As I progress through the minefield of secondary infertility I am beginning to realise that a large part of the battle is the hormones that accompany all the treatments I'm taking.
My system has gone into this crazy spiral where I can't tell where my real emotions begin and the medically induced ones end. One minute I am perfectly happy and the next I'm a bucket full of rage.
Managing these alongside a job, a family and the endless frustration of an empty womb is hard.
I think I may be one of the weaker members of my gender as I have found myself crying in the strangest places. Including the toilets of the fertility clinic, which is where I was a few weeks ago...
I finally got an appointment and saw Short and Intense, my new doctor, for the first time.
He stared at me, intently, and stood up, not very far, and thrust me into the clinic's programme of timed intercourse. It's exactly how it sounds – sex when you ovulate for better chances of fertilisation - only this time there is a lot of medical intervention.
I was told to show up at their doors at 6am on the second day of my period for an ultrasound. When I got there I was number seven in the queue. The ultrasound opens at 7:30am, but all us lucky infertile ladies race to be there early so we can get things over with and get to work on time.
If it wasn't for the soothing Zen music and relaxing water fountain in the waiting area, I swear we would be tearing each other's hair and smacking heads with handbags to be first in line. I've even named the shuffle in and out of the lift to the waiting area as the "No, you go. No, you go" as we all try to be last in, first out so we can get to the clipboard and write our names down before anyone else.
Once I was draped and lying on the table, Short and Intense walked in and immediately started the scan. Yes, the lining of my womb looked lovely. Yes, let's stimulate your ovaries. The plan was simple – stimulate my polycystic ovaries to force them to create an egg, monitor the growth of the egg, use medicine to get the egg to release and have sex to fertilise it. Simple.
Not so much. Femara was clearly created by denizens of hell with the intent of destroying any chance of you having sex with your partner because you have either screamed at them so much they are in therapy, or you are still trying to figure out what to do with the body.
After taking the drug I was scanned every four days until my egg was ready to drop. There was nothing I could do but drink lots of water and wait for the doctor to tell me that it was time to start doing the baby making dance.
And it was while I was waiting that I heard about Cupping Therapy. There was Jennifer Aniston sporting these huge circular bruises all over her back in an effort to, apparently, improve her fertility and I was SO in.
At this point I would hop on one leg naked during the full moon if it meant that I could conceive.
Cupping Therapy has been around since ancient Egypt and is said to improve circulation and help remove toxins from the body. It also looks extremely painful and a little terrifying, especially fire cupping. The latter is where they use a flame to create a vacuum in a glass jar that is then placed onto a specific meridian on your back to perform a specific task. Air cupping is exactly the same, only the practitioners use a pump to suck the air out of the jar. I immediately went for fire cupping. If I was going to have a bunch of strangers stare at my wibbly bits every four days, I could take on fire. Oh, yes.
"Aaaargh," I screamed as Daniel, my Chinese medicine guru, lit the stick which would be used to start my cupping experience. I swear he waved it in front of my face more than was entirely necessary.
I was lying face down with my entire back exposed and next thing I felt the skin on my shoulder suck upwards. Soon my lower back, upper shoulders and spine were covered in glass jars and it felt fantastic. Honestly. It did. I expected cupping to really hurt as I have a rubbish pain threshold; instead it was so relaxing I fell asleep.
Daniel explained that the cupping on the shoulders and upper spine jars would reduce stress (He said I was very tense. Can't imagine why...) and improve circulation and energy, while the lower area concentrated on kidney function and encouraging blood flow to the womb.
Of course there is no way to prove that cupping works, but as a way of keeping my tension and mood in check I am a convert.
Next week, though, Daniel is going to be sticking needles into my stomach using the fine art of acupuncture and that scares me silly. He explained that cupping is not powerful enough to get my eggs in shape and to help me fall pregnant.
When I got home I proudly showed my crop circled back to my husband.
"Yours look smaller than Jennifer Anistons's," he said, peering suspiciously at me, "Are you sure you did it right?"
Yes, I did, only I am a few sizes larger than Jennifer and perspective is a fine thing. Needless to say, he was lucky I wasn't still on the Femara...
You can read Tamsin's previous column here.
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