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.