One of my favourite books when I was growing up was 'The Little Brute Family' by Russell Hoban. It's the story of a fairly miserable family of creatures who eat sand and gravel for breakfast, stick and stone stew for dinner, and are rude and unpleasant to each other.
Then one day, Baby Brute comes across a "little wandering lost good feeling" in a field of daisies. He takes it home in his pocket, and by the end of the book everyone is nice to each other and their lives have been transformed.
Well, on the way back from the Fertility Show the other day, I came across my own little wandering lost good feeling.
I can't explain it, and I have no real reason for it, but I suddenly got this really calm, peaceful feeling that everything's going to be all right.
And I still have that good feeling now. I'm actually allowing myself to be cautiously optimistic - even though I know it's still more likely than not that our next IVF will fail, and I know our chances of conceiving naturally are vanishingly small.
Maybe I'm finally learning the difference between hope and expectation - separating out my understanding of the odds from my hope that it might work for us, rather than being plunged into despair at the thought of how low the odds are and talking myself into expecting to fail.
Maybe it's also because I feel more in control of my life. A lot of things spiralled out of control over the last year, and are just beginning now to come right.
I've always been strong and healthy, and I was terrified by how unable I was to function when I put my back out earlier this year, and how long it took before I was able to do simple things like put my own socks on or turn over in bed. For the last couple of months, I've been seeing a personal trainer, and she's been concentrating on exercises to strengthen my back. As a result, I feel stronger, fitter, and more confident in my body's ability to do what it's meant to do.
Then there was my job situation. When I was made redundant, the programme that I had researched, written and run from its first conception was abolished - my employers were effectively saying that they didn't value the product that I had devoted five years of my life to creating, developing and improving. And the product was so much my creation that it felt that they were saying they didn't value me as a person - my skills, my ability, my knowledge and the personal qualities that I brought to the job.
When I was then also turned down for a job which I had been told was being created especially for me, I hit a real low point in confidence. I couldn't have a baby, I couldn't rely on my body to do what I wanted it to do, and now I couldn't even get a job.
Around the time of the Fertility Show, I was just reaching the end of my first commissioned piece of work. I had also had a call the previous day offering me four days' work for the next fortnight, and so I knew that for the first time since August, I was going to be earning some money this month. Both of these jobs were what I think of as bread-and-butter work - connected with my previous job and so something I know I should be able to do to make money when I need it, but not something I'm hugely enthusiastic about continuing in the long term if I can make a go of what I really want to do.
But that morning I had also got my first bit of serious interest in the work that I really want to do - something I've done on an amateur basis for years now but have now decided to try to do professionally. It's something I'm passionate about, and although I'm increasingly realising that I still have a lot to learn, I have had some pretty good results when doing it for friends and family. Anyway, I subsequently got the booking, and I did my first professional job for a total stranger this last Friday. There are more commissions in the pipeline, and I have lots of marketing ideas and am excited about making this work.
As for the fertility business - I know I'm doing all I can. I'm not giving up without a fight, and if nothing else, everything that I'm doing at the moment will make me mentally and physically stronger and ready, if need be, to take that strength into whatever the next round of the fight might be.
You've all been very patient with me through all my whinging, and no doubt there'll be more dips and troughs to come, but for today, what's not to feel good about?