Saturday, May 29, 2010

Another Bit of Teacher Blogging

Another in my (very) occasional series of observations on the kids I teach - with names changed to protect the innocent (that would mostly be me!). The kids I teach are all aged 5 & 6.

I was reminded of this one by a round robin email I was sent today called "Why Teachers Drink". It was a series of exam questions with what purports to be the real answers kids gave. One of them was as follows:
Q - Explain why phosphorous trichloride (PCI3) is polar.
A - God made it that way.

I'm inclined to believe that one really is a real answer, because I got almost the same one from a child the other week. We were reading a book - part of a reading scheme that those in the UK will recognise if I mention the names Bi.ff, Ch.ip and Kip.per. I'm disguising the names because . . . well imagine a kid doing a search on his or her favourite characters and ending up HERE!

Anyhow, it was all about the central characters going back in time to Victorian London. On the front cover we see the protagonists and a London city scene, complete with a good 'ol pea-souper behind them. We had talked about the whole no-electricity thing, about real fires and gas lamps.

So I asked the group, "Why is the sky a funny colour? Why is it not the same colour as the sky we see outside just now?". To which I got the answer, "Because it was Victorian times and God made the sky a different colour then?". When I told my teaching partner, it led to a rather silly discussion on whether God might have colour-coded the centuries and if we were to hop in a time-machine we might be able to chart our course by the changing hues of the sky.

But the best ever response during a reading session was from one child in response to another. We were reading a very short encyclopedia of dinosaurs, with the names phonetically spelled to help the children sound them out. One child was struggling over ankylosaurus - "an - ki . . . ", "ank - ilo . . ." and then gave out a mighty sneeze, "ATISHOO!". To which the wee girl opposite, quick as a flash, came back, "Well, that's a funny name for a dinosaur!". It took me a while to recover my composure.

I really do love my job!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Breathing Again

We had our scan tonight and it was fantastic!

The consultant was absolutely lovely. I have graduated to scans from the outside - no more - whoopee! We started off on a scanning machine from the dark ages and I could see NOTHING! Terrifying! She saw a heartbeat though, at which point I started to breathe again. Then she gave up and took us to a better machine and I saw what she was talking about. Though it was less clear that the internal scan, it's amazing what a difference a week makes for the embryo. The yolk sac is now quite separate and I could see the beginning of legs and a umbilical cord.

The baby is now measuring 1 day ahead of my 8 weeks 2 days - though the measurement last week that put us two days behind was probably inaccurate. This measurement was taken much more carefully and several times.

She now wants me to be scanned roughly once a week till the 12 week scan - and I wasn't going to argue with her!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sometimes I Hate to be Right

It turns out some of my worries are justifiable.

The recurrent miscarriage consultant wants to see me for a scan tomorrow evening (she's going to fit us in between delivering high-risk babies!). She feels that the discharge coming out with the Cri.none gel and the absence of significant symptoms merits it.

I have my first midwife appointment tomorrow morning and it's going to be really hard to talk about birth plans and breastfeeding when I don't even know if there's a baby still in there!

Someone I know on my message board has just discovered that her baby stopped growing over a week ago, at 9 weeks. I feel awful for her and scared for myself.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Oh Worry, Worry, Worry

As a good Scot, Billy Connolly is one of my favourite comedians - one of the few that makes me laugh till I hurt. One of my favourite quotes from his routines is one where he's talking about his own anxieties, especially in the middle of the night. He shakes his head and his longish grey curly hair from side to side, pretending he's tossing and turning on his pillow, and says "Oh worry, worry, worry! How does the man who drives the snowplough get to his work in the morning?!".

Well, right now, that's me. I spend every waking minute (and quite a few of my sleeping ones, if my dreams are any indication) worrying about stuff. Mainly the pregnancy of course. Was that a twinge? Why am I not feeling more nauseous? Why would this one work when all the others didn't? What on earth is that grey/black/brown stuff that's coming out with the remains of my Cri.none Gel? That last one combines well with "Why am I not more nauseous?" into "I'm sure that my symptoms are waning, I'm bleeding and this pregnancy is all over".

And if I'm not worrying about the pregnancy, I'm worrying about the house. Will my parents sell their's? Will the mortgage we're taking on mean we will have to live on cold beans for the rest of our lives? How on earth are we going to get this flat ready to sell when I'm either sleeping or working and CM is spending every waking minute on dealing with the new place?

And if it's not the house, it's work. Why did I leave my reports to the last minute? How am I going to cope with teaching alongside two different people when my friend returns from maternity leave next week? What is the end of term going to be like when we have to divide up the classes for the next year?

The real humdingers, though, are where these various worries combine. How on earth are we going to afford to look after a baby with a mortgage the size we're taking on? Am I going to have to go back to work sooner than I thought for money reasons? Will the temperature in my classroom (which can reach 38 degrees Celcius during the summer) be detrimental to my blood pressure and the pregnancy? What if I get given a tricky class or stage next term and I get stressed, which will affect the pregnancy, and don't have time to spend on getting the flat in order?


And, naturally, this is the time I have chosen to start reducing the anti-anxiety meds I'm on! Some studies have linked them to heart problems and increased risk of early birth etc. The high-risk doc I saw last year was happy for me to stay on them during pregnancy - the main reason I'm on them is to stop my BP from spiking and she reckoned the risks were low compared to the benefits. But when I spoke to the BP consultant last week, he seemed to think that an increase in the BP meds could take care of that, so I'm at least going to lessen my dose. I won't come off it before I have my high-risk appointment in a fortnight - I'll see what they say.

I have a couple of friends who have also just had BFPs - one just ahead of me, one who got her's yesterday. Both of them have had losses, one has had exactly the same number as me, and they're feeling just the same as me - so I'm as normal as them, at least. I said to one of them that I don't really feel like I'm pregnant - I feel like I'm waiting to miscarry.

On the bright side, our lovely recurrent miscarriage consultant is going to arrange for me to have another scan before the 12 week one. That really is some comfort.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


We had our first scan today. We saw a heartbeat.

The woman scanning me asked me how I could manage not to cry, given our history. But it's because of our history that I was dry-eyed. It just didn't seem real! The baby measured at 6 weeks 6 days - I'm 7 weeks 1 day today (though the nurse insisted I was 7 weeks - since this was IVF, I think I can be pretty sure on this). The woman scanning said that the measurements can be + or - 5 days and my sister, the ex-midwife, reassured me that at such a tiny size, all it would take would be an odd angle, or a click just inside the line instead of on it, and you could be a week out.

We are delighted - of course - but my happiness is muted by the fact that a) I am still aware of all that could go wrong for us and b) I am also aware of what is going wrong for others. Rebecca, over at Which Way to Baby is having a horrible time just now - having the kind of experience I remember very well myself, and it stinks! And I heard today from a long-term IF pal who has also just done her first donor egg cycle, after many straight IVFs and a loss, and it didn't work. Another friend tests on Friday, but is not feeling optimistic - I hope she is wrong.

The whole thing seems like such a lottery and it really shouldn't be. If you could earn babies, these women would have had theirs a long time ago.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

More Good Numbers

Today's beta was 21,071 - which, from last week's 3515 gives a doubling time of about 63 hours. Since it's supposed to slow down to 72-96 hours by this point, that seems pretty good to me!

My dilemma now is whether to try and get a scan at our local Pregnancy Support clinic. Basically, because our losses have been early and my body seems to be ruthlessly efficient at getting rid of embryos, the only scans we've ever had have shown some fluid but nothing else to suggest I was ever pregnant. Even if this pregnancy still goes wrong - and I know it could well do that - after six failed attempts, I'd love to have the experience (and even a photo) of a scan that showed an embryo.

I actually tried to call them after I got the HCG level, but kept getting punted back to the receptionist at the hospital so gave up. Might try again tomorrow. I know I could claim to have bleeding and cramping and get in there, but I don't want to lie to them - and I know there are so many people who desperately need them (I've been one!). I would just be totally honest and see if they could do it. If they say no, I'd just have to wait.

I have been telling some people that I am "the P word". I have been incredibly touched by the responses. I've a feeling that pretty much everyone at work will know soon, because I quietly told a friend the other day and she grabbed me and hugged me. Somebody did ask me if I should be telling people this early. Good question! I'm only telling the people who know that we've had losses and IVF etc - the ones who have been kind and sympathetic, who I would need if this all went wrong tomorrow. I don't think of myself as a popular person - I'm not deep in a group of friends - I have a couple of very close friends and lots of acquaintances, I thought - but some people's reactions have been quite emotional.

The thing that has touched me most though, has been the reaction of several friends who are still in the IF trenches. They have been incredibly generous and supportive in their responses - as have commenters lastchanceivf and Rebecca from Which Way to Baby? (who may just have a little good news herself!) - and that means more than anything. These are the people I would hate to hurt - they are me at a different time. I've read it before in other long-term IF when they have a pregnancy - this inability to move camps - and I totally get it. I'm barely on my message board these days, because I can't bring myself to join a pregnant thread - that would just be too much presumption! But I know I can't hang out on my ttc board because I don't want my presence to upset anyone.

I am in limbo! But that's OK for now.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Wouldn't you just know it!

Well - this pregnancy had bl**dy well better work out now!

My parent's house, which is right next door to the one we've bought and will hopefully move into in about a year, has been on the market for almost a week now and they've had two very interested families visiting (one of them twice). And both of the women are pregnant! Of course they are!

Ever get the feeling you're being followed - by an entire subset of the population?!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Times Ten

I had another beta done this Thursday (six days after the last) and the level was 3515! More than 10 times what it was at the previous one.

I had a moment of elation and then realised that it meant that the HCG had not continued to double as fast as it had done between 15 and 17dpo. Panic - it's all going wrong, the beginning of the end . . . and then something tickled the back of my brain - doesn't the doubling start to slow down at some point? Thanks to Dr Google, I discovered that it does slow down around 1200. Some semblance of calm was resumed.

It didn't last long though. I am plagued by a lack of symptoms - or an inconsistency in symptoms - or both. I have had occasional mild nausea, but have had days with none. Sometimes I run to the loo with frightening regularity, sometimes hardly at all. I have bad heartburn (I have reflux anyway) but isn't that supposed to come much later?

I have tended to have nausea very early on in my pregnancies (as early as about 8 dpo) and the waning of symptoms has always signaled the end for the pregnancy. So, like most folk who've had a shaky time reproductively, I would LOVE some real morning sickness. My sister, the ex-midwife and mother-of-two, tells me to be grateful and wait for how bad it gets later, but I have no faith in a "later".

We got the house we were bidding on with my parents. Now there's another scary venture fraught with the possibilities of wonderful happiness or utter disaster. Because my parents now have to sell their house to fund the buying of the new one. It's been on the market for three days and there's been one viewer. We're all panicking!

While I'm using the house as a distraction from the pregnancy, my mother is doing the reverse. She really wants to talk pregnancy with me. She is so optimistic that she's going to get another grandchild and I feel so mean when I tell her I can't talk about a baby's room or maternity clothes. I feel like I'm depriving her of an experience that she's waited for so long. My sister is a lot more private than I am, so I'm guessing that she didn't overshare with my mum when she was pregnant, so this might be my mother's big chance. And I just keep pouring cold water on the whole thing. I was so determined to enjoy what I could of this pregnancy, but so far it seems like that lasts for about 2 minutes after the news of a good beta.

Talking of which, I am going back for another beta this Thursday - seven days after the last. By my reckoning, it should have double twice plus a little more by then. Or stopped altogether!