Monday 21 June 2021

Dealing with Father's Day

So it was Father's day yesterday, a day to celebrate your da or if you choose not to, that's cool.  Earlier this week David received an invoice for the stored spermcicles from our failed IVF attempt in December.  This was out of the blue and it threw him, so he telephoned me at work to let me know.  He was sobbing a little and I started to cry too.  Then he apologised and said he shouldn't have but the pain is both ours so we needed to share it.

Mother's day was difficult for me this year, where I'd hoped to be pregnant with our warrior queens Juno and Hera, or at least one child, it wasn't to be.  So to see everyone celebrating Mother's day with gifts from their kids (I'm lucky enough to still have my mam so I celebrated her).  But I yearned for a Mother's day card from the bump (I'd never thought I'd ever want one of those cards and if David had got me one, I'd probably have taken the piss truth be told but secretly loved it.  Now I can't have one, it hurts).


I can only assume what I felt on Mother's day is what David felt yesterday. 


And then last night, I couldn't get to sleep because all that was going around my head is the fact that we will never have a child that is biologically ours, we'll never see what our genes smashed together would create.  Definitely blue eyes, but blonde or red hair?  Freckles?  Slightly sticking our ears?  Would they need to wear glasses?  What would their personality be like?  Fiery like me or quiet like David?


I don't know why I'm writing this; probably catharsis, but receiving the invoice for something that wasn't to be hit us both hard.  I'm still not emotionally over our IVF failure, I'm a little better.  David seems to handle things better, but sometimes at night, we have a little weep over what wasn't to be.


We're still taking a break from anything child related, aside from meeting friend's new children or seeing friends other kids.  And they're always an absolute delight to be around which can make it bittersweet.  We'd be incredible parents, I know we would.  And I know there's still time with adoption, but for now, we need to concentrate on us and rebuilding Tara and David as a couple before IVF came in, windmilling its arms and kicking its legs, battering us.

Sunday 24 January 2021

The Ballad of Juno and Hera – Tiny Invisible Warrior Queens

Trigger warning: Infertility and IVF failure

I try to never get carried away with things because that way disappointment lies. Also, because I’m from Coventry and we never get excited about anything ever. It’s not in our genetic make up. So, when I underwent IVF in November, I told myself to not get carried away. I expressly warned myself not to. So, of course I did, didn’t I?

I didn’t outwardly get carried away, just inside my head.

Our IVF journey was a tough old slog. I was too fat and so was referred to the infertility team as well as the bariatric service.  I had most of my stomach removed to qualify for IVF, just missed out on free IVF because my BMI was 32 and its free for those (aged 39 and 11 months or younger) with BMI of 30 or below. Missed out due to age and being fat. 

Before my bariatric surgery, I remember sitting in the IKEA cafĂ© one Saturday with David and stating that if we don’t qualify for free IVF, we won’t pay for it. We wanted to (and still do) be parents and so we’d go down the adoption route.  He agreed and we shook on it over a slice of Daim cake. 

I mentioned the Daim Cake Deal to my mam and she instantly offered to pay for a round of IVF. I turned her down because it’s an astronomical amount of money for something that isn’t guaranteed.  I didn’t want her to waste money. 

So, as mentioned, we didn’t qualify for free IVF.  I mentioned to friends about my mam’s offer and everyone told me I should take her up on it because obviously she loves me and she’d benefit too, she only has one grandchild.  And you know your mam always wants good things for you so after discussion, we agreed.  David’s dad paid for the first round of medications.

So we waited. And we waited some more. Every month I got my period, I called the Centre for Reproductive Medicine (CRM from here on in) to arrange for a transvaginal ultrasound on day three of my period (not nearly as fun as it sounds…) and there was always something, my womb lining was too thick or there was already a follicle (egg) forming in my ovary. It took forever.

In the meantime, one of my best friends had been through IVF and been successful so I took heart from that. My circle of best friends is so close knit and tight. There are seven of us and yeah we occasionally have squabbles and fall outs, but I love them all.  Only thing now, I’m the only childless one in the group and it can get really difficult when we chat or meet up because they all have a shared experience of pregnancy and having children and I don’t have that.  And obviously the conversations about their kids can get to me because I have literally nothing to add.  And that’s no-ones fault but sometimes I feel a bit left out, even though they do their best to not do that.  They’re a brilliant bunch of strong funny smart women and I love the bones of them all.  Following the IVF failure I got a beautiful bunch of flowers and chocolates from them.  In fact, the house resembled a florists at one point! 

COVID delayed treatment as well and then some of our medications had run out so we had to buy MORE. It really was a shitty time of it. But I soldiered on, did the injections ready for the egg retrieval.  Eggs retrieved on 20 November under sedation, legs clamped apart with my fanny on show to the world and his wife. 

When I came round, the consultant who did the retrieval came and saw me and told me that they’d managed to retrieve two single eggs.  Just two.  He couldn’t retrieve from my left ovary because they discovered that day that my left ovary is attached to my abdomen and he couldn’t get in to get them without injuring me severely.  So two teeny tiny eggs, and I heard him telling the other women on the ward how many eggs he’d retrieved from them and I had a bit of a cry.  Surely it wasn’t ever going to work for us was it?  Before I left, the andrologist came and told me that they’d fertilised the two eggs and they’d call me the next day to let me know how they got on.

Against everything, they both fertilised. I’d prepared to be devastated then but no it was great news.  They’d began to divide.  I went back on the Monday for both fertilised eggs to be put back in (another legs clamped apart, fanny on show).  I’d joked with a friend about them replacing them with a blow pipe.  I nicknamed them my little space invaders.

Then the two week wait.  And that’s when my imagination took over.  Of COURSE they were both going to develop and become babies, and they would be twin girls, my warrior queens: Juno and Hera. One red head like me, one dark haired like David. Strong tough independent women.  It was going to perfect. I was going to be as good a mama as I could be, having learned from the best, my own mam and David is just made to be a dad.  Due to the medication I was on, I was getting pregnancy symptoms down to the heightened sense of smell.

I’d hoped for an early Xmas present when I took the first pregnancy test on 7 December. But it wasn’t to be. I did another test, naively and of course it was negative.  We cried together, David’s sobs were from his very soul, I haven’t heard him cry like that since his mum died.  I instantly apologised to him and he asked why I was apologising. I felt it was my fault, I felt like I failed him and everyone.  I can’t describe the feelings of guilt I had, and still do have to some extent even though realistically I KNOW its not my fault. 

Telling our parents was so horrible, my mam was in tears and so was David’s dad when he phoned him to let him know.  I apologised to them too. I felt like I’d let them down, and it was an expensive failure too.

It affected me so much that the GP signed me off with depression due to a grief reaction. I start back tomorrow, I think I’m ready.

We had Xmas coming up and I was not looking forward to it at all but it wasn’t as bad as I expected it to be although obviously not as amazing as if I had been pregnant.

Weird things triggered me like seeing a pack of invitations to a Baby Shower, not something I’d have wanted but just now I couldn’t have one. Didn’t want to go out, that’s where babies and happy couples with babies and toddlers and pregnant people were. I’ve Why Me’d virtually every day since That Day.  And people with their ‘well it wasn’t meant to be’ or ‘this is all part of your journey’, I mean I know you mean well but you can fuck ALL the way off with that.

Occasionally, we sit at the weekend, usually after too much gin, and cry about our lost warrior queens, about how unfair it is.  I feel like I’ve lost a part of me when I got the negative result, I’ve lost some of the shine in my eyes. It was a part of our lives for so long and then it just ended like that.  And if I had the money, I wouldn’t go through it again. The whole experience has taken its toll on my mental health and I’ve had enough people looking at my fanny, thanks.

We’re getting there. We need to be six months clear of IVF before we can consider adoption. Or we might just get a rescue greyhound and have done with it.

To Juno and Hera, our Tiny Warrior Queens.

Monday 6 April 2020

System up with the top down, got the city on lockdown.

March was by far the longest month of everyone’s life.  I was already having a shitty 2020, even before the big Coro V showed up.  David and I were unable to start IVF because some of my stupid hormone levels were too high.  That hurt, as we’d been waiting so long to begin.  Then the death of my cousin’s daughter, aged 24, Beautiful Sarah, attending her funeral in Dublin and seeing her heartbroken friends and my heartbroken family.  Then my mam was hospitalised twice whilst still in Dublin, first time with broken ribs from a fall.  I spent my last day in Dublin with her in A&E in the Mater hospital and it hurt having to leave her for the airport.  She looked so tiny and frail and scared.

Her second spell in hospital was longer and a bit more serious; she’d had a massive bowel infection and they discovered she has COPD (Chronic obstructivepulmonary disease).  It was terrifying because I couldn’t be with her, so I was calling every day.  It was the closest I’d gotten to losing her, and it probably wasn’t even THAT close.  I think it was the helplessness, I couldn’t do anything, couldn’t visit her or anything due to the sheer distance. 

On top of that, I’d had a falling out on a very public forum with a family member where I was made to feel like utter shit by a single comment.  I was on the precipice of a massive spiral down into my Dark Place.  My alter ego, Cunt Face lives there.  She’ll tell me I’m no good, she’ll tell me I’m worthless, and most crucially, she’ll tell me that if I kill myself, no one will miss me.  And although I was at the top of the spiral, she shouted loud enough that no one would miss me and that I should probably kill myself. 

I contemplated it for a day or two, I’ll be honest.  My constant misery made me hell to live with, spontaneously bursting into tears wherever I went.  I just wanted it all to stop, all my feelings needed to just fuck off. 

A phone call to my GP helped; I told her everything and she was reassuring.  The fact that by February, I’d already accumulated a years’ worth of bullshit and it had broken me.  I was worrying about fucking everything up with friends and family by being so anxious and depressed, relying on alcohol to help me through (bad idea – I potentially ruined relationships and friendships this way).

But I began to get through it, slowly but surely, the spontaneous tears stopped.  The feelings of despair began to subside.  Things were going a okay in Tara World….things were looking up….

Oh, hello Covid-19.  Let me clarify, I don’t have it but I’m terrified.  The only thing about this whole situation is that virtually everyone is in the same shitty rust covered boat, if you can take any solace from that?  We’re all now living in some weird dystopian time where we’re having to practice social distancing (some of us better than others), working from home is the norm for most people (quite how you all don’t just spend the day wanking, I’ll never know).  But no social interaction aside from with the people you’re living with (bad luck, David).  I have friends who live alone and who haven’t seen another soul for two weeks, how isolating is that?  How much must that affect your mental health?  I mean, I’m upset because I can’t visit my folks and they’re not tech savvy enough to have WhatsApp or Zoom or whatever else platform you use where you can facetime people.  But I’m lucky because they’re both still here.  People who have the big Coro V are dying alone because they can’t have visitors.  Imagine dying scared and alone…its gut wrenching to think about. 

The world is a fucked-up place right now.  Writing is useful for me to get all the crap out of my head and into my shitty little blog where I appear to be full of my own self-importance.  Well, buster, it’s my blog and I can post whatever the hell I like.  It’s heartening that in this unprecedented time that MOST people are being decent and caring, a lot are being cunts and attacking key workers or spitting at people, or just going out and about like fuck all is happening.  And those who don’t social distance, don’t get me started.  I’d love to think that when all this is done and dusted, society will be a brighter, nicer place, but the pessimist in me says it won’t.  People will go back to their own selfish ways…I hope I’m proved wrong.

Sarah Maguire
1995 - 2020
Always remembered, forever loved

Monday 21 May 2018

*Taps microphone* "Is this thing on?"

TW: Suicide, suicidal thoughts, self harm.

Hiya - Thought I should probably write something in connection to Mental Health Awareness Week 2018.  And writing is so cathartic for me so here goes.

It's only me.  I realise I've been pretty quiet here lately.  A lot of stuff has happened in my life and subsequently, my mental health has taken a massive battering.

Firstly I quit my job, partially due to anxiety and depression and being unable to cope in that environment anymore. Subsequently, I also quit doing my radio show which has broken my heart completely but ultimately it's the right thing for me to do for me.

And my beloved auntie Marie died on 30 April.  It was expected but it didn't make it any less sad when she died.  You might remember her from some of my blog posts here (sorry, that was terribly Troy McLure, wasn't it?)  She was so well loved and will be missed by almost everyone who knew her.  She was buried on what would have been her 80th birthday.  

My recent mental health battering really affected me terribly, I self harmed and had contemplated suicide...I didn't want to die, just for everything to stop and for the anxiety and depressive thoughts to cease.  

Suicide has been talked about quite a bit recently, due to an incredibly moving and powerful storyline in Coronation Street which saw Aiden Connor to take his own life.  The reactions of the neighbourhood, his family and friends was so well observed - the denial, the cries of 'selfish' and 'coward' - and the acting has been absolutely outstanding, particularly Richard Hawley (not THAT one) who plays Johnny, Aiden's devastated father.

I was asked why I would put myself through watching, given the horrible few months I've had; I think some of it was to see how it was handled (they worked with CALM and The Samaritans to get it right), but I think the main part was to try to get myself out of that mind set - to see how those chara
cters reacted to Aiden taking his life, is that how my friends and family would react?  And I know how messed up that is but now I've written it down, it's out there and it's probably the main reason I watched it.  I was able to snap myself out of the suicidal thoughts and the thoughts of harm, but I'm still depressed and suffering with massive anxiety.  I was so down, I didn't even look forward to my birthday, and as a lot of you know, I LOVE having about a billion birthday parties.  I spent my birthday with my gorgeous parents wandering around Nuneaton, trying to buy shoes for my auntie's funeral.  Got an ice cream out of it though.

I'm not working now (I'm technically a House Wife) I'm alone more with my thoughts, and I'm trying my best to distract myself.  It's so easy to wallow and sink, but I need to swim up and keep going.  I am good enough, I will get another job, I have the love and support of my wonderful husband and family, and friends.

Basically, this is just a catch up of my life recently (it wasn't all doom and gloom, David and I had an absolutely incredible holiday in Croatia where we befriended about a billion cats).  I think I just wanted to let y'all know what's been going on and to remind you that it's okay to not be okay.  It's okay to be emotional, toxic masculinity is so prevalent in our society that men in particular feel they need to 'Man Up' (a dreadful phrase). Cry, scream, wail, talk to someone, please.  No-one else can play your part, you're a unique and beautiful being.  You absolutely deserve your place here on this planet.  Please never feel you don't.

Friday 2 February 2018


I have to eat a sausage roll today and I'm freaking right the fuck out.

Frequent readers of this blog will probably know (because I don’t stop banging on about it), since my weight loss surgery, I’ve developed a fear of some foods.  I’m seeing a psychologist and things have been going great, until now.  My anxiety is increasing with the thought of having to eat this pissing sausage roll… and I know how much of a hardship it sounds, I’ve already had people say ‘I’ll do it for you’, and yes it does make me smile the 93rd time I hear it, part of me is thinking ‘if you could please, that’d be ace.’

I’ve been rather jolly and joking about the fact that I am having to eat a sausage roll in a medical setting, but as the day draws closer, I’m not finding it quite so funny

My psychologist and me are working using something called Graded Exposure Therapy (minds OUT of the gutter please).  So far we’ve ranked the foods I’m scared of hierarchically with the most feared (bread/pizza/doughnuts) at the top of the list and the least feared (pastry) at the bottom and all the stages (fruit/veg, rice, pasta etc.) in between.  I’d been so blasĂ© with the psychologist about it, I thought I’d be fine, but now as the day draws ever near (I’d convinced myself it was actually NEXT Friday) the familiar anxiety beats kick in; racing thoughts, palpitations, inability to sit still, fidgeting.  They’re not as pronounced as they once were, and if I can’t sleep, my brain STILL makes me recite the cooking in prison scene from Goodfellas.  So we’ll see what 2pm holds, I guess.

In other news, I’ve been back at work now for three weeks (two weeks of half days, almost one of full) and I’ve gotten on okay (other than a bit of a blip last week when on top of all the changes made in my absence –staff changes, management changes etc. – I had a bit of a kick off and almost left because of another change that they dropped on me).  It’s good to be back in a routine, to have something to get up and go out for.  My colleagues have all been brilliant too, trying to compliment me on my weight loss (I don’t take compliments well so I try to fire back a self-derogatory remark because it’s an automatic defence mechanism I’ve developed over my life), asking how I’m getting on and genuinely giving a shit about me and the state of my mental health which is extremely encouraging.  Some people are scared to discuss mental health at work, but I absolutely advocate it.  A simple ‘How are you feeling?’ or ‘Are you okay?’ could make the world of difference.


Tuesday 9 January 2018

Return of the Twat

So gang, that's more sitting in my pyjamas all day, lusting over Gordon Ramsay or getting enraged at Jeremy return to work is IMMINENT.

Readers of this blog will know that following my gastric sleeve surgery, my brain went a bit (well, a LOT) wrong and I effectively had a bit of a breakdown.  I've been off work since July 2017, moping, crying, not being able to eat etc.  I cried out for psychological input and thankfully I am now receiving some therapy from one of the bariatric psychologists at the hospital.  We're still tinkering and working on the plan that will hopefully rid me of my phobias surrounding food and vomiting, and we're also going to do work on my anxiety.

Blogging has really helped me through this period in my life.  I genuinely hadn't expected to have a meltdown surrounding my surgery, didn't even consider it, let alone develop food phobias that have effectively put me on the eating disorders spectrum (according to my GP anyway).

I'm always very honest and open in my blog; I wear my heart on my sleeve and (just to use another old cliche) my life is pretty much an open book.  I had to blog for the sake of my sanity.  It's cathartic for me to do so.

But, yes, back to work on Friday 12 Jan.  It's a phased return so I should be back to full duties the first week of February or so.  Of course I'm anxious about going back, the team has changed significantly (three members of staff resigned, one was dismissed), leaving the office resembling the Mary Celeste.  But one thing I know I can do is to only do the work I can, I shan't be stressing myself out about work because that way another breakdown lies.  I've learned to leave work at work (and I know I'm lucky to be in a position where I can do just that).  I have to look out for ME now, I'm quite good at neglecting me and focussing on others or other things, but if I don't look out for me now, then who else will?  That isn't to say that the support I've received over these six months hasn't been phenomenal with special thanks going to David, my mam and the rest of the family and of course my friends.  But I know the signs of my mental health going down and so I must keep an eye on that and I'm the best person to do that (I think anyway).

To assist my return to work, I've written an email to my manager and asked her to disseminate it to the department.  Essentially it's a polite request that folk don't ask me about my surgery or how much weight I've lost (yes, I know I've been blogging about it, but that's different in so far as the readers of this blog won't be all up in my grill asking me if I can't eat cakes anymore or why I'm frightened of pasta).  If I want people to know, I'll tell them.  This is purely an exercise in self preservation.

I'm so lucky to have such wonderful people in my life (in my real life and the internet world) who have been so caring and although I realise my fears surrounding food and vomiting are difficult to understand, thanks for not being dicks about it.  You've all showed me some support in some way or another and that means the absolute world to me. 

I'll continue blogging about stuff, especially as my BMI is low enough for us to begin IVF (have to wait til May for another appointment and there'll be discussion surrounding whether my innards have healed well enough etc.) but I'm actually quite hopeful, and I try to not be hopeful for anything because I tend to get let down (eternal pessimist, just call me Eeyore) but maybe this will be a Good Year.

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Tara Court is feeling (slightly) better.

Oh hi.

I thought I've not filled people's FB and Twitter timelines with my banging on about mental health, weight loss, fertility problems and other such matters, so you lucky people, I'm doing a blog.

After asking for it in August 2017, I FINALLY got my bariatric psychology appointment through and it took place on Tuesday 5 Dec.  It went pretty well, with me opening up about my food phobias and my fear of vomiting, how I'm perceived by others (especially when I'm out or when I eventually go back to work), and my fear that I've begun drinking too much.

The psychologist sat and listened, didn't judge (obviously) and suggested that I see him again in two weeks so we can begin to formulate a plan of action which will include graduated exposure therapy (I know, the title of it sounds a bit seaside postcard).  I came away relatively happy.

Prior to seeing him, I saw the occupational health psychologist, who also sat and listened and didn't judge and was supposed to pass her notes on me to the new guy but must have forgotten to.  Obviously, her input is to assist in a return to work.  I'd said from the very beginning that all I wanted was to talk to someone in the bariatric service; a specialised psychologist who understands why people develop food phobias, why people don't eat until the hunger is gnawing at them, why people promise that they'll have some food when they've finished doing a long task (p.s. those things relate to me, though that last one is a new one that I want to get sorted out ASAP).

So I saw my GP today and she has suggested that my phased return to work take place in January, following my second appointment with the psychologist; that way, if something freaks me out in the next session or stays with me and I can't process it, I have time over the Christmas period to work through it and process it without being thrown back into work.  I'm happy with that.

Also of note, is that we had a fertility appointment the other week which was fairly positive.  My BMI needs to be 35 or below before they begin treatment and I'm pretty much there.  What with having abdominal surgery though, they can't actually do anything until maybe a year post surgery which will take us to July.  My insides need to heal.  I'm very aware of my age and so was the consultant who said that a) we're already funded for a round of IVF and b) he'll bring out case up with the head of department because our case is such a rare one.  We have another appointment in May and I guess we'll find out what's going to happen then.  I initially felt positive following that appointment, but I'm a natural pessimist so we'll have to see what happens.

My sleep pattern is still way off, with lying awake for hours trying to nod off whilst simultaneously reciting the whole of Goodfellas in my head (it's not as much fun as it sounds), but all in all, I am feeling better, more positive...relatively happy with my weight loss (the dietician keeps telling me I'm doing brilliantly but I think I could have and should have lost more...). 

My folks are concerned that I'm losing weight too quickly, but as I explained, post surgery is when the weight falls off because you have to get used to new eating patterns and habits (something I haven't really done yet - but I will).  My hair loss continues to concern me to the point where I've considered shaving it all off for a charity and beginning again.  People tell me that they can't see a difference, but I can feel a difference and when I wash my hair and handfuls of my hair comes out, it makes me feel like shit.  I KNOW it'll grow back, but my hair is the thing that defines me, I really wish it wasn't falling out.

And there I go, starting a blog fairly positively, and finishing on a negative.  Typical me, I guess.  

TL:DR; I'm doing better now, thanks.