Monday, 25 February 2013

Baby On Board

I had a real problem with Baby On Board badges.

For those of you not UK or London-based Baby On Board badges are given out free by Transport For London. The idea is that pregnant women can wear them in the hope that they will prompt someone on the bus of tube to relinquish their seat for you when otherwise they might not realise you are pregnant because you aren't showing, or are too embarrassed to give you their seat assuming you are pregnant in case it turns out you are simply fat.

Despite, rationally, seeing the need for them I have irrationally hated these badges for years. To me women were wearing them less because they needed a seat and more as a smug way to advertise their knocked-up state long before their belly betrayed it.

Then I got pregnant, and my pregnancy coincided with starting a commute. Remember how I winged about the train journey to work from my sister's? What you didn't know at the time was those first journey's dovetailed beautifully with my first forays into morning sickness.

I didn't have a badge at that point, and I cursed that fact as I hauled myself onto heaving trains. Until that, is I spotted several other women squashed against the doors - badges clearly visible to all but the shiny-suited, pointy-shoed, fat-tie-wearing young men clinging to their hard-won seats.

Recently I gave in to my sickness and started to pin the offending badge to my own lapel. Not as you might assume to ensure I get a seat - now that I have moved from the popular depths of South London to the less-commuterville North I usually get a seat.

However on two occasions I have been sick whilst on the bus - I've been discreet and kept all vomit into the bags that I won't now leave the house without. Numerous times I have spent the journey quietly, but visibly, retching. I like to wear the badge to indicate to my fellow passengers that the cause of my anti-social behaviour is womb and hormone related rather than norovirus, dysentery or the black death.

It has also enabled me to see the kinder side of London life. A bloke jumped up once to offer me his seat, despite there being plenty further down the bus and the other day, as I got up to get off the bus, a woman spotted my badge and literally squealed with delight "A baby!!! How wonderful!" Which, as you can imagine, made me feel like a right bitch as I remembered every time I've seen a badge and moodily averted my gaze.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Paved with good intentions

Often, once a blogger becomes pregnant they tend to stop posting so much. Maybe because they feel awkward about sharing the trials and tribulations of their pregnancies when they are conscious so many of their followers aren't there yet. Some find that once they don't have doctor's appointments to dissect and baby showers to avoid they don't have much to say.

I don't have any such qualms.

I have a stack of posts I want to write, I've noted them down on my phone. I've even half-written some of them, but only actually completed Naming Doug.

Why have I been reluctant to post?

Because I am ill. I have morning sickness, evening sickness, and constant tiredness. Is this a cause for complaint. No fucking way - bring on the nausea - I like my food so seeing it twice is always a treat. And given the choice of pregnant and ill or neither, of course I'd take the former.

This isn't helped by my pregnancy tracker apps cheerfully telling me things like today's words of wisdom "You're probably feeling brighter and livelier than in the first three months. Your energy should be returning, your breasts may be less tender, and your queasiness may have gone."

Well, on the plus side, my breasts aren't tender.

As for the rest, the puking and tiredness is hardly conducive to crafting funny, light-hearted posts.

So if I go quiet don't worry that things have gone wrong, or that I've lost my appetite for blogging. I haven't - I've simply lost my appetite. 

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Naming 'it'

The Shelia asked whether I had a name for the my little womb-dwelling inhabitant. As it happens I do.

It got named very quickly – a stark contrast to last time I was pregnant when I hadn’t settled on anything. I think last time that I didn’t come up with a name mainly because to start with I had a sneaking suspicion they might have been twins so couldn’t give a single name until I knew. Then when I found out it had been twins but one was no more the idea of a cute name was far down on my list of priorities – all I wanted was to see the little collection of cells progress. I didn’t and it remained unnamed.

With this one the name came almost by accident with no fore-thought whatsoever. I guess this happens quite a lot indicated by the plethera of names like bean, bubba, bump, peanut, jellybean, jellybaby, gummie bear, blob, Trevor ...

Some people get more inventive. I particularly liked my sister’s choice of Paris – after Paris Hilton? you may query, or maybe a classical reference to the Trojan abductor of Helen? Nope, short for 'Parasite' a literal description of this alien being that was feeding off her.

Some names stick forever - the husband is still called the same name lovingly bestowed upon him in the womb by his parents long before they knew whether he was a he or she. Another friend’s parents called all three of their children Fred whilst they were bumps. Her two brothers escaped the name when they made it outside the uterine cavity, she – despite having a perfectly good female name – will remain Fred to me and a select group of her school friends for ever.

So back to me (because that has been a good three paragraphs about other people): our name derived from the words of support and encouragement I gave the embryo when it was bedding in to my womb. Remember how I gave up on the hypnotherapy stuff and resorted to encouragingly shouting womb-wards “DIG IN!”. The day after the positive test my verbal tick kicked in and I started to yell at my womb when I remember it had dug in and needed to just stay. So mid-shout I changed dig to dug. And the name stuck.

We now have Doug.

Of course even if it is a boy child we will never actually be able to name him Doug, or Douglas, as there was a more famous Douglas who sneaked in early with our surname, and whilst he is someone both the husband and I think was bloody brilliant it seems unfair to saddle junior with a name that has already been taken. However the husband is still putting in an early bid for it as a middle name, particularly if we have a girl - I guess we’ll have to see how off my tits I am on post-birth drugs when we finalise the name.

Those of you who have got that far, what did you call your fetus?

A few folk have asked to see a scan picture (presumably after the lasts post's shocking revelations you want to check that I am really telling the truth this time). I know that it can be difficult to be assaulted by scan pictures when you aren't in the right frame of mind. So I have added them to my 'What the IVF?' page for you to look at or not as the mood takes you.

On that note - I've been writing and reading blogs for coming up to five years. In that time I have seen masses of bloggers get pregnant and have babies. This is how I normally deal with it: 
Get very pleased for the blogger in question, congratulate them and wish them well. As their pregnancy progresses I check in to make sure everything is going well but tend to comment less. Once the baby is born (when I can have very little input on sleep patterns or teething), I drift quietly away.

Obviously I'd love it if you kept reading but equally completely understand how it might be difficult. I will want to talk about my pregnancy without apology, so I guess I am saying don't feel obliged to keep reading if it is hard - I'll understand way better than most.

Shit, almost went serious there. Quick, send over a knob gag.

Monday, 11 February 2013

I Have Been Lying To You

Dear Internets

Your comments, every single one, on my last post were so wonderful, so heartfelt, so moving that I can't go on with this deception.

I have to come clean.

Don't worry this isn't a total game changer of a confession. I'm not a single young man writing this from my mother's basement (though if you saw me at the moment you might wonder if I was, thanks to my hairdresser being a tad over-zealous with her scissors a couple of weeks ago leaving me sporting a 14 year-old boy's hair do).

I am was am was am was do infertility.

However I didn't have a frozen embryo transfer in January or find out I was pregnant last week.

I had the frozen embryo transfer in early December, found out on the 15th of that month that it had worked. Last Thursday I had my 12 week scan.

For the majority of this blog's existence I have absolutely been live blogging. As I found things out so did you. I haven't known the outcome of any test or treatment between blogging about the investigation and coming clean with the answer, until this time.

I was always of the opinion, that I have seen countless times on other blogs and message boards, that I would tell you if I miscarried so there was no reason not to tell you if I got pregnant straight away.

Makes sense, huh?

That was until it happened to me back in May. There is nothing easy about miscarrying but there are things that make it harder and having to tell people, both online and in real life, who had been so pleased for us was additionally horrendous. Taking down the 'Your Expecting' cards I'd been sent and, bizarrely, irrationally, feeling like I'd let everyone down.

I knew that I would try again, I had three more frozen chances, but I wanted to try in private. Yeah, odd that coming from someone who, of their own volition, started a blog.

So I fudged and drifted. I didn't tell anyone when I was having my embryo transfer. Not even my sisters - and I tell them everything, whether they want to hear it or not.

Everything I have written has been true. I really did have a horrendous transfer and what I wrote about finding out was written at the time, but it happened on the 3rd of December. (Notice how I carefully didn't use any words like "today" or "this afternoon".)

I timed my posts so that if all went well at the 12 week scan I could come clean as being pregnant. If it didn't I could do a quick "it didn't work" and 'fess up about what had really happened when I felt emotionally ready.

Of course you know what this means, right?

I am 12 weeks pregnant (12 weeks and 6 days to be exact) and the scan was fantastic. Our little one, yes ONE, was wriggling about and measuring spot on.

I hope you all understand why I used a time delay. And, frankly, you have been spared a whole heap of panic from me as I have managed to convince myself on an almost weekly basis that everything was going wrong and I was losing this incredibly hard-won baby.

I'm only a third of the way there and there is still no guarantees, but I feel a lot more confident that this might actually happen.

And if it does it'll happen at the end of August.

Yours contritely (but still thinking, on balance, I did the right thing),


Thursday, 7 February 2013

Test day again...

So another early morning sprint to the toilet and a dash back to bed WITHOUT PEEKING AT THE TEST.

The husband and I lay in bed for the prescribed 3 minutes.

We didn't talk this time.

Eventually, with a fair amount of dread, I turned over the test and saw:

Pretty, fucking, unequivocal eh?

The weird thing is that my first emotion was an overwhelming sense of relief. I've made it this far. The injections, drugs, weeks haven't been in vain.

I didn't giggle, like last time, I don't even know if I could describe myself as happy. I just felt like I had exhaled for the first time in months but still see the long, long route ahead. But at least I now know where I am heading.

I nipped in to my clinic for a blood test and they called me at 4pm.

"You are pregnant" Tell me something I don't know. So she did.

"A beta of over 100 means you are pregnant and we normally hope for over 300. Your beta is 3762*!"

That did make me smile.

A lot.

And yes, I did just have one put back so don't start predicting twins.

* At 15 days past a transfer of a 5 day embryo.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Dragging through the two week wait

For those of you who wonder whether for this IVF I'll test early let me point you in the direction of this post.

To summarise: I won't.

Luckily this being a frozen embryo transfer there was no trigger shot to give me a false positive. Even without that false friend, when I test I don't want to squint in the early morning light wondering if there is a faint line or just my imagination drawing it in.

It isn't easy exerting this amount of willpower over a body that hasn't been denied a slice of cake or packet of mini cheddars since my last diet in 1993. Although it has been wheeled out occasionally when I give up booze, which I've been doing on an irregular basis for the last six years.

So you can stop logging in everyday to check - yes, I'm talking to you.

But that doesn't mean that I am not thinking about what is happening in there every day.  I've graduated from my hypnosis meditation on visualising the embryo embedding into a healthy blood-rich womb from simply shouting "DIG IN!" in the general direction of my gut at random intervals during the day.

There are some uterine twinges. But what these twinges mean I can't be sure.

My breasts feel normal. (Although the husband is more likely to describe them as feeling spectacular, but we are judging on different criteria.)

The drugs are being taken, and are likely to be the cause of any tiredness or other could-that-be-a-pregnancy-symptom type thing.

It's like waiting for Christmas and genuinely not knowing whether you are going to find a lump of coal or presents in your stocking. (See, keeping it topical.)