Thursday, 31 December 2009

Why am I such an idiot???

Just reach into your screens and slap me now girls.

For I am a complete idiot.

I went and bought an early response pregnancy kit, despite the recommendation of the hospital not to.

You won't believe what happened..

I bought a two pack.

The first one showed a positive result which then disappeared after half an hour.

The second one showed negative.

This means that for half an hour I was overjoyed, as was mum, dad and Tom.

I am now gutted.

I have since found out that the hormone injection I had to have 36 hours before surgery could have given a false positive.

I have also found out that you can get false negatives.

I am no further forward except that for one lovely half hour, I thought it had worked.

I cried and cried and cried outside Tesco (yup, had classily used the Tesco loo to do the test) and sobbed with utter relief that it had all seemingly worked.

I then rushed to mum's to show her the result but it had faded away.

I did another test and it was negative.

I am now in a right pickle.

Why am I such an impatient div?

To cap it all, I've started getting what i think are period type cramps.

Oh arse.


P.S Happy New Year!!!

Monday, 28 December 2009

Bored, bored, bored, bored....

On the first day of Christmas, Santa gave to me...
An embryo in a test tube

On the second day of Christmas, Santa gave to me...
Two days on the sofa and
an embryo in a test tube.

On the third day of Christmas, Santa gave to me...
Three medications per day
two days on the sofa and
an embryo in a test tube

One the fourth day of Christmas, Santa gave to me
Four festive days without a drink
Three medications per day
two days on the sofa and
an embryo in a test tube

On the fifth day of Christmas, Santa gave to me
5 days gone so far!
Four festive days without a drink
Three medications per day
two days on the sofa and
an embryo in a test tube.

As you can see, I have a little bit of time on my hands and I am bored out of my mind. I can see why IVF sends you round the bend; it's nothing to do with the rollercoaster of hormones, it's just so sodding tiresome! You can't run about, go to the gym, lift anything, have a drink or generally have a suitably festive time and you're so bloated that you feel like you've swallowed a space hopper.

I finally cracked yesterday though and started back with my usual day to day stuff. I managed to stay sofa-bound for all of the 23rd December after the transfer and for most of the 24th but was up and doing on Christmas day and have gradually been staging up the activity since then which culminated in yesterday. I entered hell itself yesterday and battled against the elements and the local chav population to brave Tesco. Gosh that was an error. It was like an episode of robot wars as trolleys just trundled wildly round the aisles, randomly bashing into stuff with loads of kids just yelling and bawling. I have no idea why people were having to do major food shops just days after Christmas and why people were shoving their trolleys full of selection boxes; is there a national chocolate shortage coming up which I know nothing about? Is it time to start hoarding flakes and stockpiling snickers bars? Oddly enough, the fruit and veg section was deserted so I was able to peruse the exotic fruits in blessed seclusion and enjoy a good squeeze of a mango or two and a snigger at some oddly shaped root vegetables.

My trip was because during the night I must have been visited by three spirits, the ghost of Christmas cooking past, the ghost of Christmas cooking present and the ghost of Christmas cooking future... They left me fired up with a strange urge to cook up a real storm. This led to me battling through Tesco and then turning my kitchen into an industrial cooking station. I now have a freezer full to bursting with over 20 tupperware boxes (yes 20) of the following... (all home made completely from scratch with no packet help at all I'd like to point out!)

  1. Roast red pepper and tomato soup
  2. Winter vegetable stew
  3. Chilli
  4. Bolognaise
  5. Roast sweet pepper and chilli soup
  6. Butternut squash, spinach and coconut curry with coriander

My fridge and frezer are now groaning under the weight of my offerings and I feel better as I have something in my house other than chocolate and crisps and I've got a load of healthy food ready for when I start back at work. I am now off to wash up my halo...

I am convinced the IVF hasn't worked though and this is not just me being negative. I've had so much pain since the egg collection and transfer that I just don't see how anything can stick in there. I don't mean I've been writhing around in agony (I haven't even taken any painkillers) but I'm so swollen up and keep getting these really sharp cramps that I'm unsure as to how anything can "stick" in there.

It also didn't help that on my way into the car on Christmas Eve there was a little bit of an incident... I had stayed wrapped up on the sofa all day , not moving at all and then later on, gingerly got myself glammed up ready to go to my uncle's for the Estonian chaos. I put on a fab one shoulder red dress, white furry cropped jacket and some sequinned heels and wrapped myself up in a cream faux fur blanket to get in the car (the hospital told me to avoid extremes of temperature and it was like Siberia outside the house). I took one step outside the back door and found myself in a heap on the floor. I hadn't even managed one complete step away from the doormat before I toppled over onto the driveway in a heap of furry blanket. I can categorically state that sequinned heels and black ice are not good friends. As I hadn't been out in the last 48 hours, I hadn't experienced the sheet ice that was my driveway. I ended up in a heap and I thought Tom was going to blow a gasket.

Eventually, after quite a lot of skidding and grabbing hold of the conservatory wall, we all managed to get wedged into Dad's Mondeo. along with the cooked turkey, a saucepan of gravy and a whole cooked joint of pork and crackling. Does anyone else's family ever travel with so much meat? Mum was also a vision in sequins although her accessory of the pyrex bowl of sausagemeat in her lap was not one of her better fashion moments. I wrapped myself up in the seatbelt and blanket whilst Tom wedged himself in with a huge pan of stuffing on his lap.

We slid our way over to my Uncle's and had the usual Estonian family evening of enough meat to satisfy the lion enclosure at Whipsnade zoo, far too much boozing (not for me though) and a pudding that wouldn't light. It was quite sad though due to a certain absence from the Christmas table. There were a few emotional moments when it was pointed out that a certain loved one was not with us this year and I doubt we'll ever get over the fact that my uncle forgot to make the sauerkraut. It was also sad that my brother and Jo weren't there too... In the words of one of my drunken cousins when he heard there was no sauerkraut.... "Dad, you've ruined Christmas!" It was like world war three had broken out around that table and even mum's three different stuffings selection could not lighten the mood of disappointment. On the plus side, it did mean that there wasn't the usual brussel/sauerkraut fart combo which can strip wallpaper at 20 paces.

The usual neighbour dressed as Santa brought all the pressies in and we had a lovely time unwrapping them all. My favourite was one from my uncle to Tom which was a porn mag, a packet of tissues and a mirror - he had been told the horror story of the "men's room" at the hospital!

We had a taxi home and I must admit that I was absolutely shattered when I got in. Tom and I were still in separate rooms as Tom's snoring is worse than ever at the moment and sleeping next to a jackhammer would be easier to drop off with at the moment. He woke me up on Christmas morning with my breakfast (and another of those awful pessaries) on a tray as well as a load of pressies. I was a very very very very lucky girl as I got...

A pair of platinum and diamond stud ear rings
A day for two at Nirvana spa with loads of treatments
A bluetooth headset
A bottle of Chanel number 5
A bottle of "Lovely"
Some i pod accessories
Loads of choccies
Tickets to see Ocean Colour Scene (best band in the world!)

I was thoroughly pampered by my lovely Tom and we had a lovely present swap and cup of tea in bed. ( had somehow managed to purchase 14 pressies for Tom as I'd started buying them in August - how sad am I...) I couldn't stop laughing again at when Santa had tried to leave but had been fed so much rum by my Uncle that he fell over a load of boxes in the hall. (no one leaves my family dos vertical!)

We went to Tom's mum's for Christmas dinner and had a lovely relaxing day again. She had an absolute houseful and my parents came over later in the day too. I doubt I will ever recover from my mum doing canoeing on the wii with Tom's uncle Howard. If the IVF doesn't work, I blame that 20 minutes entirely as I almost required oxygen I was laughing so hard.

Boxing day was Tom at the football and me at Mum's with my Dad's twin and my aunty. By this time I thought I was going to go mad with all the sitting about so I agreed with Tom that we'd go for walk the next day. So, we had a lovely 6 mile stroll to a nearby national park and a good tramp through the coountryside. I felt so much better afterwards and actually regained the circulation in my backside as I've had "numb bum" from sitting down so much.

Anyway, I did my marathon cooking session yesterday then met a friend in the pub for a few drinks last night as Tom was working late. I can't believe that I've still got 6 days to wait until I get anything confirmed so I do actually think I will be going round the bend in some way fairly soon. Am even going to start my schoolwork today as I'm so bored!

So, if you feel the need to drop me an e-mail or comment, don't fight it as I'm climbing the walls here. It's so icy and slippy here today that I daren't go out today so I'm like a little old housebound lady.

Here's hoping you all had a fab Christmas and that Santa brought you everything you could possibly wish for. Keep warm in the meantime and I'll keep you posted on the progress of the fragglebaublebaby. Do you think I should buy an early pregnancy test???


Thursday, 24 December 2009

Come on number one!!!!!!!

Oh my goodness me, I feel like I've been slung out of a revolving door at a million miles an hour.

Am sitting here in my uggs, dressing gown and pjs trying not to move too much which is driving me insane. Without a case of it being "too much information" i feel like I've fallen knickers first into the cutlery drawer and then someone has tried to park a mini metro up there. I am not feeling my alluring best.

Yesterday was another weird but rather wonderful day. We arrived at the hospital and I didn't have to wait very long before I was called into theatre. I could go in fully clothed but had to take my shoes off for obvious reasons. I had decided though, in a moment of festive fun, to wear novelty Christmas socks and undies which I then came to regret as my "amusing" socks were waggling above my face and in front of all the theatre staff for the next 30 minutes.

The embryologist came to speak to me and told me that of the 13 embryos, 7 had gone on to continue developing but that the other 6 had stalled. This meant that they'd be implanting one and freezing six. The other six lazy little things would be monitored until teatime but it was unlikely they'd make any more progress. This meant we were down from a full football team to a five a side team plus subs.

I had to strip to the waist but was allowed to keep my socks on which was good as the theatre was so unbelieveably freezing. They'd put the sheets on the radiator again but my legs shook the whole way through I was that cold and the theatre technician kept laughing at my goosebumps.

I showed them my monster hand and I once again became a medical mystery. For some reason, after the anaesthetic jab which absolutely killed on Monday, my hand has swollen up to twice its normal size from my fingers to halfway down my wrist. The whole back of it is bright blue and I can't put any weight on it or even open a door. The consultant had a good look and came to the conclusion that as they had had to dig around for so long to find a vein on Monday then there was a good chance they may have nicked a nerve. She also said that the medicine can weaken the walls of the veins which can lead to fluid leaking and swelling. This was not before 2 other medics had been sent for to marvel at my giant beast of a hand. I wouldn't mind but I've asked for some leather gloves for Christmas.

So, I was now lying half naked in novelty socks whilst in stirrups with a giant monster hand. Was it any wonder Tom didn't want to come into theatre with me?

He was busy causing domestics out in the waiting room. Apparently after we'd agreed Tom wouldn't come into theatre with me (he's unbelieveably squeamish) another couple were called for their theatre slot. The bloke said he wasn't going to go with his wife and when she had a bit of a grump about it, he pointed at Tom and said, "Well if he doesn't have to go in then I'm not either." Nice to know that the two of us spread a little festive dischord and chaos wherever we seem to go.

I'm quite glad Tom didn't come in actually as there is nothing less alluring or feminine than stirrups.

Oh, yes there is as i discovered....

Normally, when you have the dreaded smear test, you go in the stirrups and the doctor/nurse attacks you from the side of the bed don't they?

Not in this case.

I felt like I was on some ride at Alton Towers as my legs were actually strapped into the stirrups to keep me completely still and then the bed was whipped out from under my bum! The bed was in two bits and, so that the doctor can get "up close and personal", the "feet end" of the bed is removed and they wheel themselves up on some wheely office type chair and get right in amongst the action. It was rather disconcerting to have the bed disappear from under your nethers and a doctor scoot up on a revolving chair and almost collide with your ladygarden. It does not rank in my top ten best experiences.

I then had to have a scan which is the same sort as the one you have when you're actually preggers. This is to find the bit to put the embryo in. After all I've been through, I was glad they were locating the exact spot and weren't just going to glue it to a kidney or the side of my spleen.

I was then shown a picture of our little embryo. Disappointingly it didn't have a santa hat on or was carrying a piece of festive mistletoe but it did resemble 4 silvery Christmas baubles. Apparently our little baublebaby was a grade one/2 which means that it's pretty much the best you can get as they're graded from the best (grade one) to grade four. Ours would've been a true grade one but there was a tiny bit of "fragmentation" in one of the cells. I am therefore incubating a Christmas "fraggle".

It was inserted through long thin wire and all the theatre staff and embryologists all wished it good luck as it went in and then me good luck after it was implanted which was really sweet. Then it was 20 minutes lying still until I was wheeled back into a side room to get dressed and have a chat about what happens next.

I've got to go back on 4th Jan to have a urine test to see if I've been lucky and a blood test which will either check my pregnany hormones or give a profile of how close my hormones are back to being normal if it's not worked. This is the morning of my first day in my new role as headteacher which is obviously perfect timing!!!!!

I spent the rest of the day yesterday on various sofas being grumped at by Tom every time I tried to move (it was a little heated when he was actually considering taking me to the toilet and I just about exploded at him with frustration...) Mum went a little bit bonkers and photocopied our embryo picture and hung it on the sodding Christmas tree. Our little "fragglebaublebaby" is now pride of place near the angel in Mum's front room. The world's gone mad.

Slept in the spare room last night as Tom was convinced he'd "bump me" in the night which has never happened before and it would've been very bad luck for him to suddenly become a human game of buckaroo and start assaulting me but it meant that I didn't have to hear any snoring so I didn't protest too much.

I repaid all Tom's fussing and kindness beautifully this morning in the way only I can. He brought me jammy toast and tea in bed and whispered those lovely words every girl wants to hear in the morning, "Have you done that vaginal pessary thing yet love?" and then we began to watch some TV on his i phone. This is where I repaid him. I don't know how it bloomin happened but one minute the i phone was in my hand and the next minute it was in my cup of tea.

Poor Tom's fuming with me and I just feel like a twat. The poor bloke runs around after me and I return this favour by dropping his prized possession into my breakfast and ruining it.

He has currently gone out for a bit which I have read as, "I'm blinking furious with you but can't shout at you because of the IVF so I've had to get out this house..."

Oh dear.

Anyway, tonight's our Estonian Christmas and then tomorrow it's round to Tom's Mum's to do it all over again the English way.

So, I'll say cheerio for now and wish everyone a very merry Christmas. If you get a chance, give a nice big festive yell of... "Come on number one!" for me and fingers crossed my fragglebaublebaby will stick

Lots of love in the meantime.


Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Unlucky for some...

But not for me - we have 13 embryos!!!!!!


The hospital rang earlier to say that 20 of the 21 eggs they harvested were suitable for injection and that they had injected the 20 and left them overnight. This morning, 13 of the little beauties were fertilised. This means that technically, although in a petri dish on the other side of town, I am a mum to an entire football team including subs.

Tom's absolutely over the moon as he was convinced none would work due to his antisperm antibody problem and the embryologist says we're the talk of the lab as it's so unusual to get so many mature eggs and then so many embryos from ICSI. We are champion embryo makers!

Anyway, I'm scheduled to have the embryo transfer at 10.30am tomorrow and then it's the agonising 2 week wait until we know it's taken. The embryologist said that it's about a 1 in 4 chance of it working so we're not holding out much hope. I also almost fell over when she said that although they'll only be putting back one embryo, there's still a one in ten chance it'll split to form identical twins as we have twins in the family and my dad's an identical twin. Scary stuff.

Speaking of my dad, he never ever ever ever gets emotional about anything but apparently after I got off the phone to mum to tell her about the embryos and she told my dad, he cried.
My lovely, tough as old boots, absolutely iron dad had a few tears at our embryo news. God knows what he'll be like if it works!

Anyway, will update tomorrow after more procedures and for goodness sake, please please please start sending sticky dust my way.


Monday, 21 December 2009


Well, it's currently 6.30am and I can't sleep. Not with excitement or worry about the egg fertilisation or anything but because, as Tom was blundering around in the dark this morning, he somehow managed to knock a picture off the wall which sounded as if we were in the middle of the Blitz. I don't know if you've ever heard a picture fall 5 feet off a wall onto bare floorboards at half five in the morning but I can assure you it's not unlike a 21 gun salute. Twin that with my painful hand (more on that later) and you've not exactly got the ideal conditions for a trip to sleepy bye byes land.

I can't believe I actually slept last night after I slept so much yesterday, I am not so much part hen as part dormouse I think (although not the Heston Blumenthal type that he ate on telly the other day... yuck)

We started yesterday at 5am as Tom is completely anal about being late for anything so had us up with Jack Frost and banging about in the dark well before even the GMTV staff have rubbed the sleep from their eyes. I was shattered as Tom had insisted that I drink two pints of water before bed as I was nil by mouth from midnight. This seemed a good idea at the time but not after your fourth sprint down the landing again in the wee small hours... Tom had also snored like the proverbial pig and so we had had a game of "kicksnore tennis" which is where he serves a massive snore and I return it with a kick. He then moans and apologises, turns over and we begin the next round in approximately 5 minutes. (He also always wins)

I was up and dressed fairly early and waking the neighbours with my rumbling stomach (God I was hungry) and decided upon a black hooded velour tracksuit with black furry ugg type slippers on. All this topped off with woolly hat and the trusty barbour. (How is it that I have not had any wriggly fun for weeks when I dress so provocatively...?)

I'd packed my bag the night before and we set off for the hospital at breakneck speed as, despite there being no traffic on the roads at that time of day and enough time to do 17 loops of the hospital, Tom insisted on auditioning for "The Stig" and so we arrived in town in plenty of time but with whiplash and my nerves shredded to pieces.

We parked the car and walked down to the ACU. Actually that is a lie. We ice skated down to the ACU with Tom managing a particularly excellent triple loop by the bus stop accompanied by a shout of "Don't try and catch me; I'll take you down!" So, that was an audition for Top Gear followed by an audition for Saving Private Ryan to follow.

We arrived at the ACU a little early and had to sit in the waiting room where I wondered why on earth there were piles of cat food everywhere and we had another squabble about the weather in Guilford (Tom was meant to be driving there later but the TV was on and apparently it was forecast blizzards. The cat food turned out to be a collection for the local animal welfare shelter!)

I was relieved to hear about the cat food as the previous day I'd been told that I wouldn't be allowed home until I'd sat up and eaten something but that they didn't keep much on the unit and I could bring in something myself if I'd like. For a few horrible moments I did actually think I was going to have to dig in to a tin of Whiskas.

We were led to our rooms and told I'd be in theatre for about 9am. This gave Tom an hour and a half to do the deed. (God I'm laughing again already!) I kept trying to read my book but just kept sniggering. This was not a good idea as Tom was getting more and more wound up about everything which somehow made it even funnier.

Eventually he was led off to this room with his little pot but he was gone ages! I thought he'd be gone about ten minutes but he was nearly half an hour. I think the poor love had stage fright.
When he did finally return he looked as if he'd witnessed a car accident. He was absolutely ashen and kept mumbling, "I just don't want to talk about it". I swear he was almost rocking. This of course sent me into more uncontrollable laughter to the point where I thought the nurses might come in and call off the whole process as I was obviously not mature enough to cope with anything.

By now I had my theatre gown on, a pair of Christmas knickers, the ugg slippers and a dressing gown so tried to cheer Tom up with my take on Burlesque (you see, the outfit was just so glam and gorgeous that it was a natural connection.) Tom didn't seem to appreciate my efforts to lighten the mood and glued himself to his blackberry to try and take his mind off the trauma and my vile outfit. I was bored by now and had read every single noticeboard, pamphlet and leaflet in the room at least twice. I am now an expert on BMI, folic acid and producing sperm samples at home should you ever need any info in these areas, either in Polish, Urdu or English.

Eventually I was called to go for my op and I walked round to theatre with a man who had the longest beard I've ever seen. I thought I was going to trip over it at one point. It was that huge you could have fashioned me another pair of furry uggs out of it. I got led to my bed and had to take off my dressing gown which left me colder than I've ever been in my life. The lovely staff had put the sheets on the radiator for me but I was still like a frozen oven chip there on the bed. It was so cold that it took almost 10 minutes to get the needle for the anaesthetic into my hand. My veins had gone into hibernation and so the anaesthetist was digging around with that needle for ages - hence the sore hand today. I actually have a bruise which goes from the base of my fingers to halfway down my wrist; it's all swollen too. Ouch.

I was then awarded the "wimp of the day" award as they injected me with some anti sickness medicine. I'm always violently sick after most drugs so when I have anything, I get some special stuff. This is usually added whilst I'm under though but this time it went in first and my god did it hurt. I screamed, yelled and almost sat up on the bed. The nice beardy guy had to do a sort of wrestling move to keep my lying flat and my legs flew out of the stirrups and I almost kicked the embryologist in the face by mistake. It burnt like someone had filled me with boiling acid and gave me the most awful cramp immediately in my shoulder muscle. Luckily, before I could complain much more, or boot any more of the staff in the mouth, I was put under and sent off to la la land.

I woke up back in the little room and saw Tom sitting with the nurse who had done all my egg scans. I tried to talk but I sounded like I'd been on eleven gins. I was all slurry and couldn't quite form a sentence but I managed to establish that there'd been 21 eggs harvested and I fell back to sleep again. Tom whispered that I was really funny and I drifted off wondering how I'd managed to do gags whilst I was unconscious.

I eventually woke up. The nurses apparently had a hell of a job getting me to come round and Tom said I was asleep for absolutely ages. You see, I reckon it was the first kip I'd had where someone wasn't waking me up snoring every five minutes so I was enjoying it. I sat up in bed and had a cup of tea and a biscuit (jammy dodger not cat biscuit thankfully) and we were told we were allowed to go home.

Tom was still giggling as apparently I'd been mumbling and kept asking the staff really weird things whilst I was coming round. These included.... "Where's the wrapping paper?", "You need to move all those boxes in the conservatory" and "Oh God, I need to get to school; I'm late!" Nice to know that I can still worry and nag even when I'm out for the count.

We got back to my mum's as Tom had to go to work and I slept for 5 hours solid. I've got absolutely no pain at all but I think I'm just utterly exhausted by the whole process. Dad made me shepherd's pie and peas and mum bought me an M&S trifle. Happy days.

Couldn't speak to my brother about the egg harvesting though as he was on a flight from Singapore to Australia although he had phoned me up the day before to sing, "We plough the fields and scatter" and to tell me he was collecting mouldy fruit and out of date tins of spam for my very own"Harvest Festival".

Got thoroughly looked after though and we went to see Tom's mum and sister later on to let them know we were still alive and to give them an update.

Tom later revealed to me the horror of the "men's room" and I collapsed laughing again. Apparently there was a single plastic covered chair, a pot plant and a box marked "reference material". In this box were a load of well thumbed copies of "Voluptuous wives, Playboy, Nuts, Fiesta and Razzle". Tom said it was like being back at school behind the bike sheds. But, the thing that had freaked him out the most was not the plastic chair or the tatty porn mags. He said there was something in there so odd that he had absolutely no idea what possible function it could serve or why on earth it was in there. Apparently, opposite the plastic covered chair, in the tiny tiny men's room was, wait for it...

A full length mirror.

So, separated from the reception desk only by a very thin door, surrounded by cheap mags, towered over by a pot plant and knowing you have to produce a sample within a given time in a room the same temperature as a fridge, you also have an audience of one. No wonder the poor lad had stage fright!

Needless to say, I was completely helpless after this. The thought of poor Tom in that room listening to everyone answering the phone and arriving at the front desk whilst he has to do the deed in his work suit in front of a mirror had me on the floor. I couldn't actually breathe for about half an hour it tickled me that much.

He is still in shock about it and the counselling service that the IVF team make you visit may well have a very traumatised young man to deal with when we go and see them. (It's compulsory to go and visit them but we can't stop laughing at the moment so not sure we actually need to go!)

Anyway, I'm now just sat by the phone and waiting for the embryologists to work their magic and let us know if any have fertilised and if we'll have a Christmas bun to put back in the oven tomorrow. Tom's worked himself up into a complete frenzy as he says I've done my bit and produced 21 eggs and now it's all down to him and he's feeling the pressure. Poor lad. Anyway, will update later today and let you know if (as the Spice girls once sang) "Two become one" and if so, how many.

Love in the meantime though. I'm off to try and be all serious and stop laughing about Tom and that mirror!


P.S and do you know.... i never once thought about how weird it was that all this was happening on my wedding anniversary until today. Strange how you move on isn't it.

You don't look a day over 21......

Just to let you know ladies that the surgery went fine today. Will update in a bit more detail tomorrow but feel a bit out of it still today.
Apparently they got 21 eggs.


twenty bloody one!

No wonder i was feeling a bit ropey. I heard the lady next door only got 13 and the woman the other side just two.

I am officially twenty one!!!!!!

My eggs are currently in the hands of the embryologists and we'll hear tomorrow by half eleven whether any have fertilised at all so fingers crossed.

I am still laughing about what happened when Tom had to produce his "sample" in the designated room. He returned to my room as white as a sheet afterwards and I nearly didn't need the surgery to retrieve my eggs as i howled so much in hysterical laughter that I could have shot my eggs all over the room. He swears he never wants to mention it ever again but I can't stop giggling. I am in danger of being on the receiving end of a dead arm soon I think....

So, keep your fingers crossed for tomorrow for me and send me some "Fertilisation dust" over the internet tonight if you get a chance.

Thanks again for all your good wishes and for the Xmas cards I've had too!


Friday, 18 December 2009

Oh what a week...

Crikey. I am shattered.

I am utterly, totally, completely and absolutely


I can honestly say that I have never had such a rollercoaster of a week. I have been up and down more times than a Blackpool rollercoaster and I am still cowering behind the sofa after the events of last night.

I apologise if this turns into huge post but there's just been so much happening.

In a nutshell, the IVF has been a rocky road to say the least. Every time I have made the dawn trip into town to the ACU clinic I have pretty much only had bad news. To be honest, I still don't understand it myself. Basically there's two things that they measure on your trips in. They measure your blood hormone levels and they also do a scan to count your eggs and check on the size of them to see how many you have and if they're growing correctly ready for collection.

Now, as is seemingly the way with everything I do, things have not gone smoothly. I do not so much have the Midas touch where everything turns to gold as the "shit touch" where everything turns to complete toilet.

As I have mentioned before, I am unsure of my exact parentage because, due to the amount of eggs I am producing, I think I am somehow genetically linked to a hen. In fact, I am going on Jeremy Kyle soon with Bernard Matthews and his farm birds to get a DNA test done as I don't believe a human could produce as many eggs as me without some sort of connection to poultry in their history.

I currently have 28 eggs. Yes, 28. Instead of the usual 16 or so they expect, I have produced enough to make an omlette for a rugby team. This in itself is a worry as it puts me in the bracket for the dreaded OHSS but also my hormones have decided to do their own orbit of the earth by shooting sky high and then rocketing back down to earth on a regular basis. The hospital have been trying to stabilise it so that they can ensure that the hormone levels are high enough to encourage eggs to mature, but not so high that is puts me in the OHSS bracket. I have had my medications changed every single time I've been in and am now on none at all as my body seems to be growing the damn things with no intervention now. I am officially a hen/incubator!

I've been on a knife edge all week as they didn't know whether or not they would have to abandon the whole procedure as 28 eggs is apparently far too many. (you're telling me - I already feel pregnant with quads!)

If the eggs kept growing but the hormone level settled then they said they'd go ahead with egg collection. If the hormone levels shot up and the eggs kept on growing then we'd have to abandon the treatment.

So, it's been a game of hormonal cat and mouse where my meds have been adjusted every day to try and tweak the levels perfectly. It appears (and here's one for the CV ladies), that although I am 34, I have the ovaries of a 25 year old and they've basically gone into overdrive with all the medical interference. I can now write on my CV... Emma T, BSc Hons, QTS, NPQH - ovarian function of a twentysomething. Fair brings a lump to your throat doesn't it!

The upshot is that we are definitely going ahead with collection on Monday so it's feet in the stirrups for some degrading surgery first thing on Monday morning. However, they don't know if they'll go ahead with the embryo transfer on Wednesday as they may need to do a "freeze all". This basically means that my little embryos will spend their Christmas in the deep freeze and I'll be given time to get over the OHSS which would be triggered by egg collection.
This means that if we do a "freeze all" then I'd be poorly all over Christmas with the OHSS and we'd have to wait a couple of months to put the embryos back in so please please please keep your fingers crossed for me for Monday that they go ahead with the implantation.
I currently look like madwoman as I keep shouting at my nethers to stop growing. This is OK in your own home but when you are mumbling to them as they give another twinge in the bread aisle of Tesco then it can get you some funny looks.
I am also freezing cold at the moment thanks to the "mystery of the back door." This is not some weird famous five type adventure story but is a complete and utter unfathomable event.
I met my friend at the pub last night for a non alcoholic toast to the end of term. When I got in, there was a terrible draught coming in the kitchen door as it's so badly fitted. So, I had a brainwave, got up a ladder and nailed a blanket to the doorframe. Yes, whilst pumped up on drugs with a swollen spacehopper of a tummy and impending surgery, I decided to do a few impromptu home improvements. You see, Tom is away a lot this weekend so I needed to ensure the house was all cosy. I then went and watched TV for a couple of hours but was so cold that I didn't even take my coat off.
At about half ten I decided to go to bed so went round turning all the lights off. I then found something utterly weird.
The back door was wide open and so was the door I'd locked and nailed the blanket to...
There is no way in the world I ever leave doors open as I'm such a scaredy cat and they weren't just ajar, they were completey flat against the walls so no wonder downstairs was so cold!
I of course, remained calm and didn't fly into a complete panic.
Did I heck!
I grabbed a kitchen knife and started tiptoeing round the whole of the downstairs flinging doors and cupboards open and yelling. (Quite why I opened the fridge and washing machine and did this I haven't quite fathomed yet...)
I then lost the initial adrenaline buzz and had to phone my dad. He said he'd come down and have a look but then I felt like complete baby and so told him I'd be fine. Besides, my laptop, i-pod, stereo and handbag were near the kitchen door and hadn't been nicked so there couldn't have been anyone in the house unless it was actually a blind burglar.
So, i went up to bed but couldn't find my childhood teddy. This then really freaked me out as he always sits on the chest of drawers by my bed.
By this point I was thinking all sorts of mad things. As it's my anniversary on Monday, I was convinced that ST had somehow kept a set of keys to my house,crept in and stolen the one thing that I loved more than anything and couldn't replace or the one thing that would indicate that it must have been him in the house.
I then rang Tom and started getting in a right panic and made him stay on the phone as I checked upstairs everywhere. The airing cupboard was clear of burglars or crazed ex husbands as was under the beds and in the loft. So, thankfully I managed to get into bed and then find that Tom had made the bed and put the bear in it so it hadn't been stolen as a psycho token by a deranged ex. God I watch too much TV!!!
I still haven't worked out though how the back doors were wide open when I know I'd locked them and nailed them shut though. All very odd.
The wide open back doors have not helped my fridge of a house to keep warm though. It's already like a training regime for Ben Fogle's Arctic expeditions in here and so flinging the doors wide open to temperatures of minus three has not helped warm things up. I actually slept in pjyamas underneath a tracksuit, ski socks, my dressing gown, a blanket round my shoulders, a scarf, woolly hat and two duvets last night. You could actually see your breath in the air this morning as it was so cold. So, advice to anyone, do not live in a period property if you don't like the cold. I think the Victorians enjoyed mild frostbite and so constructed their houses to ensure maximum draughts. I have even had the plumber round to move the radiator in the lounge this week to try and warm things up a bit but you could still ice skate on my coffee table it's that cold.
Anyway, am meant to be having a quiet day today but have got to clean the house and sort out a million last minute jobs before surgery on Monday. I've basically got to ensure that everything is sorted for Christmas as hopefully I'll be out of action and incubating an embryo whilst tucking into my tukey this year!
So, it's off with the 47 layers of clothes, on with the rubber gloves and pinny and try to get this house looking twinkly and sparkly clean.
I'll sign off for now though and just once again say thanks for all your good wishes. It's been a hell of an emotional week and they really do help me along the way.
Lots of love in the meantime. Will update again very soon.
P.S that's not my egg in the photo!

Saturday, 12 December 2009

I knew it...

Well, guess who had a phone call from the consultant yesterday evening?

Yes, me.

One of the fertility nurses phoned me at 5pm last night to say that my blood tests had come back and one of the indicators was too high. She also said that the consultant had looked at my egg scans and was not happy about the number of eggs as there were way too many.

Seems I'm a very likely candidate for OHSS (Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome) and as a result I've had to lower my dose of the stimulating hormone immediately as apparently it can be fatal. (nice thought)

I'm now on 2 powders of Menopur injections per evening instead of 3. I've got to do this until I go for some more blood tests and another scan on Monday. If there's no change, this round of IVF will be abandoned as it will be too dangerous for me to continue.

This would mean that all the injections and work so far would have been for nothing.

I'm gutted.

Apparently there's lots of good sized eggs but also lots of tiny ones. If the tiny ones carry on growing then it'll be really dangerous. If they stay as they are then I'll be OK and we can continue. However, I just feel that something is very wrong as I'm so dizzy and still feeling and being really sick.

I also had the mother of all rows with Tom this morning which culminated in me throwing a book at him. He announced this morning that he really wanted to go to the football. This is after he's worked away all week, he's working all day tomorrow and is away most of next week. Today was the only real day we would get together for a while and the sod wanted to go to football. I freaked out and had a huge crying fit and hurled the first thing at him that I could find, which was a book.

However, the irony of the hurling was that I had thrown a Jeremy Kyle book at him! So, the king of domestic ranting and problem solving was spinning through the air and almost hit Tom square in the chops. I sobbed under the duvet for about half an hour, threw up again and then realised I was being a twat.

These hormones really do knock you about I can tell you.

We've since been to buy a Christmas tree each and have spent the last hour hacking at the one I chose with Dad's saw whilst Tom sat on it on a stool to try and keep it still. It looked like some sort of festive rodeo. I had somehow selected a 7 foot tree with a 9 foot wide trunk so Tom's been sweating like mad trying to whittle it down to fit in the holder. It will currently only stand up if you wedge a broom handle underneath it so I have a beautifully decorated tree with a white plastic broom handle sticking out from the base and tripping up anyone who wants a closer look. I also think we've bent Dad's saw in our Christmas tree Wild West Rodeo so he'll not be too happy either. (hell hath no fury like a dad with a bent tool...)

Tom's now nipped home to get changed for the annual Estonian Christmas meal and carol concert. We will therefore no doubt be watching the X Factor final through a fug of sauerkraut induced wind. Delightful.

Will update again on Monday to let you know if the treatment is continuing or if we have to abandon this round. I feel absolutely shattered both mentally, physically and emotionally at the moment so I just can't wait to know for certain what's going on. Trust me to produce so many bloomin eggs.

So, love in the meantime. Please keep your fingers crossed for me on Monday. I can't believe we may have got this far only to have it snatched away from us.


P.S On a lighter note... Olly to win!!!!

Friday, 11 December 2009

Half psychopath, half hen...

That's me folks... half psycopath, half hen.

Long story.

Last night my lovely Tom went out on the razzle dazzle for yet another work's do (damn the pub trade and all their revelrie!) I was like Cinderella at home feeling all sorry for myself as I jabbed yet more drugs into myself, avoided alcohol and generally felt like poo. I feel constantly sick and can't eat a thing. I think I'm the only person on the earth to actually lose half a stone whilst going through IVF. I simply can't eat without retching and I feel awful as a result.

Now, Tom and I have an agreement. He knows that as ST used to emotionally bully me, disappear into the night, drink himself into stupors, get violent and generally be vile to me whenever there was drink involved, Tom knows to keep me informed and let me know he's OK when he's out drinking. This is especially important during my IVF as I am now starting to feel a little emotionally "wobbly". It's the same sort of anxiety feeling you get if somone turns on the lights suddenly when you're asleep, a sort of "Oh God, what's that? Oh it's OK, I'm in my bedroom but God that gave me a fright" kind of feeling. It's very weird and I just feel anxiously on edge all the time. Therefore, my lovely Tom telling me he'll ring at 9.30 and then not calling at all whilst I know he's boozed up with a load of nubile (not to mention fertile) barmaids at a lovely party whilst I just sit at home and pump myself full of drugs is a bit of a recipe for disaster. However, he did send a text at 2.30am.

Yes folks, 2.30am. This was after he had promised to call and 9.30 and to make matters worse, I called him as soon as I got the text but there was no answer. Now, ordinarily (and in the cold light of day) you assume that the person has fallen asleep. But, in a fog of hormones and in the depth of the night, you assume he is lying about where he is and whip yourself up in to a storm.

By 3am I had convinced myself he was leaving me for a woman as fertile as a queen bee and I was pumping myself full of drugs whilst he partied with her into the wee small hours. I eventually phoned my mum as I was borderline hysterical with the hormones and couldn't stop being sick. She came round and sat up with me all night whilst I veered between retching and sobbing. Good old mum.

Eventually I calmed down but had no sleep at all. Not good when you have to teach the next day.

However, my mum came with me to my appointment at the hospital today and it was nice to have company as I usually have to go on my own as Tom's away so much. But I made a small error in taking her for a coffee as we were early. We got into town at 7am and our appointment wasn't until close to 8am. My mum confused a cappucino with an espresso and so was bouncing off the flippin clinic walls when we did get in there. I remarked that I didn't know she liked espresso and she replied, "Well I didn't like that one; it didn't have any frothy milk in it..."

I had my scan though and it's a bit of a mixed bag.

Apparently at this stage the normal number of eggs to be developing is between 8 and 10. I am officially a battery hen as when I asked the nurse, "So how many do I have?" and got the reply "14" I was initially pleased. She then added, "on this side".

Jesus. I have almost double the number of eggs for one whole person on just one ovary!

Strangely there were exactly 14 on the other side too so I have a grand total of 28 eggs developing at the moment. They're at size "4 to 8" at the moment whatever that means but apparently it's good.

The bad news is that they are a little concerned that there's simply too many. I'm waiting for the consultant to call me back today as the nurse wanted to discuss with her if I'm actually at risk of the dreaded OHSS. Apparently they can't say for definite at the moment as it's too early but if I keep popping out eggs like a sturgeon making caviar then I may be on a bit of a sticky wicket. They'll have the definitive answer by my scans on Monday apparently and I'll know by half six tonight if I need to tweak my medication. It turns out I'm on the lowest dose possible at the moment but they don't like my weight loss or the vomiting so they're looking into maybe reducing the dose.

So, I am officially a hen.

If nothing else in my life then I appear to be a champion at making eggs. Half psycho then, half hen. Nice combo.

My poor mum got a little confused then and shouted, (in a haze of espresso), "But I only wanted 1 grandchild; I don't think I can cope with 28!" I reminded her that I am not some kind of cat who will have a litter of babies but that these are just the eggs developing.

Have been teaching at school all day but am absolutely exhausted after no sleep. Just going to crawl home and go straight to bed and await a hungover Tom who I still feel needs a clonk over the head. That's twice since we started this treatment that he's gone AWOL on the booze when the clinic staff have all said that his priority should be keeping me calm. I'm no pampered princess but it is a little upsetting to be three sheets to the wind on a gallon of hormones and have your other half at the other end of the country out on the lash.

Bloomin men.

Anyway, am off to incubate another dozen eggs now. Hopefully they'll confirm on Monday that I'm not in danger of OHSS and we can press on with the process.

Thanks again for all your well wishes and in the meantime, if you see a middle aged lady, power walking in a Barbour whilst buying 28 babygros, you know it's only my espresso fuelled mother.


Tuesday, 8 December 2009

OK panic over...

Kittymama, I was worried too; you seem to have read my mind!

When the fertility nurse gave me my theatre and drug schedule there were notices all over the clinic to say that the last theatre dates were the 21st December. I must have asked her twenty times to confirm that the transfer would not be in theatre as I was panicking that someone had overlooked the fact that I might be all primed with fertilised embryos but everyone packed up and gone home for Christmas before my transfer date!

I also must have chewed Tom's ear off a million times about the fact it's only two days between harvesting and transfer so I finally gave in today and phoned the clinic AGAIN! (They must be so sick of me.)

Apparently 5 days is for blastocyst transfer only and they're not going to grow mine to blastocyst stage this round - why I don't know. 3 Days is the norm and apparently I have a clinic slot booked for either 23rd December transfer or if they're not mature enough, they'll do it on the 24th. I've being "harvested" (yuck) in the first theatre slot at 7.45am on the 21st to give plenty of time for them to mature before the afternoon of the 23rd. If they're not ready, I'll be being implanted just as everyone clocks off for Christmas and on my actual Estonian Christmas day. Nothing's ever simple is it???

I do feel better today though and already feel a little brighter. It must have been a lot of that flu getting me down. I am going to bed at between 8.30 and 9pm in the evening at the moment so I have the social life of a 7 year old. Rock and roll.

Lovely Tom came home last night with a big box of Lindt Lindor White chocolates (my fave) as he's been so worried about me over the last few days and to wish me luck for the start of my Menopur injections. He is so lovely but still can't bear to be in the same room as me when I inject; if he's around he sort of shouts encouragement from behind the door!

Gosh that was tricky though with those new drugs! I felt like some sort of amateur mad scientist as I had to mix three little bottles of powder with one little bottle of water then switch needles and inject. My coffee table looked like Dumbledore's lab. I now have two cases of drugs, needles and sharps bins and all my remaining drugs are being delivered to work tomorrow. Everyone in the office is on red alert as some of it has to be refrigerated as soon as it arrives so it would be just my luck for my delivery to get dumped with the pile of newly delivered photocopy paper and forgotten about. So, the office team is primed and briefed and ready to swing into action as soon as all my drugs arrive so that I can make a dash for the fridge and wedge in the Pregnyl drug alongside everyone's lunch. Hormone sandwich anyone???

Oh, big news too...

I'm brunette! Well, actually I am now officially a mouse as I have ditched the blonde and gone to more of a dark ash blonde which is more my natural colour. So, I have kissed goodbye to the high lift tint and embraced the lowlights. Will try and post a pic soon but I still look so ropey from my cold that I am avoiding all photographic opportunites until my face stops looking as if someone has grated my lips and nose. Nice.

Anyway, just wanted to vent my over anxious brain again on here. Thanks Kittymama for giving me the excuse to contact the clinic again. I really have been stewing over it! You're a star.

Love to everyone in the meantime.


Sunday, 6 December 2009

Soooooooo tired!

OK, well it’s all still going alright I guess.

I’ve been absolutely floored by a flu like illness since last Friday so that’s over 9 days of raging temperatures, terrible cough, enough snot to launch a ship as well as all the IVF drugs. I look absolutely awful and I don’t think I’ve ever felt so run down and ill.

I’ve battled on at work every day but by 3pm I’m experiencing such crushing fatigue that it’s all I can do to get to the end of the school day before I drive home and fall fast asleep. I’m not sure how much is the side effects of the IVF drugs and how much is this flu thing as I know that 4 colleagues had over a week off with this illness and still aren’t right 2 weeks later.

However, I have read that the hormones can give you awful headaches and I have an almost constant headache at the moment. I can barely lift my head off the pillow for most of the time and the dark circles under my eyes are like something I’ve never seen before.

I have virtually no appetite and I have absolutely no energy whatsoever. I feel like a complete failure as a friend and girlfriend at the moment as I can’t summon up enough energy to go out or to do anything more than collapse into bed. I’m trying so hard to keep going and I haven’t cried once, despite the nurses saying that by rights I should be a hormonal mess as the truth is that I’m scared that once I do I just won’t be able to stop.

The good news is though that we have the dates for the surgical parts of the IVF but... Oh, the irony!

I’m due to have my eggs harvested on 21st December, which is, now wait for it....

My wedding date to ST!!!!

So, two years after I walked down the aisle with ST, I’ll be knocked out under general anaesthetic having my IVF eggs removed. Our implantation date is then 23rd December so I’ll be on complete and utter bedrest for 48 hours after that so Happy Christmas to me!

We were due to go to my Aunt and Uncle’s house on Christmas Eve for the usual Estonian Christmas chaos and then to Tom’s mum’s on Christmas Day with his family. Apparently jiggly car journeys are not good after the implantation, neither is getting over excited or straining too much so our plans for attending two brill parties and driving for miles everywhere now seem a little scuppered.

I’ve no doubt that some nasty people will see this as me moaning about not being able to have a Christmas party and how I’ve got my priorities all wrong but it’s actually me not wanting to link IVF and Christmas. I mean, if it doesn’t work (which with a predicted success rate of only 27% is highly likely) then I don’t want next year’s Christmas to be a reminder of the fact that our chance at a baby failed.

I really wanted to enjoy Christmas with my family to take my mind off all the nasty part of the IVF and now it seems I’m going to be groggy from surgery and totally unable to take part in any of the festivities in case it damages our chances, whilst trying to come to terms with the fact that it probably won’t work anyway.

Gosh, I sound like a little ray of twinkly Christmas cheer don’t I!!!

I start the next round of drugs today which means that I’ll now be self injecting morning and night and not just morning. I have bought some stretchy clothing for the swollen abdomen the hospital told me to expect and have braced myself for the uncomfortable physical symptoms of the next bit. From everything I’ve been told and read, it seems that this is the part which is actually physically painful and also makes you a complete teary crying wreck. Can’t wait!
So, just came on here for a little bit of a moan as I do feel incredibly sorry for myself. My hair’s dropping out, I have had raging full blown flu, a constant headache from the IVF drugs and complete and utter exhaustion with more yet to come.

However, to try and spread some Christmas cheer, I helped the school to make a big donation to Action Aid for Christmas. The children at school always buy us gifts at Christmas and we always buy gifts for secret santa. This year, I’ve helped to organise donations to Action Aid for schoolchildren in poverty in Africa so that our school Christmas really is about giving rather than receiving. It’s lovely to receive gifts from the children and staff at Christmas but there are so many people out there who need help that it only seemed right to focus on helping and giving rather than receiving.

Also have been a complete anal sock ironer and all my Christmas shopping is done, wrapped, addressed and sorted already. Somebody slap me!

So, will keep you all posted and sorry if this sounds a little flat but I’m really struggling at the moment. Just hoping that the next set of drugs aren’t too harsh. Gosh, the 21st seems such a long way away. Have got scans every other day to check on the progress of my eggs and to check I’m not developing OHSS which is apparently fatal (told you I was a cheery little chicken today!)
Will try and update a little more frequently but my internet’s down at home at the moment so can only update at work or mum’s.

Lots of love in the meantime though,


A very tired, snotty little pincushion of a girl.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Ding ding round two...

Well, what a rather poorly little bee I've been. I am officially on the list of the Midlands' poorliest people. After taking the kids to the cinema on Friday, I crawled into bed and pretty much didn't get up until Monday afternoon. I've had it all; burning temperature, hacking cough, tearing sore throat, the shakes, aching all over and the most revolting amount of snot you could ever experience. Strangely though, I've not had a single side effect from the IVF drugs! I'm actually breezing through the whole treatment up to now and have responded correctly to the first round of drugs almost to the very hour. I can't actually believe that something appears to be going right for once.

However, as is the way in my life, there has been a slight mishap elsewhere. I can't remember whether I posted about this when it happened but it has developed a little further recently and so I'll give you a little run down...

I am currently working my way up to becoming a monk. Well, not exactly in the sense of living in a monastery and wearing a brown smock, but I am going bald.



I had a small incident with my hair colour the other week and things have gone from bad to worse. I've been colouring my hair with a full head colour from my natural dark blonde to my current very light blonde with a high lift tint pretty much since ST left. It was kind of, "I'm going to colour that man right out of my hair" and I loved it so I stuck with it. My colour doesn't contain any peroxide as I'm naturally quite fair so why this has happened is a mystery to me and my colourist.

We put a colour on a few weeks ago and it turned out a bit more orangey than usual. We'd used the same colour as usual for the same amount of time but it still had a bit of a tango glow. I said I'd wash it a few times and see how it went but unfortunately it didn't get any better and I still had a satsuma head. So, we redid it to try and lift it a little. However, when we came to rinse it off, it snapped off in great big chunks around the crown at about 2 inches from the root which is weird cause we didn't even colour any more than 1/2 an inch either time. I now have a bizarre bob haircut which is now the correct colour but around the crown has a strange duck-tuft sticky up pineapple effect in about a 5 inch ring. This is now compounded by the fact that the colour is now growing out so I have a delightful two tone duck bum pineapple effect.

I am lush.

I am sleeping in deep conditioning treatments and leaving sticky oily patches on the back of the settee and on anything my head touches. I reek of coconut oil and it's still snapping off in tufts every day. You see, nothing ever goes completely smoothly. My colourist says I can't do anything with it until it settles down a bit so I am stuck with the crazy double dippy duck bum do for a little while yet. It's so bad that even the kids are commenting on it at school and ordinarily I could turn up with an actual pineapple on my head and they wouldn't notice.

So, I'm coughing up lumps of vile things, jabbing needles in my leg every day and walking round with a coiff that is usually spotted on a mallard. I can definitely say that I have looked better.

So, I just thought I'd update inbetween slathering gallons of oil on my head and swallowing gallons of night nurse. I'm off to the hospital on Friday for my baseline scan and blood tests to double check that I've responded to the Suprecur drug and then it's onto round two which is the next set of hormones to stimulate egg production. Wahooooo - more bloomin injections! Tom is still in the brace position awaiting me turning into a hormonal lunatic but as yet, as my mum so kindly put it, "I've never seen you so bloomin chipper!" So, all good so far so if nothing else, I have had it confirmed that I can respond well to synthetic hormones - now there's something to pad out your CV...

Anyway, will nip off now; I have an appointment with a bucket of conditioner and a handful of lockets.

Thanks again for all the e-mails and messages etc. I check every day and they really do spur me on.