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.