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The Lister

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You’re not doing it properly!!! (no shit)… says the friend with 4 kids. Did I say kids? I meant vampires, vampires with no manners, she looked as if they’d been sucking the life force out of her all night, her eyes had hollowed out and I thought she was going to disintegrate in front of me any moment. These kid’s were devoid of manners or any self-awareness? I went to their house for dinner recently and they could barely hold a knife and fork. If you sit anywhere near them you need a golf umbrella to repel all debris that gets spat from one side of the table to the other as they talked with their mouths stuffed full of chicken drum sticks.

So do I still want to have a kid? I must do other wise I wouldn’t have just put my self through this last ordeal. We went to one of the most well-known fertility clinics in London. Feeling the need to take that next step and do something about the situation we were in. There are various options you can take depending on your test scores and financial position. I chose to go for maximum follicle stimulation; I thought this was the smart thing to do. I thought that this would cover all the bases. If I produced more follicle’s then we would opt for IVF, because you need at least 6 eggs to be able to go down that route, if I only produced a few follicle’s we would go for IUI (Intrauterine insemination) with this procedure they don’t really want you to do it if you produce any more than 3 follicle’s, for fear of multiple pregnancies’.

I had to wait for a couple of test results to arrive before I made my final decision. The doctor told me that she would email me these results the following Monday it was Thursday. Monday arrived and there was no email, so I waited but I really needed to know the results as my cycle had started and the instructions were that I was to call the nurse for a scan between day 1-4 of my cycle. I emailed the Doctor and asked her for the results, I waited for another day still nothing. In the end I called the nurse and explained that I needed the results to make that final decision as one of the tests was to check my AMH levels, as I had scored quite low on a previous test and I had made the decision that if the score came in any lower than the last one then it might not be worth going ahead with either option. The nurse gave me the results over the phone and it was a better score than I’d had before, it still wasn’t great but it hadn’t dropped so I had decided to go ahead and booked in for the scan to get the treatment going. The Doctor took a whole week to get back to me with those results, not what I was expecting when your paying a significant amount of money and time is of the essence. Not impressed!

So I went in for the first scan, and to get my fertility drugs. The Doctor prescribed Gonel F. When the nurse sat me down to instruct me how to inject the drug she asked me if I was getting my drugs from this clinic, I thought where else would I be getting them, the last time I checked the dealer on the corner wasn’t selling fertility drugs, but if he’s smart and he wants to widen his market share they are certainly the drugs to start selling, the mark up on these drugs is phenomenal. I have since read that ASDA sells some fertility drugs and they are selling them for no profit, whether this is true or not I don’t know I have yet to ask for a six-pack of Gonal F while picking up my weekly shop, but you know what, they sold cock rings at one point so who knows?

Whilst you’re doing this you have to go in every other day for a scan to monitor the progression of the developing follicles. This really does take over your life. The scan in question has been nick named the dildo machine by myself and many of my friends, as it resembles a large black dildo. NO we don’t enjoy it! They count and measure the follicles, and try to predict ovulation so that they can either harvest the eggs or time the insemination just right. So you rarely see the same technician, after a while you get used to exposing yourself to a complete stranger and just hope that if they bump into you at a dinner party you’ll look familiar, but they won’t quite be able to remember where from.

Now I know they probably do hundreds of these scans over the course of their career and looking at that part of the female anatomy becomes just second nature to the point they could probably do this examination in their sleep, just a figure of speech, or is it? I was called into the exam room by a man who may as well have shouted, fanny 633.

“If you can slip off your panties and hop on the bed”

I nearly puked at that turn of phrase! So I did what I was asked and watched him sheaf up the policeman’s truncheon and slaver it in KY jelly. So I lay their with my legs open and he stared at the screen fiddled with the knob on the complicated looking machine, waved the dildo dripping in KY around in the air like a light sabre, as I screamed in my head “Help me Obi -Wan Kenobi you’re my only hope” then nothing he just stopped, head down staring at the screen, I wouldn’t have been surprised if he was checking Facebook. Then without warning and without looking he came at me with it at ramming speed, a bit of warning would have been nice, and then he proceeded to try to jab it up my arse, I tried to wriggle into a different position to guide the bloody thing into the right spot.

“Please can you keep still” He said, again not even looking at me.

I will I thought if you stop trying to poke it up my arse, I was quite upset because I have never had anything up my arse and as a rule I try to avoid it and I’d managed to achieve it UP to this point. He then managed to find the spot between the two entry points, Jabbing at it as if he was trying to see if it was still alive! which was debatable at this point. I lost my temper grabbed the bloody thing and pointed it in the right direction. I left feeling slightly assaulted and to top it all I had to pay £120. Next time I will illuminate it with fairy lights, so it’s easier to locate. Fuck me!

Now I thought as I said they were prepping me for either option turns out that the Doctor had not listened to what I had ask for. Now I don’t know what I don’t know, and I put my trust in the hands of the experts. They had only put me on the course for IUI (insemination), I didn’t know this not having had anything like this done before. I just went along with the procedure, because I had put my trust in them 100% and believed that they had understood what I had asked for. IS ANYONE LISTENING! So they hadn’t given me enough drugs for IVF which meant that I had only produced two eggs, which is fine for IUI, my two eggs were the same size looking mature which is what you want, and the lining of my womb was looking very good.

So the day came to inseminate and I went along, with my husband. He delivered his swimmers which they wash and select the most active to use in the procedure. You are then taken into a room with a nurse and she gets you ready for the insemination. It’s like having a smear test, so we know the drill. So I’m lying on the bed again with my legs open and I notice that there’s one of those hatches in the wall you know like the one’s they have in restaurants that they pass food through. Food great I wonder what’s on the menu. There was a knock and the hatch flew open to reveal a lab technician, in blue scrubs and a hair net. Great, not that I’m counting but she’s probably 23rd person to have seen my exposed bits. She hands over the sperm, which is in a test tube, and she turns to me to double-check the name of my husband, which is vital to make sure you’re not getting someone else’s protein shake. Incidentally a few weeks ago Lee went along to have some sperm frozen, as he’s away a lot and we thought this would be a  back up plan. The nurse that took his sample got his name wrong!!!! Now there are many occasions when spelling someone’s name wrong is not a big deal, labelling sperm is certainly not one of them. So in goes the speculum and the nurse prepares to inseminate only she couldn’t get the catheter in the right position. Now it’s not painful as such but it’s very very uncomfortable. She takes the speculum out and puts it in again, tries once more to insert the catheter, but she still can’t get it in the right place.. To be honest at this point I was starting to lose confidence in the nurse. She then takes the speculum out again and tells me that she will have to go and get another nurse to help. Please do I’m thinking, and this time can you bring someone in who knows what the Fuck they’re doing! As she gets up she knocks over the tray and instruments and the test tube carrying the sperm falls to the floor, along with speculum and some other bit and pieces. I was distraught,  all I could visualise was hundreds of sperm lying dead in the test tube, having just had their heads bashed in!!!! She returns with another nurse, who explains that I have tilted cervix, that’s right blame me!! And that sometimes it can be a little tricky getting the catheter in, at this point I’m thinking that I would have had better luck with a turkey baster, which incidentally you really shouldn’t use, I have been told that you are much better off doing it with a syringe, having removed the needle first of course.

She returns with another nurse who is slightly older and I think thank Good she’ll know what to do, but alas she doesn’t, she then tells the first nurse to go and get a doctor, she leaves. I’m am now starting to feel really uncomfortable, as I am about to have a yet person gaze into that part of my body that I generally like to keep to a solo show.

Suddenly the door opens and in walks Ryan Gosling’s twin brother, I closed my eyes and pray for a power cut, and just as he walks toward me the nurse who face was so close to my Hoo-ha I could feel her breathing on it!!! Said “It’s ok I got it” he then turned and left the room. THANK FUCK!

After this most uncomfortable, unforgettable experience they allow you to lie on the bed to recover and then you are set free in the hope that after all that the sperm will find the egg and then like it enough to embed it’s self and grow another human being.

It did not work! I would say a complete waste of time and money!! NOW WHAT?

Adoption at the Holiday Inn

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I was reading the Metro on a very over-crowed tube. I’d finished the article about Naomi Campbell’s over sized ET shaped toe, which was strangely gratifying as I knew that something like this would bother her far more than the story breaking about her accepting blood diamonds. I got to the classified section, which I’ve never read before, where I saw an advert for adoption. I guess you don’t notice these things until it’s relevant to you. There was an advert inviting people to an open evening to find out more about adoption. I called the number as soon as I got home and put our names down for the meeting.

I have to say, as the time drew nearer I was apprehensive, I suppose that was to be expected. It was at a Holiday Inn hotel in London. It was one of those hazy summer evenings and as we walked to the hotel I felt a sudden rush of hope, maybe we would be able to adopt a child, after all lot’s of other people do it right?

When we got inside there was a sign on the door of one of the meeting rooms in big letters that said ‘Adoption Evening.’  You had to go through the bar area to get to it. When I saw this my stomach turned over, for some reason I felt ashamed, embarrassed, I hated that I felt this way but I did, it was the same feeling I used to get when my name was called out for free dinners at school. It made me feel like I had failed in someway, I guess being labeled sub fertile had more of an effect than I’d realised.

There were three social workers and an adoptive parent who had adopted three children,  he was there to speak about his experience. The head of the social workers department talked first about the adoption process, what it involved and the time it was likely to take, usually about a year from the beginning to end of the approval process and then how ever long it took to find you the right match. He also drew our attention to the table where there were lots of information about adoption, as well as the magazine’s where they advertise children who were looking for families. He then handed over to another social worker, who talked us through a couple of case histories.

She began by telling us that these were real children. I don’t want to repeat what she said in too much detail because it was too horrific, needless to say several women in the room started to cry, I could not allow myself to do this, had I, I would not have been able to stop. I do remember someone getting up to refill their tea, bad move, we where not watching the TV! The children in question were from horrendous situations, and both had what the social worker referred to as ‘Global development delay’ I still don’t know what this means. I heard one man whisper to his wife ‘Let’s just get a dog’

The social worker then went on to say that they were looking for a families who were willing to take more than one child and that if you were white then the likelihood of you being able to adopt a baby was non-existent, they would encourage you to think about adopting an older child, or three.

In the break the magazines advertising children were passed around, again I felt shame for wanting to look but I just couldn’t help my self.

“Let’s go, these kids all have funny shaped heads” said the man with weirdest shaped head I have ever seen. His wife look mortified, she hit him with the magazine and they left the room. What a prick!

I remember seeing one lovely little boy who I would have taken home in a heat beat but that wasn’t going to happen because I was the wrong colour. Don’t they have an order form at the back so I can get the colour that they would prefer me to have!

We then heard from the guy who’d adopted three, I thought to my self now this makes sense, they probably told him if he wants one, he’ll have to wait, but take three and you can have them next week. His story was a happyish one apart from the bit when he talked about one of the kids, scratching their neck until it bleed and how sometimes he had to sit on top of the child to stop him from harming himself.

So once you’d navigated your way through the process and bared your soul to the social services, badgered your friends to write nice things about you, decorated you’re spare room with Nemo the clown fish with the gimpy fin. You’re almost there right? Not so fast! Because after all that let’s say you do finally find a child in one of those magazine’s or the social worker thinks they have found you a match, there’s still no guarantee, chances are you might get gazumped by another family. Yes my friends, now starts the competition! It’s a word they used. So having waited a year and had meeting after meeting regarding the child, you may have to make that agonising trip home once again with out a nipper. I know they have the child’s best interest at heart, but Christ have a little bit of consideration for the people going through this Crap!

Oh and one more thing, this borough wanted us to consider the child having contact with the birth parents. So even though little Jonny’s Mother kept him locked in a shed while she conducted her business in the house. It a possibility they will insist on contact now and then…..That was it for me!

So I’m sorry if this paints a bleak picture, this was our first experience. Perhaps we were not ready to take this step just yet. Has it put me off? No! Because I still hope that somewhere out there, there is a little person who needs a family and I live in hope that one day we will all find each other. I can feel it!

It’s Time!

Doctors surgery age 14

Me: ‘Can you take my womb out please, it’s really irritating me!’

Doc: ‘NO.’

Me: ‘Dick Head!’

Doc: ‘Please leave.’

Me: ‘Fine! I’ll sniff some glue and suck it out with the vacuum cleaner!’

December 2010ish

I can honestly say that I have never been one of those women who longed for a baby. Small fury creatures were always much more appealing to me. Then something shifted.

It all started with a phone call to a friend.

‘Happy Birthday Jackie, do you fancy meeting for lunch?’

‘I am going to the hospital to get some more test results.’ she said

‘Is everything OK?’ I suddenly felt guilty, as we hadn’t seen each other for months.

‘My AMH levels are very low and I am scared that I might just have left it too late.’

‘What?’

‘So I’m telling all my friends to go and get tested.’

Tested!

‘Jack you’re scaring me, what’s AMH?’

‘It’s a test that lets you know how many eggs you have left in your ovarian reserve, my FSH levels are rubbish too.’

‘FSH? what the hell is that?’

‘It’s the follicle stimulating hormone, it’s the hormone you need to produce eggs.’

WTF…..HEAD EXPLODING!!!!!!!! make it go away… I just wanted to go out for a drink.

‘I feel like such an idiot, I was so arrogant, I just thought I’d get pregnant as soon as I decided I wanted to, but it’s not happening, I’m terrified I’ve left it too late.’

I didn’t know what to say, did I want to have kids? Maybe? We’d talked about it and then we’d forgotten about it, no real urgency but we were getting on a bit!!!!!!

For me it was all about getting the facts, I didn’t want to look back with regret, wishing that I’d done something about it, be reduced to dressing my cat up in baby clothes and pushing him around in a second-hand pram. My thinking was that knowing whether I could or couldn’t have a child would be a hell of a lot healthier in the long run than just wondering.  I was about to discover that I should have done it a little bit sooner. YOU THINK!

NHS hospital somewhere or other

So you sit for two hours in the waiting room, which is shared with the antenatal clinic, except that we are instructed to sit under a sign that reads:

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I was a bit put out by this, as we hadn’t even had our results yet.

The women on my left looked at the sign and burst into tears. I picked up one of those overpriced toxic women’s magazines which was full of women of a certain age (Bloody hell that’s my age!) pouring their hearts out about how worthless they felt because they hadn’t Fucking got on with it!

When we finally got to see the consultant, it’s not the person we saw before. We could only under stand 20% of what she was saying … So we just caught the odd word like… ‘Large’ and ‘Surgery’ oh and ‘Cancer’ She can’t find my blood test results, which by the way is a test for ‘Cancer’ so she mumbles something about calling back in a week to get those, bearing in mind we had already waited 4 weeks not to mention the 6 months it took to get the Doctor to refer us in the first place… So give her a look that says ‘You better find them or I’ll shit in your handbag’ Thank God for body language. So she gets the hint leaves the room, comes back and then blames it on you because you have an apostrophe in your name, which is causing all manner of problems. ‘How about using my hospital number!’ I yell. So you sit there for another 20 minutes wishing you’d watched more Charlie brown then maybe your ear would perhaps be a bit more accommodating. Then she says you only have two options, ‘egg and spoon race’ or ‘crop rotation..…At least that’s what you think she said. We asked several questions but to no avail, as we couldn’t decipher her reply. We left feeling really helpless and frustrated. Good job there was a pub on the corner and look, it’s karaoke night!

Doctor’s surgery age 40ish 

Once upon a time I had the perfect NHS GP, he was down to earth, friendly, he got things done and quickly, he was always available. Things have changed, in the last few years since expanding his practice if you want to get an appointment with him on the NHS you either have to sleep in the rose-bush by the entrance the night before, or go in that morning without an appointment and feign a seizer. I am remarkably good at fainting on command I mastered it at school during tedious RE lessons. There’s only so many times you can empathise with that poor bloke being nailed to the cross, Jesus!

I prefered seeing him because I have had some less than ideal experiences with a lot of the other doctors at the practice.. I once went in to have a lump in my breast examined and the doctor I saw, rested his warm flabby stomach on my knees while he examined me, Yummy! That same doctor took a call on his mobile in the middle of my appointment and then waved me out of his surgery, saying ‘Don’t worry you’ll be fine.’ Oh I feel so much better now, I’m so glad I dragged my arse all the way here for that piece of wisdom.

After our disastrous experience getting the test results at the NHS sub-fertility clinic, I went to see my GP and explained to him that I couldn’t understand the consultant and he looked at me and said ‘Your not the first person to say this.’ he sat in front of me and wrote an email requesting the results so he could go through them with me.

Another 4 weeks later I called the surgery to see if the report was back… The insidious old hag on reception proceeded to tell me that they had come in 2 weeks ago.

WHAT! AND NOBODY CALLED ME!!

She said she would get the doctor to call me on Monday as he would be back from his holiday by then.

Monday came, I waited till 6pm that night, so after having waited 6 weeks for my initial results which were delivered by a consultant who quite frankly should have had subtitles appear beneath her, another 4 weeks to get the results back to my Doctor to be translated, I finally get the call from my Doctor, who said to me and I quote. ‘Dr Harris here what can I do for you?’ I was very angry by this stage, what could he do for me! Why don’t they read your file before they call you up. So I said  ‘I don’t know if you remember’…and I explained my situation once again… ‘Oh yes he said let me see, here it is, PAUSE………… your only option is egg donation or adoption, so now you know’ I was speechless, there was no compassion, no would you like to come in and discuss some options, nothing, and then he hung up.

So there we have it, we may never have a child, not one that we baked ourselves from our own ingredients; not even Jamie Oliver can help cook up this one!!

I would have been given more attention had I been an over weight smoker or a heroin addict, so I’m exploring the latter! I always wanted to try it I was just waiting for the right time, that time has come. Suddenly the incomprehensible consultant wasn’t looking so bad.

So I decided that if I couldn’t have a kid then a micro-pig would be an acceptable option. Your whole family decides to hold a meeting to address the situation, (in America they call it an intervention). They come over, bring food, talk about you like you’re not there, deciding what would be a fitting hobby for you to take up now that your life is going to be devoid of parent’s evening’s, extracting Lego parts from your kids nasal passages and removing porridge from the DVD box

So if you want to avoid the above.. Get on with it!

Next stop adoption!