Saturday, February 24, 2007

Another weekend, another birthday

I'm getting very blasé about this... we have a big (local) party tonight which is a surprise in that I don't know where it is, and everyone else thinks I don't know about it, but Mr. Spouse had to ask me who to invite. Tomorrow we're going to see Eddie Reader and next week The Producers. It's all go! But one of my best friends can't come as she was up all night as her hospital was supposed to be admitting people from the train crash (Not Many Injured) - although they actually didn't, they had to clear all the beds...

My period turned up on Thursday, politely avoiding my birthday, and Ash Wednesday (2 years, liturgically, after we saw an empty sac the first time round), when I had a negative (cheapo) test - glad I didn't waste the good ones. Thursday I felt so crampy and sick and tired and just wanted to glaze in front of the telly and Mr. Spouse felt the same (well, not crampy obviously, but he's getting over a nasty cold) and I mentioned an appointment or something and he said "I don't feel like doing either IVF or adoption" and I didn't feel I could say anything because he was clearly just as out of it as me (and he went to bed at 10pm, unheard of). He did clarify yesterday that he meant he didn't feel like doing anything now, and that is exactly how I feel too. But I got rather panicky for a moment.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

So far, not bad

Being old, that is. I had a lovely weekend away with 6 friends and us in a historic house (from the Landmark Trust), and then on Sunday large quantities of family came round to visit, see the house, and eat buffet platters ordered from Waitrose. Officially they were not all in the house at the same time (the house people are a bit fussy about that - it is annoying, because if there are 10 of you you can only have 2 extra guests, whereas if there are 2 of you you can still have 2 extra guests). These are the friends I was blogging about a while back - two infertile couples and us, with our RPL friends coming on Sunday.

There was also a new friend from where we live now, and an old friend from the last place I lived but about five, who has since been first my flatmate and then went out with my cousin for over 2 years: he, although not a bad chap really, probably needs to realise that 38 is not too young to settle down. In cousin-versus-friend, she wins.

One couple are my absolute bestest friends (she's a primary school teacher, they have just been referred to a gynae) but the others (she works in children's TV) are more Mr. Spouse's friends, and are slightly more conservative than us, though very sweet, total bricks, and were really great when the house was invaded by the hordes of relatives, including five children. They are the ones who are going for "treatment" (we haven't asked what); when we were choosing food at the restaurant on Saturday night (example of their brickness: she is very unfond of fish, I had chosen a fish restaurant, but checked alternatives were on the menu, without realising she couldn't stand the smell either. In the event the smell wasn't too bad, but it was noticeable. She just kept quiet and slipped away early. Like I say, a brick.) she said "oh, no blue cheese either".

I thought she meant she had an allergy to that too, but no, she's been "eating as if pregnant" for two weeks out of four for the last two years. My mind boggled. But perhaps everyone else does that too? Come on lurkers, I know you're out there. Tell me.

You may have noticed a slight absence of something. That's right, my period. I noticed too. It's only CD30 which would be no big deal after a miscarriage, if it were not for the very early appearance of post-ovulatory symptoms (the can-I-leave-my-bra-on-please syndrome) this month. Either for some bizarre reason I had a progesterone surge before I ovulated, and ovulation was later than I thought (in which case, our timing wasn't as bad as I thought, but I imagine that progesterone would have worked like the mini-pill, so I won't be pregnant), or it's the longest luteal phase in my own personal history (in which case our timing was off, so again I won't be pregnant), or it was just being polite and waiting till my birthday (yesterday, we went to see Casablanca on the big screen) was over.

Anyway, I'm promised pancakes, so will go and remind someone of this.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Briefly, all's well

I had the last appointment of the ultrasound day yesterday - 4pm - as I had a meeting in another city (not the one we live in and not the one the hospital was in) in the morning, and fortunately a nice colleague was getting the train with me back from the meeting and distracted me from worrying, and we were early enough that I could start drinking my large quantities of liquid once I got off the train, and didn't have to walk too far with a full bladder.

They even saw me on time (slightly early, actually) and the radiographer was very pleasant (though she didn't say "oh, I'm sorry" when I told her I didn't know where I was in my cycle because of the miscarriage). But she was able to tell me my uterus looked nice and "juicy" (packing the tampons for the weekend, then), and my ovaries were both the right size (though one was sitting on top of the uterus "like a hat") and then on the condom-covered one (not had that before - the gel wasn't too bad, do they sell it for, er, personal purposes do you think?) she could see that there were lots of little follicles on the right gearing up to argue over whose turn it is, and one big empty one on the left.

All in order, no cysts whatsoever. As everyone goes home about 4.30, the waiting room across the corridor where I normally go was empty but the receptionist suggested I go and see if the nurses (as in, walking down to the nurses' station without an escort) could track down any test results that were ready. The usual nurse was with a patient but I was willing to wait a little while (I'm reading Blood, Sweat and Tea, which is this blog's book), and they were all lovely and polite and left her a message and made sure they came out to the waiting room to reassure me they'd left her a message, and then to tell me she couldn't find any notes so I could ring the consultant's secretary another day. So I will - at my local hospital they aren't allowed to give you results over the phone but can read you the consultant's letter (!) once it's dictated - and the secretary is very nice, so I think I'll try next week for the hormone tests (LH vs FSH - but I doubt it's going to be any big revelation) and in a couple of weeks for the genetic tests. My theory is once I tell them I'm in the RPL clinic they feel sorry for me and let me do things other patients (the heavily pregnant ones that smoke outside the doors next to the sign marked NO SMOKING, or the ones with a newborn ditto) aren't allowed to do.

Now off to a large Landmark Trust property with 6 friends for the weekend; family are joining us for lunch on Sunday, and on Monday I will be Officially Old. No restaurants are open on Monday so we're going to see Casablanca at the local art house cinema and then to a country house restaurant on Tuesday (although I have to be at work early that day as I'm starting running a new study. Syntactic priming, if you're interested. Bad timing), and Mr. Spouse has a not-very-surprising surprise dinner (I had to tell him who to invite) planned locally for the Saturday. Never let it be said I do things by halves.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

PGS versus PGD

These two tend to get confused. PGS is supposed to check for aneuploidies but the latest evidence is that it does not decrease the rate of miscarriage. PGD is for a specific condition (in our case, possibly for balanced translocation) and there is some evidence that it does. I am sorely tempted to push for IVF whatever the outcome of our genetic tests but this little piece of research hopefully will help me keep my head.

Ovarian scan on Thursday. I know so little about this that I wasn't sure if it's vaginal, or not - Google wasn't my friend, so I rang the consultant's secretary, who nicely put me through to the US department, who told me it was "probably both" and I should turn up with a full bladder. Since the hour before will be spent getting there, by train and bus and a little walking, that's going to be fun.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Perhaps the brain is functioning again

Although I'm tired today (partly because of odd dreams), I am actually enjoying a less-than-trashy novel the last couple of days, and felt quite accomplished at work today when I understood what was going on with my complicated spreadsheet (don't leave things for three years, is today's lesson).

I was right, you know - always nice to be vindicated - about the friends who have been trying for just over a year. They finally got the GP to make an appointment (she's sent them away after 6 months - my friend is 37, I wish she'd told me, I would have sent her back to bully the GP). Chatting with her last night and my work friend who is now thinking of Guatemala instead of China (her husband is "too old") felt good. I shared with my friend today how I feel I either shock people ("is it actually possible to have that many miscarriages? weird or what?") or make them think we are mad ("surely they would have stopped trying by now") when I tell people, and how there are some people I probably won't tell, but she doesn't react either way. Both of them asked if we'd get NHS funding for any potential IVF but I strongly suspect it's not available for PGD even if it were available at my age*. And PGD doubles the cost.

Anyway - my dreams - first one, I dreamt I'd gone for my ovarian scan (next week) and had found out I was still pregnant. I woke up feeling happy, and realised it was a dream. Second one, I dreamt I'd gone for the scan and had found out I had an ectopic. I woke up terrified and it took me longer to come down from that. Then I dreamt I had gone back to the town I lived in in East Africa and had left loads of stuff there which they wanted me to sort out, including for some reason some old spectacles someone had given me to take out to give to people, which of course I hadn't been able to do, not having any optometry training (people do have the strangest ideas about what is useable in developing countries - or at least, what is easily distributable and the best ways to distribute it. Oxfam, folks. They know what they're doing). Don't think that one was pregnancy related.

*Just looked up on our NHS trust's website - they have a contract with a hospital to do their IVF, as there's none in the area, but it's one that doesn't do PGD.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Not funny

It is really far too soon for me, but my body has decided this cycle is in its second half and has presented me with all the post-ovulation symptoms – extremely sore boobs, especially when I take my bra off at night, some mild cramps and (sorry) a fair bit of discharge. It does seem as if these have started even earlier than they normally would in a cycle, with a few twinges returning about 10 days after I started bleeding, but I wonder if this is one reason why some people get that post-miscarriage fertility surge – they still have a bit of progesterone hanging around from the pregnancy. No fertility for me, though, as that would require having had that sex thing at the right time that really, if you’ve just miscarried, you don’t feel like.

I had another low day yesterday (unfortunately if I want to sing in the concert, I really do need to go to choir – but yesterday was my last 9am fully animated lecture) so that doesn’t help either. A new choir member turns out to live round the corner from us and have a baby who is the same age the first (first what? baby? pregnancy? dunno) would have been.

So, would anyone who is pregnant and doesn’t feel it like some of these symptoms? I’m happy to offload them.

Incidentally if you are in that group and I’m normally a commenter on your blog (this applies to at least a couple of people – Thalia, Inhospitable) then I am still reading, gingerly, and still cheering you on but not really able to comment at this time. For some reason I don’t seem to find it quite so hard to read baby blogs (though there’s one I’m thinking of deleting from my Bloglines as it’s pretty smug) or even later pregnancy blogs (though in person these people are also hard to cope with), but with someone who’s just ahead of me it’s harder. I guess later pregnancy and birth are just fantasies – late first trimester is somewhere I thought I had reached safely, but really never did.

Friday, February 02, 2007

I'm not dead yet

Another week, another plan. I at least survived this week, with only one major meltdown, which not surprisingly was after my Very Long Day (I'm an academic, bear with me on this one) which started with leaving the house at 8.15 (yes, I know, and Mr. Spouse catches the 7.14 every morning, I don't know I'm born) in order to find a parking space to give a 9.00 lecture (to about 300 students - you try being animated at that time in the morning - and if I'm boring they all snore) followed by a regular day's work and a 2 hour class of 10-ish (depending on how many turn up) from 3-5 (you actually have to be MORE animated in those but you can at least give them things to do while you drink your tea) followed by, some weeks, a couple more hours work, but this week by going home, stupidly doing another test (negative of course - tiredness is now officially not hormone-induced) and then heading back for choir practice till 9.30-ish, then getting home after having to give a friend a lift and therefore hold it together in the car, followed, as I say, by meltdown.

So, we say thankyou for Mr. Spouse, who says he feels guilty that he isn't as sad as me. I told him if he was pleased or relieved I'd thump him, but he is allowed not to feel as sad as me.

Tonight, to take our minds off the fact that we should be at our preparation course, we're having a night away at a "restaurant with rooms". We like that kind of thing.

This week, we are trying to work full time, do a bit more exercise (gentle running, cycling to work) and be more assiduous on the food diary, as well as read up on (and, harder, persuade Mr. Spouse to read up on) PGD. This from the couple that said "no IVF, thanks".

We heard this week from some friends who confessed they were seeking assistance to conceive, and I'm wondering (counting on my fingers) whether another couple we know should be going to the doctor's now, or whether to gently nudge them to do so (and if so, how - last time I talked to her, she was very complacent, and it's been a year since she told me they'd started trying - we're seeing them in a few weeks so perhaps there will be a Happy Announcement).

Gotta dash - should have packed half an hour ago!