Tuesday, July 31, 2007

I have turned into a sensitive flower

in that everything and anything seems to turn my stomach. I don't think it was a chemical pregnancy (my period started today), as I did test and it was negative (Of course I tested! Who do you think I am! Even though I said I wouldn't till my mother, who is busy being a drama queen at our house for a change, left). Perhaps it is the homeopathic medicine. Perhaps I should stop taking it, as it suggests in their leaflet, and start drinking coffee again. Hmmm.

I think it's probably accurate to say that I have rarely been more relieved to have my period, but that does not really convey the very very low amount of relief that conveys. In fact I am desperate to be pregnant and very sad that I'm not.

But for a change I can see some good things about not being pregnant - I really don't want to slow down at work, as for a change I am getting some serious stuff done, not just staring out of the window and surfing t'internet. I think I've lost a little weight (am doing the Paul McKenna trying to eat slowly till you're full, thing, but not the crazy pseudoscience tapping thing, thank you, but I can see the sense of not weighing myself just yet) and it would be good for me to carry that on. I've climbed two more big hills, I don't really feel like starting running again but I actually feel like I have some energy and I do seriously think this is contributing to my relatively good mood, so I don't want to have to stop that either. And I have a few short trips lined up - London this weekend, a conference in Germany in a couple of weeks, and the South of France in September.

But I don't think any of this is enough, sadly, to stop me wanting to get pregnant. If I didn't want to it would be a lot easier.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Bits and pieces

Not a lot going on but:
Got my medicines (finally) from the Alternaclinic. Some homeopathic ones (but it would actually be good for me to give up coffee - I am not convinced about homeopathy, but I did take some when I had a severe stomach problem nearly 15 years ago, and either that or diet helped. But I had already been trying diet for several months at that point), plus a load of supplements - magnesium (which I'm deficient in), B complex (to help absorb the Mg), and calcium for some reason. Apparently I am vastly over-supplemented with folate so as far as I'm concerned, that's OK.

I think my cycles are getting back to normal, as I've had some small end-of-cycle cramps and ditto sore boobs - not uncomfortable, but enough that I'm pretty sure I ovulated this cycle, though I wasn't sure about the last one.

I've been making up the roller blind for the spare/back/whatever bedroom - I may even post a picture if I get round to it - and moving all the single bedding down there, and putting up a surprising number of elephant-themed wall decorations, and I have obtained (from our local equivalent to Freecycle) a waterproof undersheet. So at least my niece will be catered for.

Mr Spouse was threatened with jury duty to coincide with our 6th August hospital appointment, but it has been cancelled. And the social worker is coming round on the evening of the 18th August - unfortunately Mr Spouse's work situation is definitely busy, and possibly precarious*, at the moment, so he can't really work from home, which may mean the social worker gets irritated with post-commuter-train meetings after not very long.

*Don't worry - he has been with the same firm for more years than even a donkey can remember, so would be getting the largest redundancy cheque anyone has ever seen. Which may equally mean they decide he's too expensive to get rid of. They have done this twice already.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Oh, I forgot

I did manage to get to see Dr Alterna-tweed. Although he wasn't actually wearing a tweed waistcoat at the time, which disappointed me.

The consultation was fairly similar to May's, with some helpful parts and some not so helpful. It was pricey, but the Americans renting our flat were paying, and it was the very first private medical consultation we've done in this whole thing, so that's not too bad. He's going to check my blood levels of various micronutrients, which makes sense, as I do know that the theory behind some people having babies with spina bifida despite adequate folate intake is that they don't absorb it. So it would be good to know if all this folate I'm taking is going to the right place. He couldn't find much wrong with me using his twiddly homeopathy machine, although he kept trying to make me admit I had had lots of ear infections as a child - actually it was lots of throat infections but he wasn't having any of that. And he suggested that, er, perhaps eating lots of sugar wasn't such a good idea when I've had borderline high blood sugar.

No, really, those aren't muffins cooling in the kitchen. Honest. Well, OK, perhaps they are, but I climbed a hill today from which you can see Blackpool Tower and there were hundreds of blueberry bushes at the bottom and I had to pick enough for muffins, OK?

But he did irritate me in his assessment of my fertility chances. Of course it is due to my age - well, I'm not arguing with him there, though I would interpret it as a chance effect which all women have some chance of but older women have a greater chance of. However he somewhat bizarrely seemed to think that we were "very fertile" given my age - I count about 6 months per pregnancy, which is the average for all women, and slightly more frequent than the average for my age, but it is very hard to tell if statistics are applicable to 40 year olds who have only been married for 3 years, and not living together for years before that, and hence perhaps a little more, er, active than some other 40-year-olds.

But what really irritated me is that he suggested that IVF might reduce our chance of a miscarriage. There is absolutely no evidence that this might be the case, not a jot - he seemed convinced that "picking the embryos with the best morphology" would reduce the risk of miscarriage. He also thinks that big studies have "too many variables" so even if they show that IVF doesn't reduce the risk, then it might at some clinics. Problem is, if on average over a large number of
women - especially if they are at a variety of clinics - there is no reduction in miscarriage (I think even possibly a rise) then if for some women the risk reduces, for others it must increase, and I don't know which side I'd be on.

Incidentally I have read the NEJM PGS article, and although I'm not convinced that it actually shows that PGS makes the outcome worse, it really doesn't improve chances in the case of advanced maternal age. Other bloggers, and commenters, have said that the study was flawed because they "only" checked 4-cell embryos. Actually they only checked embryos that were at least 4 cells, and although I don't know much about embryology, it sounds like they were trying to do a study of "PGS as it is practiced in the real world" i.e. checking embryos that can be checked, i.e. that have reached at least a certain size. So, PGS as it is practiced in the real world is not helpful for achieving pregnancy if you are older, and it is not helpful for unexplained recurrent miscarriage. Once again - and I know none of you were thinking otherwise - there is no point in doing IVF for us.

One of the birthday couples had her own (38th) birthday this week so I rang for an update. They've had all their tests done and are just waiting for results in about 6 weeks. Unfortunately it looks like it might be male factor - her husband's brother is infertile, and incidentally (or perhaps not) his marriage broke up after I believe a matter of months or even weeks. She seems fine with the idea of IVF, and sure that her NHS trust will pay for it (I didn't like to say that I thought it somewhat likely they would try and put her on a waiting list till she was 40 - cynical, me?)

And lastly we got our foster care pack through, we think we are going to apply and hope to get a place on their training course quite soon, and when we have done that finally tell the adoption agency what we are doing. After decorating before we were away I've been re-tidying the "green room" (ex-study/sewing room, current single spare room/sewing room, possible future children's room) and it needs a "window treatment" - I found some batik purple/green giraffe fabric in my fabric mountain, it is very cute but not too childish, so that is going to be made into a blind. My niece (with my mad brother and my slightly less mad mother) is coming to stay next month, so I am billing this as her/her sister's room. If we do foster, there will be a lot of things that we need to buy, but I am oddly excited about possibly needing to buy a waterproof undersheet for this visit.

Yes, I know. Very few people could actually say that.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Something Else

Had a fairly rotten holiday and have come back to a load of Very Urgent emails and a horrible cold. I can't really be bothered to tell you all the details but lots of drains, trains and sniffing.

I think we are now relatively sure that we don't want to give up trying to get pregnant, at least not for the moment. But as I think I have said before we are not sure that going ahead with the adoption process immediately, or hoping that we can get through the approval without another miscarriage, or indeed without another pregnancy, would be such a good idea.

So we are thinking of something else. Respite foster care. Most foster carers have one partner at home full time or at least part time but respite care is mainly weekends/holidays and as an online friend put it, involves having children in your life but having time to be adults too. Some message board enquiries left me a bit confused as some people seemed to be suggesting that, like with adoption, the expectation was that you would both give up work and not be thinking of getting pregnant, but opinions differ, and I had a very positive phone call with our local authority this afternoon. They thought it was fine that we both work, and didn't seem put off by the fact that neither of us have children. They did want to know how big our house is, and what age we were thinking of. I said not teenagers just yet. But perhaps we should be "greedy" and ask for babies!

It seems to take about 3-6 months for approval - even erring on the long side, this is quicker than any estimates for adoption approval, and given our current progress it does sound practical to hope that we'd be able to do some foster care before either deciding finally to give up on getting pregnant and to adopt, or, realistically, before any viable pregnancy. We would need to be approved as adopters separately, it doesn't shorten the process, and it is rare in the UK for foster carers to adopt a child who has been in their care - we know it's not a shortcut. But it would be very good experience if we did want to adopt, and Mr. Spouse likes the idea of being able to give the children back when we are done.

The back bedroom is also now light green (as were my arms last weekend), and my computer has moved out of there; I'm working on moving my sewing stuff out, too. My Persona sticks didn't arrive before we went away on what turned out to be CD1 (about 5w after the ERPC) so I'm going to have another cycle of not really knowing what's happening, but I think I'm OK with that.