Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Auntie Flo is a bitch from hell

Why do periods have to be so goddam painful? It's enough that they show up when you least want them, taunting you "na-na-nee-na-naaaaaa, you're not pregnant", but they back that up with crippling back pain, belly ache and general all over shitty feeling. I just want to curl up into a corner and cry today.

I know, it's only two months since we got the go ahead to try again, and I shouldn't be expecting it to happen for us straight away, but in April it will be three fucking years since we started trying to conceive. Three years. There's a couple I know expecting their second baby who hadn't even gotten together when we started ttc. And we are still stuck in this shitty never ending rut. And I'm going to be 40 in just over 4 months time. It's not fair. This was supposed to be our happy ending. Why is it so easy for some people and so very hard for others?

Monday, January 26, 2009

That old familiar crampy feeling

Yuck. The unwanted visitor is on its way, bang on time on 17dpo. I'm nothing if not consistant. We're looking at round eight of clomid. Is it my imagination, or do these pills taste more and more bitter as the months pass?

I think I'm going to have a date with a hot water bottle, a shed load of chocolate and a trashy mag or two tonight.

Friday, January 23, 2009


I've found myself waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to get back to sleep for ages these past few nights. It might be a side effect of all the meds I am on, or it might be my spud powered hot water bottle (ie John) snoring like a chainsaw beside me. Either way I'm a bit bleary eyed today. I remember lying awake around 2am crafting a really good post in my head. Pity I didn't write it down because I haven't a clue what it was all about.

There was an extremely harrowing abuse case in the Irish courts this week. Be warned, the details of this case are very disturbing. It raises a huge amount of questions as to why the health boards and social services did not intervene at an earlier stage. Why did the authorities in the schools these children attended not raise the alarm? Who exactly are the organisation who funded this woman's legal fees when she got a court injunction against the health board? And above all, how could any parent inflict this level of abuse and neglect on their children, or on any child? It just defies belief.

As the saying goes, you need a license for a dog......

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Getting to Croke Park

The non Irish readers among you will have no idea what the title of this post is. Croke Park is the premier gaelic games stadium in Ireland, where all Ireland finals and semi finals are fought out in Gaelic football and hurling. I'm originally from a predominantly footballing county, even though I now live in a county where hurling is like a religion. By hurling I mean a very fast sport played with a heavy stick and a ball, and nothing that involves projectile vomiting.

Anyway, I digress. My own native county, Mayo, have not won an all Ireland Final since the early 1950's. To put it in perspective, my parents celebrated their 51st wedding anniversary last October, and they weren't even dating when Mayo last brought the Sam Maguire cup home. That's not to say that we haven't got to the final much in recent times. Oh no, we get there every few years. The championship runs over the summer months. With each victory, the excitement builds, the hopes of a county are raised. There are murmers from Belmullet to Kiltimagh that this could be our year, we could pull it off at last. The forwards are strong, we have a striker with a sweet right boot, that sort of thing. Tickets for the final are like gold dust. Half of Mayo converge on Croke Park, many of them (usually like me!) going there ticketless on spec, in the hopes of picking up a terrace ticket before the match. Then our guys meet the opposition, usually from Kerry. And Kerry royally wipe the floor with us. The fans stay to the end but exit the grounds dejected, defeated gutted. Hopes and dreams of victory lie in tatters. My Dad is 77 years old and he has always said that he thinks we will never win an all Ireland in his lifetime. I would love if he were proven wrong.

Our baby making attempts are like the reproductive equivalent of the Mayo football championship campaign. We don't have a huge amount of difficulty getting past the first obstacle, ie getting knocked up. When it happens the excitement is uncontainable. Those two lines carry so many hopes and dreams. Maybe this one is going to be a keeper. This will be our year. Keep thinking positively. But then another voice in my head says "don't get your hopes up, just in case...". So we wait and wait, hearts in our mouths, for that scan date that will tell us if our baby is alive or not. And so far our hopes have been dashed, our dreams left in tatters. But every time we get back past that first hurdle we try and put the past behind us and convince ourselves that it will be different this time.

If we ever do get there, it will be like winning the biggest prize imaginable. I just hope that we do get to see that day, and preferably in our parents' lifetime. Only five more days before we see if we've made it to the reproductive equivalent of Croke Park. Anyone want to open a book on this one?

Monday, January 19, 2009

Good bloods again

It looks like we have cracked the hormone issue for the third month running, despite me breaking my non dairy diet and gorging myself on chocolate all Christmas.

Progesterone - 129.2 (slightly high, but not bad)
Oestradiol - 693

I'm on CD27, but I can't test for another week. So I'm more than halfway through the 2WW. No major symptoms to report this month. John and I have been put on antibiotics for three weeks by our fertility doctor, just in case I might have a low grade uterine infection. A friend of mine was on them a few years back and told me they can make you quite quesy. I took my first two on Friday night and my second two Saturday morning. I feel really rough after the second dose, and ended up staying in my PJs all day.

So seven days to go. So far January has seemed to have flown. What's the bets this week will feel like an eternity?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The alternative to just relaxing

The Irish Catholic alternative that is, for the over 70s - religion! Again, why didn't I think of that? Here's a sample of older generations' comments and advice -

"You should get your house blessed. I did that and a year later we had our first child". So if I give in and do this, and we do have a baby, it'll be all down to the ould shake of holy water that Father Pat threw around the gaff, not the year of fertility drugs and the hammer and tongs shagging.

"How about a trip to Lourdes? Lots of women conceive after dunking in the holy water baths there". What? You mean their tubes miraculously unknot or their polycystic ovaries are polycystic no more? The closest I've ever known of a miraculous cure was the one my brothers used to get every Sunday morning in the pub in Knock. Courtesy of St Arthur Guinness.

"I'm praying to Padre Pio/St Joseph/St Anne to get you pregnant". Really, Padre Pio is going to do the job. And I was going to give my husband all the credit. While you're at it throw in a few words to St Jude, he's for hopeless causes, isn't he?

Why is it that some people make me feel like I am just not on good enough terms with the Man Above to warrant a baby? Do they think it's only church goers who earn themselves babies?
What about all the smack heads, murderers and general wrong doers who have kids?

***Pfffzzzzzzztttt*** (Bolt of lightening strikes Jane and she descends straight to hell)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

That bloody "R" word

Lately a few people have started to ask me how our fertility treatment is going. I usually explain to them about the treatment I'm on, and how after a very tough year we have now been given the go ahead to start trying to conceive again.

And guess what pearl of wisdom always comes next? "Well the main thing really is that you need to relax about it all and it will happen". Really? Like, no shit? Gosh I've never heard that before. What original unsolicited advice you offer, you patronising fertile person. Any ideas on relaxations techniques? A bit of ohm chanting before shagging? Meditating under one of those hippy pyramid things? Inscence burning? No ideas? Then fuck off and keep your platitudes to yourself.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

And so the madness starts again.

Got a smiley face on the OPK yesterday morning. So we went for Operation Shag and Awe all weekend, carpet bombing that egg into submission. Day 1 of the 17 day wait. Hey ho. Hopefully it won't be as fraught as last month, when Christmas added an extra dimension of expectation and madness to the proceedings. There are no major events coming up this month, so it should be a bit calmer. I have sworn I won't waste my money pissing about (literally) trying to test early this time.

I decided to come out of the blogging closet, to a limited extent, last weekend. Two of my brothers are bloggers, so last weekend I decided to out myself to one of them and sent him the link to this blog. He was glad that I shared it with him, and I was glad myself that I had done so. So if you're reading, Gerry, hello, hope you're not too grossed out reading about the working of your little sister's reproductive bits and sex life! At least you will be privy to any news we might have before anyone else. Feel free to delurk and leave comments.

I also want to give a shout out to Xbox who emailed me the other day on hearing that John's employers had announced a huge amount of redundancies. Thankfully John's job is safe. We both received a lot of calls and texts from concerned family members and friends, but I especially appreciated the support of a friend we have never even met in real life. X, we are definately meeting for a pint the next time you're back in Ireland. No excuses!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Budget 2008 - Penny pinching at its lowest form

I've been meaning to write a post about this for the last couple of months, since Budget day. As many of you probably know, there is little or no financial assistance for fertility treatment in Ireland. Some fertility clinics make exceptions for medical card holders, but in order to hold a medical card, you need to be on an extremely low income (see details of income limits here). So basically, if you are infertile couple on a middle income in Ireland, you have to foot the bill if you want fertility treatment. Now there is a scheme which limits the amount of monthly expenditure that a household must pay for prescription drugs, so luckily the meds associated with IVF are covered by this. Also, medical expenses are tax refundable, but this is the crux of this post.

Until last year, tax relief on medical expenses was claimable at the higher tax rate of 41%. This was a financial respite of sorts for those unfortunate couples shovelling out literally thousands of Euro on fertility treatment. The average IVF cycle in Ireland costs €3K-€4k. A lot of money when you consider that five in six couples acheive the same result by simply having sex. However, in the last budget, the rules were changed, so that medical expenses are now claimable at the lower rate of 20%. Most middle income earners are in the higher tax bracket. Also, the threshold for monthly prescription drug refunds has been increased from €80 to €100 per month. So the amount of tax relief claimable for consultants and clinic fees for fertility treatment has effectively been halved. I know there is a recession on, and we all have to tighten our belts, but this has to be bean counting in its meanest form.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Can you wake me up on Feb 1st please?

God I really hate January. Not that I'm the greatest Christmas enthusiast, but I always feel somewhat deflated when it's all over, and all we're left with is a wilting tree, cold weather and long dark evenings. And sonofabitch, we're having a cold one this year. I'm lucky enough in that I live a ten minute walk from work, or a 2 minute drive if I'm feeling very lazy or it's very cold. Some of my colleagues were telling me that their car thermometres were reading -7C this morning. By 10.30am it was still -2C. That's abnormally cold for Ireland.

It's times like this that I wish I was a hibernating animal, and you could just leave me snoring away until February. If I could wake up 3 months pregnant it would be even better.

That's it, next time I'm coming back as a squirrel. And a male one at that.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Optimism or bust

X box commented in my last post that my optimistic attitude is a refreshing one. In a way I feel like the biggest fake in the world. Part of me thinks this will be our year. It just has to be. The alternative is just too unbearable to contemplate. I cannot get to pushing 41 and not have had a child. If it hasn't happened by this time next year, I don't think it will ever happen, and that thought just scares the living crap out of me.

Whenever I contemplate what our life will be like if we never have children, I just feel like I have been kicked in the stomach. The feeling of sadness and grief for the children I carried but never got to meet is just overwhelming. The thoughts of always being Auntie Jane and Uncle John but never Mammy and Daddy just break my heart. The idea of us having no family around us in our old age, nobody coming to visit us, no grandchildren to dote on.

I really felt the loss of our babies as profoundly as ever this Christmas, if not moreso than previous years. We are now the only childless couple in both our families. I just feel like a spare wheel at family gatherings when all everyone can talk about is their kids. I really don't want to feel like this for the rest of our lives. I don't want us waking up on Christmas morning without our children. I don't want to paint this smile on my face and just get on with Christmas every year for the rest of our lives. I want a family to celebrate with.

So that's why we can not give up hope. This year has to be our year.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year, new hope

I'm sitting here on my sofa nursing my first hangover of 2009 and trying to touch type on a laptop, which is really frustrating with a crappy little keyboard and a sore head. Last night John and I got all glammed up and went to a black tie party in a pub in Limerick with a few of our friends. We finished partying at around 5am, and once again I am swearing off gin and tonics for at least a month. In fairness, it was the only night out we had all Christmas, so we got all our alcohol units in for the past two weeks in one night.

The night started off all nice and glamorous, as illustrated above. By 3am it had descended into the following:

Classy chick, huh? Photos were cropped to protect the identity of the innocent.

Ever since John and I met, we have always rang in the New Year together, apart from the one year when I was in Australia five years ago. To me New Years is always more significant than Christmas. If you have had a tough year, then it's a time to draw a line in the sand and move on to the clean slate of another year. Last night we said to each other, 2009 will be our year. And what was really lovely was that all our friends said the same thing to us. When we moved here four and a half years ago, we knew none of these people, but they have shown us such incredible friendship and support in the past few years that I really don't know where we would be without them.

Anyway, onwards and upwards. I'm on CD 9 today, and I finished my monthly dose of the crazy pills two days ago. No major psychotic outbursts this month, thank goodness. In around a weeks time we'll be launching our next two week wait. Hopefully we won't have twelve of them this year.