The Lord of Shadows

Well WTF book?! What even was that ending?!!! I did not expect or understand that twist, but I respect it. Shock value alone is just HUGE.

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This series gives GREAT cover!

 

I really like this series. Magnus Bane is my favourite character of this whole world Cassandra Clare has created so anything with more of him in it was going to turn my head.

I think this plot has been very well constructed. I LOVE the emphasis on family, I feel like it truly is the greatest strength and weakness of every one of the Blackthorns and those that love them. Julian may be the most unselfish character ever created, everything he does it for his family and those he loves. Interestingly there are some lines he crosses to achieve this end that I find challenge me as a reader.

I love the character of Ty, as someone who has a nephew very much on the spectrum and whose best friend has a son who is also very on the spectrum I really have liked the way in which this is explored. I found it so interesting (can’t remember if it was book 2 or 1) when Julian recalled how their father would grab Ty’s hands when he fidgeted and yell at him to be still because that was what was expected of Shadowhunters – stillness, total control. Society so expects people like my nephew and my girlfriend’s son to conform to their idea of normal, I think we should celebrate their amazing views on the world. My friend’s son for instance says what he thinks and shouts compliments at people, like, “Hey dude, I love your hair”, “Hey lady, your dress is pretty rad”, etc. What a positive way to view the world. I loved in this book how the siblings completely accept Ty for who he is and I love the relationship with Kit.

There were a lot of lovey feelings going on in this book. Interesting that I feel as though the idea or rather theme of love as a destructive force seems to be developing. Not sure if that is just me, but that is what I was starting to see solidify in this book.

That Zara chick seriously needs to get what is coming to her!

At times I do feel like I was more invested with the characters than the plot, but seriously how could I not be?! The characters are so vibrant, so completely tangible, you just want to interact with them so very much!

So in case it is not clear yet I totally recommend you read this book… after you have finished book 1… and everything else she has written – particularly the Infernal Devices!

 

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Lady Midnight

Well that was a great start to a new series. I totally enjoyed this. Gosh the family dynamic and their fierce love and loyalty to each other is really something to behold.

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How gorgeous is this cover art!

 

I liked the tie ins and check ins with characters from the mortal instruments series. Emma is a great character. I like her strength and prowess as a Shadowhunter whilst maintaining the vulnerability and feels of a teenager. How much she would sacrifice for those she loves is just momentous.

So frustrated by the cold peace and their laws, it does reflect on some social issues of the day so I think this is why it struck such a note. Just not right to punish an entire people for the wrongs of the few.

The lottery was truly chilling. Freaking crazy Fae cult. Seriously what even? I guess they come in all shapes and sizes. I did like how the reality of the cult twisted in the end, that was very cool indeed. Did not really see that one coming.

Really curious to see what is going on with the character of Diane. I feel like this could be a very interesting storyline and I cannot wait to see what comes of it – hopefully in the second book.

Not sure about the parabatai love thing, does this supposed badness only happen when they are in love with each other? Because Alec was in love with Jace in the Mortal Devices books so… confused. Meanwhile how brutal teenagers can be with the excuse of it is the best decision for others is interesting. I was no where near this brutal when I was a teen and did not have capacity to be. I get they have had to grow up fast with no parents, but damn!

Definitely read this… I am off to get book 2!


6 year anniversary of TTC is looming

So the IUI was a bust. Unfortunately as AF was 4 days late my hopes had grown super high. I didn’t POAS because I really wanted that hope to last for a little bit longer. I started bleeding the afternoon before my bloods were done. I let the nurse know and said I was confused because I was extremely regular and I it was very weird for me to be more than one day off. Only to be told that Pregnyl can make AF late. *SIGH* I really wish they would tell you this stuff when they give you the medications. So I thought I would share it with you all so you may avoid being caught unawares…

So far I have learned that Pregnyl and progesterone (anything) can/will delay AF. Obviously everyone’s body is different, we may not all react the same… yadda, yadda, yadda 🙂

As we come up to the 6 year anniversary of TTC in a couple of months I find myself questioning everything. Currently I have been TTC for 70 months, 70 failed cycles. That’s such a burden you guys. One of the most natural things my body should be doing and it won’t. I’ve never even had a BFP. I know people who have had 3 children in the time I have been trying to fall pregnant once!

Here are some of the things I am questioning:

Should I be looking at a different job which is less hours and stress so I can focus more on a health journey? Could I do a secondment at work or ask to go part time in my role for 6 months or longer? But all my pay goes towards an IVF fund which keeps us moving foward and I don’t really know if I could afford a pay cut.

I know in myself I could do amazingly well in this industry. I have been the library industry version of head hunted quite a few times and I am a hard worker who isn’t afraid of change or leaping outside the box. But any amount of success in this industry would not mean much to me if it meant foregoing the opportunity to be a Mum.

 

Recently I have asked myself a very important question…

Would I be willing to basically blow up my life if it meant we could have children?

The answer is yes.

 

Is this something I need to do? I don’t know. Maybe. I don’t know.

 

What could this look like?

  • I have had doctors talk to me before about weight reduction surgery. I have never really considered it because it just didn’t feel right and I have met quite a few people for whom this wasn’t really a long term solution and they have had to have it redone down the track. During this cycle a nurse who has had it done at the FS office chatted to me about it. I asked her about the fact that we would not be able to do IVF during this time and she said we would still be able to make embryos and bank them, but that generally they will not allow us to transfer them for a year post surgery. I am very much in two minds about this, but will raise it with my FS on Thursday when we see her.
  • Leave my job or ask for reduced hours to concentrate on a health journey. This is something I have thought about quite seriously. It makes me really sad because I really love a lot of the people I work with. I would really rather not leave, but I don’t know that my job could be done in less hours. Part of me feels that something drastic like this has to happen though. I have a very sedentary life in this job and there are not a lot of ways to fix that.
    If I get the surgery discussed above I will likely have to have quite some time off anyway so who knows.
  • Completely retrain for another industry. This is something I have also thought about quite seriously. In particular I have thought about going back to uni and becoming a nutritionist that specialises in PCOS, IR and Diabetes. I have looked and have found it very hard to find specialists anywhere near me. I have also thought about going back to uni and becoming an specialist in the area of Autism. My nephew has Autism and I know a few other children who are on the spectrum too and there is a lot of talk by specialists of all the restrictions children on the spectrum will have. I would love to be a specialist who works closely with children with Autism to help them work through their own individual difficulties and overcome obstacles as well as develop techniques to help them navigate everyday life. Every single person is different, having Autism doesn’t change that, everyone is a snowflake and you need to treat them as such.
    Both of these options would include more work, stress and sedentary behaviour whilst I become qualified and established so I don’t know how realistic these choices are.

 

Has anyone out there blown up their life for this? Would love to hear your stories. Advise is also COMPLETELY welcome! I would love some!!!

 

 


The Two Week Wait

*Warning: It’s going to be sweary people.

The two week wait (or TWW) is a bitch! It seriously messes with your head. Have you ever noticed every single little involuntary muscle movement and slight cramping or discomfort your body has? Ever been completely aware of the sensitivity of your whole body particularly your sense of smell, stability of your stomache and the feel of your breasts? This is just the start of what we women go through during the TWW.

And who the hell made pregnancy symptoms so similar to period symptoms? It’s like they spent all this time designing and developing this amazing reproductive system and then at the 11th hour it was like…

Tech one: Everyone we are officially out of time! Amazing work everyone, just put on the finishing touches and we will send it to be integrated into the body matrix.
Tech two: But… I haven’t coded the period symptom and menstrual phases yet…
Tech one: Shit bro, seriously?! Goddammit Mike, you had ONE job! Okay just copy paste the pregnancy symptoms and ramp up the cramps and nausea during the actual menstrual phase.

I mean please…

Symptom: Tender or swollen breasts = period or pregnant
Symptom: Nausea with or without vomiting = period or pregnant
Symptom: Food aversions or cravings = period or pregnant
Symptom: Headaches = period or pregnant
Symptom: Fatigue = period or pregnant
Symptom: Slight bleeding or cramping = period or pregnant
Symptom: Mood swings = period or pregnant
Symptom: Constipation = period or pregnant

That’s just the main ones… not to mention… no symptoms = period or pregnant. So frustrating.

So here we are, women who so very much want children that we put ourselves through needles (would you believe that the thought of just drawing blood used to give me serious anxiety before all this started!!) and prodding and poking and invasive procedures and crazy ass hormones just for the slight hope of peeing on a stick and being rewarded with 2 lines instead of one.

The fact that we want a child that much alone puts you in a desperate and hopeful head space, then you add on top all the hormones and pressure of daily life and age and whatnot and it’s just a fucking boiling pot of emotions and anxiety and crap.

To quote J.K. Rowling…

Theyd explode

…but we do… and so much more. I tried to explain to my husband the other day the thought process I went through in a couple of seconds to get from the topic we were talking about to the question I asked him a few seconds later which seemed completely unrelated. I explained how I got there and he was like, “How? It was like 3 seconds? How did you think all that in that time?!”

I was pretty confident initially that the ovulation induction round would not work. To me it was only a slight step above assisted natural conception (i.e. the timed sex we have been doing for 5.5 years among Clomid and IVF) and to me even though both FS’s have said there is no reason for us not to conceive naturally it’s just not happening. So I sort of felt that the new FS was mostly ticking boxes with this.

That doesn’t mean that I didn’t want it to work with every fibre of my being and soul. That with each passing day my hope didn’t grow until it was this amazing cushy marshmallow of hope and goodness. Then AF came and it was like a butane torch to my marshmallow. I watched it crisp, burn and melt away… didn’t even get a fucking smore out of it.

So now… on to IUI

Just keep swimming!

 

 

 

 


Ovulation Induction

What is ovulation induction (OI)? It’s a form of fertility treatment that is reasonably non-invasive where you are stimulated to produce one to two mature eggs then given a trigger to release them. You then have timed intercourse (because we all love the scheduled sex amiright?!). I would probably consider this as the next step up from a clomid cycle where you are just given some tablets then told to do it like rabbits. Clomid cycles are also considered OI treatments.

This treatment is generally considered suitable for women who like me have no real great reason for not falling pregnant naturally, those who have low hormone levels or are not ovulating on their own, but have normal tubes and a partner with a normal sperm result.

So what happens?

Well for us this has been our plan:

Day of cycle What happened
Day 1 11 Aug Call nurses to advise AF has arrived
Day 2
12 Aug
Day 3
13 Aug
Day 4
14 Aug
50 Gonal F
Day 5
15 Aug
50 Gonal F
Day 6
16 Aug
50 Gonal F
Day 7
17 Aug
50 Gonal F
Day 8
18 Aug
Blood test
Result: change to 62.5 Gonal F
Day 9
19 Aug
62.5 Gonal F
Day 10
20 Aug
62.5 Gonal F
Day 11
21 Aug
62.5 Gonal F
Day 12
22 Aug
Vaginal scan and blood tests
Result: starting to O, have sex
Day 13
23 Aug
Pregnyl trigger 8.30am
Have sex
Day 14
24 Aug
Have sex
Day 15
25 Aug
Day 16
26 Aug
Day 17
27 Aug
Pregnyl again 8.30am to support
Day 18
28 Aug
Blood test

Then we are in that waiting period that all of us fertility challenged community know and love.

I decided to share our plan because a while ago Hubby and I tried to look at what this was and there were not a lot of people putting this information out there so I figured why not help 🙂


Fertility update

[Fair warning: sweary honesty may follow]

It has been awhile since I have talked about our fertility or lack there of. In fact I don’t believe I have even mentioned it since the beginning of the year.

Basically after the fail in December we were in a bad place emotionally, we were low on funds and we were both in really stressful places with our jobs. It was all crap people! So we decided to talk some time off. My anxiety has been a bit all over the place this year. I have high functioning anxiety which means people at work think I am great and then when I get home I crawl into a shell and read a book or watch TV to bring myself down from the day. It’s my process, but it was getting to the point where often I had nothing left in the tank when I got home and couldn’t even get my shit together enough to cook a decent dinner. Way too many potato gem dinners later (how good are they though!) and adding in sporadic depression related eating tendancies and an expanding waistline I felt totally out of control (not good for either condition) and wanted to take steps to rectify it.

We’ve been pretty much just trying naturally and crossing our fingers for a bit.

Step one – Fertility treatment

I got our medical records from the fertility place we were at to  pour over them looking for anything that could have been missed. We have been trying for 5.5 years and no one seems to know why we are not pregnant. When I got them we noticed that it was marked “male factor infertility” umm WTF? Turns out that the initial sperm test in 2014 recommended immediate IVF with ICSI and stated there was little chance of a natural pregnancy – we were then made to try naturally for 2 years, one cycle with Clomid. This new information combined with the fact that a counselor never called after our last failure when I was clearly in absolute sobbing pieces to the nurse on the phone, the fact that the FS suggested an ovarian drilling operation that he had done just 4 months earlier (clearly not overly interested in us to the point where he had not even read our file before we cam in for our appointment) and the fact that I felt fat shamed after almost every appointment made us realise he was not the person for us. There was also a few teary hours and sadness over the fact we wasted two years and a shitload of money on this person.

So I took to some Facebook groups and asked for recommendations. Many of them came back recommending Monash IVF, I looked into it and some of their FS’s even consulted locally (for full treatments we would have to go into a city though). From the first appointment I was happier. She re-ran many of the tests, was quite thorough, Hubby’s sperm has improved. The only thing she mentioned weight wise was to concentrate on eating habits and to ensure my activity each week included 3 x 30mins of anything that makes me sweat that I enjoy which I thought was pretty okay. When she realised where we came from she told the receptionist to book as many appointments as possible local to us as it was silly to have us come all the way in. The second meeting we had with her she made a 3 month plan for us. We are doing Ovulation Induction for one month (we have started this now), if this does not work we are doing an IUI for one month, if this does not work we are meeting again in October to then move immediately to IVF. She doesn’t want to waste time or money which is so great. Then it turns out IVF is cheaper through this company even though their reputation is as good as the other place we went through so we can afford more rounds.

Final nail in the coffin for the old FS was when she gave us the Gonal F script I said to Hubby we would have to find a way to make it in to a place 30mins away to get it that afternoon, she asked why we would go there and I said because the other FS had said it was the only pharmacy that would stock fertility medication in our area. She said that was ridiculous and incorrect and recommended we call Chemist Warehouse (1 block from my work) – she was right – they were amazing and had it for me the very next day! I was SO F*#@ING MAD at the other FS. They gave us no option as they sent our scripts directly to that pharmacy, obviously they get a kick back from using them. We had to do all sorts of running around and leaving work early (using leave time or making up hours) to get our stuff from that pharmacy. HOW RUDE! I just couldn’t even.

Anyway… Hubby and I have talked about it and how mad we are. We are both very glad that we have moved on. I know people have got their miracles from the other FS and if we had we probably wouldn’t be as upset about these things, but damn it is a hard pill to swallow. So now we are going to move beyond our madness, I like this lady FS much more. I think she actually knows what it is like to have to watch everything you eat. We have decided to shed our bad experiences and concentrate on the positive journey we believe is ahead of us with this lady. I really liked that she asked both of us where we wanted our journey to go next and then gave us her opinion of what she would like to try, but then the ultimate plan of what we would do was made all together.

For anyone out there afraid to shop around, just don’t be. If you have any doubts or just want a second opinion on whether there should be anything else you should be testing just do it. Your current FS doesn’t even have to know you have done it. Try thinking of your FS as your employee, this really worked for me and it is accurate, you are paying them to provide you with a service.

I think step one has provided plenty of information so I will leave it here and work on step two another day 🙂

How are your journeys going?

 


The Unleashing

I have just finished reading The Unleashing which is Book One in the Call of Crows series by Shelly Laurenston. I have not read any of Shelly’s other publications so this was a new author for me too. I got this book through my local library’s Overdrive account.

the unleashing

I was drawn to the book not just because of the cover (hehe), but also because I have always enjoyed Norse mythology and was very intrigued by the idea of the Norse clans in a modern setting.

I actually really enjoyed this book. It was full of very strong female characters, I read a review that said they were not believable… I am guessing that reviewer was male because I have absolutely met women like that 🙂 I am a sucker for fiction that displays women in a strong light. I like it even more when they do not swoon at the first glimpse of abs. The story centers around the journey of Kera and her growth and discoveries about herself and her world. She’s strong, doesn’t take crap and the main love of her life is a pit bull she rescued off the street after it had been dumped for dead after being used in a dog fight ring… who wouldn’t love this girl?! Obviously I am totally biased as soon as a rescue dog became involved. My dream would be to buy a ranch where abused dogs are rehabilitated and given a second chance so I was hooked as soon as I read this part.

I liked the character of Ludvig as well, wasn’t sure I would at first, but he definitely grows on you. In fact all the characters do. It can get a little chaotic trying to keep them straight as there are a lot of characters running about, but it is not too bad.

I didn’t realise that the book was part of a series when I chose to read it which is a bummer because I will have to search for book two as my library does not have it. The end was a definite cliffhanger and I wasn’t expecting the book to end there. Just all of a sudden people were making statements and overtures and I was thinking to myself ‘huh, that’s weird, this is wrap up talk, but there’s so much more plot to work… oh it’s finished…’ the wrap up was a little to abrupt for me, but I think I felt that way too because I wasn’t ready for it to end.

Goodreads says there are two more books in the series. I would definitely like to check them out. I just like giving fair warning to anyone interested in reading that they might be committing to a series hahaha.

What are you all reading?