Monday, 29 June 2009

Things that made me smile this weekend

Friday night

Taking dog for his evening jaunt weaving between the revelers who claim every spare patch of grass in London as soon as the sun come out.

Bloke to his mate "Ahh! Look at that dog. I use to train greyhounds."
Grabs the dog in a frankly over familiar manner considering they had just met.
To me: "But this isn't a full greyhound"
To his mate: "You can tell he's half lurcher"
Me: "No he use to race at Walthamstow, his pedigree is online, he's all greyhound"
As I walk off, he is still trying to persuade his pal that he knows all about greyhounds.

Ha, ha!

Saturday lunchtime

My second and final session with the physically-blessed intellectually-challenged trainer.

Him: "Right I want to show you how to use kettle weights. They're really good for all different types of toning, they've been around for ages, over two hundred years ... (look of concern flashes across his perfect features) ... not, not these actual ones. But these types of weights are really old."

I responded with a nod and a smile rather than a 'No shit Sherlock!'.

Saturday Afternoon

Building a cardboard space rocket with my nephew. Just made me smile, 'cause it did.

Ok. Actually it started to grate a little when he kept insisting that cardboard wasn't the best material and maybe we should be using brick, countering my assertion that bricks would be too heavy with, "Well, maybe then we should use little light bricks."

Can't argue with that.


The husband is away with the boys (they being his friends, not my pet name for his testicles). At some point during the night he sent me the text that greeted me on Sunday morning:

I hate absinthe, but I love you, you lucky devil.

Do you think, and just a shot in the dark here, he decided he hated absinthe after imbibing quite a lot of it? (And are you impressed he still carefully punctuates his texts?)

How was your weekend?

Sunday, 28 June 2009

The Waiting Game

Look to your left. Can you see my ticker? Depending on when you are looking you'll see I have a month (well 30 days) until the coil is removed.

For the last six months time has been anything but constant.

Whenever I go on a journey I always find the last quarter incredibly tedious. Whether it is a twenty minute trip and the last five minutes are excruciating or a four hour journey the first three hours will fly but but the last hours? c r a w l s.

And it turns out it is the same with the last six months. The first four went by in a flash. These last few weeks have been eye-wateringly slow. A down moment at work, and I flick to my calendar counting how many working days until the coil is removed, or number of weeks until I might actually (assuming everything goes to plan) get the IUI.

It doesn't help that I have a weeks holiday coming up so I am waiting for that too.

But do you know what pisses me off most?

Even though I've been sloughing through nine months in total since I last had sex without contraception, even though before that it was another six months since I ovulated, even though prior to that there was a good few years of waiting until the husband would allow me to try and get pregnant. Even with all that waiting. I know that at some point in my future I'll have a mere two week wait that'll probably seem longer than all of that put together.

I just hope it'll be worth the wait.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

The World's A Stage

I've just finished a screenwriting course. I have no ambitions to be a screenwriter but I get a chance to do free courses through work and I figured that this would stretch me and teach me to write in new and interesting ways. i.e. give me something to write about other than the normal 'I'm still not pregnant' shit which is starting to bore me to tears. (Well, there are tears, so I'm attributing them to boredom).

The first assignment was to write an 'inciting incident'. That is the bit that comes about twenty minutes in, turning a happy little story into a big event - Ilsa walking into "of all the gin-joints in all the world" in Casablanca; the radiation hit taken by the fantastic four; Bambi's mother being shot (sorry should have added a spoiler alert for that one).

So I write a dramatic, high-action, feverishly exciting scene involving an assassin, an art market in Valencia and a MacGuffin. The reaction from the class was tepid at best. They valiantly searched for complementary comments but it was shit, I knew it was shit, they knew it was shit, and the tutor just looked a bit sad.

The next week we had to write a scene that shows to the audience two character's relationship and how it is affected by the 'inciting incident'. I cut my losses, started from scratch and tried a completely new story.

In this scene a couple in their early thirties are sitting on the sofa watching telly and chatting. For arguement's sake let's put the couple in London; maybe their flat is cheaply but tastefully furnished and they might just have a dog. Through the conversation they reveal to the audience an issue that they are dealing with ... an issue. Think of an issue, any issue...

Oh, OK. What about infertility?


So they are revealing through subtle, humourous (obviously) dialogue that they have been trying for over two years to have a baby.

The response was brilliant. The tutor said, and I quote , "Excellent." The dialogue was realistic, and moving.


It appears all I can write about now is babies (or specifically lack of:). I tell you what, I need to get pregnant soon if only to salvage any small remnants of my creativity.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

World O'Pain

Yesterday I had my free introductory personal training session. Free, like a free lunch when you've spent five hundred quid on flights to New York.

The trainer was gorgeous, a raven-haired David Beckham with the intellect to match. I managed to gaze adoringly without even the hint of a smirk as he explained the complexity of weight loss. Through the use of a diagram of a see-saw he showed that to lose weight, and this'll knock your socks off, ... you need to burn more calories than you take in. After ten minutes of explanation and assurances from me that yes, I did get it, he went on to discuss portion size again through the use of illustration this time of three different sized circles. He indicated that one can decrease portion size from large, to medium to small.

I declined his offer of a photocopy of a sheet, again with pictures (this time professionally drawn), of the foods in all the major food groups. I think he was satisfied with my emphatic assertion that I was sure I could find the information on the net should the need arise.

That done we had the session. Not that kind of session, you forget I operate on a purely look but don't touch policy (much to the husband's dismay when I continue to practice this at home). So he introduces me to what is essentially a washing machine on a spin cycle and wants me to squat on it. I start to wonder exactly where the camera for this low-budget porn film is secreted. But, apparenly Madonna uses this 'power-plate' so I carry on safe in the knowledge that at the worst case senario at least this machine will enable me to adopt a Malawian orphan.

Most of the session was doing toning excercises and I finished a little underwhelmed, barely having broken a sweat and not sure it had been worth my time.

This morning, after a spontaneous inter-continental dash yesterday afternoon, I awoke in Brussels with every single muscle in my body screaming, so it had done something. The friend I stayed with, also in the first flush of gyming, took me to her local club today to work off last night's boozing. In this club I discovered that, as I had always suspected, gravity has a far stronger pull in Belgium as both pairs of scales at her club erred on the side of my sister's scales rather than my clubs. Amazing weight loss? Not so much.

We did a class, Body Attack. The trainer instructing mainly in French sprinkled in the odd English words as added motivation. Words like 'don't stop', 'harder', 'push it'. I'm uncordinated at the best of times. Without understanding the instructions my spasmodic-jerking in a room full of lithe, skimply-clad stick insects meant that I was constantly jumping when they were river-dancing, side stepping when they were star-jumping and threatening to take them out with my flaling arms at every euro-pop beat.

Suffice to say I won't be welcome back, and I'm not sure that I'll ever be able to walk again.

Friday, 19 June 2009

As Time Goes By

Have you seen Casablanca?

You know the opening scene in Ricks? The camera swoops from table to table we hear "waiting, waiting, waiting. I'll never get out of here" and from elsewhere "The trucks are waiting, the men are waiting ..."

Although I have just a few weeks to go before I get a crack at being impregnated that opportunity feels as elusive as their exit visas. So near and yet so very, very long to wait. Time is crawling.

And there is another parallel. In Casablanca the clientele of Rick's are trying to get to Lisbon because it is only from there that they can travel further afield away from the Nazi's. For me I'm waiting for IUI but the real destination will take many, many months more to reach, actually giving birth.

It can feel a bit self-indulgent to be so focused on one thing. And I know that in the scheme of things the troubles of two people trying to conceive doesn't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. But I am fed up with waiting and I will do all it takes to get pregnant because if I don't I will regret it, today, tomorrow and for the rest of my life.

Here's looking for you kid.

Oh, and I mentioned a while ago that I was reading a book A Child Against All Odds by Robert Winston (remember the one that said you needed to hump like bonobo's to get even the remotest chance of fertilisation because we humans aren't built for reproduction - makes me reconsider the whole meaning of life). Anyway, I've written a review of it for Fertility Authority - if you want to check it out, see how good I am to you even reading books for you so you don't have too.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

They're All At It

Apparently everyone at my work is pregnant. I was amazed to hear this from two different people this week.

I know! Do you know what that means? I must be pregnant without realising it.

Not just that, but my male colleagues are going to get a bit of a shock in a couple of months when their beer-bellies morph into vessels carrying their own little miracles.

It means our female head is going to give Britain's oldest mum a run for her money.

I must say it is all tremendously exciting.

I'm envisaging baby showers in the canteen. And surely with our combined buying power we can get huge discounts not just on bulk-buy disposable objects such as nappies and nipple pads but top of the range yummy-mummy prams too.

Of course there is a downside.

I imagine there will be a positive stampede of rotund bellies every time I need to go to the toilet as those pesky featus' decide collectively to tap dance on the workforces bladder. And goodness knows how, in these cash-strapped times, we are going to afford maternity cover for all of our full time staff.

I think shall have to become more creative with our staff benefits. I might suggest lunch time sessions dedicated to strengthening our pelvic floor muscles to prevent every chair swimming in a sea of ...

Oh no wait.

Their mistake.

When they say everyone they actually mean three people, all women, plus two recent births.

But they do have a bit of a point. Is it just me or is there a lot of it about just now?

The other day I had to rejig my blogroll to recategorise several people who blog to the "Those on their way" category. And a friend in real life is cautiously optimistic about seeing her pregnancy that resulted from IVF through to the end.

I feel nothing but joy to see people who have struggled get through the other side. It is brilliant and like a beacon of hope for the rest of us.

But my heart aches for those who were so close to getting on their way but after losses or thousands of pounds spent on treatment remain unfertilised. And for my other friends in real life who are struggling.

I still feel I have got off lightly so far, all I am wasting is time - I've not had a miscarriage, I haven't had any treatment and had to see my hopes dashed. But soon just a month and a half I'll find out whether the six months of coil had done the trick. I'll know whether I can get my long awaited shot of IUI and I'll find out whether I am on my way to join the haves or the have nots.

It is a scary but exciting time.

Anyway it is a bit late, but I've had my eye of the ball for the last few days. But if you have a moment pop over to Fertility Authority to see why you should never tell someone with blue eyes that they must have perfect vision. (By the way the italics over there aren't mine, but if you read italics like I do they make me sound more sarcastic than usual in this post, so forgive that.)

Sunday, 14 June 2009

It's A Fit Up (Or, how to start a fitness routine in 9 short months)

October 2008
Re-start Yoga in attempt to re-find myself (find self under the flab rather than spiritually).

November 2008
Stop yoga (too much self-frottage for my liking).

Go on holiday and eat ever increasing body-weight in truffley pasta.

December 2008
Weigh more than ever. Think about joining the gym. Reject it on financial grounds.

Spend Christmas with in-laws. Mother-in-law approaches feeding in the classic wee wifey tradition of all the Scotches. Typical post three course dinner conversation:
“Now. What’ll you have?”
“Oh nothing thanks, I’m stuffed”
“What about a bit of cake, or fruit? I have kiwi … orange … or biscuits, try one of these lovely chocolate ginger biscuits I bought.”
“No, no, really. I can't”
“Or a tea? Mint, camomile, normal ...”
“Oh, OK I’ll have a tea”
“Do you want a wee biscuit with that? Or a bit of cake …” (Repeat ad infinitum).

January 2009
Purchase new sports bra and more flattering (read: larger) gym trousers.

Discover I have at least 6 months before I’m going to get pregnant decide I should really use this time to get fit. All I need is a strategy …

Feb 2009
… still thinking hard about fitness possibilities.

March 2009
Have eye operation am told not to swim for a month. Take ‘swimming’ to encompass all types of exercise.

April 2009
Discover fantastic long term solution to avoid gym but get fit. Spend equivalent of a month and a half’s gym membership on new shoes that promise to make me walk like an African warrior simultaneously allowing me to stand tall and tone every muscle from my stomach downwards .

Problem: they are fucking ugly. And not in a 'so bad they are good' way (see gladiator sandals). In a "I am a teenage Emo with green hair who thinks that thick soled black shoes will be an outward manifestation of the abject loneliness and rejection of society that I feel". Every time I wear them I feel like I have to apologise for submitting any by-passer to such a vile vision.

They don't get out much.

May 2009
Holiday. Swim three lengths of pool in villa. Exercise curtailed by gecko deciding it wanted to swim with me, burrowing into my bikini and precipitating the fastest 5 meter swim sprint I have ever managed. Feel disinclined to repeat the process.

Struck down with the plague. Short of breath, too ill to exercise. Whilst at Doctors have blood pressure taken am told it looks a bit high. Get worried.

June 2009
Another night on my arse, laptop on knee, notice stomach is spilling onto lap top.

That's not right.

mid-June 2009
Join gym.

Yup, the expensive one. I could find cheaper but they are further away than the gold-plated version and any additional barrier I put in the way of going is another cream cake on the table of weight gain. Also this one has a pool and swimming is about the only form of exercise I actually enjoy tolerate.

Using the scales in the gym I discovered that I am a stone lighter than I thought I was. I credit this extraordinary weight loss to a combination of: my sister's dodgy scales (I don't allow scales in my house); only weighing myself in the evening on said scales when I go round to hers; loss of appetite during the plague. Don't get me wrong I am still a stone heavier than I'd like but not the two stone I feared. Bit of a relief really as I was starting to worry I was suffering from body dysmorphia - believing myself to be two stone over weight but still feeling pretty good about myself when I prance round the flat in my smalls.

So I swam twenty lengths before the combination of leaky goggles and coughing at the end of each length forced me to give up. But it is a start, right?

I'm now taking bets in the comments section on how long you reckon this will last.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Hanging on by a thread

I think I am jinxed.

I was supposed to have an appointment with the Familial cancer Clinic on Tuesday but I had to postpone it. My Doctor had arranged it when I had told her how dissatisfied I was with the brush off my sisters and I got last time we discussed the options.

Because of work commitments, and because it doesn’t really matter if that appointment happens this month or next I rang to postpone it.

Yesterday I got a letter confirming that I indeed had postponed my appointment until 16 of August.

Only they had postponed the wrong one. They postponed the appointment I was supposed to have next week to discuss my protocol for IUI. The appointment that was supposed to ensure that I ‘hit the ground running’ as soon as the coil comes out on the 27 of July. Now this appointment is due almost three weeks later.

I rang to explain my predicament. The predicament that came out of their screw up.

Disembodied, disinterested voice on the end of the phone: “Yeah ... I see ... Yeah she did change the wrong appointment ... No, there are no other appointments now before then.”

I don’t know what to do. I am close to tears at the thought of another delay. A delay the Doctor said shouldn’t happen because she wanted me to have IUI as quickly as possible after the coil came out to prevent my diseased womb lining having a chance to grow again.

I’ve left a message for Eunice.

Wish me luck.


Eunice called back. She'd just had a cancellation for the 8 of July and I now have that slot.

I am ridiculously relieved.

I thanked her effusively, my voice cracking slightly as I said "You really helped me out in January too, thank you so much."

I worry I might have come across as an over-emotional, slightly deranged, potential-stalker type. (So nothing against type there.) Maybe I won't send a bunch of flowers thanking her until I actually have a baby.

And I think I have a contender for name of my first born girl!

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Too Cool for School

Ah, work experience.

A week where 16 year-olds the length and breadth of the country come into offices to learn what a real job is like. At the age where they are at their most gangly, awkward, shy and pimple-ridden they are thrust into the working environment to spend a tedious weeks of making tea, filing and fending off office juniors who try to either shag or bully them.

The result of the week is that everyone returns to school declaring that they don't want to be stuck in an office all day and they want a job that means something. This is something they soon forget only to wake up 10 years later have a quarter-life crisis and go do voluntary service abroad.

Last week I got a call asking if my eldest Goddaughter/cousin could come and do work experience with me. Once the smelling salts had bought me round - I'm far too young to have a 16 year old goddaughter - I said yes.

And now I am worried.

She is coming the last week in July. She lives in the middle of the countryside so she is staying with me in London Town. 9.30am that Monday morning I am having the coil removed so she will a) have to be told at least an approximation of why she won't be starting until mid-day that day and b) if it is bad news I will have no option of calling in sick, going home and spending the day wrapped in a duvet of self-pity. (Maybe that is a good thing).

And then I have to decide what sort of project to give her. Because let's face it, I want her to finish the week thinking I have a cool job. And I do have a cool job.


Well, I work for a cool company, but maybe my over use of the word 'cool' makes me like some sort of dork. Do the kidz nowadays even use the word dork?

Oh my god. The pressure. Why do I even care what a 16 year old country bumpkin thinks?

Fuck it, she can clear out the stationary cupboard.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

*wheeze* *hack* *spit*

The husband wants us to sleep in separate beds.

In different rooms.

To say I have had a cough for the last two weeks feels akin to saying that Berlusconi has a bit of an eye for the ladies.

I no longer breath, instead I wheeze with the breath barely being able to penetrate my lungs.

Each cough has sent my brain rattling around my skull like the treats inside a Kinder Egg.

I've had coughing fits that have caused me to puke up my dinner. Which, because I was taken unawares and only made it so far as the sink made me vomit even more as I cleared the masticated tomato and ricotta pasta out of the sink.

The top of my duvet is covered with dry spittle as I stuff it in my mouth to try and prevent the hacking waking the husband.

It hasn't worked. He wants out.

I've tried:
  • Cough mixtures (two non-drowsy for day, one drowsy for night)
  • Day nurse
  • An asthma inhaler (I've never had asthma but the doctor prescribed it to try and open up my lungs)
  • Pain killers
  • Lozenges
  • Night nurse (which I love although it means I cough in my sleep which doesn't help the husband)
  • Acupuncture in my chesty regions.
I've been googling symptoms for swine flue and TB with a zeal I use to reserve for early pregnancy symptoms.

The husband has been sympathetic. (<- he made me write that).

Has anyone got sure-fire cures for expectorating coughs? At this point I'm willing to try anything except leeches.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

My Left Foot

You can take the girl out of Catholicism but you can't take the guilt out of the girl.

In the 18 years since kicking my wafer and wine on a Sunday morning habit I have managed to divest myself of most of my Catholic hang ups.

When in a church for touristic or wedding purposes my hand might do a slight twitch as I walk in front of the altar but it doesn't go as far as the full spectacles, testicles, wallet and watch sweep.

The only Virgin Mary in my life is a drink without the normal shot of vodka when I'm on a health kick.

And the whole contraception thing. How ever much I might have regretted keeping it for so long, if the coil is going to sort out my womb - bring it on.

There is just two areas where I can't shake my left-footer roots. The guilt (and I know this isn't the first time I've bemoaned this), and my love of Catholic tat.

And lately I have found another reason to beat myself up.

Two friends who are fully aware of the difficulties the husband and I have been having with the whole procreation thing are themselves fast approaching the: "Ok. This isn't fun anymore why aren't we pregnant" stage.

Initially if they had got knocked up quicker than a three-egg omelette I would have been jealous, upset, pleased for them but miserable for myself. But as the months pass I have formed a theory.

It is my fault.

Hear me out on this one.

Most people start their breeding missions with a gleeful heart convinced that had they not been popping pills, wriggling into rubbers or packing progesterone (in coil form) they'd have a brood of 11 or 12. It is only after several months that it dawns on them that it might not be that easy.

But these guys. My friends. They know how hard it can be. They have practically peered into my punani with the Doctor.

What if this has caused them to be more stressed than normal about their ability to reproduce?
What if, because of their knowledge of our difficulties, they were prevented from having the first few months of the hallowed state of being "just relaxed"?
What if it is all my fault?

Yes, no longer am I blaming myself for my own shortcomings, I'm taking on those of my friends too.

All thanks to my papist up bringing.