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.