Growing a raspberry in a lemon

Feeling like a chubster. Caught in the heaven that is eating a cake guilt free and the hell that is wanting to eat five.
I really don’t even want to eat but I’ve lost all self- control. I have no excuse. No sickness. No cravings. I have just always had an all or nothing relationship with food. Not literally nothing. But some good food management. Up and down, year after year, lose a stone, gain it back, lose half, gain it back again, lose half again. Yada yada yada. Which means my metabolism is buggered and it can be a challenge sometimes to lose weight, but lose it I do. Then put it on again gradually.

My belly has popped out at the top but I know it’s fat not baby. It’s only 9 weeks old, that would be one hell of a raspberry. I’ve only put on a pound. The scale of podge doesn’t match the weight. Plus I am now hugely conscious of it at work. Not because I think people think I’m pregnant but because I think they’re thinking… ‘Ooh look at her, she’s taken the high jump off the wagon hasn’t she?’ ‘She’s a danger to them biscuits’, ‘Quick, hide the bins, she’s got no shame!’… Amongst other things.

Maybe it’s related to the scare I had last week, this new devil may care attitude to eating. After a couple of lovely days camping in the Peak District with plenty of food but plenty of hiking to balance it out, it seems the 20 miles we walked in two days may have been a tad too much for me. I felt fine at the time, striding up the Heights of Abraham, proclaiming loudly that if women in Africa do a 10mile round trip to get water then surely there’s no physical reason as to why I shouldn’t continue.

Then the day after our return I experienced the same experience as I have had during my worst periods but i had no bleeding. Sickness, fever, toilet ‘difficulties’ of both extremes, sweats, shaking legs and it goes without saying, a painful uterus. I couldn’t leave the nice cool bathroom floor and then I’d be freezing cold. This was reasonably scary. The pain went with paracetamol but came back when they wore off. I got booked in for an early scan the following day and thankfully all was fine, the pain had gone and I was just left exhausted by the experience. Hubby was amazing as per.

One bean, in the womb, heart beating. Phew.
Which begs the question, if that’s what it takes to stretch my uterus to the size of a lemon, it’s better start limbering up!

Sloths, Greggs and Luxury Hand Cream

Wow. Everything is seriously slowed down. I am gradually becoming more and more lethargic. If you threw me into a tree ( neither feasible nor advised in my current condition I’ll grant you), I would land ungraciously with a thump on a sturdy branch and stretch my tired limbs out along the bark, yawning indulgently whilst embracing my new found inner sloth.

My mother would probably hasten to point out that had any readers met me as a 15 year old they would have seen something very similar. During the summer holidays I struggled to surface from my ‘pit’ before 11am and even with 6 more hours ahead with nothing to fill them with until she returned from work, I’d still manage to not find the time or energy to do the hoovering. Even now, most times we speak on the phone and she asks me how I am – I reply with ‘tired’. Don’t worry – I’m fully aware that my internal barometer for what constitutes being tired will change dramatically in nine months’ time, but the sheer exhaustion I feel today has still come as something of a shock.

There I was getting worried about a lack of symptoms when it now feels like my previous momentum has driven me straight onto the grill of a 16 wheeler in a Wily Coyote style ‘splat’. I am now in the comedic slide down the front of the truck to curl into a flattened heap on the floor.

I was all excitable, full of the joys of spring. Now however – nearing the end of my sixth week, I find myself thoroughly bored. I can’t tell anyone bar the GTBs (grandparents to be). I have to keep pretending I haven’t stopped my 5:2 diet whilst hoping someone doesn’t notice me eating biscuits every day. I have to try and pretend I’m awake – this is a feat in itself when I could quite easily crawl up right here under my desk and have a kip. They’ve finally turned off the bloody air con vent above my desk so I wouldn’t even have to put my coat over me now, I’d be quite comfortable.

It is just so hard to get excited about anything when you feel so drained. It’s holiday season so whilst my team are stretched resource wise and busy, my to-do list isn’t quite so long as planning meetings are on hold as half the people aren’t here and the cascade from on high of random jobs has slowed down a little as they know that people are under pressure. I thrive on pressure. Particularly when you consider that I don’t really like the content of my current job that much, I need the urgency placed upon me by others to keep me motivated. At the moment the days are stretching out in front of me like a drugs mule prison sentence in Peru.

I’ve only had a bit of morning nausea which it seems with a bit of advanced planning I can head off at the pass with a Jacobs Cream Cracker. Here’s hoping that doesn’t get any worse. My sympathy goes out to women who have persistent and aggressive morning sickness. At least nausea doesn’t really add to the fatigue but if I’d spent most of the day cuddling the loo I think I’d barely make it from the office to the train station without a fireman’s lift.

I’m still doing my 3.5 mile walk in my lunch hour. Admittedly this may be contributing to my post lunch exaggerated slump, however I think it’s really important I try and keep this up for as long as possible. I’m hoping to have bingo wings the size of a mini Alexa, not a large Bayswater. I’ve always had a bit of a pot belly anyway, it doesn’t matter how much weight I lose it’s always sat there, smiling up at me like a loyal Cocker Spaniel. So I think it’s safe to say once I’ve had a watermelon stuffed in there for a few months it’ll probably be ‘Goodnight Vienna’ to the size 10s for good no matter what I do. I’m no Jane Fonda after all, I just walk a lot and swing a kettlebell back and forth in my kitchen a few times a day.

Besides all of which I figure I need to be in the best shape I can be… well the best shape that results from the requisite effort I am willing to put in, which is probably better than many but not most and less than some but not all. I can be content with that, but boy is it knackering. I would say that this lunchtime there was less of a ‘sprite’ in my step and more of a ‘woolly mammoth’ but I gave up my dignity long ago when I started charging round the city centre in business dress with socks and trainers. I figure I rarely see the same person twice and those I do already had me down for a weirdo weeks ago – like the group of bus drivers who sit waiting for their changeover in the same place every day eating their Greggs* out of the paper bag… Ugh!

*Greggs denotes random assorted pastry items which can only be consumed whilst walking or sitting down in municipal areas. This is the law.

The lights are out. The bunny has stopped drumming so to speak. I sigh when I stand, I sigh when I sit. Everything is just too much damn effort. I feel like a stoner on an apprenticeship. I’m dragging my carcass round this joint with the sole purpose of paying for my chosen luxury fix… boxes of Magnum Infinity Double Chocolate, L’Occitane Cherry Blossom hand cream and a regular visit to Wagamama’s. Still I will get a baby at the end which I can take to Wagamama’s in an ‘urban-chic, look at me with my cool Waga’s friendly, Gap Kids, Chicken Katsu eating offspring’ type way. A baby that will not grow up to eat Greggs on the street and therefore will reduce the number of potential said offenders by one. Love that. :)

TTC, Commuter loos and Flatulence

Nothing’s happening. Nothing. Nada. It’s the only time in my life where I have wanted to feel a continuous compulsion to release the entire contents of my insides into every available municipal toilet bowl and I am being denied, god dammit.

Actually that’s not strictly true. Even into my responsible thirties I still regularly sink into a dreamy reverie at the thought of a good illness to keep me off work for a few days, but with that I’d really prefer a light cold that I can ‘showbiz’ up a bit or a leg injury that requires me to watch catch-up tv for 30 days whilst hubby takes care of everything that demands more of my body than, well, sitting.

But I’m supposed to a mtb now and I’ve got nothing to show for it. I am pretty much the picture of health. The uncomfortable pelvic ache has largely gone and apart from a couple of days where it has felt like my lights have been turned off at about 3pm, I feel pretty much the same as before I found out I was pregnant.

This is of course, undoubtably easier than coughing into my hand in meetings, having a little bit of sick get through and having to spend the rest of the time making angry points to create context for my clenched fist.

It’s easier than having to endure the both unpleasant and socially awkward trial that is needing to monopolise the commuter train toilet.

Trying to vomit accurately from a 3ft distance into a steel bowl whilst balancing on tiptoes in the unidentifiable sticky semicircle around its base so as to protect you from a) coming into any physical contact with it and b) further unnecessary heaving derived from the sweet sweet smell of stale, unflushed urine, knowing that everyone outside has mentally clocked the time on their iPad and is waiting to judge you based on the inversely proportionate relationship between how long a commuter spends in said toilet and how socially selfish they are deemed to be? Not easy my friends I’m sure and I am grateful for each day that passes without such travails.

So of course naturally rather than rejoicing in this and how easy I am finding it to currently hide my ‘situation’ from my work colleagues, I am now trying to more actively prepare for something being wrong.

My hubby is convinced everything is A-OK based on my new found interest in anything that in my view, ‘stinks’. I am viewing the clogged drain next door with apparently over-exaggerated disdain due the putrid stench rising to our doorstep. Same the ‘rotting fish-esque’ parfum of the dishwasher containing last nights delights. I just think this would’ve stunk before, ergo it stinks now.

My belly is massive but I did just eat a massive homemade curry and haven’t had the requisite quality round of farting yet which obviously yields great satisfaction and relief. Come on, you all look forward to it.

Next post… Telling the parents…

TTC, Truckers and Peter Rabbit

Well the little bugger’s in there, so let’s hope it sticks.
That’s right, je suis avec enfant.

I didn’t think I was until I finally buckled and bought a thermometer to start monitoring my temperature, my next phase of ttc planning to add onto my ovulation tracking. I thought we’d already missed out this time, I had zero symptoms. I started to feel a dull ache a few days before I was due on Thursday, but it could easily have been a sign I was coming on. But then my temperature stayed high through the weekend and the ache continued and seemed to be hanging around more and more so on Tuesday I bought a test.

We’d finally made the move to get a doctors appointment to discuss my cycle. We hadn’t been trying long but I was still so irregular it felt like we should just find out if there was something wrong and if so, get in the system.

I thought I’d better be sure I wasn’t pregnant before launching into my plea for help with the doctor, plus I had a big night out planned for Friday and was becoming more and more certain that I couldn’t ignore the possibility that it may be necessary to change my plans and adopt the chauffeur cap of the designated driver.

So Wednesday morning, I peed on the stick and got the little blue cross. I went through to hubby who was still half asleep and shared the news that I thought there were three of us. He promptly took the most sensible course of action and announced that we would take the day off work. I then did my part in constructing mutual elaborate lies for said absence. (Him stomach ulcer, me mild anaphylactic shock, both requiring partner support at A&E).

Deception engaged, we toddled off to Morrisons to invest in a digital Clear Blue with dating. At 8am on a Wednesday morning, our local store is like a ghost town. Just three of the possible 24 tills were open, staffed by some of our finest local candidates for God’s waiting room. Comedy ensued when not one, not two, but all three members of staff in the vicinity struggled valiantly with the removal of the elaborate plastic security contraption housing said test. I didn’t realise that there was a potential black market for digital pregnancy tests.

Any possibility of a quick pick up and get away was gone. Now all the ladies on the tills and the old dear behind us in the queue knew we were there for one reason only. I was just waiting for one of them to say ‘I hope getting yours out of there isn’t such a struggle love’ whilst pointing in the vague direction of my uterus, whilst we stood there like very excitable lemons, looking more eager than a trucker in a chippy. Thankfully they didn’t, there was just a lot of awkward smiles.

Got home again, peed half in a cup for the digital and then peed the rest onto the other non-digital in the pack of 2 just for good measure.

And there it was. Two blue crosses and a ’2-3 weeks pregnant’ which tied in with my ovulation.

What to do with this momentous news? Well, get in the car, drive to Windermere and visit the Beatrix Potter shop of course.

I know you’re not supposed to do anything, bad luck etc, but my hubby knows there is one plan that requires precision execution on receiving the news we are pregnant.

I MUST buy a giant Peter Rabbit. There is no way around it. He has been heavily prepped. Peter Rabbit IS my nursery vision. Ever since on a trip to the Lakes over a year ago we saw one of those bad boys and I melted so much, hubby had to peel my remains off the pavement and chisel my paw prints from the shop window. There are no substitutes.

So we went all the way there and there was only one available and it was the display model which they wouldn’t sell to us. They also informed me that they were changing supplier and to their knowledge it was the only one left in the country.

I took this rather well because I’d had the best news ever just a few short hours before. I resisted the selfish urge to use my new found status to emotionally blackmail them into relinquishing him into my open arms. Had this been a few weeks further down the line I would surely have dissolved into a pool of saltwater amongst the overpriced commemorative china, Japanese tourists and novelty magnets.

Undeterred, I settled for a comforter instead to have perhaps a more proportionate celebration, bearing in mind we still have another couple of months before we can hedge our bets that things will turn out fine. Then I shall scour the world for a giant Peter Rabbit.

We had a nice lunch and a boat trip on the Lake and came all the way home again, although I slept through most of the journey. It must have been the relief that even if something goes wrong this time, at least we know we can get pregnant. When I say that I don’t mean to sound pessimistic, I’ve just seen it happen so many times I’m trying to keep things in perspective.

But still, for the record, what worked for me was;
Buying tampons.
Starting to write a blog about ttc.
Buying a thermometer.
Booking an appointment to see the doctor about my irregular cycle.
Basically steadfastly believing I wasn’t pregnant this time.
So nothing basically, no magic answer and really no real symptoms bar feeling like my uterus is having a sort of girlie play fight with itself every now and again.

No logic to it is there? And it isn’t fair is it. I’m sorry if those of you who have been struggling for a long time find the few postings I have written on ttc irritating considering my news. I will still be following your stories and supporting you but I would understand if you didn’t reciprocate.

As it stands I just have everything crossed that everything goes ok, my little poppet keeps growing and likes it enough in my baby greenhouse and that I can officially call myself an MTB in October…

And for the one person who follows me on twitter who knows who I am, I really shouldn’t tell anyone which I know you’ll appreciate so I can’t tell you directly but I figure it’s ok if you find out accidentally. I didn’t want to lie and want to continue writing so Ta-da! Here’s my news! Girlie scream! Bet you don’t even read this and I end up telling you first anyway!

TTC, Invasion of the Body Snatchers and CD1PG*

*Consolation Day One Pinot Grigio

You’re pregnant? Really? I thought you weren’t keen on the idea… Were you trying? Oh you were, well that’s amazing. Been ‘at it’ long have you? Oh just a month? Well you don’t say. Yes you have been lucky. So how are you feeling? Oh well you will be a bit tired. Ah just into second trimester – oh well, glad you’re feeling the benefit.

Or that’s probably the ham-fisted way in which that conversation would’ve gone, if I had had it. But I didn’t, I chickened out. I hid behind my husband, asked him to lie for me, pretended I was out and sent a late night text, promising to call later in the week. I don’t know why I promised to do this when this is now a veritable swollen papoose of awkwardness around my shoulders for the next few days, until I can think what I will actually say and be able to do so with some kind of convincing sincerity.

It’s happened. I’ve had my first invasion of the preggo snatchers.

What is a preggo snatcher… and ergo, an invasion of said species, I here you ask? A preggo snatcher is someone who completely side-swipes you with her shock pregnancy news. There you’ve been, leading a fertility minded lifestyle (aside from the CD1PG) when all of a sudden they appear. It’s like that bit in Shaun of the Dead where you aren’t sure if the guy in the house is a zombie or not. Well they are – SCREAM! RUN! DON’T LET THEM TAKE YOUR SOUL! LIVE IN A PUB WITH THE CAST OF ‘SPACED’ INSTEAD!

The biggest thing in my life right now is trying to get pregnant. My life is full, varied and I love it and everyone in it (including my preggo snatcher) but at the same time #ttc is both mine and my hubby’s predominant focus. Sometimes, it’s just really, really hard to not say out loud ‘why not me this time?’
As I write this I’m thinking, wow you’re comparing pregnant women to zombies who kill and possess your body. Nice. Way to make friends on mumsnet/britmums/netmums! Now I know it looks like that’s what I’m doing, ok it is what I’m doing. The fact is that I’m pretty confident that unless all of those gazillions of mums were also super-lucky uber-fertile chicks, then they’ll remember what it felt like to be faced with a preggo snatcher.

There’s only so much #babydust to go around and you’ve bloody nicked mine. This is a war and you’ve jumped the ration queue.

Out of the blue, not even on the radar. Before she met her partner she had always said she’d never wanted kids. I knew her partner was keen and that she was no longer dead set against it but I thought she might take a bit more convincing. And then the killer blow, home run on the first pitch. (*Reminder: ease off on the ball game analogies, that’s two in six posts now).

It should’ve been me! The cries of 1980s hapless rom-com characters echo in my little non-pregnant ears. I say non-pregnant ears as if that’s a thing. In fact, I would imagine it might be quite an original phrase which in today’s blogosphere is quite an achievement in itself really. “There is not one part of my body that is slightly pregnant, not even my ears”; she cried incredulous at the unfairness of it all (raises back of hand to forehead in the style of a swooning 1940s film heroine). Of course there may be a little part of me that is pregnant but I don’t think there is and it’s too early to test so you’re just getting hot off the press non-pregnant vitriol today I’m afraid. I reserve the right to a U-turn in a week’s time.

As you know, I’m only early on the #ttc journey, just waiting on the appearance of the little red fairy at the end of my fifth cycle. So whilst I understand how hearing an acquaintance or a work colleague is implanted and ready to go can cause distress for those who have been trying for longer, I had been trying and largely succeeding to keep this in perspective. I get a little pang of sadness, a whiff of fear but then I get my anti-preggo snatcher shield up and just, well, largely ignore it to be honest.

People get up the duff all the time. At the same time there are many, many people also trying to get up the duff and not succeeding. Currently I’m in the latter camp, with hope to upgrade to the former. I’m aspirationally pre-duff you could say. I can see what I want and I’m working bloody hard to get it and with perseverance I trust I’ll get there in the end. On a good day that is. On a more half empty day I have a strong gut feeling that there’s just something wrong down there. A pessimist is never disappointed. But they are really aren’t they – even a pessimist secretly hopes for good news, a smudge of honey in what they perceive to be a shit sandwich.

I have another friend who will start trying soon. It will be hard if she falls quicker than I do, but I’ll feel I’m part of her journey and have been all along. We openly speak about it and I know how much she wants a family. But this one had me floored. It was so unexpected.

Now the big question…
Does this mean I’m a bad person?

No it doesn’t, does it. Stamping on bunnies would make me a bad person. This does not. However, that doesn’t mean I’m any less uncomfortable with how it makes me question how I’m feeling. Just because it was a surprise doesn’t mean it’s anymore okay for me to be envious. Just because it hasn’t been as long in the making doesn’t mean that that baby is wanted any less than the one that I hope to grow someday. It’s just today, I’m only ready to whinge about it and not share her joy. She’s going to have to wait a few days for that.

P.S I love her though and I’ll love her squidgy poppet when it comes.

Baby making and Bradley Wiggins

Today I feel great. As in ‘Tony the Tiger’ ggg-reat.

This is not great.

Last post, 7 days post the big ‘O’ (or what I think was the big ‘O’) I was feeling v v bloated as you know, massive trumps etc. Sorry for TMI. Now… a few days later, I feel great.

Turns out I just ate too much bread.

Brilliant.

Of the many pregnancy symptoms I’ve heard of, feeling full of energy isn’t one of them.

Ho hum. Roll on cycle six I guess although we’ll see what the next few days bring.

Listen at me, talking about cycle six. If I was a year, three years, seven years into this or had already been diagnosed with a fertility condition that’d probably really piss me off. I get that and I’m genuinely sorry if that’s the case. This could be a short or long road for me, who knows? I am not, in any way, comparing my experience thus far with these fantastic women who know more about the ups and downs of a cycle than Bradley Wiggins. I bow down to you guys, please excuse what follows as the inane whinges some of you may have had earlier in your #ttc days.

I guess it’s kind of how I feel when I overhear middle class teenager A on the train talking to middle class teenager B, about how Jake said her Hunter’s were chavvy but Mummy only bought them last month for riding and she’ll kill her if she tells her that she doesn’t want to wear them. The words ‘Christ, you’ve got a lot to learn if you think you’ve got problems’ appear in a metaphorical speech bubble. I mean they clearly hadn’t even thought to consider the relatively swift demise of the Hollister tracksuit bottom as a badge of where you sit in today’s social spectrum in the UK.

Be nice, pat me on the head, smile sweetly, silently despair and give those next to you a sage, knowing look. Indulge me in my silly ranting!

Thing is, it feels hard enough putting up with the #2ww as it is without having to turn up and do a bloody days work at the same time.

Dealing with other people’s inability to have a sense of proportion about that thing that it would’ve been nice if so and so had thought to tell them which had no impact on the outcome of the situation whatsoever, amongst other issues which I can only really dignify with the description of ‘blah-de-blah’, is just exhausting at times.

I AM TRYING TO MAKE A BABY HERE YOU NAVEL-GAZING MUPPETS!

Yes that’s right, right at the desk, right now.

I’m doing it by getting regular breaks from the screen, using my lunch break to exercise, making directly obtuse ‘what do I know about kids/ I don’t know how you do it’ comments to throw you off the scent, I’ve cut down my coffee intake.

I’m doing it by controlling my stress despite your best attempts somedays to increase it.

I’m doing it by holding down a reasonably complex job which involves either leading or influencing you my dear line reports and peer colleagues, whilst actually spending the majority of my working hours thinking about something else entirely which revolves around me, my hubby and my lady bits.

I’M BUSY HERE GODDAMMIT!

So TTC-ers new and not so new… Lets give ourselves a pat on the back for each day dealing with stuff, frequently with great dexterity and grace, that is important to other people but just not as important to us as getting a baby in this here belly!

Ttc, Bobby Brown and Thunderbirds

‘It’s My Fertility’ do do do do do

Sung in the style of Bobby Brown’s 80s classic, ‘Its My Prerogative’. I’ve always thought that Bobby Brown probably needed a spell check on that one like myself, am I being unfair? I just think no-one suspects that extra ‘r’ do they?

Anyway, so lets put my blog in context by giving you a bit of a synopsis of ‘my fertility journey’ so far. The quotation marks are to denote that I do in fact recognise how ‘life-coachy’ this sounds.

Apologies as this post goes on a bit as it’s all a bit ‘The Story So Far….’ You know like how you can fast forward the first four minutes of any HBO drama while they do the ‘Previously on…’ bit. Although you could be forgiven that I was summarising the entire trilogy of ‘Lord of the Rings’ here… Sorry about this but I’m just asking for a bit of investment up front to support future blog posts. I’m good for it I promise.

The thing is, it’s important to me that other ttc-ers do not think I’m making light of what can be such a sensitive subject. I know that in the grand scheme of ttc, we haven’t been properly trying for long. I appreciate that I could be lucky and fall pregnant soon, but equally it could be a very long road ahead. You just don’t know do you? I’m writing about it because I’ve always wanted to write but could never find the right subject, but even more so, because I really want to try and keep a sense of humour about this. So many blogs and articles I have read, and seemingly all available books, aim to give some form of advice as though that is what all ttc-ers crave.

I appreciate I’m relatively new to this but today I don’t want more science. I don’t want more diet advice. I don’t want more lifestyle guidance or words of wisdom on how to steer my relationship through the perilous waters ahead (be that with or without a baby actually turning up in full technicolor glory).

All of these sources are great. Fab. I love that people share their advice and I do draw on it frequently. But if I’m brutally honest sometimes I just want someone to tell me that I’m not the only one who can’t tell the difference between;
a) the egg white, deffo fertile, ‘Thunderbirds Are Go!’ type of cervical mucus and
b) the humdrum, cloudy, possibly, probably not, ‘Stay on Tracy Island and Await Further Instructions’ type cervical mucus.

Somedays, I just want someone to say ‘When i was a student, all starry-eyed and choc full of potential and Alcopops, I never thought I’d get to a point in my life where on occasions I attempted to either draw or mime to my husband the relative clagginess of my lady juices’.

Hell somedays I just want someone to cut through all the #twoweekwait chaos and bring me back down to earth with ‘You tried to MIME your cervical mucus… Seriously, check yo self girlfriend that be crazy talk’. Or something like that anyway, that’s probably how Bobby Brown would say it. I cannot think there would ever be cause for him to do so, but if he did he may express it in such a manner. I’m just desperately trying to find a way to link this back to the opening paragraph really…

Oh yes, I remember. Right, basically I wanted to give some context to who I am and what my fertility journey looks like. And you’re probably thinking ‘if it takes her this long to get on with it I’m not surprised she’s not pregnant yet’.

My blog is anonymous for a good reason. Whilst it feels a bit impersonal, it probably won’t surprise you if I said that I can’t have people at work knowing that I’m #trying to conceive. Even if they might think I am I don’t want to publicise it. I’m 34 and work for a global financial institution. I started seeing my hubby about 5 1/2 years ago. We made plans to move in together after about 6 months and did so 5 months later. We bought a house together just over 3 years ago in a decent suburb of a major city in the North of the UK. The house we bought is 2 minutes walk from an infant school, 10 minutes from a nursery. You could say we had plans…

I consider myself very lucky to have a hubby who considering the above, added to the fact we booked our wedding venue before we even got engaged, hasn’t panicked and fled for the hills. We are just that committed to each other and our long term plans. I promise you I never ever take this for granted and thank my lucky stars on a frequent basis.

I spent my twenties as a very lonely little chicken romantically speaking and I can’t believe my good fortune really.

When we’d moved in together and started thinking about things such as marriage and kiddiwinks, we did consider #tryingtoconceive prior to getting married but we decided to wait for no other reason than preference and perhaps to give ourselves and our relationship a little more time to mature and develop. I was in my previous job at the time and was very happy there. However, in the lead up to our wedding last year, various events transpired which led to me falling out of love with my job. I couldn’t see the situation at work improving in the short term and I also could see the possibility of redundancy on the horizon. I became increasingly worried that I could fall pregnant but not be able to have control over the job I returned to or perhaps face redundancy whilst on maternity leave.

At the same time I was conscious that I would be 33 soon after our honeymoon and if I didn’t find a job soon, then the six months service I would need to do prior to conception to secure statutory maternity pay and not look like i just rocked up and got knocked up (!) would start to stretch more and more into the future. I could basically feel my eggs putting up the white flag at the thought. Then, of equal concern was that if I didn’t fall pregnant within a few months when I already knew that I needed to make a move, I would become more resentful of my current job and feel under more stress about #tryingtoconceive as I was only staying there to see out my maternity leave. To top it all, I was pretty upset that I had to think like this at all as I really did love working there.

A chance conversation with a customer the week after my return from honeymoon revealed an opening at my current company. A good role, similar reward, more job security and a new challenge. I also won’t apologise for the fact that as it stands, I remain reasonably ambitious and this could have some good future prospects for me. If we can have little ones, we have designs on a bigger house and to do that I’d have to continue to maintain my salary or progress it (unless I decide to stay at home instead but that isn’t the current plan). It couldn’t have happened sooner and I also negotiated to shorten my 3 month notice period to just one month so I started as soon as possible, wary of getting as much service under my belt as possible.

I still think this was the right choice to secure our future. It is highly likely that my role would’ve been made redundant and there may not have been another role for me, but waiting for this to play out and the subsequent effect it may have had on #ttc from a stress point of view would have had some sort of impact on our situation, financial or otherwise. Having said all of this, when you then start to try and you’re over thirty, every month you weren’t trying is viewed with a slight twinge of regret. Each one is a potential opportunity missed.

Anyway. That’s the decision we made and we then followed the rules just in case I fell straight away (ha ha! because that would EVER happen when you’re making any kind of contingency plan for it do so!). So after having gone at it hell for leather on honeymoon, we slammed on the brakes and put my favourite fella back in his jacket until the interview process was complete and I was six months in. (Although incidentally, I’m no mathematician, but working out when I could get preggers and qualify for mat leave? That was not easy – AT ALL by the way or was it just me??). We’re just awaiting the outcome of our fifth cycle of trying now although you’ll see from previous posts that I’m feeling pretty pessimistic, and that brings us up to date.

What other physical factors might be worthy of note? I’m about 7-10 lbs over my preferred weight, but who isn’t? I don’t think you would describe me as overweight and my hubby is like a beanpole. We’ve both been taking our multivitamins like good parents-to-be. Although, I had to stop taking those equestrian sized ‘Mum to be’ ones as the extra iron made me throw up. A cruel side effect if you ask me. ‘Ooh am I pregnant? No, just taking horse supplements’.

Interestingly I’ve since discovered tropical flavoured Berocca and I don’t know if it’s psychological but I can definitely recommend the buzz it gives me. That and the curiously radioactive colour of your first post-Berocca wee of the day which brightens up the 10am constitutional considerably.

I use my lunch hour to do a 50 minute, 3.5 mile power walk around the city centre most days and we also often do a decent hike at the weekends as we like to get out to the countryside. Hubby… could do some more exercise but then so could most. We have a balanced diet, eat plenty of fruit and veg and rarely eat junk food. He doesn’t drink coffee or tea – I have probably 3 cups a day but I’ve just started to cut that down to just the one.

We have regular sex, every other day leading up to and over predicted ovulation and sometimes manage to hit every day in what we think is the critical ‘get it on like Donkey Kong’ time frame. After that it varies month to month alongside the normal lifestyle factors that interfere with sex but we always get some more in before the red fairy appears. Are we three times a day kind of people? No. But I think the above would constitute as a healthy sexual appetite that should be enough for #ttc.

The biggie we’re struggling with in terms of recommended changes is alcohol. I can take or leave alcohol most of the time. I don’t drink during the week as I like to watch my weight… but I love a big night out. Not ‘dragging my carcass out of gutters with my dress stuck in my knickers’ kind of big, not even ‘trailing bits of toilet tissue around stuck to the bottom of my shoe without noticing’ big – just, well, big in my mind. A few pints or a few shorts or a few glasses of wine (note the ‘or’ between each of these, not ‘and’ mind). I probably don’t have any alcohol for 5 or 6 days a week, every week. If the daily recommended allowance for women is 2-3 units, so one large glass of wine or 1 1/2 pints of beer then an honest assessment would be that 2 or 3 weeks out of 4, I have about 6 units in one night. Sometimes a couple more units, sometimes less, sometimes a Friday or a Saturday, sometimes both and sometimes just a glass of wine or nothing at all dependent on our social calendar. For those in the U.S, trust me when I say this is nothing to write home about as a drinking record in the U.K! Not great and I acknowledge I should probably try harder on this front but I don’t think this is appalling either. Hubby has been cutting down on his nightly glass of red, but his nights out tally with mine plus one or two extra units on occasion.

I also respect the view that you shouldn’t carry on drinking at all to protect baby’s potential development but seeing as trying to track my ovulation is completely hit and miss pretty much due to my cycle, despite my best efforts, it would basically mean giving it up altogether.

When you like a good night out, trying to cling on to what is left of your youth before those doors are shut forever, knowing that once you discover (fingers crossed) that it is all systems go for growing your little poppet to full term then there’s no wine for you for a good 15 months if you go on to breast feed – it is more of a challenge to give this up. I’d be interested to hear if anyone else had sudden success after giving up drinking moderately. Or maybe this isn’t moderate! Ha ha!

The last distinguishing factor is my cycle. I came off the pill over a year ago, just before we got married. I had been on it, Microgynon 30 for about ten years with some short breaks at times, with no problems. I had painful and irregular periods prior to that, so much so I had to stay home from work. Since coming off the pill, I have only had one noticeably debilitating painful period. This is great as I was really worried that stopping would mean that I was regularly off sick but it seems that my symptoms have decreased over time or as a result of the pill. However my cycle has not really regulated itself. It is regularly irregular! After my first post-pill cycle which was understandably longer, my cycle has ranged from 25 to 38 days. There is no pattern – it can be shorter then longer or shorter for a couple of cycles and then longer again. I’ve been trying to just listen to my body in terms of tuning into ovulation and I think I’m getting there, but I haven’t started looking at my temperature yet. My mother had painful periods but had no problem conceiving. However since my mid-twenties I’ve also had an unexplainable gut feeling that I can’t have children. I know this is a sad thing to say and I don’t say it lightly. There’s just something there.

So there you have it – ’That’s My Fertility’ – the story so far. We’ll see what this week brings…. Shorter blog posts I should think!!!

The symptom vortex of loons

I am bloated. Uncomfortable. Have terrible wind, as in wind that could cause a shift in tectonic plates if I point myself towards a fault line.

Are these pregnancy symptoms?

Somehow I doubt it. It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve been so bloated that I could cause an avalanche in the Rockies simply by virtue of my poo chute propeller mechanism.
But unfortunately when you’re ttc, any little bodily creak, squeak or shriek can draw your focus and create what I like to call the ‘the symptom vortex of loons’.

‘The Symptom Vortex of Loons’ takes many many forms. In fact what is so generous, yet equally mind-bending about this plug hole for lunatics is how many possibilities it can happily accommodate. Please don’t be offended by my throwaway use of the term ‘loon’ or ‘lunatic’, I’m already making light work of ‘madness’ and presumably you’re still reading anyway.

The problem is you see that we are now 7 days post ovulation. At least I think I ovulated seven days ago. Since trying to tune in to this kind of thing more I reckon for the last couple of months I’ve been able to tell when i’ve ovulated by getting a very specific and localised pain round about where I figure my left ovary is… Although this could also be rubbish as last month it was after a three course meal on holiday and this month it was after a massive barbecue so it is equally entirely possible that this could just be some sort of digestive happening derived from too much red meat. But genuinely it feels menstrual-esque, I think I might be onto something.

After ovulation, if you’ve hit the jackpot and you did indeed pop one out and one of his best made it through the alarmingly hostile exterior of said ovum, then this little poppet will sidle on down your tubes for a few days. Now as you’ll have picked up already, I am a bit light on the medical facts of all this just yet, trying not to get too wrapped up in all the detail you see.

The pace of all this seems bloody glacial to me. I mean, you wouldn’t put up with it from Amazon would you? But I guess this is the creation of life we’re talking about which I suppose has more of a made to measure type timeline attached. The other thing, thinking about it, is the irony that if all this was quicker the little red fairy would be in residence pretty much all the time.
And let’s face it no-one wants that so I guess we just have to learn to be more patient. Nature’s way of training us for a core parenting skill perhaps?

Anyway, after approximately 7 to 10 days it’ll set up home and put some roots down so to speak. Now at this point some people get a little sign of this, a little bleed or something. If everyone got this it would be helpful, but not everyone does do they. So basically you are actively looking for an indicator that might never turn up. And when it doesn’t you can’t move on because the absence of it isn’t necessarily news. So the wait continues and the vortex begins to increase its gravitational pull.

‘Tender breasts’. I only have little puppies. Sometimes they hurt a bit, sometimes they don’t. Because they’re small they don’t move around very much or get in the way, so this doesn’t cause me much discomfort from month to month in any case. So about halfway through the two week wait, I find myself having a surreptitious squeeze when the opportunity arises just out of curiosity. Thing is though, if you squeeze your boobs it generally hurts a bit anyway because they’re your boobs right? Sometimes a bit more than others depending on the time of the month. Therefore this adds nothing. Today my boobs hurt more than normal but no more than last month so I deduce I am not pregnant, but I might be, because not everyone gets symptoms this early. This kind of behaviour can only lead to lunacy. And some odd looks when people catch you squeezing your boob in the kitchen at work. Yes this happened. I tried diverting them by expressing disgust at the number of out of date abandoned milk cartons there were in the fridge but I got nothing back. Which means they were either the owner of several of said cartons and had their own shame, or they were still wondering if I had in fact been giving myself an intimate cuddle in the kitchen.

‘Tiredness’. I am really tired today. But I was last month too. Might have something to do with having a reasonably stressful job and a busy social life. Why am I so tired and why did I need afternoon naps this weekend? Yes I could be pregnant. I could also be suffering the after effects of going to bed at 2am on Friday and 4am on Saturday. Duh, ya think??! But I could also be pregnant. Please also note, I’ve still got it… 4am, check me out!

‘Nausea’. Some days I eat less than others either intentionally or just because I’m super busy. I might feel nauseous. Sometimes I don’t drink enough water. I might feel nauseous. Sometimes I get up too quickly. I might feel light headed. Sometimes I look at the ‘breakfast in a can’ in the supermarket. I feel like people buying some deserve for me to be sick on them. Or I could be pregnant. Honestly. How can you not get sucked into this?

I could go on. There are basically a number, seemingly infinite according to some websites and forums, of completely common (both to the normal cycle in your lady bits and completely unrelated to this) aches and pains, sicky, headachey, tiredy rubbishy ways of feeling slightly less than brilliant. All of which could be a symptom of being pregnant.

I don’t think getting sucked into the ‘the symptom vortex of loons’ is anything to be worried or ashamed about. I think it’s completely understandable if unfortunate and as with all these things, awareness is the key. The first few months I got quite wrapped up in all this but the lack of certainty just bores me. Especially when you consider that there is not enough pregnant stuff running round your system for at least another week to actually test, it does rather bring the possibility of any symptoms being directly related into perspective.

Instead I’m going to continue with all pregnancy unfriendly past times with gusto. With my imagined hyper sense of smell I can sense the faint whiff of rebellion, and it smells like Stilton. :)

Tempting fate and Alex Polizzi

Hubby back tonight after a night in London with work. The big ‘O’pportunity passed on Monday, or at least I think it did, so we squeezed another one in then. Shall we do it tonight just in case I’m wrong?
Hmm…
Well there’s a mood killer. Hubby might be being made redundant. Moving his function to London but there might be something in another local team. We have about 6 months of uncertainty to look forward to, so job hunting starts ASAP. You couldn’t make it up could you? Day after I start writing a blog, we get some major news, looks a bit suspicious? No this is true. Not just that but it’s the second time in 18 months. Last time I panicked a bit as it was just before we got married. This time I’m more relaxed. I’m optimistic that he’ll find something and he really didn’t like his current job….

Plus you never know, the stress of being unhappy at work may have affected our ttc over the last few months and a new smiley job could help it! Or the indifference with which he approaches his current job could mean that he’s nice and relaxed, if a bit mis now and then, and all his ‘passion and enthusiasm’ is firmly channelled exactly where I need it right now… Right up my noo-na, ha ha! So therefore we could have been in a good happy sperm place moving to a bit more of a squeaky bum type sperm place… If sperms have bums. Do sperms have bums? I suppose not or where would the poo go? Damn I should know this stuff already, I am a bad ttc-er.

That’s the thing with ttc. You can find a yin to every bloody yang. Even the most rational, logical brain can confound itself with a new appreciation for the ethereal concept of what it is or may be, to tempt fate.

It’s at times like this I think ‘What Would Alex Polizzi Do?’ Not in a ‘What Would Jesus Do?’ type way… Well maybe a little bit. I love Alex Polizzi of Hotel Inspector Channel 5 fame. Not ditzy tv gorgeous but handsome in a dignified way. Feisty and fiercely bright yet compassionate. These are great qualities. Bottom line, strapline would be ‘She gets shit done and she does it in fabulous scarves’. Love her. I recently bought some fabulous scarves but everyone thought I was trying out a more Eastern look. Clearly I still have work to do in this area. I mean really, I should be able to nail the scarves you would have thought.

Why these Alex Polizzi ramblings? She has common sense and just oozes ‘reasonableness’ (which bizarrely, according to auto type, appears to be an actual word). She had her first child in her mid thirties and had a heartbreaking experience suffering three miscarriages prior to conceiving her second. She strikes me as a woman who would have a very rational approach to ttc. However, I like to think she also had moments where she dove into the murky territory of ‘if I/we/he does/doesn’t do/say this/that then we might not get/ get pregnant this time’. Madness, seriously, utter madness.

I will now list various recent ‘tempting fate’ debates I have had inside my own head. I look forward to providing you with more such insights on an ad-hoc basis. Sounds like the rambling of a mad woman doesn’t it? Well I’m not, I’m just a women who is ttc. I’m also ‘pommoapwihf’. Which is ‘planning on modelling myself on Alex Polizzi when I hit forty’. I don’t think it’ll work as a blog title but I might try it when the time comes.

Oh look I’m out of tampons, if I buy some I bet I’ll get pregnant. Yey, smiley face. If I don’t buy some I will need one urgently in a public place at a social occasion where I have no time to think about the fact that I’m not pregnant. Oh actually that’s probably not a bad thing. Argh… To buy or not to buy.

I discover that ky jelly doesn’t kill the spermies, but can dramatically slow them down like Mr Soft spermies. And Mr Soft doesn’t look like egg penetration material to me. So I want to buy a new very expensive lube specifically marketed at those ttc. If I order this, I might look back at why I wasted £20 on lube when ky is £3 and we have super strong and speedy spermies that just power on through. If I don’t order this, I won’t get pregnant and will keep wondering if its down to the old favourite. Spend the money, be a victim of pharmaceutical marketing, everyone is, it’s ok, don’t be proud.

If I buy this book on fertility, if I start writing a blog, I’ll look back and blah blah blah – you get the picture. I’m boring myself. Still I’m sleeping better so more sex and boring nonsensical introspection makes a girl well rested.

Ttc and cricket

I went to Waterstones today. This was a treat as normally I do something active at lunch but I gave myself the day off. I was going in for my second foray into the ttc self help zone in said book retailer. Yes that’s right, second visit, in as many weeks. Not enough help found on the first visit? Well not exactly.

I purchased something last week, a humorous take on ttc, which I’ve started reading and am enjoying. But today,the one book I only just bought and have read 25 pages of, didnt feel like enough. I needed more literature. I don’t know why, maybe because I think I’ve just ovulated.

Everything feels a bit more serious when I think I’ve ovulated. To reference the Ashes which is on at the minute, I feel like the innings is on pause.

I stand pensively at the other end of the crickety area… Not great on cricketing terminology. Give me an episode of the Kardashians and I’ll translate but my cricket is rudimentary to say the least. Which begs the question why use it as an analogy but hey ho, stick with it.

I stand pensively at the end of the crickety area, while my dearest hubby is ready for action at the opposite end. He has, which feels quite literal to him after a busy weekend at the business end, smashed his balls into the air as far as him vs the force of gravity will allow. And there ends the bit that with practise, patience, dedication and a bit of pre-seed lube, you can get pretty good at.

That’s it now, balls smashed into the air. Yes I know contents of, but I’m trying to stretch a topical analogy here, bear with. Now it’s just a case of pointlessly trudging up and down waiting for the umpire (or in our house, the little red fairy) to confirm if we’re out or he’s gone and done it and hit a six.

*whispered note to fertility gods, just to be clear I just want one or max two each innings, not six.

Now I appreciate that your average cricket fan would believe that ‘pointlessly trudging up and down’ does not reflect their hallowed past time. But I’m telling you, I saw it out of the corner of my eye once and that’s definitely what it looked like to me. And in any case, believe you and me Mr. Policing Of Accuracy In Cricketing Analogies Man, if you had to wait two weeks to find out the outcome of one bash of your bat you’d get a bit tired of watching and waiting too.

Plus lets be honest, you put so much into the sex before and during the big ‘O’ ( that’s ovulation, not the other one although of course that big ‘O’ is always worth the effort, nudge, nudge etc) that in the fabled two week wait, any sex is a bit pointless in terms of your current goal.

Which if in doubt by the way, is not the pursuit of pleasure via flesh on flesh. Oh no, this is not wanton indulgence, this is a serious business now people. But keep trying with that wanton indulgence thing because it truly does keep you sane, and as much as it is unlikely to deliver your goal it is always nice to still say ‘this one’s just for us’.

Anyways, stepping away from the cricket. I guess we’ve done all we can do this month so what else could I possibly do to assist in this quest until the next time? (Oops *jinx* maybe there won’t be a next time, maybe this month is it! – more on ‘jinxing’ obsessions to come in future posts) Research that’s what. Reading whilst not having sex. Yes more of that. That will definitely be productive and it will definitely not result in more confusion as your brain tries to track the many, many conflicting recommendations on what to do and what not to do when ttc.

So I buy another more serious looking book. I start to read it over a coffee and realise it is going to be mostly about how to stop enjoying life if you want to get pregnant. And how you should drink less coffee. Sounds about as fun as watching cricket.

Anyways there were loads of books about being pregnant and IVF but only about 7 for those who are just trying really hard like me. So I thought I’d try and write something. I then went over to the creative writing section, picked up a dummy’s guide to publishing e-books but it was £18 and I don’t know if you’ve picked up, but I’m trying for a baby so I need to save money. Well that and also that when the hubby sees the front cover he won’t be able to read the real words, as he’ll be blind-sided by the ‘£18 spent on frivolous whim’ subliminal messaging radiating from said purchase as it gathers dust on the Welsh dresser.

Plus my hostile-womb-making coffee (or whatever effect it is supposed to have) was nearly finished.

So I sloped off and have written this instead.