Thursday, April 30, 2009

This day four years ago...

I walked up the aisle on my Daddy's arm in Holycross Abbey, Co Tipperary, and married my lovely husband John.

I remember waking up at seven in the morning to the sound of rain beating off my bedroom window. So the Child of Prague statue, placed under a bush the night before to bring us good weather, had not come up with the goods. Ah well, you take your chances with the weather if you decide to marry in Ireland, no matter what time of the year it is. By the time we set off for the church, which was an hour away from the house we were living in at the time, it had brightened up a little bit.

I was determined to be as near to on time as possible, to the extent that everyone was still hanging around outside the church when the wedding car carrying my parents and me came rolling down the road. My bridesmaid had to hunt John into the church so that he wouldn't get a glimpse of me before the ceremony.

The walk up the aisle was one of the loveliest experiences of my life so far. Seeing all your family and friends in the one place wishing you well is very special. I was nodding and grinning like a halfwit at everyone. John's jaw dropped when he saw me, which was pretty much the reaction I was going for. The ceremony itself was really lovely, and in no time at all we were walking back down the aisle as Mr & Mrs. As you can see from the photo, John looked very chuffed with himself!

The rest of the day went by in a blur. There just didn't seem to be enough time to get around to talking to everyone, between photos, dancing, eating and drinking. I didn't really relax until the band finished playing, the older generation of non drinkers went home, and then those who were left went downstairs to the residents bar, where the after hours party began in earnest.
At this stage the guitars came out, I had a large glass of white wine parked in front of me, and I finally got to enjoy my favourite part of the reception - the sing song in the ressies bar! One of my party pieces is a reggae version of an old traditional Irish song called Spancil Hill. True to form after a few vinos I stood up and started belting it out. By now my demure Audrey Hepburn look was well and truly blown out of the water! We ended up the last people standing, along with one of my brothers and two friends, at 5.30am. Needless to say the bridal suite saw little action that night, we had to return on our first anniversary to make up for that one (TMI I know!).

Happy Anniversary honey, may we have many more of them!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


This last week has been extremely busy, so much so that I hardly had time to check in here, let alone post. As I said last week, I had a colleague visiting from the US for a handover. It was quite a full on week between training her and entertaining her. She had never been outside America before, let alone been to Ireland, so I kind of felt I should look after her. So I gave her lifts from her hotel to the office and back every day, and I invited her over to our house for a traditional Irish meal of enchiladas one night. I also brought her out to dinner the following night to Killaloe, a lovely scenic village on the Shannon. So at least she got to see more of Ireland than a hotel room and a factory. But man, I was exhausted from all the running around by Friday.

No rest for the wicked though, or should I say the righteous, as I had to jump in the car on Friday night and drive the two and a half hour drive to Mayo for my godchild's confirmation on Saturday morning. I don't know how I managed the drive. I think it was a combination of Lucozade Sport, many sticks of chewing gum and the eighties show on Today FM, which I sang along to at the top of my voice for the entire journey.

I had gotten a really talented artist I know to paint a picture of my niece as a gift for her. I emailed her a photo last month of Lisa, also one of her dog, and gave her an idea of what her interests are - piano playing, Arsenal FC and Mayo gaelic football team. Lisa is also a cracking little footballer herself, and I fully expect to see her togging out for the Mayo ladies team in the next ten years. Anyway Susan came back to me with a fantastic piece of work. It featured Lisa playing the piano, with an Arsenal scarf hanging down from the piano stool. Under the piano stool was a football, and in the foreground was her doggie sitting on a Mayo jersey. She also added her name and "Confirmation Day 25th April 2009" on the bottom. Lisa was absolutely gobsmacked when she unwrapped it and realised that this was a specially commissioned painting of her. She hung it on the kitchen wall in her house and showed it to everyone who called in that day. I was so chuffed that she liked it so much.

Lisa also gave me another reason to be chuffed and very proud when she told me she was taking Jane as her confirmation name. It's a family name with a tradition that goes back three generations before her, so as well as it being her Auntie/ Godmother's name, it has a significant history in the family too. She looked absolutely gorgeous on the day, with her hair in long curls. I like to think of her as my Mini Me, but I don't know if I was ever as pretty as she is now. I wish I could post a photo on here, but I don't feel at liberty to post photos of other people's kids, so I can't do it. But suffice to say I was a very proud Godmother on the day.

So I am 8 dpo today. Yesterday I noticed a dip in my BBT. I forgot to take it this morning, so who knows? We are off to the fertility clinic in Galway today. I don't know that there is a whole lot new they can do for us at the moment. I'd imagine she will say to keep on the meds I am on, since the bloods have been consistantly good for five months now. We'll still have to hand over €200 though.

Monday, April 20, 2009

A quick update from the bunker

No sooner had my auditors left me last week, than I had to prepare for the visit and training sessions of my replacement from the USA. So I'm grabbing a quick minute to catch up in between. Easter was lovely. I brought John to a beautiful country house in County Waterford for the night before his birthday. I had arranged to have a bottle of bubbly waiting in the room when we arrived, so we enjoyed a few drinkies before we sat down to a fabulous dinner. Breakfast next morning included stewed rhubarb with strawberries.....nom nom nom.... I went there on a recommendation of my brother and his wife, both keen foodies, and we will definitely be going back there. Just gorgeous, from the room to the food, to the friendly welcome. Fab.

The following day we journeyed farther south to Dunmore East where John's brother and his wife had hired a holiday home for the Easter holidays. It was a bit of a Walton's Mountain type gathering. John's parents, two brothers, their wives and between them four children. But it was nice to spend time with the clan.

In the past few months John has had his Bob the Builder hat on a lot of the time, building an extension on to the back of our house, onto the kitchen. It's a sunroom, roughly 12ft x 13ft, which is the same floor area as the kitchen. Nowadays it is really coming into its own, as our back garden faces south. So now every day there is any bit of sunshine the temperature in there is in the mid twenties or higher. There still is quite a bit of work needed to complete it, the ceiling has to be insulated and plastered, but we have got to the stage where it's habitable. A couple of weeks ago we dragged the sofas out there from the living room, and set up the computer so that we can watch movies in the evenings. But I love just coming home from work, sitting down with a book in the sunshine and just chilling. Absolute heaven. I just hope that we will get a good summer this year and that I will have a life of leisure in the sunshine for a couple of months.

Today is cd19, and I only got a smiley face this morning, which is rather later than usual. I was beginning to think that this was going to be an anovulatory cycles, but my ovaries have finally gotten off their sun loungers and kicked into action. I'm going through alternating cycles of "Right, this is going to be the month" and "Jeez I am pissed off with all this, I really can't be arsed". We are due back to the fertility clinic on Tuesday week, so we will see where we go from here.

So another two week wait begins. My expectations are lacking as ever.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Happy Ostara

I've just been doing a quick search on the net about the Pagan Roots of Easter and fertility symbolism associated with same. Fascinating stuff. So according to our pagan ancestors, 'tis the season to be gettin jiggy with it if we are in the market for making babies.

I've been in the depths of fatigue and angst for the past week or so (you'd never guess it from my last two posts at all, would you?) due to the untimely arrival of the dreaded red house painters, and the ensuing five day 150mg per day dose of clomid. On Tuesday I went for accupuncture and was barely about to keep my eyes open for the evening afterwards. I was still absolutely shattered with exhaustion the following day, when our auditors arrived to start my interim financial audit. Lovely. I hate audits at the best of times, but audits when one is on mood altering fertility drugs really aren't advisable. But I couldn't really tell them that when they emailed me to say they would be out with me this week. Hey ho.

Yesterday I was somewhat better on the energy level front, possibly due to some little chinese herbal pill things the accupuncturist suggested I try. But I hit the teary gibbering wreck stage of the clomid cycle.


You get the picture. Today I'm feeling a lot brighter. In part due to the chemicals wearing off, in part due to the auditors not working on Good Friday, and part due to the fact it is Friday, and even though I had to work today, I still have a bank holiday weekend to look forward to. It's John's birthday on Sunday, so I'm kidnapping him and bringing him to a secret location tomorrow for the night. I can't give any more information than that in case he reads this before we set off. Suffice to say it will involve wining and dining and marital relations (I hope! Hell, I'm spending money on him, he'd better put out.)

Anyway, keeping with the happier theme, we're thinking about our summer holidays this year. We've decided on Italy, most likely Lake Garda, the last two weeks of June. I want a nice holiday since it's my fortieth, maybe a night or two in Milan or Venice and then onto the lake for a week or so. We don't want the budget to run into big bucks though, since I will no longer be in gainful employment come June. I'm just wondering if any of you internets have been there, and if so, do you have any particular recommendations as regards towns and hotels to stay in? Somebody mentioned Riva to me, and someone else Pesceria (sp?). All advice gratefully appreciated.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Clomid - Take 9

Yes that right folks, I started my ninth round of clomid on Saturday night. I don't even know how long you are supposed be prescribed it for, i.e. how many cycles are deemed too many? When we went to see our fertility specialist last November/December, she told us that it could take up to a year for us to conceive again and we would just have to be patient. My patience is already wearing thin.

The really head meltingly frustrating thing about where we are right now is that before I ever went near clomid, hcg shots, naltrexone, mucodyne, pyrodoxine, fertility plus or any of the other plethera of supplements I am taking daily, I got pregnant relatively easily.

We started ttc in April 06, started using OPKs in Sept '06, started charting BBT in Oct '06 and bingo! We hit target that month. So first our attempt took us six months.

I miscarried at the end of November, we were advised to let one cycle go by before trying again, so we started again in January '07. This time it took two months. We definately had the knack at this stage.

Unfortunately, I didn't have the knacked of holding onto these little guys, and that pregnancy turned out to be a chemical one, or a very early miscarraige, whichever you want to label it. We decided not to waste any more time and went for it again the following month. Got pregnant on the first try. We lost this little bean at nine and a half weeks.

The next time we tried was October '07, and again we acheived our mission on the first attempt. This makes us sound like disgustingly fertile people, but my definition of fertility is one that includes a viable pregnancy and live birth. So when we lost this pregnancy at five and a half weeks, we knew that it was time to seek the help of a fertility specialist.

I do think when we first visited the clinic she did talk up our chances of success. She told us that they have an 80% success rate with recurrent miscarriage patients. She explained the process, finding the problem, treating the problem and counting effective cycles, and the anticipated timelines of each phase. She said since we didn't have an issue getting pregnant in the past, that we probably wouldn't have much of a problem in that department in the future. We just had to get the treatment right. We anticipated that this wouldn't take that many months to sort out. It ended up taking a year. A very long agonising year. A year in which our friends and family moved on with their lives. John's youngest brother and his wife had their first baby in that time. A couple who hadn't gotten together when we started ttc had their first baby and conceived their second. We were still stuck in reverse when everyone else was cruising along in top gear.

And here we still are. Stuck in the slow lane, plodding along. The next step might be to get John's side of things checked out. We are due back to the clinic on April 28th so we will see how we go from there. Last August I said I would give this another year and a half, then it's time to move on.

Pass me the crazy pills and hide the kitchen knives. Honey, I'm home!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Hello 2010

It's official, our last chance for a 2009 baby has left the building, as the painters entered it this afternoon. This coming month also marks the start of our fourth year of trying to conceive (including the medically enforced year off to get my hormones up to scratch).

I can't believe it's three years since we started all this. It was April 2006, we had just moved into our new house, John turned 40 and was made permanent in his job, and we knew it was now or never time. Little did we think that we would still have an empty house three years on.

I really had a good feeling about this month. We gave it our all. Took a weeks holidays to relax and dedicate ourselves to the cause. To put it bluntly, we went at it like rabbits. I had all the symptoms. I was so sure. As soon as I saw the temp drop yesterday morning I knew. I tested anyway last night, just in case, since I wasn't feeling at all crampy and my boobs were killing me. BFN. Temperature was down again this morning. Cramps started around 11am.

So we're looking at 2010 at the earliest, if we are lucky. I think the worst thing about this right now is not knowing when it's going to end. I just want a normal life where I am not stuffing my gob with supplements and vitamins and fertility drugs all the time. Where we don't have to figure out how to pack and transport my hcg shots, which have to be kept refrigerated, every time we want to go on a weekend away or a holiday. Where I'm not constantly knicker watching and counting cycle days. Where we are normal people with a normal family life and not the childless freaks whom everyone feels sorry for.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

CD 32, 16 DPO

Temp down to 36.55 this morning, indicating that this cycle is coming to an end. Feck it anyway. I was really hoping this month.