Monday, 31 January 2011


Today was the first day of a new class, and as I had about ten minute to spare at the end, as the mixer had taken less time than expected, I did the 'write a question to ask your teacher' stand by, which always eats a good fifteen minutes!

One of my students asked where I had met my husband (fine) and then, gah! 'When are you planning to have children?'

I was tempted, I really was, to just tell the truth. I didn't, of course. However interestingly, the student in question has young twins, which I had assumed to be IVF twins. I am aware that twins occur naturally, but these days I just assume them all to be the result of IVF. I don't think that this is a particularly unlikely assumption. When I was at primary school there was one pair of twins in the whole school, but now, in my little language school, there are three pairs I know of, two of which are in the same class.

Demographically speaking, this does make a little bit of sense. The school I work for is expensive compared with other language schools, so the parents are more likely to be well off. While this could be family money, its also likely that they would have delayed having children to pursue careers. There is no easy way to find out of course.

What I find interesting in all this is how I now make assumptions and project my own issues onto those around me. Just as a mother of young children assumes that all married women will eventually have children, in my present situation I assume that all twins are the result of fertility treatment.

I started this post to complain about my student asking such a personal question in front of a class of 15 other students, but as I often do when I start writing I start working through other things that have been bothering me. I believe we project our own situation onto the world to try to make sense of it, and I think in this case to feel as though we are not alone. If I see all those twins as the result of IVF, well, look how successful it is! Twins for everyone!

I wonder how well I covered in my class. I think I said something along the lines of 'eventually, but that's a complicated question.' If my student is an IVF mother, from my answer did she make the same assumption about me that I did about her?

Friday, 28 January 2011

Go Team Dragon!

Chinadoll posted this regarding the Chinese Zodiac of her potential IVF baby. Basically, the timing of the thing means that all going well (one or two cycles, not too far apart - wishful thinking, yes I know) both of us might be looking at babies that would be born in 2012, which is the year of the dragon.

I love the idea of a Dragon baby (I'm a monkey, which I always disliked the idea of). Of course, I love the idea of any baby, but Team Dragon sounds like a team you can really support.

Go Team Dragon!

Thursday, 27 January 2011

No Quotes Today... Promise!

Feeling under the weather today - I think I'm getting a cold of some kind and I still have half of my working week left to go. I read in bed for an hour and a half before I dragged myself up, and so my rounds of the ALI blogs was shorter than usual.

I usually do a random sample, following links on one blog to the next, and sometimes find it difficult to retrace my steps. Yesterday I read on The Pitter-Patter that she was going for a 12 week scan yesterday, after losing a previous pregnancy. Today I actually managed to find her blog again (yes, there is a miraculous thing called Internet History, but often between my husband and me it can take a good twenty minutes to trawl through) and the news is good!

This morning my blogging trip was overwhelmingly positive - so many young babies, or pregnancies doing well. I know all of these journey's were difficult, but it feels good to know there is hope out there.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

A Higher Power, or Hemingway?

Last year, after the ectopic, I went through a difficult time. Hope of that baby gone, hope of any baby ever receding into the distance. After coming home from the hospital, my husband went to the pharmacy to pick up my prescription and banned me from going online while he was gone, as he didn't want me sitting there upsetting myself.

The internet wasn't going to upset me, as I was already devastated. I sat down and wrote out a very long email to my friend in Australia, describing what had happened, with the title of the message as 'therapy.' I had to get it all out, as I still couldn't believe that day had even happened. It was endless, surreal and now, mercifully, fading into memory.

I remember, when I was wondering how people deal with loss and grief, thinking about the phrase that the things that are sent to test us are only as much as we can handle. Or something to that effect. However I just tried to look it up, and apparently as an actual Biblical phrase it doesn't exist! It is just interpreted in that way. It's strange how it has been interpreted in that way, and has passed into cultural understanding.

So instead, I will leave some words of Ernest Hemingway, which I also thought of a lot at the time. I thought only of the first part of this famous quote, and so I will not post it all. I will selectively quote to suit my meaning. Anyone who wants to go further and look up the rest are welcome to, but I do not hold to the full meaning and will not allow it to affect my mindset.

The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places.

A Farewell to Arms, 1929

Monday, 24 January 2011


In the past I have not been particularly religious, but I have found a lot of peace recently from the words of The Serenity Prayer. It is best known as the Alcoholics Anonymous prayer.

Grant me the serenity;
To accept the things I cannot change;
The courage, to change the things I can;
And the wisdom, to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
As it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
If I surrender to His Will;
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life
And supremely happy with Him
Forever and ever in the next.

Reinhold Niebuhr

CD3... blood test day... I didn't go.

I have a tendency to take on too much at once. For example, in the month leading up to my wedding I decided it was the time to take driving lessons. I went to the doctor's to talk about treatment because of was tired of not having any kind of action towards having a baby. I did it in the full knowledge that I was going to be working a six day week for the next two months.

Yesterday it snowed. Today I had to start work at 10.30 and the clinic didn't open til 9, and I'm not in a profession where you can just arrive late for work and say 'doctor's appointment.' I'm in a profession where they have to get someone to cover you, and also it can't be done at short notice if you're running late from the hospital.

Similarly, I need the hycosy, or whatever its called, and I was supposed to schedule it for CD8 - which is a Sunday, so it would have been pushed to the Monday. A day on which I agreed before Christmas, before treatment, that I will be able to do 6 hours of overtime.

So I just didn't go this morning. I can't add one more element of stress at the moment. In a month's time things will be much calmer, and I will be able to breathe, think and schedule my treatments without worrying.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

A Saturday Night Confession

My confession: I can't imagine what it's like to pregnant.

It's something I want above nearly everything. It's something I've wanted since I finished uni and started working. I remember my mother telling me that she would have had a baby as soon as my father and she married, when she was 21. My father wanted to wait until they had more money, and so they did, until she was 28, when they had my brother. When she told me this I was surprised - why would you wait for something like that?

I'm 30 now, which by most standards these days is in no way old to have a first child. When we lost our pregnancy last year, people who knew about the loss but not about the finer details of the situation said, to a person: you're still young, you have plenty of time.

Which I do, I know, but it has been so long not getting a bfp that I cannot imagine what it's like to be pregnant, to be carrying a baby. Last night I was crying because I accidentally logged into my husband's facebook profile and saw one of his friend bitching about not being able to drink because, predictably, she's pregnant. Out of self preservation these days I usually 'hide' pregnant people who post too many status updates, but in this case I saw it before I realised what I was seeing.

I worry ridiculously that, because I can't imagine it, I can't get pregnant.

It's CD1 - on Monday I'm going for my first pre-IVF blood test.

Monday, 17 January 2011

For Two Weeks I had Two Lines

POAS = pee on a stick
hpt = home pregnancy test
bfp = big fat positive, and the more significant:
bfn = big fat negative.

Over the last few days, a couple of other bloggers out there have been testing, or talking about testing and it's made me try to organise about my own thoughts about POAS.

When I was pregnant last year, before I knew it was ectopic, I was testing every day. I was spotting, and knew down in my gut that there was something wrong, so I tested every day, looking to see whether the line was thicker or darker. Was this test more sensitive than this one? How about this one? The day after my first bfp, I took a clear blue which read 2-3 weeks. Then two weeks later I did another which read 3+ weeks.

I remember I had woken up very early that morning to do the second CB test. After the initial relief that the number had gone up, I got back into bed and had a real sinking feeling. Now, nearly a year later I don't know why that was. I had thought before that I was having an early miscarriage, but if the test showed an increase in hcg, then what was happening? I knew it wasn't good.

A week after my surgery, I had to have a blood test to make sure there was no residual matter still growing. The day before I POAS, and got the bfn I logically wanted. But I was, on a deeper level, really disappointed. I waited so long for a bfp, and then for two weeks I had two lines! I got two lines! Two! After years of one line sitting there alone, with me sitting alone in the bathroom with it. I had two!

Until I didn't anymore.

Since then, my relationship with hpts has changed. Since the surgery my cycle has been more erratic than previously, and there have been months where I have been nearly a week 'late.' Now, I use hpts not because I'm hoping I might be pregnant, but because I need reassurance that I'm not. If I were able to conceive naturally, we've been told that the chances of another ectopic would be quite high. The control and monitoring of IVF is a relief compared to the risk of that again, no matter the negative side of it.

When we finally reach a point of ET, maybe my relationship with hpts will improve again, but for now my heart pounds when I use one, and I'm not quite sure what I want to see.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Dangerous Conversations

Since we're started making our IVF appointments, I've had a strict 'don't get our hopes up, don't talk about the potential baby,' policy until I'm actually pregnant. In fact, I probably won't allow conversations on the topic unless we make it to 12 weeks. Well, I say that now, but I expect if I get pregnant I will be planning and planning from the minute we get the bfp. Banning the conversation is a form of avoiding getting hurt, like when you have a driving test and you say 'I'll probably fail' so that if you do you're not as disappointed. It doesn't mean you're not thinking about the possibility of success.

However last night we went out for dinner and afterwards we were in a bar having a drink. I don't know how it got started but we were talking about names, about Godparents (we're neither of us even Christian) about all the things I have been banning conversation about. It was so much fun and it was nice to be hopeful, rather than cautiously pessimistic.

What this proved to me was that my hopes are well and truly up, even if I'm constantly repeating to my husband that it might not happen.

I'm so scared of being disappointed, of going through the pain of a bfn after the treatment, of getting a bfp but then having a miscarriage. I am terrified of everything. I hate when my brain starts running down these holes of fear, as it's really difficult to get out of them.

I think I can handle this pain if it happens - I think I'm quite a strong person, and I know women who have been through multiple miscarriages and endless problems and are still standing and have gone on to have healthy babies. They've kept going because the hope is stronger than the fear. And I know the same thing will apply to me, but it doesn't mean I'm not scared.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

An Odd Moment of Wishful Thinking

As part of the ttc plan, and also just as part of a general health plan, I am attempting to lose some weight. I am not drastically overweight - though I couldn't tell you at the moment what I weigh as we don't own any scales. However after my surgery last year, in my grief from losing both my pregnancy and my fertility, I went up a couple of sizes. This was a combination of doing very little activity for several months, eating too much comfort food, and eventually drinking too much. I was also quite unhappy at work.

I've since changed jobs, and while I am still sad about loss of the life I thought I would be living by now, I am no longer grieving it. I am happier now, and even going back to work after the Christmas break doesn't seem so bad. I think this is because we are now starting to pursue IVF, after taking a break from ttc for the most part of 2010. It wasn't until we decided that it was time to start pursuing it actively again that I felt happy.

As a big part of all this, I have decided to try to stop drinking so much. This is something that I have been considering for a while. I'm not an alcoholic, but I also do not have much control where drinking is concerned. One drink quickly becomes three. Also, from living in Spain I got very used to casual drinking - drinkable wine costs only a few euros a bottle. Part of me would love to quit completely, but I'm a realist.

I spent New Year's Day 2011 in bed with a horrendous hangover, with a few excursions to the bathroom to throw up. I swore to give up drinking (as did many people that day I imagine, probably also for the millionth time). At one point, hanging over the toilet bowl (sorry!) I thought 'Well, I best get used to this if I'm going to be pregnant this year.'

An odd moment of wishful thinking, I know, but one I'll remember for a long time.

Monday, 3 January 2011


I called the clinic today to find out my husband's results. I had to ring the international clinic, and they weren't there for about an hour. It was either lunch time, or they were helping other people. I could have called the 'emergency' mobile number, but it really wasn't an emergency. I got through later, only to find out that they don't give results over the phone. One more misunderstanding I suppose.

They said last week 'Your husband's results will be back on Monday.' I understood them to be saying 'Call on Monday for the results,' but apparently what they were actually saying was 'When your next period comes and you come in for your day 2 bloods, you husband can come in to see the urologist.'

I immediately took this to be bad news - why else would he need to see the urologist? However they persuaded me in the end that it really is procedure. Apparently my husband didn't sign the part of the form that says the results can be given over the phone.

I expect we'll wait until then, as I still have to have my test before we can do anything anyway. While the clinic is near my work it isn't near my husband's, so it would take him a good 3 hours to get the results.

I'm a little irritated, but I think it is more to do with having to wait for my tests, and that's up to mother nature.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Swimming Test

On Thursday, the clinic told us that my husband's semen analysis tests would be back by Monday at the latest. On Friday I received a text (in Korean) telling us to call, which we will be doing tomorrow.

We know, or think we know, that things will probably be fine. We conceived before, and it was my knackered body that caused the problem. Even if there is a problem, we have to have the IVF anyway, so we would maybe need ICSI as well. Yes, it's an additional cost, but that is the least of my worries at the moment.

I know all this but I'm still nervous. Fingers crossed!

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Patxi Untxizuria

I had two fertility related topics that I wanted to post about over the past few days, one of which I even wrote, edited, posted and then removed again. I'm worried that both of them might be a bit controversial.

So instead I am posting a picture of our new family member, Patxi, who is not a baby substitute and will always be a cat! We adopted him a couple of weeks ago from the animal hospital. He was a stray.

As per T. S. Eliot's The Naming of Cats Patxi is his common name, and his particular name is Untxizuria, which more or less means 'White Rabbit' in Basque (though I'm not 100% certain of the grammar). The vets had named him 'rabbit' in Korean because of his big ears. It's also appropriate as we are now heading into the year of the rabbit.