Thursday, December 28, 2006

Shotgun Wedding

Just a quick hello before we jet back to the UK...

When Mr. DD and I got married, we were pretty broke. We didn't do traditional engagement rings because, "I'm just not a diamond person." Or so I thought.

7 years later and 2.2 months away from the birth of our first child, I decided that I actually AM kind of a diamond person, so Mr. DD kindly obliged me with an engagement ring for Christmas. My father (the guy with the pitchfork in the background) insisted that it was also a good photo opportunity.

Not only that, but it's a bit of a supreme belly shot. Yes, the Prawn is going to be a mighty Lobster.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Jetting Away.

We leave for the States in a little over 12 hours and we have yet to pack a thing.

Have a really lovely Christmas, ladies!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Gas Clouds in the Sky

This is totally and utterly off topic, but as probably a lot of you became aware yesterday when co-workers began mailing this story to you, a plane was forced to make an emergency landing in Nashville because someone farted. As a person who's own gaseous output has gotten somewhat more prolific of late, this was interesting to me.

It was not merely the occurrence of said flatulence that grounded the airliner. If this was the case, planes would never be able to take off due to the volume of compressed and expelled gasses contained within the intestines of passengers. (Anyone who's ever had a long haul flight with an air bubble that constantly keeping bubbling away in your gut will know the temptation to asphyxiate everyone in a 5 row radius in order to be rid of it.) The plane, was in fact forced to land because the woman who expelled said gasses was so embarrassed that she attempted to cover the fact by LIGHTING MATCHES.

Let’s skip over the part where we determine that this woman is obviously a brain donor. (lighting matches on an airplane. What a fucking brilliant idea, you vain asshat.) Anyone with a remotely functioning brain would have a) thought to spray what little perfume/deodorant you are allowed to bring in your carry-on- not exactly endearing you to other passengers, but if you simply can’t face the idea that your fellow travellers might discover that you have a digestive system, it’s an idea, or b) simply giving your seatmate a dirty look, making it obvious to all around you that they and not you are the culprit.

It does lead one to wonder why any sort of materials that can be used to start a fire are allowed on board aircraft anyhow. We’re required to leave nail files, tiny scissors and drinks behind, but hey, if you wanna spark up mid-flight, you’re in luck. THEY ALLOW MATCHES, BUT NOT WATER. HOW IN THE HELL DOES THAT MAKE ANY SENSE WHATSOEVER?

Just for amusement…my mother once got caught in airport security with a 9 inch bread knife in her purse. She’d spent the previous evening preparing for every security eventuality- slip on, slip off shoes, no scissors, needles, etc in her bag…but somehow missed the huge, offensive weapon in the front pocket that she’d used at school the day before to cut cake. The female security officer just looked at her.

“You can’t take this on the plane, ma’am.”

My mother stared open mouthed in horror. What she probably wanted to say was, “No shit.” What she ended up saying was;

“Um…yeah, you can keep that.”

Monday, December 04, 2006

Saving A Bit of Dough

Things around Chez Rockmama haven't been peachy keen lately, so when Mr. DD and I got some good news this morning regarding our new flat, I just had to share!

Having spent the last 7 years on a narrowboat, in the way of furniture, we own precisely squat. Everything is nailed to one bulkhead or another with the exception of a futon that we have to sneak up on and surprise to be able to fold back into couch shape and a £30 computer desk made of the special kind of pressed and disguised sawdust that they use to make furniture that you are willing to have in your home but wouldn't be devestated if it got eaten by carpenter ants or something. (Although I imagine that the discriminating carpenter ant probably wouldn't chow down on our computer desk unless he'd had a couple of pints of lager first.)

So, moving into this flat, we literally have nothing to fill it up with. Fortunately, we'd put aside around 3 grand for furnishings and although it wouldn't furnish the whole place, we'd get the basics; couches, dining room table, bed, etc.

Can I just say how much I would like to lick the people who live there at the moment? To facilitate their moving process, they asked us if there was anything of theirs furnishing-wise that we'd like to buy. We picked out bits that we liked as well as their appliances, (fridge/freezer, dishwasher, washer/dryer) because everybody knows that getting a refridgerator out of a first floor flat is a recipe for a hernia and possibly a lawsuit. Coming away from our little tete a tete, we thought that a fair price for the appliances alone would be around £500- none are new, although still in really good shape.

This morning, we got an email through from them asking us for £700 pounds for EVERYTHING. I think even the Prawn did a little victory dance. This is going to save us SO MUCH CASH. CASH IS GOOD. CASH PAYS FOR THE PRAWN.

Just a little bit of happy. :)

Friday, November 24, 2006

Trying to get Past The Jinx

So, I'm trying to shake the whole jinx thing.

"I'm going to buy this, ok?" I said, my finger poised over the "Confirm" button.

"Go right ahead." Mr. DD said, noodling away at scales on his Fender Strat. "It's the one we wanted, right?"

"No, seriously, I'm going to buy this. If I buy this, it means that we're really having a baby."

"We ARE really having a baby. Buy it."

"It's just that it's on sale and everything."

"You haven't hit the "Send" button yet? What are you waiting for?"

A few minutes silence.

"Okay, I'm really, REALLY going to buy this."

So this thing is showing up on Monday morning. It's hard to overcome the whole "jinx" thing entirely. But a bargain is a bargain, so this will be the stylish travel system that The Prawn will be cruising in come March.




I really just bought a baby buggy.

Monday, November 20, 2006

24w 4d

Just a bit of a belly update.

So far so good.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

"What Do You Mean By That, Exactly?"

People say weird things to you when you're up the duff.

The one that's been puzzling me lately:

"Oh! You're looking well!"

This is usually something that I would associate with recovery from a major illness of some sort. So, in this context does it mean one of the following?

"Wow! You're not half as fat as I expected you to be!"

"Holy shit, you're the size of a Buick, but since you're also probably hormonal, I'm going to excercise tact and pay you a slightly unfathomable compliment in the hopes that you'll not go postal on me."

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Fear The Belly

This is a truly strange journey.

Tuesday morning, I discovered that I couldn't get out of bed. Not that I was purely knackered from the weekend (I was. Staying up late with a bunch of hairy rockers and elven folk musicians can take it out of you.) but I literally couldn't get out of bed. There was a large belly in the way.

Now, it's not like I wasn't expecting The Belly. I mean, that's what happens, isn't it? You get knocked up, you get The Belly. But I think I have experienced the phenomenon known as "popping out". Monday, I woke up feeling pretty much as I have up until now- slightly swollen, but largely unchanged. Tuesday morning, however, there was suddenly an obstacle in my path to morning ablutions. And there was stretching. I can't overemphasize the stretching.

It occurred to me for the very first time that I might be having a baby.

I commented to Meg that IF takes away some of the reality from a pregnancy. It's harder to admit, even when all the signs point in your direction, that this time, possibly, it might all have gone right. Up until now, it's been a fairly abstract concept despite the disappearing waistline and increasingly vigorous kicks and jabs coming from within. But The Belly is hard to ignore. It makes buttons pop off of things and people have stopped crashing supermarket trolleys into me at Tesco. (Well, some of them have, at any rate.)

I'm coming up on 24 weeks tomorrow. All hail The Belly.

Monday, November 13, 2006


I find that there are days when my urge to destroy people are stronger than others. Today is one of those days.

It never fails to happen on a Monday morning. In the space of time between 8.30 and 10.40, I discovered the following things.

1. We left our hairdryer (brand new) at the hotel we stayed at over the weekend. So, wet hair.

2. My MIL has had an abnormal blood test- her blood isn’t clotting like it should. We don’t know what this means, but the hospital in London that she attends didn’t seem too worried about it. Wish we could feel the same.

3. My FIL does not know how to do laundry and has consequently stuck a new, stretchy maternity top as well as my Brother-in-law’s expensive Lycra biking shorts in the dryer. (I do laundry around here, but he got impatient and OBVIOUSLY waiting until morning to run the dryer would have been too much for him.) I don’t particularly have the cash to replace the top. Seeing as how MIL got the weird blood test, I decided to hold off on a lecture on clothes care.

4. Our solicitors handling our property sale are undoubtedly the most pointless people on the face of the earth at this particular moment in time. They have been sitting around picking their noses for a few weeks and neglecting to do anything relating to our sale.

5. The people currently living in the flat we are buying have decided to buy a house rather than rent. So the whole “no chain” thing that we signed on for? Not happening. If we get into that place before the Prawn is born, we’ll be lucky. My head feels like it’s about to explode.

Sorry for the vent. Had a brilliant weekend and just feel like we’ve been chucked back on the shitpile again first thing. Very demoralizing.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Just an Update

Moving right along.

Having received a summons last from the mighty NHS to attend a pre-natal clinic, I was slightly baffled. I wasn't expecting to see anyone until round about 25 weeks when I had my next appointment with my midwife. I called the hospital to ask them about the nature of the appointment and they were unable to give me an answer of any sort, saying only that my midwife or GP must have recommended it.

"You sent me an appointment notice and you don't know WHY?" I asked the nurse.

"You'll have to call your GP." she said.

Knowing instinctively that my GP would be of no help at all (their record keeping is so ineffective, the receptionists might as well just shred things the moment they reach their desks.) I just told Mr. DD that we'd better just go along to see what was up. We had to go to the Post Office anyhow.

As I suspected, the appointment was an NHS cock-up.

"Do you know why you're here?" the student midwife asked me, thinking that I hadn't heard her asking the resident specialist the same thing out in the hallway.

"Honestly, I have no idea." I told her.

So they took my blood pressure and then booted me out after scheduling my 31 week ultrasound at the beginning of January. Glad to know that the HOSPITAL WHERE I'M DUE TO GIVE BIRTH runs such a tight ship. I'm going to make sure that someone slaps a name bracelet on the Prawn as soon as her arms are clear.

Not much else going on. The Prawn is very active, especially fond of kicking me in the bladder, resulting in a little bit of weakness in that area, which is super-fun. (Considering that 3 very negligent surgeons have performed urethral dialations on me in the past in a misguided attempt to clear up Interstitial Cystitis, it's not really a huge surprise) We're still waiting with the intensity of rabid dogs for our house purchase to trundle along to it's satisfactory conclusion.

Further updates as events warrant.

ps. Is this not just a total no-brainer?

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

All Hallows Eve

So, a little Halloween digression.

I grew up with serious estate envy when this time of year rolled around. Living in the middle of nowhere doesn’t leave a whole hell of a lot of trick or treating options that don’t involve your parents having to drive you two miles up the road to the nearest “friendly” house so you can get a handful of “fun sized” Snickers bars. Kids that lived on estates made out like bloody bandits partly due to volume and partly due to fear. More houses, more candy, but more KIDS, the more likelihood of getting your house covered in eggs and toilet paper, so you’d better not be stingy or be ready to sit in the bushes all night with a garden house to deter potential vandals.

On my very last trick or treating ever, I got to finally experience the joy of Halloween on an estate. I went with some of my friends around a sprawling development in Frederick County and literally filled a whole pillowcase full of swag in between trying to scare the living hell out of each other. It was the haul of the century. Best. Halloween. Ever. (Incidentally, the Worst.Halloween.Ever was when I spent the evening in an All Saints Day service with my at-the-time Catholic boyfriend. Talk about leeching the fun out of a holiday.)

This year, I will not be dressing up, as pregnant French Maids are neither sexy nor clever. I am, however, going to play Bingo at one of England's huge professional Mecca Bingo establishments after some extreme coaxing by two other girls. (That, and Mr. DD is playing poker tonight, so it's either Bingo or siting at home on my ass by myself and watching a scary movie which will inevitably lead to many hours of sleeplessness, because I am a huge dork that takes the possibility of Freddy Kruger much more seriously than muggers and rapists.)

All fond memories of Devil's Night aside, what I would like to stress on this the spookiest of days is that those of you with pets to practice some restraint. When I was a kid, one of my favourite picture books was Animals Should Definitely NOT Wear Clothing which illustrated the sheer stupidity of trying to dress our fellow living creatures. For some reason, Halloween brings out the sadist in many pet owners and they feel compelled to propagate horrors like this:








And this.















And this. (Can you just see the burning shame on the face of the dog on the far right? “Merciful God, what have I ever done to deserve this?” he seems to be saying. “Was it what happened with the carpet? Cause that was TOTALLY an accident.” But it's the one who seems to be saying, "Whee" I'm a banana!" that really makes the photo.)













I am loathe to admit that I actually find this practice humourous, but as you can see, there's very little funnier than four dogs dressed up as bananas. But for the love of all that is holy, let us try leave the earth’s creatures as nature intended, despite the inherant hilariousness in dressing them up. Let us respect their wild heritage and remember that they all descended from monsters that would as soon feast on your intestines as look at you. Very few would naturally be found in Frankenstein or hot dog costumes. Give them their dignity. (They found out recently that elephants demonstrate self-awareness. So you wouldn't put a silly hat on one of THEM would you?)

Let's leave the trick or treating to us bipeds. Happy Halloween.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Maternity Madness

Can someone answer this for me?

Say I was a woman of extremely ample proportions (Not that size 16 isn’t ample, but I’m talking AMPLE) and that I needed to go out and buy a shirt with which to cover my amplitude. A size 30 shirt in a high street shop costs somewhere between 12 and 15 pounds, assuming the shirt is your basic, everyday cotton top.

So why is it that the manufacturers of maternity clothes get to use the excuse, “Well, it’s obviously more fabric!” when trying to justify the unbelievably ridiculous prices (20 to 30 pounds) of their wares when your basic size 30 top is flapping around me like a military pontoon?

Our goddaughter’s christening was this last weekend, and while I hoped to save some pennies by rootling through my wardrobe to scrounge something to wear, to my dismay, all of my skirts were undone by The Bump. So, begrudgingly, I stomped off to Mothercare to find something suitable to wear inside a church.

While there are a lot of beautiful and flattering maternity clothes out there, Mothercare seems to be distinctly targeting the “frumpy, dumpy, lumpy” market, so it was a bit of a struggle, but I eventually came out with a plain, stretchy black skirt, dressy black top and, although I was trying to avoid it, I could not resist the siren song of maternity jeans, which kind of feel like wearing jeans and pajamas at the same time. All the clothes were pretty much high street quality and since I knew I had no choice in buying them, I neglected to look at the price tags.

I almost choked when the register smugly informed me that I was in possession of 70 pounds worth of merchandise.

It took me back to an argument that I’d had with one of my male friends in college when I observed that products that women NEEDED (sanitary items, thrush cures, pregnancy tests, even condoms to a certain extent) were absurdly and unfairly over priced. Being a guy who didn’t like to lose an argument, he said that we didn’t really NEED any of those things and that we could just either sit on straw or use dishrags like our grandmothers during our periods, use holistic cures for thrush, (yoghurt) wait to find out the old fashioned way if we were pregnant and abstain from sex until we were a) sure we wanted to get pregnant and b) only after every sexual partner was tested for diseases various, so the companies that made these “convenient” products should be able to charge whatever they pleased. Needless to say, he was immediately jumped on and beaten nearly to death by every woman in the room.

One could argue, I suppose, that one doesn’t actually NEED maternity clothes- that one could go on wearing normal, larger sized clothes that are not as comfortable or flattering, but who wants to spend 9 months looking like a bloated whale when you could feel better about yourself by buying a few bits of properly fitted clothing, making YOU feel better and in turn, making your BABY feel better?

At any rate, 70 pounds down the drain. Hoping to be able to survive the remaining 4 2/3rds months in what I’ve already got!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Gender Bender

I’ve been doing more contemplating on boy parts and girl parts recently than probably ever before in my life, even including when I was in high school and discovering that there are all kinds of interesting and clever things that they can do.

Yeah, yeah, 10 fingers, 10 toes, everyone says that, but the REAL question is, “Who the heck is in there anyway and WHAT KIND OF PARTS DO THEY HAVE? Doo Dah or Hoo Ha? Willy or Winkie? Colt or Filly? Hamburger or Hot Dog? TEEEELLLLLLL MEEEEEEE!”

You often try to imagine your future son or daughter and the extraordinary amount of knowledge that you feel obligated to impart upon them before they move into a flat with 3 friends and you KNOW that they throw all the pizza boxes and condom wrappers in the closet before you come to visit.

A son needs to know how to balance traditional ideas of masculinity with healthy emotional practices. He needs to know how to solve things without his fists. He needs to be brave enough to stand up for his beliefs and not to take too seriously what everyone else says- to be his own man. And he needs to learn to keep his boy parts to himself (or at the very least well protected with as few girlparts as he can manage) until he himself is ready to be staring at a sonogram monitor at tiny developing boyparts that he himself had a hand in creating.

A daughter needs to know how to be a strong woman- to do whatever she chooses to even if it’s not traditionally “feminine”. She needs to know how to recognize poisonous people and how to deal with them politely, but firmly. She needs to be able to defend herself. And she needs to keep her girl parts safely hidden away (or at least interfacing with as few well protected boyparts as possible) until she herself is willing to have a tiny person with girlparts of her own sitting on top of her bladder in an uncomfortable fashion.

Of course, both sons and daughters need to embrace creativity, curiosity, empathy and a willingness to see the world in shades of grey rather than in black and white.

So today at our 20 week scan, the nature of the Prawn’s parts was naturally the question of the hour.

Unfortunately, the Prawn had other ideas.

The tech spent a good 10 minutes chasing my offspring around my belly, trying to get decent shots of all of the things that needed checking, poking and prodding along the way, trying to get the Prawn into more suitable positions. The Prawn was having none of it.

When it came to crunch time, the little bugger not only had it’s legs clamped tightly together with the cord running in between them, but also had one hand firmly ensconced over the vicinity as well. Not even born and already contrary.

The technician commented that if she had to make an educated guess….she’d say it was a girl due to visible absence of obvious boy parts, but then again, said boyparts might be lurking beneath the Prawn’s anti-paparazzi capabilities and might suddenly make an appearance in 11 weeks for the next scan, so we’re sure not buying anything gender specific just yet.

The best news we got, however, is that the Prawn looks entirely normal, so that is, of course, a relief after all the nuchal translucency nonsense! Healthy Prawn! Happy happy happy!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Buyer Beware (Updated)

So, after a weekend of upheval in our housing plans, we are now back in the area closely ajacent to Square One.

Without going into a massive amount of bile-filled details, our lawyers very kindly prevented us from getting totally humped by our estate agents and seller, who told some VERY large fibs regarding the length of the leasehold on the house and are big, fat liars who will roast in hell for trying to fleece us. For probably the first and only time in our lives, we love lawyers a LOT and are eternally grateful for their warning. The disappointment of not being able to move into a new place in two weeks is heavily tempered with relief at not gettting stuck with a property we wouldn't be able to sell and the excitement of finding somewhere even BETTER to live.

Ambrose Bierce called litigation "a process that you go into as a pig and come out of as a sausage." To apply that temporarily to the real estate market, we are two very grateful sausages on a renewed mission to find our dream home.*

*Actually, it's a bit early in our homebuying career to find a dream home. We're just hoping for one that doesn't suck.

Do Mr. DD and I screw around when it comes to house buying? We certainly do not.

This afternoon, our offer on a flat in the village that we live in currently was accepted. We’d always bemoaned the fact that we’d love to stay in the village, but would never in a million years be able to afford it. But call it Providence, call it Fate, call it whatever, 2 days after losing the maisonette, we found the Forge Flats.

HOW MUCH NICER IS THIS PLACE THAN THE ONE WE WERE ABOUT TO MOVE INTO? (There’s really no earthly way that you could know, but trust me when I say IT IS.)

The view from the living room and kitchen: An orchard, hills, a church and a windmill.

The view from the master bedroom: OUR GARDEN. Yes, we get our very own personal garden for our very own personal use. With trees. And grass. WITH A FLAT.

The kitchen and bathroom are both larger than the ones in the maisonette. Everything is FINISHED and finished well (currently inhabited by a builder and his wife and he did all of the improvements), so no stupid having to put floors down before we can properly move in. Walking into the place felt like…home. We were instantly besotted.

Color us pleased.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Pining for Snow

Pregnancy is all about abstinence.

Alcohol went out the window straight away. The UK doesn’t officially recommend giving up alcohol entirely while pregnant, but when you’ve had trouble with infertility, it doesn’t take a genius to see that you should probably err on the side of caution. (My mother, in the period of time before we told my in-laws about my pregnancy, surreptitiously downed most of a glass of champagne that I was supposed to be drinking along with her own and got totally whammed on my and her unborn grandchild’s behalf) I don’t smoke, so that wasn’t a chore. Nor do I eat soft cheeses, because, in my opinion, most of them smell and taste like feet. I gave up highlighting my hair, leaving me with strange half-streaks that start from my ears. None of these things have given me much bother one way or another.

But one thing HAS bugged me.

I am a clumsy fool. I run into things constantly. If there’s an uneven surface, I’ll trip on it. I’m the only person I know who’s ever fallen UP the stairs. I once gave myself a split lip by tossing a bottle of juice in the air and catching it with my face. I know I’ve garnered strange looks in the gym changing room from some suspicious bruises on my legs and butt. The other women shake their heads and talk behind their hands. I want to set them straight.

“No, seriously! When I say that I walked into a door or the side of a cabinet, I’m totally not lying! I’m a complete yutz!” I want to yell.

“Of course you did, dear,” they’d say in response and secretly be dialing some domestic abuse help line on their mobile phone on my behalf.

For someone with a coordination record like mine, you’d think that snow sports would be utterly out of the question, but believe it or not, strap a snowboard to my feet and I couldn’t be happier.

I started out with skiing in high school. Growing up near the mountains in Western Maryland, it was only an hour to the nearest ski area, so it was inevitable that I was going to end up on waxed planks at some point. I went twice. The first time, I stabbed myself IN THE EYE with a ski pole, jarring it in it’s socket, although not doing any damage more lasting than a black eye. The second time, I ended up in the emergency room with a dislocated thumb in a bed next to a guy who was so drunk, he tried to pee on the nurse. After that, my skiing partner at the time refused to take me again, which was fine by me.

Fast forward 11 years to when Mr. DD’s band got a gig playing in the winter resort town of Banff, Alberta and a group of 14 of us decided to go for an extended 2 week holiday. Seeing as how there was little to do that wasn’t snow related, (although the hot chocolate at Evelyn’s Coffee House alone was worth the plane fare for. Can you say home-made chocolate whipped cream?) most of us opted to hit the slopes. As I’d not had much luck on skis, I thought perhaps I’d give snowboarding a go.

It was hard. A LOT harder to pick up than skiing. It's a totally different motion more akin to surfing than anything else. Although it was a rather embarrassing 5 days of falling alternately on my ass or my head, by the last day, due to some very good coaching from one of the guys in the group who had got the hang of it, both Mr. DD and I were actually starting to have FUN.

Strangely enough, we happened to live only 40 minutes away from an actual snow dome in Milton Keynes, so over the next year, we tried to visit once a month to improve our skills on the closest thing to snow you can find in this particular part of Europe. (It’s wise, however, not to get it in your mouth because it tastes like the stuff that the highway agency spreads on the roads when it gets cold. Or so I imagine.) With the new learning under our belt, we took a long weekend in March to Chamonix, France and had a blast riding slopes that we wouldn’t have dreamed we’d be able to tackle a year ago.

My brother-in-law, his girlfriend and another fellow who accompanied us to Chamonix are now making plans for this winter’s slope trip and I find myself exceedingly jealous that I can’t participate. It’s literally the only thing that I’ve found that I’ll miss while pregnant and absolutely can’t compromise on. Technically, as the season lasts until early May in some parts of the Alps, we COULD go, but somehow I don’t see living with myself myself after leaving a 2 month old infant at home so I can go on a jolly.

So I will have to stare longingly at my beautiful board for another year. This kid is going to have to like snow.

So what do/will you miss most?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

T Minus 38EE and Holding

Sorry I haven't been around for a while. Most of my free time has been taken up with finding new and creative ways to scratch my breasts.

This is one of those things that no one tells you about and then when you mention it, they all go, "Oh, yeah! I had that too! It was awful." Thanks for the advance info!

Since puberty wrapped me in it's spotty, hormonal arms, I have never been flat of chest. In fact, I was the first girl in my 4th grade class to sport a training bra, something which got me no end of grief from the male contingent on the playground and the highly juvenile nickname "Mushroom Boobs." which, once started, caught on BIG TIME. (I could have stabbed that little fucker Jason Smith for that, only 2 weeks later, he asked me to go with him) In high school, I was idealized by my less endowed compatriots as fairly shortly after arriving in 9th grade, I became a 36C.

I personally always thought tits were a nuisance. They kept me from doing well in track (which I hated. Too much bounce.) and swimming (which I loved. To much drag.) and I didn't really enjoy having them stared at by all and sundry. (I wasn't an exhibitionist until college when I attended a small, religious liberal arts school where streaking could have been considered for a minor. Religious repression tends to make people want to get naked pretty bad.)

Since getting pregnant this time around, there have been startling developments in the bra department once again, which I expected to a certain point. BUT NO ONE TOLD ME IT WAS GOING TO ITCH SO BAD I'D WANT TO STICK A HAIRBRUSH DOWN THERE AND JUST GO TO TOWN.

I have no earthly idea of my cup size now, but I'm willing to bet it's at least 2 or 3 letters down the alphabet from where I was in June. They are monsters growing from my chest at an alarming rate.

Please tell me they can't possibly get any bigger!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

16w 5d

Sorry for the dirth of posting recently. Life always gets in the way.

My discussion with the consultant, who kindly phoned me at home, was enough for me to make the decision to go ahead, and for the first time in a long time, trust my gut. (Even though the Prawn is sitting on it at the moment.) I declined the amnio and Mr. DD and I are content to wait until the 20 week anomaly scan to see what's going on.

It's been a very long time since I dared assume that anything was going to turn out for the best. We've had far to many things explode in our faces over the last 7 years or so and have adopted a "fool me once" attitude toward most major occurances. But for some reason, after all the worry about this pregnancy, I just have to let it go. I think the Prawn is fine and I think the 20 week scan will put me safely in the 1:322 bracket. Not only that, but we'll be able to find out whether the Prawn is in posession of a doo-dah or a hoo-ha.

I've started feeling little flutters down below, which is cool. If I slouch at my desk for longer than necessary, the Prawn gets antsy and jabs me to get me to stop cramping it's style. I’ve been kind of wigged out by what seems to be occurring in my lower regions recently, to be honest. Living on a boat, there is little space for a full length mirror, so when I was granted the privilege of showering in my in-laws lovely bathroom this last weekend, I was so stunned at the sight of my body I nearly squeezed half a bottle of apricot scrub all over the carpet. I’ve never been what you could define as slender, but to suddenly see this massive jutting belly appearing from beneath my pajama top was slightly unnerving. (I got big fast. And no, there aren’t two of them in there, unless one is hiding exactly behind the other at all times in the same position, chuckling to itself and waiting until my due date to surprise the hell out of both of us.)

Pregnancy is a natural state, I know, but then again, there are a lot of things that are natural, like tornados and platypus and god knows what kind of monsters that live at the bottom of the ocean. They all have extreme weirdness in common.

It’s kind of like having a roommate move into a very small apartment with you. Sometimes because you advertised for one, but often, just because you forgot to lock the door one night.

You might not notice them at first, despite the limited space. There might be an odd sock around the place that you can’t immediately identify, but nothing you can put your finger on. Then suddenly, you might start to notice strange smells emanating from the kitchen that make you violently ill; your new housemate obviously has vastly different tastes in food than you. They didn’t bring anything with them, of course, so before you know it, they’re wearing your stuff, crowding you out of your own living room, sleeping in your bed and squeezing the toothpaste from the middle of the tube instead of from the end.

But despite all the trouble they caused moving IN, this is NOTHING compared to what happens when they move OUT.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

More Questions (updated)

Today I was hoping for some answers.

I'd been recommended to a pre-natal medicine clinic for what I believed was going to be a level II ultrasound which I hoped would adjust my maternal serum odds and make the decision about whether to have an amnio easier.

I was disappointed.

The midwife that saw me prior to the scan was odd and intense. She stared at me after every statement she made for just a few seconds too long, as if to say, "You DO understand what I'm saying, don't you?" The long and short of it was, she shattered my confidence that 1:161 was nothing to worry about.

There was a clinic held by a doctor that morning doing amnios and it was strongly recommended that I consent to one. For the first time in the history of this pregnancy, I didn't fold immediately and give in.

"Um, I was under the impression that I was just coming in today for a high level scan, not an amnio."

"We recommend amniocentesis for everyone who's had a positive test. That's anyone who's 1:250 or higher risk. We just follow a set of guidelines."

By the time the consultation was over (made worse, I might add, by a student doctor staring at us intently from about 3 feet away.) I was literally about to totally lose my shit. The waiting room was full of pregnant women now, so we stood in the corridor and I whispered to Mr. DD in hushed, hysterical tones while he tried desperately to reassure me that we didn't know anything more now than before we walked in, so I should try to be calm. There was only one other woman in the room who looked more miserable than me. She had come alone, had an IV peg in the back of her hand and was walking with a great deal of pain. I suspected she might have had a termination that she didn't feel particularly happy about and had to resist the urge to go and hug her.

The scan (which wasn't level II) was conducted by a rather brusque, but not totally unfriendly Northern Irish doctor who couldn't find any definite "Downs markers". I would have enjoyed it had I not been so rattled by my consultation with Nurse Rachet moments earlier; fingers and toes were clearly discernible and the Prawn wriggled around to avoid being Big Brother-ed.

We were forced to re-visit Nurse Rachet after the scan to discuss options. Her attitude softened remarkably when the whole lot of crazy that I thought I could keep under control till we got to the car burst out in a huge flood of tears and snot right there in her office.

"I'm so sorry," she said, "you seemed so bouncy when you came in here. I hate to send you home like this."

So now I'm left wondering what the fuck to do next. Since the beginning of this pregnancy, I've had an awful time getting two doctors to agree on anything having to do with my treatment. My GP was dead set against the progesterone, my specialist was all for it. My GP didn't think an 8 week scan was necessary. My specialist did. My specialist told me that 1:161 was really nothing to worry about. Nurse Ratchet said, "Oo, he was a bit brave saying that, I think."

My gut feeling is that there is nothing wrong with the Prawn. But this morning shattered any illusion of calm that I had about this pregnancy.

I don't know what to do.


I was determined that I wasn't going to sit around on my ass today without answers, so I phoned up Dr. Bow Tie Guy. Technically, he's not really my doctor anymore, but he told me early on if there was ever anything I wanted to chat about that I should make an appointment.

Since Mr. DD couldn't come with me due to the fact he was buried under work and trying to figure out what in the holy hell is going on with our estate agent. So, to make sure I didn't end up completely turning into a puddle of unreasonable goo in front of Dr. BTG, I wrote the entire story down as honestly as I could remember it and showed it to Mr. DD before I left. He thought it was good.

Dr. BTG was running behind, but when he finally DID see me, I handed him the letter and explained that it was probably going to be more concise than I could.

The eyebrow went up not too far into my missive.

"You didn't even SEE the consultant?" he queried.

"No, just the midwife."

As the reading continued, he truly began to get a face on like a piece of knitting. He immediately got on the phone to his secretary and asked her to get a hold of the clinic consultant's home and mobile phone numbers. In the 7 months or so that I've known him, it's the first time I've seen him get irritated.

"I'm going to have a chat with him this afternoon and I'll call you at home this evening and we'll see whether we can't come up with a better plan. Oh, and there's no charge for the consultation today."

He patted my hand as I left the office. "Fear not," he said, "I have good vibes."

Can I just say again.....LOVE HIM.

Friday, September 15, 2006


Tag! I'm it. The OneLiner says so. I'm using her words to say something interesting.

Lucky- Mr. DD and I have had a lot of discussions about luck over the past 7 years that we've been married. We've always felt somewhat under the shadow of an inauspicious cloud- if something has been able to go wrong or get in the way of us moving forward in life, count on it, it's going to happen.

The laws of probability (which I find kind of comforting in a strange way) dictate that if there are two random outcomes, there is just as much chance of one happening as the other. While the chances of a coin coming down tails 400 times in a row is slim, it is not improbable since with every flip of the coin, probability basically "resets" itself. (Anyone else a huge fan of Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead?) Of course, this really can't be applied to most stuff in our lives as there are many more factors than chance affecting outcomes, but in the last few years , if we've needed the coin to come up heads, it's almost always been tails.

Until this year. :)

Frantic- I was apparently a total pain in the ass when I was a toddler. (For which I am expecting much karma) I remember numerous occasions on which I was taken to the car for a "time out" or a spanking for behaving like a wild animal in public. (Just FYI, my parents are wonderful people and didn't beat me or anything, but every time I got a spanking I TOTALLY deserved it.)

I can't imagine what a nightmare I must have been to go shopping with. On one occasion, my mom was browsing in a clothing shop and in the split second she turned her back on me, I was out of my stroller, and out the door of the shop, intently focused on one of those cheap, mall merry-go-rounds in the hallway.

Having discovered my disappearing act, my mother, totally insane with worry, ran out of the shop to look for me with two blouses in her hands, setting off the shop alarm and bringing mall security guards running. All was soon explained, however; it was fairly obvious that she was not engaging in any nefarious activity other than motherhood.

Elusive- I don't know if anyone else is guilty of this.

I take my shoes off everywhere. We get to someone's house, they're off. The minute I walk in the door at work (my in-laws house) they're gone.

This odd habit has made the end of stay Shoe Hunt a near daily occurrence. I'm convinced that they walk around by themselves when no one's looking. If the family dog was a shoe chewer, (he's not) I'd blame him for making off with them. But no, it's just me and my chronic short attention span that's to blame for my elusive footwear. I spend at least 15 minutes a day looking for my shoes. By the time I die, I probably will have spent over a year of my life in pursuit of my shoes.


I tag Meg from Journey to the Centre of the Egg, Sara from The Island and Katty from Going it Alone. Your words, ladies, are:





Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Day In, Day Out

I notice a lot of pregnancy blogs tend to go days without updating. It's now obvious why this is. What does one write?

"Today was pretty much like any other day. I went to work. Had lunch. Worked some more. Came home. Watched bad tv. Went to bed. Oh, yeah, still pregnant, swollen, running to the bathroom every 5 seconds and afflicted with heartburn. Love, Rockmama."

Pretty much jack has been going on here for the last week or so. Still waiting for our incompetent health authority to issue a recommendation for a level II ultrasound which needs to be done by 16 weeks. (I'm now 14w 6d, so as you can imagine, I'm kind of tearing my hair out) The Prawn is still beating away in there, albeit slightly louder now than before, which is always nice to hear.

Further updates as events warrant.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Hey! It's An Embarassing Question!

It's not like this isn't a question that I couldn't ask Dr. Bow Tie Guy. The man who encouraged me to talk to my husband's willy before engaging in "Plan B". He's not exactly shy. But what the hell, I'm going to ask you ladies instead. Although I've found many answers on many different forums, I can't seem to find anything definitive on the matter. But I HAVE learned rather a lot about dildos in the process.


If you've had a previous history of miscarriage, do you have to lay off the good stuff for 9 months?

My inability to make up my own mind on this subject probably comes from an inability to see this as a "normal" pregnancy, even, if for all intents and purposes, it is so far.

So, how about it, girls. No big O until the kid shows?

Monday, September 04, 2006

Good News

Well, I finally managed to get my hands on a bona fide UK driver's license.

It's about bloody time.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Bad News (updated)

Maternal Serum Result: Positive.

While I'm aware that this doesn't necessarily mean that the Prawn has Downs, as you know, this is not going to stop me from going to hide under the bed.

A cryptic sheet arrived at my house this morning. No explanations, no nothing. Just the knowledge that from the ultrasound stats (1:1056) to the blood stats (1:84) to the combined risk (1:161) there was a little bit of a downward spiral. Dr. Bow Tie Guy is calling me this afternoon.

More waiting. More worrying.


Dr. BTG called me soon after we arrived home in the evening. It turned out that he'd spent a good deal of the day with an emergency ectopic surgery. This sort of immediately put things into a little bit of perspective- somewhere out there, there was another woman who was feeling a hell of a lot worse than me.

"Right," he said, "if you were my wife, I would recommend you forget about it and enjoy your pregnancy. The odds are clearly in your favor. I know I wouldn't back a horse at 1:161."

"But I know you'll want to be sure, I've contacted a very talented genetics specialist friend of mine who will give you a super-high res scan in Oxford and conduct the quadruple serum test."

Can I just say that I love this man? And also, my insurance company, who's about to throw up a little bit when they see my claim?

Since yesterday, I've had some time to calm down a little bit. I think the initial shock of receiving the results that we expected to be totally normal was what really knocked me for six. I've also done a fair amount of reading on the internet about this particular test and the high rate of false positives; one of the rare occasions that almost every site I visited was unanimous in it's opinion on the subject- HEY! DON'T FREAK OUT! THIS HAPPENS A LOT! I know the odds favor me. But I'd like it better if I could find out by how much without having to stick a huge fucking needle through my abdomen.

I'm convinced that someday, this kid is going to be writing a book about me and how I managed to stunt them emotionally. My Mother And Other Neuroses.

Midwife Report

After having a minor admin nightmare with the NHS, I've finally been assigned a midwife.

She came to visit Wednesday morning for my booking-in. It was a typical morning in the in-laws house; since we run 2 seperate businesses out of it, there was the usual chaos happening everywhere. The dog was barking. The accountant had to bring his two kids because he has them this week. The power went off, so no one could DO anything- the consequence being lots of people hanging out in the kitchen while I was talking in the next room about my private ladyplace.

The midwife was very nice, pretty much what you'd expect. Older, mumsy type, soft spoken. Gave me a bunch of literature that I've already read, took 5 rather large vials of my blood, (I have a needle thing and according to Mr. DD there was quite the fountain when she first stuck me. Lucky we were sitting on the white leather couch.) and just made sure I was feeling okay.

My next appointment isn't until 16 weeks (3 weeks away) so I'll have some time to just twiddle my thumbs and play Hunt the Prawn with the doppler.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Bad Weekend

Infertility robs you of many of the joys of pregnancy. If you are, down to your chromosomes, a psychotic worrier like I am, infertility can literally send you over the edge, which is where I feel I'm hanging out at the moment, by my fingernails.

I got sick this weekend. Chills, headache, backache, stomachache. This morning, I woke up with THAT FEELING. You know which feeling I'm talking about. That feeling that something Isn't Right.

Those of you that read this blog know that I have had this feeling before. The breasts that aren't as firm suddenly. The belly that's not as round. The backache. Microscopic spots of blood. (Although, even through the raging crazies, I'm fairly sure that came from an overly enthusiastic internal scan on Friday as I haven't had any since.)

The very good result on Friday is really the only thing that I'm clinging to at the moment. An early morning call to the area midwife's office confirmed my suspicion that asking anyone for help would be a ridiculous and futile guesture.

"You just....don't feel pregnant?" said the midwife.

"Yeah." I said, trying not to cry.

I could hear the cogs turning in her head. Yet another crazy pregnant woman, she was thinking. How many of THESE calls have I had?

"I'm afraid there's nothing I can do, dear. You'll have to wait until your midwife appointment tomorrow. Just try to calm down."

Excellent advice. I'd never have thought of that on my own.


Mr. DD, being the husband supreme that he is, drove 40 minutes to a mail order place and bought a doppler.

Dopplers are tricky. At 12 weeks, they really only just expect to be able to find the heartbeat on a doppler, so I had to try to prepare myself to not have a heart attack if we COULDN'T find it. On the first try, all we could find was MY heartbeat via the placenta.

"That's me." I said, "it's too slow."

However, on the second try, with just a minute movement of the wand, we found what we were looking for. 150 beats per minute. I started laughing and we lost it, but we found it again, no mistaking what it was.

Heart attack averted. Perhaps this little beauty will keep me from being a basket case for the next 6 months.

Friday, August 25, 2006

The Magic Mark

Holy crap. I'm in the second trimester.

This is pretty cool as I've never gotten a shot at one of these yet. As if to calm my fears further, we had the nuchal translucency scan today. The ISP was determined to put on a show for the dildo cam, (he doesn't fancy it much, probably a little too Big Brother for his liking.) kicking and moshing about, much to the consternation of the scan technician. (The same lovely woman who came in to scan me on her day off when I had my psycho moment a few weeks ago) However, measurements were taken and much to our relief, the Prawn seems to be totally normal. The chances of Downs or any other Trisnomys are very, very low. I got the bloodwork done at the same time just to make sure.

So, grow on, little prawn, and become the mighty lobster that I know you can be!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

3 out of 3

The third of my 3 things has happened.

We got the house we wanted.

I've already got paint samples.

Monday, August 21, 2006


People know.

Our fears about my in-laws reaction to the pregnancy were entirely unfounded, although I got the impression that my father-in-law was grateful that we’d waited until we were relatively sure the pregnancy was stable to break the news, in light of everything that’s been happening with my mother-in-law. So now I don’t have to attempt to suck in my really rather overtly pregnant belly in when sitting at my desk anymore, which is a treat. It’s stupid, I only hit the magical 12 week mark on Thursday and some guy already offered me his seat on the Tube on Saturday. I think the Intergalactic Space Prawn (with thanks to lisalou for inspiration on the name) is doing some fairly major interior decorating or something. Maybe a wide screen tv? (Although I have yet to notice the strains of the “Friends” theme tune filtering up from my womb.)

Everyone’s very pleased, although I still have to admit to an extreme nervousness about the information being “out there” now, as if it’ll act as some kind of jinx. The only reason we didn’t wait until the magic mark was due to the obvious belly, but now I feel as though I’ve somehow betrayed the ISP by letting everyone in on our secret. It’s silly, but as every recurrent miscarrier knows, education is no substitute for superstition. You could be Dr. BigBrain, PhD, but you still think that if you take away your lucky rabbit’s foot, something awful is going to happen.

Still, my belly feels better sticking out in front than hiding under my desk.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Chick Lit

Lisalou from Here's Hoping tagged me for a bit of a literary confessional....

One book that changed your life:

As a young person: Paul Zindel’s ode to high school life and mental illness, Harry and Hortense at Hormone High. As a child I loved Beverly Cleary’s Ramona books as well as the Anastasia Krupnik series by Lois Lowry. My favorite picture book was a drug addled fairy tale called The Thing in Delores Piano about a litle girl who is terrible a terrible musician and her piano conspires to lock up to keep her from playing. My mother found me a copy for Christmas last year and for the life of me, I can’t remember why I was so in love with it. The illustrations are grotesque and obviously done under the influence of magic mushrooms.

As an Adult: I was blessed with a few really amazing educators in high school and one of them recommended A Prayer for Owen Meaney to me for a summer read. While my own relationship with the Almighty fell by the wayside some time back, finding a story that ultimately comes down to a renewal of faith in someone so desperately lacking touched me very deeply.

Following in the same vein, the last of Phillip Pullman’s humanist classic His Dark Materials trilogy, The Amber Spyglass, is also on my list of uplifting favorites.

One book that you've read more than once: I often find myself revisiting books that I love. I actually just finished re-reading Garth Nix’s Old Kingdom Trilogy, (Sabriel, Lirael, Abhorson) probably one of the best fantasy series written in recent years. When I have a spare moment, I often pick up old Terry Pratchett novels to peruse. Not too long ago I re-read Christopher Moore’s Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal, a real must for anyone who has a brilliant sense of humor about Chistianity, but also wants a thoughtful read.

One book you would want on a desert island: Questions like this are utterly impossible, so just on gut instinct, I’d have to say either The Lord of the Rings trilogy or my volume of all of the Hitchhiker’s Guide series. Both choices because they’re long. Lord of the Rings especially has some parts that I know I’ve glazed over. Tolkein had this thing about interrupting a story to tell you some history, which really gets on my tits. There’s a huge battle going on, and then he’ll say something like, “Frodo looked up towards the mountain. This mountain used to be inhabited by such and such clan of Elves during the time of King Whatshisbutt in the time of the 3rd coming.” And so on and so on. I’m like, “Get back to the battle!”

One book that made you laugh: Good Omens, by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman killed me, as did the aforementioned Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal. Humorous lit is a sketchy area; go too far one way or the other (highbrow or lowbrow) and you’re cooked. Jasper Fforde’s brilliant Thursday Next series is also worth reading if you love literary in-jokes.

One book that made you cry: The most recent book that made me totally lose my shit was The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. Before I had my current job, I worked in a small jewelry shop, often by myself. I read the ending of this book on my lunch break and then literally had to shut the shop for 20 minutes while I had a good sob in the basement. I’m a goon.

One book that you wish had been written: Difficult question. I suppose my answer would be, “continuations of stories that I love.” Stories I don’t feel are quite finished yet.

One book that you wish had never been written: On the Road, by Jack Kerouac. A useless waste of paper about a teenage stoner wandering the US and perpetrating small acts of unkindness on others. The mythology that’s been built around this piece of crap is unfathomable to me. I’ve always been determined to finish whatever book I’m reading, even if I don’t like it, but On the Road broke me of that. I was about halfway through it in bed one night when I just threw it across the room and said, “Fuck this book!” Life is too short for terrible literature.

The book that you are currently reading: Literally, just last night I finished Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. While I liked it, it seemed to be trailing in on the coattails of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time; autistic kid tries to make sense of a world that’s falling apart around him. Seriously anti-climactic ending. Probably going to the charity shop.

One book that you have been meaning to read: The classics, really. I haven’t attempted to tackle Jane Austin since high school (I hated it then) nor have I sought out any Dickens or Bronte. I’ve never read Moby Dick or Vanity Fair, so I suppose if I want to consider myself a member of the literatti, I’d probably better get cracking.

So, Molly, would you care to be next to show us what's in your literary lunchbox?

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

No Kids Allowed

Okay, so I was browsing MSN this morning (I try to keep up with news on the other side of the Atlantic) and came across this article.

I'd be interested to hear what you ladies thought of this, especially some of you who already have a parcel of rugrats yourselves.

I suppose I can see both sides of the issue. One the one hand, I know how I feel when Mr. DD and I go into an "adult" restaurant and are seated next to people who have brought a loud and unruly 2 year old along. (This is obviously not including any chain restaurants that are obviously family oriented, but ones where you'd feel uncomfortable walking in wearing jeans and tennis shoes. I personally wouldn't subject other diners in these places to my off-spring.) On the other hand, "child friendly" place actually NEED TO BE CHILD FRIENDLY. Parents shouldn't feel that they're getting the hairy eyeball from other patrons in establishments that are specifically geared toward families. Kids have to learn how to behave in public. And for that, they need to be....well, in public.

Discipline is something Mr. DD and I are keen on. Both of us grew up in good families with parents who managed to teach us at an early age that every action has consequences without excess corperal punishment. (We both got spanked, but only when we REALLY deserved it. The worst spanking of my life occured when I was 3 and threw a sissors at my Dad's head, which stuck in the wall just behind his right ear. I was a psychotic little bitch.) I think both of us had good examples of how to be disciplinarians without being tyrants. Of course, we might have a hell child who might need to be transported around on a wheelie cart a-la Hannibal Lecter.

At any rate, how do you girls feel about this?

Womb Raider

So, 9 1/2 weeks...still looking like a blob.

10 1/2 weeks...sucking it's thumb.

Mr. DD and I were shocked. "When did you grow THUMBS?" we exclaimed. "Let alone an appendage with which to suck them?" I almost managed to forget the indignity of the dildo cam. (Not to mention the serious clenchage I was doing to avoid farting on Dr. BTG. Lentil soup for lunch and my legs up in stirrups. Oy.)

"Oh, I've woken him up." said Dr. Bow Tie Guy.

The alien looked right at us. You could tell he was all like, "You mother f****r. I'm going to f*** you. I OWN this womb. Are you a Jew?"

I kid, I kid. I hope to give birth to the anti-Gibson, but the little prawn did look vaguely perturbed at being paparazzied while trying to enjoy a nap and directed little Bruce Lee type maneouvers in our direction to show he meant business. So we left him in peace.

This'll pretty much be my last scan until the NHS sends me in for one at 20 weeks, so I'll be a while before I see his little face again. (although by the next time, he will have theoretically grown significantly more of a face to see) At that point I imagine that we'll be able to find out whether he is the he we believe him to be or whether he is a she instead of a he. Forgive my lapse into Seussian rhyme there.

This was also my last visit with Dr. Bow Tie Guy, which is a shame, but he's not really an obstetrics person, he just deals with early pregnancy complications, so I've been handed off to the local NHS midwife, who hasn't actually bothered to get in touch yet. Glad to know I'm in good hands.


Monday, August 14, 2006

Scan #3

10 week, 4 day scan tonight.

I'm getting tired of approaching every scan with a feeling of impending doom. As hard as I try, I just can't manage to convince my traitorous brain that everything is going to be okay. Every time I go in, I'm convinced that the dream is about to be over.

Not that I have any rational basis for my fears. Big boobs, check. Bloated belly, check. Mild nausea, check. So I ask you brain, wtf?

1 of 3 things that I hoped would happen today has. A good omen, perhaps. A visiting friend's flight to Amsterdam was not cancelled due to increased security at UK airports. The second thing that I hope will happen is that the bid we put in on the house we want is accepted. The third thing is a strong heartbeat. I could do two out of three as long as the thing we lose is the house.

Monday, August 07, 2006


I have discovered a new pregnancy symptom. I hate everybody.

In the last 3 days, my morning sickness has mutated into an all consuming hatred of everything complicated, fussy and ignorant. I am that girl who would rather die than be rude to someone, even if they had been exceedingly rude to me. No more, baby. Fear me, for I am bitch.

I imagine this won’t last. I’m HOPING this won’t last, because I don’t like not being a nice, patient person with a tolerance for stupidity and ineptitude of all sorts. It makes life happier and less stressful to be zen about having to wait 20 minutes for my sandwich at a fast food restaurant because the 15 year old grill cook is too busy scratching his ass with a spatula. It keeps my blood pressure down when receiving brusque emails from clients demanding delivery of a complicated piece of equipment that they ordered just yesterday even though they were told it wouldn’t be available for 2 weeks. I’m not superwoman or anything; it’s not like these things don’t make me seethe with internal rage, but I’m able to remain calm and polite throughout until I’m able to get into a little space all my own and call them all manner of filthy names.

Pregnancy seems to have taken away that ability to some extent. That guy behind the sandwich counter? Oy, I haven’t got all day. Having worked in fast food myself, I know it’s not exactly brain surgery to come up with a burger with no ketchup on it. The customers with the email? We told you it’ll be two weeks, so cool your jets, you pompus asshat.

This morning, I had to speak to a bank on the phone. Oh yes, a bank.

I left the States when I was 24. Being 24, I had few reasons to want to contact my bank other than if I accidentally went nuts at Old Navy and went into the red on my account. (Only happened once.) Being in my 30’s now and part of a pair of people wishing to purchase property, I have the distinct misfortune to wish to communicate with my bank.

My bank seems to be extremely adept at preventing this.

In a flash of what can only be termed customer service inspiration, my particular bank decided to a) deny access of direct branch numbers to account holders and b) move call centres that will inevitably be dealing with an influx of angry customer calls saying, “where the fuck has my branch number gone?” to Mumbai.

Think what you want about my issue with this. I know myownself that I’m not a terrible racist cow. The fact about Indian call centres is not that their staff is untrained; they are. It’s not that they’re uneducated; they’re not. It’s that you can’t understand a bloody word they’re saying. They get frustrated with you, you get frustrated with them….it just adds up to bad customer service points for the bank. It’s not their fault their accents are difficult for the Western ear, but equally, it’s not my fault that I am possessed of said Western ear. (Hell, I used to dread having to talk to our Glaswegian manager on the phone when I worked my first retail job here in the UK)

Mr. DD is heading into town this afternoon to talk to our local mortgage advisor. Being unable to locate the branch telephone number, I was forced to call the “help”line to get it.

I was fortunate to end up with a “customer service representative” who’s accent was fairly Westernized.

“Hi,” I said, “I’d like the direct number for the Leighton Buzzard branch, please.”

“Are you an account holder?”


“Can I ask why you’re requesting the number?”

The normal me would have kept my cool at this point. The current me did not.

What I wanted to say was, “Because it’s my bloody bank and my money is there and it’s none of your business why I want to talk to someone at the branch, so give it to me now, or I swear I will fly out to whatever region of the sub-continent you inhabit and choke you.”

“Because,” I said with some restraint, “my husband and I would like to talk to a mortgage advisor.”

“I could put you on the phone with one of our mortgage advisors.”

“We want to talk to someone in person.” I said through gritted teeth, “Someone AT OUR BRANCH.”

“Ok, I’ll put you through.”

“Is there a reason why I can’t have the number so that I can call them myself?”

“I don’t actually have the number here, but I can transfer you.”

My spirit was broken at that point. He didn’t even manage to transfer me to the right person. I suppose I should be grateful that it was even the right branch.

This new bitch girl that I seem to have become is at once empowering and unpleasant. I need my filter switched back on.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Junk Mail

To the Occupant:

Since I'll be playing John Hurt to your acid-dribbling alien stomach worm for the next 6 months or so, I just wanted to be the first to welcome you to our little uterine community.

If there's anything we can do to make your stay more comfortable or pleasant, please let us know, because we'd really, really love for you to stick around.


The Management


This morning, I get to explain to Dr. BTG why I am such a muppet. I suppose I'm glad I'm going in, as I'll get my routine blood test to make sure all the little hormones are ticking along nicely, but I'm not looking forward to trying to tell him I was positive everything was going wrong because "my boobs didn't feel right." Oy.

Not much to report on the bean front at the mo. I've had to start exclusively wearing some very baggy shirts every day in order not to appear like the monsterous bloated vision that I am in front of my in-laws, whom we haven't notified yet as to my current state of pregatude.

The last time I got pregnant, I got shouted at by my mother-law. In her defense, I had only just taken the job of PA with my father-in-law and she felt that I had just ruined everything when it was working out so nicely. She used words that I'm not likely to forget. Ever. 10 minutes after making me feel worse than I've ever felt in my life, she said she was sorry. And I think she was. Really sorry. But I miscarried 2 weeks later, so the whole thing became a moot point.

Since then, she's gotten sick. And it's hard to be upset with her anymore as she obviously has more than enough of her own problems to deal with. But the fear of telling both her and my f.i.l still remains. What with HER diagnosis and the need for her to be looked after all the time, I think that some of the same feelings might come up with them- "Why are you doing this NOW? Could your timing be any WORSE? Why didn't you talk to US before you starting trying to conceive?". In the end of it all, should I be lucky enough to deliver a live, kicking and screaming baby, I think those thoughts are going to be left far behind and they'll truly celebrate the birth of their first grandchild, but I'm not sure if I'm ready at the moment for their reaction to be, "Great. ANOTHER thing to worry about." when I regard this pregnancy as a blessing.

If it's not one thing, it's another.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


Okay. I'm a big doofus.

Little dude or dudette still in there doing their thang. Right size, right place.

I totally owe the tech who came in on her day off a bottle of champagne.


Although Dr. Bow-Tie Guy is off on holiday again, his very kindly nurse has arranged for a tech to do a scan today at 4. I'm sure she thought I was batshit crazy when I called her this morning, but I imagine she's had a fair amount of experience dealing with hysterical pregnant women.

My greatest fear is to not see that heartbeat again. I know everyone is going through their own little personal bouts of madness, but if you have any spare good energy, please send it my way. I feel like I'm on the edge of a cliff.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


Just having one of those nighttime freakout sessions. Think my boobs might be slightly less firm than 2 days ago.

This cannot be happening again. Please let this not be happening again.

Monday, July 31, 2006


Fuck fuck fuckity fuck fuck socks.

Stalling on a hill is good way to avoid getting your license.

On the Road

In half an hour, I'm off on my driving test.

I've been driving since I was 15, but after moving to Britain, was only allowed 1 year in which to drive before I was required to get a British license. This seems a little odd to me: let me get used to driving on the opposite side of the road, let me get GOOD at it and THEN deem that I'm unacceptable without a UK driving license. I could have been running old ladies down at zebra crossings that whole time!

At any rate, it's something I've been putting off for...well, about 7 years now. I've actually taken the test twice before, but both times, I was woefully unprepared for the extremely rigorous testing procedure (a monkey who had never driven before could have passed the Maryland State Practical Driver's Exam) and had little experience with a clutch, so couldn't have hoped to come out the other side with a good result. This time, however, I've taken lessons and know that I am fully capable of passing. This is the source of my nerves.

Being nauseous is not helping.

Fingers crossed!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

"There's Nothing to Worry About, But..."

Ok, fear's back.

Just got a call from Dr. Bow Tie Guy's secretary (who's also a OBGYN nurse). Apparently, my hcg levels are "excellent" but my progesterone levels are only "fine". "There's no need to be alarmed," she said in that lovely, calm nursy tone, "but Dr. BTG would like you to use two progesterone pessaries a night instead of one."

So not only to I get to shove TWO suppositories up my tradesman's every night, but all the anxiety has just come flooding in with a vengance.


Random Nauseous Thoughts

Been hanging with my folks for the last few days. They stopped by on their way back from their tour in Switzerland and it was really fantastic to see them.

It occured to me that this is the first time that my mother has actually SEEN me pregnant- even though it's obvious to no one but me at the moment. (I feel so bloated, I can't believe people don't come up to me, trying to moisten me with wet towels and encourage me back to the ocean) My last two miscarriages took place over here, 3000 miles away from the person I wanted the most when they happened. It was nice that I got to be with her for at least a little while with a potential life in my belly.

I'm closing in on 8 weeks now. All symptoms present and accounted for. Boobs that look like a map of the tributaries of the Amazon and the smell of trees and any cosmetic product making me swoon with nausea. Strangely enough, food products do NOT make me want to hurl, so I know that it could be much, much worse, but I'm lamenting having to store my lovely Lush products under the sink until I can bear to smell them again. It's all pretty new. None of these things happened the first times around.

When I thought about being pregnant, I tended to think in terms of "how am /I/ going to deal with this?" but I've been finding gradually that it's more like, "how is this completely new person who I've never met before going to deal with this?" I've not been overly weepy, but not overly joyful either. I don't feel at all like myself- like I'm kind of looking in at the whole thing from the outside. The lack of fear is the most frightening; how can I possibly let myself believe that everything's going to be okay after what's gone before?

I'm holding my breath until the next scan on the 4th of August.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


Didn't originally think I'd post photos on this blog, but my mother took a really cute one of Mr. DD and I yesterday, so I thought I'd share. :)

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Hot Hot Hot

Ok, putting aside the fact it's hot enough to fry eggs on the York flagstones outside on the patio, I have to admit to a slight amount of trepidation due to my temperature.

I've had a low grade fever for two weeks now, never going above 99 degrees. I've read some bits that say that's totally normal for pregnancy and others that say I should go to my doctor. My mother told me that her body temperature was mildly elevated throughout the entire time she was carrying me.

Well, I've BEEN to my doctor and taken a low dose course of Amoxicillan, just in case. I don't really FEEL all that bad. (except for the waves of nausea and the bloating that's making me look like I'm 6 MONTHS gone rather than 6 WEEKS)

What do you think, ladies? Anyone with similar experience?

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Houston, We Have a Heartbeat

Yeah. No kidding. There really IS a little bugger in there.

As anyone waiting for the first scan, I spent pretty much hours rhuminating over the worst that could be found; an ectopic pregnancy or...well, nothing at all. These things have pretty much been eating at me since I first saw the two lines on the stick. My first two pregnancies were pretty much over before I even knew what was happening, back when I was dumb enough to think it was as easy to get and stay pregnant as your high school sex ed teacher told you it was. I'd never really seen any evidence that my body was doing anything until the inevitable happened.

At any rate, the appointment went really well and Dr. Bow Tie Guy was happy with what he saw, so both Mr. DD and I are really, really pleased. All fingers and toes crossed that the little blighter stays put.

As a side note: May I just make a suggestion to the manufacturers of "wand" scanners? There are a lot of other people in the business of making things that people cram in various orifices who are a lot better at it than you. A SQUARE end?



The Mr. and I just returned from a little weekend getaway in Portugal.

While the two of us are completely skint, he happens to have extended family who are very much the opposite and we were lucky enough to crash at their enormous holiday villa in the Algarve from Friday til Tuesday. We didn't do much of anything other than eat, drink (no alcohol for me in the land of drinks with umbrellas in them. Humph.) and swim, so it was pretty much the perfect holiday. The sun and sea air managed to dampen some of the anxiety I've got over this pregnancy, although, strangely, on the third day we were there, the smell of the place started making me sick to my stomach. Sweet juniper and other vegetation combined to make this smell that I'm totally sure at any other time, I'd love, but while we were there, it totally made me gag. Morning sickness in 32 degrees C is not a party, although it's actually hotter now here at home (like Thalia said, we're having a freak heatwave in the UK at the moment) and sleeping in a house that's a hollow metal tube (did I mention my husband and I live on a narrowboat?) is not exactly a recipe for keeping cool.

My first scan is today and obviously, I'm having small breakdowns every 5 minutes. My rational side says, "Everything you can do, you've done already and you can't change it, so chill", but the part of me that got broken by the last two miscarriages that I try to keep locked up is trying to tempt the dog holding the keys outside the cell with a chicken bone. Fucker.

At any rate, I'll let you guys know how it goes. Fingers crossed for that heartbeat.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Cow Talkers

I've always been really into folklore and just thought I'd share this bit.

My family is Pennsylvania Dutch. My maternal grandmother never spoke English at home on a regular basis until she was 16. I was born with the recipe for Shoo Fly Pie hard burned into my brain. The PA Dutch are a fairly superstitious people, (The hex signs on barns, practicing Pow Wow magic, etc) although I've recently learned of a rather charming piece of information for the first time.

For anyone expecting in December or thinking about cycling next April, the PA Dutch believe that on Christmas Eve, cows gain the power of speech- from being in the stable in Bethlehem, presumably. (What cows have to talk about, I'm not 100% sure, but I can't imagine it would be very interesting) At any rate, according to the lore, anyone born on Christmas Day inherits the ability to understand them.

I don't know why this tickles me so much, but it does.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Swimmers from Stem Cells

Can I just say that I would like men to cool their jets about this?

There are a lot of things to argue about when it comes to messing about with procreation and I don’t particularly want to venture into the Swamp of Morality, but what I would REALLY like to see happen is a cessation to all of the “Well, you’re obviously just all going to become lesbians and imprison us on a deserted island somewhere” scaremongering of the media.

Jeremy Lawrence, commentator for the Independent, had his column heading in today’s paper hijacked by sensationalist editors. The title, “Discovery raises spectre of making men discardable” is utterly incompatible with Lawrence’s actual piece, which offers reasons for rising male infertility (age, obesity, environmental factors) and doesn’t even touch upon the idea of women somehow evolving beyond the need for men for reproduction.

A few quick facts…

It is not ever possible for two women to have a biological child together without a man. Female stem cells lack the Y chromosome which makes it impossible to create an artificial sperm. Theoretically, however, it WOULD be possible for two MEN to be biological parents of a child with the help of a surrogate mother, although 75% of the offspring would turn out to be male. So chalk one up for the guys here.

Recent decreases in male fertility do NOT signify that men are being evolutionarily phased out. Men are waiting longer to have children, the same as women. Obesity levels are reaching epidemic proportions. (67% of American men are now classified as overweight.) Both of these factors diminish male fertility. What some critics of the breakthrough fail to mention is that FEMALE fertility has ALSO decreased, often due to the same factors. (of course there are about a million more things to go wrong with our bits and pieces, but in some cases, female fertility can be affected by the same factors as male fertility)

c) Do we REALLY think it’s possible to undo billions of years of reproductive and sexual evolution? Will the whole of the earth’s female population simply stop wanting to be with men? (Well, at least the ones that want to be with men in the first place. Obviously some of them don't which is TOTALLY FINE by the way, before I get clobbered.) The very idea is ludicrous. Who’d get the lids off of the jars? (A JOKE.)

So the media, who does just love to blow things out of all proportion should fight the urge to paint a picture of a man-free world. Any testosterone bearing person who’s concerned about this new development (which is bloody amazing for couples struggling with male infertility, by the way) should really just calm down.

The helicopters will be coming for them shortly.

Monday, July 10, 2006

A Word From Our Sponsors

I know I'm pretty new to the whole TTC/IF scene here on the Intarweb even though my own journey to bring a real live baby into the world has been going on for well over 2 years now. I just wanted to say thanks for all the support that I've received.

There are many brands of infertility; the kind with chemicals, the kind with broken personal bits, the kind that doesn't have a rhyme or reason. Easy to get pregnant, impossible to carry to term. A pregnancy that can only be achieved with the aid of needles and doctors. The agony of cycle after failed cycle. But they all have in common the dizzying highs of anticipation and devestating lows of loss.

While I have huge doubts and worries about the viability of this pregnancy (not based on fact, by the way, just pure recurrant miscarrier anxiety) I don't take the blessing of conception for granted, nor am I ignorant to the difficulties that some might have in continuing to read this blog because I know that feeling myself all too well. Other people's good fortune, even if you don't begrudge them, can be difficult when you feel that life is doing it's best to beat you to a pulp.

Just felt I needed to say that. Thank you all so much.

31 Flavors of Madness

I was hoping to restrain the crazy monster until after the first scan. I really was. Because, realistically, I'm doing everything I can at the moment that I know of to help this 5 week old pregnancy along and until I know one way or the other whether it's viable, there's really no point in engaging in any form of psychotic behavior since there's bugger all I can do about it.

But of course, I'm sure you're aware that I am, at this moment, all kinds of crazy wondering what kind of insane fucking surprises my body has in store for me next.

1) Woke up with a fever this morning. Not a high one, but having a fever making me very unhappy and more than a little unhinged. Got a phone consult with GP this afternoon to let me know whether I should be freaking out or lying down with a few paracetamol.

2) Kidney pain that's not an infection (have had two seperate cultures done, both negative) that won't bloody quit. Of course, my first thought is ectopic pregnancy, but my hcg numbers don't seem to indicate that. I'm pretty much prepared for all kinds of weirdness happening below the waist, and I know that things are all kinda getting moved around at the moment, but does it have to be so damned mysterious??

3) Panic attacks in the middle of the night! Hooray! Can someone tell me how the hell my body sees it as a good idea to wake me up in the middle of the night to worry about something that wasn't really bothering me while I was blissfully unconscious? Who the fuck DOES that? If someone came running into your room at 2am and started shaking you yelling, "Shit! Remember that thing that's scaring the crap out of you? Well, IT'S STILL HERE!" you'd probably bash their head in with your alarm clock.

4) Ok, can I just say something about progesterone suppositories? Not to be taken cooterally by anyone that has frequent bouts of cystitis. (Spot the IC sufferer!) So what option does that leave me? Oh, yes, straight up the yoo hoo. How people can get things like soda cans and wine bottles up there I have NO idea.

Please, for the love of all that is holy, help restrain me.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Look Out Below

There are rumblings in the deep.

This is argueably one of the tastiest soups I have ever, myownself had a chance to consume. But it is entirely possible, that should this pregnancy continue, I will not be partaking of its goodness again for the remainder of it.

I have always had a slightly delicate stomach, although I've learned to tolerate the gurgling following a hot curry or some such indulgence.

Today, however, I feel that I might well need to journey out of doors in able to rid myself of the air bubble that is so big, it's giving me shoulder pains, for fear that I might actually shatter some windows.


Wednesday, July 05, 2006


Just a quick question ladies....

Has anyone else had trouble with side effects from progesterone suppositories? I was slightly dizzy before taking them and have had minor drops in blood pressure, (the thing that Dr. BTG said could either be totally normal or an indicator of an ectopic pregnancy) but now I'm REALLY dizzy after taking them for 2 days.

I'm going to call the NHS Direct line as Dr. BTG has most certainly gone home for the day, but has anyone else had this kind of problem?

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Welcome to the World

My lovely friend Bryan has just welcomed a new daughter into the world with his partner Elizabeth. Say hello to Willow Elyria Twilight Falcon Smucker. A big name for a tiny person!

Monday, July 03, 2006

The Visitation

All of my visits to Dr. Bow-Tie Guy up until now have been leading up to or directly following surgery. This visit to his office was altogether different.

Dr. BTG greeted us with a rather strange left handed handshake, having the previous day crushed his fingers in a winch...on a yacht. Of COURSE it was on a yacht. No pedestrian slamming it in a car door or smacking it with a hammer for a man in private medicine. No, he had to get it caught in a yacht's anchor winch. No matter what the cause, though, a surgeon can't particularly afford to spend time with his digits wrapped in Band-Aids, so he looked vaguely pained throughout the proceedings.

As one might expect, I've had some fears that I REALLY needed allaying.

1) About 2 weeks ago, I was treated with anti-biotics for a kidney infection.

2) I've been having funny pseudo fainting spells- drops in blood pressure.

3) And holy cow, have I been having cravings for scrambled eggs. Are they going to poison me, cause rather a lot of internet websites are under the impression that they are?

His answers were quite to the point.

1) Not a problem.

2) Could be a good sign, a vague possibility that it's bad. Pregnancy plays all kinds of havoc with your blood pressure due to changes in progesterone. There's a small chance that it can also be an indicator of an ectopic pregnancy, the possibility of which, however small, I'm trying to prepare myself for. I've been having vague lower abdomen pain, but (welcome to the fun that is me) I also suffer from IBS, which pregnancy tends to make more acute.

"You're just one weird bag of goo," Mr. DD says to me, "there's no way of knowing WHAT'S normal with you. "

3) Eat eggs. Eat cheese. Eat whatever you like within reason as long as you cook the crap out of it first. "Life is for living," Dr. BTG said sagely, "don't let people scare the hell out of you."

We were also given some advice regarding the horizontal hucklebuckle.

"Semen," said the Good Doctor, "which is something that tends to jump out of boys when they get terribly excited, has a chemical in it that can cause contractions in the uterus. So while you're on holiday you should just say, "Hello Mr. Willy. May I entertain you this evening with Plan B?"

Mr. DD sat there, mouth slightly agape. I suppose that 35 plus years looking at fannies in all states of disrepair will do things to your sense of humor.

So there we have it. I came away with a blood test, 15 progesterone suppositories ("These can be administered vaginally or anally." said the woman at the pharmacy. "Well, not much of a contest there." I replied) and an appointment for a scan on the 19th of July, after Mr. DD and I return from our long weekend in Portugal.

Fingers crossed.

Step One

Got my first appt. with Dr. Bow-Tie Guy this afternoon. Of course, I'm freaking about everything. Will report upon return.

Thursday, June 29, 2006


Since deciding to start TTC, I stocked up on pregnancy tests. Buying them to me has always been kind of akin to buy condoms or something, which is stupid. I think they have the connotation for me of some scared teenage girl crying her eyes out in the bathroom at the mall. (a scene I have witnessed many times growing up in rural Maryland where they actually have to ask "Are you related in any way?" when you apply for a marriage certificate)

Having them in your bathroom is a temptation as anyone who's TTC knows. They call to you toward the end of the cycle. "Pee on me! Peeeeeee oooooon meeeeee....." they whisper from the drawer.

So, this morning, expecting AF literally any second, I gave in to the temptation, feeling like a mug.

The result was not quite what I was expecting.

I went out to show Mr. DD.

"This isn't in my head right?" I asked, shoving the thing in his face. (We sometimes forget that not everyone has the same tolerance to our own pee as we do)

"Nope. That's really definitely a plus sign," he replied.

I don't really know what to think at the moment. Mr. Devil Duck put it best. "Right, this doesn't mean we're having a baby, it just means that we've gotten planning permission." I'm trying to forget about the plus sign while at the same time going into battle mode. I'm in the process of writing a letter to my insurance company telling them that I'm going to see a specialist. I need to wait til my father-in-law (who is also my boss) leaves the room so I can make an appointment with Dr. Bow-Tie Guy asap.

Anyone who's experienced pregnancy loss probably understands the myriad of conflicting emotions. Joy and excitement heavily tempered with trepidation and crippling worry. As far as I'm concerned, for my own sanity, until that child is in my arms, I'm still TTC. We're not telling a soul (except all you internet folks, of course) until we have to.

Please, please send me good energy!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Having a Moan

I generally don't like venting on my blog. Especially in the IFsphere where so many other people are going through their own personal hells, but as things are at the moment, it is my one and only outlet, so vent I must.

Mr. Devil Duck's family is close. Very close. So close that his brother still lives at home and all 5 of us work from the family home running two different companies. We live in eachother's pockets. So when, round about December last year, we noticed that all was not right with my mother-in-law, we were all pretty worried. She was exhibiting symptoms that might be consistant with a breakdown or a small stroke. Lapses of attention, concentration and conversational strangeness. We finally made her see a doctor in January.

Round about February , we found out that she was very ill. At first, she was diagnosed with Sporadic CJD, (not the Mad Cow kind) which is pretty much a very, very rare short term death sentence, sending us all into a spiral of complete dispair. I find it interesting that, as humans, the first reaction to bad news is never what you would expect. My first feeling was of overwhelming guilt for every harsh word we'd ever spoken (we get along very well, but we've butted heads occasionally) and for my body's inability to produce a grandchild that she could meet. Strangely enough, my second thought was, "I have no idea how to cook a Sunday roast like she does. I have to learn. RIGHT NOW!" Grief is rarely ever rational.

But it became apparent soon enough that, in fact, the doctors had no IDEA what what wrong with her. Her symptoms didn't really fit the profile of CJD. She went through a battery of tests including 7 MRIs and psychometric testing. We've been told, over the past few months that it IS CJD, that it ISN'T CJD, that it MIGHT be CJD and quite frankly we're all completely exhausted.

As a last attempt to discover the cause of the problem, she went in two weeks ago for a brain biopsy.

People have been drilling holes in their heads as long as we've been people. Early cavemen practiced trephanning as a shamanistic practice and as pain relief, but drilling a hole in your skull obviously comes with a few drawbacks, so we were fairly nervous about the procedure.

She came out of the surgery okay. She was up and walking around the ward the day after the surgery, and while she was suffering with some pretty severe headaches and some confusion, she seemed to be fairly lucid and well.

However, since she's been home, the confusion has trebled. She finds it impossible to understand instructions on the first, second or third go. (like, "you need to go take a shower" or "can you hand me that glass?") Today is worse than it's ever been and has literally been an excercise in frustration for everyone in the house. Mr. DD is super with her, trying to make her laugh and excercising infinite patience with her nonsensical tangents. She's taken to talking almost constantly, which is stressful for everyone, because very little of what she says makes any sense at all, leaving us trying to think of something to answer her with. I don't want to make it sound like we resent her or something, it's just terribly, terribly frustrating to see someone deteriorate this way.

Part of the newfound drive to TTC with a vengance is due to all of this. It will be another 4 weeks yet before we get the results of the biopsy, but we are all bracing ourselves for the worst. I hate trying to start a pregnancy under these particular conditions due to my two previous miscarriages. I feel so strongly that this next pregnancy MUST work, both for my sake AND for my mother-in-law's sake, while she still knows who we are, I'm afraid of my stress levels shooting through the roof and sabotaging the whole thing.

Sorry to dump, but it's been a very bad day.