Friday, September 29, 2006

I am married to a very lovely man

Yesterday I found out one of my colleagues is pregnant. This is quite an achievement as there are only twelve female members of staff in the department - two have school-aged kids "and that's enough", three are in their fifties or sixties, three have publicly declared they aren't up for commitment/of that sort (one single and complains to me about clingy men, one relishes her boyfriend being away at sea for four months at a time, and one happily coupled but childless), and one is also infertile. Which leaves J. Who has the office opposite mine. And who lives on my street. Closer to town. I have to walk past her office on the way to the photocopier and her house on the way to anywhere.

Now, I did think I was doing OK. I found out about the pregnancy (I think she must be about 5 months, but a clever dresser) during a day-long meeting where she was sitting opposite me, and I was OK - bored, but OK. Then when I got home I fell apart. Why does it still hurt? Why was I OK last time I got my period, but not on hearing that this very nice woman is pregnant? Will it still hurt if we have children but they are adopted?

Anyway unfortunately Mr Spouse had gone to see his mum after work and it's a long journey so by the time he spoke to me and realised how awful I was feeling he couldn't get home for a couple of hours. I moped in front of the telly with some soup and some cake and then had a hug when he got home. Today he left before I got up as usual and I'd said I was going to work from home - or possibly even call in sick, but in fact I had a lie in and felt much better so I went in late. And even managed not to have an extra coffee, which normally I need to perk me up when I'm feeling crap. So I got home and found...

a card saying there were flowers for me next door. He had sent me a bunch fo flowers! Isn't he sweet? He says it's in the appendix to the Husband Contract.

Monday, September 25, 2006

I'll let her off

The nurse rang me this morning at 8.30 - she said she'd been covering for other people most of last week - which I suppose rings true as the consultant's secretary wouldn't necessarily know that.

Anyway all the clotting tests are fine but my prolactin was elevated. Apparently this can be due to stress but she'd like to repeat it. She says it isn't related to the miscarriages but they'd like to repeat it. I don't think they would have taken this one before - a quick Google reveals that elevated prolactin can prevent ovulation, but since we know I'm ovulating nicely (had a decent progesterone level in that round of tests on day 24 or so I think, too), that's not the issue. The RCOG guidelines say that evidence linking hyperprolactinaemia with miscarriage is "equivocal". But if it's elevated again I'll ask if it can be treated, I think.

However they don't think there's a clear reason for the miscarriages so they are going to send me a letter about the NK cell trial - but given how slow the wheels of NHS bureaucracy grind, that is unlikely to be this month - apparently the research registrar is only just back from holiday today anyway.

So, I thought that we'd be taking the month off this month but it seems not... which brings up a whole load of adoption-related stuff.. perhaps for another post.

But I'll leave you with what the nurse at the GPs said to me while I was having my smear (why can't they hold the smear stick in one hand while they do the speculum with the other? why do they have to walk off and leave you in pain?). "So, do you have any children already? (no) Oh, did you just start trying quite late (yes, we only got married two years ago- was she going to tell me off for putting it off?)?"

OK, given that she only has my last 4 years' notes, or less, and I only told her the most recent referral to the gynae was for infertility (that part WAS her business), how does she know I didn't have ovarian cancer in my twenties, say??

Friday, September 22, 2006


I have spent most of this week, it seems, on the phone to the nurse at the clinic. I've left multiple messages, called before 9am, after 5pm, at lunch time, and called the consultant's secretary who assured me the nurse would be in this afternoon - I must have called five times this afternoon, but still no luck.

So still no results. I know she's getting my messages because she called me herself early on Tuesday to say she only had half of them and the rest would be available on Wednesday. But she hasn't called me back since.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

OK, seriously, what AM I?

I don't have my results from the nurse yet - this is the week they should be available, but she called early Tuesday morning to say one set would not be available till today, and I didn't get a call-back today after leaving a message, so I will try again tomorrow. If you've been following (and if not, do try to keep up at the back! honestly!), if they are all negative I can go on the NK cell trial, which involves calling Dr Q on CD1. Which is today...

So, another cycle, another wasted test. It's now 2 years since we started trying to get pregnant. If I calculate it rationally, that's a maximum of 26 cycles (28 days each) but of those I was pregnant for, say, 3, having a break for 2, on medically enforced abstinence for 1 and out of the country for the crucial week of another one. So that's 19 cycles and probably 3 measurable pregnancies. So I would imagine your average infertile would laugh me court of court if I claimed to be infertile too. Even if there were only 2, that's 1 every 9 months. But I don't feel very fertile.

Again, I don't feel as if I've had so many pregnancies and so many miscarriages - not compared to some people - some of whom seem to get pregnant really easily, perhaps that'[s how they fit in so many miscarriages? Or am I just misperceiving the time because time in my world goes slowly, but only reading their blogs it seems to go quickly in their world.

There does seem to be a dichotomy between difficulty getting pregnant and difficulty staying pregnant - I guess I do have both, but it's hard to tell how severe either one is - which will turn out to be the dominant one - will I never get pregnant again? or will I have more miscarriages? or will I be lucky?

If only I knew...

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

It only goes to show, you never can tell

... as someone (Chuck Berry?) sang.

I recently made the online acquaintance of someone who seemed to be in a somewhat similar position to me - worked in a similar field, was married to someone quite a bit older than her, similar age to me, was unable to get pregnant (in her case because of health issues) so was considering adoption (in her case from China). We had emailed a few times and I was going to call her (I had her mobile number) but was away on holiday so somehow never got to it. She then posted on the forum where I knew her from saying her husband had been in a serious car accident and was in hospital, in intensive care, and texted me asking to post that he was going to need more surgery. Shortly following this she posted that he had died.

This upset me, not surprisingly. However, a few hours after this it was posted that she had in fact been an impostor, and had also had several other (and I have to say, much more extreme) personas in the past, so had been removed from the site with immediate effect. Now I'm not sure what to feel. I know that some of the things she told me and/or posted were very similar to my own situation, and were not written after I had shared my circumstances, so it wasn't particularly a case of her singling me out - but it still feels personal. We've had a death in the family, a friend's father has died, a friend my age has inoperable cancer, and to be told that a husband of a friend who is very, very similar to my husband/marriage in salient ways had died was just TOO close to the bone - I was in bits.

I don't know if this (what appears to be a case of Munchausen by Internet) has ever happened in Infertile World, but it seems as if it could easily happen. And it makes you question your grasp of reality.

I did ask Mr Spouse if he was real, but he declined to answer, on the grounds that he'd have to kill me if he told me. We had been watching Spooks...

Monday, September 04, 2006

When can we...

go on holiday? ring up the adoption agency? book my work trip to Tropical Climes (Asia this time)?

As Thalia just blogged, if you think there is a possibility you might be pregnant/have just had a scan/be just about to have a scan/have just miscarried/be just about to miscarry, then it is hard to plan ahead, especially for major things.

After the last miscarriage, at 5 weeks, just as we were supposed to be going away for the weekend for our anniverasary, and I was supposed to be giving a talk for work also several hours away (the same place, though), I am really scared of travelling while pregnant. But I also know that, if we did have another very early miscarriage, then I'd probably be fine with travelling after a couple of weeks - after the first miscarriage, I went to East Africa and was glad to get away. But I'm also not going to anywhere disease-ridden (especially malarial) while pregnant - and this is totally contrary to my normal inclinations, which are that lots of people get pregnant and give birth just fine and live in such places, and I have access to better medical care than most of them. I'm not planning a home birth in a developing country, don't panic, but I've always been a bit dismissive of nervous Nellies. Now I am one.

So my mind is full of scenarios like: will I tell the student whose fieldwork I'm going to supervise the real reason if I decide to cancel? Would I only tell her if I'm pregnant, but not if I miscarry close to the trip? Would I go if I was 15 weeks (I think that's just about possible)? She knows I've been sick on and off. So perhaps "I'm sick again" would do. But if I was at work, and cancelled 4 weeks before the trip, would that wash? Would my GP even write me a note for the insurance (probably, as it is a malarial area)?

And then, what about the adoption? Mr Spouse has agreed that we will try our luck with the concurrent planning people - no idea if either his or my age, or our distance from their centre, will be an insurmountable obstacle - but they should tell us definitely no, or that we have permission to apply, pretty much immediately. So the plan is to make that initial enquiry towards the end of October, leaving either them or the other agency two months to get the criminal records checks out of the way before starting the proper application early next year. But do we do the traditional "I'm not pregnant AGAIN since I just got my period so I will cut my losses and ring them now" or is that a bit too predicatable? Again, do I wait till my next cycle (not for 3 weeks) to book my Asia flight so I know more clearly the possible options (the 15 weeks pregnant will have been ruled out then, you see).

I really hate this ruling my life by my cycles, and I know I'm doing it to myself. I guess if you have treatment in the equation you just have fewer options for any one date - but you know further in advance which ones might lead to a pregnancy. I know the real answer is "book now, see what happens, don't let anything else be ruled by your cycles", but it's hard.