Thursday, 29 May 2008

Twilight descends on my baby dream

I'm sorry I haven't posted for so long.

I feel that I've completely run out of inspiration, and of things to say. The doomy feeling of apathy that had - if I'm honest - sort of descended even before the showdown at the clinic last week has just deepened and I don't feel able to deal with fertility stuff on any level.

It's just impossible to get my head around another year of waiting. What I really should be doing is picking myself up and being proactive, the way I usually am: getting my bloodwork done, maybe seeking second and third opinions.

But I'm not, and haven't. I was supposed to go this week for another blood test but I haven't. After the butcher's job made of my arm last week, when I ended up with a huge purply bruise that made me resemble a heroin addict, I felt my vein needed a rest. I plan to go in the morning but it's a bugger having blood taken repeatedly in summer when one wants to wear short sleeves!

At the core of me, I just now feel that it is never, ever going to happen, and that if I am to have any semblance of a life, I need to start dealing with that.

I feel like the medical profession has turned its back on us. I feel like nobody will help us. And I feel like we are barely coping with this anymore, as a couple and as individuals.

I think Blackadder said it best: "I think the phrase rhymes with 'clucking bell'"!

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Second consultation at the fertility clinic

Well, that was a waste of time.

I was initially heartened when I realised we'd bagged a session with the head honcho consultant - the one who's a renowned authority on reproductive medicine in our area, and whose name is on all the plaques that adorn the clinic's reception. But we might as well have seen Tinky Winky the Teletubby for all the help she gave us.

She said there's nothing obviously wrong with us - his sperm's fine, my tubes are fine, and apparently all my bloodwork was fine. This, it would seem, indicates that I DO ovulate and DON'T have PCOS. The consultant last time who thought my right ovary looked polycystic was apparently wrong. (I suspected all along I didn't have PCOS.)

She then said IVF would be the next step as a solution for the dreaded "unexplained" infertility. However, she's reluctant to do something so invasive at the moment - because, get this, "time is still on our side".

So Professor Winky then told us to come back in a year.

Yes, you read right - a year. Another year of this - of hope and disappointment every month, of life being on hold, of limbo, of misery, of money wasted on pregnancy tests that are never positive.

I asked about the fertility drugs I'd been so sure I'd be given today, and she said I don't need them. She says Clomid comes with risks, there's a 10% chance every cycle of twins and more side effects than you can shake a stick at. I'm not stupid and completely understand why she doesn't want me to go down this route if I don't need to. But a YEAR?

We were offered counselling because the prof said she was "concerned at the level of anxiety" - probably as a result of my smacked-arse expression when she uttered the words "a year". And maybe it's something to look into because I fear for my sanity, I really do. A year.

They also took blood (more? why?) and said I now have to have a blood test every week until they can establish a detailed ovulation pattern. And here they threw me a bone: if it does turn out, after a couple of months of monitoring, that my ovulation is erratic, we can try Clomid later in the year.

I'm rambling a bit here but it's because I'm still trying to get my head around the fact that the experience I thought would bring an end to our limbo has actually intensified the sense of helplessness. Of course, I'm glad there's nothing deal-breakingly wrong with either of us. But equally, for it to be "unexplained" seems doubly frustrating.

And I have to say, the prof did come out with a surprising array of pointless comments and platitudes. The spine-curlingly annoying words "try and put it out of your mind" were used, as well as the truly infuriating "you can't expect to get a six every time you throw a dice". What does that even mean? I never asked to be Rainman, I just want a fucking baby after two years of trying!

Hubby, as usual, sat there like a mute throughout and refused to comment or react to anything. She even pulled him up on it - she said "You're very quiet - is there anything you want to say or ask?" and he just said no.

Afterwards, he was more concerned with heading off to get a replacement for his watch battery before the jeweller's shut than with seeing how I was doing. I actually think he's pissed off that there has turned out to be nothing wrong with me, because previously he was coasting along on a sea of relief at it all being my fault.

The big question is, where do we go from here? Can we make it through another year of this without killing/hating/leaving each other? Will our already clinical and somewhat dull sex life dwindle to nothing again against a backdrop of mounting pressure and frustration? Will I resort to mothering dolls and small ornaments?

Find out in the next exciting instalment of "How The Fuck Did This Become My Life?"

Monday, 19 May 2008

The fertility clinic looms (again)

So, tomorrow looms and I am not feeling like I expected to.

I assumed I'd feel similar to last time: hope, trepidation, anxiety, excitement, nervousness.

I don't. If I'm being completely honest, which I said I'd always be in this blog, I feel like I am past caring. I feel like I could not give the remotest shit about what happens tomorrow. Give the appointment to someone else, for all I care. I don't even want to go. I'm so SICK of all this that I seem to have reached some sort of impasse where I have accepted my infertility and it can go fuck itself.

Obviously, this is some sort of bollocks reaction to stress and frustration. Of course I care - after everything we've been through it'd be a nonsense to say I suddenly don't. But it's certainly true that I am bored, bored, bored of all this. It wasn't supposed to be like this.

Still, it is what it is and we are where we are. (Hark at me with the platitudes.) I think that perhaps I'm inexplicably angry with it being here after waiting so long for it since the HSG.

Or maybe it's not so inexplicable: maybe the fact it's finally here has reminded me that the past six weeks of my life have been a pointless blur in which nothing has mattered or even registered except for this one appointment. And now the time has come to deal with that appointment, to get through the minutes of it and learn whatever it is that we will learn, my brain has suddenly said, "You know what? I'm done coping with this."

It's weird how people behave in the waiting rooms for various fertility stuff. I may have made this point before - apologies if I have - but you know how in dentists' and doctors' waiting rooms, there are always magazines and people always thumb through them, however idly?

Well, in fertility clinic receptions there are also magazines but they just sit in the centre of a table in a stack so neat that you know it's never been dislodged. Nobody reads. Nobody talks - the couples who are there together just sit in silence, contemplating. Wondering how the hell they ended up on the road that got them there, I guess.

Time for bed. Tomorrow's a big day.

Monday, 12 May 2008

We all go a little crazy sometimes

I haven't been posting much lately, and it's kind of because we're in a state of utter limbo between now and the fertility clinic a week tomorrow. I just feel there's not an awful lot more to say that doesn't just echo what I've said already - that is, being unhappy that I'm not yet pregnant.

Hubby and I are going through another bad patch. Last night we had sex for the first time this cycle and I have to say it was tedious. Throughout, the only thought in my head - I mean, literally, the ONLY one - was "I wonder if that truffly-coloured paint is too dark for the bedroom". This is not the type of thought sequence a 29-year-old woman who used to enjoy a good seeing to should be having.

I also made the mistake of losing patience during foreplay. (By foreplay, of course, I mean the vague pawings hubby attempts - and bless him for trying, but it doesn't mean much when executed with the enthusiasm of a baked worm.) "Can't you just fuck me," I said, the unspoken conclusion to that sentence being "so I can get on with my book".

"I just want to touch you," he replied somewhat forlornly. To anyone other than a bitch whose heart has been hardened by two years of fertility misery, that'd be quite sweet. It just annoyed me. And I'm sad to say my patience evaporated at that point and I started the unforgivably nasty sentence, "But it'd be over much faster if..." before realising my crime and catching myself, ashamed.

The above is exhibit A of me at my worst, but hubby is not blameless in this either. On Saturday night, after quite a nice evening together drinking wine and watching a film, he totally lost his temper after we got into bed. He accused me of "stealing the covers".

Now, I imagine this is a common theme between long-term partners. It's an old chestnut for us, too, in that hubby prefers to fall asleep cool and unencumbered by duvet but then - and here's the rub - gets cold in the wee hours and wants the OPTION of covers to be available to him. I, on the other hand, furl myself up in blankets and curl into the foetal position - let's all pause for an ironic chuckle at THAT one - and stay that way all night. So, inevitably, there comes a point where hubby is grasping for covers that have been clamped to me in the vicelike grip of a corpse. It's just a basic sleep-incompatibility. It's not either of our faults - it just is what it is. Sounds familiar.

On Saturday, however, hubby flipped in a style much more reminiscent of me. He actually hauled the duvet off the bed and attempted to abscond down the stairs with it wrapped around him like a toga at one point. This should have been funny, and indeed I did let loose a rogue giggle at the sight of him, and that caused him to REALLY wig out. He hurled a glass of water over me (and his side of the bed, the daft twat) and was on the verge of frustrated tears.

It scares me, what this situation is driving us to. I know he's desperately sick of it too, and I know that we should be kinder to each other to help ourselves through this. But it's hard when it feels like you're the only two people in it - it's inevitable that you, surviving in your way, clash against the other person trying to cope in theirs.

I had my own hissy fit this evening. After sitting down to dinner I discovered hubby had accidentally (he claims; I suspect spite as his inherent Scottish frugality means he won't willingly dispose of anything that hasn't provided at least two decades of faithful service) thrown out my lime pickle. I am OBSESSED with lime pickle - it's unthinkable that I could consume curry or chilli without it.

Well, I went berserk. Just mad. I ranted and raved like one demented about how I couldn't believe he had done this heinous thing to me. All the while he sat there chewing his chilli in a deliberately irritating fashion, and occasionally wincing when my voice reached glass-shattering proportions. Eventually I stormed out, dressed like a clown in the first outerwear I pulled out of the cupboard, which happened to be unseasonably furry boots and an oversized fleece. I pulled up, tyres steaming, at the supermarket where I discovered that they were out of the one brand of lime pickle I really like. I very nearly cried.

I'm calmer now but wondering just how on earth hubby and I are going to fare if things get worse before they get better.

One thing's for sure. That truffly-coloured paint is definitely too dark for the bedroom. Glad I got that sorted.

Monday, 5 May 2008

A Bank Holiday visit from the witch

My period came today.

I know I mentioned symptoms last time, but I wasn't 100% expecting it. Sure, it was due on Saturday, if we're going by the crazy notion of my old pre-Pill 28-day cycle, but since it hasn't done that for two years I wasn't expecting it to this month. Plus with all the kitty-related stress I half thought it wouldn't show at all. The other half of me, as always and against my better judgment, held onto a sliver of hope.

Wrong. I was sitting having a sunny Bank Holiday tapas lunch when a familiar wrenching pain made itself known in my lower tummy. I crept to the toilet and sure enough, a horror movie make-up kit had exploded in my (new) pants.

I tried not to let it bother me. I continue to be trying that right now, as I sit here typing and nursing a glass of wine. After all, with all the stress and chaos, I expected this month to be a write-off. That and the fact hubby and I have barely seen each other, let alone screwed each other, was pretty indicative of an unlikely pregnancy month.

But then.

I so wanted to be one of the people who got pregnant right before my HSG. I then wanted to be one of the people who got pregnant right after my HSG. Now, a fortnight from the Clomid summit at the fertility clinic, it's getting ever more certain that it will be only with the help of drugs that we will conceive.

Oh well. What's another month, really, when we're into our twenty-fifth? And it's not like this month hasn't given me lots of other things to appreciate, from the big stuff of my baby kitty coming through his surgery, to little stuff like having a huge amount of fun staying up playing silly games till 5.30am on Saturday night with friends.

The frustration still makes me want to go and yell in a field, though. But not now - got to go and deal with these nasty cramps.

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Mothering my furry friend

Sorry I haven't posted for a while. It's been a traumatic week, but the good news is my lovely little cat seems to have come through the operation OK.

He's really been through the mill - the vet kept him overnight because he didn't wake up too quickly from the general anaesthetic, and he also needed a drip to support his kidneys. He looks just terrible - shaved neck where they drew blood, shaved paw where the drip was, and a huge, scary, Cat-of-Frankenstein-esque scar on his back, surrounded by skin that's been dyed blue from the surgical antiseptic solution. My poor darling.

I was so relieved to get him back yesterday morning, and spent the day nursing him. I just watched him all day, and cuddled him lots, and hand-fed him his food and his medicines, and made sure he had plenty of warm, cosy places to rest. During my lunch he started crying for attention, so I left it and cuddled him till he fell asleep, and just ate the cold food later on.

I might sound like I'm being martyrish and holier-than-thou, but that's genuinely not my intention - I loved every second of taking care of him as I was so glad he'd come through OK. I don't know what I'd do without him.

Later, my mum said it was my first taste of motherhood. The endless watching - to make sure they're comfortable enough, and warm enough, and fed and watered, and not in danger. And goddamnit, I was good at it. Really good.

My period's on its way - all the signs are here, including ravenous hunger and aching boobs. For the first month in ages I don't have pre-period hope/anxiety that I might be pregnant. The trauma of the last couple of weeks - in fact, of the whole month, including HSG-buildup - has been such that I honestly haven't had time to dwell on where a fertilised egg would be right now, and ooh, was that a symptom?

In any event, hubby and I haven't had a shag since about 14 April, so if I were pregnant it'd be with the next Messiah...

No, the thing to do now is rest, relax, get my period out of the way and then focus on our follow-up appointment at the clinic on 20 May.

Bring it on. I'm ready for my Clomid, Mr deMille!