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.


Managing Director, The Fertility Show


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
Itchy legs

They all scored.

In fact the only ones that didn't were:

Farting (but then we realised 'gassy' does score)
Body Odour
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?

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.


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.