School’s out !

I sit here writing next to a pile of completed college assignments which are all done dusted and ready to hand in tomorrow … school’s out for summer!  woot wooot 😀  I swear I can almost here the Hallelujah Chorus looking at the 6 Assignments I’ve completed in the last week. YES 6! I literally got buried under a pile of biology topics as my tutor realized exactly how much she hadn’t covered that we still needed to be assessed on … We were left on our own at the end there… pretty much… except that every time I would go to school I would get handed yet another task to add to my heaving to do list. You get kinda sick of that after a while.  I burnt my fingertips last Monday on a Bunsen burner flame as I was attempting to grow an E-coli culture. Yeah, I know… stupid right? They stung like a bitch! lol Proud of myself for  A) not dropping the  E-coli bacteria all over the floor B) keeping my language family friendly (BIG achievement for me in these circumstances) and C) completing my assignment experiment despite my war wounds. Someone tell me when I’m a midwife someone else will deal with the microbiology ‘cause its clearly not my strong point.

Such a great feeling… except I don’t think it’s sunk in yet. I keep looking around at my books and notes wondering what I’m missing. I can’t quite relax yet as I keep feeling I should be working!  Now just to cross fingers and hope the results are good when they come out on July 1st…

So now what? Welllll… I have a ton and I mean big hayoooge piles of paperwork to complete to ensure that I can start university in September and that when I do I won’t be flat broke.  It seems the NHS wants to know my life story and needs copies of every piece of documentation I own. YIKES!  I’ll be working on that then.

Especially as my doctor doesn’t seem to have any health records for me so I’ll probably have to take all my vaccinations over again. I so love my arm being used as a pin cushion, don’t you?

Learning to drive continues … my instructor and I are now bickering as if we were family and my test is booked (ohhhh lordy). Nope, I’m not telling when it is … ‘cause you know PRESSURE! I’m seeing whole new areas of the world around me on my driving lessons… places I’ve never been to in three years I’ve lived here simply because my world is currently restricted to  well operated bus routes.. KM is already talking about all the things we can do “when you get your car Ali…”

Ohhh, one last  thing…  remember last year I did the 5km Race For Life to raise money for Cancer research UK? mmmhum I knew you would … I didn’t think I’d be around to take part this year but it turns out I’m freeeee! So, I’ll be taking part again on the 27th of June at Aintree Racecourse made famous as the home of the Grand National.

There are two reasons you should care so pay attention for a min ok?

1) Cancer sucks.  It’s awful. Really. Most of us know someone who’s fought that terrifying battle. More and more people are surviving, thank God, but still too many amazing fighters are not so lucky. It needs to END… like now… yesterday. I know it’s not much, me walking a measly 5km to raise a little cash which, lets face it, will be a drop in the ocean of what’s needed, BUT we will only get to a cure for cancer one step at a time. It all adds up. So I would humbly ask that you consider doing something. Sponsor me here if you feel so inclined, take part in an event of your own… make a donation… badger your mates to make one… whatever.

2) You might have seen from last year’s pictures that all the walkers wear these pink panels on their backs where we chose something to write about why we are walking … last year mine included dedications to BeautifulMess’s mom , In Due Time’s Aunt K and Geek By Marriage’s uncles among others. So, dear friends, if you have someone you would like me to walk in honor of or a dedication you want me to make please leave a comment and I’ll be sure to include them. Thanks!

Ohh and after all these are taken care of… I’m going to America!!  Ohhh summer… how I love thee 😀

Hugs and kisses

Ali xX

My E-coli Creation 😛

So much to do .. so far to go…

Quote: ” So I keep going keep learning… keep trying.”

Annnd it was going so well lol. Do you see posts almost every day for the first three weeks of January and then… nothing.  No talk of the devastating tragedy that is the earth quake in Haiti. No ranting and raving about the new body scanners being installed at airports… and I didn’t even get to the post I promised about George Clooney’s new movie “Up in the Air”.

It all started when I got a letter about a week or so ago inviting me to an interview at one of my chosen university Aaaah I’m so so nervous and I feel like I have so much reading and preparation to do. One week from today my fate will be decided at the very same time I’m getting hammered with college assignments.  We’ve just started an extra class which means another evening in college each week and currently I have three biology assignments on the go and a case study to write for health studies… don’t you hate when that happens? We’ve had vey little to do for a while and them BAM it all comes along  just at the most inconvenient time. I’m getting through it… but blogging kinda got knocked off the radar.

I’m having a bit of a wobble again this week. Well really after I was volunteering at the hospital yesterday during a very sad shift on the delivery suite… will I be strong enough? Will I be skilled enough? 

I just want to support and help I want to be able to do something. Heck sometimes I feel like I would like to take it all away and give birth for someone else. Very strange feeling.

Sometimes the whole thing makes me nervous and that’s worrying the hell out of me. I’m hoping praying that it’s just because right now there is NOTHING I can do.  I’m not trained; I don’t have any actual experiences of being at a birth. So when the odd occasion arises that I see a woman in distress I feel powerless and completely out of my depth.  Hoping this is somewhat normal and that with knowledge and experience it will go away. I can’t help but wonder if I’ll be up to it. I would so hate for even a single woman to suffer a lack of support when she needs it just because I choke.  Or because I think I’m up to the task when I’m just… not.  I found myself last night saying “I just wish I knew I was doing the right thing”…. to which a friend wisely responded “you’ll never be sure”.  It made me laugh but I think he could be right; never going to know for sure if I’m doing the right thing. Sucks, BUT I still feel like I’m meant to do this. I want to. So I keep going keep learning… keep trying.

And I’ll even be back to blogging about it soon…

Ali xX

Master plan 2010

Here it is: the Master plan for 2010!

I’m keeping the plan broken into the same two categories that I used last year:  “Get a Grip” and “Get a Life”.  “Get a Grip” will be reserved for all the things I have to do. “Get a Life” will be reserved for the things I want to do – goals I want to achieve, hobbies I’d like to pursue – generally rebuilding my life. Having more fun.

“Get a Grip”

  • I will aim to have NO panic attacks in 2010 by becoming more aware of when I’m anxious and learning ways to cope better with these feelings.
  • Continue to work on asking for help when I need it.
  • Establish proper weekly and monthly routines for housework
  • Swear only when absolutely necessary
  • In 2010 I will actually take my multi vitamin every day and will try adding evening primrose oil hopefully to fight the curse of mood swings.
  • If I have to take medication this year I am going to find out about each drug I’m taking – read about it and make informed choices.
  • I will TRY HARDER to take responsibility for my diet. Yup, cutting the junk food, adding more veg, cooking for myself all the things I  meant to do in 2009
  • Develop and stick to an exercise routine where I USE my Wii Fit regularly aiming to lose some weight.
  • Do some serious research about weight loss surgery.
  • I will continue to keep a proper record of my moods, any symptoms, and any bleeding / periods using Femilia.
  • I will actually fill out my health journal to investigate my theory that its severe PMS that is affecting my life in a debilitating way.
  • I will get myself off benefit before 2011 whether by finding a job or going back to university.

“Get a Life”

  • I will get better at keeping in touch with my friends. This still needs MUCH improvement.
  • Taking up my cross stitch again
  • Read more for pleasure complete my book challenge goal of 36 books this year.
  • Trying to see a movie at least once a month
  • Go to the theatre more (money allowing).
  • Make a real effort to cook more and to remember how much I enjoy it.
  • I will go out most days, even if it’s just for a short walk.  I will try to pay more attention to the world around me
  • Continue to learn all I can about the USA – its culture, history, politics and people.
  • Aim to follow the baseball season more closely this year. Can you believe I missed the 2009 World Series? The YANKEES WON  🙂
  • Travel to the USA this year EVEN if it’s only for a long weekend.
  • I will replace my camera and continue my efforts to become a better photographer.
  • Update my blog more often and comment more.
  • Do three things this year I’ve never done before.

Disclaimer

I’m only human. I can’t promise that I will stick to all of it all of the time, but I will try my best and I will not give up. Feel free to comment / question but lets keep it polite!

Ali xX

2009 in review.

New Year and time to reassess. So, I’ve pulled the main points from the Master Plan I wrote back at the beginning of this blog in February so I can take a look at how I did. Hopefully this will help with the task of writing a NEW Master Plan for 2010.

Remember the plan was in two parts: “Get a Grip” and “Get a Life”.  “Get a Grip” was reserved for all the things I have to do – you know the things I should have been doing the whole time; the stuff that landed in a mess at the beginning of 2009, mostly to do with the health situation? Whereas “Get a Life” was reserved for the things I wanted to do – goals I wanted to achieve, hobbies I’d like to pursue – generally rebuilding my life. Re-injecting the FUN.

Here’s my assessment:

“Get a Grip”

  • First and most important, I must ask for help. CHECK – I’m getting better at this slowly!
  • Finish registering with the correct GP. CHECK – Done
  • I will write a list of all the issues I need to bring up before I go and I must make sure that they are talked about or further appointments are arranged to deal with my concerns. –  Well I wrote a list, further appointments didn’t happen, but I think I’m alright at the moment.
  • I will not feel bad for taking up the doctors’ time anymore. CHECK – I don’t.  I hate going to the doctor but I don’t feel bad about going anymore.
  • I will commit to my medication. – Yep I am more organized when I have stuff to take.
  • I will not be ashamed to take anti-depressant medication when I need it. – I don’t seem to need it. Been off them for over 6 months now!!
  • I will ask about resuming drug treatment for PCOS. CHECK – I asked, started Metformin, and then decided to stop again.
  • I will actually take my multi vitamin every day and will try adding evening primrose oil hopefully to fight the curse of mood swings. FAIL – I haven’t been taking my vitamin or evening primrose. I stopped when money got really tight and forgot to start up again.
  • I am going to find out about each drug I’m taking – read about it and make informed choices. N/A – not currently taking any.
  • I will take responsibility for my diet. Yup, cutting the junk food, adding more veg, cooking for myself more FAIL- Major Goal for 2010
  • I will ask for a referral to a dietician and read up on controlling PCOS and depression/anxiety through diet making changes accordingly – I asked for but was refused a referral to a dietician 😦
  • Fitness. Yes, this means the dreaded “E” word: exercise. I’m going to make an effort to find types of exercises that I enjoy and stick to them. – Well I found the Wii Fit. lol I DO enjoy it, but I score FAIL as I don’t stick to an exercise routine.
  • Weight. I want / need / must lose some. FAIL. – didn’t lose any this year.
  • I will state right now that I would only be open to weight loss surgery if and only if it was with a view to some type of fertility treatment and even then as a last resort. I’ve changed my mind on this – yep a complete 180. It’s now something I’m considering, perhaps I’ll write about it when I am ready to.
  • (Warning guys this may be TMI) I will keep a proper record of my moods, any symptoms, and any bleeding / periods  by writing them down – CHECK I do this thanks to Femilia.
  • I will actually set up a health journal. FAIL – Despite a lot of help from Gadget Guy who created a structured Diary for me. I’m having less problems right now though, so not much to write thankfully! I must make a note of issues though not just my cycle.

“Get a Life”

  • I will force myself to get better at keeping in touch with my friends. – Well I sort of am in touch with a few more people but this still needs MUCH improvement.
  • I will look for a job. CHECK – I have looked.  I had an interview and currently have a couple of applications in. Failed to find anything though 😦
  • I will do more things that I enjoy CHECK – I do so much more now period. I enjoy the majority of it.
  • Taking up my cross stitch again FAIL
  • Reading a book each month for pleasure CHECK – see book challenge post
  • Trying to see a movie at least once a month. FAIL – largely due to cost.
  • Maybe even going to the theatre (again money allowing). CHECK – Well we did see Mary Poppins this year – money does not allow often.
  • I will learn to cook more because I do enjoy it. FAIL – I have cooked more but not as much as I wanted to. I plan things but never get around to making them.
  • I may even try to find a theatre group to become involved in. After the Scareshow audition, I realized this is not really something I want to do right now. Hay a girl can change her mind.
  • I will go out everyday, even if it’s just for a short walk.  I will try to pay more attention to the world around me. FAIL – I don’t go out EVERYDAY but I am doing a whole lot better than I was when I first wrote my plan 🙂
  • I will beat the panic attacks for they are “STOOPID”, ANNOYING AND WRONG – CHECK!!!!!!! This is HUGE. I haven’t had a panic attack in months.
  • I will find out all I can about the country that I love (USA) – its culture, history, politics and people – with a particular interest in baseball of course. CHECK – I continue to learn things this year. Among other things I learned how to almost understand a football game… I continue to love the place.
  • I will take-on as many fact finding missions to this place of wonder as I can (afford) FAIL – Didn’t make it this year fingers crossed for 2010.
  • I will teach myself to take better pictures because they hold memories. CHECK – I did take more photos and I taught myself some (VERY very basic) Photoshop skills. My efforts were put on hold in early summer when I broke my camera and haven’t been able to replace it yet.

So, conclusions? I didn’t achieve EVERYTHING, but to be honest I’m happy and kind of proud of myself and the things I have done. I really feel like I’ve grown in 2009. I’m making choices now and taking control of my life. I’m even doing extra things that weren’t in the plan (college, volunteering for example). I have direction. I am a stronger person and I am determined to continue to build on that in the coming year.

Can’t stop now. I’m off to write the new plan…

Ali xX

Book challenge!

Way back in this post I joined Kristin’s Book Challenge 2009 and set myself the target of reading 36 books in 2009 – 12 non fiction and 6 non fiction. I was about ready to write a big fat Fail post thinking I’d come nowhere close to this target and as you will see I did fail in the respect that I never did keep my “I’m Reading” page up to date. It’s had the same book posted all year, a book that I never did quite finish. The style of writing kind of bothered me and I think I only read about 80%, so given that I had no record of things, I spent this morning digging out all the books I HAD read this year because I knew there were some (KM and Benji were both looking rather confused at me running round the house pulling random things out of all the different nooks and crannies that books live in this place. The results where a pleassent surprise, I have to admit. Here’s my reading list for the year:

Non fiction (this, I have realized, is not actually all the non fiction stuff I’ve read, but I intended this category to be text books/self help books etc.)

Spiritual Midwifery – Ina May Gaskin

Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth – Ina May

Result: FAIL. Yep nowhere near the 6 books goal I had set myself. I have dipped in and out of several other books but these are the only two I read cover to cover. Most of the midwifery things I read come in journal form anyway, so I’m not upset with myself because I have been reading. One thing that does bother me though is that I didn’t get to any of the PCOS books I had planned to and I want to make more of an effort with that in 2010.

Fiction:

Narrow Dog to Indian River – Terry Darlington (80% finished. May attempt again in 2010 )

The light in the window – June Goulding

A midwife’s story – Penny Armstrong

Her Own Rules – Barbara Talyor Bradford

A Dog Year – Jon Katz

One Dog at a Time – Pen Farthing

Kitchen Confidential – Antony Bourdain

Embracing Eternity- Tony Stockwell

Call the Midwife – Jennifer Worth

Shadows of the Workhouse – Jennifer Worth

Farewell to the East End – Jenifer Worth

Confessions of a She -Fan – Jane Heller

Baby Catcher – Peggy Vincent

Result: SUCESS!! I read my twelve without even really trying.  Go Me! Also, I don’t read much actual fiction and it turns out I have a much wider range of topics than I first thought. I did not, however, read many travel adventures and that surprised me.

So, overall, I failed miserably to get to my Book Challenge goal of 36 books BUT I did at least achieve my Master Plan goal of reading a book a month. Seen as I failed to read my 36, I’m going to declare that number will remain as my goal for the Book challenge 2010. However, I don’t think I’m going to include text books this time as I seem to dip in and out more and not read them from cover to cover. I’m hoping I can get a head start in the first part of the year as, if I get into university (fingers crossed!), I’ll have A LOT of reading to do at that point and I have the feeling that reading for pleasure won’t feature much on the agenda. This year I will – I WILL – keep my I’m reading page updated.

Head on over to Kristin’s to check out the other participants in Book Challenge 2010.

And wish me luck lol.

Ali xX

The revelation.

Annnd finally we come to it the reason I’ve been digging up all these stories, giving you all this background information in the hopes that when I tell you what I have to say you won’t immediately back away alarm bells ringing, grab your cell phone and call the men in white coats to take me away while at the same time screaming YOU’RE LOSING YOUR MIND ALI … THATS CRAZY!!  Your eyes so wide in shock that I might as well have told you I used to be a man or some other such secret worthy of a roll on the floor with one of Jerry Springer’s oh so yummy bouncers…. mmm baby!

You see, internet, I’ve been keeping a secret and, well, actually for a long while I myself thought I was totally insane and was trying very hard to push it away hoping that eventually this thought would forget about me and move on…. but it did not and now  I just can’t keep the secret ANYMORE. It’s killing me. I have got to tell you. Whoo boy I am so scared.

I want to be a midwife! There, I said it. Crazy isn’t it? Here’s me, an infertile recovering from abuse, piecing myself back together and I’m telling you that I want to surround myself with that one thing  I can’t reach. Yes, sometimes I agree with you. I think I may very well be insane and setting myself up for future heart ache.  Certainly, it’s true that working in this field will only bring me face to face with what my body can’t do. I’ll be opening the door of motherhood for others while knowing that I can’t walk through. Sometimes that’s going to break my heart.

And yet I can’t let the thought go. I truly want to do this.  I feel a need to. The way I think of it, I have this thing wrong with me.  It’s going to hurt whatever I do.  I can’t run away from it.  There’s no hiding place, so I may as well turn and face it.  Yes sometimes being a midwife will only show me all the things that are wrong with my body, but at the same time I’d have the opportunity to learn all about this thing I’ve been so curious about for years. I could get some of my questions answered and I could spend my career making sure that those who are able to do that “knocked up” thing can have the most positive experience possible. I truly think I could make a good advocate for a mum to be and the baby she carries. I believe I can be objective and not allow my own situation to cloud my judgment. Knowing that I could make a difference to women/couples/families at this exciting time of their lives makes me so excited.  I’d feel privileged and proud of myself and I do believe it would bring me buckets of joy, as if this choice would break my heart and somehow hold all the pieces together.

Any woman could train as a midwife and discover she’s infertile after the fact. At least I know where I am up front. I know its not always going to be easy. Maybe sometimes the hard thing is the right thing?

I have vaguely thought about this career path before in my life, back when I was in high school –  right after I had made subject choices that excluded any science subject, so I just dismissed the thought and moved on. Well not I guess. I’ve had more time to get to know the NHS – more reasons to take an interest in women’s health – and I figure I’m starting from nothing. I don’t have a career I can go back to. I’m not tied to one place in terms of where I’m living.  I don’t have family commitments. Seen as I’m starting this rebuild basically from scratch, I have a perfect opportunity to change direction… and hay I might as well aim high.

I’m aiming to train as a midwife.

Pheww… feels good to have said it. Almost the same relief I felt when I told some of my RL friends about the fertility thing. I came out of the infertility closet for them and now I’m coming out of the midwifery closet here…

I guess this kind of puts me in an odd place. An infertile who’s blog might be riddled with pregnancy stories, pregnancy discussion, or whatever. I’m not exactly sure yet. Please know that I don’t mean to upset anybody. I totally understand if you don’t want to read, but this is my space and I really just want to be able to talk about all parts of my life  as an infertile wanna-be midwife ..

Are you making that call yet? Do I hear yelling??   I’m telling you right now I shall point blank REFUSE any invites from Jerry… unless he’s gonna pay for vacation time in Chicago 😛

Ali xX

Upping the ante.

Exhausted… totally and utterly wiped out.  That’s how I feel but it was so worth it. I took a step I never would have even contemplated 2 or 3 months ago. I went to a university open day.  Mmhum… I want to go back to school. Don’t we all wish we could wind back the clock sometimes?

The problem is the subject I want to study is HARD… beyond HARD.  It’s complicated both academically and emotionally. There is no room for error. Competition for this course is fierce. To give you an idea this institution had over 600 applicants for just 22 places last year. In fact I should be so intimidated right now that I just throw in the towel and walk away. Really. But oddly I am not.  I truly believe I could do this. In fact I think I could be good at it.  Now all I have to do is convince everybody else.  This is a total change of attitude for me and while it feels a little arrogant perhaps even cocky.  It’s refreshing to find that not all my determination and self belief has disappeared.

Throughout my life I have always done best in the underdog position. I get at my most stubborn, persistent and determined when the consensus is that I can’t do something. Yeah really don’t tell me I can’t when I REALLY want too because I will get bust a gut to prove you wrong or kill myself trying.  I feel like I may have a new project and I only hope this attitude will stay around for the LONG HAUL…

And I do mean long.  I’m looking at applying for the course scheduled to begin September 2010. If I’m successful I’ll be facing 3 years (probably the toughest 3 years of my life thus far) study and finally qualify in summer 2013 age 31 … 31 OMG by the time I get done I’ll be over THIRTY !!!  Now I feel like crying – just kidding.

I have got to keep Faith in the IDEA what if you want something badly enough to work your ass off and give it your all… you can achieve. And even if I fail at least I will have given it my best shot. Rejection is painful but always better to regret something you did than something you wish you had done. That being said, I need to go into serious training.

Before I can even apply to this course I have to successfully be admitted to an access course and complete passing with flying colors over the next year. So I need to get moving on finding the best location for the course and submitting the all important application. I’ll be studying health which involves science and maths… which is about as far away from my previous BA degree as you can get. Mmhumm. Other end of the spectrum. Last time I studied maths and science I was 15. I don’t even OWN a calculator anymore.

On top of this study I need the volunteering experience to support my application. So not only do I need to follow through on what I have already set up,  if anything I need to look for MORE..

AND… ANNND… I’m still looking for some work that will slot in somewhere here too. It’s a long term plan as the title of the post suggests.  Just like the other one I’ll be taking it one step at a time, but I not only need to get my confidence back  to succeed at this I  need to be totally driven and sell myself .. I HAVE ALOT TO WORK ON.

Right now I feel kind of like a ball player who somehow got offered an at bat in the majors. Trouble is, I’m still playing Triple A. Seriously need to up my game and get some balls! Fuck.. I hope I want it badly enough…

Either way, its good to have a long term goal… something to focus on… something to drive for even if it does feel slightly out of reach… right? RIGHT? Wish me luck I’m gonna need it.

And before you ask … I’m not telling what this course I’m aiming for is right now… sort of a self preservation thing. Firstly to save embarrassment just in case I fall flat on my face and have to sidle off to deal with the bruises, and secondly because I’m really not ready for a chorus of “that’s insane you’re crazy” just yet.

Ali xX

K.S.: Blue skies and sunshine all day long … let’s hope that’s a good omen