Monday, 26 January 2015

A slight delay

I've been procrastinating.

I decided I wanted to do IVF again in January, but then knew my clinic always shuts for its massive deep clean in early January and combine that with Christmas it was all getting a bit tricky timewise.

So I decided to get the frozen embryo transfer after my first period of the New Year. For those in not in the know they time the transfer with when ovulation would be naturally - so approximately two weeks after your period. However with me I take a bunch of drugs from the start of my period so i need to be on it from day one.

My period was due to start on Saturday and I procrastinated, and put things off and didn't get in touch with my clinic until last Wednesday.

I don't know why I was putting it off, other than fear and an inbuilt optimism that I might be pregnant.

Not surprisingly my IVF doctor emailed me back on Friday to tell me that we need another appointment before starting so this month wasn't possible however if I have an appointment this week we should be able to have a transfer with my next period (current due around the end of February).

Slight hitch. My Doctor is only consulting on Thursdays and doesn't have a free appointment until well into March.

I love my IVF Doctor. She is sympathetic, she remembers me, she got me pregnant last time.

Still fuck that for sentimentality I'm seeing someone new on Friday. (At the same clinic with access to my notes so I am just going to ask for the same again.)

Slight spanner in the works is the period that was due on Saturday still hasn't actually arrived (and I am writing this is real time - it is Monday now). I've taken a pregnancy test and that isn't the cause of its tardiness, it seems my womb might be getting up to its old tricks again so good job I'm seeing a Doctor on Friday time to whip it back into shape.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Happy New Year

I'm not pregnant.

I feel compelled to start with that because the usual pattern when someone hasn't blogged for months and pops back is usually to make an announcement.

Not here.

I have been doing all I can to get pregnant. Well, doing the husband anyway. (I totally love writing things like that because I know that it makes all the folk who read this and know me and him in real life wince.)

I did have a pregnancy "scare" back in November.

Can you see that second line? If you can't you haven't been infertile for nearly long enough.

It was on a test that had been negative and I fished out of the bin, as you do, an hour later just to double check.

I then spent hours googling "faint line one hour after testing" and "is it a second line or evaporation line" on my phone.

The next morning I tested again a couple of hours later, I started my period.

Then in December my period was three days late.

I tested, quietly, on the 22nd on December and in the three minutes I waited for the result I had visions of wrapping up the stick and giving it to the husband to open with his other presents on Christmas morning.

As much as the husband would like another child I suspect a little part of him is quite happy he didn't unwrap a piss-soaked stick along with his chocolate money and tangerine.

Once again no sooner had I used the expensive test my period started. I know there can't really be a correlation between using a pregnancy test and starting ones period but it has happened so often to me over the years I wonder if there isn't some period starting chemical released by the tests.

So here we are in January and despite being more regular than I've ever been in my life my infertility hasn't been magically cured. I'm waiting for this month's period and we prepare for a frozen embryo transplant.

Unless I get pregnant this month of course.

No one can say I'm not a ridiculous optimist.

Monday, 27 October 2014

The Sweet Spot

This month was the sweet spot.

If I had got pregnant this month I would be on target for that coveted 2 year gap between children.

You'll notice already I used the past tense. I'm going to dispense with the suspense; I'm not pregnant.

I am, however, on my fourth period since restarting that particular ladies treat. Bizarrely I seem to be menstruating, and therefore I guess ovulating, like a pro. Almost to the day on schedule.

I haven't called the Doctor to get a frozen embryo bunged back in, even though a couple of months ago I was fixed on October for getting back on the medicalised conception track. I haven't for a number of reasons.

Really rational, sensible reasons:
  • I want to get back in to the swing of work before I have another nine months of morning sickness
  • I need to save a bunch of money to afford to do it again
  • As I seem to be ovulating I should give the old fashioned approach to procreation a few more months.
But they aren't the real reasons. The real reason I haven't called the Doctor is because, at the moment, I have two frozen embryos waiting to become a baby (/babies). 

At the moment I have hope, time and anticipation on my side. As soon as one goes back in, if it fails, I then only have one more chance, and once that is used up there will be no more IVF - it is my last chance.

I want to keep the possibility of a second kid alive. Not doing a pregnancy test after IVF is like not opening the envelope with your exam results in it because until you know for sure you can still imagine the best possible result. I am doing the conception equivalent of not even taking the exams - despite doing all the required revision. Until I turn over that test paper I can still believe I'll pass with flying colours.

This metaphor is getting a bit tenuous isn't it?

Basically I am pretty much assuming that my next frozen embryo transfer won't work. I have no reason for assuming this, and I have an excellent reason sleeping upstairs for believing it will.

I would love a second kid, less for me this time but more because I think siblings are really important. My two sisters are absolutely brilliant - my friends, confidants, shoulder to cry on, person to celebrate with - and I can't imagine being without them.


Sorry, I've just remembered they sometimes read this blog.

Obviously I meant to say:

They are fine. OK, really. Tolerable even. And it is nice to know that it won't just be me responsible for my Dad in his dotage - I'll palm the care home expenses off on them.

It is an odd feeling trying for a second. Despite being older I don't have the same feeling of panic I had before Olive. Then I was worried that I was going to be too old a Mum, since I've met plenty of Mums older than me, and I seem to be less mature than many who are younger. I really want another child but I don't have that same desperation as before.  So I'm going to wait a little longer, try the old fashioned way and  I have little doubt that won't work, so I will try again with a frozen embryo transfer, but there is no immediate rush.

I might have missed the sweet spot, but who cares about a few months here or there in the long term? 

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

A Traumatic Incident

Apparently a good way to exorcise traumatic incidents is to write about them. It can help you shelve that particular episode and achieve, my favourite Americanism, closure.

Something happened a few months ago that I thought I was over, until I had to relive it yesterday telling my mother-in-law. Just talking about it dragged me back. I think the only way to truly put it to rest is to write it down here.

It was the Sunday at the end of this glorious holiday. We were home and the impending specter of normality was looming. In a last attempt to clasp onto the holiday vibe for just a few short hours more the husband and I decided to go out to lunch, with Olive.

A new restaurant had opened nearby which had had good reviews so we decided to give it a go.

It started off well, in that we got a table. It went downhill from there.

No sooner had we sat down and ordered our starters than Olive made her presence know in the smelliest possible way. I had cunningly manoeuvred myself into a position, squeezed into a corner, that made the husband the obvious choice for changing her nappy.

I felt rather smug as I handed her over.

The husband returned ten minutes later.


In no uncertain terms he told me next time our darling, radiant daughter needed her nappy changed it was my turn.

My turn came far too quickly just as we'd finished the starters an unholy stench filled the room.

I grabbed the changing mat and took her to the loos. There was no handy pull down changing table, the two toilets were minute, the only option was to plonk our changing mat on the floor outside the (thankfully empty) cubicles in the tiny area where the sinks are.

I unpeeled her vest as it was stuck to her with the cement of liquified poo that her nappy had had no chance of containing. The poo continued to drip on the mat that I had been about to lay Olive down on, on to the floor, on my hands.

I didn't know where to start with the tsunami of shit. So decided to tackle the mat first.

Olive scurried off on all fours into one of the cubicles.

I ignored her as I wiped the mat down, and the floor and the bit of skirting board that had been sullied. I looked up and saw a delighted looking Olive sitting, naked, a few yards away in a freshly laid pool of poo. At least, I figured, it couldn't get any worse.

The automatic lights, installed to save electricity, clearly couldn't register a tiny baby and a woman crouching on the floor. They flicked off. It was now pitch black.

It had got worse.

I threw a hand up in the air waved.


I stood up and jumped around.


I could hear Olive moving about but was completely disorientated.

I had to edge towards the door not knowing if I was about to step on my daughter, or worse, step in poo.

I opened the door the lights came on.

Olive had moved from the first cubical into the second leaving a distinctive trail in her wake.

Eventually I managed to grab her. Wipe her down. Put a nappy on her. And using most of my remaining baby wipes cleaned the floor as best I could.

The vest and nappy went in a bag in the bin.

I didn't have a spare vest so pulled her little jeans back on her and had to do the walk of shame back through the restaurant clutching a bare chested baby looking not unlike Vladimir Putin on one of his outdoor pursuit activities.

The husband had almost finished his main course.

I can't tell you what my food tasted like. I just wanted to eat it and get out of there. I also felt I should warn the staff about the smell in the ladies loos so I went to the bar area and collared a guy.

I confided in a member of staff "I'm really sorry but I've just had to change my baby in the loos and it sort of ... went everywhere. I've tried to clear it up as much as possible but it might be worth giving it a quick mop."

The guy nodded sympathetically then said, "Yeah I work in the kitchen you should tell that man." And he scarpered.

It is embarrassing enough telling one person that your baby has shat all over their new tiles, to do it a second time is mortifying.

The rest of the meal passed in a blur. We left as soon as we could.

I will never go back.

I always said I wanted a baby for shits and giggles. I got the shits, I hope you got the giggles...

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

It takes two

The husband wasn't happy with a line in my last post.

This one:

And, if it had, if I was ovulating regularly maybe I could even get pregnant by myself.

Apparently I can't get pregnant by myself. He reckons he needs to get involved.

Grudgingly I have to agree.

The thing is I still don't know whether it is ever going to be possible to get pregnant by myself as a couple without any medical intervention.

A couple of months ago I had two possible scenarios in mind.

In one I would need to take a bunch of drugs to get periods, I'd be completely on the medicalised track and I'd go put a frozen embryo in after three periods.

In the second scenario if I was getting regular periods I thought that I would give myself a few extra  months to see if I we could get pregnant like normal people.

Now a third option has presented itself. I'm not on a clockwork 28 day cycle but my last one was 37 days which isn't completely out of the reaches of 'normal'.

My ovulation has always been all over the place thanks to having polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). I'm not going to say too much about PCOS because I'd like you to do me a favour. Would you mind popping over and filling out a questionnaire about PCOS? It doesn't matter if you know much about it or not because that is part of what the questionnaire hopes to ascertain.

The questionnaire is here and it is particularly for folk in the UK to respond to as it is also to establish how the NHS deals with women with PCOS.

The questionnaire has been put out by a charity, Verity, which provides information and support for women with polycystic ovary syndrome. So help them out, like they've helped many other women like us.

But back to me.

Not a lot gets past "areyoukiddingme" and she quickly picked up on the fact that I've had my three periods so I could get on with the whole frozen embryo insertion thing. But I haven't picked up the phone and made that call to my Doctor to get on with the defrost.

Instead I've spent £30 on some ovulation tests.

Yes it is expensive, but just imagine if I managed to pinpoint my ovulation.

That thirty quid could save me a fortune when compared to a frozen embryo transfer.

So let's see if I do actually manage to ovulate this month. And if I do ... well then I've got at least a slim chance of getting pregnant WITH THE HUSBAND'S HELP (spunk).

Friday, 19 September 2014

Time to get back on topic

I told you that my Doctor wanted me to stop breast feeding and have three periods before I bunged another frozen embryo in and start crossing my fingers for a second child.

The plan was:

1) Stop breast feeding.
2) Call my doctor to get some drugs to bring on a period.
3) Have period.
4) Repeat twice until I've had the required three periods.

The reality has been:
1) Stop breast feeding during the day easily.
2) Keep having a ceremonially Last Ever Feed At Night feed.
3) Be woken up between 2 and 5 in the morning by a screaming child.
4) Relent.
5) Breast feed at 4am saying 'Ok this is it the last time'.
6) 15 July go into work for a keep in touch day.
7) 15 of July scurry round the office, realise none of the girls I'm good friends with are at their desk, ask girl I don't know that well for a tampon.
8) Glad to see Womb For Improvement's Law is still going strong - of course I was going to start my period when I was at work with no access to something absorbent to soak up the blood. (Too graphic? Admit it you've missed this).
7) Put date into online period tracker just so I have a vague idea when my next one is due.
8) Call doctor and agree that as my periods are so unreliable I should wait 6 weeks and then start taking the drugs to bring on period number 2.

One morning mid-August (having properly stopped breast feeding) I checked my period tracker and noticed that, was I to have a normal cycle I would get my second post-baby period that day.

Amongst a bunch of other stuff I have polycycstic ovaries. I have never ovulated regularly and consequently I have never had regular periods. 90 days rather than the standard 28 days between periods was not unusual.

So I was due. I wasn't at work. I hadn't taken a pregnancy test. I didn't have PMT. There was nothing to make me think I'd have a period.

But I did!

Second period bang on schedule for the first time EVER.

At this point I started to get excited.

Could my pregnancy have cured me?

And, if it had, if I was ovulating regularly maybe I could even get pregnant by myself.

I didn't want to hope too much, but I couldn't help it. I knew the chances of getting pregnant immediately were slim but I just hoped that I would get another period on time and this ovulating thing would not have been a fluke but become a habit.

When my period was late I didn't immediately test for pregnancy.  I persuaded myself that a day or two off wasn't anything to get excited about and it would come.

So I waited a day. Two days. Four days.

Eventually, with a hen night that night and a bottle of wine with my name on it I took the plunge and tested.

Do you remember the good old days of this blog when I'd write a whole post leading up to what would inevitably be a pregnancy announcement and then I would finish with something along the lines of "Of course I wasn't pregnant, I'm infertile remember."


I tested and...

Of course I wasn't pregnant.

I'm infertile remember.

Still I did finally get my period 9 days late.

And do you know what? A negative pregnancy test is a lot easier to bear when you are trying to wrestle the wee-d on stick from your 13 month old's grabby hands.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Today I ate dog food and caught my fingers in a mouse trap. On purpose.

No, I wasn't partaking in some hazing to join a local drinking club. I was emulating my daughter.

I have dog. He is brilliant with Olive, incredibly patient, gentle and most importantly tries to ignore her whenever he can. When he can't (like when she is trying to ride him like a horse) he generally gets up and finds another quiet spot away from her inquisitive little fingers. If you have kids - she is the Zachary Quack to his Hairy Maclary.

He is unlike most dogs I know in his attitude to his food. I give it to him, he'll go and have a nibble. Go away again come back for a bit more later, and continue in that manner for the rest of the day.

Olive loves his food. The moment my attention is elsewhere - she tears across the kitchen as fast as her two arms and two legs can carry her heading straight for the bowl. If she makes it in time she stuffs a handful of dry dog biscuits in her mouth managing to combine a triumphant grin with a clenched lips as I try to extract the food from her mouth.

This is particularly depressing when moments earlier she may well have turned her nose up at the tempting, hand-crafted, turkey and apple meatballs I've offered her.

I know that safety standards specify dog food must be fit for human consumption and, to my knowledge, she has never actually swallowed any just held the biscuits (too large to choke on) in her mouth. But I think we can all agree it is a bit icky.

This morning, happily holed up in the sitting room far from temptations of canine cuisine, Olive went exploring. I like to let her exert her independence, and from my vantage point thought I had identified and neutralised any potential hazards.

Under the side board - long forgotten, left at Christmas when we saw a tiny mouse scurrying across the floor  - was a mouse trap.

You can guess the tiny fingers in trap outcome.

It is a testament to how wonderful a mother I am that it was only my second impulse to take a quick photo. My first instinct was to remove her little fingers from the trap, and whilst I might do a lot for a photoshoot I am not about to re-enact that scenario.

Luckily the trap wasn't one of those vicious metal numbers but a gentler (if not exactly gentle) plastic version. Her fingers didn't even have a mark and her tears dried pretty quickly.

Once she was in her bed for her morning nap my mind kept wondering back to these potential hazards and how bad they were.

Which is why I purposefully caught my fingers in the trap - and concluded it was unlikely to have caused any lasting damage.

I'm not quite sure why I decided to put a dog biscuit in my mouth.

I suppose I wanted to see how much would have dissolved in her mouth before I hoiked it out, and whether it tasted very strongly of anything that could be bad. My conclusion was it didn't taste of very much and would take a fair bit of chewing to break it down. So - whilst I'm going to continue in my attempts to keep Olive and the food apart - I suspect it is less harmful than a salty crisp (not that she is getting any of them either).

My devotion to my daughter's comfort only goes so far - she had her one year jabs yesterday. I wasn't about to jab myself in sympathy, I did far too much of that to get her in the first place, on this she is on her own...

Sunday, 17 August 2014

It seemed like a good idea at the time...

Ages ago I was approach by a journalist asking if she could pitch my baby-making story to a magazine. Yeah, I thought, not really expecting anything to come of it - I mean "woman has baby through IVF" isn't as compelling a headline as it would have been 35 years ago.

Then it got picked up and I was told a photographer would come round to my house. This took me back a bit as I realised my anonymity would be gone but then I looked at the photographer's website, and she was amazing. Who wouldn't relish the opportunity to be photographed by the same person who'd snapped Stephen Fry, Jarvis Cocker and James McAvoy? Besides, I was never going to book a family photoshoot (despite the photography studios on my road having some amazing props, like golden thrones, and scenery backdrops - hmmm, I think I might have just talked myself into it) and so this was my opportunity to get some professional pics.

The photoshoot happened in January, and then nothing.

Until today.

Holy shit! I got a full page photo.

In The Telegraph.

No chance of hiding that then.

So, regular readers: Hi, that is what my face looks like.

Folk who read the article and decided to pop over to have a look at the blog: Nice of you to come past, there is years of stuff on this blog so if you want to read more I suggest you cut through the dross and just click on the Highlights link to the left.

Relatives who found out about the blog through reading the article: ummm ... yeah. Please don't read the sex bits?

Old acquaintances who saw my massive pic and thought "Wow. She looks like that girl I went to school with": This is why I stopped using facebook - too many baby pics. But congratulations on your broods.

I feel a bit sick.

Be gentle with me.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

How to fake a first Birthday Party

1. Go on holiday the day after your daughter's first birthday and decide, as a result, that she doesn't need a birthday party.

2. Holiday with a bunch of other people. In total 12 adults and 13 children.

3. Ensure that one of the people you go on holiday with has a birthday during the week.

4. Plan a big birthday tea for said individual including cake, candles and birthday banner.

5. Go through the bag of hand-me-downs that one of your friends has brought along from when her two daughters were little. Find a pretty party dress.

6. Plonk your child under the birthday banner.

7. Take photo.

Tah-dah!!!! Something for the photo album, and she'll never know she didn't have her very own birthday party.

You ... you won't tell her will you?

Saturday, 19 July 2014

The Best Year Of My Life?

I'm always really suspicious of people who claim that a specific day was the best day of their life.

They usually choose a spectacular day like their wedding day - neatly glossing over the fact that their dress rendered eating impossible, Uncle George spent the day groping the waitresses and their cousin passed out in the roses because someone had managed to convince his Mum the Pimms was a non-alcoholic fruity punch. Or it is the day their child was born - notice it is usually the blokes who go for this one - the women, *rrrriiiiiipppp* not so much.

I can't pinpoint one 'best day' but the ones that are up there are the spontaneous ones where a quick lunchtime drink unexpectedly turned into a day of drinking and debauchery and 1000 anecdotes were born (those days are long gone of course). Or the day I drove up into the mountains with a girl I didn't know that well from my Uni course and came back after a day of skiing in the sun with a new best friend who has remained one to this day.

Best years are a bit different because they span a longer time period so you expect some down days but the good out weigh the bad.

37 (my age, not the year - I'm not that old) I can, categorically state was up there.

I turned thirty seven two weeks after moving into a new house and two weeks later had Olive.

I'd never had a gap year, going straight to university from school and into continuous employment within weeks of leaving.  My maternity leave has been my gap year.

It has been brilliant. I've discovered a new part of London, started gardening, persuaded my twin to move one street away, made a bunch of new friends, not gone to work and - most importantly - hung out with my baby girl who is a happy little dude with a penchant for eating dog food (or trying at least), clicks her tongue when she is trying to communicate and like to scuttle round the house firmly gripping random items in each hand (this week's objects of choice = flooring samples meant for the bathroom).

On Monday I waved 37 goodbye.

I have no idea how 38 can possibly live up to last year's impossibly high standards, but even if it just half as good it'll be bloody amazing.