Category Archives: Oh. Oh my. I'm pregnant

Scared? How about reasons to be scared? (Limbo. Limbo is happening)

Do you know what seeing blood in your underwear is like when you’re pregnant? It’s like being hit between the eyes with half a brick.

I was at work. I’d just finished a desk-shift, and beyond feeling a bit heart-burny and sick, also very tired (i.e. exactly as usual), nothing was bothering me. I went to the loo, as you do. I looked down at the crotch of my bright pink knickers. What was that mark? What was that mark? I wiped myself, and the paper came away smeared bright red. I stood up and looked in the bowl, and the water was stained with red swirls.

I sat down again, and briefly considered blacking out. But this was a cubicle in a public toilet regularly patronised by the sort of student who pees on the seat, and, well, no. No.

I sat there for minutes, trying desperately to work out what to do, while my heart rate very unhelpfully accelerated from ‘sitting on the loo’ to ‘run from tigers run run run run TIGERS‘. Eventually I managed to wrench my fevered brain into some sort of order and decided to go back to my desk, email my boss to let her know what was going on, and walk slowly and calmly up the road to the very-near-by enormous hospital, where I knew they had an EPU, on account of having checked all these things weeks ago in Paranoid All-Contingency Planning Mode. Paranoia doesn’t mean They aren’t out to get you, haha.

And that is what I did. With a wad of toilet-paper in my knickers. For the dignity.

To my almighty fucking rage, my mobile phone had absolutely no signal in the area (how does a network that boasts of being the biggest in Britain not have coverage at the centre of the major city? And it’s been like this for weeks. I am so annoyed, and now it’s personal). And H, poor lamb, had gone off at dawn for a day of meetings at the regional office a good couple of hours away. Ach, I thought, even if I do get hold of him, he won’t be able to hold my hand. I’ll go to the hospital, and keep trying H, and if it’s serious I’m sure I can get them to call him.

The EPU (Early Pregnancy Unit, that is) at Enormous Hospital doesn’t take self-referrals, so I knew I had to go to A&E (ER to you) first and get them to refer me (see? See? I’d checked everything). A&E were in the middle of having half the walls knocked down, of course, and being very busy, but the receptionists were calm and kind. I had a 30 minute wait for triage, surrounded by little old ladies who had fallen over, two other bleeding-in-early-pregnancy cases (we resolutely avoided each-others’ eyes), the standard local eccentric covered in blood and bruises, a toddler with concussion, people in slings, people having picnics, people having bitter spousal arguments in whispers, and one chap who fell theatrically to the ground while shrieking ‘I’m dying!’ down the phone to his mother (turned out to actually be called ‘I skipped breakfast and felt faint’).

I tried slow, deep breathing, but it did not work. The triage nurse was all ready to send me over to the EPU for a scan, but of course he had to check my blood-pressure and pulse. And my blood-pressure and pulse were still both at ‘run from the motherfucking tigers!’ levels. That’s just how I react to a threatened miscarriage. When I was losing Pikaia the triage nurse actually hauled me off for an ECG, my heart was hammering so. I told the nurse I usually had perfectly normal blood pressure and heart-rate, and this was just how I panic, but he shook his head and said the EPU wouldn’t take patients who weren’t ‘stable’ in the cardiovascular sense. And a resting pulse of 122 was not ‘stable’. So he was going to take me through to A&E and get a doctor to have a look at me.

Did I mention they were in the middle of renovations? There were no available cubicles at all. I and some few fellow patients were all popped on a row of chairs in a corridor right next to three men smashing a new doorway into the next corridor. This was not relaxing.

I don’t object to the long waits. It was a busy urban A&E, and there were people having heart attacks and car accidents and head injuries and seizures to deal with. The staff I did see were kind, and did take a mo to let me know they hadn’t forgotten me every now and then. The noise was appalling. The having to talk to nurses about urine samples (mine was full of blood, because I was actually still bleeding vaginally) and, err, vaginal bleeding, in a noisy corridor, next to a grumpy man in a hoodie with filthy feet and fingernails was not ideal, but hey, the cubicles were full of power-drills and boxes of saline, and/or people with limbs hanging off, so we all just lumped it and pretended not to be listening to each other. They checked my blood pressure and pulse a couple more times, in which I calmed down to almost normal pressure but my silly heart kept thundering away at over 100 bpm no matter how carefully and slowly I breathed. The nurse who checked my urine agreed that I was a) pregnant and b) bleeding, patted my hand, and told me a doctor would talk to me soon. Soon meant after an hour and a half, which actually is not too bad for a busy A&E, but said wait entirely failed to bore my heart into submission.

The doctor, who had a charming Germanic accent and a cheerful manner, eventually examined me in a store-cupboard in which a bed and a screen had been hastily jammed. He took a history, blenched slightly at all the miscarriages, was mildly confused by the variety of drugs I am on, but acknowledged he knew nothing about IVF, was alarmed by the history of endometriosis and adenomyosis (‘that is not so fun, nicht wahr?’), and even more alarmed when he felt my belly and found that idiotic monstrous bloater Cute Ute was the size of a fifteen to twenty week pregnancy already oh for the love of Christ. ‘Adenomyosis,’ I said.

‘You,’ he answered, ‘have been attacked by all the devils at once.’ And he patted my hand quite thoroughly.

And by the time all this had happened, it was too late to refer me to the EPU, which closed mid-afternoon, regardless of the stability of my sodding heart. And that, Gentle Readers, really did piss me off. I am still pissed off. I didn’t act pissed off, because the doctor was clearly doing his best and thought the EPU were being dicks, both about their opening hours and their arse-covering policies, and because after all I was not lying on the floor weeping in a pool of blood, so I clearly was not an emergency. The doctor wrote me a referral for a scan tomorrow morning, either at Enormous Hospital, or at my Local Hospital of PTSD, and told me to go home and put my feet up, unless the bleeding got worse or I developed bad cramps, or felt faint or dizzy or got a fever.

He then asked if I – he paused, looking at my nerdy teeshirt and loose jeans and bright red sneakers – if I had a partner. I said yes, and he said, carefully, ‘And your partner wants the baby too?’.

‘Very much. We’ve been trying since we got married.’

‘Good, good. Get her err them, your partner, to look after you. You need lots of rest.’

Bless the man. Bless him to bits. I smiled and said I would. I quite like being politely taken for a lesbian, you know (that’s why I dress like I dress, I guess) (but if H were a girl, like hell I’d be doing the Being Pregnant part of the relationship, as I am clearly utterly shit at it. Oh, for a spare and healthy uterus in this marriage!).

And then I and my unstable cardiovascular system and leaky toilet-paper-wadded reproductive equipment waddled off to find a pay-phone and ask H to come home and look after me.

By the time I got home, the bleeding had stopped, and I am now doing brown spotting. I have not had any bad cramps (slight constant cramps being my modus operandi since I discovered I was pregnant) or any other alarming symptoms. But I spent the evening with my feet up anyway, and we got pizza.

Poor H. When he got home he was paper-white, cold to the touch all over, and absolutely clammy with sweat. I don’t suppose his cardiovascular system was entirely stable either.

I am going to call Riverside in a minute and ask their advice. Given that Scary Symptoms have stopped, I’d rather avoid PTSD Hospital and just go for my planned scan tomorrow, if everyone agrees it is safe and reasonable to do so. But I am not going to work today. Bother work.

Because I am tired (NBHHY)

Item – H and I spent Sunday on an outing with my dear Mama, eating an enormous lunch and having a charming walk and visiting an exhibition and filling head with Art. I also took the occasion (‘Darling, why didn’t you come abroad with us last month? We had a lovely time! H would have adored it!’ … ‘Well, errm, since you ask….’) to inform dear Mama of the fact her eldest daughter (c’est moi) was In An Interesting Condition, thanks to the Wonders of Science.

Item – Mum was marvellous about it. She was so pleased, but instantly made a massive effort to control herself and stated that she would try not to think about it all, because it was all so new and tenuous, and then stroked my hand, and asked a few questions about the IVF process and the chromosomal testing, swore herself promptly to secrecy until we give her the go-ahead to Spread Glad Tidings, and then we had a brief discussion about Morning Sickness We Have Known and how very much she hated certain vegetables during her last pregnancy, and then we went off and looked at the Art. And that was that.

Item – I was so tired when we got home I went to bed at 9:30pm.

Item – And then I got up for a wee at 3:30am and couldn’t get back to sleep. It’s one thing having 1st Trimester knackerment. It does not combine well with insomnia and my sodding bladder. I was a yawning dribbling pointless distracted lump at work today. My boss is being nice to me about it. Oh God.

Item – In today’s post, a bundle of letters and leaflets from the local maternity services, full of ante-natal appointments and screening dates and advice on giving up smoking. I promptly sat down on the stairs and cried. It’s all getting so very very unavoidably real even if something does go wrong. I am completely overwhelmed.

Item – Remind me to tell you about the local maternity services soon. They’re run from the same hospital that treated me (so very shabbily) when I lost Pikaia, and where I refused to go back to for any subsequent miscarriages. I am having anxiety dreams about going back there. Gah. Must stop talking about it now or I will never sleep again.

Item – My main issues with having put on nearly half-a-stone already less to do with ‘looking fat’ (I am fat), and more to do with a) being judged and scolded for gaining too much weight by medical practitioners, and b) looking obviously pregnant to people I have no intention or desire to discuss my gestational status with, now or indeed ever. And some of the people I am thinking of are extremely rude nosy and boundary-impaired twatweasels, and others are misogynistic creeps. So. Oh the joy of the large workplace, that has such a mix of people in it.

Item – Bed!

And now kindly wash your hands (NBHHY)

I am having not such a good day today. Yesterday was excellent, in that I felt quite quite hormonal, and found the commute home to be very much a trial to my overkeen sense of smell and evening nausea (that’s me. Not morning sickness, evening sickness). People of Britain! Washing is neither expensive nor bad for you! Kindly do it daily!

And then I slept badly and woke up slightly feverish, with a sore throat and tummy cramps. Oh, fucking hurrah. And not feeling pregnant at all.

So I went back to bed and pretended to be in a coma for a while.

The cramps were actually being caused by a slight gastro-intestinal disturbance – my bowel is not perfectly happy and is alternating between mild constipation followed by Day of Reckoning Also Several Visits To Privy, and then back to nada for a couple of days. Today was a Day of Reckoning, and I think Cute Ute was not enjoying the pressure, as it were. She is being quite domineering in there. Satsuma is also still achy and twingey and at great pains to let me know she took a giant needle for me. Over a dozen times. After having been inflated to a, oh, I don’t know, she says cantaloupe, but I think she’s milking it.

Having cheered, marginally, up about that, I then decided to weigh myself, because, Gentle Readers, I feel rather larger than I was. And I indeed am piling on weight at a rate of a couple of pounds a week since they popped the embryo back in dear God. I have not changed my diet. If anything I am snacking less because the metal-mouth makes chocolate very unappetising. Fucking hormones. Not that I mind putting weight on and growing serious tummy as such – I am pregnant, damn it – but it feels a bit weird to be gaining so fast and looking so very… tummy… already. I am six weeks. Surely nothing much should be happening, weight-wise, yet? My little passenger is the size of a raisin. Raisins do not weigh 6lbs. So there was that.

Remind me that I’m on Metformin, which has always made me gain half-a-stone or so because I’m weird, and I’m on progesterone, which makes everyone bloated and constipated, and I’m on steroids, and what did I think would happen on steroids?

Naturally, having crushed my indifferent breasts into my ribs repeatedly and having made myself eat mayonnaise to mere mild pleasure rather than unGodly retching, I peed on the remaining (cheap, insensitive (it told me I looked fat, the bastard)) pregnancy test. The test line came up thick and vivid before my pee had even soaked as far as the control line. Last week, the same brand took two minutes to provide a faint, if clear, line. So I am peeing out rather more HCG than I was last week, for what it’s worth. Which isn’t much, when you’re an Olympic-grade worrier like me.

There’s a whole week to go before the scan. I am going to go quite quite mad.

I have put myself back to bed with the ginger ale and a bucket of herbal tea and Agatha Christie. It seems the only thing to do under the circumstances (crapping hell, my throat is sore. A colleague was off sick yesterday after sneezing and coughing all over the place on Wednesday. Do I think…? Yes I do).

I ramble (NBHHY)

I am so impressed with all your contributions on my last post, Gentle Readers. You are such lovely wise people, and I Big Puffy Heart you all. And so does H.

The thing about my In-Laws (a thing Robyn was very wise about in her splendid comment), is that they would make absolutely perfect grandparents. They would dote on the child, they would be loving and fun and no doubt would be daftly indulgent at times (which is all the more fun and a great bonding experience). And they are also reasonably sensible about such matters as a bazillion sweeties and being quiet when the grown ups are talking, darling, so I would, I do, feel quite sanguine about their involvement in the putative kid’s life. My own grandparents were either rather distant and preoccupied, or rather stern and uncuddly, or, ah, dead. Nevertheless, the stern grandmama was also the one I loved best, because for all her disciplinary ways, she loved us and invested a great deal of time and trouble in us, and for all she was a little scary, she was also safe as a cathedral. And there. I digress, but it’s important to me that the little sesame seed has other grown ups about who prove to him/her over and over that s/he is family. And loved. And worth time and attention. And H’s parents would give that in spades. So in the end, if I have to suck up a certain amount of non-apology and undealingness, I will suck it. Bitch wildly about it here, no doubt, but otherwise, suck it.

In aid of this mellowness, came a little gift from my MiL, along with a little note to tell me she was thinking of us.

My own beloved-but-impossible Mama, whereas, has earnt a great deal of kudos chez May because, after an appalling start near the beginning of our Great Pregnancy Quest as Sayer of Hurtful Dumbass Things In Chief, she made an effort to listen, understand, and empathise as best she could. And though she can still be tactless, she is trying not to be. The armfuls of cash she keeps trying to force on us for infertility treatment, for example – she cares, she has money, she throws money at problems until they go away. And I think she would relish simply being a loving granny – in my niece Minx’s case she has often had to be Sole Responsible Adult while practically babysitting Trouble as well as Minx, and Trouble’s arsehole ex into the bargain.

The Plan, such as it is, for The Tellening goes now as follows:

  • The Scan is on the 15th. Ideally, we tell everyone after the Scan. We tell regardless of whether we get lovely news or tragic news, because everyone knows we are doing IVF this Summer.
  • The hitch is that my mother has invited us to spend the day with her the weekend before the Scan. Therefore, we will almost certainly tell her then. And BEG her to keep schtum until after we tell the In-Laws. Tell no one! Not even the Aunts! They talk to In-Laws! However, it’ll only then be a few days until the Scan, and we will explain that a) H wants to tell his parents himself (this is not exactly true – he’s dreading it, but feels it is His Duty, and they will appreciate it) and b) we don’t want to worry them with uncertainty for so much as a second if we can help it after all the stress and bereavement they’ve been through in the past few years. Especially as FiL is a Great Blurter and there is H’s remaining frail champion worrywart grandmother to Not Worry.
  • We will then tell my Dad, and let the Bush Telegraph deal with family outliers.
  • You guys who read this blog know already.
  • Other friends will be told as and when we see them. May be sooner rather than later as that wee fecker Cute Ute is so large thanks to the adenomyosis, I have already ‘popped’.
  • I have several infertile friends on FuckBook, and also several acquaintances and distant family whose attitudes to these things I do not care for, therefore we are keeping this off FuckBook for as long as feasible, so as not to turn my newsfeed into a river of bitterness and humiliation. For me or them. Thank you.
  • Work? Well. I’ll be completely outed by Tuesday if my boss doesn’t give over the shenanigans. I shall adopt a stoical expression also I shall practice saying ‘it’s not your business, but if it ever does become your business I’ll be sure to let you know.’ And pray I don’t vomit or pass out.


Normal symptoms: Slight nausea, worse when hungry; sensitivity to smell; metal mouth, constant, irritating; tired, sleepy all the time; breasts becoming increasingly tender and itchy, now with added nipples; very, very, very tragically bloated about the middle, and retaining water like a cactus; speaking of cacti, about as prickly (had ridiculous meltdown this morning and cried because H had slightly misled me about whether he was going to be 30 seconds or 5 minutes fetching his iPhone. In retrospect, most of the meltdown was about people not being honest with me, so I think the telling white fiblets to family about timings etc. to buy ourselves wiggle room was a no-goer. I have issues about honesty. Great big stupid ones. This is what happens when an entire family spends generations lying to each other ‘for your own good’. BUT I DIGRESS).

Weird, or are they? symptoms: Despite sleepiness, insomnia and a tendency to wake at six am in a state of anxious gloom (we’re blaming Prednisolone and PTSD); As I mentioned above, Cute Ute, starting from the size of a ten week pregnancy as she was, has already popped above my pelvic bone and can not only be clearly felt by laying a hand just below my navel, but has already got together with the squishy bloat to make my jeans too tight and my figure look decidedly *pregnant* already; episodes of dizziness (surely five weeks is a bit bloody early for fainting fits?).

Meanwhile, H is having more and worse anxiety dreams than I am.

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?’


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).

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.’
‘Five days past six day transfer on a cheap Internet peestick. That claims a sensitivity of 10miu.’

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

‘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?

I may as well have had my head in a bucket

Important first things first: I am not bleeding.

There. Now we can all relax for another 24 hours.

So, this morning I didn’t pee on anything interesting at all. I went straight to The Professor’s clinic, where a very, very gentle nurse took two vials of blood, and still left an absolutely navy-blue bruise, despite endless care taken in putting pressure on the puncture (we are blaming the aspirin). And then I went on to work.

Work was (mostly) nicely distracting, because we had the annual Christmas lunch for my team, and so we all went off to a restaurant and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

And I was the only one not drinking, and the only one who didn’t have coffee, and the only one who couldn’t finish her pudding (chocolate suddenly tastes quite grim. Too sweet and metallic. This… well, I’m distraught, is what. Chocolate not lovely? Chocolate not comforting? WHAT?). I muttered something about medication. Line-manager did Significant Eye-Brows. Oh, for fuck’s sake.

Mid-afternoon, I finished tidying my desk and putting post-it notes on everything on it (just in case… You know. Just in case) and took myself back across town to The Professor’s clinic, where, shortly, H joined me, and very shortly after that, The Professor called us in to her office.

At which point every single synapse in my fore-brain fused into a jellified lump of stupid. My only conscious thought was ‘I bet she’s going to tell me I’m not really pregnant.’

No, she didn’t tell me that.

What she did tell me was that the aspirin alone had normalised my blood-clotting, so I didn’t need heparin. Just stay on the aspirin. She then went on to book me in for a scan next week, just as if this pregnancy was going to last that long. And a scan for January as well. Bitter McTwisted had full control of all conscious thought by this point, so I asked what I was supposed to do when I started bleeding. I’m fairly sure I said ‘when’ and not ‘if’, but The Professor merely gave me a kindly look and the appropriate phone numbers. It’s all very awkward, Christmas cantering about in the middle of all this and shutting offices for days at a time. We have people to phone, and people to phone when the people to phone aren’t there to phone, and the option of just turning up on the obstetrics ward next door and wailing like a banshee. I feel, not reassured, exactly. More of an ‘at least I won’t have to explain everything eight million times to eight million people this time’ feeling. I am grim, but calm.

It’s going to be a long, long week.

And I very much wish my brain hadn’t liquefied in sheer terror in The Professor’s office, and I very much wish H’s hadn’t either. I don’t know if I actually had an HCG blood test. And if I did, I certainly don’t know what it said. The nurse took two vials, but as far as I’m aware a TEG test only needs a little bit of blood. At the time of the stabbing I didn’t question the second vial – I thought it was the HCG. But The Professor didn’t mention it during the visit and I didn’t ask. How much am I paying this woman to forget to ask her these things? What the hell is wrong with me?

On the other hand, The Professor seemed perfectly satisfied that I was, indeed, pregnant and not about to miscarry any second now. She reassured me that while she knew she couldn’t tell me not to worry, I was on the right medication now, and doing the right things. Scan next week, right?

Right. And logically, I know that HCG tests cost money, and are usually used diagnostically to make sure a suspected ectopic isn’t about to tear merry hell through your guts, or to confirm whether a bleed is one of those things or a Royal Fucker of those things. So maybe they didn’t bother doing one and we’re winging this on the strength of one-and-a-half pee-sticks bought cheap on the Internet.

Never mind. I shall email her PA again tomorrow and ask for the numbers. That’s what expensive private clinics are for – to harrass for information.

Whole consultation lasted about five minutes. After which H took his credit-card over to reception and handed it over for a thorough rogering. Walking away from the place, we had a slightly nervous discussion as to financing of Operation Schrödinger Take Six, but we still have a bit of the money my mother gave us for just this sort of thing, plus all the goddamn money I saved up for IVF, and it’s fine. It’s fine. As the Hairy Farmer Wifey said yesterday, “Ah, the proactiveness of private healthcare. Itches a bit around the morals and the wallet, but awfully soothing where it counts!”

And to be honest, I think the NHS and my principles have duked it out between them so long that I think I’m owed some expensive queue-jumping kid-glovery. Bring it on.