Here’s a wee list of all the sensible and not so sensible things I’ve done to try and get myself ‘tin the zone’ for this terrifying journey:
1. Watching a bunch of terrible (but entertaining)TV shows about badly behaved kids. I’ve sat through lots of series of Jojo, the super nanny with the terrible grammar, horrified, entranced, amused, horrified some more and amazed. I have picked up some tips which have helped me in the classroom and when dealing with friends’ kids but mostly it’s all about enjoying the meltdowns. My favorite moment was when a little girl had a particularly unpleasant tantrum and corrected Jo’s grammar. It’s so easy to sit on my sofa and judge away. ‘Oh my god, who does that?! I’d never lock my kid in a room/let them hit me/bribe them with cash etc.’ Just like I did watching the problem dog show before we bought the Monster. I don’t judge anymore, we have committed every doggy sin in the book. Which brings me nicely onto the next point..
2. Buying a puppy. Before anyone’s stress levels hit the danger zone, don’t worry, I know there is a huge difference between a puppy and a baby. I do believe that it can give you a little insight into some of hardships to come. Our first day with the Monster (and the next 6 months… yes, you read that right- 6 MONTHS) taught us about the necessity of consistency with toilet training. We practiced the ‘Cry it out’ technique, stuffing our fingers in our ears and hardening our hearts to the whining and crying, letting her put herself to sleep. A few weeks after that we caved (sorry Cesar- bad doggy parents, I know) and tried ‘the family bed’. Neither of us have slept past six am since we got her. WW hasn’t had a good, interrupted nights sleep since she arrived (I sleep like the dead so I don’t hear the pitiful ‘I need to pee/I miss you’ noises in the middle of the night. I know, I know- bad wife/doggy mummy). I have been spotted by neighbors sleepy eyed, bra-less, hair sticking up in every direction and eyeliner and mascara tracked down my face, begging the Monster to ‘bpai chee’ (go pee, oh yes my dog is bilingual don’t you know 🙂 ) far too early in the morning. We can’t have unplanned trips or sleep aways. We can’t be out of the house for too long. We’ve had stressed out, late night trips to the vet because we thought she was breathing strangely (the vet thinks we’re nuts but she stopped ahem..panting just before we got there). We brush her teeth, bathe her, worry about the friends she’s making. WW once asked : ‘Monster, you’re still a virgin, right?! We worry about her weight gain. We force her to take medicine when she doesn’t want to. We buy her cute outfits. In a nutshell we’ve had to put another’s needs before our wants.
3, Watching every documentary about birth available. Much to WW’s dismay I started this months ago and she was treated to a near constant background soundtrack of moaning, screaming and swearing. I have watched so many little hairy heads pop out of seemingly tiny vajayjays that I’ve been conditioned not to react. I started with hospital births and then progressed to natural births, home births, water births, caesarean births, family centered caesarean births and even orgasmic births (the last one really freaked WW out…and I was a little unnerved also). It was only recently that I saw a photo of a placenta for the first time though. There are a lot of gross looking things which exit the human body but so far, for me that one tops the list! Google it if you don’t know and you have a strong stomach. Watching these movies has simultaneously made me relax and freak out. I know better what to expect but I could live without memories of what goes wrong. No one really tells you about the accidental pooping- I’m really glad I’m forewarned about that one!
4. Reading pregnancy books. Almost all are really helpful but I’d love to hear about one with a better sense of humor. I mean come on, smelly farts, incidents of hormone related madness, the fact there is a creature growing inside you, constipation, hemorrhoids, BIRTH and much more. Finding out all of these horrible things were going to happen to you would be made easier with a little humor.
5. Reading pregnancy and IVF blogs. This has been the most beneficial overall although I have been hit by ‘wikipedia’ syndrome where I’m believing everything I read when it might not be strictly factual or applicable to me. I like to use stumble.upon and show the cool things to WW who’s unchanging first response is always ‘Is that real?’. Of course it’s real! If you try really hard you could jump 14 feet into the air too! And if I eat loads of peas I can make our future Asian/European baby have green eyes!
6. Eating healthily and stopping drinking. Well, kind of eating healthily except for a minor addiction to cake….and pizza…and biscuits…and fried chicken. But I take vitamins and eat a lot of fruit and veg so hopefully it balances things out :-). I have been able to cut out the alcohol with ease which is probably surprising to most people who know me.
7. Drinking lots of water. When I lived in the UK I almost never drank any water. If I was thirsty I’d have a squash, juice, tea or beer. When I got to Tha.iland and started leaving little moist puddles in all my clothes I realized I was risking passing out in some pretty filthy streets so I changed my habits a little. Since reading a blog about IVF, however I’ve upped to my intake to at least 3 liters a day. I have also upped my bathroom visits from maybe 10 times a day and once at night to about 100 times a day and 1,000 000 times a night but I feel much better, although it seems to have made me thirstier than before. I’m also much less hungry and I attribute it to me not gaining any weight during the first stage of IVF, despite incredible bloating and a tendency to excuse myself for the consumption of daily brownies when humungous needles are being shoved into my belly flab every night.
8. Saving money every month. IVF, in case you’ve just come down the Clyde on a bicycle (great saying, I only have a vague idea what it means and no idea how it originated) is EXPENSIVE. And for most people it is not covered by insurance. Especially not for lesbian people living Tha.iland. Unfortunately neither WW or I have a trust fund or a money tree growing in our jungley back garden so we had to come up with in ourselves. Here in Thailand one round of IVF plus donor sperm is roughly 4,000 GBP, although that figure can be as low as 2,000 (if your able to prove you’re in a hetro marriage and you’re happy to go to a government hospital). Some of the fancier private hospitals will charge you much, much more. Additional embryo transfers using frozen embryos collected during previous cycles are around 800 GBP
We also will hopefully will need to pay for prenatal care, birth and postnatal care, which is also mostly not covered by insurance here (unless your married. Me: Oh great, I am married, thousands saved, yay! Thailand: Haha, no you’re not! Where’s your credit card?) Birth packages can be as low as 720 GBP for a natural birth and 1,000 GBP for a scheduled C-section but again this is influenced greatly depending on where you go and what complications you have. The more you pay the more you can say. Based on worst case examples that I have read about I want to have an emergency budget of around 4,000 GBP.
8,000 + GBP is a lot of money. Thankfully we live in Thailand the cost of living here is cheap. We live comfortably, if a little frugally when our main source of income is my part time teaching salary. And thus we have been able to avoid disappearing into the black hole of debt with our treatments and having been putting a little aside each month for a long time in preparation. Even so, as a tightfisted Scot who spent most of her life in a country with free healthcare, this number has bothered me. I think I’m developing an eye twitch. My dad would be proud. I can’t think past the birth cost-wise- I’ll start having heart palpitations.
What things have you done in preparation of infertility treatment/pregnancy/birth/raising children? Any good/funny books to recommend? Thanks for reading! TTFN
PS. AGGGHHH, my OCD can’t handle the angry, jaggy red lines under my words but the Brit in me gets really wound up by having to change so many words to the US spelling! What do you American’s have against the letter ‘u’? Why is it missing from so many of your words?