Saturday, 23 May 2015

Telling Work

I have been quite militant in the past about how to announce a pregnancy. Back in 2008 I decreed the best way was by email, I detail it here but in summary it was "By email. A short, happy one, not too full of details."

I decided to tell my work colleagues this time in one shot - rather than it becoming a whispered rumour, and risk missing people I thought I'd send an all office email. I still remember a colleague casually asking a heavily pregnant, normally very slim, workmate if she "was up to anything this summer." He'd missed news of her pregnancy and was trying to subtly ask if she was actually up the duff.

Unfortunately one of my self-imposed rules broke was I had to send it to people's work email address.

This was the email:

From: Me
Date: Thursday, May 21, 2015
To: Team
Cc: The Boss
Subject: Buns in the oven

Dear All

It seemed appropriate to announce my latest pregnancy by doing some baking so there is cake in the usual place.

So that we can get over the small talk – you don’t feel obliged to ask, I don’t have to repeat myself here is the conversation we would have had:

How pregnant are you?
13 weeks today

I can’t do the maths, when are you due?
In theory 26 of November but given that Olive was three weeks early and twins are usually premature I’m guessing October.

Twins?! Seriously?
Yes – note the plural in the title of this email

Do you know the sex?
If by that you mean do I know the gender not yet, I’ll find out in a couple of months. But I will find out rather than wait.

If you mean something else, I decline to comment.

Have you thought of names?
At the moment we are thinking Stacey and Tracey for girls or Romulus and Remus for boys. 


What if they are a boy and a girl?
They won’t be, they are the creepy identical type.

OMG!!! Its going to be hell. My cousin had twins and she had a awful time …
Please can we change the subject now? What are you doing this weekend?


The cake went down well and the email went viral (my boss forwarded it to three people).

It'd be fair to say I don't work in a massively corporate environment.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Secrets and Lies

The scan on Tuesday showed a healthy, happy embryo. In fact it showed a bit more than that.

I really didn't mean to keep anything back this time.

After last pregnancy's time shift I felt a bit guilty about keeping you in the dark so this time the plan was to tell you exactly what was going on, as it happened.

But I didn't count on one tiny little flaw in my plan - a bit of news that would completely throw me and I'd need time to digest it before disseminating it across the world. To be honest it wasn't so much you lot that I wanted to keep it quiet from it was those real life friends and family that read this blog that I didn't want to find out immediately.

So whilst I haven't exactly lied to you I have been keeping one small detail back. At the start it was a tiny detail but as the weeks have gone on it has grown. This detail is now approximately five and a half centimeters long.

This detail is a twin.

A second baby.

A wombmate hanging out.

That one embryo I transfered clearly didn't want to be lonely so decided to clone itself in my uterus.

All going well I'm going to go from being an incredibly lucky mother of one near-miracle baby to a mother of three.

Which is frankly an embarrassment of children.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Approaching the second trimester

I have a week (6 days and 12 hours to be exact) until my next scan.

The 12 week one which I consider my graduation one, launching me into the second trimester. It isn't done at the fertility clinic but at the hospital where I will give birth, and it is done from the outside  - through the belly. I told a friend that my scans to date are all done up through the vag.

She was appalled;  "How embarrassing!"

I don't need to tell you guys that she hasn't been through IVF. I hardly notice an internal scan these days, you need to scrape out half my womb lining to get so much of a flinch out of me nowadays.

I haven't had a scan for three weeks so I'm getting increasingly jittery.

I don't feel like things have gone wrong.  I'm being sick and getting noticeably bigger - but the latter has less to do with anything growing in my womb but more to do with the only thing that eases the nausea is to eat.

So I am.


I've always been fairly short and had hairy toes but now I have added a second breakfast to my hobbit-like traits. (And mid-morning snack, late morning snack, lunch ...)

Still it helps fill the time.

I wonder how much I can eat in the next week.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

A happy ending?

A couple of weeks ago I had my final intralipid treatment.

At the risk of repeating myself - a quick summary of the treatment:

Intralipids is a two hour infusion that seems to suppress the immune system.  I don't know if I need it as the test for an over active immune system - which can prevent embryos implanting - is way more expensive than the treatment. My gut feeling though is that it has made all the difference.

Anyway, back to my last intralipid treatment; I was parked for two hours on a drip directly opposite the production room.

The production room is the euphemistically named cupboard where the gentlemen go to have a wank to produce the sperm needed for their 50% contribution to the embryo.

It was really hard, with nothing to do but sit with a drip in your hand, not to judge the men who went in and out of that room. So hard that I, of course, didn't hold back.

Four chaps went into that room during my treatment. They all took pretty much bang on (or banging on) ten minutes. Two out of the four stuck the label on the bag rather than the pot and were reprimanded by the nurse (with a fifty percent failure rate I think you have to question the nurse's explanation).

The last chap went in with his missus. He took a bit longer than the others - maybe twelve minutes. But it just goes to show you don't know what goes on behind closed doors, and the door was most certainly closed. To look at them I wouldn't have guessed that either he'd need a helping hand or that she'd insist on giving one.

I don't know what a couple who do need to go into the producing room together looks like, but they didn't look like it.

This whole thing reminded me of something that happened several years ago. I didn't blog about it at the time because it didn't seem fair on the couple - what if by some coincidence one of the two in question were anxiously googling success rates for IVF and came across this blog detailing what had happened to them that day. So I kept quiet but now, many years later, I have to share.

It was egg collection day for me at my clinic.

There were half a dozen couples in the ward, all neatly screened off from one another, and all ws silent other than the swish of the curtain as various doctors, nurses and embryologists pop in and out of the cubicles. I became aware of a bit of a commotion in the bed next to me. The couple urgently whispering to one another and then calling the nurse.

More discussion and then the nurse says, in a stage whisper that would shame Brain Blessed, "WE COULD TRY VIAGRA".

"shhhhhhhh" the couple said in a panic.

"I WAS WHISPERING!" the nurse assured them. And the rest of the ward.

It turned out the woman's eggs had been collected and there is a short window for the sperm to get in there. A window that was getting ever smaller whilst the chap couldn't raise his old chap.

Talk about pressure to perform.

The resolution was to prescribe viagra, but they don't stock it in the clinic so he had to go out to a pharmacy. Not, you'd think, a problem in central London except it was a Sunday with only a few emergency pharmacies open.

The poor guy had to leg it ten minutes up the road, get the pills, come back to the production room, do the most high pressure wank in the world and hand over the goods. All within (by this time) forty minutes.

For research purposes only, I've just been googling "how long does viagra take to work". Apparently about an hour.

I had to leave before the story reaches its climax.

So I am afraid I can't leave you with a happy ending.

But just a reminder, yes we women have to go through an awful lot during IVF, the drugs, injections, hormones both natural and artificial.

But I've never felt that kind of pressure.