I'm having trouble conveying the extent of my eating woes. When I tell people how hungry I am, they respond by either a) remarking that I'm obviously feeling great, or b) leaping to the conclusion that my main concern is pregnancy weight. My main concern is feeling like dogshit.

I am literally sick with hunger. I try to keep up with my appetite, but there's just not enough room in my gastrointestinal tract for all the food I'm craving. Throw in an unpredictable aversion here and there and I sometimes feel like I'm starving to death and at the same time unable to eat. It's a cruel and unusual form of torture*. About once a week the whole thing culminates in a puking migraine, from which I take twenty-four to forty-eight hours to recover. I have been reduced to tears.

Now, as far as pregnancy concerns go, this isn't the worst - it is not, for example, anywhere close to knocking "dead baby" off the top of the pops - but nevertheless it is a real and immediate problem and I need to find a solution, the sooner the better. For a start, I'm not sure all this is conducive to the best nutrition, and secondly, I'm a little worried about what my blood sugar's doing in there.

So on Saturday morning I gathered my wits together, having got to the end of them, and set upon a three-point plan. Part A was buying a new cookbook, because I've noticed if there's one thing I'm craving it's novelty, and that afternoon I found The Well-Rounded Pregnancy Cookbook. The back cover spoke to my soul. I nearly wept with relief right there in the shop**.

Thus armed, I embarked on Part B - home delivery options for groceries. We don't have a car, and the nearby markets are not always inspiring, meaning I have a problem keeping the house adequately stocked with a good range of food. The first online order is arriving this week.

Part C is to even out my exercise a little. With the end of semester coming up, I've been yo-yoing between sitting, reading and writing for one entire day, and running around the next. I need to be doing some gentle exercise every day instead, and probably more of it in general.

Mr Bea also proposed a Part D, based on his timing of my hunger pangs over the weekend, I think in self-protection after I had a semi-violent hypoglycaemic meltdown. He says I need to eat a light meal every four hours, day and night (with snacks in between - ie six meals a day plus snacks). He wants me to set an alarm so I can begin preparing in time. Hopefully my three-point plan will allow me to settle into a less demanding regime.

I'll let you know how it goes.


--
*And yet still more fun than infertility! I feel like there's scope here for someone to compile a list of things infertility's not as fun as, just to prove a point. "Certain forms of cruel and unusual torture" can go down first.

**I'm not exaggerating for effect or amusement. I actually teared up a bit. A lot of things make me tear up at the moment, though, so it's probably not as dramatic as it sounds.

--
P.S. Note to all those who promote a do-gooder idea of adoption, with the implication that those pursuing ART are do-badders: news story for you. Yeah, that's your "save the children" idealogy at work for you right there. Want to join me in the "choices for families" camp?


So this morning, when I woke up and rolled onto my back, I noticed something weird. My abdomen was bulging slightly below the belly button. I touched the bulge lightly, and it felt round and solid.

"Hey, look at this!" I whispered to Mr Bea, presumably worried I would scare the bulge away. "I'm bulging!"

"I can't see it."

"There!"

"Nup."

"Put your head on my chest and look down."

"Oh yeah..." And there we lay for a moment in silent awe. "Why is it off to one side?"

"Dunno. Full morning bladder?"

Then, as we watched, the bulge began to move. Alien-like. Freaky. And, also, strangely unassociated with any uterine-type cramping, yet the sensation was not altogether unfamiliar...

"Wait a minute," I said, and I went to the bathroom to, um, empty my bowels. When I got back, the bulge was gone. We had been excitedly observing my colon.

Sort of takes the romance away.


As my good deed this week, I manned (or in my case, womanned) the Christmas card stall for the R.D.A. for an afternoon. My fellow card-seller, though childless herself, was one of those women who just can't resist a tiny face. "Look at the baby!" she exclaimed at every opportunity, and made gestures and faces, even when the infant was quite some distance across the mall and oblivious, along with its parent, to the fawning going on.

I have never been one of those women. But each to their own.

Things became dangerous, however, when she turned to me and asked if I had any children, to which I answered, "No," with that uneasiness born of watching helplessly as the conversation chugs towards unwanted territory.

"People keep asking me when I'm going to have kids," she continued, and in a flash I saw my opportunity to redirect the train along an entirely different track.

"I think that's rude," I cut in. "Who says you want kids? Who says you can have them? What if you were in the process of miscarrying a long-awaited pregnancy? It's too personal a question."

So we talked about that for a while, until someone came to buy some cards, after which it seemed time for a new topic. I think we moved on to tomatoes.

---

A few weeks ago, not long after the scan at which we found out Twin A was no longer alive, I was talking to my mother on the phone. "How are you feeling?" she said.

"Fine, within the limits of what can be expected," I replied.

"What do you mean by that?" she demanded.

"Just, you know..."

"Morning sickness? Tired?"

"Sure, a bit. Like I said, standard stuff. Fine." And my mother agreed amiably. But then I added, "It's just starting to wear a little thin, that's all," and I swear I could hear her pursing her lips all the way down the line. If she hadn't been interrupted by my father in the background, I'm sure she would have tutted for quite some time about how there's no pleasing me.

I know my audience. I wouldn't dream of forcing any of you who are still waiting to listen to and sympathise with every little complaint*. And I truly don't feel the need to complain most of the time - my symptoms have been mild and manageable, and even last night, which I spent half of in the bathroom vomiting, I remained pretty cheerful about the whole affair. The difference is, last night I felt like there might only be six more months of this between now and our baby, and that doesn't worry me at all. But just after that scan, I felt like we might have to start all over again. When hope is low, even small inconveniences bite. I know you know what I mean.

But that wasn't the only misunderstanding. If she didn't know about our history of infertility, would she have pursed her lips, or would she have given an understanding, "Yes, I know, pregnancy symptoms are unpleasant, aren't they?" Knowing my mother, it's quite possible she would still have done the former. "Well, it's not like you weren't aware this could happen..." I love my Mum, but she doesn't do nonsense, even when she should. Still, I've seen her incline her head and murmer a few gentle words to those suffering through the trials of even the most ordinary pregnancies, and I daresay she'd do the same for me. If, you know, there was any pleasing me. I'm sure it would be different if I was having real problems, but for a moment I wondered where I could make myself understood. I felt stranded where no-one spoke my language. Preginfertilispeak. Perhaps there should be a phrasebook.

--

Please read about and support the mother's act, for those suffering post-natal depression.

And yay to C for her support of the Red Cross in their efforts over those fires.

--
*I know I've posted a couple of complaints, but hopefully you can see that I have everything in perspective, and anyway, I don't expect anyone to read and sympathise.

--
Just a few clarifications:

1. I think the amount of complaining I've done here pretty accurately reflects the amount I've wanted to do. I've spent more time wishing I had morning sickness than actually having morning sickness, for example. I also kind of figure you're not forced to read or comment if you're having a bad day (and please don't feel you have to), so it's not the same as pinning you in a corner in real life and telling you all about the chucking up. And it's certainly not the same, as Barb said (hi Barb!), as complaining, "Ugh why did I have to do this?" So I do try to remember who I'm writing to, but I'm much more relaxed about what I say here than face-to-face.

2. Ellen mentioned "the hardy type [of mother] who thinks the cure for every ailment is exercise and fresh air, or maybe a warm salt water gargle". It's not exactly the right picture, but close - she is a great believer in "dealing with the consequences", so it makes it hard to tell how much is due to IVF and how much would be there anyway. So it could all be my own paranoia. On the other hand, I know there are people who have got these kinds of comments (like Somewhat Ordinary, for eg).

3. You guys are great! (Did I need to clarify that?) There are some other really good comments, too, you should read them.


...after I wrote yesterday's post. But I can't, for the life of me, remember if he picked up any beer with that juice.

Don't forget the Film Festival is on at the end of next week. Best get cracking! Those short of ideas can always combine the leftovers from Halloween into a Girl-Blogger's Night In film, killing several birds with one stone.


This is cute. Over the last couple of months I have been unable to express any sort of food preference without Mr Bea referring to it as a "craving" and going to great lengths to fulfill it. This has led to scenarios such as the following:

Mr Bea: "I feel like a beer."

Bea: "I could go a fruit juice."

Mr Bea: "Oh my goodness! You're having a food craving! This is such a cliche."

Bea: "It's a mild preference. Sort of like when a non-pregnant person says, 'I feel like a beer.'"

Mr Bea: "Ok, look, I'll get you your juice. Even though it's ten thirty at night."

Bea: "That's really not necessary."

Mr Bea (putting on shoes): "Tell me what kind of juice you want. Be specific - I don't want to get it wrong. I know what these pregnancy cravings are like."

O...kay. In the end, since he was obviously enjoying himself so much, I expressed a wish for fresh, natural, kiwi and strawberry juice, and he set off on foot to find some. A little over an hour later - by which time it was nearly midnight - he returned home with orange and mango juice, apologetically explaining that was the closest he could find.

Unfortunately, it tasted off. He was delighted with that punchline.

Anyway, it was all slightly baffling fun and games to me until this last week. The trouble is, I'm not having cravings, just anti-cravings. I get hungry. I prepare myself something to eat, and all seems well with the world. But if it isn't the right thing, according to some mysterious formula my subconscious doesn't want to let me in on ahead of time, I can't stomach it. I put it in my mouth and I gag. If it's the right thing, I'm ok. "Right" changes, of course, from day to day. I am afraid to order a meal in a foodcourt without a backup person to swap with if need be. But I'm so hungry! Why, oh why won't my body tell me what it wants? Or accept what's put in front of it?

If anyone can give me good advice, I'm willing to buy you dinner...


The rational Mr Bea stood in front of his wardrobe for the longest time this morning. Eventually I said, "Come on, get dressed! We need to leave!"

"I don't know whether to wear my work clothes or not," he explained.

"Aren't you planning to go straight to work from the appointment?"

"Only if everything goes well. I just..." and here he paused to look sheepish. "I don't want to jinx it."

From my after-appointment shop.


The reason it's taking me so long to track down a new bra is threefold:

1. With Jester, I outgrew all my usual bras, but I refused to buy new ones because it looked very much like the pregnancy was going to go south at any moment. Which it did, eventually, but not until after I'd ruined a couple of my usual bras through over-stretching. A month or so after the D&C I bought a new bra in replacement, but hat tip to anyone who has just had a D&C - it's going to take longer than a month to get back to your usual bra size. Because of this, I now have one bra that more or less fits.

2. As a long-time backpacker, I'm well trained at daily hand-washing.

3. The stickler - after scouring the shops, and finally the Singaporean expat message boards, it has become clear to me that my only real hope lies behind the dank and forboding doors of a maternity shop. Although I hear they're a lot less dank these days.

Earlier in the week, my mother sent me an email. She admits an itching desire to get started on some grandmotherly knitting, but she can't bring herself to, "in case it jinxes things". This, and my reluctance to step over the threshold of a maternity shop, sound distinctly like magical thinking. "Go on, tell me we're not being rational," I said to Mr Bea.

"But you are," he replied. "Knitting those booties or buying that bra represents an extra investment in the process, which means if things go wrong, in a very real sense you'll have more to lose. It's perfectly rational to want to minimise that investment in any way you can, no matter how small. The only real mistake is in assigning these acts with some sort of causal power. The rest is just simple lack of perspective. After a couple of years of tests, injections, procedures - well, you know the rest - the added investment of a fifteen-dollar bra isn't exactly going to break the emotional bank."

"Fifteen dollar?"

"Well I don't know how much these things cost."

"Clearly."

In the aftermath of this conversation, I remembered the start of my blog. I didn't call it "Infertile Fantasies" to draw hits from people looking for internet porn, although that has been one effect. "Infertile Fantasies" was the title that seemed to fit late one night back in April 2006, as I wearily tried to stave off a series of nightmares I'd come to call "The Baby Death Dreams".

Riding the powerful, downward loop of the hormone rollercoaster after IVF/ICSI#1 and OHSS, I had started waking two or three times a week in a sweat, having just been through a dream-miscarriage, or buried a dream-child after leukaemia, or watched my dream-toddler seizure to death at the scene of a road traffic accident whilst blood poured from orifices whence blood should not come. In desperation that night in April, I turned to Mr Bea and asked him to daydream more pleasant things with me. "I want to talk about our maybe-January baby," I said. But he wouldn't, and he flatly refused.

"There's no point thinking about things that might never happen," was his view, and after establishing that I wasn't going to persuade him differently, I got up, opened a blog, and published this post.

Hope is such a precious resource. I guess, at the time, Mr Bea just couldn't afford to invest. But if we invest none, we will see no returns, so I want to thank you all for stepping up and lending me enough to get through until now.

Because for one thing, if Monday's scan goes ok, I'm really going to have to walk into that maternity shop for that bra.


Yesterday was Stand Up Against Poverty day. I didn't stand up - well, I did, just not at any specifically appointed time for that sole purpose - but I did donate some money to Childfund, so I think that counts.

Jenna, on the other hand, is just the good deed fairy at the moment, going so far as to donate her hair! And I just had mine trimmed...

P.S. Don't forget to organise yourself for the Girl-Blogger's Night In!



Guess who had an emergency appointment with her obstetrician today? I'll give you a hint - no, that's silly, it was obviously me. You know I've been having a teensy bit of pink spotting more or less ever since my period was due, and I'd come to ignore it, and it was slowing down anyway? Well, this morning I had a noticable amount of brown spotting, tinged with a leeeetle bit of bright red, so I did what any calm, sensible, and rational person would under the circumstances - I freaked the fuck right out and got in to see SOB, who quickly assured me that everything looks fine. There is no evidence to suggest bleeding within the uterus, so he surmised that it's coming from lower down in the reproductive tract, and went into a big speech about the effects of crinone on the vaginal wall whilst writing me a script to change onto orals instead.

The truth is I trust crinone more than I trust oral progesterone, because a) I've read all about differing delivery methods on the internet and b) the crinone costs ten times as flipping much, which means I must either make myself believe it's better, or accept that I'm a fool with more money than live, healthy babies to show for it. However, I don't think it matters much, because at 11+ weeks this placenta had better be just about ready to fly solo anyway, and in fact I have good reason to be optimistic on that front.

You see, I seem to have stumbled into the miraculous land of second trimester pregnancy hormones, which might be the cause of this morning's panic hiccup. Let's just say the Mr and I have had... an adventurous weekend. So much so that when I mused flippantly on Sunday night that perhaps I didn't want a baby so much as I wanted to stay pregnant in the second trimester for ever and ever, Mr Bea (who, despite what I have written about him in the past, is a perfectly normal male with perfectly normal appetites) responded by sobbing quietly into his pillow.

I didn't explain all that to SOB, but as he was talking about crinone, clexane, and abrasions of the vaginal wall, I did think about it and, well, frankly one or two of those positions were uncomfortable anyway.

Annnnyhoo.

It's all fine, apparently, so we can all return calmly to our regularly scheduled programming. As you were.


When I was in hospital with OHSS, I had to decide whether it was better to watch daytime television or throw myself out the window. Being the creative soul that I am, I devised a third option - navel gazing. And one day my navel gazing brought me this:

You can tell how good your life is by analysing your woes. At the low point of that hospital stay I was worried I would die in my sleep from suffocation or drowning, because I was struggling to breathe (although my oxygen saturation was always fine). I actually had to have a heart-to-heart with the nurse about this at 2:30am one morning, such was my state of anxiety. A few days later, I was worried my daily dose of clexane might sting.

A week ago I was worried our baby was dead. That fear hasn't gone away, but today there is room in my head to be irritated by a hunger so constant and insatiable that it severely disrupts my life. It's honestly driving me a little insane. I wake up hungry at 5am and have breakfast, then nap til 7:30am when I have Second Breakfast. Then I have morning tea at nine, and start to prepare a cooked lunch, which I eat at ten. Yesterday I was out and didn't eat my cooked lunch til eleven, and as a consequence I was nauseated and headachey the whole rest of the day and most of the night. Anyway, this eating goes on til bedtime, which is late - around eleven or midnight - because if I have my last feed any earlier I won't sleep through til five. Naturally, this means I can't go without an afternoon nap. It's like I'm an infant again. And despite all this, I have managed to gain a grand total of slightly less than 1kg, which buys me a scolding from the nurse at the clinic. Argh.

In the future, I aspire to such concerns as My Toddler Is So Active I'm Exhausted and It's Going To Be Expensive To Send All Four Kids To Harvard.

--
P.S. By request, I got a ticker. Well, a counter. Down under the summary on the right hand column. I couldn't find a generic one that did weeks and days, so I'll have to leave dividing by seven as an exercise for the alert reader.


I'm two for two. Someone else asked me if I was pregnant today. However, I'm feeling a bit better about it after the revelation I had on the way home. You see, "Are you pregnant?" is the question I get asked every time I'm at even slightly less than full, outgoing vigor. I must look like the maternal type. Or the unsickly type. Or both.

I first got the question when I was sixteen years old. Things escalated during university, and after I got married I found I couldn't so much as yawn from having stayed up late watching a movie without someone pulling me aside to ask me about my fertility status in a hoarse and dramatic whisper. Seriously, last year the question was prompted by my coming to work with the sniffles. The sniffles! Because, naturally, the most logical explanation is not a minor head cold. So all this asking is just par for the course, and signifies nothing*. It does, however, bug me when people assume pregnancy is the only condition that can affect a woman when there are, after all, such a rich variety of conditions to choose from.

Which is why, in a few weeks' time, in celebration of deed number 50, I am going to ask you to join me in a Girl-Blogger's Night In, in aid of the Cancer Council. We all know bloggers affected by breast cancer - KarenO is going through a terrible patch with her mother, and Karaoke Diva walked for members of her family not so long back (but Bea is too lazy to search for the exact post). Then there are those of our ranks who have been personally affected by ovarian cancer, and those who are at increased risk of female cancers due to the same conditions causing their infertility, or due to their childlessness itself. After that, there are the countless women who have been diagnosed without any risk factors whatsoever - I'm sure you can name two or three from your own life without thinking too hard at all.

So on Thursday November 1st, we're having a Girl-Blogger's Night In. Pour a relaxing bath, open a bottle of wine, get your favourite snacks and DVD together, bring a friend and do a facial, or just take the night off to read in bed. Blog about your evening and send me a link to the post. Then donate**, at the cancer council's website, the amount of money you would have spent on a night out. Let's make the fiftieth good deed one for the girls!


--
*I think the assuming that happened yesterday signifies a little more. That was still freaky.

**Those within Australia can donate to the cancer council in your state. Those outside Australia - pick your favourite state or donate to mine, which is Queensland. If you would prefer to donate to your local women's cancer charity, do so and provide a link in your blog post.

--
Oh, right, about this week. P.S. you can also sign this online, world-wide petition against the death penalty.


I have never been considered busty or voluptuous, so at first I was pleased with my new, fuller figure. However, my initial satisfaction has been marred by the difficulties of trying to find an appropriately-sized bra. Here's a couple of excerpts from the latest installment.

As I walked into one lingerie shop this afternoon, the young sales assistant who had started towards me recoiled in horror. The older sales assistant stepped forward in support, and flattened my shirt against my stomach to assess my shape.

"You drink a lot of milk," she pronounced gravely and then, when I gave no response, she pinned me with an accusing stare and added, "don't you?"

"How much is a lot?" I asked.

"Every day."

"Well, I have milk on my breakfast cereal..."

"Aha!" She threw a triumphant look at the younger assistant, and was in the process of leaning back thoughtfully when a terrible idea seemed to occur to her. "Is the bra you're wearing padded?"

"No."

"Wah! You must drink milk for lunch and dinner as well. But! I have one bra that might be ok. Let me bring it to you in the fitting room." It was too small, and I told her so through the curtain. "Can I see?" she asked, and I consented, so she twitched the curtain aside, saying gleefully, "I want to see how big you are! Wah! So much milk!" And then she twitched the curtain closed again.

Later, at a different shop, I went to pay for a five-pack of cotton underwear. "Are you sure that's the right size?" asked the cashier, "because underpants can't be exchanged once the packet is opened due to hygiene. If you're not sure, my colleague can measure."

"Won't hurt to check," I reasoned, so her colleague took a tape and drew it around my hips.

And then she said, "You're actually between sizes, but I think you'd better go for the bigger size because you're expecting."

There was a pause here.

It was quite a long pause.

Eventually the silence grew awkward enough for her to look up and say, "Right?" I kind of forced a couple of jerky nods and a rather muffled, "Yeah..." Admittedly, I'd just eaten and was kind of bloated with food, but it was enough to make me feel so shaky that I decided to call it a day and come home.

I may decide not to leave the house again for another ten weeks. Maybe I can mail-order that bra.


So I am sitting down in earnest today, having gained some valuable feedback from blogland, to review yesterday's decision. This is a customary part of my decision-making procedure - I need to be thorough in order to move on without regret over my choice. I am getting a bit stuck on the stats, however - the bottom line is the patient leaflet doesn't contain enough of them to be useful to me, so I need actual stats, and I also need someone to explain to me how these stats are calculated.

The problem is the results of the screening test are presented as a risk, not a diagnosis. A risk of greater than 1 in 300 is considered "high", but in fact what this means is your baby is probably fine. For every 300 patients with a 1 in 300 risk, one is going to have an abnormal baby, and two hundred and ninety nine are going to be AOK. That means anything more than a 0.3% risk of abnormality is considered "high risk". In other words, unless they're more than 99.7% sure you have a normal baby, they're going to recommend invasive testing. If someone walked up to me and said, "There's a 99.7% chance your baby is just fine!" I'd be elated, I wouldn't be saying, "Oh no! Better stick a needle into the amniotic sac, risking miscarriage!"

In fact, even if your chance is as scary as 1 in 5, your baby is still probably ok. Now you have an 80% chance of a healthy baby, and a 20% chance of a defect - quite a high chance, to be sure, but people announce whole pregnancies and start buying nursery furniture based on less certainty than that. You have to get down to a less than 1 in 2 chance of a defect before you can say your baby is probably affected, and I'm not saying that can't happen to us, but it's extremely unlikely we'll get results that clear-cut from our screening.

Am I right so far?

The clinic claims they can pick up 90% of Trisomy 21 cases using the combined screening method and their chosen cut-off level (stats are not offered for other abnormalities, but the study below indicates similar sensitivities for other abnormalities). That's pretty good, but still leaves a 10% chance your affected baby will be passed through unnoticed. Ten percent is high. Unreassuringly high. I'm not sure I can find peace of mind in 90%.

They also quote a 5% false positive rate - ie. 5% of all people who opt for prenatal screening will be unnecessarily distressed by their results. But what's the true positive rate for that population? What percentage of people who line up for screening will end up getting bad news? They don't say, so I've used the figures from this study, which screened a maternal population ranging from 15-49 years in age (with the average woman being 34 years old), and calculated that we are a good five times more likely to receive a false positive than a true positive. A full 83.4% of people in the high risk category have nothing to worry about, compared to 99% of the unscreened population. Am I right? I mean, I know it's only one study, and someone please tell me if I'm going wrong, but you see what I mean?

The point is, if we do prenatal screening we are five times more likely to be unnecessarily distressed than to find an abnormality. And even if we're "reassured" are we actually going to find it reassuring given 10% of cases slip through the net? What do we gain from screening? Best case scenario, instead of being 99% sure our baby is ok, which we are now, except we're not but that's just general paranoia, we get to be, say, 99.75% sure our baby is ok. Not an overly tempting gain. Is it worth it?

Well, there's a small chance we could find an important abnormality now, rather than in, say, 3-6 months' time. However, in order to actually diagnose such an abnormality, we would almost certainly need to submit to more invasive testing, which carries a risk of miscarriage of a perfectly healthy pregnancy. This is a very small risk, but nevertheless. If we wait and find out later, we need to submit to the risks of pregnancy and delivery, which I am obviously prepared to take on under normal circumstances, and I am even prepared to take them on under less than ideal circumstances, but not for a baby I know, for sure, won't make it. Of course, these are also very small risks, but nevertheless.

Perhaps I'm more comfortable with the risks of pregnancy and delivery because I squared myself with them before we first started trying, so it's the devil I know, but in any case, there it is*. Having given it twenty-four hours and written it out fully, I find myself unswayed. Unless you can think of somewhere I've gone wrong? I still have a couple of days to finalise my decision.

--
*You can add in the risk of delivering and having to raise a disabled child if you want to complicate matters and depending on your view of termination under such circumstances, but I can't seem to get much of a grasp on the idea of delivering and raising a live child at all, so this whole argument tends to slide right off my back.

**After pubmeding my way through some abstracts, I have decided to ignore any difference in meaningfulness of PAPP-A levels based on method of conception. A lot of studies do show a significantly higher rate of false positives with this test in assisted conception - some say high responders are more prone to it, others say it's ICSI, others say FET. Other studies say there's no difference to speak of at all. Sounds suspiciously like the answer isn't clear enough to enter into the above argument.


Yes, kicking!

"Did you see it moving?" I asked Mr Bea.

"Moving?"

"Yes, waving its arms and legs, rolling around..."

"Arms and legs?"

"Those appendages coming off the torso?"

"Which bit was the torso?"

I gave up. I can be excited on my own.

We were given the talk about prenatal testing. We have decided against it. The clinic, like most, uses four data points to work out your risk of genetic abnormality. The first is age, which we already know, and luckily we are at low risk here. The second is hCG level, which we already know, and we are at low risk there. The third is pregnancy-associated plasma-protein A, which I believe (and will shortly confirm by googling) is often falsley positive where the pregnancy is conceived through ICSI and/or FET, so we may be at high risk there, but it may not mean anything. The fourth is the nuchal translucency scan - a vague sort of test at best, which is why they only use it in combination with all the other data points. Definitive diagnosis, of course, requires invasive testing which carries some risk of, well, baby death.

Neither of us are naive enough to say we would "never terminate anyway". We both agree, for example, that it would be more practical to terminate a doomed pregnancy early than to take on the risks associated with carrying to term and delivering. But it's also true that it would take a lot for us to terminate this pregnancy - a lethal defect is one thing, but what about the huge grey area?

At the end of the day it's about deciding what risks to take. We are loathe to take the risk of miscarrying a possibly healthy pregnancy, and we're not certain how high our chances of a genetic defect would have to be for us to take that risk. We will not risk doing a test which comes back looking equivocal or high risk, causing us undue pressure and stress. We will take the risk of carrying an abnormal baby to term in ignorance when we could have terminated more safely and with less emotional trauma, or prepared ourselves for the difficult task of raising a disabled child, if we had only known.

Therefore, the next appointment is not for two weeks. Til then, as always, let the dice roll.


First, I'd like to give a big wave to all those first-time readers joining us via pornographic search terms today. Hi there! Do leave a comment.

Now - ladies. Lay-dees. And any transexuals. How much would you pay for a luscious rack like the one I woke up with the other day? Three thousand dollars? Eight thousand? Overnight, all my bras just ceased to fit.

"Check me out," I said to Mr Bea, who was pulling on his socks and shoes in the lounge room in preparation for imminent departure from the house.

"Can I check you out later?" he replied awkwardly.

"Now!" I insisted, and he glanced at my chest and made some approving, if half-hearted noises. "That's lame. Check me out properly."

"Bea, we're sitting in front of the largest window in the house and the neighbours can see in." I had to admit this was true.

"The hallway, then," I instructed, and I marched off. And waited. And waited. After a long pause, Mr Bea shuffled around the corner looking decidedly uncomfortable.

"I, er, only I'm actually going out just this moment. I could totally check you out when I get home? Fine. Fine. Here. Yes. Very nice. Um, I have to go."

I felt I could do better. Upon Mr Bea's return, I was draped across the couch in what used to be a merely low-cut dress, whereas now it is positively indecent. I had to strain to do up the side zipper and, get this, my nipples spill halfway out the top. Not just cleavage, but actual nipples. These are the best tits I've had in my entire life. Which is just as well, because my midriff has gone kind of furry.

In related news, I'd heard rumours about pregnancy sex dreams, but has anybody found themselves suddenly and uncharacteristically having homoerotic dreams? Yeah, me neither. (Although it does, by the way, make a lot of biological sense - no woman needs a penis at this point.) I've been wondering if pregnant lesbians have heteroerotic dreams? Answers appreciated.

I could go on, but regular readers will already be covering their eyes and murmering, "Too Much Information," and, really, "huge tits", "pornographic", "transexual", "luscious rack", "bra", "indecent", "nipples", "cleavage", "midriff", "sex dreams", "homoerotic", "penis", "lesbian" and "heteroerotic" - not to mention "arse" (or "ass") which I'm just going to throw in there for free - should be enough to keep me in disappointed googlers for weeks, even years, to come. Oh! "Come." There's another.

(Dear God, please show us a live foetus on the scan tomorrow. Very nervous about the scan tomorrow.)


I've had a relatively minor cold. Nevertheless, somewhere about Wednesday, I started to wonder how anyone ever got through something like this without the medication I so readily swallow under ordinary circumstances. Now, I'm happy to suffer through the not-breathing, not-sleeping, messing-with-my-appetite-which-is-already-being-messed-with in the name of the greater cause, although "happy" might not be the most accurate word, but I would certainly rather be in this position than the one where I get to merrily pop pills with impunity due to the non-babyness of my body, in which case "merry" would hardly be the word either, I mean, I've been there, but my point is it got me thinking about all the reasons people suffer their way through perfectly treatable conditions, and most of the time there's no "greater cause" and it's just the universe being sucky.

Infertility is, of course, a case in point. People with perfectly treatable conditions find themselves suffering through sheer lack of cover. That's a reprehensible failure of a modern, wealthy society. Any effort to correct this failure - raffles*, online shops, or tandem skydiving expeditions - deserves support.

And so, I thought, did this effort to redistribute perfectly good surplus to needy hospitals elsewhere in the world. It's recycling! It's aid! And since I was forced to save money on basic medicine this week, someone else might as well spend it.



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*Perhaps you knew this and I'm stupid. However, I'm not so stupid as to be the only one who might potentially find this problem difficult, so if you live outside the US, don't try to buy your raffle tickets through the online shop, because you won't be able to. Instead, go directly to paypal - set up an account if necessary, you'll need one either way - and email the funds to sales (at) inconceivablejourney.com. Don't forget to attach all the relevant details in your message (such as which tickets you want). You'll have your lucky numbers in your inbox in no time. (Thanks, Jenna's husband.)


I have come down with a cold that I can't take anything for. I'm a bit pleased, actually - the smoother the road, the harder it is for me to stop worrying about getting hit by an unexpected truck, which doesn't make any sense as any road user knows, but there it is. I feel calmer with this low-level ailment. Maybe it's just lack of sleep and too many honey lemon lollies.

It's harder than I expected to believe. All the way up until about a nanosecond after the first beta, I honestly thought if we could just get a normal positive I would feel like it was going to be ok. Amazingly, I haven't learned anything from this mistake, and continue to expect that I will relax immediately after the next consult. For freak's sake, I'm still using IVF/ICSI#2 as a blog category. It's almost as if I want trouble. Which I don't. No no no no no.

So I've decided to start a new label: "clinical pregnancy". It's accurate, not like I've called it "the gestation of our first live, healthy, take-home baby!" or something like that, so surely I'm pretty safe, which is just as well, because we all know the Hubris Gremlin luuurrves to read the blogs. Anyway. Welcome to the official changeover of categories. Let's hope this one ends up growing and getting big, and looking hot in maternity clothes.

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I also wanted to point out a great new resource - The Infertile Informer is your online newspaper for all things infertility. Thanks Jules, and I can't believe how many stories are up there already! Time to go read it over a nice, hot cup of honey lemon tea.


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