Friday, August 29, 2008

I guess I'll have to get used to this...

OK, this is not really on topic, but it's one of those culture clash things that amused me. Probably TMI but I think you're all used to that, now, aren't you?

We arrived in our new, more Californian home on Tuesday and spent yesterday settling in. I decided I needed a quick leg wax before going to a wedding on Sunday so tried to book in with a salon round the corner. The beautician didn't have any spots on Saturday morning so squeezed me in there and then. I normally have only the bottom half of my legs done - I am not a very hairy lady, I am quite fair, and the hair doesn't grow fast either.

So normally I have great (in a relative sense of the word) waxing experiences. The beauticians say how easy it is to get the hair out, when I tell them it's been 6 weeks they say "ooh, it seems quite light for that long" and this started off the same. I get a few ingrown hairs and she complained about them, but that's common.

Then, however, she started about the top half of my legs. Apart from at the swimming pool, only I and Mr Spouse ever see these. I pointed out that I don't wear short shorts. "Oh, what about your husband?" she said. "Well, he doesn't mind" "But remember you are a woman!" I refrained from saying "and women have hairy legs..." I thought she might as well do the small patches on the backs of my thighs - I have had them done occasionally.

But then as I was getting ready to go she suggested "when you are ready for a partial bikini wax, just call me". Now this is something I've stayed far, far away from - the pain, the associations, just the whole idea. Ewwwww.

I think what got me was although you might get a beautician in the UK who would mention additional services they would be much more subtle about it ("ooh, shall I just do those bits as well?" "have you ever had a bikini wax") - I'm not sure if this woman was just more up front than I'm used to, or if her other customers would find her rude too.

My legs are pretty smooth, though!

Friday, August 15, 2008

OK, I'm going to come out and say it...

I put this in an email to a nice blogger friend (you know who you are) but I'm going to say it here too. I'm really scared about healthcare when we go to the US.

I have finally found some that I am eligible for (it is hard when you are a citizen but not a resident) which though basic, has a reasonable reputation and will cover pregnancy (I believe this is a legal requirement). But I know it won't be a research centre specialising in recurrent miscarriage, and I know if I want to have any more fertility investigations I will be paying, and I'm worried about the attitude I seem to detect from other bloggers of US gynaes/REs of "make sure you give the maximum amount of treatment just in case". I'm worried they'll say "oh, you must have a clotting/egg maturation/immune problem, let's give you heparin/FSH/steroids" or "oh, bedrest for the first trimester, natch" when I'll be thinking "No evidence/dangerous/thrombosis!" but being scared to say no Just In Case.

I have navigated the US healthcare system before, but I was young, single, and the worst thing that I ever got was the damn Bartholin cysts. I did have a brief expensive spell on COBRA but having never had much to do with the UK health system, either, I didn't have much to compare it with.

Please talk me down. Thank you.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Things I should be doing...

Tidying my office.
Ringing back parents in our study.
Filing papers.
Ringing another office about someone's A level results that keeps ringing me up to panic.

Things I am doing...

Reading blogs.
Reading internet fora.

Anyway I had a phone call the other day from a social worker who didn't say she was "from" our local authority but that she was contacting me "in connection with our application to foster with" our local authority. And her accent was very non-local. So I was a bit confused but rang her back and left a message. She rang me the next day (after working hours, very impressive for a social worker) and explained that she and some colleagues had been independently contracted (which involves organisation, and spending money, very impressive for a local authority) to do the approval process for 7 potential foster carers (7 households, I think). They would be travelling to our area and staying over and spending a few days doing each family. This will take them about 6 months in total, so they would probably still be contracted to do it when we got back.

Now, if you have been through the approval process (and I have not) you will be able to say that this would be quite gruelling. I have only done the preparation course and the idea of doing all that over a couple of days is pretty daunting! But the advantage would be that although it wouldn't start till we got back, it would be over quickly, and Mr Spouse would probably not have a job yet, so we could do it in the daytime. Also one hopes the social worker wouldn't have too much opportunity to go away and think up extra nasty questions between sessions.

So I am feeling quite positive about that. Plus a sweet colleague (the least forthcoming of men ever) at another university, who I knew fosters, chatted to me about the process at a conference the other week and his opinion was "they just want to see if you are normal, you have to be pretty bad to fail approval".

It sounds like our local authority are serious about getting this batch of carers approved as soon as possible (v. sensible for them), and like it shouldn't be too much of an ordeal, if we can stand 2-3 solid days of being grilled.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Am I weird?

(Please say no).

I am currently catching up on paperwork and phone calls relating to my study of children's language that has been going on for about 4 years now - I won't be able to call people at a reasonable hour nor post things to them while I'm overseas. One thing I've been doing is asking parents their dates of birth. Lots of the parents are older than me (but the kids in the study are rising-five). But I am obsessively working out how many of them were older than I am now, when their babies were born.

I am, at the very least, a sad individual. Sorry.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


It was OK... we went on a slow but rambling ramble where my friend and I could hang back while the blokes charged ahead. She had her FET just over a week ago and will do her HPT (as you may know, here people don't get blood tests but are advised to do HPTs) on Friday or Saturday. Judging by the timing, it may turn out like her first cycle and she may get her period before doing the test anyway. It was partly advice, partly her exhaustion, and partly just wanting to be cautious which has caused her to take things much more easy than normal - she's usually very active and energetic. I probably couldn't have called first as they were out and about in an area with little mobile phone reception but I might try and call one evening this week just to check in again.

She asked for advice on a good adoption website. I recommended the one I often read, but suggested she not look at too many stories on the message board, but use it for factual information. I was slightly surprised they are thinking about this at this stage - it would probably be a year away for them though. They get two more fresh ICSI cycles on the NHS but only if they can fit them in before my friend turns 40 (ironically with it being a male factor problem, she's the older of the couple), and she is finding the process increasingly wearisome, so doesn't really feel they want to try a third fresh cycle privately. Although this cycle was a FET she felt it was more difficult than either of the previous ones, and she doesn't think it's going to get much better if she does any more.

I feel like I've got more to say about my friends than ourselves. Two (or more) fertility journeys for the price of one. We are gearing up for our temporary move and still wrestling with health insurance, which is incredibly complicated, partly due to our mixed citizenship situation, and may end up with enrolling Mr Spouse in a slightly dodgy way using an ITIN (a tax number for non-citizens) as he doesn't have an SSN. ITINs are not supposed to be used for identification outside the tax system but some healthcare providers use them. Sssh. We don't care if it lets him enrol.

I'm not feeling overwhelmingly positive about trying again to get pregnant, as I think I feel at the moment that our best chances of building a family are through adoption/foster care, and that pregnancy isn't going to happen, or if it does, it isn't going to go anywhere. And we can't do anything about fostering/adoption at the moment. But it is also possible I'm just a bit tired and overwhelmed. I had my bacon saved by a kind colleague - not one I'm especially best friends with, just one that happened to be in the office - when I forgot to return something from the library that has a £1 per hour fine, and blithely decided to work at home instead of going in on Friday. Things are getting on top of me.

I'm going to go and watch some mindless TV now I think.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Etiquette advice please people...

Tomorrow off to meet up with my bestest infertility pal aka The Best Woman (1 fresh ICSI -ve, 1 FET +ve but miscarriage at 6w, if you remember). Just done another FET but I'm not sure which day she'll be on.

Unfortunately, although Mr Spouse knows all we'll also have my dad (aka Obliviousness personified but nosy scientist) in tow.

How do I ask about the procedure/how she's feeling/when she'll be testing, without my dad asking personal questions?

Also - I'm wondering if this is IVF-related, or just personal nervousness - she said "oh, I won't be able to do a long walk because of having the FET". Is it official advice not to do much exercise or just immediately after (as I say, not sure of the dates) or is it just because she's had no real chances at a 2ww that could possibly work? so she's just extra nervous?

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Is there a way...

to hide the Blogger babies on the Blogger dashboard?

(Though the one with the ears on his hat has a certain je ne sais quoi).

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The unexpected

I'm still not a very frequent blogger, and even less so when I don't have much going on. But I did think that perhaps taking a break from trying to get pregnant would make things a little different. I just wasn't prepared for exactly how it would make things different.

I think I thought we'd have quite a different sex life - either more evenly distributed through the month, or avoiding the Persona red days entirely as neither of us like using condoms. But in fact, I guess our sex life is more driven by either a) weekends or b) my hormones as it was more or less the same as it is other months.

I didn't particularly think I'd be successful in getting fit and losing weight - but I have. I have lost 8lb in the last approximately 90 days, and I've started running again (and I've surprised myself by being able to pick up the number of minutes for which I can run much more rapidly than in the past) and I've lost 2in off my waist. I have also been able to fit into clothes I haven't worn for over 10 years. I have weighed this little a couple of times in the last couple of years (and even a bit less) but I think perhaps it's been in the winter and these were summer clothes.

I didn't think I'd notice anything new about my body - I thought I knew everything - but I've also noticed (look away now if squeamish, but hey, you are all fertility readers really aren't you? Well, sorry if not...) a much more regular pattern of CM than I thought I had. Both months I had some thick EWCM at a point which I thought was about 4-5 days before I would normally get a positive OPK. So far, so expected. However, I think normally my mucus is, er, obscured after that point. The first month I then got some really fluid but definitely stretchy CM about 5 days after that - which normally I tend to discount, or be a bit confused by. Not thick EWCM, but definitely egg-white-ish. This was about 5 days later and I had previously thought my body had given up on EWCM by about 4-5 days before ovulation.
The second month I then got my OPK-equivalent on the Persona, er, the next day. So a short cycle this month.

Finally I wasn't expecting migraines. I think I may have fallen into the common pattern of regular migraines just before my period. Previously they were much more stress-related - usually a stress hangover, a classic situation being the day after a stressful week at work, when I hadn't been out the night before or drunk anything. I've had a couple of those in the last year, but I think two out of the previous three months I've had a migraine. Fortunately my regular Imigran works OK premenstrually too.

One thing I was expecting - the social worker we met before (the second one, who was a bit new to the field, rather than the mad, about-to-retire one we met first) rang me back about our going away. She wasn't completely sure she'd be our social worker when we got back, but she didn't think it was worth starting any of our home study before we go away. I guess I'll just have to try and remember what we did on the course.

Three weeks till we go to the US - it still seems slightly unreal.