Full steam ahead

Despite not knowing when we will have our IVF consultation, I went ahead and ordered a lovely information pack from the clinic we will patronise. Amazing how you can go to a website, type in your address, and have an outline and price list of your reproductive future sent to you within a couple of days. Technology, eh?

Despite its good reputation, I am somewhat annoyed by the clinic's choice of logo. As Jen discussed the other day, what the hell is it with fertility services and cheesy, overabundant fertility imagery? This clinic's primary logo is a Grecian relief of a mother cradling a baby, surrounded by two older children. I'm sure they are trying to send the message, "Look infertiles, this could be you!", and perhaps there are those out there that grin stupidly and believe this could be them with the intervention of said clinic. I look at it and think it's rather offensive imagery. To me, they are underlining my barrenness and making it more pronounced, parading she of bounteous fertility in front of she of nonexistent fertility.

What if this pictorial promise of fertility is all for naught? It turns from "This could be you!" to "This could have been you. Ooops. Sorry." A couple of years from now am I going to pick up this expensive portfolio they have sent, cut out each image of this prolific ancient Fertile and burn them whilst shouting, "Suck it you fertile Greek bitch!" ?

I will say this for the place though...their website indicates that it isn't just white people that are infertile. They dare to suggest that it is a plague that affects those of other ethnicities as well. Granted, this is in the form of a gorgeous black woman that looks about 20 laughing and cavorting with her equally beautiful child. Oh, the glories of fertility! See the bounty it can bring!

I won't mention the name of this London-based clinic rather consumed with images of fertility, but I would be interested in hearing where UK readers will go/have gone for IVF treatment. Please drop me an email if you have any forewarnings or praise for the place you have gone or will go. I don't want to spend £3K-£4K to just waste my time.

Now on to one of my favourite topics...being evil. I took a test on Vanilla's website to ascertain how evil I really am. Some of you might be surprised to learn that I am apparently only 26% evil, which shocks the hell out of me. I was aiming for at least a 70% and this is what I get.

However, I think my genuine evilness greatly transcends my hypothetical evilness. Take this for example - A male friend of mine has been dating a woman for just over a year. He is nearly 35 and she will soon turn 40. Today he tells me that they have talked at great length about having children, with no hint of concern as to whether this will be possible. Not only is this woman pushing 40, but she is also quite overweight. From a fertility standpoint, I would say it doesn't look good without a little help.

The very evil thing is, I felt a bit smug as he was telling me this. He was talking about it as if it would come about with such ease and I felt as if I knew a secret he did not. Poor naive man, assuming such things always go to plan. It wasn't pity for his naiveté that I was feeling either but frustration at his ignorance. I think I'm certainly yearning for things to be complicated for them just so I can feel better about my own situation. That's gotta be at least 50% evil on its own.

Anyway, I'm being cruel to myself for no reason. I'm sure she'll be accidentally knocked up in a few months, everyone will be ecstatic, and I will be wrong. Business as usual.


We hate it when our friends become successful

That, and when they meet each other. Bloody hell, life is so unfair sometimes. Don't get me wrong, a meeting of the minds between Deborah and Suz was likely a fascinating affair culminating in much cynical and witty repartee. An ideal situation was bound to be created, after all, we learned recently that Deborah is always looking for a little action from any willing party.

I understand the tryst was arranged in D.C., which is not too far where I'm from originally. The East Coast is overrun with our kind, desperate to conduct covert dinners where cervical mucus can comfortably be discussed over seafood linguine and a glass of wine. I have moved to a location 4000 miles away which seems to have distinct abundance of fertiles, with nary a barren uterus in sight. I know some of the people that visit my blog are in the UK, but they're all miles and miles away.

Please, think of the profound effects on the husbands involved when wives are not able to socialise with other cool blogging infertiles. Situations such as the one The Dude and I found ourselves in over dinner in a nice restaurant the other night will arise:

Me: Soooooo...Molly got her period yesterday, I felt horribly for her. Before she got it she was conducting intensive am-I-pregnant boob inspections daily. I even asked about her areolas in an email.

Him: Not...so...hungry...now. I can't tell you how much I don't want to know about her areolas. What are areolas?

The rest of our dinner conversation consisted mainly of me prattling on about various bloggers on my blogroll, updating The Dude on the status of people he has never met, most likely will never meet, and whose parts he is now acutely aware of much to his chagrin. Don't worry though ladies, he won't remember details. He has enough difficulty keeping up what is going on with my vagina without busying his brain with arcane knowledge of other womens' lady parts.

Actual conversation as heard by The Dude: "Vagina blah blah yadda yadda ultrasound blah. Yadda blah yadda wandmonkey, yadda yadda yadda blah fucking hell etc. Blah blah blah uterine lining yadda blah yadda!

This has provoked me to devise my own infertile friend personal ad:

You: Embittered, cynical, jaded infertile. Successful procreation not insurmountable. Sufficient time of suffering required. Must be prepared to indulge in occasional discussions about cooter-poking nurses and so-much-attempting-to-conceive-sex-my-bits-are-chafed talk without turning beet red or choking on food. Use of euphemisms such as "baby dust", and "baby dancing" strictly forbidden. Swearing a must.

Me: Pessimistic, eternally pissed off infertile with PCOS. Enjoys dancing in kitchen whilst listening to Violent Femmes. Likes to glare at Smug Fertiles and sigh loudly when passing them pushing prams and taking up the entire sidewalk. Seeks person to commiserate with and forge a bond of everlasting infertile bitchiness. Has slightly irreverent sense of humour which may at times seem inappropriate. Slight Swedish Fish obsession.


Goddamn hoopleheads

I'm going to set the scene: last week, The Dude phoned up GLCP regarding our next course of action now that Project IUI concluded unsuccessfully. At this time, GLCP indicated that it might be a long while until we got an appointment with the consultant (for non-UK readers, consultant = doctor), but as soon as there was a cancellation, we would be the first ones on the list to be substituted. Last Friday, we miraculously received a letter indicating that we had an appointment with the consultant for today. We both thought that perhaps the NHS is not as lost a cause as people think, and envisioned our appointment being the time when we solidified our IVF plans. IVF by June? Eggs to count? Sticks to pee on?

As it is with so many things in this bastard trial that is infertility, our logic could not have been more faulty. The Dude took the afternoon off work, and I sacrificed my Cup of Soup to take a late lunch to attend this appointment. When we were called into the room, GLCP informed us that the consultant would not be there, but instead there was some registrar guy. Uh, I don't even know what that is.

We sat down in this tiny room with four chairs situated quite close to one another, and the registrar introduced himself. He produced my file, and sat there for about 30 seconds nodding and saying, "Umm hmmm" to himself while peering at the complexities of my ultrasounds. He looked up at me and said, "Given your three failed IUIs, I suggest that we waste no time and proceed with IVF." This statement of "Gee buddy, no shit!"-tedness was followed by a lengthy stare at me on his part, as if he was waiting for a congratulatory thank you, or else for me to burst into tears and scream "Why God, why?!?!" while pounding my fists on The Dude's chest. When he realised that his gaze was only met with my indifference, he started mumbling about follicles and sperm in the hopes that I would latch on to at least one of his words and say something.

Apparently, this was all the appointment was to be. After he passed down his well-thought out decision to allow me to move on to IVF, he asked if there were any questions, then we were done. There was no mention of what the next step is, aside from writing to the consultant to tell him we want to proceed to IVF. How long will it take to be allocated a time? Don't know. How much is this all going to cost? Don't know. What the fuck was the point of sitting in this room in silence and being told something we're already aware of? Don't know.

GLCP hardly said a word, aside from to pipe in at the end, "Well...at least you're young!", which, as I'm sure you're all aware, cushions the infertility blow so much more. That too was met with indifference, but she should really know better after the textbook polycystic ovaries debacle of a couple of months ago. Here I am, beaten down by this whole experience, when I could have just remembered that I'm young and have a good 15 years of infertility ahead of me. Yeah, thanks for that GLCP. It's just the boost I needed. It's a wonder you've gone into a profession such as wand wielding when psychotherapy would have suited you so much more.

This so-called appointment to confirm the bloody obvious reminded me of one of my first doctor's appointments after I moved over here. I had to have some tests in order to be officially diagnosed as infertile UK-style (you get a lovely badge and certificate once you get in the club) so we could proceed with treatment. I had to make a separate appointment to hear the results, whereupon the doctor sat down quite purposefully, inhaled deeply, put her glasses on slowly and peered at me over the rims and said, "Well, I'm afraid you have PCOS". Fantastic and true diagnosis, except...I'd been diagnosed 4 years earlier with PCOS, and started seeing the doctor here BECAUSE I had PCOS. The medical profession does love a bit of drama, and who am I really to take that away from them?

Hopefully the next blatantly obvious statement I hear from a doctor (or registrar now I suppose) will be, "Congratulations Pru, after a battery of tests, we have concluded that you are in fact 7 months pregnant. Hold the applause please...we are professionals."


This here cooter is bad news

Seriously, my girl parts are very naughty indeed. They have severe disciplinary problems and minds of their own, the whimsy of which I am not privy to. Picture this, if you will...Here I am Monday afternoon, frantically tip tapping away on a paper that is due by midnight. I go to the bathroom, and lo and behold, someone has not been listening to the body clock that dictates this as day 19 of my cycle. Communication girl parts, communication!! Basically, this is my lengthy way of saying that for some bizarre reason, I was spotting. As it turns out a proper period did not occur, but still...spotting on day 19?? I'm completely baffled as to the cause of this. I keep telling myself my body is confused, given all the drugs it has been filled with and the random times I've had my periods induced. Any brilliant ideas, or is a heart to cooter talk in order?

So I've got cooter miscommunication issues and The Dude is mad at me. I'm doing well here. It seems I'm too negative, who guessed?!?! I am, apparently, shall we say...a bit of a downer. Yup, that about sums it up. I tried to be non-negative in defense of myself, but it quickly descended into a negativity spiral. I maintained that this is who I am, always have been, always will be, and then the funniest thing came out of The Dude's mouth: "You're not as negative as you think you are. You keep up this facade of extreme negativity to make yourself more interesting." It was all I could do not to crotch punch him. Apparently negativity is my schtick. I do this for the laughs. I am the Janeane Garafalo of the expat, infertile community. If I would have known this was a gimmick, I'd have asked for money.


Does my iPod make my thighs look big?

True story. I was walking home from work this afternoon, grooving to the naturally fantastic music I have on my MP3 player. I was getting frustrated as to where to put the damn thing, and I decided to slip it into the pocket of my trousers. This lasted but a mere second, as I realised that my already too big thighs swelled to quite a size with the incorporation of this altoids box-shaped marvel of technology. How vain am I?? I guess all the more vain for then mentioning it on my blog.

I don't really have much to say regarding infertility at the moment, as I'm in between stages. So, I will take this opportunity to ramble aimlessly, even more so than usual.

Unique search to behold: Que? My first instinct is to mention how odd this person is, but on second thought...maybe Kirk Cameron does find himself heavily involved in the politics of infertility now that he seems to see himself as a saviour of morality. Mike Seaver, why hast thou foresaken me? Also, I think I have to stop with this apparent fixation with the Camerons/Cameron Bures. People might wonder.

Worrying trend: Cootersearch 2005. One search for this does not necessarily indicate a pattern developing, but now I shall add to the mix that I have had this search 3 times in the past week! With my chest puffed up and arms folded across my chest I shall also announce that I, little BarrenAlbion, come up first in this search! Go Team MyCooter! Upon further rumination I wonder whose cooter they are actually looking for. Are they looking for results for MsPrufrock cooter, or for results about their own cooters? Ponderous...

To be serious for just a moment, I recently discovered that the UK does adoption leave for new parents. How cool is that? One of the parents is entitled to 26 weeks' leave, with the option of an additional 26 week period of leave if neccessary. Basically, it's the same as general UK rules regarding maternity leave. I've not yet reached the stage of considering adoption, but it's nice to know employers have to accommodate employees that choose to adopt.

Back to being shallow...have I entered an alternate universe where Anthony Fedorov's singing is considered anything more than dry heaves-inducing? I must have, or else he wouldn't still be on American Idol. I gave him a moment of my time during auditions when I saw he was from PA (go Keystone State--hurray!), but that ended as soon as the competition began. Honestly people, do your ears not bleed?


I am just a big bowl of wrong

I have been comment-dodging a lot lately, because I don't think I have anything of note to say. Lots of the bloggers I read have much going on with them at the moment, but my comments generally consist of, "Fingers crossed", "Wishing you luck" and various other trite sentiments at which most bloggers probably roll their eyes.

My reasons behind such lame comments are not because I don't care, or lack of general creativity. I'll tell you what it is...I'm a complete imposter. As long as I've been on this happy trail of infertility, I have consciously avoided learning much about infertility itself. I have no idea what the fuck I'm talking about, so I'm not able to learningly chime in, "Oh, x number of fertilised eggs is good/bad/other". I'm sure much of this is as a result of yet experiencing the immense joy that is IVF, but I'm otherwise ignorant on the infertility front as well. Girl doesn't even know what a beta is. I know multiplying of beta numbers is good, but increases in things usually are positive signs.

"The information is at your fingertips you dumb bitch!" you shout. "Dr Google is always in!" someone in the back screams. I know this, but to be perfectly honest, I don't want to know. Prior to the Clomid nightmare I charted my temps, as if that ever bloody works. I gave up after a month, because there are so many extenuating factors that make that method worthless. While I was charting I obsessively took notes in my little fertility journal (ha!), furiously scribbling down any unique occurrences. I read information online, attempting to bring all of my notes into one cohesive unit so that I could make sense of it all. Alas, I couldn't, and alas, here I am.

I think further pursuit of the details of infertility treatments would do no favours for my already obsessive personality. Besides, I don't have room in my brain for all of this extraneous information. I've got to cram all this art history crap into it, so I can't be ruminating on the nuances of my reproductive system. I already know it does what it wants. These ovaries listen to no man, or GLCP. That's enough knowledge for me.

For those of you that scroll right by my bland comments, I do apologise. When it is my IVF time, I'll try to brush up on my embryo talk so I know what the hell people are talking about when they leave comments on my own blog. If I were to get pregnant though, leave the beta out of it. I would just be thinking of those pretty little fish that only survive in shallow bowls.


The one where her head explodes

I'm a masochist. I enjoy extended periods of self-loathing, and will often put myself in a position that encourages further self-hatred. For instance, I have put off starting to exercise again (for "again" read "for the first time in 8 years") because if I lost the weight that PCOS and subsequent depression added to my frame, what would I beat myself up about daily? If I'm truthful to myself, I'd realise that even if I did lose the weight, I'd only find something else to detest.

This masochistic streak also manifests itself in my persistent desire to always be pissed off about something. Usually that something is infertility, and when others' opinions on infertility and its treatment are involved, be careful. I seek this shit out just so I can sit at my PC at work, fuming and bubbling with rage. I am the type of person that, if bored, would google religion and infertility treatment with the sole intent of angering myself so that The Dude can be subjected to hour long rants on self-righteous, close-minded twats. He's a lucky guy, to be sure.

This said, imagine my joy when this just fell into my lap. I didn't even have to go searching for it! Brief summary--MPs in Britain have proposed that couples undergoing IVF should be able to choose the sex of their babies. The BBC website has a section entitled "Have Your Say", where the brains of Britain crawl out from underneath their rocks and pass down their very valued judgments on subjects they are not fit to comment on. Apparently, asking the public if choosing the sex of a child should be allowed translates to, "Attention: all religious right fuckwads and ignorant simpletons--do not address the actual issue at hand, but rather do please tell us your stance on all reproductive technology. Fear not about offending people about a subject you know nothing about, because you are probably right because...well, because you hold an opinion and dammit if that doesn't count for something!"

Obviously you can read these comments yourselves, but I decided to select a few of my very favourites:
  • "Totally agree with Chris of Telford! WAY too much money is being wasted on these selfish women who want to satisfy their own needs with the almighty BABY of their own. Plenty of kids out there are looking for homes, instead of all this rubbish maybe some relaxing of the adoption policies is needed!"

-First of all, hardly any money is spent on these "selfish" women that want a child. To my knowledge, most local health authorities do not fund IVF. Mine was to start as of today, but GLCP suggested that it will probably take ages to take effect. Secondly, I will never understand how pursuing fertility treatment because you want a biological child is selfish. Once again, a subject I do not think people should comment on until they have to go through it. This person should SHUT up and go ADOPT some of these KIDS if she's so DESPERATE to make things RIGHT.

  • "Boy or girl - who cares? Far too much taxpayer's money is wasted on IVF as it is - I thought the NHS was there to treat sick people. Women who cannot have a baby are not sick - they just want something they were not destined to have. Spend the money on the people who are already living and often in severe pain, and let the women use their energies making the world a better place, I am of the opinion that the world's population should be falling anyway - the present one is unsustainable."

-The issue of what the NHS (National Health Service) should and should not spend its money on is always hotly debated. Funny how so many people think IVF should not be funded, yet insist that obesity and smoking-related diseases should have unlimited funding. Infertility, for the most part, is not self-imposed.

  • "I agree with those here that say that this is ridiculous. IVF is interfering with nature and that's suspect enough. There are all kinds of reasons why people find it hard to conceive and many of them are because nature knows best. Spending NHS money on IVF treatment is hard to justify. Then allowing people to choose the sex of their baby is just plain wrong."

-Oh goodness...if we are going to quote interference with nature, how about this? Medicine in all of its forms interferes with nature! Medicine by definition is interference with nature!! Medicine exists to keep people alive longer, and in as little pain as possible. Isn't this classified as interfering with nature?

  • "My reasons and the justification for my arguments stem from a very sound Biblical perspective. This shows that the Creator of all forms of creation Jehovah Elohim is the only Supreme God who has a right to not only determine a baby's sex but also determine the constituent elements of its spirit as well."

-Well, there is always one.

  • "IVF treatment has no place in the NHS, with limited funds such self indulgent treatments should be returned to private sector."

-Ah, a valid point. IVF is tremendously self-indulgent, isn't it? After my last IUI failed I thought to myself, "Self, it would be nice to have a spa day. A nice hot rock massage, pedicure, facial...Unless...yes, yes! What about IVF instead? Getting constant injections, painful, invasive procedures, endless cooter pokings, emotional hell sounds fun, and a brilliant way to spoil myself!" Oh, the life of an infertile is so decadent! Excuse me, boy, fetch those grapes and feed them to me whilst I lounge.

  • "If you can't cope with kids, don't have sex - or at least use protection! If you do, don't wait until you're 40 and need IVF."

-Or, don't inherit a disease that renders you infertile so that at 26, IVF is the only option. Or, don't wait until you find the right person to actually attempt to procreate with, just make sure you do it before you're 40. Or, time travel to 35 years ago when a woman's first priority was the home, so that you can have all your kids by age 30. Wow, thanks. It's suddenly so clear to me now.

  • "We have an over populated planet, so nature ups the rate of infertile couples. So we give IVF. What will nature do if we create an imbalance in the sexes? I have one child - I only wanted one, a boy. I did have a boy. Would I have considered IVF to chose the sex if it had been available - no. What next - choose to rid our children of genetic conditions? My son is dyslexic and I still would never have tampered with genetics. Consider the list of influential people with genetic conditions - Albert Einstein (dyslexic), Stephen Hawkins, etc. Think about our world if these people had not been allowed to exist."

-I didn't think people this stupid could type. We have an overpopulated planet for which nature redresses the balance by making certain people infertile. The writer must be ever so concerned about the overpopulated planet, which is why she had a child to contribute to the overpopulation. Oh, and nature has a lot to answer for. That bitch made me infertile to ensure the numerical harmony of the population? She's toast. Oh, and luv...It's Stephen H-A-W-K-I-N-G.

Luckily there were plenty of pro-IVF ers that bothered to write, most of which either went through IVF or were planning on it. Those writers didn't piss me off though, hence their omission.

Right...so what is next? Oh, Molly's link today had me mighty pissed off, so maybe I'll hunt down further information on that topic so I can spend my Saturday seething and angry with the state of the world. Again.