We think you should take a break and walk away
Turn your back but live to fight another day
You're still young and you have so much time!
Relax! Kick Back! And just unwind!

There's no use in rushing forward so hopelessly
Maybe this is just how life was meant to be
You will get there - this I think you'll find!
Relax! Kick back! It all takes time.

This whole year we've not known what to say or do
We feel helpless watching what you're going through
Maybe if you stopped then we'd feel fine?
Relax! Kick back! All in good time!

***

Now, I don't want to sound ungrateful. A lot of you have been very supportive of my decision to take a break and I'm still glad of that. But then I guess I feel you understand the double-edged sword that taking a break can be, emotionally speaking.

In real life, however, I'm started to get a little... irritated by the unbounded enthusiasm the "break" idea is being met with. As if doing another cycle is actually bad news, but taking a break is an unmitigated relief for all concerned. This lead to a bizarre phone conversation with Mr Bea in which I actually beat a note of hesitation and disappointment from the confused and well-intentioned man.

(You can see how things went. "A break? Yes, absolutely - I totally support that idea.. No no, whatever you think is best... Really and truly, yes... Well, I mean, it's you're body, you're undergoing the procedures, I just think the decision has to be in your hands at the end of the day... Ok, I don't understand why you're getting upset with me... Well what do you want me to say, Bea? 'Stay at home, wench, and be my breeding slave so as to produce me an heir whilst I galavant off around the globe'?")

It's just nice to know someone else isn't wholeheartedly enthused about stopping treatment. Even if the stop is temporary, you know.

So this morning, inexplicably and without the aid of any premeditation, I woke up with the beginnings of the above song playing in my head. Unfortunately, I think I've lifted the melody line from somewhere, but until the day we hit Broadway or London's West End with "Infertility - The Musical" I don't think anyone's much going to care.

Stick around - I might try to give you a squeaky rendition in a few days.


And I've been holding out on you. Sorry about that, I just didn't have it in me to post.

Tuesday the 26th was beta day. So of course I went in on Monday. And of course it was positive. Again. But not very. Again. However, despite previous experience I spent the whole of Monday in a delusional state where I believed - and I mean really believed - that this was it. I worked out my due date. I fretted about how to break the news to my cycle buddy, Jules, who that same day was picking up the pieces of another failed cycle. I decided to sleep on it.

On Tuesday common sense returned. Today I had a followup beta. hCG is dropping. Again. This time, unlike in the past, I've had morning sickness. It's still here. Just a little dry retching at the start and the end of the day. The spotting has continued at a constant rate.

I don't want to do another transfer. Not yet. I've lost my faith and I need to go wandering in the desert for a time. And the clinic agrees - they want me to wait things out pending further investigation. I am currently sticking with the plan of investigating in October, and going to Singapore in November. I don't know when the next cycle will be. I think it would be best to give it a rest until next year, but we all know how tempting it is to come back for more. I guess I'll still be around. You might have to put up with stories about my normal life.

Overall, I'm ok. I'm crying a little, but my tears are gentle and there is peace in this letting go.


I asked Mr Bea what his game was.

Yes, he knew about the pregnancy. Found out six months ago. His not mentioning it to me was, in his words, "One part tact, twelve parts cowardice." I asked him how many parts lack of forethought over the fact that I was going to find out sooner or later and the fickle hand of fate does not always have the sense of time and place that I expect from him.

But I hit the roof once, and I have calmed down. I think I've been waiting for that announcement all year. Common age gaps between siblings, you know. And I was preparing myself to spend the entire second and third trimesters sitting on the edge of my seat, thinking, "Surely... surely she can't get to point X in her pregnancy before ours even gets started." And then getting all upset when that did, in fact, happen. Suddenly, I find out it's done. I don't have to worry about it now. The race, you might say, is well and truly lost. I don't have to run it any more.

It also reminds me how much of my social life has gone. We last saw them in January. I was starting to get excited about my first round of injections. I was pissed off at them because they invited us around for a BBQ but asked me to leave my dog at home. So pissed off I petulantly refused to go to said BBQ and instead stayed home with the dog, thinking up lists of child-unfriendly places around town I could invite them to, just so I could feign disappointment when one or both of them had to decline on baby-sitting grounds. I blame the synarel. I'd snorted a couple of weeks worth by that stage. Maybe I should blame my innate childishness.

But mostly it gives me a guilty start, because of all the white lies I tell Mr Bea.

That I wasn't scared about the SCSA, because it's not the end of the world except I didn't know if I could do enough IVF cycles to have the child of a man whose DNA was unravelled and dishevelled and I was frightened about having to discuss donor sperm like it was something that applied to us immediately, because what if we couldn't decide or agree?

That I was looking forward to living in Singapore when I was also worried about all the uncertainties and IVF-related complications involved, and terrified of being on my own.

That I didn't think I was pregnant when, in fact, I did, because I didn't want to get his hopes up just to bring them crashing down.

That my blog is full of the kind of excerpts I send to him, and not the kinds of things I never let him read, because I don't want him to see me like this.

That I'm ok, and I believe I'm going to be ok, and I believe it will all be alright in the end...

So our language of love has become a language of little white lies. Life never used to be like this.


This email (with attached pictures) just landed in my inbox:

M., born 9.24am on September 22 by C-Section.

Weighed in at 7 pounds 12 ounces or 3.540 Kg for the metrically minded.

Same length as I. was when he was born (48cm) but an extra 800g
heavier (I. was 2.7kg/6pounds).

Everyone's happy and healthy and expected home on Wednesday morning.

B.

B is one of Mr Bea's friends from uni. They drink together every Friday night. Every fucking Friday night. And unless I am much mistaken, he just had his second child. So either... that was the shortest pregnancy ever to produce a baby that looks suspiciously full-term or...


And here it is.

First of all, my erotic dreams suck.

Last night, I dreamt I was having phone sex with Mr Bea, who was/is in a foreign country. I mean, it's a dream, for fuck's sake. It could have been on the beach of an exotic and deserted island, with the tropically warm waves crashing over our naked bodies and the sand magically not getting into uncomfortable crevices. We could have at least been in the same room. But no, because, see above re sucking.

And it gets worse.

Because in my dream I wasn't even listening to his sweet and stimulating eroticisms. In fact, I spent the whole time thinking, "Ooh! That's some great fertile cervical mucous! I wonder if that means..."

Anyone want to analyse that?

In real life, I don't have great fertile cervical mucous. I have the type of mucous one might expect to get when taking three pessaries a day. Every second day I also have bright red spotting, accompanied by what can best be described as a burning sensation in my pelvis. I also have a strange stitch on the right, near where I imagine my right ovary to be. It comes and goes. I've had a stomach upset, which seems to be have resolved now, so I've had the joy of nausea and diarrhoea without the suspicion that it means anything pregnancy-related. I'm tired. I'm emotional. I'm alone. I feel, in short, like a big pile of shit. On the plus side, my pores are fairly refined.

So, in general, I'm much, much better than the previous three FETs. Seriously. I'm coping well compared to them. I say this without sarcasm - I think I've actually stopped expecting things to be any different.

I'm even entertaining the idea of doing one last transfer this year because I'm such a freaking junkie and I just need one more hit... maybe we can use even more drugs this time but then that'll be it, I promise. Just one more, and then I'll walk away.


If you have not read my last post I beg, beg, beg you to do so now and reply with anything you can think of. Assvice/secret hope stories and whatever else you are wondering whether or not you should post as a comment because you think maybe it will sound really irritating and so no, actually, let's not post that well please please scrub that thought and actually post it because I promise I won't get mad.

I've written a novella on this subject for Mr Bea, but I'm going to give you the summary. (No, trust me - it's seriously long and tedious.) What it boils down to is this:

Either there is an explanation as to what's going on, or there isn't.

So I think the best thing is to spend October investigating thoroughly and treating any problems as best we can. And if it turns out, after exhausting all our tests, that there just isn't an explanation (which is unfortunately likely) then I should blame the IVF and take a break from it, just in case that helps. And if that doesn't help, well, I guess we're no worse off for trying. Hopefully no worse off.

I still need a full list of possibilities so we can be thorough in our investigation. Therefore - please keep sending me lots of assvice about luteal phase problems. Also, I'm thinking of gathering a second opinion just so we don't miss anything.

***Thankyou to those who have already replied to the last post - your comments helped immensely. At the end of the day, I guess I just want to know that what we're doing isn't completely pointless. At the moment that's the feeling I'm drowning in.

***Cervical Mucous Update***
PART ONE
No spotting last 22 hours. Good, except now, of course, I am completely re-evaluating my whole plan, and I had just got it looking like I wanted, too. Keep sending me info and advice. There's more of this debating what should be done if this, if that, before we're through. I'm ok though, just hungry for information.

I just got an email from Mr Bea (I asked him to google me stuff too). He asks if it's worth trying clomid. I think he may have a steep learning curve ahead of him.

PART TWO
Crap. Spoke too soon.


The only thing different is it's taken two less weeks for everything to go to shit. Which I admit is nice. *Update - actually I checked my maths. Better make that one less week.*

The spotting started six days post transfer/eight days post ovulation, on day 25 of my cycle. A hCG injection did nothing but make it difficult to sit down. Now he's advising more progesterone, and trying to tell me to be less upset because this one patient? this one time? had two days of bleeding (when her period was due) but she was actually pregnant and went on to have a beautiful baby. On her very first IVF transfer, too!

Which is almost exactly like my situation.

Don't you think?

Hysteroscopy is back on. Forgive me if I just don't see how this is fucking ever going to fucking work.

***I need help***

I don't need hugs and I don't need to know you're thinking of me. Ok, well, maybe I need that too. But mostly I need to know what is going wrong, why, and how to fix it. Please, please, please give me any thoughts you, your assvice-loving neighbour or your superfertile hairdresser may come up with.

The Story For Those Just Catching Up

Prior to February I was considered to be a perfectly fertile woman, married to an unfortunately infertile man. Bloods and ultrasounds - all normal, at all times. Cycle - only irregular under periods of duress (jetlag/night shift). Luteal phase - perfect 14 days.

Feb - IVF/ISCI #1, ET was cancelled due to OHSS and I spent 10 days in hospital.

March/April - rest cycle, 46 days.

May - FET#1 - natural cycle with LP support.
No follicle growth whatsoever on scan, and E2 levels rock bottom until about day 17. Then the ovaries seemed to wake up and go about their business as usual.
Ovulated day 25, transfer day 27.
LP support - pessaries twice daily, hCG injections 4dpt (day 31) and 8dpt (day 35).
Some spotting day 38 (11dpt, 13dpo).
Low positive beta day 42.
Beta levels dropping day 46.
AF arrived day 48.

June - FET #2 - natural cycle with LP support.
Normal follicle growth and hormone levels on day 12 (10mm follicle).
No further growth by day 17 (still a 10mm follicle). Slight growth by day 20.
Ovulated day 24, transfer day 26.
LP support 2 pessaries daily, hCG 4dpt and 8dpt as before.
Spotting started day 33 (7dpt, 9dpo). Continued on and off til AF arrived day 43.

August - FET #3 - OI cycle with LP support.
Normal follicle growth and hormone levels on day 12 (as for FET#2).
Interminably slow growth between days 12 and 19 - started FSH once follicle properly "dominant".
Ovulated day 25, transfer day 27.
Pessaries twice daily, hCG 4, 6 and 8dpt, IM this time.
Spotting started day 32 (5dpt, 7dpo). Continued daily until AF arrived day 44.
Low positive beta day 41.
PROGESTERONE LEVELS NORMAL THROUGHOUT LUTEAL PHASE (high 80's, where normal range is anything above 40-ish).

September - FET#4 - OI cycle with LP support.
No follicle growth yet day 8.
Started FSH day 9, ovulated single follicle day 17 (yes, I thought it was 16 too, but apparently I was wrong) - hormone levels normal throughout. Transfer day 19.
LP support one pessary daily, hCG 4, 8dpt.
Spotting started day 25 (6dpt, 8dpo).
Extra hCG given day 26. Pessaries increased to three per day.
Spotting continues unabated, appears to be worsening.
6 days til beta.

Why why why?


Apparatus: Untitled Accoustic Country Blues Song

Results:
Is this working for you? Because it wasn't, then it was, now it isn't. And I haven't changed anything. And now it is again. Maybe I should stop checking to see if it works and just walk slowly away...

Discussion: I've published this here because you humour me by reading my blog, so I thought you might humour me by listening to my dicking around with that thing I posted a couple of posts back. And not, you understand, because I'm good at music or singing. So... fair warning.

Conclusion: Well?


Ooh! See - that was a suggestive cramp.

Yes, Obsessive Bea. It's called progesterone pessaries. It happens every month. Remember?

But do I always feel nauseous?

An hour or two after giving yourself an hCG injection? Yes. You do.

Oh but, but... I'm not spotting yet. Last cycle I was spotting by this time.

So you were. But not the doomed cycle before that, or the doomed cycle before that...

It's all going to shit isn't it?

That's not what I meant.

I should be feeling something by now. I should be feeling different. Even my cervical mucous has dried up. Although that information is now two hours out of date... maybe I should check again.

Sigh.

Wait here a moment. I'm just going to go to the toilet, check my mucous, palpate my breasts and analyse my pores minutely in the mirror. Because my pore size varies according to my hormones, you know.

That's great to know, Obsessive. You have fun now.



I wish I was your age again,
Little girl
You're six weeks along and you are
Telling the world

You say you're gonna have a baby
And I sure hope that's true
But I just wish I could go back and be that
Shiny and new

And well I guess I should smile for you and
Wish you well
And I guess I should hear about your
Morning sickness "hell"

But then I don't know what to say to you
Our lives don't compare
And my nicest honest feeling
Is that I just don't care

I know you think you're older than me
In years, little girl
And I know you've travelled far from home
Right across the world

And so it might sound a little stange
If I say, now and then
I wish, little girl, I was
Your age again.

---
FET#4 went well. One embryo thawed and transferred. The rest sleep on.

Either I'm on a roll (glass half full Bea) or I've really and truly used up all my luck for this cycle now (guess which Bea that is?).

T minus 14 days til beta. T minus 3 til Mr Bea's departure. Rocky roads ahead...

But for now, I'm ok. Ok enough to greet news of fertile people's pregnancies with mere indifference. Yep, that's the height of good for me these days. Does that mean I'm getting old?



I know it's not a big thing and lots of worse things have been happening out there to other people but I feel like I can't breathe today. It's PBT - sorry Stella, had to steal it. Pre-Bloodtest-Tension. I'm due my next check on Thursday and I can't imagine making it til then. I don't think the new protocol is working. I don't want to hear about how I won't know until he checks on Thursday because I'm right too often when it comes to what's going on in my own body. I don't think he'll cancel if it's not working, but I think he should because if we're assuming the problem is X, and we don't fix X, and we haven't changed anything else, then why would the problem go away? And I don't want that kind of responsibility and I just what someone to tell me what I have to do to get out of here or to be convinced that we're just playing a numbers game and not getting defeated by the same old things going wrong over and over again and fucking everything up to the point where we can't possibly win. And our little embryos are dying and I don't know how many more will have to die and when and how and why and if I can stand it. And I want to know if I can do it by myself. Because I don't know if I can. And it's getting worse. Everything is just... getting worse. And I don't know who can help me.

***Later That Same Day***
Er... I don't know if you guys have seen me flip out before, huh? Let me assure you that there's nothing to see here, everything's going on just the same as usual, just I happened to be left alone for a few hours and... well. You see what happens.

I'm going to leave it here.

The post, that is. I'm not going to delete it.

***Thursday Update***
I feel I owe you all an apology.

Because apparently - that is to say, so far, at least it seems - the new protocol kicks arse. That's right - arse. Er..kicks. Arse. You know.

But thankyou. I think I needed that. And I needed you.

***Saturday Update***

Because I'm kind of getting to like this post, and besides, it's only a quickie.

I ovulated. Day 16. Just like the good old (pre-IVF) days. Fucking A.

FET#4 Tuesday 12/9, 17 days til beta.


This is how the Bible tells us it was done: first, He built the man out of red earth. Then He took a rib from the man's body and fashioned it into a woman.

I trawl through my mind, looking for spare parts. If necessary, I will take them by force.

When I prepared for this mission, I put together a small kit. It contains scalpel blades, a hacksaw, several mosquito forceps, metzembaum scissors for sharp and blunt dissection, and my favourite set of gold-handled needle holders. There are several packets of suture material with the needles swaged on. Sterile gloves. Antiseptic wash. And because I am a woman of mercy, there are drugs - local anaesthetic, opioids, and a stash of non-steroidals to take away. All this and a little jar of red dirt, just in case. The kit hangs lightly now, against my back, cushioned inside sterile drapes.

Over my shoulder is slung a quiver, blowdarts resting against my breast, tips capped. I have measured each dose carefully, underestimating slightly out of caution. I may have to track my prey for hours, and subdue her by hand. I hope I have trained carefully enough. My muscles tell me yes, but my mind is uncertain. I breathe slowly to recapture my focus. There is no time for anything else. Soon it will begin.

I wonder which of my potential targets will cross my path first.

From high up on a burnt-out first-story windowsill, I see the answer to my question. Anxious Bea scurries along, eyes furtive, path hugging the wall of the alleyway. Breathlessly, she ascends a stone staircase, thick with graffiti on either side, and enters into her Church Of Despair. I follow, scaling the church wall with the help of a mouldy, cracked, devotional statue and entering into the space above the ceiling via a hole in the roof.

Here I must move stealthily, lest my movements betray me. There is a beam of light rising through a crack in the plaster, and I edge towards it, and look down. The chapel is empty, but I spy a confessional in the corner and after a moment its door opens, and Anxious emerges to walk down the central isle, immediately below my peephole.

Quickly, I uncap a blowdart and shoot it forth. It hits. Anxious pulls the spent weapon from her flesh, and a look of confusion and fear explodes on her face. Unsure of whether or which way to run, her wildly searching eyes fix on a figure in the doorway. And she runs into the arms of Maternal Bea, who has arrived to perform her daily mission to rescue the followers of Despair, who worship under Bitchface, its High Priestess.

All thoughts of stealth removed, I slam my heel against the ceiling, adjacent to the peephole, and soon there is a rift large enough to drop through and onto the floor. By the time I bend over Anxious she is unconscious, but I can feel her pulse and it is strong. Deftly, I flick my kit onto the ground, and begin to unpack the needed equipment for the surgery. But my preparations are interrupted by the booming footsteps of Bitchface who approaches from inside the church, robes flowing, hands raised in the rapture and ecstacy of worship, ready to bring down the wrath of Despair on those who have dared sully its most holy of places.

But before I have time to cower in fear, there is a streak and a whoosh, followed by a damp thud, and Bitchface is looking in stunned silence at a crossbow bolt protruding from her chest.

"Now I know what you're thinking," says Hopeful Bea, swaggering out from behind a crumbling headstone. "Did I bring one crossbow bolt, or two? Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement, I've kinda lost track myself. So I guess you've got to ask yourself one question..."

"What, in heaven's name, is going on here?" interjects Maternal Bea.

"That wasn't the question."

"Hopeful! You sit down. You're as much the zealot as she is," Maternal says sternly, gesturing towards Bitchface. "You and your Path Of Eternal Optimism. And if you know what's good for you," she adds, turning to Bitchface, "you'll do the same. That's only a flesh wound. Keep calm, and we'll make it all better. As for you -" I flinch, suddenly ashamed. "I think you've got some explaining to do, young lady. And I want it to start now."

"It was for our own good," I begin, half-heartedly.

"That's no surprise," Maternal replies, folding her arms. "You're acting very much like someone trying to pave their own road to hell."

"There's not enough of us, of me," I explain desperately. "Before, we had Mr Bea. What happens when he's gone? Away? I don't think we can do it on our own."

"And so you...?"

"I was trying to create a new Bea. An Independent Bea. Take a rib, and fashion it into a new being - one with strength, and fortitude, and grace, and other superpowers. It was going to be painless. I was going to do it gently. I was trying to help."

There is a pause, and Maternal reflects deeply, before coming to her conclusion.

At last she smiles kindly, and says, "Did you ever think to ask for volunteers?" Then she sighs. "Come on - you've gone this far. And who knows? It might work. Hopeful, Bitchface, you're both going to help. Together we'll try to perform this miracle."

"Now? Here?"

"Yes, Bea - and it makes me cringe to say this because it's so very corny - but yes, now and here, from the bones of our Anxiety, aided by our Hope and self-loathing, in the doorway of the Church Of Our Despair."


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