Wednesday, 31 December 2008

The Final Straw

Today is the day. The last day of 2008 couldn't come soon enough and the last day of me taking Provera feels equally long overdue.

Technically as I was due to take provera for a quarter of a year, or 3 months, or 12 weeks or 84 days (however you look at it, that's a goodly proportion of the year spent popping the pills), so the last day should be tomorrow. But there is something so auspicious about finishing the course of drugs with the finishing the old, shitty, year that I figured, its not an exact science a day either side isn't going to make a massive difference.

So I've stocked up for the period to end all ... no, wait a minute this period is supposed to kick start all periods (unless I get pregnant of course).

I've got my Dracular's tea bags all ready:
  • Tampax* super plus
  • Tampax multi pack mixed absorbency

And 'cause it might be a heavy one, and I'd rather not set my alarm at two hour intervals
  • Always Ultra night
To try and ensure that I don't spend a week howling with pain and being unable to stand upright:
  • Feminax Ultra - taking the pain killing to the max
All of them a rather pleasing and complimentary shade of blue, I guess the manufacturers figured that red was too obvious. Or they are targeting these products at the more discerning, blue-blooded consumer.

  • Big, old pants - not pictured I do have to draw the line somewhere, admittedly the line is somewhat wobbly
  • Hot water bottle
  • Stack of books, for any convalescing
If it is anything like last time I took provera I should expect to be surfing the crimson tide on Sunday - but that was after a mere week on the hard stuff. So it might be that having taken it for so much longer the progesterone will take longer to leave my body so I should expect a further delay, or maybe my womb is so stuffed with blood and gunk it is straining to get out and the merest hint of a reprieve will bring a flood of blood of biblical proportions.

Whatever happens, rest assured I will (over) share.

Happy New Year kids! This one is ours.

* No brand names were harmed during the writing of this post

Sunday, 28 December 2008


The lovely Secret Diary of an Infertile has tagged me, charging me with writing 7 random things about myself. I started this tag a while ago but wasn't sure whether it was appropriate to write just about me the person rather than me the infertile so didn't go all the way. By now I figure if you are reading this blog then you'll know I've had three months of not being able to even try to get up the duff and I've managed to stay pretty much on message so bear with me over this festive period if I go a tad off topic. I've already done one here are the other 6:

2) I spent most of my childhood living abroad. My Dad was in the Army so I lived in Germany, Nepal and Hong Kong as well as less exotic places around the UK. Loved it, starting to get itchy feet again ...

3) As a result of the above I missed many of the formative televisual experiences of my peers - missed Joey Deacon, Monkey, Grange Hill, Family Fortunes, Generation Game as well as other cultural zeitgeists - care bears, my little ponies, transformers. But I was raised on a diet of of Carry On films, Frankie Howard and Benny Hill. Hence I can spot a double entendre at 50 paces, which can be embarrassing when I start sniggering in meetings.

4) But I've had to teach myself many of these things that I have missed retrospectively because ... I love quizzes. Love, love, love them. I felt a bit guilty in my last post when I implied trivial pursuit had had its day. And as for a pub quiz, well, my idea of heaven. Pint of beer, salt and vinegar McCoys, and a heap of questions (though, in typical girly fashion, I pass on the sports questions).

5) I hate tropical fruit. I'm not a fussy eater, at all. But bananas, mangos, coconuts, papya, pineapple - all give me the dry heave. Shame considering the abundance of them when I lived abroad. Lychees though, I like lychees.

6) I was brought up a Catholic, an inquisitive Catholic. As an overly innocent 8 year old I asked my teacher "You keep talking about the virgin Mary, but what exactly is a virgin?". The response was a rather bland talking about it being a woman who wasn't married and hurriedly changing the subject when I started pointing out that she was married to Joseph. I also asked what the difference between a Catholic and a Prostitute was - still haven't received a satisfactory answer to that one. Today I've held onto the Catholic guilt but not a lot else.

7) I studied Ancient History and Classical Archaeology at University. An interest that was first piqued by watching the magnificent Clash of the Titans. To date it has proved almost entirely useless in my professional life, although it still reaps dividends during a pub quiz.

So that's me. Help yourself to the tag if you fancy it.

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Barren Bingo

Bored of board games?

Trivial pursuit too trivial?

Monopoly not got the monopoly on fun?

Just has you going through the motions with Charades?

Fear not! This Christmas I have the game all the un-familied can enjoy.

Just print out the bingo* card below and check off each phrase that is said to you over the festive period.

Just relax!Christmas is really for the childrenDon't leave it too late
It'll be you nextA friend of a friend got pregnant by ...I would've thought you'd be pregnant by now
Feeling broody?Enjoy not having children, I'd kill for a lie inExciting news! We're pregnant!

This year I'm putting the vent back into advent.

Let me know how many you check off. (Even if you aren't hanging out with the tactless this festive season don't give up, this is a game that can be played all year round).

Have a very Happy Christmas everyone.

*Do you have bingo anywhere other than the UK? If not, it is a game where you have a card with numbers which you cross off as they are called out - simple really. If you need to further understand this fine British institution all is explained here. Anyway, this time you play it with words, 'cause we did numbers already. So as someone says one of the phrases to you tick 'em off.

Monday, 22 December 2008

You do the math* (or, How to prepare for Christmas**)

Christmas - traditionally a time for a coming together of extended families, excessive eating and, for many of us, fielding questions from the less tactful amongst your relatives about when you are going to start a family.

But, as Baden-Powell knew, the way to deal with everything is to ‘Be prepared’. So my dears, because I am here but to serve you I have spent at least seven minutes concocting a complex and fool-proof formula to enable you to ascertain exactly how much of an ear-bashing you are going to get from the in-laws this festive season. A simple calculation will enable you to go into the festivities armed with the appropriate number of conversation changers, witty retorts and, if required, hankies and Valium stuffed into your suitcase.

So here it is:
Σ = Ψ ÷ (Ω+1) x 10


What? You need more?

Ok, so where Σ equals the amount that your parent/ in-laws want kids. (And I use the term in-laws loosely, I'm not suggesting you need to be married but if you had to get married to acquire in-laws the marriage rate would crash, as it is they seem to adopt you even before you tie the knot).

Ψ is the number of years you and your partner have been together and, Ω equals the number of existing grandchildren already enjoying the attentions of their doting Nana and Poppa. (The reason you have to do the plus one on the grandkids is for those with no grandchildren, you can’t divide something by 0.) And you times it by 10 just to make it a more percentagey looking figure – I know, technical stuff here.

So to put it into context and bring it back to me (because we all know, it is always all about me).

The husband and I have been together 14 years (we are back to the gross figure again as no one ever remembers the blip on our path to marital bliss).

My Dad and Stepmother have 4 grandchildren between them, therefore:
14 ÷ (4+1) x10 = 28% DOGS (using the Desirious Of a Grandchild Scale***)

So not too bad, but there are still going to be some questions to field. You’d think because I have come out to them about the difficulties we are having this amount would be lessened. Not so. Instead the energy that would have previously been expended on, “Don’t leave it too long” and “I would have thought you two would have had a child by now” is transposed to; “So what exactly are you taking these pills for?”, “How long is the waiting list for this, … um … what is it? Test tube babies?” and “Are you sure you shouldn’t just go private?"

Up in Dundee the husband’s parents have no grandchildren so when we are there for the New Year festivities the formula is:
14 ÷ (0+1) x10 = 140% DOGS

Now I know some of you mathematicians are thinking ‘hang about love, you can’t have over 100%’ – but if that is your train of thought then you clearly have no idea how much some folk want grandkids. If footballers can give it a hundred and ten percent on the field so too can the parents of the barren put defy maths when it comes to wanted their progeny to have progeny.

To be fair the husband’s parents are pretty good. They don’t know what is going on with us (but we’ll probably talk through with them when we see them this time, we last saw them this time last yearn - so much to say, so little concrete results). So we probably won’t have masses of inappropriate questions to deal with. That 140% of wanting a grandkid will just be manifested in the slight slump of shoulders when they offer, and I accept, my first glass of wine.

So, in the comments, I want your scores for what you are going to have to contend with over the yuletide season. And if any of you are feeling particularly ambitious you can add the variables to the formula e.g. your age (the older you are the higher the outcome as your parent / in-laws biological clock ticks as loudly as any of ours), how much they like your partner (if they don’t want their genes to mix you are looking in a significant reduction on the DOGS scale), and how to do the calculation if you are single.

And, as a special Christmas treat to me, I want ALL of you to put your scores in the comments. Even if you only ever lurk and never comment, or if you already have 13 children (cause as far as Grandparents are concerned they can never have enough), even if you are reading this a week or 8 too late.

*There is always something we Brits find deliciously wrong about writing or saying maths without the ‘s’... It’s exotic, innit.

** Taking my cue here from Shakespere who fancied the duel title, Twelfth Night, or What You Will. Getting big headed? Moi?

*** Hey, at least it more self-explanatory (and easier to spell) than Fahrenheit.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Analyzed that

It was good and bad.

Good because it was genuinely useful and not overly emotional or too touchy-feely. She, the counsellor, seemed just like a really nice, straight-forward, eminently practical woman.

She started by asking us to tell her where we were in the process and how we'd ended up coming to see her. I explained, as succinctly as I could, about the initial year of trying, the referral and then the last year of tests, confusing diagnosises, delays, more tests. And how the resulting farce left me upset not by by the whole inability to have a baby thing but because I was confused and having to deal with really, really poor communication. But the Doctor couldn't accept responsibility for upsetting me so decided that I needed to see a counsellor. And here I was.

Just being able to say all of that to someone within the clinic was fantastic. I wanted someone there to know how frustrating it was and to be able to pour it all out to at least a colleague was very satisfying.

She asked if we hadn't requested the referral, why we had come. Honestly, it was partly my up-bringing you get an official letter telling you to be somewhere on a certain date. You go. But I didn't say that. Instead I gave the other reason, I wanted to talk to someone in the hospital to actually find out what was going to happen next year, because all I knew was that I have an appointment to "start treatment" on the 19 of Feb and that, thanks to a letter, I'm due to have interuterine insemination (IUI) sometime. But how, when, where, what's the waiting list like?

She seemed gratifyingly shocked at the minimal information we had been given and the general fuck-ups we'd had to contend with.

And then she was brilliant. I knew the basics of what IUI involved through web research but each fertility clinic in the UK has slightly different proceedures. I wanted to know what would happen to us, how long the waiting list was, how many 'chances' we'd have. It looks like, assuming the provera worked (and I'm not making that assumption), we can actually start treatment in February.

In this clinic, and for my other UK readers I really have to stress it does vary across the country so don't take this as gospel, I get three goes at IUI, usually with a month between each failed go. If that doesn't work my case will get reviewed and she certainly knew of several couples who have gone on to one funded cycle of IVF. Which was a massive relief as I had read it was one strike of either IUI or IVF and you had to start pulling the cheque book out.

Obviously I hope I never have to take the full entitlement of treatment but it is comforting to know. All this the French Doc could have told us, but she was such a whirlwind of efficiency we'd be in and out before we had a chance even to formulate the questions.

She asked one really pertinent question that I have been mulling over ever since. "Did I feel I could move on from the past year when I start the next round of treatment". Dunno. Have to think about that one a bit more. I trust the science, but not the system.

But it wasn't all good. It was bad, because there wasn't a lot of material for humorous anecdotalage.
  • There wasn't a whiff of hemp about her
  • Her feet were suitably clad, no sock and sandal combo
  • And a worrying lack of ethnic beads bought whilst discovering hereself in Goa/ the Himalyas/Amazon (delete as applicable).
  • She didn't repeat the last three words I said turning it into a question.
Into a question? Yeah, its a technique some counsellors use to make you keep talking without leading the conversat... Damn hoisted by my own petard.

Oh, there was one point. I was saying how I didn't feel over-whelmed by the whole thing because I had outlets and people to talk to. At which point the husband says, "Yeah and you write about it a lot." Turning to the counsellor, "she writes a lot" (just in case she didn't hear the first time). I'm cringing repeating in my head the mantra 'don't mention the blog, don't mention the blog'. The counsellor looks concerned - "How does that make you feel?" She asks the husband. The husband looks surprised she even asked. "Good." So that's a relief I'm not going to have to choose between you and the husband just yet.

We haven't got any plans to go back just yet. We don't think it is necessary. But if things go wrong and it gets harder I can call her and make an appointment. Which is good to know.
And anyone who is thinking about it I would say, judging from my own experience, give it a whirl it might help, its not an admission of failure, its not scarey, and in the immortal words of Bob Hoskins "It's good to talk".

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Analyze This

Add ImageI have a temper.

By which I mean I assume it is kicking around here somewhere, because I've certainly never lost it (or not before it gets out of reach anyway).

There is one person I know who is more laid back and less provokable than me. The husband.

I exaggerated a little when I said we've been together 14 years. It is actually 14 years gross. We have split up twice. I can't really remember why. But we managed to do it without arguing (though quite a lot of crying) and when we said we'd still be friends we actually meant it and remained friends for the 1 year and 3 months respectively that we weren't going out. (But we haven't split up for at least 10 years and certainly don't anticipate doing it again).

Women's Magazines all advise that to have a truly passionate honest relationship you need to scream and shout at each other. Bollocks. We never end up slamming doors, not speaking, or running off and shagging the neighbour. Although I do sometimes get a little grumpy.

There is nothing we don't discuss, and we talk a lot. We've discussed babies, and lack of the aforementioned. But never with an arbitor. I know the husband wants children, but I know a lot of that desire is because I want them. Left to his own devises, I doubt he would have got there quite yet.

So I'm intrigued by what Thursday's counselling session will throw up.

Will we get deep, incisive questions that penetrate into the very heart of why we want children and strategies to cope and help each other if it doesn't happen for years (if ever)?

Will it be the fluffy insubstantial, spouting of platitudes that makes me want to say something a bit controversial and risky just to provoke a reaction?

Will it unleash some hither-to unseen anger that has both of us cursing the unfairness of our situation, and spitting out the names of fertile friends with fury?

I just hope she doesn't start with the classic: Tell me about your mother...

Sunday, 14 December 2008

2008 - its like sooo last year, already

Just a week and a half of work before the holidays, and it can't come soon enough. It's not the prospect of a hairy, jolly, fat man sneaking around my bedroom in the wee small hours and fiddling around with my stockings that is so appealing (sorry the husband). But it marks the end of a tough year. My own personal annus horribilis.

I know it was only a few weeks ago that I was galavanting naked across Europe and even less time ago that I truffled through 4 course lunches in between siestas. But these breaks are a very distant memory.

But 2008, I am over it. Bring on 2009.

2008 for me will be remembered as the year of tests, of waiting, of confusion, of mixed messages, of jagged tubes, that became a polyps, that became a womb full-to-the-brim of gunk - certainly no place to raise an embryo. A quarter of the year will have been spent topping my my body's progesterone to fool it into thinning out my womb lining for the mother of all periods.

2008 is like all the shit you go through before the fun stuff, the cleaning the room, preparing the walls, washing them down with sugar soap, filling in all the cracks and ensuring that the furniture is covered before the real fun starts.

2009 will be proactive.

2009 is putting the paint on the wall (something bright and cheerful).

2009, has to be better.

I daren't even write what I want to be doing this time next year for fear of jinxing it. But a bit of a clue - it involves my breasts and (once again apologies the husband) there nothing sexual about the fun bag's involvement. Can you guess?

What I have to decide now, is whether this year was really that bad or if this post is a culmination of a double roll-over hangover and the prospect of another Monday morning a mere 10 hours away.


Thursday, 11 December 2008

Spit or Swallow

It's very easy to see our men as a means to an end with but one function in this whole trying to get up the duff business.

But they are worth more than that, and it may surprise you to know that his man gravy could literally be, well, man gravy.

I came across (no pun intended) this little gem the other day. Well after the success of last times Fun Food Friday post I thought I had to share it with you (only I'm not convinced this is fun, certainly have my doubts about food and it is Thursday). Barb, any regrets? Not yet? You wait.

Follow this link for more info. But before you do, you HAVE to read the reviews.

Warning! Only check it out if you aren't eating/ about to eat/ think you may eat at some point within the next 24 hours/ don't have a delicate constitution / aren't likely to sue.

NB don't worry it is not porn, well there are no graphic images.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Genetic Counselling

When I was 11, just after I started secondary school, I was leaving one class on my way to another when the Head of English came up to me. I had never spoken to him before in my life and he was a big intimidating man.

In the corridor, surrounded by hundreds of other girls running between classes he said. "I've been looking at your work and I think you are dyslexic." I'd never heard this word before, when I asked him what it was he said. "Oh, its a mental disorder when you brain and your hand don't quite match up so you make mistakes."

He left with me thinking what the fuck? (Yes, I was an accomplished swearer even back then). I was convinced I was an imbecile and that something was seriously wrong, I pretty much went into shock and I spent the rest of the day in tears until someone with a bit more tact and understanding sat me down and explained exactly what it meant.

My reaction to my Doctor's phone call saying they had found abnormal cells in the womb biopsy following the hysteroscopy (HSG) was the same. I regressed to being that scared, confused 11 year old. The fact that she used the word cancer (admittedly to say this wasn't normally cancerous) sent me into a flurry of panic. Combine that with the difficulties I had picking up the prescription, the confusion and the delay that was being caused, I was in a pretty bad state by the I got to speak to the Doctor face to face. The full story is here.

Rather than admit that I might be a quivering, tearful wreck because of the insensitive nature of the way she had broken the news, and the issues I had getting a straight answer out of anyone, my Doctor decided the problem was that I was teetering on the edge of depression and so signed me up for both genetics counselling (to assess my risk of breast cancer in light of my mothers death) and infertility counselling. Because its all about me, she couldn't take credit for the tears.

Today was the genetic counselling to determine how at risk I was of getting breast cancer. I took the two other folk who had a vested interest in this, my sisters (oh and the two week old baby cause apparently he couldn't entertain himself in the waiting room).

It was pretty frustrating. The Doctor went through our family history and concluded that we had a moderate risk of breast cancer because my mother was the only woman in her family who got it at a young age. What this didn't take into account was my mother was one of five children and the only girl. Her brother's kids are all at least 7 years younger than us, the generation above was so close-lipped about things like illness that we don't actually know if any of them had cancer and again in that generation there were 3 boys and just one girl.

Add that to the fact that my mother was the epitome of healthy living, she didn't smoke, was teetotal, was slim, sporty and ate a healthy fruit and veg filled diet. So it wasn't those factors that contributed to her getting the disease.

However, the doctor decided that as we were moderate risk we wouldn't be eligible for screening until we were 40. "Even though Mum was first diagnosed at 37" challenged my big sister. Yes, apparently so.

So not all fun and games. Although there were a few good moments:
  • The wombmate (the clinical psychologist) said at one point. "So I've read the nice report about breast cancer..." The nice report I cringed, don't patronise the Doctor. Turns out she meant NICE (The National Institute for Clinical Excellence) report.
  • The doctor asked whether we self-checked our breasts, I said I did and the husband helped. I probably shouldn't have said that out loud.
  • The Doctor said that oestrogen could raise our risk. I couldn't remember if the Provera I am taking was oestrogen or progesterone, as I wondered this outloud both the Doctor and the wombmate automatically reached for the manual of drugs and their side effects. The Doctor got there first and defiantly snatched it away. (Its progesterone by the way)
  • It was at this point the Doc asked the wombmate what she did for a living, maybe I'm imagining it but I thought he became a bit less condescending when he realised she knew a little bit about medical matters.
So we left not really believing that we are at moderate risk, but each has their homework. The wombmate is going to see if there are any research projects we can join, the big sister is to delve a bit more into our family history - our great-grandmother died very young but no one (including her son, our grandpa) knows what she died of. And I? Well, I have the other counselling session next week, this time for the husband and I to discover how we are coping with this whole infertility gubbins. The sisters thought this was enough just now.

Friday, 5 December 2008

Text Book Pregnancy

There aren't a finite amount of pregnant women in the world.

I doubt there is some scroll-clutching deity sat on a cloud (though if there were it'd probably be wearing a shiny black jacket, puffy, and with an orange lining), "We're operating a one in one out policy. Right, I know that we've had a birth in Cambridge in October and another in London in November so I've got space for two of you. Go implant".

But say it was. You'd think there would be some kind of queuing system. So that the ones who have been waiting longest are at the front, waiting their turn. We Brits are usually quite good at that.

So you'll excuse me if I had a bit of a cry last night when I discovered I'd been queue jumped.


The husband went out with the boys. Remember this wedding? Yup? In August. That'll be August two thousand and eight. This year. Approximately 3 months ago - give or take a couple of weeks, or as we say in the UK a fortnight.

So she is now teetering on the edge of her 12 week scan. They've done the maths (math for my north American amigos), 11 days. That's how long it took post-wedding. Eleven fucking days (I suspect quite literally they were fucking days). Knocked up before the honeymoon was over.

I refer to my previous post about how I can deal with my mates kids (see exhibit a). But I still need a moment to get over it before I can settle into present-buying, baby-talking glee. Give me a moment.

11 days.

That's 264 hours...

It's text book, that is what is supposed to happen. But, after two years of us trying I find it hard to get my head round the fact that for some people it really is as simple as all that.

And I will be happy for them, delighted in fact.


Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Theory of Relativity

My big sister had a second baby last week. Another little boy (you remember the other one?).

I've taken a while to blog about it, mainly because I wasn't really sure what to say.

I know most of you guys aren't going to be interested in yet another baby when, mostly, we are all still trying to have our first. But we all have to cope with friends, workmates, people in the street, Hayley from the Archers giving birth. So we have to deal with it.

How do I feel? Well, delighted that you asked for a start. But actually, fine. No better than fine. Really good, really happy for her.

Why don't I feel too jealous? For some of the same reasons as I gave before. But also a few others.

Allow me to theorise.

Whatever we reasons we give for wanting a baby part of it has to be, subconciously or not, that whole wanting to pass on our genes thing (note, that's with a g not j). And this inante desire is being fulfilled by my sister. We share no physical characteristics, and have very disimilar personalities (though we aren't quite the polar opposites that my twin and I are). But somewhere, deep down, we share the odd chromosomes. So even if I fail to have progeny a bit of me'll live on in my wee nephews. So maybes that's why I don't feel jealous.

Another reason could be that when I first met him, at less than 24 hours old, he had his nappy changed. This kid had had nothing but a few fluid ounces of breast milk but the stuff that came out of his arse. Gah! It was like he'd been dipped in a peat bog. There was black viscose stuff covering him from the waist (waste) down. Apparently its meconium. If you really want to know more go here. BUT I warn you, it ain't pretty and may well make you ask yourself what the hell you were thinking and cause you to slap the condoms back on.

And finally. Well, he just looks so like my brother-in-law. Thus, in order to have that little person, I'd have to have slept with that big person. No, no, no. I am willing to make sacrifices but oof, there has to be a line.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Gym'll Fix It

I would describe myself as curvy.

By curvy I don't mean the internet euphemism for fat. I have hips, yes, lovely big boobs, of course, but smallish waist, um, thin wrists, oh and no unsightly neck rolls. Do you get the picture? I am within my BMI (top end, but I'm top heavy so I figure that's ok).

However, that whole eating my ever-increasing body weight in pasta on a daily basis during my holiday hasn’t helped. It has enhanced me to the tune of a quarter of a stone. And quite frankly, something has to go. And that something is either going to be buttons pinging off my trousers or my own flesh and blood. I’m not sentimental. The flab has to go.

Also, polycystic ovaries tend to be aggravated by being overweight. No, aggravated is not right that implies some kind of action. It is more like a bit of flubber turns ovaries into some kind of warm, duvet-like cocoon that the eggs think, "hmmm nice and cosy in here why would I want to ping out there on a monthly basis, ovulation be damned."

The daily walks with the dog are more like gentle strolls than the power-walking, fat-burning, arse-toning, hip-jiggling stuff that beach bodies are made of.

I use to be a member of a gym but, same old story, went masses, didn’t notice a change, got bored, stopped going, but kept my gym membership for a good few months – it is, after all, important to have something to waste your money on, and this was way before I started acupuncture.

So I figure this has to be a fantastic time to join a gym. What kind of moron joins a gym in December? January is gym-joining month. And with this whole global financial meltdown I reckon people must be tightening their belts round their ample stomachs and cancelling their gym memberships. There has to be some good deals going.

This is what I did. I went to my local gym. I requested to speak to the membership officer. I ensured I was hustled into an enclosed room. Just me and him, no witnesses. No one need ever know what I was confident was about to happen.

I asked how much the monthly fees were.

He told me.

I smiled. (I have a winning smile.)

“But I’m assuming,” I whispered conspiratorially, “that what with this credit crunch, there’s got to be some deals going”.

He looks me in the eye. I look back.

He smiles. My face is cracking with the amount of smile-age.



So I have the choice, live as a lard-arse or fork out £79 (note how clever they are with numbers, some people might not even realise that is just a gnat's fart off £80) a month for the privilege of sweating away in their basement, windowless, gym.

Hello, elasticated waistbands.

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Zinc or Swim

The title of this post should really have been Zinc or No Swimmers, but Zinc or Swim scanned so much better. And I'm all about the scanning (no, even I can't make a double entendre out of that).

I love the internet. I love the fact that I have a vague query, I put it out there and - lo - I get the answer. I love you.

What I got back from "how do I make sure the husband fulfills his side of the procreation sandwich" was zinc, vitamin C, zinc, no caffeine, zinc, vitamin E, don't smoke, and make sure he ingests that zinc.

Oh, the husband is going to be delighted with the lot of you.

You all know he use to smoke, but he kicked that to the curb a year and a half ago (one nil to the smoking ban, come on the nanny state). So guess what I am going to be concentrating on?

I figure I have a couple of options. One, buy some zinc supplements, leave them in the kitchen. Pester the husband to take them and get shouty when I realise he keeps forgetting to do so.

But for the sake of our marriage I'm not going to go down this route.

Instead, I plan on becoming a feeder.

I found a list of zinc sources. Yes, all by myself, see I can do my own googling when required.

And I'm liking what I see.

There are, of course somethings that can be immediately discounted:
  • Oysters - but they are alive. And don't give me that aphrodisiac shite, slurping living snot-textured salty globules does not make me horny (why does that sound eerily similar to the answer I give when a blow job is requested?)
  • Walnuts - just too bitter, I like the idea, especially at Christmas but they are always a disappointment
  • Lobster - I'm not spending my acupuncture money on them, much as I'd love to
  • Bran Flakes/ Shreddies - the husband is petrified of milk, which makes breakfast cereals quite hard, dry and inedible. And when I say he is petrified, the site of a milk moustache has him gagging. (For me a hair moustache has the same effect)
  • Baked Beans - hey, I have to live with the guy and part of the marriage vows was that I couldn't kick him out of bed for farting.
But that still leaves me with quite a bit to play with.

I'm thinking for lunch, slather wholemeal pitta pockets with humus, and fill it with strips of tasty beef, topped off with a sprinkling of sesame seeds.

For tea, I could do brown pasta with tinned crab meat, bit of garlic, lemon juice, chilli and parsley to notch up the flavour.

So that's one day's worth, it might get a bit tedious on a daily basis though. Will have to do a bit more research.

Look at that, almost one of Barb's Fun Food Fridays.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

By Appointment

I think my feelings about the National Health Service have been pretty clearly established in previous posts.

I love it. I love that it is free, that it is here, and did I mention that it was free? But my god it frustrates me sometimes, and when it does I feel guilty. That whole 'don't look a gift horse in the mouth' idea. But to turn that analogy into something more tortuous: If you don't look it in the mouth and check its general health you may well find yourself with a horse buckling under you in the desert of infertility, miles away from the oasis of medical intervention.

I've just received a letter from them:

Dear [womb4improvement]
On: 5 Feb 2009 at 14.00

I regret to inform you that it has been necessary to change the above appointment. I apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

A new appointment has been made for the date and time shown below:
On: 10 Dec 2008 at 11.00

Yours sincerely

Outpatients Team

And now I am going to give you a bit of an insight into the machinations of my mind.

Thought 1: Shit, why are they always monkeying around with my appointments? I can't believe they've cancelled another one.

Thought 2: Oh! Wait a cotton picking minute, they've brought it forward, it is less than two weeks away. Brilliant!

Thought 3: What appointment on the 5 of Feb? I don't know of any appointment on the 5 of Feb.

Thought 4: I'm still taking provera to sort the womb out and will be until the beginning of January. I'm not due any appointments until after I finish the drugs.

Thought 5: Was that fart the dog or the husband?

So I ring them.

"Hello, I've had a letter about a change of appointment to the 10 of December, but I am a bit confused. What is the appointment for?"

"Ahh, yes, well we had a new nurse so we thought we could up the number of clinics, so we were going to run more a week, now that we have 4 clinical nurses not 3. But she's now left, so we can't, so that appointment is going to have to be cancelled anyway"

"Right, so am I back to the 5 of Feb now?"

"No, we aren't having a clinic that day so you're in for the 19 of Feb"

"Lovely, that's fine, but do you think you could tell me what the appointment is for?"

"Yes, its to start your treatment"

"Great. I'm taking provera until January, do you have a note of that?"

"Oh yes"

"So I couldn't have started the treatment on the 10th of December anyway"


Very glad we got that sorted. So, to summarise:

I got a letter changing an appointment that I hadn't been told about in the first place, but then on calling them the appointment had been changed again anyway, and even if it hadn't been I wouldn't have been able to go because I haven't completed the first batch prescription of drugs, so now it is later than it originally was, but only by two weeks.

Actually, what am I complaining about? It all seems quite straight forward now I think of it.

At this point a few months ago I would have got all excited about the 19 of February. But judging from past experiences I'll be tucking into a whole pile of hats for tea if the 19th really does go ahead as planned.

Monday, 24 November 2008

I have the key

I have the secret.

So we all know the deal. The way to get pregnant is to just relax. So obvious, and so easy that any one worth their salt will give you that gem within 3.47 minutes of hearing that you are having trouble getting knocked up / knocking someone else up.

The age-old problem being, how the fuck do you relax when you have got maybes a year into trying to have a baby and it just isn't happening?

Well, my little chickadees I know how to relax. Scratch that, after my Italian vacation I would even go so far as to say I know how to chillax, it was that good.

And, for just 12 monthly installment of £9.99 (with a reduced VAT) I will let you into the secret.

No? Sigh.

OK, because you were all so wonderful with advice about the man's swimmers here it is for free:
  • Siestas are for the win
  • Don't have post-lunch espressos (see above)
  • Preprandial preambulation is a must, all the Italians do it
  • Don't stress about learning names, simply call everyone Bella, even the boys
  • Ensure you eat well, at least four courses per meal (and that's not including pudding), oh and one course must include enough pasta an average English family of four would have for their weekly bolognese
  • Choose to go away at trough season (which I assume is the antonym of peak season, but also covers the amount of troughing we did) and thereby avoid other tourists
  • Switch off roaming, wifi, any types of mechanical devices that keep you in touch with the world at large
  • Generate endorphins by exercising, we chose exercise that could be conducted within the confines of our hotel room and needed minimal equipment
  • Talking of minimal equipment, and this is the key, when engaged sexual congress use a condom. That way you avoid all the little stresses that can come about by wondering if you are ovulating, whether that time was it, shoving a post-coital pillow under your hips
Oh, shit. That doesn't work does it.? Hmmm. OK, I'll get back to you on the whole how to relax and conceive (you guys want everything!). But it was a fantastic break regardless.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008


If the technology has worked this wee post should pop up whilst we are on holiday.

So quick, whilst the husband's not looking.

This enforced break from trying to get knocked up should be the perfect opportunity for not only me to give my womb good clear out but also a chance for the husband to get his own spunk in order. I mean he has passed his initial tests, but there is nothing wrong with upping the ante a touch.

So anyone got any tips of vitamins I should be stirring into his mince and tatties? What about a poultice to apply to his nether regions as he sleeps? Or how about a wonder food that I can sneak into his lunch box. (And by that I mean lunch box as in pack lunch, not lunch box as in Linford Christie).

Any tips gratefully received, and discretion assured.

Saturday, 15 November 2008


This time two years ago we were on holiday, sorry, honeymoon. And now, not by design, we are going on another November European jaunt.

There are few differences.

Then I was blond now I'm a red-head (both fake, my natural colour is a dull beige).

Then we were off in southern in Spain, now we are heading to northern Italy.

Then we had no responsibilities, today we had to take the dog back to the kennels from whence he came. (That backwards glance he gave as he was lead away almost broke me - but then I remembered he was just a dog and he'll have a great time playing with his old doggy chums and its only a for week).

Another key difference was then we were leaving the contraception behind. We were going to ... cue excited glances and deep breaths ... "start trying for a baby". Rationally I knew that it was unlikely that we'd conceive within two weeks of starting trying. But I couldn't help but think, honeymoon babies do happen. So someone has to hit that jackpot. Why not us?

Why not indeed? Well, the battery of test over the last year has supplied the answer to that. Its down to a combination of polycystic ovaries and endometrial atypia (that's the medical term for lots of gunk in the womb). And hopefully nothing else.

So this holiday is a bit different to the last. We've packed the "sheeeffss" (as the French doctor calls them).

Thanks to the provera there will most certainly be no trying to conceive action (but hopefully thanks to the aforementioned barrier-contraceptives there will be some action), but in many ways we are much closer to conceiving than last time, because we are on our way to getting ourselves sorted.

So we fly off tomorrow. Its been a tough few months, for more reasons than the scope of this blog, and we are gagging for a break.

And, I love the dog, but without him we get to lie in together for the first time since January. Hmmmm, might pop a few more sheeefffss in the bag (well, we have to keep practising).

Wednesday, 12 November 2008


Jane G and I mutually agreed that, as a way to assure our continued good deeds at the gym / yoga, should either of us stray, we have to 'fess up.


My name is Womb For Improvement. And tonight I didn't go to yoga. And next week I'm not going to either.

To be fair the class isn't great. I've done three out of the six weeks which is enough to figure out that it isn't going to get better.

Three weeks and not even a sniff of the downward dog. And if you think I am referring to some unholy practice that should be kept between the furkid and I you a) have a filthy mind and b) have never done yoga.

I mean, its the classic first stance. Every bloody yoga class does the downward dog as a matter of course.

But not my thigh-rubbing, chest-beating, groin-thrusting teacher.

But do you know what really put me off? She wants to talk. At the end of each class we sit round her cross-legged whilst she bestows on us a beatific smile and asks if we have any questions. We squirm whilst she stares at each one of us willing our eyes to meet hers. Eventually one unlucky bugger will be caught in the headlights and ask some inane question like:
"So, should we be breathing through our nose or mouth?"

Cue, 10 minutes of incomprehensible ramblings encompassing such gems of wisdom as "Opening up your groin will really help the nasal passages" and "when we were birds our wing span..."

So tonight I just couldn't be arsed. Besides I have packing to do. I'm off on holiday on Sunday for a week. I cannot wait. Sleep, food, wine and more sleep.

Now where is the list of what to pack?

Monday, 10 November 2008

Reader, I married him

I was 18.

Out with my mates in the pub when I saw a guy I'd been eying up in lectures for months, (Classical Archaeology, since you ask).

"Go and talk to him", but the closest I got was standing next to him at the bar whilst ordering a drink. Eventually after a couple of hours of me staring and boring the crap out of my mates one of them shoved an unlit cigarette in my hand and propelled me towards the light, I mean, him:

"Do you have a light?"

He did, we started talking, I smoked the whole thing, a foreign object in my hand and lungs, he offered me another, in my alcohol and nicotine induced dazed I thought rejecting the cigarette would be perceived as a rejection of him.

I smoked another one.

I felt ill.

I made my excuses.

From then on, whenever he dained to turn up to lectures we'd chat, I sit next to him (with one empty seat between us, just so I didn't look like a slut). Eventually we happened to be in the same pub at the same time again. We were chatting. I looked up and saw his friends laughing (innocently as it turned out) I got paranoid.

"Are your friends laughing at me?"
"No. Why?"
"Well, is it really obvious I'm chatting you up? And are you going out with anyone?"
"Um ... no, its not obvious. And yeah I started seeing someone yesterday."
"But thank you, that's really flattering"
I squirmed off, muttering some about how I must be really drunk ...

Fast forward a couple of months. We'd remained casual acquaintances but didn't know each other well enough for me to find out if he was still seeing THAT girl.

One afternoon there was a knock at my door. It was him. He asked me out for a drink. He said:
"So, is it really obvious I'm chatting you up? And are you going out with anyone?"

That was 14-ish years ago. And today, is exactly 2 years since we tied the knot.

But I'll tell you what, I've not smoked a whole cigarette since that first meeting.

So go on, what are your favourite chat-up lines? And I mean the ones that have worked not "Get your coat" or anything that starts "Was your father a thief ..."

Friday, 7 November 2008

Pill Popping

One month down, two more to go.

I've now taken 28 days worth of the provera (15mg).

You can read the whole story here, but the potted version is that the hysteroscopy revealed a whole lot of gunk in my womb so they are building the lining to flush it out in a tsunami of period in January before they go in for another look.

The first few days, even week was fine. But week 2. Oh dear me no.

I couldn't sleep.

I felt nauseous.

My boobs hurt.

I kept crying.

Yeah, kinda like all the symptoms you are supposed to have to indicate pregnancy, only without the main event.

Feeling sick was the worst.

I woke up. Fine.

I sat up. Gagged.

I went to the bathroom. Heaved.

I figured the only way to get rid of it was actually be sick. I crouched over the cool white china. Nothing. I'd never have made a bulimic. Still, I did notice I needed to change the toilet rim hanger. So it wasn't a complete waste of time.

I took a day off sick. Which is very rare. The following day I had an appointment with the local doc anyway (the hospital would only give 1 months worth of drugs at a time so I had to get a repeat prescription).

That was embarrassing. I walked in, sat down, and started crying. I then started laughing whilst crying explaining this wasn't me, I didn't do this. She passed the tissues.

We had a chat, and she said that often if you get an adverse reaction like this it passes after the fourth week so booked another appointment this week to check how it was going.

So now I'm much better. I still feel a bit puke-y first thing but if I force myself to have breakfast I'm usually fine.

The bursting into tears at the most ridiculous things (Gok's How to Look Good Naked, seriously) has stopped. The more I think about that I wonder if it was less to do with ingesting shed-loads of progesterone and more about a culmination of waiting, lack of sleep and more waiting.

I got this letter from the hospital yesterday. Correction, the clinical psychologist got this letter from the hospital yesterday about me, I was cc-d:

As you can see from my letter, this lady has been rather distressed recently and I am sure she will benefit from seeing you.

"this lady"? **looks behind me** Shit, they mean me.

I have long-held suspicion of counselling despite, or maybe because of, my womb-mate's occupation. But its free, so why not? Plus it can't do any harm, can it?

Anyone had counselling about infertility? Has it helped you? How the hell am I going to get the husband to agree to come along with me?

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Book review: Minus nine to one

A few friends have mentioned that I might like to read Jools Oliver's book, you know, her having difficulty in conceiving an' all.

My mate had a copy so this weekend I nicked borrowed it.

For those who don't know Jools Oliver (yes, she does spell her name like that) is the wife of celebrity chef and mockney Jamie Oliver, the naked one who rarely got naked.

As a book about the struggle to get pregnant its not great.

**spoiler** (though to be fair the cover/ title of her book spoils it too)

She gets pregnant by page 30. And although, she says that she took provera, clomid and had a HSG it is sort of glossed over. She writes "As it goes, a simple visit to my GP was all that was required at first ... He immediately gave me a referral letter to see Mr Geoffrey Trew, whom he considered to be the best fertility doctor in the country."

As anyone who has battled to see a specialist, then waited for an appointment and tried to get them to take you seriously and not tell you to go home and relax it doesn't really chime with the non-celebrity wives' experience. But that said, good on her for coming out and not crediting some Australian waterfall for the conception.

It is very easy reading. It is broken into chunks that follow a general chronological order but meanders a bit when relevant. Yeah, kinda like a blog.

I did get a bit exasperated with her writing style. She has a fondness for the exclamation mark. Which regular readers will know annoys me. I don't tend to use it just to denote that I am telling a joke! It's, like, really annoying! (You got that?) I defy anyone to find a single page without at least two exclamation marks.

The majority of the book is about her pregnancy and giving birth, twice. And it was interesting. I found myself reading it almost getting excited about how I would feel at that stage, and what I would pack to take to the hospital in contrast to her overnight bag which had to include her cowboy boots.

It is engaging. But, I might re-read it when I am actually pregnant rather than just fantasising about it.

She says at one point during her description of frantic screwing and whilst trying to get pregnant, "You must excuse me for the next few paragraphs. I may revert to a slightly corny mode of writing as my mum and mum-in-law will no doubt read this and, frankly, using the words 'shag' and 'sex' might upset them". And you do sort of get the feeling that she is a bit self-conscious throughout the book. And I know that I avoided mentioning sex to my dad, but if you are going to write a book like this you have to just go for it.

So in conclusion. Its a quick, digestible read. Its got its charm, it could have done with a better editor, and maybe a second read through (you get the impression you are reading the first draft). Probably best for pregnant people than those who hope to find solace in their infertility

Anyone read it and wildly disagree, or even agree? Any other books you'd recommend? (Although be warned I hate self-help books even more than exclamation marks).

Monday, 3 November 2008

A learning experience

Things I have learned this weekend:
  • My friends read my blog, a lot (there was I thinking I had a really healthy readership in Belgium and Germany, turns out it is just the two of them)
  • They also read your blogs, yes, yours
  • My womb-mate (twin) never reads my blog
  • Naked spas are incredibly freeing (and asexual)
  • European women are, contrary to to their world-wide reputation, generally hair-free and well-kempt
  • An astonishingly large number of German men appear to wax all their pubes off, really, ALL OFF
  • If you want to be in the coolest part of the sauna sit on the lowest level
  • If a gentleman wishes to sit at a hotter part of the sauna, his clambering up will doubtless leave you with a face full of Betty Swollocks (but fortunately no pubes)
  • If you are in a sauna and there is a schedule of events that looks like at 3pm there will be ice-tea and you can't believe your luck, don't
  • An 'ice tea event' may well turn out to be sitting in a packed (would it be tautology to remark that it really, really was hot?) sauna whilst a loin-cloth clad young man pours ouzo/ pernod/ aniseed onto the coals and then proceeds to waft it in your face
  • If whilst sitting through the above procedure you feel a bit hot and dizzy and decide to leave, your exit will be echoed by lots of Germans cheering and shouting no doubt hilarious things about what a light-weight you are to the growing amusement of the rest of sweaty inhabitants of the pine-clad room
  • Sauna's are great places to go if you are fed up of being surrounded by pregnant women, they aren't recommended for the pregnant
  • I quite miss the husband when I don't see him for a whole weekend
  • I don't see enough of my friends who live on the continent
  • Although, I saw rather too much of them this weekend.

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Greetings from abroad

I went to Brussels and I forgot:
  • Pyjamas
  • Toothbrush (although I had even charged it up special)
  • Deodorant
  • Toothpaste
  • Razor
Its that nappy-headed type of behaviour which would normally have me reaching for the pregno tests.

Am starting to think my old teacher was right. I really would forget my head if it wasn't screwed on.

Thursday, 30 October 2008


When I was being upbeat about my enforced three month respite from trying to conceive I
listed being able to visit my mates on the continent (without worrying I would be missing an impregnation opportunity), as a good thing.

And tomorrow my womb-mate and I will hop on a eurostar and make our way to Bruxelles. We'll meet up with our two continent inhabiting friends for a girlie weekend.

But its not all roses. That same list about the positives also declared that with no dates with the dildo-cam I could embrace the retro muff.

So what have we got planned for the weekend? A nudist spa in Germany (of course its in Germany, those krauts can't keep their clothes on).



Do you think Locks of Love want a donation?


And quick update. I have finished my A to Z of the kind of advice (I believe the correct internet term is assvice) that anyone who is trying to get pregnant will get from well-meaning , but ultimately infuriating, folk.

But it is a fluid list so feel free to keep suggesting stuff and I'll update the best ones.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Eau De Vie

Yesterday one of my closest friends gave birth to a little boy. (I say little, but at 9lbs 5 he wasn't exactly a tiddler).

I was worried how I would react to the news. When she told me that she was pregnant I had ju
st had my first set of tests back from the Doctor and had got the all clear, I'd ovulated when the pee stick told me I had and the husband's sperm were 'normal'. (Howzat for an accolade?!)

That was back in February.

I kept hoping that by the time she had the baby I would be pregnant. As the weeks and months went past I kept having to mentally re-adjust the age difference between our children. Until I had to concede it wasn't going to happen this time.

But, when I got the email yesterday I felt nothing but delight and relief that they are
both safe and well. Ok I was little upset that there wasn't a picture included (Frog, if you are reading this wack one over pronto - Oh, and congratulations, almost forgot that).

It is something I've remarked
on before (but hey, I'm running out of material here until I can get back on the ttc wagon), strangers babies are much more likely to make me feel jealous and broody than those of my friends. My friends ones are allocated, strangers seem to have been come by so easily.

And why the title? It literally translates as water of life. And is apt because the new boy’s initials are ODV (say it out loud, it'll make sense).

Sunday, 26 October 2008

I'm coming out

No, not like that. Although the husband is still convinced that I have more tales from my teenage years in a girls' boarding school that I have yet to share with him.

(I don't.)

Back to the topic. A discussion that is often raised in the blogosphere is 'should we tell folk we are having problems conceiving?'. (I still find it near impossible to use the word infertile - it sounds far too final.)

But why the dilemma? It is something that I have struggled with. I'm not ashamed. It is not my fault. It happens. No one is going to judge me and actually telling people might even illicit some good advice or sympathy.

And that is the problem.

We all know the kind of advice we would receive, usually backed up with a concrete example of "a friend of a friend's cousin did X and now she has 6 children".

Or the sympathy, at best, might leave me a blubbering wreck and the giver of said shoulder to cry on wondering if it would be heartless to forward the dry-cleaning bill. At worst the sympathy will take the form of pointing out people who are worse off. I know there are people worse off, I feel for them, I hope everyone's dreams come true but telling me about them isn't going to make me slap my hand to my forehead declare how blind I have been and start seeing the world through rose-coloured spectacles.

But, just to contradict what I have said above I have started to tell people. Initially just my closest mates but more recently other people who I suspect may be having similar problems or who I see often enough that I don't want them to start nudging each other should I not drink. Or those I fear will one day casually raise the "So when are you two going to have children?" topic. I'm pre-empting. And so far, its been positive.

The responses I have had have generally been supportive without seeing it as a green light for intrusive questions and it has felt like a weight off my mind. Turns out I should credit the folk I know with a bit more tact, and empathy.

One person I told recently was my Dad. Anyone who has been reading this blog for a while will know that a) I have been teetering on the edge of talking to him about this for ages and b) my Mum died when I was 15 so he has to deal with the emotional baggage of his three daughters as well as the more conventional DIY-expert/ plumber/ electrician Dad role.

So back in September (I know its taken a while to blog about it) I had a work meeting in a town near my Dad's so I took the opportunity to stay with him the night before. His wife was staying with a friend so it was the first time in years there have just been the two of us, no partners, no siblings.

He took me out for dinner and, in a very calm, unemotional way, I told him exactly what was going on; what tests I'd had; what the results were; our next steps. And my dears, this is the phenomenal bit, I managed to have the whole conversation without even alluding the the fact that I have sex with my husband, there are somethings a father never needs to confront.

He was brilliant. Only one blip when he suggested that maybe if I "didn't worry so much about it, it would happen". Deep breath. Explain how I have had irregular periods all of my life (I gloss over the period I was on the pill, see above, he doesn't need to know), so there is clearly something 'up', and anyway I wasn't worried at the start.

Now he asks how things are going with the "baby thing", but doesn't push it, and will frequently hand the phone over to my step-mother to dig for more graphic details.

I suppose the point of the post is to say on the whole talking to people in real life has generally been really positive and helpful. I'm not about to walk into a party with an opening gambit, "Hi! I'm infertile, what about you?" and, other than on a need to know basis, folk at work will remain oblivious. But I am less wary about talking to friends and family. These are people who care a lot about me, and they want to share the bad stuff as well as the good, and appreciate the trust that I have shown in them by telling them.

Thursday, 23 October 2008


Those of you with exceptional memories may recall that my big push for an autumn/ winter conception included some life changing decisions (kinda). Well thanks to the provera I'm not going to get knocked up this side of Christmas, but that doesn't mean I can't make like a boy scout and be prepared.

So a quick revisit of the resolutions reveals something that curiously I haven't blogged about. Yoda Yogi Yoga

Now you need a bit of back story. Whilst at university I was a demon yogie. I was supple, dedicated, and so big an advocate for it that I managed to pursuade my Dad to take it up.

Fast forward ten years, not so. My dad however, my 62 year old ex-army officer dad, he's still doing his weekly practice - though hasn't taken up the spliffs or hippy lifestyle (as far as I know).

The problem is, my first teacher was brilliant. I left town and had never found a teacher that I clicked with. I tried yoga that involved hitting yourself in the chest whilst humming, yoga in saunas, yoga under duvets, Iyenga, Astanga, yoga in gyms, yoga in people houses. But no one was as good as Claudia. Gradually I stopped looking.

But with the new resolve I had to get back to it. With the dog timings were hard. Most classes round me start at 6 which even if I leave work bang on time doesn't give me time to get home, walk the dog and make it to class.

But then I found a 7pm class at a local dance school. It was like coming home. I found myself grinning throughout the class. This was yoga as I knew it. I was back, I was once again going to be a yoga-goddess. At the end of the class the tutor announced that was his last session.


So last week I found another class. Time not quite so good, location a bit further away, and you had to sign up for 6 sessions up front. I had reservations but this was my 'last' chance.

Oh dear.

It took a while to get over the nausea induced by the copious amount of incense burning. By then we were into the practice it seemed to consist simply of rubbing ourselves. We rubbed our hands together, we rubbed our faces with said hands, we ran our hands seductively down our body, down our legs, up our inner thighs.

By the end of it all I could think of was my ex-flatmate explanation for why he stopped coming to yoga: "With all those fit women in the class, I just knew that one day I'd be standing in Vrksasana with an enormous erection."

I didn't find it so exciting. But maybe it'll get better next week.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Spot the difference

I was right! My body is really trying to soldier on and ignore the fact that I am taking provera and have a period that confounds medical science. Meanwhile the drugs are acting like the little boy who stuck his finger in the dyke (that could go so many ways but keep it clean and in context dear reader), and preventing a full-on flow, but still there is a drip, drip, drip. I believe the technical term is spotting.

Though to be honest there isn't much difference. The pains aren't quite so bad and the flow isn't quite as heavy. But I still had tender boobs leading up to it, I still felt unaccountably miserable then once it started everything fell into place, and I still have a craving for chocolate (Ok. Point taken. I still have a craving for chocolate, more than normal).

So I clearly did ovulate a couple of weeks ago, but by then I was just starting the provera so I purposefully didn't let myself test for it. I knew it would be a waste of time. But it appears this was the first time I ovulated on schedule for 6 months.

Rationally I know that my womb lining needs some serious tlc before it can play host to a wee baby (or two - is that greedy?). But I still sort of wish we had delayed the provera just for a couple of weeks and had one last try by ourselves. One chance at seeing whether the acupuncturist's "thrilling of my chi" had had some effect.

Oh well. Not to be. I suspect this post is just the hormones talking.

Friday, 17 October 2008

My boobs hurt!

No, don't worry this isn't going to be a big miserable post.

But for the past week or so I have had pretty tender lady-bits (top half). This is usually a sign that my period is on its way. Obviously because of the provera it hasn't appeared.

However. However, they started hurting just before I started the pills so I reckon had nature been allowed to progress I would have been regular for the first time since February it being (as of the 17 of October) day 29.

Which, dear Watson, which leads me to conclude. There is something to this acupuncture thing.

That, plus last night when I went to acupuncturist and told him I was having difficult sleeping of late he stuck some new pins in different parts of my anatomy and before I knew it I fell asleep right there on the operating table couch.

Right, the weekend starts here, so I'm off to the pub. Because I can.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Bought to you by the letters A to Z

Acupuncture - folk swear by it, sometimes lots of little pricks help the big one get to work properly.

Booze - stay well clear, I know red wine has anti-oxidents but on this occasion it is all bad.

Caffine - see above, turns out there is no fun to be had (I didn't mean to make this rhyme!)
Douche - I kid you not, I read: 'a helpful tip to become pregnant is to use a baking soda douche at least one hour before intercourse at the time of ovulation. This makes the vagina alkaline, which is ideal for the sperm.' I just can't help thinking that for the husband it'd just feel like soggy seconds. And that's not nice.

Egg whites - I have never. I will never. Will I?

Folic Acid - not strictly for to help you get pregnant, but vital for a healthy pregnancy.

Grinning - get use to it. As soon as you start trying to have a baby all of your friends will suddenly announce their knocked up state. And you will have to grin and bear it. Again, and again, and again. (Thanks Amber, Between the Lines)

Horny - people are more flirty and attractive to the opposite sex when they are ovulating. So if you are finding everybody unusually appealing and you feel like ripping the overalls off those builders down the road, then it's likely to be your most fertile time of the month! (Thanks Victoria)

Intervals - it is counterintuitive but lots and lots of sex isn't going to work any more than none. You need to let the little spermazoids recuperate, regroup and revive between each blast. Its usually recommended having sex every two to three days rather than every day. Unless you have several men on the go - we women don't need to hang around.

Just Adopt -
Apparently, if you adopt a child you are bound to fall pregnant! Like babies are contagious, or something. Arghhhh! (Word up to Secret Diary of an Infertile for this gem)

Kununurra Falls - Nicole reckons this is why she got up the duff, we're planning a ttc conference there, you in?

ake of the Pregnant Maiden in Langkawi, Malaysia. Apparently it's another one of those swimming spots that's good for getting women up the duff. (Thanks, Jane aka Lacking Expectations)

Missionary position - let gravity do the work for you, give the tadpoles a fighting chance.

New House -Maybe it is the change in Feng Shui or the fact that you have to christen every room when you move in (don't you?) but lots of fertiles will knowingly recommend this as a sure fire way to get pregnant. Credit crunch? Forget it.
(Thanks once again, Jane aka Lacking Expectations)

Orgasming whilst Ovulating - When climaxing the contraction of the muscles apparently helps suck the little swimmers up there all nice and deep, combine that with actually ovulating and you should be there .. should be. (Thanks to Paint it Black and Amber, of Between the Lines)

Pillow under your butt - see 'M', just twenty minutes of proping yourself up after each sexcapade, to allow gravity to help those swimmers on their way. (I calculate this is approximately four times longer than the actual event!)

Quit trying - Kinda on the lines of just relax. You see our problem is we just are so obsessed with getting pregnant we can't do it. So as soon as we stop trying it'll happen. Of course this presupposes that a) we continue having sex but manage to fool ourselves into believing we aren't trying and b) everything is hunk-dory in the baby making department. Ooooh it makes me angry!
(Once again, cheers Jane aka Lacking Expectations)

Relax - don't get me started on this one ... the most common bit of advice anyone'll give you.
It is incredibly infuriating, not least because as soon as anyone says it the last thing you are is relaxed.

Sex - almost goes without saying, but it is kinda important, unless you'd rather the ...

...Turkey baster.

Underpants - keep 'em loose and the spermazoids cool.

Vitex Agnus-Castus - apparently this is good for PMS and Polycystic, but I have to say I haven't tried it myself yet so this isn't an endorsement.

Womb for Improvement - I don't want to big myself up, of course, so only because Xbox4Nappyrash suggested it and I am but a martyr to my commentors. And, lets face it, there is no better place for erroneous advice and generally talking rubbish. (Except maybe X's blog himself).

X-rated - hmmm... gone are the days of adventurous sex, rather than swinging from the chandeliers you're more likely to be proffering a positive ovulation test and demanding satisfaction.
Yoga - deep breaths, downward facing dog and conceive.

- mainly for him, good for the little swimmers, and therefore good for us. If only I could find a fool proof way to stop him forgetting to take them.

All done, thanks to all the commentors who waded in with their tuppence worth. I now have the definative list of how to get knocked up. Should be easy now.
Remember kids, this is just for fun! (And these aren't substantiated - anyone who tries to follow all these will become a quivering, infertile wreck, yeah, kinda like me).

Saturday, 11 October 2008

I Don't Need A Child

Don't get me wrong I WANT one but in terms of how my life would change in may ways I think the husband fills the void.

Here are a few examples of the kind of questions he asks:

"Will I need a jumper?"

"What should I pack?"

"Have I had a tetanus jab?"

"Is my Mum's birthday the 8th or 12th?"

"Do I have any clean pants?"

This is from an intelligent, successful, 32 year old man.

My answer is generally:

"I dunno, I'm not your mother"

What the hell am I going to do when I am? (Not his, that is sick, I mean a mother)?

If this post seems a little harsh then it is simply because he's got way too smug after this post and needs taken down a peg or two.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Anyone got any Vera's? Luurvvvely*

I didn't tell you the whole story last week. (And warning, this is a pretty long boring post filed under the 'public information bulletin for those who might also be prescribed provera' rather than 'fun shinanigans relating to trying to procreate').

The reason I ending up seeing the doctor rather than just picking up my prescription and nipping off home to start popping pills was that I was confused.

When the doctor told me over the phone that I had to take provera for three months I thought she meant I should take it for 7 days or so, have a period, repeat for two more months. I thought this because I had taken provera before and this was the kind of dose I was taking. I didn't know it could be taken for an extended period (no pun intended) and to me three months sounds like three cycles.

In my defence. The phone call was taken on my mobile, with on a very bad line, at work, standing in the only private space I could find - the photocopier room. The doctor had just told me I had had an abnormal result, she had got back to me within a week rather than waiting until the next appointment I had booked in three weeks time. I'm stunned I could hear anything above the sound of alarm bells in my head.

I picked up the prescription and asked the nurse for clarification.
"Three months, no I don't know, I've never seen anyone take provera for three months ask the doctor, go on knock on her door now".

Note on the prescription it said:
Drug: Provera
Dose: 5mg
Frequency: lots (yes, I kid you not, 'lots' what kind of dose is that)
No of days supply: 3/12 (which I assume is actually number of months supply out of the maximum number of months you can have in a year).

I managed to ask what this meant. Response:
"You take it every day for 3 months"
"Yes I told you this on the phone"
(Deep breath don't argue just get this clear then you can get out and go have a cry)"OK so just to clarify I take a pill starting tomorrow [which was the 1st of October] until the 31 of December."
"Yes, one dose a day"

Now I took that to mean I took one pill a day.

So when I got my prescription and it said 3 a day on the packet I was confused. I assumed that was the 'normal' dose that was put on the label as a default measure. Particularly as last time I took 2 a day and that was only for seven days.

But I thought I'd better check. So I called. I don't know how it is is elsewhere but the gate keepers at the NHS are such that you don't get to talk to the doctor. You get to leave an answerphone message and then, if you are lucky, a nurse will call you back.

So I was clear and unambiguous in my message: I just want clarification of whether I take one pill a day or three, please call me back ...

The doctor's secretary called back.

"Dr S. want you to come in for an appointment at 10am next Thursday"
"Ok, but really all I need to know if how many pills I should be taking"
"Dr S. want you to come in for an appointment at 10am next Thursday"
"Great, ok then, do you know how many, just so I can start taking them?"
"Dr S. want you to come in for an appointment at 10am next Thursday"
"Right. Bye then."

So today. A very short appointment. I AM supposed to be taking three pills (15mg) , which is one dose - apparently. I felt like I was wasting her time - although to be fair she didn't make me feel like that, and at least I got to ask more questions about the hysteroscopy.

I should call when I have finished my pills, call when I have finished what should be an epic bleed, and then I'll get the hysteroscopy. (Another area of confusion as I thought as she wanted a nice thick womb lining I was supposed to have it between finishing the pills and the bleed - but no).

And it won't be under general anaesthetic, which is a relief.

So I'm pill popping until January and then see what'll happen.

*And yes, I know the Shamen weren't referring to provera but it works a whole lot better than slang for rolling papers.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Always the Godparent

Never the God.

Er ... I mean parent.

I've got three Godkids. Which is quite impressive for someone who is more likely to lead children astray than keep them on the straight and narrow path to a life of virtue and chastity.

My first is fifteen now (I know, I don't look old enough, people think we are godsisters). She is a brilliant, scholarship pupil, sporty, musical and pretty. One of my proudest moments was when she added me as a friend on facebook - Oh yeah I am, like, so, like, down wit da kidz man, innit. (Since then I have had to change my settings, not so she can't see what I'm doing but I don't want to know what she gets up to.)

The next wee mischief maker is a one year old minx. Incredibly cute, willful and, although I'm a little concerned she might turn out ginger (or as her Mum always described her own hair - titian), she's still pretty cool.

And the husband and I are due to be joint Godparents to a little boy soon. His mum was the husbands flat-mate (platonic) at University, so the three of us have know each other for 14ish years. She married two weeks after us, a date arranged so we'd be back from honeymoon and not miss it. Her son was conceived a few months later, he is just shy of one now. She doesn't know we are trying, she's oblivious to the fact that her son is a physical reminder of what we should have. She has even said that she wished she could have waited a bit longer, like us, but because her husband is a fair few years older than us, and she already has a daughter from a previous relationship, they felt she should crack on. However, on the positive side it is a testament to our marriage that she has asked us to be joint Godparents - she said she wouldn't have done it if she didn't think we had an incredibly strong marriage. Which is nice.

Those three, plus my sister, who doesn't want to go through the christening malarky has left me her son in her will. Or I'm his default guardian - or whatever the legal term is.

So either our friends and family have recognised what awesome parents we will be, or the scheeming bia-tches have figured this is the best way for their kiddies to get their sticky little fingers on an inheritance should we die rich and childless. It's a high risk, long term strategy, so I'm going with the former.

Kelley from Magneto Bold Too asked us recently to post about how awesome we are - I reckon this is a pretty strong endorsement, no?