11 Mar 2013
in Fertility Tags: Fertility, Mommy, Mother
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.
12 Nov 2011
in Slightly Insane Tags: Baby, Husband, Mother, Squidge, Wee
I tend to avoid confessional style blog posts. I love the idea that I could be making people laugh and I also would rather tell deeply personal stuff to people face to face. This is about to change. I need to document what I am currently going through (god, that sounds dramatic, doesn’t it?) for my own posterity if nothing else.
For the past few weeks I’ve been feeling nauseous. So much so that one night, out with Squidge (a girl’s night treat as The Husband was away), I was gripped with such a wave of nausea that I could barely breathe. Now, this all was good news. Why? Because we have been trying to create Squidge Mark 2 for the past 11 months and I thought, “OMG, result!” When I was knocked up with Squidge I was ill all the time so this was potentially fabulous news.
The pregnancy test I had lurking at home was negative and I’d been experiencing kidney pains for a while so I figured it was time to go to the doctor. This is where it gets a tad tedious. Instead of my having a problem that can be described “above the belt” so to speak, I have to talk about pee. Oh, how my glamorous life continues.
There was peeing into jars (for which you now have to pay 30p) and testing and sending the samples off to the laboratory. Unexplained blood, could be an infection, don’t worry we will let you know. I totter home in tears. I know I can be a drama queen, but to go into a doctor hoping for pregnancy and walking out without anything but a possible infection is shit. And I hate the whole wishy washy, “Oh I don’t know what it is but the tests will show it“, attitude of doctor’s in the UK.
There, I’ve said it. It is a massive bone of contention between The Husband and I because I have absolutely no trust in this medical system at all. Not after my hellish experiences in pregnancy and labour and nearly losing my child because the doctors ignored me. But they are other stories for another time.
I didn’t go home with a feeling of knowing that it was likely an infection and that I was going to be alright. Instead I went home feeling like something was wrong but nobody knew what it was and, honestly, very worried that nobody would actually find it unless I pushed. This was Thursday afternoon.
The doc had said that the tests would be in on Monday so I needed to make an appointment to see them again after they came in. I did. I saw another doc but this man inspired confidence. He spoke straight, he gave me answers and he respected my nerves. The outcome?
The next bottle of pee revealed more blood. If the tests came back negative for infection then there was the possibility of malignancy and I needed to go to a specialist to test for the big C. I left the surgery in tatters. You see, I haven’t been feeling great for over a year and have ached and pained my way through 2011 thinking it was all part of getting old. Now a voice said, what if… What if? What if? What if?
It’s this voice that has accompanied me through the nights since Tuesday. The voice that started screaming on Wednesday morning when the doctor called to tell me that they were referring me to the specialist and to wait for the appointment in the mail.
The doctor did say that it was likely to be nothing, that the chances of me having cancer were slim but he also said that my history of smoking did put me in the danger area. Boy, have I been castigating myself for being incapable of losing that ridiculous habit. Bloody things.
So here I am. I have not yet had the appointment in the post nor have I found out the results of the first test. The doctor said they would call me if the result was positive so, theoretically, since I didn’t get a call it means the test did not show infection so it is likely that there is something else going on here. Terrifying much?
I vacillate between thinking that this is fine, I’ll be fine, and that at least I don’t smoke anymore, and thinking that I have failed in my life, have left no mark and that my daughter will grow up without her mother. Like I did. How do you stay positive in the face of What If? I don’t know. But I am going to find out…
11 Mar 2011
in Bedraggled Mum, Slightly Insane Tags: Blog, Husband, Mommy, Mother, Tired, Zombie
This is hilarious.
Boy I have been invisible of late. It’s amazing how busy things have been and how quickly I’ve come to neglect poor Saffa. You see, I have just launched another webiste and it has taken up all of my free time. The Canny Crafter is my little baby and it needs lots of TLC. Still massively in development, this site is my dream come true.
You know, one of those things that you think of and think of until one day you go, “If I don’t do this now I am going to have to take my head off and leave it somewhere.”
So off I went and did it. Boy is it scary. Scaaaaaary. I have a massively loud negative internal voice. Actually, if any of you know of a way of switching the bugger off, let me know. The voice says things like, “Rubbish” and “Pah” – a lot. Stupid voice.
I also need to thank (as if this is some kind of insane Oscar speech by a deranged lunatic) The Husband for his patience and help, and The Person for HER patience and help. I have always said that the two of them are like brother and sister from another mother, and the help they have given me (as well as the rolling of eyes) has proven that quite thoroughly.
Why the Invisible Mother? Because I am shattered. My poor offspring is spending a lot of time with a zombie. I even drool slightly. Yesterday I fell asleep on my keyboard. My computer (thanks Windows. Not…) rebooted thanks to updates and while I was waiting for it to restart itself I fell asleep. How sad is that.
So, here’s to your weekend! May it be full and fluffy and lovely. Mine is going to be about a wedding! C and K are getting married (they sound like a designer brand advert, snort) and The Husband and I are their photographers.
Yes, I also think they are NUTS for choosing me, but hey…
We are off to Bath for three days of shooting, bonding, chatting and laughing. And celebrating the marriage of two amazing humans. Wahoo!!!
I promise to update here more often, and to try and be more entertaining. Promise.
01 Feb 2011
in Bedraggled Mum, Parenthood Tags: Child, Husband, Mother, Saffa, South Africa, Squidge, Wee
I want to make friends with the natives, I do. I want them to envelop me in their English arms and feed me muffins and jam.
I have been actively stalking them at the school gate. And one poor innocent creature fell for my African charms. H is a lovely lady and her daughter is one of Squidge’s best friends. Squidge and G adore each other and I regularly have her over for playdates.
The first, and only, time H ever visited me my toilet blocked. Yes.
Yesterday it was our turn to visit her. Squidge was clean. She was well presented. I had brushed my hair and tried not to look like I’d had a one on one with a nearby shrubbery.
There I was, the playdate had just begun. Squidge was happily playing with G. I was happily chatting to H. Squidge came through with her stockings.
“They’re wet, Mama,” she says, and then gambols off.
It takes a good minute for the reality to sink in. The kids don’t have drinks yet, H is busy making them, so how did her stockings get WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE……
I urgently sidled out of the kitchen to find my child and discover the extent of the damage. Was it a little wee? A minor moment?
It was a lake. It was a small lake on their carpet. And on their stool. And on the toy microphone.
So I ask you, what do you do? On your right is a child dripping and on your left is your new found friend person who will never speak to you again’s carpet.
I’ll admit. I vacillated. Sort of stood there quivering faintly to the left and then quivering faintly to the right.
H came through. The damage was revealed. I was instantly “Oh god, so sorry, I’ll clean it up. Let me just whip Squidge out of these clothes.”
Needless to say, by the time I’d changed Squidge, H had cleaned it all up.
Do they warn you that you may lose all dignity? NO. Well, yes, in childbirth, sure. But afterwards???
And what was The Husband’s response to my fervent, anguished text?
“Is Squidge ok?”
(Of course she bloody was, it was the wee of: So Excited I Forgot To Go To The Loo Until It Was Too Late)
Am moving to Peru.
11 Nov 2010
in Bedraggled Mum Tags: Child, Mother, Rugby, School
The school run is exactly like rugby.
Think about it. You have your opposing team (the other parents and kids), the goal (somehow getting your child into the classroom), you have the ball (your child), and you have foul play and a blind ref.
Your morning consists preparing for the match (feeding everybody, and not leaving house like complete pigsty that social services would faint over), wearing the appropriate gear, and racing up the field.
Along the way you’ll encounter opponents that use all forms of foul play – scooters, buggies, double prams, apparent blindness.
As you approach the goal you are surrounded and swamped. Hundreds of small yet strangely powerful creatures thwack into your legs in mini-tackles as you stagger to the finish.
Also your ball is now not co-operating. Think a rugby ball in the rain. Your ball is currently trying to wriggle away from you and the final goal. Your ball is trying to make friends with an opposing ball while you remove its excess clothing.
These two balls will then giggle and dance while you are beaten over the head with other bags, rucksacks, parents, balls, shoes and jackets. Occasionally a wellie boot will go into your mouth. This is not foul play. This is considered standard practise.
Once inside the classroom (the finish line) you will then have to dodge, weave and duck around the 60 other balls and opponents in order to place the book bag carefully onto the allocated pile.
Sadly, unlike rugby, the only screaming is the other balls. There are no fans standing and yelling as you triumphantly place both your ball and its school bag into their appropriate places. Unless you count the faint screaming in your head which may, or may not, be triumph. It could be your inner trapped human.
How to prepare:
- Wear a thick coat with a furry hood. Opponents realise that you can’t see them and move out of your way. This probably wouldn’t work in summer.
- Wellie boots. Opponents believe that you are tough farmer type, and carefully move their balls out of the way. These are the footwear of choice for the Os du Rand’s of the world.
- Spikes on book bag. Before attempting this, note that you may alienate your opponents forever. Pretend spikes made from rubber are fine. You can say you have a Goth ball.
- Tissues. Clamp tissues to your face and cough wetly. Disease is something most opponents will go out of their way to avoid. Note: If you use this tactic too often, opponents may think you have the plague and you will be permanently ignored.
- Roaring. Grab your ball, start running, and release a roar. Opponents may be startled into stillness and you can use this opportunity to weave between them to the finish line.
And people wonder why I am so tired by 9am.
10 Nov 2010
in Bedraggled Mum, Parenthood Tags: Mother, School
This morning was one of those parent and teacher bonding sessions where they were showing us how to use the phonetics system to teach our children how to read.
I was huddled in six jerseys, a scarf, boots, and thermal underwear (yes, I am already freezing cold) in the front of the hall. In retrospect I shouldn’t have sat in the front because it took all my self discipline (of which there really isn’t very much) to not screech with cackling laughter.
The teacher came to the front of the hall, popped on a computer presentation and started to tell us about a free website for Phonics. As she moved through the images on the landing page of the site she said, “When you get to the main page, scroll down to the word, ‘Cock’.”
I have a dirty little mind. I know I do. I am a bit like Beavis and Butthead. I knew that she couldn’t POSSIBLY have said cock. Unless she meant a rooster. But roosters don’t seem to be a massive part of the phonetics curriculum either, so they were out. As were willies.
She carefully scrolled down the screen, painstakingly explaining the way for those parents who didn’t navigate odd little websites on a regular basis. Repeating, far too regularly for my sense of humour, “scroll down to the word, ‘cock’.”
FINALLY we got there. And in big bold letters, along with a picture of two children pointing to a blackboard, was the word, “COP”.
I sniggered dirtily the whole way home. I had to.
07 Nov 2010
in Bedraggled Mum, Parenthood Tags: Child, Cleaning, Husband, Mommy, Mother, Poo, School, Squidge, Toilet, Wee
- by Stefan
I am doomed. My child will have no friends. She will officially divorce me at the age of 12. I will scuffle about in an anorak with lots of cats.
Why? Because I am cursed with the affliction of bodily functions.
Some of you may remember my first attempt at a playdate a couple of months ago. By the end of the afternoon, a mere two hours later, I had been wading in wee, covered in poo, and delivered a naked child to her parents. Fortunately they have not yet sued.
This Thursday it was time to try again. Squidge’s best friend ever (her words, not mine) was coming for the afternoon. Squidge adores this girl and couldn’t stop talking about her the whole half term. This playdate had to COUNT.
Monday to Thursday I cleaned, polished, washed, scrubbed, tidied, folded, wiped and shone every single part of the house. G’s mother was going to come in to a home that gleamed and sparkled. I had cake. I had cookies. I had coffee and I had tea. This was to be the Ultimate Playdate.
Things went so well. It was lovely. G’s mother was a honey. Fun, brilliant, open and hilarious. I loved her.
I went to sort Squidge out on the loo and realised that somehow the toilet had become blocked. Not just faintly blocked. No. This was water up to the edges with revolting toilet paper sludge and unidentifiable colours, blocked.
HOW? HOW I ask you, did this happen? I could only stare at it in dismay. I don’t know how to unblock a toilet! (yes, is apparently epic failing).
I shuffled back to G’s mother and patently didn’t offer her anything else to drink just in case she needed to wee. Every so often I manufactured a reason to go back and flush the damn thing again and again. It stubbornly refused to play ball. It was hideous.
Then she asked me, “Where is the ladies?”
I was frozen. FROZEN I tell you. Then I confessed. Toilet blocked, utter disaster. I think my child dropped the entire roll in there. Many apologies.
She was very polite about it but then I heard her daughter ask if she could go to the loo and then a loud, “I don’t want to wee in this, it’s GROSS!” echoed down the hall. The ground didn’t even oblige me with some eating. Nothing. Just the mortification of them having to leave so G could go to a toilet she approved of.
Does this happen to other humans? DOES IT?
The Husband came home not ten minutes later and unblocked it in under 30 seconds.
Showing my face at the school gate on Friday was NOT easy. Fortunately G’s mother WAS there and actively came over to chat to me. My relief was tangible. Utter. Complete. She did not think I was a skanky, disease-ridden lunatic with hygiene issues.
Still. I did refuse to speak to the toilet for four days. Serve him right. The Bastard.
P.S. November 19th is World Toilet Day. Who knew?
31 Oct 2010
in Bedraggled Mum, Saffa Tags: Child, Guilt, Husband, Knitting, Mommy, Mother, Saffa, South Africa, Squidge, Tired, Zombie
This whole changing of the clocks thing. Can I just state, for the record, that it bloody kills me? When we change forwards (or is it backwards?) Squidge wakes up at a hideous hour for about two weeks and we stagger around like half-dead zombies of doom.
When we change the clocks backwards (or forwards or sideways) Squidge wakes up at a hideous hour for about two weeks and we stagger around like half dead zombies of doom. Good thing today is Halloween, people will think I am wearing make-up.
See the pattern here? It’s not that I MIND being an exhausted parent, you know. It’s a badge of honour! The bigger the luggage under your eyes, the more hardcore a mum you are. Dammit.
It’s the fact that I have no control over this deranged fiddling about with time. In South Africa the clocks remain niiiice and steady. No mad evil genius twiddling about with dials and controlling time stuff there. Just nice and quiet ticking (sorry) along, year in and year out.
Then I moved here, had a kid, and got confused as to which time zone I was in.
Today was spectacularly mad. The Husband has ambled off to a three day bachelor party in a canal barge on a river somewhere. Alone, I waft about the hallways of the home in a white gown, sobbing. Actually, I’m wearing stripy pants that I LOVE (see pic above) and a white t-shirt and am not so much sobbing as crocheting…
I forgot about the clocks. I did. No clue. SO imagine my GUILT when I got annoyed with my offspring for waking me at 5:30am this morning. Only, she didn’t, did she? NO. She woke me at 6:30. A VERY healthy time and not at all bad.
You see, my child never sleeps beyond 6 really. This entire half term of travelling (update post coming soon) she woke me at 4:30/5am every day. For her to have entertained herself for an hour (she did!) and then call me is so good. And I got crabby because I thought it was 6am.
Stupid clocks. Stupid Saffa Mom. Poor little Squidge.
THIS is why Salvador Dali painted those clocks, I’m telling you. His head was done in by this madness.
21 Oct 2010
in Bedraggled Mum Tags: Child, Cleaning, Mommy, Mother, Vomit
When vomit comes a-knocking it’s never during the day, it comes at night when on your bed you lay.
It comes when you’re snoring and ever so asleep, when they cry out at night and start to weep.
It goes over the bedclothes and into their hair, frankly that shit goes everywhere.
It drips and congeals and stinks and cloys, while you stagger in the dark and trip over toys.
You get it on you, there’s nothing to do,
You just have to deal with it because, honey, there’s only YOU.
You hold your poor child in the warmth of your arms, ripping off clothes and bringing them calm.
They cry and they choke and then they say the fateful words, “Mommy, it’s coming, erug” all over your clothes.
You wait for it all to come to an end. You clean and you tidy and you change the bed.
You set a spare bowl beside her and snuggle up close, you’ve washed, you’ve tidied, you’ve rinsed with a hose.
Three times in the night you wrestle with vom, until you wake in the morning and feel like Death’s bum.
For 24 hours you wait and you pace, for in 24 hours you’ll know if your next.
We are on hour 18. Fingers crossed we escaped this one unscathed….
19 Oct 2010
in Parenthood Tags: Baby, Child, Mother
From the 25-31 October it is International Nestle-free week and I can’t wait to take part.
Ever since I found out about how Nestle market their formula in third world countries, and how they have continued to defy the International Code of Breastmilk Substitutes, I’ve done everything I can to make a difference. I won’t buy their products and nobody in my family touches a single Nestle-branded item.
While we are only three people, the more people who do this, the faster it adds up to a 1000, to hundreds of thousands, to a million. Where do these guys get off ruining people’s lives just for the sake of money? That takes me down the path of rage about how many people let their lust for cash overshadow human decency. I’ve come to hate what money can represent when at its worst.
Here’s a quote from the press release at the Baby Milk Action site:
“During International Nestlé-Free Week 2010, Baby Milk Action is calling on the public to email Nestlé over its latest global baby milk marketing strategy. Nestlé is targeting mothers and health workers with the claim its formula ‘protects’ babies even though babies fed on formula are more likely to become sick than breastfed babies and, in conditions of poverty, more likely to die.
Nestlé is accused of undermining the ‘breast is best’ message by claiming its formula is ‘The new “Gold Standard” in infant nutrition’. Nestlé is also accused of refusing to provide important information to parents and carers who use formula. Nestlé has already received thousands of emails, but is so far refusing to drop this marketing campaign.”
This company cares more about its profits than the well-being of babies. It makes me ill. Angry. Sad. How do the people who make these decisions sleep at night?