Category Archives: Needles and pins – dippy hippy clappy happy version.

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.


I am my own fairy-light

Item – OK, so, much advice on medicating my light-weight junkie-slut uterus into stunned and giggly compliance. I feel I should sort my remaining drugs into alphabetical order, experiment and report back. I think I have some Lemsip somewhere as well. Pseudoephedrine’s banned in athletics, so it must be good, yes? *cough* Seriously, thank you all for the advice. Together, we will triumph over the massed forces of pharmacology and recalcitrant useless lumps of hormone-ravaged smooth muscle! Hurrah! I love the internets!

Item – The weather forecast this morning was for cold drizzle. I dressed accordingly. It snowed. The snow settled (in London! I know!). Public transport went into melt-down. I fought my way across town and back, either skidding about in the snow and slush or standing about in wet socks while all the buses that I could possibly need or want bypassed my location entirely. Wet socks are not in the least bit nice, and very chilly.

Item – I cleverly combined an acupuncture appointment (by golly, I’m having a lot of those) with a little light Christmas shopping. Which harshed my post-puncture mellow rather, but needs must as the Baby Jesus drives. Anyway, acupuncture started quite well, despite the fact I shed about fourteen pounds of new-laid snow all over the clinic carpet and left damp patches from my trouser cuffs on the couch. My pulses are doing very nicely, thank you. While doing bits of my back Nice Earrings dropped a pinch of moxa down my trousers, oh, the dignity – I found it later and discovered that moxa doesn’t flush, oops – and some of my acupuncture points uncooperatively refused to produce any distinct or interesting tugging or tingling sensations on first stab and had to be re-stabbed, sometimes re-re-stabbed, but nevertheless I was, I think I mentioned, feeling very mellow.

Item – The mellowness took rather a wallop at the end of the session, when Nice Earrings got muddled up as to when my last miscarriage was (look, she has many fertility patients. I didn’t mind that in the least). I explained, no, I’ve had more than one, and the last one was at the end of October, and she, I think, got flustered, because, I swear, she gave me a prolonged version of the ‘Nature’s Way of Dealing With Mistakes’ speech, complete with an unfortunate metaphor involving frog-spawn and a side-track into ‘So Many Pregnancies Are Lost Before People Even Know They Are There, It’s Only That You Are Paying So Much Attention To It All’. I forbore to mention that mine involved ambulances and hospitals and worried medical practitioners, because I knew it would come out ugly and hostile and this is the woman who stabs me and sets fire to me (never enter and arse-kicking contest with a centipede, as the immortal Terry Pratchett once said) and she is quite sweet, really. No, really. I promise. Quite quite sweet. I think in all honesty she was horribly embarrassed that she’d forgotten my details and sometimes when even the best person is in a pit, they can’t stop digging despite the little inner voice shrieking ‘shut up! Shut up now!’ at them. But it made a bit of a dent in my festive spirit (which has so many dings, dents and orange patches now it looks like a 1970′s Lancia Beta). And I still think it was an odd lapse for her. *sigh*

Item – For maximum oddness, as I was shuffling along the pavements with the crowd, up to my insteps in salty grey slush (or, urban snow, as more wishful thinkers term it), fretting that this was doing nothing whatsoever for my boots (I was right about this. They now have better tide-marks than a bleedin’ estuary. Arse) a man came rushing up to me shouting ‘excuse me!’ in the earnest beaming manner of one who is either trying to sell me to Jesus or give me back a dropped glove. I stopped in case it was the glove, and he said, I kid not thee, ‘I’m sorry, I know this is going to sound completely weird, especially coming from a complete stranger, but I just had to tell you, you have the most beautiful aura. I can tell because I do yoga and stuff, but I’m an accountant really,’ he added, as I gaped at him (well, wouldn’t you?). He proceeded undaunted: ‘I can tell you’ve had a really hard time, really suffered, but your aura is amazing. It’s like a child’s, full of openness and wonder. That’s really special, very few adults keep that. You’re a special person. Do try to stay that way,’ and as I said thank you, feeling really very WTF indeed, he added ‘God bless you,’ about-turned, and made off back the way he’d come. Seriously. An accountant in a nice suit and overcoat chased me down Oxford Street in Christmas rush-hour to tell me my aura was amazing and beautiful.

Item – And then I bought some lip-balm, and waited for the bloody bus for 20 minutes.


I’m not sure what my point is either

Item – Did I mention I had acupuncture on Wednesday? I had acupuncture on Wednesday. Between you and me, I don’t shave my underarms quite so often in winter, because I have very sensitive, rash-prone skin, and because the only other person who is going to see them was raised by bears (or hippies. One or the other) and only really notices superfluous hair on women when their mustache is rivalling Friedrich Nietzsche’s. On Wednesday, I was running late, so decided, eh, you know, Nice Earrings the Acupuncturist never ever does points anywhere near my underarms, or in any way that requires me to raise my arms, so I’ll get away with it. I’ve washed. I’m wearing deodorant. There are no escaping tufts… You’ve guessed the rest. Needle in each pit. Because, you see, I had a blockage in my spleen meridian, and that’s where the spleen meridian is. Obviously. The shame. The fuzziness. (She didn’t say a word. Bless her).

Item – We spent the weekend at my Mother’s, Doing Family. Partly because of the ‘no Christmas’ thing. We may as well show Token Willing before we climb into our pyjama bunker.

Item – The main reason why I’d rather *cough* everyone *cough* (hi, Mum!) was honest and just said ‘well, poor May had another miscarriage, and that is why she was unwell and I went to visit her,’ is that then people don’t turn to me in the middle of dinner, half-way through much jolly conversation, and ask me if I’m better now and what was it? Swine flu? No? What then? What was wrong with me? Ordinary flu? What? I resisted the temptation to say ‘Leprosy’. I’m not sure why I bothered.

Item – I shall mention this many times, no doubt, as the years roll on, but I don’t think my sister and her ex-twerp are really getting the whole ‘don’t take your stupid pissy little adolescent issues out on the kid’ thing. Poor Minx.

Item – Minx can read. I sat on the floor with her and she read me a story about dinosaurs. I nearly died of pride. Also, she wants to learn to knit. Guess what Minx is getting for Christmas? Apart from an Auntie with a severe case of the kvells.

Item – Meanwhile, inside Planet May, the temperature is dropping, the vague, dull ache in the uterus is ramping up. Crimson Menace due any time between, oh, right now this minute and tomorrow lunch-time.

Item – This is awkward, because a big horrible tiresome and very very urgent project is going on at work and I am supposed to be supervising part of it. And quite a lot of key colleagues are already off sick or on leave. I wonder/hope/wonder if I’m going to make it through the whole day tomorrow before gently curling up like a dying leaf. I wonder what will happen if I don’t make it through. I wonder what effect co-codamol will have on my ability to supervise my own limbs, let alone a whole project. With a spreadsheet and very carefully numbered crates and seven other people, three of whom don’t speak English.

Item – I am still rather discombobulated by a dream I had last night, in which I, still in my coat and hat, was sitting on the floor of a deserted hospital corridor. There was no one else there, and nothing was happening, but the whole scene had an almost nauseatingly intense feeling of misery and humiliation about it. I didn’t really get back to sleep after that.

Item – I spent today pretty much mentally defective with tiredness. I can’t think in a straight line, I have the attention-span of a goldfish on uppers. Can’t you tell?


One shell too many, one skin too thin

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

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

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

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

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


I don’t know, what?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Roll on 7th of December.

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

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

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


Stabbity

Hello again. I am a grouchy May at the moment. I will now bitch and snivel some more. Sorry about that.

I saw the acupuncturist again on Monday. She was disappointed that the last surf on the Red Menace sucked (hey! Guess what! So was I!). And then she was mystified that the last surf etc. had sucked, because my belly is noticeably warmer to the touch. Warm bellies don’t get prolonged and violent cramps, you see. They’re too busy being all warm and mellow, unlike cold ones, which have blockages and are stagnating (sounds disgusting). I did not laugh. Nor did I mention Ben Goldacre or randomised double-blind trials. I am a gentlewoman.

She then proceeded to stick me all over like a pineapple hedgehog and set fire to me again (we will warm this belly, we will warm it to heck). Some of these burning needles were to stimulate ovulation, which was fine by me, as Monday was Day 13 and not only was Satsuma playing dead, but the old undercarriage was remaining resolutely sterile, hostile, abandon hope all sperm who enter here. And then the acupuncturist amused herself by needling me in the wrist – allegedly to aid the anxiety and insomnia – which really fucking hurt, to my woeful astonishment. Not only that, but when I got home, I found one of the wristy-stab-points had grown a deeply, lavishly purple bruise. WTF?

Anyway, I haven’t slept at all well all week. Not impressed. I think she borked my meridian.

On the other hand, on Tuesday Satsuma sat up on her velvet cushion and gave notice she was considering things. And whenever I think she has forgotten and dozed off again, she gives me another quick jab in the lower abdomen and orders me to have faith. So. We shall see. On past form, it normally takes her an absolute minimum of a week to go from hibernation to pop. I’ll get back to you on this after the weekend.

This does, however, mean that H and I are, as we agreed, having lots of sex. Hurray, I’d’ve normally said. Unfortunately, this month (it’s probably being tired that does it) I am having to a fight a low-grade persistant urge to snarl ‘get off me‘ everytime H dutifully snuggles up in bed. At least, I hope it’s being tired that does it. I’m normally the one taking flying leaps at H from behind doors and interfering with him during phone conversations while he stoically tries to pry my hands off his trouser-buttons without squeaking. Current state of affairs surprisingly mortifying. We soldier on regardless. And if, after all this anxst, Satsuma is playing me false, I shall have her resectioned. HA.

And I have started my creative writing course. I spend all my time at work wishing work would go away so I could play about with my writing exercises, and all my time at home watching TV and wishing I was asleep. It’s going brilliantly. Pass the Kalms.


On small things with large meanings

Well, I did mention my purple lacy knickers in the last post. I was amused to find out a couple of my dear bloggy friends ‘fessed up to grey – dare I say boring? – undercrackers as their standard issue. Well, a few years ago I’d’ve had the same. Tired. Grey. Or black. I wore a lot of black. Baggy. Exceptionally plain and functional. And now, my only boring functional ones are a set of five (black, natch) neo-brutalist Big Pants, the sort Rosa Klebb probably wears, reserved for surfing the Red Menace. Everything else is pink and red and blue and purple and lacy and, well, black-and-lacy. I have the liveliest lingerie drawer in London (but I draw the line at thongs (hah! Draw the line! Thongs! I crack me up) because, really, I hate it very much indeed when an ordinary knicker gets wedged up there. Flossing my butt-cheeks on purpose? Na-ah).

My socks are more of the same. Pink and yellow and blue and red and green and polka-dotted and striped and covered in hearts. According to Mr Snazzy the Head Acupuncturist, my wildly cheerful socks were one of the reasons he diagnosed me as being in hiding from my true, live-wire self. To which I say, thank God he didn’t see my knickers.

(My bra choice, I must confess, is more along the functional, armor-plated, does-not-show-through-shirt axis. But I have a violent objection to bouncing and over-spill, not to mention bust-lumpiness due to over-enthusiastic lace and embroidery).

I’d never thought about why my taste in smalls changed so colossally. I know I used to think I wore very plain grey or black knickers because H really doesn’t like frills and suspenders and that sort of lingerie (he says it reminds him of something trussed for the oven). He does like black, though he insists he prefers absolutely nada. But I am fairly sure this was an excuse on my part. I think I really felt I didn’t deserve pretty knickers. Pretty knickers were for pretty women, sexy successful women. Pretty knickers were for girls whose mothers hadn’t bulk-brought bright white 20-pair multi-packs of Calvinistically stern underpants and insisted on them lasting for as long as possible. When I was fifteen, I still had a few ragged, tight and greyish pairs lingering on from my eleventh birthday.

The first time I brought lacy knickers for myself, it was a disaster. I panicked and grabbed the wrong size. I think I grabbed the wrong type of knicker altogether. They were too small, uncomfortable, and the lace panel was too, well, too much of the composition of the knicker, and more was on display than I was happy about. And H (for yes, I was dating him back then) disliked them intensely, and said so.

Back into stern pants it was, then.

Years passed. And one day I was in a big shop, looking for more immensely dull and puritanical undercarriage coverings, when I saw some fuchsia pink ones. They were otherwise perfectly plain, and something in me went, ah, feck it, and I bought them, and I wore them, and something else in me decided that if H ever had an issue with my underwear, he could always take it off, ha ha. And a few weeks later I bought a lacy pair. And a pair with big red flowers on. And a scarlet pair. And next thing you know, I was buying orange tee-shirts with deep scoop necks and pink silk brocade skirts and just, generally, you know, giving a toss about my appearance.

Odd, that it took so long. Odd, that it didn’t even have the narrative grace to coincide with a flowering of my artistic integrity. Surely, if this was a proper story, the cute undies and pretty frock should have meant dinner with a literary agent. *sigh*. Artistic integrity still very much tightly closed bud. Pants, fabulous, thanks.


Way to go

Item – Lookee here, I actually went and ovulated again. On Wednesday. Really! Satsuma suddenly leapt up, shouted ‘let’s do the show right here!’ and promptly ripped me a new one from the inside, or whatever the hell it was she was doing, because, ow. I have now ovulated about a dozen times in toto, and that is what she does. Ow ow ow ow OW OW OW ARSE FECK OW. And relax. Don’t tell Satsuma this, but actually I quite like that she does that hurty-like-fuck thing. It’s pretty unmistakable, and it’s so nice to know these things for sure. Anyway, way to go, Satsuma!

Item – And then I did some counting, and my period is due the day before I am to pile my great corse into a cheap bucket airline Fokker and strap it in a seat for hours and hours. Days two and three are my worstest, bloodiest, hurtiest days. On a plane, on a train, in a taxi, in the rain, let’s all surf the scarlet flash flood to the Chalet of Terror and impress our In-Laws with our pale green puking collapse routine. Seriously, WAY TO GO, Satsuma.

Item – Wednesday was also ‘we will burn you’ day at the acupuncturist’s. Nice Earrings put about a dozen needles in my belly, in two long horizontal rows, and put pinches of moxa on the ends. She lit them in sets of three or four, but, anticlimactically, I didn’t really feel either the needles going in or the warmth from the burning. It was quite relaxing. It was… dull. Ah, well. She revenged herself by stabbing me repeatedly – and, oh, yes, I felt those – in the wrist and hand. Something worked, I would guess, in that Satsuma did her thang that night. So, way to go, Nice Earrings.

Item – We are moving the stock around at the library, which is hard, sweaty, dusty work. Today, I put on my scruffiest clothes, what with the dust/sweat nexus. But I forgot just how far down my scruffy cargo trousers slide when I am scrambling on and off book-ladders and crouching on the ground, and so I have this day shown a great many colleagues a strip of purple lace across the small of my back which was unmistakably knickerish in origin. Also, my tee-shirt is baggy and has a wide neckline. Some very lucky colleagues also got an eyeful of lacy bra-strap when I bent over. Class. Way to go, May.

Item – Did I mention I was bored? So, I bit all my nails off, danced up and down on the spot for days, had a little weepy moment, and signed my soul away to do a Creative Writing course with the Open University. Yeah, bury the lead. Way to go, May.


This is all terribly dull. Did I mention, boring?

Well. It’s that phase of trying to conceive, isn’t it? The seriously boring phase. The part when you actually get the time and energy to realise you’re 34 already – how the buggery fuck did that happen? – and Dream Job is beginning to get a little *ahem* unchallenging, which gives you time to notice that your boss is just a teeny weeny bit of a control freak and some of your colleagues are unreasonably stupid and all of them are just bloody there all day, seriously interfering with a girl’s ability to get a vast mug of coffee, put her feet on her desk, and fish out her knitting (funnily enough (no, not really) this urge is always at its most almighty when Alpha Boss has one of her periodic ‘and everybody must be extremely punctual or Alpha Boss will pitch a fit’ moments). And you think, shit, my entire life is turning beige.

See, as far as I have been able to make out from my extensive but haphazard skimming of the infertility blogs of the world, TTC does sometimes fall into a tedious, oh, look, there’s the rest of my life and it is also tedious phase. The basic story arc goes something like this:

  1. First inkling that getting pregnant is hard, Barbie. Much fretting about what the matter is, and if medical attention should be sought, and what, exactly, one is prepared to do or not do in order to procreate (this last hilarious in retrospect. Hil. Ar. Ious. Such innocence). Others in the same position start popping up to hold hands. Veterans pop up to stroke hair.
  2. First doctor’s appointment made. Massively exciting and distressing rollercoaster now embarked on. Infertile blogger usually screaming to get off somewhere between first transvaginal ultrasound and the hysterosalpingogram. Tests, whether infuriatingly inconclusive or hideously conclusive, all depressing. Sex life wobbles precariously on brink of toilet. But lo! a hopeful light at yonder window breaks! Devoted readers start to hang out on the blog, cheerleading and/or kibitzing.
  3. First rounds of treatment, whether Clomid or a spot of surgical interference to tidy up whatever inner mess is the issue, or straight into Big Guns Land with IVF. Sex resumes urgency if not always passion and tenderness. That Bitch Hope starts sniffing around the ankles. Things are very exciting and dramatic and, frankly, make great reading.
  4. A few people are allowed out of the fun fair at this point, as said treatments worked and thank God, they have a child at last. The rest are getting a bit sick of it all. The fireworks and champagne are interspersed with wailing and gnashing of teeth
  5. Treatments fail. Treatments work, heartbreakingly, for a few weeks, and then fail. Bodies become resistant to drugs. Bodies overreact ridiculously to drugs. There are more tests, more surgeries, more valiant attempts, on and on, with nerves slowly winched out on the rack to well past the point of permanent damage. Another handful of people nevertheless hit the jack-pot and are allowed to leave. The regular readers are all chewing their nails off by now.
  6. And then, nothing. Nada. Zip. One has temporarily run out of options, or funding, or strength, or all of the above. Some more people run away from or are chased out of the fair, this time with no prizes. The rest mill about for a while, until they get the wherewithall to clamber back on the rides. Weeks, months, drift past. The regular readers hang on grimly, bless them; the occasional soap-opera fans dissolve back into the ether, to hunt for something just a tad more fascinating than watching someone lose weight at snails-pace or save money at glacial rates. One in a hundred has a miracle. Everyone else instantly hates their own sodding unmiraculous bastard innards just that little bit more.
  7. Repeat 5 and 6 ad nauseam.

I am afraid that chez May we are currently stuck in phase 6. And I agree, my God it is dull. I had no idea infertility could be so bloody boring. Did you know? I mean, before you got to phase six? Me, I’m now very glad my acupuncturist wants to impale me with burning needles, because otherwise I’d have to impale myself just to give you-all something to read.

No, Satsuma still hasn’t come out of her room. How did you guess?


Can’t post, am too busy writing posts

No, really. I have about ninety-seven exceedingly whining posts, all of which I am heartily ashamed of, snivelling away in my wordpress dashboard. I must go on a deleting frenzy. They mostly run on the theme of ‘Woe is me, gnashing teeth now, I’m not pregnant, boo hoo hoo.’ Hmmm. Must go and rescue my big-girl panties from the laundry-basket.

Ovulatory news – none at all. I thought, briefly, that Satsuma was doing something, but when I asked her about it she threw an ‘I can’t work under these conditions!’ hissy fit and flounced away into her room, banging the door.

Acupuncture news – on Wednesday, I saw Nice Earrings again, and she was pleased with the state of my pulses, but thoroughly disappointed in the persistent coolness of my belly. Bellies, you see, should be warm, and mine is not and never has been. I’d always put this down to beautifully insulating deposits of lard, myself, but noooo, it’s an imbalance. H and I did try the moxa stick warming thing at home, but H is very dissatisfied, as the damn thing made the entire flat smell like a bonfire of wet wool. For days. I am very much wondering why a hot-water-bottle won’t do as well. Anyway, next session, Nice Earrings wishes to put a dozen or so needles in said belly and then set fire to them. Blimey, but she’s determined.

Family news – the plans for Chalet of Terror are still on, now with added Mother, who has decided to stay on a few days extra. Give me strength. Give me gin.

Work news – my job is getting on my tits now. That is all.

H news – H woke up this morning with such a bad headache he actually took paracetamol. Seeing as he was raised by hippies and regards pills from the chemist (as opposed to from the florist, sorry, herbalist) with unconcealed suspicion, I take this to mean his head felt like someone was smashing it in with a brick. He is currently in bed playing Civilization on his iPhone and drinking chicken soup. Poor lamb. Especially as I need him for procreation purposes, headache or no headache.

Onwards.


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