Tuesday, 31 December 2013

The Anti-Cravings

I have not written on here for ages.

This is because a) I am too scared in case everything goes wrong and
b) I have been very lazy (blame the pregnancy tiredness).

Anyway, I am now 11 weeks and still running to the loo every five minutes to check that Blastocyst (who has by now hopefully graduated to the status of "Foetus") has not fallen out because I have killed it with my negative thinking, or simply because the whole situation is just too good to be actually true.

On the plus side, I am feeling very queasy and tired, and have gone off basically all food (these are obviously pluses, as presumably they mean Foetus is still in there and making its presence known).  So much for pregnancy cravings, I have had zero cravings, and about twenty million aversions including all of the following:
Coffee (at least this saves me worrying about killing Foetus with caffeine)
Tea (TEA.  I ask you to take a deep breath and really think about that one for a minute, just to let the gravity of the situation sink in)
Pretty much anything fried, especially eggs
Chips (CHIPS) or any kind of fried potato
Curry (WHY?????  This just goes from bad to worse)
Anything from the canteen at work
Patak's Lime Pickle (O THE CRUELTY!)

So basically all I can now eat is pasta, which I have to scoff at regular intervals as not eating also makes me feel sick.  I even threw up a couple of innocent After Eight mints this morning.

On the plus side, for the first time in my entire life I am happy to be staying in on New Year's Eve, feeling completely smug about it, and going to bed at 9pm.  May this be the start of many happy teetotal nights in to come.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Knicker Watch Officially Starts Here

Today is a momentous day.  One that will go down in the history books.  Or at least the annals of my life.

I hope.

Yes, today is the day I got a faint line on a cheap pregnancy test from Wilkinson's.  And a day before Official Test Date at that.

I celebrated in hedonistic style, dancing (walking.  Didn't want to dislodge the blastocyst) around the room for a good hour, mostly to I Need a Hero by Bonnie Tyler and a selection of the songs from Grease 2.  Then off to Pret for a celebratory breakfast of superfood salad and peppermint tea (I do hope peppermint tea is safe for blastocysts).

I am a bit scared, of course.  Correction:  I am TERRIFIED.  Have to keep resisting the urge to stand on balcony with a megaphone bellowing the news to the whole of London whilst displaying the urine-soaked pregnancy test triumphantly as though it were the FA Cup as, after all, it may be (lowers voice to a whisper in case Blastocyst hears and starts getting ideas) a chemical pregnancy.

I am also a bit worried about this whole "positive thinking/visualisation" thing.  I mean, if you can make your womb lining grow by visualising it as a big fluffy duvet, as my acupuncturist suggested that you could, does this mean that you can also make your embryo die by imagining your period starting and ruining the whole thing?  If this is the case then Little Blastocyst is in big trouble, because I am visualising blood every time I go within a mile of a toilet, and since one is never more than one mile from a toilet unless travelling through remote desert lands on the back of a camel, this is quite clearly all the time.

And with that, I am off to the toilet.  Just checking, of course.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Get Those Adhesive Molecules out and hold on tight Little One!

One day after my embryo transfer (this is known as "1dp5dt" by those of us in the know, and by that I mean those of us who spend a lot of time in IVF chatrooms hyperventilating over getting a "twinge in the ovary") and I am already mental.

I am seriously considering putting a picture of Little Blastocyst as my profile picture on Facebook, with a caption that says something along the lines of "F*** you all smug knocked up married bores using your scan picture as your profile picture because it is SO OBVIOUSLY A PICTURE OF YOU and not a smug self-congratulatory boast.  I have a picture of my offspring BEFORE IT HAD EVEN IMPLANTED IN MY WOMB."

However, as I am not a mental person who squawks on Facebook about how unreasonable everyone else is for not talking to them, paying them attention or generally telling them how great they are by posting attention seeking status updates about how miserable they are, I am not going to do this, however tempting it may be.

Also my mother is worried that she would get a lot of questions from our more conservative relatives.

The important point here, of course, is that I have a photo.  A photo of Little Blastocyst, microscopic offspring of Me and Random American.  I actually love it.  I am going to take it to work and put it on my desk.  Other people have pictures of their children after all.  Just because Little Blastocyst is smaller than everyone else's children I don't see why I can't have him or her on my desk.  Anyway, Little Blastocyst is top grade (well, 4AB, which doesn't sound like top grade to me but the embryologist assured me that s/he was very good).  Sadly, the other three quads didn't make it, and were "slowing down," which I was disappointed about, mainly because I had been hoping to freeze one or two as an insurance policy in case Little Blastocyst decides not to implant.  Now I have nothing.  No back up.  Just a fervent prayer that LB has the stamina to hatch out of the zona pellicuda and fix itself to my endometrium using his or her adhesive molecules (this is apparently what happens).

Fingers crossed.

Oh, and surely one day after embryo transfer is too early to be having pregnancy symptoms right?

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Ten Things I Have Learned About IVF

1.) I am thinking of looking for a role in the circus as the Astonishing Human Pin Cushion.  

2.) Everyone is telling me what to eat: Drink milk, eat eggs, don't eat cheese, eat tofu, don't eat tofu, sugar is bad for the eggs.  It's enough to drive anyone to a life of cupcakes and wine.

3.) The sole reason that most people who have IVF are married is so that there is someone to remind you that you are actually mental when you are hopping around the bedroom terrified that you have overdosed on Menopur and are going to drop dead right there and shouldn't you be phoning an ambulance right now, or at least NHS Direct?

4.) The best thing about work is having other people there to tell you that you are actually mental when you brandish a syringe at them, yelling, "Do you think I took the right dose?  I took THIS MUCH!"

5.) The most important question facing the world right now is this: If Menopur is made of "the urine of menopausal women," then who is donating their wee to science for this to happen?  Are people in lab coats secretly raiding the cisterns of the over 50s?

6.) I am seriously thinking about starting a business selling my mother's urine to make IVF drugs.  I could be the Walter White of fertility medicine.  

7.) The best thing about downregulation is the lack of bloating.  If this is the shape of what's to come in my menopausal years, then I will be still wearing crop tops in my sixties.  This is BRILLIANT.

8.) After getting off lightly with no depression or mood swings throughout downregulation, things have  taken a sudden turn for the worst during the stims phase.  Today I almost cried at the News.  While they were talking about a teachers' strike.  During which I got A DAY OFF WORK.

9.) I have started believing in acupuncture to promote fertility.  And visualisation.  And foods that look like soggy grass.  And the power of wearing orange.  

10.) Drinking coffee and eating Nutella have started to seem like the sort of terrible vices that can only be cured by attending a 60 day detox programme at a rehab centre in Arizona and wearing a sensor that immediately administers an electric shock when going within one hundred yards of Costa Coffee.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Why can't it just all be easy, like in the Bible?


I am sat on my bed with a copy of The Baby-Making Bible next to me.  It all seems a lot more complicated than it is in the real Bible, where men just have to "know" their wives, and "go into" them.  Although I suppose that Abraham and Sarah had difficulty conceiving, and had no success until they reached the grand old age of ninety-nine, which beats even the most outlandish Wikipedia stories about OAPs conceiving back in the 1740s.

And there are several stories about women (including the unfortunate Sarah) having to put up with their husbands going off with comely young concubines to continue the family name.

And the Virgin Mary's cousin Elizabeth struggled a bit.

And the Virgin Mary herself conceived in a somewhat unlikely manner, being a virgin and all that.

OK the Bible is probably the greatest book ever written about infertility.

But it doesn't tell you an awful lot about how to conceive, except that it is something that only The Lord  can make happen, which isn't very useful.

Or you could just go and get your widowed father roaring drunk in a cave, and "lie with him" (THIS HAPPENS KIDS.  IN THE BIBLE).

Anyway, The Baby-Making Bible isn't so much fun (not that I am suggesting that *see above* is fun).  It's just about how people should have acupuncture, and not drink too much water and stuff.  Yes, not drink too much water.  It actually goes against all known medical advice.  I have continued to drink water, and I have also been augmenting it with a daily shot of "Royal Jelly," which is quite literally the food of Queens.

Queen Bees, that is.  Yes, I eat the same stuff that Queen Bees eat.  And I am like, a million times their size.  This is astonishing.  Anyway, Queen Bees lay LOADS of eggs, enough to populate an entire hive; therefore it stands to reason that eating their food means that I too will lay LOADS of eggs.

And this is very important as I am going to be having IVF.


I have been accepted as an egg sharer.  This means that I do not have any of the following:
Any of the ten million varieties of Hepatitis
Cystic fibrosis
Dodgy chromosomes

I have so few diseases, I am even CMV negative, and eighty per cent of the population have that, whatever it is.  The only significance of that fact is that it limits the choice of sperm, as one can-in bizarre twist of weirdness as clearly in Real Life, when choosing a partner on Match.com, or in the dim light of a ropey club with sticky carpets at 2am, one always questions the likelihood of one's prospective partner having a very common virus that almost everyone has anyway-only choose sperm from a CMV negative donor if one is CMV negative.  This inevitably limits the choice of available sperm.

In fact, it limits it so severely that when one narrows the selection down to only "UK-compliant, ID-disclosure" donors, one ends up with a choice of barely sixteen men.

Sixteen.  IN THE WORLD.

OK "in the world" is a slight exaggeration, when what is actually meant here is "in a sperm bank in America."

You can imagine my delight when I saw their photos (yes, photos.  AMAZING) and discovered one who was "fit."

I was so happy that I ran home from work early just so that I could call America before my beloved Chosen One sold out, only to find that it was "Labor Day" (please note inverted commas.  I know this is not the correct spelling of "labour."  I am merely being authentically American.  Also, no pun intended) and the sperm bank was closed.  Horror.  This meant that I had to make the Fateful Call the following day, from work, from my mobile, whilst praying that no one walked in while I was on the phone.

To my relief and delight, the donor-who I had, in my head, started calling "The One"-was still in stock, and I purchased him-or rather a vial of him-immediately.  Totes amaze, as they would say in Essex.

However, all was not rosy for long, as I then decided to have a little look at him on the website again, just so that I could admire my great judgement in choosing him.  Then I saw the other nine photos.  AAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRGGGGGHHHHHH.  He is not as fit as I thought!  This is a tragedy.  I am going to have an ugly baby with a grade point average of 3.2.  And I don't even know what a grade point average is!  And he is doing a degree in something which sounds dangerously like "mickey mouse studies of things that aren't really things."  At a college which isn't Harvard or Yale!  And none of his siblings went to university!  And he places baseball!  BASEBALL for God's sake.  It's like ROUNDERS!  And he was a ten pound baby!  Not as in cost ten pounds (I wish.  No comment on the cost of all this), as in weighs ten pounds!  OH MY GOD I AM GOING TO HAVE A HUGE BABY WHO'S GOING TO BE EVEN BIGGER AS WILL POP OUT WEARING BASEBALL CAP.

Pass me the smelling salts.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Introducing the world's first Gu Chocolate Pot Baby

Well, the insemination process is complete.

And if I get pregnant, I will be writing to the Daily Mail and proclaiming it a "miracle baby."

I'm sure the Daily Mail has lots to say about people importing sperm from abroad off the internet and using it to self-impregnate.  Hell, they could even illustrate their disgust with a picture of me showing off my "bikini body" on holiday in their sidebar of shame if they wanted to.

Not that I'm going on holiday this year as cannot afford it after buying sperm off internet.

Anyway, the insemination was a bit of a disaster.

I say "a bit" because it was actually 50% a disaster.  I had ordered two straws of semen (I didn't see why you couldn't just order one, but I figured that as I was paying so much for the shipping anyway I may as well go the whole hog) and miraculously managed to get them both out of the nitrogen tank without causing injury to myself or, more importantly, the sperms.  Not that I could really be one hundred per cent sure of the latter as obviously they are microscopic.  And reader, it was EXACTLY how it looks on TV, you know when they get the semen out of the tank in the lab with a big ladle, and all the nitrogen-steam escapes.  AMAZE.  I felt like I was in a laboratory when in fact was in own bedroom.

Anyway, I then thawed all the little sperms out of their slumber and prepared the syringe.  Except that I didn't have a test tube handy (who has a TEST TUBE in their house?) to pour the sperm into, and the entire contents of the first straw ended up on the floor.  Disaster.

Fortunately, I managed to rescue the second straw by using an old "Gu" chocolate pot in lieu of a test tube, to empty the sperm into.  Forget "test tube babies," the "Gu Chocolate Pot Baby" will be a world first.  Maybe I could even get Gu to sponsor the baby's upbringing.  This is assuming that there will be a baby, however, and frankly that is looking unlikely since the content of one straw added up to no less than 0.5mls of semen.

I know they say it only takes one but that is ridiculous.  I have basically just done the turkey baster equivalent of have sex once with a man with a ludicrously low sperm count who hasn't even properly ejaculated.  No amount of lying on the bed with my lower body propped up on a cushion is going to rectify that.

Anyway, now all there is to do is send the nitrogen tank back to Denmark, forget about the whole sorry exercise and pray that all my egg sharing tests are clear so I can have IVF.  I imagine that will be a whole lot less stressful than this exercise has been.  I mean, IVF isn't stressful at all, right?

Friday, 2 August 2013

Existential Crisis

OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD.  Having a proper crisis over the whole situation.

That yellow nitrogen tank is eyeballing me from the hallway and I am absolutely terrified.

What if it works?
What if the baby hates me?
What if it buggers off to Denmark to look for its father?
What if its father is awful?
What if he's a mass murderer or other class of reprobate?
What if he's-as the youngsters would put it-"butters"?
What if he doesn't know the difference between "your" and you're" and scatters apostrophes around inappropriately (or whatever equivalent Danish grammatical sin)?
What if I can't afford a baby?
What if I have to move back in with my mother?
What if I end up having to get a payday loan from Wonga and shop at BrightHouse?
What if I have to relinquish all hope of marriage and/or child with person who actually loves me?
What if I'm a terrible mother?
What if the child grows up to be a complete bounder?
What if I never fit back into my American Apparel disco pants?
What if I am hunted down and killed by Daily Mail readers?

OK, so some of those questions more worthy of consideration than others but AAAAAARRRGGGH!

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Sperm Shipment Arrived: Not at all Worthy of Comment. Just a regular day for everyone.

This just arrived at my door.

It was not at all embarrassing.  NOT AT ALL.

For a start, the two concierges downstairs didn't notice anything remotely amiss.  They were not engaging in any kind of conversation with the courier from UPS about "ooh look at this, ooh it needs to be kept cold apparently!" which I could not overhear down the intercom.  Then the courier did not even bat an eyelid whilst handing the package to me, let alone chortle heartily "HERE'S YOUR BODY PARTS!"

Then, while I signed the delivery note, he did not ask any questions at all which might have suggested that this particular delivery was in any way a little bit out of the ordinary and perhaps not your average book or DVD from Amazon, such as; "IS IT ACTUALLY HUMAN THEN?  WHAT IS IT?"

Thanks, Danish sperm bank, for adding that lovely sticker with the words "TISSUES AND CELLS" and that tantalising little footnote about the case containing "human tissue."

I had images of the police turning up on my doorstep, demanding to know why I was importing human body parts and was I in fact a cannibal/mass murderer/both, so in order to avoid this, I ended up blurting out what it was.

"I don't want to say!" I protested, before realising that this made the whole enterprise sound even more dodgy.  "OK it's sperm!"  then added "from a sperm bank" just to clarify in case he thought I had got it through some dodgy means rather than through a recognised commercial enterprise that presumably conforms to international laws.  "For insemination" I then added, in case he wondered what I could possibly be doing with a load of human sperm and did I in fact have a laboratory set up in my flat, where I was running my own secret government cloning laboratory, manufacturing cloned soldiers for some future war when I am going to be a Blofeld-style Bond villain with ambitions to be Queen of the World.

"Oh right," said the courier with interest.  "So do guys come round and do that here then?"

Horrible images flashed through my mind of what that might entail.  Although to be fair, surely this was no worse than inviting round Absolute Bastard to do the deed au natrel, so to speak.

"Er, something like that."

Something which is never going to be done again.  It either works, or it's the IVF.  I am SO not going through this again.


Wednesday, 31 July 2013

All is not lost?

There is currently a tank of liquid nitrogen containing two straws of frozen sperm on its way from Denmark with my name on it.

As you pause to take that in I will add that this was purchased on the internet.

For €700.

At least that's euros, not pounds.

In other news, I went back to the fertility clinic today, and they have provisionally accepted me as an egg sharer.  AND my AMH has not decreased!

I am drinking Tesco Cava to celebrate.  All I need to do now is make sure that I pass the myriad of tests for STDs and genetic diseases and problems.

Fingers crossed at least one of the above options works.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

"You will never get married. You are CURSED!"

I distinctly remember that being the statement made to Charlotte in Sex and the City after she went downtown to a dubious fortune teller with limited English who then promised that for a hundred dollars she could remove the curse.

I had something similar happen to me today.

In the course of my Wembley Curry Odyssey (my latest challenge, which naturally involves eating in every Indian Restaurant in the 'hood to see which one is best, so that I can look like a veritable Curry Expert to visiting dignitaries such as members of my family and close personal friends, should they ever deign to visit me in North West London) I found myself popping into my local coffee place for a quick takeaway coffee (the coffee isn't great, but it's the only place in the Greater Wembley area that does lattes).  The coffee kiosk is located in a shopping centre of sorts, with a dubious-sounding name like Wembley Plaza, and I found myself staring down the forbidding looking corridor right at a board advertising palm readings.

I'm not quite sure what I expected-to my disappointment Mystic Meg wasn't sat outside gazing eerily up at me from her crystal ball-but I tiptoed along the corridor to see a small woman in a headscarf, apparently locked inside with no customers.

I knocked on the door and enquired how much a palm reading cost, to which the woman answered £10, so I decided to go ahead, given that the maintenance on the building must have been less than that on the seaside resort gypsy caravans one finds on the ends of piers that usually cost twice the price.

She then phoned the "pandit" who does the readings, apparently he'd just popped out to buy a newspaper-it must have been a slow day-and asked me to write my name and date of birth on a piece of paper, as well as asking me how many people lived in my house (bizarre), the names of my parents and siblings and my occupation.  After she'd done this an awkward silence descended as we waited for the pandit so I decided to make small talk by asking her if she lived in Wembley.  She took off her headscarf and answered, "No, I have plait," showing me her plaited hair.

Not quite sure what she thought I'd said there.

Anyway, fortunately the pandit arrived shortly afterwards and told me my lucky number was seven (isn't everyone's?) and showed off his psychic skills by the fact that he had written this down before I had even said it (he had asked me to name a number between one and nine).   He then examined my hands before revealing the following not-at-all obvious or general truths (bear in mind he already knew my name, age, occupation and marital status, and that I lived alone).

1.) I am from a good family, my parents were kind hearted and raised me to be the same.
2.) My family are neither rich nor poor, but of the "middling sort."
3.) I have a good education.
4.) At the moment, I spend all the money I earn.

The latter not terribly difficult to work out given the fact that I'd just spent ten of my hard-earned pounds paying a charlatan I've never met before in a room filled with pictures of Hindu gods to tell me all about my personality and potential future.

He then went on to say that I would be fine financially, and that I would be able to afford a car and two houses (yes, TWO.  This was totally the best thing he said.  I am so getting another property).

And then he said that people were jealous of me and were talking about me behind my back and giving me the "Evil Eye."  He went on about this for AGES AND AGES.  I was hoping he would get off the topic and tell me something more interesting.  Like, for example, that I was going to be a world-famous novelist, or meet a tall, dark handsome stranger (that old chestnut) or start popping out some babies in the near future, but all he could bang on about was these "bad people" who were giving me the Evil Eye and how this was hindering my general progress in life.

He also said my love life was pretty bad, so at least there was some truth to his ramblings.

He then said that I could purchase some spells and prayers to help combat the Evil Eye.  In fact, he basically said that I could pay him to do some yoga and he would get rid of the Evil Eyes for me.


I politely declined, and enquired about more pressing matters, such as whether I should change my job (he asked if this was because I didn't like my colleagues, perhaps hinting that it was they who were giving me the Evil Eye, then when I answered that it was just that I'd been there a while and fancied a change he was really vague and implied that whatever I did would be fine and I'd still get the car and the two houses.  Very important that, the two houses).

I also asked if I would get married, and to my abject horror, he answered straight away that I had already missed two chances to do this.

TWO CHANCES!  My life flashed before me, trying to think when these two chances might have been.  Was I drunk?  Did I sleep with them too soon and they ran off, these potential husbands?  The pandit just muttered something about the "planets not being aligned."  Yeah, right.

Lastly, I asked him the all-important question of whether I would have children.  He examined my hands thoroughly, squinting to see if there were any lines which presumably indicated my future possible children.  I swear we used to do something similar in primary school.

Finally, just as I thought he was going to tell me I'd missed my chances at that as well, he said I had "five or six" chances ahead of me, and of these potential children, two were boys and the rest girls.

I'd better get a wiggle on, as my good-hearted and middle class parents would say.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Hope Springs Eternal

I know I know, I've been away for ages.

And unfortunately, I do not return triumphant, ready to launch my blog of obsessive pregnancy anxiety, or write a press release for my new parenting book.

Alas, the treatment failed.  And not only that, but after I had some (brief) respite by getting a boyfriend (wonders never cease), that relationship too failed.

In short, I am one massive, humungous failure.  A failure as a woman, and a failure as a human being.

I had hoped, when my period was late this month, that perhaps there was a happy ending to my story, but happy endings are of course a mere chimera, based on nothing but the arbitrary place in a character's life where the author decides to end the story.  In a fairy tale or a chick lit novel, this might be at the point when the protaganist meets the man or woman of their dreams (although I struggle to think of a novel which ends with a man finding the woman of his dreams, as men are taught from birth to strive for other things, such as being a superhero who saves the world, rather than settling into cosy domesticity with a wife and children), but in reality Cinderella and Prince Charming surely didn't spend their entire married life in a bubble of permanent bliss, so better to end the story on a high note rather than continuing on until one of them dies, via illness, old age and arguments over the washing up.  Although I suppose as Prince Charming was a prince they must have had servants so probably never needed to do the washing up.  Well, even that couldn't save Mary and Matthew from that melodramatic car accident in Downton Abbey where Matthew got killed off leaving Mary a widowed single mother so a lack of washing up is surely not the secret to domestic bliss.  I think it's fair to say it hasn't worked for me either, no disrespect intended to the dishwasher for it is a worthy household appliance.

Anyway, back to happy endings.  So I had hoped when my period was late that perhaps there was a tiny possibility that the (now ex) Boyfriend had at least left me with a zygote rather than simply a rubbish book about Wicca, but alas no.  And yet again I had to suffer the indignity of going into Boots and buying a ludicrously expensive test only to get home and find that my period had started as if it was some cruel joke (Superdrug is closer to my house, but is cursed due to my having purchased so many negative tests from there in the past.  Also I can only buy the expensive tests as the cheap ones are also cursed).

AND I have now convinced myself that I have endometriosis, AND a hostile womb.  This is based on the following:
1.) I had two out of the ten possible endometriosis symptoms in an online quiz called "Do I have endometriosis?" which I found by googling the aforementioned terms.
2.) I am convinced that my late period is the sign of a chemical pregnancy as my period is NEVER late (apart from once, six months ago, which I also convinced myself was a chemical pregnancy).  The fact that I have therefore now had two of these means I have had three miscarriages in total and am a "habitual aborter" and therefore my womb must have an overzealous door policy which is stopping me from having any offspring.  Perhaps this is a result of the endometriosis which I have convinced myself that I have.  After all, chillingly there are sometimes no symptoms (it's like that pesky chlamydia, which I thought I had constantly between the ages of 17 and 31).

Maybe I did have the pesky chlamydia, and this is why I can't get pregnant.  Oh good God.  I am like a warning advert for promiscious teenagers.  "Look at me kids, this is what can happen if you're not careful!" like a cautionary tale advising against unsafe sex as if it was drink driving, dodgy fireworks or crystal meth.

Speaking of crystal meth, Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas used to be addicted to that, and she is now pregnant.  And she is like 38 or something, so there is hope.  I always find Fergie (as in Black Eyed Peas, not Duchess of York or Manchester United manager) is a useful pin-up girl for hope as her husband is also very fit despite her being a bit crystal meth-ravaged, so there is hope for me yet.  Maybe I should call Will-i-Am and ask him if he could use me on one of his tracks so I too can be like Fergie, albeit with a bit more of a starring role for the auto-tune.

I was going to go on about how I attempted to cheer myself up today by abusing my useless body in the gym, and then by going to Kew Gardens, although the latter was a bit scary as a 32 year old woman was killed there a few months ago when a stray bit of tree flew off and hit her in strong winds, and I bet she didn't see that one coming when she got up that morning and decided to take a trip to the home of retired horticulture enthusiasts and well-meaning middle class yummy mummies.  Luckily however, the only visible sign of death there today was the chair in which Queen Charlotte died.  Queen Charlotte apparently had fifteen children, most of whom survived into adulthood, which was pretty impressive for the eighteenth century, so I wondered if I should steal the chair and install it in my flat so I could sit on it and be infused with her fertility through the fabric (although hopefully not with the dropsy that killed her.  I had a pet goldfish that died of dropsy once.  How embarrassing to die of a fish disease).  However, I will stop there and leave you with the follwing thoughts of hope.
1.) Fergie is 38 or something, AND she used to be addicted to crystal meth, and she is pregnant and has a fit husband.
2.) I worked out that Queen Charlotte was 39 when she had her final child.
3.) I did not get killed by a tree today.  Nor do I have dropsy.

There is hope.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Treatment Over. Complete with Simulated Walk of Shame for Authenticity

So the IUI is over, and I am going crazy all over these internets.

The current fear is that the IUI was done too soon, given that it took place less than 24 hours after I had taken the so-called "trigger" shot (I confess I had absolutely no idea how this would work, and lay awake most of the night praying that I wouldn't ovulate too soon and miss the sperm).

And after all that I now find that the "trigger" doesn't trigger bugger all until 36 hours later, by which point the sperm would all have been dead as a doornail (is that the phrase?  Well, as dead as a very dead thing anyway, like, I don't know, a 5000 year old Egyptian mummy or something).

I even had a dream that all the sperm were dead.  So there, it must be true.

Perhaps I have in fact killed the sperm by visualising them dead.  I have a powerful mind you know.  Today I was thinking about Alexandra Burke (God knows why) and an Alexandra Burke song popped up on my ipod.  Now if I can trigger Alexandra Burke to sing in my ears merely by thinking about her, surely I could also be responsible for killing sperm by thinking about them dead.

The actual events surrounding the insemination are somewhat hazy.  Mostly because I was drugged up and don't remember any of it, therefore in the extremely unlikely event of my becoming pregnant, the baby will appear like some sort of miracle virgin conception that I will probably give birth to unexpectedly in a toilet (sadly, another one of my crazy dreams involved me giving birth to twins far too early in the pregnancy, i.e. early enough for them both to still be red and bloody and look like foetuses.  The dream ended badly, with one of my beloved twins dying in my arms, and me then running around desperately trying to stop the other one from dying too.  If that's not a grim premonition then I don't know what is).

Anyway, I went for a scan on Friday afternoon-the first since I'd started on the ol' meds.  Of course all my fears had been realised and I had overstimulated, although frustratingly not by much (frustrating because had I had one less follicle, I wouldn't have had to pay over the odds to get one sucked out).  I had four follicles.  Now that I've read all manner of details about other people's IUIs on the interwebs and all of them seem to know in great detail the precise sizes of their follicles (or "follies" as those in the know, such as myself, call them).  However, I was so worried about how many there were that I paid absolutely no attention whatsover to the size of mine, and now realise that I should have asked.  I'm sure one of them was 22mm, and another one maybe 17mm, both of which sound pretty standard from what I've read.

Anyway, I was offered the stark choice of either abandoning the cycle, which would have been less unpalatable had I had an unsuspecting man available to drag back to my place to try "au natrel" (which I didn't.  Men are so unreliable) and hope for the best (i.e. some babies but preferably not quads.  That would be embarrassing) or paying an extra few quid (450 to be precise) to get one "or two" aspirated.

TWO!  What was the point in taking all those poxy injections if all the eggs were just going to be sucked out?

I chose the latter.  Unfortunately this meant a total cost of £500, the additional fifty coming from the train ticket to Devon that I had purchased with the objective of attending a friend's wedding there the following day.  I also had to come back the following morning for the follicle reduction and the IUI to be performed together.

I went home and had a mournful last glass of wine, hoping that it wouldn't damage the quality of my precious eggs.

The following morning I set off for the clinic early, looking uncannily like someone doing the walk of shame, as I was completely overdressed as I was getting on a train to attend said wedding straight afterwards, but afflicted with a severe lack of make up or hair products as both were in my suitcase having been driven to Devon by a friend the night before in the expectation that I would be joining said suitcase later.

I arrived and was shown into a hospital ward-type room along with two other women who were both having egg collections for IVF.  There was a surgical gown on the bed-type thing which I assumed I was supposed to put on, but no one had actually explained to me whether I should, and the other women looked like they knew what they were doing, so I didn't want to look like a total idiot by putting it on wrong, and had to poke my head round the curtain and ask the nurse.  Embarrassment number one.

Embarrassment number two occurred when one of the other women came out of her egg collection clearly drugged up to the eyeballs and slurring her words whilst gleefully telling the nurse that she had "dreamed" she would have four eggs collected (a bit like I dreamed I had dead sperm and dead twins.  I sense a theme here and it's not a good one).  I decided that I would not be drugged up and embarrassing and when I came out of my follicle reduction and IUI (I reminded them I was having this done by asking lots of questions about how many follicles they were planning to remove, etc, just in case they got confused, thought I was having egg collection too and removed all my eggs.  HORROR) and therefore when I came out of theatre (why do they call it that?) I demanded several times that the nurse reassure me that I did not sound "drugged up," then declared that I loved the drugs and wanted them all the time, especially when travelling on long haul flights.  DOUBLE HORROR.

Anyway, after a bit of lying about drinking cups of tea and wondering where all the sperm were (there didn't look like there were many in the test tube, although I was assured that there were over 9 million) I was finally free to go and hot-footed it to Paddington to jump on a train where astonishingly, I made it to the wedding on time, albeit sans make up.

The rest of the day was spent trying to avoid doing too much dancing (I had been advised to avoid the gym) or drinking (I had been advised not to do that either).  I'm sure I didn't ovulate until later that evening, which I reckon could scupper my chances as surely if I didn't ovulate until, say, midnight, that would have been more than twelve hours after IUI and by then surely all the sperm would have been dead, given that the interwebs say they only live for about six hours once they've been frozen, thawed and washed (a traumatic process for a sperm, one imagines).

Anyway, I am trying not to overthink this (have just spent the last two hours desperately searching for answers on the interwebs) as hopefully the clinic know what they are doing (fleecing me, mostly).

Anyway, I am armed with a pregnancy test and I am determined to use it.  Hopefully not until my period is late (PERIOD PLEASE BE LATE.  TEST PLEASE BE POSITIVE, OR I HAVE WASTED A WHOLE CREDIT CARD THAT I COULD HAVE SPENT ON SHOES!!!!)

Only time will tell.

Friday, 15 February 2013

Fatal Stabbing?

Aargh another needle-related disaster!

Just as I was starting to think I was getting good at it as well.  Just stick the thing in and it doesn't even hurt.


Not just today, but possibly yesterday as well (can't remember).

And now my ovaries hurt.

Surely this means that I have either
a) Inserted the syringe-and hence the medication-so close to my right ovary that it has now gone crazy with all this additional stimulation, and started whirring around producing countless eggs.  So many, in fact, that not only will my cycle have to be cancelled, but my ovaries will no longer have any eggs as they have all been rudely awakened from their slumbers, and hence after this cycle, they will both shrivel up and die, and menopause shall beckon.
b) I have in fact stabbed the needle right into said ovary and it has split open, spilling its precious contents all over my insides and rendering the entire ovary useless.

Needless to say, both of these scenarios are BAD.

Just perused the interwebs to see if I could find any advice on this.  All I could find was a dire warning thta you didn't want to hit the muscle by mistake, but with no explanation of why this should be the case.

I wonder if the pinching skin thing was just supposed to be an insurance against the pain that one would imagine accompanies stabbing oneself nightly with a big needle, but if truth be told it doesn't seem to hurt at all so either there is another reason to pinch, or everyone else who takes Gonal-F has a very low pain threshold.

I am going to ask my Fertility Friends about this. Surely they will know the answer.

In the words of the great Eminem, I'm Back I'm on the Rack and Ovulating

Loving the drama.

It is expensive though.

Went for a scan at the clinic today-first one since I started taking the medication a week ago.  It turns out that I have indeed over-responded, and the drugs have miraculously resulted in four follicles (weird, to think that something I just stuck in my stomach each night has led to such fecundity).  So naturally, if they were to go ahead and inseminate, there is the chance that I would end up with quads.

Not quite the ideal scenario.

So they won't go ahead, and I was give the bittersweet choice of cancelling the whole thing, or having some of the follicles aspirated.  The latter is obviously the more expensive, but having come this far I didn't fancy having to start all over again, so aspiration it is.

What is more weird is that the medication has speeded up one's regular bodily rhythms somewhat and despite my having thought I had another week to languish around waiting for my follicles to grow, it now appears that they are quite literally ready to pop, and hence I need to be inseminated tomorrow.

This rapidly put paid to my previous plan of hopping on a train down to Devon tonight for a wedding tomorrow.  O the drama.  And, since one of my friends had driven off to Devon with my suitcase (this was planned, she didn't just steal it) I am now stuck in London sans toothbrush, retainers (AARRGGH.  WHAT IF MY TEETH SUDDENLY SPRING BACK INTO THEIR PRE-BRACE-LIKE STATE I.E. CROOKED AND HIDEOUS??) and make up.  Not to mention the outfit I had been planning to wear to the wedding.

So to cut a long story short, I shall be arriving at the clinic tomorrow in full wedding regalia, ready to be aspirated with the IVF people having egg collection (this will involve being sedated, like, in a SURGICAL GOWN and everything-at least I hope there will be a gown involved.  Don't fancy wearing my nice dress in theatre.  To the theatre, maybe, but not on the operating table) and then jumping off the table post-insemination and onto a train to Devon to attend said wedding.

Good luck to me.  The baby (should I be fortunate enough to be blessed with such) is totes being named after the happy couple (well, one of them.  Probably not both, unless I spawn some weird hermaphrodite).

Good luck to me again.  One can never wish oneself enough good luck.

Friday, 8 February 2013

"Yes, I am familiar with Epipens."

And so it begins.

Everything got off to a good start, i.e. despite everything seeming so easy in the clinic with the nurse explaining to me how to use the Gonal F pen and how she made it all look so simple, just like taking a lid off a felt tip pen and writing with it, and then I get home and promptly stab myself in the finger with it (a painless, but surprisingly bloody affair).

A bit like my first scan today (ewww TMI).

And thank God I've never been in close proximity to an Epipen emergency.  It would be a disaster for all concerned.  "Hang on, let me just check Youtube for a video of someone doing this!  I know you're lying on the floor with a swollen windpipe, unable to breathe and gasping for air, and your face has swelled up to the size of a beachball, but it'll be fine!  Just five more minutes!  Oops, you appear to have died."

I still can't believe I'm doing this.  Felt very brave today, injecting myself (well, once I had managed to get it into the right spot).  Sort of like a diabetic or other variety of ill person for whom every day must be a struggle, and who must literally be covered in holes from all the injections.

Anyway, have spent millions of pounds on it now so it had better work.  Although on the plus side, if it doesn't, at least I won't be having a baby with a man who may well be a total minger.

Oh God, banish terrible thought from head.  What if the baby grows up and reads this, and realises it has a terrible, cruel mother, who only cares for her child's physical attributes and once said to a colleague that she hoped her baby didn't turn out to be autistic.

OH GOD WHAT IF THE BABY IS AUTISTIC?  AFTER ALL ITS MOTHER CAN'T EVEN USE AN EPIPEN!!!!!  Is it called an Epipen?  I don't even know.  What else is one to call it?  Gonal F pen?  Anyway, I told the nurse I was "familiar with Epipens"  in a sage and knowledgeable manner today when she brandished the pen and asked me if I had seen its like before.  As in, we had a five minute training slot on it at work back in 2008.  So there you are, I am familiar with Epipens. 

Anyway, I'm off to stalk the many anxious and often hysterical chatrooms on the interwebs dedicated to women having fertility treatment.  Women like me.  I bloody knew this would happen.  I knew it in 1995 when I did that GCSE coursework on it.  I should have just cut my losses and had a baby then.  Then I would never be in this position.  I mean, what have I even done between 1995 and now anyway?  Only GCSEs, A levels and university.  Other than that it's just been a load of drunken carousing really.  Should have given up my youth to tend to the youth of tomorrow, like any good Daily Mail reader would do.  Bloody career is a quintessence of dust anyway.

Oh God now I'm really depressed.

AND the leaflet inside the aspirin pack of the aspirin I have been ordered to take (apparently it helps to prevent heart attacks in people with angina, though I'm not sure that that's the reason I am supposed to be taking it) says it may impair fertility.  The nurse assures me that this is not the case, and that they always prescribe it, but I have been obsessed with reading those little leaflets inside packets of tablets and sanitary products and assuring myself of their devastating accuracy ever since I read an article in Just Seventeen about somebody who had ACTUALLY CAUGHT toxic shock syndrome from a tampon.  You know, it could happen.

Let's hope not though, as I'm on my period at the moment and would hate to think that there could be a deadly reaction when one mixes the dangerous triumvirate of Gonal F, aspirin and tampons.

What with those and the folic acid, I am going to be literally rattling this month.  And to think that last time I got pregnant all it took was a couple of buckets of wine.

OK so I lost the baby.  Doesn't count.  Must have been because I wasn't taking a weird concocotion of medications.

Right, I really am off now.  I am starting to bang on about nuffin'.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Stop Press: Wholesome New Me Turns Down Night Out in Walkabout

Yet again it is 9.30pm on a Saturday night and I am sprawled on the sofa at home, alone, looking up Wikipedia entries on little-known European royals of the eighteenth century through my ovulatory phase rather than-as we would all doubtless be doing-having passionate baby-making sex with someone really, really hot.

Desperate text messages have been sent enquiring whether either of the two people who might potentially want to have sex with me and live just about close enough to pop over are free tonight.  No messages have been received, although I did receive word from one "potential" that he was playing football in Surrey today and wouldn't be back until "late."

The predictive text managed to alter my return message to such an extent that it made it look as though I was also going to Surrey, presumably to stalk him while he played football, simply by changing the inoffensive word "well" to the more inclusive "we'll" (as in "we'll go to Surrey and play football.")  It looked as though I was planning on joining him and trying out my skills as a centre-forward.  Needless to say, he has not responded.

At least I have some potential baby-making to look forward to next month, given that I have now officially purchased some sperm.

I'm not sure which was more painful, having to ring up the clinic (from work) and announce within earshot of my startled co-workers "I'm just calling to pay for some SPERM," or handing over eight hundred pounds for the privilege.

I'm telling you, this thing better bloody well work.  Half the women on the Fertility Friends website (don't ask) seem to have their cycles cancelled before they even start, what with underresponding to the medication, overresponding and all manner of obstacles in between.  Why is life never simple? Why can't I just be Kim Kardashian?  Or Kate Middleton?  I've given up alcohol and everything, for Christ's sake.  I even turned down a trip to Walkabout in Shepherd's Bush last night I was so full of my wholesome and discerning new self.  After all, Kate would never be seen in a Walkabout.  Instead I bit the bullet, went home after one hot chocolate and cooked a healthy dinner and tried to download Call the Midwife on Blinkbox (practising.  Or at least I would have been, if it weren't for the fact that after 30 minutes of trying to punch in my card details with the TV remote, the damn thing wouldn't recognise my address).

The highlight of tonight ended up buying a dress on Asos that I hope will make me look like Rihanna.

Bring on next month and its attendant drama.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

The Curse of the Missing Email


Haven't been able to sort out the sperm donor admin (yes, there is "admin") as you need to print off the donor information and sign it and send it back to the clinic.

God this is complicated.

So as I don't have a printer I opted to send the email order to my work email account so I could pillage the facilities in secret and print out my order form.

The only problem was, the email DISAPPEARED.

As in, literally vanished.  INTO THE ETHER.

Presumably it is still floating around somewhere in Cyberspace.  Wherever it is, it is certainly not in my work emails, despite my two (TWO!) attempts to send it.

My fear was palpable.  What if I had sent it to the wrong person?  It could have literally gone ANYWHERE.  One hardly needs to spell out what a disaster this might have been.  I even asked one of the IT technicians if he had any idea what could have happened, which would have raised supicions in itself as the minute he offered to try and find it for me, I backed away, waving my hands as if surrendering to some imaginary army and shouting "No!  No!  It's OK!  It doesn't matter!" whilst walking backwards at top speed.

As an alternative to email, I have been forced to use a USB stick.  Now all I need to remember is to delete the offending item from said USB stick before I use that very same instrument in assembly to deliver the end of term powerpoint.  Imagine the horror if I accidentally flashed up an order form for a load of sperm.

On second thoughts, don't.  Is too hideous to contemplate.  I am going to continue trying to track down that missing email.

Monday, 21 January 2013

I am having an alcoholic baby. Or not. Eighty per cent not, to be precise.

Well, yesterday was the momentous day that I finally chose my donor.

I chose him on the basis that he sounded the most fun, and some of them sounded frankly a bit worthy and serious, with their Christian beliefs and all that.  This bloke was an atheist.

He also sounded like someone who probably enjoyed a drink.  Apparently he goes to "all the donor social events."  I can't believe they have social events for sperm donors.

OH GOD THE BABY IS GOING TO BE AN ALCOHOLIC.  What with alcoholic genes on BOTH sides.

Hang on, what am I talking about?  There is no baby.  Twenty per cent chance of success.  That means an EIGHTY PER CENT CHANCE OF FAILURE.  That's what that means.  Yeah, I can do the sums.  Look at me with my mathematical genius.

Anyway, he is also Polish.  He's probably hanging round the local park right now, with all the other Polish people, drinking their Polish beer from cans and talking in Polish about Poland and stuff.  Probably.  Not that I'm a total racist or anything, nor do I have any stereotypical ideas about Polish people WHATSOEVER.

Anyway, that's OK.  I slept with someone from Poland once.  Perhaps it's the same one.

No, it can't be, for he had blue eyes and the donor has brown eyes.

So the baby will have brown eyes.

Shut up and pull yourself together.  There is no baby.  Do not under any circumstances get hopes up.  There is no baby, only a gaping hole where my credit card used to be.

Hang on, aren't these things supposed to work better when one has positive thoughts?  Surely there is no scientific basis in that whatsoever and it makes no difference if I am utterly convinced that there will be a baby or of I am totally sure of the opposite, except that in the former I become crushingly disappointed and probably throw myself off the balcony in anguish.

Well, I would if it was warm enough to open the doors and going out on the balcony wasn't going to turn me into a great big icicle.

Anyway, even if there is no baby, I went on a date on Saturday so hopefully all is not lost.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Physical Illnesses: 0 (v.g.): Mental illnesses: Innumerable

Well I picked up my test results from the GP today and it appears that I do not have any of the following:

Hepatitis B
Hepatitis C


I felt so smug at the fact that I am officially STD-free that I actually toyed with the idea of taking a vow of chastity to preserve this state of purity forever.

Given how phenomenally crap my love life has been recently though that probably won't be necessary.

I celebrated this news with a regular Monday night's festivities: gym, Miranda (rather below-par episode today, I felt) and several hours of pointless and frankly depressing purusal on the interwebs (today's search criteria: "having second thoughts about fertility treatment," as I have been spending much of the day thinking I might be mental to be throwing huge amounts of cash that I do not have on something which is probably not going to yield much of a return).

All that I learned was that a lot of people have fertility treatment and it fails, then they get really depressed and start crying all the time, then they get even more depressed and their marriages break up and they fall into an ever-deeper spiral of depression.  Then they get a bit better.  This last bit was necessary so that they could manage to write an article about it, usually in the Daily Mail, that ever-present harbinger of doom harping on about of the transient nature of a woman's fertility and the fact that it doesn't matter anyway, no one can have it all and if we prioritise our careers or are just not lucky enough to meet the man of our dreams "in time" then we are harsh-faced and unsexed old hags, and if we do get married and have children then we are doomed to a life of domestic drudgery.  And don't get them started on single mothers, who are basically responsible for last year's riots, the recession and the war in Syria.

All this means, of course, is that some of these unfortunates don't get better, and don't go on to write depressing articles in the Daily Mail.  They just jump off a bridge.

That said, I still thought the "shocking statistic" quoted in the aforementioned rag of 90 out of 900 women having fertility treatment feeling "depressed" was surprisingly upbeat.  That means the other 90% must be happy as sandboys, presumably.

Unless it was a typo and they missed off the percentage sign.  I mean, I feel pretty depressed and I've not even started.  I even started watching Superscrimpers (sample suggestion: use a dishwasher tab to clean your garden furniture.  Instead of what?  Instead of BUYING NEW FURNITURE?)

I'm fairly sure that "have fertility treatment" was not on Superscrimper's recommended list of tips.  But then, presumably, neither is "have a baby," which of course makes me feel so much better.

What am I doing?  I am mental.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Walking Around London Carrying a Phone

Day 1 of my period.

I know, that's officially Too Much Information, but it's only going to get worse, I can assure you.

Tried to phone the clinic today as they said to call on the first day of my period, but of course my period would be awkward and start on a Saturday, when the clinic is barely open.

I was out walking at the time and I carried my phone in my hand for nine miles, hoping that they would call back.  They didn't.  I hope this is not a terrible omen.  Anyway, it probably makes no difference as it would seem that if I wished to start treatment this month, I would have had to have ordered my donor sperm by now, and so far I am still yet to decide who to choose: the Brazilian one (will I have to take the baby to Brazil and teach it football and Portugese to fit in with its heritage?); the Polish one (described as "trendy," which I thought was a fine gene to pass on to one's offspring, but will I have to teach the baby Polish?), the American one (described as "Christian."  I was concerned in case this too was genetic) or the one who might be someone I went to university with (potentially a bit awkward, should my suspicions turn out to be justified). 

Also I am supposed to have ordered my drugs, but I have no idea where to order these from.  Is one supposed to purchase Gonal F from some dodgy neighbourhood drug dealer?

Funnily enough, I walked past GlaxoSmithKline today.  Perhaps I should have popped in.

Anyway, looks like I will have to call the clinic on Monday at work.  That will be an interesting phone call to explain should someone pop in to make a cup of tea while I'm in the office.  Not sure I can explain away "drugs" or "sperm" as work related.

In other news, I made a cake today.  Well, with no alcohol, what is a girl to do for pleasure?

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

And Thou Shalt See Me Weeping on the BBC

So today's Productive Thing was that I watched a documentary about a fertility clinic on BBC i-player.

Interesting, although as a connosieur of the art I would have preferred a section on IUI.  All we got as far as that was concerned was a brief interview with a sperm donor.

I wondered what our children would look like.

Fortunately, he looked OK, which was a relief.  I don't think I could have coped had I found myself staring into the seal-like face of Trifon Ivanov, former Bulgarian defender from Euro '96 and universally recognised Ugliest Footballer Ever as he banged on about what a privilege it was to be able to create a life using purely one's right hand and a television with nothing but porn channels.

What if they wanted to masturbate to BBC4?  I mean, I do.

So naturally they were focusing on IVF (with the obligatory ICSI shot), which was depressing as out of four couples having treatment, only one got pregnant.  And IVF is supposed to have higher success rates than IUI.  

Bloody hell.  I would have thought they could at least have featured a lesbian couple, just for a bit of variety, instead of just loads of white, heterosexual couples.  I mean, WE DON'T ALL HAVE A LOVING HUSBAND TO HOLD OUR HANDS WHEN WE'RE CRYING AT A NEGATIVE PREGNANCY TEST YOU KNOW.

Not that I'm jealous or anything.  Hard to be jealous of a bunch of people weeping on national television when you know that's going to be you in a matter of weeks.  Hopefully not on national television though, in my case.  Just had horrific vision of what events might lead to that eventuality, and can think only of myself in a television report about a dreadful natural disaster such as a tsunami whipping up from the Grand Union Canal and engulfing the whole building and me, wailing like I'm in a war-torn Middle Eastern country and my son has just been blown up by rebel forces, beating my breast as I scrabble among the ruins of my lovely flat, now reduced to rubble and bits of disassembled furniture from Dwell.

And thou shalt see me weeping on the BBC.

Anyway, there were some highlights to the programme.  I found myself positively skidding across the room with excitement every time someone did an embryo transfer.  Although all seems a bit futile now, given that most of those transfers didn't amount to anything.

I shall hold that mental image of the sperm donor dear, and dream happy thoughts, hoping that I will be one of the few lucky ones.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Hair dye: hated by right wing American conservatives everywhere.

So I decided to do something productive today.

In fact, I am contractually obliged; i.e. by my new year's resolutions, that Contract of Doom I have of course made with myself yet again this year, despite the fact that the previous twenty years' (TWENTY YEARS!!!!!!  HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?) vague promises to "be more positive" have so far yielded nothing but an ever-deepening well of cynicism to do at least one productive, life-enriching thing each day.  There are some exceptions to this.  Work, for example, doesn't count.  Not even if you do it at home.  Nor does loading and unloading the dishwasher, although other varieties of housework obviously do, since they need to be performed less frequently-at least in the den of filth that passes as my home-and have a less immediately obvious expediency.  For example the dishwasher needs to be emptied in order for me to re-use the dishes that are housed within, whereas I can still sleep in my bed even if the sheets haven't been changed for six months.

Anyway, as well as going to work and unloading and reloading the dishwasher, I decided to dye my hair.

This was mostly an excuse not to go to the gym.

The gym also counts as a "productive thing" but I am as yet udecided about whether it could also be classed as "life-enriching," unlike dyeing one's hair, which is of course a sublime experience.

At least my grey hairs will be covered.

I hope.  That was the aim anyway.  I shall be much affronted if I spend the next half an hour on my knees on the cold, hard bathroom floor rinsing rancid brown liquid from my hair, colouring the entire bathroom walls in the process and more importantly, missing the whole of Miranda, only to find that I am left with the same four hundred or so stubborn wiry bright white hairs sticking out of my head at odd angles.

My hair can stick out at odd angles all it likes, as long as it isn't grey.

Righty ho, just returned from lengthy sojourn crouched over bathtub.  Ten minutes left of Miranda.  Not bad going.  No crippling neck pain either.  I am liking this Garnier stuff.  It remains to be seen if the Evil Greys have been banished forever.  Well, they always say "forever" on these hair dye things, don't they?  Or at least they imply it with their "permanent" moniker.  Nothing is permanent.  All life is impermenent.  And in Hair Dye Parlance, "permanent" just about covers two months.

Still, I am hoping that those two months will buy me some brown-haired time well into the first trimester of my phantom pregnancy with my would-be baby that is due to start in about four days' time.  It may help you to know that I am conveniently calculating pregnancy the same way a staunch American conservative would, not from conception or even the maturation of the egg, but from the beginning of the development of the dominant follicle.  In other words, day one of my period.  Yes this is too much information, but believe me you are going to hear a lot worse over the next few months I guarantee it.  Or at least I virtually guarantee it.  Leaving a bit for margin of error-e.g. what if the test results I'm waiting on before I can go ahead with treatment show that I have some hideous disease, like one of the many brands of hepatitis, or worse, and this turns into an "oh no I have a horrible disease" blog.  That would be truly awful.

Anyway, I digress.  Life is too short to be worrying about whether I have any of the many brands of hepatitis.  I have hair to dye.

And The Internet isn't sure if that's safe in pregnancy.

In fact, such is my state of absolute paranoia that I have even pondered among my many musings on the state of my egg cells, whether hair dye might not only *possibly* be unsafe during those tortuous days of the first trimester, when virtually nothing appears to be certified safe and one may as well be wrapped in organic cotton wool and placed in a warm oxygen chamber for three months with a drip feed of folic acid, but even in the stages the precede it.  The stages that I desperately hope I am currently in, e.g. those precious few months pre-conception when my body is a temple to the god of the maturing egg.

What if hair dye is the cause of all chromosonal abnormalities in human egg cells?  What if declining egg quality in older women is directly proportional to number of grey hairs and consequently amount of dye used trying to disguise them?  WHAT IF GARNIER NUTRISSE IS A FANCY FRENCH NAME FOR CONTRACEPTIVE????  Any of these things could be true!

I bet the US political and religious right have something to say about this.  Probably something like "Evil Beautifier of the Female Head Belies Deadly Secret" along with some pictures of aborted foetuses.

This is all too much to bear.  I'm off to eat Nutella out of the jar to make myself feel better.


Saturday, 5 January 2013

New Year New Me. As per bloody usual.

2nd January 2012

New year, new diary.

This time, I will stick with it, I promise.

I would have started yesterday, but I had such a raging hangover that I was unable to move from my bed, let alone focus my eyes on a bright computer screen.

As a result of this, my number one new year’s resolution is not to drink.

Yes, I am now officially teetotal.

I think I might have actually damaged my liver.  Which reminds me, I was going to look up information about alcoholic hepatitis on the internet in order to aid my self-diagnosis.

Which brings me to new year’s resolution 2: No scare-mongering on the internet.

Might have to break that one, just this once, in the interests of one’s own health, of course.

Hmm.  Just checked internet.  I might not have alcoholic hepatitis.  However, I might have hepatitis B.  Apparently TWO THIRDS OF THE WORLD have been infected with that at some point.  Two thirds of the sodding WORLD!!!!

I MUST be one of them.  Especially as one of the symptoms is “itching.”  I itch!  I must have hepatitis B!

Good job I’m being tested for it on Friday.

Thursday (is it Thursday?  I think it’s Thursday.  I’ve lost track) 3rd January 2013

Very productive day.  Went to the gym:  This went a bit wrong, as I turned up an hour-yes AN HOUR-early for my induction, then ended up having to “kill time” on the treadmill.  It was a bit like being in a medieval church fresco of Hell, except that instead of sitting in a big cauldron with a bunch of other sinners being poked with pitchforks by cackling demons, I was running on a treadmill, trying to pull my hair out of my eyes with one hand and avoid serious injury and/or saggage (WORSE) of my breasts by simultaneously holding them up with the other hand, as in the rush to get out of the house and not be late, I had not thought to bring either a hair band or a sports bra.  And what a rush it was.  It’s not as if the gym isn’t NEXT DOOR to my apartment building or anything, and I couldn’t have gone back and collected said useful items before returning to the gym still at least 55 minutes early for my induction.

God, I just called my flat an “apartment building.”  Am I American now or something?

Anyway, that was not the only productive thing I did, as I also had all my pre-fertility treatment tests done at the doctor’s.

So all there is to do for the moment is pray that I don’t have any horrible diseases.

Pray with me folks, pray with me.  And we’ll pretend we’re in one of those churches where people fall over in the aisles and lie twitching on the floor when the priest puts his hands on their heads.

p.s. I tried to start a new blog today.  I was going to call myself “Min” after the Egyptian god of fertility and lettuce.  


Apparently Min’s followers used to have what Wikipedia usefully termed “orgiastic rituals” involving lettuce.  The actual lettuce used was not iceberg, rocket or little gem, but something called “prickly lettuce”.  Not sure I want to know.  Good job Wikipedia was tastefully silent on the matter.

Friday 4th January 2013 (is it Friday?  I really hope so.  I hope it’s not already Saturday, as that would mean I would forget to go back to work on the correct day and probably get fired.  That would be a great start to the new year).

So much for starting a new blog.  Before I could write anything on it (I was busy scanning Blogger for privacy settings so I could ensure it was private before I wrote anything) Google kindly decided it was spam and deleted it. 

They obviously have no respect for Min, ancient Egyptian god of fertility and lettuce.  May he send a pestilence upon them.  A pestilence of lettuce.

Actually maybe not, I have to concede that Google is quite useful.  Although nowhere near as useful as Wikipedia.  Today’s searches included early 2000s female wrestlers of the WWE and former members of notorious LA-based gang The Crips who have had notable successes in the area of the arts known as “gangsta rap.”  I have stored these away in the part of my brain usefully referenced “Things I hope come up in a pub quiz one day so I can look really knowledgeable about arcane matters.”

In other news, today I attended the gym.  This was an education, in the sense that I hadn’t realised just how easily one becomes terribly unfit after a few weeks of sitting on one’s backside reading brief biographies of deceased rappers on Wikipedia.  By the time I got home, I was frankly ready to throw up, although I did manage to make myself useful by going to Superdrug and purchasing several more items of make up vaguely similar to that used by top make up artist Lisa Eldridge in her online tutorials, but which it is unlikely I shall ever find a use for.

More depressingly, I also bought the latest batch of hair dye to be used for covering up my rapidly increasing stock of grey hairs.  After all, as I am intending to be pregnant almost immediately this year (cross fingers everyone!) I may not have much time left for covering greys before hair dye becomes one of the very long list of banned substances for pregnant women.

A shame, as I had been planning to feast on it, as part of a buffet involving blue cheese, deep sea fish which dangerously high levels of mercury (i.e. tuna), a couple of bottles of gin, a box of cat litter and a crack pipe.

I’m sure such things are fine in moderation.

Saturday 5th January 2013

Standard Saturday night.  I am sitting at home doing bugger all and reading articles off the Guardian website in an attempt to educate myself, then when I am completely up to date with my reading (let’s hope “items from the Guardian website” is a popular pub quiz topic), I end up perusing chat rooms full of desperate infertile women banging on about their 25 attempts at IVF in a vain attempt to reassure oneself at one’s chances of fertility success (20 per cent at best, despite the huge amounts of money being tossed about casually as if I was one of Bernie Ecclestone’s pampered daughters and not a lowly schoolteacher already several thousand pounds in debt) and despair of what my life has become.

I SWEAR I used to go out on Saturday nights.

Anyway, at least I have done one productive thing today, in the shape of a seven mile walk around the Capital Ring (this is a walking path, for the uninitiated among you, who may have thought it was an alternative name for the M25, or one of the burning Olympic rings that floated briefly above the Olympic Stadium this summer, or a new type of doughnut, or something horrifically filthy).  This was altogether quite satisfying, indeed more so than the Thames Path, as unlike the latter, it did not involve an expensive four hour round trip from Paddington only to discover upon arrival that the path was rendered impassable by flooding.

So there you have it.  Gone is the old me who used to spend Saturday nights getting bladdered on a gallon of white wine and rushing off to dubious local clubs to pick up twentysomething whippersnappers, and in her place comes the new me: wholesome lady rambler and virtuous teetotal.  

At least it’s cheaper, I suppose.