Monday 30 June 2008

Bring a friend

Tomorrow we trot off to our 'specialist number 2'.

While I love the idea of that sounding like a turd with a purpose, it's not, it's just our second reproductive specialist.

With cycle 15 due to come to an end (or not) at some stage this week, we were hoping for one of those funny stories folk tell where we could say we went to a fertility expert only for him to announce we were up the duff.

Kind of an 'oh we've just adopted a bucketful of Chinese babies and now she's preggers' type thing.

Well, guess what? That's not happening.

Cycle 15 has left the building in such a hurry she forgot her purse. And shoes. And underwear.

The slut.

It's so many days early I can't even compute, but whatever the story, we will be bringing Auntie Flo to the clinic with us tomorrow, the bloody wench.

That should make any physical examination all the more, ahem, interesting.

So spare us a thought tomorrow, eh ?

I believe there is a real possibility that we may get treated for free, just on the basis of us being so pathetic.

The midget couple where the husband has missing teeth & braces and the wife is bleeding profusely from stirrups.

We will get to answer the same intimate questions about our sex life again, whether I had both my testicles upon birth again, and whether she ever had any sexually transmitted diseases again.

The only new answer we can give will be to how long have we been trying.

'16 cycles now doctor'.

16 you fucker.

Saturday 28 June 2008

Excuse me, waiter...

I'm not quite in Bon Jovi territory yet, but (Whoooooah) "we're half way there".

Half way into the 'two week wait', that is.

Next week is going to be more ways than one.

After our last visit to the reproductive specialist we were left pretty much helpless. The days that followed were desperate, and things turned nasty in a way I had not known possible before this.

So we let it sit for a while, we've let a cycle pass 'normally', had a bit of a breather from rushing for appointments and doctors but we have to move on.

Tuesday, July 1st, we have our first intake appointment with another clinic, a second set of fertility specialists, who actively promote their 2nd opinion services.

Incidentally, does it count as a 2nd opinion if the first specialist didn't actually have one?

I like a colourful turn of phrase here and there, and this hasn't gone unnoticed. Despite being currently sleep deprived John Braine has mocked up this picture which I can only pray hits the shops soon. Definitely my chuckle of the week. Cheers John.

Wednesday 25 June 2008

Mind the gap

I'm getting used to laughing in the face of the relative insanity surrounding my existence.

We have the whole short arse thing, yep, I'm small, and I live in Holland, where small is 5' 10. I'm, er, less.

We have the whole chubby and pale thing, goes with the Irish territory thing I reckon, so no big deal.

We have the braces at 30 years of age thing, okay, slightly embarrassing, but we struggle on yeah?

We have the whole infertile Irish Catholic thing, which let's face it, is an absolute disgrace, even the priests back home have kids.

Nevertheless, you get on with it, handicaps in hand and expecting better times ahead.

Then what happens? Your tooth falls out.

Yes, a front tooth has fallen out of my about-to-explode head.

I am an infertile Danny Devito lookalike with braces, and missing fucking teeth.

Braces and no teeth.

I'm going back to bed.

EDIT: 26-06-2008 13:01
Explanation - The tooth was a baby/milk tooth that had never fallen out.
It wasn't attached to the brace in the expectancy that it would.
Now the braces need to kick into action to close the gap and fast.....

Monday 23 June 2008

A UV light at the end of the tunnel

So, Spencer has been dispatched, hopefully with more success than the shaggin' Dutch, who rolled over for the Russians on Saturday night.

Now begins another two week wait to see if he has had any more luck this time than the previous (approximately) one billion and twenty six times he's been sent into action.

Which brings me to the revelation that I think I've hit a medical breakthrough, a concept that could change the lives of people trying to conceive (and possibly parents of teenage boys) forever.

Surely, the white coat brigade (scientists, not butchers) could come up with something that men can drink, which would turn their wee swimming troop luminous. Glow in the dark and traceable through human flesh.

Just like UV lamps can pick up certain stains and substances on surfaces, surely they can fashion something that can follow a guy's emissions internally?

So all that would need to happen is Mr Lubba-Lubba would drink this magic substance a half hour or so before ugly bumping, and it would turn his awesome sauce luminous.

Then by waving the 'Spencer Tracer' wand (trademark & patent pending) over Ms. Lubba-Lubba's funny bits, the participants can follow the progress of the wee buggers internally.

It would be possible to see which ones have put their feet up just inside the door, and which are beavering away and where they are beavering to.

Should none be heading in the right direction, then they can try again, or just go ahead and get drunk, 2 weeks early.

Aside from the possible issues arising from abuse of the idea, such as wives spiking their husband's porridge with the stuff, and then waving the Spencer Tracer around their babysitter's throat, it can only be seen as an idea full of sheer brilliance, I think.

Friday 20 June 2008

An unlikely hero?

I know it's been a while, but listen up old chap, I've got some news for you.

You have another chance.
Okay I know you've had lots, but this is a big one.

You see Spencer, I've told you before you are the chosen one, a natural leader among (se)men, you are the milky trojan warrior, explorer of fallopian wildernesses, captain upon mucus covered cervical seas, and hopefully, the capturer of eggish damsels in distress.

Your qualifications alone will not seal your place in history though, luckily the fates of football and ovulation have combined and lined you up the perfect opportunity.

Holland's quarter final game against Russia is on Saturday night, and we already know the benefits a drunken sporting celebration can bring.

Remember Ellie, that piece of skirt you've been chasing? well, guess what? She's going to be in town then.

So what are you waiting for? Everything is ready and waiting for you, (15th time around you lazy prick), the sun is shining (somewhere, probably), it's the weekend, you'll have a (socially acceptable amount to) drink, watch some sexy football, so why not top it off by hooking up with a nice bit of booty?

Tap that eggy ass for the love of God, you know you want to.

'What's the hurry?, why now?' I hear you say.

Well Spencer, balls are rolling once again.

Straighten yourself up and stop laughing, I don't mean those two plums you spend most of your day in, I mean 'metaphorical' balls.

Steps are being taken, and after this cycle, it may well be out of your hands, and well, you'll be back in mine, once again.

The bottom line Spencer, my favourite little Casper lookalike, is this - This.Is.It.
It's being put on a plate for you, physically, cosmically, romantically, and desperately.

Worm your slimey little arse all the way in and up, and hold on, by your teeth if you have to.

Otherwise, you face the sack, or worse still, the plastic cup.

Wednesday 18 June 2008

Or maybe not enough

I'm a believer in sticking with your gut. I am the proud owner of a considerable gut so it's especially wise to stick with it I think.

Despite my recent rambling on about keeping my trap shut, it's never really going to happen. I think if I didn't talk or write about all of this I would explode, and that gut of mine would be ground zero.

Thinking about it, the urges to hide away must just come with the territory this far along.
Every month is that little bit harder, and every month you need that little bit of time to hide away, stay in bed, drink yourself into a stupor and recharge ready to get up go again.

What does make me wonder though, is what would happen if we did get lucky?

From what I see and read, there are also relatively few recounts from people who have been here and emerged out the other side. I find it hard to grasp why they would almost pretend it never happened.

They must remember the sadness, they must remember the frustration and they must remember the prayers they offered, or deals they were willing to strike with anyone, just to end their longing.

I won't know (and frankly, may never know) the reasons until I get out the other side myself, but I'm already determined not to let this experience go to waste, regardless if it lasts 1 more month, 12 more months, or...

Maybe people are so relieved that they genuinely forget what they've been through.

Maybe the turning point is so joyous that they deliberately decide never to look back at a horrible time in their lives.

Maybe it's embarrassment, I can certainly understand the feeling of 'why am I making such a big deal of this?', and that's while we are in the throws of infertility, it must be a magnified emotion for those who have overcome it.

Maybe it's just human nature.

It's far too personal a thing for someone else to dictate whether you should share or not, I'm just curious.

Reading people's accounts of their ongoing experiences is great, you feel less alone. Reading people's accounts of past experiences is possibly even better, as you know there are often positive outcomes.
I trawl the internet for these stories and accounts, I gobble them up, hoover up every word, every detail of how situations differ or compare to ours.

It helps.

If you have a story, you can help.

A notable 'born again' infertility story teller is Karen MEG, who is now, years after the fact, writing about their struggles. I really enjoy this.

EDIT: 19-06-2008 20:29 - Veronica at Sleepless Nights has written in response to this, with an interesting view, from the 'other side'. It can be read here.

Sunday 15 June 2008

Too much information?

Who do you tell when you decide you want a child?
Aside from each other obviously, pricking pinholes in your condoms or feeding your pill to the geranium plant unbeknown to your partner really isn't recommended.

Who do you tell about a decision to try to conceive ?

Who do you tell when it all starts to go arse over tit and you have to bring specialists, plastic cups, and stirrups into the equation?

In my naivety, I was fairly quick to tell a friend, and for a while it was a trolley full of humping jokes and willy in a sling gags.

Even when we got to the point where samples were being tossed about the place, there were plenty of black slapping and beer spitting moments to be had.

That's fellas for you.

Then things turned serious, and all that stopped. It was no one's fault, but for whatever reason the conversation rarely, if ever, arose once the complications did.

So we are left with a big infertile elephant in the room.

Deciding to start a family is a huge decision for a couple, and to be honest, once we'd made it, I felt people should notice something different about me.

It's big bloody news, and you burst to tell people.

What you don't realise, is that maybe, just maybe, it doesn't all go according to plan, and you are left with something very awkward.
You are left with people who were willing to joke with you about aching gonads, or were willing to turn a blind eye to your late arrival to, or early exit from dinner out somewhere, but are less able to be the support you need when your dreams are taken out of your hands.

It's this possibility that things don't work out like you planned that would make me say, with hindsight, that you should keep it as much to yourself as possible, and don't go shouting your mouth off, even to one person. It's one less person that you find yourself having to explain to 15 cycles down the line why "nothing's stirring".

If I could change the way I did things, I probably would, but there's no use in crying over spilled man milk.

Trying to conceive is an exciting time, a fun time, one of few times in your life where you can feel grown up and overwhelmingly excited at the unknown at the same time.

Infertility, is a far less exciting time. Reality starts to hit home, time goes by far too fast, and what was excited expectation turns to nervous uncertainty.

You used to see a parent and child in the past and look at each other with the 'that'll be us soon' grin on your faces, now you turn your eyes to the floor and look away, from the scene, and each other.

Acknowledging the sadness you see in someone else's eyes only leads to being reminded of your own.

I'm torn between what seems to be an instinctive urge to be frank and open (or immensely idiotic) about this, telling anyone who has a functioning eardrum, and a new gut feeling, an instinct to shut up shop.

Like closing the curtains for the weekend, or not answering the phone for a day, not telling anyone who'll listen that you are trying to conceive is just self preservation.

At a certain point, that's all you have left.

Now if you'll excuse me, the ice pack down my trousers is melting and dampening my chair.

Thursday 12 June 2008

A nation coming together...

In June 1990 the Republic of Ireland competed in their very first World Cup finals in Italy.

The following three weeks or so were some of the best memories I've ever had, and even though I wasn't yet 13 years of age, I still, to this day, get shivers all over when I watch old clips from that tournament.

A draw against the old enemy England in our opening game, a draw against the highly fancied Dutch, and a penalty shoot out of Hollywood proportions against Romania which put us into an unprecedented quarter final against the hosts, Italy.

That was the end of the road but the beginning of something unexpectedly magical....

The celebrations, the feel good factor, and no small amount of alcohol during those few weeks all contributed in a mini baby boom in Ireland in the Spring of 1991.

So, as they say, any port in a storm, and we find ourselves living in Holland while the Dutch are flying high in this year's European Championships.

The place is starting to buzz and Friday night brings a big game against France, which the entire country will be glued to.

Which makes me wonder, if they progress to the later stages, and provide us with more nights of celebration, will we have a baby boom here in Holland come next March?

I'll try anything once, as they say, so I'm dusting off my clogs and cheese hat, and ironing all the orange clothing we own and heading into town on Friday to partake in the revelry and thunderously potent baby making that should follow.

As an experiment, I think everyone should try it, pick a team to support and fling yourselves around the bedroom with great gusto when they win. We could compare results in a few months.

While I am talking of all things Irish and baby-making related (when am I not?), I want to mention a success story, a real happy ending for Fiona & John B. this week. Congratulations guys.

Tuesday 10 June 2008

It's definitely number four officer

I have a funny habit of getting a moment of wonderment-stroke-clarity where my head just spins when I stop, take everything in, and wonder to myself 'how in the name of a randy badger did I end up here?'

It usually happens when I find myself in a strange place with strange company, or when I'm doing a job far removed from what I'm supposed to, or just in any bizarre situation that crops up.

What insane chain of events in my life has come to pass and put me in this spot, in this situation, at this very moment in time.

I had my very first one of these moments in respect to 'trying to conceive', today.

As a result I stopped and thought, and came to the decision that I need to soak my brain in bleach for a week.

It wasn't the fact I know more acronyms, thanks to TTC, than an Olympic texter.

It wasn't the fact I have a far too vivid understanding of things like luteal phases, and progesterone levels, and morphology.

It wasn't the fact I talk to my own baby gravy or christen ET's eggs.

It wasn't even the fact that I could probably identify ET's funny bits in a police identity parade at this stage.

This moment of 'how in the name of Jehova did I get to this' came today when I handed my timesheet to my boss and informed him that this was "my timesheet for the 'cycle' of May"

I might as well request that I get my salary paid per menstrual cycle.

Friday 6 June 2008

Coming all over Dr. Phil

Well Mr Fate was nice enough to give us the 4th of June, but we should have known that he had something up his sleeve for the 5th, the crafty git.

Not enough that I had to get my bloody braces tightened to the point that my hair hurts and eyeballs are bulging, but cycle 14 is finished, and failed.

No frustration, a little disappointment, a lot of sadness.

I'm glad it's over, it's been a particularly lousy one. A bloody hell. Literally.

So let me introduce you all to cycle 15, not the prettiest, but has a lovely personality.

Yet another of the 'No one told me that' moments is how it affects you as a couple.

People talk about how it brings you closer, and it does.
What they don't mention how hurtful you can be in the heat of the moment.

Spiteful, hurtful words, said, and taken, out of context.

People say I have a way with words, can you imagine the result when those words are fueled by anger, frustration, disappointment and sadness?

I can be be a hurtful bastard.

When I say things like "You either want it or you don't", the pillock that I am, I really wonder about how suitable I am for all this.

When I finally prized the baseball bat out of ET's fingers I started to think. Like, proper grown up thinking that adults do.

The thing is, I can't do this on my own in the way I want, and ET can't do this on her own in the way she wants.

We need to be on the same page, we need to know where we both stand, we need to know what we both think, we need to talk and listen and talk and listen and talk and listen some more, until our teeth fall out and our ears bleed.

Like a three legged race sometimes one person is a little behind and lacking in energy, or a little ahead determined to get on, but you both are both tied together and simply have to work together.

Ooooh, I've come over all 'Dr. Phil', (not 'come all over', you filthy minded beast)

Wednesday 4 June 2008

...and exhale

I can breathe again.

The cycle didn't end today, I'm resigned to the fact it will sooner rather than later, but if it doesn't end within the next 9 minutes (regardless of blogger's dodgy timestamp) as I write this then I'm relatively happy.

So, credit where it's due, fate gave me a break, and allowed me not to associate today with that.

Today was the 4th June, 2008.

Today was 20 years to the day that my mother died.

Nothing special was said or done today, I've never asked for it I suppose.

I was never sentimental about it very much, but I miss her, or at least 'the idea' of her, now more than ever.

10 years old is too young for a parent and child to be parted by a parent's death.

I don't think I ever realised I was missing anything as I was growing up, but when I think of her, I know she would have missed being there. That make me feel a bit guilty for not reciprocating.

I wonder how different would things be if she were here, how different would I be?

I think we would be friends.

What would she make of all of this madness?

She'd probably chase me around the kitchen with a tea towel as her weapon of choice, but after her initial faked shock and horror, I think she'd laugh.


She was fond of cheekines, the 'rogue' type, not the 'will you buy me beer mister?' type.

She'd laugh and shake until she'd start to cough, she always did thanks to the twenty a day habit.

Twenty a day that cost twenty years.

So you don't fancy my soul

Dear decider of fates and destiny,

Fair enough, I can see a tarnished soul ain't for everyone, but if you don't want to take me up on that offer, I have a favour to ask in it's stead.

I know you're gonna kick me in the balls again. Soon. Could you just make it NOT today, please?

Not the 4th of June, with other fish needing frying and all that jazz.

Just wait 24 hours, and I'll accept it gracefully.

Don't be a bugger, ok?


Monday 2 June 2008

I can't get off

No, it's not some weird over-sexed climaxing problem, rather its another 'no one ever told me that' moment.

Once you start trying to conceive, you can never really stop, until the process ends one way or another.

The old analogies are still the best, this is one hell of a merry-go-round.

Even when you want to stop obsessing, if you know you need to stop for the sake of both of your wits, you just can't.

Here we are, on our 14th spin, and we are as certain as we can be that we either need a big slice of luck, or some medical help, whatever form that may take.

Yet, still, here we are in the final days of the cycle again wondering, again hoping, again allowing the flutters of anticipation to creep up from our guts, even though we all but know what the outcome will be before the week ends.

It's yet another thing slipping from my grasp.

Every step in this trying to conceive process seems to result in me losing control of yet another aspect I used to command.

Almost as strange, all I can feel about it is indifference, a resignation to the fact that I have no control in what the outcome will be. Sure, I can force certain paths, but the outcome, the end result, is 100% out of my hands.

I can no longer even 'opt out', this cycle has been the worst by far, lack of energy, unhelpful people, and frustration at the biggest disappointment yet, and I still can not bring myself to just stop.

There is no chord to pull, no emergency brake, no way to step off this ride.

So around we have to go again, like it or not, past the frustration, past the disappointment, past the sadness, and worst of all - past the hope.

I used to hope by choice, and now I hope by force.