Monday, 28 December 2009

A Textbook Case

Apparently there are five classic stages of grief. Whilst I wouldn't dream of equating a negative pregnancy test with the kind of grief a miscarriage might bring, a negative after some kind of medical intervention is, for me harder than that of a 'normal' cycle. (If I can call my cycles such a thing).

And I seem to be working through the cycle of grief in a text book manner:

1. Denial
After the first IUI there was denial - or disbelief. "This can't be right," I thought as I peered for a non-existent line. Because I had known it would work, remember? I was convinced this would be it, and now a stick of plastic wrapped around a scrap of litmus paper has the audacity to try and tell me otherwise?

2. Anger
After the fail of my second IUI I wasn't just angry. I was furious. It wasn't fair, hadn't I done everything I could? I had spent a fortune on alternative therapy, not drunk booze, given up my tea. I love tea more than wine, but it was gone (and spoilt forever, I tried a proper cuppa the other day and had to throw it away due to the cloying milkiness that I use to love). But even that managed to do fuck all.

3. Bargaining
OK to be fair the bargaining happend just before the last negative.

On the morning of the 23rd, I felt the familiar hip-ache and stomach cramping that, for the twenty odd years I have been having them, signified the onset of my period.

It made sense, sure it was two days earlier than I expected but the same thing had happened last time I had a trigger shot.

All that remained was to pull on the black granny pants, fill my bag with every absorbent material known to man and go into work, and wait.

And wait.

And make frequent trips to the toilet just to check. Any sure enough; one, two, three drops of blood.

But then nothing. Hmm ... how can I write this in a way that won't spoil your turkey sandwiches?

Normally, there is more cranberry sauce at the start of the meal. If you know what I mean.

I had a quick consultation with Dr Google and discovered, implantation bleeding can happen as late as day 12, and it can be accompanied with period-like cramping.

And that is when the bargaining started. Except it was not really bargaining as, being a heathen, I had no one to bargain with, and having given up pretty much every vice already I had nothing left to bargain with. So instead my bargaining consisted of me sitting on the ceramic throne whispering "pleasepleasepleasepleasepleaseplease" as I checked and double checked that there was still nothing that could be decently called a period.

It was that evening, when I was out with my sister that I nipped to the loo and any pretense of implantation was shattered.

So what have I got to look forward to?

Depression and then, apparently, acceptance.

Unless...

Unless, things actually start working in the new year.

But that is too much to dare to hope for, isn't it?



Thursday, 24 December 2009

They Think Its All Over ...

... It is now.

Barnsley is playing at home. Translation: my period has started.

Just like last time when I had a trigger shot, I haven't had to wait the full fourteen days for a result because after a mere twelve my period has gatecrashed the party, and left blood everywhere. (Twelve days of Christmas, my arse).

So that is it.

I've had the last of the three free Intrauterine Inseminations (try saying that after one to many sherries). I go back to the doctor early February (unless I can squeeze into a cancelled appointment in January) to find out what happens next.

I suspect they will suggest IVF, I imagine I will get one NHS-funded shot, I have no idea what the waiting list is like, I never really thought it would come to this. I am not sure if I even want IVF (but that is a whole other post).

Bring on a boozy Christmas with hot baths and soft cheeses.

Not exactly what I'd planned but I'm still determined to enjoy myself. And I hope you do too.

Merry Christmas!!

*sigh*



Monday, 21 December 2009

Time To Break The Law?

You know what I am talking about, it has happened to you. Whether it is getting your period moments after peeing on a pregnancy test or realising your booze-orientated Christmas party falls slap bang in the middle of your two week wait.

We've all been there, but over on Fertility Authority I have claimed it as my own.

Introducing: Womb For Improvement's Law, go over and check it out.

Moving on, how many of you are actually noting down the advent calendar changes in the hope of winning an as yet undefined prize?* If you are, well done.

But, if you want to win a proper prize you could do worse than sign up for Fertility Authorities' Daily Shot. Sign up before the 24 of December and you'll be in a draw to receive five hundred bucks wort of goodies, details here.

Joining the Daily Shot means everyday you get a short email with a nugget of information, a quick opinion piece or even a fertility-boosting recipe. Just enough to remind you, you are not alone.

To enter you need to register as a member of Fertility Authority AND check the Subscriptions: Daily Shot: The FertilityAuthority Newsletter option. (And once you are a member you can comment on my posts over there, which are current woefully under remarked upon!)

*If you are planning on entering my competition not how the header has changed daily from 1 - 24 December, answers by email by 2 January please! (Email: womb4improvement (at) gmail dot com).



Friday, 18 December 2009

One week down

It has been a week since the IUI.

It doesn't feel like it.

Not because the time has gone really quickly, or really slowly for that matter, more that I keep forgetting it actually happened. Could this be the mythical 'just relaxing' that we are so often told about?

There's been no symptom google-searching, there's been no symptom to search. I feel utterly average, normal, unpregnant.

Of course this doesn't mean I'm not on my way. And I'm not prepared to write this IUI off as a fail.

Yet.

But part of me is dreading Christmas now. I have stupidly told a lot of people who know about our infertility that we are getting our results on Christmas day, and that includes my Dad.

One of the worst thing about the failure of the first IUI was just texting my close friends to say it hadn't worked. I pictured them getting my text and for that fraction of a second before they opened it being excited that this might be it. (That finally I might get another topic of conversation and they could stop reading my blog). I couldn't have called anyone, I was too upset to say the words "I'm not pregnant" out-loud.

On Christmas day I don't think I'm going to be able to get away with not speaking to anyone.
I'm going to give it a bloody good shot though, the husband, dog and I are Christmassing alone. (And don't feel sorry for us, we are really looking forward to it and have declined six invitations already).

But I will have to ring my Dad, I just hope the pregnant pause in the conversation will come right before I announce a pregnancy, not because we'll both be keenly aware there is none to announce.

Hmmmm .... maybe a mince pie for breakfast will make me feel more festive and upbeat.



Monday, 14 December 2009

Festive Fun

New!!!

From the makers of last season's smash hit Barren Bingo, this Christmas try Conception Deception.

Watch as your in-laws note you refusing wine.

Laugh whilst your father wonders why you aren't eating the soft cheese.

Snigger at your sisters clocking your lack of pâté.

Get bonus points every time someone asks if you are OK and suggests you put your feet up.

This year make the run up to Christmas one long guessing game - a game where even you won't know the answer until Christmas morning.

Conception Deception - a game that all the family can enjoy*.

*WARNING: This game is suitable for adult females who had an IUI on or around the 11th of December, and their families. The manufacturers of the game take no responsibility for any distress caused by the outcome of the game, and cannot be held responsible for ruining Christmas.



Friday, 11 December 2009

Compare and Contrast

The Biology - Her
IUI # 1: Three follicles measuring 23mm, 17/18mm and 14/15mm
IUI # 2: Two follicules 16.5mm and 18mm (measured day before IUI)
IUI # 3: One follicule 20mm (measured day before IUI)
Winner = IUI # 1

The Biology - Him
IUI # 1: 94% mobility of 30 million per ml
IUI # 2: 95% mobility of 25 million sperm per ml
IUI # 3: 91% mobility of 40 million sperm per ml
Winner = IUI # 3

Stress Levels
IUI # 1: 09.00: Had scan, discovered I hadn't booked an appointment for the sperm clinic, got a bit stressed, booked sperm clinic appointment for 14.00. Went back to work. Returned at 15.00 for IUI.
IUI # 2: Incredibly busy at work all morning, dashed to hospital for IUI at 12pm, dashed home, walked dog, back at work at 1.30pm, 2pm in meeting with a senior manager (which I had been worrying about for days, I thought I was going to get in to trouble, it was fine in the end but certainly stressed me out) .
IUI # 3: Took the day off work. Started the day with acupuncture, had a massage at 14.15, the IUI was delayed so didn't happen until 16.55 - but wasn't rushing to get to work so that wasn't a problem.
Winner = IUI # 3

Post-IUI Rleaxation
IUI # 1: IUI without husband, got up within 2 minutes
IUI # 2: IUI with husband, got up within 4 minutes
IUI # 3: IUI with husband, remained lying down for 10 minutes after the insemination (as recommended here).
Winner = IUI # 3

The husband's preparation
IUI # 1: No change in drinking habits
IUI # 2: Taking zinc tablets when he remembers, no change in drinking habits
IUI # 3: Took zinc tablets on a daily basis (without fail), Husband didn't drink alcohol for five days prior to IUI
Winner = IUI # 3

The Results
IUI # 1: Negative Pregnancy Test
IUI # 2: Negative Pregnancy Test
IUI # 3: Unknown


Dammit, I've only gone and let hope in again.




Tuesday, 8 December 2009

And closer ...

During my mid twenties I delayed a cervical smear test for about a year because I couldn't bear the idea of anyone burrowing a machine in my tunnel of love. And when I finally made the appointment I was quite clear that I wanted a woman to perform this intimate investigation.

Nowadays I am completely blasé about medical professionals chucking one up me.

Blasé to the point when I was pleased that it was the handsome male Doctor rooting around for my ovaries, rather than last time's sour-faced scanner.

He too had trouble locating my left ovary but, unlike the afore mentioned, didn't berate me for my healthy diet or push a little too viciously on my bladder.

As it stands my right ovary has managed to grow one follicle measuring 16mm (around 20mm is what we are looking for), my left ovary is truly sulky and refusing to oblige me with anything. But as Eunice said when she looked at the results "it only takes one" (yeah, but I bet she wouldn't say that to the husband).

Anyway there is clearly still a few days growth left so I will return on Thursday morning for either the IUI or a trigger shot so they can squeeze in the IUI on Friday.

I presume it goes without saying, that I really, really hope it works this time ...



Saturday, 5 December 2009

It Is Getting Closer

As promised for any of you late to the advent party these are the first five day's changes, all you need to do is get the next nineteen and email me for a chance of a prize, (regardless of where you are based you'll get something...)

Day 1: Removed Paint Brush & Roller
Day 2: Removed all Green
Day 3: Added Christmas Tree
Day 4: Coloured in WOMB FOR IMPROVEMENT
Day 5: Snow capped the words and tree

The header will change each day at 8am GMT. Keep your peeper's peeled.

In other news I picked up my prescription for the trigger shot so that should I need to encourage my ovaries to burst prior to the IUI I've got the drugs on hand.

The bored cashier went through her standard list of questions in a disinterested voice:
"Name?"
"Date of birth?"
"Are you currently on any medication?"
"Are you allergic to any medication?"
"Are you pregnant?"

I don't know if there was a catch in my voice as I answered that last question but for the first time she actually lifted her eyes and looked at me. She glanced back at the prescription, clearly realised what it was for and apologised profusely.

Actually, too profusely.

About eight times.

I've put my foot in it more times than I care to remember, I have a knack of saying the wrong thing (at this point I must apologise to the husband: Sorry love). Anyway, less than a week before the next IUI she could have said anything that didn't involve the word "cancelled" and I wouldn't have cared.



Monday, 30 November 2009

Advantageous

Across the world today there are children who have gleefully peeled back the first door to their advent calendar to reveal a chocolaty treat (or a picture of a holly leaf, if it was the grandparents that bought their advent calendar).

The countdown has begun, and Christmas is on its way.

My countdown is somewhat shorter but nevertheless, for me, it is just as exciting. The appointment made, the date is set. But on my chosen day it won't be what is stuffed in my stocking that'll interest me.

Instead on the 8th of December I'll be checking the contents of my bladder to see if I have been visited by the ovulation fairy. And hopefully then, or a day or two later, I'll get my third (and final?) chance at IUI.

In terms of a Happy Christmas, this year it really could go either way.

***
But I am determined to get into the Christmassy mood so you may have noticed my header has changed a bit. This year my header is going to be an online advent calendar. Each day (regardless of whether I have blogged that day or not) at approx 8am GMT my header will change building up to Christmas day.

And there will be a prize for anyone who can email after Christmas with a complete list of the daily changes (dunno what yet depends on how many responses I get). And I'll do a recap on day 5 for people who stumble upon this a bit late.



Saturday, 28 November 2009

Books I Would Like to See

The Joy Of Scheduled Sex, by Drew Peacock

What To Expect From Your HSG, by Doctor Phil McCavity

Rate Your Fertility Clinic, by Marcus Outovten

Getting The Fertility Treatment You Want, by Doctor Ivan I. Deer

Pregnancy Before The Menopause, by Justin Thyme

Maintaining Your Sanity Throughout Infertility, by Arthur Mynde

Adopting From Abroad, By Helen Back

When Will I Get Pregnant? By Wendy Thymis-Wright

How to Increase Your Sperm Count, by Eugene "Czar" Tootyte

****

I know these are piss poor and I almost wasn't going to post them.

But last night I was reading them out to the husband to get his opinion, (mainly head in hands groaning, wondering what he married). By the time I got to the last one, which was originally Eugene R. Tootite, I couldn't even choke out the words I was laughing too much (through shame). For five minutes I was convulsed by the giggles.

So I challenge you, read them aloud to your loved one and see if you can get to the end.

Who said infertility couldn't be fun?



Thursday, 26 November 2009

Limbo

There is waiting and there is limbo.

Waiting is the two weeks between when you ovulate and when your period is due. Regardless of how inevitable the outcome, you hope. Even if you didn't have sex on the right day, part of you wonders if a stray sperm from a previous encounter is snoozing in the comfy environs of your uterus, and might awake and find its way into your egg's heart. Even if you are seized with an unshakable certainty that ovulation was nothing more than a waste of a rapidly depleting egg store, by the end of the two week wait you cannot help but wonder and dream.

Limbo happens in the days after the two week wait. The days after your first negative test, when you are suffering from PMT exacerbated by another failure. It is when your back aches, your hips creak, and you are nipping to the loo every five minutes just to check your pants don’t resemble the shower of the Bates Motel.

But your period steadfastly refuses to arrive.

Actually limbo maybe isn't the best word as it will alway conjure up images of scantily-clad women bending over backwards to achieve a physical impossibility. That is a more accurate description of what was happening a few weeks ago.

This morning, at 17 days past ovulation with no bloody period, I tested again.

I conned myself that I was only doing it because time and experience show that is the quickest way to bring on a period. But between peeing on the stick and reading the result I found myself composing a blog post. The post would emphasise how, out of all my cycles since the coil was removed, I knew this one was a write off. I would berate myself for testing two days early on Saturday and allowing myself a night on booze, it would express disbelief at the test result which would show ... and then I checked.

Of course it was negative.

But true to form less than three hours later my period finally decided to show up.

So it is back on the clomid, and an IUI appointment scheduled for the eighth of December.

Out of limbo and into purgatory?



Monday, 23 November 2009

Wine not Whine

I treated myself to a pregnancy test this weekend. Naturally it was negative, which gave me license to go out on Saturday night and plunge myself into a vat of red wine whilst gorging on soft cheese and pâté.

My drinking buddies were girls (women?) I'd shared a flat with whilst at University. In some flagrant mockery of the oft quoted 'one in six couples suffer from infertility' statistic all three of us are currently battling various advanced stages of childlessness. I'm starting to wonder exactly what it was we were smoking during that time - could it have been 17-ethinylestradiol (EE2)* rather than the normal student narcotic.

Remarkably though we managed to avoid the subject almost completely until, that is, someone asked what we wanted for Christmas. I said, "Well I think we all know what we want for Christmas," a deathly hush fell over the table for a moment, then we all started giggling at the futility of our situations.

But I press on and, in the hope of a very Happy Christmas, await the go ahead in a couple of weeks for my next (and as far as the NHS funding goes, final) IUI.

And don't do what everyone else seems to do and ask me what will happen after the IUI on the assumption that it'll fail. You'll have to wait until January for that nugget of information (or maybe not).

* Which I am sure you all know is the active ingredient in the oral contraceptive pill, and obviously I was aware of that without having to google it, obviously.



Wednesday, 18 November 2009

A New Cure For Infertility?

"One for a pound or three for two"

The market stall holder clocked my sister and I looking, trying to work out what the hell he was selling.

"Toothbrush holders, in the shape of cuddly toys, come on love, one for a pound three for two. Aren't your kids worth a pound?"

"I don't have any kids."

"Leave us your address and I'll come round later and sort that out."

Gosh, I wonder what infertility cure he had in mind.

I didn't bother to tell him the husband and I had been trying that method relentlessly for the last three years.

Neither did I give him my address.



Saturday, 14 November 2009

Double Standards?

I have a rather blasé approach to sperm donation. Why shouldn't our virile men crack one off in order to enable less fortunate folk conceive? And sure, pay them for it. Afterall they are probably skint college students who don't know where their next pint is coming from.

Egg donation though. Completely different story. I start thinking about it and I find myself in a moral quagmire.

I think it is because sperm is almost infinite, out it comes and by the next day the pot has been topped up. Eggs, however, are far more finite. You get what you are born with and, with each passing month, they start to disappear (in fact the lions share disappear whilst still in the womb).

My latest post on Fertility Authority discusses egg donation, read here.

I don't have an answer. And I'm not really sure where the post goes but (as the comments on the last post show - thanks for that I was expecting a far more negative response), you're a thoughtful bunch and I'd be interested to hear your take.

By the way, I know the opening sound like something that I have exaggerated for effect but I promise, it was totally unexpected and word for word what happened.



Wednesday, 11 November 2009

An Exit Strategy

Yesterday marked three years of wedded bliss. Also, not entirely co-incidentally, it heralded three years of failing to get pregnant. (Little tip to anyone who found this site through googling "Special things to do on your wedding day," don't decide to lose the birth control on the same day you lose your maiden name - it slightly taints the whole anniversary celebration thing).

Anyway, three years in and we've made a pact. We give it two more years bringing the total to five and call it a day.

No.

No, not our marriage. That whole trying for a baby thing.

That might sound a bit drastic, but hear me out.

One of the problems with trying to get pregnant without a specific 'problem' is that other than actually getting pregnant or hitting the menopause there is no moment when you can categorically, absolutely, unequivocally say the trying is over and move on.

For some people maybe this is a good thing, there is always hope. For me it isn't.

I keenly remember hearing a radio interview with a woman who used the phrase "I wasted my thirties trying to have a baby." This has haunted me. I don't want to live like that. I am in my prime. Other than the lack of child my life is pretty much text-book perfect. I should enjoy it.

Early next year we are likely to run out of NHS options. So we'll have just shy of two years to throw money, time and energy at the problems.

We'll do everything we can to have a baby.

But if nothing happens, after two years we stop. We'll move on (probably literally - somewhere where we don't have to worry about schools or being responsible grown-ups).

I know I'll only be thirty five and "lots of people have kids in their forties", but, if I haven't managed to get pregnant by then we can assume that age isn't the problem.

And yes, lots of people try far longer than five years and go on to conceive. I know, I know. But I also need to know that this isn't going to blight my life from now to menopause. I need to know there is a time when I can be me and not wee on sticks every morning, not count days between period and ovulation, ovulation and period, not obsess.

Obviously this comes with numerous caveats - not least it is a woman's prerogative to change her mind.

For some people the thought might seem depressing but to be honest it feels like a relief.

I hope I don't need it, but having an end in sight puts me, not my hormones, back in control.



Monday, 9 November 2009

Negative Pregnancy Test

After first establishing I wasn't pregnant, I discovered that I had ovulated.

The pregnancy test wasn't pre-planned (or conducted with any latent hope), rather in my somnambulant state this morning, as I wrestled with a new pack of ovulation tests, I failed to notice "Free Inside Early Results Home Use Pregnancy Test" emblazoned on the packet. I had a one in six chance of grabbing the pregnancy test, and sure enough that was the one I wee-d on.

But once I'd got the right test and squeezed out enough to wet its whistle, ovulation was confirmed.

Which is a relief.

I was starting to think I was heading for another 93 day cycle. In fact I put my money where my pessimism is yesterday when buying my monthly batch of pre-conception vitamins. The three for the price of two offer was too good a money saving opportunity to pass up. It was only after purchasing them that I realised I was effectively admitting that I would be using these, rather than the 'early pregnancy pills' for at least three months. So there is your top-tip – spend twenty quid on vitamins for before you conceive and maybe it’ll push your body into ovulatory action, (I hardly dare to hope my body would go as far as making the remaining two and a half packs redundant come my period due date).

On Saturday, rather than going to the Fertility Fete, I tried a bit of aversion therapy: baby sitting my three and one year old nephews. Unfortunately they decided to behave perfectly. Even the stench of a full sweetcorn-encrusted nappy did little to put me off. And the sight of the husband playing footy in the garden with the older boy was text-book adorable. (Although I will need to explain to the husband that there is no pride to be had in being able to tackle the ball off a three year old, and occasionally he should let the shorter legged one have the ball).

I also had the great pleasure to have a hot chocolate with Nuts in May who is neither Nuts nor, as it happens, a May. (Next time May I won't make you get up so early, sorry about that!).

Right, dunno what I'm doing here on the 'puter, I best go and introduce my eggs to some sperm. Let's hope they get on this time.



Saturday, 7 November 2009

I Tempted Fate

"In fact the last four months have seen me ovulate on time and to order ... If all goes according to plan I should ovulate in the next day or so."

Even as I was writing those words for the last post I knew I was tempting fate. Challenging my recalcitrant ovaries to defy me, and sure enough ovulation does not appear to be forthcoming.

I've long come to the conclusion that sex for procreation is an urban myth spread by horny young men when trying to shag as many nubile wanna-be-mothers as possible. So I am impatient to ovulate, less because of the progeny possibilities, but more so I can start to plan.

Once I know when I've ovulated I can work out: when my next periods is due, when I can start the clomid, when I'll have to slip out of work for pre-IUI scans, when my December IUI is due to take place, when I can test to see if it works, whether I'll know if Christmas boozing is out for the right reasons or just-in-case, when I would have my 12 week scan, when I can announce my pregnancy to the world at large, when I'll give birth, when I'll celebrate Junior's 21st birthday ...

I had an acupuncture appointment yesterday and discussed the uncooperative nature of my ovaries.  My acupuncturist decided the time for little pricks was over, he bought out the big guns.

Four pins stuck in my stomach just over my uterus isn't enough, it seems.  He hooked them up to some battery operated system (like clipping mini-car battery cables onto the pins). Then he gave me the dial, "You should start to feel a little electric current between 2 and 4." 

At four there was a distinct fluttering.  He made me increase the current until it felt like a deeper pressure in my uterus. Then he left me to it for twenty minutes, telling me to keep turning up the dial as I got use to the sensation.

I'd like to tell you I cranked that baby up to 11 but I was petrified of feeling any pain so only got as high as a sedate 6. Whether it'll jump start my ovaries in the manner of Frankenstein's monster remains to be seen ...

Still, its nice to try something new for a change.



Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Tantalising

There is a Greek myth about a dude called Tantalus. I say dude, he was actually a pretty nasty bloke. In order to prove that he could pull one over on the immortals, he killed and cooked his own son, Peplops, and fed him to the Gods to see if they'd notice they were eating a human. For Peplops the story has a happy ending; the Gods realised what had happened after a mere nibble of his shoulder, and he was revived and given and ivory replacement.

Tantalus, deservedly, wasn't so lucky.

He ended up in the underworld and was cursed with an unquenchable thirst and stomach-cramping hunger. His personalised version of hell was to be surrounded by fruit trees dripping with ripe juicy fruit just a fraction out of reach, and water lapping round his ankles. Whenever he stretched out to grab a peach a breeze tugged the fruit a little further away. When he bent to cup water in his hands to drink, it would instantly recede leaving him dry.

Much as I am sure you enjoyed that little lesson, I'm sure you are wondering what it has to do with me.

Pregnancy to me is like Tantalus' fruit. It is so near I can almost taste it (if that isn't too grim a metaphor). There is no reason why I shouldn't be pregnant. In fact the last four months have seen me ovulate on time and to order. This is the first time this has happened since I started trying to conceive and makes me hopeful that the mirena coil might have whipped my hormones into shape during its six month tour of duty.

The feedback I've had during my IUI's about how I have responded to clomid has been fantastic, as has the husband's sperm analysis. No one has said anything to make me believe that a pregnancy is out of reach.

But every time I try and grasp it it floats away.

I yearn for a child in the same way Tantalus yearned for food and water. We are both in our personal hell.

The difference is, as far as I can tell, I haven't done anything wrong.

I feel like my ovaries are tantalising me.

If all goes according to plan I should ovulate in the next day or so, and then I'll be ripe for the plucking (and for any rhyming slang you care to insert at this juncture). I hope the fruits of our labour will be a fruitful labour.



Sunday, 1 November 2009

Some People Shouldn't Be Allowed Kids


I bought a pillowcase today.

The plastic wrapper carried a health and safety announcement:

WARNING: To avoid danger of suffocation keep this bag away from babies and children.

Stating the obvious, but fair enough, it makes sense. We get the message.

But, it then goes on to say:

Do not use in cribs, beds, carriages or
playpens. This bag is not a toy.

I think there should be some kinds of exam whereby prospective parents are given a plastic bag, and a multiple choice question about where the bag should be used. Anyone who ticks: cribs, beds, carriages or playpens should be automatically banned from breeding.

That's fairer than the current system of chance, innit?

***

And on a completely unrelated note, have any of you even noticed my header? That was a good 20 minutes work that was. I have now removed the header as it was seasonal, but here it is in all its glory:




Thursday, 29 October 2009

Its Filmic

My film club sending me Knocked Up turned out to be less of an omen, and more of a taunt. But it did get me thinking about other films that might be appropriate this month:
And if that doesn't work we try intra-uterine insemination again next month, and it'll be time to add Weird Science to my rental list!

(The more literary of you might prefer this post.)





Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Foot in mouth syndrome

If I think something is funny I'll say it, or write it, or blurt it out consequences be damned.

This post about The Fertility Show. I thought it was funny. I work in marketing, I've been to those meetings. Then today I got the following email:

Smugly, I thought to myself, at least I’m making a difference with this one. 6 months of unpaid labour, stress, a home taken over by boxes and flyers, no chance of profit and yet a looming financial risk…it’ll all be worth it. The charity [Infertility Network UK] will get some money. The visitors will hear some great talks. And if knowledge provides choice, then maybe we’ll help a few people going through a hard time.

Until I found your site. Crikey, I think I’ll go back to commercial reality. That’ll teach me.

We’re advertising so the exhibitors are happy. The exhibitors pay for the event to take place. 40 experts are giving up their time to speak for nothing. We have 8,000 seats in top talks that we’re selling for one pound. A morning spent at the show will cost the same as a movie. Everything revolves around giving visitors access to the best information.

Love your site, just want to say that the meeting didn’t go exactly as you suggest.

Jonathan

Managing Director, The Fertility Show


Ouch.

Seems I was wrong. That the organisers aren't the cynics here and they really are promoting this event for the right reasons.

Also a mate emailed me a link to this article about one of the speakers. She sounds amazing and definitely on my short list should my NHS-funded treatment come to naught.

If you are any thing like me you'll be reading this thinking "Aye, aye, what did she get? A couple of free tickets, a bag of magic herbs, a promise of IVF?" allow me to assure you I've had nothing but that charming email and a realisation that I am getting far too cynical and embittered for my own good.

Still they say no publicity is bad publicity so maybe in some twisted way I helped ...

The Fertility Show is on 6 & 7 November 2009 at Olympia, London.



Sunday, 25 October 2009

The Fallout

The problem with getting a negative test is, in a true kicking you when you are down fashion, you also have to contend with the stomach cramps and general shit that comes with having a period. Which doesn't make for happy blogging.

When the first IUI failed it was a bit of a reality check. Turns out medical intervention wasn't the magic bullet I had hoped. I acknowledged my naivety, chastised myself for thinking it might work first time and got on with things. The failure of the second IUI has affected me differently. Its made me seriously question whether anything will work.

The thing is I have made some pretty significant life-style changes.
  • Since the start of the summer I have virtually stopped drinking - regardless of the time of the month.
  • I have been going to the gym three times a week.
  • (As a result of the two above items I have lost half a stone bringing my body mass index down from an OK 25 to a very respectable 22 - the normal range is 18 to 25).
  • I have acupuncture once a week
  • I eat healthily and, probably needlessly, supplement my diet with vitamins
  • I haven't had a cup of 'normal' tea since July (I've never drunk coffee)
  • I take an hour for lunch every day, I rarely stay more than an hour late at work.
  • I'm in bed by 11 every night
  • I don't smoke
  • And, you know, I've really cut back on my smack habit
In addition:
  • I'm in my early thirties
  • My last three cycles have been very regular
  • The husbands sperm have passed every test with flying colours
  • My womb lining has recently been given a clean bill of health
  • I've had a couple of eggs ripe and ready for both IUIs
What more can I do?

Every day unhealthy, unfit, heavy drinking, smoking women get pregnant but I don't. I really don't believe that there is much more I can do that will increase my chances by any more than an infinitesimal amount. What happens is entirely down to fate.

And that is a pretty miserable thought.

Normal service will resume soon. I just need a bit more time.



Friday, 23 October 2009

The Results Are In

I didn't test early but my body decided to put me out of my waiting misery and plunge me into a whole new misery by allowing my period to start early.

And no, this isn't implantation bleeding unless there is an embryo doing some really major excavations going on in there. (There isn't, even though I knew, I still did a quick double-check test).

How do I feel?

Deflated, defeated, demoralised.

I'm starting to feel that this is never going to happen. I'll keep going for the moment but a massive part of me wants to give up (I don't know how I'd give up - go back on birth control just so I can eliminate any hope?).

So we go again, a month off and plan the next IUI for December.

Knowing my luck that'll lead to a dry Christmas and New Year with nothing to show for it.

This is shit.



Wednesday, 21 October 2009

The Marketing Meeting

“Hi Guys, thanks for coming along to this brain storm. I really appreciate it. So get your thinking caps on – it is time to imagineer.

“Right, what we want are ideas for our next big exhibition. We’ve had some real smash hits, and obviously the wedding show is massive, but then we tend to lose our customers. They come, they try on a few frocks, pick out their wedding photographer in the vain hope they’ll end up looking as good as the models in the portfolio, then, as fast as you can say ‘the honeymoon is over,’ we’ve lost them.

“What we want is a show that will keep bringing them back.

“What’s that, Arabella? Yeah, we already have lots of interiors shows. We’ve got Grand Designs Live, Homes and Gardens and Top Drawer. I’m looking for something different, something more blue skies.

“No Carl, I don’t mean flights - we’ve booked in the Luxury Travel Show, Destination 2010 and Ski & Snowboard. Think outside the box, man!

“Nah. The problem is, during a recession, people stop spending on luxuries like their homes and travel. So what we have to do is think: what will people still spend inordinate amounts of money on in these credit-crunched times?

“Yes, Jason, you are on to something there. Sex always sells. But we’ve already got Erotica. And to be honest, bondage and swinging is still a bit too niche. I want something that a large proportion of the adult population is interested in.

“How large? I dunno - if we could just get a sixth of the audience we get for the wedding show to come back, we’d be raking it in.

“So to summarise, we want:

Something that will draw back punters after the wedding show
About one in six couples
Something recession proof that will still have them digging deep in their pockets
And yeah, why not? Sex related

Oh! and what would be really good was if we could do something that didn’t involve screaming brats running all over the place.”

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you The Fertility Show.

Since writing this I have received an email from the organisers assuring me their motives are far less mercenary please read this post.


Monday, 19 October 2009

Knocked Up?

I started this two wait wait with almost no hope.

Nothing seemed right. Where as last time I had three plump folicules itching to pop, this time two meagre egg sacks had to be forced to burst early so that I wouldn't peak over the weekend.

It was my teeth that let hope in. A week after the IUI, on Friday, they were gnawing-on-ice-whilst-scratching-blackboards painful. I pride myself on my excellent teeth. This was unusual.

So, just for shits and giggles, I googled it.

Yup, turns out it can be an early pregnancy symptom. I knew it was ridiculous to get my hopes up on such a bizarre symptom so the husband and I invented a game we'd think of a possible symptom couple it with the word "early pregnancy" and see if it appeared on the list, we tried:

Sore stomach
Cramp in foot
Burping
Itchy legs

They all scored.

In fact the only ones that didn't were:

Farting (but then we realised 'gassy' does score)
Body Odour
and
Finding meaning in the lyrics of James Blunt (NB. I don't, but we were scraping the bottom of the barrel at this point).

Having just managed to laugh at myself for becoming one of those 'google every twinge' two-week-waiters I dismissed my hopes and tried to move on. Quickly checking my emails before heading to bed and I saw this from my film club:


And if you can't read that, it says:

Good news! We've just posted the following titles to you, so please look out for them.

Knocked Up


Admittedly I did put this film on my list, but I have loads of films flagged and they send them in a totally random order and this one has been in the pipeline for about a year.

Really trying not to read too much into this.

'Cause that would be just silly.

Wouldn't it?

And no, I won't test early. (I'm actually considering testing late, on Saturday, so I have a day to absorb the result rather than having to go to work immediately).




Saturday, 17 October 2009

He Speaks

Throughout this whole trying to get knocked up process I have been intimately involved in almost every stage, I've had carnal knowledge of most of them. But there is one area that remains a mystery.

One lab that has been kept out of bounds.

One process that I have no direct knowledge of and have therefore been impotent when it comes to writing about it.

So allow me to present the one man who can talk you through this most base of activities. Through the power of a Q and A I introduce, well, I'll let him introduce himself:

Who are you?
The Husband.

What is your relationship to the author of this blog?
The husband.

What was your role in the IUI that took place on Friday 9 October?
I cracked one off into a cup and handed it to a man in a white coat.

Did you find it awkward when you presented yourself for your sample?
Not particularly, no.

What was the set up like in the sperm clinic?
Very clinical and eerily quiet. Also, entirely humourless.

Were you worried that you would not be able to perform?
No – see answer below…

What kind of literature was on offer to help?
A large crate full of grot. And a copy of Nuts magazine, presumably for the more discerning gentleman who prefers his women clothed (or for guys who like to get off whilst looking at pictures of footballers and/or the latest must-have gadgets).

Was there anything particularly unusual in the choice?
Apart from the copy of Nuts, there was a distinct ‘80s Euro-porn bent to the title selection – lots of permed hair, garish eye make-up and cold, smack-numbed stares. And a copy of something called ‘Plumpers’.

Were any pages stuck together?
Actually, disturbingly, yes. Someone had clearly misunderstood the purpose of the exercise.

Did you hear anyone else going about their business whilst you were going about yours?
Thankfully not.

Did you think about me at all?
Umm… look over there! A puppy! On fire! Ahem.

Did you see any other punters sheepishly shuffling around with cups of spunk?
Again, thankfully not, although I passed a nervous-looking couple in the waiting room as I left. Presumably he thought he might ‘need a hand’.

What did you say when you handed in your sample?
“Finished!”

The guy in the white coat just stared at me.

He then asked if I had got it all in the pot, and I’m happy to report that I managed to resist the urge to say: “well most of it, but you might want to clean the floor … and walls … and there’s a bit on the ceiling.”

Do you have any other reflections or comments you would like to share with the worldwide internet dot com?
Only that I would like to make absolutely clear that when I handed my sample over it was a perfectly normal sample colour, and categorically not the pinky purple that the nurse claimed was ‘my’ sample during the IUI itself. I’m not sure who’s that was, but it didn’t look natural. That’s all I’m saying.

********

So there you have it. If you have any questions for the husband please put them in the comments, I'm sure he'd be delighted to answer them - regardless of how intrusive they are.



Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Are You Sitting Comfortably?

The we will begin ...

I've written a wee fairytale for you. Check it out here.



Monday, 12 October 2009

Off Topic

I must say you've all been very generous. Over the last couple of weeks I have received a rash of blogging awards:

Lu at Fertility Foibles and Kait at Esperanza Says appear to think my blog is Over The Top. (They may have a point)


And the musing Wannabe Mommy figured me for a Kreative blogger (creatively spelt).

(And I think there was another one but I can't find it just now - but thanks anyway).

Now, there are rules attached to these awards.

The former is to give one word answers to a bunch of questions, but I'm too verbose for that. The latter to write seven random things about my self - which I've already done see here, after this false start.

And then I have to nominate other fantastic bloggers to receive the award. But how can I choose between you all? I can't, I'd feel too worried that I'd leave someone out and maybe reawaken the long buried memories of rejection waiting to be chosen for the school hockey team. No? Just me then.

Instead I want to use this opportunity to introduce you to some of my light relief blogs. The blogs that don't focus infertility, pregnancy or parenting. I'm not going to give them an award - or even tell them they have been tagged. But I hope you enjoy some of them:

Caroline, No - This is a cute, quirky little blog written by a cute, quirky friend of mine. I have to be honest, I'm not quite sure of its name (no title and she seems to change her commenting name every 5 mins), and I'm still gutted she didn't name it my suggestion of When The Going Gets Tufnell

Secret Britain - every day we get a snippet of Britains secret history. Fascinating glimpses into how a pub got it's name or how a random house in London became the talk of the town.

What Katie Wore - I don't know Katie even though she clearly doesn't live too far from me and works in the same incestuous industry as the husband. I like the blog for the clothes, and love it for her boyfriend's words. So romantic.

Learn Something Everyday - does what it says on the tin. But luckily won't teach you any more than'll fit on a post-it (although to be honest yesterday's fact might be a bit disquieting for most of you).

Photoshop Disasters - an old favourite, what is more fun than laughing at others mistakes?

Noisy Decent Graphics - a blog written by a graphic designer. I dunno why I like it, but it encourages me to be a bit more visually aware.

Any off topic blogs you'd recommend I should check out?



Friday, 9 October 2009

Here We Go Again

As I write 95%, of 25 million sperm, are teeming round my womb at a rate of knots (the other 5% are the slackers who have decided that swimming is not for them). I imagine them bashing their heads against my womb lining, some of the more navigationally-challenged are no doubt trying to squeeze back out of the cervix through which they were unceremoniously squirted at 12.03 today.

This hive of activity is, I am sure, a marked contrast to the two eggs that are sharing womb-space with the husband's output. Them, I see, serenely floating around oblivious to the sperm wriggling about their domain.

But soon I hope they will have a shocking wake up call. Soon their peace will be disturbed by some pesky sperm battering around their boarders, clamouring to be the one who is let in.

Hopefully.



Thursday, 8 October 2009

Close But No Catheter

Today I got the sour-faced scanner. Once again she had a hard job (or more literally, hard jab) finding my ovaries. She blamed my diet.

"Oh, I thought I had quite a good diet."

"Yes, I can see you eat a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables, that is why there is so much gas, which makes it difficult to locate your ovaries."

Great, a doctor is berating me for my roughage in-take. I give up. (I also feel duty bound to assure you that I do not fart a lot but for some reason just seem to hold a lot of gas ... shall we move on?)

I have two follicules 16.5mm and 18mm. If left to develop on their own I reckon by Saturday they'd be nice juicy little pre-babies. But Saturday is irrelevant as the futility fertility clinic is shut on a Saturday.

So I had a trigger shot today and tomorrow morning at 10.30am the husband will masturbate furiously into a cup, (well, why couch it in other terms? He's not beating around the bush so I see no reason why I should).

At 11.45 GMT - if all goes according to plan - that thin tube of spunk-filled plastic will be inserted through my cervix and then the waiting will commence.

I have next week off work, so I'm quite pleased with myself for harnessing the power of the two week wait and hopefully it'll make my holiday seem about three months long.



Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Just A Scan

That my alarm woke me up this morning was a pretty clear indication of how unenthusiastic I was about today's appointment. Usually on appointment days, I sleep like a six year old child before Christmas when she has a sneaking suspicion there is a pony in the garage.

And sure enough, as expected, the digital ovulation test showed me a face as blank and emotionless as the hospital receptionist who 'greeted' me an hour and a half later.

I'd only met the doctor scanning me once before but I was gratified that he seemed to recognise me (by looking at my face - he didn't give a gasp of recognition the minute he peered at my lady bits or anything). He was a very handsome man, which I imagine saves on the KY jelly costs. And he was up in about me in no time.

"There's your womb." He declared pointing at absolutely nothing on the screen

The husband and I looked and murmured "Oh" in what we hoped was an interested and knowing way.

I'd told him I was worried that my womb lining was getting too thick, but he assured me it was 8mm - which apparently is A Good Thing.

"And on your left ovary there's one follicle measuring 13.5mm" he indicated. 'Yeah right' I thought, 'this guy is doing an emperor's new clothes number on me', but still I nodded.

He rummaged around a bit more "the right has an 11mm follicle."

In order to do IUI they want you to be on the point of ovulation with one or two fat 20mm (or over) folicules. ButI am only on day 11 and I've never ovulated before day 14 before. And given another couple of days there is every chance they'll have a growth spurt.

So I get to go back on Thursday by which time I'll hopefully be ripe for the plucking (or and least the inseminating).

Funny how little things can lift your mood!



Sunday, 4 October 2009

Dumb and Dumber

I can be a bit dumb sometimes.

No. No, don't just nod in agreement let me tell you why.

For many years, as a mid-teenager to comparatively recently, I would find my normal content, easy-going demeanor darkened by a cloud of depression. Periodically (and therein lies a clue), I would realise my life was shit, I was worthless and nothing good was ever going to happen to me.

Then my period would start and it would be like a big slap on the forehead. Of course, that was what was wrong with me. My mood would lighten and I'd feel like a right pillock for not realising the depression was simply pre-menstural tension.

In my defense, with random cycle lengths (a month to 4 months) I never knew when I was due, so couldn't predict these mood dips. But after about 15 years whenever I started to feel like everything was going wrong, I'd take it as a sign that my period was coming.

I know, it took a while. But what can I say, I'm clearly not the most absorbent tampon in the box.

These last couple of weeks I have been in a foul mood, yes there have been the odd things to lift me, but the lack of blogging has mainly been because I've stuck to the mantra "If you can't think of anything good to say, don't say anything at all".

I have been stressed, grumpy and generally not great to be around. And unusually I can't blame PMT, as this foul mood coincided directly with the ending of my period.

I think it is because I am worried. I am concerned that the last two periods have only been three days long and very light. For someone use to a river of blood of biblical proportions this pathetic showing, barely a snack for a peckish vampire, concerns me. I worry that once again, my womb lining is not shedding properly.

Last month after my period had finished I called the nurses and explained my predicament. Not to worry I was told, wait until the next period and come in on day four for a base line scan.

I started this period on a Saturday, the clinic doesn't open at the weekend, but I dutifully followed my prescription I taking my first clomid pill on day 2 (Sunday) and on Monday (day three by which time my period had pretty much stopped) I called the nurses to arrange my base line scan.

I didn't speak to Eunice.

I was told that:

a) I shouldn't have started the clomid without talking to them first. Because apparently although the prescription says take on day 2 - 6 I could start it on any day up to day four. I know, dumb of me to actually read instructions and take them at face value.

b) there is no point in doing the baseline scan as I've started the clomid anyway so I might as well carry on and they can check the lining when I come in to see if I am ovulating.

I should be excited about Tuesday. Excited that this is IUI two. But I'm not.

I'm fucked off that the Doctor's assurances that "They'll keep a close eye on you" you know because of the whole pre-cancerous cells in my womb lining, has come to nothing. Pissed off that this might all be a colossal waste of time. And angry with myself for not pushing harder for the scan (but it is quite difficult to be assertive when you are conducting a phone conversation in a whisper in the photocopier room at work).

Maybe I have got PMT after all, post-menstural tension.

That, or the clomid is kicking in.

******

I somehow just managed to delete this post, but had it saved so reposted but managed to delete all the comments - thanks though.



Thursday, 1 October 2009

A New Medicine

If laughter is the best medicine then I might just be cured.

On Tuesday night I met up with Ann aka The Hairy Famer Family (or representative thereof) and that Everyday Stranger Shannon. (And, allow me to be the first to reassure you, that they are exactly who they claim to be, not middle aged men maskerading as mother's of toddlers.)

We met at a book launch, but not just any book launch. A book that contains an extract Anne's writing. Cringe is an excruciating, addictive book filled extracts from teenage diaries, and Anne's contribution has pride of place - the first in the book. Read it in its full angst-ridden glory here.

At the event contributors, and anyone who bought along their own tear-stained notebooks, read aloud extracts.

We had four letter word diatribes as a result of Baywatch not recording, fickle teenage love affairs, and hate-filled diatribes against parents - who just don't understand.

The passion; the pain; the hate; the love. Usually all in the same entry.

I knew it was a good night when I woke up the following morning with sore stomach muscles from all the laughing.

The only downside of the night is it made me rethink my only child-bearing ambitions. 'Cause you know whatever kid I have will for a few painful years, become a teenager who will loathe me (and chances are if they are anything like the teenagers who wrote the entries, I won't be too keen on them for a couple of years).

Still I have decided to press on for the time being, and fingers crossed IUI number 2 will happen next week.



Saturday, 26 September 2009

Blood and Guts

My period has arrived.

This cycle clocks in at 34 days. Which isn't bad at all as far as sort of, kinda, getting sorta regular goes.

It means that the sexcapades didn't work but I pretty much knew that already.

And if you are thinking "At least you didn't waste your pregnancy test" you'd be wrong. Because, of course, my period only decided to appear at 10.27am. Giving me just enough time to have a modicum of hope.

Despite being 93% convinced I wasn't pregnant it was still a bit of a kick in the guts.

Actually it was a massive kick in the guts, and it is still kicking. I've necked a bunch of pain killers then, once I've finished this bowl of hot chocolate, I'll head back to bed for a couple of hours. Hence the somewhat uninspired post, I can't actually think, let alone pull together a rip-roaring tale of blood and guts.

And tomorrow I will start back on the clomid.

Let IUI cycle 2 begin.



Wednesday, 23 September 2009

The End of the Two Week Wait?

Two weeks ago I got a positive ovulation test.

Precisely two weeks ago the husband was balls dee ... well you don't need to know the details. Suffice to say, we had a jolly good shot at seeing whether a back-to-basics approach would succeed where medical science had failed.

I haven't started my period yet. My nipples nip.

You'd think I might be getting excited. But I'm not, because I broke my own rules about not testing early and had a cheeky shot at the double line on Sunday. I failed.

And yes, I know some of you might be frantically shouting at the computer and telling me to read my own posts. Don't I know that testing three days early is no guarantee that the test is accurate? Have I not heard about your cousin's sister-in-law's work colleague's friend who didn't get a positive pregnancy test until two weeks after her period was due?

Yeah, whatever. I'm convinced I'm not pregnant.

Not least - as I discuss in some details over on Fertility Authority today - because my boobs aren't hurty like pregnant boobs, they are hurty like premenstrual boobs. (I think. I've no idea I've never had pregnant boobs but I have the internet and I done a lot of research).

I'll test at the weekend if my period hasn't surfaced - or, more accurately, poured out of my nether regions. In fact the only reason why I'm at all tempted to test isn't on the off-chance it'll be positive but more - as Sarah has discovered - because it is a surefire way to bring on a period.

And the start of my next period marks the start of the next round of clomid and interuterine insemination.

Bring it on!



Monday, 21 September 2009

Colour Me Bad

My header has been described as: "radioactive split pea soup" and "a slime-green color, which ... a whopping 2% of the population actually likes."

So in an attempt to silence my critics (have you noticed my increased use of comma's?), I have been tinkering with a few other colour pallets.

What do you reckon to these?


Please take a second to fill answer this poll, (all answers are anonymous).



And, whilst I am canvassing your opinion.

That last post about Top Trumps seemed to get a fair bit of interest. And it certainly helped me get a handle on where you are all at.

Do you think I should, for those of you who want to be involved, do an alternative blog roll linking to blog via people's Top Trump cards? (And if so, should I remove longest cycle length and replace with number of miscarriages?)



Friday, 18 September 2009

Top Trumps

Whenever there is a pregnancy announcement I immediately whip out my virtual card and see whether the woman beats my stats.

Are they older?

Have they been trying for longer?

Or has the person endured more, failed, medical intervention?

It is like a game of Infertility Top Trumps:


(NB. cycle length is in days).

In other words, have they 'won' the right to the next pregnancy or have they jumped the queue?

Usually the latter.

How do you score?

* Thanks to Carolyne whose tweet inspired this post.



Wednesday, 16 September 2009

One Down, One To Go

I have to say, a two week wait which isn't bound up with the expectation of IUI, is much easier to bear.

I have very little hope this month. My obsessive peeing on sticks (my daily record was four) wasn't with the expectation that a cannily timed shag would result in pregnancy. Rather I hoped that, by knowing when to expect my period, I could work out when I was due for IUI number two.

So confident am I that, despite our sexploits, we won't get pregnant without medical intervention that I have booked a week off timed to coincide with the our next post-IUI two week wait. Well, I figured if I have to live through another interminable two weeks I might as well harness its power, and make a week off feel like a month.

But if, if, I am pregnant any doubts that I had last month are abated:

1) Swine flu hasn't raised its ugly head again. So hopefully that'll go the way of SARs, Bird Flu and The Plague. And the media will find a brand new disease to scare the bejesus out of us with.

2) My husband was definitely there for the conception this time. (Well in body, who knows where his mind was).

3) I have dyed my hair back its natural colour so I could, if pressed, last the next nine months without hitting the bottle again. (I say it is its natural colour, but turns out there isn't much of a market for dull beige hair-colourant, so it is as close an approximation as I could find).

4) Talking of bottles, I went to the works outing and publicly knocked back half a bottle of Corona and one glass of wine. I made sure everyone clocked the booze - gossip averted.

5) If it has worked this month then I'd be expecting a little 'un next June. Which gets the WFI seal of approval for 'A Good Month For Birthdays'.

Sigh, maybe the next week wait will be a little harder to bear.



Sunday, 13 September 2009

Chirp, Chirp

I've joined twitter.

Joined as womb4improvement that is.

I signed-up a while ago as 'me' but this way I can follow all the fertility related twitterers that I can shake a pee-stick at without worrying that friends and work colleagues will start to ask awkward questions.

Actually I tell a lie when I say I joined as womb4improvement. I was one digit over the maximum letter count and I feared that: womb4improvemen could be read as: womb 4 improve men. A name that has connotations of all those spam emails I get promising a wonder drug that will "have your manhood knocking on her womb".

Pre-IUI that thought was pretty vile. Post-IUI I'm thinking there is a market for a drug that could make penises the length and width of a catheter; why stop at the womb opening why not get right inside the womb?

But I digress.

My twitter name is: womb4improve

The point of this post is I have no idea what the majority of you tweet as, if indeed you do, so if you wouldn't mind me as a follower please leave your tweeting name in the comments.

(And if I am honest, I only really joined because I thought of a line I should have put in this post and decided it was too good to waste so had to tweet it!)



Wednesday, 9 September 2009

^_^

I hate emoticons.

Hate with a passion that I normally save for inanimate objects that I have stubbed my toe on.

Despite my laissez-faire attitude towards punctuation in practice, I applaud it in theory. And I fear a time in the future when emoticons might become part of our punctuation arsenal. Imagine getting your exercise book back and the teacher has scrawled over it in red pen -

"After a jokingly abusive term you should use a ;-) not a :-), which is only used to denote feelings of pure joy."

My refusal to use them has probably lost me many a blogging friend, as I write an amusingly tongue-in-cheek response and that is interpreted literally as a straight forward insult. But given the choice of risking that or using emoticons, well ... see ya. (An emoticon at this juncture would be useful).

Today, however, I succumbed. I sent the husband a following text:

Can you make sure you finish work in a timely fashion tonight, and come home and hump me before we go out. I got a :-).

I think in the context of illustrating a smile on the ovulation test the use of an emoticon is appropriate.

The two week wait starts here.

PS I could have written something a little more subtle and seductive like, "Hey Big Boy, I've been thinking about you all day and I can't wait for you to get home. I'll be wearing just my smile.", but he'd only have assumed I'd sent it to him by mistake.

PPS Yes, I upgraded the double line test to the more expensive digital variety when it didn't give me the result I wanted. It worked!



Monday, 7 September 2009

Jobsworth

I'm currently recruiting at work.

You'd think that with someone from the team leaving to have a baby, I'd be steering clear of women of childbearing age. Not a bit of it.

In fact, given the choice (and a waiver on any lawsuits), I'd be looking for someone on the cusp of family planning.

Of course there is a catch.

I'll have to throw in the odd curve ball question like: Have you ever been diagnosed with polycystic ovaries? Or, does your partner favour a tighter cut of under-garment?

Because what I reckon the workforce needs is more infertile employees.

Think about it.

Prior to my current job the longest I stayed anywhere was two years. When I was two years into this role I was preparing to get hitched, and thinking that we'd start trying for a baby in about six months. Naturally I wasn't about to leave and risk losing the maternity benefits I'd accrued.

That was three years ago and I am still in a state of limbo.

How can I start interviewing for jobs knowing that I might get pregnant between interview and job offer/ job offer and starting/ during my first week at work/ before my six month probation periods has passed/ less than a year into the job?

I can't.

And, quite frankly, even if I did get a new job, I would feel guilty if I was up the duff and out of the door a few months after starting.

I know some people consciously change job after failed conception attempts, in the hope that a new role with reduced stress would provide the magical relaxation they crave. I don't fancy trying that - I find new jobs exciting but also highly stressful.

So my advice to employers: don't bow to conventional wisdom and fear that pre-menopausal women will be a liability. You might be lucky and get the one in six who find it hard to get pregnant and are too worried to leave in case they time it wrong.

Not that I want to leave my job, but it is nice to feel like you have a choice sometimes.


Saturday, 5 September 2009

Wake Me Up Before You Go Go

I am now approaching what should be ovulation day – assuming, that is, my cycle is of an average length. Prior to the periodic hiatus of the provera and coil I could go three months between periods and who knows what that meant for ovulation – certainly I saw very little evidence of it.

But, optimistic as ever, I am putting my purchases to good use.

Urine, it's the gift that keeps on giving.

Normally I am fairly slow in the morning, but at the moment I throw off the duvet and leap out of bed at around 06.30, wee on a stick and wait – like a child at Christmas – for the result. Will today be the day that our ineffectual shagging actually has some chance of giving us a result?

Whilst whiling away the three minutes between outpouring and outcome I noticed the strap line on my current brand of ovulation predictor stick:

EASY TO USE – LIKE A PREGNANCY TEST

A strap line that speaks volumes.

Essentially it is saying:

“Look love, I know that if you have shelled out the best part of twenty quid on these fancy ovulation tests you have clearly been trying, and failing, to get pregnant for a good few months (or more). So you’ll have used plenty of pregnancy tests in your time, at first with hopeful anticipation and latterly with resigned but latent hope. Now at least you have a chance of a double line. Enjoy.”

So far I haven't had my double line ovulatory signal, but I have high hopes for tomorrow (or the next day, or the day after that...).


Wednesday, 2 September 2009

I know, I know

I could tell what the woman of a certain age at the checkout was thinking as she rang up my shopping today:

"Poor, naive, ignorant cow."

Because my basket was a picture of innocent optimism. It contained:

1 Box of Ovulation predictor kit (pack of seven)
1 Pregnancy test (pack of two)
1 box of multi-vitamins - For women who are trying for a baby

I could just imagine her having a little chuckle to herself later. Shaking her head at how easy I thought it would be; a case of peeing on a couple of sticks, ovulating, have a spot of marital relations, getting pregnant, double check with a quick test, Bob's your uncle, Fanny's your aunt and the bun's in the oven.

I wanted to explain. I wanted to say:

"I know it isn't that easy but I'd quite like to know when I ovulate this month so that I know when to expect my period before my next round of IUI. And I need the pregnancy tests because I'll have to do one at some point so I might as well pick them up now (and there is an economy of scale buying two rather than just one). And I'm running out of vitamins because I have been taking them on and off for about three years now and can't see any possibility of graduating onto the early stage pregnancy ones in the near future."

Instead I just bundled my boxes of goodies into my bag and hurried away, with all my eggs in one basket.


Monday, 31 August 2009

Great Sexpectations

I've mentioned this fact already here, but I've got to reiterate this statistic:

"Couples not using contraception have, on average, about an 18% chance of conceiving normally ... Couples having sex more than twenty times a month have around a 35% chance."*

Note to the folk who know me in real life and have already expressed disquiet at hearing about my sex life, look away now.

The rest of you: let me tell you my plan.

The way the NHS works is that I get one go at Interuterine Insemination, a month off, another shot, month off, then a final go. So here I am in the in-between month and, rather than rest on my laurels, I intend to spend it lying back and thinking of England.

The bedroom has been rechristened the lovenasium, and the activity du jour is sexercise.

The husband was delighted when I told him my plan, warning him that he would be on a strict every-other-day sex schedule. His enthusiasm was somewhat diminished when I had to clarify that the only notches on his bedpost would be related to me. But he has manfully risen to the task.

Starting out, the prospect is sexciting but I fear by the end of the month I'll be sexhausted.

*A Child Against All Odds, Robert Winston, 2007


Friday, 28 August 2009

Reasons to be cheerful

On reflection it is actually quite a good thing that last IUI didn't work.

Whilst the panic over swine flu in the UK is abating there is a distinct possibility that, with the schools going back in September, another outbreak is imminent. I'd quite like to catch it, recover and have some inbuilt immunity chalked up whilst in a non-pregnant state. The alternative if I was pregnant, would be weighing up the safety options of vaccine verses the disease. I've now got the opportunity to get up close and personal with every red-nosed sniveling commuter I find in the hope that they pass the lergy on.

In addition, whilst I like the idea of being able to say to my teenage tearaway: "And don't ask you 'father' for help, he wasn't even there when you were conceived", that is maybe a dangerous power to wield. Hopefully the husband'll actually be around for the next IUI so I won't have that option, and will consequently save my future child from massive psychiatrist fees.

During the last two week wait I noticed I was getting grey/brown roots peeping through my implausibly red hair. I didn't want to dye my hair whilst there was a chance of an embryonic life-form sponging up any nasty chemicals that seeped into my system. So I made a decision that, if the IUI didn't work, I was going to go back to my roots (minus the grey) so if I do have an enforced nine month period of no hair-dyeing at least I won't end up with 3 inch roots. And yes, despite being only just 33 and there is already a healthy smattering of grey there - and I can't even blame those pesky kids.

Rumours are abound at work. Duly noted was the lack of boozing at the all-staff drinks the other week. Today I got: "Giving up tea, stopping dying your hair? These are all things my mother did when she was trying to conceive..." I just responded with something non-committal. We have a works event next week so I'll be able to have an alcoholic drink which will hopefully quash any of those rumours. I'm not sure why I am so anti people thinking that I am pregnant when I'm not, but I hate the idea of being the subject of this type of erroneous scrutiny.

Also, if the IUI had worked the baby would have been born in May. Which isn't bad but I would rather have a proper summer baby, you know born June/ July / August*. So its lucky really ...

Did you hear that? I think it was the sound of the bottom of the barrel being well and truly scraped.



*Ok, at one time I cared enough to want a summer baby, now I really couldn't give a toss when it arrives (though sooner rather than later please).


Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Finding Out

Did I tell you I found out I wasn't pregnant at three in the morning?

I was being somewhat disingenuous with you the other day, when I said I wouldn't test early.

The fact was, I always knew that I would test on Sunday morning, just a day early. I wanted to test so that I had a day to acclimatise myself to the result. I knew, whatever the outcome, that last thing that I would want is to go directly into the back-to-back meetings I had scheduled for Monday morning having just found out.

On Sunday morning (just) I awoke with a screaming bladder at 2.57am. Now, here was a dilemma: The test clearly stated I should use the first urination of the day to test. True, this was the first but was it too early?

I'd waited this long, surely I could wait another couple of hours.

Not a fucking chance.

My boobs were aching, I'd had curious stomach cramps earlier in the week. I was beside myself with anticipation.

I thought I'd got away with it three minutes later, as I crept silently back into bed. But the husband was immediately awake and asked what it had said.

Until that point I'd managed to hold it together, repeating the mantra in my head 'It was never going to be this easy, of course the first go wouldn't work'. But just opening my mouth to tell him it was negative unleashed those tearless sobs, the ones that are noiseless, that you always forget about if you are faking crying.

The good thing about testing at such an unnatural hour was that I managed to cry myself back to sleep.

I won't say things felt immediately brighter when I work up in the morning proper, but it had given me a bit of perspective.

In retrospect though, bit of advice, on the day you expect to find out whether fertility treatment has worked or not, don't arrange to go and see your friends and their five week old baby who shares your birthday.

I managed it, but it wasn't the easiest Sunday ever.


Monday, 24 August 2009

The Change I Need (Or, mixing my political metaphors)

For two years and eight months I lived under a regime more effective than the Chinese communists when it comes to preventing a population explosion.

During the last six months I have been tirelessly campaigning for a healthy womb lining. But I knew I had to wait for the removal of the old hormone-administration before there could be a massive swing towards pregnancy.

But I saw a change coming. A change I could believe in.

A change that had me full of hope.

The IUI promised so much.

Everyone was saying the right things.

From the ovulation test that gave me the signal to 'go' bang on schedule. The Clomid, whose hustings of my eggs bought the perfect number to the polls. The sperm that rallied round in their tens of millions to, seemingly, assure a landslide victory.

I even managed to harness the power of the internet. Through this very blog I received a massive ground swell of support from people who also were looking for a similar change.

However, like so many politicians, this IUI has promised much and delivered nothing. A test this morning confirmed yesterday's negative. I am now waiting for the sea of blood, that will join the tears and despair.

But this is merely a set back to my campaign. Despite the massive cross-Atlantic smear campaign that has targeted the National Health Service, I still trust it to deliver. I have two more attempts at IUI to come.

So yes, this time I've suffered a catastrophic beating and the optimism polls have slumped to an all time low, but I will get up and head back onto the campaign trail.

Hopefully, I won't have to wait long before I can carry a full-term.


Wednesday, 19 August 2009

The Early Bird

There are some pregnancy tests on the market, that claim that they can tell if you are pregnant four days before your period is due.

Awesome.

That means I could start testing tomorrow.

Except then you read the small print, the accuracy of the test is as follows:
53% of pregnant women who test four days before their period is due get an accurate result
74% three days before
84% two days before
87% one day before
99% on the day

Or to put it another way 46% of pregnant woman will receive a negative test if they take the test four days before they are due. Then (and note this is PREGNANT women), the percentage that will get a false negative on subsequent days will be: 26%, 16%, 13%, 1%.

I currently have a brace of those tests in my bathroom cabinet and I am not going to use them to test early.

This is why:
1) If I get a negative result I will waver between, being really upset to consoling myself that I am in that percentage of women who simply don't get a positive this early. So I would have to test again anyway

2) I have a christening to attend on Saturday. I would rather attend a child-centric event like that in blissful ignorance rather than knowing (or thinking I know), I am not pregnant.

3) Until I take that test I can believe anything. I can keep the anticipation in the same way I like to open presents, agonisingly slowly.

4) I'm scared of what the test might show.


Monday, 17 August 2009

Aye You, Aye

You may have noticed I was uncharacteristically brief in my description of the IUI.

That is because I saved the full account for Fertility Authority, pop over for a tale of candy-coloured spunk and a narrow avoidance of a phrase that could have ended my marriage.

(Although they edited my favourite line, I originally wrote: "I splashed out on digital ovulation tests, literally." But maybe that was a little too graphic.)

So that was a week ago today; I test in a week to see if it has worked.

Just one more week.

I'll tell you what, this waiting thing is child's play after the first six months of this year. I can't believe how fast it is going.



Did that sound convincing?


Thursday, 13 August 2009

The Bright Side

I’m not sure how I come across on this blog but, the thing is, I am an optimist.

You want proof? Here is proof.

Go on click over, you'll be bought right back here.

See?

After Monday's IUI I gauged my level of optimism that this would work at about 80%. This flies dramatically in the face of any statistic I have found online, which range from a success rate of 6% to 26%.

But I have done everything I could have done to make this work.

I have been vitamin-enriched, caffine-deprived, alcoholically-abstemious and well and truly pricked, (by which I mean I had a quick acupuncture session on Tuesday for enforced-relaxation purposes, but now I mention it, I did also get a bit of the other).

My optimism is such that I have allowed myself to do things that were previously banned. Calculated the due date (3 May), worked out when I’ll have the twelve week scan and can tell the world at large (October). I've even wondered who should be the next lucky recipient of the 4 leaf clover given to me by my goddaughter (it came to the appointment with me).

Now here I am, four days into the wait and self-preservation is kicking in. My mood is plummeting faster than a suicidal sky-diver, not because I don’t think it will have worked, I still kinda think it might. But my rational side is trying to cushion the blow. My rational side is saying I have to prepare myself for a negative. My rational side is busy beating up that joyful little imp who is tap dancing in my stomach, and causing me to fantasise about names, and who is going to babysit when I go to a wedding on the 12 of June next year.

Mental note: must Google “mood swings and early pregnancy symptoms.”



Monday, 10 August 2009

Small Faces

(<--) Smiling face: The ovulation predictor stick this morning.

Miserable face: For my scan to check exactly how well the clomid had worked I had a doctor I had never seen before. She wasn't exactly a barrel of laughs. As she roughly shoved the stick up my cock-socket she said unencouraging things like, "Have you have surgery there?" and grumbled about my bladder being in the way.

Smiling face: I nearly got the giggles when the husband caught my eye, rolling his behind the grumpy Doctor's head.

Miserable face: My right ovary was hard to locate and has done nothing worth writing a blog about.

Smiling face: My left ovary has three follicles measuring 23mm, 17/18mm and 14/15mm. (They should be between 20 and 25mm and can grow by 2mm a day so the two largest ones are looking likely and the littlest, a slight possibility). So in fact, if my right ovary had risen to the clomid-challenge that would have put a halt to the whole thing, as there would have been far too high a risk of multiples.

Miserable face: Even after finding both ovaries, and measuring my uterus lining (all good,) the doctor still managed to spend another five minutes prodding my womb with her stick, (think of the google searches I'll get from that). She was particularly adept at a pincer movement, pushing my bladder from the inside with her dildo and from the outside with her hand. I got the message! Next time I will empty my bladder completely.

Smiling face: The nurse by comparison was lovely. No, not Eunice but someone else. Whilst the husband and I were a bit white-faced, pinched smiles and clammy handed from the violation I'd just suffered, she was giggling and excited. She told me I was "going to worry them" and, before I had a chance to get concerned, she explained it was because I had responded very well to the clomid and had a chance of multiples, and was that OK? I said I was a twin myself, which made her wriggle with delight. For someone who must come across couples like us every single day, she couldn't have made us feel more special or made our outcome seem any more important.

Miserable face: I screwed up. I thought as I was coming in anyway I didn't have to call the nurses to say that I got a positive ovulation test. But apparently I should have, so the husband wasn't booked in to the lab for his private viewing of the hospital's pornography.

Smiling face: They made an appointment for him at 2pm for his palm-time, and me at 3pm for the main event.

Miserable face: I then had to go to work for a few hours.

Smiling face: Whilst the quantity of his sperm has gone down slightly in number since last time (from 36 million to 30 million per millilitre – anything above 20 million is considered fine), its mobility has increased to a staggering 94%.

Miserable face: The husband is incredibly busy at work at the moment (he was quadruple booked this morning), so couldn't hang around for the IUI itself.

Smiling face: The IUI actually happened!!! (You've got to know it is good for me to allow a gratuitous three exclamation marks.)

Miserable face: I've now got two weeks to wait before I test to see if it has worked. (No, I'm not really complaining but I need to alternate back to a miserable face and at the moment I am so far from miserable it was hard to think of anything to complain about - unusual I know).

Oh, and I need your advice. Do you reckon I should go for the belts and braces approach with a spot of old fashioned bonking tomorrow night? You know, just to seal the deal.