Saturday, 9 August 2008

Holiday time

Tomorrow we leave for Vancouver. Oh the joy of the prospect of a 10.5 hour flight with two children under 5 with one who will be confined to my lap. And the one confined to my lap has been ill all day - the 7th nappy full of poo has just been changed and it is just gone 5 pm. We have been inside all day packing "light". Except it isn't light and we still aren't finished. We now have the prospect of going to the other side of London for a family wedding in the pouring rain after which my parents, sister and nephews are coming to camp out in our house.

The house is a tip because I have been frantic at work. In my business August is supposed to be the month when nothing happens - court is shut, parliament isn't sitting and everyone relaxes. Except it isn't true because July is hell as everyone wants everything finished before the carriages turn into pumpkins on 1 August and then it transpires that the message that August is the month of nothing happening hasn't actually got through to the people who create work for me. So the last few weeks have been a nightmare plus I have had to pick up stuff from the people who have been on holiday already on the basis that August is dead. I now get my own back by dumping a hideous job on my manager.

We will need this holiday I tell you.

It is coming at a good time as our lovely nanny left on Friday to go home to New Zealand to retrain as a midwife. We were all really upset. I was surprised at how hard I took it when she announced she was going about 6 weeks ago. I invested a lot of emotional energy into hiring her and feeling able to leave my children with her for 3 days a week. I panicked about whether the other mums at the pre-school would let me know if anything amiss happened. It didn't and in fact she was always in demand for babysitting and doing the odd day here and there for them. We had got used to her as part of the family. She is the only alternative caregiver my youngest has ever known. I just didn't want that to change. He is totally oblivious I think to the fact that there will be no more "E** days" but the elder one isn't and that makes it harder to be upbeat about the replacement who seems lovely too but just won't be the same. Nothing like this kind of upheaval to bring down a severe case of working mother angst. I hope that nearly 3 weeks away will make them ready for new things when we come home.

Next thing is to work out how I am ever going to keep up with my blog reading whilst I am away. I might even try transatlantic blog entry posting to get me up from my once a month average.

Happy summer holidays!

Monday, 30 June 2008

Missing a due date

I am coming up to one of those nasty things: a due date which never happened. The first one of these events comes around at Christmas time. This last Christmas that date passed me by as I was in the throes of the miscarriage which should instead have led on to the due date I am currently obsessing about. The upcoming date has me feeling maudlin to say the least. Oh and my period came again just like clockwork. Marvellous. Just marvellous.

In the grand scheme of things earlyish miscarriages are so easily dismissed as "just one of those things, lots of people have them and don't worry at least you know you can get pregnant". Well actually as far as the latest miscarriage was concerned no, I didn't bloody know I could get pregnant, not without a smorgasbord of drugs, needles and petri dishes at any rate. And it wasn't for lack of trying.

Even though the pregnancy failed to progress it was at least pretty amazing to finally have to the things that happen to seemingly everyone I know in the real world: realise my period was late; head out to the chemist for a test; do it and see the word pregnant appear in no seconds flat and no need to to see or tell any medical professional immediately. I have never been one for doing pregnancy tests. In fact even with the ivfs I never peed on any sticks as I was too scared to see what would be on them. I just had the blood tests and made the husband call for the results so I wouldn't have to hear bad news. I would occasionally think there might be cause to go and get a test but usually before I'd even worked myself up to buying one it would become obvious it wasn't necessary. So this whole unbelievable natural pregnancy and stick peeing was a major event. How pathetic is that - peeing on a piece of plastic a major event - this infertility business skews one's sense of what is important somewhat.

The husband, being a man albeit one who is usually pretty astute about these things, had no idea this date was coming up at all. I suppose that is hardly surprising. Whilst the emotional commitment of the man to the pregnancy as a whole and the baby to come is undoubted in the vast majority of cases, given that the physical contribution to the event is pretty fleeting I can see why a man might not be so invested in the exact number of weeks passing by. Its not like I was counting the weeks either - I just knew when 20 weeks should have been and 30 and 40. Still it pissed me off that he seemed to have forgotten entirely. But then it was only another of the things making me cross and miserable these past few days which encompass such things as the guilt of the working mother, the politics of the 4 year old birthday party and the nature of friendships. But I think those better be for another day.

Saturday, 14 June 2008

Time to do a meme or two

I have been tagged for my first meme (hi there Baby Step) and there is another one doing the rounds as well so what the hey I can do two. As I have been in a work/home frenzy this past couple of weeks this is probably the best I can do for a Saturday night.

So first up 6 word bio: slightly exotic, often cross, fiercely loyal

Next one 6 questions

What were you doing 10 years ago?
Living a mile and a half down the hill from where I am now. Working at big money law firm. Liking my colleagues hating but my job. Another year of working too late and starting too early. Starting to worry that getting pregnant was not going to be easy. Getting sick of the fertility monitor. And the highlight of the year 2 weeks on a slightly too small yacht with 3 friends and the husband in the Carribean - blue sky, clear water, dolphins playing in the bow wave and a squall to scare us - fantastic.

5 things on my "to do" list today?
Get my eyebrows threaded - done, goodbye unibrow.
Vacuum - done, my parents are coming tomorrow so need to give illusion of being a grown up.
Washing - again, this chore is never ending.
Revise long term "to do" list - there is stuff on this list that has been there since we moved two years ago like curtains for the main room - Ik.ea £10 jobs nailed up is really not very World of Interiors.
Try and not have my usual Saturday meltdown - failed at that one. This is a thing that is really giving me stress and which I can't really explain but which is making everyone miserable. I think I need a real post to unpick it.

5 snacks I enjoy
Tapenade and breadsticks
Gherkins - proper eastern european sour ones

Things I would do if I was a billionaire
Easy one this: new modern house ideally with a swimming pool and a big garden; distribute largesse to immediate family; new clothes that actually fit; set up a foundation - I have always fancied my name, or rather both our names, being on a plaque in a museum; give large sums to my rheumatologist's research lab, to brain tumour research and to research on unexplained infertility; and for my husband a 50 foot yacht plus a few more sailing lessons.

Places I have lived
London - born here but moved abroad pretty soon afterwards, came back for university and been here ever since in various points north of the river; allegedly cool town on the South Coast; nasty 60s town just outside London (we try and forget those couple of years); Switzerland; and the bonus ball I doubt you were expecting - Iran.

List jobs you have had
Shop assistant.
Lawyer - big corporate law firm for years; now lawyer in public service.

So there we are memes done. Pretty much everyone else seems to have done them already but if you haven't take this as an invitation to.

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Out of the city

We have been out of the city for most of this weekend. 8 years ago we went halves with the Husband's sister in a cottage which sits just under the brow of a hill in the middle of a field of sheep which you reach by driving down a dirt track through a wood. For miles around there is nothing but fields, woods and parkland. Despite being on the edge of a public footpath we rarely see anyone pass by when we are there. It is a truly beautiful place in a quiet, unshowy and jolly British kind of way.

Getting this place coincided with the beginning of our treatment for our complete failure to get pregnant despite a couple of years of no contraception followed by fruitless charting and inconclusive trips to the GP. Many weekends were spent in those first few years walking through the woods crying inconsolably at the frustration of not being able to do what everyone else seemed to be able to do effortlessly, frustration that the doctors could not come up with any particular reason for why we could not and finally frustration at the slowness of the NHS. I think I must have been hard to walk with in those years and I expect that the Husband (I think I need a better name for him) was mighty glad that we were in the middle of nowhere rather than in the very public parks of the city.

As well as using the countryside as a place to walk, talk and cry out my grief, frustration and hopes I also dug vegetable beds, built paths and a wall, planted and weeded and spent hours outside in any weather. So weekends, when we were by ourselves, were a heady mixture of emotion and manual labour. During the work there was no time to dwell and really no inclination at all as the physical actions seemed to cancel out any mental turmoil - well at least whilst I was doing it. We would end the day so tired that we were often asleep by 9 o'clock.

Without the work on the garden I would have found the emotional times when walking too hard to bear. I have never been one for opening up much as I have an abundance, despite my mixed cultural heritage, of that old cliche British reserve. The idea of any kind of therapy was, and in many ways still is, abhorrent although I can when I look at it rationally see why it is so popular and useful for so many. So I needed to follow the talking with something completely mindless - although mindless is the wrong word - it is more a feeling of total involvement in something physical, rhythmic and with a purpose. Something which binds you to the earth and which cancels out or at the least reduces to a bearable level not only the immediate frustrations of day to day life but also the things that you think you will never overcome.

Over the last few years we have spent less time at the cottage for various reasons partly connected with family and partly due to inertia. This weekend however we were back there and I walked through the wood with the Girl. There were no tears. Instead there was log balancing, there was fox spotting, there was laughter. She found the place a delight. I found her a delight. I also thought back to the tears and the frustrations and how the cottage and its surroundings helped us get through. When we got back to the house and the Husband and the Boy I decided to counteract my bout of melancholy by clearing a vegetable patch which we haven't planted this year and decided that this weekend at least I wasn't going to dwell on what is likely to be another natural cycle which will get us nowhere. But that is for another day.

Hello to all of those who have come by from NaComLeavMo. I am planning to come by to all of your blogs now that our holiday week is over.

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Spectre at the feast

One of the problems with having been around the block in the IF world is knowing too much of what can go wrong. When I think back to when I was starting out on investigations all those years ago I was this total innocent convinced that everything would be all fine: if we needed IVF it would work; pregnancy would be a doddle; birth super; and child rearing no hassle at all. I soon learnt that things just weren't so. Trouble is I still keep up with a fertility related message board I joined somewhere after child one, miscarriage one and just before failed cycle one. It is, as is the way of these things, awash with babydust, belief in general woo of all sorts - except when it comes to the further reaches of "immune" treatment when it becomes all super (but generally pretty pseudo)-sciencey, lucky 7s and the power of positive thinking. It is also very supportive in its way and I have a great affection for some of the people I have linked up with through it. It was also tangentially my link in the world of IF blogs.

Anyway - back to topic - I still, for reasons which are still not particularly clear to me, keep up with various boards on this website including that of my old clinic and that is where I feel like the spectre at the feast. Time after time I read about all the people hoping for twins to create their instant sibling group and all the people thrilled to discover they are having twins. I am pleased for them when they get what they dreamed of but part of me (which thankfully and unusually for me stays silent) thinks "be careful what you wish for" as I remember all the people whose blogs I have read or who post on different zones of the MB who have lost one or both twins or who have had hideous and difficult pregnancies and premature births. The same thing happens when I read the posts about any number of other scenarios. I hate that I am like this. I want to be that innocent convinced everything would be fine again. I don't want the stuff that can go wrong to be the first things I think of. I also feel a fraud for feeling like this - in the scheme of things I haven't had much bad happen to me so I should be able to be one of the sunny positive mental attitude cheerleaders rather than the person conspicuously not joining in with the cheer. I wonder if this will ever change? Perhaps I should just stop visiting that board?

Saturday, 24 May 2008

Starting over

Right - I signed up for NaComLeavMo - mostly to kick start my blog. Can't promise any proper posts this weekend as it is a holiday here in the UK and we are off to sit out the forecast rain at my parents' house.

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

Hello 2008

New Year's Eve came and went punctuated about a row about whether or not we want another child, accusatory statements about our respective parenting skills/lack thereof and Take That live on the TV. Take That was the best bit. I made no resolutions other than to try not to bicker with the Man and not to argue with the Girl. Have failed already at both. Must try and think through what I really do feel about a potential third child. At the moment I am finding it hard to get further than a) simply wanting to be and to feel pregnant again and b) feeling cheated. Neither seem good reasons to go back to trying again. Could we be sufficiently good parents to three? Sometimes it doesn't feel like it.