Twins in IVF — Wife to Mama

These days I hate telling people I conceived via IVF. Not because there is any shame in it but because straight away it’s like people have this moment where the magic of my identical twins is taken away ‘oh right IVF that’s why you have twins!’… um sorry Karen do you know statistics I don’t? […]

‘Oh but twins are common in IVF’ — Wife to Mama

Cat Sticky Notes for University

I live in Wales, UK and if you know anything about UK Coronavirus politics, we’ve decided to stay quarantined whilst England has opened itself in a small but (possibly) too early way. I’m happy to stay at home earning 80% as I’ve got a lot of life I’m planning ahead of me considering university and getting debts down so we can get our own home, finally!

But during this time of waiting and preparing, I’ve gone and gotten myself a little, possibly undeserved, gift.

Despite the fact that I have not confirmed my Student Finance, which will be accepting applications at the end of June, I’m very much excited and enthusiastic for beginning Open University studying BSc Biology (Hons).

As a stationary enthusiast and organisation-lover, during these quiet months at home, I’ve gathered around me some excellent (in my humble opinion) stationary pieces for when I finally begin my studies.

Paperchase is my favourite shop for novelty, fun office supplies. Everything so far has been acquired from there and anything more will probably come from them too. I definitely recommend you check them out – as long as you don’t mind paying a teeny bit more for novelty cat post-it notes and 10 subject (YES, 10!) notebooks.

As well as those Paperchase goodies, my boyfriend J also ordered three surprise sticker stationary items from Meow Town, which he found via Ebay UK. They are, of course Chinese-made cheapies, but I was so shocked he bought them for me I’ve given them pride of place.

Especially the cat page markers in cardboard box – that’s adorable!

I want to focus on this pen for a minute though, as it’s fun and functional, and really, I love it. It’s not cat themed but it deserves to be looked at.

It’s got a pink fade look because it contains a pink highlighter (under the lid), a normal black ink ballpoint pen under the other cap, and inside the lid ‘hook’ – here’s the fun part – are slim pink page marking tabs you can set up for easy pulling.

How good is that?

I have a horrible feeling I’ve gone a bit mental in lockdown, but what with attempting to lose a bit of weight and get healthy, save money for future study/home, live in a packed shared house with roommates who have other opinions on what counts as ‘clean’, and ‘having a wash’, I think I have the right to treat myself!

Anyway, I digress…

This wasn’t a particularly fun post but I hope you enjoyed looking at the cat-themed items and interesting stationary. Maybe even in time for your back to school shopping..?

Thanks for reading x

BSc (Hons) Biology

Open University have just exclaimed that I am enrolled officially on the Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Biology, starting in October 2020.

I have enrolled in two modules starting in October, taking two lots of 60 credits to form full time studying status at 120 credits. I don’t know yet if I’ll be able to sustain this level of study, but I am only part-time working and I feel I could fit it around this, as well as defer a module should I realise it’s too hard.

As a learning enthusiast and stationary admirer I’m already jumping to Amazon to find study planners, subject/project notebooks and novelty pens to surround myself with. As the lockdown continues here in North Wales with only slight adjustments we are all looking for something to focus on, and this is mine.

I am not going to jump for joy yet with this announcement, although I am incredibly excited and pleased I was able to enrol, because I need to secure second degree funding from Student Finance Wales. This is a little tricky as I’ve studied and had a student loan before – I am already a Bachelor’s degree holder, and have a loan already. However, there are a list in Wales of courses which will be considered for funding if you already have a degree.

Biology was one of those courses, and I will have to wait until the end of June to apply for part-time funding (which the OU is always considered even if you study full-time). This, therefore, is why I am attempting to curb my enthusiasm a little in case the funding is ripped away at the last moment – which considering the world has gone mad with Covid-19 could well happen.

Embryology and a career in fertility is what I am aiming to achieve, however long it takes me. Years, yes, but maybe even decades.

Here I am, a student once more. Time to start again in the best way possible!

The Fertility Podcast

As an aspiring fertility worker I’m interested in all sides of fertility, and used to spend a long time reading blogs (and still do) about IVF, assisted fertility and couples trying to conceive.

Along this new career journey I’ve become a little obsessed with finding others who are fertility workers, as well as simply reading from patients undergoing treatment for infertility.

I have not yet attempted to conceive a child, and I am not someone needing IVF, or who has ever had to experience this area of healthcare before finding my interest in them.

Now though, I feel I need to share this gem I discovered not long ago on Twitter.

I’m almost certain everyone undergoing any kind of infertility treatment or anyone has a career in this area will know what this is all about, but I thought I’d share anyway.

It discusses female infertility, male infertility, unexplained infertility, IVF, IUI, care you receive, how to choose a fertility centre and everything else in between.

To educate and empower you, on your next steps regarding your fertility. With expert interviews & real stories from men & women sharing their #TTC journeys from around the globe.

I have been hooked on it since I found it last Sunday, and I hope anyone out there interested in their fertility will too. It’s not just for people undergoing IVF, or just for women, it’s for men, women, young people, older people or anything thinking about their fertility or even contemplating a life without children.

I myself have Generalised Anxiety Disorder, and fully appreciate how difficult asking the questions you need to ask can be. Google is confusing sometimes, and when you simply want an honest, current and crucially an expert answer to a question it can be very frustrating.

This way, you can listen to that expert advice along with friendly voices chatting about all the topics you may be concerned about if you’re TTC, considering IVF or in the midst of discovering what your fertility means.

Natalie, one of the hosts of the podcast, specifically states there are ways of asking them questions directly through social media and other channels. Plus, any stories you have about your fertility or journey could even become its own podcast show if you have something to share which may help others out there.

Host number 2, Kate, is a fertility consultant nurse and brings the experience she has into the podcast making sure to give medical insight and expert views. In addition, they often bring in niche and very specific experts in topics that effect the global fertility scene to talk and answer questions.

With over 200 episodes available there’s something for all, so I hope you enjoy as much as I have!

Once Upon A Time… Life

Once Upon A Time… Life, or How My Body Works as I knew it growing up, is a 80s-90s drawn and animated cartoon series for children consisting of 26 episodes all about how life begins.

All the way from earth’s creation, to the dinosaurs, and eventually us it starts to explain our biology.

Originally produced in France as Il était une fois… la vie (and part of a wider series) it focuses on educating young children about biological history, evolution and our human biology in a simple, friendly cartoon form.

It discusses emotionally complex subjects such as birth and death, considers historical medical ideas, the importance of vaccination, how people can get ill and recover, how we get hurt and our bodies heal and more.

Crucially, for my blog and my own writing, this series is very good at explaining simply but informatively, exactly how new life begins.

From fertilisation of the egg via sperm, the duplication and creation of all parts of a foetus, the possibility of random or genetic defects, all the way to the birth of a child.

If you need something to watch to re-educate yourself on the complexity of human reproduction, watch this. Equally, if you have children who are asking questions and want answers to where they came from, show them this.

Once Upon A Time… Life Episode 2: Birth

Happily, this particular episode focusing on the reproductive process is on YouTube now!

I don’t know how long this will be available to see and view, but if you can’t, the series is also available in it’s entirety on Netflix UK.

It may be silly and way too simple in it’s script and depiction, but it gives you an idea of just how hard conception can be.

It does show us the sperm, anthropomorphising them to help children understand, battling their way through the cervix, getting stuck, caught, killed and exhausted trying to reach the egg.

Which, by the way, has it’s own way of protecting itself from them too! And might not even be there when they arrive, as menstrual cycles fluctuate often.

It is no wonder then, that conception is harder than I ever thought it could be.

Whoever decided to warn so loudly against accidental pregnancy in schools here in the UK really over-emphasised a lot the danger. Yes, it’s easy to make a mistake and there is a chance of pregnancy in all cases, but the risk is far less than I ever knew.

At least, that’s how it feels now, at 26.

What do you think?

Welcome to ‘Words and Eggs’

I knew when starting out this blog I’d have two tricky ideas to deal with;

  1. Anonymity.
  2. Blogging Purpose.

How much do I tell you about daily life? How much should I keep to myself due to professional constraints? After all, this is meant to be a place to talk and vent about my inner-most feelings, difficult subjects and life events. But perhaps there’s some things I can’t tell you, for fear of general stigmatism or tuts and sighs from friends and family.

Then there’s goals.

I always like to have a purpose, a direction for my writing, my education and my life. Otherwise I might lose interest, and feel like I’m not achieving anything. I’m not saying I won’t discard this blog again like I have a millions times before, but, I’m ready to try!

As you may be able to tell I’ve done a blog overhaul.

Completely changing not only the name but the purpose, from one of anonymous casual chat to a more professional touch. I’ll still talk about my own life, struggles and concerns, but I hope in a more mannered way.

So, hi, I’m Sharnie.

I am 26 years old at time of writing, living in North Wales, although I am actually English (I like to say British 🇬🇧).

I have written a little about me page, along with beginning of a glossary for my continued use of acronyms and possible scientific (?) language.

Additionally, I have linked my Twitter, started a People Index for when I write about people such as my parter/boyfriend/SO/nusband whom I won’t be naming properly, and have a contact page too.

You can look ahead to more structured writing, around the professional sounding subjects of human biology, embryology, IVF, IUI, fertility, infertility, healthcare, conceiving and much more around these subjects.

In addition, I will still be discussing my personal thoughts in regard to university, further education, studying routines and family life, which I’m sure will be changing a lot in the next few years. From finding a house, creating a home to having a family.

I hope you’ll join me on this blog journey together!


Embryology

em·​bry·​ol·​o·​gy | \ ˌem-brē-ˈä-lə-jē  \
1: a branch of biology dealing with embryo and their development
2: the features and phenomena exhibited in the formation and development of an embryo


I have a confession to make. I am 26 years old and until yesterday, had NO IDEA what I wanted to be when I… um… ‘grew up’.

I have already completed a Bachelor of the Arts with Honours in Performing Arts (Theatre) from a UK southern university years ago. Now, as I have finally found someone I want to be with forever, I have figured out what I want to do.

Let’s not beat around the bush. We all know we would rather not be working. We’d rather our work felt like play, right? Like we turn on our favourite game and get paid to play it. That’s what we want to have when we wake up in the morning – the undeniable urge to play that game we’ve been itching to play for aaaaages.

I know I want that feeling for work. Because getting up in the morning would be the best! And I HUGELY DISLIKE early morning waking!

However, I wouldn’t, if it meant I could boost up my laptop and play Sims all day. (Side note: Maybe Sims was a huuuuge hint at what I should do for a career, eh?)

As of today, I’ve apparently accrued 1024 hours on this game. Wow.

Turns out you need a BSc degree in biology to get started in a career in Embryology. I know this because all yesterday I was googling like crazy what it all entailed and how to become one.

I love the stories of women trying to get pregnant. I found myself reading and rereading blogs about how IUI and IVF treatment is done, the unsuccessful outcomes and the successful ones, but grew less interested once a baby was born. Weird, right?

I thought maybe Midwifery was for me. Caring for and helping women give birth and join them during that wonderful time. But the hours are long, the work is very hectic of course, and the training has no study from home or flexible option.

Entry is rigorous, and the medical health check for anyone becoming a Midwife may knock me back, since I have undiagnosed heart issues. So I pretty much had to dismiss this one!

Embryology, however, is not so difficult to get into (at least qualification-wise). My initial degree of Theatre is of course not useful at all, but I already knew I wanted to study again. Perhaps even gain a Masters, and pursue PhD level educational research.

Dr is a nice title, isn’t it?

So, here’s the plan. I’ve applied to Open University, have emailed questions to Bangor University. Should I get into either, I will be applying to the Welsh government for second degree funding, and only if I get that can I do the course.

There’s a rough plan that while studying myself and J can find a home, set it up, and start being a family (cats, dogs and all) so that when I’m a second degree holder I will look for Master’s or PhD courses that suit my specialism.

I’m also hopeful that I can get help or some information from my local GP or the tutor of Biology BSc for future experience in a fertility clinic of some kind. I want experience and to know where the ‘local’ places are. Sadly, we are pretty rural in North Wales, although thats why I love it.

I am so excited at the prospect of studying fertility, embryology and how science and as a scientist I could help women across the UK, and maybe further, to have babies of their own.

I’m nervous because I’m now putting A LOT of hopes into this! But I want it badly.

When it comes to the crunch I might well be studying 3-6 years for the degree, a year or 2 for masters and then 6+ years for a PhD if that’s what I manage to get. I’m happy with this as I adore learning, but my life will be happening all around this too.

A house, animals, maybe kids too. I’ll be a student forever, and I’m okay with this. I want to say, “I’m Dr. Fruit Loop, an Embryologist, and I can help create your miracle.”

Fingers crossed I get in now! x

Don’t Panic

Hello again, it’s been a few weeks or so hasn’t it?

I recovered from Aunt Flo fantastically last month, and neither J, the household or I have contracted any kind of cold, flu or anything to be worried about… so far.

I have however become increasingly paranoid about it. Any cough I make is definitely Covid-19, and worse still, I will die from it due to the fact that I had multiple organ failure in August last year making me vulnerable (?).

But I won’t bore you with all that, because let’s face it, we’re inundated with it every day aren’t we? Each blog post I read from my trusty gang has been Covid related, if not Covid crazy due to the postponing of IVF, IVI and other fertility procedures.

Yes, I follow a lot of those blogs, sorry not sorry.

Instead I hoped to write something about another subject, but I just don’t know what. Since my pregnant wish last month that was a complete stupid moment, I’m not sure what to write. What can I update that the world would be interested in?

Being stuck indoors you would think I could come up with some subjects to ease my mind and write about – sadly not the case.

It’s a well known fact to friends and family of mine that I have many hobbies I’d like to pursue, some of which are now swiped away from me due to that old thing… you know, the cardiac arrest stuff.

I like painting by numbers (I have some), french knitting (I need more yarn), watching Marvel (J and I are doing so, following the timeline list), playing games such as Sims, Skyrim, Fallout and World of Warcraft, walking (my Bisoprolol gets me out of breath so quickly), shopping (needs money), travelling (thanks, Covid), writing (where’s my inspiration?) and cooking (not just my house so can’t take it over).

Right now I’ve chosen to let J fiddle around with the Kawasaki and I play sims in our room. Not very energetic or cool and I’m not achieving anything but I’m not sure what else I want to do.

Is it just me who feels guilty when I do something fun but a) non-exercising, b) not achieving anything and c) without including anyone else?

Anyway, I should probably write the cardiac arrest story for the blog, so everyone knows what I’m on about, but it’s a little long winded and I’m not sure what I should be putting online or shouldn’t.

I am honestly divided when it comes to revealing identities. In a way, it might make it fun to share with friends and family my inner most thoughts, but even J doesn’t know I write about him at the moment. It kind of seems like a breach of his privacy, but I’m not naming names and really, would anyone I know ever find this blog?

I’m guessing my story might stir a few people, should they find it, to realise who I am and who J is and therefore reveal my stupid blogging inner thoughts.

Anyway, I’m rambling, this post had no point to it and my Sims are waiting.

My Nightmare

The last two days have been an absolute nightmare.

I can’t tell if it’s mainly my anxiety coming back like a waterfall of chaos or the fact that my boss and sub-boss think I’m mentally handicapped and unable to do my job.

Okay, I’ll rewind.

I work alone in a small shop in a little tourist town. My boss is the owner of the shop and my landlady is another worker. She’s pretty much the manager or sub-boss, as she’s been there the longest and knows everything and anything of what to do in the place. There’s also one other coworker like me.

When I had my cardiac arrest last August, I was off for a few months recovering from both the arrest and from the subsequent implanted ICD surgery (a bit like a pacemaker).

This one other coworker came in temporarily to take over my role and work while I was off. I was supposed to come back slowly, get my feet on the ground again, and she would find other work and move on when I did.

Perfect, or so I thought.

Turns out that ever since I came back my landlady/sub-boss has been noticing things I keep forgetting, and not telling me. She’s told my boss, though, and as of yesterday I was informed of my ‘issues’.

I’m not angry, not really. They seem to think it’s because I’m still in recovery and perhaps my memory has been affected by this arrest. Fair enough, except I honestly have no idea how I could have forgotten to do the things they say I have.

I almost don’t believe them!

Sadly, I know I was like this before my arrest sometimes. I can forget things or make lazy mistakes because that’s just me. I guess I have this ‘illness’ as an excuse now though..

To make it worse, my boss is now not very happy with me working by myself, citing that he believes I may collapse again when I’m on my own, and therefore not be found etc before something awful happens. A valid fear, I suppose.

All this is combined with my own fear of brain damage from the cardiac arrest (I apparently had some but when I awoke, lo-and-behold I seemed fine so no questions asked – not sure what this says about our NHS), so I’m a bit of a mess right now.

I also live with this sub-boss/landlady, and my boyfriend who is sharing half the rent of the room with me, so awkward is an understatement.

Additionally, this temporary coworker, whom I hold nothing against personally, is still with us. I am still working only two days, and nothing has been mentioned about her finding another job for months.

I know I could still technically be called in recovery by many people, but, what’s the deal?

I am feeling very self-conscious in my own ‘home’, feeling disappointed in myself, angry I can’t do better for my boyfriend J and find another job because I’m still undiagnosed, crying a lot because I’m an emotional mess, and feeling very, very useless.

I want to work and save money with J to get a home of our own. I don’t want to be seen as lazy, slacking, taking more time and using my illness or whatever as an excuse. (Although I’d love to be a stay-at-home Mum when that time comes until they’re in school, but that’s a different story).

I also don’t want to be a liability at work – I know my boss can’t fire me on health grounds (at least not until it’s a hazard or I REALLY fuck up), and I hate the idea of everyone knowing they’re just waiting for me to leave. That would feel so shitty.

What do I do?

Do I find another job, bearing in mind it could take a while, they’ve been good to me and my new employer would have to know about my arrest and no diagnosis, meaning the likelihood of getting the job is low?

Do I quit and hide? Because I really want to at this point, but I couldn’t continue living with my boyfriend and I’d be effectively becoming a lazy scrounger. Exactly what I want to avoid.

For now, I’ve written myself a checklist to remember everything I need to do at work. I’m trying to do the absolute best I can to show I’m trying so hard. If I fail now, then I know something major is wrong.

Equally, the house is going to be tense, I’m not going to be comfortable for some time, and work will be tense too knowing the busy season is coming and my boss doesn’t like me working alone. WHICH IS OUR WHOLE JOB.

Ugh. Life. Help.