I've been getting a few hits from people googling about their luteal phases, and I must admit I don't have as many answers as I'd like myself. So I thought I might try something - an informal survey to see what others' experiences have been.

In order to participate in this survey you must:

  • have completed an IVF cycle.
  • have experienced three menstrual cycles after IVF which did not result in pregnancy, and which occurred prior to a successful pregnancy. Do not include treatment cycles except completely natural FETs without luteal phase support.
  • have accurately charted cervical mucous/spotting for at least three cycles before IVF, as well as those three cycles after IVF.
  • be able to accurately pinpoint ovulation for those six (or more) cycles, by means of either a blood test to detect LH surge or basal body temperature charting.

So if that's you, please take the survey now and we'll see what we see. I'll update this post periodically to include results.

Phew! Well, that was a long time between updates.
Basically, a small number of respondants indicate no change to their luteal phase post-IVF. Must be just me then.

I stumbled across one of those anti-ART blogs recently. It was an accident, I swear. Anyway, it was banging on about donor eggs and how it shouldn't be allowed. Mostly because infertility is not a medical condition deserving of the same treatment as other medical conditions and egg donation is akin to giving up your child and therefore against God's will (didn't get around to her views on God's will in adoption, no), but also because there is a medical risk to donors.

I can only imagine this argument referred specifically to women who feel pressured to donate (eg women from poor socioeconomic backgrounds who are under huge financial pressure), because I can't for the life of me see what business it is of the legislators if I, of my own free will, provide informed consent to undergo such a procedure with its attendant risks. So with that in mind, and because she linked to a personal account of OHSS as "proof" of her argument and I have one such account on my blog, which could potentially be used the same way, I'd like to clear up a few things about OHSS and egg donors.

1. You can see it coming. We chose to proceed with egg colllection (EPU) despite knowing I was at risk. I would never have made this choice if it was someone else's body taking the fall - both out of respect and care for the donor who is prepared to give us such a precious thing, and for the selfish reasons that OHSS creates the risk to me of lower quality or immature eggs together with a donor who doesn't want to do any more cycles.

As soon as you are identified as being at risk for OHSS you can choose to mitigate that risk by cancelling the cycle before pick-up. After waiting for things to settle, your doctor will adjust the protocol for the second try.

2. Pregnancy and/or hCG as luteal phase support is a huge risk factor for OHSS. Neither of these risk factors apply to a donor. Therefore, the risk of moderate or severe OHSS in egg donors is not at all comparable to the risk for the general population of women undergoing IVF (which is already very low - around 1-2%).

3. Newer protocols have been/are being developed which reduce or eliminate the risk of OHSS. I believe in the near future this argument will be a moot point. If you're busy constructing a thesis against egg donation as we speak, you'd be wise not to rely on OHSS to back yourself up.

(Also, point to note, not everyone shares your religious views. See also "separation of church and state", "independence of nations", "mainstream Christianity". Plus, you are wrong about the medical condition thing. And if there's a large body of women in your country who are under real financial pressure to donate eggs, frankly, it's a disgrace to your social welfare system and not a problem with the assisted reproduction industry at all.)

There's been a question going around lately, and it's this: do you really and truly want to be the person you were before infertility? It was asked over at Are We There Yet?, and several bloggers have posted a full response on their blogs. It's made me think a little deeper than the first glib reply I gave. Here's what's occurred to me.

Back about ten fifteen to twenty damnit years ago, when I was a pre-teen, I went horse-crazy, just like the stereotypical pre-teen girl tends to do. It's important to understand there was no way in this whole, big, wide world my parents were going to buy me a horse, or even pay for me to go riding. So I saved up my pocket money, fifty cents at a time, and I went around the neighbourhood doing chores and errands for spare change, and I put it all into a little jar and made sure I didn't spend it on frivolous things. After four months I had saved up enough for a one-hour trail ride. My father agreed to drive me, I made the booking, and for that hour and days afterwards I knew it had all been worthwhile. So the process started again. That year I was able to save enough money for two one-hour trail rides, before the Christmas gift saving began. Two rides over twelve months. And I considered myself blessed.

For Christmas, my parents exceeded my expectations by buying me a few riding lessons. They explained they would love to have given me more, but it was expensive, and they hoped I would enjoy what I could get. I did. I was so enthusiastic the manager of the school invited me to be a "stable brat", working twelve hour days over the weekend shoveling shit in return for a group lesson with the other stable brats, and a sandwich at lunchtime. I was overjoyed. I turned up at 6:30am, and worked until my muscles ached and my hands bore deep callouses and the sweat drained off my back and into my boots. I still ran errands and did chores for money around the neighbourhood, but now I was saving for bigger things - a grooming kit, boots and jodhpurs, halters and lead-ropes. The start of my horse-owning inventory. And I considered myself blessed.

Over the next three and a half years I worked hard. I watched my stable brat friends get their ponies and move on, or decide to pursue other interests. The horse owners paid me little heed, especially those whose ponies came easily. "Why don't you just ask your parents to buy you one?" one girl asked, genuinely baffled. They didn't seem to understand. They even complained of the burden of having to muck out their ponies, week in, week out. We quickly grew apart.

Then one day a woman unloaded her horse at the school. I was eating lunch on the steps of the office at the time, and I watched her lead the horse out of the trailer and towards me. "Help!" she called out to no-one in particular. "Someone take him from me!" I put down my lunch and went over, taking the leadrope and leading him up to the hitching rail. "Thankyou," she said, relieved. "I don't know why, but ever since I had a riding accident last year I'm too scared to handle him, much less ride. Yet I don't want to sell him. You don't know of anyone who's looking for a horse to take care of, do you?" Two weeks later I'd negotiated a work-for-board deal with the manager of the school and an emergency guarantor plan with my parents, and was getting the hand-over talk from my horse's owner. It was four and a half years after I first decided I wanted a horse. I was sixteen years old. And despite not being my horse's legal owner, I considered myself well and truly blessed.

Not once, in all those years, did it occur to me that my dream was impossible. Looking back, I marvel at the audacity of that optimism over something so unlikely to occur.

So I wondered, after reading Teamwink's post, what the hell happened to that girl? When did I start expecting things to fall into my lap, like they fell into the laps of the pony-club crowd at school, whose parents bought them a new mount for every second birthday? When did I start looking at setbacks with such an overwhelming sense of despair? When did I stop being grateful, and believing that everything would turn out for the best - one way or another? What happened to me? And I wondered if, through infertility, I might finally get that girl back.

Do I really and truly want to be the person I was before infertility? Perhaps. But only if I can be sixteen again, riding off through the bush on the horse I worked so hard and waited so long to call my very own. This time, I hope not to forget.

My horse, whose owner gradually relinquished all practical aspects of ownership to me, was euthanased in late 2005 - just as we started fertility treatments - at the ripe old age of twenty-seven, due to untreatable illness. I spoke to his owner before signing the forms. She told me he'd been mine for many years and I should do what I thought best.

First of all - pretty good band name, no? Ok! Moving on.

I remember the first time I drove in the UK. I was waiting patiently on a side street, blinker flickering, when an approaching vehicle flashed its lights at me.

"Hey!" I said indignantly to Mr Bea. "That guy flashed his lights at me for no reason, the arsehole!"

"I think he's letting you in."

"Oh." I turned the gesture I was about to perform into a friendly wave, and pulled smoothly into the line of traffic. Later I learned the correct response is to flash your hazard lights in thanks.

Other things I learned whilst driving in the UK: when changing lanes, indicators can be used to signal your desire to do so. The correct response is to drop back a bit and make some space. In Queensland, indicators are used in this situation as a warning to get the fuck out of my blind spot or you're going to get swiped off the bitumen, you smug, roadhogging bastard. The correct response is to beep aggressively, make a rude gesture, and tailgate the "offending" vehicle dangerously all the way across town, even if, originally, you were only planning to go as far as the local shop. Also, in the UK there is no such thing as a "traffic jam". It is a "queue" in which one is not stuck behind cars which are in one's way, but rather patiently awaiting one's turn.

This week, as my good deed, I decided to bring a little kindness to the roads of my hometown. I was courteous and tolerant. I did not beep or swear. I let people in front of me, even when I had right of way. Some of them are still recovering from the shock.

The deed became particularly arduous this morning. At 6:30am I was congratulating myself on being timely and organised. One hour later, I was making the following phone call:

"Hello, day theatre? Yes, this is Bea. I'm meant to be there now, but instead I'm sitting at an intersection watching the lights go through yet another sequence which is entertaining, but not really getting me anywhere fast. No, I wouldn't call it a "jam" more of a "queue" really. I'll be there as soon as I get my turn."

You'll be pleased to know my patience was eventually rewarded, and so richly that I am extending my Whinge Amnesty beyond the promised several days all the way to the end of next week. We lost no embryos. Of the pair they thawed, one is doing ok, one well. This is enough to bring me - quite literally - tears of joy.

As we all know, I will soon start wanting more. A pregnancy, for one thing, then - I don't know - a baby or something audacious like that. The ungratefulness! Also, because sometimes we all like a bit of warning before a bitchslapfest, I feel I should tell you I am considering an end-of-amnesty post whose working title is: Holy Fuck, What About Twins? Then again, by next week I doubt I'll feel lucky enough to write that.

Thanks so much for your support so far. Drive safely.

I have to admit there are a lot of them, so I'm just going to list a notable few. Feel free to add your own suggestions!

  1. No pets have died, despite my apalling track record on this one.

  2. Power outages have been short and few.

  3. My parents did not leave on holidays either before the start of my cycle, or after my return home. (Gotta love 'em, but not too much all at once.)

  4. I have not been abducted and impregnated by aliens. Although I might be ok with that at this point.

  5. The fish I bought for Saturday night's dinner was not ruined in the cooking. In fact, it was quite nice.

  6. We have not been cancelled.

  7. We have not been cancelled.

  8. We have not been cancelled.

  9. We have not been cancelled.

So you see, it's all good.

I'm going to proclaim a whinge amnesty lasting several days if I can get a good embryo on board on Thursday.

I meant "at least a dozen". My ovaries have been described as "ridiculous" and FS has recommended I "do not so much as walk past a pharmacy if it has FSH in the window". In fact, to be on the safe side I should really steer clear of pharmacies in general in case they have FSH in stock at all. He has also decided to remove hCG from my LP support.

We have discussed an IVF conversion but are pushing ahead with FET, because, well, just because. I forget why. I've lost my ability to care about those sorts of things at this stage, and I apologise sincerely to those who would like to know. Instead, I was triggered this morning and should be ovulating all of those follicles sometime tomorrow. All at once. And then transfer is Thursday.

FS said, "You must be sore," but I'm not. I can feel my ovaries, but I'm not in pain. Between this and the lap, I'm getting the idea my pain threshold is actually reasonable, and the OHSS just really. really. fucking. hurt. like. pissing. fuck.

Oh, and I have to delay my flight home. In case I get OHSS.


Did I say Tuesday? I meant Thursday. Or possibly some other day entirely, who knows?

For those who like detail, and background, this is what's happening: I am on an ovulation induction protocol designed to make me ovulate a single follicle. This is because a) my body tends to ovulate randomly at times and b) I've had dodgy luteal phases and this might help. This cycle, however, instead of letting one follicle shoot forwards to glorious victory, my ovaries have decided to share the love. I have about nine follicles which are all sitting around in a big circle, sipping weird herbal tea, snacking aimlessly, and having long, deep, and meaningful discussions about topics which fit neither of the latter two categories in any way whatsoever, but the former just a little too well.

I'm so looking forward to ovulation, by the way.

Every morning I give them a dose of FSH by injection, and as it reaches their little tea party I hear them have this conversation: "Oh - did anyone order FSH? What about you? Well someone must want it, I mean I'll have a bit but I'm on a diet. Here - you try some, it really is delicious it's just I can't really stomach the whole thing, it's too rich, and anyway I'll get gas, or possibly fluid and an egg. And I don't want that, haha!" And then, instead of getting on and growing, they drift into a discussion about that woman in Thailand who caught the wrong bus and didn't get home again for twenty-five-years and that reminds me, does anyone want to brush up on their pictionary?

It seems especially perverse when my fellow Stirrup Queens sometimes struggle to produce nine follicles even when they're purposely injecting gargantuan doses of stims with the expressed aim of doing so. I mean, who the fuck is running this place anyway? I want to talk to a supervisor.

But I guess I'll just wait til Thursday. Or whenever. It'll give me a chance to spend more quality time with the dog.

Amazon Replies:

First, please allow me to extend my most sincere apologies for any frustration this matter has caused.

Baby registries remain active on our web site for 12 months after the baby's arrival date shown on the registry, to give friends and family the opportunity to purchase gifts for the new arrival even after the baby is born. After 12 months, the registry is automatically deleted. I apologize if this caused any inconvenience.

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For the full backstory, see the original post at Welcome To The Dollhouse and the bottom of my last post, plus the first comment.

Looks like transfer next Tuesday, he says. And I remember. The please-let-them-thaw-ok. The please-let-them-divide-and-grow. The please-let-them-implant-and-properly-this-time and God-let-this-be-the-one. So much for ticking off one more transfer.

My mother wants to know if it's ok to fly during the two week wait. I nod and shrug and tell her not to worry. "So you've asked your specialist about it?" she asks.

"Ah, no, well, I didn't really see the point since I'm going to fly anyway." She purses her lips at me.

I skip the NICU documentary program. And the comedy called "The Worst Week Of My Life" about the last week of the main character's pregnancy. I bet I can think of a story to top it. Except mine won't be funny. It's the second series - the first was about the lead-up to the wedding. I find myself thinking, "Shit - when we started trying these fictional people hadn't even been invented yet, and here they are having a baby."

Grandma rings to say Cousin has had her little girl. At twenty-eight weeks. She says they are both doing fine, but I can't help but add the silent "considering".

I play phone tag with That Friend and we finally catch up. But my voice has gone brittle, my sentences clipped. I am not as ok as I used to be. I hear her draw a deep breath, sucking in courage, and brace myself instinctively. "K had her baby," she tells me, and I ask when - a little too quickly, perhaps. It was a full week after my would-have-been-due date. We both exhale, relieved, and move on. But I have nothing much to say. Nothing except please-let-them-thaw-ok, lease-let-them-divide-and-grow, please-let-them-implant-and-properly-this-time and God-let-this-be-the-one.

FS asks me how I'm doing. I tell him I'm doing fine, and I am.


Give me life, give me pain
Give me myself again...

Oh, these little earthquakes
Here we go again
These little earthquakes
Doesn't take much to rip us into pieces...

Teendoc has a point. Go around there to read more if you think the fact Amazon requires a due date in order to create a registry is arbitrary and stupid.

This newsflash is brought to you by the break between painting one side of a door this morning, and being able to turn it over to paint the other side this afternoon. And, if you want to get more metaphorical, having a blood test on Wednesday (day 12) and having another one on Thursday (day 13)*. Here are the headlines:

  • Pregnant? Depressed about it? Don't come crying to me - research shows you can take antidepressants during pregnancy with no long-term behavioural effects on your child. Although, if you're still worried, why not try breathing the sweet, sweet stench of your husband's sweaty laundry? I'm planning to make Mr Bea jog through the tropical humidity in the same shirt every day of my two week wait!

  • In the contest between China and Britain over their respective reproductive awareness**, it's hard to see who wins. On the one hand, Britons are jumping up and down after sex to prevent conception (always worked for me), whilst on the other, Chinese are freezing their eggs so they can "safely" delay childbearing til later in life. Bzz. Sorry, the answer is: c) neither is correct.***

  • Lastly, a story of hope. Contrary to popular belief, it seems there is a God. Those who want to petition him for help on their reproductive journey are advised to set up intercessionary prayer meetings across several nations. One study shows a small but statistically significant improvement in conception rates. Volunteers?

*Dear Universe, I am not complaining about a boring cycle. I love boring. Boring is great.

**You didn't know there was a contest?

***Of course, egg freezing is a valuable tool in many situations. But let's not promote it as "Hey! Have your cake and eat it too!" Under the much more favourable conditions of IVF, it can take dozens of retrieved eggs to produce a single baby. Don't bet on it if you don't have to - all I'm saying.

The idea of an international FET sounds glitzy and glamorous, and yet I find myself strangely bereft of things to say. Oh, cycle update? I, right, I... injected myself with FSH this morning. And, um, took some vitamins. And. Er. The dog likes me again now. My temperature was 36.07, plus also, well, I don't have another blood test til Wednesday. Oh! I hung out with my grandparents. Grandma made me lunch*.

Now, I'm well aware that if I have nothing to talk about, I don't have to post a blog entry. But in the words of one modern artist (ten points if you can name them**), "Sometimes I feel as if I don't have anything to say, and I really want to express that to the world.***"

I did, however, think it might be a good opportunity to remind you all about the International Infertility Film Festival - screening online from March 31st! There's still time to put together an entry! Hurrah! Films for all!

*Homemade pizza on pita bread.

**Seriously. I've forgotten and it's bugging me.

***I may be paraphrasing, of course.

That we trailed a van from the H.appy H.earts Adoption Agency most of the way to the airport?

That my flight from Singapore was delayed, putting my connection and ensuing just-in-time arrival in jeopardy?

That our single vs double embryo transfer decision is a bit moot because the embryologists have frozen the rest in pairs due to low quality? And "Mr Single Embryo Transfer" FS has suggested we just use whatever we can get on the day?

That my beloved dog has forgotten me in my absence, was completely nonplussed to see me, and now pines for my mother in law?

That I have come down with a sore throat?

That I have managed to forget half my clothes, and half my toiletries?

That it all just seems so par for the course I can't even be bothered to get the least bit upset about any of it?


For the third week in a row I found myself scrambling to get a good deed done. I refuse to believe, however, that fifty is more to bite off than I can chew. Also, this week was different in that I was not suffering from mere laziness, but the rather more frustrating occurrence of having my intentions thwarted on several occasions.

Item One: RDA Photographer

An email was sent out to all RDA volunteers asking if they'd be able to take some photographs of a certain lesson. I replied immediately, and though I received no reply I turned up on the appointed day with camera in hand, ready to shoot. Only to find out my email had gone missing (later found in the recipient's "spam" folder - wtf?) and someone else with a camera had been roped in instead. Then my batteries ran flat and it was all over. I did, however, manage to get this photo:

...but it wasn't exactly what they had in mind.

Item Two: Folded Cranes

I met Mr Bea at a cafe after work, and on the counter they had a cylindrical, clear, plastic bin with a stack of notelets beside it. "Fold the paper into a crane," said the nearby instruction sheet, "and place it into the bin. Our sponsor will donate one bowl of rice to the needy for every crane."

By the time the cafe owners were shutting up shop, my crane looked like this:

Also, Mr Bea was starting to insist on our going home, something we'd planned on doing some time earlier. I blame the instructions. [Shifty sideways look.]

Item Three: The Young Man On The Street

I was looking for a postbox when a young man approached me asking if I knew where such-and-such street was. I admitted I didn't, and that I was, in fact, lost just looking for a postbox even though I knew there was one within fifty metres of where we were standing. (It turned out, later, to have been behind us.) He then offered to take me to a nearby postbox he knew of, which he very kindly did, chatting all the way. He explained he was going to a friend's house to visit, and knew the street was around here somewhere, but beyond that he was a bit stumped. "Never mind," he said. "I'll call my friend from the public phone when we get back to the spot we first started."

"Don't be silly," I replied. "I have my phone right here. You can call your friend now."

"No no," he said. "Thankyou, but I have the coins here." And he duly showed me a handful of silver coins.

"But it's no trouble and you found me the postbox after all. Here."

"No, it's ok."

"Really, I don't mind."

"No really, I'll just use the public phone, it's ok."

At that point I stopped and turned to him, shaking him violently by the shoulders, and crying, "But you have to use my phone! It's my good deed for the week!" and he ran away.

Nevertheless, I remain undefeated.

You see, today I have, with the help of the internet, taught myself how to fold a paper crane:

Much better. That, my friends, is worthy of a bowl of rice.

So on this, my last night in town before FET#5, I will return to our coffee shop of yore - this time with a sheet of my own instructions, printed off the above website just to make sure there's no room for confusion - and fold a sodding paper crane or two if I have to make them stay open all night.

I hope they have one of those unicef coin collections on the plane tomorrow.

So here's the thing. I have friends and family back home, and none of them are especially offended if I go about my day-to-day life without updating them constantly on its minutiae. They don't complain to me, for example, if I fail to let them know what I had for breakfast each morning, or how often I go to the supermarket and what I buy there. They might, however, have a tendency to get icky if I come home from living overseas without catching up, or at least letting them know.

And it's not like I come from New York, or Mumbai, or some other massively big, faceless city which turns on its wheels each day with nary a care for the comings or goings of the likes of one such as me. No, my home, despite being the third-largest city in Australia, is still described by many as a "big country town". My family moved there from various parts of the world about a hundred years ago, when it was just getting started, and hardly any of us have moved away since. Plus, I spent a good twenty-three of my formative years just traipsing around, forming connections, building friendships, and generally participating in the local community, and have since gone back for more. The long and the short of it is this: I will be seeing someone I know next week who doesn't have a clue we're doing IVF, whether I plan to or not.

"So what's my excuse?" I asked Mr Bea earlier in the week.

"Surely you can fudge it?" he replied. And mostly I can. Especially this first time. But I think we all know that, inevitably, we can't maintain the same level of closetness as we have so far.

"B and C, for example," I explained. "They're our oldest friends, and they're both free during the day a lot. I thought maybe I..."

"B knows."


"B knows. I told him."

"What? When? Why? What?"

"Back when it all started. I just, you know, wanted to chat to someone about it. So I told B. I'm not allowed to talk to people about it now?"

"Of course you are." And really, I'm quite relieved to find out that all this time I've been fretting about Mr Bea and how he's coping and everything when I needn't have worried because, you see, he's been seeking support. I'm just a little baffled he didn't mention this earlier, and I'm adjusting to the fact there are people who have known, unbeknownst to me. Over the next several days we had a lot of conversations like this:

"So that time, you remember, when we were at that place, and this happened, and... he knew?"

"Yes, he knew."

"So when he gave me a hug just before I left and I said, "That's not a hug," because he usually hugs so ferociously and he said, "Well I can give you a proper hug if you're feeling up to it," and... he knew?"


"And when C asked me what I was going to do in Singapore and before I had a chance to answer B jumped in and said I should become a Lady Of Leisure, and painted this caricature of a women who swans about having facials at the salon and complaining to her friends about the maid, and I said no, I'd rather become a reclusive eccentric who only comes out of the house at night and refuses to use any mode of transport other than the humble pushbike and always wears purple, then C joined in and had a turn and soon the original question had fallen by the wayside never to be brought up again and.... he knew?"

"He said that? That's pretty smooth."

"Goshdarn. Well this does put a new spin on things."

"Are you finished with the questions now?"

"Did you tell anyone else?"

"Just P."

"P knew? When? So you mean that time we...?"

So it looks like the "friend" situation is more sorted than I imagined. What about the others? Well, riding on the back of an idea given to me in a comment by Lut*, I have created our IVF FAQ. It's a blog! It's an FAQ! It's everything you ever wanted to know about B&A's infertility but were too polite to ask, except the things we don't believe you're entitled to find out! If necessary, I will print little business cards and hand them to people, especially where the alternative is smacking them upside the ear. Mr Bea has made me tone it down considerably, and the above link will be removed once I give the address out, just out of general paranoia. I've written it with a particular audience in mind, but feel free to make suggestions. And feel very free to use the idea if you think it will help!

*I don't know how to link to a specific comment, so here it is, from the Model Patient post:

"I have set up a special e-mail address that my friends can put on their baby-pics mailing list. My husband filters them for me. So far, no one has sent me anything there, so we'll see how that works."

From: "Ms B"
To: [parents, in-laws, sisters]
Date: Mon, 5 Feb 2007 11:09:24 +0800
Subject: I'm hoping someone can pick me up from the airport on Friday night...

...because I've really been to hell and back this week.

Note the heads on spikes in the background

Being drowned in boiling blood

Fitting punishments

Having your heart ripped out by a demon (funny, I don't remember violating any Confusian principles or being an unjust official)

My first visit with FS will be this Saturday at 7am, less than eight hours after I hit home turf. I realise I could have cut it more finely, but what can I say? There was no red-eye available when I booked.

I'm feeling good about this cycle. Yes, that's right - I'm feeling good about a cycle brought to us by the same batch of embryos who gave us "Die-Easy", "Die-Easy II - Die Easier", "Failure to Thaw"*, and who could forget, "Three Chemical Pregnancies and a BFN"? Ah yes, good times, good times. Top entertainment.

But you see, I'm in the happy position of having diminished hopes. I remember Februaries gone by when my wish was to have a baby, or at least become successfully pregnant, by the end of the year. Now I'm just aiming to tick four to six transfers off, because that's four to six less transfers we'll have left to do, right? I'm also hoping to cultivate a black sense of humour about the subject, so I can be one of those people who makes the types of jokes everyone is too uncomfortable to laugh at. Lofty ambitions.

It's good to have the show on the road.

*We actually have eight embryos left, so it's pretty likely we'll have something to transfer**.

**I wanted to leave it at that but I've been growing increasingly uncomfortable since typing it, like it constitutes some sort of jinx. So let me be clear - I am merely stating probabilities. I assume nothing. Hear that, universe?

Also, if you've been wondering why nothing's been posted over at Project Genesis lately, there's been a problem with her feed. More information on how to fix the problem on her blog.

I went to meet SOB this week. In a taxi. I mean I went in a taxi, not that I met him in a taxi. That would have been weird. Imagine doing a full gynaecological exam in a taxi. Actually, don't, sorry, I apologise for even suggesting it. Anyway, I got into this taxi and asked to go to such-and-such medical centre please, and the taximan said sure and pulled away from the curb and around the corner.

"You know," he said conversationally, once we'd got going, "in Singapore each different hospital has its own speciality. If you have kidney trouble, you go to the X hospital. If maybe something wrong with your heart, you go to Y hospital. But when a woman gets into my taxi and ask to go to such-and-such medical centre, must be very careful. Maybe just go for checkup, or have some woman's problem, or to visit a friend in maternity. I have one child, a daughter, she's twenty-four, she said to me, 'Baba, just because a woman is going to such-and-such medical centre in your taxi, you should not take for granted you can tell her congratulations.'"

"What a wise young woman," I replied.

"So..." he continued, looking sideways at my abdominal region.



On beta day I'm going to catch public transport.

SOB was recommended to be by a midwife who frequents expat boards giving advice on the Singaporean OB/GYN system to those who need to know. She posts messages about parent support groups, OBs who are ok with home births, which hospital to go to for which prenatal test, and who to see if you want to discuss the fact that you haven't fallen pregnant yet. She seems to know everyone involved in the reproductive industry, from confinement nurses to embryologists. And she's forever urging people to feel free to contact her by email if they need more information. So I did. I gave her specific instructions on what I wanted SOB's role to be, and she replied and gave me the name of a doctor she thought would fit well. And then she gave me her phone number because as an Australian expat and former IVF/ICSI patient, she wanted to offer to listen if I wanted to talk.

My heart overflows with the milk of human kindness. And maybe there's bit of "once a Stirrup Queen..."

The appointment itself went well. SOB is used to working with fertility patients, and is happy to test according to the schedule I'm used to. He's also happy to order extra testing in case of freak-outs and can get me my beta results within hours, six days a week. The nursing and reception staff were efficient and helpful, and the whole thing gave me a feeling of confidence, which is handy, because Mr Bea's still set on the idea of delivering in Singapore, should the opportunity present itself. Romantic that he is, he doesn't want to miss out. Of course, before we can have that argument, we need something to miss out on.

One week til fly day.

The thing I've found with good deeds is that opportunities present themselves. You don't have to go looking for them - you just have to keep your eyes open. Well, that's where it all fell down for me this week.

I think it's fair to say I've had my mind on other things. For a start, I completed an entry for the International Infertility Film Festival (screening online from March 31st! submissions encouraged from anyone who has anything to say about infertility or pregnancy loss, and wants to say it with short film!). I also met with SOB (acronym officially instated by popular demand), sweated about whether or not I booked my flight on the right date (still sweating), and discussed the finer details of our upcoming FET (such as how I'm going to explain repeated visits home to those who don't yet know about our IVF) with Mr Bea (whose answers surprised me). I guess I had my blinkers on.

So when Thursday rolled around I was left standing with my pants down (checking to see if that spotting was turning into anything) and also without having done any good deeds.

Behold the miracle of the internet! You see, it's easy to google up a good deed these days. According to this site, a click or two will help feed the hungry, fund mammograms for breast cancer screening, pay for better healthcare for children, reforest the earth, promote literacy or even save an animal here and there. Not bad for a few little finger movements. Especially when you're feeling too pre-menstrual to bother shifting your arse.

Also, you guys are great. You say just the right things. Thankyou.

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