Shameless

(Updated to add: I have un-passworded some old posts, merely because I happened to come across them earlier, and Google reader has decided that they are New Output. Useless bastard thing.)

A-tishOO.

Hello. Blogging is now my sole intelligible source of communication with the outer world. My voice is failing, my face is glowing like a belisha beacon, and when I do try to say something it DOWNED DIKE DUMB WONE DOLDING DY DOZE. 

I have three boxes of tissues on the go, all of which, with the innate malice of inanimate objects, keep hiding from me. My distress when there is actual fluid egress from my nose and my flailing, questing hands cannot unearth a single tissue, is absurd and pitiful. I have a feeling it looks horribly reminiscent of a portly yet scrabblingly desperate squirrel attempting, and comically failing, to relocate a particularly juicy cache of nuts.

You will surmise from the above mental image that the housework continues to stay firmly on top of me.

Harry, whose recent behaviour I am too miserable to actually regurgitate here, has his long, long awaited appointment with his Paediatrician tomorrow. It will be a tense affair, as not only am I expecting strenous attempts at further watching-and-waiting on the doctor’s part, but there is significant disagreement subsisting between John and I also. I am shortly crawling away to bed to conserve what I can of my brain cells and my voice, in the hope of being better-able to present a coherent and rational argument tomorrow. The mood I’m in, however, I shall probably just burst into tears as soon as I sit down in his office.

This would Not Be Helpful.  Which, naturally, considerably shortens the odds of it occurring. 

I’m sat here casting around, trying to strike a more cheerful note to end on – I feel a vague moral responsibility for those of you who click away thinking, ‘Well. That was a pisser of a post. I’m depressed now!’ but I’m buggered if I can. Sorry. Really sorry. Maybe next week.

The best I can manage today is shameless lobbying for your nominations, please, because I really rather want to win an iPhone, if that’s ok…

John the Weasel

At 2am this morning, m’lud, the defendant, on entirely his own initiative, did remove a screaming, howling, protesting toddler from the nursery, and introduce him into the parental bed. The young man in question, true to 9-times-out-of-10 form, did not go back to sleep, but proceeded to turn the night into a surrealist dozing twilight zone of frantic cuddles, kicks to the head, and intermittent outbreaks of deafening babble.

After a mere few minutes of this behaviour, m’lud, the defendant, taking blatant advantage of his partner’s semi-comatose state of pronounced tiredness, did sneakily quit the main bedroom, and conceal himself in the spare room for the remainder of the night. His defence, when interrogated in daylight by police incensed spouse, was that he felt ‘really quite sleepy’.

Said spouse endured above two semi-conscious hours of toddler torment, your honour, before snapping like a dry twig and ruthlessly inserting toddler back into the nursery, to the accompaniment of loud remonstration. She was very much hoping, m’lud, that her partner would, upon hearing the yammering and yowling, make an effort to return to the marital bed, as the young lad had, over the course of the night, managed to upset his entire sippy cup contents into his father’s side of the mattress.

The lady in question was unable to immediately return to sleep, even after the cessation of the ululation from the nursery, m’lud, because of a telling combination of profound irritation, moisture wicking, and what is colloquially known as ‘that fucking cockerel’ – which animal commenced its morning proceedings at 4.45am.

********

John has spent an appreciable proportion of today building Harry’s new climbing frame, and getting, intermittently, thoroughly pissed on.

Do not waste your sympathy on him, O people, for he has sinned.

Riddle

If a tree falls over in the woods hCG level falls below 5 and there is no-one to hear it no blood loss, then does it make a noise have I actually, properly, fully miscarried yet?

I stopped bleeding almost immediately after my scan: I did not lose any further clots. My HCG, by now, will be nothing.

Oi! Clever people! Over here! What happens to the pregnancy sac? Does it hover about in there like a determined gatecrasher, turning a huffy back on the designated cervical exit, until my next period? Or do I magically re-absorb it? It seems you can still be a learner, even on your 4th miscarriage, your 5th pregnancy, and your 6th baby.

I’m… ok. Just ok. Not my chirpy self. I am mithered about the ubiquitous array of Worrisome Stuff with one or two Irksome Added Extras; I’m still giving a fair imitation of SleepyMcSleeperson, plus I have an ominously swollen tonsil this evening… but the feet are still moving forward, I am taking a little more time in my day to relax, and I have lost three pounds this week.

A small ‘Yay!’ would be appropriate to crow aloud about this last item, as it was Difficult… if you are sat alone, and feel like crowing, that is. If you’re on the bus, best not, eh?

*************

Corymbia lost her beloved husband this month. She has young children left fatherless.

Twangy’s much-wanted and adored baby had no heartbeat this morning.

Sadness.

I’m not often nice about Tesco.

If you are a UK resident, trying to conceive, and, like me, are an impatient type, you will want the finest, most sensitive peesticks that money can buy, paying no heed to the suspect wisdom of discovering pregnancies at the chemical stage.

I can help you with this decision.

Do not waste your money on a couple of First Responses, for £10.49.

Do not fritter away cash on a pair of ClearBlues for £11.45.

Do not even attempt to be clever by purchasing internet tests that claim to detect pregnancies in the next village along.

No, no, no, no, no.

What you want, what you really, really want, is a brace of Tesco own-brand pregnancy tests (in funky new blue packaging, btw, which is a Royal Pain In The Arse to actually open) – for a whopping great £4.50.

Ladies, they are ab.so.lute.ly fucking phenomenal.

This (admittedly, viewed after it had been left to stew and mature for an hour):

is what a corroborated-by-blood-test hCG of 6 looks like.

Fucking SIX.

Less than 5, and you are officially clinically very not pregnant indeed. This peestick is not a fluke-ish result, but one of a consistently dwindling series.

I grimly applaud the menacing, agriculture-sodomising, behemothic, corporate juggernaut that is Tesco, and give them their righteously-deserved due credit.

These tests prod serious buttock. May their trolley wheels never wobble.

Delayed Eviction

Thank you for your lovely words and kind wishes.

I’m still here. I feel tired, wretched and poorly, and haven’t the energy to do anything after Harry-wrangling except stare listlessly at the screen before heading toward another early bed, into which I collapse like a mighty tree-trunk afflicted with Dutch elm disease, oak leaf roller moth, red band needle blight, great spruce bark beetles, AND savage axe-wounds.

I saw my lovely consultant in her lunch hour yesterday, for which I had to pay, as my pregnancy was officially Nothing To Do with her NHS clinic, which evidently has a waiting list of Horrendous. I haven’t had a bill yet, but I feel she’s worth the dollar.

‘That’s really NOT fair!’ she exclaimed, when I told her it was all over bar the shouting. I nodded vehemently.

I wasn’t really expecting to discover anything on the scan. I didn’t seem to be very far along, I’d been bleeding and cramping heavily, and my peesticks had gone awful faint. Strictly speaking, reading them within the recommended time window, I was absolutely and totally un-pregnant.

Consultant has never scanned me before, so I have to give the lady full credit for the lightning-like speed with which she oriented herself, and instantaneously announced that the pregnancy was ‘definitely, 100%’ located in my right uterus.

‘Score one to me,’ I remarked, drily, marking on an imaginary scoreboard.

(It’s doing exactly this sort of thing that earns me a reputation for being exceedingly odd.)

I have an 8.2mm sac still in residence in Cameron, albeit empty of any sign of life; the several areas of echogenicity previously flagged up as likely adenomyosis were obstinately lurking in there too. Blair has produced its usual decidual reaction and, despite the heavy bleeding to date, there’s a helluva lot more of it to come. Awesome.

Consultant thought that Cameron looked like a ‘fabulous’ uterus, especially now she is significantly increased in size post partum. I was obliged to pull a face and inform her that my son might vociferously disagree with her.

Back in the office, she announced that – and I can’t do justice to her wonderful accent and exclamatory intonation – ‘I have made my decision! I would like to put you on heparin and aspirin. Straightaway! From now!’

‘Oh! Erm. Good? It’s just… there’s this thing with my heart… I keep getting palpitationy arrythmia thingies which are probably nothing at all but they’re a bit… worrying. Is that going to be… ok?’

Cue much quizzing on what, actually, WAS the nature of the matter with my back-to-frontness – which I couldn’t answer, because I don’t know if it flows the wrong way around, is completely flipped, or just tangled and twisted around a bit. She said that a cardiology opinion was requisite, both in terms of how my heart weirdness is likely to affect – or, likely, not – my general health, but also in terms of conception, pregnancy, and my forthcoming laparoscopy. Once I’d seen a cardiologist, I should start anti-coags. I told her that my GP seemed pretty relaxed about it all, but that I was sure he would refer me if I really twisted his arm, whereupon she told me in no uncertain terms that he couldn’t possibly object, ‘he won’t even query it!’, that a cardiology workup was absolutely necessary, that I should look on the internet to find the best cardiologist locally and ensure I was referred to him, and that there would not be a problem, at all, with my GP.

I held my tongue. An appointment with my GP’s a tough gig.

I asked about our recurrent miscarriage investigations, which were done back in 2006. She scoured my records – I began to feel as if I was really getting my money’s worth around now – and elicited that my Factor 5 Leiden has never been done. My lupus has, but she arranged a repeat of the thrombophilias in any case, to be taken once the pregnancy has fully departed.

‘Lovely hormones!’ she remarked, peering closely at the screen. God only knows what ancient test results she was looking at, but my mood swings and chaotic ovulation would dearly like to call her out on that one.

She insisted, once she had seen my stubborn resident sac, on taking a beta HCG, despite my assuring her that it would be quite ridiculously low. If I had to put money on it, and judging from my intense study of the pseudo-science of peesticks, I’m guessing it’ll come back around the low teens. In any event, if it comes back below 50, I get to avoid a 62 mile round trip in order to repeat it. 

We talked about weight – again – and I explained that her scales had been pretty optimistic, to the point of actual inaccuracy, and that I actually had over two stone to lose. Bless the woman, she looked absolutely crushed with vicarious disappointment, and said lots of nice, encouraging things. I never got around to telling you that I’d had an absolutely lovely letter from her following the previous clinic appointment that had incensed me so much (upon re-reading that post, I see that I expressed myself about as badly as usual. My frustration was predominantly directed at NHS incompetence and my own sad inability to shed the pounds. I was, not very far beneath the indignation, crossly aware that I must, to my own detriment, have somehow snuck under her FAT! PATIENT! radar first time around, as opposed to falling a tragic victim of moving podgy goalposts.) emphasizing that there was now an increased anaesthesia risk (heart) and that she was absolutely confident I would be shedding the required weight in jig time. She said it all again, and was as sympathetic about the horrors of excess tonnage as a woman with a fabulous, gym-honed body can be, but let us stop this comparison woe. We agreed that Ann must diet.

So, I left, feeling rather thrown by the clinging sac and – particularly – the prospect of daily injections for rest of my child-bearing life. I’ve self-injected as much as the next addict IVF veteran, and needles hold no fear, precisely – I refused to use the cartridge-thing to depress the plunger, in any event – but I’m not precisely grinning about the prospect, either. However, I accept I’m presenting a reasonable case for pre-gestation anticoagulant therapy, what with 3 out of my 5 pregnancies being Surprise! ones – and I’m puzzled, in retrospect, why I wasn’t prescribed them during my troubled pregnancy with Harry.

Speaking of Harry, I arrived at his nursery to find that he was just as savagely grumpy and Totally-Coming-Down-With-Something as he had been during the morning, only now with an extra helping of exhaustion. He ended up a screaming thrashing heap on the floor 3 times between the school door and my car, located, due to School Fabulous’s nightmare parking, half a street away. Grappling with his struggling form in the middle of the road, in full view of about 25 waiting minibuses and taxis, I became horribly aware that the wanding of my cervi an hour before had provoked… tsunami. Convinced that I had just visibly miscarried the fluid equivalent of a entire bloodbank all over my trousers, I made a herculean effort and rammed a loudly-grieving Harry highly unceremoniously into his car seat before scurrying into cover in the driver’s seat. Surreptitious investigations revealed that I had, in fact, merely expelled a large quantity of ultrasound gel over my clothing instead.

Two hours later, I lugged a sleepy, hot, hysterically distraught and sensory-overloaded toddler down to the GP. He had some cream promptly prescribed for his eczema, which had flared horribly overnight; the school nurse had rang me to discuss the awful state of his lacerated back (Harry had attacked himself with determined nails earlier that morning) as I left the hospital, which didn’t improve my sense of self any. I then immediately presented Harry with books he hadn’t seen for a while to keep him quiet while I discussed the Heart Thing in peace.

It failed. The book ploy, the discussion, everything. Harry screamed so loudly I could barely make myself coherent, and threw himself around the room in protest. GP, as I fully expected, thought that my heart was Fine, and I was Fine, and heparin would be Fine, and my palpitations were almost certainly just Fine muscle spasms. I explained – I think I explained – that it was bugging me, and Consultant wanted it Looked At. He said he would ‘write to the heart people’ to arrange for me to be hooked up to a heart monitor for a bit – I assume, days? – and see what the machine made of my palpitty things, which are pretty frequent. He said ‘they might want to see you first’.

Gah. I know when I’m outmanoeuvered. And I probably AM merely another manifestation of GP’s ubiquitous Worried Well.  Harry was heaving on my hand with all his might, trying to remove me from the room, so I let him take me – returning only to grab a prescription for hefty amounts of codeine, which GP handed over like an obedient lamb. We came home. We both went to bed.

I picked Harry up from School Fabulous today – which he loves with all his toddlery heart – to find his little classmate lay motionless, unresponsive on the nursery floor. Some members of staff and his mother, a friend of mine, were crouched over him; she was calm, but I saw her pallor. I enquired, briefly, if I could do anything to help. She told me no, they were good, but that she wouldn’t be able to make our coffee date next week. An ambulance was on its way. The last I heard from her, 4 hours later, he was still in Resus.

I keep seeing his tiny, still form lying on the floor. His mother’s stricken face. As with so many of the things in this life that I wish I’d never seen, it reminds me that my own burden is not, comparatively, very heavy at all.

What Are You?

If you are going to be rendered unwell, are you most likely to

A) have a clear diary in which to groan at leisure,

B) have a ticket to a special event which you are keen not to miss, or

C) have a ticket to a distant special event, for which you have arranged to stay with friends.

.

In pre-visit dialogue with your kind and understanding friends, are you most likely to reveal that

A) You have the most dreadful snoring problem that you do hope won’t keep them awake,

B) You have simply poisonous wind which you do hope won’t induce vomiting incommode them too much, or

C) You are likely to lose your pregnancy in their house.

.

During aforementioned stay with friends, are you most likely to need a loan of

A) Money,

B) Clothing, or

C) Opiates.

.

During debilitatingly heavy bleeding and cramps, are you most likely to

A) Take to your bed and cease to function,

B) Take the manufacturer’s recommended dosage and operate on limited service, or

C) Take a little more than the manufacturer’s recommended dosage and take no notice. Pain is weakness leaving the body.

.

Apart from your reproductive system, is the body part most likely to be causing you added anxiety and concern your

A) Skin,

B) Bowels, or

C) Heart.

.

During the loss of your 5th pregnancy and 6th fetus, are you able to comfort yourself with

A) Chocolate and bed rest,

B) Alcohol and daytime TV, or

C) Neither, because you must start a savage diet and also own a toddler with a busy schedule.

.

Would you be most likely to miscarry

A) At the weekend,

B) During the week, or

C) On Mothering Sunday.

.

Mostly ‘A’s

You are a delicate, lovely flower.

Mostly ‘B’s

You can tough it out against adversity.

Mostly ‘C’s

You are a leathery, hardy veteran and prime agricultural marriage material to boot.

Death Of A Thousand Cuts

I was looking down the menu in the Italian restaurant last night, searching for a pasta dish. All I could see was pizza upon pizza; absolutely dozens of the buggers.

‘Not much fucking variety!’ I moped to myself, before vaguely looking around and noticing that there were a fair few Pizza Express signs. Above the door, for instance, and on the top of the menu.

I had a pizza.

Towards the end of the night the cramping ramped up, and I was unsurprised to find significantly increased amounts of bloodloss – God alone knows where from – when I got home shortly before midnight, to find John vicariously suffering from the pregnancy sleepies; he had to be prodded awake to hear my Pain! Blood! news – and duly provided me with warm feet and a cuddle, which was pretty much all I was after at that stage of the day.

Because most of my body definitely reckons it’s pregnant: my boobs ache, I can barely keep my eyes open, and I’m vaguely frisky. Very vaguely, John. Yesterday morning’s peestick – I am a neurotic and compulsive peesticker – was significantly darker than the one I photographed. This morning’s was somewhere between the previous two, but I’d downed an unaccustomed amount of fluid the night before.

I was absolutely horrible to Harry this morning. The poor little lad did nothing wrong except try to get my attention when I was half-awake and unhappy, and I was totally fucking rotten to him and pushed him away from me and called him a Name he doesn’t understand.

God help me. I sobbed and sobbed in shame. 

I have to do better than this. In fact, I hope I never sink so low again.

John came home at breakfast and enquired how I was. I don’t think the Pain! Blood! conversation sank in properly last night and he was quite sad when I explained it was going tits. He’s always had a better opinion of Cameron than I have, and he really rather wants another child.

I took Harry into town after breakfast to buy him a new book – an airport and aeroplanes one – and have his passport photos taken in a studio, after I wasted £4 in a booth yesterday trying to persuade a tray of snakes overtired toddler to stand still on the stool, don’t touch the curtain and look at the blank wall while Mummy kneels on the floor preventing topples.

Harry and I have no passports currently, a fact that disconcerted me enormously when my mother fell ill abroad recently. Running away somewhere is my stock reaction to miscarriage, and while we cannot afford a holiday in the slightest, I expect we might end up somewhere once John has finished lambing. This is assuming the cost of the preparations themselves do not bankrupt me. £8 in the photobooth. £7 for Harry’s studio shots. £77.50 to renew my passport. £49 for Harry’s first passport. £8 to have the Post Office check the documents. £3 to have them sent back on special delivery. Plus whatever it’ll cost to send the fat bastard envelope containing Harry’s birth certificate, our marriage certificate, photos, completed forms, and Uncle Tom Cobbley to them by special delivery in the first place.

Bah.

This evening, the pain has died down to a grumble and the blood loss has tailed off to a brown trickle again. My second, IVF  pregnancy stretched on for weeks, bleeding and cramping from very shortly after transfer, even growing as far as a normal 7 week-sized fetus, but without ever developing a heartbeat. I was off work for nearly 8 weeks with that one. I was a mess.

Do. Not. Want.

I know what I want. I want to be warm, magically 5 stone lighter, sat with a good book and a nice snack, on a balcony, looking down a Mediterranean hillside, watching the sea twinkle in the morning sunlight. There are fishing boats. John & Harry – who behaved impeccably on the plane – are somewhere stage left doing Fun Stuff, and laughter can be heard floating up the hill.

Freeze frame.

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