Category Archives: needles

Hit me with your best shot

My fleshy needlepoint hobby has taken a rather interesting turn. And when I say interesting, I mean shithouse.

It’s taken a year and about 32,089,014 injections of every size, shape and level of bastardry imaginable but I think finally I’ve met my nemesis. This absolute prick of a medication is the latest form of infertility torture that Dr. Sickboy has come up with to entertain himself.

Clearly feeling that I haven’t been stabbed quite enough, Dr. Sickboy has decided to up the ante with a five week course of “Clexane”, a blood thinner that he suggests could be beneficial to successful implantation. And forget about a daggy old set of steak knives, this little beauty’s gift with purchase is the possibility of necrosis, osteoporosis, acute haematoma and haemorrhaging to death. Bonus! Yay!

So, obedient  little sieve that  I am, I have been diligently stabbing myself every night with this new and rather big bitch of a needle.  And it’s beating me. Literally. At least, I’m beating me. Bizarrely, these pre-packaged individual shots appear to be blunt and virtually have to be punched in. Every shot has left a spotted bruise and my stomach is now looking like some kind of animal print/murder victim hybrid… So much so that it’s occurred to me that if Cruella de Ville really wanted a spotty coat, she could have saved herself the trouble of hunting puppies and just started injecting herself with one of these fuckers.

Not content with just being difficult to administer – the seventy five gallons of liquid that has to be injected each and every time burns like acid the whole way in, and for a good ten minutes afterwards. And I’m simply loving it! No, really Dr. Sickboy, it’s a frigging hoot.

Regardless, I’m prepared to do whatever it takes and will keep on doing battle with the blunt bastards for as long as it takes, or until I bleed to death. But then agin, at this stage I’d probably stick my head up an orangutans arse if they said it would help.

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The Blood Shop

“So when are you going to have another one?” I was asked this morning at the park by a frequaintaince – you know, one of those mum pals you really like and that you see fairly often at the park, but who isn’t really part of your social circle.

I nearly choked on my achingly-dull non-caffeinated beverage but dodged the question with the agility of a glib ninja and proffered a suitably sardonic aside. Timing is everything I thought to myself as I fought back a flood of tears that I wasn’t prepared to shed publicly. There was no way she could have known that it had been less than an hour since I’d been to “The Blood Shop”, as Devilboy has dubbed Casa Conception, for “official” confirmation of our sixth failed round of pin-the-embryo-on-the-uterus. The period that arrived yesterday was evidence enough for me, but The Blood Shop likes to rub a little salt in the wounds in by insisting you go in and give blood so they can call you to tell you the bad news again – and you can wallow in the disappointment twice!

“How are we going to have another one?” would seem to be a more appropriate question, and one that I simply don’t have an answer to. When a single round of IVF delivered us our darling Devilboy we thought that we’d finally found the answer to our infertility crisis and our problems were over. We figured that, despite our initial difficulties, given that IVF worked once, it would work again. We figured wrong! Wrong times six.

Six failed transfers is very bad.

Really. Very. Fucking. Bad.

While we have one frosty left on ice, and we may consider one more medicated cycle if the little ice cube doesn’t decide to give us a break and hang about, the odds are that we won’t be able to have another child.  And we still don’t know why. There isn’t a single reason any medical person can give us as to why we aren’t already enormously pregnant. And that really sucks. They are calling it “secondary infertility” for want of an actual badge to pin on us. I mean what do you even call “secondary infertility” when you were infertile the first time too? “Secondary Primary Infertility?” Or perhaps “You’re uterus is an arid wasteland, tough luck bitch!”

Doesn’t really matter what you want to call it, it’s fucked.

This wasn’t the plan. The plan was to have a large family. And notwithstanding that it’s been obvious that “large” has had to be considerably revised as each year of infertility passed, the plan was most definitely NOT to have an only child. And silly me, I didn’t think to make a back-up plan – because lots of snot-faced kids squealing and running wildly amok was all I ever really wanted.

We are in constant turmoil, torn between joy for the child we have and despair for the ones we don’t, in a lonely limbo world between childless and bigger families. It’s kind of like no longer being an accepted member of the world of the infertile but not belonging to the world of the fabulously fecund either. We’re envied by one group and envious of the other, and understandably, neither can get how we feel. 

So, do we keep trying? More to-ing and fro-ing of daily blood tests,  pock-marked junkie arms, invasive and unpleasant procedures and hideous hormone twisting medications whilst juggling work, and more importantly, being attentive parents to Devilboy? Or, do we just give up and turn into withered bitter (more so than we already are) old cronies, collect dozens of stray smelly cats and scare the local children? 

Under sufferance, I tried the counselling services they throw in “for free” as part of the eight million dollar fee at Casa Conception, to see if they had any answers.  It would seem not. For all the nodding and benevolent smiling bestowed upon me by the counseller, unless she can has a spare baby she can throw my way, her services aren’t going to help too much. There is nothing she can say that will make it not happening OK. That is, had she actually said anything at all. Colour me crazy, but benign nodding doesn’t really help heal my wounded psyche.  

While life with the beautiful Devilboy gives us so much joy, the bitter irony is that because of him, we can’t escape the world of children. Our life revolves around them. Shops, childcare, friends, parks and playgrounds, they are all a hive of buzzing kids, their ever pregnant mothers, and their hundred million tiny siblings. And as luck would have it, I’ve become the go-to-girl for parenting advice and articles for a bunch of magazines. Thanks world – love your sense of humour!!

With no back-up plan and desperate for more Devilboys and/or girls, we have no choice but to cross our fingers and stay on this medicated merry-go-round for a while longer. So I better prepare my poor beleaguered veins for more merry times at The Blood Shop.

Self-pitying post-IVF moaning complete.

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Holey Arteries Batman

My failure as an embryonic incubator has Dr. Sickboy scratching his head. With above average quality embryos for my age and a uterus now happily devoid of bloody tyrants he says that medically there is no reason why my little blast’s aren’t sticking. So, to make himself seem appropriately doctorly and useful and important, he decided it was time for more tests.

“More?” I questioned. “What more could there possibly be left to test? Had someone come up with a test that could tell if my uterus had a teflon coating? 

“Oh yes” said the bloodthirsty Dr Sickboy gleefully, knowing he had found yet more reasons to poke holes in my sad and sorry veins. “There are many more confusingly vague tests that we can do, all unpronounceable, all very important and all costing lots of money. In fact there are dozens of the fuckers.”

These may not have been his exact words but you get the drift.

This morning we headed off to the local bloodletting centre where Devilboy, or Batman as he insisted on being addressed today, cleverly learned to count to sixteen as that was the number of tubes that were duly filled with my blood for the laboratory’s “very important” tests. Sixteen! The sight of that many empty test tubes was enough to make my head spin before the first drop was taken. I mean, how the hell were they going to take that much blood in one go I wondered? Were they going straight for an artery?

Thankfully not.

What seemed like several years later, I was sent home drained, quite literally, with approximately 3 millilitres of red fluid left in my body and where the rest of my day was spent weakly gawping at my bruised and needle marked arms and pondering how long it would be until some well meaning Samaritan staged an intervention… or some desperate smackhead hit me up for a fix.

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Dr. Devilboy.

This morning round 432,230,087 of pin the emby on the uterus began with the first of many blood lettings and another date with dildocam (I feel like we’re seeing so much of each other I’ve almost achieved ‘mistress’ status) but this time it was different. Dad of devilboy had an early start and I wasn’t able to organise anyone to look after a small devil at 6.30am.

I’ve studiously avoided taking Devilboy to Casa Conception as it can be difficult for some of the other childless Science Projectettes, who are at varying stages of trying to concieve, and are in varying states of distress over their personal infertility issues. They certainly don’t need a tot rubbed in their faces in that particular environment.

But on this occasion I had no choice. And it was ok, really it was (and yes, that is sarcasm). For the normally well behaved Devilboy turned it on. Initially he was suitably subdued and cuted the ladies into submission with his sweet smile. That was until he was sudenly gripped with enthusiasm for the ubiquitous Doctors waiting room Natonial Georgraphics and started screaming “more, more polar bear mummy!”

Becoming distressed when said mummy couldn’t make more polar bears magically appear on the following page, or in the October issue of Marie Claire, he instead decided to tip a cup of water over said mummy before laughing and running away at break neck speed, flustered mummy in hot pursuit. At this point I’m quite sure most of the remaining Science Prohjectettes started cancelling their cycles as they realised what they were potentially getting themselves in to and that their longed for babies would eventually become toddlers.

A tad embarrased by the scenette, I was fretting as to how he’d react when his mummy started getting poked and prodded by strangers… but my brave boy made me proud and perturbed all at once.

During the ultrasound he sweetly held and patted my hand saying “mummy sick.” I explained I was fine and we just need to see some pictures of mummys inside on the screen. “Mummy TV” was his excited response before telling us that it was his turn and that he too wanted a dildocam inserted so we could see “Me TV. Pwease?” Eww.

Druring the blood tests he watched intently as “mummy’s bud” came out. The nurse told him it was nice and red and he looked at her like she was a moron before informing her sternly “no, mummy bud yellow” and announced, as he had during the previous test, that it was “Me turn” only this time he wanted to perform teh prcesure as opposed to be the recipient. Affronted by the resounding no from the nurse, he put his hands out demanding “me do it” crossly… before poiltely adding “Pwease?”

So polite for such a twisted child.

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Trouncy Flouncy Pouncy Fun

"It’s trigger time," I announced to M yesterday after a call from The Stabber.

“Tigger?” asked M.

“Yes honey… Tigger! Won’t that be trouncy, flouncy, pouncy fun, fun, fun?” I replied, amazed at how much our headspace had changed since Devilboy entered our lives. I certainly wasn’t referring to one of Pooh’s friends… not unless they had started shooting up.
 
“Not ‘Tigger’… TRIGGER! At 10.30! Tonight”

Trigger has once more been lurking darkly in the fridge, all self important and smug, taunting me from its neat little packaging. But hidden behind the deceptively innocent and simple packaging is one big arsed bitch of a needle. This is the big one, the all important green light for the chickens to stop clucking about and start producing! And just like last time, it alone of all the needles scared the crap out of me.

But unlike last time, what with it being a regular week night and all, there wasn’t a freshly shaved truffle or indie Scottish movie about heroin addicts in sight. And though I’m a huge fan of Bill Maher, watching him interview Bill Moyers on television while Devilboy slept soundly in the next room…. seemed somewhat mundane compared to the action packed event that was trigger time last time around… in fact it seemed, well, really fucking dull!

The chickens needed more encouragement to start doing their funky egg laying moves… and this sorry scene simply wouldn’t cut it!

So lights were dimmed, tv turned off, candles lit and the stereo jacked up LOUD…

"Here comes Johnny Yen again
With the liquor and drugs
And the flesh machine

Your skin starts itching once you buy the gimmick
about something called love
Oh love, love, love
Well, that’s like hypnotizing chickens.
Well, I am just a modern guy

Of course, I’ve had it in the ear before 
‘Cause of a lust for life
‘Cause of a lust for life"

Not being completely stupid, I do know the lyrics to Lust for Life are about Iggy Pop’s life as a hard-living heroin addict but in my twisted little mind, from the drugs to the itchesto the flesh machines, they could just as easily be about reproduction, Dr. Sickboy style.

And this particular song bloody well did work last time, didn’t it?! You won’t catch me messing with a winning formula. Anyway, the reference to chickens is a clear indication that this song is all about making much loved IVF babies… not just that Iggy was channelling obscure observations of love from William S. Burroughs while smacked off his tits.

So trigger has been injected, serenaded by Mr. Pop and all the little chickens are now a layin’.

Tomorrow morning we’re heading in for the retrieval. This is the process whereby Dr. Sickboy jams a foot long needle into my sore and bloated ovaries to suck the eggs out while Dildocam dives in to watch and laugh.

Now, won’t that be trouncy, flouncy, pouncy fun, fun, fun?”

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Lust for Life

Last night M & I had planned a special evening for the two of us at Claude’s, our favourite restaurant in the world, for a romantic and decadent dinner to celebrate our first full day of officially being married (we had to apply for the Thai marriage to be recognised here and now it is – we’re legal hoorah!)

But those cheeky chickens had other ideas!

Our first day of being legally hitched was full of hitches. At 7am I visited Casa Conception where I immediately broke my marital vows by being unfaithful to my husband with Dildocam. The Cow wasn’t there this time and instead I got a wand waver who was so irritatingly chirpy for 7am that I wanted to beat her to death.

M was understanding about my morning indiscretions with Dildocam and even drove me home afterwards. We then went to meet with two of my most fabulous friend’s for lunch… except I couldn’t sit still because my boobs were killing me. I swear to Gods they’ve doubled in size in 24 hours. This is not a good thing. They were so big before this that they had their own weather system… now they’re bloody enormous and I swear I saw a satellite orbiting them.

Anyway at the end of our lunch I got a call from Nurse Sweetness-and-Light (she’s new and I like her very much) to let me know my results were back from the bloodwork and DC.

She casually dropped that it was trigger time.

Tonight.

At 11pm.

Fuck me.

It’s only day 9 of the FSH injections… it’s supposed to be 12 or 15 days. And I have things to do. I’m not ready… could it really be happening? I’m scared. This is the money shot…. the last injection of them all.

Plus I really, really want to go to Claude’s.

Nurse Sweetness-and-Light , sensing correctly that I was shitting myself, calmly explained that the hens are laying ahead of schedule and everything is on track (my chickens are so efficient) and my estrogen levels are a sky high 11,000 (meaning a possible risk of OHSS, eek!) which explains why it feels like I’ve had bulldog clips attached to my nipples for the past 24 hours. As such, my doctor (a little more on him shortly) says it has GOT to be tonight with retrieval in 36 hours.

She then gave me an over the phone walk through of just how ‘Trigger’ works.

Now Trigger, as well as being Roy Rogers’s loyal horse, is the final step in the battery farming process. This is the injection that brings on ovulation. Trigger has been sitting menacingly in our fridge for ten days and is complex and scary requiring equipment and mixing which makes me feel like I really am about to shoot up something illegal.

Nurse Sweetness-and-Light told us that first we have to snap open the two little glass vials, draw up the solution with a syringe so long and fat it makes me faint just looking at it, mix it with a powder solution, suck it back into the syringe, change to a smaller needle (whilst breathing huge sigh of relief) ensuring there are no air bubbles then finally inject the lot (and it is a lot) into my gut. What fun!

So that’s how we found ourselves as born again newlyweds dining at Claude’s with an esky bag full of medication stuffing our faces at light speed so we could be home by 11pm and not have to shoot up in the middle of a three hat restaurant.

Having explained the urgency to the wonderful Claude’s staff they raced about, watching clocks and making sure we missed out on nothing… to the point of force-feeding us the dessert courses with such haste I felt like a fois gras goose.

At 10.30 we were eight courses down and on to the petit fors and coffee whilst the rest of the restaurant patrons were leisurely enjoying about course number five and staring at us like we were gluttonous super heroes. By 10.35 pm a waiter was valiantly leaping head first into Oxford Street traffic to get us a cab in to which we immediately dived and demanded the driver get us home post haste.

At 10.52pm we raced (well waddled as we were full to overflowing with yummy Claude’s goodness and about two tonnes of freshly shaved truffles) through the door, trying to put Trigger together. We smashed a vial as we were opening it and threw away the special sucking up syringe by accident from all our fumbly nerves. Thank Gods they give you spares for just such an emergency.

I paced nervously while M cooked up my drugs and then settled onto the couch, needle in hand, trembling with hope and fear. As I shakily started to swipe my stomach with the alcho wipe ready for the plunge… a sudden burst of music entered our living room making me look up to see M, I kid you not, putting on the Trainspotting DVD for moral support.

So to the energetic and rather appropriate strains of the Stooges classic ‘Lust for Life’ I plunged Trigger into my very full belly and cuddled up to my very funny and charming ex IVF drug dealer and now completely legal husband to watch a movie I’ve seen a dozen times but through new eyes.

On Monday at 10.30am I have to be at the Doctors surgery, for the egg retrieval.

The one thing I’ve never discussed during this whole process is my doctor, a lovely man from Scotland with a fabulous accent. Ironically, from the day we met him many months ago while we were still only considering this journey… we have been referring to him as Dr. Sickboy, because his voice sounds spookily similar to that of the Johnny Lee Miller character from Trainspotting, of course.

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Blood Work 2 – Return of the Vein.

How tragic that ‘bloodwork’ has so quickly gone from sounding dark and arty to sounding more like the name of a bad Steven Segal film (not that I mean in any way to imply that there is any such thing as a good Steven Segal film)

I was called back for more tests this morning as my bloodwork on Monday had ‘inconclusive results’. So further tests were required to see if I can attain human status in time to start the battery farm in my ovaries tomorrow.

My beloved nurse, The Stabber, wasn’t in this morning, which made me sad… for though it has been proven that she is shit at drawing blood, she’s a lovely lady who makes the experience as pleasant as can be and laughs uproariously at our silliness. Some of the other nurses look at us like we’re naughty children who need to take things a bit more seriously. In turn we think they can fuck right off!

If we didn’t have a little laugh during this process we would be extremely anxious, neurotic and stressed little barren bunnies ready to start freebasing Prozac as opposed to suffering a milder anxiousness and some background stress that can probably be treated simply with a topical ointment.

This morning, I met the wonderful Nurse Tell-Someone-Who-Cares. An efficient lady with a lovely accent and the personality of an undertaker , she marched me in to the bloodletting room and as I duly explained my prior issues with having no veins, shoved a needle straight in my arm and looked at me with contempt before spitting “I’ve been doing this a long time”. About 3 seconds later and with what I think was an attempt at a charming smile that nearly cracked her head open she marched out saying I’d get a call and that was that!

If I get her again I think I will hide under one of the larger Science Projectettes in the waiting room until she leaves.

Now I must wait by the phone to see if I get the go ahead to start farming the eggs. I do wonder where all the chickens will fit!

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