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.