Thursday, 24 April 2008

Off-topic but bear with me - I'm hurting

This isn't going to be a post about fertility stuff, which I realise may irritate my readers since that's the point of my blog. However, it's also a blog about me and how I'm feeling, so I'm hoping you'll understand as this is what's upsetting me most just at the moment.

My cat has cancer. The vet recommended at least trying to operate to remove it, which is happening on Tuesday morning.

However, because he's 17, there's a chance he won't survive the operation. They will do a comprehensive bloodwork beforehand (he and I are similar creatures, it would seem) and if all is well, they'll go ahead, but there's still a chance his heart could stop during the surgery.

This means that when I drop him off at the vet's on Tuesday morning, I will have to say goodbye as I may never see his little ginger face again.

I've booked Tuesday and Wednesday off work. I figure I'll be around to nurse him round the clock if all goes well. I will stay up and near him all night Tuesday night. I can't bear the thought of losing him. I know he's 17 so I have to be realistic - but not now; please, not now.

He's such a good, sweet, affectionate little cat. My mum and I sat and sobbed over him for the best part of an hour this evening, and agreed that if it all goes wrong we will bring him home and plant a rosebush above him.

I told him he has to survive. I'm reluctant to put him through surgery at his age but we have to at least try to save him.

I said he has to be around to meet my baby one day. I hope they will be great friends.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

When did I get so old?

I had the unnerving experience today of frightening myself when I caught my reflection in the mirror.

It had been a long, rush-around, hassly day. Also, I was annoyed: the three-year manufacturer's warranty on my car expired yesterday. Today, whilst driving back from a business meeting - at the very moment I pulled up in a very long queue for a very busy tunnel - a small, insistent orange light began blinking on the dash. Consulting the manual informed me that said light means "serious engine fault, please consult qualified mechanic". Just dandy.

Anyway, I made it home in one piece and then called the vet's to see if there was any news on my cat's tests. The receptionist confirmed that the results were in but refused to tell me anything - apparently we have to speak to the vet in the morning. Not going to be good news, really, is it?

(At this point, a small note: What in the name of Jesus and all his apostles did I do in my last life that I have been cursed with spending THIS one on the phone to medical professionals chasing various test results?)

Having reported all of this in flat tones to hubby, I decided to jump in the shower - and that's when the scary old woman in the mirror accosted me. I need my roots done - my hair used to be a nice coppery auburn shade but since fertility stuff, or maybe just bad genes, the grey's crept in and I now have it professionally tinted every six weeks - and my hair was hanging in lanky, tousled hanks with a vivid white stripe along my parting.

My face, conversely, resembles that of a pus-tastic adolescent. I have about four volcanic spots and a load of other blotches that suggest general run-downness (and possibly some crazy hormonal activity on the side).

Worse than that was my eyes. They're just - it sounds pathetic, but it's true - so sad. Hubby said the other day that he feels there is a shadow hanging over me; over us both but visibly over me.

Our appointment on 20 May seems impossibly far away. And I increasingly feel like my own self is slipping away. There's nothing in my head anymore other than wondering about fertility stuff. No matter where I am, or what I'm doing, my yearning for a baby is always there, bubbling and scratching and clawing away under the surface of the reasonably normal being I manage to project to others.

There's a picture of me that hubby likes, that sits behind where I am right now, on a shelf in the study. It's of me about six years ago, on holiday in Canada, thinner, sunkissed and grinning. Where did she go? I miss her.

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Ovulation-induced grump syndrome?

Two things have irritated me today.

The first was the undercooked excuse for a poached egg hubby served me this morning. Before you recoil in horror at me complaining about being made breakfast, let me just provide some context. Yesterday, in the supermarket, hubby announced he wanted a cooked breakfast today, and proceeded to canter about gathering up the wherewithal to make it.

I didn't pay much attention, as I was in my usual supermarket survival mode of keep-head-down-and-thus-keep-lid-on-irritation-with-disproportionately-high-volume-of-pregnant-women-who-shop-here-I-mean-wtf-is-there-something-in-the-water. But I do remember being glad at the prospect of waking up to strong coffee, hot food and Sunday papers.

However, hubby got up this morning having reassessed his priorities and decided that watching Dr Who in his pants was infinitely preferable to slaving over a hot stove. He was also in a black mood, probably because he knew the doomy sex bell was tolling and he'd have to perform today.

So he did the classic male thing of doing a chore when they don't want to do said chore, and thus doing it so badly that they'll never be asked to do it again. The egg I was given was not so much "poached" as "very recently laid". It was even less cooked than one of MY knackered eggs.

So that was the first thing. The second thing happened after hubby and I had finally done the deed - an experience which made me feel like a teenybop Playboy bunny who has married a geriatric billionaire, I might add, because of him hamming up the back pain.

Nevertheless, we got through it. And then, when I was lying there afterwards, silently willing his swimmers up through the gleaming tunnel of my newly sandblasted tubes, I was seized with the sort of sneezing fit that basically renders all your good work useless. Bah.

Still, on the offchance that I might have retained a couple of dogged specimens, I do think I might actually have ovulated. There are signs: sore boobs, the delightful egg-white (another reason for being repulsed by my oozing breakfast), and a weird stabbing pain low on the right-hand side. Sadly the right-hand ovary is the incompetent one but perhaps it has been shocked into action after watching the sea of dye whoosh past last week.

Before I go, I must share a link to a brilliant blog I've just found. For anyone currently going through first-time fertility treatment, it's massively inspiring because this woman has one IVF baby and is pregnant with her second.

It's also hugely funny - I read through her archive back to 2006, and her post about her HSG made me laugh out loud. I'm a tough crowd, so that's no mean feat, especially these days - in fact, hubby was so disturbed by the unfamiliar sound that he came trotting up the stairs with tissues and an expression of trepidation, assuming that, as usual, I was crying!

Saturday, 19 April 2008

Dealing with insensitive people

I had an awkward encounter at the gym today with the mother of a girl I was quite friendly with at school. We chatted about my job and hers, and the fact we're both married. Then the cringeworthiness started.

Friend's mum: "So, do you have any family yet?"
Me (chanting "argh, argh" in my head): "No, not yet."
Friend's mum: "You shouldn't wait too long. Are you planning on starting a family soon?"
Me (through gritted teeth): "Yes, hopefully soon."
Friend's mum: "I keep telling my daughter, now is the time, before you turn 30. You career girls these days, you wait so long-"
Me (teeth now having gouged chunks out of own jaw): "Actually, I've been trying for two years. We're starting fertility treatment for my polycystic ovary. I had an X-ray of my tubes last week. It's really very distressing."

Perhaps I shouldn't have bitten her head off. But perhaps people should think before they speak.

In other news, we took the cat to the vet's last night, where they drew some cells out of his lump to send off for analysis. We won't know anything till the middle of next week. I'm not going to dwell on this because I basically can't deal with the prospect of him being taken away from me as well right now.

Hubby's back is apparently "a little better" so I plan to lift his no-sex fatwa tomorrow. By force if I have to.

Thursday, 17 April 2008

The bitch is back

Not a good day.

First off, we found a lump on my cat's back. He's nearly 17, so I've had him more than half my life, and I'm not ashamed to say that I'm besotted with him and always have been. I love him like a baby, which is appropriate given he's the closest thing I'll probably ever have to one. A lump at age 17 can't be good news, so he's booked in at the vet's tomorrow for an examination. Another thing to worry about - and my worry barrel is pretty brimming just now.

Next - and this is more in the "infuriating" than "upsetting" category - hubby is complaining of having "done his back in". What this means in reality, given he's only 34, doesn't have a physical job where back injuries are commonplace, and has no genetic conditions that predispose him to back pain, is that he slept a bit funny and has had a twinge. However, him being a bloke, this is The End Of The World.

The word "agony" has been used. Much ibuprofen - a good deal more than I ingested last week - has been consumed. There is talk of time off work. Most importantly of all, sex is off the menu. No, siree. He refuses point blank - apparently, it'd be "impossibly painful".

I struggle to sympathise. Surviving the HSG has somewhat inflated my perception of my own pain threshold - perhaps arrogantly so - but bitchiness aside, I feel that he should just get the fuck on with it, the way I usually have to do.

We know - we know - that there is a higher incidence of pregnancy in the month or so immediately after the HSG. This week - tomorrow, in fact - sees day 14 of this cycle. Do I need to draw him pictures?!

It just seems a shame for me - and yes, me; it was me on the table - to have gone through all that for us to waste potentially the brightest opportunity to conceive since this whole sorry business began.

The logical part of me knows I must wait only another month until our follow-up at the clinic and hopefully our first course of ovulation-stimulating drugs. But I want to make the most of this chance! If our baby can possibly be conceived without pumping me full of hormones in a manner not dissimilar to a cow being readied for breeding, then surely that's a good thing!

Told you I'd be ranting again soon. Don't hate me too much.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Uncharacteristic sentimentality

I had the massage on Saturday afternoon, and it was lovely. I'm really glad I waited till after the HSG and had it as a treat/reward, as I think my body appreciated that more than it would a pre-emptive massage when I was still scared.

Before we got started, the therapist asked me if I was stressed about anything in particular. (Wild laughter ensued.) I explained what had happened on Friday, and her reaction was great.

"How did they get the dye into your tubes?" she asked. "Oh, through my cervix," I said, with the casual detachment of the war-wounded. "With a big, huge catheter."

"So were you unconscious?" she queried, goggle-eyed now with horror. "Oh no," said the valiant cowgirl, with a breezy sniff. "They don't anaesthetise you. I took ibuprofen."

"But that's HORRIFIC!"

"Oh, it wasn't so bad - but that's why I'm here..."

Joking aside, I've had some time now to reflect on the experience and my main reaction, aside from relief at the result and that it's over, is massive gratitude.

Regular readers will know (and very possibly love) me as a cynical, bitter cow who rants in an occasionally comical way about her experiences, and indeed this is a very apt description of me in everyday life. However, I do have a squidgy side, and all the lovely comments, messages and support I've had - both from complete strangers, and from my network of friends and family - has brought it to the fore.

My overwhelming gratitude naturally lies with my mum. To accompany me to such a nasty procedure, and to spend the rest of the day - which she'd booked off work as a holiday, as had I - nurturing me and looking after me as if I were a sick child was just so selfless and caring. And of course my previous post described my gratitude to the nursing staff, to whom I've already sent a thank-you card.

But I also want to extend a huge flood of thanks to all my friends and family. My mobile phone didn't stop beeping on Friday with "how r u?" texts, and I can't put into words how much they all meant.

I'm equally grateful - and this is REALLY rare for me, as I generally tend to view the fact of my infertility as evidence of my catastrophically bad luck - that my tubes were clear and I had a good experience. By and large, those women who had an awful time seem to be the ones whose tubes were blocked. I am quietly in awe of my huge good fortune at getting a clear result.

God, will you hark at me?! I started this blog partially because so much stuff I'd read in inevitably pink books about infertility was mawkish, sentimental dross. And yet here I am spouting it!

I do apologise - the moaning me will be back soon...

Friday, 11 April 2008

The tale of the HSG

First of all, thanks so much to everyone who's sent me comments and emails wishing me luck for what happened today. I've gained an enormous amount of support and comfort from your messages.

The next thing I want to say is intended for anyone reading this who hasn't yet had their HSG, and who, like I was last night, is terrified. It wasn't nearly as bad as I was expecting it to be. I got myself into a virtually hysterical state last night - I was so scared of what I believed, having read numerous scary accounts, was going to be pain on a level that I couldn't cope with. It wasn't. It hurt, I won't say it didn't, but it never went beyond tolerable.

The final part of my opening preamble has to do with the results: my tubes are clear! I'm so happy about this as it means that next we can hopefully try a drug to make me ovulate, as it looks as though everything but my polycystic ovary is in order.

After my hysterical outburst, I got drunk last night and watched a stupid thriller. The wine helped me sleep initially, but I woke at 5am sick with dread. After tossing and turning for 90 minutes or so, I got up, vomited, showered and then inanely decided to paint my toenails. All I can say is that when one's legs are destined for stirrups, one wants one's feet to look presentable.

I tried breakfast but it was a mistake as it didn't stay down for long. I dressed in the most comfortable outfit I could find - long, black, stretchy cotton skirt; T-shirt; snug cardi; flat, slouchy boots - and said goodbye to hubby as nicely as it's possible to say goodbye to someone at whom you've just yelled "Would you for the love of Christ stop fucking SNEEZING!"

My mum turned up early and I traipsed out to the car in the manner of a condemned woman walking to the scaffold. I was armed with water and painkillers - I didn't want to take them too early - and I had very little to say.

We arrived at the hospital and I downed my 800mg of ibuprofen in the car. After finding the X-ray suite quite quickly, I was surprised that we only had to wait five minutes before the nurse who'd be doing the test came to collect me. This was a very different experience to the pelvic scan where I nearly ruptured my own bladder due to my appointment being delayed.

The nurse took us to a seating area just outside the room where the test would take place. I told her I was terrified. She then spent 15 minutes explaining every minute detail of the procedure to me in a manner that was warm, kind and patient enough to make me well up now just remembering it. Her name was Joan and I didn't get her surname but she's the most wonderful nurse I ever met. She said that many women arrive terrified and leave thinking that the experience wasn't even a quarter as bad as they'd imagined it would be. She also said that she believes the internet features a disproportionately high volume of scary stories, for the simple reason that women who've had an awful time are more likely to be traumatised enough to write about it.

Joan went through the paperwork with me and I felt myself relaxing gradually as we talked. Partly this was down to the agreeably dreamy zen induced by taking way too many ibuprofen, but a lot of it was down to Joan's skill at relaxing me in the manner that a horse whisperer would calm a frantic pony.

Joan gave me a plastic bag and showed me into a changing cubicle. She told me to strip my bottom half naked, but that it was fine for me to leave my T-shirt, bra and socks on. (Waste of nail polish.) As I was changing I heard her asking the consultant radiologist if my mum could sit in. I distinctly heard him say "Absolutely not" and then I distinctly heard Joan insist. Again, I'm forever grateful.

I emerged wearing the gown I'd been given, which was open in the back, but this was made less embarrassing by the fact that they'd also given me a cotton robe to wear over the top until I got in position. However, the gown was blue and white, the robe was bright blue and really oversized, and my socks were red and stripy (donned that morning in an effort to be cheery; I was also bedecked in tiger's eye jewellery to bring me courage). The overall effect was lunatic asylum meets Ronald McDonald.

There was a flat bed in the middle of the room with steps up to it. I was asked to lie down and put my head on the pillow. They laid a blanket over my hips and thighs - similar to the blanket you get in a smear test. Joan explained that if I could establish a breathing pattern and maintain it, this would help me deal with the pain and keep my muscles relaxed. My mum stood behind my head and started stroking my hair. This really helped, and I started breathing deeply.

There were now three other people in the room in addition to me and my mum: Joan, another nurse, and a female radiologist (the guy had vanished, presumably in a fit of pique after my mum was allowed in). They got the cameras ready and moved them over my stomach. My mum was asked to put on a lead apron so she wasn't at risk from the radiation. The others all wore these too, so for a moment it looked like a scene from Delia Smith Goes Bad.

Joan then said they were ready. The other nurse lifted the blanket and bunched my gown up so that my naked bum was on the bed. Joan told me to bring my knees up, put my ankles together and let my legs fall apart - exactly as if I were having a smear. There were no stirrups, but they placed thick foam wedges under my thighs so that my legs didn't get wobbly from being held in that position.

First of all, Joan said she was going to clean my vagina with a warm antiseptic solution. (I resisted the temptation to tell her it was perfectly clean enough, thank you, after I virtually scrubbed it raw in the course of my morning ablutions.) She took a warm, sopping wet sponge and wiped it down, firmly, the full length of me. She then got a new sponge and repeated it.

Joan then inserted the speculum, all the while telling me what she was doing and what sensations I should expect. It went in fine and she cranked it open - always an uncomfortable moment, but nothing I wasn't familiar with. She then said she was going to insert the catheter, and that it might take a minute or two so I wasn't to panic if it didn't go in right away. I was staring at the ceiling during this and focusing on my breathing, but my mum told me afterwards that the catheter was blue and about the girth of a drinking straw.

This was the part I was most scared of, but I honestly didn't feel it pass through my cervix. I was amazed when Joan said, "That's gone through first time, sweetheart". After every stage - the speculum going in, the speculum being opened, the catheter going in - Joan, the other nurse and my mum told me how well I was doing. That really helped me too.

Joan explained that she was going to inflate the balloon on the end of the catheter, and that this part would cause a sharp period-type cramp to come on suddenly. This was absolutely accurate - it came really quickly and built to the level of a bad day one period pain. It hurt, but it was tolerable.

Joan then said she was going to start putting the dye through, and that this would cause the cramping to intensify a little. Again, this is exactly what happened - the cramp sort of wrenched slightly and got a bit worse. I wanted to gasp but I felt that if I interrupted the steady breathing pattern I'd established, I might lose it altogether and suddenly lose my handle on the pain, so I didn't. I just kept breathing. I'd been lying with my hands folded on my chest like a corpse, but at this point my mum took my left hand and the other nurse took hold of my right hand. (She'd previously told me to resist the urge to clutch my stomach when the cramping started, so maybe this was to make sure I didn't - it was nice of her, though, whatever the reason.)

After about 15 seconds - literally, it couldn't have been more than that - Joan said, "That's it - that's great - we're done". I couldn't believe it. I'd been on the bed for about 15 minutes, but most of this time was spent waiting for them to assemble the equipment. The nasty part - from speculum going in to Joan saying we were finished - lasted about four and a half minutes.

Everyone told me how well I'd done, and I just felt overwhelming, dizzying relief. Joan deflated the balloon and removed the catheter, and the cramping subsided immediately. She then removed the speculum and pushed a big, pillow-like pad up against me to stem the flow of dye.

I stayed lying down while I gathered myself and they moved the camera off me. It took about five minutes before I felt able to sit up, and when I did, my mum came round and they tilted the screen so we could see the pictures. Joan explained that they'd only had to use 3ml of dye, and that the test had gone so fast because it had immediately shot through both my tubes and spilled out the ends - i.e., my tubes are clear.

She then took us through around 12 moment-by-moment pictures which showed the catheter and balloon in place in my empty womb, then my womb full of dye, then both tubes filling up, and finally the dye spilling out the end. One of my tubes was really long and straight and the other was more bunched up, but Joan said this was simply because of the position of my insides on this given day, and that she was happy both tubes were perfect.

When I felt the headrush subside, I got up and was shown to a bathroom where they'd put my bag of clothes ready, along with some soapy solution, wet wipes and dry wipes, plus a sanitary pad. I cleaned up, stuck the pad in my pants and got dressed.

Since my mum was with me, I was allowed to leave straight away - but not before I thanked Joan profusely for being so nice and patient with me. I had to resist actually hurling myself at the woman and hugging her, I was so grateful.

For the rest of today I've felt sporadically crampy - some of them quite sharp - and sore, and I've leaked dye and gunge. I'd probably have had an easier day if I hadn't sucked up my day's entitlement of painkillers in one go, but I remain glad that I did, because perhaps the during-cramps would have been much tougher to take if I hadn't. However, the after-cramps have been easy to deal with as I've been chilling at my mum's, eating comfort food and watching Pretty Woman.

I'm so grateful to Joan and the other staff for making this as easy on me as possible. I'm also grateful to my mum for coming with me, putting up with my uber-bitch mode this morning, and watching what must have been the difficult sight of her daughter undergoing a distressing gynaecological procedure.

I'm also soooooo hugely relieved that my tubes and womb are clear. Hopefully this will mean that we can make some progress really soon!

I've booked my massage tomorrow to reward myself for being brave and going through with it. But take note - I'm the biggest wimp going, so if I can do it, anyone can.

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Hitting rock bottom

So today was a good day.

After not even a millilitre more of blood overnight, I rang the hospital this morning and spoke to one of the nurses who will be doing the HSG on Friday. She asked what a normal period was for me and I said one day of very heavy bleeding, following by two days of medium and then another two days of light. Even though my cycles are all to hell, that actual pattern for my period itself has never changed and has been the same since I was 13.

The nurse said that it could well be a stress-induced blip, but that there were no issues with actually doing the test provided I'm not pregnant. That's the one thing they have absolutely to rule out, as she explained that if I were and they pushed a catheter through my cervix, that would cause me to abort the baby. The foetus, she said, but let's face it, the baby.

She then said that the fact I've bled very lightly once last Wednesday and then again on Sunday could - possibly - indicate that actually I am. Apparently such things are common early on. She even said they've had two women this week cancel their HSGs because they've fallen pregnant. (I loathe them both with a vitriol that surprises even me.)

She told me to go straight to the fertility clinic (luckily, it's just five minutes from work - this call took place by the side of a road at almost 9am this morning!) where they would do a blood pregnancy test - apparently, that's the only thing that's accurate enough early on. I told her I'd done a urine one on Saturday morning but she dismissed that as she said they're not reliable until six weeks into the pregnancy. (They should put that on the fucking BOX!)

I obediently presented myself at the fertility clinic this morning and only had to wait 15 minutes among other ashen-faced, desperate women to get in for my blood test.

The nurse said I could phone up for the results - can I just reiterate, this was to find out over the phone whether I am pregnant or not - this afternoon at 4pm.

Time never passed more slowly than it did today. I know she didn't mean to, but the nurse really got my hopes up - having a medical professional confirm that I MIGHT be pregnant in a month where I thought all hope was lost really got me excited.


At 4pm I phoned up. The number they'd given me didn't work. All it did was go, "BONG-BONG-BONG: This number is not valid" in a smug, probably pregnant woman's voice.

I checked my diary, where I've written the fertility clinic number for reference. It was the same number. "BONG-BONG-BONG" etc ensued.

I checked the website. Same PISSING number.

I called a few directory enquiry lines. Same number. By now I was nearly deaf from BONG-BONG-BONGs because for some insane reason I kept thinking that it would magically work if I just rang it one more time.

Eventually I started fretting that the clinic would close before I had defeated BONG-BONG-BONG lady. So I called the hospital - other side of the city, but surely these people share contact details - and eventually got through to their switchboard, having to give a garbled and increasingly hysterical precis of my story to every different person I spoke to.

Switchboard lady was nice. She detected the telltale wobble in my voice and said she wouldn't cut me off till she'd got a number for the fertility clinic. Six minutes later I was connected to the sister at the clinic.

She was so lovely to me, and that's when the tears finally came. She explained the test had come back negative. I didn't say anything. She said, "I'm so sorry, darling" and that was it - I wept like a kid.

I explained how scared I am about Friday, and how the conversation with the other nurse this morning had given me this unexpected jolt of hope that I'd hung everything on. And she listened. She just listened. She even asked if I wanted to walk over to the clinic and talk in person. She deserves a medal. People as good and kind as her would get my eyes wet at the best of times.

So I eventually got it together enough to get through the rest of the day, but on the way home on the train I just kept hearing "I'm so sorry, darling" again in my mind and I have to say I sat in that carriage with huge, fat tears just dripping down my face. I didn't even care. I then had a HUGE crying jag when I got in and saw hubby.

Two glasses of red later and I'm really calm, but so very sad and scared.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Now what?

Oh dear, this week is not going well. For a start, hubby crashed the car today. Not badly - he's fine, which is the main thing, and it's really no more than a shunt and a dented bumper - but it's not what either of us needed.

Back on topic, my period has dwindled to virtually nothing. I basically only bled properly for one day, Sunday. Yesterday I was surprised at how light it was - my usual pattern is at least three days of heavy flow - and today it's all but gone. This is unheard of for me after two days.

I can't work out whether it's just been really light as a result of me being so stressed out about all the tests. The fear has really kicked in about Friday now. I certainly don't want to have the HSG if this hasn't been a proper period, for three reasons:

1) My cervix won't be properly open if it wasn't so the catheter bit will be more painful.

2) I haven't had a proper period since 25 February so my womb is likely full of endometrium and other crap. Surely this would skew the results of the HSG, which needs an empty womb to determine if there are any lurking gremlins?

3) I suppose there's an outside chance that the pregnancy test I did on Saturday was too early and I might be pregnant. Dreams can come true and all that.

Mind you, don't think that I just want to cancel because I'm scared. This actually couldn't be further from the truth. I'm terrified but also sort of psyched up for it now, and it will be a crashing disappointment if I have to put it off for anything other than The Best reason.

It's just so hard to get advice - the relevant department of the hospital is only open between 9 and 5, and I work in an open plan office. I suppose the best thing to do is ring them tomorrow and explain the situation.

I briefly considered phoning NHS Direct for guidance this evening, but they're really more for people who are urgently ill right now. They'd dismiss me as a nut-job if I rang up asking whether my period had been heavy enough to justify having a catheter rammed up my hole at the end of the week.

I then checked for infertility helplines in the wild hope that someone manning one of them might have at least HAD an HSG and be able to offer an educated guess as to what I ought to do. Sadly there aren't many - the one I did find quoted an out-of-hours number that was clearly residential. Still, desperately, I rang it anyway and the phone was answered in an aggrieved tone by a man whose mouth was full of food. He denied all knowledge of there being an infertility counsellor in residence, and I felt like a prize tit.

Why oh why couldn't I just have had a normal period?!

It doesn't seem like a massive amount to ask.

Sunday, 6 April 2008

The period has landed

It's here!

Whether it was exercise that worked, or the fab suggestion from a fellow blogger, or maybe just going out for dinner with friends last night and forgetting about it for a few hours, my period finally descended in the early hours of this morning as unseasonable April snow fell outside.

I'd like to think it was the suggestion from s.e. that did it, because that enabled me to utter possibly the most romantic sentence I've ever said to hubby: "Why don't you shag me and see if we can smoke it out that way?" Thanks for the tip - and thanks to everyone else who's left comments too. I really appreciate them all.

With it starting overnight, I've now got five full days for it to finish before the HSG on Friday. The way timings have worked out means I might still be bleeding a little on the day, but by that stage I'm usually very light so I'm hoping it will still be able to go ahead. I shall call the hospital in the morning to check.

Am I scared? Do bears shit in the woods?! But at the same time I'm keen to get it over with, and to have some light shed on the state of my tubes.

It does scare me to think that this time next week I will know what it feels like to have a balloon inflated inside my cervix. I feel vaguely sick whenever I think about that.

I've only had one wobbly moment today. In the car, the song 'Common People' by Pulp came on the radio, and I had the experience again where one random lyric really got to me. It was the line "You'll never fail like common people, never watch your life slide out of view", and once again I suddenly had wet eyes, because it does rather feel like my life has disintegrated, or at least contracted around this one focal nightmare.

I picked myself out of my funk by substituting the word "common" for the word "barren" and drafting another little parody in my head. (Am I doing this too much?!) My favourite bit was "I said pretend you've got no hormones", but I didn't share when hubby asked what was up following my self-congratulatory snort. I wasn't convinced he'd get why it was funny - mainly because it isn't, really.

Saturday, 5 April 2008

Update on my extremely stupid body

Well, still no bastard period.

I finally did a test this morning and, of course, it was negative. But where is my period? It's never done this before - it has started and then retreated for a day or two before returning with a vengeance, but it's never started then vanished for four days.

We're now in a position where one of three things can happen:

1) My period arrives today or tomorrow, behaves itself, and finishes on Thursday in time for me to have the HSG on Friday morning. As by far the best option, this is pretty well guaranteed NOT to happen.

2) My period stays away until later in the week, thus ruling out the HSG by being still in full flow when it's supposed to take place. I have to cancel the HSG, cancel my day's leave from work, and basically cancel my LIFE until my turn on this hellish merry-go-round next month.

3) My period stays away full stop. I have to cancel the HSG because I can't have it till I've had a period - aside from anything else, it's been six weeks now and my womb will be full of endometrium crap, so that'd skew the results anyway. I then have to exist in a state of semi-derangement wondering if I'm magically pregnant (though by now, if I were it'd be the next Messiah since hubby and I haven't had it off since mid-March) or if in fact my entire reproductive system has somehow crawled out of my vagina and disappeared on a Ferris Bueller-style jaunt without my knowing.

FUCK. I hate this. It's ridiculous because, as scared as I am, I actually want the HSG now. I want it over with, I want to know the state of my tubes, I want to have made some progress. And I suppose a small, dark part of me wants to punish my lazy, useless, incompetent collection of rude bits, in a sort of "you've messed me around so much, so let's see how you like THEM apples" motif.

The grumbling crampiness and sore boobs of this time last week have all but vanished and I don't feel the least bit periody. Could I somehow have just missed one? Of all the months for that to happen!

Now that I've tested and categorically know there's no baby, I'm going to head to the gym and pound the crap out of myself to see if I can kickstart it that way.

If that fails, I've officially run out of ideas.

Friday, 4 April 2008

Are you kidding me?

A pregnant bloke?


I'm sorry, but are you HAVING A LAUGH?!

It's really a sad state of affairs when it's easier for a man to conceive than it is for me.

I got my period in the early hours of Wednesday morning. Saying that, what I mean is I got a smear of blood on Wednesday which I assumed was my period, so after a) crying so much my eyes puffed out and b) having a massive fight with hubby about the fact that I'm scared of the HSG, I got up for work and, on the way, rang the hospital to book in for the hideoussalpingogram itself.

The lady I spoke to was lovely, and I'm in next Friday at 11am. However, my period never actually started. Aside from the nocturnal smear of blood and a little bit of brown sludge over the past few days, I've not started bleeding properly.

What the fuck's it playing at? I'm booked in now, and if it doesn't start flowing tomorrow, it won't have finished in time for the HSG to happen.

It's one thing to have polycystic ovaries. It's one thing not to be able to conceive even after two years of trying harder than I've ever tried for anything.

It's quite another when your own body seems hell-bent on making life as difficult as possible.

How do you wage war against yourself?