Thursday, May 29, 2008


Last week Mr Spouse and I had a bit of a barney. This coincided with me having yet another barney with my brother* so I had a couple of sleepless nights. It was started by me suggesting that he whisk me away as it was a very good night for whisking away, and him suggesting that we should not be trying to get pregnant before we go away in August. Late August! I was suggesting stopping trying when the next but one period was due - mid July; he was suggesting stopping now.

Next morning (in fact, very early, as I think we'd both been tossing and turning a bit) we both said "OK, how about a compromise - one more month". So we had, erm, an active weekend. And my calculations later proved that I was a bit optimistic - a July pregnancy would have meant going away exactly the time the last one failed - not good planning. Now, in my fantasy world where I get pregnant this cycle and it works, I'd be coming home for a short trip to the UK just in time for my 20 week scan, neatly avoiding some of the insurance issue too. I like this fantasy world as it also involves shocking my colleagues upon my arrival.

So we will see. In the meantime, we start our foster care course on Tuesday, and I'm practicing keeping my mouth shut in the face of weird analyses of child development by social workers.

*See: arrogant person who won't listen to me and must therefore be wrong; person who doesn't believe he should remind his children to say thank you; person who asked me to make an identical doll for his older daughter because she was jealous of younger daughter's birthday present, and told me I was being "perverse" when I said I would but it wouldn't be till her birthday.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Tee hee

Best woman (already had one kid) of my best woman (the one who has just had the miscarriage - following me?) just had twins. That's not the funny part - no doubt far from it - she found out it was twins more or less the same day my best woman found out the first ICSI didn't work.

The birth announcement includes first and middle names for both twins and I'm going to try really hard to make this non-Googleable, but when I forwarded the names to Mr Spouse his reply was:

"T'bias C'sp'r. Poor kid!"

(the girl's name wasn't quite as bad though I thought the middle name - - was actually a nickname for, I think, Hester)*

"Don't be mean. Just you wait till we are fostering Chardonnay and Wayne"

"Yeah, I can just see you yelling out the back 'Chardonnay! Your dinner's ready!'"

Has a bit more street cred, don't you think, than "Hester! Toby! Your asparagus risotto is getting cold!"?

*I hate doing this but really, really don't want this Googleable!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Desperately sad news

My friends S & J who got married the same year as us have been doing ICSI (I related that already) - they had a fresh cycle last year, and it failed but they got about 6 frozen embryos. A few weeks ago she found out she was pregnant with two of the three they had to defrost - but I just got an email yesterday to say the pregnancy had failed. I felt a real shock when reading the email.

Understandably she doesn't feel like talking about it - I've written a card and am sending chocolate - I have said if she has any questions, or needs to get away, just ask.

I know they will have another round of frozen embryos (possibly two if they all work - they will only transfer two at a time here if you are under 40) but I am pretty sure there is no more ICSI after that, and that they can't afford any more.

But I think what I am really wondering is, how much do I actually understand her situation? I imagine it must be even more awful to lose a pregnancy after IVF, but what do I really know?

So, tell me, dear readers - if you know - what is it like? Is it different if you have had both types of losses? What if that's the only pregnancy you've had? Do you think that is worse than having, but losing, several pregnancies?

Friday, May 16, 2008

Not having a good day/week/month

Went to the acupuncturist this morning, who always asks me how I'm feeling about it when my period has started. Well, you kind of get used to it, you know. I don't know if she expects to magically fix me, or what, or if she's just trying to be sympathetic. But to be honest I'm not feeling that great. This time last year I was pregnant, and it was the most hopeful ever, and then it failed, and it's nearly the anniversary.

The GP says my progesterone level "indicates I'm ovulating", which I kind of guessed (even before having the test), and there's nothing more to do "since I've already been investigated thoroughly". I could probably push for more but frankly can't be *rs*d.

And I have a load of stuff to do at work, none of which is overwhelming individually, but I also have stuff to get ready before we go to the US in August, and finding insurance etc. just reminds me every time we look at pre-existing conditions or pregnancy clauses. Fortunately the one for me from the university is pretty generous and specifically includes pregnancy, or excludes pregnancy and its complications from its exclusions if you see what I mean - but Mr Spouse and I both need cancellation insurance for our travel and for other trips beforehand and these are more mean - sad emails have been going back and forth this afternoon.

I've been working on a paper today, and just pottering around, but I have loads of marking to do, and I could honestly have spent the entire day doing much nicer things like taking photos of my crafts etc. And if I don't get my marking done tonight I'm going to be doing that tomorrow instead of taking photos etc., going to my knitting group, going for a walk, the things I want to do. And I promised a couple of other people bits and pieces this week, which I haven't done...

And I feel like the last man standing in the world of People Trying To Get Pregnant On The Internet (which should tell me something about where I'm going wrong, shouldn't it?). But don't go away, just don't worry if I'm a bit quiet on your blog.

Monday, May 12, 2008


So sorry that all my posts seem to be about me starting my period, or at least seem to include that information. What can I say, I don't have much to talk about.

I've just had a minor row with Mr Spouse, not really "about" anything except that we are both frazzled and tired, him because of a long day, me because of not sleeping well last night. I really need to sleep, and not fret and lie awake in bed like I did last night, over nothing in particular.

Step away from the Google

Not a huge issue really... Having been at a conference over the weekend (small, v. friendly, finally came out to my best gal-work-pal about the miscarriages and also to a woman who I know slightly less but who has been having a very difficult first trimester, and who started chatting to me about how badly informed she felt and how she got the impression she was just supposed to go away and put up with hyperemesis), I only just got a chance to call about my progesterone test. I think it was 28 (maybe 20!) which seems to be high? high normal? Anyway I'm not looking now, but have a telephone appointment with the GP on Thursday. I don't think she'll have any answers, though.

Of course this morning just as I surreptitiously put a small sample of FMU in the medicine cabinet (I wiped the bottle, don't worry) I noticed my period had started. I think I'm feeling extra bad about this one as it's the anniversary of my last miscarriage at the end of this month, and I can't help feeling sad about that, as well as worrying I won't have any more pregnancies either.

It felt really good to come out to C, who knew there were some "issues" but not really what they were. I've been kind of trying to tell her for a while, it just has been hard to bring it up - she started talking about her brother (who is an obstetrician) getting her sister-in-law in for extra scans so it finally seemed natural to bring it up - I related how Mr Spouse forgot that "normal people" don't get a scan till 12 weeks.

It was also good to rant about being told to "go away and come back when you are 12 weeks" to D. I don't know if D has any fertility issues but she is definitely a non-smug fertile - she says "I'm hoping to go on maternity leave in November".
Other Smug Lady Who Is Convinced Everything Is Pregnancy Or Child-Related said "D will be on maternity leave". She also said "ooh, my hair went curly once I had been pregnant". Well, my hair went curly in my 30s, before any pregnancies, but of course she didn't listen to my theory. D is in a study of stress (I think) and pregnancy, and we discussed my wild idea of planning research into CBT and miscarriage. I don't think this would be a good area for me to research as I don't know anything about CBT (other than "it's a good thing") but I'm just wondering if I might ask the GP to refer me again to a different psychologist (I suspect scary shirt man will have moved on by now).

Friday, May 02, 2008


I'm afraid I'm jumping on geepeemum's bandwagon with this one... it seemed intriguing.

1. Father went to college.

My dad has a degree from Oxbridge as well as a PhD ditto. I suspect my father is a tiny bit disappointed only one of his children went to his old college and that my PhD is from The Other Oxbridge.

2.Father finished college.

See above

3.Mother went to college.

Ivy League - one where, at the time she went there, there were separate women's and men's institutions.

4.Mother finished college.

Ditto. She has been heard to express regret at being the only person in her immediate family who only has a BSc - her father and brother, ex-husband (my dad) and two children all have PhDs, and her mother had a Masters.

5. Have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor.

My paternal grandfather, and his father, were doctors. My maternal grandfather, maternal uncle, and father, are all academics (only my maternal grandfather I think is "professor" as my dad didn't get that high and my maternal uncle is in a research institution so I'm not sure of his title - but what they call professors in the US, certainly). Sundry other academic relatives, too.

6. Were the same or higher class than your high school teachers.

As my mother at the time was a secondary school teacher, and several children of the teachers were at my school, I'm guessing the same.

7. Had more than 50 books in your childhood home.

Many more

8. Had more than 500 books in your childhood home

Probably yes. Oddly I don't think we do now, as I'm trying to be better at decluttering. I keep special books, and easily available ones that I think I'll read again soon, and get rid of the rest.

9. Were read children’s books by a parent.

Yes, until I could read myself, and even then my dad read us big book series - Narnia, Swallows and Amazons.

10. Had lessons of any kind before you turned 18.

I'm assuming this means music/dance etc. rather than "going to school and having lessons" - in which case yes - lots of music, some ballet but I was rubbish at that.

11.Had more than two kinds of lessons before you turned 18.

Three musical instruments (piano, flute, bassoon) and ballet.

12. The people in the media who dress and talk like me are portrayed positively.

Possibly, apart from the "absent-minded boffin" stereotype

13. Had a credit card with your name on it before you turned 18.

I think I'd heard of other children having a credit card when I was a child, but only in films.

14. Your parents (or a trust) paid for the majority of your college costs

Fees from the Local Authority, and grant from my parents for the first 4 years (I dithered) and then half parental money and half grant in the last year as my brother was also at university that year.

15. Your parents (or a trust) paid for all of your college costs

Not in my last year, and not for my PhD - not a penny for that, in fact - thank you, MRC.

16. Went to a private high school

Yes - I was due to start secondary school a couple of years after a big change to the school system - my dad who had been to private school (well, actually "public school") would have pushed for this anyway and my mum didn't resist much.

17. Went to summer camp

Unless Guide camp, or a few days at day camp in the US count, no.

18. Had a private tutor before you turned 18

I was a swot and didn't need tutoring, plus my dad is a hard scientist and could help with some of the basic stuff.

19. Family vacations involved staying at hotels

I think so - at least, I am pretty sure we had a skiing holiday in a hotel once when I was about 13, and a few nights in hotels on our way to and from places. Although some of them may have been motels. Mostly we went self-catering or stayed with relatives or friends, though. My family don't camp and definitely don't stay in caravans, although strangely there appears to be a picture of me aged 1 in wellies and nappy outside a caravan but perhaps it belonged to a friend of the family.

20. Your clothing was all bought new before you turned 18.

No way, and are you kidding? Although I'm the oldest child and the second-oldest girl cousin, I still got a lot of my clothes from that cousin, and even a few from the boy cousin who's a couple of months older (but quite hefty). I'm not too sure any of my baby/young child clothes came from charity shops but as soon as I started having my own clothes budget, aged about 14, I was a regular - so much so that I started working in one and got a discount. My mother is a seamstress and knitter and one of the jumpers she made me was then my brother's

21. Your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them

The first car I owned was a 1969 Beetle (so, 2 years younger than me) when I last lived in the US, at the age of 31 (meanly, Mr Spouse won't let me get another one when we go this year). The first car I bought in this country was however new.

22. There was original art in your house when you were a child.

Yes - prints done by a family friend who makes a living from her art (so, not famous, but definitely professional) and lots of historic stuff.

23. You and your family lived in a single-family house.

I think this means detached, rather than "not a flat" but I'm not entirely sure. We lived in a whole house, but it was terraced.

24. Your parent(s) owned their own house or apartment before you left home

Yes - they bought it just before I was born for about £3000 and it had mushrooms in the basement!

25. You had your own room as a child

When I was about 10 the attic was converted to be my room. I chose the wallpaper - pink flowers, of course.

26. You had a phone in your room before you turned 18

I'm not sure we had more than one phone in the house before I left home.

27. Participated in a SAT/ACT prep course

I'm assuming this is some kind of college preparation course. We did have special lessons at school for those taking the Oxbridge exams, but within school time.

28. Had your own TV in your room in high school.

We only had one telly in the house, and my parents still have one each (as they live in different houses now...)

29. Owned a mutual fund or IRA in high school or college.

I had a building society account but I don't think that counts!

30. Flew anywhere on a commercial airline before you turned 16.

First flew to the US to visit my grandparents when I was 3 months old. I think my childhood carbon footprint must have been horrendous.

31. Went on a cruise with your family.

Don't think the overnight ferry to Denmark counts.

32. Went on more than one cruise with your family.

33. Your parents took you to museums and art galleries as you grew up.

Yes, lots, and I do remember being bored at times!

34. You were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family

I wasn't aware though was probably told to turn the radiator down sometimes, and until we moved into this house I lived in small flats/houses (the largest being a small mid-terrace). We now live in a large end-of-terrace that is probably similar in heating costs to my parents' house and good grief, the heating bills. Thankfully double glazing should come soon.

22/34. Slightly higher than geepeemum but in that ballpark. I think some of these are either more common in the UK (private school is a bit more common, museums and art galleries are very accessible) or vanishingly rare here (cruises, children having their own phone lines)

*The original authors of this exercise are Will Barratt, Meagan Cahill, Angie Carlen, Minnette Huck, Drew Lurker, and Stacy Ploskonka at Illinois State University. If you participate, they ask that you PLEASE acknowledge their copyright.

[This was written ages ago but I never published it, I hope I've got the formatting at least slightly OK]