Sunday, 23 December 2012

The only album you'll need this Christmas

This year Womb For Improvement Incorporated is, like a beardless Richard Branson, expanding our dominance of the home entertainment arena. Moving on from the timeless classics Barren BingoConception DeceptionConceive or Concede and last year’s Quizmas we are now launching our first musical number.

This year we are delighted to announce the release of our new Christmas album – festive enough for your friends and family to enjoy the tunes but also perfect for anyone who is undergoing Frozen Embryo Transfer this winter and wants a few tunes to encourage their embryos to dig in and stay the course.

A mix of classic festive tunes and popular classics to sooth your baby from conception through to defrosting and on to delivery:

  • Oh Come All Ye Faithful Into A Little Sample Pot
  • Ice Ice Baby 
  • Baby It’s Cold Outside (So Snuggle Down Into The Womb) 
  • Cold As Ice 
  • Frosty The Snowmanbaby 
  • The Holly And The Ivy(F) 
  • Happy Christmas (War Is Over Ward is Open)
  • Stay Now 
  • I Should Be So Lucky 
  • Driving (The Speculum) Home For Christmas 
  • All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth Embryos
  • Fairytale of New York Baby
  • When A Child Is Born

Songs performed by our in-house band Petra Dish and her Snowflakes.

Pre-order your copy now. Like IVF I can’t guarantee delivery, but I’ll be happy to take you money ...

Happy Christmas everyone! Try to over indulge.

Friday, 21 December 2012

It's not the end of the world

Call me optimistic but, as the world hasn't ended yet I'm going to call bullshit on the Mayan end of the world prediction for the 21st of December.

To be fair I never really thought it would. But that isn’t to say I wasn’t worried about today for other reasons.

Today is my due date from the pregnancy I lost in May.

All year it has haunted me as I imagined a parallel universe where I go on maternity leave, decorate a nurseries and rub my baby bump with pride.

The first thing I did when I came back to work after the miscarriage was surreptitiously blank out my diary for today I decided that I wouldn't go to work. It wasn't much but it felt like the least I could do.

But when I mentioned my plan to the husband he was quite vehement in his opposition to it.

His reasoning was pretty sound. He didn't want today to become a 'thing', an annual event where we mourn the loss of a baby, or twins, or what should have been, and what would I do instead? Sit around the house not allowing myself to be distracted from thoughts of a lost baby? To be fair today is still pretty arbitrary, despite being the doctor-sanctioned due date. I can't think of a single woman I know who actually gave birth on their due date so it is no more than a rough estimate of when I would have given birth.

So I'm off to work, for the last time this year, and I going to do the stiff upper lip thing. Carry on, not mope and see how it goes.

Wish me luck.

***Updated: It has just occurred to me that this could be read as me telling folk this is the "right" thing to do. It isn't necessarily, just how I have decided to behave today, everyone responds to loss in a different ways and whatever feels the best course of action for you is the right way to deal with anniversaries like this. I am just sorry so many of you readers have also been in this position.***

Monday, 17 December 2012

Me, me, me, me

I loved doing the agony aunt column whilst I was on a procreation break but let’s face it, I blog for one reason and one reason only - to talk about myself. So now that things are happening again let’s get back to the unfurling tale of my womb.

After three months of intensive provera action (a progesterone) with the expressed intention of reducing my womb-lining to wafer-thin proportions it was time to see if the drugs, contrary to Radiohead’s The Verve* assertion, do indeed work. To check that anything nasty has been got rid of and ensure that it can be re-grown to be a healthy embryo incubator.

At 7am the other morning I was at the hospital playing a game of spot the ailment with all the other patients looking trepidacious prior to their various operations. Some bought their partners, mothers, daughters for moral support. I bought my book and a stiff upper lip. The husband had offered to come with me but I’ve done this too many times to put him through the unnecessary hell of an early alarm - his only condition was that he come and collect me from the ward when all was done (with lemonade and salt and vinegar crisps of course).

This plan went slightly array as I assumed that he’d know to collect me from the hospital and he took it for granted that my op would be in the clinic 20minutes walk away. Cue some hilarious misunderstandings as he turned up at the wrong place asking to see his wife whilst I lay fuming wondering why the hell he wasn’t at my side.

The operation on the other hand, went without a hitch. In fact the three months of provera had done such a good job that my womb lining was thinner than a Jennifer Anniston plot line. To the extent that the doctor told me afterwards that he wasn't sure he'd managed to scrape enough out to get a proper biopsy. This is fantastic as without a thick womb lining there is nowhere for the nasties to lurk.

The results were backed up by my Doctor who I saw last week and who has given me the all clear to start the next round of IVF.

I am ready to boost up the drugs and give my womb-lining a collagen implant of oestrogen by way of Progynova pills (three a day orally and two stuffed up the other place), oestrogen patches plastered over my upper thighs and and supported by daily clexane injections in my stomach and the progynova gets a crinone chaser up the vag twice daily.

If you thought that Frozen Embryo transfer was the drugs-light IVF option my clinic would profoundly disagree. I’m getting drugged up to the max which will put a bit of a downer on festive boozing but frankly missing out on the odd drink is a sacrifice that I am more than willing to make if it will result in a 2013 kid.

So this Christmas I’ll mostly be stuffing and swallowing drugs whilst stuffing and swallowing my turkey.

All going well embryo transfer will happen mid to late January.

* Thanks for pointing out I got the wrong band Twangy. Never let it be said this blog is thrown together and poorly researched ...

Monday, 3 December 2012

Thinking Agony

Dear womb4improvement,

I have to start by saying I enjoy reading your blog!

I am new to the whole 'infertility' game. I'm MD, so I have access to lots of scientific articles on my condition (PCOS) and I freak about the statistics. I'm also a major control freak, I try to chill but mostly I stress ;-)!

My question to you is not an easy one I guess... I am currently on injections (and all the other lovely pills that come with it, and not to forget the delightful moodswings...) and I would like to know how I can block my mind so I don't think about it all the time!? When ever I tell my boyfriend it occupies my thoughts, he says I just have to forget we are trying... But injections every evening and, following ovulation, shoving 3 pills a day up there, I find it very hard not to be consumed by it. Knowing exactly when the verdict is due, it kills me to wait and get disappointed again! Then you dust yourself off and try again, but the mind games start all over again... How do you deal with it?

Kind regards,

Control freak

Dear Control Freak

As it happens a few months ago I wouldn't have been able to help you at all, but recently I have found the perfect way to stop obsessing about infertility.

All you have to do is try to sell your flat and buy a house at the same time. Throw in buyers who are really keen to move but ask the most in-depth questions that you don't have a hope in hell of answering and add to that sellers of the house who really don't seem to want to sell and find yourself stuck in the middle in the run up to Christmas.

Suddenly your insomnia won't be based around base-line scans or drugs courses but boundary-lines and damp courses.

Although I appreciate this might be a tad extreme for most infertiles.

If I was being sanctimonious I'd give you sage advice about not googling symptoms and suggest that you try not to obsess about how you are feeling. But that would be hypocritical - I estimate that during my last IVF I was personally responsible for over half of the worldwide searches for "2 days after IVF" googles, and the following day; "3 days after IVF" and the day after "4 ... well you get the point.

I also become a complete calendar whore - by the time I go in for an embryo transfer I can tell you:

  • What day should test for a positive
  • When my six, eight and 12 week scan will be
  • My due date
  • The age difference between my potential child and their cousins and all of my friend's children
  • What day of the week their 18th birthday is likely to fall on ...

It maybe isn't entirely healthy.

On the other hand there is no way, particularly in the midst of IVF that you can forget about doing IVF. In fact you shouldn't forget because that'll really screw up your medication.

In your boyfriend's defence I must concede that by talking about it all the time you are both highlighting and feeding your obsession - it is self-perpetuating and doesn't give you the chance to think about anything else. 

I have in the past been a bit frustrated by how disengaged the husband can be through the IVF process. How could he not remember the ratio of ICSI to IVF embryos that we had? And when he asks me if it is egg collection or embryo transfer that requires a full bladder I could throw my bottle of filtered water at him (blame the hormones) it seems like such basic knowledge it could almost be interpreted as him not caring. 

This does frustrate me, but the alternative is worse. Living in relationship where we are both as obsessive as one another about the whole baby making thing would be unbearable. That doesn't mean that he has to forget about the infertility but it can be a bonus if your partner can think about something else and help distract you. 

So my advice isn't to try and block thoughts of infertility, but whenever you are tempted to wail to your boyfriend "Why can't I get pregnant?" stop yourself, quickly change to "Why can't I get ... a parking space", "... an iPhone 5" "... into these trousers." (The trouser thing, by the way, that'll be the drugs.)  

I'm not saying stop all mention of infertility to the guy going through it with you, but don't turn it into the only thing you talk about, change the subject and who knows, whilst you are bickering about who should go through to the finals of masterchef you might - just for a moment - forget about your current cycle.

Good luck.