I'm not entirely sure what To.ri A.mos had in mind when she wrote "Taxi Ride" for her album Sc.arlet's Walk. Sometimes with To.ri, I'm not sure if she does herself. But I'd like to think she'd approve of this interpretation.

Many of the song's lyrics speak to me about the journey of infertility. We've all been pushed too far... Even a glamorous bitch can be in need... Just another dead fag to you, that's all... It's certainly a long ride, I know it's not me at the wheel, and I can see the metre ticking. I'm sure you can read plenty more in yourself if you look at the full lyrics below.

But it's the chorus I keep coming back to. Every reason we have to hope - the opportunity to do IVF, our ability to fall pregnant at all, the friends and family who help give us the strength to make it through - I truly am glad you're on my side. Still.

There are just shy of 175 photos in this slideshow (I can't remember exactly how many I used, but I know I only have a couple left of the 175 I collected). I'm a little nervous about what you might think of the way I've used your photos, so let me say here and now - if there's any objections, just write and I'll be happy to set things straight.

I've used the negative peestick in the foreground to indicate how large infertility can loom in our day to day lives; how it can become a recurring theme. Photos were provided by Vanessa, Max, Vee, Melissa, Knitbrarian, Sunny Jenny, Mel, Serenity, Mands, Stephanie, Samantha, Pamela, Teamwinks, Dramalish, Patience, Baby Blues, Ankaisa, Buchiko, Jamie, The Momcaster, Schlomit, and Rachel (and I hope like hell I haven't forgotten anyone). They depict life all around the world, from Europe and America, to Australia, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

Lily is dancing on the table
We've all been pushed too far
I guess on days like this
You know who your friends are

Just another dead fag to you that's all
Just another Light missing
On a long taxi ride
Taxi ride

And I'm down to
Your last cigarette and
this "we are one" crap
as you're invading
This thing you call Love
She smiles way too much but

I'm glad you're on my side, sure
I'm glad you're on my side still

You think you deserve a trust fund
Just because you want one
Sure you talk the talk when you need to
I fear the whole world is
Starting to believe you

Just another dead fag to you that's all
Just another Light missing
In a long taxi line
Taxi line

And I'm down to
Your last cigarette and
this "we are one" crap
as you're invading
This thing you call Love
She smiles way too much but

I'm glad you're on my side, sure
I'm glad you're on my side still

Lily is dancing on the table
We've all been pushed too far today
Even a glamorous bitch can be in need
This is where you know
The Honey from the Killer Bees

I'm glad you're on my side, sure
I'm glad you're on my side, sure
I'm glad you're on my side still

Got a long taxi ride
Got a long taxi ride

I wrote the Untitled Accoustic Country Blues Song back in September, first the words, then the melody (which term I'm using loosely here).

It's a song about loss - not just of pregnancy or fertility, but of naivety and expectation. It's about the way an infertile woman, in the depths of her grief, relates to the fertile world. And it's also about standing up to be counted, despite your childless state. I hope you enjoy it. The words are reprinted below.

I wish I was your age again,
Little girl, 'cos you are
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
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 mostly what I'm thinking
Is I just don't care

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

So it might sound strange to you
If I say, now and then
I wish, little girl, I was
Your age again.

I wish, little girl I was your
Age again.

I think I'm going to make it, but at times it's pretty touch and go*. Take Tuesday. Everything I tried to do came up against some kind of obstacle. By the end of the day, I was on the phone to Mr Bea asking if he'd mind pizza delivery for dinner. Then a few minutes later I was on the phone to him again, this time in floods of tears because the pizza guy doesn't deliver to our area. I can't even order a fucking pizza, I was saying. I might as well curl into a ball and die.

The feeling of complete and utter despair lasted well into Wednesday morning. It was Maternal Bea who finally stepped in. "Alright, that's enough now," she said in tones which brooked no argument. "You've had your cry, now it's time to buck up."

"Most of these problems are very manageable," Inner Therapist Bea added. "You already have a mental list of them - all you need to do is arrange them in order from easiest to hardest and start at the top, focussing on one at a time." By Wednesday evening I had made some headway, and I was beginning to look at item seven - weekly good deed.

Being the week of the International Infertility Film Festival, it seemed like a good time to bang the freedom of expression drum. I signed the Amnesty International Campaign for online freedom of expression here, and for what it's worth I bring you this little snippet of formerly repressed content:

Now doesn't that make the world feel a little better already?

As for items eight and nine (Figure out what to do in the overwhelmingly likely event this pregnancy goes to shit and Stop this pregnancy going to shit) well, they remain beyond my capabilities. Luckily, when I woke up this morning, I found I had new tasks to tackle - simple ones which I added to the top of my list with a sigh of relief. Hopefully I won't get down to those other things for another week and a bit.

*I have repeatedly decided not to bring the appointment forward a week. I find turning up to appointments highly stressful - mainly because I always expect to be told it's over. And yet, that's not what happens. Instead I get told it's not looking either as good or as bad as it could do, and to come back next time for an answer. The short period of partial relief is not worth the crash I get a few days later when it evaporates suddenly. I think, on balance, it's better to wait it out til we can know.

**Thanks, guys - I have heaps now. You rock.**

**Also - remember our sick dog? She has finally been discharged (as of Tuesday 27/3) and is now undergoing outpatient monitoring. For the next 6+ months. If all goes well.**


I haven't had a chance to work out whether or not it's a good one, but with the International Infertility Film Festival now less than a week away, I don't really have time.

I need photos. I would like you to send me some. I'm looking for a diverse range of photos depicting both everyday life and special events. They don't have to be good - a happy snap of a party where everyone forgot to pose and the flash is bleaching their faces and causing red-eye is fine. Good, in fact. You can also send me pictures of your garden, your dog and your car. Your home renovation project in progress. Your handbag collection. That test shot you took in the shop before you bought the camera. Your family at Christmas, or your friend's wedding. Your neighbour's child (who is also your neighbour, I suppose). The cafe where you eat breakfast.

You get the idea.

Please email photos to me at infertilefantasies (at) gmail (dot) com, or tell me where they're posted on your blog and that I can download them myself. Photos will be used anonymously during the film, although I'll credit all contributors collectively at the end - unless you tell me you want to be listed as "anonymous" in the credits as well. I'll credit the nickname you use for blogging unless you tell me otherwise. You can submit any number of photos. Disclaimer: submission does not guarantee acceptance. If I get twenty photos of Christmas, I'll have to choose one or two. I'll be choosing whatever gives the most diverse selection regardless of photo quality.

So quick! Go dig up a photo! We don't have much time!

It's intrauterine.

It measures 5w4d - about 6 days behind.

I got a picture. It's blurry. It's a photograph of the scan, taken in low light at a busy reception desk. But it's our picture.

The hCG is still increasing, albeit at a slightly lacklastre rate.

This is far from being out of limbo, but probably the best we could have hoped for. Well, a slightly more enthusiastic hCG level would have been nice, but I'll take it.

The next appointment is in two weeks and a day. I'm not sure how much I'll be posting or commenting during that time. I hope you can forgive me if I'm not around.

I can't remember whose message did it, but I finally had to cry today. The comments, the emails... you've been more than sweet.

I've been fine. Apart from a couple of small outbursts, that is. It feels like I have a job to do, and that job is to remain calm and in control, to speak with a reassuring voice, to feed myself and sleep and bathe, and carry on as if everything is going to be ok.

Mr Bea asked me whether everything was going to be ok. "What are we expecting to see on this scan on Friday?" he asked. I explained that in normal situations, at 6w3d, you might hope for a foetal pole, a nice plump gestational sac, a heartbeat even. "But I think it would be silly to expect all that with what our hCG's been doing. It'll be good news if we can confirm it's not an ectopic. I think the best case scenario would be a normal-looking intrauterine pregnancy measuring several or more days behind, without heartbeat, and another week of limbo." But I don't really believe that's what we'll see. The spotting has continued almost daily. In my soul I believe it's nearly over. It's just my heart believes it's not yet time to give in.

Meanwhile, I have peed on another stick. It looks the same as the one from last Thursday, so I won't bother photographing it, I'll just refer you back there. Of course, ultimately it can't tell me if the hCG is rising or falling, much less doubling, but it's nice to see the pretty second line.

As for my good deed - there never seemed a better week to focus on infertility. On the people who understand limbo, and that a line is not a line, and can say the right things, at all the right times. First, a couple of shout-outs.

Richard points out the new Give A Toss* campaign for donor sperm in the UK. A campaign manager after the same heart as our very own Max (Don't Be A Wanker campaign). It's very cheesy, and hopefully successful.

Resolve (via Jenny) have passed along a request for couples to step forwards for a documentary (the film and its creators are not affiliated with RESOLVE). Here's what they say, in case you, or anyone you know, are willing and able:

We're interested in your stories. We are shooting a documentary on family building and are looking for a woman or couple trying to have a baby.

What we are most interested in is the emotional side of trying to get pregnant. The struggle to conceive or find a good donor or gestational carrier. We want to know why having your own baby is so very important to you.

We'd like to follow you in your quest...at home and at the doctor's office...to experience the more intimate moments of triumph or failure with each procedure. We're also interested in how it is effecting your family and or partner.

If you believe you could share your story with others...please contact us as soon as possible. I'm sorry there is no monetary remuneration but your shared experiences might help others struggling with infertility. To apply to be a subject in our documentary please write why you think you would be a good candidate for the video. We will contact you and set up a meeting to talk about the project. Thank you for your consideration.

Contact: dianedowling at earthlink dot net

And what about my own good deed? Well, I went to the Access site to make a donation - because I wish every infertile person could have a voice to speak up with, and friends who understand. Even if they don't blog like I do.

*It's come to my attention that Americans may not be familiar with the slang here. "Toss" is another word for "wank" which is, of course, a slang term for male mast.ur.bation. "Give a toss" is roughly equivalent to "give a crap". Hence it's a very witty, slightly naughty pun, full of nuance and meaning, etc etc.

Our relatives can count. They've started asking probing questions, which range from the rather direct, "Any news yet?" to the slightly more roundabout, "Do you have a travel date for your next trip?" to a basic and ambiguous, "How are you?" of the kind where you can hear the eyebrows waggling down the phone. We say we don't know anything yet. It's true.

We've thought about telling them what's going on. I did tell my mother about our initial positive for FET#1. Her responses were 1) an excited awe at the wonder of modern medicine ("Isn't it amazing they can tell the outcome of a pregnancy so early?") 2) what she referred to as "disappointment" ("You must be disappointed - I am too - but there's always next time...") and 3) a helpful entreaty to look on the bright side and count my blessings ("Well, you're much better off than a lot of people with your problem. At least you know you can get pregnant. And in any case - this result might still work out!"). Her summarising statement was, "Never mind." None of these were helpful enough to make me want to keep her up to date from there on in.

They come from a world where you're either pregnant, or you're not. Pregnancy loss is an isolated tragedy which doesn't happen all that often anyway*, and the really early ones don't count. They're not up to date with the details of our history - I'd have this whole backstory to fill in. And there's still a small but real possibility of something more sinister like an ectopic. On the one hand, I don't want to get angry with them because they're not taking it seriously enough, and on the other hand I don't want to have to soothe my mother out of a state of panic. And I don't want to have to cry and wail and become dramatic in order to get my point across.

They may be dying to know, but it's better for us all if we keep them in limbo. At least til things get slightly less ambiguous.

*Perhaps that's unfair. My mother does know plenty of people who've had miscarriages - even recurrent miscarriages - so she knows these things do happen. She just doesn't expect them to happen, certainly not to anyone in her family.

I remember the first time I had an embryo transferred. At that very moment my easy-going self became about a thousand times more likely to put her foot down if she thought she was being asked to do something which might harm her little conceptus. And when the last hope for that cycle died away, I felt my usual self return. The changes were immediate and intense. It was, I think, what they call a Mamma Roar.


Last night we went out for dinner with some of Mr Bea's colleagues. As my usual bedtime rolled around, I turned to Mr Bea and gave his knee a subtle squeeze, and he gave me an almost imperceptible nod in return to show he'd heard and understood. So I sat back and waited for him to politely make our excuses. Twenty-five minutes later I decided to take matters into my own hands. I placed my hand upon his and said, both to him and to the table at large, "We should be going." He agreed, and immediately turned to strike up a new line of conversation with the person sitting on his other side. As that subject drew to a close, I again took his hand, this time turning to our host who was sitting on the other side of me. "Thanks for an absolutely gorgeous dinner," I said. "It was all wonderful*. I hope you don't mind if we head off a little early**."

"Not at all!" she replied, and I turned back to Mr Bea, who was pouring himself more wine.

"After this glass," he promised. Over an hour after my first request, I managed to effect an exit by gathering our things together and making actual physical manouvres towards the door, forcing all the other guests to stand up and bid farewell. Mr Bea found himself swept up in the general movement, and we were soon on the street outside. "Shall we walk to the MRT?" he asked.

"We're taking a taxi," I replied tersely, and hailed one. There was silence on the way home.

As I turned the key to our flat, he hugged me at the waist and asked if I'd had a nice day. "It was marred at the end by your refusal to leave dinner after repeated requests," I replied in clipped tones. "I'm actually pretty pissed off about that. These are not ordinary circumstances. I expect you to be taking better care." And I didn't mean "of me". I was talking about... well, our precarious and only-just-clinging-to-life pregnancy. The stakes are high this time. I've got my Mamma Roar, where's his Daddy Aggro?

Mr Bea got this sullen, almost childish look - the indignant look of an eight-year-old who knows he doesn't have a leg to stand on but isn't ready to give in. "I might come to bed later," he said once we got inside, lying down on the couch and popping the cushion under his head.

But when I woke up this morning he was lying beside me in bed, curled protectively around my waking body.

*Although I do wish it hadn't been almost entirely made up of sushi, soft cheeses and meat cooked rare to medium-rare, and the frequent toasting made it extremely awkward to disguise the fact I wasn't drinking.

**It was already after 11pm.

There's an art to writing a good thriller. I say this as someone who's read and/or watched a handful or so in their lifetime. The trick is to strike a balance between tension and relief - if you ramp up the tension too relentlessly something will snap, and your audience will lose interest and walk away. The skilled writer will strain people's nerves to a certain, carefully calculated extent, and then provide a "false dawn" - an unexpected or even comedic interlude during which things finally seem, on the surface, to be resolving. At the same time the writer must cultivate an unsettling impression that the worst is yet to come. When this sense of foreboding has had sufficient time to grow, the final, terrifying act can begin. By this time, the audience has been lead and mislead enough times that they have lost all sense of control and can only watch, horrified, as the scenes unfold before them, wanting but unable to look away.

My beta doubling time has improved. It is now an only-slightly-less-than-normal 55 hours (reduced from 96, for those who've lost count). I feel I may have given a false impression of the odds we're facing by not supplying the actual beta figures from the first two tests. We are not, you see, only slightly behind the bell curve. The first beta, at 16dpo, was 23.8. The second, at 18dpo, was 36.0. And today's, at 24dpo, is 226.0. Still, SOB seemed greatly heartened by this and was grinning broadly from ear to ear when I walked in to see him.

Then I told him about the spotting. It's very slight, but it is pink rather than brown. His face fell, and he asked me if I had any pain.

"That depends. Do you mean, for example, am I waking at 4am having dreamt I'm in labour to find my uterus has clenched itself into an angry, angry ball which provokes much restless pacing about the bathroom, and sitting on and rising up from the toilet until the sensation of needing to go, the sweating, and the nausea resolves itself and I can go back to sleep, only to find small tinges of blood on the toilet paper when I wake several hours later? Because if you do, then yes."

"Do you want to do a scan?"

"Will it help?"

"Probably not."

"Will it hurt?"

"Probably not," he repeated, although this time he put the emphasis on "probably" rather than "not". "Why don't we hold off til next week?"

"Sounds grand."

"In the meantime I want you to take a couple of progesterone tablets a day, in addition to the two crin.ones and low dose aspirin." Considering my P4 is already an amazingly good 150, why the hell not?

I buy more prenatal vitamins. I advise FS of the latest results. I cancel the shifts I'd lined up for FET#6. And I wait. For my scan at 6w3d (next Friday), or whatever might happen to upset the plan between now and then.

Don't look away yet. The final act is yet to come. And I need all the hoping and praying.

I didn't want to do a good deed this week. Why should I? The world obviously feels it owes me nothing and just now the feeling is pretty mutual. Surely, I thought, surely I can just chuck a sickie? I mean, who reads these things anyway? Wouldn't they let me off with a note?

Then at some point yesterday I realised I owe it to myself. I need to refuse to fall into a bigger heap than is absolutely necessary. I need to keep working towards my goals - one of which is doing Fifty Good Deeds In Celebration Of Life. I need to do something. I just have to.

Repeatedly coming up against a solid barrier after working so hard towards your dream is not just frustrating, it's soul-destroying. I wish someone would just hand me the thing that takes our chemical-pregnancy barrier away. A voice inside me is sure it's the only thing between us and success, and if only I could work out how to remove it, we'd be set. Well for thousands of working poor the world over, taking away their barrier to success might be as simple as a twenty-five buck loan, repaid in full (but without interest) over six to twelve months (with a default rate less than 3%). Well, shit - I've lent friends more money than that with less assurance of repayment. So with the help of Kiva (and thanks to Ankaisa for the idea) I decided to give it a go.

On Tuesday, Abla Akla, of Toga, got my first loan to help her fund a scheme to bring clean water to her village. I must admit, as a citizen of a nation whose few constitutional rights include "the reasonable use of the waters of rivers for conservation or irrigation" umimpeded by "any law or regulation of trade or commerce" I had to sit for a moment and think about the ethics of selling drinking water. Then again, it's not like this scheme is removing any previous water sources, and also it's not really water "of rivers" is it? The bleeding heart liberal in me wishes people could get what they need for love, but accepts that in practice it will mostly come through money.

Besides, the project seemed to fit. Something about how water, like the ability to not lose an embryo prior to six weeks' gestation, is life.

Cycle update: have started spotting.

Updated update: so then I used an OPK at lunchtime (after unthinkingly hydrating the shit out of myself an hour beforehand) because I suddenly realised I didn't have a dose of Crin.one for tomorrow morning but I thought I wouldn't bother buying more if I definitely wasn't pregnant, so better use an OPK to see if it's worth making the trip or not and... I got a quick and clear second line. You know I'm only making this shit up to keep you biting your nails and second-guessing til the very last page, don't you?*

*No I'm not:

The astute reader will note that the test line is considerably darker than the control. I wasn't timing it, but it happened "quickly".

***Updated updated update*** - for those who asked: still got my appointment tomorrow for another blood test.

Over the weekend my symptoms increased. I got some nice fertile cervical mucous, stand-out veins around the nipples and even a little bit of "evening sickness" with honest-to-goodness retching. "Maybe this time it won't be a chemical pregnancy!" I started to think, with relief. "Maybe it'll be a first-trimester miscarriage or even an ectopic*!"

You don't need to lecture me about how fucked up that line of thinking is. Those who've had ectopics, in particular, can remove their hands from in front of their horrified faces. It's just that... well. It would add variety, at least, wouldn't it?

I don't want to play the Pain Olympics, but a little voice inside me is saying, with a certain amount of undeniable logic, that if our five transfers had got us two negatives, a chemical pregnancy, a blighted ovum and an ectopic, obviously that would be horribly, tragically unlucky. I'd be feeling really, woefully sorry for myself - provided I survived the ectopic at all - and rightly so. But sooner or later I'd be able to say, "It can't go on like this forever. I can get pregnant, in the right place, with the right embryo. It's worth trying again in case, one day, all those things happen in the same cycle." As it is, our five transfers have got us four low positive betas - all within an alarmingly narrow range - and no-one can say why. I can't seem to convince myself it won't go on like this forever.

FS says it's our embryos. OHSS can damage embryos, causing higher rates of biochemical pregnancy loss. We should keep trying embryos til we find the right one. Of course, there are studies to back this up. However, SOB flatly disagrees. Repeated biochemical loss is all about the environment, he says, and the next step is an endometrial biopsy. He, also, has studies to back this up.

I email a fellow Stirrup Queen I know who's had eight chemical pregnancies and two miscarriages. Her losses are "unexplained". Sydney IVF Miscarriage Management Unit assures couples that unexplained is good - a couple with this diagnosis has almost as much chance of carrying their next pregnancy safely to term as any other couple, as if having many consecutive losses can come down to "plain bad luck". After much diagnostic work, followed by much random trying of this or that, the aforementioned Queen finds herself six weeks pregnant again - this time on "empirical" steroid treatment. Her first scan is Wednesday. I can't believe how much I'm hoping this one works for her.

You see, my symptoms have disappeared again. And I need something to convince me it might be different one day.

*Sadly it occurred to me only once, and fleetingly, to hope for an actual, live birth.

I know it's not my news, but... there's a heartbeat, and everything looks normal. I have rarely been as happy about someone else's pregnancy.

My sister just emailed to say our beloved dog has been admitted to the University Specialist Centre's ICU with a serious and life-threatening illness.

I blame myself for making this quip.

Her condition is now described as "stable" and she has been moved from the ICU to the general ward. It will be up to two weeks til we know whether she is going to respond to treatment, and she may need to go back into the ICU at any point during that time. I am told, however, she seems more or less "bright" and has, in fact, started howling in a deeply annoying fashion and flinging herself bodily onto whoever opens her cage to attend to her, presumably in the hope they will hold her and/or take her home. That's my girl.

Oh. But this sets her travel date back by six to TWELVE months. I think I mentioned our plans to bring her with us to Singapore? Well, she started getting sick almost as soon as Mr Bea accepted the job. Since then she's clocked up an impressive series of illnesses, and has been more or less constantly under veterinary care - but as an outpatient, until now. This is one hell of a sickie.

Beta is rising. But. The doubling time is 96 hours and it's about a week behind what it should be. SOB has convinced me to stay on progesterone support and why the heck not add low dose aspirin, because, to quote, "It almost certainly won't work but you've got nothing to lose by trying."

Well where's the pericombobulatin' excitement in those stakes?


I'm giving pretty short odds on a chemical pregnancy, but there's still good money to be made on a blighted ovum or an ectopic. Plus! Anyone who bundles a shiny new silver dollar into an envelope and gets it to me by next Friday's followup appointment will earn themselves a cool twenty grand* in the event of a live birth, although they won't be able to enjoy it on account of being jailed for internet stalking.

So don't be shy of taking a flutter! Then we can risk having something to lose either way!

*Not dollars, obviously.

The airport security guy last Friday asked me to open my bag. "Looks like you've got some batteries in there, and some metal stuff. It's in the middle of your bag. We need to take it out and inspect it." We did. And found a tidy stash of UK coinage - one and two pounds apiece - tucked into a little pocket of my camera bag. "There you go!" said Mr Security. "You'd lost all that money and now it's found again!" I gave some to Rotary at the gate, and the rest to Unicef on the plane.


Today marks the fifth birthday of a very special little girl, Lissa Poppy. Lissa Poppy was born on March 8th, 2002, and mere hours afterwards she died. Lost, you might say. I know a lot of people don't like to use that word when speaking about death. It makes it sound as if one day, going through airport security, some guy might say, "Excuse me, ma'am, can you open your bag for us? It looks like you've got a five-year-old in there." And of course that's not how it is. Not how it is at all. Yet it's hard to know the right words to say, and so many people get it wrong.

That's why Jenny, in the aftermath of her recent loss, has set up the Sensitive Subjects website in the hope of helping out. She says, "I've read so many times that someone has been hurt by something someone says without thinking, and I know that explaining your side of things is often a really hard thing to do, especially when you're hurting. It's extra hard when we're faced with infertility, miscarriage, or anything like that and we just don't want to keep having to explain what's going on or how their comment was really upsetting." The idea is you can redirect those with good intentions but poor word choice to this site, and perhaps they'll gain an understanding of what to say. There are many categories - from abuse or addiction to infertility and loss. There's even a plan to provide business card templates for downloading and handing out to family and friends - or to anyone you wish.

So there are two important places you might visit today. First of all, Lissa's site, where you can wish her a happy birthday. Then, if you think of the right thing to say, don't just tell her parents - tell Jenny and the rest of the world. Perhaps we can all start feeling just a little less lost.


Treasurer's Report: I just checked ad.sense, and there's $33.57 in the account. I'm almost a third of the way through my Fifty Good Deeds, and about a third of the way towards the $100 you need before ad.sense will release any payment. I haven't decided where to send the money yet, but keep clicking - perhaps we can all decide together at Deed Fifty.

I'm not really into country, but it seems to be the best I can do. I blame my parents. For some reason the other musical style my mother was into was Jewish folk. That's right - I was raised on country and Jewish folk music. You're lucky I can't play the accordion.

More Than A Little Tired

I'm more than a little tired, I'm
Not just a bit worn out, I
Won't be alright in a minute if
I can just put my feet up

And I don't think this will be fixed
Within the space of a cup of tea
It wearies me to breathe
I'm more than a little tired.

I asked Mr Bea the other day what he thought of the idea of a memorial service for our embryos. "One day in the future, I mean. Once we've finalised the body count."

He grimaced at my choice of phrase, but said he thought it would be nice. Hopefully folded into a Christening. A "Christening And Memorial Service". It's strange to think we might celebrate one without commemorating the others.

Way back when we started IVF, before people had electricity*, I was the Early Pregnancy Googlemonster. No longer satisfied with mere lists of signs, I now wanted details and statistics, and I wanted to hear them from people who were undergoing IVF. Gradually, as my signs failed to accumulate, I started focussing on those whose positive pregnancy tests were a complete and utter surprise. What I found out was this: most people who swear they have no signs on the day before beta, are later heard to concede, "Well, actually, I was throwing up hourly/urinating thirteen times a night/awash in fertile cervical mucous, but I guess I just put that down to progesterone/nerves/overuse of personal lubricant." Nowhere did I find a single person who could honestly say they'd had no signs.

And then my cycle buddy, whose beta was one or two days before me and who'd been swearing black and blue she was completely symptom-free, got a positive. So I had to ask if, looking back with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, she could really and truly say there was absolutely, positively, not even so much as a trace of a single sign. And she replied, "I swear to you - on all that is holy - I had no signs of pregnancy at all. Just a gentle pulling sensation in my uterus."

So let me be clear about this. I'm pretty sure I'm not pregnant, or at least not properly pregnant. But in the unlikely event of my being wrong, these are the signs I will be pointing to and describing as early pregnancy symptoms:

  1. Big, sore, perky tits. The bigness and perkiness has, unfortunately, disappeared in the last 24 hours.

  2. Dizziness. Always, always quite dizzy at this point in my cycle. Since before we started trying naturally, let alone through IVF (and they didn't even have dinasaurs in those days*).

  3. Mild nausea. My mild nausea has now subsided right on cue. I have noted mild nausea at a certain point in my cycle on most of the charts where I have paid enough attention to detail - including charts where we weren't actually cycling. Only once did I have anything as severe as actual retching - and that was a chemical pregnancy. And the retching had started by now.

  4. Cramps. I feel like I'm being knifed in the uterus. This is no "gentle pulling" - these are "I am your period and I want you to have me NOW damn this progesterone!" cramps**. Which brings me to...

  5. Lack of bleeding. This is good news no matter how the cycle turns out. My period is only just due, I think we're a long way from proving the new protocol caused this to happen, and even if it did I don't really want to get my E2 up above ten thousand every time we do an FET, but it does give me hope there's something we can do to provide a more or less normal luteal phase for future cycles and by crikey that can't hurt at all.

On the team arguing for well-placed pessimism is the OPK I peed on over the weekend at 11dpo, which showed up great, huge expanses of snowy, snowy white. I know. I peed. In my defence, it's only my third infraction since we started trying. It was as useful an exercise as I remember it being the first two times.

In any case, I'll be sure to keep you posted, especially if something really gross happens and you're reading this blog over lunch. In the meantime, I have started looking at flights for FET#6, and have booked myself a few days' work to do Ozside during the cycle. Because that's how confident I am about the outcome.

*I know we haven't been at this game very long in the scheme of things, but my attitude to life has aged about a hundred years in the process.

**Last night I lay about moaning and complaining that I ached. "Where?" asked Mr Bea. "Lots of places," I replied. "My legs, my pelvic area, my breasts, my lower back..." "Can I massage something to make it feel better?" he enquired sweetly. "Your breasts perhaps?"

I'm in a pretty good mood this morning. Mental note: living away from your husband gives you a "get out of downward-spiralling depresssion free" card on the day you go home. Maybe it'll last til beta? One can only hope. At any rate, you'll find the following post isn't really indicative of my mood at the moment. I wrote it about a week ago, during the Whinge Amnesty, which (and I consider this fair warning) ends.... now.

I had coffee with That Friend last week. And let me say upfront, oh boy do I adore her. I really do. But I just have to get a few things off my chest.

First, a quick list of Things Which Probably Shouldn't Annoy Me But Really Do:

  1. No-one is phoning for your sons, neither of whom can form sentences yet. Especially not the one who can't even form words. Why you feel the need to provide a complete rollcall of every fucking person in your household on your answering machine message is beyond me.

  2. $1.65 can supply an underpriveliged child with a year's worth of eyesight-saving vitamin A or buy a handful of apples to use as training treats for horses at the local Riding For The Disabled association. Or it can buy your toddler a babychino he didn't ask for, doesn't want, and will eventually spill all over the table, possibly breaking the cup*. So, you know, whichever.

  3. I've seen your sister-in-law once, across a crowded room. We have never been formally, or even casually, introduced. I do not need to hear about her second consecutive pregnancy since we started trying to conceive. Especially when she is less than six weeks and has decided to give up on work now because she's "having a baby".

I would, however, like to thank That Friend for having the decency to look apologetic when she realised I wasn't laughing at her joke - the one where she says she can't wait to get back to work after this latest addition to the family** because, dear lord, get me out of here! Haha!

Special thanks also go to friend number two - my STAR. In response to That Friend's complaints about not having a life anymore, she stepped in quickly to point out that between being a medical student by day, studying medicine at night, and earning enough money to put herself through medicine by doing overnight and weekend work, really, she doesn't have a life either. And her parents don't sweep by and do a day's prac for her every now and then when she's feeling rundown. Thanks also for then turning to me and asking if I have a life, thus allowing me to point out that no, in fact, I also don't have a life, although in my case it's less due to insane business than having to put everything on hold every time I want to do a cycle, followed by the crippling depression of taking hormones and having things go wrong. Good point, well made.

I really think the immediate post-transfer period was the only time I could have withstood That Friend's company. Does that sound too much like sour grapes?

*I'm introducing the term Parent Poseur to refer to those couples who take unecessary actions to remind everyone of their parenthood whenever possible. Like ordering unwanted babychinos, because, hey look! I have to buy babychinos when I go to coffee shops now, because I have a kid! When organising mutual social events with a Parent Poseur they will always insist you change one aspect of the plan to suit their family lifestyle, even if they have to make something up. Later you will check with other parents and they will roll their eyes and agree that the couple in question were just being difficult. And smug. Parent Poseurs embody the mature form of the Pregna Donna.

**Did I mention she hadn't even conceived her first when we started trying?

My mother-in-law rings me every second night. Do I need help? How am I feeling? Have I decided when I'm going back to Singapore yet? Am I sure I'm ok? And always, the inevitable question: is this good news or bad news?

I am going home tomorrow. FS wanted me to stick around for "at least a week" because pregnancy would swell my ovaries up like big balloons and we might need to treat that. Now, obviously it's good I'm not in pain or need of additional medical treatment, but what does that say about my chances of pregnancy at this point? Nothing concrete, but certainly nothing good. The pre-menstrual symptoms and lack of pregnancy signs aren't shouting, "BFP!" to me either. So I try to explain it to my mother-in-law: sometimes there's just different types of bad news. And I chat politely, but I kind of wish she'd leave me alone.

On the other hand, when my Grandfather asks me "how it's all going" - in jovial tones but with a meaningful look in his eye - I give a smile and a shrug and tell him I don't really know. And he nods and chuckles, but he draws me close to his chest and tells me gently how much they hope it's going to be ok in the end. Then he draws back and demands I give him the curtain my Grandmother has asked me to hang, but I refuse and in the end we complete the project together, all the while entreating the other to sit down.

I spend the whole day with my Grandparents and their curtains. My Grandmother has pride of position at the sewing machine - I'm the unpicker, tea maker and curtain rod hanger. By the end of the day the job is complete and we admire three new kitchen curtains.

Later in the week I look around my parents house. I do the last of the dirty laundry they left before going away, hang it out and fold it when it's dry. I buy my brand of bathroom cleaner, and determine to leave it all looking better than when I arrived. I take their dog to the dog park every day, and try to finish the painting job we started during my first week here. I set up a blog/website for one of my father's friends. Because if we do nothing else, we should care for those near and dear to us. Even when they wish we would just leave them alone.

Ankaiser is trying out a charitable loan scheme this week. Interesting idea to check out.

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