The waiting game

Pardon me for doing what is the blog equivalent of twiddling my thumbs. While I am waiting for the dreaded two week wait to end, I'm finding myself lacking anything of interest to say.

I have been thinking about what my options are at the end of this, whether the result is positive or negative. If it is positive, will I continue to blog? I think I have decided that I would, because I cannot fathom not being in constant contact with all of you wonderful people. Infertility has been such a large part of my life in the past three years, and now that has enveloped the blogging community to the point that I would feel as if I'm losing friends, not random people scattered over the globe that happen to read what I write. Granted, I could just hang around and comment, but it wouldn't afford me the same level of interaction that I possess now.

Months ago, upon starting IUI 2, I had the stupidly naive thought that I could get pregnant on that cycle. My blog had just started and I thought how ridiculous it would be to start this thing and magically end up pregnant right after I committed fingers to keyboard. I felt like if that happened, that I wanted to spend months giving my back story, proving to people that I had struggled before the pregnancy came about.

I still feel I would need that validation if I got pregnant during this cycle. I know a lot of bloggers who are not yet pregnant cease reading the blogs of the newly pregnant. Though I understand the raw emotion behind such a decision, I don't like thinking about all the people I would lose if I were one of the new pregnants. There are times that perhaps I don't read a pregnant blogger as faithfully, but some of them are as much of my blogging life as writing my own blog is.

I completely support whatever decisions individuals make on this subject. Knowing the immense pain that we all go through on a near-daily basis leads me to be acutely aware that people need to do what is best for them. I guess the only resolution is for everyone to get pregnant, so we'll have to work on that. All of us will have to just relax, unclench our genitals and hold our fertility icons tightly.

I'm not rambling about any of this because I think I am, or will be pregnant. Pregnancy is alien to me, to the point that it seems like something that doesn't even happen to my species, let alone myself. I expect to be greeted with a streak of violent red in my underwear about a week and two days from now, and I won't be surprised when that occurs. However, I thought the best time to write a post like this was without my mind being clouded with the knowledge of being pregnant.

The moral of this story is that if the IVF worked and Bertrand or his cohort implanted, please don't all leave at once. Don't read my blog perhaps, but at least email me. Otherwise, I'll be like the drunken ex-girlfriend throwing myself in front of you shouting, "Why don't you love me?", with tears running down my mascara-stained face. I'll totally do it.


Transfer: and they said it would be easy...

They lied! Granted, who were all of you to remember that you were advising a woman with a posterior left ovary, tilted cervix, and apparently narrow path to the uterus? I should have recalled the debacle of IUI 4 when WHYBAML also had some catheter difficulty, but somehow I forgot and assumed that I would be in and out in 5 minutes. In my world, 5 minutes became 30.

Nurse Abrupt became very agitated, shaking her head every two minutes when the catheter would fail to pass through to the uterus. The doctor doing the transfer, Dr Chirpy, held his head high the whole time and persevered. Meanwhile, the embryologist, Dr Suave, kept me informed of the trial going on below. During all of this, The Dude sat to my left looking as if he was either going to cry or vomit. Later he told me that he felt very emotional during the procedure, vacillating from concern for my well-being to the thought of these two genetic combinations of us being (eventually) transferred.

After about 15 minutes Dr Chirpy reassuringly patted my thigh and said, "You are being very brave", to which I shrugged my shoulders at The Dude and muttered a thank you to Dr Chirpy. I appreciate his words, but I've been through a lot while climbing this IF mountain. I never expect things to run smoothly, and I always expect them to be a bit painful. What's another 20 minutes spent jamming a catheter up your cooter unsuccessfully? Dr Suave, so called because he was about 12 and seemed like he could be a bit of a ladies' man, popped up to my end of the blanket periodically to say "Nearly there" and "Almost time for the embryos".

Two catheters and 30 minutes later the embryos were successfully transferred. The two that were put back in were nearly perfect specimens according to Dr Suave, both 8 celled and grade 4. Well, apparently the slower of the two embryos, who Desmond has named Bertrand, was very nearly a grade 4, but still languished at the high end of grade 3 at transfer. For the record, my clinic rates grade 1 as the weakest and grade 4 as the strongest. So I'm told. The stronger embryo had next to no fragmentation, and the simple one had >10% fragmentation.

For now I am, dare I say, verging on the optimistic. Don't worry, it will soon dissipate and optimism will once again be banished, saved only for the normal women out there for whom pregnancy is a straightforward occurance.


A tale of one girl and her retrieval

Despite all of the fabulous advice dispensed recently, I was still a complete nervous mess yesterday. We left the house at 6.15am, a time of day I only see once annually when we are flying to the States. I hadn't eaten or had even a sip of water since 8pm the night before, which is disasterous when you have low blood sugar and take Metformin. We drove to a town outside London, parked, and took the train into the city. It wasn't too involved, but I kept picturing my drugged and pained self hopping on and off two trains before returning to the car. I quietly asked The Dude to look after me on the trip back so that I did not drool or let my eyes roll back in my head.

I was giddy at the concept of going to a clinic on Harley Street, which is a posh area of London with some of the best private medical facilities in the country. Thalia and other Londoners are probably thinking, "It's not that posh", but it is to this bumpkin from Bumblefuck, Pennsylvania. The clinic is based in a gorgeous old house, with my only complaint with the decor being the wallpaper. Tasteful and probably appropriate for the age of the house, but they should know that I detest wallpaper as it is the devil in decorative form.

A male doctor summoned The Dude soon after arrival to make his mark in all of this. He was taken away down a long and winding staircase to wank his worries away. All I could think was you lucky bastard. I sat in the waiting room nervously tapping my fingers and pretending to read a book while he got to masturbate. Not a bad deal for him. Soon after he disappeared I was was called by a woman I shall call Nurse Jolly.

Nurse Jolly is a lovely maternal woman with a beautiful Scottish accent. The words "darlin" and "luv" are prominent in her conversation which is something I usually find grating but this time found comforting. When she took my blood pressure and commented that it was high, she stroked my forearm and said, "It's a wee bit high my darlin, a bit nervous are we?" and then frowned as if she too was ready to have a monstrous needle shoved up her cooter.

The final issue of business was the matter of painkillers. Fine. I love them. The more the better. However, I do not like them when they are introduced like this by Nurse Jolly - "Now luv, we will issue a painkiller by suppository. The doctor will need to insert the suppository UP (cue motion of her shoving a finger, uh, up something) your back passage. Could you please sign here to indicate that it is ok for the doctor to put the suppository UP the back passage?" I paused, looking at her incredulously. I was repulsed at the thought, but common sense soon prevailed and I came to the realisation that though the back passage has remained untouched by medical staff up to this point, it's one less thing I have to worry about being introduced to in the future.

After we got all the administrative and pre-op stuff out of the way, I met The Dude back in the waiting room. He had a big stupid grin on his face and was eager to tell me of his sojourn. He gave the facilities a 6 out of 10, complaining they were a bit too "clinical" (Really?!?! In a clinic?), and slagged off their porn collection. He felt as if they could have gone the more Jenna Jameson route, less Ron Jeremy. I cringed in horror at the thought of Ron Jeremy getting a blow job and tried to focus on the task at hand. I tried to drop barely-a-whisper hints to The Dude that I would have to endure a suppository given by someone other than myself, but he wasn't getting my clues nor my subtle "up the ass" motions. I grabbed a pen and bit of paper from my bag, scribbled "Suppository. They put it up the wrong 'un", at which point it was his turn to be repulsed. Fear not, I crumpled the paper up again and put it in my bag. Imagine coming upon that note on the floor of the waiting room.

A half hour passed, when I was collected from the waiting room by Dr Near Death. Dr Near Death appeared to be about 800 years old, with a slightly hunched back and veiny, arthritic looking hands. That said, when he uttered the words, "I am the anaesthesiologist", I nearly grabbed The Dude and ran out the door. Dr Near Death instructed me to get changed into the gown and robe, and said he would meet me again in theatre*. Once I changed, a new nurse, Nurse Abrupt, led me into the room where I met with Dr Near Death and Nurse Jolly again. Nurse Jolly asked me if I had taken out my contacts yet, and I said that I wanted to wait until the last possible moment given my blindness without them. Nurse Abrupt rolled her eyes, annoyed at the cheek of someone to want to see before surgery. Nurse Jolly countered her look with, "The poor dear is nearly blind. She cannae see without them! Cannae see!**" She said it really loudly too, as if I was also nearly deaf.

Sans contacts, I sat up on the chair, with Dr Near Death instructing me to bare my arms so he could scope for veins. He kept shuffling back and forth, and said at least twice, "Now where did I put..." while looking around for lost needles and absent drugs. I closed my eyes and took deep breaths, hoping that his dementia would at least taper off during my surgery. At this time Dr Stranger came in, given this name because it was the first time I saw him and I didn't see him much after the surgery either. Dr Near Death started sticking needles in my arm, and I got no further than, "Now think happy thou...." and I was out.

I became aware at some point of jabbing and quite extreme pain. When a moment of pain hit, I would do something with my thigh, though I'm not altogether sure what that was. Someone kept putting a reassuring palm on my thigh when this happened, but as my eyes were closed I don't know who it was. This is when I heard the mention of four eggs that I talked about yesterday. I was still heavily under the influence of whatever they doped me up on, so beyond hearing and touch my other senses had abandoned me. I felt like when you are waking up from a deep sleep and cannot make sense of what is real, and what is imagined. I was lamenting the four eggs comment made by Nurse Abrupt, but then things would get foggy and I'd drift off momentarily. Not long after that Nurse Abrupt did the suppository thing, which I felt, but was too spacy to battle against.

I was scooted to the end of the table and ushered into a wheelchair. Despite my head feeling like a very large helium balloon, I was surprised at how well I felt. Nurse Abrupt glared at me and mentioned that 11 eggs were retrieved, which made me feel much better as I was still clinging to the four I heard mentioned earlier. I was taken to the recovery area, covered with a heavy blanket, and given coffee and biscuits. The Dude came in to sit beside me, and I could not stop gushing about how much I loved my retrieval. I kept saying, "I want to do it again" with zeal that should not be used in connection with IVF. The Dude just nodded his head and told me to eat my biscuits and shut up. I got my contacts back, and even after putting them in, kept asking The Dude if I could have them.

After a half an hour or so, Nurse Jolly came back, laden with three boxes of suppositories which she instructed me to insert up the infamous back passage. Knowing my fondness for this expression, The Dude snorted. We are so mature. I was given the all clear to get dressed, so I trudged along to the changing room, relieved that the hard part was over.

Leaving the changing room was a woman that was in the waiting room earlier. As I was entering, I said something to her about the door being unlocked so she would know she didn't have to fiddle with it. She thanked me and then wished me good luck. Still under the influence of whatever it was Dr Near Death gave me I wanted to cry at those kind words. British people don't talk to strangers in enclosed spaces, so I was taken aback and moved that she said that. Being an absolute imbecile, I just said thank you, without reciprocating the good wishes. So, if you are a blog-reader and happen to make the mistake of reading this blog, thank you, and good luck to you as well.

I am feeling fine today. I have been tired since yesterday, but I'm hoping with all the sleeping I did today that the tiredness will dissipate. Now that the retrieval is done with, I am worrying about the transfer. I know the transfer itself is easy, but now I'm concerned with what they will have to transfer. I phoned the embryologist today, and apparently only 6 of the 11 fertilised. I'm really disappointed with this, and obsessing that the remaining six won't develop as they should. I'm trying desperately to just see what happens on Friday, but it's difficult to invest so much physically, emotionally and financially and not worry about it. I guess only time will tell.

*Theatre: Operating room in Britspeak.
**My attempt to write with a Scottish accent. I know I'm no Irvine Welsh.


Consider the eggs retrieved.

The magic number for today is 11. In my drugged haze I heard someone say four, at which point my brain was thinking "fuck", but my eyes and mouth could not coordinate a reaction. However, either I was imagining things or they were just talking about one ovary producing four as the number is definitely 11.

I am in absolutely no pain at the moment, which I am finding a bit creepy and unnerving. I am very tired indeed though, so I shall be retiring to my bedchamber for a couple of hours. I will write up a more extensive catalogue of my first retrieval experience later, as there were a few things which left me making mental blogging notes.

Thank you to everyone for all the brilliant comments lately. I apologise for acting like I'm the first woman ever to undergo IVF. Pansy.



Paper or plastic?

In this night before retrieval I'm pondering the important things - do I wear socks? If I do wear socks, I need to make sure they don't have holes in them or are otherwise embarrassing. Am I allowed to drink before the procedure? If so, should I just stick to water? Have I removed all the excess hair that otherwise left intact might scar a poor member of the clinic staff for life? Should I wear make-up? Not even a little bit? Will I drool? If the doctor is hot, will I, in my drug-induced stupor offer him a night he'll never forget? When I wake up and see The Dude, will I remember his name? Further to the drugged up line of thinking, will my under the influence self have the same potty mouth my blog self does? I can just see myself shouting at the nurses in the recovery area, "And all you motherfuckers can just step the fuck away from my cooter. Bitches."

All of these thoughts are flooding my mind because in the last few days I have pushed IVF to the back of my mind. The Dude has been suffering from very severe migraines since the end of last week, often leading me to ponder whether to get him to the emergency room. He was in such agony this weekend that I thought I'd have to phone WHYBAML and call the whole thing off. Unfortunately for The Dude I can go from calm to panic attack in about 10 seconds flat, and my attempts to stave off anxiety were proving largely unsuccessful. As I have no friends (cue sighs), I had to break down and call my mom last night just to get all of the pressure off my chest.

My mom is in the middle of a move, which I have spoken about in previous posts. I phoned her up at her new house, and she regaled me with stories of the move and my brother's inadequacy to do anything except beer runs for the assorted 20-somethings helping out. The entire time she was rattling on I was trying desperately not to burst into tears, occasionally putting my finger over the mouthpiece so that I could sob a bit and blow my nose. Eventually she said, "How was your day?" whereupon I gurgled something about The Dude being sick, me having the procedure on Tuesday, and being stressed out. She proceeded to do the motherly thing, giving advice, trying to soothe me, and told me that everything would be ok. With me still sobbing and not making much sense, she decided that this was an ok time to answer her call waiting. Five separate times. It is typical Pru's Mom to exhibit this type of behaviour. Consoling one minute, casually carrying on conversations with someone else the next. I suppose it's better than the time my brother was excitedly telling her a tale from his day at school and she was pretending to pay attention, albeit with a faraway look in her eyes. He did not even reach the denouemont of whatever boring story he was telling when she casually reached for the phone, dialled the number of her best friend and began a conversation with her, leaving my brother in the lurch.

The other entertaining aspect of this telephone conversation was when she said, "So is Tuesday when they harvest the eggs?" Egg harvesting? It's not the fucking Matrix. I assume that this is more or less the same as retrieval, but it sounds so sci fi. Hi, I'm an egg harvester. It brings to mind the Handmaid's Tale, as if I am nothing but a breeder. A crap one at that. Someone's going to want their money back.

Twelve hours from now my legs will be splayed and I my business will be exposed to yet another assortment of unfortunate individuals. So...what about those socks?


Dead Infertile Walking

I feel as if I have lost track of time. I was pacing myself for this IVF cycle, slowly trying to adapt to the idea that the retrieval would be a week from today. Just as I was coming around to the idea, WHYBAML goes and throws me a curveball. After a scoot around the ovaries today, he has decided that the retrieval will be ::gulp:: on TUESDAY. Tuesday people. Today is Friday. Saturday. Sunday. Monday. TUESDAY. Right around the friggin' corner. Colour me petrified. I have no time! No time!

Apparently my ovaries are responding fabulously and WHYBAML is afraid that if he leaves it too much longer hyperstimulation might be an issue. During today's scan we learned there are a couple of follicles at about 17-18mm, with an assortment hovering around 14-15mm. WHYBAML said that based on what has popped up so far, he speculates that would yield 15-20 eggs. My question is--can that be predicted at this point? I feel like a complete idiot for questioning him as I am a complete IF ignoramus, but I'm intimidated by his quote because as a negative person I'd prefer that he underestimate rather than overestimate. Anyway, I'm going to put that out of my mind for now.

I am to do one last shot of Puregon (damn) at 100iu tonight, carrying on with the Cetrorelix until Sunday. He is going to phone me tomorrow to tell me when I need to hike my prodded and poked ass up to London on Tuesday for the retrieval. Yikes.

I am concerned about the size of the follicles and whether perhaps I could have been stimulated more. I understand the concern of hyperstimulation, but whilst perusing Google most protocols I have come across involve a vastly higher dosage of stims. I know everyone responds differently, and I am trying desperately to maintain my faith in the glory that is WHYBAML.

Before you venture on, two little WHYBAML stories for you. It was absolutely freezing this evening when I headed to the wanding. When I went to shake hands with WHYBAML, he said, "My, your hands are cold", and proceeded to put his non-shaking hand on top of my right hand in a comforting, albeit informal sort of way. Let it be said that he probably felt provoked to do this because I have the hands of a child and for a brief moment he may have thought that I was in fact 12, not 27. I'm not joking. My 8 year old nephew's hand are only a fingernail smaller than mine.

As this appointment was right after work, I was still a bit frazzled and yet to wind down. When I was left alone to take off my trousers and wrap the cootersafe sheet around me, it took me a bit longer than usual. Once I was sitting up in the chair, feet in stirrups, I realised the sheet was tucked under me and would thus cause complications when the ultrasound was to begin. WHYBAML was back in the room and equipping the wand for the poking by this time. In my attempt to get the sheet the way it was supposed to be, I perhaps was a bit...exposed. Nothing major really; it's not as if my snatch was giving WHYBAML a how do you do, the sheet just inched up my thighs a tiny bit. WHYBAML calmly reached over, patted the sheet down and said, "Let's cover you up a bit more." Shit WHYBAML why do you always make me feel like such a whore?

Keen readers may recall my post from a few months back when this happened previously. It seems I am quite eager to show off my beaver. Coincidentally I was laughing about the first time this occurred right before the appointment, so I smirked at The Dude when WHYBAML was forced to cover me up because I am a complete slut. My first instinct isn't even to cover up right away anymore, which is quite scary. The way I see it, I must have had over 100 scans in the past year and a half, and the Pru cooter is well-worn territory for these people. Why start to be modest now?

So, all systems are a go for Tuesday. Shit. This is real now, isn't it?

Edited to say: WHYBAML phoned me this morning to say that my appointment is for 10.30am on Tuesday. I shoot up Ovitrelle at precisely midnight tomorrow (well, I guess technically it's Monday morning), and then I'm good to go. In theory. He still insists on calling me Ms Pru, which confuses me as he has intimate contact with my cooter numerous times a week. Surely we can be on a first-name basis.


Cynicism, glorious cynicism

So here I am, checking out one of Karen's genius recent posts. An issue of contention has turned out to be non-pregnant women parking in the parking spaces reserved for the poor, neglected pregnant ladies. These women that are parking in these designated spaces (of which Karen is not even one), are adopting, and therefore are by definition "expectant mothers". Somehow, people find this objectionable. Somehow, adopting mothers are just evil bitches with a hateful vengeance for knocked up women. Of course. All infertile women detest the pregnant. Perhaps it is not pregnant women that piss us off, but the veneration they receive when long-suffering infertile women are viewed with disdain and tremendous misunderstanding. You would think that as pregnancy seems to be the pinnacle of life's experience as ordained by society, that women who struggled so long unsuccessfully to be so would not be the enemy but rather admired for what they have endured but failed to achieve.

What I wanted to focus on is not this perceived notion of the pregnant versus the non-pregnant, but rather how this long slog of infertility has made me jaded and cynical with all things pregnancy and parent-oriented. If I got pregnant, I wouldn't use a parking space designated for pregnant women on principle. Pregnant women aren't disabled. I figure if they are mobile enough to waddle around a store and shop for onesies, they can walk an extra 20 paces from a normal parking space.

Wouldn't the natural inclination be that if someone struggled so long to be pregnant, that she would grab onto this opportunity to park in a space and for once be seen as "normal"? To me, this notion of the feeble pregnant woman is irritating and outmoded. Easy for me to say, I know, being distinctly not pregnant, but it's the reproductive equivalent of "women and children first". Women's lives are more valuable then the lives of men in times of disaster, and pregnant women need to park an inch outside a shop entrance because they can't walk. They'll walk around plenty IN the store, but don't ask them to walk too much OUTSIDE the store. The moral to this story is - no pregnancy parking space for me. Well, principles, and I don't drive.

Secondly, you will never hear me talk about how my baby is my little "miracle". It ain't no miracle that unites the sperm and egg in a petri dish. It's science. A miracle would be me getting pregnant naturally; polycystic posterior ovaries, tilted cervix and small-headed sperm uniting to create a life. That said, even if this happened I would still never call the child a "miracle". The very thought makes me want to roll around in babydust and set myself alight.

I am a member of a mailing list for American ex-pats residing in the UK. One of the women on the list had a baby last week and announced his birth to the list today. After giving the rundown of the usual crap - length, weight, disposition, etc...the beaming new mother said, "I probably won't have much to do now except be a mother", at which point I threw up in my mouth more than just a little. Christ on a bike woman, did you not have anything to do pre-baby? She wasn't even infertile! Surely it is just infertile women, people who have spent ages focusing on procreation, that would momentarily forget that there are more things in life than pregnancy and children? Oddly enough, we are the women who don't say things like that.

That is my drug-induced rant for today. Stay tuned for the next installment when I write 4 paragraphs on how my co-worker's stirring of Cup of Soup makes me want to crawl out of my skin and beat her with the pelt.


Spread those legs and bare that stomach

Ah yes...here we are again, popping pills, sticking needles in the abdomen, and resting comfortably in the stirrups. It's been too long.

Today is cd3. Thank you to all of those who offered up the advice that no dumbass, spotting does not count as day one. I think The Dude probably even had an idea. Well, if the very thought of menstrual blood didn't make him get the vapours that is. I'm sure there were dozens of women reading that post that found me a disgrace to infertiles everywhere, for which I almost apologise for my ignorance.

Today I had my first onset-of-IVF WHYBAML appointment. Last night I dreamt that The Dude went to the appointment and was miraculously knowledgeable on all matters gynocological with a specialisation in IVF. In this dream he countered everything WHYBAML said, often offering an alternative to whatever treatment protocol WHYBAML suggested. In the end WHYBAML agreed with him, and it led to me laying on a table with some sort of barrel type contraption underneath me whilst The Dude and WHYBAML fondled antiquated medical instruments and discussed their next course of action. See, this is why I like the fact that The Dude barely even knows what a vagina is.

I sighed in relief tonight when I realised my dream would not come to fruition, as The Dude asked WHYBAML: "Is the retrieval (score! Who knew he was even aware such a term existed?) likely to be on a weekday? If so, when they put them all back in at the thing...the...the...putting them back in time, can that sometimes fall on a weekend?" Aww...bless. "The putting them back in time." I did whisper, "TRANSFER", but he looked at me like, "Shut up woman! I know of what I speak!"

Nothing exciting about day three scans. I am still enamoured of WHYBAML, as he told me not to worry when I apologised for sending him three emails and leaving one voicemail over the fiasco that is spotting day 1 vs proper day 1. When I asked if my posterior ovary would cause problems in retrieval, he said that it wouldn't, as "you're anaesthesised anyway, so they just jam that needle around in there until they get what they want...haha", and then he patted my shin reassuringly. Thankfully I shaved.

My next scan is on Tuesday. Until then, I am shooting up 125iu of Puregon every night, and popping a Letrozole as well for good measure. I felt like a delirious junkie tonight when I jabbed the needle full of Puregon into my more-than-an-inch, because I enjoyed it far more than I should. I have bruised before because I left the needle in too long due to staring at the whole procedure in amazement. I know, I need to find a hobby that doesn't involve needles and fertility drugs.

I did ask WHYBAML if he could write a letter stating briefly that I would need post-op recovery and may be off work for a couple of days. He said that he is accostomed to writing non-specific gyno problem letters, but I asked him to drop any mention of gyno issues. I mentioned the work situation and how I refused to divulge that information, and he agreed that it was none of their fucking business. Uh, yeah...WHYBAML kinda rules. For the record, he said it in a far more diplomatic manner. He is English, remember. If he did have to tell them it was none of their business, it would probably be to the effect of "I do beg your pardon. Kindly refrain from enquiring as to the nature of Ms Prufrock's procedure. 'Tis a private matter that does not concern her employer. I humbly request your understanding in this rather delicate and personal situation. Kindest regards, WHYBAML"

So that's where everything stands at the moment. I am sometimes struck with disbelief that I am at this point in the infertility roundabout. 27 and at the final procedure already. It's grim. Obviously I can carry on going in a circle, IVF 2, 3, 4, 5 and so on. It's the next step that I'm debating at the moment, and it's a topic for yet another day. I've been rolling the ideas around in my head without much clarity, so any post will probably just be random thoughts spewed in a blog post. Nothing new there. You lucky people. If it's not inane rambling, it's me waxing lyrical on the Puregon Pen. It's a surprise anyone is even reading this thing anymore. At least weary internet travellers searching for "fucky mother", "vegetable insertion" and "wife won't do what I tell her to" will still find their way here. Thank heavens for small mercies, eh?



I started typing up a lengthy post about what comes after IVF if such a thing is necessitated, but it was dull and pointless and I soon lost the will to live. I'm sure I'll go back to that at another time, but at the moment I don't have the drive to talk about these pressing, life-changing decisions. Oh, to have a month or even a week that infertility is not weighing heavily on my mind. What is it like to be normal and not do this anyway? None of us will ever know and I think that is an absolute travesty.

I was bordering on giddy today for about 2 whole hours when my period decided to show her delinquent ass after much delay. Well, I'm spotting, which I assume will lead to a proper period. I have been let down before, so perhaps I should hold my tongue for now. So my question is - does spotting count as cd 1? I tend to spot for up to two days before full force is exhibited. I should have asked this question three years ago, thus possibly explaining why I'm still not pregnant.

I told my boss today that I would need to have off for a few days for "minor surgery", which I requested to be kept between us. I don't need my co-workers getting me cards and balloons thinking I'm on my deathbed. I later received an email from her stating that I would need to supply a doctor's note (fine), as well as a brief description of my procedure. Pardon? Now, this may surprise some of you, but I'm a bit outspoken. I have yet to respond to this email, but when I do tomorrow you can be certain that no further details of my "procedure" will be divulged. I think it's a violation of my privacy and I refuse to do it. I have failed to come up with a reason as to why they would need to know this. I'm willing to give them a note from WHYBAML, but that's as far as it will be going.

My boss has said that this info will be requested by her manager, a woman who, two weeks ago, asked me what my last name was. I have worked in my department for two years and this woman, though not my direct manager, has had a lot of interaction with me in this time. I will not give such sensitive and personal information to a woman who cannot be bothered to even know my name. The Dude has said that if I say that in defense of my privacy, he will buy me the bracelet I have been coveting for the last two months. I know what I will be doing first thing tomorrow morning.

So that is where I am at the moment. I should be excited that all of this is finally kicking off, but I cannot muster that level of emotion. My apologies for the most boring and moaning post in the history of BarrenAlbion. I felt like I needed to post, despite not knowing what to coherently post about. The harsh realisation has just hit me that I am not even in the mood for Sex and the City or Freaks and Geeks. These are truly dark times. Remind me again why I don't drink?


Question Time

In carrying on this theme of "Help--I have no idea what the bloody hell I'm doing" in regard to IVF that has, and will be, permeating my blog for the next month or so, I have some questions for all you learned folk out there.

1) Retrieval: Tell me all about it. I know a local is used, but I truthfully don't even know what that means. Well, I know it isolates a certain area, but how much does that affect the rest of your body post-surgery? Will I be wandering around in a drugged stupor akin to the Nyquil Haze I know and love? I know, a child-like question to ask but the only surgery-type thing I've had was a tonsillectomy 15 years ago. How much recovery time is needed? A day of bedrest? 2 months (crosses fingers)?

1a) What do you tell your employer? I've got the added complication of needing to travel to London - 2 hours away, so I might need to get there the night before. With all of my IUIs and their related scans, I have just told my boss that I have hospital appointments. Since I have always been back within an hour and a half, no one has asked any questions. I would be inclined to take a sick day or two, but obviously as I could be in transit the morning of the transfer, it would be difficult to phone in sick without arousing suspicion. I know I could just *tell* my boss but that's not going to happen. I work in a small office and I don't trust her not to spread the news. I'm thinking I may just tell her ahead of time that I'm going into the hospital for a small outpatient procedure and I will need to take the rest of that day off for recovery.

2) Egg quality: I have this fear, which I hope is irrational, that I'll get to the point of retrieval and realise my eggs are baaaaaaaaaaad. Though it would explain a lot, it's not something I want to hear. How often is poor egg quality discovered at this time?

3) Transfer: Is this just like the process of IUI? If so, I can handle that.

4) Coffee: Yay or nay? I know you are told that to increase your fertility you should cut down on caffeine. I tried that for three months last year and guess what? There ain't no baby in this here stomach. Hence, I'm sticking with the caffeine.

5) I did have a fifth question, but my caffeine adled mind has deleted it.

I do know that I would like to kick my faux British ass for totally dropping myself in it the other day. I left a comment on a blog in reaction to a post about the high cost of IVF meds in the US. I was all, "Check this out muthafuckas, I pay next to nothing here in the UK. God bless the Queen" and all that shit. The next day, I got a bill in the mail that was all, "Check this out bitch, here is a bill for £600 for your medications and an added bill for £200 just for blood tests." Now deflated, I was all, "Fuck the Queen and George Bush."

After the foot-in-mouth debacle, I tried to be optimistic. When compared with paying for IVF itself, the bill for the meds is virtually inconsequential. I likened the situation to when I used to drive a much loved, but truthfully rather rustbuckety 88 Honda Accord. My Accord, christened Rudy the Bohunk after "Rudy Ricecheck" in Sixteen Candles, had all kinds of problems. It was in the shop at least once a month for one problem or another. After two or three major repairs in the region of $500 draining my already limited finances, anything under $300 was considered fantastic news. After yet another car problem, my mechanic phoned and said, "Pru, I'm afraid it's bad news." :::major exhalation from him:::: "It's going to be expensive to fix this. I think you're looking at $200-$250." Expecting the worst, I was thrilled, much to the mechanic's surprise.

I'm saying that I am an 88 Honda Accord. Light blue. A fair amount of money has been poured into this old wreck, so what is another £600? I just hope that if this IVF fails I will not meet the same demise as Rudy the Bohunk, may God rest his jalopy soul.


This night has opened my eyes

Yeah, another Smiths/Morrissey quote. I can't help myself. It may be lost on most, but I know Pamplemousse will get the reference, she's well-versed in Morrissey. She pretty much rocks.

So I wasn't going to join in this little blogging célébration de l'amour, but after the breakdown I had over The Dude's health and well-being tonight, I have been provoked to talk about our story. The Dude was supposed to pick me up from work tonight, and after 25 minutes of waiting without him appearing, I decided to walk home. Already working myself into panic mode as The Dude is never late, I had to focus on walking when my first instincts were to not vomit or hypervenilate. Yeah, I'm a freak. There is no grey area with me, it's all black and white. Alive or dead. Alive = you're picked up on time. Dead = 25 minutes late.

With each block closer to home I became more nervous, taking into account all the signs throughout the day that surely pointed to his early demise: MP3 player on random playing songs about death, lost love, and other gothic musings; mobile left at home, preventing the police from contacting me; he said he loved me twice before we parted ways this morning, but I was too busy sorting out my jacket and purse to reciprocate. Things like that. As I started to walk up our street I actually avoided looking in the direction of our building, anticipating that I would see a police car parked outside. Once I arrived at the parking bay, it was only The Dude's car parked in our space. He was waiting at the front door, but I was too busy crying and trying to breathe to say anything to him. Yes ladies, I'm all kinds of fucked up. In honour of my rediscovered (not that it was ever buried too deep) immense love for my husband, this is our dysfunctional love story.

I was a young, fresh-faced maiden of 16. He, a red-headed, freckled man of the world and six years older. The Dude was employed by a company that brought soccer-coaching Brits to the US to teach the ignorant suburbanites the true spirit and methods of the game. My brother was to attend the camp, and upon hearing it would be run by hot athletic British men, I made it my mission to scope out the talent. My mother inadvertently helped me out with my plan by enabling one of the coaches to stay at our house in exchange for reduced tuition to the camp for my brother. Unfortunately, this one was married, but the benefit was that the other coaches often came over to plan the sessions.

When I met The Dude, I must confess that I was enamoured of the accent more than anything. Well, that and his mighty fine legs. When I knew he was coming over to meet with the other coaches, I would change my outfit numerous times until I was satisfied, and put on Portishead's "Dummy", which I knew he liked. When he inevitably commented that he really liked Portishead, I tried to act surprised, though I imagine I failed miserably. We flirted a bit, but nothing transpired that summer due to Pennsylvania having some rather firm statutory rape laws.

After he left that summer, I didn't think of him much. I was in my senior year of high school and was taken with a platinum-haired boy who wore leather pants. Unfortunately he found it difficult to not have a threesome with a friend and a random skanky underclassman, so that ended and I was free to dream of men with British accents again.

When The Dude came back, the flirting and playing of Portishead resumed. On the night of my 18th birthday, I was relegated to staying at home doing laundry, as none of my inconsiderate friends had bothered to invite me to go out to celebrate. As I had my back to the laundry room door, The Dude shuffles up to me reluctantly and says,

"So...do you want to go to a movie or something? I feel bad leaving you at home to do laundry on your 18th birthday." to which I replied:

"Sure. Nothing keeping me here!"

Those words will haunt me for the rest of my days, as this faked ambivalence is thrown back in my face regularly after nearly ten years have passed. Oh Pru, you poor stupid girl. Little did you know that those apparently harmless four words would be the punchline of your relationship with this man for decades to come.

We went to see "Phenomenon". I can only assume there was absolutely nothing of worth on the other screens, as I cannot fathom paying money for a John Travolta weepfest these days. However, it seems my hormones were all over the place back then as well, because I cried and my eyeliner etched itself into my skin and presented my emotional vulnerability for all to see. Rather than trying to be sensitive and impress upon me his kind nature, The Dude laughed at me, pointed and said, "Haha. You cried." Fuuuuuuuuuuuck you.

Despite his lack of consideration, we continued to see each other. He had some trouble with the family he was staying with, so my Mom offered him a place at our house. After a couple of months of this permutation of living together, he had to go back to the UK. For about a month or so after he left I slept in his bed just so I could smell him and pretend for a moment that he was still there. I never mentioned this during our lengthy trans-Atlantic phone calls because he was obnoxious and arrogant enough as it was and I didn't want to make him even more so.

After numerous trips to the UK, often sacrificing my college classes for 3 week trips overseas, and his many trips to the US, *perhaps* violating certain Immigration laws, he decided that he was getting too old or some such nonsense. During one of his extended trips, we went out to dinner to celebrate our 2 year anniversary. After dinner, we went to a local park to stroll around the moonlit pond and act like a stereotypical, Hallmark-style couple. He stopped on the footbridge and said he wanted to ask me something. Being stupid, naive, and ignorant, I had absolutely no idea what was to follow. He whipped out (minds out of the gutters ladies) a gorgeous, and heavy platinum and diamond ring. I grabbed the railing of the footbridge to steady myself and tried mightily to refrain from vomiting. My answer: "I'll think about it." to which he handed me the ring and walked to the car. Oops.

We had a silent 15 minute drive back to my house. Upon arriving, he jumped out of the car, ran into the house and locked himself in the guest bedroom. Oops. After much crying and gnashing of teeth, he allowed me in the room. I told him that I wasn't ready for marriage yet, and he convinced me that the engagement was meant to be long-term, which satisfied me. I said yes, and all was right with the world.

We became increasingly tired of conducting a very long-distance relationship, and decided to get married for erm...reasons other than just love that may or may not involve something green. On 6 July 1999 I put on a dress and he put on a non-soccer shirt and we made our way to the Justice of the Peace. We were out of there inside 10 minutes, and because I still didn't feel ready for marriage as such, we treated it as a practical arrangement. We agreed to not share the news with anyone outside our immediate family, and emphasised to them that this was not a "real" wedding.

The "real" wedding came later - on 18 December 2001. As I mentioned in a previous post, we were married in a 14th century church, and the bride wore white despite being more fond of something in black. So here we are, in wedded bliss...yadda yadda yadda, blah blah blah. You know.

One of my best friends wrote in my yearbook senior year: "Go forth young Pru and find yourself that boy across the pond with rings on his fingers and sexy sideburns. I know you'll find one."

Well, I found my boy from across the pond. He doesn't wear rings, he doesn't have sideburns, but he does have damn fine legs and verges on perfection.

Apparently there will be no photograph of the engagement and wedding rings. My digital camera has decided that zoom with any clarity is soooo last year. Bastard. Maybe next year.