Friday, March 31, 2006

The Family Man

Last night we watched the second episode of this new drama. I actually think it's quite good, in some ways - it seems thoroughly researched, and some of the scenarios are realistic. For example, of the four couples presented, one has secondary infertility, which is not the classic infertility situation presented in the media, two are using donor eggs, and the procedures are gone through in a fair amount of detail, as well as discussion of egg sharing, PGS, IUI, and other things that don't make it into the media so much.

But being a drama, we've got to have something dramatic. This week's episode closed with the clinic, and the home of a couple trying to get approval for sex selection to replace their son that died, being bombed. And of course every couple who finds a private egg donor a) does so illegally and b) the father of the ensuing child proceeds to have an affair with the egg donor and c) the egg donor has a dodgy relationship with her mother because d) the mother is not telling her that she has always regretted giving up a baby at 16 for adoption and e) the child she gave up is now going for IVF at the same clinic (she's the one with secondary infertility).

Confused? Well, Mr Spouse was! In fact, since the third couple in the series just had triplets using eggs from the adopted daughter, the only people who don't seem to be related to each other in the series are 1) the IVF specialist
(who also has marital problems, did I mention that? and whose daughter confessed to taking the morning after pill. Perhaps she slept with the partner of the adopted daughter?) and 2) the family who want another boy, and since they are black, it is fairly obvious they aren't going to be doing any egg sharing with the other couples, who are all white (mind you, one of them could still sleep with one of the other characters).

It's Pregnancy As Dramatic Device writ extremely large. About 60 point, I'd say.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

In less weird and overly religious news...

I have booked an acupuncture treatment; the first date she had available that I could do is not for a few weeks time, in fact about four days after my next period is due and two days after we get back from our Easter holiday in Rome. We are going on the train.

Yes, we live in the North of England. Yes, we are mad.

Sixteen fits and conniptions...

I have no idea how to spell that, but that is what my grandmother would be having if she were still alive and could read this post.

My grandmother's mother was brought up Catholic and was disowned by her family when she married a Protestant. She spent the rest of her life indignantly anti-Catholic, as did my grandmother. My parents never go to church, and they are rather shocked that I do. Until we moved to where we live now, both Mr Spouse and I went to fairly strongly Protestant churches, his even more than mine. We now go to an Anglican church (Episcopalian for those north of the border/over the pond) that is strong on ceremony and saints.

I managed fairly successfully to avoid too much on Mothering Sunday in the way of slush, but the previous day had been the Annunciation (25th March being 9 calendar months before 25th December, and the church being run in former years by men who never had children), and a little was said about Mary. Thinking about it later, I was reminded of something I heard on the radio last year on the same date, which I think was Good Friday, about Mary and how women who have lost children, before or after birth, can feel a special devotion to her; they specifically mentioned miscarriage, and this was only a few weeks after mine.

I am not particularly into the idea that if you pray for something you will get it. I try to see prayer more as a communication, including possibly explanation to me of what I should be doing, why things aren’t happening the way I want, and also sympathy – a been there, had that happen to me type sympathy.

Which is how this good little Protestant girl then found herself at choir last night rehearsing a French hymn to the Virgin, and finding that the words had a huge emotional impact.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

A little local boycott

Mr Spouse and I are boycotting Mothering Sunday, which is tomorrow. We don't mind doing something for our mothers (I hope he's remembered to send a card to his, because I forgot to send mine one before she went to see my brother who doesn't live in this country, and will have to telephone...)

But we are not going to church; it is always sickly - most churches seem to come up with something designed to make anyone with mother issues feel awful. Usually the children give their own mothers first, and then all adult females, a flower - which was nice when I was 18 and first acknowledged to be an adult, but now just makes me remember that I'm not a mother. Then, usually someone preaches about our parents and how nice they were to us. This is not so bad for me but people who have really poor relationships with their mothers, or who have lost their mothers, must also feel awful.

It's hard to escape in the secular world too - we've also been prevented from going to lunch with a friend who lives far enough away that we need to book lunch in a pub halfway, but all the pubs were full two weeks ago. She has a daughter but was blissfully unaware what day it was (good for her, I say). I'm quite glad about that, too, as it wouldn't be much fun sitting there watching loads of children doting on their mothers.

In other news - they weren't joking when they said the first period after the lap could be heavier

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Now that's what I call wishful thinking...

I was warned that I could have my period late after the lap, but was a bit surprised to have a little spotting yesterday afternoon, about three days early. Dr Google however was informative and told me it could also be early. Normally spotting in late afternoon would lead to full flow by the evening, but nothing doing even by this morning. Again, although I've never had prolonged spotting or a 25 or 26 day cycle before, I've never had a lap before.

But of course I had to test this morning. Cheapo £1 a time dip-sticks (or I'd be broke long before now) - but I realised, on trying to do my "is that a line or dirt or a shadow or a bump in the paper?" thing, I realise I have absolutely NO idea where the second line is supposed to appear.

The eye of faith works much better when it knows where to look...

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

At least we're agreed on something

Mr Spouse and I watched "Britain's Oldest Mums and Dads", or some other such rubbish, last week, and on hearing about a couple of women's decisions to use donor eggs, we turned to each other and said "I don't think that's for us". My feeling is that if I am going to have children who are not genetically related to me, I would rather adopt them than have donor eggs or embryos.

I have no idea if I'd feel the same if we had male factor infertility. But it appears we don't - so it is only my (presumably) ageing eggs that are the issue. I cling to the belief that it is FSH that matters, and the knowledge that my mother (before the HRT at the age of about 48, I think) had a late menopause. But I could be wrong.

I'm not sure why this is. I like to think that it's because I really want to have children who are like me in personality, interests, and preferences, not looks - and you can't choose egg donors by whether they learn languages extremely rapidly, love playing music and doing crafts but aren't very good at either, or are useless at tidying up. Actually, I'd rather have an egg donor who was good at tidying up. I also like to think that it's because I hope that if I can't get pregnant with a combination of his-and-hers gametes, we can give something to a child who otherwise would not have a family.

However I have a feeling it's actually because I have bought into my family myth of genetic perfection - we are the cleverest family on the planet, and intelligence is the only thing that matters in life, and there is no way a child not genetically related to us is going to be halfway as brilliant as us. We are taking a risk by diluting the gene pool with anyone outside the family. It would be an unmitigated disaster to bring a child into the family who had a learning disability, and only slightly better a child who wasn't related to us.

But it's probably OK if it's a girl. My grandfather was once bemoaning the fact that my brother had given up maths, and wasn't going to follow in his footsteps as a maths professor. I pointed out that I, too, had disliked maths despite getting good marks, and was quite happy in another science, as is my brother. "Oh, that's different". Why, Grandpa? Because I'm female?

Forgot to say: we were away at the weekend and visited D, the minister who did our wedding. We seem to be having annual MOTs with him - he says he takes the marriage seriously too, and was pretty gruelling in our pre-wedding counselling, and was very good when we saw him after the miscarriage, just over a year ago. He said one thing that really hit the nail on the head: "this whole thing must take up a lot of headspace".

Friday, March 17, 2006

Bits and bo(o)bs

Can't really think of enough to say on any one day to make a whole post... I have tried saving them up but of course now I have forgotten some of them.

I have found it a little hard being back at work because I am still quite tired, but this is normal with me, so I have just been leaving work early to go and sit on the sofa with a cup of tea, and trying to scoot out while no-one is looking (having an appointment with the back of your eyelids is not normally seen as a very good excuse for leaving a staff meeting).

I've also had very, very sore breasts, starting from approximately ovulation day, and this is both much earlier than I've had this generally in the past, and the second time it's happened in a row. The only things I can think of are that a) we have known these last two months were going to be a washout, timing wise, so that b) I've been drinking a little more alcohol and a lot more coffee and c) I haven't been taking my folic acid.

I started taking it again a few days ago, and I've decided from today to limit myself to 1 cup of coffee a day. No idea if it will work... but it might be better for me...

This makes me think, at what point would I give up on the healthy living and accept that I am not going to get pregnant? How many years can I take folic acid for? I have been quite good losing weight so I think healthy eating, not too much drinking, and reasonable amounts of exercise are here to stay in the medium term, anyway, but that white pill every monrning is just a reminder of what is not happening. And there is no decent decaf coffee available anywhere at work, unless I make it myself.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


This is what they always tell you you'll feel after an illness or procedure when what they actually mean is PAIN. However after my lap and dye they told me "you might feel some discomfort and/or pain" and they were right - my scar is painful, my shoulders are painful, but my abdomen has basically just been bloated.

It all went fine, although I was the last of the four women in my ward to go home, by hours, but I felt unbelievably groggy - I have only started to feel a little awake this afternoon. I saw the gynae both before and after the surgery, and remembered to ask some other questions beforehand (the clotting results she was waiting to speak to the haematologist about were fine). She found my tubes were open and fine, and there was one tiny spot of endo behind my uterus, but that is not somewhere it could be affecting my fertility, apparently. I'm hoping it is, however, somewhere that could have been causing a little pain, as that was definitely an issue. I do know that the amount of pain doesn't necessarily correspond to the extent of the endo. But neither my tubes nor my ovaries were involved which is GOOD.

Now for the rest of the week watching cheesy TV and reading women's magazines. No answers, but nothing that is hard to fix, or necessarily means I could never conceive naturally, either.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Not entirely sure why I'm doing this right now but...

I've been investigating open evenings with adoption agencies and fertility centres.

The fertility centre (private, but no further away than the closest NHS centre) has an open evening with spaces available in May - not too scarily close.

Our local SW team (for our part of the county) said "ooh, well, we don't really do open evenings, we don't feel the need, most of our work is placing children, people who want to adopt come along as they see fit". Hmm. I have read a number of people on Adoption UK saying that LAs tend to focus on the children they have to place, and put adopters second, and this seems to confirm it, but at least she is sending me an information pack.

I also emailed a private agency (Catholic) about 20 miles away, and they replied almost immediately to tell me about an open evening really soon (in fact, too soon, as Mr Spouse is away for work that day). So I'm going to either find out about another open evening with the Catholic agency, or the local agency said they might have them at County level.

Mr Spouse did suggest me going to the agency's open evening on my own, but I think I already know more than him from internet reading so it seems a bit counterproductive to do that - the idea is to let him find out more as well. He seems quite happy with this step - as he says, it is good to get information, it is knowing what to do with it that is hard - even though he is agnostic as a whole about how, or even whether, to pursue parenthood further if either we get bad news on Monday, or we get no news but still continue to have no luck.

It is hard for him - I said (slightly unfairly, I think) that perhaps he would prefer if I gave up the whole idea, but he says that whatever his feelings, he wants me to have what makes me happy. I know that it is not that he will be unhappy if we have children - he will be happy either way.