Sunday, September 30, 2007

Are you there G-d it's me, Portia

(apologies to Judy Blume - how great were her books!)

Are you there G-d? It's me, Portia. I think you and I need to have a talk.

I've been patient (some of the time) and accepting (every so often) that you have a grand plan for Mr G and I. Why else would you have brought us together if you didn't have some end game in mind? You want us to go forth and multiply, but you're not making it very easy.

Maybe you just want us to learn to be better people or to really want children before we become parents. Well, i'm really trying. I pick up rubbish, I help people out, I bake cakes for sick people, remember birthdays, try not to bitch and moan and generally try to pay it forward. I eat healthy food, I've almost given up wine and I'm filled with guilt for every coffee I drink and each sugar filled snack I munch on.

Perhaps we're meant to be better before you'll hear us? We've prayed in s.hul regularly - if i'm honest, more regularly) than we ever would have done if we hadn't been in this position. So why, just after i'd lit Friday night candles did you reward me with a random phone call from a (not all that close) friend telling me she's just had an (unplanned) baby at 24yrs old. I"m happy for her, but what was that all about?

Or is it you don't think we're ready as a couple to bring any little Mr G's or Portia P's into this world? Well, we've done the counselling and we've more than managed to hold onto our relationship through two years of heartbreaking infertility. We're still in love despite us both having to watch Doctors poking and prodding me and endure my hormones going up and down like a yoyo. Have we not yet proved we're in this for the duration?

It could be that you want to see just how far you can push us? I think you've proved your point. I'm still standing despite watching countless friends and acquaintances have babies. You've given my brother three, THREE, and i'm still smiling to the outside world. Am I meant to be truly happy in my heart about other people's good fortune? I really do try.

But you see, i'm feeling totally and utterly miserable. I rush around keeping busy - looking for new business ideas, doing good deeds for my more fertile friends, smiling and chatting about my treatment like it's all ok. Even I can kid myself on occasions that i'm ok. But if I let the mask slip, if I forget to be happy for just a moment, then I remember how my heart is breaking. Then the tears burn, just behind my eyes, ready to come gushing out. If I let go, i'm not sure i'll be able to stop.

So I'm just wondering, G-d, what your plan is for me and Mr G. In fact, I wonder what you intend for all of us girls who you're trying and testing? Are we the poster girls for "why you shouldn't leave it too long"? Or do you allocate only a certain number of children to the world. Have our children been used up by our more bountiful siblings? Mr G and I have 5 and nearly 6 nieces and nephews. Are they our allowance?

I wish I knew and understood, G-d. I"m really, really trying, but it's getting so hard. I just want a baby to hold and take care of. Someone to call me Mummy and hold my hand and snuggle up to me. I'll do whatever I can, whatever you want from me.

Perhaps I just have to get on with accepting this and forget trying to do anything at all about it. Maybe I need to trust that you will help us in your own good time and in the meantime we just need to relax and get on with our lives. I wish it was that easy.

Portia P

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Ups and downs....featuring some v cute puppies...

Its been an up and downie sort of a week.

Mr G has been v low over our IF state and manfully suffering with a throat infection/cold type of illness. I use manfully as in suffering as men do....if you get my drift. I managed to let his down-ness breeze over me for a while - in between telling him to at least take something so he'd feel better, but early this week I succumbed. Not to the illness (thank goodness) but to a spot of the IF blues.

That wasn't helped by a trip to the new clinic for a mid-cycle scan. They're monitoring a natural cycle at the moment. I was booked in for 9am and arrived bang on time - despite the torrential rain and heavy gales clogging up the traffic. As I checked in, they told me they were running an hour late...I left (after one scan and a quick blood test) two and a quarter hours later! The place was FILLED with patient women - some with their equally patient partners. What was that all about?!

In the scanning room there was nowhere to put the clothes you removed. I hung my jeans over the screen and tried to hide my (pretty pink) underwear in with them all of which felt really humiliating. Zero marks for patient care.

During my appt I rowed with the Dr how did the scan, who insisted that I must have immunology tests (at £780) and a hysteroscopy (at more than £1000). As i've a history of difficult transfers, I wanted to how they'd avoid problems with that. I was told the hysteroscopy would dilate me and sort that out. They'd do one pre-cycle. The last time I was dilated, things shrunk back v quickly and definitely within the month. How will they make sure that's not the case? His answer - they won't. The Dr said your ut.erus moves daily so a mock is useless. By this time, i felt close to tears with frustration, but had nothing more to add. I went meekly for my blood test - which took place in a different building on the next street. Oh, and I forgot to mention that in the middle of all of this I had to go and move my car - which was a 10 minute walk away.

If an exploratory scan is this stressful how would a full cycle be? The experience shot me into a big, fat hole of misery. This clinic is meant to be the answer to my prayers. Hmmmm....

The silver lining in all of this was this months scores on the doors, my day 1 bloodwork. FSH of...........and I think we need a drum roll here....FSH of 9.6! Yeah, yeah, I know it's no great shakes to those lucky girls who are always single digit-ers, but for the first month in ages, i'm back in the magic under 10 club. Hurrah! All the other numbers - Oestradiol, LH and Prolactin are normal too. There's hope for me yet.

Final bullet points -

I fasted religiously for Yom Kippur and went to shul twice! Nothing like IF superstition for focussing a girl on her religion. I hope I repented enough.

Had dinner with the couple who've adopted from Russi.a. Their children - ages 2 and 3 (nrly 3 and 4) are ADORABLE! Still not ready to trot down that road, but they were a real and happy family. They also have a v cute puppy, a "malti-poo" - cross between Ma.ltese Terrier and a P.oodle. Here's a pic I found online of maltipoos

How cute are they?!! I want one but Mr G still won't be swayed....i'm working on it...xx

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Autumn approaching

I've been telling Mr G off for harping on about winter approaching. Ostrich like, i've buried my head in the increasing big piles of leaves and refused to put on my socks. I would not have it that winter was on its way. Not while the sun's stil shining!

This morning I went out for my morning exercise - 30-ish minutes striding round the park - and it was FREEZING!! Not literally, but 9 degrees and definitely not T shirt weather. Damn. Zita West - fertility guru wrote in one of her books that IVF is more successful in spring and summer. Not for me, clearly! Never mind. I'll just have to work even harder to beat the odds as well as the weather.

Anyway, today i'm mostly wearing a dress and...wait for it...TIGHTS AND BOOTS! I've truly given in. Autumn is here. Still, there are some good things about autumn. Big clothes to hide the IVF flab in. Lots of tasty winter stews and soups. Walks in the leaves and the smell of bonfires. Whilst the sun's still shining I can cope.

Off to meet my Mind Body girls tonight for a communal moan. Tomorrow i'm starting as a mentor to the next group. Paying it forward and getting the benefit of doing the course again for free!

Go and give Leah and her (not so Dusty Ovaries) a shout - she's positive HPT stick-alicious!! (Tales from my dusty ovaries is her blog)


Sunday, September 16, 2007

I can't believe its been so long since I last posted. I've been reading your entries and commenting, just keeping quiet.

Life's fairly quiet really. I'm starting to get that "I want to cycle because everyone else is" feeling again. Many of my Mind Body group are cycling as well as some of my other IF friends. No BFP's but lots of hope and action. I've felt a little overwhelmed by all of their follicular updates but hope that we start to get some positive results here in my little section of L.ondon.

My p.eriod showed up on Thursday and i'm into a round of monitoring with two clinics. Straight monitoring at the private clinic and some prelim stuff for my N.HS cycle. All a bit confusing and Mr G is a little worried it'll stress me out. So far though, it's manageable - only 4 vials of blood on Friday and a couple more tomorrow as well as a wanding. I used to really fear giving blood - funny how you just get used to it. That, and opening your legs without so much as a moment's embarassment - well maybe a moment - on a regular basis.

Mr G and I have been quite the social butterflies. It was J.ewish New Year - as i'm sure you know - last week I cooked for my folks. Pomegranate, FIg, blue cheese and leaf salad, a whole roasted sea bass stuffed with rosemary with thyme roasted new potatoes en papillote and courgettes and mint salad. Dessert was honey wafers with caramelised apples and vanilla ice cream. Yum!

We've had two birthday parties - the fancy dress 40th one where i LOVED being a bunny and Mr G was a fantastic J.immy S.aville. Then last night, another 40th at a J.apanese restaurant sitting round the te.penyaki tables. I made a huge platter of teeny, petit four sized lemon flavoured cupcakes iced in white and light and dark pink and topped with glittery sprinkles as well as some heart shaped chocolate cup cakes with chocolate icing and took them for the birthday girl. No pics - sorry.

We also went for dinner with friends of Mr G in a posh L.ondon hotel restaurant. During the evening, I was feeling a bit period crampy. I was worried that i might have come on - you know that feeling which you used to get at school and which never fully leaves you that your skirt might be stained. So, after worrying for a while, i thought i'd try to creep off to the toilet.

I was on a bench seat against the wall, and the table was pushed right up to the bench. I tried to edge along the bench and slide my legs up round the table leg but I didn't know that the bench stopped. Instead of smoothly exiting, I disappeared over the edge of the bench, legs in the air and whacked my arm against the wall. How embarassing!!! I was mortified! Luckily the p.eriod had not shown up - just as well as i'd showed my knickers to the whole restaurant...
I had the great pleasure of meeting Becks from One Miracle Needed this week. She was up in L.ondon for a meeting and we had a quick lunch together. She's every bit as lovely as she sounds and we talked non-stop the whole time we were together. I feel very lucky to have met so many lovely brave and strong girls - in real life and virtually - through my IF. A silver lining in all this misery. I just hope we can all move on to share stories of our children.


Thursday, September 06, 2007

Embarrassed to be a techno idiot

Sorry about the botch up with the link to Mensfe. I did put the address in, but it didn't come out in my published blog. Definitely need lessons in bloggery!

Have tried using the Blogger paste in link thing but can't get it to work. So, the site i'm trying to get you to check out is MENSFE dot NET it's not in caps, and i've spelt out the dot and second part but I hope you can get to look at it whilst I (and Mr G - my IT support) work out how to do this properly.

I'm meeting up with Becks (One Miracle Needed) next week so maybe she'll talk me through the process so I look less of a numbskull. This lack of technical nouse is making me feel like all of your Grandma who just can't get used to this new fangled technology! I'm shamed. Do pop in and give Becks a bit of support. She's teetering on the edge of a BFP, maybe we can push her the right way!

Anyway, little else to report. Am, on the whole, feeling fairly cool. Went to open evening at another clinic last night. It was packed with other infertile couples. Somehow i'm comforted by the fact that there are so many of us but also that there were people there who looked normal and just like me.

The talk repeated a lot that we (seasoned IVF'ers) could have told them (Mr G joked I could've given the talk) but also some new stuff. They're quite up on new tests and do a really thorough work-up prior to starting treatment. They believe that the Anti-Mu.llerian Hor.mone test is much more accurate than F.SH. We're now wavering between CB clinic and this one - which is second in the L.ondon (and I think UK) clinic hit parade.

Question time was in front of the rest of the audience. I asked a few, but was a bit shy of coming out as having had so many go's. The talk leader said that after 3 try's your chances are v slim. I've managed not to fall to pieces at that news and i'm NOT going to reflect on it. We're going to make an appt with them to discuss our chances.

I had an inkling that this veneer of cool is only that. I have a fancy dress party to go to on Sat night. The theme is "What did you want to be when you grew up?". I think i'm grown up and i STILL don't really know! Call me an old whinger, but I really hate fancy dress. It's so much more stressful than just trying to fit into your too tight jeans and sexy top and plastering on some make up. I'd got into a real tizz about it! Other than Madonna - who I had and (if i'm honest) still have a huge admiration for, i'm not sure what I wanted to be other than tall, slim and blonde. I'm still none of them!

Anyway, i went to a fancy dress store for inspiration and had a total sense of humour failure. It was chaotic and the really rude receptionist was so unpleasant I was forced to have cross words with her. When I get angry it makes me cry. I hate it but that's what I do. I was red faced and close to tears but managed not to go there - which would have been SO humiliating. It did give me sense check on my mental state. I'm not sure stable people get quite so worked up in fancy dress shops...

Fortunately my anger passed and I made it to the trying-on section. They dont' do Madonna or Princesses - my second choice. The Medieval queen was shapeless. The sexy cowgirl (not sure i could have claimed to have always wanted to be a cowgirl, but thought i could say i'd like to have been Daisy Duke) was too revealing. I eventually threw caution to the wind and chose a Bunny Girl outfit I thought i could wear fishnets which hide a multitude of evils and the outfit has a little skirt so it's not just a leotard. However, my butt isn't like the one in the pic, so i'll have to stand close to a wall all night!

I'd offer to post pics but i'm already too ashamed! Mr G, on the other hand, can't wait for me to dress up!

Finally, when searching for "stressed" pics I found thisthought it might make many of you smile!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Been a busy couple of days.

Spoke to the lady at the N.HS clinic. She's had a cancellation and can fit us in for Dec/Jan now. She said - between her and me, if my pe.riod came in late November she'd have no issue with that. Great. But now we have a dilemma. We were going to go ahead with a cycle in October. I don't really want to delay for more than that. If we do a private cycle and it works, all well and good. If not, then we'd have to do two back to back....hmmm....Still, not tried that yet.

We're off to an open evening at another private hospital tomorrow night. They were full of prospective candidates but called today to say they'd had a cancellation. They're top of the pops here since CB clinic (is that the name I gave them?!) got pushed out of the charts. We'll see if they promise anything more exciting.

We were asked to appear on TV today! There's some survey coming out in the news tomorrow and they wanted Mr G and i on a news show to comment. We agreed but then later, Mr G changed his mind. I'd have done it, but i don't really want to become a career media infertile, so, on balance, I think he's right.

Oh, important news!!!!! A contact of ours has launche the first site dedicated specifically for men coping with infertility. He launched the site at the recent conference at Lyons. I checked it out and it's got all the stuff us girls get to share - notice boards, other people's stories and general support for our boys. The address is I still think it's in development, but do check it out and send your boys over for a look. Let everyone you know - it's there to help them!

I spent half of today at a huge food fair eyeing up and tasting the most fab and yummy food. It was three and a half hours of food heaven!

Right, i've got to go and fetch Mr G from the station. We've a strike on the Under.ground today and he's stuck at Pad.dington, bless....

So, lots going on and i'm smiling. Waiting for the fall, but i'll enjoy this sunny spell for the moment.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

We have a future...adoption considered

That'll teach me for taking so long to finish off my last entry. In the time i've been away many of my Rocking Girl Bloggers have already been awarded their colours.

For the record, my choices are:

Meredith asking Someone Please Knock Me Up who's brave open and honest and up there with me in the age stakes

CAM and her Infertility Diary who's managed to see the positive side of life despite being surrounded by reproducing couples

Becks whose waiting for her Once Miracle Needed, a bright and bubbly addition to the IF blogging scene

Leah whose Tales from my Dusty Ovaries makes me laugh and gives me hope and whose advice and support has been invaluable

Forever Hopeful over at Wishing it would get easier another strong lady who deserves success

Amy R at When will you have kids who's another bright and bubbly blogger and a helpful and supportive reader.

All these girls have been there with kind words and a (virtual) hug during my time struggling with IF. I could mention loads more girls who've been my support over the last year or so. May we all make it to the other side! I'm sorry I can't link directly to their sites. I must sort out some blog training - from someone more technically able - a 10 yr old would probably be able to teach me!

I was going to finish off my holiday news, but i'm not sure there's much more to say about that, so i'll move on to more recent goings on.


We've decided to switch to with "Best Results Expensive Conveyor Belt Clinic" - which we'll refer to from now on as CB Clinic for our next try. I have a monitored cycle next month. They'll only go ahead with treatment if your FSH is less than 10. I just hope mine drops a bit and i'm taking Vit B6, Agnus Castae (when I remember), DHEA, Coenzyme Q10 and other vits to try to bring it down. I rattle when I walk! I'm also going to try acupuncture to see if that helps. Anyone know of any other stuff I can try?

To keep costs down, a friend (a Dr and fellow IVF-er) is going to do the NK cells and other blood tests I need. They'd be almost 1000 pounds at CB Clinic but she'll get them done for less than half the price. We're so lucky to have such kind people in our world.

We've told Dr Big Hair (our -now - old doc) that we're moving on. I told him he's the best Dr we ever have been treated by and we're really sad to be leaving him. He called and said he fully supports our decision and is there to help us whatever we need. He's going to get me some advice on DHEA and run the NK cell results past his colleague who's an expert in that field. We're so going to miss him.


I'm feeling really positive at the moment. I think it's because of a conversation I had on Friday. I met up with a girl who has 2 adopted children. She married at 25 and went through 5 IVF's in her late twenties. The first produced identical QUADS that she was told could not go to full term so they selectively reduced and lost them all. She had no more success and after 5 gave up. She knew she wanted to be a mum so started the adoption process the day IVF 5 failed. She eventually adopted a boy and later, a girl from Russi.a and is SO happy. She's in her mid thirties and she said she's now happy the IVF failed because if it hadn't then she'd never have found her two. She doesn't grieve having a child and loves her children so much she's brimming with it.

For the first time, i believe that we're going to be ok. If we can't make a baby then maybe we could adopt. It's ridiculously expensive and seems to take ages - 18 mths or more, but it's an option. There are so many thoughts in my head about it and there are loads more than this, but my initial thoughts are:

Minusses: Alway grieving not ever feeling a life growing inside me, not being able to tell Mr G and those I love that i'm pregnant, not seeing Mr G (or my family genes) in my child, not feeling like a real mother. Not to mention the cost and time to wait.

Plusses are: No (or at least far fewer) worries about a baby with disabilities, no stretch marks (no more that is), no dangerous pregnancy and childbirth. A real live baby at the end of all of this pain. (Of course, if we're found to be good candidates that is)

I still hope that cycle 4 is the one for us, that they can find out why 6 healthy embryos didn't stay with their mummy and that they make the next ones stick.

But if they can't and if they can't help us produce our own child, now I know that there is another option. I'm not ready to go there yet but now when I look at people with push chairs and buggies, at parents with toddlers, it doesn't have to hurt so much, now that I can believe that'll be us.

Oh, i've joined Wei.ght Watc.hers - for the third time in my life! I've tipped the scale at my heaviest ever and it's enough already. I'm starting to take control back.

I think that's all I have to tell for now. I was going to share some pics of a 3rd birthday party I catered recently, but Mr G's updated my i-photo and i can' t work it out. I've an episode of Brothers and Sisters to watch now so i'll be back with the pics - I hope!