Thursday, July 31, 2008

Now that I've got all that out of my system...

...on with the daily ranting. I was commenting in Womb 4 improvement today on the proclivity, if that's the correct term, of pregnancy bumps in my workplace. More swollen pregnancy bellies than you could shake a pee stick at. That's probably because I work in a manufacturing plant that employs 500 people, and there is a large female workforce. So there's no getting away from it, there's a lot of baby making going on. Last month somebody told me that there were 15 women due to go out on maternity leave in the next 3 months. So as you can imagine, you can't bloody move for bumps all over the gaff.

What really gets to me though is that the women in my department have three main obsessions. 1) Their own kids, 2) Hurling (for my non Irish readers this is a gaelic game played with a stick and ball, and has nothing to do with projectile vomiting) and last but not least 3) Other people's pregnancies and babies. So I can pretty much guarantee that at least 3 or 4 times per week the breakfast or lunchtime conversation will go like this:

*Co-worker gazes at pregnant woman in canteen queue*
Colleague one - "Jaysus, Geraldine has some bump on her, how far is she gone?"
Colleague two - "six months, isn't she grand and big. When's Siobhan going out on maternity leave?"
Colleague three - "Friday. Did you hear Martina had a baby boy yesterday?"
Colleague one - "Really? What are they calling him?"

Blah, blah, blah. Every second bloody day!!! And what's more they all know about my losses, and these conversations are taking place among a group of 8 or so people. Can we please talk about something else, please?!! I'll buy the hurling for dummies book, anything but other people's pregnancies!!

The other thing is the company shop. The company I work for is a manufacturer of consumer/household/beauty care/baby care/everything under the sun really - well maybe not everything. One of the perks of this is that we have a company shop, which gives us the opportunity to buy goods made at other plants for half nothing. So one of the products we occasionally get in is nappies. In my more optimistic days, I even bought some for my own unborn babies (note to oneself, check if they have an expiry date, they're not going to be adorning any little baby's arse in this house soon). These days I'm stocking up for one of my in-laws who is expecting this Autumn. But the looks you get in the shop if you are seen carrying a bale of nappies up to the counter. "Have you news?" Nudge nudge, wink wink. No I haven't, but I'm having fertility treatment and I'll keep you updated when I'm next due to pee on a stick. Now fuck off and leave me alone!!!!

The best one of all to top it off though was the week before last, when I was bang in the middle of my second episode of Clomid induced lunacy. I walked into the canteen, and there in front of me was a rep from a baby food company, with a stand set up in the canteen to give free samples of formula, baby food and sippy cups to all the new mums and mums to be. So everyone sat there and watched everyone going up to the table, and then when I got back to my desk there was another 20 minute conversation about how this place is turning into a baby factory. Sweet Jesus, can they not see that there might be one or two infertiles in the place? Ahhhhhhh!!!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Hello.....anyone out there?

Well I have spent the last few months reading, commenting and lurking other other peoples' infertility blogs, so I've got to the stage of "if you can't reproduce, then join them", so here I am. Quick introduction - I'm 39 years old, married just over 3 years. We started ttc in April '06, just before I turned 37. Why wait so long, you probably ask? Well that's a very long story, involving one failed first marriage, and a long wait for a divorce, but that's a story for another post. Part of the reason why I felt it was ok to wait so long was that I come from a large and uber fertile Irish family, where having babies in their late 30's and early 40's has never been a problem. My Mother had me at the age of 39. One of my sisters in law started her family at 38 and had her youngest at 43. So I foolishly thought if the rest of my family were able to do it, then so would I, what could possibly go wrong?

Well a lot can go wrong, as I have learned in the past 19 months. I first got pregnant after six months of trying. We were at a friend's wedding in France when we conceived our first baby. (Well ok, we didn't actually shag under the dinner table at the reception, but it happened over the course of the weekend. In our hotel room). We nicknamed our little bean Kermit (as in Kermit the frog, because he was made in France). Kermie for short. At five weeks I started spotting. Had two emergency scans. On the first one, we saw a gestational sac, but nothing more. A week later, we saw a heartbeat, relief all round. The following week, we saw no heartbeat, devastation all round. A week later, 8 and a half weeks, I had my first D&C. It was one of the worst days of my life. Right up there (or should I say down there) with the day I left my first husband.

We waited two cycles before trying again. My gynae said there was no reason why this should happen again. So in March 07 I got my second BFP. Again back up on the joyful high. Less than a week later I started bleeding, and my second miscarriage happened. It was less traumatic than the first one, being so much earlier, but the sense of disappointment was emmense, particularly when it came the weekend of Mother's Day. Ouch.

We decided to try again straight away, and the following month I was pregnant again. While we were both over the moon with thoughts of our Christmas baby, this one nicknamed Rudy (short for Rudolph, we really have to start thinking of kinder nicknames), we were trying not to get too excited in case the rug was pulled from underneath us again. And pulled it was. I was just six weeks gone when the spotting started. We were packing to go away for a night for our second wedding anniversary, when I went to the loo and saw the spotting. I nearly lost the plot. I rang my local maternity unit, they told us come in, they took bloods, but as it was a Saturday, they had nobody on duty to scan me. So we had to wait what seemed like an eternity until Monday to return, and miraculously, see our baby's heart beating away goodo on an external scan. I remember bursting into tears at the sight, and the sonographer reassuring me that every pregnancy is different, so just because it happened before, didn't mean it would happen again.

I was put on bedrest and told to come back a week later, and not to worry. Ha! Easy for them to say. The following Monday, I was scanned again. It took her longer to find the heartbeat this time, and when she did, the sac was measuring 6 weeks 3 days, instead of 7 weeks 3 days. It was lagging behind by a week. I was reassured that this was perfectly normal, and that scans are inaccurate timewise in early pregnancy. Later that day, I read in my pregnancy book that scans are most accurate in the first trimester, and alarm bells started to ring in my head once more.

I went back to work, and eleven days later I had my first sceduled scan, which was at nine weeks. Bad news, the sac was now measuring seven weeks, so lagging behind by two weeks, and the heartbeat was much too faint for normal. My gynae sent me away with a prescription for progesterone pessaries, and told me there was a 50/50 chance that our baby would make it. We were told to go back into the maternity hospital on Monday for another scan. So that night I rang my mother and told her get out the rosary beads and put all her favourite saints on overtime rate, which she duly did. Bless her, I'd say she had half of Mayo praying for us! Anyway it wasn't enough, and on Monday we were told that our little Christmas baby had died over the weekend. I had a D&C the following day. Words cannot describe the grief we felt.

We spent the summer of 2007 having bloods done, trying to make our way through the sheer fog of grief that had descended upon us. I found people's reactions baffling. My MIL's reaction was "Ah sure your troubles are small really". Well they seem pretty fucking big to us. Colleagues of mine totally ignored my loss, treating me as though I had been off sick with flu, while simultaneously sympathising with another co worker whose sister had lost a young baby, right in front of me. A pregnant friend whose baby was due the day after the one we lost told me I was lucky to be able to go out on the beer. Unbe-fucking-leivable. I ended up going for five sessions of counselling, and by total coincidence, the counsellor I went to had been through five miscarriages herself. She was fantastic and really helped me get back to myself.

Anyway, blood tests done by the gynae were pretty inconclusive, so we were given the green light to go again in October. Yee haw, back in the saddle again. Lots of walking like John Wayne jokes and all that. And yes, we hit target once again. As soon as we got the BFP we drove stright to a late opening pharmacy and got progesterone pessaries and aspirin. We travelled up to Mayo that weekend to attend my parents' 50th wedding anniversary celebrations. While it cut me to the quick to hear the repeated references to the number of grandchildren and their age range in both the prayers and speeches, at least I had my own little bean on board to comfort me through it. Alas, this little one was not meant to stay long with us either. At five weeks two days I started bleeding again. Miscarriage number four was under way. At this stage I felt like I was losing my mind.

During the summer I had made contact with the Fertility Care Clinic in Galway. We were offered a cancellation appointment and jumped at the chance. The programme they use involves tracking your fertile signs, ie cervical mucous, and noting colour of menstrual flow (sorry if TMI, but that what's involved!). I also had to get a plethora of blood tests done on day 3 of my first cycle with them, and a blood test of progesterone and oestradiol on day 21 of every cycle. Since March, I have been on pregnyl (hcg) injections on dpo +3, +5, +7 & +9, and the month before last they started me on Clomid.

So that pretty much brings me up to date, and from here I can start on my day to day rantings. Thanks for bearing with me so far...