Category Archives: We are not alone

Frolicking in Limbo

Hello, Gentle Readers. Went the week well? Shall I tell you about my week? Of course I shall, it’s why I started the blog – to babble into the void, whether the void liked it or not.

Item – Last weekend I went to stay with Hairy Farmer Lady, who fed me cake in epic quantities, and then ice-cream in epic quantities, and having done that, booze in epic quantities, and then let me rant in epic quantities and took me to the theatre to boot. It was beyond awesome. And I felt, well, I felt wanted. And funny and cute, but above all wanted. Worthwhile. Worth making an effort for. Wanted. Excuse me, I must just attend to a face-leak.

Item – I don’t think H ever consciously meant to make me feel worthless and unwanted. But! People of the World! If your partner continuously complains that Behaviour X makes them feel worthless and unwanted, you have to deal with the motherfucking fact that persisting in Behaviour X sends a very distinct and hard-edged message to your partner that actually, yes, they are not as important to you as Behaviour X. It doesn’t matter if X = having a meths lab in your shed or X = just being obsessed with golf to the point where you are never available to go to Sunday lunches with the In-Laws and run interference. (Caveat, obviously, sometimes, Behaviour X is no big deal and you may feel partner is being a dick about it. Then you have to ask yourself ‘do I want to live with a dick who is less important to me than X?’). But to do something dinosaurish, and to lie to your partner about it, even though your dinosaur is making you behave in a boorish way and your partner is crying about it again, HUGE WARNING WHO’S BEING THE DICK NOW KLAXON.

Item – More limbo, in that my mother is experiencing delays in her finances, which means I am experiencing delays in my mortgage-planning, which means I am still living with H, which is a colossally awkward life experience which no doubt is vastly improving to my character and morals at the expense of my fingernails and sleep-habits.

Item – Living with H does not suck, because we are both being very adult and polite and we are both trying very hard to remember that the situation is fucking awful for both of us. Well, it does suck, but it could suck so very much more. I do remember, I must remember, that H is bearing a burden of his own and it’s galling, chafing and wearying him too.

Item – H does artistic things from time to time. I went to one of these events this week. I had been looking forward to it, you see. H came over to say hello at one point, and when he’d gone back to The Art, the person next to me said ‘oh, is he your husband? You much be so very proud of him!’. ‘Yes,’ I said. Yes. And no. And, oh God, no.

Item – I got into a bit of a panic about moving out, about not being able to move out, about renting instead for a bit, about how I couldn’t really afford to rent unless I shared, about how very much I did not want to share, about money, and was I doing the right thing? Was I? Was I? I went to see my counsellor and flailed at her for a bit. There, there, she said. Baby steps. It’s OK to take baby steps. It’s OK not to know quite what to do. It’s perfectly OK for this all to take ages and ages. If I’m more comfortable sharing living-space with H until I can sort my own place out, even if that takes months, that is OK. As it would be OK if I ran squeaking into the night carrying nothing but my laptop and spare knickers. If stability is very very important to me, that is also OK. If I am phobic about moving house at the best of times, guess what? It’s OK!

Item – Also I am strong and intelligent. It’s a thing people keep saying to me, but when my counsellor says it she means just that, rather than ‘so stop crying because you’re making me uncomfortable’ Thank you, beloved NHS, for this woman and her well-trained kindness and the fact she laughs at my jokes.

Item – I went out again this weekend (see? Frolicking!) with more people who laugh at my jokes and make me feel wanted. So there’s that. Which is good. Which is very good. There is life at the end of the tussle.

Item – And now for a quick bitching – I am baffled by the small, (very small, not you) quantity of people who have attempted to ‘comfort’ me or ‘cheer me up’ by telling me anecdotes about their own lovely children/spouses/four-bedroom houses with gardens. It’s one thing to tell me about children and spouses and houses in a spirit of ‘well, this is what is going on in my life’, because I do actually give a damn or indeed several about my friends and their offspring and belongings. But to offer up a ‘look at my adorable child! My splendid spouse gave me a present! I have walk-in closets!’ anecdote to cheer me up, when I am childless, getting divorced, and soon to be homeless does not strike me as classy.

Item – Oh, yes, Cerazette! Some kind souls have asked about Cerazette and Shark Week (or, Shark Festival Fortnight, as it insisted on becoming). I am still on said pill, I plan to stay on it until I am very elderly and menopausal. I do have a slight ‘issue’ (ho ho ho. Hee hee hee) with spotting, as it comes and goes unpredictably and hangs about for weeks, but it’s light and unobtrusive, by and large. And no periods. No burning pains in the uterus and bladder and cramps in the bowel that go on for most of the month. I’ll take the spotting, ta.

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House Rules

Some people will never learn anything, for this reason, because they understand everything too soon. — Alexander Pope.

I think I ought to remind my Gentle Readers that, as I said here:

I can see you, Gentle Readers, practically bouncing on your seats in your eagerness to type ‘but what the hell happened? What did you do? What did H do? WHAT? WHAT?’ And I am going to cheerfully piss you all off by not telling. H, as furious as I am with him, as shattered as my heart is, nevertheless deserves both his privacy and the right to tell his story his way, should he ever want to tell his story.

Therefore, I would be grateful if you would all stop speculating and asking me. Please. Thank you. Your speculations would either be wildly innaccurate and therefore either silly and/or hurtful, or uncomfortably close to the knuckle, and therefore really hurtful and difficult to deal with, as I promised H his privacy on this, and I am not the sort of person who breaks promises, and it would be unworthy of you, Gentle Readers, to force me into a position where I might have to.

I am also not entirely pleased that I have to write this next bit:

When I refer to ‘dinosaurs’, as a metaphor for deal-breaking shit, I am referring to things that are immoral, wrong, cruel, bad, and possibly illegal. I am referring to things like addiction, abuse, larceny, lies, grand theft auto, and voting for UKIP. I most certainly am fucking not referring to such matters as H being gay, or bi. Being gay or bi is not, I repeat not, a dinosaur.

Say H were bi – why is bi a problem? I’m fucking bi, for fuck’s sake, and I’ve been a good and faithful partner then wife for SEVENTEEN FUCKING YEARS (and H has known I was bi since we were both 19). ‘Bi’ does not equal ‘two-timer’ or ‘sexually incontinent’, and to suggest it does is seriously not on. At all. Do not any of you ever make me have to repeat this.

Say H were gay – well, yes, it would be a tragedy for me that he could no longer keep doing heteronormativity and had to leave me. It would be fucking awful for me, because I love him. But it would not, in any way, shape or form, be a dinosaur. It is not immoral, wrong, cruel or illegal to be gay. It would suck that he felt he had to hide it even from me. It would suck that he felt pressured into living a lie. I would be very very angry with him. But it would not be a dinosaur.

Fortunately, H’s family and friends are not ridiculous bigots, quite a few of them are happily and openly gay, and if he had ever realised he was gay and decided to come out, he’d’ve been loved and accepted. So the whole ‘he’s secretly gay/bi’ is just not a thing. He isn’t, and if he were, he’d’ve been fine, and we would never be in a ‘sudden dealbreaker reveal’ situation.

I repeat, H asked me to respect his privacy and his right to his own story. I am respecting his request. I owe him, and myself, that kind of respect and self-respect. That promise is, I’m afraid, more important to me than gratifying the casual reader’s casual curiosity.


Fussbiscuiting

Yesterday, I left my dear friends in a state of mild panic, as Cute Ute decided Cerazette be damned, she was Cute Ute The Despoiler, Hear Her Roar. HFF commented on our uncanny bad luck in matters reproductive, and there were reasons… whereapon H confessed that he was a bit freaked out and had been all week.

You see, while I was staying at my Dad’s, I forgot to take my pill one night. I realised as soon as I woke up, and took it straight away, and the next one just before bed as usual, and was then back on track hurrah. When H and I finally got home, we were so pleased to have survived the Parental Oblations with only a few scratches, we fell into our own lovely bed with cries of joy and reacquainted ourselves with the boinginess of the mattress.

I think it was about then Satsuma was twinging, but she twinges at changes of diet, changes of weather, and frankly changes of underpants so I ignored her.

This past week, I have handed a cup of half-drunk tea back to H, asking which tea was it supposed to be, because it tasted weirdly metallic. I have felt sick more days than not. I have had an upset in my lower bowel. I was cheerfully putting this all down to eating stupid things I shouldn’t eat at Dad’s (the wine! There was relentless unavoidable wine! In food! I may as well have eaten the wire-wool pan-scrubber, it’d’ve been gentler on the linings).

Then the bleeding and Christing fucknuts vicious back-ache started, and as you know we all collectively freaked out. Because it would be just like Satsuma and Cute Ute to gang up on me and throw all my carefully thought-out decisions about the FET to the winds in a careless rapture of cruelty, while Bitter McTwisted kicked my head in about being a careless, careless, careless little idiot and this is why we couldn’t have nice things.

In my defence, the Cerazette leaflet suggested the pill had to be more than 12 hours late to be ineffective and this one was 8 hours late. To my horror, various frantically googled websites have suggested it need only be 3 hours late to lose effectiveness. Fuckittyfuckfuck.

So I scrabbled about on the bathroom shelves (Good Lord, the collection of empty moisturiser jars I’ve built up) and found a lone lorn remaining pregnancy test. I peed on it this morning, and it came up resolutely negative. Negatively negative with extra negative, which as you know negates the double negative and sets it back to negative again.

Um. Yes. Putting this one down to ‘hormones, they fuck with you. Even on the pill’ (as suggested by Dr Spouse (see yesterday’s post’s comments)) also Cute Ute’s absolutely vile personality.

Or it could’ve been a chemical pregnancy. Oh, who the fuck cares. Either way, it’s Not A Thing and we’re back to waiting and taking folic acid until the official spotting that signals the beginning of FET, The Maddening, in approximately three to four possibly five weeks’ time. Yes? Yes. Righty ho. Nothing to see here. I’m going to get a large drink, mind.


Parenting, UR doin’ it rong

We went to see my Dad. It was simultaneously awful and liberating.

Awful, because my Dad is still, fuck-and-alas, a galloping narcissist and if the situation isn’t all about him by heck he will make it all about him. We did have a fight. His heartfelt apology, for which I was at first so very grateful and by which I was at first so deeply moved, rapidly turned into a ‘thing’ about his self-awareness and how therefore we didn’t get to mind when he was a tiresome old arse because he always had been and always would be and because he was aware he was a tiresome old arse, it was an endearing quirk rather than brutally rude and cruel to his children, and the fact we’ve all got Serious Issues from is behaviour over the years is… Not a Thing? I guess? Because reasons?

Liberating, because my heart, which has always lagged miles and years behind my head on this, suddenly realised that there is no magic combination of saying the right thing or doing the right thing, at the right time in the right way, that will unlock Parenting Level ‘Unconditional Love’.

Awful, because there were good bits about having this man as a father – the love of words and books, the stories he used to tell, his wit, his humour, his good days when he was delightful and delighted with us – and as soon as you open yourself up to the good bits, you’ve made yourself vulnerable to the bad bits. And if you shield yourself from the bad bits, you’ve cut yourself off from the good bits. This is not a dance I can do well, or at all gracefully.

Liberating, because this is not my problem. I am not my father. There was enough balance and good example in my life to save me from this ugly inheritance, this inability to see people as people, as equals, this inability to empathise, this raging fear that someone else’s gift (brains, knowledge, money, charm) is a direct threat to him and will somehow annihilate him. And that is not me. And does not have to be me.

And then we came home again, and I went and discussed all the above with my counsellor.

It would seem that a life-time of being shamed for having the wrong sort of body/hair/eyesight/attitude/artistic talent*/height/academic aptitude/pubertal development/sized breasts/menstrual problems can leave a girl feeling profoundly inadequate. Being treated as a flaming nuisance and being repeatedly accused of hypochondria and whining every time I was ill or having a bad time with my periods left rather a tiresome selection of psychological scars. And therefore, when it came time to have a baby of my own, with a body I’d been taught was flawed (and its being flawed an act of perverse rebellion on my part), my inability to make a baby was for me a great source of shame – bitter, bitter shame and guilt. My brain knows this is fucking ridiculous. My brain always knew it was fucking ridiculous. I am quite bright, after all. My poor silly heart, which has the IQ of a golden retriever and a similar desire to love all the grownups even when they kick it, needed more time to realise that I am no more ‘flawed’ than anyone else.

All humans have issues, health problems, non-Barbie-dollness, scars, lumps, wonky bits and hormones, and are nevertheless lovely, loveable, wonderful creatures. I have just had bad luck. Not as bad as some people’s obviously. But definitely worse than other people’s. This was not because I brought it on myself, in any way. Why would I? How could I? It’s not even physiologically possible.

I cannot fathom the guilt, shame, embarrassment, and self-loathing that lead my parents to take a child with obvious health problems and frantically alternate between blaming her and insisting nothing was wrong with her rather than, say, take her to a decent gynaecologist and Get That Seen To, Because Poor Kid, It Sucks. But I know I’m not the only woman who has been shamed for having menstrual problems, fertility issues, and miscarriages. And I don’t know what is wrong with our society that this happened and keeps happening, but it needs to stop. And if you have ever tried to dismiss, down-play, shame, or judge a woman over these issues, I hope you get your pubes caught in your zipper and have to be cut free by a paramedic.

*Writing instead of drawing. Yes, my family went there.


Hello, hi, well… um. Hi.

There comes a time when chunks of the brain just shut down in the face of Too Much To Process. There’s the part that is ordering you to grieve (‘Go on then, cry. Feel awful. Cry, damn you! You lost a baby, didn’t you?’) and the part that will not go there (‘But it feels awful! I don’t want to! And there are endless CSI reruns to watch instead!’), and the part that is still being struck amidships by the whole ‘and then I nearly died’ thing, and the part that has decided the whole business is ridiculous and we should just get three cats and an Alpha Romeo Spider, and the part that is nevertheless planning a FET in January.

And – how could I forget? – the part that was dealing with H’s looming redundancy, and thereby putting on a cheerful face of unconcern and trust in a)H’s general excellence and b) the benevolence of the future [Based on what, you absolute lunatic? — Bitter McTwisted]. In the event, H was not made redundant. It was only when he came home at the end of last week announcing he was transferring departments merely, and not being slung out on his ear by Christmas, that I realised just how bloody anxious and, frankly, angry I’d been about the whole thing; and how ready I’d been to march in there and punch H’s various bosses in the collective groin for doing this to him all over again (we had a major redundancy scare a couple of years ago as well, you see).

Which was not helped by the part that has just been told that the rent is going up 20%. Which is all very well, as it hasn’t gone up for several years and the landlord just noticed that every other comparable property in the area costs many many lots. And not at all very well, as H’s pay has been frozen for the past five years and I earn somewhere between diddly and squat. (OK, yes, as a perk I get to be ill for two months solid and not get fired. So there’s that).

We may be moving house next year.

AAAIIIEEEEE.

So, yes, a lot of Being Very Anxious While Quietly Watching Far Too Much Daytime Television was going on.

And that is why I was not writing. I did not want to sit down and look any of it in the eye. For similar reasons, I was staying away from blogs. I did not want to read another word about loss, or pregnancy, or fertility treatments, or adorable children. It was all anxiety-inducing, good news or bad, happy or sad, reminding me of what I had been through and what I had lost alternately, and I decided that actually I was well within my rights to pull the metaphorical duvet over my head and pretend to be a Scotch Egg for as long as I cared to.

By anxiety-inducing, I don’t suppose I need to explain myself to anyone who has ever suffered badly from an anxiety disorder, but to the rest of you I need to say, no. Worse than that. Much worse. It’s like poisoned.

So. I am now bored of being a Scotch Egg. Hello!

And how am I? Let me count the ways:

Item – I went back to work on a part-time basis last week. It is exhausting. I spend a lot of time, by-and-large, being tired, what with the chronic pain issues and occasional bouts of anaemia, but this is something else. I used to be tired, but I could still trot up three flights of stairs or walk two miles across the centre of town without getting out of breath. Now? Nope. Can’t walk for ten minutes without my stupid DVT-affected leg beginning to ache. I go up three flights of stairs slowly, puffing ‘I… think… I… can… I… think… I… can…’. Work is not the problem – I am on ‘limited’ duties and therefore don’t have to do anything particularly strenuous just yet. Commuting is the problem. Commuting is a fetid pile of dingo’s kidneys.

Item – Speaking of chronic pain issues, let me tell you about my new best friend in the entire Universe: Cerazette. This is a progesterone-only pill which prevents ovulation as well as thinning the uterine lining. Some women don’t care for it at all, but, Gentle Readers, I love this pill. Yes, OK, I started spotting after two weeks, and then near the end of the first packet I started bleeding and carried on doing so for two weeks solid. But it was light bleeding. Bleeding containable with regular tampons. And there were, get this, there were no cramps. I was not in pain. Not. In. Pain. I am not in pain. Cute Ute is perfectly comfortable, my bowels are regular and cheerful, and Satsuma is quiet as a wee mousie. [Ticker-tape parade, marching bands, majorettes, and a 24-gun salute].

Item – Meanwhile, after six weeks, my haematologist lowered the dose of Fragmin (these is a kind of low-weight-molecular-Heparin) I am on. I will be spending six weeks on the lower dose, and then we will double-check the clot behind my left knee has gone, and then I can stop injecting myself every evening. My belly is covered in bruises. I thought for a while there I’d found a way to prevent the bruising (as soon as you remove the needle from your flesh, press down hard on the injection site for 30 seconds with your thumb. Do not rub) but it doesn’t always work, alas. And the worst bruises leave hard lumps under the skin which are showing no inclination to go away at all. Heigh ho, fuck and alas.

Item – I do not like my compression socks. They seem a tad loose in the ankle, and they are frankly gigantic in the foot (‘Oh, just tuck it under!’ said the twatwhistle nurse who fitted them for me. This being the same nurse who wanted to know when I was due, and when I, my eyes filling with tears,said I’d actually lost the baby in August, proceeded seamlessly into her ‘Losing Weight Is Good For You!’ perky lecture). The thing is, I have stocky peasant calves and dainty little princess ankles, and I am not a 70-year-old varicose-vein sufferer. Yet. So. Point of socks, to prevent me becoming a 70-year-old varicose-vein sufferer. Onwards.

Item – Mental state: very anxious, insomniac, and sad. I see a therapist on Thursday, courtesy of the NHS. Our local hospital has a counselling service attached to the gynaecology and obstetrics wards, and I ever so qualify for its attentions, according to my GP, who insisted on referring me. Given that my attempts to find a private counsellor ended in a big fat blank because the people I contacted never got back to me, I’m taking it. Not that that stopped the counsellor having to cancel on me once because of ‘bureaucracy’, but she had warned me she might have to, and then called at once to apologise profusely and have a bit of a chat right there and then just to see how I was. (Note to self: stop being polite and cheerful to counsellors. Not helpful).


Frozen over

Hello, Gentle Readers. How are you all? I’m a lot better. Really, much much better. My leg only aches now when I stand or walk for more than five or ten minutes. I even baked a cake today, standing to do all the whisking and mixing, without needing a sit-down in the middle (though I did need a sit-down once the stupid thing was in the oven (it – the cake – looks very untidy indeed. Mary Berry would be ashamed of me)). I am easily tired, but on the plus side, I sleep like I’ve been drugged, for eight to ten hours straight every night. As a life-long insomniac, this is a treat. Ish. When I’m not having complicated and unpleasant anxiety dreams.

As for my emotional state, I am frankly a bit weird at the moment. I am pretty calm, sanguine, cheerful even, if somewhat subdued and untalkative (what do you mean you’d noticed?). I – not consciously – won’t let myself think about miscarriages or trying again or almighty fucking huge pulmonary embolisms. I can feel my thoughts skittering across the surface, like ducks on a frozen pond. I talk about these things, as and when, in a matter-of-fact way with an upper lip stiffer than boiled leather. As evidenced above by the fucking annoying anxiety dreams, there is a whole deep quagmire of grief and fright and rage under there somewhere. No doubt I will thaw and Go Mental at some point. My GP thinks so, and is rather concerned I will try to go back to work too soon and Officially Lose My Shit. I don’t know. Do you know?

Anyway, we spent a few days with my mother, and we visited Hairy Farmers, and then there was the consultation with the Haematologist, and I need to tell you all about the WTF appointment with Dr George at Riverside. I will be back. Meanwhile, I leave you with bullet points:

  • My heart, according to the echocardiogram I had in the last post, is just fine. So yay!
  • I am now on Cerazette, with the approval of Dr George, Doc Tashless the GP, and the Haematologist. Because on blood thinners and not allowed Diclofenac, Menstruating Mays Are Very Very Very Unwelcome.
  • We are benched until Christmas at the earliest. We must make sure I won’t fucking die next time I get pregnant. To which end I gave the hospital another four vials of blood to test for… things. Like Lupus. And shit like that.
  • Holy shitwhistles, the bruising from the Fragmin. My belly looks, as I mentioned on Twitter, like a bowl of stewed prunes and not much custard.
  • My family are bloody mad (and there’s a post in that too!).

Unpregnant notes

And then I remember, with a sudden slapped sensation, that I just had a miscarriage, and was supposed to be focusing on getting over that.

Item – While Cute Ute got a partial grip of the situation on Tuesday, and agreed that any more vicious cramping would just be downright bitchy on her behalf, she still hasn’t stopped bleeding. The bleeding is finally slowing down to heavy red spotting (touch wood. Where’s some wood? Quick, touch it!) only today. Yeah, guess how much I enjoyed sitting about in hospital waiting rooms and corridors with my leg on fire, my heart thrumming like a harp-string, one toilet to share with all these other people, and blood persistently, unstoppably, running out of me?

Item – I am still about five pounds up on my pre-IVF weight, but all the bloat and plumpitude around my midriff has completely gone. I no longer look in the slightest bit pregnant. Just a bit… Deflated.

Item – While I was pregnant, my normally very dry skin became almost normal on my body – I could even just shower with moisturising shower gel and not need lotion unheard-of notion! – and my face and neck became downright oily. I promptly broke out in quite impressive acne. It was infuriating and gross and I loved it, because pregnant, you guys! Within a couple of days of losing 6AA, my skin was drying up. I have a whole bunch of acne scars on my neck, collar-bones and alas temples, but they’re slowly going. I need lotion by the gallon after a shower. *sigh*

Item – I can’t tell if I’m this tired because I’m recovering from a pulmonary embolism, or I’m anaemic, or I haven’t slept well for months, or I’m miserable and shell-shocked, or, no wait, I’ve got this, all of the above. You think? I think.

Item – We have our post-IVF WTF appointment with Dr George on Tuesday. I think I may have cornered the market in WTF this month. Shall we be good, and warn Dr George beforehand by email? Yes, yes we really should. Or he’ll spend the whole appointment trying to rehinge his lower jaw.

Item – Talking to pregnant people right now makes me feel weepy and panicky. I know you, oh Gentle Readers, won’t hold this against me for a second, because ten miscarriages and near-death experiences you know? I get such a free pass, yes? But the rest of the big wide world is out there gestating happily oblivious to babies die and mothers die and holy fuck how are there any humans alive at all? and I am a stoic woman usually, but not right now not even a little. I don’t know how to leave the house or be on FuckBook or talk to family or anything. *flail flail*. Ach. This too shall pass. This, too, shall eventually pass.