You’d think, given my all-pervading desire for peestick-derived knowledge, and frequent wishing for an effective womb-cam, that I would have been clamouring for a repeat beta by now.

I did ask Nursey when she rang me Tuesday morning with the whole 117 news, but, inexplicably, she said it wasn’t a fertility issue any longer, and that I would have to contact The Professor for one, who is based separately over in fetal medicine and obstetrics. Inexplicable, firstly, because I feel that establishing a satisfactorily rising hCG is pretty squarely still the responsibility of the reproductive medicine clinic, and inexplicable, secondly, because they’ve always drawn repeats for me before.

Still. My ‘always before’ was nearly 5 years ago, and I was basically too cheerful to argue. Plus, she rang at 8.30am, and I’m never at my best first thing. The dawn needs to have the shine rubbed off it quite a bit before I can expostulate properly. I spent the rest of that day meaning to ring The Professor and sort something out, but didn’t, and most of yesterday too – before it dawned on me that I didn’t actually want a beta quite enough to warrant chasing down people by phone, asking nicely, driving 62 miles, and losing half a day of glorious sunshine and happy home-pottering. In short, I couldn’t be bothered.

Of course, I’ve regretted this all day today when uterus turned grumpy-crampy (why are the symptoms of pregnancy and imminent-non-pregnancy so goddamn alike?) and my worry levels rose. I have been reassured this evening by a trusty peestick (I am back BFF with my internet cheapies) turning very considerably darker than yesterday morning (in a triumph of sleepiness over paranoia, I didn’t bother peeing on a single thing this morning. If there was a self-help group for Compulsive Peestick Disorder sufferers, there would be hugs and much positive affirmation at this point) and my other uterus is occasionally joining in the general ache-fest, which I feel exonerates Turbo as the sole source of the disturbance.

It is now a frenzy of Bank Holidaying here until next Tuesday, with yet another brace of them buttressing either side of the following weekend, too. We are taking the caravan away somewhere on Saturday – probably to stay at a 3-star traffic snarl-up initally, but hopefully Yorkshire as a final destination. Harry has requested ‘Mountains’, as he has never seen any, so he will be duly shown the Yorkshire Dales and Lied To About Height.

If all goes well, I will return mid-next-week at about the same time I usually begin to feel grotty as hell, and I will potter off for another beta then. If all does not go well, then I shall be miscarrying in either a campsite toilet block, or our caravan’s chemical loo. Choose your optimum location!

The caravan is now on the drive, and Harry is deliriously excited. He has the vocab to express it now, which is undescribable joy to me.

I have meant to post more about his growing speech skills, but for one reason or another, haven’t. The last 6 months have seen a truly incredible gain in expressive skills, and, especially the last 2 or 3 months, every week has brought noticeable gains. 6 weeks ago I was delighted with his handful of 4-word sentences; yesterday he came out with a 9-word sentence. The verbal tide is rushing with startling swiftness across this particular stretch of sand.

His pronunciation remains very patchy; ‘k’ and ‘g’ are still a little way beyond him, he substitutes ‘d’ all over the place and his pace/delivery is a little stilted and unnatural – but, again, he is making weekly strides. In the last couple of days ‘tu-tu’ has become first ‘tu-poo’, and then ‘poo-poo’. In another few weeks, given the polished language usually emitted from his mother, I expect he will merely say he is off for an almighty dump. I expect he’ll still want his bottom wiped, though: it’s a task he seems strangely unwilling to take on for himself so far, but given his co-ordination skills, perhaps that’s for the best.

His diagnosis, still not settled, is now looking likely to be dyspraxia. Although he does not conform to many of the diagnostic criteria, his extreme high-energy levels, tantrums, clumsiness, frequent falls, sensory processing disorder, tics, near-ambidextrousness, slow response to instructions, and, most of all, his severe expressive language difficulties, seem to point more in that direction than any other. On the other hand, he hit all his motor milestones bang on time, (albeit looking like he’d had a fair few pints beforehand), pedalled early, has good fine motor skills, and has highly imaginative play skills  -which we have much more of an insight into now the language is there. He is seeing a neurologist at some point later this year, to see if we can pin it down properly, but I’m not too worried about Harry’s labels these days. He is considered a bright, clever little boy by more people than just his adoring mother, and I know exactly who we have behind that impish giggle now. I can see blossoming potential, and none of the dreadful, life-altering limitations whose spectre kept me awake for so many nights. We have watched and waited – because there was bugger-all choice else – and, in our happy case, Harry has flowered and developed beautifully. Whenever he is poorly – flu and chicken pox both made him temporarily regress significantly – I really see just how far he’s come.  

This is not to say that there are no clouds in the sky. He does have dyspraxia, or something similar. His paediatrician seemed a little taken aback recently in clinic at what her follow-up letter referred to as now ‘very marked’ joint laxity in his legs. His hypermobile joints + low muscle tone/ dyspraxia /whatever the hell is not an improving situation whatsoever – rather the reverse – although his coping skills continue to refine themselves a little, and his balance is evidently not fundamentally flawed – in re the scooter-leg waggling.

John has always been far more concerned with Harry’s mobility than his speech – rightly, as it turns out. Contact sports look like being a non-starter for the duration of his life. He is not, I fear, going to be able to take full part in things like school sports day races in the foreseeable future; although he spends a large proportion of his day racing about, the concomitant falls are so frequent that I doubt he’d make it to the end of even a short course without falling on his nose. The thought of him being excluded because of his sheer lack of co-ordination and bodily ability makes me want to bawl like a wounded bull elephant and run amok – and then I remember the dark days in NICU after he was born, when we were warned he’d likely had a neurological knock, and we were just hoping A) that he would survive, and B) survive to live a reasonably normal life.


I think we’ve been exquisitely fortunate already. And here I am, watching peesticks like a hawk, wincing at every twinge, and hoping for More Good Fortune, Please. 


hCG 117 at 14 dpo. Not bad, really.  Betabase appears to be down presently, but 101 seems to be the median average.

I’m sorry this is coming to you late; I’ve been busy all day (appointment with counsellor – natch – and playdate) and arrived home shortly before teatime in full-on hormonal exhaustion. I didn’t think it would start so soon.

I had forgotten that the babysitter was coming this evening, and I wanted nothing more than to crawl into bed at 7pm. As she was booked, though, John gleefully backed his newly-MOT’d 1972 – it’s as old as him – MGB out, and prepared to Motor. I am ambivalent at best about the vehicle: it takes 5 minutes to find the seatbelt, untangle it and put it on – and then it throttles you for the entire duration of the journey. You need arms like a gorilla to manoeuvre it at low speed: it weighs serious, serious tonnage and has no power steering. I once thought I was going to have apoplexy trying to reverse-park the bloody thing.

And it breaks down. To be fair: it has only ever previously failed to start when I have been in sole charge of it, and on those occasions I was eventually forced to concede the possibility that I might, at a push, have mismanaged the temperamental manual choke.  I managed to produce such exuberant, toasty exhaust fumes from it on one occasion when I was parked very close to the main doors of the building I used to work in, that I set off the fire alarms and promptly emptied it of every employee. Every one of whom filed past me, and either expostulated or hooted with laughter. I am not the car’s biggest fan.

Anyhoo. We got 15 minutes down the road to Chipping Campden this evening, paused briefly at a junction – and it choked, coughed – and died. It refused to re-start, much to John’s astonishment and hardly any of mine, so we pushed it into the grass verge, and happily swore at it for a while. It was not yet dusk, it wasn’t raining, we were out on our own in the countryside, and I, at least, thought it was funny. Cowed by our threats, it eventually gasped into life, and we immediately headed straight back through the villages to home. It made it to the far side of the crossroads facing our nearest pub, whereupon it sank, with an air of finality, into spluttering coma. Cars are generally easy enough to get moving, but pushing something so low-slung essentially means that, in order to get your weight behind it, you have to bend right over to the job and stick your bottom towards the sky.

I’ve arrived in pub car parks less ignominiously before.

John proceeded to drown his car troubles in two pints, so I was treated to the keys for the return journey. We set off home fairly early, as I was darkly convinced that we would be walking the mile-and-a-half home, but my fiercely muttered ‘Right, yer bitch!’ evidently had a salutary effect, as she started immediately, and purred home without a twitch.

If only the Miscarriage Fairy was that frightened of me.

Official Peesticking

  • Peesticks this morning were all… pretty damn respectable, aktually. Significantly darker than yesterday’s, which were, in turn, significantly darker than the day before. My estimate of exactly how much hCG I am currently packing has risen, rather.
  • The sample tube my clinic gave me for the purpose of Offical Peesticking had vanished: I last saw Harry using it several days ago as a money box/maraca. So, I merely turned up and told them I was… and my fingers have ground to a halt above the keyboard, because this is hard for me to even think, let alone Commit To Publish. Okay, lets just type it really quick I told them I was pregnant *pause to breathe and avert eyes from previous type* and waved a peestick or two about. ‘Oh, okay, good!’ they said. 
  • My appointment was at 3.15pm. Lab results take 3 hours+, so I won’t know if I’ve reached the magic 3 figures until tomorrow morning. I don’t think Nursey was particularly bothered about taking a beta for the clinic, in fact, but equally, had no problems with jabbing me for one when I asked. I hope she’s as obliging when I request a repeat on Wednesday.
  • Nursey scuttled off to consult with The Professor, who sent back a pleased message, a renewed promise to hold my hand for the duration, and a squeezed-on-the-end appointment in her weekly clinic, for my six week scan. (‘My six week scan’! What, what a preposterously presumptuous phrase. I kid you not, I am squirmingly uneasy about typing all this. I feel fraudulent. I feel as if the Miscarriage Fairy, with her gory, dripping wings, will lurch wetly in my direction at any moment, cackle April Fool!, and send All To Ruin.)
  •  Except that six weeks from now is a Bank Holiday, so it will actually be a seven week scan instead. Which is fine with me, because by then, either there will be a visible heartbeat, or there will never be a heartbeat. No ‘come back in 5 days and see if it has one’ type-terror. I have been there. I have burnt the t-shirt.
  • I have been prescribed double the usual dose of progesterone support – 400mg twice daily; I am continuing with 75mg aspirin twice daily, (to which therapy I am, for want of any other ideas, ascribing my unprecedentedly minimal cramping) and I have been prescribed heparin at twice the dose previous suggested I take: 40mg/day.  
  • I collected the heparin from the hospital pharmacy: the NHS is funding my blood thinning. I have dutifully Jabbed Myself.
  • The NHS is NOT funding my progesterone, as it is viewed as a residual part of my privately-funded cycle. The hospital pharmacy attempted to charge me £47 for 28 x 400mg pessaries that should cost £20, so I stalked off in horror to redeem that prescription elsewhere. 
  • I reason with myself that this is a Promising Pre Preg Preeeeg Set of Circumstances. Turbo was evidently a Decent Specimen, and the odds of aneuploidy are therefore reduced. Turbo is in the right place. Turbo’s blood supply is thinned down to a sort of watery pink, I feel, and please don’t brush against me or I will bruise like Ross Geller. And yet every twitch, every twinge, every small wave of heat, has me expecting to find the worst every time I visit the toilet. 
  • This, as a way to spend a prolonged period of time, sucks donkey balls. I have a good deal of experience of it, sadly.
  • I have been sufficiently foolish to browse a calendar in a sort of hypothetical exercise in counting, and Christ almighty, that sort of behaviour is like a neon Victim Lives Here! sign to the Miscarriage Fairy. My d… d… du… look, there’s this really, really random date. 26th December. Viability reached the very day Harry starts primary school in September.
  • I concealed my pregnancy (past tense is ok, strangely) with Harry from a good many people until nearly 17 weeks – the sole benefit of extreme chubbiness – and STILL felt icky as hell accepting congratulations.
  • So, it’s probably better if we all look very hard the other way and pretend none of this ever happened, and none of us know anything. See, I have my hands in my pockets, look? I’m whistling! Nothing to see here!

We’re STILL majoring in Pessimism, mkay?

Everything I peed on this morning refused to tell me I wasn’t slightly more pregnant than yesterday, which took me aback.

The Boots Early Result one gave a wishy-washy line in the stated 2 minutes – but indubitably, a line. CheapieCheapieNiceNice decided to work properly, and, again, judiciously marked me at a little darker than yesterday within the time limit. Even the Tesco Triumphants turned up something shadowy in the stated 3 minutes before developing into a stronger-than-yesterday line a little later on. 

I know I can trust you not to fart rainbows of sparkly baby dust at me. I realise it’s hard; I have been desperate to fart glorious rainbows at Geohde for days&days&days, but sometimes people – especially people who are expecting it to go horribly, bloodily Pete Tong any moment – are happiest thinking about the situation as something that can’t last. Especially when, four times out of my (now) six, things have indeed Gone Tits Up for us.

(You are, btw, the Very Nicest Internets that ever there was. I know you have rainbows up your beautiful fundaments for me. Just… hold ’em in for a bit, please. Even if you’re touching cloth. About another 34 weeks should do it. Kthx.)

What happens now is:

I pee on even more sticks between now and Monday afternoon, because, duuhhhhh.

I go back to my clinic on Monday afternoon  – 14dpo – for An Official Peesticking. Which, in my head, looks a little like this:

Providing nothing catastrophic in the hCG or menstruation department has occured in the interim, the Schrödingery business of repeat quantitative betas commences, I expect.

And I try like hell not to think of a single thing beyond Tomorrow.

We’re Still On Pessimism & House-Brick Lamping

Peesticks are fucking with me, people. Fucking with me. They have made my brain their bitch. Or something.

My internet CheapieCheapieNiceNice £2.99 for 25 tests are – quel surprise – turning out hellish unreliable. So far today, the reagent oracle has pronounced that 1) I have never encountered hCG in my life, 2) I am about 12 weeks gone, and 3) I am slightly more pregnant than yesterday.  Cue, in order: tears, mirth, and lip-chewing. The sticks are still averaging Barely There. The uterus is quiet, with none of the cramping that usually accompanies this stage.

But…  you’re on aspirin this time! pipes up Optimism.

Pessimism promptly slams Optimism’s head violently in a door  – the Eddie to Optimism’s Richie, if you like – and stands over the twitching corpse.

All in all, not having the best few days.

Although the leg-waggling did cheer me up:

Not Precisely Waving Here

My Visa bill fell incandescently onto the doormat this morning.

Among other items, it details

  • charges for the IVF I don’t think is working
  • interview clothes for the jobs I didn’t get.

Yesterday, I made toasted cheese sandwiches, without noticing that the flex from the toaster was caught in the back of it.

Big bang, big blue flash, big fucking surprise, and a zapped left arm before the circuit breaker took the fuses out.

The temptation to crawl into a hole and wail is fairly compelling, but Harry has been sick all morning – the poor chap scored a Direct Hit on my brand-new, not-yet-networked iPhone4 and my clean duvet cover with his first upheaval – so I can’t afford to waste my strength on histrionics, because it’ll likely be my turn to invert my insides this afternoon.

The peesticks  – aka, my best attempts at chemical WombCam – have gone from pretty-much zero (they sneakily acquired lines after 12 hours) to a ridiculously faint smudge after a mere 30 minutes (I knew my uterus couldn’t be wrong!) telling me a story of a very biochemical indeed pregnancy; however, my uterus is now quiet as the grave I hope it isn’t.

Oh, and Harry’s speech therapist saw which way the redundancy wind was blowing and left. Smart girl, but because of ubiquitous funding cuts, God alone knows when he’ll get another one.

I give up on suffering quietly: I’ve turned the comments back on. I’ll take all the comfort I can get!

Caged Rat

I have no news for you, internet.  At a mere 8dpo it is a little premature to be placing my faith in anything except blind hope.


Apart from a worrisome two hours last night when the Wrong Uterus kicked off – and I will spare you the paroxysms of panic that sent me into – the Correct Uterus has been gently cramping away in Nicely Implanting Fashion. I was confidently expecting a little darkening of peesticks this morning, especially after one of my legendary Tesco-own-brand tests trumped the cheapy 10mIU barely-there-at-all-lines yesterday, and produced (after a couple of hours) a very clearly visible line. Those Tesco tests are da shit, people, really they are.

Which makes it harder to ignore the fact that, this morning, they are blanker than Les Dawson’s chequebook. Pristine, unbesmirched white. Every camera we own has a flat battery, but you can nevertheless trust my judgement: I have an eye like a particularly discerning pigeon when it comes to spotting the merest suggestion of shading. If there was any: I would see it.  

I have savoured many different flavours of failure at this baby-producing game, but it’s never just not worked before. It’s never cost this much before. I don’t know whether to be shocked or indignant, so I’ve settled on both. And yesyesyes, I know Turbo could theoretically have only just locked tractor beams with my endometrium, eight dpo, I know, but the first person to blow cheery smoke up my bum gets lamped with a housebrick, coz I’m just not in the mood to be placated about a hCG of (what is definitely) less than 5 at this point; I am in the mood for thumping things.

Harry’s mainstream nursery told me when I dropped him off earlier that they have ‘taken a decision’ regarding the fact that Harry will be the only child in his peer group – ie, the older children that start school this Autumn – that will not be going on the school trip to the wildlife park, and will not be part of the class dance round the Maypole. Unusually, our village has a tall, permanent Maypole, and I could post several faded 1970s photos of a small, shorts-wearing, Morris-dancing-outfitted, and quite nomnomable small boy called John performing a series of increasingly unenthusiastic ribbon dances around said pole, but my current desire to pick fights does not extend quite that far.

Harry will be in a different village school next year, so this would have been his mother’s only chance to take photos his only chance to perform. Attributing his exclusion to his 3-half-days-a-week (as opposed to everyone else’s 5), and blaming Exhausting Daily Practise Schedules, they are evidently concerned that my blundering 3 yr old might fuck up the exceedingly-complicated ribbon pattern that his peers will achieve. He probably would, yes; it’s not the sort of thing that quite plays to what might be called his 3 yr old strengths. There are biggish crowds in attendance on the evening in question, you understand, so I can completely see that a badly-performing 3 yr old boy might make the school blush for its ribbon-dance reputation.

Fuck Beltane, and the horse it rode in on.

The school trip was thumbs-downed for him because it’s a ‘long day’ and the younger children become ‘very tired’. He is pretty much the oldest child in the class (ETA: John has subsequently gently pointed out to me that I am, in fact, Dead Wrong about this; there are children nearly a year older than Harry. Older, shmoulder.) and I suspect he has exactly as much staying power for this sort of thing as the very next 3 yr old, and I can spot specious when I see it, thanks. Just call him the accident-prone, inattentive handful that he is, and admit you’d need to fund an extra member of staff to cope. Ask me if I’d like to come along to keep an eye on him. Admit that you’d have an easier, less-stressful trip without him. Admit that you’ve cottoned-on to the fact that he’s not attending your school anymore come September.

My thoughts are skittering about like a caged rat in rising water.

My uterus continues to cramp, hopefully.

Fuck hope. Fuck everything.


Updated to add:
WTF, peesticks?

Updated some more to add:

I wish I hadn’t remembered that hCG metabolises into the blood rather sooner than the urine. Pass the salad spinner!

You will pleased to hear that I am planning an early night shortly, along with my new copy of Stop Fucking Panicking And Get Some Sleep magazine.


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