the poor ailing lamb should be allowed a nap. Lots of them. But I am envious. I am an insomniac and I can’t nap unless I have a migraine (in which case I think it’s technically passing out, not napping). Envy envy envy. Also, I can’t do a bloody thing when H is asleep, I can’t watch tv or listen to the radio or otherwise crash about; well, I could, but then I’d wake him up, and like I said, the poor lamb should be allowed a nap. I retire to the kitchen and read a book in conflicted and resentful silence. The stupid thing is, I like reading, and by the time H wakes up again, I am thoroughly absorbed and wish he’d go back to bed and stop pacing about and opening and closing the fridge behind my head.

‘Do you want me to bring you a drink, sweetheart?’


You mean… all this time… we could have been friends?

Do you know what pisses me off?

Well, apart from everything, I’m easily pissed off.

But just right now, what is pissing me very much off indeed (can you tell by the swearing?), is the bloody irony, that back in the Autumn I was ovulating solo. Yes, OK, late, and erratically, but I totally was. Start Clomid, stop ovulating. Stay stopped. Stop but totally. Up the Clomid. No doing. Try a third time. Nope. Satsuma pulls all her follicles in and pretends to be dead. Weeks pass. Eight weeks.

Fine, I cry. Bollocks to the Clomid. We shan’t bother any more. I will set fire to the remaining packets with much ceremony in the back yard. Ha ha.

And Satsuma, who is two parts contrariness to three parts laziness, hearing this, yawns, rolls over, and idly pops one out.

Can I stop myself from thinking about how many au-naturale cycles I could have had in the last six months if I hadn’t been battering Satsuma senseless with Clomid? Can I buggery.