Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Operation Mojo: Day 2: Drag Queens

There are few things more likely to raise my spirits than man in a frock and disco tunes.

Unfortunately the husband refuses to indulge this passion other than the day we wed, when he wore a skirt and we danced with, almost, gay abandon to Donna Summer. (Alright so technically he wore a kilt, but my point stands, since that day he has been fully trousered).

Tonight I went to see the stage show of 'Priscilla Queen of the Desert'. Buff men in skimpy, sequined numbers belting out mojo-lifting tunes such as "I Will Survive" and "Someone Left The Cake Out in The Rain," (I'm sure there is a metaphor in there somewhere).

And what better way to end the show than with a rousing chorus of "Finally It Has Happened To Me"?

It is my new mantra.

I've been singing it all the way home, which has the added benefit of ensuring I got a double seat to myself on the bus.

Mojo rating: 8 out of 10.

(Down two points because I am STILL waiting for my biopsy results, it'll be a month tomorrow since they took the bloody sample).

Monday, 29 November 2010

Operation Mojo: Day 1: Hippy Cure

I have decided, rather than wait for my mojo to come back of its own volition, I have to actively pursue it. So I have given myself a task; every day this week I am going to try something different to regain my mojo.

Today is the turn of the hippy cure.

I've mentioned my in-laws and their crystal-waving ways before. I love them dearly, but they are on a whole different plain spiritually to me. They are the only people close to us who don't know about our quest for kids. We've wanted to tell them, we've even tried to tell them. I've blogged about it, several times. But I can't think of the words, and the husband is petrified of us being overwhelmed with new age cures.

However, it isn't just a barren womb that would prompt an inundatement of magic. The husband complained to them that he was still suffering after-effects of the dysentery. So they sent down some magic stickers.

I promise you I am not making this up.

Apparently the symbol on these stickers holds some arcane secret. You put one on the inside of your wrist (exhibit a)

Exhibit A

And (I quote) "The sticker will stay on as long as it needs."

So with nothing better to do I popped one on last Thursday. It is winter so I thought with long sleeves it would remain undetected. I now realise that I have a little 'tell' in meetings, when making a point I have a habit of pushing my sleeves up my arms, and in the past few days that body tick has been swiftly followed by me hurriedly pulling the sleeves right back down again.

The sticker fell off today (leaving an itchy red mark), so according to the rules that was as long as I needed.

Mojo still hovering at a lethargic, disgruntled two out of ten. That'll be a fail for the magic stickers.

Going to try something new tomorrow.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

I wouldn't bother if I was you

Infertility is a lot of things; painful, distressing, unfair.

For me, just now, it is mainly boring.

The whole year has lurched from waiting for appointments, to waiting for tests, and more tests, and delays, to waiting for the coil to be put in, to waiting three months for the coil to work, and waiting for the coil to be removed. Now I am STILL waiting for the results of the last biopsy, three and a half weeks after it was performed and a week and a half after I was due to have it.

I am fed up of preceding every sentence with, "If the results are ok ..."

I can't think of a single witticism or funny anecdote. Because nothing is happening, I am in limbo.

I even tried to write a post of twenty six words starting in alphabetical order, I was that bored. (I only got a far as "A Biopsy Can Determine Everything..." before I got bored of that too.)

Hmpf. Has anyone seen my mojo?

Tuesday, 23 November 2010


I know Wednesdays post was long but that was even after some judicious editing.

Below are a few little vignettes (I know look at me all fancy with the French words) that amused me at the time but were ruthlessly cut. I hope in reinstating them they, may prove diverting for you.


Whilst in the waiting room one of my favourite Doctors emerged from his surgery (him of the Doc & The Dude fame). He looked at me blankly, "Are you here for a scan?" he enquired.


This is a man who has worn me like a glove puppet, yet he looked me full in the face without a hint of recognition flickering across his countenance. As he moved off I grumbled quietly to the husband that I should be sitting in the waiting room 'fud oot'. (A charming Scottishism which can be essentially translated as 'exposing one's vagina'). However, the Doctor redeemed himself some minutes later by popping back and saying, "Sorry, I do recognise you now. Good Luck!"

And no, before you ask I wasn't flashing the second time he came past.


Rather than haul me back in when (or if) I get my biopsy results the Doctor asked if it was OK if he phoned me. He asked for my phone number. (All this whilst the husband was sat right next to me - I didn't know where to look!) Anyway, he whipped out a hand-held mechanical device to note down my number, "Don't worry" he assured me "this is completely secure." I peered closer to see what high-tech spyware he was using.

An iPhone.

Using the standard notebook app.

He still hasn't called.


Once again the Doc was keen to impress on me the risks of IVF.

Twins, he said, were just about alright, triplets were a worry. Bashfully I admitted I would be happy with twins, being one myself. "Not from IVF" the doctor chortled. It wasn't a question, it was a statement.

Now, the oldest IVF child is Louise Brown, she is two years younger than me. So clearly I couldn't be an IVF child. Fair enough. But the doctor didn't even glance at my date of birth on the medical records before him. One look at my care-worn face and he dismissed the very idea that I could possibly be within the IVF age bracket. Bedside manner my arse.


When I went to collect my drugs and paid approximately 5% of their street value to take them home, the keen, fresh-faced pharmacist tried to get me to sign up for a prepayment scheme for his medicinal goodies. Telling me it would mean that "next time" I would have to pay significantly less for my potions. I gently pointed out that I rather hoped there wouldn't be a next time.

I'm not sure he got it.


So um... that's all I got really. Amuse me with an anecdote in the comments about your recent appointment.


I need distractions.

(Yes Wig, even you, you've been uncharacteristically quiet during this pregnancy. Can't think why. Was it something I said? xx)

Saturday, 20 November 2010

A Royal Engagement

Last week, in a flurry of flash photography, the (balding, horse-faced, dimwit*) second-in-line to the throne announced his engagement to his long-term girlfriend.

How we yawned.

The news has been greeted by my friends with a barrage of apathy, and a fizzing disinterest. Or it was, until T wondered aloud whether she and/or I would manage to get knocked up before Kate does. A train of thought that lead us to ponder whether her fertility has been fully probed.

And I do mean ‘probed’ literally.

I wonder if, to avoid the Saxe-Coburg Windsor dynasty going the way of the Tudors, there is now a royal decree that ensures potential consorts of monarchs should have their fertility investigated before the ring is handed over.

Has she had an HSG to ensure her tubes aren’t block? Have her anti-mullerian hormone levels been checked to ascertain that she has enough eggs to produce a brood to rival Queen Victoria’s nine children?

But as many of us know fertility doesn’t just rest with the woman. What if, having been given a clean bill of health she doesn’t conceive? Then you’d presume the efficacy of his aristocratic ejaculate would need to be analysed.

That opens a whole host of possibilities. I very much doubt he’d be whacking his royal sceptre whilst leafing through a copy of “Posh Totty” in a Harley Street clinic’s special wipe clean room. Doubtless he’d do it in the privacy of Buck House.

Which begs the question, who’d take his royal sample to be analysed? You’d have to hope he’d be more trust worthy than the Paul Burrells of this world, otherwise I forsee a black market springing up for the royal DNA.

He’d have to be pretty confident that his regal swimmers would end up under the microscope rather than shoved into the nearest breeder. Because, let’s face it, in that there Tupperware is the potential for the domination of Britain. If an enterprising young woman wanted to ensure the best possible inheritance for her progengy then surely it would be worth bribing the nearest courtier to allow her to swipe a turkey-baster full to try and ensure she succeeds where our Queen-in-waiting fails. (This does of course assume the problem lies in unexplained infertility rather than a genuine problem with his swimmers).

Because if Wills and Kate fail to produce, then next in line would then be a toss up between an illegitimate not quite test tube baby or Prince Harry (who if the scurrilous British press are to believed has about as much royal blood as me - or maybe a little bit less).

But I am jumping a head of myself. A large part of me feels sorry for the girl.

If I thought there was pressure to procreate from the moment I had a ring on my finger (wedding ring! tsk) then it’ll be nothing compared to the eyes of the nation on this couple. Talk about performance anxiety. How will she ‘just relax’ with that kind of media attention?

Anyway, I'm taking bets. How long after the wedding do you reckon her pregnancy will be announced?

*description added by the husband, he's not exactly a Royalist.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

One step forward ... ?

It was, I suppose, inevitable that today's appointment wasn't going to go exactly to plan. When has any of my appointments?

The plan was to go through the results of the biopsy that I had two weeks ago, and (all being well) to start IVF.

Naturally the biopsy results weren't available

Scuppered from the start really.

But the Doctor valiantly soldiered on against administrative adversity.

We discussed possible ways forward.

The one scenario that the Doctor almost dismissed out of hand was the biopsy result showing the endometrial atypia hadn't been eradicated. He thought this was highly unlikely and decided to proceed with my protocol as though I've already had the all clear.

Although this might sound like a high risk strategy, it isn't - he is going to call me once the results are back and if there is a problem we will halt the wheels of IVF that, as of today, are in motion.

Yup, today I start birth control for two months.

That, Alanis, is irony.

Most women having IVF will be suppressed for a month first (by which I mean their ovaries are prevented from producing eggs, I'm not advocating removing their right to vote or ensuring they stay holed up in the kitchen from dawn 'til dusk).

Normally the Doctor would wait until the first day of my next period and then just give me birth control for a month. However, there are two factors preventing this being 'normal'.

1) I have a history of 80 day cycles and there is a worry that the endometrium, even if it has gone now, might grow back if they give it any time not closely and hormonally controlled. So I start the birth control as of today.

2) 'And why two months' worth rather than one?' I hear you cry. Because the IVF clinic is closed from the 10 December until the 10 of January. They say it is for a deep clean, although I can't help but think it is so they can spend December in an oblivion of Christmas cheer, with a ten day hangover tacked on the end.

So I am in a holding pattern until the 18th of January.

The exciting thing is I was given my own private pharmacy-worth of drugs for the entire treatment.

Obligatory drug photo here:

(That yellow and purple sharps bucket is going to play havoc with my colour-scheme)

The whole haul cost me the princely sum of £57.60 ($91.47). Oh, despite everything, I do love the NHS.

Even whilst at the pharmacy there was a glitch; one of the drugs they have prescribed is of the same family as a drug called Minocycline that I took when I was 19, as a contraception and something to keep my terrible PCOS-induced acne at bay. (One could argue that this wasn't needed as the acne was a contraceptive in itself). The drug gave me lupus (arthritis). Which I had for a year whilst various consultants scratched their head and wondered what on earth had bought it on, none of them even considering the Minocycline as it was such a common drug. Eventually I stopped taking the drug of my own accord and, literally overnight, I recovered.

Naturally, I am keen to avoid any similar drugs so there was much discussion about what to do about a replacement. In the end they are going to have a discussion internally (I wouldn't have needed it until January anyway) so we shall see what alternatives I have in the New Year.

All in all it was broadly positive. I just have to hope the biopsy result, when it does come, doesn't propell me back to square one.

Monday, 15 November 2010

I say, I say, I say

I got an anonymous comment on Friday's post (the one about how the fertiles tend to mishear us somewhat) it said:

On behalf of your fertile readership (I know we are in the minority!), can I request a follow up post to this with suggestions of what is the right thing to say. It can be a hard thing to get right!

As I was rubbing my hands with glee, and contemplating my response, I got a phone call from a mate.

She apologised for writing the comment, explaining that she was in a bad mood at the time.

I hadn’t even read the comment in a negative way (as trolls go my friends have a lot to learn), but it did get me thinking about how I can be misinterpreted.

So let me be clear.

Despite my acerbic rantings, I don't hate fertile folk, all some most of my best friends are fertile.

I would do anything to be fertile. (Well, I don’t know about anything, but certainly IVF).

Any bitterness that you detect in my writing is jealousy. Pure and simple. But not the sort of jealousy when you don't want anyone else to have what you don't.

That, plus the fact that I’ll do anything for a laugh, even a bit of fertile-bashing.

Please, don't take me too seriously.

And as for saying the wrong thing, if anyone understands 'foot in mouth' syndrome it is me. Remember, I am the girl who asked her friend, on his way to a funeral, whether he had a dead body in his car.

So back to the original question. What should you say?

Don't give advice, don't try and say what you think the infertiles want to hear (like how you met someone who got pregnant with IVF, or didn't get pregnant with IVF but then got pregnant when she gave up, or was told she could never get pregnant but then just chilled the fuck out and bingo).

Just say that you are sorry, and of course, "You should read this blog I know, Womb For Improvement, it's awesome."

That'd be good.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Hearing aid part 2

Following from Monday's post it can, of course, work both ways, there are times when they (the fertiles) mishear us:

We say: "I'm infertile."

They hear: "I'm melodramatic. I've only been trying for five minutes."


We say: "I'm having IVF."

They hear: "I'm definitely going to get pregnant. With sextuplets."


We say: "I can't get pregnant."

They hear: "I'm really stressed at work. I probably need a holiday."


We say: "I've been monitoring my cycles and I know from a combination of temperature charting and ovulation predictor kits that I am not getting the surge of Luteinizing Hormone that is required to trigger ovulation ..."

They hear: "Please tell me how to get pregnant because I don't have a clue. What is this 'sex' that you speak of?"


We say: "Sometimes it can feel physically painful to see parents in playgrounds on a Sunday afternoon with their young children."

They hear: "We have so much free time, and I can lie in all weekend."


We say: "We're having medical intervention to try and get pregnant."

They hear: "We can't be bothered having sex."


We say: "We've been trying to conceive, unsuccessfully, for a long time."

They hear: "We've been trying to conceive for one, or two, months. Bored now."


Come on, you did brilliantly in the comments from Monday's post. More please!

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Four years

I have just written a post and then deleted it. It was about today, our fourth wedding anniversary.

Every time I try to put into words how happy I am to be married to the husband, and how lucky I feel, it manages to read as either nauseatingly smug or saturated with sarcasm - depending on the internal tone of voice you choose to adopt. And, to be frank, I can't even fall back on the sex gag, it being our anniversary it just wouldn't be appropriate.

(I can't, for example, repeat the quip I made the other day after a disappointing meal out. "It wasn't very good, but it filled a hole" the husband grumbled, "I know exactly what you mean" I sighed. It was a JOKE - a rather good one I thought ... we only just made it to four years after that.)

So, instead of a post, I think my face on our wedding day sums up my feelings nicely.

Note: this was taken on the top of a double-decker London bus, hence the husband’s slightly awkward pose and the no smoking signs. And our friend taking the photo was below us, my chin isn't that big in reality.

But the smile, I still feel like that today.

And it would churlish to point out that today is another anniversary. Four fruitless years...

Lets hope this anniversary is both the fourth of many, and the very last.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Hearing aid

Infertiles hear things differently to other people.

They say: "So what's new?"

You hear: "Are you pregnant"


They say: "You look well!"

You hear: "You are glowing, are you pregnant?"


They say: "Happy Birthday"

You hear: "You're getting on a bit, isn't it time you have children?"


They say: "I've got some good news"

You hear: "I'm pregnant"


They say: "You'll never guess what!"

You hear: "I'm pregnant"


They say: "I feel a bit sick"

You hear: "I'm pregnant"


They say: "I'm pregnant"

You hear: "I'm pregnant, and you're not"


Any other suggestions?

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Hard Times

I love Dickens.

No, oh filthy-minded readership of mine, I refer to the author Charles, not to any below belt activity.

About six years ago I was living in a part of London called Somers Town. It is where Boz (as I like to call him) lived, and it is mentioned in several of his books. This coincided with a Dickens spree I went on. (Again. No! I merely am refering to reading several of his novels, cover to cover, back to back.)

I'd read of the exploits of Nicholas Nickleby, tales of him walking from Somers Town to the court on the Strand. I'd wander those same streets and wonder what it was like to live in Dickensian London.

Last week I got a little glimpse into that life.

That food poisoning I got in Morocco. Well, a stool sample confirmed it was, in fact, dysentery.

Fucking dysentery.

Luckily it had sorted itself out by the time I got the result.

Now I'm steering well clear of the young cock-er-ney scamps round my flat in case they impishly start to pull ribbons of brightly coloured 'kerchiefs from my waist-coat pocket whilst doffing their top hats and calling me guv'ner.

What is the most Victorian happening that you have encountered of late?

Wednesday, 3 November 2010


The coil has gone.

I am without contraception for the first time in three months.

I presented my eager beaver, and the biopsy was done swiftly and painfully, and has been sent to the lab for analysis to see if it has rid my womb of its atypical cells.

There is now a two-week wait until the appointment that will determine whether I can go ahead with IVF, or whether the Doctor will tell me where to shove it. (Note: I already know where to shove it and that hasn't helped to date).

I might spend the next 14 days peeing on ovulation tests. Just in case. Last time I had the coil removed I ovulated after just eleven days, admittedly that was with added clomid, but jut imagine if my womb is clear, and if I do ovulate, and if I do get pregnant and don't need IVF afterall.

Just imagine.

That's what I've been spending the afternoon doing.