Please step this way. Yes, we can help. Sure your fertility problems can be fixed. Please lie down on this table while we inject your cervix with ink. Sorry we didn’t warn you about the procedure or how much it would hurt. No, we won’t ignore you or the way you feel. Oh dear, we didn’t notice you bleeding on the floor. Sorry, we don’t have any cloths for you so you’ll just have to hurry on home like that. Hi, yes let me put you through to the nurse. Oh, did nobody tell you that it supposed to do that. Well, it is and so, no, it doesn’t mean you are pregnant. Why yes, you are out of line for crying.
No, the doctor is away on holiday and you still can’t have the results you’ve been waiting for since January. Oh, your arm was dislocated and you missed two months of treatment? We didn’t notice. Yes, let’s do the same thing we did the first month while we wait for the doctor to get back. That will cost you R1k. That will cost you R1k. Please lie down. Oh, yes your ovaries look like they are in great shape, you have a better chance than most, but you are nearly 42 and you must do IVF. Did I spring that on you out of nowhere? Gosh, sorry about that.
Hi, we can give you an appointment with the doctor on Monday. Sorry you arrived on time but the doctor spent 45 minutes on the phone, keeping you waiting. Morning doc, how are we doing? Listen, your first month of this strategy didn’t work so let’s do IVF. But, I say, we only tried for one month! You are 42. Your eggs are mouldy. You must try IVF. How much is that, doc? R50k. Oh. Well I would rather keep trying this option and then consider IVF after a decent time has passed. No, you must do IVF. Sorry you feel sold to as I adjust my expensive platinum watch. Stop looking so angry. Come in on Wednesday and let’s do a scan. No, I won’t talk about how to improve your chances with lifestyle and dietary choices. That won’t make you suspicious of my intentions at all. Yes, I can totally see how my behaviour has built a relationship of trust between us.
Please lie down. Oh, look, a lovely egg. Today you inject yourself and have sex for three days. It won’t work, though. You are nearly 42. Your eggs are mouldy. I would be lucky if I got two healthy eggs out of an IVF treatment for you. You probably won’t get two cycles out of your eggs. You are nearly 42. No, it is unlikely this will work, you just don’t know when a healthy egg with drop. You’re too old for adoption. No, I’m not, I say. Tears fall onto the steering wheel. I pull over so I don’t crash the car. Breathing hurts.
It will cost you R30k to adopt and save a child. IVF will cost you R50k. What kind of a decision is this? Am I selfish? Where do I find the money when I have a family and spending that much money on a 25% success rate for IVF seems utterly selfish? How can I not?
Please sit down. Yes, you need to pay before we take the blood. No, we don’t care that we have kept you waiting for two hours. You need to pay for the Femara. I already paid. No, you didn’t. Yes, I did. Don’t get snippy with me; I am just doing my job. I just don’t want to pay R700 twice. Thank you for making me two hours late for work, the work I need to do in order to pay these fees. I like driving home after getting emotional with someone again. I love the guilt and the way it makes me feel like a nightmare.
No, I don’t mind the injection. Yes, honey, please can we try again?
You are nearly 42 and every second you don’t do IVF is an egg wasted. They will crumble in the lab. NO you cannot wait until the end of the year. You will never have another child unless you spend a fortune with us. Sorry, we don’t care about you, please pass the credit card.
Fertility. Such an innocuous word. It never ceases to amaze me that I spent most of my 20s trying not to get pregnant and now that I am in a place where small humans can exist in comfort, things are not going so well. It is quite easy to get upset, depressed, miserable, shouty, angry, mopey, ugly, farty – and other negative things that end in “y”. So, today, to defeat the Ys I present – 10 things about fighting for fertility that you’re not sure you want to know.
Warning: This is NOT for the faint hearted or people who will stop being my friend when they hear about my vagina…
1. It is open viewing time again
If you have had other children, you will know that while you are pregnant your, cough, girly bits are considered open viewing to all. Half of Bath saw my girl – students, doctors, nurses, midwives, passing strangers…
Problem: When you are going to a fertility clinic (I am currently exploring my options at Vitalab and having, it must be said, a mixed experience) you will once again be expected to show your lower half to the world.
Solution: Make her pretty! Add some glitter, maybe some sparkles or why not consider shaving a pattern? This could make everybody’s day and I am sure your doctor will appreciate the effort.
2. Bicarbonate of soda and the bathroom floor
I got clear instructions. Add X amount of bicarb to X amount of water. Put into terrifying tube with terrifying rubber squeeze top and shoot up vaginal canal. This is a trick for women who have acidic mucus around their cervix that kills sperm. It neutralises the acid, welcomes the spermies, and hopefully one of them will get through.
Problem: They said sit on the side of the bath. I did. It didn’t seem to work and was inordinately painful.
Solution: Do it missionary style while lying on a towel on the bathroom floor. Don’t do it just as your husband decides to come home and starts shouting in an increasingly worried voice, “Honey? Where are you? Honey?”
3. It is not wrong to visualise Russel Crowe
Remember Gladiator? Sperm have a lot to deal with. They have to get through the cervix and into a womb that is, honestly, an extremely pissed off and hostile place for the poor dears. It includes dead ends, angry antibodies, death traps – I am not entirely sure how we fall pregnant to begin with!
Problem: Very few sperm make it through to the egg.
Solution: It is perfectly acceptable after sex to stick your legs in the air and chant, “Go GLADIATOR SPERM! You can do it” and visualise your Russell Crowe sperm fighting his way to success. If your partner edges away in terror, offer him a whisky.
4. You hate other pregnant people
Now this does come with a caveat. There are people I know that are pregnant now and to whom I wish every last droplet of joy and success I own. They are OK.
Problem: There are also pregnant people who you genuinely don’t think deserve it, who are idiots, who don’t seem to understand why you are not dropping to your knees and praising their fertility and who sulk because they cannot drink alcohol.
Solution: It is OK to hate them a little bit in your dark recesses and to rock back and forth under a desk going, “Aaaargh. Ngggghhhhh.” Don’t tell them though, one day you might regret it.
5. Stupid remarks
“Why not adopt?”
“Just stop stressing and it will be fine.”
” I had a friend who stopped stressing/trying/eating wheat/murdering baby seals/eating humans and she fell pregnant straight away!”
“You already have one child, be grateful.”
Let me just tell those of you who make these comments how they make us feel in order of appearance:
1. Thank you for making my futile and heartbreaking attempts to have another baby into something I should now feel horribly guilty about because I am not adopting a child in need. That’s awesome. I needed another layer of pain to add to the one I already have. Thank you.
2. Stress does not cause infertility you insensitive asshole
3. This NEVER happens to the infertile person you are saying it to. It doesn’t help. Shut up.
4. Oh, sorry, I didn’t realise that I had been given a one child limit. Was it on a notice or something? Or do I not pay attention to the child I have? What does this even mean?
Problem: They mean well but you want to hit them.
Solution: I have no solution to this problem. Maybe a shirt that says, “I am infertile and upset about it, but please don’t try and solve my problem for me.”?
6. You need to change your diet
I am going to be writing quite a lot about the types of food that encourage pregnancy on this blog, but I can tell you what happens when you read that you need to eat nuts, fruit and vegetables and avoid coffee and sugar like the plague…
…Problem: You drink nothing but coffee and eat a year’s supply of Easter eggs in 24 hours
Solution: Don’t do the shopping when hungry, when you have just realised another stupid period has arrived, when you are pissed off and hormonal, and when you have just finished a conversation with someone from Number 5…
7. Have sex
Sex, when wild and spontaneous and without an agenda, is fun. When you have to do it six hours after shooting bicarb up your wibbly bits, it loses its flavour.
Problem: [age restricted]
Solution: [add in sex fantasy of your choosing]
No, really, just read all the websites that offer you sage advice on how to spice up your sex life and give them a bash. Although, I sometimes think that trying too hard can be just as tedious as having to plan it all.
8. You have to learn stuff and you feel like a FAKE
Infertility is shit, complicated and still not an exact science and so, when you first realise that you may not be one of the lucky ones and that your journey could be a long one, you start to look for like minded people to help you on your way. What you will encounter is this:
Problem: AF, AI, AIH, AO, AOA/AVA, ASA, BBT, BCP, BD, BFN, BFP, BMS, CF, CCCT, DE, DES, DI, DIPI…
It ends up being quite self explanatory, but sometimes forum member signatures will require that you open up two separate pages and actively translate what on Earth they are saying. Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, Infertility is from the Moon.
9. It is unlikely you’ll find a sympathetic fertility expert
I have now been with three different experts since coming back to SA and each and every one of them has been a dick. The first two were really special cases, the third is just rich, indifferent and mildly sexist. WHY men who think women and their moods are silly go into a career like this is beyond me. Oh, wait…
Problem: It is a lucrative field
Solution: If they are the best and get results, suck it up and tell the truth to other people so they can make an informed decision. If they are not giving you results, challenge them on it and move on. Normally I would always say you should challenge them or move on, but with time not being on my side and the waiting lists being so long, and the procedures so damn invasive and expensive each time – sometimes you just have to suck it up and put on your big girl panties. Maybe one day I will fix this problem.
10. The BFN
Every month that you get your period is going to include three or four days of total rage and misery.
Problem: It fucking sucks getting your period after a month of trying to conceive.
Solution: Get absolutely pissed and do something fun.
This has to be the best press release I’ve ever received. And the most cackles I’ve ever made in an office full of people. First, before you start reading, start by playing this video. Ready? GO
Welcome to Snowballs, a range of underpants designed to keep a man’s testicles at the optimum temperature for sperm production and fertility. Seeing as I’m on something of a “please god can I finally have a baby, oh please come on it’s not fair” kick, these have taken some of the sting out of the tail.
And the tale. No less than four more pregnancies announced in the last two weeks. I am so fucking happy for these wonderful people. They are really wonderful. I am also fucking miserable. Now I respect my fertility fighting friends far more than I ever did before. This is, as they say, something you can only understand if you are totally immersed in it yourself.
So, to lighten the mood and get you cackling, and to inspire those ladies and gents out there who are also muddling along against fertility, here is the video for Snowballs AND some Vanilla Ice to wash it all down. Get that booty shakin’!
About a month and a half ago, Tabitha drew the most awesome doll ever. Then she drew on the reverse so it looked like a three dimensional character from a cartoon, cut it out and handed it to me with an expression of total pride. I was blown away. I’m 40 and I can’t draw as well as she can at the age of 6!
Then I read an article in Ideas Magazine which talked about a lady called Stacey and her business, The Love Bucket, where she makes Doodle Dolls. These are accurate and identical copies of your kid’s drawings made into gorgeous, felt dolls. Some of the whackier drawings actually turned into the best dolls. Well, I think so anyway.
I had to get this Daphne drawing made into a Doodle Doll. I knew T would adore it and I was soooo excited about seeing it made real. So, I scanned in the pic, sent it to Stacey and POOF the doll was made. I would like to add here that it was one of the easiest things I’ve done this year, the rest of my admin and making has been fraught with kak. In this case I sent the scan, she sent her bank details, I paid her, the doll arrived. And it all happened in under a month, which is superb when you consider how she makes these dolls by hand.
This is a picture showing you the drawing beside the doll:
Today the Doodle Daphne Doll arrived and here is Squidge with her. She is SO happy with her she even made me strap Daphne in the car so she was safe while we were driving. I have never seen her so in love with a toy before. MELT!
A recent study held by the University of Karachi has shown that papaya has a ton of health benefits. One of these is the fact that it can boost fertility in both men and women.
So, ladies, haul out the papaya and stuff it into fruit salad, supper and salad and get your system up and running. Not only will you be adding some baby oomph to your body, but it can help with other issues like diabetes, cancer and hypertension.
Fuck that, let’s just grow a bloody papaya tree in the kitchen!
Here are some awesome Papaya Recipes for you, just to get you on the way to a big baby belly. WHOO!
I’ve been trying to have baby number two for two years now. I’ve had two miscarriages and I’ve had crap fertility doctors – just wait until I tell you about the moron I saw in December. His incompetence was staggering, outmatched, in fact, only by his arrogance and sexism. What the hell is with patronising and sexist doctors in South Africa? Surely the vocation of gynaecologist should draw the attention of people who actually like and respect women? Or am I just deluded?
The second gynae I saw worked on the premises of the MedFem clinic in Sandton, Johannesburg. This doctor (name not included due to my fear of being sued by people far richer than I), also felt it imperative to talk me through biology basics 101 like I was merely a brainless heating system for a vagina, and then charged me a fortune for the privilege. He didn’t ask me any decent questions and he got irritated when I asked mine. In fact, he managed to NOT answer them most of the time. He then put me on a cocktail of drugs that included Parlodel, Fertomid, Glucophage, Ecotrin and Staminogro (five pills a day) and told me it was 93% successful.
The instructions were simple: Take the pills as your period starts. So off I went.
Then my period started and I read the package inserts. Hang on, you’re supposed to do a blood test for Glucophage and you need regular scans for Fertomid. And he hadn’t done any tests at all, nor had he scheduled any. I decided to give him a call.
He wasn’t in when I called so the receptionist told me she would get him to call me back. And this is what happened:
When I first answered the phone the doctor started reading out SOMEONE ELSE’S test results to me. I told him that he hadn’t done any tests on me and that was the reason I was calling. He got annoyed with me and demanded I explain why these results were in my folder.
Yes. It is my fault that somebody else’s results were in my folder. Quite.
Then I proceeded to ask him about my tests and referred to the Fertomid and the Glucophage. At this point his aggressive stance became even worse. He started yelling at me and telling me that he didn’t need to justify himself. I was really taken aback and baffled. Why was I being shouted at for asking a simple question? I would like to mention that he had still not answered my question which was: Was I supposed to come in for tests, had I misheard him and I didn’t book an appointment, and was this OK?
Then he swore at me. Unfortunately my phone chose that moment to lose the signal a bit so his rude words were muffled by static. I asked him to repeat himself as my phone signal went hinky. He said: Good. And hung up on me.
Now I am crabby.
I call back. He answers the phone and DENIES having hung up on me. I pointed out that a) I was not stupid and b) I heard him say “Good” and hang up. He didn’t deny it. What he DID do was refuse to answer my question, repeat himself, get aggressive, insult me, treat me like I was mentally incompetent and argue. I called it quits.
Subsequent conversations with other doctors has revealed that Parlodel was actually the bad choice as that should ONLY be prescribed if you have had the requisite blood test. Insane.
Then I went to Vitalab and had some fairly decent experiences throughout January which I will be documenting shortly. All I want is a baby. I just wish it wasn’t turning out to be such a horrific journey.
It’s been a while since my last confession post. This is because I have just moved country and been unable to do more than wade through piles of admin, work like a maniac, keep up with my family and dribble onto my keyboard.
I wish I had blogged the move. There were moments when I genuinely believed that my head was going to explode. Like Scanners. (Am relieved it didn’t.)
Seriously, I had no idea how hard it was going to be. Last time I moved I bought a ticket, packed a suitcase and fucked off.
Which brings me to The Three F’s. They are Fuck, FFS and Fuck You.
While moving country I re-established a relationship with the word Fuck. Sometimes there is nothing quite as satisfying as saying it repeatedly until your blood pressure has dropped and you’ve put the knife back into the kitchen drawer.
This happened frequently while moving house, but not as passionately or as emotionally as when I realised that my desire/need/desperation for more children was not going to be as easy as “Whip yer pants off honey, I’m coming in!”
Instead it has been a miscarriage in the dark of winter – early days, very quick, hardly distinguishable from a period. A miscarriage in the sun of summer – horrible, vivid, emotionally raw. And month after month of no line on that stick.
To every other woman out there who has spent years with No Fucking Line, I salute you. I hug you. I hope you got (or get) that line.
One month I was late, really late. I was tentatively excited and casually bought a test. I waited for another two days so that I was absolutely sure that I was at least a week late, and I peed on the stick. As I waited for the line to appear, at that very fucking minute, my period started.
Then there is that sense of, “Why did I wait so long?”
This is the second F – FFS.
FOR FUCK’S SAKE you say to your Sharpei-style wrinkles in the mirror as yet another period arrives with a flourish and a fanfare and then sort of walks off dejectedly, looking over its shoulder at you with sad eyes in the vain hope you will dance about with joy as you did when you were 29 and had an accident and a period was cause for celebration, but you don’t, so it digs in and gives you backache as revenge. And sore nipples. And the desire to hack someone to death with a machete.
The clock isn’t turning back. It isn’t slowing down and any woman who is sitting on the wrong side of 40 will know that each day sees a percentage drop or a percentage grow. Shit percentages, by the way. Not good ones.
So, yesterday I sent myself to a gynae. It wasn’t an easy task and it was definitely an expensive one. R1000 to have a strangers hand up my wibbly bits. Doesn’t seem fair.
Anyway, I was excited. I had this hope you see, this hope that the professional would be able to give me some advice, possibly some kind of test or tablet or guidance to help me fall pregnant. Instead the man spent an hour shredding my hope to pieces. The short version is….
“You are old. Your miscarriages are because you are old and probably mean you won’t be able to have more children. Even if you do fall pregnant you’ll have to have an amnio as your child will probably have Down Syndrome and the test will cause a miscarriage. You’re too fat. There is nothing anyone can do. Resign yourself to your fate.”
And to that man, that gynae, the man who made me sob for 24 hours straight, I have this to say to you.
Fuck you for making me feel 100. Fuck you for making me feel like my eggs were these wrinkled, mutated THINGS that could not perform. And FUCK YOU for having a dick and the empathy of a toenail.
I’m seeing a specialist on 09 December, a specialist who, when he heard my story, told me that he would squeeze me in, that I would not have to wait until March. I’ll update you then…
This hairstyle looks amazing and is quite tough to get right. Well, it is for me anyway. I struggle to keep Squidge’s hair in that twist for any length of time, her hair is so fine and curly that it untwists itself really easily. Fortunately, there is the wonder of hair spray and spray-in conditioner. A light blend of the two tends to hold the stray hairs down and the twist in place.
With this style you need: hairbrush, a rat tail comb, a hair band and a bobby pin, patience…
Brush the hair free from knots and tangles and then use the rat tail comb to divide the hair along the middle of the head. Don’t include the hair from the sides, just a section in the middle of the head that’s parallel to the ears.
Clip this section out of the way
Pull the rest of the hair back and twist it into a bun. If you need a great tutorial on how to do this go here. If you don’t have time to do that, my secret is to tie the hair into a pony, separate the hair into two strands, twist them in my hands until they start pulling inwards and then twist them around each other and the hairband until they make a perfect bun, and seal by tucking the ends into the hairband and using a bobby pin to hold them secure.
Now take the hair you clipped away and brush it into one length and start twisting. Twist it in the direction you want to go!
Twist it down past the ear to the bun you just made, wrap it around the bun and seal with another hairband and a bobby pin.
Yes, it has been VERY quiet here on the site. I’m sorry. Half term is always a juggle a minute and I have been trying to keep work and gorgeous child happy. Sort of successfully.
This past two weeks, 12 days to be exact, I have also been fighting two of my personal demons – my weight and my smoking. I have always been a thin person and eaten whatever I liked, but pregnancy and a bad diet and stress soon helped me recover from that and I’ve been getting steadily bigger over the past two years.
So, what I decided to do was a Challenge. I entered a competition, along with a bunch of other equally insane people, to completely change my diet and exercise and achieve the best body I can. It lasts for 98 days and asks that I walk away from every single ounce of refined sugar on the planet. That means saying goodbye to cakes, chocolates, pizza, hamburgers and and and…
I’m not going to lie, it has been incredibly tough. Right now I am sitting here and gagging for something sweet, but instead I am probably going to drink a glass of water and do some exercise. This is the first time I have ever been so determined and I really don’t want to give up.
When it comes to smoking this is also a first. I have gone cold turkey. There is not a patch or a pipe in sight. And today, day 12, sees me grappling with those urges and taking it all one day at a time.
So, these two things have kept me pretty occupied for the last while. But the new term has started, new hairdos have been made, and I shall start popping these beauties up on the site. WISH ME LUCK!
This cute girls hairstyle name had us giggling away like mad this morning. Well, I was giggling but when I played the song, Twist and Shout, to Squidge she soon got the joke. This is a very easy and cute hairstyle that’s perfect for manic Monday mornings. You don’t need longer than five minutes from start to finish and, yes, that includes the brushing out of tangles and swearing under your breath.
This particular girls hairdo was invented by us and is really just a bunch of cool hairstyles smashed together into one.
You’re going to need a rat tail comb, spray/water, a brush and a hairband.
Brush the hair out using a spray (or a spray-in conditioner or detangler) and then, using the rat tail comb, part the hair from the middle of the ear to about 1/4 up the head. If you look in the pic below, you can see how the hair is pulled up and away from the ear in two directions.
Do this on both sides of the head and brush the rest of the hair into a loose pony at the bottom. This just keeps it out of the way while you twist. Clip away the left side and start on the right. How tightly you want your twist, or how soon, is up to you. If you separate the strands close to the front, then your twist will start really early on. I preferred to create the illusion of pulled back hair here, so I just twisted the entire hank of hair into itself. Like this:
Ask your little one to hold the right strand and then twist the left. When they reach the middle, twist them around each other until you get down to your loose pony. Again, ask your little one to hold this while you separate the hair from the loose pony into three and start a French braid.
As you can see in the image the twisted hair disappears under the braid. To do this, just braid the hair to the neckline, ask your daughter to hold it, then take the twisted hair and slip it under the hair at the top of the French braid. Pull it down until you reach the three strands of your braid, blend it into one of the three strands, and complete the braid.
Ta da! Done. Easy as pie and lots of fun. Although there are points when you wish you had more arms…