Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Books 23 - 29 of 2016: The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

In preparation for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child being released I decided that I needed to go back and reread all of the original Harry Potter books. This also helped me get ready for the little mini ebooks which were released later in the year as well.

Now, I reviewed all the Harry Potter books before, so I'm reviewing them all in the one blog post because I like to review the books that I read, but reviewing each book individually (or as part of a pair) in a blog post is probably overkill at this point!

I'm sure you know the story by now, even if you've not read the books or seen the movies. Boy wizard. Evil Lord Voldemort. Magic school. Ron and Hermione. Zany old Dumbledore. Dragons. Hippogriffs. Horcruxes. Always. All was well.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
I can get through this book in a day at my best (e.g. not at work and have nothing else to do on my day off). That wasn't quite the case when I read it last year. I started it on a Sunday and read quite a chunk at my in-laws' house, then didn't get as much read the following two days thanks to being busy at work (and tired when I got home). I was also gearing up for a frozen embryo transfer at the time and I think that didn't help with my mood for reading.

This book is so familiar now that I can't help but look out for my favourite lines. It's like visiting a favourite haunt.

I wrote in my book journal that I was aware in the change of writing style between this book and the later books, and also 'Can't wait to see what The Cursed Child will be like'.

One of my favourite pastimes when rereading these books is to look out for the characters, places and objects which then crop up later in the series.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
I felt like on this reread I picked up on things I've missed before, or perhaps that I'd just forgotten that I have picked up on. Like Harry and Ron bumping into Percy's girlfriend at Christmas when they're trying to find the Slytherin common room.

Again I was suffering from tiredness while I was reading this one (thank you Progesterone). I wound up two chapters from the end and unable to keep my eyes open so had to stop for the night, despite my desire to continue.

This one still isn't my favourite Harry Potter book, but I think I can appreciate how it ties in to Half-blood Prince and Deathly Hallows a lot more now. So while it'll never be my absolute favourite, I think I enjoy it more now.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
This one is probably my favourite book but it took me AGES to read. I was about halfway through it when our frozen embryo transfer failed quite spectacularly and I just didn't have the heart to read so I was on this book for a lot longer than I'd usually take.

I feel like so much of what comes in the later books starts in this book. It's got the relationship between Harry and Sirius. It sets up the stuff that happened with James and Snape. We begin to see just how proficient a wizard Harry can be. I feel like this this the book where the story really truly gets off the ground.

I also like that Voldemort doesn't actually crop up in this book. It's like the calm before the storm where things really go downhill and evil is properly reawakened. Plus it's cool to get a glimpse into the wider wizarding world. I love that we get to spend time in Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade; as much as I love Hogwarts, now that I'm no longer at school, I like to see the type of Magical world that I would interact with at my present age (who am I kidding? I'd be back at Hogwarts teaching Charms).

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
I was reading this at the beginning of June and it was another one which I ended up reading for an extra day due to my inability to keep my eyes open. I'm beginning to notice a pattern with my reading and I think it simply boils down to the fact that in my old age I need more sleep and less time up until midnight with a book propped against my nose!

This book is so big that it's one of the reasons I'm thinking I need to invest in the ebook versions. If nothing else, it would make it a lot more portable when I'm out and about and want to take a book with me. My copy of Goblet of Fire is very battered already and I'm almost afraid to take it out in case I ruin it further (I obviously can't get a new copy because then it won't be my copy, as in, the one I read at 14 before I started my new school when I was a shy and geeky teenager and it felt like I was at home).

This one is so much darker than the others before it. After reading about Voldemort's rebirth I was really creeped out walking Tara on my own. I was walking Tara early in the morning and I couldn't help but feel like Voldie was just going to pop up on the estate while I was out.

I wrote a little note in my book journal about this one 'Not looking forward to the next book with Umbridge!' hehe.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
I found this one a harder read than in the past. I guess it's because I knew what was coming at the end, and the longer I put off reading the end, the more time I had before it would happen. That's logical, right?

It's funny how reading a book can help you time travel back to when you first read it. I can remember this one came out the year my friend was stopping with me. We had her copy delivered to our house and we were reading it virtually at the same time. It was the summer I started writing Behind the Scenes and rereading it this time made me want to dig it out to start working on it again (which I did).

I also forgot how late in the book it was before the Weasley Twins left. I kept on reading the chapter title and thinking 'this is where they go' and then they didn't. It's one of my favourite bits in the book. I think there's a few teachers we can all think of who we'd have liked to have pulled a Weasley on!

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Once again, on this reread I was reminded of the first time I'd read it. I'd been promised the day off work and then ended up not getting it, so I sat there reading it all through the day.

I remember starting to read it on the drive home from the midnight opening, reading a sentence each time we passed under a streetlight, then having to wait for the next one. I remember reading until 2am before having to stop because of going to the aforementioned work the following morning. I remember feeling frustrated at my friend who didn't have to work and who texted me that she'd finished it when I was only about halfway through the book. I remember the sound a of bagpipe player on the Square playing as Dumbledore died and it being the saddest moment I'd ever read and hating the fact that I was at work instead of at home in my room where I could've had a little weep.

It's also kind of frustrating to reread it now because I know Draco is going to bring Death Eaters to the castle and that Dumbledore will die, but I don't want it to happen. I want to reach into the book and yell at the characters to listen to Harry because for once he's actually got his suspicions correct. And every time I read it I kind of hope that the previous hundred times I got it wrong and that actually, this time they'll stop Draco and Dumbledore will be alive. That hasn't happened yet, but maybe next time...

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Do you ever get to the end of a book or a series and you don't want it to end, so you read it really slowly?

Yeah, that's what I did with Deathly Hallows. Part of me wanted to draw it out to last until right before I went to pick up The Cursed Child and part of me just wanted to get it over and done with like ripping off a plaster. The slow bit of me won and I wound up taking over two weeks to get through, reading a little bit at a time so I could really savour it.

I can't help but think that the start of this book feels pretty slow, but then the last third is really fast-paced. The first part always goes on a lot longer than I expect, what with Harry going to the Burrow, the wedding, the escape, the stuff at Grimmauld Place and the Ministry before they get to the camping (which, let's face it, takes up an awful lot of the book). And then there's the Battle of Hogwarts and there's loads happening in there!

Once again, I loved all the little mentions of past characters, places and things. I think I probably noticed them all for having read the books back to back this time around (rather than with bigger gaps in between). It kind of reminded me of the end of E.R. where they brought back almost all the characters from the original series. Everyone gets a mention. It's just a nice way to remember them all.

Do you find you notice different things when you reread a book? Has your favourite book in a series changed over time or once it your favourite, is it your favourite for life?

Monday, 27 February 2017

The Egg Collection Saga: Day 2, Sunday 12th February

I'd been full of plans to complete this series of blog posts over the weekend (as well as finally writing Pocket's introduction post) but then I caught some sort of mutant cold virus and spent most of the weekend semi-conscious in bed.

I'm feeling mostly better now (except for a horrible cough and some pulled chest/stomach muscles), so on with the Saga!

A week ago I posted about Day 1 of our progress towards Egg Collection, in case you missed that one.

We woke up bright and early on Sunday. It sounded kind of windy outside and I immediately started worrying about disruption to the ferries. It was also really weird not having a labrador to coordinate since she was already at the kennels.

Heading down town to the ferry it became very clear that it was windy and that it would be a rocky crossing. There was also a sad moment when a small bird flew in front of the car and we hit it. Me being me took this as a bad omen and immediately burst into tears. This was obviously showing that we weren't going to get any eggs, or the collection would be cancelled, or none would fertilise, or one of a hundred other awful things that I hadn't even considered.

It's probably worth mentioning here the fact that the day before, on the way home, I'd had a funny feeling that we should drive the long way to Glasgow. The long way involves taking the seven minute ferry crossing at the top of the island, then driving about 100 miles into Glasgow. It's not really the quickest or cheapest option usually, but something was telling me that this was the right way to go. I decided against mentioning this to Mr Click though, figuring it would be a lot more comfortable with my big swollen ovaries to get to Glasgow quicker rather than via the scenic route.

Well we got to the ferry, the main one, and bought our tickets. And waited. And waited. I mentioned to Mr Click that they were cutting it a little fine to get us all loaded up on the boat. About 7:50am a woman from the ticket office came over to speak to the people who were selling the car tickets. I joked to Mr Click that the boat was cancelled. We thought this was funny, because surely they'd call them over the radio, rather than sending a random woman over, without a jacket, to talk to them in person.

Turns out my joke was more accurate than I thought. The ferry had broken down and the situation was to be reviewed at 9am.

We had nowhere else to go, so we decided to wait. And we waited. And we waited.

9am came and went. I'd pulled up the CalMac website on my phone at this point and was refreshing the Service Status page every couple of minutes.

Note the time on my phone screen. Yeah. No one knew what was going on.

Eventually, about five minutes after this the website finally updated to say that the 9:30am ferry was also cancelled so Mr Click went to get a refund on our tickets from the ticket guys since we'd decided we'd have to go the long way, only to find out that they hadn't actually been told that the ferry was cancelled yet and were still telling the people pulling up it would be going out at 9:30!

We nipped over to use the loo at the ferry office and when we came out I spotted a penny on the ground. It felt like a sign that we'd made the right decision in terms of going off the top end of the island. And honestly, from here on in the day went completely right.

We weren't expecting to get to the top ferry in time, but we made it with seconds to spare. The ferry was so busy that if we'd been in a slightly larger car then there wouldn't have been room.

And the rest of the drive went totally smoothly. We drove through lots of lovely Scottish scenery and even stopped for a brief (and chilly) loo break in Luss.

In Glasgow we found our way to the hotel quickly and easily (no mean feat in the one way streets of Glasgow) and then caught a taxi to Dim Sum for some very nice lunch (and coconut ice cream served in half a coconut - amazing!) before heading back to the hotel to get checked in.

A funny thing happened on the way back to the hotel.

We strolled along towards George Square/Queen Street Station to pick up a taxi. As we passed Nelson Mandela Place we spotted a shop front that we've not only walked past multiple times, every time we've been to the hospital we've driven past it on the bus. It used to be a Pizza Hut but it's all closed up for renovation at that the moment so it's had its sign taken down, revealing a 'ghost sign' underneath.

And the ghost sign has our surname on it.

Our surname isn't a common one and is vaguely Germanic in origin so it's not really the sort of name you expect to see on a shop front in Glasgow for a Typewriter Company. The sign is probably about a hundred years old and has only just been uncovered this year. But it seemed like another nice little sign that things were going our way at last.

And when we got to the taxis? There weren't any! We had to turn around and head back to Glasgow Central to catch a taxi, but if we'd gone straight there we probably never would've noticed the sign because we'd not have crossed over the road where we did.

We were staying in the same hotel as we stayed in when we came back from Wales. The Premier Inn at Charing Cross. It's cheap and you know what to expect, but the beds are amazing, and it's a nice central location no matter where you need to be in the city. It's especially good if you're stopping the night to see a show at the Glasgow King's Theatre which is right next door.

We'd considered getting tickets to a show or visiting the cinema but there wasn't really anything on we fancied. I was feeling increasingly uncomfortable when sitting or lying or standing for any long period of time so figured I'd be happier just hanging out in the hotel room. This was definitely the right decision as I found it tricky to get on and off the bed in the room, so I can only imagine how bad sitting in a cinema seat would be for two or more hours.

Remember the fantastic room we stopped in after Christmas?

Well we got another one. When we were checking in we mentioned how much we liked the corner room we'd had before, so the girl at the desk checked us into one on the opposite side of the building. There was no view of the Mitchell Library (which looks so pretty all lit up at night) but out the very corner of one of our windows we could see the general area that the hospital was in.

So we chilled, and ate, and watched TV, and read, and I wrote a pen pal letter, and filled in my bullet journal.

It was the perfect way to spend the afternoon and evening, just relaxing. And while I felt wound up at the thought of the op the next day, and all the awful things that I'd convinced myself were going to happen during it, I felt a lot less stressed and anxious than I did before my previous egg collection.

I got my bag organised for the following morning (dressing gown, slippers, lucky unicorn) and then had an early night, expecting not to sleep much but I surprised myself.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

The Egg Collection Saga: Day 1, Saturday 11th February

On Monday I updated with the news we received on Saturday when we learned how many of our potential babies had made it to Day 5. Today I'm going to take a step back in time to the 11th of February when the process of egg retrieval kind of started.

We had a really short visit to the hospital in Glasgow to pick up the non-hCG hormone injection that I was to use as a trigger. We didn't stay in Glasgow very long. Mr Click was suffering from a cold and I was feeling pretty uncomfortable with my grapefruit-sized ovaries.

When we arrived back on the island, we took Tara straight to the Kennels and got her checked in for two nights. This gave us one less thing to worry about the following morning and we knew she would be well cared for while we were off to Glasgow (again).

My trigger injection was a drug called Suprecur (I think this is the brand name for Buserelin, or vice versa). I'm more experienced with this drug as a nasal spray which I've used during my previous frozen transfers. Normally I take it when my Prostap injection is starting to run thin and it keeps my cycle switched off so the meds the hospital prescribe can take over.

You can see from the picture below, this came in a massive vial, containing 5.5ml of the solution. I needed to take 0.5ml of it at 9:30pm on the dot.

I was really grateful that this didn't require mixing. The most nerve-wracking bit was making sure I had the right measurement in the syringe. This syringe was slightly different to the ones I've been using for the Menopur (the plunger inside was slightly curved so I was worried about making sure I was reading it correctly).

The needle was a little bigger than the others I've been using. I think it was wider. I certainly felt it going in and it was harder to get in at first. The needles did have these nifty built in needle covers (the brown and green plastic things in the picture above); that was handy.

This drug begins the process of ovulation so that the follicles are ready to release the eggs they've been growing and maturing over the previous however many days of 'stims'. Normally a trigger is used with the hCG hormone (that's the pregnancy hormone, the one which pregnancy tests look for to determine a positive pregnancy test).

The hCG hormone is the one which can help trigger OHSS or Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome. That would be the thing which put me in hospital during our cancelled cycle way back in 2013. I will admit that I was slightly disappointed at not getting to use the Ovitrelle trigger shot I'd originally been given, purely because I knew once I took it I'd get a positive pregnancy test and I thought that would be kind of cool to do. Of course, not having my ovaries trying to kill me again was far more preferable.

Once the trigger shot has been given, regardless of which sort it is, you've got 36-38 hours to get the eggs collected. So we were given a time of 7:45am to be at the hospital on the Monday and had no more injections to do or drugs to take after this one.

It was just a question of waiting.

And of making our way to Glasgow, which turned out to be a little trickier than we'd expected!

Wednesday, 22 February 2017


... Ernie!

Yup. It's another clown.

This one called Young Ernie and he's slightly shorter than our friend Bertie (who measured about 22 inches from the bottom of his feet to the tip of his mushrooms). Ernie's due to come in at around 18 inches.

Ernie is a One-Clown Band so I'm hoping he'll turn out as well as Bertie. If he comes out looking good I'll be offering him to the local community band to help raise funds for their planned trip to Germany next year.

... some yellow yarn.

You see the yellow I used on Bertie's hair and top. Well, I've only got a small amount of it left, probably just enough for Ernie's hair, but not for the drum he's carrying on his back (which you can't see in the pattern picture above). I wasn't sure exactly which colour I needed because it's hard to tell on the computer screen. I've hedged my bets and just ordered two different shades so I can pick and choose.

... to sort out my yarn cupboard.

Our downstairs cupboard is home to the Christmas tree, Mr Click's records, the downstairs vacuum cleaner (yes, our tiny cottage has a downstairs vacuum and an upstairs one), some steps, and boxes and bags, and piles of knitting supplies. It's actually taken over all of the other stuff we store in there and it's desperately in need of reorganising.

Case in point: a few months ago I ordered some very nice grey yarn (it was actually when I was working on Bertie up there), it arrived and I went to put it away, only to discover another two or three balls of grey yarn at the bottom of a box I'd forgotten about. Oops.

Other little jobs which are currently on the cards: reorganising the DVD/blu-ray shelves and cupboard, rearranging my bookshelves (I've gotten a lot of new books in the last few months and they're all slotted in all over the place with no order to them at all) and reorganising some of the stuff in the spare bedroom now the rat cage is no longer in there.

... a duvet day.

On Saturday I fully intend to spend as much of the day in bed as possible! Last week I was recovering from the egg retrieval op and wanted to be as near to the phone as I could in case the hospital phoned with an update on the embryos, so there was no long lie in for us.

I've lined up a list of activities which can be done from my station in bed; reading, letter writing, bullet journalling, colouring in, blogging. I've planned meals and selected viewing material. It's going to be an awesome day.

Are you busy crafting anything at the moment?

Monday, 20 February 2017

9 Fabulous Embryos

I've got my laptop out for the first time in over a week so I'm just getting caught up online. Sorry for going quiet on you.

I'll share a proper update later in the week but for now I will just say, we got the call from the Embryologist on Saturday to confirm that we had '9 Fabulous Embryos' (her exact words) which had successfully been frozen after making it to Day 5 Blastocyst stage.

That's the little note I scribbled as the Embryologist was on the phone. My hand was shaking so badly that the nine came out looking more like a zero the first time I wrote it, hence the fact I went over it about ten times.

We have to wait about 6-8 weeks for my body to recover but then we can start the process to thaw them out and see about putting at least one of them where it belongs.

I'll tell you more about it later this week (and I might even get one of my vlogs up at last as well)!

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Not Quite AWOL

Sorry for the radio silence the last couple of days. I fully intended to post Pocket's introduction yesterday but I've felt totally drained and kind of emotionally fragile, so writing a blog post about anything just seemed like way more effort than I was able to put in.

Here's a quick rundown of what I've been up to:


  • Trip to the hospital - I recorded the journey from the 5am start to our arrival at the hospital for a future vlog, I'm just a little behind on the editing of them.
  • Scan revealed 10 follicles (plus littlies) on each ovary. They measured from 10-15mm and the nurse had barely got the ultrasound probe in before she said 'oh! You're a quick responder!'
  • Was warned that they might want to make an adjustment to my Menopur or that I might be ready for egg retrieval as early as Sunday. We were given our Ovitrelle trigger injection to bring away with us to be on the safe side.
  • Got a phone call when we were on the way home to say to carry on as we had been, but to come back on Friday and not to take the Menopur on Friday morning in case we were going to trigger.
  • Found out afterwards that my E2 (estrogen levels) were 5,961 which is pretty damn high.
  • Went to work feeling pretty uncomfortable and really should have stayed home. I had to wear a dress and everything because my work trousers were too tight around the middle.
  • Felt pretty miserable all day and had no energy to turn on my laptop, bullet journal or anything.
  • Felt kind of anxious about the upcoming appointment on Friday so didn't sleep very well.

  • My ovaries exploded! Not literally (thankfully) but it seemed like they were seriously considering it. I was feeling really bloated and the scan wasn't exactly fun.
  • The scan took quite a while to do because there were so many follicles to count, this time twenty or more on each side, and all measuring between 10-20mm (plus the ever present littlies).
  • It was at this point that a freeze-all cycle was mentioned as that's the standard policy if more than 25 eggs are retrieved. I took a while to process this because at first I couldn't figure out how they were expecting me to get so many eggs; then I realised that in total I had 40 follicles, not 20!
  • My blood was drawn and I was advised I'd get a call about what would happen next when they had the results. In the meantime I was told to drink little and often, eat plenty of protein rich foods (chicken, eggs, milk, yoghurt), and take it easy. We toddled off to KFC where the chicken nuggets knew exactly how I felt (see photo above).
  • We were only home for about 45 minutes when the hospital called and my immediate thought was that they were going to cancel us. I've been having flashbacks to our first cycle for the last couple of days, just little things which reminded me of it, so the 40+ follicles was an awful lot like the '30+ here and 35+ over there' appointment we had at the Nuffield.
  • My E2 levels had risen to 13,182! I believe the correct medical term for this is 'Oh Crap!'
  • We're not cancelling the cycle! We're doing a freeze-all!
  • I can't trigger with an hCG based trigger as that will push me into hyperstimulation (and we know how that ended last time) so I'm using one called Buserelin which I've used in nasal spray format for down regulation on both my frozen cycles.
  • And I was to do it on Saturday night ready for retrieval on Monday. The one flaw in this plan was that the injection in our fridge was an Ovitrelle (hCG-based) one.
  • So it was back to Glasgow today to go pick it up, run over the basics of using it and go over what I need to do for egg collection on Monday.
  • The Suprecur injection seems straightforward (though, alas, it's not in a pen). I have a massive vial and a tiny syringe and I only need to use the .5 of the 5.5ml bottle.
  • I do my last Cetrotide injection in about three hours and then at 9:30pm on the dot I give myself the final injection of this stage of the process.
What Next?
  • Tara has been checked into the kennels and our hotel in Glasgow has been booked (we've got to be at the hospital before 8am on Monday so we're not willing to take a chance on the ferries).
  • I'll get sedated and will have my follicles aspirated (via a very large needle shoved into a place where very few women want to have a very large needle shoved). Hopefully they will find a nice clutch of eggs (which haven't been harmed by the 'coasting' which means we've not fed the poor things for two days). Mr Click will do his thing and if all goes well they'll be forcibly introduced to one another some time afterwards.
  • Hopefully we'll have lots of happy and healthy embryos who won't be too disgruntled at having to spend a few months chilling in the freezer before my ovaries resume their normal service, when we will wake them back up and put them back where they belong.
It's been a long old week here!

Wednesday, 8 February 2017


... from another trip to the hospital.

But it went really well. I'll tell you all about it when I'm not falling asleep at my laptop.

... doing my first injection in public today. On a ferry no less!

I feel like there should be some sort of achievement badge for doing this.

... to bed!

Night, night!

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Books 21 & 22 of 2016: Comic Tales and Fantasies by Wayne Gathman & The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy (Trilogy of Four) by Douglas Adams

Do you ever pick up a free book and find it completely surpasses your expectations? I guess I'm kind of used to grabbing a free book on Amazon and finding that it has the potential to be a good book but that it needs a lot of work to make it a great one.

Comic Tales and Fantasies by Wayne Gathman is not one of those books. It was already great. It's a collection of short stories which are set in our world but with a hint of the fantastic about them. Several of the stories deal with the same character, a private eye in New York in the 1930s, but there's a real mix in here including fairy tale type stories and sci-fi types too.

I think this could really do with a more appealing cover because this one doesn't do it justice. Perhaps something a bit quirky or cartoony to give a better hint as to what's contained within it. Honestly, I wasn't expecting it to be much good but it was really funny and I couldn't help but be reminded of Terry Pratchett or Douglas Adams as I read.

Although there are a number of different stories in this collection, four of them feature the character of Dan Kelly, a private detective. I was expecting this to be a standard detective story so when there were suddenly ogres in it came as a bit of a surprise. But the way it was done made it feel totally natural in the setting.

I also liked that there were different stories about Dan and Kate interspersed with the standalone short stories as well. It was a nice way to break up the collection. Although I did enjoy the Dan and Kate stories, which upon reflection kind of put me in mind of the wizarding world of the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them film, my favourite was probably one about a guy who invented a time travelling device. It was really funny and with a great punchline.

I'd definitely recommend this book.

Comic Tales and Fantasies led me on quite nicely to the next book-book on my shelf, Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy (Trilogy of Four). I own a copy which has four books in a single volume. It was one of my bargain purchases which I used my Waterstones points to get a few years ago and so I pretty much got four books for less than £2. I do love a good bargain.

This volume contains the first four books (in the Trilogy of Five); The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy; The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe; Life, The Universe And Everything; and So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish. The collection tells the story of Arthur Dent who ends up travelling the galaxy with a merry band of misfits after Earth is demolished to make way for a hyperspace bypass, from there they end up at the Restaurant At The End Of The Universe, and eventually Arthur finds himself living in a cave on a prehistoric planet, but it all ends pretty well in the final volume when Arthur meets the girl of his dreams.

It'd been a while since I last read this because the last time it took me quite a while to get through so I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that I was able to read all four books in this volume in less than a fortnight.

The general writing style makes me think of a mix of Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman and Doctor Who. The latter is obvious because Adams was involved in writing for Doctor Who, as for Pratchett and Gaiman, I think they just have similar ways of looking at the world which comes across in their writing.

Without a doubt, the first book will always be my favourite. I love the way that Arthur Dent is taken out of his familiar world and whisked across the galaxy and we get to travel along with him and learn about the beings and worlds there. It sets up everything that follows.

I enjoy The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe as well and this time around I felt like I enjoyed So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish more than the last time I read it. I don't really recall what I didn't like about it the last couple of times I read it, just that it wasn't one of my favourites. My least favourite will always be Life, The Universe And Everything. I just struggle to follow what's going on in it.

Saturday, 4 February 2017

IVF #3: Vlog #4 - Baseline Scan & Meds

I know I've already blogged about Wednesday's hospital appointment, but I did also record a video when I got home. I've spent all day getting it uploaded to YouTube.

In this video I talk about how the hospital appointment went and show off the big bag of meds which I picked up while I was there.

This evening I switched out one of the Menopur injections for a Cetrotide, as instructed. Boy, that's an involved process. I suspect that may feature on an upcoming blog or vlog!

Friday, 3 February 2017

Introducing Jingle

There's something very handsome about a little black rat. I think it's because they look like they're wearing little suits with their white cuffs and stripes down their tummies. Jingle is my third black rat and my previous two have both been little lovies. There was no question that the cutie in the black suit was coming home with us on the 7th of January.

And boy was he cute:

I don't have a huge number of photos of baby Jingle rat because he was very wary of both the camera and my phone. Plus he's very quick so by the time you've focused on him, he's no longer in the frame. The best way to catch him is to give him some food or to wait til he dozes off in the hammock.

Jingle rat (which can be sung to the tune of the popular Christmas song) or Jingly as he's known occasionally is also the original hammock rat. He was the first to figure out the hammock in the baby cage and can often be found there with the other half of the Terrible Twosome; Fezziwig.

Jingle has a little white stripe down his tummy, which kind of looks like a ballet dancer (though I only realised that this morning so I've not yet managed to snap a photo of it). He's lost all of his fuzzy, fluffy baby fur now and it's come in all sleek and shiny. He's got a hint of the agouti about his fur as well, there's a mix of grey and other dark shades in there.

He's quite a springy rat too (it must be a black rat thing). When he was still just a little dot he figured out how to jump across the the small cage from the grass house to the hammock. He can sleep in some really odd positions in the hammock, with various bits of him hanging out of the thing. I suspect that in the small cage he was trying to be top rat, but he was supplanted by his best friend Fez, but he seems cool with his position in the pecking order.

Jingle's usually one of the first to come out and try something new when we give them a bowl full of food. Broccoli was a definite hit, anything with eggs is guaranteed to go down well. I think the very top food so far was haggis, neeps and tatties.

He's probably one of the most playful out of the boys as well. He's so inquisitive that he'll stick his nose into almost anything. This evening I was reading my knitting magazine and he came along for a nibble to help me remember which page I'd gotten up to. I think I need to introduce him to the chase the ribbon game, the other night I rolled up a piece of toilet paper and wiggled it around the cage. He pounced and destroyed it with great gusto.

I'm planning on introducing him to fishing for peas this weekend. I think it'll go down pretty well with all four of them, but considering how playful Jingle is, coupled with how much he likes his food, I think he'll be thrilled with the game.

I'll be sure to get photos!

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Officially Started

I've recorded another video talking about how our hospital appointment went, but I probably won't get it edited and uploaded until the weekend, so in the meantime I figured I'd do a proper blog post about it.

It was another early start and I was suffering really badly with cramp since it was Day 2 of my period (and I'm being nice here and not going into details on what else was going on there). I felt ready to fall asleep from the moment the alarm went off and spent the journey there fantasizing about when I can have a lie in (answer: not for a while, read on to see why).

The clinic was really busy yesterday. The nurse we saw told us that Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays tend to be their busiest days and boy was that obvious! I think when we arrived there was the tail end of the people waiting on their partners and relatives who were undergoing egg retrieval as well which helped swell the numbers.

The first job when we got called through was the ever-so-exciting internal scan. I've discussed my feelings regarding the dildocam before but for those who have missed them, it's an internal ultrasound. The thing is about eight inches long, bulbous on the business end, and is covered in a large floppy condom and a generous dollop of lube before it's inserted into the obvious bodily cavity. The nurse then proceeds to twirl it around (which is about as enjoyable a process as you can imagine) to get a good look at your uterus and ovaries.

And I should add to this that it was being done on the second day of my period. And I'm generally quite heavy at this time of the month.

The nurses were ever so professional though and it went really smoothly. Considering the fact that within minutes of meeting these women you're being violated with a large medical instrument, it's a very good thing that they're able to be as relaxed about the whole thing as they are.

The verdict on my insides was satisfactory. My womb lining was measuring at 11.7mm which is a little thicker than they would like, but based on when the scan was done and what was going on in my body, there wasn't any concern. To be brutally honest (and really gross), probably could've lost about 11mm of that simply with one sneeze. I'm sure any women reading this know what I mean.

The other thing they wanted to check were my antral follicles. These are the follicles that every woman develops in the run up to ovulation and you can have dozens of them each cycle vying to be the winner who gets to pop out an egg. What normally happens is one (or two) will grow, maturing their egg, the follicle then bursts and lo and behold, you've ovulated. My right side showed six or seven antral follicles and to this the nurse added 'plus' which means that the six or seven are the ones big enough to count but there's still a few more which are hanging around in there.

My left ovary was a little bit shy. I'm sure this was the one which liked to spend its time tucked behind my uterus on previous rounds so there was a lot of (really comfortable) probing to get that one to come into view. No wonder this one was feeling a bit shy. It's a superstar with ten plus antral follicles. Well done, Leftie!

After this it was on to a blood test.

Somewhere in the back of my mind I knew they would take blood from me. And yet I'd pushed it out of my head until I walked into the room and glanced at the desk with its little blood collection tray out. Then I remembered.

I always forget to ask why they need to take my blood but I'm fairly certain it's to check my estrogen levels. This tells them something important about my cycle and my ovulation and whether or not I'm overstimulating. I don't question it, I just do as I'm told.

And then it was onto the really fun stuff. The piles and piles of boxes of drugs and syringes. I would've been a junkie's dream walking back through Glasgow yesterday one box alone has something like 30 syringes in it!

We had a quick crash course in the Menopur (which the nurse really helpfully premixed for us since before it's mixed it needs to be refrigerated and we were planning on rushing to Dim Sum, not home). I'm on 150 of that morning and evening for the first two days, then on day three I just do it on the morning and in the evening I switch to 25 of Cetrotide.

The Menopur is the one which turns my ovaries into my own personal battery hens, pumping them full of hormones so they churn out dozens of (hopefully, high quality) eggs. The Cetrotide is the one which stops me from popping them all out as they mature.

We also stocked up on the Metformin which I get to carry on with until egg collection happens (woo!) and with that we were pretty much ready to go. Except for the fact that we didn't know exactly when the game was due to kick off. For that we needed the blood test results. They said they would call us and we were free to go.

So we toddled off back into the city centre. We headed to The Works because they had a sale. We headed to WH Smith to buy Mr Click some pencils. We headed to Dim Sum for some really nice lunch.

And then we boarded the train home. Where I had a photo session with the giant bag of drugs we'd been carting round Glasgow:

It was on the train that the call came. Except it was from a mobile number and someone with an accent asked to speak to Dave Collins. As neither Mr Click nor I are called Dave Collins I hung up on them.

About twenty minutes later another call came in. This time from the hospital with the instructions for when to begin. I'd been expecting them to say Friday or maybe Saturday, but they said tomorrow, which is of course now today. We then promptly went into a tunnel and I inadvertently hung up on the very nice nurse who was in the middle of giving me my next appointment details. Oops.

Thankfully she phoned back, went over everything and we're all set.

As of 7am today I've officially started and we go back next Wednesday to see how things are coming along.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017


... pretty zonked after my trip to the mainland for a hospital appointment.

It went really well though and I came away with a massive bag of goodies:

I'm also feeling slightly nervous, since we start playing with this stuff tomorrow! Yikes!